As promised, here is the remainder of the Act II story arc for Chainmail Bikini. It turns out the full end of the story was way, way too long to fit into a single post. (Always count on me to find the size limits for written text. Brevity is a cross-class skill for me.) So the end of the story will be posted in the next entry. Today you get the remainder of Act II. The next post will tell the story of Act III and bring the story to a close.
This isn’t broken up into jokes, but instead functions as a list of joke ideas and hooks. It won’t be funny, but it should give you an idea of how things were supposed to turn out.
When I write the comic I come up with arcs or scenes, and then Shawn and I work to turn those scenes into individual jokes. If you remember in the last few strips before the end of Chainmail Bikini, they’d met a shopkeeper who kept trying to give directions through the swamp but kept being ignored. This was the first half of one such scene. The gist was that they thwarted the attempted railroading more or less without even realizing it. This scene would end with Casey finding some clumsy way to keep the railroad going even with the shopkeeper dead.
The path he intends for them to take is a series of underground passages. There is a series of dusty stone catacombs just a few feet below the surface of the bubbling swamp. The gist of the jokes is that we contrast the different player reactions: Marcus and Josh both accept it without question, and Chuck and Ivy are put off by the absurdity of it.
Before the end of Scene Four we might also work in a reminder of the overarching goals: Reach the Necropolis, then the Black Obelisk where they can defeat Deuse Baaj.
The players are sitting at the table, and the room is dark. They are gaming by candlelight.
Josh: Um. It’s dark in here.
Ivy: Yes. Let’s talk about that. What’s the deal?
Casey: You’re in the ancient dusty catacombs of Gra’neth, the twisting underbelly of the swamp.
Ivy: No, why are WE sitting in the dark??
Josh: I can’t see my character sheet.
Casey: I’m trying to set a mood!
Marcus: Do I smell apple and cinnamon?
Casey: It’s the candle. It’s scented. We had a bunch of of them leftover from the holidays.
Ivy: So we’re sitting in a dark, APPLE-SCENTED dungeon under a swamp?
Marcus: Mmmm. This is a very festive dungeon.
Casey: I have a pumpkin & spice from Thanksgiving if you want to try that instead.
The situation gets worse as they try to actually play. They can’t see character sheets or dice rolls. Marcus holds his character sheet up to the candle so he can read it, and ends up setting the thing on fire.
Still in the dungeon. Marcus needs a new character. The lights are on again in the room.
Marcus: I’m rolling up my new character.
Chuck: You should try playing a man.
Josh: With pants.
Casey: Why not play this Gnome Paladin? He’s integral to the plot.
Marcus: (Evil grin.) Oh REALLY?
Casey presents Marcus with a huge stack of notes. This character evidently comes with a good deal of baggage. Casey tries to give Marcus on overview of the character, how it should be played, how he relates to the world. Marcus ignores him and begins his dramatics:
Paladin: Hail adventures. I’m…
Casey: Luther Whitehammer…
Marcus: (overlapping) A paladin!
Ramgar: Let’s assume we get to know each other and we’re all buddies now. I want us to push towards the Nor-
Luther, looking at Lucretia: Forsooth! I am struck by the beauty of your female companion!
Luc: Oh yeah. I can’t imagine how this can end well.
Marcus / Luther: My character is smitten by this pale beauty.
I’m going to cut myself to demonstrate my love to her.
Casey: I don’t think that’s how a paladin would demonstrate love…
Marcus / Luther: Hey, you gave me this character. I’m just going with what I know.
Casey: Well you CAN’T cut yourself. You don’t have an edged weapon.
Luther (to Josh): Could I get a…
Josh, who is bristling with knives and swords: I’m not sharing. I need all these.
Marcus: Fine. I’ll just go with what I have here.
(Luther begins slamming himself in the face with his hammer.)
Lucretia: I don’t know how to say this little guy…
Lucretia: But this face-hammering business just isn’t doing it for me.
Casey: Oh. alright. The banging sound of your character has attracted the attention of…
Casey: A ravenous… Badger-Dragon.
Luther: In order to protect my lady, I jump into its mouth.
Casey (horrified): You WHAT?
Marcus: Head first, man. All the way. Anything to protect his beloved.
Casey: Uh. I guess he’s dead then.
Marcus (Surprised): Oops. Really? I figured being integral to the plot made him immortal.
Casey: No, it just means you fed crucial quest items and maps to a monster.
Which, having been so generously fed, leaves.
Marcus (Giving back the paladin.): Wow. Maybe I should have read some of that stuff while I had it.
Ivy: Next time you’re playing a woman.
Josh: With some sort of combat usefulness.
Marcus introduces his next character: Topaz, a cheery female Wizard with a witch hat and a little miniskirt. There is a little difficulty in getting the other players to accept this, as they already HAVE a caster. We trot out the usual assortment of jokes remarking on how CROWDED these dungeons seem to be that they keep meeting new people. Then there are some jokes reminding us of just how overpowered Josh is.
They continue on, and exit the dungeon next to the Necropolis.
End of Act II
The Death of Half-Life
Valve still hasn't admitted it, but the Half-Life franchise is dead. So what made these games so popular anyway?
The Terrible New Thing
Fidget spinners are ruining education! We need to... oh, never mind the fad is over. This is not the first time we've had a dumb moral panic.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.
The Gradient of Plot Holes
Most stories have plot holes. The failure isn't that they exist, it's when you notice them while immersed in the story.
Batman: Arkham Origins
A breakdown of how this game faltered when the franchise was given to a different studio.