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The V2 Read-o-thon; Olden days
Topic Started: Aug 24 2017, 06:45 PM (9,007 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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Hate, hate, HATE!!!
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Okay, time to continue with Jenna Jameson Cassidy.

The core of the character seems to be intact but the writing is a tad bit more solid than before. Unfortunately, Alex didn't make it to the island himself, so she's doomed never to interact with him and that cuts a fair bit of her story short. She does think about him however, hoping she'll run into him, and gang alliances are sure to come into play. Because everybody, fucking EVERYBODY in V2 is in a goddamn West Side Story script. Anywho, Jenna wakes up on a riverbank and is angry because that's probably one of two ways somebody is going to react in this situation. She has a dartboard and Seth Malvice, the boy nearest to her, just so happens to have been given the darts. Har har har, AT, good one. Also highly coincidental.

Anyway, if you can't figure out what happens next, you've never seen an improbable movie action sequence. Seth surprises Jenna and throws a dart at her, and she raises the dart board to protect herself and then runs like hell. And, of course, the dart hits the board in a perfect bullseye because why the hell not? Anyway, that's thread number one for Jenna. She's only in it for two posts.

Next thread, Jenna's ALSO only in this one for two posts. She runs to the school building and trips in the dirt, looking up to see the half-naked body of Jaime Dibenidetti, who unfortunately has been defiled by Sam Sorenson. Her reaction to this is quite possibly the most realistic thing to ever come out of Jenna, as she reacts with disgust and horror similar to the reader, and we're not even there to see it first-hand. Mary-Ann is also there and tries to talk to her, but Jenna's apparently in a coma or something and doesn't respond. The two girls just... exit the thread after Mary-Ann asks Jenna something, and then Mary-Ann isn't even acknowledged in Jenna's next post. So that's kind of a miss for me. Jenna's next thread is back at the river and is one post long, and the post is written by baby_g instead of Chase. 'Phew, that was close' she thinks, and she already doesn't sound like Jenna AT ALL.

Welp, last thread, so let's see how this closes out.

Oh. In one post, Jenna runs at a group of kids all controlled by (or at least posted by) baby_g and attacks them senseless, only to be pushed to the ground by Matthew and then kicked in the ribs, then subsequently stabbed by Stephanie Crew. Very disappointing and careless end to a character that Chase actually put a lot of time and energy into, but then with two threads after that and two posts between them, baby_g clearly just hastily wrote Jenna into a flavorless kill for one of her own characters.

Honestly a huuuuuge letdown.
V6 Tributes

Spoilers, Ricky didn't win V5

Things We Say
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i'm not upset
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Hi everyone, I'm Ruggahissy. You may know me from such online role playing games as Survival of the Fittest, 3D hentai twins and Survival of the Knittest. One time I even won one of those. Today I'm here to talk about the winner of V2, Bryan Calvert. Let's begin.



The Island Part 1: Game time

Part 2: Partners

Part 3: Bet there’s someone you want to save, Bryan?

Final thoughts: Bryan is good. He's really good. I'd say he's probably the best character in all of V2 and one of the best characters in the history of SOTF. Bryan and Tori are probably my favorite couple I've ever read in in this game. He's the most tragic of all the SOTF winners. He falls in love with a girl and also views himself as not inherently worth a lot, so dedicates himself to propelling her to the win, but fails. He has a good heart, but a lot of flaws and I would highly recommend him.

Editor's note: Crossbow and I came to the conclusion that while Mariavel claims a more romantic relationship with Seth, Seth sees her with sisterly love.
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*insert dance song here*
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Alright, ELI MCCONNELL, let's kick it.

Let's take a look at the profile, and

"Hair is naturally auburn and color, and unlike many in Gilroy suddenly wanting to dye their hair in these radical colors in order to gain attention from not only friends, but also it seemed the staff as well."

This is like the 4th sentence, and the startlingly bad grammar present doesn't really fill me with hope on the readability of the rest of it.

His appearance section decides that him having worn eyeliner for literally ONE HOUR of his life is notable enough to mention, but otherwise there's nothing that off kilter about. As for his profile, he's not a psychopath or a former killer or anything like that, so that's good I guess? His father runs a big business in NYC and his mother runs a smaller one in Denton, so he just... doesn't see his father, apparently? They're not divorced, and I guess his dad has to live in NYC for his job... and his mom isn't willing to just live with him in the city, especially considering the fact that he seems fabulously wealthy? Some people are really attached to their own businesses, sure, but she's really prioritizing her own work over her kids EVER SEEING THEIR FATHER? But nothing in the profile indicates that he dislikes her for this or anything, so I guess he's just cool with it. Eli's just mad at his dad because his dream is photography, but his dad just wants him to run his super successful business when he grows up, ugh, dads are the WORST. But then the end of the profile mentions Eli "not wanting to work in a factory all day like his father wants him too", so apparently he is supposed to run the company but also work in a factory? Maybe publishing companies just have really hand-on CEOs, I'm certainly no expert.

But this isn't the worst logic I've ever seen, and otherwise Eli is just a normal boy, so he's got some potential here. One minor detail I like is that one of his main hobbies is piano, despite him having only done it for about a year. It's entirely possible that this was just thrown in by Eli's writer to meet a hobby requirement without having to work it into the backstory too much, but I find it pretty realistic that he's into something that he's just started - not every hobby someone has has been a huge part of their lives for 4+ years, and I feel like that's not represented enough in profiles. But maybe I just haven't read enough profiles.

Luckily for me, Eli doesn't appear to have any pre-game, so onto the island we go! He starts off by waking up in the Botanical Garden and going 'woe is me' and all that stuff until he cuts his hand on his weapon, a coil of barbed wire. Nice and... effective. He patches himself up before running into Eric Silvstedt, and Eric...

"Well... hello," he cooed wickedly.

Eric coos at him. Wow.

I'm like Eli more and more - in his next post, he both realizes that this Obviously Evil Boy is Obviously Evil AND briefly wonders if he's being judgemental, while also thinking about how his fencing skills aren't super useful because they don't teach you how to actually gosh darn kill people. This all strikes me as very realistic, and shows Eric as a sharp kid just trying to figure out HOW to survive.

But Eric just kinda punches him and knocks him to the ground and starts strangling him, and then Matthias shows up with Whitney and kicks Eric in the head because apparently they've had some beef in the past, and then they start DRAMATIC DIALOGUING at each other... Eli just isn't really being given a chance to breathe in this scene (pun TOTALLY intended) because all the other characters have this history and forcefulness and ~drama~ to them that he just ends up in the background.


Damien comes in being all psychotic and diabolical and using song posts and a bunch of other things that no human should partake in and watches the fight go on. He notices Eli and Eli notices Damien but they still don't really do anything as Eric and Matthias just kinda keep fighting until they both run off and Whitney follows and Peter and Kristey show up and Damien has more beef and a LIST or something and Eli just doesn't MATTER...

And then the next thread rolls along and I realize he's gone inactive! Yaaaaaaaay.

laZardo takes over Eli for his final thread, in which Eli acts wildly out of character to prop Damien up by apparently not noticing his Obvious Evil whatsoever and just lashing out at Damien over a slight indication that he might have seen the person he's looking for on the island (something which is mentioned a few times but never really seems to drive him). So Damien knocks him down with his pot lid, steals Eli's barbed wire, and strangles him with it before bold red text-ing off into the distance. I repeat: Yaaaaaaaay.


So Eli was yet another example of a character who was mildly interesting with a bit of potential that got overshadowed by V2's, um, forceful personalities and then had his handler go inactive and got a death worse than what he probably deserved. Not a bad read, but still a definite pass for lack of impact.
V5 Characters:

Jack McDonald is a SELF-INSERT YAY.
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Alrighty, these are being made as I go. I dig Pregame, so I'm reading that too.

Jackie's first thread is a one-shot that probably wasn't meant to be; there was some baggage with the V1 site and a lot of stuff got locked down for a long time.

Anyways, what I like here is that Jackie's quickly established as pretty image-conscious—we get it directly here:

He blushed only slightly as Mrs. Lanely introduced him and mentioned that he was a transfer student from Canada. Jackie waved a smooth hand to the rest of the class and tried his best to look 'cool'.

and implicitly here:

When the bell rang Jackie went out to his old Pontiac, pressed play on the CD player and listened to his new Mars Volta CD as he sat on the hood of the car and smoked a cigarette.

On to thread #2:

Good scene-setting/description; something I think folks could always use more of. Also a very nice twist in the following chunk:

"Well," Jackie shrugged and fidgited, he needed a cigarette, but he never smoked around his mom. She was trying to quit, he wasn't.

The initial expectation (Jackie doesn't smoke around his mom because she'd disapprove) is undercut by the revelation that it's actually a courtesy as she's trying to quit. That's great because that little detail says a lot more about the relationship between the two, in a subtle way, than a whole load of exposition might.

Jackie's interaction with Tanesha is pretty solidly-handled on his end, but I think this is a good time to pull out and discuss some problematic elements on both sides. A quirk of early version, from all I've seen, is that often characters are given a few traits to define them and take a while to grow out of those traits (if they ever do). Jackie's profile repeatedly lets us know that his appearance is "feminine" and includes the line "Jackie is the epitome of metro, and he’s proud of it." The profile made me a little bit worried Jackie might be cast as a stereotype, but even in it he's treated with a decent amount of empathy, and this persists in his actual threads; his profile is blunt and awkward in a lot of ways, but I have very much been there myself and the intentions seem good throughout.

By contrast, Tanesha bothers me a good deal, and while I'm not going to get too sidetracked by her and am gonna try to keep stuff mostly Jackie-related here, I think a big part of it is the frequency with which Tanesha's narrative sees fit to remind the reader that she's a. black and b. fat. This often shows up in tagging her as "The black girl..." in narrative, as in "Perhaps one day it would occur to the heavy-set black girl that regardless of what she was eating, having two to three servings of it during each meal period wasn't doing her weight any favors." or "Despite the thoughts racing through her mind, the black girl tried to keep it cool as she casually approached the new boy." or "If Jackie Kovacs wasn't careful, he might wind up with the heavy-set black girl forming yet another borderline-obsessive crush -- this time on him." This is something that drove me crazy even in V4 with less charged stuff ("The wily young redhead," "The Johnson girl," to invent examples because I'm too lazy to dig them up) and I think a big part of it has to do with where the narrative sits with regards to a character. Are they thinking of themselves in these terms, at these moments? Almost certainly not. These are, then, intrusions of the authorial voice, which are always a risk. When these intrusions are categorizing a character unflatteringly and constantly bringing up their race, especially with a character who is a good bit more caricature than the handler's norm, that's frustrating.

Back to Jackie:

Emphasis mine
"Oh, I go to Hobbsborough," Jackie was slow to reply. "I haven't been to school yet though, 'cause there was some sort of accident there. I'm pretty nervious, I geuss. I don't really know anybody that goes to Hobbsborough."

Another really good line here—Nealosi quietly turns a cliché or stock phrase (quick to reply) on its head to subtly indicate Jackie's discomfort with the situation. Better, we see soon that Jackie feels self-conscious about his own situation, not Tanesha's behavior—his handler keeps separate what he knows (Tanesha's forming a weird obsessive crush) from what Jackie knows (She's said hello and seems friendly). I sort of feel like Jackie is crediting Tanesha with greater complexity than her own narrative is.

That said: gripe. One of Jackie's posts rapid-fires oodles of dialogue in a way that's still common and still irksome to me as a reader. The problem with this is it either leaves the other handler to reply to each item in sequence (either by reframing the narrative to slip in the responses as they go, which leaves the first character unable to reply without sending the whole scene spiraling down a paradoxical hole of conditionals and retcons or by doing it list-style which is something certain real people do but is very very rare and weird in my experience) or to just ignore most of it and go with whatever was said last (in which case why did we need the awkward spew of questions to begin with?). I think the best choice in these situations, honestly, is to keep dialogue shorter or to collaborate with your thread partner to GM some natural flow into things. Oh, and for the record, in this case the handlers go the conditional route so effectively the characters are simultaneously having conversations about the Infamous Pregame Murder, Tanesha's boy image issues, and playing xylophone in the band, all of which have markedly different tones.

Jackie's third thread is interesting because it's his first thread rewritten (presumably due to the loss of the V1 boards at the time) and it's actually way more detailed and subtle. This is very cool, since even though his first thread wasn't bad by any means we're still treated to a really rare and direct look at a handler's improvement. It's only been a month, but Nelaosi seems to be better grasping subtlety and detail. Also, someone actually replies his time.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a slight communication error in that Jackie's post follows his introduction to the class through the period and ends with him smoking in the parking lot, but newcomer Kayla Ravoy's post ends still in class, leaving no clean possibility for interaction and a somewhat awkward scene-setting. Nealosi's next post, however, brings some (presumably approved) GMing into play to resolve the situation—time is advanced, and Jackie has a hallway collision with Kayla on his way back in. It's a good solution to a difficult situation, though there's again some awkwardness in Kayla's reaction—she introduces herself and immediately leaves the thread. Jackie goes to class thinking maybe he'll talk with folks, but nobody bites so the thread ends. All in all, this thread does good stuff for Jackie but only really for him. That's okay, though.

We move right along to a one-shot; Nealosi apologizes for the length but its not excessive at all (800 words, roughly). The bulk of it is a flashback dealing with Jackie's strained relationship with his father. It's solid stuff—restrained by V2 standards (though I have a few quibbles; I'd like to know how old Jackie was since that's not clearly signaled and it plays out very differently if he's 15 or if he's 11, and I also am wondering why he lets his father inside in the first place [though that's perhaps excusable since nothing particularly dramatic happens—maybe this is a routine of sorts for them]), but still dramatic and traumatic in its own way. Jackie also has a moment with an old man here, and again there's something restrained about it, in a good way. Better, Jackie's baggage informs but does not define who he is. Good stuff.

Jackie's next thread is somewhat awkwardly-placed in that it asserts it is on the same day as Thread #3 but is clearly not on the same day as Thread #4—I'd thus suggest the following reading order/accepted canon sequence for Jackie's threads:
  1. It's A Fixer-Upper—this thread comes first in Jackie's story no matter how you cut it, since it's before he's started at school.
  2. That New Guy—this can actually be skipped with nothing lost as far as events go, but is an interesting note when it comes to the evolution of Nealosi's writing, especially when followed by...
  3. Mrs. Laney's Homeroom—the same thread as "That New Guy," but better. Jackie's first day of school.
  4. Hallway Encounter—explicitly set later in the same day, this follows directly from Jackie's encounter with Kayla.
  5. Long Walks—this could go second, honestly, but it feels like a closing note for Jackie's Pregame story and was written after "Homeroom" so I like it last.

Anyways, this thread opens with a brewing fight as Kayla falsely(!) accuses Felix Travertil of rape. Jackie stumbles into the aftermath but doesn't actually hear what's going down, and tries to intervene but in a way that's a bit awkward. I give props for Jackie's grounded reaction, though I wish a bit more time was spent in his head regarding his decision and I think that the execution could be a bit smoother even if following roughly the same process.

Jackie is sympathetic and considerate as he listens to Kayla, but at the same time is willing to consider that there's been a misunderstanding (especially given that he did not in fact hear the accusation and Kayla declines to repeat it to him). Jackie catches up with Felix and they briefly chat, and Felix has an odd moment of manipulation ("Even after he got his apology out, Felix kept their eyes locked, Felix trying to get the measure of him, to see the best way to make Jackie play into his hands.")

In this scene, Jackie is, as in much of Pregame, the grounded one. I said it in chat but I think it bears repeating: aside from a few minor bumps, Jackie could be slotted into just about any Pregame and while he might not always be a standout, I don't think he'd cause major offense, either. I like him a good bit coming out of Pregame, and I'm curious to see where the island takes him.

The answer, at first, is The Mountain Ranch. I'm not a huge fan of it when a handler's characters are joined at the hip, and Jackie appears to be heading this way with regards to Gail Smith. I actually do think the pair falls into one of the biggest traps of this arrangement right off the bat, though Jackie comes off the better of the two; Gail is initially paralyzed by fear and is thus shunted off to the side as Jackie handles the bulk of the interactions with the newly-arrived Ricky Callahan. As such things go, it's not that bad, really; there are a few slightly awkward moments of indirect characterization, but neither character rings false due to it.

A bunch of other characters roll into the thread, in a very early-game sort of way, and I do have a bit of a Passive GMing quibble because one of Ricky's posts reframes events such that he speaks up first to one of those newcomers despite this info coming several posts after Jackie's own greeting—it just emphasizes, again, the importance of communicating and coming to understanding regarding timing in this sort of situation.

Aside from this, mostly what happens is everyone leaves together, excepting Gregory Moyer who was just watching from the woods and rather astutely muses that this was perhaps not the best choice of manners to try to find allies.

I do have a little gripe that I guess goes here because it's been coming up throughout but is really emphasized by Gail's presence, and that's that there's a sort of weird gender dynamics theme at play that's not really totally considered. To be fair, the narrative seems to be pushing against reductive stereotypes (Jackie is in fact directly aware of them to at least some degree) but at the same time I feel like in pushing against archetypes they're sometimes a bit oversold—we get a "Jackie wasn't like the other boys!" moment but Ricky really isn't either, and even John doesn't seem to be that much like what so many of the characters appear to think guys are like. This is a very early-version quirk that I think is to a degree influenced by the greater prevalence of inserts, and its certainly not unrealistic for high schoolers to be lacking in nuanced understanding, but it still feels just a little odd.

Anyways, onwards! The fearsome four arrive at The Expressway, and I take a moment to note that I both love and hate V2's island. On the one hand, it's ridiculously evocative—this whole crazy city that's been abandoned. It's thematically unified and distinct in a way that wasn't recaptured until V6, and that's really cool. On the other hand, the sense of scale is way out of whack and the island itself makes no sense in the universe's metaplot. As described, it comes off as impossibly large, and given the small student population that there are as many meetings as there are feels somewhat improbable. It also runs into the easy-to-identify issue more than V1's small settlement or V3' abandoned army base—I'd even say it compares unfavorably to V4's logging operation. It's one of those slight continuity warts that has to be glossed over to some extent, and while I don't hate that completely it is disruptive to verisimilitude.

The thread itself starts off pretty strong, establishing the working relationship formed by the group and leaving some things to summary that don't need to be explored in exhaustive detail (such as their small talk while traveling). Ricky is, by this point, starting to take center stage—I think a lot of this is due to the Jackie/Gail juggling act, which prevents either from getting quite as much focus as they deserve. There are a few OOC intrusions that are pretty disruptive to flow, but that's par for the course.

Jackie is, once again, the grounded one, and he has a good moment for the discussion of heroism in SOTF—he decides to himself that he's willing to fight in defense of his friends, but also can't imagine killing. He's trying to walk that narrow line, being proactive and not just rolling over, but at the same time keeping himself distinct from the players. I also like that the characters get a little room to talk about their hopes and dreams, especially handled in as conscious a fashion as it is. Jackie scores points for being the one without anything particularly dramatic or secret. He's pretty much just a dude, in the best way.

A pleasant surprise as the thread continues, and what dominates its closing posts, is John and Gail coming out of their shells more. Gail admits to various medical ailments, including hemophilia, and John drops his defenses a bit and comes off as a lot more normal. Unfortunately, Jackie gets sidelined by that a bit, though I suppose he's had his focus earlier in the scene. In any event, the group soon moves to the residential district, and to Jackie's final thread.

This thread starts with a long bit between just Ricky and Kayla, which I'm not gonna get into a ton except to note one little pet peeve in Ricky's dialogue that recurs a bunch—at the ends of his posts, he tends to refer to students whose names he doesn't know as stuff like "the girl he might soon come to know as Kayla Ravoy," which is distracting because it highlights what he doesn't know and at the same time provides no grammatical benefit because he's already made it through the whole post with just pronouns anyways.

Nitpick here:
“Um,” Jackie looked around awkwardly, remembering how awkward he got in conversation with women.

Jackie really doesn't feel awkward with women at any point prior to this in his story.

Anyways, Felix arrives on the scene, but tries to back out when he realizes Kayla is there. Ricky takes off to keep searching houses, with some ominous narration about how he'll be gone just long enough for stuff to get bad. I like that Felix tries to disengage, though he's again somewhat oddly malicious in his thoughts—he doesn't really expect to have any problems killing. Jackie is once again the normal one, trying to engage Felix in conversation and scope him out but also unwilling to drop his guard. In fact, it's established that Kayla has pretty much convinced herself of the truth of her false rape accusations, and has also told them to Jackie, but Jackie is concerned first and foremost with survival and is intent on heading off any trouble that may explode. He tries to usher Kayla and Gail away, again playing peacemaker and bastion of common sense.

Unfortunately, the confrontation explodes, due in part to all sides beating around the bush and in part to Kayla and Felix being far too casual with Kayla's weapon (a boomerang). Felix comes off as effortless, smug, and like he really might be dangerous, especially when he privately muses that if Kayla doesn't stop spreading her false accusation he might have to silence her. I really, really wish the weapon in play wasn't a boomerang, though, as it's both slightly awkward that Felix has intimate technical knowledge of boomerangs and that the weapon in question is pretty steadfastly non-lethal in normal circumstances. With something a bit less exotic, I think it could be a really great moment, but the boomerang leaves it a bit of an oversell in my opinion.

Jackie moves to intercede, but trips and tries to catch himself, poking Felix with his knife in the process. I'm not a huge fan of this turn because it removes all responsibility for the escalation from both characters, and a lot of the best drama comes from characters compromising their morals. There are a lot of other factors in the scene that could set off one or both characters—Kayla's screaming bloody murder, Gail runs off without a word, John is behind Felix boxing him in—so I don't really think it had to be an accident that escalates it all.

The actual fight sees Jackie's narrative turning a lot more flowery, though I prefer his more unadorned style. Fights don't seem to be Nealosi's point of comfort—in Felix's post, he kicks Jackie twice in the head, but Jackie's post doesn't really get explicit about this, though his narrative seems a bit concussed; I think just one or two lines selling that hit would've done wonders. Felix presses the assault, but again there's a bit of a missed beat, though one I'm willing to accept as a character moment for Felix; Felix suggests that Jackie's making a mistake in putting himself on the line for Kayla, but then attacks him before he has any chance to actually consider the point.

John runs up to stand by Jackie, which is an odd bit of choreography but hey, fights are confusing. Jackie's narrative is still in poetic mode, and he's trying to pull a Gandalf, and that's a good moment in some ways because Felix isn't actually at all interested in chasing Kayla and Gail. It's a little tragedy of misunderstanding, and those are some of the best material in SOTF.

Felix's handler is clearly the fight guy in this scene, though I'm not totally down with Felix literally flipping over his opponents given that he was hobbling around on crutches two months ago, unable to even take one hand off them without risking toppling. It's at least pretty well explained, though, and that it by and large sounds somewhat reasonable deserves credit. I think the big issue, though, is that Felix isn't really willing to take any hits, and while I'd never suggest that taking hits is required for a kill, I do think it's important for a drawn out slugfest of a brawl where everyone's doing their best to mess each other up. Put another way, if the narrative intent was for Felix to cleanly dismantle his foes, it would've been better served were the other two written to the same effect; instead it feels like they're trying to give something back and just getting stonewalled in a fashion that doesn't gel with the scene or their narratives.

Felix stabs Jackie with the lost knife (which I'm really glad to see come back into play; I'd been wondering about it) and Jackie realizes he's dying with a nice callback to Pregame and a linguistic flourish that actually does land really well: "...the loss wasn’t worth the world. The world was worth the loss." Jackie throughout has been begging John to flee, but John's ignoring it and Felix actually isn't interested in fighting so he leaves. John, still ignoring Jackie's pleas to flee, instead chases after Felix, and the wiki tells me that doesn't go so well for him.

The rain falls, and Jackie's feeling almost peaceful, mostly because he's addled by blood loss—huge points for noting that. Rain falls, and Gail returns, but can't do anything for Jackie as he passes away.

So all in all, how is Jackie? He's good! Aside from a few quirks, I think he could be ported to any version of SOTF and be at least a solid character, and I think there were seeds of real greatness that were just kept from taking root by a few choices common to the era. Specifically, I think pairing Jackie and Gail was a mistake for all the usual reasons, and I also think there was this idea that a character had to be a big action star to be interesting—or at least, that's what I get from this on the wiki:

Jackie was originally intended to be my main flagship, but after realizing how static he was on the island and how his personal philosophy and approach would never change I wanted him dead. Plus, I really didn't enjoy writing for the sentimental-artsy-fartsy kid. – Nealosi

I actually really disagree with the static comment, because while Jackie stays true to his morals, we do see him evolve bit by bit. At the end of the day, though, everyone's on SOTF to have fun, and I'm sorry to hear Jackie wasn't much fun to write. He was, on the other hand, fun to read, and I'd definitely recommend him to those interested in delving into V2.
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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i'm not upset
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If my calculations are correct, and they basically never are, it looks like we're waiting on 13 more kids.
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party wurmple never sleeps. only dances.
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Hoo boy.

Nich Finlayson


"bryony and alba would definitely join the terrorists quote me on this put this quote in signatures put it in history books" - Cicada Days, 2017
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the bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war
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Song version of a writeup. Here you are, Ohm.

A list of the dying, a list of the damned.

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Screw it I'll join in on this
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
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An Linh Tuan.

An Linh's pregame consists of the infamous murder mystery thread, which as we all know by now survives only as fragments directly concerning Maggie Heartgreeder copy+pasted into one monolithic pile of text. It's a bit hard to follow and features a few formatting gems like
×òî æå, ñïðàøèâàåòñÿ, ïðîäîëæàåòñÿ â ýòîì ãîðîäå? Àìåðèêà ÿâëÿåòñÿ íàñòîëüêî ñóìàñøåäøåé èíîãäà. Åñëè êòî - òî óìåð, òî, ãäå - ïîëèöèÿ, è ïî÷åìó - âñå ìû âñå åùå â øêîëå?

Ïðîêëÿòûé, ÿ õî÷ó åñòü.

Anyways, a girl has been murdered in the bathroom and some kids take it upon themselves to form a plucky detective squad, complete with designated sidekick. An Linh is not the first thread of this crazy tapestry we've examined, so you can be assured I am not making this up. As to her actual involvement... from what survives, she volunteers for interrogation and tries to drag the girl who happens to be the actual killer in with her on account of Very Bad Feelings. I'm sure this bit of intuition is not colored at all by any OOC knowledge. Though to be fair, Mai seems like she'd be pretty high on the list of suspects anyways.

She doesn't head off right away though, and in the meantime a fight apparently breaks out, and An Linh jumps in to break it up. She's very athletic and proficient in some form of martial arts I've never heard of (but which Google confirms is real) so we're probably missing out on some nice detail from the lost posts. This also seems to feature a yardstick swordfight and a resounding ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ from the homeroom teacher. Her next surviving post is her relaxing all bored at her desk, so I guess some events transpired in the meantime. She then does this

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which is her most enduring legacy. My prior v2 pregame knowledge consisted mostly of the facts that someone was murdered and that someone kicked a door off its hinges, and here they are together in one thread. And then she disappears. She shows up at her destination, where Mai is already being interrogated, and then the esteemed self-appointed school detective asks a question and the thread just ends. To quote the homeroom teacher, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So, onto the game proper. An Linh wakes up and the first thing she does (after some reminiscing about the prologue) is tackle the shotgun-wielding BOXING CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, because the first thing he did was stick said shotgun down someone's throat and pull the trigger, and she's not about that. It's a decent fight scene, if a little stilted. She axe kicks him in the shoulder, which is impractical and also very cool, and follows it up with a roundhouse, which is slightly more practical and almost as cool. Hits go back and forth and there's a bit of a break after she employs some POCKET SAND (technically ground dirt) and they both go running for their weapons. She fishes her assigned brass knuckles out of her bag and knocks him over with a hook to the head, at which point it all sort of fizzles out as he decides he's too far away to use his shotgun and wanders off.

People just sort of pile in after that. A lurking girl falls out of the bush and pulls a MAC-10 out of her bag. An unarmed boy walks up, and bush girl weighs the danger of brass knucles and extreme martial arts prowess vs a Y chromosome and wisely turns her gun on the boy. There's a bit of a standoff with yet another kid wandering in and running off in the meantime. And then she disappears. The thread continues, technically. But no more posts come from any one of the three already present. A 12-year-old prodigy wanders in, takes a couple pages of notes on how good of an alliance he could form, then jots down another page about how nevermind it would actually suck and wanders off. Someone runs through the thread, entering and exiting in the same post. A girl with delusions of mermaid-dom comes in and impales the boy with a machete, and then wanders off.

An Linh resurfaces several months of OOC time later, massively drunk and giggling at the announcements. The characterization is a pretty stark departure from what we've seen previously, which is hard to fault too much because it's an inactive kill. Her previous firey grit and determination is gone, and the only thing she can bring herself to care about is finishing the bottle of spiced rum she found somewhere. A boy walks in and starts messing with his collar, and then they spend some quality time getting drunk and messing with collars and having sex. It's actually a pretty human scene, how I imagine a couple teens with spirits both dampened and spiced might act. And then she's informed at grenade laucherpoint that her slampiece is using a fake name to hide his prior murder. She jumps him in response and then he pushes her through a store window and she bleeds to death. The setup is a bit inconsistent, but it does highlight the very real dangers of being pushed through a store window, so there is that.

Overall, not bad but not someone I'd jump to recommend. The difference between her initial characterization and the inactive kill shows that there's something there, but she's not a supporting character and there's not much meat to what she does in the spotlight. The inactive kill is mostly good but not really her.



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i'm not upset
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@ Rattle, sorry I doubted you Mr. Snek. That write up was great and I hate it when my slampiece is actually a murderer.

@Bowser: You are in luck. This read-o-thon had zero children left and all had been assigned, but Espi saw you wanted one and said in chat he's happy to give him up so you get the only child available:

Bowser: Robert Adams

And with that I believe we are waiting on 9-ish write-ups. All children have been assigned so don't come in here and ask for one unless someone gets tossed back. If you'd like to toss your kid back, it's all good, just let me know.
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I had really high hopes for Damien, really I did. Even with everyone warning me about what was to come, I still had hope, and that hope was entirely misplaced, because while the writing skill for Damien was technically good, he is perhaps one of the most shockingly bad characters I've ever seen on SOTF. There's characters in v2 like [insert Bukowski character here] who are just overtly bad and it really hits you in the face with it, but Damien's badness is a stealth bad. It's not a bad from a lack of skill, it's a bad because of misplaced intentions. You don't know what kind of ride you're in for until you're already halfway through and it's too late to jump out because the car's moving at 80mph already and you don't stop until it wants you to stop.


The tragedy here is he didn't have to be this bad. The writing in pregame was, for the time, actually rather good. Laz was good at setting a scene, getting a good look into Damien's head and the way he interacts with people, and we even get a good look at Damien's mother Nicole (who, as chat will have you know, is probably the best parental figure in v2 alongside CJ the Hook-Handed janitor), and he even had some interesting interactions with some very v2 characters e.g. a girl who stabbed someone's throat in the middle of a classroom fight, and some random who offered to skip school with him because he was bored. There's hints as to what Damien will become, what with the intense focus on the bullying he receives, what his mother does to help him, and the delusions he will go through both IC and OOC that end up defining him.

And for about 90% of his first v2 game thread, the good writing continues. I'd say apart from a few technical niggles (that's not how blood pressure works Laz, that's not how any of it works), it's pretty much one of the best written introductions for a character you can get on SOTF...until the last bit, where suddenly he's got a voice speaking to him in his head, implied to be his dearly departed father or the devil or something? But I press onward, because I'm desperate to see if this will end up interesting. I STILL HAD HOPE.


He runs into throat-stabby girl Kristey at the Pagoda as well as everyone's favourite gay Peter Rosenthal where they agree to team up with him. He's nervous about this because he, despite how half his threads had random NPCs being nice to him, was still not used to people being nice to him. Turns out his fears are founded, however, since Kristey takes Peter aside to be all "k so we kill Damien if he becomes a problem right?" and then Damien hears that and this is where he gets the excuse to run into the plot that Laz wanted all along: Damien Takes Revenge On The Popular People Who Wronged Him, and he was going to run through with this plot regardless of whatever happened to him, and that's a no-no when you're in a collaborative RP. Half of the people who've been mean to Damien so far have been his own other characters/NPCs so it feels really self-contained to go through with something like this. Anyways, he dramatically writes a Death List even with potential allies/list members like 5 feet away, Kristey discovers him, tells him to fuck off, and fuck off he does.


He fucks off to some random garden where he meets up with Eli McConnell and they bro down for a while until Eli goes inactive and Damien kills him in a needlessly gory way for cool points, because you gotta have the Revenge storyline get its start somehow and plain killings are for loser non-main character kids, not Damien. It's at this point where Damien pretty much starts blaming his mother for everything that's happened, and to Laz's credit it's pretty much framed half and half Damien being crazy and Nicole /actually/ being an evil matriarch from hell, so when Damien starts blaming Nicole for kidnapping everyone I think it's /supposed/ to come off sort of crazy? But then it's intercut with scenes of Nicole's co-workers blaming her for her son killing so idk, shrug.


Damien meets back up with Kristey who notices he's begun his revenge plot and proceed to read him into the ground for being no better than the people he torments, which was fun, but then he just kills her so womp-womp. All throughout this is still being framed as everyone else being wrong and Damien being The Chosen One, so idk. I'm beginning to think the namechoice was less than subtle.

So Damien wins best kill award and gets to share the glory with Huy which is like 10% funny because he blames Nicole for this and 90% ":/" because he then turns racist out of nowhere, calling Huy/Sonia the Viet Cong and other delightful turns of phrase. I didn't know SOTF writers made tenure.

He then has an entire scene in the middle of a Paris/Garry fight scene where he dresses up as Sailor Mars and of course I'm rolling my eyes but I actually hate both the other characters just as much so it's a slight reprieve I guess. He then teams up with Garry Dodd in order to go hunt down Paris because Cartoon Recognizes Cartoon. I then pull out a bottle of duty-free mandarin vodka I had stored in my fridge that I hadn't opened because I am literally not getting paid enough to read a single thread that has both Garry Dodd and Damien Carter-Madison in it, let alone two.

In my hangover-induced state I see to remember them finding Paris's suicided body and Garry cuts his head off because he's Garry Dodd, and Damien decides to kill Garry because broken clocks are right twice a day. Garry's exit post contains lyrics to a Boney M song because nothing is sacred.

Damien chases Garry down and dramatically shoots him off the cliff, so we're officially down to one self-important narcissist in a scene instead of two. This is good only because I am glad Garry Dodd is dead. This is bad because we have to listen to the same self-serving narrative about Damien Taking Revenge repeated for the tenth time, and bolstering Damien's hundreds of NPC characters including his v3 flagship. We get it Laz, Damien is the main character of v2 (on the plus side, we find out what Nicole's up to this post - she's sleeping).

Damien then enters a thread where Nealosi kills a bunch of his own characters I think? idk I'm only contracted for reading Damien. He then engages in one of the only parts of his entire story where he acknowledges another character's actions besides his own when he connects both Kristey and Garry calling him weak as they die, which is both factual and correct. Anyways, he meets Franco and the two have history which was apparently Damien getting the crap beaten out of him at the party in his last pregame thread which, surprise, he blames Nicole for! Franco is OTT in a bad way but doesn't treat himself as though he's the main character so I guess I like him slightly more than Damien. I love grading on this scale. This also happens:

He reflexively put a hand to his face as Franco recoiled into a large unit of industrial machinery, and immediately felt something slippery and smelled and then tasted something quite rusty. As soon as his taste buds felt it, he forced a smile and licked his chops.


He'd tasted his own blood, trickling from a fairly busted nose. Not that he had too much time to savor every drop.

we get it Laz Damien is Evil. their fight is cut short when Mitsuko2 kills three of Nealosi's characters in a hilariously short inactivekill post which also robs Damien of the chance to gloat over more kills so thanks Mitsuko2.

Damien's next two threads are threads where he once again gets to pimp out Damien by culling inactives at his alter and these are neither interesting scenes, scenes which develop Damien's character in any meaningful way, or even scenes that are worth recapping because you already know the drill at this point. Damien Is Evil, Damien Is Crazy, Damien Blames Nicole, Damien Has Gotten His Revenge.

His penultimate thread is an extended battle sequence between Damien and Mariavel that is notable in that Megami actually comes in to tell them they're taking too long and they're delaying endgame, so Mariavel gets a mortal wound in for Damien before skulking off to go take part in the saddest SOTF thread ever written, while Damien goes and dies alone on a park bench while Nicole considers disowning him. Fair decision I'd say.


The one word I can use to describe Damien is "selfish". His narrative has no consideration for any other character but Damien and Damien's hundreds of NPCs, many of whom are culled at his feet to raise his profile (the number of characters not written by Damien who get killed by him? 2). Damien's story itself is, in spite of the technically good writing, shockingly bad and immature and deployed for shock value almost just as much as any of Bukowski's characters. Half of anything that happened in Damien's story would have had him laughed out of v3, let alone v4 and beyond, and I'm pretty sure if you asked Laz as he wrote this he would be unaware that anything else happened in v2 besides Damien Carter-Madison. A cursory glance of the v2 era wiki pretty much has him cheering on Bryan to win v2 because Mariavel killed Damien. It's that kind of character.

I've always been a bolster of v1-3 as products of their times and something that should be judged accordingly, but no amount of nostalgia goggles will filter out just how insultingly bad Damien is. I hesitate to call anyone the worst character of a version or the worst character of all time but if I was to make such a decision, Damien would be up there for just how bad he was and how badly he was deployed. There was hope at the beginning, but it was dashed against the rocks by the end of his second in-game thread. He's nothing but revenge fantasy disguised as an SOTF character and is not worth reading even one post of.

Avoid like the fucking plague.

#NicoleForParentOfTheYear #NicoleDidNothingWrong
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Thank you for the song Naft, it touched my darkened, cynical heart in a way only Marimar could.

Brief history on Nathan. He's a thin, balding drug addict whose hobbies include Marijuana, fighting and alcohol who gradually eroded away all his other hobbies for his vices and drove his friends and family away. A story of a fall that could go a few ways in the game. Let's see how it goes.

Nathan doesn't do much in his first thread as he shows up at the third page long after all the action happened and everyone but Franco and Russ had left. At this point Franco for some reason ropes this guy into an alliance. Nathan goes along with it because Franco has a gun and he don't. He also keeps calling him a fag so that docks him points in my book.

Either way they continue onwards to his second thread which is more mundane, just him and Franco moving to their next location while having a small talk, while at the same time building up a mutual distrust between the two which begs the question of why Franco took this guy with him in the first place? Easy Kill? Your guess is as good as mine.

Either way a few problems become apparent with this thread. Nathan's posts are riddled with typos and writing mistakes throughout that become distracting, it's also here I notice that all of Franco's stuff is more interesting to read than Nathan's. His posts are longer than Nathan's and just has a lot more for the reader to chew on than Nathan's. He also doesn't link his threads so another few docked points there.

In his last thread, his and Franco posts are mixed into one and so you get two perspectives in one making it more difficult to make things clear as well as give a proper voice to a character, which is arguably among the most important thing to do when a character is dying. At least it fits in line with his thoughts throughout his threads, Nathan tries to betray Franco for his gun, but messes up and ends up dying for it. But at the same time, it's done away in the first post, after which he's forgotten so Franco can have his confrontation with Damien.

For a character with a profile that hints at much action to follow along with a more exciting story. Nathan didn't do much, if anything. He is immediately accosted by Franco and Russ who are both being given a lot more to work with than Nathan who just ends up following Franco around till he's unceremoniously killed in Nealosi's post in his third thread. He gets overshadowed so badly by him that I might as well have made this a Franco writeup cause Nathan's entire story revolved around the guy.

Can't really recommend him.
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Ricky Callahan has been returned to the pool. I'd love to read him, but I thought i'd give other people a chance since I've had a lot of kids already. Ricky will be available to grab for 24 hours. Otherwise I'll just grab him. NOTE: ACTUAL GOOD CHARACTER, MINIMAL TYPOS, GENTLY USED IN GOOD CONDITION.

Be aware though that he is one of the longest V2 kids surviving to third place and consisting of 21 threads including pre game so be prepared to read
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yooo I'll take him
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Looks like I won't be reading him

[Sounds of Rugga canceling a therapist appointment]

Ricky goes to the lovely Kotorikun who I in no way have a crush on.

Ricky Callahan
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