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Penny Arcade - Comic - Reductionism

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited July 10 in The Penny Arcade Hub

imagePenny Arcade - Comic - Reductionism

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

Read the full story here


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Andy JoeA Dabble Of TheloniusNightslyrcB557MagicalGoats

Posts

  • NeveronNeveron SwedenRegistered User regular
    There's famously a really old article about how Gandalf could be reasonably replicated as a fifth-level magic-user, this being back in the 0th Edition D&D days. The argument back in the 70's was pretty much the same as the one Gabe is using: because magic is more subtle in Tolkien's work, Gandalf doesn't really use many spells of note. And the spells he does use aren't really all that impressive in D&D terms: explosive pinecones, locked doors, magical symbols, lighting fires...

    I don't think he ever Talks To Moths, though - I guess that's from the movies?

    Of course, the actual answer is that he isn't even a wizard at all and is instead just some sort of angel with a magic ring and a power limiter. And he's evenly matched with a Balrog in a straight-up melee fight, which isn't really something that you can say for most D&D magicians. Especially not when the Balrog (or Balor or Type VI Demon, post-Eldritch Wizardry) keeps getting stronger with every edition they put out.
    Seriously, it's "level" (or "hit dice", or "challenge rating", or "challenge") went from 10 to 8+8 to 13 to 20 to 27 to 19. That kind of just goes to show how varied the answers to this question are going to be depending on what game you're talking about.

    I think Jim would probably win in a magical fight and Gandalf in a nonmagical one? Dude's divine and is pretty good at just straight-up stabbing people. Movie Gandalf might have a chance in a magical duel, though.

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  • EnlongEnlong Registered User regular
    Look, all Gabe wants is the info, you know? He needs this so that he can analyze their weapons, armor, and skill, to determine who would win some sort of battle to the death.

    YggiDee wrote: »
    Having teenaged RPG leads is really cool until you stop being a teenager yourself. Do you remember being seventeen? You're a dumbass at seventeen! I wanna be saved by the guy who's twenty-seven. He's at least payed taxes. He knows how to do shit. He can drive.
  • Andy JoeAndy Joe The AdirondacksRegistered User regular
    Neveron wrote: »
    Of course, the actual answer is that he isn't even a wizard at all and is instead just some sort of angel with a magic ring and a power limiter. And he's evenly matched with a Balrog in a straight-up melee fight, which isn't really something that you can say for most D&D magicians. Especially not when the Balrog (or Balor or Type VI Demon, post-Eldritch Wizardry) keeps getting stronger with every edition they put out.

    Reminds me of a thing I saw once arguing that Gandalf was really a melee fighter character who had multiclassed into being able to use some magical objects who was pretending to be a wizard.

    Ah, here it is.

    XBL: Stealth Crane PSN: ajpet12 3DS: 1160-9999-5810 NNID: StealthCrane
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  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Demodog It's a play on wordsRegistered User regular
    He did end the hostile takeover of a king's mind through straight-up force of will. So, there's that.

    Friends don't lie.
    cB557Bobble
  • olaph of the northolaph of the north Registered User new member
    edited July 10
    So, the one piece of sustained and impressive combat magic we see from Gandalf is resolved mostly off-camera. As Gandalf the Grey (so, his weaker self), he faces down all nine nazgul at once at Weathertop, at night. When the hobbits and Aragorn arrive they find the entire place blasted by fire, but more importantly, on the night it happened, Frodo sat up and watched flashes of light emanating from that place for hours. That's a LOT of spell slots, because you know no at-will cantrip is gonna phase those guys. The incident is often overlooked because the story addresses it from miles or days away, but holding off nine wraiths with nine rings of power at bay all night? Gandalf is an abjurer, and a very high level one.

    http://www.henneth-annun.net/events_view.cfm?evid=190

    olaph of the north on
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  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    Andy Joe wrote: »
    Neveron wrote: »
    Of course, the actual answer is that he isn't even a wizard at all and is instead just some sort of angel with a magic ring and a power limiter. And he's evenly matched with a Balrog in a straight-up melee fight, which isn't really something that you can say for most D&D magicians. Especially not when the Balrog (or Balor or Type VI Demon, post-Eldritch Wizardry) keeps getting stronger with every edition they put out.

    Reminds me of a thing I saw once arguing that Gandalf was really a melee fighter character who had multiclassed into being able to use some magical objects who was pretending to be a wizard.

    Ah, here it is.

    That stoner explanation ties it, though.

    Darkewolfe
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Andy Joe wrote: »
    Neveron wrote: »
    Of course, the actual answer is that he isn't even a wizard at all and is instead just some sort of angel with a magic ring and a power limiter. And he's evenly matched with a Balrog in a straight-up melee fight, which isn't really something that you can say for most D&D magicians. Especially not when the Balrog (or Balor or Type VI Demon, post-Eldritch Wizardry) keeps getting stronger with every edition they put out.

    Reminds me of a thing I saw once arguing that Gandalf was really a melee fighter character who had multiclassed into being able to use some magical objects who was pretending to be a wizard.

    Ah, here it is.

    That stoner explanation ties it, though.

    I'd argue it beats it. "LOTR is just the story of the skeevy homeless stoner from The Hobbit getting clean and trying to atone for all the shit he caused while High."

    What is this I don't even.
  • RiusRius Registered User regular
    Andy Joe wrote: »
    Neveron wrote: »
    Of course, the actual answer is that he isn't even a wizard at all and is instead just some sort of angel with a magic ring and a power limiter. And he's evenly matched with a Balrog in a straight-up melee fight, which isn't really something that you can say for most D&D magicians. Especially not when the Balrog (or Balor or Type VI Demon, post-Eldritch Wizardry) keeps getting stronger with every edition they put out.

    Reminds me of a thing I saw once arguing that Gandalf was really a melee fighter character who had multiclassed into being able to use some magical objects who was pretending to be a wizard.

    Ah, here it is.
    Even in the Two Towers his spells are limited. Instead of launching a fireball into the massed Uruk Hai he simply takes 20 on a nature check to see when the sun will crest the hill and times his charge appropriately.

    Genius.

    Andy Joe
  • - Groucho -- Groucho - Registered User regular
    I read the comment and immediately ran to the forums to discuss what I, as a loyal Holkinite think must necessarily be the key question raised by this strip: does "lich" rhyme with "bitch"? I always thought lich was like "Bach" and ended with a gargly throat clear. Am I wrong?

  • SlumberySlumbery Registered User new member
    edited July 10
    Ah, Tthe old story about the impossibility of comparing the power level of characters from different fantasy worlds. Whenever it is done it is always a joke (intentionally or not). BTW, Gandalf would win if they battled in Middle Earth, because Jim's spells do not exist there, so he could not do anything. Gandalf would still win on a real-world-like non-magical neutral ground, because he is probably better at fighting without magic. And Gandalf would lose in the whatever fantasy world where Jim is native.

    Slumbery on
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    I read the comment and immediately ran to the forums to discuss what I, as a loyal Holkinite think must necessarily be the key question raised by this strip: does "lich" rhyme with "bitch"? I always thought lich was like "Bach" and ended with a gargly throat clear. Am I wrong?

    Word Origin and History for lich
    n.

    also litch, lych, "body, corpse," southern England dialectal survival of Old English lic "body, dead body, corpse," cognate with Old Frisian lik, Dutch lijk, Old High German lih, German leiche "dead body," Old Norse lik, Danish lig, Gothic leik, from Proto-Germanic *likow. Cf. litch-gate "roofed gate to a churchyard under which a bier is placed to await the coming of the clergyman."



    tl;dr Gabe is right from the old English cognate, you're right from the word's likely original roots.

  • jwalkjwalk Registered User regular
    his level would be difficult to express with mundane numbers...
    i-8mTcxGh-2100x20000.jpg

  • YoungFreyYoungFrey Registered User regular
    I read the comment and immediately ran to the forums to discuss what I, as a loyal Holkinite think must necessarily be the key question raised by this strip: does "lich" rhyme with "bitch"? I always thought lich was like "Bach" and ended with a gargly throat clear. Am I wrong?

    I've always heard lich rhymed with "itch" or "sick". According to Webster's, it comes from 'lik' which means corpse. So I guess it originally rhymed with sick. But now I think it's whatever people want, since the overwhelming majority of users learned the word from fantasy books.

  • - Groucho -- Groucho - Registered User regular
    YoungFrey wrote: »
    ... But now I think it's whatever people want, since the overwhelming majority of users learned the word from fantasy books.

    That is certainly my route to learning the word. "Tomb of Horrors" didn't come with a pronunciation guide and my DM pronounced a hard-C followed by an audible "h". As with most things a DM does, it just seemed like a good idea to go with it. And I guess I've been doing that for 30 years.

  • Andy JoeAndy Joe The AdirondacksRegistered User regular
    I read the comment and immediately ran to the forums to discuss what I, as a loyal Holkinite think must necessarily be the key question raised by this strip: does "lich" rhyme with "bitch"? I always thought lich was like "Bach" and ended with a gargly throat clear. Am I wrong?

    Remember that "Life's a lich and then you never die" T-shirt the PA store used to sell?

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  • ShowsniShowsni Registered User regular
    I remember when I was on the LotR Strategy Battle Game forums and they introduced goblin spellcasters, so then we were looking through all the books to see if there's any justification for goblins being able to use magic. Closest I could find was in the Hobbit, where the party go to sleep in a cave, and the goblins presumably use magic or something to open up the door in the back of it.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Honestly, the older I get the more I appreciate LotR-style magic as tricks, knowledge, and a strong connection to the natural world, and the less I like Whee Magic Spells.

  • SadgasmSadgasm Deluded doodler A cold placeRegistered User regular
    edited July 10
    Yeah, but in LoTr there's like, what, four magic users? Pretty sure they could be starter wizards and still look impressive

    Sadgasm on
  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    Gandalf is a mod, the administration sets his level.

  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    Enlong wrote: »
    Look, all Gabe wants is the info, you know? He needs this so that he can analyze their weapons, armor, and skill, to determine who would win some sort of battle to the death.

    What would you call a concept like this?

    Hmm, something like... Death Batt- no, Kill Fight. Or Kill-Battle Death-Fight. One of the two.

    kagg_banner.png
    Enlong
  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    I read the comment and immediately ran to the forums to discuss what I, as a loyal Holkinite think must necessarily be the key question raised by this strip: does "lich" rhyme with "bitch"? I always thought lich was like "Bach" and ended with a gargly throat clear. Am I wrong?

    Cognate to german "Leiche", and older forms use simple k-sound, but english likes the tch, possibly since anglo-saxon days.

  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    Gandalf is a good example of a character using "weak" spells to great effect. Speak with Animal to escape a prison is a good example. Or how he used a simple Turn Evil on the charge at Helms Deep. Think how that downhill cavalry charge would have turned out if the Urukhai *hadn't* pulled back their hundreds of pikes, recoiling from his staff...

    Of course, you also have to keep in mind that this is a setting where good guys really don't use magic much. Heck, the Elven rings of power were basically used as construction equipment, and that was considered a pretty big deal.

  • wallywestwallywest Registered User regular
    Gandalf is a good example of a character using "weak" spells to great effect. Speak with Animal to escape a prison is a good example. Or how he used a simple Turn Evil on the charge at Helms Deep. Think how that downhill cavalry charge would have turned out if the Urukhai *hadn't* pulled back their hundreds of pikes, recoiling from his staff...

    Makes him sound more like a Sorcerer (by current D&D standards). Someone with a limited knowledge of magic, but a huge innate ability to supercharge the spells he does know.
    Of course, you also have to keep in mind that this is a setting where good guys really don't use magic much. Heck, the Elven rings of power were basically used as construction equipment, and that was considered a pretty big deal.

    True. Magic in Middle Earth was really rare. Not many people could even sense it yet alone use it.

    That, and Gandalf, Saruman, Radaghast, and Sauron were immensely powerful demi-gods that purposefully hid their true power. Well, Sauron kinda flaunted it, but see how that turned out for him?

    Commander ZoomRatherDashing89
  • chris2315chris2315 Registered User new member
    Gandalf is kind of an asshole. One time during a raid he told the party to retreat, and then he stayed and finished off the boss alone and took all the XP and loot. Then he stays offline for weeks and the next time he shows up, he just flaunts all his new gear in front of everyone else. What a jerk.

    jwalkLeon2309cB557V1mTheBlackWindAndy JoeBobble
  • DrascinDrascin Registered User regular
    Slumbery wrote: »
    Ah, Tthe old story about the impossibility of comparing the power level of characters from different fantasy worlds. Whenever it is done it is always a joke (intentionally or not). BTW, Gandalf would win if they battled in Middle Earth, because Jim's spells do not exist there, so he could not do anything. Gandalf would still win on a real-world-like non-magical neutral ground, because he is probably better at fighting without magic. And Gandalf would lose in the whatever fantasy world where Jim is native.

    Nah, I think Jim is native to D&D, where Balors exist and are considered a valid challenge for a full 4-person party of characters of higher level than I seem to remember Jim being? And Gandalf soloed the thing that Balors are a ripoff from! So even in D&D-world, unless he flies the heck out of there Jim is getting turned into a shish-kebab by Gandalf's superior stabbing skills and unnecessarily large set of resistances.

    Leon2309cB557
  • poipoigirlpoipoigirl Registered User regular
    Gandalf is life.. Gandalf is love

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    poipoigirl wrote: »
    Gandalf is life.. Gandalf is love

    Whatever Christopher. Maybe try writing at least one book on your own.

    Nobeard wrote: »
    You can even mount some non-animals...

    Steam:MichaelLC
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