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  1. - Top - End - #391
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Saving the world is a Good act when it is difficult, dangerous, and you have a perfectly valid Neutral option to escape the world available to you.

    This is the option that Hilgya lined up for herself. She gave a little push to the "saving the world team" but stopped before it became too strenuous or a real risk to her life. If it turns out not to be enough, then she can simply escape to another Plane.

    Serini and Belkar can't do that under their own steam. Belkar theoretically could abandon the Order and go off looking for a high level caster to warn and become escape buddies with (maybe even convince Hilgya), but he's not inclined to do so because, like Xykon, the world contains many of his favorite things. Plus, he prefers a dangerous lifestyle by default and would confront dangers even without the motivation of saving the world. Nevertheless, if push came to shove, and he had a choice between near-certain obliteration and a small chance of helping, versus jumping clear of the Snarl implosion, then if he were to stay and help, that would probably earn him some Good points.

    This Neutral option is much more viable for Serini. She's had more time to prepare, has known more high level people, is capable of using more magic items. If it weren't for the line "[Existing] was nice" then we might even expect her to have an escape plan in her back pocket, regardless of her alignment. But I don't think she would say that if it was her plan to pull a Hilgya and abandon ship. Whatever her plan, she intends to see it through, and that makes me think that (pending new revelations that her goals are not what we have been led to believe) she is Good.

    Not solely because of points earned by committing her life to saving the world, but because she is the kind of person (currently, even after her embittering years) to do it.

  2. - Top - End - #392
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by arimareiji View Post
    What really got me were the weapons, though. I got it that only one character could use something in their narrow specialty (fisticuffs, staff, giant honkin' sword, gun arm)... but why are so many other people carrying around such items that don't fit their style? Particularly: Considering there are only two people with gun arms in the entire world, why would anyone else be carrying them around? XD
    You mean merchants, or monster loot? FF7s setting seemed like the kind of place where they made crazy weapons just in case they were useful. Remember this was the same world where they injected alien DNA into Soldiers to try and replicate a powerful psychopath, a breeding experiment was attempted between a flower girl and a wolftiger, they built two gigantic cannons with very little notice, weaponised their rusted space program and the only part to fail was a part that was likely to fail during the initial launch, and the safest place the heroes can think to keep magi-nuclear weapons is a counterculture planetarium.
    FF7 was not a setting which thought things through.

  3. - Top - End - #393
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    I would say that saving the world is a neutral act since self-interest is involved.
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
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    Even Xykon has hinted that he would fight to keep this world from being destroyed. Back when he and Roy were duelling over Azure City he said he liked the world, wouldn't mind ruling it. So if there ever came a time -- and there might -- when Xykon has to choose between watching Redcloak destroy the world and helping the heroes, he might just line up with the OOTS. Not because he's good or because he's had a heel face turn. It's because even evil people will battle to keep a ship from sinking if its one they're riding in and there's no way off.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    This is a really good argument, but I think self-sacrifice comes into play. Risking your own life and well-being* is neutral if there's zero chance the world will be saved without your involvement. If there's a reasonable chance it will be saved without you, then stepping up and placing yourself in harm's way is a Good act.
    * - such as becoming a target afterward as a result, and only surviving by being turned half-troll

    (Not to mention spending a fortune on making sure it stays saved, hopefully for long past your lifetime.)

    But your mileage may vary. Someone could infer that sitting back and doing nothing when you could easily save the world without harming anyone is an Evil act... oh wait, I got it backwards. The fact she doesn't do that** is actually being cited as an Evil act. I'm so confused.
    ** - As has been repeatedly said before, despite false claims that no rationale has been given:
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
    Show
    Serini gets notified that paladins' gate has blown up. Then she gets a (false) notification that the paladins are mucking around Girard's gate despite their oath to stay away. Shortly after, she's notified that Girard's gate has blown up. Then two paladins show up to muck around her gate, again despite their oath to stay away. She has good reason to believe that if they leave well enough alone instead of trying to find the gate, Xykon will keep spinning his wheels.
    I think she's very likely to change her mind in light of new information, but at this time she has no reason to think of the paladins as anything but well-intentioned bunglers likely to get another gate destroyed if left to their own devices.

  4. - Top - End - #394
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Good Coyote View Post
    Saving the world is a Good act when it is difficult, dangerous, and you have a perfectly valid Neutral option to escape the world available to you.
    That 'perfectly valid' option means not only sacrificing everything and everyone you've ever known and cared about, it also mean that your home , your country, everything you've ever lived in or on, everything you remember, is gone and you can't get it back.

    It may be a perfectly valid option for Hilgya because she's a bit of a sociopath who doesn't really care about anything or anyone save herself and her offspring. I would say it's not a valid option for anyone who has any lingering attachment or sentiment to this world. Not just good and neutral people; Redcloak might look askance at the idea of abandoning the world if it meant sacrificing all the goblins on it. Even Xykon, a total sociopath, might miss the particular brand of coffee they made in one particular region.

    So if you have anything in this world that you value, you can't say that staying to save it when you could save yourself is a purely altruistic, "good" action. I would say neutral; if there is anything of value in this world to you at all you have a self-interested reason to save it -- and if you don't see anything of value in this world at all, why would anyone with access to Plane Shift stay in it?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

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  5. - Top - End - #395
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    [cut]
    By this argument, there are no Good actions. There are only people who feel good when they save others, who value philosophies that lead them to take good actions, people who wish to avoid uncomfortable guilt, etc.

    Roy was motivated by Belkar to keep fighting after Durkon was vampirized, because "he cared about his friend's sacrifice." It would have made him feel bad to think about how Durkon's sacrifice was for nothing. He was motivated before that because he values the lives of innocents, as he told his father. He went back to rescue Elan from the bandit camp only after he remembered that he has a code that he values.

    No one ever does anything that they don't care about for some reason.

    EDIT: For clarification, Serini does not come across as Good to me because she hasn't left yet. It's because she (seemingly) does not plan on leaving, even though she has had opportunity to prepare a contingency plan. She could even have worked on a plan that would allow her to take many things and people that she cares about with her.

    Sticking around to defend the world while they still have a chance, and the danger to yourself is not yet so immediate, could be Neutral. Not jumping ship even when there is slim chance of success and extreme danger to yourself is Good.

    I would compare this to V's Neutral actions in Azure City. V stayed in the battle because there were many reasons for them to care about the outcome. But when down to the last spell, V used Invisibility to escape rather than whatever plan the soldier "hmm okay maybe we could use that to-" came up with.

    I could be wrong about Serini's plans to escape, or what she will do if she finds an opportunity later, since as I said it's based on a single line. But we are all discussing our impressions solely of what we have seen so far.

    EDIT, again: Also, people can take Good actions and still be Neutral, or Neutral actions and still be Good, perhaps like some of the Good-aligned people who escape on the junk. (Though you'll notice there was a strong Good push to stay and that ultimately the decision was "saving these people for sure vs maybe saving a few additional people" rather than saving others vs saving oneself.) Even Belkar could do a truly Good thing and still even out to Evil. All characters are more complex than a single action. But this is a significant part of what we've seen so far from Serini, so it forms a significant part of my impression.
    Last edited by Good Coyote; 2021-03-01 at 07:24 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #396
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by arimareiji View Post
    ** - As has been repeatedly said before, despite false claims that no rationale has been given:
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
    Show
    Serini gets notified that paladins' gate has blown up. Then she gets a (false) notification that the paladins are mucking around Girard's gate despite their oath to stay away. Shortly after, she's notified that Girard's gate has blown up. Then two paladins show up to muck around her gate, again despite their oath to stay away. She has good reason to believe that if they leave well enough alone instead of trying to find the gate, Xykon will keep spinning his wheels.
    I think she's very likely to change her mind in light of new information, but at this time she has no reason to think of the paladins as anything but well-intentioned bunglers likely to get another gate destroyed if left to their own devices.
    Very nice summary.

    I also want to note, while I don't remember all the details, did the Scribble even know there was no other way to save the world, or that the rifts would eventually destroy the world? I'm reading the Crayons of Time comics again for verification, and Shojo says they learned the nature of the rifts (and, of course, we see they had direct experience with the Snarl), and that the gods could only seal the rifts by remaking the world, but did they know the rifts would eventually grow and destroy the planet? How did they learn that? Shojo says they sealed the rifts "to keep anyone from suffering the same fate" as Mijung, not that they learned they could destroy the whole world.

  7. - Top - End - #397
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    3.0 SRD has the rule:
    "Armor is always created so that even if the type of armor comes with boots or gauntlets, these pieces can be switched for other magic boots or gauntlets. Magic armor, like almost all magic items, resizes itself to fit the wearer."

    I can't find an equivalent for 3.5, but I could have sworn it was there. I'm tempted to dig out my actual books, because there are things in the books that aren't in the SRD.
    The SRD has the first sentence, but not the second, which suggests snippage. Regarding size and magic items, it has:

    When an article of magic clothing or jewelry is discovered, most of the time size shouldn’t be an issue. Many magic garments are made to be easily adjustable, or they adjust themselves magically to the wearer. Size should not keep characters of various kinds from using magic items.

    There may be rare exceptions, especially with racial specific items.

    Armor and Weapon Sizes

    Armor and weapons that are found at random have a 30% chance of being Small (01-30), a 60% chance of being Medium (31-90), and a 10% chance of being any other size (91-100).
    This to me implies that they don't resize. Or resize only within their categories.

    EDIT:

    Real-world armour... well, chain is pretty flexible. If it's too long, that can be fixed with a simple belt. Most other armour has to be fitted considerably better; just because it's "human sized" isn't close enough. Adding lots of padding, in the case of too-large armour, only goes so far.
    Last edited by bunsen_h; 2021-03-01 at 05:45 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #398
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
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    You mean merchants, or monster loot? FF7s setting seemed like the kind of place where they made crazy weapons just in case they were useful. Remember this was the same world where they injected alien DNA into Soldiers to try and replicate a powerful psychopath, a breeding experiment was attempted between a flower girl and a wolftiger, they built two gigantic cannons with very little notice, weaponised their rusted space program and the only part to fail was a part that was likely to fail during the initial launch, and the safest place the heroes can think to keep magi-nuclear weapons is a counterculture planetarium.
    FF7 was not a setting which thought things through.
    "a breeding experiment was attempted between a flower girl and a wolftiger"
    (O_o)
    Not doubting you, I just missed noticing that... or perhaps more likely, blocked it out of memory. I liked both Aeris and Red XIII, but chocolate and peanut butter they ain't. (^_^)°

    "FF7 was not a setting which thought things through."
    No argument here. XD
    Not to mention when
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
    Show
    the normal human and the genetic experiment get dumped into an underground lake of magical liquid that looks like toxic waste (and gives people 'Mako poisoning' if exposed in large amounts), sucked down and squirted around under the planet's surface for an indefinite time but probably at least days. So of course when it spits them out a long distance away, they're better for the experience.
    Or the ending cut scene, where Marlene says "The flower girl?" and looks out to see.... Meteor just sitting there above Midgar singing a little song "Doo-de-doo-de-doo, I'm a big destructive Meteor here to destroy the planet, but I can't do that until Holy shows up to stop me so I can overpower it, doo-de-doo". I've often wondered if the scene originally showed Holy already there being used by Aeris' ghost, except she's horribly overmatched and that's why Meteor is wreaking havoc... but then some genius executive decided to rework it.
    Or...

  9. - Top - End - #399
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    I hope one of the paladins asks Serini to marry them, so that Serini can kill the paladin in cold blood and be regarded as “probably neutral”.

  10. - Top - End - #400
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    I hope one of the paladins asks Serini to marry them, so that Serini can kill the paladin in cold blood and be regarded as “probably neutral”.
    Honestly the discussion over character's alignments is less interesting to me specifically because of this kind of thing. It's more interesting to determine the alignment of specific actions. I don't personally think Hilgya is Neutral (though won't be discussing it) and it matters less to me whether Serini is Good.

    It's just really hard to separate the two discussions for some reason. My brain went there automatically even though I meant my initial post to just be about the action. It's two entirely separate questions. "Does this earn Good points" and "does this earn enough Good points."

  11. - Top - End - #401
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Good Coyote View Post
    It's more interesting to determine the alignment of specific actions.
    I agree with this. I do think it’s difficult, though, because D&D follows the “normal” cinematic rules where Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson might shoot a few hundred people and be a “good guy”, while someone with a sinister accents twirls his mustache a few times and gets to be the “bad guy”.

    Morality in a cinematic universe lives in a fun house mirror.

    I have no idea how to even set the ground rules for the discussion.
    Last edited by Dion; 2021-03-01 at 11:20 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #402
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Even fun-house mirrors are based on reality. Nobody’s denying that Xykon’s Evil, for starters.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by arimareiji View Post
    ** - As has been repeatedly said before, despite false claims that no rationale has been given:
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
    Show
    Serini gets notified that paladins' gate has blown up. Then she gets a (false) notification that the paladins are mucking around Girard's gate despite their oath to stay away. Shortly after, she's notified that Girard's gate has blown up. Then two paladins show up to muck around her gate, again despite their oath to stay away. She has good reason to believe that if they leave well enough alone instead of trying to find the gate, Xykon will keep spinning his wheels.
    I think she's very likely to change her mind in light of new information, but at this time she has no reason to think of the paladins as anything but well-intentioned bunglers likely to get another gate destroyed if left to their own devices.
    Well said.

    Something I just realized while thinking about your explanation here: Serini only shoots O-Chul with a poison dart when he mentions the idea of opening doors himself. He & Lien have been outside Kraagor's Gate for at least a day or two at this point: why didn't she capture them before this point? Certainly before they managed to contact The Order, because now she'll have to worry about others...seems like there's potentially more going on here in her plans. Or she just found out The Order was on its way now after Lien received the sending, so she decided to divide & conquer.

    My guess is that she has some sort of plan/intention with The Order.

  14. - Top - End - #404
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Good Coyote View Post
    By this argument, there are no Good actions.
    Thanks to a forum (well, some participants') habit of taking the most uncharitable interpretation of a character's actions as a default position.
    Quote Originally Posted by Good Coyote View Post
    Honestly the discussion over character's alignments is less interesting to me specifically because of this kind of thing.
    The only exercise some folks get is in jumping to conclusions.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2021-03-02 at 01:13 AM.
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    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by arimareiji View Post
    "a breeding experiment was attempted between a flower girl and a wolftiger"
    (O_o)
    Not doubting you, I just missed noticing that... or perhaps more likely, blocked it out of memory. I liked both Aeris and Red XIII, but chocolate and peanut butter they ain't. (^_^)°

    "FF7 was not a setting which thought things through."
    No argument here. XD
    Not to mention when
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
    Show
    the normal human and the genetic experiment get dumped into an underground lake of magical liquid that looks like toxic waste (and gives people 'Mako poisoning' if exposed in large amounts), sucked down and squirted around under the planet's surface for an indefinite time but probably at least days. So of course when it spits them out a long distance away, they're better for the experience.
    Or the ending cut scene, where Marlene says "The flower girl?" and looks out to see.... Meteor just sitting there above Midgar singing a little song "Doo-de-doo-de-doo, I'm a big destructive Meteor here to destroy the planet, but I can't do that until Holy shows up to stop me so I can overpower it, doo-de-doo". I've often wondered if the scene originally showed Holy already there being used by Aeris' ghost, except she's horribly overmatched and that's why Meteor is wreaking havoc... but then some genius executive decided to rework it.
    Or...
    It's the scene where you first meet Red; Hojo has captured Aeris and, because she's the last of her race and Red is the last of his, naturally the answer is to attempt to breed them for the survival of the Ancient/whatever-the-hell-Red was races.
    And, I must admit, I rarely ever finished FF games, as I was having too much fun with the side-quests (and often the ends were confusing and/or sucked)

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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    That 'perfectly valid' option means not only sacrificing everything and everyone you've ever known and cared about, it also mean that your home , your country, everything you've ever lived in or on, everything you remember, is gone and you can't get it back.
    Personally, I think it just means not doing the job yourself, not risking your own life and leaving it to someone else. Doing that doesn't mean you're fine with the world ending.
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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I don't disagree, but haven't revised my position at all.
    Sure

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    On the other side of the coin she's going to a great deal of effort and expense to release them unharmed after feeding them a potion of amnesia. There are faster, and cheaper, ways to ensure people don't talk about what they've seen. Redcloak demonstrated that when he dealt with the craftsgoblin who manufactured Xykon's fake phylactery.

    At the moment I consider Serini Chaotic good. Lying and slapping people with a stick are chaotic actions, but they don't fall into the category of what I would consider "torture", which would involve pincers and hot iron. If she'd killed them out of hand I'd hear arguments for chaotic neutral or chaotic evil. If she'd put them to death and taken great glee in their discomfiture, as Xykon did when they were using O-chul as sport back in Gobbotopia, I'd agree she is chaotic evil. As it is, I see evidence of 1) Willing to risk her own life for the sake of others. Even for someone as damaged as she is, there are other things she can do with her life than guard a gate in the middle of nowhere. 2) Willing to work to save life when it would be cheaper and more efficient to simply kill them, as with Lien and O-chul. So I accept her on the "good" axis, but since she lies and pulls pranks she's obviously not lawful. I'm pegging her on the chaotic end of the scale. Hence, chaotic good.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    You point out that Serini has indicated an intention to release the Paladins, and has not tortured them. This is true, and of course if she wasn't going to release them or was tortuting them it would be worse.

    But most kidnappers don't torture victims and not all torture them (or otherwise physically harm them) in captivity, its still a pretty serious crime. Do you think that kidnapping is not itself wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Okay, this one I have to respond to.

    There's a difference in real and fantasy worlds between tranquilizer darts and sleep darts.

    In a fantasy world, a sleep dart is pretty much guaranteed to put a target -- any target -- into a healthy sleep which lasts for a period of time, is induced in one combat round (<6 seconds), and from which the target wakes up with no after effects. Same way any chain mail you find will always be just your size to wear, even if you're a halfling taking it off a giant.
    I don't think this is true.

    First, I don't think sleeping poisons are ever a guaranteed knock out - the victim will get a fortitude save

    Second, I think you require a source for your claim that there are no other side effects. A quick google turned led to a page that said this about sleeping poison (other sleeping poisons might be different - we don't know what was used in comic):
    When the drow poison was delivered into a creature's system, the creature felt weakness and lassitude before falling unconscious for two to eight hours. Sturdy people woke up after one minute. Even when one did not fall unconscious from it, the victim often had problems coping with subsequent detrimental effects.
    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/w...nockout_poison

    Third, by DnD rules even the delivery dart would cause damage (more than would be caused by a dart in real life). A small dart does 1d3 damage, the same amount as a small dagger. Now that would be a very small amount to a high level paladin, but that is more about the toughness of the victim than the harmlessness of the dart.

    More broadly, it is often true that things are less harmful in DnD than in real life. Xykon did torture O-Chul, but this had not lasting effects like it would in real life. Someone can be hit multiple times with a sword and be healed to full health the next day. Even if Serini killed them, she could be said to have inflicted no lasting harm if they were resurrected. One might suggest that downgrades the degree of evil of all harmful actions in DnD a few notches, but you'd have to apply that to other supposedly evil characters too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronnoc View Post
    On the topic of Serini's alignment, I would argue that given the themes of the comic her treating the trolls as people rather than encounters is exceptionally strong evidence that she's good aligned.
    That's a really good point

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky_Schemer View Post
    Well, there is this.
    And this.
    So in one of those posts I say "the little we have seen leans more toward evil than good" and in the other I say that what she did "Seems evil to me". Rereading those, the both seem consistent with one another, and I also pretty clearly didn't declare her evil. I used non-definite terms to say one thing she did seemed evil, but explicitly stated that "here is too little information to make a concrete call at the moment". So the quotes you've managed to find actually show me very clearly saying that we cannot declare her evil at the moment.

    But to make it even more clear, my opinion is that drugging and kidnapping the paladins was somewhat evil unless there is a good explanation for it (which we have not yet been given). That might suggest evilness in Serini, but a single data point is not sufficient to make that call yet. I think I've been pretty consistent about that throughout - if you think otherwise, please quote me.

    You're trying to argue both sides, hedging by saying "I agree it doesn't make her evil" in one paragraph, and then ending with "seems evil to me" in another. And by saying "there is too little information" but ending with "leans more toward evil than good".

    You can't have it both ways. Either you're undecided, or you're taking a reading based on what you've seen. And you've taken a reading. The fact that more information might change your opinion later on is irrelevant, and frankly, assumed since the story is not finished. The point is you've made a judgement now, based on a handful of strips, and that's what we're debating.
    I'm not having it both ways. I am just defending a statement that is more nuanced than the usual "character Y is definitely X" that we see on these forums.

    To state my position (as it has always been) yet again, using the terms you do above - I have made a judgment (subject to more information) on Serini's actions. I have not made a judgment on Serini, I think we have received a hint of evil, but not enough to make a judgment, so I am undecided. Is it clearer now?

    This is the statement I take issue with:
    We have, in fact, seen something to balance it out: you left out the two strips where she literally saved the world.
    Nope, I have addressed that with you twice.

    First I pointed out the the context was about whether there had been an alignment change - for there to have been a change it follows that she must have been not evil some time in the past. We were still discussing that in our last posts, but you have dropped that thread of discussion.

    Second, I compared Serini's saving of the world to Belkar's saving of the world - the point being that a character can still be seen as evil despite participating in a party looking to save the world. In discussions about whether Belkar remains evil despite potentially having participated in saving "every soul in the world" (your words) people noted that he had self serving motives for what he did - exactly the same thing which I see some people have pointed out to you in the context of Serini. You chose not to engage wit this.

    I think that Serini participating in saving the world adds quite a lot of credit in her good column, but not so much that it means she can never be evil or even so much that she could not have been evil at the time (just like Belkar). As I noted, it's a debate which has been had before, but if you are keen on having it again, I see various people are discussing it now, with a few lining up on each 'side' of it. Go get em!!!
    Last edited by Liquor Box; 2021-03-02 at 04:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Good Coyote View Post
    Honestly the discussion over character's alignments is less interesting to me specifically because of this kind of thing. It's more interesting to determine the alignment of specific actions. I don't personally think Hilgya is Neutral (though won't be discussing it) and it matters less to me whether Serini is Good.
    With Hilgya, I honestly never tried to figure out my opinion on whether she was Neutral or Evil because at a certain point it came apparent that she was primarily defined by being Chaotic, and while clearly not Good, I got the impression we were never going to get a clear answer from the comic on the Neutral / Evil question. So I stopped thinking about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    I agree with this. I do think it’s difficult, though, because D&D follows the “normal” cinematic rules where Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson might shoot a few hundred people and be a “good guy”, while someone with a sinister accents twirls his mustache a few times and gets to be the “bad guy”.

    Morality in a cinematic universe lives in a fun house mirror.

    I have no idea how to even set the ground rules for the discussion.
    Very true. Also, the alignment of an action sometimes seems to depend on the alignment of the target. Murdering an Evil person (like Crystal) is just plain different. So establishing Crystal's alignment matters when we judge Haley's action. Of course you can say it without saying "Evil" just like Haley did in the comic, just mention headbutting elderly gnomes into comas instead. But when it's a different situation where all you see is the moustache twirling... the two discussions can overlap a lot. Unfortunately.


    Quote Originally Posted by hroþila View Post
    Personally, I think it just means not doing the job yourself, not risking your own life and leaving it to someone else. Doing that doesn't mean you're fine with the world ending.
    On this topic, Hilgya isn't even the first person to abandon ship. Julio Scoundrel has already left the building (comic #943). I don't think he even stopped to collect his offspring from every port city first (never mind any of his offspring's grandmothers). Julio's a lot of things, but I wouldn't put sociopath on the list. He certainly enjoys the world.

    I think this is building into an important theme in the comic. Not only do we have parallels with those who fled Azure City, but the possibility of escaping to other planes has been mentioned three times already. When Julio did it, when Hilgya planned it, and Belkar's little motivation speech: "hey no worries, just go chill with Celia on the outer planes. of course that'd mean Durkon died for nothing, which seems like it might bother you at some point." (paraphrased).

    It's been clearly established that this option is on the table. Julio is comparable to Serini because I doubt he can Plane Shift himself, but he has a lifetime of adventuring experience, connections and looting behind him. He was able to throw together an escape route on very short notice. Serini has had decades. Not having a plan is a current and ongoing decision on her part.

    It's true that she could have different reasons for that decision. My first thought was that she intends (and has always intended) to fight to the end. Ironically, much like a Paladin. It could also be because it would mean siphoning resources away from the Gate. Rather than take whatever gold or time it would take to make an escape plan, she always chose to prioritize the Gate that protected everyone. No special treatment for herself.

    However it also occurred to me, it's possible that she used to have a plan which fell through at some point, which would make this all moot. But right now that's pure speculation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
    With Hilgya, I honestly never tried to figure out my opinion on whether she was Neutral or Evil because at a certain point it came apparent that she was primarily defined by being Chaotic, and while clearly not Good, I got the impression we were never going to get a clear answer from the comic on the Neutral / Evil question. So I stopped thinking about it.
    Dang, that's a high WIS score.
    Last edited by Good Coyote; 2021-03-02 at 06:49 AM.

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    Thank you both for the kind words... I feel a bit of a fraud, though, because I'm just someone who was stubborn enough to keep repeating observations (that others had actually picked up on, and expressed better). It bothered me to see their existence ignored/denied, like they were schoolgirls being ritually shunned in an anime. ,XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
    Very nice summary.

    I also want to note, while I don't remember all the details, did the Scribble even know there was no other way to save the world, or that the rifts would eventually destroy the world?
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
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    I'm reading the Crayons of Time comics again for verification, and Shojo says they learned the nature of the rifts (and, of course, we see they had direct experience with the Snarl), and that the gods could only seal the rifts by remaking the world, but did they know the rifts would eventually grow and destroy the planet? How did they learn that? Shojo says they sealed the rifts "to keep anyone from suffering the same fate" as Mijung, not that they learned they could destroy the whole world.
    That's an interesting point. It makes good sense that they wouldn't know everything we know now, and this deserves exploration... but my weird brain is starting to even wonder how we know everything we know now.

    Questions like "How do you research something that even the gods won't divulge?", or "Why were Kraagor and Soon anywhere near the Snarl? How do you 'fight' or even tank against something that rips apart the threads of your existence as soon as you touch it?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    Well said.

    Something I just realized while thinking about your explanation here: Serini only shoots O-Chul with a poison dart when he mentions the idea of opening doors himself.
    Spoiler: collapsed for space
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    He & Lien have been outside Kraagor's Gate for at least a day or two at this point: why didn't she capture them before this point? Certainly before they managed to contact The Order, because now she'll have to worry about others...seems like there's potentially more going on here in her plans. Or she just found out The Order was on its way now after Lien received the sending, so she decided to divide & conquer.

    My guess is that she has some sort of plan/intention with The Order.
    I hadn't looked closely with that in mind - thank you, I've remedied that nwo. And I'd recommend to anyone, "Go back and look again at 1189 in light of what's currently known."

    Maybe it's just me, but some of the wording almost reads like a killdeer feigning a broken wing to distract predators from its nest. It's fun to read it from Serini's POV, and try to imagine what she'd make of vague dialogue like "even once our allies arrive".*

    * - Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but does anyone other than the recipient see a Sending? (Heck, do even they see it or is it just a useful dramatic convention?)

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    Let's play a thought experiment where of what info Serini might be working by.
    Let's say, through divination potions (pretty sure it's a thing?) she gets who destroyed each of the four gates. Redcloak (think he got most of the blame? Can't remember details of SOD), Order of the Stick, Sapphire Guard, and Order again. She also knows the trap Girard set was tripped, suggesting that the paladins broke their Oath (unlikely Girard would give additional information on this in his prerecorded message) and were seeking out the other gates.
    So the team that destroyed two Gates are heading to the last Gate, to join up with the team that destroyed their own Gate and broke their oaths, to stop the team that destroyed another Gate.
    I can see why Serini isn't instilled with confidence about her chances of existence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    And I would call Azure City O-Chul's own city, or Shojo's own city, or Soon's own city. Or like I would call Birmingham my own city.
    Only if it’s the American one, otherwise we’ll have to have a ‘meeting’😉
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    Let's play a thought experiment where of what info Serini might be working by.
    Let's say, through divination potions (pretty sure it's a thing?) she gets who destroyed each of the four gates. Redcloak (think he got most of the blame? Can't remember details of SOD), Order of the Stick, Sapphire Guard, and Order again. She also knows the trap Girard set was tripped, suggesting that the paladins broke their Oath (unlikely Girard would give additional information on this in his prerecorded message) and were seeking out the other gates.
    So the team that destroyed two Gates are heading to the last Gate, to join up with the team that destroyed their own Gate and broke their oaths, to stop the team that destroyed another Gate.
    I can see why Serini isn't instilled with confidence about her chances of existence.
    (Technically, the throne room in Azure City was thoroughly scry-proofed (even Xykon couldn't get through its defenses), so as far as Serini could know, two Gates were destroyed by Team Evil and two by the Order.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    (Technically, the throne room in Azure City was thoroughly scry-proofed (even Xykon couldn't get through its defenses), so as far as Serini could know, two Gates were destroyed by Team Evil and two by the Order.)
    If you cast Augury or similar and asked 'who destroyed the Azure City Gate?', or went to the Oracle, they'd answer 'Miko of the Sapphire Guard' (can't recall delineation between the divination as to what questions will get what answers; that might be a Commune level answer)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    If you cast Augury or similar and asked 'who destroyed the Azure City Gate?', or went to the Oracle, they'd answer 'Miko of the Sapphire Guard' (can't recall delineation between the divination as to what questions will get what answers; that might be a Commune level answer)
    Setting aside just how likely it is that a rogue brews an Augury potion, there's the thing that if Augury and the Oracle are worth something they'd answer „Miko Miyazaki” without any sort of reference to the Sapphire Guard (which I'm pretty sure Miko wasn't formally affiliated with at that point).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    • (1) Trials exist to make the case that someone did something wrong. Shojo rigged one trial for one group of people, and didn't even have a trial for another group of people. He clearly did not care one bit who had done anything wrong. He freed and imprisoned as he saw fit.
    • (2)Shojo's story has concluded and we had copious amounts of time with him. Serini's story has just begun and we have had almost no time with her. I fail to see what immediate condemnation would serve.
    Where does anyone get judicial authority...?

    From the 12 gods, as the sovereign of the nation, sounds about as solid an argument as you can get. He's simply foregoing seperation of powers, a rather modern thing, and being judge and jury, a more prominent system historically.

    That he faked an angel for the Order of the Stick and kept the hush on the Linear Guild just means he exercised his authority discreetly instead of publicly, but changes very little to the fundamentals of these things.

    Azure City is clearly a monarchy. It might be a constitutional monarchy, I don't know, but I feel you are romanticizing trials. He took the evidence and made a judgement, that's basically what a trial is.
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    The scouring of the Shire never happened. That's right. After reading books I, II, and III, I stopped reading when the One Ring was thrown into Mount Doom. The story ends there. Nothing worthwhile happened afterwards. Middle-Earth was saved.

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    Default Re: OOTS #1227 - The Discussion Thread

    I think Augury relies on CL for accuracy or something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    3.0 SRD has the rule:
    "Armor is always created so that even if the type of armor comes with boots or gauntlets, these pieces can be switched for other magic boots or gauntlets. Magic armor, like almost all magic items, resizes itself to fit the wearer."

    I can't find an equivalent for 3.5, but I could have sworn it was there. I'm tempted to dig out my actual books, because there are things in the books that aren't in the SRD.
    I was sure that it didn't change categories, and that indeed, larger magic items (such as for horses) were most expensive because of it.
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    The scouring of the Shire never happened. That's right. After reading books I, II, and III, I stopped reading when the One Ring was thrown into Mount Doom. The story ends there. Nothing worthwhile happened afterwards. Middle-Earth was saved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    You point out that Serini has indicated an intention to release the Paladins, and has not tortured them. This is true, and of course if she wasn't going to release them or was tortuting them it would be worse.

    But most kidnappers don't torture victims and not all torture them (or otherwise physically harm them) in captivity, its still a pretty serious crime. Do you think that kidnapping is not itself wrong?
    Kidnapping is wrong, yes. But this was not a kidnapping.

    Kraagor's gate and the ravine that encloses it, for all intents and purposes, is Serini's territory. Nobody else, no sovereign nation, is laying claim (minus the bugbears, who have already been shown to kill on sight). Serini is defending a strategic location of literal world-shattering importance, and she detects two intruders who stand a solid chance of bungling that defense -- or at least causing an unneeded mess.

    Serini is the local authority in many meaningful ways, and she's acting in that capacity right now. Her actions are more like taking trespassers into custody. Kidnapping implies personal benefit or malicious intent, but so far her only plan is to capture the paladins and then release them after confiscating what they stole...the only difference is that they stole information, rather than material goods. This is a fantasy world, and not every single real-world law is going to be applicable, or even be a good barometer for somebody's morality. Heck, Elan stole from a shopkeeper in Cliffport twice (plus planned to steal a cola) and it was played off as a joke.

    Again, would it have been better for Serini to reveal her presence and negotiate with the paladins? Possibly. Would that option have been much more Lawful Good? Yes. Was it the only Good option? I would argue no. What Serini did was immensely rude. But as others have pointed out, there are far "less Good" ways of removing people who know too much from the equation. The fact that she went the extra mile to bring them in nonlethally and release them with amnesia just doesn't fit at all with Evil action-taking framework. This is a fantasy world, and not every single real-world law is going to be applicable or even be a good barometer for their morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    First, I don't think sleeping poisons are ever a guaranteed knock out - the victim will get a fortitude save

    Second, I think you require a source for your claim that there are no other side effects. A quick google turned led to a page that said this about sleeping poison (other sleeping poisons might be different - we don't know what was used in comic):

    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/w...nockout_poison
    I generally don't put much stock in D&D wikis, and especially isolated incidents: just because that one example of drow poison having side effects exists, that does not mean the vast majority of games & stories will use that side effect if drow poison shows up in the games. And regardless, this requires a lot of assumptions when Serini has already stated the poison was completely harmless. Sure, she might be lying again...but why? How would that improve the flow of this current narrative? It's an awful lot of extra assumptions to justify, and in the end it's just easier to follow the "standard" d&d rules about sleeping potions: they work, barring a successful Fort save.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquor Box View Post
    So in one of those posts I say "the little we have seen leans more toward evil than good" and in the other I say that what she did "Seems evil to me". Rereading those, the both seem consistent with one another, and I also pretty clearly didn't declare her evil. I used non-definite terms to say one thing she did seemed evil, but explicitly stated that "here is too little information to make a concrete call at the moment". So the quotes you've managed to find actually show me very clearly saying that we cannot declare her evil at the moment.

    But to make it even more clear, my opinion is that drugging and kidnapping the paladins was somewhat evil unless there is a good explanation for it (which we have not yet been given). That might suggest evilness in Serini, but a single data point is not sufficient to make that call yet. I think I've been pretty consistent about that throughout - if you think otherwise, please quote me.
    ...
    To state my position (as it has always been) yet again, using the terms you do above - I have made a judgment (subject to more information) on Serini's actions. I have not made a judgment on Serini, I think we have received a hint of evil, but not enough to make a judgment, so I am undecided. Is it clearer now?
    I want to take a second to acknowledge that you've been very consistent throughout this discussion about judging Serini's individual actions, rather than Serini herself, and I appreciate that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Riftwolf View Post
    Let's play a thought experiment where of what info Serini might be working by.
    Let's say, through divination potions (pretty sure it's a thing?) she gets who destroyed each of the four gates. Redcloak (think he got most of the blame? Can't remember details of SOD), Order of the Stick, Sapphire Guard, and Order again. She also knows the trap Girard set was tripped, suggesting that the paladins broke their Oath (unlikely Girard would give additional information on this in his prerecorded message) and were seeking out the other gates.
    So the team that destroyed two Gates are heading to the last Gate, to join up with the team that destroyed their own Gate and broke their oaths, to stop the team that destroyed another Gate.
    I can see why Serini isn't instilled with confidence about her chances of existence.
    I do think it's valuable to mention that the Sapphire Guard kept their oath for 60+ years. Girard's "Soon won't last 12 weeks without snooping" sounds particularly out-of-touch when looked at like that. But it still doesn't look good for Serini's confidence in them! I particularly appreciate how concisely you summed up the tornado of chaos that's headed for Serini's doorstep.

    One other thing to consider is that The Order has been constantly trying to contact Serini since, I believe, Don't Split the Party. She at least has their version of events, whether or not she decides to believe an adventuring party sponsored by the Sapphire Guard.
    Last edited by Ionathus; 2021-03-02 at 11:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Priest View Post
    Where does anyone get judicial authority...?

    From the 12 gods, as the sovereign of the nation, sounds about as solid an argument as you can get. He's simply foregoing seperation of powers, a rather modern thing, and being judge and jury, a more prominent system historically.

    That he faked an angel for the Order of the Stick and kept the hush on the Linear Guild just means he exercised his authority discreetly instead of publicly, but changes very little to the fundamentals of these things.

    Azure City is clearly a monarchy. It might be a constitutional monarchy, I don't know, but I feel you are romanticizing trials. He took the evidence and made a judgement, that's basically what a trial is.
    That's canonically not the case. Judicial and executive/legislative (the latter seems to be indeed exercised by the monarch) powers are most thoroughly separated, and the monarch does not exercise judicial power. That aside, it's also telling that Shojo had to work behind the collective backs of the Sapphire Guard and other Azurite officials to get the desired results. Were you correct, his saying „Mr. Scruffy thinks these people look nice. I find them not guilty and they are free to go” would have solved the issue without Shojo having to resort to shadier means.

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