46 Responses to 724 – White Smoke Mountain • 91

    • Both! First Morty’s plan and then throw a rock at the bubble holding out the hot water, with either a ward to keep the water in the room or a prepped surf-craft for riding the wave of boiling water that comes gushing out the door.

  1. why not just boil the crab and hide inside a barrier?

    also isnt kiting technically against the rules? or “discouraged”?

      • “Kiting” is getting the attention of a monster and making it chase you while you basically run around in circles or lead it to/away from your party members. I believe it’s one of the more common A.I. exploits in M.M.O.s.

        • There’s nothing wrong with kiting in D&D if you can get it to work. But monsters in D&D don’t always react the same way that computer programs do.

          • Yeah, when you shoot a Hill Giant in the butt with an arrow in D&D, they tend to stop chasing the fighter and come after you, regardless of how many taunts and insults the fighter is using.

          • Yeah, why do the makers of MMO’s do that? Seems any semi-intelligent mob would not only take out the squisy healers and dps-ers first, but would also not allow you tell kill their friends within sound and sight and just ignore you (aggro area). Sure, 5 people would not be able to wipe out 300 equally leveled people, a few at a time.. but why should they be able to?


            • The simplest answer is server limitations. The more complicated the A.I., the more processing power each monster’s threat assessment loop takes. The server has to run the threat assessment loop every few seconds for every single “activated” monster in every single part of the game world. That’s a lot of data being crunched every nanosecond just on the threat-assessment loop alone. Then it still has to deal with having the monster draw and follow a path to the designated threat, collision detection, spell effects, etc.

              Some verisimilitude must be sacrificed in the interest of keeping the game playable within the hardware’s tolerances.

              I only play D&D Online, but I can tell you that the monsters there *do* attempt to take out casters first – sometimes making a bee-line right past the front-line melee threats to get to the cleric. But this, too, is exploitable.

              • WoW and EQ both give added weight to threat for healers in particular, 10 points of damage to a monster causes 10 points of threat, while 10 points of healing a teammate causes 15. this can be mitigated by different strategies the players can employ, thus “outsmarting” the monsters.

                • I don’t think healing draws aggro in DDO, but I’m not 100% sure.

                  In my observations, mobs in DDO will typically go after whoever has done the most damage to them. And a mob that has not yet taken damage seems to go after targets roughly in this order:

                  Summoned creatures
                  Primary casters (clerics, wizards, sorcerers)
                  Everyone else.

                  Some classes (fighters, paladins, rogues) can train in Intimidate, which will put you at the top of the mob’s threat list regardless of any other factors, provided you can make the skill check.

                  Conversely, Rogues can also train in Diplomacy, which moves you down on the threat list. “It wasn’t me! Go hit that guy over there instead!”

                • Sony Online Entertainment developers seem to use a similar algorithm in Star Wars Galaxies with regard to damage and healing by medics. Of course, there are professions, such as Jedi, that can draw aggro away from others.

                  The trick in today’s strip sounds a lot like my SWG Spy decoy trick that I use to solo getting collection parts from MOBs above my pay grade: sic a combat droid on it and trip Advanced Decoy, which makes a hologram of the spy while he drops into stealth mode, then run over and snatch the collection part while the critter beats the snot out of the combat droid and the hologram.

                  As for the trick in the strip, I can only think of the altered proverb that applies to D&D monsters in any edition: “The bigger they are, the harder they hit.” My response as a druid to flying in and distracting a giant crab (which probably has Improved Grab or the 4E equivalent) is, “The hell you say!”

                  • I wonder if there’s a Star Trek MMO(with people, not spaceships) out there…Somehow, even though I’m not a real fan of either ST or SW, I could understand why it’s fun or cool to play, say, a Jedi, and at least the Stormtroopers’ armor looks cool. But what does ST has to offer? A bunch of boring guys in terrible, uncomfortably close-fitting cloths wielding terribly designed ergonomic monstrosities?

  2. Aw, Martin has to face the truth has he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

    That proves Morty is the better player. Morty actually pays attention and works with the adventure, while Martin tries to beat the adventure to win by cheat at a metagame level, either by abusing rules loops or by simply manipulating the game itself.

          • Clearly the Druid Shapeshifts in Lesser Earth use the TOON rules…where Shapeshifting is NOT a disguise ability, and you’re always identifiable as yourself, regardless of what shape you take.

        • After reading that list it would seem easier to simply take the appearance of a “Good” guy and reign supreme as a “King/Queen”. Since the objective is to rule all as 1 and wear bright happy colors you can more easily achieve this goal compared to that of a self proclaimed dictator that forces rule on all. Much like HR in todays corporate world.

          • Speaking as the future Evil Overlord of Earth(Working title…How about Great Omniscient Dictator?), on behalf of all current and past overlords, tyrants and dictators, the whole point is to rule by FORCE and crush and subjugate the people. Otherwise there’s no “dictating” or “evil” involved and that’s no fun.

            Goody-goody appearance and such are possible, somewhat entertaining(in the ironic/surprising fashion) MEANS to achieve your dictatorship, but are not the GOAL itself. Anyone who continues on with the do-gooder facade after they can drop it is not an evil overlord, and we at the Evil Association would like you to stop referring to such pansies as such.

            • I can’t help but spell GODEA in my head after reading… wait a minute… go…dea… Go DEA!!! Drug Educational Awareness! A time of absolute boredome and longing to slit ones own wrists!

              You sir are a tyrant!

              • Why, err, sure, that’s exactly what I meant. No drugs for everyone! Muahahahaha!
                But you’ll still have to refer to me as G.O.D.

                I was gonna try something more elaborate than EA but frankly I got tired of editing my post.

        • Actually, in the first(and only, as far as I’m concerned) Conan movie, James Earl Jones’s shtick was all about snakes, and in the Orgy Scene he probably saved his ass by fleeing through a tunnel specifically made for his snake-form’s dimensions. So it does help sometimes.

          • Y’know, I’ve always wondered why Valeria never took a swipe at him as he went through that hole. The way the scene is cut shows that our heroes were in a position to see his transformation, and, by the time she reaches the throne, a sizable portion of his tail is still outside the tunnel. A single hack &/or slash (heh) would be the work of a second or two, and the princess wasn’t going anywhere…indeed she hardly moved at all until Valeria grabbed her. I’ve aslo (< Norse for "also") wondered; if she had, what portion of Doom's human body would that correspond to? His ass, a leg..his "ego"?

            I've also-also wondered if perhaps I've watched Conan more often than is necessarily healthy.

            • There ain’t no such thing as too much when it comes to Conan. I’ve also-also(I could make it a Monty Python joke but I’m too tired to try my luck) pondered that, and you can see she hesitates for a second there and by that time he’s gone. They were supposed to kidnap the princess, and both her and Subotai didn’t want to go any further than that. Subotai actually tells/asks Conan not to try for anything grander than that when they’re applying the war-paint by the camp-fire before going on the mission, but of course Conan doesn’t seem to agree.

              And I’m sure it’s not the first time I’ve said it, but Arnold looks rather dashing in that scene, even though bulky body-builders aren’t my type.

    • The jury is still out on that. For a start, an Unseen Servant has a Str of 2 or 20 pounds of lift. Now that box is roughly as long as a man’s body (judging by the skeletal remains), probably contains a trident (Ripple?) and other stuff, and is almost certainly waterlogged so that isn’t going to go well. The Unseen Servant might, just, be able to drag the thing but certainly not discreetly. The net outcome should be, as Retiarius points out, an open strike on the druid, a wasted spell and one ticked off crab.

        • Bunker’s been getting into bed with a troll, Martin wants to get in bed with Bunker and Enkidu will apparently get into bed with anybody… Oh, and it seems the girls sleep with this lot. I think the ticks and crabs would probably catch something nasty.

      • Mage hand lifts 20 lbs, unseen servant can pick up 100. (There is also a magic item that lets you summon extra servants, AND they all get 300 lbs of lift each… though nobody has one of those.)

        • All of which adds up to a plan that just might work, so long as Zobbie stays out of the crab’s range and keeps its eye-stalks aimed up, not down at the box. It’s unbelievable. They didn’t even need a cheat as far as I can tell. o_o

          • The SRD is 3.5. Here is the first sentence of the 4.0 listing:

            You conjure a Medium unseen servant of invisible force. It obeys your commands, moves at your speed, can lift up to 100 pounds, and performs basic functions and repetitive tasks, such as cleaning, making camp, and moving, holding, or carrying objects.

            • Ah-ha… It’s so hard to keep track of all the changes brought about by WoC’s relentless quest to generate more source material to sell us. I have to confess I took one look at 4th ed and decided to stick with Rolemaster, particularly after Iron Crown admitted they’d jumped the shark with RMSS and RMFRP (seriously, what was that about?) and went back to second ed, I mean RMC.

              So H.O.L.E. is set in 4th ed? How progressive. 😉