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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
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    The tropes are not a perfect protection from common sense failures. Especially when you fail to properly note your role in a story. The Prince is a bit character, and thus not afforded the full benefits of herodom.

    Not that it matters; you're clearly hate-reading this for some reason.
    I'm not hate-reading it. At least not intentionally. I was just normal reading it and went from being cautiously optimistic about it at first to genuinely hating it. I've given up on reading it altogether now though, so you won't have to deal with my comments on things for much longer.

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    Catherine goes from a reasonable person with good motives to a complete monster that's willing to screw over her own people repeatedly for power. Which would be fine since it's a story about villains, except the narrative expects me to buy that she's still a good person who only wants the best for her people while in reality she's very much responsible for keeping them subjugated. She's single handedly responsible for more death and suffering than anyone else in the entire story at the point where I'm at...which again is fine if you're telling me a story about villains. Stop trying to convince me she's not awful though.

    She's so tied up to the idea that opposing the Empire is impossible that she's personally spoiled multiple attempts to oppose the Empire that would have been successful without her intervention. She's sold her soul for power and she can never admit that she might have been wrong about the impossibility of opposing them because then she'll have become a monster for nothing. Which could be an interesting story, except the author doesn't seem to realize how hypocritical she is and no one ever calls her on it. She claims the heroes are monsters because people will die in a war to free her country....and then immediately starts a war at her first opportunity. She is an enormous hypocrite, and if the story could just admit it and stop telling me how great she is I might actually be able to enjoy it.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    I'm not hate-reading it. At least not intentionally. I was just normal reading it and went from being cautiously optimistic about it at first to genuinely hating it. I've given up on reading it altogether now though, so you won't have to deal with my comments on things for much longer.

    Spoiler
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    Catherine goes from a reasonable person with good motives to a complete monster that's willing to screw over her own people repeatedly for power. Which would be fine since it's a story about villains, except the narrative expects me to buy that she's still a good person who only wants the best for her people while in reality she's very much responsible for keeping them subjugated. She's single handedly responsible for more death and suffering than anyone else in the entire story at the point where I'm at...which again is fine if you're telling me a story about villains. Stop trying to convince me she's not awful though.

    She's so tied up to the idea that opposing the Empire is impossible that she's personally spoiled multiple attempts to oppose the Empire that would have been successful without her intervention. She's sold her soul for power and she can never admit that she might have been wrong about the impossibility of opposing them because then she'll have become a monster for nothing. Which could be an interesting story, except the author doesn't seem to realize how hypocritical she is and no one ever calls her on it. She claims the heroes are monsters because people will die in a war to free her country....and then immediately starts a war at her first opportunity. She is an enormous hypocrite, and if the story could just admit it and stop telling me how great she is I might actually be able to enjoy it.
    Spoiler: up to book 3 chapter 55
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    This is a story about Lawful Evil, essentially.

    She IS awful.

    That is, like, the whole POINT.

    She's, y'know, actually EVIL. Not dubious-grey-anti-hero who ends up fighting the Even Worse Evil, not Comedically-Over-the-Top Evil, not baby-punching-impluse-control-game-morality-choice evil, all of which you usually get in stuff which has evil protagonosts, but actually, honestly, properly, treated-seriously, capital-E Evil. So, uh, no DUH, she's awful. You were not expecting that?

    (Also, why in the name of the Lichemaster, would she want to oppose the Empire when that is exactly what leads right back to the narrative that they're trying to break? Cat ruling over an independant Callow just put Callow straight back to where it was - to be fought over by Praes and Procer - or more correctly, to serve as Procer's buffer and allow thousands, if not millions more lives to be wastefully spent (on both sides) over the centuries (given that technological advancement is being actively repressed) to keep the status quo so the asshat gods can continue their little philophical arguement. FRACK that.)



    That's why this story is for me, FINALLY one that CLICKS. Someone else GETS it. For the first time ever.



    I mean, my only real gripe about the story is that "Good" is actually just another shade of evil wearing an unconvicining hat and fake moustache, but I suppose too many people would throw a wobbly if the good guys were, like, proper good or something. (Despite slasher films existing as a thing...)


  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    It takes a few chapters to get going, and then explodes into action. The conceit of the universe is very interesting as more gets revealed, and it steadily gets better and better over time (with the exception of a rough patch in book 3, though that may just be me. I don't tend to like

    Spoiler: Book 3
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    "war arcs" very much, they tend to drag on. Especially when it's the entire book.
    )

    It also has the benefit over MoL of being updated 3 times a week instead of once per month. =)
    Ah, thanks for the recommendation. Third time is indeed the charm, and once I got past the initial setup, it does indeed become rapidly more compelling.

    Midway through book 2 now, will go back and read the rest of the spoilers once I get caught up. =)
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    This falls just on the wrong side of the line between 'look how smart this character is' and 'look how smart I am for coming up with this character and because it is my avatar' for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    Ehmmm, wut?

    I mean sure, Cat is at times very Mary Sueish (interspersed with getting her face kicked in, figuratively and literally^^), but where, if I might ask, do you get your theory from?
    Its not as if anything done by Team Evil is actually advertized as "right", and "correct", which is what "Oh so clever avatars of Authors" usually do.....
    These are common but not necessary conditions for avatars. Foundling is so smug and so self-congratulatory in her author-gifted superiority that she reads like a love note to her own creator.

    It also bears mentioning that 'right' and 'correct' can be quite subjective. A perfect example can be found on this very board:
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...-Forging-Genes

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Are we reading the same story? The most annoying thing I find about Foundling is that she is the opposite of smug and self-congratulatory - she spends about half her wordcount not allocated to snarky quips self-flagellating and angsting about all the horrible things she's had to do and how much suffering she has caused. Black is far more deserving of being called smug, if anyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Are we reading the same story? The most annoying thing I find about Foundling is that she is the opposite of smug and self-congratulatory - she spends about half her wordcount not allocated to snarky quips self-flagellating and angsting about all the horrible things she's had to do and how much suffering she has caused. Black is far more deserving of being called smug, if anyone.
    Exactly, hence my question.

    Sure, if you only read what happens to her/what her enemies SEE, you can get the impression, but if you actually follow HER,....well....
    A neutron walks into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?” The bartender says, “For you? No charge.”


    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Are we reading the same story? The most annoying thing I find about Foundling is that she is the opposite of smug and self-congratulatory - she spends about half her wordcount not allocated to snarky quips self-flagellating and angsting about all the horrible things she's had to do and how much suffering she has caused. Black is far more deserving of being called smug, if anyone.
    Spoiler: up to book 3, chapter 59
    Show
    In particular her handling of her relationship with Kilian; she's convinced herself she had to be Grim and Miserable all the time... Which pretty much assures she's going to break at some point. "Hard" is accompanied by "brittle;" it might take a lot of strength to break, but when it does, it's catastrophic.

    And even Black is rather less than smug at the moment.

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    „Tinkles”...
    Archer and Hunter are great.
    Mostly Archer.
    Hunter... well, the average wall could run circles around him.
    And considering what Heiress unleashed that might actually happen...
    "If it lives it can be killed.
    If it is dead it can be eaten."

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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Catherine really isn't a Mary Sue. She has a winning streak, sure, but her relationships are often adversarial - often lethally so. The Woe likes her, sure. The Calamities like Black as well. This seems to be part of the larger pattern of how the world works.

    Look at her adversaries, though. An earmark of a Mary Sue is that everyone loves her, aside from the jerks. This is clearly not the case in PGtE.
    Spoiler: Some are nihilistic jerks, ...
    Show
    William, Akua
    Spoiler: ...but some are genuinely sympathetic characters.
    Show
    Malicia, Cordelia


    Catherine is certainly not incapable of loss.
    Spoiler: The world is a meat grinder.
    Show
    Catherine makes mistakes, or fails to see the consequences of her actions coming from time to time. She ends up bloodied and humiliated, and even loses friends to the machinations of her enemies. The story has palpable stakes.
    Last edited by Leewei; 2018-10-30 at 10:39 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Ah WhaT!?

    Spoiler: Spoilers above
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    Your certain you have not mixed some of those names around?
    William is the initial rival who surrendered his entire life to a quest for liberating his country.

    Malicia is one of the biggest monsters in the entire serie.
    I mean there is a reason for why Cat eventually broke with her.
    Just for start, then she was part of turning an entire city, some 200.000 random civilians, into zombies/wights.
    Hmm.. or well she is charismatic and well spoken. I guess she is the sort of monster some people can have sympathy for.

    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Ah WhaT!?

    Spoiler: Spoilers above
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    Your certain you have not mixed some of those names around?
    William is the initial rival who surrendered his entire life to a quest for liberating his country.

    Malicia is one of the biggest monsters in the entire serie.
    I mean there is a reason for why Cat eventually broke with her.
    Just for start, then she was part of turning an entire city, some 200.000 random civilians, into zombies/wights.
    Hmm.. or well she is charismatic and well spoken. I guess she is the sort of monster some people can have sympathy for.

    Spoiler
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    William set out to enslave every man, woman, and child in a city to launch a crusade.

    Malicia allowed Diabolist's sacrifice to take place, sure. Then again, every "hero" more than 40 years old has let Praes have its way with Callow without contest for the last 20 years.

    Malicia also singlehandedly neutered the nasty great houses of Praes, threw money at Procer for years to keep the nation from gutting Callow, pushed through Black's reforms, (mostly) liberating orcs and goblins, and even advised and otherwise helped Catherine until their interests diverged too greatly.

    Malicia has also avoided embodying the worst tendencies of previous Dread Emperor / Empresses.

    She's a monster, sure - just not a jerk.

  12. - Top - End - #132
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    If its enslavement or not can really be debated.
    Certainly it does not seem to rob people of their free will or identity.

    And what every hero over 40 has or has not done is really insignificant when we talk about Malicia.
    Because im very, very certain, that any of the 200.000 people she enabled killed will also think she is a jerk.
    Or for that matter any of the innocent, or close to innocent people, she has had assasinated.

    While freeing the orcs and goblings were i think initially Blacks plan. And something that paid massively off, giving them
    one of the most feared armies in the area.


    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    When it really comes down to it, William is mandated to be a jerk. His Name makes him so gritty and dark that I'm surprised his coat isnt festooned with pouched. And his motivations, as shown in his PoV chapters, arent as pure as he seems outside. All he really wants is to atone for murdering his sister and grinding her up into meat pies(90's antihero, yo), and at best his actions return to the status quo where Callow gets tossed around like a moral football. He performs selfless actions towards a selfish end.

    Malicia is a monster, and cheerfully admits it, but remains a sympathetic monster for her motivations. Shes trying to break the cycle of fate that forces Praes to launch invasions of its neighbor, and forces Callow to be invaded, and thinks letting a bunch of people die now means saving more lives in the long run. In her mind, she needs the doomsday weapon not to aid invasions, but as a deterrent to invaders(Im skeptical only because I think the Name of Dread Emperor warps its owners into cartoon supervillains, and this is the start of her decline). She takes selfish actions towards selfless ends.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Ah WhaT!?

    Spoiler: Spoilers above
    Show

    Your certain you have not mixed some of those names around?
    William is the initial rival who surrendered his entire life to a quest for liberating his country.

    Malicia is one of the biggest monsters in the entire serie.
    I mean there is a reason for why Cat eventually broke with her.
    Just for start, then she was part of turning an entire city, some 200.000 random civilians, into zombies/wights.
    Hmm.. or well she is charismatic and well spoken. I guess she is the sort of monster some people can have sympathy for.

    Spoiler
    Show
    William is an unlikable jerk who's entire crusade has less to do with 'doing what's right' and more to do with his own personal sense of guilt for the brutal murder of his sister.

    He hates that sense of guilt, and his entire crusade is driven by his attempt to atone for it. Even if he knows he'll never be rid of it he has to try, because that's what the Angels rewrote his mind to be like.

    He then utterly willingly goes on to attempt to inflict that same awful feeling on every man woman and child in Liesse to force them to be slaves of the Hashmallim.

    He doesn't even HAVE a coherent goal. He just wants to fight the people he blames for his own corruption.
    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

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  15. - Top - End - #135
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
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    When it really comes down to it, William is mandated to be a jerk. His Name makes him so gritty and dark that I'm surprised his coat isnt festooned with pouched. And his motivations, as shown in his PoV chapters, arent as pure as he seems outside. All he really wants is to atone for murdering his sister and grinding her up into meat pies(90's antihero, yo), and at best his actions return to the status quo where Callow gets tossed around like a moral football. He performs selfless actions towards a selfish end.

    Malicia is a monster, and cheerfully admits it, but remains a sympathetic monster for her motivations. Shes trying to break the cycle of fate that forces Praes to launch invasions of its neighbor, and forces Callow to be invaded, and thinks letting a bunch of people die now means saving more lives in the long run. In her mind, she needs the doomsday weapon not to aid invasions, but as a deterrent to invaders(Im skeptical only because I think the Name of Dread Emperor warps its owners into cartoon supervillains, and this is the start of her decline). She takes selfish actions towards selfless ends.
    Spoiler: Malicia
    Show
    Ah yes, the sympathetic goal of trying to stop the cycle of invading one's neighbors...by instead enslaving and subjugating them forever while you live in an opulent castle covered in gold and gems. Truly the most altruistic of goals.

    If only there were some other way for a country to avoid constantly invading other countries. Maybe by just not constantly invading other countries. Alas, that's clearly impossible.

    I'd buy their nonsense excuse about population control a little more if they at least were shown trying other methods, or if they weren't constantly shown being ridiculously wasteful, or if they weren't supporting an upper class that clearly hordes 99% of the countries' wealth.

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Spoiler: Malicia
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    Ah yes, the sympathetic goal of trying to stop the cycle of invading one's neighbors...by instead enslaving and subjugating them forever while you live in an opulent castle covered in gold and gems. Truly the most altruistic of goals.

    If only there were some other way for a country to avoid constantly invading other countries. Maybe by just not constantly invading other countries. Alas, that's clearly impossible.

    I'd buy their nonsense excuse about population control a little more if they at least were shown trying other methods, or if they weren't constantly shown being ridiculously wasteful, or if they weren't supporting an upper class that clearly hordes 99% of the countries' wealth.
    Spoiler
    Show
    That's... kind of the point. They CAN'T get rid of that upper class. Not without weakening themselves so much as to be destroyed.
    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

    Non est salvatori salvator, neque defensori dominus, nec pater nec mater, nihil supernum.

    Torumekian knight Avatar by Licoot.

    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Spoiler: Malicia
    Show
    Ah yes, the sympathetic goal of trying to stop the cycle of invading one's neighbors...by instead enslaving and subjugating them forever while you live in an opulent castle covered in gold and gems. Truly the most altruistic of goals.

    If only there were some other way for a country to avoid constantly invading other countries. Maybe by just not constantly invading other countries. Alas, that's clearly impossible.

    I'd buy their nonsense excuse about population control a little more if they at least were shown trying other methods, or if they weren't constantly shown being ridiculously wasteful, or if they weren't supporting an upper class that clearly hordes 99% of the countries' wealth.
    Actually covered in the text.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Basically, that part of the story is unbreakable, so far as they can tell. Every time they try not invading/not being evil, they are forced back into it. Basically, the leadership of the Dread Empire has become so closely associated with evil as for that pattern to be unbreakable. But there's flexibility in other areas.

    Being a successful evil empire isn't forbidden by the pattern. Yeah, it results in heroes spawning as part of that pattern, but the state itself is reasonably sustainable.

    The dread empire is also not particularly wasteful anymore. Malicia and Black are ruthlessly efficient, and while their predecessors were largely not, the same's true for Foundling and pretty much every other named character. Hell, even necromancy is remarkably practical, if you think about it.

    Yeah, the nobility is a giant dumpster fire, but that's why they're the opposition.
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Spoiler: Praes' Nobility and the most recent chapter
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    Yeah, to the point that Black and Malicia have been systematically breaking the power of the nobles for decades now, and the Crusade's main threat to Praes is Malicia may need to give them power BACK in order to fight off the invading force.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Actually covered in the text.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Basically, that part of the story is unbreakable, so far as they can tell. Every time they try not invading/not being evil, they are forced back into it. Basically, the leadership of the Dread Empire has become so closely associated with evil as for that pattern to be unbreakable. But there's flexibility in other areas.

    Being a successful evil empire isn't forbidden by the pattern. Yeah, it results in heroes spawning as part of that pattern, but the state itself is reasonably sustainable.

    The dread empire is also not particularly wasteful anymore. Malicia and Black are ruthlessly efficient, and while their predecessors were largely not, the same's true for Foundling and pretty much every other named character. Hell, even necromancy is remarkably practical, if you think about it.

    Yeah, the nobility is a giant dumpster fire, but that's why they're the opposition.
    Spoiler
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    Sorry, I just don't buy it. If people couldn't fight against or change their story arcs then Catherine would have had a redemption arc like the universe wanted her to after the first time she met William. They go with the status quo because it's easy and it benefits them.

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    The more narrative weight something has, the more narrative inertia it has too. Individuals have relatively low amounts of both. Institutions have more.

    That's not to say the characters being discussed are pure and goodly altruists; they're still terrible people, but they're doing what they feel is the best they can with the options they have.

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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Spoiler: up to book 3 epilogue
    Show
    *skulldesk*

    *skulldesk*

    *skulldesk*

    You fracking idiots.

    Did Bard slip you all some Stupid Juice while no-one was looking?

    Because it looks to me that the only one who isn't running headlong into Stupid Evil at the moment is Black, and he fracked up on a personal level quite enormously and as badly as Cat and Malicia have.

    He is still, frankly, under the circumstances not wrong, whereas both Cat and Malicia are. Given the narrative laws, they cannot afford to have a superweapon - nor, Cat, you idiot, to make themselves catastrophically narratively vulnerable.

    The Gods Above and Bard must be laughing so fracking hard right now.

    (Meanwhile, Jubilee is breathing a quiet sigh of relief - kinda - that she isn't coming off her pedastal anytime soon.)

    Yeah, Book Three was not nearly as good as books one and two. I mean, it's not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but we've moved past Lawful Evil back towards Stupid Evil and it's lost its previous near-unparalleled luster.

    Evil can never have nice things, it seems, not ever.

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    Spoiler: up to book 3 epilogue
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    *skulldesk*

    *skulldesk*

    *skulldesk*

    You fracking idiots.

    Did Bard slip you all some Stupid Juice while no-one was looking?

    Because it looks to me that the only one who isn't running headlong into Stupid Evil at the moment is Black, and he fracked up on a personal level quite enormously and as badly as Cat and Malicia have.

    He is still, frankly, under the circumstances not wrong, whereas both Cat and Malicia are. Given the narrative laws, they cannot afford to have a superweapon - nor, Cat, you idiot, to make themselves catastrophically narratively vulnerable.

    The Gods Above and Bard must be laughing so fracking hard right now.

    (Meanwhile, Jubilee is breathing a quiet sigh of relief - kinda - that she isn't coming off her pedastal anytime soon.)

    Yeah, Book Three was not nearly as good as books one and two. I mean, it's not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but we've moved past Lawful Evil back towards Stupid Evil and it's lost its previous near-unparalleled luster.

    Evil can never have nice things, it seems, not ever.
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    To Black's credit, he gives Malicia a tongue-lashing for exactly those reasons.

  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

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    If you're demanding some sort of empirical, objective proof that Malicia+Black are right, Anteros...no one is going to be able to give that except the author. All that can be offered is the same evidence the characters are using to drive their decisions - namely, the observation that every single Dread Emperor/Ess who has tried your obvious solution of 'don't invade anyone' was quickly and lethally overthrown. But then you also have outright said that you hate the story, so are we all just wasting effort trying to convince you otherwise? That isn't meant in any hostility, just as to whether it's an immutable position at this point.


    @Aotrs:
    Chapter 3 is the weakest point in the narrative so far, really. C4 starts out okay and has held up well so far - plus about halfway through you'll meet the character who I suspect will be your absolute favorite of the entire story to date.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2018-10-30 at 11:34 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Spoiler: Praes vs. Callow
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    If you're demanding some sort of empirical, objective proof that Malicia+Black are right, Anteros...no one is going to be able to give that except the author. All that can be offered is the same evidence the characters are using to drive their decisions - namely, the observation that every single Dread Emperor/Ess who has tried your obvious solution of 'don't invade anyone' was quickly and lethally overthrown. But then you also have outright said that you hate the story, so are we all just wasting effort trying to convince you otherwise? That isn't meant in any hostility, just as to whether it's an immutable position at this point.
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    No, I already believe that the author fully intends for his character to be perfect and right. I've already said that she's a Mary Sue (or at least close to one. She does struggle sometimes even if none of her setbacks are particularly meaningful). It's just that I don't think there's very much evidence that they're right when you exam the universe or apply basic common sense regardless what the author intends.


    You're right that I'm not going to be convinced to like the story at this point though, so the conversation is never going to be particularly productive in that direction.

  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
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    No, I already believe that the author fully intends for his character to be perfect and right. I've already said that she's a Mary Sue (or at least close to one. She does struggle sometimes even if none of her setbacks are particularly meaningful). It's just that I don't think there's very much evidence that they're right when you exam the universe or apply basic common sense regardless what the author intends.


    You're right that I'm not going to be convinced to like the story at this point though, so the conversation is never going to be particularly productive in that direction.
    The use of "Mary Sue," is more or less a completely worthless term at this point, since the meaning has degenerated to "character I don't like who is the protagonist" from the origins of "a character inserted into fanfiction that upstages all existant characters in a thinly-veiled power (et al) fantasy of the fanfiction writer."

    Strictly speaking, Cat isn't a Mary Sue by the original definition (she'd have to be a canon-stu, because this isn't fanfiction); but, if we're going that route, let's compare Naruto Uzumaki (who fracks up FAR less and is so personable and likeable he effectively ends five generations of conflict and whose stalker-tendancies towards Sasuke are actively enshrined as positives). I like Naruto, generally (like I like Cat generally) but there are points in their stories both are difficult to like for differing reasons. Or - even better - Batman, arguably the biggest one around, to the point that even the official material is starting to self-parody it.

    Reading your opinions, though, I get the impression that it seems more that you dislike it all principally BECAUSE you don't want to see the bad guys win or be right, and I don't believe this is intended to be basically a tragedy from the viewpoint of the villain. (I will be very disappointed if that is what it becomes at the last.)

    (Certainly, the forces of quote-unquote Good absolutely do not deserve to win.)



    Edit: Actually, it occurred to me this morning, Creation feels very much like it could be the fluff text for some unknown wargame (ala BattleTech or Warhammer World). By which I mean, the world narrative seems explictly set-up to keep the statues quo of repeated wars and factionalism; which, if this were actually a wargame background (which it isn't, obviously), would be explictly there to provide people with reasons to play the battles. And, for that, you sort of don't want any good guys, because it's much easier to find reasons for neutral and evil to fight each other than good with good or neutral. An interesting thought.
    Last edited by Aotrs Commander; 2018-10-31 at 06:36 AM.

  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Well, you're right that I don't particularly enjoy stories where the bad guys win. Especially not as much as someone who's been regularly pretending to be an evil Lich on a message board for over a decade. So I'm not sure how much middle ground there's really to be had in this discussion. In fact, I intend on dropping the topic and leaving this thread forever as soon as people stop directly posting at me. It's clear that I'm the minority in not liking this story, and there's no reason to bring everyone else that actually enjoys it any more down than I already have. I like discussing stories that I've read even when I don't like them, but I can tell that I'm bringing down the room.

    That said, I don't particularly mind stories about evil people, and I can even enjoy a story about a good person sliding into darkness. I can even enjoy a story about people who do evil things for reasons that make sense. I like the Black Company, I enjoyed the Coldfire trilogy, House of Cards was fantastic for a long time, etc. However, that requires their actions to actually make sense and be consistent with their goals. Cat regularly misses both of those marks for me.

    Also, I'm not sure what you hoped to accomplish by comparing Cat to a Super Special Unique Snowflake Anime character. Sure, Naruto is an awful power fantasy character for kids to insert themselves into. Sure, Cat has more depth than Naruto. So does my toilet.

  27. - Top - End - #147
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Well, you're right that I don't particularly enjoy stories where the bad guys win. Especially not as much as someone who's been regularly pretending to be an evil Lich on a message board for over a decade. So I'm not sure how much middle ground there's really to be had in this discussion. In fact, I intend on dropping the topic and leaving this thread forever as soon as people stop directly posting at me. It's clear that I'm the minority in not liking this story, and there's no reason to bring everyone else that actually enjoys it any more down than I already have. I like discussing stories that I've read even when I don't like them, but I can tell that I'm bringing down the room.

    That said, I don't particularly mind stories about evil people, and I can even enjoy a story about a good person sliding into darkness. I can even enjoy a story about people who do evil things for reasons that make sense. I like the Black Company, I enjoyed the Coldfire trilogy, House of Cards was fantastic for a long time, etc. However, that requires their actions to actually make sense and be consistent with their goals. Cat regularly misses both of those marks for me.

    Also, I'm not sure what you hoped to accomplish by comparing Cat to a Super Special Unique Snowflake Anime character. Sure, Naruto is an awful power fantasy character for kids to insert themselves into. Sure, Cat has more depth than Naruto. So does my toilet.
    What would you have wanted the story to do for it to work for you?

    The central conceit of the story is Cat has two goals: an independent Callow and an end to the none-stop wars that have repeatedly butchered its population.

    She decides that the best way to accomplish this is to ally with her oppressors and make Callow a protectorate or province of the Empire with herself acting as an intermediate to keep the people of Callow safe. She believes that a fully independent Callow would either be destroyed outright or return to being invaded on the regular.

    Is there a way for the author to have Cat accomplish this and you still enjoy the story? Is it the pragmatism and real-politik itself the problem or just Cat being overly quippy?

    Edit: The reason I ask is I often find Cat obnoxious myself, especially in book III which became barely readable at points, but I didn't have an issue with the core concept of wanting to prevent magic wars from breaking out constantly even if it cost allying with the people who start them.
    Last edited by Tvtyrant; 2018-10-31 at 08:40 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Edit: Actually, it occurred to me this morning, Creation feels very much like it could be the fluff text for some unknown wargame (ala BattleTech or Warhammer World). By which I mean, the world narrative seems explictly set-up to keep the statues quo of repeated wars and factionalism; which, if this were actually a wargame background (which it isn't, obviously), would be explictly there to provide people with reasons to play the battles. And, for that, you sort of don't want any good guys, because it's much easier to find reasons for neutral and evil to fight each other than good with good or neutral. An interesting thought.
    I think i already commented a bit on this in one of the spoilered posts, mainly about how the system mainly seemed to be designed to prevent one side from achiving a complete victory.
    When good wins it retire to live happily ever after. When evil wins, it has to deal with increasingly more powerful heroes until it stops winning, and a new reset hits, as both sides now have to go and raise fresh champions.
    I also suspect that the degree to where the gods above will intervene depends on how lasting effects the evil victory will have. We saw that occupying Fantasy Poland (love that term :P) barely got a response above level 1 heroes starting to spawn in the area. But someone trying to pull down the moon would likely have the scales tipped significantly against them.

    I will repeat my claim that the majority of heroes are actually good though. We have just not seen that many of them. We got William who divides people. We got some people in his band who barely had any screentime before killed. We have also quite a few neutral names. Like Thief, who still stray towards the side of good all the same. And we got all of regular heroes who as such seem good in the short about of time they get before they die. I think its more that the most genuine good nation seems to be occupied by the evil empire. The rest seems mostly neutral.

    Edit: The reason I ask is I often find Cat obnoxious myself, especially in book III which became barely readable at points, but I didn't have an issue with the core concept of wanting to prevent magic wars from breaking out constantly even if it cost allying with the people who start them.
    My biggest dislike there were the period where she did not have any meaningful/competent good opposition. It changed thankfully.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  29. - Top - End - #149
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    It does seem likely that the majority of Heroes are more Good than the big Names we've seen, on an individual basis; the fundamental theme of the story is subverting the traditional behaviors of Good and Evil, so the 'Good' Heroes who draw closest to to the line of neutrality are going to earn more narrative focus. That, and the younger the Hero the more likely it seems they're still pure and righteous; all the experienced Heroes we've met have shown some serious tarnish accumulated over their careers.

    That makes the exceptions stand out all the better. Heck, my favorite Good-aligned character who's appeared in the story so far was the nameless priestess (not Priestess) that Cat sits down and has a chat with in Chapter III. No Name-mandated compulsion to battle the forces of evil there, just a person doing good because they believed it was right.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2018-10-31 at 10:09 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  30. - Top - End - #150
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
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    Sorry, I just don't buy it. If people couldn't fight against or change their story arcs then Catherine would have had a redemption arc like the universe wanted her to after the first time she met William. They go with the status quo because it's easy and it benefits them.

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    It's a role with two paths at that point. A villain can have a redemption arc or not. There are a number of such tipping points where one can choose between different paths that both represent common story arcs. Trying to choose a third option typically does not go well(as is the case for Catherine at that point).

    Easy and benefits them, means, in this case "you don't all die, and fail to accomplish anything meaningful at all". They're looking for long term change because stability matters. Yes, of course not wanting to die is a factor. This is sort of selfish, but not particularly so by the standards of evil. Throwing your life away for literally nothing isn't even terribly good.



    As for mary sueness, it's not an unreasonable amount of protagonist advantage. Not everyone loves her, she doesn't have every skill in the book, and she suffers actual consequences. Yeah, she is in the center of the action, and manages to survive some ****, but that's fairly standard for protagonists.
    Back from a lengthy vacation from Giantitp. I've been dabbling with 3d printer technology and game design, PM if you're curious.

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