77 Responses to 751 – White Smoke Mountain • 118

  1. I dunno, but why do I feel that Zobbie of all people had the easiest punishment of them all? I mean, revealing the wall and everything… Plus, unless harpy songs do something real nasty in 4E, I would say a druid would have no troubles with it.

    Also: are the lyrics fake or real? Plus: not a half-bad harpy; reminds me of other hot-looking harpies…

    • I just noticed the ears. Everything has pointy ears in fantasy these days. Unless this is a half-elven harpy. I blame anime.

      At least Kevin drew a proper (Greek) harpy with feathers and bird’s legs and boobies. Not that weird demon thing with bat wings that the 3rd Edition Monster Manual tried to sell as a harpy.

      • Really? I though it was common knowledge(at least among those who knew what a harpy was) it was essentially a woman-bird hybrid. Some people just have to “improve” on good things.

        And I think “pointy ears” is more for denoting animalistic(predatory? enhanced hearing? like for demons) properties, or otherworldliness.

      • I have to correct myself. A proper harpy from Greek mythology would have birds wings instead of arms, not arms plus wings, basically a bird body with the head and breasts of a woman, similar to the sirens. From what I read, the concept may have evolved from the depictions of winged spirits of the Underworld which carried the ghosts of the dead to the Elysian Fields. Jason and the Argonauts fought some harpies that Zeus had tasked with stealing food from the blind seer Phineas.

        The whole idea of harpies having a magical voice is probably due to confusion with the sirens, which in Greek myth are bird maidens. The Lorelei from German folklore also used her enchanting voice to lure sailors on the Rhein river to their doom on the rocks.

        • I thought sirens were connected to the sea, and while sea birds(like gulls) could be that, aren’t they usually portrayed as more aquatic? Probably a modern media fuck up, or I’m confusing it too much with mermaids for some reason.
          And don’t you find it funny that a siren that used to lure sailors to their doom with their beautiful voices have become shrieking alarms, such as on top of police cars? Can’t think of the sailor who’d be enamored with those.

    • This is a harpy right out of the 4e Monster Manual, with no attempt to be mythologically accurate whatsoever. 4e harpies are part elf, otherwise I too would have forgone the pointy ears.

      The only person being “punished” was Martin/Fleece. everyone else is just experiencing the dungeon the way the DM likes to play it.

      • Well, Martin deserves some punishment. The rest of the party does, too, in varying amounts. And finally: they keep coming back for it, so they have no one to blame but themselves.

        Wait. 4e really made the Harpy “part-elf”? õ_o To quote Terry Pratchett’s Casanunda the Dwarf: “Those wizards. Always smoking SOMETHING.” I just have to know the reason to pollute an already murky bloodline with elf parts, so what’s the story?

        • The queen of some kingdom of elfs always assumed the form of a bird of prey in order to spy on her enemies. She was later cursed and all of her brood were forevermore a mix of elf and bird.


          • o_o … Now I >wish< whoever came up with that backstory had been smoking something mind-altering. Then at least the explanation might not have made me want to faceplant into my keyboard. Sheesh!

            • I’m still annoyed tha 4E made elves and drow into fairy creatures. Geez, as if elves hadn’t suffered enough gay jokes…

                • And AFAIK most elves, if not all, were spirits in folklore. Tolkien’s elves are only one side of things, and you could say they’re kind of supernatural too.

  2. One has to wonder how the shoulder-pads stay in place even when there are absolutely no shoulders.
    One would alssso wonder why Zobbie passsed the opportunity to ussse sssnake talk when turning into a sssnake, yet still bothered with the pun on that chick.

    My reaction to a snake, talking or otherwise, would be to pound it to a pulp with any available long-reaching instruments, and keep on pounding well after I’m quite certain it’s dead. I know that because that’s what I did when confronted with a common viper(Vipera berus) when walking my late dog and seeing it slither from under a parking car next to us(well, a cat running away was the first thing we saw, then the viper going after it).
    In true Orald fashion, seeing a possible threat to myself and my lovable doggy, I took the dog’s leash and collar(said collar was a thick metal chain) and pounded the viper for at least a full minute or two(I admit I was kinda hysterical and out of my mind at the time, and reptiles seem to have a tendency to still jerk around violently well after their heads are smashed). I just really don’t like poisonous critters and can’t stand to know they’re loose near me…Had way too many scorpions scuttle on the floor growing up.

    At least after I learned(rather early on) the difference between a legless Skink(what?! Skink isn’t recognized as a proper word?) and a snake and left those alone when I found them.

    Bah, I remember I once saw something in a bush that caught my eye and realized there was a small green snake swallowing a chameleon not half a meter from my head. Gods, I’d totally freak out if Nazis ever threw me into a room full of snakes.

      • Ours are green-brown, well camouflaged, limbless and look just like a snake. They are, however, somewhat stocky compared to most snakes I can think of of the same length, seem to be slower(it could be I just never found one that wasn’t still sluggish from cold, but the viper incident was at night and it was definitely much, much faster, hence my crazed reacti0n to it) and after you learn to recognize them I think there’s something a tad different about their heads/necks, but I can’t put my finger on it. At least it’s easy enough to distinguish them from the triangle/arrow-headed vipers.

        I don’t like any uninvited critters on my premises and I kill any lizards that come in and don’t run out fast enough when they see me. They seem to be in love with my bedroom, which is the absolute worst place for me to have critters in. I’m not fond of reptiles, especially ones that might think to crawl into bed with me for warmth.
        The Yuan-ti boss in the first chapter of Neverwinter Nights didn’t improve my opinion of them either, the tough bitch. 😡

          • It’s not the skinks I’m afraid of, you know, but rather the few snakes and multitude of scorpions.
            I’m just glad the only things other than flies, mosquitoes, some ants, occasional little moth and some of the more harmless looking spiders(not a single cockroach in over two years! you have no idea how much I’m relieved at that) that enter my flat are those damn lizards( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudakia_stellio ). And that’s living only on the second floor with lawns stretching from building to building, oh, and the fact that I have a mostly-closed porch with big old shutters that can’t be totally closed, allowing small critters to get inside. The door to said porch(laundry room!) is kept closed most of the time though.
            I guess it’s rather critter-free because the lawns and trees are kept trimmed and the town actually spends money on pesticides.

              • Didn’t bother the roaches in my childhood apartment. Unlike lizards, a roach can get into, and stay hidden, more easily inside a residence, and the little buggers BREED, oh how they BREED. 😯
                I’m guessing it’s both my better cleaned place, especially in regards to food remains laying around and the pesticides.

                I can’t really describe what a literal messed-up shit-hole my mother’s place is(only to say I’m surprised she didn’t keep my father’s corpse to decompose right there to add to the aroma). It was so bad it still embarrasses me to to fully describe everything. That’s another reason I don’t talk to that bitch.
                I believe the roach infestation(in later years it was truly horrible) caused me to become more than just disgusted like most people, I’ve probably got a bit of a phobia, only my phobias usually lead me to smashing critters in a frenzy rather than getting paralyzed with fear(see viper incident above), but afterward I still think there must be more hiding.

                • You should move to Canada if you hate them that much.

                  Seriously. Where I live, there are no:
                  1) Rats. (There is a very thorough ‘rat patrol’ that goes around and prevents rats from getting into the province.)
                  2) Cockroaches (see above).
                  3) Lizards / snakes / reptiles of any fashion (stay out of the Albertan deserts, though – those have rattlesnakes)
                  4) Scorpions.

                  Mosquitoes exist, but you’re never going to escape them no matter what. The odd frog hangs around creeks / ponds / etc., but in my experience they are very rare. The worst thing you can find, actually, is the hobo spider (whose bite can cause necrosis but not death). I’ve never seen a hobo spider. The crawlies you can find are basically limited to: flies, mosquitoes, harmless spiders, ants, the odd beetle, and the very odd centipede.

                  And, obviously, you can keep all of those out via general cleanliness. Flies / ants stay away if you don’t get food everywhere, beetles stay away if you keep food from getting everywhere (because they either eat that or the ants or stuff that won’t show up in your house like coniferous needles / bark / foliage in general. Mostly foliage). Spiders keep away if you keep the other bugs away, and centipedes stay away if it’s not a cool, damp, dark, bug-ridden environment. (Centipedes are just as voracious a predator as spiders are).

                  I will say this, though: our government sucks and our weather’s worse.

              • Yes, they do.

                Though in my nightmares all the critters band up to eat sexy, boyish-looking bisexuals named(well, uh, calling themselves that is) Orald. 😥
                Nah, haven’t had that kind of nightmare yet.

                Frogs though never eat scorpions, they only ferry them on their backs over wide bodies of water.

                • Dot’s because Frogs are shtopid und easily duped.

                  Heck, if lizards eat scorpions, und Hy liffd in an area vit lots uf de poisonous leedle boogers, Hy’d be tryink to gets as many lizards in my bedroom as possible!

                  • I have a strict “no other lifeforms bigger than a mosquito* in bed with me” policy in place, and that goes double for humans.

                    *I’ll get those tiny buggers too!

                    • @Elfguy Was editing my reply to Rock to add something for you but I took too much time, so I’ll keep this one short and won’t retell my experience with dogs in bed(it’s not what it sounds! 😳 ).
                      I’m not really ready for a new pet after my dog died, and besides that, a dog requires a lot of care I can’t offer as a “single dad”. Cats are more autonomous, but I’m not really a cat person beyond some petting. Cats just don’t play like dogs.

                    • Orald: Cats can play like anything. You just need to find the right toys; an end of string, something fuzzy that distantly resembles a mouse… Personally, I favour some string big enough for Ms. Kitty to see, but thin enough that she can’t get an easy grip. Both hilarious good fun for me, and fun exercize for her as she tries to savage and kill her ‘prey’.

                    • @Elfguy: Could be, never really tried. And I strictly mean the the kind that lives in rivers and builds dams.

                      @Rock: You misunderstood me. It’s not much of a play for me if I only get to watch, amusing but not enough, and getting them to chase something is only half fun. Dogs respond better than cats to my play-style, since cats seem to be kind of afraid of a much bigger creature “fighting” them, and they’re very quick to use their needle-sharp claws(and sometimes teeth). There’s also little point to having a tugging contest with a 5 Kg cat as opposed to a dog weighing 4-5 times that much(though playing tug-war with puppies and small dogs is still funny). Cats just don’t seem too interested in most of my play.
                      I understand dogs. Cats? Not so much.

        • The difference is that skinks (Scincidae) and the harmless blindworms (Anguis fragilis) are lizards, not snakes. Blindworms have no limbs, and some genera of skinks also have no limbs or only tiny reduced limbs and resemble snakes. But lizards have eyelids and can blink. Snakes cannot blink. Lizards have a fleshy tongue, while snakes have a forked tongue.

          I just realized blindworms are an Eurasian species so all American forum members probably don’t even know what I’m talking about… 😐

          • Can’t say I’ve ever seen a blindworm, not that I remember at least. The ones on Wikipedia look very much like the skinks I mentioned, but I believe those were still skinks.
            Now that you mention the eyelids it could be that subconsciously I noticed that but couldn’t put my finger on it.
            I also think they might be much more docile than snakes, can’t think of a skink ever trying to do anything else than crawl into hiding at the sight of me(granted, that’s what most creatures do 😥 ). And forgive me, but I don’t tend to open their mouths to check out the tongue.
            The whole point of encountering a snake-like creature and determining if it’s a snake or not is NOT to get close to its mouth, since I’m not exactly having fun in the lab but rather trying not to get bitten and die.

        • Hm, I’m the opposite. I love reptiles, their appearance, their colours, the wonderful scaly or silky feel when you touch them.

          • Reptiles can be fascinating, almost like insects, but I just don’t like to touch them. Kinda sucks if I ever want to do some field-research. I do better with furry things, as long as they’re not trying to eat me.

  3. *lifts finger*
    Player: “Um, excuse me, Mr. Unseen Dungeonmaster, but aren’t snakes technically deaf? I mean, if we apply real-life biology. Shouldn’t snake!Zobbie thus be immune to the harpy’s…”
    DM: “It’s sonic damage. Shut up.”
    Player: “I thought harpies only had mind-controlling songs? Which, being verbal compulsion effects, can be countered by bardic countersongs. Are you confusing harpies with destrachans?”
    DM: “Rocks fall, everyone…”
    Player: “Alright, alright!”

    • I was gonna ask about it, but sonic damage does imply vibrations, and snakes can feel them just fine, probably better than humans. Regardless of sensing it or not, they’d still vibrate like everything else and take damage.
      You could make something to lessen the vibrations with science, but I’m not really good at it so I’m not sure what. Maybe a countering resonance, waves canceling each other etc.

      And people still say D&D isn’t entirely according to real world physics…

      • Well, if you want to consider science, then there’s this problem with sonic “damage” altogether. Sonic “damn that’s uncomfortable”, well of course, that seems quite possible. But sonic “damage” to something that isn’t crystaline to begin with, like jelly-like living beeings, whose bones are covered in dampening jelly-like tissue, that seems way out of proportion.

        • I believe the theory behind sonic damage is the vibrations are so intense and rapid, it will do damage as the very molecules we are made of vibrate at a very high frequency

    • I don’t recall previous editions, (I could look it up but I just woke and I’m not feeling that energetic yet) but 4e harpies have 2 sound-based attacks; the “lure you in” song, and the “destroy your bones” screech. Being deaf does make you immune to the first, though not the second.

  4. This week on American IdolHARPIES!

    Seriously, we need to get a whole group of harpies in a line dancing the music hall Can-Can. :mrgreen:

    • Evil monsters only know trashy music…it would be a “Garbage Can-Can”

      And judge Oscar the Grouch gives them a perfect Ten!

    • It would be an improvement from all the medusas already there…

      Not that I’d know. Never watched it or the local version asit’s just so far outside my area of interest I’d probably watch sports before I’d watch that kind of drivel. But I’d hazard a guess that 90% of contestants would be right at home on a fashion show, it’s TV-land, after all.

      • All I can make out is “best” as the first word on the third row. And suck at songs too. 🙁

        ETA: 1st word 1st row- and(?) 1st word, 2nd row- kids(?), 3rd word 2nd row- the(?), 2nd word 3rd row- hurt(?) 3rd word 3rd row- they/them(?)
        How far off am I? It’s kinda hard guessing at this poor resolution.

  5. someone should tell Zobbie that is butchered-ye-old-English and that actual old English did not ever actually sound like that

  6. The players should totally steal that karaoke machine and stuff it in a bag of holding. I just want to know how it’s being powered. Maybe by the power device spell from d20 Modern?