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  1. - Top - End - #871
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    What went right in book 1:
    -- story, continuous focus on Parson.
    -- minimal text updates.
    -- regular updates.
    -- excellent story, spectacular ending.

    What's gone wrong since then:
    -- Rob seems to have fallen in love with the setting rather than the story. Parson did almost nothing in the last book and in the prologues we've looked at a bunch of side characters of minimal relevance to the original plot.
    -- Explosion of characters and side plots.
    -- The "challenge" the protagonist is facing seems muddled. Is Charlie the big bad? But he's infantilized now. Is it Fate? Is it the great minds?
    -- Too much time spent on the towers and their implications. If I were writing, I'd want to show all this through the eyes of the protaganist as he learns, bit by bit, how things work.

    In short, current Erfworld is muddled and unfocused. Prune the side characters and stories, finish telling Parson's story.

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  2. - Top - End - #872
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladine View Post
    I think we are missing a great learning opportunity here

    Erfworld did something very right in book one , and later on something very wrong .

    Id like to know what do you think was it that they did right in book one , what caught your attention
    and what do you think Rob did wrong later on .
    I've said it before in this thread, but I'll repeat myself to save you the trouble of finding it:

    Book One was good because it was so very obviously making a point. Specifically, "actually it would SUCK to be summoned into a fantasy world and put in charge of the army! you would have to kill people and watch your friends die and it would suck!" Erfworld is a candy-coated wonderland and its protagonist, Parson Gotti, is a war criminal. That's one hell of a contrast, and Rob did it on purpose.

    And then he forgot that purpose and Erfworld went from a cutesy kitschy fantasy setting to Yet Another Generic Fantasy Melting Pot. It's dumb and boring. Parson is no longer dealing with questions like whether he's being mind-controlled, or if it really is him doing the war crimes, and instead he's... uh... not doing much, but even when he WAS in the spotlight, he wasn't doing any of that interesting introspection at all, past the end of Book 1.

  3. - Top - End - #873
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladine

    Erfworld did something very right in book one , and later on something very wrong .

    Id like to know what do you think was it that they did right in book one , what caught your attention
    and what do you think Rob did wrong later on .
    Book one was fine. The story sold the art.

    Ever since then, they've been relying on the art to sell the story. Everything Balder has gummed up the works with was to 'improve' the art.

    That, and Balder doesn't have a boss he really reports to. The guy never finishes a project on his own.

  4. - Top - End - #874
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Pendell and HorizonWalker pretty much said the points I'd make.

    I look back at Book 2 and even that wasn't too bad. Of course not as strong as the first story, but it had some neat ideas and plenty of interesting scenes. But yeah, everything just comes apart after that. Parson creating a standing army in the Magic Kingdom was a pretty good set up to have the first direct Parson/Charlie fight. Sadly that idea didn't happen. What is the Magic Kingdom even doing nowadays? I've forgot a lot of those threads because we took so long in Transyvito.
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  5. - Top - End - #875
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    I stopped reading around the time we were in Transylvito and some creepy Dollamancer was making dolls. I realized I had no clue what was happening and just didn't read further. The comic got more overcrowded than anything. The author had many ideas and wasn't good enough at managing them, instead just cramming them all into the story. Which also made the text updates very hard to read sometimes. There's such a thing as too many references and too much stylization.
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  6. - Top - End - #876
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    I got into it with the introduction of Parson. That fully sold me on the concept that this is a real life wargame, and that Parson was the man to show us how to win it.

    I think I've talked about this before? Anyway, while the reincarnated in another world theme is extremely common these days, and many of these worlds also use game like systems, Erfworld is the first and ONLY story that focused on wargame mechanics.

    Travel is limited not by stamina but by the number of hexes a unit can travel in a given day. Units are popped in cities. There are standard and unique units for every faction. Hitpoints actually mean something, especially since there is no blood loss, but you can still be critted by a blow to the heart or head.

    You don't get this with any other story.

    OOTS clearly takes place in a D&D world, but it would be pretty easy to convert it to something more realistic. D&D rules are more about the jokes than a consistent plot element. Video game worlds are even worse. It all adds up as a bunch of meaningless numbers. What use is the idea that someone had 500 strength, or 10k hit points, other than as a quick way to show X is stronger than Y. It's more like a flavour text to your standard fantasy setting, with a bunch of little jokes thrown in for fans of the video game genre.

    Erfworld is a setting that you can't have without the rules. They inform everything. If a ruler dies the side falls. You need upkeep to live every day, or you disband, time is relative to the hex you are in (blew my mind when I first read that).

    Then there is the fact that the entire thing is packaged in a super kid friendly way. No blood, no swearing. This thing is so kid friendly you could give it a G rating except... Except the war is real, and every time a side is defeated is a genocide. These people are real. They mourn the deaths of loved ones, they struggle, they suffer. It's a deeply personal story, it's a wargame where every single piece is a living being.

    The story lost it's way when it stopped following the rules, and turned the world into not only a typical fantasy setting, but also added accelerated power creep. For a wargame, you need to make sure that things are mechanically balanced to keep the war interesting. Yes, you can have a handful of hero units, but even their power has to have set limits. You give them a few abilities from the start, and then exploit them to their best effect. In the end, even with unfair abilities, you still win on smarts, not power. It took away from the grand strategy of the setting and turned it into plots and counterplots. No more war, no more strategy, and morality is mainly a back seat. It's not about making hard choices, and coming up with clever tactics, just power escalation. Obviously, Parson does not fit into this new setting, because he's not a person that has access to superpowers. His ability is his strategic thinking, which has no place in this setting anymore.

    We started out with a Code Geass, with the main character was perfectly molded for it, but ended up with a DragonBall Z, where Parson is about as useful as Krillin. Rob took the uniqueness of the setting and made it generic.
    Last edited by tomaO2; 2019-06-25 at 08:43 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #877
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by tomaO2 View Post
    Then there is the fact that the entire thing is packaged in a super kid friendly way. No blood, no swearing. This thing is so kid friendly you could give it a G rating except... Except the war is real, and every time a side is defeated is a genocide. These people are real. They mourn the deaths of loved ones, they struggle, they suffer. It's a deeply personal story, it's a wargame where every single piece is a living being.
    I know it's not a popular opinion, but are they?

    First, lots don't really mourn the deaths of loved ones. If anything, dying in combat is considered by many the ultimate glory and the only way you can really escape from the hell that is Erfworld. Case in point the hobgobwin tribe was at one point reduced to a single dude and we don't see him shed a single tear for all his fallen comrades. If anything, said hobgown would go to see it as totally worth it since the tribe eventually rebuilt to be stronger than ever. That all his previous comrades had to die so was secondary. Bogroll was absolutely delighted by being given the order to perform a suicide attack against the main leader of the enemy coalition. A magnificent death, what more could a grunt in Erfworld aspire to?

    Second, there's the lack of free will. Pieces still default to auto-attack if there's no commander nearby to say otherwise. If a commander gives them an order, they naturally obey. Only commanders themselves can defy commands. "Living" like a basic grunt in Erfworld honestly sounds a fate worst than death, but they don't know any better. It's not really what I would call being alive when you have around zero choice about what to do with said "life".

    Third, everybody pops up with fully formed personalities. In particular strong loyalty to the side. People complain about the arkenpliers "brainwashing" people to be loyal to Wanda, but the way I see it everybody's already popped up "brainwashed" to serve their side anyway so fat difference. If you were born a piker, better be ready to pike all your existence.

    That's why I consider Stanley my favorite character. He's the only one that managed to climb out of grunt piece hell and acquire some degree of free will. Only Stanley among the story's commanders knows how it is to need to obey orders blindly. Only Stanley "awakened" from being a piece to being an actual living being able to actually choose what to do in life. But some people call him an idiot and wish he just would hurry up and die. But Stanley kept defying them. He's not just aiming to play the game, he's not just gonna look for a glorious death like expected of every grunt, he's actually aiming at winning Erfworld.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomaO2 View Post
    The story lost it's way when it stopped following the rules, and turned the world into not only a generic fantasy setting, but also added accelerated power creep. It took away from the grand strategy of the setting and turned it into plots and counterplots. No more war, no more strategy, and morality is mainly a back seat. It's not about making hard choices, and coming up with clever tactics, just power escalation. Obviously, Parson does not fit into this new setting, because he's not a person that has access to superpowers. His ability is his strategic thinking, which has no place in this setting anymore.

    We started out with a Code Geass, with the main character was perfectly molded for it, but ended up with a DragonBall Z, where Parson is about as useful as Krillin. Rob took the uniqueness of the setting and made it generic. [/FONT]
    That's an insult to Krillin, at least his destructo disco remained viable for some time.

    But yeah quite well put. If there's a problem, just develop an even stronger martial technique spell to overpower it.
    Last edited by deuterio12; 2019-06-25 at 09:08 PM.
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    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

  8. - Top - End - #878
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    You make a good point. There is an issue with the fact that there isn't as much sadness as you might expect, at least among the non commander units. I was remembering the times where it did affect various characters strongly, but there are also times when it doesn't.

    Vurp had some interesting priorities. He has a very collective sort of mindset. It's not about an individual unit surviving, it's about the tribe surviving. As long as the tribe survives, he's happy. However, Vurp was shown to be sad at one point. It was when he was forced to betray Stanley. That gutted him. He cared deeply about his relationship with Stanley, and being forced to betray his ruler had a similar effect as the death of a loved one to the rest of us.

    I think you need a different view of love. Non-command units love their side, love their rulers, and view themselves as ultimately expendable. If they can die for the greater glory of those above them, then that is a death that can put a smile on their face. Dying without being able to account for their side, however, is deeply shameful.

    Again, it's a different mentality, that is entirely based around this being a wargame, and that is just utterly fascinating to me. Rob put a lot of thought into the mentality of various units, had to think of why they would be okay with suicide runs, how fighting was about the only thing they cared about. Then he washed that all away with the focus on superpowers instead.
    Last edited by tomaO2; 2019-06-25 at 09:41 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #879
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Hey, he just started some text updates again. This update has some good mechanics info on ruler senses even.
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  10. - Top - End - #880
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Very happy to see an update, any update. Seems like at a minimum Rob is learning that going about the way he was wasn't working.

    AS for the other discussion, I think the issue comes down to Deus Ex Machina. We have a world where Deus Ex Machina is actually a mechanic, in Fate. Now, this could be a very interesting thing, it could be a thing Parson explores and tries to figure out how to game (which some other characters skirt around the idea of, Wanda with her FATE-alism is a strong example). Instead, we have Parson coming up with a plan, and things happening that prevent that plan from succeeding. Parson had no real chance to succeed.

    In book 1, Parson fails because he misunderstands rules, or flat out doesn't know a rule exists. It makes him a lovable protagonist. It keeps the audience on the same level of knowledge about the world as Parson (which is why the klog were so interesting), and gives us the illusion of being able to figure out the solution, even if in the end it takes uncroaking a volcano.

    In book 2,3, and 4, we just have chaos. Stuff happens because it happens, and Parson fails because Charlie is omnipotent somehow (despite all appearances). Oh, and then if we could even start to get on solid footing with the rules again, the temples can just break them on a whim because plot?

    We had all this cool stuff get revealed about how (it is believed) Predictamancers create fate golems when they cast, and you can create a fate golem by dying in the attempt to do a task. We learn that all these magical disciplines have really powerful abilities that they never use, and ultimately it all comes down to super Charlie is too powerful to face. It's boring. And the snails pacing doesn't help
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  11. - Top - End - #881
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    I thought there was going to be a six month wait?
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-06-26 at 04:53 AM.
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Thank you all for your feedback
    I find it fascinating what aspects of erfworld spoke to you
    and it seems that when Rob stopped focusing on Parson and started worldbuilding that it started to break down
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Call me a cynic, but I suspect the reason for this update is that Rob wanted to cash in on those people who became tools thinking they could get the benefits for free while there are no updates. Which is actually fine by me, if you pledge you better be prepared to come through.

    As for what went wrong, I don't think it's the worldbuilding in itself, but I find it hard to put in words what exactly is so annoying about it all. One big part is that new factions and features get introduced constantly, in the middle of action, throwing a spanner in the works of any plan before anyone even starts to put that plan in motion. The most egregious examples are the thinkamancer gestalt and the towers, but it started as far back as book two when Parson went into the MK. What it really comes down to is, nothing ever gets resolved. Even if something comes to a climax, the battlefield gets flipped on its head before we even comprehend what just happened. If nothing is stable for even a short time, all the plot twists become unimpressive because the world doesn't become noticeable different, it just exchanges one incomprehensible state for another.

    Book 4 is particularly bad in this regard. Both Parson and Charlie are constantly coming up with plans, only for something to come up that turns those plans unviable right away. In addition, several major things that happen in book 4 are clearly only meant to set up the book 5 situation but don't flow naturally from where everything is placed during book 4.
    E.g.
    - Parson's scroll needed to be removed, which got done in the worst possible way; it gets used and is then immediately invalidated by Tower Fiat (that's Erf for "Deus Ex Machina")
    - Parson needs to go back into Gobwin Knob territory, so the same Tower Fiat transports him there
    - Parson also needs the option to interfere in Transylvito after he left, so by Tower Fiat again, Maggie and Jack get full juice
    - Sizemore needs the wrench and the pliers need to be close to Wanda's body, so the thinkamancer gestalt swaps them in the Gobwin Knob capital for no discernible reason.
    - The thinkamancers were too powerful a force on parson's side, so they get a bridge temple dropped on them

    All of these (and more) feel like Rob had written himself into a corner and didn't know how to get out of it. So he basically retconned them all without a true solution.
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  14. - Top - End - #884
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    What it really comes down to is, nothing ever gets resolved.
    The rest of the quote is worth reading, but this, right here, sums it up for me.

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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paladine View Post
    Thank you all for your feedback
    I find it fascinating what aspects of erfworld spoke to you
    and it seems that when Rob stopped focusing on Parson and started worldbuilding that it started to break down
    I don't think that is the problem, that is rather the symptom. More world building and the development of other characters isn't necessarily a bad thing. The problem is the world building wasn't good and the story structure become bad, and so did the writing. In book1 you had clear story beats. The book could be broken down in a few subchapters. A plan is set up, executed and then the other side reacts to this and finds a counter measure.
    For example Jillian wants to scout. GK captures her and uses her as bait. Ansom doesn't take the bait, but sends away his flyers. Parson comes up with the Donut of Doom. Ansom refuses the bad choice of making a stand or breaking through and calls for Jillian. And so on, and so on. There is constant change, and after 5 to 15 pages each sub-chapter is closed and the characters are somewhere else in space and narrative. And it all builds up to a satisfying solution at the end of the book.
    Compare that to book 2 and 3. There Parson stands in front of a portal for 30 to 40 pages and talks. The story beats become slower and slower. Instead of finishing one sub plot, the story jumps from view point to view point, each comic and text update ending on a cliff hanger. And with more and more view points introduced the pacing become worse and worse.
    Another issue is that the books don't really have a satisfying resolution. Book 1 had a clear end. Questions were open, but the Erfworld saga could have ended then. And indeed I remember that Rob and Jamie considered ending the story after this, depending on how they felt. Book 2 had an more open end. Instead of book 1's "Fin" rather a "To be continued...". Book 3 basically ended in the middle of the story. Book 4 meandered and also ended basically in the middle, with important story elements in the never ending epilogues and prologues.
    The core issue of Erfworld past book 1 is lack of focus. There is less focus on Parson, but it's not replaced with a few decisive actors but countless unimportant ones that go nowhere. The story goes nowhere and Rob can't decide on a theme and message.
    Aside that Rob introduced story elements he that were above his writing skill. He tried to formalize the themes of Fate and Free Will with the magic system. But instead of a deep discussion we got StringStringsStrings. He tried to show what happens when someone (Parson) wars so hard the game system itself breaks. A fascinating concept, but all we got was Temple Tantrums and an invalidation of the actions of the actors.
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Welf View Post
    I don't think that is the problem, that is rather the symptom. More world building and the development of other characters isn't necessarily a bad thing. The problem is the world building wasn't good and the story structure become bad, and so did the writing. In book1 you had clear story beats. The book could be broken down in a few subchapters. A plan is set up, executed and then the other side reacts to this and finds a counter measure.
    For example Jillian wants to scout. GK captures her and uses her as bait. Ansom doesn't take the bait, but sends away his flyers. Parson comes up with the Donut of Doom. Ansom refuses the bad choice of making a stand or breaking through and calls for Jillian. And so on, and so on. There is constant change, and after 5 to 15 pages each sub-chapter is closed and the characters are somewhere else in space and narrative. And it all builds up to a satisfying solution at the end of the book.
    Compare that to book 2 and 3. There Parson stands in front of a portal for 30 to 40 pages and talks. The story beats become slower and slower. Instead of finishing one sub plot, the story jumps from view point to view point, each comic and text update ending on a cliff hanger. And with more and more view points introduced the pacing become worse and worse.
    Another issue is that the books don't really have a satisfying resolution. Book 1 had a clear end. Questions were open, but the Erfworld saga could have ended then. And indeed I remember that Rob and Jamie considered ending the story after this, depending on how they felt. Book 2 had an more open end. Instead of book 1's "Fin" rather a "To be continued...". Book 3 basically ended in the middle of the story. Book 4 meandered and also ended basically in the middle, with important story elements in the never ending epilogues and prologues.
    The core issue of Erfworld past book 1 is lack of focus. There is less focus on Parson, but it's not replaced with a few decisive actors but countless unimportant ones that go nowhere. The story goes nowhere and Rob can't decide on a theme and message.
    Aside that Rob introduced story elements he that were above his writing skill. He tried to formalize the themes of Fate and Free Will with the magic system. But instead of a deep discussion we got StringStringsStrings. He tried to show what happens when someone (Parson) wars so hard the game system itself breaks. A fascinating concept, but all we got was Temple Tantrums and an invalidation of the actions of the actors.

    The extremely slow pacing of updates combined with the slow narrative pacing makes things worse. If we had a consistent update schedule of 2 times a week throughout book 3/4, it would have been a lot better (but still not great).

    Rob does have talent as a writer, but his deficits often make it hard to see that shine through.
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Morgaln View Post
    - The thinkamancers were too powerful a force on parson's side, so they get a bridge temple dropped on them
    The Thinkamancers, at least, were always described as temporary and incapable of surviving past the turn... though when you get down to it their entire existence felt like a plot device.

    I definitely agree with the larger complaint that large parts of the last book felt like they were just moving things around in order to establish the desired setup, though, yeah. I'd focus on all the ridiculous contract stuff, too.

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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Welf View Post
    I don't think that is the problem, that is rather the symptom. More world building and the development of other characters isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    Oh definitely, it was just not doing those things we all fell in love with in the story to begin with. Build all the worlds you want, so long as it is in service of an good story that you are also telling. Post- movie and book-completion JK Rowling/Pottermore is doing a good job of showcasing what pure worldbuilding, in absence of the story that it once served (and through which people fell in love with the world), can and cannot do.

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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    Oh definitely, it was just not doing those things we all fell in love with in the story to begin with. Build all the worlds you want, so long as it is in service of an good story that you are also telling. Post- movie and book-completion JK Rowling/Pottermore is doing a good job of showcasing what pure worldbuilding, in absence of the story that it once served (and through which people fell in love with the world), can and cannot do.
    The more I think about it, I felt that we had a lot of random crap explained to us, and that it had to be explained to us in order for it to make sense. It's a rather poor plot device.
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    I am reading a lot of text based web serials. They update frequently, or at least regularly (Humanity Funk Yeah), and all of the updates are longer than Erfworld text updates.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-06-26 at 04:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    I am reading a lot of text based web serials. They update frequently, or at least regularly (Humanity Funk Yeah), and all of the updates are longer than Erfworld text updates.
    I did not know this was a thing. Any good ones you'd be able to share?
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  22. - Top - End - #892
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerusthegreat View Post
    I did not know this was a thing. Any good ones you'd be able to share?
    I dunno about good, I like reading, there's a lot to read, I like that.

    The one that gets most remarks around here is "A Practical Guide to Evil":

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...-Guide-to-Evil

    Getting up to speed with that should take you a couple of weeks, I'll probably have a thread up to discuss this sort of thing (and hopefully learn the correct name for them) by then I hope.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-06-26 at 06:15 PM.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  23. - Top - End - #893
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    I think the pace of releases has combined with the pace of the story so that a lot of people here don't care to keep track of what's happening. I'm reminded of this because I once again see synopses including events that didn't happen. Speaking of the pace, "events didn't happen" is probably the briefest description of the problem. Sure a lot of stuff did happen, but with some primary events I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop for years.

  24. - Top - End - #894
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerusthegreat View Post
    I did not know this was a thing. Any good ones you'd be able to share?
    Worm and its sequel, Ward are great.

    There's also a lot of good translated ones, especially ones possibly of interest to Erfworld readers. The ones I recommend would include:

    The Girl Who Bore the Flame Ring: Military-company fiction, often darkly humorous. Reminiscent of the world of The Witcher, though more lighthearted. I found the ending somewhat abrupt, but otherwise it might be of interest to Erfworld fans looking for a military story where victory or defeat depends on cleverness rather than exploits.

    The Legend of Sun Knight: Comedy of manners about a group of paladins. Picture Seinfeld with a cast of medieval-fantasy holy knights trying to keep up appearances as holy knights while almost all actually being selfish and complaining about the physical difficulties of wearing armor all day.

    Skyfire Avenue: Sci-fi story about powerful adepts in the far future who are obsessed with earth culture. Reminiscent of Jack Vance's Gaean Reach stories.

    Overgeared: Story about a super-crafter in a near-future VR-like MMORPG in a world where MMORPGs are serious business. Takes a while to pick up. Might be of interest to Erfworld fans who like RPGs and people finding exploits, although the MC is stupid (that isn't a dig at the story, he's described as such. He has some character development later on.) Not yet complete but being updated at a reasonable clip.

    The Tutorial is Too Hard: The main character (and many other people) are sucked into a sort of RPG-based tutorial; the MC makes the mistake of choosing Hell difficulty. The entire story is focused on their progress through it. This one is likely to appeal to Erfworld readers in terms of having a smart protagonist in an RPG mechanics setting; it's better than a lot of other stories that try the same thing, in part because at times it feels like it does have actual things to say about games and what it means to play them. It also does a good job of fleshing out its bizarre setting (it's a lot more interesting than a typical "world is just a generic RPG" sort of thing.)

    Unruly Phoenix Xiaoyao: Super-strong heroine who can heal with a touch and talk to animals is reincarnated in ancient china as a girl disguised as the (male) prince of China, and now has to navigate the court while avoiding the backstabbing of her scheming mother and grandfather. Mostly humorous, focused on the culture clash between the protagonist's 24th-century morality and outlook and that of ancient china, coupled with her ridiculously OP capabilities. I haven't finished it but have heard the ending is a bit disappointing; the rest is fun, though.

    Kumo Desu ga, Nani Ka? (I'm a Spider, So What?) Story about a girl who reincarnates as a monstrous spider in a fantasy world. Another one focused on her steadily growing more powerful, for the most part, but pretty well written. Has a manga and is getting an anime soon if you prefer to get it those ways.

    The next few stories I mention are cultivators novels; basically, people who use martial arts and pills and treasures to steadily grow in supernatural power and seek immortality. Heavily thematically connected to wuxia stories, so expect a lot of furious old masters shouting "JUNIOR, YOU DARE? YOU ARE COURTING DEATH!" from old masters who then get beaten up by the shockingly overpowered protagonist. They also tend to have protagonists that get steadily more powerful to eventually ridiculous degrees (think Dragonball.)

    Cultivation Chat Group: Humor story about cultivators in the modern world. Has some thought put into what a real-world society of that sort would look like, ala Harry Potter. Most of the characters behave intelligently (or have realistically believable motivations for their flaws and mistakes.) Some of the humor might be a bit opaque if you haven't read any cultivation novels before, though.

    Tales of Demons and Gods: Cultivation story about someone who goes back in time to relive his life for a second time after losing a fight with the Sage Emperor (basically, the setting's God.) Focuses heavily on what is essentially a martial-arts academy at the beginning. A good starting place for people who are unfamiliar with the genre. Not complete, and note that the author has nearly abandoned it (chapters come out once a month now), but there's a lot to read up to that point. Another good story for people who want to read about the protagonist finding exploits (or exploiting the fact that he's from the future, anyway.) Has a webcomic and an animated version if you prefer to get it those ways.

    I Shall Seal the Heavens: Massive cultivation story about the protagonist, Meng Hao, getting more powerful and beating everyone up. It's ok if you like stories about the main character constantly getting more powerful, beating up the people who offended him before, offending the next tier of powerful people, lather rinse repeat. Another good place to get started on cultivation novels. Ridiculously, stupefyingly long.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2019-06-27 at 09:29 AM.

  25. - Top - End - #895
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Since almost everything I would have recommended is already in that list, allow me t toss in Mother of Learning-A story in a mostly traditionally styled fantasy world with a bit of a Russian bent. Itís about a student who just graduated to effectively gaining his first level in wizard and is had some twists about the full premise I wonít go into other then to say there is more to it then meets the eye.

    Also Ubsong is really good, itís an urban fantasy spy thriller type book. Only since the magic system is all based on Kabbalah itís also got some distinct Number 23 elements to it.
    Thanks to Linklele for my new avatar!
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  26. - Top - End - #896
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    The Wandering Inn is by an Erfworld fan who also wrote the short Erf-fic The Last Turn. Main story is about humans being summoned to a world with RPG mechanics but one of them decides to become an inn-keeper.
    Exalted avatar remix by Musashi
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  27. - Top - End - #897
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Arg! My to-read list just tripled. Thanks guys, that's wonderful.

    <edit>

    Actually I found five that seem to be in a format that I'm okay with. There were a lot putting up that "if you surf here you agree to our cookies" nonsense, which I don't.

    Others seem to be books, which isn't in the least what I'm interested in. I'm currently in an archive dive, when I get up to date with this one (best part of a week, maybe more ) I'll put up a thread in Media Dscussions.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-06-27 at 06:40 PM.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  28. - Top - End - #898
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    2 text updates in 3 days. Should we get optimistic about a regular update schedule (even if it is just text updates)
    The Chaotic Evil Dungeon Master

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  29. - Top - End - #899
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerusthegreat View Post
    2 text updates in 3 days. Should we get optimistic about a regular update schedule (even if it is just text updates)
    This text update was horrible IMO. There was no story content at all, it was a sort of worldbuilding, but there was no plot whatever. Looks like total writer's block.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  30. - Top - End - #900
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    Default Re: Erfworld Thread XI: Finally, it's HAMMER-TIME!

    A practical guide to evil
    "The Empire stands triumphant.

    For twenty years the Dread Empress has ruled over the lands that were once the Kingdom of Callow, but behind the scenes of this dawning golden age threats to the crown are rising. The nobles of the Wasteland, denied the power they crave, weave their plots behind pleasant smiles. In the north the Forever King eyes the ever-expanding borders of the Empire and ponders war. The greatest danger lies to the west, where the First Prince of Procer has finally claimed her throne: her people sundered, she wonders if a crusade might not be the way to secure her reign. Yet none of this matters, for in the heart of the conquered lands the most dangerous man alive sat across an orphan girl and offered her a knife.

    Her name is Catherine Foundling, and she has a plan"
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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