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Vlad Taltos vs Everyone in the Wheel of Time

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warwiller
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 01:14pm 

Redshirt


Joined: 2011-10-08 05:36pm
Posts: 9
I was busy contemplating who would make a valid adversary for Vlad and last for a reasonable space of time (this normally ranges from 4 -7 milinanoseconds). Rest assured, i was fully aware of the moral aspects and various ethical barriers concerned before even daring to mediate on such a Fatal Topic. The problem, however, was nagging at the back of mind each night and during most of the day; during the heart of midnight, i would be found fully awake and sweating in bed, enduring a lengthy and prolonged session during which several previously Banished contestants came to mind, were brought up to be Weighed, Judged and Undergo various Tests - the Tests, by the way, are a complicated process during which the subject is forced to carry out various activities - including figure-of-398.4 hops, dandelion collection, and extended tortue periods administered by a group of accomplished and knowledgable people in the field (the kind that makes Semirhage pale quietly in the background) - carefully noting the boundries of that characters lust for war, conquest and other interesting activties, his adherence to tradition and duty, and his level of catalyst and inspiration, his potential for trying to have a promising future in being skillfull in the arts of discreet observation and perception, his like for heroism and honor, his courtliness and surprise-inducing-techniques, his unpredictability and tenacity, his concept of creation and destruction, his capacity for greed and personal thoughts and opinions concerning untaxed gambling, unlicsenced shereba games situated between psychedelic herb shops and perfectly legal offices with windows that open to reveal stunning views of surrounding alleys, making loans at illegal rates, bribes, dealing in stolen goods, and other fun things, his sense of justice and retribution, his forethought and general skill in setting up traps to be sprung in the near of distance future, his maximum level of subtlety and skill in misdirection that can be attained (-7), his idea of brutality and whether or not he thinks he has it (this can be very critical), and future as an accountant, or else sailor, or else street tough, his natural instinct to be cowardly and ability to grow crops, his capacity to endure and change in his physical form (i.e. how would he react to be changed into a norska?), the nature of his association of his idea of magic with sharp shiny objects, especially where comparing them is concerned, and whether or not he thinks he can begin to think without it being an improvement - only for the process to be disrupted by a mental image of Vlad walking up to it at around the fourth, seventh or tenth, or seventeenth test and casually letting loose a seven-inch stiletto into its left eye - and it would be Discarded - only to be brought upon again some time during lunch AND THE ENTIRE PROCESS WOULD BE REPEATED AGAIN. It was almost enough to put me off my morning klava. Almost.

(....wait for it ...)

Then One Morning I Woke Up And Was Struck By A Pure Stroke Of Genius :idea: Let me put it this way :arrow: in order to attain the maximum achievable time range in such a situation, infinitely many factors must be inserted into the equation stimultaneously while maintaining constant external factors throughout the process to ensure a fair fight. Evidently, the last part was useless precaution. I could explain, but i think ill just inform you that the result was a one-sided affair between every physical and/or metaphysical manifestation - disembodied or embodied thought - in existance, including the ones who call themselves Darkblade Bloodwrath Doomsblade and own ancient swords also called similar things, or else like to enslave universes and worlds under harsh laws and frequently fall into the habit of killing bearers of bad tidings or else like to spend time floating in places like The Place Beyond Time, throughout the Planes and Vlad. It took seven weeks for him to get there and a strech of time mathematically indistinguishable from zero to do the job. Luckily, he was able to teleport back to Dragaera. An immediate consequence was a significant amount of corpses moaning and writhing on the ground and wounded people lying still, so i thought i could take a small group or faction of those corpses and reintroduce them to Vlad, and see what he makes of them (see title for details).
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Elheru Aran
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 02:03pm 

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Uh... I'm sorry, this tells us pretty much nothing? It sounds remarkably biased towards this Vlad Taltos fellow. Are you sure you weren't meaning to post in fanfiction? And in any case, if this is supposed to be a serious versus, it kind of goes in Fantasy, not Science Fiction...?
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 02:06pm 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
Posts: 20844
I know he posted in English but damn if I can understand what he said
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fgalkin
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 02:34pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14425
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
What is this, I don't even...

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 02:39pm 

Jaina Dax


Joined: 2002-07-08 05:08am
Posts: 4763
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Elheru Aran wrote:
Uh... I'm sorry, this tells us pretty much nothing? It sounds remarkably biased towards this Vlad Taltos fellow. Are you sure you weren't meaning to post in fanfiction? And in any case, if this is supposed to be a serious versus, it kind of goes in Fantasy, not Science Fiction...?


I'm sure a mod will punt it soon enough.

Now, reading the OP would require me to be simultaneously far more bored and patient than is reasonable, so I suppose we can condense it into something workable. Here's my shot at it:

Vlad Taltos is the protagonist of Steven Brust's Dragaera series. The books are an inversion of sorts - Vlad is an Easterner, a short-lived second-class citizen living under the rule of the Dragaeran empire, beings who for all intents and purposes are spell-slinging elves where Vlad is human. Vlad is still a productive...ish member of society, however, as his father purchased the right for the family to enter the noble house of Jhereg, a house which although Dragaeran is viewed with disfavor by many; it is a house of outcasts. Vlad is an assassin by profession. On the surface, this isn't as unpleasant as it sounds, since resurrection magic is alive and well in this setting (permanent killing by soul-death weapons known as morganti blades, however, is very much frowned upon).

This is an insultingly brief description of what is a seriously underrated Fantasy suite, and I cannot recommend the books highly enough. That said, let's move on to capabilities.

Vlad Taltos is, as was mentioned earlier, an Easterner with a mixed education. His family (minus the father) has a tradition of practicing "witchcraft", a relatively subtle art of low-level magic which among other things gifted Vlad with his animal companion and sidekick Loiosh. He has also learned to work the Dragaean magic, which is flashier, but being Easterner he has issues with attaining control (he's remarked how his attempts at the relatively mundane teleporting of Dragaerans makes him throw up, for instance, and I can't offhand recall Vlad using other Dragaeran magic in the books).

Vlad is, furthermore, a skilled fencer in the eastern style, which I gather has its similarity to European rapier fencing. His father arranged for him to be trained in the Dragaeran style, which favors heavy blades; Vlad is not proficient, as he lacks the Dragaeran strength necessary for it to be effective. At any rate he is by no means a prodigy with the blade, since attempting to become so would be a loser's game in a world where the competition measures their practice time in centuries. He's known to employ throwing knives to good effect.

Vlad is an assassin. He's intelligent, methodical, and frequently punches above his weight by outthinking his opponents and finding chinks in their armor. He's not a tank, a powerhouse, or a shadow warrior. At times, one could almost be tempted to call him a thug, though a highly skilled one.

Easterners are famed for their cooking, which is their official cliched occupation in Dragaeran territory. Vlad is quite capable in this regard, as he grew up in a restaurant.

In short:

Dragaera wiki wrote:
He is a fencer, an outstanding witch, a mediocre sorcerer, and a gifted but dangerously incompetent elder sorcerer.


Vlad carries an artifact known as a Great Weapon, the particular abilities of which I'm not quite certain. His greatest weapon, however, is his mind. In a city of near-immortal elven sorcerers, he's among the five top assassins, although he's definitely not number one.

However, his cunning, intelligence and ability to plan are known qualities, and when pitted against opponents so obviously deficient in the same, I foresee him carving a swathe through the overlarge cast of the Wheel of Time series, Great Weapon or no.
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 03:08pm 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
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So any channeler who knows he's coming can pretty much destroy him let alone the series heavweights or any of the Forsaken assuming your talking about "present day" IE as of The Towers of Midnight. Any old Asha'man could take him unless Vlad gets lucky which considering the number of Asha'man means getting lucky a thousand times in a row. Trying to take on one of the series main three would be similarly impossible as one can channel, one is so lucky he could likely face vlad tied up and asleep and win and the third who he has the best shot at has enough plot armor to shrug off nothing short of a nuke.
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 03:17pm 

Jaina Dax


Joined: 2002-07-08 05:08am
Posts: 4763
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Mr Bean wrote:
So any channeler who knows he's coming can pretty much destroy him let alone the series heavweights or any of the Forsaken assuming your talking about "present day" IE as of The Towers of Midnight.

Yes.

Mr Bean wrote:
Any old Asha'man could take him unless Vlad gets lucky which considering the number of Asha'man means getting lucky a thousand times in a row. Trying to take on one of the series main three would be similarly impossible as one can channel, one is so lucky he could likely face vlad tied up and asleep and win and the third who he has the best shot at has enough plot armor to shrug off nothing short of a nuke.

I reiterate: Vlad Taltos is an assassin. He's neither a tank nor a moron. If he's contracted to kill someone, he's not going to suddenly develop brain damage and call them out at high noon.

As for the big three, I actually think he'd have the easiest time killing Rand, given that his Great Weapon is called -- not boastfully -- Godslayer. Given what we see the Great Weapons (and that one in particular) do, it would not be surprising to see it slice straight through a Weave.
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 03:24pm 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
Posts: 20844
Eleas wrote:

As for the big three, I actually think he'd have the easiest time killing Rand, given that his Great Weapon is called -- not boastfully -- Godslayer. Given what we see the Great Weapons (and that one in particular) do, it would not be surprising to see it slice straight through a Weave.

Ran's not a God however he's just Jesus. Besides he's got the "Pattern protects me" turned up to 11. He can be wounded, even captured but never killed until his appointed day to die.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 03:24pm 

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Joined: 2004-08-19 04:30am
Posts: 11477
Location: The Tower at Charm
Well, there's two catches. One, knowing Vlad is coming. He's an assassin. He's used to having fuck off powerful spellcasters on his "to kill" list. He isn't going to try to kill anyone of them straight up. Vlad's also an accomplished witch, a minor sorcerer, and if he's feeling like endangering the lives of everyone around him he can call upon the power of raw chaos with elder sorcery (not recommended).

The other one is Vlad's Great Weapon is called Spelldrinker. It's semi sentient and will act to protect his ass and besides being a soul eating Morganti weapon on steroids, does exactly what it says on the tin. So he's very, very dangerous to all channelers.
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 03:29pm 

Jaina Dax


Joined: 2002-07-08 05:08am
Posts: 4763
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Imperial Overlord wrote:
Well, there's two catches. One, knowing Vlad is coming. He's an assassin. He's used to having fuck off powerful spellcasters on his "to kill" list. He isn't going to try to kill anyone of them straight up. Vlad's also an accomplished witch, a minor sorcerer, and if he's feeling like endangering the lives of everyone around him he can call upon the power of raw chaos with elder sorcery (not recommended).

The other one is Vlad's Great Weapon is called Spelldrinker. It's semi sentient and will act to protect his ass and besides being a soul eating Morganti weapon on steroids, does exactly what it says on the tin. So he's very, very dangerous to all channelers.


No, Spellbreaker was his chain. It fused with a morganti dagger and
[Reveal] Spoiler: Jhendi
Lady Teldra's life
to become Godslayer, which promptly killed a creature even the Gods were wary of facing.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 03:44pm 

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Yeah, but Godslayer is a Great Weapon and all the above applies. I was trying to be brief and not spoilerly.
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-10-20 04:06pm 

Jaina Dax


Joined: 2002-07-08 05:08am
Posts: 4763
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Imperial Overlord wrote:
Yeah, but Godslayer is a Great Weapon and all the above applies. I was trying to be brief and not spoilerly.


Oh. Sorry.
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The Romulan Republic
PostPosted: 2011-10-22 01:45am 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am
Posts: 3975
Location: Victoria, Canada
Its not like Rand hasn't had to deal with assassins before. But then again, he also got captured in book six, so his security is not infallible, or at least it wasn't then. After Towers of Midnight, though... his warping of probability seems to have increased, and have more positive results. This might save him from even a very good assassin. This advantage has already been mentioned in this thread.

An assassin just better stay the fuck away from Matt- his luck is even more absurdly good, and he deals with assassins on a more or less routine basis now, including an unkillable monster one.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-22 02:26am 

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It should be noted that Vlad, when he was an assassin, was very good at it, but not wankishly or godlike at it (that's Mario's bag). He's pretty good at surveillance and information gathering and then exploiting any holes in personal security he finds.
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2011-10-22 09:15am 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
Posts: 20844
Imperial Overlord wrote:
It should be noted that Vlad, when he was an assassin, was very good at it, but not wankishly or godlike at it (that's Mario's bag). He's pretty good at surveillance and information gathering and then exploiting any holes in personal security he finds.

Which leads back to the issue he will have trying to kill Matt or Rand, they have such strong luck at this point putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger might result in six misfire or some such. Things that happen one time in a million happen regularly and in their favor. Also Matt gets premonitions anytime someone is trying to kill him and has an excellent shot at it (Also any time a vital decision comes up that will affect the rest of his life). Something if Vlad is good enough is going to result simply by starting to plan trying to kill Mat will set that off. It's not universal but it's consistent.
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Minischoles
PostPosted: 2011-10-22 03:45pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2008-04-17 10:09pm
Posts: 527
Location: England
Mr Bean wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:
It should be noted that Vlad, when he was an assassin, was very good at it, but not wankishly or godlike at it (that's Mario's bag). He's pretty good at surveillance and information gathering and then exploiting any holes in personal security he finds.

Which leads back to the issue he will have trying to kill Matt or Rand, they have such strong luck at this point putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger might result in six misfire or some such. Things that happen one time in a million happen regularly and in their favor. Also Matt gets premonitions anytime someone is trying to kill him and has an excellent shot at it (Also any time a vital decision comes up that will affect the rest of his life). Something if Vlad is good enough is going to result simply by starting to plan trying to kill Mat will set that off. It's not universal but it's consistent.


Just to provide a couple of examples.
Rand is riding through the city in book 5 or 6, and just happens to look up at the exact moment someone is drawing a bead on him. Rand even avoided getting killed back in the second book by an arrow meant for him. Perrin is riding through a Seanchan city and turns to face someone just as an arrow is fired so instead of piercing his heart it just scours his arm. Mat once was unable to sleep so he went outside his tent to sleep under the stars, a few moments before a gholam tried to kill him - he also woke up in an earlier book just as a group of darkfriend Aiel were trying to sneak up and kill him. Whenever they might be about to die or might be in danger, something happens that saves them - and most of these examples were earlier in the book before the pattern got so unstable that their ta'veren abilities went into overdrive.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 12:54am 

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If they've got character shields that good, then they'll probably win unless Vlad gets help.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 03:52am 

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On second thought, both Matt and Rand do manage to be very sloppy with their personal security and get themselves captured despite their super powers so maybe they both just die. Vlad is wired into his world's cycle of destiny as well (reincarnation cycles and bearing one of the Seventeen Great Weapons) so relying on destiny preventing him from making a kill isn't wise.
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 09:42am 

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Imperial Overlord wrote:
On second thought, both Matt and Rand do manage to be very sloppy with their personal security and get themselves captured despite their super powers so maybe they both just die. Vlad is wired into his world's cycle of destiny as well (reincarnation cycles and bearing one of the Seventeen Great Weapons) so relying on destiny preventing him from making a kill isn't wise.

To be fair to Rand he was betrayed at a negotiation and the destiny thing works against him at times as he had just managed to piss of his ultra protect bodyguard Aiel and this was the one time he happen not to have a single other person besides himself and Min in the great Hall was the one time the Sisters made their move sneaking thirteen Sisters into his presence.

When did Matt get captured?
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 09:53am 

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Let me preface this by saying it's been a long time since I read the books and my memory could be betraying me here.


Rand tends to take solo trips to various places IIRC, so he's frequently without protection.

Mr Bean wrote:

When did Matt get captured?


Pretty much anytime a woman shoes up. I remember something about a queen tying him up and using him as a sex doll (which is pretty much makes him familiar bait during those moments and is hardly a demonstration of unthouchability).
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Luzifer's right hand
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 12:39pm 

Jedi Master


Joined: 2003-11-30 02:45pm
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Location: Austria
Assassination is a way of earning money quickly but the risk of getting killed is way too high in this scenario. He knows nothing about the workings of the world the Wheel of Time is set in after all.
Also there is nobody around to cast revivification on him which makes getting killed even less fun.

But people forget his most important skill. He is a great cook! :d
Vlad opening a restaurant and living a boring life sounds much more realistic. :P
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Minischoles
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 01:28pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2008-04-17 10:09pm
Posts: 527
Location: England
Imperial Overlord wrote:
Let me preface this by saying it's been a long time since I read the books and my memory could be betraying me here.


Rand tends to take solo trips to various places IIRC, so he's frequently without protection.

Mr Bean wrote:

When did Matt get captured?


Pretty much anytime a woman shoes up. I remember something about a queen tying him up and using him as a sex doll (which is pretty much makes him familiar bait during those moments and is hardly a demonstration of unthouchability).


Rand used to, but these days Rand has at least a dozen Aes Sedai, most of whom have Asha'man bonded to them even if he doesn't have his Aiel guard around. In the case of him being captured that was several books ago and he's changed a great deal since then, so it really depends at what point they are facing each other. Is Vlad facing dumbass Rand from books 4-7, or is he facing supremely angry but generally not completely retarded from 8-11 or does he get to face Rand from the last few books, where he's undergone a couple of huge power ups and has gone from outright insane to almost as dark as the Dark One and back to jesus figure Rand.

The thing with Mat wasn't exactly life threatening was it? so he gets tied up by a woman, that's not the same as being captured. The only time I can really think there was a risk of him being captured was during the first book when he and Rand nearly got caught by the Trollocs and later a Fade at Whitebridge, in later books he's certainly running from things and gets into fights and is being tracked by assassins, but he's never risking capture. All I can really think of is when he's trying to get past a huge army that is trying to capture his future wife, but even in that case he gets lucky and his entire army turns up.
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 01:51pm 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
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"Gets lucky" is pretty much Mat's defining almost superhero like ability. His entire shows up exactly when he needs it, An army he got only because he decided to warn it was ridding into an ambush it's officers mostly died in the next seven fights (Which he all won) and he ended up in charge by default being a "friend of the Lord Dragon". As for being captured, yeah he was kind of taken advantage of by Tylin. But I would not define as being "captured" as being made Queen's Consort since he can't exactly beat up a head of state when in her own palace.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 09:02pm 

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Getting tied to a bed is not exactly a good state to be in when you need to defend yourself. It's really bad when said assassin has two sneaky, venomous flying creatures as companions (his familiar and his familar's mate). It also shows that Matt isn't security conscious. Relying on luck, even when it's a super power, against a professional killer who tends to make luck irrelevant and also has a destiny shtick working out for him is a bad, bad idea.

Of course Luzifer's Right Hand is correct. In the later books Vlad's pretty much out of the assassination business and much more likely to open a restaurant.
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Alkaloid
PostPosted: 2011-10-23 09:38pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2011-03-21 07:59am
Posts: 949
Quote:
Getting tied to a bed is not exactly a good state to be in when you need to defend yourself. It's really bad when said assassin has two sneaky, venomous flying creatures as companions (his familiar and his familar's mate). It also shows that Matt isn't security conscious. Relying on luck, even when it's a super power, against a professional killer who tends to make luck irrelevant and also has a destiny shtick working out for him is a bad, bad idea.


Are we being a bit silly here? Yes, being tied to a bed is a bad way to be if you need to pick a fight, and I can see how someone with Vlad's abilities could use it to jump in kill him and leave in the hour or so (at most) that he is tied to a bed, but it's hardly an indication he isn't security conscious. I'd argue that staying queens consort and keeping his head down in an occupied city is a pretty good example of him being security conscious, because no one considered him any sort of threat when he was probably the most dangerous man in the city.
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