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Ikkitosen
2006-12-23, 06:38 PM
So, I think it's reasonably clear that we're supposed to think Stanley and Wanda are the "good guys" and Ansom et. al. the "bad guys". I say this because the first contemporary characters we meet are Stanley's lot, and they're losing the war, which is typically the position our good guys find themselves in early on.

But I have to ask, is there any real evidence to say that we have a goodies vs. baddies scenario here, or do you think Rob is fogging the lines we're so used to? Is it just the standard video game scenario of player vs. player? Discuss please :smallsmile:

Khantalas
2006-12-23, 06:40 PM
Well, Wanda and Stanley are the bad guys because they have a spiked overlord room. No self-respecting good guy would have skulls and spikes in his overlord room.

Ikkitosen
2006-12-23, 06:49 PM
Well, Wanda and Stanley are the bad guys because they have a spiked overlord room. No self-respecting good guy would have skulls and spikes in his overlord room.

Do you watch That Mitchell and Webb Look? There's a sketch where they're dressed as Nazis but acting like good guys, which includes "Have you noticed our hats? There are skulls on them. You don't think we're...bad guys do you?". Lol :smallbiggrin:


Anyhow, do you think it's that simple or is that just more fogging of the good/bad lines?

Khantalas
2006-12-23, 06:50 PM
Well, that, and I believe Jamie said they were the bad guys.

Aliquid
2006-12-23, 06:50 PM
I would say that Stanley and Wanda certainly fit the "bad guy" sterotype, and Prince Ansom fits the "good guy" sterotype.

But the story does try to create sympathy for Stanley's group, which might make them the antiheros..

But honestly, I don't think there are "good guys" or "bad guys" in this combat. I'm watching it as "Team A" vs "Team B". Root for the team you like best.

TigerHunter
2006-12-23, 07:24 PM
As someone posted in another thread, Ansom and Jillian are being portrayed as the good guys--teddy bears as soldiers, gr(w)iffons, etc., while Wanda and Stanley are being portrayed as the bad guys--undead (croaked) soldiers, tr(w)olls.
On top of it all, Stanley uses CHATSPEAK for goodness sake. Of COURSE he's the bad guy.

Mr_Teatime
2006-12-23, 10:37 PM
I can definately relate to Wanda in strip 2. That's a pretty good look at how just about any conversation between me and someone else goes in a video game.

"smoebody"... Jesus God, if I had a dollar for every time I saw that...

Oh, and it took me a while, but I finally got what the "quacks" and the "poip" are in that strip. That's the little noises you get when you send or recieve a message in a chat program.

Querzis
2006-12-23, 11:04 PM
Its a war, thats not a real good guys vs bad guys, at best it could be an evil leader (Stanley) against a good leader (Ansom). But its not all of Stanley troops who are bad guys and its not all of Ansom troop who are good guys.

Doshi
2006-12-24, 12:38 AM
Stanley's forces (the Plaid) are being presented as a humorous version of the stereotypical fantasy 'bad guys'. Stanley is on a quest to gain ultimate power, and his army includes parodies of the sorts of characters that would be in a classic fantasy 'evil army'; such as necromancers (croakamancers), dragons (dwagons), trolls (twolls), goblins (gobwin's) and undead (uncroaked). Stanley's office is furnished in classic Evil Overlord decor, with a skull and firepit. Anson's forces by contrast are parodies of a 'good' fantasy army, with humans, elves, and griffons (gwiffons).

When Wanda casts the summoning spell, Stanley's forces will get a new warlord. If that warlord is Sizemore Rockwell, then the fact that Rockwell's strengths include kindness will probably strengthen the ethical position of the Plaid forces.

Krytha
2006-12-24, 12:39 AM
So... Wanda finds Ansom as the best available warlord... wacky hijinks ensue?

Moechi_Vill
2006-12-24, 04:17 AM
Uncroacking soldiers is a highly unethical thing to do.

And yet due to Jillian's reaction it seems to me as standard warfare, she did not specify 'skels' but noted them as 'inf'.

I think they're two teams with different strengths but basically Ansom is the good guy and Stanley is the bad guy. It is very clear from the start.

However the lines are not blurred but they are distinguished in faint pallette colours. Good or evil in turn-based strategy games is more a choice of unit types and spells then ethics. Furthermore the Twoll speaks to the Skells clearly illustrating that he does not find them to no longer be sentient beings, however this is more then likely due to his stupidity.

Om
2006-12-24, 11:34 AM
What I like here is that while we have the obviously contrasting armies there is no flashing neon telling us who to support or who will win. People involved on either side clearly have their own agendas and personalities... a refreshing break from the forces of light battling for the good of the world blah blah blah.

Vossik
2008-10-04, 05:13 PM
When Wanda casts the summoning spell, Stanley's forces will get a new warlord. If that warlord is Sizemore Rockwell, then the fact that Rockwell's strengths include kindness will probably strengthen the ethical position of the Plaid forces.

Wait what?

BRC
2008-10-04, 05:19 PM
Wait what?
Somebody get the Arkenpliers in here, we gots ourselves a thread croakamancer.

Vossik
2008-10-04, 05:20 PM
Ah, Sorry I thought I was on the first page. >.<

MattR
2008-10-04, 05:35 PM
The set up is a standard good vs evil affair, but a more indepth look into the motivations/beliefs of the participants show that things are anything but straight-forward.

The fact that Stanley has been aggressive and made attacks on neighbours doesnt prove he's evil when you take into account the fact that the whole world revolves around combat. Even a side with pacifist tendancies like FAQ had a roaming army they used to supplement income and Ansom was incredulous that such a pocket kingdom could exist for long - http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0091.html.

Stanley and Ansom are similar in their views that something makes them special, better then others.

Webinar and Sizemore are similar in that they dont let their personal feelings get in the way of their Duty.

Wanda and Jillian are both in love with violence and croaking stuff.

Arguably the most evil act is Jillian being tortured and its implied that this happens with her permission anyway.

Occasional Sage
2008-10-04, 07:04 PM
Ah, Sorry I thought I was on the first page. >.<

You were on the first page. The problem is that this thread is from before the summoning spell was cast. Note the dates of the posts: they're from December of 2006. Hence the confusion.

Zolem
2008-10-04, 10:35 PM
You were on the first page. The problem is that this thread is from before the summoning spell was cast. Note the dates of the posts: they're from December of 2006. Hence the confusion.

Wow, that was some impressive croakamancy. It also gives a good indication of how things looked back then and the complexities of the sides we've seen since then.

Laurentio II
2008-10-05, 03:57 AM
Ok, now that the thread has been uncroaked, it pose a nice question. Up to Erfworld 125, page 113: is Stanley side Evil or Good?

I'd go with the easy answer, that Stanley is evil, while the Plaid Tribe, originally, was neutral (Nice ruler, allied with gobwins). Dwagons came after with Stanley, so are part of his "evil side".

The Good side, under a very showoff of a white cavalier, is mostly good. Even if, Transylvito are not the stereotype of good people. I means, they are... italians. And vampires.

Kish
2008-10-05, 09:09 AM
Ansom is morally ambiguous. Stanley really isn't. The conflict might in the end be good vs. evil, or neutral vs. evil, or evil vs. evil...(Mind you, I don't think we're in for a shocking revelation about Jetstone either.)

But the Overlord of Gobwin Knob is very clearly evil.

MattR
2008-10-05, 12:14 PM
I'm still not sure why you say hes clearly 'evil'?

If it possible to be considered 'neutral' with gobwins as allies.. what is it about Stanley that makes him evil?

His superior attitude? yup Ansom has that.

Willingness to attack nearby sides? Conflict is part of their world, Charlie couldnt function very well in a world that was at peace. Ansom is currently intent on slaughtering the plaid side down to the last man, despite the fact Stanley has left the building. Since he's capable of riding a flying mount he could have left to help Vinnie and Jillian... but chose instead to command the siege instead of killing his target.

SteveMB
2008-10-05, 12:21 PM
Since he's capable of riding a flying mount he could have left to help Vinnie and Jillian... but chose instead to command the siege instead of killing his target.

We don't know if he physically could have done so (we don't know how much Move his carpet gives him). In any case, his primary duty (in the small-d sense) was to the Coalition.

Lamech
2008-10-05, 12:23 PM
This thread is a very interesting time capsul for our opinions. Hmm...
Sizemore, Ansom = Good.
Stanley, Charlie = Evil.
Bogroll, Vinny, Webinar = very loyal, not sure if that counts as good.
Parson = just wants to live a free man.
Maggie, Wanda = no clue.
Jillian = hipocrite, not really all that thoughtfull doesn't actually care about helping people, but more her quest for revenge, and trying to get who she wants. I guess I would say she is bad too, but less so that Charlie or Stanley.

Those are my opinions as least.

MattR
2008-10-05, 03:05 PM
His carpet's movement rate would only matter if its impossible for him to borrow a mount off Jillian.

He could have left Webinar in charge standard siege procedures would have been followed which, due to overwhelming numbers, would lead to GK's defeat anyway. The main reason for Ansom staying on at GK seems to be Parson's needling being effective as much as anything else.

fractal
2008-10-05, 03:23 PM
His carpet's movement rate would only matter if its impossible for him to borrow a mount off Jillian.

He could have left Webinar in charge standard siege procedures would have been followed, which due to overwhelming numbers, would lead to GK's defeat anyway. The main reason for Ansom staying on at GK seems to be Parson's needling being effective as much as anything else.
Also presumably Ansom couldn't break his alliance with himself, in order to get the extra movement on Transylvito's turn?

MattR
2008-10-05, 03:33 PM
ahhh good point there... heh i withdraw that line of thinking.

Radar
2008-10-06, 02:45 AM
I find it really amusing, that a lot of people think, that Ansom is good basing on visual traits (he is a typical blond hero with blue eyes and in shining armor) and the fact, he has a cute looking army. His ego is one thing, but his reason for ganging up on Stanley was the "royality thingy". If anything Ansom is Miko-style "holier then thou" good, which isn't that much good.

For Stanley: he is on a quest to gather all Arkentools and conquere the world with a "we're on a mission from Titans" topping. It seems a typical evil overlord with a delusion grandeur. Yet the whole world revolves around war and almost every side is on a quest to conquere the world (or a big chunk of said world).

IMO it's best not to rely on good versus evil scheme.

Kish
2008-10-06, 06:26 AM
For Stanley: he is on a quest to gather all Arkentools and conquere the world with a "we're on a mission from Titans" topping. It seems a typical evil overlord with a delusion grandeur. Yet the whole world revolves around war and almost every side is on a quest to conquere the world (or a big chunk of said world).

Oh? As far as I can see, exactly one side is on a quest to conquer the world, with every other side being either on a quest simply to stop that side, or mercenaries on a quest to make money (Charlie).

Laurentio II
2008-10-06, 07:19 AM
Maggie, Wanda = no clue.
Maggie was popped under Saline IV, and seems to me to be neutral, with a side of loyalty to the role more than to the person.
Wanda is utterly evil. Not in the "Kill people for fun" way, but in the "Don't care if you die", sure.

Finwe
2008-10-06, 08:00 AM
Stanley is the kind of guy that everyone loves to hate, so everyone pegs him as evil, but what do we know he has done that's actually evil? Maybe some of the things that he does are morally questionable, but other than the fact that everyone seems to hate him and think he's evil, what evidence is there? Maybe he just hasn't yet had a chance to eat a stray puppy, but I think that if the authors wanted him to be really evil, we'd have seen much more evidence than just scary looking units.


Similarly, what has Ansom done to prove that he's good? It seems his biggest motivation for wanting to croak Stanley is that Stanley isn't royalty. Again, the authors haven't given him a chance to clearly demonstrate his goodness. I think this conflict is quite gray, and meant to be that way.

Laurentio II
2008-10-06, 08:33 AM
Stanley is the kind of guy that everyone loves to hate, so everyone pegs him as evil,
Sending people to torture is hardly a good thing, but I mostly agree with you. Stanley is more a moronic incompetent with serious lack of empathy. "I want the Arkentools! I'll kill and stab and crush and WHOOOOOM everyone on my route!".
Anyway, it's the one in the comic that i can figure shooting, burning and raping a dog for the fun of it.

Similarly, what has Ansom done to prove that he's good?
"Nothing" is a nice start. I figure him as neutral.

Capt'n Ironbrow
2008-10-06, 09:22 AM
I find it really amusing, that a lot of people think, that Ansom is good basing on visual traits (he is a typical blond hero with blue eyes and in shining armor) and the fact, he has a cute looking army. His ego is one thing, but his reason for ganging up on Stanley was the "royality thingy". If anything Ansom is Miko-style "holier then thou" good, which isn't that much good.

For Stanley: he is on a quest to gather all Arkentools and conquere the world with a "we're on a mission from Titans" topping. It seems a typical evil overlord with a delusion grandeur. Yet the whole world revolves around war and almost every side is on a quest to conquere the world (or a big chunk of said world).

IMO it's best not to rely on good versus evil scheme.

well, the troops of Gobwin Knob are kinda cute also, there's no real ugliness in them, even the skeletons are like, well, Lego skeletons, which aren't really scary... and the Dwagons, well, they look as cuddly as the battlebears of the coalition. The Gobwins may have little horns, but so have satyrs, who in most western fiction are nice little fellows who just look a bit odd.

heh, the ugliest mount I've seen in the comic is Webinar's strange (toothless?) beast!

Radar
2008-10-06, 11:18 AM
Oh? As far as I can see, exactly one side is on a quest to conquer the world, with every other side being either on a quest simply to stop that side, or mercenaries on a quest to make money (Charlie).
Still the whole Erf is a world made for war. Each person is a unit - there's no such thing as a civilian.

On the other hand: in real world each country is persumably aiming to gain more power or wealth - one way or another. But in our world we have more means to do so. In fact it is more profitable to cooperate, then to fight. In Erfworld there isn't much to do apart from starting a war, to gain more cities, mines or farms. Pacifst kingdoms as FAQ are bound to fall. Therefore there isn't much choice: eat or get eaten - that's what you get on Erf.


well, the troops of Gobwin Knob are kinda cute also, there's no real ugliness in them, even the skeletons are like, well, Lego skeletons, which aren't really scary... and the Dwagons, well, they look as cuddly as the battlebears of the coalition. The Gobwins may have little horns, but so have satyrs, who in most western fiction are nice little fellows who just look a bit odd.

heh, the ugliest mount I've seen in the comic is Webinar's strange (toothless?) beast!
Maybe not in this topic, but there were arguments posted, that Stanley is evil, because he leads gobwins, dwagons and uncroaked unit - as if having a green skin and slightly bigger fangs was an indicator of being evil.

Perhaps cute was an inaccurate word. It's just, that on one side we have Ansom with carebears and on the other Stanley with spidews and such (plus a fiery pit in the throneroom). It's too over-the-top cliche, to be real, yet some people were buying it.

Texas Jedi
2008-10-06, 11:31 AM
When I first started reading Gobwin Knob I would have aggreed with most of the above posters.

Ansom = Good.

Stanley = Evil.

After reading for about a year I have changed and am just convinced it is a fight between two different armies. There is no good army vs. evil army in this particular story. The groups are fighting for different purposes and have no other higher motives (that have been mentioned) other than that.

Caledonian
2008-10-06, 11:41 AM
I think it might be useful to direct you to my signature.

Rather than trying to determine which *side* is Good or Evil, try looking at individuals *within* each side.

I think you'll find that everyone is Good towards some individuals, and Evil towards others. Generally speaking, most of the characters are a variety of Neutral.

There are a few that show clear inclinations one way or another, though.

Subtext
2008-10-06, 12:07 PM
If you judge someone as "good" or "bad", I don't think it would be correct to judge someone solely based on his actions. Actually, I think motivation is the more important aspect whether to judge someone as good or bad.
Considering that, Stanley reminds me of a crusader. While their actions can be considered evil, they really believed that they were doing the right thing.
And he doesn't kill people for fun or heritage...instead of Ansom who actually wants to wipe out non-royal leaders.

ericgrau
2008-10-06, 02:12 PM
Stanley & co. are supposed to be the "bad guys" by theme, but really there are no true "good guys" or "bad guys".

Krelon
2008-10-06, 04:23 PM
Assuming you are a peaceful person who does not like to hurt others, ask yourself on which side would you prefer to live, Jetstone or Plaid?

In which country would you feel safer? Where is the danger smaller that someone just kills you and burns your farm without respecting long standing agreements? (Perhaps only to be able to uncroak you?)

From a gamers perspective all sides are morally equal with different strengths and weaknesses, after all it is a game world dedicated to warfare. In almost all other fantasy worlds Stanleys side would be automatically evil, I think (goblins, undead, quest for ultimate power for personal gain).

Btw, Charlie is the embodiment of the corporate world. He has no morals, is only interested in gaining wealth and power (and he seems to be the only stockholder of his enterprise). He looks pretty evil to me.

I am missing a clearly good side. Maybe that flower-power mages where Wanda bought her spell could be consider good, but then again they sold the spell to an evil side.

Zolem
2008-10-06, 05:03 PM
I am missing a clearly good side. Maybe that flower-power mages where Wanda bought her spell could be consider good, but then again they sold the spell to an evil side.

She didn't buy it from the Hippymancers. She bought if from the findamancers.

Subtext
2008-10-06, 06:17 PM
Technically she bought it from the magic kingdom what should cover all of that stuff.

Lord_Butters_I
2008-10-06, 07:14 PM
There is no good and there is no evil. Such things are fabrications created by manipulative leaders to control those who follow them. Morality is subjective; one man's evil is another's salvation. All there truly is is opportunity, and those too blind to see it.

[/philosophy]

Kish
2008-10-06, 08:59 PM
And he doesn't kill people for fun or heritage...instead of Ansom who actually wants to wipe out non-royal leaders.
Y'know, correcting all the false claims about either Ansom or Parson on this forum would be like the burden of Sisyphus.

I actually can't think of anyone who's claimed Stanley cares about his people, or anything similar, though. Mostly it seems to be claims of what isn't shown about Stanley, rather than what is. ("There's no indication Stanley's evil.")



[/philosophy]Shouldn't that signoff be /Voldemort ?

Or was Rowling paraphrasing an older source?

Arkenputtyknife
2008-10-06, 09:48 PM
There is no good and there is no evil. Such things are fabrications created by manipulative leaders to control those who follow them. Morality is subjective; one man's evil is another's salvation. All there truly is is opportunity, and those too blind to see it.

I give you perhaps thirty years to find the fatal defect in that philosophy. Maybe as few as ten if you're sharp, wise, and keep your eyes and ears open.

Zolem
2008-10-06, 09:49 PM
Shouldn't that signoff be /Voldemort ?

Or was Rowling paraphrasing an older source?

I personaly think it should be /Lucifer

Daigotsu Kyosei
2008-10-06, 10:35 PM
Stanley fights for a self imposed vendetta, as does Ansom.

As far as I'm concerned they're all bad guys. Ansom fights on the pretense of eliminating an evil who wontanly attacked cities, but really fights to restore royal lines' rule. (for power in otherwords)

Stanley belives he was chosen for a divine purpose fights for power, of all things.

or atleast that's how i read into it, wheter or not I explained my self well.

Silverlocke980
2008-10-07, 10:04 AM
Actually, yes, and it's not who we assume it is.

Stanley's the good guy.

...Oh, this is gonna get responses. Let me defend myself!

The big trick here is that, despite the way it "looks"- i.e. Stanley's got the dead people, the ferocious reptilian monsters, the lumpish monster bodyguards, while Ansom's got the pretty troops- Stanley is still the good guy. Note that I am not saying "hero"; he's the good guy.

Remember that whole talk about the Arkenhammer and Stanley being "holy"? What if it's true? We assume it isn't because Stanley's a damn idiot, but that doesn't mean he's right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Besides, Ansom seems way more off his kilter than Stanley to me. Ansom keeps talking about his divine right, etc., etc., and truth be told it creeps me out a lot. Stanley may be a numbskull, but at least he justifies his position with a rather fortuitous set of circumstances- getting the Arkenhammer, becoming an Overlord- rather than just getting born (made?) into his position.

I think there's also another clue in Ansom's forces: Vinny. Vinny is, hands down, the single most valiant character in the strip right now. He's fighting for his friend, he's stood by his side, and he's just generally been a "good" character.

He's also a vampire!

The evidence seems to tell me that we need to drop our preconceptions of "good guy" and "bad guy". Here, there either isn't one- which is a possibility, I'll admit, though I'm rather fond of the idea that Ansom is the bad guy- or it's reversed.

The idea that Stanley is the villain- that first sight is accurate- is too simplistic for the nature of this comic. It's much like the art- it seems simple, but they do complex stuff with it.

Scylfing
2008-10-07, 10:58 AM
Shouldn't that signoff be /Voldemort ?

Or was Rowling paraphrasing an older source?

Winner. :smallbiggrin:


Ansom is a "good guy" in the sense that he is generous to his allies, mainly by putting himself and his own at great risk to ensure their safety from their enemies who by transition have become his enemies that must be crushed for the greater good. However, that's only the public reason for why he does this, with the true reason being his belief in Noblesse Oblige, or "White Man's Burden" in post-colonial terms, a notion which modern society largely rejects, and apparently Erfworld society (see Vinny, Jillian, the reaction of Ansom's allies to his pro-royal tirade) isn't all that comfortable with it either.

And rightly so, not just because his allies have every right to undertake risk themselves (interestingly enough he lets Jillian do this only after finding out she's royalty) but also because it simply doesn't work. It's bad strategy, heck it's anti-strategy, to let his ideology trump what the best uses are for all his forces in the current situation. The Tool is guilty of the same thing of course, which makes their parallel all the more interesting, though I guess Stanley's ideology and his way of going about it--he's almost as bad to his allies as to his enemies--are even more repugnant to us. Chaotic Stupid is worse than Lawful Stupid I guess.

But personally I reject both of them so that's enough to make them "bad guys" to me, while Parson, Sizemore, Vinny and Webinar are a lot closer to the "good guys" of their respective sides. Jillian and Wanda are too complicated for this question, while Charlie's just out for himself.

Kish
2008-10-07, 04:13 PM
Actually, yes, and it's not who we assume it is.

Stanley's the good guy.

...Oh, this is gonna get responses. Let me defend myself!

The big trick here is that, despite the way it "looks"- i.e. Stanley's got the dead people, the ferocious reptilian monsters, the lumpish monster bodyguards, while Ansom's got the pretty troops- Stanley is still the good guy. Note that I am not saying "hero"; he's the good guy.

Remember that whole talk about the Arkenhammer and Stanley being "holy"? What if it's true? We assume it isn't because Stanley's a damn idiot, but that doesn't mean he's right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I think you've got the concepts of "hero" and "good guy" mixed up. By some definitions of "hero," a hero can be an evil bastard; a good guy can't be.

Suppose you and Stanley were right. Suppose he is "holy," which as he described it means the Titans want him to win. So? What of it?

Who the Titans want to win means no more to me than who they left in charge does. Stanley started a world war for his personal ambitions, he treats his followers like garbage (including literally turning three of them into a device rather than people, for which he graciously doesn't quite concede he might be partly responsible when one of them is insane later, leaving the dead one to lie on the floor), he believes everyone in Gobwin Knob is important only to the Titan's plan for him. That matters. Lots of people seem to want to ignore or deny the way Stanley behaves. I don't understand it, and probably never will.

On the other hand, Ansom thinks he's better than non-royals. "I am stronger, smarter, and more morally fit to lead than those of a lesser station. It is my privilege, and my burden, to lead both man and beast!" And because of that belief, Jetstone has taken a leadership role in stopping someone nearly everyone wants stopped, who hadn't done anything to Jetstone. "[Stanley] became an Overlord by regicide," Ansom said. Whether or not it's true, it's the way Ansom sees it, and Ansom is provably (Charlie) willing to ally with non-noble leaders who have Arkentools.

There's no burden for Stanley, only privilege. He leads because, in his mind, he matters to the Titans and no one else does. One grey, one black, and if you honestly think Stanley is good I don't know what to say.

Krelon
2008-10-07, 04:31 PM
Right about the "hero" thing though I'd rather call him "protagonist".

Zolem
2008-10-07, 06:09 PM
Actually, yes, and it's not who we assume it is.

Stanley's the good guy.

...Oh, this is gonna get responses. Let me defend myself!

The big trick here is that, despite the way it "looks"- i.e. Stanley's got the dead people, the ferocious reptilian monsters, the lumpish monster bodyguards, while Ansom's got the pretty troops- Stanley is still the good guy. Note that I am not saying "hero"; he's the good guy.

Remember that whole talk about the Arkenhammer and Stanley being "holy"? What if it's true? We assume it isn't because Stanley's a damn idiot, but that doesn't mean he's right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Besides, Ansom seems way more off his kilter than Stanley to me. Ansom keeps talking about his divine right, etc., etc., and truth be told it creeps me out a lot. Stanley may be a numbskull, but at least he justifies his position with a rather fortuitous set of circumstances- getting the Arkenhammer, becoming an Overlord- rather than just getting born (made?) into his position.

I think there's also another clue in Ansom's forces: Vinny. Vinny is, hands down, the single most valiant character in the strip right now. He's fighting for his friend, he's stood by his side, and he's just generally been a "good" character.

He's also a vampire!

The evidence seems to tell me that we need to drop our preconceptions of "good guy" and "bad guy". Here, there either isn't one- which is a possibility, I'll admit, though I'm rather fond of the idea that Ansom is the bad guy- or it's reversed.

The idea that Stanley is the villain- that first sight is accurate- is too simplistic for the nature of this comic. It's much like the art- it seems simple, but they do complex stuff with it.

And let's not forget that Vinny has started to abandon and chalange Ansom, questioning his motives. The fact that Ansom's not really putting up a good defence doesn't help his case. He's definantly taking up a form of 'the whiteman's burden', a very outdated philosophy of 'I'm better than you, so listen to me and be like me or else'. Colonialists used to berate tribal medecin men for their beleifs that certain plants would cure illness. Now we treck through the jungle in hopes of finding people who rembemer those old cures because it turns out almost all of them worked.

Also, if the Titan's ant Stanly to suceed, this raises the question "Why?" It's one thing to have a higher destiny and diety apointed victory, but what would the Titan's hope to acheive if Stanly wins?

Kish
2008-10-07, 07:37 PM
Right about the "hero" thing though I'd rather call him "protagonist".
The problem with that, is that "Parson Gotti" is an anagram for "protagonist."

Mind you, if I squint, I find it becomes hard to perceive a meaningful moral difference between Stanley the Tool and Parson the Git, though Parson's people skills are certainly better.

Krelon
2008-10-08, 02:42 PM
The problem with that, is that "Parson Gotti" is an anagram for "protagonist."

Mind you, if I squint, I find it becomes hard to perceive a meaningful moral difference between Stanley the Tool and Parson the Git, though Parson's people skills are certainly better.

I'm quite certain there can be more than one protagonist in a story. The perspective switches between the sides and there are several "persons" involved that could become the "hero" in a Hollywood-style remake of the Battle for Gobwin Knob. :smallwink:

EBass
2008-10-08, 10:08 PM
I think its very hard to judge "good" and "evil" in a world where totally different groundrules apply to morality. For example, in our world children are generally regarded as sacred and protected, but in Erf? Everything just pops fully formed. I guess the nearest thing to a child would be a freshly popped unit, but I doubt any war leaders would attempt to protect newly popped units any more than units popped eons ago because they are "too young."

I think the only real person we can objectivly judge is Parson, as he shares the values of our world. I increasingly believe a part of the story will come soon where Parson acts in a way that he never would in our world, because he views most of the world as just a game, and most of the individuals in it, merely units with stats, not people.

AceOfFools
2008-10-10, 10:23 PM
There's bad guys: Stanley, Ansom, Wanda.

The first two are religious fanatics that use their personal beliefs to justify killing lots and lots of people. The latter has that "enslave by subtle mind control" thing.

There's good guys: Vinnie, Parson, Sizemore.

Vinnie just wants to end the treat of one of the world ending fanatics, Parson just wants to surrvive the rather untenable situation he's put in, and Sizemore just wants to learn without hurting anyone.

Hope my $0.02 was worth the time.

Lamech
2008-10-11, 10:34 AM
I'm going to say why I think that Ansom is good in a little more detail...

Now he seems fairly arogant when it comes to the royal mandate, and a partial reason for the war is to stop a non-royal/noble from being a ruler. Regardless I do not believe he is on this mission just to stop a non-royal ruler. He seems willing to deal with Charlie, someone who is a non-royal, and he hasn't tried to stop Charlie yet. I doubt he would be on the war path if Stanley was a peaceful little ruler, but attacked after Stanley decided he wanted to start taking cities.

Now the whole being better than non-royals erks me quite a bit. It is a black stain on his otherwise good record. But look at the other coalition leaders (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0113.html), I think that he has probably compared himself with people like these. Those who want to risk troops for a day of comfort. It makes his conclusion seem a little more reasonable when his idea of a non-royal is a person like the angry lady.

MattR
2008-10-11, 12:38 PM
Ansom may be willing to work with Charlie for the same reason hes had no qualms working with Jillian i.e. he's assuming theyre royals when faced with an absence of evidence proving things one way or another. Charlie is a master tactician, Ansom may be unable to accept that a 'commoner' would be a better tactician then himself.

Ansom deliberately sent in his own troops BEFORE the rest of the coalition were in position to attack the walls which put them at risk of a counterattack in the tunnels. He sacrificed certain safety and success for chance of succeeding before his allies had the opportunity to... just because he had suspicians about them. If he really cared about keeping casualties down to a minimum he'd have waited to hit all sides at once and let his allies have an even chance. If one of them did 'betray' him by accepting GKs surrender it would have still deprived Stanley of his city.

Unless youre going to argue with the fact that Vinny appears to be the most level-headed member of the coalition AND that he appears to be a close friend of Ansom's, you have to accept that his views on Ansom's reasons for joining the coalition could be very accurate indeed.

MReav
2008-10-11, 01:11 PM
Also, I don't think taking on Charlie is a good idea during a time when a crazy tyrant is out warmongering. Charlie has a huge advantage in Thinkamancy and he's got large numbers of Archons. Plus, he hasn't been actively pissing off the other factions by attacking them.

Lamech
2008-10-11, 05:41 PM
Ansom may be willing to work with Charlie for the same reason hes had no qualms working with Jillian i.e. he's assuming theyre royals when faced with an absence of evidence proving things one way or another. Charlie is a master tactician, Ansom may be unable to accept that a 'commoner' would be a better tactician then himself.
Charlie refers to himself as overlord, and I think it would be good for business, when dealing with people like Ansom, to be royal. Secondly, since thr royals can trace the lines back to the begining, if Charlie was royal people could trace his origins.


Ansom deliberately sent in his own troops BEFORE the rest of the coalition were in position to attack the walls which put them at risk of a counterattack in the tunnels. He sacrificed certain safety and success for chance of succeeding before his allies had the opportunity to... just because he had suspicians about them. If he really cared about keeping casualties down to a minimum he'd have waited to hit all sides at once and let his allies have an even chance. If one of them did 'betray' him by accepting GKs surrender it would have still deprived Stanley of his city.

Umm... Ansom's plan was to hit it from all sides at once, notice how he didn't attack. Ansom believed that having enough forces in the tunnel to take the garrison would force Parson to withdraw from the walls. In doing so it would mean they could be knocked down without difficulty. Then the garrison could be crushed, with ease. No one in the coalition forsaw an attack on the coalition forces.


Unless youre going to argue with the fact that Vinny appears to be the most level-headed member of the coalition AND that he appears to be a close friend of Ansom's, you have to accept that his views on Ansom's reasons for joining the coalition could be very accurate indeed.
Sure its part of the reason. But I bet part of the reason is to get acess to GK's insane magic resources; every moderatly powerful unit in GK gets a glowy magic weapon. They have acess to multiple casters, and the arkenhammer. Getting some extra territory is another reason. Not risking facing Stanley alone after he has conquered more land, gotten more casters, more dragons, and a higher chief warlord, is probably a reason too. Ending a great evil is probably in their too, along with stopping the regicer.

BTW: Vinny even says "don't like how he came to power". (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0034.html) I doubt he meant just not being a royal. He is implying that the "kind of regicide" was part of it, not simply being not royal/noble.

Majidah
2008-10-14, 11:34 PM
I'm firmly in the Princess Mononuke camp (aka. everyone has their own agenda, good and evil do not attach). However, it stuck me that perhaps we're missing something important.

A traditonal fantasy setting has magical axes like "fire/water," "Light/shadow," and unit types like goblins, griffiens and dragons. In Erf with teddybear golums and thinkamancy, I'm not sure the traditional law-neutral-chaos good-neutral-evil alignment axes attach. Thus I present the following

Axis 1: Cuteful-Homely-Creepy

Axis 2: Proud-Clever-Humble

Stanley: Creepy Proud
Wanda/Vitto: Creepy Clever
Sizemore - Homely Humble
Maggie: Homely Clever
Jillian: Homely Proud
Ansom: Cuteful Proud
Charlie: Cuteful Clever

ChowGuy
2008-10-15, 01:02 AM
Bogroll: Creepy Humble ?

One thing to consider. Everyone, even Vinny, is talking about Ansom's reasons for being in the fight, but Ansom is not Jetstone's Overlord, Slately is. So whatever Ansom does, and whyever he thinks he's doing it, he's either acting in pursuit of Slately's orders, or defying them.

In the former case, beyond the fact that forming a larger coalition (something he's good at) is a good strategy for attacking a powerful single enemy, his motives in this are irrelevant.

In the latter case, he's acting on his own/against orders, he's probably breaking Erf's own rules, and the only reason he could have for doing that is to set up his a power base for his own coup and eventual world domination.

Put that in your good/evil smipe and poke it.

Majidah
2008-10-15, 08:03 AM
I kinda thought of bogroll as True Homely.