Episode 1718: Huge Success!

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Episode 1718: Huge Success!

When building a dungeon/castle/lair/base, of course you have to put some traps in. Things that the players can exercise their brains on, rather than merely their characters' combat stats.

Traps can be defined as inanimate (though perhaps mechanically moving) obstacles that cause some setback if not surmounted or avoided. Traps can be:

  1. Inconvenient: They block off passages or confine the heroes, and a new route or escape needs to be found.
  2. Resource draining: They erode metal, spoil food, drain magic items, steal money, or otherwise incapacitate equipment.
  3. Damaging: They cause physical damage to the heroes, which is generally survivable.
  4. Lethal: They are deadly, either by overwhelming damage, poison, asphyxiation, or some other "instant death" scenario.

Traps generally require logic, knowledge, creative thinking, or the clever application of non-combat skills to overcome. Now... don't forget these are PCs we're talking about. So unless you want a "killer dungeon" that will cause characters to die like flies, pretty much avoid the fourth type in your adventures.

[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:

What seems odd here is not Jim's actions. Why do you have razor-sharp iris blades pulsing open and closed?

I am trying to think of any possible reason for these things to exist. Clearly, the pulsing rate is slow enough that you can get through with a reasonably safe "pulling yourself up through the open door".

It's much harder to pull yourself up than to just dive down. So this is not a rapidly opening and closing iris. So again, what purpose does it serve? Why is it there?

The Empire's building code seems very strange. This is not just failing to be OSHA compliant; this is a building standard that requires you to put deathtraps in.

If this base has a self-destruct button, I'm going to call it Doofenshmirtz.

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1717: Helming the Man

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Episode 1717: Helming the Man

Say what you like about the merits of CGI alien characters versus practical effects (i.e. costumes), but Admiral Raddus definitely has a lot more interesting facial expressions than Admiral Ackbar ever had.

[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, is panel number 6 (bottom left) actually from this movie? It sure looks like it's from something that I should see in a strip 50 bonus strip.

We've already mentioned in one of these annotations that players will always find a way to reach ramming speed. Give your players something that cannot be moved, and they will find some way to ram it. I speak from experience here.

What I find really amazing is the idea that ramming is so common of a tactic, that the ship here has dedicated ramming stations. This implies they actually practice their ramming operations. They actually have a section of the manual dedicated to the proper procedure for ramming.

What are these, Viking warships with metal front ends that are designed to ram into the side of enemy ships?

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1716: Boom or Bust

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1716.html

Episode 1716: Boom or Bust

[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 really don't know where to start.

First, giving an order to an admiral. I admit that I don't really know military (or Navy) ranks. But I thought that above admiral, you had fleet admiral (gives commands to admirals), and rear admirals (gives instructions to the fleet admirals). I cannot believe that any of our crew has a rank that high for this mission.

Next, the thought of saying that you are able to take out the weapons and engines on a star destroyer, when it has all of those fighters to keep you busy. If you somehow have the firepower and accuracy to strategically disable only the stuff of highly tactical importance, then you basically outclass the other side to the point that there isn't really a battle.

And, ion torpedoes? Won't those have a strong electrical charge (useful for being accelerated) which means that they will be deflected by essentially any form of shielding?

I have never heard of a bombing run being able to hit targets that accurately. Especially if the ships doing the bombing runs are under fire; if you're flying in that predictable of a path, then their computers know exactly where to target their shots to hit you and you're dead.

I can tell that I'm not going to be happy with this movie when I finally see it. Right? Somehow, something has to be happening that manages to completely disable one of the Empire's capital ships, in the middle of a fleet, with essentially nothing seen on screen except for a little firepower.

This whole planetary shield gate seems to make less and less sense, and this whole military operation seems to make less and less sense the more I try to figure out what's supposed to be going on.

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1715: Turnip the Heat

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1715.html

Episode 1715: Turnip the Heat

You can get a lot of cool things if you just ask nicely. This is known as diplomacy, and happens when you talk to NPCs instead of fighting them.

All gamers should try this approach at least once.

[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:

If I see another Imperial star destroyer affected by gravity in the middle of deep space...

Oh wait, this time they're at a planet. So it makes sense that if they could somehow get on board the ship, and disable its controls, then it will crash.

For as much as people complain that Star Wars just reuses the same thing over and over again, I can't believe that's really what they're going to do. So watch it happen.

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1714: Half Empty, Half Fuel

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1714.html

Episode 1714: Half Empty, Half Fuel

Miniature figures can add a lot to a roleplaying game, especially during combat, when they can be set up on a map to show the positions of the combatants, making it very clear who is within range of whom, how far they can move, and so on. Traditionally gamers have used metal figurines, but these can be expensive, and also many come as bare metal that needs to be painted to look good. Nowadays there are cheaper plastic miniatures, and several series that come pre-painted.

A third option is something like Cardboard Heroes, which are gaming characters printed on cardboard, designed to stand up as folded triangles or slotted into plastic bases. These are cheaper still - you can get hundreds for the price of a few metal figures.

But another popular way of representing people and monsters on a battle map is to use Lego minifigures. Nowadays these come in hundreds of customisable styles which can be mixed and matched to produce thousands of different humanoid figures, with a wide array of hand-held accessories such as swords, bows, guns, and other objects that can represent adventuring gear. If you go this route, you can also use Lego baseplates as the map, and add walls and other setting objects made of Lego bricks.

(I noticed the resemblance before seeing Keybounce's comments.)

[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:

The trooper that we see from the back in panel 5 looks like it's from a Lego movie adaptation. It really does not look like a human in a suit of armor.

I'm curious about Pete's control of his units. The GM says that, "the nearest trooper hits the ship". Pete is able to tell what weapons that trooper is carrying.

This would imply that it is not an Imperial trooper attacking the ship, but one of the Rebel troopers.

So, we are to believe that a Rebel trooper chose to toss a grenade into the open cargo bay door...

"Okay Hal, open the cargo bay door".

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1713: Scale and Scalability

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1713.html

Episode 1713: Scale and Scalability

Always make use of cover when facing enemies with ranged weapons. Anything can be used as cover in a pinch. Your backpack. Your sleeping bag. Your horse. Your fellow party members.

Actually that last one can be very effective. Why do you think the magic-wielders are always at the back behind the fighters? And what do you think the rogue is doing sneaking around like that?

[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:

"King Kong"? No, "Donkey Kong". Or, "Crazy Climber", or probably any other of a half-dozen climbing-based video games.

Putting the shaft of data crystals between you and your opponent as a shield is a smart move. Clearly, the next thing to happen is that both of them are going to wind up climbing to the top of the tower on opposite sides, where they race to the top to meet in a giant, epic clash of spectacular special effects.

Or not.

But absolutely, collect as many data crystals as you can pull out while you climb. If there is a videogame adaptation of this movie, you'll be able to pull out 3. Or one. Depends on how Nintendo-ish the game designers are.

Still, whether it is having the moral high ground, or having the physical high ground, either way it is not likely to make an actual difference in the fight. After all, if you're shooting a light-based weapon, and you have line of sight, you can shoot someone clear across an entire can of sky.

(I think that data tower is more than two meters across, so it will provide cover).

— Keybounce

Transcript

Episode 1712: It Doesn't Make a Difference if He Makes It or Not

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Episode 1712: It Doesn't Make a Difference if He Makes It or Not

The big bad should end up trying to do the heroes in himself. After all, he's the main villain and the players may feel slightly ripped off if they never get to tangle directly with him. And furthermore, the villain's flunkies are generally mooks who serve to get in the way, not a serious threat in themselves.

If the enemy had followers who were powerful and competent enough to pose a serious threat to the heroes, then you wouldn't have much need for a main villain in the adventure at all. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though, because this sets up the perennially loved archetype: the recurring villain. The heroes actually don't fight him at the first encounter - he runs away or otherwise escapes while they tangle with his followers, who are enough of a threat to be scary and to keep them occupied while the main guy flees.

Subsequent encounters can repeat the pattern, but make sure to give in eventually and have a final showdown. When the PCs finally defeat their arch-nemesis after several linked adventures of chasing him, that creates real satisfaction.

[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:

We now have absolute confirmation, this is not a bottomless pit. He is clearly resting on a... see-through grate that keeps going down, down, down.

They haven't managed to send that the data off. The only one left is Bria. There's armed guards about to shoot at her, and her hands have either the wall, or the data crystal, and no weapon.

At this point, it would take a ridiculous deus ex machina out of nowhere for the heroes to win. Something absolutely ridiculous. A cavalry coming from nothing. Something we've never seen before in this entire series.

Except: Han/Falcon helping Luke in IV, Yoda leading a massive number of clones in II, or even the fact that there is a massive Rebel fleet outside of the shield, if only there was somebody attacking the shield generator from the inside (VI).

(As an aside, I suppose Chirrut assumed that he would never fall as well).

— Keybounce

Transcript