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  1. - Top - End - #1171
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Doing second reading: anyone else get Druss the Legend vibes off of Klaus? Granted, the original book Druss was in (Legend), was very much the same sort of scenario.

    Also with Winter IV, I wonder if any of Hanno's skills with Light can be replicated with Night? That's a solid secondary reason to release that extra chapter ahead of getting Catherine's POV of combat.

  2. - Top - End - #1172
    Troll in the Playground
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    Back from hiatus and goddamn if this story isn't more metal than ever.

  3. - Top - End - #1173
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: A Practical Guide to Evil

    Metal is about right. The imagery from this latest chapter reminds me of more than a few music-related t-shirts from back in the day.

    Spoiler: Chapter 6-2: Enlistment
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    Reading the conversation on Wordpress was quite interesting, particularly the theory that our new Named could have been a hero or a villain, and it was Cat that decided it. Struck me as a fascinating theory, that: Cat explicitly refused to let the kid name himself until the story was told and she'd had the chance to judge. If the boy had Named himself up front, would it have been a heroic name, forcing him down the same path of necessary cruelty in the name of Good that the Saint embodied? Did letting him tell his story and accepting him as a monster the same kind of well-meaning Evil Cat herself embodies? It's an intriguing concept, and one I doubt will ever be explored.

    The Scorched Apostate saw a problem, tried to fix it peacefully, and, when left with no options besides tragedy and catastrophe, he chose tragedy. He killed hundreds when his inaction would have killed thousands. Cat and Saint are the only real archetypes that could survive something like that, and Cat couldn't work with another Saint...

    The Apostate seems likely to be important, narratively speaking. An heir to Cat's legacy, while Viv inherits her crown? Six is slated to be the last book, so Cat's story is going to end in some fashion, so maybe this is setting up a Next Generation ending? Doubt it, but it's a thought.

    I do have to admit one thing occurs to me: a crippled, grotesque boy with one good eye and a willingness to embrace Evil over Stupidity? The Scorched Apostate sounds at least a little like a child of Cat and the Tyrant.
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  4. - Top - End - #1174
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calemyr View Post
    Metal is about right. The imagery from this latest chapter reminds me of more than a few music-related t-shirts from back in the day.

    Spoiler: Chapter 6-2: Enlistment
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    Reading the conversation on Wordpress was quite interesting, particularly the theory that our new Named could have been a hero or a villain, and it was Cat that decided it. Struck me as a fascinating theory, that: Cat explicitly refused to let the kid name himself until the story was told and she'd had the chance to judge. If the boy had Named himself up front, would it have been a heroic name, forcing him down the same path of necessary cruelty in the name of Good that the Saint embodied? Did letting him tell his story and accepting him as a monster the same kind of well-meaning Evil Cat herself embodies? It's an intriguing concept, and one I doubt will ever be explored.

    The Scorched Apostate saw a problem, tried to fix it peacefully, and, when left with no options besides tragedy and catastrophe, he chose tragedy. He killed hundreds when his inaction would have killed thousands. Cat and Saint are the only real archetypes that could survive something like that, and Cat couldn't work with another Saint...

    The Apostate seems likely to be important, narratively speaking. An heir to Cat's legacy, while Viv inherits her crown? Six is slated to be the last book, so Cat's story is going to end in some fashion, so maybe this is setting up a Next Generation ending? Doubt it, but it's a thought.

    I do have to admit one thing occurs to me: a crippled, grotesque boy with one good eye and a willingness to embrace Evil over Stupidity? The Scorched Apostate sounds at least a little like a child of Cat and the Tyrant.

    Spoiler: Chapter 6-2: Enlistment
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    It could be that the line between Good and Evil are thinner, as he was sitting with having done the "right" thing, but uncertain if he could lean into faith of the Gods Above. The Choosing in his case wasn't with the massacre, because it was fuelled by instinctive drive and not crystallised into a full Name. Whether Cat was deliberately shaping the kid, or instinctively pulling a ""redeemable monster" under her wing is hard to say with the information I can get from the text

  5. - Top - End - #1175
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    lord_khaine's Avatar

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    No your wrong on that. The Saint of Swords isnt that unique in her willingness to make the hard choice.
    Just for a quick example we also got The Gray Pilgrim, whom we know has done things like that before.
    And there are also that bandit-something from Tariq's homeland who were quite ruthless.

    So no. Im quite sure that Cat didnt intentionally lure the Apostate over to her team.
    In part because she really doesnt care much about the contest between Above and Beneath.


    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  6. - Top - End - #1176
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    PaladinGuy

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    I like how they're managing new Named. It's so... practical. No hero would take orders from a villain, and no villain would trust a hero enough to do the same. So, Hanno handles those bestowed powers from Above, since he's a respected hero-type, and Cat handles those bestowed by Below as she's a reasonable villain-type. And they've even decided to refer found Named to the other if it's not one of of theirs.

    Because The Dead are just that much of a threat, so flying fortresses and titanic clashes of good and evil can wait for as long as survival is on the line, at least. And if new Named can work with that, welcome to the fight. If not, well... That's a bad idea on their part as suddenly all of their opposed number are allowed to end this nonsense swiftly.

  7. - Top - End - #1177
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    Lizardfolk

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    If only they had a demon spewing flying fortress to help out. I really like the concept of the Iron covered skeletons, the undead have so many advantages that can be played through.

    I do wish they would just do the war for a bit and leave the meta aside. All the tricks are done, now its just the grind for a bit.
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  8. - Top - End - #1178
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
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    No your wrong on that. The Saint of Swords isnt that unique in her willingness to make the hard choice.
    Just for a quick example we also got The Gray Pilgrim, whom we know has done things like that before.
    And there are also that bandit-something from Tariq's homeland who were quite ruthless.

    So no. Im quite sure that Cat didnt intentionally lure the Apostate over to her team.
    In part because she really doesnt care much about the contest between Above and Beneath.


    I don't think the uniqueness of Saint was being ruthless, but by being uncompromising. That is something that wouldn't work for Cathrine.

    My reasoning for the fact that the Naming didn't arise until that conversation is in part because the ambiguity of where Scorched Apostate was and the fact that the theme of their meeting was focused on Choice. He hadn't fully processed his choice in that moment, so the coin was up in the air.

    On re read, I don't think Cat deliberately brought the Named over to Villainy, but if Hanno was present, I think that Scorched Apostate could have risen a hero by starting a redemption story. It's the nature of who was present.

  9. - Top - End - #1179
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    I think we're seeing what the world Cat is trying to build will actually be like. And the continous headache she'll have from managing all those Named.

    We may also be seeing a shift in Below. They may be moving to less selfish maniacs and more the 'end justifies the means' sort of people.
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  10. - Top - End - #1180
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    lord_khaine's Avatar

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    Hmm.. no i do think The Scorched Apostate is one of those rare people that Cat directly mentions in this chapter.
    The ones who straddle the line between Up and Down.
    And i guess its not impossible that meeting Hanno first would have given him a different kind of story.
    But im quite certain his Name were determined a lot earlier. When he burned the town.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  11. - Top - End - #1181
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    BardGuy

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    Personally I'm theorising that for any Name where it could go one way or the other - like the Apostate - they determine their own alignment based on how they view their own defining moment(s), most often subconsciously.
    The Saint and the Pilgrim both take the greater good approach thus "choosing" Good instead of becoming well-meaning villians. Cat and Vivian saw good/Good being wildly ineffective, thus "chose" Evil instead of merely leaning into anti-heroic tropes.
    I do think that being swept up in a greater narrative like Cat's or Hanno's so directly (a direct one-to-one meeting, which could well have been the actual crystallisation of the Name) could certainly sway their "opinion". If the Apostate had been leaning towards Cat's side already and met Hanno instead I could see a redemption style Name forming anyway due to the significance of the interaction.

    I wonder if this is the first signs of Cat's new Name influencing her thoughts once again that she could only see a Villanous narrative spawning?

  12. - Top - End - #1182
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    lord_khaine: I am not married to the theory. No rings have changed hands, just some light flirting, really. That said...

    Cat explicitly thought as she was walking into the church that, if the Named responsible was a Hero, it was going to be the kind of Hero she can't ever get along with. She thought about Saint, but she might have just as easily been reminded of William, because the problem she has with the two isn't ruthlessness. I mean, you're right, Tariq is a picture of ruthlessness and she gets along with him just fine, even in spite of the blood between them. Cordelia has to be ruthless, but Cat doesn't hold that against her. Hanno is ruthless, and there's more ship teasing there than a harbor full of jesters.

    What Cat hates is blind zealotry, and the kind of Hero that could do what the Apostate did could only survive it by becoming a blind zealot. Much like William did, really. That kind of guilt can only be endured by a Hero by either going hard core into atonement or by doubling down, by saying what was done wasn't only necessary, but right by virtue of that necessity. One path leads you to William, the other leads you to the Saint, and both lead you to becoming the embodiment of what Catherine Foundling despises.

    The Apostate could have gone down that road, no less a monster but remorseless in his cruelty. Instead, he found himself in the care of a woman that believes that not all Evil is evil, and that doing what is necessary doesn't make it just, but it being unjust doesn't make it any less necessary. So he becomes a Villain. Still a monster, but one that doesn't revel in his actions or lose himself in search of atonement.

    Now, there's one point that gives me pause on the theory, and that is that the Apostate believed what he did was evil and expected righteous retribution for it. That bothered me for a while, until I realized that was entirely the point. If you had found William, back at the beginning, standing over the murdered corpse of his sister, what is it you would have found? My guess: a weeping, terrified wreck of a boy who realized what he had done, who knew he'd done wrong and knew that he deserved whatever punishment was coming to him. Much like the Apostate, perhaps. But judgment came to the Apostate quicker than it came to William, and the judge asked "why?" and cared about the answer. I like to think that will mean something in the final tally.

    Now, whether Cat was intentionally trying to shift the outcome by refusing to let the boy Name himself until the trial was over, I can't really say. The idea appeals to me, because I like Cat best when she's being a Story-Fu master and using one question to forge a monster she can work with fits that mold beautifully, but I doubt we'll get confirmation one way or another. And it really doesn't matter. I still hold that it was a pivot in the story, and Cat's handling of it decided whether the boy in the fire proved a friend or a foe.
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  13. - Top - End - #1183
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
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    I think we're seeing what the world Cat is trying to build will actually be like. And the continous headache she'll have from managing all those Named.

    We may also be seeing a shift in Below. They may be moving to less selfish maniacs and more the 'end justifies the means' sort of people.
    Is this a shift inherent to Below itself, or just those Villans currently encountered? I think genuine atrocities take time to gather momentum to reach the grand heights of the Tyrant or the Dread Empire.

    Or a flying fortress or two.

  14. - Top - End - #1184
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    druid91's Avatar

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    So, I've started re-reading from the beginning. And I've just now remembered a character I kind of wished we had seen more of, but never did.

    Captain Snatcher. It definitely would have stolen some of Pickler's thunder to have him still around. But I liked the guy.
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    I like the "hobo" in there.
    "Hey, you just got 10000gp! You going to buy a fully staffed mansion or something?"
    "Nah, I'll upgrade my +2 sword to a +3 sword and sleep in my cloak."

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  15. - Top - End - #1185
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by druid91 View Post
    So, I've started re-reading from the beginning. And I've just now remembered a character I kind of wished we had seen more of, but never did.

    Captain Snatcher. It definitely would have stolen some of Pickler's thunder to have him still around. But I liked the guy.
    Wonder if he'll show up under Pickler's Mother's (how the hell do I grammar this) command, since she is High Lady.

  16. - Top - End - #1186
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    lord_khaine's Avatar

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    Cat explicitly thought as she was walking into the church that, if the Named responsible was a Hero, it was going to be the kind of Hero she can't ever get along with. She thought about Saint, but she might have just as easily been reminded of William, because the problem she has with the two isn't ruthlessness. I mean, you're right, Tariq is a picture of ruthlessness and she gets along with him just fine, even in spite of the blood between them. Cordelia has to be ruthless, but Cat doesn't hold that against her. Hanno is ruthless, and there's more ship teasing there than a harbor full of jesters.

    What Cat hates is blind zealotry, and the kind of Hero that could do what the Apostate did could only survive it by becoming a blind zealot. Much like William did, really. That kind of guilt can only be endured by a Hero by either going hard core into atonement or by doubling down, by saying what was done wasn't only necessary, but right by virtue of that necessity. One path leads you to William, the other leads you to the Saint, and both lead you to becoming the embodiment of what Catherine Foundling despises.
    Yeah that bit was BS from Cats side. She isnt omnicent. Even if she sometimes think its the case.
    Saint example in particular. The reason Saint when sour on any sort of compromise was because her first attempt burned her spectacularly.

    Though as such she merely though that if it was a hero, then he was unlikely to be the kind Cat got along with.
    Thats as such not a wild guess either, since she is declared arc-heretic. And a lot of named are kinda set in their ways.

    Honestly, the speculation about what sort of hero could have done what the Apostate is also far off.
    We again got a litteral example in the Gray Pilgrim on someone who has done mercy killings of a diseased village.
    But avoided becoming a Zealot.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  17. - Top - End - #1187
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    PaladinGuy

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    Well that settle the questions about the Burned Apostate. The Dead King plays so very dirty.

    Also good to see Akua being revealed got Cat into some trouble. That makes sense.

    It is also interesting that Catherine recognizes she's headed for a Name again, I wonder when that will pivot into existence.

  18. - Top - End - #1188
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    The consequences of Akua being Akua seem to be indefinitely deterred. Like they'd matter if Cat intended to keep ruling Callow, but she doesn't, so they don't. I can't tell if that's realistic or not.

    But yeah, the Dead King comes in swinging, smothering a Named before their story gets rolling. 10/10, and I'm actually glad because it keeps the focus on the Dead King.
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  19. - Top - End - #1189
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
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    The consequences of Akua being Akua seem to be indefinitely deterred. Like they'd matter if Cat intended to keep ruling Callow, but she doesn't, so they don't. I can't tell if that's realistic or not.

    But yeah, the Dead King comes in swinging, smothering a Named before their story gets rolling. 10/10, and I'm actually glad because it keeps the focus on the Dead King.
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    Akua being around harms Cat's standing, but raises Vivienne's standard, so while it is damage, it's to her not to the institutions she wants to build and leave behind. So while it makes things difficult, it is still workable.

    While I was interested in Tancred's development at the Bellfry, the fact that he had a Light mimicry that may have resolved all the issues with the Unravellers means that it makes solid sense for him to be murdered so quickly. Plus, it's the harsh lesson now than will be applied in the future. Especially if Cat can extract something from the Revenant that can inspire development.

  20. - Top - End - #1190
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    Anyone else find the 2 year time skip without much character growth kind of "unsyncing" the story for them as well?
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  21. - Top - End - #1191
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    The only chapter I've felt that with so far is the most recent interlude, which has a bit TOO much tell-don't-show for Vivienne and Cordelia's mindsets.

  22. - Top - End - #1192
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    Lizardfolk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeb View Post
    Anyone else find the 2 year time skip without much character growth kind of "unsyncing" the story for them as well?
    Not really. 2 years seems a bit long for what they accomplished compared to none-time skip events, but that is fairly normal for every story but Worm.
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  23. - Top - End - #1193
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeb View Post
    Anyone else find the 2 year time skip without much character growth kind of "unsyncing" the story for them as well?
    I don't find the lack of character growth problematic since in part the concept of Named is that they are so set in their ways that they physically stop changing. Catherine may not be Named, but she is like Cordelia, formally unNamed, but holding comparable conviction and force of will. And all of these characters have been through the crucible a few times.

    Plus Maseago seems to have some form of character growth in the more recent chapters, so it's not "everything unchanged".

  24. - Top - End - #1194
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    Kobold

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    Did anyone get why the mirror knight despises cat?

  25. - Top - End - #1195
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rydiro View Post
    Did anyone get why the mirror knight despises cat?
    Cat is a villain, and one who pushed them all around at Battle of the Camps, which would have been objectively horrifying to witness.

  26. - Top - End - #1196
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    To my mind, it's pretty obvious that the Wandering Bard is the heroes' source of information. She's been way too quiet. It's really not hard to imagine her twisting the skyrocketing superman into hating the villain the Bard can neither destroy nor control. It really wouldn't take much, certainly not something as crass as lies, to paint Cat as a power-hungry, faithless monster who is only using fear of the King of the Dead to desecrate heroic tradition and destroy the path of heroes for centuries to come. Especially if the Bard is currently in the form of a particular noble's daughter and pursuing two long-standing goals at the same time. If the story can be couched just right, the death of an overly ambitious crippled girl would hardly be a footnote to the crusade that finally brings down Keter.

    Of course, I'm still of the opinion that the final boss of this story is the Narrative itself, not Nessie, and that makes the Bard the ultimate face of the enemy. I'll cop to the bias.
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  27. - Top - End - #1197
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mith View Post
    Cat is a villain, and one who pushed them all around at Battle of the Camps, which would have been objectively horrifying to witness.
    IIRC the mirror knight wasnt in that battle.

  28. - Top - End - #1198
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rydiro View Post
    IIRC the mirror knight wasnt in that battle.
    I don't think he confronted Cat, but Saint does tell him to stand down, so he was in the camp by my recollection.

  29. - Top - End - #1199
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    To my mind, it's pretty obvious that the Wandering Bard is the heroes' source of information. She's been way too quiet. It's really not hard to imagine her twisting the skyrocketing superman into hating the villain the Bard can neither destroy nor control. It really wouldn't take much, certainly not something as crass as lies, to paint Cat as a power-hungry, faithless monster who is only using fear of the King of the Dead to desecrate heroic tradition and destroy the path of heroes for centuries to come. Especially if the Bard is currently in the form of a particular noble's daughter and pursuing two long-standing goals at the same time. If the story can be couched just right, the death of an overly ambitious crippled girl would hardly be a footnote to the crusade that finally brings down Keter.

    Of course, I'm still of the opinion that the final boss of this story is the Narrative itself, not Nessie, and that makes the Bard the ultimate face of the enemy. I'll cop to the bias.
    Yes and that bias is clouding your judgment.
    The Mirrorknight is to dumb to pose a direct danger to Cat. That i think is given.
    And what has been set up here is a move that is less likely to damage Cat directly, and more likely to potentially make the Arsenal blow up.

    Thats 100% not the Bards doing. As it is they are barely holding out. If they start fighting among themselves the Dead King sweeps them.
    The Bard has been working on dealing with the Dead King for countless generations.
    She isnt going to risk spoiling all that work for getting rid of what is mostly a nuiseance.

    And that of course also answer whom is behind this.
    Its the Dead King being subtle, and trying to make the hero-villain alliance implode.
    Last edited by lord_khaine; 2020-03-05 at 06:49 PM.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

  30. - Top - End - #1200
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    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    Yes and that bias is clouding your judgment.
    The Mirrorknight is to dumb to pose a direct danger to Cat. That i think is given.
    And what has been set up here is a move that is less likely to damage Cat directly, and more likely to potentially make the Arsenal blow up.

    Thats 100% not the Bards doing. As it is they are barely holding out. If they start fighting among themselves the Dead King sweeps them.
    The Bard has been working on dealing with the Dead King for countless generations.
    She isnt going to risk spoiling all that work for getting rid of what is mostly a nuiseance.

    And that of course also answer whom is behind this.
    Its the Dead King being subtle, and trying to make the hero-villain alliance implode.
    Spoiler: Machinations
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    This isn't a move meant to damage Cat or the Arsenal, it's meant to cripple or destroy the Truce and Terms (if Cat's suspicions are correct, and I see no reason not to assume they are). The DK would attack the Arsenal because it's a threat to his armies. The Bard would try and kill the Terms because they're a threat to the very core of her reason to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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