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Page 1248 — Inexperienced Point

Nothing like inflicting psychological trauma on your players to make you look inside yourself a bit. Am I right, everybody? Because that's totally relatable?

Real talk, though. For me, campaign comics as far back as DM of the Rings and Darths and Droids have had two pillars: "This story is so much like a D&D campaign!" and "Wow, look at how dysfunctional the DM and the players are." And the nature of adapting a linear story to the illusion of a freeform roleplay is that a lot of the story beats look like railroading, because otherwise you don't even get to the meaty parts of what you're adapting because the players would avoid or dodge the obvious traps.

What I set in mind going into my own version of this formula was: "This group is dysfunctional, but at least they'll try to learn lessons from it. Just like the Saturday morning cartoon show it's based on." So, yeah, when there are times people say, "What's happening here is awful and I would have walked away from the table long ago," I feel a little forced to say, "Strongly agreed, but I've got a story to tell here." Which isn't a strong defense.

And that's the price I pay for trying to have it both ways — having characters that I try to write in an organic, believable way, while also weaving a slightly absurd, exaggerated tale about D&D and the people who play it.

DM: You all find yourselves–
Sandbar (AJ): In a separate area with a challenge or test or trial specifically catered to us?
DM: Um…
Gallus (RD): And it's, like, psychologically targeted at our fears and weaknesses or whatever?
DM: …Am I that… predictable?
Gallus (RD): Do you really want us to answer that?
DM: Well… you already have. Hmm, alright. <scribble scribble scribble> They're NOT tailored to you, because I don't know your characters that perfectly, and – more importantly – neither does Cozy Glow. Instead they're more… tailored to the insecurities of your species in general. Nothing in here will force you to act a certain way, nor will I ask you to roleplay a fear your character doesn't have. You are free to tackle these challenges with whatever demeanor you like. And there are no hidden failure states that will have irrevocable effects on your character's ability to function.
Yona (FS): Good.
DM: … Yeesh, when I say it all out loud like that… What the heck was I thinking?
Silverstream (PP): It's called LEARNING!
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