THE OotS Thread, Part IV.

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THE OotS Thread, Part IV.

Postby LadyTevar » 2013-12-08 04:50pm

The Current Comic

To sum up the last page of Thread #3: Tarquin doesnt' know when to quit, he's getting boring, kill him already (do I have everyone's opinions correct?)

One last opinion is that Tarquin is going nuts now because his chosen heir Nale failed him for the last time, and now he's trying to make up for lost time with Elan. However, like his twin, Elan isn't wanting to play by Tarq's narrative. Cue yet another fight between Dad and Son, and the start of an interesting Castor Fight!

So, lay your bets folkls, Psion or Specialist at Invocation.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Ralin » 2013-12-08 05:15pm

A psion built for blasting is better at it than a wizard built for blasting.

But we have no evidence that's what this psion is built for.

And that's assuming we were strictly following D&D mechanics, which we all know Order of the Stick doesn't.

Personally I'm enjoying Tarquin's breakdown. Seems pretty clear he's let his obsession take control of him and that he's throwing the savvy pragmatism that got him so far out the window.

Which is why I don't mind the fight continuing either. Tarquin IS trying to drag his part of the story out longer than it needs to be, and it's pretty clear that's not going to end well for him. I think it makes for a nice meta-joke.

Besides, Tarquin is a high level character who deserves to go out in an epic fight, and that's what this has been so far.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Kuja » 2013-12-08 06:26pm

Laurin's biggest problem is that while she may be level 20 to V's 15, she's spent the day spamming portals willy-nilly, hit up that big AoE mindblast, and a dash of healing, so she's been spending power points like water going through a sieve. And while V's used a good few spells today I don't think the elf is nearly as tapped as Laurin is.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Gaidin » 2013-12-08 06:53pm

The difference I keep hearing to that is that while Laurin has one specific conflict today chasing down and fighting the order and she can just open her power points on like a waterfall and plan on living, the Order, V specifically, isn't usually in that position, and isn't today. She has been in other fights, at least one if I recall correctly, before she fell down the pit in the Temple of Doom(TM), to say nothing of the fight against the army where Laurin was relatively content to stand back and watch where V was pretty spamming. I'm not sure what their relative ratios for PPs to Spells Casted to their full amount may be, but if their even remotely similar, as a level 20ish to a level 15ish, Laurin's got a big advantage no matter how much she's spammed.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Kuja » 2013-12-08 07:02pm

V didn't take part in the fight atop the temple since he'd already fallen down the well trap. He didn't even do that much spellcasting during the big fight with the army since for a big chunk of it he was being held by Lee, Nero, and Cedric. If Laurin hadn't spammed something like 8 or 9 portals during the chase (on top of everything else) I would say she'd have the advantage.

But then again, they're under the Machane's gasbag and out of the sun. Durkula may decide to hand Malack's staff off to someone and get involved, and even without spells a level 15 vampire cleric is bad news.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Crazedwraith » 2013-12-08 07:14pm

How long does he need to respell anyway? And is it an all or nothing deal? Can he say, half load up and then jump in the fray?

It'd be cool/character advancing if Durkon pops up and finishes this fight in a way that really screams to every and forces them to accept that he's different now and EVIL. And not in a lovable Belkar way.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Grumman » 2013-12-08 07:16pm

Ralin wrote:Which is why I don't mind the fight continuing either. Tarquin IS trying to drag his part of the story out longer than it needs to be, and it's pretty clear that's not going to end well for him. I think it makes for a nice meta-joke.

A joke should be funny. Running a joke into the ground for a year and a half, until people are saying, "Just fucking get on with it," is a not funny.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Vaporous » 2013-12-08 08:15pm

If you can stomach the GiTP Forums, Rich is explaining his views on Tarquin a bit in this thread.

Example:

Just out of curiosity, who was it that told the story about how Tarquin was a tactical genius and the mastermind behind his party's plot? Was it…Tarquin?

If you bought into Tarquin's story that Tarquin was a competent chessmaster when all of the evidence in the comic points to him being a quasi-delusional control freak that needs to be reigned in by one of his allies half the time, that's on you. I gave you the evidence to see what he was, you just chose to believe his spin instead and then criticize me for not living up to it. The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Grumman » 2013-12-08 08:49pm

If you bought into Tarquin's story that Tarquin was a competent chessmaster when all of the evidence in the comic points to him being a quasi-delusional control freak that needs to be reigned in by one of his allies half the time, that's on you. I gave you the evidence to see what he was, you just chose to believe his spin instead and then criticize me for not living up to it.

We criticise Rich because what we were promised was actually interesting. Subverting your own reputation for quality is nothing to crow about.

The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?

That was only 13 pages ago. Out of 200. Hence why reducing Tarquin from rational mastermind to ranting lunatic comes off poorly.

At least Painrack's theory that his collapse was only due to the death of his son is consistent with what we've seen, unlike Rich's decision that Tarquin has always been a fuckup.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Napoleon the Clown » 2013-12-08 09:23pm

Crazedwraith wrote:How long does he need to respell anyway? And is it an all or nothing deal? Can he say, half load up and then jump in the fray?

It'd be cool/character advancing if Durkon pops up and finishes this fight in a way that really screams to every and forces them to accept that he's different now and EVIL. And not in a lovable Belkar way.

Preparing spells requires 8 hours of rest, regardless of how many you prepare.

Now, I could see him taking the opportunity to chew on Laurin's neck, if he becomes aware she's an issue. Drain her dry and get a free 20th level Psion under his thumb. I'm not gonna bank on him noticing his services would be highly valued, though.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Ralin » 2013-12-08 09:24pm

Grumman wrote:A joke should be funny. Running a joke into the ground for a year and a half, until people are saying, "Just fucking get on with it," is a not funny.


-I- find it funny. I've found Tarquin very consistently entertaining in every scene he's been in.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2013-12-08 09:55pm

Yeah I am not buying the "He has ALWAYS been a fuck up, you just bought into his "Spin" augment one bit.
As the creator of the story, YOU fed us the information. Are you saying you fed it to us wrong on purpose?
I mean every single aspect about Tarquin told us he was the "Master Chessplayer" behind everything.

So is he is or isn;t he?

I am going with the "Tarquin is just NOW have a total mental breakdown with the loss of male" theory until proven otherwise.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Terralthra » 2013-12-08 10:37pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:Yeah I am not buying the "He has ALWAYS been a fuck up, you just bought into his "Spin" augment one bit.
As the creator of the story, YOU fed us the information. Are you saying you fed it to us wrong on purpose?
I mean every single aspect about Tarquin told us he was the "Master Chessplayer" behind everything.

So is he is or isn;t he?

I am going with the "Tarquin is just NOW have a total mental breakdown with the loss of male" theory until proven otherwise.

Wait, you're complaining that the writer of a story may have put self-serving lies into the mouth of an egocentric deceptive villain?

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Grumman » 2013-12-08 11:17pm

Terralthra wrote:Wait, you're complaining that the writer of a story may have put self-serving lies into the mouth of an egocentric deceptive villain?

Tarquin deceived people to downplay his own importance - pretending to just be the dragon's general rather than trying to retake the throne for himself, letting Nale lead the Linear Guild, pretending to be Thog rather than fighting in his own name. He even says as much:
OOTS #820 wrote:"But you look like a fool for being ignorant!"
"So what? Better to look the fool than be one."

But that's beside the point. What is important is that Tarquin as a competent villain is more interesting than Tarquin as just another villain who doesn't live up to the hype.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Imperial Overlord » 2013-12-08 11:54pm

This isn't all or nothing. Being competent doesn't mean you don't have obsessions or exaggerate your capabilities. Tarquin's capable but he's always been a mouthy braggart with control issues. Every interaction with his actual comrades has shown that they have, to a certain extent, been indulging his pretensions.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Serafina » 2013-12-09 01:57am

Tarquin isn't a fuckup - he is a highly competent fighter with a very good understanding of story patterns, which he successfully used to acquire a lot of power.
That hasn't changed - he's still a very good in a fight, he's still thinking in common story patterns.
What HAS changed is the accuracy of his pet theory regarding the latter - he's simply too inflexible to recognize that things are different from how he thinks they are supposed to be. His very success so far probably plays against him there - after all, all his plans worked out so far, why shouldn't this one?

That's consistent with his characterization all the way through - he did handle Elan according to story patterns right from the start, and his other decisions (OotS working together, fight with Elan, not interfering in Wizard fight) were also fitting such patterns - they merely happened to be good decisions too.
Heck, we already saw how he reacts to things not going according to his plan when the Allosaur was released, and how he handled the two bounty hunters (which was a bad decision).


So no, i don't see this change as sudden or not fitting his character.
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Alkaloid » 2013-12-09 03:24am

Ok, so likely issues for the different players at this point as far as I can tell.

For the Order:
I don't see V winning this fight. If all of the orders fighters can't take Tarquin I don't see why the orders caster will fare any better against Ts caster.There's no reason to assume level disparity is much different and I know almost nothing about D&D but from what I understand casters get exponentially more powerful as they level up.
Durkon is now on a ship full of non hostiles and as far as I know hasn't eaten anything since he was vamped. Could be an issue.
They've peen pretty thoroughly pantsed and with no healer are in urgent need of resupply.

Tarquin:
Has lost control of the situation. I don't know what Scoundrel comes in at level wise, but given his history and the fact that he's apparently beaten Tarquin before he may well match or be above T in levels. I'm not sure why people keep assuming he'll get creamed.
Narratively he is heading for an ignominious defeat. If Scoundrel kills him it's as ignominious as possible because he doesn't even get the story he wants, he's just another notch on Scoundrels belt.
Even if he kills Scoundrel and the order, Scoundrels daughter is on the ship (for all I know the entire crew are his illegitimate children). By the rules he's playing there is no way he gets of the ship alive then.

Scoundrel:
There are at least two parties in the immediate vicinity who could get a "you killed my father/mentor" moment out of his dying now. Uncomfortable odds for a man in his line of work.

So is he is or isn;t he?


No reason he can't be both. He's a manipulative and ambitious (if egotistical and self aggrandising) mastermind who was successful because he had grounded and competent friends and associates who kept him realistic and focused. The one he paid the most attention to (and his lifelong friend) was just murdered by his own son. He hasn't reacted well.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Sharp-kun » 2013-12-09 05:49am

I don't see Tarquin dieing. Losing yes but there's enough unresolved stuff with his party that I think we'll see them again.

If Tarquin dies here that doesn't solve the problem that the Western Continent is still under the rule of his group - Miron, Shoulder Pad Guy and Jacinda are still at large. Also the only person for me that can take Tarquin down is Elan. Anyone else would be very unsatisfying, much like Roy has to get the final blow on Xykon.

Can Elan kill Tarquin yet? I don't think he's either mentally prepared or physically capable (yet). Can V take down Laurin? Maybe, but I'm skeptical. I don't think she'd have Wormholed onto an airship if she was running low on PP - she knows there's a fight at the other end.


Somethings going to force Tarquin to retreat and he'll be back with the whole group as the mid boss at the final gate.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Ralin » 2013-12-09 05:56am

Sharp-kun wrote:Also the only person for me that can take Tarquin down is Elan. Anyone else would be very unsatisfying, much like Roy has to get the final blow on Xykon.

Can Elan kill Tarquin yet? I don't think he's either mentally prepared or physically capable (yet).


You're buying into Tarquin's version of reality. Which the author has outright said is bullshit.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Sharp-kun » 2013-12-09 06:09am

Ralin wrote:
Sharp-kun wrote:Also the only person for me that can take Tarquin down is Elan. Anyone else would be very unsatisfying, much like Roy has to get the final blow on Xykon.

Can Elan kill Tarquin yet? I don't think he's either mentally prepared or physically capable (yet).


You're buying into Tarquin's version of reality. Which the author has outright said is bullshit.

No, thats my expectation as a reader.

Elan needs to take down Tarquin because anyone else in the Order doing it wouldn't sit right - this is his plot arc and it's his dad.

That doesn't mean that Elan can't do it in a way that doesn't buy in to Tarquin's expectation and thats what I'm thinking will happen - for example they fight right before they meet Xykon in the depth's of Kraagor's dungeon, Elan wins and the tale is never told, or is completely overshadowed by the defeat of Xykon 30 minutes later, everyone forgetting the midboss that was Tarquin. Tarquin loses but Elan still gets closure to his arc.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Alkaloid » 2013-12-09 06:32am

So? Your expectation as a reader is the same as Tarquins as a participant. It's not the story. His role in the story was as a device for Elan to learn something about himself and that's already done. Elan himself has stated he is deliberately engineering a subversion of the standard 'good son defeats evil father' narrative.

Roy has to get the final blow on Xykon.


Why? The blood oath is irrelevant and Roy is on this quest to stop the world ending, not for personal glory. Roy's story was about him coming to terms with his relationship with his father and proving his worth as a leader and a fighter to himself. The leadership part is ongoing, the daddy issues ended in heaven and the fighter part ended with him defeating Thog. It would be unsatisfying for the order not to arrange Xykons defeat, but there is no narrative necessity for Roy to strike the final blow.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Grumman » 2013-12-09 06:34am

Having read some more of Rich's comments about Tarquin, his ideas about evil read like something straight out of the Comics Code. I'm wondering if Laurin's going to get the same treatment, because according to Rich it's impossible to be evil and yet genuinely like someone. So by Rich's reasoning either she's not really evil, or she doesn't really love her daughter - there is no middle ground for bigots or anyone else who mistreats the "other".

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2013-12-09 06:47am

Ralin wrote:A psion built for blasting is better at it than a wizard built for blasting.

But we have no evidence that's what this psion is built for.
Her massive use of portals suggests the opposite, in fact. Also, it means she's probably used up a lot of energy, although not so much that she wasn't willing to try and portal them onto the airship and face combat again.

Personally I'm enjoying Tarquin's breakdown. Seems pretty clear he's let his obsession take control of him and that he's throwing the savvy pragmatism that got him so far out the window.

Which is why I don't mind the fight continuing either. Tarquin IS trying to drag his part of the story out longer than it needs to be, and it's pretty clear that's not going to end well for him. I think it makes for a nice meta-joke.

Besides, Tarquin is a high level character who deserves to go out in an epic fight, and that's what this has been so far.
I agree with all this.

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What's not to stomach? I've had an account there for years, longer than here in fact. The main reason I don't post is that I ran out of time and got bored of talking 3rd Edition, but I had some damn good times there.

Rich is explaining his views on Tarquin a bit in this thread.

Example:

Just out of curiosity, who was it that told the story about how Tarquin was a tactical genius and the mastermind behind his party's plot? Was it…Tarquin?

If you bought into Tarquin's story that Tarquin was a competent chessmaster when all of the evidence in the comic points to him being a quasi-delusional control freak that needs to be reigned in by one of his allies half the time, that's on you. I gave you the evidence to see what he was, you just chose to believe his spin instead and then criticize me for not living up to it. The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?
Tarquin has a very high opinion of himself.

But it occurs to me that part of the reason we got a high opinion of him in the 700-800 strips is because we saw him in his place of power and control, where everything proceeded more or less according to his designs. Also because we saw him being thoroughly prepared and capable, equipped with lots of interesting weapons and techniques, and able to run rings around existing nuisance-villains like Nale.

But all this is exactly what we'd expect from a 20th level adventurer who, in classic D&D tradition dating back to the OD&D/AD&D era, has 'graduated' to ruling his own realm and having plenty of time to amass the right combination of items and weapons to protect himself with. That just meant he was strong, not that he was sane.

The problem is that in going from strong, calm, collected, and nearly invincible into this new obsessive control freak, well... we like the new Tarquin a lot less than the old. The old Tarquin was a fun distraction, because his cleverness made him a worthy antagonist.

The new Tarquin is just a big obstacle made out of meat and fighter levels that blocks the protagonists from going anywhere.

I don't mind a little more Tarquin-fight, but I do think that the overall length of his story arc was too great, and too much was made of him, for the way he's being portrayed now.

Grumman wrote:
The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?
That was only 13 pages ago. Out of 200. Hence why reducing Tarquin from rational mastermind to ranting lunatic comes off poorly.

At least Painrack's theory that his collapse was only due to the death of his son is consistent with what we've seen, unlike Rich's decision that Tarquin has always been a fuckup.
That's actually interesting- first Nale kills one of his best friends, then refuses to even let Tarquin try to smooth it over and practically disowns him. That's got to be making Tarquin rather unhinged, and we see that.

I had previously thought in terms of Tarquin advancing the plot by destroying Nale- Nale has finally committed one double-cross too many, and pays for it with his life.

But in a sense, Nale is advancing the plot by destroying Tarquin, or at least destroying him in his role as a tactical mastermind by unhinging him, putting him in a position where his natural instincts to control the situation cause him to act obsessive and insane.

Having two persistent villains effectively ruin each other is actually exactly the sort of thing I'd expect to see in the wrapup stages of a D&D campaign, come to think of it.

Alkaloid wrote:Ok, so likely issues for the different players at this point as far as I can tell.

For the Order:
I don't see V winning this fight. If all of the orders fighters can't take Tarquin I don't see why the orders caster will fare any better against Ts caster.There's no reason to assume level disparity is much different and I know almost nothing about D&D but from what I understand casters get exponentially more powerful as they level up.
The main issue here is that Laurin's been using her powers lavishly, so it's not clear whether she has enough juice left to deal with a new problem. By analogy, Belkar is a pretty powerful warrior, but after the draining effects of Malack's ambush he's been fighting well below par, so that even Tarquin's mundane soldiers were a threat to him. Whereas a few hundred strips ago he was literally dancing on a mountain of hobgoblin corpses.

Durkon is now on a ship full of non hostiles and as far as I know hasn't eaten anything since he was vamped. Could be an issue.
I'm betting that will be resolved in the block of strips after the fight with Tarquin.

Tarquin:
Has lost control of the situation. I don't know what Scoundrel comes in at level wise, but given his history and the fact that he's apparently beaten Tarquin before he may well match or be above T in levels. I'm not sure why people keep assuming he'll get creamed.
Narratively he is heading for an ignominious defeat. If Scoundrel kills him it's as ignominious as possible because he doesn't even get the story he wants, he's just another notch on Scoundrels belt.
Even if he kills Scoundrel and the order, Scoundrels daughter is on the ship (for all I know the entire crew are his illegitimate children). By the rules he's playing there is no way he gets of the ship alive then.
My current money is on Durkon and/or Roy returning from belowdecks within another round or two in response to the commotion and making this fight more complicated.

There's also the possibility of someone pulling up Julio- as you say, Julio's chances of survival are not great from a narrative point of view, but from Tarquin's point of view Julio's a huge threat. Both narratively*, and tactically**. Basically, right NOW the Order is outgunned, but they have a huge amount of reinforcements literally just around the corner, and Tarquin brought a knife to this swordfight. Well, a knife and a maybe-exhausted psion.

*A villain is seldom in more danger than when he has just killed the protagonist's father figure. The villain's death might not be immediate, but there's a pretty good chance of it being immediate as the hero goes all Lou Ferrigno on them.

** Because, hello, master swordsman with a chaos sabre...

Sharp-kun wrote:I don't see Tarquin dieing. Losing yes but there's enough unresolved stuff with his party that I think we'll see them again.

If Tarquin dies here that doesn't solve the problem that the Western Continent is still under the rule of his group - Miron, Shoulder Pad Guy and Jacinda are still at large. Also the only person for me that can take Tarquin down is Elan. Anyone else would be very unsatisfying, much like Roy has to get the final blow on Xykon.
It's very much possible for Elan to finish Tarquin off here, I think- he's still probably got a respectable fraction of his hit points. Right now he has no weapon, but that's easy to change. There's Julio's sabre, for example, if Julio takes the predictable fall in this scene.

Also, I don't think the Western Continent really does need to be 'fixed' in the sense you're talking about. It's not like every campaign in D&D results in the cleansing of all evil lands in the campaign world. If Xykon is beaten the story has wrapped itself up rather well. Tarquin himself is a serious antagonist who needs to be dealt with one way or another for the story to be complete, but his allies are irrelevant to the story except insofar as they give him some extra assets to call on.


Grumman wrote:Having read some more of Rich's comments about Tarquin, his ideas about evil read like something straight out of the Comics Code. I'm wondering if Laurin's going to get the same treatment, because according to Rich it's impossible to be evil and yet genuinely like someone. So by Rich's reasoning either she's not really evil, or she doesn't really love her daughter - there is no middle ground for bigots or anyone else who mistreats the "other".
Wait, did he actually say that?
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Grumman
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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Grumman » 2013-12-09 06:59am

Simon_Jester wrote:
Grumman wrote:Having read some more of Rich's comments about Tarquin, his ideas about evil read like something straight out of the Comics Code. I'm wondering if Laurin's going to get the same treatment, because according to Rich it's impossible to be evil and yet genuinely like someone. So by Rich's reasoning either she's not really evil, or she doesn't really love her daughter - there is no middle ground for bigots or anyone else who mistreats the "other".
Wait, did he actually say that?

I'm paraphrasing, but yes:
Rich Burlew wrote:You can't be a torturing, mass-murdering rapist and then go home and turn your Evil Switch to the "off" position to spend time with your kids. It doesn't work that way. If you are the sort of person that can commit the acts that Tarquin does daily, then that will find its way into every aspect of your existence. It's who you are.

Rich Burlew wrote:The "Evil Switch" i'm talking about is not the external facade, it's the internal reality of the person. I don't dispute for one second that people can come across as otherwise decent people. Yes, I concur that it is entirely realistic for people who commit horrible atrocities to seem like good people in other situations. But the key word there is, "seem." Being able to act like a good person some of the time does not make one a good person, it makes one a competent actor. Someone mentally and emotionally capable of intentional deliberate mass murder is still capable of mass murder when hugging their child. They're just not doing it that moment.

Tarquin seemed like a decent person when we met him, that's the entire point. It would have been entirely plausible for Tarquin to have never cracked his facade, to continue acting like a calm and collected person who separated his two lives, but I have no interest in writing that. First, it's boring, and second, it sends a message that you can totally commit atrocities and it's OK, that doesn't make you a bad person as long as you pet a dog afterward. Yes, it makes you a bad person. That is the point. That is the message I am consciously conveying with my story, and if you disagree with it, that's fine, I guess. But I'm not going to take, "You conveyed the message you wanted to convey but I don't like it!" as a criticism that I need to pay attention to.

For reference, my position is the opposite: evil is who you are to your enemies, not who you are to your friends. I see no contradiction in a bigot who sets fire to mosques but would die for his Christian best friend, or a mobster who loves his wife but is still willing to go out breaking kneecaps every morning. It doesn't mean they're not evil, only that their island of people they like is larger than just themselves.

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Re: THE OoSTs Thread, Part IV.

Postby Alkaloid » 2013-12-09 07:40am

I don't know that it's as black and white as you're presenting. He certainly has a much more straight up and down view of what good vs evil means than I do, and I certainly disagree with the 'competent actor' theory, I think it's entirely possible to perform a genuinely good action while still being a bad person, but I think the key line is "Someone mentally and emotionally capable of intentional deliberate mass murder is still capable of mass murder when hugging their child. They're just not doing it that moment."

To take your example, that bigot dying for his friend is still a bigot. In the moment of his dying he is still just as capable of burning that mosque or beating that muslim as he was a second ago, and that affects his entire life. How do you think he reacts if he learns his same christian friend has converted to islam? Is he still willing to die for him or does his bigotry cause him to not even care his former friend has died?

To put it in the context of the story, I think Belkar is genuinely friends with most of the order. Whether or not that friendship is reciprocated is another matter, but he genuinely likes them. He likes Elans capacity for childish pranks, thinks he is like Hayley with her consistent self interest (now largely outgrown, and they share far less screentime as a result) and has a healthy respect for Roy and Durkons pretty considerable capacity for violence. He's done a lot of bad things, but in the strip to date, not really to the Order (except V. He don't like V).

He got Roy killed, I admit, but from his perspective he did Roy a massive favour, giving up a valuable magic artefact to get him into single combat with his nemesis. And he conned someone else out of money in the process. If Belkar cared enough to have a nemesis the truest act of friendship someone could actually perform for him would be to give him a chance to stab his nemesis in the face. But none of that means he isn't capable of murdering a perfectly innicwent person for a cookie if he decides he wants it because he is fundamentally still pretty evil.


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