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Chirios
2012-01-03, 11:28 AM
In every fight he's ever been in (apart from the first one) he's annihilated whoever fought against him. The only times this wasn't true is whenever he fought against another Epic character, and even then there were limits. Now it seems like every other epic level character is dead in this series.

Is it even possible for Xykon to lose?

Eakin
2012-01-03, 11:33 AM
He's pretty freaking powerful, but he hasn't been prevented from accomplishing his main goal three times now, and we all know who's going to come out on top in the climactic final battle at the fifth gate. How else could Elan get his happy ending?

Agnostik
2012-01-03, 11:37 AM
The rules of drama tell us that such tyrannies villains can exist - indeed, MUST exist - and persist long be strong enough that no one realistically thinks that they can be defeated. Else, where's the drama in a hero opposing them?

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-03, 11:52 AM
Is he strong? Listen, bud,
He's a lich, he has no blood!
Can he swing from a thread?
No, but he can burst your head!
Look out, here comes Lord Xykon!

Yeah, he's very tough. But just like anyone in OOtS, he can be defeated.

Maquise
2012-01-03, 11:57 AM
If I understand correctly, all of the times he's come out ahead against another epic opponent, he's had an unexpected advantage (Lirian), his opponent was unprepared and not thinking properly (Dorukan) or external circumstances saved him (Soon).

Sunken Valley
2012-01-03, 12:07 PM
Two epics left. Girard and Serini, the other two members. Tarquin and his gang might be epic too. Besides Xykon has beat up a 4th epic level character, V with the splice. There he was aided by V itself being mid-level.

Shhalahr Windrider
2012-01-03, 12:10 PM
In every fight he's ever been in (apart from the first one) he's annihilated whoever fought against him. The only times this wasn't true is whenever he fought against another Epic character, and even then there were limits.
As Xykon is himself a powerful, epic character, that is spot on for his power level. Not overpowered.


Now it seems like every other epic level character is dead in this series.
Not Xykon’s problem.


Is it even possible for Xykon to lose?
Yes. It is always possible. The probability of such, however, tends to fluctuate. Given the general style of storytelling thus far, and making inferences off of commentary from the author, it would appear that the probability of Xykon losing approaches 1 as the overall Order of the Stick plotiline nears climax.

NerfTW
2012-01-03, 12:26 PM
In every fight he's ever been in (apart from the first one) he's annihilated whoever fought against him. The only times this wasn't true is whenever he fought against another Epic character, and even then there were limits. Now it seems like every other epic level character is dead in this series.


So, the ghost paladins that were kicking his butt and almost killed him if not for Miko's intervention never happened? Of course he kicks the butts of non epic characters. He's nearly level 25. He's not overpowered, he's epic.



Is it even possible for Xykon to lose?

We've seen him lose twice (his first appearance AND the ghost paladins) AND he's shown to be extremely worried and scared when he lost his phylactery. So even he knows he's vulnerable. The only reason V lost was because she didn't take into account wards, level drains, and the joys of having a meat shield.


The rules of drama tell us that such tyrannies villains can exist - indeed, MUST exist - and persist long be strong enough that no one realistically thinks that they can be defeated. Else, where's the drama in a hero opposing them?

NO. The answer is NEVER because "the rules of drama say so". There still has to be an in story reason for why it's happening. You can't just do whatever you want and say "PLOT!" as if it excuses everything.

Agnostik
2012-01-03, 12:38 PM
NO. The answer is NEVER because "the rules of drama say so". There still has to be an in story reason for why it's happening. You can't just do whatever you want and say "PLOT!" as if it excuses everything.It's always because the rules of drama say so. You can't have weak primary antagonists that lose half of their battles. It's not about doing anything you want and covering it up with the plot. It's about the basic rules of storytelling.

thereaper
2012-01-03, 12:47 PM
NO. The answer is NEVER because "the rules of drama say so". There still has to be an in story reason for why it's happening. You can't just do whatever you want and say "PLOT!" as if it excuses everything.

It can be if the work breaks the fourth wall, as this comic tends to do.

Gilphon
2012-01-03, 12:48 PM
Right, but if 'rules of storytelling' are the only reason for something happening the way it does, you're breaking a rule of storytelling.

Therefore, falling back on 'rules of storytelling' to explain something is fundamentally flawed.

Also: Knowing when to break the rules is a major part of good storytelling.

Anarion
2012-01-03, 01:08 PM
As an in-story justification, a lot of characters have demonstrated total ignorance about the way that Liches work. Lirian, for example, had a number of actions against Xykon which were all wasted against his various immunities. V wasted a quickened chain lightning that didn't actually damage Xykon at all (but, I'm sure he didn't really need that 10th level slot, right?). As it turns out, Xykon also has fire resistance/immunity and other magical protections such as the implied deflection bonus that stopped V's disintegrate.

Frankly, with O-chul's and V's experience, the OoTS might be the first group to go up against Xykon actually knowing what they'll be facing ahead of time, which could give them the advantage they need to win.

eulmanis12
2012-01-03, 01:16 PM
I love how people are saying "the plot can't be the reason, there must be a reason in the story"
Isn't the reason in the story part of the plot? the plot is the story, so of course the plot is the reason. The Giant isn't rolling dice as he writes OOTS, he's telling a story.
[SPOILER]Xycon will die at some point. This point will be at the most effective point in the plot for such an event to occur.

Also:
Elan will break the 4th wall again
Belkar will stab something multiple times
Ochul will go do something awesome
The world will eventualy be saved
Banjo will probably come up again
and it will all be very entertaining :smallbiggrin:
/SPOILER]

Kish
2012-01-03, 01:32 PM
What does the question even mean? "Overpowered"?

Xykon is probably not going to be ultimately defeated in a one-on-one fight with a greater power. This is not news.

Agnostik
2012-01-03, 01:37 PM
Right, but if 'rules of storytelling' are the only reason for something happening the way it does, you're breaking a rule of storytelling.

Therefore, falling back on 'rules of storytelling' to explain something is fundamentally flawed.

Also: Knowing when to break the rules is a major part of good storytelling.I agree with everything you said, a story with nothing but worn-out cliches and regurgitated ideas is not worth following (or writing, for that matter). But some of these rules of storytelling are just not worth breaking, because those are the fundamental pillars that hold the story together.

We're talking about Xykon's relative power here. As a primary antagonist (or, more broadly speaking, a primary THREAT to the good guys), he must be powerful. Otherwise, he is no threat at all. What good would it do to break this particular rule? Roy would've just waltzed in, whacked Xykon with a pointy stick and we'd be done with the evil lich by strip 100.

t209
2012-01-03, 01:41 PM
I love how people are saying "the plot can't be the reason, there must be a reason in the story"
Isn't the reason in the story part of the plot? the plot is the story, so of course the plot is the reason. The Giant isn't rolling dice as he writes OOTS, he's telling a story.
[SPOILER]Xycon will die at some point. This point will be at the most effective point in the plot for such an event to occur.

Also:
Elan will break the 4th wall again
Belkar will stab something multiple times
Ochul will go do something awesome
The world will eventualy be saved
Banjo will probably come up again
and it will all be very entertaining :smallbiggrin:
/SPOILER]

World would be saved part can be supported by this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0326.html) since the goblin dan is old which means that it is in 40 or 4 years in the future.

King of Nowhere
2012-01-03, 02:26 PM
I'm not sure what "overpowered" means in this particular context.
Generally, in gaming and videogaming, you say something is overpowered if it is much stronger than other stuff that has the same cost/level/whatever.
So, people say wizards are op because they are much stronger than a fighter or rogue of the same level.
People also say Belkar is op because he's much stronger than we could expect from a dueal-wielding halfling ranger of his level who cannot cast spells, has an xp penalty, and a cat as animal companion.
With that definition in mind, Xykon is not overpowered. he's just epic. he got a lot of levels, and millions of gp worth of items. I don't think he's more powerful than other epic characters of his level. In fact, we see that many of his bouts against epic guys were close fights, except against lirian, who was totally unprepared (and we know a primary caster who enters unprepared in a figth is not going to fare well).

Of course he'll look op when figthing people 10+ levels below him. If roy were to figth some level 5 guys, we would not expect him to face any real trouble.


By the way, for the storytelling part, the "rules of storytelling" are what would make for a good story. of course they are not written in stone, but some things are needed. For example, as other mentioned, a weak villain would just make for a poor story, because there would be no challenge for the heroes. If he's physically weak, he must have other resources to make him dangerous. A good story must then set a reasonable way for the villain to have that much power. In oots, the power of the main villain comes from being much higer level than the heroes - or almost anyone else in the world.

NerfTW
2012-01-03, 02:29 PM
There ALWAYS has to be a reason for something in the story to be happening, or it's just bad storytelling.

Let's boil it down to the most ludicrous example I can think of:

The hero always needs to feel threatened or have some adversity to overcome.


The great hero Bob wanders into the final chamber before the evil warlord's throne room. Suddenly, 10 adorable kittens appear and begin rolling around on the floor playfully. Bob stops dead in terror, unable to move as he watches the kittens, horrified. Eventually, he summons the courage to walk around the kittens and continue on his mission.

Oh, and this isn't a humor story and Bob has been established as having a pet cat of his own earlier.

Pretty stupid, and obviously horrible storytelling. You can't just have things happen because that's what the rule of drama says. You have to have a reason for it to happen.

Let's add to the story, a few pages prior:


The evil wizard cast a spell on Bob, stating that his greatest companion would soon be his biggest foe. Bob loves his little kitty, it's his longest and truest companion. Now for some reason, the thought of returning home fills him with dread.

Look. There's a reason for the fear of kittens. That's why he's terrified. Not because the rules of drama state that he has to overcome an obstacle, but because a wizard cast a spell making him scared of them.

That's my point. Posts saying "Xykon is powerful because that's what the rules of drama demand" do a massive dis-service to the intricate layout of this story. Xykon simply isn't "unbeatable", as we've seen his weaknesses multiple times before. Any time he's curb stomped someone has been due to a clearly obvious reason, and he's made mistakes himself. Simply yelling "plot" does nothing to add to the discussion.

DaveMcW
2012-01-03, 02:32 PM
The Order of the Stick will probably reach epic level around the time they beat Xykon.

They started below level 10.
Most members are now level 15+.
The Giant stated that we have reached the halfway point in the story.

And for comparison, the Order of the Scribble ended their campaign at epic level.

Nevereatcars
2012-01-03, 02:33 PM
Is Xykon overpowered?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, of course Xykon is overpowered. That's the point. In-story terms, if he weren't, then Redcloak would've kicked his ass back in SoD. In storytelling terms, if the main antagonist is a pushover, then the biggest conflict has to come from the protagonists, which is... backwards.

Tulya
2012-01-03, 02:33 PM
Yes, yes he is. That's par for the course for a full spellcaster, and triply so for an Epic one.

FlawedParadigm
2012-01-03, 02:40 PM
There ALWAYS has to be a reason for something in the story to be happening, or it's just bad storytelling.

Let's boil it down to the most ludicrous example I can think of:

The hero always needs to feel threatened or have some adversity to overcome.


Oh, and this isn't a humor story and Bob has been established as having a pet cat of his own earlier.

Pretty stupid, and obviously horrible storytelling. You can't just have things happen because that's what the rule of drama says. You have to have a reason for it to happen.

Let's add to the story, a few pages prior:



Look. There's a reason for the fear of kittens. That's why he's terrified. Not because the rules of drama state that he has to overcome an obstacle, but because a wizard cast a spell making him scared of them.

That's my point. Posts saying "Xykon is powerful because that's what the rules of drama demand" do a massive dis-service to the intricate layout of this story. Xykon simply isn't "unbeatable", as we've seen his weaknesses multiple times before. Any time he's curb stomped someone has been due to a clearly obvious reason, and he's made mistakes himself. Simply yelling "plot" does nothing to add to the discussion.

Of course, using "A Wizard Did It" as justification doesn't really hold much more water than "rules of drama" as an argument. It's basically just an in-story hand waving.

Shhalahr Windrider
2012-01-03, 03:20 PM
We've seen him lose twice (his first appearance AND the ghost paladins) AND he's shown to be extremely worried and scared when he lost his phylactery.
I would count up that loss-of-phylactery and the culprits getting away as a third loss.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-03, 03:33 PM
Of course, using "A Wizard Did It" as justification doesn't really hold much more water than "rules of drama" as an argument. It's basically just an in-story hand waving.
Please. Not every action a wizard takes invokes "a wizard did it". "A wizard did it" is a specific way of avoiding giving an explanation to something that can't be explained.

FlawedParadigm
2012-01-03, 03:38 PM
Please. Not every action a wizard takes invokes "a wizard did it". "A wizard did it" is a specific way of avoiding giving an explanation to something that can't be explained.

So you're saying that explaining something that can't be explained otherwise using "a wizard did it" explains it? Well, that about wraps up the very concept of a mystery, then. A wizard did everything. All mysteries solved. His specific point was that the entire scenario made no sense without the intervening event. The intervening event was "a wizard cast a spell." I'm not saying the example isn't still valid, just that it was a horrible example because it is quite literally "a wizard did it" paraphrased.

ORione
2012-01-03, 03:39 PM
What does the question even mean? "Overpowered"?


I'm not sure what "overpowered" means in this particular context.

This. When you ask if Xykon is overpowered, what do you mean by "overpowered"? We're going to arguing different points until we establish what we're talking about.

If you're simply asking whether or not Xykon is more powerful than most of the people around him, than yes, he is. So what?

Gilphon
2012-01-03, 04:06 PM
I agree with everything you said, a story with nothing but worn-out cliches and regurgitated ideas is not worth following (or writing, for that matter). But some of these rules of storytelling are just not worth breaking, because those are the fundamental pillars that hold the story together.

We're talking about Xykon's relative power here. As a primary antagonist (or, more broadly speaking, a primary THREAT to the good guys), he must be powerful. Otherwise, he is no threat at all. What good would it do to break this particular rule? Roy would've just waltzed in, whacked Xykon with a pointy stick and we'd be done with the evil lich by strip 100.

This is true; that's why I said 'knowing when to break the rules'; a story that breaks the rules badly is just as bad as one that is slavishly devoted to them. My point, though, is that if you can do nothing but appeal to the underlying rules you were following in response to criticism, then it's evidence of a greater problem; if you're doing it right, that argument would be a last resort.

And yes, that is a why Xykon is powerful, but it is not the only reason, and it is not an effective response to concerns that he might be too powerful. He also tends to come out on top because he's an epic level character with a tendency for contingency plans and a personality that makes people underestimate him.

SowZ
2012-01-03, 04:38 PM
So, the ghost paladins that were kicking his butt and almost killed him if not for Miko's intervention never happened? Of course he kicks the butts of non epic characters. He's nearly level 25. He's not overpowered, he's epic.



We've seen him lose twice (his first appearance AND the ghost paladins) AND he's shown to be extremely worried and scared when he lost his phylactery. So even he knows he's vulnerable. The only reason V lost was because she didn't take into account wards, level drains, and the joys of having a meat shield.



NO. The answer is NEVER because "the rules of drama say so". There still has to be an in story reason for why it's happening. You can't just do whatever you want and say "PLOT!" as if it excuses everything.

I don't think we can really use the first hundred or so comics as a gauge to determine things about character power/predict plot points. Since then, the comic has become far more intricate and internally consistent. I think Roy's defeat over Xykon, (in the first 120 strips,) was really more of a fluke thing. The ghost Paladins included 'Soon' who we have every reason to believe was epic.

dancrilis
2012-01-03, 05:02 PM
We could make a case that Xykon is underpowered.

For example:
=========
He was defeated by an unarmed fighter the first time he fought, and as an epic level lich he would likely assume that his opponent was also epic level (after all how many times has an epic spellcaster class lost in their own base lost to a non-epic fighter class).

Then the next time he fights that opponent it is actually armed with an epic-level weapon (+5 Greatsword of Undead Bane sounds likely), which would be taken as full or the equivalent of a +6 weapon (at least), confirmation of the earlier assumption.

Now Xykon stated that he was seven, eight or more level higher then the opponent, meaning that even if the opponent was only guessed to be level 21 Xykon should be at least level 28 and given how he said it more likely 30+.
=========

And as such he should be well on the way to demi-lich hood.
That was largely taken from a post I made a while ago tongue in cheek to highlight problems with people who were complaining that Xykon was overpowered after he bet Vaarsuvius.

The argument could go on to state that as the primary antagonist Xykon needs to be considerably more of a treat to the party then any other group, i.e the IFCC, and in theory Tiamet and the Dark One.

As such Xykon needs to become godlike in power.

Now as it stands I would hold that Xykon is more personally powerful then the IFCC, but that seems to be a minority opinion.

Ultimately Xykon will be as powerful as Rich needs him to be to tell the story that Rich wants to tell, and not any more or less.

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-03, 05:19 PM
I read "Ultimately Xykon will be as powerful as Rich-" and thought "Whoa".

lord_khaine
2012-01-03, 05:54 PM
Now Xykon stated that he was seven, eight or more level higher then the opponent, meaning that even if the opponent was only guessed to be level 21 Xykon should be at least level 28 and given how he said it more likely 30+.

Where does these numbers come from?

The opponent were Roy, and at that time best estimates places him somewhere around level 13.

ORione
2012-01-03, 06:04 PM
Where does these numbers come from?

The opponent were Roy, and at that time best estimates places him somewhere around level 13.

The claim is that Xykon (who was the one estimating the level difference) thought that Roy was epic based on A. the fact that Roy was challenging an epic-level lich and B. that Roy's sword is epic-level quality.

hamishspence
2012-01-03, 06:11 PM
+5 Undead Bane isn't epic, strictly speaking. A character could buy one at a moderate price, rather than the superhigh prices that epic weapons start at.

only weapons with a bonus of +6 or higher, or weapons with special qualities weapon bonus totalling +10 equivalent or higher, get the epic price premium.

Could Xykon have thought it to be an epic weapon based on how hard it hit? Maybe, but I wouldn't be very sure about it.

dancrilis
2012-01-03, 07:27 PM
+5 Undead Bane isn't epic, strictly speaking.
Hmm ... don't have the books handy but just checked this on http://www.d20srd.org and you seem to be right (which I imagine you knew making that somewhat redundant) , well now I know.

Still it is not an entirely unreasonable assumption on Xykon's part (if he had made such an assumption).

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-03, 07:56 PM
Keep in mind that Xykon was watching Roy and the gang as they moved through the Dungeon of Dorukan. He pretty much knew their capabilities. So the first time they fought, he knew Roy was far from epic.
And the second time they met? He could hardly remember Roy. Yeah, it was a guy he'd already met, and he had a pretty impressive sword. The fact that he attacked an epic lich? People do it all the time. More fun for Xykon.
So no, I don't think he considered Roy to be an epic-level PC.

dancrilis
2012-01-03, 08:10 PM
I believe that you are misunderstand the point of my post, I am not saying this is what Xykon thought, I am saying that it is conceivable that this might be what Xykon thought.

It is possible that he scryed Roy, went not Epic, got his body destroyed decided that his enemy might have been Epic, then when they fought a sword which seems to be one of the most powerful in the world (I do not see Roy getting an upgrade for it) which was powerful enough to annoy him and destroy his zombie dragon in a couple of swings that he went I am settling on Epic after all, but still no where near me, so call it level 21.

If Xykon is level 30+ that is perfectly good logic, really a 21st level character and a level 15 character probably look somewhat similar.

If Xykon in his next fight demonstrates capabilities of a level 30+ it is not a shock, or a twist, it is just the story.

As stated Xykon is neither over or underpowered, he is as powerful as Rich requires him to be, i.e he is exactly the right level of power, and if he climbs in power massively that is still true, if he falls in power massively it is also still true.

My point with my post was to indicate that an equally valid argument for Xykon being underpowered can be made, i.e both arguments are equally invalid.

Prowl
2012-01-04, 02:11 AM
I'll leave it up to your imaginations but it is possible for Xykon to win and Elan to get his happy ending anyway.

Lappy9001
2012-01-04, 03:32 AM
There ALWAYS has to be a reason for something in the story to be happening, or it's just bad storytelling.

Let's boil it down to the most ludicrous example I can think of:

The hero always needs to feel threatened or have some adversity to overcome.

The great hero Bob wanders into the final chamber before the evil warlord's throne room. Suddenly, 10 adorable kittens appear and begin rolling around on the floor playfully. Bob stops dead in terror, unable to move as he watches the kittens, horrified. Eventually, he summons the courage to walk around the kittens and continue on his mission.
Oh, and this isn't a humor story and Bob has been established as having a pet cat of his own earlier.

Pretty stupid, and obviously horrible storytelling. You can't just have things happen because that's what the rule of drama says. You have to have a reason for it to happen.

Let's add to the story, a few pages prior:

Quote:
The evil wizard cast a spell on Bob, stating that his greatest companion would soon be his biggest foe. Bob loves his little kitty, it's his longest and truest companion. Now for some reason, the thought of returning home fills him with dread.

Look. There's a reason for the fear of kittens. That's why he's terrified. Not because the rules of drama state that he has to overcome an obstacle, but because a wizard cast a spell making him scared of them.

That's my point. Posts saying "Xykon is powerful because that's what the rules of drama demand" do a massive dis-service to the intricate layout of this story. Xykon simply isn't "unbeatable", as we've seen his weaknesses multiple times before. Any time he's curb stomped someone has been due to a clearly obvious reason, and he's made mistakes himself. Simply yelling "plot" does nothing to add to the discussion.Interestingly, I'd much rather read the 1st story..

KillianHawkeye
2012-01-04, 09:59 AM
Don't confuse being powerful with being over-powered.

Xykon is a very powerful enemy. He is exactly powerful enough to survive everything the OOTS has been able to throw at him, most of it without even blinking. He's the kind of enemy who seems pretty unstoppable, but defeating him is actually within reach of the PCs once they learn his weaknesses or learn to work as a team or gain the power of friendship or whatever.

Gitman00
2012-01-04, 10:56 AM
And as such he should be well on the way to demi-lich hood.

Interesting proposition... he's already got at least two trapped souls. If he gets six more and has the money to make the soul gems, he's there.

As for "overpowered..." I agree with others who have said the word is more or less meaningless in this context. It's a word you use in a game when a character/item/mechanic is so powerful that it breaks the game balance, i.e. giving a 3rd-level wizard the Staff of the Magi, allowing a munchkin to make a Pun-Pun character, or sending a Great Wyrm Red Dragon against a mid-level party.

When telling a story, there is no game balance to maintain. You can have an extremely powerful, cunning villain like Xykon, and have your less-powerful heroes defeat him through teamwork, guile and flaw exploitation. It actually makes for more credible drama, because there has to be a real chance the villain might win, and real consequences if he does. The heroes have to be challenged, and there has to be some doubt that they will succeed, or the story is boring.

Furthermore, it also makes for a credible reason why Xykon doesn't hunt the Order down and crush them. As per his fight with Darth V, he certainly would if he believed they were an actual threat to him. As it is, they've so far managed to slip under his radar because he's so much more powerful than them.

jdale
2012-01-04, 11:55 AM
I think the question is phrased incorrectly. It's clear that Xykon has to be powerful, and that Xykon will probably be defeated in dramatic fashion.

The correct question is, "if the party defeats Xykon, will it be believable?"

If Xykon has been made out to be so powerful that his defeat is unbelievable, that would be a failure of storytelling. Based on what I have read so far, I absolutely trust the comic to pull this off. That anyone doubts it is only a mark of how dramatic tension has been raised.

the_tick_rules
2012-01-04, 01:11 PM
Well he does have epic level power and lich power, plus he is one the main antagonists. It's how it goes.

torugo
2012-01-04, 02:30 PM
Yeah...he fought and won against dorukan but i think he shouldnt. This is why:


I actually got disapointed on the fight against Dorukan. I can see Xykon using 4 energy drains in a row without any being quickened and dorukan just receiving it without counter attacking.

I mean...that mage had a lich and several undeads around his lair for a long time and didnt prepare Protection against negative energy? That's lame.

And he just watched the angels fight xykon without using a single spell. He didnt act like a mage with epic intelligence. He acted like a dumb sorcerer.

4 energy drains, if maximized = top 16 levels out. If Dorukan were epic it means he would have some spells left. Maybe enough to retreat and come back to fight again. Look on how V's first action after perceiving he was lost WAS try to leave. Any epic mage has a scape route. IF not from his spells, from his magic items.

Only way I see xykon winning that fight is by total disregards to the rules and accepting law of drama only. I can accept law of drama over rules, but at that point i felt it was just lame.

skaddix
2012-01-04, 04:42 PM
+5 Undead Bane isn't epic, strictly speaking. A character could buy one at a moderate price, rather than the superhigh prices that epic weapons start at.

only weapons with a bonus of +6 or higher, or weapons with special qualities weapon bonus totalling +10 equivalent or higher, get the epic price premium.

Could Xykon have thought it to be an epic weapon based on how hard it hit? Maybe, but I wouldn't be very sure about it.

I am pretty sure +5 is the standard level of bonus he has against all foes thanks to the starmetal. He gets and additional unspecified Bonus against Undead when the sword glows green. So for all we know that special bonus could be another +5 making it +10 against Undead.

KillianHawkeye
2012-01-04, 05:18 PM
I'm pretty sure the sword's bonus isn't higher against undead at all. It was described as randomly dealing extra damage, not an all-around boost in effectiveness.

ShikomeKidoMi
2012-01-04, 05:33 PM
"Is Xykon over-powered?"
The best way to check this is "Has Xykon effortlessly crushed all opposition?" If your villain is too powerful it can be hard on a story because the heroes' victory can feel like it shouldn't have happened. However, we've seen Xykon get beat up, be out-thought, and so on. It doesn't happen all the time, because he is powerful but he's not unstoppable.

For example, he has poor grapple and strength bonuses, so a high level fighter could pick him up and throw him. Good thing he's got a decent number of hitpoints, so that wouldn't kill him unless there was some kind of horrible artifact of instant-death-to-bad-guys lying around nearby.

ShikomeKidoMi
2012-01-04, 05:36 PM
Yeah...he fought and won against dorukan but i think he shouldnt. This is why:


I actually got disapointed on the fight against Dorukan. I can see Xykon using 4 energy drains in a row without any being quickened and dorukan just receiving it without counter attacking.

I mean...that mage had a lich and several undeads around his lair for a long time and didnt prepare Protection against negative energy? That's lame.

And he just watched the angels fight xykon without using a single spell. He didnt act like a mage with epic intelligence. He acted like a dumb sorcerer.

4 energy drains, if maximized = top 16 levels out. If Dorukan were epic it means he would have some spells left. Maybe enough to retreat and come back to fight again. Look on how V's first action after perceiving he was lost WAS try to leave. Any epic mage has a scape route. IF not from his spells, from his magic items.

Only way I see xykon winning that fight is by total disregards to the rules and accepting law of drama only. I can accept law of drama over rules, but at that point i felt it was just lame.


While I agree about lack of spells fired, the reason you think the rules don't line up is because you're looking at the wrong spell. Maximized enervate does 16 levels in four shots. Maximized Energy Drain does 32. It's 2d4, not 1d4.

EDIT: And yes, normally you couldn't maximize Energy Drain, but I'm assuming Xykon has some epic level spell slots.

Eakin
2012-01-04, 05:41 PM
I'm pretty sure the sword's bonus isn't higher against undead at all. It was described as randomly dealing extra damage, not an all-around boost in effectiveness.

Not quite. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0297.html)

"It is likely that your sword will sometimes glow with a deadly green energy that is particularly harmful to the undead"

EDIT: Actually I just re-read your post, I think I misunderstood what you were saying. But the energy seems to be controllable and I don't think we've ever seen the sword used on undead without the effect happening so I read it as a permanent anti-undead bonus.

Math_Mage
2012-01-04, 05:46 PM
I am pretty sure +5 is the standard level of bonus he has against all foes thanks to the starmetal. He gets and additional unspecified Bonus against Undead when the sword glows green. So for all we know that special bonus could be another +5 making it +10 against Undead.

A Bane (Undead) +5 sword has a total enchantment bonus of +6. This fits the description the smith gave: a +5 sword that is particularly harmful to the undead. I would need extraordinary evidence to believe the sword is anything else.

torugo
2012-01-04, 05:57 PM
While I agree about lack of spells fired, the reason you think the rules don't line up is because you're looking at the wrong spell. Maximized enervate does 16 levels in four shots. Maximized Energy Drain does 32. It's 2d4, not 1d4.

But he doesnt maximize the energy drain. So it goes for average half damage or Xykon is too lucky. 16 levels would leave an epic mage with 4 levels left. I am not certain if it was 4 or 3 energy drain in a row. Anyway he wouldnt die with those drains...would have enough time to use a scroll or a wand or something to get away from there. Not counting the fact he didnt do anything while xykon used 4 spells in a row.

He could have used stop time just after the gate and vaporized Xykon while he fought those angels. He could have done a number of things to win with the time he had. Fact is the way the comic was drawn, Dorukan didnt win because he just didnt fight. He just waved 2 big spells and let Xykon do whatever he wanted and that is lame.

Jaros
2012-01-04, 07:30 PM
But he doesnt maximize the energy drain. So it goes for average half damage or Xykon is too lucky. 16 levels would leave an epic mage with 4 levels left. I am not certain if it was 4 or 3 energy drain in a row. Anyway he wouldnt die with those drains...would have enough time to use a scroll or a wand or something to get away from there. Not counting the fact he didnt do anything while xykon used 4 spells in a row.

He could have used stop time just after the gate and vaporized Xykon while he fought those angels. He could have done a number of things to win with the time he had. Fact is the way the comic was drawn, Dorukan didnt win because he just didnt fight. He just waved 2 big spells and let Xykon do whatever he wanted and that is lame.


Actually it was 5 Energy Drains, and the average roll on 2d4 would be 5, so the most likely result would be 25. Depending on what level Dorukan was, Xykon would proooobably only need a little luck on his rolls for that to kill him

torugo
2012-01-04, 07:54 PM
Actually it was 5 Energy Drains, and the average roll on 2d4 would be 5, so the most likely result would be 25. Depending on what level Dorukan was, Xykon would proooobably only need a little luck on his rolls for that to kill him

Ok but you guys are still focusing on the thing that least bugs me about that fight. 5 spells in a row from xykon, none from Dorukan and no resistances on. With that odds its easy to win.

JaxGaret
2012-01-04, 09:35 PM
A Bane (Undead) +5 sword has a total enchantment bonus of +6. This fits the description the smith gave: a +5 sword that is particularly harmful to the undead. I would need extraordinary evidence to believe the sword is anything else.

It could be Greater Undeadbane, which is a +2 enhancement (resulting in +4d6 damage vs undead) for a total +7 enhancement.

FlawedParadigm
2012-01-04, 10:19 PM
Ok but you guys are still focusing on the thing that least bugs me about that fight. 5 spells in a row from xykon, none from Dorukan and no resistances on. With that odds its easy to win.


Last I recall, the story was that the Giant had said that Dorukan was making attacks during those rounds, but since they ultimately made no difference as to the outcome, they weren't shown so as not to interrupt the flow of the scene - which was the right decision there. As has been quoted elsewhere, if you're looking for 100% rules accuracy all the time, this isn't the strip for you. Rich pays homage to the rules but just like in real D&D, telling a good story trumps the rules.

Math_Mage
2012-01-04, 11:58 PM
It could be Greater Undeadbane, which is a +2 enhancement (resulting in +4d6 damage vs undead) for a total +7 enhancement.

Fair enough, but not Core. In fact, I'm so bad at looking things up that I can't figure out the sourcebook. Help? :smallredface:

dtilque
2012-01-05, 05:56 AM
Not quite. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0297.html)

"It is likely that your sword will sometimes glow with a deadly green energy that is particularly harmful to the undead"

EDIT: Actually I just re-read your post, I think I misunderstood what you were saying. But the energy seems to be controllable and I don't think we've ever seen the sword used on undead without the effect happening so I read it as a permanent anti-undead bonus.

Well, the green energy doesn't appear when he chopped the head off the zombie dragon (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0441.html). It does all the times he attacks Xykon. But it also appears once when he attacks Miko and once against Sabine, neither of whom are undead. (Sorry, I'm not going to hunt down the links for those this late at night.)

In a previous discussion on this, someone else suggested that the effect is the result of Roy's mental state at the time of the attack. If he's really feeling strongly as he swings, it shows up. That theory seems to match up well with the evidence.

Dr. Yes
2012-01-05, 10:51 AM
Xykon is an epic level wizard, so yes, in D&D terms he is hideously overpowered. If he were a PC in the same system, there would be absolutely nothing stopping him from Wishing his way to victory. As he appears in the story, you could actually make a pretty strong case that he's underpowered relative to the average epic full caster.

Kish
2012-01-05, 11:41 AM
EDIT: Actually I just re-read your post, I think I misunderstood what you were saying. But the energy seems to be controllable and I don't think we've ever seen the sword used on undead without the effect happening so I read it as a permanent anti-undead bonus.
The energy very much does not seem to be controllable. When it appeared for the first time, when Roy attacked Sabine in rage, he said he didn't know why it had happened. It also appears when attacking non-undead (Sabine, Miko), and seems more linked to Roy's anger than anything else.

^Xykon is a sorcerer. Not a wizard.

Morthis
2012-01-05, 01:06 PM
Xykon is an epic level wizard, so yes, in D&D terms he is hideously overpowered. If he were a PC in the same system, there would be absolutely nothing stopping him from Wishing his way to victory. As he appears in the story, you could actually make a pretty strong case that he's underpowered relative to the average epic full caster.

Xykon does not have Wish, and in any normal setting, a DM would not let you simply Wish for a victory and beat the story arc/campaign, that'd just be silly.

Edit: Speaking of Xykon's spells, I noticed he has contingency, yet we've never seen it used that I can recall. Since he has so few spells he can know per level, I doubt he'd pick up a spell he never uses. I wonder what the actual contingency is, since we've already seen him on the verge of defeat against Soon, and it can only affect himself (so he can't use it for the sake of protecting the phylactery).

Ancalagon
2012-01-06, 07:43 AM
Contingency: He probable switched one of his existing spells after the Soon-debacle to be able to get himself out of trouble (Contingency triggering a teleport). And yes, his phylactery is not affected. Maybe he relies on Redcloak Word of Recalling out.

But even without that "I am safe but my phylactery is not" is still better than "I am doomed and my phylactery is as well". Even if he loses his phylactery (it gets destroyed) he still has one (un)life left that pays to protect with Contingency.

Morthis
2012-01-06, 08:24 AM
Contingency: He probable switched one of his existing spells after the Soon-debacle to be able to get himself out of trouble (Contingency triggering a teleport). And yes, his phylactery is not affected. Maybe he relies on Redcloak Word of Recalling out.

But even without that "I am safe but my phylactery is not" is still better than "I am doomed and my phylactery is as well". Even if he loses his phylactery (it gets destroyed) he still has one (un)life left that pays to protect with Contingency.

My point was, a sorc is very limited in spells he can know per level. Since Xykon actually has contingency, I would expect him to have been using it all along, not just start now. That's why I was curious what reasonable contingencies might have been besides a near death teleport type of contingency (which he did not have on during the Soon fight).

Ancalagon
2012-01-06, 08:34 AM
Yes, that is why I think we have not seen him using it because he did not have it in the one case where he would have needed it.

The curious question is... how did O'Chul learn about such a spell? He could not see Xykon use it, or did he?

I think the only real use for contingency is a near-death Teleport. It is the surest thing to pick unless you know Teleport won't work.

JaxGaret
2012-01-06, 10:48 AM
It is possible that the Contingency is triggered upon his death, as opposed to his near-death.

That would make it so that it is impossible to negate its effect. If the Contingency were to be triggered by his near-death, it can be neatly countered by making Xykon go directly from undeath to death, with no near-death condition rendered.

Or he could use it in some other manner that benefits him more in life than in death. He is very proactive rather than reactive.

Ancalagon
2012-01-06, 10:50 AM
Now, where would be the use to teleport your corpse to safety? If the phylactery still exists, it makes no sense as Xykon would regenerate there.
If it was already gone, he'd also gain nothing by that setup as he'd be gone.

Jay R
2012-01-06, 11:11 AM
NO. The answer is NEVER because "the rules of drama say so". There still has to be an in story reason for why it's happening. You can't just do whatever you want and say "PLOT!" as if it excuses everything.

Sure, but the question of being overpowered has no meaning in that context. That's like asking if the mountain is too tall or the ocean too deep. It is what it is. The in-story reason he's so powerful is that he has so many experience points and is level something-or-other. It needs no more explanation than that.

Only on the meta-level does "overpowered" have any meaning at all.

And in fact, it has little meaning in a story-telling context. The villains are often vastly more powerful than the villains, and have to be defeated by subterfuge. The Rebel Alliance is nowhere near as powerful as the Empire with a Death Star. Frodo is grossly overpowered by Sauron. No four soldiers, even musketeers, have anywhere near as much power as Cardinal Richelieu. The Borg is far more powerful than the Enterprise.

The only context in which "overpowered" means anything is a gaming one, on the modern D&D assumption that encounters should be level-appropriate. In that context, yes, he is over-powered. That's why the story has been going on for over 800 strips.

And since Rich intends for the story to last a long time, Xykon's power level is appropriate.

Math_Mage
2012-01-06, 03:34 PM
Yes, that is why I think we have not seen him using it because he did not have it in the one case where he would have needed it.

The curious question is... how did O'Chul learn about such a spell? He could not see Xykon use it, or did he?

I think the only real use for contingency is a near-death Teleport. It is the surest thing to pick unless you know Teleport won't work.

I can imagine Xykon setting up contingency spells as part of the daily death games with O-Chul, along the lines of "If he goes through Door C, Summon Bigger Fish."

Morthis
2012-01-06, 11:50 PM
I can imagine Xykon setting up contingency spells as part of the daily death games with O-Chul, along the lines of "If he goes through Door C, Summon Bigger Fish."

You can't, contingency must affect yourself.

Sotharsyl
2012-01-07, 02:42 AM
Is he powerfull? Yes.

Is he overpowered for what we know he is, i.e a epic lich sorcerer ? No.

Is he a gentleman? Yes he offered Roy the opportunity to go and level up then fight him later, but Roy turned it down.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-07, 08:18 AM
You can't, contingency must affect yourself.
Contingent Ray of Frost would explain how Xykon was able to cast that cantrip in the middle of O-Chul's attack (and thus turn). A proximity trigger would also explain Xykon's surprise at O-Chul's managing to get "a few inches closer" to him after the last deathtrap. Sure, it's a bizarre use of a fifth-level spell slot, but it was funny!

Ancalagon
2012-01-07, 10:10 AM
You are overthinking that. The Ray of Frost was a delayed action or O-Chul needed more than one round to reach. A Ray of Frost inside of Contingency seems somewhat silly.
Contingency is your (un)life-saver in case something unexpected happens or something goes really, really bad. You might set up two contingency-spells but for the Ray of Frost? No.

zimmerwald1915
2012-01-07, 10:40 AM
A Ray of Frost inside of Contingency seems somewhat silly.
Yes. Yes it is. I do believe I said as much. :smallwink:

Jaros
2012-01-07, 11:16 AM
Contingency just for that would be pretty funny :)

But I'm inclined to believe he just readied an action.

SinsI
2012-01-07, 01:06 PM
It really depends on his level. While Geekery thread says he is at least level 27(which is outright crazy powerlevel), it is solely based on a casting of a Maximized 9th level spell - which can be much easier accomplished using a cheap (for that level) rod. Since he spends 8 hours a day creating magic items, I really can't see any explanation on the source of all that XP he has to use (as a lvl 27 lich he'd have to defeat an epic ECL 21+ encounter to get any XP at all - and those are extremely rare if you don't resort to planeswalking). On the other hand, if he was just 8 levels higher than that 13th-14th level Roy (as he estimated himself), he'd be a moderately powerful enemy, just right for a long campaign.

hamishspence
2012-01-08, 08:21 AM
It really depends on his level. While Geekery thread says he is at least level 27(which is outright crazy powerlevel), it is solely based on a casting of a Maximized 9th level spell - which can be much easier accomplished using a cheap (for that level) rod.

There are other reasons. His crafting an item of immunity to fire (which, in SRD/Epic Handbook, would normally be the epic ring of fire immunity). His epic spells. Etc.

SinsI
2012-01-08, 09:59 AM
There are other reasons. His crafting an item of immunity to fire (which, in SRD/Epic Handbook, would normally be the epic ring of fire immunity). His epic spells. Etc.

That's two feats, Epic Spellcasting and Forge Epic Ring, available for sorcerer of lvl 23.
IMHO, for things that seem overpowered one should first try every single available non-epic option. There's just too little evidence of Xykon actively trying to take epic-level challenges - but even one such ring needs 34,000 XP. And even Elemental Immunity is not certain - with 6d6 damage of splash damage per round to protect from, Greater Ring of Energy Resistance would serve almost as good (about 1 damage on average in a hundred castings would pass through).

hamishspence
2012-01-08, 10:05 AM
Actually Forge Epic Ring requires a minimum character level of 32nd- since it comes with the requirement that you must have 35 ranks in Spellcraft and 35 ranks in Knowledge (arcana).

Also- wasn't Xykon at "ground zero" of his own meteor swarm detonation- meaning he takes damage from all four balls- 24D6 damage?

SinsI
2012-01-08, 11:45 AM
Actually Forge Epic Ring requires a minimum character level of 32nd- since it comes with the requirement that you must have 35 ranks in Spellcraft and 35 ranks in Knowledge (arcana).
Yep, missed that... Although it is not stated that his item is exactly ring.
And that would make him CR 36 at the very least - insanely overpowered.
Even a full Epic PC party wouldn't make a dent in his defenses. It would also eliminate all need of the Gate quest altogether - he'd just have to research a spell "I rule the world".


Also- wasn't Xykon at "ground zero" of his own meteor swarm detonation- meaning he takes damage from all four balls- 24D6 damage?
From Meteor Swarm description: Fire resistance applies to each sphere’s damage individually. 4% is just as negligible as 1%.

Omergideon
2012-01-08, 12:01 PM
Not caring about the "must be level xyz" arguements I would say not really. We have seen Xykon as massively more powerful than the OoTS are. And this is OK by me. As has been said the villains of a story can be a lot stronger than the heroes to produce tension and drama effectively. But as the story has progressed we have seen the OoTS get stronger a lot faster than Xykon (presumably) has. So one can clearly predict that the next confrontation between Xykon and the order will be more even (with the big bad dude a bit stronger).

The Succubus
2012-01-08, 07:34 PM
I think the question is phrased incorrectly. It's clear that Xykon has to be powerful, and that Xykon will probably be defeated in dramatic fashion.

The correct question is, "if the party defeats Xykon, will it be believable?"

If Xykon has been made out to be so powerful that his defeat is unbelievable, that would be a failure of storytelling. Based on what I have read so far, I absolutely trust the comic to pull this off. That anyone doubts it is only a mark of how dramatic tension has been raised.

Do you know how I can tell you're a relatively new poster here? It's not because of the "Pixie" under your name, it's because you've brought a modicum of sense to a rather confusing argument. Don't worry though - we'll soon have you arguing about Vaarsuvius' gender or Miko's alignment irrationally. :smallwink:

The Pink Ninja
2012-01-08, 08:30 PM
He isn't overpowered. This isn't a computer game. No one can be overpowered.

What he is, is very powerful. That makes him a major threat which adds tension. When you read the assault on Azure city you were on the edge of seat because you didn't know who'd win. If you did assume someone would win you assumed the goodguys, which meant you were suprised.


The correct question is, "if the party defeats Xykon, will it be believable?"

Anything can be written belivably.

There are a whole range of reason why the Order could belivably beat Xykon: They gain levels faster and are always closing the power gap, they have never fought him as a group before, they know his spell list and abilities so they can tailor attacks to defeat him, they have a potential powerful allies in both Redcloak and the MITD, they have the Gods on their sides...

Lord Hakura
2012-01-08, 09:27 PM
Is Xykon OverPowered?

To awnser this question we need to consider what being overpowered really means. Overpowered means that he must be so extraordanarily powerfull nothing can beat him to the point it is a game breaker. But, this is not a D&D game, it is a narrative setting, therefore he *can't* be overpowered, as that would defeat the point of the narrtive, so the Giant would not write in an overpowered character.

If this were to be a D&D game, would he be overpowered? Definitely, based on what we have seen of him. But the context of the question is narrative.

sims796
2012-01-08, 10:28 PM
I found it annoying how Xykon curbstops everything that he comes up against. Then he fought the Saphirre Guard. That made me feel good.

Forum Explorer
2012-01-10, 02:58 PM
Could he be overpowered? Yes. Just replace overpowered with villain Sue

is he a villain Sue? No. He has lost before, people have realistic reactions to him, and he has a well rounded character.

Spacewolf
2012-01-10, 03:11 PM
Well he is the groups primary antagonist and when have the entire group actually fought him. In Sapphire city it was roy on his own who was the only one to get to grips with him if the entire group had attacked it would of been slightly more even. They still probably wouldnt of won but by the end of the story they should present a credible threat as a group and depending how they level up maybe half the group for him half for red cloak

Madwand
2012-01-14, 06:05 AM
is he a villain Sue? No. He has lost before, people have realistic reactions to him, and he has a well rounded character.


With exception of the greatest plot induced stupidity I have seen in Giant's work (duel between Xykon and Dorukan) he is not a villain Sue. *sorry for criticism, but after 1,5 years I got Start of Darkness and it was.. disappointing*

Jzadek
2012-01-14, 10:04 AM
I still don't see that an isolated moment like that makes someone a sue. Sure, if every fight they're in is a roflstomp, then there's something wrong, but a character doing extraordinarily well once or twice is simply luck, which is a real and tangible force. Just like someone might do something they fail completely at. A character having one or two moments of unbridled triumph is arguably good storytelling.

Aricandor
2012-01-14, 10:24 AM
Oh, he's just a sorcerer with all the limitations of having "spells known" entails. Sure, he's pretty good at working with his limitations, but he's limited nevertheless.

:smallbiggrin:

Madwand
2012-01-14, 11:57 AM
Jzadek

SoD:



Sure, if every fight they're in is a roflstomp, then there's something wrong, but a character doing extraordinarily well once or twice is simply luck, which is a real and tangible force.

I agree. I also refered fact that it was one-in-story moment and exception:
"With exception of (..)he is not a villain Sue"

Thus, sad thing is that luck has nothing to do with it. Fact that high level adventurer (he is epic, isn't he?) has not item to defend against negative effect/ablity/level drains is simple idiot ball. If you add that he got high level clerics (p. 102 SoD) on payroll and year(!) of preparation against necromancer..

zegram 33
2012-01-14, 08:23 PM
he isnt overpowered
every other epic character he's fought has been close either fought evenly until outside intervention (darth V) lost after pushing him near his limits (dorukan, Roy's dads master) firion, was it?) or outright beaten him (soon, lirian) so he's definatley not overpowered.

as for Roy's sword...i dont think it CAN be a purely undead effect, since iirc sabine notes that the green flash hurts HER more as well, and she isnt undead, so it shouldnt have done more than the normal swing of that sword.

it sounds like it could be is the "brilliant energy" enchantment, but that seems....a bit too powerful

krossbow
2012-01-14, 08:38 PM
With exception of the greatest plot induced stupidity I have seen in Giant's work (duel between Xykon and Dorukan) he is not a villain Sue. *sorry for criticism, but after 1,5 years I got Start of Darkness and it was.. disappointing*



Not just against that wizard. V also played like an idiot against Xykon, choosing spells specifically weak to Xykon's strengths rather than "I win" type high level spells. Xykon himself isn't "Overpowered", but other casters in this universe are played stupidly. Xykon, as the villain is the ONLY caster in the series that has been allowed to be played competently (Rich himself has admitted that V solves too many of the order's problems, hence why he is generally taken out in some contrived fashion early on)-- otherwise this would have been wrapped up by now by powerful casters opposed to Xykon.

dancrilis
2012-01-14, 09:20 PM
... sounds like it could be is the "brilliant energy" enchantment, but that seems....a bit too powerful

That enchantment specifically makes a weapon unable to harm undead, so I deem this unlikely.



With exception of the greatest plot induced stupidity I have seen in Giant's work (duel between Xykon and Dorukan) he is not a villain Sue. *sorry for criticism, but after 1,5 years I got Start of Darkness and it was.. disappointing*

I will answer this the same way I answered previously.


I would say Xykon won fairly.
Dorukan was not planning to fight, after all Xykon had been out there for 6 months to memory and had not annoyed him much, so it can be assumed that Dorukan was just getting on with his life.
This means that Dorukan's spells would be for is normal usage, i.e magic items, scrying, calling helpers, etc.
They would not be geared for combat, except that which he felt would be needed taking into account the traps in the tower.

Also he immediately teleported out and attacked Xykon, i.e teleport and a quickened fly spell.
Consider the fact that he is a venerable wizard, which means he has a -6 to constitution. Assuming a 12 to start with that leaves 6 (a minus 2) penalty.

That leaves a level 30 wizard with a maximum of 60 hit points and that is not enough to cause even a mid range spellcaster any trouble with a decent spell.
Gate allows the wizard to cast buffs on himself to increase his saves and hit points, (bears endurance alone for an extra 60 hit points in the above example). This is the reason given in the book for why Dorukan did nothing during the Gate.

And why does the gate needs to be an army instead of a single powerful creature?
In order to ensure that the enemy is focused on them rather then attacking the wizard while he is casting buffs, if a Solar was summoned in Xykon might just have attacked Dorukan in the hope that it would disappear when he was dead, defeating an army on the other hand could take precedence as otherwise there amount of attacks might begin to take a toll.

Now to the energy drains and the amount of them.
We will say that the first gets 5 levels.
Dorukan is now down his epic spells (call it 3 slots) and his top two 9th level spells, considering he already cast one of them he only has one left, it might not be useful in a fight, for example Dominate Monster, or it could have been a Time Stop used while Xykon fought the angels, and used to cast more buffs, in case Xykon did attack him or the goblins started shooting him, or a Disjunction that he felt would not be helpful etc.

Then looking through the spell list for Wizards there are a lot of spells that would be useless in that fight, but could be prepared easily for general use.

Unfortunately I do not have the book with me to give a full play by play of the fight.

But Dorukan acted rashly from emotion, after an extended period of ignoring Xykon almost completely, other then the occasional scrying which would reveal very little about Xykon since Xykon had no need to cast spells during that time.

Xykon won because Dorukan was arrogant, not due to any special plot enforced powers.

Having said all that there is a certain amount of plot protecting all aspects of the story, as after all the story does follow a plot.

Further you say he should have had energy protection because Xykon is a necromancer?
Xykon is not an necromancer, he is a Lich, he could happily have no necromancy at all and basing your strategy on him having energy drain is foolish, you would be much better enhancing fortitude for Wail of the Banshee and HP for Power Word Kill, which may automatically kill you, rather then Energy Drain which may mess you up but is not an automatic win if it succeeds.
Because had Xykon won automatically with either of those you may still be complaining about the fight.

Similarly Dorukan would also need to be prepared for Xykon having a Time Stop, or Shapechange, or a Meteor Swarm, because Dorukan does not have Xykon's spell list (not to mention all the other spells Xykon may have outside the core book, or unique spells he researched himself.

Effectively you cannot prepare for every eventuality in an narrative, otherwise the narrative does not flow as the guy that is prepared for everything wins.

Thagorn
2012-01-14, 11:14 PM
Xykon won because Dorukan was arrogant, not due to any special plot enforced powers.

This. Besides the excellent explanation of why protecting against negative energy damage may not be the best choice - Dorukan was arrogant. Did you miss the whole "Wizards discriminate against Sorcerers" theme?

Wizards in this campaign setting (for good reason?) look down upon sorcerers and to Dorukan Xykon is certainly seen as an arrogant upstart. I don't have the book on me but does Dorukan even have reason to believe Xykon is epic?

You take an old arrogant wizard against an upstart sorcerer. The sorcerer antagonizes the wizard enough to get him to come out of his super fortified tower. Sorcerers have a huge advantage in a duel if the wizard hasn't prepared for it. What do you expect to happen?

Jaros
2012-01-15, 08:10 AM
Not just against that wizard. V also played like an idiot against Xykon, choosing spells specifically weak to Xykon's strengths rather than "I win" type high level spells. Xykon himself isn't "Overpowered", but other casters in this universe are played stupidly. Xykon, as the villain is the ONLY caster in the series that has been allowed to be played competently (Rich himself has admitted that V solves too many of the order's problems, hence why he is generally taken out in some contrived fashion early on)-- otherwise this would have been wrapped up by now by powerful casters opposed to Xykon.

To be fair on V, s/he wasn't preparing for the Xykon battle, but for the Dragon, and was in a pretty hectic state to boot.

Ancalagon
2012-01-15, 08:31 AM
To be fair on V, s/he wasn't preparing for the Xykon battle, but for the Dragon, and was in a pretty hectic state to boot.

To be fair: With Vaarsuvius' power at that stage, he should have won easily against Xykon, preparation or not. He lost because he was very, very stupid.