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Strongest of Talithar – 15

Strongest of Talithar – 15 published on 25 Comments on Strongest of Talithar – 15

Hope people read this part – especially for this page, though it is very long. So! Everyone who reads this should know already, this is page 15 of a chapter that is normally 26 pages. This is that moment where you are reading a book called David The Main Character, and David dies – and you realize you are only half way through the book. David’s probably not dead, or – probably not staying dead. We finally get to answer a bunch of questions, and we get to advance characters significantly- you’ll see what I mean soon, BUT! Something I do need to mention here and now is, thanks to the comments and different views I have modified a few things, and I want people to know a bit about it and why. I’ve mentioned this several times, but writing a story that everyone agrees with elements, is basically impossible. People will read things differently, even people who read it the exact say way, can have different conclusions. So, since I am mostly writing this by myself, occasionally getting input from friends and readers, I can suddenly learn a way people see things conflicts with mine. Often- it’s not really all that important, but I find it fun and interesting. So let me give my original concept, and how It’s changing- and how – it really doesn’t matter, at least not to the story as a whole.

So! This guy has been described as a Tank. This means different things in different games. This VR game is an RPG, and it’s an MMORPG, but its not specifically copying known MMOs. It’s using my thoughts on the direction I would want for the future in VR gaming. To date, my best experiences in games is D&D, both games and tabletop. I’ve played MMOs, I’ve played action adventurer games, turn based games, platformers, side scrollers, fighting games- none of them seem to come close to (my baby) D&D. I’m aware of the extreme tank and the MMO standard Tank where they give up almost everything for Defense. They can’t or barely can do damage, and are just a damage sponge for the healer to heal so no one else has to take damage. A tank to me, was described early on in the comic. Kaylin said “A giant dropped a house on him, and he walked out without a scratch an broke the giants leg in a single strike.” To me, a tank is very hard to hurt, you need to keep pressure on them, discover a weakness and exploit it. They can also deal out some massive damage. Not a lot of ways, just some really heavy hitting skills, possibly with longer cool downs, and their basic attacks would be strong, but not as hard hitting as a DPS focused attack. I see the gameplay working differently for types of tank builds. You could make an evasive tank, focusing on light armor, using magical defensive and agility increasing things to use with dodge, evasion, and “rolling with the punches” type skills where your agility is used as a Damage Reduction- and its all about timing for you. Perfectly moving- while keeping track of everything, this splits your stats a bit because, if you don’t see an attack coming, your defense here doesn’t matter. So Evasive tanks cant just do Dex build and Strength for boosting damage, they need things that improve their perception and senses and still needs constitution because you cant always just BE PERFECT, so you need to be able to take some hits. High AC tanks using heavy armors have lots of crazy options that are neat, weird, and usually have weaknesses, bigger weaknesses for bigger bonuses too. So their build allows them to be less focused on active defending and can focus on watching out for their weaknesses being targets to counter them, but their shielding, and parry skills would be very strong and open up opportunities in enemies own defenses.

That- was a long way of saying, he’s an armor tank, but he’s still got a cannon! The original plan was that his build along with some parts of his strategy, are countering both accidentally, and intentionally, Kaylin’s build. Kaylin’s combat tactics against most things are basically a Bleed build. She deals a small amount of damage (thought it doesn’t look that way since she’s mostly fighting things way weaker than herself) and cause debuffs, like bleed and poison. These do damage over time – DOT, and stack up to deadly levels rapidly. She uses that to weaken, and then uses assassination techniques to finish enemies off (mostly due to instant kill abilities not working over a set amount of HP or a percentage of HP depending on the skill). She’s not built to only work in one build though, she’s not a hyper focused build, so she can change up strategies with equipment swaps and using different skills. Not being able to deal those status effects though is a major issue. She would have to change things up. More on that later- in the comic so no typing here about that now, So what is changing? Well most of it still stands. I agree though with some that it’s probably not enough to call it there, and I had some other ideas when writing this. The implied training from a benefactor, being from an infamous Playerkiller group, and having access to things that shouldn’t exist, open up one of the old concepts I wanted to use but didn’t have a great place for- his armor is a surprise to Kaylin, because no one uses it anymore- or when she was playing. That particular armor, was nerfed. People found a way to take advantage of it’s strengths, without worrying about it’s negatives. He has a set of armor from before it was nerfed somehow. This opens up some new avenues, but it doesn’t change the overall outcome. If you read all this, I hope it was insightful and entertaining! See ya again soon!

PS! “Potion- won’t-” is referring to her trying to use her arm band to pull out a potion to heal with, but it won’t work- because her HP has already dropped to 0 without her even being able to register it.


I’d like to think we’re more prepared for this than we were for the surprise combat with Aiya in the bathhouse, but actually seeing Kaylin take a major hit and succumb in a single comic will probably still come as a shock. Last page she was still mid-fight banter, although she was having trouble (which we can appreciate due to how much she was verbalizing it, a significant improvement I think!) she did not yet seem fully in ‘crisis’. If anything this page’s sudden blood gushing is so abrupt it almost needs a trigger warning spoiler (particularly the side wound, which almost looks like forced bleeding due to how strongly it’s erupting).

It’s also amazing how much disconnect can happen over the evolving (and conflicting) definitions of what a “Tank” is, what they can and can’t do across multiple different mediums. I think that Kaylin’s original description to Nyna about a Tank vs a Giant did not trigger the same disconnect reactions because the story focused more on the Tank’s defense (survived a house falling on them) than it did how much damage it would actually take to break a giant’s leg – by that point we were well used to the idea of adventurers doing crazy amounts of damage, so it was less “a tank is super powerful” as “a tank survived that crazy sounding hit and then hit it back with an adventurer-level attack”.

With that said, we DO stand to see a lot of character progression here. How Adventurers handle death after the Incident has been an open question for a while now. We saw the nearby Resurrection Shrine a few pages back so it is implied that is where she will eventually reappear… but in the meantime quite a lot will be able to happen. She could have encounters with gods (several candidates there), she could get to reference Tom’s life/mind somehow while Kaylin is ‘dead’, she could even learn more about the Incident itself and what’s going on with the world at large. It’s also an opportunity for Nyna to rely on herself again instead of being as much the audience with the Invincible Kaylin as her ever-present backup, and the answers Kaylin finds may be VERY relevant for Callum and Mike whenever she encounters them next.

Your description of an evasive tank reminds me of an oooooold strategy you could use in World of Warcraft, back in the late Burning Crusade days (~2008). Certain tanks had access to the right gear to stack Dexterity up SUPER high, and get a dodge chance in excess of 80%. So since the boss would entirely miss all but one in five attacks, as long as the healers were continuously preparing to land a heal on you, and you could survive two hits, you were essentially unkillable, despite having barely any HP compared to a traditional Tank due to sacrificing so much Stamina for all that Dexterity.

This was amazing for Druid tanks, because the amount of dex needed to reach those dodge levels also shot your crit chance through the roof, giving you excellent DPS in both Bear (tank) and Cat (rogue) forms.

This same strategy could actually be used by Rogues, too, who happened to have access to *even more* Dexterity on their best-in-slot gear than Druids. This allowed the absolute best-geared Rogues in the game to actually hit 100% dodge chance. And after a Rogue successfully tanked the main story boss of Burning Crusade (a boss capable of easily one-shotting any rogue… IF he could hit them), Blizzard realized that they’d fucked up, and nerfed dodge chance to have diminishing returns, permanently ending the days of the evasive tank. 🙁

A question that occurs to me is whether PCs feel actual pain from taking hits. Judging by Kaylin’s face, it certainly looks like it. Oh, dear.

Honestly, given the state she’s in, the pain might as well be real.

Oh the pain is very real. In the game you would feel pain- but it was dampened significantly and there was a barrier in your mind when connected to the VR that was basically a way to remind your body “this is not real”. This feature was a big part of the wide adoption of the full dive system because it could allow people to experience things without a physical reaction. Things you saw and experiences could affect your mentally, like any movie or show, but the separation of the physical would prevent people from injuring themselves while in VR by reactions and prevents things like phantom pain.

> This is that moment where you are reading a book called David The Main Character, and David dies – and you realize you are only half way through the book. David’s probably not dead, or – probably not staying dead.

Orrrrr…we could be traumatized by having read lots of Raymond “What Is Plot Armor” Feist, and fully expect Kaylin to actually be dead forever now 😛

(To be clear, I don’t expect Kaylin to be dead forever. But I had to bring Feist up.)

Honestly, the thing I find least believable about this situation in this world half-governed by MMO rules, and half by normal physics, is that someone with Kaylin’s physical aptitude and enhanced reaction time would be able to be insta-killed by a single blow from a slow, stolid dude in heavy armor…even if it IS a skill. Especially since *every single one* of Kaylin’s skills she’s used so far *hasn’t* gotten past him.

But I think that goes back to Sage’s comment about definitions of Tanks, and how he won’t be able to make a comic where everyone agrees with all its elements 😛

So I’ll leave it here as a comment of “I see your intent even if I don’t really think the execution, pardon the pun, is correct,” and anxiously wait several weeks for the conclusion.

This is another thing I didn’t think I had to mention XD
Ok- so – HP in Dungeons and dragons isnt really about the hits you take. In high level play, you rarely describe standard low damage hits, but the critical hits and the killing blows are what get descriptions. The truth is, we all know HP is a terrible way to define how much punishment someone can take. It’s great for computers, terrible for real people. When players in D&D are taking damage, they aren’t always “taking wounds”. They are getting battered, beaten, even attacks that knock them around but dont REALLY hurt them (because 5 HP practically all a standard commoner has- but a level 15 fighter it’s barely a scrapped knee). Your HP dropping is a sign of your body wearing down, getting tired, not moving like it would in peak condition, leaving you more vulnerable to the ultimate status effect- death.

To borrow a video game term, basically what I wanted to show here and in previous pages is- Chip damage. Kaylin is parrying attacks, but mostly only Shields get access to a 90-100% parry, and that’s Physical only. When blocking, when parrying, you still take bits of HP damage, you just won’t suffer other negatives unless your defense gets broken or you fail to defend. She’s been taking hits all this time, hits to her HP, not like taking chunks out of her body. Storm of blades is like a once per hour kind of ability. Very strong, and depending on weapon types, they can get other bonus effects that unlock. It’s multiple attacks that come in rapidly getting harder to defend from. The magical sword he is using grants the sword a multiplier curve. So first hit is 1x normal, then 2x, then 4x, then 8x- other swords might have an ability that doubles the number of attacks but reduces the multiplier, and some ramp down instead of up.

So, Kaylin isn’t dying to one attack, she’s been beaten a fair bit already, he’s certainly taken some damage too (just not enough to apply a status or to be concerning with his regeneration), and this attack she’s managed to parry 2 strikes, taking very low chip damage, then took an actual blow but the damage wasn’t that bad only to be followed up with a critical that was already 8 times stronger than his normal attacks. Probably easily doing 50% of her health in damage. Part of the whole point of his build is to be able to take hits and stay in a fight long enough to setup a massive critical to disable or end an opponent. His weakness is of course, his speed. He can sprint and might have some fast movement abilities, but it’s all short range and limited in use.

Now we see if Nyna is a were-dire-monster and has been unconsciously suppressing her true power.
That and they do know a couple of deities….so a resurrection isn’t out of the question.
Assuming the author doesn’t want to end the story here, there will be an out 🙂
Maybe she has a few saves built up ?

“Found a piece of armor from before the nerf”… since every piece of the same type draws its stats from the same file, that should be impossible unless the nerf itself was undone OR it´s an entirely different set.
About the Tank doing a lot of damage, that IS possible but usually comes at the expense of other things, like speed, damage and agility, however if you can carry something like Plate Armor you can drop shgields and go for mor edamaging two-handed weapons like pole arms, long- and even great swords and such.
Basically there needs to be balance, or having created other classes would be a waste of time because everyone plays that one overpowered class unless they specifically want some roleplay.
However my ramblings about game logic aside, now we find out some important new info: can Adventurers die?

is this the first time you put the f word in one of your comics? also the color distortion in the last panel is a really nice detail

Yes, it’s the first time. There is 2 other words I actually want to make sure to never use at least by any of the characters in the game world for reasons! I personally don’t use words like the F word and such when talking to people, but I do use them in dialogue, but i try to make it relatively rare. I think dying is one of those times when it’s most appropriate to curse. XD

It’s been a running gag with my local friends that if there is ever something unbelievable happening, all I have to do is start cursing and everyone will just believe me. For example if I call up David and say “Zombies are rising from the graveyard! we need shotguns!” they would likely laugh and not believe me, but if I said “David! F***ING ZOMBIES ARE RISING FROM THEIR GRAVES! I S**T YOU NOT WE NEED SHOTGUNS RIGHT THE F*** NOW!” David will immediately collect said weapons and gather the troops, no questions asked.

I never liked the idea that a tank can’t do damage

Real life tanks, the big armored vehicles used in wars, are closer to what TvTropes calls a “lightning bruiser”, as they possess defense, offense, AND speed

Honestly have no idea how “tank” came to be associated solely with defense in gaming vernacular

I think it’s an exaggeration from MMO Roles. It’s not that they cant do damage, they just comparatively do little damage compared to DPS characters and Glass Cannons. It’s clearly a tradeoff, if your defense is crazy high and you can provoke enemies- if you also do tons of damage it ramps up too fast. Those roles though make Solo play sound kinda silly. Soloing as a tank would be a painful experience if your damage was so low people generally believe tanks can only really take damage, not deal it out.

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