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March 2014
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Episode 1576: Pretend That We're Dead

Episode 1576: Pretend That We're Dead

Playing dead in a potential combat situation is a classic strategy to avoid trouble. So much so that both Wikipedia and TV Tropes have pages on the subject. It doesn't get used a lot in roleplaying games, because players are usually the sort of gung-ho people who wouldn't even think of this - it being a defensive strategy rather than an offensive one.

Pull it on your GM some time, and enjoy the flummoxed reaction as she tries desperately to recover from the unexpected brain dissonance.

aurilee writes:

Yes! K-2 comes in with the wisdom!

Maybe this is the turning point Cassian needed. He can let loose now. He can be useful. He can remember how to fight, how to think tactically, how to not be a danger to himself and his companions.

Unless he was never able to do any of that in the first place. Time will tell.

 aurilee

Keybounce writes:

So, a pacifist. Around a bunch of killers.

Clearly, this person is an Erbana, a peaceful type, but the player hasn't learned to let the killers do the killing outside of their restriction zone.

After all, he's hanging around an incredibly dangerous killer droid, going in to work with a bunch of killers, all to support another group of killers who could be considered terrorists by any reasonable concept or definition, and in short making sure that he is completely surrounded by massive amounts of death and violence, all because he's a pacifist.

Yep, makes sense to me.

I'm also curious what actually happened in the film here. It sure looks like Cassian killed somebody he was friendly with.

One last thing I just noticed. Wedge wants Cassian to shoot him, and Wedge will be fine as long as his splanch is missed. That's incredibly strong healing for shape shifters. If a shape shifter can recover from being shot, can they recover from the loss of a limb normally? If so, that would explain why a shape shifter was willing to play around with laser swords, and take a tremendous risk.

But now I have to wonder: what are the innards of a shape shifter like? Do they have any actual inner organs? Are the pieces of their body completely fluid, like Odo, or the Terminator? What exactly is a splanch anyways?

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 17, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Friday, November 17, 2017

Episode 1575: Double-Wedged Sword

Episode 1575: Double-Wedged Sword

Seriously, having a shapeshifter as a recurring ally in your campaign is a gold mine of opportunity for the clever GM. Surpassed only by having a shapeshifter as a recurring villain.

Keybounce writes:

OK, I'm having trouble understanding this one.

Wedge, in this universe, is a shape shifter. Fine.

In that last combo panel, is that a different form of Wedge telling Cassian to free a prisoner to get in touch with Jabba?

Does this mean that Bria was originally a prisoner?

 Keybounce

aurilee writes:

Wedge! Hey good buddy!

So Cassian's a pacifist. That would explain his lack of action in most situations up until now. I guess I can retroactively give him a pass now.

We also learn here that Cassian helped Bria escape from some sort of prison. I was impressed by this for about 3 seconds until I remembered that most likely, this prison break would have involved K-2 obliterating everything in his path until they located Bria.

Which means Cassian was able to maintain his record of not being overly helpful. I suppose he would have been a good getaway pilot, since I have to assume he's at least good at that.

I am curious about what Bria was in prison for. From what I've seen of her, it could be anything.

 aurilee

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 15, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Episode 1574: A Min-Max Carol

Episode 1574: A Min-Max Carol

Giving your players lessons on how to play the game by having NPCs play the same game is a bit heavy-handed...

But then again, even the heaviest hands sometimes fail to hit their mark.

aurilee writes:

Chirrut's look of utter horror is just perfect. I imagine the next scene is him breaking out of the cell shouting about Dexterity modifiers.

In all seriousness though, learning from past mistakes is very helpful for character building! Some builds look great on paper but then don't end up being very fun to play. After some experience, you learn what "balanced" and "unbalanced" look like, what would really be considered a "good" number or a "bad" number etc.

A parallel point to this, is that it's also fun to play a character nothing like your last character. Jump from brawny barbarian to a brainy wizard, or a brash, outdoorsy ranger to a foppish but diplomatic aristocrat. You get to expand your roleplaying, and also get a chance to take on different tasks/roles in the party. No one wants to just be the healer, the crowd controller, lock opener, or the hit-things-guy every time (well... unless you're one of those "I will be an Elf wizard for the rest of my life because they win" people).

 aurilee

Keybounce writes:

A comic called Nerf NOW!! took a look at what highly specialized builds in nature would look like. Things like whether or not it made sense to put a point into eating plants so you weren't stuck as a pure carnivore, or if that point was better spent making you a purely strong fighter. What putting lots of points into intelligence did to the meta. And even the functionality of a max Charisma build.

Pete clearly knows how to make a well-rounded min-maxed character. Even Jim knows some tips and ideas to make a better character.

But the GM... Hasn't this GM learned that if he kills off the characters he has to start the campaign over? (Comic 6 I think? From memory...) [Ed: 9 actually.]

 Keybounce

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 13, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Monday, November 13, 2017

Episode 1573: Jimfodump

Episode 1573: Jimfodump

Keybounce writes:

A majority of the Senate.

A majority of the Senate.

As much as the first paragraph on this page says, "Still corrupted by Anakin", let's take a look at what we are actually seeing.

1571: "the public demanded that Palpatine be named Emperor for life"
1572: "is the Senate still there?" / "That's exactly who would corrupt Palpatine"
1573: "a majority of the Senate, still corrected by Anakin's influence, resented this move" / "Senators Jar Jar Binks, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma now lead the rebellion against the Senate"

So let's see here. The majority of the Senate feel one way, and Jar-Jar etc. are leading the Rebellion against the Senate.

At a minimum, we are back to what we had at the beginning of Episode III. An opening narration, that while not accurate, is what people think happened.

So what seems to have actually happened?

  1. Public demand for Palpatine to continue.
  2. A majority of the Senate did not want this to happen.
  3. It happened anyways.

So who is really running the, "Galactic Republic"? Who is the hidden power, the phantom menacing against peace and prosperity, creating an empire to strike back against some unknown... I don't know, maybe some old betrayal? Just how much power will the Hutts wind up having, and how much did they learn from seeing the Sand People armed for rebellion in Episode I?

More to the point, what is the Rebellion's actual goal? What is the actual current state of the Senate? As time has gone on (remember, it's 19 years after Episode III, and probably at least 15 years after the end of Palpatine's term in office - so half a generation of his time as Emperor for life, with new senators elected who apparently still oppose him), is it like some real-world "democracies" where party loyalty rather than public opinion is what determines your appointment? Is there real public opposition? Is it a well monitored police state?

Seriously, this raises far more questions than it answers.

Moral: if you thought world building was hard for an RPG setting, or even making a consistent economic setting, try building politics.

 Keybounce

aurilee writes:

So...

Palpatine was awesome, which made everyone basically hand him an Empire.

Then the Senate was all "No, we're evil and therefore want to get rid of the benevolent dictator".

Then the Rebels were all "No, bad Senate, Palpatine was chosen by the people and stuff"?

Because right now it looks like the Rebels are actually on Palpatine's side in protecting him from the Senate.

Darth Vader is really a non-entity at this point then, if the Rebels truly think the Senate is the problem.

Does Vader make an appearance here? That could be an interesting reveal of "Fools! You should have been worried about me! Not that pathetic Senate!".

 aurilee

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 10, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Friday, November 10, 2017

Squeaky [userpic]
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Prices will be announced at the start of the sale.

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Two Lumps - Nov 8, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Episode 1571: The Crystals, Cracked

Episode 1571: The Crystals, Cracked

Crystals are very science fictiony, but also very fantastic at the same time. So they can pop up in any sort of genre story, and represent pretty much anything. Data, magical power, antimatter reaction stabilisers, portals to another time or dimension, immense wealth, imprisoned souls, an alien language, gadgets that keep your drinks cool. It all works!

So they're a great choice of item if you want something mysterious, which clearly plays an important role in the plot, but which the characters will have no idea about until they figure them out.

Keybounce writes:

Well, of all the things that the crystals could have turned out to be, they turned out to be... data.

So Palpatine, the more-or-less good guy of this story, brought around at least a decade of peace and prosperity. Named "Emperor for life" (by whom? What group is using him as a puppet to install a nondemocratic dictatorship?), he destroys the Senate and the democracy.

Okay, so all of my thoughts about what her father would wind up being are just plain wrong. Bria knows the difference between her biological father, and the one that raised her as his daughter. I could go back, and correct all of my past incorrect assumptions at this point.

All right. For 1566: I had said that Bria's view was basically, "I can't stand him, but we're family". That no longer holds. The one she cannot stand is now known to be different than the one that raised her.

Next is 1568. Actually, there's not much dealing with the father/daughter in that comment.

1569... even that doesn't rely on the father/daughter issue.

1570... Ok, so, I thought I had some views on "I'm forced to work with someone that I love and hate". But instead, "I hate him" is an entirely different person than "I love him, he rescued me".

I still cannot make sense of Jabba's goals. Heck, Jabba doesn't look like Jabba. He looks like a person in a rubber suit with tentacles on it. We've seen enough screencaps now that I really have to wonder what this... thing really is. I mean, we've seen a younger Jabba in the director's cut of Episode IV. We've seen other members of his family, at different ages, in the various Disney series.

Either he's a shape shifting tentacle blob, or he's an imposter pretending to be Jabba, or... hmm. The queen had a stand-in; does Jabba have a stand-in?

 Keybounce

aurilee writes:

So they were data crystals. Interesting.

Unfortunately for the GM, Jim is apparently not too great at reading out pre-canned exposition. To play it safe, he probably should have coached him a bit beforehand.

This is generally a good idea if you want a player to do something very specific for the sake of the story. Take the aside before that session and review the speech or whatever to make sure they're comfortable with it and know how things are supposed to flow.

There's still a minuscule chance it'll actually come out the way you intended, but there's no harm in trying.

 aurilee

Transcript

Two Lumps - Nov 6, 2017

Two Lumps comic for Monday, November 6, 2017

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