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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by lothos View Post
    I wonder what the copyright situation would be with a monster from Dragon ? Are they released as part of the SRD ? I assume not.
    Since OotS is clearly a parody of D&D, it doesn't matter. Fair Use would allow a D&D creature, where it won't allow a pokemon.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    I'm just catching up on the discussion here, and I missed the first thread, so thank you SO much for the organized OP and all the new research and comic links that followed.

    I have several random comments and observations to add, ending with my guess... This is a very long post because I've had 695 strips, and this whole thread above, and the research from its predecessor thread, to build on, and subsequently a lot to say... and lo in days to come when your children come to the smoking ruin that was once this thread... I can cast "sleep" just like V

    ----

    I don't believe the MitD is a "named mob". He can't be any uniquely recognized character with a name like Mickey Mouse or Chuck Norris or Godzilla, not simply for legal reasons, but because he's a unique OOTS character, with his own name: The Monster in the Darkness. His species creature type can be guessed, but not his name.

    Maybe he's a Radioactive T-Rex, but he can't be Godzilla. Maybe he's a giant moth, but he can't be Mothra. Maybe a dragon, but not Smaug. etc.

    ----

    On the child-like nature of MitD: Elan is an adult of his species, but that does not stop him from being child-like, well beyond a realistic level for his physical age. Elan's not a baby, he just acts like one. It's entirely possible (and likely IMO) that the MitD is an adult of his species, but he has a child-like nature.

    ----

    I didn't see any commentary on MitD's alignment. Are there any leading guesses on that? He hangs out with Xykon and Redcloak, but he's a minion that they keep in a cage, so not necessarily lawful evil like they are. He's considered a monster (creature type), but that doesn't automatically grant him an evil alignment. O-Chul calls him a good man. He has a good sense of loyalty, suggesting a good alignment, but he doesn't seem to act like a Lawful character, more like a Neutral or Chaotic. Possibly Neutral/Good? Neutral/Neutral?

    ----

    The idea of guessing MitD's creature type based on his stats and feats strikes me like using O-Chul's list of spells and feats to guess that Xykon is a Lich. Is that the only possible strategy? You could guess that he's a sorcerer (class) of a certain level (what, 20ish?) and get some clues that he's undead, but could it tell you he's a Lich specifically?

    Those are all valuable clues, but I don't think Rich's intent is for the MitD's creature type to be guessed only by those who study arcane tomes of monster manuals.

    In OOTS style it should be something that would be obvious to any RPG player, whether you play more classic D&D or left that behind for WoW (like I did), and I've never heard of a Snorlax, so that suggestion, as close of a guess as it sounds from the description, strikes me as outside the "super cannon" of D&Dish RPGish lore that OOTS draws from, or its too specific. I don't think it could be a Snorlax any more than it could be a Tauren because that's too specific to one particular game, instead of generic enough to be in any and all RPGs.

    The MitD's creature type should be staring us in the face, not buried at the back of a supplement to the first edition rules. Something obvious enough and generic enough that it would be in any fantasy RPG. Something like an Orc.

    ----

    Have there even been any Orcs in OOTS? We see lots and lots of Goblins, but where are the Orcs?

    ----

    Snarl Jr.... no, I agree, for good reasons pointed out above... however...

    Child of the Snarl ... originating out of the Snarl ... is a line of thinking I believe still has merit.

    MitD is central to the story, and his revelation will be a climactic moment. As such, what he is must be related to the central plot of the Snarl and the Gates.

    The end of the most recent book shows us a world within a world behind the snarl. The revelation of what is that world will also be a central plot point. (and Rich speaks to it in the DStP commentary)

    I'm starting to think that MitD is from that other world. That wouldn't make him a baby Snarl (creature type) but that would still make him a metaphorical child of the Snarl.

    ----

    And what is that other world? It's the Snarlverse.
    (this is my guess, I have nothing to back it up except the following reasoning)

    The only word I can think of to describe it is video-gamey: the Snarlverse is the Ootsverse's PTR of unreleased content from the next edition.

    Consider what the Snarl is: the endless argument over "nerf this and buff that" that results in patches to the rules to make newer versions of AD&D 3.5 and 4.0.

    In every session of D&D that I ever played with dice and paper ("table-top" is a bad name for it because my group sat on the floor a lot and rolled on our books instead of the carpet ) it was required in each 8-hour session every sunday that we had to have at least one snarling fight over the rules, aka The Snarl, and our D&D-verse had many Rifts from the official rules (house rules) where the Snarl had torn it apart, just like in OOTS.

    I believe the Snarl and the Rifts are Rich's nod to that ever-present fight over the rules (and indeed, IMO the very existence of RPGs with thick rulebooks are a result of that same fight breaking out between me and my 7 year old friends in the backyard imagination game that always broke into a fight over "hey, you can't do that!". too bad writing a thick rulebook didn't stop our run-away imaginations from creating the Snarl anyway)

    That suggests that the newer world inside the Snarl, the Snarlverse, is the next edition rules as they are still being formed out of that argument.

    The very first episode 1 of OOTS shows the Order being upgraded to the 3.5 rules. The makers of the gates to contain the snarl had access to older edition monsters. Haley's father was a first edition Thief (second edition? either way, an earlier edition). This shows a flow of the rules patches through the Ootsverse as the Snarlverse grows out from inside the world to become the next edition of the Ootsverse.

    The idea that epic long-played PCs from the previous campaign retired to set up powerful gates to defend these Rifts is the perfect way to represent the house rules, rule alterations, or Rule of Plot thing your DM would do for your group's characters when you decide to retire that party and reroll new characters to form The Order of the Stick, and start a whole new campaign with low level characters, under the next edition rules, so you can level up again and not fight exclusively epic level monsters.

    ----

    If MitD is from that other world, then it means he's a newer edition monster.

    At the circus, humans of the Ootsverse behold him as both terrifying and beautiful. As a WoW player looking at unreleased patch notes, I view the new monsters in the same way: both terrifying and beautiful, so powerful, and yet so juicy.

    The humans are looking at a new mob... so hideous, and yet strangely beautiful.

    The goblins in the audience react as if they could be looking at the buffs they can expect in the next patch. They have a nonplussed attitude, with an unsaid "Meh, that looks OK."

    Perhaps that makes him a 4th edition goblin.

    But it was pointed out above that 4th edition wasn't released yet by the earliest date when Rich declared the MitD was a guessable creature type, and as well as for legal reasons, he can't be specifically a WotC 4th edition AD&D Goblin, from page N of the Monster Manual, Copyright (C) 2004. (or whatever)

    Plus Rich would have no way of knowing whether Goblins got a big buff in 4th edition D&D. To say he's a 4th edition goblin is too specific...

    ----

    So I believe he is a Prototype Next Edition Goblin, an outcropping of the Snarl, who fell through a Rift from the Snarlverse into the Ootsverse before his list of feats and stats had been completely finalized, while he was still being debated and play tested.

    One of the gods suggested a buff to goblins that was eaten by the Snarl and spit out a rift to become the MitD.

    That leaves him strongly overpowered, without knowing his own strength, and very immature, with a narrow character definition due to his incompleteness.

    But he's still a goblin: a guessable, recognizable, deceptively obvious, any-RPG creature type.

    ----

    He's a baby in the sense that his definition in the monster manual is as immature as his character. His page in the monster manual is a young baby, but his character sheet says he's an adult. So he acts like a child in OOTS style humor.

    ----

    He's overpowered because everyone in the next edition will be overpowered compared to the current one, no matter which RPG you're talking about, and to make it worse, he's even more overpowered because he's from the PTR... OK it's not WoW, so PTR is the wrong word, but he was still being play-tested, he's like a house rule, or a proposed buff to Goblins, that fell through the Rift, so he's not even remotely fair in the game balance, especially vs. 3.5 PCs that don't have their 4.0 buffs yet.

    The clues in his powers could easily be, not the specific powers themselves, but the overall idea that he's dramatically overpowered. There is ample evidence that's he's overpowered, if you look past the individual abilities he has used, and see the forest for the trees. The individual powers that are easy to focus on as clues and ask "what has X STR value? and >= 3 INT? and can cast Escape? (or whatever spell that was)" and so on could be red herrings in front of the bigger idea that he's obviously very overpowered to be in the same game with characters like the Order and Xykon.

    Don't forget that Ootsverse is a game world, and on the question of MitD's challenge rating, a minion can't be harder than the end-boss, so Xykon's CR is an upper bound for MitD, because the Order will have to pass through MitD to get to Xykon eventually. There's evidence described above with good reasoning that MitD's CR should be >= 27 (to compare with the silver dragon), but isn't Xykon's CR less than that? I haven't read any of the Xykon's level guessing threads recently, but I vaguely recall the leading theory is that he's about level 20, which makes his CR 20, right? The specific number doesn't matter for my reasoning here as long as Xykon is considered less powerful than the silver dragon.

    The loophole for this would be that in the next edition rules, MitD has a very low CR (vs. 4.0 PCs), but being from the next edition, his (low) CR is out of scale for the current rule set, so Xykon gets to control him as a minion on a technicality, because on paper it says his CR is only 3 or something (vs. PCs from 4.0)

    ----

    Redcloak knows what MitD is because he understands the nature of the Snarl. He can recognize the future in MitD and from that alone knows the MitD could kill them all. (Note that Redcloak also wants Goblins to be equally respected to PCs, maybe as a playable race, and I think that's also significant in all this)

    Xykon also knows, and says (lazy misquoting) "nothing is as scary in that tower as you are, or at least as you SHOULD be," because Xykon is the type of arch villain who commands legions of goblins, and so of course he believes the next edition goblin should be more powerful, no matter how overpowered the MitD already is. Whether he's a Goblin or something else, to Xykon, he's a Next Edition Minion.

    MitD doesn't know what he is because he's incomplete.

    ----

    MitD's father was as big, maybe bigger... I'm thinking his father was another unreleased version of a next edition goblin within the Snarl, even bigger and more overpowered than the MitD, before they nerfed him (but not enough yet).

    ----

    Diet, and love for Stew... his incomplete definition in the unreleased next edition monster manual says his creature type eats stew... a common humanoid monster definition kind of thing to say IMO especially for something like a goblin, orc, troll, or ogre. But the gods in the Snarl didn't get past that yet, since they're still arguing over his stats and powers, so as a Snarlverse creature type which has not yet been flushed out completely into a full Ootsverse creature type, he isn't motivated to do other things that haven't been defined for him yet. He just loves to eat lots of stew.

    That incompleteness makes his character narrow (in such a deep and wonderful way) and I could totally see Rich poking fun at how humanoid monster types like that are always eating stew.

    ----

    He speaks, and he speaks common... He speaks common because he's going to be a playable race in the next edition... this explains why the SBGH are surprised he speaks common (instead of goblin). It could also explain why they're surprised he speaks at all, because enemy goblins don't usually say anything when you roll a random encounter, they just attack you.

    But the Order are never surprised that every goblin they run into speaks, and speaks common... so maybe that's a bad way of interpreting the whole "speaks common" clue.

    ----

    MitD doesn't want to be looked at ... because the developers of the next edition of every game always want to keep the next edition secret as long as possible. They will put it on display briefly in limited ways, but they want to keep it from being too open, or too many details leaked too early. MitD's self consciousness at the circus could be Rich poking fun at how the unreleased content itself feels about being put on display before it's ready.

    ----

    Putting it in the nice organized form of previous leading guesses...

    Mitd is an Unreleased Next Edition Goblin
    (or: Child of the Snarl, or: Goblin of the Snarlverse)

    Pros:
    • Human size
    • Recognizable creature type
    • Guessable
    • Overpowered
      • Could have any spell or ability, i.e. Escape could be a new racial ability for 4th edition Goblins, or he could have a Wish ability, or anything
      • Strength stat is too high because the buffs haven't been properly adjusted yet
      • Can't be hurt by weak 3.5 characters who haven't been buffed to 4.0 rules yet
    • Explains the crowd's reaction at the circus
      • Humans see a next edition mob... horrifying, yet strangely beautiful
      • Goblins see their next edition buffs... unspoken "meh, looks ok"
    • Doesn't know his own strength because nobody has played his creature type before because he's new, unreleased content
    • Child-like nature reflects the age of his definition in the monster manual, as opposed to the age on his character sheet
    • Literate in Common because the Next Edition will allow Goblin as a playable race
    • Breaks the Fourth Wall and crosses the line between original OOTS and generic RPG creature types, in OOTS style
    • Not native to Rainforests
    • Eats stew
    • Doesn't like people looking at him: Unreleased content is kept secret and doesn't like people looking at it any more than its developers do.

    Cons:
    • Too much Rule of Funny: These explanations for all the spells and feats is too easy since goblins don't normally have this level of strength and magic (wouldn't that cheapness fit well though?)
    • The SBGH wouldn't be surprised that he speaks, only that he speaks common instead of goblin (and the Order are never surprised that goblins regularly speak common)


    ----

    LOL so this occurred to me while I was editing my guess above, and I hesitate to posit this as my official guess instead of goblin, but MAYBE... it has to be suggested as a joke at least...

    Building more on the connection between Elan and MitD, IIRC Rich has said that Elan will be the central protagonist to receive the happy ending (as opposed to Roy)

    What if the MitD is the unreleased next edition Elan?! No no, not the real final 4th edition Elan, but the gods' rejected proposal for how to fix Elan's class, by giving him super strength and Wish powers, a proposal that was eaten by the Snarl and spit out through a Rift to become the MitD.

    It would be fitting if the last page shows them upgrading to 4th edition, since the first page showed them upgrading to 3.5. The MitD and Elan could merge into one as Elan grows into these powers, becoming super powerful, after being mocked for his ineffectiveness for the previous thousand pages.

    MitD would be an empty shell then waiting for Elan's soul to become him, sort of like when Doctor Who met his next regeneration back around the 6th or 7th doctor, and then regenerated into becoming him.

    MitD is Future Elan
    with unreleased Next Edition class buffs

    Pros:
    • Explains childlike behavior
    • Ties together numerous plot points
    • Most of the pros from the "next edition goblin" idea

    Cons:
    • Elan loves performing and being watched, unlike MitD
    • Elan isn't known for his love of stew
    • Doesn't explain the SBGH's reaction
    • MitD has never used any of Elan's running gags, such as invisibility through nakedness, or a fourth-wall-breaking understanding of Rich's writing style

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Well, the Next Edition part sounds plausible, but I'm not buying him being a goblin of any sort. Goblins in the Stickverse are literally cannon fodder. I can't see them as being anything that would become overpowered, even while still on the drawing board, in a move to a new edition.

    And yes, we've seen orcs -- a whole island full of them who now worship Banjo's brother Giggles, god of slapstick. And half-orcs (Therkla and Thog).
    Done here. Thanks, friends.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    On the child-like nature of MitD: Elan is an adult of his species, but that does not stop him from being child-like, well beyond a realistic level for his physical age. Elan's not a baby, he just acts like one. It's entirely possible (and likely IMO) that the MitD is an adult of his species, but he has a child-like nature.
    Completely ignoring everything else you said, which was almost completely speculation on the future (and honestly, I don't think even the giant can plan a future edition out 600 + strips in advance), it's very likely that the Mitd is a child of some sort just because of the first three panels here.

    There's quite a bit of development, but more specifically, his dad was BIG and ate a LOT. "Way more than I do". In terms of "way", considering the Mitd's scale in anything he does, the rift between him and his father is too great to be attributed to anything but life stage. Plus, over analyzing how he "Remembers his dad... sort of", it seems those memories were rather blurred, kind of how I remember my years before four. I have a vague idea of what happened, but it's so fuzzy...

    I can totally imagine it being a pre-pubescent gigantic obscure monster that Redcloak and Xykon would have seen on their quests for the gates, and it explains how the big game hunters knew, too.

    Also, on an unrelated note, does anyone have an idea of what the box is made out of? It can't be three inches of solid steel or something, or Redcloak wouldn't have been able to carry it (and with Mitd inside, no less), but it can't be something super flimsy or the big game hunters wouldn't have used it in the first place since they weren't trying to capture the Mitd.

    Edit: if that entire post was a joke, you spent a long, long time on it.
    Last edited by silversaraph; 2009-12-25 at 09:36 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Thanks for reminding me about the Orc island! Of course! duh... I don't know why I didn't remember that. /facepalm

    Edit: if that entire post was a joke, you spent a long, long time on it.
    I was "kidding on the square." My idea that MitD is a next edition monster is a serious guess about a joke of an explanation. Seriously

    I think it's reasonable to assume that MitD's revelation will be a punchline, so I expect his creature type to be a big joke in itself. So I made a serious guess about a joke answer that would make sense and be funny at the same time (universally to any RPG player).

    After the first hundred strips, the Giant really turned away from D&D specific stuff quite a bit (not 100%) towards more generic RPG references, and all I really see that remains very specific to D&D anymore is "saving throw" and "sneak attack" while the rest of the Ootsverse feels like an amalgam of all the many RPGs I've played. I sense the presence of more official D&D rules in effect than those two phrases, but I don't have to know those rules to get the jokes. It's enough that I've played enough RPGs in general to get it from context.

    If MitD is revealed to be a Dread Linnorm or a Dream Larva, as reasonable as those guesses sound from their descriptions, those aren't memorable enough, and haven't been in any other RPGs I've ever played ... I wouldn't get the joke or even recognize what those are, and I don't think the Giant would let me down like that, knowing that's too obscure. For 695 strips, I've gotten every joke, with only a very minor memory of D&D rules and content, and an otherwise broad exposure to many RPGs in general. I have to believe the MitD has to be known to that kind of audience (i.e. me ).

    Well, the Next Edition part sounds plausible, but I'm not buying him being a goblin of any sort. Goblins in the Stickverse are literally cannon fodder. I can't see them as being anything that would become overpowered, even while still on the drawing board, in a move to a new edition.
    While I think it should be something fairly obvious/recognizable, I agree there's no real evidence to suggest "goblin" specifically.

    It seems that very good points have been made about his stats having to be so high, that there don't seem to be any creatures that powerful in the monster manual, that could also be small enough, or have such a low INT score, and so forth. I feel like there should be a simple explanation for that, like the proposed idea that he comes from another game, such as FF, where the hit points are on a different scale, but it seems more reasonable to draw from the next edition The Snarl.

    honestly, I don't think even the giant can plan a future edition out 600 + strips in advance
    Yeah that's a good point, and I hesitated on how to word that... "next edition" was probably a poor choice of words... What I meant was...

    One of the gods said "hey guys, how about we take a something, and shrink him to human size, and give him super strength and a Wish ability... now look, I know that sounds overpowered, so we force him to have a really low intelligence so he's easy to fool and manipulate, and he's gotta sleep after he uses these powers. And he has to eat a lot too, mostly stew, obviously, like most somethings. What do you think?"

    But one of the other gods replied on their forum "ZOMG noes that wud be OP u suck", and a snarling fight ensued, and the proposed buff to somethings fell through the rift as a house rule that became the MitD.

    I'm not thinking of that like a "planned" next edition monster, so much as a mockery of the general idea of how much more powerful everything always gets in the next edition, and how much of the Snarl revolves around proposing overpowered ideas. Making that joke doesn't require planning out the whole contents of the next edition. It's enough to know there will always be a next edition, and that the next edition will always come with power-ups, and/or the related idea that much of the Snarl is around proposed ideas that are too powerful, like the MitD.

    ----

    As for which somethings, you're probably right that he's not a goblin, but as I said, I think he should be a recognizable creature type.

    The stew clue suggests a humanoid type to me, because it just seems that encounters with goblins, orcs, trolls, or ogres are usually described with them eating stew at their camp, and they usually want to put you in it.

    The "not eating children" clue cancels out a Witch, as in Hansel and Gretel being stewed, but not a Troll, as in Bilbo and the dwarves being stewed.

    The fact that he's in the darkness suggests a Troll too because they turn to stone in the light (in some fantasy realms but not others)

    Trolls are also very large (in some fantasy realms) and known for their strength.

    ----

    Maybe not a troll ... /shrug... I'm just brainstorming and throwing around ideas. I really got into the next edition monster idea so I put detail into it. I have just a couple more unrelated brainstorming efforts trying to think outside the box, or outside the fourth wall as the case may be

    ----

    The MitD isn't just overpowered, he's arbitrarily overpowered. Not even he knows his own powers, he's just mega powerful, and yet not the end boss of the campaign.

    That puts him out of place because of his level of power.

    It seems unlikely he could be from another game, like FF or WoW, because that would be out of cannon IMO.

    Perhaps he's a player? seems to "erfworld"

    That pretty much just leaves the Snarlverse, whatever that is.

    ----

    The "Escape" spell... suppose this is not a spell or racial/class ability... suppose this represents a random encounter's uncanny ability to escape you for no apparent reason sometimes. In this case, MitD has mysteriously bestowed this power on someone else.

    ----

    The SBGH's reaction ...

    I think you have to take it as partially breaking the fourth wall. The Stereotyped Big Game Hunters represent players who want to farm mobs for XP and loot. They perceive MitD as a random encounter, and a random encounter doesn't usually say hello... they might be saying something you don't understand in their native language, as you stumble across their camp, but for them to actually talk... to you... in common... is very unusual.

    The SBGH are the hack and slash players who just want to kill monsters instead of roleplaying a story. If they were WoW players they might have said "WTH is a quest NPC doing here talking to me, when I only came here to farm mobs?" and their DM would say, look this is D&D, not WoW, and we're gonna make a story here, OK? just go with me on this...

    So the hunter says "I didn't expect to see one of those here" because it's a humanoid monster in a rainforest, typically inhabited by beasts.

    ----

    A thought about MitD's father ... he was probably from the previous edition, like Haley's father. So that could be used to explain the size reduction, instead of an extra-dimensional space effect like a bag of holding around the magical darkness, for the same kind of clown car trope.

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    it can't be a dream larva anyway otherwise anybody who saw it (or at least most) would have died on sight. it's a DC 43 Will check I believe to not die instantly

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    My idea that MitD is a next edition monster is a serious guess about a joke of an explanation. Seriously
    Rich's words:
    "I know exactly what the Monster in the Darkness is"
    and
    "something someone else made up"

    Those two sections contradict your entire explanation. He knows exactly what MitD is. Thus, he cannot be some half-guess immaterial abstract concept as a "future edition" creature. And he uses past tense when talking about its creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    I think it's reasonable to assume that MitD's revelation will be a punchline, so I expect his creature type to be a big joke in itself. So I made a serious guess about a joke answer that would make sense and be funny at the same time (universally to any RPG player).
    I fail to see why that would be the case. MitD has now had way too much character development and pathos to be a punchline reveal. The whole point of the watchtower section was to make MitD a serious contender, and so was his encounter with Haley and Belkar. He remains a powerful source of humour, but he cannot be a joke in and of itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyuubi View Post
    it can't be a dream larva anyway otherwise anybody who saw it (or at least most) would have died on sight. it's a DC 43 Will check I believe to not die instantly
    We know that. Thus, from the start it was suggested he is a "younger" version were Rich bends the rules to have a less destructive, more puking effect, which also fits nicely with MitD's personality.

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    There is a world of imagination
    Deep in the corners of your mind
    Where reality is an intruder
    And myth and legend thrive
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Ceterum autem censeo Hilgya malefica est

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    Thanks for reminding me about the Orc island! Of course! duh... I don't know why I didn't remember that. /facepalm
    Welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    While I think it should be something fairly obvious/recognizable, I agree there's no real evidence to suggest "goblin" specifically.
    See, now I don't think he's going to be something obvious/recognizable/universal etc., because if he was, we would have figured it out already. I'm think obscure-ish, but understandable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    The fact that he's in the darkness suggests a Troll too because they turn to stone in the light (in some fantasy realms but not others)
    Which contradicts all his requests to leave the darkness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    A thought about MitD's father ... he was probably from the previous edition, like Haley's father. So that could be used to explain the size reduction, instead of an extra-dimensional space effect like a bag of holding around the magical darkness, for the same kind of clown car trope.
    The darkness hasn't always been magical. He was just sitting in a shady area in the rainforest. It just happened to be dark in the box the Big Game Hunters used to catch him and at the circus. Plus he went out on stage into the light at the circus.

    The rest of the ideas in your post seem way too meta to me, even for OotS. Sorry.
    Done here. Thanks, friends.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Re: Upper bound on MitD's CR
    Xykon's at least in the upper 20's because he has a few epic feats at least. Don't know if an upper bound's been placed on Xykon himself.
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Just a joke thought. MitD is a DMPC. Think of it, all powerful, unstoppable, breaks all the rules of CR and LA. I know, it bends, if not flat out breaks Section 1A. Unless it is a DMPC that appeared in a module or other famous D&D game,(anyone listen to PennyArcade's D&D podcast games?) or even one that appeared in a game where rich was a Player.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    I'm just catching up on the discussion here, and I missed the first thread, so thank you SO much for the organized OP and all the new research and comic links that followed.

    I have several random comments and observations to add, ending with my guess... This is a very long post because I've had 695 strips, and this whole thread above, and the research from its predecessor thread, to build on, and subsequently a lot to say... and lo in days to come when your children come to the smoking ruin that was once this thread... I can cast "sleep" just like V

    ----

    I don't believe the MitD is a "named mob". He can't be any uniquely recognized character with a name like Mickey Mouse or Chuck Norris or Godzilla, not simply for legal reasons, but because he's a unique OOTS character, with his own name: The Monster in the Darkness. His species creature type can be guessed, but not his name.

    Maybe he's a Radioactive T-Rex, but he can't be Godzilla. Maybe he's a giant moth, but he can't be Mothra. Maybe a dragon, but not Smaug. etc.

    ----

    On the child-like nature of MitD: Elan is an adult of his species, but that does not stop him from being child-like, well beyond a realistic level for his physical age. Elan's not a baby, he just acts like one. It's entirely possible (and likely IMO) that the MitD is an adult of his species, but he has a child-like nature.

    ----

    I didn't see any commentary on MitD's alignment. Are there any leading guesses on that? He hangs out with Xykon and Redcloak, but he's a minion that they keep in a cage, so not necessarily lawful evil like they are. He's considered a monster (creature type), but that doesn't automatically grant him an evil alignment. O-Chul calls him a good man. He has a good sense of loyalty, suggesting a good alignment, but he doesn't seem to act like a Lawful character, more like a Neutral or Chaotic. Possibly Neutral/Good? Neutral/Neutral?

    ----

    The idea of guessing MitD's creature type based on his stats and feats strikes me like using O-Chul's list of spells and feats to guess that Xykon is a Lich. Is that the only possible strategy? You could guess that he's a sorcerer (class) of a certain level (what, 20ish?) and get some clues that he's undead, but could it tell you he's a Lich specifically?

    Those are all valuable clues, but I don't think Rich's intent is for the MitD's creature type to be guessed only by those who study arcane tomes of monster manuals.

    In OOTS style it should be something that would be obvious to any RPG player, whether you play more classic D&D or left that behind for WoW (like I did), and I've never heard of a Snorlax, so that suggestion, as close of a guess as it sounds from the description, strikes me as outside the "super cannon" of D&Dish RPGish lore that OOTS draws from, or its too specific. I don't think it could be a Snorlax any more than it could be a Tauren because that's too specific to one particular game, instead of generic enough to be in any and all RPGs.

    The MitD's creature type should be staring us in the face, not buried at the back of a supplement to the first edition rules. Something obvious enough and generic enough that it would be in any fantasy RPG. Something like an Orc.

    ----

    Have there even been any Orcs in OOTS? We see lots and lots of Goblins, but where are the Orcs?

    ----

    Snarl Jr.... no, I agree, for good reasons pointed out above... however...

    Child of the Snarl ... originating out of the Snarl ... is a line of thinking I believe still has merit.

    MitD is central to the story, and his revelation will be a climactic moment. As such, what he is must be related to the central plot of the Snarl and the Gates.

    The end of the most recent book shows us a world within a world behind the snarl. The revelation of what is that world will also be a central plot point. (and Rich speaks to it in the DStP commentary)

    I'm starting to think that MitD is from that other world. That wouldn't make him a baby Snarl (creature type) but that would still make him a metaphorical child of the Snarl.

    ----

    And what is that other world? It's the Snarlverse.
    (this is my guess, I have nothing to back it up except the following reasoning)

    The only word I can think of to describe it is video-gamey: the Snarlverse is the Ootsverse's PTR of unreleased content from the next edition.

    Consider what the Snarl is: the endless argument over "nerf this and buff that" that results in patches to the rules to make newer versions of AD&D 3.5 and 4.0.

    In every session of D&D that I ever played with dice and paper ("table-top" is a bad name for it because my group sat on the floor a lot and rolled on our books instead of the carpet ) it was required in each 8-hour session every sunday that we had to have at least one snarling fight over the rules, aka The Snarl, and our D&D-verse had many Rifts from the official rules (house rules) where the Snarl had torn it apart, just like in OOTS.

    I believe the Snarl and the Rifts are Rich's nod to that ever-present fight over the rules (and indeed, IMO the very existence of RPGs with thick rulebooks are a result of that same fight breaking out between me and my 7 year old friends in the backyard imagination game that always broke into a fight over "hey, you can't do that!". too bad writing a thick rulebook didn't stop our run-away imaginations from creating the Snarl anyway)

    That suggests that the newer world inside the Snarl, the Snarlverse, is the next edition rules as they are still being formed out of that argument.

    The very first episode 1 of OOTS shows the Order being upgraded to the 3.5 rules. The makers of the gates to contain the snarl had access to older edition monsters. Haley's father was a first edition Thief (second edition? either way, an earlier edition). This shows a flow of the rules patches through the Ootsverse as the Snarlverse grows out from inside the world to become the next edition of the Ootsverse.

    The idea that epic long-played PCs from the previous campaign retired to set up powerful gates to defend these Rifts is the perfect way to represent the house rules, rule alterations, or Rule of Plot thing your DM would do for your group's characters when you decide to retire that party and reroll new characters to form The Order of the Stick, and start a whole new campaign with low level characters, under the next edition rules, so you can level up again and not fight exclusively epic level monsters.

    ----

    If MitD is from that other world, then it means he's a newer edition monster.

    At the circus, humans of the Ootsverse behold him as both terrifying and beautiful. As a WoW player looking at unreleased patch notes, I view the new monsters in the same way: both terrifying and beautiful, so powerful, and yet so juicy.

    The humans are looking at a new mob... so hideous, and yet strangely beautiful.

    The goblins in the audience react as if they could be looking at the buffs they can expect in the next patch. They have a nonplussed attitude, with an unsaid "Meh, that looks OK."

    Perhaps that makes him a 4th edition goblin.

    But it was pointed out above that 4th edition wasn't released yet by the earliest date when Rich declared the MitD was a guessable creature type, and as well as for legal reasons, he can't be specifically a WotC 4th edition AD&D Goblin, from page N of the Monster Manual, Copyright (C) 2004. (or whatever)

    Plus Rich would have no way of knowing whether Goblins got a big buff in 4th edition D&D. To say he's a 4th edition goblin is too specific...

    ----

    So I believe he is a Prototype Next Edition Goblin, an outcropping of the Snarl, who fell through a Rift from the Snarlverse into the Ootsverse before his list of feats and stats had been completely finalized, while he was still being debated and play tested.

    One of the gods suggested a buff to goblins that was eaten by the Snarl and spit out a rift to become the MitD.

    That leaves him strongly overpowered, without knowing his own strength, and very immature, with a narrow character definition due to his incompleteness.

    But he's still a goblin: a guessable, recognizable, deceptively obvious, any-RPG creature type.

    ----

    He's a baby in the sense that his definition in the monster manual is as immature as his character. His page in the monster manual is a young baby, but his character sheet says he's an adult. So he acts like a child in OOTS style humor.

    ----

    He's overpowered because everyone in the next edition will be overpowered compared to the current one, no matter which RPG you're talking about, and to make it worse, he's even more overpowered because he's from the PTR... OK it's not WoW, so PTR is the wrong word, but he was still being play-tested, he's like a house rule, or a proposed buff to Goblins, that fell through the Rift, so he's not even remotely fair in the game balance, especially vs. 3.5 PCs that don't have their 4.0 buffs yet.

    The clues in his powers could easily be, not the specific powers themselves, but the overall idea that he's dramatically overpowered. There is ample evidence that's he's overpowered, if you look past the individual abilities he has used, and see the forest for the trees. The individual powers that are easy to focus on as clues and ask "what has X STR value? and >= 3 INT? and can cast Escape? (or whatever spell that was)" and so on could be red herrings in front of the bigger idea that he's obviously very overpowered to be in the same game with characters like the Order and Xykon.

    Don't forget that Ootsverse is a game world, and on the question of MitD's challenge rating, a minion can't be harder than the end-boss, so Xykon's CR is an upper bound for MitD, because the Order will have to pass through MitD to get to Xykon eventually. There's evidence described above with good reasoning that MitD's CR should be >= 27 (to compare with the silver dragon), but isn't Xykon's CR less than that? I haven't read any of the Xykon's level guessing threads recently, but I vaguely recall the leading theory is that he's about level 20, which makes his CR 20, right? The specific number doesn't matter for my reasoning here as long as Xykon is considered less powerful than the silver dragon.

    The loophole for this would be that in the next edition rules, MitD has a very low CR (vs. 4.0 PCs), but being from the next edition, his (low) CR is out of scale for the current rule set, so Xykon gets to control him as a minion on a technicality, because on paper it says his CR is only 3 or something (vs. PCs from 4.0)

    ----

    Redcloak knows what MitD is because he understands the nature of the Snarl. He can recognize the future in MitD and from that alone knows the MitD could kill them all. (Note that Redcloak also wants Goblins to be equally respected to PCs, maybe as a playable race, and I think that's also significant in all this)

    Xykon also knows, and says (lazy misquoting) "nothing is as scary in that tower as you are, or at least as you SHOULD be," because Xykon is the type of arch villain who commands legions of goblins, and so of course he believes the next edition goblin should be more powerful, no matter how overpowered the MitD already is. Whether he's a Goblin or something else, to Xykon, he's a Next Edition Minion.

    MitD doesn't know what he is because he's incomplete.

    ----

    MitD's father was as big, maybe bigger... I'm thinking his father was another unreleased version of a next edition goblin within the Snarl, even bigger and more overpowered than the MitD, before they nerfed him (but not enough yet).

    ----

    Diet, and love for Stew... his incomplete definition in the unreleased next edition monster manual says his creature type eats stew... a common humanoid monster definition kind of thing to say IMO especially for something like a goblin, orc, troll, or ogre. But the gods in the Snarl didn't get past that yet, since they're still arguing over his stats and powers, so as a Snarlverse creature type which has not yet been flushed out completely into a full Ootsverse creature type, he isn't motivated to do other things that haven't been defined for him yet. He just loves to eat lots of stew.

    That incompleteness makes his character narrow (in such a deep and wonderful way) and I could totally see Rich poking fun at how humanoid monster types like that are always eating stew.

    ----

    He speaks, and he speaks common... He speaks common because he's going to be a playable race in the next edition... this explains why the SBGH are surprised he speaks common (instead of goblin). It could also explain why they're surprised he speaks at all, because enemy goblins don't usually say anything when you roll a random encounter, they just attack you.

    But the Order are never surprised that every goblin they run into speaks, and speaks common... so maybe that's a bad way of interpreting the whole "speaks common" clue.

    ----

    MitD doesn't want to be looked at ... because the developers of the next edition of every game always want to keep the next edition secret as long as possible. They will put it on display briefly in limited ways, but they want to keep it from being too open, or too many details leaked too early. MitD's self consciousness at the circus could be Rich poking fun at how the unreleased content itself feels about being put on display before it's ready.

    ----

    Putting it in the nice organized form of previous leading guesses...

    Mitd is an Unreleased Next Edition Goblin
    (or: Child of the Snarl, or: Goblin of the Snarlverse)

    Pros:
    • Human size
    • Recognizable creature type
    • Guessable
    • Overpowered
      • Could have any spell or ability, i.e. Escape could be a new racial ability for 4th edition Goblins, or he could have a Wish ability, or anything
      • Strength stat is too high because the buffs haven't been properly adjusted yet
      • Can't be hurt by weak 3.5 characters who haven't been buffed to 4.0 rules yet
    • Explains the crowd's reaction at the circus
      • Humans see a next edition mob... horrifying, yet strangely beautiful
      • Goblins see their next edition buffs... unspoken "meh, looks ok"
    • Doesn't know his own strength because nobody has played his creature type before because he's new, unreleased content
    • Child-like nature reflects the age of his definition in the monster manual, as opposed to the age on his character sheet
    • Literate in Common because the Next Edition will allow Goblin as a playable race
    • Breaks the Fourth Wall and crosses the line between original OOTS and generic RPG creature types, in OOTS style
    • Not native to Rainforests
    • Eats stew
    • Doesn't like people looking at him: Unreleased content is kept secret and doesn't like people looking at it any more than its developers do.

    Cons:
    • Too much Rule of Funny: These explanations for all the spells and feats is too easy since goblins don't normally have this level of strength and magic (wouldn't that cheapness fit well though?)
    • The SBGH wouldn't be surprised that he speaks, only that he speaks common instead of goblin (and the Order are never surprised that goblins regularly speak common)


    ----

    LOL so this occurred to me while I was editing my guess above, and I hesitate to posit this as my official guess instead of goblin, but MAYBE... it has to be suggested as a joke at least...

    Building more on the connection between Elan and MitD, IIRC Rich has said that Elan will be the central protagonist to receive the happy ending (as opposed to Roy)

    What if the MitD is the unreleased next edition Elan?! No no, not the real final 4th edition Elan, but the gods' rejected proposal for how to fix Elan's class, by giving him super strength and Wish powers, a proposal that was eaten by the Snarl and spit out through a Rift to become the MitD.

    It would be fitting if the last page shows them upgrading to 4th edition, since the first page showed them upgrading to 3.5. The MitD and Elan could merge into one as Elan grows into these powers, becoming super powerful, after being mocked for his ineffectiveness for the previous thousand pages.

    MitD would be an empty shell then waiting for Elan's soul to become him, sort of like when Doctor Who met his next regeneration back around the 6th or 7th doctor, and then regenerated into becoming him.

    MitD is Future Elan
    with unreleased Next Edition class buffs

    Pros:
    • Explains childlike behavior
    • Ties together numerous plot points
    • Most of the pros from the "next edition goblin" idea

    Cons:
    • Elan loves performing and being watched, unlike MitD
    • Elan isn't known for his love of stew
    • Doesn't explain the SBGH's reaction
    • MitD has never used any of Elan's running gags, such as invisibility through nakedness, or a fourth-wall-breaking understanding of Rich's writing style
    sorry to burst your bubble, but it cant be a goblin
    other goblins were laughing at him in a cage

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quoting the whole long post to add two lines?
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    I've only quotes part of Ris' post as it was quite long. I'll try to make sure I don't quote anything out of context:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    (snip)
    I didn't see any commentary on MitD's alignment. Are there any leading guesses on that? He hangs out with Xykon and Redcloak, but he's a minion that they keep in a cage, so not necessarily lawful evil like they are. He's considered a monster (creature type), but that doesn't automatically grant him an evil alignment. O-Chul calls him a good man. He has a good sense of loyalty, suggesting a good alignment, but he doesn't seem to act like a Lawful character, more like a Neutral or Chaotic. Possibly Neutral/Good? Neutral/Neutral?
    There was some discussion in the last thread about it, specifically around the idea that MitD is being "redeemed" by O'Chul after being "corrupted" by Xykon and Redcloak. I my opinion, a true neutral or chaotic neutral alignment fits best with this. However I don't think we can rule out ANY alignment for his species. Even a monster species that is "always" a certain alignment is allowed to have one or two exceptional individuals who have a differing alignment. There is a section in the 3.5 monster manual that explains "always" and "usually" in terms of their use describing D&D alignments. It's not the strict dictionary definition of always.

    I do think though that it tends to suggest that he isn't certain types of creatures that are "always" extremely good. Celstials, especially a Solar comes to mind. If he was (say) a Solar, while he would have a high CR and have Wish, aside from any other concerns, it doesn't fit well with him being a sympathetic character if he rejects his celestial alignment and naively becomes indifferent to very evil acts going on around him. It also lessens the achievement of O'Chul redeeming him... if that is what O'Chul achieved.

    The idea of guessing MitD's creature type based on his stats and feats strikes me like using O-Chul's list of spells and feats to guess that Xykon is a Lich. Is that the only possible strategy? You could guess that he's a sorcerer (class) of a certain level (what, 20ish?) and get some clues that he's undead, but could it tell you he's a Lich specifically?
    Certainly when I spent some time looking through monster manuals I did look for creatures with sorcerer ability because cleric, druid and wizard were all pretty much impossible. Aside from the fact that he can't create undead, he really doesn't seem to behave like a creature should if it had either 19 wisdom (cleric / druid) or 19 Intelligence (Wizard), which would be necessary to cast either Miracle or Wish. Also, it's hard to believe he could be unaware of his powers if he spends an hour every day studying arcane writings from a spell book. Sorcerer was the only class ability that seemed to fit with being able to cast wish, to enable the "escape" ability. This might not be an accurate assumption, but in order to narrow my search, I chose to accept the idea that he either had 18+ levels of Sorcerer, or he had wish as a spell like ability. This is part of why I spent quite a bit of time looking at the Dread Linnorm and Prismatic Dragon.

    Unlike Xykon who had his class levels as a human and became a lich, I'm assuming that MitD has class levels in Sorcerer as a part of his species abilities. Now it's possible that MitD is a goblin who has somehow gained 18+ levels of sorcerer and then had his memory wiped to forget the experiences, but not loose the XP and class levels..... I just don't think that's really in the spirit of Rich saying "it is possible to guess" what MitD is. Again, that may not be valid... but it's an assumption I'm personally going with for now.

    Those are all valuable clues, but I don't think Rich's intent is for the MitD's creature type to be guessed only by those who study arcane tomes of monster manuals.
    This bothered me too. The Dread Linnorm is pretty obscure. The prismatic Dragon perhaps a little less so, because dragons generally are iconic, arguably the most iconic monsters in dungeons and dragons.

    However if you believe that MitD is a monster that's extremely well known to all D&D players, then the obvious question is, why are we having this debate ? Assuming Rich hasn't deliberately mislead us in a really "unfair" way, if it were an "obvious" or "iconic" monster, we would most likely have ended this thread months ago.

    Rich knows that some of his audience are D&D geeks. I've never actually played 3rd or 3.5 edition, but I am geeky enough to borrow the source books off a friend and read through all the CR 20+ monsters I can find. Now I agree that a LOT of people who read the comic would not be motivated to do that. Perhaps they have real lives or something :-) However not every joke and every reference in OOTS is designed to be "layman friendly". The identity of MitD might well be something really obsure.... or of course there is the other theory that it's not a D&D monster at all and it's something from popular culture. The "Snorlax" from Pokemon being a good example.


    In OOTS style it should be something that would be obvious to any RPG player, whether you play more classic D&D or left that behind for WoW (like I did), and I've never heard of a Snorlax, so that suggestion, as close of a guess as it sounds from the description, strikes me as outside the "super cannon" of D&Dish RPGish lore that OOTS draws from, or its too specific. I don't think it could be a Snorlax any more than it could be a Tauren because that's too specific to one particular game, instead of generic enough to be in any and all RPGs.
    Yes, I'd never heard of Snorlax either. I have no interest in pokemon myself (not trying to say it's not a good thing, just not personally for me). But I know Rich has parodied it a few times, so I went and looked it up in Wikipedia when it was suggested. I'd be really disappointed personally if he is Snorlax, but you can't argue with the evidence.

    The MitD's creature type should be staring us in the face, not buried at the back of a supplement to the first edition rules. Something obvious enough and generic enough that it would be in any fantasy RPG. Something like an Orc.
    Maybe..... but I think this argument is based on the way you imagine that Rich is trying to make guessing MitD easily accessible to ALL his audiance. He might be trying to do that, but I don't think that is the case. There is a huge range of the level of knowledge of D&D across Rich's audiance. There are people in the gaming part of the forum who know the rules for every edition inside and out, they know a LOT more than I do. I'm not certain it's possible to have all parts of OOTS appeal to all levels of gamer at once. I think there are jokes and references in there to appeal to everyone and then a few bits that you really have to have some gaming knowledge to appreciate. This *might* be one of those.

    (snip)
    Child of the Snarl ... originating out of the Snarl ... is a line of thinking I believe still has merit.

    MitD is central to the story, and his revelation will be a climactic moment. As such, what he is must be related to the central plot of the Snarl and the Gates.
    I just can't take a snarl / snarl jr / avatar of the snarl / snarlella / etc theory really seriously. I mean there is a LOT of thematic merit to it. That's probably why it's been proposes so many times.

    The big problem as we keep coming back to are Rich's words in War and Xps. I won't re-quote them here, because Grey Wolf posted them neatly at the start of this new thread.

    So sorry, I just don't give this serious consideration. It's fun, but it's almost certainly wrong.

    The end of the most recent book shows us a world within a world behind the snarl. The revelation of what is that world will also be a central plot point. (and Rich speaks to it in the DStP commentary)
    I don't have DStp yet, I look forward to reading this !

    I'm starting to think that MitD is from that other world. That wouldn't make him a baby Snarl (creature type) but that would still make him a metaphorical child of the Snarl.
    Whether he is a metaphorical child or a literal child, I'd suggest that either of those would be something Rich has made up, since he made up the snarl. Therefore I don't think this can be correct.


    I believe the Snarl and the Rifts are Rich's nod to that ever-present fight over the rules (and indeed, IMO the very existence of RPGs with thick rulebooks are a result of that same fight breaking out between me and my 7 year old friends in the backyard imagination game that always broke into a fight over "hey, you can't do that!". too bad writing a thick rulebook didn't stop our run-away imaginations from creating the Snarl anyway)
    Rich actually did say something like this in one of the commentaries. I think it might have been in No Cure for the Paladin Blues. It's whichever book contains the crayons of time sequence. The thing is, I don't think that this really have any bearing on the identity of MitD.

    The very first episode 1 of OOTS shows the Order being upgraded to the 3.5 rules. The makers of the gates to contain the snarl had access to older edition monsters. Haley's father was a first edition Thief (second edition? either way, an earlier edition).
    First Edition. I played those a few times :-)

    If MitD is from that other world, then it means he's a newer edition monster.
    I think another poster has covered this and you did address it yourself later in your post, but Rich says he has known what MitD is since about strip 100. Hence in the summary at the start of this thread it's believed that MitD can't be a monster that's been created after around 2004.

    I would suggest that if there is a monster that's JUST in 4th edition D&D, MitD can't be that monster. This of course assumes Rich didn't have a preview version of 4th Edition several years in advance. I think Rich said earlier this year in the news page that he didn't get to see 4th edition until it was published.

    You suggest that he could be a prototype..... I guess that could maybe fit. Are you suggesting he is the concept of being a prototype ? Dosn't really seem to fit to me, but I can't prove it wrong.

    He's a baby in the sense that his definition in the monster manual is as immature as his character. His page in the monster manual is a young baby, but his character sheet says he's an adult. So he acts like a child in OOTS style humor.
    Interesting idea. Not sure I'm on board, but creative idea nonetheless.


    He's overpowered because everyone in the next edition will be overpowered compared to the current one, no matter which RPG you're talking about, and to make it worse, he's even more overpowered because he's from the PTR... OK it's not WoW, so PTR is the wrong word, but he was still being play-tested, he's like a house rule, or a proposed buff to Goblins, that fell through the Rift, so he's not even remotely fair in the game balance, especially vs. 3.5 PCs that don't have their 4.0 buffs yet.
    I just don't see Rich creating this several years ahead of 4th edition. I mean I know the guy plans ahead a LOT and he is a big fan of foreshadowing, but I think this is unlikely. Again though, I can't prove you wrong, it's possible.

    Don't forget that Ootsverse is a game world, and on the question of MitD's challenge rating, a minion can't be harder than the end-boss, so Xykon's CR is an upper bound for MitD, because the Order will have to pass through MitD to get to Xykon eventually. There's evidence described above with good reasoning that MitD's CR should be >= 27 (to compare with the silver dragon), but isn't Xykon's CR less than that? I haven't read any of the Xykon's level guessing threads recently, but I vaguely recall the leading theory is that he's about level 20, which makes his CR 20, right? The specific number doesn't matter for my reasoning here as long as Xykon is considered less powerful than the silver dragon.
    We don't really know what level Xykon is, but I've heard theories it's 26+. He must have epic spellcasting. I forget the specifics, but there were other epic feats he had that meant he needed to have 4 epic feats in total. A Sorcerer would get an epic feat at 21st level, then another (class based) at 23, then another at 24 and a 4th epic feat at level 26. I'm not on firm ground here as I can't remember the argument, but it was somewhere in a class and level geekery thread. I must confess that when I read it, I didn't know much about 3.5 edition D&D and I might have misunderstood some of it.

    Even if we assume Xykon is only level 21 (must be as Roy says in strip 532). It's possible that he has a monster in his thrall who is a higher CR than his level.

    However I have spent some time thinking about this and it does make me wonder if a creature who has different age categories might make sense here. This leads me back to Prismatic Dragon of course.

    My reasoning is that MitD is currently in a young age category and at the minute has a lower CR than Xykon. However Xykon and Redcloak recognise the potential of MitD to eventually become more powerful. This fits well with any creature that has different age categories with stats posted for each of the ages, not just dragons.

    (considerable snip)

    MitD would be an empty shell then waiting for Elan's soul to become him, sort of like when Doctor Who met his next regeneration back around the 6th or 7th doctor, and then regenerated into becoming him.
    You are referring to part 4 of the serial "logopolis" where the entity called "The Watcher" merges with the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) during his regeneration in to the 5th Doctor (Peter Davidson). The watcher was a sort of "Ghost in advance" of the 5th Doctors existence.

    I'd never considered MitD might be a time lord ! :-)

    Ok, but I seriously don't think Elan is some kind of future echo of MitD or vice-versa. It's a very clever idea, but I don't buy it.

    Interesting ideas all the way though and a great post. I'm not sure I agree with much of it, but it's made me think of things I'd never considered before, so I really appreciate that.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    I still think it might be one of these: http://www.enworld.org/cc/converted/...reatureID=1061

    Taking the outline's points, in order:

    1a -Date) Pass. Created in 1990 (published in Dungeon Magazine).
    1a -Speech) Pass. Typically intelligent enough to be able to communicate, but of too alien a mindset to be understood. If this one is slightly less alien than most, it could communicate, but would seem odd and unnatural, which it does.
    1a -Location) Pass. Typically only found on material plane as eggs or juveniles, returning to home plane after they reach adulthood. As such, finding one anywhere in the MP would be unusual, and even juveniles are scarce.
    1a -Crowd reactions) Push. Very strange appearance (basically a giant space clam with tentacles that shoot fire). Not really horrible, as such, but since it's basically built out of phallic symbols, crowd responses might be plausible if they've got dirty minds.
    1a -Redcloak) Pass. CR 18, definitely a tough hombre. Their existence is documented, so Redcloak could plausibly have read about them, but they're unusual enough that a man-on-the-street might not.
    1b - Legal) Push. Would be fair use, so would need to be presented as a joke, which is consistent with the portrayal so far.

    2a -Age) Push. The description doesn't really say how long they live, though as a gargantuan extraplanar, "long" is probably a safe bet. Their rate of growth is determined by the amount of energy they ingest, and their duration in the material plane is determined by their physical maturity so if the MITD was kept fairly hungry, it could plausibly have been here for as long as needed.
    2a -Appearance) Pass. See 1a -Crowd reactions.
    2a -Body) Pass. Has a physical body.
    2a -Diet) Pass, with flying colors. Draknors are always hungry, constantly eating, and will eat nearly anything. Plus, they derive energy from the heat of their food rather than its nutritional content, and on several occasions the MITD expresses a preference for hot foods or a dislike for cold ones.
    2a -Eyes) Push. Has numerous eyestalks, but might only be projecting two out of the shadow at any given time.
    2a -Gender) Pass. They lay eggs, and as such presumably come in male and female varieties.
    2a -Limbs) Pass. Has limbs (i.e. tentacles and claws). Would leave odd, hard-to-identify tracks from tentacles that were either dragged along the ground or thrust up through it.
    2a -Maturity) Pass. All draknors in the MP are juveniles, explaining its immaturity.
    2a -Size) Weak push. Draknors are immense (and immobile), but the bulk of their bodies are underground. It could be pushing tentacles and eyestalks up through the ground from some distance away, and using those to hold the umbrella and "look" out from under it.
    2a -Sleep) Push, unknown. The description doesn't say whether or not they sleep.

    2b -Attack) Pass. Has 35 strength and the "Awesome Blow" feat, so it's definitely capable of hitting opponents hard and knocking them through the air.
    2b -Defense) Pass. Has epic damage reduction.
    2b -Earth Cracking) Pass. Has the ability to project an Earthquake Strike from the ends of its tentacles, possibly explaining the ground's collapse in #477.
    2b -O'Chul's Escape) Fail. Can't cast spells, has no "Wish" ability or anything like it. Though to be fair, we don't explicitly know that the escape was caused by the MITD, or that it doesn't have some magical item with the necessary abilities.
    2b -Psionics) Pass. Not psionic.
    2b -Rain) Fail. As per 2b -O'Chul's Escape.
    2b -Raising Undead) Pass. Has no ability to raise undead, but does have a physical body that could presumably be raised.
    2b -Speech) Pass. Intelligent enough to speak, but generally do not do so.
    2b -Shout) Fail. Has no shouting-related ability, and no Frightful Presence. Maybe just really angry in that panel?

    2c -Categories). Pass. Not a construct, deity, elemental, ooze, plant, or undead.
    2c -Environment). Pass. Would be rare to find anywhere, including a rain forest.
    2c -Family). Pass. As a juvenile, it would be smaller and less "hungry" than its parents.
    2c -Knowledge of MITD). Pass. Pretty obscure - rare in-world, and I'd certainly never heard of it before I started investigating possibilities.
    2c -Species). Pass. Part of a known species.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Immunity to mind-affecting effects is listed in special qualities for it, though
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    The big one for me is that it doesn't at all fit being able to teleport O-Chul and Vaarsuvius away. If it doesn't explain that, I'd throw it out.
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    This, in a nutshell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    The big one for me is that it doesn't at all fit being able to teleport O-Chul and Vaarsuvius away. If it doesn't explain that, I'd throw it out.
    This and the can't speak common should be the big ones IMO.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
    2a -Size) Weak push. Draknors are immense (and immobile), but the bulk of their bodies are underground. It could be pushing tentacles and eyestalks up through the ground from some distance away, and using those to hold the umbrella and "look" out from under it.
    IMO, epic fail. since we've seen MitD on the upper stories of tall buildings, far far away from the ground. And lifted off of the ground. and fly.
    Last edited by Forbiddenwar; 2009-12-28 at 01:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moogleking View Post
    This and the can't speak common should be the big ones IMO.
    Common shouldn't be a problem - Draknors are intelligent, they just don't talk for their own reasons. Either they don't think like humans and so can't speak their languages (which being raised by humanoids could fix) or they just don't care to (which being raised by humanoids could fix). The other dealbreakers still apply.
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Just got SoD for Christmas, and I noticed something interesting about the MitD that doesn't appear to have been noted in the thread's summary.

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    When Redcloak is making off with the MitD's circus car (which, by the way, nullifies the Draknor thing if the bulk of their immense bodies are underground), MitD attempts to hook a bucket of stew with an unknown implement. It's possible he's using a stick or something that was inside his cage, but if not, what is this appendage? It's too thick to be a generic OotS stick arm, but it's like a weird little cylinder thing which he can manipulate.

    Similarly, after Xykon's victory over Dorukan, the MitD offers Redcloak a plate of tacos during his little fiesta thing with the cockroaches. How is he holding this? There are little bars in the cage window, through which he is somehow able to hold out a large platter. So, then, he's either somehow telekinetic, or his limbs are thin enough to fit through the bars of his cage- an issue also present in his attempted grabbing of the stew.


    So one thing the front page hasn't mentioned is that whatever appendage or ability to manipulate objects the MitD has, it can fit through or manipulate outside of the bars of a small window. I'm not sure how significant this is, but hopefully it can fan the candle flame a bit.
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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by TVTMaster View Post
    Just got SoD for Christmas, and I noticed something interesting about the MitD that doesn't appear to have been noted in the thread's summary.

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    When Redcloak is making off with the MitD's circus car (which, by the way, nullifies the Draknor thing if the bulk of their immense bodies are underground), MitD attempts to hook a bucket of stew with an unknown implement. It's possible he's using a stick or something that was inside his cage, but if not, what is this appendage? It's too thick to be a generic OotS stick arm, but it's like a weird little cylinder thing which he can manipulate.

    Similarly, after Xykon's victory over Dorukan, the MitD offers Redcloak a plate of tacos during his little fiesta thing with the cockroaches. How is he holding this? There are little bars in the cage window, through which he is somehow able to hold out a large platter. So, then, he's either somehow telekinetic, or his limbs are thin enough to fit through the bars of his cage- an issue also present in his attempted grabbing of the stew.


    So one thing the front page hasn't mentioned is that whatever appendage or ability to manipulate objects the MitD has, it can fit through or manipulate outside of the bars of a small window. I'm not sure how significant this is, but hopefully it can fan the candle flame a bit.
    It is not explicitly stated, but we have gone through it several times. The fact remains that first and foremost, he is a Monster in the Darkness, and thus Rich doesn't show any part of him, even when his hand could be shown. It easily fits into the minimalistic style of the comic (where limbs are black lines), and little can be read into it. It is, however, the foundation for the idea that he may be psionic (and as such it is mentioned in the psionic tab).

    About the circus: I think what the strange cylinder you speak of is one of the rivets of the cage, but I don't have the books with me at the moment, so I cannot check. It is, however, a point against psionics, as far as I can tell, since a psionic creature wouldn't need to rock the box to hold the bucket, it would only levitate it to the bars.

    Edit: also, don't bother spoilering SoD stuff. that's what I put a big spoiler in the first page. Anyone here, wanting to discuss MitD, has to deal with the fact that almost all the clues come from SoD. If they don't want the spoilers, they shouldn't be in this thread at all.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Interesting ideas all the way though and a great post. I'm not sure I agree with much of it, but it's made me think of things I'd never considered before, so I really appreciate that.
    That's what I was going for most of all, so cool Thanks for all the feedback on my post, you've given me a lot of interesting stuff to think about too.

    After rereading all the MitD strips mentioned in the useful links section of the OP, of course now I want to go back to SoD to review more, but I'm on vacation this week and left that book at home, so it'll have to wait. But I wanted to say 2 more things.

    ---

    1. When I posted above that MitD is arbitrarily overpowered... I no longer agree with my own statement. I see repeated indication that he has very high strength and very low intellect, which screams melee class, in caricature, as opposed to any kind of caster class.

    He casts 2 spells, or spell-like abilities, "Stop" and "Escape". I think the "Stop" can be explained by high strength, and not actually a spell effect, just a booming voice. Escape is harder to pin down, but I still lean towards the idea that it's a generic ability of any random encounter to escape, not strictly a spell, but... /shrug. I honestly don't know.

    ---

    2. I took a good hard look at strip 651 "two eyes in the dark" named for the MitD and the rules of Go, and I believe the Go board layout in that strip is a very significant clue.

    In Go rules, a point on the board that is completely surrounded by the same color is called an "eye" and is considered that color's territory. 2 eyes in adjacent areas that are controlled by the same color make that region of the board uncapturable. O-Chul gives some metaphorical exposition about this idea of MitD being surrounded by enemies, but not captured.

    If you look at the Go board, like from 5 feet away from your computer screen, it resembles a humanoid figure of stick figure art, converted to pointalism, and black and white, and probably color-inverted because the outline is white and the body is black. (which is also because O-Chul is winning the game)

    Going with the idea that the go board layout is a representation of what MitD looks like...

    The two eyes in the dark are in the middle/front of the face (as opposed to sitting atop the ends of eye stalks) and it looks like a humanoid figure that reminds me somewhat of an Ootsverse Kobold. It seems to have 2 ears or horns that stick up over its head. And some kind of hunch back or hump (maybe?). And 2 legs / basically overall a humanoid figure.

  23. - Top - End - #173
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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    You are referring to part 4 of the serial "logopolis" where the entity called "The Watcher" merges with the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) during his regeneration in to the 5th Doctor (Peter Davidson). The watcher was a sort of "Ghost in advance" of the 5th Doctors existence.
    OMG I can't believe you knew what I was talking about, and that specifically! Wow you rule!

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    I see repeated indication that he has very high strength and very low intellect, which screams melee class, in caricature, as opposed to any kind of caster class.
    Correction: high strength, high intelligence (picks up Go quickly), low wisdom. The "beautiful" comment in the circus may indicate high Charisma, which is a major support of the sorcerer-like abilities (dread linnorm).

    However, since he is Epic, all his attributes, more likely than not, are in the upper 20s and above, and he is this na´ve simply due to plot/characterisation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    He casts 2 spells, or spell-like abilities, "Stop" and "Escape". I think the "Stop" can be explained by high strength, and not actually a spell effect, just a booming voice. Escape is harder to pin down, but I still lean towards the idea that it's a generic ability of any random encounter to escape, not strictly a spell, but... /shrug. I honestly don't know.
    Actually, there are at least one more spell-like abilities: he also breaks the ground in what looks like an earthquake-like effect, and may or may not have caused rain (I lean towards "no", but I can see it as a subtle clue). But I should add that I think his shout is unlikely as it is to be an actual effect, and rather more a reflection that the mild-mannered MitD has a bit of a temper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    2. I took a good hard look at strip 651 "two eyes in the dark" named for the MitD and the rules of Go, and I believe the Go board layout in that strip is a very significant clue.
    Oh my Zeus, I had hoped we were past the "I see clues in Go" stage. I believe it was Nerdanel who most spoused the idea that the Go board is an image of Tarrasque, although I vaguely remember it mentioned in the strip's daily thread at the time, too. I think it is pulling at straws, if nothing else because I cannot for the life of me see anything, no matter how much I close up, or stand far, or squint my eyes. Sorry. That said, don't let that discourage you - it just won't be a rational argument, since that barely counts as "evidence".

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    OMG I can't believe you knew what I was talking about, and that specifically! Wow you rule!
    Friendly reminder: don't double post, it's against the board rules. Edit and add it to your previous post, instead.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    okay everything i have seen supports my theory, i think it has something to do with the tarrasque... think about it... his dad was BIG and they are both always hungry, the tarrasque is the most powerful monster ever, not to pretty and not to smart either.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by cybernerd223 View Post
    okay everything i have seen supports my theory, i think it has something to do with the tarrasque...
    Not "your" theory, since it has been proposed over 20 times before

    Quote Originally Posted by cybernerd223 View Post
    think about it... his dad was BIG and they are both always hungry, the tarrasque is the most powerful monster ever, not to pretty and not to smart either.
    Please see the first post of the thread, section 3b.

    Also, please be aware that Tarrasque is not "the most powerful monster ever". At CR 20, it's not even epic.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    The basic Tarrasque is unworkable for the MitD for several good reasons. The only way to make the Tarrasque idea work and take advantage from the undeniable Tarrasque-like features the MitD has is to add several templates on top of a Tarrasque.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    One other bit of data: MitD speaks black on white. Dragons, Elementals, Fey, Outsiders and Undead don't. Humanoids, Magical Beasts and Aberrations do (though there haven't been enough aberrations to say for sure). Giants do, but with bold text. I don't recall any monstrous humanoids in the strip, so we don't know their bubbles. The other types aren't capable of doing the things MitD does. This might narrow things down a bit.

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdanel View Post
    The basic Tarrasque is unworkable for the MitD for several good reasons. The only way to make the Tarrasque idea work and take advantage from the undeniable Tarrasque-like features the MitD has is to add several templates on top of a Tarrasque.
    Still doesn't work. No amount of template stacking can explain the Wish ability

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    Default Re: MitD II: Lighting a candle in the Darkness

    Quote Originally Posted by cybernerd223 View Post
    okay everything i have seen supports my theory, i think it has something to do with the tarrasque... think about it... his dad was BIG and they are both always hungry, the tarrasque is the most powerful monster ever, not to pretty and not to smart either.
    Hi Cybernerd223, welcome to this thread. You might not be aware that this thread is the second one about MitD. There are actually 50 pages of a previous thread discussing what MitD might be.

    Grey Wolf spent a HUGE amount of time and effort summarising the consensus of the last thread in to the first post of this new thread. You might like to consider reviewing his summary as it's a superb primer on what has been discussed before. Just go to the first page of this thread and read the very first post.

    The Tarrasque has been debated many, many times. There are certainly some arguments in favour of it, but as Grey Wolf and others pointed out in response to your post, there are some key aspects of MitD abilities that a "pure" Tarrasque can't explain.

    Template stacking on top of the Tarraque has been proposed too, but as Forbiddenwar states, there are some problems there too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forbiddenwar View Post
    Still doesn't work. No amount of template stacking can explain the Wish ability
    I know we some people have spent a lot of time researching templates and I haven't, so apologies if this is a dumb question - but is there a template that grants either Miracle or Limited Wish.

    I don't know if Limited wish could be powerful enough to account for "Escape", but if there is a template which grants it, it might be worth considering. I know Miracle would suggest the intercession of a deity, but if it's a spell like ability it might not imply that MitD knows about the deity or prays to it like a cleric does.

    If there is a template that grants either of these, I would give more serious consideration to a template stacking option for MitD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ris View Post
    OMG I can't believe you knew what I was talking about, and that specifically! Wow you rule!
    Thanks. I'm a bit of a Scifi geek and growing up in the UK, I remember watching Tom Baker regenerate in 1981. It was a big deal because he had played the Doctor for 7 years and only being 7 years old at the time, it was the first regeneration I'd ever seen. Also being 7, I didn't mind how little of the story made sense either :-)

    So now I guess we need to consider the idea that MitD is a Dalek, Cyberman or even The Master. After all The Master is well known for disguising himself as people even when it makes no sense in the plot of the story. He might well disguise himself as the MitD for almost 700 strips just because he feels like it :-)
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