#36: The Great Wall of Text

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jun 30, 2019

Filed under: DM of the Rings 23 comments


I was going to have one of the characters come in and make fun of Casey for writing Too Much Danged Text, but once I saw the final work in all its glorious verbosity I realized I’d done the exact same thing in the process of writing this joke.

Still, are these pictures great or what?


Shamus Says:

In other comics I’d sometimes have text in diminishing point size within each bubble, so that it got smaller and smaller. I’d always hoped this would convey to the audience “You are not supposed to actually read this”. When it was really extreme, I’d also cover up the spam bubbles with other, shorter bubbles. My worry was always that people would actually try to read the stuff, get bored, and accuse me of being the thing I was trying to mock.

I never really figured out how well all of that worked. Here we didn’t try to drive off the reader with tiny fonts and we left a most of the text open and readable. We didn’t get a lot of complaining about excessive text, so either people have a good sense of when they should skip, or they have a bigger appetite for this sort of thing than I ever imagined.

Shawn Says:

I think it works. I tend to glaze over the mass of word bubbles in panel 2. I actually quite like this strip, between the mass of narration and the bitchin’ artwork, I think this one works out rather well.

Looking back, I do wish I’d have stuck with the DMotR tradition of doing Casey’s DMing bubbles in yellow. I think on strips like this one it would have worked better.

Also, that last panel is one of my favorite things I drew in the entire run of CB.

No comic on Friday, we’re taking the day off, even from reruns.

EDIT 2019: This comic was previously published on December 23rd, 2009, so I guess we were taking a day off for Christmas. This time around, publishing will continue as normal. (Or whatever passes for normal around here.)
 


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23 thoughts on “#36: The Great Wall of Text

  1. Dreadjaws says:

    No comic on Friday, we’re taking the day off, even from reruns.

    I can’t help but be confused by these things, particularly since it’s the second re-run. Your text at the end seems to make it pretty clear, but just to be sure, next friday, June 5th, there’ll be a comic, right? Or are you just going to make it a tradition to not publish the next strip on fridays for this and every subsequent re-run there might be?

    1. Shamus says:

      Edited the post to clear this up.

    2. Nimrandir says:

      Given the point of the comment, I can’t help but chuckle at the fact that the Friday in question is July 5.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        Goddammit. I do this every time. Every damn month.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          I totally get it; as an academic on summer break, I wouldn’t know what day it is without Shamus’ schedule.

  2. Galad says:

    Yep, the pictures are great, and we have a big appetite for your writing, Shamus! :D

  3. Mousazz says:

    So, I’m replaying Morrowind, and I just read “The Real Barenziah”. All of it. It’s above 22,000 in wordcount. All that for a lore establishing side book that has barely anything to do with the actual game. Compared to that monstrosity, this comic is seemingly terse, Shamus.

    1. The Wind King says:

      Same Barenziah who left 24 of the most annoying gems in the world to find in “Skyrim”?

      1. Syal says:

        I think finding Morrowind’s Sanguine gear is worse, but at least you could drop the Sanguine gear if you didn’t care. I don’t know what Skyrim was thinking making the gems both undroppable and heavy.

    2. Sartharina says:

      That series originally appeared in Daggerfall, where Barenziah was somewhat more significant thanks to her ties to the court of Wayrest (And you had a quest to shut the production of the book down due to its content). It’s most (in)famous for… I think Book 2 in Morrowind, which I think was book 4 or 5 in Daggerfall. It contained an explicit khajiit-on-dunmer sex scene (Censored on order of the temple in Morrowind and later games)

  4. Karma The Alligator says:

    At that point I’d either have already left to loot the town (at least the parts that weren’t on fire anymore), or I’d have mercy killed that paysan. He’s clearly suffering and delirious.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I bet if the players had left, he’d somehow gain the strength to shout, or get up and follow them around while monologuing.

      For a farmer, he’s very very verbose.

      1. Syal says:

        Did we not mention the entire village is built inside a cave structure? The echo of the farmer’s words will carry clearly no matter where you go.

      2. tremor3258 says:

        Hmm, clever trap – ‘last survivor’ who is actually a zombie with a prerecorded (lengthy) message to get adventuring responders to the beloved peasant village into arms’ reach for a few hits.

  5. Andy says:

    Nothing quite beats the “Hall of Records” from Neverhood. Talk about a literal wall of text…

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Oh man, screens and screens of text. Not sure it was worth the read though. Apparently the back-story is as bizarre as the art-style.

  6. Ramsus says:

    I think that’s just about the amount of “block of text” I’d actually bother to read. It’s a few visible paragraphs of writing. And at this early point in the comic it gives insight on what kind of setting the GM means this to be, so it’s actually worth the effort of reading it. Also, I don’t read a lot of stuff written like that so it’s entertaining just for that alone.

  7. Olivier FAURE says:

    I like how the DM has planned a whole battle with multiple stages, armies of soldiers, *then* hordes of zombies just to kill a town of about 30 untrained farmers.

    1. Joshua says:

      In the night, no less! What should have been a 5-minute massacre killing mostly sleeping people in their homes was a prolonged battle.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      He planned the invasion for when the party was there, in order to give them an epic, protracted siege fight. Those poor farmers got the four stages of enemy attacks designed for players, because dammit, Casey statted that encounter and he’s going to use it!

  8. Decius says:

    There was an error in making the audience interested enough in the world that they wanted to know about the actual backstory.

    What might work is a time break. Start with the first sentence, then cut to midway through and have someone comment about how much time has elapsed, or otherwise indicate that it’s been a while.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      That farmer’s also not telling them anything useful or important with his massive monologue. Seriously, just the words ‘DEUSE BAJJ WAS HERE LOL’ written in on a wall would have all the relevant information they needed.

      1. Nessus says:

        I get the impression that Casey doesn’t actually have much imagination at all, and he tries to make up for that with grandiose language.

        The whole Deus Baj thing is a dead-basic, one-dimensional “evil overlord” plot, with no hooks or unique details of any kind. Exactly the sort of thing you use for a “story in games is like story in porn” minded group precisely because it only takes one or two sentences to set up, and can then be safely forgotten as the rest of the campaign becomes an endless colon of proc-gen dungeons in search of “loot”.

        No wonder the group is irritated. Everything about the “story” he’s created says “fig leaf: safe to ignore”, yet he keeps violating that expectation with long-winded exposition, and getting stroppy when people mash the “skip cutscene” button or wander off-script.

        He has no idea what he’s doing. He’s an insecure cargo-cult storyteller who’s staked his ego on the belief that he can make a cardboard cutout epic by hanging a verbal Mr. T necklace on it. So when that belief isn’t validated, he chooses to believe his audience must be doing it wrong, and lashes out.

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