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D: This got dark fast.

Well it won’t be the last time we touch on darker things in the comic.
This was a true test to see if we could handle such things well, both artistically and writing wise.

We tried not to slap it in the face of readers right away, as the previous page was serious and the page before that was starting to hint at it.

ah I see. little by little, you’re moving more towards a subtle approach in storytelling with dark aspects…very good. not that I’m against having the dark stuff be not-too-hard to detect, but sometimes it’s the subtlety that leaves a greater impact.

Yeah we felt subtly is best in those situations, but I suppose occasionally it may be more direct. Balancing that and not being dark/gritty just for the sake of it has been a bit challenging. We hope at least this first test of ‘darker’ storytelling went over ok!

Aw, poor Mason. If his uncle did that to him, I’d understand why Mason is so scared of the uncle. Realy nice guy.

You know, there is something I just thought of because I was once in a RPG group that did this to keep enchantments to a bare minimum.

Some item (read “weapon”) enchantments could have a drastic cost to the enchanter’s health and/or body. The scars Sesame sees could be the visible signs of that cost (not mistreatment). If she realized this (upon seeing the scars), her request that he not work very hard on the enchantment then makes even more sense. She would also understand why the enchantments costs so much.

The bright side of this feel trip is that it probably made Mason the way he is.


Unrelated but I can’t wait to see some closure on this arch, I’m dieing to see confirmation that uncle is either unjustifiably evil or just some rude old fart.

Great story.

rude old farts don’t do what has been done to Mason.

Discipline is one thing. Mason has suffered even worse.

Mason has suffered the worst type of slavery…

the type in which the slave feels he MUST suffer.

We’re again making assumptions. We don’t know that uncle has done anything other than flip out and being an angry old man is hardly worth condemnation. We’ve already good reason to believe that Mason has a tragic past, the scars could be related to that as easily as we assume uncle did it.

Oddly enough, going off what we know for fact so far, this page doesn’t make me more sympathetic towards Mason since we can only assume where the scars came from. It makes me more Sympathetic towards his Uncle. He trusts Mason enough to leave him alone in the shop, he also just clearly stated the prices, something he obvious was seriously passionate about. Despite this Mason immediately appears to be cutting Sesame a deal. Uncle may have been very blatantly disrespectful but what Mason is about to do is almost as bad.

I want to see something absolute that we can blame uncle for before I hate him. There is a lot of toying around in this arch where uncle is made to look absolutely unforgivable without actually doing anything that’s absolutely unforgivable.

Show me the money.

I agree. I also remembered something one of my RPG groups did to ensure enchanted item were rare.

We decided item enchantment (particularly weapon enchantments) had drastic, long-lasting effects on the caster’s heath and body as if he had been wounded by the weapon. One way we showed this was the inclusion of scars or wounds on the caster’s body (usually the torso).

I wouldn’t put it past Teh or Skidd to do something like this here. It would make Sesame’s look as she asked Mason to not work too hard on the enchantment much more understandable.

Exactly, the scars could be absolutely anything. At this point I’d still be impressed if the Uncle wasn’t responsible for something but I just don’t like seeing lynch mobs over circumstantial evidence or ‘he said she said’ arguments.

Hehe ^^ Sesame looks really sweet in the last panel
I have a feeling he use to adventurer like the others? 0_o

Nope,he’s lead a sheltered life. He has no experience being an adventurer.

You can check out Cast page for more information about Mason.

sheltered?? did you see the scars??

Well, we initially reacted as if the ONLY way to get such marks is the most vile form of mistreatment.

Now, I see you have also thought about this and (as difficult as it is), we are waiting for more proof. Things are adding up and we don’t like where the calculation seems to be going, but we don’t have the final, irreversible proof.

Ouch… I’m seconding ThatCanadianGamer’s comment, but it’s a good addition so nice job. 🙂

Also I gotta say I really like how his look changed in panel three. You can see that he’s really used to these things and knows how to get around them by now.

Before I say anything else, good job with this page, it shows a lot of character without a lot of words and the facial expressions work well, now then, to my gut reaction. That thing I said on the last page about exploding the uncle being a bad idea… I kinda retract that and hope you have her decapitate him with a well aimed punch.

Before we create a lynch mob we have to remember, innocent until proven guilty. I’m not feeling a lot of sympathy for uncle either but at the same time we know nothing for certain other than he was very ill tempered and rude one time. We already knew that Mason living with his Uncle may have had a sorted past. For all we know, his parents where murded and the scars was the result of that experience. Also in some cultures whipping is a form of acceptable punishment for theft which Mason has proven to be capable of in the form for discounts for friends, something that would get you fired from most any other job today.

Don’t forget all the assumptions we made over our rat friend not to long ago until he saved the day.

Touche’ I may be oversimplifying things a bit there so we shall see, though I’m keeping my torch and pitchfork and you can’t stop me!

Haha, sure, but if you think your mad try finding out he’s a real legit villain after defending him as long as I have. I’m gona go rambo on his arse if he steps out of line.

We’re now assuming the uncle is whipping Mason or causing those scars in some other manner.

What if he isn’t? What if the scars are caused by something else… like enchanting things? That would sure throw a different light on the 50 gold minimum cost of enchanting and on Sesame’s look and request in the last panel.

I must say that I really like how this page was written and drawn. Especially panels 3 and 4. When Mason said “He can’t do any worse than he already has” it made we think instantly ‘oh, what did his uncle do?” And in panel 4 show was the clear reveal. It really is a good “OH!” moment.

Now this is interesting. On a lighter note it confirms the idea that Mason is giving away services at discounts, something that would get you fired at any other job today and could potentially put them out of business in the long run.

Though I know that’s not what anyone else noticed here. Those scars need a lot of explaining. Again, we don’t know that it is uncle but it’s kinda hard not to draw that conclusion. However times like this I’m reminded “Innocent until proven guilty”.

So far the only thing we know is uncle is rude, angry and short tempered with Mason, Mason is stealing from the shop in the form of discounts, and Mason past becomes more sorted by the minute.

i demand mason drop a stone pillar on the uncle now or have mason set up the pillar knowing seasme will knock it over due her being klutz

All my comments according a benefit of a doubt last page… forget them.

I can say nothing that expresses my anger at the uncle, now.

After thinking about it, I must wonder if those are whip marks (as we are all assuming) or marks of some other process (like maybe from enchanting items).

If enchanting items has a detrimental effect on the caster’s body, could those marks be a visible sign of that? Could the uncle’s poor health be a result of enchanting items?

You know, she asked him not to work too hard on the enchantment and he smiled (almost chuckled) when he said he wouldn’t.

That tells me enchantments aren’t a hardship for him.

Sesame won’t be disappointed with what she gets for her 15 gold, I’m sure. She has a pretty fair idea of what Mason risks to give her an enchantment.

Teh, I think you must be careful, here. It is obvious from Mason’s profile he’ll be traveling and it is likely he’ll be traveling with Sesame’s band. The last panel of this page makes it obvious Mason has little problem enchanting items.

I hope you’ve planned some sort of restrictions into the enchantment process (like material components). Otherwise, Sesame’s team could end up rather overpowered as Mason starts enchanting items.

The team already has a powerful (though haphazard) mage, a super strong warrior, and a clever (though eccentric) innovative-support character. According to the cast profiles, they’ll be adding a very experienced and proficient archer (whose arrows and bow are obvious enchantable items). And this is not even counting the advantages of having Mason along.

Enchanting requires a specific type of machine (seen in the last panel) as-well as Crystal-Runes to do said enchantment (they will be explained in an upcoming page). We were going to have the whole process shown on a page, but we felt it was tedious and unnecessary. Mason may be an artisan craftsman but he needs his smithy in order to do his work. Or at least a nearby forge + materials. You also seemed to forgot a certain con-artist.. I mean.. merchant with that group. No doubt later on they will be a formidable team later on- but that’s usually the point of these kinds of stories.

I didn’t forget Farron. I figured he’d be a recurring encounter like Dante.

I’m glad you have something in place to reduce the tendency to “OP” too quickly. That ruins many RPGs and would likely do so to an RPG-based web comic.

In fact, I am rather glad Sesame and ‘her’ team has had such a difficult time so far. They’ve had two encounters (not counting Claire’s arrival) and didn’t exactly come out very ‘op’ in either. This will lay a firm foundation for the rest of the story and a better appreciation of their difficulties as they go.

That’s it! Old dudes gotta go! And I don’t mean to the retirement home!!

Let’s wait until we get more concrete confirmation the uncle actually is responsible for those marks.

Hey, I know it’s hard to hold back the anger when even an implication like this surfaces, but we’re not really certain what those marks really are or how they got there.

If the marks result of (for instance) enchanting items, it would explain why the price for enchanting is high and why Sesame asked Mason to not work hard on the enchantment.

No matter what else you may say about this page, it is so sweet how Sesame dropped the ‘tuff-girl’ act and appears to be holding back tears after seeing his back.

Now, we have to wonder exactly how those marks (scars? wounds?) got on his back.

And what about his left hand? Could there be a major reason why he hasn’t taken that heavy protective glove off?

There are just too many questions about Mason and his uncle. We all know (thanks to his ‘cast profile’) that Mason will be going on an adventure soon and we can assume that will be with Sesame and co. We can also assume it won’t be by choice.

We don’t know (despite all our assumptions) exactly what’s going on here.

More questions…
We can assume Farron will be rejoining Sesame’s party (thanks to a ‘slip-up’ Teh made in this forum). What does he know about Mason’s situation?

Is Mason’s uncle on his way to the same… recreation… as Farron is engaged in? With the uncle’s obviously poor health, will that recreation be too much for him?
What if Mason’s uncle uses his last breath to ask Farron to watch after Mason?

listen here… Mason sounds like the guy who would take care of puppies and kitties and ants…. he’d better scratch his butt or something to make him more human….ish

You mean manly? Or is he too goody-two-shoes sweet? I assure you he has flaws and bad traits too. At any rate, Mason’s story arc should really interest you then.

No, Gentle Giant type. like good ol’ Andre

I hope what I’m about to say isn’t news to you, Victor. Becoming a ‘gentle giant’ is almost a instinctive reaction in all but the most violent of societies. It has disadvantages, but the pros outweighs the cons in most cases.

Generally, when one grows to be over-sized, you also tend to be watched more closely than other people. Thus, those who DON’T tend toward the ‘gentle giant’ persuasion more easily end up on the wrong side of jail or prison bars.

I know it’s another case of seeing the green grass on the other side of the fence, but I have many times wished I was shorter than six and ten inches.

Yes it depends on society but also on the person and whatnot. Back in school, bullies used the taller kids to their advantage because of their height. A short Bouncer won’t be payed much….

Societies have grown to use taller people to do heavier things, I believe, because we are raised with that mindset. As a kid, you couldn’t lift a two by four…. but Daddy was bigger and stronger than you and he could… Same rule applies….

Anyways, Even André had a few character flaws…. All I am saying is that Mason seems a little too.. perfect gentleman….

I kind of thought that scarring was normal in this world. (Sesame’s burn looked like it will scar, the ratty merchant has both chest scars and an eye-patch)
When Sesame gasped it took me a moment to realize she was gasping at Mason’s old scars (and not his grabbing her sword off her back)

This world doesn’t seem to have the best medical care, so old scars just seemed par for the course.

Well Farron’s scars could easily be taken as battle-wounds. But the way Mason’s back is scarred up implies that these were done with a more sinister intention.

But yeah we have a few scared up characters, but for different reasons of course. :3

I realized that her reaction was to the scarring shortly after,
it’s more I had thought the sword held some special meaning for her and the gasp was from the shock of being disarmed.

I kind of thought Sesame was still off in her own world, I felt kind of dickish for thinking that before realizing that was her first glance at Farron’s back-scars.

Let it be known that there are few people more sadistic than writers, for we spend our days thinking about exactly these sorts of things. Thankfully, it very rarely gets any more real than this, and we usually balance it out with happy things. When reactions such as those below occur, then a writer is doing their job right.

Very agreed
Very, VERY agreed.

In just about any story, one of the best ways to show who the reader should not like is to make that antagonist abusive. Often, the writer most come up with a form of abuse and even out-right torture to make this emphasis.

It also, unfortunately, gives us a chance to be… creative.

I still say we help this uncle of his on his way to the after life. Don’t want him to miss the boat. I’ll even pay for the fare personally if I have to. I am that generous.

A paraphrase from a book I’m writing…
“Diplomacy is the art of telling somebody to go to hell in such a way he looks forward to the trip. Aerials (a race in my books) are not diplomats. They won’t tell you to go to hell. They’d send you on your way.”

These past few pages where a great transition into a dark territory. It was very subtle and had a strong impact. In other words, this was perfectly executed. Can’t wait to see this story develop further 😀

I agree. The story is excellent in general and in detail.

In truth, as interesting as our introduction to Mason is, I suspect following Claire’s antics will give us a better understanding of this world.

I dare say the readers know more about this world than Claire does and informing her of the ‘quirks’ is a nice way to inform the readers..

I just noticed this but does he have 2 souls? he has 2 different eye colors O_o

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