491 – Grasshopper: 03



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One of the players in my D&D game (Lloyd Brown) is actually a game designer himself, and was one of the principles behind the Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting. As such and as an experienced gamer he is acutely aware of all the typical gaming tropes and has no problem jabbing me when I conform to the stereotypes. So I often try to mix things up a bit just to keep him off balance. To that end I threw in an extra encounter along the way to the last dungeon in the form of a starving and battle-injured kobold laying along the side of the road. 

She held absolutely no threat to the party at all, and had crawled here from the massacre of her tribe at the paws of a marauding band of gnolls. (Now safely days away.) I didn’t have any real plan for her, just wanted to see what the party would do with a hurt kobold.

After the obligatory “should we kill her?” conversation, the cleric healed her wounds and gave her something to eat and drink. Now this particular cleric, named Mother Innocent, likes to collect people to follow her about and do her bidding… like picking up the laundry and making tea and that sort of thing. Now Innocent asked the kobold her name, to which the kobold responded, “Grruff!” (I always loved the doglike quality of the old AD&D kobolds, and have kept that throughout all of my games that have them.)

“Oh no…” Innocent responded, plainly horrified. “No, your name is going to be April.” On the spot I decided that kobold mouths wouldn’t be good for saying the name “April.” I wasn’t trying to be mean, I just couldn’t picture my dog doing it.

“Avroo?” the kobold replied.

“No no no… Aye-pril.”


“April. April is Gruff.”


“No… April.”


And so it went for the next minute and a half, while the rest of my players turned purple with apoplexy trying to breathe between laughter and tears. It was a great gaming moment, and one I’ll likely never forget. 

The walk-away? Don’t let your game be stereotypical, and always role-play the kobolds.

20 Responses to 491 – Grasshopper: 03

    • No, I had not seen the monk play test. (Though I recently found out about it.) I wrote this a while ago, before there was such a creature — which becomes important to bear in mind tomorrow.

      Your DM is grateful for your lack of enthusiasm concerning your potential class change.

      • The funniest thing about this class change arch is that not even a week ago Ron was telling me to consider a class change for Ravanna from wizard to sorcerer. After I saw the comic I said, “Umm… I don’t know how Lena would feel about that class change. Kevin might like it, in fact, I can categorically say that I know he would like it. 😉 But Lena might not.” LOL (I didn’t actually say all that, but I would have if I’d only thought of it at the time.)

        • Yeah… other than the ruinous shame and DIVORCE, that’d be great. I can be plied with alcohol, however.

          (Though maybe Lena is looking for a class change…?)

  1. I wish there was some potion we could use away from the table top game to give people in the real world some class. (: Or better yet turning their whining into sweet voices of appreciation. Just my random thought on the matter.

  2. Ha, I was right. Monk.
    Freya’s hand gesture is…. hilarious. Especially because it’s (visually) sort of aimed between her breasts. 😆

    “There is no monk class in 4th Edition yet.”? Wait, I thought the 4E Players Handbook II was out by now, returning half-orcs and gnomes and the previously “lost” 3E classes back into the realm of player character options? Or was I misinformed? I don’t keep track of that. (I don’t care about 4E, I switched from WotC 3.5 to Paizo’s 3.5 Pathfinder edition instead.)

    Heh, my kobolds yip and bark, too, even if they look like little raptors. I recently ran an adventure where all the PCs were goblins and kobolds who had defected from a hobgoblin-led army. No point in staying around when your side lost, is there? It made for an amusing game. The characters usually ate everything (and anyone) they killed. That is, until the goblin fighter met some monster-friendly villagers who fed him honey-and-almond cakes. By Krom, they have the secret of baking!)

    Oooh, Kingdoms of Kalamar. I know that one. I especially like the Basiran Dancer class.
    You know prestigious people, Kevin (prestigious in RPG circles at least). 😀

    • No Monk in PH2 – it’s slated to appear next year in PH3. Although, if you have a DnD Insider account (doubtful, since you play Pathfinder), you can see the playtest/preview at the link I posted above.

  3. Regarding stereotypes in RPGs:

    As a DM (and as a player as well) I actually think stereotypes are very useful. They’re a quick and easy way to establish NPC personalities and appearances. Also, they give you something to compare/contrast to when you introduce an NPC who doesn’t conform to a previously-established stereotype, making him or her stand out in the players’ minds.

    Well, in theory anyway – the players have to actually be paying attention to such things for it to matter. 😉

  4. OMG!! Kevin’s site has been hacked… oh, wait, it’s a NEW design. Okay, this may be old news, but I’m just seeing it today… call me lazy.

    Nice new design! But where’s the Next/Previous buttons to see the comics? Did I miss them? Lena, oh wise and sultry webmistress, please let me know… 🙂 (Hey, you put “mistress” in your title, I’m gonna do something with it…)

    Oh, and nice hand gesture in the last panel! Subtle…

  5. when the monk was first introduced in first edition (which in my opinion is the best and the edition that i play) i thought that it was a western european religious monk (like friar tuck for example) not a oriental martial artist.when oriental adventures came out later on the monk was redone and it was stated that the monk shouldn’t have been in the players handbook in the first place so they “fixed it”. so as far as im concerned first edition has 2 different monks now one a martial artist and the other a religious recluse for they are now 2 totally different classes. im gonna have to pull out my O.A. and look but i think the monk doesnt have the “dreaded quivering palm” which it does in the P.H. but im not sure.

    i think freya’s gesture in the last panel is priceless fantastic work kevin
    its a wonderful thing to be sleeping with the d.m.

    • Well, the “Friar Tuck” type of monk would be the Cloistered Cleric variant class in 3E. It’s in… Unearthed Arcana? Or PHB 2? Not sure right now. The CC is what a wizard should be, in my opinion, because not only does it get all knowledge skills as class skills (like the “bookish” wizard) but *gasp!* actually enough skill points to be a scholar. And while the CC gets less hp and weapon skills than the standard cleric, it still gets more hp and other stuff than the wizard does. But I’ve ranted about the wizard getting the short end of the stick before in other places, don’t want to start again here…. 😡

      • Go ahead and rant. I dare ya. I don’t think you’ve got the stuff. Wizards have always been WAY overpowered before 4.0.

        So there. What’re ya gonna do about it? 8)

        • Aside from argue that ye’re full o’ it? We are not overpowered… When a slap can kill you, you’re not overpowered. (-:

        • My opinion is that if a slap could kill you, you were playing your wizard wrong. The last game that I played a wizard, the entire rest of the party was only there (in my wizard’s eyes) to run interference until he solved whatever problem or killed whatever beast that was facing them. I eventually retired the character because I felt he was stealing too much attention from all the other characters and I couldn’t see how they were having any fun watching me kill everything each week. He had a fighter minion who was an enormous force-multiplier for no other reason than being a speed bump and giving the wizard an extra round or two to act. He was devastating and ultimately unbalancing to the game. And… I never intended to “power game” him. I simply tried to sit in his shoes and make decisions based on what I thought he would do. The character spent most of his time working in the ghettos and painting.

          (In reviewing everything I’ve written here, maybe if a slap could kill you, you were playing the wizard correctly.)

  6. Hmm, what worries me is that Freya’s DM-friend has introduced a new power source as well. Psionics? Does that mean Shenkidu has found a new method to torture her, merely by dirty thoughts? They have a depth of trouble in between them…

    So the questions remain. Will she be a monk like Bruce Lee, using loads of kicks and going berserk upon the sight of blood? Will she take the path of Jackie Chan, and use improvised weapons in her routine? Will she invoke the might of Chuck Norris, and roundhouse the world to its death? …Will it even be ki, or will it be psionics as revealed recently? Or will it be martial?

    Heck, will it be a martial controller? Will Morty ever recover his dwarven constitution, or forever remain a furry?

    …Wait, I think I got it. The power source will be yoga, and the strikes will be based on kundalini 😉

  7. I chuckled when I read what Bunker says in the last panel, just cause I knew. But then I saw the hand gesture, and I laughed even harder and out loud. Great comic Kevin.

  8. Thanks guys. I really appreciate the… um… appreciation. You do make it worth my while.

    P.S. More on Freya’s monk abilities tomorrow!