Darths & Droids

ARCHIVE     FORUM     CAST     FAN ART     RSS     IPAD     FAQ     ACADEMY    

<     Episode 833: A Good Time to Grapple     >

Episode 833: A Good Time to Grapple


In the constrained artificial worlds of computer games, if you need some particular item in order to accomplish some task or quest, the programmers need to make sure that you can somehow get the item in question. What this means is, if you're exploring a castle and you come across a pineapple somewhere, you can be pretty sure that, for whatever reason, later on you will need a pineapple. It's probably the dragon's favourite food or something.

The upshot is that any item that looks even remotely arbitrary is not. If you get some odd piece of equipment, you can lay odds that you'll probably need to use it later on. (In some ways this is an old paradigm, and some modern computer games are more sophisticated, offering a great variety of objects to interact with, so it's much less obvious what is important.)

In a roleplaying game, this problem is less apparent. Some old (or "classic") adventures, particularly of the early Dungeons & Dragons style, hewed close to this significant item approach, scattering the obscure pieces needed to defeat the evil wizard throughout the dungeon, in such a way that it was pretty obvious that you needed to collect them as you went. But with a live GM it's much easier to provide a wide open world in which all manner of items are available. A spy infiltrating an office could expect to find staplers, printers, pencils, paper clips, pencil sharpeners, telephones, coffee mugs, rubber bands, and all sorts of other potential equipment just lying about, ready to be picked up and turned into some clever spy tool as easily as informing the GM that you want to do so. It becomes much easier to hide anything that really is potentially significant. If the spy might need a pineapple later on, it's easily hidden in a fruit bowl on the reception desk, next to a bunch of flowers, a tin of pencils, a pair of sunglasses, and pad of Post-its. And if the spy is clever, they can actually come up with some other way to defeat the pineapple-loving guard dog, using instead a slingshot made of sunglasses, rubber bands, and pencil sharpeners.


[SFX]: Pow!
GM: One of the troopers does a triple somersault into the Divorium.
Trooper: Noooo!! Wilhelm!!
Luke: Is there water at the bottom?
[SFX]: Pow!
GM: You can't even see the bottom.
Luke: This must be the room where I need to use my grappling hook.
Leia: Are you sure about that?
Luke: Of course. What else would it be for?
[SFX]: Hoik
Luke: 10.
[SFX]: Pow!
GM: The hook wraps around an exposed beam. It feels solid.
Luke: Right, we swing across.
Leia: Before we do, I give Luke a kiss on the cheek.
Luke: EEEWW!!!! Why did you do that?!
Leia: I just wanted to kiss someone before I die.

Our comics: Darths & Droids | Irregular Webcomic! | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | The Prisoner of Monty Hall | mezzacotta
Blogs: dangermouse.net (daily updates) | 100 Proofs that the Earths is a Globe (science!) | Carpe DMM (whatever) | Snot Block & Roll (food reviews)
More comics we host: Lightning Made of Owls | Square Root of Minus Garfield | iToons | Comments on a Postcard | Awkward Fumbles
Published: Thursday, 17 January, 2013; 02:11:01 PST.
Copyright © 2007-2021, The Comic Irregulars. irregulars@darthsanddroids.net