Page 855 - Change of Art

12th Jan 2017, 5:00 AM in Sonic Rainboom
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Change of Art
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 12th Jan 2017, 5:00 AM edit delete
I mean, at the heart of roleplaying, of acting perhaps, is coming to understand the distinction between yourself and your character, to understand that what you're playing is not just an avatar of yourself in another world, but rather a different person.

Easier said than done.

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



Bubba 12th Jan 2017, 5:10 AM Yep edit delete reply
I hate people that can't see the difference of character and self. And I don't mean that in the "This is me" type of thinking. I mean that as in, "Why are you suck a jerk?" type of thinking. Where someone can't see the difference between a player and their character's actions.
Kayeka 12th Jan 2017, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
Well, to be fair, there's a lot of in-character stuff your fellow party members could do that would negatively impact your enjoyment of the game.

God knows I'd be pissed at the player if they decided their character would backstab mine, in which I was invested and had big plans for, for some quick profit or "lulz". They completely disregarded my enjoyment of the game for the sake of theirs, and that is very much personal.
Digo Dragon 12th Jan 2017, 7:18 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yeah, I'd be off put as well if another player killed mine for no plot relevant reason.
Anvildude 12th Jan 2017, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
I feel like that's part of the job of the DM, to make sure that Player Characters have deeper backstories than just "Likes to loot and kill things"- because liking to loot and kill things is fine, even useful in an Adventurer, but it makes for very, very boring stories, and even just the addition of "...because they see those actions as indicative of personal power" can add facets that can help create a deeper story.
True Hitoare 12th Jan 2017, 6:37 AM edit delete reply
Counterpoint: My Guy Syndrome
nathan400 12th Jan 2017, 1:56 PM edit delete reply
In one game, I play as a paladin, and am also often called a "no fun panda". I've made it clear that to me, character takes precedence over all else. That said, I am willing to bend rulings to help maintain the flow of the game. Mostly by having my oh so trusting paladin be busy elsewhere when she'd otherwise be killing the fun, and the other players know better than to pull something when she is looking.

This way we avoid "my guy" syndrome while still keeping truffles to out characters.
you know that guy 13th Jan 2017, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
Every time I read this, I am reminded of how important it is.
Dragonflight 12th Jan 2017, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
I was in a game like that, once. One of the players was so invested in his thief character that he invented a "muscle" DNPC which would protect the thief from the consequences of his actions, and convinced the GM to let him play both. Then he got caught the very first night trying to steal from the party. He used the muscle character to force us to back off, and intimidate us into letting him take all the loot on a fairly regular basis.

Shortly thereafter, we came across a dungeon trap which was a minotaur head, apparently stuffed and mounted. We realized it was actually a magical trap which would breathe a gas which would turn the victim to stone. We deliberately didn't tell the other guy (who was in the bathroom at the time, I think,) and when he came back, idly pointed out that there was this really valuable minotaur head on the wall, but it was too firmly mounted to pull off. Too bad, so sad.

The player took the bait, and had his muscle character attempt to physically tear it off the wall. It triggered the trap, and turned the muscle character to stone on the spot. The thief tried to (nervously) insist we had to rescue the muscle character. So we threw a lasso around its head, and gave it a sharp yank, "accidentally" breaking the head off. Oh well.

The thief player immediately had his character run away at high speed, because he *knew* what was coming next. The GM decided the thief ran into the open pit trap in the next area, and plummeted to his doom. The player was willing to let that happen, because it meant that unless we did something heroic, he'd be taking all the party loot to his grave with him.

The player left the game at that point. We had a sub-adventure all about finding the body to recover the stolen loot, and enjoyed the game a lot more after that.
Guest 12th Jan 2017, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
So I was invited to join a game with people I barely knew. The setting was a tripartite world breaking apart, with elves (who were explained to me as ideologically supremacist) pitted against humans and dwarves.

I picked an elf barbarian, and we all woke up close to a crumbling hole in the world, apparently we barely survived an earthquake in the area. My elf, being of better health and strength than a fellow player, quickly decided she'd landed herself a fresh, if slightly ill and mouthy, new servant. A slight warhammering was supposed to clarify the dynamic for now - remember, they barely have talked at this point and my elf clearly had a different moral compass, or so I assumed.

Cue the other players asking me horrified if I was being serious and what a sick and twisted mind I had to exploit the situation so.

Little did I know the GM *really* disliked PvP for some reason. The game didn't proceed beyond that point.

I will admit that the actions taken weren't conductive to party play, but at the same time, it wasn't 'me' who did that.
Guest 12th Jan 2017, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
...And then I read up on my guy syndrome.
terrycloth 12th Jan 2017, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
I had something similar happen, but at least it was a demo game and didn't ruin somebody's campaign.

We were given pregenerated characters with jobs and motivations. My character (picked because it was a weasel) had the job 'robber' and the motivation 'robbing people'. So, I started in the bad part of town, drunk, and a naïve rich girl walked up and asked me for directions.

So, um, I tried to rob her. What else was I going to do?

But of COURSE it turned into PvP combat with the entire rest of the party who hadn't been introduced popping out of the woodwork to pile on me, and a squadron of guards appearing out of nowhere to assist.

(and Ironclaw doesn't have the concept of readied actions apparently, so despite having her at gunpoint she got to go first, draw a mace, and smack me in the head before I could fire) (same thing happened in an RPGA game playing D+D, where the GM insisted that we couldn't ready actions before combat started, so the NPC got to draw his weapon, shoot us, and then slam the door in our face and lock it when we all had guns pointed at him. Hostage situations need better support in the rules!)
Digo Dragon 12th Jan 2017, 11:48 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I kind of did the opposite of "My Guy Syndrome" once. My character overheard gunshots down the hall in a hospital. He checks it out and finds an NPC with a gun standing over the body of one of the other PCs (fatally wounded and is bleeding out). The NPC slowly backs away with the gun pointed at me, intending to get away.

As the kind-hearted doctor, my character should focus on saving the PC's life first. Because it's what "My Guy" would do. But I felt unsatisfied with that course of action.

Instead, I beat the NPC on initiative, drew my gun, and shot him. Unfortunately the damage roll was low, though it stunned him long enough for another PC who arrived to kill the NPC in one blow. My character then attended to the dying PC and saved her life.

So, kind of the opposite of this MGS stuff.
Chakat Firepaw 13th Jan 2017, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
That situation should have had you focused and her not, so you should have been able to spend focus to interrupt.

What's more: You had a ready weapon, meaning you could fire as a first rank action. She, OTOH, had to draw hers, meaning it was awkward and thus could only strike as a second rank action.

IOW: The GM messed up, you should have been able to shoot first regardless of the initiative roll.
Thatguest 12th Jan 2017, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
I have many stories relating to this kind of situation, a "it's what my character would do". Some I cannot share in a public setting because there may be small children present, and I don't mean that sarcastically, those stories are pretty messed up. The worst I can share was when after a 3 month arc in our campaign the thief tried to steal the quest item to sell for himself and used his stats to strongarm us into not being able to react because his character was a thief and stealing it "is what his character would do". The only thing that saved him was botching at the very last moment. That whole table was ready to tear him apart, IC and OOC.....
Super_Big_Mac 13th Jan 2017, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
For me, it became extremely easy to distinct between myself and my character, despite both him and I loving to crack jokes, tell puns, and flaunt our dry wit. The reason was simple: My character was cursed to be unable to swear. And I stuck to that, so well in fact, that when I swore in the first session when playing as new characters, my GM actually had to stop and think for a moment, because he'd gotten so used to me not swearing, except in text-form.

That group is also probably the best group to be a part of. Even when our characters get thoroughly pissed off at one another, we're able to break character and laugh and such at the problems we're causing. There's only been two points of contention within the group that I'm privy to.

The first being that, my character, Overwatch, has a younger sister named Overlook. He helped raise her, and cared for her, when their mom couldn't. And when it turned out a fellow player was starting to court my NPC sister, I thought "sure, that's fine, but I'll be making all the brotherly jokes and threats I want." That went over fine with everyone else. But then, a few RL months down the line, he's controlling Overlook as a cohort, or whatever. And sure, a Paladin with his Oracle bride is all fine and dandy, but this was my character, dang it, and it felt extremely weird to have someone else using her. I was able to get over it, and it kinda makes me uncomfortable even mentioning it, but it felt extremely weird to have a character taken from me without anyone thinking to say what they were doing with said character.

The other time we had a big stink in the group was with our resident Winter Witch, White Wishes. I think I've told this story before, so I'll try to keep it brief. We're in a hallway in a desert tomb with an Emperor Mummy being controlled by the Big Bad between us and him (though neither are aware of us yet). I went on ahead through a teleporter to get to this hallway, along with the fighter. I notice the Witch, despite her being invisible, when she comes through the teleporter (It wasn't silent after all). So I wait a moment for her to get close, and then start whispering my plan to both her and the fighter, as well as sending it telepathically to the Witch's Familiar, who can hear telepathy from 100 ft away. The witch, IC, ignores me and walks right past, trying to sneak by the Mummy (which watches her invisible self go past), which causes the Mummy to cast Darkness, alerting the Big Bad (who has True Sight), who uses a Power Word to kill the Witch (this was all planned out ahead of time between the witch's player and the GM as an IC reason why she'd stop spamming Slumber hexes), but now it's a Rogue and a Fighter in Darkness fighting an Emperor Mummy all on our own, with only the Fighter able to see in the magical darkness. She dies of Mummy Rot, the Mummy Raises Dead on the Witch and Fighter, and then I'm slaughtered after the Mobile Cannon Gunslinger Archaeologist DMPC/Cohort walks through, fires off a few rounds, and then hops back out the Teleporter without telling my character the password. I think I was Full Rounded down to -27 HP by the Fighter after the Witch cast hexes at me to drop me to near zero.

OoC the way that all panned out was the Witch's player had had me and the Fighter MUTED so he could "hear himself think" as he was telling the GM what he wanted to do, while also talking over me and what I was trying to plan. So yeah, my character got killed because another player was too invested in his character *needing* to die that he quit the session in a huff and didn't respond over Skype until the next session when I tried to ask why he wouldn't listen to a word I said. The Witch wasn't the leader of our group, after all. We were a team, and her player was veeerrrry selfish right then.
Chronic Lurker 13th Jan 2017, 4:02 PM edit delete reply
So back in 2005 I ran a D&D campaign with some high school friends/acquaintances of mine. This turned out to be a terrible idea because two of them were NOT getting along in real life. So one of them, who was a level 1 halfling rogue with the worst Strength stat I have ever seen rolled, dedicated herself to trying to back stab the other, my best friend who was a level 1 half-elf sorcerer and actually had an average Constitution stat, in the back. At the most inappropriate times possible. Fighting off a goblin raid? Imma back-stab my team-mate. ....And she was playing a neutral good character. The character she was trying to stab was chaotic neutral. There was no role playing here at all. She was using the game as an excuse to vent her frustrations at my best friend. I kicked her out of the session pretty fast because she would not STOP no matter how many times I took her aside and tried to tell her that her behavior was not okay. She stopped talking to me, but considering I only rated her an acquaintance I didn't really care. That girl had issues...

Moral of the story: Never try to run a campaign with people who don't get the GAME aspect of a role-playing game. It tends to kill the fun pretty fast.

For the record this campaign had other problems including, but not limited too, all the players had short attention spans (countered with random throw-away gags engineered to hold interest just long enough to introduce the next plot point {thank you Creativity Quest for teaching me improvisation}), a paladin character who antagonized everyone (he kept calling the druid a tree-hugging hippy and threatened to smite the chaotic-aligned or neutral-aligned characters), and a DM (aka myself) who had never run a campaign before and was still working out how to keep things a) on track and b) from blowing up into a screaming fight between all the players (I am normally very quiet...but can yell REALLY loudly. So every time things started to spiral out of control I'd rely on the shock value of me yelling at them all to shut up. Not the best method, but it worked). I like to think I've improved since then.
Cyborg7221 12th Jan 2017, 5:23 AM edit delete reply
Back in high school I wanted to invite a friend to play D&D, but his mom wouldn't let him because she just couldn't see how anyone could maintain separation of character and self. (Ironically, he was the most dissociatve online roleplayer I've ever known.)

So, as a loophole, we started designing our own game that was really just a thinly veiled D&D clone. And she was none the wiser.
Digo Dragon 12th Jan 2017, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
It is moving as a DM when players really get invested in their characters and your world. I always know I'm running things right when I see it in their eyes.
aerion111 13th Jan 2017, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
That pretty much is the direct result of good DM-ing, so yeah, you've every right to be happy when that happens.
When players are having fun despite their immersion being constantly broken, it's quite probable (though admittedly not guaranteed) that the DM's the worst part of the group.
Jennifer 12th Jan 2017, 10:41 AM edit delete reply
I would have preferred a different word-balloon layout for the third panel - people read up-down and left-right, not right-left. I started with what turned out to be the third balloon of Rarity's speech.
Philadelphus 12th Jan 2017, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
I did the same thing—perhaps if the first bubble went to the left of Rarity, then the second moved up a bit and the third moved to the bottom-right part of the panel?
Newbiespud 12th Jan 2017, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
I'm well aware of left-to-right and top-to-bottom (way more than some other campaign comics I've read), and I always try to adhere to that. When I have to break it, though, I generally try to adhere to certain sub-rules: 1) "Top" takes precedence over "left", especially when moving down to a new row of panels, 2) "left" should be as far from "top" as possible so that it's easy to intuit that it's not first, and 3) the flow of the word balloons should make a natural line (or lines, in longer conversations) that's easy for the eye to follow.

If I remember right, that panel's lines went through a couple of rewrites, and at one point it had made more sense to start the dialogue on the right than the left because of the sheer size of the balloons versus the empty space available in the screencap. In its current state, I can see now how it could be edited to go back to left-to-right, but I actually like it a little better this way, personally. Breaking the rules makes for a slightly more interesting panel for me as long as it's still readable, and it helps to train the reader to expect this once in a while in case there's a situation later on where I really need to go right-to-left due to unavoidable spacing reasons.

Comics are a balancing act between art and script. Sometimes you sacrifice nice art for more words, and sometimes you sacrifice a little readability, introduce a little confusion, to work around the art. You always strive for the best of both, but you gotta make decisions too. They don't always work out perfectly, but if it's not a colossal screw-up, sometimes you just gotta shrug and carry on.
Tabby 12th Jan 2017, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
Speaking as someone who's not great with comics because I have a hard time following the flow of the action and dialogue, I had no trouble at all with that panel. The flow is clear, and the direction of Rarity's head provides an added clue.
Freemage 12th Jan 2017, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
One option to consider: Even in a screencap comic, it is acceptable to flip the view if there's no reason not to (if there's something in the background that has a distinctive orientation, like text, this may not work, of course). The volume of the text would be the same, but the order of the balloons would be in the 'natural flow' arrangement, upper left to lower right.
Newbiespud 12th Jan 2017, 5:39 PM edit delete reply
I actually have a personal rule against flipping screencaps for panels. It started out, I think, as deciding not to employ much image manipulation (which I'm not good at) of any kind. Later I justified it as a creative limitation.

These days, though, I think the biggest reason is because I want the screencaps to be recognizable. I want people to look at them and go, "Huh, I know what episode that's from. I remember that moment." And if someone plays the episode and looks for it, they'll see it exactly as it appears in the comic. I couldn't tell you why that's important to me, but it is. Maybe I just appreciate the art of the show and want other people to see it too.

That said, I think I have flipped a screencap once. In a subpanel. Heck if I remember what arc or page it's on, though.
Super_Big_Mac 13th Jan 2017, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
I honestly don't see a problem. I didn't notice there was anything "wrong" with the layout until I read Jenifer's comment.

Probably because I've been reading comics for most of my life. This speech bubble layout is used in quite a few Garfield, Opus, Archie, and Peanuts comics. Same goes for a good number of DC and MARVEL comics. Top always takes precedent over left if the speech bubble's big enough, especially since the bubbles are almost always dictated around the artwork, much like a Campaign Comic.
Philadelphus 12th Jan 2017, 11:17 AM edit delete reply
Easier said than done indeed, regarding the distinction of player and character. I can't keep it up for more than short bursts, between which I have to mentally recharge, as it were.
Luna 12th Jan 2017, 2:41 PM edit delete reply
Eh, love how that brought Rarity to tear up. XD
Malroth 12th Jan 2017, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
Obvious Spambot is obvious
Newbiespud 12th Jan 2017, 5:13 PM edit delete reply
It's been a while since I've seen that one.
TMShelton 12th Jan 2017, 9:55 PM edit delete reply
Now I'm just thinking of Sir Ian McKellen explaining acting. "The whole thing is an illusion--you are not really [Rainbow Dash], you are pretending. And acting."
Archone 14th Jan 2017, 3:47 PM edit delete reply
There's a game I'm in RIGHT now (well, it's a bit on hiatus... but we're eager to get back to it) where a new player's character has been less than pleasant thus far. When I have the opportunity I want to talk to them about it. Specifically, this rule:

Your character may need to act in character, but you choose the character you play.

If you're playing a character who is going to screw over the rest of the team, then the obvious question is: why!? Don't make an antisocial jerk who treats the other PCs like garbage.