A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    3) It's also not even true. Maybe you can be better by specializing as a sorcerer, but Xykon's build is not such a specialization. His spell selection sucks frankly. If his opponents had a basic protection from negative energy item, perhaps coupled with a few other basics like protection from fire, over half his known ways of winning fights are suddenly gone. The comic opened with Xykon losing to a level 9 fighter. He almost lost to Soon. He almost lost to a Silver Dragon. He should have lost to spliced V. Xykon is not a proof of concept for any such thesis. His victories are plot driven, and that's the moral. He beat an archmagi by hitting him on the head with a trophy in the same book he beat Dorukan. Was that supposed to teach us something profound to?
    Why are you assuming Xykon's victory over Dorukan was supposed to teach us something? Xykon's victory over Dorukan was one sorcerer's victory over one wizard. One that's not even very important - the important part happens down below, between Redcloak and Right-Eye. The only thing the magic duel really proves or illustrates is Xykon's personal philosophy of raw power above all else. It tells us who Xykon is, not anything about sorcerers or wizards. Because the comic really doesn't concern itself with whether sorcerers are better than wizards or vice versa. If you feel strongly enough about on the subject for the fight to upset you, I'm going to say it's pretty much self-inflicted.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-07-27 at 02:40 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    The entire "Wizard is better than Sorcerer" thing is based almost entirely on them having the right spells prepared. It's entirely possible to get ganked by someone below your weight class if you didn't prepare the right spells, and if anything Xykon might very well be higher-leveled than Dorukan.

    Plus, you know, if the first Energy Drain hadn't worked Xykon probably would have switched to something better. Did Dorukan even know what spells Xykon had?
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    1) This is a D&D comic. The author has admitted he wishes he hadn't made it one, because now he's bound to some extent by that framework... but he did, and it is, and it failed in that respect. The author saying he didn't try to do that doesn't make it any less a failure, by his own admissions the comic has to be driven by the rules to some degree....

    ...Maybe you can be better by specializing as a sorcerer, but Xykon's build is not such a specialization. His spell selection sucks frankly. If his opponents had a basic protection from negative energy item, perhaps coupled with a few other basics like protection from fire, over half his known ways of winning fights are suddenly gone. The comic opened with Xykon losing to a level 9 fighter. He almost lost to Soon. He almost lost to a Silver Dragon. He should have lost to spliced V. Xykon is not a proof of concept for any such thesis. His victories are plot driven, and that's the moral. He beat an archmagi by hitting him on the head with a trophy in the same book he beat Dorukan. Was that supposed to teach us something profound to?
    This is all true, but to be fair it's happening constantly to quite a variety of characters, not just Xykon. I lost all investment in the plot shortly after Girard's Gate exploded because- aside from yet another instance of characters being treated as indestructible rubber mannequins that can be hurled thousands of feet with only superficial injuries in a universe where you can also kill someone by snapping their neck- it was evident that none of the heroes were really in any sort of organic danger. Xykon should essentially be considered an honourary member of the Order of the Stick at this point, because he's been so consistently helpful.

    Pretty much anything to do with the introduction of Miko and the Sapphire Guard is like this as well. ("Crimson Mantle who?" "How does one 'Wind Walk'?" "Who is this O-Chul person who supposedly specialises in nonlethal diplomacy?" "What is this 'Sending' you speak of?" "I have never heard of such a thing.")

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Why are you assuming Xykon's victory over Dorukan was supposed to teach us something? Xykon's victory over Dorukan was one sorcerer's victory over one wizard. One that's not even very important - the important part happens down below, between Redcloak and Right-Eye...
    While that's true, Xykon does reiterate this notion that 'power is power' in his fight with V as well (while saying that things are 'weirdly balanced'), so it's not an entirely trivial aside.

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    The entire "Wizard is better than Sorcerer" thing is based almost entirely on them having the right spells prepared. It's entirely possible to get ganked by someone below your weight class if you didn't prepare the right spells, and if anything Xykon might very well be higher-leveled than Dorukan.

    Plus, you know, if the first Energy Drain hadn't worked Xykon probably would have switched to something better. Did Dorukan even know what spells Xykon had?
    Again, Dorukan not knowing what spells Xykon has seems to be largely a function of Dorukan not making an effort- D can scry/divine on X with relative impunity and not vice versa- which brings us back to the original problem. (It's not even clear that high-level wizards are vastly less flexible than sorcerors, given what you can do with spells like mnemonic enhancer, limited wish and wish.)
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Why are you assuming Xykon's victory over Dorukan was supposed to teach us something? Xykon's victory over Dorukan was one sorcerer's victory over one wizard. One that's not even very important - the important part happens down below, between Redcloak and Right-Eye. The only thing the magic duel really proves or illustrates is Xykon's personal philosophy of raw power above all else. It tells us who Xykon is, not anything about sorcerers or wizards. Because the comic really doesn't concern itself with whether sorcerers are better than wizards or vice versa. If you feel strongly enough about on the subject for the fight to upset you, I'm going to say it's pretty much self-inflicted.
    You guys are the ones justifying the bad fight by trying to say it was only there to teach us something. I'm saying it failed to teach us anything, because it was poorly executed as a lesson. It would not be unlike me telling teenagers "if you go out clubbing underage something bad will happen to you!". Then the roof falls on them, and I shake my head knowingly and say "told you so". That example is not mine; it's taken from a terrible soap opera which has a habit of pretending to be edgy while actually appealing to its older, more conservative fan base of stay at home mothers. The way the show does this is to dodge the real issues entirely, because those contain nuance, and instead hit you with a brick (literally in this case). The lesson therefore fails because while there could indeed be dangers in such behavior, the example that is supposed to teach us that is not of the danger we should reasonably expect to encounter if we behave that way. It is the sort of random thing that could happen to anyone no matter how they behave.

    You will lose any fight if your opponent fights like an utter moron and just stands there taking no actions while you unload spell after spell into him.

    If you continue to believe the fight teaches us something my only conclusion can be you have not read the fight, or don't remember it.
    Last edited by TooSoon; 2021-07-27 at 03:28 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    I think the overwhelming argument has not been that the Xykon v Dorukan fight was meant to teach us something, it was that it was meant to be window dressing for the Redcloak v Right-Eye confrontation going on below. It was a prequel, the outcome of that fight was a foregone conclusion and ink costs money.

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    You guys are the ones justifying the bad fight by trying to say it was only there to teach us something. I'm saying it failed to teach us anything, because it was poorly executed as a lesson. It would not be unlike me telling teenagers "if you go out clubbing underage something bad will happen to you!". Then the roof falls on them, and I shake my head knowingly and say "told you so". That example is not mine; it's taken from a terrible soap opera which has a habit of pretending to be edgy while actually appealing to its older, more conservative fan base of stay at home mothers. The way the show does this is to dodge the real issues entirely, because those contain nuance, and instead hit you with a brick (literally in this case). The lesson therefore fails because while there could indeed be dangers in such behavior, the example that is supposed to teach us that is not of the danger we should reasonably expect to encounter if we behave that way. It is the sort of random thing that could happen to anyone no matter how they behave.

    You will lose any fight if your opponent fights like an utter moron and just stands there taking no actions while you unload spell after spell into him.

    If you continue to believe the fight teaches us something my only conclusion can be you have not read the fight, or don't remember it.
    I'm not sure who the "you guys" are that you're trying to lump me in with. I've said nothing whatsoever about the fight teaching us anything - in fact, my post argues the exact opposite. The fight is an illustration of Xykon's worldview and little else. Much like Redcloak reveals his true colors when he kills Right-Eye, this is Xykon's big rant about who he is and what he believes. That's it.

    That aside, I also looked for the word "teach" in this thread and found that it only ever comes up in your posts and those that respond to it, so... yeah.
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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    OK, actually, legit question: TooSoon, how would you have done this fight...Assuming Xykon still has to win, which he does, because this is a prequel and his victory is literally a foregone conclusion? Under what circumstances would you accept a Sorcerer winning over a Wizard without bleating about tiers?

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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    I just wanted to jump in and add something to my earlier post, which is that I do not think the comic should have shown Dorukan gating in abominations, shapechanging into prismatic golems, having bound pit fiends spam daily Wishes for Xykon to be transported to the sun or in front of the Lady of Pain, or any such nonsense. An epic wizard in dnd-land who knows these things are possible should do them in war [well, probably. At some point MAD logic becomes a consideration, but nevermind], but we can come up with all kinds of reasons - ignorance of the possibilities being the easiest - why OOTS characters don't. It's fine.

    (Okay, full disclosure, I actually kind of would like to see it, because it would be hilariously over the top gonzo stuff and probably pretty fun to read, but I don't think it would help the storytelling at all. If I were writing the comic, which thank goodness I am not... I would probably have just had the fight happen off-screen, or only showed the killing blow (surrounded by terrain warped into a nightmare landscape of twisted obsidian, just to suggest a cataclysmic conflict).

    I should also say that, at least for me, this isn't a sorcerer vs wizard thing at all - epic sorcerers have plenty of reality-warping power, too. It's not even a complaint.

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    In short it really depends on what the Wizard prepared this day, and if he uses it properly. Between his arrogance and his anger, Dorukan... didn't. Also Xykon's really powerful.
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  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    OK, actually, legit question: TooSoon, how would you have done this fight...Assuming Xykon still has to win, which he does, because this is a prequel and his victory is literally a foregone conclusion? Under what circumstances would you accept a Sorcerer winning over a Wizard without bleating about tiers?
    There are lots of ways to show it, or as someone else suggested; just don't show it. As long as it is shown in a plausible manner, nobody would mind. Just have the characters play by the rules and have moderately sensible tactics. It doesn't have to be optimized or anything, but Dorukan pulling out spells like Prismatic Spray that are mostly useless, and having seemingly done nothing to prepare, was just implausible. The worst part was definitely the ending of the fight. Xykon fires off 6 spells to Dorukan's 1 singular unnamed spells; the dude just stands there and does nothing while Xykon kills him one spell at a time, he doesn't even try to teleport away. Energy drain also somehow dispels his fly spell (which isn't how energy drain works) and causes him to fall and crash (which is not how dispelling fly works).

    I didn't much care for the V/Xykon fight either, but it was vastly better and more plausible than the Dorukan one.

    As for the other guy, *scrubbed*. People are going on about what they think the fight was meant to show/meant, and I think by being such a bad fight it undermined any meaning it had (except as a backdrop for Redcloak and Right Eye I suppose, that still worked fine).
    Last edited by flat_footed; 2021-07-28 at 01:29 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #191
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    As for the other guy, instead of searching for the word teach try reading the posts. People are going on about what they think the fight was meant to show/meant, and I think by being such a bad fight it undermined any meaning it had (except as a backdrop for Redcloak and Right Eye I suppose, that still worked fine).
    This forum has a multi-quote function. You could have used it to quote my post as well, instead of referring to me as "the other guy". And I have already told you what the purpose of the fight was. And it wasn't to "teach a lesson". It was there as a capstone of Xykon's characterization in the book. Which has nothing to do with what some other people might have said or not - again, I don't recall anyone claiming what you insist they do, and the burden is on you to show it.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-07-28 at 04:47 AM.
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  12. - Top - End - #192
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    This forum has a multi-quote function. You could have used it to quote my post as well, instead of referring to me as "the other guy". And I have already told you what the purpose of the fight was. And it wasn't to "teach a lesson". It was there as a capstone of Xykon's characterization in the book. Which has nothing to do with what some other people might have said or not - again, I don't recall anyone claiming what you insist they do, and the burden is on you to show it.
    If it is there to crystalize Xykon's grand thesis it does the opposite; because it undermines his thesis, and makes Xykon look like a moron. Xykon came off like a moron saying everything was strangely balanced against V too, because it isn't remotely true, and the author knows it (as he has told us when he talks about having to find a way to get V away from the action constantly, to avoid unbalancing the fights). In 3.5 the classes are not balanced at all. The caster classes particularly are overpowered compared to most of the other classes. A vaguely optimized V would render the rest of the party largely inconsequential on most adventures.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    There are lots of ways to show it, or as someone else suggested; just don't show it. As long as it is shown in a plausible manner, nobody would mind.
    That is a rather bold claim. What you think is plausible may not be plausible to some other person, who would then mind quite a bit. For example, I think it was perfectly plausible as-is, as do many others in this thread, but you do not, and you mind.
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  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    If it is there to crystalize Xykon's grand thesis it does the opposite; because it undermines his thesis, and makes Xykon look like a moron. Xykon came off like a moron saying everything was strangely balanced against V too, because it isn't remotely true, and the author knows it (as he has told us when he talks about having to find a way to get V away from the action constantly, to avoid unbalancing the fights). In 3.5 the classes are not balanced at all. The caster classes particularly are overpowered compared to most of the other classes. A vaguely optimized V would render the rest of the party largely inconsequential on most adventures.
    What "grand thesis"? It's not a thesis. It's what Xykon believes, which informs how he acts. And, during the fight with V (which you can't resist going back to for some reason), it was what V needed to hear at the time. You insist to make it more than it is to claim the fight is flawed, which it isn't. It's exactly what it needs to be - Dorukan's death is a foregone conclusion, but the way in which he dies shows us the kind of person Xykon is. Which is pretty typical for a prequel.
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    I mean, to be fair, I do get Too Soon's point: The fight does play into a recurring theme of OOTS vis-a-vis power. Namely, power comes in many forms and the statistically-superior foe can often be defeated through clever tactics if they get overconfident. Usually, in the comic, it's the reverse (IE the stronger foe resorts to brute force out of overconfidence while the weaker one is forced to think outside the box), but here too: Dorukan could have defeated Xykon, but he got cocky, and paid for it. Same way V would later: All the spells in the world won't help you if you aren't applying them properly because you're unable to think that you CAN be defeated. Notably, in the latter case (see: Xykon's speech about "power is power"), V is shown learning their lesson and taking the speech to heart: Power can come in many forms, indeed, say, a second-level Explosive Runes spell...And, with that weak spell, they end up totally screwing X over. It appears, no offense, TS is just refusing to get this theme and going "how could the statistically-stronger foe lose" as if that's not the point. Xykon's thesis isn't the thesis of the battle, if anything, the thesis of the battle is the opposite: Brute power, whether it comes in the form of a list of spells or raw strength, means nothing if you apply it wrongly.
    Last edited by woweedd; 2021-07-28 at 07:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    That is a rather bold claim. What you think is plausible may not be plausible to some other person, who would then mind quite a bit. For example, I think it was perfectly plausible as-is, as do many others in this thread, but you do not, and you mind.
    I'm not seeing how getting 6 spells to 1 is plausible. In fact it is functionally impossible under the rules, which is the opposite of plausible.

    People continue to say it served some purpose as a scene, e.g. to "tell V what he needed to hear", or to underline Xykon's view; the problem is the scene does nothing to justify that view, so it is unsatisfying. I explained this earlier with the example of underage clubbing. If I go underage clubbing, then a roof falls on me, and I realise because of the roof falling on me "of course, now I understand, underage clubbing is bad... cos of the roof" then I haven't learned anything, because I'm basing my experience on crap data that has no causal relationship to my conclusion.

    Regardless of whether the lesson learned is "correct", the fact it is being taught by examples that self-evidently do not show it undermines the thematic journey of the character and their supposed growth.

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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    I’m pretty sure the fight was essentially over anyways and Rich just consolidated it in that way. I have a DM who does that for encounters that are already decided as well.
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    I'm not seeing how getting 6 spells to 1 is plausible. In fact it is functionally impossible under the rules, which is the opposite of plausible.
    It's a pretty common trope. Two characters have it out, one of them gets the upper hand and it turns into a curb-stomp, the one on the losing end makes one last flimsy punch while they're swaying on their feet barely able to stand just to emphasize how badly beaten they are. This is just the wizard version of that.

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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    People continue to say it served some purpose as a scene, e.g. to "tell V what he needed to hear", or to underline Xykon's view; the problem is the scene does nothing to justify that view, so it is unsatisfying. I explained this earlier with the example of underage clubbing. If I go underage clubbing, then a roof falls on me, and I realise because of the roof falling on me "of course, now I understand, underage clubbing is bad... cos of the roof" then I haven't learned anything, because I'm basing my experience on crap data that has no causal relationship to my conclusion.
    Once again, I'm really not sure why you keep conflating Xykon's defeat of Dorukan with Xykon's defeat of Vaarsuvius and his subsequent lecture to them. The former was an encapsulation of Xykon's worldview and the latter was a repudiation of Vaarsuvius' earlier mistakes, which spurred them to do more against Xykon with low-level spells than they had managed with three epic spellcasters shackled to them. There's no particular reason to expect one to somehow support the other, even if they're both rooted in Xykon's personal philosophy (such as it is) of strength and ruthlessness above all. You made up a requirement and are getting mad at the comic for not fulfilling it.

    It also doesn't need to "justify" Xykon's view or make it somehow right. Xykon is a villain in the middle of murdering someone to take over his home and use it for his plan of world domination; why would the comic expend any effort justifying it? What it does do is demonstrate that this is who Xykon is and this is the way he acts.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-07-28 at 08:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    I'm not seeing how getting 6 spells to 1 is plausible.
    And again, numerous other people do, which shoes that what you consider plausible or implausible is not necessarily shared by others, and thus even if you would declare something plausible is no guarantee that others would not mind it. Your argument is focused solely on yourself, and assuming that if you think it is acceptable then everyone will, despite that clearly not being the case. The author cannot satisfy everyone knows this, and thus does not try to. And, even more to the point, he openly acknowledged this. It should not be a surprise to discover that you are unhappy with the comic for not displaying moment-to-moment rules accuracy when the author has explicitly said "this comic is not displaying moment-to-monetnrules accuracy and you will be unhappy with the product if you expect it to."
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    I'm not seeing how getting 6 spells to 1 is plausible.
    Well, for starters, that's not what happened. The portion of the fight under discussion occurs on page 106, and Dorukan casts 2 spells (panels 1 and 4), while Xykon casts 5 (panels 2, 3, 5, 6, 8). As for why Dorukan doesn't cast as many spells as Xykon: First, he's not shown in every panel, so it's possible he cast one or more spells that also aren't shown; second, he may have simply run out of combat spells by this point. He wasn't expecting to fight Xykon when he prepared spells that morning, so he probably prepared some amount of non-combat spells, and he's both been fighting for a while and by the latter part of the fight taken a whole bunch of negative levels, each of which would have eaten one of his prepared spells.
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

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  23. - Top - End - #203
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    Well, for starters, that's not what happened. The portion of the fight under discussion occurs on page 106, and Dorukan casts 2 spells (panels 1 and 4), while Xykon casts 5 (panels 2, 3, 5, 6, 8). As for why Dorukan doesn't cast as many spells as Xykon: First, he's not shown in every panel, so it's possible he cast one or more spells that also aren't shown; second, he may have simply run out of combat spells by this point. He wasn't expecting to fight Xykon when he prepared spells that morning, so he probably prepared some amount of non-combat spells, and he's both been fighting for a while and by the latter part of the fight taken a whole bunch of negative levels, each of which would have eaten one of his prepared spells.
    If Dorukan literally ran out of useful spells after 5 rounds (even minus combat spells he could still be stowing away stuff like Teleport, Invisibility, Dimension Door, etc. to let him retreat to safety), then again this is a case of Dorukan being an idiot and/or being artificially nerfed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    What "grand thesis"? It's not a thesis. It's what Xykon believes, which informs how he acts. And, during the fight with V (which you can't resist going back to for some reason), it was what V needed to hear at the time. You insist to make it more than it is to claim the fight is flawed, which it isn't. It's exactly what it needs to be - Dorukan's death is a foregone conclusion, but the way in which he dies shows us the kind of person Xykon is. Which is pretty typical for a prequel.
    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I mean, to be fair, I do get Too Soon's point: The fight does play into a recurring theme of OOTS vis-a-vis power. Namely, power comes in many forms and the statistically-superior foe can often be defeated through clever tactics if they get overconfident. Usually, in the comic, it's the reverse (IE the stronger foe resorts to brute force out of overconfidence while the weaker one is forced to think outside the box), but here too: Dorukan could have defeated Xykon, but he got cocky, and paid for it...
    So... I've been thinking about this, and I think TooSoon's argument is less nitpicky than it might seem.

    TooSoon is basically saying that "within the rules and assuming basic competence, this isn't really plausible". And the gist of the counterargument is "screw the rules, that's not the point the story is trying to make, which is that pride cometh before a fall and cleverness can overcome brute strength."

    And yes, that's the point of the story, but... the point being made is a lie. Wizards are not, in fact, balanced against sorcerors, because sorcerors are not systematically more humble or strategic than wizards, and even if they were it's not clear it would be enough. Nor are sorcerors balanced against fighters and monks and rogues and so on. And- to visit a larger theme within the story- goblins and kobolds are not 'balanced' against humans and elves and dwarves. Rich seems to be trying to make an argument that with a little adjustment and accommodation and good will, or at least with a little clever strategy, everybody can get a fair shake and an equal say and avoid hogging the spotlight. But all of this is achieved in the context of the narrative through railroading and manipulation, which is not sustainable and does not transfer to either actual D&D play or our own reality.

    The truth is that there are massive imbalances and inequalities baked into the structure of the world's basic physical rules. Which drives you toward one of two conclusions: Either you need to live with inequality or you need to rewrite the world's basic physical rules. But this idea that you can shoehorn 'balance' and 'fairness' into the world as-it-is is basically a pleasant fiction.
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  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    Xykon hits Dorukan with six consecutive spells, while Dorukan is allowed to fire back one (unnamed) spell. If the moral was supposed to be that Dorukan lost because he was arrogant, that fight undermined the point the author wanted to make completely. The moral I got was "Xykon won because he is badass... really badass, and the rules don't apply to badasses", and Dorukan got nerfed and an idiot ball, so we can watch him flail helplessly against Xykon's badassery.
    Okay, but that's not the point other posters seem to have gotten, which seems to be more along the lines of "Dorukan was completely dismissive of the threat Xykon posed, and was punished for it" This is a mostly subjective thing; sure, the writing was not great for you specifically, but it seems many were fine with it?

    In particular, it sounds like the comic decided to go with a more narrative style of only depicting the story-relevant bits, whereas your preferences are to see every aspect of the fight.

    It's fine being unsatisfied; I can easily imagine much disappointment if one were expecting a climactic battle but that wasn't what the story wanted. But given how unbelievable you find the idea that Xykon cast six spells in a row, do you really find it even less believable that the comic didn't show everything?

    Dorukan had 6 months to prepare while Xykon was besieging him. It is beyond credibility that during that 6 months he apparently made no real preparations at all, even of the "gee, he's undead, should I prepare something to protect/be effective against this undead and his undead army?" Nor did he do anything to prepare for the possibility of losing (e.g. setting up a contingency spell, telling someone in his base "hey, there's a Lich besieging us, keep an eye out about that, and if he gets in XYZ".
    Your whole criticism seems to be from the point of view from someone who regards Xykon like a main villain of a story, rather than an inconsequential nuisance.
    Last edited by Hurkyl; 2021-07-28 at 10:58 AM.

  25. - Top - End - #205
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by TooSoon View Post
    I'm not seeing how getting 6 spells to 1 is plausible. In fact it is functionally impossible under the rules, which is the opposite of plausible.

    People continue to say it served some purpose as a scene, e.g. to "tell V what he needed to hear", or to underline Xykon's view; the problem is the scene does nothing to justify that view, so it is unsatisfying. I explained this earlier with the example of underage clubbing. If I go underage clubbing, then a roof falls on me, and I realise because of the roof falling on me "of course, now I understand, underage clubbing is bad... cos of the roof" then I haven't learned anything, because I'm basing my experience on crap data that has no causal relationship to my conclusion.

    Regardless of whether the lesson learned is "correct", the fact it is being taught by examples that self-evidently do not show it undermines the thematic journey of the character and their supposed growth.
    Xykon didn't learn anything from this experience. He doesn't really learn or grow...at all. He's basically just a complete monster from the moment we meet him. This fight was about giving him a chance to explain his views, not enhancing them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    If Dorukan literally ran out of useful spells after 5 rounds (even minus combat spells he could still be stowing away stuff like Teleport, Invisibility, Dimension Door, etc. to let him retreat to safety), then again this is a case of Dorukan being an idiot and/or being artificially nerfed.



    So... I've been thinking about this, and I think TooSoon's argument is less nitpicky than it might seem.

    TooSoon is basically saying that "within the rules and assuming basic competence, this isn't really plausible". And the gist of the counterargument is "screw the rules, that's not the point the story is trying to make, which is that pride cometh before a fall and cleverness can overcome brute strength."

    And yes, that's the point of the story, but... the point being made is a lie. Wizards are not, in fact, balanced against sorcerors, because sorcerors are not systematically more humble or strategic than wizards, and even if they were it's not clear it would be enough. Nor are sorcerors balanced against fighters and monks and rogues and so on. And- to visit a larger theme within the story- goblins and kobolds are not 'balanced' against humans and elves and dwarves. Rich seems to be trying to make an argument that with a little adjustment and accommodation and good will, or at least with a little clever strategy, everybody can get a fair shake and an equal say and avoid hogging the spotlight. But all of this is achieved in the context of the narrative through railroading and manipulation, which is not sustainable and does not transfer to either actual D&D play or our own reality.

    The truth is that there are massive imbalances and inequalities baked into the structure of the world's basic physical rules. Which drives you toward one of two conclusions: Either you need to live with inequality or you need to rewrite the world's basic physical rules. But this idea that you can shoehorn 'balance' and 'fairness' into the world as-it-is is basically a pleasant fiction.
    And, if this was a comic about D&D and D&D exclusively, that would mean something. Call me crazy, but I think Rich's point isn't specific to this one specific game that has been out of date for a decade and counting. He once said, somewhat famously, that all stories say something about the real world, and i'd say the message of "brute strength can be overcome by tactics when the powerful get cocky" is applicable to a lot of things outside D&D. Same with the Goblins. The Goblins VS Humans conflict is drawing from D&D, but it also draws from, ya know, life, that's the idea: Deconstructing the idea of the "Race of sapient beings whose sole purpose in the story is to be slaughtered by the heroes without guilt" by placing it in a context of an actual racial conflict, where the goblins are actual people with families and motives for doing the things they do, and not just enemies to be slaughtered without a thought. It's a comment on the fantasy trope,. and on the things similar ideas have been used to justify in our world, vis-a-vis treating certain people badly because they look weird. It's not even like this is a new thing. As early as Strip #13, the comic that introduced Xykon and the idea of the strip having any sort of actual plot, Belkar, who, at this point, has already been established as Evil, states that he assumed they were here to "kill some sentient creatures because they have green skin and fangs and we don't, and take their stuff", whereupon the other members of the party glare at him angrily. So, ya know, the sentiment of "if it's a goblin, it can die" is placed in the mouth of the evil party member, and every good member disagrees. Rich kinda made his thoughts on the trope clear early-on.
    Last edited by woweedd; 2021-07-28 at 01:12 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #206
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    Xykon didn't learn anything from this experience. He doesn't really learn or grow...at all. He's basically just a complete monster from the moment we meet him. This fight was about giving him a chance to explain his views, not enhancing them.
    It was never about XYKON learning anything. It was about the reader learning something about him. We keep missing the point that the 'show' part of the comic is for the reader, not for the characters.

    Rather than showing the entire fight one excruitiating round after another, the author showed enough of the fight to get the point across to the reader. The fact that Too Soon wanted the author to show each action in the fight, rather than just enough to get the point across is an issue with Too Soon as a reader, not Rich as an author.
    Last edited by Wintermoot; 2021-07-28 at 01:14 PM.

  27. - Top - End - #207
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurkyl View Post
    Your whole criticism seems to be from the point of view from someone who regards Xykon like a main villain of a story, rather than an inconsequential nuisance.
    Dorukan knew that Xykon was a threat to the gate. Sure he could have assumed that his defenses would hold, but just doing nothing while an enemy probes your defenses forever is just dumb. If Xykon isn't leaving after a few months, he's not going to leave until he takes some licks. And if Dorukan does nothing, that at best means Xykon charges through the defenses and kills some underlings.

    Also, Dorukan was monitoring the other gates and kept in contact with Lirian. He should know that Xykon killed her and isn't an inconsequential nuisance.

  28. - Top - End - #208
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by hungrycrow View Post
    Dorukan knew that Xykon was a threat to the gate. Sure he could have assumed that his defenses would hold, but just doing nothing while an enemy probes your defenses forever is just dumb. If Xykon isn't leaving after a few months, he's not going to leave until he takes some licks. And if Dorukan does nothing, that at best means Xykon charges through the defenses and kills some underlings.

    Also, Dorukan was monitoring the other gates and kept in contact with Lirian. He should know that Xykon killed her and isn't an inconsequential nuisance.
    How? Dorukan wasn't able to tell what happened with Lirian, by his own admission, so there's no reason to think he absolutely knew about everything else.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2021-07-28 at 01:24 PM.
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  29. - Top - End - #209
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    If Dorukan literally ran out of useful spells after 5 rounds (even minus combat spells he could still be stowing away stuff like Teleport, Invisibility, Dimension Door, etc. to let him retreat to safety), then again this is a case of Dorukan being an idiot and/or being artificially nerfed.
    Dorukan and Xykon's fight lasted for a lot longer than 5 rounds. They were fighting all through the time that Redcloak and Xykon were talking on pages 99 - 105. I read that conversation aloud to see how long it would take, and arrived at an answer of ~4 minutes. That's enough time to deplete even an epic wizard's spell arsenal, especially if he wasn't expecting to get into a serious fight today and so devoted a bunch of his spell slots to other purposes.
    Last edited by InvisibleBison; 2021-07-28 at 01:26 PM.
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  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Default Re: Talk How colossally dumb Dorukan was [Untagged SoD spoilers]

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    Dorukan and Xykon's fight lasted for a lot longer than 5 rounds. They were fighting all through the time that Redcloak and Xykon were talking on pages 99 - 105. I read that conversation aloud to see how long it would take, and arrived at an answer of ~4 minutes. That's enough time to deplete even an epic wizard's spell arsenal, especially if he wasn't expecting to get into a serious fight today and so devoted a bunch of his spell slots to other purposes.
    Dorukan 'not expecting to get into a serious' fight is just another way of phrasing 'Dorukan is being handed the idiot ball', since there was nothing to stop him waiting 24 hours to maximise his odds of victory against Xykon. (And if he had any spells suitable for a retreat he would have been casting them as soon as he ran out of other offensive spells.)

    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    And, if this was a comic about D&D and D&D exclusively, that would mean something. Call me crazy, but I think Rich's point isn't specific to this one specific game that has been out of date for a decade and counting. He once said, somewhat famously, that all stories say something about the real world, and i'd say the message of "brute strength can be overcome by tactics when the powerful get cocky" is applicable to a lot of things outside D&D. Same with the Goblins... ...So, ya know, the sentiment of "if it's a goblin, it can die" is placed in the mouth of the evil party member, and every good member disagrees. Rich kinda made his thoughts on the trope clear early-on.
    Yes, I'm quite aware of his sentiment on the topic. My point is that Rich's proposed solutions to this problem rely on ignoring deeper causal mechanisms in favour of papering over a fundamental rules-driven imbalance through railroading and manipulation, which is not a sustainable solution to such problems in the real world (and leaves a great deal to be desired in D&D, even if the problem is less glaring in recent editions.)

    In D&D, the people who rolled well for their INT or WIS score are positioned to be immensely more powerful than the people who rolled well for DEX or STR, assuming they pick a class that maximises the benefit from said attribute (and a lot of them will), without even touching on people who just rolled poorly in general. I'm not going to say there is zero real-world analogy to that unfairness.

    .
    Last edited by Lacuna Caster; 2021-07-28 at 01:51 PM.
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