Okay, We’ve Reached Maximum Hurt – Chapter 7, Act 4, Strip 84

It looks like K’ip is just descending into madness faster and faster here…but, hard to believe, there actually was a method behind the madness all along.

K’ip’s acts of seemingly random insanity aren’t actually random at all – he’s just trying to emulate stereotypical RPG player behavior, covering the popular basics: stealing from allies, trying to seduce any living creature in sight, unprovoked arson and driving a herd of cows along to set off traps. Had it proved necessary, he could have gone on like this for hours, moving from the most widespread tropes of this sort of behaviour to the rarer, but more legendary, examples. Hopefully, though, stopping short of cutting off his own head to replace it with the head of Vecna*.

But he didn’t have to go that far, because his plan worked out perfectly well. While Si’ri was highly confused by his behavior, DM had really seen it all before…seen it, but definitely not liked it. Hated it, in fact. K’ip really got his number down – he had realized that, perhaps, DM wasn’t actually an evil-doer who became (or pretended to be) a DM, he was a DM who had turned evil. And what could have driven a DM over that particular cliff? Chances were excellent that it would have been the behaviour of his players, a well-known psychological strain on any DM. But if that was the case, it was safe to assume that DM would still harbor a pronounced psychological trauma in that regard, and K’ip ruthlessly capitalized on that. As Napoleon once observed, in warfare “The moral is to the physical as three to one.”. Of course, in this fantasy setting he hasn’t yet observed that, and might never exist, even later, but the point still stands. Unlike DM.

Finding a fitting end for DM wasn’t that easy, but then I remembered that he was a gnome (of sorts) and thus at least distantly related to Rumpelstiltskin…whose fable famously ends with him ripping himself in half in anger. Even as a child, I had problems imagining how something like that would even work physically…but one has to admit that it’s hard to beat as a display of aggravation. And I’m sure that many, many DM occasionally feel like doing that, if they could only work out how. So, with some cleverly chosen camera angles covering up the more inexplicable parts of the procedure, this is how DM dies…he died as he lived, livid with rage about stupid players. A DM’s epitaph.

More on Monday.

*Not to mention a possible exchange with another part of Vecna’s which played a role in this chapter.

4 Replies to “Okay, We’ve Reached Maximum Hurt – Chapter 7, Act 4, Strip 84”

  1. I’m reminded of how this all began with the DM having to try and railroad the “heroes” on their journey because they refused to leave the safe confines of a cave. After finally getting that working and doing everything necessary HIMSELF so that the plot would all come together, I can see how a player derping around right at the climax would be the final straw.

    I’d question the panties stealing except this story also has JRPG elements to it and, as everyone knows, if you’re playing a male protagonist with female members, you can reliably get underwear from somewhere for seemingly no reason what-so-ever. It’s even a trope!

    1. Yeah, all told, DM was actually pretty effective at controlling and shepherding the players up to now – not surprising, given his vast experience on the subject. Seeing it all come crashing down at the last moment, and to the same kind of obtuse player behaviour he’s probably encountered countless times before, had to hit him badly. Of course, ripping himself in two might still count as a slight over-reaction…

      The fun thing about that panties thing is that I was kinda stuck on that part…I wanted K’ip to steal from a fellow party-member, because that’s a stereotypical bad RPG player behaviour. And Si’ri would have to be the victim, because no other player is around at that point. But what kind of things would a fairy like Si’ri even have in her inventory…wherever it is she keeps her inventory, in the first place? No armor, no weapons…no provisions, no money…no 20ft of rope or half-dozen of torches…ultimately, I felt the only safe bet was that she’d have spare underwear in her inventory, because the censors would demand she’d have underwear, even if it wasn’t visible. And it did play nicely in the JRPG stereotype of panty-stealing, so that was an added bonus. XD

  2. This strikes too close to home. Even now I DMing a game, and one player plays an orc and breaks and steals everything on the way, another one always look for a way to betray comrades, and very vocal about it to their faces. I tried to add a new player to the group, and they show no effort or intention to work together, or actually join. Literally: they never met, only spied on each other from a distance.
    Not only everyone was supposed to be good guys, but also nobles with lot of wealth and respect. Wait a minute… Looking at nobility and wealthy people nowdays, that explains a lot! I should have made a communist campaign instead.

    1. Yeah, orc or half-orc players tend to be the worst in that regard, as are characters that are either chaotic or evil, or both…particularly because players likely wouldn’t pick that sort of race or alignment if not to freely engage into exactly that sort of behaviour. Having that sort of disruptive element in a party can be a boon, but mostly only when they’re being played by a very experienced and responsible player…and those are hard to come by.

      Oh, you wouldn’t even have to look at the present time…looking at the behaviour of medieval knights and nobles on campaign, you’d find plenty of examples of selfishness, greed back-stabbing and betrayal. Medieval kings and generals could probably sympathize deeply with the travails of modern-day DMs, having shared a pretty similar experience. XD In the historical sense, that sort of typical player behaviour is entirely plausible for that kind of period…that’s just hardly supposed to be the point of a RPG…

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