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
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22 thoughts on “#52 Finale Part 1”
You know, this is all good stuff. Have you considered whether this format has legs for the site? Or some other kind of serialisation? I do love reading your fiction, even in this sketchier style. It would be a less risky way of getting it out there than self-publishing, and you could always compile it into a real book or something else to sell later.
Or have you considered a new collaboration in a new fantasy world… or even Sci-Fi? You have enough Mass Effect “juice” to explore Sci-Fi…. ;)
Ooooh, yes. Same characters as CB, playing riffs on famous characters from other games.
Chuck playing a Wrex-analogue.
Ivy playing a sarcastic, forth-wall-breaking version of Kreia.
Marcus playing a dumb Shepard-analogue who a) no-one respects despite being the leader In Character and b) dies very quickly.
(She’s got a glowing hand that is integral to the plot somehow – so, after her death, the party just hack it off and carry it around with them for the rest of the game.)
Josh playing some ridiculously OP character that should be impossible (half krogan, half asari, half hanar and part battle droid etc).
All facing off against Casey’s stupid plot, and his recurring NPC badguy who’s DEFINITELY not Kai Leng and keeps surviving due to ever-escalating GM bullshit protection.
We’d need a new artist, though. Unless… There was some sort of game series which could provide screenshots…
As with the prequel trilogy in Darths & Droids, the plot of Mass Effect would make much more sense when produced by an actual railroading DM and dysfunctional player group. Even better, rather than the entire story being recreated in a world where it didn’t exist, make it canonical that they’ve all played the original game and are trying to make something up to follow it.
Probably not enough shot variation to be practical, though. Mixing screenshot source from different playthroughs to get radically different Shepherds might help a little but when your options are “talking head” and “third person shooter”…
There’s always Garry’s Mod, ala Stolen Pixel. Almost all of the assets from the first 3 Mass Effect games have been ported over to it over the years.
Ayyy, the Gnome Paladin finally had his chance to shine! (very, very temporarily XD)
Hey, he apparently made for a fine meal! Very filling, what more could a badger-dragon ask for?
I thought the writeup of Scene Six was hilarious. I’d happily read more stuff like that.
I agree. Accompanying art would be nice, but I think these bits work well on their own, like the hypothetical Penguin script from the Arkham City retrospective.
MUST…FIND…NEW…ARTIST…FOR…COMIC. This would have been fun!
But no, I don’t know any. Again, it’s sad that CB died the death it did.
And scene six could have been dragged out for a lot of strips.
Alternative death for Marcus: He tries to fight the Badger-Dragon and gets knocked unconscious in one hit by thanks to not healing after his face-hammering display.
So the rest of the party just leave him there being eaten and move on.
Ah the Badger Dragon, such a majestic creature. You shouldn’t feed it Paladins though, it tends to develop heart problems if it eats too many of those. The Hamster Dragon, on the other hand, benefits immensely from the occasional Paladin meal.
For clarification: is this mists-of-time Shamus or 2019 Shamus?
Mists of time. I wrote all this way back when the comic ended.
Thank you for the information. I recalled a wrap-up description when I read the comics on Shawn’s site, but I couldn’t remember how specific it got regarding potential scripts.
Love the lights off and candle scene, remembers me of some of my tabletop games. Don’t know if it’s a common practice.
I was the kind of player that liked to play with candles fire a bit, but never had a disaster.
Only time my group ever played with candles was when a scheduled session happened to line up with a power outage (and a hurricane, if I remember correctly. Hurricane party!)
Anyway, the main issue for us wasn’t fire, but wax. I think it was the candles got bumped and sloshed on our papers. I still have archived session notes and maps with globby wax coating.
These scenes sound hilarious! Too bad they never saw the light of day…
Lie! The “festive dungeon” totally made me laugh?
By the way Shamus does it HAVE to be a comic? Because that written discussion format is totally working for me! You can just write it as a fake actual play, it could make good content for the blog.
Easy to produce, no collaboration worries, and easy to stop if it’s not working…could be worth trying,
I’ve just remembered what it reminded me of.
When Erfworld lost an artist due to a family crisis, the writer was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. For a while he continued the story through text updates alone, and it worked surprisingly well. Happily the artist eventually was able to return and the comic is back on its feet.
Okay, see, this for me is where Marcus shows his “dark side” as a player. I mean, his actions so far could be ascribed to just being clueless. Like, my first character was a total grimdark edgelord so, especially if Marcus is newer to the table, I’d totally buy that he’s just trying to play what he thinks is cool*. Sure, his version of “cool” is tropeish, and objectifying, and he’s not very good at it, but it felt like he tried to have fun. Here though he’s just blatantly trying to exploit the system.
*Admittedly they all are, just they have very different ideas about it and some (most) of those ideas are bad.
Awww… this is really funny stuff! It’s such a shame that it was never finished.
I really wanted to like CB but there was something about it that felt off-putting. Now I realize that the problem (for me) is a mismatch between the writing and and the art style. Shamus’ irreverent, snarky humor doesn’t mesh well with Shawn’s angular, detached artwork. Both are good in their own right, but together feel as if they are in opposition.
Shamus’ jokes would have been better served by a softer, more relatable art style. (And readable fonts!)
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