New Comics Every Weekday - Written by T Campbell & Phil Kahn - Illustrated by John & Jason Waltrip
NO. HASH OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO BANDIT. DON’T CHANGE THE SUBJECT RABBLE RABBLE
also: clink clink clink.
Actually, they sorta did. Body not found? Check. Syr’Nj remembers Byron trifurcating her? Check. Fear that Bandit will come back as a vengeful ghost? Check.
Not a heck of a lot more for them to say. About the only thing left to cover is if Frigg specifically remembers Byron killing Bandit, and what, if anything, she intends to do about it.
Specifically the question of why Bandit’s body isn’t buried outside, especially when the rest of the party was feared to be contaminated. There’s a major disconnect there, I think.
To be resolved later, I guess.
Undead Berseker Bandit!!!
Bandit’s player ran out of quarters.
Harki seemed like a pretty competent guy, Is Byron’s “madness” actually contagious? Because a beserker/thief hybrid sounds awesome, if unlikely.
I believe that’s called a Kleptomaniac.
For that, you deserve a cookie.
If I’m understanding things, Bandit wasn’t actually a *player* in the first place…
If so, then I’d worry about the voices Frigg has been hearing.
too many secrets pieces.
Bandit was technically the only one to be killed by Byron. Frigg was knocked unconscious and he didn’t touch Syr’nj. Could be that the fact she was killed by the berserker makes them think she’s not likely to be a true comrade. Also means she’ll be a vengeful spirit because she was killed by a friend.
Orrrr…the bad dudes healed her then stuck her in a giant golem-mech and the new party will have to take her out as her spirit raves against being killed and replaced.
So if Bandit *was* killed by Byron, would that constitute PvP? And if so, is this a PvP server? And if not, um…
It pretty much has to be, at some point you just hit a wall where your main characters don’t know anything more and there isn’t a convenient source of information handy.
Maybe they’ll investigate it after they do this thing for Best?
Since Syr’nj is pretty sure she’s dead it’s not like they need to hurry and save her.
Trifurcate is a grossly underused word.
Frigg threatening violent sex might be the most frightening concept yet.
Rather than the normal Best-sex she’s wandering off to have?
Think about it. In 90% is the situations involving Frigg being violent, her target is at least armored, let alone not exposed.
There’s nothing normal about the sex she’s intending to have with Best. And I hope she breaks him a bit.
Best isn’t coming back alive
Do we forget that this isn’t the first time?
We try to.
Besides, we don’t know how far they got last time before Frigg was “box-blocked”. She may have shed her armor, but we’re not sure she free the Best of the Best from its trophy case.
I… I think that was the Best euphemism I have heard in a long while.
Agreed. Also. Frigg can ***** me while ***** armor and ***** any time. In fact if she didn’t ****** at east one ****** I’d be highly disappointed. Frigg knows how to be an adventure. Live the moment.
Guys, you’re all perverted. They just went off to play Twister.
…yeah, I guess you can call it that.
Think I’m gonna call it an epic hate fuck instead.
Let’s doooooooooo IT! *Woof!*
Frigg makes such bitter bitter hate to him under the setting sun.
Wait a minute, Lord Flashheart wasn’t a Frenchman! Just what kind of stunt are you trying to pull, Captain? :P
I agree with Sentora, there’s nothing normal about Frigg + Best. o.O
Picard is a French-British hybrid.
So duzzat make him a Bench? Or a Fish?
A French-British hybrid? Is that a collaborative design effort between Peugeot and BMC to make a “green” car or something? ;)
Picard was supposedly a Frenchman, but he’s played by a British actor so it’s tough to remember that sometimes.
Lord Flashheart ? Who’s this ?
Watch the British comedy series “Blackadder”, more specifically Series 2 (Blackadder the Second) and Series 4 (Blackadder Goes Forth), starring Rowan Atkinson. If you love witty dialogue and absurd comedy with a historical British background, you’ll probably like it. :)
“normal” sex? lol. that’s a matter of perspective.
Theres nothing called normal sex, there’s boring sex thou :P
Clearly, you’re doing something horribly wrong.
I thought normal sex involved circus clowns, three live herrings, a sack of trail mix, one pound of ungrated cheddar cheese, the tusks of a walrus, the pelt of a tiger that died knowing true fear, exactly fifty-three wax candles, twenty-eight roman candles, and a collection of the works of Tolstoy.
You forgot the rabbit…
I think the rabbit’s optional.
You only need the rabbit if you’re planning to hump.
Every strip of this comic should take place at sunset.
Maybe after four or so more chapters I’ll learn how to draw figures in it in general, by sheer power of the skill radiating into my brain off the computer screen.
Then I can write -a comic- that can compete with this one in visual quality, so that every reader out there can still see I suck compared to the writing.
… or, wait, then we’d never see blues and violets again. Scratch that.
I agree. Our artist really is quite excellent, isn’t he? I’ve been loving Syr’nj’s close-up facial expressions the last few comics.
I still want Byron and Frigg….brrr…Douchebag getting the girl is..creepy brrr
Byron gets Syr’Nj (potentially).
She DID escape. She now fights crime as THE ARMLESS BANDIT.
“No! It wasn’t me! It was the No Arm Bandit!”
No officer! I do not have a case of sticky fingers, as you can clearly see!
Shouldn’t she be a One Armed Bandit?
Damn I like her, she has to return and be all cool again XD
Admit it, Kimble! You killed your wife. And I will chase you for seven seasons to prove it, too!
They try to extort her, but she never pays out.
The legendary Armless Bandit steals priceless two-handed sword. The latest in the series of one-armed robberies leaves police stumped. “What is the sound of one hand stealing?!!”, exclaimed chief constable Alaric while being sedated by the staff of the “Bloody Memories” asylum.
Oy, don’t mind her — she’s completely ‘armless.
True. We really aught to just give her a hand.
Sure. And they need all hands on deck to re-arm the team.
I hereby declare a (bad) puns war.
They finally broach the subject of Bandit, just to shy away from it again.
It is funny when you think about it, that their smallest member is the metaphorical 500 pound gorilla in the room.
Whoa whoa, sonny. Take yer hi-falutin’ “high-brow” humor elsewheres.
Damn kids… *grumble grumble*
Hey, leave the new kid alone, guys. I don’t think he should be pun-ished for trying something new.
everyone’s a pundit.
Hmm. Taking a different course on humor can not, always, be a bad thing! We should puntificate on this!
Now, now, we don’t want to get too pun-pous
Forget my pun-y attempt to participate to this bad pun war.
Welp, now we know what’s up with Bandit. We can check that off the list.
Next, let’s try and get Gravedust to stop being so goddamned enigmatic about everything. Alt text for the win.
Let’s have Syrnj start teaching the ol’ mystic exactly how one communicates when they wish to convey information.
Frigg’s that desperate… Who can blame her? The only other options are a guy older than the dirt he’s named for and the guy who bashed her ribs in and made her suffocate in her own armor. Girl’s gotta test out her body on SOMETHING and she ain’t gonna get all the kinks out with Syr’Nj.
Plus, Best is good looking and Frigg’s player has expressed her opinion on how useful most guys are anyway. So, what’s to lose?
I dunno, That Prada bag has a tool for every occasion in it.
Yes, just like those dozens of orgy girls were “desperate”. The “Iron Maiden” knows what she wants and Best has it. Better pray that Byron doesn’t boxblock her again or Syr may have to remind Frigg of her wow for the second time.
I’ve got a theory that Best is only douchey when other people are nearby, and that he does it because he can pull it off. Confident people are generally more attractive, he’s well-groomed, and he’s a musician.
I also don’t think Frigg would fall for a tank-type character. She’s the tough one, playing with the fragile “little elf”. And not least, he understands the purpose of her trash-talk and plays along. Only Bandit is/was so sass-savvy. Hm… coincidence?
And in case people haven’t noticed while focusing on Best, Frigg is a bit of a douche as well. She’s even blatantly described as ‘arrogant’ on the cast page. Regardless she knows Best “doesn’t suck both nuts”.
Not unless you ask him nicely…
I don’t consider Frigg a douche so much as “socially challenged.” Everything Best does is ultimately for Best. He wants to be an epic hero–the one and only epic hero, with no “backup singers,” as he put it–not because he cares, but because he wants adoring fans and to be important. He has been patronizing toward “the people.” Frigg “Does Not Play Well with Others,” but at least she has come to demonstrate a willingness to try–while originally it was Frigg for Frigg, she does consider the other friends, can stick with a plan, wants to be respected and valued (which is not the same as being adored), and will fight for a cause or for her companions. Frigg can be violent, ignorant, stubborn, and foul, but she never comes across (to me) as mean or shallow.
My mind immediately hopped to the OTHER ‘little elf’.
Meh. What does Byron have to fear from Frigg ? He’s a berserker, right ?
C’mon, you just came back from death itself! That wouldn’t make you want to bang one out?
I don’t know that the others would be kinky enough for what she’s got in mind . . . So in the end, she went with the Best end available.
And which of his ends would that be?
The first time they look into the Basin of Forsight, they’ll see Bandit’s face in it.
Literally, her face would be in there. Along with a note from the Troll Mafia.
I must admit, I am going to miss Bandit. It was really nice how her childishness played off Gravedust’s solemn wisdom. I suppose, though, it was necessary– we needed the five honest players to come together in the party, and 6 is a bit much. Bard’s as good as a rogue– THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE. Ah well.
Farewell, Bandit. You will be sorely missed.
Hah, you know… it’d be awful, but almost kind of wonderful for something to actually come of Frigg and Best. Her ‘strong personality’ certainly doesn’t scare him, nor does his douchiness off-put her. We may have something, here.
six is a perfectly decent party size. I almost feel it’s standard for fantasy stories.
As Dm I can tell you six players nearly broke me last night….
I played an exalted campaign with nine :D
That’s madness. Actual madness.
Well, not for normal fantasy games, but for Exalted. Exalted was specifically designed for five players. This is why there are five aspects, five elements, five Celestial Maidens, and so forth. It starts to break down very quickly afterwards.
My current storyteller flat out refused to run for six. Nine is complete insanity.
Even six can be insane. When you’ve got that many, you can have every character min/max a different skill set/attack without leaving any holes. Even in d20 Modern, my GM weeps whenever we reach for the dice. Just because we tricked him into allowing the +160 for circumstance modifiers that one time, he seems to assume we’ll be insane with every roll and it’s just not true. Every other roll at most.
As Ahdok states, six is a perfectly wonderful party size. The fellowship of the ring was a full nine members iirc, and obviously Tolkein made that work. Friendship is Magic has a party of six. I’m pretty sure looking for group has a party of six. Six is not at all an uncommon standard group size within many MMO’s, though World of Warcraft notably keeps it to five (and then makes the whole point moot with raids). Goblins had a group of six until some… recent plot developments. Anyway, yeah. Six is a reasonable group size from both a storytelling and gameplay standpoint.
Second, “Bard’s as good as a rogue”? I beg your pardon. While a bard may indeed be a type of rogue, they are not at all a replacement for a proper thief. Look at Best here. With some acting abilities and wardrobe adjustments, he’s likely capable of pulling off disguises decently, but genuine stealth is completely beyond him. He could blend in depending on the situation, but never hide. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see him do a proper backstab. He just has too much of a flair for the theatrical to inflict such a silent death. He has not the skills in thievery to avoid the conflict in the taking of anothers possessions (remember when Bandit replaced that guy’s documents when he wasn’t looking). I could go on.
Not to mention that a bard would normally have the ability to maintain party morale to compensate for these other lackings, but I don’t see Best rallying up the team spirit anytime soon (Bandit frequently kept everyone in good spirits).
Bards in general, while certainly rogues, could not replace a proper thief. Best is no exception. In fact, he’s worse off than a typical bard would be due to his various glaring personality deficits.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree with your points regarding the real players having to get together. Discover their fate and whatnot. I just think that it’s a bit much to claim that Best can fill the same role Bandit did in the party, and also that six is a perfectly reasonable party size. At the end of the day though, yes, Bandit had to go. Sad to see her leave, but she doesn’t really have any place in the upcoming journey.
Well, only kinda. I mean, Boromir dies fairly early on (SPOILERS), Merry and Pippin are indistinguishable and Frodo and Sam are a weird siamese twin.
Still leaves six, though.
Gandalf cops it. Then the party splits, so you get a group of three, backed up by two NPCs (Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, backed up by Theoden and Eomer), siamese twins on a stealth mission backed by a powerful NPC rogue (Frodo and Sam with Gollum), and the indistinguishables leading an army of absurdly powerful NPCs (Merry and Pippin with the Ents). These sizes of groups continue for the all the fights throughout the rest of the books/films (even if the exact composition changes a little bit, no group every exceeds four actually useful people).
Lol. I’ve only seen the movies, and only the one time in theatres. I litterally just went on wikipedia to see a list of the members because it’s a well renowned fantasy classic (and an upstanding epic in its’ own right) which I could recall having somewhere in the general ballpark of six members in its’ main party. I was surprised it was as high as nine though. I seem to recall all the hobits being pretty indistinguisable early on. Frodo becomes noticeable as the ring darkens him up, and sam becomes noteworthy because of his weird and unsettling relationship with frodo.
If you count the hobbits as a single entity, that’s down to six. Gandalf was absent a lot of the time and didn’t seem to like to participate (plus, practically mute except for when he’s expositioning in high strung theatrics), so if we count him out that’s five members. As you mentioned, boromir dies early, counting him out brings us down to four. Hobbits, Legolas, Aragorn, and a token dwarf.
God, that dwarf was like every dwarven stereotype rolled into one. Dwarves like him are the reason I started being cautious around fantasy fiction with multiple humanoid sentient species (“races” I suppose we like to call them, though their basic nature is opposed to the anti-racism messages they are sometimes used to convey). I’ve just seen that dwarf far too many times in far too many stories, and I was never terribly fond of him the first time. There’s stupid warrior and then there’s dwarven warrior, which just seems determined to one-up the stigma’s already attached to terminally stupid meat-shields.
Aragorn was awesome though. He’d make a hell of a grey warden. Legolas wasn’t bad either. He was pretty awesome in his own right. Certainly no Aragorn, but cool nonetheless. If I could get a movie that was just Aragorn and Legolas I’d rewatch it all the time. I just have never been able to make myself sit through the rest of those movies a second time.
In case it comes up I haven’t read Looking for Group in years either. Just looked up the wikipedia article on it on a whim, knowing it to be another well known fantasy webcomic, and it seemed to match.
It’s worth noting that Gimli WAS the first dwarf, from whom all the stereotypes sprung. (If you don’t count the dwarves from The Hobbit.) Tolkien essentially invented the medieval-style romantic fantasy genre complete with halflings, mountain-dwelling dwarves, forest-dwelling elves and evil orcs. And a ranger and a wizard. :)
When you read (or watch) Tolkien and think ‘oh, that character is such a stereotype’ that’s because basically every fantasy trope since then is derived from Tolkien’s vision. LOTR was massively influential.
The stereotype you speak of pretty much exists because so many dwarf characters are copied to some extent from that one.
Gimli isn’t a stereotype, in that he wasn’t written as one. But later writers took his outward personality and built a culture out of it, to the point were ‘acting like Gimli’ and ‘acting like a Dwarf’ seemed the same thing. This is simply because he was the first big dwarf charcter.
Indeed. Lord of the Rings is in many ways the original. It is the source of many of the modern fantasy archetypes, tropes, and norms, good and bad. This makes it inherently respectable as a book. Doesn’t make Gimli any more likeable though. His character has become an archetype, and that archetype has been dragged through the mud. While he was an awesome, fresh, new, and interesting character in the perspective of the time the book was written, within the eyes of a modern fantasy buff he lacks much of that appeal. I kind of wish I’d read Lord of the Rings before everything else, just so I could enjoy it untainted by everything that followed it, but alas, such was not my experience.
It’s similar to how the children growing up now aren’t impressed by the original matrix movie. Its’ special effects were ridiculous at the time. That one freeze spin shot was crazy expensive in its’ own right and required a stupid number of cameras and time to put together. Now there’s some cheap bauble out there that does the same job quicker and bullet time has become cliched and cheesy. No one growing up on today’s films is impressed by the special effects of the matrix, despite how groundbreaking it was at the time and how it changed the way people approached special effects. Sad, but true. No matter how much they may academically understand the impressive nature of the feats performed here, bullet time and dramatic freeze frames spinning over particular moments in the action just aren’t going to blow anyone’s mind anymore. It’s the kind of thing you see in a cheesy action B-movie, or the kind of thing you see spoofed in Shrek. Not the kind of thing you’d see in a respectable production. At least, not laid on as thick as the matrix did.
It’s a shame that genuinely ground breaking and impressive things can lose their luster with the passage of time, but such is the way of things.
I disagree with you there. An archetype dragged through the mud doesn’t loose its lustre. Just clean the mud off. One must drop all the muddy repeats they’ve read and see Gimli for the boisterous, loyal, honorable, good dwarf he is – willing to try to see things from an Elf’s point of view out of his love for a friend, tireless protector, and often frumpy. He is not special effects nor is he out-dated. Where other writers lean on the pre-existing archetype you mention, established in major part by Tolkein’s writing, Tolkein relies only on his own creation, a truly massive work of mythology creation detailed to incredible depths.
If I may correct myself, I should say Tolkein relies on his own creation, informed by intense study of Norse, European, Celtic, Christian, and other history/languages/mythology.
Also, I can point out that I don’t think the writers here are pasting in the archetype gangler is talking about. Gravedust and the Savasi are clearly built out in their own right and I enjoy learning more about them!
There’s a big difference between an archetype and a cliche. The trouble is, Gimli is both.
On my last rereading of the Lord of the Rings, I was reminded of how impressive Tolkien’s mastery of narrative is, how he manages to interweave dramatically different narrative modes. There’s a moment that’s particularly striking, when the medieval romance of Aragorn and Théoden suddenly intersects the modern picaresque adventure of Merry and Pippin.
However, the buddy story of Legolas and Gimli was so damned awful that I felt an urge to drive a spike through my head. It didn’t just establish the cliche about unlikely elf/dwarf buddy teams — it was the worst example I’ve encountered.
That’s Gimli the cliche. Gimli as the archetypal dwarf in fantasy adventure has a more subtle problem: Tolkien spent enormous effort detailing high elven culture (to which Legolas, a wood elf, was still an outsider), but very little detailing dwarven culture. There’s a little bit about dwarves in the Silmarillion, for instance, but what I remember most was a footnote from Tolkien that there was a passage saying that the dwarves had their own, very different, creation story, which was not included in the Silmarillion.
If you want Tolkienesque elves, you’ve got a range of models with which to work, from the simple “skinny guy with a bow who likes the forest” of Legolas, to the depth of epic grandeur of Elrond and Galadriel, with enormously detailed history, legends, and language to give it substance.
If, on the other hand, you want Tolkienesque dwarves, you’ve got Gimli and Thorin Oakenshield, you’ve got Moria and Lonely Mountain, and you’ve got a lot of “fill in detail here later.” There have been efforts to fill in that detail, but none that approach the influence of Tolkien. So, there’s not a lot to work with, for an archetypal dwarf. There’s a very narrow gap being an archetypal dwarf and a cliche dwarf.
If you want dwarvish culture, you really need to go to The Hobbit. There still isn’t nearly as much as Tolkien later gives to the elves, but there’s still a fair bit. Rather than being Scottish and ginger, they come across much more British. Also, the main focus of what they do is cunning craftsmanship, excellent musical skill (Thorin plays the harp fairly early on) and similar things. Tolkien was using the Norse idea of Dwarves, which meant highly intelligent and deeply magical crafstmen, rather than the modern variant that has grown up in his wake, replacing Norse Dwarves with Norse Men (just two feet shorter). If you read The Silmarilion (and frankly, don’t bother, it’s a slog that only a fanboy could love), then there’s enough detail about the Dwarves to fill in the rest that’s necessary (though not desirable – we want more!) with their creation story, and them being nearly destroyed at Illuvatar’s command, but then the Valar involved couldn’t go through with it, and it all gets complicated from there. Anyway, think English middle class with strong connections to artisan crafts and you’re probably pretty close with Tolkien’s dwarves.
I’ve read the Silmarillion — several times, actually, but not recently. I forgot I’d edited that part out, as that was a pretty long comment already. Anyway, what I remember in the Silmarillion was a bit from the Elvish creation myth that said that dwarves had their own, very different account. And that was pretty much all there was.
Yes, there was more about dwarves in The Hobbit. Thorin Oakenshield had more authorial attention than did Gimli, to be certain.
The Silmarillion is great if you like its deliberately ancient to early medieval epic feel. I know a lot of people detest the sections of the Lord of the Rings that have the most medieval flavor, though, regarding them as flat and stilted, and not perceiving them as a fundamentally different narrative mode that blends with the others.
You don’t know anything about Tolkien’s Gimli, or any other of his characters.
Lol. I know more today than I did wednesday before this discussion began ;)
I have to say that you should read the books. There was nothing bumbling (or even humorous) about Gimli THERE. I would have resented that they turned him into the comic relief in the movies but they did it so well that I couldn’t fault it. The bumbling was left to the younger hobbits, (Merry and Pippin) and they did more than there share. (Which turned out alright for the most part, such as meeting Treebeard).
I reject the idea that Boromir dies “Fairly early on” his death happens 1/3 of the way through the epic, and nearly in sight of his city (read: almost at the end of his journey).
Also: Gandalf didn’t want to be there? He was the party’s leader! (Also, if we’re picking someone to die early, lets’ remember that he fell in Moria . . .).
Agreed with Agagorn’s all around bad-assedness though. However, I will point out that all Grey Wardens dream of someday being as awesome as he is, not the other way around.
But yeah, the movies, awesome as they were, didn’t really give Gimli his due, though they kept the spirit of the rest of the characters quite well.
/unabashed Tolkein fanboy rant
I really should read the books sometime. Everytime the topic comes up I kick myself in the pants for not having read such a literary masterpiece. I didn’t want to read it directly after seeing the movies, because I didn’t want to keep making the comparison iirc. One thing lead to another though, and I’ve always got something else I’m doing. It’s now been about ten years and I still haven’t read them. Maybe I’ll be able to pull it off during summer break this year.
Regarding the timing of Boromir’s death, I’d recommend taking some of what I’ve said with a grain of salt. I’m hardly an expert on the subject obviously. I don’t actually remember much about his character beyond that he had that “Evil Chancelor” vibe going. Can’t remember if he actually ever betrayed the group though, or if that was just me being suspicious with no reason.
Gandalf, once again, grain of salt. However, I didn’t say he didn’t want to be there. I said he didn’t like to participate. Everyone else was pretty actively engaged in the quest, helping out consistently and at every available opportunity (except marry and pippin). Gandalf just kind of stood there. Silently thoughout most encounters and problems.
I mean, I can recall a couple moments of his casting. There was that whole “You Shall Not Pass!” moment, which seemed unnecessary to me. Seemed like running away would be a better option, or failing that, just busting up the bridge without standing on it. This likely comes from my lack of understanding of how his magics work. I’m sure there’s some reason he’s so sparing with it, and only pulls in out on the big occasions rather than littering every problem with minor cantrips and such. Aside from that there was his transendence fron Gandalf the Grey to Gandal the White. I don’t actually recall that effecting any part of the main quest though. That was just for him I guess. Once again, I’m sure if I had an adequate comprehension of any of what goes on with him I’d get how that all was important. He was an enigma that way.
Then when the magic runes came up, that was his moment to show everyone why they kept a smart guy around. However, Frodo solved that one for him, so he didn’t really contribute a lot to that moment either, though admittedly his translation skills were essential for any of that to work.
Aside from that, what did he do? I just kind of remember him hanging around being silently enigmatic until a moment that required solid exposition came along and then he just breaks into storytelling mode. I just can’t recall him ever being too much of a contributer. He seemed more a quest giver than anything else. Tells the group what their objective is and then watches them to make sure it’s all on schedule.
I wouldn’t say the grey wardens are as awesome as him. I couldn’t. Not without being far more familiar with his character than I am (also not before beating dragon age 1). I merely feel he’d fit in well with the environment and mentality of the grey wardens. If he were put in that organization he wouldn’t look out of place at all. He’d be like a fish in water. He also doesn’t strike me as someone who’s sense of honor would conflict with the grey warden policy of taking help from wherever it can be found, whether that be illegal witches, convicted murderers, or what have you. He has a sense of honor, it merely doesn’t get caught on the smaller, pettier details like that. His honor is a greater, all encompassing honor, if that makes any sense.
Gonna take your word on Gimli’s novel depictions. Hopefully when I finally do get around to reading them, that’ll be a pleasant revelation.
Gimli the movie dwarf, that BELCHING BUFFOON, has nothing to do with Gimli the warrior-poet of the books, the one in the fellowship who was most able to appreciate beauty in all its forms, the *gallant knight* eager to bring his axe for the protection of his lady’s honor; the one who was so respectful to beauty that he could impress elves by his attitude.
He was short, bearded, and wielded an axe. That’s where the frigging similarities between him and the movie depiction fucking end .
And btw, Legolas that very emotional, sometimes merry and joking, sometimes depressed young elf, has nothing in common with his always-bearing-one-facial expression depiction in the movie either.
Please distinguish clearly when you’re discussing Tolkien and when you’re discussing Peter Jackson. They have nothing in common.
I stated the moment LotR became the topic that I was completely unfamiliar with the novels and relatively unfamiliar with the movies. I have reasserted the level of knowledge backing my opinions in almost every post. I think it’s quite clear exactly what I’m discussing. People have been pointing out to me my misconceptions, and I have been learning much. If you have any suggestions for how I could further clarify exactly what my background is in this discussion I would gladly hear them.
Aside from that, you have clarified greatly for me exactly what my misconceptions are regarding the Gimli character, as well as providing some insight on Legolas. For this I thank you. A warrior poet is indeed dramatically different from his cinematic depiction. He sounds like a character I would be quite fond of.
We hit on a serious nerve here!
Don’t worry, though, gangler, we still love you!
The thing about Gandalf, and the other istari, was that they were supposed to keep a low profile. They are, after all, the last of the
maiar, sent into Middle Earth long after the time of creation was over., more or less as troubleshooters.
Gandalf takes his mission very seriously, he uses the minimum power needed to help, expecting the others to exert themselves to the utmost.
As for the dwarves, well one of the (very few) things i disliked about Tolkien was how strongly cless based his cosmos was. There are pvert hierarchies of value among and within the various sapient species, and most of those who try to break free of the system turn out to be evil.
Except the dwarves. They were created by a maia, outside the sequence that God had set up. in fact it seems as if God was caught off guard, even though that classical symphony concert he held at the begining of time was supposed to prefigure the history of Middle Earth, with the low points corresponding to where Morgoth tried to adlib. The dwarved never bought into this, never accepted that they were supposed to feel below the elves and be awed by their civilization. My opinion, Tolkien’s own class consciousness sometimes made him uncomfortable with the dwarves. And so, having established them as stolid, stubborn, steadfast, sturdy, unwavering, persistant, etc, he was disinclined to develop them further.
Oh, so he’s basically a borderline higher power. He’ll help in whatever capacity he is needed, but it’s up the the denizens of this world to decide its’ fate. That’s pretty awesome, and also perfectly explains his behavior^^
Exactly. And when the leader of the istari fell to temptation,
and changed from Saruman the White to Saruman the Multi-colored, Gandalf got a promotion and took on the role that Saruman was supposed to fullfill. I’m sorry they left that part out of the movie (along with Tom Bombadill, the barrow wight and the scouring of the Shire).
It was was one of Tolkien’s christian bits. As the White Wizard, Saruman was supposed to emphasize purity of intentions. But he turns “ecumenical”, starts to think there is more than one true way,
and puts on rainbow robes. At the same time he denigrates the other istari, such as the Brown Wizard, who emphasizes humility and care for nature. Gandalf the Grey is supposed to be the keeper of
wisdom so it’s something of a disappointment to Saruman that he rejects his position.
In the book, Saruman suffers 3 defeats: 1) when the ents flood him out, 2) when Gandalf declares “your staff is broken!” which also breaks most of his power, and 3) when, pathetic but still haughty, he passes through the Shire and the hobbits witness Wormtongue, maddened by constant abuse, stab him.
Tolkien employed a series of plot tricks to ensure that the reader never had to think about more than five party members at once.
At the start, the group builds up to Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Gandalf. Then Gandalf leaves and Strider (Aragorn) joins. At Rivendell, during the council session, the other hobbits are temporarily removed, and Frodo says almost nothing; the ones to pay attention to are Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli and Legolas. Once the Fellowship is under way, the characters are “chunked” into groups by race: hobbits, humans, the dwarf, the elf and Gandalf. Then Gandalf is lost, and Boromir is more clearly differentiated from Aragorn. Then the party splits in three. When all but Frodo and Sam reunite for the battles in RotK, you have Aragorn, Gandalf, Pippin, Merry and the Dwarf-Elf Team (another chunking). It’s quite crafty, really. If you’re going to be a writer juggling a whole lot of characters, LotR shows you just how to do it.
True. It’s akin to some of the older RPG’s such as final fantasy 4 in which “The team” would consist of a solid ten to fifteen people, but for plot reasons there would never be more than five together at a time. Of course, the reasoning behind the developments were entirely different, and none of these were writing on the level of The Lord of the Rings, but its’ the same general principle. To state that its’ a party of nine is actually faulty because we’re never working with that many people at a time.
Of course, I have confidence the writers here could employ the same methods quite skillfully if they so chose, thus making six people even more palletable than it already was, but such is not the direction they have taken the plot in, so its’ kind of moot. I am confident that any decisions they make are only serving to better the comic, and keeping the party at five is the same. Whatever arguments for why I think they could have done a larger party are null in the face of the fact that they chose a party of five, and thus it can be concluded that five was the ideal size.
Good point. I’d never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right.
I think that the writers are already using these tricks. How many times is “The team” split off into different factions? The missions from Col Pornstache for example, and Best’s leaving the group, along with his subsequent return which COINCIDENTALLY is exactly when Bandit disappears?
They’re just so good at it that you didn’t notice ;)
I thought Gimlet and Legolam were likeable characters, and that-
Wait, what do you mean I’m talking about “Bored of the Rings”? Isn’t that part of the series?
Wow, other than my dad, who gave the book to me, I have never met anyone else who has read that.
I did I did :D
The teaser in the beginning totally wasn’t in there anywhere ):<
I also remember the Zork Chronicles, a book that I can't believe wasn't a parody.
Zork? Was it based on the Text-based game that you can play for free off the internet now because it was an extremely influential PC game despite being hard as hell?
And yeah, as a Middle School boy, learning that the teaser wasn’t in the book extremely disappointed me. Now, as a young College-attending adult, I’m disappointed that I didn’t steal that copy of the book from the lawyer who owned it. I doubt he would have noticed. I think it’s kinda rare.
Which Zork book is that? Is that the one that riffs on the whole Campbellian myth cycle?
“Achoo!” Frito sneezed. “Allow me” said Legolamb, proffering the dwarf’s beard.
You missed OotS
…on the whole hide / sneak bit. Bards are incapable of keeping quiet long enough to pull that off.
Bards are generally described as “jack-of-all-trades” because they are capable of playing many diverse roles, but do not, as a rule (ok, as most fantasy rules anyway), excel at any of those roles.
I’m with ya on the whole “proper thief” bit, Gangler…no matter which realm is “home” ;)
(At the risk of having several zillion tomato / orange / pineapple / sharp objects thrown at me…I chose Norrath).
Ain’t gonna blame you for hanging dwelling in Norrath. Used to love that back in the day, though I was too young to really appreciate the game, I loved its’ mythos and found the setting intoxicating.
I’ve gone back and tried to play it a few times, but I don’t like the changes they’ve made to the graphics and with the dramatic gameplay changes since back when I played it doesn’t really seem to have anything to offer me I can’t get elsewhere.
Shame, I really would love to just pick up and play planes of power again and leave everything that came after behind. Such is not the way of things though. Time forever marches forward and so must I. Anyway, yeah, nothing wrong with Norrath. Good to see someone’s still rockin it over there.
Oh my lord, I almost feel like I need to give a formal apology. All very good points are made– and I will hang onto that back-up from Catbus– but I wasn’t intending this to be taken so seriously.
I definitely understand the differences between a bard and a rogue, if anything it was kind of a joke. There are indeed places they cross-over, and stacked right one came make up for the absence of the other[maybe not with inspire and such, but in terms of charisma and dexterity scores, and much of the skill sets]. I certainly didn’t mean that Best, his character as it is, could replace and do the same for the party as Bandit, whom was quite a different character.
Yes, fair enough, six can work. Six can work quite well. Once again, this wasn’t a statement to give that much thought. “A bit much” is certainly not to say “inconceivable.” I mean, it’s the very starting point of where you /could/ have too many characters, but that’s not to say it is in all cases. Five just seems a good number for this story to me. In many other stories and definitely in campaigns, it can be done. I definitely didn’t mean it as a rule for all situations.
I probably would’ve thought it out more in what I said or how I phrased it had I known it would’ve turned into such a topic. I DOES seem though like many people got a good LotR discussion out of it, though, so maybe not all is in vain.
Ah, my apologies for missing the humor of the remark. I get it now. Dismissing the significance of a major plot development for comical effect. Don’t know how I missed that.
You’re right though, assuming it’s a ballanced class system it should all work out evenly, with Best providing his own set of skills to compensate for those Bandit no longer provides.
As much as six is a reasonable number for a story, you’re right in that the writting does begin to become difficult at this point. It becomes harder to develop individual characters as more are added to the main cast. Take a story like Negima, where the main group is a plausibly sized class, and suddenly it takes me a couple hundred chapters before I can even recognize each of them on sight. Six years of publishing before any of the characters who aren’t the title character get serious levels of development. Certainly, while six characters can be done, at that point the time required to do it and the effort and skill required to do it right is noticeable with every addition.
Honestly, I would have put more care into my phrasing too if I thought it was going anywhere. It’s exam season though. I’m overworked and underslept. Perhaps at a later date you’ll see a better side of me.
I didn’t take any affront to the whole thing…and I probably repeated a lot of what was said before my post (TLDR’s will be the death of me!)
All in all, “correct” party size, how to play your character, WHAT character to play…the will always be conflicting opinions to all of the above. I tend to relegate the whole mess to The Meh Factor.
“Rogues backstab, cheat, steal, sneak around, and generally cause mayhem and mischeif. If this isn’t what you’re doing, go be a monk or a ‘zerker.” –Hettil, Gentleman Assassin of the Ring of Valor, Bristlebane server
Bandit’s dead? Like Deader Than Dead?
She’ll be back. It’s obvious she has a role yet to play in all this.
Eh, just means a Corpse Hunt. Unless maybe they chucked her in the stewpot.
They’ll come back to find Harki picking his teeth with her femur.
Well, maybe they’ll find the GA version of Miracle Max. “She’s only mostly dead.”
Not only is she merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.
My theory is Bandit’s player is a hacker who is taking part in the game when only the five should be allowed with homemade equipment and actually has the ability to log out unlike the other party members which might explain why Bandit’s body is gone. Her player ragequit after being teamkilled.
hell yes, frigg’s gonna get LAID!
Shtoinking the Town Crotch is not really cause for celebration.
Well, I’d agree, but, sometimes, you get so hard up for a good time that even the Town Crotch seems tempting, and you find yourself thinking, “Well, it’s only a *few* STDs, maybe they’ll be the ones that can be medically treated!”
In panel 2, I hope that’s not Birdserker roasting over the fire.
Might be left over bawky…
Wasn’t Bandit in the flash back/forward chapters? I am a bit rusty as to when those happened. I assumed after this main plotline.
They’re all in the past now. Those were the quests the party did as “peace ambassadors” or whatever it was called.
Clearly, in her last moments of consciousness Bandit performed her greatest feat yet and stole away.
But if she stole “away”, that would mean there is nowhere to steal to.
I never liked Bandit that much, personally. Her charachter either acted a) cutesy, b) sneaky, or c) both. She really didn’t have the depth that Byron, Gravedust, or Sry’Nj had. I still hate Best best though.
Sneaky + cutesy = Snutesky.
I fail to see how cutesy, sneaky or both are bad things . . . It’s how she stole my heart . . .
They are fine, there just didn’t, to me anyway, feel like there was all that more to her charachter than that.
Hot diggity FUCK, yo, artist ,you do some beautiful sunsets. The last panel practically makes me weep.
Well… As it stands, the universe seems to be a ‘real’ one, but one in which gamers are able to meddle. Seeing as how Bandit isn’t there, one would have to guess Bandit was an actual gamer, and grumbled about party-killers at the equivalent of a spirit healer or whatnot. >.>
GD’s revelation probably means Best & Frigg didn’t go completely out of sight for their game of ‘hide the little elf’.
What forum is this? A serious discussion on fantasy parties and a serious lack of puns?
Dear god, cyber between Best and Frigg is too scary to imagine. But at least Frigg’s Best laid plans will no go astray this time.
oh, that was a combo pun! nice one.
He’ll give his Best performance, I’m sure. It’ll probably be Friggin’ hot.
Sex is both funny and interesting to talk about.
My Best bet? They get interrupted before the kinks are out. No homo.
(I KNOW I’ve used it before, I just can’t believe no-one ELSE did, so I had to double up).
Hu… spending that willpower and waiting some time for the story to build after that hanging point was really good. Congratulations in the change of settings, I really liked it. Much better than I would have liked if the sepia world adventures weren´t being played out. If the ressurection sequence was just after the fight scene, or after Best adventures, it would have been meh.
But as it was, this was a surprise. And I like surprises.
Ok, the “this is a game” was hinted in the beginning, but I wasn´t expecting that particular thread to be trully used. And I´m really enjoying the scy-fi meets fantasy lead. Thank you guys very much for the show to this point.
BTW, I´ll make my personal guess too. Mr. Mustache´s alter ego is Gravedust in my opinion. He goes “manbo-jambo” in the gaming control center (if that´s a gaming control center, I kind of agree with Jean-Luc´s idea of pararel universes) and Gravedust´s spirit appears in front of Best? Hum. Ok, Mr. Mustache may have been the “revelation”, and not an actual player, he could be Best or Bandit, but…
And the guy in the tub that was just like Gravedust? Well, of course, he´s one of the girls players. I´d pick him to be Bandit. You know, the cute girl is almost always…
Of course, then it would be vital that Bandit was also resurrected. I’m sure he was the revelation– and my best guess is because one: That’s a crap way for this experiment to end, and two: There’s probably no knowing what may happen if they die in-game before the game is complete.
Of course, this leads me to wonder what constitutes as ‘complete’. Stories only have ending points because it’s the end of the interest, end of the plot, the story. It’s certainly not the end of the characters, though. So when you’re living it, and you’ve completed that final quest, don’t you go your separate ways? Seek out the next adventure? Maybe decide you’ve had enough of action for your lifetime, go buy a farm and settle down? The story teller picks an end point that leaves the audience satisfied, but for the characters it’s just one section of their lives. So when does the game end?
Another thing I’ve been contemplating is their in-game backgrounds. Is this game running in real-time? Or is it maybe faster than that? Did they experience growing up and living as their characters, up until our story began? Or did they start, in consciousness, with the design their minds instinctively came up with, and then proceed to retro-actively fill in the blanks with their sub-conscious? Were they sat down and given a run-down of the world and races and the time to design their characters before the game began? Also, considering Best’s situation, I’ll assume the events that led them to their destinies was also by their mind’s choosing, as it set him up to be as important as he wanted to be, but there are events in history that the other recognize. Syr’Nj mentions being a medic in a war, and they know what she’s talking about– unless they’re just going with it, and then convinced they already knew. Certain things though, must be controlled by our ‘GM’, if you would. The races, the quests, certain factors. For them to all have the same world in their heads, the knowledge they do, you’d almost have to have lived through the character’s background.
Hm, I don’t know, perhaps I’m starting to sound silly. On threat of seeming the fool twice on one comment page, I’m going to post this, though, because these thoughts have been nagging at me, and I’d like to hear if anyone else has been pondering the same.
There is an answer to all this: maybe. It all depends on which (as yet unrevealed) mode of virtual (?) reality the characters are in. If it’s Matrix style VR, then they have no knowledge of the real world, and instead their memories were probably implanted (saves time and money, and prevents having to have the game run at speeds that would prevent HRD being able to watch it unfold). If it’s more like Red Dwarf’s several uses of VR, then they are fully aware that their in a game, but they’re having fun with the roleplay, so why bother to switch out?
Of the two, I consider Matrix style VR to be more likely because they seem a little bit too immersed for anything else. If so, then I would guess (and this is in all ways an epileptic tree theory, so feel free to shoot it down in flames) that their subconsciouses created their characters and their characters’ abilities. So, Byron wanted to be a Byronic hero, but his subconscious wasn’t fully engaged with it, so he has most of the elements of the Byronic hero, but also has the loveable wuss/puppy side. Similarly, Best was very keen on music in the real world, so his subconscious churned out a bard in Arkerra. He is living his subconscious dream and finally becoming a genuine Guitar Hero. This would also make it much easier to maintain the illusion because it conforms to the character’s subconscious images of themselves. As has been demonstrated time and again with hypnosis, you can only keep someone under if you conform to their subconscious, and with their consent. As such, in order to maintain the illusion, the game is having to appeal to the players’ subconsciouses. This can potentially also explain why so much slang and similar phraseology has been part of their interactions, despite the complete immersion of the game.
Does that help?
I definitely figured on complete submersion– I was just wondering at what part of the story their consciousness actually joined in. “Implanting” the memories seems a bit odd– this is meant to be a game, afterall. If, though, they pre-designed the character backgrounds, and these were accounted in the NPCs– Such as Syr’Nj’s father being who he is, and whatnot, then they easily could just fill in the holes with their subconscious, since they’ve already thought everything up. I think everyone’s personalities are pretty much their own, given the freedom to be whomever they want to be, more so than a character– you make a good example of that with Byron. He may want to be the badass, but he’s still got a heart and a head on his shoulders, no changing that.
Another thought, though! Was this voice in his head, this berserker in him, actually planned on? Maybe the chance of it being a buried anger in the player coming out through the character– but then again, the voice spread to Frigg. He never told her about that. The player wouldn’t know, it wouldn’t assimilate into her character– For her to be hearing it, it has to be an outward force, right? Not something dreamt up by the players. UNLESS the players’ can effect each others characters or bring separate entities into being through their will. Say, Byron’s character was supposed to have this separate… what-ever-the-hell, and by making it part of his character, it came to exist in it’s own right, independent of Byron. HMMM.
I’m late to the comments party. Looks to me like B is hooked on EverQuest, and can’t quite bring himself to abandon his half-elf bard for a gnome rogue with his group in WoW. Yet.
Shit Elf Racial Ability: Immunity to STDs.
Or, at least, Frigg better hope that’s what it is.
I don’t appreciate the art in this comic as much as I should. Great work John. You invoke an emotion in me I can only describe as “I’m looking at something and it’s making me pleased just because of its looks”.
Thank you, Niall.
SPECIFICALLY, the revelation was… epiphanic… revelatory, even.
Transnavigated a dead land,
Extending mystic’s helpful hand,
Seeks a long lost bridge repaired.
Pleaded case of the Savasi,
Raising glass with warlord-quasi,
Of poison perishes ensnared.
In death aproached the epiphanic,
Reviving comrades talismanic,
Gnomish fate left undeclared.
Desethammer in the tizzomb!
Hey-nonny-nonny and a hot-cha-cha!
Don’t you understand?
Gravedust IS the revelation, the Tiger-Force at the core of all things!
When you cry out in your dreams it is Gravedust that you see.
Tiger-force? Does it have to do with WINNING?
Get off my lawn.
Tiger-Force is apparently a real army task force.
Also it should be a sweetawesome Saturday morning cartoon show.
Hey, far as I remember Best hasn’t lost one fight since the “prophecy” that “picked” him as the “chosen one” or whatever… Yep, he’s an elf, but as far as the story has come he’s also the most capable fighter in the party… Why wouldn’t Frigg feel atracted? She doesn’t mind his atitude, she admires strength, independence and capability. He’s an ass a douche bag and a stump, but I don’t think those factor for her in this subject.
This is for anyone who is reading the comic + commentary for the first time.
Coming back and reading commentary I skipped over in favour of story momentum, I found myself enjoying the whole LotR discussion. (Wish I’d read it sooner.)
I was surprised, however, that no-one picked up on the well-known (I thought so anyway) fact that Tolkien based Middle Earth on his own childhood home and its subsequent fall to the modern age.
Industry crept in, gained a foothold and massacred a pastoral idyll. What Tolkien wrote was an ode or homage to a place that he loved in his heart-of-hearts. Something precious lost, never to be regained. Innocence squandered.
The industrial takeover of his beloved childhood home broke his heart, and he strove to preserve it in some form.
It is the PLACE that is the main character, and the humanoids are the ones who affect it for good or for ill. (Which explains the pages and pages of descriptive prose that even I struggled through in my teen years when my patience and thirst for prose was at its optimum!)
If the social structure of the humanoid characters seems classist in a very “Brit-ish” way, it’s because it’s meant to be. They represent the people in Tolkien’s life, every aspect of Tolkien himself, and the social structure he was raised in and subsequently encountered throughout adulthood.
These characters can be read as either Tolkien himself, or as others expected Tolkien to be (ex; Gandalf vs Saurumon).
There are decades’ worth of published articles on the subject that one can read for oneself and draw one’s own conclusions.
Recommended reading on the “lost love/innocence etc.” theme, I offer “Lorien Lost (A Novel of Artistic Obsession)” by Micheal King. It left me feeling rather… incorpreal.
Apologies for any spelling/typographical errors.
Aaaw…. Frigg has gotten her fucktoy back
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