The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Turns out the vampires did their homework and figured out how to get around the defenses. What a surprise. I like the suggestion that the design might have been intentional to let some of the dwarves influence other dwarves. Also, the fact that only dwarves can enter will be a fun obstacle for the Order.

    Also, love the detail in Gontor‘s teeth!


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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Casting from wands, staffs, scrolls, or magic pants is no different from casting from a spell slot. You're still casting a spell.
    Indeed, this is kind of ironic. It appears to me that the complaints about the villains' schemes in this book have gone from "There shouldn't be a loophole like the rules not forbidding vampires from 1) existing, 2) stating evil intentions, and/or 3) attacking people who aren't Godsmoot representatives or their bodyguards" to "There should be really easy and obvious loopholes for the Order to use to get around not being allowed to attack or cast spells."
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxzan Proditor View Post
    Also, the fact that only dwarves can enter will be a fun obstacle for the Order.
    Eh, it's nothing a few extended polymorph spells can't fix. Vaarsuvius has polymorph in her spellbook, knows Extend Spell, and can prepare 5 5th-level spells per day even without preparing the spells in her higher-level spell slots. Extended polymorph would last 34 minutes. Plus it'd be a nice chance for some visual humor, showing Roy, Elan, Haley, Belkar, and Vaarsuvius as dwarves.

    Fortunately, the "only dwarves may pass" ward precedes the "dispels all magic" ward.Oops, no it doesn't, the two are one and the same. Never mind then. Durkon, Hilgya, and possibly Sigdi going in alone it is, then.
    Last edited by zimmerwald1915; 2019-03-01 at 06:44 PM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxzan Proditor View Post
    Turns out the vampires did their homework and figured out how to get around the defenses. What a surprise. I like the suggestion that the design might have been intentional to let some of the dwarves influence other dwarves. Also, the fact that only dwarves can enter will be a fun obstacle for the Order.
    My first thought when folks pointed out the flaw was that maybe the dwarves are like humans when it comes to self-driving cars--they don't like to take the human (or in this case, dwarven) factor out of the equation, and so they created a small space where they could post independently-thinking guards on the off-chance that they'll need dwarven-intervention between the dispelling and the lock down. Sure, the logical thing to do would be to use magic-capable guards, or to lock down all magic but not all violence in that in between space, but as others have noted, the more logical thing to do would be to avoid that space altogether.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    If I were trying to stop the vote, I would be thinking of using the 2nd level silence spell. Probably one of the most old school "cleric" spells in the spell lists. And dwarves definitely are strong silent types.

    Its one thing to disrupt the domination, but it's another to disrupt the dwarves ability to hear orders.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Indeed, this is kind of ironic. It appears to me that the complaints about the villains' schemes in this book have gone from "There shouldn't be a loophole like the rules not forbidding vampires from 1) existing, 2) stating evil intentions, and/or 3) attacking people who aren't Godsmoot representatives or their bodyguards" to "There should be really easy and obvious loopholes for the Order to use to get around not being allowed to attack or cast spells."
    I don't think that's a fair characterization. Trying to find a loophole either way is a fun pursuit--one that could potentially lead to a fun prediction about the next strips--but I'm not sure anybody would be particularly happy if they actually found a loophole that works--particularly if it ends up feeling particularly obvious or contrived.

    It's like folks who spend a lot of time nit-picking their favorite fandom for inconsistencies--they don't want there to be inconsistencies in the canon, but they also don't want to be blithely unaware of any that might exist.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Well with a setup like that obviously someone is going to break the law and be petrified. Since it was said to be temporary my guess is it will be one of the good guys. Since it involves breaking dwarven law my bet is that it will be Durkon, always the least likely person to act against Dwarven law.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    That's an interesting question. Was Dvalin raised to demi-godhood while he was still alive, or was he deified after his death? I could see that making an important distinction--if the former, there's really no legitimate argument that he's one of the "dwarven dead," dishonored or not, but if the latter, then it raises the question of whether his deadness or his demi-godness take precedence.

    For the sake of keeping the controversy in play, let's assume he died first. Then this also raises the question of whether being dishonored after his death matters. The rules for dwarves seems to be that they specifically have to die with honor--Durkon's mom, Minrah, and others specifically worried that raising a dwarf who died in combat opened up the risk that they die again, under less favorable circumstances, and punch their ticket straight to Hel. This strongly implies that the cumulative honor or dishonor of their lives doesn't matter that much--basically, dwarves try to be honorable all the time because they could die at any time. If you're honorable your whole life and die in a mining accident, you go to Hel; if you're mostly dishonorable, but die going after a tree, you go to Valhalla.

    So if your honor before the moment of death doesn't matter all that much, can we really assume that your conduct after death matters either? Keep in mind, the examples of dishonorable deaths we were given haven't been moments where the dwarf in question exhibited any particularly bad traits--treachery, cowardice, cruelty, etc--they simply weren't actively being brave or honorable at that moment. Using that same standard, Dvalin must have had moments in his demi-god life where he was just hanging out, being fairly unremarkable; however, none of these have given Hel the opportunity to pull her lever on him.
    He talks about his death and deification, so I'm pretty sure he died first.

    But I think a bigger complication is that, having been deified, he's almost certainly alive at the moment. So he'd need to die again before going to Hel would be a serious possibility...and the most likely candidate for bringing that about (the Snarl) wouldn't leave anything behind to go to Hel.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seward View Post
    OK, here's the deal.

    Durkon knows the plan and yet feels totally fine with resting until Dawn to get spells back instead of heading this off before they've subverted enough votes.

    Which means there is a counter the 3 vampires haven't thought of that is within the capability of the OOTS+allies to carry out without much chance of failure.

    Indeed, and in fact, Durkula explicitly noted that the plan to subvert the vote required that the Order of the Stick be defeated in the Banquet Hall fight. Durkula clearly expected that his plan wouldn't be enough to stop the Order, and at the time he said that, he expected the Order had 0 Dwarves and 0 Clerics with them, instead of 3 Dwarven Clerics.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Some people above did not read the strip carefully. The blue barrier doesn't just prevent (by turning to stone) people from attacking or casting spells, it does that for any one violating Dwarven law. That would I suspect, include casting Silence and probably some other actions proposed above. Most likely even breaking the ceiling to let in sunlight, since that damages property. Now maybe the ceiling could be broken from outside and that wouldn't trigger the barrier spell.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    So, this page explains a lot of the things people would be asking about the meeting's defenses if it wasn't here. Now time to read the thread to find out what people are arguing about instead
    Last edited by 137ben; 2019-03-01 at 06:54 PM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    By Odin's Beard, Gontor IS the most Evil of life-forms: A Lawyer! Seriously though, this is one of those villinious plans that is just ingeniously put together. Rich must make an amazing GM.
    Last edited by woweedd; 2019-03-01 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaScribe View Post
    The gods have magical senses and at least occasional contact with their followers. It's certainly possible Dvalin isn't strong enough to sense the deception, isn't social enough to be warned by other involved gods like Thor, or sufficiently stuck on the letter of his oath for that to make no difference.
    A) Hel is a god, Hel believes the plan will work, so we have no reason to believe that Dvalin will be using any given abilities.
    2) Dvalin is a demigod, so we don't even know if he has any abilities to do that to begin with.
    iii) Gods explicitly have very little contact with their followers. And that's for the followers that have explicitly chosen to dedicate their lives to their god. I would be very much surprised if non-clerical elders warranted more attention than their high priests, for example.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by TRH View Post
    Whatever shenanigans may have occurred before, the dwarves didn't consider the possibility that fellow "dwarves" would be ready to put their entire race at stake for any reason. Why would they?
    Because, Hel is one of their Gods too and undoubtedly will have followers. I mean it just shows the arrogance of the Dwarves to think they are uncorruptable.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wowlock View Post
    Because, Hel is one of their Gods too and undoubtedly will have followers. I mean it just shows the arrogance of the Dwarves to think they are uncorruptable.
    In another world that might have been true. Hel in this world explicitly does not have mortal followers, because she is not allowed to have Clerics to spread her influence among them.. well, ok, I guess it might be a thin edge of possibility that there are dwarves crazy enough to follow Hel as their primary god anyways, but without Clerics to do her bidding among the living Hel would have little to no means of letting those dwarves know what her desires were.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Indeed, this is kind of ironic. It appears to me that the complaints about the villains' schemes in this book have gone from "There shouldn't be a loophole like the rules not forbidding vampires from 1) existing, 2) stating evil intentions, and/or 3) attacking people who aren't Godsmoot representatives or their bodyguards" to "There should be really easy and obvious loopholes for the Order to use to get around not being allowed to attack or cast spells."
    Huh, when did any of this happen?
    We're just dropping theories for the fun of it, nobody ever said "there should be really easy and obvious loopholes" or the vampires forbidding from existing or any of all that stuff.

    Imaginary irony?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I don't think that's a fair characterization. Trying to find a loophole either way is a fun pursuit--one that could potentially lead to a fun prediction about the next strips--but I'm not sure anybody would be particularly happy if they actually found a loophole that works--particularly if it ends up feeling particularly obvious or contrived.
    Welp, should've read the rest of the thread before posting.
    Yup, agree and that wasn't a fair characterization at all.
    Last edited by Ganbatte; 2019-03-01 at 07:14 PM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    He talks about his death and deification, so I'm pretty sure he died first.

    But I think a bigger complication is that, having been deified, he's almost certainly alive at the moment. So he'd need to die again before going to Hel would be a serious possibility...and the most likely candidate for bringing that about (the Snarl) wouldn't leave anything behind to go to Hel.
    Ah, thanks for that note.

    I think the latter point is debatable, though. I mean, we've seen plenty of the dead, who everyone would agree is dead, existing and interacting with the gods (and even mortals in some cases.) In a world where the afterlife is a plane shift away, the question of whether deification makes you alive again can be answered--entirely arbitrarily--by what the beings who wrote that rule have to say on the subject.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Few Things:
    There are a bunch of dwaves lined up at the bottom of a couple frames that we can only see the back of their heads. Who are they?

    In my mind the bigger obstacle is the orange barrier.
    Elan could cast an illusion to make someone look like a vampire. So they could give a countermanding order.

    But I suspect the solution is less elegant and more destructive. Based on the last shot we see of Durkon.
    IS this building on the surface? Or near the surface, but still underground?

    The blowing a hole in the ceiling plan does seem like a good one. It looks like the Orange barrier goes all the way around the building. So just blowing a hole in the wall won't allow access.

    Also, Durkula explicitly stated that they needed to crush the Order before the vote. So, they probably have the power to crush.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Hmm... so only dwarfs can get into the chamber at all? So only Durkon, Hilgya, Minrah, and maybe Sigdi and some of her friends like Kendro or Thirden, the former who taught Durkon how to use the hammer and shield and the latter who's explicitly a Bard. Don't know about Sigdi's other friends though...
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
    Some people above did not read the strip carefully. The blue barrier doesn't just prevent (by turning to stone) people from attacking or casting spells, it does that for any one violating Dwarven law.
    This is an interesting concept because one could argue that "subverting a natural voting process" could also count as violating Dwavern law, and the spell's effect could theoretically proc even by just mere talking(commanding) the dominated dwarves.

    It would be hilarious if the vampires were to try to say something to them as command and then get turned into stone anyway.

    Of course that comes to what's actually inscribed in Dwarven Law and probably there isn't a line like that in the book. But in theory, if it was, then even merely talking and commanding the council could count as breaking it.

    On another completely unrelated note, it would be also hilarious if the foil to Gontor/Durkula's rule lawyering plan on circumventing the barriers would simply be Durkon saying "to hell with it" smashing both apart Xykon-style with his new god toy.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    In another world that might have been true. Hel in this world explicitly does not have mortal followers, because she is not allowed to have Clerics to spread her influence among them.. well, ok, I guess it might be a thin edge of possibility that there are dwarves crazy enough to follow Hel as their primary god anyways, but without Clerics to do her bidding among the living Hel would have little to no means of letting those dwarves know what her desires were.
    Plus, the dwarf-line is only one layer of many defenses. Just imagine if we had access to magic to design defenses for our secure facilities in the real world--I would absolutely put a "U.S. citizens only" line across a lot of places. It doesn't imply that I think U.S. citizens can't be secretly loyal to another country, willing to harm their country for personal gain, or convinced of the righteousness of some personal ideology that trumps loyalty to the country--but it would absolutely be stupid not to use that tool as one of multiple lines of defense unless we have specific reasons to invite non-citizens into a specific facility.

    Basically, transracial adoption and testimony from allies are the only issues the anti-dwarf line presents--both can be addressed somewhat by allowing some hypothetical non-dwarven head-of-clan to send a proxy to vote, and allowing the council members to hear testimony prior to the meeting. In exchange for these minor disadvantages, it suddenly becomes much harder--not impossible, but still substantially harder--for an enemy to get agents who can interfere with the vote. Best case scenario, polymorph tricks the dwarf line, and the need to polymorph all of your agents creates yet another minor complication on top of numerous other challenges. If polymorph doesn't work, then instead of the pool of all sentient beings with good enough relations with Firmament to be allowed to enter relatively unchallenged (or at the very least, small enough to sneak in and wander around in a hooded cloak), an adversary has only the dwarven population from which to bribe, coerce, undeadify, or otherwise convert to their cause.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganbatte View Post
    This is an interesting concept because one could argue that "subverting a natural voting process" could also count as violating Dwavern law, and the spell's effect could theoretically proc even by just mere talking(commanding) the dominated dwarves.

    ...

    Of course that comes to what's actually inscribed in Dwarven Law and probably there isn't a line like that in the book. But in theory, if it was, then even merely talking and commanding the council could count as breaking it.
    If anything has the power to settle the issue of intent definitively, I suppose magic is it. Even so, I think such a law would be entirely too vague, especially if some magical mechanism has to make an instantaneous ruling. Aside from the early strip gags where rules-lawyering (or suddenly remembering previously forgotten facts) caused immediate changes in reality, the strip seems to have drawn more of a distinction between mortal- and deity-enforced rules--which can be more vague and aspiration, and are essentially decided by sentient enforcers--and the sort of rules you're able to impose when controlling another sentient being, or creating some sort of magical construct.

    In order to enforce a law like "don't subvert the natural voting process," the inner barrier would have to read intent--whether you're actually trying to subvert the process--and actions--whether you're doing anything to further that goal. It would have to weigh both--for example, what if you clearly want to change the vote, so you subtly remind other clan heads of previous threats, but you don't overtly threaten them in the chambers? Arguably, it would have to be a sentient magical construct, enslaved for centuries to enforce dwarven law as consistently and impartially as possible--something that, admittedly, isn't impossible given the setting.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2019-03-01 at 07:43 PM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wysper View Post
    Few Things:
    There are a bunch of dwaves lined up at the bottom of a couple frames that we can only see the back of their heads. Who are they?
    Bodyguards of the councillors who've already arrived.

    In my mind the bigger obstacle is the orange barrier.
    Elan could cast an illusion to make someone look like a vampire. So they could give a countermanding order.
    But there'd only be the guards and the bodyguards within range of this illusion. What can they do to change the vote?

    But I suspect the solution is less elegant and more destructive. Based on the last shot we see of Durkon.
    IS this building on the surface? Or near the surface, but still underground?
    It is near the surface, as per the complaints of the woman councillor.

    The blowing a hole in the ceiling plan does seem like a good one. It looks like the Orange barrier goes all the way around the building. So just blowing a hole in the wall won't allow access.
    Other people had the idea to break the ceiling to let in sunlight, which of course the vampires are allergic to. But that violates Dwarven law, so whoever tries to do it is instantly turned to stone. The question is, does the spell anticipate that kind of action so that it prevents it or not?
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Y'know
    I think voting "Yes" on "Should we destroy the world?" is an obviously self-destructive order.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    Y'know
    I think voting "Yes" on "Should we destroy the world?" is an obviously self-destructive order.
    No, because they aren't the ones being ordered to destroy the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
    It is near the surface, as per the complaints of the woman councillor.
    I had completely overlooked that detail. Given that deliberate detail, I am now wholeheartedly in the "death by cleansing sunlight" camp.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    So, this page explains a lot of the things people would be asking about the meeting's defenses if it wasn't here. Now time to read the thread to find out what people are arguing about instead
    Notice the people who said they would apologise if a plan was shown have... not apologised and tried to start fights again
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmc91356 View Post
    Elan's not a dwarf, how is he getting in to sing his song?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Elan's not a dwarf, though, so he can't penetrate the Orange Barrier. I presume the barriers (at least the blue one) are domes/spheres, rather than door wards, so tearing the walls down probably wouldn't work for by-passing them.
    To which I answer:
    Quote Originally Posted by nabcif View Post
    Ah, so we need to get Thirden there
    Bingo! We just spent a decent chunk of this story developing Sigdi's circle of friends, what their relations are to Durkon, and even took the time to mention that Thirden is a bard. Sigdi even just showed up to the Order in person.
    Last edited by Aeliren; 2019-03-01 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Typo

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganbatte View Post
    This is an interesting concept because one could argue that "subverting a natural voting process" could also count as violating Dwavern law, and the spell's effect could theoretically proc even by just mere talking(commanding) the dominated dwarves.

    It would be hilarious if the vampires were to try to say something to them as command and then get turned into stone anyway.

    Of course that comes to what's actually inscribed in Dwarven Law and probably there isn't a line like that in the book. But in theory, if it was, then even merely talking and commanding the council could count as breaking it.

    On another completely unrelated note, it would be also hilarious if the foil to Gontor/Durkula's rule lawyering plan on circumventing the barriers would simply be Durkon saying "to hell with it" smashing both apart Xykon-style with his new god toy.
    So you agree with us that the vampires plan is not idiotic since
    A)they know about the barriers and how they work
    B)they have obviously planned around that
    Of course as per usual you will not admit you got it wrong and just say it was ‘for fun’ despite your personal attacks
    'Utúlie'n aurë! Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatári, utúlie'n aurë! “The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!" And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered, crying:'Auta i lómë!" The night is passing!"

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    New comic is up.
    thanks Giant, and thanks for explaining how an artist might use color. Takes me back to learning to mix colors as a kid.

    My wild guess was the blue/orange alignment joke/trope, (bacon / necktie alignment axis added to LG and CE for three axis alignment thing) given your tweaking the nose of alignment throughout the strip's history.
    The simpler reference is pleasing to see.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-03-01 at 07:56 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also quite handsome) ... 2D8HP told me so
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyDaze
    Self-deception tends to have a low target number

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Feb 2017

    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    So, this page explains a lot of the things people would be asking about the meeting's defenses if it wasn't here. Now time to read the thread to find out what people are arguing about instead
    Give it time. It'll be Phantom Menace soon enough.

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