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PA Comic: Monday, Dec. 6, 2011 - The Conflux, Part Six

JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp.I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
edited December 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub

Posts

  • GralikGralik Registered User
    So many Saturdays ended this way.

  • Saint_DipsetSaint_Dipset Registered User
    If I had ten-thousand gold I would be done adventuring for life.

    Mos def:
    The harder you flash, the harder you get flashed on.

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  • JustinSane07JustinSane07 __BANNED USERS regular
    I wanna know who vampire guy in panel 1 is.

  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X When you speak I hear muffinsRegistered User regular
    3rd panel is so gloomy

    I recognize Kiko and Porkfry, dunno who the other 2 are.

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  • MortalToasterMortalToaster Registered User regular
    I wanna know who vampire guy in panel 1 is.

    he seems to have a case of "trench"nose. i'm not so much a fan.

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Isn't that Batjew?
    Spoiler:

    Also, having been playing Pathfinder, I could not tell you how much gold we have spent to resurrect and restore characters who have lost abilities, spells, lives, etc to the fiends of the world.
    Tycho wrote:
    For what I think is the now the fifth time - from a user perspective, at least - Microsoft is replacing the OS on the Xbox. Having worked tech support, I can’t even imagine the din of their call centers. The million boxes they sold on Black Friday weren’t going to people who read BLOGZ - we’re seven years in, now; this is a pale and larval creature. Christmas morning is going to get weird.

    For me, and for anybody else who plays games in more than one physical location, an unmoored Profile and Cloud Storage are the heavy hitters from a functionality perspective. I had originally heard that things like this were going to be a part of another tier of service, something like Xbox Tungsten or whatever. They must have decided against it. Here’s the problem, and it’s a scenario that anyone with a family runs up against immediately: all the interesting services require Gold. This means that when daddy is trying to use the “game” part of his account somewhere else, the “service” part of the account (Netflix, etc.) disappears, rendering his home machine inert. This makes sense to them, because the account is King, but this usage scenario isn’t tremendously uncommon for the sort of person who’d make use of this feature. Their authorization structure hasn’t kept up with how people actually use the product - that is how they can “fix” it, and yet it somehow remains broken.

    As someone with two WP7 phones (myself and wife), I can understand this as we cannot share purchases unless we use the same Live account on both phones, which would then merge EVERYTHING else and who knows what that would do to my Live account on my XBox. They really need some sort of family plan for Live Gold/Zune Pass accounts that don't amount to paying double (or near to) just so you can use the services on multiple devices in the home.

    Jerry's situation of trying to play a game at work and let his family watch Netflix at home at the same time is exactly why they need to change some things up. Netflix and other services like it (Hulu+, etc) really need to move to the other side of the Gold barrier, considering how many devices can now access said services, they are only going to have people move away from using the XBox to do so to make it simpler and cheaper.

    ArcSyn on
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  • CandymancerCandymancer Registered User regular
    This would have never happened if Cheeto was there to hold the group together.

  • SabreMauSabreMau Still featuring glasses. Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I'm more surprised that the newspost is implying that this bout of continuity is almost done, not totally done. They haven't gone to a Part Seven of anything in over three years.

    SabreMau on
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  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I'm mainly trying to figure out who the two guys besides Kiko and Porkfry are.

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  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    the fellowship has been broken

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    I would feel incredibly guilty and awful if I was DM'ing a game and it resulted in this.

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  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    I would feel incredibly guilty and awful if I was DM'ing a game and it resulted in this.

    Before or after someone bought pizza?

    Steam ID - Syphyreal --- 3DS Friend Code: 2723-9387-1002
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I am guessing part seven will be Tycho gloating over their successful destruction of the party while Gabe is overcome with guilt and regret.

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  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote:
    I am guessing part seven will be Tycho gloating over their successful destruction of the party while Gabe is overcome with guilt and regret.

    Was thinking that too, that Tycho would gloat about meta-gaming the meta-game.

    Steam ID - Syphyreal --- 3DS Friend Code: 2723-9387-1002
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    I would feel incredibly guilty and awful if I was DM'ing a game and it resulted in this.

    This is pretty much my experience with DnD 3.5 - especially when the rules are so malleable and open to interpretation on certain spells that makes them widely different in effectiveness depending on your DM. Especially again when those interpretations are life and death affairs, instead of "You just do X more damage". It's one of the reasons I grew to hate that system with a passion, especially at high levels because I would spend more time arguing over dumb rules than I would actually run the game. Worse, you couldn't just shut down arguments and tell people to get over it because generally speaking - one interpretation of the rules got someone killed instantly (or instantly ended the encounter trivially due to something I didn't think of ahead of time) and the other didn't. In all the time I played 4E and bitch about how hard epic tier often was, I never had any problems with my players during the game or between players. This is partly because the people I played with here from Penny-Arcade were awesome and my IRL group was also awesome, but it was a function of the cleaner and less "malleable" rules interpretation that kept the game running.

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    What rules exactly would be open to interpretation? I thought things were always pretty square with what each thing meant.

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    - @Ludious
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  • Shady3011Shady3011 they cant troll you if there dead Registered User regular
    SabreMau wrote:
    I'm more surprised that the newspost is implying that this bout of continuity is almost done, not totally done. They haven't gone to a Part Seven of anything in over three years.

    That one was actually good though.

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Henroid wrote:
    What rules exactly would be open to interpretation? I thought things were always pretty square with what each thing meant.

    A whole lot of things, like what effect things like turning the ceiling into mud has and what exactly that does (or doesn't do) is a classic. Then there was in early 3rd edition, but kinda fixed in 3.5, concepts like summoning a whale to block a hallway. Plus all the nonsense that starts when players get to wildshape into specific monsters and how that interacts with many rules. Many spells and abilities were extremely widely interpretable in their effect - such as the comic previous to this about the whole "turning water to sand" thing. With certain readings/interpretations being utterly devastating and other interpretations merely an annoyance.

    Edit: Not to mention the multitudes of arguments I've had over fucking rope trick.

    Aegeri on
  • FandeathisFandeathis Registered User regular
    Shady3011 wrote:
    SabreMau wrote:
    I'm more surprised that the newspost is implying that this bout of continuity is almost done, not totally done. They haven't gone to a Part Seven of anything in over three years.

    That one was actually good though.

    Yeah, I just couldn't get into this one too much. I mean it wasn't bad, but it lacked the magic of other "long" continuities.

    You fuck wit' Die Antwoord, you fuck wit' da army.
  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    They should have just rolled new level 1 characters.

  • BrewBrew Registered User regular
    The date in the thread title does not exist... O.o

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  • the_other_gmthe_other_gm Registered User new member
    3.5 in a nutshell: lots of infighting, a GM screwjob and nobody gets to have pizza in the end.

    as for rolling new characters at level 1, i wouldn't have mattered. Tycho wanted to split the players (rather then the characters) and like many things that's level-independant. he set it up so the reward would cause them strife:

    step 1 - you have a 10000gp reward.
    step 2 - make sure one PC dies (10000gp to revive)
    step 3 - destroy one PC's item worth 10000gp
    step 4 - let human nature take over.

    it's pretty simple to figure out:

    one player needs the 10k to keep playing his character. this means everyone else has a net gain of 0gp AND one PC is left unarmored.

    one player loses his character and is forced to roll up a new one, one PC gets to replace his armor and they all have a net gain of 0gp

    the gold is split between the group, meaning 2 guys get something out of it, one guy loses his armor but recoups a third of the cost and the fourth, new, guy may or may not get a share since he's "new"

    and this isn't really considering what the two "unaffected" guys actually went through or if they sustained 10k equivalent losses themselves and honestly, to split the party leaving half of them on the side of "we'd like some return on this dangerous quest" and the other half on "we need the reward to stay relevant in the group", it's a decent, if nasty, plan.

    not sure what this is entirely leading to but i'm curious

  • VashyronVashyron Registered User
    Should trying playing the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. You are probably going to lose one or two characters and there are no resurrections...you know, other than raising zombies and other undead unpleasantness.

  • the_other_gmthe_other_gm Registered User new member
    there's characters dying and there is characters dying in a narratively lame or unfulfilling fashion. i tend to view the PCs as the main protagonists of a story: stuff will happen with or without them, but the entire focus is on their adventures/exploits. as such it's difficult for me as DM and player to keep a proper narrative running if the cast is always changing

    one of the first things i ask a GM when they offer to run a game is do they expect death to come often and randomly in the system/setting, especially if it's one i'm not familiar with. if they answer yes, i usually leave. games with high death ratios turn me off... it's one of the reasons i refuse to play earlier editions of D&D. i don't mind death in an RPG, but i much rather it be a meaningful death then one that happened because "oops, you rolled a 1" or "monster hits for average damage at first level, you drop".

    i tend to enjoy myself in an RPG when i get attached to my characters. the more "PC dies > roll new PC > PC dies..." the less i become attached to my characters and the game as a whole.

    it worked when i was younger, when i didn't get attached to my characters. they were names attached to numbers and we generally just played fantasy us murdering monsters and got phat loots. by the end of 2nd edition, i was getting bored of that play style. we usually played at the low levels where the high lethality of nearly any blow or spell meant trying to get attached to a PC was an exercise in futility. third ed was slightly better, but not by much... we tended to ignore the first 2-3 levels and start in the ballpark of 4th level.

    a character death, IMO, should be the result of multiple failures and/or bad choices (alright so, maybe running through the corridor of horrible poison & blade-filled death and then into the waiting arms of the stone golem on the other side wasn't a good idea), a willing choice on the player's part (the staple of literature, the heroic sacrifice, comes to mind), or at a climactic part of the campaign. losing one of the main characters should have some meaning to the story.

    i don't mind losing a PC to the Evil Baron's sword as much as i do to some random goblin sword-fodder who got a lucky hit. i died to a plot-relevant NPC rather then the GM's resource-managing speed bump

  • cckerberoscckerberos Registered User regular
    Loopy1492 wrote:
    They should have just rolled new level 1 characters.

    This was my thought. If the PCs have become demigods and impossible to challenge, the DM should say "Congratulations, you won" and start a new campaign with new characters. It's okay for a story to have an ending.

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  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    This won't happen with a fair and experienced DM and mature players.

    To extrapolate, a fair DM won't make overly cruel rulings, an experienced DM will know what to expect, and mature players will be able to accept fair interpretations by their DM even if they may disagree. When my players have a complex spell combo or creative use of a spell, they will either come to me beforehand or I will warn them if I don't think it should work they may think it should so that they may change their action.

    I like that you can plug a hallway with a gray whale in this game. I like transforming into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I like casting rock to mud and then quickened mud to rock.

    I like the dynamic nature of Pathfinder. Done right, it encourages creativity in both the players and DM. I don't see it as a problem that not every usage of every spell is detailed ad nauseum.

  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Loopy1492 wrote:
    This won't happen with a fair and experienced DM and mature players.

    You might think this. You'd also be entirely wrong. I had a group of people I had played with for nearly 4 years happily in 2E and Call of Cthulhu, which basically imploded during the last ever time I attempted to run 3.5. The whole thing was based on months of repeated arguments over all kinds of weird spell/rule interactions that I finally had enough. Next week, we sat down, rolled up Delta Green characters and I never ever looked back. The one thing I learned was that high level 3.5 was not worth the time, effort or immense workload in countering hundreds of completely widely interpretable effects. I could have done what a lot of people recommend and "retire" the characters for low level ones, but at that point I was so fed up with 3.5 and how shitty it was that was the end of it.

    We played Delta Green, Paranoia and various WoD one shots/short chronicles for nearly 3 years together after that. Some of my best roleplaying stories come from that group and their shenanigans. So that was hardly the problem and everything to do with the fact the systems rules are shit and entirely break down at high levels. 4E almost has this problem, but due to a far better base system and the readjusted maths have more or less put epic into "Hard work, but doable". It's main problem is that wizards just suck in supporting it in any manner, so it languishes behind the other two that have tons of great new stuff for them all the time. As for 3.5 (and Pathfinder from what I've played), there is still no amount of work that isn't redesigning the system to make it work at high levels. Your quoted argument is no better than claiming so long as your car can still be driven in a straight line the lack of brakes, a steering wheel and the engine being on fire aren't problems.

    Aegeri on
  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I just plain disagree. It is unfortunate that you've had bad experiences. My experience has been completely different and I have been running the same campaign world since the mid-90s, starting with 2e and progressing all the way to Pathfinder today. We revel in the complexity and abstract creativity of the 3.X experience.

    Loopy1492 on
  • AegeriAegeri Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    It is unfortunate that you've had bad experiences

    All of my poor experiences with tabletop RPGs are games that have entirely easily broken systems and that epitomizes 3.5 (and Pathfinder) at high levels. Anything that has been well designed and works within its constraints I have never had a major problem with. I also don't feel 3rd is the "good" kind of complex, because it's selectively so (Spellcasting classes) and in most cases uselessly so (EG Grappling rules, which Pathfinder again only kind of fixes).

    Edit: Pretty much what's in the comic, is exactly my 3.5 experience in a nutshell - though it took a longer time to get there than Gabe did. Oddly enough, I used to think 3rd (and later some of the changes with 3.5) made it far superior to second edition. I know what I would rather play now and if Gabe really wanted to go "back" to something, it should certainly be second edition. It's still really whacky, but it does at least kind of work to an extent at higher levels (certainly not well, but you know). What I'm keen to see is what they have picked up - which will hopefully be answered in the next part of dreaded continuity.

    Aegeri on
  • the_other_gmthe_other_gm Registered User new member
    Loopy1492 wrote:
    This won't happen with a fair and experienced DM and mature players.

    To extrapolate, a fair DM won't make overly cruel rulings, an experienced DM will know what to expect, and mature players will be able to accept fair interpretations by their DM even if they may disagree. When my players have a complex spell combo or creative use of a spell, they will either come to me beforehand or I will warn them if I don't think it should work they may think it should so that they may change their action.

    as an experienced DM, i can assure you of one thing: my experience has thought me i have far better things to do with my time then play junior game designer and have my players pass all their actions through me in triplicate for review, storage and to be put in the communal houserule binder/bible. by the time any 3.5 game i was running neared level 10 i was being run ragged trying to cover as many bases as possible without doing such an overhaul to the system that it would no longer look like the game the players wanted to play. so i stopped running the campaign (and the system over time) as it wasn't fun.

    i've played in one game of 3.5 that went up to level 20. never again. it was just as swingy as the early levels (IE: if even one mildly potent effect lands, it could easily take you out), but it was far more time consuming both in character creation and combat/effect resolution. we still talk fondly of the characters and parts of the session, but it's not an experience anyone in the group is willing to invest the effort into again.

    as a fair DM i should be spending my time enabling the players, their interactions with the setting and the overall play experience rather then going through their actions with a fine comb hoping they won't break my game by doing something i didn't foresee (and when you're talking 6 minds of different walks of life VS one, it happens quite a lot)

    if a player picks an option, it's because he plans on making use of it. oftentimes there are a few options that are simply too good that you would be crazy not to take them. the various polymorph-esque ones come immediately to mind as some of the most versatile and broken spells in the game.

    from alter self's simple "i turn into a locatah and gain incredible swimming prowess" to "they're looking for a halfling, not a half-orc" to the higher level polymorph's "i turn into a rhemoraz and eat the enemy whole" they're just too powerful when compared to something like "deal Xd6 damage in a radius". power in an RPG is the ability to easily and efficiently handle a wide array of situations. as a fair DM i hated vetoing the use of core rules but i pretty much had to if i didn't want the game to break under the weight of it's options.

    as a mature player, i know what i like and i dislike so when someone offers to run a system i don't like, i simply say "no thanks" and move onwards. no D&D, to me, is better then bad D&D.

    when someone in my gaming group offered to run a pathfinder game, having heard that it supposedly fixed problems with 3rd ed. i said "sure". the campaign is getting close to it's big finale after 10 levels and i can honestly say that the most fun i've had playing pathfinder is when we weren't playing pathfinder. i've heard someone call it akin to a "magical tea party", where all we do is simply roleplay and disregard the rules.

    and it rings true to me: the most fun i've had, in that game, is when i stopped playing by the rules. if i'm going to be paying money for a rulebook and the most fun i have is when i disregard the rulebook, there is a problem IMO.

    3.5 has problems and as an experienced and fair DM i don't see the need to push that onto my players, be they "mature" or not.

  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    Not all options are created equally in every situation. Some are more versatile than others. This hasn't caused a problem for me, especially since I've yet to encounter a PC spellcaster who can summon forth the ability to cast every single spell in the book every single day.

    Have I been surprised by a spell or ability used creatively? Of course! I just do my best to adjudicate it and move on. Every good NPC deserves a fair chance, of course, but if the players come up with a creative solution to a problem, why try to force them into the path you have written? That this may happen is one of the best things about role-playing in general. I love it when my players surprise me and take the campaign in a different direction.
    3.5 has problems and as an experienced and fair DM i don't see the need to push that onto my players, be they "mature" or not.

    Fortunately, I have no need to "push" anything onto my players because the choice to use Pathfinder was unanimous, even after two and a half of the players bought the 4e boxed set when it came out.


  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    At any rate, I hope that today's comic brings in Cheeto to save the players vs Vizier Tycho and his Homunculus.

  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Syphyre wrote:
    Henroid wrote:
    I would feel incredibly guilty and awful if I was DM'ing a game and it resulted in this.

    Before or after someone bought pizza?

    After the food arrives and the tab is paid the GM gloves come off.

    Also about rule interpretations. The GM has the final say, like a baseball umpire. If you are the GM and you interpret something one way and a player interprets it another, the GM takes it.

    If they want to discuss the rule after the game when its not disruptive and come to a mutual agreement that the whole group likes, that is all well and good. If they want to get in a massive debate in the middle of the game then they are being a distruptive player and need to be told so.

    We had this problem in college when we had open game night. But that is pretty much our golden rule - GM has final say during game time, Save rules debates for after game time.

    And About Player Death --

    I have and will always flub a roll if it means a pointless character death. If they are giving the game an honest go and not being stupid they have a higher survival chance. But if they think because of my mercy they can do stupid shit, like riding a giant spider rodeo style. They deserve to get killed.

    MagicPrime on
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  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    MagicPrime wrote:
    Also about rule interpretations. The GM has the final say, like a baseball umpire. If you are the GM and you interpret something one way and a player interprets it another, the GM takes it.

    If they want to discuss the rule after the game when its not disruptive and come to a mutual agreement that the whole group likes, that is all well and good. If they want to get in a massive debate in the middle of the game then they are being a distruptive player and need to be told so.

    We had this problem in college when we had open game night. But that is pretty much our golden rule - GM has final say during game time, Save rules debates for after game time.

    And About Player Death --

    I have and will always flub a roll if it means a pointless character death. If they are giving the game an honest go and not being stupid they have a higher survival chance. But if they think because of my mercy they can do stupid shit, like riding a giant spider rodeo style. They deserve to get killed.

    I basically agree with all of this.

    Except the thing about riding the giant spider. That would be awesome. :)

  • LanglyLangly Registered User regular
    3.5 is immensely fun and a good GM will keep things manageable. If they don't, they're not a good GM.

    I was in a two year long 3.5 game that everyone had a really good time with, we had several satisfying player deaths that made sense (and then had really fun quests to revive them), and the game ended on good terms. It was the best game I've ever been in.

    Making completely arbitrary rulings on a game system is dumb. 3.5 is fun, it is a good ruleset. You can have fun playing it.

  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    Some of our greatest character deaths are when the players are tired of their characters, or a build isn't working out how they want. SO they get a crazy deathwish.

    We had a guy playing an Urban Ranger in a campaign that ended up taking place more outside the city than we had originally thought. He eventually died when trying to solo a Cryohydra.

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  • Loopy1492Loopy1492 Registered User regular
    MagicPrime wrote:
    Some of our greatest character deaths are when the players are tired of their characters, or a build isn't working out how they want. SO they get a crazy deathwish.

    We had a guy playing an Urban Ranger in a campaign that ended up taking place more outside the city than we had originally thought. He eventually died when trying to solo a Cryohydra.

    Whoa, guys. Stand back. I GOT this.

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