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View Full Version : Elan is a genius!



Arcadian
2011-07-11, 06:07 PM
The latest strip just confirmed it for me, but I want to share my suspicions, and see if anyone else agrees or not. I highly suspect that, unlike Belkar's well-worded joke, Elan's intelligence score is certainly not his dump stat. The last three comics just portrayed just how well Elan uses his genre-savvy abilities to his advantage.

Maybe he's not as savvy as his father, who's prison guard manual is certainly a shining example of how to survive in a troperific world, but within the last three comics, Elan performed the following stunts for us:

1) He knew that Nale survived the destruction of Azure City's Castle, because he never witnessed his death. But he pretended not to know, in order to follow bardic tradition, because the hero is not supposed to know anyway. This sets up both a) his first blood attack against Nale, which he was immediately prepared for, and b) an amazing stunt which I believe Elan is working on, which I'll describe in a moment.

2) Realizing that Nale is his evil opposite, he kissed Sabine on purpose, not only to set up a distraction to get away (Knowing they would react opposite to his and Haley's trusting relationship), but to taunt Nale, as he'd already kissed Haley.

3) Possibly my favorite, Elan just realized the floor is missing, and knows he needs to jump. To save himself from lethal damage, he purposefully wonders how his friends are doing, to change the scene to a cutaway scene, because he knows, as a hero, he cannot die off-screen.

I believe Elan is purposefully playing the dim-witted but good-hearted hero, because he knows if he follows every trope, cliche, and paradigm of the story, he will fall into the greatest trope of all: The hero always wins.

Is he a genius, or what?

super dark33
2011-07-11, 06:10 PM
When saying this that way he is!
but There was also a thread like this on thog, which showd him genius and all, but hes still as dumb and tough as a rock.

Jade Dragon
2011-07-11, 06:16 PM
Genre savvy =/= genius. It's his area of expertise, he's supposed to be competent whenever it's involved.

Esprit15
2011-07-11, 06:17 PM
Dang it! And here I was all ready to tell you how stupid you were for even suggesting Elan is smart! Though he could just have a lot of Knowledge (Bardic Lore) or somehing like that and know how to use it without being all that smart.

Whiffet
2011-07-11, 06:25 PM
Yeah, I know! He even proved the smarter when engaged in a battle of wits with the comic's other resident genius, Thog!

Ah, if only the other characters could someday rise to the level of brilliance shown by these two. And because it's impossible to tell with the crazy things people say around here; yes, I'm joking.

Metahuman1
2011-07-11, 06:27 PM
Personally, I think Mental stats should get a +2 or +3 bonus as the games progress in addition too what ever of the +5 over 20lvls you have that you allot to them, to represent the fact that the characters have had lots of experience too draw on as they gain those levels, and thus are increasingly less likely to do something truly idiotic or foolish.

But yes, Elan has been much smarter then normal for the last several strips, and he seems to be reaping benefits from it. He's evolving into a truly competent and capable character and hero.

And that is just awesome.

Though, I must say, Roy's, maybe V and Belkar's, and MAYBE Durkon's brains are gonna break when that registrars.

And lastly, Who wants to take a bet that Elan's dear old dad knows exactly what's going on right now, and is letting it happen so that Elan will get built up in terms of his levels and tricks of the trade, and maybe his GP value in useful magic items, because it will make it so that Elan has an improved chance of completing his save the world mission, which his dad has admitted a vested interest in seeing happen, and then coming back and making him a legend in a final show down that will be sung of forever?

Hake
2011-07-11, 08:18 PM
I'd still say Elan has a below average Intelligence score and above average Wisdom. Elan simply has a habit of making good decisions despite having no idea whats going on around him.

rewinn
2011-07-11, 08:34 PM
I'd still say Elan has a below average Intelligence score and above average Wisdom. Elan simply has a habit of making good decisions despite having no idea whats going on around him.Perhaps Elan is showing off the weakness of having only 2 mental stats, WIS and INT. Sometimes he makes good choices and sometimes he makes bad choices, in the sense of tending to help in achieving or defeating his aims, and lately he's been making better choices, but not in any way by being smart like V or wise like Durkon. It's tempting to apply IRL's "multiple intelligences" theory, but I think it is more likely that the Laws of Genre apply in OOTS and Elan's mental abilities tap into that.

Zubzub
2011-07-11, 09:29 PM
Like Swiftmongoose said, spinning a good story is what Elan does the best, being good at that doesnt make him genius, it makes him a competent bard. Still, he's been very awesome lately! *thumbs up*

Lord.Sorasen
2011-07-11, 10:06 PM
But this isn't the first time! When imprisoned, Elan tricks Thog into helping him break free against direct orders. He pulls off these tricks all the time. Yet, his actions otherwise suggest a low intelligence score. So, consider: Bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate are all keyed off charisma. Could Elan's recent brilliant techniques be keyed off charisma as well?

1 and 2) These acts require some level of knowledge, but mostly require the ability to figure out how Nale would respond to his actions. This is a social skill, in a weird sort of way, and D&D clearly shows social skills and being charisma, not intelligence, based.

3) Bardic tradition isn't explicitly stated in Bardic knowledge, but why not it makes sense. Elan... let's say his int is the lowest possible at 3. Since he casted cure light wounds, mass, he has at least a +10 to his checks. Naturally, he would be making some pretty savvy checks by now.

Also, I want to suggest that possibly Thog has high charisma as well? His witty retort seems to suggest it, really. With his low int he won't be investing in bluff anytime soon, so it would work.

realroadcrossin
2011-07-11, 10:17 PM
At the very least, though, Elan is using his knowledge of cliches more effectively now than in the past, and at least in the past story arc he seems to be straight up acknowledging most of them as they come along. My question is what's going to happen in the relationship between him, his brother and his father, who are all fairly well versed in cliches. Certainly Tarquin doesn't seem to have any idea that the elf of unspecified subtype and gender he put a bounty on is the one dueling in his lobby, but if he in any way cares about Elan he's going to need to forgo some of his carefully constructed storybook tyrannical villain persona or else most likely both his empire and his son are going to be destroyed anyway. I think at some point both Haley and Elan's parents are going to need to make decisions that go against their deeply-ingrained principles or else they will die, and probably for dramatic reasons one of them will anyway.

rekuu
2011-07-12, 09:30 AM
I'm not ready to call him genius, but he is darn sure coming into himself as a real hero.

Seriously, Elan is the kind of character I love to root for. He deserves to win, and he's going to.

Delta_Angelfire
2011-07-12, 10:00 AM
That's not intelligence, that's actually more in line with charisma. If you break them down:

Intelligence has more to do with book smarts and equations.
Wisdom has more to do with common sense and reasonability.
Charisma deals with social interactions and art.

manipulating people, or knowing how to make them react the way you want to (for example, with diplomacy, bluff or intimidate) is totally Charisma - Elan's best stat. As for wisdom... that's still debateable :-p

so I agree with Lord Sorasen.

SPoD
2011-07-12, 10:07 AM
Even someone with a -2 Int penalty can still score an 18 on an Intelligence check. If you make enough checks, some of them will come up as 20s. A broken clock is still right twice a day.

In the same strip, he suggest that it would be viable to finish all the floors before building the walls. Which would work fine...in a one-floor building.

Andorax
2011-07-12, 10:51 AM
Maybe at 2nd or 3rd level, Dashing Swordsmen can add their Cha bonus to knowledge: genre checks as well?

hoff
2011-07-12, 11:16 AM
In my table the stuff he pulls off is considered meta-gaming. Maybe he is the only OOTSer that actually has someone playing him.

sims796
2011-07-12, 11:16 AM
I don't believe his intelligence is at it's bare minimum. He does have penalties, though. V made a crack at his low intel earlier in the comic.

Kish
2011-07-12, 12:37 PM
In my table the stuff he pulls off is considered meta-gaming.
Unlike grabbing a diamond from yourself on the cast page?

OotS has no fourth wall. No players needed.

FujinAkari
2011-07-12, 02:14 PM
In my table the stuff he pulls off is considered meta-gaming. Maybe he is the only OOTSer that actually has someone playing him.

Not according to Rich :P

Kish already covered this, but the OOTS are quite aware that they are in a D&D comic and Elan is the expert on dramatic conventions. This isn't metagaming, since there is no game to be outside of.

This also doesn't make Elan a genius, anymore than Belkar is a genius for knowing 107 ways to kill someone with a thimble.

Heksefatter
2011-07-12, 02:15 PM
We have the word of the Giant himself that Elan has an int penalty.

For the Giant's statement, see here: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=211493#post211493

For the thread about class and level geekery, see http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131219

It is possible that Elan's int penalty has removed since the Giant's statement, but not that Elan is now a genuis. He is simply genre-savvy. Also please note that he still misunderstands many things as seen here:

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0771.html

Or does idiotic things as seen here:

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0766.html

(Shouting while sneaking is not the acts of a genius)



Ah....what a geeky post. I'd say that there's some idiot savant over Elan, though.

ChowGuy
2011-07-12, 02:30 PM
In the same strip, he suggest that it would be viable to finish all the floors before building the walls. Which would work fine...in a one-floor building.

Never watched a steel frame hi-rise go up, eh?

The Pilgrim
2011-07-12, 07:09 PM
Elan is an ultimate follower, and whenever someone else can take the lead (be it Roy, Haley, Hinjo or Therkla), he just forfeits his brains and goes around fooling and trying to have an easy time.

However, when he is isolated from his allies and, thus, forced to take responsibility, he activates his brains and comes out with some brillant ideas (escape from Cliffport, sinking Kubota's boat, kissing Sabine, etc.)

Arcadian
2011-07-13, 02:40 AM
Maybe genius wasn't exactly the word I was looking for. I really wasn't referring to D&D mechanics, so much as I was praising how cunning Elan's use of dramatic convention has been, and there's no denying that he's been using his flair for the dramatic to a stunning degree.

I'm sure Elan doesn't have a high INT score, but if I was in a comic, and knew I was in a comic, and that all the rules of genre applied, I'd never have thought of setting up a cut-away scene to improve my odds of survival because I can't die off-screen.

rekuu
2011-07-13, 05:30 AM
if I was in a comic, and knew I was in a comic, and that all the rules of genre applied, I'd never have thought of setting up a cut-away scene to improve my odds of survival because I can't die off-screen.

Until now~ Elan may have just saved your life! Clearly, the INT stat isn't everything. =p

Adeptus
2011-07-13, 05:45 AM
I don't believe his intelligence is at it's bare minimum. He does have penalties, though. V made a crack at his low intel earlier in the comic.

Anybody below... let's say INT 14 is painfully dim from V's perspective.

Castamir
2011-07-13, 07:03 AM
I still wonder how Elan manages to muster enough INT to know how to breathe.

martianmister
2011-07-13, 07:20 AM
3) Possibly my favorite, Elan just realized the floor is missing, and knows he needs to jump. To save himself from lethal damage, he purposefully wonders how his friends are doing, to change the scene to a cutaway scene, because he knows, as a hero, he cannot die off-screen.

That's a pretty big assumption in there. There is no reason to think that he did this on purpose, or this 4th wall joke will effect the story or Elan's chances against Nale and Sabine.

Alagaesian
2011-07-13, 07:27 AM
Elan is an ultimate follower, and whenever someone else can take the lead (be it Roy, Haley, Hinjo or Therkla), he just forfeits his brains and goes around fooling and trying to have an easy time.

However, when he is isolated from his allies and, thus, forced to take responsibility, he activates his brains and comes out with some brillant ideas (escape from Cliffport, sinking Kubota's boat, kissing Sabine, etc.)

I always assumed this was how things worked. He knows pretty much everyone else is smarter than him, so he doesn't even bother to think when someone else can give him orders. When he's actually the smartest person there (please tell me no one believes Elan has a lower INT than Thog) he resorts to what he knows best: genre conventions and CHA-based actions.

By the way, the Class-and-Level-Geekery thread speculates that Elan's unmodified CHA is higher than Vaarsuvius's unmodified INT. I'll leave you guys to interpret that.

Kaytara
2011-07-13, 08:34 AM
If anything, Elan would fall into the category of the Genius Ditz (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GeniusDitz) - someone who's airbrained in 99% of activities, but hypercompetent in one or two select areas of expertise.

However, for those of us not hopelessy addicted to viewing life through TVtropes, the Pilgrim's explanation is pretty good, too. :P

King of Nowere
2011-07-13, 09:58 AM
I think elan is like forrest gump (in the book, not the movie; i don't nknow if in the movie that trait is still there): overall stupid, but at times can surprise you with some very brilliant insigth.

Threadnaught
2011-07-15, 10:30 AM
Elan has a ton of points in Bardic Knowledge.

What do Bards really know? Stories about heroic adventuring parties and the villains they fight, if Elan senses something dramatic he knows what's going to happen and how he should react at any given time. He's not a genius, but this is his specialty and when you ask someone about their specialist subject, it's easy to mistake it for genius.