715 – White Smoke Mountain • 82

Just for fun, I thought I’d show you guys the sketch I made while I was working out what Bunker’s new armor looked like. I thought I would also take the opportunity to point out that the “crotch plate” on the crotchless armor (thanks to Martin…) is actually the right shoulder plate magically shrunken and slightly reshaped. What you see now on Bunker’s right shoulder is actually the leather padding that would be underneath that plate. Bunker is no longer wearing Enkidu’s chainmail, but Enkidu decided he really liked showing off his manly chest and so has simply stopped wearing it.

This is of course all strictly geek information that is completely unnecessary to know or even remotely care about. I barely care myself, which is why I didn’t draw it. I am only writing this to stave off all the questions that would otherwise be sure to crop up in the comments below.

Okay? Okay.

Enjoy the strip.

56 Responses to 715 – White Smoke Mountain • 82

  1. Oooh, new bad guys!

    Lets have a sweepstake on how many strips before one of them dies! I’ll go 15.

  2. Crotchless? He’s still got a codpiece. On the other hand, it’s abdomen-less, partly arm-less, gorget-less and thoroughly visor-less(the last at least being understandable for recognition purposes on this medium), yet fully armored around the legs, for some reason. It looks more like half the armor got lost, or maybe Martin decided to give him the kind of armor females always get to wear in fantasy settings, sans huge cleavage.

    • Um, Orald, if you had read Kevin’s introductory text above the comic strip, you’d have noticed he explained that the codpiece is a former shoulder plate, reshaped, and you can see the laminated leather below… what’s the proper term for it, the espalier?

      What’s missing is the fauld, the piece(s) of armor covering the abdomen; which makes Bunker’s new outfit finest “fantasy armor” indeed, leaving one of the most vulnerable areas unprotected. 🙄

      But that’s D&D rules logic in a nutshell: there are no rules for targeting specific body parts, so if a suit of armor provides a certain Armor Class, it provides this AC all over, no matter how much of the body it actually covers. Two words: Chainmail bikini.

      Which also explains barbarian heroes running around in nothing but a loincloth and fur boots and some leather straps. (*cough*He-Man movie*cough*) It’s a magic loincloth: +12 to AC, +4 to CHA and immunity to sunburn if you’re a barbarian, but +20 to embarrassment factor to go out in public dressed like that if you’re not.

      • I’ve read his explanation before posting, don’t worry. I was saying that it’s got a codpiece now, as I was expecting it to remain crotchless. I’m not sure what kind of fighter magically reshapes his shoulder piece to protect his crotch, or chooses to mention it’s missing a little codpiece when half the torso is missing. And only the right arm seems to have at least mail, while the left is left naked but for some vambrace or something.
        I mean, if it was complete apart for the codpiece I think the joke might’ve been better because it would’ve been obvious it IS crotchless and not just half-missing.

        About barbarian fashion, if you see a hulking guy muscled all over who walks almost naked in a sub-arctic climate wielding a weapon as tall as most people and bellowing stuff you’re probably going to realize this is one bad muthafucka you don’t want to mess with and wouldn’t be able to concentrate enough to hit him.
        Or you’ll be drooling all over him, resulting in the same effect.
        I mean, I don’t care too much for body-builder types, but Arnold was definitely cute in the first Conan The Barbarian film.

    • He’s not coming up with any traps, not by himself at least. All he’s doing is reading out the adventure module he downloaded…which is why Martin was able to use it against him like that.

      • More clever? Think of the hours of design, the complicated technology required to build and the man hours (orc/goblin hours?) to complete such a complex and beautiful trap.

        Clearly the rotating cylinder must have some primary purpose far more significant than killing, which could be done much easier and cheaper with more traditional technology like holes and spikes. I look forward to finding out what it is…

        (Does anyone remember that Armstrong and Miller sketch where the Health and Safety inspector ruins the evil genius’s traps before they’ve even been completed by insisting on safety railings, warning signs and alarms…?)

        • With the grease and a guy with a flaming arrow on standbye, this room’s primary purpose is clear: It’s a giant popcorn popper.

          Odd choice of words for the archer: Unemployment? I guess he plans to duck out the back way and survive, leaving his soon-to-be-ex boss to get killed…

        • Clearly the cylinder is part of a fun park ride designed by Grimtooth & Sons, Ltd. It’s so clearly designed to provided hours of fun for children. 😉 The dungeon’s owner bought it up cheaply shortly after the Health and Safety inspectors closed the park.

  3. I want to know why there are two what I assume are live humans just sitting in a dungeon waiting for a group of adventureres so they can spring the trap?

    • They were probably on standby in a guardroom somewhere, and the setting off of all the other traps let them know someone was coming.

      What, you don’t think the builder of this dungeon was smart enough to attach each trap to a little alarm bell in the guardroom?

      I think Enkidu’s motto should be “Vene Vide Igni” (I came, I saw, I set it on fire)

      • The issue here is one of generational design. This is the way dungeons were made back in the bad old days, and we all loved it. If it was underground and dangerous, things like “makes sense” tended to fall by the wayside. Besides, “A wizard did it” was always sufficient explanation.

        It is always fascinating to watch, however, when more modern and sophisticated players stumbles into one of these older dungeons. Questions arise and tropes are challenged. A dungeon secreted away in a mountain hundreds of miles from ANYTHING that employs a guy to sit behind an arrow slit and watch ONE HALLWAY that probably gets a visitor once every six or seven decades suddenly invites questions an average DM is not prepared to answer.

        Which brings us back to “A wizard did it.”

        • Also, in The Olden Times( before CR was invented) dungeon architects liked to layer their underground dungeon lair designs like a wedding cake, with the weakest monsters roaming around at the top level, progressively bigger-hit-dice monsters further down so you could level up while slaughtering your way through, and the biggest, meanest boss monster waiting at the bottom. How very considerate of them.

          Today, the same architects have found new employment designing underground laboratories for Umbrella Corp.

          • If I ever find myself with my own dungeon in some post-apocalyptic medieval world, that I don’t want people walking through and stealing all my treasure and stuff, I’m making a mental note to put the biggest baddest monster at my disposal right at the front door. In fact, I’ll build a giant Ante-Room of Death and put all the monsters in there together. Get through that lot, ya thievin’ gets!

            But I’ve just had another thought, do the monsters ever steal the treasure?

        • Occasionally (re: when I remember to), I will address things like this when I’m running D&D. One of the tropes that modern gamers will challenge is the readied mechanical trap sitting unattended in the dungeon for decades (centuries even!). Metal gears rust. Rope and leather straps dry rot. Brass springs lose tension.

          So one time I scared the PCs a wee bit by letting them set off an ancient trap that was supposed to spew alchemical-powered flames at the unwary party. And comically had it fizzle and sputter (it still did *some* damage, just not nearly as much as it could have had it been in proper working order).

          It actually worked on couple levels – first it helped with roleplaying immersion, since it was a perfectly reasonable reaction given the circumstances (the heroes were exploring the tomb of an ancient orcish warlord), and second, it reminded the players that they were being a little too careless since nobody had bothered to search for traps.

    • Pulsa wrote: “I want to know why there are two what I assume are live humans just sitting in a dungeon waiting for a group of adventureres so they can spring the trap?”

      The kobolds usually stationed there formed a labour union and went on strike after they saw the pension plan (hint: it didn’t exist). The mad wizard brought in humans as strike breakers because, as everyone knowns, being descended from apes humans will work for peanuts. Also, human employees do not kill motivational speakers trying to instill proper corporate values, while kobolds do.

      Kobolds are far smarter than humans.

      • He would’ve settled for goblins too, but those have been too busy with their revolution to care.
        I miss the goblin news-announcers.

  4. C’mon, hasn’t anyone ever gone through the old White Plume Mountain D&D module? I recognize much of it, especially the old flaming cylinder room. Mr. Pettway didn’t really hide the fact that he’s using it for the module here with one word changed. (I’m not faulting him for it; it makes it funnier to see Bunker and Co. devastate it. Is he saving Tomb of Horrors for the finale?)

    • Although I officially have NO IDEA what you’re talking about, the honest answer is no. The whole strip will be over in the next 3 or 4 months (I think) and there’s not really any room for fitting another big dungeon in. However… a Tomb of Terrors book could be a lot of fun after the dust settles. Lena has the ePub thing all figured out, and I’m planning on offering MUCH cheaper and easier to read versions of everything that has been put out so far.

    • Retiarius, i have never played that D&D module.
      I still recognize a fair numbers of staple insanities from the early D&D modules. 🙂

  5. Shameless sideline, sorry.

    This reminds me of an adventure I ran with one trap after another, one deadly puzzle blending into the next. Then about half way I put in a rest stop for them of the main hall. The door had a window in it that was slightly open; they could smell the warm breads cooking and the stew, well, stewing. There was a vast selection of beer kegs and wine casks seen in the one wall. A cozy fire with crackling logs and a tea kettle gently boiling. Herb scents filled the air and soft chairs surronded the low table in front of the fire place. It was as heavenly of a rest stop as I could imagine.

    The group spent two gaming sessions trying to figure out what kind of vile trap I had planned and prepare to enter the room. My incessant giggling as they tried to figure it out, then my flat out telling them it was not, I repeat NOT a trap didn’t help. After two days of thinking and planning, they decided that no possible hidden treasure was worth braving that room… so they quickly moved on to the greasy spinning tunnel of doom.

    • Of course, the foods and drinks were all poisoned by nastiest substance a sackful of platinum could buy. At least that’d be my plan.

  6. Bunker’s armor makes me laugh. It is almost like a Nun and a Viking decided to design a suit of armor. Hilarious.

    I always liked overly done locked doors. No keys or key holes, just a massive door and player ingenuity.

        • I meant that neither a viking nor a nun would think of baring their midriff, while a teenage girl would. 😉

          At least the armor wasn’t designed by a small girl, otherwise it would be pink and had a Hello Kitty motif. Which could be awkward if your name is something like Braax the Destroyer.

          Come to think of it, if someone named Braax the Destroyer walked up to you, with a giant axe and plate armor covered in spikes and pink Hello Kitty and My Little Pony stickers, and said, “My little girl made this for her daddy. Got a problem with that, punk?” the correct answer is, “No, Sir, have a nice day, Sir.” and NOT, “I dunno, all this pink clashes horribly with the bloodstains.”

          • Well, Bunker would likely have designed armor more for protection, and less for comedic effect. But yeah, in D&D, the armor could be a pair of metal bikini bottoms and a T-shirt diagramming out the best places to stab him, and the AC would be the same.

          • What’s wrong about Hello Kitty? She’s badass!

            And as Firefly taught us, you see a man walking around in such pink armor you KNOW he ain’t afraid of anything!

  7. On another note, I love the sketch. When I look at the hands for example, it highlights just how long it must take you to bust these great drawings out. Personally I can’t draw well, but when I was a kid I drew comics all the time, and hands were always the hardest. I decided that this is one of the major dividing lines between those who can draw well and those who can’t.

    • The saying is that a hand can portray just as much emotion as an entire human body, which is what makes them hard. People look at hands (and posture, and facial expressions) intuitively, rather than intellectually. Intellect is easy to fool, intuition is hard.

      All that said, it does take a lot less time now than it used to, though a single four panel strip can easily take from two to four hours.