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    Writer's Roundtable

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    Bad John
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    Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on June 5th 2017, 9:30 pm

    A place to solely discuss current projects, characters and plot ideas outside of their given topics. If you have questions or comments about your own or someone else's characterization, world building, plot ideas, inspiration, or you just need to bounce ideas off of someone, this topic should scratch that itch.

    We're all writers, and I figured it'd be nice to talk shop once in a while.
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on June 5th 2017, 9:36 pm

    I whole-heartedly agree to the effect we should have a topic solely for the purpose of talking ideas and stuff of that nature. Discuss Anything is our place to talk about world and life affairs, but we've never really had anything for writing related purposes.

    I think this topic is the perfect idea, and might help some of our less frequent authors get inspired for their own ideas. One of my favorite things on the old group on Bungie.net was the Q&A threads we'd create for our stories where everyone could ask for our inspirations and the like.

    Hell, if we get enough inspiration, we may dare to attempt another collab thanks to this thread. Hopefully one that will be successful at that Razz .


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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on June 5th 2017, 9:45 pm

    Thanks, Morgan! :D

    Just to get the ball rolling, here are some scatterbrained thoughts on my most recent and current project.

    I haven't much gotten into the wider world of Those Who Fight Further, but I'm sorta going for an Attack on Titan vibe with the outside world. Monsters are everywhere, and Midgar is one of the few places that's truly safe from them. Nobody knows why they're so viciously aggressive towards humanity, and since guns are effective against them, nobody's asking. Monster is just a blanket term for anything that wants to hurt humans, and isn't an animal.

    Alken's kinda my John-B069 this time around, although he isn't really the focus of the series. I sorta based him around the Fighter class in Final Fantasy Tactics; a swordsman who brutally and effectively uses barehanded strikes. Kinda like how John's weapon is a submachine gun, but he usually defaults to hand-to-hand combat.

    Etechnia's my Cloud Strife, and the main character. Spiky hair, socially awkward, but the main difference is that she made it into SOLDIER and realized her dream of being First-Class, rather than washing out.

    Officially, I'm not sure if there are any female SOLDIERs in FFVII, but I don't care. I like to have a decent sized female presence in any story I write, and I wanted to go with a lady for the lead. I'm already taking a shitload of liberties with the other plot elements. She's partially based on Nicole.

    Nemsis is based on my characterization of Samus, though she takes Aerith's role in the story. She kinda combines their best traits. Samus's aloof and witty attitude, with Aerith's willful, rhapsodic free spirit. I'm gonna have to do more stuff with Nemsis around; I haven't gotten to employ her enough.

    Alalonn and Sophron are the two Big Goods of the series for now. They're not the strongest SOLDIERs in Shinra, but they're certainly up there; Alalonn's brute physical power and Sophron's magical genius make them a horrifyingly effective team. Alalonn's the Kamina to everyone else's Simon.

    Sophron just wants to do his job and research shit in peace, but he's stuck with a group of heroic jackasses and has a bit of a conscience, so he usually gets swept into whatever they're doing. Poor guy.

    I'm still workshopping villains, but Amechanio is the current big bad. An amoral, eccentric, slightly incompetent but otherwise brilliant doctor. The heroes can't just kick his ass; to an extent, they're supposed to be allies. However, the good guys certainly aren't above fucking with his plans when they're suitably reprehensible. I've never worked with a dynamic like that before, and my current plotline may have dove into it too quickly.

    So far, this is all an experiment until I find a cruising altitude for the plot; don't be surprised if I reboot it again, but I hope it doesn't come to that. >_<
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on June 5th 2017, 9:58 pm

    Bad John wrote: -Alalonn's the Kamina to everyone else's Simon.
    Hopefully not in the literal sense xD .

    Band John wrote:I'm still workshopping villains, but Amechanio is the current big bad. An amoral, eccentric, slightly incompetent but otherwise brilliant doctor. The heroes can't just kick his ass; to an extent, they're supposed to be allies. However, the good guys certainly aren't above fucking with his plans when they're suitably reprehensible. I've never worked with a dynamic like that before, and my current plotline may have dove into it too quickly.

    So far, this is all an experiment until I find a cruising altitude for the plot; don't be surprised if I reboot it again, but I hope it doesn't come to that. >_<

    As someone who is notorious for killing 'bad' characters off far quicker than I can build them up, I must say that you don't seem to be rushing too much with the 'Amechanio is kind of a douche whose motives are morally questionable', considering this arc of the story focuses on him.

    Besides the fact that we know he was a monumental feminine care product to the main cast (with the exception of Etechnia, Alallon and his brother perhaps), we don't truly know what motivates him to do the things he does. Is it a power grab? A secret deal with some unknown entity of overwhelming power? As a 'villain', I think your build up for him has been on par of what I've come to expect for many stories I've read.

    If you feel a reboot is necessary, I feel that you should do what you think is best to convey the story you want to tell the best. Having done so recently with Blaine, I'll gladly admit that my newest iteration is probably my favorite. Much more Clark Kent and less Superman.

    As for my own projects, I'll be summing the more prevalent ones in the following post, to separate my thoughts to your post and my own means of discussion to prevent confusion.


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    Bad John
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on June 5th 2017, 10:16 pm

    Shad0wChas3r wrote:Besides the fact that we know he was a monumental feminine care product to the main cast (with the exception of Etechnia, Alallon and his brother perhaps), we don't truly know what motivates him to do the things he does. Is it a power grab? A secret deal with some unknown entity of overwhelming power? As a 'villain', I think your build up for him has been on par of what I've come to expect for many stories I've read.

    Allow me to answer that question! The answer is a little spoilery, but it doesn't hint at anything in the plot; it just tells you a bit about his place in the world.

    Spoilers ahead!:
    I wish I could say yes, but the answer is a firm "nope." He is doing his job completely as designed; Shinra's upper echelon, with some of the SOLDIERs included, is evil, plain and simple. They're expansionist, fascist, and they make no bones about the fact that they all want money, power, land, and to enrich themselves.

    Amechanio is essentially a Nazi doctor. His actions are completely endorsed by the president, with the exception of some of his crueller experiments, like ordering a covert ops team to detain a child based on unsound suspicions.

    Doesn't that just make him all the more scary? Dude loves his work.

    Anyway, I'm excited to hear your current story thoughts. Lol.
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on June 5th 2017, 11:19 pm

    Those of you that have frequented the board recently have noticed that I've been typing a small handful of stories. Many of which I have since put on the backboard as a lack of inspiration or other inhibiting issues have come up. For the sake of this discussion, I'll quickly discuss the three larger and more prominent ones that I've been plugging away at.

    I'll start first with Origins, which for those of you that may or may not have been following, is the complete reboot to Blaine Harlowe's life. Now, I know I've done this numerous times in the past, and each time I've actually promised it'd be the last time. However, I was never truly satisfied with the way things turned out, whether it was the ending or the characters themselves.

    Without spoiling much about it, we see my return to form with deaths that tend to have meaning behind them. Though, as a new feature, I've begun to add in unexpected and random deaths. This story is supposed to be a lot more darker and less 'Superman rip-off'. We can see this, as Blaine Harlowe, who everyone here might know as the law enforcer/ Lawful Good character has switched his motives to serve himself and the people he swore to protect, not necessarily the UNSC.

    Most of my inspiration from this story comes from the initial idea I had for Blaine which was the good old 'Rags to Riches' motif. Many old ideas and new ideas have been coalesced from previous iterations to help mend any plot holes I've had in the past. Blaine is supposed to be a beacon of hope to Humanity, especially with John-117's questionable acts as of recent.

    The idea for this story is to implement more of the Database narrative from all of you. There is some characters that haven't gotten a cameo, as I haven't exactly found a position for them that works well with your own canons. The story itself has been put on the back burner for now however, as I'm currently deciding where to go next.

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    Moving along to the second project I'm working on, this is a bit of a short spin-off story that holds no actual weight to the actual canon, despite sharing the same namesake. Origins; Absolution is a brief series of fight scenes involving a concept I once visited back in the old Bungie.net days.

    Of course, I am talking about the Seven Deadly Sins. Originally, Famine had constructed a facility to test the wherewithal of several subjects (Blaine being the focus in that story) to go through the six circles of hell, and each floor boasted one of the sins. It was a very Dante's Inferno esque story that I never actually fleshed out correctly.

    That being said, I've recently finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and the netflix dub of Seven Deadly Sins anime. Both stories helped personify each of the sins, and gave me the inspiration to do something similar. Origins; Absolution is the culmination of that inspiration.

    In Origins; Absolution, Blaine has an altercation with Walter (aka War) which results in three of the deadly sins; Lust, Wrath, Pride, to be dispelled from him. In this story, the Sins were created by the Forerunners to dismiss the obviously flawed Four Horsmen. However, the Sins themselves went rogue, yet hosted enough power to make even War himself tremble in fear.

    So each of the Four Horsemen hosted the Sins among themselves, using their bodies as the inescapable prison. Blaine's priority shifts after destroying Pride (through a means that was very inspired by a fight scene from a different anime). The purpose of this story, to avoid further spoilers, was to focus on the combat portion of the story instead of dialogue. Each of my characters have received an experimental suit, courtesy of Doctor Jean-Bailey, each with their own unique abilities.

    The project was just a vent for some creative combat fights, as well as to concept new and unique armor abilities exclusive to my characters. In the end, I think the result is turning out well, even though I have two more updates to publish.

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The third project I'll discuss is my own unique idea that is not video game related. In fact, you could consider the story to be my own. I am of course talking about; The Story Teller.

    If you haven't checked out the story, it follows Clyde Fischer; a man who was once esteemed as a famous Hollywood star from every genre ranging from Comedy to Action/Tragedy. His world is turned upside down however, as an unknown bacterium/virus spreads, eradicating almost 80% of the Earth's population practically in the course of a week.

    Two of the victims are his wife and seven year old daughter, as he himself has seemed to be immune to whatever the catastrophe was. CDC agents notice this, and after tranquilizing him, ship him off to the UK for their last standing CDC to inspect him and a handful of the others that were deemed 'immune'.

    On this journey, he encounters a pair of teenagers who, after making their acquaintance, he views as his own children. With the world in tatters, the survivors of this outbreak aren't exactly out of the clear, as some of the survivors (as we've seen with one of the teenagers) have somehow gained access to what could only be described as magical powers.

    Worst, however, wild-life and even people themselves have changed to fit this new world, with fantastical monsters creeping from the shadows. Their origins are unknown, though it might be linked to the plague that destroyed the world. After the incident in the CDC, involving a large explosion that separates him from the teens, Clyde find himself fleeing from one such monster, taking shelter in an old hermit blacksmith's house.

    Learning the craft of smithing from this man, Clyde creates a sword of his very own and sets out to seek out the teenagers. I've put the story on the back burner for right now however, as I have been busy writing things like Origins; Absolution, as well as finding inspiration to continue the story.

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The final project of this long winded post is one that hasn't entirely started yet. A teaser was posted recently following the gameplay reveal of Destiny 2. Much as Destiny 2 is the sequel to Destiny, Sentinel; Lost to Light, is a 'sequel' of sorts to the Drake/Lance Stratus saga.

    In the same universe that followed Drake/Lance as the 'Guardians', Sentinel follows a young girl (which is a first time I'll have a female lead for a story I intend to finish) who is trained by Amethyst (a character from my other Destiny story) to help defend the Last Safe City, even though she hasn't been touched by the Light.

    Following the attack on the Last City that drains all of the current Guardians of their Light, the main character gets blessed by a sudden burst of Light unseen by any Guardian before. This character will solely be used to highlight the new Titan Sentinel class (hence the name of the story) which is a replacement for the current Defender class.

    I'm sure Devin, or Dee_Dawg was anxious to announce this. We were originally planning on waiting for the Beta of Destiny 2 to announce in case there were some interesting tidbits of new gameplay we could implement into the story, but I'm going to fully disclose it here. If you've read his story Collapse; A New World (or at least the few posts he's made), his main character will actually be joining my character in Sentinel.

    In essence, Collapse is to build up his character so you all become accustomed to his Warlock character. Sentinel, however, will be a duo story written by the both of us. It'll be pretty similar to how Vale and John did/are doing Metallic Knights. This will be the first time I've actually worked one on one with another author to work on a project, and I'm really excited to get started on it, just as we hope you will enjoy the project.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Anyways, those are the current events to my running projects. I have many other projects that are so far on the back burner that they've actually gotten cold. I may resurrect them soon, but I'll wait until one of my current projects dies down.

    I might go more in depth with each of the stories I've listed above. However, I feel I've taken enough of your time with what I've already said, so I'ma end it here.


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    Bad John
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on June 5th 2017, 11:38 pm

    Shad0w wrote:I'll start first with Origins, which for those of you that may or may not have been following, is the complete reboot to Blaine Harlowe's life. Now, I know I've done this numerous times in the past, and each time I've actually promised it'd be the last time. However, I was never truly satisfied with the way things turned out, whether it was the ending or the characters themselves.

    In Alalonn's own words, "The perfect is the enemy of the good." However, there's nothing wrong with iteration and improvement. I've liked what I've read so far; every Blaine has felt more human.

    The neat thing is one of my future ideas that I only briefly touched on is the idea of a multi-verse, where every iteration of Blaine has existed in his own time and space. Obviously that doesn't have any impact on this story, but it was a bit of a concept/easter egg that I thought of. -Morgan

    Your third project reminds me of Steven King's The Stand, albeit with a more badass bent. I'm definitely gonna have to get into that; I love crapsack world stories where humanity loses a good deal of its population. Very Happy

    Now that you mention it, it does give off a Stephen King vibe, doesn't it? That's absolutely hilarious to me, as I've been a huge fan of Stephen King for some time now, but I assure you this story wasn't inspired by any of his work.

    I can't wait to delve into that story a bit more in the future. -Morgan

    And dayum. A collab story? That sounds bitchin'. Two heads are often better than one. You're making me miss Metallic Knights.

    To be honest, I've been looking for someone to do a project like this for a while. The only reason I didn't actually ask you was because I figured you were extremely busy. -Morgan
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    Shad0wChas3r
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on June 6th 2017, 1:03 am

    So I'm actually sorry, I read everything you typed. I thought I had pressed 'Quote' instead of 'Edit', so the responses to all of your comments are actually in your above post. That's actually really annoying, and I'm sorry.


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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on June 12th 2017, 10:58 pm

    I made some changes to Lioke as a character. At first I went with the quiet, sarcastic persona that I went with for Lucy, but I decided to add more personality.

    Now she's much more expressive, noisy, nosey, and has some shades of Eddy from Ed Edd and Eddy. If there was a single sentence to sum her up, it'd be "WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT." It makes her one of the more dangerous SOLDIERs in the group, but at her core she's not particularly evil. She tends to stop short of doing unnecessary harm. Crime, however, is no problem. She spent the first years of her life shoplifting, swindling, and wallet snatching, so she'll totally rob someone if they have something she wants.

    Alalonn appreciates her passion; when she wants something, she never settles for a half measure. That makes for an excellent warrior.

    Sophron thinks she's the creepiest and stays away from her.
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on July 18th 2017, 12:18 am

    Finally ironed out Etechnia's backstory. Spoilers for those who don't want to know, but since I'm sharing my unfiltered thought process here, I figured this would be an important place to jot it down for posterity.

    Where Etechnia Came From:
    Alalonn started dating a woman with a six year old daughter years ago, that daughter being Etechnia.
    While indifferent to the idea of being a father, Alalonn loved Etechnia's mother very much, and was nice enough that Etechnia viewed her as the dad she never had. Unfortunately, she passed away due to an illness that ran in the family, leaving Alalonn with Etechnia.

    Alone in the world, Etechnia idolized Alalonn, and joined the SOLDIER program against his explicit wishes for her not to do so. She proved herself, and Alalonn acknowledged her skill. He now sees her as his first pupil; his teaching after she made SOLDIER is what made her the killing-machine she is now.

    Due to her inborn talent for combat, Alalonn wondered who Etechnia's father was. Nothing came of his search for her biological dad, so he eventually gave up; family is what you make it, after all. He saw her as a daughter, so the real dad could fuck off for abandoning the kid.

    Hell, I haven't decided who her father is; he'll either be someone important, or he'll remain a mystery. Haven't decided.

    So they're pretty close.
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Impanther on July 18th 2017, 8:11 am

    New Project inbound

    It is Power Rangers
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    Bad John
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on August 4th 2017, 11:23 pm

    Been brainstorming TWFF, and made a decision.

    Since John-B069 dual wielded, I figured I'd have Alken do the same. Making him closer to the Fighter class from Final Fantasy Tactics; giving him a pair of shortswords; one double-sided, one one-sided.

    Click here for the link. I like the look of 'em, considering I mocked them up in MS Paint. He usually goes for one at a time, but he'll double-fist every now and then.
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Shad0wChas3r on August 23rd 2017, 7:16 am

    Been a while since I've contributed something here. Decided to update Origins again because it had been mostly neglected as of late. Anyways, this installment introduces us to a new threat that Blaine will, in time, have to deal with.

    The installment has had some inspiration behind it, bonus points if you know what from (points are not actually calculated, there are no prizes, and there really is no need to guess). But it introduces a new face to this continuity's Covenant. While canon Halo has the Banished Covenant that will likely take up arms with the Storm Covenant, my canon will also have some of that, but also using our Persian enemy archtype to help unify them.

    The name of this group of Persians is still in the works, but for now they are known as; the Pantheon of the Persians. I know it's not really creative, I'll likely find something more befitting of them. Anyone that read a few installments ago may have been introduced to Xerkas who, while killed in the same encounter we met him in, will actually hold a pivotal role in the plot of the Reclamation arc.

    As for progress on Sentinel; Lost to Light, and any word from DD (Dee_Dawg), the beta for Destiny 2, while fun and refreshing, didn't really offer me any information for me to remotely write anything to. That is, anything new that I didn't already right in the teaser story.

    Which reminds me, I am still obligated to say that anything read in Sentinel at it's current state is liable to change, none of what was written there is canon. I'll likely start a new thread and delete that one when the actual story is written. On Dee's side of things, his Grandfather recently passed away and he's been helping his family deal with it. He wanted me to inform you all that he's still interested in being a part of the community, but it will be slightly less frequent (though he admits he's almost never on) than he'd like on the fact he's taking care of his Grandma now.

    I've sent him our condolences, as I figured you all would have something to say for him.

    But yeah, that's the update from Dee and I's end. I hope you enjoy the latest installment from Origins if you've been following that, and I hope to have something actually concrete for Sentinel soon. It might wait until after I've received the game and begin to get familiar with the story, so I know how to put Demeter properly in the story without re-writing the entire game. (Full disclosure, Demeter is likely to have a lot to do with the Destiny 2 campaign, but don't fret, I'll actually be making the story my own and evolving it. It's not going to be a direct copy paste.)

    Long winded update post is long winded. Bye.


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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on August 23rd 2017, 10:16 pm

    To the most important subject, thank you for giving Dee our condolences.

    Tell Dee I said this; loss sucks, and I hope you take the time to grieve and honor your grandfather's loss in a healthy and constructive manner. The hurt lessens with time, and I'm sure he'd want you to be well.

    As for Origins, I love the San Shyuum warriors. Persians are one of the things I'm proud to say that I called; Prelates! :D

    A pantheon of San'Shyuum warriors sounds interesting. I like the juxtaposition of the Elite and Prophet's quasi-royal lifestyle clashing with the military grit of humanity. It takes creativity to pull off, but I believe in ya!

    As for my pet project, I've been working on Those Who Fight Further. Workshopped Alalonn a bit; he's more strict while on duty, but he has his "dad" charm.

    Also been working on the abilities and equipment common to SOLDIERs. There are three attacks that SOLDIER enemies in the original FFVII know; Flying Sickle, Sword of Doom, and Quadra Cut.

    Since I'm putting a personal spin on the source material, I imagine that they're abilities that are considered a rite of passage.

    Flying Sickle is a technique by which SOLDIERs toss their weapon in order to attack from a distance in lieu of Materia. A way to shoot without a gun, as it were. Certain SOLDIERs can add a spin to it, allowing their weapon to boomerang back to them.

    Sword of Doom is a hallmark of any self respecting SOLDIER; a swing so powerful it cuts the air in front of them. Every combatant has a unique variation; Alken favors shorter blades, so it manifests as a tighter, more destructive slash. Alalonn's is insanely blunt; it cuts, but it caves in everything around the cut, utterly destroying the target. Etechnia's has immense range due to the size and weight of her weapon.

    Quadra Cut is Etechnia's specialty; a rush of hard swipes that can cut anything, making use of superhuman strength to eliminate several enemies in a single, fluid blow. When someone sees her dispatch several combatants so quickly with such a heavy blade, the enemy's morale tends to break.

    There are weapons you can steal from SOLDIERs in FFVII; Hardedge, one of Cloud's swords, and Shinra Alpha, a piece of armor. I imagine Shinra Alpha is the SOLDIER equivalent of Mjolnir; high quality, costly to make, reserved for only SOLDIER's top fighters. Alalonn loves his students, so he supplies them with it. Hardedge is a sword considered a cut above the standard issue weapon. I imagine all SOLDIER swords are a bit too heavy for a normal person, but Hardedge is so hefty and top-heavy despite its size that only a SOLDIER or a strongman could make good use of it.

    I'm working with a lot of headcanons here, but that's my specialty. Lol.
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Impanther on September 3rd 2017, 5:13 pm

    Gonna have to cancel the Power Rangers project, not satisfied with how that is turning out. I am however going to continue Godzilla Gods & Demons as well as a Kaiju dossier type of project.
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    This is gonna be a loooooong one.

    Post  Bad John on September 5th 2017, 6:25 pm

    A few worldbuilding and character notes I came up with while brainstorming last night, along with some in-depth character developments I've made to flesh them out. I want to deepen the reader's understanding of the characters and within the narrative, but it helps to set in stone the kind of characterization I'm going for. Y'all are getting the inside scoop.

    SOLDIER is set up pretty much like the Spartan VI program, with some differences; each individual group is assigned to a Unit, which often consists of up to fifteen or twenty operatives. There's universally at least one First-Class SOLDIER who presides over the team, but often there's two or three. Between the First-Classers in a Unit, there's no official leader; however, they usually defer to the most senior operative.

    As an example, Alalonn, Etechnia and Sophron share responsibility and are viewed as equals, but Etechnia, being the youngest, will often look to the other two for orders. Sophron usually gives Alalonn the wheel since Sophron is a bit of a loner and prefers study and experimentation to military operations. They call Alalonn "Commander", but he doesn't have an official rank within Shinra.

    First-Class SOLDIERs have a lot of leeway when it comes to deployment; they can make battlefield decisions and deny orders (though they assume responsibility for the outcome of such choices), and they can requisition weapons, armor, supplies, and even Shinra troopers to reinforce 'em.

    Certain First-Classers will forgo the unit structure altogether and act alone; Alalonn and Sophron used to do this before they started building their own unit from the ground up. Most First-Classers do this for one of a couple reasons: They're glory hogs, they're dangerously antisocial, they're bad leaders, or they genuinely work best without anyone to question their methods.

    Units are often fluid; First-Classers will trade Second and Third class SOLDIERs in and out of their units as they see fit.

    Second and Third-Classers sorta have to go with the flow; they're subject to being pulled for security jobs and other missions, and only have as much freedom as the First-Classers in their unit allow.

    Our protagonists belong to 21st Unit, known as Heimdallr. They're known for two reasons; they're the smallest official unit, and they're monstrously strong relative to their size. Thanks to Alalonn's brutal training, even the seven Second-Class SOLDIERs in his unit are dangerous even relative to First-Class. Entering Second-Class alone is an achievement; the majority usually get stuck at Third-Class their entire lives, making up three-quarters of the force. Second-Class promotion is a sign that someone thinks you're worth consideration, and you might make First eventually.

    First-Class SOLDIERs are also given liberties with their uniforms; they can add onto the official uniform, or wear whatever else they want. The official color for their uniforms is black; Alalonn wears a black outfit. Sophron wears most of the uniform, but dons a red overcoat and doesn't bother with the armor and suspenders. They also get full autonomy when it comes to weaponry.

    Second-Classers are bound to the typical uniform, but have a little wiggle-room with uniform color; they can wear dark-blue, red (the official color), or magenta. Some Second-Classers are allowed to use personal weapons if their leaders allow it; Alalonn does.

    Third-Classers are stuck wearing bright blue, and can only use standard-issue broadswords.

    It's pretty much universal that SOLDIERs use melee weaponry. Like Sangheili, Batman, or the Jedi, they're taught that rifles are clumsy and random, taking no real skill other than pointing and shooting. It takes a real warrior to get up close and defeat an enemy with grit alone, or to incinerate opponents with carefully applied magic. Plus, it drives home to the public that Shinra's Elite are strong as hell.

    The helmet acts as an earpiece, and provides a light HUD; it's kinda like an ODST helmet. It displays compass data, tracks Mako sources, or identifies targets. There's also a light communications array for troop movement and unit chatter.

    SOLDIERs are paid decently well; part of the reason certain members of the 21st joined was to get out of poverty. You also get a free cell phone as a SOLDIER, so that's nice.




    On to characters. Starting with the star of the show, Etechnia. She was trained by Alalonn for years, and has the power to show for it. People refer to her as the "Paladin"; she's a deft swordfighter, and specializes in Barrier Materia.

    Her Buster-Sword is a legendary artifact among SOLDIERs; it gets passed down to a different taker every time the previous user is killed in action. Alalonn considered using it himself for a while, but even with his insane brute-strength, he never felt like it was his thing; something told him to save it for someone else. He made the right choice giving it to Etechnia; by his own admission, she uses it better than he could.

    Rather than using raw strength to flail it around, she treats it like a dance-partner, using its momentum and weight to flow between targets, keeping it tight and close for defense. She's a very careful fighter, and can use it as a shield at a moment's notice. Between her skill making dynamic barriers and her huge sword, she's damn-near invincible to most enemies.

    Aside from her skill in battle, Etechnia is relatively mild-mannered and socially awkward; she didn't have friends as a kid. She gets defensive and locks up quickly, is slow to open up, and views everything as a win-loss scenario.

    Her Second-Class buddies get frustrated with this; she avoids chances to hang out with them, questions whether or not they view her as a friend, and she'll sometimes backpedal and negatively rationalize their friendly overtures as tests of her leadership. Alken straight up idolizes her as a hero, and believes she's his best friend, even though she's kind of a dork.

    She's a good leader, but doesn't know it. She's the type to second-guess herself a lot. Once you get passed all her insecure bullshit, she's super nice and just wants what's best for her peeps, and is genuinely heroic. Fortunately, on the battlefield all her insecurities fall away. She's downright lethal, and an inspiration to her Second-Class peers.

    She has a lot of talent with cooking, and sometimes uses it for evil; she tends to study people's tastes, and will zero in on their ideal comfort food in order to get them to do her favors. Kinda like Scooby Snacks.

    Alalonn's favorite is burgers with bacon cooked into the patty. Sophron has a weakness for her specially made vegetable soup.




    Next up are Alalonn and Sophron. Before Etechnia joined SOLDIER under Alalonn's wing, they didn't have a unit. They watched each-other's backs, and fought on their own discretion.

    Alalonn is regarded as second-to-none in terms of pure physical power. Peeps refer to him as the "Dragon Slayer", because he hunted and took out a dragon that had been plaguing rural areas for years. He's a borderline flying-brick superhero; he can tank small caliber firearms with nothing to show for it but small bruises, he can run down trains in short bursts, and he can lift a fuckload of weight.

    He tends to favor fire and gravity magic; he often uses gravity to assist his feats of strength, leaping over buildings or nullifying the weight of objects just enough to toss cars like pillows. When he casts fire, he does it from his mouth; it helps him aim, and it looks terrifying. Imagine Blaine with a sword breathing literal fire-breath; shit's scary.

    His true strength comes from inspiring others, and zeroing in on latent talent; his students might have been Third-Classers if Alalonn hadn't recognized their abilities and amplified them with constant training. He doesn't take all the credit though; he views his student's talent as one in a million, and only takes those with real potential under his wing. He packs simple, well maintained longsword.




    Sophron is a loner. He's driven by a lust for knowledge; most importantly regarding the ancients. He can feel something bad coming (maybe he read the script) and thinks it regards the Cetra; an ancient race that used to rule the earth, but supposedly disappeared.

    He knows something doesn't quite add up regarding Jenova, the last supposed Cetra specimen, and has been relentlessly studying the creature's cells and their effect.

    Sophron is ultimately friendly, but he's very no-nonsense and doesn't entertain whims often. He rarely stops to eat or rest. He considers Apatet a useful lab assistant; she's the only one allowed into his study.

    They call him "Sophron the Black" because of his destructive capabilities with magic. He's incredibly versatile, favoring no element and switching Materia for every job he undertakes. His most valued skills are summoning, and body augmentation through magic.

    When he has to get serious, he coats himself in a black haze of destructive magic, with only his eyes being visible. In this state, he's bound to get a bit...overzealous. No enemy has ever seen his "Black Cloak" and survived. He can rend things to pieces, freeze, melt, or disintegrate anything he touches, and he moves like a demon. Alalonn is a match for him in this state, but it'd be a toss-up.

    He uses a double-sided trident that's lined with a magic-conducting, rose-gold Mithril.




    Now onto our John-B069; Alken. He's a very nice guy. Laid back, follows the rules, unselfish. Everybody's go-to when it comes to favors. He used to live out in the country with his father until he was orphaned by a dangerous and powerful monster. He was relocated to Sector-Seven by rescue forces, but the troopers who loaded him onto the train died while keeping the monster back. This led to him being forgotten about when he reached Sector Seven, and nearly starving to death. Thankfully, he met Lioke who pulled him from the brink; she wanted a partner in crime, and was a bit disappointed that he wasn't the criminal sort. However, she softened up to him and the two became lifelong friends.

    After living as a pair of street rats, the two joined SOLDIER together; Lioke wanted a better life with a roof over her head, and Alken wanted to be a hero. Despite their inherent differences, the two fell in love.

    Between his father being a nice guy and the sacrifice the troopers made to save him, he really wants to ensure that nobody goes through the bullshit he went through. He doesn't have a hero-complex; he recognizes his limitations and learns quickly from stronger fighters, and just wants to do his part as a SOLDIER.

    He's brave, even by SOLDIER standards; it's incredibly rare for him to back away from an opponent. He specializes in short-swords and unarmed combat, and is viewed as one of 21st's strongest physical fighters. People call him "The Fighter" due to his capabilites with his bare hands.

    Inkeeping with the tradition of John-B069 dual-wielding, Alken's personal weapons are a pair of short-swords; one that's single sided, and one that's double-edged. He usually goes with the single-sided one, using it to deflect attacks and destroy weapons while he closes in to attack barehanded. He only ever uses both when he explicitly aims to kill a foe.

    He's a fairly cool customer, and makes for an excellent Good Cop to anyone else's Bad Cop. He's known for reliably taking enemies alive for questioning, and for his healthy mix of speed and attacking-power. He's also well known for his innate ability to bounce back; the harder you beat him down, the more powerful he seems to return once he's had time to heal. He's crawled back from the brink of death more than once, and he always seemed stronger for it.




    Now to Lioke. She's the Yang to Al's Yin; abrasive, clever, and more than a little mean. She grew up in an orphanage, but bailed when things got crowded and lived on the street. She stole to survive, hit people with lead pipes when they chased her, and was a general menace to any community she was in. She met Alken, decided she could use a partner in crime, and eventually joined SOLDIER with him.

    The idea of being a member of the most elite fighting-force on the planet really appeals to her; she's very confident, and a brutally effective sword-fighter. She uses a katana, but often borrows Alken's double-edged blade when she wants to wield two swords at once.

    Lioke is fast as hell. Her casual speed is almost as fast as Alalonn's full sprint; when she really ups the juice, she can even leave him in the dust. Her stop-and-go motions are fast enough that it looks like she's vanished to an untrained eye. It's not uncommon for her to zip over, cut off someone's weapon-wielding arm, then return to where she was while holding it. She's a big fan of the "You're already dead" move where she runs past someone, strikes, then sheaths her sword and lets them die.

    While her moves are fast, most combatants worth their salt can see her and react; a Third-Classer or an average trooper might be completely helpless against her, but her teammates would have a chance of blocking and fighting back. She has a preference for lightning magic, using it to peg enemies from afar or kill them at point-blank. They call her "The Rabbit", which she isn't particularly a fan of; fast as she is, she thinks rabbits are meek creatures.

    She's easy to anger, a bit of a kleptomaniac, and likes to scam, prank, or otherwise terrorize people. She is friendly with her unit, though. She often hosts movie-nights. She has a knack for gambling (and cheating at gambling).




    Next up is Hybria. She's physically the biggest of her peers; a northerner from a line of raiders and mountain-folk. She came to Midgar alone as a little girl, and when a pair of operatives tried to capture her for the SOLDIER program, she killed one. Even as a child, she had the killer-instinct to murder a trained adult. She came willingly once the other revealed that joining the program would give her a huge boost in power.

    Tough, intelligent, and bearing physical power second only to her superiors (Alalonn and Etechnia), she's the most powerful Second-Classer in her unit, and possibly in all of SOLDIER.

    She's known as "The Berserker" for good reason; she has uncanny battle sense, and a potent mixture of speed and strength that dwarfs even Alken's. She favors a huge ax, crushing and rending foes to pieces with it. Despite her violent, direct approach, she's incredibly cunning; in the absense of the First-Classers, Hybria is often in command of her teammates. She refers to her friends as "brother" or "sister", viewing her teammates as fam.

    Hybria's hard on her teammates; she trains with them often, usually kicking their asses in sparring matches. At first glance, she seems like a mean older sister to her fellow Second-Class members of 21st. However, she's also a good listener, a protective friend, and loyal as a person can be.

    As strong as she is, she only steals a kill when her teammates are under pressure; as much as she values glory, she's heavily invested in the growth of her teammates. She often sits on the sidelines without stepping in until it's clear that her weaker teammates need her help. She believes in her team, and loves to see them win.

    She's very magnanimous, and quick to admit when she's wrong. Hell, if you point out a flaw in her, she'll thank you for it and work in it. She's huge into self-improvement.




    Moving on, Apatet is second only to Sophron when it comes to Materia usage. I decided to nix her time-powers, but she's got a nack for magic and science. She's Sophron's favorite; a stickler for rules, has a steady hand, and a seemingly bottomless well of magical stamina and imagination.

    She's very opinionated and critical, but she means well. When you screw something up that she knows about, she's quick to correct you. The members of her unit have a running tally on the amount of times she's said "actually" at the start of a sentence; it's in the quadruple digits and climbing.

    Like any SOLDIER, she's decent with a sword, though she rarely uses one; her weapon of choice is a Vajra made of the same material as Sophron's trident. She uses it as a wand to cast spells, or a dagger to cut and stab enemies in close quarters.

    Physically, she's the weakest of her teammates; weak being relative here, since she could best any Third-Classer in melee combat. She's often underestimated for that reason. Her speed and power with magic make her the team's big gun; they cover her while she destroys shit from afar or changes the terrain in her favor.




    Next up is Kydomis. Though Hybria has the group beat in terms of physical power and skill, he's the strongest and most durable of the group. A hearty, friendly guy, he's always pumped up and upbeat.

    He was born to a single mom, the two running a bar together. He'd bus tables while she made drinks for the sorry schmuck regulars. Kydomis joined SOLDIER to give his mom a better life, and used most of his paycheck to refurbish the bar; thanks to him, it's got a functioning staff and a shitload of customers.

    He's a gifted technician and a bit of a greese monkey. He can work with anything from vehicles to robots. He likes the idea of using combat-droids for training, but he hates it when Shinra tries to replace live troopers with automaton replacements; the technology is buggy, and the combatant series of droids will sometimes target civilians.

    He's known for his sheer durability and power; the weight of his strikes are impressive, and he can tank a shitload of abuse without budging backwards. He seems to have feet like suction-cups and bones like brick; he's even tanked punches from Alalonn without backing down or falling.

    He likes dishing out dirt with Earth Magic, firing rocks or creating shockwaves with his stomps that trip up or bury opponents. His preferred weapon is a blunt longsword; it hits more like a club or a hammer than a blade, leaving anything he strikes utterly crumpled. They call him the "Templar".




    Now, we have Anaideian. Quiet, focused, and often under the radar, Annie was raised to value deeds above words. She spends the most time training out of her peers, keeping her body and mind in top form. She spends the least amount of time socializing; she has a cycle of training, eating, and sleeping that's hard to break.

    She grew up in Cosmo Canyon. There were a few humans there, but she was raised by a species of lion-like sentient creatures. Though she didn't have fangs and couldn't run on all fours, she adapted and kept up with them, using her fists at claws and her knives as teeth.

    The team's stealth expert, she uses a pair of twin daggers. While she's no slouch in open combat, she's most at home hunting and assassinating foes quietly. When she wants to blend in and move quietly, it's hard to detect or catch sight of her.

    She's rather small, the shortest person in the 21st. She and Hybria have a thing going on; Hybria likes short, sexy people, and Annie is attracted to tall, powerful people. Annie often acts as Hybria's yes-man, which Hybria appreciates. The two train together often.




    Last but not least is Gaeira. One of the few members of the 21st who came from money, Gaeira is the son of a blueblood from District zero; an important and dangerous weapons developer. Gaeira didn't get along with his father in the least; they had incompatable values, and Gaeira was unwilling to go into the family business. After several attempts to emancipate himself, Gaeira joined SOLDIER and finally slipped his father's yoke.

    Gaeira is rather lazy, but insanely perceptive and intelligent. He's amassed a fair bit of wealth out of his salary via smart investments. He has a keen mind, and has a knack for cutting to the heart of a person's motives.

    In battle, he's incredibly precise and perceptive, using a light rapier and pointed strikes. Detecting weaknesses and exploiting them quickly is his specialty, and he'll often report an opponent's limitations to stronger fighters. He's wise when it comes to minimizing risks, is a master strategist. He prefers binding magic, holding opponents down for the kill or breaking their momentum by quickly binding a limb and making them stumble.




    That's all I got! Any in depth analysis of the final main character, Nemsis, would probably be a straight up spoiler, so I'll keep that to myself.

    Boy, that was a lengthy one. My next post will probably set in stone the physical appearances of the characters.

    Later!
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    Bad John
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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

    Post  Bad John on September 12th 2017, 12:26 pm

    A bit more detail on Shinra.

    Midgar is the capital city and base of operations of the Shinra Electric Power Company. While Midgar is a nation onto itself, it's owned and operated by Shinra, which started as a weapons company. It's heavily militarized and mostly fascist; pretty much Walter's wet dream of a country.

    The city itself is elevated off the ground by support pillars and Mako powered engines. It's divided into Sectors, each one kinda like a slice of a technological pizza, the city being roughly circular in layout. Beneath each of the nine Sectors is a slum where the lower class live, the worst being Sector Seven. Certain Sectors and slums are a bit different; Sector Four has an underground city where middle class peeps make a living mining, cultivating seafood farms, and doing other underground shit.


    At the center of the upper city is Sector Zero, which is Shinra's base of operations. SOLDIERs, when not being dispatched for combat, reside on the 49th floor of Shinra's largest building. Top floor is where the president of the company maxes and relaxes.

    SOLDIER is far from Shinra's only fighting force; there are two other divisions of Shinra's "Public Safety and Maintenance Force" (fancy way of saying army). There's the Security Force, the Turks, and the Roboguard.

    The Security Force makes up the bulk of Shinra's fighting force, outnumbering SOLDIER by nearly a thousand to one. They're pretty much like a modern military. Guns, grenade launchers, tanks, that kinda stuff. The Security Force is often the fallback plan of those who fail to make SOLDIER; it's a shitload less prestigious, but ladies like a man in uniform. To avoid confusion, they're usually called "troopers" instead of "soldiers", so they're not mistaken for SOLDIERs.

    There's an unspoken rivalry between SOLDIER and the Security Force, and they often compete during their down-time; troopers regularly challenge SOLDIERs to training exercises. They almost universally lose, unless they get really lucky or one of the troopers is a genuinely gifted fighter.

    The Turks are essentially Shinra's CIA. They gather information, carry out assassinations, and try to look good while doing it. They use a wide variety of weaponry, wear black suits, and are unpredictable and dangerous fighters. They're officially responsible for rounding up SOLDIER candidates.

    Last but not least is the Roboguard. They're pretty much exactly what it says on the box; robotic fighters. Shinra has a wide variety of offensive automatons, including humanoid Combatant Droids, pilotable mech suits, and other more dangerous machines built for invasion or crowd control. If you're a lucky trooper, you might get inducted and allowed to pilot a mech.

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    Re: Writer's Roundtable

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