The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Does it mean you assume him to care about any mortals as individuals rather than the abstract concept "I swore to follow the will of the clans," and thus to have any interest in what a member of the council might want to say other than the overall vote? 'Cause I think that might be where the disconnect is here.

    (That's speculation. Rich's portrayal of the gods has, thus far, been considerably more negative and cynical than I would prefer, but it appears quite consistent to me.)
    I don't know, I feel like a lot of the Gods callousness can be explained by the whole "watching countless worlds get destroyed" thing. I feel like, after watching endless worlds of their followers die with prayers to them on their lips, its a wonder the Gods aren't just completely numb.
    Last edited by woweedd; 2019-03-02 at 03:13 AM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysbebatman View Post
    But that's NOT his job. The President who has to abide by and enforce the outcome of a vote can't *also* be an election judge. It would be a conflict of interest.
    Without getting too directly political, I would note that such situations actually do occur. In some countries, this tends to be a result of people being able to move between various elected or appointed positions that exist on different those figurative "checks and balances" scales.

    Also, it's not precisely a conflict of interest. If we assume the President doesn't have a personal stake in how the law is enforced, then the outcome of the vote only matters to the extent that it might make his job easier or harder. For example, if I were President, I would probably want the referendum to "lower taxes, increase spending, and balance the budget" to fail horribly, while I'd be much more okay with "Just do what you want and try not to start any more wars." If, on the other hand, the President does have a personal stake, then the conflict of interest will exist regardless of whether he certifies the vote, enforces its outcome, or both. If a President had to enforce a rule collecting taxes from farms, and he owns huge farms, that's already a conflict of interest. If a judge has to certify the vote on whether to tax the farms, and he owns huge farms, that's a conflict of interest. If one person has both duties, and some big farms, that doesn't create a conflict of interest that didn't already exist, though it arguably makes it a bit worse. And if one person has both duties, but owns zero farms (and is otherwise not benefiting or suffering from the outcome), then there's no conflict of interest.

    As I previously mentioned, your concern is more of a separation of powers, checks and balances sort of issue. The idea is that you don't want one person, or one position, to have all the power in government. In general, many modern democracies follow a similar pattern to the U.S. in how they separate those powers, creating a legislative branch to make laws, a judiciary to interpret them, and an executive to "enforce them." However, that's not the only way to separate the powers. Many countries, for example, make a distinction between head of state and head of government. I've heard some describe the United States as having the President be the head of state, and the leaders of the two houses of Congress be the head of government--but in practice the apportionment of responsibilities among them is very different than it is in--for example--Commonwealth countries.

    I understand why, for somebody accustomed to many real world governments, that one guy both overseeing a vote and enforcing an outcome (in this case, forwarding the vote to the Godsmoot) feels like it violates the separation of powers. However, I don't think it does. For one thing, as far as has been explicitly revealed, Dvalin has precisely one role in government--forward the vote of the Council of Clans to the Godsmoot. Perhaps, more generally, obey the vote of the Council of Clans. This seems like a ministerial role--that is, he obeys the decisions, rather than making them. In practice, it is often people with such roles who find themselves responsible for supervising elections or votes. For example, appointed supervisors and employees might be more inclined to oversee an election honestly if they don't actually have to run in an election to keep their jobs.

    If you're worried about conflict of interest, then you're worried that Dvalin might--completely against what we've been shown about his character--decide to substitute his own judgement for that of the Council of Clans. The thing is, this conflict of interest already exists. As far as the laws of deities are concerned, Dvalin has the absolute power to unilaterally cast his vote however he wants--it is only his sense of duty that prompts him to abide by the vote. Giving him the additional power to supervise the council vote contributes absolutely nothing to that potential conflict of interest because--again--he already has the absolute power to unilaterally cast his vote however he wants. He has no obvious reason to put his finger on the scales of the vote because he is already 100% in control of the only outcome that matters.

    Edit: A few potential reasons exist, but they don't make sense for this situation. Someone like Lord Shojo might prefer to manipulate the vote, make the Council of Clans believe that he is completely obedient to their will, hiding the fact he had a desired outcome and worked to make it happen. Someone like Thor, arguably, or really, a bunch of characters, might use that power to abide by the letter of the rule while flagrantly violating its spirit. Neither of these actions seem consistent with what we've seen of Dvalin.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2019-03-02 at 03:41 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #243
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I think his portrayal has been very consistent with the way many pantheistic religions portray their deities--as imperfect individuals, some more selfish, some outright benevolent, many who can't be characterized easily as good or evil.
    You are thinking of pplytheistic religion. This looks nothing like pantheism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    Also, Thor really is the best god ever.
    I couldn't agree more.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    One explanation for the blue/orange separation could be that it's mechanically impossible to build them adjacent (plus of course that it resembles an airlock-and airlocks are cool). Relatedly it wouldn't be the first time someone thought, but if we made the orange bigger we're giving more protection (I mean you don't want to let dominated people attack your outer guards, do you)

    As I see it there are two/three/four/five/six loopholes.
    1) They defaultly vote [b]yes to the main proposal. If the order (or interesting characters) learn this and invert the question then this causes the vampires a risk of a straight up fail if they can't re-order.
    2) They defaultly vote yes to the main proposal. If the main proposal is something unrelated then this stalls things. "Now the first and most important thing we need to decide, do we expell this lunatic who says he is on a mission from Thor".

    3) obey any verbal instructions given by a vampire, this means that they can't give (effective) orders via proxy, or if they can't speak for some reason

    4) is there anything legal that Durkon can do (sun roof being the obvious one) 4b) the important law given explicitly focuses on creatures in a council meeting
    6) Is there anything the vampires can be tricked into doing that is illegal under dwarf law

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Also, the vampires literally announced their plan out loud in front of every high cleric of the northern pantheon in comic 1016 (including Dvalin’s own high cleric).

    If Dvalin does not already know the vampire’s plan after it’s been literally announced in public to his own high cleric, then Dvalin is so completely disinterested in the mortal world that he won’t figure the plan out now, or ever.
    The gods can only hear each other

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    In the chamber, breaking Dwarven law turns you to stone.
    In before because the OOTS is there to stop an evil plot, they are exempt under an ancient, obscure clause.
    "You... little... *****. It's what my old man called me, it's like it was my name, and I proved him right, by killing all the wrong people. [And], I love ya Henry, and I'll never call you anything but your name, but you gotta decide; are you gonna lay there, swallow that blood in your mouth, or are you gonna stand up, spit it out, and go spill theirs?" - Unknown

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Werbaer View Post
    That's a good catch, though I imagine that if there isn't some specific rule barring it--and Dvalin's high priest doesn't avoid doing so out of an abundance of caution--he would want to commune with his demi-god as soon as possible to convey that information. In fact, I would think that in general the high priests might want to contact their deities to let them know about some potential deficiencies in the rules protecting the Godsmoot and that they probably need to find a new host for the next one.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    You are thinking of pplytheistic religion. This looks nothing like pantheism.
    I absolutely meant to type polytheistic religion, and made a typo. Thanks for the catch.

  9. - Top - End - #249
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodoriph View Post
    Thanks for pointing that out! I totally misread it as Bwa-haa-haa-haa-haa. Went back to it and laughed out loud.
    What did I miss????


    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Humanist View Post
    I think this has been suggested before at least to some extent.

    I think the order will smash a hole in the top of the chamber. Maybe sunlight will destroy the vampires (or maybe the still have protection). However then they can cast into the chamber. Roy will protect the spell casters.
    Durkon will enter the chamber the old fashioned way. He carries destruction with him!


    Quote Originally Posted by Nith View Post
    Hey, from the last comment it sounds like there are people who would react from hearing the evil laugh. Does that mean there are undominated people inside?
    Might be! There are (???) limits on how many people/dwarves they can dominate

    Im still thinking of ways for an Allosaurus to be useful here.
    Will it be against dwarven law to eat dominated Council members??
    Bloodfeast and the exarch have met before!
    As he is carried in an extradimensional place - will he be able to pass the hole erm the barrier ???

    sch
    Last edited by schmunzel; 2019-03-02 at 04:38 AM.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    Elan gets in and uses an illusion spell to mimic the sound of the vampires and give them new orders? Elan has used major image before so I think it should work.

    The illusion is not interacting with the people directly, and it has concentration effect so Elan can cast the spell outside and then maintain it via concentration.

    So the only question is how does Elan get into the middle chamber past the first barrier which is Orange? <snip>
    Hole!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Your point? Because mine was "if your turn to stone if magic decides your vote was coerced, there are a lot of statues of former heads of clan in that room, and a lot of clans very angry about it".

    <snip>

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    How would it interact if Elan was polymorph prior to passing the barrier? The polymorph will be dispelled but will Elan be able to cross the barrier during this time or will it make it anti dwarf only effect kick in after the dispelled Elan?
    I firmly count on one Polymorph being dispelled that day :)


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    Last edited by schmunzel; 2019-03-02 at 05:06 AM.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    3) obey any verbal instructions given by a vampire, this means that they can't give (effective) orders via proxy, or if they can't speak for some reason
    However each dominated dwarf can still be commanded telepathically by the vampire who dominated them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nith View Post
    Hey, from the last comment it sounds like there are people who would react from hearing the evil laugh. Does that mean there are undominated people inside?
    My guess is that there is a priest of Dvalin charged with relaying the proposal to be voted on inside (probably through Summon Proxy) and that the vampires are afraid that Dominating them would stop the process.
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    The first thing that came to my mind when reading the part about dispel magic was that Durkon's new hammer might have some kind of dispel effect on it.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    The parenthetical makes this a less straightforward answer than it might seem.

    How much do you expect of a (you can call him Lawful Neutral or Lawful Good; I think the former is more likely but I also think based on what the comic's shown so far it doesn't matter that much) deity?
    I don't expect him to be comparable to Redcloak (or to the Dark One as portrayed by Redcloak), basically. I think a LN (or less likely, as you say, LG) deity could certainly focus on the "common/greater good" and the big picture, but not so much that he'd cross certain lines and trample on the rights of individuals without a care in the world. I don't think a LN (or LG) alignment would be compatible with something like "Oh, the current crop will all die immediately, but the future dwarves will be better off, so it's a net gain", for example.

    But from my point of view this doesn't really have much to do with this issue, or with what I would expect a god in the position of Dvalin (and Thor) to do. It's not that I feel Dvalin should know because he'd be super invested in every individual dwarf, it's that I feel he should know because a) Thor knows and it's in his best interest to tell Dvalin, if indeed he couldn't learn about this on his own or through his high priest, and b) knowing and acting on this is a requirement for Dvalin to uphold his "big picture" values of respecting the will of the clans.

    I would also like to repeat what I said in the last thread: ultimately, this has a lot to do with my initial gut reaction of feeling that something didn't quite click. It's hard to change that regardless.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysbebatman View Post
    Indirectly it does address it. "All of these safeguards are in place to avoid coersion or outside interference on the Council vote.... Good enough for me!"

    It's not certain that's Dvalin's rationale, but it seems likely at this point.
    Don’t bother with Logic or Facts they just get ignored
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    However each dominated dwarf can still be commanded telepathically by the vampire who dominated them.
    I would assume that the anti-magic in effect in the central chamber would also block telepathic commands. Not only because that would make sense, but also because it would explain why the Dominated elders have been instructed to obey any command given them by a vampire--that would be unnecessary if they could still be commanded remotely.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjasghar View Post
    Don’t bother with Logic or Facts they just get ignored
    Do they? Pretty sure that post got a detailed response.
    Maybe you missed it, again?

    Also those are suppositions and opinions, not facts.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
    I'm even more convinced now that Durkon is going to destroy the chamber roof and let the sun in. After all, the rules only specify that you get turned to stone if you attack a creature.
    If that is actually how the rules work the dwarves might have a serious problem handling protesters one day. Seriously if they manage to get into the blue area (and if the vamps can get in there apparently is no general rule against outsiders entering) they can't be attacked but if the rules worked like that could still do property damage. (Though maybe there is some law that allows some council member to order people out.)

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrinar View Post
    If that is actually how the rules work the dwarves might have a serious problem handling protesters one day. Seriously if they manage to get into the blue area (and if the vamps can get in there apparently is no general rule against outsiders entering) they can't be attacked but if the rules worked like that could still do property damage. (Though maybe there is some law that allows some council member to order people out.)
    Don't be absurd. There is no conceivable law that protects protestors and not property from violence. Even the magic of the inner chamber would recognize that.[/kidding on the square]

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Werbaer View Post
    Very good point.

    So, even if Dvalin has a sufficient Divine Rank to oversee the procedure and notice that there's vampires, and even if he isn't conflicted out of actually doing so...

    Dvalin has no current reason to suspect the vote might be illegitimate.
    Last edited by Aveline; 2019-03-02 at 09:04 AM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by alwaysbebatman View Post
    But that's NOT his job. The President who has to abide by and enforce the outcome of a vote can't *also* be an election judge. It would be a conflict of interest.
    I'm going to try hard here to make this completely non-political, but we had that happening a US State in the 2018 election, where one candidate for Governor was also the current secretary of state in charge of the states elections. That candidate won, and currently sits as governor. As with all things Fantasy reflects reality.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aveline View Post
    Very good point.

    So, even if Dvalin has a sufficient Divine Rank to oversee the procedure and notice that there's vampires, and even if he isn't conflicted out of actually doing so...

    Dvalin has no current reason to suspect the vote might be illegitimate.
    Isn't it the opposite? The presence of vampires would be reason to suspect, even aside them dominating people into obedience.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganbatte View Post
    Isn't it the opposite? The presence of vampires would be reason to suspect, even aside them dominating people into obedience.
    Dvalin does not have a reason to suspect there will be vampires at the Council of Clans. At best, he noticed there were vampires present at Zenith Peak having a tiff totally unrelated to the Godsmoot.
    Last edited by Aveline; 2019-03-02 at 09:45 AM. Reason: TIL: "quibble" is different from "tiff"
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aveline View Post
    Dvalin does not have a reason to suspect there will be vampires at the Council of Clans. At best, he noticed there were vampires present at Zenith Peak having a tiff totally unrelated to the Godsmoot.
    Given that none of the gods acknowledged Roy and Greg's duel on the Godsmoot floor in any way, I very much doubt they were any more able to see the mortals than they were able to hear them.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    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.

    Wow, the very first panel of this strip put to rest my questions from the last strip. Well played.


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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    The detail that the gods don't pay heed to mortal affairs, even the ones happening at the principal Godsmoot, really does put out the idea that Dvalin will check in on the Council to see if they really did vote in accordance with their will.

    If Dvalin were aware of the domination plan - a reasonable inference if one forgets that gods don't hear mortals (and heck, I forgot too) - then yes, it would be odd for Dvalin to call a vote and not be concerned about its legitimacy. Maybe then I'd agree that this subplot is contrived.

    But Dvalin is not aware, and it is not contrived that he is not aware: the gods are not actually at Zenith Peak listening; they have to summon proxies that communicate with each other, because if they actually convened in a hall the world would literally end.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by hrožila View Post
    I don't expect him to be comparable to Redcloak (or to the Dark One as portrayed by Redcloak), basically. I think a LN (or less likely, as you say, LG) deity could certainly focus on the "common/greater good" and the big picture, but not so much that he'd cross certain lines and trample on the rights of individuals without a care in the world. I don't think a LN (or LG) alignment would be compatible with something like "Oh, the current crop will all die immediately, but the future dwarves will be better off, so it's a net gain", for example.
    Whereas I think you're making a category error by expecting OotS gods to function on the same moral scale as mortals at all. Rich described their attitude toward mortals as comparable to our attitude toward termites and dust mites.

    This does mean that if judged on the same scale as Roy Greenhilt, all the gods of the OotS setting would come out as essentially Neutral Evil, with the difference between Thor and Hel being that Thor is closer to the Neutral border than Hel. And it means that Dvalin, ultimately, cares about the oath he made and doesn't really care about the mortals who might die and be damned as a result of him upholding the letter of that oath in a situation it was never intended for--they're only dust mites. It's not a matter of a big picture value. It's exceedingly narrow, actually: I swore this oath, I follow it, what the mortal me was thinking when he took it doesn't matter.

    Not to try to argue with gut reactions, of course.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    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.

    I'm seeing all these theories about how the OOTS could enter, but has anybody suggested some way to dispel the barriers?

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    I am guessing this is foreshadowing of how Durkon will get turned to stone while casting Dispel Magic on the vamps' minions?

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Also, the vampires literally announced their plan out loud in front of every high cleric of the northern pantheon in comic 1016 (including Dvalin’s own high cleric).

    If Dvalin does not already know the vampire’s plan after it’s been literally announced in public to his own high cleric, then Dvalin is so completely disinterested in the mortal world that he won’t figure the plan out now, or ever.

    If he does know, then I think we can safely assume there is some silly rule that causes him to be unable to do anything useful with the information.
    that wasn't dvalin's high cleric, that was dvalin himself

    also we're talking about a man/god who feels he musn't make a decision without the input of other people no matter how much he wants to even if he's fully capable of making that decision by himself

    if there isn't a rule which says that if the council is dominated then the ruling is invalid then I see him fully capable of accepting the ruling of the council even if he's fully aware that the council is dominated just because he ruling has technicly fullfilled all the rules, as far as he knows he has no choice to do otherwise
    Last edited by a_flemish_guy; 2019-03-02 at 11:40 AM.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1157 - The Discussion Thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by a_flemish_guy View Post
    that wasn't dvalin's high cleric, that was dvalin himself
    Huh? How do you figure? Dvalin's high priest is in the room, channeling him by proxy like all the other high priests are doing, and we've already established that the gods can only hear each other.
    Last edited by Ruck; 2019-03-02 at 11:52 AM.

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