161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Bobby Archer » Tue May 19, 2009 5:22 pm

Binty wrote:Careful not to judge Maggie too harshly. The original link-up may not have been her idea; certainly not her choice. She would have little hope that the link would be unpicked carefully. She knew it might be fatal, so what would you do in her place?


Of course, Maggie acted in the only practical, rational way possible. Taking the backlash (assuming that there is no applicable significant amount of backlash one can take on themselves that is "safe") on herself risked her own insanity or death. Given the chance to save herself that fate, Maggie placed the backlash in the only place she could: on the other two casters. She may even have attempted to spread the damage out between the two of them, so that there was a greater chance that both of them might retain some capability (if she wanted to, she probably could have piled all the backlash on one of the other casters, sparing the other entirely, but dooming one to certain croaking).

[speculative tangent]And, just to twist the knife a bit, if Maggie did try to spread the damage evenly, why did Misty die while Jack merely lost his mind? Could it be because Misty had already strained the link herself in order to help Parson? Did she, in helping Parson plan the strategic siege strike, pull a small amount of backlash upon herself? Not enough to break the link then and there, certainly, but enough to make the difference between life and death when the link finally snapped?[/speculative tangent]

Parson's conversations with Maggie seem to reveal her to be a strictly practical person, almost to the point of sociopathy. She seems to view others not as living, thinking beings of equal consideration as herself, but as collections of traits, statistics, and abilities (which, in a world based off of game mechanics, is not that crazy an outlook). She exhibits no compassion whatsoever. She will act in her own best interests whenever it is possible for her (that is, within the constraints of things such as Loyalty and Duty) without concern for how those actions affect the wellbeing of others.

That having been said, she always acts with consideration toward the consequences of her actions. She uses a simple, direct rubric to guide herself and has no pretensions to higher purpose. She does not harm others without cause. She does not strike out at others due to frustration, anger, or hate. She does not act out of pride or zealotry or a pathological need to win. This makes her, in at least a limited way, less of a monster than Parson, Wanda, Stanley, or pre-decrypt Ansom.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Binty » Tue May 19, 2009 6:17 pm

Bobby Archer wrote:Parson's conversations with Maggie seem to reveal her to be a strictly practical person, almost to the point of sociopathy. She seems to view others not as living, thinking beings of equal consideration as herself, but as collections of traits, statistics, and abilities (which, in a world based off of game mechanics, is not that crazy an outlook). She exhibits no compassion whatsoever. She will act in her own best interests whenever it is possible for her (that is, within the constraints of things such as Loyalty and Duty) without concern for how those actions affect the wellbeing of others.


All true, this is how she seems - there is a possible difference between her professional persona and her unguarded self. It is probable that all her actions have been in enlightened self-interest, but this doesn't exclude the possibility of a moral/ethical sense. She is a excellent thinkamancer, she doesn't wear her heart on her sleave, but that doesn't mean she must be heartless.

Arguably her skills were more important to GK than Misty's and Jack's. Also Misty may have been simply unlucky. What if the typical outcome would have been a few turns of incapacity? As a functional thinkmancer she would also be able to help them recover. Maggie's action doesn't look so wrong if a fatal outcome was unlikely.

So her expression of sorrow didn't strike me as false. This isn't to say she wishes she had acted differently, just that Misty's death is on her conscience. But then many soldiers experience this.

N.B. I am British and Mrs. Thatcher wasn't so bad...
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Bobby Archer » Tue May 19, 2009 6:40 pm

Personally, I didn't read that as remorseful. It read to me as being an expression of "Oh *boop*, the Chief Warlord is pissed about what happened to the Lookamancer. I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique."

Of course, this is just my interpretation, and even if I'm correct, that doesn't preclude hidden depths or deeply held remorse for her actions. And it certainly doesn't mean that I don't like her as a character. She's probably one of my favorite characters in the comic and I wouldn't mind at all finding unexpected depths in her character.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby BarGamer » Tue May 19, 2009 7:14 pm

doran wrote:Speaking of which, any British fans of Erfworld out there?


*Was horribly tempted to rip off several quotes from Harry Potter in order to fake a British accent, but in the end, chose not to.*

And if you haughtily try to correct me for ending a sentence with a preposition, while stating your educational background, I will hex you. As soon as I've gotten my copy of "Spellcasting for Squibs" in the mail. And practiced a bit.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Infidel » Tue May 19, 2009 8:24 pm

Bobby Archer wrote:Personally, I didn't read that as remorseful. It read to me as being an expression of "Oh *boop*, the Chief Warlord is pissed about what happened to the Lookamancer. I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique."


That was my interpretation of page 84. It seems to me that she has grown at least a small conscience since then. There is a huge difference in her attitude and facial expressions since then.

Part of leadership isn't just getting others to follow your directions, but impressing them with your standards, be it morality, work habits, or dress code. Those that are led should feel some impulse to emulate the one leading them. Maggie has spent the most time with Parson over any other character, it only makes sense that she, the one most impressed by him, would be the one with the greatest compulsion to rise to Parson's standard.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Mikalyaran » Tue May 19, 2009 9:16 pm

I ove the way that all the characters are learning and changing. Often as a direct result of Parson. In a world with wildly different mechanics and understanding of how things work it neat to see our understanding and morality playing into things.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Goshen » Tue May 19, 2009 11:28 pm

Maybe Parson let the link continue because he knew he would either loose one or hurt all of them and maybe still loose one. It makes more sense to keep the uuber-powerful Trimancer together for a while, instead.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Binty » Wed May 20, 2009 3:32 am

Infidel wrote:
Bobby Archer wrote:Personally, I didn't read that as remorseful. It read to me as being an expression of "Oh *boop*, the Chief Warlord is pissed about what happened to the Lookamancer. I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique."


That was my interpretation of page 84. It seems to me that she has grown at least a small conscience since then. There is a huge difference in her attitude and facial expressions since then.


Essentially this is where our interpretations differ most. In my opinion the change in Maggie's attitude can be accounted for solely by their changed situation. We first meet Maggie in a fight-for-life, she was ruthless. Now the battle is won her attitude is markedly changed. Imo this relaxation appears perfectly natural.

"I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique." - I don't think this can be true. This occurred at the end of the discussion. Imo it would be clear to Maggie that Parson will not kill her now; he had his moment and he didn't take it. Maggie has the security of being on a strong side now, and as a Thinkamancer she is unlikely to be placed on the front line.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby teratorn » Wed May 20, 2009 8:22 am

Besides, we don't know if Maggie really knew Misty (she didn't know Jack's name). Even Sizemore, a plaid unit didn't know who "Misty" was. To all of them she was just "lookamancer."
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby The Old Hack » Wed May 20, 2009 8:31 am

Binty wrote: "I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique." - I don't think this can be true. This occurred at the end of the discussion.

Speaking as a former military person, when you are in a strict hierarchy with harsh disciplinary measures available, you always tend to grow cautious when facing a pissed off superior. There are a great many unpleasant things such a superior may cause to happen to you well below the level of having you shot (or disbanded.) Even if Parson might not be fully aware of what measures he has or had available, Maggie would surely have an idea of them. And quite apart from that, Maggie would have been used to Stanley; Stanley's mercurial mood shifts would surely have ingrained Maggie with a habit of walking softly near an angry superior. (Being put to work in Sizemore's crap pit is just one example of a nonfatal disciplinary measure that any sergeant would gleefully impose and most would go to some lengths to avoid.)
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby InInUrForumz » Wed May 20, 2009 8:57 am

Binty wrote:
Infidel wrote:
Bobby Archer wrote:Personally, I didn't read that as remorseful. It read to me as being an expression of "Oh *boop*, the Chief Warlord is pissed about what happened to the Lookamancer. I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique."


That was my interpretation of page 84. It seems to me that she has grown at least a small conscience since then. There is a huge difference in her attitude and facial expressions since then.


Essentially this is where our interpretations differ most. In my opinion the change in Maggie's attitude can be accounted for solely by their changed situation. We first meet Maggie in a fight-for-life, she was ruthless. Now the battle is won her attitude is markedly changed. Imo this relaxation appears perfectly natural.

"I need to make myself very small and deferential and back out of this situation as quickly as possible lest he croak me in a fit of pique." - I don't think this can be true. This occurred at the end of the discussion. Imo it would be clear to Maggie that Parson will not kill her now; he had his moment and he didn't take it. Maggie has the security of being on a strong side now, and as a Thinkamancer she is unlikely to be placed on the front line.


I read this page very differently. From what I can tell, up to this point Parson just thought that the link was dangerous in general, but not specifically dangerous to any or all the indivudial casters involved. Like all three shared an equal chance of incapacitation/death based on random chance, their level, their 'hits', w/e. But then, on that page, Maggie let slip "Oh by the way, I actually have control of how the risk is distributed". Parson glares at her and says "Oh REALLY now?" Maggie shuts up, realizing she's just admitted something foolish, and basically goes 'Oh Boop'.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby moose o death » Wed May 20, 2009 11:09 am

InInUrForumz wrote:
I read this page very differently. From what I can tell, up to this point Parson just thought that the link was dangerous in general, but not specifically dangerous to any or all the indivudial casters involved. Like all three shared an equal chance of incapacitation/death based on random chance, their level, their 'hits', w/e. But then, on that page, Maggie let slip "Oh by the way, I actually have control of how the risk is distributed". Parson glares at her and says "Oh REALLY now?" Maggie shuts up, realizing she's just admitted something foolish, and basically goes 'Oh Boop'.


that was my take, parson didn't undertsand the risks, maggie made it obvious that kind of thinkamancy can be controlled by properly to minimise the personal risk. parson joined the dots of a seemingly unrelated matter and called her actions.

however i didn't think he ever felt anger towards her. but i came in late to the strip so there ws about 15 seconds between pages for me while giant's server struggled with jpg. so i didn't have the weeks worth of stewing time to over analyse every frame...something in me likes just finding webcomics that are well prgressed.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Binty » Wed May 20, 2009 11:18 am

InInUrForumz wrote: I read this page very differently. From what I can tell, up to this point Parson just thought that the link was dangerous in general, but not specifically dangerous to any or all the indivudial casters involved. Like all three shared an equal chance of incapacitation/death based on random chance, their level, their 'hits', w/e. But then, on that page, Maggie let slip "Oh by the way, I actually have control of how the risk is distributed". Parson glares at her and says "Oh REALLY now?" Maggie shuts up, realizing she's just admitted something foolish, and basically goes 'Oh Boop'.


Parson's regard for Misty took Maggie by surprise. His anger towards her nearly cost Maggie's life. Maggie doesn't reveal how she felt about contributing to Misty's death on that page. She doesn't attempt to justify herself or be contrite. She saves such reflection for after the battle.

So I am not sure how this relates to the point of contention - which is whether Maggie is a sociopath who's every action is a machiavellian calculation. This may be the case, but imo its not proven.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby InInUrForumz » Wed May 20, 2009 12:44 pm

Binty wrote:
InInUrForumz wrote: I read this page very differently. From what I can tell, up to this point Parson just thought that the link was dangerous in general, but not specifically dangerous to any or all the indivudial casters involved. Like all three shared an equal chance of incapacitation/death based on random chance, their level, their 'hits', w/e. But then, on that page, Maggie let slip "Oh by the way, I actually have control of how the risk is distributed". Parson glares at her and says "Oh REALLY now?" Maggie shuts up, realizing she's just admitted something foolish, and basically goes 'Oh Boop'.


Parson's regard for Misty took Maggie by surprise. His anger towards her nearly cost Maggie's life. Maggie doesn't reveal how she felt about contributing to Misty's death on that page. She doesn't attempt to justify herself or be contrite. She saves such reflection for after the battle.

So I am not sure how this relates to the point of contention - which is whether Maggie is a sociopath who's every action is a machiavellian calculation. This may be the case, but imo its not proven.


Judgement withheld for lack of compelling evidence. I suspect she will become much more prominent in the pages to come though, so we shouldn't have long to wait before we see a glimmer...
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby atteSmythe » Wed May 20, 2009 3:51 pm

I like Maggie quite a bit, at least as a character. She's definitely a 'cold fish,' as Parson put it, but I sympathize with her. She spends her time, day in and day out, poking around in people's minds, changing them, modifying them, nullifying them. That has to desensitize you after a while.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Mikalyaran » Wed May 20, 2009 7:50 pm

You also have to keep in mind that these characters, aside from Parson, come from a world with completely alien mechanics. I highly doubt anyone knows for sure around when one can die of old age. War is the way of life here, units pop, units fight, units die. Morality takes on different hues in this world than in ours. Subjecting them to our morality is clearly a big part of the comic, and in this discussion, but their is merit in trying tosee the other side of the coin if for no other reason but to better see the changes the characters undergo.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby InInUrForumz » Thu May 21, 2009 3:39 am

atteSmythe wrote:I like Maggie quite a bit, at least as a character. She's definitely a 'cold fish,' as Parson put it, but I sympathize with her. She spends her time, day in and day out, poking around in people's minds, changing them, modifying them, nullifying them. That has to desensitize you after a while.



The morality of it is fascinating indeed, and frankly I don't blame Maggie for feeling how she apparently does. I mean, think about it. A large percentage of the units we've seen so far were popped as warriors, with the specific purpose of fighting and killing. That's literally the reason they exist. There's no greater philosophy of "why am I here?" for them. Their leader needed more people to stab things, poof, they showed up. I imagine that would make doing terrible things quite a bit easier, conscience wise.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Kaskah » Thu May 21, 2009 3:06 pm

doran wrote:Speaking of which, any British fans of Erfworld out there?


Yes.

Anyway, I rather like Maggie too. And to be fair, croaking her would have taken away quite a big advantage, so Parson may have been over-ridden by that instead of compassion?
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby Ichthus » Fri May 22, 2009 5:57 am

I'm just waiting for Stanley to see what's left of Gobwin Knob... should be interesting.
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Re: 161 The Battle for Gobwin Knob, Page 148

Postby The Old Hack » Fri May 22, 2009 8:30 am

Kaskah wrote:Anyway, I rather like Maggie too. And to be fair, croaking her would have taken away quite a big advantage, so Parson may have been over-ridden by that instead of compassion?

Or even both. It is very rare that emotions are all of a piece, after all.
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