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Order of the Stick discussion *POTENTIAL SPOILERS!*
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Author Topic: Order of the Stick discussion *POTENTIAL SPOILERS!*  (Read 12983 times)
fiveyearwinter
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« on: March 20, 2007, 09:06:38 AM »

Is anyone else on the edge of their goram SEAT with this war? I'm freaking out. I started reading OotS when Penny Arcade mentioned it, and I've been keeping up ever since. Steve's right - Rich started out with easy D&D throwaway gags, but the whole thing has matured greatly. I care about the characters. And this war has just blown me away.

If you don't read OotS, you shouldn't be reading this thread. Instead, go here: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html and start from the beginning.
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2007, 09:52:50 AM »

I discovered OOTS around issue 250 or so.  I spent almost an entire weekend reading it.

BTW, when you get to the part of the story where you encounter "Haleyspeak" (you'll know it when you see it), don't try and decipher it unless you have either a lot of time to kill or you enjoy frustrating yourself.  Yes, it is a simple substitution cypher, but it changes from strip to strip.  I don't know what method he is using to create his key. I spent way too much time deciphering what she was saying, but each time I tried, I pretty much started from scratch. He said that the hard copy version has translations in it.   
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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2007, 10:15:58 AM »

Oh, I didn't even bother. There's a tool going around on the forum that translates it based on the cypher for the particular comic. I, myself, LIKED the fact that I couldn't tell what she was saying. I mean, yes, it gives you a bit of "internal monologue" - but it made the whole thing connect better. I felt the frustration the other characters felt.


I get way too attached.

So you're caught up now. Read the lastest? Like, z0mg!
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2007, 02:10:31 PM »

I have a button in Firefox called "Daily" that I click on every morning when I get to work (actually, right click -> open in tabs). It has about 15 things in it that I check every morning.  OOTS is one of them. ("show unread posts since your last visit" is another  Tongue )
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 07:48:42 AM »

Just Google the words "cryptogram" and "solver," and you should find what you need to decipher what Haley is saying. Most of the time, though, it's more or less what you'd expect her to be saying.
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 10:57:42 AM »

Is anyone else on the edge of their goram SEAT with this war? I'm freaking out.

Actually, I was a lot more cliffhung by the Nale's Impersonation plot thread just a few  months back -- that was presented as a more immediate danger to the characters.  I think Elan's suddenly gaining competence (without losing his goofiness) and saving the day has got to be the high point of the story so far, and tying it in with Haley's resolution of her problems was a masterstroke.  You so rarely expect anything good to happen in the middle of the plot like this, and it was a fantastic payoff of so many things.  I even admire the cleverness of having Roy (as close as the story has to a "main" character) sleep through the whole battle while the other characters get their moment, and his disbelief when he finds out what he missed.
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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 11:02:45 AM »

For some reason, I don't take Nale very seriously. It's not that I don't view him as a threat, but for some reason I just can't imagine him having any major, permanent effect on the lives of the characters. I suspect dark things will be coming our way the closer OotS gets to a direct and final confrontation with Xykon (I will be surprised if it happens during this battle).
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 12:33:41 PM »

(I will be surprised if it happens during this battle).

So will I, since they are only 13th level.  Tongue


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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 12:41:13 PM »

I remember really feeling sorry for Elan when he was stuck in jail.
I also liked the way the author showed the same scene twice (where Elan swings in to save her).  The first time he shows the scene, it generated a very big "wtf!?" reaction, but the second I was really pumped.  I also remember taking great glee in deciphering Haley's dialog and discovering her telling Elan to "...kick his ass!"

There are so many things I have loved in that strip, I could gush about it all afternoon.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 01:40:10 PM »

The Haley silence bit didn't really work for me. I liked her a lot, and I was pretty ehhhh on the whole "her inner spirits are talking to her" thing.

I am shocked by how much I *like* Elan. He's neat.

Have to confess my favorite bit was the Monty Python routine. Smiley
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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 01:43:32 PM »

I thought that the introduction of Miko was interesting...finding out she was a PALADIN after she seemed like such a dark/scary character was well-played. And the idea that a religious zealot can be driven to terrible things? Oh hey, that's not loaded or anything. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 01:48:47 PM »

I thought that the introduction of Miko was interesting...finding out she was a PALADIN after she seemed like such a dark/scary character was well-played. And the idea that a religious zealot can be driven to terrible things? Oh hey, that's not loaded or anything. Smiley

And the picture of her outline in the lightning flash is a great example of a powerful image that is a very simple drawing.
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 01:50:29 PM »

What does it say about my brain that when she turned out to be a paladin, my reaction was "Well, of course!"

Heh.

(Bearing in mind that I read them through fast, which I'm sure is a really different experience than seeing a new one every few days!)
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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2007, 10:07:55 AM »

I'm pretty sure Roy is my hero.
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SFEley
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2007, 10:35:56 AM »

I'm pretty sure Roy is my hero.

Cool.  But I'm kind of worried about the fact that he's still wearing Xykon's crown around his neck. 
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 10:39:48 AM »

I'm partial to Belkar. Tongue


"This is the happiest moment of my life..."
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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2007, 10:44:13 AM »

I wonder why Xykon said "that guy with the green sword, whoever he is."

I am a little rusty on past comics, but I thought he knew who Roy and the OotS were.
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« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2007, 10:55:38 AM »

I wonder why Xykon said "that guy with the green sword, whoever he is."

I am a little rusty on past comics, but I thought he knew who Roy and the OotS were.

he said "Green hilted sword."  Roy's name is Roy Greenhilt. 

There is an ongoing gag with Xykon that he doesn't care about what other people are doing around him, so he often forgets what he has done to other people. The bit (way back when) where Roy tries to tell Xykon that he killed his father and Xykon barely remembers it is hilarious.
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2007, 10:56:10 AM »

I can't wait to see what the monster under the umbrella is.
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2007, 11:01:52 AM »

I wonder why Xykon said "that guy with the green sword, whoever he is."
I am a little rusty on past comics, but I thought he knew who Roy and the OotS were.

It's just the way he is.  He can't be bothered to remember small details, like his army's strategy or the adventurer who once destroyed him.  

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fiveyearwinter
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« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2007, 11:04:29 AM »

::waves his hand over his head in an indication that he did not catch the joke the first time around::
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SFEley
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« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2007, 11:04:37 AM »

There is an ongoing gag with Xykon that he doesn't care about what other people are doing around him, so he often forgets what he has done to other people. The bit (way back when) where Roy tries to tell Xykon that he killed his father and Xykon barely remembers it is hilarious.

Here and here.  

(See what you've made me do?  You've made me go back and read this stuff again!)
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« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2007, 12:41:12 PM »

"Yeah? And who the hell are you, sword boy?"
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2007, 03:11:24 PM »

Quote
(See what you've made me do?  You've made me go back and read this stuff again!)

You poor thing. That must have been awful. Next time you should delegate to share the pain. Smiley
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BlairHippo
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2007, 01:47:03 PM »

I can't wait to see what the monster under the umbrella is.

A fragment of the Snarl.

Dude.  I'm tellin' ya.
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« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2007, 02:01:31 PM »

And please allow me to add my voice to the chorus praising this strip.  Rich creates every strip by starting with a block of raw Awesome, marinating it in a vat of Ohmygod, and liberally sprinkling it with Hell Yeah.

Sure, he's made some mistakes.  Order of the Stick is quite accessible to people who aren't hard-core D&D nerds, but you'd never know it from the first strip; he's on record lamenting that he opened the series with a freakin' 3.0 -> 3.5 conversion joke.  And Crypto-Haley wore out her welcome in a bloody hurry.

But it's smart, fun, fast-paced, and insanely quotable.  It's not just that the current storyline has me riveted -- it's that I can't remember the last storyline that DIDN'T have itching to see the next installment.

(And Thog in the leprechaun suit ... there is so much funny it hurts my eyes....)
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SFEley
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« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2007, 04:48:55 PM »

I can't wait to see what the monster under the umbrella is.

A fragment of the Snarl.
Dude.  I'm tellin' ya.

I'd be quite amused if it turned out to be just a goblin. 

An epic level goblin, of course.
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« Reply #27 on: March 23, 2007, 04:53:03 PM »

(And Thog in the leprechaun suit ... there is so much funny it hurts my eyes....)

Yes, that's actually a perfect example of what I admire.

Thog in a leprechaun suit?  Funny.  He could have played that up a lot more, and most comics would have.  A more elaborate story about it probably would have gotten some laughs.

Thog in a leprechaun suit and no one making a big deal out of it?   Just passing it off as part of Thog's character and moving on?  Brilliant.
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BlairHippo
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« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2007, 04:54:12 PM »

I'd be quite amused if it turned out to be just a goblin. 

An epic level goblin, of course.

As would I.

Of course, it would be a goblin who's strangely unable to perceive the gates responsible for keeping the Snarl in check....

I'm tellin' ya, man.
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« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2007, 05:05:58 PM »

I was hoping for a terrasque.

I agree with you steve, on the "no one making a big deal of it" Thog leprecaun thing.
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SFEley
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« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2007, 05:33:05 PM »

I was hoping for a terrasque.

It would have to be the tarrasque.  If I remember my Monster Manual correctly, there's only one in the multiverse.  It would also have to have a really good Reduction spell on it, because isn't it supposed to be something like the size of a city block?

Still, Rich Burlew could pull it off.  And, like the vampire Hello Kitty umbrella, he probably wouldn't even make a big deal about it.  >8->
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2007, 05:42:30 PM »

Quote
It would have to be the tarrasque.  If I remember my Monster Manual correctly, there's only one in the multiverse.  It would also have to have a really good Reduction spell on it, because isn't it supposed to be something like the size of a city block?

Alas, my meagre RPG skills have been revealed.

(I did know the terrasque was too big, but like the sucker I am, I hope anyway. Wink )
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SFEley
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« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2007, 05:59:28 PM »

Alas, my meagre RPG skills have been revealed.

Heck, just knowing about the tarrasque in a D&D context earns you cool points from me.  >8->
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2007, 11:17:19 PM »

"The tarrasque is 70 feet long and 50 feet tall, and it weighs about 130 tons."
from
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/tarrasque.htm

IIRC, it was an individual monster in 1st edition, but I think in 2nd edition there were passages that implied that there was actually more than one.  The 3.5 edition of the monster manual explicitly says that there is only one.

btw, in 2nd edition there were monsters that were MUCH bigger than a tarrasque.  I can't recall what they were called, but they were Godzilla sized - 300 feet tall, etc...  I sometimes pondered just a how a person with a 3 foot longsword was supposed to hurt it.

Yes, I have no life.  Tongue
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« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2007, 07:20:29 PM »

Hey, people in the neoconservatism thread, come back to a place where I can read without my blood pressure going through the roof. Wink

Zombie dragons: Totally awesome, mostly awesome, or just kinda awesome?
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2007, 08:09:45 PM »

Hey, people in the neoconservatism thread, come back to a place where I can read without my blood pressure going through the roof. Wink

Zombie dragons: Totally awesome, mostly awesome, or just kinda awesome?


From a DM's perspective, zombie dragons can be very useful. While they are really just big mindless thugs, they always follow orders and they can sit around for months waiting for PC's to show up (if you need a longer timespan, switch to skeletal dragons).  They have an extra meta-gaming advantage is that they lack moral ambiguity.  Any monster that has intelligence, might not actually be evil. Sure, most orcs, ogres, trolls, demons and cloakers ARE evil, but the next one the party runs into might just be that exception. If your DM is like me, and is occasionally in touch with his IEB (Inner Evil Bastard), the party will encounter monsters that act "against type" just often enough to make them think that  they can't just mindlessly kill every monster they encounter.  Even undead might be willing to change their ways, but MINDLESS undead lack that ability.  Being mindless, they obviously have no mind to change, and being undead, they were created through the use of evil magic.  Therefore, they are clearly evil and can safely be destroyed.  Note that not all automatons fall into this category.  Many such creatures - golems, animated objects - can be created by neutral or good characters, leaving their evilness in question.

Having no moral ambiguity is important when you want to reward the players with a no-holds barred battle against a monster that they can pound into mush and feel good about afterward.

I'm not doing much to counter that "having no life" comment am I?  Tongue
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« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2007, 09:48:56 PM »

No, but that was super interesting. Smiley

I have only been part of one D&D campaign and it was, I fear, unsatisfactory. Hoping to hook up with one next year, for I require a hobby.

I like what you're saying about moral ambiguity. It would seem to make the adventure more interesting than the generic hack/slash.

Do you have any other DMing tips? (not that I'm likely to DM, but the intersection betwen DMing and writing fantasy novels is an interesting one.)
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2007, 07:05:24 AM »

No, but that was super interesting. Smiley

I have only been part of one D&D campaign and it was, I fear, unsatisfactory. Hoping to hook up with one next year, for I require a hobby.

I like what you're saying about moral ambiguity. It would seem to make the adventure more interesting than the generic hack/slash.

Do you have any other DMing tips? (not that I'm likely to DM, but the intersection betwen DMing and writing fantasy novels is an interesting one.)


Knowing that you're a writer, let me warn you against the biggest mistake I see DM's make (and I confess that I have done it more than once).  Don't try and force the game to follow a defined plot.  Make a world and let the players drive the story.

There is a longwinded version here, along with some more advice. 
http://clintmemo-d20.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2007, 01:15:10 PM »

Zombie dragons: Totally awesome, mostly awesome, or just kinda awesome?

Mostly awesome, except in this context, where we actually got to see Xykon & Cronies waste the dragon in question.  For me, that bumps it to "Totally awesome."

Xykon is a very eco-friendly villain.  I've never seen a baddie so interested in recycling.

Even undead might be willing to change their ways, but MINDLESS undead lack that ability.  Being mindless, they obviously have no mind to change, and being undead, they were created through the use of evil magic.  Therefore, they are clearly evil and can safely be destroyed.

Heh heh heh.

Want to give your IEB a treat?  Then Google "Scarred Lands" Hollowfaust and get with the clicking.

Warning:  your IEB may insist you make an Amazon.com purchase today.

Do you have any other DMing tips? (not that I'm likely to DM, but the intersection betwen DMing and writing fantasy novels is an interesting one.)

(Not directed at me, but I'll butt-in anyway.  Hooray for the internets!)

Know your audience -- and in this case, your audience is the people sitting across the table from you.

If they're bored by combat, then an "action"-heavy campaign is a bad idea.

If they're bored by sitting around and talking, make sure they have something to do.  ("Something" defaults to combat in most games, but a good breaking & entering session can be tense and fun as hell without a single shot being fired or sword being swung.)

If you have a heterogeneous group of players with differing standards of fun, you have some juggling to do.  Accept that you're going to drop the balls every now and then, but also know that it can be done.  Some of my proudest moments as a GM came from sessions where the Gun Bunny, Sneaky Martial Artist, Fireball Machine, and Turbo Schmoozer all left the table smiling and eager to return next week.

Don't be a pandering pushover, because they'll lose respect for you, get bored, and go do something else.

Don't be an iron-fisted hardass, because they'll get frustrated, get bored, and go do something else.

Cheat like crazy.

Never never never let them catch you cheating.

Enjoy the "Oh, shit!!!" looks on their faces when they realize the villain (you) has outsmarted them.

Let them revel in their hard-earned glory when they manage to outsmart the villain (you).

Never mistake "hammering them with your infinite pool of resources until they crack" for "outsmarting them."

Never forget that actions have consequences.  And when they forget, enjoy finding ways to remind them.

And always look for opportunities to either show them or let them do something they've never seen/done before.

The last extended D&D campaign I was in as a player, I had some differences in style with the GM; he had a strong tendency towards overpowered munchkinism, and tended to have so many side-quests brewing that the campaign felt like it had Attention Deficit Disorder.  But there were enough brilliant moments that he kept me coming back for more.  One of my all-time favorites was when half the party got their heads infested by a dream demon.

The GM took each of us aside and did a brief 5-10 minute solo mini-adventure.  We knew we were dreaming, and our dreams put us in some situation where we either had to accept the aid of this very scary-looking demon dude or die.  I plummeted to my "death" (when I woke up I was fine), as did the party cleric.  The ranger and the combat mage accepted the help, and wound up with terrifying dreams every night that they couldn't distinguish from reality.

Now, telling the players that they're having trouble telling when they're awake and when they're sleeping is one thing -- the two affected players were cool with role-playing it, but mostly they just dealt with some "Slept Like Shit" penalties to their dice roles and moved on.  It's not like they had any trouble telling what was "real" and what wasn't.

Or so they thought.

The GM pulled me and the cleric aside before a game and told us this afternoon, we'd be role-playing their demon-driven dream.  He told us that if we stayed in-character and managed to cause their messy, unpleasant deaths, he'd give us a little in-game perk for it.  Bonus points for making our ultimate betrayal as shocking and unexpected as possible.

Short version:  we pulled it off.  (When the combat mage is expecting you to cast Cat's Grace on him, hitting him with 20' Radius Silence instead is one hell of a practical joke -- and if you time it right, a fatal one.)  All of a sudden, getting that demon's hooks out of their skulls became Priority A-#1 for those two players.

It was one hell of a memorable stretch of role-playing.

(And one that had a very amusing coda involving a vaguely-worded wish, my character's roguish notion of get-well presents, and a pair of high-priced escorts.  But that's another story.)
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« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2007, 03:35:38 PM »

"Cheat like crazy."

I did actually run a few games once, and this was my watchword.

If the battle was too easy, the monsters got more hit points. If the battle was too hard, it got fewer. Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2007, 07:03:29 PM »

"Cheat like crazy."

I did actually run a few games once, and this was my watchword.

If the battle was too easy, the monsters got more hit points. If the battle was too hard, it got fewer. Smiley

It's not unlike JMS saying that all ships travel at the speed of plot.
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« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2007, 08:33:06 PM »

Quote
It's not unlike JMS saying that all ships travel at the speed of plot.

Also, elevators.

*

Love the dream thing, Blair.
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« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2007, 10:27:56 PM »

You guys make me earnestly desire to run an online game of Nobilis.

Of course, I type this as I'm sitting on a cruise ship with a martini by my side, so please don't hold me to any obligations after I'm sane again.  >8->

Fixed link
-Bdoomed
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« Reply #43 on: April 02, 2007, 10:50:30 PM »

You guys make me earnestly desire to run an online game of Nobilis.

Of course, I type this as I'm sitting on a cruise ship with a martini by my side, so please don't hold me to any obligations after I'm sane again.  >8->

Never played it, have heard good things about it.  If this still sounds like a good idea after you sober up, I'd appreciate if you could see fit to deal me in.  Smiley

(BTW, is anybody else reading Balder's other project, Erfworld?  http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0001.html  If you're not, you really ought to.  Damn, this guy is good.)
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« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2007, 10:53:14 AM »

I don't really get it. Is it based on Warhammer?
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2007, 12:20:07 PM »

You guys make me earnestly desire to run an online game of Nobilis.

Of course, I type this as I'm sitting on a cruise ship with a martini by my side, so please don't hold me to any obligations after I'm sane again.  >8->

Never played it, have heard good things about it.  If this still sounds like a good idea after you sober up, I'd appreciate if you could see fit to deal me in.  Smiley

(BTW, is anybody else reading Balder's other project, Erfworld?  http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0001.html  If you're not, you really ought to.  Damn, this guy is good.)

I have. It's bizarre.  I don't enjoy it as much as OOTS, but it's interesting enough that I keep coming back.
...and hte dream thing was cool, but I didn't comment on it for fear of turning this into a "best moments from my game" thread - I know I'd be the biggest offender! Tongue
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Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.
Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2007, 02:12:05 PM »

So start a Best Moments from My Game thread. Smiley
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ClintMemo
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« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2007, 02:36:37 PM »

That would would pretty much remove any doubt about me having a life...or ever having had a life.  Tongue

I have characters that are older than some of the people on this board...people with children.  Tongue
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Life is a multiple choice test. Unfortunately, the answers are not provided.  You have to go and find them before picking the best one.
Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2007, 02:47:06 PM »

Hey, I won't judge.

My fiance lives 1,500 miles away from me. My primary activity, besides "writing" and "not writing," is "pining." I am certifiably life-free for at least the next two months.
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