537 – Hunting the Hunter: 04

537

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has been sticking it out with me through all the changes that the comic has undergone. Hopefully we should have seen the last of that for a bit (except for making the type a little bigger from now on) and the comic will continue to grow and improve.

Now with the time for some personal projects, (as well as things like cooking and exercising!) I should start having all kinds of special things to share with all of you soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

A Brief History of Lesser Earth

The first race to rule the known world were the trolls, during the days when even the elves were little more than tree dwelling savages. Next came the orcs, smarter by a yard with far greater numbers and organization. Next were the elves and goblins, which is when the real trouble started.

As soon as they were out of their trees the elves began building enormous spire-filled cities as towering monuments to themselves. But the elvish empire was always discontent, for wherever they would go, they were forced to compete for resources with goblins. This led to the age of man, who capitalized on the weakness he saw in the elves by allying with the goblins. The war to follow nearly led to the extinction of both man and goblins, so formidable at magic and killing were the wicked elves. In fact, it was only a confluence of three major events that caused human and goblinkind to emerge victorious.

First was the elves decision to force their allies, the dwarves, into a suicide run against the humans. The dwarves were unaware that they were being used in this fashion until a renegade contingent of elves, weary of the never-ending violence, informed the dwarven king of the manner in which he was being used. The dwarves switched sides on the spot and threw in with the humans, and the elven renegades fled to the feywilds where they could not be tracked in any practical sense of the word. Still, it would not have been enough if the rulers of what would later become Darverus had not struck the demonic pacts that led to both the creation of the teifling race and the warlock class. The remaining elves were scattered and destroyed, and as the next most numerous race, the humans quickly exerted their dominance over the world.

Small enclaves of what had been known as “wood elves,” innocent and apart from their empire-minded cousins, were left relatively unmolested. The elves who had fled to the feywilds, now calling themselves Eladrin, gradually trickled back to the world. Fortunately for them, few non-elves can tell the difference between Eladrin and Elf, which keeps them from being hunted and fed to the chickens.

The Dragonborn have only recently come out of the jungles of Tequal. The Children of Fahallun have struck out into the world in search of any place that will allow them the freedom to worship as they choose. Back in Tequal the predominant religion is the worship of the dragon Bezmirath. The dragon does not make for an especially accommodating god.

17 Responses to 537 – Hunting the Hunter: 04

  1. Heh heh… wicked and violent elves conquering everything. Definitely Lesser Earth. Tolkien would be choking on his “pipeweed”:) Then again his orcs were just elves turned evil, so… Love the new black and white format btw. The color was great but I’m a big Frank Miller fan. Your strip now reminds me of my other favorite strip, yafgc.shipsinker.com (Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic). Yes you’re tied for favorite. I just got my 2nd daughter – probably going to be using that phrase a lot. Oh yeah, what’s a Teifling?

    • YAFGC is also a fave of mine.

      Teiflings are a new player race in 4e. They’ve got demons in their bloodline, and generally sport horns and a tail. The assassin Velvet from the comic is a teifling.

      • Tieflings are so not a “new” player race. They’ve been a favorite of mine since my Planescape days… :mrgreen:

        They’re just done quite differently in this particular incarnation… 😉

      • Well as per 4e fluff, the original tieflings were humans who made a deal with devils. That being said, they are whatever you want them to be in your world. Plus, demons are more fun anyways.

        • Sounds like someone is looking for a “Lesser Earth Cosmology Report!”

          Spoiler: There isn’t any meaningful difference between demons and devils in Lesser Earth, and they all come from the same place anyway. The primary distinction of whether you are looking at a demon or a devil is if the first wizard to see one was of the Erasmus Demon school of conjuring, or had been trained in the summoning disciplines of Dr. Leslie J. Devil, esq. The two wizards were bitter enemies all through magic school, and their professional rivalry to name all underworldly creatures after themselves eventually ended with the two old men killing each other simultaneously in a game of championship ping-pong.

  2. I love Bunker. He’s always trying to be the good guy in the middle of a bunch of ner-do-wells.

    But I hate Swillsberne. Punch him in the eye, Bunker!

    • I actually really like Swillsberne, as far as bad guys go. With any of the groups I’ve played with he’d have been dead as soon as they realized he was unconcious, whether Bunker liked it or not. Easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission and all that.

    • I like Swill too. But you aren’t wrong. One advantage of writing a strip over running a game is the ability to have long-term villains. Most players tend to follow a scorched earth policy when it comes to bad guys.

      • Heh. How right you are, Mr. Pettway. Players with any experience tend to be certain villains don’t escape if at all possible. They also quickly find the best time to open fire on a villain is during any monologue he, she or it is foolish enough to voice: “So, you think you have won—” *Quickened haste* *Dimensional anchor* *hackhackhackpoundpoundpound* *Disintegrate*

        • Quote: Players with any experience tend to be certain villains don’t escape if at all possible. They also quickly find the best time to open fire on a villain is during any monologue he, she or it is foolish enough to voice: “So, you think you have won—” *Quickened haste* *Dimensional anchor* *hackhackhackpoundpoundpound* *Disintegrate*

          I know all about that, I remember one time a personality cultist of an opposing faction–that wasn’t necessarily a villain at all but was suspicious enough to be mistaken for one I guess–invited a playerto come chat with him when his followers spotted him in a bar making deals downtown; a nice invitation printed on a gold-trimmed cream paper card made with real wood fibre, worth a hefty chunk of change as a collector’s item by itself. This player was running an insanely-fast military-specced replicant in my CP2020 campaign of the time and the particular player in question was a very war-gamey type; I was trying to see if I could induce him to roleplay at all. The statement had to be made, repeatedly, “There are no weapons or traps or ambushes of any kind pointed at you that you can see. There’s tea, coffee, cookies and the like on offer at the table he’s sitting at with a comfortably padded chair pulled out for you to sit in opposite him. He really just wants to talk to you.”
          He eventually did talk, but never sat down. The moment he figured the conversation was over he still threw a grenade and pulled out a gun so I deus-exed, “Two of the followers come out of nowhere and throw themselves on the grenade, he’s whizzed out of the room so fast by a bodyguard that you don’t get an opportunity to fire by the time you’ve drawn your gun. You guess that you weren’t the only hyper-speed soldier in the room.”
          Sadly, this meant that he didn’t take seriously the useful warnings the players gave him, to everybody’s regret. Moral of the story: Executing people who make trouble for you and try to kill you is generally a good idea and it’s only a thoroughly immature GM who directly punishes players for that… we just have to make sure there are consequences for killing people both in general and in specific.

          I however don’t let monologuing be a free action, if someone tries to talk in combat that’s their turn. Three point two seconds per round people, you can’t say much in that time and certainly can’t concentrate on anything else while doing it. I just have to be a little more creative than making my villains be exposition-Sues.

  3. So… more on the black & white format. I love how well the comic still displays emotion & detail in the foreground characters. Stuff like that means a lot more to me than color, which is why I don’t mind the new format. Yay for detail.

  4. As far as the art, yes, much better than a week ago. Better attention to your linework and the pencil shading (albeit probably fairly time consuming) is fairly neat and good at keeping it from being a tangle of lines you don’t know where to follow with your eyes. Hey, if you keep doing it like this and maybe make a couple more traditional-style process improvements you can put up a for-sale button on strip pages for $25 bucks plus shipping (or whatever) and sell your originals. I know that it’s probably not much more than minimum wage–if at all–to do that but it’s a point of pride to call yourself a professional artist and have more sales to back it up (unless you’re past that point).

    The right thing to do here is not talk about murdering him but start pumping him for information. When usefulness is exhausted then you talk about how to make him less threatening. Too bad these folks are too dumb to think of that, or perhaps not if it’d reveal things too soon.

    I’m sick and tired of the empire that oppressed everybody always being supported by the evil critters that eat people’s souls. I want, just once, to see them supported by the guys with the fluffy bird wings and the halos. I want to have the guys who raise skeletons and demons as the oppressed, underdog protagonists with heroic potential… just once!

    • I agree wholeheartedly with that last bit, but unfortunately I think it’s the very act of making a pact with demonic forces that nets you the power to form an evil empire in the first place. The guys with halos and wings usually just watch from the side-lines and quote free will as the reason they don’t want to get off their asses and join the fight. Wankers.