Shelters Are a GOOD Thing, It Would Seem…

Remember when everyone was saying that AC2 wasn’t going to have NPCs?

There was a reason for that, as it turns out. It seems that while the rest of us hid deep underground in safe, armored and magicked bunkers, the race of people that were to become NPCs stayed above ground, where they were bombarded by dangerous radiation. It’s just like Omega Man. Except instead of being surrounded by homicidial zombie-esque maniacs, I’m surrounded by brain-damaged goombahs whose idea of fun is standing in a field telling anyone that’ll listen to go get their lost notebook. And instead of my being some brilliant scientist that’s survived due to an experimental vaccine, I’m the last practitioner of the forbidden art of ‘logic’. And brother, they are ALL out to get me.

Never mind this whole concept of doing a quest that serves a purpose; oh no, these irradiated maniacs have no time for that. Instead, I have to do such important things like kill drudges! Gee, THAT’s a new one!

Here’s the problem: drudges are invading! And we can’t have that…they’ve been known to stand around in the same place for hours at a time!

Honestly people, these guys aren’t a menace. They’re vagrants. What are they doing that’s so bad? Standing in the road? C’mon, lay off the drudges. It’s not like they’re macroing or anything! Oh, sure – it starts out innocently enough. Today we’re clearing the road of an ‘incursion.’ Tomorrow, maybe we’ll wipe out an annoying Drudge Warlord in his chamber. Next week? Let’s put the Tumeroks in work camps!

What kind of facist goombahs have we let run things above the surface? I mean, who was the genius that was the first one out of our safe caves who said, “Hey, see those guys over there trying to crack the trunk of the tree with their foreheads? I’ve got an idea! Let’s put THEM in charge!”

What were you thinking?

I’ll tell you what we need to do: first, wipe out anyone with that symbol above their head. You know what that symbol is? That’s right, a question mark. Know who else was fond of them?


This guy.

You want to sign on board with that dork? Go right ahead; me and the rest of the Super Friends will be sitting over here laughing at your dumb butt. Riddle me this, goombah: who’s stupid enough to listen to the brain-damaged guy who stands in the same place and gets mugged about fifty times a day? You know what that question mark really means? It means, “Help – I’m so stupid that breathing just seems like too great a challenge! Would you go risk your life to get back my sketchbook please? I drew some really rad pictures of a unicorn! Maybe I’ll show them to you if you get it!”

You Have To Admit, It Would Explain a Lot…

I think I’m getting old.

No, no, it’s true. Suddenly it seems like I’m a cranky, difficult-to-please grumpy jerk.

I suppose I first noticed it when the whole ‘Bottom’ fiasco was going on. But now… now, I find myself dissatisfied with the quality of a game. For the first time, I’m going to stop playing a game because the bugs bother me too much.

And this is me we’re talking about. I may not like things, but rarely do I out and out criticize them… okay, okay, that’s a lie. But in the words of the great philosopher and famous mariner Popeye: “I’ve had alls I can stands and I can’t stands no more!”

I think the problem is that I really love the game! That’s what’s bugging me. I am enjoying the heck out of it. It’s got me all excited about calculating the perfect template again, and researching things on the web, and scanning message boards looking for advice – stuff I haven’t done since AC!

Yup, I’m totally into the game. Problem is, I can’t get into the game – no, literally! I have trouble because the login servers are always down. And if they’re not down, then the lag on the server is completely unplayable. Bungee-cording might be cool off a bridge, but in the middle of a fight, it’s a pain in the nether regions.

What really has been bugging me too is that the few times I’ve talked to people that claim to be UBI employees (or CSRs or whatever you call them), they keep denying that the problem is on their end.

“Are your settings properly configured?”
“Yes – I have everything set at it’s lowest possible configuration.”
“Ah. That’s probably the problem then.”
“…”
“You see, sometimes your computer can get jammed up trying to turn down the textures…”
“You’re just making this up, aren’t you?”
“I’m afraid so, sir.”

It’s like some demented version of the Parrot Sketch in Monty Python. I don’t know who these people are that claim they can help me, but every one of them I talk to keeps trying to tell me it’s my system, or my cable modem, or my ISP, or sun spots, or evil hate beams being sent to me from orbiting alien death ships that want to ruin my life.

It really makes me wonder where they get these CSRs.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to put a game like this together. I mean, if I have to match a pair of socks in my drawer, I’m breaking out in a cold sweat. And this game has some of the coolest, most original designs I’ve ever seen in a MOG. Some of the features – the guild cities, for example – are so cool, they make me hawt with lust.

Of course, I’d be lot hawter if they would actually allow me to partake of said hawtness instead of rebooting the servers, lagging all to hell, and just generally not working.

Then again, maybe that’s exactly why they released the game as buggy as it is. My hawtness has been known to intimidate a lot of people…

But really, this is a good game. There’s some great ideas here. Shadowbane is like the Pinocchio of MOGs. It has the possibility to become real.

But so far, it’s just running around, nose getting bigger, and slowly turning into an donkey. And you know what another word for donkey is, don’t you?

That’s right: burro.

Hey, YOU Left the Door Unlocked!

I shouldn’t be left unattended.

I don’t know how many times I tell people this, but nobody listens to me.

“Don’t leave me alone!” I say. “Something’s going to explode!” I say. “I like to play with matches!” I say. But does anyone listen? Oh, no, they’re all like, “Ok, that’s funny – now would you please get out of our house?” and carrying on suchly.

Let’s face it: Turbine has let me down. There should be a LOT more ways to keep someone out of trouble. For argument’s sake, let’s just call that someone me. To further illustrate our point, by “out of trouble,” let’s just call that “alive.”

Look, the way I see it, it has got to be damn boring to be a monster in Dereth. Especially now that they closed the disco. I mean, how long can you stand around, waiting for someone to run up and stab you in the face, before you grow bored? Not very long, trust me – as a seasoned Darktide player, I have a feeling for exactly what that’s like.

So if I’m left to my own devices, you can bet that pretty soon I’ve attracted the attention of the local fauna. Hey, everyone else has LONG since out-leveled me, so it’s only fair I sit around talking with these guys. It’s not that I want to, mind you. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a cow? Wanna know how exciting that is? Never mind the rabid cows. Those guys at least have good taste in music (they’re big on the rave scene, in case you didn’t know).

But occasionally, a critter will show up with enough rudimentary sense that you can engage it in a little fun. Case in point, a lot of lugians nowadays are all over the place. Yes, they’re idiots, but they can be fun – it’s like baby-sitting a two-year-old. One that throws boulders and can walk through the side of the house.

Yeah, they’re strong as Yellow Rat Bastard’s breath, but they’ve also got the IQ of a shoe. Sure, you guys may be all high and mighty come the time of AC2, but let’s not fool ourselves – back in this day and age, you guys still think standing around a basket and throwing a boulder or two at passer-by is a ‘good time.’

Anyway, they can be a lot of fun to play games with. Case in point: A’ left me alone at the mansion. Unattended, even. So what else was there to do? Invite in the local lugian and play hide-and-seek! At first, he wanted to play a game he called, ‘hide the boulder,’ but since that mostly involved trying to hide a boulder inside my face by means of hurling at me at great speeds, I quickly grew tired of that game. Instead, I tried to explain to him the rules of hide-and-seek. It was pretty tough going at first, as he thought that if he had his eyes closed, that constituted an invisibility spell. But once I got things going, he picked up quick enough. Only he took WAY too much pleasure in tagging me as ‘it.’ Also, he couldn’t quite grasp that when he was hiding, his job wasn’t to tag me, but instead run away from me.

As a Cultural Diplomat (doesn’t that sound important?), I extended to another species the glove of friendship. In return, he knocked down three walls in the mansion, broke four chairs, ate three swords that were hanging on the wall (that’s a silly place for them, anyway!) and took a dump in the Horn of Vigilance. Oh, and killed me, but that’s hardly a crime anymore, is it?

When A’ came back, there was basically a pile of rubble, broken bits of furniture, and a few of my corpses lying around. He was a bit ticked, but I explained to him that Allied sources had learnt that Saddam might’ve been hiding in our mansion, so they smart-bombed it to death…

I’m a Product of My Upbringing

I’m worse than Pavlov’s dog, honestly.

I’m like Daffy Duck in the one cartoon – where as soon as someone rings a bell, he goes nuts and begins swinging at everything near him? Only I get beat up a LOT more.

The problem is that I’m conditioned to respond a certain way when I see a little even-conning lurikeen. I begin drooling and bouncing up and down – much like the same symptoms I exhibit walking through the frozen treats section of our local grocer.

Immediately, I’m slapping my zombie into action. Yes, slapping. You’ve heard of idiot savant? Well, I’ve got an idiot zombant. He can take down stuff that cons orange to him – but if I order that pile of putrescent flesh to come “here” or “stay,” for some reason that suddenly translates into “run way the hell over there until you die and I’m left with a sliver of health.” And it’s not like he’s choosing good times to do that, either – if I’m in town or in a safe area, you can bet he’ll stick to my heels like me on Gillian. But the second that it becomes possible – no, likely that I really need my health… For example, we’re sneaking through a horde of ogres into Krondon. Does he sit by my side, as a faithful pet should when commanded?

No, he charges straight off at the nearest ogre. I’m screaming, everyone in my party is screaming, and he’s skip-to-the-loo-da-daying straight at Shrek-boy. And let me tell you something: Shrek might be all cute and cuddly and a big softy in the movies, but when that guy and about a million of his cousins come screaming down at you, there’s no pretty princess, no funny songs, and no smart-alec donkey. There’s just a lot of pain, mister.

So back to my point: when it comes to getting my zombastich to follow orders, I’m fully of the “Spare the rod and spoil the evil-demented-creature-that-should-not-exist” school of parenting. I kick him into action quicker than Jackie Chan in a Hong Kong flick. Aman and I are out be-bopping around the Frontier, and everyone knows, the Frontiers are dangerous places. That’s the sort of reflexes that you need to properly survive in this deadly world of Realm vs. Realm, see? When I see a member of the enemy realm (especially one that we have outnumbered), I don’t play any of this ‘fair chance’ crap – I’m going straight for the throat, talking trash the entire time! It doesn’t really matter that the enemy can’t understand me, right? It is, as they say in my country, the thought that counts. And the obscenities.

Of course, sometimes, pausing to think wouldn’t always be a bad thing.

Right, co-operative server.

So about five seconds after this little fiasco I’m hauled before the guild leaders and left to explain my actions.

But see, the problem now is that I’m already angry, so it’s fair to say my reasoning is clouded. And then this troll walks up to me like he’s the head of my guild or something…

“Smeese, get that stupid rock-crunching excuse for a lump of ugly! Tear that stupid look of his stupid face! Blow his… er… oh. Co-op server. Right. Hah, what a kidder I am…”

Talk About Ruling a Town With an Iron Fist… How About a DIAMOND Fist?

You give a monster a name, and the stupid thing rules a town.

And to make matters worse, the thing’s got a girly name – Susanne or something – not even a proper evil woman’s name, like Evillynne or Elvira or even Joan Rivers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. On Frostfell, I belong to the Tormented Souls monarchy, which is a great group of people…if they’re not feeling like being totally evil…

A’ tells you, “Hey, whacha doing?”
You tell A’, “I’m killing the Olthoi Queen.”
A’ tells you, “Woah, really?”
You tell A’, “Of course not really! I’m getting the crap kicked out of me by these stupid gromnies, what’d ya expect me to be doing?”
Death says, “Well, he probably knew you were dying, but wasn’t sure what was killing you…”

Cynic. Like there can be any doubt lately. I swear, someone’s swaddled my girth in Gromnie Bait or something.

Death says, “Oh, thank you for that mental imagery!”

Sorry. It’s true, though – for some reason, lately everywhere I go there’s like a train of 80 billion gromnies hot on my trail. And they’re varied – sometimes I’m getting burnt, sometimes frozen, sometimes shocked and sometimes just poked – it’s a plethora of killing methods!

But NOW I’m getting attention from the big dogs! Not just A’, but Khushbu, Jodmala, Qysela and Aluver o’ Women II (I’m not making that up!) – all of them want to hang out with ME!

Not that I can blame them, mind you. Sometimes I’m so cool, I think that I’m responsible for this long hard winter and I want to punch myself in the head! THAT’s how cool I am! I know, I can’t believe someone hasn’t started an “Official Kwip Fanclub” and began ebaying autographed Hawaiian shirts or something. There’s probably one or two million dollars just in licensing rights alone, you know? Mmmmm, I love money…

Wait, where was I?

Oh, right – A’ & Co. inviting me to do something! As I tried to remember how to get to subway, my mind began to race furiously with possibilities – maybe there were going to take me to hunt the Queen? Man, that would be cool. Oh! Or maybe they were gonna take me on Gaerlan’s quest (or whatever that guy’s name is)! Oh oh oh – or maybe they were going to take me to that new island! I’ve never been there, ya know! Which island? I don’t care, pick one – I’ve never been to any of them!

So I make my way into Subway. And my oh my – isn’t THIS a change! Remember how crowded Subway used to be? And how there were like never any of the undead around because everyone going through there so often turned them into floormats? Well, now thanks to our markets, that place is alive! Er…well, no, not so much alive as maybe unalive. There were like five undead waiting for me as soon as I started down the stairs. And that’s about 3 more than I can handle.

Death says, “Three?”
You say, “Well, maybe four.”
Death says, “Four?”
You say, “Isn’t there someone else you could be bothering? Look, Anson’s probably trying to finish a quest. Go play with him.”
Death says, “Oooooh, good idear. BRB!”
Anson tells you, “Bastich!”
You giggle.

So that’s another trip. It takes me a while to find someone to buff me up enough to handle the undead, then it takes even longer to convince them to buff me up again after I get killed jumping and have to re-do that whole thing. Hey – it’s been a while, I forgot how much that jump hurt, okay?

But finally, after much mirth and mayhem (at my expense, of course), I make it to Mayoi. Know what I find waiting for me? A’, Khushbu, Aluver o’ Women II (the second? Was his father that insane? Where was his mother during the naming?), Jodmala, Qysela, and Suzerain. Oh, didn’t I mention Suzerain before? The level one billionth diamond golem? Huh… I must’ve forgot her…just like A’ forgot to mention her to me!

So I get into town, and I have about ten seconds to wonder why everyone is on a roof. Also, why everyone is giggling their butts off. I figure someone just told a funny joke, and isn’t it always like me to come in after the punchline? Silly me, I was the punchline!

A’ says, “Kwip, duck!”
Khushbu says, “Ho-ho-ho, Kwip, what’s fifteen feet tall, hard as a diamond, a golem, and bearing down on you at about a thousand miles an hour?”
Aluver o’ Women II says, “Hey – bring any chicks with you? ‘Cause I got one HECK of a diamond to give them! Haw!”
Jodmala says, “Knock knock!”
Oysela says, “Who’s there?”
Jodmala says, “A diamond golem!”
Oysela says, “A diamond golem who?”
Jodmala says, “A diamond golem who just ran over Kwip, that’s who!”

And then they all broke down in laughter. Friends. Ain’t they a blast?

Actually, though, I’m kind of jealous. This is an awesome prank to pull on someone. Hrmm…I wonder if Anson’s been to town yet…

You tell Anson, “Hey buddy! I’ve got a whole bunch of phat lewt someone gave me to give to you! Wanna meet someplace?”
Anson tells you, “Awesome! Yeah, where should we meet?”
You tell Anson, “Well, have you been to Mayoi lately?”
Anson tells you, “Nah, I haven’t been there in forever. But I know how to get there – that’s fine. See you soon!”

Mwuah-ha-ha! See SUZE soon, you mean!

You’ll Catch More Flies With Logic…

Hrm. Apparently, you mooks are out of control.

See, Sanya recently cornered me. She said it was either talk to her about the name change, or she threatened to teleport me to the Mid capital city.

After the sixteenth time of me turning up at the bindstone screaming “Wheeeeeee!,” she finally got tired of that little game and said I had to sit down and talk with her. Hrmph-ingly, I obliged.

It seems some people have been writing in to Mythic to complain about the Bottom issue. Yeah, the whole “An Idiot by Any Other Name Just Isn’t as Funny…” thing.

I complain about a lot of things. Usually, it’s just my way to vent my little frustrations at the world in a feeble attempt to make up for my sucktitude in a game. But occasionally, I rant about things that really make me mad. And this whole name thing was something that truly and honestly made me mad. I was mad about two things: 1) that someone was stupid enough to appeal that name. 2) that my appeal to the appeal received what looked to be a rote response, nothing more well-written than a form letter.

Now, there’s not much I’m going to be able to do about the first item. Apparently, there’s some people out there that are that anal. However, I did have a very low-key (I didn’t shout that much) conversation with someone about the name. They pointed out that while Bottom was a very common surname, it was rare for people to refer to each other by their surnames. A very good point, but when I replied it was pretty damn rare for names to float above people’s heads, that shut him up. However, on that point – I can definately see someone being that much of a fussy bastich. I think they’re idiots, of course, but I can at least respect that reasoning and agree on that point that they’re justified in appealing it.

The second issue… You know, I understand that you get a lot of emails. I know that it must be a thankless, pain in the ass to deal with. I sympathize how difficult people like me must be to deal with – and, let’s be honest here, I’m far more polite than many of the people I’m sure unleash their flurry of all the naughty words they learned on the playground that day at you. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be.

But. You agreed to do a job. Yes, it’s a difficult, thankless job. We all know that. But we – the people you’re writing to – aren’t all illiterate, anti-social 13-year-olds that refuse to accept we can’t have our way and will just throw a tantrum when you tell us ‘no.’ Granted, I might like to act like that, but in truth, I can deal pretty well with a mature rejection. I’ve had years of dating to acclimate myself to it, after all. Consider this, the original response:

On our Roleplaying Servers, we require players to use names which fit within the “spirit of the game.” This means that we require players to use proper birth-names, rather than nicknames, descriptions, references to personal history or past deeds, etc. As such, the name BOTTOM was inappropriate.

Now compare that to this:

So, basically, Bottom is a swell name. So is Dick, short for Richard. And neither of them can be in the game, because there will literally be thousands of people complaining about how much we suck for not getting rid of the Bad Names. Sometimes, the majority wins, even if the majority is not too terribly well-read. It’s one of those things you have to cope with in a massively multiplayer game. I’m sorry.

See the difference? If you don’t, try slamming your head in the door a few times, then go back and read it. Seriously though, acknowledging that my name, while being proper in one very real sense, will cause a HUGE stir amongst a majority of players – I can totally relate and understand that. Furthermore, I now feel that my appeal was actually read, and that while I might have had a valid point, it wasn’t enough of a valid point. That’s a perfectly acceptable premise to me. I have no idea understanding how much of a pain the player base can be.

After all, I’m one of them.

I think the difference between someone that just does their job versus someone that does their job well is attention to detail. Yes, it’s obvious I’m not going to like you changing my name. However, if you take the time to explain to me that while I may have the moral high ground, in reality, you have to sell a product and your job in doing that is keeping the majority happy – you know what? I can deal totally with that. With such an explanation, my anger quickly transfers from you to the little bastiches who appealed my name…oh yeah, I’m coming for you, buddy!

Stepping Beyond the Norm, Here…

See, if Mac hadn’t bragged about being good, then everyone wouldn’t be under the mistaken assumption that I am at least passably good. As in, I may have passed someone that was good once or twice in the hallway.

I feel bad for the folks at ACRevolution.  I don’t know why they thought this, but they were under the impression that having me on their team to fight against the Turbies would be a treat. About 20 team kills later, they’ve quickly decided that they were, indeed, misinformed.

I don’t know where the Turbies kept hiding. It seemed that even if I sat back at the base, broadcasting inspiring messages (“First one to capture an enemy base gets to buy me dinner!” and “You can’t spell TEAM without M-E!” and my favorite, “You miserable scumbags! Don’t try or anything! I’m sure if God had wanted you to capture a flag he would’ve magicked you a flag!”), some Turbie would come charging through the base and kill me. And not just run up and shot me, either. First they’d run up, demonstrate very clearly that they were putting away their gun and pulling out a knife, and then chase me around and stab me in the face. The entire time, mind you, I’m firing more shots than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, maybe even Bruce Willis combined, and not only am I not killing them, I’m not even coming close to them. They just keep chasing me, licking their knives and giggling. Now I know how a pint of Ben & Jerry’s must feel when it sees me bearing down on it.

Personally, I think they cheat. There’s no other possible explanation for their winning streak. Obviously, they use Gear. At one point I emptied a full magazine at Muggz, and damn if he didn’t just look at the bullets and make them stop in mid-air. He’s like NeoMuggz or something. I was just waiting for him to start acting badly and Lawrence Fishbourne to show up or something.

So what’s the lesson we learned here, kids? If you want me to help you, the best way is to have me play for the opposing team!

Shadowbane: Friend of Monsters Everywhere!

I just don’t understand it.

I mean, unless you plan for failure – wouldn’t you sort of expect a lot of people to be in your game? And, I dunno, call me crazy – but wouldn’t you want to sort of support all those people in your game? Especially when one of your selling points – really your BIG selling point – is big, giant, MANY player battles?

Now, granted, I’ve never seen one of them. Silly me, I’m basing all of this judgment on doing such graphics-intensive processes like “running through the woods” and “shopping” and maybe even entering a city! I know, I know, I really should restrict my complaints to valid occassions.

But look, Wolfpack – I love your product. I’ve been having a great time playing it. I’m damn near drooling just thinking about how much fun laying siege to a city or defending a city under siege is going to be. I know how much I love keep raids/defenses in DAoC, and this is supposed to be even better than that.

Unfortunately, I don’t know that I’ll ever actually get that far, since every time I log on, it seems to be a race between leveling or my head exploding in frustration.

This comic might not make sense. You might look at that last panel and say things like, “Wait a sec – where did Kwip go? Who killed him? Where’s everyone else in his party? Where’d that little lizard guy come from? How many text balloons can he fit in one window?”

Rest assured, though, that this is a staggeringly accurate portrayal of actual gameplay. One second you’re standing there, bitching about something important (today, I was bitching because my shirts didn’t match my pants, and neither ONE of them matched my helm). Next thing I knew, I was completely dead, everyone in my party was dead and my helm STILL looked out of place. And then – because I wasn’t pissed enough – some little dumbass centaur named Lighthawk decided to loot all our corpses (yeah, another pleasure in the game is that you drop everything on your corpse except what’s actually being wielded – and yes, that does mean all your gold, too). The small ray of sunshine that Fate decided to deliver to our party was that he got about 50 feet from our corpses before some lag-friendly monster kicked the crap out of him. And then someone in our party looted not only all OUR gear from his corpse, but all of HIS gear, too. Hee – see, it doesn’t pay to be an asshole! Take notes, children! Of course, then lag killed me twice more before and that person logged before I got a chance to get my share of gold back – so now I’m penniless, unable to train up my skills (they cost money), and generally very, very bitter at the lagfest and the makers of such a frustration machine.

Sigh.

Quit? Are you kidding? I’m only 90,000 xp away from being able to get off newb island!

The Blame Game

Saying that thieves aren’t trusted is like saying that sometimes I die.

Now that I’ve finally gained level 10 and figured out where the heck I needed to go to get trained, I’m officially a thief.

The problem is, when you’re a thief, you’re instantly at fault for every thing that someone supposes they had. It’s like five minutes after I join a group now, someone’s screaming, “OMG I HAD FIVE HUNDRED TANLARION SWORDS N NOW THEY R GON! KWIP STOL THEM!” So I’m looking around, trying to figure out what the hell tanlarion swords are, and what it means when they become ‘gon’ because I ‘stol’ them, I’ve been kicked from the group, broadcast to the server that I’m a general bastich not to be trusted, grouped with, or dealt with in any way except a sword to my face. Of course, I sign on the next day, and the brainiac is telling me he’s sorry, he got this character confused with another one, and this one didn’t have the swords on it. But it’d be too much effort to tell the rest of the server he was wrong…

Sigh.

Thieves are underpowered. We need to be given a bazooka that we can blow off someone’s face with any time we’re wrongly accused of stealing something.

Well, okay, I’m overreacting…

Death says, “You? Overreact? GASP! I can’t believe it!”
You say, “Quiet, slut!”

Er…where was I. Oh, right, overreacting. I guess it’s kind of a given that if something goes missing, and you’ve got someone in your party that basically has “THIEF” stamped on their forehead, it kind of pinpoints where you want to start your questioning… I mean, if I came into a room where seven young women and men had just been eaten, and a minotaur was there licking his lips – well, I might get a tad suspicious. Or if I went into the FORBIDDEN LIBRARY and the deadly volume Necronomicon was out of it’s chained vault, laying open on the floor, and a young wizard was sitting next to it with his eyes smoking, yeah, I might be suspicious. Or if I came into a room and there was an empty pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie and I saw myself sitting there, looking innocent but with strange brown stains down the front of my shirt, I just might be suspicious. Or if…

Death says, “GET ON WITH IT!”

Oh. Right. Anyway, that’s where today’s comic comes in: the fun of being the only thief in the group when something goes missing.

Yeah. Normally the groups I’m in start out all warm and fuzzy, but quickly degenerate into “Let’s See What We Can Blame On Kwip”-fests. And I mean, it’s not like they’re blaming their deaths on me – that’s rather expected. But now – I think it’s safe to say that if this were Salem, I’d be first on the pyre.

Who’s Laughing Now, Bucko?

Ohhhhhhhh, nooooooooooo – don’t listen to ME!

How long have I been telling you all? How many times did I try and raise an army to protect our lands, only to lose the members to quests, portal storms, or really interesting-looking mountains that looked like someone’s name? Oh, no, we shouldn’t worry about the COWS, Kwip! They’ll never be a threat to us!

WHO’S LAUGHING NOW, BUDDY?

If you answered “Kwip,” then you’re right. Hey man, I warned you guys, time and time again! “The cows here now are just their scouts!” I said. “They’re looking for weak spots!” I told you. “They have maps painted on them so they don’t get lost!” I explained.

But did you listen? OF COURSE NOT!

And now we’re all going to pay the terrible, terrible price. You think THESE guys are bad? They’re just the shock troops, here to lull us into a false sense of security! But soon, Cowmandos will be parachuting in all over Dereth. Yeah, try telling them you’re a vegan, hippy, while they’re busy eating your face off.

Oh, sure, it all sounds like fun and games. Nobody sees the true horror here. You all run around, thinking how tasty this infected beef is. But soon, friends – soon we’ll be overrun. We’ll be herded into pens by the forces of the Cow-lective. That’s right folks, you heard it here first. What they have planned for us is nothing short of total subjugation! And I’m not talking about the fun kind with fuzzy handcuffs, either!

Pretty soon we’ll be tilling in their fields, planting the most luscious grass for them, reduced to nothing more than groundskeepers. That’s if we’re lucky enough to be dominated by the non-man-eaters. Otherwise…it’s into the gravy train for you, buddy. And that train rolls one way – to the cud factory!

RISE UP NOW AND OVERTHROW OUR OPPRESSIVE MASTERS!