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Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters


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Posted 14 June 2016 - 04:28 PM #1 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Every Spiderweb Character Ranked
Part 2: The Worst Characters

More than 200 of the most important and most memorable characters from Spiderweb games were rated, as characters, on a scale of 0-10 by anyone in the community who wished to.  Ratings were averaged together to make a list.  We started with the most disputed characters.  Before moving on to the best characters, we're going to tackle the least successful characters.

Important Note: Everyone who rated is a big Spiderweb fan.  These are our collective least favourites taken out of worlds that we have enjoyed for years.  That's the spirit in which this exercise is meant, not as criticism, but rather as celebrating the little deformities in a prized treasure.

I'll be posting the characters one (or a few) at a time along with in-game quotes and a short write-up.  The math is what the math is, but comments, discussion, and debate are encouraged!  Tell us what you agree or disagree with and why.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 04:28 PM #2 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

20. Linda
Final Rating: 3.6

Her eyes don't focus on you... Her voice is monotone, detached.  "We ran the Tower of Magi. I was just sent here. Just sent. For a little while. I will find what went wrong... The demon had to be killed. But it can work again... Adze-Haakai. I can say the name. And I don't hear him anymore. Saying the name is safe. Safe."
-- Linda

There's something about the Tower of Magi, isn't there?  We just went from Solberg to X, and now we're starting out with Linda!

Quite a major character in the First Trilogy, yet Linda's entire character consists of "has poor judgment, decides to summon demons, is unhinged by the demons she summons, lather, rinse, repeat."

As a plot device, she enables some good subplots.  As a person you speak with, she's not actually that bad.  No, Linda's problem is one of plausibility.  Nothing about her and her demonic intrigues makes any sense.  Like X, she's just sort of plopped in the Tower without any connections to the rest of the mages.  Unlike X, she does things that other people should care about, but nobody besides Solberg seems to pay her any heed.  Her reinstallation prior to E3 is particularly ridiculous.

By herself, Linda makes some sense.  In the context of the world around her, she is more confusing.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 10:16 PM #3 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Linda is one of those people that's convinced she's always right.  Evidence to the contrary only means someone else made a mistake with executing her plans.  So that's why the first and last games in the trilogy have the same mistake made on a grander scale and in between plotting.

What's confusing is why no one like Solberg stopped her in the first place.  The other two members of the Triad just let her get her way.
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Posted 15 June 2016 - 06:15 AM #4 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Well I can't see X even noticing the demon summoning around the tower, so it's not so unbelievable. And Solberg isn't the most stable person either. With his demon specialty/obsession he might have found this normal.
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Posted 15 June 2016 - 12:32 PM #5 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

View PostĐªгŦĦ Єяŋϊε דארת ערני, on 15 June 2016 - 06:15 AM, said:

With his demon specialty/obsession he might have found this normal.
He explicitly didn't find it normal, to the point that he fled the Tower because of it.  Also, keep in mind he also wasn't given a demon specialty or obsession until after both Exile 1 and Avernum 1 had been published.

X being oblivious is believable, but no one else in the Tower objecting outside of Solberg and Kelner seems a little crazy.  Especially when it happens the second time.  Poor Mahdavi.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Triumph Triumph

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 01:15 PM #6 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

I'm not sure specifically why I recall this, but my impression was that pretty much everyone was terrified of Linda in X1, basically cowed into going along with her or at least keeping quiet, and that consequently only Kelner and Solberg made even minimal efforts to actually oppose her. What was unclear was WHY exactly Linda was so intimidating - she didn't seem to wield especially immense magical power, and nothing was said that implied she had major political influence, either. I mean, I feel like a line somewhere about how she had lots of political clout and was pals with several mayors or something would have been a great way to indirectly explain why no was able to stand up to her. In X3...well, the really bizarre thing is how she got back into the Tower. The demon summoning I can accept as taking place in her secret lab (though that raises the question of how anyone has a secret lab in the Tower). Even her return to the Triad could maybe have been explained by a reference to how she assiduously courted political favor. I don't think it would have taken all that much to help her story make more sense (as well as depth to the character as someone capable of being extremely charming and ingratiating in order to pursue a long-term goal). Oh well.

"Dikiyoba didn't know what to say for your negatives, Triumph. Dikiyoba supposes you must just be that awesome." - Dikiyoba
"Triumph == Santa Claus? This explains... nothing." - Dintiradan
"Per usual, Triumph said it better." - Slarty


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Posted 15 June 2016 - 01:52 PM #7 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Not only are people not terrified of Linda, no one mentions her at all:

Spoiler

"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Sarachim Sarachim

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 02:55 PM #8 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

In X1, wasn't there a mage in a jail cell in the Tower who'd been locked up for opposing Linda's plans? IIRC, he implied that Linda had total political control of the tower and was using it to force everyone to go along with her plans.
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Posted 15 June 2016 - 07:58 PM #9 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

I can’t speak for E1 or A1, but I looked at the Tower dialogue for AEFTP and here’s what I came up with:

Spoiler

Results: Zanthia is afraid to talk to you, though no reason is given. Throndell is afraid to talk to you and specifically mentions that Linda can kick him out. Imprisoned Hew-mon opposed the summoning but was forced to go along, only to be locked up afterward. Kelner is afraid there are spies eavesdropping on him. Ambrin is afraid of Linda if she learns he spoke out of turn. It’s too bad Jeff didn’t connect the dots a little more, but I do think there are enough hints for us to get the sense that Linda is an authoritarian who has turned the Tower into her private fiefdom, using spies to keep tabs on its residents and threatening to lock up or expel them unless they cooperate with her demands. At least, that was how I imagined it when playing AEFTP, and looking at the script leaves me feeling justified, especially since after reading Slarty’s comments I wondered if I’d imagined it all. I’m not saying Linda deserves a high rating (she doesn’t), but at least in AEFTP her role in the story is fleshed out marginally better than Slarty suggests (i.e. "Not only are people not terrified of Linda, no one mentions her at all.").

"Dikiyoba didn't know what to say for your negatives, Triumph. Dikiyoba supposes you must just be that awesome." - Dikiyoba
"Triumph == Santa Claus? This explains... nothing." - Dintiradan
"Per usual, Triumph said it better." - Slarty


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Posted 15 June 2016 - 09:22 PM #10 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Ambrin's and Throndell's comments are definitely new to AEFTP.  They aren't even in A1.  I guess they're nice additions, but I agree with your wording that this fleshes out her relation to others marginally better.  It still doesn't explain how the heck someone like that managed to succeed Erika or Patrick, or how she managed to strongarm her plan in when Solberg was still around.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 06:08 AM #11 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Ok, more stuff from newer games:

Spoiler

"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 08:53 AM #12 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

19. Akhari Blaze
Final Rating: 3.5

He growls, "So you are here. At last."  He is standing on the other side of the pool. He is enormous, far larger than any drakon you have seen. A tower of muscle, wrapped in thick scales. Every loyal Shaper's worst nightmare.

Akhari Blaze is, perhaps, the generic big evil boss par excellance.  Unlike Sss-Thsss, he's inserted into all kinds of plot situations, relationships with Litalia and Ghaldring... and unflinchingly remains, in every situation, a generic big evil boss.  He's the straightforwardly aggressive (but not stupid) Bird of Prey captain to Ghaldring's Gowron.  He is constantly name-dropped through G3, with the same comments about how he's powerful and going to destroy the Shapers, and then you meet him, and hear those comments again.

One thing that sticks out about Akhari Blaze is his name.  It's a departure for drayk and drakon names, which typically revolve around... well, sibilance.  Instead we get a sort of ostentatious epithet.  It fits with his characterization as "big and powerful and in charge," I guess, but it does make him sound like he's actually a Timmy card.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Dintiradan Dintiradan

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Posted 16 June 2016 - 11:45 AM #13 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

time to have everyone vote on a psychographic profile for each character
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Posted 16 June 2016 - 07:11 PM #14 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Sigh.  Here's the real complicating bit on Linda, after all:

Spoiler

"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 07:04 AM #15 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

18. Lord Rahul
Final Rating: 3.5

You come face to face with Lord Rahul. If such a thing were not forbidden, you would suspect that he had Shaped himself to make himself larger... He is enormous, almost seven feet tall. And, although a bit of it is going to fat in his advancing age, he is still a powerful and imposing figure. And that is without counting his considerable magical skill.

It's only fitting that Akhari Blaze and Lord Rahul came so close to tying.  (The final ratings are rounded off.)  They have parallel roles in G3.  Where Akhari Blaze is the generic big antagonist, Lord Rahul is the generic establishment figure.  Like Akhari Blaze, he is genuinely trying to support his cause.  Like Akhari Blaze, he takes the direct, brute force approach, emphasizing power over finesse or creativity.  Even the concept of having defenses came from Lady Anjali.

Like Akhari Blaze, you hear about him for several islands before you meet him.  And like Akhari Blaze, he fails to live up to all the talk.  He's the most important Shaper in the game, and he's a bland, boring, and essentially pointless sack of power.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 07:14 AM #16 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Rahul really was an even bigger waste than Akhari, I think. You meet him way earlier in the game than you do Akhari, and with more characterization he could have become a face for the Shaper cause as a whole that either repelled you and inadvertently pushed PCs toward the rebels or a compelling, charismatic leader that highlighted the best of the Shapers and drew PCs to his side. Instead he's just kind there, durdling around and contributing nothing. (Well, I guess he trained Khyryk, so maybe he gets some sort of coolness by association?)

"Dikiyoba didn't know what to say for your negatives, Triumph. Dikiyoba supposes you must just be that awesome." - Dikiyoba
"Triumph == Santa Claus? This explains... nothing." - Dintiradan
"Per usual, Triumph said it better." - Slarty


Valtio Consil Valtio Consil

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 09:25 AM #17 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

"Durdling around and contributing nothing" is kind of the national motto for the Ashen Isles, so he's at least consistent with everyone else trapped on that string of rocks. Maybe he's got a similar thing going to Diwaniya, where he's been quietly sidelined by the Council?

Rawal Rawal

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 03:38 AM #18 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Personally, I think Blaze redeems himself slightly with his GF4 appearence, which at least gives him some more depth as a character. I'd probably put him a notch ahead of Rawal, myself - who has no interesting or distinctive character traits whatsoever.
"It is a game of madness. I have retired from it." ~ Rawal

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 04:39 AM #19 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

17. Bennhold
Final Rating: 3.5

"You have not heard of Bennhold, the Bandit King of Terrestia? Who we work for? Then quake in fear, for he is ... well ... the Bandit King of Terrestia."
-- a bandit

Another closely tied Geneforge figure: Bandit Bennhold.  Bennhold certainly has a more unique function than Akhari Blaze or Lord Rahul.  He's a highly successful bandit who's used a few canisters and who, somehow, has become a sort of widespread urban legend.  Like them, though, you spend half or more of a game hearing about him before you actually meet him, and as with them, it's sort of an anticlimax.  In person, Bennhold turns out to be a generic bandit, with no actual story or personality at all.  He does serve as a bit of comic relief, with a few deadpan lines and a deliberately absurd death gurgle noise.  But coming after the "mythology" of the Bandit King, it all feels a bit like a shaggy dog story.  Err... shaggy roamer story?
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 09:16 AM #20 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

16. Manifred Redmark
Final Rating: 3.4

General Manfred Redmark sits in the luxurious, overstuffed chair, going through a thick stack of papers. Maps, orders, logistical reports. He makes it clear that these are more important than you... "Oh, yes. Let's stay up all night and discuss our adventures, our hopes, our dreams. Then, at dawn, we can polish each others' swords. How fun!"  He snorts. "I am not some private that you discuss dreams and lovers with in the barracks. I give you orders, you follow them."
-- Manifred Redmark

Ah, General Manifred Redmark.  The character whose early announcement was maybe the closest Spidweb has ever come to fanservice, and the reality of whom was maybe the furthest.  Erika was liminal; Manifred, middling.  The main word used to describe him is "busy"; he appears reasonably competent, adequately intelligent, moderately polite, tolerably proud, ideologically neutral, and more politically astute than not.

As a character, I think he was sketched better than Akhari Blaze or Lord Rahul.  Or Anaximander, for that matter.  He's not a terrible Bob.  But it was a risk to dangle "Redmark" in the faces of series regulars and then stick it on a character who is neutral to unhappy about it and mostly just doesn't want to talk about it or make anything of it.  Manifred Redmark himself, middling moderate that he is, would never have approved of such a risk.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 02:34 PM #21 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

15. Lord Carsta'Arl
Final Rating: 3.4

"It is the way of Khemeria. If I ever show weakness, if I ever fell, their raiders will pour into our woods. They will slaughter the men and then ... It will be ugly... My rule is harsh, I admit, but I do all I can to avoid that fate."
-- Lord Carsta'Arl

A lot of people have opinions about the Dhorl Stead plot arc, and Lord Carsta'Arl is part of that.  There just isn't much to distinguish him from the other bland lords that vaguely cooperate with Avadon when a Hand is around, that compromise principle for pragmatism, and that apparently have their peoples' best interests at heart despite killing a whole bunch of them.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Blxz Blxz

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 12:34 AM #22 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Carsta'Arl was thoroughly unlikable. He got in my way when it would have been better for him if he didn't and his lack of reasonable co-operation led to his fall from power. He is like the Saddam Hussein of the Avadon world. Glad he makes this list, he deserves it.

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 04:39 PM #23 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

14. Konstina
Final Rating: 3.3

You enter the circle and approach Konstina. She holds her staff in one hand and the gold goblet in the other. She raises the chalice to her lips and drinks. And things get very quiet... The air is cold now. The bubbling and hissing of the caldera grows quiet. Konstina's skin becomes pale, and her eyes become black. And you feel a chill grab your chest. The stones suddenly seem to loom over you, keeping you safe... Konstina speaks, her voice hollow and inhuman...

The stream of problematic Khemeria and Wyldrylm characters continues.  (Actually, I forgot till just now that Konstina was a shaman, which means the real clerical average is actually slightly lower than it was listed as.)

On the one hand, Konstina is a little reminiscent of Anastasia/Zemera: a human magic-user who leads demihumans, is involved in factional squabbles, and has a reputation for cunning.  On the other hand, she is an idealistic rebel who is involved in two different confusing betrayal subplots (with the scout and Commander Odil) and who really likes babbling about "the power of nature."

I don't find her that objectionable myself, but she could certainly be a more coherent figure given how prominent she is in Avadon 2.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Triumph Triumph

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 06:29 PM #24 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Does that quote come from after you betray Odil and join the rebels? At one point I planned to go back and help Konstina instead of Odil, but forgot and never went back to help her. Does aiding Konstina reveal much more about her (or the Wyldrylm in general) than you see in a pro-Avadon game?

"Dikiyoba didn't know what to say for your negatives, Triumph. Dikiyoba supposes you must just be that awesome." - Dikiyoba
"Triumph == Santa Claus? This explains... nothing." - Dintiradan
"Per usual, Triumph said it better." - Slarty


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Posted 23 June 2016 - 01:55 AM #25 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

That quote is from when you are about to fight her, actually.  But I think the answer to your question is no.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 11:58 AM #26 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

13. Yong-Mi
Final Rating: 3.3

"Well yes, I could be on the surface. I went into Avernum voluntarily. I may be the only one. Let's just say there was a marriage I wasn't interested in being a part of."
-- Yong-Mi (X1)

"I've been doing recon on the ruins."  She shakes her head. "This was a beautiful city, as fine as any down here. Look what the eyebeasts did to it!"
-- Yong-Mi (X2)

"And do not worry about being discovered. Captain Yong-Mi is in our employ. She will be paid well to not find you."
-- Dorikas (A4)

"Well, that is nonsense. I can't believe that ..." Suddenly, she leaps from her seat and whips out her blade.
-- Yong-Mi (A4)

In the First Trilogy, Yong-Mi was a minor character, a fierce adventurer with one of the more interesting random-exile backstories.  During the Empire War, she was asked to deal with the ruins of Cotra, one of the Empire's most destructive feats and a major point of emotion for many Avernites.

In Avernum 4, she's still in Cotra, but has totally inexplicably become an agent of the Darkside Loyalists.  Of all the old minor NPCs they could have picked to become a traitor, she was the absolute least plausible option.  She is also one of the exceedingly few enemy NPCs who attempts to distract you, then kill you.  Realistically, maybe they should all be trying to do that; but in the context of the games and their dialogue conventions, it makes her come off as petty and low.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 12:51 PM #27 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

I say this not offensivelly. But the whole list so far is very deserving i mean i get bored just by reading the names. They were all very meh and i had no feelings for them. Although konstina was particularly disapointing. I would expect someone more inspuring and crazy to face up to avadon. Plus her terms for your despicable acts of betrayal were most unsatisfying. Although the same could be said for akhari blaze. I miss old barzhal :(

Triumph Triumph

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 01:42 PM #28 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Woah! I knew Yong-Mi from her early appearances, but didn't realize she had such a strange turn in A4. I feel like I should have given her a lower rating.

"Dikiyoba didn't know what to say for your negatives, Triumph. Dikiyoba supposes you must just be that awesome." - Dikiyoba
"Triumph == Santa Claus? This explains... nothing." - Dintiradan
"Per usual, Triumph said it better." - Slarty


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Posted 23 June 2016 - 03:04 PM #29 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

12. King Starrus
Final Rating: 3.2

He is young, only in his early twenties. And he is clearly the king. The pressures that weigh upon him have clearly changed him. He looks thin and tired, and he stares at the maps and orders on the stone table with fanatical focus... King Starrus continues to move around the table, examining the maps, charts, and reports. Occasionally he gives an order to an aide. What he lacks in experience, he is trying to make up for with long hours and concentration.

King Starrus is a bit like Manifred Redmark: depicted above all else as busy, constantly, always busy.  (Apparently, he's so busy that he aged around 35 years between A4 and A6 while the rest of Avernum aged 25 years.)  Also like Manifred, he's a vague relation, at least in name, to a central First Trilogy character, to whom he does not quite live up.

Unlike Manifred, he's young and inexperienced.  For all of Manifred Redmark's flaws, he's very believable as a military leader of the Empire.  Starrus as king is a bit more of a paradox.  Avernum, the nation of misfits and rebels, accepts a young and inexperiened king on the basis of heredity, rather than merit?  That's how the Empire does things!  That acceptance is hard to picture even given the explanation that the Council of Mayors wanted someone they could manipulate.  It gets stranger when you meet Starrus and have to kneel down before him.  Guess what happened when you met Micah?  He reached out his hand to shake yours.

Micah wasn't the most colorful character, but he looks downright vibrant compared to Starrus.  We never really learn a single personal detail about Starrus, despite his role as a Big Bob in 2/3 of the Second Trilogy.  More than anything, he's simply uninspiring, which works neither as the leader of a nation nor as a director of the player's goals.

Starrus describes himself as a "fanatic" at one point in A6.  It's not a very believable line.  But by that point in his dialogue tree, odds are the player is just clicking repeatedly to try and get through it.  Which is appropriate, because "clicking repeatedly to try and get through it" is the perfect analogy for the way Starrus attempts to survive being King of Avernum.
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Agitproprioception Agitproprioception

The Demon of Good Taste

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:27 PM #30 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

11. Lankan
Final Rating: 3.1

Lankan also appeared as one of the "Most Disputed" characters.  Please see his entry here.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Agitproprioception Agitproprioception

The Demon of Good Taste

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 04:23 PM #31 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

10. Jenell
Final Rating: 3.1

There is a woman wandering the Avadon gardens. She wears a long, loose leather dress, and several beads and symbols hang from around her neck. She is older than you. You guess that she has served in Avadon for at least a few years... As you approach her, you feel as if you are being watched. Something slinks through the trees, watching you. When you turn to see what it is, it fades back into the shadows... She nods and laughs. Despite the recent troubles, she is in high spirits. "The beasts of the woods tend to keep an eye on me. As do the beasts of this garden. Do not worry." ...You notice that birds tends to cluster in nearby branches when she is around.
-- Jenell

"I help my people, and all people of the Pact, by arguing for restraint. When Hands are allowed to decide a course of action, I argue that Avadon should be humble. No law binds us. That means that we should show great caution."
-- Jenell

Jenell thinks hard about this. Finally, she looks you in the eye. "You are a skilled warrior, one of the best I have ever seen. And yet, I watched as you used those skills to slay my countrymen. Warriors that you could have spared, had you chosen to."
-- Jenell

What is it about the Wyldrylm?

Jeff can do druids well.  Nethergate proved that.  But the shamans of Wyldrylm somehow come off a bit like cosplayers doing druids.  Or in Jenell's case, some kind of Snow White, Druid Princess debacle.

Jenell is a sensible enough companion.  She's competent without being arrogant.  She holds nuanced views about many parts of the world, including both Avadon and the Wyldrylm, rather than reducing them to black and white, good and evil.  And when she does moralize, her ideals are perhaps more palatable than the dogmatic devotion that Sevilin and Nathalie have to the traditional forms of their respective homelands.  She's clearly the most thoughtful of the bunch, and I think maybe the most realistic, too.  She's a convincingly intelligent outsider -- she'd fit in well in Avernum.

Unfortunately, her intelligence is frequently covered up by the single song that she's reduced to: "I love nature, and plants, and animals, and they love me back."  You watch as they love her in Avadon's garden; you watch as they love her in the woods; you listen as she recounts her backstory, which revolves entirely around animals loving her.  It's repeated over and over again until we're left with an image of, I don't know, Barney the Nature-Loving Dinosaur Shaman.  We can only imagine the gagging noises that Alcander would be making if he were around to see it.

And that's not even touching on the ridiculous love-at-first-sight-with-someone-from-my-tribe-who-cares-about-nature-which-I-am-going-to-demonstrate-by-exchanging-meaningful-glances-before-he-follows-through-on-his-defiance-against-the-power-I-have-pledged-to-support scenario with Vid.

It's a pity, because somewhere in there, there's a terrific character.  Unfortunately, she got swallowed up by the Wyldrylm.
"I, for one, prefer to believe that the forums are dead and that Lilith, Slarty, and I are all ghosts haunting the forum." -- Triumph

"I think we all have days where we feel like a Displacer Iguana." -- Slarty

Triumph Triumph

Wrapped in Light

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 05:04 PM #32 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

I think that was your best character analysis yet. Or at least the one that caused me to laugh the most.

"Dikiyoba didn't know what to say for your negatives, Triumph. Dikiyoba supposes you must just be that awesome." - Dikiyoba
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Randomizer Randomizer

Tormented Battle Mage

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 06:19 PM #33 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Maybe Jeff wrote her after a Disney marathon with his daughters.  

The Hands that you get to work with for the most part all have grudges with Avadon from either personal actions against them or their people.  So eventually they get reduced to stereotypes, no matter how nuanced they start out, eventually Jeff tires of writing them.  

Avadon 3 spoiler
Spoiler

I think that's why Alcandar is my personal favorite from the three Avadon games.  He gets to stay true to his greed through out the game and everyone has a funny reaction because he doesn't hide it.
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Necris Omega Necris Omega

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 08:27 AM #34 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

This speaks to a larger problem I have with the followers, and really, general portrayal of Avadon - you get very little explicit pro-Avadon exposure and dialog, and what you do get comes off as more "patriotic" rather than anything personal or directly impacting. At the end, the picture painted is very much slanted towards betraying the organization, which is less interesting. Really, I find this to be the case in most "two-option choice centric" games, from this to Dragon Age's mage debate.

Really, Geneforge was largely more interesting in that regard. It felt more nuanced, and it did a better job of framing the flaws of both arguments.

Kelandon Kelandon

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 01:54 PM #35 Every Spiderweb Character Ranked: Top 20 Worst Characters

Hey Randomizer — please stop posting Avadon 3 spoilers. This is not the first time, and 1) I don't like it, because I don't want your commentary coloring my impressions when I get to play the game, and 2) it's probably a violation of the NDA that you agreed to when you became a beta tester. So please stop it. It's better if you just don't say anything about Avadon 3 at all.
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