Strip 542 - "NPC Classes part 4"

21st Sep 2017, 12:00 AM in Cave of No Return
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Arillius 21st Sep 2017, 5:55 AM edit delete reply


I want you to take this criticism carefully. I am not a hater. I am, in fact, a very big fan of your work. But these pages and pages like it are extremely detrimental to this comics entertainment value.

1.) They're boring- For the one or two comics where the jokes do land, there are dozens where they don't, making this a PSA comic. Unless you're one of the rare, rare people that enjoyed those PSA's in school... It's informative but that's all the value it has. For a textbook or a PSA, that's all you need to be. For a Story Comic, that's awful.

2.) They could be done better- You could express all of this in a couple panels. 4 pages is far too much.

3.) Show, don't tell- This is a comic. It's a visual medium. Show us these things, don't tell us. Have us follow an NPC or three through their adventures as followers and watch as they go from NPC levels to PC levels. Have the rules explained visually, if you want something nitty gritty. You know what was visually interesting and explained a bit about the world? The DM taking over an NPC belonging to another DM. Two comics and you explained so much about the relationships between DM's, their party members, their NPC's and even other DM's.

4.) They harm the story over all and it's so slow- We haven't progressed the story at all for 4 pages. That means this comic explanation has delayed the story by one week already and is moving into the second week. The story has been delayed so long that I have repeatedly forgotten the names and plot points of this story and, unlike me, most people don't have compulsive behavior forcing them to reread everything.

5.) It's actually wrong sometimes- These last 4 comics have been about NPC classes but this one in particular, and the others in general, aren't hard fast rules. I -never- use NPC classes. If a character is worth stating out fully they get PC classes. If a character isn't, they either get a short stat block or nothing. It's different for every GM too. This comic is literally what the followers think the DM's do, but you know what? There is a multitude of DM's representing different kinds of play styles in this very story, including those that regularly bend or make up rules for their particular group. So even as an informative comic page, it's next to useless. Not all of the information you display is like that but the fact that it happens even a few times, considering how often you've done it, is telling.

So... I'd strongly advise dropping these tutorial pages and brushing up on showing these things rather then just telling us them.
Grovestrider 21st Sep 2017, 11:09 AM edit delete reply


I dont have an issue with the PSA comic style. Is it "the best thing ever?" No. But it is different. I have used webcomics in the past to help illustrate game mechanics (or dysfunctions) in action.

I also as a GM never utilize NPC classes. I do however enforce the preset NPC ability scores and gear guide. Ofcourse, I also pretty much throw out all the base classes and vancian spellcasting system, instead utilizing 3rd Party classes and content such as Spheres of Power (for magic), and Path of War (for martial); Although once Spheres of Might comes out I will most likely replace Path of War with it.
zombi3DS 21st Sep 2017, 11:43 PM edit delete reply
zombi3DS
1. You may find this boring, that's fine. Can't fault or argue there.

2. Now I can question your comment on a couple of panels, would you prefer long drawn out dialogue expressed in a single page of panels fitting all of the last 4 pages into 1 page but lengthening the amount of dialogue in that page?

3. You say show don't tell, so which is it would you prefer we spend a 6 page side thing "following the adventures of an NPC or 3 and watch as they go from NPC to PC levels" Because showing their adventures is likely to take at least some ya know adventuring, assuming 1 panel to introduce them, 1-2 for some actual adventuring and then a quick 1 where they ask the DM to let them retrain or start taking pc levels. The problem with Showing rather than telling is that it often takes longer or is done poorly if you don't take your time. More interesting and "fun" sure, but it detracts from your points on pacing.

4. We are busy people and can't remember everything but not seeing the main characters for 4 pages doesn't make me forget they exist or what their names are. if the delay is that hard for you to remember names or plot points I question how you do with plot points brought up a long time ago and then moved past only to be brought up later.

5. I've brought up problems with accuracy myself occasionally. But unlike you my complaint is founded in the math and numbers of the system rather than complaining that you choose not to use a game mechanic, Rule 0 (not rule 1 that bastardized mis-cited bullshit excuse-maker) says that the rules are there to make the game fun the rule is wrong which is fine, but complaining that someone is presenting the rules as written is not an excuse for complaining that it is inaccurate. It's like a side version of the Oberoni Fallacy.

https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Oberoni_Fallacy
Arillius 22nd Sep 2017, 5:12 AM edit delete reply


1.) Well bully on you for respecting my opinion.

2.) Oh wait, never mind. Lets actually ignore the point I made in favor of making one up. My point was that in one to two pages, this writer has already shown himself capable of expressing vast amounts of information through storytelling. Right now, he's reading us his version of the rule book.

3.) Already shown he's capable of doing this, first off, and second your critique on my criticism is really 'it's too hard so do things the easy way'. And no, it really doesn't detract from my points on pacing. A carefully woven narrative will show how the world works while pacing things. It doesn't pause the story to tell us how it works.

4.) It's been 11 comics since we've seen the main party. It's been 7 of them since we've seen anything overtly plot relevant. It's only been 4 comics since we've seen any story at all. Once again willfully missing the point.

5.) It is NOT a game mechanic to use NPC classes for NPC's. Every fricking D&D book under the sun comes with a single line that eloquently describes what this point was. 'This book is a guideline'. Further more, you once again failed to understand that this page is also not a game mechanic. It is an in world expatiation for why these guys have NPC classes and how to get PC classes that never, once, shows up in any D&d rule book. Just because half of D&D is literal numbers doesn't mean all the rules are and it doesn't mean you can't fail at showing them off properly when you're talking about rules without numbers.

In summation you never actually once disagreed with me. You ignored some critique in order to make up your own version of what I said and when you didn't do that you blatantly skipped over the meaning of what I said, which was thoroughly explained.

You also agreed with me on a very important point. Story is more fun then exposition. It would be more fun to see this showed to us rather then told. That would indeed fix the pacing problem, if done properly, and the fact that you forgot you haven't seen the main characters in 11 pages, not 4,is pretty bad. That's nearly an entire month. I have literally read 30+ books in that time frame. That is what this guy is competing against to hold my attention, as a reader, and I'm not the only one whose complained about this pacing and exposition problem. I'm just one of the few people still reading it whose complaining.

Edit: Finally, it is a bit cheeky to critique a critique with no factual errors and merely differences of opinion. It is more cheeky to critique the critique of a critique but since your dialogue suffered from some factual errors in regards to my opinions and stated points, it makes a bit more sense. If you disagree, please make sure that next time you know what you're disagreeing with? All you've done is set me up to be annoyed for daring to have an opinion.
nathan400 22nd Sep 2017, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
nathan400
Personally, I am new the pen and paper RPGs and the walkthrough is very useful.

Thank you, DragonTainer, for helping me learn the ways of the RPG.
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