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Episode 1941: Stick Out Like a Sear Thumb

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A gestural language is a handy thing to have set up with fellow party members. For those inevitable cases where you either want to communicate without making a noise that might give away your position, or when you are unable to speak because of being gagged, or under magical silence, or whatever.

The concept of a thieves' cant secret language that thieves use has been in games since the early days of Dungeons & Dragons. This is a language designed to be used in secret, so can easily have a primarily gestural component. If you use it in your games already, definitely make use of this and point out that you can still communicate without having to speak.

In more real-world games, consider learning a sign language instead of a foreign language. It might end up coming in more useful.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

One of Han's great lines from the first movie is finally reused here. And again, we see that knowledge of the right tools is critical.

So how much of BB-8 is useless because he's one point short of the other player? How does Corey feel, being told that his character is useless?

That's a serious question. The goal of a game is for everyone to have fun. Even if you are losing, you should enjoy the game enough to enjoy losing. There's nothing worse than a cheap victory that results in never having an opponent for another game later. There's nothing worse than a final RPG session because no one will play with you in the future.

Sir Poley, I believe, was the one who said that a good min-maxer might start with a horrible character concept, and then min-max that - you wind up with about the same power level as the rest, and you get to do your own personal best. Milo had a strong case of that, being a great min-max for a team support character, but woefully underpowered for having to take on bad guys all by himself, or even just passing basic Potions in Harry Potter and the Natural 20.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Huh! That's more physically expressive than R2-D2 ever was, intentional flipping out aside. It's definitely a good way to tell BB-8 is the more charming between the two. It feels a little random to have a thumbs up between Finn and BB here out of the blue, but that's probably because I'm missing some of the context of the movie. Maybe movie_BB-8 only beeps like R2-D2 does and movie_Finn can't understand the meaning of the sounds, so this is an attempt at communication. I wonder if the intention here is to show that BB can emote with more than just sound; beeps, whines, and trills are good at conveying tone or feel, but a thumbs up really helps cement a positive feeling.

And it's been way too long since I've seen any of the original series movies (or prequels), but I'm pretty sure Finn's line in the first panel is a quote from Episode IV or V. Probably. That's something I enjoy quite a bit with the Darths & Droids comic; there's all these little direct references to the movies, but in completely different scenes or with an extra twist.

Another neat design detail I just noticed; I think we can see the compartment the flame torch is stored inside in the first panel. I'm not 100% sure of that even with the double resolution image though; I can also see that the orange circle facing down in the last panel has the same pattern, and the arc welder is the same too. Maybe that's a way to tell externally what sort of tools are on that spherical side; the metal hand-shaped plates have tools that would normally need hands behind them.

Transcript

Rey: I’m installing the modulator.
Finn: If we fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, I’m blaming you.
Rey: Pass me a Pilex driver.
Finn: Pssst. What’s a Pilex driver?
BB-8: That one.
Finn: Thanks! {gives a thumbs up}
BB-8: You’re welcome.
[SFX]: flik {BB-8 echoes thumbs up gesture with a flame torch}
Finn: Oooh, nice, using your flame torch for a thumbs up.
BB-8: Apparently with Repair rank 14 that’s all it’s good for.


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Published: Thursday, 07 January, 2021; 01:11:03 PST.
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