Unifying Myths: Thief/Rogue — Pirates & Outlaws
For the time being, I think Thieves and Rogues are better fleshed out than Princes and Bards, and the imagery surrounding them is quite a bit clearer.
So this is going to be a shorter post, but I still think we’ll cover some interesting consistent elements to Thief and Rogue players. And maybe a bit more?
And as with our post on Royalty, we’ll start with a case of Roleplay rather than focusing on the classes themselves. Specifically, I want to look at Aranea’s mad power grab, because it tells us some interesting stuff about how ancestral figures work.
Namely, that it seems to have as much to do with the consumers’ interpretation as anything inherent to the mythic figure. To Vriska–a Thief–, emulating Mindfang seems to mean emulating a Fairy–in other words, being more like Aranea.
But to Aranea–who is already a Sylph– emulating Mindfang means emulating a Pirate, while striving to take control from the session by making herself the most relevant and powerful party in it. In other words, she’s trying to be more like Vriska.
This doesn’t go any better for Aranea than it went for Vriska, of course.
The consistent underlying theme with roleplay seems to be that, while taking inspiration and influence from role models can be a source of strength, taking it too far and trying to be someone you’re not usually won’t end well.
Roxy is also linked to Piracy. Roxy’s relationship with internet piracy and hacking is a modernized take on piracy–casting her as an internet pirate of sorts.
Several of Grandpa’s mummies in both Homestuck and Hiveswap are dressed up as pirates, linking Roxy to the archetype in his memory. Alpha Dirk, the specific Dirk dating Jake, is similarly remembered for his class roleplay–Grandpa remembers him as a knight rather than as a Prince.
But Roxy is also linked to Robin Hood, who was not a Pirate but rather part of a wider band of individuals that certainly includes them: The myth of the Outlaw.
Historically, the title of Outlaw was a legal punishment that declared the individual outside the protection of the law. In general, it means that the individual was pushed out of society and could be killed with no legal consequences.
And it’s this myth that unifies the rest of the Thief/Rogue players, because all of these players share common themes of fleeing their respective societies, and existing beyond the boundaries of the law.
Nepeta and Roxy qualify almost by default. Nepeta lives in a cave and hunts wild animals for food, and is alienated by what blood colors mean in her society’s brutally repressive hemospectrum.
Roxy, of course, doesn’t really HAVE a society anymore. But even so, she’s paranoid and suspicious of the Condesce’s plans, viewing herself as a whistleblower speaking the truth about a massive corrupt scheme.
But both Meenah and Rufioh fit the bill as well. Meenah runs from her society entirely, retreating to seclusion on the moon. And Rufioh escapes to a forest, living in the wilderness away from Beforus’ standard social system.
All this focus on sitting outside the boundaries of society sets up a fascinating parallel for the Steal classes and their dichotomous pair: The Warrior classes, Knight and Page, who operate off the verb Serve.
(Credit for this wrinkle goes to @grippingtraverse and @the-null-hypothesis77, who came up with a model for understanding all twelve classes that we’re still exploring as a whole. The Serve and Steal classes present the clearest and most inarguable part of this argument, enough so that I thought it worth presenting it here.)
Serve can mean to ‘Give’, an easy counterpoint to the Outlaw’s ‘Take’. But Serve can also entail providing service–to one’s friends or to one’s society.
As such, the Servers have a consistent law enforcement motif that often brings them into conflict with other players– particularly with Thieves, who tend to steal for selfish reasons and so often transgress the social contracts of their groups.
Both Dave and Karkat respond to their friends being hurt with a desire to hunt down and punish wrongdoers–at various points, Terezi and Jack Noir are such targets for Dave, and Eridan and Gamzee are for Karkat.
And discovering Vriska’s elaborate gambit to create Bec Noir is what incites Tavros into finally confronting her–reasoning that she is now a Bad Guy by association, and thus deserves to be stopped.
It’s worth noting that this pursuit of wrongdoers is often based on a nebulous and personal understanding of “Justice” that has as much to do with the Server’s feelings and opinions as anything objective.
This is particularly obvious with Jake–a Page–in his conflict with a Thief in Meenah. Here Jake uses justice as a pretense for indulging his personal hero fantasy at the expense of facts or context. This trend doesn’t particularly flesh out Thieves and Rogues more, except that it puts them into a thematic context with their “rival” classes.
It also suggests that the other quartets of classes with contrasting verbs could well have their own recurring motifs. Fairies and Royalty both being linked to Courts and Prophets and Magicians both being linked to the scientific process does seem to point to the idea.
But I don’t think I’ve found canonical links as clear-cut and coherent as those for the Serve and Steal classes, so I just wanted to throw this out there for now!
Now that the Outlaw myth has been established, that completes the set! I hope this helps us all take Classpect thought and analysis to a new level.
For my part, I have been hard at work on the scripts for the next round of videos on both Homestuck and Hiveswap, including a post outlining Classpects to a broader audience.
I hope you all look forward to it. For now,
Originally published at revolutionaryduelist.tumblr.com.