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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Xykon said that it was better to be a brain in a jar than to let yourself die, and that if you die you're a loser.
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    However, this does not go with his actual behavior when he was alive. He was thinking about leaving a legacy after his death. With some of the most powerful magic in his world, he wasn't thinking about immortality at all. The only reason he ever became a lich, was because Redcloak suggested it as an alternative to living out his waning years in Lirian's prison.

    So why did he say it? Because his philosophy changed after his death? Maybe, but mainly because the point of what he was saying was to Score On Spliced-Vaarsuvius. If that involved saying things he believed, or things he didn't believe, not really the point.
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    Personally, I think it's entirely silly to even speculate that Xykon's philosophy didn't genuinely change after his undeath, given that the transformation in his personality was a Big Dramatic Moment in SoD.

    Such speeches as the one Xykon gave V are meant to fulfill two narrative purposes: they serve the character's immediate motivation (score on spliced V), to be sure, but they also tell the reader about the character's more fundamental motives.

    Similarly, while it would make sense purely as an event within the world for Tarquin to create this no-lose scenario simply to appease Elan, it doesn't make sense from the perspective of the author illustrating Tarquin's character to the readers.

    One other point: Tarquin's scenario is fundamentally based on the idea of keeping score over a long period of time to determine whether he 'won' or not. His reasoning is that he has won over so much time that whether he wins or loses now doesn't really matter with respect to his total accumulated past victories. That doesn't mean he doesn't want to win now. Economic concept of marginal outcomes: more victory is better. If he loses here and now, he can be frustrated about the immediate loss (the "Argh, no!" reaction you mentioned), while still being philosophically content with the total sum of victories he has built up. That's not a contradiction. So the outcome you describe can be explained without requiring Tarquin to lie in any sense about his no-lose scenario.
    Last edited by Math_Mage; 2012-09-29 at 03:40 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    what i would love to see from a good story perspective, is to have tarquin panic.

    tarquin is written as the villain who is always in control, always has backup plans, uses everything to obtain new knowledge, and when he will eventually go down, he will probably do so while congratulating his enemies on how well they did it.

    so basically, as he explained to elan, he'll think of himself as a winner no matter how it ends.

    the only way elan would really *defeat* him, would be by psychologically breaking tarquin. i want to see him run around in blind panic, i want to see him beg for forgiveness/his life. i want to see him broken and ashamed.

    mind you, not because i don't like him, he's one awesome magnificent bastard, but because it would be the ultimate demise for someone so much in control, to be running in blind panic.

    it would be one hell of a challenge for rich to let this happen in a believable way, but should he try to do so and succeed, then he's the best writer ever in my book

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    So I guess Taquins ultimate plan is just an adjustment of personal goals:


    "Mwahahahaha! I always wanted to be tortured for three days before dying! I win!"

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    It's all moot really until we see how Tarquin reacts when he's over a barrel- even Xykon's known to panic when he's facing defeat.

    And as for Tarquin's 'I win either way' plan- doesn't really matter how much land you conquer or long you stay in power when you're going to Hell (the existence of which is common knowledge in D&D) for eternity or as close as matters.

    Turns out demons would rather use your soul as stress toy/toilet unblocker than debate the limitations and realism of the alignment system.
    Last edited by TheBST; 2012-10-01 at 05:30 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I really, really want Tarquin to suffer a horrible defeat. But not because I hate him: he's an awesome villain, and I enjoy seeing him. He's witty, affable, totally evil, but great fun. I want him to get beaten because he's a love-to-hate villain and I'm legitimately curious about his defeat/demise.

    For one, assuming Elan beats him (which is implied by the Unseen Plan of Comic #836), he'll be proud he lost in a father-son duel, even if it involves no combat.

    For another, the very premise of his defeat has to nullify the decades of evil rulership under his belt. My only guess is that it destroys his credibility, possibly by convincing the public he performs depraved acts of lust with deceased livestock or something humiliating.

    Mario Lanza, a Survivor writer, said that one player getting crushed by an old lady in a challenge was the best thing to happen to him, because it cemented his villainy. If he won, people wouldn't see him as a good villain. The same applies to Tarquin: If he wins, nobody will be able to say he was a villain, because villains winning is too depressing.

    Tarquin is a good villain, and it'll be bittersweet to see him get thrashed (actual thrashing optional). We'll lose a great character, but it'll probably be awesome.

    TL:DR-Yes, he should be bashed in, but only because good villains must lose to be good villains.

    Thanks to flumphy for the avatar

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by konradknox View Post
    I think Xykon would actually respect Tarquin as a fellow evildoer, especially one with a solid working evil scheme
    Would Xykon recruit Tarquin? I suspect the answer is"yes" - Xykon was happy enough to recruit Tsukiko and probably enjoys the thought of Redcloak having a rival.

    Would Tarquin sign up? My guess is "yes, but only on a temporary basis". To join Xykon for a while, because he's too powerful to say no to and because it might be fun, is one thing. To permanently subordinate himself wouldn't be acceptable.

    Tarquin versus Redcloak, while both are employed by Xykon, would be an interesting political battle, though perhaps too much of a repeat of Tsukiko versus Redcloak.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbofinger View Post
    Would Tarquin sign up? My guess is "yes, but only on a temporary basis". To join Xykon for a while, because he's too powerful to say no to and because it might be fun, is one thing. To permanently subordinate himself wouldn't be acceptable.
    Of course Tarquin would sign up. He signed up with Baron Tyrinar, with the Empress of Blood, with Nale, and with many nameless others.

    Signing up to be a subordinate and advisor is what Tarquin does.

    And once he helped the Order of the Stick defeat Xykon, he would sign up with Roy next.

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Signing up to be a subordinate and advisor is what Tarquin does.
    A small correction: what Tarquin does is sign up to be a subordinate and adviser to a pre-handpicked patsy. If Tarquin sees Xykon in this light he's setting himself up for a fall, just like everyone else who's underestimated Xykon.
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    tongue Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Why has no one else realized that by explaining his plan to Elan, Tarquin has effectively guaranteed the success of his secondary plans. Tarquin has two major goals here.

    1. Rule in power and luxury for as long as he can (Impossible to thwart because it has already happened.)

    2. Be remembered as the ultimate villian (certainly seems to be working, judging from the amount of data on this thread )

    But seriously, it does seem that explaining the whole thing to the bard makes Tarquin's true story more likely to be remembered.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I think what really got to Elan was the line "I'll inspire a thousand more leaders to follow in my footsteps. And it'll all be thanks to you, my boy."

    So I was thinking what sort of victory condition would Elan be considering here? What's his list of priorities?

    1) Wants to limit further evil in the world by preventing Tarquin inspiring new generations of ruthless warlords.

    2) Obviously wants to shut Tarquin down as soon as possible so that horrible tyranny doesn't continue in the immediate future.

    but also

    3) He doesn't really want to kill/do other bad things to Tarquin either. Elan's not that sort of guy. He saved Nale when it mattered. Sure he attacked Tarquin but that was in the heat of the moment. Whatever his plan is it's probably going to be something that does as little harm to his dad as possible and would definitely at least avoid causing undue distress to him insofar as it's possible.


    I say he wants to redeem Tarquin and/or at the very least twist his reputation from a fearsome badass tyrant to something positive and heroic. Set something in motion where Tarquin is remembered in history as the real tragic hero of the story. The one who gave his life defeating the Empress so that the people would live free. Something to inspire future generations to follow this false example of the selfless hero Tarquin.

    Where does Durkon come in? I dunno. Maybe he wants Durkon to slap Tarquin with a Geas so that he plays along with the plan or something.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    An interesting question is: Why exactly do so many people hate Tarquin so much? I mean, Tarquin is a villian, but he's one of the lesser villians as far as Evil is concerned, compared to skrell like Xykon or Redcloak or Kubota. It seems to me that he's about the same level of wrong as Nale, and there doesn't seem to be a huge section of rabid Nale-haters on the forums (though maybe I just missed them post.)

    So in answer to the title question, No, I don't want Tarquin to get bashed in. I want Tarquin to make the jump from Evil Lawful to Lawful Good, establish a fair (though probably still harsh) regime, and live happily for many years until he dies of old age.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    An interesting question is: Why exactly do so many people hate Tarquin so much? I mean, Tarquin is a villian, but he's one of the lesser villians as far as Evil is concerned, compared to skrell like Xykon or Redcloak or Kubota. It seems to me that he's about the same level of wrong as Nale, and there doesn't seem to be a huge section of rabid Nale-haters on the forums (though maybe I just missed them post.)
    Nale probably gets a pass because he effectively punishes himself, by his staggering overall incompetence. It's impossible to take Nale seriously.

    Kubota - is very comparable, but he was only ever a bit player and, in the approved minor-boss mode, he died pretty much as soon as he came into direct contact with our heroes. There was no need to hate him, because he was never successful.

    Redcloak has basically had a whole dump of karmic retribution already, thanks to Xykon.

    I'd say people do "hate" Xykon at least as much as Tarquin. The reason we don't feel the need to say so very often is because - well, nobody disputes it. (For values of "nobody" that include a mostly-quiet handful of people with dubious SAN ratings, you know who you are.) And since he's the main villain of the story, we assume he's going to get his comeuppance at, but not before, the grand finale.

    But Tarquin has admirers. His self-justifications have been so eloquent that some people have actually swallowed them, at least in part. Hence much more debate, and that makes the "hate" - louder. Then there's his smug "I've-already-won" schtick, which means that we know the iron laws of karma must smack him down with a particularly ferocious intensity. Otherwise, nothing makes sense.
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  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    An interesting question is: Why exactly do so many people hate Tarquin so much? I mean, Tarquin is a villian, but he's one of the lesser villians as far as Evil is concerned, compared to skrell like Xykon or Redcloak or Kubota. It seems to me that he's about the same level of wrong as Nale, and there doesn't seem to be a huge section of rabid Nale-haters on the forums (though maybe I just missed them post.)
    Yeah. To me, the comic is for comedy's sake. Tarquin, in his own way, contributes to the comedic effect. Thus, I don't understand the bitterness towards him.

    Of course, Xykon is the funniest character in the whole strip. So, I hope Xykon does what he wants. Not because of any plot device, but rather because he is funny.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Actually, there is a moderately-sized segment of Nale-haters on the forum. They pop up whenever he's doing well, which is why we haven't seen much of them lately.

    Also, ditto veti.

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I also think the reason Tarquin gets so much hate is not because of what he does in comic, but because he has a lot of fans and admirers in audience and haters think that is simply wrong. Also, the fact that he has yet to make a dumb mistake doesn't help either.

    In terms of evilness, I think Nale is much more Evil than Tarquin is. I would peg Tarquin somewhere between Kubota and Bozzok. Kubota is very close, except he was willing to sell his soul to get the power he wanted. Bozzok is a merciless mob boss, but does not indulge in cruelty.
    All thanks to half-halfling for the avatar.

    There must be some sense of order - personal, political or dramatic - and if no one else is going to bring it to this world, I will.

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  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by VariableNature View Post
    But for Tarquin, he doesn't seem to have an "I lose" condition. From the plan he detailed to Elan, he seems to have planned for everything. He's essentially the "perfect" bad guy, and that just rubs me the wrong way.

    So. Too long didn't read version: I like Tarquin as a character. But I don't like that he seems to have no weaknesses.
    I think that he has no lose condition because he, in a sense, has no win condition either. His plan cannot fail because it has already succeeded. He has lived for many years in proseperity, raised two sons (at least, he probably has more running around from all his various romantic conquests), and has succeeded at telling Elan, and thus the readership of this comic, all about his successes, and is perfectly ready to die when his time comes. His plan cannot be thwarted because it has already succeded.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    [COLOR="Blue"]Even if Elan kills him, who will even know that he wasn't some random serial second-in-command? Kind of a serious flaw for such a skilled schemer.
    That's why he told Elan his plan. Now everybody knows what really happened.

  18. - Top - End - #108
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    That's why he told Elan his plan. Now everybody knows what really happened.
    If by "everybody" you mean "the audience", then sure. But in-universe? The people outside his adventuring party who know his plan are Elan, Roy, Haley, Belkar, Ian, Geoff, Ivy, possibly Durkon, and everyone Ian and Geoff told who is still alive.
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  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I think It's going to be a whole Star Wars reference (seriously)

    With 2 obvious references and one obscure (one rebel against a force of an EMPIRE), its safe to say instead of getting killed, He redeems himself by saving Elan from the Emperor(ess). That way instead of a badass villan, you got a (badass) hero
    Whatever I do, I make sure to tell Sun Tzu to shut up and sit down and show him how it is done.
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  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Rebuttal, point 1: the Empress is incompetent, lazy, and pliable, especially to Tarquin. He's already "saved" Elan from the Empress - and Malack - once by whispering a few words in her ear. She is also comic relief, and thus not a legitimate threat to Elan in the same way that Palpatine was a legitimate threat to Luke.

    Rebuttal, point 2: Vader's redemption is seen as cheap and easy by many observers. Tarquin going for, still less being conned into, cheap and easy redemption doesn't jive with either his character or the Giant's discussions of what redemption is or what it's worth (see Soon's speech to Miko and any V thread).
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    "I'm the R to the E to the T-C-O-N, and I change the past so the now makes sense again. I'm Retconlicious!"
    Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels, doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles, wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, these are a few are my favorite things.
    Humanized stick figure Twilight Sparkle by me. Find the full set here.

  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I actually like Tarquin. I'm not going to fangirl over him or join his fan club or anything, but I find him to be interesting and entertaining. However, he has this idea of Elan being this huge hero more along the lines of Roy than how he really is. I would like Tarquin to realize all of Elan's buffoonish tendencies and lose his faith in him. Then, I want Elan to defeat him in some unorthodox, deliightfully Elan-ish way. This would either be Tarquin's "ultimate defeat" or it would restore his pride in his son and he would die happy. Probably the second.

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    I don't want Tarquin to be defeated at all. He's the most complex and interesting character in the story so far IMO; I don't think he needs to be defeated because "bad guys always lose". Sometimes, the bad guy winning (or at least not losing) is just as satisfying and effective story-wise as the good guys overcoming the odds.

    Would 1984 have been as chilling had the last few chapters been about Winston breaking free of miniluv and single-handedly taking down the Party? No, the point of the story is to paint a portrait of a terrifying future - "a boot stomping on a human face, forever". If the good guys won it'd detract from that. Similarly, I think Tarquin doesn't need to be defeated because it would benefit the story to set aside the traditional (hell, it's almost law by this point) "bad guys must be defeated" mentality. It'd do them, and the story, good to realise you have to pick your battles, and you can't win all of them.

    So yeah. I'd like Tarquin to continue to add complexity whether it's by not being defeated at all, by continuing to aid the protagonists where their goals don't conflict with his, or anything at all that isn't yet more "bad guys are bad, must always be defeated and can never have depths". Tarquin isn't like most generic mini-arc villains, so I see no need to have him defeated like one.
    Last edited by Chloe Seven; 2012-11-08 at 08:13 AM.

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    I don't want Tarquin to be defeated at all. He's the most complex and interesting character in the story so far IMO; I don't think he needs to be defeated because "bad guys always lose". Sometimes, the bad guy winning (or at least not losing) is just as satisfying and effective story-wise as the good guys overcoming the odds.

    Would 1984 have been as chilling had the last few chapters been about Winston breaking free of miniluv and single-handedly taking down the Party?
    You make an interesting argument, but I think (based on my own instincts and what I've read on this forum) that you're in a very, very small minority there.

    '1984' is a horrifying dystopian novel about an extreme case of totalitarian government enabled by technology. 'Order of the Stick' is a mostly-lighthearted fantasy about an epic quest to save a world. Those two genres are about as far apart as you can get.

    So - sure, Rich could buck convention by allowing a blatantly Evil-with-a-capital-E-no-matter-what-he-says-about-it villain to roam free. And the Oracle could be completely wrong about Elan's happy ending, and Belkar could join Tarquin's party and live another 80 years, and Xykon might lose interest in the gates and retire to torture souls on the Astral Plane and be taken out years from now by some wizard we've never heard of.

    All of that could happen - but it's not going to. Do you think it should?
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  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    A small correction: what Tarquin does is sign up to be a subordinate and adviser to a pre-handpicked patsy. If Tarquin sees Xykon in this light he's setting himself up for a fall, just like everyone else who's underestimated Xykon.
    This.

    Sadly, I doubt Tarquin is going to commit that mistake; he's to careful ans savvy.

    I think Tarquin plans will break apart because of Malack, when the latter discover what is really going on with the Gates (I doubt he would like the idea of a SOUL destroying weapon that could threat his own god being put in the hands of either the Dark One or mere mortals, Tarquin included).

    The other blind spot of Tarquin is Elan, which he considers a leader and talented adventurer despite all evidence. If Tarquin makes plans counting on Elan being smart, he is screwed.

    And of course, Xykon could kill and turn Tarquin into a Death Knight outright upon meeting him, without allowing Tarq any time to appraising what he's getting himself into.

    I personally think Tarquin is too genre-savvy to try to use the Snarl once he learns about it. The Snarl is one of those things that always screws the flamboyant cackling villains he despises.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    To the OP: I really like option #2.
    Anything will be ok, though, as long as he's defeated and humiliated.

  26. - Top - End - #116
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Oh I agree that 1984 and OotS are very different things. I was just pointing out an (admittedly extreme) example of how narratively, a Bad Guy Wins scenario can be extremely interesting and further a story.

    That said, I'm not saying Tarquin needs to win. I'm just saying he doesn't need to lose, either. He can contribute so much more to the story than just being the disc one final boss or an instance of the Worf Effect to show how badass the Order has gotten (or Xykon/Redcloak).

    I'm not a writer, so these are some pretty trite examples, but they're examples anyway: Tarquin teaming up with the Order in an Enemy Mine situation against Xykon and the Order deciding he's more useful alive, Tarquin pulling a Vader and offering to let Elan rule with him if Elan is so horrified by how Tarquin runs things, Tarquin points out that even if the OotS defeats him his allies are still doing the exact same thing in other empires and the OotS can't stop them all, etc etc etc. Like I said, I'm not a writer, so apologies for the clichés, but the point is there's other stuff that can be done with Tarquin.

    It's a very subjective thing, but personally I'm getting bored of the certainty that things are going to go the same way (bad guy losing). It's fiction, terrible things can happen and offend our sense of justice and morality without anyone actually being harmed, so I don't know why the good guys always have to win.
    Last edited by Chloe Seven; 2012-11-08 at 06:26 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Anyone think Tarquin will die saving Elan's life? Because a Vader-style "You were right about me" moment would be just as dramatic as a father-son duel... especially if it's in the service of saving the world and his son at the same time.

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BungleBee's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Mississippi
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    Male

    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Yes. Yes. Oh god, yes.

    Dook Dook Dook!

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gondolin42 View Post
    Anyone think Tarquin will die saving Elan's life? Because a Vader-style "You were right about me" moment would be just as dramatic as a father-son duel... especially if it's in the service of saving the world and his son at the same time.
    I don't think Elan's had a "I know there's good in you" speech to Tarquin though (yet?). So he can't be right.

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Male

    Default Re: Does anyone else really want Tarquin to get absolutely bashed in?

    Tarquin saving the world from Xykon would be pretty epic. Especially if it was actually Elan that did it, and Tarquin just gets the credit.

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