621 – Prep Work • 04

If you have a question for Dear DM, put it into the comments below to get it answered next week!

Dear DM

@Christina: Dear DM, what would the Muppet Show have been like if all the muppets had been D&D characters (and non-human D&D races)?

Dear Christina,

While the player races of Dungeons & Dragons are physically identical to the Muppets, their behavior is not. Muppets tend to be comedically short-sighted and inanely violent, while D&D players are inanely short-sighted and comedically violent. Muppets also tend to hew closer to porcine martial arts and conventional TNT than monastic martial arts and arcane fireballs. These drastic differences lead me to believe that a Muppet Show comprised of D&D characters would be almost unwatchable… more like a Better off Ted or According to Jim if those shows were comedies.

@Alan: Dear DM, what do you do when you get confused between the edible monsters and the non-edible monsters that you have in your gaming sessions, and accidently eat one of the lead based minatures?

Dear Alan,

As everyone knows, Dungeons & Dragons players are voracious consumers of junk food, and that includes your typical subterranean monster. Unfortunately, when these monsters were first introduced to the public they were typically made of lead, which at the time was generally considered a healthful snack, like meat mousses, barbiturates, and cow’s milk. While most DMs have weeded the lead monsters out of their adventures, occasionally one will slip through. In these events, it is important to keep this picture of Amy Winehouse around as an emetic.

@Kern: Dear DM, what would you have done with all those spare hours if you had never discovered D&D?

Dear Kern,

I would have joined the football team in junior high, played in high school, had a girlfriend in high school, blown out both my knees in my senior year, married my high school sweetheart and had 2 kids, then become an alcoholic, gotten divorced, been a deadbeat dad, and grown old lonely, embittered, and miserable selling faux-wood paneling for a company that thinks “vacation” is for what you call it when you fire a guy because his liver finally gave out after 30 years of drinking cheap vodka for breakfast, and died in a cardboard box beside the freeway from eating a parasite in the roadkill I had to pry off the road with a stolen screwdriver.

Something like that.

@Christina: (A twofer!) Dear DM, what was your favorite Famous Last Words line or scene, that you personally witnessed?

Dear Christina,

We were going to play the Dungeonland/The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror modules… based of Lewis Carrol’s Wonderland books. One of our players, who ran a monk, had decided to cheat a bit and read the source material before we played. Once we had started the game, the party was walking down a path through the woods and spied a large grin smiling down at us from a tree branch. Our sneaky monk, knowing the Cheshire Cat to be a relatively inoffensive creature, leapt into the tree, stuck out his hand, and said, “Hi there! How ya doin'”?

It bit off his arm at the elbow.

The monk screamed and plummeted from the tree, bereft one good right hand and a full complement of hit points. (His Ring of Regeneration now inside the cat.) As the rest of the party battled the beast and he bled to -10, I leaned over and said, “You read ahead and thought you knew what was coming, which you shouldn’t have done. But this just goes to show you, forewarned isn’t always forearmed.”

32 Responses to 621 – Prep Work • 04

  1. Dear DM,

    Do you remember your days as a college ‘chef’? I just enjoyed a peanut butter and mustard sandwich (seriously enjoyed), and I became curious if you created and culinary equivalents in your time. Do share!

  2. DM like that wouldn’t last very long I imagine, players would spend more time arguing then playing

    its a dead enemy
    its a corpse
    its a DEAD ENEMY
    its a corpse
    in a moment your about to be a corpse

    • Seriously, if all those 4E feat discussions in comics #620 and #621 truthfully reflect how D&D 4E works, I’m glad I never touched it, because those two pages beautifully demonstrate how game designers bend on “tactical gaming” can totally kill story flow and atmosphere. “Nine targets worth of neck”? Usuable only once “per scene”? It’s no longer defined as “an enemy” because it’s dead? WTF?? 😡

      In any sane game, the gamemaster would’ve said something like: “You hack and saw through the monster’s neck like a butcher cutting up a cow for what seems like hours, covered in blood, bone splinters and unguessable slimy humours, your pace quickening in panic as you feel the dead flesh trying to knit itself. The vertebrae give you some trouble, but finally you’re done, you’re totally exhausted, but it’s done.” And the players: “In the meantime, some of us went back to town and came back with a sled and two oxens, and now we’re loading up the head and dragging it back to town.” (And someone is probably making themselves a white bearskin coat… you know the kind of player.) But you could get on with the damn story without wasting an hour of playing time on discussions why the rules of the game do not allow you to cut up a dead monster that’s just lying there. 🙄 Just do it and get on with it, for god’s sake.

      Of course, Mr. Unseen DM is precisely the kind of idiot DM who wants to drag this out and make things unreasonably complicated for the players by nitpicking game rules, because they managed to kill his pet monster too easily.

        • I like the way she puts so much effort and emotion into trying to rationalize this game. Like it’s a real game with real gamers and a real DM. Just let it go Christina. It will be okay.

          P.S. You’re totally right though. As a DM I’d be like, get out the saw bitches, it’s cuttin’ time!

          • “I like the way she puts so much effort and emotion into trying to rationalize this game. Like it’s a real game with real gamers and a real DM.”

            No, no, I know this fictional gaming group is a disfunctional bunch of total nuts. 😉 Like the characters of Knights of the Dinner Table. It’s just more amusing to bitch about them. It’s the train wreck effect of Bad Gaming… you simply can’t look away.

            And probably because I’ve known a couple of annoying GMs and players in my time, and seen groups crash, that I can picture the unseen players behind these fictional characters. *groan*

          • Well “picture them” not so much in a detailed visual sense, but the type of person they are. If that makes sense.

            Most webcomics that show fictional players along with their character alter egos seem to go for the route of making the character look more or less exactly like the player, to facilitate recognition of who is playing who. So the characters look and act like their players, only clad in fantasy clothes and with pointy ears stuck on (or if the character is a mindflayer with a squid-face, in a bizarre twist-around it’s the mindflayer who is shown wearing the player’s business suit and sunglasses).

            While in reality, at least in my experience, many roleplayers create characters who look totally unlike themselves: beginners usually go for a glorified self-image, with all the flaws removed; some dudes like to play the kind of hot chick they’d like to have sex with (or maybe the kind of woman they secretly want to be and have sex as her, you never know); some play a clone of whatever movie character is considered cool at the moment; some manage to play furry anthropomophic animal-men all the freaking time, no matter the genre or setting, and whine if they’re not allowed to; others play something wildly different each time, including eight-legged space geckos (don’t look at me like that, it was our spaceship’s physician!); and some players I know just want to play something freaky or gothic-y and hate playing “normal people”.

            After all, if you’re someone who’s not a looker in real life, why’d you want to play an ugly character… unless he’s ugly in a cool way?

            Me, I usually play male characters. Most of the time, actually. I do have played a few female characters over the years, but never longer than one adventure.

  3. “Muppets tend to be comedically short-sighted and inanely violent, while D&D players are inanely short-sighted and comedically violent. Muppets also tend to hew closer to porcine martial arts and conventional TNT than monastic martial arts and arcane fireballs.”

    Awesome answer! :mrgreen:

  4. So that picture of Amy Winehouse? Yeah I didn’t need to see that. That chick is lookin’ ragged. And it’s a corpse, so you can’t attack it. But you CAN hack at it.

  5. Dear DM,
    If there is not currently a Cthulhu-like cult of worship, I’d like to start one. I’d also like my devotion noted should I ever have the good fortune of being a part of one of your games…

      • No no no, that’s Freddy Krueger, not Cthulhu! Oh, wait… nevermind.

        Now I have this mental image of Great Cthulhu in a red-and-green striped sweater and old leather hat. And Wolverine’s adamantium claws. Yikes.

  6. been a while since I last visited here. I was preparing for and getting my laser-refractive surgery, and I must say it really was worth it, especially for me. Another good thing, I got to read a bunch of updates in one go. w00t! Enkidu is always the same, overblowing his worth with minimal effort, and the DM as vindictive as he is allpowerful. Which means I guess that Freya is about to knock some sense into him(well, her kind of sense).
    I must say though, that in removing the head from the corpse, you don’t want to overexert yourself trying to do it in one blow. Heads are quite tricky to remove, especially from something of that size(I worked once as a butcher, and getting heads off cows is damned hard enough, nevermind the big bulls, and a sword would hardly fit easily into the groove in the neck vertebrae that is easiest to cut through). Also, that ability sounds like he would need a lot of room to build enough speed and momentum to go through all of the neck.
    Regarding the DM answer to what would have happened had you not discovered D&D, I think you’re being pessimistic. You could have ended up like Amy, ain’t that great?(given a sex transformation, but it would have been worth it right?)

    • Poor Amy. She got tha blues.

      Gratz on getting laser guns installed in your eyes tho! I once thought about getting a mechanical claw-hand to replace my own, but then I read about the increased percentage of people reporting Disastrous Masturbatory Failure among people with mechanical claw hands and got an iPhone instead.

  7. huh, I guess a Winehouse emetic is better than a Freddy Krueger laxative.

    Dear DM,

    When doing stuff that isn’t in the rulebooks, such as acrobatics, chemical stuff, and other oddball stuff that players come up with based on some madcap idea, something they saw in a film etc, how do you resolve that to be fair, but also not violate the laws of physics?

    Yours concerned,


    • The rules of most games already violate the laws of physics…. as do action movies.

      I’d be more concerned about the laws of common sense.

      • Hmm, but when you have a gaming group with someone with a degree in Chemistry, someone studying a degree in Biology, a mechanic, and myself who has a reasonable knowledge of all three sciences and maths, debating on how much explosives it would take to blow up a door, they can get quite involved.

        Other things like how much can a horse and cart pull, ballistics of a cannon, weights that a bridge can hold, structural stability of a gunpowder store, or primitive electroplating have all been discussed in a gaming context.

        I kid you not.

        I like some of the science, but I also like gaming, a lot of the questions that I ask here i don’t actually have much of an issue with (I have never swallowed a minature, for example, well, maybe chewed on one for a bit…), but it is more that Kevin has such a different style of playing that I am interested in how he answers it.

        I would like a more flowing game, but I don’t want to sacrifice the laws of physics – things like Newton’s laws still affect games, but magic just is another thing that is added to it: it doesn’t change the existing ones – unless it is specifically mentioned that they are broken…