#716 - Dogstep

#716 - Dogstep

Seasons Greetings! Or Greason's Seatings! Season them greetings!

I don't know why I'm even spending time on this bit. It's not the seasons! But it is a greetings. I'm greeting you. SEASON ME!

Nelyion is still here. For some reason. And he will be here! Til Monday. But I won't be here!! I've got a Thanksgiving to go to. What I'm saying is, if I come home and all my stuff is gone, we know who to blame. (The pilgrims)

I am TIRED! I don't have a lot of energy for nonsense right now. I mostly want food. SPEAKING OF FOOD! Nel hasn't eaten ANY of my food! I got him 3 perfectly good cans of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli to last him the two weeks and he hasn't even touched them. What else am I supposed to do as a host!? Boil soup!?

He keeps asking me what Hero's real name is. And I'm not telling him! I'm not telling ANY o' yas!! Not until the end. So STRAP IN FRIENDS

(it's dave)
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11.23.2022, 4:16 AM
Blue_Elite (Guest)
Humans are the real monsters Diane. That means you're obliged to help Eikre (yet ironically, can leave Rabble to his fate).

At least no eating means no carpet stains and thus no bodies that need hiding!
11.23.2022, 10:42 AM
Wakeangel2001 (Guest)
I think we need a new category for feral things, creature? You know, something that's more like a magical animal than a person with horns.
11.23.2022, 12:38 PM
I myself have devised a kind of hierarchy for situations like this. This absolutely requires some value judgment calls to design, so I don't expect everyone to agree. Indeed, this might seem quite wrong to everyone else. XD Still, the approach I'm modeling may be useful to others, and even myself as someone else might propose something even I think is better than my own results. I also need to make it clear I consider life inherently valuable, and more valuable than the equivalent "non-life", whatever that might be.

Keep in mind, while I took existing terms, they won't always carry the same real-world meanings as they do for the purpose of this endeavor. Players of RPGs (tabletop and video game) should be used to this, especially if you're a GURPS player like me. XD I apologize for being so haphazard with proper biology terms as I try to explain. ^^' To help with me remembering them all, I have chosen to just use terms that start with a "b":


Beings are for whatever you think makes creatures like humans "human". Created in the image of God? Self aware enough to consider the future, and possessing a certain, minimal intelligence? If you believe nothing separates humans from other, similar animal life then your list just wouldn't have this category, or would but acknowledge it as a contrivance.

I want to stress that, despite many of the other terms describing the medium for lifeforms, this list is focused on those peculiar qualities we see as setting (in the real world) humans apart from most (all?) other animal life. The scientific classifications for life help here; homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) are being. Other members of the genus may not qualify, let alone the of the Family, Order, etc. So, to pick from other popular fiction, the Exalted Beasts of Narnia are "beings", not "beasts" under this system. The Ents of Middle Earth are "beings", not "botanicals". I don't have a good example of "bugs", but the Cybertronians of the Transformers are "beings", not "bots".

Beasts are differentiated from the other classes by being closest to "beings". They have at least some agency, sense of self, etc. but the average "beast" specimen clearly falls short of the average example of a "being". There will definitely be edge cases that are unclear, so I also propose a subcategory of "Brilliant Beast" as at least a placeholder until their proper classification is known. Yeah, don't take brilliant literally; there's either something lifting up what would otherwise be a beast or bringing down what would otherwise be a being.

Bugs are the more limited form of life, with even less agency and awareness than the equivalent Beast. In real world terms, I'm sure there are plenty of edge cases, but the clearest examples are probably insect colonies. The entire (for instance) hive might function as a "Beast", but the individual insects are just "Bugs". Yeah, things will be even murkier in fantasy, science fiction, and other settings that include fantastic elements.

I keep flipping Bots and Botanicals around. This time, I'll lead with Botanicals; life at its most basic, regardless of cell count. We're talking creatures that just exist, with little-to-no self-awareness or agency. In real world terms, this is going to include most (all?) plants, as well as bacteria, fungi, and so on. Reactions by the life under this classification is entirely governed by the mechanics of the lifeform. As for "Bots", you can think of them as "imitation life". Why would that have value? I operate under the belief that it is easier to abuse the representation of something than that something directly. However, once you get used to abusing the representation, abusing the actual something is now "within range". So, someone that believes humans are made in the image of God may want to allow more consideration for something made in the image of humans. I confess, this concept may seem utterly asinine...

...but don't worry, I'm not posting this to "prove" my way is the right way. You can find most of the reasoning spurious. As I stated at the beginning, I'm sharing my approach. Finally getting to the comic, this line of thinking ought to really help Diane. There may be things more valuable than "beings". I didn't include it above, but let us call that category "Beyond". It could contain God, or it might contain certain ideals ("goodness", "justice", "mercy", etc.) that outweigh the value of your own kind. Or maybe there's a lot of "beyond beings" out there we just don't recognize yet, and similar to a high-functioning animal, we ought to know our place. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Either way... yeah, the "Beast" monsters attacking your friends? They rank lower than fellow beings. They also appear to be at least somewhat in the wrong, so attacking (maybe even slaying) them to defend yourselves is acceptable, if not actually "good".
11.23.2022, 2:24 PM
Certainly a good list! I've included beasts under the umbrella of "monster" simply because Ian did very similar-- a specific example I can recall is when they're fighting the Cave Monkey in page ...? I'm on my phone, I'm not about to go looking for it. 😆 But if you find it, post it here. There's also a comment by the old lady in Diane's hometown that Diane feels an affinity for the monsters they slay, many of which appear to be beasts. Post that here too while you're at it 😎
11.25.2022, 4:36 AM
Also on a phone; References, as requested.

Underground monkey enemy: #356 http://rpgworld.keenspot.com/d/20030423.html -and 3 strips later. (Note: calls it an animal/enemy, but not a monster, here )

The kingsnake from #236 may be a better example of a 'creature categorized as monster' http://rpgworld.keenspot.com/d/20020531.html

Reference for old lady and Diane: #384 http://rpgworld.keenspot.com/d/20030711.html

I'm in agreement with Otaku's categorization groups, though I will note that these groupings are useful for _relative_ valuation when a member from the different layers are at intractable odds. Eg: save a baby vs save the family pet.

Outside of that, all life should be given a level of respect. Eg: honor existing animal habitats as much as possible; don't mistreat your houseplants; leave the spiders alone; (though I understand moving them away for peace of mind) and don't use your blender on concrete.

I do agree with Doom that the distinction of 'monster' has been unclear, and that Diane could reasonably be expected to have some level of cognitive dissonance in regards to fighting something that doesn't have a clear non-monster designator at this point in her character arc.

Here though, these dogs have crossed a line, and could use some being put in their place. (With pain potentially being the necessary language for them to comprehend)
11.26.2022, 9:44 AM
Thank you, Retnuhytnuob.

Both for the references and adding to the discussion. I do agree about respecting life in general, at least at the scales I was dealing with e.g. I'm less concerned about it at the microbial level, though not entirely unconcerned. In general, though, life seems to be something "special" and worth at least some effort to preserve and at least a minimal level of respect.

And yeah, in the comic, "monster" is used a bit haphazardly... which is very true to form for this kind of game. Not just JRPGs ,but video games in general tend to use terms like "Monster" and "Enemy" interchangeably, which can become a bit awkward when we later see that they aren't always synonymous. I confess, I've not played any of the Paper Mario series, but I am happy to see how so many of the Mushroom Kingdom's "monsters" are actually fleshed out. Even if it makes me feel a bit guilty of stomping Goombas. ;)
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