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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

TobiasDrake Exposition Dragon from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
May 2nd 2021 at 6:58:09 PM

Well, I think a spell that’s supposed to ensure there’s no bereaved family members to attempt to take revenge but creates a whole host of secondarily bereaved family members is kind of missing the forest for the trees, but the whole point of that scene is V missing the forest for the trees, so I guess it all tracks.

The point of the scene is, indeed, V missing the forest for the trees. Familicide is an act of sheer unbridled cruelty; nothing more, nothing less. It fails in its stated function because it assumes that only direct blood relations would ever mourn for someone. Like, the logic is that if Haley were murdered, Elan would shrug his shoulders and move on with his life, never sparing her another second. She's not his sister so why should he care?

The thing about evil is that it has no utilitarian value. Evil is not cruel but efficient. It's cruel for the sake of being cruel. V cast a cruel, evil, malicious spell to murder countless living creatures based on a janky logic chain that doesn't hold up to the slightest bit of scrutiny because they were pissed off about being made to feel helpless. There's little more to Familicide than that.

Edited by TobiasDrake on May 2nd 2021 at 6:59:03 AM

If you think that was wordy, you should check out my Tumblr: The Exposition Dragon.
HeraldAlberich from Ohio Relationship Status: Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
May 2nd 2021 at 7:17:59 PM

I think the statement is that they might have fallen but it’s not something that Rich was bothered determining.

A few did, most didn’t. When Rich said “might have,” the statement makes it sound like he was being coy about it.

Suffice to say that the Twelve Gods are not beholden to put on the same visual display they did for Miko for every paladin who transgresses, and that all transgressions are not created equal. It is possible that some of the paladins who participated in the attack crossed the line. It is also possible that most did not. A paladin who slips up in the execution of their god-given orders does not warrant the same level of personal attention by the gods as one who executes the legal ruler of their nation on a glorified hunch.

[…]

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

[…]

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

So, the attack on the village with the intent of stopping the Bearer of the Crimson Mantle from carrying out his Plan (which the paladins don’t know the particulars of, but do know their Twelve Gods are opposed to) was not in and of itself an action that broke the paladins’ code. Individual actions like slaughtering children were, but not all the paladins were held responsible for them.

Shinziril Compulsive Researcher from the internet
Compulsive Researcher
May 2nd 2021 at 9:44:53 PM

[up][up]Even assuming only blood relatives care, the fact that it stops at the second step still leaves people to be confused and angry as to why someone died with no explanation.

Resileafs I actually wanted to be Resileaf
I actually wanted to be Resileaf
May 2nd 2021 at 9:53:44 PM

Well it also does match what an evil overlord would believe a good spell to rule by fear would be. A death star spell that would make anyone hesitate to to fight the one who can cast it because doing so could potentially mean the death of everyone related to you.

It's not a combat spell, mind you. It deals no damage to the victim, only kills their relatives. I would assume Haera used that spell like V did, raising her victims after defeating them in battle to torture them with the knowledge that they had doomed all most all their bloodline by opposing her.

God_of_Awesome Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
May 3rd 2021 at 12:30:20 AM

[up][up]"Forests & Trees", as some people have pointed out. You'd have to keep killing and not stop to run out of people who want vengeance.

The possible justification is that it's such a left field curve ball of a spell that the relatives three steps removed might have a hard time tracking the death of their loved one to you.

RaichuKFM Don't Be Afraid to Care from Northeast Ohio Relationship Status: Wishing you were here
Don't Be Afraid to Care
May 3rd 2021 at 12:42:29 AM

I wonder if it's possible for a caster of Familicide to wind up one of the victims themselves with a poor choice in target, or if there's a safeguard for that.

"The atoms whose behavior determines my behavior aren't just any atoms. They're the ones that are me."
Clarste One Winged Egret Relationship Status: Non-Canon
One Winged Egret
May 3rd 2021 at 12:45:06 AM

They'd be safe if they killed all their own living relatives first, I believe.

RaichuKFM Don't Be Afraid to Care from Northeast Ohio Relationship Status: Wishing you were here
Don't Be Afraid to Care
May 3rd 2021 at 12:50:08 AM

Oh, yeah. I was more imagining accidentally getting themselves as a secondary target through an adjacent blood relationship they were unaware of. Though, killing your every blood relative first would protect you from that as well I suppose.

"The atoms whose behavior determines my behavior aren't just any atoms. They're the ones that are me."
May 3rd 2021 at 12:52:50 AM

I recall it being a popular theory that "accidental death by Familicide" is exactly how Harrita (or whatever her name was) died.

Edited by LSBK on May 3rd 2021 at 3:01:48 AM

M84 So many orphans. from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
So many orphans.
May 3rd 2021 at 12:56:03 AM

I could picture her not knowing she was actually adopted or something before casting it.

Edited by M84 on May 4th 2021 at 3:56:13 AM

Disgusted, but not surprised
petersohn from Earth, Solar System Relationship Status: Hiding
May 3rd 2021 at 12:58:50 AM

As the spell was a one-time plot device, I don't think it was thought of, but I think it's perfectly possible to kill yourself with it, the same way you can kill yourself with an area effect spell such as Fireball. Except, of course, Familicide being much more powerful, you need to be more careful not to wipe yourself out.

Edit: this reminds me of Nethack, which has the Scroll of Genocide that can wipe out a certain type of monsters, and it is perfectly possible to genocide yourself.

Edited by petersohn on May 3rd 2021 at 10:02:28 AM

"My battery is low and it's getting dark."—Opportunity
May 3rd 2021 at 1:50:09 AM

For some reason I've just been assuming it was a spell she made and never actually got around to using.

Adannor from effin' belarus Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
May 3rd 2021 at 3:57:19 AM

Given how she smug she looked I suspect she did use it. And not once. You don't dump XP into Epic Spell crafting without cause and intent.

The depth of search for targets may also be just a function of power limits. Epic spells are still not omnipotence, it's still balance by how much effort you want to put it into it. So limiting to two degrees could've been a practical consideration of "Good enough". Being able to only track by blood relations also could've been just the limit of magical working.

In addition to it likely being crafted out of specific annoyance with getting Inigo Montoya'd as opposed to more generic proclamations against doomsday villainy.

Edited by Adannor on May 3rd 2021 at 3:37:10 PM

God_of_Awesome Relationship Status: And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
May 3rd 2021 at 4:38:37 AM

"Hello, you killed my loved ones, I have come for revenge."

"Son, I killed a lot of people's loved ones."

"I know, they have come for revenge too."

"oh shit"

jjjj2 ... from Hallownest
...
May 3rd 2021 at 6:03:55 AM

Who is Harrita?...

You can only write so much in your forum signature. It's not fair that I want to write a piece of writing yet it will cut me off in the mid
May 3rd 2021 at 6:08:52 AM

Haertha*, one of souls spliced into Vaarsuvius, the one that created the Familicide epic spell.

TobiasDrake Exposition Dragon from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
May 3rd 2021 at 6:31:37 AM

As the spell was a one-time plot device, I don't think it was thought of, but I think it's perfectly possible to kill yourself with it, the same way you can kill yourself with an area effect spell such as Fireball. Except, of course, Familicide being much more powerful, you need to be more careful not to wipe yourself out.

"I didn't ask who their uncle was, DM; I said I cast Familicide!"

If you think that was wordy, you should check out my Tumblr: The Exposition Dragon.
Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
May 3rd 2021 at 6:55:12 AM

Any actual D&D campaign in which the DM allowed a player to learn and cast familicide is not one that I would find enjoyable to be a part of, I suspect. It's the sort of plot device that you base an entire adventure around stopping the villain from doing, or getting revenge for them doing it.

Edited by Fighteer on May 3rd 2021 at 9:56:12 AM

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Kostya from Everywhere Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
May 3rd 2021 at 7:23:07 AM

Yeah it's one of those spells that's mainly there for an antagonist to use.

Resileafs I actually wanted to be Resileaf
I actually wanted to be Resileaf
May 3rd 2021 at 10:21:15 AM

Players who complain that they should be able to do anything the NP Cs themselves do are players I don't want to play with.

RaichuKFM Don't Be Afraid to Care from Northeast Ohio Relationship Status: Wishing you were here
Don't Be Afraid to Care
May 3rd 2021 at 12:33:25 PM

I'm a big fan of the idea that PCs and NPCs should follow the same rules, personally; it makes intuitive sense and is simulationistically pleasing. But a Familicide casting would have to be in the kind of evil campaign I'd also have zero interest in.

I wouldn't much want to be in a campaign where a villain casts it, either. That kind of mass collateral death of innocents is really not fun for me.

"The atoms whose behavior determines my behavior aren't just any atoms. They're the ones that are me."
DatLonerGirl hello this is snek from a top secret place Relationship Status: Chocolate!
hello this is snek
May 3rd 2021 at 12:58:29 PM

Ooo, what about a campaign where all the characters have a dead relative and find out that they are all distantly related and that's why they died mysteriously.

Writer or something. My guess.
May 3rd 2021 at 6:09:58 PM

[up][up] From a purely mechanics point of view, sure, I agree. But from a plot point of view, familicide is absolutely something that PCs should never touch. And that's not even getting into morality.

Thankfully, it requires at absolute minimum a level 21 wizard (quite likely far higher) to cast, and the DM could throw in a few extra roadblocks if a PC actually seems genuinely interested. Make it so that you have to be explicitly specialized as a necromancer (which is rare because wizard necromancers are pretty underpowered), give it all sorts of weird material and XP costs, so on and so on. The sort of thing that just pops into existence for an NPC can be an impossible barrier for a PC, even if they can technically get past it.

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
May 3rd 2021 at 6:20:03 PM

Like I said earlier, if you try to spec out familicide using the 3.5 Epic spellcasting rules, you end up with something that would take a 100th level wizard to cast or something similarly absurd, and there is no evidence in the comic scene of Haerta taking any hit point damage or losing any XP, mountains of gold disappearing, the spell taking weeks to cast, or any other backlash or restriction. It's insane.

Edited by Fighteer on May 3rd 2021 at 9:21:16 AM

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Silasw A procrastination in of itself from a handcart heading to Hell Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
A procrastination in of itself
May 3rd 2021 at 6:33:21 PM

I believe someone on the Giant in the Playground forum did once try to stat the spell out.

"And the Bunny nails it!" ~ Gabrael "If the UN can get through a day without everyone strangling everyone else so can we." ~ Cyran

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