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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Whether or not this is the end of Miko as a major force in the lives of the OotS will remain to be seen. At this point, though, it is time for everyone to recognize what a brilliant literary character The Giant created.

    There are may often polarizing characters in literature that help create a major event in the lives of the surrounding characters. The original Dragonlance novels have one of the most standout examples.

    Sturm Brightblade was a character that I desperately wanted to like, but his towering nobility wore thin. (And yes, I love playing a paladin!) His constant struggle between the Code and Measure, and what he knew in his heart was right, made for a brilliant internal conflict. He was a classic "tragic hero", and his death was a necessary event. I think that we all wanted Miko to end up having a Sturm-like revelation. It's still possible.

    In a similar vein, Flint Fireforge's death allows Tasselhoff Burrfoot to start thinking outside of his natural racial tendencies. He is no longer "just a(n annoying) Kender. He looks at the world differently, now. It took tragedy to make that happen. And in a similar vein, Miko's actions made the party look at themselves as a unit.

    Miko served a purpose. She started out as a NPC that Roy wanted to like (both romantically and as a fellow warrior-type) and get along with, despite her wanting to "take them in" on charges. Most of the rest were instantly annoyed with her, with Durkon and Roy being the exceptions.

    Slowly but surely, she wore Roy out, to the point that we had the infamous "I wouldn't touch you with a standard issue 10' pole" comment. This was that classic watershed moment when a guy realizes that no matter how attractive some girl is, putting up with her <insert negative words here> isn't worth it. (It goes both ways, ladies, I know!) Now we had Roy disliking Miko.

    Durkon has always come across as doing Thor's will, and in this case, it appears that Thor tried to reason with Miko. Miko, however, is on edge, and reason is something she is barely holding on to. Having Durkon not side with her shakes her deeply, and she decides to lump Durkon in with the rest. Thus, Durkon is now comitted to defending himself in all likelyhood.

    Miko accomplished what all the other events that the OotS have failed to do for them. She has made them into a party that wants to stand by its fellow members, through thick and thin.

    Personally, I'd love to see Miko have to work with OotS in a role where she doesn't have command, and has to now learn how to work with others. The RP/comic/literary possibilities are nearly endless.

    But, no matter what else happens, the OotS have had a party-wide watershed moment. They are now ready to accomplish bigger and better things. And as much as I disliked Miko (for the same reasons as I disliked Sturm), she was brilliantly utilized by The Giant.

    Kudos to you, Giant!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Wow... I never really thought of the complexities involved in Miko as a character, but you are right. Who would've thought such complexities came out of stick figures?
    "I am a sexy shoeless god of war!!!" --OOTS #439

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    You're right. That is brilliant. The best part is that I had to wonder if it was intentional: in effect, it happened so naturally that I wondered if Burlew had planned it or not.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    I believe rich is an Avatar of Banjo for the story is down right awesome and he's a great storyteller.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    I have to admit I don't exactly see the comparison to Sturm. Sturm is noble; he never genuinely wavers in his morality, he only has to deal with his disillusionment with what has become of the Solamnic Knights. Even so, despite his flaws - such as his continuous, largerly unexplained harassment of Raistlin - he doesn't really grow as a knight, the reader just comes to appreciate it in a new way once one gets to compare him to people like Derek.

    So, Sturm never really has a stick up his butt. His treatment of Raistlin is largerly anomalous, even during the Dream, and Sturm has a fair amount of perspective throughout. A significant, though undefined undercurrent of the book is his friendship with Tanis, which arguably brings out the both of them, which really makes all the differences to the likes of Miko. Sturm is a good person; he didn't really grow into it through the books. The irony is that for almost all of his life, he wasn't actually a knight.

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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by Karellen
    I have to admit I don't exactly see the comparison to Sturm. Sturm is noble; he never genuinely wavers in his morality, he only has to deal with his disillusionment with what has become of the Solamnic Knights. Even so, despite his flaws - such as his continuous, largerly unexplained harassment of Raistlin - he doesn't really grow as a knight, the reader just comes to appreciate it in a new way once one gets to compare him to people like Derek.

    So, Sturm never really has a stick up his butt. His treatment of Raistlin is largerly anomalous, even during the Dream, and Sturm has a fair amount of perspective throughout. A significant, though undefined undercurrent of the book is his friendship with Tanis, which arguably brings out the both of them, which really makes all the differences to the likes of Miko. Sturm is a good person; he didn't really grow into it through the books. The irony is that for almost all of his life, he wasn't actually a knight.
    It's been awhile since I've read the Chronicles, but didn't Sturm view Raistlin as having embraced evil in his quest for magical power? I may be wrong, but I seem to remember something like that being the reason why Sturm disliked him.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Whether or not this is the end of Miko as a major force in the lives of the OotS will remain to be seen. At this point, though, it is time for everyone to recognize what a brilliant literary character The Giant created.
    That was a very well thought-out exposition, congrats, but I don't see precisely what it has to do with the question of Miko being an NPC.

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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    I don't think it was in question as to how well miko has been written for a long while. Some complained when she first arrived that she was the complete architype of the badly played Paladin, but pretty soon it was clear that Rich gav her another dimension or two on top of those that people persieved at first. Miko has been supremely written from the start, and, despite disliking her as a character, I would be very sad if we did not see more of her as her character is, as you said, instrumental in the development of the Oots.

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    It is possible, however that we may leave Miko behind for a while and then Rich reintroduce her at some new chritical point. For example, she may fall and end up with Xycon or the Linear Guild to exact her revenge on the OotS.
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    To Alfryd:
    Just a kink in the English Language. I don't think he meant she's specifically a well played NPC, just referring to her as a character.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    She's always been as good character. I like her because she is a shallow individual who thinks she's deep. Or maybe she's a wise person who seems like an idiot. Either way, she's hilarious. I won't be sad if her role is decreased, she's funny and cool, but at this point, I'd just like to cut back to Xykon and Redcloak, and see what they're up to now. We haven't really heard from them in ages.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    I didn't mean I really wanted to see her constantly harrassing the OotS. What I really meant is contained within the prediction spoiler. Unfortunately it is a prediction, so I respect your decision if you don't want to read it.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Hmm...excellent comparisons with Dragonlance....I always expected Sturm to come back from teh dead....His death was kind of lame.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by garylian

    Sturm Brightblade was a character that I desperately wanted to like, but his towering nobility wore thin. (And yes, I love playing a paladin!) His constant struggle between the Code and Measure, and what he knew in his heart was right, made for a brilliant internal conflict. He was a classic "tragic hero", and his death was a necessary event. I think that we all wanted Miko to end up having a Sturm-like revelation. It's still possible.
    I can't speak for anyone else, but I want Miko to end up like Sturm--DEAD. She really gets on my nerves, and if she were an NPC in a game I was playing, I'd think of ways to get rid of her.
    \"I reject your reality, and substitute my own.\"&&--Adam Savage, \"MythBusters\"&&&&\"Old Macdonald was dyslexic, O-I-E-I-E\"

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Miko's not shallow at all. She's actually quite deep. I hoped for her to be forced to work with the OotS, and perhaps change in character, but I don't think that's going to happen. Now I think she's going to have a slightly different change in alignment, likley leading her to the realms of evil. And, I am going to think she's awesome all the way. The complexity of the character is awesome. I like her potential more than any of the OotS. Roy, V, Haley, the others, they are all likeable and all, but they just don't have the deep, potential like Miko. She'd be so cool to play. Like how Anakin Skywalker should have been...
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    I'm glad the Miko Haters haven't shown up to have all of us crucified...
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyserpent
    I'm glad the Miko Haters haven't shown up to have all of us crucified...
    It's only Miko we want crucified. ;D
    \"I reject your reality, and substitute my own.\"&&--Adam Savage, \"MythBusters\"&&&&\"Old Macdonald was dyslexic, O-I-E-I-E\"

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    *sigh*. She's supposed to be annoying. That's part of her charm. She's changing from an antagonist to an ANTAGONIST.

    Plus, I can't view the OotS from a Player's eye. I cannot, since I don't play the the game that they are in. As such, I have to look at it from a third person perspective. In such a view, Miko is much nicer. Of course, that may be just because I don't like the OotS that much. Well, no more than anybody else. I do, however, appreciate Miko's sheer coolness and potential, no matter how annoying she can be.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    What strikes me about the character of Miko is the extraordinary way in which she divides the readers (or at least the readers who post on this forum). Responses to her run a gamut from marriage proposals, all the way to express wishes for her violent end, yet no one has yet been indifferent to her. The Giant's stick figures belie his astonishingly complex writing, and almost without realizing it, we begin to care about the people he has created. I read a dozen webcomics on a regular basis, and while each is entertaining in its own right, I can only think of one other that actually has me on edge, wondering what will happen next (Dominic Deegan, for the record).

    And if that's not enough, the "great Belkar alignment debate," as feltex called it in a recent thread, is of course not merely a debate about some poorly-conceived matrix of behavioral codes in the SRD. It is a debate about our own moral valuations, which the Giant, with his writing, forces us to rethink. That is great writing. Rich Burlew is a great writer. And the Order of the Stick is one of the greatest comics I've ever read.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    As a DM, I would say that Miko is probably one of the best-defined NPCs I've ever seen - and I don't think for a second that Rich didn't have her actions and the party's reactions planned out from the very beginning.

    I will cop to thinking the ten-foot pole comment may have been sudden inspiration, or divine revelation... it's rare that one laughs out loud to a webcomic.

    Be that as it may, I think she's also admirable for the insight she provides onto the world of D&D and its players. People who play paladins as judgemental as Miko do exist, and the more realistic view that Rich takes of what an attitude like that implies not only makes sense but like so many other things in OOTS is brilliant satire.

    Similarly for Belkar's alignment - Rich makes a distinction between what I refer to as Evil and evil. Belkar is evil, true, but Xykon is Evil. The notion that characters are more than stats and an alignment is something that Rich also does very well.
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  20. - Top - End - #20
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    The thing about Miko that most people don't quite get is that she's a COP. Lord Shinjo sent her forth to arrest and bring in a gang of suspected criminals. That's what she knows about the Order and they haven't given her any reason to believe otherwise, really.

    Cops have a different view of the world than the rest of us when they're on duty. A cop in Miko's position would take very much the same approach that she would: assume that the suspects will flee or resist you given the smallest opportunity to do so, do not get to know them as people because that's not your job to do, and above all remember that because they are in your custody all the time you have to be on duty all the time.

    The problem is that while she's on-duty she's almost of necessity a static character. There isn't a lot of room for development because there's no real chance to see her when her guard is down. We really don't know much about her character beyond that which her job allows us to see. Granted, that in itself is a glimpse into her personality, but it's not a huge one.

    The scene in the courtroom probably gives us the only real look into her mind that we've ever gotten and it turns out that...she's still a cop. Her focus is on her mission as she understands it and that didn't waver, no matter what the obstacle was. That does tell us quite a bit about her and it makes her a pretty compelling NPC in my mind. I guarantee you when (or if) she shows up again, the Order will know that they're not going to face a situation they can't sashay out of. I'm also pretty sure that her presence among them has given at least two members of the group something to ponder, at least as far as their comrades are concerned.

    So, yeah. Miko is a heck of an NPC. :)

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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    She's also going to be a serious threat now. Think about it, the OoTS will "get off", and then she'll take it upon herself to kill them for being evil. An angry palladin is one of the worst things to have against you, the worst being a lich or dragon but a pally is up there.

    The phrase "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" does come to mind. She is a perfect NPC, she helped advance the plot, and now she'll be an ?enemy? as well.
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by Godhand
    An angry palladin is one of the worst things to have against you, the worst being a lich or dragon but a pally is up there.
    Two out of three, eh man?

    -Well, at least. We still don't know what the MitD is.

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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    I agree that she's a deep character, but narrow.
    I severely doubt she will turn actively evil any time in the forseeable future. Smiting belkar was CG, not LE.

    Cops have a different view of the world than the rest of us when they're on duty.
    I can't offer definitive evidence to this effect, but I have been getting distinct vibes that Miko's relationship with the OotS is no longer entirely professional or impersonal. A *bond* has been forged, by the force of mutual emnity if nothing else.
    There are also so many things that interfered with a more positive outcome for both parties. If Miko had met the OotS as an equal, rather than to arrest them, they would not have come to immediate blows, and possibly never (unless Belkar were accidentally swept by Detect Evil.) If Belkar hadn't chased down Windstriker and lit the fuse, Miko would probably have spared the filibuster. If Belkar had stayed in his cell, Miko would have heard a full recount of the OotS prior exploits, which may have somewhat softened her opinion of them. If he'd directly escaped, the third combat would never have occurred, and she wouldn't have sworn an urge for bloody vengeance. The malevolent Gods of Caprice have clearly been rolling 20s.
    (I have a theory about this, however. It has occured to me that in the event that Miko and Roy are ultimately destined for eachother, their relationship will have to be *extremely* rocky to last over 5 years' worth of strips, as it's likely to a moderately vital plot element. So, recent events would be consistent with this plot direction. Of course, they're also perfectly consistent with Miko skewering his head on a pike some day, but it should be borne in mind.)

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Yeah, I can still see Miko and Roy being a couple a long way down the road.

    I think the COP reference was brilliant. Cops have distinct personalities that they show to other cops and those involved in the force, as well as with FFs. It really is a kind of brotherhood. But the general public doesn't see that often, and the "criminals" never do. She treated the OotS as criminals, because she was told that was what they were.

    If she could be let out of COP mode long enough to let her feelings out again, she might grow on us all. She started to come out of that COP shell *just* at the moment that Roy decided to let her have it with both barrels. Talk about playing turtle! She went right back into her shell, even more determined to not let people see the real Miko.

    I love character growth, either good or bad. Static characters are boring unless they provide comedy. And of all the characters that The Giant has provided us with, Miko has the most opportunity for growth that I think everyone would enjoy seeing. The wallflower becoming a rose, in essence.

    Either way, she was a brilliant plot character. As to whether she is an NPC or PC, we can't know until Rich tells us. For now, I view her as a NPC that helped shape the party into something the DM can better work with. Prior to this, they were a hodgepodge of parts that had little unity. At least for now, they have that unity. That always makes the DM's life easier.

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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Miko is brilliantly done. I hate Miko the way readers are supposed to hate the villain. But I love her as a character.

    I've always been fond of D&D scenarios that can effectively make a Lawful Good character as a foil for a Good (and mostly Lawful) party. As Hinjo points out, being Lawful Good (or being Lawful Good paladins) does not automatically make them all cut-out clones of the same personality.

    I like that you can both be LG and still be enemies.
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyserpent
    I'm glad the Miko Haters haven't shown up to have all of us crucified...
    I hate miko, but I love to hate her.

    I still want to see more of her. ;D
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzManJim
    The scene in the courtroom probably gives us the only real look into her mind that we've ever gotten and it turns out that...she's still a cop.
    Nah. She was still on-duty then and her guard wasn't down in the least. Her guard dropped briefly, once, when Roy apologised. She showed us then that even when she is thinking favorably on people, she is still uptight and morally "superior".

    The courtroom scene just tempered and finalized her decisions regarding the Order. They are now Evil-Doers in her eyes. They are damned and irredeemable and shall be hunted when ever she has the opportunity.

    However Shojo is no fool and would probably try to ssend her on missions far outside of where he thinks they will go.
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Miko as a person to hang out with: No thanks!

    Miko as a character to read about: Awesome!

    Still, Miko's dominant overbearing personality tend to eclipse the other characters we've come to know and love, so it'll be nice to have her gone for a while.
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Hmm...excellent comparisons with Dragonlance....I always expected Sturm to come back from teh dead....His death was kind of lame.
    Okay...I'm really, really sorry to sidetrack this thread but...*what*? Sturm went out like a champ, facing down three adult blue dragons (all kinds of major in a low power, low magic setting), knowing full well he was going to die, just to buy time so that his friends, who otherwise would have been caught unprepared, could get the trap ready and win the battle.

    He got the best Knight's death *ever*.

    Tanis had a lame death.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Miko: A brilliant NPC

    Quote Originally Posted by KhaibitEmaNeteru

    Okay...I'm really, really sorry to sidetrack this thread but...*what*? Sturm went out like a champ, facing down three adult blue dragons (all kinds of major in a low power, low magic setting), knowing full well he was going to die, just to buy time so that his friends, who otherwise would have been caught unprepared, could get the trap ready and win the battle.

    He got the best Knight's death *ever*.

    Tanis had a lame death.
    I don't know about the best death ever. It was one of the most poignant<sp> for a whole order, making it come to its senses, for sure. But the death itself?

    He shot 3 arrows, doing minimal damage with 2 of them. When the dragon approached, he went to shield and sword. (His sword was a 2-hander, but he was always using a shield? Bastard sword, maybe? lol) He swung one time, and put a gash in a dragon's snout. Then, with a single thrust of Kitiara's spear, he was dead.

    His fight and death themselves weren't anything to write home about. One shot kills aren't the stuff of legends. It is the why that made it special.

    If you think about it, while it was a low-powered world, a single spear thrust, even a critical, shouldn't have killed a fighting man that was over 30 years of age wearing full plate. Kitiara must have rolled the critical of all criticals!

    But, the act of his sacrifice for his friends and the people of the world was noble. And just what a whole knighthood needed to make it look at itself. Suddenly, they realized that being noble for nobility's sake is just being self serving. When the whole point was to use their nobility to serve others justly.

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