546 – Hat Trick • 03


The Friday Geek-out:

The D&D game I run hit tenth level a little while ago. This was pretty significant for us since it is the first 4e campaign many of us have been involved in and the first one to reach double digit levels. At the point they hit ten I made them fight 400 giants, voluntarily kill one of their own party members, and stand on the walls while 50 of their best friends and associates were trampled in the streets. It was a great night.

The next session picked up 5 years later. During that time they had picked up another two levels searching for a way to bring back their un-raisable rogue. Our last game, (the first one since the five-year skip) began far away to the north with the group following the last of their leads to bring back the rogue, after this they’re out of options. I made the player roll up a new character to play, a surly dragonborn paladin with a mysterious past. (Of course he has a mysterious past. What the hell good would he be otherwise?)

But here’s the funny thing. I can’t tell if anyone actually cares if they bring back the rogue or not. Some of the characters have woven into their own story arcs about wanting to return their lost party member, but the players keep asking me “Why are we here again? To bring who back? What happened to him?” To be fair, we only play every other week, and that’s plenty of time to forget what happened the session before. I write updates, but that means reading and remembering… and who wants to get involved with all that?

So I’ve got another solution. For players who’d rather not be bothered, (setting aside the ones who do keep up, of which there genuinely are several… thanks guys!) we’ll create a shift in the way we play D&D. Those player’s characters will no longer have names, clothes, facial features, or any other form of distinguishing characteristic. More importantly, the character will have no memory of what they are doing from week to week. They’ll be a whole new race, the… never got around to picking out a name, or Ngatpoan. (Pronounced nat-poon.) The characters who do know why they’re there will be responsible for guiding their Ngatpoan brothers (there is only one gender) around and telling them who to fight, and all questions about the game will be answered by screaming “You don’t know!”

I should really drink beer when I write this all the time.

41 Responses to 546 – Hat Trick • 03

  1. That is probably one of the most brilliant and inspired ideas to ever be set forth in the realm of role playing. I think I’m going to officially force any of my players who refuse to remember what happened last game session to roll up a Ngatpoan. Oh, and TITTIES!!!

  2. Oh, come on now. That last panel is truly worthy of being fully finished with ink and color- the whole 9 yards! Aaaah, the glory of boobs… even if they are only an illusion. The whole “lesbian” thing with Akindu might actually work out there, with some disturbing aftermath. “Wait, she’s a dude? Ewww. Oh wait, I’m the broad! EWWWW!”

  3. Huh? Survivable ignorance? Blah, memorably stupid deaths are something to be celebrated and you shouldn’t protect the players from them since they make great stories (unless there are TOO many of them).
    Alternate solution concept to lethality of inadequate player involvement: Their character knows, it’s just the player that doesn’t. So if the player starts to do something their character knows would be suicidal you say something like, “You seriously consider X for a moment before your better sense makes you stop.” If it’s a tricky riddle or something they are supposed to have to figure out you could make them roll intelligence or wisdom plus maybe an appropriate skill first.

    No wait, I was clearly taking you too seriously. Do over:
    Every time a player demonstrates inexcusable lack of awareness of what’s going on (give credit and grace for people who legitimately weren’t there or were busy cooking the steak or fell asleep at the table after a long day, etc.) their old character got sucked up into a dimensional void. Their character sheet(s) go into a special character file, and they take out another character sheet from the file at their discretion (or randomly) and hand that to the clueless player, who then gains control of that character instead and remembers nothing that happened before (amnesia-like effect). Seed the file with a couple simple, stereotype, beginner characters, add more as the power level of the campaign rises and inspiration hits. Use file entries as NPCs for kicks when feeling bored/inspired.

    • As a player with multiple deaths under my belt, I must concur. Dying ingloriously and to the amusement of your peers is great stuff.

      • My group has decided that my characters should automatically run away when we see a dragon. 3 out my 4 character deaths in this group involve dragons
        Monk: critical hit on a dragon at 500′ altitude using wound/vitality rules, plummeted to his death still in its mouth
        Soulknife: dragon chew toy while trying to buy time for rest of group to escape.
        Fighter/Warshaper: Sworn enemy of metallic dragons, fights huge red dragon to a standstill, until he fails reflex save vs breath weapon. DM rolls two less than max damage.
        Warlock: What do you mean Fell Flight can’t get me out of the water?

  4. While I find the idea original, and even a good idea… esp for MMORPG… either work on a backstory and what not… or use the “quick-roll” class, which is that… but what if..

    Instead.. make it an illness.. a curse. every time a player shows, through action or inaction, or blittin’ questions.. they get cursed with memory loss (heh, only to explain their suddden memory loss that they demonstrated…

    Make a quest chain to fight off the coming darkness… of their own minds. and if they fail to care but are valuable team members none the less, then it can stabilze somewhat… but if it progresses beyond reason, they become un-managablely disconnected. Maybe call it the nubite (N00b) Precense Curse. and if you get it and do not try to get rid of ‘npc” you become a “NPC”

  5. “Those player’s characters will no longer have names, clothes, facial features, or any other form of distinguishing characteristic. More importantly, the character will have no memory of what they are doing from week to week.”

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahaha!! :mrgreen: Brilliant.

    The only problem is, if you run into players who can’t even be bothered to care even if their character turns into a blank slate. *sigh* I’ve only met one player like that in all my years gaming, but that was enough.

    Wait you’re playing every other week? Not, like, every other month or twice a year? And they still cannot remember what they did last game session? Tell them they’re morons. Unfortunately you cannot force them to take notes.

    • We play every week, but I switch off DMing duties with my friend Lloyd, who is running a D&D game in the Kalamaran setting from Kenzer and Co.

      BTW, these players are in no capacity morons. They are all exceptionally bright and very intellectually powerful folks. I’m probably the lightweight in the group. It’s just that for some of them gaming is something that happens only at the table and only on Thursday nights, so anything that resembles homework (reading updates, looking at the forum) just gets ignored.

      It’s a shame for me, but I understand it.

        • “You smelled smoke.” isn’t much of a retcon… but yeah, you’re right. I skipped over that in my notes because I’m a dork. I’m not sure that explains why the cleric can’t remember who she worships though. 😆

  6. As for the comic, why the hell is Bunker still so eager on turning Freya’s sister’s character female? Just so that she plays a “proper girl character” and he can hook up with her? That smacks of sexism. (Sexism in-game, I mean, not sexism from you, Kevin.) Dammit, Bunker. Stop taking away the only male eye-candy we have!

      • “I am woman, hear me roar…” Oh, not that kind of singing…
        The magical guy into girl bit! Love it! I smell a common theme between our two comics! Perhaps your gang can help my characters track down the mystical frog that cast a spell on Bud. Hmmm… I smell crossover.
        I’m out of my territory on the D&D stuff, so I just read and nod my head like I know what the heck you’re talking about! 🙂

        • Crossover? Hmm.

          Y’know, the first official publishing of Dungeons and Dragons was in 1974. By 1977 the game had already split into regular Dungeons and Dragons, and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, which is when it started becoming really popular.

          I don’t see Bud becoming a D&D player, but I could certainly see Jeff having taken a whack at it before. Especially given the game’s occasional association with pot.

      • I second that. We need more handsome well-built shirtless guys 😛

        (hey guys are allowed to drool over game/comic/TV females!)

        *not that I am really drooling, just sayin’

  7. Okay, so play each week, but switch back and forth as to what game you play in a said week? Okay, can see that as confuseing… but, I’m one of those players who takes notes, and thinks over things WAY too much, so forgetting who you’re questing for seems a bit…… thoughtless to me.

    And agree, better as some sort of curse or illness then a new species. Thing is, first thing to go is you forget there’s a curse, so no one has thought to come up with a cure.

  8. The best solution I’ve seen to having players remember what happens from game to game is offer an experience bonus for a recap. Our DM does a random roll on recap and the person who gets it has a chance to recap for the bonus. If they fail, someone else in the group can opt to do it for a smaller bonus.

    • Ha! That would require individual record-keeping on XP for this group. Don’t even get Kevin started on how hopeless that would be … 😀

    • Actually, now that I think about it, your idea still has merit. But instead of an individual XP bonus, the whole group gets the bonus. If the player giving the recap wasn’t paying attention, then the bonus is reduced and the task of recapping passed to the next player, and so on until someone finally gives a satisfactory recap or the bonus is reduced to zilch.

      • But if he started immediately to his left, we would be at a negative bonus by the time it got around to anybody that knows anything!!! LOL

        • I know, I know. But after the first couple of times, maybe the pressure of knowing the whole group is depending on them for the XP bonus will shake them out of their lethargy?

          Yeah, and pigs might fly out of my butt. 🙂

          • You could start with a different person each time. I have on occasion been surprised at someone I truly did not expect to remember anything popping out with some salient fact they were exposed to months and months ago.

  9. I think that hat only provides a visual illusion.

    Forget the hat! I want to see some Bunker/Zobbie slash fiction. That would be HOT.

      • Talking about that makes you puke? You are weak, go do ten reps of watching all of the power 5.

        • Not so much talk about it, but have you noticed how scary the hair on Zobbie’s chest is?

          The picture, the picture makes me nauseous. And I’m obviously not referring to Zobbie disguised as a girl.

          • My theory of mind is that a heterosexual guy will often appraise another man as a sex object, because of the sexual characteristics the two sexes share (e.g. nipples). When that happens, the looker sees (essentially) a hairy deformed woman. Being hetro, the looker judge sexiness on the how-much-like-a-babe-does-it-look. This usually causes disgust, boredom, minimal arousal, or some combination of all three. Obviously, it is the disgust that is most often voiced.

            In Kevin’s art style, almost everyone is buff and sexy, and we are not used to seeing men drawn sexy in comics.

  10. heh zobbie is hot now awesome. whats morty going to do now without his hat(seeing that hes a troll again)? oh and the ollady told me to tell yall thanks for the compliments on the cheese dip she was glad yall liked it.

  11. Maybe just have em suffer from “evil twin” syndrome…every once in a while, the “forgetful” characters are replaced by a virtually identical character from another universe with the same skills, but completely different memories.

    Or it could turn out that one or more of these strangely forgetful characters are actually dopplegangers from a strange doppleganger tribe that actually takes on all the skills and personality of whoever they copy, instead of just infiltrating to try to kill the party.

    “Who am I again, this week?”
    “Sheesh…man, Rtogmok, you really ARE a scatterbrain…you’re their cleric, remember? Now start healing, doofus!”