645 – White Smoke Mountain • 14

Dear Reverend DM

@Rules Lawyer: Dear Rev. DM, it seems that my DM is attempting to bypass the rules even after I tell him exactly what a situation calls for and show him the reference. I am troubled that I am unable to find out how to have a character overthrow a DM, do you know where the rules are for that? My first thought is somewhere along the lines of praying to a god to give him a lot of beer and then get a shovel…

Dear Rules Lawyer,

While many DMs may be bribed for leniency, the actual job of being a DM precludes being overthrown. It is simply not possible. You would have more success singing the stars out of the sky. You would have a better chance of talking tadpoles into becoming birds. There would be greater odds of you convincing a Tea Partier to read than overthrowing a DM in his own game. Give it up. Walk away. Can’t be done.

Unless you’re a girl.

@ Layne: Dear Rev. DM, have you ever run a campaign where the players were the evil bad guy and the DM was throwing heroes at them? Something along the lines of Dungeon Keeper using AD&D rules? Allow them resources of some sort for hiring all of those disposable minions (do you go for the wave of 1000 weak goblins or save your money for that one umberhulk? Hmmmm). Give them a task such as “kidnap the princess” (which they actually have to roleplay). Maybe some trap design. And then, as DM, you send a squad of heroes after the princess…..and if they fail, another group….and another. Until either the king decides to pay the reward or the heroes win.

Dear Layne,

I ran a game once where the entire party was different kinds of human-looking monsters who had gradually replaced the real members of an adventuring party… and one LG Paladin. Each of the baddies thought that they were the only monster, and the paladin thought that they were all what they looked like they were. The adventure was pretty standard, except that the monsters all had a reason to kill the good cleric they were there to save from the evil wizard. It was one of the most fun D&D adventures I think I have ever run.

That said, I think that evil games have a rough row to hoe if they want to make it more than a few sessions. There needs to be an extremely compelling reason for these guys to work together or else they will turn on each other. If you can come up with that reason, then the ideas you present seem like they could be a lot of fun. I would say go for it, but try it in a limited scope first and see if you’ll need to fine tune anything before taking it “live”.

@anonymous coward: Dear Rev. DM, once while running a game of CP2020 for/against veteran (inveterate) players I had occasion to do something unorthodox: I used the loyalty devices planted in players’ cyberware to turn the players for each other and made them cooperate instead of their intended plans of engaging in high-collateral-damage combat with each other. My question is this: How often do you think a GM/DM should try to get away with stunts like that where they invert the natural order of things?

Dear anonymous coward,

I probably wouldn’t do anything like that more than once a campaign… although the notion of it is highly hysterical. I could see multiple applications if a particular suit/villain/employer that the party might later have the chance to retaliate against felt like he could treat the group with impunity. (Can you even imagine how much they would hate that guy?)

@Stephen: Dear Rev. DM, have you seen the ending of Watchmen? do you think what Adrian did at the end was right or wrong?

Dear Stephen,

I’d have done it. By the time we get to the end of the movie, I’d say that what Ozy did was his only real option. Of course in the comic he only torches New York, and then not even the whole thing. Right or wrong? Dunno. It was monstrous and horrible, but the end result was a world at peace… which could save a lot more lives and create untold new riches for the planet than its creation cost.

A more interesting question would be what kind of person would it take to live with yourself after you had pulled that trigger.

@mist: Dear Rev. DM, I would like to hear your advice on how to play a female character (especially human, and also demi humans) in a somewhat more realistic manner. As opposed to the usual “sex-doll onna stick” or “man with boobs/vagina” roleplay that so many male RPGr’s run.

Also, what does a woman mean when she says “I love you”?

Dear mist,

Pick your favorite female TV character, one that you know really well, and play her like that. Base her reactions to situations on what you think that person would do. That way you have a ready made reference in place and you can more easily think of what that particular person might do.

As for your second question… she probably means that she loves him. The confusion is what it means to him. (Not being flip. He needs to think about it.)

67 Responses to 645 – White Smoke Mountain • 14

  1. Dear DM,
    Thank you for the answers.

    I don’t have a TV, let alone a favourite TV program. And if I did have a favourite TV program it would be Stargate (or some other SciFi, which I’ve got on DVD) which are notorious for their complete lack of female development (unless one counts whine-fests like SG-U or modern BG). I mean Firefly was awesome, but the point is not to Whedon it (although Kaylee was ok but very narrow).

    And the second answer…yes but what does it actually refer too?

    The follow-up questions (especially for Mr Coward 🙂 )
    What would you recommend for a woman wanting to playing a macho but decent bloke?
    And the second question here is … why are so many mens’ games and attitudes about killing and being nasty to others?

    And for the forum: Back on the previous days’ economics comments, I put forward this recent link that was forwarded to me:
    See if you can spot the -gaping- error. I managed half of the footage before I couldn’t put up with it any more (and no I’m not referring to the complete ignorance of Ionian and Dorian currency and banking systems, or Chinese use of paper notes, or that gold was good primarily because it didn’t rot, was easy to work (important in a culture without pockets) and wasn’t easy to find (scarcity)).

    And. heh, first post :p

    • A macho but decent bloke? Come on, that one’s TAILOR MADE for you. Think of some bloke who would make you swoon with his every action.

      Rip off your mental image of this.

      Give him one or two character flaws to make him seem less like fanservice, and you’re gold!

      [The above was written with the assumption that you are a heterosexual female with some stereotypical behaviours. My apologies if this is not the case.]

      • A gentlemanly macho man who can sweep women off their feet and make them swoon with desire? That’s easy.
        Comes preassembled including cape, rapier and rapier wit.

    • @mist,

      I think you may have missed the point.

      It doesn’t have to be a TV character, it can be a character from a book or movie or whatever. It can even be a real person if you’re confident that they’ll never find out. The point is that it should be someone who’s personality you can reasonably anticipate and extrapolate so you can play as them. (In the beginning. This is really kind of a crutch. You’ll likely find your own voice for your character soon enough.)

      I’d say the same advice is applicable whichever gender line you’re crossing.

      Love refers to strong affection, often accompanied by feelings of comfort and safety. Many people consider the line between like and love to be the point where you begin thinking of another more than you think of yourself.

      Your link took me to my own Facebook page.

      • “Pick your favorite female TV character, one that you know really well, and play her like that. Base her reactions to situations on what you think that person would do. That way you have a ready made reference in place and you can more easily think of what that particular person might do.”

        Uh, Kevin, what if those female characters from TV or a book were themselves written by a male writer? So many female characters in TV series or books are horrible bimbos or idiots. And I’m not just talking about Soap Operas.

        (Even the part of Ripley from Alien was originally written for a male character… but Ellen Ripley’s one of the most convincing adult females I’ve seen.)

        Not that I think that no male writer can ever capture a female character convincingly, otherwise no female writer would be able to write a male character either… and no human writer should be allowed to write from the point of view of an alien, which is just ridiculous. Not to mention that a lot of behaviour (not all of it, but a lot) of what we think of as “typical male” or “typical female” is culture-driven.

        • You could try Becka Valentine from “Andromeda”…Or some of the strong female characters from Anime (Rumiko Takahashi does some pretty independant (and awfully scary at times, witness Azusa from The Laughing Target) females.

        • Whether the character is written by a male or female is totally irrelevant. (Or indeed if the character is in fact “realistic”.) mist only need pick a character that seems true to him, and that he thinks he might like.

            • You never provided me with a pronoun, so I picked the one that was most logical for the question. If you have something more to say, then by all means do. 🙂

              • I figure logically it is harder for me. How would I tell him to play a woman? Act natural? Be yourself? Be considerate and just follow logical ways to help you through encounters to what you feel like doing and try not to let other stuff bother you and if it does bother you, just deal and get on? Attempt to be observant, understanding, compassionate, ready, helpful? Don’t let yourself look like dregs or yesterdays unclean underwear, even if you are having a crap day? Something tells me that isn’t going to help (although yes I did look up the TG stuff first, although I personally prefer to think of myself as somewhat gender-fluid.)

    • I made a response which seems to have exceeded some limit in the wordpress system being used here, I’ll give it a few hours and come back to post it again in two chunks if neither of the webmistress or our Reverend, Comic-Slave DM have salvaged it.

      • What would you recommend for a woman wanting to playing a macho but decent bloke?

        This one and the other are a bit on the easy side but I’ll answer anyway because I noticed the summons. If you want the DM to answer it is advised to use the ritual invocation, “Dear DM.” Include his religious title in the invocation for best results. In response he will give a descriptive yet ritual response which indicates he has already or will have finished an answer in time for the following Monday.

        It’s really not that hard to get a read on how to behave like a standard macho-gallant type of character. Stoic responses to pain and injury are so standard in this type of thing they are pretty much a given. For more specific help there are many canonical examples in fiction to reference and many guides about codes of conduct to read such as Hagakure. If that’s too high-minded I have it on good authority that Mexican wrestling is a source of highest-grade machismo.
        If further guidance is required to work out the rest from there I can explain further but please specify what type of macho but decent bloke you would like guidance for creating and their intended setting without exceeding three paragraphs. Very helpful details would include their general background (especially class status/affluence such as peasant orphan or scion of the aristocracy) and profession.

        • I love Hagakure!

          Especially when the author re-tells us about the master’s story about the apprentice swordsmen and the sailors having an insult argument on the pier!

          • Yeah, kill them all because the peasants shouldn’t be suffered to do that and kill the students because they responded with words instead of their swords if I’m remembering correctly. It is one of the reference books of behaviour standards for martial machismo.

            • Well one wouldn’t want to suffer a stain to their honour by allowing riffraff and poor standards.
              Don’t think the DM would let me run a Paladin type like that though…

              • In D&D terms that would make a great lawful-evil or lawful-neutral (with evil tendencies) warrior of some description though. Why are there no simple knights anymore, dangit?

                • Samurai not evil.
                  They’re very honourable and lay themselves totally down at their lords’ command.
                  Hence the Master’s shame in Hagakure when the young lord’s dying command was that he was not to follow him into death. How could an honourable Samurai (or Paladin) honour that?

                  Evil as I understand it in D&D is about looking after ones’ own interest and putting ones’ own gain and profit beyond duty, people and country. Those people pulling a wage working for charities are more “evil” than a loyal samurai, as the Samurai doesn’t “collect” honour nor does he seek person gain or personal power. And should a loyal samurai be suspected of a subterfuge against his Lord, all his lord would have to do if he suspected it, is suggest that the Samurai kill himself (either by Sepiku or by taking on a valient by suicidal task). Histories are rather full of real examples.

      • Test? The second answer itself, or the question leading to it, seems to be something the website code hates.

      • Why are so many games and attitudes in favour of killing and being nasty to others?

        My opinion is that there are so many games and attitudes in favour of killing and cruelty because of the historical and current demand for sanctioned violence and cruelty. This forms much of our culture as a result.
        Naming examples is easy. Historical works include a large chunk of Greek myth, Arthurian legends, and at least a story or two of pretty much every cultural group. Many of those sources are used as inspiration material in modern cultural efforts, for instance Norse legend directly inspiring JRR Tolkien. In terms of recent, obvious, intentional propaganda I’d note the two Transformers movies funded during the last decade by the US Department of Defense to boost their recruitment numbers (far from the only ones).
        The sociopathic behaviour part comes in where one or both of manslaughter desensitization and being a sociopath or psychopath are needed to make a soldier attempt to kill an enemy soldier reliably. This means that celebration of devious, victimizing trickery is an essential part of the conditioning. Respect for deviousness and one-sided brutality also helps military prowess by encouraging the type of thinking and tactics most likely to cause victory.
        There are other reasons too but the historical and current demand for official violence is the 800-pound gorilla in the room when considering violence in our culture.

        • And that TV series 24, which has become more and more to resemble fascist propaganda as the seasons progress.

          Arthurian Legend, on the other hand? Not to much. The whole point of Arthurian Legend was that it celebrated the ideal of medieval Chivalry, transposed back several centuries to form a mythical founding legend for Britain, instead of mirroring the actual realities of knighthood and war. While fictional King Arthur fought wars against traitors, he did so to unite England/Albion, and his journey and death followed the myth path of the Fisher King.

          • Wait, wiki is wrong about Arthurian legend originating no later than 1138 and probably earlier? I was pretty sure it was older than 1200 for sure that but if I’ve been wiki-spoofed then thanks for the correction and please pass me a less-crappy reference. I thought it was propaganda for the legitimacy of feudal overlords in its own time.
            Now that I’ve read a bit of the wiki page about 24 I would have to agree that 24 is a far superior choice of example to have referenced anyway, thank you. Sanctioned torture porn, oy.

    • Try again on the video link. Apologies.

      (I originally saw it on a Facebook Group, about an alternative currency system being setup a few towns away. But since I’m a member of the group it goes to the video.)

      Ta very muchly on the clarifications, it certainly helped… and also highlighted my concerns as Christina has hit the nail on the head.

      I’m mean there are a few voice idioms that I’m aware of. Asking than stating. Addressing rather than observing. Speaking with a higher tone at the end of a sentence. I try to remove most of them, but sometimes I go over-the-top apparantly (being a sociopath would be hard to do, if I gave a damn 🙂 )

      • The 47 minute video?

        (Restating my response to Christina since you said they were your concerns as well.)

        “Whether the character is written by a male or female is totally irrelevant. (Or indeed if the character is in fact “realistic”.) mist only need pick a character that seems true to him, and that he thinks he might like.”

        Now, as I’ve mentioned, this need only be a template, and I will readily admit that it is a very rudimentary roleplaying device. I only suggested it because it seemed to me that someone who was having trouble differentiating male roles from female might like to try a more basic approach first, before moving on to parsing acting skills against literary bona fides.

        • @Mist, re: the female character thing

          Mist, I’m biologically female, but if you find out how to play a convincing woman, please let me know. I’ve been trying my whole life. 🙄

          Heck, 9 out of 10 times, when I create a character for a story or a roleplaying game, be it NPC or PC, I make him male. Because that’s what I can relate to, that’s what my inner self is. When I play a female PC, it often feels false, like a mask.

          Because fictional female characters have to be so goddamn perfect (which is not the same as likable) while males can be as cowardly or silly as you like….
          Again, Ellen Ripley is the exception (because Sigourney Weaver rocks every role she’s in), but part of what makes her her, a lioness, is the fact that she’s not a 20-something girly, but a grown woman.

          How should a modern woman behave? How should a woman in a pseudo-medieval-but-really-using-modern-morals world of D&D behave? In the wake of feminism, women around the world are still struggling to define what makes a woman, how much is biological and how much is culturally defined. So don’t ask me. I used to wrestle with boys in elementary school, at that age when girls are still bigger and stronger than boys. Good times.

          Now, there are a few differences in behaviour that I had to learn to spot… such as the “buddy factor”: In one gaming group, a male player’s dwarven warrior character kept verbally mock-attacking my cleric-wizard. It took me time to realize it wasn’t meant as an actual attack but as a testing between males. The old “these two guys beat each other up and afterwards they’re bestest friends” routine might be cliche but apparently it’s based on truth. The player (a friend of my husband) was shocked when I exploded and had my character attack his with intend to hurt him, because I had assumed they were enemies now. Or maybe that’s not gender that’s just because I tend to keep grudges. It took a couple minutes of OOC explaining to clear things up. These days I look out for these things.

          I still find myself having to explain, from time to time, to male gamemasters that I interpreted something that was said totally different than he did…. or that he misinterpreted a statement I made as a question.

          On the ot her hand, I seem to miss a lot of subtle undertones when talking to other women, too, and am usually more comfortable in a group of men than women, so maybe it’s just me and my odd brain.

          So for a male trying to play a female, don’t focus on the obvious behaviour stuff, or appearance, focus on the tiny details. (Assuming you’re playing a human character, not a 9-feet tall furry alien with fangs.) Females are still subtly trained from a young age to avoid physical combat. To argue or use diplomacy instead of intimidation. Sure, there are exceptions, jsut as there are men who aren’t into macho behaviour. But these girls of women are considered “manly”, called “tomboys” etc. while the men are considered shy or intellectual or, worse, “girly”. Not to mention that women will, due to some unfortunate biological realities, will usually react differently to blunt sexual advances than men.

        • I managed to make it 20 mins through the video (although still wiping up drowned girl pee from previous H.O.L.E video) before the continual underlying fundamental flaw finally made me stop. However it’s important to realise that those involved in teh financial sector actually believe the stuff in the video. Or at least they did when I was at ‘varsity.

  2. Dear DM,

    How do tits control minds? Seriously. There has to be some sort of scientific / psychological breakthrough in there.

    • Do you mean “How do female tits control male minds?”

      I’m not sure, but I’ll ask an ornithologist. If there’s a conspiracy of mind-controlling songbirds out there in our fields and gardens, then ornithologists and the British Birdwatcher Foundation are probably in on it. That’s why you see them driving through the neighborhood in big vans with cameras and… oh no wait, that’s just Google StreetView. My bad.

  3. I will explain this CP2020 story a bit better for the interested:
    I was starting a new group with a test-campaign. The five players in the group had each played as my players before but not all with each other at the same time. So I convened a set-up session where I ran a one-shot with pre-rolled characters to inquire what players wanted from a continuing story and feel out the dynamic of the group. One thing I noticed was that they all prepared intensely for backstabbing. They got so carried away that it was as though I had Alpha Complex troubleshooters instead of cyberpunks: In character creation every one of them took the option for free cyberware with loyalty devices included (in the basic rules) and each had a repertoire of varyingly lethal dirty tricks which they privately admitted were mostly for taking on the other members of the group.
    A bit of intrigue and uncertainty in the party itself can be a good thing but I thought that this was far too much; it seemed that corrective measures were called for. I did what I could do: I had a rogue AI named Summersong get loose and change things. It used a mixture of intelligence, hacking prowess and its other agents to capture control of the loyalty devices in all the characters for its own nefarious schemes.
    I began the story’s surface layer as standard during the session, setting up a protocol for exchanging hidden notes with and without content at varying intervals to make sure no individual player’s off-the-chart interactions were easily sounded out. The surface layer was that the players were all members of a Trauma Team division’s staff who were responsible for a large chunk of Night City’s combat zone territory. This is a great excuse to send players in a lot of different directions. The players sat back and waited for me to sow the first seeds of chaos by pitting them against each other… instead Summersong pitted them against Trauma Team itself with non-lethal and non-assaultive rules of engagement for their missions.
    It took until most of the way through the second session before the first player figured out what I was up to–his method was that he figured out I was avoiding lethal in-party shenanigans by the fact nobody was dead yet. He phoned me up a day later to talk about this and I had to give credit for basic reasoning skills of course. In response he demanded an explanation so I did what any GM possessing sufficient chutzpah would do: I roleplayed his discovery of more information about Summersong which made sense of what was up, had him promoted in Summersong’s organization to a more direct tool, then swore him personally to secrecy (which he found hilarious and agreeable) and kept going.
    Sadly, his mirth at an inappropriate point (well, actually an appropriate point but his poker face failed) gave the game away during the third session. The other players had all intuited to greater and lesser degrees that something very odd was going on but that damn snicker gave players enough of a hint to start talking it over during the dinner break.
    The post-mortem discussion that followed had me promised a bottle of Grey Goose as just reward (which I received about a year later), acclaimed as a completely awesome bastard… and asked to run a new campaign where I didn’t use that trick again. A vote to continue with Summersong’s Agenda (my private name for that storyline) was rejected and we finished up that evening pulling together threads and new characters for the next story.
    It took over a dozen sessions but we did finish the next story as well as others. I kept my promise not to use that particular trick. I did tend to start limiting player access to sell-your-soul bonus cybernetics however since apparently it is far too easy to increase party infighting in CP2020 with sufficiently devious players.

        • Not at all.

          In my experience, CP:2020 characters never trust each other, but my referee never gave us enough time to plot against each other – we were too busy trying to stay alive.

          • They were established members of a significant corporation whose profitable business was riding in as cavalry into other people’s messes. Further, Trauma Team AVs are expensive, and so is the medical equipment in them; the suits protect that investment in as many cost-effective ways as they can think of so that it makes its payback period. Wilsons need not apply sort of deal. This lowering of relative external threat was necessary for subverting the player expectations and keeping them together in large enough groups most of the time to keep the behind-the-scenes interaction level manageable.
            The next campaign with the players as eco-terrorist cell members had a much higher balance of external to party threat versus internal to party threat.

  4. Dear DM,

    how come I got standard human skeletons with rusty swords springing up when I sowed dragon teeth? Did I not water them enough with the blood of the innocent? Can you give me tips on how to demand a refund from the insane wizard who sold them to me, and survive in current shape and form?

    • This one might be beyond me if it’s not this: Did you forget to plow the field using fire-breathing oxen? That’s an important part that can’t be skimped on or substituted with other livestock or else you will end up with an inferior result.
      If that’s not it, well, this question starts getting much harder than I’m feeling up to when I haven’t had lunch yet.

    • Christina, considering the intelligence you display in previous posts, I have to wonder what you were doing dealing with an insane wizard in the first place. They are notoriously unreliable at best. As for the refund, if you can figure out how to make it seem like it’s his idea and will benefit him directly, it’s easy. I think that you may be up to the challenge and would be interested in how you resolved the situation. Please let me know how it works out (if you still have hands that is). Also, you might want to substitute the blood of innocents for the blood of something else if you don’t want standard skeletons. According to my grandmother, if you mix the blood of an evil sorcerress and a dire bat, you’ll get a magic capable undead harpy type thing. The reason that little is known of this technique is that it’s EXTREMELY risky. You can hope that you are able to subdue the resulting creature into your service but you can never be sure. 😕

      • No, arrgh, we’re all doomed. Someone with a deathwish will try that now that you’ve shared the secret. I’d bet they’ll use as many teeth as they can find too.
        Civilization’s over, everybody thank Don.

        • Actually, I think Kevin already did that a while back with a singularity powered doohicky that had something to do with seeing the past. I’d look it up but am presently too damned lazy to do so. As for being doomed, there are many nefarious plots, natural disasters, and fools meddeling with something “MANKIND WAS NEVER MEANT TO KNOW” at any given moment. I have to think that the forces of universal balance are so powerful that anything we do will be balanced out evidenced by the simple fact that we are still here.

      • Aha! Instead of genuine dragon teeth, he sold me cheap wyvern teeth! The serration on the molars gave it away. That and the fact that his brother-in-law runs a wyvern breeding farm.

      • Dear Rev. DM,

        why do so many professional arcane spellcasters, sooner or later, seem to go insane in various ways? Some of them merely grow long beards you could lose a family of stoats in (and smell as if that already happened) and shuffle around in carpet slippers all day looking for their spellbook, and have amusing spell malfunctions. Others call themselves Ming the Merciless, grow a goatee (if male) or dress in low-cut black gowns/bondage gear and wear their fingernails long (if female), and cackle maniacally while they set things on fire. With blue lightning.

        Is it an occupational hazard? Is it the mercury fumes that rot their brains? The dark tomes of unspeakable alien lore that the Wizard Book Club keeps sending me? Or is it peer pressure? The wish to crush everyone who made fun of their glasses when they were fifteen with huge armies of undead slaves? Or is it because black robes never go out of style?

        And is there a way we can blame this on the paladins?

        • Dear Rev. DM has an answer, and would like to state that wyverns are both sweeter and much more easily housebroken than dragons.

        • It’s a profession that attracts the crazies. Sane people don’t go running around in stupid outfits with big bags of smelly crap through dark dungeons full of things out to kill them, and the ones who stay in towns generally don’t end up much saner either. It’s not like there aren’t much more reasonable alternative employment options for anybody with the brains to make a decent wizard, some of which are more respectable or lucrative and most of which will tend to draw fewer assassins and thieves to try to climb through your windows and do awful things to you and your stuff.

        • Oh, you can definitly blame it on the paladins. Think about it for a second, there you are, performing a simple virgin sacrifice to gain more arcane power bargaining with a demon and from out of nowhere (seems that way, anyway) comes a paladin who not only interrupts said bargaining but at least half the time disfiguring you in very painful ways. If you consider how many times a year these cretins do that, it’s easy to see how a chaos abiding necromancer could be driven quite mad.

          • Perhaps the necromancer should set out paladin-traps. Like mouse-traps, only a lot bigger, and with (the illusion of ) a weeping orphan girl in it to attract them. (Comes in two varieties: the lethal trap which promises a humane, quick dead, and the non-lethal cage trap to capture and hold. If you leave the tower for a week, remember to put some water and a bucket in the cage, too.)

            And if the wizard is woken up by a SNAP and a CLANK and a scream in the middle of the night, he can go back to peaceful sleep knowing that his castle is once again safe from armed and crazy do-gooders in shiny armor.

            • Good suggestions Christina, but as a necromancer I have limited use for non lethal traps. They’re kinda special use only. I can see lethal traps as a source of raw materials. I might have thought of this myself but I’m new to this trade and have only recently claimed my former masters tower. Haven’t had time to think of the little things while getting organised. I really like that last bit, though it’s going to take some thought on how to achieve those results. I gotta say that if I ever find myself in one of your dungeons I will a; keep an eye on you and above all b; not piss you off.

  5. Dear Hierophant DM,
    What were the best unusual lethal and non-lethal punishments you’ve come across to date?

  6. The Sphinx in MY White Plume Mountain never had a rack that nice.

    I am beginning to wonder if I have squandered the best years of my DMming life.

        • If more direct mockery helps try Costikyan’s Violence RPG, available free from his website. It’s a good exorcism for most things which were part of the 90s darker and edgier crap if that method works for you, as well as overly serious RPG rules in general.

        • When I tried out that Barrier Peaks module, the thief managed to get into the one room where you can mess with the computer and do random things…after a while he figured out how to turn off all the robots, and the UFO became the party’s main base of operations…they looted that sucker and milked it for all it was worth…until word got out in the monster community where all the cool junk they were using on them came from…the army they gathered and sent against the adventurers, led by the vampire dragon who was their longtime nemesis by that time wasn’t pretty.

          How did a dragon become a vampire in my campaign? That’s the thing with intelligent monsters…Speaking Spell using Red Dragon who had managed to flee from the adventurers around their level 15-ish careers convinces a vampire to make a dozen ogres into vampires to be powerful subordinates…then kills said vampire and convinces the none-too bright Ogre-vampires to turn HIM into a vampire, thus increasing his powers significantly.

          Sure, he can only operate in the night outdoors, but a Red Dragon who can turn into mist, or a bat, or his dragon form, as well as cast his spells as a dragon, can show up in places one would never expect a dragon to turn up.

          • Wouldn’t it be easier for the dragon to learn Gaseous Form?
            Oh wait, that was back in the days of AD&D, right? When dragons had some inborn spell-like powers and that was that, no sorcerer levels.

        • The PAIN, dammit! I meant to write “the pain”. Not “the plain”. ARRG. 🙄

          Well, it does give the posting a touch of the surreal.

          • “The Brain in Pain will Mainly seek Cocaine?” – sounds like a Lerner and Loewe tune in the works…

  7. You said: “There would be greater odds of you convincing a Tea Partier to read than overthrowing a DM in his own game.”

    When I read that, I was offended a bit, and I am not even a “Tea Partier”. It smacks of prejudicial ignorance. But then I thought, “well, maybe he knows many “Tea Partiers” personally”. Which also led me to think of some older racist gentlemen (A childhood’s friends father comes to mind) who say that they have met a lot of “THEM” (insert any race or sex based group) and thus knows what he is talking about, after all, everyone knows “___Insert insulting stereotype here”)

    But then I read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html

    It is a New York Times/CBS poll, hardly Fox news, stating in part: “Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.”

    More educated? Not morons? But that goes against your prejudiced opinion…. That can not be true, can it?

    So I went to the next link in the google search and found: http://mediamatters.org/blog/201004140082

    Note they cherry picked what they wanted, ignoring the rest… and thus in the comments you see: “What more proof is needed to demonstrate that tea baggers are hopeless morons…? Case closed… ;>)”

    So even when NYTimes.com report something contrary to the “party” line, the opinions do not change.

    So it makes sense that you are likely to have heard ABOUT the nytimes poll, but never actually READ their report on their own poll, only the spin of others who share your false stereotypes.

    About enough to make me go to a tea party to see what else is being mis-reported. Or we can just keep believing what we already believe….

    PS. I was not the one to bring up politics :p on all other counts I love your comic and Game based content, as we have discussed before. I just believe if we are not called on our BS, we can not learn and grow… And I did not see any other comments on this after 0ver 24 hours… so.. Guess I should speak up. We are all Americans, tea partier, Democrat, Republican, Independant, or whatever, and have a right to disagree without being insulted without basis. (Not to insult international non-American readers, who may live by different rules and rights allowed by their goverments)

    • I do know at least six individuals that are openly sympathetic to the tea party movement, if not active members, that I would consider to be close friends, and who I both consider to be well educated and intelligent. (All of them carry at least slightly better than average incomes, though I would argue this is relatively irrelevant.) However, each of them gathers their news in a vacuum (FOX News) and considers any source that disagrees with them to be part of a vast conspiracy bent on ruining the American economy. Wait. Seven individuals.

      Anyway, I feel like all of them would be much better served by multiple sourcing their news, instead of depending exclusively on one that for the past eight years has ranked lower than Comedy Central for actual misinformation, as well as simple under-information.

      However, to be honest, when I wrote that I was addressing the public face of the tea party, which is that of a belligerent, dangerously kooky, semi-sociopath who believes that Glen Beck is here to deliver god’s chosen (Baptists) from the evils of Mexicans and homosexuals.

      And you are always welcome to bring up anything you like. I try not to be a forum-nazi.

  8. I think you might if proved a point, though I am unsure it is the one you intended…

    “However, to be honest, when I wrote that I was addressing the public face of the tea party, which is that of a belligerent, dangerously kooky, semi-sociopath who believes that Glen Beck is here to deliver god’s chosen (Baptists) from the evils of Mexicans and homosexuals.”

    Is that the “public” face they choose to make public, or rather the one they are portrayed as by those who disagree with them? When I hear the “public” position of the Tea party, granted, which is limited to a few minutes searching on the internet, lead to to such things as ” real concerns against reckless government spending” and “A community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!” I do not see any belligerence, dangerously kookly, (other insults omitted because of weariness).

    If you were told that a group who had concerns about the direction of the country would be under attack, not at the organization level, but on a widespread smear campaign, led by the administration with the help of the media, under the Bush or Nixon administrations, would you be so quick to judge the group with such broad strokes?

    I get very nervous when I see people who used to say that speaking out is the highest form of patriotism then defaming those who speak out, just because they disagree with them. Are they moonbats on all sides? Yup. So does that mean because there are left wing nuts, that all liberals should be insulted and defamed and marginalized?

    ‘http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came…’ Comes to mind (ellipse is part of url… ugh)

    Finally, I see much worse cases of this kind of divisiveness. But let me give you quick kudos, At least I feel speaking out here might make a difference. Millions of other sites where all my words would just be would be troll bait.

  9. I’ve been following the discussion forum at H.O.L.E. for some time now and I don’t believe that I have seen one forum troll to date. I also believe that while he has strong opinions, Kevin is not prejudiced. Politics are a touchy subject and religion can be much, much worse. I have seen Kevin poke fun at Christianity on numerous occasions and have not been offended as a Christian. I happen to agree with him for the most part. The fans of H.O.L.E. seem to be smart, funny, fairly tolerant and willing to help in answering questions that come up. I follow many comics but this is the only forum that I keep up to date on even if I’m not posting a comment. I feel at home in this forum and even though I haven’t personally met anyone here, in a way I feel that I’m among friends. At least the people I find here generally understand what I’m talking about or trying to say. I can’t say that about most of my circle of friends.