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Hello! I can draw something for you if you'd like
These look super amazing, as usual. I like the edits to Lily--it took some looking for me to figure out where they were, but they actually make her look a lot crisper! The Max progression is excellent, too; I put the first and last on his wiki page (didn't want to overload it with all three, but I'm not great at wiki layout/making stuff look right). I actually was able to pull together a cycling .gif with all three versions, but figured I'd check with you before trying to make that work since I feel super awkward fiddling with/editing people's work (even if it's just setting up an auto-cycler). I can PM you the version I got to work if it's cool.

Also also, Daniel looks super great too!

Introduction Thread
The Burned Handler
Mar 29 2015, 04:00 PM
MK Kilmarnock
Mar 29 2015, 12:12 PM
You can only make students from junior or senior grades, NOT freshman or sophomore
Not to contradict Ricky here, but to clarify a little, in pregame you can theoretically put a character in any grade, but only juniors and seniors will be able to go into v6 proper.
Sort of! To clarify: any non-Junior/Senior characters would be submitted through the NPC process, the details of which we haven't put up yet. It's a subtle distinction, but one that can be fairly important in how everything plays out (and a lot of it has to do with allocation of staff resources--full critiques can take a bunch of time and effort and while it's fine and expected for lots of characters to not reach the game proper, when there's not even a chance of them doing so due to the rules of the game, we'd rather avoid it).

Introduction Thread
Heya, Cicada Days! Welcome to SOTF. I see you've gotten most of your answers, so I'll just go ahead and elaborate briefly on the discussion of characters being related.

One of the biggest reasons we suggest avoiding it is that, historically, characters written together have not often been their writers' best works. Due to the SOTF medium and style, it can really easily lead to one character taking precedence in an awkward and unnatural way that damages both stories, to both characters being used to try to indirectly characterize each other in really forced ways, or to a bunch of redundancy and awkwardness in scenes due to attempts to give them equal precedence. It usually doesn't come out well, even in the hands of otherwise-capable writers. Because this is only an issue of quality, we don't have explicit rules forbidding it--if someone really wants to try, they're welcome to--but we highly caution against it because in the past nine out of ten times it has led to the weakening of characters who otherwise had pretty solid potential.

If you'd like to chat about your ideas in that respect further, or some of the issues I've seen arise, please feel totally free to drop me a PM. Once again, welcome to SOTF! We hope you enjoy it here. :)

Hello! I can draw something for you if you'd like
Juhan looks great. Also, that entire experience sounds so frustrating--I've been led astray by internet information a time or two myself, and it's no fun at all.

League of Legends Mafia! (sign-ups)
In! And it's cool; I'm 100% fine with any host borrowing any of my rules. :)

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Probably only doing the one tonight, just as a heads-up for those in the queue.

Erik Lowell

Strength: Erik takes a premise that could really easily be overblown or unrealistic and generally handles it with admirable restraint. He's an SOTF-TV fan who to some extent carries that persona with him into the game, thinking about himself in relation to the show and letting his actions be informed by his experience, but this never dehumanizes him. Instead, he actually is a very fearful character in many ways, which makes him pretty relatable and gives him good depth. He's a great example of a character being heavily tied to the setting without also being totally alien to the real world.

Weakness: In part due to relatively infrequent posts, Erik's story is pretty brief even for how early in the game he goes out, and his second thread in particular feels very perfunctory. Especially with only four threads, having one be a two-post in-and-out isn't great for Erik's momentum, particularly since neither he nor Gabe really get anything of note from the interaction. That aside, my biggest other sticking point would be that Erik's stutter can get a little overblown when it's rendered phonetically every single time--at a certain point, it's probably stronger to only spell it out occasionally, both for greater realism and for emphasis.

Introduction Thread
Hey, Maromar! Welcome to SOTF! You should check out the Mini, the chat, and the New Handler's Guide. I'm glad you've already done some poking around, and yeah, V1 is very different from how things work now. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or any other staffer (we have purple names). We hope you like it here!

Hello! I can draw something for you if you'd like
Frogue: I just want to say again how amazing these are (I try not to spam it after every post, though the temptation is there xD). I called Irene between my classes yesterday and one of the first thing she mentioned was actually that she really loved your drawing of Michael. I'm constantly amazed by how much detail you get into each of these, and by how speedy you are. It is super impressive.

Also, just want to say that it's really cool you are taking personalities into account. You convey so much in each picture. <3

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Mar 24 2015, 01:51 AM
Which Michael did you like better, out of interest?
It's actually really hard for me to compare, because I'm not rereading for these--just reviewing the characters to shore up my impressions and pull together something cogent. Michael was pretty cool under both of you, and the hand-off was actually overall really smooth; I had to specifically look up where exactly it happened again. There's also a slight complication in that I thought the start of Poly's run was his stronger point, and the end of your run was yours, and since those are the points most separated in both distance and style it's really difficult to judge them against each other.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Michael Robinson (Polybius)

Strength: Michael's characterization and motivation are both really clearly drawn and stable. He's someone who's super nervous in the SOTF situation, who thinks he has almost no chance of surviving and even less of one if he can't link up with his teammates, and so most everything he does is geared towards finding those allies and taking steps towards self preservation. At the same time, he's not robotic or unbelievably unyielding about it--he finds common ground with some people who aren't his assigned partners and actually does care about them to some extent, even if he's haunted by this niggling understanding that their arrangement can't last indefinitely. In fact, Michael is one of the characters whose narrative best makes use of the team concept.

Weakness: Michael's threads have this odd progression where his first post or two are usually pretty fully detailed and get us nicely grounded but then his later posts get progressively shorter and less detailed, often to the point that they stand out compared to everyone else in the scene. Often he's left shoved into the background more by his own narrative than anything else, because a lot of his already-short posts will be devoted to the actions of other characters. I think what would have really helped Michael pop would have been just a bit more of an in-depth look into his head and a little more in the way of physical descriptions, both of him and his actions and of the area around him. As it was, his narrative often felt a lot more reactive than I think it needed to be.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Lukas Graves

Strength: Lukas is a character who takes great advantage of the TV universe and spins its unique premise into the core of his concept. He then runs with it, managing to avoid the overdone and most obvious paths and instead be one of the more iconic anti-game characters (I'd say he, Asa, and TV1's Tristan are the most iconically steadfast anti-TV characters, and all three follow different paths). I especially like that his morality comes into play and he tries not to be totally sucked into the game, yet on some level the fact that he's a scared teenager in an awful situation opens chinks in his armor, leading him to consider possible ways he might make it out after all. It's also very cool to see him stick to his guns and try to help others, even when doing so means risk or loss to himself.

Weakness: Lukas' story really bogs down when the Red Team links up, and it feels like a lot of it's due to a real lack of direction. It's a situation that seems like it should be a great opportunity for interesting stuff to happen, but instead everyone gets caught in this sort of samey early-game introduction/planning smalltalk and the momentum of everyone involved suffers. It's especially hard on Lukas because the whole concept of uniting to take action as a team sits really awkwardly with his heavily anti-game sentiments, and that mismatch is never exactly resolved. He moves from a character who takes the lead in most of his scenes to one who, for quit a while, is just sort of there with the others.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Gabriel Munez

Strength: Gabe's a great example of playing with some tricky themes and character traits and making them work. He's got a backstory with some very dramatic stuff in it, but it's used as a light push to get his story rolling, then an underlying factor coloring his actions, then an extra gut punch at the end, rather than as the end-all-be-all of his narrative. Really, the key thing is that Gabe's interesting completely aside from the stuff in his profile. Going off that a bit, Gabe's a character who's not a very nice guy a lot of the time, but because we can see where he's coming from, he remains pretty sympathetic even even as he makes clearly poor or jerkish choices. He's never, ever bland, and he provides a lot of push and propulsion to every scene he's in without getting bogged down in predictability. I don't mean to suggest that he's random in any fashion--rather, his concept and character are broad enough that variety in his responses to situations occurs quite naturally.

Weakness: Nitpicks ahoy! Gabe's a really solid character, but there are a few places where things don't quite line up. Probably the biggest is his attack on Davis--it feels like we're missing something here, especially since the only time Davis and Gabe interacted during pregame they had an air of almost fond antagonism about them yet in game they're immediately in no-holds-barred mode. Gabe's story is aware of the suddenness, and takes a moment to briefly delve into it, but mostly goes "Nobody would understand" and doesn't push much beyond that. It's definitely possible to piece together a motivation from his profile and the whole situation, but it generally feels a little underdeveloped, which is otherwise quite a rarity for Gabe's story. The only other gripe I have is that Gabe's deterioration really kicks up a notch in his death thread after having seemed largely under control just a few posts before. I think maybe this is the one in a dozen case where a brief one-shot might have helped pacing, showing stuff starting to go south before everything really falls apart.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Nick Reid (Second Chances)

Strength: Nick is basically as close as it comes on SOTF to featuring an unreliable narrator. We know what he thinks he's planning, but there's always this edge like maybe he's actually looking to get out alive himself more than he sometimes lets on, and it pays off really hard in Endgame. This sort of narrative is something that's incredibly difficult to pull off without feeling cheap or misleading, and even more challenging to achieve with a character who isn't wholly abhorrent, but Nick manages both soundly. In fact, while Nick's morality is complicated at best, he remains really sympathetic to me, and I think a lot of that's because on at least some level he's making himself believe his justifications. This also ties into his plot, which is something almost unheard of in SOTF--he's sort of a player hunter, and he actually manages a notable level of success. This allows his story to really delve into the implications and fallout of that sort of plan. The more I look at it, the more I see some really interesting parallels between Nick and V4's Julian Avery, but I think what sets Nick apart and keeps him from descending to share Julian's position as probable-villain is that Nick is never fully confident; there's always this sense that he might be wrong and he knows it.

Weakness: The Epilogue isn't done yet. >:C

In seriousness, though, I'd say that if there's one nitpick I have regarding Nick (and it is a nitpick--he's really good and I'd absolutely recommend him) it's that at a certain point his momentum kicks into overdrive and he starts moving from one life or death struggle with a dangerous killer to the next with hardly a moment to catch his breath. Now, his story is absolutely aware of this and as such mitigates a lot of the issues that usually come with that sort of progression, but I still almost wish he'd gotten just one interaction that didn't end in a fight to the death somewhere between leaving Megan and Endgame. His perspective and interactions tended to be really good, and I'd've been very curious to see him dealing with a person he didn't see the need to kill besides the one he spent time with early in the game. His story is very focused and tight, but a bit of looseness can add some extra spice sometimes.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Nina Clarke

Strength: The core of Nina's story, especially its start and end, is quite nice. She's a person who's punished by the game for being overly trusting and reacts to that, becoming more fearful and worn down until eventually she gets in over her head trying to take back some security and control at the cost of her ideals. This is also a great arc because it flows well from Nina's profile, with a lot of the issues hinted at in her advantages and especially disadvantages cropping up. It is, in fact, her loyalty and stubborn nature that prove her eventual undoing, getting her into a bad spot and then stopping her from just walking away or letting it go.

Weakness: There are actually two things I want to touch on here. The first is that Nina's story involves a ton of ducking in and out of scenes without really getting anything from it, which doesn't do her mid-game any favors. I think if all of Nina's threads where she runs into someone, gets spooked, and runs away again were replaced by one cycle of that and one scene with more meat, she'd be a lot stronger. The other thing that stood out as a little unfortunate only really occurred during Nina's scenes with Maddie. While they worked really well on a thematic/macro-plot-level, on a micro-plot-level they suffered a bit because they often felt very planned. This can be a really tough thing to work around, especially since this is a medium where a lot of scenes are planned as a matter of course, but I think the big thing here was that the key images or actions would get so much narrative focus that where things were headed would be telegraphed a bit hard for my tastes.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Bella Bianchi

Strength: Bella's arc is interesting, because it sees her actually undergoing some serious changes and at the same time second-guessing herself a lot. At first, she can't fathom turning to violence. After the loss of a friend, she sets out to exact vengeance on Gene, and succeeds, yet is troubled by the whole experience. Later, she swings into action to protect her friends from Paisley, yet at the same time alienates her allies to some extent and finds herself very uncertain about the whole situation. In Bella's story, killing is never easy and it's never unambiguously the right choice, yet it's an action she keeps finding herself drawn towards. There's great tension from this, especially now that she's lost most of her group and the field of remaining contestants has narrowed so greatly.

Weakness: Basically every thread Bella is involved in is both giant and slow, and while she doesn't suffer as much as some of the others she's around, she still faces a lot of the difficulties this style entails. I think the issue is that the scenes often are focused on events mostly important to smaller subgroups, which can leave the characters not in the spotlight feeling like they're just standing around on the sidelines, waiting their turns to get some focus again. Bella is often enough the recipient of the focus that this isn't a fatal flaw by any means, but I feel like there were some missed opportunities here to make every post count and a few too many segments where the same core group of characters is standing around interacting with the same rough dynamic in a way that doesn't move the plot much but takes up a bunch of time and space.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Shawn Bowe-Crooke

Strength: Shawn is a really interesting look at the protector archetype in SOTF. Almost everything he does, he does altruistically, but his actions for the benefit of his classmates often have unintended side effects and he makes a whole lot of mistakes. Shawn's protection is dubiously effective at best, and actively detrimental at worst, as he spends a lot of his time watching out for someone who clearly doesn't deserve it and then invites wrath upon his later group through association. This makes him a super interesting comparison to some of SOTF's classic "hero" sorts--like, say, Calvert. His narrative is also very aware of his fallibility, and he's not an unrealistic pushover--he has some moments where he actually does stand up for himself and his ideals, just often they're too late.

Weakness: This is not unique to Shawn, but the later stages of PV2 had approximately no villains left and thus the circumstances surrounding Shawn's death feels extremely weird, almost an afterthought. The actual death post is fine and picks up on some really good themes of his, but the manner of the kill doesn't do much of anything for either him or his killer and it feels very arbitrary. It's not the sort of arbitrary that can sometimes be artfully employed, either--it's a "There's literally nobody else to do this so whatever I guess" kill scene and that shows. It's really too bad, because Shawn's super solid in most other ways.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
And I've now caught up with all of last year's requests. Woo. ><

Cyrus White

Strength: Cyrus' story is bookended by really strong showings. He's a character with a very solid concept and a good voice, and when he's allowed space, he really shines. His death scene is highly effective, showing the crushing realization he faces when everything suddenly falls apart. On the other end, he has a strong showing in his first thread, as he interacts with a group of characters in a fashion that, while engaging in some of the typical early game situations, still shows a lot of personality and keeps me interested. Whenever he's really part of a scene, he's always bringing something to the table.

Weakness: Cyrus was plagued by the same thing that affected so many in the escape plot: he far too often faded into the background while a select few characters took center stage. He's barely in "Mischief Managed" and "Resisting Against Fate" and that's really too bad, because Cyrus is a character who has a lot to offer. Whenever we hear from him, it's interesting stuff, but he so easily becomes one among many, just getting carted around with the rest, and I think that's a huge disservice to him. It's partially a matter of mechanics (the extremely hefty chunks in the multi-shots don't delineate point of view very well, resulting in characters being even harder to pick out), but largely just a narrative focus issue. Support characters are great, but Cyrus doesn't feel like one, and the role he gets in large chunks of the proceedings can barely even be called that.

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Virgil Jefferson-Davis

Strength: Virgil's story is a nice corruption arc, as we see him move from a would-be heroic idealist into a character who probably counts as a villain by any reasonable definition. The great thing is that the signs are there from the start, but it's still a gradual transformation. Virgil realizes from the get-go that Michelle's plan to get everyone to sit down and let their collars time out may be unfeasible, and he resists her efforts to get him to fully disarm, at first thinking he'll act only in self defense/extreme circumstances. Over time, especially after Michelle's death, Virgil decides that self defense and passive encouragement isn't enough, and becomes determined to force an armistice even if it means leaving his own massive trail of bodies. In this way, he takes on the mantle of judge and tries to make decisions for others, wholly ignoring their own agency. It's a very hypocritical outlook, and his story knows it and runs with it to solid effect.

Weakness: Virgil's actual game presence fades pretty hard after Michelle's death, before a resurgence near the end. This is down to two things, I think. First off, there's this spell where three out of four consecutive threads are just Virgil by himself, musing and practicing, and nothing much happens. After this, Virgil mostly meets other characters in situations that bring him into conflict with them, but this makes a few unfortunate trends in his posts more notable. Virgil's posts often become very short, to the point that they're actually sometimes missing information that would really help them stick better, stuff like more concrete setting details or more nuanced understandings of some of the conclusions he comes to. It's especially evident when he ends up alongside similarly brief characters, like Tyler and Kathryn, because rather than push them towards the center, Virgil slides closer to their styles and his scenes as a result can feel a lot less substantial than they probably should.

So I first time pvped Sejuani and it went pretty well. One of my deaths was to red buff during my first clear. ><

Introduction Thread
Heya, Privyet! I know you've already encountered all the stuff I usually link since we talked about the New Handler's Guide in chat, so I'll just extend a welcome here. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or any other staffer (we have purple names). Glad to have you aboard. :)