mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Dunno why I come here every day to see the feed now that it's alive again and don't post.  Oh well.  Life keeps happening.

My story about Jugdral!Arthur being bad is back in business and over at AO3 now.  Chapter Four went up this week.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, this was a Western AU that I really wanted to write but I wasn't sure where to develop it. It wasn't just a Western AU, as it had a touch of what I like to call "arc-light punk" and then got into stuff like heavier-than-air flight and the obsolescence of old sabers-n-cavalry warfare. But straight-up retellings of game plot, even in an alternate setting, just don't hold my attention and so it's been sitting untouched since before my laptop crashed in March.

I guess it'll go here, for now, just to prove it existed.

Public Enemies


I do not own Fire Emblem or any of its characters.


Gen2 Wild West AU with a twist... )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

Okay. Yesterday, after recruiting Julia, I was about to send her off to Velthomer to collect the Naga tome while everyone else started luring out Dark Lords. I wanted to see how Arthur'n'Tinny would do, I wanted to see how Ares would work against them when not dead, I wanted to see if Patty could get another kill in, and I wanted to make use of Awareness!Del and Nanna one more time. But since I was faced with yet another lull in the action, I decided to go through everyone's stats to record them for comparison purposes.

Welp. While transcribing Ced's results, I accidentally "defrosted" a save state from this playthrough's Chapter 3. One moment I was looking at Ced, the next I was looking at a Lvl 17 Briggid in Agusty Castle. I don't use save states on this emulator for Mac 'cause they are notoriously unreliable, and here I'd managed it by accident at the worst possible time.

So, yeah. Everything I've done in this PT and two others since August is gone. I think the worst part is losing the stats on the Gen 2 kiddies after working so damn hard at it. I've already restarted a new game file to make up progress in the other breeding experiments, but dammit I hate losing data.

In summary, though...

So... on to the next round, I guess.
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God, I love Chapter 10. Favorite chapter in this game, hands-down.

With a matured party, there's not so many stand-out moments of awesomeness or suck to go around. Every character does his or her part by this point and does it pretty efficiently, so by this point I'm enjoying smooth and elegant gameplay instead of setting up support chains and crossing my fingers. It's a pleasant break before the Final chapter sics falcoknights from hell on us. I had so much fun I barreled right into the next chapter once 10 wrapped up and didn't pause for about six turns in.

Oh, yes.


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All right.

FE4's Chapter 9 isn't my favorite but it's not terrible the way that 2, 4, and 7 are terrible. The action goes very smoothly in a counter-clockwise direction and if you have staff users to Warp and Return then defending all of your castles is a piece of cake. The main delay comes from harvesting all the money from the villages and that's only slow if you want Patty collecting all the money and dumping it on poor Corple/Sharlow one bag at a time. If you let Fee and Altena grab all the cash and the Barrier Ring, it'd be less troublesome.


Giving a small child a crazy-inducing status staff to play with seems mildly bonkers to me. )
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Okay.  I took a damn long hiatus from playing FE4 because a) it is unhealthy to sit at my computer any longer than I already do and b) the playthrough I wanted to continue with most was stuck at a bottleneck of RNG screwage.

Basically, no one could kill Chapter 8 Ishtar.  Shanan was too far away, Holyn!Faval missed with his opening shot, and Ares left her at 2 HP and died under return fire.  Given Faval should be able to handle her upon recruitment, I was pretty pissed, so after soft resets and hard resets didn't do a damn thing, I left it sitting for a couple of months.  Today I dusted off the emulator and reset the RNG by sending Finn into the arena to lay waste to it.  This worked[*], and Faval made Ishtar go bye-bye so I could continue the damned chapter.

Anyway, I cleared Chapter 8 yesterday, and here's how the kiddies stand going into Chapter 9 and Thracia:

Update on the Genealogy of the One-Night Stand Kiddies )
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So my most excellent spouse and I were drinking Johnnie Walker Red last night in honor of Elliot Smith, and oh boy did I have me some bizarro dreams.  In particular, I had a very long, detailed, anime-styled dream about a Gundam Wing/Seisen no Keifu fusion in which the twelve holy bloodlines were associated with the twelve Zodiac--themed mobile suits from the AC universe and Julius and his Lopt blood were the "thirteenth constellation" mobile suit mentioned in Endless Waltz.

Uh, it was kind of awesome and I wish y'all could've been there.
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It was originally planned that, in the 2nd Generation, only one child would be born per parent and their gender randomly selected (with the exception of Celice, Yuria, Leaf and Altenna). (source)

I've wondered about that for a long time.  It seems like a pretty cool idea that would be a nightmare to implement.  I mean, it's one thing if the kiddies fill a similar gameplay niche-- Arthur or Tinny, Larcei or Ulster.  But to randomly get either Ced or Fee?  Either Leen or Corple?  Either Faval or Patty?  Have fun rescuing villages without your Peg Knight.  Have fun managing everyone's funds without a thief.  Have fun doing anything time-sensitive without a dancer.  Maybe the random kids were all of a type with Larcei/Ulster-- same class (or close enough given gender-exclusive classes) and same basic weapons.  This could've been the same stage of development where troubadours and bards were basically the same thing (and Sylvia had blue hair and didn't look twelve).  

Then again, there are only seven breeding pool females in Gen 1 anyway, so you'd have a mere seven kidlets to accompany the fixed characters.  Even if they're all godly that's not a large army, and FE4 in its current state has a small cast available to the player at any one time.  It might be workable if you had parity between the Gen 1 gals'n'guys-- ten/ten rather than the seven/thirteen split we got-- and then maybe, say, Ayra would still have twins for funsies.

I'd recommend someone try this for a hack, but based on the character-swap hacks I've seen I doubt it would work.  It appears that once a character gets swapped out-- say, you put Azel and Tiltyu in place of Ethlyn and Quan-- you can't just randomly switch them back to their old roles.  Azel and Tiltyu are now going to bail on you in Chapter 4 and march off to their deaths in Chapter 5, while Ethlyn and Quan instead will stick around to have the Chapter 4 and 5 conversations that belonged to Azel/Tiltyu.

So, if we did take an easy target-- hello, Midayle-- and decided to make him a female to get the m/f balance closer to parity, we're still operating under severe constraints in terms of the event conversations girl!Midayle would trigger, and then something totally goofy would happen in Gen2.  I believe when existing female characters "marry" each other via hacking you get subkiddies for one half of the pairing?  I don't think you can just reassign, say, Lester to have a different mother and not be Lana's brother, much less somehow provide a random girl!Lester to confuse the hell out of players.  If somebody were to pull this off it would require a much greater effort than just tinkering with FE4 vanilla.

Mind you, there are indeed some crazy-elaborate hacks so maybe the fairly straightforward character-swap hacks like Genealogy of Ayra and Genealogy of Fala don't hint at the true possibilities of what a fan can do to/with FE4.  And if that's the case...

So, who besides Midayle ought to be turned into a chick?
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I never much liked Celtic myth, despite being 1/4 Irish and having it shoved at me periodically as part of my heritage. My mother, who had everything from The Golden Bough to Hermes Trismegistus on the bookshelf in her bedroom, didn't much care for it either. I recall one conversation we had when I was about 13 or 14 wherein we agreed that Celtic myth was basically about beating people up-- the more people you beat up, the bigger a hero you were. I was far more interested in myths that praised wit and cunning-- the exploits of Theseus and Odysseus, Raven, Anansi, Daniel and Joseph from the Old Testament. Even famous Celtic stories that involved trickery, like the one where Fionn mac Cumhaill decides to fuck with Cuchulainn to get out of fighting him, didn't seem especially clever or admirable. I mean, Cuchulainn's dumb as a rock anyway, so fooling him isn't much work. Also, biting someone's finger off is a pretty nasty trick, but if your magical powers are stored in your middle finger I guess it's a valid target.

I think the other thing I didn't like is I didn't understand how justice worked in these stories. It didn't seem to, really. With characters like Odysseus and Joseph, there was an actual payoff in their exploits. Live right, honor the gods, outwit your enemies, persevere during your hardships, and you get rewarded in land, women, sons, renown, etc. Sure, things often fall apart a generation or two down the line (or in the case of Theseus, in his own lifetime) but there seemed to be an actual, you know, life lesson involved her. Teacheable moments and (mostly) happy endings.

A petrified brain in a slingshot )
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Went and uploaded Chapters 2, 3, and 4 in recent days.

It occurred to me three chapters in that the dynamic between Lester, Faval, and Dew is reminiscent of old Penny Arcade strips featuring Tycho, Gabe, and Div the sentient DIVX machine.

I think I'm OK with this.
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Just to get these thoughts down in one place...

I don't know about y'all but I found little things about the way female characters were handled to be a very off-putting thing in FE13. I didn't like a lot of the Big Things in FE13 either but small disparities really got under my skin. At this point, the high-water mark for the franchise treatment of female characters looks to be Tellius, but it's worth examining the baby steps-- both forward and backward-- it took to get to that level, or even to FE6's level of female empowerment.

Spoilers for FE1-FE10 )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, some time ago I posted a fragment of a WIP that featured a post-war Lester and Faval banging around Verdane and encountering an adult and thoroughly "embittered" Dew.  My comment at the time was that aside from Faval being the Bad Cop to Lester's Good Cop, nothing actually happened in the story.  It revolved around two "high concept" ideas: Adult!Dew and "LOL Lester looks like Lex."  That ain't enough.

Well, I think I'm in the process of fixing that.

I always liked the premise of the story and really wanted to fix it, but at first I was afraid it was just inherently not a story.  Lester made a suitable POV character of a "type" I prefer-- reasonably intelligent but not super-observant, not terribly quirky, pretty vanilla-- but didn't have much going on and Faval was just coming across as off-key and pissy more often than not.  Dew was fun but that was it.

Then I ended up dumping the meta/headcanon content about about three other problematic WIPs into the framework of this one and hey, I think I like it a tons better.

Notes )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Why not?  The more I write the more I have to think about it.

Jugdral, like most FE worlds, appears to be strictly Northern Hemisphere, possibly at the latitude of Europe considering the snow-covered state of Silesse. Silesse could, however simply be at a very high elevation which allows for the whole continent to be closer to the equator. It really does look like Fake Europe tipped at an angle the way that Archanea/Valentia[*] look like Fake Eurasia and Fake Americas.  Orgahill would be Great Britain, Agustria is France and Verdane Spain, Grannvale is Germany and Miletos Italy, Northern Thracia is the Balkans and Southern Thracia Greece, while the Yied is Poland, Isaac is Ukraine/European Russia, and Silesse is Scandinavia.

But my headcanon doesn't entirely play that way.  My headcanon also says that a warm ocean current akin to the Gulf Stream keeps Western Jugdral much warmer than eastern nations at the same latitude-- so, Northern Thracia and Southern Agustria aren't in the same climate zone, and Souther Thracia is far less warm than the south of Verdane.  Silesse meanwhile takes the full brunt of a cold airstream that glances off Isaach.

My headcanon also doesn't bother mandating a distinction between Old World Food and New World Food like I do with Archanea/Valentia.

* I refuse to call them Ylisse and Valm.

fooooooooood )

So, where does the coffee grow?  We have to have coffee.  Originally I thought coffee might grow in Isaach because hey, "exotic" peoples at the edge of the desert, but the latitude looks aaaaaall wrong. 
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So after a fairly shitty week at work-- couple of weeks, really-- I came home to something that genuinely brightened my day.

Meet my new writing desk mascot )

Thanks so much, [personal profile] kyusil !  :D
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
It's Father's Day in the U.S. tomorrow.  I could post about my FEELINGS on that, but instead let me point you toward a new and adorable picture of Azel having storytime with babby Arthur.


Speaking of Arthur, I posted Chapter Three of Blackout today.  This was accomplished mostly by chopping the previous draft of Chapter Three in two and saving the battle scenes for later.


Went to a pig roast at a friend's house today.  Said friend's husband had rigged up his Raspberry Pi to a piano and was using it to make the piano play the BGM to NES-era games... while the games were being played.  So you had a bunch of thirtyish professionals sitting around playing Super Mario Bros 2 and NES Tetris while the player piano banged out the BGM, complete with Game Over effects.

So this is what it looks like to have the original Nintendo Generation all grown up.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So. Jugdral pairings.

Actually I wasn't looking at pairings, I was looking at who tagged their pairings, either via A X B or an AB mushed-up name, which is kind of the J!fandom FE equivalent of the cutesy names you see in, IDK, Golden Sun or Pokemon or Harry Potter fandoms.

The thing is, it quickly became clear most fen on Pixiv don't do that (though it seems to be a LOT more common with individual shrines/blogs/archives). For instance, the monstrously popular matchup of Ulster/Julia has all of three tagged entries on Pixiv.

Overall, it seems to be more of an identifying tag within a subgroup, if that makes any sense? A "here be yaoi" kind of thing for, say, "Ced X Arthur" (4 entries) or a way of communicating who you're sticking with some highly popular female character (Tinny, Ayra, Raquesis).

TL;DR-- only a small percentage of shippers for any given Jugdral pairing seem to do the name-combination thing or any kind of pairing tag, and the shippers that use it more often are IMO kind of promoting a "brand identity" that may be a hangover of old, contentious shipping wars.  Then again, the Seliph/Julia shippers, who know they're being naughty, don't tag.

Also... some names maybe don't sound good together? Some tags are definitely catchier than others.  But overall it's not so much a metric of what pairings are popular as which shippers are in-your-face about it, I think. 

Stats under the cut for those who want a fairly meaningless data set. )

The other thing I learned is that everyone gets shipped with Tinny. Everyone.  Still, I couldn't seem to find an ArthurTinny tag that equates to the UlsterLarcei one, though, despite that being a highly popular subject.

Also, Lex/Tiltyu seems really, really UNpopular in J!fandom, at least as Pixiv goes.  I looked through the whole Tiltyu tag and I don't think I saw anything that struck me as bonafide Lex/Tiltyu-- just a couple of OT3s with Azel.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
While crawling through pixiv looking for the most popular Jugdral pairings, I stumbled across a piece of fanart I thought had been deleted.  Turns out it's just not tagged to Seisen no Keifu.

It's the line art "Brady Bunch Meme" piece featuring the Most Pathetic Tinny Ever.


Speshul Bonus:

In the course of going through a metric fuckton of Tinny Pix, I found a piece of fanart that illustrates the "While You Were Sleeping" scenario.  Here's Tinny with an un-petrified Azel.
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OK. So, as a follow-up to this post, here's Gen 2 and miscellany:

Trends, we have trends. )

I did this with the data Ammie gathered in part because I think that, if we're using art as a metric for character popularity in Japan, we do see some definite trends that aren't necessarily related to how well-written a character is, or how awesome a unit they are, or how big a role they have in the plot.  All that seems to be a factor-- you don't see Alec with 150+ pieces of fanart in the archive-- but overall I kind of think the niche the character fills must matter a lot.  Spunky sword princesses who remain suitably feminine?  Yes.  Dutiful reserved guys who'd meet with parental approval if you brought them home?  Yes.  Seliph, the temperate and malleable Perfect Boyfriend?  Yes.  Gracious all-forgiving magical girls?  Yeah, that too-- with or without a side order of serious mental problems.  There's just a shying away from extremes here-- away from the manly men and distinct alpha males, and likewise away from the "powerful" females who fit into a masculine role like Altenna and Briggid.  And yet also away from the dancing girls and even the peg knights.  Definitely away from all the colorful comical supporting characters-- as I said in a comment on the previous post, it's less about the nuts, flakes, and "crunchy" characters and more like a fandom embrace of, I don't know, a creamy, homogenous bowl of frozen vanilla custard.

Of course, since this is purely working with visual "secondary creations" I have to wonder how the fanfiction stats really go.
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So, over at the FE According to Japan tumblr there's a new dataset derived from Pixiv to determine who and what is popular, and it's fascinating.

I could go on all night about the deep meaning of the Gen 2 stats (I knew Lana, Julia and Tinny were popular, but good god), but let's look at Gen 1 first. Now, I've seen lots (OK, basically ALL) of this art myself, so many of these trends don't really surprise me, but a few things did stand out as noteworthy once all the stats are spread out in from of me.

Disclaimer: Pixiv is not the end-all be all of fandom, inaccurate tags skew the data to some extent, etc. I know all of my favorite characters have art filed under "Seisen no Keifu" or simply "Fire Emblem," not to mention some "name combination" shipper's tag in place of their actual names. So there's that.  But that probably goes for all the characters, or at least enough that the trends are accurate even if the numbers aren't. 

FE4, Gen 1, Pixiv Popularity

In which I tl;dr over the stats Ammie collected )

Next time, we venture into the minefield of Gen 2.  Bring your raincoat, as it'll be raining moeblobs.

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, back in the heady days of 2009, I started writing something called "Steadfast Companion."  It rose out of Abel's character ending in FE11: "He was to be married; but in the end his fellow knights were his most steadfast companions."

Given what I knew of Abel, and because FE12 hadn't been announced yet, I thought FE11 might be some weird standalone reboot in which Abel backed out of marrying Est or something, and the story in question (let's call it SC#1) was about that.  It was just a little ambiguous one-shot about Abel, Cain, and Est.  Anyway, it never got finished or published because I got caught up in more ambitious ideas.

Discussion of the Hardest 'Fic Ever )


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