33 Responses to 674 – White Smoke Mountain • 42

  1. Apparently you lose paladinhood not only for evil deeds or for straying from law and goodness, but also for moral cowardiness. Well, letting innocents come to harm through inaction is a violation of the paladin code, so… I fully support that decision. Apprently back then they had a different dungeonmaster running the game than the incompetent Mr. Unseen DM the group has now.

    Unless this was the standard trap that jerkass DMs love to set for paladins: You’re damned if you do X, you’re damned if you don’t do X, because the DM has decided that the paladin can’t win (because they don’t like the class), and no, atonement spells don’t exist in their games either. And then they giggle and hug themselves for being so clever. 🙄 😡

    But anyway. You’re a wuss, Bunker. It’s not even a real person. How about shattering the damn mirror? No? Nevermind then. Continue being a doormat.

    Although to be fair, Morty, the mirror clone is not your best friend. That’s like saying identical twins are not individuums.

    • And what do we learn from this? If you see two identical looking Bunkers, Morty, don’t assume you’re drunk. Assume it’s a doppelganger. Or a rakshasa. There’re tons of shapeshifting creatures listed in the MM. You’re in a dungeon, fergodssake, Morty. This wasn’t even an invisible monster! You walked right into his sword!

      I notice even back then no-one thought about protecting the cleric.

      Let me guess… the other players decided to continue adventuring with the anti-paladin, on a path to riches and slaughter, and Bunker left the group?

      • Different DM.

        I’m pretty sure that Morty sees Bunker letting his duplicate live as a selfish act, and thus causing his own death. You’d have to ask him to be any more specific.

        The Atonement is the subject of a future strip, thank you very much, Spoiler-Lady.

        It’s fair to assume that Morty had not yet realized he was looking at two Bunkers.

        • Sorry for spoiling. (spoilering?) 🙁 I thought the existance of the atonement spell in the rules was something people know about.

  2. I’m trying to remember what the consequences were for a fallen paladin under 2nd ed AD&D rules? Since feats didn’t yet exist back then, a fallen paladin wouldn’t become a “fighter of same level but without class powers or bonus feats” like in 3E. Didn’t he lose a level in addition to losing access to his paladin powers? Or did he lose all paladin levels and regressed to a 1st level fighter? It’s been so many years… I know that a paladin that went to the dark side became an anti-paladin on the spot, but by the rules I think he’d still lose all the levels and start as a 1st level anti-paladin or death knight? Although I’ve heard variants where x levels of paladin would instantly be replaced with x levels of death knight; but such a character was undead and an NPC anyway.

    Of couse by the rules Bunker’s paladin would have had a chance to redeem himself, to atone, to win back those levels… but I guess he never tried. Because if he did the evil twin wouldn’t still be running around.

    • I think you became a fighter of equal level, just without the special fighter abilities.

      “Going dark” would only result in you losing paladinhood unless you secured the patronage of an evil deity or demon prince or something like that first. The patron would then replace your paladin levels with anti-paladin levels, and you would work for him/her.

        • What special abilities did Fighters have in AD&D? 😐 All I can remember is that they bashed things with weapons and had good saves. I think the level-loss was the big punishment in AD&D.

      • AD&D did have rules for non-lethal brawling, technically, but they were so needlessly complicated and the chances of knocking someone out in a fist fight were so bad, we never really bothered either. I’m not even sure if there were rules for disarming someone?

        P.S. The first attempt to write “fist fight” came out as “fish fight”… and when I deleted it and tried to type it correctly, it was fishes again! I had to type really slowly on the 3rd attempt. My brain is apparently stuck on Monty Python.

  3. Because (a) Bunker isn’t necessarily that smart, Intelligence being something of a dump stat for fighters and especially paladins, who have very few dump stats, and (b) it would ruin the back story. 😛

    (Come to think of it, was Morty a troll then? It would have kinda given it away if he popped up alive again long before he could be raised or buried. I suppose he could use Concorde’s lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail…)

  4. Never be bitter. Just plan revenge carefully.

    Question Can you post on Twitter when a new strip is up? I can at least repost. and it is a good reminder for me..actually just post all new strips as @roxofspazhous and the rest. there is a new Hole Comic up.

    • Yeah… there was supposed to be some automatic thingie that did a tweet whenever a strip posted. I’ll check into it and see what happened to that.

  5. Hmm…

    Is it just me, or has bunker recently been looking rather old and… DRAWN.

    Seriously, and I mean beside having waited a looooong time to say that, why’s he gotten so threadbare in the last few weeks? Anyone got any guesses?

    • I think that there are a few factors involved here. The first is that I have a lot more control over the drawing procedure with a pencil than I enjoyed with the computer. Therefore Bunker is looking more the way I had always pictured him in my head, which is of course a change for the rest of you, who are used to the way he has always looked.

      Second is the civilian dress issue. It’s like when you see the cashier from the grocery store (always in uniform) in her civvies walking down the street. You know you recognize her, but you can’t put her in place. I think four and a half years with Bunker “in uniform” makes seeing him out of kind of jarring.

      With both of these, Bunker just looks like Bunker to me, because this is the way I’ve always seen him, and he looks the same to me in or out of uniform. The first several comments I read to this effect left me scratching my head. “What are they seeing that I’m not?” I kept thinking. But the more I thought about it, the more these conclusions suggested themselves.

      Finally, Bunker has just recently come out of an arctic environment to have acid dumped all over his body, which was burned off with a fireball. Anybody is bound to look a little worn after that kind of day.

      • For me the big shocker was reading that present-time Bunker is 39 years old, Kevin. I had always assumed the character (and the player as well) was in his twenties.

  6. Hmmm. Not Bunker’s finest hour by a long shot. So… Is Anti-Bunker running around the H.O.L.E.-iverse, too, or was he left behind with the previous DM?

    As for Bunker ‘never trying’ to redeem himself… I assume Anti-Bunker kept racking up the sin count, and all of his evil deeds continued to be on Bunker’s head. Unless he ran him down and took him out of commission somehow, redemption was never going to be an option for Bunker, was it now?

      • I’m fairly sure he didn’t take care of it, since he said his ‘brother’ killed his mother and he had to bear the blame because he, Bunker, didn’t stop him.

  7. See, shit like this is one of the things that really bothered me about D&D.
    You have magic items and critters that are capable of making many different kinds of duplicates of people. Why waste that kind of talent on irregular thieves and thugs when you could be using it instead to seize control of the whole damn world? Only a few wizards or some (exceedingly rare) sane people really couldn’t find a use for nominal control of every major nation within traveling distance. It’s a waste of talent to use something like that to kill people that could be more efficiently killed by using a pit trap with poop-smeared punji sticks or a knockout gas trap in a room with a foot of water on the floor. My favourite is just paying advances to a few dozen cheap assassins and posting a bounty, why doesn’t that happen more often? It’s great and satisfying fun for everybody especially if the players survive.
    Obsessive focus on the players and traps tailored for the players directly damages the notion that they are in a larger world with other things or people that are important besides them. The typical hackneyed bit-cast of shallow foes that exist purely for the players to fight, and other NPCs that wallpaper over the the holes in the plot they might otherwise escape out of, only makes this worse. I counter-propose that the proper role of a GM is to make a world for the players to interact with instead of only doing half-ass knockoffs of the crappiest Hollywood action movie and Michael Moorcock plots to railroad their players on.
    In keeping with that line of thinking the standard use and storage of magic items should change: The safest place for a legendary artifact is not in some legendary dungeon vault with a million different traps and fractious monsters hiding in it. Instead, it’s triply-warded and constantly on the move in some way that’s practically impossible to see or notice which the owner is watching regularly and using to achieve their other objectives. If it were conventionally guarded it would be guarded by an effective and efficient guard of actual people with families that would miss them and be angry with the players for killing their children/cousins/nephews/etc. If instead the dingus is less of a game-changer tool and more like simple artillery then it’s still under construction, being held for cold-war-ish arms buildup reasons in fortified arms storage, or has already been used. One of these two cases (unique dingus or artillery piece) probably applies to something like a mirror of opposition unless you can buy them for three-fifty a dozen at Walmart; it ought never be used on a player that isn’t themself a big wheel for some reason. (Big wheels are graduated player characters who don’t have time to go grave-robbing anymore.)
    But I better shut up there before I start ranting even more about how the traditional interpretations of roleplaying game activities are shallow, trite and embarrassing.

      • I’m not trying to tell people off for liking what they like.
        Everybody is allowed to like and think what they want to like and think. It’s my opinion and preference that shallow action-movie-plot RP experiences are almost always ungratifying masturbation but this obviously does not hold for everyone, nor should it. Judging by how many people do such things it’ll be popular long after I’m dead anyway so the point is moot.
        It’s just… I’m picky about these things. If I’m playing make-believe I want to think up something more interesting or consistent than absurd crap like original-version nilbogs and llorts. Notions like standard magical artifacts and PC-focused traps may be satisfying on a wargamer-tactical level but that usually costs you in terms of world-building and dramatic purpose. If tactical or strategic gaming is what you want anyway it’s much easier to satisfy such appetites with video games and box-sets. The best RP gaming may be able to satisfy both but I despair of ever finding it in D&D based on not-shallow experience with it.

    • You know those evil wizards…they keep stuff like this around for FUN…A mirror of opposition is a fun gift that keeps on giving. The delvers bust into your bedroom and wind up having to fight themselves…and the mirror is just valuable enough that they’ll want to keep it around to try to sell, just bulky enough to make it hard to cart around without a portable hole or other ridiculous storage device, and so on.

      Now imagine placing two large Mirrors of Opposition on opposite walls of a narrow corridor…if you’ve ever stood between two mirrors, you can guess what would happen…reflections of reflections of reflections…

      • I’m not sure, wasn’t a mirror of opposition a cursed item, meaning it wasn’t created on purpose but by accident? Not sure. 😐

        “Now imagine placing two large Mirrors of Opposition on opposite walls of a narrow corridor…if you’ve ever stood between two mirrors, you can guess what would happen…reflections of reflections of reflections…”

        I once did something similar to a player character, it involved mirror magic from Planescape. And that wasn’t even on purpose on my side, because although the villain had opened a planar portal using mirror magic, it was the group’s bard who brought in the second mirror and did the one thing you aren’t supposed to do. 🙄

      • I’d mostly agree that’s not a bad way to think about it, but where I figure people fall down with this is pretty simple:
        “those evil wizards”
        What the hell does that mean, and why are they such as that? What is evil, or a wizard even?
        Your evocative, simplifying phrase reduces the wonder, mystery and menace of magic in the hands of someone not allied with your interests (or perhaps allied with your interests but using taboo means) to a cliche, fantasy-genre, action-plot antagonist. Making them cast standard spells and kitting them out with standard magical items only completes the conversion of an alloy of the scary unknown with the sinister known into something else which is trite.