No going back now.

News: Posted June 3rd, 2019 by Alina

^ 69 Comments to “Well…”

  1. Saronian Says:

    Being frustrated is understandable. Angry is a warning sign. But laying a hand on anyone is a one way ticket to jail.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:02 am
  2. Hfar Says:

    Oof! From bad to worse to even worse.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:04 am
  3. Saronian Says:

    I really don’t like how this arc is going. This is the second time an arc like this has been on Weregeek. While I can understand that this can happen in real life, this is an extremely uncomfortable issue that isn’t going to bode well for the comic.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:04 am
  4. Sable Says:

    Oh Mark no.

    Most larps I’ve been to, you just went from “don’t come to next event” to “lifetime ban” instantly.

    This is going to be very hard for everyone else, as well, because Mark has crossed a line here that is difficult to forgive. Especially for Dustin who now needs to choose between Rav and Mark (Dustin! Neither! You can do better than both of them!)

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:17 am
  5. Shinji Schneider Says:

    No you doofus.

    This isn’t the moment all went wrong.

    The moment all went wrong wasn’t when you grabbed her. It wasn’t when you decided to confront her. It wasn’t when you lashed out at Dustin. It wasn’t when you refused to go into the OT-room.

    It wasn’t even when you decided to still attend the game.

    It was when you jumped into a relationship without knowing about your feelings, without having your recent breakup resolved and without knowing what you were actually getting yourself into.

    And Ravenia is sorta to blame for the last bit as well. If she hadn’t acted solely on her Libido she might have been able to think for one second “maybe the guy who just got out of a jealousy-fueled relationship shouldn’t be drawn into a polyrelationship”.

    Especially considering his head exploded when she explained it to him.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:24 am
  6. DaveC Says:

    Aaaand Mark finds out in addition to her being in a relationship with everyone, she’s also a black belt in something and drops him.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:31 am
  7. MythDancer Says:

    Love the expressions in the last panel. She kept herself together while he was screaming at her, and didn’t stoop to Mark’s level. No insults, no yelling. But the moment she turns away, she’s crying. Also love that Damien looks hurt, but is there supporting her.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:37 am
  8. Jade Gryphion Says:

    I just keep telling myself that as rough as this storyline is, it’s a conversation worth having 🙁

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:56 am
  9. Retcon Says:

    Having been there IRL I’ll just add that “Please understand that the beating you are about to receive is entirely justified and that you will agree that you brought this on yourself when you calm down.”

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 2:00 am
  10. JJR Says:

    Well, having been on the receiving end of an angry significant other that had been lashing out in anger to solicit a reaction from a stoic me as well as someone who lashed out as a lack of communictaion did destroy a relationship where I did not understand where it was heading or where I was standing with it – I can sort of understand both sides. Let me add my thoughts as is the way of this internet thingy:

    Yes, Mark should not have stopped her there, the wise choice would have been to let her go without laying a hand on her. But then again, we were past the point of being “wise” in any capacity.
    On the other hand, from his POV in this exact moment, he deserved a clear answer, and not the perceived “escape” he got there. It is obvious, even to someone that has no experience with such fancy poly-relationships (well, dreaming of a harem does not count) that communication and rules are key.
    And that is not something that I can honestly see here. It might happen off screen, yeah. But I do see a clear lack of communictaion and consideration in this relationship at least when it comes to Mark.
    It seems to me that Dustin is more well suited for this lifestyle, some might say docile enough to accept it- on the other hand I have the feeling that his part in the relationship had been clearly communicated from the get go and he knows exactly where he stands.
    As for Mark and his position in relation to Dustin: yes, on a subconcious level there might be some “you are no threat to me” thing going on- but I disagree with the observation of many others here. I think that it does not stem from Mark being “more” attractive than Dustin- both are simply comfortable around each other. They had been friends before, share the same hobbies and experienced hardships together, they know each other. Sure, being together with the same woman might be awkward for them but I’d wager it is easier to integrate a good friend than a stranger. Escpecially such an insecurities triggering one- another commenter quite aptly described the situation as a date at a zoo, opening a really big can of worms for Mark. I interpreted his being ok with Damian being at the LARP mostly as being taken by surprise by Rav. And in my experience, women have a tendency to know when someone is just putting up a brave front (at least all the ones I were with did).

    And I honestly do not get why people attack Mark so vehemently- yes, he brought it on himself as he is an adult but this relationship was a trainwreck waiting to happen, for the reader easy to see. There were clear signs that poly is not for him, he was willing to try. Was he eased in? Were the stakes clear from the get go? His lingering relationship issues made him vulnerable, and a beauty like Ravenna swooping in appealed to every base desire.
    He was willing to try, only seeing through rose-coloured spectacles. At least that is my interpretation.
    Yes, he might have ruined the LARP for others but they tend to attract drama queens and thrill seekers- at least the ones I was involved in always did. A special couple that seemingly was involved in every single one in the area always acted out their fantasies there, much to my loathing (one of them was often in the GM team, the other played crazy characters signed off by the other one. Oh boy the amount of drama was surreal and kinda put me off from LARPing for a really long time. One can only stomach so many rape stories and willing tavern wenches/alchemists/demigods/almighty-tremere/ventrue/tory-sex queens).
    Where was I going with this anyway? Mark is in the wrong but seeing what lead to this situation, seeing his turmoil and knowing his history I do not see him as the one to be so clearly to blame. I’d have appreciated if his friends had not just tried to talk with him in a situation where he clearly lost all reason after stewing in the time out corner but isolated him and got him away from the LARP as he was visibly becoming more and more distraught. I’d have done so for my friends, and I have in the past for a friend that suddenly met his ex at a LARP and clearly could not handle it well at the time- spent the whole LARP then at a bar nearby, passive smoking and letting him talk.
    Might have worked here, might have not. But I’d prefer losing the prep time for a LARP to losing a friend in need.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 4:35 am
  11. Killiak Says:

    Having to do some belated growing up, as an adult, is hurtful to one self and to everyone around said adult.

    That said, Mark is truly becoming an expert at turning things into an Epic Cluster Duck.

    quack quack

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 5:06 am
  12. DocMcConvoy Says:

    Oof… well, a scene like that was to be expected, now the dog barks. And I really hope, that will settle it. Dogs that bite are often enough in for a last visit at the vet.

    I am ok with drama (even if it tears me up). I am content with the idea, that this will be it for Mark with Changeling, maybe even LARP as a whole forever. He had problems from the start with dividing IC and OOC, and still seems to not have solved this, so maybe that wall is too high for him at all. But I don’t want to see him getting actually violent. Grabbing her arm is the absolutely last stop, since he is clearly totally out of his senses and immersed into his anger. But any further, and be it even the the littlest nudge, and he is beyond any option for redemption.

    To make this clear, if this goes any further, I would say, he will be expelled from everything. And that basically means, this character will stop being in this comic. Maybe I am suspecting the wrong thing, but when he is at that point and tells us, things went wrong from there, then i expect it to still become worse… and there is absolutely no more room for that. He is already at the top end of the red scale… one counter more on the clock says “black zone”. So broken it can’t be fixed. Military says FUBAR. I could find more terms for sure, but the point is, at least I don’t want to see that.

    From what I have seen till now, I can’t imagine Mark to be the type to resort to violence. If this pushed him that close to the verge for that, then I must have issues in reading peoples behaviour. Even if the situation is absolutely extreme on the emotions side. And I also regard him as a very interesting character, especially with his social issues. I don’t think I need to tell you all, that a lot of us have social issues, but Mark is an interesting case, cause he doesn’t look like it at first glance, since he is goodlooking, has good hygene, a decent job, his own apartement, far away from the stereotypical geek. And a geek he is, no doubt about that. But his problems under the surface are, even if often selfinduced out of being shy to talk to others about his issues, very complex and seemingly devastating when let loose. That may be hard to swallow at times for us readers, and inside the story some problems (like this one) need professionals to fix them. But without friends to help you through the valley, you won’t ever make it.

    So from here on, I can only see two different paths: The one, were Mark leaves the story, cast out by his friends, never coming back, and the readers will be content, cause the behaved like a total jerk. Or the other path, the path of redemption, where he goes to see a professional, sorts out his problems, atones for his sins and is helped by his friends, that also made mistakes in judgement by not guarding him and stopping him when they had the chance. It’s the path of character development/growth, and I still believe in it, since Joel, the person imho knowing him the best at his worst, pulled himself and Sarah back from him, also saying to let him make his own mistakes. If my judgement is right, then Joel did it to be there to pick up the shards later, and I actually pray in hope, I am right about this.

    Well, thats my rant for today, back to waiting in agony for the next strip.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 5:08 am
  13. Thomas Parrott Says:

    This makes me sad. I liked Mark, and he’s never seemed the violent type.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 5:29 am
  14. Xadah Says:

    Oh boy I thought he was just telling her what he feels and would storm of.

    Still hoping that they are playing a Romantic Drama Larp and on the next page it will resolved like when they showed that the Hunterthing was also just a Larp.

    Are there Romantic Drama Larps`?

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 5:40 am
  15. SeriousBiz Says:

    I’m not a fan of the whole “cross a certain line and be forever canceled by everyone*”, since it’s really unhelpful in understanding the nuances of when and how we all run the risk of turning to the Dark Side, but physically stopping someone who’s trying to get away from you is… not good. Mark will have a hard time coming back from this one, but this will probably be the most important lesson he’s learned during this entire comic.

    Kudos to Alina for going there with our POV character. If we saw a side character doing this, it would be really easy to write them off as “a bad guy”, but since we sympathize with Mark, can see his thought patterns and know he’s not a comic book villain, we can see the bad actions that he takes for what they are: bad actions, regardless of how he justifies them to himself in the moment. Feeling hurt does not somehow mitigate the harm one does.

    What bodes well for a redemption arc for our friend Mark (ha, that rhymed) is the way he’s narrating the events here, slowly accepting his fault and coming to terms with having let his anger get the better of him and having made a big mistake. If he was an irredeemable jerk, he’d currently be unable to accept blame. Whether he’d realize it or not, he’d be reasoning things to himself in very black-and-white terms: 1) “only bad people do bad things” 2) “if I did a bad thing, that means I’d be bad” 3) “I’m not bad” 4) “therefore I did not do a bad thing and everyone who says I did is overreacting.” Instead, Mark seems to acknowledge that what he did was wrong. That’s a start.

    *By which I don’t mean Ravenia. No matter how you feel she’s handled things with Mark, she is the one whose physical boundaries are being crossed here, and she is fully within her rights to refuse to see him ever again after this.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 7:46 am
  16. Joe Says:

    This is real bad. We lost Vampire, now we’re losing Changeling?

    This lifetime ban for sure, I don’t think I’d be confortable attending any LARP with Mark around. I do understand his feelings, and I know that as a character he has never been able to handle them, but he crossed a lot of lines this time.

    At the very least I can see Justin Joel and the Storyteller jumping in right now.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 8:36 am
  17. Charlotte Says:

    Uh oh. This seems bad. Really really bad.

    Shouting and insulting in anger is one thing. Physical violence is another thing. (Not that the first one is good, but there’s a line there.)

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 8:39 am
  18. SaintSithney Says:

    Talking, my dude, not yelling.

    Ravenia was in the wrong for initiating a poly relationship with a guy who was clearly not ready for it. The warning signs were all there: he avoided her flirting because he thought she was trying to cheat, his head exploded when she explained they were poly, and he probably confessed to her at some point how things had ended badly with his last girlfriend.

    BUT, none of that excuses what Mark is doing now. No, she never should have pursued him, but he also has responsibility to say that he is not ready for a relationship, and particularly not ready for the type of relationship she is. He knows he is being an asshole and handling things like a toddler. He knows he shouldn’t be insulting and threatening when things don’t go his way, because he is a goddamn grown man.

    The name of this arc seems to be “Nerds Behaving Badly”.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 8:49 am
  19. Charlotte Says:

    I also have to say that I find the turn of events where Mark suddenly becomes violent not terribly believable.
    The rest of this ark I do find believable and somewhat true to character, a sudden outbreak of violence against Ravenia (of all people) not.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 9:35 am
  20. Chris Says:

    I don’t like this arc and it needs to end. You’re taking a friendly and beloved character and turning him into a flaming douche-bag.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 9:53 am
  21. Jme Says:

    Ah. Makes sense why there was an emphasis on “Permission to Touch” in a recent strip. Foreshadowing

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 10:12 am
  22. Trekkypj Says:

    This storyline sure is taking a tough turn. But that’s a good thing, since it generates debate. I like how Mark is telling us how events are unfolding. This is very much his perspective, and his struggle to deal with the poly relationship he was not ready for.

    I do fear, however, that several friendships are going to end here. Mark’s friends are going to find themselves forced to choose whether or not he’s worth the time and effort. (I’m thinking mostly yes, once he has cooled down, but I do see a couple of people drawing the line).

    It’s entirely true to character that Mark did not leave the game and instead blew up as he did. Unfortunately he may not be back since I’m pretty sure that any GM would tell players to take their RL baggage out of their game and not come back until it’s dealt with (or at all). Especially when the people affected were invited to observe.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 10:33 am
  23. Cyborg7221 Says:

    Stuff like this is why I LOVE this comic. In between the goofing around with games, there are some genuine moments of humanity; warts and all.
    I love the way this scene is framed as regret after the fact, instead of just the rage in the moment and some reflection later. Saves time. Also makes Mark easier to empathize with, without justifying his actions in the slightest, or making him come across as a complete bastard in the moment and breaking audience investment in the character. Great work, Alina!

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 10:43 am
  24. maneyan Says:

    Ooooooooh crud. Well, this certainly went down a REALLY bad place. As other comments say above, this is gonna have some pretty massive repercussions.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 10:59 am
  25. Oddtail Says:

    I second the comment that the moment “it all went wrong” was considerably earlier than when he made physical contact.

    Also – why, yes, Mark. Poly relationships require communication. That’s actually true for all relationships. But firstly, it’s you who decided not to communicate (which everyone respected), and then went ahead and confused “talking to your partner” with “try to bully and intimidate them into talking to you”.

    I’m starting to think Mark is not in a place to be in a relationship at all. This is not jealous behaviour. Jealousy can be an ugly feeling and can happen to people who are insecure. But most people don’t resort to insults and threats when they’re feeling insecure, just to get a reaction.

    (also, I’m glad we don’t see the exact dialogue. Insults and threats? Yikes. I’m not sure I want to know)

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 11:02 am
  26. Oddtail Says:

    Also, because I forgot to mention it in the previous comment:

    I get that Mark is supposed to feel angry and be irrational, but the EXTENT of his reaction speaks to some much deeper issue than jealousy. He knew this was a poly relationship in advance. It wasn’t dropped on him with no preparation. I know I’m harping on the “insults and threats” thing, but this is not normal behaviour from an adult, not even when one is angry enough to make a scene.

    When you’re jealous, you might yell and still recover from it. You may be emotionally dishonest. You may be self-pitying. You may make unreasonable demands. Or even emotional blackmail. None of these are healthy, none of these SHOULD happen, but mistakes, even difficult-to-forgive ones, are part of being human and can happen to an otherwise reasonable person when they reach their low point.

    Threats are not part of any relationship, poly or not, no matter how heated the argument and how bone-headed you’re being. You can’t wave them away with “I was angry”. People mention grabbing a person against their will being an offence that may land you in jail… yeah, threats are already entering that territory.

    Also – more than one person is mentioning that Ravenia may be able to physically defend herself now (black belt or not), and don’t get me wrong, that’s a fitting ending for this scene. But I’m kinda hoping that doesn’t happen, and instead she very, VERY calmly explains that he could let go of her, *or* he can talk to the police in a few minutes’ time. After which, she just leaves.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not how this is gonna go, but I think it’d be a more powerful moment than Mark simply getting his ass kicked. At this point, with how he’s behaving, he’s kinda not worth Ravenia’s physical effort, or even attention. He done screwed up.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 11:12 am
  27. slygirl Says:

    He’s gonna slap her, isn’t he?

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 11:44 am
  28. Orange Lantern Says:

    I’m not comfortable with how readily people are willing to paint Mark as the bad guy here. Ravenia certainly is just as much to blame for this clusterf*ck.

    No one, not even poly people, like to be surprised with another addition to the love circus, especially if this new add is introduced as “primary” to those who didn’t even know there was this distinction (I, mean, c’mon, wtf). Also, that’s not poly. That’s an open relationship. Poly means to be invested not only in several people but also with them. Having a basically secret sideshow is just as bad in poly as in a mono partnerships. A poly partnership has to care for each other around, not just being arranged by priority around a central hub (am I the only one who finds that notion disturbing?). That’s a harem.

    I know some loving poly relationships but they certainly have nothing in common with this. But putting personal feelings aside, how messed up I find Ravenia’s (or Dustin’s. for that matter) understanding of love and partnership, it should have also been clear from the start, that Mark is not the kind of guy you put in a triangle relationship, especially as a “secondary” (without telling him to boot). That was horribly selfish and/or stupid of Ravenia.

    So, yeah, his reaction is really bad – but also very much understandable. I’m filled with morbid curiousity about how this will spiral further down.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 12:04 pm
  29. Shinjischneider Says:

    I’m actually predicting physical violence.

    But not Mark vs Ravenia or vice versa.

    Mark is in rage but he’s not the guy to suddenly punch Ravenia (he didn’t punch Jess either). HOWEVER we have three men there that might interfere at this moment.

    Dustin or Damien protecting Ravenia. Mark only needs the slightest excuse to attack Damien anyway because in his irrational mind he sees him as “the enemy” anyway.

    Dustin won’t stand idly by while his girlfriend gets attacked.

    And don’t forget “Craig”.

    He’s the most suitable to step in with a “ok. That’s enough”. We already saw that he’s aware of what’s going down. And Mark lashing out at him…. could become very painful (would be my least hated solution there tbh).

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 12:14 pm
  30. Eternis Says:

    Maybe I just missed some previous comments, but I’m seeing a lot of comments about “what’s happening next” as opposed to “how did he get here”, and I’d like to throw my two-cent hat into the ring.
    Disclaimer- this should not be taken as justification for Mark’s actions. He’s a grown man, has had the rules (of both the game and JUST PLAIN SOCIETY) explained to him- he should both know better, and have better self-control. Also, this is conjecture based on personal and observed experience, do not take this as guaranteed advice for similar situations even on the wild offchance I’m actually right.

    I’m going to start with how Mark was introduced to Larping- someone grabbed him off the street while he was feeling like his life was being threatened by the Hunter, and shoved him into a situation he had no way of properly understanding. (I’m filing the whole “weregeek delusions” thing under “early instalment weirdness” or “poetic liscence” as other characters have supposedly suffered from the same thing.)
    First impressions linger on people, and even if he consciously understands otherwise, that can screw with you if you start getting overly emotional.

    Part the second: “Geeking Out” as it refers to Mark.
    Yeah, Mark’s a geek. He’s accepted the geek side of him, and has had the geeks accept him. No-one who we see anymore has any negative things to say about his hobby… But that’s just it- we don’t see them as a part of Mark’s life any more. The people he associated with, who he considered “normal”, that derided his hobby have been cut from (the narratively important parts of) his life. Some of you might say “good on him, clearly they’re just judgemental jerks.” And you might be right! But the only person that we’ve seen Mark try to get to accept his hobby (if I’m remembering correctly, tell me if I’m wrong) is Jess, who practically immediately afterwards, shattered their relationship.

    So we’ve got his screwed up start with Larps and how his way of dealing with potential social conflict being completely terrible… And then we take a look at how Mark views himself. There hasn’t been a step of this comic where Mark has seen himself as either based on how others see him, or based on the character he’s portraying and how it relates to how he feels.

    Bundle that all together, and you’ve got this scenario where Mark is InA setting he feels he has to keep so private he’s willing to lose friends and acquaintances to just not talk to them about it (or at least they’ve become narratively insignificant in his life, so same deal), he’s viewing himself through the lens of a foolish, playful, but ultimately submissive character, and out comes this figure who is “clearly better” than him in all the ways he feels insecure about, who is romantically entangled with the only person that *he* is currently romantically entangled with.

    The smart move here would have been to talk about how he felt with Ravenia at the very least, and probably with Damien too (not gonna lie before all this drama I was hoping for a bromance between them at the least [SHIPPING]), but instead this dunderhead let himself fester with his own thoughts and insecurities, and not one of his friends (who should know about both how he views Larps *and* his social issues) pushed him to either talk and try to solve or leave a situation that was clearly making him uncomfortable.

    Again, Mark’s the idiot, the uncontrolled ass, and should really have talked about some of his hang ups before going deep into a poly relationship but not gonna lie- Joel is a MASSIVE jerk.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 12:56 pm
  31. Chug Says:

    Mark has made (and is making) some bad, bad, bad choices. Choices that will have long term, possibly perminent effects on his life. And he is on the hook for those choices.
    At the same time, I hope that when all is said and done that Ravenia does not ignore or play off her part in this disaster. As has been pointed out, she a) should not have drawn someone like Mark into a Poly relationship (yes, he lied that he was OK with it, that’s on him), and b) really, REALLY should have known that this is NOT the time or place to introduce one of your lovers to another one.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:25 pm
  32. Eternis Says:

    Because I didn’t make it clear- what Dustin tried to do was well intentioned but VERY stupid. What he should have done was get Ravenia to talk with Mark, possibly even with Damien, so that Mark could have a chance to clear up some of the stuff he’s hung up on. Instead, he acted as moral judge and tried to explain something that either Mark needed to realise himself, OR have it brutal-honesty-style shoved in his face in a multi-person conversation where he can’t accuse one person in isolation.

    … ARGH also, upon looking back, Damien and Ravenia have *not* been kind on Mark today.
    On top of what has been discussed above, they know he’s easily embarassed, yet talk about that specifically, and the VERY FIRST THING Damien says to Mark is about the dog collar, and when you’re specifically being introduced as a romantic poly-paramour, you have worked in burlesque, and you have an open view on sexuality, you should KNOW that there is going to be sexual and/or dominance inferences from that kind of comment.

    Once again- the fault lies with Mark. The punishment *should* be Mark’s, and Mark’s alone. But there were many thoughtless actions made, and to pile all the hate and blame on Mark would be… Unwise.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:32 pm
  33. Trenor Says:

    I feel like this comic moved from Mark learning awesome stuff about gaming, life, and friends to something totally different. Everyone else has a touch of anxiety, they act poorly and then they apologize. After that, all is forgiven. Not Mark though, recently anything dealing with him (a guy who for years was one of the easiest going people of the group) becomes a scorched earth storyline. Looking at how he was in the early comics and how he is now….. he seems like a different person. Did we run out of gaming/LARP/Geeky stuff for him to do/learn about, so we have to rework the comic for extra drama?

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:45 pm
  34. IncredulousPasserby Says:

    Okay. Anger, I get. Yelling? A problem. I even get going from pacifist to violence without realizing it – I’ve been there, against a transphobic victim blaming jerk. But that anger built up over a long, long time and was unaddressed, and this coming from sad boy Mark – I honestly don’t believe this character moment.

    I know everyone’s having insightful comments about the relationship and the anger, but like. Even with that cocktail of horribleness, this step seems fabricated. And that’s probably why my discomfort is worse than I thought it would be.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 1:54 pm
  35. Bluegrass Says:

    It’s kinda disappointing and sad to that a few commentators are trying to lay some of the blame for this on Ravenia. Yes, Ravenia invited Mark in to the poly relationship she, Dustin, and Damien had. She did that, thinking that Mark was mature enough to take stock of his emotional needs.

    Ravinea may’ve invited him, but it was Mark who accepted. It was Mark who decided to enter into the poly relationship without taking the time necessary to consider how is prior relationship had affected him. And that it might still be affecting him. It was Mark who decided not to talk with the other members of the relationship – Ravinea, Dustin, and Damien – about what was bothering him. They could tell that something was wrong and made every effort to talk with him about the issue, but Mark chose not to. It’s Mark who decided to lash out at two of his partners…

    As far as the Changeling LARP goes, I’m wondering where the Storyteller or his assistants are. I think prior comics – especially the Werewolf LARP – has showed there are quite a bit of staff at these events. And considering that Mark was being loud enough for other players to hear? One of them should have turned up the moment Mark started making threats and told him that he needed to leave the venue. Now that he’s laid hands on Ravinea? The Storyteller or Even Staff would be in their rights to eject him and/or notify the police.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 2:12 pm
  36. Shalace Says:

    A lot of people are calling Ravenia out, rightfully so, but I feel what kept Mark from just going home and cooling off isn’t Ravenia, it’s the conversation he and Dustin had.

    The MOMENT Dustin went from “Look, man, vent all ya need, but I think you and I both know this isn’t right,” to “This is how you should feel because you’ve never had to deal with X” is the moment this went from a dumpsterfire to the nuclear launch codes. Dustin failed to see past the surface level ‘looks’ and took the opportunity to flagellate himself and put Mark down. Did he have good intentions? I think so. I just don’t think he put much thought into his approach when he clearly should have.

    For a big teddy bear of a guy, this tells me he had his own issues with Mark and made the situation a lot worse when he could have helped. I think he’s gonna realize that after all this is over.

    Also, I lowkey hope this we’ll get a zoomout and see this is a conversation between him and Abby. I just want someone in Mark’s corner. Doesn’t mean she has to excuse everything he did, he clearly doesn’t, but it’d feel better knowing he has at least one real friend in that group willing to help him work through things.

    Also hardcore MarkxAbby shipper but that’s beside the point.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 3:55 pm
  37. Eva Says:

    Ahhhh… this explains why consent to touch was explicitly brought up a few comics ago.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 4:05 pm
  38. Tim C Says:

    Who knew that sweet, dopey Mark could have such a temper.

    Poor Mark, you were not ready for polyamory and Ravena was not ready to handle someone not ready for polyamory.

    By the way Alina, great way of capturing how an angry outburst can escalate. Sometimes ignoring it can make it worse.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 4:54 pm
  39. John Doe Says:

    So is this going to be a comic about a guy losing most of his friends and going into a downward spiral? Because I’m not sure I see a lot of of other outcomes at the moment.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 7:01 pm
  40. FirePrincessLily Says:

    I don’t care how angry you are, it’s NEVER okay to put your hands on someone when it isn’t in self defense. I don’t know how I’m gonna feel about Mark after this. How are his friends going to feel about him after this??

    Is this the end of the comic?

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 8:08 pm
  41. Aerokii Says:

    While I can follow how things happened here and understand how we got to this point, I feel it’s important to note once more, for the people in back:

    Only Mark is responsible for Mark’s actions.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 8:12 pm
  42. TB Says:

    Jme: “Ahhhh… this explains why consent to touch was explicitly brought up a few comics ago.”

    Good catch. The comic specifically established the high level of personal space in this social group, and it’s obviously no secret from the members, who take it for granted that permission is needed even for a friendly, in-character hand on the shoulder.

    In some social groups, simply holding a friend’s wrist to try to keep them from leaving wouldn’t get a second thought (of course, I don’t know what Mark’s going to do next), but not this one, and Mark’s been in this group long enough to know that.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 8:20 pm
  43. Will Says:

    So many people projecting here. It’s not Mark’s fault it’s… someone else’s. It has to be.

    Congratulations people, Mark is an adult and is in full control of his actions. It’s not Ravenia’s fault. It’s not Dustin’s fault.

    This is all on him.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 11:23 pm
  44. Weatherheight Says:

    Mark is looking for a reaction here, and the problem is the best reaction to his BS is *no reaction* – which is only going to make him feel ignored and piss him off even more.

    Been on both sides of this, so I can relate to both, but at this point the GMs need to get involved and boot his butt outside to cool off. Hopefully with a friend who can weather the storm (sometimes that helps – sometimes not).

    And Mark, buddy – you aren’t going to be playing live action for a while, if ever. Assaulting another player is a good sign it’s time to quit gaming for a while. I’m hoping his friends find a way to help him past this, once he’s ready to listen – it’s part of the package, sometimes.

    Posted June 3rd, 2019 at 11:28 pm
  45. Sable Says:

    Could be a powerful redemption arc. I mean this is being told to us by Mark who seems to know he did wrong.

    People who behave like this do tend to get full-on cancelled, and then double down and become worse people. I can see a way forward where Mark stops here, right here, and someone puts in the emotional labour to get him to face what he’s becoming, and he makes a sharp turn toward the light.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 1:39 am
  46. ozzi Says:

    I have been contemplating this a lot. I do not think that this actually is a polycule, however what a lot of people THINK a poly relationship is like.

    Before I get booed off my soapbox, I am a true poly person and I have met people are like this. I am NOT defending anyone here. Not anymore. I wanted to see the best in everyone involved, and honestly the only innocent parties here are Damien and Dustin, who are both easy going and nice. I am not totally excusing the scooby gang here, but honestly they are trying to do their best for their friends.

    Also remember this is a narration of events, I always get the feeling they are told from a future perspective looking back, with Mark writing his memoirs or in his diary. That feel comes from the the save point comic, and I have felt it before.

    So onto my view, however ugly (this is prob gonna get long).

    The more I think about it the more I lean towards the fact that Damien and Ravenia are in an open relationship, and she only thinks they are poly (and he’s agreed with the terminology). She only takes the best parts of everything and shows little in the way of care and attention to anyone other than herself and her primary relationship (meeting Damien in this setting is totally thoughtless, and hasn’t asked for either consent, or if she did asked Mark if he was ok with it, then he didn’t think it through before saying Duh Ok). Also I get that Mark hasn’t met Damien, but Dustin? If they have been together a long time then that an alarm bell going off that’s being ignored.

    Her relationship with Damien is the one that she will defend at all cost. Good on her to not lower to Mark’s level, but that doesn’t excuse the mess she has created for herself. One on a public stage of their friends. She really chose the wrong person for this.

    Now her relationship confusion could mostly be due to the fact that nobody comes with instruction manuals and they do not teach relationships properly in schools (that’s another side rant). So Ravenia is making up as she goes, under her own moral compass. Sadly that is not at true north. However it is also entirely possible that she really does see Dustin and Mark as lower than Damien, who knows at this point. She never really explained it all to Mark because she doesn’t know how poly is meant to work. She’s explained, if shes even done this, is how the open relationship works with a new name.

    Now onto Mark, he was reeling from his ex and a pretty girl comes up to him in the club, kisses him, and it turns out to be his best friends girl etc. His mind is blown about poly because it is all new to him and he could of gone into it with the most noble intentions in the world, while his junk says “well its only Dustin, you got this bro”. He tries to make it work and both him and Dustin are friends and on the same level so its call cool in the school. He should of realised that if he was having second thoughts or anxiety about meeting Damien at the event then he should of said to her so. Lets meet another time. If that lead to the convo, “But he wants to see LARP.” I would say I am not comfortable with this, I dont mean to be hash but I am not going if he does (that may sound harsh to some but this is relaxation and enjoyment too, not being funny LARP is one of the sillier looking ends of the hobby). However instead hes let himself get more and more wound up to the point where hes seen Damien and thats pretty too and its pushed him over the edge. He should have left. Even he knows it.

    Mark however will never be excused for grabbing her like that. Dude she wants to leave, let her, consent always, end of conversation. This is a dumster fire and he knows this. However I can see his frame of mind. He is sick and tired of this crap. Sure there is possibly an element of not being the prettiest anymore, but that is not all of it. This was foreshadowed, when they were texting before the event. He might have a gut feeling something is off in the relationship. He might of had a better ability to google poly and realises that this isn’t it. Maybe hes having second thoughts about it all and if it right for him. He certainly has ex issues on a level the normal person doesn’t, she screwed him up.

    I am selling front row seats and popcorn. Lets properly comment on Mark the dumster fire edition, once we are at the credits.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 3:36 am
  47. Velgar Says:

    Kinda interesting how quickly people are throwing Mark under the bus for this. Sure, he’s an idiot… In certain aspects of life. And he’s potentially doing something very stupid right here.

    Yeah, touching is bad and this comic has no doubt been a “safezone” for a lot of people. But not only is this something that does happen every so often, more than it should definitely, but also his reaction is very natural here.

    Mark has most likely lived a happy life for most parts. Just the usual conflicts of life, but haven’t needed face jealousy, betrayals, heartbreaks and a bunch of other things while coming to a point before his breakup. Heck, did he even have siblings? Having known few single children, their sense of self-importance has been really touch greater than those who have had to share the things in life with others in more ways…

    He’s hurt from a crazy ex, he lost the girl over who lost her ex, he rebounded on a very complex and confusing girl and even that got a step more confusing. He just doesn’t understand what’s happening.

    He needed something to distract himself. That didn’t work. He needed someone to talk to. That didn’t work out. He still had no answers. And not knowing is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a person in any situation. He doesn’t have the answers. All he had is confusion, pain and thus growing anger. He needed something. Outlet, answers, a bag full of beans, anything. So he went to find at least something.

    Now, what Ravenia did does actually work. I’ve personally done the same numerous times to people. Not the most healthy solution I’m sure, but coaxing the flames and letting the person to burn themselves out helps. But you don’t fan the flames and then leave. Never. It will get hard, there will be painful words, heck you might even get a slap, but you don’t step back. If you’re doing the silent treatment (or even giving “helpful” word or two to boost the effect [remember to remain absolutely calm yourself no matter whats being said or done]), you take the heat, you take the flames. And when it has burned itself out, you put your hands in that red hot coal and you dig up the issue from beneath. Usually the people don’t have any more flames to burn, unless you add more issues and you can finally start talking about what’s going on.

    Again, not perhaps the best way to go about it, but “teasing” and then giving nothing… Well… You get what is about to happen…

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 4:04 am
  48. Thulcandran Says:

    I’m really, really surprised by the number of people who’ve been saying this is because Mark was unprepared for a polyamorous relationship (and/or Ravenia erred by approaching him). Plenty of people find out they aren’t okay with polyamory, and most manage to stop themselves from an explosive meltdown where they demand their SO respond to their tirade and stop them from leaving if they don’t.

    It’s a little weird, because Mark hasn’t expressed control issues before that I recall, but I don’t know what else to call this. If one of my partners, regardless of whether they were my only partner or one of several, screamed at me in public, demanded I answer them, and then tried to stop me from leaving, the relationship would be over, I think. Mark’s veered in this strip into emotional abuse territory at the least.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 4:23 am
  49. Fabfunk von Cronenberg Says:

    I tend to wonder if Alina doesn’t want to include Mark in her stories any more and this is an easy way of writing him out.

    At first he was the clueless newbie, but now she’s portraying him as an unhinged and possibly violent monster. Fans of the comic will demand that his horrible character be removed. Then she can focus on the remaining wacky members of the group without having to create any stories around the (relatively) newcomer Mark.

    There’s the moral of your story: if you let a new guy into your gaming group he’ll ruin everything.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 7:55 am
  50. Vol Says:

    Have to say I’m not a fan of this arc in general. I get that this sort of thing happens, and Mark is emotionally unbalanced at the moment. But I can’t remember where we’ve seen even the slightest indication of this side of his personality, even in situations that might well have pushed him there in the past, and then suddenly he’s assaulting people out of nowhere.

    This is a character that even the comic described as puppy like within this same arc and yet apparently he’s able to work himself into a frenzy in a few minutes span? This feels more like someone had a story they wanted to tell and none of the characters fit, so they just awkwardly shoved one into the role and hoped for the best. I’m all for emotional and dramatic moments but I’m sorry, this just isn’t very well told.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 8:26 am
  51. Leon Stauffer Says:

    Couple of things here. Maybe I’m the only one, but I never much liked Ravenia and now I’m seeing why. This isn’t a polycule, it’s her harem and it’s really no surprise that her “primary” is the hot burlesque dancer. Mark was never ready for this and she should have known it, she just didn’t care if she could get her jollies.
    Is Mark out of line? Oh hell yes, though all you folk calling for him to cancelled forever and cast out into utter darkness for daring to touch someone really need a sense of proportion. Consequences? Yes. Lifetime bans, which invariably end up with the banned person being socially cut off as well? Nope. That is for a pattern of repeated problem behavior.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 8:55 am
  52. Trina Says:

    1. Mark is a white, cishet, male.
    2. Ravenia and Damien are LGBTQ+ PoCs.
    3. We don’t need to know anything else. Mark needs to be written out of this story the sooner the better!

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 9:06 am
  53. gothicus Says:

    So thats Mark banned from the game, half his friends in an impossible position and unless he grows some common sense in the next panel the police getting called… This is not going to end well.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 9:06 am
  54. Ironically Says:

    Is it wrong to want Mark to get a meaningful beating? one that
    Oh dear, what a piece of work he is.

    I appreciate all the work that’s been put in this arch and web-comic very much, worthy to keep coming back every time.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 9:49 am
  55. last_hope Says:

    in before…
    Mark and Damien start to beat each other up and after the aggression has subsided they look deep into each other’s eyes and discover the subtle feelings they have for each other. It comes to making love and they forget the world around them.
    Raviena and the other player’s are very confused.
    Because of immorality they are excluded from the game.
    But they still love each other passionately today.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 9:53 am
  56. Caelestio Says:

    For some weird reason, I feel the need to post.

    First off Alina, great job on this. This is difficult to read for all the right reasons. And while I agree this is hard coming off of the also difficult Vampire Arc, these kinds of things sometimes cascade in in shared geek communities. No individual group is ever free from drama.

    For Mark, I both feel for and just am aggravated at him. For the longest time, I related to him on many levels. Especially in the regards of losing a relationship due to finding my nerddom. (Though, honestly, it was that my interests changed and hers did not. And we found fewer and fewer overlap.) But it is there it kind of stops.

    Mark has always, always had an issue with boundaries, and differentiating what a good limit was. In the first arc, he literally lost touch with reality and thought the Hunter Game was real. (Admittedly, so did we with the way the comic was at the time). Then he began an IC and OOC relationship with Sarah where it was some intensive RP, without considering how that intensive RolePlaying would appear to his partner at the time.

    Mark has always had an issue with boundaries and has never really had a great arc on realizing and confronting those limits. In a lot of ways, this entire story from the beginning has been about Mark slowly escalating to this point.

    It is sad. It is tragic. It was avoidable. But for so many people they just can’t avoid themselves.

    Can he recover from this? Sure. Will it affect his friendships and areas of geekdom/groups he can/will hang out with? I sure hope so.

    Here is a character that needs help. Everyone can benefit from good therapy. Everyone includes fictional Protagonists of excellent Web Comics.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 10:22 am
  57. JRedGiant Says:

    The next strip needs to be Mark looking at his hand in horror, immediately letting Ravenia go, wondering what the hell he was thinking, apologizing, and leaving.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 10:22 am
  58. Charlotte Says:

    This is pretty much a propos nothing in that it has nothing to do with what’s currently unfolding, but: How long has Mark known about Damien’s existence, and especially his status as the primary partner? Has he known about it before this meeting?
    I remember that when he and Ravenia first started dating, Mark just knew about her and Dustin, and didn’t even know that their relationship would allow for Ravenia to date others. I know that Ravenia then essentially said “But of course I’m poly, silly!”. But how far did that explanation go, and did it mention Damien as the primary partner?

    I’d be really thankful if anyone could jog my memory there!

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 10:59 am
  59. Sigmoid Says:

    People are talking about Ravenia’s mistakes not because “not being very good at polyamory justifies being physically assaulted”, but rather because she’s apparently terrible at polyamory, and possibly at relationships in general.
    What was depicted here is not polyamory, it’s “uninformed misguided first attempt at polyamory where people get hurt lots”. Everyone who does poly tries that once, gets hurt, and then either swears off poly for life, or learns about conscious management of a relationship, like by reading More Than Two, and then makes sure that needs and boundaries are clearly discussed and observed…

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 12:00 pm
  60. Nep Says:

    Still don’t understand how Ravenia can be seen to have done anything wrong here. She asked if she could observe, which is not weird in LARPS. He said yes. He didn’t communicate. He blew up at her. And now he’s grabbed her.

    Honestly, I think it’s brilliant that she invited her primary to check out the LARP with her. It gives Dustin and Mark conversation topics with him, has them surrounded by their friends, and gives them things to do where they don’t have to just be trying to ‘make nice’ with a new person. And the fact that she wanted to check it out and wanted her primary to as well speaks to how much she likes Dustin and Mark.

    (And for the record, Mark doesn’t have to slap her for him to have gone too far re touching. That grab is unacceptable.)

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 4:52 pm
  61. Nep Says:

    Also, I sincerely hope Mark gets therapy after this, because he has got some issues to work on.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 4:53 pm
  62. TealDragon Says:

    Boy, that last panel when he thinks “and that’s when it all went wrong” … I hope he learns better, because it went wrong the moment he started listening to his brain weasels with their false narrative.

    It’s fine that he didn’t know how hard it would hit him. That’s pretty “normal” for someone new to poly. He’s actually not doing too bad before they arrive in terms of recognizing he needs someone to talk to about this, knowing his feelings are off and he’s reacting badly. Deciding he can get through this is okay, too.

    The real turning point, to me, is when he’s supposed to be in-character, and is instead deciding that they’re specifically looking at and laughing at him, visualizing his ex and a directly insulting attack (that clearly didn’t happen). Everything after that has been reactions and defensiveness and his bad decisions, that he will have to own 100%.

    Grabbing was very bad, but he needs to grow past the mental narrative that it took a physical assault to make things go wrong. The wrongness of thinking yelling and insulting wasn’t wrong … ugh!

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 6:18 pm
  63. TB Says:

    Fabfunk von Cronenberg Says:

    “I tend to wonder if Alina doesn’t want to include Mark in her stories any more and this is an easy way of writing him out.”

    This is an interesting theory. In the early strips, Mark occupied the essential narrative position of the New Guy in a strange world, the person we identify with as he’s introduced into that world. Like Harry Potter in the first Potter books, he’s the one things get explained to.

    Might be that he’s getting to be kind of a fifth wheel now that the gaming world is familiar to most long-term readers?

    But I kind of like him. I still think he’s got enough “fish out of water” going to be useful in a story like this.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 8:10 pm
  64. Eternis Says:

    @nep- Where Ravenia went wrong was in not introducing Damien to them beforehand. It could have just been a quick lunch/coffee/literal walk in the park, but what she did is put a person she knew was easily embarrassed into a situation where their personal ability to act/play out their role in the hobby they’re most fond of might have an impact on someone else, while *forcing* the interaction between Mark and her /primary partner/ to be that of observer/observed. Any misconceptions *either* of them had couldn’t be resolved in a positive manner until after the game, or if they both set aside the activity that they both came here to do to talk to one another.

    The problem Ravenia caused was that of enforced non-communication upon two people’s first meeting when there is a pressing need to communicate.
    Again, Mark is still the one at fault, and Ravenia doesn’t deserve to be manhandled and restrained like that in *any* setting outside consensual play, nor does she deserve the apparent abuse Mark is slinging her way. But to say she has done nothing wrong is to excuse thoughtlessness and a lack of consideration of the context of her actions, and that is a dangerous mindset to have given, well, history.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 9:45 pm
  65. RenegadeRyder Says:

    I was wondering when this story line would be picked up again. Is it just me or has Mark’s personality REALLY changed quite dramatically recently compared to the rest of the cast? I’m curious to know where all this anger is coming from, it’s almost as if he’s a completely different person.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 10:41 pm
  66. AhegaoAmigo Says:

    I definitely see a lot of problems coming from Mark, but I dont think 100% of this over all situation should be pointed directly at him, I think a bit of blame can also be placed on Dustin as well. My reasoning is that Dustin (and many of the Weregeek crew) knew of the huge debacle Mark had with his last SO and how that all turned out. I feel like Dustin should have sat down with Mark at some point and asked him if he felt he was ready to be in a relationship where he wasnt the #1.

    Also another thing to note is that Mark tends to get too into his own head and escape to fantasy to deal with issues that really need to be grounded in reality. Take the first major arc where he thought he was some weregeek and there was some government agency after him and many of his friends were kind of shocked to find out he thought it was all real.

    Posted June 4th, 2019 at 11:23 pm
  67. Shinji Schneider Says:

    “Damien protecting Ravenia. Mark only needs the slightest excuse to attack Damien anyway because in his irrational mind he sees him as “the enemy” anyway”

    Called it

    Posted June 5th, 2019 at 1:01 am
  68. Sigmoid Says:

    @Nep it’s pretty clear from the entire storyline up to this point that boundaries were never discussed with Mark. You know there are things you NEED to ask your partners pretty early on in the relationship, such as “how would you feel about me being intimate with another person when you are present”; also relationship roles and priorities are pretty bloody important to get mutual understanding and consent on.

    Bringing metamours together always carries a level of touchiness, and situations of isolation can really fuck emotions up. Isolation, as in “X is playing in character, while Y is watching OOC”, or even “X is sitting in the back of the van and Y is riding shotgun with me up front”. Frag it, I’ve seen at least 2 relationships in my life sour over someone sitting in the back of a loud van over a long road trip. Seriously.

    You’re not expected to be the caretaker of your partners, they are adults after all, but a level of attention and care is a mark of a good person, and also it was pretty clearly Ravenia who actively took a pass on a completely clueless Mark, so keeping communication flowing about whether he’s comfortable in the relationship would have been a good idea.

    Posted June 5th, 2019 at 10:36 am
  69. @AtWork Says:


    Ravenia did at least some things very wrong, not necessarily all in the context of the LARP. Just to name some and I might focus a bit too much on her libido but I’m always abhorred when people think with their genitals instead of their brains:

    She began a poly-relationship with Mark, someone who was clearly hurt, still recovering from a relationship, probably because, may I be so frank, she wanted to fuck

    She did introduce him to the poly-style only in the most basic way, she did not tell him about Damien, she did not tell him that he was her “primary”, or that something like that even existed. Why? Because that could’ve ruined all the nice fucking.

    Now that I’m thinking of it, it’s also partly Dustin’s fault for never “introducing” Mark to the whole concept. Maybe there are even more lovers? Do we know? So far, they all seem to be male. It aaaaalll rotates around Ravenia. She gets all the attention, withholds information to lure Mark into a relationship construct he may not have wanted like this in the first place, and doesn’t even take the time to talk to him about it.

    She is at least equal parts to blame for Mark’s misery. And even Dustin. As his friend, he should’ve made sure that Mark was clear on the details of this relationship long, loooong ago.

    Posted June 6th, 2019 at 1:06 am