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  • An author gets really invested in making me read their anime fic.

    re: Your review to Pokemon: Indigo
    13 FebFyreDrakon
    A response to your review at

    Seeing that you […]

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  • “I also thought [past tense] was normally how people wrote their stories… But you know, the people in my writing group are published… so I just didn’t say anything, because they were published and all big and […]

  • Very boring today. Most interesting things are a few authors who desperately want to be writing original fiction and skies above I am so sick of that crap.

    You wouldn’t capitalize animal or mouse or dragon, so y […]

    • Talarc replied 2 days ago

      This has one other review, by someone who’s using my copypasta! I am very proud and hope they don’t get discouraged by the hate mail.

      I’m glad you don’t mind me borrowing it! :)

      And don’t worry – I’ve seen enough here on Dragon Quill to know what I’m letting myself in for.

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  • Act wrote a new post, Downtime 1 week ago

    Yo, I’m aware the site went down. Overnight there was a massive CPU spike that used up our bandwidth for the whole month (!!!). I’m trying to figure out exactly what happened — hopefully it was a rogue plugin and […]

  • Quiet today.

    re: Your review to A Comback
    3 FebScytherNoSwiping
    A response to your review at

    Thanks for the review! Like I stated in the authors notes, I just had […]

  • The work continues. There is one fic set during the invention of the modern pokeball that looks like it might be interesting. Otherwise, not much of note.

    [Roxy, a young female ninetales, has been searching for […]

  • Suckered a revenge reviewer into giving me actual criticism! Like water from a stone, usefulness eventually trickles forth.

    St Elmo’s Fire,

    A new review has been posted to your story.

    Story: Blood is […]

  • You know how long-running horror franchises would inevitably have an installment set IN SPACE in a desperate attempt to cling to life by introducing a superficial new element that doesn’t actually fit the genre? […]

    • I’ve never played these games, but I used to be pretty knowledgeable about Shadowrun (though pretty dismissive of its setting, for pretty obvious reasons once I get talking about it), at least until the fifth edition came out (which made things a hell of a lot dumber, so much so that even Shadowrun fans think so) on literally the day of the Awakening back in 2012 (which was basically the only nice touch of Shadowrun 5E).

      So if y’all got any questions about Shadowrun, I’ll be happy to take a stab at them.

      • So, what’s up with that whole Native American neo-nation I’ve heard about?

        • Basically, parts of the US’ western lands were ceded to create a new country, the Native American Nations, which is more of a conglomerate of individual tribal cultures.

        • Ther are actually a couple, but they’re generally referred to as the Native American Nations and generally seem indistinguishable to my 4e-equipped perspective.

          Basically, back in the earlier editions (thankfully they’ve gotten away from it by 4e), Shadowrun was really into the Magic Injun stereotype. I think that later editions said it was just a coincidence the native sepratists exploited, but… yeah, a bunch of magic indians took back a lot of the west and southern mid-west states and formed massive neo-tribal nations.

          Because indians.

          Basically every country in Shadowrun is a racist stereotype except for the United Canadian and American States (basically just a hyper-liberal’s dream) and the Confederate American States (basically just modern day America).

    • All “Shadowrun” editions are pretty bad, mechanically; the main system is like a clunkier version of the old Storyteller system. The setting is awesome, though, so I’d recommend adapting it to a tabletop system of your choice (I used the old Star Wars D6 system, myself).

      • I’m not so sure about the setting, to be honest. Feels to me that it doesn’t do enough work to combine cyberpunk technology and magic into thematically-coherent whole. I think it would benefit from either more closely combining the two (so, astral space and the Matrix are the same damn thing, spirits need to occupy drones in order to affect material world, mind control is done through hacking the ghost cybernetic brain, etc.) or making them more directly opposed, with magic empowering the individuals to stand up against the system backed by technology.

        • I’ll be honest, me and my group were basically restricted to the core books for 3rd and 4th editions, so I can’t speak as to specifics. But as a general setting idea which still left wide room for GMs and players to add stuff? Fantastic! 
          That said, magic and technology already are at odds with each other. And generally, the theme was less “fighting against the system” and more “the system is broken, try to survive the best way you can”.

          • Yeah, I know about the essence loss from technology and all that, I just found it underemphasized. As it is, the volatile relationship between magic and technology essentially serves to keep tech-based and magic-based character archetypes separate, so you’re discouraged from creating a shaman decker and such.

            However, thematically, they serve much the same role: both magic and technology are used by corps for various shady deeds, both find their way on the streets to empower your shadowrunners, etc.

            I feel you can do more with punk themes by associating technology more closely with the system and magic more closely with individualism as fantasy magic is notable for giving you a great personal power as opposed to the power of institution, which works better with technological base.

            All in all, it feels that the setting combines cyberpunk technology and fantasy magic because both are cool rather than because both are needed for the themes the setting wants to explore.

            • It’s possible to explore that, especially with shamanism, but really, few things are are more cyberpunk than even the wonders of magic being reduced to just another tool.

            • I mean, yes, “magic is back! Let’s exploit the shit out of it!” is pretty punk, but then I’d say keeping it away from technology creates needless redundancies. Cyberpunk-style technology being enabled and supported by magic (cyberspace and astral being one and the same, spirits living in your artificial limbs, animating them and granting you cool abilities, etc.) would be more elegant.

            • Fourth Edition has Technomancers.

            • Yes, but from what I understand they’re presented as this new weird thing. They should have been the default, with technology evolving around them, with corporations seeking them out to exploit, etc.

            • Eh, different strokes and all that, I suppose.

            • Adepts are basically the Street Samurai of magic. The ultimate failing of ANY cyberpunk is when its written by people who think it’d be cool to live in a world of cybernetic limbs and laser cannons.

            • Cyberpunk isn’t anti-technology, though, not even anti-transhumanism; it’s opposed to technology being used to further alienate and exploit the masses, or at least the individual.

        • Technology and Magic are pretty damn opposed, though. Having cybernetic literally directly impacts your ability to do magic. There’s not much cyberpunk, though. There isn’t even an anti-aug group. Hell, by 4e, maybe even 3e, cybernetics are 100% safe. In earlier editions, you could get epilepsy from replacing your spinal cord with a fiber-optic cable. Shadowrun is more like Magicpunk. All the typical cyber-focused themes (like tech advancing faster than people) is focused on the magical elements, and the tech elements are mostly for cool cyberninjas and shit.

          • I mean, magic and technology are opposed on individual level in a sense that you’d make a shitty mage if you have implants, but I didn’t get a feeling that they’re opposed on thematic level. Both magic nd technology are used by corps to exploit the shit out of common people, so in that they’re united.

    • 5e is such garbage even the people I know who love Shadowrun don’t like it. It’s simultaneously an attempt to pander to 2e grogs and get new people, and the chargen is literally more easily exploited than Exalted 2e’s. The difference between a highly optimized build in Exalted 2e is about 250 to 350 xp. The difference between two builds with SR5’s priorities system? It can be about twice that.

      And Shadowrun and Exalted are pretty similar systems (I barely had to learn SR4 because my go-to game at the time was Exalted 2e), so that’s actually a pretty fair comparison.

    • This is really topical for me, with the caveat that I’m about ten days late to the party. I’m in the middle of playing through this series.
      Shadowrun is a vision of the future from a long time ago. So… it’s incredibly retro in many ways. Obviously, the whole cyberspace as a quasi-physical place where you actually run around stands out, but the samurai and stuff comes from that too. Remember how loads of Americans thought Japan was going to replace the US as the sole superpower? OK, me either, I’m 26, but it was a popular thing back then. Hence samurai, the currency everyone uses being nuyen, etc. And, obviously, the whole ‘rule of cool’ thing, where cool is what people back then thought of as cool (particularly what various counter-cultures thought of as cool). Basically, it’s pop culture from the 80s, and in many cases earlier, projected into the future. Kind of like how Fallout is a deliberately retro vision of the future, except Fallout did it deliberately and Shadowrun has kind of aged into it. Generally, I’d say it’s aged pretty badly.
      So, partly because it’s from the past, the setting is kind of intrinsically orientalist, drawing from a shallow pop culture image of Japan, and plenty of others -ists and isms too. For example, the whole hippie magical Indian thing is in there, yeah.
      As for whether HK specifically is orientalist, I’d say…. not very? I haven’t finished it yet, but nothing struck me as particularly egregious so far, the biggest potential for it is with the actual-samurai-from-Japan guy, I guess I’ll wait and see. The whole mahjong and triads thing… Didn’t actually come to my notice.
      I guess it’s a tricky one, because while those might be part of a kind of stereotypical view of China, they are also authentic. Mahjong really is a popular game among middle-aged to elderly people in China (never met anyone my age who cared, except for my friend who hates it because her parents used to play it all afternoon) and the triad gangs really do exist, especially in Guangzhou and HK. If you’re gpoing to make a game involving gangs, and you’re going to set it in HK, then those gangs will be triads. It’d be like a Shadowrun game set in Naples where you help a mafia boss who launders money through a pizzeria.
      As for gameplay, I don’t really mind the discrepancies between various builds – I generally agree with you that mages get a bit of an easy ride, as they almost always do in rpgs, but probably want a secondary for consistent damage anyway. Player shamans get a bit of a rip on the summoning front, but on the other hand their spells use charisma, which is only useful on the main character. Adept builds cost a lot of karma (because they are essentially always cross-classing magic and phys) but are monsters once they get going, with the exception of a pure fist build in returns. The HK adept is much stronger, generally.
      My two main gripes are:
      1) No way to fast forward animations/walking in combat. Gets a bit tedious in the late game once you’ve already seen everything.
      2) Too easy on the hardest difficulty, in particular compared to similar games (Divinity OS, XCOM). Tying it back to the setting, I think you want to be really struggling along so you really get the feeling of being the underdog in an extremely dangerous line of work.
      ETA: Oh, I should add, I think the character writing in HK is really good so far. I actually like all the characters – the Russian dude and the ork shaman  in particular – which is very rare. 
      Also, for all its problems, the setting does get major pluses from me for having bot tech and magic, and allowing you to go around messing with corporations on stealthy special missions. I like all of these things.
      OK, that looks a bit less unrepresentatively negative.

      • Yeah, I liked HK the most out of these games when taken on its own terms, just wasn’t sure if the Chinese stuff it includes is sensible or dubious. Thanks for your perspective.

        There does appear to be a steady improvement in plotting and character writing throughout the games.

        I actually do know about early cyberpunk being really big on Japan’s economical dominance (with megacorporations specifically being heavily inspired by the pop version of Japanese corporate model), though I’m not that well-versed in particulars.

        • Yeah, early cyberpunk, especially the cyberpunk that inspired Shadowrun, was basically perdicting a Japanese economic/cultural victory. Also, Shadowrun absolutely adores its themepark versions of cultures. Basically the only cultures that aren’t parodies of themselves are Ultraliberal Northeastern United States and Modern Day Moderate Centrist Southeastern United States.

          They at least had the sense to not have Da Souf Rise Again and enslave all the orcs or something, I guess. Man would that have been a fucking mess.

  • I like cooking, especially anything with a clever twist to it. Did you know you can make apple pie out of ritz crackers, spice, and slight of hand? And when looking for similar recipes, I came across the […]

    •  It’s also not gluten-free, but at least the celiac population wasn’t going to pick up a mystery cupcake in the first place.
      Another little complication: just like folks with gluten allergies won’t pick up random cupcakes at all, DDLC without trigger warnings would never be looked at twice by folks who aren’t already into reading harem VN’s, or at least comfortable with the concept of them. The game would then have to spread solely by word of mouth, at which point we’re approaching personal responsibility re: only recommending it to friends/family you know can hack it.
      I think the myriad trigger warnings actually end up as an oblique marketing strategy to reel in folks who’d never normally open up the game. I know some folks who opened it solely because they wanted to see how a cutesy harem game would devolve into something that deserves those warnings. I personally am putting it off because, despite my curiosity, I’m a coward who is bad at horror in general. 

      • Farla replied 2 weeks ago

        I was actually thinking about that, but while there needs to be something, it doesn’t need to specify horror. Genre subversion would be vague enough to tell you there is a twist without knowing what form the twist would take. Also, the warnings everywhere meant that when I hit the first departure from convention, I was still expecting it to get all meta-mindfucky so all further escalation wasn’t a surprise.
        Ideally, there should be a “deliberately stomps on genre conventions” or something type of tag, to indicate this is a game for people who like a different type of game instead without telling you anything more than that it’s not whatever the apparent genre is.
        (Also, if there was a robust tag blacklist system, then people wouldn’t need to look for more info – if you have, say, gore blacklisted, then if a game pops up on your list with just ~*~*mystery genre subversion*~*~ you’d know if doesn’t have gore and not need to check through the list of all the things it does have to verify. Etc.)

        • I just don’t think having a Genre Subversion tag is enough to pull people in. It’s like the Scary Movie and other parody series – they market themselves as parodies and you know going in they won’t be scary/dramatic/romantic or whatever the source genre is, but plenty of people still ignore them because “not like this thing you like/don’t like” is not a strong enough selling point in a big market, especially not enough to overcome the first reaction to a niche, even stigmatized genre like Harem VN.  
          I think that DDLC being both free and very loud about its true purpose was the best possible way to get attention from a wide audience, and that, to the creators, that’s probably worth reducing the individual impact it has.

          • There really isn’t anything else to this one but genre subversion and HAHA YOU WEREN’T EXPECTING THAT WERE YOU?!?! though, and it’s hard to judge how well it did that because the game itself seems to be built on the assumption you’re not expecting it. If someone likes genre subversion type games, then it’s for them. If that alone isn’t enough to feel interested in it, then they probably wouldn’t like it anyway.

            • Yeah, I see your point, and I’m really not sure how it can be salvaged for this game in particular because it HAS to, in some way, let people know it’s going to be weird/extreme to get any attention at all. Maybe they had the concept and created it, and only when they started trying to market it realized it wouldn’t garner attention?
              The genre that DDLC is subverting is not overly popular with the market it’s in, unlike a game like Spec-Ops: The Line. That was a FPS coming out in the heyday of the FPS genre, so when that game turned out to be psychological horror and such, people were all over it, and it didn’t need to have trigger warnings because normal games for the genre already had you shooting up airports as a terrorist.
              I think the ultimate problem is as you said: it’s for people into genre subversion. It’s not for people into the genres themselves, be it horror or dating sim. People who like the dating sim aspect will know it’s just a thin veneer for the horror, and people who like horror won’t like their surprise getting spoiled.

          • It’s like the Scary Movie and other parody series – they market themselves as parodies and you know going in they won’t be scary/dramatic/romantic or whatever the source genre is, but plenty of people still ignore them

            Many people ignore them because most of those movies are shit, though.

            I mean, I agree that the specific way in which stories subvert genre expectations matter. Someone who likes surprise horror wouldn’t necessary appreciate RE:Zero style exploration of typical protagonist’s flaws and someone who likes that wouldn’t necessary go for an over-the-top parody, but your example is not the best one.

            • Valid. My example isn’t good as an argument. It’s just the easiest thing I could think of that I’d dump in the garbage. Re:Zero, KonoSuba, or even Grimgar might be better examples of what I’m trying to say, which is that they each have a twist on the genre as part of their premise, but that doesn’t guarantee attention because it doesn’t guarantee quality.

    • It’s always odd to me that there isn’t a doesthedogdie-style database for trigger warnings, since it seems like it’d be so easy to community source.

      I also think that at least part of the reason why a tag system for warnings has been so slow to appear is that the first platform that does it is almost certainly going to have to deal with a gg-style hate campaign. It makes me think of the college that removed scales from its bathrooms to try to prevent people with eating disorders in dorms from obsessively weighing themselves and was immediately met with a tsunami of backlash from people who have to know their exact weight all the time in a way that has nothing to do at all with unhealthy body imagine of course not.

      UMass apparently has calorie counts on their vending machines which is a nightmare for me (also fuck them and the vending machine company), and I thought about writing a letter the other day but there’s just no point in a word of angry white dudes. I just have to remember to bring snacks with me or not eat on campus. My point being, it’s so much easier to go with the current methods of working around triggers which do work, if somewhat unreliably, than risk an assault by maga-types. People who needs TWs have survived, if with challenges, and will continue to, and poking the beast could make it sooooo much worse, so I think it’s not something you’ll see actively campaigned for by people in the community.

      • Well, we’ve got an okay tag system built up thanks to the “everything is an advertisement!”/”Steam shall be all” mentality, we just need to make it easier to filter things out and easier to keep that as a permanent filter. If it wasn’t explicitly stated to be for the purpose of triggers and merely coincidentally was really useful for that, it might fly under the radar. I mean, the same people who complain about the easily triggered SJWs are the ones getting offended by practically everything and demanding that developers warn them for trans characters ruining immersion by existing and are always shouting about boycotts and blacklists.

        And sorry to hear that, that sucks. With luck it’s just an administration fad that’ll go away again.

    • They probably didn’t mind so much as there’s a lot of evidence that DDLC wasn’t the actual real game, I guess you could say. It’s fantastic, but it’s also apparently just a REALLY well-hidden ARG, as it contains a lot of stuff hidden in it hinting at the game its advertising and said game’s plot.

    • If the gluten-intolerant people I personally know are any indication, they totally would pick up the mystery cupcake and eat it, and then leave Future Them to deal with the repercussions of eating delicious and glutenous food.

    • To be fair, DDLC’s twists can be seen from a distance, and the warning inside the actual game is very vague – it warns you there will be disturbing things, but doesn’t specify anything else.
      Also, I love both meatloaf and potato mash, but faking cupcakes out is just cruel.

      • …Actually, is it just me, or does the warning come off as condescending? “Not for children or those easily disturbed”?

        • Isn’t it just a standard wording for such warnings? At least I’ve seen it a couple of times in otherwise unrelated media.

          • I don’t think it is, though I may be mistaken.

            • It’s a pretty common stock phrasing in my experience. Which isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive with being condescending, but if it is, I’d see it as more of a general issue than one with any particular instance.

              • Though, to be fair, I’ve seen similar phrasing used in a sorta condescending way where it’s basically an advertisement: “This awesomely gruesome video you’re about to see is not for the faint of heart! (And you aren’t one, are you, chap?)” with an implication that those who would rather not see such a video are weak-willed.

              • I’ve seen them used in an outright condescending way, though I don’t remember what it was for. It went something like “Not for Small Children or Big Babies.” 

       Agreed. The warnings made me think it was going to end something like School Days. I was not prepared.

      • Huh. For whatever reason, I assumed that a vague but extremely broad warning meant it was of the glitch-scare family, and was instead surprised there was any realistic depiction of mental illness.

        • It just seemed to trigger my School Days sense. Which I guess isn’t entirely wrong but was only the surface. Also, how do you feel about conversation on the ARG stuff? Since it’s all definitely about the sequel and I don’t think any of it spoils DDLC unless one talks about how it’s found.

    • It wouldn’t be incredibly unusual to have a normal dating sim where one girl had depression and wanted to die, one girl was abused at home, and one girl had anxiety and a self-harm problem

      Did you mean, “Grisaia no Kaijitsu”?

      • That basically fits Fate/Stay Night, too. Goddamn near every work of every harem genre has mental illness/abuse as part of the excuse for why the intelligent, beautiful women are hanging out with the viewer some loser. 

        • My favorite excuse in Grisaia (which I only played because I uh… worked on the series so I kinda had to) is that the guy is a proxy for her dead girlfriend. His little sister.

          • Honestly, I couldn’t care less about the story or the other characters or anything like that. The main character of Grisaia is basically Eroge Sousuke Sagara and I could never hate a game like that.

            • Roarke replied 1 week ago

              Sousuke Sagara in an eroge sounds like a nightmare for him… I’ll need to check it out.

            • Nerem replied 1 week ago

              … That description is more accurate the more I think about it…

            • When he unknowingly walked in on Redhead McMainGirl when she was topless, because she was changing in his dorm room (which she used to use as a spare room before he moved in), his response was basically “You’re free to change in here if you want, just don’t expect me to act embarrassed for seeing your tits because this is my dorm room, and also don’t. Fucking. Touch. The. Tea. In. The. Fridge.”

              Later on, he teaches the imouto-bait character how to shoot a gun. A really, really, really big gun. An anti-materiel gun.

              The moment I decided he was my best girl of the series was when a girl with Issues attacked him with a box-cutter, and he was like “what the hell!?” and she was like “I didn’t actually murder you so it was okay”. I paused the episode to tell a friend about it, being like “WHOA HAS THIS CHICK NEVER HEARD OF ATTEMPTED MURDER!?”

              Unpaused the video. Dude’s inner monologue? The subtitles said literally exactly what I had just said to my friend.

    • Alternative: Just don’t allow yourself to be affected by spoilers. Works for me.

    • Your concerns are valid, and I agree with a lot of it, especially the bits about having expectations/conceptualizations of what women are actually like in romantic/social situations.
      I’m not going to argue what I disagree with point by point, but I will just say that I don’t really share the charitable view of mental illness depiction that you do here, especially I feel that a lot of the time it’s not remotely being done in service of the character, nor for the sake of representing people who are mentally ill. Still, if you’re good with it and you’re happy about it, that’s awesome and as far as I’m concerned you should keep that.

    • “a lot of people are interested in the protagonist” is brought up as a criticism of stories that wouldn’t really work if a lot of people weren’t interested the protagonist

      I think the problem isn’t so much “a lot of people are interested in the protagonist” so much as “a lot of people are interested in a completely unlikeable protagonist with no real redeeming qualities of his own for absolutely no explainable reason”.

      When I think of harem protagonists that harem fans tend to actually like, they’ve generally got something going for them other than a generic “is nice” kind of deal which is not something you can say about all harem protagonists.

       the same “several love interests who trend much more interesting than the protagonist” dynamic wasn’t happening in reverse-harem shows and otome games

      I dunno man, I’ve watched a couple otome-type shows, and some of their heroines could slot right into a harem show as the generic sweet good girl achetype.


      I think Roarke’s problem might be that, like… in a lot of cases (not DDLC or Grisaia, but most harem anime), a lot of the characters you might think “oh, this character might have a legit mental illness”… aren’t supposed to be seen that way. Like, the main girl of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is basically some form/degree of autistic, and its kinda just played up as her being a space-y weirdo for moe points.

      •  I think the problem isn’t so much “a lot of people are interested in the protagonist” so much as “a lot of people are interested in a completely unlikeable protagonist with no real redeeming qualities of his own for absolutely no explainable reason”.
        Yeah this exactly. The reason why the harem genre tends to get scorn is because it tends to ave perfectly generic as hell protagonist with no real personality, and generally everyone falls in love at first meeting with them. A good example is the protagonist of the Asterik Wars, who is only vaguely ‘unique’ by instead having Light Novel Hero personality where they act like they don’t care and everything is just too much of a hassle but is also the generic hero and for some reason everyone loves their uncaringness.

      • The funny part about The Asterisk Wars is that the MC of Chivalry of a Failed Knight (which is like AssWar But Decent) actually is a cool enough dude for me to believe he’d have a few girls with crushes on him… but it’s not a harem series.

      • I actually have a lot of respect for Chivalry of a Failed Knight, yeah. It does have a couple of staples of harem, like a little sister that’s hot for her brother, but, indeed, it’s not a harem. The dude’s in a committed relationship and is indeed enough of a badass in his own right to not be boring.

      • I don’t really mind the little sister, because the series doesn’t try to have its cake and eat it too on that one.

      • It’s a terribly low bar, but yes. I actually am fine with it too because the sister is a character in her own right separate from the brotherlust. In fact IIRC in the light novel she’s something of a hardass who straight-up kills the villain she had to fight.

      • And it’s literally the coolest part in the first six or so volumes, yeah.

  • Romance fic! Most of this is just going to be copypasta, but there’s some weird stuff too, like someone being so committed to find-and-replace they give us “sweet zombie Arceus”. Also lots of pokescrewing, becau […]

  • I am, as ever, a moth to folly’s candle.

    The Tenth Line is an RPG by the creator of The Reconstruction and I Miss the Sunrise, and represents the developer’s first foray into commercial gamemaking. It is b […]

    • Nerem replied 2 weeks ago

      Who is the random generic guy on the left?

      • “Random generic guy” is pretty accurate. His daughter was the last girl to be captured and sacrificed by the cult, so now he sees the Princess as his replacement goldfish and follows her around like a lost puppy. I actually did like the resolution to that: she calls him on it and he acknowledges that she’s her own person that he shouldn’t use as a surrogate daughter. But he is otherwise really boring. I think his main purpose is as a Watson the dragons can exposit at, but Sonya would have worked much better for that in a version where she had an actual character arc involving overcoming her racism.

        • Also, I didn’t see you ever bring this up but how… did the con artist lady get away with pretending to be the princess? You’d think the princess going missing and travelling about would be huge news.

          • She pretended to be the princess of a made-up kingdom. In fairness, she starts in the sticks, so it makes sense that Rik and Tox might not have an encyclopedic knowledge of world politics. (Except later we learn they are both avid readers and presumably got a good education from their human parents, so…)

            • I… really? I mean, that just seems like they’d be able to see through it because they never heard of her kingdom and thus if they had any sense they’d question why she was on the run in a country so far away that they had never heard of her.

              • Yes. There really should have been a scene where Rik looks it up in an atlas and it turns out it is a real country. More suspicion in general would have helped give the reveal… any significance at all, really. The characters fall way too quickly into perfectly chummy RPG party buddies who will follow each other to Hell and back regardless, so the reveal means nothing.

                It’s possible the idea was supposed to be that Rik was just blinded by greed, but Tox should really know better. Like I said, this would all make so much more sense if they knew about the black dragon gathering earlier so Tox had reason to tag along.

    • I’ve started to grow fond of games that subvert the ‘instantly buddies’ thing. FF13 did a pretty good job of them not particularly liking each other but being forced into helping each other.

      Endless Frontier’s entire party dynamic is that everyone is a jerk to each other because they have zero reason to like each other but over time it grows fond and friendly as they do get to know each other.

      Super Robot Wars Z1 has the ideological clash in the party between the military members and civilians grow so wide that their supposed allies are able to play their trust of each other’s methods that it causes the party to split in half and fight each other midway through the game.

      That’s all better than the ‘can’t question each other because we’re party members!’.

      Did she claim to be a princess to anyone else, or was it only for their sake?

      • Only for their sake. There are multiple points where she chastises Rik for saying it by accident, which I suppose is foreshadowing for the reveal. (Of course she also doesn’t give them a name so it’s not like he has any other way to refer to her, which is a pretty dumb move on her part.)
        You ever play the RPGMaker game The Way? Its party listing was a constant revolving door with tons of betrayals and working at cross-purposes, and I really liked that. Prevented you and the characters from getting too comfortable.

    • I haven’t. Maybe I should. I have a fondness for RPGmaker games.

      So she doesn’t give them a fake name of any sort? Surprised that didn’t set off their bullshit-o-meter.

      That does remind me of Heavy Metal L-Gaim where the protagonist is in a similiar situation as the Princess, except he’s a real Prince. His fake name is literally ‘Daba Mylord’, because while he was able to get his faithful retainer to call him Daba, his retainer kept instinctively adding ‘my lord!’ to his name. So Daba just rolled with it and pretended ‘Mylord’ was his last name.

      • Yeah, she’s literally only referred to as “the Princess” even in menus. She disguises it by playing up the arrogance and insisting they can only call her “Your Highness”. I think it makes soooome sense — a royal’s country is often more important than their name, and some aristocrats even used to be known only by the name of their holdings, but it is still weird. Rik in particular is supposed to be really street-smart, so it’s rather OOC that he lets himself get conned so easily.

        (re: The Way, I will warn you that it has a bad case of Loose Ends. The ending resolves basically nothing and makes no attempt to answer any of the long-standing setting mysteries. Play it for the journey, not the destination.)

        • Aristocrats actually do tend to be known by their holdings. So if she had done that, it would have made some sense. Or some other official title.  Surprised Rik and Tox didn’t want to take advantage of her princessness for monetary gain. Of the ‘reward’ kind I mean.


          And eh, I’m kind of use to games that do that, and probably have played worse.

  • Alison Paul became a registered member 2 weeks, 3 days ago

  • This year’s crop!

    Inside: Anodyne, Thomas Was Alone, Ossuary, Dreaming Sarah.

    Action Adventure

    This is a really disappointing Zelda clone. There is basically only one tool/mechanic, and […]

    • Though I did like the use of glitch-like elements.

      I think I would have liked it better if the void tiles were passable. What really frustrated me was that it was too easy to get stuck and then you’d just have to restart, which was boring and tedious. You couldn’t really experiment with it, even though the game expected you to. It would probably have also worked a lot better if you just couldn’t mess with wall tiles at all. You shouldn’t implement really fringe, uncontrollable mechanics unless you do a lot of work to prevent players from breaking stuff and getting themselves into unwinnable situations.

  • The absurdly-named Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is an iteration of the transported-to-fantasy-world story that tries to distinguish itself by being, like, realistic, man. I found its overuse of the worst anime […]

    • So… what is a grimgar? Are there other grimgars who aren’t of fantasy and ash? Grimgars of fear and rom-com?

    • Wow, that’s interesting — one of the scriptwriters for the show must have had their shit together. In the book they all still have basically a month’s worth of money and they do it just to practice fighting.

    • I’ve only watched the anime, didn’t read the novel. From what you’re saying here, it does appear that the anime significantly improves on the story. The low-key focus comes out stronger without boggling the narrative under unnecessary details, at the very least.

      On the other hand, I didn’t feel any particular attachment to the characters, so I think their portrayal is rather faithful to the novel (I did like Maria, a cleric who replaces the dead guy, but I think I liked her for the wrong reasons. I actually appreciated her no-bullshit “I’m here to do work and work I do” attitude, and when her tragic story was revealed and she started to become more open, etc., it came as a disappointment).

      Overall, I’d say the anime is OK if you’re in the right mood, though still deeply flawed and very much plagued by fanservice and character cliches.

      Also, I still can’t get over the dark knights (or however they’re called) guild. Sure, let’s join a fucking death cult that somehow is allowed to operate alongside churches that should hate its guts, that’s clearly a splendid idea.

      • Head priest is voiced by Kotomine Kirei. That’s why the death cult is allowed to operate without harassment.
        The anime is probably overall better than the LN I’d say, but it also means you have to follow the camera over to the girls every time Joke/Pervert Boy (what is that trope called anyway?) has an opinion about them.

        • what is that trope called anyway?

          The Brock.

          • This was some unholy Combination of Obnoxious Anime Comic Relief and the Brock. I’m not sure if there’s a specific name for that, but it’s certainly a subtrope that gets enough play that it deserves its own.

    • Argh, yeah, I forgot how two-dimensional the characters were. I mean the Joke Pervert boy is the worst by miles, but none of the characters were actually compelling.I didn’t read the LN, just watched the anime, and it seems from the review that the anime is strictly superior, if only because it doesn’t waste time teaching people the glorious drudgery of opening bank accounts.Also the anime has Kotomine Kirei’s voice actor play the head of the priest’s guild, so obviously someone had their shit together.Speaking of, I do wonder about worlds that stick to strict RPG tropes even down to classes. We have something similar in the West where we’ll take, like, Dungeons and Dragons, and tell a story in a world nominally faithful to those mechanics. As such, the trope doesn’t really bother me all that much, as long as I don’t think about, say, why there’s an advertised Thieves’ Guild that never gets in trouble with the law.Death cults operating in the mainstream is totally kosher, though; not sure what illhousen’s problem is there.

      • Argh, yeah, I forgot how two-dimensional the characters were.

        The monsters had some surprising depth to them, considering they’re treated as expendable mooks by the narrative for the most part.

        (Though that actually created a dissonance for me: like, we see them have their own society, living their own lives when the heroes are away, so… ah… are we sure we should root for those random mercs working on clearly corrupt government – given it sees nothing wrong with employing amnesiac conscripts on a very deadly job? What exactly makes them better than the goblins? What makes their claim on the land more valid, aside from pure strength of arms?

        When the protagonists are nicknamed Goblin Slayers, is it some kind of I Am Legend shit going on here? Like, is it an ironic nod towards them becoming genocidial warmongers?

        Though I guess I shouldn’t be surprising with Kotomine running the show. He probably has a boner thinking about how to best point such things out to the protagonists.)

        We have something similar in the West where we’ll take, like, Dungeons and Dragons, and tell a story in a world nominally faithful to those mechanics.

        Are you talking about Dragonlance books and the like? Because they were kinda shit, and some of it can be attributed to them following D&D mechanics and overall adventure structure.

        I’d say generally it’s a good idea to conceal the RPG roots and reconnect mechanics back to reality.

        • I mean, I know why people like books and other media that ape tabletop/video game mechanics. They’re familiar and relatable to people who play them. It’s not like folks who don’t play games are reading that stuff. 

          I’m not even mad about it, honestly. Most of the smarter authors stick to parody when using this stuff, and move away as the material is better able to stand on its own. The authors that don’t remain charitably obscure. 

      • Light novels are definitely way worse about sticking to RPG mechanics that don’t make sense than things in the west. Sure, you see things like “the Thieves Guild”, but that’s a narrative deal, it’s not like… Tate no Yuusha literally having characters pull down 3D character sheets to check their stats like it was fucking Sword Art Online.

        • Sword Art Online might also have played a role in all this, with later writers just flat-out ignoring the fact that SAO was a literal video game and so had the only real justification for game mechanics. When your worldbuilding fail exceeds SAO, you know you’ve got problems.
          I watched KonoSuba recently (which is now one of my favorite isekai, probably due to the low bar for the genre), and while it’s still dumb to have a ‘real’ world run on game mechanics, I think they salvaged the premise as well as they could by making it a failing world that gets marketed for reincarnation and has actual goddesses acting like salespeople to get folks to go there. That was pretty goddamn hilarious and a good way to frame the usual ‘average loser protagonist reborn in another world but now he’s totally hax and gets all the chicks’ plot.

          • Well, to be fair, Konosuba is more of a parody of the typical isekai plot. It looked at the premise, said “this is fucking stupid”, and wrote an appropriately fucking stupid plot to go with it.

            That said, I’m surprised I’ve never seen a masochistic tank character before Konosuba. You think that’d be an obvious joke. Who else would pick a tank class in a real life situation?

            • Nerem replied 2 weeks ago

              If I had to be a tank to be a Death Knight, I’d be one in a heartbeat.


              The real reason it took so long is that the idea of a ‘tank character’ in Konosuba’s sense largely doesn’t exist outside of MMOs, since most non-MMOs don’t give you that many options, if any, to get enemies to attack you. So you just end up being a fighter who can survive a few hits.

              While I still suggest watching Aura Battler Dunbine for a good look at a silly Isekai story, you should also watch Chou Mashin Wataru for a more parody look at it, from around the same era.

              Relatedly, both Chou Mashin Wataru and Aura Battler Dunbine are the stars of the upcoming Isekai-themed game Super Robot Wars X.



              It’s prolly going to do the whole isekai premise way better than Grimgar.

    • I did like that the anime frequently pushed the idea that the monsters were people with their own societies, giving them things like agriculture and civilians in addition to being smart and using traps/tactics.
      I remember that endcard after the group kills that gang of goblins – it was just the leader goblin sitting on a crate surrounded by little doglike critters petting one and I was just like, shit.

    • I’m mostly baffled over why it’s so prevalent. Like, sure, power fantasies, I get it, but there is a lot of ways to turn your SI into god when you’re the author, so why this particular gimmick?

      Was there some genre-defining story that everyone now copies or something?

      • That story was called Dragon Quest.

        • Off-topic, but Dragon Quest 5 was very good.

          • Have you been playing DQ5 remake or DQ5 original? You’d probably understand more why America went for FF over DQ if you played the originals of both. The early games of DQ were SUPER ROUGH and had a lot of incredibly unfun design decisions. And then DQ6 and 7 were incredibly poorly made and even Japan ran screaming from the series for a while.

            • Original of the first trilogy, remakes of the second. I’m enjoying 6 :×

            • I want royalties on this gag.

            • I hear people liked 6’s remake. It probably helped that it didn’t cost over 130 dollars to buy.

              DQ7’s big issue is that it’s super slow and tedious to actually travel around and there’s a TON of travelling around and the plot is very slow and not all that interesting.

            • All I know about 7 is that it has a playtime of over 100 hours and I’m morbidly curious as to whether I can get through it or not. I have seen a decent amount of people say it was long but engaging enough to get through, so we’ll see.

            • Get the remake if you value your sanity. My frirnd who loves DQ had to play the remake version. It fixes a lot of those issues I mentioned.

            • Methinks it is perhaps time for you to take this to a discussion post.

            • Eh, the notifications are only going to me and I don’t really care. I’ll probs do a DQ overview post eventually.

        • I’ve heard that Dragon Quest was weirdly influential on certain kind of Japanese media, but I would like details.

          Though I’d say it still doesn’t explain the love for mechanics. Like, D&D was influential in fantasy circles as well, codifying the portrayal of various character races and archetypes, but it’s not like many authors outright used Vancian magic or talked about stats and levels in the narrative.

          • “Dragon Quest” is sort of like the Tolkien of JRPGs: not the first videogame RPG ever (the “Ultima” series, for instance, came first), but it basically created the JRPG genre.

            • At risk of sending this thread careening toward a completely unrelated discussion, I wonder why FF got bigger in the west than DQ. Every DQ game I’ve played is better than every FF game I’ve played. I’ve been working my way through the DQ catalogue from the beginning on the advice of smallestbrother (I’m on 6 now), and even the first few were quite cute and entertaining, while FF always has left me feeling like I wasted my time.

            • Could have been a localization issue. Early localization and marketing was hit-and-miss enough that even a better game wouldn’t necessarily become popular or even well-known outside Japan. It took Fire Emblem until like 2003 to cross the ocean, for instance, and that series is goddamn spectacular.

            • Nerem replied 2 weeks ago

              I never really liked DQ. It’s the gameplay.


              Well, not completely true. I adore DQ Monsters. The main series is largely just kind of mehly generic gameplay-wise. It does have some good story, but eh I just don’t feel it a lot of the time.


            • Yeah, there it is. A three-year gap is way too long, especially in that time period. Heck, maybe Final Fantasy came out in the States earlier, despite having been made later.
              By 1989, a lot of RPGs like Wasteland, Bard’s Tale 1-3, and NetHack had already shaped Western perceptions of what an RPG should be like. It wouldn’t surprise me that DQ was too little, too late.

            • And then Final Fantasy 1 came out less than a year later in America and way a lot more impressive gameplay and story-wise.

          • Nerem replied 2 weeks ago

            A lot of early parodies of DQ in Japanese media directly used the mechanics, and it stuck. It just became the idea of going to a fantasy RPG-eque world ALSO means the mechanics existing too. A really famous show actually was just straight up Dragon Quest but as a really funny parody.

            • A comedy or parody can get away with a lot of stuff that wouldn’t fly in a serious story, though.

    • Not familiar with it, so can’t say.

      What I mean is that you don’t really need to reference game mechanics in any form even if you’re writing about a world that originated as an RPG setting. Like, there are stories about a bunch of brave adventurers exploring the ruins of a temple to forgotten gods and stealing their shit that were written before RPGs were invented in modern sense. There isn’t any need to establish that characters fall into specific classes with codified abilities instead of being, you know, just people with skills that can naturally be learned in a given setting.

      • The plot of Dungeon Meshi is, if I remember correctly, the female lead’s sister is eaten by a dragon and now they have to hunt it down and kill it so she can be ressurected (since they need the body or uh… the umm… remains to ressurect a corpse). This is more a frame for ‘why we’re going into the dungeon and also figuring out how to survive in a place with little natural food.

        My favored story of this kind (called Isekai) is probably the original anime one (as I can’t think of an earlier example in anime), Aura Battler Dunbine. Which also has a protagonist being summoned to be used by a sketchy government. Except well, he figures out he’s fighting on the side of evil, or at least the more evil side.

    • Isn’t there a scene in the infamous Ono comic where Brock sneaks up on Misty in the bath? I’m not sure if it’s fair to count the Ono comic, though.

      • The Brock is more like the PG version of that trope, I feel. The Ono comic is… definitely a PG take on anything that can have a non-PG take on it.

  • “The person I wrote this story with wanted us to use master when referring to the male character and I had no objections. It has jack-shit to do with power-play or the like and the word was simply used as a means […]

  • And so we (sorta) end. We’ve got cliches upon cliches, a lot of me complaining about different openings, a fresh nuzlocke outbreak, people thinking bad is automatically clever, a few things that are actually good, […]

    • Now you’ve got me curious about who the other horrible person is.

    • Thank you for your review!!! You’re right, I’ll see if I can get some more unusual systems of poke-government in the next time it happens.

      I would further add the petty note that this is the only goddamn “you don’t need to know the other fic” fic I’ve hit this month where that’s actually true.


    • <i>[And while I love Nina and Luhan a lot, I couldn’t have brought anyone but Jessica with me. The two of them can actually function while being apart from me. While Jessica…]</i>

      Is this…a K-pop/Pokémon crossover?  I suppose there are a worse ways to do it, but the summary has me wondering if there’s going to be some hot political takes with a lot potential to go wrong.

      I suspect that’s the reason why the paragraph you mentioned sounds like an awkward humble-brag.  I bet they decided on the nickname “wondergirl” at first–the Wondergirls are a now disbanded Korean pop group–and then tried to build a justification around it.

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