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Sliske, Nomad, and Lucien

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Kemtros
Feb Member 2006

Kemtros

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So there's a certain sentiment I've seen for a while, and you can call this flamebaiting, but I think it's time I shut this down.

Specifically, claims that Nomad and Sliske are "out of character". First off: What "character" did these two even have in the first place that they lost, and was worth anything? Sliske was some guy who sat in the shadows, and Zemouregal noted how slippery he was. How is his portrayal since The World Wakes any different from what we had seen? He shows off. And? That was something he did to the Barrows Brothers, or the Saradominists he "converted" to Guthix. Sliske's whole gimmick, even in backstory, before we met him, was "I will manipulate you and make you do what I want, and I want you to see how powerless you are to stop me."

The criticism of Sliske as a "forum troll" is laughable (Especially since that particular criticism is made by people who are trolls themselves), and frankly, theatrical villains are far more interesting than "mysterious shadow-dweller". Think about Boba Fett. What was cool about him? He had a mask. But what about him as a character? People put stake in a mystery because they want to find out the answer themselves. Yet sometimes, those same people rally against writers when the answer to the mystery isn't what they had expected. In some cases, that disappointment can be justified. But with Sliske, it seems like people wanted a mystery, but never the answers. For the Stone of Jas pillar to be run by Sliske, this is putting the spotlight on him, and Ballad of the Barrows Brothers promises to give us answers to Sliske.

28-Jan-2016 16:00:51

Kemtros
Feb Member 2006

Kemtros

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Then there's Nomad. I swear that there was literally no other appeal to his character beyond who his master was and why Nomad said we had doomed this world, so of course, "My master was fraternizing with the White Knights" wasn't going to cut it. Now him trying to drain souls to become a god in Nomad's Elegy is supposedly "out of character". Remind me again what his plan was in Requiem? Oh, right, he was trying to drain souls to become a god. Don't believe me? Look at the three dungeons surrounding his throne room. The very shape of their designs spell "GOD".

The only thing to salvage this? Nomad's master was speculated to be Lucien. Based on the assassins who went after, the understanding that Lucien was the big villain at the time, and some statements of Word of God in Q&A's suggesting that this was the case. I'm of the belief that, while Word of God can certainly be true in a writer's head, it doesn't fully count until implemented in the story itself. So without the Q&A, all we have is that enemies from While Guthix Sleeps appeared. Enemies known to work with the Kinshra. So… yeah, kind of makes sense for Nomad - previous an Elite Dark Mage himself - to find "fraternizing with the White Knights" a reason to defect.

Like with Sliske, the appeal of Nomad was a mystery, and expectations of a certain answer. However, Ritual of the Mahjarrat came and went without Nomad tying back into the story. And now Nomad is preparing to double down on a plan that failed in Requiem.

28-Jan-2016 16:08:37

Kemtros
Feb Member 2006

Kemtros

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Sliske being a Mahjarrat who is using the Staff of Armadyl and the Stone of Jas makes it feel like he's Lucien 2.0, and that our actions in RotM were pointless, as the Staff was restored despite Sakirth's efforts, and Sliske finds the Stone of Jas in spite of the teleportation spell. Now, I certainly wish that we get some kind of follow-up on that teleport in Sliske's Endgame. But the Staff? Lucien stole that, making our path in Temple of Ikov pointless, all to recreate the scenario Zamorak did to Zaros, making him just as guilty of being a rehash. Now, you might say that reflects even worse on Sliske, as he's a rehash of a rehash, but that's not the case, as people dismiss Sliske by acting as though Lucien was this great villain who none can live up to, and the Dragonkin should be the priority.

But… I'm sorry, no. Lucien was a boring villain. He was terrifying, sure, but as a character? I wanted him to shut up and go away. He wasn't a villain I enjoyed. He was an obstacle to overcome. That is the most basic definition of "antagonist", yet it leaves out other aspects, like developing a deeper character. So I appreciate Sliske being more "theatrical" because he's more than just some "MWAHAHAHA" mustache-twirler like Lucien, because I guess he and Zemouregal hail from the Skeletor family.

Sliske is an entertaining villain. The Big Game is my most highly anticipated update of the year. I would imagine that Nomad's Elegy properly ties in Nomad with the Stone of Jas story like people wanted him to be. Nomad in Dishonour Among Thieves felt to me like how he was in Requiem, and the premise of Elegy is just him trying to make up for his failed plan in Requiem.

So I'm happy about Sliske's Countdown. Sure revolves around a more entertaining villain with better characterization than Lucien, that's for sure.

28-Jan-2016 16:17:23

Balustan

Balustan

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Look at the original pieces of Sliske lore. He's a silent guy he doesn't make big theatrical gestures. He does only what needs to be done. He tricks the original Barrows Brothers into serving him whereas if you compare that to Akrisae he just takes him. There is no tricking him into serving him at all. His recent examples of "tricking" aren't nearly on the same level. Note he doesn't actually show off in any of the 2 concrete examples we have of him tricking people. He just does what he needs to do and then vanishes. There's no big theatrical entrances no grand speeches.

I would say he was also probably the one who gave the vision to the Firemaker in Firemaker's Curse and he just was a voice to get the job done. No theatrics again. There is also his claim he was involved in Azzanadra's freedom. No theatrics then.

I could buy the theatrics being put on in order to get his distraction started but after that they honestly needed to stop.

He's also undisputedly absolutely loyal to Zaros in those pieces of lore. I'd say loyal in a different way to Azzanadra who is fanatical, and actually wants revenge and the Empire's return, and rather just serves Zaros as he needs. The Barrows Brothers are specifically made to lead Zaros' armies on his return.

He certainly needed to be fleshed out and be given more personality than mysterious shadow dweller I won't disagree but his current personality completely clashes with the established lore. We could have had a personality that added to instead of taking away from the existing lore.

Also what benefit do any of his actions have? He helps Zaros again and again and then just tries to convince people to betray him because he suddenly decided he was going to be a traitor? Why not just not pull the world gate from the shadow realm? His motivation is what? Fun? What a ridiculous motivation.

There is a place for theatrical characters. Sliske is not it. That said ere are other problems with the use of Sliske beyond that.
Lewis
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28-Jan-2016 16:19:02

Balustan

Balustan

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On Lucien being a great villain. I agree he's a pretty bad one. His power is all that he has. Honestly there are no particularly great villains in RS. Somewhat due to the fact they are always introduced in the last quest of a series giving them no build up time. I have hopes for a few, Amascut has a few quests to go so has a chance to be a pretty decent villain. I do not think Sliske is an improvement on Lucien though just as bad.

On Nomad my biggest problem is the master story was a complete muck up rather than his actual actions. Honestly including him in this storyline was the worst thing to happen and it was due to a popularity contest rather than any good story reason. Had he been allowed his own individual story. 2 or 3 quests I think it would have been executed better.

As for who his master is there's a few candidates but I've been on the Surok train for a while.
Lewis
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Quester
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Scottish

28-Jan-2016 16:24:29

Malva
Jan Gold Premier Club Member 2005

Malva

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Balustan said:
On Lucien being a great villain. I agree he's a pretty bad one. His power is all that he has. Honestly there are no particularly great villains in RS. Somewhat due to the fact they are always introduced in the last quest of a series giving them no build up time. I have hopes for a few, Amascut has a few quests to go so has a chance to be a pretty decent villain. I do not think Sliske is an improvement on Lucien though just as bad.

On Nomad my biggest problem is the master story was a complete muck up rather than his actual actions. Honestly including him in this storyline was the worst thing to happen and it was due to a popularity contest rather than any good story reason. Had he been allowed his own individual story. 2 or 3 quests I think it would have been executed better.

As for who his master is there's a few candidates but I've been on the Surok train for a while.
Only good villains are Tokhaar Hok and Vanescula. Because they have a reason for what they do outside "lol im evil" or "gimme power".
Member of the Kalos Elite Four and Team Flare.

28-Jan-2016 16:48:10

Balustan

Balustan

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Malva said:
Only good villains are Tokhaar Hok and Vanescula. Because they have a reason for what they do outside "lol im evil" or "gimme power".


I do quite like TokHaar-Hok. Not sure how I feel about Vanescula right now. I quite like Sigmund as a villain but he's pathetic in comparison to most of the others and is not the big bad of the series.

Yeah good villains are just not a thing RS really has. Sadly.
Lewis
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Quester
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28-Jan-2016 16:54:52

Hguoh
Mar Gold Premier Club Member 2014

Hguoh

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Balustan said:
Snip


I beg to disagree. Take a look at The Fall of the Six:

'Their thirst for fame is what led the stranger to them, for although their skills were unmatched in their township, they desired to be the best of all men, and the stranger had promised them this, for he knew power and could grant it. His long years had taken him to many distant lands where he had collected much arcane knowledge and many artefacts of value and strength, and it was those very weapons and armours he had given them, that they now wielded, which granted them their desire.'

Certainly sounds like a certain
Somebody
was boasting. Furthermore, note when he decides to collect on his debt. He does so after the brothers and their army had pushed far into Morytania and their spirits were high, and his presence immediately sucks the joviality out of the air.

In all honesty, a flair for the dramatic is perfectly justifiable.

And, in all honesty, the description of the dream in Firemaker's Curse leads me to believe that it was likely Char begining to wake and not Sliske, but even then note the description of the dream:

'There was oil and fire everywhere, and then a voice spoke to me. Such an empty voice... It whispered to me about lost secrets of fire, while a book and a figure shimmered in and out of view before me in the heat.'

Sounds plenty dramatic to me.

In all honesty, its only his sudden disloyalty to Zaros that's really out of character.

28-Jan-2016 18:05:40 - Last edited on 28-Jan-2016 18:07:09 by Hguoh

Balustan

Balustan

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The FMC thing is almost certainly trying to make us believe it's Zaros. It could be but Sliske also says in Fate of the Gods he has a hand in freeing all those present. How else did he help free Char if not that vision? The lost secrets of fire are meant to appeal to the firemakers and the book and figure clearly showing what it is they are looking for. I wouldn't say it's for theatre over actually getting it done. Besides Char relied on people opening the cave to begin waking.

As for the boasting maybe but it doesn't sound that theatrical and again all it is doing is getting the job done. Of course he only went to them when they were far into enemy territory after winning so much. That's the whole point of the trick.

Even if we are taking those as minor bits of theatrics they are nothing compared to the over the top nature of what he is doing today. That or the direct taking of Akrisae as a Wight or his portrayal in Book of the Gods. If I were to compare it I'd say it's timing and purposefulness over grandness in those cases which is where he has come to. His newer tricks are weak and as you say his disloyalty is out of nowhere and makes no sense. His actions are also rather questionable.
Lewis
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Quester
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Scottish

28-Jan-2016 18:56:44

Hguoh
Mar Gold Premier Club Member 2014

Hguoh

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Balustan said:


He literally marches into the brothers camp in such a way that silences all of the revelry and celebrations after letting them get their hopes up with so many victories.

Had he wanted to be sneaky, he'd have just removed his protection of the brothers and claimed them after they were killed. Instead, he chose to make a show of it.

And take a look at the Fall of the Six text:

'His long years had taken him to many distant lands where he had collected much arcane knowledge and many artefacts of value and strength'

Why else would they come to these conclusion unless Sliske himself had weaved the tale in order to awe them and gain their trust?

Plus, look at the crumbling tome:

As the campaign moved deeper into the dark lands the stranger appeared with greater frequency, often appearing on a rise near a battle and watching over it. The most disturbing thing was how his presence started to affect the brothers, they became distracted and on occasion even received injuries that required attention.

Again, he makes a show of it. He confronts the brothers, intimidates them, and then deliberately and repeatedly makes his presence known to worry them. He makes a show out of it. To be honest, his attempt to claim the player (be an ally, let our guard drop, and then swiftly betray us once the immediate danger has passed) falls more into the idea of him being a sneaky manipulator than his interaction with the brothers.

In conclusion, Sliske's always loved the spectacle.

28-Jan-2016 19:50:59

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