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TV Tropes Page Needs YOUR Help!; Aka pls help Zarina and co. to make it great.
Topic Started: Sep 2 2016, 05:08 PM (1,033 Views)
MurderWeasel
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Don't have a ton to say on TVTropes, but image-wise I've got somewhat mixed feelings about alignment charts. What I really like about them is that they celebrate a wide range of characters, and I don't really like the idea of putting forth winners/survivors/the most murderous villains or whoever as the brand representatives of SOTF, as it were. All of those sorts of characters are interesting and important, but the real beauty of our story is its ensemble nature, the way characters who die before the halfway point without a kill to their name can be fondly remembered and have just as deep and key and interesting stories as the dude who kills twenty-seven people and goes home to become a nuclear physicist or whatever. The V4 alignment chart does a great job of that... except that a. it's V4-only and b. it's an alignment chart.

What I don't like about alignment charts (and what pains me and leads me to often be less than constructive in discussions about alignment overall) is that alignment represents a massive moral simplification with a side order of personality quiz heaped on top. Alignment springs from very specific quirks of a particular style of fantasy world, one where "evil" is not only an identifier one may objectively hold, but also one that many aspire to. There are, like, evil clubs for the evil and so on, and while it's not exactly black and white, much of that comes either from the system not surviving contact with actual play (given that most people enjoy at least a tiny bit of moral ambiguity), or from diving fully into the bizarre nature of such a world and playing it to the hilt, or from ignoring or lampooning it and using it in name only. Part of the joy of SOTF is its myriad shades of grey. Even our very concept stems from characters being thrown into a situation where conventional ideas of morality don't cleanly or easily apply (the reason one handler years ago famously insisted that SOTF in fact belonged to the post-apocalypse genre). Alignment charts are catchy, fun, and popular online, but I just feel they simplify something in a way that does the game a fundamental disservice if it's the first line of advertisement.

That's, of course, not to say I hate alignment charts as a fun thing to be made and shared. I think they're really cool in that context (which is the context that Little created the V4 chart in; it was pressed into service on the TVTropes page, iirc, because it existed and looked nice, rather than being created for it). I'd love to see more, for versions, for the game overall, whatever. If we're looking to specifically replace, though, I have a few thoughts.

What I do love so much about the current image is how it captures the variety of roles (it features two survivors, three characters who died before the halfway point, killers [including the version's biggest], pacifists, player-hunters). I love the way each character is given a little spotlight through a quote encapsulating their personality. If there were some way to have something like that covering the whole span of the story, and in some way stripped of the whole alignment shebang, I think that might come closest to capturing the spirit of SOTF accurately.

Really just musings, though. I dunno. I don't hate charts. If we're aiming specifically for an upgrade, though, I'd love to see it be the best it can be, and this is mostly a ramble about that.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Misty Browder
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MurderWeasel
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There's also the little issue of using characters for something semi-official without seeming exclusionary. Like, TVTropes is emphatically "whatever goes" territory to me, but for the wiki...

Eh, okay, I guess it's history time. See, in ye olde days, the site actually had a custom theme which used pictures of Dodd, Hawley, Madeleine, and Cassandra Roivas (whose full-size image never got posted to a wiki and is thus unrecovered) for its buttons. While this was interesting and certainly unique to SOTF, it also had issues. A large number of members had no idea who these characters were meant to be. Of those who did, opinion was a bit split. It's really cool to have your character/work featured as one of the iconic faces of SOTF. That said, it doesn't feel great to not be featured. Since SOTF, in terms of both characters and handlers, is impossibly huge, far more would by necessity be excluded than included. Any sort of line of selection would likely be arbitrary (not really fun for anyone), voting-driven (turns what's already gonna to some extent risk feeling exclusionary into a popularity contest), or focused on "importance" to a version/the overall story (which doesn't feel good because one of our big ideas is that characters matter and are worthwhile whether they win or die on day two).

I dunno. I may be overthinking this, and I really, really love art of SOTF from our numerous incredibly talented handlers. I just also don't want something that should be a really positive celebration of the site to turn negative in any fashion.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder
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MurderWeasel
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Yeah, in that case that sounds pretty solid to me.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Oh god, that third BR cover is the worst. There are a lot of things wrong with that edition, though, so maybe not the best tangent for this thread. I really, really love the first BR cover, though. It's incredibly iconic, and the optical illusion that is made super obvious in cover #2 is much more subtle. Never seen cover #4 before, but it's cool too.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder
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