“What, scared of a teenager who we are all aware slays ogres, dragons, and demons on a regular basis? I bet I can take him.”

– Thomas the Guard, first victim of the Massacre at the Baron’s Estate


In Earthbound, if you get in a fight with enemies that are at a much lower level than you, they’ll run away in fear. It’s a cool little mechanic that I wish more games did so you can actually see how the world responds to how powerful your character has gotten. I’ve been playing a lot of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War lately, which includes multiple versions of this mechanic where enemy orcs can flee in fear from you under certain circumstances (“brutalizing” their comrades, killing a captain, or exploiting a captain’s fears). But then other games try to incorporate this mechanic but do so poorly, i.e. Skyrim, which might have grunts run away from you if you beat them too bad, but the “battle music” is still playing because you’re technically still in combat and these grunts somehow recover their courage after getting 30 feet of distance between you.

Anyway, this comic is more a play on video game stealth mechanics, where crouching is typically all you need to maintain cover as long as your sneak level is high enough. I prefer to imagine that no low-level goon with common sense is going call attention to the dragon slayer in full Daedric Armor hiding in the corner.

– James