Knights of the Dinner Table: Bundle of Trouble Volume 2
This set collects issues 4 through 6. It is here that Jolly R. Blackburn and the KoDT Development Team began to branch out and do different narratives for not only their main characters, but the supporting cast (some of whom are still only mentioned and not shown, and others who are shown, but so far have no direct impact on the Knights’ world yet). We are introduced to “Weird Pete” Ashton and his store, the Games Pit. We are shown the company that makes Hackmaster and all the other roleplaying products that the Knights use, Hard 8 Enterprises; and the hard-working “geniuses” that work there. They are:
Gary Jackson – the president of Hard 8 (and yes, he is meant to be named after Gary Gygax & Steve Jackson)
Edmund Finley – the Director of Research & Development
Jo Jo Zeke – he writes most of the flavor text for Hackmaster and crunches the rules to see if they work
Pete Skipowski – worked with Gary since the beginning, but his projects have been overshadowed
“Waco” Bob Forsey – runs the playtesting department
Issue 4: Have Dice Will Travel
The Streets of Muskeegie – the Knights play frontier outlaws in the Cattlepunk RPG. Their eternal enemy, Red “Gurdy” Pickens is introduced. Bob and Dave end up in jail, Sara gets rich, and Brian uses a satchel full of nitroglycerin to kill Red Pickens (and the town of Muskeegie).
The Old Guard Strikes Back – Weird Pete replaces B.A. as gamemaster, and the Knights must save Garweeze World (the default setting for Hackmaster) from godly destruction by making friends with foes they have killed in other campaigns. Will the heroes prove their mettle, or fail utterly?
The Gawd Complex – Bob’s 1st level character inherits a powerful artifact from a dead relative. B.A. takes issue with this game imbalance and takes steps to deal with the problem.
The Gary Jackson Files – the comic shifts to Hard Eight Enterprises, where Gary Jackson threatens layoffs if their next product doesn’t sell. Will refrigerator boxes be in the employees’ future, or can they knock Abe, Babes and Rollerblades out of the park?
Temptation of the Ring – Bob can’t help but steal Brian’s ring. Brian exacts a horrible vengeance.
Uh..Where was I? – Irrelevant chatter slows down the game.
A Hole Lot of Trouble – a portable hole filled with swag is obtained by the Knights.
Detour Down Memory Lane – the Knights remember an epic battle with finger-pointing and chest-thumping instead of camaraderie and nostalgia.
This issue goes broader and deeper into the Knights’ world. B.A. shows himself to be a gamemaster who treats his players like the enemy, and the Knights (with sometime exception of Sara) push back, though most of their efforts are hampered by inter-party antics. This sets up the dynamic where a lot of the humor in this series is born from (though in the future this dynamic goes away). A lot of the humor also stems from Bob’s high-strung nature, Dave’s insecurity about his importance in the group, Sara’s attempt to lead the Knights down the path of Lawful Good, Brian’s total disregard for other people’s feelings, and B.A.’s tendency toward railroading the players, instead of allowing them freedom to do their own thing from time to time. As a personal aside, I’ve been the guy in my gaming group who derails the game with irrelevant chatter. I’ve worked hard to tone it down, but I have Dave’s insecurity of my importance within the gaming group. So I must grab attention when I can. I’ve matured enough to not be as bad as I was before.
Best Line: I’m having trouble hearing you down here Pete. By the way, what’s your preference? Maytag, Kenmore, or Frigidaire? – Gary Jackson
Game Idea (from The Old Guard Strikes Back) – Some gods want to destroy the world and start over, but other gods feel that the world deserves a second chance. They choose the PCs to be the saviors of the world. In order to save the world, each PC must make friends with five of the enemies they’ve slain in previous campaigns, to show there is goodness in the world. The PCs cannot initiate combat (or the world is destroyed) but they can defend themselves. This could be an opportunity for great roleplaying, and a reminder that sometimes player characters can’t kill indiscriminately.