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Thread: What drove Karras off the edge?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2005

    What drove Karras off the edge?

    I've been trying to trace the root of his maddness, but I can't see a clear cause. Was he just nuts to begin with?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Vertigo, DragonSand, Xeen
    I'll get you started.

    The Karras character was inspired from before Thief I.

    In game he has obviously been around since at least Thief I.

    Karras wasnt always mad, but much like the Trickster in the first game, he was bent on having power achieved through the efforts of others. In this case, Karras controlled robots, rather than humans.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    Karras' madness is caused by his thirst for power. It's the desire to control people that drives everything he does - initially indirectly through scripture, and then literally, through technology.

    I've always thought that Karras' mental problems began in childhood. His very obvious speech impediment would have made him a prime target for bullying, which most likely fostered a deep loathing and distrust of other people.

    Ultimately Karras decided to take revenge on the entire world for the treatment he had endured. In the end it was only the intervention of another loner - Garrett - that put paid to his fiendish plan.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2005
    Location: Not Kansas
    Orrrrrr ... he was just a natural born wacko.


  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Vertigo, DragonSand, Xeen
    Quote Originally Posted by Strontium Dog View Post
    Karras' madness is caused by his thirst for power. It's the desire to control people that drives everything he does - initially indirectly through scripture, and then literally, through technology.

    I've always thought that Karras' mental problems began in childhood. His very obvious speech impediment would have made him a prime target for bullying, which most likely fostered a deep loathing and distrust of other people..
    Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strontium Dog View Post
    Ultimately Karras decided to take revenge on the entire world for the treatment he had endured. In the end it was only the intervention of another loner - Garrett - that put paid to his fiendish plan.
    Yes, perhaps a long running plan had almost seen fruition. After all, Garrett *had* eluded the robot maker in the past...

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2005
    It just seems strange that someone could be both so charismatic as to start a religion, much less a religion that suddenly became the major one over the Hammers' order, and yet is so... well... strange and sick of mind.

    Do you think his descent into madness was gradual, in those final years, or he just started out cracked and hid it really well?

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Vertigo, DragonSand, Xeen
    You see, if Karras had a childhood, it would be much like the wouldbe childhood of Constantine. He probably spent much of his youth in priveleged studies of various kinds, besting fellow students around him bent on revenge... essentially what Strontium said.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2003
    Location: The Land of Beer and Cheese
    Syphilis

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2005
    Location: Not Kansas

  10. #10
    BANNED
    Registered: Oct 2005
    Location: The shadow
    Perhaps it might be drug use of some sort, Karras did mention halluciation type visions in one of his writings (I think it was on the sub level if I remember correctly).

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: New Jersey, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Selete View Post
    It just seems strange that someone could be both so charismatic as to start a religion, much less a religion that suddenly became the major one over the Hammers' order, and yet is so... well... strange and sick of mind.

    Do you think his descent into madness was gradual, in those final years, or he just started out cracked and hid it really well?
    Karras didn't start a religion; the Mechanist merely branched off from the Hammers in the same way Protestantism fell away from the Orthodoxy of Catholocism. Regarding his charisma: Hitler was extremely charismatic (made Time magazines "man of the year" in 1939). Having an affable personality and the ability to roast your perceived enemies alive have nothing to do with one another.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2004
    He probably just had some loose gears. Simple.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: The Forbidden Library
    Quote Originally Posted by Strontium Dog View Post
    Karras' madness is caused by his thirst for power. It's the desire to control people that drives everything he does - initially indirectly through scripture, and then literally, through technology.

    I've always thought that Karras' mental problems began in childhood. His very obvious speech impediment would have made him a prime target for bullying, which most likely fostered a deep loathing and distrust of other people.

    Ultimately Karras decided to take revenge on the entire world for the treatment he had endured. In the end it was only the intervention of another loner - Garrett - that put paid to his fiendish plan.
    Nice. I especially like the idea of Karras' speech problem leading more vulgar children to under-estimate his intelligence and pick on him. Little did they know they were brushing shoulder to shoulder with a would be genocidal prophet.
    Last edited by Keeper Jonas; 29th Aug 2006 at 16:47. Reason: wording

  14. #14
    jtr7
    Guest
    What we know from the games: The nobles mocked him personally and behind his back, and they mocked the Hammer religion. He wanted to exact revenge primarily on the nobles, but was happy to wipe out all life in The City in the process.

    I think it would be safe to say that his torment began in childhood because of his manner of speech. It's possible that his emotional distress became the impetus for his early experiments. His mental illness increases as the game progresses, and even his physical appearance changes (a metallic coloring of his skin, according to a Mechanist's journal), so maybe his experiments caused him to become mentally ill. Emotional illness leading to mental illness.

    Some thoughts...

  15. #15
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    i imagine he was a timebomb that hadn't been turned on yet. in other words, his speech impediment and the rather closed-minded manner of the hammers, etc. i imagine he got started when the hammers pissed him off enough (likely over his admittedly fantastic ideas such as the watchers and the children) to start up the mechanists- basically saying "well fuck you, if you won't let me have the ball i'll go play in my OWN court." he was probably genocidal/homicidal/crazy to begin with, possibly even before he was a hammer, but until he had some kind of final stressor that pushed him over the edge (where his assumed mental condition began to worsen) he was likely a decent person to be around.

    it's possible that he suffered from a god (builder?) complex. he put so much effort into "praising the builder" yet it became apparent that towards the end he began to believe that HE was the builder.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Canberra, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Goldmoon Dawn View Post
    I'll get you started.

    The Karras character was inspired from before Thief I.

    In game he has obviously been around since at least Thief I.
    As opposed to simply popping into existance?

    I think his speech pattern is nothing more than a plot device to make his voice clearly identifiable. You don't have to rack your memory at any point, you know it's him instantly.

    My guess as to his insanity is that it was due to paranoia and guilt. He'd been brought up in the Hammerite faith and it's rigid adherence to doctrine. He led a large group of Hammerites to break with the main faction and form the Mechanists who kept many of the tenets of the old faith but started doing things that were forbidden to Hammerites like developing new technology. But faith is a hard thing to shake so Karras was still worried that he was somehow betraying the Builder with his actions. He needed something to latch onto and found it in the Builder's Children - the robots. He convinced himself that these were a more "pure" form of life because they were entirely mechanical. Remember that conversation in the Eavesdropping mission between those two Mechanists outside? The male one is telling the female one that the Builder's Children are higher in the eyes of the Builder than she is and that the Builder only cares about her soul, not her feeble body. This suggests that Karras had been spreading his new doctrine about.

    Take that and combine it with his discovery of Necrotix Mutox or rust gas. Karras now has both a way to build more robots and to wipe out all of the flawed organic life forms. Everything just goes click in his mind and he believes he is now one step below the Builder - that he alone has been tasked with this most sacred of undertakings.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    Quote Originally Posted by Holywhippet View Post
    I think his speech pattern is nothing more than a plot device to make his voice clearly identifiable. You don't have to rack your memory at any point, you know it's him instantly.
    They could have given him a distinctive voice without making him sound like Droopy. The fact that they gave him a speech impediment would suggest to me that it was inherent to the development of the character, rather than being merely a cool gimmick.

    My guess as to his insanity is that it was due to paranoia and guilt. He'd been brought up in the Hammerite faith and it's rigid adherence to doctrine. He led a large group of Hammerites to break with the main faction and form the Mechanists who kept many of the tenets of the old faith but started doing things that were forbidden to Hammerites like developing new technology.
    Where do you get the idea that the Hammerites were opposed to new technology? Karras was still a Hammer when he constructed Garrett's mechanical eye, and he constructed it at the behest of the Hammerites themselves, to reward Garrett for ridding the world of Constantine. That doesn't seem to suggest an inherent incompatability between Hammer teachings and the development of technology.

    But faith is a hard thing to shake so Karras was still worried that he was somehow betraying the Builder with his actions. He needed something to latch onto and found it in the Builder's Children - the robots. He convinced himself that these were a more "pure" form of life because they were entirely mechanical.
    Hmmm. I know this entire thread is conjecture, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that Karras was worried about betraying the Builder. If Karras was so in awe of the Builder, why does he attempt to destroy the Builder's creations? Why does he try and outdo the Builder with his own mechanical creations?

    The only answer is that Karras considered himself above the Builder, a new god for a new age. He's afflicted with one massive superiority complex, and any psychologist will tell you that this complex frequently arises to counter feelings of inferiority; feelings that might arise from being buillied by one's peers .

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2006
    Location: USA
    i just thought that he was just naturally born a nutcase HAHAHAHAH

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: New Jersey, USA
    Regarding Karras' voice; I always felt his voice and manner of speech were part of the characterization of his being a pedantic geek of an engineer. I don't understand the supposition that his motives were driven by being ridiculed for the cadence of his voice as a child; he could have had a perfectly happy childhood and still turned out to be a genocidal loon. Either his values are categorically misplaced, or he's crazy. I place him in the Howard Hughes category of genius, but batshit insane.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2003
    Location: Canberra, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Strontium Dog View Post
    Where do you get the idea that the Hammerites were opposed to new technology? Karras was still a Hammer when he constructed Garrett's mechanical eye, and he constructed it at the behest of the Hammerites themselves, to reward Garrett for ridding the world of Constantine. That doesn't seem to suggest an inherent incompatability between Hammer teachings and the development of technology.
    Read through the documents found in the second Thief 2 mission where you are stealing from the warehouses at the docks. Inside the building owned by the inventor you'll find a note from the Mechanists saying that, unlike the Hammerites, they are more than happy to support him and work with him. Secondly, back in the Return to the Cathedral mission from the original game you have to sanctify a grave to let a dead Hammerite rest in peace. The notes in the game states that one of the priests feels that this ritual should have been done earlier but could not ask for it without having to explain why it should be neccessary. My impression was that it was because the priest had been involved in the creation of the sunburst device which was prohibited and as a result his spirit could not rest in peace.

    Finally, I'm pretty sure one of the commentaries about Thief 2 from the developers stated that the artificial eye was a gift from the Hammerites who were already starting to split off from the main faction. Certainly Karras says that he arranged for Garrett to be given it and Karras led the mass exodus from the main order.

  21. #21
    I've never been convinced he was insane in the traditional sense. Possessed by the Builder, or the Builder reborn, maybe.

    He invented steam-powered robots, security cameras, and a submarine. Not to mention a metal eye that can interface perfectly with a human brain. These things do not suggest insanity.

    Plus, the idea that it's a god in human form fits with the previous game. And the succedding, if you define 'god' a bit more loosely.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 1999
    Location: You are Here
    Quote Originally Posted by Holywhippet View Post
    Secondly, back in the Return to the Cathedral mission from the original game you have to sanctify a grave to let a dead Hammerite rest in peace. The notes in the game states that one of the priests feels that this ritual should have been done earlier but could not ask for it without having to explain why it should be neccessary. My impression was that it was because the priest had been involved in the creation of the sunburst device which was prohibited and as a result his spirit could not rest in peace.
    You must be the first person I've ever seen to put forth the idea that Renault was somehow punished for creating the sunburst device.

    Most people seem to find it more plausible that Renault and Martello were given a supernatural slap across the limp wrists for playing Ring Around the Rectory while they were alive.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    Quote Originally Posted by Navyhacker006 View Post
    Plus, the idea that it's a god in human form fits with the previous game. And the succedding, if you define 'god' a bit more loosely.
    I find that suggestion bizarre. I've seen absolutely nothing to suggest that Karras was a deity in human form. He most definitely possessed a god complex, but that's something quite different.

  24. #24
    Cuddly little misanthropic hate machine
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Location: someplace better than this
    Quote Originally Posted by Azal View Post
    Most people seem to find it more plausible that Renault and Martello were given a supernatural slap across the limp wrists for playing Ring Around the Rectory while they were alive.
    i misread that as 'rectal'.

    ... i think i need a nap.

  25. #25
    FW:FW:FW: SO TRUE!!!
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Seaside, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by Navyhacker006 View Post
    [...]
    He invented steam-powered robots, security cameras, and a submarine. Not to mention a metal eye that can interface perfectly with a human brain. These things do not suggest insanity.
    [...]
    There is a question as to "he invented". Cavador did the research and construction of many of the devices. The "Inventor", hired by the Mechs, in SHIPPING AND RECEIVING did many also.

    It is more like Karras fostered the experiments that resulted in the inventions, or came up with ideas for them. "Could you/we make a XYZ..." is not the same as doing the research, drafting the plans and constructing the device. The mechanics of the construction were handled by others, as were the actual invention of many including the EYE. Karras gave it to Garrett, but did not himself make it.

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