The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Yeah, the Xykon who sucks at maths. He's perceptive and able to sit down and think through things when he cares but he's not gonna turn into a master cryptanalist because he cares. If he could break it then it was a weak code.
    If only there were some magical force in the world that he could utilize in order to boost intelligence or have others decode it for him.

    Also, weren't you not too long ago arguing against making conclusions based purely on assumptions?
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I am not sure how Halfling names and geneology works in OoTS world, but I'll offer this idea that they are not related.

    Belkar's last name is Bitterleaf.
    Serini's last name is Toormuck.

    The only relative that I recall Bellkar referring to is his Aunt Judy.
    (I vaguely recall a memory of him referring to a grandma, but I can't recall which strip that was in)
    So, naturally, Belkar inherited the surname of his father, not the maiden surname of his mother.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Yeah, the Xykon who sucks at maths. He's perceptive and able to sit down and think through things when he cares but he's not gonna turn into a master cryptanalist because he cares. If he could break it then it was a weak code.
    Maybe the +2 from becoming a Lich allowed him to finally understand basic calculus.
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-20 at 06:03 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    It's a diary. It's not meant to contain crucial information.
    But it does.

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    So, naturally, Belkar inherited the surname of his father, not the maiden surname of his mother.
    If I stumble upon a piece of obscure 3rd party material that explicitly states that halflings inherit the surnames of their mother, I'm going to be so...indifferent like you wouldn't believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    Maybe the +2 from becoming a Lich allowed him to finally understand basic calculus.
    I mean, I would have gladly taken a +2 when I was taking Physics. Though there's not much basic about calculus; just stuff that isn't at the painfully advanced level.
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    If only there were some magical force in the world that he could utilize in order to boost intelligence or have others decode it for him.
    Fair point for magic.
    Edit: is there magic that makes you learn techniques you don’t know though?
    He said he did it himself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Also, weren't you not too long ago arguing against making conclusions based purely on assumptions?
    Xykon sucking at maths is established by SoD, isn’t it?
    Last edited by Fyraltari; 2019-09-21 at 12:22 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    1) That's a conclusion.
    2) How is that not a good reason?


    Yeah, the Xykon who sucks at maths. He's perceptive and able to sit down and think through things when he cares but he's not gonna turn into a master cryptanalist because he cares. If he could break it then it was a weak code.
    Cryptanalysis of codes not involving computers tends not to involve very much math. At most you need to do basic division to find averages of characters used or to determine the likely length of a key in a viginere.

    I'd go so far as to say the majority of codes that pre-dated modern computing were fairly weak as well. You can break most of them through guesswork and statistical analysis. Null characters can only get you so far.
    Last edited by RatElemental; 2019-09-21 at 03:34 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    I feel like if Serini was just dead, we would have found out by now. So even if she's dead, I doubt that you'll be the end of it considering her fate has been distinctly hinted at as a mystery, so her just being revealed dead and it not mattering at all for the plot would be a waste of perfectly good foreshadowing.

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    So, naturally, Belkar inherited the surname of his father, not the maiden surname of his mother.
    You're assuming halflings are patrilineal in OotS. Do we know that?


    Seriously, there is no way Serini's genes could have produced a hellspawn like Belkar. Not to mention that she would never allow her child or grandchild to have the traumatizing childhood that it was hinted Belkar would have to have had.

    I agree that she might not be dead and could possibly reappear, but certainly not as a relative of Belkar.
    Last edited by Themrys; 2019-09-21 at 05:19 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Fair point for magic.
    Edit: is there magic that makes you learn techniques you don’t know though?
    He said he did it himself.


    Xykon sucking at maths is established by SoD, isn’t it?
    There is magic that boosts intelligence (various magic items, the 2nd level spell Fox's Cunning, etc).

    Also,teenage Xykon is pretty different from Lich Xykon, I'd say.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morgana View Post
    I feel like if Serini was just dead, we would have found out by now.
    Counterpoint: I feel like if Serini was just alive, we would have found out by now.

    Imean, not really, but I'm just demonstrating that the carries the same weight as the opposite, and isn't terribly convincing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    Seriously, there is no way Serini's genes could have produced a hellspawn like Belkar. Not to mention that she would never allow her child or grandchild to have the traumatizing childhood that it was hinted Belkar would have to have had.
    A.) That's not really how genes work.
    2.) what hints at Belkar having a traumatizing childhood? IIRC the whole point of not showing Belkar's back story was so that he couldn't he sympathized with, so odds are his childhood was as traumatizing as Xykon's. Which is to say, not at all.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-09-21 at 11:38 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    I think there have been hints that Belkar's childhood or at least youth could be described as "traumatizing", except that it was traumatizing to those who weren't Belkar and it was largely Belkar's doing.
    ungelic is us

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    You're assuming halflings are patrilineal in OotS. Do we know that?
    No, we do not. But we don't know either if they are matrilienal. Therefore, the argument that Belkar can't be Serini's offspring because they don't share the same surname, is inconclusive.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    How would this add to the story? Sure. It's not impossible, and there is no proof it isn't so, but absent a plot point, such a detail would be irrelevant. So the question that needs an answer is. "Does this create something relevant to the plot of the story and the characterization of Belkar?"

    In my opinion it would cheapen Belkar's (theoretical) redemption arc. He wouldn't have achieved redemption because he earned it, but because of the intervention of Granny Toormuck. Sorry, B-Man, your grand finale got ninja'd. That, to quote Tarquin, would be a lousy ending.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by hroțila View Post
    I think there have been hints that Belkar's childhood or at least youth could be described as "traumatizing", except that it was traumatizing to those who weren't Belkar and it was largely Belkar's doing.
    Someone on here quoted the Giant as having said Belkar's antics would be sad, not funny, if he were given a backstory ... is Xykon's evilness less funny than Belkar's?

    Of course, Belkar himself has hinted as being descended from a dynasty of evil, by referencing his mother's recipes when killing people, so it is possible his mother and his aunt Judy are just like him.

    Serini doesn't seem like the type who could have raised him, either way.


    I say, if she returns, it is more likely she wants revenge on the wizard who killed her crush and all his family with a familicide spell rather than because she's Belkar's other granny who didn't get left at a nursing home.
    Last edited by Themrys; 2019-09-21 at 09:30 AM.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    I say, if she returns, it is more likely she wants revenge on the wizard who killed her crush and all his family with a familicide spell rather than because she's Belkar's other granny who didn't get left at a nursing home.
    Oh yeah, I completely forgot that Serini had a crush on Girard...though none of his descendants appear to be halfling-adjacent, so I doubt that went to its full conclusion. Plus, secrecy.


    ...now I'm imagining Serini going through the entirety of Windy Canyon and through the illusions to deliver some flowers, and then seeing the door is locked with a note saying "out for lunch".
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  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    Someone on here quoted the Giant as having said Belkar's antics would be sad, not funny, if he were given a backstory ... is Xykon's evilness less funny than Belkar's?
    An incomplete quote. I happen to have OtOoPCs on hand, in fact, and the specific quote was more along the lines of "If, for example, Belkar was emotionally scarred as a child, wouldn’t that be more sad than funny?"

    That did not at all imply that he was emotionally scarred, or that he had any traumatizing experiences in the past; it was a hypothetical example.
    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    Of course, Belkar himself has hinted as being descended from a dynasty of evil, by referencing his mother's recipes when killing people, so it is possible his mother and his aunt Judy are just like him.
    And there, I suspect you're taking jokes far more seriously than intended.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-09-21 at 10:05 AM.
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  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Look Peelee we're not going to agree on this, so... Fancy a bet?
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  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Look Peelee we're not going to agree on this, so... Fancy a bet?
    Despite my normal propensity for gambling, I'ma say no, because I'm not all that convinced she's not dead; her being alive remains the single best way to get more detailed information on what exactly happened with the Scribblers and possibly the nature of the Snarl or the world within the rifts. However, currently all indications point to her reasonably being dead, so that's what I'm going to believe until proved otherwise.
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  18. - Top - End - #108
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    No, we do not. But we don't know either if they are matrilienal. Therefore, the argument that Belkar can't be Serini's offspring because they don't share the same surname, is inconclusive.
    If we're going down that road, the possibility that Serini used a pseudonym after she "retired" seems a lot simpler...as is the possibility that "Serini Toormuck" is a pseudonym, even if the former is simpler than the latter. Of course, the two aren't mutually exclusive....

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    I say, if she returns, it is more likely she wants revenge on the wizard who killed her crush and all his family with a familicide spell rather than because she's Belkar's other granny who didn't get left at a nursing home.
    Hmm...which wizard killed her crush by creating old age? Or would she settle for any deity with the Magic domain?

    That still sounds like a better intro than the (e)strange(d) grandmother thing, though....

    "Hello. My name is Serini Toormuck. You killed...everyone resulting from my crush getting together with people other than me...look, the details aren't important. Prepare to die."

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Fair point for magic.
    Edit: is there magic that makes you learn techniques you don’t know though?
    He said he did it himself.
    Yes, Xykon said he deciphered the locations himself. Here and here.

    What Xykon did not say in the Online Comic, is that...
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    He already knew Lirian's Gate location, before deciphering it. Lirian's location was given by The Dark One to Redcloak. About 21-24 years after failing to secure Lirian's, Xykon found Serini's Diary. Then he first translated Lirian's location, then worked backwards to translate Dorukan's (SoD, pag. 95)

    Breaking a cypher when you have the translation of a chunk of it, is not that difficult. Even for someone who sucks as much at analytical thinking as Xykon.
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-21 at 01:19 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgana View Post
    I feel like if Serini was just dead, we would have found out by now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Counterpoint: I feel like if Serini was just alive, we would have found out by now.
    Counter-counterpoint: Serini is Schroedinger's Halfling. (Which might explain why Mr. Scruffy likes Belkar...)
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  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwhouk View Post
    Counter-counterpoint: Serini is Schroedinger's Halfling. (Which might explain why Mr. Scruffy likes Belkar...)
    Does that mean Mr. Scruffy would also like
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    Thog, since he’s schroedinger’s antagonist?
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  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    Breaking a cypher when you have the translation of a chunk of it, is not that difficult. Even for someone who sucks as much at analytical thinking as Xykon.
    That really depends on the cipher in question. A high-end polyaphabetic cipher like, say, Enigma would be a pain to do without mechanical (or, preferably, modern electronic) aid or a very, very good understanding of how the cipher works, and it's not likely that you'd get that level of understanding of the cipher just from a relatively short section with known content.

    Granted, this being a cipher in a diary that someone wrote while, presumably, on the road, it's much more likely that it's something along the lines of a Caesarian/shift cipher or some other similarly-simple cipher which can be done quickly and easily and is enough to conceal information from casual observers.

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Well, I don't think Serini had access to modern computers. But it still took Xykon about 1-3 years to break Serini's code. So either Xykon is abismally dumb, or Serini's encription was something way more complicated than a caesarian cypher. Though not something as complicated as the Grand Chiffre, or else Xykon couldn't have broken it even with a chunk of text.

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    If we're going down that road, the possibility that Serini used a pseudonym after she "retired" seems a lot simpler...as is the possibility that "Serini Toormuck" is a pseudonym, even if the former is simpler than the latter. Of course, the two aren't mutually exclusive....
    From Uncivil Servant, Belkar story from before he was in prison for
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    a killing of 15 people in a braw
    l (OoTPCs) we find that Belkar was
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    in the hands of slavers for seven months
    and I think that if he was of serini's family/clan he'd have grown up well off enough to avoid such a problem ... but it's unclear and a guess at best.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    "Hello. My name is Serini Toormuck. You killed...everyone resulting from my crush getting together with people other than me...look, the details aren't important. Prepare to die."
    Heh, I like the way that scans.
    @Emanick: thanks, that's what I had in the back of my mind.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-09-21 at 08:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    It might be that Girard gave her a magical "lock" on her diary that he couldn't open until he found the right combination - and then the whole thing was in plain Common.

    If it wasn't that Xykon already had translated the diary before V's little Familicide spell, it would have been hilarious if that was what cracked the code for Team Evil.
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    I would argue that, based on the in-universe evidence, it makes slightly more sense for Serini to be dead, but that from a narrative perspective it makes slightly more sense for Serini to be alive, and that ultimately both possibilities are about equally likely.

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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwhouk View Post
    Counter-counterpoint: Serini is Schroedinger's Halfling. (Which might explain why Mr. Scruffy likes Belkar...)
    I wanna start a philosophical debate vis a vis the application of what Schrodinger's cat actually meant to Serini, but nah.
    Last edited by Squire Doodad; 2019-09-21 at 10:14 PM.
    An explanation of why MitD being any larger than Huge is implausible.

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  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Not really, cause just saying she's dead and just have that not affect the story at all is something you'd want to do as quickly as possible, cause otherwise you risk making her into this big chekov's gun that's never fired. Also, there were multiple moments already when Rich could have showed that she just died, and if that was the case then it just doesn't make any sense to constantly bring her mysterious fate up if it's not going to amount to anything. Simply speaking, at this point the only death she can get that would narratively make sense is one that actually has a story significance, Girard for example had his death tie-in to the familicide, even if a bit indirectly since the spell didn't actually killed him.

    Just take a look at all the other Scribble members to this point, there was never any sort of mystery as if they lived or not, and Girard who outside of Serini was the only Scribble member who we ever doubted if they were alive or not, had the mystery of his fate be something of extreme importance. Keep in mind that my point wasn't even that Serini isn't dead, although I'm pretty sure that is the case, but that at this point even if she did die the reveal of her fate will have pretty major consequences to the plot. I just really can't see how a character's meaningless death can be considered an equivalent to their survival when narratively speaking those are 2 completely different things.

  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgana View Post
    Not really, cause just saying she's dead and just have that not affect the story at all is something you'd want to do as quickly as possible, cause otherwise you risk making her into this big chekov's gun that's never fired.
    A falsis principis proficisci. If we accept this premise, then there is no mystery ever; Thog must be alive, or he would have been shown dead as quickly as possible, for example.

    Chekov's Gun is a statement on conservation of detail. There's also another statement on conservation of detail:
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Conservation of Detail is overrated.
    Chekov's Gun is not something I would hang my hat on, is what I'm saying here.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2019-09-22 at 11:19 AM.
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  30. - Top - End - #120
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Mangholi Dask
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Could Belkar be descended from Serini?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgana View Post
    Also, there were multiple moments already when Rich could have showed that she just died, and if that was the case then it just doesn't make any sense to constantly bring her mysterious fate up if it's not going to amount to anything.
    You may be confusing forum discussion with the actual comic. I remember that Vaarsuvius made an attempt to contact Serini, but no other mentions. Her mysterious fate has been brought up a grand total of once.

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