January 8, 2016 at 1:17 am
2016 brought some updates to my Patreon page. One of the changes, is that with each comic update, I'm now posting a blog bit about something in the Thuntonian Universe (which is a terrible name but around here, it's what we tend to call the realm in which Goblins takes place). Goblins is something I've been working on for a decade, but the world in which it takes place, is something that I've been writing for a total of thirty five years. You see, Goblins is based off of my D&D games, which I ran almost constantly for twenty five years before I started the comic. This means that an immense amount of detail has been put into Thuntonia (I know, it's just... just an awful name, but it's so damn convenient). You'll be getting info on things like 'how are Gods created', 'what happens if you're tougher than the Grim Reaper', 'why do goblin eyes turn dark', 'how exactly does magic work' and tons of info about the biology of Thuntonian elves, dwarves, etc. So if you're a supporter over on my Patreon page, thank. You. Seriously, thankyouthankyouthankyou! If you're not a Patron, but would still like to help me out, you could always go over to Twitbook or Faceter or whatever social media you like and just say "hey, check out this comic" or something to that effect. And if you don't want to do that, you can still support Goblins by turning off your ad blocker. And if you don't want to do that you can STILL support Goblins simply by reading it. And if you don't want to do that, you can STILL help me by not punching me in the face if you pass me on the street. If you're doing any of these things, thank you. Anyway, here's... Thuntonian Lore #1 - Demons (part 1) demons1 The AD&D Monster Manual lists demons and devils as two separate species. Some people have been a bit confused when they see me referring to 'devils' as 'demons'. In Thuntonia, they're all simply referred to as demons. Thuntonian demons live in hell and are animated by a form of magic that is more powerful, but more chaotic than the magic found on the prime material plane (that's where regular folks live). Thuntonian magic is actually a form of energy. On the prime material plane, spells and magic items tap into that energy and use it to power whatever that spell or item is designed to do. In hell, that magic is a massive amount of excess energy that constantly and violently generates various types of heat and radiation into the atmosphere it permeates. This is what gives hell its fiery state. It's also why demons have no problem with heat and fire. In the same way that sunlight would kill a vampire but feel quite comfortable to a human, fire would kill a human but feel comfortable to a demon. Since hell magic produces so much energy, demons don't require food energy to live. They get all the "calories" they need just by existing. But demons don't have souls and this means they need sustenance that mortals don't. To understand this, I need to explain how Thuntonian souls work. How Souls Work Souls are indirectly responsible for mortals dying of old age, instead of living indefinitely. Imagine the prime material plane as a dark room. In order for life to exist, it needs to shine through that darkness with light. Now think of a soul as electricity and a mortal body as a light bulb. The bulb emits light and we have a living creature. However, while the electricity (soul) can exist forever in one form or another, the light bulb (body) will eventually burn out. Hell is like a brightly lit room and demons are like bulbs that are not generating any light. They don't need to, since the room itself is already lit up. Without electricity (a soul) running through them, the bulbs (demons) never burn out and can exist pretty much forever. But just like breaking a light bulb, demons can still be killed. Souls are what make certain emotions possible. While souls have little to do with whether someone is good or evil, they're what generate love, empathy, passion, and other feelings. While a demon can experience hate, anger and lust, only a creature with a soul can passionately experience those emotions. It takes a soul to create and appreciate all forms of art. Being moved by a story, painting, song... this is only possible with a soul. It's this passion that sustains us. Without ever experiencing any of these feelings in one form or another, we're really not alive. But demons are living creatures, so how do they manage to exist without being able to generate any kind of extreme, passionate emotions? Well, they are forced to absorb the experiences of others. Why Demons Love To Make Others Suffer Demons are able to 'capture' the passionate experiences of other souls and use that as a sort of emotional food. While a number of passionate feelings can be absorbed by demons, suffering is by far, the easiest and most energy efficient state to take. This is why hell is known for capturing the souls of mortals and forcing them to suffer in various horrible ways. Souls are like never ending generators of sustenance for demons. Because of this, demons will often use souls as a form of currency in hell. And since some souls are more capable of suffering than others, some souls are worth more. This is where the whole concept of 'sacrificing a virgin' came from. In the rare times that a demon could reach the prime material plane, they might sometimes demand souls. The more innocent, goodly souls tended to be capable of experiencing horrible suffering to a greater extent. The demons honestly didn't care if the sacrificed person had ever had sex or not. But if the person being sacrificed to the demon was a virgin, there was a greater chance that they were innocent and "pure". For countless ages, mortals have misunderstood this concept and it has become fairly common practice to sacrifice virgins to Gods, the weather, volcanoes... I mean, if it worked to get the huge, fiery demon to leave the village alone, maybe sacrificing a virgin to improve the crops will work. Yeah... mortals can be dumb. Demons Have Shaped Our Nightmares Some of our instinctual fears are there for natural reasons. We fear the dark because there might be a hungry predator hiding in the shadows. We fear snakes and spiders because they might be poisonous and kill us with a single bite. But why do we fear monstrous things that don't exist on our plane? Well, we can thank demons for that. As a species, demons are much older than any mortal life that's around today and they've been pestering humanoids since the beginning. Demons and demonic imagery doesn't look the way it does because it's what mortals fear. Mortals fear those images because that's what demons look like. Demons Invented Swearing Why are some words forbidden? Why do certain words cause noble souls to gasp at hearing them or mothers to cover their child's ears? Demons have their own language and of course, this language is older than any mortal species that exists today. This language is so old, so drenched in nightmarish horror, that simply hearing a demon speak it, can cause mortals to go insane or become evil. Many ages ago, mortals would on rare occasion, witness a demon speaking in its hellish language. While telling the tales of their rare encounter to others, those mortals would try to replicate the words they heard. Of course, no mortal can properly speak the demonic tongue. However, just making the sounds to the best of their abilities, carried a fraction of the dark power that the language held. These mispronounced demonic words felt... wrong to hear and even worse to say. Over time a few of these bastardized, pseudo demonic words have become part of the common tongue. They're easily said by those who don't shy away from darker thoughts and sometimes, even uttered by the innocent in times of anger, shock or pain. Are Demons Evil Yes and no. Not having a soul means that demons are incapable of feeling empathy or friendship toward other demons or those they torture in their realm of fire and brimstone. It's this lack of empathy that has them betraying each other and conveying no sense of honour or compassion. Yet their cruelty always has a purpose. Demons by their nature, cause suffering in others because it's how they survive. A human who rips the wings off of a fly, simply to watch it flail about, does so without a purpose. A demon would never do something like this, simply because... well, why bother? Whether or not you think they're evil, they're undoubtedly horrible and scary. Angels Angels also have no souls of their own and are a lot like demons. Though instead of feeding off of mortal suffering, they feed off of mortal joy. This is why they tend to help out mortals in need and produce "miracles". Angels don't really capture and collect souls, like demons do. This is merely because a captured soul is harder to keep happy. It's better to visit the prime material plane, create some kind of joy and move on. And just as a demon can't care one way or another about the mortals themselves, neither can an angel. They simply want to feed. Comic Notes Let's answer some questions I can imagine popping up from readers after reading this... 1. Complains of Names still has his soul. His soul was... erm... 'dented' a bit when he became part demon, but he's still got one. The full extent of his transformation will crop up in the comic at some point. 2. Yes, Big Ears saying "shit", was him saying one of those words that sound like demonic but isn't. Swear words aren't actually evil, they just 'feel' kind of evil. So while a paladin can technically swear all they want, they tend to not want to do it much at all. 3. Yes, Not-Walter feeds off of suffering, too. I know. I try not to think about that, either. As always, thank you for everything. -Tarol
December 27, 2015 at 9:29 pm
This is something I feel like I should explain. In the last little while, a few things have popped up in Goblins that have caused some polarized reactions.  It seems that some readers think that I've started pushing various ideologies on people. Some folks are unhappy or downright angry, while others are pleased or even joyful. The truth is that I'm not pushing any agenda. It's just some stuff that happened in the comic. Okay, maybe that's not 100% true. Goblins is about bigotry and how lame it is. It's also about how anyone can find themselves thinking in prejudicial ways. Even while adamantly fighting against prejudice. It's about how no natural demographic (you know, skin colour, gender, etc) is devoid of bigotry or made up entirely of bigots. This has always been the underlying tone of the comic, but it's really the only one. There's no other ideological morals being addressed. So what points in the comic have caused these reactions? Well, there's Big Ears' sexual orientation for starters. Untitled-2 Some people have condemned me or praised me for making some strong statement about homosexuality when really, I haven't. The guy is gay. That's it. Really. Goblins isn't a story about Ears' sexual orientation, just like it's not a story about Fumbles being asexual or Chief being a virgin. These are all just details about the characters that have shown up. I'm not trying to make any statements about my own beliefs and nobody has strong-armed me into wedging these points into the comic. Then there's the recent discussion about Salt's gender. This has nothing to do with gender issues or feminism or anything like that. Salt is a girl. Kind of. I mean, Kliks are genderless, but Salt is just... well she's just a girl. This was just the moment in which this detail was introduced. I wrote it this way because if I just had everyone calling Salt a "her" without covering it, I'd have readers scratching their heads, thinking "wait, it's been established that Kliks have no gender. What's the deal with Salt?". But again, I'm being both praised and scolded for making some daring statement about gender issues that isn't there. I can understand people reacting strongly, though. These sorts of issues are very important to a lot of folks and I get that. It's just that these issues aren't here in these pages of the comic. Thanks for reading! -Tarol
December 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm
Firstly, I'm currently drawing live.  (EDIT: I'm offline now. Follow my Picarto channel, Twitter feed or this blog, to be alerted whenever I live stream.) Secondly, if you don't already know, there are now two separate RSS feeds. One for this blog and one for comic updates. So now you can get RSS booped about the things that interest you, specifically. Thanks! -Tarol
December 15, 2015 at 3:29 pm
I know, I know. I'm dealing with a mixture of people. Some really want the live streaming announced on here, while others don't want it. I'll have the second RSS feed running soon and everyone will be happy. Until then, my apologies. You can expect the Goblins update this Friday. Live Boop.
December 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm
It has been brought to my attention that my frequent, tiny blog posts are less than convenient for people who use the RSS feed. Apparently they keep seeing Goblins "updates" and then go to the site, only to see a one sentence blog post about how I'm live streaming or something similar. I can see how that could be kind of annoying. I'll be honest with you. I don't fully 'get' RSS feeds. I mean... I know what they do in a general sense but aside from that, I'm clueless. So I'll talk to my beautiful, brilliant, German tech guy and ask him if there's anything that can be done to make this easier on my RSS readers. I'm sure he'll have some ideas. So for now, just know that we're working on the problem and we should have a solution soon. In the meantime, I'll try to be less carefree with my tiny blog posts about casual things like live streams or new sneak peeks under the vote button. Oh, that reminds me. I'll be live streaming my drawing in just a little while from now. Also, there's a new sneak peek (fully shaded with text. Not really spoilery) under the vote button at the top/left corner of my site. What do you want from me? I said I'd try! As for the update schedule, I'm not officially saying that Goblins is updating every Friday. Just that the last three updates have been on Friday and the next one is going to be on Friday. See, if I don't promise a set schedule, but say that the past X number of updates have been on Friday, I can't be in trouble for being late. Sneaky Tarol is sneaky. Seriously though, I've been trying to keep the updates at a solid once per week while I finish the art for the G:AR card game. Once that's finally done, I'd like to work on speeding up the updates to once/five days or something, like it used to be. We'll see how it goes. If you'd like to keep getting those tiny announcements that will no longer be blogged, you can follow me on Twitter as I'll keep posting them there. I also tweet out some of the G:AR cards that I draw, answer questions and sometimes I'm even kinda funny! Sometimes. Thank you for everything. -Tarol
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