#215 – “Exit Stage Theft”

I don’t enjoy choreography – while I tend to find setting up dialogue between characters can be a great deal of fun.. battles are simply less so. It might just be a part of how I process things, but I find it something of a headache to time and envision all the various steps it goes through before the end. I’ve been spending time trying to figure out the details of the coming battle for weeks, not counting the basic planning I already had. Elements like dialogue, key moments, thematic punchlines.. I know roughly what the fight will be like – I’ve got most of the dialogue already, I know how long I intend to be, I know how it’ll end..

I felt I had to get rid of the guards very early on – beyond being sent blindly sent into the fray, they had no real thematic purpose – to draw out that first start seemed like it’d just delay and detract from the idea I had in mind. At the end of the day, VanCleef is interesting, they’re not; he can perform, they can’t, and that’s that.


26 Responses to “#215 – “Exit Stage Theft””

  1. 1 Fokker
    August 8, 2010 at 23:25

    Ow hell, she actually killed someone on purpose. Damn, I’m starting to like her at last.

    Expected to see VC taking off his cape in badass-evil-guy style and taking the case in his own hands… ohwell.

    • 2 Nhani
      August 9, 2010 at 13:08

      I really wanted a follow-up moment to Te’lens’ earlier character moment of dealing with not only hurting but outright killing someone – something that’d clarify it wasn’t so much just a show of character and that it was a step on a larger journey.

      That said, I’d initially planned it differently, but the first region I’d considered planning it was cut as we had a perspective shift (and skipped past repeating what we’ve already seen), and the second opportunity ended up lost when it came obvious that Tiny just had to use the cannon.

      Since the two guards otherwise served no plotwise purpose beyond being sent to their demise, I figured they would be the best opportunity left to me.

  2. 3 deathchiller
    August 8, 2010 at 23:28

    i like the way you make her slowly accept what she has to do :D

  3. 4 Eduvudd
    August 9, 2010 at 01:07

    You’ve made VanCleef like trying to catch smoke, and I love it XD I wish Blizzard would put as much excitement into their work as you do.

  4. August 9, 2010 at 03:01

    Interesting … where is the dreadnought’s gangplank?

    And absolute PROOF that Van Cleef is a villain is the use of the “Guards! Guards!” ploy, where you send in your minions/ henchmen/ lackeys, at most two at a time, to be demolished by the hero.

    • 6 Nhani
      August 9, 2010 at 13:16

      I never thought of him as anything but a villain, at present day. I found the more interesting point with him, from a thematic perspective, is more about what he was, what he could’ve been and how short the step was from that to what he ultimately became.

      There’s a cautionary tale in there, somewhere..

      All that said, I found it fun to write such an arrogant, self-righteous and delusional villain. Especially at the point when he starts playing off of other characters.

  5. 7 LolDrood
    August 9, 2010 at 03:40

    Your skill in Daggers has raised to 2.
    Poor Te’len. Someone needs to go respec Resto. Before her head explodes and she climbs the SW cathedral with a rifle. :O

  6. 8 Foggy
    August 9, 2010 at 04:36

    That’s make sense. I mean, even a arrogant VC will know that it wouln’d be easy to deal with 2 1/2 (and a 1/10) guys when they made it all the way to him. I think that was the plan. To keep them busy for a short while, while organising something bigger or a fine trap.

    • 9 Nhani
      August 9, 2010 at 13:27

      I couldn’t really see him just charging blindly on against multiple foes at once while still having the option not to. Even presuming he had the skill to defeat them all at once (which I don’t think he does), it’d still be a significant risk, and one I don’t think he’d take if he could avoid it.

      It’s actually interesting, because the first idea I had for the encounter with VanCleef – like over a year ago, he’d be fighting mainly against a character named Mora, who was this tough Dwarven Priestess who’d had a cousin among the undead miners and therefore had a personal reason to fight him. Ultimately.. Mora was replaced with Areen, who I found a much more compelling character, though that also made the VanCleef encounter much different as I had to find another thematic structure behind it, and another way to balance the series of events in a manner that seemed compelling enough.

  7. 10 Fenrisu
    August 9, 2010 at 09:15

    Ah, Van Cleef… I absolutely love his theatrical appearance, in this comic.
    Either he ran really fast or jumped to where he is now, which makes me think, that this thrown-out noble, also is pretty good with his feet. He probaly uses his sword, like Count Dooku in Starwars… Whats the chance that Smite survived the explosion and sneaks up behind the heroes, like a rogue, while Van Cleef takes their attention, with another speech. He still talks like a noble, I like that too.
    Great page as alwasy, keep ’em coming! ^_^

  8. 11 Frostsaben
    August 9, 2010 at 12:39

    Is Cookie going to be featured too?

    • 12 Nhani
      August 9, 2010 at 12:52

      Blrghlg rrlghllh? Mrglbl blrrlrllgg bglghl.

      • 13 Frostsaben
        August 10, 2010 at 09:25

        Hold on, I’ll go get my murloc translator!

      • 14 Gordrake Thunderhoof
        August 10, 2010 at 14:08

        I think that’s now the second time the Murloc voice has been used. XD Still as funny as the first.

      • 15 Nirene Feathersong
        August 13, 2010 at 18:46

        Rough translation: Asking again? You’re really persistent.

        Like C-3P0, I’m fluent in over six million forms of communication, including the murloc language.


        Ok, so I don’t know over six million forms of communication, but you have no idea what I had to go through to learn the murloc language…

  9. 16 Maira
    August 9, 2010 at 18:05

    Incoming Smite!

  10. 17 Paprika
    August 9, 2010 at 19:48

    I’m still waiting for the moment Te’len get’s sufficiently wound-up by someone to go into bearform.

  11. August 9, 2010 at 22:37

    I just loved how Hani just grabbed that Defias’ head and smashed it to the floor.
    I mean…just damn bad ass y’know!

    • 20 Nhani
      August 10, 2010 at 12:44

      It just struck me as very Hani thing to do, really – sure, she has a sword and all, but why bother when you could just as easily pound someone into the dirt.

      • 21 Gordrake Thunderhoof
        August 10, 2010 at 14:18

        Or into wood that’s about four inches thick? Ouch…

        That said, it’s nice to see everyone pitching in at the moment. Seeing Hani kicking ass is something we’re used to (even if some of the things she does is so purely epic we go “OH YES!” every time) but it’s good to see the others progressing as well personality-wise, especially the gradual acceptance from Te’len at accepting the reality of her situation. It’s a good character touch that I quite like seeing.

      • August 10, 2010 at 23:22

        Back in my day we didn’t have fancy smanshy swords!
        We had our mits, and a rock! And we had to share the rock!

  12. 24 Arafor
    August 17, 2010 at 08:07

    Am I the only one who feels reluctant regarding Te’lens actions? It just seems so out of character. Last time she killed someone it was out of survival instinct and she wept like a baby over her innocence being crushed.

    For her to sneak up behind a guy who’s not even looking at her, knowing that he doesn’t possess any threat against her, and stabbing him like a sinister predator.

    To me it seems more like a thing she’d THINK about doing. She might even raise her knife, but the knife would stay raised in doubt. Areen would most likely finish dealing with the guy before Te’len managed to collect her resolve. And that is also probably how I would have expressed her character in this page.

    But, of course, you know your own characters better then I know them :P

    • 25 Nhani
      August 17, 2010 at 10:43

      He does represent a threat, is the thing, and he effectively backs almost right into her. She doesn’t sneak up and backstabs him, he more suddenly is there, right in front of her, and she’s holding a knife.

      Initially, I wanted a page more dedicated to it, so you could actually see the steps of hesitation, regret and eventually determination before she actually acts.. as it is, I didn’t have the space to imply all of that to the extents I wanted, but I think it still crossed into the important parts. She doesn’t enjoy causing people harm – even those that seek harm upon her or her friends; this is about duty.. she was given the option to turn around and leave, she chose not to, indirectly deciding that it was more important to ensure the guilty parties were dealt with.

      If there’s anything I regret, it’s a particular short exchange I really wanted to capture Te’len’s feelings on the matter – I might still be able to put it in somewhere, at some point, but I think the window might’ve passed. But it was essentially Hani asking Te’len “You alright?”, to which Te’len responds “It’s.. getting easier. ..does that make me a bad person?” with Hani replying “No.”.

  13. September 26, 2011 at 01:14

    She’ll make a good cat. Got the ‘get behind them for the kill’ part down pat.

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