A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Dandelion View Post
    Hey, thanks for clarifying! Any chance we can get Word of Giant on the spell explicitly being Epic? I thought it was, but it's gotten a little heated for some reason.
    It's not Epic, it's simply a 9th-level illusion—since there aren't many 9th-level illusions in core, there's conceptual room for one that is pretty heavy-hitting that would still be way above anything Eugene ever tried. My closest rules-based analogy was Microcosm, which is a 9th level psionic power. This spell doesn't seem to have a hit point limit, but it does offer a possible means of escape through internal realization. Because, you know, story.

    I don't see Girard as having taken the Epic Spellcasting feat, simply because that was more Dorukan's shtick. And as a multi-class ranger/sorcerer, he would have gotten access to it later and he's not really the type to spend all his time studying (when he could be out "recruiting" his defensive team). But I don't think it's necessary for it to be explicitly Epic to be "really powerful." We're getting to the point where the difference between the high-level OOTS and the low-epic Order of the Scribble is mostly one of degrees anyway.
    Rich Burlew


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  2. - Top - End - #332
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    There is no obligation for the DM to throw random undead encounters at PCs, and certainly no rule that states every campaign world is equally undead-heavy.

    That said, I have never gotten the impression that undead are rare in the OotS universe. Xykon the living sorcerer had never heard of a lich when Redcloak mentioned them, but no one in the Order went, "Wait, a what?" when Elan called Xykon a mad lich.

    I never understand when people assert that magic should be more restricted than technology.
    What was Soon and his Ghost Martyr's if not post-singularity uploads?

    For that matter, what is Xykon but that?

  3. - Top - End - #333
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    It's not Epic, it's simply a 9th-level illusion—since there aren't many 9th-level illusions in core, there's conceptual room for one that is pretty heavy-hitting that would still be way above anything Eugene ever tried. My closest rules-based analogy was Microcosm, which is a 9th level psionic power. This spell doesn't seem to have a hit point limit, but it does offer a possible means of escape through internal realization. Because, you know, story.

    I don't see Girard as having taken the Epic Spellcasting feat, simply because that was more Dorukan's shtick. And as a multi-class ranger/sorcerer, he would have gotten access to it later and he's not really the type to spend all his time studying (when he could be out "recruiting" his defensive team). But I don't think it's necessary for it to be explicitly Epic to be "really powerful." We're getting to the point where the difference between the high-level OOTS and the low-epic Order of the Scribble is mostly one of degrees anyway.

    Awesome. I was figuring an arcane Microcosm-like, but had thought it might be souped up a bit (given the Order's level and HP) to be a low-epic version.

    Not too far off, at least.
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    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbofinger View Post
    An illusion of self-destruction, followed by an illusion of an uncontained rift, would be clever. More clever than smart but maybe that's Girard. "Nothing to see here..."
    OK.

    So this book ends with Girard's gate going Krakakow! The Order goes to Kraagor's Gate. Things go south there, and THAT gate goes Krakakow! too.

    Everyone wets themselves, thinking the world is about to end. Redcloak is in despair at having failed his god. Xykon shrugs.

    And then....

    Nothing. Bupkiss.

    Because it turns out Girard's Gate was never destroyed, and has been functional the whole time, and everyone was fooled by the illusion. For 300+ comics.

    An illusion which isn't even Epic, because sometimes it isn't how powerful you make an illusion that counts, but just how you make it.

    I suspect the Giant is not quite sadistic enough to pull something like THAT off, but imagine....
    Last edited by Amphiox; 2013-06-11 at 09:56 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #335
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    For those of you busy arguing about the meaning of "proof" upthread, just one question:

    Which concept of proof are you using?

    Scientific?

    Legal?

    Philosophic?

    Mathematical?

  6. - Top - End - #336
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir_Leorik View Post
    Here's the thing: we have been debating how the runes work ever since "Xykon" and "Redcloak" showed up. But other than knowing that they create phantasmal Lotus Eater Traps that can only be escaped by realizing the perfect world is an illusion, we know very little about them. We don't know if they are based on a spell, if they are a special trap, if they are epic level magic, how much the gold piece and XP cost to pay for six of them was, etc.

    Normal mind-affecting spells and effects do not work on Undead type creatures in the D&D 3.5 rules. All phantasms are mind-affecting spells/effects in the D&D 3.5 rules. Unless noted otherwise, The Giant uses the D&D 3.5 rules as the rules of reality in the "OotS"-verse. Therefore, unless the comic depicts otherwise, Malack, Durkon, the Snail from "Snips, Snails & Dragon Tales", Xykon, the Mummy Queen Amontop of Sandy Valley and the undead doctor the Oracle has on staff are all immune to the rune traps. You can't claim that the runes are based on a unique epic-level spell that Girard researched to affect Undead if none of the Undead in the comic are shown to be affected.

    As for Z and the fiends, all three of them have spell resistance. They have a good chance to have ignored the rune trap, and given the nonchalant way the Barbed Devil and Piscoloth are marching down the hallway and how Z is tugging at Nale, the evidence is that the runes aren't that powerful.

    I'm not sure why you felt the need to quote me in this, given that what you said has absolutely nothing to do with what I said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Fantasy literature is ONLY worthwhile for what it can tell us about the real world; everything else is petty escapism.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    No author should have to take the time to say, "This little girl ISN'T evil, folks!" in order for the reader to understand that. It should be assumed that no first graders are irredeemably Evil unless the text tells you they are.

  7. - Top - End - #337
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphiox View Post
    For those of you busy arguing about the meaning of "proof" upthread, just one question:

    Which concept of proof are you using?

    Scientific?

    Legal?

    Philosophic?

    Mathematical?
    Now? Word of Giant trumps all.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Regarding Girard's knowledge of the undead:

    Arguments for common knowledge:

    When Tsukiko was initially introduced she'd been charged with "Unnatural Acts of Wizardry." This suggests a legal system which specifically mentions necromancy, or at least certain necromantic spells, as a banned form of magic. There probably isn't a specific list of spells (especially since home-brew is allowed in this universe), but a general descriptor - eg "May include such acts as A) raising a corpse, B)...

    Then let's consider that Clerics and Paladins all have the ability to channel positive energy; this implies a knowledge of the negative-energy plane, and the undead which it can be channelled against.

    Finally, the fact that the protagonists don't react with shock upon seeing undead, and that Durkon - a priest of Thor and hardly a scholar - managed to immediately identify Malack as a vampire based upon his blood drinking.

    Clearly there is some general knowledge of the undead; that they exist, what some of their more obvious powers are, and how to combat them (don't use arrows on skeletons, derp!).

    That said - as others have noted - nobody in the Order had any idea that Liches had phylacteries... though it should also be kept in mind that Liches are extremely high-level, and anything with a CR over ten seems to be relatively rare in this world - epic level spellcasters exist, but this isn't the Munchkin Realms where even peasants take a level of Fighter for the extra feat.

    So - would Girard - a chaotic multi-class sorceror who (as Word of God noted above) lacks a strong work ethic - know that illusions don't affect undead?

    I would hope so. It would be pretty darned embarrassing if he didn't... but then, some people don't know where Georgia is.

    It's possible, but unlikely, that Girard was unaware of this; if so, he deserves large quantities of ridicule.
    ♪♫ Once I was the King of Thay, now I eat humble pie
    With my servant Eltab of the Hidden Layer, now I eat humble pie,
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  9. - Top - End - #339
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphiox View Post
    What was Soon and his Ghost Martyr's if not post-singularity uploads?

    For that matter, what is Xykon but that?


    The Start of Darkness Lichification montage even has a Six Million Dollar Man theme...

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphiox View Post
    Here's a possibility to consider:

    What if the phantasm in the hallway is only the first part of an epic-level defense (and perhaps the circle in the room is a second part).

    And the purpose of the phantasm is not just to delay, but to gather intelligence. Which is why it is a lotus-eater style illusion rather than, say, a worse-nightmare style illusion.

    In the OotS's joint phantasm, they re-sealed/re-built a gate. They are now flagged as "not a primary threat" by the defensive magic system.

    If Nale dreamed of doing anything nefarious with the gate, he is now flagged as "dangerous - destroy with prejudice" by the defensive magic system.

    And the vampires, Dark Elf, and fiends who (possibly) resisted the phantasm? They are now flagged as "unknown - destroy with EXTREME prejudice".
    I like this idea.

    Two others that occur to me:

    It's an anti-undead defense, to deal with the undead who can just stroll right through the illusion corridors. Either Malack is vaporized and Vamp!Durkon runs off following the gaseous Malack, leading the Guild seriously weakened; or the two vampires can't pass and the Guild splits, giving the weakened Order a chance to attack the vampires while they are unsupported.

    Another possibility is that as soon as someone steps across the line an illusionary Girard appears in full Paladin Paranoia Mode and announces "So, Soon! You not only found my home but got this far inside, no doubt killing most of my family in the process! Well, guess what? I've got another surprise for you!" The Guild all stares at the illusion while the Order all flee silently out a door in a panic while the Guild is distracted, then BOOM!
    "The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right." - Mark Twain

  10. - Top - End - #340
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    I'm not sure why you felt the need to quote me in this, given that what you said has absolutely nothing to do with what I said.
    I think I was going to elaborate on what I thought of Malack's derision of Nale and/or the runes, but it got lost in the development process. Sorry.

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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurini View Post
    So - would Girard - a chaotic multi-class sorceror who (as Word of God noted above) lacks a strong work ethic - know that illusions don't affect undead?

    I would hope so. It would be pretty darned embarrassing if he didn't... but then, some people don't know where Georgia is.

    It's possible, but unlikely, that Girard was unaware of this; if so, he deserves large quantities of ridicule.
    There is a big jump from knowing that illusions don't affect undead to being able to do anything about it—or expecting every defense to affect every possible creature type.

    Unless you're proposing he should have said, "Gosh, I could use this ultrapoweful illusion to stop 99.9% of all possible invaders, but what about that 0.1% that are undead powerful enough to get through my other traps and smart enough to actually do anything with my Gate? I guess I shouldn't bother casting it at all because it's not perfect."
    Rich Burlew


    A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2, the sixth set of monster miniatures for your tabletop game—now including digital tokens to use in your favorite virtual tabletop. Available from Gumroad!

    ~~You can also support The Order of the Stick and the GITP forum at Patreon.~~

  12. - Top - End - #342
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    It's not Epic, it's simply a 9th-level illusion—since there aren't many 9th-level illusions in core, there's conceptual room for one that is pretty heavy-hitting that would still be way above anything Eugene ever tried. My closest rules-based analogy was Microcosm, which is a 9th level psionic power. This spell doesn't seem to have a hit point limit, but it does offer a possible means of escape through internal realization. Because, you know, story.

    I don't see Girard as having taken the Epic Spellcasting feat, simply because that was more Dorukan's shtick. And as a multi-class ranger/sorcerer, he would have gotten access to it later and he's not really the type to spend all his time studying (when he could be out "recruiting" his defensive team). But I don't think it's necessary for it to be explicitly Epic to be "really powerful." We're getting to the point where the difference between the high-level OOTS and the low-epic Order of the Scribble is mostly one of degrees anyway.
    Wow, great detailed answer. Thanks so much for your time and clarification.

    (And sorry to complain a little. It was definitely a minor thing to bitch about, but I liked how cool you were about it, you have your reasons for doing what you do and you don't get bent out of shape when now and again somebody says they didn't like something. It's much appreciated to know we can honestly state our feelings around here so long as they're within the bounds of the rules, so thank you again for being so cool. )

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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    There is a big jump from knowing that illusions don't affect undead to being able to do anything about it—or expecting every defense to affect every possible creature type.
    I completely agree.

    I was only addressing the question of whether Girard *knew* about undead immunity; just because undead would be immune to that corridor doesn't mean that he wouldn't have still cast the Phantasm on it. The whole pyramid is multi-layered, with direct and indirect illusions, mechanical traps, and was originally planned to have a whole army of little-Girards to defend it.

    He almost certainly did know about undead immunity, though it would be pretty funny if he didn't.

    Ed: Why spend five years researching a method to make your illusions effective upon undead, when you could spend five years building more spike-traps?
    Last edited by Aurini; 2013-06-11 at 10:29 PM.
    ♪♫ Once I was the King of Thay, now I eat humble pie
    With my servant Eltab of the Hidden Layer, now I eat humble pie,
    I'm telling you I was the King of Thay, now I eat humble pie,
    And now I scribe for Elminster♫♪

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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    We're getting to the point where the difference between the high-level OOTS and the low-epic Order of the Scribble is mostly one of degrees anyway.
    That's one of the things that I love about RPGs. The growth isn't instantaneous, so you don't really realize how far you've come until you curbstomp previous enemies you had to work to defeat, or when you realize you can beat someone who once walked all over you.

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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Sorry if that undercut Elan's accomplishment for anyone, but my feeling with Elan's victory was that it was an important step for Elan that just so happened to save the day—not that he saved the day and it just happened to be an important step for him. If someone is illiterate, reading a sign is a really big deal, no matter how easily it comes to other people. If that sign happens to also be the EXIT sign when the building is on fire, so much the better.
    I just want to say that whatever I may say about your storytelling decisions, you don't ever have to apologize for them.

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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    I just figured the place had other spells on it besides illusion that were effective against undead and that they had long since failed once nobody was left alive to keep them going.
    Just because illusions were Girard's thing doesn't mean that some of the other family members weren't clerics and whatnot.
    Last edited by sockmonkey; 2013-06-11 at 11:10 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #347
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurini View Post
    You're missing the point of drama.
    You're basically making my complaint into something it never was. I liked Elan's development coinciding with something spectacularly badass and if the same event can be triggered by Nale in a punchline it's not as badass anymore. It does not mean Elan did not have development or that his development was less important, but it is slightly less impressive.

    The point of the scene is still intact but I never said it wasn't -- I said I liked it more when Elan accomplished something unique with his development. That's it. It's not a major complaint. You don't have to agree with it, but please don't condescend to me about having "missed" something because I didn't.

  18. - Top - End - #348
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    There is a big jump from knowing that illusions don't affect undead to being able to do anything about it—or expecting every defense to affect every possible creature type.

    Unless you're proposing he should have said, "Gosh, I could use this ultrapoweful illusion to stop 99.9% of all possible invaders, but what about that 0.1% that are undead powerful enough to get through my other traps and smart enough to actually do anything with my Gate? I guess I shouldn't bother casting it at all because it's not perfect."
    Also, he was an Illusionist; illusions were just what he was good at. I'm sure he wasn't happy at the thought that the big ultimate peak of his power didn't affect certain kinds of opponents, but it was a bit late for him to go back and revise his lifetime / 20 levels of learning Illusions into something else.

    (If only he knew someone with Psychic Reformation!)
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2013-06-14 at 08:37 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #349
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    I love how both twins escaped due to each other: Elan was confused by Nale not being Nale, and Nale was confused by Elan not being Elan. Everything else seemed OK for them. They just know each other that good. And yeah, each of the twins had the other one at the center of their personal paradise, either as a friend or as a defeated enemy.

    Another funny thought. At the beginning of the comic when Nale and Elan were comparing their stories Nale makes a big deal of their "gulf in mental facilities". Looks like the gulf isn`t THAT big... (:
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    Default Re: OOTS #892 - The Discussion Thread

    A large number of spells have now become disable with the death of the Girard family. I suppose some of them should have meant to stop the undead, but they're dependent on the living Girard family. It's not like Girard himself could cover every single angles of his Gate's protection post-humously
    "A good way to get a decent person to do something horrible is to convince them that they're not responsible for their actions" - Director Cedrik - OOTS #640

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