WIP A Practical Guide to Evil by Erraticerrata - T - Original Fantasy

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by DvorakQ, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Still deep in book 3 so I haven’t quite caught up yet but I kinda realized that the reason I love this is that an alternative title might as well be A Song of Ice and Fire Emblem, played as meta as possible.
     
  2. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    Chapter is finally uploaded, and it was a conclusion. Not sure how I feel about it just yet. The Legions took some losses but now they're gonna sack Procer which is gonna be amusing. Black's plan was super complicated though and I'm honestly not sure how it didn't fail. Though with Warlock maybe being dead it might have cost him more than anything else. Watching the Legate talk to Catastrophe was amazing though. It's interesting that everyone refers to the Dragon as they, maybe I missed something or Dragons just don't have genders because they're above such petty mortal distinctions. Either way I just want to watch Catastrophe burn some more shit, and if it's a proceran city even better. All hail our scaly new protagonist.
     
  3. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    So I legitimately feel bad about saying this, because Errata was sick and God knows this probably beats the pants of pretty much anything I've written while sick. I hope he's feel better, even if that means delays to the story, too.

    But the fact remains that I'm really getting tired of the villains utterly winning and then the story explaining to me why after the fact. Like, yes, a plan that's explained beforehand is pretty much doomed to fail, sure, but the fact remains that Black and Cat really kind of love summoning victory retroactively. The issue is, you can explain anything retroactively, and saying 'We got lucky' or 'Thank God they didn't do this' afterwards doesn't make up for the fact that any drama whatsoever is obviated when you win outright first and tell us how later.

    Long story short, things went just as planned. The Crusade continues to be utterly toothless, the heroes continue to be pretty much entirely ineffectual and managed to accomplish nothing, the closest thing to an exception to that was the Witch who got into a technobabble cockfight with Warlock where stuff happened for reasons and Greek Name + Object countered Spell X and vice versa, the only times the Crusaders were at all effectual was when they were being led into a trap, the divine intervention was planned for, went exactly as planned, and amounted to nothing, and faceless nobodies died meaningless deaths in the background. The Crusade has failed to accomplish anything of value or note on either front it attacked on and, what's more, Black has now turned things around and is outright invading Procer with his army, which maybe seems like a bad idea narrative-wise*, but this story's pretty thoroughly taught us not to expect anything to actually happen when Black and Cat make bad narrative choice, so I assume he's planned for it.

    What was the point of worrying about the Crusade again? Because thus far, they're about as intimidating as a stiff breeze. I feel like it's at least worth mentioning in passing that immediately prior to this Crusade, Callow fought three wars, Praes lost five armies, funds from Praes were basically cut off by a sneak attack, Praes and Callow are basically waiting to go to war, the Captain died, the Free Cities suddenly united into a major power bloc directly to the south of everyone, and one of the biggest cities in Callow exploded, and I'm completely unconvinced any of that has had a meaningful impact on much of anything. Can you imagine if all that hadn't happened? The entire Crusade would probably be dead by now.

    And before anyone says anything about underdog stories, don't even fucking try with that shit--we have made it damn clear that the narrative only matters when it benefits Black and Cat. I mean, hell, how many pivots did this goddamn plan rely on? How many points of failure? How many different things going wrong could have completely toppled this plan?

    *Or, you know, logistically? Like, I'm no General or anything, but did I miss something major here or is Black's plan honestly to lead an army into an enemy country without any supply lines to speak of and no possible way of retreat while Warlock is seemingly tied down? Forget the story issues inherent to shit like their entire army having to feed like locusts off of Procer land when Procer's soldiers didn't do the same even while starving, or the general fact that the Black Knight is leading an invasion with an army that's literally composed in large part by zombies and guys that eat people into a Good-aligned nation surrounded by its good-aligned current allies--what the fuck makes sense about this from a military standpoint? Am I missing something? Was there a throwaway line securing them against this? What's happening?

    So if I expected Black to face any narrative consequences whatsoever, I'd be really worried for him right now, but the story repeatedly disabused me of that notion, so I assume it's all really a great move for some reason? Though, honestly, with the performance the Crusaders have given so far, he probably can just conquer Procer.
     
  4. Imraefi

    Imraefi Second Year

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    I see where you're coming from. I treat it like Sherlock Holmes or any such detective story. There's no real way for me to figure out what's going to happen, but the characters are charismatic and the prose is readable.

    It feels like Dragonball Z in a web serial format, and I'm OK with that.
     
  5. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Caught up with the story. Hate to be that guy Ryuugi but literally pot and kettle with what I’ve read from you over the years. It’s my understanding you prefer Hindi over Greek, though. :p

    I think, after reading all of this, the most interesting characters and conflicts are with Akua and the Tyrant of Helike, particularly the second. I’d say that this probably means I share that view that the conflicts generated involving Procer and the Tower all seem preresolved.

    I think I have a pretty big problem with pretty much all the Heroes in the story - that literally none of them even consider giving anyone evil a chance. Maybe I just want to see Cat at her worst - betraying someone who was willing and opposed, but it’s getting kind of grating. All the heroes are just reskins - and it seems difficult to say where the choirs begin and end in terms of distinction.

    At least the Wandering Bard is interesting, not nearly enough of her/him/it though.
     
  6. Xarlor

    Xarlor First Year

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    How exactly is Black gonna invade Procer? And what did he win here? Before this battle he had 24000 against 60000 and had very strong fortification and a year of preparation. Now he has 16000 against 40000 without preperation or fortification, no way to get supplies or reinforcements except maybe Cats Portals. Yes the Vales is closed for a couple of months, but if he and his army dies isn't that still a massiv loss for Praes? Or can the Crusader army not attack and follow him since they are stuck in the collapsed mountains? This kinda looks like a phyrric victory for black as far as I can see.
     
  7. chrnno

    chrnno High Inquisitor

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    That is along my initial thoughts too, the Vales were hyped to be the best place to fight as defender and Black had just about every other advantage he could possibly get yet we are supposed to take the relative losses as a victory on his part? 2.5:1, which is also the relative numbers, when assaulting massive fortifications is great for the attacker and pathetic for the defender.

    Even assuming he can somehow keep this trade I don't see victory there... Unless that is the point and he is basically removing himself, along with those would follow him only, from the field while settings things up for Catherine?
     
  8. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    Mostly a filler chapter, but great seeing all of The Woe together again. Nice interactions all around and good to see them becoming more like The Calamities in their interactions. Thief stealing Archer's pay for the year and her not being the wiser is hilarious though. Cat's got a ton of problems on the horizon to deal with though so we should see a lot of plans being formed in the next few chapters.

    As for Black's plan, I think it has to do with Levant. It's been mentioned a few times that the only reason they're on the side of Procer is the only tier 2 citizen, Madgast or something like that. We haven't seen Assassin in awhile because's he's been engineering this guys death. A few more accidents and suddenly the people that the Tower supports will have control. With them in control the armies turn on the crusaders. Sacking Salia with Black, giving him the numbers to do serious damage in Procer, and turning on Pappenhiem's army and wiping them out with Callow. Outside theory and not that likely, but it's so outside I could see that being Black's plan. It's defintely a pivot situation, one that no one will see coming which are his favorite.
     
  9. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Really not much of anything to say about this chapter, though here's hoping Errata is feeling better. Nice that Hakram's back, though, because he's always pretty fun.

    I still don't understand why Black's invasion is being treated as just a very bad idea instead of the bafflingly horrible one it is, though. I mean, it even said that 'Black and his legions sacking towns for supplies on their march west.' So if I believed at all that the narrative could touch Black, I'd be wondering what the fuck he was doing, but as is, they mention how he left the heart of Praes to hang, but not, you know, how his army is now without supply lines. Or even the simple fact that even if his raiding led him to suspiciously convenient piles of usable goods, there's really no way to deal with the fact that there's no effective way to reequip his orcs and goblins if stuff gets ruined, as Procer probably doesn't make shit in their size. Even if they can keep themselves fed on nothing but murder and raids, how are they keeping themselves ready for battle? They no longer have any way to get reinforcements, any path of retreat, any allied areas to draw from, and odds seem pretty good that their coin doesn't mean fuck all in Procer. I feel like they're understating how terrible an idea this is.

    Also, I'd really be more worried when Cat talked about how they couldn't beat those numbers if numbers had proved even remotely relevant in the past.

    You're thinking of Ashur, the island country Hanno comes from which is attacking the coasts of Praes. Levant is the place the Champion and Grey Pilgrim are from, and where it was stated that Grey Pilgrim was an expression of desire away from being made king. While they're no huge fans of Procer, they're actually fairly committed to this cause and don't have any major points to fall apart on.
     
  10. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    You're right I got them completely mixed up. I still think there will be some sort of twist with them though. Black is too gung-ho about this invasion of Procer to not have some sort of a plan. He has to know that Levant is sending troops, and I doubt Scribe missed an extra 30,000 heading out.
     
  11. someone010101

    someone010101 Groundskeeper

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    All that aside. Warlock could have just wrecked the Vales months before the invasion.
     
  12. Nazgus

    Nazgus Headmaster

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    I'm not too sure about that. I imagine that if he'd done that from the start then the narrative of the crusade (which requires that an attack take place) would let the heavens help them find a way around it faster. That's not really the case when you've had a protracted battle already that ends in this stalemate.
     
  13. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Um. Did Cat just forget that the good guys have the Auger, who can see the future, the Grey Pilgrim, who can tell when people are lying and see the future, and a whole bunch of guys in regular contact with angels?

    It just kind of feels like she's underestimating the number of ways in which this plan could backfire. And that's not even getting into the obvious issues with 'Pretending to be allied with the oldest, most successful villain in the setting and then betraying him.'
     
  14. katreus

    katreus First Year

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    Latest plan sounds amazing. I love it when Cat is forced into bad plans because all the other options are game ends. It'll absolutely go wrong but at least they've applied the Jamelia Belltower solution of solving problems with different problems, which leads to hilarity and entertainment. I'm going to laugh if Cat pulls the redux of her run through the legion college war games with successive betrayals.

    Akua wise, I see she's made herself the Chancellor to Cat's Queen in the Winter Court. For her, I don't think she cares that Cat's got even more control over her now - that's probably even a benefit in her eyes. Cat and Akua being the odd couple is probably one of the best things about this book, and I am looking forward to more bickering between the two.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  15. Stealthy

    Stealthy DA Member

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    More than that, it's waltzing right into Pilgrim's redemption story. notagreatplan.gif all over the place.
     
  16. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Man, reading the comments on the Guide site makes me feel tired; I guess I'm just a huge outlier, because honestly, I thought the Good guys were pretty reasonable here. To be frank, this was a chapter about Cat and diplomacy--you can guess about how well it's gonna go? Cat makes what she views as good efforts, and many of them actually are to an extent, but she makes the largest mistake you came in a matter of compromise and fails to realize that others have their own goals and concerns and limits in which they must operate, much like she does. Cordelia makes a lot of very good points about why it's very difficult to trust Cat, or even to acknowledge her officially as Queen, and Pilgrim goes further by pointing out the political ramifications and concerns involved with negotiating with Cat and about the aims and ends Cordelia herself is aiming for. But the thing is, Cat's perspective on them to begin with is...

    Well, look at it:

    Her views on Good are...odd, to say the least. She kind of loathes everything the people she's negotiating with believe in and stand for and only barely hides it, when she's not stating it outright.

    Anyway, the talk actually seems to go well at first, until it actually gets to a key point--namely, Cat's entire plan to have any actual working relationship with Procer is almost impossible to manage, because her entire hold on Callow evaporates if she's actually seen to do so in anything but completely favorable terms, because said hold is extremely weak to begin with and to hold it, Cat kind of needs everything she does with anyone, at this point including Procer, Praes, the Dead King, and more, to be either completely hidden from the people, so they don't actually know how bad things are, or utterly to her advantage. This is unfeasible, for obvious reasons, as her position is shit and not something anyone else wants to support.

    Which makes it odd but understandable when Cat kind of falls back on her military power as a bargaining chip, because with Callow having no allies and it's coffers empty, she doesn't have many others--the thing is, Cat knows better than anyone that her army can survive all of one battle, win or lose; as things are, supposedly, she cannot hold if Klaus gets through the Vales, so her military power isn't a real threat, on it's own. The only actual point she has on that front is Black, who, sad to say, she's probably going to be right about in the end, for all that he's been fighting a war with no supply lines or paths of retreat against heroic opposition while engaging in openly villainous behavior like raiding; it's probably going to work out somehow, annoyingly, and I expect to sigh tiredly when it does.

    Cat then ends up turning to the Pilgrim next and quickly delivers this load:

    Which, holy fuck, I don't even know where to begin with that load of hypocrisy. But that's neither here nor there.

    What matters is that she wants the Pilgrim to basically take control of Levant and/or use the threat of doing so to enforce policy on Levant's long time enemy turned recent, but hopefully long-term, ally. He points out that this would completely shatter Cordelia's reign and said alliance with it, taking away any hope of there being peace between his nation and Procer, no doubt resulting in tens of thousands of his people dying in wars as a less Cordelia-like ruler takes the reigns. It would take heat off of Callow by lighting his homeland on fire. She proceeds to say:

    Because...he wants to support Cordelia's efforts to bind multiple countries in long-term peace and enable them to turn towards larger threats? Um, Cat, what are you trying to say...?

    I feel like she's forgetting about the Ratlings and Dead King? Which is rather odd, because she's thinking about making a deal with the latter. Remember, Cat? The guys Procer has to bleed over? The guys that Pilgrim just mentioned this would let them fight?

    But...that's what you're doing, Cat...? Cat? You're wandering off a cliff along with your argument, Cat; please come back?

    So yeah, I'm not sure if the Good guys were intended to come off as unreasonable here, but mostly they look like logical actors and Cat looks like a crazy hypocrite.
     
  17. Xarlor

    Xarlor First Year

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    Quite honestly I found neither perspective unreasonable compared to what we know of the characters.

    I wouldn't even say the terms Cat wanted were really that favourable. The only thing she wanted was proof that they wouldn't backstab her. Which from her perspective is reasonable, since she gambles Callow and everything she has done on this deal. Which Cordelia wasn't willing to grant since that would have made her dependant on Cat, here portals or Hyrophant clearing the pass. All things she can't do political. Or because she doesn't and shouldn't trust Cat from what she knows. We as the reader know that Cat would actually do those things, but well her reputation is not the best right now, so Cordelias position makes perfect sense.

    But the same is true for Cat. She doesn't know alot of that stuff. We know from Interludes and Side Stories that Cordelia will most likely keep her word, but Cat doesn't. What Cordelia asked here was that Cat gives away her change of shaping the crusade that will pass through Callow on nothing but Cordelias word.

    We as reader know that her choice is wrong, but how should Cat know that and what are her alternatives? Since Cordelia will not make their truce public, for which she propably has important political reasons, Cat has nothing but her word. Cordelias reign will crumble the moment Callow is annexed or anything, but again Cat does not know that.

    Cat also grew up in Callow and according to the story Procer is nearly as hated as Praes there. Like how did they even manage that? And how did that shape Cats perspective?
     
  18. chrnno

    chrnno High Inquisitor

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    I have been wondering about that for the longest time. From all descriptions it is old so can't be something from Black/Malicia that got amazing success, but given everything we have been told about Praes I am puzzled on what the fuck Procer did because continuous attempts at conquest doesn't seem enough to me.
     
  19. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    Supposedly, Procer occupied Callow once some hundred years or so ago and Callow just really keeps it's grudges. It's still kind of baffling that they're hated on the level of Praes after twenty years of current occupation, the mass slaughter of their leadership, and prolonged, abusive governors, on top of literal centuries of dealing with Praes' shit. Remember, either Callow itself or at least the Fairfax Dynasty was founded, IIRC, in the aftermath of Triumphant, who made a point of dealing with her enemies by forcing their children to crucify them. To say nothing of the fact that Liesse is just fucking gone now, because Akua turned everyone in it into her zombie slaves and fed the rest to demons.

    Like, a general sentiment of 'Fuck Procer and Praes'? Sure, absolutely. But in the prologue of this book, we meet some random Southern hick who's all about how the Praesi has been pretty good to them recently.

    Have they, dude? Have they really?
     
  20. Lungs

    Lungs KT Loser Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think the point is that the Praesi haven't necessarily been that bad to them.