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  1. - Top - End - #781
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    That's the thing. At least in the Traditional Stories, evil has it's benefits. Evil is Guaranteed initial victories. And you can even see that to a degree in the shape of the rule of three. Villain Triumphs, Draw, Hero Triumphs.

    Evil WINS at first. Hands down. But then they fail. So you can never truly remove evil, because once you've had your final victory. They get another go which they are just as guaranteed to win at as you were the one before.

    That's what upsets Black. He wants to be the one to win in the end, not the one to simply be handed a victory only to be cast down. It's not so much that he wants to win everything forever so much as he wants to never lose what he's gained.
    Well it sounds like what he needed to do was intentionally lose his first battle against a hero but escape to reverse the shape of things so that the world would be obliged to give him a third act victory.

    like logically, first act Named battles should be a race to see who loses first to force the other to win and thus lose their third confrontation because the second one never matters. but I guess villains already tried that and it screwed them or something.
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  2. - Top - End - #782
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Well it sounds like what he needed to do was intentionally lose his first battle against a hero but escape to reverse the shape of things so that the world would be obliged to give him a third act victory.

    like logically, first act Named battles should be a race to see who loses first to force the other to win and thus lose their third confrontation because the second one never matters. but I guess villains already tried that and it screwed them or something.
    The problem with losing is it's incredibly risky. You need to engineer a loss and still manage to escape. The Heaven's cheat to give their Heroes a way out, but not always, and Villains never get that. Like Cat could've killed The Lone Swordsman or Akua in their first fight.

    Also it can be broken if the other person realizes it and gives you a win for the second match up instead of a draw, like what happened with the Pilgrim.
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  3. - Top - End - #783
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    I owe the Dead King a tip of the helmet. I was wondering last chapter who in the merry hell he'd managed to get this far by being that stupid, but it turns out, he had A Cunning Plan. SAtill noit sure whether this was a contingency and he DID genuinely make that mistake, or whether this was just back-up-plan, but either way, nicely done, DK, nicely done.

    I mean, Cat and Masago are still going to kill the unliving crap out of you - you backed the wrong horse, dude - but that's true of bard as well.

  4. - Top - End - #784
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
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    I owe the Dead King a tip of the helmet. I was wondering last chapter who in the merry hell he'd managed to get this far by being that stupid, but it turns out, he had A Cunning Plan. SAtill noit sure whether this was a contingency and he DID genuinely make that mistake, or whether this was just back-up-plan, but either way, nicely done, DK, nicely done.

    I mean, Cat and Masago are still going to kill the unliving crap out of you - you backed the wrong horse, dude - but that's true of bard as well.
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    It makes perfect sense, looking back at it all. Any attempt to spy on the Bard would entail a chance of being caught sufficient enough that it might as well be treated as a certainty. That meant that any gameplan had to include an escape plan that let the Bard feel she won, while he retained the knowledge.

    I don't think his plan involved Idrani, though. I think it mostly was like this: 1) I get the knowledge, release a report shard to get the intel back to me. 2) Cat arrives. 3) All Hell breaks loose. 4) Profit.

    I had to love this episode despite the ending, though. Traitorous never disappoints, and Masego's newfound mastery of smack talk is priceless.
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  5. - Top - End - #785
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    One thing we were told here is that Villains never get a clean win. The Dead King knows that as well. So the play for evil to win is to be ready to give something precious up in exchange if a win is really that important. He gave up a shard of himself, to be forever lessened for a win against the Intercessor. And that is the kind of messy win that a Villain is allowed to keep.

    Well played. Well played indeed.

  6. - Top - End - #786
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
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    It makes perfect sense, looking back at it all. Any attempt to spy on the Bard would entail a chance of being caught sufficient enough that it might as well be treated as a certainty. That meant that any gameplan had to include an escape plan that let the Bard feel she won, while he retained the knowledge.

    I don't think his plan involved Idrani, though. I think it mostly was like this: 1) I get the knowledge, release a report shard to get the intel back to me. 2) Cat arrives. 3) All Hell breaks loose. 4) Profit.

    I had to love this episode despite the ending, though. Traitorous never disappoints, and Masego's newfound mastery of smack talk is priceless.
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    I didn't realize how much I'd missed Masego. His thoughts about 'hey, is this legal? Maybe I need to get a permit for the next time I need to mess with hundreds of thousands of souls' and the best insult he can come up with is "you practice an inferior theory of magic." Shame about the magic, but if there's anybody who can find and execute a way to get it back, it's Hierophant.. assuming he still has his Name and Aspects, maybe he'll get to see Rogue Sorcerer's trick for stealing sorcery?

  7. - Top - End - #787
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
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    I owe the Dead King a tip of the helmet. I was wondering last chapter who in the merry hell he'd managed to get this far by being that stupid, but it turns out, he had A Cunning Plan. SAtill noit sure whether this was a contingency and he DID genuinely make that mistake, or whether this was just back-up-plan, but either way, nicely done, DK, nicely done.

    I mean, Cat and Masago are still going to kill the unliving crap out of you - you backed the wrong horse, dude - but that's true of bard as well.
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    It was a contingency, but one he fully expected to need. He knew the Wandering Bard was going to screw him over somehow, and so despite trying to win cleanly, he set things up to at least win where it mattered.

    I'm not even sure they will. After all, apparently the Wandering Bard is up to something nasty, and the Hidden Horror can be bargained with. He might very well sacrifice all territory out of Serenity in order to enlist Cat's help.
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  8. - Top - End - #788
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    Something occurs to me. We know pretty much what most of the major players in the story want by now. Cat wants to get everyone on board with the Liesse Accords, to minimize the impact on the conflict between Above and Below on the average person in the street and prevent Heroes and Villains from dragging nations into their personal struggles. Cordelia wants to build a great coalition, end civil war in Procer and stop the Good-aligned nations from fighting each other. The Tyrant... Is still a bit obtuse, but mostly seems to be in it to earn favour from the Gods Below and create as much of a mess as humanly possible before he dies (remember, he is noted to be living on borrowed time and the Dead King's immediate response to his betrayal was 'can you really afford to throw away that many years?'). Pilgrim wants Praes wiped off the map and Callow out of Evil hands. Saint wants Procer to be purified in the flames of war. Malicia wants a strong, united Praes with allies at its back and no need to fight wars over nothing every few decades. Black wants a legacy that outlives him (generally, in the form of keeping Callow aligned with Praes in perpetuity, but his real drive is to create an enduring impact on Creation).

    What does the Dead King want? On first glance, it seems like he wants complete dominion over Calernia. His blatant fondness for Triumphant is the biggest indication of this. But his actions really don't work towards that end. He's endlessly willing to concede territorial gains when he goes to the bargaining table and he's never attempted a real push in millennia. Never even really attempted to expand his holdings beyond their initial size. He only acts as support for other Villains, never putting himself at risk. This is our first, and really only, glimpse into his real game... And at a glance, he agrees with Cat in theory, but doesn't think she's being extreme enough. The Dead King was the very last person I would have expected to fill this role, but... He wants to flip the table, end the game by whatever means. We know the Bard works for both Above and Below, and we know she's dedicated to preserving the Wager of the Gods indefinitely. She bolsters Evil when Below is on the wane, and assists Good when a villain starts to achieve lasting gains. We don't know what her real objective is, but her 'The House always wins' comment strongly implies that she is merely an agent of the Gods, both above and below. They're the House. They set the rules. They don't lose.

    Except... They just did. The Dead King knows their next few moves. And he knows that nobody in this conflict, Hero or Villain, will appreciate it. The Bard just lost her advantage, for the first time ever.

    And Neshamah? He's now playing for keeps. This is his final move. He's been preparing it for thousands of years. I expect it to be a good one. I wonder how long until Ranger shows up to help him out of a bind? They are, after all, likely each others' oldest friends.
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  9. - Top - End - #789
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    So.. that was a thing.
    A very, very unexpected thing.
    Apperently you can teach an old dog a new trick?
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  10. - Top - End - #790
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    So.. that was a thing.
    A very, very unexpected thing.
    Apperently you can teach an old dog a new trick?
    In this, we are in perfect agreement. To think I was actually getting bored towards the end of this chapter. Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, wait... what? You shouldn't spring something like that on a guy first thing Monday morning. I was getting odd looks from my coworkers as it was, such was my laughter.

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    I mean, seriously. we got the One crown, which would be sufficient for the chapter name. I was expecting one last big fight. Heck, I was hearing the boss battle music ramping up in the background, the combatants rehearsing their pre-battle one-liners in their heads... Then the dagger twists and the needle skips.

    Soooo.... any bets? We've got a lot of people here with a legitimate claim as the "worthiest".

    Tariq's probably out of the running. I don't think you can sacrifice your "crown" and forge a new one for yourself.
    Cat is probably the best bet, but things would have to be extremely dire before she'd accept immortality again, even if it's trading Winter for Twilight.
    Saint is a bad idea, I think everyone there would agree, but she may decide to make a play for it.
    Roland's a wild card. He's still young enough to be idealistic and consider even Villains as people, but Tariq noted there's something there he doesn't want to show.
    Masego has the most to gain, trading power for power, but the raw amorality of him would be terrifying taken to deific levels.
    Archer would never agree to it, I think. It smells too much like bondage for her, and that's only good in small portions.
    Kairos... I don't know if he'll make a play for it. I'd assume he would, but he's only predictable in certain ways. He's likely to appreciate immortality more than most, though.
    I guess there's also Black, who's been compared to Fae for ages already, but Cat wouldn't want that and none of the heroes would abide it.

    The only people who are likely to want the power on offer are the people who shouldn't have it, and the people who could put it to good use are the least likely to accept it. My top three guesses are as such (most likely first).

    Roland could work. We've seen enough to recognize him as a moderate and as someone who is likely to make Arcadia neutral ground, but we don't know him well enough to really miss him if he steps off the main stage. Everyone likes him, but not too much, and nobody hates him. It's a good fit.

    Cat is the obvious choice. Twilight could mesh well with the whole Night angle, and she already has experience with what is almost certainly a much less gentle version of Fae nature. She could hand Callow off to Viv, allowing the crusade to break down, and instead act as the dagger to the Dead King's throat. Raises the stakes nicely, and a far better fit (and far better earned) than Winter was. I doubt it will happen, though. She likes being mortal, for one, and I don't know how well Sve Noc would take to having their High Priestess serve as the boundaries around the Night.

    Kairos could work as a dark horse, largely because of his capricious nature. You can't count on him even to be your enemy, keeping Twilight Arcadia from becoming a status quo will still being available for eleventh hour rescues. Might put him on the nemesis list between Neshamah and the Bard, or make him an unexpected ally not unlike Akua.

    But, yeah... The old hunting dog learned a new trick: screw destiny. And now things become very, very interesting...
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  11. - Top - End - #791
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    I'm more wondering if they'll follow Cat's original plan and kill whoever they give the crown to.
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  12. - Top - End - #792
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    I am guessing Tyrant gets it. He betrayed them for the space in the first place, it solves his dying early problem, and matches his personality.
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  13. - Top - End - #793
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    If it's a character that is actually going to survive and be the Twilight King going forward, I'm going to bet on Rumena or Ivah. We know they're around, Ivah's even had a bit part in a few previous scenes, and Cat mentioned specifically that she'd bought in her strongest/most reliable Mighty in anticipation of needing backup for fighting Larat. Ivah even already has experience handling Fae power, since he was given a Lordship under Winter.

    It's possible it'll just be some previously-nameless Huntsman, tho - remember the plan was to murder the heck out of the new Fairy King and then use its corpse/stolen power to reforge the realm to a new purpose. In which case Larat basically just threw one of his own underlings under the bus, because as soon as one of them claims the crown the Band of Five story is going to completely bulldoze them (Larat at least would have made a fight of it, since he was the one the crowns were paid to and had narratively earned the position.)

  14. - Top - End - #794
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
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    I am guessing Tyrant gets it. He betrayed them for the space in the first place, it solves his dying early problem, and matches his personality.
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    Agreed that it solves his plot and fits his ambition, but I don't agree it fits his personality. This sucker was born of sacrifice and more than just a whiff of Good is coming off of it. The Princes were nominally on the Good side, and the Peregrin is a pretty solid champion of the same, while Kairos is a dyed-in-the-wool classic villain. I mean, he'll take it because it's power. And immortality. But that Good aftertaste is just so repugnant...

    Honestly, the more that I think about it, the harder I'm pressed to see anyone other than Cat take it, no matter how badly she doesn't want to. It is thematically built for her. That strange moment where the night meets day or the day meets night and it's not really either. Not really heroic, not really villainous, but something other. That's Cat in a nutshell.


    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
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    If it's a character that is actually going to survive and be the Twilight King going forward, I'm going to bet on Rumena or Ivah. We know they're around, Ivah's even had a bit part in a few previous scenes, and Cat mentioned specifically that she'd bought in her strongest/most reliable Mighty in anticipation of needing backup for fighting Larat. Ivah even already has experience handling Fae power, since he was given a Lordship under Winter.

    It's possible it'll just be some previously-nameless Huntsman, tho - remember the plan was to murder the heck out of the new Fairy King and then use its corpse/stolen power to reforge the realm to a new purpose. In which case Larat basically just threw one of his own underlings under the bus, because as soon as one of them claims the crown the Band of Five story is going to completely bulldoze them (Larat at least would have made a fight of it, since he was the one the crowns were paid to and had narratively earned the position.)
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    I don't see Rumena. Barring some off-screen teleportation, he's still holding down the fort and rehearsing his next round of smack talk in a mirror.

    Ivah... well, that's an option. It might be there (heck, it usually is regardless of whether you see it). There are few drow Cat would trust more than it, but I think Cat understands the drow too well by now to actually trust it with that much power. A drow's loyalty is directly related to the imbalance in power between them, after all, and Ivah isn't exactly shy about stating its drow sensibilities. Plus, you know, drow. None of the heroes would back that play and not even Cat would really be for it.

    The other fae will be interesting. The real question is whether Larat has "learned" that much more than his host, and whether any of them are stupid enough to not follow his lead. If one did, it's dead and it's bones will be used to pave an interplanar freeway. Larat probably would deliver the killing blow himself, just to drive home the point. No. King of Twilight might be fun, but not nearly as much fun as being the Black Queen's lackey - the girl thinks in stories, and it's beautiful the madness she dreams up!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kairos Theodosian
    It appears someone will have to saddle my goat, for we now must ride out in glorious battle.

  15. - Top - End - #795
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    The whole point of this is that Larat breaks free of the shakles tying him down. By suddenly changing his allegeance to the new twilight court.
    And here i do think it was kinda important that it was Tariq's crown who ended up as its last.
    As the Pilgrim Star clearly had a lot of influence upon the new court now formed.

    Its just a problem that he also were the only real compromise upon who will wear said crown.
    I cant see team good agreeing on a Villain after it was Tariq who brought the final sacrifice.
    And i cant see anyone agreeing on Saint. Likely not even herself.

    That does leave RS as the wildcard though.

    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Well, I thought that was interesting.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Gods above and below.
    That was the mother of all cliffhangers.

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    Though i think i have the outcome predicted.
    Saint strikes at the crown. Thats the swiftest way to ensure noone gets to pick it up.
    Last edited by lord_khaine; 2019-06-14 at 08:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Gods above and below.
    That was the mother of all cliffhangers.

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    Though i think i have the outcome predicted.
    Saint strikes at the crown. Thats the swiftest way to ensure noone gets to pick it up.
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    I mean the last time we had a chapter named "Swan Song", Black destroyed the Liesse doom ray thing.

    So we have the Saint playing the role of Black in this remake. She'd probably be offended by that.

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    To a large degree, I find this chapter annoying. It's more dithering and wasting time with everyone picking apart solutions instead of exploring them. Yes, it's a tricky spot, yes we're running out of time, yes nobody is going to agree on a conclusion. We've had yet another chapter of a plummeting plane and no actual movement until the literal last sentence.

    That said, it would be interesting if Saint were to "strike" by taking the crown and putting it on her head. "I will not serve this court, but I will die to see it sundered." A final sacrifice from a woman who has had her soul rendered to tatters be long decades blood and betrayal. She won't come back from it, and she won't be there when the fight goes to the Dead King, but if it's a choice between her own death and letting the Below ever score a precedent for peace, she'll do it.

    Another alternative is Masego isn't as asleep as everyone assumes and claims the crown, not showing any qualms with getting murdered for it. He's lost everything, now. His fathers are gone, his homeland betrayed him, he's crossed lines he might question Cat's ability to forgive, and done immense damage at the worst time imaginable. And now the single most important thing to him, magic, has been stripped from him. Why would he care if there's a possibility Tariq can't raise him in an hour?

    I still hold out hope for Twilight Cat, though. The tighter the timeline, the more desperate the ultimate decision. Forced to decide between everything else she may well be forced to make a bad decision instead of the disaster that is no decision.

    Twilight Tyrant could also be a lot of fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kairos Theodosian
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  20. - Top - End - #800
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    Its a good alternative theory that Saint just slices whatever spell Tariq were forming, and takes the crow.
    Smashing it were perhaps 50/50 to solve stuff. But you dont become a hero if your not ready to give your life on a 50% chance of saving 300.000 people.

    The rest of the options i kinda doubt. Masego were lulled into sleep by Cat. And he isnt going to be fast enough to act before saint.
    Tyrant of course is about impossible. To many want to kill him.

    And Twilight Cat is about equally unlikely.
    We have a brief bit of fun with Cat in cheat mode.
    But thats not likely to come back. She isnt going to grow truely strong again.
    from now on she will fight with story.


    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Going by the name of the chapter, I'm pretty sure Saint struck the crown, as much of a mistake that may have been.

    Even if she didn't, and they fight her here, the rest have come to a decision, Indrani would take up the crown, not Cat, Pilgrim, or the Tyrant. I could see Rouge Sorcerer taking it up as well.
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Well that was unexpected.
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    new chapter

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    Aww dam.. RIP Saint. You will be missed. Even if you were a singleminded old bat.
    The refusal to compromise with what she saw as evil were admirable.
    But she just wasnt flexible enough to fit into the changing world.

    At the same time. It was a brilliant way Cat took her down.
    recognised she could not beat her in a physical struggle.
    But recognised an old heroine's main weakness.
    Last edited by lord_khaine; 2019-06-18 at 03:24 AM.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    new chapter

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    Aww dam.. RIP Saint. You will be missed. Even if you were a singleminded old bat.
    The refusal to compromise with what she saw as evil were admirable.
    But she just wasnt flexible enough to fit into the changing world.

    At the same time. It was a brilliant way Cat took her down.
    recognised she could not beat her in a physical struggle.
    But recognised an old heroine's main weakness.
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    Of course, there's also an unsettling discovery: eleven years didn't effect Cat much. The Dead King wasn't theorizing idly, Cat may be mortal but she's no longer exactly human.

    I don't think it's a Villain thing, at least. Villains are long lived, but Cat's not exactly Named anymore. Drow are ageless to an absurd degree, so maybe her role as First of the Night is giving her drow traits?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
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    Of course, there's also an unsettling discovery: eleven years didn't effect Cat much. The Dead King wasn't theorizing idly, Cat may be mortal but she's no longer exactly human.

    I don't think it's a Villain thing, at least. Villains are long lived, but Cat's not exactly Named anymore. Drow are ageless to an absurd degree, so maybe her role as First of the Night is giving her drow traits?
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    I thought heros were actually immortal? What happened to that?
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
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    I thought heros were actually immortal? What happened to that?
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    No, heroes are never immortal. They grow old and die at the same rate as anyone else, but they can be as hale at 80 as others might be at 40. They age well, but they still age.

    Villains, on the other hand, don't. Amadeus spent 40 years as the Black Knight and didn't age a day until he broke faith with the Empress, while the Empress herself was also pushing sixty and still considered the only thing hotter than Akua. Villains are ageless - they're allowed to keep their vigor as long as they keep their game.
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    okay, so I've read the entire series.

    and I think I understand the conflict now.

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    its about humanistic morality vs. cosmic story morality.

    the world is governed by cosmic story morality say this is good or bad, but humans don't always follow it. Catherine and Amadeus ascribe to a more humanistic view of morality and Catherine wants to change the game so that more humanistic morality gets to spread on the street level so that the current state of affairs improve for people. while many of her opponents are all about obeying the cosmic story morality that is false and doesn't really solve anything. and generally the more reasonable the person is, the more they obey the humanistic morality over the story morality.

    thats how Named seem to propagate: they believe in a narrative, a story so much that it empowers them. they lose the status when they stop believing in that narrative, stop acting out what makes that story work. we see this in Vivienne that when she stopped believing her thieving methods would work, she stopped being the Thief. and Laurence's Name is so incredibly strong because she is so inflexible and devoted to her convictions. to have a Name is to believe in that Name. I remember Black Knight saying that he was weaker than most Black Knights since he didn't hold to his role as strongly and instead used smarts and preparation. at a certain point, he stopped believing in his role entirely.

    just like how it isn't exactly clear what Catherine is becoming, because she isn't following the usual stories, and her belief isn't what people usually believe in this world. and so the entire series is basically about working out how to change the world so that more reasonable humanistic morality can be applied so that less suffering is caused in a fantasy world. not exactly villainous though. its only kind of villainous because of the side Catherine just so happens to be on.

    unfortunately it relies too much on the charisma or lack of charisma of the characters to really make me care about them. I mean they can be funny at times but as people I don't care for them, because whenever one dies I'm like "okay cool whatever".

    as for Masego losing his magic...I guess its in keeping with the theme of losing the cosmic power for the worldly power but I don't see how this will work with Mr. All The Magic, All The Time. any discussion with Masego on how to fix this will probably not turn out well or end up Cat finding some entity to kill and take their stuff from it and causing a whole new disaster in the process. I guess the author disliked how much they were leaning on things like Fae magic and Masego's spells
    in previous books. these books have been a shift from earlier stuff, I can say that.
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    Well.. i would say Cat not aging is the least surprising thing in this entire chapter :P
    It had already been shown that Mighty dont age.
    So doing that does not seem to take a major investment of power.


    and I think I understand the conflict now.
    I dont think your quite right on the name bit. Its less about faith. And more fitting into your role.
    As you correctly observed, Vivi stopped being the Thief. But she were unsecure for a long time.
    It was first when she began to focus more on ruling as a regent that she lost her name.
    We also saw it with Asmodeus. He newer lost confidence or faith. But his actions did not fit with his name.

    edit.
    And i guess this outcome wasnt unexpected either.
    When looking at the shape of the story, then it really could only go this way.
    Last edited by lord_khaine; 2019-06-19 at 03:32 AM.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    edit.
    And i guess this outcome wasnt unexpected either.
    When looking at the shape of the story, then it really could only go this way.
    Poorly? Yeah.

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    Now both of the elite heroes are dead. Tyrant has been declawed and set loose. Masego is now a broken, powerless wreck with everything he loved lost. The Dead King got his prize at no price he wasn't willing to pay. When this ends, three villains and one mid-grade hero will step out.

    And the most disturbing thing of all of this? Tariq honestly, truly believed that Cat dying here would be less merciful than the consequences of his own death. Seriously, the single biggest hero on the continent, beloved by a nation of lunatics and the continent in general the last great nuke in the local arsenal of the Above, would rather die than witness what would follow the death of the Black Queen. Not only does he reference her role as the conscience for the drow and a new twin goddess, but he suggests her death would create hell on Creation even with Masego powerless.
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  30. - Top - End - #810
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    So Evil and Good tie, but since Cat and her posse are effectively Neutral no one really notices. Evil loses a planar fortress, Masego and the Tyrant, Good loses Pilgrim and Saint.

    Really good chapter, I especially like Sve Noc deciding Cat is worthy and letting her be crowned.
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    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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