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XCOM: Second Contact [ME/XCOM] - Fifth Thread

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Agayek, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Mandemon GIMME COOKIES!


    I guess Ethereals then never got a live Queen to play with.

    Though I don't get the whole "exist outside the scale" point, either you exist within the scale, or you are too powerful to be placed on the said scale.
  2. And that's a good thing too. Would you want to go against psyonic Crysallids?
    bdun140, Giygas, Zerris and 2 others like this.
  3. Zerodius Baffled by existence

    I want to point out that killing characters for the sake of killing characters is kind of cheap and is one the ways one can use to make a reader no longer care about the characters in the story.

    I am not saying that miraculous bullshit excuses should be pulled off at every moment whenever a character is threatened. But killing characters for the sake of killing characters on the pretense that 'X SETTING IS HARSH. SOMEBODY MUST DIE TO PROVE IT'S HAAAAAAAAAARSH' is annoying and very, very cheap.


    I'd like to repeat once more that deaths in X-Com are born of bad luck, bad planning, and sheer bad odds (they *do* fight hopeless wars with overwhelming opponents). I feel that randomly killing off characters to prove that a setting is a BRUTAL ONE, MAN! is kind of artificial. I get that bad odds and faillible characters can get failures and they should indeed not be deus ex machina-ed away (or at least, not lightly) but there is such a thing as diabolus ex machina and it's every bit as annoying in my opinion.


    (And for all of Mass Effect being character-driven and my arguments in favor of not killing off a few fan-favorites until they at least fulfill some of their better scenes, I'd like to state that Mass Effect is quite the meat grinder itself ; keep in mind that Agayek has not killed more characters than is actually expected for a Mass Effect setting story arc. Heck, with Nihilus, he didn't as much kill him as delay his death from 'first mission' to 'endgame'. And for all of Kaidan dying, either Kaidan or Ashley was going to die at Virmire in the original. Kaidan's death just happened to be much earlier in the story. So far, Agayek has, funnily enough, not killed any extra characters compared to Mass Effect canon.

    In fact, this far? This is equivalent to a perfect run ; Wrex is still alive after all.

    And let us remember that although the story diverge after the Sovereign story arc, in the original trilogy, Mass Effect 2 can and will kill off most/all of your team if you screw up and the third game had a lot of deaths if you didn't do things correctly and still a lot of deaths if you did things correctly.

    Do not confuse 'character-driven' with 'everyone has plot armor'.)
    dz1, bdun140, Giygas and 11 others like this.
  4. ryuan Cutest little sister

    And yet always saving the named characters because of plot armor is even more ridiculous. At what point you draw the line? When a death is 'justified' or done for the sake of 'grimderpness'?
  5. CKirk Augur of the Core

    Also, Kaiden is already dead.
  6. MetalKing1417 We need more Dune fics

    Agayek has been good about that so far. Which ultimately makes the characters that did die outside their time all the more hitting (OK, so last time we checked, Kaidan wasn't technically dead, but he isn't that far off)
  7. Technically he's brain dead.
  8. Night_stalker SB's resident Advocatus Diabolis

    As is Nihlus.
  9. Zerodius Baffled by existence

    Well, added to my original post.

    Basically, the "HEY THIS IS X-COM. SOMEBODY HAS TO DIE. LET'S TAKE BETS!" attitude is not a good one and a recipe for grimderp-ness. There is a reason that the 'Worf effect' is frowned upon.

    Ultimately, like anything else, it vary a lot on how it's done. A lot of people forget that Mass Effect, although character-driven, is NOT a kind setting and that only and only Joker has actual, real plot armor (in fact, Shepard, for all of being the main character, has actually the thinnest plot armor ; sure, he is revived at Mass Effect 2's beginning after being basically Worfed by Harbinger but his death in Mass Effect 3 is *the* hardest one to avoid and unlike Mass Effect 2's, sticks no matter what if it happens). Heck, the setting has on its own an awful lot of deaths that just plain cannot be avoided and getting everyone to live demand to make the correct decisions and an immense amount of effort and in some cases, even luck. I just feels that people think that just because this fic got a X-Com label on it, characters should die randomly because... well, because supposedly characters die randomly in X-Com.

    I just wanted to point out that it makes for poor storytelling.
    dz1, bdun140, kenigsberg and 4 others like this.
  10. pheonix89 Lurker

    First point, welp, the queens are NIGHTMARISH physical combatants and monsterous direct psi's - not really something that can easily be captured in one piece.

    The second point is less off the scale upwards, and more off the scale sideways. The scale is for measuring the power of human psi's - and both the Rachni and Thorian, as well as sectoids and etherals, wield powers that humans simply cannot get. Rachni - corpse puppetting and long-range but Rachni and psionic only telepathy. Thorian - outright mind control rather than meat puppeting, whatever it does to absorb knowledge, being the original psionic and the wierd concept-speech. Sectoids - mind merge. Ethereals - the hive mind, controlling 'lids, whatever it is that lets them be consistently strong in all areas.
    Chase92 and Agayek like this.
  11. Agayek Ravenous Gormandizer

    They did, actually. It's just that said queens proved to be both too powerful to control and too willful to subjugate.

    This combined with the fact that there were all of 300 of them for the entire species and the Ethereals decided to write them off as a failure and take the Chryssalids as terror weapons.

    You're approaching it from the wrong angle.

    It's not that the Thorian or Rachni's power can't be measured. It's that they're so fundamentally different from human psionics that the human metrics don't, can't, apply. It would be kinda like trying to measure distance in lux or kilograms.

    Edit:
    The line is basically "did it make sense, narratively and logically, for character X to die?"

  12. Does that mean that we haven't seen the last of TIM?
  13. Night_stalker SB's resident Advocatus Diabolis

    Unlikely, X-COM executed him.

    Then cremated him.

    Then threw the ashes into the nearest landfill.

    On Luna.

    They tend not to mess around.
  14. Of all the canon ME characters, the only ones with both the resources and minds twisty enough to come up with a convincing Machiavellian plot to fake their own deaths are TIM, the Shadow Broker and maybe Benezia.
  15. Night_stalker SB's resident Advocatus Diabolis

    Yeah, but TIM this time doesn't have the resources to fake his death, and X-COM has no reason to spare him.
  16. TempestK A tempest in a tea kettle

    There's also the fact that Xcom nipped his bud before he actually had the resources that he did as TIM. He was publicly executed if I recall; and with XCom's resources, they'd be able to ensure that the body was actually his. And if it wasn't... they'd have launched a manhunt for him. TIM's execution was years ago.
  17. Ed130 Courage and Duty

    Besides TIM showing up afterwards would invalidate his whole martyr speech way back in chapter 6.

    And quite frankly I find the concept of a resurrected Xcom-TIM to be a disgrace to one of the better portrayals of that character.
  18. TIM is a raging hypocrite amongst his many other sins. I see no problem with him giving his martyr speech and then faking his own death.
    Cyrus 21 likes this.
  19. Take a step back, guys. The original TIM committed treason to try and showcase flaws in the human defense program. He was executed for it, apparently willingly, as he viewed the deaths involved as a necessary sacrifice to protect many, many more.

    Don't you think that might inspire the next Illusive Man to one day rise to his/her own challenges?
    Chase92 and searcher8 like this.
  20. Now THAT would be interesting. I don't really see TIM's replacement as being likely to take on the title of "The Illusive Man" though. More likely, he or she would pick a completely different codename, and try to portray Harper as a martyr who died to protect humanity, while still trying to create Cerberus in a way that they think Harper would approve of.
    DragoLord19D likes this.
  21. He took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not The Illusive Man' he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the organization from the previous Illusive Man, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Illusive Man either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Illusive Man has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.'
  22. DragoLord19D I ate a TARDIS but I'm still hungry!

    That... That make all KINDS of sense...
    Chase92 and LONE WOLF 666 like this.
  23. So, does that mean that Wrex is Fezzik?
  24. TempestK A tempest in a tea kettle

    And that would make Garrus Inigo Montoya.
  25. And Joker is Vizzini!

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