Page 935 - You're Too Kind

18th Jul 2017, 6:00 AM in The Best Night Ever, Part 1
<<First Latest>>
You're Too Kind
Average Rating: 0 (0 votes)
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

Newbiespud 18th Jul 2017, 6:00 AM edit delete
Y'know, I came to a small realization over the weekend.

Part of the Friendship is Dragons brand is "Story Time," where I use the comic as a prompt to have commenters tell their own RPG stories. It's a neat little piece of audience engagement that college-age me just sort of stumbled upon.

But I've realized that, over the last few years, the YouTube clickbait sphere has developed their own "Storytime," where they typically tell a shallow story about their day (titled with something misleading) and at the end ask viewers to share their own similar experience if they have one.

I'm not sure how to feel about that now.

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



albedoequals1 18th Jul 2017, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
I wouldn't worry about that, Spud. Every title is being used for multiple things. There isn't enough creativity to spread among all the people on earth.
Digo Dragon 18th Jul 2017, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
How does the saying go? "99% of everything created is not new." It doesn't bother me as much as the shallow baiting part. But, speaking of baiting for Story Time!

Alright, our team (four level 6 PCs & two level 5 NPCs) is exploring a dungeon and the party monk triggered a pressure-plate trap in a doorway that causes a scythe to swing down at him. This trap is quite insidious (+15 to hit, 3d6+ damage, DC to disable is 35) and our best rogue for the job can't get higher than a 24 on Disable Device. The saving grace is that it takes the trap 30 seconds to reset, an unusually long amount of time.

My ranger does figure out where the pressure plate is and marks it clearly with some chalk. We need to pass through this area a few times, but can't disable it the easy way due to the high DC. The monk and I devise an alternate sound plan of action--We grab a dead lizardman from the big fight we had moments earlier (fought 10 of them). We throw the body on the pressure plate to trigger the trap (lizardmen weigh more then we do, so it'll trigger). Once triggered, everyone gathers around the scythe and uses attack actions to Sunder the trap while it's resetting. A few solid hits should break it.

The GM first asked if I have the Improved Sunder feat, because otherwise sundering invokes an AoO. I said this was a mechanical trap, not a person. It doesn't get AoO. Dumbfounded, then GM then said that no, we cannot break the trap. His reason? Because the trap takes 30 seconds to reset.

I'll leave you all to figure out his logic, because after 40 minutes of debate, my party couldn't understand that one and we just moved on. The party druid vows to memorize stoneshape on her next level up so we can just make passages in the walls to walk around future traps.
Tempestfury 18th Jul 2017, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Oooooh boy... I hate DM's like that.

'No you can't do that because I said so! Are you questioning me!?!?! RULE ZERO BITCH GET OUT OF MY GAME!!!!!111111!!!!!'
Rastaba 18th Jul 2017, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
I still say check for traps even if you made the tunnel yourself! If only because I find it oddly amusing. And because I think causing a cave in by say tunneling under somewhere unstable might qualify as a 'trap'.
Digo Dragon 18th Jul 2017, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I think what the druid means is that she'd create a hole in the wall next to the doorway, to bypass the trap.
aerion111 18th Jul 2017, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
I hate GMs like that too, but I kinda get where they're coming from.
This wasn't, presumably, supposed to just be some quick puzzle where you throw a corpse on the pressure pad and you win.
You were supposed to take large amounts of damage, expend resources, look like fools, and possibly invest in more of a min-maxed Disable Device to be 'competitive' with his trap DCs.
So, since traps ARE relatively simple puzzles once you're aware of the specific details, at least usually, he kinda has to cheat to force you to confront it 'properly'.
Digo Dragon 18th Jul 2017, 1:17 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
See, I and the entire party disagrees with the GM's action to cheat us. We did have a couple more PCs take damage while trying to study and disable the trap, and we spent resources (healing spells, my 1/Session reroll ability, etc.)

Therefore, we believe we confronted it proper and our idea to disable it was a reasonable one.
Winged Cat 18th Jul 2017, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
I can kind of see it, if the scythe moved through so fast you'd need Improved Sunder to catch it while it swung, and it spent the resetting time inside the wall. But that's easily worked around: put something in the path of the shaft of the scythe to stop it.
Digo Dragon 18th Jul 2017, 1:20 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Reasonably, we can have about 2-3 people stand and Ready an action to sunder when the trap is triggered. If it takes a few minutes to break it, well we have the time and weapons to do so. We even have plenty of lizardmen bodies to throw in front of the trap to catch it.
Composer99 18th Jul 2017, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
It sucks that your DM was unwilling to reward creative in-world decision-making/problem-solving.
Wulfraed 18th Jul 2017, 3:42 PM edit delete reply
With a 30second reset time, your party should have had plenty of time move to both sides of the swing and arrange for some sort of block (heck, pile up the bodies so it can't get gravity assist on the next swing).

That GM was too proud of a trap whose specifics made it a one-hit wonder (ie; it could score on the first person to trigger it, but any survivors would be able to bypass it).

I have no idea of what current rulesets look like -- My experience is first, RuneQuest (Chaosium edition), TSR AD&D, RQ2 (Avalon Hill), AD&D 2nd, and three or four generations of Traveller.

I did spoil a trap in AD&D that my GM had set up.

We had opened a door way to find a long corridor with another door at the other end. A few drain grates in the floor... And grated openings on the side walls near the ceiling.

I'd lived in MI -- so my immediate suspicion was based on the similarity to the Soo Locks. We figured out how to cross without touching the floor.

GM later admitted he'd based the trap on the Panama Canal locks (where he'd lived for a time).
Digo Dragon 19th Jul 2017, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
So how did you cross without touching the floor? :3
Wulfraed 20th Jul 2017, 5:49 AM edit delete reply
It was some 25 years ago... I think there was a pipe running the length of the corridor just below the ceiling...
Queensarrow 9th Oct 2017, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
Did anyone realize that you disabled the trap by jamming the pressure plate with the body?
KathiraNarae 18th Jul 2017, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
Baiting for Story Time? Oh boy, oh boy, I finally have stories to share!

So, I started playing 5e a little over a year ago thanks to this comic and Darths and Droids, and my group is a frequently changing one run by a gameing shop. It's a newbie table, and the first time is free so although we have a few regulars at this table, we usually get one or two, occasionally three new faces or empty spots.

Last Thursdasy was one such 'empty spot' night. I've taken over DMing for a couple of weeks while our usual DM goes on holiday, and I play the only tank. One of our regulars recently switched to paladin himself inspired by mine, but he had a bad day that Thursday and didn't show. Party roster at the time: lvl 1 gnome cleric, lvl 3 human rogue (named 'Bob'), lvl 3 dragonborn wizard, lvl 1 gnome rogue.

And they went to fight a dragon. Now, they were supposed to talk it down, and I kept directing them towards that, but...

The gnomes tried sneaking into a cottage connected to the dragon's tower, but made a lot of noise, thereby getting the dragon into fighting position. It didn't show its face, though, simply waiting at the top of the tower to ambush them. Bob storms into the tower, and goes down to acid blast to the face immediately. This creates a problem, because he's good at talking things down. He once managed to stop a bar owner attacking with her frying pan by saying 'I accept your offer of breakfast.'

The gnome rogue quickly runs away, leaving the wizard and the cleric to sort things. Now, the cleric's player is...a bit of a loonie and a troll. They manage to convince the dragon not to eat them, but want to get their downed rogue back before leaving. Obvious solution: hand over the wizard's Staff of Defence in exchange, leave and regroup ready to try again. Upon figuring this out, the wizard...runs away. At this point, Bib makes his death saving throws ant gets up at 1HP. I didn't havwe the heart to correct him into staying unconscious because, frankly, things where going very horribly wrong. He manages to talk the dragon into recognising him as a good orator, at which point the dragon gestures to the Cleric and offers him a favour. More discussion takes place, the dragon convinced not to eat Bob. Cleric says something stupid, and Bob asks if the aforementiond offer is still on table.

The gnome cleric is down in one gulp. Bob books it.

At this point, I brought my own tank back as a GMPC to try and give them a meat shield, but here's hoping things go better next time when they try again.
Digo Dragon 18th Jul 2017, 1:23 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Sounds like they didn't think through a plan before going up this tower.
Anvildude 18th Jul 2017, 7:57 PM edit delete reply
Man, a full-on grown Dragon as a PL~2 campaign? Either 5th is a LOT more forgiving, or the setup was just a little botched in that one.
JimothyTheMoose 18th Jul 2017, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
Probably either the DM nerfed it so he could have lowlevel characters fight it, or some insanely lucky rolls.
KathiraNarae 20th Jul 2017, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
Strictly speaking, it's PL~3 by that point, or at least supposed to be, and it's a young green dragon. Either way, I did feel I had to fudge rolls in order to prevent a TPK, but the idea is that a full 6-member party of PL~3 drives away the dragon somehow (if fought, it flies away at half health).

By the way, this is not an original campaign. We're running Lost Mine of Phandelver. Which is ridiculously unforgiving, as the very first combat in the entire campaign is a goblin ambush where the goblins can disengage or hide as a bonus action. My very first session of DnD ever was this fight, and yes, half the party straight up died. On a beginner's table.

Caveat: To be fair to the current party in our 'reboot' of the campaign when the first DM left, we've been breezing through the entire thing like a speed-run, and the cleric was the first real PC death all campaign(hence the lvl one characters for those who simply want to change characters, that's supposed to be a limitation for the regulars; newbies to the table start at lvl 3).
Sharp Note 18th Jul 2017, 10:54 PM edit delete reply
So, rule 0.

Has uses. May keep your campaign from plot armageddon, might keeping that one player from enraging the rest. But I think you treat it as the nuclear option. There are other ways.

For example, in the latest SoE session.
Party's in Manehattan, 3 ways to go. Visit Shim tower, but cops & protesters bar entrance.(Does intro Rarity, labor rights leader) Get a note: Airlift incoming on top of Centaur hotel, 4 hours. They say, guess we have to wait in the hotel.
I remind them that it's in 4 hours.. and they visit TYME to get paid.(double dippin' on clients.)

They go in, augmented security mare Bonbon says Suri's out, gives some Suri backstory. Also, our pegasus starts bonking her in the head with a padded stick. Get paid, now to hotel.
I say, still 2 hours.. They visit Neo Crusaders. Meet Babs, learn about a near riot yesterday, how Rarity calmed it down. More backstory, and leave.

Go to hotel, scenic flight. Shim tower: meet Shim's mom, Dragon Dancer. She calls her family idiots, but begs party to get Shim and Flim talking again.

After Shim's payment, the party pegasus starts using squeaky stick on CEO. The gageteer suggests freeing employees, be rich and loved. He's unconvinced.

Then a zebra gives a report. Seems Rarity was foalnapped, and he's blamed. He hires team again, run into Bonbon at hotel. She owes Rarity, and joins to track her. Leads to sewer, a few changelings later they rescue Rarity.
After 2 natural 1s, the gageteer breaks the ceiling, they pull her from under a foe and run.

Rarity & Bonbon leave. Party goes to Shim for pay. They find Flim and son arguing. The pegasus calls them both idiots, and gives them both squeaky whacking sticks.

Minutes of whack therapy later, both are laughing, & start talking about stuff.
Flim says he's proud of Shim, Shim goes for ending wagesurf contracts,working with TYME and Babs, and basking in the resulting good PR. And when Shim says how TYME's CEO Suri Polomare always picks on him, Flim explains a few things, like how he met his wife.
So, Harmony achieved.

Point incoming, honest.
Party had to know about Rarity, Shim and Flim, and the near riot, for the session to make sense.
Had to go all over town to learn these things, and talk to ponies.

So I gave choices, but had delays. Gave time to explore. Put plot points where the loot was. And had a guide to lead them to the action.
& for the ending, I knew they'd win, let them choose the method. They came up with promoting good PR, not needing to legally out-swindle dad, and squeaky stick antics themselves.

Point is: Players will follow the plot as long as you make the path fun. If they bypass an obstacle in a surprising way, roll with it. You'll find many ways to give challenge and move things along, as long as you're creative and you try.

(Keep in mind, my campaigns are custom. And the systems.
For GMs who live on modules, & feel the need to balance the numbers to GM 'right'..
Take a good look at your players faces when they circumvent that trap.
And then, when you retcon their success. I think that difference, is worth trying something new.)
RuneKnight3 19th Jul 2017, 10:23 AM Dissenting Dissenter edit delete reply
I actually feel the other way from the majority. I strongly dislike that more and more game lines premptively take away the GM's ability to say "No" to players. As a GM I have very high expectations for players in terms of involvement and planning. In the situation of a heist game, for instance, I know what the layout and disposition of guards is so I expect the players to approach it like a heist. Part of the fun should be putting together a scheme, possibly with a Rube-Goldbergian device, implementing it, and seeing it all go horribly awry. However, if the players come up with a good plan I didn't think of - such as using a portable hole to open the vault from the outside and just taking the loot - that's fine as well and I laud the players for thinking of one I didn't get.

The problem becomes when a particular type of player, and we all know this guy, takes that ability to just run wild with it. Every encounter instantly becomes a combat he can just walk through. Every investigation is just three questions and a powers use. The game more or less is reduced to one or two people do all the work plus their friends along for the ride because the GM isn't allowed to look at them and just say "No, no one has that information/maguffin/the town just lacks the resources to produce what you want" and just because the RAW says you might get it anyway doesn't mean you should.

The real source of the issue I find isn't the GM that refuses player agency and then wigs out, that GM was probably going to be terrible anyway. I find the difficulty is that the GM/Player relationship has become misrepresented. The GM is a civil servant, they spend an inordinate amount of time building the sand box and then run the sand box so they players can destroy it. The exchange for that is that the players must acquiesce to a certain amount of external management otherwise the sand gets everywhere. By the same token the GM is beholden to the players because that power is a responsibility, not a right, and so will or should want to create an environment where players have the most fun.

Its never been Us versus Them, certainly, but the GM is not a boot lick either.
aerion111 19th Jul 2017, 3:47 PM edit delete reply
"that GM was probably going to be terrible anyway"
Sometimes. Not always.
Sometimes the GMs that abuse GM-vetos and such would be mediocre GMs otherwise that don't really 'get' the spirit of the rules or what his players want, but which can still kind of keep the game going without any major problems.
But when given a rule that says 'The GM has the final say', they subconsciously interpret that as 'Oh, that means I can refuse to let my players do anything I don't like' - which means that when they meet a point where they'd normally go 'ah come on, that's no fun... Fine...' or 'aww, I was hoping that'd hit you' they instead go 'Doesn't work, 'cuz I say so'
The more power you give someone, the more easily they'll abuse it.