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  #251  
Old 05-23-2014, 07:12 PM
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BTW, what's the average time-interval between strips lately? How often does Burlew update?

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 05-23-2014 at 07:12 PM.
  #252  
Old 05-23-2014, 07:54 PM
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Burlew's twitter feed: https://twitter.com/RichBurlew
New comics on:
May 19
May 5
Apr 24
Apr 17
Apr 7
Mar 31
---
Feb 18

Shortest: 7 days
Longest: 14 days

Rich's twitter Commentary:
May12: "I'm not gonna do an update until I achieve at least a minimum set of goals, which I've been failing to do. I didn't get one single word written on KS stuff over break, not one picture drawn. Everything else ate the time. Bare minimum, I still have a stack of crayon drawings done that I need to box up and ship. Maybe I'll update after those go out."
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He probably shoulda given himself another month...
  #253  
Old 05-23-2014, 11:38 PM
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But alignments aren't absolute, they're sliding scales. Sometimes, a Neutral person is simply someone who isn't quite good and isn't quite evil, isn't quite lawful and isn't quite chaotic. Sometimes they're all of these things, and sometimes they're none. They're... complicated. Maybe they want to be good, but can't quite make it, or maybe they think they're evil, but actually have some unexpected empathy. Some of the most complex, interesting characters are True Neutral be default, if only because they can't be pinned down anywhere else.
Realistically, it probably isn't a major issue for most of the beings in a fantasy setting just as it generally isn't for people in real life. Most people don't confront opportunities for serious good or evil.
  #254  
Old 05-24-2014, 01:23 AM
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Was Belkar's epiphany a matter of actual communication with the ghost of Shojo, or was it his brain, processing what he had been observing all along since joining the Order?

I'm inclined to think it was the latter. His conscious mind just couldn't deal with the punishment the Mark of Justice was dishing out to his body, so it checked out for a bit. This enabled his superego to get a word in edgewise, which it did, using an avatar of Shojo, the character who had made the strongest impression on him. The id, of course, had been shouted down, on account of being responsible for getting him into this mess in the first place.

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  #255  
Old 05-24-2014, 03:42 AM
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Was Belkar's epiphany a matter of actual communication with the ghost of Shojo, or was it his brain, processing what he had been observing all along since joining the Order?

I'm inclined to think it was the latter. His conscious mind just couldn't deal with the punishment the Mark of Justice was dishing out to his body, so it checked out for a bit. This enabled his superego to get a word in edgewise, which it did, using an avatar of Shojo, the character who had made the strongest impression on him. The id, of course, had been shouted down, on account of being responsible for getting him into this mess in the first place.
Roy once said that Belkar was "clever in his own brain damaged way". So, yes, Belkar was probably aware at some level that his over-the-top evil ways were not in his own best interests. But he'd refuse on principle to step back from them - he'd see that as selling out to popular opinion. So his subconscious figured out a way to con his conscious mind - he convinced himself he was screwing over people by playing nice.
  #256  
Old 05-24-2014, 07:21 AM
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Also, somewhat off topic, shouldn't there be a "Word of 'Meh'" spell that neutral clerics can cast in place of Holy Word/Blasphemy and which will whammy good and evil alike?
No, there shouldn't. If you want a spell that targets Good creatures, you're 100% Evil, no excuses. Also, Holy Word should only hit Evil creatures, not non-Good.
  #257  
Old 05-24-2014, 01:07 PM
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There's the rub: he was told by Shojo to fake it, but has he stopped faking and started being? Only time will tell.
Well, Rich said in the book commentary for Don't Split the Party that Belkar is experiencing real character growth thanks to his bond with Mr. Scruffy, and as we've seen, that has only been getting stronger (to the point where now he's saving the lives of people he doesn't like because he sees himself and Mr. Scruffy in them) in the last book.
  #258  
Old 05-24-2014, 01:09 PM
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So is Neutral Neutral basically "will perform acts of law or chaos, good or evil as suits their need?" More like a "don't care." Julia Greenhilt comes to mind, as she seems to just do whatever she wants without regard to ethos or alignment.
Which is funny, because she specifically described herself as True Neutral in this strip. ("I'm True Neutral. I go both ways." "That is so hot.")
  #259  
Old 05-24-2014, 01:13 PM
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No, there shouldn't. If you want a spell that targets Good creatures, you're 100% Evil, no excuses. Also, Holy Word should only hit Evil creatures, not non-Good.
I don't think so ... people with Good alignment sometimes go off the rails and attack you even if you're also Good (exhibit A: Miko Miyazaki), so it seems like it would be nice to have a versatile spell for cases like that, even if you're not 100% Evil.
  #260  
Old 05-24-2014, 03:39 PM
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Miko was like 90% Lawful and only 10% Good.
  #261  
Old 05-24-2014, 05:21 PM
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But she was still Lawful Good, right? (At least until she killed Shojo. And did even that change her actual alignment?) So it would have been handy for the Order of the Stick to have a Holy Word type spell that targeted everybody, not just Evil. Come to think of it, most combat spells don't seem to discriminate between Good or Evil creatures, so it doesn't seem like Ambrosio Spinola's hypothetical "Word of 'Meh'" spell would make somebody "100% Evil, no excuses" any more than Fireball does.
  #262  
Old 05-24-2014, 08:52 PM
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No, there shouldn't. If you want a spell that targets Good creatures, you're 100% Evil, no excuses. Also, Holy Word should only hit Evil creatures, not non-Good.
Dictum affects neutral good and chaotic good creatures, but can be cast by a lawful good cleric. It's all about context, right? Anyway, I saw that the non-core "Word of Balance" spell treats neutrality on the law/chaos and good/evil axes the same, which seems sort of weird. I'd think there would be one corresponding to the good/evil axis and another on the law/chaos axis, but I guess there's no "neutrality" domain.
  #263  
Old 05-24-2014, 10:05 PM
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Which is funny, because she specifically described herself as True Neutral in this strip. ("I'm True Neutral. I go both ways." "That is so hot.")
But isn't True Neutral also used as a shorthand for Neutral Neutral? Her statement makes it sound like she just does what she wants, not that she's doing stuff to maintain a neutral balance.
  #264  
Old 05-24-2014, 11:21 PM
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But isn't True Neutral also used as a shorthand for Neutral Neutral? Her statement makes it sound like she just does what she wants, not that she's doing stuff to maintain a neutral balance.
True Neutral is only used as shorthand for "Neutral Neutal". Any other meaning is just fanwanking.
  #265  
Old 05-24-2014, 11:42 PM
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True Neutral is only used as shorthand for "Neutral Neutal". Any other meaning is just fanwanking.
Of course. I explicitly said that it was my interpretation in my post explaining how I divide them and not anything official.
  #266  
Old 05-25-2014, 01:35 AM
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But she was still Lawful Good, right? (At least until she killed Shojo. And did even that change her actual alignment?)
Probably. That's usually how paladins lose their paladinhood. And Soon tells her, as she is dying, that Windstriker will "visit her as much as he is able" - implying that she's not going to the same plane as her mount.
  #267  
Old 05-26-2014, 03:27 AM
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New Strip. 953.
  #268  
Old 05-26-2014, 05:39 AM
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Hmm would a storm with a deity behind it be affected by the spell? Is there any distinction in AD&D between "natural" weather and deity inspired weather?
  #269  
Old 05-26-2014, 06:40 AM
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Hmm would a storm with a deity behind it be affected by the spell? Is there any distinction in AD&D between "natural" weather and deity inspired weather?
From the spell description:

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Control weather can do away with atmospheric phenomena (naturally occurring or otherwise) as well as create them.
[Emphasis mine.]
  #270  
Old 05-26-2014, 06:54 AM
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Besides which, there's been no indication that the storm was NOT naturally occurring in the first place.
  #271  
Old 05-26-2014, 07:20 AM
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Only the fact that it started as they crossed into territory under the domain of the northern gods. Still might be a coincidence but I have my doubts.
  #272  
Old 05-26-2014, 08:08 AM
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Well-played, Giant, well-played.
  #273  
Old 05-26-2014, 08:14 AM
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Note that the storm isn't really gone yet.
  #274  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:00 AM
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Probably. That's usually how paladins lose their paladinhood. And Soon tells her, as she is dying, that Windstriker will "visit her as much as he is able" - implying that she's not going to the same plane as her mount.
Yeah, and in this strip, the Deva interviewing Roy said that if he hadn't gone back for Elan when Elan was captured by the bandits, she would be chucking his file in to the True Neutral bin. But does that imply that if he had never come around, his alignment would have changed (for purposes of a spell that targets only Good or Lawful creatures) from then on, or would it only change when he went off to be judged in the afterlife?

ETA: if the former, does that mean that Belkar's alignment could be shifting away from Evil as his real character growth continues?

Last edited by chorpler; 05-26-2014 at 11:02 AM.
  #275  
Old 05-26-2014, 11:52 AM
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ETA: if the former, does that mean that Belkar's alignment could be shifting away from Evil as his real character growth continues?
It's my opinion that Belkar's alignment has already shifted.

I can't help but think that Belkar would have reacted very differently to the Durkon vampire earlier in the strip. E.g. consider his friendliness towards Vaarsuvius's quick dip in the "deep end of the alignment pool." Would the older, definitely chaotic evil Belkar have reacted with such strenuous negativity to the vampire?

Last edited by Knorf; 05-26-2014 at 11:53 AM.
  #276  
Old 05-26-2014, 12:03 PM
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I feel like Belkar's objections come less from a Good vs Evil perspective and more from a "was helplessly made into vampire dinner" perspective. He doesn't give a shit about Durkon being evil, he cares that they're traveling with a powerful evil being that can Dominate, Hold Person and eat them and doesn't believe that there's enough "real" Durkon left to rely on loyalty to prevent that from happening.

Last edited by Jophiel; 05-26-2014 at 12:04 PM.
  #277  
Old 05-26-2014, 12:10 PM
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Hmm would a storm with a deity behind it be affected by the spell? Is there any distinction in AD&D between "natural" weather and deity inspired weather?
So Hel's god-standard weather mojo battles against Thor's ADD. I see the spell takes 10 minutes to cast and a further 10 to manifest, so this could work.


Among the order, Durkevil's response might persuade Roy and leave Belkar speechless, but V is likely to wonder what's up. So would Haley if she was on deck. Even the ship's cleric might work out that Durkevil is attached to another deity.
-----

"Would the older, definitely chaotic evil Belkar have reacted with such strenuous negativity to the vampire?"

Possibly, even at a gut level. Belkar was all id after all, before his better evil nature took over. Also, remember he was acting like a dick in prison maybe a day or a week ago within the strip.
  #278  
Old 05-26-2014, 12:19 PM
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Another complication is that control weather works with a 2 mile radius. The Mechane moves at the speed of plot, but at 10 MPH it would clear the vicinity in 12 minutes.
  #279  
Old 05-26-2014, 12:32 PM
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Note that the storm isn't really gone yet.
Control Weather is not a *snap finger* rain gone kind of thing. The spell description states it takes 10 minutes just to cast it, and another 10 before any effect takes place. In more descriptive terms I think it's less "erase rain clouds from the sky" and more "create a local low pressure zone 50 miles off the coast that should organically attract the storm away from here", if you follow my meaning.
  #280  
Old 05-26-2014, 06:50 PM
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Besides which, there's been no indication that the storm was NOT naturally occurring in the first place.
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Only the fact that it started as they crossed into territory under the domain of the northern gods. Still might be a coincidence but I have my doubts.
Oh, okay. Just noticed the the storm came on all of a sudden-like, too. I was figuring that the new jurisdiction had no relevance other than which deity could be called on to dispel it, but the suddenness of the storm (and the fact that the lightning bypassed the lightning rod) does raise questions.

One does wonder what might have motivated Thor to send the storm in the first place. Probably he's just on a bender.
  #281  
Old 05-26-2014, 07:21 PM
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One does wonder what might have motivated Thor to send the storm in the first place. Probably he's just on a bender.
It's been implied that what got Thor's attention was the way his supposedly pious cleric has been acting out of character.

Yelling "Thor's Nuts" didn't trigger the lightning storm but notice how Belkar and Roy react with surprise. This isn't something they'd expect Durkon to do. And in the conversation between Durkon and the spirit we were told Durkon had initially been resisting giving the spirit any information but then switched to feeding him long memories. It appears that Durkon has been manipulating the spirit's actions by the memories he chooses to show him.

If Belkar and Roy have noticed Durkon's been acting strange, presumably Thor has noticed as well.
  #282  
Old 05-26-2014, 10:51 PM
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The impression I got was :
1) the storm is natural
2) Adad the Thunderer was protecting them
3) He stopped protecting them when they flew out of his jurisdiction .
  #283  
Old 05-27-2014, 07:13 AM
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The impression I got was :
1) the storm is natural
2) Adad the Thunderer was protecting them
3) He stopped protecting them when they flew out of his jurisdiction .
How do you account for the errant lightning bolt that bypassed the lightning rod to Ka-Boom the engines?
  #284  
Old 05-27-2014, 07:59 AM
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Yelling "Thor's Nuts" didn't trigger the lightning storm but notice how Belkar and Roy react with surprise. This isn't something they'd expect Durkon to do.
Why on earth wouldn't they expect Durkon to do that? He yells stuff like that all the time.

I assumed Thor was upset because he can tell Durkon's soul is no longer in the driver's seat... but I don't know, gods seem to be a lot less knowledgeable and reliable in the OOTS-verse than you would normally expect.
  #285  
Old 05-27-2014, 08:27 AM
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The impression I got was :
1) the storm is natural
2) Adad the Thunderer was protecting them
3) He stopped protecting them when they flew out of his jurisdiction .
Seems a bit un-Occam to me. We've got a storm that appears suddenly as soon as a cleric of the god of storms, currently possessed by the demonic servant of the god of storms' arch-enemy, passes into the land controlled by the god of storms. Suggesting that this isn't an action of the god of storms seems like a stretch.
  #286  
Old 05-27-2014, 08:30 AM
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It's my opinion that Belkar's alignment has already shifted.
From Evil to Neutral, perhaps; but he'll never inch away from Chaotic.
  #287  
Old 05-27-2014, 08:56 AM
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If Belkar and Roy have noticed Durkon's been acting strange, presumably Thor has noticed as well.
I dunno. Thor has never been portrayed as particularly proactive, when it comes to being an attentive deity.
  #288  
Old 05-27-2014, 08:59 AM
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I dunno. Thor has never been portrayed as particularly proactive, when it comes to being an attentive deity.
But Roy and Belkar don't know that, do they? Remember the meeting with Miko?
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:25 AM
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From Evil to Neutral, perhaps; but he'll never inch away from Chaotic.
No, probably not, with the possible but unlikely alternative of true neutral.

I still think he would have reacted to the vampire Durkon quite differently in the past. His concern for the well-being of the team and its mission, and his hostility towards threats against them, has a different quality. Almost like sincerity, less and less like he's still faking it. It's not just about the loot, XP, and violence anymore.
  #290  
Old 05-27-2014, 10:35 AM
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I dunno. Thor has never been portrayed as particularly proactive, when it comes to being an attentive deity.
Attentive, no.

But Thor does love a good fight and likes to see his guys win. After all the asskicking Durkon has done in his name recently, Thor might be miffed that his little asskicker doesn't belong to him anymore.

Who knows, maybe Hel has been bragging and Thor is pissed she took one of his dudes.
  #291  
Old 05-27-2014, 11:23 AM
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Seems a bit un-Occam to me. We've got a storm that appears suddenly as soon as a cleric of the god of storms, currently possessed by the demonic servant of the god of storms' arch-enemy, passes into the land controlled by the god of storms. Suggesting that this isn't an action of the god of storms seems like a stretch.
There's also the rules of narrative. Durkon's flashback scene was the opening page in the sixth volume of this entire story. It seems unlikely that it was just meaningless filler.
  #292  
Old 05-27-2014, 11:42 AM
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And even if Thor doesn't consciously pay attention to mortal affairs, he might still pay subconscious attention to them and so send appropriate storms even without realizing it. He's a god; they do things like that.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:04 PM
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If Durkon isn't Thor's top cleric (and he might be), he's almost certainly in the top 5 or 10. And it's been established that Thor lawyers Hel for stewardship over even minor posthumous souls. My take is that Durkon can still pray (though his spell casting ability is severely limited), Thor is aware of the unnatural situation and is thoroughly pissed (in the American sense, but also the British sense though that goes without saying), and the ship could even go down because of it.

But Thor is also easily distracted, so in 20 minutes his attention might be elsewhere.

Last edited by Measure for Measure; 05-27-2014 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Linguistic clarification
  #294  
Old 05-27-2014, 01:44 PM
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If Durkon isn't Thor's top cleric (and he might be), he's almost certainly in the top 5 or 10.
Level-wise ? Maybe. But hierarchy-wise he was a peon back when he got kicked out of the dwarven lands and nothing has changed since then (on that specific front).
  #295  
Old 05-27-2014, 02:22 PM
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Level-wise ? Maybe. But hierarchy-wise he was a peon back when he got kicked out of the dwarven lands and nothing has changed since then (on that specific front).
But as a chaotic deity, Thor's probably less concerned with the hierarchy of his church then he is about the individual performance of his worshipers.

Also, IIRC, we've basically seen Thor in two kinds of strips: he's either comically uninterested in what's happening on the Prime Material, or he's comically over-involved in what happens to his worshipers after they die. Which makes a lot of sense - a god would likely view most of what happens on the Prime Material as prologue, but the afterlife is forever. So, in this case, one of Thor's top followers has died, but his soul hasn't shown up in the afterlife. That's likely something that would get Thor's attention, whereas being beat up by a jerk paladin doesn't really rate.
  #296  
Old 05-27-2014, 02:39 PM
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Level-wise ? Maybe. But hierarchy-wise he was a peon back when he got kicked out of the dwarven lands and nothing has changed since then (on that specific front).
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But as a chaotic deity, Thor's probably less concerned with the hierarchy of his church then he is about the individual performance of his worshipers.
Don't upper level cleric spells get granted directly by the deity? It seems that a deity would know who you are if you're requesting a Resurrection, Planar Ally or Holy Word regardless of your spot on the earthly org chart.

I realize that various comics have depicted this in various ways ranging from a automated 'phone' service to Thor getting direct requests for first level spells when he's supposed to be fighting fire giants.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:40 PM
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But as a chaotic deity, Thor's probably less concerned with the hierarchy of his church then he is about the individual performance of his worshipers.
Thor is chaotic? I thought the rule was that a cleric couldn't be more than one step away from their deity, so as a Lawful Good character, Durkon could only worship a Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Neutral deity. Is that not the case in the OOTS-verse?

ETA: Or were you just describing his behavior (which certainly is chaotic) rather than his alignment?

Last edited by chorpler; 05-27-2014 at 05:41 PM.
  #298  
Old 05-27-2014, 05:43 PM
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Control Weather is not a *snap finger* rain gone kind of thing. The spell description states it takes 10 minutes just to cast it, and another 10 before any effect takes place. In more descriptive terms I think it's less "erase rain clouds from the sky" and more "create a local low pressure zone 50 miles off the coast that should organically attract the storm away from here", if you follow my meaning.
Which is presumably why, after Durkon's awesome Control Weather display in this strip, the author felt the need to immediately lampshade it in the next strip.
  #299  
Old 05-27-2014, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by chorpler View Post
Thor is chaotic? I thought the rule was that a cleric couldn't be more than one step away from their deity, so as a Lawful Good character, Durkon could only worship a Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Neutral deity. Is that not the case in the OOTS-verse?

ETA: Or were you just describing his behavior (which certainly is chaotic) rather than his alignment?
Well, his behavior and his alignment should be the same thing - if he's acting in a chaotic manner, it's because he has a chaotic alignment. Most D&D systems that include Thor as a deity, list him as Chaotic Good, and that seems to best describe his behavior in the original Norse myths.

Technically, this means that Durkon shouldn't be able to be a priest of Thor, but Burlew has said before he's not going to let rules get in the way of the story.
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Old 05-29-2014, 03:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chorpler View Post
Which is presumably why, after Durkon's awesome Control Weather display in this strip, the author felt the need to immediately lampshade it in the next strip.
Heh, I had forgotten about that gag.

But this being the second time raises a worrying concern about Durkon. Namely, who the hell routinely memorizes Control Weather ?

It's a 7th level spell. It's a completely useless 7th level spell (when your god doesn't cheat). And sure, it's probably one of Durkon's domain spells, what with the whole storm god thing, but Thor's other domains are Protection (Repulsion), Good (Holy Word), Strength (Bigsby's Grasping Hand) and War (Power Word:Blind). All of which are 10x more useful than stupid, screams-for-a-scroll-you'll-never-actually-use Control Weather !
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