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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I think if your observation of Hitler was limited solely to his wedding, you'd be hard pressed to call him evil.
    I don't know if I'd agree with that. Hitler got married in his bunker in Berlin, had his dog poisoned and her puppies shot, then he dictated his will and after that he and his new wife committed suicide. It was hardly a happy occasion, but considering that he just learned about Mussolini getting lynched and the Red Army was closing in on the bunker there was not much reason to rejoice.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Ow! The sneak attack on my feels is real! Durkon is the support beam that everyone needed-the support beam that was made to be one and and did what it needed to do perfectly.
    Though that brings up the kinda sad implication that Durkon didn't just suffer for nothing, but suffered because he was the best at being a good and supportive person.

    It's not like it wasn't obvious, but these points the Order keep nailing the points we mention in our reaction threads as they come. Good writing, I would say.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Quebbster View Post
    I don't know if I'd agree with that. Hitler got married in his bunker in Berlin, had his dog poisoned and her puppies shot, then he dictated his will and after that he and his new wife committed suicide. It was hardly a happy occasion, but considering that he just learned about Mussolini getting lynched and the Red Army was closing in on the bunker there was not much reason to rejoice.
    Huh. Today I learned.

    Regardless, the meaning of the analogy is, I think, still apparent. And even if not, then Grey Wolf presents it better anyway.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Not actively doing evil and being significant less evil are different things. He's not actively doing evil, yes, we agree on this. He's not significantly less evil, no, we do not agree.
    I'm gonna say that Belkar being less evil can be significant, without Belkar being significantly less evil.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    I'm gonna say that Belkar being less evil can be significant, without Belkar being significantly less evil.
    Ya know, that seems pretty reasonable.

    ETA: also, what Grey Wolf says.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-09-13 at 06:58 PM.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    I'm gonna say that Belkar being less evil can be significant, without Belkar being significantly less evil.
    Certainly. But he can also be a more complex and nuanced character without stopping being as evil as he always was. Since we don't have a nazimeter to measure him with, we can't really tell. But lacking some kind of indication of remorse, I'm not sure that the important thing about his growing introspection is how that has changed his amount of evil.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    The only indication we have that Belkar may be becoming less evil is the comment between V and Haley on the influence of Mr. Scruffy. They both seem to agree that it still averages out "south of neutral."

    Why would Belkar become less Evil? He's becoming more sophisticated, which makes him far, far more dangerous in the grand scheme of things, but he's still a rotten bastard at heart. Now, he's just a rotten bastard that cares about a cat, and occasionally thinks a bit about other things as well. Granted, that's a far step forward from his "proto-brain" days, but that's not an alignment issue.

    Belkar is a sexy, shoeless, god of war. Perhaps after death, he will become a literal god of war. Losing his Evil status could greatly diminish his future possibilities...
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by mouser9169 View Post
    Belkar is a sexy, shoeless, god of war. Perhaps after death, he will become a literal god of war.
    Perhaps the watch I bought in Chinatown for thirty bucks is a real Rolex.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by mouser9169 View Post
    Belkar is a sexy, shoeless, god of war. Perhaps after death, he will become a literal god of war. Losing his Evil status could greatly diminish his future possibilities...
    I would totally worship Belkar as a halfling god of war.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Forum posters' opinion of Belkar aside, what was the answer when he asked who the least popular person there was?

    He'd need in-universe worship to become a god.
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    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Since we don't have a nazimeter to measure him with, we can't really tell.
    I will admit, in the absence of naziometric data some fuzzy guesstimation would be involved. But I figure an unusual act of conscience being noteworthy at least puts it in conceivable range.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Forum posters' opinion of Belkar aside, what was the answer when he asked who the least popular person there was?
    The name of that strip (#687) is, "Actually, That's Probably You".

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    I see Roy used Elder Scrolls logic when it comes to prophecy.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    You can try to get a prophecy to order, and you may even end up with something that appears really useful like "You shall be killed by no man!" Then a girl offs you when you least expect it.

    One of the clever accidents of how this story unfolded is that, in hindsight, we know that both Xykon and Redcloak were sandbagging to the extreme in the first battle. Xykon felt so comfortable taunting them exactly because they were so obviously incompetent; frittering time to trick them into touching that rune might actually work.

    If Odin had sent someone more obviously competent, someone that could be a genuine threat to either Xykon or Redcloak, that would be hero would have been vaporized.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by mouser9169 View Post
    Why would Belkar become less Evil? He's becoming more sophisticated, which makes him far, far more dangerous in the grand scheme of things, but he's still a rotten bastard at heart. Now, he's just a rotten bastard that cares about a cat, and occasionally thinks a bit about other things as well. Granted, that's a far step forward from his "proto-brain" days, but that's not an alignment issue.
    Agreed. Belkar has evolved to possess a basic theory of mind that allows for the possibility that other people are thinking things about him that do not put them on the kill list. That is not exactly a rare skill among even the most viciously Eeeevil.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    I'm gonna say that Belkar being less evil can be significant, without Belkar being significantly less evil.
    Y'know, I can live with that, too. It's not about change, it's about showing potential for change.

    It's a lot like the inverse of what Vaarsuvius went through in DStP: the decisions they were making didn't make them evil, but they were leading them down a path where a crisis of alignment was possible.

    Belkar has demonstrated a capacity for empathy, shame, and regret. All that's missing is making the connection to all of his actions and encounters and realizing the importance of applying them consistently.
    Last edited by alwaysbebatman; 2017-09-13 at 11:49 PM.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    I think it can be safely said that Belkar is becoming less evil. It's kind of hard to see, due to the fact that we have yet to enter much of a situation where he can do anything notably Good-aligned on a consistent enough scale to make him appear Neutral. He's actively contributing to the Order as something other than a pair of very nimble daggers, and he's showing emotional attachment in the case of Durkon and Mr. Scruffy. He's shown remorse for his actions before (969), he's shown a greater all-around capacity for empathy (807) and self-awareness (689), and while the majority of his actions post hippie-dream-quest could be construed as selfish, there's logic pointing to doing them for other reasons as well. At the very least, the fact that he's limiting his attacks to people who are demonstrably evil and a danger to others helps point to him slowly moving down the spectrum.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    I'd say that Belkar is less evil. Given that the story isn't over yet, though, I think the bigger question isn't how far he's climbed the axis, if at all, but rather how far along the narrative path to redemption he is. At one time, it would have been hard to imagine Belkar having valued friends or showing guilt or kindness without some sort of magical influence. Now that Rich has established and earned these character developments, it's a smaller step to get from here to a neutral Belkar.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Certainly. But he can also be a more complex and nuanced character without stopping being as evil as he always was. Since we don't have a nazimeter to measure him with, we can't really tell.
    We don’t but the Deva in the HR of Celestia does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I have yet to see any regret, which I consider one of the central aspects to change. It appears Soon does as well; "to admit that you were, in fact, wrong."
    We've seen him showing what looked like guilt, when he talked about Durkon's death and during the gnomette incident. Maybe even shame at one point. That's pretty close to regret, although I'll give you he never admitted it out loud.

    The little guy is evolving, even if he's still in "evil with neutral tendencies" territory. Which is cool : Real change doesn't happen overnight.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by 8BitNinja View Post
    I see Roy used Elder Scrolls logic when it comes to prophecy.
    How does prophecies work in the Elder Scrolls world? I've played Daggerfall and Morrowind, but I've never really followed the main quests on those games. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Huh. Today I learned.

    Regardless, the meaning of the analogy is, I think, still apparent. And even if not, then Grey Wolf presents it better anyway.
    Yeah, I got the Point you were trying to make. Being a stickler for details I just had to Point out how poorly chosen that specific example was though.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by warmachine View Post
    That's virtually impossible with free willed beings. Anyone makes an unexpected decision and the chain of events to create the Xykon beating super team fails. It's like long term prediction in a massive feedback system like weather. Mind you, such an argument makes prophecy ridiculous, throwing the plotline out the window, but I'll run with it.

    Now, Odin could be some hyper-intelligent being, capable of extrapolating the future and seeing how to nudge unpredictable people in ways us mere humans can never imagine, explaining prophecy and how he can create a super team. Except Odin is portrayed as a senile old man.

    Unless this is the metaphysics rule that prophecies must always happen because drama throws logic out the window and divine plans to create a super team always work because drama throws logic out the window.
    There's no such thing as free will

    The future is pre-determined

    Not endorsing these ideas, just pointing out that some thinkers would disagree with you. ;)
    Predictions: Xykon will turn on Redcloak, the OotS will arrive during the combat and prevent the kill, Xykon will defeat the OotS, Redcloak will destroy him before he kills them, Vaarsuvius will help Redcloak cast the ritual, the Dark One will use the Snarl to slay Hel, the world will be saved, and Goblinoids will join the other humanoids and live in peace and harmony.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    We've seen him showing what looked like guilt, when he talked about Durkon's death and during the gnomette incident. Maybe even shame at one point. That's pretty close to regret, although I'll give you he never admitted it out loud.

    The little guy is evolving, even if he's still in "evil with neutral tendencies" territory. Which is cool : Real change doesn't happen overnight.
    Yes, Belkar feels bad that Durkon died. Evil people can have friends. Shocking.

    Has he felt guilt over any of his past evil actions? Has he felt regret over any of his misdeeds? No. The only guilt or regret we see is when he's being a more 3-dimensiomal character, which has jack-all to do with being an ﹰEvil character.

    ETA:
    Consider the following example: In an old campaign, I had introduced two completely evil villains. Both had plans to conquer the world, and I had let the PCs know that they had known each other a century earlier. When the players discovered that they were working together, they couldn't understand it. "Why help each other?" they asked themselves, "It would make more sense to go it alone."

    "Wait," said one player, "I bet that one is planning on helping the other up to a point, and then turning on him." They all agreed that this must be the reason for their alliance, and even formulated a plan to "warn" the lesser of the two evils about the other's presumed treachery. This was a solution that was arrived at by a fairly logical process, but it was completely and utterly incorrect. What the players had failed to consider was that the two villains were simply friends. They had grown up together, and trusted each other implicitly*despite having every logical reason to not trust one another at all. The fact was that the villains were letting their emotional attachment to each other override strict logic; they had made an agreement to share control of the world, and both were intending to follow through. Further, by contacting the "lesser" villain, the PCs had accidentally tipped their hand that they knew the two were working together, allowing the villains to set up an ambush for the players in a future session. By relying on logic and logic alone, the players had gravely miscalculated their foes.
    Fun fact: thats written by the same guy who is writing the comic. And it sounds awfully familiar; Evil characters who are developed and 3-dimensional, who do not take every evil action just because they're Evil. But, but thing here, still absolutely Evil. That's what Belkar is turning into. Great character development so far. Lousy redemption so far.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quebbster View Post
    Yeah, I got the Point you were trying to make. Being a stickler for details I just had to Point out how poorly chosen that specific example was though.
    I'm glad you did, so I can not make the same mistake in the future.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-09-14 at 08:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    I mostly agree with Peelee. Belkar showed some guilt/shame over his treatment of the gnome woman (still took advantage of her, though), and while he's struggling to maintain his psychopathic self-image, at the same time he resents others for not seeing him as anything but the same old psychopath. But crucially, his guilt/shame and empathy have yet to apply to any of his past actions: they only seem to work going forward (which is understandable and consistent with how downright uncomfortable he is with reflection and with analyzing his own development). He's not shown true regret yet, he merely learned empathy is a thing - which is a colossal change for someone like him (most Evil folks do feel empathy and have people they care about), but not one that can make him anything but Evil if it isn't accompanied by deeper transformations down the line. He's certainly "less Evil", but that might not be too significant on a scale by which most Evil people are measured.

    (His survivor's guilt over Durkon is a bit different, IMO)

    But alignment is a funny thing to me (a non-player). It seems to be half about judgment of a character's actions and half about a character's present inclinations and about predicting how they will behave in the future given their moral outlook. Both notions overlap to a significant degree, and it works fine 90% of the time in game terms, but it's always going to break down at some point and there's always going to be grey areas (Vaarsuvius is a good example of this, I think).
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Yes, Belkar feels bad that Durkon died. Evil people can have friends. Shocking.
    "Evil people" are not a monolith. Evil people like Belkar have gambling buddies. Dudes you are friendly with and enjoy the company of, but you'd betray at the drop of a hat and would expect them to do the same to you.

    And then there are evil people who genuinely care about a few people and actively screw everybody else.

    An evil person like Belkar may learn to care about a few people, and that puts them into the second category of evil by default, but that is not necessarily a stable situation. They don't have the lifetime of justifications and rationalizations for caring about some people, but not generalizing from there to avoiding harming anybody, that somebody who had always been in the second type would have.

    Belkar was evil specifically because he didn't care about anybody. Now that that isn't true anymore, he is evil mainly out of habit and self-image.

    All it would take for him to have a crisis of conscience at this point would be finding himself in a situation where he could kill someone (but doesn't need to,) and think "but if I kill him, who will take care of his pets?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Has he felt guilt over any of his past evil actions? Has he felt regret over any of his misdeeds?
    .
    Yes. He felt shame and regret over cheating the gnome girl. He has the impulses to realize he shouldn't cause unnecessary harm, it's just a matter of reaching that epiphany that those impulses needs to be applied EVERY time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysbebatman View Post
    All it would take for him to have a crisis of conscience at this point would be finding himself in a situation where he could kill someone (but doesn't need to,) and think "but if I kill him, who will take care of his pets?"
    I'm not sure I agree that that would be enough to push him up to Neutral, but in any case that argument is moot right now, because he has not had such a crisis of conscience yet. To quote* one of the author commentaries, "he's not redeemed, just redeemable. At least as redeemable as a coupon."

    *from memory, so probably not quite right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysbebatman View Post
    "Evil people" are not a monolith. Evil people like Belkar have gambling buddies. Dudes you are friendly with and enjoy the company of, but you'd betray at the drop of a hat and would expect them to do the same to you.

    And then there are evil people who genuinely care about a few people and actively screw everybody else.

    An evil person like Belkar may learn to care about a few people, and that puts them into the second category of evil by default, but that is not necessarily a stable situation. They don't have the lifetime of justifications and rationalizations for caring about some people, but not generalizing from there to avoiding harming anybody, that somebody who had always been in the second type would have.

    Belkar was evil specifically because he didn't care about anybody. Now that that isn't true anymore, he is evil mainly out of habit and self-image.

    All it would take for him to have a crisis of conscience at this point would be finding himself in a situation where he could kill someone (but doesn't need to,) and think "but if I kill him, who will take care of his pets?"
    Pretty much this whole paragraph is summarized with the fate of Buggy Lou.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyzzyva View Post
    I'm not sure I agree that that would be enough to push him up to Neutral, but in any case that argument is moot right now, because he has not had such a crisis of conscience yet. To quote* one of the author commentaries, "he's not redeemed, just redeemable. At least as redeemable as a coupon."

    *from memory, so probably not quite right.
    How is it not NOT evil to realize that doing harm should be avoided?

    But, yes: he hasn't changed alignment, he has rapidly changed along multiple axes leaving him primed to possibly change alignments under the right circumstances.

    Since this is a story and things don't happen on-panel for no reason, doesn't it seem likely that those circumstances are going to arise?

    Will he make the right choice in the moment of crisis? This comic is filled with characters who didn't. But Belkar's never needed to be dishonest with himself in the past, so I'm not sure he'd be able to pick up that knack.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1098 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychronia View Post
    Ow! The sneak attack on my feels is real! Durkon is the support beam that everyone needed-the support beam that was made to be one and and did what it needed to do perfectly.
    Though that brings up the kinda sad implication that Durkon didn't just suffer for nothing, but suffered because he was the best at being a good and supportive person..
    It'd really be cool if Durkon, assuming he returns as Durkon, might not be hinted at attaining some kind of Exalted feats. There is being "good" and then there is being "Good" - literally dedicating every moment of your being to the support and comfort of others.
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