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View Full Version : OOTS #647 - The Discussion Thread



The Giant
2009-04-22, 02:35 AM
New comic is up.

Frosty
2009-04-22, 02:40 AM
Woot! Elan is gettin more competent by the minute!

Mapmaker
2009-04-22, 02:43 AM
Everyone has suddenly become an extra degree of awesome! :)

MuLepton
2009-04-22, 02:45 AM
I wonder how Haley will deal with that much change in Elan. Humans are notorious for not wanting the person that they fall in love with to change too much - and when it happens while they are separated (long distance relationships) it can estrange them.

Just look at her bewildered expression in the last panels. I'm hoping it's nothing, though - and of course there's Elan's prophecy as a kind of safety catch.

Learnedguy
2009-04-22, 02:48 AM
Actually, I think she'll appreciate him telling her. The members of the OotS are often remarkable rational considering their status as protagonists:smalltongue:.

Anyway, nice touch with the Neutralize poison.

Martok
2009-04-22, 02:49 AM
Fantastic strip. It had all kinds of awesome in it -- I especially loved Elan displaying some maturity, and Durkon's "Dinnae look down, dinnae look down, etc." bit was hilarious!



EDIT: Oh yeah:

"Neutralize Poison"

Aw. Now I'm suddenly sad.... :smallfrown:

Killer Angel
2009-04-22, 02:50 AM
This time, for the "funny moment", Belkar is outshined by Durkon and his own Wind Walk spell... :smallbiggrin:

Also, it's good to see that Elan is becoming more competent!

Unregistered
2009-04-22, 02:51 AM
Hehe, "Still unstylishly bearded I see" is great! And the souls do like Belkar's sense humour.

So, Elan's getting more and more competent. Is that good? Well, probably.

Edit: The more I think about it, the more I think Elan taking Healing spells is a very good way to show that he matured. That he grasped the significance and danger of what they're supposed to do. So yes, it's good.

kpenguin
2009-04-22, 02:53 AM
Okay, so... bards get 5th level spells at level 13... if they have enough Charisma to get bonus spells.... which I suspect Elan has in spades.

Shades of Gray
2009-04-22, 02:53 AM
Everyone has changed, be it mentality, hair, competence, erm... death, and soul splicing, whilst Durkon is still just Durkon.

Bravo Rich, you get a beard shaped cookie.

kpenguin
2009-04-22, 02:54 AM
Everyone has changed, be it mentality, hair, competence, erm... death, and soul splicing, whilst Durkon is still just Durkon.

Bravo Rich, you get a beard shaped cookie.

Perhaps Durkon's defining characteristic is his inability to change...

Allerdyce
2009-04-22, 02:54 AM
Gotta love people who are afraid of heights with the power to fly.

Supermagle
2009-04-22, 02:57 AM
Oh dear, now even Elan is outshining V (with his healing abilities).

Waspinator
2009-04-22, 02:57 AM
Nice to see Elan get a bit more competent. Also, as a side note, it narrows down what his level in Bard must be. He also has at least some Dashing Swordsman, though, so that's not his total character level.

amanamana
2009-04-22, 02:57 AM
I think he finally put some stat increase on INT.:smalltongue:

Berserk Monk
2009-04-22, 03:09 AM
Way to go Elan: learning from the pain he felt from the past. This is just like Full Metal Alchemist. Equivalent Exchange all up in heres. I do wonder how Haley will react to Therkla though. And can we please get Roy back now. Quit stalling giant. Get Durkon to cast the spell already!

Brauley
2009-04-22, 03:14 AM
Another brilliant strip Rich.

Elan is really improving in leaps and bounds.

DrGonzo
2009-04-22, 03:17 AM
Nice work Giant!

Especially loved the wind walk part!

Aaron
2009-04-22, 03:18 AM
Wow!!! Go Elan! So this puts Elan's levels at now 13th level bard/1st level Dashing Swordsman.

Welf
2009-04-22, 03:19 AM
lol great strip.

Elan's development is really astonishing. Did he take "actually think about it before doing it" feat? :smallsmile:

Mojique
2009-04-22, 03:20 AM
The sword of jealousy is hanging above Elan's head...

lothos
2009-04-22, 03:23 AM
Awesome.
I really love the way the characters remain true to what has been established over time, but they build credibly on the experiences the character undergoes. Elan's choice for his 4th level spell is something I would never have thought of, but it makes perfect sense.

I wonder if he will one day use it to save someone else he cares about and will say "This is for you Therkala"..

Elan's reaction to wind walk is perfect too, the child-like pure enjoyment of flying.

Great work as always.

Dars
2009-04-22, 03:26 AM
Hooray, fast update!

Wow, Elan is actually planning. And his pick for the new 4th level spell is kinda touching...

I loves character development :smallbiggrin:

Mojique
2009-04-22, 03:27 AM
The sword of jealousy is hanging above Elan's head...

It wouldn't be very wise to tell Haley too much about Therkla. But Elan and wisdom...

Yendor
2009-04-22, 03:36 AM
Poor V can't even get to contribute by holding Elan's hand any more. He doesn't need it now. (Figuratively, that is. Haley's got the literal hand-holding job.)

greywords
2009-04-22, 03:41 AM
It wouldn't be very wise to tell Haley too much about Therkla. But Elan and wisdom...

My guess is that one of the things she appreciates about him is his honesty. Besides, a story of one-sided romance is nothing to get jealous over, especially given how Elan handled it. Haley's rational enough to not hold it against him.

As for me, I can't wait to see V's meltdown now. I could see maybe one more strip giving her one final put down, but I think this may have been it. Of course, she could just let it fizzle and release the souls, but with this much aggravation I don't see that happening.

Ashtar
2009-04-22, 03:45 AM
My guess is that one of the things she appreciates about him is his honesty. Besides, a story of one-sided romance is nothing to get jealous over, especially given how Elan handled it. Haley's rational enough to not hold it against him.
+1 On Elan and Haley: This is exactly what I wanted to say. There's no reason to conceal anything from your partner, especially when Elan refused Therkla. For me, there's nothing to hold against him and on the contrary it shows how much he loves her.

WarriorTribble
2009-04-22, 03:45 AM
Way to go Elan: learning from the pain he felt from the past. This is just like Full Metal Alchemist. Equivalent Exchange all up in heres. I do wonder how Haley will react to Therkla though. And can we please get Roy back now. Quit stalling giant. Get Durkon to cast the spell already!At the risk of sounding too critical and obsessed with semantics, I think learning and being influenced from ones past is different from a rule that states: to create or obtain something, an equal amount must be given up.

Back on topic, I'll just say, took the bard long enough.

But I do wonder what the gamers have to say about Elan's spell choices. :smallconfused:

Hrairoo
2009-04-22, 03:50 AM
Wow!!! Go Elan! So this puts Elan's levels at now 13th level bard/1st level Dashing Swordsman.
umm... actually, Elan probably has way more than one level in ds by now. remember, it's been at least 3 months since roy ate it... elan's had plenty to do to level up since then

DougTheHead
2009-04-22, 03:51 AM
For me, the funniest part of this comic was the penultimate panel, with Durkon looking silently at Belkar as though the halfling's continued existence saddened him in some deep way.

Hrairoo
2009-04-22, 03:52 AM
+1 On Elan and Haley: This is exactly what I wanted to say. There's no reason to conceal anything from your partner, especially when Elan refused Therkla. For me, there's nothing to hold against him and on the contrary it shows how much he loves her.

can i third that? i don't know why anyone thinks there's gonna be any tension about this. therkla's dead anyways...

Hrairoo
2009-04-22, 03:57 AM
awesome strip giant! it's beginning to feel like oots again, y'know what i mean?

wow! kudos to all you who called wind walk! i agree with Elan, that must be one of the best cleric spells ever, my favorite hands down...

haha, i almost didn't believe my eyes when i saw Elan lay down the mass heal. my first thought was woah! my second: another dream? but yes, it was touching and thought provoking how he chose neutralize poison for his fourth.

good to see belkar at it again, but the ending punchline just felt a bit weak compared to the material in the middle of the comic... maybe that's just me

David Argall
2009-04-22, 03:58 AM
+1 On Elan and Haley: This is exactly what I wanted to say. There's no reason to conceal anything from your partner, especially when Elan refused Therkla. For me, there's nothing to hold against him and on the contrary it shows how much he loves her.
This assumes that Elan explains it in precisely the correct manner...or precisely the manner we don't expect Elan to explain it in.
Recall here too that this is comedy, and where are the laughs from Elan telling the story and Haley taking it calmly? 648 is not going to be one of Elan's happier moments.

Ancalagon
2009-04-22, 04:01 AM
Nice comic and the final nail in V's coffin: Elan is more useful than him! ;)

Ridureyu
2009-04-22, 04:03 AM
I wonder how Haley will deal with that much change in Elan. Humans are notorious for not wanting the person that they fall in love with to change too much - and when it happens while they are separated (long distance relationships) it can estrange them.



But you forgot! Haley isn't human, she's 1/3 Dragon, 1/3 Demon, and 1/3 Angel! We have absolute confirmation of this in the strip.

banjo1985
2009-04-22, 04:08 AM
Ah, Elan finally proves he's not quite as stupid as he makes out. Good to see the blonde buffoon back, I've missed him.

rosebud
2009-04-22, 04:11 AM
I would be surprised if the telling of the Therka story was shown. And, as the astute have noted, she would take it as a good sign. She knows people find him attractive and knowing that he was faithful when tested would help. And he's a terrible liar, so she knows he's telling the truth. And with that out of the way, there should be some very off screen making up for lost time.

slurpz
2009-04-22, 04:17 AM
"Woohoo! Look ma, no hands! I'm flyinggggggggggggggg..."

:smallsmile:

R. Malcovitch
2009-04-22, 04:18 AM
"Some girl really, really wanted me but I shot her down because of how much I love you"

Not seeing how that would do anything other than woo Haley even further.

Taekwondodo
2009-04-22, 04:23 AM
"Neutralize Poison"

Aw. Now I'm suddenly sad.... :smallfrown:

Yeah. Just kinda puts a halt on the festivities for a moment...:smallfrown:

Dagren
2009-04-22, 04:33 AM
can i third that? i don't know why anyone thinks there's gonna be any tension about this. therkla's dead anyways...That's possibly part of the problem. If she were still alive, it would be very clear that Elan chose Haley. However with her dead, there isn't that evidence about which way he chose. See what I mean?

gibbo88
2009-04-22, 04:34 AM
That was...interesting. Elan showing an unusual amount of foresight.

RMS Oceanic
2009-04-22, 04:47 AM
Watching Elan zoom around happily reminded me of the "Define Dancing" sequence in WALL-E. I approve.

As others have said, the group dynamic was nice in this strip, and Elan shows off both his maxxed ranks in Knowledge (Narratology) and how much he's grown. This was a good strip.

Trixie
2009-04-22, 04:54 AM
I love the sight of Durkon owned in the morning, and by a Belkar, no less :smallamused:

Huh, I don't think Elan won't screw his little "tale".

Starscream
2009-04-22, 04:56 AM
Great strip, Giant! Elan will always be my favorite character, and its nice to see him being borderline competent and childishly silly in the same strip.

The punchline is great too.

Trixie
2009-04-22, 05:04 AM
On a side note - why are you praising Elan? He is preparing for past battles, not current ones, and that is a sure way to be hurt again in the future. Really, while GDM is useful, MCLW and NP are utter waste of spells. First is nearly useless, and second will see little to no play so it would be better to get a scroll instead, while getting that CCW. :smallsigh:

So, it is usual Elan-like waste of resources and potential. No, to be fair, casting MCLW is above his constant uselessness, but not by much.

Kgw
2009-04-22, 05:23 AM
I welcome the group (almost) rejoining again. And now, the "neutralize poison" also sadened me.
But I do not see Hayley being jelous of a dead girl who never had Elan.

warmachine
2009-04-22, 05:33 AM
Elan is kinda dumb: he only learns a healing spell at level 14? Bards are supposed to be multi-talented, all topped off with a wink and a winning smile. Healing is a useful talent and you can make friends and influence people with it. Neutralize Poison is uncommon enough that it can be left to the cleric.

HandofShadows
2009-04-22, 05:52 AM
Taking "Nutralize Poison" seems like a good choice to me. It's not like it's the one of the OOTS members has never been taken down by poison.
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0038.html

Nevitan
2009-04-22, 05:56 AM
Oh Elan, you've learned how to plan levels, but not what to keep secret.

Although I suppose his version would be better than the one vaarsuvius would give...

kingjosh
2009-04-22, 05:59 AM
On a side note - why are you praising Elan? He is preparing for past battles, not current ones, and that is a sure way to be hurt again in the future. Really, while GDM is useful, MCLW and NP are utter waste of spells. First is nearly useless, and second will see little to no play so it would be better to get a scroll instead, while getting that CCW. :smallsigh:

So, it is usual Elan-like waste of resources and potential. No, to be fair, casting MCLW is above his constant uselessness, but not by much.

There is a big gap between "useless" and "power-gamer." He did not pick the most practical spells, perhaps. But, every single spell he did pick was far more practical than Yet Another Illusion Spell, which was his modus operandi until now.

dps
2009-04-22, 06:00 AM
umm... actually, Elan probably has way more than one level in ds by now. remember, it's been at least 3 months since roy ate it... elan's had plenty to do to level up since then

Don't know about "probably" but we certainly can't say for sure that he only has 1 level in it.

MuLepton
2009-04-22, 06:08 AM
But you forgot! Haley isn't human, she's 1/3 Dragon, 1/3 Demon, and 1/3 Angel! We have absolute confirmation of this in the strip.
Haha yes, I wondered when someone would bring this up :P

Also, don't get me wrong - I like Elan becoming slightly more competent and insightful, it shows (very nicely done) his character development. I just hope it doesn't come at the cost of qualities that make him (for Haley and a lot of readers) lovable.

But judging from the Wind Walk panel, that is probably an unnecessary worry :)

SmartAlec
2009-04-22, 06:19 AM
Is V bitter and irritated enough at this point to butt into the conversation and accuse Elan of having a tryst with some NPC while the Order was seperated? As far as Vaarsuvius knows, that's what happened.

RMS Oceanic
2009-04-22, 06:29 AM
If we see Haley's reaction to Therkla, I don't think she'll be overly jealous. The whole reason she didn't want to admit her feelings for Elan was a fear of trusting in someone, only for them to abandon her. After being forced at he's-going-to-hate-you-now-point to admit her feelings, I think she's grown more trusting, and thus is more likely to accept Elan's word that it was entirely one sided.

I wonder if Durkon and/or Elan will now call out V for dumping them, or if we'll get straight to the resurrection...

Nenec
2009-04-22, 06:29 AM
All you said.

But I particularly loved Elan healing, and how everyone reacted to that, especially V.
And no, with Elan's growth I really don't see he losing the childish side we all love, seeing how he plays with Wind Walk and his typical "Ooo! Ooo! Let me!" :smallbiggrin:

Oh, and about Therkla...I think Haley will love him even more for that story, not only because he didn't betray her, but more for him being lovely with Therkla not to hurt her. That's his sweeeeet side Haley loves more.

Janmorel
2009-04-22, 06:35 AM
Is V bitter and irritated enough at this point to butt into the conversation and accuse Elan of having a tryst with some NPC while the Order was seperated? As far as Vaarsuvius knows, that's what happened.

I think V's bitter and irritated enough to start randomly disintegrating passers-by, but hopefully messing with Elan and Haley is still beneath him.

isamaru
2009-04-22, 06:53 AM
No one here seems to consider that Elan may not have taken neutralize poison because of his fondness of Therkla, but because he could not live with the thought that Haley might meet similar fate. So it's not nostalgia, but his love for Haley that made him take that spell.

factotum
2009-04-22, 06:58 AM
Well, confirmation Elan is now Bard 13...still no idea how many Dashing Swordsman levels he's got, but surely he must have levelled more than once since they left Azure City? The guys on the fleet have had probably the hardest time of any of the OotS characters, after all.

LuisDantas
2009-04-22, 07:12 AM
Wow.

For the first time in a long while, Belkar isnīt insufferable. I certainly did not expect that.

And now Elan is showing maturity and common sense, to the point of being open about Therkla to Haley.

What now? Durkon will learn to speak proper Common? Roy will raise up, reveal to have gained a couple of levels and a Feat custom-made for fighting spellcasters while he was dead, and then question V astral companions?

The Universe (or rather, the Giant) certainly seems to have made a mission out of humilliating Vaarsuvius...

Dagren
2009-04-22, 07:18 AM
No one here seems to consider that Elan may not have taken neutralize poison because of his fondness of Therkla, but because he could not live with the thought that Haley might meet similar fate. So it's not nostalgia, but his love for Haley that made him take that spell.Funny you should mention that, I wondered if it might be something like that.

LuisDantas
2009-04-22, 07:25 AM
Really, while GDM is useful, MCLW and NP are utter waste of spells.

Greater Dispel Magic is probably all-around a more useful spell, yes... but Durkon and probably Vaarsuvius can cast it already, while there is no real substitute for Neutralize Poison (the kind of spell that, as Elan learned, tends to be needed urgently and without warning).

As for MCLW, it was a fabulous choice. The Order had no secondary healer until now. Having one makes lots of tactical sense.

Assassin89
2009-04-22, 07:26 AM
I take this comic as a sign of Elan's developing maturity. I have also noticed that the title refers to the Boy Scout motto since Elan is preparing spells as one would prepare supplies for a camping trip.

Querzis
2009-04-22, 07:27 AM
I just love the last two panels, Durkon look at Belkar as if he was deeply disapointed he his still alive. Dont worry Durkon, he should die soon.


Perhaps Durkon's defining characteristic is his inability to change...

Did you forget how he was when we first met him in Origin? Durkon is able to change, he just doesnt have to. After all, Elan becoming more competent, Haley more trusting and Belkar more sneaky are just them making up for their previous flaw. What does Durkon (or Roy for that matter) has to change?

Beside, Lawfull character always have a harder time to change then chaotic character. Thats kinda the whole point of chaos.

Yendor
2009-04-22, 07:41 AM
Roy will raise up, reveal to have gained a couple of levels and a Feat custom-made for fighting spellcasters while he was dead, and then question V astral companions?

Heh. Or Roy will fight V's astral companions, gain massive amounts of XP, then gain a couple of levels and the feat. All he needs is to believe himself up a copy of the Greenhilt sword...

Oh, and it's not just the Therkla incident. Elan himself got hit with a deadly poison when Durkon wasn't around, and was lucky to escape. Neutralize Poison would have come in handy back then.

Moriarty
2009-04-22, 07:41 AM
Did you forget how he was when we first met him in Origin? Durkon is able to change

what? the only change Durkon went through is
not knowing humans ->dislike humans -> respecting some humans

and that was oopc only, since the original comic Durkon stayed the extremely lawful dwarf

Rotipher
2009-04-22, 08:11 AM
Heh. Anyone notice that Elan not only showed up V by being more useful than vir, but he did so with one of the few arcane spells that V still can't cast, even with the Splice in effect? Yet another demonstration that vir Ultimate Arcane Power (or, at least, Ultimate Wizard/Sorcerer/Archmage Power) ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Myself, I've got to suspect that Elan's new spells are the Giant's way of preparing him to assume Durkon's role, later on. We know from the Oracle that the dwarf is likely to bite it at some point; if he stays dead for more than a few hours, they're bound to need a back-up healer in the interim.

HOLEkevin
2009-04-22, 08:20 AM
Wow, all the OotS characters together again! Somehow I don't even care that Roy's just a skeleton. :)

Mauve Shirt
2009-04-22, 08:23 AM
Look at you Elan, being more mature! :smallbiggrin: Good luck telling Haley about Therkla!

Dagren
2009-04-22, 08:27 AM
Myself, I've got to suspect that Elan's new spells are the Giant's way of preparing him to assume Durkon's role, later on. We know from the Oracle that the dwarf is likely to bite it at some point; if he stays dead for more than a few hours, they're bound to need a back-up healer in the interim.What, you mean like here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0080.html)? Been a looong time since he's thought of being a healer.

ericgrau
2009-04-22, 08:59 AM
Durkon still did a lot of off panel healing in the Azure city battle. He would be a lot more interesting if he picked up a wand of cure light wounds and used his main list for more of the cool spells. But still retaining major heals like heal for when it's needed.

For Elan I would have picked greater invisibility and greater dispel, b/c as a bard anything you can do just as well as a full caster (who seriously debate between these spells and their highest level spells even at 15th level) is a good choice. The full casters can always swap their spells in expectation of these. But there's good story reasons for neutralize poison. And given that bards get full caster level on mass CLW, it's not too bad of a choice for casting on groups of 10-13. Groups that large tend to be low level anyway, and the total healing between them is still quite impressive. OTOH CCW is a mediocre choice for the same reason greater invis & dispel are good choices. But this is Elan not a tweaker; just planning his spell choices at all is something.

And that's enough metagaming from me for the month. Elan started it:smalltongue:. I loved the wind walk cutaway. And apparently Belkar is as "annoyed" as me at Durkon's lack of "character development" :smallamused:.

lothos
2009-04-22, 09:18 AM
Awesome.
I really love the way the characters remain true to what has been established over time, but they build credibly on the experiences the character undergoes. Elan's choice for his 4th level spell is something I would never have thought of, but it makes perfect sense.

I wonder if he will one day use it to save someone else he cares about and will say "This is for you Therkala"..

Elan's reaction to wind walk is perfect too, the child-like pure enjoyment of flying.

Great work as always.

Trixie
2009-04-22, 09:29 AM
Greater Dispel Magic is probably all-around a more useful spell, yes... but Durkon and probably Vaarsuvius can cast it already, while there is no real substitute for Neutralize Poison (the kind of spell that, as Elan learned, tends to be needed urgently and without warning).

As for MCLW, it was a fabulous choice. The Order had no secondary healer until now. Having one makes lots of tactical sense.

So? Cast if the scroll. Picking NP is like carrying a sledgehammer instead of a cell phone on you in real life at all times - sure, once a year it might be useful, maybe it will even help you, but it won't beat cell phone's utility. Plus, two other characters can cast NP, so specialize in the area others cannot compete with you, instead of wasting your potential on redundant abilities.

And you're joking with that second one. CLW ceases to be useful around level 3-4, much less 13-14. To illustrate - how is 5-10 HP healing spell useful when enemies already dish 20-200 damage per round? It's like trying to stop a bullet with cardboard shield, and it uses your entire action in that round. Even if you multiply it x4 healed PC's, it's still useless.

There are tons of more useful spells. Shadow Conjuration for example - it has a build-in NP, plus dozens of other spells :smallsigh:

chiasaur11
2009-04-22, 09:37 AM
Wow.

For the first time in a long while, Belkar isnīt insufferable. I certainly did not expect that.

And now Elan is showing maturity and common sense, to the point of being open about Therkla to Haley.


To be honest, I figure Elan would do that regardless of maturity. Guy can't keep a secret to save his life.

Enlong
2009-04-22, 09:42 AM
Elan is kinda dumb: he only learns a healing spell at level 14? Bards are supposed to be multi-talented, all topped off with a wink and a winning smile. Healing is a useful talent and you can make friends and influence people with it. Neutralize Poison is uncommon enough that it can be left to the cleric.

Yeah, but you never know when you're going to be poisoned, and you don't always have enough time for the cleric to prepare it if you get surprised by it. A spell like that is a good choice for a spontaneous spell-caster, because he's always capable of using it, but doesn't need to waste any slots except for 1 spell known to have it ready at all times.

Trixie
2009-04-22, 10:04 AM
Yeah, but you never know when you're going to be poisoned, and you don't always have enough time for the cleric to prepare it if you get surprised by it. A spell like that is a good choice for a spontaneous spell-caster, because he's always capable of using it, but doesn't need to waste any slots except for 1 spell known to have it ready at all times.

... a bit of simple math:

Let's say Elan has three casts of 4th level spell per day. That's about ~1115 castings per year. Now, he, during a year we seen in OotS came upon a situation needing NP twice. Thus, by not getting another spell, he wasted 1113 spell slots!

On the other hand, we have Elan, who just bought several scrolls of NP, gave one of them to the cleric and ranger, and got something else. This Elan has thousands of powerful spell uses he is capable of unleshing. Even if he needed NP more often, like, say, a hundred times, it doesn't hange that he boldly wasted 95% of that potential by getting NP, and another 50-75% (because MCLW can be used/useful sometimes, but hardly always, especially at their level) by getting MCLW.

Even another illusion spell that you seem to abhor would see far greater mileage, especially in the hands of creative caster.

If you have an intelligent spontaneous caster, he should always take something he can cast at least once per day, like teleport or invisibility. I'm well aware that Elan is dumb enough to take something useless, especially with his twisted genre-savvynes, but praising him for it is stretching it harder than, say, hulk/juggernaut/tarrasque hypothetical offspring can. :smallsigh:

Yeah, no waste whatsoever :smallsigh:

Mc. Lovin'
2009-04-22, 10:05 AM
Belkar: "We should separate another year ..."

So they've been apart a year have they? Looks like Belkar's number's up

Enlong
2009-04-22, 10:15 AM
Did I say anything about illusion spells?

He didn't take Neutralize Poison so that he could use it every day, that's not what you take that spell for. He took it so that he always has it on hand because, as we know, poison is often unexpected and in immediate need of curing. The spell is for emergencies.

Also: pop quiz; where exactly could Elan have bought any scrolls of Neutralize Poison? He was on a boat in the middle of the ocean, remember?

JackMage666
2009-04-22, 10:25 AM
Anyone else think Elan hit level 16? He seems to be a little more mentally competent, after all, so maybe he nabbed a point of Wisdom to Intelligence?

Nenec
2009-04-22, 11:05 AM
He didn't take Neutralize Poison so that he could use it every day, that's not what you take that spell for. He took it so that he always has it on hand because, as we know, poison is often unexpected and in immediate need of curing. The spell is for emergencies.

That's how I see it as well. He found himself in a situation where it was needed and not having it someone he cared for died. I don't think he wants it to happen again, and maybe with someone even more important. It's more like learning a lesson.

Ikialev
2009-04-22, 11:09 AM
Wait, wasn't that something about being able to cast 5th level spells, and this thing was that you need 15 INTELLIGENCE. And it's Elan.

Aimbot
2009-04-22, 11:18 AM
Belkar: "We should separate another year ..."

So they've been apart a year have they? Looks like Belkar's number's up

Nah, they've been apart for a year or so, but they went to the oracle more than three months after they separated. If you work backwards from this moment he's probably got at least six months left, maybe more.

Actually they went from the oracle to Cliffport, stayed in Cliffport hiding out in Pete's for a week or so before the thieves guild snafu, and were apparently at most a few weeks before being reunited with the party. Depending on how long it took to travel from the oracle to Cliffport he could have 10 months.

otakuryoga
2009-04-22, 11:21 AM
Durkon still did a lot of off panel healing in the Azure city battle. He would be a lot more interesting if he picked up a wand of cure light wounds and used his main list for more of the cool spells. But still retaining major heals like heal for when it's needed.

For Elan ---->I would have picked greater invisibility<---- and greater dispel, b/c as a bard anything you can do just as well as a full caster (who seriously debate between these spells and their highest level spells even at 15th level) is a good choice. The full casters can always swap their spells in expectation of these. But there's good story reasons for neutralize poison. And given that bards get full caster level on mass CLW, it's not too bad of a choice for casting on groups of 10-13. Groups that large tend to be low level anyway, and the total healing between them is still quite impressive. OTOH CCW is a mediocre choice for the same reason greater invis & dispel are good choices. But this is Elan not a tweaker; just planning his spell choices at all is something.

And that's enough metagaming from me for the month. Elan started it:smalltongue:. I loved the wind walk cutaway. And apparently Belkar is as "annoyed" as me at Durkon's lack of "character development" :smallamused:.

why? Elan already has his oown special method of invisibility 8)

Dagren
2009-04-22, 11:24 AM
Wait, wasn't that something about being able to cast 5th level spells, and this thing was that you need 15 INTELLIGENCE. And it's Elan.*facepalm* That's for wizards. Elan is a bard.

Omegonthesane
2009-04-22, 11:24 AM
Wait, wasn't that something about being able to cast 5th level spells, and this thing was that you need 15 INTELLIGENCE. And it's Elan.

Bard spells are based off Charisma, and Elan's Charisma is at least 18. Maybe he bluffed Roy into not kicking him out of the Order back in the days when he was truly useless.

Kaytara
2009-04-22, 11:33 AM
Wow. Not being familiar with boyscout slogans, the first thing I thought of when reading the title was Scar's "Be Prepared" song. Which made my thoughts rather strange while I waited (and waited... and waited...) for the page to load.

Wow, nice character development for Elan. He's becoming more competent, has started to take adventuring a bit more seriously and tries to make the most of his abilities... I actually called that one, a long time ago. :smalltongue:

I, too, was thoroughly amused by Durkon's look at Belkar in the penultimate panel... and he was apparently already staring at him even in the panel before that.

I agree that MCLW isn't a very good choice. The healing is insignificant enough that it won't do much to turn the tide in an important battle, and it relies on all characters needing to be healed standing fairly close together. Taking a more powerful single target healing spell probably would've been better.

I think Neutralize Poison makes perfect sense. Elan isn't just a bard, he's a hero. By learning to heal and cure poison, he received the fantasy equivalent of advanced first aid training. Even if he ends up using NP once a year, he'll still be using it when it really, really counts, and using it successfully will mean saving his team the trouble of moving yet more dead or incapacitated bodies and having to spend more diamonds on raising them.

Greater Dispel Magic is a slightly odder choice given that the party already has TWO people who can cast it. But it still makes sense as a means of freeing allies from status effects.

And the universe continues to conspire to make Vaarsuvius seem completely redundant. He's grasping at straws now to show off his new abilities (healing a few scratches with restorative conjuration?), and he isn't needed even for that, shown up not by the cleric, but by the bard, of all people. The bard that then demonstrates that he's no longer that much in need of someone smart to direct his abilities. I'm actually rather worried that Vaarsuvius seems to have walked away somewhere in the last few panels. The next comic may show him broken down and crying in a corner, having disappeared to take on Xykon, or try to Resurrect Roy by himself and get screwed over yet again as something dramatic and terrible happens due to the divine non-intervention clause.

Dagren
2009-04-22, 11:41 AM
I don't think V was suggesting that she should be the one to do the healing, so much as commenting in her usually long-winded way that she could use healing too. Since CLW and it's relatives are conjuration school an all. Just a fancy way of saying it, I reckon.

Doug Lampert
2009-04-22, 11:44 AM
As for MCLW, it was a fabulous choice. The Order had no secondary healer until now. Having one makes lots of tactical sense.
Applied to a party of 6 that's just been hit by an area effect, MCLW is 6d8+78 HP recovered + an attack for 1d8+13 damage (fort save for half) on up to 7 undead in range for a single spell. That's worth casting in combat (which isn't true for many cure spells).

NP would be a waste, except for the obvious point that Bards get absurdly large numbers of spells known and almost no actual slots!

Bards typically have MORE spells known at a level than actual slots at that level; carrying an only occassionally useful known spell is unlikely to cost him ANYTHING, because he's got the other spells known to use those slots. Other spontanious casters tend to have lots of slots and few spells known, so spells known need to be chosen carefully. Bards have lots of spells known and few slots, so they need to take spells that are really useful when they work, and they don't care if most of those spells are crap much of the time, as long as one spell at each level is mildly useful in a range of situations they're golden since that's enough to use their paltry handful of slots.

Ganurath
2009-04-22, 11:45 AM
I think MCLW is a good choice for Elan. Why? Minions! He's got Charisma through the roof, and good standing with Azure City. It's not enough to swing battles or anything like that, but it's enough to stabilize minions, or party members who made a bad save against an area spell.

Doug Lampert
2009-04-22, 11:45 AM
Wait, wasn't that something about being able to cast 5th level spells, and this thing was that you need 15 INTELLIGENCE. And it's Elan.

(Whoops, multiply ninja'd)

He's a bard. He needs 15 Cha to cast 5th level spells, and it's Elan (it's worse than that, he needs 20 Cha to actually HAVE any slots at all to cast).

Tharianor
2009-04-22, 12:14 PM
Wow! V cutt[S]pwned in by Elan! This is the bottom! BOOM! Watch out for V flying debris shooting around! I would not be surprised if we had heard an off panel BOOM, meaning that V's ego has exploded in thousand little pieces!

[What I am saying is that V recently as been cut in during his/her speech by somebody, that V judges "intellectually inferior", so often that I see this as the last drop that makes the vase overflow (as we say in my language). I mean, of all the people that can cut in V Elan is the less plausible.
This is my view of the humor beind V's interrogative look.]

[On another hand, it] is good to see that Elan has grown, even if someone said that the spells he choseed aren't that good. I think that NP will come handy in the future that The Giant has planned.
After all don't question the Giant he knows that E[S]elan WILL NEED IT.

My 2 eurocents

Edit: The above content has been edited to express my real meaning.
Note to self: Don't use English terms widely used in a thread, only because they are widely used in the above mentioned thread; Especially if you don't fully understand completely the meaning of that specific term [pwned].

Rotipher
2009-04-22, 12:17 PM
On the other hand, we have Elan, who just bought several scrolls of NP, gave one of them to the cleric and ranger, and got something else.


Quibble: If Elan bought himself a bunch of NP scrolls, he couldn't give them to either Durkon or Belkar. His magic is arcane, theirs is divine, so they could only activate one of his scrolls with a UMD check. Fat chance for either succeeding, with their Charisma scores.

Silverraptor
2009-04-22, 12:18 PM
This was a nice breather right here. I felt a combination of chuckles and sadness when Elan said "Neutralize poison". Also, Durkon saying, "Don't look down" over and over was pretty funny. All in all though, another good comic.:smallsmile:

Liwen
2009-04-22, 12:43 PM
Elan is optimizing.....

*Brain melting down*

Either Dashing swordsman gives the *maturation* special ability, or he HAS raised his intelligence score. Either way, I like the new "smarter and thinking ahead" Elan. Also this was probably the first comic in a while that wasn't mostly focused on Vaarsuvius, which is a nice change of pace.

Damn it feels good to have them back together.

Also, the wind walk panel was probably more suitable for the punchline. Belkar's punchline was more cruel than funny. I think it's the first time Rich made a punchline that I didn't enjoyed...

Armageddon comes, run for ye lives!

Mirrinus
2009-04-22, 01:08 PM
So many more reasons as to why Elan is my favorite character...

Also, I wonder how long V plans to keep that up.

Scarlet Knight
2009-04-22, 01:44 PM
I think V's bitter and irritated enough to start randomly disintegrating passers-by, but hopefully messing with Elan and Haley is still beneath him.

I can see V having a fit of evil & blurting out: "I'VE been trying to find you! But him? He's been having moonlight meetings ( & probably "oral") with a girl ninja!"

If Haley's self-doubt comes forward, she may believe that she isn't good enough for Elan & that everyone she loves leaves her. That would "up" the drama considerably.

DoctorJest
2009-04-22, 01:49 PM
Okay, so... bards get 5th level spells at level 13... if they have enough Charisma to get bonus spells.... which I suspect Elan has in spades.

Yes, in fact Elan has an 18 Charisma
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0028.html

Twilight Jack
2009-04-22, 02:05 PM
Yes, in fact Elan has an 18 Charisma
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0028.html

And that was LEVELS ago. In fact, we know he has at least a 20 now, due to having picked up two 5th level spells and one 4th upon hitting his latest level. The only way that happens is if he qualifies for a 5th level bonus spell, which requires the 20 CHA.

DSCrankshaw
2009-04-22, 02:23 PM
Quibble: If Elan bought himself a bunch of NP scrolls, he couldn't give them to either Durkon or Belkar. His magic is arcane, theirs is divine, so they could only activate one of his scrolls with a UMD check. Fat chance for either succeeding, with their Charisma scores.
It's worse than that. Arcane scrolls of Neutralize Poison are almost impossible to find. Bards are the only class who can make them (they're the only arcane class who can cast it), few bards take Scribe Scroll, and even fewer take Neutralize Poison. Add that up, and chances are you won't see an Arcane scroll of Neutralize Poison outside of the most complete magical stores in the planes--maybe one of which will be in the mortal world.

Now, if Elan had trained up Use Magic Device, then he could use a cleric scroll of Neutralize Poison, but he would have had to max that skill (putting way more points into it than he could have with just the last couple of level ups--and we haven't had any evidence that Elan had any ranks in that skill earlier). It'd take two checks, one with DC 28 (to fake the Wisdom--there's no way Elan has a 13 Wisdom), the other DC 25 to actually use the scroll. If he had maxed the skill, he'd have a 50% chance of making the first check, and a 65% chance of making the second, so we're looking at a 32% chance overall that it would work when he tried it, and a 10% chance that he'd have to wait 24 hours before trying again. That's for the druid or ranger version of the spell, though, and since he wouldn't have ready access to that version (there don't seem to be too many rangers or druids among the Azurites), he'd probably have to take the cleric version, which would be DC 29 for ability and DC 27 for casting, respectively.

So a scroll is out. The smart thing to do would be to get a potion of Neutralize Poison. Of course, the only version of that is the ranger or druid version, so, again, it'd be pretty hard to find on a ship surrounded by divine characters.

Anyway, I liked Durkon's smile when Elan cast MCLW. He looked happy to see his friend becoming more effective. One thing I like about MCLW is that it does more than heal. You can also use it to damage undead. If your party's battling a bunch of zombies (which are pretty darn common in this comic, since three of the main bad guys are all about undead), you lay it down and heal your allies while damaging your enemies. It's not a lot of damage, 17.5 on average, but that's the same as a fireball cast by a 5th level wizard, and he's not healing his allies while he does it.

And, yep, I figure Elan's at at least 20 Cha by now. Since the beginning was right around level 7, Elan's had at least two attribute increases to spend, and I wouldn't expect him to be putting it in something besides Charisma.

Ikialev
2009-04-22, 02:45 PM
*facepalm* That's for wizards. Elan is a bard.

Hey man, I didn't know. ;< Can't they use same rules, if it's both arcane magic?

Selene
2009-04-22, 02:45 PM
"Wooooooooooo!" LOL.



"Some girl really, really wanted me but I shot her down because of how much I love you"

Not seeing how that would do anything other than woo Haley even further.

Especially once he adds in "and after I shot her down, her dying words were that she didn't want to be resurrected if she couldn't have me. So we didn't bother to try and resurrect her."



No one here seems to consider that Elan may not have taken neutralize poison because of his fondness of Therkla, but because he could not live with the thought that Haley might meet similar fate. So it's not nostalgia, but his love for Haley that made him take that spell.

That's what I was thinking.
:elan: "Not being able to neutralize poison is never going to happen to me again! What if that had been Haley?!" :smalleek:

Aaron
2009-04-22, 02:56 PM
... a bit of simple math:

Let's say Elan has three casts of 4th level spell per day. That's about ~1115 castings per year. Now, he, during a year we seen in OotS came upon a situation needing NP twice. Thus, by not getting another spell, he wasted 1113 spell slots!

On the other hand, we have Elan, who just bought several scrolls of NP, gave one of them to the cleric and ranger, and got something else. This Elan has thousands of powerful spell uses he is capable of unleshing. Even if he needed NP more often, like, say, a hundred times, it doesn't hange that he boldly wasted 95% of that potential by getting NP, and another 50-75% (because MCLW can be used/useful sometimes, but hardly always, especially at their level) by getting MCLW.

Even another illusion spell that you seem to abhor would see far greater mileage, especially in the hands of creative caster.

If you have an intelligent spontaneous caster, he should always take something he can cast at least once per day, like teleport or invisibility. I'm well aware that Elan is dumb enough to take something useless, especially with his twisted genre-savvynes, but praising him for it is stretching it harder than, say, hulk/juggernaut/tarrasque hypothetical offspring can. :smallsigh:

Yeah, no waste whatsoever :smallsigh:

I have to disagree. While Bards and Sorcorers have a good advantage with having spontaneous casting, their is a few drawbacks. One of them is that you can't use a scroll unless you can cast the spell in the first place. So a scroll of NP would be useless to Elan, unless he learns NP first.
As Elan has learned, their are important times when the cleric isn't around to heal someone. And MCLW will heal at least 14 hp per person (1d8 plus caster level. Witch for Elan is 13). Elan made a great spell selection.:smallbiggrin:
Also, bards can't learn teleport.

Mc. Lovin'
2009-04-22, 03:09 PM
Poor Durkon! The first thing hayley says to him is "Heal me", no like, "Nice to see your" or whatever

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 03:09 PM
At the risk of sounding too critical and obsessed with semantics, I think learning and being influenced from ones past is different from a rule that states: to create or obtain something, an equal amount must be given up.

To learn about death and the dangers of adventuring, Elan had to lose a friend.


But I do wonder what the gamers have to say about Elan's spell choices. :smallconfused:

There's an entire discussion on this topic, as I see. Well, here's my take (short short version).

Bards are a weak class from the start. Their spellcasting is particularly weak, with very slow spell progression and a small number of spells known/per day. Minding this, I prefer bards focusing on their strength - enchantment spells and abilities, augmented by illusions and Bluff + Diplomacy skills. By carefully choosing spells that help their core abilities, a Bard can actually be a useful member of the party.

The way to kill a Bard, IMHO, is over-stretching. Bards were conceived as Jack-of-all-trades, masters of none. But in DnD, this does not work. If you're not a master of anything, you will always be eclipsed by other party members. You will be reduced to picking the scraps from the table of more powerful characters, who do their schticks far more effectively than you. This can have the dire consequence of the Bard being reduced to utter uselessness: his offensive abilities can't keep up against tougher enemies, and his defense/support is severely lacking compared to the more focused characters.

Taking healing spells is a prime example of killing a Bard. Because of his severe limit on spells known, in order to do something a cleric of half his level does better the Bard has to sacrifice spells that allow valid, effective strategies. It's shooting yourself in the foot, pure and simple.

There is absolutely no reason for bards to take healing. If you want more healing, let the Cleric take Craft Wand, or Craft Wondrous Item, and make wands/items with various Cure/anti-poison/anti-disease spells. Or, let the Bard take a crafting feat, buy a scroll, and make a wand or a command-word item for the spell he likes. Since these spells are on the Bard's spell list, he can use wands and scrolls without any problems. This way, for a handful of coins your Bard would be a much more potent healer than if he wasted precious spells. And let him take spell chains that will actually make him useful.

Actually, if you're so keen on healing & other divine/arcane spells, make your melee guys take a level in Cleric with the Magic domain. Now they can use basically any wand. Add a wand chamber to their preferred weapon, insert wand of Wraithstrike, and see their happy faces when they suddenly get +30 to hit vs. that nasty dragon.

So, though I understand Elan's character development, and sympathise with him, unfortunately he's still as inefficient as ever mechanic-wise. Character-wise, though, he's definitely matured. I guess he'll show us some tough action in the future battles.

DarkEternal
2009-04-22, 03:14 PM
Honestly, Durkon is the character that needs to change the least of all of them. Aside for his dwarven traits(dislike of humans, overly loyal to the clan...alright, dislike of trees is a bit of a stretch, but still) he's the most "normal" of all the characters. We all knew Roy's a d*ck, Elan's the retard, Haley is as greedy as they come, Belkar is a homicidal machine and V is also a d*ck of the highest pompous/pretentious order, they all needed to "grow" as is right and proper in a good story telling perspective, and they did. Aside for his racial ones Durkon has little to change for, though of course that does not mean he can't grow more as a character, which he should since as a dwarf he already opened his heart as much as possible to his team and hell, he'll continue to do that.

Also, the "still unstilyishly bearded" is one of the best sentences I read in this comic.

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 03:24 PM
At the risk of sounding too critical and obsessed with semantics, I think learning and being influenced from ones past is different from a rule that states: to create or obtain something, an equal amount must be given up.

To learn about death and the dangers of adventuring, Elan had to lose a friend.


But I do wonder what the gamers have to say about Elan's spell choices. :smallconfused:

There's an entire discussion on this topic, as I see. Well, here's my take (short short version).

Bards are a weak class from the start. Their spellcasting is particularly weak, with very slow spell progression and a small number of spells known/per day. Minding this, I prefer bards focusing on their strength - enchantment spells and abilities, augmented by illusions and Bluff + Diplomacy skills. By carefully choosing spells that help their core abilities, a Bard can actually be a useful member of the party.

The way to kill a Bard, IMHO, is over-stretching. Bards were conceived as Jack-of-all-trades, masters of none. But in DnD, this does not work. If you're not a master of anything, you will always be eclipsed by other party members. You will be reduced to picking the scraps from the table of more powerful characters, who do their schticks far more effectively than you. This can have the dire consequence of the Bard being reduced to utter uselessness: his offensive abilities can't keep up against tougher enemies, and his defense/support is severely lacking compared to the more focused characters.

Taking healing spells is a prime example of killing a Bard. Because of his severe limit on spells known, in order to do something a cleric of half his level does better the Bard has to sacrifice spells that allow valid, effective strategies. It's shooting yourself in the foot, pure and simple.

There is absolutely no reason for bards to take healing. If you want more healing, let the Cleric take Craft Wand, or Craft Wondrous Item, and make wands/items with various Cure/anti-poison/anti-disease spells. Or, let the Bard take a crafting feat, buy a scroll, and make a wand or a command-word item for the spell he likes. Since these spells are on the Bard's spell list, he can use wands and scrolls without any problems. (DMG on wands: "anyone with a spell on his or her spell list knows how to use a spell trigger item that stores that spell. (This is the case even for a character who can’t actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin.)") Use the wand or command-word item to cast the spell to make more wands/items.

This way, for a handful of coins your Bard would be a much more potent healer than if he wasted precious spells. And let him take spell chains that will actually make him useful.

___________sidetrack


Arcane scrolls of Neutralize Poison are almost impossible to find. Bards are the only class who can make them (they're the only arcane class who can cast it), few bards take Scribe Scroll, and even fewer take Neutralize Poison. Add that up, and chances are you won't see an Arcane scroll of Neutralize Poison outside of the most complete magical stores in the planes--maybe one of which will be in the mortal world.

If you're going to get real world economics into play, consider this. It's a total waste for bards to take healing spells; but it is useful for parties to have several characters with access to various heals. Therefore, a bard with healing spells and Scribe Scroll could make a fortune selling these Arcane healing scrolls. Since bards are so wily and worldly, some of them would definitely pursue the easy money and set up stores selling such items, or making them on request.

Actually, if you're so keen on healing & other divine/arcane spells, make your melee guys take a level in Cleric with the Magic domain. Now they can use basically any wand. Add a wand chamber to their preferred weapon, insert wand of Wraithstrike, and see their happy faces when they suddenly get +30 to hit vs. that nasty dragon.

__________/sidetrack


So, though I understand Elan's character development, and sympathise with him, unfortunately he's still as inefficient as ever mechanic-wise. Character-wise, however, he's definitely matured. I guess he'll show us some tough action in the future battles.

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 03:28 PM
We all knew Roy's a d*ck, Elan's the retard, Haley is as greedy as they come, Belkar is a homicidal machine and V is also a d*ck of the highest pompous/pretentious order

Speak for yourself, mate.

Haley is after money for a reason.

Belkar is still a homicidal machine.

And seriously, both Roy and V qualified as
d*ck ? Do you have some sort of prejudice against intelligent people?

nysisobli
2009-04-22, 03:30 PM
... a bit of simple math:

Let's say Elan has three casts of 4th level spell per day. That's about ~1115 castings per year. Now, he, during a year we seen in OotS came upon a situation needing NP twice. Thus, by not getting another spell, he wasted 1113 spell slots!

On the other hand, we have Elan, who just bought several scrolls of NP, gave one of them to the cleric and ranger, and got something else. This Elan has thousands of powerful spell uses he is capable of unleshing. Even if he needed NP more often, like, say, a hundred times, it doesn't hange that he boldly wasted 95% of that potential by getting NP, and another 50-75% (because MCLW can be used/useful sometimes, but hardly always, especially at their level) by getting MCLW.

Even another illusion spell that you seem to abhor would see far greater mileage, especially in the hands of creative caster.

If you have an intelligent spontaneous caster, he should always take something he can cast at least once per day, like teleport or invisibility. I'm well aware that Elan is dumb enough to take something useless, especially with his twisted genre-savvynes, but praising him for it is stretching it harder than, say, hulk/juggernaut/tarrasque hypothetical offspring can. :smallsigh:

Yeah, no waste whatsoever :smallsigh:

Wow, you need to realize that Elan is doing as his character would do, not as a player playing his character would do, its called roleplaying not lets make the most op character we can and ruin the fun for the rest of the group, why metagame, it ruins the fun and unbalances the story, and if i recall don't bards spontaneously cast? So how is he wasting a spell, when he can cast a different spell in its place, so I see neutralize poison as a very strong decision.

AyuVince
2009-04-22, 03:30 PM
Nothing shows responsibility and caring for loved ones like turning into a healbot. Elan, we're proud of you :smallsmile:

DarkEternal
2009-04-22, 03:33 PM
Speak for yourself, mate.

Haley is after money for a reason.

Belkar is still a homicidal machine.

And seriously, if smart people regularly come off as "d-ks" to you, well, maybe the problem's in you?



Oh no, I love that about them, but it's their story purpose. Of course there are ulterior motives, I didn't go into that, but the way they were portrayed is just like that. Douches. I still love every single one of them.

nysisobli
2009-04-22, 03:37 PM
... a bit of simple math:

Let's say Elan has three casts of 4th level spell per day. That's about ~1115 castings per year. Now, he, during a year we seen in OotS came upon a situation needing NP twice. Thus, by not getting another spell, he wasted 1113 spell slots!

On the other hand, we have Elan, who just bought several scrolls of NP, gave one of them to the cleric and ranger, and got something else. This Elan has thousands of powerful spell uses he is capable of unleshing. Even if he needed NP more often, like, say, a hundred times, it doesn't hange that he boldly wasted 95% of that potential by getting NP, and another 50-75% (because MCLW can be used/useful sometimes, but hardly always, especially at their level) by getting MCLW.

Even another illusion spell that you seem to abhor would see far greater mileage, especially in the hands of creative caster.

If you have an intelligent spontaneous caster, he should always take something he can cast at least once per day, like teleport or invisibility. I'm well aware that Elan is dumb enough to take something useless, especially with his twisted genre-savvynes, but praising him for it is stretching it harder than, say, hulk/juggernaut/tarrasque hypothetical offspring can. :smallsigh:

Yeah, no waste whatsoever :smallsigh:

Wow, you need to realize that Elan is doing as his character would do, not as a player playing his character would do, its called roleplaying not lets make the most op character we can and ruin the fun for the rest of the group, why metagame, it ruins the fun and unbalances the story, and if i recall don't bards spontaneously cast? So how is he wasting a spell, when he can cast a different spell in its place, so I see neutralize poison as a very strong decision.

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 03:40 PM
the way they were portrayed is just like that. Douches.

Just because someone's smart and not shy about it makes him a douche? Can't see why. Particularly Roy, who's a good guy/reliable friend through and through. And V's good nature has been highlighted several times in the comic.

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 03:46 PM
Wow, you need to realize that Elan is doing as his character would do, not as a player playing his character would do, its called roleplaying not lets make the most op character we can and ruin the fun for the rest of the group, why metagame, it ruins the fun and unbalances the story

It's just as stupid a choice to make for the character as for the player. It's not metagaming in any way.

And I don't think anyone was attacking Elan's roleplaying here. Yes, it was a dumb move. Yes, it was completely in character for Elan, considering his nature and his experience with Therkla.


and if i recall don't bards spontaneously cast? So how is he wasting a spell, when he can cast a different spell in its place, so I see neutralize poison as a very strong decision.

Now recall how many spells known bards get. And how fast their spell levels progress. And what alternatives to healing spells do they have.

In short: complete waste. Make/buy a wand, and be done with it.

nysisobli
2009-04-22, 03:53 PM
How many wands have we seen in oots? Im not saying its not the smarter move, but im saying that it was in character, and it will have use at a later date i guarantee it, so whenever we have Haley dieing because of poison, everyone will be like yep dumb move elan, im not saying there aren't smarter moves, but if the spell was put in a book it has a purpose no spell is a "waste"

David Argall
2009-04-22, 03:58 PM
As for MCLW, it was a fabulous choice. The Order had no secondary healer until now. Having one makes lots of tactical sense.
The duty of the secondary healer is to keep the primary healer on his feet. If Elan keeps Durkon healing, he is doing much more than trying to heal himself. So MCLW is pretty much a waste, particularly since Durkon can convert any of his 5th level spells into MCLW at need.
Now NP is a better choice for just that reason. Durkon has a great Fort save and he won't need rescue from poison often, but that one time would be a real disaster. Cure Critical would also be useful here since Durkon can be expected to take a fair amount of damage and needs again to stay on his feet.



Wow! V pwned by Elan!
How? V is pretty much just an onlooker during this strip and shows no sign of finding Elan's actions objectionable.
If and when Elan one-ups V, we can expect a quite visible and vocal reaction by V.


After all don't question the Giant he knows that Eelan WILL NEED IT.
Quite the contrary. Elan would need the spell only if he didn't have it. This is a standard rule of life and drama. Now if Elan was going to need it, the spell would not get mentioned now, but instead would first be mentioned when Elan used it [and then some pointed questions about Therkla might well follow].



Applied to a party of 6 that's just been hit by an area effect, MCLW is 6d8+78 HP recovered + an attack for 1d8+13 damage (fort save for half)
And a cleric with Augment Healing [CD] beats that by 60+ hp, and there are other tricks a cleric might use that a bard can't or won't. And the cleric can cast it way more often.



Nah, they've been apart for a year or so, but they went to the oracle more than three months after they separated. If you work backwards from this moment he's probably got at least six months left, maybe more.
You seem to be misreading the Oracle's comment. He said "...within the year.", not within a year. And while we are not certain, the most likely calendar is the Southern one, by which it is now at least October, if not December. So Belkar dies by December 31, and that can be days [not months or even weeks], or even hours, away.

Saint Nil
2009-04-22, 03:58 PM
The true test of Elans maturity-how he tells Haley.

Dagren
2009-04-22, 04:00 PM
Hey man, I didn't know. ;< Can't they use same rules, if it's both arcane magic?Hey, if you're going to start trying to correct people on the rules, you should at least check what those rules are, and not be surprised if someone calls you on getting it wrong. Sorcerers also use arcane magic, but they don't use Int either. It depends on the class.

Quite the contrary. Elan would need the spell only if he didn't have it. This is a standard rule of life and drama. Now if Elan was going to need it, the spell would not get mentioned now, but instead would first be mentioned when Elan used it [and then some pointed questions about Therkla might well follow].I take it you've never heard of foreshadowing then, huh? And what's this nonsense about only needing things you don't have?

Forealms
2009-04-22, 04:08 PM
Belkar = Awesome

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 04:09 PM
This Elan discussion made me realise something.

I have always been very supportive of the comic, praising the author's ingenuity. However, looking at the latest installment, I felt a nagging feeling take form and manifest strongly. Elan is portrayed as becoming more efficient and a better planner (Haley's comment). But what he really did was make a dumb move that gimps his already weak character even further. I mean, unoptimised is one thing; but calling a complete waste good planning is something else entirely. I can't help but feel disappointment. Is this the level of the game that is played in OoTS? If so, well... kinda sad.

When I was looking at the Wind Walk panel, I caught myself feeling surprised that Durkon actually remembered to use the spell. I half expected them to take a boat and then ride or even walk all the way to Greysky.

It's not that I have high expectations for the level of gameplay in this comic. It's just a parody, even though it got markedly more serious lately. But... it's a pity that the characters have such low standards of efficiency. I think this state of affairs has started to have a detrimental effect on this particular reader.

On second thought, perhaps I'm being too grumpy. Go Elan.

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 04:14 PM
How many wands have we seen in oots?

We've seen potions, and scrolls, so why not wands? It's like saying red dragons don't exist because we've only seen black and white dragons so far.

Wands are part of the ruleset, they're SRD, they're Core, why would they be out of OoTS?

Cthclain
2009-04-22, 04:16 PM
Nice to see the group reassemble once more. Soon Roy will be back, and the quest will resume.


and it was rather sweet to see Elan take Neutralize Poison. Not the smartest decision, but a fitting one for him.

nysisobli
2009-04-22, 04:25 PM
The characters are fun rather broken or optimized, we can't just enjoy something because its fun to read now =) awesome thanks for opening my eyes.

Undead Prince
2009-04-22, 04:27 PM
So Belkar dies by December 31, and that can be days [not months or even weeks], or even hours, away.

I don't see an issue with Belkar dying. He can just be raised/resurrected. As for the level loss, he was drained by a wight once, and got only mildly annoyed.

....on second thought, considering how long it takes to get a character resurrected in this comic....

nysisobli
2009-04-22, 04:32 PM
just because somethings core doesn't mean its always in a campaign world, ive played human only campaigns ive also played campaigns that don't allow monks, as for your attitude about the comic, don't read it if you don't enjoy it, all i see is you complaining about one thing or another. Also if you read the stuff on the sight under gaming you would realize this campaign setting probably isn't another cookie cutter campaign setting, he tends to like originality.

derfenrirwolv
2009-04-22, 04:46 PM
Originaly posted by Aaron I have to disagree. While Bards and Sorcorers have a good advantage with having spontaneous casting, their is a few drawbacks. One of them is that you can't use a scroll unless you can cast the spell in the first place. So a scroll of NP would be useless to Elan, unless he learns NP first.


This is incorrect. In order to cast a scroll without using use magic device

* The spell must be of the correct type (arcane or divine). Arcane spellcasters (wizards, sorcerers, and bards) can only use scrolls containing arcane spells, and divine spellcasters (clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) can only use scrolls containing divine spells. (The type of scroll a character creates is also determined by his or her class.)

* The user must have the spell on his or her class list

* The user must have the requisite ability score.


Neutralize poison is always on the bard class list, regardless of whether or not a particular bard knows it or not.




As Elan has learned, their are important times when the cleric isn't around to heal someone. And MCLW will heal at least 14 hp per person (1d8 plus caster level. Witch for Elan is 13). Elan made a great spell selection.

Meh. Break enchantment would have been better. G. Dispel is a good choice, as its something that a real caster may run out of and someone may want to actually cast ad nauseum. Mass suggestion is insane if someone knows how to use it.

Bards SHOULD have a healing spell at some point. You never know when somethings going to seriously hurt the cleric.

I was going to bash the wisdom of taking mass clw... but now i'm not so sure. It heals almost as much as cure critical for a bard, and it can effectively be cast at range, in case you can't get to the cleric who needs it.




Also, bards can't learn teleport.

Dimension door is REALLY handy for getting out of a jam

RebelRogue
2009-04-22, 04:52 PM
So now people whine about Belkar choosing Neutralize Poison? And back when Therkla died people whined about him not having chosen it! Make up your minds! :smalltongue:

Really, as for the discussion of optimization, you've all got to remember that OotS is based on the standard roles and tropes of D&D, not the way a lot of optimizers seem to consider the "right" way of 3.5 play these days: Wizards are blasters, clerics don't cheese out using Divine Persist, fighter is a good class choice, etc. Personally, I prefer this old school D&D mindset (both in the comic and when playing, but that's personal preference). Somehow it just has more "soul" (all IMO)!

As for what happens next, am I the only one worried that the following will happen?
Roy is resurrected, OotS in reuinted, everyone is happy. Then we shift to Team Evil's perspective to see what they've been up to during the last book's time. And it's not something pretty! With this gigantic cliffhanger the book will end!

WarriorTribble
2009-04-22, 04:54 PM
To learn about death and the dangers of adventuring, Elan had to lose a friend.First off, thanks for your (still relatively lengthy) analysis on Elan choice. :smallsmile:

Well, I guess you could interpret equivalent exchange that way, though I'd hesitate to quantify nebulous things like regret and knowledge.

Code Black
2009-04-22, 05:48 PM
If we see Haley's reaction to Therkla, I don't think she'll be overly jealous. The whole reason she didn't want to admit her feelings for Elan was a fear of trusting in someone, only for them to abandon her. After being forced at he's-going-to-hate-you-now-point to admit her feelings, I think she's grown more trusting, and thus is more likely to accept Elan's word that it was entirely one sided.

Agreed. Haley is an incredibly mature character, possibly the most mature member of the team right now (besides Durkon, who has always been the most mature, if not merely the wisest). I'm sure she can handle it.

silvadel
2009-04-22, 06:40 PM
Actually -- I think Elan at some time located a headband of intellect +4. It makes more sense than him spending actual stat points on int, and it is the kind of thing he could have blundered into over time.

David Argall
2009-04-22, 06:54 PM
I don't see an issue with Belkar dying. He can just be raised/resurrected. As for the level loss, he was drained by a wight once, and got only mildly annoyed.

"...last breath ever..." And see the other predictions that say the same sort of thing. If Belkar dies, he is not coming back.

The Blackbird
2009-04-22, 06:56 PM
"...last breath ever..." And see the other predictions that say the same sort of thing. If Belkar dies, he is not coming back.

Belkar would not want to come back, he would be kicking ass in the CE afterlife, fighting for eternity. The paradise of Belkar:smalltongue:.

ShadowDragoon
2009-04-22, 07:08 PM
"...last breath ever..." And see the other predictions that say the same sort of thing. If Belkar dies, he is not coming back.

Oh! OHH!! Duh duh DUH... Belkar is going to become UNDEAD! We all know that Giant isn't just going to write Belkar out of the comic.

Then again... if you're dead, is there a way to use some sort of planar-travel ability to return to the material plane as a corporeal ghost-type creature? Y'know, like a Shade or something similar? Maybe that'll happen to Belkar. Since he's dead, he won't be breathing...

The MunchKING
2009-04-22, 07:15 PM
I don't see an issue with Belkar dying. He can just be raised/resurrected.

"Belkar will breathe his last", et. all.

So while in theroy it would be possible, it ain't happening...

DSCrankshaw
2009-04-22, 07:42 PM
Now recall how many spells known bards get. And how fast their spell levels progress. And what alternatives to healing spells do they have.

In short: complete waste. Make/buy a wand, and be done with it.
Not to belabor the point, but a wand of that level costs 21,000 gp. I'm not sure how common they'd be on a fleet of refugees which is scraping together supplies as it is. Making it requires knowing the spell, having the feat, spending 840 XP, and paying half the price to purchase raw materials--which also may not be available. A PC at that level should have the wealth for it (14th and 15th level have 150,000 and 200,000 gp for their wealth level), but probably not in cash. They could sell off their magic items, but again, supply strapped ship, who has the cash to buy? So assuming the wand's available, and assuming that the owner's willing to accept anything you have to trade, you're basically bartering your permanently-on magic equipment for a wand with ten times the number of charges you'll likely needed in the course of the campaign. At this point, I question whether that's a better method to obtain it than adding it to your spells known.

If you were absolutely certain you needed the spell, and none of the cheap, equipment ways were readily available, then, yeah, adding it to your spells known makes sense. You can trade it out in a level if you manage to pick up a wand, scrolls, or potions. Granted, Elan is overvaluing the spell for emotional reasons, but I can't say I blame him. And there have been at least three poisonings in the campaign thus far (Roy, Elan, and Therkla).

Ridureyu
2009-04-22, 07:58 PM
This strip just proves that Elan, much like Roy, Durkon, and Celia, is Chaotic Evil, whereas Miko, Belkar, V, and Redcloak are Lawful Good.

Andre Fairchilde
2009-04-22, 08:04 PM
So what would happen if Durkon cast Exorcism on V?

Ridureyu
2009-04-22, 08:16 PM
So what would happen if Durkon cast Exorcism on V?

V would crab-walk on the ceiling, projectile vomit, and do inappropriate things with a cross.


...oh, wait. Wrong Exorcism.

Solara
2009-04-22, 09:50 PM
Why is it that I automatically read the title as "Be Prepaaaaared!" in Scar's voice from the Lion King? I haven't seen that movie in, like, a decade. Stupid early childhood overexposure, get out of my head already. :smallannoyed:

Hrairoo
2009-04-22, 09:53 PM
Funny you should mention that, I wondered if it might be something like that.

There's no reason why it can't be both. Elan lost someone important to him. It's only natural that he would want to honor than while preventing it from ever happening again.

The Blackbird
2009-04-22, 09:57 PM
Why is it that I automatically read the title as "Be Prepaaaaared!" in Scar's voice from the Lion King? I haven't seen that movie in, like, a decade. Stupid early childhood overexposure, get out of my head already. :smallannoyed:

Win:smallamused:.

Zea mays
2009-04-22, 10:16 PM
How? V is pretty much just an onlooker during this strip and shows no sign of finding Elan's actions objectionable.
If and when Elan one-ups V, we can expect a quite visible and vocal reaction by V.

Might it be a misinterpretation? When V says "I could use some restorative conjuration" most English speakers would guess he means he has some minor wounds and would like someone else (Durkon) to cast 'heal' on him.

However, someone less accustomed to the quirks of the English tongue could interpret the same sentence to mean "I too am capable of casting healing spells".

So... where did V go after Elan's healing spell? :smallconfused:

DrivinAllNight
2009-04-22, 10:30 PM
I must say, I am getting to like the two spliced guys, but then again, anyone who likes Belkar and compliments him on his zingers can't be all that bad :)

Rotipher
2009-04-22, 10:38 PM
Meh. Break enchantment would have been better.

Why would Elan need Break Enchantment? He's over 12th level, so he already gets Song of Freedom as a bardic music ability.

Trebuchet
2009-04-22, 10:55 PM
The duty of the secondary healer is to keep the primary healer on his feet. If Elan keeps Durkon healing, he is doing much more than trying to heal himself. So MCLW is pretty much a waste, particularly since Durkon can convert any of his 5th level spells into MCLW at need.

I don't see it as a waste at all. Elan's recent months were spent among many unleveled and low-level NPC's, and was a bodyguard. Lots of Azurites died when Xykon attacked, and probably a lot more died on the boats (from sharks and ninjas, at least). I bet many of those fatal wounds were fewer than 20 HP and a Mass Cure Light Wounds would have saved lives.

Durkon was around Elan, but they had to do without several other important party members, so maybe Elan doesn't assume Durkon will be by his side whenever someone needs healing. Elan is Chaotic Good. He wants to help, and while he certainly doesn't optimize everything, he has finally found some goals, some plans, and some actions he can take to advance those.

So I think MCLW was a fine choice. The arguments people have given in this thread for other spells have been excellent, and I admit they would be equally good or better. But for Elan, after his recent experiences, it fits.

RdMarquis
2009-04-22, 11:07 PM
Interesting bit of character development for Elan. On some level, I like that he's planning ahead, but I sure hope the impulsive Elan who gets into humorously dangerous situations is still around.

Belkar's line about Durkon's trapped chin was very funny too. Speaking of him, it's going to be difficult for V to live with two guys in his head who like Belkar.

Enlong
2009-04-22, 11:31 PM
Why is it that I automatically read the title as "Be Prepaaaaared!" in Scar's voice from the Lion King? I haven't seen that movie in, like, a decade. Stupid early childhood overexposure, get out of my head already. :smallannoyed:

I know it sounds sordid / but you'll be rewarded / when at last I am given my dues. / and in justice deliciously squared!

Be Prepaaaaaared!

Keshay
2009-04-22, 11:49 PM
I'm not exactly sure why anyone would think Neutralize Poison was a poor choice for a spell to take. I can only assume that they are carebears who never use poison in thier campaigns or play for weak-hearted DMs who likewise do not use poison.

In a given adventure, Neutralize Poison can easily serve to do any of the following:
1) Render a monster's poison harmless (You can cast the spell on the creature itself) Fighting a Purple Worm? No need to worry about that pesky Str damage, its been neutralized!
2) Worried that trapped chest might be poisoned? No problem.
3) Got Poisoned? No problem.

Oh and He's a semi-retraded BARD. Get over it.

It has plenty of uses. If the scope of the campaigns others have played has been restricted to simple powergaming and mastrubatory easy leveling, that I can see why NP might be seen as superfluous. Thankfully I've never had the bad fortune to play such a poorly designed game.

The MunchKING
2009-04-23, 12:43 AM
Oh and He's a semi-retraded BARD. Get over it.

SO what, they traded him to a different team and only got part of him back in a future trade, or what??

Enlong
2009-04-23, 01:18 AM
SO what, they traded him to a different team and only got part of him back in a future trade, or what??
http://www.instantrimshot.com/

KeiranHalcyon
2009-04-23, 03:48 AM
How many wands have we seen in oots?

At least one: Oracle. Wand of dismissal. Here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0572.html). (Oddly enough, the same comic where the Oracle goes on the record for Belkar's expiration date.)

TheNovak
2009-04-23, 04:33 AM
"Neutralize Poison" made me go "awww..."

And ditto what someone said back on the first page, about Durkon's vaguely disappointed expression in the second-to-last panel being awesome.

nysisobli
2009-04-23, 05:47 AM
Touche i guess we have seen one wand, my hats off to you good sir. But if we have only seen one, its still not to say they aren't incredibly rare.

RebelRogue
2009-04-23, 06:50 AM
This strip just proves that Elan, much like Roy, Durkon, and Celia, is Chaotic Evil, whereas Miko, Belkar, V, and Redcloak are Lawful Good.
The fact that Elan has just taken another bard level disproves this.

Edit: eer... I think I read that wrong

Kaytara
2009-04-23, 07:07 AM
Upon further reflection, I agree that V's line about restorative conjuration was supposed to mean that he was also in need of healing, rather than that he could cast healing spells.


Why is it that I automatically read the title as "Be Prepaaaaared!" in Scar's voice from the Lion King? I haven't seen that movie in, like, a decade. Stupid early childhood overexposure, get out of my head already. :smallannoyed:

So did I, heh. :D It left me with a very weird impression, since I couldn't imagine what a Lion King reference would be doing in the comic at this particular time.


[spoiler]This Elan discussion made me realise something.

I have always been very supportive of the comic, praising the author's ingenuity. However, looking at the latest installment, I felt a nagging feeling take form and manifest strongly. Elan is portrayed as becoming more efficient and a better planner (Haley's comment). But what he really did was make a dumb move that gimps his already weak character even further. I mean, unoptimised is one thing; but calling a complete waste good planning is something else entirely. I can't help but feel disappointment. Is this the level of the game that is played in OoTS? If so, well... kinda sad.

On second thought, perhaps I'm being too grumpy. Go Elan.

Hey, wait a minute. No one is doing that. Do you see anyone praising Elan? Haley says that it is very planned of him. She doesn't say that it is well planned. :smallamused:

DigoDragon
2009-04-23, 07:39 AM
The part Belkar said about Durkon's beard wanting to come out made me laugh.

Trixie
2009-04-23, 07:53 AM
I have to disagree. While Bards and Sorcorers have a good advantage with having spontaneous casting, their is a few drawbacks. One of them is that you can't use a scroll unless you can cast the spell in the first place. So a scroll of NP would be useless to Elan, unless he learns NP first.

Nope, they can cast all spells from their spell list, not from their spells known list.

And yes, they cannot learn teleport, but that just an example of spell useful on a daily basis. Take shadow conjuration - it's fishy, but if GM is lenient it can copy neutralize poison cast by ranger - so it has NP buid in, plus several dozen other spells. If GM isn't lenient, well, there are other good spells. :smalltongue:

Nekomata
2009-04-23, 10:03 AM
While getting "Neutralize Poison" is kind of cute... wouldn't it be better to pick the "Cure Critical Wounds" and carry a scroll of "Neutralize Poison" or a potion of antidote or something?

EDIT: After I posted I realized it is already being discussed, so NVM.

Gwynfrid
2009-04-23, 10:28 AM
For my first post, I'd like to thank the Giant for a great, great strip. I particularly like the small and big surprises in this one. The big one is of course Elan's planning. The small one is just as lovely: I expected some minor fun along the lines of guy-doesn't-notice-girldfriend's-new-hairdo. But that would have been lazy, and the Giant is not lazy. Instead, we get the exact opposite reaction from Elan, all neatly explained by his obsession for good storytelling. THAT is great storytelling detail from the Giant !

My 2 cents on the choice of spells: There is no questioning NP, it is 120% in character and perfect with the story. For MCLW, I think it is a much better choice than some other commenters view it:
- For Elan's caster level 13, MCLW heals on average 17.5 HP per party member, not so bad compared with CCW's average 31 HP for one person.
- Elan has been in many battles with significant numbers of NPC allies, where MCLW could save a lot of lives.
- MCLW heals at a distance, this can be a big deal if Durkon ever goes down in the middle of a melee.
- If the entire party takes serious damage, Durkon might need more than a spell to fix it. Helping him with healing can free him up to cast some other important spell in combat.

I agree wands, potions or scrolls could be good solutions. But they depend on the presence of NPC help or magic shops of some sort. In the OOTS world, these do not seem to be found on every corner. Anyway, Elan and Durkon didn't have that much free time for shopping recently.

with an e
2009-04-23, 10:49 AM
Take shadow conjuration - it's fishy, but if GM is lenient it can copy neutralize poison cast by ranger - so it has NP buid in, plus several dozen other spells. If GM isn't lenient, well, there are other good spells.
A DM can allow anything, so the fact that a DM can allow shadow conjuration to copy NP doesn't mean anything. It's not a ruling that's based on an interpretation of the rules; it's simply the DM changing the rule as he sees fit. Note the description of shadow conjuration (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shadowConjuration.htm):

Shadow conjuration can mimic any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) or conjuration (creation) spell of 3rd level or lower.
Neutralize poison (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/neutralizePoison.htm) falls under conjuration (healing) and is not a spell shadow conjuration can mimic.

Shadow evocation and Shades are different in that they do not specify any subschools, so it's possible to interpret the meaning to allow duplication of other spells like Sending and Teleport.

Nekomata
2009-04-23, 11:08 AM
Take shadow conjuration - it's fishy, but if GM is lenient it can copy neutralize poison cast by ranger - so it has NP buid in, plus several dozen other spells. If GM isn't lenient, well, there are other good spells. :smalltongue:
If GM is lenient enough you could use a knife to kill the poison in other's body.

Trixie
2009-04-23, 11:31 AM
Did I say anything about illusion spells?

You didn't, but others did. It was a general comment.


He didn't take Neutralize Poison so that he could use it every day, that's not what you take that spell for. He took it so that he always has it on hand because, as we know, poison is often unexpected and in immediate need of curing. The spell is for emergencies.

Potions and scrolls are for emergencies. Spells known are for frequent usage. So, a waste, unless Xykon gets an army of human-scorpions as his next army of minions.


Also: pop quiz; where exactly could Elan have bought any scrolls of Neutralize Poison? He was on a boat in the middle of the ocean, remember?

Yeah, it not like they have been to five huge cities (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0501.html), hundreds of islands with towns and settlements, and they obviously didn't fought hordes of mounters with PC appropriate loot :smallsigh:

derfenrirwolv
2009-04-23, 11:41 AM
The reason to get break enchantment as a spell rather than relying on the song of freedom is the song of freedom takes a minute to perform. Good if V is turned into a lizard, waaay too slow of Durkon gets petrified.

Shatteredtower
2009-04-23, 11:49 AM
Elan managed to upstage V in the magic department, sure, but he's now threatening to do it in a far more meaningful manner: by completely confiding in his mate. Any worry I might have about how Haley might react to his relationship with Therkla is put aside when I compare it to how things were handled with Samantha, the bandit leader.

In both cases, Elan managed to seduce a female villain, but it was a deliberate, physical act with Sam, while in Therkla's case he unwittingly won her heart. Sure, she'd have given him the rest of her body in a second, but by the end, she'd found a lot more to admire in him than just the physical.

Also, he was not oblivious to how Haley would feel about his actions with the latter. It's not just that he didn't realize that Haley was attracted to him. It was that it didn't seem to matter. His affect on women was just something he seemed to take for granted. (We see another example of that in the offhand way he appears to be accepting a room key from a woman at Azure City's New Year's festival. Never mind whether or not he actually paid her a visit. The real issue is that he's not shown to otherwise acknowledge her.)

This leads to the third most significant change in his behaviour between the two women. Samantha was treated as an objective, a goal every good bard should aspire to. Therkla was acknowledged as a person. (Again, V fares poorly when comparing their treatment of villains, including V's attitude toward Therkla.)

Next post will address Elan's spell selections. (Short version: very good choices.) This one's long enough as it is, and it will likely be a few hours before I get through again.

Porthos
2009-04-23, 12:03 PM
<rant>

Geez Louisez. If people ever wanted to know why some (and I stress some) people find CharOp players so frigging annoying, then this thread could serve as example No. 1.

Elan had a perfectly justifiable in-character reason to choose each of the spells he did based on prior experience. He knows that a spell like Mass Cure Light Wounds would have been invaluable in either the Battle for Azure CIty or at various times while he was stranded at sea (it's a good "heal a bunch of low-level allies" spell). He knows that one can NEVER have enuf Dispel Magics in a party. And he has been mentally scarred by the use of poison against people he cares about and is making sure that it will never happen around him again.

He is, dare I say, roleplaying his character perfectly.

And so what do we hear from a loud contingent? "Booo!!!! Poor choices, poor choices!!! Not el1te enuf!! Elan is teh suxxorz. :smallsigh: :smallsigh: :smallsigh:"

Seriously, people. Can you even hear yourselves here? First off, he's a frigging Bard, so I'm not exactly sure why people are even stressing out his choices, given their reputation on the Power Scale. :smalltongue:

Secondly, one of the basic points about OotS is that it's characters AREN'T in any way shape or form "optimized". They make personal decisions based on what has happened in their past and not on what would make a "strong" character. Roy-Playing-a-Fighter-of-High-Intelligence is Example #1 followed very closely by Belkar-Who-Is-Woefully-Unsuitable-Stat-Wise-For-Ranger (never mind not realizing half of his Class Features). This isn't exactly a new revelation here.

And yet they seem to be doing OK as an adventuring group. No, not perfectly (although from at least my personal gaming experience, every group has to suffer the Split The Party And Wait For Bad Things to Happen As a Result at least once in their character lives :smallwink:). But they are slowly but surely overcoming their obstacles and seem primed for the next stage of The Quest. Albeit with a few complications. :smalltongue:

And, really, isn't that the important thing?

So, no, these weren't the "best" choices for Elan to make. But in the end that's not what The Order of the Stick is all about, now is it? :smallsmile:
</rant>
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There, I feel better now. :smallbiggrin:

KeiranHalcyon
2009-04-23, 12:07 PM
Well said, Porthos. Bravo.


Yeah, it not like they have been to five huge cities (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0501.html), hundreds of islands with towns and settlements, and they obviously didn't fought hordes of mounters with PC appropriate loot :smallsigh:

All of which happened before Therkla's death.

One Skunk Todd
2009-04-23, 12:21 PM
I wonder if Roy can see/hear the other spirits interacting with and making suggestions to V.

arch
2009-04-23, 02:00 PM
What Porthos said.

Nice to see the group together again. :smallsmile:

Morgan Wick
2009-04-23, 02:21 PM
Hehe, "Still unstylishly bearded I see" is great! And the souls do like Belkar's sense humour.

So, Elan's getting more and more competent. Is that good? Well, probably.

Edit: The more I think about it, the more I think Elan taking Healing spells is a very good way to show that he matured. That he grasped the significance and danger of what they're supposed to do. So yes, it's good.

I think it could be foreshadowing/remembering Durkon's prophecy... the party would need someone else capable of healing after Durkon died... is Durkon all that long for this world?


I wonder if he will one day use it to save someone else he cares about and will say "This is for you Therkala"..

Elan's reaction to wind walk is perfect too, the child-like pure enjoyment of flying.
Hmm... Haley maybe? And I laughed inside at that panel too...

I would have suspected Roy would be raised in the background of the next strip, but there's no way Rich is going to rob us of Elan's reaction to uber-V, which would be something awfully important for something else important to be shoved to the background for it.

I really think V has at least one more teleport in her, or she would have lost a splice already.

The_Firenail
2009-04-23, 02:53 PM
<rant>{Edited for space}</rant>
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There, I feel better now. :smallbiggrin:

Alright Rick Mercer, we get it! (If you were Canadian, you would probably get that.)


Anyway, The Man's going on a streak! How many allusions do you see? For all I care, we can all see what's going to happen in the next strip. Especially since I also fell that Book IV is going to end. Because they practically got less than four hundred strips to save the world...

factotum
2009-04-23, 03:08 PM
I really think V has at least one more teleport in her, or she would have lost a splice already.

Not sure what teleporting has to do with losing a splice, but anyway, Teleport is only a 5th level spell--I'm pretty sure V could teleport around the place for the next ten minutes and still not be close to running out of them!

Shatteredtower
2009-04-23, 03:09 PM
Elan has been criticized for the spells he's chosen recently. His choices were all sensible ones. (Porthos summed this up better, but I'm posting this anyway.)

Therkla died and Roy had to become a woman because Elan didn't know neutralize poison. This isn't a matter of "preparing for his last battle." This is a matter of acknowledging the reality underlined by the trend: the cleric won't always be around when someone gets poisoned. Elan's chosen to make sure that's never a disaster while he's around. It's called taking responsibility.

Leaving that up to a scroll might sound good, but scrolls can be stolen or otherwise rendered useless at critical moments. Sure, so can Elan, but that wouldn't make the scroll any more useful. Besides, where are you going to find such a scroll if it's a dumb idea for bards to learn that spell? Relying on the idiocy of others to provide you with the things you need is a boneheaded idea. Believing that someone will make what you consider to be a poor decision because they can make money off of those who make "smarter" decisions indicates that you didn't put enough thought into matters. This sort of thing only works in game because of DMs that cater to such foolishness.

Remember that the spell can even be cast in advance, making the recipient immune to all poison effects for (in Elan's case) a little over two hours. Considering how things turned out for Therkla the last time Elan was face-to-face with a major villain, this spell is the sort of thing I can see him cast on Haley any time they're about to meet a major villain. Seeing as they're currently surrounded by a number of rogues that are probably carrying a grudge (especially the guildmaster and a prominent assassin) and the fact that the party's default leader is probably strapped for cash right now (what with the amount she owes the guild), it's unlikely they could afford the number of scrolls they might need to deal with attempts on her life or those of her companions.

Leaving it up to a lot of ranks in Use Magic Device so he can use divine scrolls for the purpose of casting this spell instead isn't that impressive an argument either, though it would probably impress Nale. He likes overly convoluted silliness. The reason shadow conjuration won't work as a substite has already been mentioned, but it also applies to greater shadow conjuration. (Shades may get an exemption, but the other two spells are specifically worded to limit themselves to conjurations from the [creation] and [summoning] subschools.)

Greater dispel magic has yet to win a battle for the party (it may even have contributed to Roy's death), but it did help tip things in their favour in the long run against the bandits. (The spell let Haley do enough harm to Sam to eventually allow her father to knock her out, setting him up to take the fall in Durkon's war against the trees.) If it's never useful for anything else, it will at least be a handy choice for someone whose evil twin is a fighter/rogue/sorcerer with a preference for enchantment spells. It is not the sort of spell you ever want to leave to a scroll for two reasons. First, there are times you won't be able to use a scroll, or want to. (You can avoid attacks of opportunity for spellcasting by casting defensively. You have no such recourse when it comes to retrieving stored items.) Second, you want the spell cast at the highest level available to you, not the lowest, as is typically the case for scrolls. It takes an 11th level wizard two and a half weeks to make this scroll. Getting a 20th level version takes a month. Assuming you'll find a community in which such high level spellcasters have nothing better to do than have such scrolls prepared for you takes hubris to ridiculous levels, even for people who know themselves to be the centre of the universe. The Order have come close to that in the past, but experiences have led to them taking it less and less for granted as time goes by.

Mass cure light wounds is often considered a weak 5th level spell, but . While many people will tell you that healing in battle is a waste of an action, any spell that can stabilize or revive your entire party long enough for another round of actions should not be dismissed out of hand. If it does that while also causing some injury to the campaign's BBEG and some of the nearby undead he or one of his subordinates (especially Tsukiko, though Xykon is fond of animating zombies as well) have created, so much the better.

Another reason such spells are good choices for Elan is because of how little magic he typically uses. He may as well make them the sort of spells he's rarely going to need, but need badly on those occasions. Think of it this way: since it would be a very desperate moment in which Elan was the party's last resort, shouldn't that last resort be well prepared (prepared, not equipped) for such moments? Besides, when you think about how badly magic dependency has played out for V, Elan's better off sticking to the last resort.

One more reason these are good spell choices: they show that Elan's a person, not some construct built to meet an arbitrary standard of success within a game. This makes him a far more interesting character than the sort you hear about when most D&D players relate their latest adventure to you. He's chosen options that can help him protect his friends, regardless of whether they'll make him more effective at fighting enemies. This comes as no surprise, since Elan has long been about bringing out the best in other people. He's often done a poor job of that, as with "Bluff, bluff, bluff the stupid ogre!" Sometimes it's unintentional: several of Roy's finest moments as a person have resulted from trying to protect Elan. With Therkla, it was a mixed blessing, but I'll take dying a better person over the living over what she was before that. He's most successful when it comes to Haley, but then she brings the best out in him as well.

The potion and scroll addiction normally experienced by "hyper-competent" D&D players tends to make for poor narration. Pulling such resources out at every critical moment can get a very deus ex machina feel to it unless you keep disrupting the story to show their purchase. (The occasional gun is fine, but Chekov's armoury gets to be tiresome very quickly.) It also can make the story more about the equipment than the character.

Now if this disconnect with how D&D is usually played is only starting to bother you, you really haven't paid attention to what you've been reading at all. D&D is seldom kind to fighters that rely exclusively on a single family heirloom in combat, for example. V has always been the sort of wizard most "expert" gamers loathe, almost entirely about the explosive spells. Belkar can't cast ranger spells, has no ranks in Survival, and uses daggers in combat. Miko was a paladin/monk whose feat selection included Two-Weapon Fighting and Track. The BBEG is way out of their weight class right now. They got involved in a war in which most of their time was spent fighting hordes of low-level hobgoblins. (Roy was the main exception, and look how that turned out.) The party has been split up for nearly a third of the story to date, with the spellcasters all in one group and everyone else in the other. (Belkar doesn't count as a caster because his Wisdom is too low.)

It's a good part of what makes them more interesting than a mechanics induced power fantasy.

Tharianor
2009-04-23, 03:12 PM
How? V is pretty much just an onlooker during this strip and shows no sign of finding Elan's actions objectionable.
If and when Elan one-ups V, we can expect a quite visible and vocal reaction by V.


Might it be a misinterpretation? When V says "I could use some restorative conjuration" most English speakers would guess he means he has some minor wounds and would like someone else (Durkon) to cast 'heal' on him.

However, someone less accustomed to the quirks of the English tongue could interpret the same sentence to mean "I too am capable of casting healing spells".


Upon further reflection, I agree that V's line about restorative conjuration was supposed to mean that he was also in need of healing, rather than that he could cast healing spells.

See my corrections for my aswer (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6023806&postcount=91)

Probably none of you will belive me now, but i will say this anyway:
At first I read V sentence multiple times because I wasn't sure about the meaning. At the and I decided that the meaning was that V expressed his/her need to be healed.
Then, and here is my error, I saw that all the poster, until all of you pointed the opposite, seemed to think that the meaning was the other. That V has expressed his ability to cure.
Thinking about this, I have aquestion. V proibition to use divine magic forbids him/her also to cure?



Quite the contrary. Elan would need the spell only if he didn't have it. This is a standard rule of life and drama. Now if Elan was going to need it, the spell would not get mentioned now, but instead would first be mentioned when Elan used it [and then some pointed questions about Therkla might well follow].



I take it you've never heard of foreshadowing then, huh? And what's this nonsense about only needing things you don't have?

Exactly what I had in mind.Thank you very much.:smallsmile:

David Argall
2009-04-23, 03:56 PM
There is no questioning NP, it is 120% in character and perfect with the story. For MCLW, I think it is a much better choice than some other commenters view it:
The spells fit the story well, but no, they are poor choices from the powergamer view. He should have stuck with bard powers.


- For Elan's caster level 13, MCLW heals on average 17.5 HP per party member, not so bad compared with CCW's average 31 HP for one person.
CCW is 4th level while MCLW is 5th. A 5th level version would average about 40 HP.


- Elan has been in many battles with significant numbers of NPC allies, where MCLW could save a lot of lives.
But Durkon is routinely with him, and Durkon can cast MCLW, or better cure spells a dozen times a day. By contrast there are several spells that only the bard can cast, or can cast better.


- MCLW heals at a distance, this can be a big deal if Durkon ever goes down in the middle of a melee.
Now while touch spells can be a problem this way, the bard can cast them out of combat and then move into melee to touch and apply them. So this is not going to be a major problem at all often.


- If the entire party takes serious damage, Durkon might need more than a spell to fix it. Helping him with healing can free him up to cast some other important spell in combat.
It can of course, but Durkon can hand out thousands of HP of cure in a day. If he can cast spells, he can take the entire party, including himself, from -9 to full health. If he is at all maxed out for healing [unlikely, but...] he can do that several times a day. Except for quite rare cases, Elan's additional help would barely be noticed.


I agree wands, potions or scrolls could be good solutions. But they depend on the presence of NPC help or magic shops of some sort. In the OOTS world, these do not seem to be found on every corner. Anyway, Elan and Durkon didn't have that much free time for shopping recently.
We have V visiting a magic shop in a small town [135], so the presence of such in Azure City and all the other cities visited was a given, even if we never see it. [3.5 was pretty much a magic store world where pretty much any magic item was available if you had the gold. So in general, the party should be carrying scrolls and potions for routine but rare dangers.]

Dagren
2009-04-23, 04:09 PM
A DM can allow anything, so the fact that a DM can allow shadow conjuration to copy NP doesn't mean anything. It's not a ruling that's based on an interpretation of the rules; it's simply the DM changing the rule as he sees fit. Note the description of shadow conjuration (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shadowConjuration.htm):.

Shadow conjuration can mimic any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) or conjuration (creation) spell of 3rd level or lower.

Neutralize poison (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/neutralizePoison.htm) falls under conjuration (healing) and is not a spell shadow conjuration can mimic.

Shadow evocation and Shades are different in that they do not specify any subschools, so it's possible to interpret the meaning to allow duplication of other spells like Sending and Teleport.Only if you insist on deliberately misinterpreting them. First off, you bolded the wrong part of that description. NP is not on the Sor/Wiz spell list, which is more important than the subschool. The same goes for Shades (which also says that it is similar to shadow conjuration). About Teleport and Sending, Sending would require Greater Shadow Evocation (Not to mention a 40% failure chance), and Teleport is neither Summoning or Creation. The shadow spells are versatile, to be sure, but not to that degree. (If they were, V would have been able to Teleport even without the soul splice)

snafu
2009-04-23, 04:36 PM
It left me with a very weird impression, since I couldn't imagine what a Lion King reference would be doing in the comic at this particular time.

Do you know, I still haven't seen The Lion King. It came out when I was just a little too old to be watching Disney movies, but far too young to be comfortable as a geek in watching the damn things anyway. So I missed out on that one; didn't get back till the Pixar era.

Which meant that the title of the comic instead triggered in my mind a glorious old Tom Lehrer song:


Be prepared! That's the boy scout's marching song
Be prepared! As through life you march along
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell!


It goes on in much the same vein. Mr Lehrer was clearly one who remembered what it meant to be a healthy young boy, and proceeds through verses about cigarettes both boring and interesting, betting, sisters, and girl scouts. Heartwarming stuff.

with an e
2009-04-23, 06:32 PM
Only if you insist on deliberately misinterpreting them. First off, you bolded the wrong part of that description. NP is not on the Sor/Wiz spell list, which is more important than the subschool.
No, I did not bold the wrong part of the description.

First, the phrase "any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) or conjuration (creation) spell" has two valid interpretations:

1. "any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) spell or any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (creation) spell"

2. "any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) spell or any conjuration (creation) spell"

Both interpretations are grammatically correct, but the second would allow shadow conjuration to mimic cleric only conjuration (creation) spells. Therefore, it is because NP is a conjuration (healing) spell that a DM cannot interpret the description to include NP. Therefore, one must bold the subschool. Therefore, you bolded the wrong part of the description.

Second, even if the second interpretation is invalid, the subschool stipulations still prohibit shadow conjuration from mimicking NP. Therefore, I did not bold the wrong part of the description.


The same goes for Shades (which also says that it is similar to shadow conjuration). About Teleport and Sending, Sending would require Greater Shadow Evocation (Not to mention a 40% failure chance), and Teleport is neither Summoning or Creation. The shadow spells are versatile, to be sure, but not to that degree. (If they were, V would have been able to Teleport even without the soul splice)
This is the description for shades (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shades.htm):

This spell functions like shadow conjuration, except that it mimics sorcerer and wizard conjuration spells of 8th level or lower.
There are exceptions to the ways in which shades is like shadow conjuration. The spells that it can mimic falls under the exceptions, and shades does not specify that the conjuration spell of level 8th or lower must be from the summoning or creation subschool. Shades is a level 9 spell, so Vaarsuvius would have needed a scroll to cast it before the soul splice. It is unlikely that he could have used it even if Rich interprets shades to allow it to duplicate Teleport or Greater Teleport.

theMycon
2009-04-23, 09:56 PM
One more, usually minor, but in this case plausible, point in favor of MCLW:
The two main villains love necromancy, but they have a lot of corpses and not much time.

Every battle involving them includes swarms of weak undead. You're basically guaranteed to dust 10 regular zombies with a MCLW- Saves V a fireball (as (s)he loves the blasting), or saves the melee folk a round apiece, and clears them a path to the relevant casters. It'll also do a bit of damage to better undead. B

And, hey, another 9 or 10 damage on Xykon never hurts. You never know when it could matter.

David Argall
2009-04-23, 10:32 PM
I take it you've never heard of foreshadowing then, huh?
Often enough to recognize this is not foreshadowing. We find a belt of sex change. The party deems it worthless and throws it away [but Elan secretly takes it]. That is foreshadowing. Belkar takes a level of barbarian. That is not. This is simply Elan gaining a new ability and the plot won't turn on that ability.



And what's this nonsense about only needing things you don't have?
The pessimist's prime survival rule. If you pack emergency rations, they won't be needed. But if you don't pack them, they will be. That first aid kit will stay unneeded, until you forget to bring it along. It's a very useful rule if you are dealing with optimists, who are not going to predict those emergencies.
In drama, the prepared man is dull. Give Elan Neutralize Poison and Therkla's dramatic death becomes a dull spell casting instead of high drama. Note the poisoning happens away from Durkon, who could have cured it easily.
So we can predict that Elan's new spells will be making few if any appearances in the plot. What will happen is something he is not prepared for.

Enlong
2009-04-24, 01:31 AM
The pessimist's prime survival rule. If you pack emergency rations, they won't be needed. But if you don't pack them, they will be. That first aid kit will stay unneeded, until you forget to bring it along. It's a very useful rule if you are dealing with optimists, who are not going to predict those emergencies.
In drama, the prepared man is dull. Give Elan Neutralize Poison and Therkla's dramatic death becomes a dull spell casting instead of high drama. Note the poisoning happens away from Durkon, who could have cured it easily.
So we can predict that Elan's new spells will be making few if any appearances in the plot. What will happen is something he is not prepared for.

Kinda like how V hasn't used Power Word: Blind since getting it? Though, frankly, I fully expected that spell to backfire on hir during the Azure City Battle, what with there being an Eye of Fear and Flame and all.

with an e
2009-04-24, 01:44 AM
A bard of lvl 13 knows 4 lvl 4 spells and 2 lvl 5 spells. A lvl 4 spell takes up 25% of his lvl 4 spells known, while a lvl 5 spell takes up 50%. A bard is not a wizard, who only spends a few hundred gp to buy a scroll and copy its contents to a spellbook. A bard gives up a significant fraction of his spells known for a particularly level to learn a spell of that level. To say that a bard should take a spell, it is insufficient to simply prove that the spell is useful; it is also necessary to successfully argue that the spell should be chosen over the other candidates.

Neutralize poison is only useful for a bard if he must cast it to immediately return a character into fighting condition, or he is using it offensively to neutralize a poisonous creature. Note that I left out the case where a character is dying of poison, no other character can cure or delay the poison in any way, and no other factor besides the poison makes the issue urgent.

The bard can use the lvl 4 spell shadow conjuration to duplicate the lvl 3 conjuration (creation) spell sepia snake sigil. SSS can then be used to put the poisoned character into suspended animation, which can save the character from poison until a neutralize poison is obtained from some source.

Let us examine the occasions where Elan could have used neutral poison and see what a roll-player who eschews the spell could have done.

1. Xykon's dungeon: It would have expedited the adventure by 8 hrs with no substitute.

2. Inn: He would not have been poisoned in the first place.
a. Use dimension door to get both Roy and himself out of the room.
b. Use greater invisibility to let both Roy and himself walk out.

3. Boat:
a. Use dimension door to get all four characters into Durkon's cabin. We then have three searchers and no distance to move when a scroll or potion is found as opposed to one searcher and some distance to run.
b. Use shadow conjuration and sss to suspend the patient, then wait until Durkon returns to the boat.

We see that the use for neutral poison for a bard is far narrower than simply "someone is poisoned, and the cleric isn't there." Elan's choice of NP is foolish from a powergaming point of view. It's simply a result of recent trauma.

deworde
2009-04-24, 02:00 AM
Why is it that I automatically read the title as "Be Prepaaaaared!" in Scar's voice from the Lion King? I haven't seen that movie in, like, a decade. Stupid early childhood overexposure, get out of my head already. :smallannoyed:


I know that your powers of retention
Are as wet as a warthog's backside,
But thick as you are, pay attention!
My words are a matter of pride...

SING ALONG!

Hawgh
2009-04-24, 02:18 AM
I know that your powers of retention
Are as wet as a warthog's backside,
But thick as you are, pay attention!
My words are a matter of pride...

SING ALONG!

....
It's clear from your vacant expressions
the lights are not all on upstairs
but we're talking kings and succesions
even You can't be caught unawares

...

I cannot stop reading the comic title as read by Scar

Enlong
2009-04-24, 02:23 AM
So prepare for the chance of a lifetime!
Prepare for sensational news!
A shining new era is tiptoeing nearer

And where do we feature?

Just listen to teacher.



I know it sounds sordid / but you'll be rewarded / when at last I am given my dues. / and in justice deliciously squared!

Be Prepaaaaaared!

factotum
2009-04-24, 02:25 AM
In drama, the prepared man is dull. Give Elan Neutralize Poison and Therkla's dramatic death becomes a dull spell casting instead of high drama. Note the poisoning happens away from Durkon, who could have cured it easily.
So we can predict that Elan's new spells will be making few if any appearances in the plot. What will happen is something he is not prepared for.

Or, as you point out yourself, what happens might be something he's prepared for, but he isn't present at the time! For instance, there would be plenty of drama to be had if Haley got poisoned while Elan was somewhere else and Durkon hadn't prepared Neutralize Poison, and they had a limited time to find him before she died.

Fish
2009-04-24, 02:48 AM
Elan's a bard.

Why is everybody assuming that he won't be able to correctly tell the story of Therkla?

David Argall
2009-04-24, 03:38 AM
Because telling it wrong has obvious plot bonus, while telling it right would likely be covered in a picture.

Underground
2009-04-24, 06:05 AM
I just cant believe how long V keeps this up.

Will you stop that now already !

Where is that Int 18 score when you need it ?

Dagren
2009-04-24, 06:12 AM
No, I did not bold the wrong part of the description.

First, the phrase "any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) or conjuration (creation) spell" has two valid interpretations:

1. "any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) spell or any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (creation) spell"

2. "any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning) spell or any conjuration (creation) spell"

Both interpretations are grammatically correct, but the second would allow shadow conjuration to mimic cleric only conjuration (creation) spells. Therefore, it is because NP is a conjuration (healing) spell that a DM cannot interpret the description to include NP. Therefore, one must bold the subschool. Therefore, you bolded the wrong part of the description.It is pretty obvious that the first interpretation is the correct one, and the phrasing used was simply for expediencies sake, not to allow the Wizard to access spells not on her list.


Second, even if the second interpretation is invalid, the subschool stipulations still prohibit shadow conjuration from mimicking NP. Therefore, I did not bold the wrong part of the description.Even if it was a summoning or creation spell, the fact that it is not on the Wizard list would still prohibit it. Hence the class list is as least as important, if not more so, than the subschool. Therefore it should be the part bolded.


There are exceptions to the ways in which shades is like shadow conjuration. The spells that it can mimic falls under the exceptions, and shades does not specify that the conjuration spell of level 8th or lower must be from the summoning or creation subschool. Shades is a level 9 spell, so Vaarsuvius would have needed a scroll to cast it before the soul splice. It is unlikely that he could have used it even if Rich interprets shades to allow it to duplicate Teleport or Greater Teleport.Hmm, on re-reading, I admit that I may have gone too far the other way in reading the descriptions, Shades does indeed seem to allow any Conjuration spell. As such, I should expect V to take it when she reaches 17th level.

Murdim
2009-04-24, 06:49 AM
Elan's a bard.

Why is everybody assuming that he won't be able to correctly tell the story of Therkla?Well... (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0421.html) Huh. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0238.html)

On the other hand, we could say these little "accidents" happened BEFORE he got a third neurona during the Kubota arc.

Rotipher
2009-04-24, 08:00 AM
Neutralize poison is only useful for a bard if he must cast it to immediately return a character into fighting condition, or he is using it offensively to neutralize a poisonous creature.

FWIW, we already know that there are poisonous monsters in the dungeon that guards the final Gate. We saw purple worms being installed there during the OotScribble crayon-interlude.

Aki
2009-04-24, 10:12 AM
But I do wonder what the gamers have to say about Elan's spell choices. :smallconfused:

Well, it's confused me. I play a 3.5e bard in one of the games I'm in with friends, and up until now my general rule in any situation has been "What wouldn't Elan do?" Now this is no longer as valid an option!

(No, really--Neutralize Poison was one of the first fourth-level spells I learned, specifically because of Elan and Therkla. And before anyone tells me it was stupid, it's potentially saved our party once, saved party members' lives more than once, and made everything much easier in some situations (like the time the ranger with a huge favored enemy bonus against elves got knocked unconscious by a poisoned crossbow bolt while we were fighting drow...). Then again, our DM likes giving us enemies with poisoned weapons or just plain poison; I don't know how relevant this would be in OOTS-world.)

And yes, bards do know very few spells--actually, since I switched to a prestige class at 11th level that doesn't allow me to continue progressing in caster levels of my previous class, those are the only fourth-level spells I know. And yes, there have been situations where I've been absolutely kicking myself that I didn't learn Dimension Door or Greater Invisibility.

But the thing about the Order is that they're not gamers with characters--they are the characters, and they really do have the emotional reactions to these things that they should. Sure, most players wouldn't have cared that an NPC died because they didn't know the spell to save the NPC, but most decent human beings would have, especially under those circumstances. And we know Elan's Good-aligned.

As for healing spells, sometimes the cleric's busy, incapacitated, or has better things to do with his turn.


Er, short version: this comic made me glee. Both because it makes so much sense from a character-driven perspective, and because Elan--

--wait, maybe I should be scared about my own spell choices. :smalleek:

with an e
2009-04-24, 11:13 AM
It is pretty obvious that the first interpretation is the correct one, and the phrasing used was simply for expediencies sake, not to allow the Wizard to access spells not on her list.
First, I will assume that the fact that you're not responding to the grammatical interpretation of the description implies an admission that the description can mean either. Therefore, the description does not unambiguously indicate that shadow conjuration can't mimic non-wizard/sorcerer conjuration (creation) spells. Therefore, if the class skill list were bolded, then the opponent can argue that the assumed interpretation is incorrect. The subschools stipulation unambiguously prevents SC from duplicating NP and is therefore the superior choice to highlight.

Second, SC already allows a bard to mimic non-bard spells. Why should it not allow mimicry of additional non-bard spells?


Even if it was a summoning or creation spell, the fact that it is not on the Wizard list would still prohibit it. Hence the class list is as least as important, if not more so, than the subschool. Therefore it should be the part bolded.
Which part is more important is irrelevant. In this case, both the subschool classification and the class spell list would prohibit shadow conjuration from mimicking neutralize poison. Therefore, bolding the subschool correctly highlights proof that SC can't mimic NP. Therefore, the bolded part is correct.


FWIW, we already know that there are poisonous monsters in the dungeon that guards the final Gate. We saw purple worms being installed there during the OotScribble crayon-interlude.
You forget the other requirement: The party cleric must be either not present or have no neutralize poison prepared. In fact, even with selective quoting, this requirement is built into the sentence, specifically: "Neutralize poison is only useful for a bard if he must cast it..." not "if it is needed."

Omegonthesane
2009-04-24, 11:22 AM
It is pretty obvious that the first interpretation is the correct one, and the phrasing used was simply for expediencies sake, not to allow the Wizard to access spells not on her list.

Even if it was a summoning or creation spell, the fact that it is not on the Wizard list would still prohibit it. Hence the class list is as least as important, if not more so, than the subschool. Therefore it should be the part bolded.

Am I the only one thinking this is a really stupid thing to be arguing about? You both agree about the important detail - V can't cast NP.

I honestly don't see what Conjuration - the art of creating and teleporting stuff - has to do with healing (sounds more like Evocation of positive energy or Necromancy applied to a living target to me) but hey, it's just another rules oddity. Which, by the way, is just waiting for a joke in OOTS or a similar comic.


You forget the other requirement: The party cleric must be either not present or have no neutralize poison prepared. In fact, even with selective quoting, this requirement is built into the sentence, specifically: "Neutralize poison is only useful for a bard if he must cast it..." not "if it is needed."

Neutralise Poison isn't the kind of spell you want to be preparing if you are the kind of caster who must sacrifice his more useful spells to cast it; Elan is simply better suited to use it than Durkon is. More to the point, if no one can cast Neutralise Poison and poison is used against the party, the results could be anything from a dead PC to a total party kill.

Besides, as has been pointed out, Bards get significantly more spells known than spells/day - perfect if you need routine-but-rare utilities. Basically, Cleric lives and dies by his spell slots, Bard doesn't.

motub
2009-04-24, 11:49 AM
Haley says that it is very planned of him. She doesn't say that it is well planned. :smallamused:
Agreed. I think the point is that he's trying, not so much that he's any good at such things as yet (why would he be? He's never had any practice at planning, and he's surely not a natural talent by any stretch of the imagination).

But practice makes perfect, and it is at least abundantly clear that he's attempting to utilize some amount of forethought (!) as to how he can actively participate as a (somewhat more) useful member of the cohesive unit that is the party-- bring a little order to his usual chaos, as it were.

His choices were perhaps not perfectly optimal, but they were pretty good considering that:

1. A bard doesn't really get very many really good spells anyway (so he's never going to be a powerhouse, but aiming for a stable and effective pinch-hitter isn't a bad idea);

2. The choice of Neutralize Poison-- and even Mass Cure Light Wounds, to some extent-- shows that he's been paying attention to what the party has experienced in the past (and therefore is likely to possibly experience in the future), and has identified skills that he could gain to assist in such situations, where he couldn't before, and gained said skills. That is HUGE for Elan, and indeed so huge that it hardly matters if he's guessed a bit wrong. You don't always need a pinch-hitter, and maybe Elan's newly-chosen spells won't be immediately useful. But sometimes you do need a pinch-hitter, and if Elan does need to suddenly and unexpectedly step up, he'll at least have something like possibly effective tools to hand. The fact that MCLW does double-duty is a bonus (Elan gets clever!); being able to distract/flank/coup-de-grace several undead who are hampering your party's forward progress is also not nothing.

3. Having a little spell like MCLW that he's likely to use a lot (for fill-in undead finishing, or for healing scratches, or saving lives if indeed a lot of NPCs become injured as in Azure City, where the cleric is busy keeping the "big guns" on their feet and doesn't have time or spell slots to use on the "little fish") will probably help Elan level up a bit faster than he has been, enabling him to learn to plan better (and get better "tools"-- spells-- faster).

All in all, I think the plus points outweigh the minus points of those choices perhaps not being the most optimal-- but I'm not even convinced that they aren't, under the circumstances. I can see how a number of situations might arise when the OotS is thanking their lucky stars that Elan has those spells.

And since that's just how it ought to be when you have a bard around (since they're not really good for anything else, meaning anything specific), I'm quite pleased with the outcome. I hope Haley is, too, when it's sunk in; she seemed kind of surprised (well, we all were, except Durkon), and not sure if she was happy with this development. I mean, how is she going to deal with a more mature Elan?

And what, oh what is V going to do? All that work, all that selling hir soul for Ultimate Arcane Power, and nobody even notices or cares that shi's disappeared in the middle of the happy reunion that shi was supposed to be the big star of.

Even the fact that such dismissal (probably) bodes (very) ill for the party as a whole (after all, V threatened the party with a Young Black Dragon, and that was when shi still liked them somewhat) doesn't carry enough emotional force to make me worry.... which is the saddest part of the whole thing.

Can't wait till Roy is resurrected and tells Durkon about the "subcontractors", and an explanation is demanded....

factotum
2009-04-24, 01:38 PM
You forget the other requirement: The party cleric must be either not present or have no neutralize poison prepared. In fact, even with selective quoting, this requirement is built into the sentence, specifically: "Neutralize poison is only useful for a bard if he must cast it..." not "if it is needed."

So, on the one hand you're saying it's useless to have Neutralize Poison, and on the other, you're saying the spell is so gol-darned useful that the party cleric might as well prepare it rather than all the other spells of that level? Which is it?

with an e
2009-04-24, 03:01 PM
Neutralise Poison isn't the kind of spell you want to be preparing if you are the kind of caster who must sacrifice his more useful spells to cast it; Elan is simply better suited to use it than Durkon is. More to the point, if no one can cast Neutralise Poison and poison is used against the party, the results could be anything from a dead PC to a total party kill.
It is ironic that you seized upon a poor choice of words on my part to make your argument then proceeded to commit a poor choice of words of your own. I have highlighted the two offending words in bold. You see, prepare implies using a spell slot to devote to the spell, while use implies casting it from any valid source. Durkon can carry a few scrolls of NP with very little penalty. As for Elan, there are two possibilities: 1. It is easy to get arcane scrolls of NP, in which case choosing the spell is a waste, because scrolls can be used as substitute. 2. It is difficult to get arcane scrolls of NP, in which case Elan is not as suitable as Durkon for using NP.

As far as "if no one can cast NP and poison is used against the party..." that can be said for any spells. You make the same fallacy as factotum.


So, on the one hand you're saying it's useless to have Neutralize Poison, and on the other, you're saying the spell is so gol-darned useful that the party cleric might as well prepare it rather than all the other spells of that level? Which is it?
I began explicitly by noting that it is not necessary to prove that NP is useless to consider it a poor choice for Elan. You incorrectly summarized my argument, so it is not necessary for me to answer that question.

Elan is not a wizard; he doesn't have a spellbook into which he can copy spells for a paltry cost. He gets, at his present level, 4 spells know. NP can't simply be useful for him on some occasion; it must also be among the most useful for him. Since we're talking about learning from past experience, the party has been poisoned 3 times. How many times did the party need to make a quick exit? A lot more than 3 times. Why didn't he learn dimension door instead? He obviously didn't know it, since DD would've been quite useful during the boat incident. Elan chose NP because of a recent traumatic incident, not because it's a good choice of a spell.

Shatteredtower
2009-04-24, 03:28 PM
Once again, neutralize poison will render the recipient completely immune to the effects of poisons for (in Elan's case) slightly more than two hours. The recipient does not need to be poisoned at the time of casting. To put it into terms power gamers might understand, this makes it a reasonably long lasting buff spell, the sort that could be useful while dealing with assassins (Crystal), purple worms (Kraagor's Tomb), or evil clerics (Redcloak) and mystic theurges that bear you a personal grudge (Tsukiko).

Greater invisibility does nothing to negate sound and Listen is a class skill for rogues, such as the two assassins that came for the King of Nowhere, who managed to poison Elan by throwing shuriken through a wall without seeing who they hit. One of them used explosives, and we've already seen how effective smoke is against invisibility spells back when Belkar set fire to a bandit's tent. So much for the idea that that spell would necessarily have worked better for them. Dimension door might have avoided that encounter, but was that really the ideal solution? Neither spell would have saved Therkla, so the suggestion of at least three alternatives for events that could have been covered by that one spell. Seems like a poor definition of powergaming -- but then, we're talking about the bard class here.

Honestly, powergamers don't seem to understand that Elan can go days without ever needing to cast a spell, even while he's adventuring. With that being the case, why should he take spells other than the ones most likely to save other lives when things are most dire? Better than run-away spells like dimension door when the party is too spread out.

with an e
2009-04-24, 04:04 PM
Greater invisibility does nothing to negate sound and Listen is a class skill for rogues, such as the two assassins that came for the King of Nowhere, [...] Dimension door might have avoided that encounter, but was that really the ideal solution? Neither spell would have saved Therkla, so the suggestion of at least three alternatives for events that could have been covered by that one spell.
We see that another source of noise affects listening checks (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0138.html), as it should. Since only Roy would need to be turned invisible--the bandits explicitly allowed others to escape (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0233.html) before Elan was poisoned--Elan can remain visible and provide the source of noise--for example chatting with the bandits or misdirecting them--while Roy escapes. Greater invisibility would certainly have helped more than neutral poison, whose only effect in the inn would have been allowing Roy to walk more slowly after changing into a woman--remember that they had no weapons whatsoever and were trapped by armed assassins. Dimension door would have worked in precisely the same way as Roy's turning into a woman, except without the poisoning, again certainly more useful than neutralize poison. I have already outlined how to use dimension door to help Therkla, but of course, that is predicated on the assumption that Therkla was poisoned in the first place. She was poisoned because she was distracted by attempting to rescue Elan, something he could have prevented by using DD to teleport out of the grasp of the samurai.

deworde
2009-04-24, 04:08 PM
I'd just like to thank Solara, Hawgh, Enlong, Tim Rice, Elton John and Jeremy Irons. For one, brief, shining moment, we got away from Rules Lawyering and broke into song. Cheers guys!

Gwynfrid
2009-04-24, 05:09 PM
The spells fit the story well, but no, they are poor choices from the powergamer view. He should have stuck with bard powers.


I defended his choices, but I did not say they were optimal, either. They don't have to be. He is not a powergamer, nor is the OOTS a powergaming group. Porthos made that point much more clearly than I ever could.

Trixie
2009-04-24, 05:11 PM
Elan has been criticized for the spells he's chosen recently. His choices were all sensible ones. (Porthos summed this up better, but I'm posting this anyway.)

All he did was to battle his personal strawman. We acknowledged that this choice was perfectly in character for Elan, our argument was about people thinking it was a good choice. Fighting a strawman won't convince anyone.


Therkla died and Roy had to become a woman because Elan didn't know neutralize poison. This isn't a matter of "preparing for his last battle." This is a matter of acknowledging the reality underlined by the trend: the cleric won't always be around when someone gets poisoned. Elan's chosen to make sure that's never a disaster while he's around. It's called taking responsibility.

It's like always carrying a fifty-pound sledgehammer with you at all times. Taking useless (or even less than optimal) tools isn't responsible, it's harmful.


Leaving that up to a scroll might sound good, but scrolls can be stolen or otherwise rendered useless at critical moments. Sure, so can Elan, but that wouldn't make the scroll any more useful. Besides, where are you going to find such a scroll if it's a dumb idea for bards to learn that spell? Relying on the idiocy of others to provide you with the things you need is a boneheaded idea. Believing that someone will make what you consider to be a poor decision because they can make money off of those who make "smarter" decisions indicates that you didn't put enough thought into matters. This sort of thing only works in game because of DMs that cater to such foolishness.

Again, strawman. NP might be a good choice for an urban bard, who lives his entire life in a city. For Elan? Not so much. As for the second part - you can buy any magical item in D&D, and V demonstrated this in practice several times.


Remember that the spell can even be cast in advance, making the recipient immune to all poison effects for (in Elan's case) a little over two hours. Considering how things turned out for Therkla the last time Elan was face-to-face with a major villain, this spell is the sort of thing I can see him cast on Haley any time they're about to meet a major villain. Seeing as they're currently surrounded by a number of rogues that are probably carrying a grudge (especially the guildmaster and a prominent assassin) and the fact that the party's default leader is probably strapped for cash right now (what with the amount she owes the guild), it's unlikely they could afford the number of scrolls they might need to deal with attempts on her life or those of her companions.

Haley isn't dumb, and most poisons won't do anything to her. Kubota had to use the single most illegal, most hard to find, most dangerous substance (again, invalidating your claim about hard to find things) and almost failed. There has been one or two occasions in the 660 strips that needed NP. Dimension door or GI would see hundreds of uses.


Greater dispel magic has yet to win a battle for the party (it may even have contributed to Roy's death), but it did help tip things in their favour in the long run against the bandits. (The spell let Haley do enough harm to Sam to eventually allow her father to knock her out, setting him up to take the fall in Durkon's war against the trees.) If it's never useful for anything else, it will at least be a handy choice for someone whose evil twin is a fighter/rogue/sorcerer with a preference for enchantment spells. It is not the sort of spell you ever want to leave to a scroll for two reasons. First, there are times you won't be able to use a scroll, or want to. (You can avoid attacks of opportunity for spellcasting by casting defensively. You have no such recourse when it comes to retrieving stored items.) Second, you want the spell cast at the highest level available to you, not the lowest, as is typically the case for scrolls. It takes an 11th level wizard two and a half weeks to make this scroll. Getting a 20th level version takes a month. Assuming you'll find a community in which such high level spellcasters have nothing better to do than have such scrolls prepared for you takes hubris to ridiculous levels, even for people who know themselves to be the centre of the universe. The Order have come close to that in the past, but experiences have led to them taking it less and less for granted as time goes by.

No one argued GDM couldn't be a good choice. Again, strawman.


Mass cure light wounds is often considered a weak 5th level spell, but . While many people will tell you that healing in battle is a waste of an action, any spell that can stabilize or revive your entire party long enough for another round of actions should not be dismissed out of hand. If it does that while also causing some injury to the campaign's BBEG and some of the nearby undead he or one of his subordinates (especially Tsukiko, though Xykon is fond of animating zombies as well) have created, so much the better.

Let's consider a scenario - OotS is tightly packed, to maximize MCLW. Elan casts it, healing everyone slightly and hurting several totally useless CR 1 monsters. Success?

Now, half a round later, Xykon, exploiting their formation, Meteor Swarms them. Or even delayed blast fireballs them. For dozens of times as much damage. Still success? :smallamused:

Even a simple fireball, something any 5-6th level goblin arcanists can use will outperform 14th level MCLW. Wow, that potential was well invested :smalltongue:


Another reason such spells are good choices for Elan is because of how little magic he typically uses. He may as well make them the sort of spells he's rarely going to need, but need badly on those occasions. Think of it this way: since it would be a very desperate moment in which Elan was the party's last resort, shouldn't that last resort be well prepared (prepared, not equipped) for such moments? Besides, when you think about how badly magic dependency has played out for V, Elan's better off sticking to the last resort.

He has dozens of better last resorts available. Hence, why this entire "wasted potential" discussion.


One more reason these are good spell choices: they show that Elan's a person, not some construct built to meet an arbitrary standard of success within a game. This makes him a far more interesting character than the sort you hear about when most D&D players relate their latest adventure to you. He's chosen options that can help him protect his friends, regardless of whether they'll make him more effective at fighting enemies. This comes as no surprise, since Elan has long been about bringing out the best in other people. He's often done a poor job of that, as with "Bluff, bluff, bluff the stupid ogre!" Sometimes it's unintentional: several of Roy's finest moments as a person have resulted from trying to protect Elan. With Therkla, it was a mixed blessing, but I'll take dying a better person over the living over what she was before that. He's most successful when it comes to Haley, but then she brings the best out in him as well.


Again, no one argued that, argument was from the beginning against a misplaced praise.


The potion and scroll addiction normally experienced by "hyper-competent" D&D players tends to make for poor narration. Pulling such resources out at every critical moment can get a very deus ex machina feel to it unless you keep disrupting the story to show their purchase. (The occasional gun is fine, but Chekov's armoury gets to be tiresome very quickly.) It also can make the story more about the equipment than the character.

Oh, too bad V pulled such deus ex machinas dozens of times in the comic already. Fight with golems, for example, or that whole stash of the heroism potions. Awww, I wasn't aware the story was so broken.


Now if this disconnect with how D&D is usually played is only starting to bother you, you really haven't paid attention to what you've been reading at all. D&D is seldom kind to fighters that rely exclusively on a single family heirloom in combat, for example. V has always been the sort of wizard most "expert" gamers loathe, almost entirely about the explosive spells. Belkar can't cast ranger spells, has no ranks in Survival, and uses daggers in combat. Miko was a paladin/monk whose feat selection included Two-Weapon Fighting and Track. The BBEG is way out of their weight class right now. They got involved in a war in which most of their time was spent fighting hordes of low-level hobgoblins. (Roy was the main exception, and look how that turned out.) The party has been split up for nearly a third of the story to date, with the spellcasters all in one group and everyone else in the other. (Belkar doesn't count as a caster because his Wisdom is too low.)

It's a good part of what makes them more interesting than a mechanics induced power fantasy.

Again, strawman, as no one was arguing about characters. Plus, you missed - I, in fact, like blaster caters and utterly loathe most extreme designs of minmaxing, like all these save or lose builds or glorious charging tripper nonsense. If I'm telling you something is broken/unoptimal, it would be broken too, for almost any good player, unless for some extremist narration-style players.

OotS is a very nice story, but praising such broken, as you yourself said, characters for their choices is like praising routinely wearing fur greatcoat in the middle of summer, just because you might enter a colder room.

dps
2009-04-24, 07:01 PM
The spells fit the story well, but no, they are poor choices from the powergamer view.


Powergaming isn't the only way to play, though. In fact, in my mind, it's a less fun way to play, and the fact that most gamers apparantly are powergamers is one reason I never played more than I did.

Ehra
2009-04-24, 09:15 PM
Elan as a person (not a character being played by a person) doesn't have the intelligence or the access to source books or the "rules of the universe" needed to come up with some of the convoluted plans posted here.

As for the whole deal with "just get a scroll!" we don't even know how common a scroll shop would be. Just because something's in a source book does NOT mean that the DM has to allow the PCs to get it. If scrolls were as cheap and common as some of the posters would lead us to believe then there's no reason that V wouldn't have been able to nab a few extra scrolls during Azure City's defense. You'd think that giving your highest level individuals in a fight for the fate of your city access to magical scrolls or potions would be a priority.

Actually, maybe I'm forgetting something but the ONLY potion shop I even remember seeing in the comic was, according to V, quick on its way to bankruptcy.

Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked. No, Elan's decision was not "the best," there's no reason to ever expect him to make "the best" decision when it comes to character build because he doesn't have the intelligence to come up with a good build on his own. His decision still merits praise, though, because him even attempting to plan ahead is a big deal.

jvowles
2009-04-24, 09:34 PM
Powergaming isn't the only way to play, though. In fact, in my mind, it's a less fun way to play, and the fact that most gamers apparantly are powergamers is one reason I never played more than I did.


Gaming is not about math, stats, and efficiency; neither is this comic. It's about story, not gaming mechanics. The mechanics are there to serve the story, and they only seem to matter in this comic when they make things funny or otherwise add to the story.

I've been gaming since 1982, and have run and played in half a dozen campaigns that lasted several years. I had no trouble finding people whose playstyle matched mine -- in which storytelling and roleplaying and FUN were the goal, not just power mechanics.

As a DM for more than 25 years, I can tell you that I warned my gamers ahead of time that if powergaming and rules lawyering were their thing, they would find every roll going against them, while the fun players, the roleplayers, and the clueless noobs who got into the story had all the breaks.

A character who makes choices based more on story events than the player's ideas about "efficiency" should be rewarded -- not just with the chance to use that new spell when it really matters, but with stuff that makes up for what he gave up by making that choice.

I'm betting Rich is of the same mind, and thus Elan will get at least one chance to use that spell -- when it really matters, and when doing so will honor Therkla's impact on his life.

David Argall
2009-04-24, 10:50 PM
Elan as a person (not a character being played by a person) doesn't have the intelligence or the access to source books or the "rules of the universe" needed to come up with some of the convoluted plans posted here.
Elan is a professional who has lived all his life in his world and its rules. He is the centerfielder who does not need to know a bit of math to know how to catch a fly ball [something no math whiz can calculate fast enough to get the answer before the ball hits the ground.] Elan of course is Elan, but a lot of this stuff is going to get thru.


As for the whole deal with "just get a scroll!" we don't even know how common a scroll shop would be. Just because something's in a source book does NOT mean that the DM has to allow the PCs to get it. If scrolls were as cheap and common as some of the posters would lead us to believe then there's no reason that V wouldn't have been able to nab a few extra scrolls during Azure City's defense. You'd think that giving your highest level individuals in a fight for the fate of your city access to magical scrolls or potions would be a priority.
Actually you want to put your scrolls in the hands of lower level casters. A 13th level caster can't use a 3rd level scroll any better than a 3rd level caster can. So you pass out wands and scrolls to the low levels and let the high levels cast high level spells, or low level spells that are stronger when cast by a high level caster.
[A Magic Missile scroll produces 1 missile, whether cast by 1st level or 21st. A 9th level caster casting his own spell produces 5 missiles, and might have some tricks to increase that. So the 1st level tosses off his own spell or two and then starts on those scrolls.]


the ONLY potion shop I even remember seeing in the comic was, according to V, quick on its way to bankruptcy.

135 also contains a variety of statements that imply there are a host of other stores like it, tho with a better understanding of business economics.
It is also a business in a small town, but it still had hundreds of potions. The obvious conclusion is that there were a large number of such shops in Azure City, and in most other cities.
424 has V saying she purchased some scrolls, fairly high level ones too. So we had some functioning magic shops in Azure City.

brionl
2009-04-24, 11:53 PM
Powergaming isn't the only way to play, though. In fact, in my mind, it's a less fun way to play, and the fact that most gamers apparantly are powergamers is one reason I never played more than I did.

It's not that most gamers are power gamers, it's just that the power gamers are much more noisy.

Warren Dew
2009-04-25, 12:43 AM
Gaming is not about math, stats, and efficiency; neither is this comic. It's about story, not gaming mechanics. The mechanics are there to serve the story, and they only seem to matter in this comic when they make things funny or otherwise add to the story.

Gaming works best when it involves the things people are interested in. For you, that may be telling a story. I and most of the players I know, though, tend to read stories when we want a story, rather than playing a game. When we play a game, we do it because we enjoy math, statistics, and efficiency, and because we enjoy roleplaying in a game world, not because we want a story out of it.

As a gamesmaster who is still running the campaign he started in 1978, I can tell you that long lived campaigns don't tend to be story oriented. Good stories have endings, which limits the length of any good story oriented campaign. Rather, a long running campaign tends to be oriented around the campaign world, permitting the players to play within that world however they like.

While the comic is a story rather than a game, it does not seem to me that it's a story about a story. Rather, it's a story about a game, and thus about that game's mechanics and that game's campaign world.

factotum
2009-04-25, 01:28 AM
Rather, a long running campaign tends to be oriented around the campaign world, permitting the players to play within that world however they like.


That's the crucial point, though, isn't it? The players can optimise and mathematically tweak their characters to make them as good as they can be (the powergamer approach), or they can actually ROLEPLAY a character living within a particular campaign world. In the current situation, Elan has been through at least three situations where he knows Neutralize Poison would have helped, and, being a somewhat simple soul, therefore picks that as his spell. It has nothing to do with following a story, it has to do with good characterisation, e.g. Roleplaying.

Ehra
2009-04-25, 07:49 AM
Elan is a professional who has lived all his life in his world and its rules. He is the centerfielder who does not need to know a bit of math to know how to catch a fly ball [something no math whiz can calculate fast enough to get the answer before the ball hits the ground.] Elan of course is Elan, but a lot of this stuff is going to get thru.

Catching a fly ball is nothing like some of the stuff people in this thread have said Elan should do instead. Someone said something about using Shadow Conjurations (?) to mimic a summon spell that would make a snake who you could then use to put a poisoned person in stasis and then wait until they can find someone to cure them. I doubt V would even come up with that, much less expect Elan to.

Yes, as an adventurer Elan learns to think on his feet and react to situations at a moment's notice. Creative use of spells on the level of which I posted above isn't something you just think of at a moment's notice. Someone spend time studying the books, noticed you could do awesome stuff with a spell that mimics other spells, then posted it on the internet for everyone to see. Even if someone in the "real" DnD world came up with that tactic on their own, they wouldn't go telling everyone. Who really thinks to use a summon spell to cure a poison? I could see it happening in a game of DnD where you can pause the game whenever you want, but in "real life" where you can't stop the action to think?



Actually you want to put your scrolls in the hands of lower level casters. A 13th level caster can't use a 3rd level scroll any better than a 3rd level caster can. So you pass out wands and scrolls to the low levels and let the high levels cast high level spells, or low level spells that are stronger when cast by a high level caster.
[A Magic Missile scroll produces 1 missile, whether cast by 1st level or 21st. A 9th level caster casting his own spell produces 5 missiles, and might have some tricks to increase that. So the 1st level tosses off his own spell or two and then starts on those scrolls.]


135 also contains a variety of statements that imply there are a host of other stores like it, tho with a better understanding of business economics.
It is also a business in a small town, but it still had hundreds of potions. The obvious conclusion is that there were a large number of such shops in Azure City, and in most other cities.
424 has V saying she purchased some scrolls, fairly high level ones too. So we had some functioning magic shops in Azure City.

Ok, I was wrong about the scrolls. But even with the amount of money they should have had by then, V was only able to buy 5-6. If Azure City gave all of their scrolls to their low level casters then I still don't see how Elan was supposed to have gotten any.

I also agree that if NP is such a terrible choice for a bard then there's no reason to expect there to be plenty of arcane NP scrolls to be available in every scroll shop. Greysky City would probably be the one place I'd expect to find them, considering how "willing to trade" the citizens are. And, as has been mentioned before, Elan chose his spells when he was still "stranded" with the fleet and had no idea he was going to be in Greysky City in a few days.

factotum
2009-04-25, 11:57 AM
And, as has been mentioned before, Elan chose his spells when he was still "stranded" with the fleet and had no idea he was going to be in Greysky City in a few days.

That's incorrect. Elan said he levelled up "yesterday", whereas we know from what Kato said that he and Durkon left the fleet some days ago--so Elan knew at the time he levelled up that they'd soon be in Greysky.

Selene
2009-04-25, 12:46 PM
Am I the only one thinking this is a really stupid thing to be arguing about?

No, you're not.

Warren Dew
2009-04-25, 12:52 PM
In the current situation, Elan has been through at least three situations where he knows Neutralize Poison would have helped, and, being a somewhat simple soul, therefore picks that as his spell. It has nothing to do with following a story, it has to do with good characterisation, e.g. Roleplaying.

Oh, I agree, definitely.

I do think some of the other characters, for example Roy, might try harder to optimize, and I think that's okay too.

Morty
2009-04-25, 01:11 PM
Oh, I agree, definitely.

I do think some of the other characters, for example Roy, might try harder to optimize, and I think that's okay too.

And what difference would it make? Characters are as powerful as the story needs them to be and as it fits their character. In case you haven't noticed, Roy's lack of optimization is one of the crucial points of his character, because he persists in playing a single-classed fighter despite it being "unoptimized".
Not that it's anything new. I've once seen someone whine that Belkar didn't magically change into a Swordsage.

derfenrirwolv
2009-04-25, 01:35 PM
I do think some of the other characters, for example Roy, might try harder to optimize, and I think that's okay too.

Well, as far as the core books go roy's not bad. He's a fighter with a two handed greatsword with power attack and cleave. About the best setup you can do considering OOtS has a lot of low level mooks to go through. Roy stays in front, takes the damage, and cleaves monsters. Thats a fighters job, thats what he does and he does it well.

We know that his wis and Cha scores are passable for a cleric... but if they're lower than his str con and dex it just means he rolled well rather than he's unoptimized.

Elan on the other hand, almost never uses his powers or spells, and rarely uses them effectively. Illusions require a lot of creativity and knowledge on behalf of the character/player. They can be incredibly useful, especialy in a world where walls and monsters can appear out of thin air. He hasn't used suggestion, enthrall, or any of his other performed based skills despite a few occasions when they would have been useful. Its not that bards are useless or that his build is unoptimized, its that elan doesn't know how to use himself.

brilliantlight
2009-04-25, 07:17 PM
Oh Elan, you've learned how to plan levels, but not what to keep secret.

Although I suppose his version would be better than the one vaarsuvius would give...

Why? :haley: should be flattered.

brilliantlight
2009-04-25, 07:20 PM
Greater Dispel Magic is probably all-around a more useful spell, yes... but Durkon and probably Vaarsuvius can cast it already, while there is no real substitute for Neutralize Poison (the kind of spell that, as Elan learned, tends to be needed urgently and without warning).

As for MCLW, it was a fabulous choice. The Order had no secondary healer until now. Having one makes lots of tactical sense.

Ageed, having a backup healer is usually a good idea, in case the healer dies on you.

SteveMB
2009-04-25, 07:32 PM
Ageed, having a backup healer is usually a good idea, in case the healer dies on you.

Who heals the healer?

Shatteredtower
2009-04-25, 08:49 PM
Trixie, if you're going to claim strawman, you really should read all of the posts. Every one of those claims was made.

NP is just for urban bards? You need to get out more if you think that's true. On second thought, maybe it's safer you stay home.

Haley is too smart to ever get poisoned? So funny! We're talking about someone that's been outwitted by Nale and Tsukiko, about someone Crystal got the drop on more than once! She's a sharp one, but be honest here.

And then this silliness about V's super preparedness, demonstrated by someone equipped with 27 potions of Heroism and 3 scrolls of Dismissal -- all used to set up punchlines. No potions of Fly, though, which would have avoided humiliating save by zombie head (might have saved Roy's life too), or Wall of Force scroll to hold the breach a bit longer. (Redcloak would have disintegrated it, but not before his troops trampled their own front lines -- and wouldn't have that spell saved for Hinjo.) Nothing plot turning, see?

Aaron
2009-04-25, 09:04 PM
Ageed, having a backup healer is usually a good idea, in case the healer dies on you.

Yes, a back up healer is always a good idea. Elan's choice of Great Dispel Magic was also a good choice. Say that during a battle, V and Durkon are too busy to dispel the enemy's magic (Such as V having to counter spell the enemy's attacks or Durkon stuck in heavy combat). Elan could dispel it instead.:smallsmile:
Now while it is true that Elan could use a scroll of Neutralize Poison, instead of learning the spell, their is one problem...:

"To have any chance of activating a scroll spell, the scroll user must meet the following requirements.

The spell must be of the correct type (arcane or divine). Arcane spellcasters (wizards, sorcerers, and bards) can only use scrolls containing arcane spells, and divine spellcasters (clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers) can only use scrolls containing divine spells. (The type of scroll a character creates is also determined by his or her class.)
The user must have the spell on his or her class list.
The user must have the requisite ability score. "


This means that for Elan to use a scroll of NP, it must be made by an arcane spellcaster. Bards are the only arcane spellcasters that can cast NP. So the scroll(s) of NP Elan could use would have to be made by other bards. That would make it very hard to find any arcane NP scrolls. So Elan made a good choice.:smallsmile:

AkodoKoji
2009-04-26, 09:38 AM
On a side note - why are you praising Elan? He is preparing for past battles, not current ones, and that is a sure way to be hurt again in the future. Really, while GDM is useful, MCLW and NP are utter waste of spells. First is nearly useless, and second will see little to no play so it would be better to get a scroll instead, while getting that CCW. :smallsigh:

So, it is usual Elan-like waste of resources and potential. No, to be fair, casting MCLW is above his constant uselessness, but not by much.

Maybe he has the fourth edition version of Cure Light Wounds which heals 1/4 of the maximum hitpoints of those he targets.

liooil2000
2009-04-26, 09:42 AM
Maybe he has the fourth edition version of Cure Light Wounds which heals 1/4 of the maximum hitpoints of those he targets.

As far as I know, they are still in 3.5 edition.
(see first comic)

AkodoKoji
2009-04-26, 10:22 AM
As far as I know, they are still in 3.5 edition.
(see first comic)

One of Rich's comments was that it was some homebrew 3.75. He was going to use whatever made his story/jokes better.

Morty
2009-04-26, 01:31 PM
One of Rich's comments was that it was some homebrew 3.75. He was going to use whatever made his story/jokes better.

And what purpose would Elan using the 4ed's version of CLW serve? None, as far as I know.

Faramir
2009-04-26, 02:40 PM
Fantastic strip. It had all kinds of awesome in it -- I especially loved Elan displaying some maturity, and Durkon's "Dinnae look down, dinnae look down, etc." bit was hilarious!



EDIT: Oh yeah:

"Neutralize Poison"

Aw. Now I'm suddenly sad.... :smallfrown:

Yes, it's an impressive bit of writing that Rich could make the simple choice of a 4th level spell both sad and revealing of the character.

Hithros
2009-04-26, 02:45 PM
...wow. After what, four different storylines, it comes together in about 5 strips. Wow.

I wonder if/how V is going to lose the Soul Splice, if ever....:smallfrown:

David Argall
2009-04-26, 02:50 PM
I wonder if/how V is going to lose the Soul Splice, if ever....:
If is very definite. We are flat out told it is temporary. The question is whether it is minutes, hours, days, or weeks. And even a day is likely long.

How is much more of a question. My bet is that it will happen at Azure City, but even that is not definite.