#10 Three’s Company

By Shamus Posted Sunday Mar 24, 2019

Filed under: DM of the Rings 61 comments

When tweaking your character, don’t overlook your backstory. Remember, your parents can be anyone you choose. The only limit to your power is your own imagination and everyone else’s wilingness to be royally screwed.

Shamus Says:

Something I could never do in DMotR, and almost never get to do with my screencap comic: The visual punchline.

Shawn Says:

Early on, a few people thought that xXKillStealer69Xx’s dad had a gag around his mouth, before they saw me draw that giant exaggerated smile again.

I just love how Josh’s parentage makes absolutely no sense.

EDIT 2019: To be clear, when Josh says that his character is 50% Human, 50% Ogre, and 50% Night Elf, those aren’t supposed to be overlapping percentages. He’s literally 150% of a character. I guess the D&D&D manual must have some very serious loopholes.

I love how Casey is still trying to get someone to play his stupid Gnome PaladinIn-universe, the Gnome Paladin is a dumb character. Out-of-universe, he’s great. He’s adorable and silly in all the right ways.. I forgot about that detail. That’s actually important later.



[1] In-universe, the Gnome Paladin is a dumb character. Out-of-universe, he’s great. He’s adorable and silly in all the right ways.

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61 thoughts on “#10 Three’s Company

  1. Mattias42 says:

    It’s always amused me in Fantasy the things people just nod along with happily, and the things that have people’s jaws on the floor from pure weird.

    The wizard turn into a huge, fire breathing dragon to smash an undead sorcerer of pure evil? Sure, that makes sense. Yawn. Seen it all before.

    A guy wants both his lovely wives to bear his first-born slash heir, and commissions magic to that effect? Wha~? Does not compute! Does not compute!

    I mean, it’s not like one is any more plausible in real life then the other.

    1. Zaxares says:

      There’s actually a real life example of that that occurred in the RPG expansion “Siege of Dragonspear”. (It’s a bit of a long story, but essentially, Siege of Dragonspear is a BG1 expansion created by Beamdog, a group of developers who acquired the rights to the Baldur’s Gate franchise. They’re the ones who have been making the “Enhanced Editions” for 80’s/90’s Bioware RPGs that you might have seen on sale on GoG.)

      Anyway, there is a character in Siege of Dragonspear who is a MtF trans character, and apparently her presence generated QUITE an uproar from a lot of players who saw her inclusion as “pandering to SJW’s”. My response was basically what you wrote above: “Lemme get this straight… We’re in a world where wizards can transform themselves into trolls and oozes and golems, dragons can mate with humanoids to produce hybrid offspring, some people deliberately seek out the curse of vampirism for the powers it offers, despite all of the drawbacks, and you can LITERALLY get dragged into Hell by a raiding party of fiends at any given moment… And you’re outraged at the presence of a trans character? You do realize that this sort of scenario with trans people is probably like a dime a dozen in the Forgotten Realms? All you’d need to do is hire a wizard to cast Polymorph on you and BAM, you’re a man/woman now, congratulations! NEXT!”

      1. baud says:

        I think the issue was more the character introducing herself as trans in her second line, without any prompting needed on the player’s part; at this point it’s more bad writing than anything else.

        1. Zaxares says:

          That’s actually false. (Or at least, it is now. I came fairly late to the game so I’ll allow the possibility that Beamdog might have rewritten the character since release.) I’ve played through Siege of Dragonspear and you only find out the character is trans if you finish her sidequest for her (a personal amulet given to her by her parents) and then ask her about the significance of it. So it basically doesn’t come up at all apart from a minor plot point if the player chooses to delve deeper into it.

          1. baud says:

            It’s true that I heard Beamdog did some rewrites, but at the time of the release, it wasn’t the case.

            1. baud says:

              The rewrite was in a 2018 patch, apparently.

              From Updates to Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition & Siege of Dragonspear

              Implement the new Mizhena sequences

              Also I’m astonished at the number of bugs BD still has to fix in their games 6 years after release.

        2. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          Yeah, but let’s not pretend like any of those twats got angry about a badly written line in a small optional side-quest.

          Beamdog’s reaction was rather iffy too IIRC. Claiming to be great defenders and supporters of trans people because they made a minor secondary character trans and gave them a few lines.

      2. Agammamon says:

        And let’s not forget Edwina.

        1. Sartharina says:

          Edwin was “funny” because he was a cismale turned into a woman.

      3. Moridin says:

        All you’d need to do is hire a wizard to cast Polymorph on you and BAM, you’re a man/woman now, congratulations! NEXT!

        Yes, all you need to do is find a 15th level wizard and then pay a fortune for him to cast Polymorph Any Object or other transmutation that can actually permanently change your shape. Piece of cake if you’re an adventurer(or just very rich), basically impossible for a normal person.

        1. Zaxares says:

          That would be the ideal solution, but there are other ways to get around it too if you’re strapped for cash. A couple of low-level illusions like Alter Self would work just as well if you commission an item that can cast it a few times a day. Probably still out of reach if you’re just a lowly peasant, but I think your average peasant would have more pressing day-to-day issues to worry about. If there’s a Good-aligned wizard in your area, you could always just visit them and plead your case in the hopes they’ll do it out of the kindness of their hearts too. (“Ooooh, XP opportunity! – Me, a good wizard.)

          In any event, my main point is that D&D and other fantasy worlds operate on a whole different level. Things like sex changes would be considered so blase that they’d hardly warrant a mention compared to some of the magical things that could happen to you.

      4. Daimbert says:

        At the risk of getting into politics, that specific incident was a big part of an overall complaint that changes were made to pander to that group:

        1) Minsc makes an explicit reference to Gamergate in a way that’s clearly taking a shot at it. This was at least supposed to be removed after the controversy.

        2) In the original, you could ask the character about their name, as it seems unique, at which point the character reveals that it’s unique and invented by her to replace her name when she was a boy. The characters have no real way to react to that revelation — which does come out of nowhere — other than to thank her for expressing that, despite a number of characters being ones that might have different reactions. This is only made worse by the fact that we have no idea how Faerun thinks of trans people, and so can’t even imagine what reaction they’d have (what do the clerics think about it, for example?). All in all, it really comes across as a forced scene that, while it’s technically optional, is something that everyone is probably going to ask about once, that comes across as an infodump that seems a bit too casual for what it’s trying to do, that the players have no chance to actually react to, and that never comes up again or has any impact on the rest of the game at all.

        3) The reaction of the writer, at least, was pretty much to flat-out say that, yeah, she added that and the other parts to pander to her own leanings, making the charge actually credible.

        So the reaction was less “There’s a trans character here!” but more “There’s a trans character here who seems to think this sort of thing is unique and important and yet we’re all supposed to simply accept it as completely normal, so is it treated the same as here in Faerun or not? If it’s the same as here, she shouldn’t have been so open about it with strangers who are heavily armed and might take offense, and if it isn’t then it should be taken as simply an idle mildly interested — potentially — fact as opposed to something more important”.

        While there would have been some reaction regardless, I think it would have been far more muted if the option had been present to disapprove of that, with the cost being that you can’t buy things from her afterwards if you do.

        1. Zaxares says:

          Thanks for the additional information! As I mentioned above, I came fairly late to Siege of Dragonspear, so what I know about the controversy is all from second-hand sources.

          1. I did not encounter any dialogue from Minsc in my playthrough that referenced Gamergate, so it looks like it was removed. While I do agree that the gaming industry does tend to be fairly hostile towards female players and developers and more tolerance is needed, there didn’t need to be such a blunt-force reference to it within the game itself. That just comes across more as lecturing rather than making players stop and think.

          2. I still think that in a high magic world like Faerun, trans characters or people with gender dysphoria would be regarded primarily with indifference. You either just go to a temple and get a Cure Disease/Remove Curse spell to fix your “problem”, or you embrace it wholeheartedly and go with illusions/Polymorph spells. Either way, I very much doubt that the world at large cares what you do or think about your gender, not when there are SO many more grave issues to worry about. That said, I do agree that the player should have been given more options to express their approval/support/disapproval/disgust; this IS a roleplaying game, after all. You might be pleased to know that in the revised version I played through, you DO now have the option to express varied feelings on the matter, although I can’t recall any option that allowed you to mock or chastise the trans character for her choice. (The harshest option I can remember was the usual “I don’t give a goblin’s ass about your reasons. I got your amulet, now gimme my gold.” greedy-evil dialogue option.)

          3. Perhaps the writer shouldn’t have been so blunt about it, but I can’t really fault her. All of us tend to create and roleplay characters that have meaning to US, and that extends to the adventures we create for others. It took quite a while for homosexual romance interests to be included in Bioware’s games, to the point where they actually seem like genuine characters, not someone for whom their sexuality is their character’s main facet; they were pretty badly written at the start. So I don’t blame the writer for at least wanting to get some exposure to trans characters out there. It sounds like the original version was clumsy and badly inserted, but hopefully she’ll get better about writing in such characters in the future.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      Well, I’d say that Rule Of Cool applies, and a wizard turning into a dragon is Cool, whereas…
      …bah, I’m sure Josh finds his character ‘Cool’.

      We had a problem like this in the LARP system I used to play. Each race was – like D&D – designed with a specific balance: good at X, bad at Y. Different races fit different playstyles.
      Then one new player makes a mixed race character, who was very powerful; and within two months, everyone and their dog had a character who mysteriously had the strengths of both parents and the weaknesses of neither.
      Good times.

      Early on, a few people thought that xXKillStealer69Xx’s dad had a gag around his mouth

      And there I was thinking that we were done with the rape controversy…;)

      1. Agammamon says:

        Hey now – don’t kink-shame;)

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          Whatever it is, he’s clearly into it :)

    3. Scampi says:

      Actually, I’d go the same route. The wizard turning into another entity? I get the idea, despite the obvious issues about the change of body mass, the question how the wizard can turn back into his original shape afterwards and such.
      A person being born by multiple parents but born into a single entity physically? Doesn’t work imho, at least not the way you describe it. I read Record of Lodoss War, where drow children can’t be (as in: it’s illegal and one of them is killed, if I remember correctly) born as twins, as they are supposed to be born with only one soul, though. They are still two physical entities at birth.
      I still might accept the idea of magical means to have a child with three parents, conceiving a child together which inherits traits from all of them (by advanced scientific means, it might be possible even in reality, but it wouldn’t be conceived the natural way). The child would still not be half of all three. Basic math still applies imho, even in a world of magic.

      A question I asked myself multiple times lately: Which was created first, Chainmail Bikini or Grand Line 3.5? I think I saw several ideas in both and wondered if one drew inspiration from the other.

      1. baud says:

        From the posts here, Chainmail Bikini started around 2007-2008 and Grand Line 3.5 look like it started in 2013, so Chainmail Bikini was created first.

      2. DerJungerLudendorff says:

        One of the big practical issues is that there are two mothers. How is that supposed to work? Do they both carry a baby to term and merge them somehow? Does one somehow insert an egg into the other’s womb and it does a double-infertilization?

        Having two fathers and one mother would make much more sense.

        1. Well, TECHNICALLY you could do this without any direct genetic editing by creating a chimera. It’s relatively rare, but it does happen–two independently fertilized eggs will spontaneously merge when they’re at the undifferentiated cell stage and the resulting individual has cells with two different sets of DNA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics)

          So, if you were a half-ogre, half-drow chimera, roughly half of your cells would be half-ogre cells, and half of your cells would be half-drow cells.

          Yes, the math is still screwy, but it’s at least a physical possibility (assuming you could get both fertilized eggs into proximity and get them to merge).

          1. Mattias42 says:

            There’s also Gilgamesh, who was one-third god, and that was the reason for why he was so awesome in those stories.

            Not sure how the math works out for three distinct thirds, but I read once that somebody did the math on, well, Gilgamesh, and Gilgamesh would have needed to have been the sixteenth generation of a whole family of half-gods for such a specific number.

            Still, yeah, one really weird polygamous family? Way funnier.

            1. Cannongerbil says:

              Gilgamesh was originally like, half God or something, but he was knocked down to 1/3rd when he went full on “fuck the gods” back during his teenage phase.

              Basically divinity in ancient Babylonia is less a measure of paternity and more along the lines of, say, saiyan power levels.

            2. RFS-81 says:

              Heimdall has nine mothers and no one bothered to explain how that works, so we just have to assume that this sort of thing used to be perfectly normal.

      3. Mattias42 says:

        Honestly? Given what a big whooping deal that one perfect heir and marriage alliances were historically, I could see how you could end up with a whole school of baby sculpting spells in a world where you have feudalism AND real magic.

        Potions to ensure a boy. Blessings for a swift, healthy and painless birth. Spells to give you those blue eyes and blond locks, or whatever the local standard of beauty happens to be. And, yeah ,some sort of baby sized fusion dance to join more then one bloodline at a time.

        Still, as interesting as that could be… Ho boy, does that potentially touch on some pretty hot-button issues, if not outright some pretty horrific historic shit like eugenics. Designer babies with perfect phrenology shaped skulls and pre-bound feet, anyone?

        …Might work pretty well in some sort of fantasy horror story though. ‘And that’s when we found out that the Lords never left. They ARE the monsters. Dun, dun DUUNH.’

        1. BlueHorus says:

          That’s a great opener for a D&D campaign, too.
          Instead of going into the tavern cellar to slaughter giant rats for the millionth time, the local lord is complaining about horrible monsters in his cellar. But inside, you find that the ‘horrible monsters’ are actually failed ‘perfect heir’ experiments, and then there’s a dodgy wizard hiding in the corner who swears blind that he’s got nothing to do with this mess, honest…
          Or, he’s complaining that he created the perfect heir for the lord in question and then didn’t get paid; instead the lord tried to kill him by letting out the failed monsters.
          Or his ‘perfect heir’ research looks weirdly similar to methods of summoning shapeshifting demons…
          Man, there’s loads you could do with this.

          1. I always find it interesting when people assume that manipulating traits will automatically be some kind of horror situation. Because just randomly combining genetics (often involving tons of inbreeding when it comes to nobility) and hoping for the best works PERFECTLY. People have been trying to manipulate their kids’ traits for all of time.

            1. Mattias42 says:

              Personally don’t have a problem at all with a story where the genetics stuff works properly, and you have to deal with a ‘have not’s’ and ‘haves’ slowly but surely barely being the same species anymore.

              But, well, a monster story is way more straightforward and easy to write while keeping drama and stakes high. Also, less politically charged, which many would consider a bonus.

              You’re completely right that it’s one of those tropes that’s problematic on mass, however. Like… the black dude dying first in a horror movie. If one movie does it, it’s just… well, that person dying first. But so many movies do that that it’s almost an expected need to either follow or react to that idea, and that’s not good for writers or fans.

  2. CrimsonCutz says:

    If you play 150% of a character, does that mean you need 50% more XP to level up? Or do you gain XP 50% faster because you’re Doing More Stuff?

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      Since the character still has the same number of limbs, and one brain, i’d say they still Do 100% Stuff.

      And if someone was cheesing like that, i’d totally give them a handicap.

    2. Nimrandir says:

      It feels like there should be a joke about druids and animal companions in here somewhere.

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Might depend on the level adjustment, iirc it’s like 5 levels for Drows, not sure about Ogres as playable characters”, also if he’s having the full benefits of both I’d say any adjustments should add rather than be averaged out.

  3. Joshua says:

    Ironically enough, I’ve heard people complaining about a lot of Gnome Paladins (using Rapiers) in 5E, so this comic is ahead of its time. I’m sure someone else could specify the mechanical advantages to this odd build, because I never saw it.

    1. GoStu says:

      The only advantage I can come up with is using the Deep Gnome’s ability to turn invisible for surprise attacks and trying to land a lot of SMITE before the enemy can react. Otherwise none of the Gnome races have any particularly powerful bonuses towards the Paladin class. Gnomes have their main bonus in Intelligence, a dump stat for Paladins.

      As to Dexterity-focused builds instead of Strength… it works okay but not impressively. Your Armor Class can be almost as good as strength/plate and the majority of a Paladin’s big hits are from smiting, not their weapon… but the general consensus I know of is that it’s doable but not great.

      It’s certainly not anywhere near the cheese potential of Hexblade/Paladin mixes, and being a Gnome won’t be particularly strong in this compared to Variant Human or Half-Elf setups, or even Dragonborn.

      1. Joshua says:

        I ended up trying a Half-Elf (Ancients) Paladin/(Fey) Warlock, and it worked out pretty well, but not dominate the game well. Being able to have somewhat easily rechargeable Smites was great, but at the expense of delaying so many other class features.

        Beyond what you suggested, I think one of the advantages of a Gnome Paladin would be a huge bonus to a lot of Saving Throws (Gnomes have Advantage on Int/Wis/Cha, and Paladins get that bonus to all equal to Cha). That’s neat I guess, but don’t think it’s earth-shattering. So you have a character that’s got a lot of defense, but is probably slightly less effective at offense than a regular Paladin

        1. GoStu says:

          Yeah, you’d be very resilient against any of the mental saves. Maybe build in the Resilient (Dexterity) feat to be proficient in the most common physical save & bump your main attacking stat a notch. A nice bonus all around, but not the kind of thing that makes the optimization types jump out of their chair.

          Even if there’s some Gnome-only Feat that’d be applicable that I’m not aware of, I don’t think it’d compare to a crit-fishing Elf using Elven Accuracy with a Hexblade/Vengeance Paladin combo.

          I would say that Gnome Paladin works in 5e because it’s very hard to build a bad 5e character if you assign your Ability Scores well enough and stick to one class. You can make a trainwreck of a build but it’s generally a harder process than just staying in one class and doing pretty well.

  4. MaxieJZeus says:

    C. S. Lewis: By the way, has any science fiction writer yet succeeded in inventing a third sex? …

    Kingsley Amis: Clifford Simak invented a set-up where there were seven sexes.

    Lewis: How rare happy marriages must have been then!

    Brian Aldiss: Rather worth striving for perhaps.

    Lewis: Obviously when achieved they’d be wonderful.

    — From “Unreal Estates”

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      Lewis had a lot of screwed up idea’s about gender and marriage.
      Comes with the fundamentalist territory I guess.

      1. Balesirion says:

        Please do not ever use the word “fundamentalist” to describe anyone when you clearly do not know what it means. There is no such thing as an Anglican fundamentalist.

      2. DHW says:

        Dismissing one of the greatest writers of the English language as a screwed-up fundamentalist because he doesn’t share your religious views. Yeah, maybe you want to put that take back in the oven for a little while longer.

    2. Decius says:

      Issac Asimov, /The Gods Themselves/.

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Heh, I immediately thought about the Aasimov example Decius called on above but as for Simak I’ve read that short story, here’s a spoiler and answer to the question asked: the seven sexed species is doing rather fine for themselves, they’re mostly pragmatic rather than romantic, until humans come along, specifically a wannabe movie director who’s a “cultural attache” or something, and decide to f it up by forcing their ideas of how relationship dynamics should work on the poor chaps. It’s mostly played for laughs although there is probably a lesson about applying human standards to non-human species in there.

  5. evileeyore says:

    My only issue with Josh’s character is that he has the wrong name.

  6. Sniffnoy says:

    I only just realized that this is made even more nonsensical by having two mothers

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Clearly the human man is the one who bore the child. It’s the only fair explanation!

  7. MadTinkerer says:

    He’s literally 150% of a character. I guess the D&D&D manual must have some very serious loopholes.

    Well obviously D&D&D is 150% of D&D. Sounds legit to me.

    1. Mr. Wolf says:

      By my maths D&D&D is 167% of D&D.

  8. PhoenixUltima says:

    A gnome paladin is far from the worst idea for a character build I’ve seen. Neverwinter Nights’ first expansion, Shadows of Undrentide, had a multi-classed half orc companion who had levels in both barbarian and… sorcerer. Yes, I repeat, a half-orc barbarian/sorcerer. The game didn’t let you choose which class he took levels in either, so he always took equal levels in both. I forget how high your levels get by the end, but I think it was 16 or so. Which means that by the end of the expansion, he would be at Barbarian 8/Sorcerer 8.

    You could only have 1 companion in that expansion, so I realize that the companions needed to be versatile (one of the other companions is a halfling rogue/cleric, which is still odd but less actively awful), but I still don’t know what made them think a half-orc barbarian/sorcerer would be anything but hilariously awful.

    1. Mattias42 says:

      Played with him, actually. Have to admit I had to go look up his name (Xanos Messarmos) but I found him pretty interesting.

      I mean, was playing the infamous combo of Bard/Dragon Disciple so I might have not needed much help, but he held his own in both magic and might. And did genuinely like his ‘trying to be noble and poised, but not quite being able to escape his heritage’ thing.

      Of course… That’s the same expansion that lets you travel with Deekin Scalesinger, show stealer and kobold bard extra-ordinare, so poor Xanos does get forgotten pretty easily, alas.

    2. Nimrandir says:

      Pathfinder has a class called bloodrager, which is a hybrid barbarian/sorcerer. They’re horrifyingly effective (granted, full BAB and no d4 hit dice make a huge difference).

      1. Cannongerbil says:

        Thing is the blood rager isn’t really a “sorcerer/barbarian” so much as it is a “Barbarian that trades rage powers for SLAs”, so that’s not really the best comparison to make.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          How do you figure? They get straight-up spellcasting at level four, with components and everything. I’m more inclined to call them an arcane paladin.

          The full attack progression, consistent d10 hit dice, and ability to cast in armor make them superior to a barbarian/sorcerer, but it doesn’t mean you couldn’t do something similar with the multiclass approach.

    3. BlueHorus says:

      I’m sure you could get them to focus on one class or the other. I took the dwarf character as a companion and she ended up a Rogue with 1 level in Cleric and terribly allocated stats (for a rogue). But like most people I dumped her the instand Deekin showed up.

      Though wasn’t there also a Paladin who started with you? She’d have made a decent close-combat companion, but for some reason she decided not to go adventuring and spent almost all her time onscreen cleaning up, as I remember.

      1. John says:

        There’s a mod that lets you take the Paladin, but I’ve never played it.

        But, yes, Deekin is the best, the most entertaining, and, surprisingly, the least whiny companion.

    4. John says:

      No, you can tell Xanos, Dorna, and even Deekin which classes to take levels in. It doesn’t kick in until Level 3 though. For example, when Xanos gets enough experience to reach Level 3 you can tell him to take levels as either a Barbarian or a Sorcerer. Or you can leave it up to him, in which case he’ll go 50-50. He’ll always have at least one level in each class. Dorna is, as you said, a Rogue/Cleric. Deekin is a Bard by default, but you can tell him to take Rogue levels too.

      The real problem with Xanos is not so much his build as Neverwinter Nights’ terrible spellcaster AI, which I think somehow miraculously and impossibly got worse between v 1.64 and v 1.69. As of 1.69, any character that casts Improved Invisibility on itself will completely stop attacking enemies until the spell wears off, no matter what instructions you give. It makes Nathyrra, the Drow Rogue/Wizard/Assassin in Hordes of the Underdark near completely useless–unless you tell her not to cast spells, I suppose. Which you probably should, as her selection isn’t all that great to begin with.

      1. Decius says:

        Oh, the horrible spellcasting AI.

        I remember not being able to get a character to stop casting True Sight on themselves over and over, just because it was the highest level spell they could cast at the moment.

        1. default_ex says:

          Probably the same guy that wrote the mechanics for MMORPG spell casting. You know the one that overwrites your own buff with their inferior buff.

          1. decius says:

            Dear gods, that error.

            You have a computer, just track everything even if it overlaps.

      2. BlueHorus says:

        Ah, Nathyrra. The only character who’s ever made me laugh out loud by being emo. People complain a lot about Carth Onansi and Kaiden Alenko, but at least those two kept their complaining to conversations (also, I quite liked them and don’t get what the fuss is about?).

        But in HOTU you’d just be wandering around the gameworld, doing your quests, when Nathyrra would suddenly – as a bark, not by initiating a conversation, so you’d all keep walking while she talked – launch into a long monologue about how hilariously nasty her upbringing had been or how dangerous the Underdark was. All apropos of nothing.
        And the line delivery was so serious. It was perfect.

        It really helps that she was a Drow, who have a unique culture that’s a blend of ‘grimdark-bordering-on-Stupid-Evil social setup’ and ‘someone’s very specific sex fetish*’.

        ‘Evil Elves who live underground and worship spiders’ isn’t a bad idea at all, but somebody let the creepy weirdo write the details of this faction…and he probably did it one-handed.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I can’t find the worst offender I’ve seen but if you look for some really, really old pictures of the Drow you’ll find out that they weren’t always grey/jet black/bluish skin and elven features, they used to look like literally “African ladies in leotards”. The closest I can find atm is the “Queen of the Spiders” cover but I remember I’ve seen something where it was even more obvious, I think the hair even looked like a classic fro.

  9. Ira says:

    This was my favourite joke in the entire comic.

    The human’s goofy grin and cheerful thumbs-up just sell it. It is perfect.

  10. Sleeping Dragon says:

    So here’s the thing, like some people above said the race mixture is not physically impossible in a high-magic setting. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that it could make for an interesting backstory or psychology. It’s Josh’s approach to the whole thing.

    Anecdote time, at one point I had a Vampire the Masquerade player who insisted that he wants to have a wolf as a ghoul (not for any specific advantage, just because it would be cool), this is not impossible as animals can become ghouls and I don’t know how canon it is (probably not much, at that point our Masquerade was probably more houserules than sourcebooks) but in this gaming group we have established that if animals live long enough as ghouls they will even slowly gain semblance of more “humanlike” intelligence, like being able to actually understand speech rather than just be “trained” to react to commands, solve abstract problems etc.

    The problem was this guy would start bending over backwards to get this ghoul with the minimum of costs. For example he figured out that if the wolf is “aware” he doesn’t need no “animalism” (a special vampiric powerset that lets you, among other things, converse with animals) nor the “animal ken” skill. This is despite the fact that the setting states animals are generally not big fans of vampires unless the revulsion is overcome with the use of either of those abilities. His reasoning being that 1) the wolf is bloodbound (if you consume vampire’s blood you become more and more effectively in love with the person) so revulsion does not apply, 2) the wolf understands speech and can think in abstract terms so there is no reason to train it or anything, and it can communicate its needs so taking care of it is as easy as taking care of a human who can’t do their own shopping.

    Cue a bit of a… I’d call it a verbal spar except the more I tried to point out everything that was wrong with this picture the more the player assumed I was actually literally working with them in trying to “flesh out” the character. I ended up with something indignant along the lines of “Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that your character somehow, despite having no skills to track and catch one nor the money to pay someone to do it for them, ‘obtained’ a wolf and, like, kept it chained to a wall in your apartment (just because it likes you doesn’t mean it won’t cause problems, like try to follow you out, in fact even human ghouls doing weird and obsessive things over their masters is a common system trope) for years or more likely decades feeding it your blood and hoping that being a ghoul keeps it alive if it has any problems until it becomes aware, all the time dealing with neighbours and animal services and what not?!” to which the player reacted with “wow, that’s a cool backstory”. On top of that as soon as the game started he would proceed to mostly ignore the wolf left rotting in the tiny apartment (the character was of very limited means).

    Long story short, bloodbond is a complex thing and while it is fairly open to abuse and can make the ghoul do things such as sacrifice themselves for you I’ve decided that decades of systematic abuse and mistreatment (because that was the only way to call it) would make for a pretty messed up ghoul. Incidentally before this player even started creating a character I had an old Gangrel (a vampiric clan with connection to animals, they get animalism by default) planned as one of the major players in the campaign. Needless to say as soon as this guy with his “hail brother predator” attitude showed up the ghoul effectively became a double agent, it actually never came to a point where the poor animal would have to hard determine its loyalties but it would probably go with the Gangrel.

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