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    Default Xykon character analysis

    Hi all,

    It's Jesse of Geekademia, the guy who did the interview with Rich via podcast awhile back. Anyway, this month I'm doing write-ups on some of my favorite villains, and today I picked Xykon. If you're of a mind to, feel free to check it out. Thanks!

    http://non-productive.com/blog/2012/...s-month-xykon/

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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Excellent read. I enjoyed it.

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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    That was a very interesting read. A few thoughts, spoiled since you liberally reference SoD spoilers in your analysis.

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    One thing that you touched on, but didn't outright state, is Xykon's role in setting the tone for the story. When he's relaxed and joking, the story as a whole tends to be relaxed and joking, but when Xykon gets angry, even when we simply know that he's angry while following the Order of the Stick, there is a sense of dread that permeates the comic. This was true when we saw Redcloak finally begin to settle down in his goblin village and knew it couldn't last, and it was true during the vast majority of the arc on the western continent, where we continue to wait for the moment when Xykon and Redcloak teleport in and completely change the dynamic with the Order and Tarquin.



    The conclusion of my spoiler being that Xykon has become larger than life in this comic. He's a presence that can be felt and create tension even when he's not on panel, simply by knowing his current mood and intentions.
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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    That was a very interesting read. A few thoughts, spoiled since you liberally reference SoD spoilers in your analysis.

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    One thing that you touched on, but didn't outright state, is Xykon's role in setting the tone for the story. When he's relaxed and joking, the story as a whole tends to be relaxed and joking, but when Xykon gets angry, even when we simply know that he's angry while following the Order of the Stick, there is a sense of dread that permeates the comic. This was true when we saw Redcloak finally begin to settle down in his goblin village and knew it couldn't last, and it was true during the vast majority of the arc on the western continent, where we continue to wait for the moment when Xykon and Redcloak teleport in and completely change the dynamic with the Order and Tarquin.



    The conclusion of my spoiler being that Xykon has become larger than life in this comic. He's a presence that can be felt and create tension even when he's not on panel, simply by knowing his current mood and intentions.
    That's a pretty good point. I hadn't really thought about it that way, but Xykon's mood does make for a good series barometer as far as funny vs. serious. That said, I'm not 100% convinced that the Order or the Linear Guild will face off with Xykon and Redcloak in this arc. I have a strong suspicion that they'll get there once the Gate is blown and there's nothing left to do but head for Kraagor's.

    EDIT: Also, apologies about the spoilers. I do say at the start of the Villains Month series that I intend to use spoilers from time to time, but I guess it wasn't overtly said in that one.
    Last edited by jidasfire; 2012-10-06 at 04:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    I do not think it is a good analysis. Actually, I think it fails at actually "analyzing" anything, which would require going much deeper than this mostly descriptive text does.

    It is a very good description of what we see in the comic and what is stated plainly during SoD and the online-strips, but the average thread on Xykon (Team Evil, etc) on this forum has deeper insights into Xykon as character, how our perception of him changed, his psychological motives, his relation to various characters and his role(s) in the narrative.

    "Good" threads about Xykon drop some really interesting gems beyond/about those aspects mentioned.
    Just read Anarion's comment above as example. Those few lines already go deeper than the linked article, as they actually enter a meta-layer.

    The text there serves nicely at summarizing what we have learned about Xykon to get people who do not know OotS interested, but for that it's somewhat spoiler-heavy.
    Last edited by Winter; 2012-10-06 at 05:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    I do not think it is a good analysis. Actually, I think it fails at actually "analyzing" anything, which would require going much deeper than this mostly descriptive text does.

    It is a very good description of what we see in the comic and what is stated plainly during SoD and the online-strips, but the average thread on Xykon (Team Evil, etc) on this forum has deeper insights into Xykon as character, how our perception of him changed, his psychological motives, his relation to various characters and his role(s) in the narrative.

    "Good" threads about Xykon drop some really interesting gems beyond/about those aspects mentioned.
    Just read Anarion's comment above as example. Those few lines already go deeper than the linked article, as they actually enter a meta-layer.

    The text there serves nicely at summarizing what we have learned about Xykon to get people who do not know OotS interested, but for that it's somewhat spoiler-heavy.
    I admit I can only got a certain level of depth in an article that isn't extremely insider in nature. I was mainly getting at the basics of what I think makes Xykon a good villain without confusing my readers who haven't read all the books. In any case, I still thank you for reading it and giving it a chance.

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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Btw, did you read the articles on "Gaming" (to the left) by Rich? He explains there how he builds Worlds and Willains (sic.), you might find that a very interesting read (which also gives insight in how Redcloak, Xykon and Tarquin might work).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jidasfire View Post
    I have a strong suspicion that they'll get there once the Gate is blown and there's nothing left to do but head for Kraagor's.
    That would mean the Oracle's prediction of Xykon being within 1000 feet of Girard's Gate will never come true.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    I think there is some valid analysis in the linked article. The point about the difference between the living Xykon and the lich Xykon is a good one, although I'm not sure how substantive it is - we have so little data about pre-lich Xykon that it's hard to draw conclusions from it with much confidence.

    But it set me to thinking about Xykon's relationship with Redcloak. We tend to discuss Redcloak's feelings towards Xykon, but the usual assumption (as far as I've noted) is that Xykon simply enjoys messing with RC because he's that kind of jerk. But what if it's more personal than that?

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    We know that Xykon claims to be fine with his undead condition. He was not at all reluctant to change, and he openly claims it's a logical part of his life plan. "Anything to avoid the Big Fire Below."

    But Xykon-the-living never had much of a life plan - like Belkar, he lived very much in the moment. I doubt if he ever gave much thought to the BFB. It was Redcloak who raised his sights to world domination in the first place and set him to thinking long-term; it was Redcloak who guided him into the fix that made it necessary to make him a lich, and it was Redcloak who performed the actual procedure. In a sense, Redcloak created Xykon as we know him.

    Maybe Xykon holds a very special core of hatred for RC for that. And maybe he figures he owes it to RC to make sure that he (RC), of all people, gets to experience personally the full fallout of Xykon's inhumanity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrl View Post
    "They didn't change the alignment system, they just augmented its inherent weaknesses and limitations with a few gaping holes."
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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    I think there is some valid analysis in the linked article. The point about the difference between the living Xykon and the lich Xykon is a good one, although I'm not sure how substantive it is - we have so little data about pre-lich Xykon that it's hard to draw conclusions from it with much confidence.

    But it set me to thinking about Xykon's relationship with Redcloak. We tend to discuss Redcloak's feelings towards Xykon, but the usual assumption (as far as I've noted) is that Xykon simply enjoys messing with RC because he's that kind of jerk. But what if it's more personal than that?

    SOD
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    We know that Xykon claims to be fine with his undead condition. He was not at all reluctant to change, and he openly claims it's a logical part of his life plan. "Anything to avoid the Big Fire Below."

    But Xykon-the-living never had much of a life plan - like Belkar, he lived very much in the moment. I doubt if he ever gave much thought to the BFB. It was Redcloak who raised his sights to world domination in the first place and set him to thinking long-term; it was Redcloak who guided him into the fix that made it necessary to make him a lich, and it was Redcloak who performed the actual procedure. In a sense, Redcloak created Xykon as we know him.

    Maybe Xykon holds a very special core of hatred for RC for that. And maybe he figures he owes it to RC to make sure that he (RC), of all people, gets to experience personally the full fallout of Xykon's inhumanity.
    Huh. I hadn't considered that. Does Xykon hold a grudge against Redcloak for his transformation? "You made me into a monster so I'll return the favor?" Could be. I had always thought it was because Xykon holds his evil up as a source of pride, while Redcloak lives in denial about it. In a twisted way, Xykon likes to pass on wisdom to others, as he also did with both Dorukan and V. Xykon's lessons are, after all, not exactly given in the spirit of generosity. They tend to be the sort that break the person listening, and telling Redcloak the truth about himself, even if Xykon caused that truth, seems to be in line with his style.

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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Xykon knows very well he has lost everything that made living worth living. Yes, he enjoys his undeath, his cruelty, his evil... but from all the things he had and loved as mortal, that is the only thing he has left.
    What else can he do but uphold the only thing that he has?

    Or: "What good is life if all the other things have gone?"

    Xykon is a liar and a bluffer. Xykon never liked his own ego tarnished. A lot of what he tells and shows is fake.

    The change in SoD from "horribly evil but still somewhat charming and human" to "purely abomination" is very sudden. It's the scene in the diner where Xykon suddenly realizes what he actually has lost in the transformation: All the little things that make us human (and in some way, dieing is also part of that - and even that isn't open to Xykon anymore).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    That would mean the Oracle's prediction of Xykon being within 1000 feet of Girard's Gate will never come true.
    Not necessarily. It may come to pass that Xykon and Co. teleport into the desert, search for a while, and Xykon says "Screw it, let's go check out the Gate in arctic. Killing things sounds more fun than searching." Thus, they pass within 1000 feet of the Gate without actually finding it. Granted, that was a lot more plausible before the Draketooths died and the illusions started to fail, but it's still possible.
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    I never thought it was really plausible. Xykon takes some things very seriously indeed. He's not going to stop searching for Girard's Gate within a thousand feet of it--particularly, but not limited to, when that would mean an implicit admission that Girard's magic is more powerful than Xykon's (Girard can conceal the gate better than Xykon can find it).
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    I never thought it was really plausible. Xykon takes some things very seriously indeed. He's not going to stop searching for Girard's Gate within a thousand feet of it--particularly, but not limited to, when that would mean an implicit admission that Girard's magic is more powerful than Xykon's (Girard can conceal the gate better than Xykon can find it).
    I'll grant that it was never really a likely course for the story. For no other reason than that, with the possible exception of Xykon's Fortress-Tomb-Thingy, Kraagor's Gate makes the most dramatic setting for the climax. Powerful monsters and the fact that it's the last one, which means that the stakes are as high as possible for all concerned.

    I'm pretty sure that Rich is done screwing with us on the technicalities and loopholes in the Oracle's prophecies, but if he wanted to keep Xykon out of this fight and have the Order take down one of the cosmic flying buttresses all by themselves, it wouldn't be the wildest stretch of the Oracle's words to have it come to pass that way.

    Plus, Xykon's explicitly shown to have grown impatient with pointless delays between him and world domination. Pride isn't nearly as big a hangup for him as, say, Vaarsuvius. I think it'd be in-character for him to decide it'd be faster to stop digging in the sand, go to the arctic, beat up a bunch of monsters, take the Gate, and THEN use that power to simply steamroll Girard's illusions. As evidenced by Fyron's murder, Xykon doesn't care how he wins, as long as he wins.

    Of course, as I said, with the illusions having mostly failed, the probability that Team Evil will be slowed down enough for Xykon's patience to become a factor is fast approaching zero.
    Last edited by Grey Watcher; 2012-10-16 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Fixed some spelling and grammar
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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Xykon would never leave the desert without having at least found... something.

    We know what he does in these cases: Press normal people into an army of several thousand, get (force, hire) lots of magical help and then, you know, comb the desert (by making the soldiers crawl it, an inch by an inch).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    We know what he does in these cases: Press normal people into an army of several thousand, get (force, hire) lots of magical help and then, you know, comb the desert (by making the soldiers crawl it, an inch by an inch).
    Well, we can agree that's not going to happen, so this is entirely academic, but - in this case, I don't think that approach would work anyway.

    1. The desert is big. Even an army of many thousands would take months to comb it as you describe.
    2. Most living slaves would be dead (of thirst, or sunstroke) within a couple of days on the job.
    3. There's a limit to how many zombies Xykon can control, and I'm not sure how effective they'd be as searchers anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrl View Post
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    For a pointless academic question you elaborated exetensively. ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    [*]The desert is big. Even an army of many thousands would take months to comb it as you describe.
    Xykon would make them crawl years through it.

    Most living slaves would be dead (of thirst, or sunstroke) within a couple of days on the job.
    Last I looked there were cities around the desert. Xykon would get more people. And he has Redcloak for organising the Not-dieing-until-I-allow-it-thing.

    There's a limit to how many zombies Xykon can control, and I'm not sure how effective they'd be as searchers anyway.
    Zombies are bad searchers. But we are not talking about zombies anyway.
    Last edited by Winter; 2012-10-19 at 11:08 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    For a pointless academic question you elaborated exetensively. ;)
    What can I say? It's what we do here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    Last I looked there were cities around the desert. Xykon would get more people. And he has Redcloak for organising the Not-dieing-until-I-allow-it-thing.
    Cities have two things that are not portable: continuous water sources, and shelter. I don't see how Redcloak could provide those to a whole army on a continuous basis.

    Both are equally important to survival in the desert. Lack of either water or shelter will kill you within 24 hours (maybe a little longer if you have an exceptional CON.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrl View Post
    "They didn't change the alignment system, they just augmented its inherent weaknesses and limitations with a few gaping holes."
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    With Xykon's perfect knowledge of the whereabouts of the gates, I don't see why he shouldn't just pack up and head to another unguarded one the second he sees the Order occupying the Gate they are currently after. It's not like He needs all of them, just one.

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    ...Xykon run from the Order? Have we been reading the same comic?
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sims796 View Post
    With Xykon's perfect knowledge of the whereabouts of the gates, I don't see why he shouldn't just pack up and head to another unguarded one the second he sees the Order occupying the Gate they are currently after. It's not like He needs all of them, just one.
    The other gate is going to be guarded as well...and probably beter than with a bunch of lame mid-level-ass adventurers.
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    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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    Quote Originally Posted by 2323mike View Post
    The other gate is going to be guarded as well...and probably beter than with a bunch of lame mid-level-ass adventurers.
    Good point, though the way I see it, he has free reign to do whatever he pleases at this point. Simply knowing the exact location of every Gate there is puts him at a tremendous advantage. As far as I know, he isn't certain what dangers he'll face in this Gate or the next, but he knows what trouble the Order would present on top of those dangers. Why not just say "screw it, the next Gate will be easier to grab", and leave the Order in the lurch? They can't be in two places at once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sims796 View Post
    Good point, though the way I see it, he has free reign to do whatever he pleases at this point. Simply knowing the exact location of every Gate there is puts him at a tremendous advantage. As far as I know, he isn't certain what dangers he'll face in this Gate or the next, but he knows what trouble the Order would present on top of those dangers. Why not just say "screw it, the next Gate will be easier to grab", and leave the Order in the lurch? They can't be in two places at once.
    Ehm, I'm not sure how much he really knows (or cares) about the Order. Last time he just snuffed their leader without breaking a sweat and probably forgot about that already. So, no - I think that if he recognizes them as an opposition, he won't think about changing plans. He will start Meteor Showering them.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by 2323mike View Post
    Ehm, I'm not sure how much he really knows (or cares) about the Order. Last time he just snuffed their leader without breaking a sweat and probably forgot about that already. So, no - I think that if he recognizes them as an opposition, he won't think about changing plans. He will start Meteor Showering them.
    You're right, though I'm looking at this as an outside reader who's used to the villains plans being derailed by avoiding common sense, I tend to forget how Xykon tends to run things.

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    Well, he might recognize that Bluepommel guy who really, really insisted on getting killed last time their paths crossed...

    There's no way it will cause Xykon to say "screw this", though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Cities have two things that are not portable: continuous water sources, and shelter. I don't see how Redcloak could provide those to a whole army on a continuous basis.
    A) Tents.
    B) Wagon treks (and for the RPG-like setting it would probably sufficient realistic to just conquer some oasis or three a few dozen miles away); for the overkill-solution see below.

    It does not have to be perfect, I doubt that neither Redcloak nor Xykon would mind a few hundred or even thousand dieing each month due to the bad situation they are in.

    "Cannot be done" is a very strong claim in a RPG-Fantasy like setting, especially if Redcloak has access to a daily or weekly Gate spell to the Elemental Plane of Water. He can turn entire acres of desert into lakes if he wishes to.
    (A 20 ft disk is 29,22 m, assuming a flow of 1 m per second (from the elemental plane of water this is not too far fetched, that is 30 m per second, and he has a duration of some 17ish rounds (rounds per level, each round is six seconds).
    Redcloak can get ~3000 tons of water per cast - I doubt water is an issue at all )
    Last edited by Winter; 2012-10-24 at 07:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    I think we're forgetting something important: Serini's diary. Xykon knows EXACTLY where the gate is.
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    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyd211 View Post
    I think we're forgetting something important: Serini's diary. Xykon knows EXACTLY where the gate is.
    That depends. The exact meaning of "exactly" is also important depending on what you mean Xykon does?

    And yes, if he comes, he'll go right there. He still has to go there, though. Teleport right at it is probably not going to work, he'll have to walk/fly to the coordinates in the desert just as anyone else and then has to make his way to the gate (around which Girard might have build something, rocks, the pyramid etc).
    Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei, King Joffrey, The Tickler, The Hound, Ser Amory, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling, Weese, Dunsen, Nale, Ser Gregor Clegane and Chiswyck: Winter is coming!

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    How intelligent are zombies anyway? In d&d terms, at least. Can they follow basic instructions? Can Reddy create zombies that can do that?

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGirl

    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: Xykon character analysis

    Spoilers for SoD:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The coffee incident was what got me. What make me realize that Xykon is fearsome, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere remotely close to him, ever.

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