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  #7901  
Old 11-06-2013, 07:31 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
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Well, ok, they're at least temporarily over-powered, albeit the degree to which this is true is perhaps mitigated in time and a bit of leveling. But some vampire powers are fearsome for encounter design purposes, especially the at will dominate ability, not to mention energy drain, damage reduction, fast healing, and massive increase in all base abilities, except constitution of course. Gaseous form is also a potential serious problem for encounter design. Some of these are offset by the weaknesses, but in dungeoneering circumstances, there's a problem.

And I think my point stands that Drizz't was good because his actions were good, and at odds with the usually overwhelming effect of Drow culture and breeding.
  #7902  
Old 11-06-2013, 08:51 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
To be fair, killing someone who has attempted to kill you and your companions numerous times isn't exactly "casual murder". Yeah, Zz'dtri may have been incapacitated at the time (although they just demonstrated their ability to kill a vampire with relatively little effort) and killing him might not have been "honorable" but it's not like Durkon is walkin' down the street, murdering folks.
Yes, I'm not saying the act was unjustified. But before his transformation Durkon would have regretted the necessity of having to kill an enemy. Now he doesn't seem to care if he kills somebody.
  #7903  
Old 11-06-2013, 09:21 PM
chorpler chorpler is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Even as far as personality goes, high charisma still doesn't necessarily mean "likable". It mostly means that people react to you in the way that you want them to, and most people want to be liked. But Miko didn't really care whether anyone liked her. In fact, it probably suited her more for people to not like her, because it fed into her whole "I'm special and nobody realizes it but me" complex.
There was that super-sad bonus strip in War and XPs where Miko
SPOILER:
tried to make friends with two of the other female paladins and was rebuffed because of her annoying personality, so she went back to her place and we saw that she had prepared three meals, which she ended up eating alone (well, with Windstriker).


On the other hand, she did try to kill me -- and probably a lot of the rest of you too! -- for reading a book, so I don't know why I'm bothering to say anything nice about her.
  #7904  
Old 11-07-2013, 12:56 AM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I'm not really sure what you mean by this. What sort of evil is there outside of the alignment change? If you're referring to the fact that Durkon has not yet committed any evil acts, sure, but that's mostly down to a lack of opportunity thus far. Alignment isn't meant to track your past actions, but to indicate your reaction to future events.
I mean that outside D&D, and apart from a passel of assholes, we generally tend to attribute goodness or evil to people based on what they do, and/or the reasons they do it, and/or the way they do it, rather than based on what/who they are.
It's also true in D&D to some extent, when it's not being retarded about it. E.g. Joe the Hero doesn't do charitable things because they're Lawful Good, they're Lawful Good because they do charitable things (caricaturally speaking). And when they stop doing them, they stop being Lawful Good as well.

So, yeah, All Vampires Are Evil... but then again, the concept of the mostly decent Evil Monster struggling with his nature is not exactly new and uncharted ground. Hell, half the games of Vampire:The Masquerade are all about miscast PCs lamenting and attempting to delay their own fall and trying to cling on to their morality. The other half, granted, is about exploring the fabulous extents to which one can be a colossal dick. Not that there's anything wrong with that .

So I'm not writing off Durkula *just* because he's an unholy mockery of life powered by bad voodoo and fainting teenage girls just yet. Yeah, he channels negative and spontaneous Inflict, but that's just what people of the cleric class who happen to have a negative alignment do. You could be a priest of the child goddess of fluffy kittens and channel negative, if you so wished (especially in more modern incarnations and settings of D&D where priestly powers aren't really, or necessarily, bestowed directly by gods - you can be the priest of a philosophical concept these days. You can even be the priest of atheism, though the gods might not find it as funny ).

His dealing with Zz'drrit however did bother me a bit, so we'll see. I'd actually be pleasantly surprised if Giant wrote Durkula as an actually, repulsively Evil dude now, causing the others (Roy in particular) to have moral qualms about keeping him in the squad. Although of course, D&D rules provide for a simple brute force solution to this problem, long as you've got enough diamond dust. Even in fantasy realms, it's all about the bling
  #7905  
Old 11-08-2013, 02:07 AM
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I think it's more likely that the process of being turned into a vampire corrupts the person's soul, tainting it with evil that is then revealed through their action as an undead.
I seems to me that Burlew draws a distinction in his mind between D&D evil and moral evil, albeit with some correlation between the two. That permits him for example to show paladins commit morally evil acts (IMHO, I guess). I would say that it should be difficult for him to work vampires into his framework, except that he's a thoughtful guy and furthermore has been thinking about Durkula for basically the lifespan of the strip (minus ~2 issues).

All that is by way of introduction to an interesting comment he made at Oots. The OP opined that while alignment was part of D&D, most roleplaying games have nothing like it and they aren't any worse for the wear. So the question arises, "Why have it all?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Giant
Generally, it is most useful either as a.) shorthand between experienced players to allow them to easily discuss a broad range that a character falls in, or b.) a tool for inexperienced players to even consider issues like what their characters believe. And it's b.) that's really the benefit.

It's tough for those who spend all their time talking about D&D to remember that most players are very casual and don't think too deeply about this stuff at all. For that sort of player, picking an alignment is a great introduction to the idea of having a group of characters with diverse motivations. We all take for granted that you have to decide what your character believes, but remember that D&D gets taught to kids who haven't even really figured out what they themselves believe yet. Left to their own devices, they're unlikely to delve deep into their fictional character's philosophies. Alignment is good for starting that conversation. It's also a good way to keep beginning players on the general sort of path of heroics without them burning down the village for kicks.
... [Another poster wonders why the DM can't just punish bad behavior.]

That's true, but that requires the DM to be able to create and communicate those disadvantages. Which means it's not much of an option when the DM is also a novice. Alignment has the stamp of authority on it because it's part of the rules. By the time anyone figures out that it doesn't NEED to be part of the rules, they're already past the part where it's most useful.

Or, to continue the bike analogy: An experienced rider teaching you is better than training wheels, but not everyone knows someone willing to do that—and training wheels are better than nothing.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=306212
So given that the Giant seems to think that character should drive alignment rather the other way around, he (once again) has a fair amount of plausible flexibility moving forwards.

One part of the vampire legend depicts them as "Feral, but refined". Think of the aristocratic vampire with good manners papering over ravenous needs. Given humanoid's propensity for self-justification (as seen to some extent with Malack) it's easy to see empathic indifference and bloodlust leading to evil deeds even if the character retains a lawful nature, at least initially.
  #7906  
Old 11-08-2013, 08:56 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
One part of the vampire legend depicts them as "Feral, but refined". Think of the aristocratic vampire with good manners papering over ravenous needs. Given humanoid's propensity for self-justification (as seen to some extent with Malack) it's easy to see empathic indifference and bloodlust leading to evil deeds even if the character retains a lawful nature, at least initially.
Somebody like Durkon might do Good for a while out of force of habit. But he's not feeling it anymore.
  #7907  
Old 11-08-2013, 01:51 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
I mean that outside D&D, and apart from a passel of assholes, we generally tend to attribute goodness or evil to people based on what they do, and/or the reasons they do it, and/or the way they do it, rather than based on what/who they are.
It's also true in D&D to some extent, when it's not being retarded about it. E.g. Joe the Hero doesn't do charitable things because they're Lawful Good, they're Lawful Good because they do charitable things (caricaturally speaking). And when they stop doing them, they stop being Lawful Good as well.
I'm genuinely not understanding your criticism, here.

Quote:
So, yeah, All Vampires Are Evil... but then again, the concept of the mostly decent Evil Monster struggling with his nature is not exactly new and uncharted ground. Hell, half the games of Vampire:The Masquerade are all about miscast PCs lamenting and attempting to delay their own fall and trying to cling on to their morality. The other half, granted, is about exploring the fabulous extents to which one can be a colossal dick. Not that there's anything wrong with that .
That's one reason I'm really hoping for Evil Durkon - I'm sick to death of the "conflicted vampire" trope, and appreciate a return to a more, "Kill the unclean thing!" approach to the subject.

Quote:
So I'm not writing off Durkula *just* because he's an unholy mockery of life powered by bad voodoo and fainting teenage girls just yet. Yeah, he channels negative and spontaneous Inflict, but that's just what people of the cleric class who happen to have a negative alignment do. You could be a priest of the child goddess of fluffy kittens and channel negative, if you so wished (especially in more modern incarnations and settings of D&D where priestly powers aren't really, or necessarily, bestowed directly by gods - you can be the priest of a philosophical concept these days. You can even be the priest of atheism, though the gods might not find it as funny ).
The "cleric of a philosophical concept" idea has been around at least since the Red Box, so that's not exactly new. I'm not really following the "priest of fluffy kitten who channels negative energy" thing. You don't have to be evil to channel negative energy - neutral clerics can choose to do either positive or negative, so the fact that Durkon channels negative energy isn't proof that he's evil, if that's what you're getting at. But it is proof that he's changed alignment (good characters can't channel negative energy at all), and it would be kind of weird if being changed into a vampire made you turn neutral. (What makes a man turn neutral, anyway? Lust for power? Greed? Or are they just born with a heart full of neutrality?)

Quote:
His dealing with Zz'drrit however did bother me a bit, so we'll see. I'd actually be pleasantly surprised if Giant wrote Durkula as an actually, repulsively Evil dude now, causing the others (Roy in particular) to have moral qualms about keeping him in the squad. Although of course, D&D rules provide for a simple brute force solution to this problem, long as you've got enough diamond dust. Even in fantasy realms, it's all about the bling
Rich really does love his affably evil characters. It would be interesting to see someone who's just a straight up monster (Belkar hasn't been able to fill that role for a while now), but that would make the Order's decision to just kill him and rez him a little too easy.
  #7908  
Old 11-08-2013, 01:57 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
I seems to me that Burlew draws a distinction in his mind between D&D evil and moral evil, albeit with some correlation between the two. That permits him for example to show paladins commit morally evil acts (IMHO, I guess).
I don't see that distinction existing in the comic at all. What specific instances do you think highlight it?

Quote:
One part of the vampire legend depicts them as "Feral, but refined". Think of the aristocratic vampire with good manners papering over ravenous needs. Given humanoid's propensity for self-justification (as seen to some extent with Malack) it's easy to see empathic indifference and bloodlust leading to evil deeds even if the character retains a lawful nature, at least initially.
"Lawful" is entirely separate from "Good" in D&D. "Lawful Evil" isn't less evil than "Chaotic Evil," it's just evil in a more controlled and orderly fashion. Durkon retaining his lawful alignment isn't going to act as any sort of a bulwark against him committing evil deeds, it's just going to inform the manner, and to a lesser degree, purpose, of those deeds.
  #7909  
Old 11-08-2013, 05:01 PM
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I don't see that distinction existing in the comic at all. What specific instances do you think highlight it?
The best example is during RedCloak's first appearance in Start of Darkness: paladins raid village and show no concern for civilians. Another example would be the paladins in the party Roy originally signed up with in the PC prequel. Paraphrasing, "Hey Roy we can't do this evil deed but you could wink, wink." From a utilitarian perspective, Miko is arguably evil. From a D&D perspective she is not. The distinctions between RL evil and D&D evil are part of the reason the Giant bans moral discussions from his board I speculate.

The treatment of goblinoids within the comic is profoundly wrong, something the author understands. Any RL good utilitarian philosopher would acknowledge this, but I can accept a D&D good character having that sort of blind spot. Roy gets it though: think of his prequel encounter with the Orc metalheads.
Quote:
"Lawful" is entirely separate from "Good" in D&D. "Lawful Evil" isn't less evil than "Chaotic Evil," it's just evil in a more controlled and orderly fashion. Durkon retaining his lawful alignment isn't going to act as any sort of a bulwark against him committing evil deeds, it's just going to inform the manner, and to a lesser degree, purpose, of those deeds.
I think Nemo had a better take than mine: Durkula might act in a good fashion out of habit. To a weak extent habit/unpredictability might be part of the law/chaos spectrum though I would argue not necessarily. A disciplined character might hesitate before acting outside his former personality, at least before being given time for introspection. I don't see that as angst: it's closer to prudence.
  #7910  
Old 11-08-2013, 06:02 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
The best example is during RedCloak's first appearance in Start of Darkness: paladins raid village and show no concern for civilians. Another example would be the paladins in the party Roy originally signed up with in the PC prequel. Paraphrasing, "Hey Roy we can't do this evil deed but you could wink, wink." From a utilitarian perspective, Miko is arguably evil. From a D&D perspective she is not. The distinctions between RL evil and D&D evil are part of the reason the Giant bans moral discussions from his board I speculate.
I think the paladin's in Roy's first are more of a meta-joke about gamers than an insight into the moral system Burlew's making in his comic. That being said, I would expect that if Roy had gone along with their plan, they would no longer be paladins - for that matter, if they're still alive somewhere in the 'Stickverse, I'd bet that its been a long time since they've been able to take a level in paladin. Being a paladin doesn't mean one can't commit an evil act, it just means that there are immediate consequences when you do.

Which puts the raid on the goblin village in an interesting light, because that was obviously sanctioned by the paladin's deities - indeed, we can see that smite evil works on the goblins in the village. While it's certainly impossible not to feel sympathy for Red-Cloak and his people, it's also worth noting that if Burlew wanted to make a point about not judging goblins by the color of their skin, he might have included at least one goblin in the ten year history of this comic who was demonstrably not evil. The only time you ever see a goblin caring about the well-being of another person, it's only when the other person is another goblin, and even that's pretty rare. Red-Cloak's concern for his own people is part of what sets him apart from other goblins, and even then, it wasn't until his Road to Damascus moment at the siege of Azure City that it occurred to him that hobgoblins might be people, too.

Burlew is far from the first artist to deal with the concept of fantastic racism, but for the most part, he's done very little to subvert the cliche. One of his great strengths as a writer is his ability to create well-rounded villains, but who are still unambiguously evil. It's hard not to sympathize with Red-Cloak's grievances, but he's also a guy who's willing to march a line of innocent people through a rip in the universe that he believes utterly annihilates anyone who enters it, just because he can't think of anything better to do. And so far, we haven't been presented with a single goblin voice questioning the rightness of this. It could very well be that goblins really are "always evil." Hell, according to Burlew's cosmology, they were specifically designed that way, by the Gods, to serve as antagonists to their more favored species. Obviously, this argues that their behavior isn't their fault, but that sort of abstract moralism tends not to hold up so well when there's one of these buggers climbing through your bedroom window with a cleaver clenched in its teeth.

Of course, there's also the question of what exactly is the morality of murder, in a world where death is a treatable illness, and you can take day trips to the afterlife?
  #7911  
Old 11-08-2013, 07:44 PM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I'm genuinely not understanding your criticism, here.
It's the simplistic dichotomy of D&D Evil vs. moral evil that chaps my hide.

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I'm not really following the "priest of fluffy kitten who channels negative energy" thing. You don't have to be evil to channel negative energy - neutral clerics can choose to do either positive or negative, so the fact that Durkon channels negative energy isn't proof that he's evil, if that's what you're getting at.
But it is proof that he's changed alignment (good characters can't channel negative energy at all), and it would be kind of weird if being changed into a vampire made you turn neutral.
Of course he's changed alignment - he's become a vampire. And per D&D rules, simply existing as a vampire (or any kind of undead, really) means that your alignment is Chaotic Evil, punkt, end of discussion - and it doesn't matter what you *do* anymore, you'll always be considered evil, both by the rules and by people.
That defeats the purpose of alignment itself, both as a guideline to how a character is supposed to react in the future, and as a "kharma meter" type thing based on prior actions.

So that's the "criticism" here, such as it is : that we do know Durkon has turned 100% D&D Evil, but moral evil ? Dunno yet.

Quote:
(What makes a man turn neutral, anyway? Lust for power? Greed? Or are they just born with a heart full of neutrality?)

Who knows what neutrality lies in the heart of men ? The Penumbra knows !

Quote:
Rich really does love his affably evil characters. It would be interesting to see someone who's just a straight up monster (Belkar hasn't been able to fill that role for a while now), but that would make the Order's decision to just kill him and rez him a little too easy.
Eh, straight up monster might be going a little too far, but I'd really like Durkon to have become a pure, emotionless combat pragmatist, "kill his children so he'll get mad, that'll give us a tactical edge", that sort of thing. Not sadistic, or particularly cruel, but utterly ruthless.
  #7912  
Old 11-08-2013, 08:07 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is online now
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Of course he's changed alignment - he's become a vampire. And per D&D rules, simply existing as a vampire (or any kind of undead, really) means that your alignment is Chaotic Evil, punkt, end of discussion - <snip>
A bit of a nitpick, but I understand that it's just Evil, not necessarily Chaotic Evil; so Durkon's probably Lawful Evil now. Malack was pretty clearly Lawful Evil himself.
  #7913  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:38 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
A bit of a nitpick, but I understand that it's just Evil, not necessarily Chaotic Evil; so Durkon's probably Lawful Evil now. Malack was pretty clearly Lawful Evil himself.
For that matter, Tarquin is Lawful Evil, too. Now it's true that he does try to manipulate things so that what he wants to do is legal, but he does know the rules and he does abide by them, in his own evil way.
  #7914  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:49 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is online now
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Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
For that matter, Tarquin is Lawful Evil, too. Now it's true that he does try to manipulate things so that what he wants to do is legal, but he does know the rules and he does abide by them, in his own evil way.
I rather liked the comment by someone that he's an example of "Lawful Crazy". He's determined that the world works the way he wants it to, and he's going to force it to comply to his vision if he has to, no matter the cost:


Elan: "The safety of the world - "

Tarquin: "- is meaningless if everyone is going to run around doing whatever they feel like without regard for proper story structure. There must be some sense of order - personal, political or dramatic - and if no one else is going to bring it to the world, I will."

Last edited by Der Trihs; 11-08-2013 at 11:50 PM.
  #7915  
Old 11-09-2013, 04:00 AM
Grumman Grumman is offline
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Of course he's changed alignment - he's become a vampire. And per D&D rules, simply existing as a vampire (or any kind of undead, really) means that your alignment is Chaotic Evil, punkt, end of discussion - and it doesn't matter what you *do* anymore, you'll always be considered evil, both by the rules and by people.
Or it means your character has been killed and turned into an evil mockery of life, and you are cheating if you try to weasel your way around that fact.
  #7916  
Old 11-09-2013, 11:14 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Just for the record, demons and most undead are listed in the books as "always evil" (which still isn't quite completely absolute; there are still one-in-a-million exceptions), but goblins and orcs are only "usually evil". If good parents raise a demon orphan from infancy, the demon is still almost certainly going to turn out evil, since that's an inherent part of their natures, but if you do the same with an orc or goblin child, it's probably going to end up the same alignment as the adoptive parents. They might have some racial inclination towards evil, but it's mostly a cultural thing: Most orcs are evil because they're raised in an evil society.
  #7917  
Old 11-09-2013, 01:14 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
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Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
From a utilitarian perspective, Miko is arguably evil. From a D&D perspective she is not.
I don't think Miko ever does anything particularly evil for the most part, does she? She's a fanatic, and kind of a jerk, and really not a very good paladin. But really, the only outright evil thing she does in the strip is kill Lord Shojo, and the Twelve Gods and Burlew make the point that that's Not OK, because the action strips her of her paladin status.
  #7918  
Old 11-09-2013, 02:33 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
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Miko as an archetype is a shittily played paladin. A deliberate satire. And she got what she deserved, which is the loss of her paladin status.

The OOTS universe example of a true paladin is O-Chul.

Last edited by Knorf; 11-09-2013 at 02:34 PM.
  #7919  
Old 11-09-2013, 02:42 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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The OOTS universe example of a true paladin is O-Chul.
Not only a paladin, but in more general RPG terms, a tankadin. That boy's TOUGH.
  #7920  
Old 11-09-2013, 02:45 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
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For sure! And in more ways than one.
  #7921  
Old 11-09-2013, 05:04 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
It's the simplistic dichotomy of D&D Evil vs. moral evil that chaps my hide.
I don't think there is such a dichotomy.

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Of course he's changed alignment - he's become a vampire. And per D&D rules, simply existing as a vampire (or any kind of undead, really) means that your alignment is Chaotic Evil, punkt, end of discussion - and it doesn't matter what you *do* anymore, you'll always be considered evil, both by the rules and by people.
I don't think that's how alignment is meant to work. If a vampire went out and dedicated himself to doing good works, he would be good aligned. But vampires never do that. By their nature, they are uninterested in altruism, selflessness, or aiding other people. This is reflected in their alignment being fixed at one flavor of evil or another.
  #7922  
Old 11-09-2013, 05:11 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
Miko as an archetype is a shittily played paladin. A deliberate satire. And she got what she deserved, which is the loss of her paladin status.

I disagree - I think Miko is an example of a shitty paladin played well.
  #7923  
Old 11-09-2013, 05:58 PM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I don't think that's how alignment is meant to work. If a vampire went out and dedicated himself to doing good works, he would be good aligned.
Well, then we disagree about RAW, I guess . SRD says :

Quote:
"Vampire" is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature).
[...]
Alignment Always evil (any).

[...]

Vampire Spawn
Alignment: Always evil (any)
The same is true of every undead template, BTW. Per the rules, you simply cannot be undead and Good, or even create undead and still be Good (or even Neutral). Because necromancy's Bad
And I'm speaking from experience - I currently play a Lawful Neutral Witch in Pathfinder, specialized in Necromancy, with a Voodoo Puppetmaster-like template. I keep telling my CG, NG, LN friends that them zombies be just fine, they're just bones and leftover meat, their soul is wherever souls go and using their physical shell as magically animated constructs is fundamentally no different from crafting a sword or armour out of dragon bone, they don't buy it. Bigots !

Naturally, the DM's word is the local Voice of God, but still.

Last edited by Kobal2; 11-09-2013 at 05:59 PM.
  #7924  
Old 11-09-2013, 06:07 PM
Knorf Knorf is offline
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I disagree - I think Miko is an example of a shitty paladin played well.
Hmmmmm. I do see your point.
  #7925  
Old 11-09-2013, 09:29 PM
John DiFool John DiFool is online now
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Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
Miko as an archetype is a shittily played paladin. A deliberate satire. And she got what she deserved, which is the loss of her paladin status.

The OOTS universe example of a true paladin is O-Chul.
Yeah, I had the misfortune of being in a campaign with such a character (he wasn't a paladin per se but was the "chaotic good" version or somesuch)-and since the essobee was in the pocket of the GM, he got to dominate every aspect of the campaign even as he actually played the character as lawful neutral. When I dared to do something slightly chaotic (neutral good bard), it was me who was called on it.
  #7926  
Old 11-10-2013, 03:40 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quoth Knorf:

The OOTS universe example of a true paladin is O-Chul.
Or Hinjo, or Lien, or (though we don't see as much of him) Thanh. And the fact that they can all be the same race, class, and alignment, and yet still be very different well-developed characters is a tribute both to Burlew's writing ability and to the breadth of possibility available to characters.
  #7927  
Old 11-10-2013, 04:58 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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New Strip
  #7928  
Old 11-10-2013, 04:58 PM
Mr Shine Mr Shine is offline
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New one up
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0929.html

This seems to be as bad as it can get for the Order. Comeback starts in 3...2..1...
  #7929  
Old 11-10-2013, 05:03 PM
Mr Shine Mr Shine is offline
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Last 2 titles have been "Go" and "Through". I'm thinking that he's making a meta-title one word at a time.
  #7930  
Old 11-10-2013, 05:33 PM
squeegee squeegee is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Shine View Post
Last 2 titles have been "Go" and "Through". I'm thinking that he's making a meta-title one word at a time.
"the" "rift"? I hope not, I'm sick of that notion.
  #7931  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:36 PM
shantih shantih is offline
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Son of a bitch. Now Elan's going to have matching scars from his twin brother and his father, one starting in the back and one starting in the front.

I hope Durkon can get his protection back up before the sun smokes him. Where's Haley?


ETA: For that matter, where's Mr. Scruffy? And boy, what a sign of contempt towards Belkar -- Tarquin could have stabbed him with his dagger, but just couldn't be bothered. Ouch!

Last edited by shantih; 11-10-2013 at 06:39 PM. Reason: The thoughts, they just keep a-rolling.
  #7932  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:41 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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That's gotta hurt, hit points or not.
  #7933  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:42 PM
squeegee squeegee is offline
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I just noticed the whip handle got some Laurin-glow to it when Tarquin let go of it. Weird.
  #7934  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:46 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is online now
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Originally Posted by squeegee View Post
I just noticed the whip handle got some Laurin-glow to it when Tarquin let go of it. Weird.
Laurin's doing what Tarquin said and keeping the casters down with it. From here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Giant
It's Laurin taking the whip using telekinesis; Tarquin instructed her to keep the casters down in the prior panel and she's doing so partly by grabbing the whip that is around V's throat. I just didn't have room to show her in panel 7 without shrinking the rest of the art down smaller than I would have liked. I didn't want to cheat anyone on Belkar-being-punted action.
  #7935  
Old 11-10-2013, 08:48 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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I didn't want to cheat anyone on Belkar-being-punted action.
He knows what we want!
  #7936  
Old 11-10-2013, 09:07 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Man, if there was ever a cavalry moment, this is it.
  #7937  
Old 11-10-2013, 09:55 PM
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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Tarquin is really wiping the mat, isn't he?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I think the paladin's in Roy's first are more of a meta-joke about gamers than an insight into the moral system Burlew's making in his comic.
Well... the whole comic is a meta-joke and characters are allowed to game the system. My take is that as long as the paladins had plausible deniability, they could let Roy do the dirty work. Just like Miko has no problem killing a Dragon that isn't shiny: she thinks this is fitting and proper and if she did it while the creature slept, would suffer no alignment-related problems. http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0207.html

So Paladins can kill goblins while they sleep and goblins can kill paladins while they sleep because goblins are irredeemably evil and paladins are irredeemably good. That's fine in D&D but flat-out evil in other contexts, largely because genetic irredeemability is thought to be offensive and basically wishful thinking or bad writing.

For fairness, I'll consider another thought experiment. Consider a good-aligned Mind Flayer. He was born that way. Is it a good idea in D&D-land to kill him on sight, while sleeping if necessary? Probably yeah: they feed on sentient brrraaaains after all. And Mind Flayers are intelligent, operate in groups and read each other's minds: the poor fellow could be a patsy. But you don't kill him because he's evil, you kill him because you can't afford to keep someone like that alive. It's necessary, though unfortunate.

(Can mind flayers eat sheep's brains? That might change matters.)
Quote:
It could very well be that goblins really are "always evil." Hell, according to Burlew's cosmology, they were specifically designed that way, by the Gods, to serve as antagonists to their more favored species. Obviously, this argues that their behavior isn't their fault, but that sort of abstract moralism tends not to hold up so well when there's one of these buggers climbing through your bedroom window with a cleaver clenched in its teeth.
Goblins are always evil: they will kill you in their sleep, because they know that their adversaries would do the same. It's the way of the D&D world. For humans truly are irredeemable insofar as goblins are concerned: they even kill civilian goblins in their sleep! Orcs are a separate category: some humans treat them decently.
--------

Incidentally, the preceding reflects a thinly disguised distaste for black and white thinking, something that there's rather a lot of in Hollywood exposition and somewhat less in anime, for example. My interpretation of Oots-ville may or may not be the best one (there are other valid ones, and they may even make more sense) but I think I can safely claim that Burlew at least is fully cognizant of these sorts of issues.
  #7938  
Old 11-11-2013, 12:05 AM
Miller Miller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
Just like Miko has no problem killing a Dragon that isn't shiny: she thinks this is fitting and proper and if she did it while the creature slept, would suffer no alignment-related problems. http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0207.html
Not sure where you're getting "while sleeping" from. I'd consider that an alignment violation for a Lawful character.

Quote:
So Paladins can kill goblins while they sleep and goblins can kill paladins while they sleep because goblins are irredeemably evil and paladins are irredeemably good. That's fine in D&D but flat-out evil in other contexts, largely because genetic irredeemability is thought to be offensive and basically wishful thinking or bad writing.
I don't think that's necessarily indicative of bad writing. I don't think, for example, that Shadow over Innsmouth would have been improved by having some sensitive, caring Deep Ones creeping around in the background. Mind Flayers are a particularly Lovecraftian sort of creature. I don't particularly care to imagine a good aligned Mind Flayer, for example, because I think the idea removes some of the essential horror behind the concept.
  #7939  
Old 11-11-2013, 01:08 AM
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Not sure where you're getting "while sleeping" from. I'd consider that an alignment violation for a Lawful character.
On reflection, I guess I'm assuming that the end justifies the means which isn't a lawful trait, even if the execution occurs outside of a legal jurisdiction.
Quote:
I don't think that's necessarily indicative of bad writing. I don't think, for example, that Shadow over Innsmouth would have been improved by having some sensitive, caring Deep Ones creeping around in the background. Mind Flayers are a particularly Lovecraftian sort of creature. I don't particularly care to imagine a good aligned Mind Flayer, for example, because I think the idea removes some of the essential horror behind the concept.
Heh, well they are certainly pulpy creations.

I imagined two proud and influential mind flayers who only want the best for their unholy offspring. Before birth, they decided that the little tentacled ones should only dine on the highest quality sentients. No goblins or drow for them! So they hire a cult to creep out of the underworld and raid the nearest university, located 150 leagues away. (For some reason mind flayers measure distances in leagues.) They capture the department of philosophy and bring them in chains to their lair. Sure enough little Billy Flayer grows up bright and strong. But he has some odd ideas....

Last edited by Measure for Measure; 11-11-2013 at 01:10 AM.
  #7940  
Old 11-11-2013, 01:43 AM
choie choie is offline
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This storyline is exhausting with the constant twists of fortune bouncing between OOTS and Team Tarquin. And every time I think Tarquin has outdone himself in cruelty, he pulls something new out of his bag. Poor Elan--he's such an incredibly sweet character who just wants to be loved and be part of a family; to think he's been stabbed by his brother and his dad now... ugh.

I'm hoping V's cloak will somehow shield Durkon from the sun. Even if V is being strangled by the whip and presumably can't utter spells, can V use magic silently?

It does seem likely that Haley's gonna come to the rescue here--she and the foolishly-ignored Belkar are the only ones free to wreak havoc. I suppose Blackwing and Mr. Scruff could do something, although of the two I'd say only BW is likely to act on his own.

But y'know, even if it's what Tarquin really wants, I want Elan to DESTROY this scumbag himself. If not kill him, then embarrass him, belittle him, show him up, and then leave him behind only for the bastard to get killed by Sabine.

As an aside--and I would love to bring this up over at GITP but I'm afraid I'd get lynched--I find it ironic that the whole arc has been about Elan claiming that Roy is the hero and we're supposed to find Tarquin foolish for not seeing that. Because to me, Elan has been the real emotional center and protagonist of this strip since Nale first stabbed Elan and became a recurring villain. Aside from V's descent into darkness, every main storyline involving important personal dramatic beats focuses on Elan. (Even Haley's cryptogram speech impediment involved her love for Elan.)

Yeah, Roy's the leader, he's the action hero, and the overall plot started out from his own quest. But this began with a bog-standard revenge plot that wasn't even his own! The revenge vow had nothing to do with anyone Roy cared about, it's for someone his father cared about. As such, I've never felt interested in Roy completing this question--well, aside from the whole saving-the-world thing, but that became everyone's quest, not just Roy's. Otherwise, what is supposed to connect the reader to Roy as a character? He's had no major emotional arc throughout the strip. There was the touching reunion with his brother, but otherwise, I just don't give a damn about Roy. He's barely even shown any character development over 900+ strips, aside from one that resolved ages ago (his learning to be less obnoxious to his teammates such as Elan, and not getting angry with his father).

So yep, he's the leader of the group and we keep getting that point hammered home, but to me, it seems that Burlew's more interested in Elan's story than anyone else's. Elan has the classic Hero's Journey storyline, whether Burlew wants us to think it or not. Starts off naive with few skills, has reality hit him in the face, teams up with more experienced others, learns how to hone his talents, and most of all, his personality deepens through multiple losses and moments where he has to face the truth about himself and his life (Roy's death/absent Haley/Therkla & Kubota/Nale/Tarquin). He may not ever be Luke Skywalker or Frodo or Harry Potter, but Elan, the character his creator keeps telling us is not a hero, has IMHO turned into a hero.

Anyway that's what I think. Frankly I'm kinda glad I like Elan so much, because at least he's supposedly guaranteed a happy ending. My ultra favorite character totally seems headed for a sacrificial death by the end of the strip. Sigh.
  #7941  
Old 11-11-2013, 01:51 AM
Grumman Grumman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Not sure where you're getting "while sleeping" from. I'd consider that an alignment violation for a Lawful character.
It's not. If you were surprised that you would resort to killing them in their sleep it might be, but there is nothing stopping a Lawful character coming to the conclusion that assassination is the best option available to them. Being lawful does not mean you have to die by Queensbury rules. A monk's self-control is as much a lawful trait as a paladin's code of ethics.

Quote:
I don't think that's necessarily indicative of bad writing. I don't think, for example, that Shadow over Innsmouth would have been improved by having some sensitive, caring Deep Ones creeping around in the background. Mind Flayers are a particularly Lovecraftian sort of creature. I don't particularly care to imagine a good aligned Mind Flayer, for example, because I think the idea removes some of the essential horror behind the concept.
I agree. The first thing a mindflayer does in life is eat their siblings. The second thing it does is eat the brain of a helpless prisoner and seize control of their body. An illithid is nothing more than a smart headcrab.
  #7942  
Old 11-11-2013, 01:55 AM
squeegee squeegee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
My ultra favorite character totally seems headed for a sacrificial death by the end of the strip. Sigh.
Yup, like you I was pretty fond of Bloodfeast the Extrem-inator. Sigh.
  #7943  
Old 11-11-2013, 02:13 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is online now
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Haley has all those wands (Chekhov's gunwands!) she grabbed from Z's body. Perhaps one of them can cast Darkness over Durkon? Would that shield him from the sun?
  #7944  
Old 11-11-2013, 05:02 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Not sure where you're getting "while sleeping" from. I'd consider that an alignment violation for a Lawful character.
Hmmm.
  #7945  
Old 11-11-2013, 07:19 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
I imagined two proud and influential mind flayers who only want the best for their unholy offspring. Before birth, they decided that the little tentacled ones should only dine on the highest quality sentients. No goblins or drow for them! So they hire a cult to creep out of the underworld and raid the nearest university, located 150 leagues away. (For some reason mind flayers measure distances in leagues.) They capture the department of philosophy and bring them in chains to their lair. Sure enough little Billy Flayer grows up bright and strong. But he has some odd ideas....
I am highly entertained by this.

Incidentally, re-reading Start of Darkness yesterday I noted a passing mention by Redcloak's brother about his child (or maybe a niece; I can't remember) who was sent off "to be raised by humans or worse" for their own safety (i.e. to keep them away from Xykon). I'm wondering if this goblin is likely to show up at some point.
  #7946  
Old 11-11-2013, 07:39 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
I imagined two proud and influential mind flayers who only want the best for their unholy offspring. Before birth, they decided that the little tentacled ones should only dine on the highest quality sentients. No goblins or drow for them! So they hire a cult to creep out of the underworld and raid the nearest university, located 150 leagues away. (For some reason mind flayers measure distances in leagues.) They capture the department of philosophy and bring them in chains to their lair. Sure enough little Billy Flayer grows up bright and strong. But he has some odd ideas....
Heh. A friend of mine had an extremely long-running (I think like twenty years) campaign that involved at some point a war against mind flayers. After the PCs won the war, they were contacted by a surviving Elder Brain who had decided for purely selfish reasons that it needed to develop altruism: it had analyzed illithid weakness during the war and concluded that their lack of empathy and altruism was a fatal weakness that would eventually doom their species. Only it had absolutely no understanding of either empathy or altruism, just knew that they were mysterious traits some humanoids had, so it enlisted the PCs' help in attempting to develop those attributes.

Of course, the remaining elder brains saw this as the most appalling taboo-transgression possible and launched an all-out attack on the renegade Elder Brain and its human assistants....

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 11-11-2013 at 07:42 AM.
  #7947  
Old 11-11-2013, 07:45 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
I am highly entertained by this.

Incidentally, re-reading Start of Darkness yesterday I noted a passing mention by Redcloak's brother about his child (or maybe a niece; I can't remember) who was sent off "to be raised by humans or worse" for their own safety (i.e. to keep them away from Xykon). I'm wondering if this goblin is likely to show up at some point.
I figure it's Chekhov's Goblin - she wouldn't have been mentioned unless she was going to be used in the story at some point.

Other dangling plot hooks are the story of Haley's mother and the mystery of the Holey Brotherhood.
  #7948  
Old 11-11-2013, 07:53 AM
Mr Shine Mr Shine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I figure it's Chekhov's Goblin - she wouldn't have been mentioned unless she was going to be used in the story at some point.

Other dangling plot hooks are the story of Haley's mother and the mystery of the Holey Brotherhood.

I would be extremely surprised if the Holey Brotherhood were anything more than they appear to be. A one note joke based around a pun, as a hook to set up the "as bad as Baron Pineapple?" joke.

Last edited by Mr Shine; 11-11-2013 at 07:54 AM.
  #7949  
Old 11-11-2013, 08:01 AM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Measure for Measure View Post
So they hire a cult to creep out of the underworld and raid the nearest university, located 150 leagues away. (For some reason mind flayers measure distances in leagues.) They capture the department of philosophy and bring them in chains to their lair. Sure enough little Billy Flayer grows up bright and strong. But he has some odd ideas....
Categorical imperative ftagh'n ! Ia, ia, metaphysics !
  #7950  
Old 11-11-2013, 09:32 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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It's dusk very shortly, isn't it? So we're going to get to see Durkon get unholy on their arses.
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