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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Yeah, so after Roy blew up xykon by throwing him into the gate, Xykon runs to Mr. Phylactery to unlive to fight another day. It makes sense that Roy might not be completely clear on liches, but wouldn't Vaarsuvius, being a wizard, likely have some knowledge on the subject, even granting that necromancy isn't her specialty... or are liches just that unheard of that it's not known that they can come?


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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    No particular reason why Vaarsuvius would have any knowledge of liches--as you correctly point out, he's certainly not a necromancer. If anything, Durkon is more likely to have the relevant Knowledge skill to know about a lich's phylactery, but it's certainly not impossible that he wouldn't have it, especially considering the Order are generally not well optimised.

    As for how rare liches are--we know of precisely one in the entire strip so far, both online and offline. We've seen more psions and black dragons than we have liches, and both those are supposed to be pretty darned rare!

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Information on the undead falls under Knowledge: Religion.

    Other than taking a typically-bombastic Vaarsuvius comment literally, there's no reason to presume Vaarsuvius' Knowledge: Religion is any higher than 0, much less higher than any other member of the Order.
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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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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Vaarsuvius doesn't really seem to be the sort of person who has much in the way of practical knowledge.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    I just looked back through the comic and it kind of surprised me. Not so much that no one had knowledge of the phylactery, but that no one, not even the two casters said something like. "Hm... some undead can come back, we might want to watch out for lich alerts." Liches aren't the only undead with that ability... but then, Durkon doesn't exactly worship a god that would teach more about the undead than any other, and I guess if rejuvenating undead are unusually rare it makes sense that a non-necromancer arcane caster wouldn't really know anything. Even if it didn't I guess the order doesn't always know things that they should. I feel like I wasted a thread now...


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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Durkon didn't even remember the name of one of the major gods of his pantheon. I somehow feel like his Knowledge: Religion may not be that great.
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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Durkon didn't even remember the name of one of the major gods of his pantheon. I somehow feel like his Knowledge: Religion may not be that great.
    Not just any other major god, but specifically his god's arch-enemy.
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Actually, why do undead fall under religion anyway? I never did understand that.


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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corwin Icewolf View Post
    Actually, why do undead fall under religion anyway? I never did understand that.
    I think because they're more traditionally associated with churches and the like than they are with magic users.
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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corwin Icewolf View Post
    Actually, why do undead fall under religion anyway? I never did understand that.
    The undead are usually animated with divine energy and fought by clerics and paladins, thus the knowledge(religion) part.

    You probably shouldn't take my word as the word of WotC on this, I'm away from source materials and not the best at remembering everything DnD related.

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    Last edited by Astral Avenger; 2012-11-08 at 11:32 AM.
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    Winter's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    The core problem here: People confuse character and player knowledge.

    Yes, we all know about Liches and stuff, but that does not mean the characters of the world have the very same knowlegde. Common knowledge to us should not mean common knowledge for the characters and that the characters don't know what we all expect them to know (due to mixing up player/character knowledge) makes it pretty interesting and believable.

    Durkon should be the one who knew and we have it confirmed he has (at least: had) not that much knowledge religion (he says it himself when he does not figure out the Dwarvish Cleric Of Loki He Later Slept With could be a concerning thing).
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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    It's not that difficult to believe. Liches probably aren't that common, and V probably never put any effort into studying them.

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    The core problem here: People confuse character and player knowledge.
    To be fair, the characters in the strip often confuse the two as well. Especially Redcloak, but the others as well.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter View Post
    The core problem here: People confuse character and player knowledge.
    This.

    The probability that, in any group of six non-novice D&D players, none have ever heard of a phylactery - is approximately zero. But if they're roleplaying well, they won't use that knowledge in-game unless there's some reason for their characters to have picked it up.

    And liches are not well known in the OOTS world. Start of Darkness:
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    as I recall, Redcloak had to explain the concept to Xykon, at a time when the latter was already a ridiculously high-level sorceror - in decades of adventuring, it seems he'd never heard of such a thing.


    The only time our heroes' notional "players" roleplay badly is for comic effect. And in this case, Rich decided not to bother with the obvious gag where one character mentions the phylactery only to be shushed by the others.
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    GreataxeFighterGirl

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    In the OotS-Universe, there's some chance that even the (probably quite rare) Soul-Splices are more common than Liches.

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    In SoD, Xykon, already a very high (epic?) level sorcerer, knew nothing about Liches - indeed, it seemed like he had never even heard of them... and he was quite fond of Necromancy already.
    I'm contrasting this to when Redcloaks simply tells Xykon that V is using "soul-splices" and he already seems to be quite familiar with that.
    So yeah, Liches seem to be extra-rare in OotS, making it quite believable that the order would have no clue in their first encounter.
    Last edited by Ellye; 2012-11-08 at 09:24 PM.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellye View Post
    So yeah, Liches seem to be extra-rare in OotS, making it quite believable that the order would have no clue in their first encounter.
    In any reasonable D&D world liches ought to be extra-rare as well, given that you have to be an irredeemably evil high-level caster in order to become one! Outside of Forgotten Realms high-level casters themselves ought to be pretty rare, then you have to narrow that down by only picking the ones desperate enough to avoid the fires below that they'll do pretty much anything to do that...

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    ElfRogueGirl

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Remember how the fight went as well.

    V got paralyzed by ghouls so she might not have looked closely at the rest of the fight and worried more about not being off by some goblins that Belkar might miss to clear.

    And after the fight, she was used by Haley as some magical detector, which she was not too happy with, given how she yelled at Haley when the paralysis faded off.

    And soon after, Elan mentioned that "someone" might have set off the self-destruct rune, forcing them to withdraw in a hurry.

    So yeah, even if V had the knowledge about liches, she might have been too much on her mind at the time to tell the other and it might have slipped her mind soon after.

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    Dr.Epic's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Maybe V did know about liches and didn't tell anyone because he's secretly working for Xykon and Red Cloak!

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corwin Icewolf View Post
    Actually, why do undead fall under religion anyway? I never did understand that.
    Because clerics are supposed to have ideal abilities for fighting the undead, and if they fell under Knowledge: Arcana, knowledge of the undead would be cross-class for clerics.
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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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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nephrahim View Post
    To be fair, the characters in the strip often confuse the two as well. Especially Redcloak, but the others as well.
    Wait a moment: First I was inclined to agree with you but thinking a bit deeper, I disagree.
    The standard characters of OotS have rules knowledge and some knowledge you could call player knowledge. But only to a certain degree. Sometimes they know about some third party book, but not eveything and beyond the basic PHB knowledge it often gets quickly very fuzzy..
    So they only (and that partially) know the phb, but not really the MM. All other characters come over at having not much clue on the details in the MM or Campaign Settings, the DMG seems to be pretty unknown to most characters.

    Vaarsuvius seems to have more knowledge no the Monster Manual than others, but there's also clear limits in regard to what certain monsters can do.
    Xykon also seems gifted with more clue than most, at least in regard to magical stuff (this is very probably an expression of his high Knowledge: Arcana).

    The only character that seems to have a really deep understanding of all kinds of MMs, settings, exotic classes, exotic templates, Lichdom, PrCs, and other stuff and who does not seem to be shy of using this knowledge in borderline meta-gameish ways seems to be Redcloak (which underlines only how dangerous he is).
    Last edited by Winter; 2012-11-09 at 12:11 PM.
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Because clerics are supposed to have ideal abilities for fighting the undead, and if they fell under Knowledge: Arcana, knowledge of the undead would be cross-class for clerics.
    Clerics have Knowledge: Arcana as a class skill...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chantelune
    *snip*
    Yeah, good point. She didn't really have much chance to think about it or even see whether anyone actually destroyed the phylactery.

    I thought to be a lich you technically just had to be a level 11 or higher caster... I've never read anything that says you have to be evil, in fact monsters of faerun lists certain types of good liches


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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corwin Icewolf View Post
    I thought to be a lich you technically just had to be a level 11 or higher caster... I've never read anything that says you have to be evil, in fact monsters of faerun lists certain types of good liches
    The SRD has this to say about it:

    The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil and can be undertaken only by a willing character.

    The 3.5 Monster Manual also states that you have to be evil to become a lich. The exceptions for "good" liches given in the Monsters of Faerun sourcebook presumably must use a different method of attaining lich-hood, or else the cause they are espousing is so noble it somehow compensates for the horrifically evil things they have to do in order to achieve undeath!

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Compare what happened there to Harry Potter. What they found out was all novel and fresh to the characters in the story but I bet every D&D player reading that thought "Ok, that Big Bad made a handful of phylacteries and split his soul into them. Now folks, let's find and destroy them?"

    While it's for us a stock-story "totally evil sorcerers do" in the fantasy genre, it does not mean all characters in each novel have to know about it as well.
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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    I guess both Vaarsuvius and Durkon rolled a natural 1 when they made their Knowledge check. I mean, Durkon didn't even knew that Loki was an evil god and an enemy of Thor! And he said it was because he didn't have enough ranks in Knowledge, so he could very well fail his Knowledge check about liches even if he took 10.

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    It's not that difficult to believe. Liches probably aren't that common, and V probably never put any effort into studying them.
    For that matter, in Start of Darkness,
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    Xykon didn't even know what a lich WAS, despite being an extremely high level and well traveled sorcerer.

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    DwarfFighterGirl

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Just remember, here, Vaarsuvius insists that "my knowledge of the denizens of the underworld is unmatched".

    Now, that could simply be boasting, but giving that Roy was asking about spirits, I doubt V would have outright lied about it.

    So we're left with two simple explanations.

    One, V was too paralyzed at the time, and either didn't remember afterward, or assumed someone had taken care of the phylactery.

    Two, the Giant thought it was better if nobody knew it.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by LetMeAsk View Post
    Two, the Giant thought it was better if nobody knew it.
    Sorry, but any explanation that basically comes down to "it works this way because the author wanted it to" is not particularly useful. Everything in the strip fundamentally works that way, so it tells us nothing we didn't already know.

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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    V's boasts proving empty? Perish the thought!

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by LetMeAsk View Post
    Just remember, here, Vaarsuvius insists that "my knowledge of the denizens of the underworld is unmatched".
    Quote Originally Posted by ti'esar View Post
    V's boasts proving empty? Perish the thought!
    Liches aren't from the underworld, are they? I thought "the underworld" in D&D was demons or devils, not undead.

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    Default Re: Why didn't vaarsuvius know xykon would come back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chloe Seven View Post
    Liches aren't from the underworld, are they? I thought "the underworld" in D&D was demons or devils, not undead.
    Technically, the underworld would be...drow. Duergar. Mushroom people.

    However, Vaarsuvius' line in response to what Roy asked only makes sense if his/her boast is about spirits.

    Edited in response to factotum's post under it : And of course Vaarsuvius' boast is only a boast, not Word of God, not even particularly likely.
    Last edited by Kish; 2012-12-06 at 05:38 PM.
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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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