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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by JDMSJR View Post
    I don't understand what people think Redcloak's options are. The Plan isn't just something he came up with after the massacre of his village, it is something that he was commanded to do by the god of his people, something that the god of his people had been working on for generations.
    In a universe where deities are objectively real, that's a non trivial matter. Redcloak was, shall we say
    Spoiler: Redcloak's SOD situation
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    , in a position where the spirit of TDO overcame him and all that he could say was "Yes"


    It's not as though he was on a game show and picked "Door Number Three!" He didn't have that much agency.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    I recall Rich saying something about there being people who choose Evil and those who are forced into it...
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    My opposition to excusing Redcloak's behavior is primarily thematic. His longest running character traits have been refusal to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions, belief that ends justify means, and arrogance borne out of his position as Bearer of the Crimson Mantle.

    Assuming we don't want to see him redeemed somehow (which, personally, I don't), Redcloak being punished by the Dark One for refusing the offer to negotiate would provide a satisfying culmination to all these flaws. If the Dark One is forcing him to be evil, well... That's not a super interesting story to me.

    Plus, the confrontation with Right-Eye about abandoning the Mantle gives the lie to this a bit. Yeah, maybe Redcloak abandoning the Mantle would get him punished by the Dark One. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have the choice.
    Last edited by jinjitsu; 2021-01-21 at 12:00 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    How many of you think that a Redcloak who never encountered the Mantle would have been a peaceful farmer working to improve his people and raise his children to be moral and responsible?

    QUESTION:
    What was he doing when he encountered the Mantle?

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    How many of you think he'd be the high priest executing a Plan so risky the worst case scenario is the destruction of the multiverse, then?
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    How many of you think that a Redcloak who never encountered the Mantle would have been a peaceful farmer working to improve his people and raise his children to be moral and responsible?

    QUESTION:
    What was he doing when he encountered the Mantle?
    He was literally chilling at a cleric ceremony (y'know, the same kind that Durkon went through in one of his flashbacks) and probably would have lived and died in his village. He all but spells it out in the first page of his SOD appearance.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    It's not like he was living in a place as big as that hobgoblin settlement either, you know. It was practically a backwater village compared to that, let alone Azure City.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by understatement View Post
    He was literally chilling at a cleric ceremony (y'know, the same kind that Durkon went through in one of his flashbacks) and probably would have lived and died in his village. He all but spells it out in the first page of his SOD appearance.
    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    It's not like he was living in a place as big as that hobgoblin settlement either, you know. It was practically a backwater village compared to that, let alone Azure City.
    Devil's advocate: he was being ordained as a cleric of an evil god of war. The villagers seemed pretty peaceful (for all the 1 page we see of them), but who's to say that the clerics were as well?

    Though frankly I think this says less about you guys' reasoning/interpretation than it does about the gaps between how the world is presented and how it plays out. Between Redcloak and the High Priest of Hel, there's been so much focus on major character clerics enacting their gods' explicit wishes that it's easy to forget that most clerics we've seen are basically just local doctor/priests with no real cosmic agenda. Which is probably what Redcloak would've been without the Mantle.
    Last edited by jinjitsu; 2021-01-21 at 12:34 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    Devil's advocate: he was being ordained as a cleric of an evil god of war. The villagers seemed pretty peaceful (for all the 1 page we see of them), but who's to say that the clerics were as well?

    Though frankly I think this says less about you guys' reasoning/interpretation than it does about the gaps between how the world is presented and how it plays out. Between Redcloak and the High Priest of Hel, there's been so much focus on major character clerics enacting their gods' explicit wishes that it's easy to forget that most clerics we've seen are basically just local doctor/priests with no real cosmic agenda. Which is probably what Redcloak would've been without the Mantle.
    Yeah, exactly that. The Dark One is definitely an Evil God of War, but he's also the ONLY god of the goblinoids. By necessity, he's their God of Everything. So sure, goblinoid armies will definitely give him credit and attribute their actions & warfare to his teachings...but backwater farmers and the low-level cleric who heals their ouchies are also still his followers, despite never being aggressive to anyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    I recall Rich saying something about there being people who choose Evil and those who are forced into it...
    One of my favorite lines of analysis. From the SoD intro:
    There are people in this world who are driven to evil because of what their life has forced them to endure; Xykon is not one of those.
    Redcloak might be, though.
    For a long while, I'd taken that to mean that Rich believes Redcloak is Right: that is, his quest is noble and unimpeachable even if his means are evil. I've since shifted into a more nuanced interpretation: I believe Redcloak is truly trying to do the "right" thing, but the circumstances of his life have screwed him up so much emotionally, theologically, and mentally that not only is he willing to do evil in the pursuit of "good", his perspective on what's "good" has warped more and more as time goes on.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    Yeah, exactly that. The Dark One is definitely an Evil God of War, but he's also the ONLY god of the goblinoids. By necessity, he's their God of Everything. So sure, goblinoid armies will definitely give him credit and attribute their actions & warfare to his teachings...but backwater farmers and the low-level cleric who heals their ouchies are also still his followers, despite never being aggressive to anyone.
    And the bugbear shamans seem to be rather loose with their worship of TDO without actually abandoning him or anything; I take that to mean "just because you don't oppose TDO doesn't mean you're super Evil."

    Granted, Oona does seem somewhat Evil, if less than, say, Xykon, but Xykon is kind of a league of his own.

    For a long while, I'd taken that to mean that Rich believes Redcloak is Right: that is, his quest is noble and unimpeachable even if his means are evil. I've since shifted into a more nuanced interpretation: I believe Redcloak is truly trying to do the "right" thing, but the circumstances of his life have screwed him up so much emotionally, theologically, and mentally that not only is he willing to do evil in the pursuit of "good", his perspective on what's "good" has warped more and more as time goes on.
    That sounds more or less accurate, yeah.
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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    And the bugbear shamans seem to be rather loose with their worship of TDO without actually abandoning him or anything; I take that to mean "just because you don't oppose TDO doesn't mean you're super Evil."

    Granted, Oona does seem somewhat Evil, if less than, say, Xykon, but Xykon is kind of a league of his own.
    I propose a new alignment: "Casual Evil".

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    I propose a new alignment: "Casual Evil".
    I proposed an alignment "Lawful Silly" for a Monk/cleric multiclass (D&D 5e forum) where a monk runs around naked, wearing a mask, and alternately healing or beating up others. I think there's room at the bar, and a beer on tap, for Casual Evil.

    (And when it comes to Robilar, Rob Kuntz' character and D&D lore stuff, I get the idea that Casual Evil might have been that character's natural mode).
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  13. - Top - End - #73
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    If the goblins are non-aggressive and never cause harm, why then they are not Evil. This point is ignored over and over in order to concoct rationalizations for the goblins. Let me be clear:

    If the character has an Evil alignment, that character did enough evil stuff to earn that alignment.

    The comic focuses on The Order of the Stick, and therefore the backstory of how Farmer Goblin got her Evil alignment is never told. Because it is untold, the presumption is made that she never did wrong. This is a fallacy.

    The Giant doesn't go into the background of every NPC, or even most of them. Does this mean they are all good? Can we trust the info on their character sheet?

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    If the goblins are non-aggressive and never cause harm, why then they are not Evil. This point is ignored over and over in order to concoct rationalizations for the goblins. Let me be clear:

    If the character has an Evil alignment, that character did enough evil stuff to earn that alignment.

    The comic focuses on The Order of the Stick, and therefore the backstory of how Farmer Goblin got her Evil alignment is never told. Because it is untold, the presumption is made that she never did wrong. This is a fallacy.

    The Giant doesn't go into the background of every NPC, or even most of them. Does this mean they are all good? Can we trust the info on their character sheet?
    Since nothing on-page shows they were evil or did anything evil, can you prove that any of the goblins of Redcloak's village had an Evil alignment?

    (fyi, this discussion was made back in #1206 #1205, and these exact same points were brought up)
    Last edited by understatement; 2021-01-21 at 09:27 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    By the fact that the paladins who attacked them did not fall.

    A massacre of innocents would have caused blue guys to turn brown en masse. You can argue that the paladins didn't have the right to act as judge, jury, and executioner and I'd agree. But any presumption that the goblins were not Evil conflicts with the evidence.

    Unless we also presume all goblins carry lead sheets we must presume the paladins knew they were Evil as well.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2021-01-21 at 10:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Let me just link you to here and here.
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  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Since both of those links support my thesis, I'm not certain what your point may be.

    I'm not saying the paladins were justified. In fact, I would argue the opposite in a thread about that. My point has nothing to do with them, other than as evidence to support my thesis.

    Let me recap: the assumption that the goblins are not Evil is based on not having seen them do evil things. On this basis it could be argued that Adult Black Dragon, Trigak, and even Buggy Lou were not Evil. The fallacy becomes obvious once we realize the comic does not delve into the backstory of almost any of the NPCs unless they have a point to make. I mean, what's Oona's sad tale of misunderstood good intentions? When it becomes relevant to the Order of the Stick, i'm sure The Giant will let us know. But to presume Oona to be non-Evil at this point conflicts with what we know. When it turns out to have been Serini in disguise all along we'll have reason to doubt.

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Uh, hello?
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  19. - Top - End - #79
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Since both of those links support my thesis, I'm not certain what your point may be.

    I'm not saying the paladins were justified. In fact, I would argue the opposite in a thread about that. My point has nothing to do with them, other than as evidence to support my thesis.

    Let me recap: the assumption that the goblins are not Evil is based on not having seen them do evil things. On this basis it could be argued that Adult Black Dragon, Trigak, and even Buggy Lou were not Evil. The fallacy becomes obvious once we realize the comic does not delve into the backstory of almost any of the NPCs unless they have a point to make. I mean, what's Oona's sad tale of misunderstood good intentions? When it becomes relevant to the Order of the Stick, i'm sure The Giant will let us know. But to presume Oona to be non-Evil at this point conflicts with what we know. When it turns out to have been Serini in disguise all along we'll have reason to doubt.
    Since those links danielxcutter provided pretty clearly state that there were paladins that Fell, doesn't that sort of disprovse your point?

    Your argument boils down to "since you can't prove they didn't not do Evil things (due to a limited screentime), then they must be evil." This applies to the existence of aliens as well.

    For the case of the ABD, you're right. No solid alignment proof. But there's a staggering amount of evidence that she's evil; she is willing to kill Inky and two elven children, was in the process of doing so, and torturing and killing innocents is Evil.

    For the case of Trigak, it doesn't matter the alignment for him, since he attacked first with lethal intent. The Order has every right to self-defense.

    For the case of Buggy Lou, they were slavers.

    These all have strong evidence that they are evil, or have malicious intent. Is there any strong, clear evidence that the goblin villagers showed on-panel or by word of author?
    Last edited by understatement; 2021-01-21 at 11:25 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #80
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    If I remember correctly, there is a non-zero possibility of Redcloak's mentor not being Evil, in fact, considering that he laid down his life in order to spare the rest of the village.

    And then the paladins just slaughtered the rest of the village anyways, so yeah.
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  21. - Top - End - #81
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Let me recap: the assumption that the goblins are not Evil is based on not having seen them do evil things. On this basis it could be argued that Adult Black Dragon, Trigak, and even Buggy Lou were not Evil. The fallacy becomes obvious once we realize the comic does not delve into the backstory of almost any of the NPCs unless they have a point to make. I mean, what's Oona's sad tale of misunderstood good intentions? When it becomes relevant to the Order of the Stick, i'm sure The Giant will let us know. But to presume Oona to be non-Evil at this point conflicts with what we know. When it turns out to have been Serini in disguise all along we'll have reason to doubt.
    To flip the script on your argument, I'd argue you're talking about "innocent until proven guilty." And none of the examples you used work: ABD, Trigak, and Buggy Lou each initiated hostilities with members of the Order. In each instance, their reasons for attacking were pretty quickly shown as self-serving or even sadistic.

    It's one of the main sticking points in character writing: how do you clearly signal your villain's evilness to the audience without mustache-twirling? Thankfully, things have been pretty clear-cut in OotS for acts of villainy. It's easy to tell who the bad guys are...usually, at least.

    I agree that Oona is Evil, but for seemingly different reasons than yours: she's willingly helping Team Evil take over the world, and she attacked a pair of humans on sight with the intention of feeding them to the MitD. I'm going off her behavior and outlook, but I usually do presume Good/Neutral alignment until proven otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    If I remember correctly, there is a non-zero possibility of Redcloak's mentor not being Evil, in fact, considering that he laid down his life in order to spare the rest of the village.
    Plenty of fictional evil characters have sacrificed themselves for a loved one, teammates, or entire villages/populations before. That's nothing new, and isn't really an act of Goodness on its own.

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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    To flip the script on your argument, I'd argue you're talking about "innocent until proven guilty." And none of the examples you used work: ABD, Trigak, and Buggy Lou each initiated hostilities with members of the Order. In each instance, their reasons for attacking were pretty quickly shown as self-serving or even sadistic.

    It's one of the main sticking points in character writing: how do you clearly signal your villain's evilness to the audience without mustache-twirling? Thankfully, things have been pretty clear-cut in OotS for acts of villainy. It's easy to tell who the bad guys are...usually, at least.
    I agree, yes; there's absolutely no reason to assume somebody's Evil unless there's reasonable proof. At least the hobgoblin soldiers were attacking Azurites and the Order.

    I agree that Oona is Evil, but for seemingly different reasons than yours: she's willingly helping Team Evil take over the world, and she attacked a pair of humans on sight with the intention of feeding them to the MitD. I'm going off her behavior and outlook, but I usually do presume Good/Neutral alignment until proven otherwise.
    Same here.

    Plenty of fictional evil characters have sacrificed themselves for a loved one, teammates, or entire villages/populations before. That's nothing new, and isn't really an act of Goodness on its own.
    Eh, I suppose. Still a stronger argument that the village as a whole wasn't that Evil than against it IMO, though.
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  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    This leg of the discussion has actually made me kind of disappointed with the writing in SoD. If those paladins were committing an evil act by massacring goblins' they should've been falling on-panel. Miko committed one fall-worthy act and immediately got a whole light show over her fall, but the Azurites in SoD went totally unchecked.

    Maybe chalk that up to SoD being written before Miko's fall; I think that timeline checks out. It's possible Rich didn't intend for a paladin's fall to be a big flashy event until he was actively writing Miko's.

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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    This leg of the discussion has actually made me kind of disappointed with the writing in SoD. If those paladins were committing an evil act by massacring goblins' they should've been falling on-panel. Miko committed one fall-worthy act and immediately got a whole light show over her fall, but the Azurites in SoD went totally unchecked.
    The Giant's explanation why Miko fell dramatically and the SoD paladins didn't:


    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post

    Suffice to say that the Twelve Gods are not beholden to put on the same visual display they did for Miko for every paladin who transgresses, and that all transgressions are not created equal. It is possible that some of the paladins who participated in the attack crossed the line. It is also possible that most did not. A paladin who slips up in the execution of their god-given orders does not warrant the same level of personal attention by the gods as one who executes the legal ruler of their nation on a glorified hunch. Think of Miko's Fall as being the equivalent of the CEO of your multinational company showing up in your cubicle to fire you, because you screwed up THAT much.

    Of course, while Redcloak is not narrating the scene, it is shown mostly from his perspective; we don't see how many Detect Evils were used before the attack started, and we don't see how many paladins afterwards try to heal their wounds and can't, because these things are not important to Redcloak's story. Whether or not some of the paladins Fell does not bring Redcloak's family back to life. Indeed, if we transplant the scene to real life, he would think it cold comfort that some of the police officers who gunned down his family had to turn in their badge afterward (but were otherwise given no punishment by their bosses at City Hall).

    Dramatically, showing no-name paladins Falling at that point in the story would confuse the narrative by making it unclear whether or not Redcloak had already earned a form of retribution against them. To be clear, he had not: Whether or not some of them lost a few class abilities does not change the fact that Redcloak suffered an injustice at their hands, one that shaped his entire adult life. That was the point of the scene. Showing them Fall or not simply was not important to Redcloak's story, so it was omitted.

    Further, it would have cheapened Miko's fall to show the same thing over and over--and Miko, as a major character in the series, deserved the emotional weight that her Fall carried (or at least that I hope it carried).

    I hope that clears this issue up. I hope in vain, largely, but there you have it.

    (Oh, and I leave it up to the readers to form their own opinions on which paladins may have Fallen and which didn't.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    Maybe chalk that up to SoD being written before Miko's fall; I think that timeline checks out. It's possible Rich didn't intend for a paladin's fall to be a big flashy event until he was actively writing Miko's.
    Preorders for SOD started arriving in June 2007:

    https://forums.giantitp.com/showthre...ALL-SPOILERS!)

    And Miko fell in January 2007:

    https://forums.giantitp.com/showthre...cussion-Thread

    The decision to have Miko Fall was also intended right from the moment the character was invented:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Everything from the point where Miko drags the Order to Azure City in chains in #251 is more-or-less exactly what was always going to happen, with only some tone changed. Miko, and only Miko, was intended to kill Shojo, fall from grace, and ultimately destroy the Azurite gate. No one else was ever considered for this role, and this role was assigned to her from before her first appearance in #200. It was the entire narrative purpose of her character. Of course, I couldn't SAY that in the notes to Paladin Blues, because none of that had happened yet. There was never an intention for there to be a relationship with Roy, merely a few clumsy attempts on Roy's part to start one, followed by a rebuff and the Order's capture. Miko was always a "villain", and I did not intend for Roy to have a long-running relationship with a villain, merely to make her an appealing enough antagonist that some people were rooting for her.
    and War and XPs commentary explains what storytelling reasons are behind making it so visually dramatic - to prevent the readers from being under any misapprehensions, was one of them.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2021-01-22 at 04:31 AM.
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  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by jinjitsu View Post
    This leg of the discussion has actually made me kind of disappointed with the writing in SoD. If those paladins were committing an evil act by massacring goblins' they should've been falling on-panel. Miko committed one fall-worthy act and immediately got a whole light show over her fall, but the Azurites in SoD went totally unchecked.

    Maybe chalk that up to SoD being written before Miko's fall; I think that timeline checks out. It's possible Rich didn't intend for a paladin's fall to be a big flashy event until he was actively writing Miko's.
    I can see that. The massacre is brutal -- brutal enough that you could argue none of the paladins should've kept their powers and I might be swayed. Rich's point (that showing the paladins falling wouldn't make sense in the narrative, nor would it make Redcloak feel any better about the death of almost his entire family) was enough for me to suspend my disbelief, it does still feel like a deep injustice. Which I suppose is the point.

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    But I think the "moral decay" factor isn't entirely without merit either; I've heard a very good theory that Redcloak's passiveness and callousness towards hobgoblins in the early strips was due to his spirits being crushed by the events of SoD and the hobgoblin soldier saving him is what snapped him out of it.
    Ooh, I like that. It even provides an in-universe explanation for why he was only acting like Xykon's lackey in the early strips. X's temporary destruction gave him the confidence to resume acting a bit like his old self, and the soldier's sacrifice snapped him out it (more or less) completely.
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  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debatra View Post
    Ooh, I like that. It even provides an in-universe explanation for why he was only acting like Xykon's lackey in the early strips. X's temporary destruction gave him the confidence to resume acting a bit like his old self, and the soldier's sacrifice snapped him out it (more or less) completely.
    That was the theory, yes.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Good Morning,

    My first post here. I only read through the archive a week ago.

    Just reading through folk's analysis on what Redcloak was saying, and I'm afraid I think something fundamental was overlooked. But, in truth, Durkon and Thor both overlooked it. Frankly, Thor sent Durkon on a fool's errand.

    To explain reference an old Aesop's fable: "The Wolf and the Lamb."

    A Wolf was drinking at a spring on a hillside. On looking up he saw a Lamb just beginning to drink lower down. “There’s my supper,” thought he, “if only I can find some excuse to seize it.” He called out to the Lamb, “How dare you muddle my drinking water?”

    “No,” said the Lamb; "if the water is muddy up there, I cannot be the cause of it, for it runs down from you to me.”

    “Well, then,” said the Wolf, “why did you call me bad names this time last year?”

    “That cannot be,” said the Lamb; “I am only six months old.”

    “I don’t care,” snarled the Wolf; “if it was not you, it was your father;” and with that he rushed upon the poor little Lamb and ate her all up.
    The moral of the story is: A Tyrant needs no excuse.

    Like the Shell Game that Haley explained: The biggest mistake here is to assume that Redcloak is negotiating in good faith. Both Thor and Durkon believed (or hoped) they could get Redcloak to believe what they had to say and see reason.

    He's simply not. He's just playing Durkon (and Thor.) I mean, the guy who lets Zyklon massacre Goblins and Hates Hobgoblins himself is now pretending that he's concerned about them? It's just a game to him.

    Admittedly, Durkon doesn't know Redcloak doesn't give a damn about Goblins, so it's an effective way for him to play Durkon for a fool, while he gets ready to implode him.

    Diplomacy, they say, is the art of saying "Nice Doggy" while you're reaching for a rock.
    Redcloak just babbled off some excuses and Durkon (and Thor) fell for it like a ton of starmetal, because it was exactly what they wanted to hear: Redcloak negotiating.

    Sadly, a lot of folks who should know better, have not learned this lesson in the real world.
    It's a relief that here, the only consequences are happening to cartoon characters and not nations.

    Tyrants use negotiations as a smoke screen to hide what they're doing.
    They don't abide by them.
    To expect them to do so is just a foolish lack of human understanding.
    Last edited by Kellogg; 2021-01-24 at 05:22 AM. Reason: Typoes
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  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    I have a feeling you are overlooking the point that Redcloak is not supposed that kind of one-dimensional character.
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  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: Redcloak and his way of thinking

    Yeah any analysis that doesn't take into account that Redcloak is fooling himself first and foremost really misses the mark. None of this is a conscious charade on his part.
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