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The V2 Read-o-thon; Olden days
Topic Started: Aug 24 2017, 06:45 PM (7,593 Views)
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I'll take a character!
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Alright, so Vesa’s pregame is fairly uninteresting. 3/4 threads he’s in have him mostly watching what’s going on from the sidelines with posts that, going by the OOC notes in them, were written in a hurry. I did really like the 3rd thread where he briefly spends time with his host family, though there are too many characters introduced in a relatively short post, so the reader can’t really get too attached to them.

There’s a recurring thing in his story where Vesa talks to himself in Finnish, with translations given beside in brackets. It’s kind of weird that he talks to himself in Finnish, but his personal thoughts (written in italics) aren’t given the same treatment. It feels weird that while he is so comfortable talking in Finnish that he slips into the language during conversations with non-Finnish speakers, but his thoughts are, as far as the reader can tell, in grammatically perfect English.

Now, onto the island.

Right in the first thread, his characterization is...not great. He goes from being really scared and timid to declaring his intention to play mid conversation to a stranger and potential threat. That whole conversation was pretty weird, since both of the two characters turn fairly sharply from being terrified and worried that they’ll get killed to gleefully announcing that they won’t hesitate to kill anyone in their way, complete with slasher smiles and cinematic brandishing of weapons.

Perhaps this switch could have been more justified had we had more access to Vesa’s inner thoughts, but Croco’s posts are all so short that we get barely any detail beyond the words coming directly coming out of his mouth and a few scattered fragments of thought here and there. I’m not saying every poster has to write a novel in every post, but having nearly every post (excluding flashbacks) in those early threads be under 250 words doesn’t give a ton to work with, especially since one of them has him enter and leave within a single post.

Throughout the rest of his time on the island, Vesa oscillates between being fairly caring and helpful to the people around him, and being cold and threatening to those same people. One minute, he’ll be helping someone find life-saving medicine to flashing his knife at them and bragging about how he’s definitely ready to kill someone any moment.

This duality continues throughout Vesa’s story. It seems as there are two Vesa’s: a bloodthirsty murderer who kills for his enjoyment and a decent, empathetic young man who wanders around the island scared and regretful of the violent acts he’s committed. While these two themes definitely can be combined successfully, it feels like Vesa switches between the two personas at the flick of a switch, and every post seems to be from the perspective of one or the other whenever the writer finds it convenient.

One thing I did like is that he seems to be one of the only people who recognizes how famous Alex Ovechkin is, though obviously Ovechkin’s inactivity doesn’t lead to anything coming out of it.

Overall, I feel like the saddest part of Vesa is that Croco really was improving significantly as the story went on, and he did attempt to capitalize on the earlier interactions he had with other characters, sparse as they may have been. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. The fact that his motivations had not been properly established, combined with the contradictory and confusing characterization, makes his late game still quite messy. His posts get further and further apart, as IRL issues cause him to give his thread partners permission to skip him again and again, until he becomes barely a part of the final thread he was in before he went inactive.

Despite making it to the final ten, he meets the same inglorious end as many other characters in the version, being adopted by an established handler and quickly killed off in a single post to pad another character’s kill count.

The best part of reading Vesa is seeing him enter threads containing a lot of interesting interactions between characters more interesting than him, and watch him not participate in them. At least reading what the other characters were doing was pretty entertaining. For a guy who made it into the V2 final ten, he really didn’t do much, unfortunately.

Requesting another character.
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There’s not a lot of material in Mary-Anne’s story. She was in three very short threads, and was extremely angry at all times for reasons that are only vaguely hinted at. The disadvantages section of her profile basically sums up her final thread.

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Disadvantages: While she is a fighter, she isn’t a killer and has never dreamed of ever being so. Mary is not very intelligent and her fiery attitude might get her into unnecessary conflict.

She runs into a guy with a gun, provokes him into attacking her through completely unwarranted aggression, and then throws her weapon away and rushes him with her fists. A kind of stupid, lemming-like death, but consistent with her characterization up until that point. Not much else to say.


I'll take another.
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An interest that Sorenson has is in gory movies, he claims that they are an indulgence (of course what he doesn’t say is that he had a full hard on during House of 1000 corpses, mostly because it would ruin his reputation and he assumes it was hormones), so Sorenson is just your average guy...except for a slight incident in a movie theater of course, but don’t worry it probably is insignificant.


You can ignore everything else in Sam’s profile, because once he gets to the island, this is pretty much the only part that seems to have been important as far as his handler was concerned. His story begins with a series of four (count ‘em) one-shots, each one more disturbing and difficult to read than the last. I consider myself fairly desensitized to that sort of stuff, and even then I found a lot of them difficult to read.

Right from the get-go, Sam has a wet dream about brutally raping and murdering one of his classmates, and things only slide downhill from there. After a dream conversation with his “darker self”, he jettisons the entire personality listed in his profile and roleplayed in pregame and becomes a collection of the most despicable and evil character traits that the author could think of. He then proceeds to have sex with two corpses, described in graphic detail, while revealing in a flashback that his father is also a necrophiliac. In the last post of the series of one-shots, he strips naked and runs off with the goal of finding and raping Whitney Acosta.

When we come to his first actual thread, it’s probably no surprise that Sam doesn’t enter until the final page, completely ignoring everything that happened before him and flashing his “eleven inches of man” at the people inside before immediately running away.. His post begins with a note that says ((WARNING: NC-17 CONTENT)) as if inviting everyone inside to avoid reading it. After a quick “what the fuck” reaction from the two characters still in the thread, they immediately begin talking about something else and never mention what happened again.

His next thread begins in the same way, but even worse somehow. It begins with a fairly decent post containing Lee-Ann Collier sadly reflecting on her situation by a lake and trying to feed a stray cat that she had found. Clearly not impressed with the muted reaction that he got the last time, Sam enters the thread and immediately ejaculates on her face, with his described penis size seemingly having doubled since the last thread. The thread, now suitably derailed, results in Sam decides to finally cover his nakedness by borrowing clothes from the girl. Unfortunately, this being Sam Sorenson we’re talking about, we’re treated to a graphic description of the process of tucking his massive erection into the Lee-Ann’s small panties, before he then decides to complete the ensemble with a dress. As if to torment the reader with a small hint of reprieve, the religious beliefs mentioned in his profile come back for a couple brief posts before he immediately resumes fantasizing about brutal rape.

Coming right off of declaring to himself his intention to rape and murder Lee-Ann, he immediately falls madly in love with her. Sam’s next post after that is written by Lee-Ann’s handler, and is probably the best quality post that Sam gets in his entire run. Here we get a bit of introspection from Sam’s point of view, and while he’s still a little twisted and evil, his justification for wanting to murder Lee-Ann is given more thought than “I LIKE RAPE”, which is nice.

Unfortunately, right after this sudden increase in post quality, he and Lee-Ann go inactive and are adopted by Mitsuko2. I was pleasantly surprised to see Mitsuko actually attempt to roleplay as the characters she adopted for once rather than unceremoniously have Mariavel kill them off in a single sentence, Nevertheless, their final thread isn’t too interesting to read, with both of them ending up killed off fairly quickly, with Sam basically turning into a feral beast after Lee-Ann detonates her own collar to avoid getting raped, and rushes Huy Tran and Anna Dibenidetti before getting immediately put down in a matter of seconds.

In conclusion: As a SOTF character, Sam fails pretty hard. He exists solely to shock and disgust the reader, and immediately attempts to derail any thread that he enters. As an experiment to test the boundaries of what horrific extremes a handler can get away with without being being shut down by the site’s moderators, Sam is unfortunately a success. He’s memorable, and not in a good way, sadly. Regardless, I’m still glad that I read him, if only for the bragging rights of saying that I have read what is perhaps SOTF’s worst character.

I was really tempted to stop rolling characters here, but I suppose there’s nowhere to go but up, quality-wise. I’ll take another one.
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I can't really say much about Preston. He wasn't terrible in pregame, but his posts were all, like, 3-4 sentences long maximum, so there's not much to critique.

His only island thread has Mitsuko2 roleplaying him at the same time as 3 of her other characters. Her posts switch between perspectives so frequently that barely any time is given any particular one of the characters. After a few posts in this crowded thread, Preston sacrifices himself to save one of Mitsuko's other characters, and his death scene is written entirely from the perspective of his killer. Overall, he felt more like an NPC than an actual protagonist, even in his own story.

Another character, please.
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Steven Smith was a little disappointing. His profile was alright, and his first thread started out really good. The two characters didn’t feel like caricatures for the most part, and their interaction was fairly natural. That is, until Steven decides to bring up religion. His attempt to convert Nessy is rather awkward and unnatural, but in character, he seems to be aware of that, so it's alright. Nessy responds extremely negatively to this, and their interaction escalates fairly quickly into violence, revealing Steven to be yet another one of the bigoted Bible-thumping stereotypes that seem to be so common in this version. I will give some points for the Pulp Fiction reference in his final post of the thread, though.

His second thread was a little better, though by that point he’s just turned into a generic villain, with most of the religion angle pushed to the side. It’s good to see that, despite his thoughts and actions in the previous thread, when reflecting upon the murder committed earlier, he doesn’t actually believe his actions to have been justified. It humanizes his character somewhat, which is welcome, though these regrets don’t actually lead him to change his course of action.

Steven’s last thread is pretty much all action, with his internal thoughts barely showing outside of his death post. Almost immediately after entering the thread, he gets into a fight with Matt Drew which ends pretty quickly. In his final post, which is unfortunately a songpost, Steven’s regrets fade away as he asks God for forgiveness for the murder he committed. He dies confident that he is going to heaven, secure in the knowledge that he is God’s “faithful servant”.

What is it with V2 and ignorant religious/ethnic stereotypes?

I’ll take another character.
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Venus Gwendolyn is your average everyday Malibu Barbie.


With the very first line of the profile, you can tell exactly what kind of character this is going to be. Her profile and only pregame thread paint her as a stereotypical “popular girl”, that is, shallow and extremely focused on status. She also seems to be an extremely bad judge of character, immediately falling for the guy who tried to provoke her ex-boyfriend into beating her up. Seriously, here’s how the sequence of events goes:



  • Venus tells her boyfriend, Kurt, (who she knows has “anger management issues”) that she wants to break up with him.
  • Kurt grabs Venus roughly and begins to yell at her for being a slut.
  • Felix Travertil walks up and, in a bold-faced lie, tells Kurt that Venus was cheating on him and that Felix and Venus were now a couple.
  • Venus reacts fearfully, rightfully scared that her ex-boyfriend is going to react with violence, and begs Felix to stop joking around and tell the truth.
  • Felix escalates the situation and begins insulting Kurt.
  • Kurt freaks out and assaults both Felix and Venus before being dragged away by a security guard.
  • Venus slaps Felix, and as Felix walks away, she decides that she’s attracted to his bad boy attitude and begins planning to “get with him” later.


Now, on to the island.

Venus wakes up with a (surprisingly uncommon for V2) post where she freaks out about the fact that she’s in SOTF. Her main concern is how that the injuries will damage her looks. You got that right. She cares more about losing her beauty than actually dying. She then walks up to the Zed, who had woken up nearby, and then attempts to seduce him (of course >_<) in order to make an ally who will defend her on the island. Zed responds to this exactly as you would expect for V2, excited that he’s finally going to get lucky despite being surrounded by people who want to kill him. After a few posts, Zed finally realizes that this is a bad idea, but it’s already too late, as Venus pushes him down and rapes him while he weakly tries to escape.

The wiki describes what happened as "he eventually succumbed to her beauty and charm", but LaZ's narration makes it rather clear that despite the involuntary physical reactions resulting from his body being stimulated in that way, Zed really doesn't want this to be happening, and is expecting her to kill him at any moment. Seems like a pretty clear cut example of sexual assault to me.

I don’t know about you guys, but it seems to me that, considering the purpose of seduction is to get somebody to put their guard down, escalating it into rape would accomplish the exact opposite. It doesn’t really even make sense, as Venus’ narrative talks about how she finds this guy to be a disgusting nerd and hates the idea of having sex with him, yet she just rapes him anyway because, well, V2. The rape scene continues for a bit and then…

Oh.

She bites his dick off.

The narrative lovingly describes Venus’ sadistic enjoyment of the torture visited upon Zed’ genitalia. For some reason, Venus views it as punishment for being a “nerd”. Clearly established as an exaggerated one-dimensional stereotype at this point, Venus then steals the poor guy’s weapon (an American flag) and runs off as a couple other “nerds” happen upon the scene. While running, she thanks God for giving her great dancing legs, which allows us to check off another point on the V2 stereotype bingo.

In her next thread, Venus wishes that she could meet up with Ali or Carmen, other members of the “sisterhood”. Instead, she meets up with a guy named Darren, who she immediately attempts to seduce (>_<). Unfortunately for her, this guy isn’t having any of it, and pulls out a katana and immediately attempts to kill her. She then begs for her life in the middle of a songpost. The song? Barbie Girl, by Aqua.

Yeah. If that’s not tonal dissonance, I don’t know what is.

Darren hesitates, overcome by guilt due to the fact that he just tried to murder someone. In another songpost with the same song as before, Venus immediately takes advantage of his hesitation to knock him down and steal his weapon. In yet another songpost (guess which song), she contemplates whether or not to kill him, before deciding that committing murder would compromise her “perfection”. Venus loots Darren’s bag for supplies, than leaves.

So… stabbing a dude with a sword means that you’re not “perfect”, but biting a guy’s dick off is A-OK? Seems a little...never mind, let’s keep going.

Venus then enters an abandoned school, where she reflects on the fact that, as a member of the Sisterhood, that she was in effect part of the school’s aristocracy, and most other students were essentially cockroaches to her. She begins to cry, homesick for a life where she could basically shit on everyone around her with no consequences, before things take an even stranger turn. She begins to hallucinate a strange woman, pale as a ghost and dressed in Victorian-era clothes, berating her for not being “perfect” enough. The “barbie”, as the narrative calls her, ignores the several other students in the school as the ghost woman gives her several lessons on being “perfect”. After Venus passes these tests, the ghost deems Venus to be “officially perfect” and gives her permission to kill as many people as she needs to, because she deserves to live more than they do. Because she’s “perfect”.

Yes, I get that she thinks that she’s better than everyone else, okay?

Venus then makes it to the Botanical Gardens, where she meets up with Matt and Rob, everybody’s favourite buddy comedy duo. She tries to, you guessed it, seduce them, but it doesn’t this work this time either, as Matt and Rob seem to be in possession of one of the most scarce resources on the V2 island, common sense. They rightfully anticipate that Venus is trying to get them to put their guards down so she can kill them, and they exit the scene post-haste.
Venus stands there confused at why anybody would turn down sex with a “perfect” girl like her, when Felix Travertil, from pregame, enters the thread. I think it’s obvious at this point what Venus’ next course of action is. This seduction attempt is almost immediately no sold, followed by Venus going to plan B and kicking Felix in the balls. They fight for a bit, flirting with each other for some reason. At the last moment, just as Felix is about to stab her, he kisses her instead. They make out for a bit before realizing that they are both madly in love with each other. The two lovers then resolve to stay together, and walk off hand in hand into the sunset…

...ending up in separate threads for no explained reason other than "Venus got lost".

She enters a thread with John Davies before immediately leaving, as she obviously doesn’t want to be in the same place as a man who is so far beneath her. She runs off to find Felix, somehow under the impression that both of them will be able to make it home. (We don’t get to see John’s reaction to this, sadly, as he immediately goes inactive.)

Her final thread leads her back to the Botanical Gardens, where she futily searches for Felix. She begins to despair as she realizes that Felix has abandoned her, as she finally realizes that the two of them won’t be able to both win the game. Her thoughts are interrupted by the reappearance of the Ghost Lady in one of the most horrificly structured paragraphs that I have read over the course of this read-a-thon. I’ve had to spoiler it here, due to the length, but take a look at it. Seriously. Did the writer proofread this at all?

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Venus then kills the ghost, before turning her katana on herself. She cuts upon her stomach, bleeding out dramatically over the flowers as she thinks of Felix. The girl who thought that she was the most perfect person on the island, the one most deserving of life, kills herself over a guy who has done nothing but harm her since before the game started. Doesn’t really make sense, but that’s V2 for you.

Content-wise, I would say that while she’s not as bad as Sam Sorenson, she’s definitely on the same continuum of horribleness. In some ways, she’s even worse, because at least Chad was technically competent as a writer, with the main shock value being in the subject matter of his writing. Venus is a nonsensical, one-dimensional character who commits horrific acts with very little motivation behind them, just like many others in V2. Unfortunately, when compared to even those, the writing quality is abysmal, sinking in quality as the story goes on. By her final post, Strawberry Prince’s prose is basically unreadable. Would not recommend.

...I don’t really know why I’m still doing this, but I’ll take another character anyway.
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As an aside before we start, I really like Narfinkool’s avatar. It looks pretty cool and I think it really fits the tone of the scenes he is in, as well as the edginess that characterizes a lot of V2.
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Russ’ first post is written in present tense. It’s a little difficult to read, but the grammar and prose are much easier to read than other character affected by the same problem, so it’s not as bad as it could have been. He soon corrects this problem, thankfully, and begins writing in past tense like everyone else, with only occasional slips back into present.

One thing that I don’t like is that he signals that a character is dreaming not through the narrative, but through OOC tags. It really breaks the immersion, and is kind of unnecessary, since most readers would easily be able to tell when the dream in question begins and ends.

His handler is a pretty inexperienced writer, and it shows, but his work is far from unreadable. I really liked that Russ’ narrative showed him to be a fairly ordinary guy, albeit with some anger issues. The backstory of abuse adds almost nothing to the character, but I would prefer that to seeing him use it as an excuse to turn into a psychopathic slasher villain, as has happened with several other characters in this version.

We then come to an interesting scene while a shotgun-wielding Russ stands between Franco Sebberts and Marvin Hendrick, as both try to convince him to kill the other guy. After brief consideration, Russ accepts, on the basis of Franco’s spurious logic, that Marvin has gone insane and is going to kill them both. This poor judgement, while a little confusing, makes sense coming from Russ, whose profile notes that he’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. The two of them make short work of Marvin, and resolve to form an alliance.

The two of them continue on, with Franco making up the brains of the duo, and Russ making up the brawn. They scavenge for supplies for a bit, and share a quiet moment where they discuss their pasts and how things were for them at school. It was an interesting dynamic, as Russ is clearly a lot more invested in their partnership than Franco, yet Franco can’t help but appreciate Russ’ simple-minded loyalty towards him.

Franco goes to pick up his Best Kill Award for killing Marvin, leaving Russ on the outside of the danger zone. Surprisingly, while Russ does appear briefly in this thread, it isn’t in his list of threads on the wiki. I’m not sure if I should add it in, but probably will after I finish this review.

The duo goes on to the mall, where they have a confrontation with another V2 duo, Matt and Rob. Russ’ inner thoughts, while already somewhat angry, begin to ramp up in aggression as he begins to finally have some doubts as to the wisdom of his continued partnership with Franco. After some internal conflict, his existing trust in Franco wins out, and Russ continues following him, albeit reluctantly. His trust in Franco is somewhat validated as the two of them work together to take out an attacker, watching each other’s backs and using strategy to back the girl into a corner before Franco finishes her off.

However, it is at this point that a different type of doubt sets in. Russ begins to realize that he doesn’t exactly have the stomach for killing, and fears that Franco will find this out and abandon him. He begins to put on a gangster-style facade of brutality in order to hide his self-perceived weakness, while never actually killing anyone himself.

Russ and Franco’s partnership comes to an end as one would expect. While scavenging for supplies, a shelf falls over and traps Russ against the ground just as the area is declared a danger zone. Franco, as expected, prioritises his own well being and leaves Russ to his death. The post, while written entirely by Franco’s handler, does Russ a great deal of justice, in my opinion. Russ lashes out impotently as he realizes that he’s been betrayed by somebody who he thought he could trust, as Franco walks away guilty for his selfish abandonment of somebody who was loyal enough to not to the same to him.

I really enjoyed reading this part of the story. Narfinkool’s writing isn’t amazing, and his dialogue feels fairly unnatural, but his action scenes were pretty good. Russ felt like a solid character and the two handlers involved do a decent job of selling the partnership between Russ and Franco. While definitely not one of SOTF’s best characters, I feel like I can recommend Russ as one of V2’s better cast members, or at least the best one that I’ve read so far.

Another character, please.
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Jameson only has one post, but it's actually not too bad.

Basically, what happens is that the terrorists were flying a little too high with the helicopter that they dumped him on the island from, and Jameson breaks a bunch of bones, which are abnormally fragile due to not being fully healed from a recent accident. He then suffocates due to his shattered ribs shredding his lungs and other internal organs. The death post focuses mostly on the physical effects of the damage to Jameson's body and his quick realization that he's going to die. It's done competently, but the read isn't too interesting, overall.

I don't know if I can recommend him, exactly, but his run is short enough that it won't take much time for you to read him if you want to give him a shot. Not much else that I can say, really.

Another character, please.
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Edgar’s only pregame thread is the murder-mystery thread, which is fairly painful to read due to formatting issues and gaps in the narrative due to lost posts. Edgar seems like a decent guy, strangely unfazed by the fact that one of his classmates just died, but then again, so are most people in that thread, seemingly. I’ll give him a pass there, since I’ll just assume that having classmates die is a regular occurrence in the crime ridden slum that is Denton, New Jersey.

I liked his waking up post. He prays for protection and regrets going on the trip, seeing as he didn’t want to leave his mother back home and had to be talked into going by his father and grandmother. I was really relieved at this point that I had finally found a religious character who wasn’t going to be an insane stereotype. The thread goes like a normal, modern SOTF thread almost, at least until Mariavel walks in. The thread becomes rather chaotic, with multiple arguments going on simultaneously and weapons being pointed at various people in a sort of tense standoff. Things begin cooling down, and Edgar quickly cements himself as my favourite character in the thread by acting as the voice of reason to the other characters’ wild accusations and threats. He turns down Mariavel’s offer of an alliance and exits the thread, resolving not to compromise his morals by committing murder.

My one gripe is that throughout the thread, Edgar refers repeatedly to an unnamed half-brother who isn’t mentioned in his profile, and who apparently was abducted during SOTF V1. This normally wouldn’t be too bad, by V2 standards, but I’ve reread his posts several times and I can’t figure out who this half-brother was. It’s rather annoying.

In the next thread, Edgar encounters what is probably the worst Christian stereotype that I’ve seen thus far (and I’ve seen quite a few), Anthony Ainsworth. Coming in right after Anthony’s rant about how God must have sent them into the game to have them slaughter “godless heathens” as a test of character, Edgar shuts him down right away. Edgar, operating under the very understandable assumption that God had abandoned him, is immediately set upon by Anthony, who assumes that he is possessed by a demon. Edgar decides, quite reasonably, that it wouldn’t be wise to stick around with the lunatic who has now begun to attempt an exorcism upon him, and gets the hell out of dodge.

It was at this point that riserugu left the site, and Cyco takes over as Edgar’s handler for his final post. While his character does shift to become a bit more introspective, the adoption is handled way better than any other adoption I’ve seen from V2 so far. He has a quiet moment as he sits in the dark, questioning his faith yet afraid to abandon what is at the moment the only source of stability in his life. After a moment of reflection, he is ambushed by Dan Johnson, who after a brief fight injects...something into Edgar from a syringe, which rapidly kills him. As his consciousness fades away, Edgar ends his time on the island just as it began, with a prayer.

In the announcement where Edgar’s death is mentioned, it is revealed that his half-brother is...Hawley Faust. You’d think this would have been mentioned in his profile, but nope. I vaguely remember Hawley having a brother back in V1, but I’ve only read bits and pieces of his storyline so I wouldn’t have been able to make the connection.

Overall, I think Edgar was a pretty good, down-to-earth character, and one of the few examples of a character whose religious beliefs influenced his character in a realistic way, rather than being used as an excuse for him to murder people. His narrative was fairly interesting to read, and I like that he was willing to shut down the over-the-top hysterics of some of his more unstable classmates. Unfortunately, the Hawley Faust connection doesn’t do much for the character, and I think it’s pretty ridiculous to expect the reader to be familiar with the backstory of a character from a previous version in order to understand what’s going on with your character. The handler didn’t have to give me Hawley’s entire backstory or anything, just put a line in Edgar’s profile or something saying “This guy is Hawley Faust’s half-brother”, and the story would have made a lot more sense. Thankfully, she seems to recognize this and ditches that plotline after Edgar’s first thread, though since the thread in question takes up more than half of Edgar’s total time on the island, it’s a little too late for that.

I think the character is easier to recommend to readers who are already familiar with Hawley Faust, but regardless, I feel like Edgar was a solid addition to the V2 roster and one of the better characters on the island.

I’ll take another character.
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Our first introduction to Michael has him throwing a temper tantrum, smashing everything that he can find nearby, while blaming somebody named Shane Moyer for getting him sent to the island. There’s no indication of who Shane Moyer is, other than the fact that Michael thinks that he’s a “faggot” and a “preppy bitch”. Off to a good start, I see.

He then stumbles upon a conversation between Alexander Bee, Edgar Judah, and Anthony Ainsworth(who I complained about a bit in my review of Edgar). Still not a fan of Anthony, by the way. Michael then disappears for several rounds of posting (I guess post order just wasn’t a thing in V2) before briefly interjecting with an swing of his golf club at a nearby bottle before realizing that acting aggressive around a clearly insane person probably isn’t a good idea. Michael is however unable to stop himself from laughing at Anthony’s ridiculous attempt to perform an exorcism on Edgar. Seeing that Anthony clearly isn’t about to calm down any time soon, Michael decides to take his chances elsewhere and runs off into the rain.

He then is killed off in a Mariavel Massacre™.

Overall, he wasn’t too bad of a character, but his run isn’t anything really worth looking at. He only has 4 short posts to his name, and most of his time is spent reacting to Anthony’s lunacy rather than doing anything interesting of his own. I’d lean towards not recommending him, as he’s little more than fodder, unfortunately.

I’ll take another character. Looks like we've almost reached the end.
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Alright, so right off, we can see that Roland Kelly, also known as R.Kelly, is a Republican, and is written by laZardo. With that, you can tell that there’s no way that this kid won’t be an asshole. His profile doesn’t have much in it besides politics, though in one of the later paragraphs, it mentions that Roland is part of something called the “Valenti Syndicate”. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I assume it’s yet another one of Denton’s many street gangs. As for his disadvantages, I don’t think “has never fought with melee weapons before” and “is accustomed to living in an urban/suburban environment” really count as disadvantages, seeing as I’d expect those to be the norm for most high school students. Then again, this is Denton, New Jersey, where every other person seems to be a gang member or a murderous psychopath inches from snapping, so what do I know?

His only pregame thread is rather confusing, with laZardo and Xaldien re-doing the opening posts several times, each time changing the manner in how Kristey initially approaches Damien. Damien is consistently terrified that Kristey is about to murder him, though her own narration gives no indication that she has anything close to that sort of intent. Shortly after the two of them meet up, all of laZardo’s other characters walk into the thread and immediately begin threatening to kill Damien for no apparent reason. Kristey stands up to defend him and stabs Roland in the neck with a pair of scissors. We don’t get to see anything of Roland’s reaction to this other than the fact that the other characters hear him scream. He’s basically an NPC in this scene, his lack of importance highlighted by the fact that his name is consistently misspelled by the other handlers and the fact that laZ directly refers to him as an NPC in the OOC notes. After a tense standoff, the bullies let Damien go, and imply that they plan to kill Kristey and Damien at some point in the future as retribution for standing up to them. Roland says nothing over the course of this entire scene. The whole event felt rather ridiculous and over the top, but given the overall tone of V2, I guess I’ll have to let it slide.

Shortly after the beginning of V2 proper, Roland wakes up in a confession booth in the church. The first half of the awakening post isn’t too bad, with Roland taking a while to come to his senses, trying to make out where he is as the knockout gas wears off. I actually thought it was interesting that his first assumption is that he’s been buried alive, and his first few paragraphs give a decent feeling of claustrophobia. Unfortunately, the trouble starts once Roland looks down at his bag and realizes that the terrorists have stamped it with the name of R. Kelly, the well-known African-American R&B artist. Seeing the name of a famous black man on his bag awakens Roland’s prejudice against ethnic minorities (because he’s a Republican, get it? >_<) and he loudly shouts out a racial slur, focusing his anger on an unnamed terrorist, who happened to be black, and Danya, whom Roland assumes without evidence to be non-white.

He gives a long and drawn out prayer, because of course he would, before exiting the booth. I did like that he does acknowledge that he isn’t too good of a person and feels regret for some of the bad things that he’s done in the past. He then quotes Psalm 23:4, taking care to mention that he doesn’t mean anything sexual from the use of the words “rod” and “staff”. I’m not sure why anyone would take the phrase in that way, but laZ seems to be quite concerned about the possibility, even mentioning in the OOC notes that he applauds anyone who doesn’t notice anything sexual about the phrase, “Tightly clutching his staff in one hand, Roland slowly pushed the confessional door open just a crack…”. This pointing out of double entendres in his writing seems to be a strange fixation for Roland’s handler, but I suppose it’s not worth dwelling on.

Roland watches the escalating confrontation between Mariavel and the others in the church from his hiding place, debating whether or not it would be a good idea to step in. He fears that he will get killed in the conflict, but on the other hand, he worries that letting his classmates die would reflect badly on his god-fearing, conservative image. This debate does not get resolved, as Roland pushes the booth’s door open by accident, exposing himself without actually having to make a decision concerning the morality of entangling himself in the conflict happening outside his hiding place. He remains frozen in fear for a while before trying to calm down the increasingly hysterical Adam Amato. Almost immediately after he speaks, the church is declared a danger zone. Roland gets out of there, worrying that Franco Sebberts is going to track him down and kill him, just like he murdered Marvin, another one of the minor bully characters from Roland’s pregame thread.

As an aside, though his was barely in his pregame thread at all, I like that the neck wound that he received in it continues to inconvenience him, giving his character a sense of continuity from that otherwise pointless scene.

Roland’s next post is a rather long songpost. He experiences a humanizing bout of survivor’s guilt as he hears Kasumi White’s collar explode. His internal monologue makes a brief reference to the Left Behind series as well as multiple mentions of how much he loves America to yet again establish that yes, this guy is a conservative evangelical Christian. He angsts over the fact that one of his classmates had just died and, prays for forgiveness for not attempting to save her.

Alice Nichols walks in and throws a frisbee to him from inside the slaughterhouse before promptly going inactive. Roland goes inside, looking for her, the smell of death inside the slaughterhouse causing him to reflect on how God probably isn’t happy with him for all the terrible things he did before he came to the island. For a while, it actually looks like Roland is going to attempt to redeem himself, experiencing genuine regret for his actions.

Unfortunately, this character development is cut short as he walks in on Alice and immediately loses his mind as the announcement starts. His eyes scan over her “voluptuous” figure and her revealing clothing, which freaks him out for by now obvious reasons, before mistaking her face for that of Damien Carter-Madison’s. Roland comes to the conclusion that he is in hell, and what stands before him is Damien, somehow magically transformed into the metaphorical Whore of Babylon, and sent by God to punish him for his sins. Roland charges at Alice, knocking her down and quickly executes her without much resistance.

His collar begins beeping, and Roland tries desperately to escape what he assumes is now a danger zone. He flees in a panic, before the narrative mentions an explosion, followed by the words, B57 - Kelly, R - DEAD.

Immediately after the death tag, it is revealed that Roland’s collar detonating was only part of his hallucination, and he thanks God for giving him a chance to redeem himself for his sins by committing brutal murder. Of course. No actual redemption arc for you, silly republican. He then runs off into the night, realizing too late that he forgot his supplies back in the danger zone that he escaped from.

After this scene, Roland’s narrative really goes off the rails. He believes himself to be in purgatory, and assumes that everything that happens after this point to be a simulation set up by God to test him. He happens upon a sobbing Michiro Duli, and attempts to comfort her in another rare moment of humanity. After Michiro manages to convince him that Dungeons and Dragons isn’t some sort of tool of the Devil, they sit down and attempt to play a game. This, of course doesn’t get too far, as Roland immediately begins to hallucinate that Michiro is actually Damien Carter-Madison, back from the “dead”. After a brief struggle, he mercilessly kills her and mutilates her body in order to ensure that she won’t somehow come back to life. He quotes the same verse as in his first post (though thankfully with no OOC note this time), as he bandages his wounds, coming to the conclusion that God won’t let him into heaven until he murders Damien Carter-Madison enough times to act as penance for his sins.

Roland then enters the Hospital, convinced that everyone on the island who isn’t him is actually Damien Carter-Madison in disguise. He refers to the flashbang grenades that he looted off the corpse of Tanesha Lexx as “holy hand grenades” and thanks the Lord for giving him better weapons with which to smite Damien.

He encounters another player, Dan Johnson, and a fight begins in short order. After stunning “Damien” with a flashbang, he rushes into the fight. As the stunning effect wears off, Dan quickly overpowers the heavily injured R. Kelly and breaks his arm. As Dan leans down to finish off his opponent, Roland pulls the pin out of another grenade with his good arm and sets it off mere inches from Dan’s face. Roland uses this moment of respite to roll away from Dan, scrabbling on the ground looking for anything to use as a weapon, terrified that he’s about to miss his shot at getting into heaven. As Dan descends upon him wielding a hockey stick (which Roland hallucinates as being a giant scythe), Roland’s hands happen upon the syringe that Dan used to kill Edgar Judah earlier. He injects air into Dan’s veins, causing him to collapse before Roland disarms him and again, brutally executes Damien Carter-Madison for the third time.

Roland then hallucinates a brief conversation with Lucifer who tells him that he never had a chance to get into heaven, and that he’s been in hell this whole time. Roland accepts this surprisingly easily. Soon forgetting about the seemingly earth-shattering revelation that he had just received, he proceeds to create a makeshift splint for his broken arm out from the aforementioned hockey stick and exits the hospital with “Damien’s” stun gun.

His next thread begins with Peter Rosenthal and Andi Ayala having an extremely awkward sex scene before killing themselves. Drawn into the house by the sound of gunshots, Roland looks upon the two bodies before him with disgust, not because the two characters are dead, but because Roland considers gay people to be “freaks of nature”. He grabs the gun that they had shot themselves with and quickly exits the scene without much reflection, following a trail of blood splatters which he assumes is a marker sent by God to tell him where to go next.

The trail leads him to the edge of a cliff, and Roland reacts with frustration at the dead end. He throws his weapons over the edge, concluding that Damien has been killed for good, and, despite this, God has no intention of letting him into heaven. This is supposed to be a massive shock, but if falls flat because we found this out about this two threads ago and Roland didn’t seem to care. Unsure of what to do next, Roland contemplates suicide, the pain of his wounds continuing to dog him. After a rather long songpost, Roland concludes that there must be another way for him to get into heaven, and leaves to go search for it.

After he leaves the cliffs, Roland comes upon the real Damien Carter-Madison, seemingly back from the dead for the third time. Roland immediately forgets about everything that happened in the previous thread and shifts back to believing that he’s in purgatory again. The two of them have a surprisingly calm and relaxed conversation, considering that the subject matter is mocking the students who have already died, followed by an agreement that only one of them will be able to leave this encounter alive. They agree to square off and fight, and before Roland can finish his final sentence, Damien pulls out his revolver and blows Roland’s head off. R. Kelly dies, feeling at peace with himself despite the fact that until now he had accepted that Damien murdering him would send him on a one-way trip to hell. The parts of the post written from Roland’s point of view are rather shallow and uninteresting, confirming the fact that his only purpose on this island was to be little more than an NPC within Damien’s story.

Overall, I was massively disappointed by Roland Kelly. His story didn’t start out too bad, really. He was kind of an asshole, and aware of that fact as he started to proceed down the beginnings of what could have been an interesting character arc. Unfortunately, this is then ruined by him going insane at basically the flip of a switch and spending the rest of his story obsessed with another one of his handler’s characters. My recommendation is to read his first two island threads, and just pretend that he died at the moment his death tag comes up in the second one. His character arc is still cut disappointingly short, but at least you won’t have to be subjected to the remaining story, which makes very little sense and contradicts itself many, many times, for the sole purpose of pimping how great Damien Carter-Madison is.

Alrighty, time for another character! Thankfully we've almost reached the final five.
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