Why is Charlie evil?

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Why is Charlie evil?

Postby rldavis » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:36 pm

A question I've been wondering about for a long time: What is it that Charlie does which makes it so clear that he's evil? It is true that he tricks and deceives for the profit of his side ... but so does Hamster. (Think about the parleys at the battle for Jetstone.) The worst I can see --- besides the general evil of killing people for profit, but hey, Jillian does that, right? --- is that Charlie never seems to do anything out of simple goodwill. There is ALWAYS a profit motive.

Still, there seems to be a sort of disconnect between the extent to which all my favorite characters believe Charlie to be evil and the extent to which his being evil is actually proved by his actions.

What do you guys think?
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby No one in particular » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:07 pm

It's not that Charlie's EVIL, he's just very DANGEROUS.

For most of Erfworld, he's just unpleasant, weird, non-royal, attuned to the 'Dish and always charging fees for things.

For Parson specifically, Charlie's targeted him personally, has proven to be much more powerful and cunning than any other Erfworlder, and has proven to be able to do a lot of things that Parson's been told were impossible.

For Jillian, well... competition as a mercenary, bias against Carnymancers maybe, and definitely this attempt at bribing her with the bud.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby 0beron » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:17 pm

I think that Erflings are prejudiced. Croakamancers seem almost universally reviled, and Carnies universally distrusted. Granted, very few know Charlie is a Carny, but perhaps his behaviors betray him in a way. People presumably dislike Carnies on sight because they dislike the behaviors Carnies are stereotyped for...so it would follow that seeing Charlie exhibit some of those same traits would lead to people disliking him without knowing he's a Carny.

It could also be partially jealousy. Think about it...Charlie is older than any known unit still living presently, and Charlescomm would appear to be the oldest side still standing. So obviously he is wildly successful....and he's doing it with just a 'Tool and a single city. Even if there's no other basis for it, other sides have to look at that and say "He's gotta be evil, nobody could be that successful and still adhere to honorable conduct".
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby ftl » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:20 pm

rldavis wrote:A question I've been wondering about for a long time: What is it that Charlie does which makes it so clear that he's evil? It is true that he tricks and deceives for the profit of his side ... but so does Hamster. (Think about the parleys at the battle for Jetstone.) The worst I can see --- besides the general evil of killing people for profit, but hey, Jillian does that, right? --- is that Charlie never seems to do anything out of simple goodwill. There is ALWAYS a profit motive.

Still, there seems to be a sort of disconnect between the extent to which all my favorite characters believe Charlie to be evil and the extent to which his being evil is actually proved by his actions.

What do you guys think?


Well, for one, Hamster's side is evil too. He's got all the classically evil guys on his side, including a croakamancer that wants to kill and uncroak everybody. That personally translates to everyone considering *Stanley* evil though, not his underlings (except maybe Wanda), which is why Hamster gets a pass, everyone assumes he's just following orders. (And in Erfworld, that's a much better defense than in real life, given the way Duty, Loyalty, and Disbanding work.)

But aside from that, Charlie seems different because he's *mysterious*. As far as anyone knows, he literally does not have any friends. You could hire him for long-term contracts for years and years and he'd backstab you any day for the right price. Every other side - you know their deal.

Jillian personally hates him right now because of the hero bud thing. But to be honest, most of the rest of Erfworld doesn't seem to consider him particularly evil most of the time - I mean, the RCC was fine with working with him until Toolism became a big deal.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Shai_hulud » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:15 am

The only three people that hate Charlie so far are Stanely, Parson, and Maggie I think?
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby bpzinn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:18 am

0beron wrote:I think that Erflings are prejudiced. Croakamancers seem almost universally reviled, and Carnies universally distrusted. Granted, very few know Charlie is a Carny, but perhaps his behaviors betray him in a way. People presumably dislike Carnies on sight because they dislike the behaviors Carnies are stereotyped for...so it would follow that seeing Charlie exhibit some of those same traits would lead to people disliking him without knowing he's a Carny.


It could also be because of the boop they are popped with. Sort of like the theory that royals are popped with a sense of their own superiority over non royals as one of the (many) reasons conflict on erfworld is build into the system. Units may pop with in instinctive sense that makes them uncomfortably around croakamancers, and distrust carneymancers. Probably a form of Natural Signamancy. And another reason for Charlie to communicate through Avatars. His shape resets so often, there is no time for the long term signamancy set in and mark him as one of those shifty carnies :P

0beron wrote:It could also be partially jealousy. Think about it...Charlie is older than any known unit still living presently, and Charlescomm would appear to be the oldest side still standing. So obviously he is wildly successful....and he's doing it with just a 'Tool and a single city. Even if there's no other basis for it, other sides have to look at that and say "He's gotta be evil, nobody could be that successful and still adhere to honorable conduct".


Don't think it's jealousy, but the opposite. First, most don't know of his past as the Wizard, and hence his great age. Also willingly having only one city (what the field Archons believe) is not widely known, and if known would likely be held against him.

ftl wrote:But aside from that, Charlie seems different because he's *mysterious*. As far as anyone knows, he literally does not have any friends. You could hire him for long-term contracts for years and years and he'd backstab you any day for the right price. Every other side - you know their deal.


Also this. Charlie does not cultivate friends, so he has no friends. Charlie does not give breaks (at least publicly) so he is not given breaks. Also he is a side like no other. He is a mercenary side, but not even like other mercenary sides; he is only shown to field one (very powerful) type of unit. And charges more than other mercenaries. He is also like the the magic kingdom, with the telecom services. Even has a Caster ruler, which the MK does not. Then there is the Dish. Yes this is a side that to all outside appearances, is doing very well. But it is doing it in a way very different than the traditional side. When someone lives a visibly different lifestyle than you, and is visibly doing better then you, the provincial don't get jealous, they get confused, or upset, or angry. Jealousy would be a step up.

Personally, I don't think Charlie is Evil, I think he is damaged. I think Olive's betrayel really fu*ked him up. I think he believes he has got reasons for all the shit he is pulling. Real reasons, because he is Parson smart, not Stanley stupid. But those reasons are colored by his damage. Which is one of the reasons he can't just thinkagram Parson and say his reasons why he thinks Stanley/Wandas "plan" is a bad idea.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Whispri » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:40 am

Well he's a pimp and a drug dealer, that's two things.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby 0beron » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:08 am

bpzinn wrote:Don't think it's jealousy, but the opposite. First, most don't know of his past as the Wizard, and hence his great age. Also willingly having only one city (what the field Archons believe) is not widely known, and if known would likely be held against him.
They don't have to know his history as the Wizard in order to know his age. All they have to know is that he's older than them and every other side they talk to. If everyone you meets says "Oh Charlie? Yeah he's been around and sucking our treasuries dry as long as we can remember" it shows something.
As for the one city thing, you have a point. However they might suspect it, seeing as (presumably) nobody has actually found a Charlescomm city. It's a lot easier to miss running into a single city than it is to miss an entire normal-sized side.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Lipkin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:04 am

Whispri wrote:Well he's a pimp and a drug dealer, that's two things.

And a hit man. That may not mean as much on Erf, but if we ever find out her's also a thief, we'll have pretty much all the major crimes covered.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Sir Shadow » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:15 am

Charlie is viewable as 'Evil' for the following reasons:

1) All he cares about is money.
Everything he does is for more income and more financial security. Greed and Avarice are generally considered evil traits so it's a pretty good indication.

2) He does not care about his Units.
Look at the options for Archons. For the right price, anybody can hire them and abuse them. Charlie doesn't care so long as he is paid. This lack of empathy is kind of shared among all rulers, so you could say that it's just a part of how Erfworld works. But it's one thing to send Units into combat and see them croak, and a whole other thing to practically sell your unit to another side knowing they'll possibly be abused and sent on a suicide mission.

3) He is out to screw his customers.
Sure, he's a Mercenary side, but Charlie goes out of his way to create business if he isn't finding any without regard for those that create contracts with him. He is simply dishonorable.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby bpzinn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:02 pm

Sir Shadow wrote:Charlie is viewable as 'Evil' for the following reasons:

1) All he cares about is money.
Everything he does is for more income and more financial security. Greed and Avarice are generally considered evil traits so it's a pretty good indication.

2) He does not care about his Units.
Look at the options for Archons. For the right price, anybody can hire them and abuse them. Charlie doesn't care so long as he is paid. This lack of empathy is kind of shared among all rulers, so you could say that it's just a part of how Erfworld works. But it's one thing to send Units into combat and see them croak, and a whole other thing to practically sell your unit to another side knowing they'll possibly be abused and sent on a suicide mission.

3) He is out to screw his customers.
Sure, he's a Mercenary side, but Charlie goes out of his way to create business if he isn't finding any without regard for those that create contracts with him. He is simply dishonorable.


Agree about items one and three. One is his official line, and gains him no friends. Item three, we the readers know only from the Archon debrief. Still, I can see it as something everyone else might suspect/think all on their own.

Disagree about number two. Part if Charlies shtick seems to be he never says "no" to any request. Partly because he wants to be seen as true neutral, and available to all. And also, so others don't know the true limits of his capabilities. So if he does not want to do something, or strains his resources, it gets priced out of the buyers range. It is mentioned that hardly anyone buys the full service package, because it is so expensive. Also the implication from that comic panel with Vinnie and three Archons is that the full service package is not necessary if the Archons are agreeable.

I I think he dies care about his Archons, but like all commanders, will use them to advance his goals. For instance, I am pretty sure all of those "free" Archons solicit pillow talk, which is relayed for consideration back to Charlie. But if someone was able to afford the the "full service, with optional damage rider" and killed, or even seriously abused an Archon, Charlie would find a way to make him pay somehow, whenever he can afford to do so. Because Charlie cultivates the APPEARANCE of neutrality, not actual neutrality.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Sir Shadow » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:49 pm

I think you're kind of reaching into the realm of conjecture there. It isn't profitable to make an someone pay for something later unless you're getting paid to do so, and Charlie is all about the money. The Archons may adore Charlie and get a 'warm, fuzzy feeling' when he connects with them through the ArkenDish, but so what? We've seen what loyalty does to Units and if Charlie really does get Thinkamancy powers from the 'Dish, then it makes sense that he's brainwashed them with loyalty spells from the second they've popped--even if they can't recognize it as such due to how manipulative Charlie is. I think he only cares about his Archons so long as they continue to make him schmuckers.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby GWvsJohn » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:15 am

This isn't really "on topic" but it's about Charlie and I think it's interesting. I wonder if Charlie is stuck in some sort of Golden Throne type contraption, except it's fueled by Shmuckers instead of souls. It would explain a few things, right?
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby bladestorm » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:02 pm

Just because Charlie has only one city and charges for everything doesn't mean he is a 'success' or 'more successful than other sides'. I doubt there would be any jealousy issues, contempt, or competitive feelings from other sides within Erfworld. He hasn't expanded his Side at all, and obviously does not have enough of a resource income to be self-sustaining (hence why he has to use mercenary tactics). He doesn't even have a standing army, just one non-exclusive unit type (though a very useful unit type). As a side, Charlescomm is struggling compared to any side that is self-sustaining enough to have more than one city. He is no competition to any side, which is why he can fulfill that mercenary niche; if he were deemed a threat, no one would deal with him unless extremely desperate.

This is also a gaming world, where good and evil aren't determined by morality, but either by perception or the unit type popped. Elves pop as good (unless they have white hair and dark skin, then they are automatically evil), orcs pop as evil, and it is just as simple as that. The actual actions of the orc don't matter, because first and foremost, it is an orc, which is evil. On the perception front, that's a basic human characteristic since the dawn of time: if it agrees with my viewpoint, it is good; if it opposes my viewpoint,it is evil. Ansom had his Noblis Oblige, and Stanley defied that by attuning to the Hammer and being a ruler. Ansom fought on teh side of Good to smite the Evil of Stanley the Worm from existence; Stanley fought on the Side of Good to resist the oppressive boopholery of Ansom and his evil nazi-esque regime.

For most beings in Erfworld, Charlie is a harmless neutral Side that is barely surviving by charging steep prices for services. Jillian didn't trust him to begin with due to mercenary competition, but then he started being all buddy-buddy with Banhammer, reverting Faq from potentially living up to her dreams and back into her father's stuffy version of it, and just continued going against her grain with the flower offer. So to Jillian, Charlie is evil. Olive was evil for getting her hooked on the buds, Charlie was just as evil for having his own supply of them somewhere, and even more evil for trying to force her to do something against her will.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Clementx » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:23 pm

Charlie is evil because he is not garada. Fans of the Codex Alera will recognize it. It translates as, "worthy enemy". An opponent who will always struggle against you, but does so with honor. A time may come where he will join with you against another enemy, but you can always count on him to be your enemy. He can never betray you, because both of you know that one day, one will kill the other.

Charlie doesn't ally with a side. He works with a side, until the moment when it is more favorable to destroy them. No shared history matters to his decision-making. He exists to take advantage of the weakness of everyone around him. He is playing a different game than everyone else. That is why he is, "evil".

In other words, he is a wild animal in the middle of a bar brawl. We are punching and shoving people around, ignoring some, watching our friends' back, and occasionally taking a swing at a stranger we wouldn't normally care less about. Charlie is the cat going around eating the eyes of anyone who falls unconscious.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Shai_hulud » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:24 pm

Except he seemed to have liked Jillian and Wanda until Jillian made a butt of herself.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby mortissimus » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:32 am

I don't see Charlie as evil, and I don't think most Erfworlders do either. He has an excellent reputation as an employer for casters from the MK, he is seen as a trustworthy supplier of communications and mercenaries. He is also weird, but that is not in itself evil. The thinkomancers appears to see him as a threat, possibly as a competitor, and his opponents - Jillian, GK and at times Haggar and Jetstone - see him as a dangerous opponent.

Judging from his actions, the person he most reminds of is Parson, which once fueled speculation that Charlie is Parson (through timetravel or some such). He has a strategy that he does not talk about, though he is ruthless and efficient in its execution which includes telling people what he needs them to hear.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby No one in particular » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:38 pm

Oh, I've got it!

For all that it's life & death for most Erfworlders, they still treat everything, factions, wars, whatever, like it's all a great big game. There's rules and there's "gentlemen's agreements" and everything's all for fun at the end of the day. For points... for honor... for glory... for the fun of the game.

For Charlie, everything's business. Contracts, fees, profit. He finds his own fun, but it's business first.

Charlie may be reliable (in his way) and a useful ally (in his way) but when you come down to it... he's not fun to play with and takes everything too seriously.
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Re: Why is Charlie evil?

Postby Shai_hulud » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:15 pm

Best theory ever. Like how Stanley wanted Ansom to lighten up. You know, cuz killing your own family to show them the truth of the gods should be light hearted fun done with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.
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