The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151
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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.
    That .. would explain an awful lot about the dysfunctional hats some of the described societies wear. The Free Cities in particular are pretty much all utterly insane, aside from maybe Helike which appears to just have the charming societal quirk of sometimes spawning megalomaniacal madmen and everybody agreeing to cede power to them when they show up.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Wasn't it proposed upthread that PGtE is essentially a Heroes of Might and Magic campaign setting? Large armies completely invalidated by heroic/villainous individuals who can singlehandedly wipe out said armies, only countered by the other side's heroic units?
    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.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Wasn't it proposed upthread that PGtE is essentially a Heroes of Might and Magic campaign setting? Large armies completely invalidated by heroic/villainous individuals who can singlehandedly wipe out said armies, only countered by the other side's heroic units?
    Even the Kingdom of the Dead being its own thing works in that idea.

    One thing I can't figure out is why using devils and undead is evil in this setting. Demons I get because they corrupt the world around them, but devils and undead are depicted as being basically fleshy robots.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Even the Kingdom of the Dead being its own thing works in that idea.

    One thing I can't figure out is why using devils and undead is evil in this setting. Demons I get because they corrupt the world around them, but devils and undead are depicted as being basically fleshy robots.
    Devils apparently get smarter, more powerful, and more independent as they get older - Tikiloshe is something like three thousand years old, I think?

    Undead are evil because reasons, I guess.
    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.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    They're eternal sources of strength/power.

    The entire reason for heroes retiring is because Good doesn't want it's proverbial dogs to have too long a leash. So they grow old and die returning their strength and power to the heavens who can then distribute as they see fit.

    Any form of Immortality doesn't work with this paradigm.
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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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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Devils apparently get smarter, more powerful, and more independent as they get older - Tikiloshe is something like three thousand years old, I think?

    Undead are evil because reasons, I guess.
    That is true. But they treat it like some major sin instead of just summoniny the equivalent of ugly magic bears. Pilgrim and Cat even agree to not use them, even though Cat is the super pragmatist and there are no drawbacks to them :/

    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    They're eternal sources of strength/power.

    The entire reason for heroes retiring is because Good doesn't want it's proverbial dogs to have too long a leash. So they grow old and die returning their strength and power to the heavens who can then distribute as they see fit.

    Any form of Immortality doesn't work with this paradigm.
    This makes sense to me. This also seems to be why good has lots of priests and few mages.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    That is true. But they treat it like some major sin instead of just summoniny the equivalent of ugly magic bears. Pilgrim and Cat even agree to not use them, even though Cat is the super pragmatist and there are no drawbacks to them :/
    Cat believes herself to be extremely pragmatic, and is in some ways. However, she's definitely made some errors, and was indoctrinated by some propaganda from the light in her early years(this comes up so soon I'm pretty sure it's not a spoiler). A bit of twitchiness about full on necromancy or demon/devil summoning is reasonable.

    Particularly given that this is a world of many real dangers. Yeah, people lie about the dangers, but enough of them are real that being cautious is often advisable.

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    Also, she totally does some necromancy. Sometimes even fairly risky levels of it. Like, riding on a dead horse is pretty normal for her, but the self-necromancy is definitely a loooot further.

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  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Cat believes herself to be extremely pragmatic, and is in some ways. However, she's definitely made some errors, and was indoctrinated by some propaganda from the light in her early years(this comes up so soon I'm pretty sure it's not a spoiler). A bit of twitchiness about full on necromancy or demon/devil summoning is reasonable.

    Particularly given that this is a world of many real dangers. Yeah, people lie about the dangers, but enough of them are real that being cautious is often advisable.

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    Also, she totally does some necromancy. Sometimes even fairly risky levels of it. Like, riding on a dead horse is pretty normal for her, but the self-necromancy is definitely a loooot further.

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    I would argue that sacrificing yourself to save 100k people is in fact an act of Good, and the idea of being so devoted to people you turn yourself undead out of desperation is also good (see Order of the Stick ghost martyrs).

    The pragmatism thing to me is that zombies and devils are not alive and everyone of them that eats a spear saves a real person on her side from dying. They are fairly close to modern issues revolving around drones, but Cat as the self-proclaimed pragmatist decides they are off limits.

    It is absolutely part of her cultural upbringing, in line with her argument with Killian. She has no problem with executing people on death row, but draws the line at benefiting from that execution.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
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    I would argue that sacrificing yourself to save 100k people is in fact an act of Good, and the idea of being so devoted to people you turn yourself undead out of desperation is also good (see Order of the Stick ghost martyrs).

    The pragmatism thing to me is that zombies and devils are not alive and everyone of them that eats a spear saves a real person on her side from dying. They are fairly close to modern issues revolving around drones, but Cat as the self-proclaimed pragmatist decides they are off limits.

    It is absolutely part of her cultural upbringing, in line with her argument with Killian. She has no problem with executing people on death row, but draws the line at benefiting from that execution.
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    errr she definitely benefits from the Gallowborn.
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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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    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
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    errr she definitely benefits from the Gallowborn.
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    Cat being a hypocrite is also nothing new :p

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
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    I would argue that sacrificing yourself to save 100k people is in fact an act of Good, and the idea of being so devoted to people you turn yourself undead out of desperation is also good (see Order of the Stick ghost martyrs).

    The pragmatism thing to me is that zombies and devils are not alive and everyone of them that eats a spear saves a real person on her side from dying. They are fairly close to modern issues revolving around drones, but Cat as the self-proclaimed pragmatist decides they are off limits.
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    Cat is definitely not above using tools like undead or devils when the opportunity presents itself - there's multiple instances where she's raised battlefield dead from either side to support an attack or fill a hole in the battle lines, and if somebody else has already bought devils to the field then they're fair game if their control can be suborned somehow. The difference is that she doesn't intend to have them as a default part of her armies. Part of it is a moral objection; having undead in your battle lines requires that somebody have died first to be made undead, and she draws a distinction between 'I killed them and raised them because they would be a more useful soldier dead than alive' and 'I raised them after they already died in battle for me (because it would stop more of my still-living soldiers from getting killed.)' It's the same as her objection to human sacrifice to power rituals that would otherwise be useful to her - she's pragmatic enough to use the power if it's going to be present anyway, but she does not want to take lives just to create that power. Part of it is she needs to be able to present herself as an alternative to the methods of Praes if she wants to achieve her goals - there's no point being the independent (in all but name) Queen of Callow if her own people and the rest of the world just think of her as an extension of Praes anyway.

    The other problem is largely logistical: both undead and devils require mages or Cat's personal attention and power to control and command them in battle. Cat's armies are perpetually short of mages relative to their size, and the ones they have access to are usually occupied trying to prevent various magical catastrophes from destroying her completely, or in backing up Hierophant in a ritual that will probably have much bigger results than having your mages hold the leash of a couple lines of undead.
    Last edited by tyckspoon; 2018-11-01 at 02:36 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    The entire reason for heroes retiring is because Good doesn't want it's proverbial dogs to have too long a leash. So they grow old and die returning their strength and power to the heavens who can then distribute as they see fit.
    Whats much more likely is that the heroes grow old and die, because thats the natural thing to do.
    And because it helps reinforce a pattern where no side will get a complete victory.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Hi! Thanks to you guys, I started this wonderful series. I am about to read Prologue of Book 3, ans having a great time so far.

    I stay away from this thread because.. i cant discuss anything without spoiling myself. But i was jus wanted to say...

    Bellerophon is creepy as ****. Jesus, its 1984/Glorious Communist Russia/???? Rolled into one. What are the Kanenas? Magical spirits? Human magic pracitionners?

    Why are they "evil" aligned?!?

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Whats much more likely is that the heroes grow old and die, because thats the natural thing to do.
    And because it helps reinforce a pattern where no side will get a complete victory.
    I think both are just as likely, and not mutually exclusive. It has been hinted/outright stated in at least ONE capacity that the Gods have finite power to distribute to their servants (hence the given capabilities of devils and angels). It would make sense that Names are similar in a way.

    Villainous Names tend to be more powerful in the macro sense, and often grant powers that grow stronger with experience. Heroic Names on the contrary tend to come broken out of the box and better at accomplishing a specific task. Villains get more general purpose powers on average, and grow craftier and more capable with age; Heroes are quite literally made, not born for a specific purpose and abilities tailored to that.

    There are exceptions on both sides, particularly for the grayer names like Squire and Thief, but it seems to be the rule. Once a Hero's purpose is served, they're put back in the tool shed until they're needed again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Whats much more likely is that the heroes grow old and die, because thats the natural thing to do.
    And because it helps reinforce a pattern where no side will get a complete victory.
    Considering word of god is that the reasons heroes age and villains don't is because that's what the Heavens designs for their servants.

    Heroes age and die. > Power returns to the Heavens.

    Villains don't age but lose strength if they don't throw themselves into conflict, eventually getting themselves killed. > Power returns to the Hellgods.
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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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    Note to self: Never get involved in an ethics thread again...Especially if I'm defending the empire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    Considering word of god is that the reasons heroes age and villains don't is because that's what the Heavens designs for their servants.

    Heroes age and die. > Power returns to the Heavens.

    Villains don't age but lose strength if they don't throw themselves into conflict, eventually getting themselves killed. > Power returns to the Hellgods.
    What about... Ranger?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    What about... Ranger?
    She CONSTANTLY throws herself into conflict with ever stronger creatures, so she fits the pattern he described to a tee.
    Last edited by Rynjin; 2018-11-01 at 08:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    She CONSTANTLY throws herself into conflict with ever stronger creatures, so she fits the pattern he described to a tee.
    Nana, i meant.. who gets her power at the end? ;-)

  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    Hi! Thanks to you guys, I started this wonderful series. I am about to read Prologue of Book 3, ans having a great time so far.

    I stay away from this thread because.. i cant discuss anything without spoiling myself. But i was jus wanted to say...

    Bellerophon is creepy as ****. Jesus, its 1984/Glorious Communist Russia/???? Rolled into one. What are the Kanenas? Magical spirits? Human magic pracitionners?

    Why are they "evil" aligned?!?
    1984/Glorious Soviet Union/Alpha Complex, IMO. I think the Kanenas are just the magic wielding Commissariat.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2018-11-01 at 09:11 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    Nana, i meant.. who gets her power at the end? ;-)
    I believe Ranger is (ostensibly) a Villain, though not exactly a "loyal soldier".

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    Something I think is interesting...

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    Night and all its many uses and means of gaining and losing it in the everdark are implied to be the result of the Drow making use of the Sves domain. Along with the implications of the dead king and the wandering bard, what if common named are not so directly connected to the heavens/hells as we once believed? What if Names are just the Bards Domain? It would fit if the Bard had the domain of stories.
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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.

  22. - Top - End - #172
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    I don't think the Wandering Bard has control over names/the Story so much as the Story has control over her. She's the Narrative's self-defense mechanism, a semi-autonomous entity who tries to keep the Story on track. The Dead King was sneaky enough to outsmart her and forge his own narrative.
    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.

  23. - Top - End - #173
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    I believe Ranger is (ostensibly) a Villain, though not exactly a "loyal soldier".
    As i understand it. Ranger is one of several names, like Squire or thief, thats neutral.
    Though do we have any actual evidence that says named are empowered directly by the gods?
    It seems to me they are more empowered by fate/story/destiny/belief. And less direct champions or Clerics of the gods.

    Of course with a few noteable exceptions. Like named Priests.
    But we have seen that even non-named can draw upon the power of heaven.
    In the House of Light.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  24. - Top - End - #174
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    I am greatly enjoying the fight between Masego and his parents. The fact that Masego is actually closer to a traditional villain then anyone but Akua or the Tyrant always kicks me since he is one of Cat's best friends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
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    I don't think the Wandering Bard has control over names/the Story so much as the Story has control over her. She's the Narrative's self-defense mechanism, a semi-autonomous entity who tries to keep the Story on track. The Dead King was sneaky enough to outsmart her and forge his own narrative.
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    As we've seen. Catherine's Domain doesn't come without a bit of it controlling her as well.
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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.

  26. - Top - End - #176
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    I don't think the Wandering Bard has control over names/the Story so much as the Story has control over her. She's the Narrative's self-defense mechanism, a semi-autonomous entity who tries to keep the Story on track. The Dead King was sneaky enough to outsmart her and forge his own narrative.
    That is a really interesting idea. I dont know if i would call her an entity. Her conversation with the Dead King, and her musing over Williams ending made it seem like she is or was a human at some point.
    But yes i do think she is the ultimate fail-safe for when someone tries to skip the tracks. It also seems like her involvement is proportional with the degree of deviation there is.

    I mean, Black the Calamities only made her drop in with a group of junior heroes. Can anyone recall what it was that set her off here recently?


    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
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    That is a really interesting idea. I dont know if i would call her an entity. Her conversation with the Dead King, and her musing over Williams ending made it seem like she is or was a human at some point.
    But yes i do think she is the ultimate fail-safe for when someone tries to skip the tracks. It also seems like her involvement is proportional with the degree of deviation there is.

    I mean, Black the Calamities only made her drop in with a group of junior heroes. Can anyone recall what it was that set her off here recently?


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    The Hierarch/Tyrant of Helike. Not sure what exactly happened or how, but he declared the narrative/her to be in league with foreign despots and banished her.
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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.

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Whats much more likely is that the heroes grow old and die, because thats the natural thing to do.
    And because it helps reinforce a pattern where no side will get a complete victory.
    I figure it's because that's just how stories go.

    Heroes grow old because that's what a "happily ever after" looks like. Conan conquers his foes and grows old on the throne. The mighty knight retires to a quiet life on his farm. The all-powerful wizard, having banished evil, fades into obscurity. Good just dies off. Stories are usually about heroes, so the story ends with the hero, and the hero ends with the story.

    Villains don't age, because they need to be around for a hero to crush them. What kind of story would it be, if the villain raised an empire, ruled for a few decades, and died peacefully in her bed? That's an anticlimax. No, a villain needs to be defeated by a hero. So the villain remains in her prime until a hero comes along to slay her.

    You'll note, however, that it's not perfect. Villains may not age, but they... sort of do, if left to not-quite-villainy.

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    Warlock notes that Black seemed to be, not slowing down, but not quite his old self. Years of not-warring was taking its toll on his villainy. But after Cat stabs Black, Warlock notes that Black seems back to his youthful self. He has a conflict again. A war. A purpose, in the narrative, as a villain. Accordingly, he regains his youthful energy, his ambition and cunning, because he has a role in the story again. Villains need to be at their best when the heroes come knocking, because that makes for a good story.

    The thing to remember is that this is a story about stories. The major plot points underscore Creation's need to follow a logical narrative. So if you're faced with a "Why does this happen?" moment, the most likely answer is because that's how stories go.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

  29. - Top - End - #179
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    lord_khaine's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

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    The Hierarch/Tyrant of Helike. Not sure what exactly happened or how, but he declared the narrative/her to be in league with foreign despots and banished her.
    Hmm.. yeah i know what your talking about. Im just not certain its what triggered her.
    I mean from a story perspective the Tyrant seems utterly harmless. Going full on ham mode as a villain.


    I figure it's because that's just how stories go.

    Heroes grow old because that's what a "happily ever after" looks like. Conan conquers his foes and grows old on the throne. The mighty knight retires to a quiet life on his farm. The all-powerful wizard, having banished evil, fades into obscurity. Good just dies off. Stories are usually about heroes, so the story ends with the hero, and the hero ends with the story.

    Villains don't age, because they need to be around for a hero to crush them. What kind of story would it be, if the villain raised an empire, ruled for a few decades, and died peacefully in her bed? That's an anticlimax. No, a villain needs to be defeated by a hero. So the villain remains in her prime until a hero comes along to slay her.

    You'll note, however, that it's not perfect. Villains may not age, but they... sort of do, if left to not-quite-villainy.

    The thing to remember is that this is a story about stories. The major plot points underscore Creation's need to follow a logical narrative. So if you're faced with a "Why does this happen?" moment, the most likely answer is because that's how stories go.
    I see your point. And guess we are at a bit of a chicken/egg debate.
    Because at the same time, if there was not some sort of narative reset, then we could not have repeated stories building up that sort of narrative structure that creation seems to follow.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
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    Hmm.. yeah i know what your talking about. Im just not certain its what triggered her.
    I mean from a story perspective the Tyrant seems utterly harmless. Going full on ham mode as a villain.




    I see your point. And guess we are at a bit of a chicken/egg debate.
    Because at the same time, if there was not some sort of narative reset, then we could not have repeated stories building up that sort of narrative structure that creation seems to follow.
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    The ham mode villains are supported by the narrative, which is why Akua as a lone name took 5+ named to put down. The Tyrant isn't just a named, he is just as aware of the narrative structure as Black and Malicia but willing to use it to further his own ends.

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