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March 2014
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Episode 1729: Point of No Return

Episode 1729: Point of No Return

To change someone's opinion of another person, you need a strong, powerful, cathartic revelation. Having the main villain doing the reveal just makes things all the more dramatic for storytelling purposes.

So try to provide an NPC that the players can assume something incorrect about. You probably don't even need to plan this in advance. Simply have your regular cast of planned NPCs, and then when the players make some ridiculous wrong-headed assumption about one of them, run with it by providing tiny hints that feed into their mistaken opinion, but which really have another perfectly reasonable explanation.

After a while, the players will assume they know exactly what that NPC is like. Either for good or bad, depending which way the initial incorrect assumption rolls. Now you're set up to reveal at an appropriately dramatic time that they were mistaken all along. If they've assumed the NPC is good/friendly, then that NPC can turn out to have been behind whatever dastardly events are happening in the adventure - or at least in league with the main villain.

Perhaps even better, if you can set up an NPC so that the players suspect them of being up to something, that NPC can appear to save them when the PCs are in a pickle. Now, do they trust the actually trustworthy friend despite their suspicions, or do they reject the genuinely offered assistance?

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

This is a beautiful reversal of all the standard tropes. It's not even a monologue. They're actually talking to each other.

Krennic clearly enjoys this moment. Like someone that was running a 15 year long con, finally seeing the payoff from all their fun work.

But I have to wonder. If Galen really did not want to design these weapons, would he have deliberately and intentionally designed a self-destruct button or mechanism? Was he hoping that some sort of "Perry the Platypus" would come along and destroy his horrible, unwanted evil?

It certainly would explain the unshielded exhaust port and the ridiculous vulnerability to a single well-placed shot.

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 9, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Friday, November 9, 2018

Two Lumps - Oct 22, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Monday, October 22, 2018

Episode 1728: Turning to The Dark Slide

Episode 1728: Turning to The Dark Slide

In the context of a typical role-playing game, it makes sense to expose your character's children to weapons and teach them about them. And train them in the use of pole arms and lockpicks and thaumaturgic circles. After all, you may need a backup character to take over after that little jaunt to the nearest dungeon goes a tiny bit wrong.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

A flashback! A flashback!

Or, should we call it a prologue? Since it's in the middle of the story, an in-logue? Who really says that a prologue is better than a flashback?

This is a role-playing game. Is this a sequence where the GM and the players are playing out what happened in her childhood? Is this something that was in Bria's character background that Jim forgot about? Is this a declaration by the GM about what happened in her past?

But in the last two panels, they sit there, err... stand there facing each other off.

The dramatic statement by the "uncle" that Bria knew, knowing who he's talking to: "so, did you collect enough blasters, little girl?" The disrespect inherent in calling her "little girl".

And then, the reference to the giant blaster collection, the defiance of the disrespect of an adult talking to someone still considered an insolent child.

Let's take a good look at the scenes in the flashback. Panel two and the lights make it look like that is some type of weapons fire. Perhaps the town they are in is under attack, and they are actually trying to make plans for how they will get out. This would make panel five a sad goodbye panel.

The language of the little girl in panel five makes me wonder: What would she have done if she had come across some sort of oversized blaster? I mean, other than a ship weapon.

 Keybounce

Transcript

Squeaky [userpic]
Holiday Sale Coming

On Wednesday November 21st we will be implementing our InsaneJournal Holiday sale that will take place from 9am Eastern Standard Time (GMT -0500) until November 26th at 9am Eastern Standard Time (GMT -0500). These will be some of our best prices ever and we WILL be offering our Insane Userpics option.

Prices will be announced at the start of the sale.

Then, for the rest of November and the entire Month of December we will be selling Permanently Insane accounts for a discounted price of $40 (regular price $50)

This year we have decided to start our sale on the day before Thanksgiving so you can spend your time on Thanksgiving with your families. Please have a safe and happy holiday season.

Two Lumps - Nov 7, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Two Lumps - Nov 5, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Monday, November 5, 2018

Episode 1727: On the Krennical Path

Episode 1727: On the Krennical Path

There's always room for a villain or a monster or some other opponent to step out when the heroes are casually doing something and think they have the situation under control. Even better if it's a significant, named villain. Even better if it's a significant named villain who they really should have dealt with by now, but for some reason managed to get away.

Basically, any time a group of heroes is in the middle of doing some task that requires them to be in a place for a little while is an opportunity to throw some confrontation into the mix. A lot of the time this doesn't happen. Players are used to entering a room, killing the monster or evading the trap, and then having time to look around for treasure, investigate the bookshelf, tend their wounds, or plan their next step. Interrupt them by having some new threat appear!

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

I admit to being very surprised by this.

The ship has been blasting away at Bria, at the railings/walkway, and the tower possibly. However, not only are they all intact now, the ship is no longer attacking. What happened to it?

Then, in a dramatic pose, with a cloud of smoke, the man in a cape steps forward to oppose our hero. Striding forth from the smoke, you see a blaster leveled straight at you. And as you get a good look at the whites of the eyes of the person staring you down, with death in their hands pointed straight at you, what do they do?

They ignore the Evil Overlord List, they ignore common sense, they ignore the lesson of every James Bond villain, and they talk to you.

But: we find the answer. As Jim wants to grab the data crystal, and whack with it because it is better damage than a blaster, the GM says that it is locked into the console.

I can smell a monologue a comic page away.

N.B.: If you are going to tell someone that you got away, actually be away. Make the declaration over the radio or something.

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Oct 19, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Friday, October 19, 2018

Two Lumps - Oct 15, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Monday, October 15, 2018

Episode 1726: d20 Hindsight

Episode 1726: d20 Hindsight

Always be wary when your players start asking questions about exact distances, or weights, or anything else that can be quantified with a number. Because you just know they're up to something crazy like this plan.

"The boulder is too heavy to lift."
"How heavy is that?"
"It doesn't matter, it's far too heavy."
"But how heavy is it, exactly?"
"Well, about three tons."
"Okay, if I put my 10 foot pole on a fulcrum 2 inches from the boulder..."

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

Well, this was unexpected. He dropped the blaster.

56 times 150 would be a little less than 8000 m/s. Mach one is about 343 m/s. So... Mach 20?

I'm not sure that a bullet can be fired that fast.

At least he has the idea of throwing it down, instead of sideways. And the GM is really trying to keep the character alive.

Does Jim really believe that a roll of 14 would have been enough?

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 2, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Friday, November 2, 2018

Beck [userpic]
Kristofer Hivju | 65 Icons



THESE + 62 MORE )

Episode 1725: On the Burj of Disaster

Episode 1725: On the Burj of Disaster

If a skill or ability roll is of the "you fail, you die" sort, it behooves the well-prepared GM to offer another last-ditch attempt on the off chance (i.e. inevitably) that the first roll fails. The important thing is to make the second chance make sense within the parameters of the scene.

Another important thing to make sure of is that succeeding on the last-ditch chance isn't as good as succeeding on the first chance.

If someone might fall, they get a first chance to hold on or regain balance and remain relatively ready for action, and a last chance to grab something by flailing their arms out and ending up dangling over a chasm. If someone is potentially exposed to a poison, they get a first chance to avoid ingesting it or having it get into their bloodstream, and a last chance to tough out the effects and just be sick for a few days rather than die. If someone triggers a deadfall trap that collapses the ceiling, they get a first chance to jump clear and avoid the rubble, and a last chance to crouch into a ball and end up slightly wounded but trapped.

There are degrees of success, and if you need to throw a character a lifeline, make sure the success only just saves them, and inconveniences them in some other way. (And, as always, throwing them a lifeline should be used mostly if the situation and the failure are just dumb luck, not if they've ignored warning signs and done something suicidally stupid anyway.)

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

I think I'm starting to see a pattern here.

You have a chance to save your character. Just grab the railing and drop the weapon.

You have a chance to save your character. Your loyal followers are willing to carry your otherwise immobilized body out of the stronghold before it is destroyed.

You have a chance to save your character. Just provide him with some information, and he won't Force choke you.

Would Darth Maul have been willing to help pull him up out of the pit? That would make 4 for 4 in 4 sessions.

Now, there was a fifth character. But that character apparently died in a horrible offscreen tragedy, and we don't know the details. But you have to wonder: does Jim have a desire to prove the adage of "you might stop me, but you'll never stop my rerolling!".

But when all is said and done, Jim will take 3 rounds, and take advantage of "thinking is a free action", to try to figure out some way to survive without having to drop that blaster.

Now, has the transmission been stopped? We've pretty much been told that everyone is going to die, and that the plans are safely transmitted. The terminal with the data crystal has been destroyed, all controls for the transmission have been destroyed, and it's reasonable to assume that the dish's direction has been altered, or blown off entirely.

Therefore, we can assume that it has been safely transmitted by GM fiat/plot magic.

 Keybounce

Transcript

Beck [userpic]
Henry Cavill | 16 Icons



THESE + 13 MORE )

Beck [userpic]
Vanessa Marano



THESE + 11 MORE )

Beck [userpic]
Letitia Wright | 14 Icons



THESE + 8 MORE )

Beck [userpic]
Chris Hemsworth | 11 Icons



THESE + 8 MORE )

Two Lumps - Oct 31, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Two Lumps - Oct 29, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Monday, October 29, 2018

Episode 1724: I Do My Little Burn on the Catwalk

Episode 1724: I Do My Little Burn on the Catwalk

In the film, an Imperial fighter shoots at an Imperial facility, targeting a person in Imperial uniform.

Fortunately we have Jim to explain how this sort of thing happened.

Okay, okay, maybe the Imperial command noticed something was up and ordered the fighter to check it out and shoot anyone who happened to be there. So remember that when a group of PCs think that disguising themselves as the enemy is a good way to sneak around without being suspected. Sooner or later someone might notice that something isn't right, and then even wearing the disguise won't necessarily allay suspicion. Don't let it be a free pass.

[Reminder: Our guest commentators have not seen Rogue One. Part of the fun is seeing how their untainted impressions re-interpret the movie through the lens of our comic.]

Keybounce writes:

Pow. Pow. Pow.

In the final panel, the ship is not shooting at Bria so much as shooting between Bria and the tower. Good for the Empire.

The whole thing actually reminds me of an episode of Andromeda; the warrior guy was off on his own in a ship, and hidden; the main crew was being attacked, and they radioed off a message to him (wide beam transmission), with instructions "do not respond". Naturally, he responded "understood"; all the bad guys proceeded to leave the main ship alone (saving all of those characters), putting himself at risk (and now the other characters had to come back and save his butt).

Unfortunately, Bria's reveal of where she is located doesn't save anyone, and just results in...

Well, it should result in operational security being willing to destroy the dish to stop the transmission, if the transmission has not already been stopped by the destruction of the computer terminal.

Somehow, this version of the "how the plans got to the Rebels" isn't quite as enjoyable as the non-canon Phineas and Ferb episode.

Meanwhile, let me try to guess how the Rebels will finally win here. We know that Jim has talked the GM into letting this planet have exotic forms of ice. Presumably, one of those special forms has a property that Jim knows about, will surprise the GM with, and that in turn will allow the (are we down to only two now?) surviving Rebels to completely obliterate all of the remaining Imperial forces, allowing the Rebels to complete transmission of the plans, even though they die in the process.

And no, you don't get a bonus for the railings when they are completely destroyed by the attacking ship.

 Keybounce

Transcript

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