Misc Discussion Post

In case some new thing comes up and everyone wants to chat about that without taking over a random post.

If you’re looking for the Dragon’s Blaze/Hybrid of Fate drama, that’s here.


  1. CrazyEd says:

    So! Exalted! This is a subject I’m pretty passionate about, so apologies in advance. For anything. For everything, probably.

    What they did to The Ebon Dragon in MoEP: Infernals isn’t as bad as in RotSE. If you stat it, they will kill it. Hilariously easy, in The Ebon Dragon’s case. I’m pretty sure it can be done at chargen if you optimise hard enough. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Infernals, but I think its a matter of personal taste. I don’t like transhumanism, for one. But what I do really like? Malfeas. Its one of the most interesting parts of the setting. I love the hierarchy of Yozi and all their various component souls and everything about the idea. I even like the Not-Yozi in Scion whose sub-souls became Judeo-Christian angels as part of a plot to draw worship away from the true gods in a setting where the various pagan mythologies are all true and belief is magical power.

    I do like the mechanics though. I never understood why the core concept of how Infernals were meant to work get a bad rap in the post 2.5 environment unless you count Ink Moneys extras which totally break them because that blog has zero balance or why people always acted like the Reclamation was an inevitability if the existence of Infernals was confirmed in your game insane power level of Ink Monkeys Infernals making it deadly easy to do so aside. The Ebon Dragon is the master of the long game. He started plotting as soon as he became imprisoned in Malfeas. Breaking the Jade Prison was the beginning of phase one of his plan. These two events happened about five thousand years apart. Even assuming the Reclamation is a done deal once it starts, just because your ST introduces a slayer as a boss character doesn’t mean that the Yozi will escape Malfeas within a year if the PCs don’t do anything And the less said about all the changes they wanted to make to Infernals in 3e the better. Unfortunately, I’m not sure which ones stuck around and which ones got reviled so hard they backpedaled on it, like the idea that your PC Infernals were prototypes to test out the shards of Exaltation before the real agents of the Reclamation are created.

    1. illhousen says:

      If you stat it, they will kill it.

      That’s actually not a huge problem in Exalted specifically compared to, say, Lovecraftian stuff. You’re playing as demigods with the power to reshape the world in your image. If you feel like defeating the Principle of Opposition that doesn’t even properly exist, well, you can do that.

      It becomes a problem when the players know mechanics better than the developers, so TED is not as impressive as he should be, but that’s a somewhat separate issue.

      why people always acted like the Reclamation was an inevitability if the existence of Infernals was confirmed in your game

      That’s rather bizarre. Infernals are hilariously bad servants. They’re way too prone to wandering off and exacting vengeance or carve their own little kingdoms or, well, do pretty much everything except their stated goal. And I’m not even going to get into heretical path stuff.

      With Infernals around you honestly should worry more about Infernals being around than about Yozi.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Oh, true, true. Both The Ebon Dragon, the Incarnae, and probably a lot of other Big Setting Names (the Kukla?) get painfully easy-to-take statblocks. I’ve got no problem with being able to fight and kill The Ebon Dragon, but like I said, a starting level Exalt should not be able to defeat him no matter what he does and how optimised he is. I should’ve said something like “if you stat it, they’ll kill it with laughable ease”. It occurs to me I’ve never assessed the Scarlet Empress’s takeability in RotSE (I outright avoided looking at it to avoid getting mad because I knew I would), but considering she’s a Dragonblooded, she’s probably pretty easy to take out.

        Infernals are hilariously bad servants.

        And, unlike the Abyssals (has anyone here been around long enough to remember when Abyssals were the antagonist splat?), the Yozi don’t have the options of a carrot or a stick to ensure loyalty. They only have carrots that the Infernals can very easily get for themselves with their own power. Abyssals have both the Liege background and the shard-containers which can be used as a leash. And those are for the deathlords; the neverborn don’t even have any motivation to keep them loyal. They’ve got something like twice the numbers the Infernals do, and so long as the Abyssals keep destroying things, it doesn’t matter who they’re loyal to. Forget the yozi, the neverborn are the way more immediate threat. The battle between the Exalts of Creation and the Infernals even has a very high chance of ending in a win condition for the neverborn before it does for the yozi, and the neverborn end actually is an inevitable conclusion (on a cosmically slow scale) even if the Yozi win.

        1. Farla says:

          but like I said, a starting level Exalt should not be able to defeat him no matter what he does and how optimised he is.

          That was intentional. For more of the line godawful stat blocks were an accident, but that was done by the guys who knew the system, and the official line was that, because this was such an awesome book, they wanted it to be playable by all groups…which, of course, means it’s a cakewalk to anyone who’s experienced.

          and the neverborn end actually is an inevitable conclusion (on a cosmically slow scale) even if the Yozi win.

          I’m fond of the idea that the yozi intend to help their siblings – whether or not they can when they seem to have difficulty even understanding it is another thing, but I’d assume it’s on the agenda if only because no one wants to share a house with flayed screaming zombie family members. It also gives loyalist infernals (and why have anything but loyalist infernals, really) another thing to be holier-than-thou about if their plan would, theoretically, address the greatest of the doom clusterfuck Creation faces.

          1. CrazyEd says:

            That was intentional.

            Intentionally bad game design is still bad game design. It’s worse than accidental bad game. At least if it was accidental I could just pretend it was an oversight and not that they thought it was a clever piece of game design. The Ink Monkeys could’ve really benefited from having someone around solely to dismiss their ideas no matter how good they were just to encourage them to think more deeply about them. I remember when someone leaked a playtest document and two charms in the same charm tree could be combined into an infinite xp generator and there were several which were impossible to fix without completely deleting them and waiting until they were working on the Sidereal book. As the person my group comes to for homebrew balancing, even if it was a playtest document, these are not mistakes that should’ve required playtesters to catch.


            the yozi intend to help their siblings

            I don’t understand what you mean by this. Help them how, exactly? Bring them back to life? That’s one of the two golden laws of things you can’t do in Exalted.

            the late-2e idea that Exalts could never be servants

            One of the most fun Exalted PCs I ever played was a heavily indoctrinated Night Caste member of the Cult of the Illuminated. In a game that was otherwise casteless lunars. I have no clue how I got away with this PC concept. The funniest part is that, because the other three or four PCs were casteless lunars and there were three or four silver pact lunar NPCs who found them, my PC kept getting their ideas shot down and they eventually ended up in the same role a Token Lunar ends up in with an otherwise solar party, except it was their Lunar Mate (who they were obsessed with because they had Amnesia, Past Lives 5, and a first age incarnation with a Solar Bond 5 mate they were equal partners with) who held their murder-leash.

            the most control over where their Exaltations go

            Abyssal Exaltations explicitly go to whoever the deathlord commands they do (contingent on the prospective abyssal accepting).

            1. Farla says:

              Help them how, exactly? Bring them back to life?

              Kill them/detach them from Creation/fix them enough that they’re no longer screaming zombies, possibly by just mangling them further.

              The yozi barely grasp the partial deaths they’ve been forced through, so it’s unlikely they’ll do a good job of whatever they attempt, but I am sure they intend to try something. A loyalist infernal ought to be able to claim dealing with the neverborn issue is one of the many wonderful things about giving Creation back to its true masters – especially since that opens up a line of interaction between infernals and abyssals! Loyalist abyssals of one type might want to ally with anyone who could help their ultimate masters, while the other type of loyalist might be horrified at the thought that infernals were going to get in the way of the all-devouring void and continue to allow the suffering of existence.

              Abyssal Exaltations explicitly go to whoever the deathlord commands they do (contingent on the prospective abyssal accepting).

              I mean more in terms of ripping open someone’s mind to check. I know there’s some stuff suggesting the neverborn put them through a wringer post-exaltation and could kill them and try again if they don’t like what they see, but the neverborn are so broken I don’t think they’d even know what to look for – certainly their track record with the deathlords was shit. The yozi are way more functional (including being able to learn from experience) and were doing a better job at making servants from their very first akuma attempt.

            2. CrazyEd says:

              kill the neverborn

              Killing the ghosts of the things which should have been incapable of dying in the first place. That’s just crazy, even for Exalted.

              Honestly, I have to disagree entirely. The yozi want to rule Creation. The neverborn want to destroy it. The yozi can’t rule Creation if the neverborn destroy it. Remember, Creation is the fetter that binds their primordial ghosts. If anything, infernals should be less willing to work with loyalists than renegade abyssals.

              the neverborn put them through ringer post-exaltation

              From what I can recall, the neverborn didn’t really have anything to do with the abyssals. I don’t even think they were involved in cracking the Jade Prison. I think that was either… the Silver Prince or one of the two Scavenger Lands deathlords? It’s the deathlords who do all the scouting for new abyssals. The neverborn just want shit destroyed, they don’t care how. When you think about it, the deathlords have more in common with an infernal. They actually were picked by the neverborn, have no real requirement of loyality so far as I can remember (which is why half of them want to take over Creation as well) and they even received a (third circle) demon to enter an unholy fusion with! Remember, a deathlord is a fusion between the ghost of a powerful Celestial Exalt an what was a third-circle soul of a neverborn.

      2. Farla says:

        That’s rather bizarre. Infernals are hilariously bad servants. They’re way too prone to wandering off and exacting vengeance or carve their own little kingdoms or, well, do pretty much everything except their stated goal.

        This is but one of the many reasons I immediately discarded the bit about them being failed solars who exalt and then go to meet the yozi. They really suffered from the late-2e idea that exalts could never be servants even through honest belief. Infernals should be the most devoted of the cultists, who really believe that this is the right thing. That also solves the problem of them going off in a million directions and wrecking the setting while deluting their yoziness – an infernal should only switch away from serving the yozi by being a PC who has a revelation or by PCs convincing them this isn’t the right thing to do. Abyssals don’t get the best vetting because it’s harder to do and their masters have a bunch of options if they run off. Infernals should have no leashes but be incredibly hard to turn away from their task in the first place.

        1. illhousen says:

          Hm, that actually makes sense considering that they probably have the most control over where their Exaltations go. I mean, if you go to a trouble of stuffing an Exaltation into a demon first, may as well ensure it goes to the right person.

    2. Farla says:

      Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Infernals, but I think its a matter of personal taste. I don’t like transhumanism, for one.

      As someone who likes transhumanism, part of the problem with Infernals was that the rest of the exalts were already transhuman enough and you really can’t get beyond that without compromising the idea that everyone’s fundamentally human and can’t just cut out their own flaws. Dreams of the First Age shows how bizarre and alien the exalts can get when left to their own devices, but you can still see the human base it’s all built off of. Infernals says that people can change anything in any way, while the whole rest of Exalted is built on the idea people can’t change being people.

      As to the fucking Reclamation, it’s because the designers were active all over the forums giving fifty thumbs up to the idea because THEIR exalts were so much cooler than everyone else’s and they were gonna do it (and so if you weren’t playing as infernals your characters’ new plots were all about desperately trying to stop the inevitable infernal takeover) because they could do anything but also they weren’t anybody’s servants and as soon as the yozi tried to boss them around they’d double-re-yozify the yozi but BETTER and into, like, MECHATANK SLAVE ARMOR that’s METAL AS FUCK and then they’d build a brand new creation off their bodies, and it’d have blackjack and hookers.

      Also god I hated what they did with the Ebon Dragon. There’s so many wonderful directions you can take the bits of lore we had about them and instead they erased them in favor of  basically Satan but more of a fuckup and super easy to screw over.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        One of the most infuriating ideas I’ve ever seen in the Exalted community is the idea that characters shouldn’t be shaped by their culture because an Exaltation burns that away. While it’s technically true that Exaltation could lead someone to throwing off parts of their culture they don’t like or agree with, especially with years, decades, and centuries of experience as an Exalt, who you are before you exalt should definitely inform who you are after you exalt. People are heavily shaped by their upbringing, and suddenly having a 30 yard standing long jump doesn’t mean the last twenty or thirty years of your life suddenly have no bearing on who you are as a person. At least when DotFA has people becoming these incomprehensible human-shaped  things, its after they’ve had thousands of years to forget their pre-Exaltation culture. But someone who has only been an Exalt for six months to a year like the chargen power level assumes? Your pre-exaltation culture should still mean something to you, even if it means a complete rejection of it because you’re a Solar born on the Blessed Isle. Culture should never just disappear by the mere process of Exaltation.

        As to the fucking Reclamation

        Do I smell hints of someone who dislikes the Ink Monkeys as much as I do? If the opinion of the Exalted community on this site is as negative towards them as I am, words can not express how happy that makes me, and how much less I fear this discussion turning into heated arguments. How do you feel about Evocations and the new Exalt types of 3e?

        1. Farla says:

          Like so many, I was enthusiastic about those-who-would-become-Ink-Monkeys when it began. They promised knowledge of system mechanics and beautiful charms. And then, Infernals! Which had such beautiful charms people argued that despite chapters of rape and stupid, it was still worth it for those alone! Sure, the interpretations of the yozi weren’t quite Games of Divinity level, but nothing but GoD is GoD.

          And, glory of glory, they were going to write MORE charms! They would bring this greatness to all the exalt types! …well, to solars. But that’s okay, solars are the main exalt, and who cares the lunars still have the most boring charmset ever? And…did they seriously just let solars resurrect if they die nobly protecting people, violating both the no-revival and the n0-objective-goodness clauses in one go?

          But hey, a few charms that show we are operating on completely different visions of the setting are no big deal. I can just take out anything I don’t like! And the promise of overhauling the existing mechanics into something functional for everyone is a much bigger deal.

          Exalted 2.5!!! …and there’s Shun the Smiling Lady nerfed, because a charm that exists to make powerful people hunt you down and beat you to death was overpowered and needed more reasons to never be used by anyone, so evidently the rebalancing is not really going to be helpful to me who wants like, balance and not solaroid superiority.

          All while churning out lore I hated more and more each time. Gee, what if the Sol Invictus wasn’t literally the sun, and also what if we insisted you can’t call him that anymore for some reason, and also he’s basically Jesus??? Also he totally rides Luna lol, also Luna is definitely always a sexy woman now, busy splitting her time between sexing him and lesbian sexing Gaia, also did we mention we know what Luna is now and it’s a sexy murder honeypot.

          OH HEY WE HEARD YOU LIKE ABYSSALS SO WE MADE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DEATH EXALT AND WE’RE GOING TO MAKE A BUNCH OF COOL STUFF FOR THEM INSTEAD BECAUSE THEY’RE SO MUCH BETTER. ps now any god can make an exalt at the cost of their own life because it’s not like it’s a major feature of the setting that gods aren’t very self-sacrificing or anything. Hey wait no we do have some non-solar stuff! Here’s a naked chick. No it’s empowering because she chooses to be naked.

          In conclusion I barely know how 3e works because I stopped paying attention midway through the beta test period. I should probably check again to find out what cool stuff the liminals got that I can staple back onto my abyssals.

          1. CrazyEd says:

            The most insidious part of MoEP: Infernals is… the Ink Monkeys didn’t have nearly as much to  do with the book as you might think. Go look up the credits. I only think one of them even has any credit as a writer, and I think he was the one who basically burned his ties with the others halfway through the 3e kickstarter. I think it was around the time one of them had a cancer scare, and I actually think it was the one who had the scare, come to think of it.

            I can just take out everything I don’t like!

            As someone who likes the idea of samurai RPGs but hates Legend of the Five Rings (the only “samurai”-focused game out there), let me tell you the two worst lines the designers promote the game with. Both sound totally fine on paper and I didn’t actually have a real problem with either until I became an L5R GM.

            L5R your way!

            • What You Think It Means: Oh, they’re decoupling the mechanics from the current metaplot, so I can play in the past or future, and more easily make changes to the setting without overhauling the system and vice-versa.
            • What It Actually Means: If you don’t like it, fix it yourself. And if you ask why a rule was written in a certain way (such as why the school renowned throughout the empire as the preeminant masters of the naginata lack the skill that governs naginata use), so that you can know the thought that went behind writing it that way, too bad! You’re free to change it however you like, though, L5R your way!
            • What The Fans Think It Means: You can totally add to the setting or reimagine it in alternate ways (space-opera L5R!), but if you want to modify things, you’ll get no help here. (No joke, I once posted on the AEG forums asking for, if memory serves, thoughts on my rewrite to the clan wizard school of a clan that specialized in entreating with fox spirits in the fluff, so that their school’s crunch was about entreating with fox spirits, and I got nothing but questions about why I’d want to change it and defence for why the canon version made sense).

            Rokugan Is Not Japan

            • What You Think It Means: L5R takes place in a fantasy setting heavily inspired by Japan, but it takes some divergences in the name of both wanting to be easier to learn than a college course on Japan (like simplifying the imperial court structure and culture) and making it more suitable for play as an RPG (such as allowing equal opportunity female PCs), and you can’t expect 100% historical accuracy.
            • What It Actually Means: Reading a book on medieval Japanese history and culture will often give you the exact opposite that a book on Rokugan would give you on the same topic.
            • What The Fans Think It Means: You’re a no fun bastard for wanting people to memorize books and books of history (that you consider more interesting than the setting that was purpose built to be interesting) even though we’re going to memorize these books and books of setting fluff without complaint.

            So here’s another Death Exalt

            Remember that time one of them “clarified” that Abyssals aren’t the Exalts of Death, they’re the Exalts of Murder? Hooh boy that was a fun day. I don’t really have a problem with Liminal Exalted in a vaccuum (from what I can recall of them, at least, which can basically be summed up as “Promethean: the Exalted”), but all the new Exalts step on too many toes. The “problem” with Half-Castes (come to think of it, half-castes better fit the definition of a liminal being than Liminal Exalted, don’t they?) was that they couldn’t compete with Exalts (which was the point), so Exigents now. The problem with Sidereals is their continued existence, so Getiman now.

            Remember how the core religious structure of the Scarlet Empire is that being a good peasant who keeps your head down will reward you with a better life next time around the wheel of reincarnation and the Exalt types that you become in this life by being disruptive to the social order are all demons (sort of like the dichotomy between Hinduism and Buddhism)? Last I checked, exigents had Immaculate Order approval, because its hard to claim their demons when the god who made them can set up a soap box on the street corner to tell everyone they didn’t steal his power.

            Here’s a naked chick.

            This is Exalted. You’re really going to have to be more specific.

            I barely know how 3e works.

            Last I checked, it worked like 2e but with the damage-resolution system of Final Fantasy: Dissidia taped onto the top of it, accuracy is no longer the combat god-stat (now its damage for pretty much the exact same reasons accuracy was the god stat), half the charms modified what dice results gave what successes in what situations (because Excellencies were bad so we had to go back to 1e charmsets with 50 “this charm gives +1 dice when doing X Action”), and computing your dice totals is so complex they literally had to custom build a dicebot to handle it (and not just for online play either, it was a general use tool that you could use on your phone for real-life games). So I guess I’m still stuck with 2.0 with half of the TCA errata (also non-Ink Monkeys work, if I recall). I hope my players will all be okay with “you all meet at an orgy” instead of “you all meet in a tavern”…

            Not that it matters, for me, because 3e could literally be the most perfect system ever devised by man and I’d still hate all the changes they made to the fluff supposed in the name of making it more like early 1e (which, as a reminder, is the system everyone immediately dropped- even my friend who owns literally every 1e book- the moment 2e’s core dropped) because they don’t realize all that mystique was because only three books were published in the first six months of the run to provide any answers to the mystery of the setting and even if they completely reboot the setting instead of awkwardly stapling in their new Exalt types, people are still going to remember the previous two editions. The only book I’m considering looking at is the DB book because it promises lots of stuff about the Heptagram I might be able to steal. It was supposed to be out in the first six months of 3e (which was, if I recall, slated for a 2012 Q4 release with a collector’s edition core within the year) so it should be coming out in the next year or two, probably.

            You can reboot a system, and you can reboot a setting, but you can’t reboot a player. And if they dont’ believe that, I’d like them to talk to any Planescape who dropped older D&D editions for 4e before 4e Planescape was released. Those poor bastards. Oh well, at least it calmed down 3e fanboys from cawing to their STs about how they should switch from 2e to 3e the day the corebook dropped, even if they were playing non-Solars. Somewhat, at least.

            1. CrazyEd says:

              Hah hah whoops I meant to take out the bullet-point list of unrelated L5R criticism and leave this one in instead! Blame my accursed lack of an edit button.

              did they seriously just let solars ressurect

              I think the main problems I have with the Ink Monkeys, in no particular order

              • Half the biggest 2e Is Unsalvagable Sins they spent the second half of 2e harping on were ones they created in the first place and the other half were ones they exacerbated to insane levels.
              • There’s no internal criticism. I can’t remember how many times a new Ink Monkeys release would come out and it’d look like half-formed ideas sketched out for homebrewing. I made alpha versions of homebrew with more polish than their finished versions… which leads us to
              • So many times, it seems like their only form of errata was “oh god, please forget we released this” after fan reaction was “it took me only one read-through to find five ways this was broken”. Remember the debacle that was the 3e preview PDF for Abyssals? After the tenth time in a row you use “oh, we were only pretending to be stupid/going over the line to see how far we could go” I think everyone has stopped believing it. But hey, they’re not rape-ghosts, they only meant “ravish in the Victorian romance novel sense”. So they’re just ghosts which are so overcome by their passion for you that they can’t help but force themselves upon you sexually. It’s totally different, you guys.
              • So much of their work was broken on the conceptual level. I mentioned this in passing earlier, but one of the charms in the playtest document was a Lore charm that allowed a Solar to study something for a few days and make a prediction based on what had happened in the past (I believe the example was predicting the next time a volcano would errupt) and reality would rewite itself to make the solar correct. As if Sidereals didn’t already have enough on their plate with Creation being like “Jurassic Park after the power goes out” because all the Lunars (all of them) who hate them for some reason.

              There are probably more categories to lump the problems I have into, but let’s start with those three/four (the second and third are kind of two halves of one), since they’re probably the biggest.

              Oh, and I just remembered: 2.5e was a slap-dash bandaid they put zero effort into and never intended to finish because it existed solely to get the Ink Monkeys the third edition. Not really a pattern in the individual events but this is definitely one of their worst things.

  2. CrazyEd says:

    Miscellaneous is just a fancy way of saying “pen and paper RPGs”, right?

    So while I was reading through some of the older reviews on this site, someone once suggested half a decade ago that Farla read the Ciaphas Cain books from the Warhammer 40,000 series (which struck me as odd considering those are generally considered one of if not the best WH40k novel series, especially for people new to the setting and people who actively dislike the setting), it got me thinking about what other RPGs might be popular on this site (WH40k wasn’t one of them).

    Obviously, there is a decent number of Exalted fans around, but what about other RPGs? Is there an RPG system/setting you absolutely can’t stand? That obscure niche RPG you’ve always wanted to play but never got the chance (besides Unknown Armies)? And, relevant to the comment that inspired this one, what RPG-inspired books would you recommend to read or avoid like the plague?

    I’ve personally always found the original Dragonlance trilogy a fascinating series. A lot of post-D&D “Tolkienian” fantasy has been accused of just aping Tolkien’s style without his substance (a valid complaint) but its fascinating to see just to what degree Dragonlance takes that to. If you’ve ever wondered what Lord of the Rings would’ve been like if Gandalf was fused with Tom Bombadil, I can’t more heavily suggest any book other than the first Dragonlance trilogy.

    Also, kender.

    But the most important question I could possibly ask here is: Does non-official fiction set in RPG settings count as fanfiction? Do individual RPGs run in published settings count as collaborative fanfiction? This is a question that’s been bugging me for about nine of the ten years I’ve been obsessed with funny shaped dice, but I’ve never had enough contact with the fanfiction community to get an answer until now.

    1. illhousen says:

      Obviously, there is a decent number of Exalted fans around, but what about other RPGs?

      You can check out Tabletop RPG section/tag, I’ve reviwed a number of things I enjoy, plus performed a lengthy dissections on Dresden Files RPG and DragonRaid.

      As to my current favorites:

      – Don’t Rest Your Head

      – Polaris

      – A Penny for My Thoughts

      – The Mountain Witch

      – Unknown Armies (everything but mechanics which I actually dislike)

      – Over the Edge

      – Cat

      – Some takes on FATE system, which is a pretty good system for doing something weird and your own.

      – White Wolf stuff is hit and miss, but when it hits, it’s pretty great.

      – Fiasco is just fun

      – Savage Worlds for the sake of nostalgia-ridden adventure. It’s like D&D but more to my tastes

      – I fondly remember Ars Magica as one of the first tRPGs I actually owned, but I didn’t play it much

      – deadEarth for sheer entertaining value. Try to generate a character and you’ll know what I mean

      – currently I’m reading Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine (from the creator of Nobilis, though I didn’t actually read Nobilis), which appears to be pretty great if a bit dense and opaque to my liking. It has rules for character arcs, it’s amazing

      Probably forgetting a bunch of stuff, but those are games that I liked (or liked something about them) that I can remember off the top of my head.

      Is there an RPG system/setting you absolutely can’t stand?

      Aside from the obvious like FATAL and Hybrid? Well, DragonRaid just baffled me with its mechanical decisions, and I don’t care much for the underlying ideology. I’m easily bored by complex rules, so I generally avoid the likes of GURPS and D&D.

      Nasuverse RPG has genuinely offended my sensibilities by being a goddamn monster of a book that clearly has no idea how to adapt shit.

      Aside from that, I’m generally cautious in my RPG choices, so I didn’t encounter much awful stuff that I didn’t want to find for pointing and laughing purposes to begin with.

      That obscure niche RPG you’ve always wanted to play but never got the chance (besides Unknown Armies)?

      I actually played Unknown Armies on numerous occasions. It works in accordance with its themes, but mechanics is really not my cup of tea.

      The actual answers would be:

      – Monsters and Other Childish Things

      – Little Fears

      – Houses of the Blooded

      And, relevant to the comment that inspired this one, what RPG-inspired books would you recommend to read or avoid like the plague?

      Well, Godwalker is a fine novel for Unknown Armies, though, really, if you want Unknown Armies novel, the Last Call by Tim Powers is a better choice. It’s not actually about UA at all, but it certainly captures the feel anyway.

      Currently I’m reading Fable of the Swan for Chuubo’s, which so far is pretty good. A bit surreal, a lot pastoral and a bit horrifying, good combination.

      I’ve personally always found the original Dragonlance trilogy a fascinating series.

      Meh, honestly, when I read it, it just left me with a feeling of emptiness. A lot of stuff happened, but it didn’t feel like it had any meaning, and you could hear dice rolling in the distance.

      Writing your novel based on your game sessions is not the best way to approach the task without some really heavy editing.

      Does non-official fiction set in RPG settings count as fanfiction?

      Yes, you can even find some in the Pit.

      I would suggest A Green Sun Illuminates the Void, an Exalted fanfic. It’s a crossover with Familiar of Zero, though, but you don’t have to read it to understand what’s going on (and you’re probably better off avoiding it anyway because it’s a forgettable harem light novel that gained traction in the fandom solely due to an easy crossover mechanism and some cool stuff in setting lore. The fic in question reworks a lot of plot and setting elements to make the work, well, not shitty).

      Do individual RPGs run in published settings count as collaborative fanfiction?

      You mean, like, session transcripts and play-by-post games? No, the usual term for them is RP. They’re banned on the Pit and in general are rarely of any interest to anyone outside of people involved in the play.

      TRPGs in general are very in-group oriented when it comes to narrative decisions. What would be considered a terrible idea in the fandom can be easily accepted in play because it ties to some in-joke or match your tastes or whatever.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Oh yeah, now that you mention it, I remember reading that review of the Dresden Files RPG. I think skimming that book, long before I ever actually read anything of the Dresden Files, was my first introduction to FATE all those years ago. That was probably… 2008 or ’09, I wanna say? I don’t exactly remember when that book came out.

        As to my current favorites

        Jeez, you sure do like the rules-light narrative systems, huh? I’ll try my best, for the sake of civility, not to make a huge textdump on how I feel about those. Suffice to say, it ain’t good (though most of it is specifically directed at FATE), and I vastly prefer games that just dump a whole bunch of things to simulate a world and let me handle the story all by myself. I eagerly await the day that the tracksuit-wearing nutters on 4chan’s Traditional Games board finish their overhaul of Riddle of Steel (though, last I checked, their game was at least as functional as RoS is, despite still being in beta).

        Chuubo’s Marvellous Wish-Granting Engine […] appears a bit opaque

        That’s kind of the author’s signature mark at this point.

        I’m easily bored bored by compelx rules

        All the rules you need for GURPS, minus huge lists of things you can buy, can probably fit on a 15 page print-out. GURPS Ultra-Lite is about that big, I think. The compelxity is front-loaded at chargen. Buying skills is a bit of a hassle, but using skills is just 3d6 roll-under all day every day. I started really getting into GURPS after I tried AD&D and found I liked it more than either 3.5e (because its terrible) or 4e (too slow and I hate all the equipment that’s needed). AD&D 2e is definitely a product of its time, though, and GURPS does basically everything I liked about AD&D far better.

        clearly no idea how to adapt shit

        Man, oh man, I hope you never read Pokemon Tabletop Adventures if you couldn’t handle the Nasuverse RPG.

        Unknown Armies

        I’ve ran UA once completely by the seat of my pants. It should’ve been a lot more terrible than it was. Something I discovered while doing so is that a great place to find fodder for Unknown Armies is, of all things, the Kamen Rider series. Some of the darker shows, like Kamen Rider Kuuga and Agito, could literally be adapted into Unknown Armies games with absolutely zero modification if you cast the PCs as the police officers who are forced to deal with the Monsters of the Week as well as the Tokusatsu Hero who is just as unknown and terrifying from their perspective (to the point where Kamen Rider Kuuga was labelled Unidentified Life Form #2 during his fight with the first MotW, who received the #1 designation, and then was later labelled #4 when his powers fully developed and his default form changed during the fight with #3).

        Incidentally, if any one here likes Madoka, I highly recommend both Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Gaim. You’ll easily be able to see the parallels between Madoka and Ryuki and Kamen Rider Gaim is kind of like… what would happen if PMMM magical girls were involved in the Holy Grail War of F/Z, sorta? Gen Urobuchi really likes Kamen Rider Ryuki.

        Houses of the Blooded

        John Wick is my RPG Arch-nemesis. I could probably write an entire blog tearing down his entire blog. HotB has a mechanic where you gain a bonus for helping out members of your clan but are compelled (in the FATE sense) to help out members of your clan. What a debilitating flaw! And that’s not even the worst balanced aspect in the game. That one would be the one every clan gets by default because its objectively the best clan aspect that literally every playtest group took because it was objectively the best.


        Exactly. That’s what makes it so fascinating. But, for the record, only the first novel was written like that. The second and third had the novels written first and then turned into adventure novels to lessen the episodic nature of the first novel. It works, but only so far as it feels like someone writing a game of D&D where the DM controls all the characters instead of a novelization of an D&D game people played before.

        the Pit

        … The Pit?

        Familiar of Zero

        The only thing I know about this series is that one of the characters finds a pair of M72 LAWs that are known in-setting as Wands of Destruction.

        forgettable harem light novel

        I’ve probably read worse. I can chew through the harem genre like y’all go through YA novels (most of them aren’t nearly as bad as the stuff on this blog). I feel bad for admitting this, but I’ve seriously considered writing a serious article analysing about how Daily Life With Monster Girls fails even on the level of shameless fanservice (but it’d probably just turn into an essay on why Interviews with Monster Girls is everything I actually wanted from Monster Musume and more because Interviews with Monster Girls is a legitimately good series I would recommend to anyone reading). But first I’d have to find a series that succeeds at the goal of being shameless fanservice to compare and contrast it with… and that’s a rabbit hole I’d rather not go down. 

        session transcripts and play-by-post games

        I was thinking the actual games themselves, or for a more The Pit acceptable format, the replay genre of novels in Japan. Not quite session transcripts, but… the first Dragonlance novel, actually! That would probably count as a replay novel in Japan.

        1. illhousen says:

          Jeez, you sure do like the rules-light narrative systems, huh?

          That I do (though the number is misleading. Most of them aren’t meant for long campaigns but rather for short, 1-5 sessions modules, after which you put the game away and move on to something else before returning to it a year later if you liked it).

          I approach role-playing primary as a collaborative storytelling and generally like games that put some direct narrative control into players’ hands. It helps that my group has three people more comfortable in GM position than that of a player.

          If I were to critisize narrative games, I would say that it’s crucial for everyone to be on the same page regarding what you want to get out of the game and where you want it to go. Games built on different paradigms generally handle players with varying tastes and ideas better.

          You also need to be invested in crafting a story over other considerations as in some narrative games munchkinning is pretty easy but pointless.

          All the rules you need for GURPS, minus huge lists of things you can buy, can probably fit on a 15 page print-out. GURPS Ultra-Lite is about that big, I think.

          I know, but using GURPS Lite feels kinda pointless. Where GURPS shines in the sheer amount of quality stuff produced for it, which allows you to combine various parts to craft a game with exactly the characters you like in exactly the setting you want. But, of course, that does require engaging with more esoteric rules and figuring out how everything fits together.

          Stripping all that and just running the core rules simply gives you a pretty generic system with a grounded flavor. I’d rather use Savage Worlds or FATE in its place.

          John Wick is my RPG Arch-nemesis.

          Well, I read the game a long time ago, and I didn’t have an opportunity to play it, so can’t really comment.

          What I remember is a pretty evocative world and an intriguing combination of adventure and strategy.

          … The Pit?


          I was thinking the actual games themselves, or for a more The Pit acceptable format, the replay genre of novels in Japan.

          No to the former (fanfiction generally assumes written fiction, not perfomance act), yes to the latter.

          1. CrazyEd says:

            When it comes to games, I’m definitely the sort who plays with people who play until they get bored with the game and it quietly goes off in the corner to die.

            I don’t have anything against collaborative storytelling and all the buzzwords narrative games like to throw around. I just think its totally not needed for an RPG to make rules around creating a narrative. Honestly, the RPG I’ve felt more hindered by the rules than any other, ever? FATE. Having to tie absolutely everything to the narrative is a fucking pain. Sometimes you want a cool piece of gear because its a cool piece of gear. The RPG where I’ve felt like the rules didn’t matter the most? FATE. It feels like freeform to the sound of clattering d6s. The RPG where my character has felt the least distinct from the others? FATE. Everyone gets the same +2 bonuses, they just get them to different things.

            If I were to criticize narrative games

            I think my biggest problem with narrative games as a whole, and not just FATE specifically, is that they’re almost exclusively rules light. Games like Legends of the Wulin, while not my cup of tea, prove you can have a narrative RPG with a good amount of teeth to its system. I once encountered someone who was utterly flumoxed by the idea that Song of Swords (that Riddle of Steel upgrade I mentioned awhile ago) was an indie game but not a rules light narrative RPG.

            For the record, Song of Swords is basically designed around simulating medieval combat as realistically as humanly possible while still being playable. When I last checked up on it, I am not sure if there was literally a single rule dedicated to non-combat things yet (though they will have those in the finished product). It is a game where literally every cut you receive has some chance of going septic. Why in the hell would you think that has any business being either a narrative game or a rules light game?

            I’ve never had any problem running narrative as fuck games in a system designed around simulating an environment but it is impossible to do the opposite, so for me, narrative games are just redundant and seeing “indie rules light narrative game” has become a keyword for “game made by someone who doesn’t know how to make mechanics”.

            Just look at John Wick’s Blood and Honour. Somehow, he made a mechanically terrible rules light narrative game. Go look up the minimum and maximum ages on the aging chart. If you roll literally perfect, your character can live to something like 212.

            (For FATE specifically, its that because of the aspect system, your character basically has to come to the table fully formed at the start of session 1. I need a few sessions to really settle into a character and how I’m going to play them and what their backstory was like.)

            GURPS Lite and Ultra-Lite aren’t separate rules systems. GURPS Ultra-Lite is the distillation of GURPS into the only rules that you actually need to play with. All GURPS books are still totally compatible with Lite and Ultra-Lite (which are just heavily abridged and condensed versions of the player’s guide) and you can add-on as many rules as you want. But even if it were just a grounded generic RPG, I’d prefer the resolution mechanic (3d6 roll under vs. your skill) against FATE’s (where your average result is equal to your skill rating because fudge dice have an average roll of 0). When I put it that way, I actually feel like GURPS gives me a lot more freedom to do anything I want while still offering satisfyingly crunchy rules for everything I want.

            Wick has an article on his blog titled “Chess is not an RPG”. You can look it up if you want, but the gist is that he hates weapon stats because (to use his example) no one will ever kill someone with their bare thumbs or a teacup because the axe statline is so much better. I feel this misses the point. Killing someone with a teacup is impressive because a teacup is a less effective weapon than even your bare hands, let alone an axe. If axes and teacups were mechanically equal, why would anyone ever use an axe?

            And, to top it all off? Some guy on 4chan figured out that if you appropriated statted the character Riddick (Wick’s teacup assassin) in GURPS? He’d have high enough stats to reliably kill people with teacups. So, yes, GURPS actually can model the scene he’s saying is impossible outside of narrative games… and unlike that narrative game, can actually model what makes it impressive.

            Evocative world

            … Hah, sorry, I was thinking of Blood and Honour, a samurai RPG Wick made based on the basic ruleset of Houses of the Blooded. Houses of the Blooded is pretty much just all the goofy court intrigue that makes new people hate Legends of the Five Rings (pretty much everyone who joins an established L5R group as a new player has a “my first PC was totally dicked over by a bunch of people who thought they were clever because I didn’t have an encylcopedic knowledge of the setting specifically designed to trap you into seppuku for any little misstep because that’s what Wick believes samurai fiction is like” story because L5R fans can get bloody obsessive) and his boner for the aristocracy as a standalone game. Remember, this is the man who made a game about the Enlightenment period, but made magic a bloodline ability (where every magical bloodline was also noble) and explicitly asked the question “I wonder how the enlightenment would’ve gone if the nobles actually were better than the commoners?” to someone interviewing him about it. And no, it’s not like that was the point of the game. It was just supposed to be a fantasy game about pirates and fencing and shit like that.

            Houses of the Blooded literally has a sourcebook for option like “going outside”. John Wick made an RPG where the ability to go outside was a separate sourcebook. And the kicker? You don’t actually use it to go outside. It’s for telling stories of the wilderness adventures of Unblooded not-elves to the noble court of a household of Blooded not-elves so they’ll accept you into their court and you get to be a noble too and you’ll never have to go outside ever again. The book titled “Wilderness” takes place 100% inside a court room and does not feature the wilderness (outside of flashbacks).

            1. illhousen says:

              I just think its totally not needed for an RPG to make rules around creating a narrative.

              Strictly speaking, it isn’t needed for an RPG to make rules about anything. Freeform is a thing, and I had fun playing it on occasion.

              I do know that “but I can do it in other types of RPG” is a standard objection to narrative games, but it always struck me as silly. Yes, you can, but generally you need to put in more effort and preparation to achieve the same result.

              I find narrative rules helpful in framing the story and engaging the players, and generally I have more fun playing Polaris than GURPS, so Polaris I play.

              I think my biggest problem with narrative games as a whole, and not just FATE specifically, is that they’re almost exclusively rules light.

              For me, it’s a feature. I do much prefer rules that I can exlain in five minutes and that don’t require much preparation to play.

              Why in the hell would you think that has any business being either a narrative game or a rules light game?

              I would rather ask why the fuck would I want any random wound to have a chance to go septic if I’m unlucky with my rolls, causing me to miss a dramatic fight on account of being bed-ridden?

              Look, I get that the appeal of simulationist games is extreme verisimilitude: the character’s concerns are your concerns because they have the weight of mechanics behind them, the world feels more real because various objects are defined in mechanical terms and don’t change to suit the narrative, etc.

              But, personally, I feel that trading verisimilitude for a narrative-driven light rules is fair, and I have more fun that way.

              For FATE specifically, its that because of the aspect system, your character basically has to come to the table fully formed at the start of session 1.

              Not really, at least not in the current paradigm. There are rules for leaving most aspects blank and filling them in during play as you figure out who you really want to play, or changing aspects on milestones if you feel they don’t really fit your character or want to reflect character development.

              GURPS Lite and Ultra-Lite aren’t separate rules systems.

              Yes, yes. What I meant is that you do actually need to use those books in order for using GURPS to have meaning.

              As for resolution mechanic, I prefer d6-d6 for FATE. Mostly because I have a fuckton of d6s but no fudge dice as they’re hard to find where I live.

              Don’t care about Wick as a person, so can’t comment there. I found Houses of the Blooded something I’d want to play and see how it goes, that’s pretty much the extent of my opinion on everything that has to do with him.

              Overall, it’s clear by that point that we have very different tastes in RPGs, so I don’t think that line of discussion is productive.

            2. CrazyEd says:


              Well, technically, I was talking about RPGs mechanical systems, freeform is just about the only option that isn’t a valid consideration. Even FATAL is technically more of an RPG system than freeform, even though freeform is  an infinitely better mechanical system to play FATAL in than it is (if for some insane reason you want to play FATAL for any reason in the first place).

              You need to put in more effort and preparation.

              Like I said, no I don’t. I just do what I’m want to do. I’ve only ever had a problem with mechanics getting in the way of roleplaying when playing narrative systems, because in narrative systems, everything has to be tied back to the narrative and sometimes things are just narratively unimportant.From a GMing perspective, the most annoying mechanics in narrative games are the ones that attempt to provide rules to GM Fiats. FATE has been more of a roadblock to playing the kind of characters I want to play than Exalted 2e.

              You can have a strong story driven game in a simulationist game like GURPS or a gamist game like Shadowrun. You can play the mechanics with zero story in a simulationist game like GURPS. You can simulate a neutral world in a gamist game like Shadowrun. But a narrative game can’t be played on its merits as a mechanical system or simulate a world on its own. It’s the least fexible vertex of the triangle.

              missing a dramatic fight because of a septic wound

              The fight only has the importance you attach to it. Song of Swords is an incredibly lethal combat system, which is why (much like UA) the combat chapter starts out by saying how much you should avoid combat. Deciding to intiate combat should always be a very calculated maneuver. The only reason you should decide to draw your sword is because you need to kill something, not because the story tells to it needs to be drawn. One of the most bizarre decisions the Song of Ice and Fire RPG made was that it uses a system reminicent of FATE to determine when a PC dies from combat. Like… did they forget their source material?

              trading vermililitude for narrative-driven light rules

              Why do they have to be light rules? Crunchy narrative systems are rare, but they do exist. FATE is one the most harmful things I’ve ever seen happen to homebrew mechanics. Why craft a mechanical system to perfectly reflect the game you want to run when you can just write up a setting and attach it to a FATE PDF?

              not in the current paradigm

              Are you talking about that one version of FATE that reduces skills down to something like five adjectives that give your characters bonuses based on if they’re good at doing Flashy things or Forceful things or something like that? I remember there was some version of FATE like that which I just had to put my foot down on when my GM tried to change our FATE game to that, because something like four out of the five were basically the core concepts of my character’s manner of acting or something like that.

            3. illhousen says:

              Like I said, no I don’t.

              You do. At the very least, you need to stat up important NPCs, while in, say, Polaris it’s all on the level of description, and in Don’t Rest Your Head you just need to pick a number of Pain dice to roll.

              FATE has been more of a roadblock to playing the kind of characters I want to play than Exalted 2e.

              Well, what can I say? I had the exact opposite experience with FATE and narrative systems in general, and aspects in particular were helpful in emphasizing the kind of stuff I wanted to happen in the game and the kind of character I wanted to play.

              But a narrative game can’t be played on its merits as a mechanical system or simulate a world on its own.

              And neither should it be. Like, I’m not sure why you would use a system for something it wasn’t meant to do if you have alternatives available.

              If a system is unsuited for a task or hinders play more than it actively helps, you should switch to a different system.

              I get that sometimes people are attached to a specific system and use it for everything and sometimes they play with people who don’t want to learn a new system and would rather stick with something everyone in the group knows, but I don’t really have those concerns.

              Why do they have to be light rules?

              Because I don’t like crunch, I don’t care for it, and it needs to justify its existence before I give it a time of day.

              I get why other people are into it: if you’re a power gamer, it can be an interesting logical puzzle to solve, and if you’re into simulationism, it allows you to reflect everything there is to know about your character in mechanic, giving it more weight, but neither particularly appeals to me, so.

              Are you talking about that one version of FATE that reduces skills down to something like five adjectives that give your characters bonuses based on if they’re good at doing Flashy things or Forceful things or something like that?

              No? DFRPG has rules for changing your aspects after a session, FATE Core reduces their number to three, if I recall correctly, other versions I’ve seen allow you to leave aspects blank and fill them in as needed.

            4. CrazyEd says:

              You need to stat up important NPCs.

              Not statting up NPCs is, like, GM Streamlining Tip #1. The only reason I ever stat NPCs past keeping track of what I roll for any given reason (something I only do because I personally like it to be consistent) is because I feel like giving them a full character sheet.

              If you have alternatives available

              That’s how I feel about narrative RPGs. If I have one thing that can do X and one thing that can do X and Y, what do I need with the thing that can do only X?


              sometimes people are attached to a specific system

              “Doesn’t want to learn a new system” has described most of my experience with hardcore FATE players. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever convinced someone who started with games like FATE to try an RPG with more crunch to it than FATE and I’ve known a fair few people who stopped playing any game with more crunch to it than FATE after being exposed to it…

              I’m starting to think a lot of my problems with narrative games (a lot of which I assign to FATE because its the D&D of rules light narrative games and one of the narrative games actually meant for long-term continous play, unlike the others you mentioned) is stuff like this. I can deal with it limiting my actions in a game by just not playing the system, but… it’s getting to where its starting to limit the gaming environment. People don’t want to put in the effort to learn a new system even if that new system would work better for their game than FATE just because it has more math.

              I’m not saying this about you specifically, but I’ve met a ton of people who have been made super lazy by FATE, but who don’t want to go all the way and lose the Pen and Paper RPG Crowd’s respect by just going fully freeform. FATE, to them, is the system you learn when you don’t want to put an iota of effort into learning a system. That’s why I called it Freeform with d6 Noises earlier.

              Because I don’t like crunch

              Honest question: Then why not just play freeform? If you have a group that is good for FATE and all into that collaborative storytelling and sharing narrative responsibility and all that jazz… your group is probably the kind of group that’d have zero problem just doing straight up collaborative storytelling without the pretense of playing a pen and paper RPG system. Even the usual answer of “combat” doesn’t apply here, because you have to basically accept being hurt or killed in FATE to be hurt or killed.

              What’s the difference between a GM compelling your aspect, and a person in your collaborative story group to go “hey, you know what your character might do in this situation”? It is extremely easy for aspect compels to be turned into “your character wouldn’t do that” alignment fiats except you have to pay a resource to tell your DM how you’re going to play your character. That’s probably warning sign #1 for a bad FATE GM.

            5. CrazyEd says:

              Splitting this into two because it had trouble posting (urgh and I left a huge blank space where I cut this out of that post too).

              If it hinders more than it actually helps

              Only tangentially relevant, but in that Chess Is Not An RPG article, when John Wick was advocating for narrative systems with such a frevour he managed to sound wrong to assert that chess is not an RPG, he had the “brilliant” suggestion of getting a sharpie and crossing out every rule it took you more than ten seconds to explain how it improved your game or something along those lines. I was running an L5R game at the time, so I took his advice, already having half an idea what would happen. That was around the time I gave up trying to make L5R more suited to my game (I once jokingly asked one of my players to explain to a non-player how my samurai game resembled canon L5R and he said “… uh… the clans?” until I reminded him of all the changes I made to what clans existed and didn’t, and how they operated) and started looking for another system to run my samurai chanbara adventures in (that I could acutally convince people to play because L5R is the D&D of samurai RPGs- no one wants to learn a new game so why not just play L5R?), because he was right (for a given definition of “right”), I just didn’t want to take the time to cross out chapters and chapters of mechanics (why does a game that claims to be about moral greys have an objective honour score on a scale of 1 to 10 with a chart of honourable and dishonourable actions that add or subtract to your honour broken down into the tenth of an honour point?). I’d really suggest you learn more about John Wick before you try getting into any RPG he’s had a hand in. He has some odd ideas about game design and some really odd fans.

              Yeah, I’m starting to think that there’s a length limit I keep running into here. Some of these comments are getting to be the length of blog posts in their own right… Sorry about that.

            6. illhousen says:

              That’s how I feel about narrative RPGs. If I have one thing that can do X and one thing that can do X and Y, what do I need with the thing that can do only X?

              Because the game is better at doing X.

              DRYH is a game designed to simulate a quick ride to heel feeling where you get very powerful very quickly but also become increasingly more erratic and get closer and closer to complete collapse or insanity.

              Now, you can certainly do something like that in GURPS, but that would be either mostly on pure role-playing level, unsupported by mechanics, or you’d have to do some juggling of rules, utilizing resources other than the core system. The end result is likely to be less simple and elegant than DRYH.

              The principle applies to other types of game as well. You can run verisimilitude-focused game on gamist system, but you would be hitting abstractions and breaks from reality here for balance purposes, so really, you’re better off with a simulationist system.

              “Doesn’t want to learn a new system” has described most of my experience with hardcore FATE players.

              That is weird. I like FATE, and it has more range than a lot of other narrative systems (I mean, the Mountain Witch is a game about a bunch of ronins going up a mountain to kill a witch. It’s technically possible to play other scenarios in it but pointless), but it does have its own flavor and its limits, and there is a lot of narrative systems that do specific narrative things better than it.

              FATE, to me, is basically a default system to use when I don’t have something better suited for a specific game, not something to use in every situation.

              Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever convinced someone who started with games like FATE to try an RPG with more crunch to it than FATE and I’ve known a fair few people who stopped playing any game with more crunch to it than FATE after being exposed to it…

              That’s probably because crunch is extremely unattractive to a lot of people.

              It is useful sometimes, for specific purposes, but if you can achieve the same results in a more rules-light system, it’s a benefit.

              Honest question: Then why not just play freeform?

              Because I do feel that the rules of narrative games are helpful to me: they help frame the story, to emphasize the aspects that are important to the narrative and let the rest fade into background, to create a sense of objectivity, to prevent disputes by regulating narrative rights, to engage everyone equally and not let the more charismatic players to steal the spotlight, etc.

              Naturally, I can do it all in a freestyle game, and I do play them on occasion, but I found that everything works better with the narrative rules.

              What’s the difference between a GM compelling your aspect, and a person in your collaborative story group to go “hey, you know what your character might do in this situation”?

              The reward system and a formal resolution in case of disputes.

            7. Farla says:

              I would rather ask why the fuck would I want any random wound to have a chance to go septic if I’m unlucky with my rolls, causing me to miss a dramatic fight on account of being bed-ridden?

              It’s funny how playstyles can end up wrapping back around. There’s a bunch of OSR people, who are all about minimal narrative rules and maximum horrible stuff happening at random to characters. who’ve been bringing up the same problem that bad outcomes need to result in something that lead somewhere new, rather than just sitting around.

              Rolling to find out if you’re not able to play for a while is boring. Rolling to find out you’ve got a countdown timer until you die, and do you press on and risk more or retreat and hope you get lucky in surviving, that’s got more you can do with. That sort of lethality also works best in a shorter game, much like the heaviest narrative system does, and the reward is also more about getting a good story from it, but instead of collaborative crafting, it’s mad libs.

            8. Farla says:

              Honest question: Then why not just play freeform?

              As someone who hates crunch far more than they do, just because ugh so much stuff to keep track of, and who has way less experience with RPGs – rules give a nice structure for semi-random outcomes. It’s easy to say that the players beat the unimpressive rat, it’s interesting to discover the rat beats the players in a series of improbable but evidently not impossible rolls. Pure freeform has the risk of people going for the more obvious, likely answers each time. Also, I think forcing a certain amount of uncertainty and failure on everyone makes individuals more willing to play suboptimally – when no one can be perfect, letting your character make an extra mistake for the sake of a fun story stands out less than if the other players have decided everything goes fine for them each and every time.

            9. CrazyEd says:

              Funny thing is, even though I love Song of Swords (which evolved from people running Deadliest Warrior type theoretical matchups on 4chan’s /tg/ board in Riddle of Steel), I absolutely hate character death! Most of my skills at balancing encounters comes from my desire to precisely manipulate the outcome of the game so that the players think they’re in as much danger as possible without actually having danger. For the most part, a player has to try die for it to happen. It’s kindasorta like railroading the difficulty level, but the very first arc where I did this as a matter of policy instead of natural inclination was one of my best received arcs. The players fucking loved all the action and danger!

              I happen to run very story-focused games, so when a player just dies at random and kills a ton of character-specific subplots and who knows what else without any satisfying resolution when a PC gets an unlucky arrow to the eye by a bandit.

              And that’s when I decided two GMing theories were bullshit.

              • The first is John Wick’s “Die Hard” theory. Remember how, in Die Hard, John McClane’s feet just got more and more ravaged as the game goes on? Well, Wick is a very adversarial GM, and thinks that players as a group have the most satisfaction the harder they have to snatch it away from the jaws of adversity. But then I got to thinking about his example. In Die Hard, McClane gets beat up, yes… but his victory is never actually in question, is it? He is never in the remotest bit of danger and the viewer knows that. They’re interested in how he’ll win, not if he’ll win.
              • The very concept of the GM as a referee. GMs aren’t referees, at least not the sort you see in soccer or football. We’re not here to be impartial mediators between two adversarial sides. We are one of the sides, after all! No, what a good GM is is like a pro-wrestling referee. We’re here to keep things civil but to also take a folding chair in the back of the head when the plot says the rules need to take a backseat for the moment.

              Pro-wrestling matches are carefully crafted spectacles designed to maximize viewer enjoyment. In all but the most gamist of games, we’re not competing against something to prove our skill at an event, we’re a bunch of people acting out as dudes in funny costumes who beat each other up.

              The two oddest places you can learn how to GM are a guide to BDSM relationships (and the oddest place you can learn about how to have a BDSM relationship is the nWoD Core- I used to have an excerpt from the Storytelling chapter which I’ve had people guess was from a BDSM manual and the BDSM manual below it was from the GMing Tips section of an RPG) and a pro-wrestling smart who can tell you what makes a storyline work over or not. You gotta know how to sell an attack or my difficulty-railroading falls apart.

  3. Nerem says:

    I’ve been playing a lot of D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder (it’s a hybrid campaign) lately. Had a lot of fun. My current main character (you can make teams of 5 to mix and match with other players to send out of missions) is such a delightful little blender, I almost feel sorry for the GM who runs more normal modules. 14d8+33 per swing (and I can swing up to three times!) at level 5 feels so good.

    1. CrazyEd says:

      I don’t mean to sound derogatory, but how much actual roleplaying are you doing? 3.X definitely has the upperhand over 2e and 4e when it comes to gamist number-fights… sorta. In 4e the way classes work is much more regimented (in that way people reviled as being like Pen and Paper WoW when it first came out) and because it was written by someone with far more knowledge of how statistics and mathematics work there are infinitely less totally broken options, and the idea of “builds” really don’t exist in AD&D (you basically just choose your race, class, roll ability scores, derive a ton of stats, and then buy equipment) which limits the system’s ability to provide that sort of game. Based on what you said, it shoulds like you’re group is just bringing five sheets to the table each week and trying to beat the math-based labyrinth your DM put in front of you. And, don’t get me wrong, that’s a totally valid way to play if that’s what your group is into (and I would suggest you look up the board game Descent if it is), but it’s totally incompatible with how I personally play RPGs.

      But with that said, I find Pathfinder to be one of the only game systems remotely as infuritating as John Wick’s (and, from what I’ve seen of my friend ranting about the system and its creators, PF currently has their very own John Wick-type person working on it). 3.5’s flaws are largely due to the designer sticking to his guns about what he thinks the game should be like. Wizard supremacy is something he did on purpose. Of course if magic worked like it did in 3.5, wizards should be way overpowered compared to fighters, thieves, and priests. But you invented magic and said it worked that way first so that’s no excuse.

      But while Pathfinder has a lot of this sticking-to-your-guns we-did-this-on-purpose mentaility as well, a lot of the more terrible parts of the system just honestly seem to be like they wrote something broken and didn’t realize it. And let’s not pretend here, Pathfinder exists to cater to a demand 3.5 players had for a game that was more like 3.5 and like 4e. I’ve seen some people call it 3.75, because it was supposed to fix 3.5 the same way 3.5 was supposed to fix 3e, but their attempt was about as effective as 3.5’s attempt to fix 3e. Pathfinder is probably a better game, mechanically, than 3.5 but… just barely, and the setting has all the most problematic parts of Exalted’s but without the parts that make me want to defend it on the internet anyway.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Pathfinder exists to cater to a demand that 3.5 players had for a game that was more like 3.5 and less like 4e.

        That’s the first comment I’ve made on this site that I didn’t obsessively review before posting, and I make a mistake so large just by omitting one word. At times like this, I wish I had an edit function.

  4. CrazyEd says:

    Yesterday, the American Gods television series premiered on Starz. Did anyone else watch it? I’ve got some thoughts but, without saying too much, so as to avoid spoilers, I’m not that optimistic about it. I’ve got legitimately no clue whether or not the first scene (featuring a bunch of vikings having a big pitched battle on a beach) was meant to be taken as a dramatic opening to the series or a black comedy.

    The violence was more over the top than AMC’s recent adaptation of Preacher, and that series had a vampire character that acted like he was a brujah from a game of Vampire: the Masquerade. And not Vampire: the Masquerade played the way that White Wolf intended it to be played. Vampire: the Masquerade as it was actually played by nerds in 1995. Full-on blood-drinking superheroes V:tM.

    1. Nerem says:

      Oh Starz. I remember their ill=fated attempt to make a Noir adapation. It was pretty clear it was going to be awful, considering the first announced thing they did was add in a male love interest for the two protags.

    2. APen says:

      Oh, hey. Just noticed this. How do you think they did with American Gods, now that season one is over? I think it’s been pretty faithful to the spirit, if not always the letter, of the book so far. The cinematography is beautiful, casting is spot on, and I’ve enjoyed their expansions, like with Laura. All the same, I don’t think they got the pacing quite right. The first season didn’t feel entirely satisfying.

  5. CrazyEd says:

    Yesterday, I was browsing through a sale the local public library was having to raise a bit of money, and I saw a copy of Beautiful Creatures, plus a sequel or two, for cheap. For a bit of a laugh, I decided to buy it (but avoided buying any sequels). I also bought a small book of sidestories featuring secondary characters from The Hunger Games, with a blurb on the back that threatens to analyse in-depth how the Hunger Games are a metaphor for the War on Terror.

    Is this when y’all start chanting “one of us, one of us”?

    1. SpoonyViking says:

      Traditionally, we’d have to also cut off your face and limbs. :-P

      1. CrazyEd says:

        You can have my limbs after I publish a fanfiction entitled “Riley, the Evil Slut (Who Isn’t Particularly Evil Or Very Slutty)”. I still have a chance to escape, but if I write that, you can have my hands. I’d have proven that I’m not responsible enough to keep them.

      2. CrazyEd says:

        I have finally made it to the chapter in which Ridley appears (and gotten to about the point where they sit down to have dinner).

        My ordeal begins now.

        (Oh my god, I’ve basically made characters like Ridley before and its amazing simply how much different they can seem just by having the narrative villify them instead of treating them like normal people who just happen to like teasing their loved ones’ love interests.)

  6. CrazyEd says:

    I’ve been threatening to do this for awhile now, but it finally happened. I finally went and did it. I blame you all, but mostly Mini-Farla.

    Behold, my descent into darkness, in 900 words. I had to write it so y’all have to read it. If anyone needs me, I’ll be carving a pentacle into my chest to complete my contract with the fanfiction demons.

    1. CrazyEd says:

      I don’t want to make a habit out of these unsolicitated advertisements, but I just wanted you all to know that I went and did it. I wrote fanfiction for no reason other than the fact that I had an idea and I wanted to write it. And then I put it on the internet for other people to read. I guess I’m truly one of y’all now.

  7. Act says:

    Random: Does anyone have feelings on Anne McCaffrey?

    1. Keltena says:

      I never read her myself, so all I know about her is from seeing online discussions of some of the more fucked-up details in her books and some of her famously batshit interactions with fandom. I know Pern had a super dedicated fandom back in the day, though. (Possibly it still does, I don’t know.)

      1. Act says:

        Yes, she is the one who’s up in arms about fanfic. I knew it was some old-timey female fantasy writer, but couldn’t remember if it was her, Anne Rice, or both.

        1. illhousen says:

          Anne Rice is rather famous for her hatred of fanfic, threats of lawsuits and turning her fanbase against people she doesn’t like, which includes fanfic writers (also critics).

        2. Keltena says:

          She was strongly against (and aggressive in taking legal action against) fanwork involving her own characters and setting, yeah, though not necessarily OCs based on her worldbuilding. But the part she seems to be infamous for is doing her best to be absurdly controlling of the exact details of what was allowed in those OC fanworks and roleplays, especially regarding accuracy to/compliance with canon. You couldn’t use her canon characters and setting, of course—but you still had to know and comply with the exact canon stance on how dragons worked, what colors they could come in (and you still couldn’t use the canon color that was supposed to be special and one-of-a-kind), what people of what gender could be what type of dragonrider… This also overlapped partly with fans’ issues over some of the more offensive details in her books, I think; Pern canon apparently included detailed, uncomfortably homophobic rules for how sexual orientation relates to being a dragonrider, based on McCaffrey’s… unique conceptions about homosexuality (uh, warning for homophobia and talk about rape in that link?), and I’ve heard fan stories about roleplays getting C&D’d back in the day over not complying with McCaffrey’s guidelines on the subject.

          All of what I know is from osmosis (Pern fandom was before my time), but Fanlore seems to have a lot of detail for the morbidly curious.

          (As it happens, Anne Rice is also extremely up in arms about fanfic—or any criticism of her writing, or the idea of using an editor—but in a more seriously batshit way. Like, “has doxxed fanfic writers and threatened to contact their workplaces” batshit.)

          1. CrazyEd says:

            She was strongly against (and aggressive in taking legal action against) fanwork involving her own characters and setting, yeah, though not necessarily OCs based on her worldbuilding.

            Coming from pen and papers RPG, I have always found this kind of thing interesting. I can’t comprehend how there are two A Song of Ice and Fire RPGs when GRRM is apparently against fanfiction.

            I totally understand where he’s coming from with all the legal implications of fanfiction and copyright defence and all that jazz. He’s just extremely leery about protecting his copyright because it’s his livelyhood, and reasonably so. Model train collections aren’t cheap. I could probably get a full ride to a good four year college without a single penny of debt if I sold my father’s (which was once his father’s and has trains that date back to the dawn of model training). On that level, the RPGs make sense, because they’re officially licenced products. They generate income and don’t challenge his copyright.


            I think this is the root of his beliefs, from his LJ (wow LJ is still a thing?):

            [Marion Zimmer Bradley] had been an author who not only allowed fan fiction based on her Darkover series, but actively encouraged it… even read and critiqued the stories of her fans. All was happiness and joy, until one day she encountered in one such fan story an idea similar to one she was using in her current Darkover novel-in-progress. MZB wrote to the fan, explained the situation, even offered a token payment and an acknowledgement in the book. The fan replied that she wanted full co-authorship of said book, and half the money, or she would sue. MZB scrapped the novel instead, rather than risk a lawsuit. She also stopped encouraging and reading fan fiction, and wrote an account of this incident for the SFWA FORUM to warn other writers of the potential pitfalls of same.

            That was twenty years ago or thereabouts, but that episode had a profound effect on me and, I suspect, on many other SF and fantasy writers of my generation.

            Even without being a published author who derives his income from selling his creativity, I could totally understand how this would scar him for the rest of his life and impact his feelings on the subject. It’d be hard not to understand where he’s coming from.

            If I was a professional author, I’d probably make the unwise move of getting totally down in the trenches of my fandom… and my fandom would hate me for it. As you might know by now, I’m not a particularly “fandom-y” kinda guy. If, for example, I saw someone shipping two characters who absolutely hated each other, I’d have an unbelievably hard time not going “hey, these two characters hate each other, what the heck are you doing?” and that kind of thing.

            So what would happen if I ran into this same situation? It’d probably be a pretty scary situation, and if it happened to me, I’d probably grow to hate fanfiction of my series just as much as if it became populated with fic that doesn’t care about the source material like all those pokemon fanfics that Mini-Farla reviews that are just high school slice-of-lifes with pokemon names.

            Here’s the stance author Charlie Stross takes (according to the comments of that same LJ post):

            “I do not mind you writing fanfic using my characters and sharing it with your friends unless you do so in a manner that f**s with my ability to earn a living. . . . I am not a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters — rather, I am a glittery and avaricious dragon who is jealous of his steaming pile of gold. If you do not steal the dragon’s gold, the dragon will leave you alone. Offer to bring the dragon more gold and the dragon will be your friend.”

            Despite being a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters, this seems like a totally fair compromise to me. MZB’s mistake was making it be plausible that she could’ve plagarized the fan work by reading and critiquing fanfic of her work. I’m sure loads of people wrote about Voldemort’s secret daughter Harry’s son had a crush on long before JK Rowling ever did, but no one can sue her over Harry Potter and the Cursed Child specifically.

            In this case, and without knowing it for fact so I’d love to know if I’m wrong, I earnestly believe that the fanfiction community sided with MZB. It seems to generally take a negative view of commercially publishing fanfiction (at least without filing the serial numbers off a fanfiction that uses little more than the names of the original work like what happened with Fifty Shades of Black, which GRRM actually seems at least “more okay” with than just straight-up fanfic).

            A lot of the blame here can be placed on Micky Mouse copyright laws. Japan doesn’t seem to have a problem with Comiket. Hell, tons of mangaka see it as free advertisement, and at least one (the author of Hayate no Gotoku) publishes doujin work there as a barometer to see if fans are still interested in him. But in America, if someone allowed this, suddenly they lose their entire damn copyright and anyone can publish whatever the hell they want. Copyright laws were intended to foster creativity, but they’ve been stifling it ever since the first time Micky Mouse almost went into public domain. Despite building its empire off the back of the public domain, Disney has done more than any other company in history to damage it.

            While looking for that first quote, I also found this one.

            There was a lot of talk about copyright, and whether or not fan fiction was illegal, whether it was fair use (it is NOT fair use, by the way, not as I understand the term, and I have a certain familiarity with what is and isn’t fair use thanks to my own experiences with THE ARMAGEDDON RAG)

            From what I could find, it seems like this is a reference to problems arising from how every chapter of The Armageddon Rag begins with a quote- one or two lines of lyrics from a well known rock song. It seems GRRM, at the time, thought that constituted fair use. From what I can glean from the wikipedia article, not having read the book, I’d actually agree with him. The book uses a lot of pop culture as part of its themes, but when he named the band the book focuses on “Nazgul”, he wasn’t claiming to have invented the nazgul. A google search shows me that an actual metal band named Nazgul has been active since 1995.

            I decided to consult my own attorney, one of the country’s leading experts on copyright law. He said, “In my opinion these are fair use, but there has never been a conclusive test case on the matter. If you use them without permission, you will get sued. I think you will prevail in the end, but the music publishers will fight you all the way, and the costs of litigation could run well into six figures. I am prepared to argue your case to your last penny. We can win a historic judgment.”

            These two cases seem kind of apples and oranges: One is noncommercial derivative work, and the other is the use of copyrighted material in its original form in a commercial work. If he hadn’t been intending to sell The Armageddon Rag, I don’t think it would have been an issue anymore than non-commercial fanfiction is. I totally agree with Martin’s lawyer here: I think it’d be fair use, and he’d win the case, but it’d be a long and drawn out case costing oodles of money that the lawyer would fight to the last penny.

            A commenter on Martin’s livejournal has this to add.

            So in my opinion, the fanfic writers should keep their little fanfics as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, just trying to get some practice writing with familiar pre-established settings and characters.. and the authors should keep on disapproving, but not trying to actively stop the fanfic writers (that is, getting their sites taken down, etc)

            This actually seems to be the approach Martin de facto takes. To my knowledge, he’s never attempted to sue someone for noncommercial use of his ideas. This is also, on an unrelated note, why I totally disagree with his stance on it as a creative exercise (and why you’d think he’d be against licencing his properties for RPGs). I think a lot of the reason why so much fanfiction is bad is because it’s written by younger authors who have little experience writing in general. I think fanfiction can kind of help, in this area.

            I love creating characters and having them interact with each other, but I often end up deadlocked on a project when I struggle to make the world make enough sense to satisfy me because I’m a huge stickler for internal consistency. I think that’s part of why I grativated to RPGs- the world comes prebuilt but you have to populate it.

            When teaching people how to shoot, I always suggest using steel targets and red dot sights. It’s much easier to aim a red dot than traditional iron sights, and hitting steel gives you an immediate and physical response that shooting paper doesn’t, which excites newbies. There’s nothing like hearing that PING for the first time that makes you want to yell about how you hit it. And once someone masters the absolute basics, proper stance and whatnot, you might move them onto more difficult to use optics or graded targets. But the first objective should be getting rounds on target. Grouping comes second.

            To me, that’s the greatest power of fanfiction. By using established characters or settings, you can focus on writing a technically proficient and engaging story. And then, preferably, you should branch out into writing your own characters, and settings, and maybe even original fiction.

            When I was in high school, I made the mistake of taking Metalworking 1 in my freshman year. I wasn’t very good at it. I only passed because I aced the bookwork, and my teacher “recommended” (in the politest way a flannel-clad metalshop teacher who I think was actually missing a finger or two could) I didn’t take Metalworking 2. I agreed with him.

            But to this day, I can’t help but think how I would’ve done in Metalworking if I had taken Woodworking 1 before it, instead of in my final year because I had a free slot. Wood is a far easier material to work than metal and many of the processes have direct parallels. Would I have done better filing my projects to a flat mirror sheen if I had all the experience sanding wood I gained in woodshop?

            Even judicious use of canon characters can help a writer. By looking at a character, and trying to understand the reasons why an author decided to write them as such, they can improve their own character creating by applying those processes to their own work.

            But I also understand the creative aspect of it- like Martin, I’m definitely someone who also treats characters as his children. Whenever I buy an NPC ally or detail family members for a PC or something, I never feel like the GM portrays them quite correctly, and I can never seem to explain what I feel they’re not getting. When my friend told me that they thought I was almost as good at writing for his PC as they were, it was pretty much the highest praise I’d ever gotten as an RPG nerd. It actually felt insanely weird to use a well characterized and extremely detailed character in the second fic I posted (and linked above please give me all your clicks and feed my ego), and I do not at all think I did the character justice. It just felt… icky. Like wearing someone else’s clothes, or using their laptop.

            That’s why almost all of the canon characters I’ve used were ones that have little to no extensive characterization, or failing that, having them feature in extremely minor and inconsequential roles. I think the canon character my fics have spent the most time inside the head of is… Ser Bonifer Hasty. Who wasn’t even important enough to make it into the show. Martin might have a detailed conception of them in their head, that is different from mine, but I’m making as good faith an effort as possible to be 100% true to his characterization of his creations. That’s probably the major reason my both my works are based in an alternate history that branches from the canon 17 years before the start of the first book.

            There’s a lot more but holy shit I just realized that all this is just my thoughts from reading page one of ten of this comments section of a single livejournal post so I’m outta here.

            (For the record, I have written exactly 2,988 words of fanfiction at the time of this post, so clearly I am the ultimate expert on the topic.)

            1. CrazyEd says:

              And, on that note, I found this interesting video which perhaps explains at least one of the appeals of writing fanfiction.

    2. SpoonyViking says:

      I’m interested in the “Pern” series, but I’ve never read it.

    3. illhousen says:

      I know very little of her, and what I know is mostly word of mouth, so I avoid forming strong opinions on it.

      What I’ve heard is as follows:

      – She writes about dragons (I think it’s one of those “fantasy, but actually there is a sci fi explanation underneath” type of settings? Could be confusing her with someone on that point);

      – There is some weirdness connected to homosexuality in her books details of which I don’t remember;

      – She opposes fanfiction (or used to oppose, at least) but is OK with RP.

      Are you planning on reviewing her works?

    4. Y says:

      I read the first Dragonriders of Pern book a few years ago. For the most part it was pretty solid, but there were a few massive, massive problems that has made me reluctant to read the rest. I’m not sure if you’ve read them or if you’re planning to or are just curious, so I wont post any spoilers, but just know that although its hailed as being a massive step forward for female characters in sci-fi/fantasy, this really isn’t evident from the first book. At all. It’s kind of atrocious, actually. 

      Based on a whole lot of other things I read about the series that convinced to but the first book, I’m wiling to bet that it get’s way better, but since there are so many books I’m really not sure that it’s worth the effort of getting to that point. Idk, there was definately a lot of cool things, so if you’re curious it might still be worth a look, but there are some very, very bad things.



    5. Postguestive Postist Persistant says:

      Dragonriders of Pern has the honor of being boring enough to cause teenage me quit halfway. And teenage me did not quit books halfway, no matter how shitty. I don’t even remember why it was so goddamn boring but it’s the only fantasy/sci-fi book teenage me left unfinished.

      So I have a mild antipathy for Anne McCaffrey but no idea why exactly. It’s always possible that teenage me was wrong or that particular book was just bad.

  8. Act says:

    Has anyone read Roxane Gay’s Hunger? I found it absurdly triggering like 3 pages in and asked my husband to screen it but his to-read list is so long. Basically as someone with an ED I want to know if it’s a good book to have for others’ benefit even if I can’t read it myself.

    Mr. Act said he’d read one or two of Gay’s thinkpieces and thought she had some really good takes RE: the fat experience, but he wasn’t thrilled at the disparaging, oppression-olympics-y way she talked about ‘Lane Bryant fat’ women as having it too good. I’m not super interested in having a book in which a fat woman attacks other fat women for not being fat enough to have the Real Fat Experience.* That said, it is a subject that can be tackled in a nuanced, caring way, so maybe in longform it’s less an issue.

    *IME, I’ve been a lot of weights and personally, once you move past ‘socially acceptably thin’ I’ve found the treatment to all be pretty much the same. I’ve also found that, in treatment, the experiential lines are drawn in a similar way, thin and not-thin, with no extra ‘most fat’ category.

    1. CrazyEd says:

      I haven’t read it, and I don’t really know precisely what is and isn’t triggering for you, but just from reading the wikipedia page it seems like it might be a bit much for someone with an ED even if its not in the same circumstances as you. Was the intention to possibly recommend it to people who don’t as a sort of “this is what it’s like” kind of suggestion or something like that?

      I don’t know precisely what Mr. Act means by “Lane Bryant fat”, but the article (by way of The Atlantic) says “Gay gained weight in the wake of her trauma, as both a means of comfort and of protecting herself from the world, and describes the book as being about ‘living in the world when you are three or four hundred pounds overweight, when you are not obese or morbidly obese but super morbidly obese.'” so… it doesn’t sound promising as far as oppression Olympics go.

      If you can find a sample PDF or something online, I’d be more than willing to give it a read for you. I tried finding one myself, but the only link I could find was on HarperCollins’s website, and it wouldn’t load for me.

      Incidentally, though, I have a question about Mr. Act: When you mention “Boyfriend” in your older posts, is this always referring to Mr. Act, or were there multiple people to bear the title Boyfriend on this site before one levelled up into Mr. Act? I was reading an older thing, and I was just wondering if these two people are always the same person, for continuity purposes.

  9. CrazyEd says:

    (Conversation continued from the thread here.)

    A lot of the things you’re objecting to seem to be created by the intersection of “customisable player insert avatar” and the generation mechanics

    Yeah, it sure seems like it. I think my opposition to “customiseable player insert avatar” characters (be it in Fire Emblem or Bethseda/Bioware games) comes from my RPG background, where the game (through the GM) really is capable of the emergent gameplay that these sorts of games desire to have. Without that level of reaction from the game, with a totally customiseable avatar, it basically becomes a matter of “which cute animu girl do you like the bestest?”

    Even when indulging in the odd bit of shipping in non-interactive mediums, I refuse to just pick two characters to ship based on liking them individually. The relationship needs to make sense for the characters. Earlier today, I was talking about how Yaoyoruzo Momo is basically the only thing I like about My Hero Academia, and that she should’ve been the main character because she would’ve been so much better as a main character.

    But I couldn’t find a character to serve as her love interest support. Male or female, I could not think of a character I thought would make sense for her as a romantic pairing, so… I didn’t ship her with anyone.

    While working on my ASoIaF fic series, it felt dirty thinking that I might have fic tagged with “Viserys Targaryen/Sansa Stark” and “Aegon VI Targaryen/Margarey Tyrell”, even though it’d make perfect sense in the context of the fic. They’d be arranged marriages made solely for political reasons to solidify the throne’s alliances with their respective families; nothing more. And yet, the thought disgusts me.

    Also, unfortunately for your imagined tsundere scenario, none of the children come back before the parents are paired off.

    Yeah, this isn’t surprising at all. It limits the “picking the bestest animu girl” potential I talked about. You usually see it in non-interactive mediums like light novels or manga. Some games might have it, but if they do, they don’t also have player-insert avatars. Those sorts of games rarely even have tsundere in them to begin with, and if they, they’re typically your “archetype first, reasons later/not at all” sort instead of an actually well constructed tsundere like Tohsaka Rin.

    But if you’re a person who enjoys the familial interactions, there isn’t as much of that as there could have been, and based on what you’ve said here I expect it would disappoint you.

    When playing Exalted, I pretty much exclusively play Dragonblooded. I’ve basically memorized every important branch of the Targaryen family tree (so many Aegons, so many) and think that people who have a hard time keeping all the characters of Game of Thrones straight to be not trying hard enough because really you guys it’s dead simple.

    No amount of family shenanigans is enough for me, whether they be the scheming dynastic politics kind (like ASoIaF) or the cutesy family slice-of-life kind (like my ASoIaF fic).

    That ends up being worse because, given the way the game’s “holy blood” mechanic functions, incestuous pairings end up being advantageous from a gameplay perspetive.

    Like I said, I play Dragonblooded. Believe me, I know what this is like, and more. So much more. So much shamefully more I don’t even want to mention examples.

    Halfway through writing my most recent ASoIaF, I realized something and said to myself “wait, isn’t this character the PoV is seeing surrounded by shoujo romance flowers his half-sister?” to which I replied “Yeah but Targaryen so whadya gonna do?”

    Fiction has broken my ability to care about fictional incest. Send help.

    almost all of her dialogue boils down to “I like women! Ooh, I heard she’s pretty, I can’t wait to meet her! Did I mention I like women yet?” without actually using the words gay or lesbian anywhere

    From her wiki page:

    In a quote that was removed from the North American and PAL versions of Radiant Dawn, she says that her motive for joining the Crimean Army was to “meet all the pretty girls.”

    … Yeah, I’m pretty sure my FE fangirl would’ve liked this character. They’d see eye to eye on so many things.

    but while more realistic, that’s a lot of character design work and writing to do only for the vast majority of it to go completely unseen by almost all players.

    Yep. Like I said, this is something you need a human GM to handle. RPGs > Video games.

    maybe with adopted children making an appearance in some cases

    I actually think this is part of why there are so few gay characters in Fire Emblem. It’s kind of your typical fantasy setting, where things like lineages and shit are extremely vital. You can’t have someone destined by blood to pick up their father’s sword and save the world from the Demon King if the character doesn’t have their father’s blood because they were adopted. Add on top of that the shipping mechanic, and well…

    And, technically, I suppose there could be bisexual characters, but even going past your typical bisexual depiction problems, they’d all be slotted into heteronormative relationships for the purposes of producing the next generation anyway. So that’s its own tricky situation, especially since you’re working with a limited amount of time and story content to spotlight a particular character. Maybe you’d be willing to take that compromise, or maybe you wouldn’t. That’s up to you. In this case, it’d kinda be a situation where you’re pigeonholed into some stereotype no matter which road you go down.

    1. CrazyEd says:

      Well, part of the plot of FE4 is that between all the politicking and betrayals, a cult leader arranges for the courting of two characters who are (unknowingly) half-siblings so that their children got dominant “evil dragon god” genes.

      Yeah, this kind of thing wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow to me anymore. This would be pretty par for the course as far as Exalted is concerned. Hell, if you replace”cult leader” with “family matriarch” and “evil dragon god” with “good dragon god”, you’ve basically got Dragonblooded.

      (Many of the nobles in that game are descended from ancient heroes and those blood bonds give them the right to wield legendary weapons – which is why the substitute children are generally weaker)

      Ah, and this is precisely the kind of Typical Fantasy Setting elements that I was talking about in my above post about homosexuality and adoption and whatnot.

      the only sign of incest was the occassional healer girl overly attached to her big brother

      Now this, this I can not stand for. Trick brother into fucking sister to revive the evil dragon god all you want, but I have to draw the line are “onii-chan, am I kawaii?” bullshit.

      You know how that game’s about having to choose between two warring kingdoms

      Uh… everything I know about this game is what I’ve been told and the fact there are a paired set of games (like Pokemon) and I think the dark colour scheme one has a lilac haired ara ara who tries to tempt you to her faction.

      But go on, I’m following you so far.

      but that doesn’t help

      Now you’ve lost me. Why not?

      Oh, and the songstress who’s portrayed as the Official Love Interest is later revealed as Corrin’s cousin.

      … Eh. Medieval fantasy setting. Everything checks out there.

      Rhajat in Fates

      Oh son of a bitch her name’s an anagram! I didn’t notice that, I just saw a picture of her in the cast list.

      1. Falconix says:

        Now you’ve lost me. Why not?

        Sorry, I keep assuming the trailers are common knowledge.

        Essentially, Corrin is “born in Hoshido, though raised in Nohr”. Their mother is/was the Queen of the “light Japanese”-themed nation, but got abducted at a very early age – early enough to not remember their origins – and raised in a tower in the “dark European”-themed nation, ostensibly as a part of their royal family (which includes “ara ara”). While the king is anything but kind to his hostage, the Nohrian siblings see Corrin as one of their own. So… not related, but Westermarck is in full effect.

        Should you choose the game that has Corrin side with Hoshido (or download the campaign where you refuse to take either side), it eventually comes to light that Corrin’s mother had arrived to Hoshido with baby Corrin in tow and later married the widowed king. So she’s not the birth mother of any of the Hoshidan royals, so they’re not related to Corrin after all. This usually is revealed because the Queen had left a message for the crown prince to reveal should Corrin court any of them, just so everyone know the relationship is not incest. Which… way to transparently cover your rear, IntSys.

        (Both sets of siblings, if courted, will still treat Corrin as a sibling even in love declarations – because this is all about doing an “I love you, oniichan!” without making it look gross)

        1. CrazyEd says:

          Wow, kinda sounds like they were planning on people playing the dark colour scheme game and splitting it into two branching paths/games was an afterthought. That, or I’m just biased because I’ve been blinded by the wavy violet hair. It’s not lilac, but I’m not that picky.

          Both sets of siblings, if courted, will still treat Corrin as a sibling even in love declarations

          Yeah, Japan kinda has this thing. It’s like… this preestablished relationship that is inherently closer than any outside person could ever hope to be, or something. I once heard it perfectly summed up why Japan loves its imouto/childhood friend romance characters, but I can’t for the life of me recall where it was. It could very easily be fixed by establishing that they don’t consider each other siblings (if he’s the hostage of a foreign king, it could easily be done in such a way that they went out of their way to make him feel like he’s an outsider, so that he wouldn’t form those familial bonds), but that’s part of the appeal  for the creepy animu guys (the creepier ones than me, I mean). It wouldn’t be remotely hard to conceive of a scenario where they don’t treat each other like brother and sister, or even stop treating each other like brother and sister once their romantic feelings emerged, but they intentionally didn’t do that for a very specific reason.

          because this is all about doing an “I love you, oniichan!” without making it look gross

          Except in that case, it seems like it’s more “your onee-san loves you”. Which, honestly, in my experience? Actually does tend to be a bit less creepy than “I love you, onii-chan” so long as they don’t go ridiculously over the top like most imouto-type characters do. I think it’s because the imouto option usually tries to play up the older sibling/paternal type stuff, so it’s sorta like perving on both your little sister and your daughter at the same time. Though, with what you’ve told me about these newest games, I’d totally believe it if you told me there’s a character who could be your little sister or daughter depending on the choices you make.

  10. Nerem says:

    So I’ve been playing the latest Super Robot Wars Original Generation game, the Moon Dwellers. It’s the first one in English in a long while, and while the translation isn’t shoddy (it was done in a month on a whim since they were translating one of the crossover games officially that was coming out not long after), and the balance of the game is pretty amusing. Since you start off with all your super badass end-game units from the previous stuff. But they’re actually kind of awkward to use, since a lot of them require higher skill levels to use all their attacks or require high Morale that you won’t get in early missions. It’s kind of a fun way to balance them, despite them being REALLY powerful.

  11. Act says:

    I took an editing test for a freelance gig today, and I genuinely can’t tell if they know ‘chuckles’ isn’t a speech tag so it shouldn’t be followed by a comma, or if my correction will be seen as wrong.

    1. Socordya says:

      Actually, chuckles is a proper noun, because it’s the name of a specie.

      1. illhousen says:

        Besides, the original text must have been written in such a way on purpose, so changing it would go against authorial intent, which is disrespectful. Also, it’s just a matter of preference and doesn’t really matter.

      2. Keleri says:

        This actually hurt me, well done.

  12. Roarke says:

    Why is the Edit button broken?

    1. illhousen says:

      It isn’t. Though it disappears once you get deep enough into nesting.

      1. Roarke says:

        Seriously? For me, when I’m editing a post, it takes two tries to make the change go through. First time I hit Submit, it just gives the same message, and I have to click Edit again to bring up the window (with the changes still there) and hit Submit again for it to make the changes.

        1. illhousen says:

          Ah, I see, yes, that does happen for me as well.

        2. Act says:

          This has happened for me every once in a while, but then it fixes itself and I just kind of assume I had a bad connection or something. If it doesn’t go away on its own let me know.

  13. Act says:

    My little brother who is definitely not 22 because holy fuck how old am I made a silly mobile game about dogs and I’m so proud I’m abusing my powers here to shill for it <333

    Cons: You need an iPhone because idk

    1. Roarke says:

      (don’t have an iPhone) My brother is 20 and I have really young parents so I can’t escape the feeling that I’m old as balls.

    2. SpoonyViking says:

      Cons: You need an iPhone because idk

      What a shame!

  14. Zephyr says:

    Does anyone here have thoughts on Sheri S. Tepper’s books? I recently reread The Family Tree, and while I still love the big reveal halfway through and the clever writing hiding it, some of her ideas and attitudes are… I don’t know. She’s regarded as being an ecofeminist, and while the environment stuff comes through loud and clear, the feminist stuff seems a bit… In The Family Tree, at least, a lot of minor female characters get characterised in very negative ways, while the equivalent minor male characters are neutral or positive, and much of the plot is still driven by the main guys. There’s also a couple of points with regards to mental health issues that are extremely off-putting. I’m not sure if it’s just a product of the time (Family Tree was 1997, most of her other titles were earlier than that) or what. Does that sort of thing pop up in her other books as well? I’ve read a couple of others, but a long time ago. Any thoughts?

    1. Act says:

      I’ve not read her, but labels like ‘ecofeminist’ tend to get applied to any woman writing about Issue X regardless of whether or not her writing has anything whatsoever to do with feminism. People basically see women with thoughts as feminists.

      When I did my big ‘which women have won Hugos/Nebulas that I want to read’ sweep a couple of months ago I decided against her, but I’m not sure why, actually.

      1. Zephyr says:

        My personal feeling is that while I definitely think she’s a feminist (reading interviews with her, she talks a lot about how important education for girls is and about her personal experiences with the wage gap), for some reason it’s not really coming through in the minor details of her book. I’m kinda judging a lot off the one book I’ve read recently: I thought the main female characters were done well but it’s stuff like the characterisation issues and a lot of background or worldbuilding details that I can’t tell if they’re deliberate or not. There’s also some weird stuff about biology and gender. Do you mind if I quote a passage I’d like to get your thoughts on?


  15. CrazyEd says:


    >Your vehement admiration is by no doubt unique. I thoroughly enjoy you going through the effort of reaching out to me, albeit I am completely clueless as what you ever hoped to achieve with that.
    >Did you imagine me thanking you for your support? Did you imagine me giving you some half-assed words of encouragement?
    >I am in the process of writing the next book in the series, did you think you would encourage me in some way? The only thing you have accomplished is wasting my time by responding to you when I could be writing the book. Are you happy with that? Does your ego feel fulfilled now that an author has finally replied to you, no doubt you’ve reached out to many authors, we know your kind. You have delayed my book, but I have no doubt you feel very good with yourself indeed, because you have received a response.

    >With the upmost love and respect –


    >In high-school Pat was something of a class clown. His hobbies included reading a novel or two a day and giving relationship advice to all his friends despite the fact that he had never so much as kissed a girl. He also role-played and wrote terrible stories about elves. He was pretty much a geek.
    >For the next seven years Pat studied anthropology, philosophy, eastern religions, history, alchemy, parapsychology, literature, and writing. He studied six different martial arts, practiced improv comedy, learned how to pick locks, and became a skilled lover of women. He also began writing a satirical advice column which he continues to this day: The College Survivial Guide. Through all of this he continued to work on his novel.
    >Now Pat teaches half-time at his old school as an assistant-sub-lecturer. He is underpaid but generally left alone to do as he sees fit with his classes. He is advisor for the college feminists, the fencing club, and, oddly enough, a sorority. He still roll-plays occasionally, but now he does it in an extremely sophisticated, debonair way.


    I have known her longer, my smile said. True, you have been inside the circle of her arms, tasted her mouth, felt the warmth of her, and that is something I have never had. But there is a part of her that is only for me. You can not touch it, no matter how hard you might try. And after she has left you I will still be here, making her laugh. My light shining in her. I will still be here long after she has forgotten your name.


    So these are apparently all things that were written by Patrick Rothfuss (though from my source, it doesn’t seem 100% certain on that first one). Knowing about Rothfuss only from this blog and these quotes, I have to ask… Act, how in the hell did you get through this guy’s books?

    Is there some context from that last quote (which is actually taken from The Name of the Wind) that isn’t on that page that makes that except any less cringe-y?

  16. Keltena says:

    I was wondering, did we ever determine if it’s possible to make an Umineko spoiler post that won’t show up in the New Comments section? I feel like we could get a lot of use out of one.

  17. Y says:

    Has anybody here played Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura or Pillars of Eternity? I haven’t but they seem right up the alley of a lot of the people who comment here, so I thought I’d ask for opinions. I’ll almost definitely play Arcanum soon but I’m less sure about Pillars.

    1. Roarke says:

      Yes on Arcanum. It’s a good game. Pillars I plan to return to one day. It’s one of those games I have but never play.

    2. illhousen says:

      Arcanum is reasonably good. There are some things I dislike, like the xp gain system which gives you more xp for hitting (not killing, it’s per hit, as I recall) an enemy than for completing quests, some magic schools are vastly superior to others, etc. Overall, though, it’s worth playing if you like games like Fallout.

      Pillars is a game I have but don’t play indeed. It’s made in the mold of Baldur’s Gate with more modern design. It’s OK but doesn’t really do anything unique from what I’ve seen.

    3. Y says:

      Thanks. Arcanum is super cheap on steam andI’ll probably play it as soon as I finish my current Fallout play through.

  18. CrazyEd says:

    Where was that post where Farla interacted with the alchemical nonsense this post talks about?

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Yes, thank you, this was it exactly; though I now also recall that there were posts where she tore into this same person for The Great Drooble’s Blowing Gum Conspiracy as well.

        This is some SS+ ranked english majoring.

  19. Act says:

    OH man y’all should check out “The Orphaned Heroine in the Hunger Games Trilogy” by Alison L. Bewley; I was all ready to be indignant about being made to read it for a class but it’s basically about how Katniss as a feminist icon is bullshit and it’s the most sexy paper I’ve ever read.


    “When it comes to her own survival, Katniss Everdeen is a self-sufficient,independent heroine who does not require a savior. Her androgyny and genderfluidity in the context of survival are potentially empowering to readers as wellas to future female heroines—but only if those readers do not look too deeply.While her balance of stereotypically masculine and feminine traits makes herseem to occupy the position of an active subject and heroine within her narrative,her relationships with other characters and groups in the trilogy revealthat she is a reactive object to be desired or used by others. Thus, although sheno longer occupies precisely the same narrative role as the traditional orphanedgirl, her position as an object of mimetic desire is not much of an improvement.The genre of young adult dystopian literature requires some degree ofreactivity from its protagonists; however, Katniss is an extreme example of areactive character and lacks the agency that some scholars have attributed toher. Her idolization as a “strong” female character is based on superficial traits.While the narrative role that she occupies has developed in many ways sincethe earliest depictions of female orphaned protagonists, Katniss still owes muchto her literary predecessors.Notes

    1. mcbender says:

      Is this available to read anywhere that isn’t paywalled? It sounds like it’d be worth reading, but I can’t find a source that’s publicly available.

      1. Act says:

        Shoot me an email (act@dragon-quill(dot)net) and I’ll email you a PDF. Same for anyone else who can’t find it online.

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          It seems to be available only at Project Muse – can’t even find it on Jstor. Anyway, I’d like a copy, please!

          1. Act says:

            just shoot me an email and I’ll send it along. not trying to post it here and get myself DMCAd.

            1. SpoonyViking says:

              Sorry, thought you’d still have my e-mail! Anyway, just sent it. Thanks in advance!

            2. Act says:

              I def had it but was searching your screenname instead of your actual name like an idiot.

            3. SpoonyViking says:

              Hah! No worries, that just means my online handle is doing its job.

        2. mcbender says:

          Thanks. I really appreciated reading this. I’m not sure I have a whole lot to say about it, on reflection, but it’s good to see this conversation happening in academia (and honestly, reading this paper made me feel rather nostalgic for academia even if I was never in a field remotely close to this).

          The issue of character passivity in narrative is a rather interesting one – thinking about it, I don’t necessarily think it should be problematic in an ideal world to depict passive or reactive characters, because people like that do exist (for better or worse I’m kind of one of them), it’s when that passivity is allowed to be depicted as heroic or praiseworthy that it can start to be a problem (plus, of course, the intersection with and reinforcement of gender norms).

          When I think about it, I’m actually not at all surprised readers don’t pick up on Katniss being a passive and reactive character, because they tend not to in other cases (Harry Potter is another great example of a passive-reactive character who is almost never discussed as such), and there are a lot of them in fiction.  A character can be passive and/or reactive and still do things that look like taking action in a vacuum, too.  “Villains act, heroes react” has its own tvtropes page, iirc… I think that often functions as a good lazy shortcut for a lot of writers, especially if they’re writing plot-driven (as opposed to character-driven) narratives.

          I don’t know if that actually adds anything to this discussion, but it’s where my mind went after reading it.

          1. Farla says:

            I think there’s a big distinction in reactive vs passive, though. Like you say, traditional heroes are often reactive, but a passive hero is rare.

            Deciding to sacrifice herself for her sister, or win the games, those are reactive. But Katniss sits around while other people react to things and plan a response, then whines about whatever bits of her role they bother telling her about, then half the time they were lying to her about what her role really was and she whines about that but doesn’t actually do much. (And when she does react to things, it’s often pointless or counter-productive to the overall plot.) I feel like the second book’s ending is a really good example here. She missed the initial hints, then the entire plan was made without her, then coordinating the plan is done without her, then it happens without her even knowing about it, then even when it’s happening she still can’t figure out what’s going on, then she trips into the one (minor) action they wanted from her, but what matters is that she was super photogenic accidentally managing to complete the plan other people thought up so she’s THE AWESOME MOCKINGJAY HERO OF THE REBELLION!

    2. Farla says:

      Katniss is an extreme example of areactive character and lacks the agency that some scholars have attributed toher

      Now that I think about it, I wonder if this is a superficial feminism issue.

      Some people want to be able to praise something as progressive without having to challenge any of their existing prejudices. And other people support things based on osmosis so they’ll echo the first group without having ever seen it. 

      (And while it’s probably too specific for an article talking about the general tropes she fits, I’m still mad that midway through we’re told that Katniss never really supported herself and her family, people were giving her bonus pity money because of who her dad was.)

  20. illhousen says:

    Trying to find an old post. It was an embedded short video formatted, IIRC, as news announcement about moonlight growing brighter and something terrible coming to Earth. Does anyone know where it is?

    1. Socordya says:

      This: www.dragon-quill.net/local58info/ , maybe?


      Though the link  doesn’t lead anywhere anymore.


      1. illhousen says:

        Thanks, yeah, that’s the post in question. Shame the link’s broken, but now that I know the name, I’ll try to find the video.

        1. illhousen says:

          Yeah, found it:

          1. Embershine says:

            Just watched this, and it was awesome. Reminds me of a writing prompt post I saw a while back. :)

  21. SpoonyViking says:

    So, just stumbled onto (one of?) John Green’s defense of his books:

    1. SpoonyViking says:

      Aw, no one wants to comment on this?

    2. Act says:

      Wow, what an asshole, “All the people criticizing me are obviously people who have never read my books or experienced hardship because anyone who did would know how great I am.” And then he lists all his sue faults.

      Also that he thinks the problem with MPDG is the woman (who apparently deserves to be ‘stabbed’ because violence against women so hot right now) and not the whiny male lusting after her is so telling.

    3. Embershine says:

      I actually enjoyed reading through this. I think it is common for people to see opinions on books and jump on the bandwagon of criticism without reading and analyzing the literature themselves. And despite Act’s thoughts, I had no such impressions on this particular piece.

      The arguments against anon’s questions were well supported and well explained. He didn’t just say ‘people who hate my book have never read them’, he said ‘I actually clearly said the opposite of your accusation in several instances, here they are in the books’. In depth. For all the flaws in his novels, romanticizing illness and mary sue pixie girls are not part of them. (Except perhaps on the surface, and for those who just read summaries and missed the conversations between characters about these exact issues.) Although, that being said, I had to specify mary sue pixie GIRLS, because I found two of his male leads to be soooo flat as people.

      Not to mention, I hardly find such in depth analysis of his own writing flaws ‘sue faults’. Those are well thought out introspections! Being able to recognize and admit to bad writing habits and repetitive plots is damned admirable. No one is perfect, and he clearly doesn’t think he is.

      He literally never says anything about how ‘great he is’, or how ‘if you don’t like the books you’ve never experienced hardship’. If anything, I think Act may have missed every point of this piece in favor of projecting other issues which simply don’t apply in this situation. Yes, there are authors who promote violence to women to sell books, and there are authors who think anyone who hates their work never read it, or who are incapable of listing actual flaws when asked for an honest introspection. I just don’t see any of those issues HERE.

      I thought I’d share my own thoughts. While I personally find John Greene’s books a little boring and emotionally manipulative, this piece has raised my opinion of him as a person. I especially liked his defense that ‘all people are broken and depend on each other for support and compassion’.

  22. CrazyEd says:

    Ladies of the site, how would you respond if someone proposed to you with this?

    Look inside the ring.

      1. Roarke says:

        Okay, but picture the same thing, except on a page with van Houten being funny.

        1. CrazyEd says:

          What is it about John Green that makes him prone to writing these huge half page rants that make him sound like some kind of fedora-tipping Nice Guy who has never even seen a woman in real life?

          The dude is married with- at least- a child.

  23. Act says:

    Was there someone on the blog who worked for sekai project? I want to say it was Nerem but I can’t remember D:

    1. Roarke says:

      I think Nerem is the resident game designer, yeah.

      1. Nerem says:

        It’s me, but I’m not an actual designer. Sekai Project are publishers, and I work on the QA team.

  24. Act says:


    the permalink in the email still works even though I tried to retract it but if you use it i’ll put a curse on you, you wait like everyone else

    1. illhousen says:

      Ooh, I see you’ve finally scheduled Umineko posts. That’s great news.

      Now that you’ve read the second episode, you finally know what Seacats is really all about, can’t wait to talk about it.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        It’s about kindly witches who only wish to be your friend.

  25. CrazyEd says:

    I saw this, an now all of you have to see it too. Except for Act. Trigger warning: John Green and dog abuse.

    And for some reason I can’t just make it a hyperlink. I have no clue why.

    1. Keleri says:

      Ugh. Dogs might be able to get away with being vegan since they’re omnivores, but come on. Get a rabbit if you want a vegan pet.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        While it’s true that domesticated dogs require more carbohydrates and other nutrients primarily gotten from non-meat sources, they still require quite a bit of meat and protein and all that good stuff. You shouldn’t feed a dog an all meat diet, but you definitely shouldn’t feed them an absolutely vegan diet.

    2. Cosmogone says:

      Oh god, that’s fucking horrible. Can’t he be reported for animal abuse?

      Also, “neutered”? Is Green castrated and is that why he only uses shitty metaphors and faux philosophy to get off?

      1. CrazyEd says:

        I’m not sure, but he should be.

        Also, turns out I was actually mistaken, and that’s not actually John Green. I’m pretty sure I actually just fell for the soy boy rhetoric.

        (I’m assuming he’s talking about a vasectomy but yeah he seems pretty damn neutered.)

        1. Cosmogone says:

          >>I’m not sure, but he should be


          >>Also, turns out I was actually mistaken, and that’s not actually John Green

          So there’s the tiniest positive bit here: at least a famous author writing for young and impressionable readers doesn’t abuse animals.

  26. Indiscretion says:

    Meta: jesus christ am I glad WordPress autosaves in-progress posts. I hit the keyboard shortcut for the back button accidentally and had a mini heart attack as I imagined my half done post disappearing.

    1. CrazyEd says:

      congrats on unlocking the top tier DQ optimization strats

  27. St. Elmo's Fire says:

    So I’m gonna make a Blaze Masterpost here just so I can link back to it instead of hunting stuff down every time.

    I reviewed Dragon’s Blaze’s story “United Destiny” during NaRe 2018. She responded two months later to take umbrage with the Arceus-as-God bit, and I told her to take it to the thread.

    Here are her posts in the religion thread. During this point, Farla banned lstwill56 for using a racist meme, which seems to have set off Blaze’s meltdown.

    Here is the continuation in Misc Complaints. She also made a few posts in other threads, including the NaRe FAQ.

    Blaze went quiet for a while after that, but returned when The Reeds of Enki started reviewing in early April. Here is that conversation.

    On 7 April, Blaze had an absolute meltdown and spammed me with messages for a few hours straight, claiming she had called in sick to work so she could do so:

    On 10 April, Enki’s reviews were posted to the forum. On 14 April Blaze chose to use that thread to continue the conversation, which can be seen here. At this point, I blocked her as she requested, but she continued using her sockpuppets to harass us in messages and on the forum until we blocked those as well.

    After Enki’s author responses were posted here, Blaze started posting here under the name “Cerrie”. She continued to comment on several posts until she was banned, then started spoofing her IP address to get around it.

    Here is Farla’s post with proof of sockpuppeting, with more suspicious behavior from “KingPyle” here. In addition, here is an earlier post where Final Flight 45 themselves admits to being her Okay so she deleted her account to remove the evidence. Here’s a screenshot of the post. (MegaSevenWays is her account on FIMFiction.) And here is Final Flight 45 sharing an email address with For45Why (using the name “Alexander”):

    Farla later posted a list of Blaze’s known sockpuppets to her forum so that the targets of harassment could know what accounts they needed to block. Blaze promptly used a sockpuppet to insist they weren’t her sockpuppets, then created a new sockpuppet to get around the block so she could keep insisting she didn’t use sockpuppets.

    On 10th December, this user flew off the handle at everyone in The Other Pokeauthors Part 142, again subverting an IP block to do so, and called me, an autistic asexual, a “retard” and a pedophile.

    Dragon’s Blaze also intimidates and harasses authors who take my advice, claiming that my attention will doom their story or that anything good I say about their story is a lie and actually their story is terrible (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). She falsely claims the Pokemon category is full of conflict to scare authors into silence and possibly off the site, and screams at authors just for being too slow to respond to her then fills their reviews with spam. She goes ballistic on authors who previously agreed to block me but then changed their mind (1, 2). And here we see her yelling at me for saying the exact same thing as an earlier reviewer who she left alone for 6 hours, because she does not actually care about the causes she supposedly champions and is only doing this to attack me. Here she admits to purposefully using this website to track down bystander authors who support me. She is a bully.

    Screenshot in case the link goes down (note the times):

    She also just makes up absurd lies for seemingly no reason, such as getting our names wrong when manufacturing a supposed conversation about us trying to hack her and telling us she sued us in court and forced us to pay her 4500 “dollies”. I know how frustrating it is when both sides insist the other tells only lies, but she really is a pathological liar and cannot be trusted.

    Act, one my friends who is otherwise completely uninvolved in this, also made a post explaining that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in early July. Blaze commented on the post, and I’m just going to present it without comment:

    And oh boy, I didn’t realize this at first but there’s a similar comment on the video itself by “Emp United”, the Gmail account Hybrid is using to store her “evidence” against us.

    She briefly stopped spamming her initial message about blocking me in September, but did not stop counter-reviewing and harassing everyone I reviewed. People got mad at me for this, assuming I was responsible for her spam somehow, so I started warning people it was going to happen. The very next day she started her warning spam again. From this I have to conclude that her behavior has nothing to do with helping authors and everything to do with attacking me.

    Recently (as of 31 October), she has begun claiming that FFN’s support email told her they deleted me. This email, which only states that an account has been deleted and that the stories may persist due to cacheing, is coincidentally timestamped as 20 August, the same date Final Fight 45, the account that let slip it was a sockpuppet, was deleted. I honestly don’t know if the screenshot is doctored or if the support staff just told her that to shut her up, but regardless, my account remains active. I even emailed support to confirm the deletion, twice, and have received no response or further action.

    Currently (10th December), I have taken to following my reviews with guest reviews warning that Hybrid of Fate will counter-review. In every single one I take pains to point out how guest reviews can be deleted and why they are therefore the more polite way of arguing, if arguing must be done at all. Despite clearly knowing how to use guest reviews as shown in several of the links above, Hybrid of Fate refuses to use them in her standard counter-reviews, instead arguing with me through undeletable signed reviews, which robs the decision from the author as to whether or not they want such arguing on their story. From this, I am forced to conclude that she does not actually care about authors, their wants, or their stories.

    1. Act says:

      Oh geez I forgot this all kicked into gear because lstwill was a nazi. That actually explains the way the harassment campaign has been carried out, though.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Wait, I thought Farla and her sockpuppets were the Pokemon Fanfiction Nazis?

        1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

          Actual Nazi, not grammar Nazi. He’s since changed it, but when he was initially posting his avatar contained a meme about killing [slur]s.

        2. Act says:

          Yeah, I probably should have specified, but that was literal, they were an actual nazi, right down to identifying as ‘neo-norse’ and racial cleansing. I wish that was hyperbole, but it wasn’t.

          1. Farla says:

            I never realized I’d miss the days when people threw around the word nazi over every little disagreement because it was the one thing we could all agree was pure evil that no one would ever willingly associate with again.

            1. Act says:

              That us discussing this specifically seems to have set off another round of lstwill/Blaze PMs and threats seems to confirm that there’s some weird alt-right uncurrent here. It’s weird, I wouldn’t have made that connection. So, uh, thanks to them for outing themselves, I guess.

            2. Ghost says:

              Alt-right? What does that mean for those who aren’t following Blaze’s “with us or against us” mentality?

            3. Socordya says:


              Alt-right is the new and trendy name for the American far right. Cf Wikipedia page. Or this.

            4. Act says:

              The ‘alt-right’ refers to the American hyperconservative neo-nazi party, which recruits heavily online from places like Reddit and 4chan using some very identifiable harassment and trolling tactics. Elmo’s post reminded me that this all started because the lstwill account was banned from Farla’s forum for using racial slurs and advocating for racial cleansing.

              This is a good overview of how this movement has gained traction online: https://medium.com/@DeoTasDevil/how-white-nationalism-courts-internet-nerd-culture-b4ebad07863d

            5. Act says:

              Just got a PM from Blaze that included raving about the ‘alt-left’ and tumblr being so much worse, so yes, we seem to have hit on the underlying issue here.

            6. Ghost says:

              Because of course, neo-nazis had to be involved.

              Might be that Ist is the one in charge and Blaze is trying to prove herself to Ist by driving Farla and the others off the site.


              (and that is probably gonna cause a shitstorm with Blaze. If it does, Act has permission to wipe the comment and ban me, I’m only theorizing over here)

            7. Act says:

              The goal of these tactics tend to be trying to stifle conversation, so unless you want me to remove comments because she’s gone after you, I don’t intend to let them persuade me to remove comments.

            8. Ghost says:

              No worries, just put it up there in case she kicked off at other people for it.

            9. Keleri says:

              AND Blaze and co were on FIMfiction too. What is it about colorful cartoons that promote friendship and tolerance attracting Nazis!?

            10. Hyatt says:

              What is it about colorful cartoons that promote friendship and tolerance attracting Nazis!?

              Plausible deniability? “I can’t be a Nazi, I like this colorful inclusive cartoon for everyone!”

            11. Indiscretion says:

              The mlp craze started around 4chan, and the following is still kicking there a decent amount. It’s probably a pretty easy crossover from the alt right boards.

          2. Hyatt says:

            The racial cleansing stuff isn’t obvious from the profile, it was probably scrubbed. What was it?

            (Actually, now I’m wondering if the neo-Nazi trappings were intentionally used then scrubbed so that you could notice them, call them a neo-Nazi, then they could remove the evidence and pretend you called them a Nazi out of nowhere.)

            1. Farla says:

              Okay, so.

              What happened was that they said they said they were Neo-Norse, which is a legitimate religion but is also the new popular thing for white nationalists to identify as once people started realizing what “white nationalist” meant. (Didn’t exactly help matters they didn’t seem to know anything about Norse mythology.) When I clicked to their profile to check up on this possibility, I could read the text on their avatar which was about “killing japs”. And so I banned them. I figured if they were an idiot kid who was just trying to be offensive, now they knew that wasn’t acceptable behavior for the rest of the internet. They PMed to throw a fit about how their avatar was a dank meme and this was SJW alt-left bullshit to object.

              Given Blaze as a whole turned out to lie about everything in sight for no reason, I couldn’t tell you what bits of that represent actual Blaze opinions. Maybe they’re actually just repeating things the cool kids on 4chan say without any idea what it means but a deep certainty they should get to say it all day long. Or maybe the posts about how not a nazi she is are like how every time I ban another sockpuppet Blaze shouts about how I’m so crazy and insane to think it’s a sockpuppet.

            2. Hyatt says:

              They PMed to throw a fit about how their avatar was a dank meme and this was SJW alt-left bullshit to object.

              TIL having standards is SJW alt-left bullshit. Or is it handing out consequences for actions that’s the bullshit?

              now they knew that wasn’t acceptable behavior for the rest of the internet.

              Scary thing is, they think it should be, and they’re gaining ground on that. Or using the age-old “it’s just the internet it doesn’t count” as their starting point for pushing widespread acceptance of “””ironic””” bigotry. Though now that I think about it, it’s funny how they’re so insistent that this behavior is acceptable but stock critiques of common issues aren’t.

            3. Venompaw says:

              Blaze defended giving intentionally bad grammatical advice is helpful since the writer needs every bit of support they can get. This is also why she also condemns Elmo’s non-debatable points.

              Granted, not all of Elmo’s points are valid (some are excessively nitpicky. 

              But you’d think that giving ACCURATE advice wouldn’t be discounted.  Blaze expects people to learn on their own just like she did back in the Winx Club fandom or something, that’s why giving constructive criticism is bad.

              I don’t think people suddenly develop an epiphany of how to write correctly and reading the same story over and over won’t even matter if the writer’s unaware of their own failings.

              Quote from Blaze:

              [My counter reviewing (and the counter reviewing of others) ironically kept those stories going so they aren;t one update wonders and have a few new readers

              You don’t become good by being put down. You get better by writing on your own


              I should know.]
              Can someone enlighten me how a writer improves with (practice) if the writer doesn’t have any new experiences or points to focus on?

            4. JackPK says:

              Blaze’s own grammatical ineptitude is proof that one doesn’t get better “writing on one’s own.”

              Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. If you practice bad writing, you will continue writing badly.

      2. guest says:

        Interestingly enough, Blaze seems to think that you’re calling her a Nazi, even though you clearly specify 1stwill, who is clearly not her. The plot thickens.


        1. Venompaw says:

          I made a post on Farla’s forum with what Blaze admits to/what she wants from all this.

          I think it’s progress.

          Blaze takes issue with Istwill being called a Nazi because Farla claims Istwill is Blaze then it’s calling Blaze a Nazi by proxy.



          1. Hyatt says:

            If lstwill really isn’t a sockpuppet of Blaze’s, then maybe Blaze should be more concerned with what her friend says and does that raises neo-Nazi red flags rather than rail at the person who points them out.

            1. Venompaw says:

              Considering, how Istwill acted towards me, I really don’t see why Blaze cares so much that Istwill was called a Nazi. I got called one just for disagreeing.  Blaze even defended that.

              I have a litany of colorful language from Blaze, especially after that forum post I made to Farla’s forum. Apparently, I misunderstood Blaze thus, the correct response is to tell me to kill myself instead of admitting that she herself fucked up.

              At some point, she said being nice to others doesn’t work for her and that led to her being kicked out of multiple websites. That seems really credible given how she acts.

              I wasn’t sympathetic to the need to be an asshole to everyone.

              An actual quote from her:

              [I act this way because its the only solution. Being nice doesn’t work for me.]

              Since MLP/FIMFIC was mentioned on this blog: 

              Has anyone tried to report The Crazy Cazadore on Fimfic for being a sockpuppet? Fimfiction has rules against sockpuppetry. 


              • Secondary accounts for isolating posted content (stories, blog posts, public bookshelves, etc.) are tolerated, but they must not be used for anything other than posting said content, including but not limited to voting on stories. Secondary accounts for other purposes are not allowed.

              If they take action, then that’s one theory confirmed. If they don’t then Cazadore and Blaze are different people.

              Not to mention, I think  https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/814640/heeeeeeeey-farla

              Can probably be reported for Attacking Another User.

              Current text: 

              Do me a favor, stop being a bitch please. Also here is some proof ablaze did not just use my name on fanfiction.whatever I’ve never actually used that website before now.

              I’m pretty sure posting on a forum acting like a different person breaches those rules.

              Another relevant anti-sockpuppet rule:

              • Multiple people sharing the same computer, mobile or other internet-capable device or internet connection may be subject to increased scrutiny of their behavior if the activity between the two overlap.



    2. Farla says:

      After Enki’s author responses were posted here, Blaze started posting here under the name “Cerrie”. She continued to comment on several posts until she was banned, then started spoofing her IP address to get around it.

      Actually, that first picture the same-IP pileup was her first appearance here. She doesn’t start sockpuppetting once Cerrie is exposed, she seems to start off every situation by bringing in extra sockpuppets for backup.

      Blaze posts as Dragon’s Blaze, comes back as Anonymous4561 to reply to that comment saying to Dragon’s Blaze that she’s thinking too small and has all the evidence to destroy us already, then comes back as Final Flight 45 to be shocked this is going on because she hadn’t believed herself when she told herself this was happening, and then finally comes back as Cerrie to comment on an unrelated post and start going on about tropes. She then starts posting under Truther while still talking as Cerrie.

    3. Roc says:

      I recently stumbled upon this and I just had to share it.

      Blaze/Hybrid and her friends LOVE to hype up Grammerly and say that it’s way better than any beta reader or grammar site can hope to be. They also constantly say that “it’s” and “its” mean exactly the same thing because of some “words’ meanings change” excuse.

      What they may not know is that Grammerly actually has a blog where one of the posts specifically states that the two words do not mean the same thing.


      I don’t think I need to say anything else.

      1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        She is also now claiming that Grammar Girl is bunk, because it’s so different? Tempted to also cite Grammarly just to see what she says to it.

        Edit: Oh my, yes. I’m doing this.

      1. Embershine says:

        The thought processes behind compulsive and pathological lying are really interesting. I’d say she’s ‘pathological’, simply because being presented with evidence proving her lies has no bearing on her actions whatsoever.

        It doesn’t matter if something is true or not, she’ll say whatever she thinks will be most damning to your character, and what will most likely convince others she’s correct in all her assertions. It’s interesting, because this exact type of validation seeking lying is most consistent with narcissistic personality disorder. In many cases it’s considered a maladaptive coping mechanism, and subjects often display an inability to feel empathy for the feelings of others. Which we’ve also seen with Hybrid, given her apparent inability to understand why people don’t want her in their review sections, and consistent disregard for the people she claims to protect.

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          Do compulsive and / or pathological liars (is there a difference?) have an endgame they hope to reach with their lies, or is lying a goal unto itself?

          1. Embershine says:

            The definition of the types of lying are actually debated, but yes, they are different. (People just argue about HOW they’re different, since they share many similarities.) One of the more popular stances states that pathological lying is a bolder version, which occurs even when people know the subject is lying. There are a lot of articles on the subject, if you’re interested in learning more.

            That’s a pretty broad question. And I think a simple answer would be way too generalized, since individual cases vary by a huge margin. Pathological lying is one of those tricky-to-define things, because people argue over it being a symptom of a condition, or a condition in and of itself. (Mental health can be tricky like that.)

            So. The short answer is no, there isn’t usually an endgame for lying. Sure, there might be goals which can be reached, (like somehow kicking Saint off Fanfiction for instance) but that wouldn’t stop the subject’s maladaptive mindsets which caused the lying in the first place. It would just continue to pop up in other aspects of their life, until the underlying issues were resolved. (Which is again tricky, because lying can be a symptom of other issues, or the need to lie can CAUSE other symptoms which mimic other disorders, such as narcissism.)

            It’s also true that some types of liars really do just lie without apparent cause (such as narcissism), or without a concrete goal in mind. That’s usually a sign of outright psychopathy on a severe scale. People are rarely so extreme.

            And then there’s the compulsive liars hiding their own self esteem issues. This is usually where forms of narcissism kick in. People will lie about little things, to inflate their own importance, or even just to tell fake stories they think others would enjoy. Like claiming they should be taken seriously because they ‘know the governor’, or claiming to be much more popular, highly regarded, and well adjusted than they really are. Lots of people do this on a minor scale, and it’s only when it starts increasing in severity that it’s recognized as a disorder. (Lying is pretty normal, but as with anything, the extremes are unhealthy and even dangerous.)

            I think what you’re getting at is more along the lines of: is Hybrid actually trying to kick Saint off fanfiction, or is she just addicted to the lies due to a mental illness beyond her control? And I’d say she is serious about her goals, but that she does absolutely have a problem with pathological lying which would continue to affect her life and relationships whether that goal was met or not.

            1. Farla says:

              The important distinction, to me, is someone who spins lies about everything, whether or not it benefits them, verses someone doing it for gain. Someone compulsively lying is still difficult to deal with but isn’t intending harm with it.

              Her lies often seem self-serving, from the sockpuppet nonsense she came in with to her most recent claim that yet another sockpuppet flub was actually one person choosing to copy and paste another definitely different person’s review. But almost everything from her has been self-serving, so that’s a biased sample. She tends have really stupid lies, but it’s often an attempt to dig herself out of an equally stupid hole, so it’s hard to say if she’s ever passing up better options in favor of lying.

            2. Embershine says:

              That’s a good point. Because she is trying to cause harm. It isn’t just about her ego, though that’s certainly a part of it. Hybrid has flat out admitted her actions are intended to hurt you guys. She’s said if everyone hates you thanks to her actions, that’s what should happen. She’s stated recently she’s only commenting on your blog to annoy you guys further.

              She isn’t trying to hide it. Hybrid is actively trying to hurt people she doesn’t even know, for stupid, petty reasons. That really does set her apart from a normal compulsive liar, despite her ineptitude at keeping her lies straight.

            3. SpoonyViking says:

              That was an enlightening explanation, Ember. Thanks a lot!

    4. Roc says:

      It’s been over one year since Hybrid started her anti-Farla campaign and her rants have only gotten worse. I’ve seen many examples of her and her group harassing authors in the review sections, but this one was so bad I felt it needed to be addressed.


      So in their eyes, blocking Hybrid or anyone from her group (i.e. something that an author is perfectly within their rights to do) means that you’re a terrible person and that you should get off the site.

      Why does she claim to be an anti-bully, again?

  28. Ghost says:

    Oh hey, more people have started adopting Farla and Elmo’s reviewing style now. Either people are taking them up on their offers to show them how it’s done or Blaze has annoyed enough people to start doing reviews of their own to counter her antics. Either way, this is good.

  29. Ghost says:

    And I got told to kill myself and stop being content police by a random guest reviewer. No, it wasn’t any of Blaze’s group. I’m guessing it’s because they assumed I was part of critics united or whatever that group’s called because of my reviews.


    Well, so much for a peaceful time on the site.

    1. Ghost says:

      Random dude who claims to be an asshole is less annoying than Blaze’s group. Should really figure out how to post PMs here… Probably would be good for a laugh.

  30. Act says:

    Has anyone around here played Mirror’s Edge? I have tried on three very separate occasions to play it, and on each I lasted about 45 minutes in my first play session before putting it down, and then never picking it up again. I never intend to quit playing altogether, and I’m always mildly entertained I guess, I just find it cannot hold my attention in the face of my other media options. It’s not even explicitly boring, it’s just… okay. Or, to quote Farla, “I kept getting distracted by how staring into space was so super interesting instead. This has been on my computer for a while when I had nothing better to do and it turned out that nothing actually had some good points in its favor.”

    I’m curious as to whether this is just me or other people have found it bland or…?

    1. Ghost says:

      The parkour was fun. Everything else was just bland for me.

    2. Indiscretion says:

      I watched a youtube playthrough of it a few weeks ago, and got through the first fourth before it started getting… repetitive, sorta? Like the sights are cool, but you’re never going to see the same thing again so it’s not worth remembering, and it doesn’t matter what you did ten minutes ago because it’s not going to come up again, except the puzzles are all basically the same do this move and then this other one in combination and neither interesting on their own nor connected enough to a grander scheme. 

      Of a tangentially related note, I really like the writing style of the fanfic that got me into it: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/118426/1/run/run

  31. Definitely Not the Reeds of Enki says:

    Huh. So this is a thing, cool. Wish I’d found out before “taking over a random post” with some others over on The Other Pokeauthors Part 116. My bad! So this is just like a catch all, just talk randomly kind of thing?

  32. Ghost says:

    Got bored, decided to take a nosy at the reviews on Do No Harm (that story that Elmo seems to be getting most of the hostile reviews on)


    Good lord, the amount of reviews which are basically people using Elmo’s reviewing style to go “nehnehnehnehenehnehnah, I’m doing what you do to mock you” borders on unbelievable. It’s like they can’t think of a good way to troll and resort to such childish responses.  The macaroni one was one of the few unique ones there.

    Whatever happened to decent trolling? The stuff Elmo got was boring, man.

  33. illhousen says:

    So, I’ve been reading the thread on Farla’s forum about Blaze’s sockpuppetry where someone said she would make a good inspiration for a character, and suddenly came to a realization that Blaze is essentially one of those Queen Bee type of characters from YA novels who seemingly exists solely to hate the plucky protagonist. She even has a circle of interchangeable “friends” who exist to make her threat seem bigger.

    So, what I’m saying is that either Farla or Elmo should prepare for getting involved in a love triangle sometime soon.

    1. Ghost says:

      Maybe that’s why she’s fighting so much. She secretly wants Farla and is jealous that Elmo is friends with Farla.

      Or she wants Elmo. Would explain why she hates on the poor guy so much.

    2. Embershine says:

      This comment made my day. Blaze really is that stereotypically antagonistic. The next time someone points out a villains behavior as ‘unrealistic and irrational’, I shall point out this real life situation as proof that people really are that over the top sometimes.

    3. Keleri says:

      Farla and Elmo, what are your preferences re: vampire or werewolf?

  34. JackPK says:

    FYI: New spammer on Farla’s FFNet forum, targeting what looks like every unlocked thread going back to December. The modus operandi seems extremely different from Blaze’s typical tripe (lots of loud, vulgar anti-black and anti-Asian racism, misogyny including rape threats, and homophobic and transphobic remarks), but the spammer started by targeting the Blaze thread six times and then went on to hit most everything else just once apiece, so it seems like the motivation is Blaze-related.

    Based on timestamps they look to have spent well over half an hour on their spree. What a pathetic waste of time. Haven’t they got anything productive to do with their lives?

    1. Indiscretion says:

      I feel like it’s bait.

      1. JackPK says:

        …And of course now all the inane chatterboxes are coming out of the woodwork to take the bait and, yet again, fill the thread with meaningless garbage that serves no point and continues to make it harder to point to the thread and say “here’s a record of everything Blaze has done, read through it all”.

        1. Farla says:

          Yeah, I think I’ll make a clean thread, lock it, then keep the current one as a “Chatter related to…”

  35. Ashley says:

    I have a feeling that Blaze has added another sockpuppet account to her list, this time under the name King Pyle. She was ranting on a FFnet forum about how her life was “ruined” because someone posted her IP address on the site. She then disappeared, and someone named King Pyle comes out of nowhere and threatens to sue the site.

    I might be completely wrong, but it is suspicious.

    1. Ghost says:

      Pyle’s been in action for a month or so. Showed up on the forum using insane troll logic to piss people off so he could claim he was better than us, but the spelling mistakes imply either that bad spelling runs in Blaze’s (or Hybrid, as she now calls herself) family or it’s Blaze pretending to be her cousin

    2. Farla says:

      Yeah, it’s a sock. A Pyle pops up at the bottom here right after I point out to KingPyle that I do see the reports she’s spamming against this site and that one of them was from a Pyle right before KingPyle pops up.

  36. Socordya says:

    We have reached Peak Isekai. Behold:

    Isekai Putin

    1. SpoonyViking says:

      What the actual fuck…?

    2. CrazyEd says:

      On the note of isekai, I’d actually like mention two I’d honestly recommend: Risou no Himo Seikatsu and Sentouin, Hakenshimasu!

      Risou no Himo Seikatsu is a pretty orthodox premise in isekai: A salaryman with nothing to live for gets teleported to a fantasy kingdom, finds out from a queen that his great-grandfather is from her royal bloodline, and she wants him to her king. What first distinguishes it from other isekai is that there’s extremely good political reasons why she chose him over any other possible option, and she remains in complete control of the kingdom instead of handing it to him because he’s The Chosen Hero. In fact, their joint efforts to retain as much power for her is a key aspect of the story. The salaryman’s only real contribution to revolutionizing the kingdom (as is common in these sorts of stories) is… glass, for some reason. The main value he provides the kingdom is actually in the form of complete loyalty and, honestly, plain old salaryman skills like contract negotiation. It’s not an utterly amazing story, but it’s far better than most isekai I’ve seen, if only for the fact that everyone acts like a fucking adult and he’s not baffled by the idea of pretty girls and monogamy.

      Sentouin, Hikakishimasu is probably a far easier sell: A mook from a Kamen Rider-esque Evil Villain Organization gets teleported to another world with a cute robot girl to conquer it. He quickly joins up with a local kingdom and recruits a team of Weirdoes to aid him. He might be absolute scum, but that’s actually important, because in order to receive equipment from his organization, he has to redeem earned Misdeed Points for it. If you liked Konosuba’s tone, you’ll definitely like this as well- it’s even written by the author of the manga adaptation of Konosuba. The Captain of the Royal Guards’ hobby is purchasing blades off infomercials and she still hasn’t finished paying off the loan on her legendary sword.

    3. illhousen says:

      Jesus fuck…

      Though if we’re on topic of Isekai, we have to ask the immortal question: Isekai Truck, hero or villain? On the one hand, it kills Isekai protagonists, which is good. On the other, they don’t die when they’re killed and are instead transported to another world to leech off it, which is inconsiderable to those worlds. On the third hand, those worlds tend to be flat and have, like, three good characters between them, so maybe they deserve Isekai protagonists…

      1. Roarke says:

        The Isekai Truck doesn’t kill Isekai protagonists; it creates them. Before the truck hits them, they’re just an ordinary loser, and ordinary losers don’t really deserve to just die like that. So the world loses an ordinary loser (and the Isekai Truck Driver maybe loses his job and gets manslaughter charges), while the other world is saddled with an Isekai protagonist.

        I’m going to call that pretty much lose-lose all around and say it’s a villain.

        1. illhousen says:

          Ah, but does the Isekai Truck truly create Isekai protagonists or rather removes them from our world before they can awaken to their powers and become urban fantasy/slice-of-life harem protagonists?

          1. Roarke says:

            A surprising number of Isekai protagonists are past high school age, which is generally the ripe age for those genres. I’d have to say on balance that it’s not preventing them from causing harm to our world.

            Even if most Isekai protagonists are just waiting to become the protagonists of other bad genres, that means the Isekai Truck is just shifting the worlds’ misery from one to the next, presumably keeping universal misery constant and is therefore a neutral force at best.

            One manga I read – Mushoku Tensei or something – had the 30+ year-old deadbeat protagonist start over literally from birth, resolving to get his life right this time and live earnestly. It actually held to this conceit pretty well, to the point where his best character moments were overcoming his deadbeat urges to give up on family/friend relationships when things got difficult. His driving motivation was the regret that he became estranged from family and friends in his first life. And you know how much I dig it when regret changes a man’s nature.

            I’d call the truck a hero in that case, but not many others.

            1. illhousen says:

              Well, to be fair, those words are generally flat and badly written, so I’d say they deserve Isekai protagonists more than our world. Note how rare it is for the Isekai Truck to send its victims to fleshed-out world with a cast of three-dimensional likable characters.

            2. Roarke says:

              We’re getting into the problem of what exactly constitutes ‘deserving’ of being inflicted with an Isekai protagonist. A world that’s flat and badly written might not strictly be worse than this one can be, if only because the author is unable to conceptualize it.

              Much like the ordinary loser before he becomes an Isekai protagonist, those flat worlds either don’t exist or are just minding their own business not harming the reader/viewer until the Isekai Truck hits him. It’s possible that each collision in itself is a kind of Big Bang, creating a whole universe to slot the protagonist in. We should pity the worlds created as such, born like animals for the slaughter.

            3. CrazyEd says:

              On the other hand, the worst character moments were when he decided it’d be a great idea to groom his childhood friend into being the ultimate waifu from the age of six, because at the time, he was also (physically) six but mentally 36.

              Because Mushoku Tensei is disgusting.

            4. Roarke says:

              Very true, the pedo crap is strong with that one. It’s kind of the reversal of the usual trope you get in anime, where the loli is actually an ancient immortal or whatever, or the anime mom looks like an elementary school kid, but 1000x skeevier.

            5. illhousen says:

              You know, we had discussions about how the whole “no, really, she’s a 1000 years old, she just looks like a little kid” stuff is bad because the underlying reason for why people do it is to draw kiddie porn and cover it up with a fig leaf of an excuse, but I have to say, you start to really appreciate that fig leaf when it’s suddenly gone and you’re left staring into naked abyss of someone’s disturbing fetishes.

            6. Roarke says:

              You really can’t set the bar low enough when it comes to this. Every time you try and lower it, the next day you’re seeing something like The Ancient Demon Lord is Actually Just My Little Step-Sister and then you have to start over.

            7. CrazyEd says:

              I’m pretty sure that, when I asked the guy who tried convincing me that it was So Much More than what I was seeing “when does all the pedo crap end” his answer was basically “well the story takes place over a long time so they all grow up eventually”.

              Also, as I recall, his magic teacher witch-girl character is one of those “older than she looks” types, though I think it’s a difference of like “looks 12, is 22” rather than “looks 12, is 1200”. So I suppose it’s possible, though unlikely, that she looks 22 when 32 later on in the story.

              But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

            8. Roarke says:

              Personally I can’t remember a single manga or anime that has toned down its level of creepy shit or fanservice over the course of its run. They just have one level of creepy shit or another and that’s the bar/barrier to entry you accept or don’t. Which is why I make no recommendations for anything.

          2. Act says:

            Perhaps the truck is just Gaia, and is a force for balance, and thus True Neutral.

            1. Roarke says:

              Now I’m picturing goddamn Archer driving that truck, screaming “THIS ISN’T WHAT I WISHED FOR!”

            2. illhousen says:

              “What’s your Noble Phantasm?”

              “I can summon a truck and drive people over.”


              “They don’t die when they’re killed.”

            3. CrazyEd says:

              That’s basically the Noble Phantasm I gave to Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Alter when I gave him a writeup as an Berserker.

      2. Keltena says:

        You’ll be happy to know that the Isekai Truck Driver is not only a hero, but the hero of his own manga.

        1. illhousen says:

          It was probably inevitable.

        2. Act says:

          I want so badly for this to be a brilliant OPM-style sendup but it’s probably crap which makes me sad.

          1. illhousen says:

            I’ve read the linked translation. It was OK but nothing special. It mostly describes day-to-day operations of the Isekai Truck delivery company, which is kinda funny because it combines a very mundane matter-of-fact work description with ritual murder, but I felt that the author struggled to come up with content beyond the initial joke.

    4. Act says:

      Tbh this isn’t any inherently weirder than like, this bullshit.

      1. illhousen says:

        I don’t know, I can see the thought process behind spider-girl. Isekai as a genre is weirdly fixated on RPG-style worlds with mechanics and dungeons and shit, so I can see someone going, “OK, so what if you didn’t become an adventurer in the new world but rather a dungeon dweller? And an inhuman one at that?” It’s kinda silly, sure, but it’s a gimmick that allows your story to stand out while still broadly sticking to the formula of “an ordinary person serving as a stand-in for the audience in extraordinary circumstances.”

        With the other thing, I… have some trouble parsing how the fuck the author arrived there. It’s like, “Imagine you’re Putin with a hard-on for riding things and you go to fantasyland to ride more things.”

        1. Act says:

          See, I’ve definitely encountered “Putin riding absurd animals” as a meme before, so as trolling I understand that one. Though it’s only complete if he also covets hats

          1. illhousen says:

            Well, from the trolling perspective, sure. The meme is very much valid. Though I’m really not sure it warrants a manga.

            1. SpoonyViking says:

              A manga which treats Putin as a heroic figure, even.

            2. Act says:

              I was having this same thought — “I’m here for weirdass surreal Putin memes, but that he would very much enjoy this ruins it.”

      2. Roarke says:

        Personally I’m a little enamored of that manga. It even has a Tsukihime reference! Do you have any idea how rare that is?

        1. Nerem says:

          I’m sad that Isekai has gotten such a bad name as one of my favorite shows was THE original Isekai show, Aura Battler Dunbine. Which even starts with the protagonist being sent to the other world due to being hit by truck!

          1. Roarke says:

            I know how you feel. Any bandwagon will get a bad name if you fill it with shit, but that doesn’t make it easier to see something you like in it.  

            1. Nerem says:

              Yeah it’s hard to deny that Isekai has gotten real bad since it reached peak popularity with its SAO-likes and those Tenchi Isekais. I sometimes find fun Isekai web novels, but there’s still at the same time a billio bad ones.

          2. CrazyEd says:

            To be fair, there are plenty of good isekai. They just all predate it being a definitive genre of work, like Magic Knight Rayearth and Inuyasha.

            1. Heatth says:

              Not sure I would qualify Inuyasha is “good” but, yeah, the older isekai have the advantage of not falling into a narrow “genre”.

              Another old isekai of note is Digimon. If you look at the three examples you can see how different they are compared to modern ones. Not only they have vastly different characters and dinamics, but their worlds are completely different. Part of the problem with modern isekai is that most of them are generic RPG European-style medieval worlds, which is a bit tiring, as much as I personally love this kind of setting.

            2. Nerem says:

              It’s largely because that’s what got Isekai popular. Tenchi Muyo Isekai and RPG Stories which were more or less Isekai stories always got big and dominated the ideas with harem stories and just Generic Dragon Quest RPG System Stories.

              Aura Battler Dunbine, Magic Knight Rayearth, Inuyasha, Maze in the Burst Space, Masoukishin, and El-hazard didn’t set the trend.. mostly. Aura Battler Dunbine basically invented the method of getting there (as it starts with the protagonist getting in a motorcycle incident with a truck and falling through a portal to the world of Byston Well), but then people picked and chose from the newcomers and made the unholy amalgamation of terribleness. The only modern Isekai I think I’ve liked outside of random web novels is Konosuba and that’s because it’s a really good parody of the bad Isekai.

            3. Heatth says:

              I know, but it is still sad.

              I tried watching Konosuba but got tired of it in the 2nd episode. Didn’t find it funny and the protagonists throughly unlikeable (specially the guy). I did enjoy Re:Zero well enough, though I read the novel, not the anime.

              Log Horazon is quite cool too. In particular because it has actual thought being given to its world building. Like, not perfect but better than most. It also has an adult protagonist and few harem antics, so there are some tiresome tropes being thrown away.

            4. Farla says:

              Part of the problem with modern isekai is that most of them are generic RPG European-style medieval worlds, which is a bit tiring, as much as I personally love this kind of setting.

              As someone who only just spot-checked through the most recent stuff, I think the actual core problem that led to it getting outright banned from writing competitions isn’t that it’s generic RPG style or even the RPG flourishes, but that the world is set up like a videogame where it’s designed to get the protagonist from point A to point L100. It’s not about falling into another world, or even falling into a videogamey world, it’s about specifically falling into a videogame.

              The world functions with simple AI, obvious exploits that no one else notices, and on top of that some super ability to make sure the main character always has a leg up, often in New Game + style even. It’s been carefully balanced by a designer with concern about making sure everyone playing, even a newbie, would be able to get to the end.

              Did you ever hear about the “cheekmouth” complaint in webcomics? It’s an anime time-saver to just stick the mouth on sideways so you just animate two flippy lines rather than the whole head. It only saves time in actual animation but it was everywhere in webcomics because everyone learned to draw from anime. It really looks like that’s what’s going on here, people have consumed such a quantity of videogames that they can’t even tell the difference between how the videogame works as a whole and how certain parts of it are designed to make people feel like they’re really good at the game when actually the game designers stacked everything in their favor first.

            5. Heatth says:

              That is an interesting annalysis, and it makes a lot of sense to me. And you can even see some of the success stories “avoid” that problem by being actually aware of it and using it deliberately, instead of just falling in it acidentally. Like, Konosuba by being an explicit parody. Or Log Horizon, which, of course, is set in an actual video game and uses its progression mechanics as a explicit part of the setting.

              And this apply to examples that my complaint didn’t cover, like No Game No Life, which has a relativelly unique world but still have that problem of the protagonist just flurishing into greatness with ease.

              That said, I don’t think it is just this one or another reason. There are other factors, like the fact the genre have mixed so much with the harem gernre. Pretty much all generic isekai also have a harem of varied girls falling in love with the protagonist. This isn’t a must have feature of other adventure shonens, but it is almost omnipresent in isekai.

            6. Farla says:

              I suspect the harem aspect is flowing out of the same thing. Dating sims involve a pile of girls being interested in the protagonist because you can’t have a game about getting to pick a girl to romance without her being on the table, and regular RPGs that include that element usually need to similarly have multiple options on the table. Looking at it entirely from the point of view of the player with absolutely no thought to the whys of game design, you’d get the impression this is just how reality is supposed to work, that every halfway eligible female you encounter will be into you, whether or not she’s actually a giant ant or whatever. And if there’s a “best end” for a dating sim it’s usually the harem end, and these fics are all about being the best at everything and getting all the things, so…

              Even if lots of RPGs don’t involve romance, almost all the ones that do have romance lend themselves to at least the first stage of the harem setup, so if someone’s only knowledge of media is videogames, those are the ones they’ll emulate.

            7. Act says:

              This makes me think about early Harvest Moon games like 64 , where the person you don’t marry marries someone else and moves on with their life.

              It’s kind of apples and oranges to a degree because the farm sim romances are about immersion and lifebuilding while VN/rpg romances are about wish fulfillment and godmoding, but I do think it speaks to the, ah, otakuification of video games that at one point games we happy to have people get over romance and move on while the modern mode is about women never being able to move past some schmuck, to the point that everyone just throws themselves into harems no matter what.

              Now that I think about it, this may be a dilution thing, where lazy porny VNs exploded thanks to the accessibility of stuff like renpy, and lowest-common-denominator moneygrabby stuff doesn’t care about developing side characters, and then there were so many of them it became the norm.

              I guess my point is video game logic manifests in every aspect of modern anime. I wonder when the floodgates for that really opened.

            8. Farla says:

              Well, there’s the speculation that the reason Western gaming is a clusterfuck is because people are miserable, have been miserable for a while, and are building up a tolerance for escapism that requires ever-greater amounts for the same high. But it’s videogames and they’re interactive, so the escapism isn’t about getting into the videogame world but about pretending you’re a success for winning at it. And also I think a crucial element of the escapism is that there’s the awareness that being a straight cis white guy is ~easy mode~ for life, but their lives still suck, so they’re losing on easy mode, so they demand a game where their avatar gets all the things they think they should have.

              And then they write stories that are about all the things they collected, be it pokemon or girls or pokemon and girls, and how they made the right choices at every opportunity, and displayed system mastery here here and here, and otherwise have the biggest fictional dick.

              …although the question of why it’s so important the girls don’t move on to anyone else feels like it might have some link to how fetishes about infidelity seem to have taken off recently. It’s all or nothing.

            9. CrazyEd says:

              The Inuyasha manga isn’t half bad. I wouldn’t call it great, but it’s easily good.

              But yeah, the “no effort medieval rpg world”, especially the ones with SAO style RPG-elements like holographic menus and stats (despite not being video games) like Tate no Yuusha need to go.

            10. Heatth says:

              I genuinelly dislike the Inuyasha manga in particular. Mostly because I really like it. It has interesting setting, fun characters, a clear story and goal. But then it starts going on forever and repeating itself. Almost all the best plot threads are reseted just as you think they are being resolved, which is really tiresome.

              I really dislike Inuyasha for how much of a wasted potential it was. It started great but then the author didn’t know how to keep going or even how to stop. I think she got too caught up on her past Ranma 1/2 experience and threated it as if it was a gag manga, where going back to the status quo was all right.

              So, yeah, I can’t bring myself to call it good. It started good, but it got real bad over time which hurts it overal.

            11. Keleri says:

              And then they write stories that are about all the things they collected, be it pokemon or girls or pokemon and girls, and how they made the right choices at every opportunity, and displayed system mastery here here and here, and otherwise have the biggest fictional dick.

              Yeah the “Gamer” genre grosses me out but I also, simultaneously, get it. I get that terrible need for wish-fulfillment.

            12. Act says:

              I think it would feel less gross if it were more egalitarian. As with many things, the problem isn’t that it’s a thing, the problem is that it’s only a thing for one specific segment of the population.

              I remember playing Fable 2 a few years ago and thinking, “Oooooh, this is why dudes are so attached to power fantasies, how fun!”

            13. Keltena says:

              Agreed, and I’d add the other part that makes it a problem is how ubiquitous some of these tropes become. I’m totally fine with people writing and reading power fantasies where ALL the girls want them (for example), if that’s what they enjoy. I’m a lot less fine with that harem trope becoming the default to the point where it’s seen as normal, and it being nigh impossible to find works that don’t incorporate harem elements (even when they’re advertised as being, or genuinely are, about something completely different) because it’s obligatory. That’s the point where it starts to read a lot less as a popular form of iddy wish fulfillment and a lot more as a reflection of people’s views in general, regardless of whether that’s true for every person involved.

              So a lot of my feelings boil down to: If part or all of the appeal of your work is the waifus and romantic power fantasy, then own it, and advertise to all the people who like that in the process. If you intend it to be or advertise it as some completely separate genre (or, say, as centering around a single canon romance), then shoehorning in harem elements will just make both aspects weaker anyway, and I’d really like to be able to watch/play/read things without getting blindsided by unadvertised and narratively inappropriate fanservice for once.

            14. The Reeds of Enki says:

              Ah, harems! My least favorite trope, or one of. I agree with the above statements, but another thing that drives me insane is the nigh-omnipresent nature of them in fanfic, specifically. Not only that, but if your story is advertised as a harem fic, it’s almost guaranteed to get more support/reviews. I’ve seen way too many harem stories with 10,000+ reviews and good stories, or realistic romances (that doesn’t involve the MC being soooooo in love with each and every one of his 500 girlfriends/wives and vice versa) are left with virtually no support. Some of those review-bloated harem stories aren’t even written well. 

              It also supports this idea that intimacy is irrelevant or that you can have this loving, intimate relationship with each and every person within your harem. It’s really annoying, and I think it might contribute to culture’s creepy fascination with infidelity, to the point where it’s mainstream. 

              … Also, why the hell would any self-respecting person choose to be a part of a harem, anyway? Makes no sense.  

            15. Act says:


              That’s the point where it starts to read a lot less as a popular form of iddy wish fulfillment and a lot more as a reflection of people’s views in general

              Yesss, this x 1000. It has that lurking ‘so this is how they really see women’ feeling to it now that makes it feel really degrading above and beyond how it feels in isolation.


              … Also, why the hell would any self-respecting person choose to be a part of a harem, anyway? 

              There’s a lot of really complex reasons women make choices like this. In real life many-wives situations, it’s largely severe internalized misogyny, where all they’ve ever seen or known is women being secondary to men, so it makes perfect sense to them that men would ‘deserve’ a harem of women.

              (It’s the same reason white women so pervasively vote against their interests in the US — they just don’t live lives where their own interests matter. I once read a piece in which a woman saying she doesn’t read as much as she wants because her husband ‘forbid’ it, and she’s a normal housewife un upstate NY (not like, a weird fundie or something) and she says this like it’s the most normal thing in the world. Women in these households don’t get choices… I’ve seen it firsthand; I grew up in one.)

            16. Septentrion says:

              … Also, why the hell would any self-respecting person choose to be a part of a harem, anyway? Makes no sense.

              If it’s fanfiction, then it’s becuases every male except the protagonist is evil-cubed abuser of women. Then the MC looks like a saint be passively existing

            17. SpoonyViking says:

              Hear, hear!

            18. SpoonyViking says:

              Oh, boy. Sometimes I really dislike this comments system.

              Anyway, my comment above was in agreement to Heatth’s views on Inu Yasha.

  37. Somebody says:


    I’m posting this quickly, but in this mass spam there’s one interesting misfire that could indicate that Blaze is behind the “CU are evil” spam? One of the spams seems to accidentally post something from her inbox? It could be a bit of tomfoolery but still interesting

    1. Farla says:

      I doubt she’s behind the original. A link to the bot’s been posted around and that spam is patterned very differently than the spam most people have reported.

      As to if she’s behind that…on the one hand, it’s a stupid and easily faked screwup, could as well be someone else trying to fan the flames. On the other, it certainly wouldn’t be her first stupid copy-paste screwup and I did get a mass of spam a few days ago that was personally labeled on my newest fic. She does everything from a phone so writing out gibberish is probably harder than copy-pasting the spam reviews she’d gotten.

    2. Farla says:

      So a series of weird things followed this, so I’m going to update that to still doubt she was behind the original but it does seem likely she’s behind other stuff.

      I posted it to the Writers Anonymous thread because whoever it is, they’re definitely different in behavior from the CU spam.

      Shortly after, someone posted another attack thread on there using Blaze’s manifesto points: https://www.fanfiction.net/topic/2872/174259518/1/Trolls-to-watch-for

      Then “Ivy”, who’s been popping up for a while with Blaze’s speech patterns to back up the other alts, says that actually we’re behind the spam – this on a story Blaze shouldn’t even have had reason to keep checking back to.

      Then someone pops up on my story, which also got anomalous spam, to say that I spammed myself and insult me for it:

      what the fuck is even this are you really stupid or have you gotten any accidents in your head or after you were born the docters dropped you by your head & you got a mental problemyou can’t go and just review your story ,are you really a total stupid

      This is a brand new account that appears to have been made solely to say this.  They’re initially “dhereshchautala” but then changes to “rock and rolla”. When I ask them why they think I spammed myself, they keep answering that they think my motivation for doing it is to make my story look better and hide negative reviews and won’t answer the actual question of what convinced them I actually did it and generally come off as really weird and extremely overinvested for a brand-new account.

      So in conclusion, yeah, it looks a lot like she tried to join in on the spam. Possibly the first odd batch on my own story was hers. Then she fucked up. She’s previously gotten far more aggressive when that happens to try to hide it/distract people from noticing, and that appears to have happened again. She’s also been consistent about accusing us of anything she’s currently doing – long before I realized she was sockpuppetting she accused several people of being socks, she says we’re trying to remove people from fandom, she says we don’t actually care about anything we say but are just trying to be important…

      Edit: https://www.fanfiction.net/topic/2872/137302745/574/General-The-Place-to-Vent-Thread And then she shows up just a bit later here to say that if the result of the spam is that people are allowed to delete any review they want, then it’d be worth it. Her first complete meltdown, back in March or so, was over demanding St Elmo’s Fire remove a signed review, and now she’s saying she thinks increasing spam will lead to her getting the ability to delete reviews.

      1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        More weirdness: The anti-CU spammer has upgraded to using sockpuppets for signed reviews that can’t be deleted. They continued making a ton more socks you can see by going through the user ID numbers.

        1. guest says:

          They left 80+ reviews on each story longer than 5k words on Farla’a front page of favorites. Happens in batches of 30 every few hours.

          1. APen says:

            So I woke up to hundreds of these “down with critics united” spam reviews on three of my stories . . .

            Does anyone have suggestions on how to deal with this? Should I individually report each review, or try to report the sock-puppets?

            It’s really unpleasant to see this. I know people have joked about padding review counters, but these endless spam reviews invalidate all the thoughtful review by real people who actually care about the stories.



            1. Farla says:

              It’s okay. When an account is deleted, all the reviews disappear too. That’s what happened with the last burst of signed-in spam.

            2. Keleri says:

              Yeah the bot reviews pushed away anything thoughtful to the last page. :/ Good to hear they’ll all be deleted shortly.

          2. Farla says:

            Huh, I’m still only getting the regular unsigned spam.

            I wonder if they’re alternating users to make it harder to realize how they work? Last time people immediately figured out it was spreading through favorites lists.

            That, or they’re not bothering with the signed spam for people who don’t bother moderating reviews, but I’m not sure they’re that able to tell who they’re targetting.

  38. The Reeds of Enki says:

    I was totally going to just clog up another Pokeauthors post, but then I remembered this was a thing. Random venting time, because I think the people here might be a little more sympathetic to my viewpoint than where I’m at, geographically.

    A bit of background here, behind the scenes of my glamorous life might be needed or appreciated to understand the culture of the place in question. I’m a dishwasher, I work at a restaurant that sells Mexican food. Nothing much more there to it. The problem that bugs the ever-loving shit out of me is the songlist that gets played on our radio and of the vernacular of the shop. There are a lot more examples, but a song that got played today included lyrics like “Fuck you, stupid bitch, I don’t need you, fuck you.”

    The word “Ho” is a staple of the radio station or song list they enjoy as well, by the way, and not the holly, jolly kind. Cooks call out “I love you” and such to the female staff, who pass it off, but it’s still really creepy considering the age disparity, especially, and one line here was just fucking creepy. Like out of an abusive relationship:

    Female Server: “Why do you call me Bitch all the time?”

    Cook: “It’s because I love you.”

    I think the owner even repeatedly asked one of the more attractive female staff to join him for alcoholic drinks at his place. I kept my ears strained for that happening, because I would actually have said something there. That shit’s not okay. It’s abuse of power and sexual harassment.

    IT DRIVES ME FUCKING INSANE. And when I turned to talk to one of my female coworkers about it, how surely this is unprofessional, she immediately started dancing and singing along. I just stood there, totally nonplussed. And when I talked to one our three female managers, she just said she wasn’t offended by it (the “Fuck you stupid bitch” song) and all the other servers knew all the lyrics to it, they didn’t seem like they had a problem.

    And I had no idea what to say after that. Like, I know it sounds arrogant as all hell to say “You should be offended by X,” but how is being referred to by a derogative as a common pronoun anything but degrading and disrespectful? What do I do? The people in question who are being objectified don’t even care, I’d just look like some white knight loser who should stick his nose out of where it doesn’t belong.

    But, seriously, there was a song playing the full “N” word, hard-r and all, and THAT got turned off after a minute, but it still played. And I’m not sure what to do. It drives me up the wall, but it doesn’t bother anyone else, and I’m already on short terms with that same manager after I got irate with her after receiving my work schedule two hours before being expected to work for the second time in a row after being promised it wouldn’t happen.

    It just infuriates me. The servers talk like “I bet he gets all the bitches,” and I want to say something, but I need this job, and I left the last time after I tried to solve things between a coworker — but going to the manager directly didn’t do anything! It’s aggravating. This isn’t overreacting, I think. I’m pretty sure. No one’s calling the males “Bastard” or some male-specific slur, of which there really aren’t that many by comparison to begin with.

    We’re (not literally us, obviously) teaching people to not have respect for women, by the looks of it. Even the women don’t have enough respect for women by how my manager reacted to notice anything off. Am I overreacting? I’m the only one who actually seems to give a damn about it.

    1. On the Sidelines says:

      First of all, I’m not gonna lie, Reeds, this made me really sad. I’m sorry you’re in such an uncomfortable position, but I really do apprecite that you even care enough to get involved. Secondly, no, you are not overreacting; this is nothing short of appalling.


      Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much you can actually do. I have a friend who–well, let’s say she lives in a similar environment. Where she lives, women are raised to believe that no, they’re not worth anything and yes, men can treat them however they want. It’s sickening. But that’s all they’ve ever known, so they just… accept it. They don’t think they deserve any better. My friend was raised in a different area before moving there, so she was appalled at this mentality. She and I had a lot of conversations about what to do about it, but there was no easy answer. She had tried discussing this with some of the women there, but they were unfortunately so set on their own upbringing that they just laughed it off.


      My point is, it’s really difficult to change. There’s no easy way to completely rewrite a woman’s entire upbringing, being told that she’s nothing and she only exists to please men. Those are deep-rooted psychological issues that will take time to heal. I wish things didn’t have to be like this and I wish we didn’t live in a world where in some areas it’s still okay to teach women that they deserve to be treated like this, but here we are.


      As for your coworkers, you mentioned you already asked them about this, but I would say you should take them aside and ask them how they really, honestly feel about it. And if they still say they’re not bothered… ask them why. Sometimes, simply asking why they’re not bothered by it can be enough to get them to really think about it, which can open the door and begin the healing process. It takes time, of course, but it’s a good start.


      And as for your job, I feel like you should make it clear with the managers that this bothers YOU, since they seem to think no one cares. I know you said you needed this job, but that doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to such an uncomfortable work environment.


      Anyway, that’s enough of my venting. Best of luck to you, Reeds. And best of luck to those poor women who work there, too. I hope one day they’ll realize that they don’t deserve to be treated like this.


      Sincerely, a woman who struggled for a very long time to learn to accept herself.

      1. The Reeds of Enki says:

        “And as for your job, I feel like you should make it clear with the managers that this bothers YOU, since they seem to think no one cares. I know you said you needed this job, but that doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to such an uncomfortable work environment.”


        I can’t just leave. I mean, I really, actually can’t, in a way. A bit more backstory, because I’m on the soap box again, and boy howdy, am I ever going to use it, so sorry in advance. 

        I live paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes not even that. It’s not a matter of not being paid enough when I can work, I get paid $8 an hour and due to the rough nature of my job, there’s a possibility I’ll get a raise, along with the fact that I’m one of the only people in all of Statesboro to actually give a damn about showing up and doing their job to begin with. 

        I flipped burgers at Wendy’s for a time. The people there were nice, they actually did their work, they didn’t emotionally abuse you into thinking you were expendable when really you were the best worker, and the work wasn’t so bad. But it was so very fast-paced and reliant on my getting the job done and done well and done right then, and I can’t do that all the time. I have OCD and PTSD, and sometimes it feels like I’m a spring-loaded bomb, waiting to explode, sometimes wanting to explode. At the place I work at now, I have autonomy. I’m not actually expendable, as my previous manager had me believe (long fucking story), and people respect my work ethic there. I can do the work at my own pace, I’m left to my own devices, and I get the work done faster than anyone else, so no one complains if I do need to take a breather. The work’s hard, a lot worse than Wendy’s, but I can also take out my phone and jot down notes for the book I’m writing. It’s all I have right now to keep me sane.

        Regarding the sanity thing, which ties into where I live, who I’ve been around, my entire family thinks I’m the black sheep, I’m sure. I cut ties with my twin brother. Again, long fucking story, but I’m not going there. But for what, 23 years now, I’ve been treated like a “freak” (said twin brother’s words) for my morals, which I really don’t think are that awful. I think this culture is fucking nuts, and my family is too, in their own special way, which has contributed to my pool of sanity typically being little more than a few droplets on most days that I just learned to milk the hell out of. 

        It’s not just the sexism thing. I’ve been taught to respect animals too, they have rights, right? Right? Well, we were at a seafood restaurant with live turtles in a very accessible pool, which an extremely-poorly raised kid used to shout obscenities at. I watched said brat, tense and wired, wanting to protect those poor turtles, and when he reached out and dangled one upside down, I shouted for him to let the turtle go. That’s it. And then I was the monster for the next fifteen minutes, in which my mother proceeded to let me know how horrible I was for what I did. Lesson learned: you should treat things with respect, but only when it’s convenient for you. 

        And that, combined with the fact that my bringing up things like that gets used as leverage against me somehow, as if citing bad behavior is bad behavior itself, combined with the soul-killingly hellish anxiety I wake up to every day, has basically killed my ability to actually feel. Some days I wake up and it feels like my nerve endings have fused, like fat little beads just beneath the skin, and all on fire.

        I can’t actually feel joy or happiness or affection like I know I should be able to. It’s there, distantly, I can sort of feel it, but I remember a time of emotional clarity, and this isn’t it. It’s even to the point where it’s going to affect my relationship if I don’t fix it somehow. 

        Anger is the one emotion that has stuck with me. When everything else is muted, muffled, muddled, I can feel anger. And sometimes it’s just so relieving to know that I’m not actually a machine that I succumb to my OCD’s taunts and think about rape, about infidelity, about everything that makes me go pitch-insane-mad. And then it seeps through the cracks of my already gone-to-shit psyche, and it gets worse. 

        So arguing with people typically does not lead to much positive results. Even when I reeled myself way in once, my dad kicked me out for daring to suggest that the motherfucking KKK couldn’t be good people. You know, outstanding community citizens. It’s just that one thing, you know, that small, minor detail about them actively hating black people and wanting to oppress them. 

        And if I talk to my mom about anything infidelity-wise, how its rampancy in culture drives me insane, how it’s everywhere, how it’s treated like a goddamn joke, that just doesn’t work, because the reason my dad divorced her was because she cheated with a woman and now she’s made it her mission to make me her personal device of redemption, where I get to say she’s the perfect mother, and any time I deviate from that rhetoric, I get punished for it. 

        So yeah, I’m angry. So unbelievably, impossibly angry, and if even a sliver of that impotent rage gets out in the restaurant, then I can kiss my job goodbye. There’s another benefit I like about it in that it has the strange property of restoring creative flow when I work there. It’s weird, but it works. And when I’m productive in my writing, when I’m progressing on my book or reviewing, then I can pretend things make just a fraction of sense and I can take pride in being The Reeds of Enki instead of this nearly constantly almost homeless person trying to make sense of the shitstorm life is, who has been taught so effectively, so thoroughly by observation that humankind is so utterly incapable of anything good, that he can’t even believe he is capable of being more than evil in some form. 

        Something I go to when I start wondering if I’m actually just a sociopath who thinks he’s right, because everyone else seems to think a different way even though it’s moronic and clearly filled with fallacies, is that I actually give more of a damn than most people whose hearts are actually working more than the average robot. I fed an entire family when I was close to being on the streets myself, I am constantly on alert for ways I can help people, even if it comes at the cost of my own ability to be financially stable. 

        But everything around me has taught me that humankind is incapable of making anything good. If you’re in a relationship, you will cheat. Someone will cheat. Even if things are looking fine, there has been or will be infidelity. Sexism is everywhere and my own father kicked me out for not willing to be indoctrinated in racist ways. I’m always one bad month away, where my mental stuff gets to that sweet spot where I totally shut down and can’t function worth a fucking shit, from being homeless or asking the same family I’m furious with, who doesn’t know why I am this way, who probably thinks the world of my brother, who I can’t tell anything because they made me this way and won’t accept it, for help. 

        So I’m stuck here. In six hours, I’m going to work, possibly for fourteen hours straight, next to a washing machine that spit out sparks last night and possibly has a live wire, soaking wet and holding very conductive metal for me to wash with other, also conductive stuff, listening to my coworkers play songs about how “that pussy’s so good I had to save it for later” and wanting to scream my fucking head off and having to just fake being in any way, shape, or form a normal, functioning member of society, who most definitely doesn’t feel like a ticking time bomb.

        And that’s the best thing for me right now. 

        Okay, I know that was one hell of a rant. I’m not going postal or anything, I promise. I did actually have a coworker at Wendy’s ask if I was going to shoot up the place solely on the account of my having OCD, but I’m not that awful. I just really, really, really needed to vent that all out, and I can’t actually do that anywhere else, so thanks and sorry for being subject to a case study in how profoundly fucked up I am. 

        1. Farla says:

          I’m sorry there’s so much wrong.

          Ultimately, there’s only so much you can do for other people. There’s a lot of reasons why women would say they don’t mind – they might not, they might be wary of saying they do, they might not want to admit it does to themselves. And being the only one to complain isn’t likely to change anything but just risks your own job.

          If you don’t need to converse with your coworkers, earbuds might be the best for your own sanity – just having other noise can be a distraction even if it doesn’t actually drown it out. You could also see if you could get other songs added to the rotation or something – other stations that play similar but not quite as bad things? I think, especially in a hard job, people like loud aggressive music just because it keeps them awake and moving regardless of what the words are.

          1. The Reeds of Enki says:

            I’ll see about having songs added, that’s a good idea. It’s more likely to be accepted than trying to get anything taken down. I don’t think the earbud thing is possible though, as I have to converse with my coworkers occasionally about work-related things.

            1. The Reeds of Enki says:

              Status update: while all is still not well with the world, things are definitely changing for the better. I talked with the general manager, who shares my aggravation with the song selection, but she said she couldn’t really do much about it because the (now ex-owner) still has control over the back of the shop. 

              The owner is no longer the owner, which is a god damn miracle by design, because that man was so much worse than I ever thought he was. He joked about roofing then female waiters — even the general manager, shoved alcohol down their throats, tempted them with driving them “home” after getting them drunk under the guise of safety concerns, and I think a previous owner forced specific female staff to pick up their checks at his home, wouldn’t give it to them anywhere safe. 

              My emotionally abusive old manager is also a registered sex offender! I thought my opinion of him couldn’t go much lower, but this place has a way of surprising me. One very, very, very good surprise is in that the new owner called the police on ex-owner immediately after hearing of his soullessness. So, not having an actual motherfucking rapist as an owner can only be a good thing, and New Owner actually has at least half a soul.

              My general manager said she’s neutered Rapist Old Owner’s ability to function in any large capacity, and that she’s tried making sure the people know he can’t actually fire them now. I told her I’d stick around and support her in any way I could, but it sounds like she’s got things under control. Things are improving, at least. 

              They say change happens in the workplace, so I’ll take this as a win. It’s gonna be a fight I’m sure, especially with the music, but when Old Rapist Owner officially leaves for good, I’ll push for that change then. It’s still not “good,” but at long last some light is being shed into a very dark corner of the world.

              Also, they called the electrician, so my job doesn’t come with risking my life every time I run the machine now! Good stuff all around.

              I know I can get a bit melodramatic at times. I can’t really vent much elsewhere, so it tends to just build up to a boiling point, but you haven’t kicked me out yet, which I do appreciate! Thanks for not being (at all) like my old management, everyone! Keep being awesome. 

            2. On the Sidelines says:

              I’m really glad to hear that, Reeds! Sounds like a big step forward for a much better work environment all around.

    2. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      What’s often the case here is that those women are in the same position as you, and can’t afford to rock the boat even if they’re upset. There’s not much solution aside from granting greater economic stability and independence to the working poor (so, destroying capitalism).

  39. Socordya says:

    The truth about how Isekai is made, finally revealed:

    Hibiki chapter 50 page 8

    Hibiki chapter 50 page 9

  40. Anonymous says:

    Found a bug: on the recommendations page, “In Clothes Called Fat” under manga does not link to its post, it seems to have been mislinked to “I am a Hero” instead.

  41. Keltena says:

    Can’t remember if we have a specific post for things like this or not, but—does anyone know what happened to the “subscribe to comments” option on posts? There used to be a box you could check when commenting on a post to receive email notifications of new comments, but it seems to be entirely gone on my end, and if there’s another way to do that I haven’t been able to find it.

    1. illhousen says:

      There is a “Notify me about the following comments by e-mail” box under comment section if you post as anon. IDK why it’s gone for registered users.

  42. Act says:

    Yo can you guys name some books where a woman is raped in service of a male protagonist AVENGING her? There are so fucking many of these and I can’t think of any right now for some reason. Bonus points if it’s a crime novel.

    1. Socordya says:

      ASoIaF : Elia avenged by her brother Oberyn, Lyanna avenged by Robert (OR IS IT).

      1. Roarke says:

        One moment that stuck out to me in ASoIaF was when Bran started seeing visions of people praying to a holy tree throughout history, and one of his visions was of a young pregnant woman praying for a son to ‘avenge her’, and I’m pretty sure that’s implying exactly what I think it is. It was jarring, but lost amid the flood that is that series.

    2. Socordya says:

      Actually, Tvtropes’ Rape and Revenge page has a “revenge by a third party” category with a small lit section. Also the mythologie and religion section contains examples from the bible.

    3. Roarke says:

      Well, Goblin Slayer was originally a light novel, for whatever that’s worth. Women in that work exist to be protected or avenged. 

      For more serious works, would Titus Andronicus count? For some reason I can’t think of Shakespeare’s plays as anything but little books at this point. Or really just one, the Book of Shakespeare.

      1. illhousen says:

        Still can’t get over the fact that FoldingIdeas in his video on Thermian Argument has apparently predicted Goblin Slayer.

        FoldingIdeas: So as not to distract my audience with arguments over whether or not a given work is really offensive, here is a hypothetical example of a hypersexist anime that most reasonable people would agree is offensive.

        Japan: Is that a challenge?

        1. Heatth says:

          I know right? It is fucking amazing. Like, when I first heard of Goblin Slayer I legit tought it was a joke referencing that video.

          Though, also amazingly, apparently the show/book isn’t full-on edgelord shit. After watching a video of Mother’s Basement criticizing the first episode it actually made me curious about what the story is about when it isn’t about watching goblins rape women.

          1. Roarke says:

            It’s not 100% edgelord shit, but it is approaching its own premise in bad faith. That is to say, it doesn’t actually address the problem of ‘competent rapist goblins’ in its vision of society. The society is your basic Isekai fantasy and nobody but GS recognizes the threat goblins pose; it’s hugely disruptive to suspension of disbelief.

            There’s this hilarious scene in the manga where GS and his priestess sidekick corner a goblin lord, and the lord starts talking human, promising it’ll live peacefully in the forest if they let it go. Then the goblin’s internal monologue panels show him raping like five women who apparently all fell for the same trick. By that point I couldn’t even feel anything but grim satisfaction that yeah, I’ve found Japanese Butcher.

            1. Heatth says:

              Yeah, I heard the worldbuilding is kinda crap and can hinder enjoyment rather greatly.

              Like, I mentioned it not being 100% shit because it really surprised me when watching that video. Until that point, I’ven’t heard anything that made me give a chance to the anime. I heard about how the first episode went, and people trying to defend it just sounded unconvincing, on the best hypothesis. MB, meanwhile, despite criticizing it, made me think there was something to enjoy there after all.

              It is still probably not my thing, though, unfortunately.

            2. illhousen says:

              Well, at least some good came out of it.

          2. Hyatt says:

            The downvote ratio on that video is amazing. I read a couple of the top comments and wow do some people not like hearing how rape is badly used.

            1. illhousen says:

              I especially like the comment that calls the video too “forceful.” I mean, really, the video spends half its runtime narrowing down the criticism to one specific scene, taking pains to assure the audience it’s OK to like the show and that it’s good aside from this scene, etc., etc.

            2. Heatth says:

              Yeah. Geoff tries so hard to not step on any eggs and only make criticism he can absolutelly back up, all while making sure to praise the show and reasure the audience. People get pissed anyway.

    4. Keleri says:

      I want to say this happens in at least one and probably several of Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels but I can’t remember now, lol. DEFINITELY healing cock in Sailing to Sarantium, though.

  43. Nerem says:

    Oh. I was reminded of a show that turned out much better than I expected it would be, and then was surprised when it turns out it was by the writer who wrote the awful Ever17 and 999 and all those games.

    It’s called Punchline. And it’s about a twist. But the twist seems to be that it’s not about his patented idiotic time loop plot twist.

    That being said, it has a time loop plot, but it doesn’t bend the ENTIRE plot in the service of a five-second twist at the end of the game. The timeloop is presented from the very start and really isn’t given much gravitas beyond the motivation of stopping the event that’s requiring the timeloop. Namely, there’s an asteroid coming to destroy the planet, but only if the protagonist Yuuta becomes aroused, which he often does at the sight of panties. … That’s the joke with the show’s title, as it can also be read as ‘pantyline’. … Yes, I typed all that and that’s about as much seriousness as the time loop plot is given.


    And yet despite that… it’s a good show. Like the twist is apparently that it’s a real good show. It manages to be funny, strange, and heart-rending all and is EASILY the best thing that guy has ever written by a mile.

  44. Spoony Viking says:

    Merry Christmas, [s] Mr. Lawrence [/s] everyone!

    1. The Reeds of Enki says:

      Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope it’s a happy one.

    2. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      I wrote Christmas fic! I hope it amuses you.

      I was hoping to finish another fic by the end of the year, but sadly could not.

      1. Embershine says:

        Merry Christmas, everyone! :D

  45. Have an amazing Christmas everyone!

  46. Talarc says:

    Sorry I’m late! Hope you all had a good Christmas, and sorry I’ve been absent for the last couple of weeks.

  47. Act says:

    Would anyone be interested in a steam copy of ibb&obb? It’s a really great couch co-op puzzle-platformer. They gave me a free copy when I bought it and it’s just been accumulating dust in my inventory.

  48. Heatth says:

    Hey, are you guys familiar with Lindsay Ellis? She is an youtuber who talks about movies and media and she have just released a video about the Death of the Author.

    I mention here because I think people here would like her, of course, but also because she discusses The Fault in Our Stars there and John Green features i it. I figured this would be of interest.

    1. Spoony Viking says:

      Yeah, I’m a fan. Haven’t seen the video yet, though.

    2. illhousen says:

      Yeah, I like her videos, and this one is good, even if we collectively hate John Green here.

      1. SpoonyViking says:

        Mostly good. I strongly disagree with her proposal that the Death of the Author can only work in abstract, mainly because I think it overlooks how reader response is integral to the theory.

        1. Heatth says:

          Elaborate? Maybe I am missing something, but I do agree that truly killing the author is impossible, as you can’t actually unlearn everything you know about the author. Even if you go out of your way to avoid learning anything, you still know likely know where on Earth they are from and the time period it was written, and this knowledge (as any other) will invariably change how you read the work.

          Which is not to say that attempting to ignore all information as you build your own interpretation is an unworthily endeavor, of course. Death of the Author still have value even if in its purest form it is untenable.

          1. SpoonyViking says:

            The point of the Death of the Author is less “completely ignore the author” and more “don’t look solely to the author for answers, his opinion is but one of many”, though. There IS a viewpoint in which the reader’s interpretation really is the only one that matters, since the text only truly exists upon its reception, but even that theory doesn’t ignore context – far from it, since context informs the reader’s response.

            1. CrazyEd says:

              I feel that, while an author’s intent is of extreme importance to understanding what he meant by what he wrote, it also can’t fully override what he actually wrote.

              Except in the case of JK Rowling.

            2. Keleri says:

              Like many things, it’s a matter of degree– your experience as a reader is unique and matters because of what you bring to the completed circuit of reader+book=sparks and that shouldn’t be taken away from you by someone going OH the author ACTUALLY meant this and blah blah blah

              BUT it’s also important to consider context when critiquing writing or seeking to understand it– like feel free to get mad at abysmal portrayals of trans people in media, but the past was a different country, and it may not necessarily make the author irredeemable trash to have used “it” pronouns for a character genetically engineered to have two sexes in 1985. Don’t force yourself to read stuff that depresses and offends you (I noped out about 20 pages into “Rendezvous with Rama” because my life is very short) but there’s a gap between “this is bleh” and “THIS AUTHOR IS A CAD AND A MISOGYNIST”

              (SIMILARLY, not everything is about the US or informed by US-centric race or political context)

            3. CrazyEd says:

              Except in the case of JK Rowling, who at this point is just straight up lying about the story she wrote in order to gain more Progressive Points.

            4. illhousen says:

              It wouldn’t be so bad (just kinda silly) if she actually knew what Progressive Points are awarded for*, but, like, “the giant evil snake hiding inside corpses like an awesome B-movie monster is actually a Korean woman” is just bizarre? Like, it’s something I would expect to find in a weird fetish fic (well, not really, Hedwig is way more popular in that role). Who thought it was a good idea?

              *The ignorance here is really inexcusable. I’m pretty sure our secret masters have distributed the pamphlets to everyone.

            5. CrazyEd says:

              It’s weird; she seems to have some idea what they’re awarded for (like racial and sexual diversity), but since she wrote a very white and heterosexual series, she’s trying to get progressive points for Hufflepuff masturbation parties instead.

              But for someone who wrote an increasingly authoritarian government as a secondary antagonist in five of her seven volume book series, with an entire book dedicated to a civilian populace fighting against that government infringing upon their legally-enshrined right to carry a weapon for self-defence by trying to disarm them so they are powerless to stop the government from becoming even more authoritarian, she’s surprisingly statist.

              And that’s not even getting into how her portryal of American culture is so incorrect as to seem intentional. I mean, I get she’s British, so she wasn’t raised in the culture, but it’s one thing to be unaware that the American South is wildly superstitious and every large town has at least one professional witch… and another thing to say that “Americans love collectivism and rigid obedience to the federal government”.

              People who live in glass houses maintained by a magically enslaved race of demi-human creatures who actively refuse freedom because they prefer lives of service despite the abuse commonly heaped upon them shouldn’t throw racial inequality stones, Jo.

            6. Embershine says:

              {she’s trying to get progressive points for Hufflepuff masturbation parties instead.}

              …I take it you missed that College Humor faked that tweet as a prank. JK definitely never said that.

              As far as the cultural representation goes, I think you aren’t giving her enough credit. ‘Nagini’ is the feminine form of a ‘Naga’, an ancient legend where a snake can transform into a human. It may not have made it into the books, but it’s completely reasonable for Nagini to be a Naga, especially considering Rowling’s love of symbolic names and foreshadowing. And ‘making her Korean’ is also a little silly, because JK Rowling has been known to prioritize the ‘best’ actor over race. (For all Cursed Child’s problems, they did have a black woman as Hermione, despite fan backlash. Because she was the best actor, and Hermione was never specified as white in the books. Actually, the descriptions we do get fit better with a black Hermione, especially with her hair type.) Claudia Kim was the best choice for the role, and not being white does NOT directly imply that JK Rowling was attempting to push a politically correct agenda, or trying to earn ‘progressive points’.

              I think it’s a tough line for any author to walk on. If they don’t include any specific references to diverse/trans/non-hetero, they get backlash for failing to represent minorities. Aaannd if they do, stuff like this pops up, accusing the authors of implementing said references incorrectly, or saying they just want ‘progressive points’, and all sorts of negative feedback from the very people who claim to advocate minority inclusion in the first place.

              {but there’s a gap between “this is bleh” and “THIS AUTHOR IS A CAD AND A MISOGYNIST”}

              I really liked this point. People tend to jump straight to attacks a lot of the time, which really isn’t very fair.

              I don’t mean any offense, by the way. It can be difficult to convey tone via text, especially with dissenting viewpoints. I just think JK Rowling is a quality human being, and deserves more credit than she is sometimes given. :)

            7. Act says:

              The impression I’ve always had of Rowling is that she’s a businesswoman first. Back when it helped her to have a lily-white posh cast, that’s what she had, but as soon as it caused positive buzz she was like ‘oh yeah Dmbledore is gay and Hermione is black and American Hogwarts something something Native Americans’ without bothering to do the legwork to look into what it would take to make those representations more than tokenism. I don’t think this reflects on her quality as a human being because that would be a weird thing to say, but I’m not giving out brownie points for it (I remember a bunch of the Native American stuff being super cringey, too.)

              Like, no one is obligated to write outside their comfort zone, but if you do, I do think you’re obligated to actually learn what it looks like out there and what those people actually want, or else it’s just a form of appropritation.

            8. Act says:

              @ Keleri

              Agree with all this 100% — I don’t know if you saw the Andy Richter tweets about context and historical vs modern comedy, but he phrases the point about yesterday not being now and how it shouldn’t be really well.

            9. Spoony Viking says:

              It’s also about more than just just analysing a work’s implications, it’s about the exegesis in general. For instance, Ray Bradbury says Fahrenheit 451 is specifically about television dumbing people down. Do you accept the author’s authority, or does the text have precedence?

            10. CrazyEd says:

              If Nagini was supposed to actually be a nagini (which she explicitly isn’t, by the way, but just for argument’s sake) why not cast an Indian? Because naga are an Indian creature. It’d be a far better alternative than the invitation of the unfortunate implications of having an east asian woman literally be a snake.

              As for Hermione… No; in the books, she was not black. How do I know this? Because Hermione was never explicitly described as black. Normally, this wouldn’t particularly matter as an author doesn’t have to explicitly describe a character as black for them to be black, but it matters in the case of Rowling specifically because she did always explicitly describe them in no uncertain terms as black. The blackness of Dean Thomas and Kingsley Shaklebolt are referred to over and over again. Never for Hermione. 

              What she did write was a character explicitly based on herself at age eleven, whose only canon physical traits are large front teeth, brown eyes and bushy brown hair (neither of which indicates race in the slightest, as both brown eyes and hair are incredibly common in all races, though bushy hair less so), whose skin was light enough that she could become incredibly tan spending time after spending time on the sunny beaches of France. And then she voiced absolutely no opposition to the casting of a white actress in that role, at a time when the popularity of the series was at its height, and she absolutely had the creative power to put her foot down (and, even if she didn’t, she could’ve put an end to it by threatening to go to the media and tell them that the producers refused to cast a black actress in a black role). The same was true for when she only said Dumbledore was gay long after the books were over and done with. What, was Scholastic just going to refuse to print the last Harry Potter book because it had a canonically gay character?

              If the best actor who auditioned for Kingsley Shaklebolt was a white man, would he have gotten the job? Would that white man have even been allowed to audition for Kingsley? I highly doubt the casting call would not have specified they were looking for a black actor.

              It’s not that they cast a black actress in a play based on Harry Potter. The stage has always had far more imagination involved than film. It’s that she’s trying to take credit for progressivism she just didn’t write, and calling people racist for pointing out the fact that she didn’t write Hermione as black.

    3. Hyatt says:

      I am somewhat disappointed that Umineko doesn’t get a mention, but for reasons that are spoilery for Act.

      1. Heatth says:

        She probably just never read it. Unfortunatelly, Umineko is just not that popular.

        1. Hyatt says:

          Yeah, the disappointment is that she probably hasn’t even heard of it so she wouldn’t think to include it. Which is too bad, because it could be used as a reference for so many post-modern interpretation theories.

        2. CrazyEd says:

          I also think that it requires a different mentality to review a visual novel versus a traditional novel, because of how they’re structured into different routes and such that are usually dependent on the fact that you’ve read the previous routes, and stuff like that. I think Act talks about it in her Fate/Stay Night series when Shirou first encounters Rule Breaker in… I think the Heaven’s Feel route… and instantly knows what it does despite having never seen it before, because it was explained in a previous route, and having him need it reexplained would add unnecessary slowness to the story. Likewise, the Heaven’s Feel route also kind of assumes you’ve already formed an emotional connection with these characters going into it, so it doesn’t have to establish why you should care that they’re being corrupted by the grail and such.

          Umineko does a lot of that with its routes as well. Does the first route even include any explicit magic except for Beatrice’s “duel” with… Rosa, was it? And even that hardly counts, since that was probably included to clue the reader in that, yes, it wasn’t just a legend and stuff, magic is real. The first route was basically getting you to know the surface level details of the characters and the framework of the story. Which is why everyone dies by the end of the route, and is magically alive at the start of the next, as if the first route never happened, because it kind of didn’t, as far as the second route is concerned.

  49. Spoony Viking says:

    Happy New Year, everyone! :-)

  50. Definitely Not The Reeds of Enki says:

    Happy New Year, everyone!

  51. illhousen says:

    Happy New Year!

  52. Nerem says:

    So, who would be willing for story time, involving the Evil Overlord Stardock and its dark crusade against the callow youths, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche?

    1. Nerem says:

      Well, I think it’s time for story time! Be warned, this is a long story, so I might write it in starts and stops, clearly for cliffhanger sake.


      So, in 2013, Stardock purchased the Trademark to the name Star Control, and rights to the ‘unique components of Star Control 3’, from a bankruptcy sale of Atari. Note how specific that was. Now, he clearly didn’t read what he purchased, as he declared he had purchased the Star Control franchise in and of itself and was so excited. Cut to not long later, he had messaged the owners of the Star Control IP (not Trademark!), Paul And Feiche, herefore referred to as P&F. What did he want? He wanted to buy the copyrights to the Star Control franchise, because he had realized he had purchased more or less nothing. They refused. He offered to sell the trademark to them at a massive price. They refused, for obvious reasons. Negiotations failed at this point, but they more or less said that they were willing to let each other more or less make a Star Control game without stepping on each other’s toes.

      Cut to 2017, when P&F finally got out of their non-compete contract with Activision and announced Ghosts of the Precursors, the sequel to Star Control 2. Stardock, who had been mad at them for some… stuff that was entirely their own fault and really it’s gonna be amazing when I get to it in a couple of paragraphs, sued them to stop the game.

      Actually, I’ll get to it now. In 2012 or so P&F told off Atari for selling Star Control 1 and 2 as they did not have the publishing rights to those games like they thought they did. Atari agrees, and negiotated a contract with P&F and Good Old Games to sell SC1 and 2, this time with permission. Cut to 2017, P&F have been selling SC1 and 2 on GOG since then. Stardock complains, claiming they own all rights to Star Control and everything belongs to them, and has P&F take down SC1 and 2 until things are settled and are told that they will be sued if it goes back up on sale.  P&F comply. 

      Stardock then goes to GOG and has them sell SC1 and 2 as “The Ur-Quan Masters”, aiming to steal SC2’s IP by trademarking it’s current name using the sales as a specimen for the trademark. Also, since this means SC1 and 2 are back on GOG, they accuse P&F of breaking their word and also infringing on their trademark, and sues them. In the wake of this, P&F DMCA’s SC 1 and 2 from GOG and Steam where Stardock had been illegally selling it.

      This will be the end of Part 1 of this ridiculous tale (so I can answer any current questions!)

      1. Hyatt says:

        Stardock, who had been mad at them for some… stuff that was entirely their own fault and really it’s gonna be amazing when I get to it in a couple of paragraphs, sued them to stop the game.

        Did it have to do with GamerGate and Stardock’s CEO having egg on his face after supporting it while P&F opposed it?

        1. Nerem says:

          Nah, it had to deal with Stardock trying some weird legal trap where they said they’d sue P&F if GOG put Star Control back up, and then they told GOG to put Star Control back up, and then sued them for that and other stuff they told P&F conflicting things about. Like that they were for P&F using the Star Control name to advertise Ghosts of the Precursors, and then when P&F called GotP the sequel to Star Control 2, they flipped out and sued even after P&F took down that wording.


          Like Brad is a terrible Gamergater and is basically the epitome of what Gamergate was suppose to be about. It’s funny as he originally was suppose to be some savior of gaming whose Gaming Bill Of Rights was declared the salvation of consumers and then his first big game, Elemental, was a massive flop and a pile of shit and he broke every single ‘amendment’ on the Gaming Bill of Rights and pinned the blame on a woman suing him for sexual harrassment over a year after its flop because she worked on the marketing, like it was marketing that was why people despised it and not that it was one of the worst games ever made.

  53. Act says:

    oh god i just saw the new post editor for the first time whyyyyy

  54. Act says:

    Today in shameless self-promotion: https://twitter.com/ActKits

    Idk if any of you are interested in my artwork, but past projects include Higurashi and Tsukihime kits and upcoming projects include Chobits, Made in Abyss, Fate, and ARIA, so give me a follow if you want to watch me struggle to paint things!

    1. Socordya says:

      I won’t follow you because I don’t want to join twitter, but I’ll bookmark the link, lol.

      Maybe do videos one of these days?

      1. Act says:

        I figured between Twitter and Instagram, Twitter was the lesser evil since IG is owned by Facebook. xD Plus for whatever reason the Japanese kit community is on Twitter more than any other site.

        I don’t know that videos would be interesting, unfortunately. It’s just hours upon hours of me sanding resin and painting thin layers of a single color. 

        1. CrazyEd says:

          My brother just watched a video of a Korean man turning twenty heads of cabbage into kimchi.

          There’s an audience for everything.

    2. illhousen says:

      I don’t have a twitter, but I’ll be checking out the link from time to time.

      Kyoko is pretty nice. I’d have gone with a folded spear because spears are objectively cooler than chains, but either way it’s pretty neat.

      You should totally do Touko and her cat, by the way. Firstly because Touko is great and secondly because cat.

      1. Act says:

        I actually got the Kyouko Sakura one in part because I thought the chain made it look a lot more vibrant than when it was in spear form — gives it a lot of motion.

        As far as I’m aware there are no Touko kits, but right now I have one of the twins from Tsukihime in the mail. I just finished an Arcuied but the colors photographed really badly so I didn’t post any pics.

  55. CrazyEd says:

    Is anyone aware of any novels that were either adapted from fanfiction for mass market sale, or more generally, novels that were written by people who had already developed a name for themselves as fanfiction authors… that aren’t absolutely atrocious at best?

    1. The Reeds of Enki says:

      “… that aren’t absolutely atrocious at best?”


      I’m guessing this excludes 50 Shades of Gray, then?

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Forget content, 50 Shades of Grey doesn’t even break even on a technical level. The writing is just… Damn, I’ve written sexier BDSM, and the BDSM I’ve written wasn’t even meant to be sexy…

        1. Venompaw says:

          Does it count if works are public domain?



          1. CrazyEd says:

            … Hmmm… Not for my purposes, no. Books based on public domain works retain the connection to the original. I’m talking more about like what 50 Shades of Grey was- a fanfiction with the serial numbers filed off to allow for standalone publishing. That, or a standalone novel written by an author who had already made a name for themselves writing fanfiction, like Cassandra Claire’s crap.

            Basically, stuff that was either originally produced as fanfiction (and then sandblasted to make it legal to publish) or stuff whose first advertisement probably came in the form of a fanfiction author’s blogpost telling their fans they were getting a real book published.

            That isn’t absolute garbage.

            1. Farla says:

              Tthere’s going to be vanishingly few works that can manage to be good in their original context but have their only connection to their original context be easily filed off serial numbers. To my understanding, Fifty Shades of Grey was your typical original fiction “AU” that got serial numbers stamped onto it in order to get the Twilight audience.

              Similarly, talking publicly to their existing readers was generally considered a terrible idea due to fanfic’s dubious legal status, so you’ve narrowed it down people who have no sense at all and, as publishers would step in for the “sense” part of the equation, are self-publishing and ignoring every bit of advice anyone gives them about how to do so. It’s only in the last few years that people even considered it acceptable to make it a friendly secret that someone had written fanfic as opposed to something to scrub from the internet at all costs. The older and more established the author, the more their origins at the time had to be obscured. Lois McMaster Bujold apparently got started in Star Trek fanfic, for example, but that kind of thing was kept out of sight (and that’s Star Trek, that actually hired people to write tie-in novel fanfic).

    2. illhousen says:

      In Other Lands is a cute little novel The author, Sarah Rees Brennan, comes from fanfiction background.

    3. Quote says:

      I don’t know how much of a name she had as a fanfic writer, but Seanan McGuire has written about how she got started in fanfiction and how great fanfiction is.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        how great fanfiction is

        Does she elaborate on why she thinks that, or is it just that typical newfound brand of wishywashiness that’s come out of (primarily younger) content creators (typically in cartoons) on Twitter (who all also seem to be the sort of people who unironically say they have headcanons about their own productions) who don’t want to offend people by being negative about creativity, even if its people finding creative new ways for the members of BTS to fuck the cast of the Avengers movies?

        1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

          people finding creative new ways for the members of BTS to fuck the cast of the Avengers movies?

          And why is that a bad thing?

          1. CrazyEd says:

            They’re real fucking living people.

            1. Nerem says:

              Well like you seem to be sneering grudge-havingly at someone specific and I have no idea who you’re trying to snipe at because your example is so overly specific you have to laughably mad at someone particular when all that stuff you talked about literally doesn’t warrant getting so pathetic about.

            2. Raven says:

              I think he’s talking about Real-person Fic, where people write about actual human beings and ship them and stuff instead of fictional characters.  Treating actual human beings like that is actually hella creepy.  One of the One Direction boys (Harry Styles, I think) says his friendship with one of the other band members has been severly damaged because the fans insisted on shipping them and acting like they were secretly dating.

            3. Nerem says:

              I guess that’s what he’s saying but it really didn’t seem like it. Like, the wording made me just think BTS characters and Avenger characters.

              Like if that’s the case that’s the one part of his ridiculously specific call-out gripes that’s objectionable.

            4. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              Okay, so for future reference Ed, yes, RPF is bad, but it’s also such an incredibly specific subniche that you really should be clear it’s what you’re talking about, and also not lump it in with general fanfic.

            5. CrazyEd says:

              I’m lumping it in with all the other incredibly specific subniches of fanfiction that default to being bad at best. There are quite a lot of them, though most aren’t as bad as RPF. Chatfic is 99% of the time just an excuse to not actually write your fic, but its no comparison between that and, say, your typical ABOverse stuff.

              And then there’s that one Farla read about Ash fucking the three legendary birds.

            6. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              I’m lumping it in with all the other incredibly specific subniches of fanfiction that default to being bad at best.

              No, you weren’t. Literally the thing you quoted was just saying fanfiction was great. If you have a bone to pick with RPF in particular, just say that instead of asking leading questions and hijacking a thread about fanfiction positivity, because that’s really rude.

            7. CrazyEd says:

              No, you weren’t.

              I was referring to that metonymically as an example of just one of the many kinds of bad fanfiction I was referring to.

              just say that instead of asking leading questions and hijacking a thread about fanfiction positivity

              … Legitimately confused how I can hijack a thread I started, or how asking for examples of works that “aren’t absolutely atrocious at best” could count as “positivity” of any sort?

            8. Y says:

              I’m super sorry if this isn’t the case, but I’m wondering if you don’t know what BTS is? Because they’re a boy band and don’t really have characters, and any fanic with them is automatically rpf. 

            9. CrazyEd says:

              Y’all are focusing way too much on the specific example of Thing That Should Have Never Been Written I chose. That’s not the point.

            10. Y says:

              Oh no I agree with the point you were trying to make actually! This wasn’t in response to you and and I actually don’t know how it ended up down here. I’m pretty sure the specific comemnt I was posting in reponse to was one of Nerems.

              I just thought that this whole argument is because of a misunderstanding and thought that might clarify for some people a little bit.

            11. CrazyEd says:

              Oh, the way the comments code works, after a certain number of replies, it stops indenting replies under the posts they’re replies to, and just starts throwing them in a chronological order, so they don’t start turning vertical due to width limits.

        2. Nerem says:

          Who the fuck are you even talking about with this.

    4. Negrek says:

      I’m not a huge fan of Naomi Novik, but I think her work (Temeraire series, Uprooted, Spinning Silver) definitely manages to be better than garbage-tier. As far as I’m aware none of those novels are cases of serial number filing, but Novik’s been hugely important in fandom, was a fanfic writer prior to being published, and still writes fanfic.

      1. CrazyEd says:

        Damn, because I swore I just read a short article about how badly that series happened to fuck up on its main premise. I wish I could find it, but I was just kinda blowing through a ton of things at the time, so I don’t even remember what website its on. It’s entirely possible it’s even about another series entirely, though how many series about the Napoleonic War But With Dragons can there be?

        1. Negrek says:

          It sounds like the same series! Like I said, I thought it had issues, but we’re not talking anything close to FSoG or Twilight here.

          1. CrazyEd says:

            Yeah, they weren’t making it out to be that bad, they were just saying that its worldbuilding kind of bungled its core premise. I don’t even think they actually had anything bad to say about what was written, given that, except that one major battle between two of the major dragon powers shouldn’t have been skipped over between two books because how are you going to write a book about dragon wars and not write about the dragon wars?

            1. CrazyEd says:

              A commenter on the first review actually kind of summed up the complaints I saw fairly well.

              A couple of the things you mentioned get explored later, like better ways of handling dragons and integrating them into society or how female captains fought for their current place in the corps, but Laurence and his immediate companions remain almost perfectly aligned to modern sensibilities. On the rare occasion that someone does sway towards a thought actually characteristic of 1800’s public opinion, Temeraire jumps in with some dragon!logic so the reader doesn’t start getting confused or uncomfortable.

              It’s sorta like the author realized they couldn’t use the excuse of “it’s fantasy!” to not have historical sexism and such, so she just said “it’s dragons!” instead, but… taking out all the problematic points of history  leads to a radically different setting than a historical setting. A setting in which dragons essentially prevented historical colonization of the New World would be… nothing like the world we know.

              At least, that’s the impression that I got from reading the review, and what Farla said.

  56. Okra says:

    Hi, guys! I don’t know how this site works – I’m here after reading a bunch of juicy drama on reddit. So someone named overlordfan23 posted on the fanfiction subreddit about you guys. I don’t read pokemon or anything, but it was a lot of fun reading about the gossip. Based on the grammar mistakes and the irrational animosity and hyper obsession, I’m guessing that this person is the same blaze girl. At first I had no idea what was going on in the comments, but someone nicely gave a very solid summation. Then I looked at the “evidence” overlordfan23 and the people she argued with gave, and funnily enough her own evidence showed how she lied, lol. Just thought you guys might be interested in her activity on reddit, since I didn’t see it skimming through here. She deleted her post an hour or two later when only one person sided with her. 

    1. Act says:

      Hi — I edited the direct link out because I don’t want to encourage people to go argue, either for or against Blaze. I’d like to avoid throwing kindling on the fire if possible. Anyone super desperate to see reddit drama is capable of going and finding it themselves, but I’m very wary of enabling more harassment of anyone than is already happening. Thanks.

      1. Farla says:

        While I see your point, given the things she’s doing to other people on FFN, I’d rather she was distracted over there by literally anything else.

        1. Act says:

          Lol, a fair point. Maybe we can populate a forum with bots and sic her on it.

    2. Farla says:

      So that’s why there was a lag when she wasn’t counter-reviewing today!

    3. CrazyEd says:

      The idea of an r/fanfiction sounds absolutely terrifying, so no thanks.

      1. Okra says:

        The subreddit is actually very lovely! It’s mostly posts for critique and improvement, discussion and occasionally commiseration about the typical “the teallette/ravenette/purplette rolled his crystalline, azure orbs and glared into emerald ones” pet peeves.

        1. Hyatt says:

          That sounds miraculous. Is it heavily moderated to keep out the general sitewide trolls?

          1. Okra says:

            I’m not sure how much moderation goes on, to be honest. Most posts in my experience tend to be good quality, and even the bad ones tend to have level headed discussion within. I don’t go on there very often, though, as I’m not a writer. I visit it every few weeks or so when I’m bored at work.

      2. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        Ed. Seriously, knock it off. This blog is run by someone who has been writing fanfiction for most of her life, and nearly all the regulars here have written or recced fanfic. I don’t know why you think sneering disdain for fanfiction is welcome here, but it isn’t.

        1. Spoony Viking says:

          To be fair, his disdain this time seems to be more for Reddit than fanfic.

          1. The Reeds of Enki says:

            I also think he meant it more based on disdain for reddit, but it also reads as especial disdain for fanfiction reddit, so it still comes off as insulting.

            1. CrazyEd says:

              Fanfiction drama can be enough to deal with on its own without combining it with Reddit drama.

          2. CrazyEd says:

            My disdain for Reddit as a website is matched only by my disdain for Reddit culture, yes.

  57. St. Elmo's Fire says:

    Fanfiction update: Though we haven’t reviewed it on this blog, I have written two fics for The Amazing World of Gumball; The Boulevard of Broken Hearts and Unwanted. Check them out if that’s a thing that interests you.

    also they have gotten way too little attention for the time I invested so if our troper friends could add them to the TV Tropes recs page that would be really cool thx

    1. The Reeds of Enki says:

      I will vouch for their quality! I greatly enjoyed reading them both. I’d give them a shot if you enjoy TAWOG. 

    2. Totally not Ember says:

      I’ve seen these posted a few times, but I’ve never seen the show. Or even heard of the show until you posted these, lol. Not a whole lot of feedback I could give, unfortunately.

      1. The Reeds of Enki says:

        I recommend it. It’s a cartoon and it can get silly from time to time, but it’s really cleverly written with a lot of subtle social commentary in it. 

  58. Act says:

    I’m not sure if I’m going to be well enough to do a real post on it, but everyone should play Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir. Beautiful art, beautiful music, beautiful story. One of the best games I’ve played in a very long time.

    This is one of the few times I strongly rec the remake over the original. I tried the original and it was balanced so badly as to be unplayable, with a terrible UX. The QOL improvements in the remake actually made it a well-rounded game.

    But seriously, play it.

  59. St. Elmo's Fire says:

    I know I’ve been quiet recently, and that is because I have been working on a Steven Universe fanfic: The Darkness Between Stars. It is my most ambitious story yet, and is both a rewrite of the ending arc and a rather pointed thesis on my problems with it.

    If our troper friends could add it to the recs page that would also be great.

    (Also Keleri if you want to repay me for all that promotion I would appreciate reviews :p)

    1. The Reeds of Enki says:

      Argh, I owe you a discussion on the ending. My bad. I’ll check the story out though, for sure.

      1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        Argh, I owe you a discussion on the ending.

        Actually, hold off on that for a moment; we’re planning on adding another meta post about that specifically, so that’ll be a better spot for discussion.

        1. The Reeds of Enki says:


    2. Keleri says:



      I really liked the show as it went but I’m NGL I’m sad about losing Alien Warlord Rose

      1. The Reeds of Enki says:

        I liked how it ended as well. It wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed it and was satisfied. I’m looking forward to the discussion post. Also, Saint really has put in the elbow work in advertising for your story, Keleri. One of the first things he ever said to me was to go read Gods and Demons, lol.

        1. Hyatt says:

          I don’t think it’s over, though. At the very least there’s a TV movie coming this fall, and I think there are more seasons on the way. The finale was just the end of the story as Rebecca Sugar originally had planned, but she’s open to continuing it, and probably already added things with the intent to follow up on them after the conclusion of the Earth Colony arc.

          1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

            Were future seasons actually confirmed? I cannot find anything definitive.

            Regardless, I honestly really hope season 6 doesn’t happen. Post-script seasons don’t tend to go well, especially since Heart of the Crystal Gems declared all the characters’ issues 100% fixed forever. There is nowhere for them to go now. The best case scenario is they say “whoops, our bad” and reset everyone, but I just can’t trust them anymore. There’s no point.

            1. Socordya says:

              The biggest problem about the ending was that it felt extremely rushed, altogether looking like a typical case of “shit shit they cancelled the show, gotta wrap up everything in three episode!”. So in that context, further seasons seem very unlikely.

            2. Hyatt says:

              There is nowhere for them to go now. The best case scenario is they say “whoops, our bad” and reset everyone,


              I disagree. There’s a huge shake-up to the status quo on Earth; where there used to be half a dozen Gems at most on the planet, now there are hundreds or more. How do humans deal with that? How do the restored Gems feel about humans not being mainly hunter-gatherers anymore but considering themselves owners of the planet? Then there’s Homeworld. The infallibility of the Diamonds has been broken, so how will everyone deal with that? Will they try to reform, which will likely be a slow process with a lot of missteps, or will another war break out? Finally there’s still a lot about the origins of the Gem Empire that we don’t know. It’s strongly implied that White created the other Diamonds, but we’re only given hints as to the why, and nothing about the how. Pink in particular seems very unusual, and with Homeworld’s emphasis on conformity, there has to be a reason why she was so different even from the other Diamonds in her size, powerset, and responsibilities.

            3. The Reeds of Enki says:

              We never got much in the way of human government, either. You’d think there would be a greater level of military involvement what with the Gems’ involvement in past warfare and the possibility of doomsday by giant gem in the middle of the earth. I think a mash-up between Earth government and Crystal government, the chaos that lies in the wake of the diamonds’ perfection being disproven as mere propoganda would be really interesting to see. Maybe it would fall on Steven to be an ambassador of sorts between the two sides (with certain french fry-haired characcters insisting that their blog justifies the position, inadvertently creating further friction from all the misunderstandings he publishes as truths), as Earth learns to not be xenophobic and the Crystal government does the same, learning how to have a mutually beneficial system rather than one of conquest. I’m on mobile, and the thread structure is mamiking every line four letters long, so sorry in advance for all the typos probably present. Also, do you think it best to hold off discussion for the Meta post?

            4. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              You’re welcome to keep theorizing about future plots here, that’s not something I’m interested in discussing.

              What it comes down to for me is that I don’t care about the content or the specifics. RQ=PD showed that the things the showriters cared about had zero overlap with the things I cared about, so I just cannot bring myself to care about anything they do next. The show is dead to me.

            5. Nerem says:

              CN has actually said that there was ‘more coming’ when people expressed dismay that this was the final season, and I don’t think they were talking about the movie.

            6. Nerem says:

              This is some weird-ass posting. “Actually I don’t give a shit about this conversation!” If you don’t care then don’t try to just shit on the conversation for everyone else. Geez.

            7. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              Saying he’s free to continue the conversation is dumping on the conversation? He did ask, Nerem.

              Also, uh, I very much do care. The RQ=PD reveal affected me very deeply and I want to express that.

            8. The Reeds of Enki says:

              You have every right to express your disappointment. I think it was the phrase, “this show is dead to me.” There’s not a whole lot that can be said after that. You yourself just said you cared, even, and it matteers enough to you for you to make a meta post about it, so it sounds like it’s not really dead to you so much as you didn’t get what you wanted and/or expected from it. “This show is dead to me” isn’t really good for a continued discussion. It really kills the mood for people who actually are excited at the possibility of another season. And again, you have every right to be disappointed and express that, obviously, but that statement in particular wasn’t adding to the discussion, it was just dowsing it in vitriol.

            9. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              There’s not a whole lot that can be said after that.

              Yes, precisely. I thought when you were saying you wanted to save it for the meta post, you meant you wanted to discuss it on my personal AO3 work rather than this public space? Since I have nothing to say on that subject, yes, there’s no point in making you wait and I wanted to make that clear. You should continue discussing it here with Hyatt and others.

            10. The Reeds of Enki says:

              I never said I wanted to save anything for the meta post. I was wondering if you wanted the discussion to wait so that your meta post, which I assumed would be posted here soon, would have more comments on it.

              I really don’t get what you’re saying here. 

              Since I have nothing to say on that subject, yes, there’s no point in making you wait and I wanted to make that clear. 

              My last post was just bouncing off what Nerem said. You appeared very rude to Nerem when they made their comment, which I think was totally fair, given how you made a point to let us know in no uncertain terms that the show was dead to you. That sounds like textbook “I don’t care” to me. I think the “Also, uh, I very much do care” was uncalled for. 

              Your comment wasn’t just to say that we could continue commenting here, it was to do that and shit on the conversation. It was clear that we still cared about the possibility of getting more episodes, and we were bouncing ideas off each other. Giving your input isn’t the same as saying that something relevant to the discussion, that a number of us obviously still do care about and appreciate (correct me if I’m wrong), is dead to you. We care about your opinion, and when you make a statement like that, it makes our enthusiasm feel less valid, almost like it would be stupid to continue to be excited about it. 


            11. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              I was wondering if you wanted the discussion to wait so that your meta post, which I assumed would be posted here soon, would have more comments on it.

              Ah, sorry, then I miscommunicated. The meta will be posted to AO3 and will only be about a few specific things. When I mean a DQ post, I just say “post”.

              Your comment wasn’t just to say that we could continue commenting here, it was to do that and shit on the conversation.

              No, it wasn’t. You asked me a direct question. I responded and then explained my answer, since I sensed a Watsonian/Doylist disjunct and wanted to make it clear what the nature of my objection was and why I would not be commenting further. I said nothing negative about your own points or ideas.

              Fundamentally, the point of what I was saying was that I wouldn’t be making further contributions to the discussion, so I am confused why you’re hesitant to just ignore me and carry on. I won’t continue heckling you.

            12. Hyatt says:

              What got me was that you said there was nowhere for the show to go without a reset, I said there were plenty of alternatives, and that’s when you said you didn’t care, that the show was dead to you. Dismissing a countering of your initial assertion with “I don’t care” is kinda a conversation killer.

              Also I didn’t comment because I was also waiting for a dedicated discussion post, in case people want to avoid spoilers or the discussion in general, and also to relieve some of the nested replies issues.

            13. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              Ah, then no, I was responding to Reeds specifically. I should have made that clearer.

            14. Socordya says:

              CN has actually said that there was ‘more coming’ when people expressed dismay that this was the final season, and I don’t think they were talking about the movie.

              That makes the decision of cramming a season’s worth of plot and character development into 7 episodes all the more baffling, then.

    3. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      Just posted the ending chapter of this. If you’ve been waiting to read, now’s a good time.

      (Would also still appreciate a TVTropes entry)

  60. Hyatt says:

    Hey mods, I think the blog’s being hit by spambots. Anything you can do about that?

    1. Act says:

      Yeah, I think it’s the result of a WP update. Hopefully once all the plugins patch it will go away.

      1. Hyatt says:

        All of the old ones on the recent comments sidebar have gone, but new ones are appearing already. Did you remove the other comments manually?

  61. SpoonyViking says:

    Just read Junji Ito’s Uzumaki, and holy crap, that was some good horror.

  62. Act says:

    Would any of our attractive and intelligent Russian-speaking followers be willing to translate like a paragraph of text for me? I bought something with instructions where it looks like the Russian was just run through Translate and as a result the English is tough to understand :(

    1. APen says:

      Sure. Are you just going to post it in the comments?

      1. Act says:

        It’s actually a pdf — do you mind if I email it to you?

  63. Venompaw says:

    So, I found this strange.

    I received this message in my junk mail, but it did originate from this website.


    “Hello,I am Stacey by name please kindly email me at [insert email] i have an important urgent information to give You. Hope to read your mail. Thanks
    [insert email]”


    Sent by user: http://www.dragon-quill.net/membership-menus/members/stacey4me/


    I assume it’s on the level of malicious spam?

    1. Roarke says:

      Same happened to me.

    2. Actislazyandwontlogin says:

      Yeah, some very dedicated spammer PMed everyone on the member list. It’s a pretty bizarre way to run a scam, tbh.

      1. Ghost says:

        Got that on here and on FFN as well. Very weird.

  64. SpoonyViking says:

    Happy birthday, Act! :-)

  65. St. Elmo's Fire says:

    Hi all, check out my Steven Universe fangame.

    Yes, fangame. It’s not too impressive; it’s purely text-based since I can’t draw. Still, I put a lot of thought into the mechanics, and I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    1. SpoonyViking says:

      I assume knowledge of the source material is required?

      1. Keleri says:

        The game itself requires no knowledge of the source material but you may not appreciate the story without it, yeah.

      2. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        You are gonna be pretty lost if you haven’t seen at least up to the end of season 3, yeah.

      3. Farla says:

        I’d be really interested in what someone with no idea thinks is going on, honestly.

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          I’ll take a look, then!

    2. Keleri says:

      It’s cute and fun!

    3. SpoonyViking says:

      Hey, so when I switch to Steven’s personality in the fight against Lapis, I get this message in place of the action which was supposed to be there:

      “Error: <<actionlist>>: error within widget contents (Error: <<if>>: bad conditional expression in <<if>> clause: Cannot read property ‘name’ of null)”

      ETA: Oh, ok, I think I got what happened. I didn’t follow the instructions to change into Steven when fighting against the Shark and the Urchin, I just kept on using Sword Strike by repeating the previous action with [W]. That must have messed up something.

      ETA 2: So I restarted the game and this time I changed into Steven while fighting the Urchin / Shark duo, but I still get the same error message instead of Shield Strike showing up.

      ETA 3: Also, even after turning off “Show Confirm Phase”, I’m still asked to confirm my actions.

      1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        A feature I stealth-added in the last version had an unexpected interaction with one of Steven’s actions. It should be fixed now.

        re: Confirm phase, the toggle doesn’t always match up with the actual effect if you save and reload. Try turning it off and on again.

        1. SpoonyViking says:

          Sorry, but I have another bug report! When I used Jasper’s Recall action, I got these messages:

          Error: <<run>>: bad evaluation: subject(…).initialAggression is not a function
          Error: <<run>>: bad evaluation: subject(…).initialAggression is not a function

          1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

            Ah, find-and-replace, you give with one hand and take with the other.

            Should be fixed now.

            1. SpoonyViking says:


              So, I think I got the good ending, in that I saved Lapis? Are there any other endings available?

              Anyway, the battle system strikes a good balance between speed, efficiency, and tactical complexity, although having to confirm every action gets quite cumbersome (I did what you suggested, though, and that went away, thankfully). Also, would it be possible to make it so that after I change to one of Stevonnie’s personalities it goes back directly to the action menu, instead of to the main one?

              Regarding the story: first of all, the prose is quite good! I could have used with some more descriptions of people and places, but I understand that this is made for fans of the show and such things wouldn’t be useful to them. I especially liked the scene and dialogue in Lapis’ inner world, and I liked how you save her by accepting her for who she is, not by imposing on her a view of her “better” self. The writing didn’t have as much of an emotional impact on me as it seems was expected, but I attribute that entirely to me not having seen the show at all. (It did pique my curiosity, though. I’m in the middle of binging Adventure Time after one of Maven’s videos, but maybe I’ll check out Steven Universe later.)

              Also, I laughed at the mention of fusing by dancing. What, did the show really make a Dragon Ball reference?

              Anyway, good game, looking forward to more content!

            2. St. Elmo's Fire says:

              So, I think I got the good ending, in that I saved Lapis? Are there any other endings available?

              There’s only one bad ending; it’s a punishment for taking too many bad options during a healing sequence.

              Also, would it be possible to make it so that after I change to one of Stevonnie’s personalities it goes back directly to the action menu, instead of to the main one?

              Theoretically yes, but it would be tricky to implement for reasons. I’ll look into it, but can make no promises.

              I have to admit I’m a little disappointed everyone is so quick to disable the confirm phase. I did a subtle foreshadowy thing with the personality switches’ confirm text where it’s going to change over the course of the game that I’m worried no one’s going to see now. :(

              Dragon Ball reference

              The showriters are anime fans, so quite possibly. I haven’t seen much Dragon Ball myself, so I can’t speak to any specific references.

              I’m glad you liked it! If you want to see more games in the same vein, the battle system was heavily inspired by Alter A.I.L.A. Genesis and Obelisk: Devilkiller. And while this mechanic hasn’t come into full swing yet, the idea of a continually growing party with no headcount limit was inspired by Czarina Must Die!. (I’m a huge fan of Craze’s games in general.) The positioning system was also based on Exit Fate, which I’m told was in turn inspired by Suikoden.

    4. Zephyr says:

      Really enjoyed it! In particular, the mechanics are really interesting (it’s clear that a lot of thought and effort’s gone into it) and I really like that the mechanics and tutorial explanations slowly open up over the course of the first chapter so that you’re not overwhelmed by everything at once. The pacing was really good.

      Also, I’ve not watched any of SU (although I’ve read your meta-post on AO3 and seen a fair amount of stuff about the show here and there) and although I guess I’m probably missing some of the finer characterisation details, I was able to follow everything fine.

      I wanted to note a couple of minor things:

      First, it might be worth adding a tutorial note after Jasper joins the party that Star Points are shared between characters (it took me a bit to work out why I couldn’t use Jasper’s defense move even though she’d only been attacking up to that point – I’d burnt through my Star Points with Stevonnie’s healing and hadn’t realised).

      Second, during the first explanation of the aggression mechanics, the tutorial mentions the status button, but it’s not until later that the tutorial mentions that this is actually the asterisk next to the character’s name. I also didn’t realise for a while that each individual enemy has their own aggression values – I was trying to check Jasper and Stevonnie’s status menus and getting confused when I couldn’t find anything.

      Third, are threat and aggression the same thing? I’m guessing that aggression management will become more important later on, but for now, threat is only mentioned in Jasper’s recall move, which says that threat against her has been reset but doesn’t seem to be changing much. I did a quick check of aggression levels by sharks attacked by Jasper, attacked by Stevonnie, and attacked by neither, and after using Recall, the shark attacked by Jasper went down 9% but the other two went up 2% and 3%. I’m not sure if this is how it’s supposed to be working, but “reset” makes it seem like it would set it back to 50/50?

      Fourth, there’s hotkeys for each enemy box, but nothing indicating which hotkey corresponds with which box. Is it possible to put a number in the corner of the box or something?

      Lastly, a few minor typos: Jasper’s aggravating strike description has “slams her helment”; after freeing Jasper, she says “Who’re yeu?”; in the bad end, Steven says “Bring Dad back here so I can fix her too” (assuming that should be “him”?); and in Steven’s status description in the bad end battle, “a Rose Quartz” is capitalised when it shouldn’t be.

      Overall, I thought it was fantastic! Even just standing on its own merits, without much knowledge of the show, I’m really looking forward to playing the rest of it and seeing what’s happened to the other gems.

      1. St. Elmo's Fire says:

        Shared Star Points

        Good point. I’ve added an explanation for that in the tutorial message.

        Finding the aggression pane

        Ah, you’re right that I forgot to say what the status button was. I’ve edited the tutorial message to hopefully make that clearer.

        Third, are threat and aggression the same thing?

        Yes. It’s called “threat” as a holdover from Dragon Age (which is the system I copied for it), but I did wonder if I should change it for consistency.

        What you’re observing is that characters gain an initial aggression value based on their position in the battle map (which is explained in the formation screen of the menu). Back row characters get 50, front row characters get 80, and the leader gets 100. Anything that “resets” aggression resets it to this initial value, not to 0. So if you want the enemies to actually lay off Jasper, you need to put her in the back before using Recall.

        Fourth, there’s hotkeys for each enemy box, but nothing indicating which hotkey corresponds with which box. Is it possible to put a number in the corner of the box or something?

        Maybe, but the UI is pretty crammed as-is. The way it works is that the hotkeys correspond to the characters’ absolute positions; the leader is 1, front-left is 2, front-center is 3, etc. I understand this is a bit confusing, but there’s not an easy way to change it and I think it’s at least somewhat intuitive.

        Jasper’s aggravating strike description has “slams her helment”


        after freeing Jasper, she says “Who’re yeu?”

        Intentional. She’s slurring her words to show that she’s out of it; I hoped to help draw that connection by describing her as sounding like she had difficulty talking.

        in the bad end, Steven says “Bring Dad back here so I can fix her too” (assuming that should be “him”?)

        Ah, vague pronouns. He’s saying “so I can fix [the gem I’m currently working on]”. He only wants Greg because he needs the song to do that. For the sake of modularity (since it can trigger on any gem), I had to keep it vague.

        and in Steven’s status description in the bad end battle, “a Rose Quartz” is capitalised when it shouldn’t be.

        Yeah I don’t really know what to do on this; official media capitalizes gem names, even though you know how we feel about that from Pokemon. I’ve chosen to compromise by capitalizing them in those official descriptions but not in regular dialogue, not that it’ll come up often anyway.

        I’m very glad you enjoyed! If you have an AO3 account I’d appreciate you commenting there too. I’ll get the new version up with those fixes soon now.

    5. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      Update: Peridot’s dungeon.

    6. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      Update: Garnet’s dungeon.

    7. St. Elmo's Fire says:

      Update: Pearl’s dungeon. And also Amethyst’s dungeon, which I forgot to post here.