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    Default Why is V constantly benched?

    why has V been so pushed away from the spotlight recently? Dragged to hell, plane shifted, separated from the party, hit with strength reducing poison, knocked out by trap and just not on screen often as well.

    i LOVE V, s/he is one of my fave characters and it is starting to annoy me how s/he is benched 24/7.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Rich talked about this in one of the books' commentary, actually.

    Short answer: Because s/he is too powerful.

    (Durkon is equally powerful, but is retiring by nature, mostly healing and only trivializing battles when he needs to. Vaarsuvius revels in her/his ability to do so.)
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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 is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Short answer: Because s/he is too powerful.
    Slightly longer answer: because she is too powerful to be interesting.
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good...Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that....I'm out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world...no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Two words: Character Tiers. D&D 3.5 Wizards are able to take a standard literary plot and tear it to shreds with a few choice spells. It's similar to how modern TV shows and movies need to show characters forgetting their cell phones, forgetting to charge their phones or entering areas with no service, in order to justify characters who don't immediately call for help the minute they see Jason Voorhees stagger out of Crystal Lake (to take one example).

    Vaarsuvius can resculpt the walls of a dungeon, magically Dominate an unhelpful guard, turn the party invisible, and use Bigby's "Hand" spells in ways that would make the late member of the Circle of Eight blush. There are two ways to keep that level of power from hindering the narrative: have V's spells stop working for no good reason, or separate her from the rest of the group.
    Poor Durkon! May your corpse be interred by the tombs of your pappy, grandpappy, great-grandpappy, etc. (Preferably with a wooden stake driven through your heart, your mouth filled with holy wafers and your lips sewn shut with silver thread. )

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    *sighs* i hate it when a character in a team is titled "too powerful" it means no matter how interesting they are, we ain't going to get to see them do much besides being hit by the Worf effect first chance we get.

    actually its surprising V hasn't been Worfed at any point. (Darth V doesn't count because Dath V was off his/her meds.)

    not just about V, but this idea in general, i have the question: "if character X is never used because X is far more powerful then others, at what point does character X getting a time to shine start to resemble a deus ex machina?"

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Slightly longer answer: because she is too powerful to be interesting.
    o.O but V IS interesting..... (matter of opinion, but V has more personality then as much as i adore our fave little bearded man.)
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    One point no one has mentioned yet:

    V certainly is "too powerful" now. But, if she kept getting experience, she will one day have access to 9th level spells like "Wish" and basically end the story right there. Since Rich has mentioned his dislike of these types of spells, I'd bet that V will never reach 17th level by the end of the strip, probably because she keeps getting left out of experience-granting battles.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    One point no one has mentioned yet:

    V certainly is "too powerful" now. But, if she kept getting experience, she will one day have access to 9th level spells like "Wish" and basically end the story right there. Since Rich has mentioned his dislike of these types of spells, I'd bet that V will never reach 17th level by the end of the strip, probably because she keeps getting left out of experience-granting battles.
    well i do believe vampires can drain levels.........
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondHooHaMan View Post
    not just about V, but this idea in general, i have the question: "if character X is never used because X is far more powerful then others, at what point does character X getting a time to shine start to resemble a deus ex machina?"
    The answer is:


    It doesn't

    Deus Ex Machinas are plot devices whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. The only way such a thing would be possible would be if V(not Darth V) suddenly began casting spells that were decidedly way beyond her ability to cast with seemingly no explanation.

    An example of a Deus Ex Machina would be along the lines of watching The Dark Knight and then at the end Superman suddenly appears and Bonks the Joker in the face with no explanation.

    I apologize if i sound a little exasperated, i just get so frustrated when i hear someone use the term "Deus Ex Machina" used so casually. It is, by definition, an unexpected and spontaneous act that has no foreshadowing or explanation that appears and solves the problem at hand.
    Last edited by Leecros; 2013-09-03 at 09:41 AM.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    One point no one has mentioned yet:

    V certainly is "too powerful" now. But, if she kept getting experience, she will one day have access to 9th level spells like "Wish" and basically end the story right there. Since Rich has mentioned his dislike of these types of spells, I'd bet that V will never reach 17th level by the end of the strip, probably because she keeps getting left out of experience-granting battles.
    Alternatively, such spells just don't exist in the OotSverse.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    One point no one has mentioned yet:

    V certainly is "too powerful" now. But, if she kept getting experience, she will one day have access to 9th level spells like "Wish" and basically end the story right there. Since Rich has mentioned his dislike of these types of spells, I'd bet that V will never reach 17th level by the end of the strip, probably because she keeps getting left out of experience-granting battles.
    If Vaarsuvius does reach level 17, or even 20...

    ...Rich doesn't need to make any spells available to Vaarsuvius that he doesn't want to.

    The forums would, pretty much constantly from the moment it was established that Vaarsuvius was level 17, shriek, "Why didn't Vaarsuvius cast Wish there?!" but the difference would be barely noticeable.
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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 is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leecros View Post
    The answer is:


    It doesn't

    Deus Ex Machinas are plot devices whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. The only way such a thing would be possible would be if V(not Darth V) suddenly began casting spells that were decidedly way beyond her ability to cast with seemingly no explanation.

    An example of a Deus Ex Machina would be along the lines of watching The Dark Knight and then at the end Superman suddenly appears and Bonks the Joker in the face with no explanation.

    I apologize if i sound a little exasperated, i just get so frustrated when i hear someone use the term "Deus Ex Machina" used so casually. It is, by definition, an unexpected and spontaneous act that has no foreshadowing or explanation that appears and solves the problem at hand.
    i conceed the point. let me try again.

    "at what point are they just a cheep 'solve all the problems' tool for when the writer gets stuck in a corner."

    to use your setting as an example, at the beginning of the dark knight, Superman gets locked in a prison of kryptonite by the joker. Batman has no idea this happens until just at the end he conveniently happens to find the prison. free superman who instantly saves the day with no problem.

    same result but just because "it couldn't have happened until now for cheep plot reason" is just as a disappointing event.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondHooHaMan View Post
    actually its surprising V hasn't been Worfed at any point. (Darth V doesn't count because Dath V was off his/her meds.)
    This is the first time anyone in the thread brought up the Worf Effect (though I suppose it's your prerogative as OP). There is a substantive difference between that and getting benched. That said, V's been Worfed a number of times: both duels with Zz'dtri, the duel with the Death Knight, and the first duel with the Ancient Black Dragon are examples of her getting smacked around, in part, to show the magnitude of the threat.

    o.O but V IS interesting..... (matter of opinion, but V has more personality then as much as i adore our fave little bearded man.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    V certainly is "too powerful" now. But, if she kept getting experience, she will one day have access to 9th level spells like "Wish" and basically end the story right there.
    You say this like it's a given. It ain't so. V, remember, has to research her spells, even the ones she gains "for free" via leveling up. If the Giant doesn't want her to have wish, but still wants to give her level 9 spells, all he needs to do is have her research something else, something less story-breaking. Crushing hand and meteor swarm come to mind. Stronger, not quite story-breaking spells she might conceivably learn include disjunction and time stop.

    There's even precedent for this. Even with months of research, a very strong motivation, and the requisite spell levels, V never researched limited wish.

    EDIT: ninja'd on this point by Kish. I blame intermittent train-internet.
    Last edited by zimmerwald1915; 2013-09-03 at 09:53 AM.
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good...Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that....I'm out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world...no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Because for all how V's prattling on about the glory of wizards is meant to seem like petty ego-stroking, objectively speaking, s/he's completely correct. In D&D 3.5, as the levels go up, wizards outshine and outclass everyone more and more. At around this point, even terribly optimized wizards like V effectively start becoming nigh-untouchable gods in combat, compared to everyone else. A decently prepared, trigger happy wizard like V is capable of winning just about any fight with a non wizard around or below their level by themselves. For example, had V been around when "Thog" attacked, Tarquin would have been easily crushed and humiliated by even a mildly intelligent combo of spells.
    Last edited by Henry the 57th; 2013-09-03 at 09:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    In this case, I think it's so V can come to the rescue at the beginning of 917 with some kind of shield spell, or at least a Wind Wall.
    Last edited by Alysar; 2013-09-03 at 09:54 AM.






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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    It's also a hidden part of V's character development (that V doesn't even realize is happening). V's whole schtick is ultimate arcane power, but then V keeps getting knocked out of doing things for reasons that have nothing to do with the level of V's arcane power. V relying on others instead of V's arcane power isn't just a personal taste change, it's something V needs to do in order to improve as an adventurer because it's painfully obvious at this point there are tons of situations where the solution is not "more magic"

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alysar View Post
    In this case, I think it's so V can come to the rescue at the beginning of 917 with some kind of shield spell, or at least a Wind Wall.
    Neither V nor Durkon prepared wind-controlling spells today.
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good...Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that....I'm out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world...no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Well, in-story part of the reason is that one of the main points for (Limited) Wish is giving an arcane caster the opportunity to use divine magic, and V is on record as disdaining divine magic as 'not real magic'.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post

    You say this like it's a given. It ain't so. V, remember, has to research her spells, even the ones she gains "for free" via leveling up. If the Giant doesn't want her to have wish, but still wants to give her level 9 spells, all he needs to do is have her research something else, something less story-breaking. Crushing hand and meteor swarm come to mind. Stronger, not quite story-breaking spells she might conceivably learn include disjunction and time stop.

    There's even precedent for this. Even with months of research, a very strong motivation, and the requisite spell levels, V never researched limited wish.

    EDIT: ninja'd on this point by Kish. I blame intermittent train-internet.


    Good point. Rich is using fluff in a pretty inventive way. The way it looks in D&D, all 7th level spells are equally hard to research. But this doesn't have to be the case. Since some spells are more powerful than others, it makes sense that they should be harder to figure out than others. So while Plane Shift is a rather benign spell that you can learn pretty quickly after getting access to it, something like Limited Wish would probably takes years of research to figure out how to bend reality to your will. SO maybe V will reach that level after all, but just not have access to game-breaking spells.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    It's also a hidden part of V's character development (that V doesn't even realize is happening). V's whole schtick is ultimate arcane power, but then V keeps getting knocked out of doing things for reasons that have nothing to do with the level of V's arcane power. V relying on others instead of V's arcane power isn't just a personal taste change, it's something V needs to do in order to improve as an adventurer because it's painfully obvious at this point there are tons of situations where the solution is not "more magic"
    If this is the case, what is the added value in keeping V in the story? Think about it: if a character needs others to solve their problems for her, and cannot meaningfully help them with their problems in return, then that character is only a millstone around the others' necks and as a matter of efficiency (which could be trumped by considerations like friendship and loyalty that are in turn trumped by V's debt to the IFCC which makes her a straight-up liability) they ought to be rid of her. What does V bring to the table in this story? She brings her personal baggage and arc, which arc leads logically to her having no place on the team or in the narrative. She brings dry humor that the Giant way back in the commentary to Dungeon Crawling Fools said could easily be given to Roy. The only reason to keep her around would be to pander to her fans, and the Giant is better than that.
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good...Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that....I'm out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world...no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    If this is the case, what is the added value in keeping V in the story? Think about it: if a character needs others to solve their problems for her, and cannot meaningfully help them with their problems in return,
    Are you claiming that there has never been a situation where V has helped the order? Because I didn't say that, I just said that there have been situations where that is the case. But everyone has that problem - Roy forgot to bring a sword on their starmetal adventure and then died for six(?) months - geez, could he have been any more useless during that time? But obviously he didn't get written out of the story because a more interesting story was Roy getting to a place where he was more useful to the party (both by becoming alive and learning his new mageslayer feat). And Elan was the most worthless party member possibly in the world for something like 400 strips and yet the comic would have been lesser for not including him.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Rich talked about this in one of the books' commentary, actually.

    Short answer: Because s/he is too powerful.
    Interesting - which book was it? What did he say about V precisely?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    First, please don't start threads with ideas you don't support just to see what reactions you get. That's almost the definition of trolling.

    Second, the whole "blue text" thing is not a forum rule or even a recommended procedure. If someone wants to do it in their own posts, fine, but everyone should stop telling people that they "need to" or "should have" posted in blue just because they're being sarcastic/ironic/whatever.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    If I remembered I would have said, sorry.
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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 is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    One point no one has mentioned yet:

    V certainly is "too powerful" now. But, if she kept getting experience, she will one day have access to 9th level spells like "Wish" and basically end the story right there. Since Rich has mentioned his dislike of these types of spells, I'd bet that V will never reach 17th level by the end of the strip, probably because she keeps getting left out of experience-granting battles.
    Xykon has been epic for quite some time and Red Cloak has 9th level spells. The IFCC are epic archfiends on a scale that most certainly dwarfs Xykon. The Snarl, as the story goes, is a God-killing abomination that took out a pantheon. Even with 9th level spells V can hardly "end the story right there."

    V will get his moment to shine again.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kornaki View Post
    Are you claiming that there has never been a situation where V has helped the order? Because I didn't say that
    I am, but the fact that I am has nothing to do with you. It happens to be one of my pet arguments and is very closely related to the premise of this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Interesting - which book was it? What did he say about V precisely?
    The relevant commentary may be found in War and XPs, either before or during the section that covers the Battle of Azure City. I'd give you a cite but I'm AFB.
    Last edited by zimmerwald1915; 2013-09-03 at 10:59 AM.
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good...Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that....I'm out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world...no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    You say this like it's a given. It ain't so. V, remember, has to research her spells, even the ones she gains "for free" via leveling up. If the Giant doesn't want her to have wish, but still wants to give her level 9 spells, all he needs to do is have her research something else, something less story-breaking. Crushing hand and meteor swarm come to mind. Stronger, not quite story-breaking spells she might conceivably learn include disjunction and time stop.
    Personally, I'm betting us on seeing a combination of spells such that we get both:
    1. Something to show that he's learned from the Darth V episode
    2. Something to show that he's still an invoker at heart

    In other words, something that mirrors V's current character development arc.

    As you say, Meter Swarm is an obvious candidate, but something really sneaky and potentially awesome would be for V to pick up Chain Contingency and using it in combination with e.g Spellstrike, Spell Trap, and/or other useful anti-magic user spells to its full potential in the final battle with Xykon, offering himself as a willing target/sacrifice while the rest of the order takes down Xykon.
    Last edited by Deliverance; 2013-09-03 at 11:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deliverance View Post
    something really sneaky and potentially awesome would be for V to pick up Chain Contingency and using it in combination with e.g Spellstrike or Spell Trap to its full potential in the final battle with Xykon
    Chain contingency is, AFAIK, a 3.0 spell, and I've got no idea where those other spells are even printed. This tells me that unless their effects are incredibly obvious like Laurin's wormhole or Tsukiko's electric orb, which doesn't jive with a "really sneaky" strategy, they're probably not well-known enough for the Giant to put in a comic whose audience mostly doesn't even play, let alone research, D&D.
    Last edited by zimmerwald1915; 2013-09-03 at 11:18 AM.
    Milk Chocolate Justiciar of the Haley Fanclub
    I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good...Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that....I'm out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world...no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.
    Human stick-figure Twilight Sparkle by me. Find more here.

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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    I am, but the fact that I am has nothing to do with you. It happens to be one of my pet arguments and is very closely related to the premise of this thread.
    Never a situation where V helped the order? I thought the one where V defeated the young black dragon was clear. He also has the lawyers drag Z away and defeats Z in the second match. I would notice that in every situation off the top of my head, it isn't by use of magic that V helps out. Just about every situation where V deals out damage, its a case of overkill.

    Come to think of it though, helping Ochul's jailbreak really does help the order quite a bit, as did the phylactery theft (the rest of the Darth V arc, maybe not so much).
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Chain contingency is, AFAIK, a 3.0 spell, and I've got no idea where those other spells are even printed. This tells me that unless their effects are incredibly obvious like Laurin's wormhole or Tsukiko's electric orb, which doesn't jive with a "really sneaky" strategy, they're probably not well-known enough for the Giant to put in a comic whose audience mostly doesn't even play, let alone research, D&D.
    You are probably right, though the possibility of explicitly explaining it during a party tactics discussion on how to negate Xykon's advantages, just like was done with Durkon and his Mass Death Ward, is a possibility.

    I was just trying to dig my way through level 9 evocation spells that would fit V's new more deliberate approach rather than providing overkill, and there are remarkably few of those.
    Last edited by Deliverance; 2013-09-03 at 11:23 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reddish Mage View Post
    I thought the one where V defeated the young black dragon was clear.
    You mean the time when she threatened to sic the dragon on the party if they didn't cater to her every whim, then executed it while it was helpless thus beginning the arc that culminated in familicide? Some help.

    He also has the lawyers drag Z away
    Which didn't matter to anyone but V. Both elves were out of spells and despite packing scimitars Z was probably less of a melee threat than Elan to anyone but V.

    and defeats Z in the second match.
    See, the way I read that scene, Z toyed with V, then put her down when the situation got serious. V had her bacon saved by Qarr.

    Come to think of it though, helping Ochul's jailbreak really does help the order quite a bit, as did the phylactery theft (the rest of the Darth V arc, maybe not so much).
    V's and O-Chul's not being present at Girard's Gate gave Xykon a reason to teleport immediately to Kraggor's Tomb, giving Team Evil a massive head start and probably letting them blindside O-Chul and Lien.
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  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Why is V constantly benched?

    I will point out something else when it comes to V. In the last book he was the center of the narrative attention for a good long while.

    It's only natural for the spotlight to shift elsewhere for a while as other characters stand in it.

    I have little doubt that V will return soon.

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