Laurel’s Note: Today’s comic was unexpectedly hand-drawn due to computer… issues. Hopefully they will be resolved quickly and things will look normal again, but in the meantime, I drew Handbook in a sketchbook for the first time in years! I used to draw the sketch mockups by hand at first before I switched to digital completely, so this was a bit of fun nostalgia.

Colin’s Rant: FYI, “computer issues” is code for “ants have invaded Laurel’s workspace.” If it was any worse she’d be taking swarm damage. Not to worry though. Steps have been taken. 

We aren’t the only ones tackling problems head-on. After a long career of not-dealing-with-his-shit, it’s good to see Paladin being a little proactive. Of course, I can sympathize with a PC at his wit’s end.

So often in gaming, we tend to look down at our character sheets for answers. We parse inventories, double-check spells lists, and then throw up our hands when a solution eludes us.

“I don’t have anything for this situation. Guess I’m dead.”

But there’s an important resource that we tend to forget. Namely, the entire rest of the game world. If you’re not sure where to go next, you’ve got a whole setting’s worth of shady information brokers, ancient prophets, and learned sages willing to point you in the right direction. Hell, my own megadungeon has a freaking super-computer buried in its depths. If you’re capable of putting up with its very-literal personality and roll-on-the-chart-to-see-if-it’s-actually-helpful bullshit, it knows almost everything in the game. And that’s to say nothing of the fabulous resource that is the rest of your party. As all the examples show, if you can’t figure something out, someone else probably can.

I’ll do you one better though, because this mess goes beyond straightforward problem solving. When you find yourself unsure how to proceed, the unique alchemy of group storytelling has a wonderful way of shaking loose new ideas. When staring at the character sheet or looking desperately for a slightly-higher skill bonus seems useless, actually playing the game will—almost by definition—yield new information. You’ll find yourself able to make new connections as you go, bouncing off of the game world and your buddies in the process. After all, riffing on the procedural is what roleplaying is all about. And that holds true for impossible conundrums as well as combat encounters.

So what do you say, folks? When you need to go looking for answers, who do you ask? Do you beat it out of an informant? Bargain with an outsider? Consult the Mage’s Forum? Or maybe you just soldier on until some new solution presents itself? Whatever you strat, tell us all about it down in the comments!


ARE YOU THE KIND OF DRAGON THAT HOARDS ART? Then you’ll want to check out the “Epic Hero” reward level on our Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Like the proper fire-breathing tyrant you are, you’ll get to demand a monthly offerings suited to your tastes! Submit a request, and you’ll have a personalized original art card to add to your hoard. Trust us. This is the sort of one-of-a-kind treasure suitable to a wyrm of your magnificence.