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This is the thread for discussion of The Order of the Stick plot, characters, etc. We have a separate thread for discussing game rules and mechanics. Excessive rules discussions here may be thumped as off-topic.

OP edited to make this header - Fighteer

edited 18th Sep '17 1:08:08 PM by Fighteer

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 11:58:16 AM

Soon's wife was murdered by the Snarl, straight up. That's first-hand knowledge.

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Kostya from Everywhere Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:02:30 PM

I imagine Soon prayed to his gods for knowledge about the entity that killed his wife. After finding out about the Snarl he gathered together the Scribblers and told them what he knew.

Edited by Kostya on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:02:11 PM

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:07:27 PM

Rich could introduce an entirely new plot element but I'm not sure how I'd feel about that. It would also cheapen the struggle over the gates if he went "Here's this new unforeshadowed plot device that could help you out."

You're right that that would suck. No, I mean that it'll be something we already know about that is not the Gates. Take the Dark One, for example. How many previous worlds raised their own demigods with direct designs on the Gates? Or what about the MitD: is he somehow key to the whole deal?

It would be delightfully ironic if one of the villains held the key to fixing this mess. Think about how it would change the priorities of the Order. Think about what it might mean if the gods themselves were aware of this chance and have been subtly helping the bad guys. Think about the subtle chains of chance and friendship that connect different threads of the story, like O-Chul and the MitD. And of course there's the strange visions seen in the rifts themselves.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:09:18 PM

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Kostya from Everywhere Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:11:48 PM

Not sure how I'd feel about a villain being the key. The Dark One would come out of left field since his whole plan is to use the Snarl. How would he know a method of destroying/sealing it? MITD could work but I feel like that wouldn't make sense unless he was connected to the Snarl somehow.

TobiasDrake Always watching, never seen from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Always watching, never seen
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:12:06 PM

  • Thor: The moral of the story is that Xykon is awesome and you should totally let him and Redcloak pull off their master plan.
  • Durkon: ...
  • Thor: Totally.
  • Durkon: Are... are we being punked?
  • Totally Not Dark One: Noooooo, why would you think that?

Drake's Razor: Never attribute to cold, dispassionate logic that which can be equally or better explained by emotional outburst.
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:15:31 PM

I don't mean that suddenly everyone has to stop fighting the bad guys. It'd be more subtle than that. Rather, let's say Xykon has to be allowed to take control of the Gate for this chance to work. Or the Dark One has to successfully control the Gate and direct it to another plane. But neither of those parties can be allowed to know that what they're doing is part of the plan to save everyone from the Snarl.

This means that the Order has to continue to oppose them, and indeed they can't be allowed to "win" in the final summation (a saved world with Xykon in charge would suck for all concerned), but that they have to at least partially achieve their objectives in order for things to work out.

There are a lot of stories like this where the one chance to fix the plot requires that the villains seem to win. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is one such. There's a subplot in Heralds of Valdemar wherein it's revealed that a particular recurring villain keeps slipping away because the gods need the knowledge in his brain and are subtly "cheating" to keep him alive. It doesn't mean he doesn't ultimately get defeated, but it has to happen in a way that preserves what he knows. Along the way, he causes enormous suffering and destruction, but that is unfortunately necessary to prevent an even worse catastrophe.

[down] Bingo!

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:21:13 PM

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TobiasDrake Always watching, never seen from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Always watching, never seen
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:20:21 PM

...you know, it does occur to me that right now, the only person with even the slightest working knowledge of how the Gates actually work is Redcloak.

Drake's Razor: Never attribute to cold, dispassionate logic that which can be equally or better explained by emotional outburst.
Kostya from Everywhere Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:28:58 PM

I could see that working. I'm not sure how it would work in the story though. Unless this book is rather short the Order would have no reason to stop Team Evil from doing what they're doing. It could basically cut right from stopping the Godsmoot to Xykon obtaining the Gate.

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 12:38:27 PM

What if the ritual that Redcloak and Xykon are performing to take control of the Gate doesn't do exactly what it's advertised to? We've speculated about when the Dark One emerged as a god, about how it's narratively incongruous for him to have been born in a previous world and thus participated in this one's creation, because if he did, why are the goblinoids still inferior XP fodder, and why is he still attempting the Plan?

So, this leads to a couple of hypotheses:

  1. The Dark One is pulling a long con on Redcloak (and the other Bearers of the Crimson Mantle). The ritual doesn't do exactly what Redcloak believes, but rather it manipulates the Gate to dump the Snarl out in some alternate dimension where it can be contained permanently.
  2. The other gods are pulling a con on the Dark One. Once the ritual is completed, they will seize control of it and do the thing I said.
  3. The ritual will be completed, but the gods then need mortals to intervene to prevent the Dark One's plan from going off exactly as intended.

Or something along these lines. If the Snarl is a creature of this reality, of the material plane, then transporting it to another plane of existence might neutralize it, or at least prevent it from eating worlds ever again.

One wonders if this might lead to a The Magic Goes Away scenario wherein the permanent defeat of the Snarl saps some of the divine energy inherent to its creation, weakening the gods in some fundamental way. Maybe they consider it a just penance for their errors... or maybe only some of them do.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:44:40 PM

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blkwhtrbbt The Dragon of the Eastern Sea from Doesn't take orders from Vladimir Putin Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
The Dragon of the Eastern Sea
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:00:12 PM

I think the Dark One came from the current world.

Say to the others who did not follow through You're still our brothers, and we will fight for you
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:03:23 PM

I think that may be correct, but then he doesn't know about all the old ones, is ignoring the knowledge for this Plan, or has some hidden agenda that Redcloak doesn't know about. Because why would he take the chance of the gods being all killed to give his people a leg up in this world if he knows that they'll just make another one when it inevitably falls apart? Wouldn't he do better to wait for the Snarl to break out and then ensure that the billionth-plus-one version is fair for goblinoids... assuming that the gods continue the fantasy theme, of course?

... yeah, he arose from a goblin leader. That means that the world he arose from was similar enough to the current one to have the same fantasy theme, so Occam's Razor means it is definitely this one. And if he doesn't know about the billion iterations of the world, then it's being deliberately hidden from him, and therefore he must be part of this chance that Thor is talking about.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 4:06:19 AM

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Sep 12th 2018 at 1:05:18 PM

Well, he could also find the idea of being the only God, in a world entirely of his own creation, appealing.

Alternatively, even if he knows there are going to be a bunch of other worlds, he'd still feel like making sure the goblinoids (or equivalent) that exists in them have a fair shake.

Edited by LSBK on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:06:00 AM

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:12:13 PM

Alternatively, even if he knows there are going to be a bunch of other worlds, he'd still feel like making sure the goblinoids (or equivalent) that exists in them have a fair shake.

The point is that the Plan (as Redcloak knows it) is fundamentally stupid if the Dark One knows that this world is going to fall apart just like all the others. Taking that kind of risk purely for revenge against the existential plight of one group of people in the billionth iteration of the world is... well, it's possible, but it's a degree of Idiot Ball that I'm not prepared to ascribe to him without further evidence.

This leads to only two reasonable conclusions: either the Dark One is ignorant of the larger plan to have a chance at defeating the Snarl once and for all, or the Dark One is in on that plan and is deceiving Redcloak as part of it.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 4:12:57 AM

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Sep 12th 2018 at 1:14:43 PM

Well, on the Giant's Forum there's been a lot of speculation that the Dark One won't even survive to the next world because ascended mortal gods like him die when their home world is destroyed.

The reasoning being that with there having been millions or billions of previous worlds, there should be a ton of gods like him. I don't really buy that for now, but it's something to keep in mind.

Edited by LSBK on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:21:53 AM

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:17:03 PM

That's a valid point, and one that I had considered as well. But if that's true then the fallback position of the Plan is doomed, since if the world is unmade by the Snarl and the gods are forced to make another, he won't be around to have a say in it. Again, it only makes sense if he doesn't know that's going to happen.

[down] Clap Your Hands If You Believe plus Gods Need Prayer Badly, yes.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 4:20:41 AM

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Kayeka World's biggest wannabe from Amsterdam Relationship Status: Brony
World's biggest wannabe
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:20:25 PM

Well, since the ascended mortals became that way explicitly by way of Clap Your Hands If You Believe, if there's no one left to clap for them, they'd be toast, alright.

People say I have a problem with authority. I say that authority has a problem with me.
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:25:15 PM

That's what happen to raise them to godhood, but I'd need more than that belief they're somehow more dependent on prayer than the other "original" gods.

All the gods want and are powered by prayer, but they clearly existed before there were people to worship them. Even if they would die with no one to worship them, I also don't see why it would be instantly the way it works in the verse; they don't get power from prayer directly, but from the souls of their followers when they eventually die and become a part of their planer domain.

Edited by LSBK on Sep 12th 2018 at 3:28:00 AM

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:29:50 PM

And the outer planes are permanent and untouchable by the Snarl (at least without intervention). So maybe whether ascended mortal gods stick around between iterations is based on whether enough of their followers' souls escaped the destruction to sustain them.

If that's true, then the "world is eaten" scenario is probably fatal for the Dark One. I wonder if his ultimate fallback plan could be a form of Taking You with Me wherein he decides that if he won't live to the next iteration, neither will the other gods.

Anyway, all of this speculation leads me to believe that Thor's revelation is that the Gate ritual must happen for the world to be saved, or at least a version of that ritual.

...

...

Holy fuck. If the ritual requires both a divine and arcane caster, and Thor intends for Durkon and V to be those casters, then the IFCC's hole card suddenly gives them a royal flush.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 4:33:26 AM

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Sep 12th 2018 at 1:33:56 PM

He should already have plenty of souls to last him though; goblinoids seem to be very numerous, and he's the only god they've got.

Hel's issue is that she's gone a long time with no living worship, but he shouldn't have that problem.

Admittedly, we don't know how long it takes to make a new world, and maybe they can run out of "soul power" before they can create it and new followers.

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:35:47 PM

Hel's been through this one iteration of the world without worshipers, but she's had millions of others to sustain herself. I don't think that's a narrative conflict. Anyway, the fact that most of the worlds got destroyed without most of their souls making it to an afterlife means that the gods are not dependent on that soul power for their ultimate survival. It seems like more of a scorecard than an existential necessity.

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 4:39:26 AM

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blkwhtrbbt The Dragon of the Eastern Sea from Doesn't take orders from Vladimir Putin Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
The Dragon of the Eastern Sea
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:40:36 PM

It's money, not food. Souls do explicitly give them power, don't they?

Say to the others who did not follow through You're still our brothers, and we will fight for you
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:40:57 PM

Oh yeah, I think it's more likely that they don't really need it. I'm just saying that even if they do, the Dark One would probably be okay, at least depending on how long it took them to make another world.

Something else that's been brought up is that if they gave each world a unique them, the gods themselves might also change their appearance and themes for it. Thor might not have even been known as Thor before this iteration, and stuff like that.

blkwhtrbbt The Dragon of the Eastern Sea from Doesn't take orders from Vladimir Putin Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
The Dragon of the Eastern Sea
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:43:48 PM

What happened to Goblin souls before the Dark One? Do they have their own afterlife? If so, would not the deity that looked over that afterlife value them for that at least? We know Tiamat values the kobolds. Did goblins not have such a patron?

Say to the others who did not follow through You're still our brothers, and we will fight for you
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:45:51 PM

Nope, before the Dark One they didn't have any god.

Maybe that just went to the general evil afterlives, and the Evil Gods divided up their souls accordingly, but now they all basically go to the Dark One.

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Sep 12th 2018 at 1:47:32 PM

We've seen that some gods can exert privileged claims on the souls of specific races regardless of alignment, like Hel with dwarf souls. Not sure how that works if there's a Lawful Good goblin out there who dies and goes to the Dark One's designated afterlife...

Edited by Fighteer on Sep 12th 2018 at 4:47:44 AM

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