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March 2014
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Episode 1603: A Low Move

Episode 1603: A Low Move

If you try something enough times, you're sure to succeed. This is the rationale behind the take-20 rule in the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons: If you are not in a stressful situation (e.g. combat, or fleeing pursuit), you can assume that you take your time on a skill and make multiple attempts, until you manage to achieve a success. For example, if a single attempt at picking a lock takes 1 minute of time, then you can spend 20 minutes to proceed very carefully, and - if you had any chance at all of rolling a success on a normal skill check - assume that you succeed.

The obvious corollary to this is that if you try something enough times, you're sure to fail spectacularly.

[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.]

aurilee writes:

Stealth missions work best when everyone actually wants to be stealthy.

I'll bring up the leadership point again here because anything bad that happens after this is officially Cassian's fault. A good leader would have realised that the trigger-happy droid who doesn't even understand the concept of stealth should probably not be flying the ship, and instead, the team member obsessed with stealthy non-violence - who is an actual pilot - should be piloting the ship.

Seriously, K-2 is just being K-2 here. Cassian should have expected this. He's lucky that between K-2 and Chirrut-Baze, they probably can take on an Imperial weapons facility in a frontal assault.

 aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Everything I just said about making plans, being organized, and having an actual stealth squad separate from the distraction squad?

Never mind.

 Keybounce

Transcript

Squeaky [userpic]
Fight Against Comment Spam

We have taken additional action against the comment spam that has been happening including banning certain text from comments as well as limiting the rate anonymous users can comment. Hopefully this will make a big impact and keep you guys from having to put up with this annoying problem.

Two Lumps - Jan 19, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Friday, January 19, 2018

Episode 1602: Eau d'Eadu: Smells Like Team Spirit

Episode 1602: Eau d'Eadu: Smells Like Team Spirit

Rejected title for this strip: There's no EA in "Team"

One of us contended that this was a great title, but was outvoted by everyone else. Mostly because we refused to sneak the word "Battlefront" into the comic just to justify the third joke/reference in a suggested title.

[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 this is going to turn into one of those plans. Hmm, none of them wear hats.

First, who is this group? Making plans? Working as a team? Being organized??

We have a combat robot, looking for ways to have combat. No sense of stealth, making sure that everyone knows that they're there, etc. The robot's companion on the other hand, wants to have a stealth mission, wants to avoid anyone knowing that they are there, and wants the group to do this in an organized manner.

So we have "Bravo Squad". Not Alpha Squad. So this is already the second squad planned.

Who is in the squad? The blind monk, who needs a spotter. The spotter, who runs around with a giant flamethrower. And Bria, who is an NPC that messes up the escort mission... I mean, who is Jim's character (same thing).

Clearly, Bravo Squad is not actually the stealth squad. Bravo Squad is the distraction squad. Cassian and the droid are going to be the actual stealth squad. This will allow Cassian to keep an eye on the droid, and make sure the droid does not go out of control.

Finally, we have the Imperial NPC reminding everyone that he is ready to defect. So, someone is going to have to keep an eye on him.

In order for the real stealth squad to stay stealthy, the NPC cannot be with them. Since the distraction squad is going to be a distraction, and is going to be noticed, the NPC has to be assigned to them.

I mean, the alternative is for somehow the NPC to become the next character for one of the PCs. Who could this be?

The rules of plot and film pretty much say that Cassian is going to be a surviving hero*, and the robot has to be a surviving toy. We know that Bria is going to die. We even know the name of the character that is going to be next, and that name does not match the NPC. So Bria does not die here.

That would require that the monk dies. That would require that the Jedi dies. Not impossible. Obi-Wan dies in Episode IV. So it's entirely possible that the monk dies, and the NPC suddenly becomes a PC.

This is yet another reason for the NPC to go with the distraction squad. Just like the computer making sure that your clone is ready to go with you when you die.

I mean, it's still too early for the TPK.

* Well, at least making it to the final scene.

 Keybounce

aurilee writes:

Ouch, and this is what happens when a party isn't very well coordinated. If you have a team with a mix of moralities/goals, you can wind up in situations like this.

  • Cassian here wants everything to be clean and bloodless, with minimal violence.
  • K-2 doesn't really care about anything other than violence and making the Empire suffer.
  • Chirrut seems like he might have some morals, but is totally cool with killing. He also clearly has no love for the Empire, but hasn't expressed particularly strong views either way.
  • Bria is driven by personal vengeance, and is willing to do anything to accomplish that.
  • Bodhi is the enemy who's hanging out in their ship and should really be restrained or something.

The best solution in this case is to have a clear leadership structure within the group, and for the chosen leader to be capable of reining in everyone's various eccentricities (and enforce policies like keeping enemy combatants tied up).

Sadly, all they have is Cassian. He's trying his best though.

Side note: I was trying to come up with a Justice League analogy here, but after Cassian being Captain Marvel, K-2 being Deathstroke, and Bria being Huntress, I got stuck. If anyone can do any better, please chip in. The general gist was that the JLA needs a leader like Batman or Superman, especially if for some reason Captain Marvel invited Deathstroke on a mission.

 aurilee

Transcript

Two Lumps - Jan 17, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Episode 1601: Fossil Fool

Episode 1601: Fossil Fool

We did the mathematics:

whiteboard with mathematics on it

[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.]

aurilee writes:

Thank you Cassian, for reaffirming everything everyone was already thinking.

And I do believe Coruscant is basically doomed at this point. I mean, it was a precarious thing to begin with, but at this point everyone's just going to die from smoke inhalation. Which of course also means the Senate doesn't have much time left either. Vader is literally smoking out the Senate.

I guess removing the Orb accomplished two goals then... Yay?

 aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Coruscant.

First, instead of bringing in a super star destroyer full of wood every minute, why not just an uranium filled one or two?

Having an infinite power source to produce the 1038 J of energy needed makes a lot more sense than converting the entire mass of the death star to energy.

There is much to say about the impracticality of Coruscant.

The only way that Coruscant could make any sense is if there was some sort of second "Arkentool", that acted as an infinite heatsink. If you had both an infinite power source, and an infinite waste energy sink, then you would be fine. Otherwise, if you're going use the infinite power source to power a giant death laser, you really need to use the infinite heatsink to cool off after firing the laser.

Hang on: could a black hole act as something to suck up all that excess thermal radiation?

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Jan 12, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Friday, January 12, 2018

amy pond. [userpic]
discord

Does anyone know how to find discord rp servers? Is there a search function within the app where I could search, for instance, “Sailor Moon rpg”?

Two Lumps - Jan 15, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Monday, January 15, 2018

Episode 1600: Base Line

Episode 1600: Base Line

The ability to check in with a command base brings a few different things to a scenario. Firstly, it means that higher-ups can be briefed on what is happening and, more importantly, can issue orders. This can be a problem for field operatives who are supposed to be self-reliant, and can reduce the sense of independence and adventure. This is recognised in various forms of fiction. For example, in Star Trek, the USS Enterprise very seldom reports in to Starfleet Command to update them and receive orders. (The reasons are more to do with plot than technology, since we do see them do it on rare occasions.) This gives the starship captain independence and responsibility for their actions, which are important ingredients for good drama.

So, taking a lesson from this into roleplaying games: It's a good idea if the team of protagonists isn't constantly tied to reporting back to command and receiving new orders. Make sure to give the players autonomy when out in the field.

On the other hand (you knew there'd be a flip side)... Having the ability to contact base can give the GM a handle for informing the PCs when they're screwing up and getting them back on track for your planned adventure. Which can sometimes be more important than complete autonomy.

[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:

First smart move. Contact home base, and let them know what's going on. Stating the obvious: it's called the Peace Moon, it's like they're intentionally deceiving people. Next smart move: telling home base where you're going. Jim even has a great idea: advise home base of what your concerns are.

Just remember to keep in mind that you don't know what you don't know. And here, Jim should know that he doesn't know that he doesn't know about the Lost Orb.

Right, Jim doesn't have player vs. character separation yet. He doesn't get that until he becomes a carbonite popsicle.

... Hang on a second. There is an Imperial soldier with them right now. They're speaking in plain text in front of a potential enemy about a gigantic power source. And they're going to the guy in charge of weapons development who would want that gigantic power source.

As much as that Imperial soldier has been mistreated as a negotiation patsy, you have to wonder. Would he be considering that maybe he would get a medal, and/or a promotion, if he were to turn in a bunch of Rebel traitors plus information about the Lost Orb to the very person that they are going to be seeing?

 Keybounce

aurilee writes:

How subtle Mr. GM.

Jim's still struggling with in-character/out-of-character knowledge separation it seems. Thankfully, the GM is a quick thinker and just gave Jim's character the information, while also reminding him that he has no reason at all to know what that is.

Not that Jim picked up on any of that of course.

So will this whole thing actually be a plot to get the Orb, but in order to know where the Orb is, they need to get the plans to the Peace Moon...?

 aurilee

Transcript

Episode 1599: Nom de Fume

Episode 1599: Nom de Fume

There are two types of PCs: pre-generated ones that the GM hands out for people to play, and ones that the players build themselves from scratch. The former is good for quick one-shot adventures or when the players don't have time to go through the rigmarole of character generation. The latter is good for letting players customise their characters abilities and background to match what they want to play.

There can also be a middle ground. The GM can hand out rough character sheets with loosely brush-stroked abilities and let the players fill in the details. Given how much people like to customise things, sometimes this even happens when the GM isn't expecting it...

[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.]

aurilee writes:

Jim's had the character for all of 30 seconds and he's already making changes. The GM may now be regretting giving control of an NPC to Jim.

On the plus side, good on Jim for elaborating on Bria/Jyn's backstory!

And good on K-2 for keeping Bria's priorities straight!

 aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Jim is paying attention to a character sheet? Listening to the GM instead of making stuff up on his own?

Now, daughter of the technical mastermind behind the Peace Moon. Will we possibly see something like daddy spots daughter, and doesn't turn her in?

I love the last two panels. "I could do it with my eyes closed". Followed by the blind monk saying "yawn". The real question is, is that "blind" monk, who shares senses with his familiar, able to do it if his familiar's eyes are closed?

In other words, is he actually blind, or is he just seeing from a different point of view?

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Jan 10, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Episode 1598: Rook to K-2

Episode 1598: Rook to K-2

Be careful making assumptions about the allegiances of people you meet. The safest thing is to assume everyone is an enemy, although this does make it somewhat difficult to make friends and allies.

For an interesting roleplaying exercise, try assuming everyone you meet is a friend! People on the streets who draw knives, the giant rat-men in the sewers, that friendly looking vampire...

We guarantee your GM will love this one!

[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 just realized that K-2SO is calling himself a "Defective Droid". Would you want to make friends with a droid that is defective?

The screenshots of Bria in this scene actually make her look like a person. It's like there is actually some uncertainty in her, some humanity behind the face. Previously, she didn't really look like a real person. There wasn't much emotion that I saw besides "let's just get this done."

 Keybounce

aurilee writes:

If someone asks you if you want to be friends, right after saying that they like shooting things, you should probably say "yes". You should especially say "yes" if that someone is a combat droid who can apparently ignore loyalty protocols.

And really, who wouldn't want to be friends with K-2?

A quick note on how Pete introduced his character: When he said "monk at-large", I'm assuming he means that he's not tied to any specific order, and not that he's currently a criminal on the run? I suppose he could be both?

 aurilee

Transcript

Two Lumps - Jan 8, 2018

Two Lumps comic for Monday, January 8, 2018

Two Lumps - Dec 22, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Friday, December 22, 2017

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