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TheFuzzyLumpkin
Sep 15, 2003

But you are a person, and I can't say I'm awfully fond of that.

Bastion actually kind of sucks as a battle-wright. He's naturally disadvantaged in range and connectivity, and he specializes in theory and pymarics, not combat. His teleportation trick is good for unexpected cheesing, but Elka and Toma managed to overcome its advantage within a minute or two of seeing it for the first time. And hell, Bastion still couldn't stand up to Darkest Paul plus a single weaponized pymaric when they were hand-to-hand; he countered one spell and immediately tried to run away, which he did not do successfully. Bastion's more like Vienne, in that he's extremely talented at in-depth theoretic pymary but probably couldn't do the active casting during a fight that Duane and Elka do. If he had a chance to prepare/rig a battleground with all his pymaric tricks, he'd probably win, but outside of that kind of ambush I doubt he'd be able to take Duane, Elka or Quigley.

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Motherfucker
Jul 16, 2011

I certainly dont have deep-seated issues involving birthdays.

I think in terms of power level Duane is the best but as we all know power levels are horseshit.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Motherfucker posted:

I think in terms of power level Duane is the best but as we all know power levels are horseshit.
Really, I think the biggest advantage he has over Quigley and Elka and Bastion right now is he's already dead so any killing or incapacitating moves drilled in with living humans who need their blood and organs in mind are just inconvenient to him. Quigley literally ripped off his jaw casually and it didn't even really shut him up.

PetraCore fucked around with this message at 05:42 on Dec 9, 2020

A.o.D.
Jan 15, 2006

The Suffering of the Succotash.


Motherfucker posted:

I think in terms of power level Duane is the best but as we all know power levels are horseshit.

Quigley has more raw power due to him being a plat, but Duane is probably the most skilled wright in the world, plus he has the advantage of not having to speak to cast. Elka is just super aggro.

Skippy McPants
Mar 19, 2009



I agree that Duane is probably the pick in a fair duel, but we've seen how many of those he's gotten to engage in!

I put Bastion pretty high up because while he's no good at slugging it out with another wright, he can just appear behind you and stick a knife in your kidneys. Not that this would accomplish much with Duane, currently.

Drakyn
Dec 26, 2012



It seems like once you're at a given level of competence the size of someone's magicdick matters a lot less than how clever they are with it (unless you're doing something crazy like holding an entire waterfall in your skeleton before the fight starts). Like, we haven't even brought up Rahm in the list of contenders and he used a home-field advantage to simultaneously poo poo on two of the unanimous shortlist candidates before he was countered by Duane's powerful spellery trick of 'being an angry-rear end dead guy.'

so basically

Motherfucker posted:

I think in terms of power level Duane is the best but as we all know power levels are horseshit.

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.



Duane’s kind of the absolute package: inherent natural talent, cunning, decades of practice, righteous “gently caress you” energy, and the physical durability that comes from not needing working internal organs.

His main problem is that in spite of all these advantages, he’s still Duane.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Old Kentucky Shark posted:

Duane’s kind of the absolute package: inherent natural talent, cunning, decades of practice, righteous “gently caress you” energy, and the physical durability that comes from not needing working internal organs.

His main problem is that in spite of all these advantages, he’s still Duane.
Sometimes* his gently caress you energy manifests as reciting angry poetry while brooding, so yeah.

* Most times

GreyjoyBastard
Mar 28, 2010


I've made a huge mistake.



"And you ate that guy in the love hotel! Where's the tailed mutant you pal around with? Did you eat her too?" "No. I struggle to pair a wine."

on the plus side, elka is more-or-less treating duane like a person

GreyjoyBastard fucked around with this message at 07:14 on Dec 14, 2020

Skippy McPants
Mar 19, 2009



And were was just talking about Duane’s zombiness being an asset now he's going and showing off.

I also love the storm boys acting as bouncers and hype men.

Vagabong
Mar 2, 2019


PetraCore posted:

Sometimes* his gently caress you energy manifests as reciting angry poetry while brooding, so yeah.

* Most times

Honestly Quiqley was doing him quite the favour tearing off his jaw.

Skippy McPants
Mar 19, 2009



He's too good, he must be cheating!

Duane would have the respect and awe of everyone he meets if he could just keep his fool mouth shut.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011






He'd be a lot less entertaining if people suddenly started respecting him.

Skippy McPants
Mar 19, 2009



Well of course. He really showcases that the roots of this comic were an RPG at one point. He's got big Player Character energy. A special snowflake who's overpowered in combat, but completely hopeless at anything else.

A.o.D.
Jan 15, 2006

The Suffering of the Succotash.


Skippy McPants posted:

Well of course. He really showcases that the roots of this comic were an RPG at one point. He's got big Player Character energy. A special snowflake who's overpowered in combat, but completely hopeless at anything else.

Hey, he maxxed his ranks in knowledge/Religion, and he's not even a cleric.

He probably took a few in performance as well.

FreeKillB
May 13, 2009


I'm pretty sure that Duane is a cleric???

Twenty Four
Dec 21, 2008




Yeah, he taught at church in life, even had the title "Rector" and is a religious zealot. I guess he might not fit the standard RPG definition of "fights enemies with holy church power" or whatever but for just standard "you had this job" stuff I would say the term cleric applies.

Also if we are talking about stuff like that, Elka leveling up her dick punching skill is lol.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Elka just settled this debate by confirming Duane can pull off stuff thought to only be theoretical. How much of that is his original skill and power, and how much of it was honed by his reanimation by the Black Tongues and subsequent nightly dousings in the khert? We know that in life he was a true prodigy and top-tier warcaster, but it's also hard to imagine that walking around in the khert wouldn't have any effect on his abilities when he's awake. Probably less impact than you'd think by the years since his death, though, given how he's only really started exploring much recently.

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


It's mostly a combination of him already being one of the best battlewrights around before his death, on top of being a tacit caster, combined with his undead nature removing some of his previous limiters. Ashley's stated on her Tumblr somewhere, but just like how last chapter established that Duane now has perfect recall and such since he's not thinking out of his brain anymore, not having to go through squishy biological pathways and such lets Duane think faster, and since he casts at the speed of thought, well. Yeah.

Add in some extra khert sensitivity, other biological limitations and vulnerabilities going away too, and so on, and Duane can do things impossible for ordinary humans. Which doesn't help his case that he's a real person and not a construct. The tacit casting in particular works against him because wordlessly creating magic effects almost instantly is the kind of thing pymarics do, not people.

Edit:

quote:

Are Duane's reaction times or memory call times any faster because he's thinking out of his soul? I would imagine not having to deal with weird brain bugs would let him come up with a specific fact rather quickly.

Yep. Duane’s thinking out of an SSD rather than a mechanical HDD. Another reason his spellcraft is utterly OP and broken. Elka ultimately can’t hold a personal grudge against him because she’s so flabbergasted by his pymary. And this does nothing good for his argument that he’s a real human being because real human beings can’t cast the way he does - at least not in her experience.

quote:

How much of Duane's crazy spellwork would he be unable to do were he still alive? You've told us that he gets a perfect recall bonus, but would he still be able to cast between the grains of sand? As a fellow battlewright, how jelly is Elka right now?

Living Duane couldn’t be in the room - the swirling First Sand instantly desiccates and kills anything it touches. Turns you into a person prune.
Living Duane was great, we saw him. Super formidable, especially towards the end of his life when he was in a privileged position that gave him opportunities both to sharpen his abilities and study spellcraft as part of his career.
Undead Duane is on another level though. Not only because of his perfect recall, but the past six years in general. He is in all senses a creature of pymary now, who has had to invent novel pymaric methods just to function every day. He really can do things that almost no one else can, including intuit khert lines well enough that he can aim through flying grains of sand.
But see, this is why Duane can’t be cool. Duane is so OP that if you also made him cool he’d suddenly be like a Mary Sue and you’d hate him. It’s important that he’s maligned and belittled by others, that he’s melodramatic and fumbling and self-righteous. It balances him out.

Roland Jones fucked around with this message at 23:02 on Dec 25, 2020

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Now I'm imagining a far worse wright going through what he did and coming out OP but terrible at using it, out of habit and panic. Seems like the sort of thing that could be a huge disaster. And Duane himself has the problem where he's got regular periods of non-lucidity, which normally aren't that bad on a magical level because his body just resorts to biting and plod behavior while his soul is away, but I think we've been shown the transition period can be dangerous, esp if Sette is meddling?

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


Update. The gang has died and gone to heaven, comic over.

Not really, but it kind of looks like it. At least until the dog shows up. That's something, uh, special.

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


Monday's page (a few pages after the last one I posted; not much activity here lately).

Also, a couple Tumblr answers I saw that caught my interest:

quote:

How many pages are left in this chapter?

quote:

14~


quote:

I heard there are two chapters left in book 1. Is that two chapters after this one or two including this one? As in, is next chapter the final chapter of book 1?

quote:

Book 1 is 17 chapters. There are two chapters left after this one. They are both thoroughly traumatic and I’ve been dreading them for ten years :U

reignonyourparade
Nov 15, 2012


Duane's not a real person, but the dog is a real dog, according to Elka.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011






Ew, pelvis box.

Twenty Four
Dec 21, 2008




reignonyourparade posted:

Duane's not a real person, but the dog is a real dog, according to Elka.

I mean from reading the extra stuff it is definitely a dog with stuff strapped on to it which is much easier to comprehend from their perspective then a something no one has ever seen before, but yeah, I agree.

Also those are some powerful kitties, lol.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





The sad thing is Elka is actually being relatively not an rear end in a top hat about not thinking Duane is a person, but it's because since he only thinks he's a person and isn't really a person it's no use blaming him for... not being a person...?

I mean she's right that he didn't create himself or choose to be what he is, but it's just funny how patronizing it is. Give it time. Duane will eventually annoy her enough she'll have to admit he's enough of a person to get mad at.

EDIT: I also think it's important to note that Elka is from a culture where pymarics that act like people in limited capabilities are literally everywhere, but also plods are everywhere, and are indeed touted as a far more humane source of raw, unskilled labor than slavery, which is of course illegal now as long as you're not a two-toe in which case you can get hosed. She's basically someone who has been dealing with chatbots and automated systems her whole life being confronted with what seems like a very advanced chatbot in the body of a roomba. It's not just that Duane is something nobody has seen, it's that he seems very much like something Elka has seen, housed in an unusual physical form but one she's also used to seeing walk around. She's got no reason yet to think he's anything but a 'chatbot', and since she doesn't seem to be an expert in pymaric 'ai', she knows he's almost impossibly advanced but doesn't seem to have any inkling how he could have been made or why he couldn't be made like standard stuff she's seen. When she's excited about how advanced he is, it's all about his battle spellcasting, which is something she knows stuff about.

PetraCore fucked around with this message at 01:07 on Jan 6, 2021

isndl
May 2, 2012
I WON A CONTEST IN TG AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS CUSTOM TITLE

Was Friendly Coffee a person? Did it have independent thought?

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


isndl posted:

Was Friendly Coffee a person? Did it have independent thought?

The most likely explanation for it I can think of is that it was possessed by a squish or something (unless them and smoke eels can only possess First Materials?), so it probably wasn't a full person but could at least think to some extent.


Anyway, update. People who didn't see this coming: Quigley. People who did: Everyone else.

Also, this isn't the first time we met the "Chief" here. Though we still haven't learned her name.

reignonyourparade
Nov 15, 2012


Roland Jones posted:

The most likely explanation for it I can think of is that it was possessed by a squish or something (unless them and smoke eels can only possess First Materials?), so it probably wasn't a full person but could at least think to some extent.


Anyway, update. People who didn't see this coming: Quigley. People who did: Everyone else.

Also, this isn't the first time we met the "Chief" here. Though we still haven't learned her name.

Your own link has her name, "This is Captain Mira and Erm, a young but brilliant researcher."

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011


reignonyourparade posted:

Your own link has her name, "This is Captain Mira and Erm, a young but brilliant researcher."

I'm seriously unsure if you're joking or not, since apparently that's both been a running gag among some fans and a mistake some people actually made, but as she says immediately after that, Roger just forgot her name; his line is more like, "This is Captain Mira and, erm, a young but brilliant researcher and construct engineer," pausing and attempting to avoid admitting he forgot it. Yes, of course, how could I make such a foolish mistake.

Speaking of Chief Engineer Erm, after rereading some things later in the comic, I'm pretty sure she's the one who wrote this note as well. Meaning she's also the one behind putting a screw through that one waterwoman and using her as bait to attack the soldiers, and, well, the whole thing with the tortured waterwomen in general of course. She's pretty brutal for someone who likes such a cutesy aesthetic.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Roland Jones posted:

I'm seriously unsure if you're joking or not, since apparently that's both been a running gag among some fans and a mistake some people actually made, but as she says immediately after that, Roger just forgot her name; his line is more like, "This is Captain Mira and, erm, a young but brilliant researcher and construct engineer," pausing and attempting to avoid admitting he forgot it. Yes, of course, how could I make such a foolish mistake.

Speaking of Chief Engineer Erm, after rereading some things later in the comic, I'm pretty sure she's the one who wrote this note as well. Meaning she's also the one behind putting a screw through that one waterwoman and using her as bait to attack the soldiers, and, well, the whole thing with the tortured waterwomen in general of course. She's pretty brutal for someone who likes such a cutesy aesthetic.
That's the thing about a hunger for pushing the boundaries of magic and a justification for why any action you take is fine. It's never going to lead to good things. Vienne had the first but not the second, since she's one of the few characters in this narrative with real solid morals and a dislike for violence. Taking her work after her death and using it for this, well... no wonder Quigley is having a breakdown over it.

Motherfucker
Jul 16, 2011

I certainly dont have deep-seated issues involving birthdays.

Looks like we're stormin' in boiiiiiz

Skippy McPants
Mar 19, 2009



Oh dear, we're almost back at the horrible things happening to children part, aren't we?

reignonyourparade
Nov 15, 2012


Genuinely not sure if it's on purpose that what's happening to the water women... isn't as bad as I feared.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





reignonyourparade posted:

Genuinely not sure if it's on purpose that what's happening to the water women... isn't as bad as I feared.
Well, we're only seeing part of it. They're definitely using them to make first water, and I think the dismemberment is probably because the first water generated inside a water woman is only first water when inside them, so if you blur the line of what actually constitutes their body cavity then you can start cooking with petrol. The upside is it seems like you can probably free them and get them in the river and they'll start to heal physically from this damage, but I doubt we're seeing the entirety of what's going on, since this is just 3 water women and I'm pretty sure more got captured than these 3 and the two water babies.

DrSnakeLaser
Sep 6, 2011




This chapter feels longer than it needs to be but maybe I'm just losing patience with the newer character not being able to spit it out.

Rexxed
May 1, 2010

Dis is amazing!
I gotta try dis!



They got to the shrine years of days ago!

Twenty Four
Dec 21, 2008




definitely dragging on, but without a real direction or payoff I can see. Perhaps I will be wrong but I just see "the gang hung out at a place for a few days aka a year so the author could introduce another of her favorite characters, minnow"

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Twenty Four posted:

definitely dragging on, but without a real direction or payoff I can see. Perhaps I will be wrong but I just see "the gang hung out at a place for a few days aka a year so the author could introduce another of her favorite characters, minnow"
Right now I'm getting the impression the events at the shrine are going to have pretty big ramifications, both for whatever the lab was working on and fears getting out (or in? but probably out?) and because it's confronting the characters with a lot of things they have to start actually dealing with instead of just avoiding. Quigley is specifically getting slammed in the face with the hard fact his impulsive plans to protect his wife's research have in fact lead to it being used in ways that would horrify her, Duane is getting more and more unable to ignore the hard truths behind what happened to him, Sette is learning how to socialize with people her own age, facing the reality of the ugly parts of her religious convictions, and finally experiencing consequences for her shenanigans that are a bit more proportionate and likely to sink in than things she's been dealing with her entire life...

The thing is, we can only really see how this is going to impact people once they're out of the bottle scenario, otherwise it's pretty easy for people to revert once stress has shifted.

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Straight White Shark
May 16, 2009



Fun Shoe

Poor Quigley gets no respect. He tries to crush Duane and Duane still comes back with "no, tell me how you really feel about me".

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