Title: Forged Destiny Author: Coeur Al'Aran Rating: T Genre: Adventure/Romance Status: In-Progress Pairings: Jaune/Blake Summary: Jaune had always dreamed of being a Hero, of being someone. But dreams were just that; for in the world of Remnant the Class you are born with determines your fate. Jaune was born a Blacksmith, and thus that was his destiny. But when a strange opportunity allows him to change that, can a simple Blacksmith become something more within the Beacon Academy for Heroes? Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12044591/1/Forged-Destiny Coeur has always been hit or miss in this fandom, with some people really liking his stuff and some people really hating it. Personally I was mostly a fan of the fics that used canon with a light touch then pushed off to go do something else. So, with Forged Destiny we got something a bit nice. The world of Remnant effectively runs off of RPG mechanics. Not as if the players were in a video game or trapped in another world, but built on the ground up where people are born with classes and gain stats and levels as they progress. Jaune is a Blacksmith, a member of the NPC (Needs-Protection-Cast), has somehow come across an artefact that allows the cursor above his head to read off as a member of the Hero Caste, in this case a Knight. Using this item he follows his dreams to become a Hero and joins the Beacon Academy for Heroes. He makes friends with canon RWBY cast, most of them heroes themselves, and discovers there's a lot more to being a Hero than simple a title floating above your head. It might sound a bit similar to a subplot in Log Horizon, and in fact a bunch of reviews in the early chapters refer to this, but in fact it is quite different. I always feel like Coeur does his best when allows himself to stretch his creative juices a bit out of his comfort zone, but in quite a few of his stories he lets himself fall far too much into Stations of Canon with a few minor adjustments. Forged Destiny is anything but. Some of the characters are different, but some still act the same, albeit for completely different reasons. Velvet, for example is pretty much shy because she's also an NPC. Cardin still hates Jaune but that's mostly because it's a rivalry between the Warrior and Knight, two classes with fairly similar roles within a party. Blake isolates herself less because she's a faunus in a human institution and more because she's an Assassin amongst more 'heroic' classes. These altered backstories mesh fairly well with the world building, although random facts about the classes, castes, and laws of the world get added in as errata—I mean, as things Jaune should have known, being a Hero of course. Good: As mentioned above, I'm a sucker for world building and unique plots. I don't care about yet another Beacon Initiation to get launched off a cliff and trying to show off skills in an epic landing strategy. A 'realistic' reason behind quests, party compositions, stratified societies, and even a sort of self-directing skill-tree system are all things new to me in RWBY and while I've never appreciated info-dumps, there's quite a bit of information given in a more natural way. No canon-rehash, villains are still villains even if they affect the world in different ways. The sequence of events are new plot definitely goes off in ways that are mostly unsuspecting. Especially as Jaune, with no real combat stats or skills to speak of, needs to figure out ways to win fights in a manner that doesn't give him away. Granted, most of the time this simply means he throws a stronger member like Pyrrha at the problem, but there are a few occasions where he has to do some sideways thinking to resolve a fight. Bad: Jaune himself still remains one of the weaker parts of this story. It's somewhat inevitable since it seems that's how Coeur always seems to write him, bumbling his way through with glimpses of genius here and there. Part of it is also that he seems willing to pick up various Idiot or Conflict Balls as the plot demands. They can range from having introspective navel-gazing moments where he tries to figure out what's so different between Heroes and NPCs only to go off and do something no self-respecting hero would ever do, piss-poor excuses to explain what he's doing to his friends (which most of the time they only accept because the truth is such an outside-context problem to them they couldn't think of anything else), or just simply allowing himself some bleeding-heart morality problems which cause him to do things which everybody else agrees is a horrible idea and yet he does it anyways. In the earlier parts of the story he manages to get away with it quite a bit. As the story progresses, however, either due to the situation or simply being under closer scrutiny, it does start to bite him back, so there is that at least. Overall this is one of few stories I still follow from Coeur and I feel like it's good enough to have kept my attention for this long (and it's also one of his longer works). It also helps that as of this writing one of the bigger changes to the status quo has just dropped: Spoiler ...in that his true class finally got dropped and now everybody is reacting to that. 4/5 definitely a story I could read, then probably read again to pick up any hints of foreshadowing I might have missed previously.