The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Page 4 of 15 FirstFirst 1234567891011121314 ... LastLast
Results 91 to 120 of 446
  1. - Top - End - #91
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    Yes, except that 'throwing resources at it' was never supposed to be Tarquin's principle resort. (He says so himself- the massed troops are largely there for show.) Tarquin is supposed to have built up his empire on the basis of (A) his ability to maintain personal loyalties and (B) adeptly manipulate long-term outcomes to his favour, despite being (C) a major net negative for the continent as a whole.

    But his observed behaviour does little or nothing to support this characterisation. Tarquin manifestly fails to anticipate the long-term outcomes of his attempts at manipulation and winds up screwing over the people closest to him (notably Malack & Elan, but one could argue others) in the process.

    Pitting two of your sons against eachother in an elaborate battle-cage scenario for an objective you don't even want is not a good example of tactical genius, let alone quality time. The expectable outcome here is not 'they will love me and I will win big' but 'one or more of my sons or lieutenants will be dead, and/or hate my guts.'

    If this is supposed to be any indication of Tarquin's general modus operandi, then he would never have acquired an Empire in the first place. He would have no social capital and no viable grand strategy. So yes, a number of fans are being driven to the conclusion that Tarquin has either gone rapidly nuts, or that you have bungled his recent characterisation. Or, heck, both.
    Just out of curiosity, who was it that told the story about how Tarquin was a tactical genius and the mastermind behind his party's plot? Was it…Tarquin?

    If you bought into Tarquin's story that Tarquin was a competent chessmaster when all of the evidence in the comic points to him being a quasi-delusional control freak that needs to be reigned in by one of his allies half the time, that's on you. I gave you the evidence to see what he was, you just chose to believe his spin instead and then criticize me for not living up to it. The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    Secondly, saying that he IS calm and collected 99% of the time is not solving the storytelling problem: people are going to draw conclusions on the basis of available evidence. If most of Tarquin's appearances in the strip show him being petty, erratic and short-sighted, a fair chunk of people are going to assume that's who he is.
    Look, people are taking me to task because for the first half of the story, they thought Tarquin was calm and collected, and now they're upset that he's not. If you looked at the things that happened in the Empire of Blood and thought, "Hey, he's petty, erratic, and short-sighted," then congratulations, you grasped his character better than they did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    It also undermines your claim that 'being evil pervades everything you do'- if we're supposed to discount recent events as being a 1% statistical aberration, why should we attach so much thematic weight to how he treats his family during this interval? You cannot ask us to simultaneously accept and discount the same set of evidence.
    I'm not. There are two distinct portions of Tarquin's time in the comic. The first is everything up to when he joins the Linear Guild; the second is everything that happens in the Windy Canyon. The first chunk is largely intended to portray how Tarquin has behaved for his life up until now, the second chunk is the "breaking" of that status quo.


    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    SCRUBBED.
    Nope. Not going to take that bait.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick, coming in December! Pre-order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs). (Also the 2020 OOTS Calendar!)

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Well, that's....disappointing. I could easily buy that Tarquin was a competent strategist and chessmaster and a delusional, egotistical control freak. I don't think they talked to him like the Order talks to Elan; I think they talked to him like Tarquin was a first among evil equals, or like how the Order talks to Roy. That he's not as good as he might like to think he is doesn't mean he isn't good at all.

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Carry2 View Post
    Fine, well and good. But the problem is that this kind of Tarquin would not be capable of seizing power in the ways that you have described him doing. He's not a good manipulator, he's not a good strategist, and he's not good at forming strong loyalties. What assets, exactly, could he call upon in order to conquer a continent in the first place?
    Tarquin provides insight into narrative roles that translates to actual concrete power in the OOTS world. You can make plans based on those things and they work. Basically, his contribution was to take five powerful evil people and keep them from making the same mistakes that clichéd villains always make. He has since revised that into believing that he is their leader and master strategist. He is, in a very real way, the Elan of his team, only his team's goal is conquer everything instead of save the world.

    There's certainly been no evidence presented in the comic that Tarquin has even a passing understanding of valid military strategy, or political strategy, or personal relationships. What he understands are stories, and it just so happens that he was born into a world where that actually can help you win…for a while.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick, coming in December! Pre-order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs). (Also the 2020 OOTS Calendar!)

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    {SCRUBBED}

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Killer Angel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lustria
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    If you bought into Tarquin's story that Tarquin was a competent chessmaster when all of the evidence in the comic points to him being a quasi-delusional control freak that needs to be reigned in by one of his allies half the time, that's on you. I gave you the evidence to see what he was, you just chose to believe his spin instead and then criticize me for not living up to it. The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?
    To be fair, this is a completely understandable mistake. It's part of the human nature: we see a thing, we form an idea around it, then we tend to see further infos in that same idea... it's an error that was made also by many scientists.
    In retrospective, it is pretty clear, but while you're reading the story, you could by fooled by the mental image you've created by yourself.

    (of course, when we saw the real interaction between Tarquin and his group, it was almost like those flaming letters... )
    Last edited by Killer Angel; 2013-12-08 at 09:32 AM.
    Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. (W.Whitman)


    Things that increase my self esteem:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiyanwang View Post
    Great analysis KA. I second all things you said
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeYounger View Post
    Great analysis KA, I second everything you said here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryu_Bonkosi View Post
    If I have a player using Paladin in the future I will direct them to this. Good job.
    Quote Originally Posted by grimbold View Post
    THIS is proof that KA is amazing
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Killer Angel, you have an excellent taste in books
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Historical zombies is a fantastic idea.

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Tarquin provides insight into narrative roles that translates to actual concrete power in the OOTS world. You can make plans based on those things and they work. Basically, his contribution was to take five powerful evil people and keep them from making the same mistakes that clichéd villains always make. He has since revised that into believing that he is their leader and master strategist. He is, in a very real way, the Elan of his team, only his team's goal is conquer everything instead of save the world.

    There's certainly been no evidence presented in the comic that Tarquin has even a passing understanding of valid military strategy, or political strategy, or personal relationships. What he understands are stories, and it just so happens that he was born into a world where that actually can help you win…for a while.
    I think the fact that he is a General is what gave the impression that he did. Also if their conspiracy really was his idea then that shows at least some political imagination. Plus, its been verified that his story about conquering a bunch of countries before losing them is true. And as we've seen he can take on the entire Order of the Stick by himself and at least hold his own, if not outright win.

    I don't really see him as the Elan of the team; he certainly seemed to be much more bossy and his teammates do listen to him and follow his lead, even if he has to do it by saying "its business" or "I'm calling in that favour".

    I think if you plan to reveal that he was always completely incompetent that would be overstating things (and isn't very faithful to Elan, either).

    Because Tarquin seems to fill the roles of both Elan and Roy.
    Last edited by masamune1; 2013-12-08 at 05:40 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    This is just a reminder that the fact that I am participating in a conversation does not make it open season to harass, abuse, or flame me.

    If you want to express criticisms of the story, feel free; we're having a good conversation that is touching on some interesting subjects. If you want to call me names over what I've written or the very clear rules of the forum, then expect not to be welcome here.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick, coming in December! Pre-order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs). (Also the 2020 OOTS Calendar!)

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by masamune1 View Post
    I don't really see him as the Elan of the team; he certainly seemed to be much more bossy and his teammates do listen to him and follow his lead, even if he has to do it by saying "its business" or "I'm calling in that favour".

    I think if you plan to reveal that he was always completely incompetent that would be overstating things (and isn't very faithful to Elan, either).
    Well, it's an analogy, not a perfect substitution. Maybe I oversold it when I said they treat him like Elan, but the main point was that he had overstated his own agency in their mutual plan. He may have had the initial concept, but if he had been left to run it himself it would have certainly failed, precisely because he would have had no one to keep him from going off the deep end at the first bump in the road. It's not a coincidence that Tarquin's breakdown started with Malack's death.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick, coming in December! Pre-order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs). (Also the 2020 OOTS Calendar!)

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Killer Angel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lustria
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by masamune1 View Post
    I don't really see him as the Elan of the team; he certainly seemed to be much more bossy and his teammates do listen to him and follow his lead, even if he has to do it by saying "its business" or "I'm calling in that favour".
    Really? for all we know, it's highly probable that Tarquin's "subordinates" let him believe he's their true leader, and let him fill a useful niche, while they carry forward their own agenda (see Malack and his idea of a Reign of sacrifices for Nergall).
    Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. (W.Whitman)


    Things that increase my self esteem:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiyanwang View Post
    Great analysis KA. I second all things you said
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeYounger View Post
    Great analysis KA, I second everything you said here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryu_Bonkosi View Post
    If I have a player using Paladin in the future I will direct them to this. Good job.
    Quote Originally Posted by grimbold View Post
    THIS is proof that KA is amazing
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Killer Angel, you have an excellent taste in books
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Historical zombies is a fantastic idea.

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant
    Well, if few people think that, then count me as among those few. You reveal who you really are under stress—stress doesn't magically turn you into someone else unrelated to who you usually are. The fact that you may not have ever known that this is who you were doesn't change anything.
    Now, see, I'm afraid I must differ slightly. While I agree that humans being put up walls and rationalizations to hide from their true self, I do believe that stress makes a human other than what they really are.

    The truth is, we're ALL two-legged hairless apes and 'society' and 'civilization' are elaborate fictions we use to disguise this fact. The ability to act as we OUGHT rather than as we WANT, the ability to act on our THOUGHTS rather than basic instinct or feelings, is what separates us from animals.

    Push a human being hard enough, as in war or anywhere else, and eventually they WILL break and revert back to the primal ape. Only humans with great self-discipline can remain calm, cool, collected and reasonable when under the stress, say, of actually going to war. And even the humans with the greatest self-discipline will break down if they're under stress for long enough. I was just reading Tameichi Hara's book . He was the skipper of the Shigure during World War II, brought his ship through years of combat and didn't lose a single man. But he still, towards the end of the war, had to be put on shore and spend quite a bit of time on leave. Because the continual stress got to him and he was close to a nervous breakdown.

    So is this saying that he wasn't a courageous man and a competent naval officer? I don't think so. It's saying that he had spend a very long time acting as he OUGHT to act rather than as the hairless ape WANTED to act, which is to break down screaming, and he no longer had the strength to maintain the illusion -- an illusion which was absolutely necessary to keep himself and his crew alive.

    So he took a break.

    I contend that who we really are is who we want to be and strive to be. But, being human, we are continually brought low by our own lack of self-discipline.

    This is a sore spot with me because I have been under great stress this past month as we push out the 1.0 release of new software. This has meant late night and all-nighters. Because of this I have had to really watch myself, get more rest, because the temptation to bite people's head off is really strong. When, in the middle of all this, I got a call on the Thanksgiving holiday to come in and troubleshoot a crashed 2000 room hotel because evidently no one ELSE either at the hotel or my own organization thought to unplug the computer from the network and see if it ran when it was out of comms, then work through the bars to isolate the problem, didn't occur to anyone. So *I* had to come in on the holiday weekend and solve it.

    And when the person spoke to me on the phone, I was quite rude to him. Yes indeed.

    Does this mean that I'm not actually a courteous person but am actually a mean, surly, unpleasant individual? No. It means I'm tired. It means that weeks of stress are getting to me and I no longer have the internal resources to play Mr. Nice Guy. I need time to relax, unwind, so I can function as a normal human being. And when I don't get it, I Don't act as I do normally.

    So I think your statement is unfair, and this poster is apropos .

    What do I mean 'unfair'? I mean that to tell a person that what they are when they are under stress is who they really are is no different than saying that a person under the influence of depression, or alcohol, that what they really are is what they are when the worst is brought out in them.

    And ALL of us have that worst side. We're all two-legged apes , and it doesn't take much to bring that out. A lot of the reason military basic training is so harsh on people is specifically to condition them to function under stress, so that they can continue to function as soldiers rather than as panicking, screaming animals. And even then, even with the best soldiers, they all have their limits.

    So I'm not going to tell someone in the middle of a nervous breakdown or a screaming fit that this is who they really are. No, who they really are is who they want to be and what they strive to be, but since they're mortal beings of flesh and blood they fall short, break down. I don't want them to waste on minute in loathing and self-condemnation. I want them to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again. And again and again, for as long as it takes.

    In the case of Tarquin -- well, honestly, I agree with you and not with the OP. Tarquin was always rage, violence, anger, and self-centredness. It's just that he learned to mask this with a surface of affability. And since you're the author, I must believe you when you say Tarquin himself was unaware of this -- that he really did think he was Affable Evil. And now, under stress, he can no longer maintain affable and has reverted to just plain evil. A nasty, unpleasant person who kills and rages when he doesn't get his way.

    So Tarquin did not suddenly change. It's just that stress brought out the worst in him, and we see what he is like when all his normal civility filters are gone.

    Where we differ is the contention that the 'true self' is what happens when a person is under so much pressure they can no longer maintain their normal civil persona. And I say that an evil tyrant who burns slaves alive and eats intelligent creatures and betrays bounty hunters really is Tarquin's true self -- it's what he strives to be, positively glories in. Both Roy and Tarquin, when under pressure, revert to being angry, surly, sarcastic men. It's what they build on top of that elemental primal ape is what makes one good and the other evil.

    ETA: I don't think we're actually that far apart. Isn't a variant on my reasoning the reason why the Deva let Roy into the celestial realm despite the fact he was nowhere close to Deva standards? Roy was a human being of flesh and blood, but he was trying to be more than just an angry ape. Roy was trying to be a man who followed the rules and sacrificed for the good of others, while Tarquin was trying to be a military dictator, a murderer, and a traitor, though an affable one. That's why Roy is lawful good and Tarquin is lawful evil.

    ETA: Someone asked
    "So is someone who tries to kill but never kills a killer?"

    In philosophical terms, yes. It's not something humans can try other humans for, but it's still a truth about ourselves known only to ourselves and to any other being who might look at the deepest, darkest secrets of our hearts.

    So I can't be put in jail for it. But if murder is the fixed intent of my heart, as opposed to a momentary temptation or a sharp snap based on stress, in a very real sense I am a murderer.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2013-12-08 at 09:52 AM.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

  11. - Top - End - #101
    Banned
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    And I wasn't really complaining so much as saying I have no interest in making that easy for them. It undercuts the point I am trying to make, which is that evil isn't cool. Which is challenging the traditional narrative—at least the narrative of the last 40 years of pop culture which has told us relentlessly that the character who is more morally questionable is always cooler than the one who is more morally upright.
    There is a very good reason why the last 40 years of pop-culture did that. They may not be "cooler" but morally questionable people are often more interesting characters.

    The primary question surrounding an internal conflict in a story is "who is this character" in that it seeks to explain what makes the character tick. Thus, character development. A more morally upright character has less to develop because their morals are better aligned with those the story supports and thus don't need developing. Thus they can only be developed externally and not internally, for example, by breaking them like Durkon. A morally questionable character can have a greater arc of development either to a more morally upright or bankrupt direction.

    Similarly a character who is more morally bankrupt is also less interesting than a morally questionable. If the character doesn't have some redeeming features or other complexities to them, they are just a cardboard antagonist to be overcome or not. However, a morally bankrupt character can be so far bankrupt that they are fascinating in how far they will go, like Xykon. However, that direction doesn't work for morally upright characters, they can't be so far morally upright they're interesting, unless they are written really well. Which is rare.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Look, people are taking me to task because for the first half of the story, they thought Tarquin was calm and collected, and now they're upset that he's not. If you looked at the things that happened in the Empire of Blood and thought, "Hey, he's petty, erratic, and short-sighted," then congratulations, you grasped his character better than they did.
    I didn't get short-sighted and especially not erratic out of Tarquin in the first part of the story. In fact I've never got erratic (unpredictable behavior) out of Tarquin. His behavior to me has always been consistent and predictable. Am I missing something?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Well, if few people think that, then count me as among those few. You reveal who you really are under stress—stress doesn't magically turn you into someone else unrelated to who you usually are. The fact that you may not have ever known that this is who you were doesn't change anything.
    What about the stressed parent who momentarily snaps at their children for a relatively minor transgression and then apologises afterwards?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    It doesn't matter either way (and I have no intention of exploring it further). It's attempted rape regardless, and someone who repeatedly attempts rape is a rapist, even if he never succeeds.
    Does this mean someone who tries to kill people but never does so is a killer?

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by masamune1 View Post
    I don't really see him as the Elan of the team; he certainly seemed to be much more bossy and his teammates do listen to him and follow his lead, even if he has to do it by saying "its business" or "I'm calling in that favour".
    One does not have to be as incompetent as Elan to be "the Elan"--you know, the person that you help out with their little pet projects because it's easier to do that than to argue the toss, even though you don't believe their ideas are good ones. As for calling in the favour, that's a pretty big deal in this group, it seems--Laurin was amazed Tarquin was going to the extent of calling in his favour to get Miron on-side, for instance.

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Kish's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Default Re: The inevitable disappointment of the people who idealized Tarkie.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    What about the stressed parent who momentarily snaps at their children for a relatively minor transgression and then apologises afterwards?
    They're human. Humans snap at each other occasionally, even when they wish they didn't.

    On the other hand, imagine that, instead of merely snapping, the parent breaks the child's arm.

    Do you think any number of apologies or self-recriminations are going to change the fact that, under stress, that parent revealed a serious problem in her/his psyche? I don't.
    Last edited by Kish; 2013-12-08 at 09:49 AM.
    Spoiler
    Show
    "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.

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Yes, this. "Breaking" a character does not mean brainwashing them into being someone else, it means knocking down all the walls that the character has put up to hide from themselves. It's breaking through to see the truth. It's removing all the easy paths so that they have to pick one of the hard ones, and then seeing which of the hard ones they pick.
    I agree here, but wouldn't call it "breaking" a character. It's putting them into a situation where they have to make tough decisions, and see which one they end up choosing. But they have to have choices to make that reflect who they really are -- you don't get to decide that a character is genocidal by giving them a choice of killing one group or another or letting both die, where no matter what they choose that's the result -- and have to be acting in a state where their base instincts and base emotions aren't overwhelming the decision. So you don't make them really, really mad and then give them a choice of taking an aggressive or passive role, because anger as an emotion biases you towards taking aggressive actions (as an aside, you can see the arguments from the Stoics on this, especially Seneca, and work on emotional reaction from people like Jesse Prinz to show that our emotions influence our thoughts far more than we'd like).

    To use an example, in one old Transformers comic Optimus Prime and Megatron went into a game with the condition that whoever lost would be destroyed. Optimus ended up winning, but due to cheating by Megatron had to kill some of the virtual inhabitants. At the end, Optimus insists that he caused innocents to die because they were virtual, but he could never do that in real life, and so he actually lost and had to be destroyed. That says everything you'd ever want to know about his character, but didn't involve "breaking him", and was a choice made out of the heat of the moment.

    And I am saying that I fundamentally disagree with this premise. It is them, and if they feel guilty that's because they don't want it to be who they are. And that's fine, that's normal and maybe people in that situation will do their best to change if they don't like what stress has revealed, or maybe they'll decide that they're fine with who they are. But deciding it's some sort of Other that takes possession of your body because stress happened is really weird. It strikes me as exactly the sort of self-justification I was talking about above, the kind that good writing breaks through. Tarquin would certainly say that he isn't really a violent control freak who is willing to sacrifice his family to feed his ego, it was just the stress making him that way. And I would say, "Bull****."
    So what says more about Optimus Prime and who he really is: in that in the heat of battle and in a virtual world he was willing to take an action that killed some virtual innocents, or that after that he insisted that what he did was wrong and meant that he really lost the game? To me, it's the latter.
    BSG PBF record on BGG: 15 - 16.

    "For a nice guy, you're kind of a jerk" - Ayane, P4: The Animation

    "Stop saving the world and get a hobby" - Seto Kaiba

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Just out of curiosity, who was it that told the story about how Tarquin was a tactical genius and the mastermind behind his party's plot? Was it…Tarquin?

    If you bought into Tarquin's story that Tarquin was a competent chessmaster when all of the evidence in the comic points to him being a quasi-delusional control freak that needs to be reigned in by one of his allies half the time, that's on you. I gave you the evidence to see what he was, you just chose to believe his spin instead and then criticize me for not living up to it. The characterization is consistent all the way through—including the part where he talks himself up to be the central character in his group's history. But look at the way Laurin and Miron talk to him; does that sound like people who think he's the mastermind that got them to where they are? Or does it sound like how people talk to Elan? Why do you think that strip was even in there, except to reveal that Tarquin's version of his place in the group had been inflated by Tarquin?
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Let's frame this and put it in a prominent location, such that none of us have to go through the morass of trying to explain that people who are insane or the next best thing sees the world differently and should not be relied on for providing the truth, except as they see it, which may be at great variance with how others see it.

    You've made an interesting character, a thoroughly evil egotist whose love for his children appears to be that of a narcissistic parent, and it has been truly frustrating to see his words taken at face value despite your frequently showing how he manipulates, rationalizes, and puts the best face on actions after the fact.

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Cizak's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Giant: You say Tarquin without realising it convinced himself that he loved his family, when really he didn't love them enough to not murder them when they got in the way of his ego. What about his team? Do you think he actually cares for them as friends or is he delusional on that part too? He definitely seemed to have memories of good times with Malack that they reminisce about and they could work out their problems with each other because they'd much rather go back to happily co-operating than being angry at each other. But in the end, were they truly friends, or was Malack (and the rest of the team) just another bunch of assets to Tarquin?
    Last edited by Cizak; 2013-12-08 at 09:54 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by T-O-E View Post
    MAJOR SPOILERS. Seriously!
    The last panel will be...
    Spoiler
    Show
    Black. 'The End' in white text.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.
    I won a thread. Am I pathetic to list that in my signture? Yes. Of course I am.

    Awesome avatar is awesome. And made by yldenfrei.

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Killer Angel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lustria
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    So Tarquin did not suddenly change. It's just that stress brought out the worst in him, and we see what he is like when all his normal civility filters are gone.
    Was he under stress, when he arranged the giant flaming letters affair?
    Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. (W.Whitman)


    Things that increase my self esteem:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiyanwang View Post
    Great analysis KA. I second all things you said
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeYounger View Post
    Great analysis KA, I second everything you said here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryu_Bonkosi View Post
    If I have a player using Paladin in the future I will direct them to this. Good job.
    Quote Originally Posted by grimbold View Post
    THIS is proof that KA is amazing
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Killer Angel, you have an excellent taste in books
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Historical zombies is a fantastic idea.

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Banned
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Angel View Post
    Was he under stress, when he arranged the giant flaming letters affair?
    Of course he was, it was really tight nailing them all down in time for Elan's surprise.

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Kish's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Cizak View Post
    Giant: You say Tarquin without realising it convinced himself that he loved his family, when really he didn't love them enough to not murder them when they got in the way of his ego. What about his team? Do you think he actually cares for them as friends or is he delusional on that part too? He definitely seemed to have memories of good times with Malack that they reminisce about and they could work out their problems with each other because they'd much rather go back to happy co-operting than being angry at each other. But in the end, were they truly friends, or was Malack (and the rest of the team) just another bunch of assets to Tarquin?
    Well, Rich already said that, in Tarquin's view, there were two people in the scene at the edge of the rift--himself and Elan--with everyone else being window dressing, including Laurin and Miron.

    I'm not Rich, but unless I've read Tarquin wrong (and so far, I seem to have read him entirely right), he used "my best friend" to refer to Malack, in all sincerity, but with the same level of emotional investment a saner person would put into "my good china."
    Spoiler
    Show
    "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.

  20. - Top - End - #110
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Well, it's an analogy, not a perfect substitution. Maybe I oversold it when I said they treat him like Elan, but the main point was that he had overstated his own agency in their mutual plan. He may have had the initial concept, but if he had been left to run it himself it would have certainly failed, precisely because he would have had no one to keep him from going off the deep end at the first bump in the road. It's not a coincidence that Tarquin's breakdown started with Malack's death.
    Well, I just don't see the contradiction between all that being true and Tarquin still be an at least above-average military and political strategist. It seemed to me that he was, but that his other teammates were roughly as good as he was as well (which made perfect sense since they came up through the rank together), and that this was one of the reasons they could talk to him like that- not that they didn't respect him, but that he was only their leader, not their boss. Again kind of Roy- he's in charge because its his idea, but they all have their own interests and he is neither bothered by that nor likely to beat the crap out of them if they changed their minds. As I said first among equals.

    I never got the impression that he pretended otherwise. It always seemed to me that all he ever said was the idea was his, and his teammates were semi-independent because they were good in their own right. If he wants to pat himself on the back for that...well, why not? It was a good plan and he trusted it to the right people. And his own empire runs smoothly, as far as tyrannical dictatorships not-intended-to-be-permanent go.

    For me it just seemed like he was a much better warrior and politician than he was a dad, and that too bad for him being a dad was the thing that mattered to him most right now, if for twisted and self-serving reasons. And he'd hardly be the first great leader in history to suffer some spectacular, fatal errors of judgement less because of lack of talent than because he'd gotten too used to everything going his own way.

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Titan in the Playground
     
    WindStruck's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Wow, Giant. Just the stuff you've said responding to the criticisms of how you portrayed Tarquin's character has been an eye-opener for me. I mean how you explain how people are under stress. Knocking down their "defenses" and making them choose between hard paths... that exposes who you really are.

    For many reasons, I just can't comprehend how people can keep arguing with you about how your character in your story is somehow acting wrong...

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RMS Oceanic's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Cizak View Post
    Giant: You say Tarquin without realising it convinced himself that he loved his family, when really he didn't love them enough to not murder them when they got in the way of his ego. What about his team? Do you think he actually cares for them as friends or is he delusional on that part too? He definitely seemed to have memories of good times with Malack that they reminisce about and they could work out their problems with each other because they'd much rather go back to happy co-operting than being angry at each other. But in the end, were they truly friends, or was Malack (and the rest of the team) just another bunch of assets to Tarquin?
    Saying he's delusional about his friendship would be the wrong way to frame it, just that he can see people both as friend and asset.

    "Putting aside the years of friendship, do you have any idea how valuable an asset he was?"

    Rich has said before that evil people can have meaningful emotional connections to people, and I believe this is true with Tarquin. However he also has an element to his mind that weighs how valuable people are to him, how useful they can be. If there's a delusion, it would be how much weight he places on those possibly conflicting things: He may have convinced himself he values his friendship and his family deeply, but Nale's rejection shows he values assets and control of said assets more than the emotional connection.
    "They couldn't know that the points from the mainline to the siding were frozen, and the signal should have been set at 'DANGER', but snow had forced it down."
    - The Flying Kipper

  23. - Top - End - #113
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Angel View Post
    Really? for all we know, it's highly probable that Tarquin's "subordinates" let him believe he's their true leader, and let him fill a useful niche, while they carry forward their own agenda (see Malack and his idea of a Reign of sacrifices for Nergall).
    Except that according to Malack, Tarquin knew full well about that and was entirely fine with it. The most revealing thing about that revelation was that Malack talked about Tarquin and the rest from the point of view of an immortal- he liked them, but he was making plans for after their deaths. Seems more like everyone does have their own agendas but they don't hide it from Tarquin, who has his own as well. Seems like he is the leader, just a team leader of a fairly democratic evil adventuring party. No doubt they could get rid of him if they really wanted to, but they don't because he's doing a decent job.

  24. - Top - End - #114
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Back in the USSR
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    I for one am really happy with Tarquin's development over the last few scenes. I always figured him for having the same fatal flaw as Nale - an unassailably enormous ego the size of continents - but covered by being massively more personally competent. That competence allows him his urbane facade, but when people start successfully denying him...well, we see how well Nale dealt with that, and it seems we now know where he got it from.

    Tarquin's breaking down here. He's still incredibly dangerous, but he's quite obviously lost it because he's run into a situation he can't control, which is exactly what I'd expect an egomaniacal control freak to do no matter how good a system he had going before.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Stealthy Snake avatar by Dawn
    Lack of images by Imageshack

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Eulalios's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Steady Habit
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    You can't be a ... and then go home and turn your ... Switch to the "off" position to spend time with your kids. It doesn't work that way. If you are the sort of person that can commit the acts that Tarquin does daily, then that will find its way into every aspect of your existence. It's who you are.
    This.

    Cf. Pat Conroy, The Great Santini.

    Forum rules prohibit discussion of more recent examples.

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Angel View Post
    Was he under stress, when he arranged the giant flaming letters affair?
    No, Tarquin's normal self -- his "true" self, as far as I'm concerned -- is a jackbooted tyrant who murders the innocent, but is nonetheless charming. Strip away the stress, and you've still got a jackbooted tyrant but none of the charm.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

    -Valery Legasov in Chernobyl

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    It'd be a great twist if Shoulderpad Guy turns out to be the Roy of the group, fed up with Tarquin's constant remarks about proper story structure and tropes. All Shoulderpad Guy wants to do is to prove to his dead father, Wizard Hat Guy, that fighters are just as capable as other classes by destroying the world. Wizard Hat Guy himself failed to accomplish that after swearing a Blood Oath to that effect. But his quest is constantly interrupted by Tarquin, the party idiot, who wants to do random side-quests like conquer a continent.
    "One need not hope in order to undertake, nor succeed in order to persevere."

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
    The Giant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    What about the stressed parent who momentarily snaps at their children for a relatively minor transgression and then apologises afterwards?
    That's who they are: a person who is not a saint and sometimes is rude to someone when they shouldn't be. And that's OK. It's OK to not be a saint. It's something you can try to be better at in the future. The problem is when you excuse that behavior by saying it was stress and so there's no self-reflection, there's no attempt to be better. It's OK for "who you are" to be less than perfect, as long as you're trying to be better.

    The level of the stimuli and the level of the response are relevant. It's not all-or-nothing. Responding to stress with rudeness is not the same as responding to stress with genocide. With Tarquin, it is important to keep in mind that the provocation for threatening to murder Haley and chop Elan's hand off is that they don't want to escape in the exact manner he would prefer. He wants them to escape, and they were in the process of escaping, but they weren't doing it right.

    To bring in pendell's point, there may well be a certain level of physiological stress that will reduce anyone to savagery. Tarquin is nowhere near that stress level. He could walk away at any time. So it's totally fair to judge him on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    Does this mean someone who tries to kill people but never does so is a killer?
    Sure. Competence at achieving one's goals is not really relevant to the morality of those goals.
    Rich Burlew


    Utterly Dwarfed, the sixth compilation of The Order of the Stick, coming in December! Pre-order at Ookoodook (paper copies) or Gumroad (digital PDFs). (Also the 2020 OOTS Calendar!)

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    In the Mountains

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Daimbert View Post
    What they do when you push them so far that they are no longer capable of acting against their base instincts is not them, and is just a sign that they've lost control and, in my view, aren't really being themselves.
    That is crap people start to blabber who beat their wife and children or who fling into rage once they are drunk. It's nothing but what falls from the behind of bulls. You are what you do when you do not think, when you are in an extreme situation. Everything else is just constructed for the sake of how you think your social environment wants to see you and how you want to see yourself.
    Will you fight for someone you love or run away, flee and hide? THAT is who you are. Everything else is just a construct.
    Because it is so nasty what people (characters!) find within themselves they overinflate the blabla, explain why this and that and this, but that is just to prevent seeing themselves. Elan is a very nice guy at his core so if you stress him out, he'll do something heroic (if that is stupid or not is a different matter). He's a good guy.
    If you push Tarquin, he stabs his son in the stomac and breaks the arm of his other son's girlfriend. Because he's evil. Increase the pressure on a character and you'll see what's up with him.

    Please never use this as any kind of reply to anyone;
    No, I mean it. I think you are so far off with what you critique here that the last part really belongs in your own story. I justify this by what comes after. You can talk about what you think that works and what not, but as soon as you're adding your vision, we're talking your vision, not what is in the comic anymore.

    [...]
    I do not understand what point this makes, so I do not answer to it.


    Sorry, but serious analysis of literature definitely means saying what might have worked better,
    We are not doing serious literature analysis here. First, you can only do that on a finished work (I should conclude with this, actually) and second, we're not disagreeing on anything analysed but what "breaking a character" means and when it's so bad that it actually is a plot hole. I say there's nothing like that here.
    I feel naked. You all know my stats!

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    I mean, okay, Tarquin has shown some incredible competency on his home ground, in places where he was in control of everything. In his own Empire, with his own guards, where he was the law, he seemed like the master of his own little universe.

    Let's not forget, however, that this guy raised Nale. He's obviously going to have some very deep character flaws. If this wasn't obvious by the time of the 200 foot tall flaming letters, if not sooner, then I don't know what to tell you.

    They're even some of the same flaws; neither could stand to be bested, even momentarily. Both are very hung up on petty revenge. And for all Tarquin's harping on Nale's "doesn't matter how we win or who we piss off, so long as everyone knows *I'm* the victor" philosophy, he does exactly the same thing. More subtly, to be sure, but "more subtle than Nale" is right up there with "nicer than Xykon."

    Tarquin is cool, Tarquin is largely competent, and Tarquin is good at making plans, but Tarquin gets by because of where he's at. His style wouldn't slide in the real world. Refusing to admit any mistakes, blatantly treating people like dirt, and killing and dissenters? Unless he's backed by the entire military force and is paying them/treating them well enough to keep them happy, he wouldn't last a year.

    Without getting into real world politics, let's just say you can't make *everyone* angry or *someone* will kill you. You've got to keep someone sweet, someone who can keep you from getting killed. Usually that's a military force. It's got to be a fairly large force. Those tend to cost money.

    Tarquin gets away with that here because this is literally a world where level appropriate treasures can pop up just because they're needed. He gets away with that because there aren't rules for sleeping. He barely even needs to feed his troops. If I recall, they can be kept alive, if not in tip-top shape, by being fed once per three weeks. There aren't rules for morale detailed enough to take into account that he's probably keeping them on the verge of starvation. Maybe a -2 modifier.

    This wouldn't fly in the real world, for most people. He'd run out of food or money and someone else would offer his military a sweeter deal to turn against him. All they have to do is not be as obviously bad as Tarquin and they win the support of the troops. Heck, his game is chiefly held together by people like Jacinda keeping the Empress ignorant of what's really going on. Not that I'm sure the Empress would understand even if it were spelled out for her, but I'm sure there's at least one non-moronic ruler in the Empires of Sweat and Tears who have to be kept in the dark. Tarquin, despite his beliefs, is not very good at keeping things on the DL.

    Tarquin himself is not nearly as big a threat as he thinks he is. He's where he's at because he managed to attach himself to much more competent people like Malack, Laurin, and Miron. At the end of the day, he's one guy with an unjustly inflated opinion of himself, just like the son he raised.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Messenger View Post
    I really would rather Tarquin finally just went all George R. R. Martin on Nale.
    That's right - George R. R. Martin; a writer so ruthless, his name is a verb akin to Samuel L. Jackson. Valar morghulis.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    The only thing worse than the usual irrelevant rules pedantry is incorrect irrelevant rules pedantry.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •