A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Giant in the Playground Administrator
     
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    Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    The Voice of Mod: Since people are starting to get their SoD preorders, I'm separating the Start of Darkness thread into two: one for discussion of the content, and one for discussion of ordering.

    Please, please, PLEASE mark all spoilers for SoD in this thread! By that, we mean any information about the plot that is not common knowledge (i.e. it involves Redcloak and Xykon meeting). You can put general comments about how it made you feel, whether you liked it or not, etc., outside of spoiler tags.

    For the uninformed, to use the spoiler function, do this:


    [spoiler]Spoiler text goes here.[/spoiler ]

    Without the space in the final tag. It looks like this:

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    Spoiler text goes here.


    If you have trouble figuring it out, you can Quote this post and just look at how I did it.

    Also, if you're reading this thread and haven't read SoD yet, you should assume that all spoilers in this thread are FOR SoD - so don't click on them!! If you ruin it for yourself, you have only you to blame!

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

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Barky! You came back!

    And much hilarity ensued.

    While Xykon was a hoot, it was very interesting to watch Redcloak's character development. This story really is mostly about him, and it does answer many of the questions that have been raised about his motivations. I predict much additional fodder for the "is he justified in being evil" threads.

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    Okay, so now we know Xykon has a ring that makes him specifically immune to certain types of positive energy attacks. Does that mean that Roy's plan to use disruption against him in the Dungeon of Dorukan was doubly doomed to failure?

    Also, I wonder if his little soul gem willl come into play at some point. It's just too good a plot device to leave dangling...
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    Unless otherwise stated throughout the course of the comic, or by the Giant, I'd like to assume that the Soul Bind gem broke when Roy threw Xykon into the gate.

    Also, I'd just like to say that the joke at the bottom of page 91 really hit me in the face cause, well... **points to sig**

    I wonder what Redcloak and Xykon's real names are...
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by BardicLasher View Post
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    Unless otherwise stated throughout the course of the comic, or by the Giant, I'd like to assume that the Soul Bind gem broke when Roy threw Xykon into the gate.
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    If true, it would be horribly anticlimactic. Obviously, the whole history of the Gates wasn't written at that point, so it's a bit unfair to engage in revisionism, but wouldn't the OotS at least have found his ring in the dungeon loot? They did find the ring of wizardry, after all. Maybe he left the gem in his other robes...

    But the question of what happened/will happen to the other members of the Order of the Scribble just got a giant leap forward, and it would be a shame to see it go unresolved.


    And yes, that bit in the book does make your signature horribly ironic. Gotta love those crossover gags.
    Last edited by Fighteer; 2007-06-28 at 09:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    OK, this book was fantastic. It had everything: it was funny, it was dramatic, it was informative. This is, I think, the best comic I've read in years.

    I thought it was much better than On the Origin of PCs, too. Maybe less over-the-top comedy, but a much better story. Every scene leads up to that finale, giving you little pieces to show how the characters turn from one thing into another...wow.

    Quote Originally Posted by BardicLasher View Post
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    Unless otherwise stated throughout the course of the comic, or by the Giant, I'd like to assume that the Soul Bind gem broke when Roy threw Xykon into the gate.
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    I think its clear that, whether or not Xykon still has it, the two of them are still trapped in the gem. It answers the question, "Why not just rebuild the Gates?" too perfectly. Answer: Because the only two people who know how are dead and can't even be resurrected.

    Besides, too much time is spent on it for it to be undone off-panel. It'll be back again someday.


    Also, it really puts this comic into perspective...
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    because when I first read the part about Redcloak's extended lifespan, I thought, "Huh, why did he rant at Miko about being natural? He's as magically-altered as she is!" Then I got to the end, and realized that she touched a nerve: Redcloak feels guilty about his extended lifespan because it reminds him of Right-Eye, who didn't have it. That little tirade was his emotional reaction to remembering what he did (which I won't even say in a spoiler, it's just too important).
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    unfortunately my answer about Xykon is a spoiler

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    Xykon tend to misplace things all the time. I presume that the gem is probably in another robe anyways or something :)
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    That was strange, I didn't expect arrogance to be the deciding factor in Xykon vs. Dorukon. Esp. considering what was at stake...

    Edit: Oof... I'll never be able to laugh at Redcloak ever again. I mean heck everything he's done even the funny "ebil" moments was a form of overcompensation to prove to himself and Xykon he's not a bitch, and to show that all he's worked for isn't in vain.
    Last edited by WarriorTribble; 2007-06-28 at 11:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Just got it an hour ago, and I just finished the color insert. Let me just say, holy crap this book is awesome.

    Thank you, Rich.

    EDIT: Just finished it. Holy crap.

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    My god, I don't even know where to begin. Poor Redcloak. Poor goblins in general. And goddamn Xykon. And...god.

    The "butch and bitch" line was probably the cruelist, most heart-jerking thing I've ever read. God, this book was unbelievably awesome. Mein gott. I need to go read it again.

    Oh, and I think we know how the MitD will finally be revealed, now. I hope Redcloak will still be able to win, but...I think Xykon's officially proven himself to be THE Big Bad Guy.

    This was just awesome.
    Last edited by TheNovak; 2007-06-28 at 02:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Panel 9 on page 8 gave me goosebumps.

    Pure awesome, Rich. Pure awesome.

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    wink Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    Did anyone else notice that Right-Eye is included in the board game?

    Sort of, anyway. The Goblin Woodcutter card, with the axe, lace-up shirt and eyepatch. Of course, Rich gave him his foot back.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    Hmm...in the climactic battle with Dorukan, Xykon cast 7 9th-level spells: Meteor Swarm, 5 Energy Drains, and a Soul Bind. I guess that would make him at least 20th level and put his charisma at 28. Maybe he gets a charisma boost from the crown? It would make the crownocracy more feasible, I guess.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitzclowningham View Post
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    Hmm...in the climactic battle with Dorukan, Xykon cast 7 9th-level spells: Meteor Swarm, 5 Energy Drains, and a Soul Bind. I guess that would make him at least 20th level and put his charisma at 28. Maybe he gets a charisma boost from the crown? It would make the crownocracy more feasible, I guess.
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    Well, Xykon has said that it's just a mundane crown that he thought looked really cool (and apparently enables him to pick up barmaids).

    Personally, I would like to see Right-Eye's daughter that was smuggled off to be raised away from Xykon and the rest appear. THAT would be awesome... and give a great Star Wars moment.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by malakim2099 View Post
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    Personally, I would like to see Right-Eye's daughter that was smuggled off to be raised away from Xykon and the rest appear. THAT would be awesome... and give a great Star Wars moment.
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    I was trying to figure out a way it could be Haley - polymorphed, I guess - but it's only been 3 years, so I call that unlikely at best.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    malakim:

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    LOL

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    A few other observations...

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    The intro was a thing of beauty, I think I laughed harder reading that than almost any other part of the book. And I did like that the first comic lets you know that yes, even at the age of eight or so, Xykon was an evil little bastard.

    The S-Men were great, too.

    Regarding Redcloak... yeah, I almost think he could have been LN. But I think the Dark One (gee, what a name for such an allegedly altruistic figure) has had a bit of whitewash on his own past too. I'm almost tempted to try and make him into an actual deity, with Domains and everything. Either that or Redcloak is a Cloistered Cleric from Unearthed Arcana, which would account for the fact he never packs weapons, never wears armor, and relies heavily on spells. Oh, and he has insane levels of all knowledges.

    And while Redcloak is a sympathetic figure of sorts... Xykon never is, ever. At best, you look at him like you would at Belkar doing something crazy evil yet twistedly funny. At worst, he's someone that I know my cleric of Pelor would like to introduce to a +5 holy sacred burst heavy mace.

    I did like that he was dim enough not to realize that trapping Lirian and Dorukan forever together is... actually /not/ a bad thing, to them.

    I do hope that they show up again too, as well as Right-Eye's daughter. And it was also good to see why Roy grew up the way he did... Eugene was pretty much a D- as a father, I'm sorry to say. No wonder he grew up with issues.

    But you know, for being a nigh-epic level elven druid, Lirian needed to work on the lore department. Surely she would know some BASIC things about undead... like, don't bother poisoning them, etc. Ah well.

    And, frankly, I think I liked this line best...

    It's just like if Nelson Mandela knew necromancy.

    Peace!

    Last edited by malakim2099; 2007-06-28 at 11:55 PM.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitzclowningham View Post
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    Hmm...in the climactic battle with Dorukan, Xykon cast 7 9th-level spells: Meteor Swarm, 5 Energy Drains, and a Soul Bind. I guess that would make him at least 20th level and put his charisma at 28. Maybe he gets a charisma boost from the crown? It would make the crownocracy more feasible, I guess.
    Spoiler
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    But in the battle with Roy he claimed that he only has it to make himself look more badass. Of course, he could be lying. Why didn't the OOTS try to find out what it does?
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitzclowningham View Post
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    Hmm...in the climactic battle with Dorukan, Xykon cast 7 9th-level spells: Meteor Swarm, 5 Energy Drains, and a Soul Bind. I guess that would make him at least 20th level and put his charisma at 28. Maybe he gets a charisma boost from the crown? It would make the crownocracy more feasible, I guess.
    Spoiler
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    Why does it have to be the crown? A Cloak of Charisma is a fairly standard magic item, and Xykon wears a cloak. Heck, he even doesn't get the cloak until he's old, supporting the idea that he scored it while levelling up.

    A lich gets +2 Cha, so all he would need was a 26 Cha; an 18 plus increases at 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 would give him a 23, so he would only need +6, which is well within the range of a 32,000 gp magic item.


    Quote Originally Posted by malakim2099 View Post
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    I did like that he was dim enough not to realize that trapping Lirian and Dorukan forever together is... actually /not/ a bad thing, to them.
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    I don't see it as being dim, per se, but as being completely disconnected from the idea of caring about another person. He can't conceive of wanting to be with someone in that way; it's an even further contrast with Right-Eye (who loves his family deeply), with Redcloak wavering between the two viewpoints.

    I imagine Xykon laughing to himself that he's forcing them to spend eternity together, because to him, other people are either tools to be used or annoyances to be killed.
    Last edited by SPoD; 2007-06-29 at 05:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by BardicLasher View Post
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    Unless otherwise stated throughout the course of the comic, or by the Giant, I'd like to assume that the Soul Bind gem broke when Roy threw Xykon into the gate.
    Except that...

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    The Snarl totally destroys souls. If it broke when(if?) it went into the gate then it seems like there's a good chance that Dorukan and Lirian were utterly destroyed.

    I wonder if we'll ever find out where Xykon went off to for those 3 years.
    Last edited by One Skunk Todd; 2007-06-29 at 09:08 AM.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by One Skunk Todd View Post
    Except that...

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    I wonder if we'll ever find out where Xykon went off to for those 3 years.
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    He backpacked across Europe. You know, to really find himself.

    In all seriousness, he probably went off to find and kill Serini Toormuck, since he ended up with her diary. I get the feeling that Xykon is going to turn out to be responsible for the disappearance and/or death of the entire Order of the Scribble.
    Congratulations, you can link to TV Tropes. This does not mean you have special insight into the storytelling process, much less the author's mind. Stories don't need to fit into neat boxes, you know.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by One Skunk Todd View Post
    Except that...

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    The Snarl totally destroys souls. If it broke when(if?) it went into the gate then it seems like there's a good chance that Dorukan and Lirian were utterly destroyed.

    I wonder if we'll ever find out where Xykon went off to for those 3 years.
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    Unless state otherwise, all items in the comic exist until it is told that is destroyed. That is how I view it. Since no one mention the soul gem, I'm sure Xykon still have it on him and somehow manage avoid being damage
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by chibibar View Post
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    Unless state otherwise, all items in the comic exist until it is told that is destroyed. That is how I view it. Since no one mention the soul gem, I'm sure Xykon still have it on him and somehow manage avoid being damage
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    Or... Haley found a huge black gem and couldn't bring herself to share it with the group?

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    Oooh, good point. It's got to be worth at least 30-40,000 gp.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Good read, all told. I got my copy yesterday, and I had a bunch of other stuff to do, so I had to squeeze the reading in where I could. That said, it's spoileriffic.

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    I think it's great that human Xykon seemed potentially redeemable, though almost certainly would not (because he wouldn't put the effort into it), but as soon as he becomes a lich, he becomes extra vicious (as well as noticeably smarter). This particularly stands out when they get ahold of the Creature in the Darkness, and Xykon has a contingency plan for if Redcloak ever betrays him.

    It also stood out that Redcloak isn't really a bad guy, he's just trying to stop having his people being taken advantage of. Perhaps in my next campaign world, goblins won't be evil.

    Also, did Xykon's reaction to finding out he couldn't taste coffee any more remind anyone else of Metallo?

    The "Redcloak and Right-Eye" running gag was hilarious, though I'd really like to know Right-Eye, Redcloak's, and, most of all, Xykon's real names. I suspect those are going to play a major plot point sometime down the line.

    I also suspect that we're going to see a resurrected Order of the Scribble ally with the Order of the Stick.
    Last edited by Poeir; 2007-06-29 at 07:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    This is Delta-Upsilon-Mu??

    I just got that. Arrrggggghhhh what a horrible pun!

    I loved it.

    Oh, I figured out that the elephant was supposed to be Dumbo right away. But the Call Identifier that the mouse gave? Didn't get that one until right now.

    Glad to see you are keeping up your penchant for awful puns, Rich.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    as you say ...as well as noticeably smarter...

    That was the single most interesting change when he turned lich. He went from rather mundane, rather foilable to very interesting, really hard to beat.

    And it really was a very hard cut from the moment hes a lich.


    I really wanted redcloak's deception to become apparent (that the snarl wouldn't be their tool but the dark ones.) I guess it keeps them together and keeps redcloak motivated but I was hoping for something more. I suppose it could be well known to xykon and he isn't letting on.

    I also wanted to see them try and preform their ritual on Dorukan's gate or at least show them discovering that its locked down with the seal. though I guess its not necessary


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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Poeir View Post
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    Also, did Xykon's reaction to finding out he couldn't taste coffee any more remind anyone else of Metallo?
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    Hell yeah, it did! And that's awesome. Animated Superman's Metallo was an extremely compelling villain because of that, and it really makes Xykon even better. I mean, of course he went from "dumb and evil, but basically sane" to "outright friggin' psycho" after that! Guh. Just thinking about being totally numb like that gives me the chills.


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    I also suspect that we're going to see a resurrected Order of the Scribble ally with the Order of the Stick.
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    Yeah, I think we'll eventually get a broken crystal and some angry, epic-level heroes. Not for awhile, though...I think we'll see an Order of the Scrible-centered book before that happens.
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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    [NOTE::: This post does not pussyfoot around. It contains Major, MAJOR spoilers for Start of Darkness. HP6 ending level spoilers.

    You. Have. Been. Warned.

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    Am I the only one....

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    Who isn't exactly feeling all awful for Redcloak at the end of the book? I only ask because I hear a lot of, "Poor Redcloak" or "Awww, I'm so rooting for Redcloak after what he went through in this book."

    Well excuse me for not being all twisted in knots over a character who just frigging killed his OWN BROTHER. And for what? Because he is so blinded by his God's Plan that he can't think straight anymore. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I'm reminded of a certain character:

    That's right. What Redcloak does in SoD is absolutely no different that what Miko does to Lord Shojo. Actually, that's not correct. What Redcloak does to Right-Eye is worse than what Miko did to Lord Shojo. At least Miko can claim to be bat<blank> crazy. Redcloak? He doesn't get that excuse. He committed murder with his eyes wide open.

    And all of this for a god that, as Right-Eye points out, isn't really doing his utmost to help the Goblin People. In fact, Right-Eye did far more to help The Goblin Cause that Redcloak ever did.

    Now please understand, I'm not trying to dump on Redcloak here. And I do feel sympathy at this plight. And I also hope he one day grows enough of a spine to be more like his brother. But I just want to make sure that in all of the sympathy we're pouring on Redcloak that we actually remember that he did all of this of his own free will.

    As I said in the original thread, Redcloak is the Classical Greek Tragic Figure. He is blinded by (a quite justifiable) hatred and it leads him to make mistakes. And once he makes these mistakes, he compounds them because he is afraid to face up to them, rather than taking the harder road of admitting error (again, like a certain ex-Paladin we all know). And it doesn't help that the only person that he associates with regularly is one of the most evil people to ever grace the comic.

    But make no mistake. All of Redcloak's sins are his own darn fault.

    Fortunately for him, he has shown the glimmer of self-realization. If he can actually continue to grow (like we saw in the Siege of Azure City Arc), then perhaps he can actually face his own fear and become a better goblin for it. But until he learns to let go of his hatred of humans, and focus on the betterment of the Goblin Species for the right reasons, I fear that he will continue to make the wrong choices.

    Now all of this being said, I do feel some sympathy for Redcloak. And I do hope he can pull his head out of his butt. But I feel we should remember two things. 1) Just because Redcloak is better in comparison to Xykon, it doesn't necessarily make him a good person. And, 2) we should probably save our greatest amount of sympathy for Right-Eye, who, while he committed great evil in his life, was actually strong enough to change and to try and make the world a better place.

    ETA:::::

    I do realize, BTW, that one major difference between Redcloak and Miko is that Redcloak felt really bad about murdering his own brother after he did it, while Miko was spouting rationaizations. Well, cry me a river, Redcloak, but that doesn't make it all better in my book. Oh sure, it's a good thing that Redcloak realizes That He Messed Up. But I notice that he didn't exactly fix the problem while he could.

    So while he the fact that he Feels Bad About Everything counts for a little something, it doesn't mean a whole heck of a in the Grand Scheme of Things. Unless, of course, it's used as a plot in the future to change Redcloak. Till then, I ain't going to cut him that much slack over the fact that he, unlike Miko, he feels bad about the whole thing.


    Just some food for thought.
    Last edited by Porthos; 2007-06-29 at 07:27 PM.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    Porthos, Redcloak goes down in the next to last comic, in the act of betraying Xykon. It has to happen.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

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    I'm not sure Redcloak *does* do everything of his own free will. Note that right after he puts on the Crimson Mantle, he immediately begins focusing on the Plan, almost as though he's under some sort of mind control. Perhaps pre-Redcloak doesn't even exist any more.

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    Default Re: Start of Darkness - Discussion Thread (MARK ALL SPOILERS!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Poeir View Post
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    I'm not sure Redcloak *does* do everything of his own free will. Note that right after he puts on the Crimson Mantle, he immediately begins focusing on the Plan, almost as though he's under some sort of mind control. Perhaps pre-Redcloak doesn't even exist any more.
    [Response still contains the MAJOR SPOILERS I referenced earlier]

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    That's an interesting thought, and one I thought about as well. You can see The Dark One speaking through Redcloak for first couple of panels after he puts on the Cloak at least.

    I think, however, this is a lot closer to Redcloak just being very, very convinced of the rightness of The Dark One's Cause. Almost to the point of brainwashing really. After all, Redcloak was in a very fragile state of mind when The Dark One hit the Download Button. And so one could see why he would latch onto that vision for strength and stability.

    Still, I think there have been enough instances of Redcloak showing a conscience (remember his half-hearted vows to Raise Right-Eye or his decision to settle down with Right-Eye and abandon The Plan before Xykon showed up and ruined everything) that I don't believe that The Dark One is controlling his every thought and deed. Instead, I think Xykon was right. Redcloak was (at the time) too much of a coward to face up to his mistakes.

    In many ways, Redcloak has built his entire life around The Plan. It takes a lot to put aside your life's work and decide to move in another direction. I guess we would find out if Redcloak ever tried to do something that The Dark One really disapproved. Would Redcloak even be allowed to do it? Would The Dark God deliver a Twelve Gods Style Smackdown? Or would the cloak even try to strangle him?

    I hope we actually get to find out, coz that might show some potential for Redcloak's Redemption.
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    After all, now that Miko's dead, we need to find another character to latch on Redemption-wise!
    Last edited by Porthos; 2007-06-30 at 12:22 AM.
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