Fairy Dance of Death [Sword Art Online AU]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Catsy, Oct 4, 2013.

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  1. I think yuuki did in fact got ghost'ed. there is no real need for a complete scan since the gear she is using for VR had months to get all the data of her brain to maintain her in the game. it simply needed to be activated.
  2. It's a death game where people murder each other. Where you can be abused six ways from Sunday if you enter a non allied territory. Where you can be stabbed, have your limbs cut off, be tied up, thrown into a fire. So groping? That's not on my radar. That's a misdemeanor type behavior compared to the crap that does happen. Being allowed to hit people and kill them is fine but do groping, not rape, but GROPING, gets you solitary confinement? Where you can be starved and you are trapped in a one room jail cell for X amount of time?

    I also think it's notable that the ONE time in the ENTIRE story that the option would have been useful to have, the woman was threatened and decided to allow it because she knew worse would have happened if she didn't. And kidnapping is also doable anyway, bind them up and drag them.
  3. Yes, and that's really what's at the heart of this. Death, dismemberment, combat--these are the point of the game. They are a core part of why the players are there, they are part of Kayaba's intent. PvP revolves around fighting and killing other players.

    Molestation? Groping? Sexual harassment? These are not gameplay mechanics. They are not an accepted part of PvP in any MMORPG ever created.

    The series is Sword Art Online, not Sukebe Art Online.


    Because fighting and killing are part of the entire point of the game. Sexual assault is not.

    And you're not going to starve in solitary. You can't starve to death in the game in the first place, and it's not X amount of time, it's a clearly-defined 24-hour cool-off time.

    Rosalia had a choice. She could've ignored Prophet's threats and sent him to jail. She could've used that 24-hour window to safely make it to her home city of Gattan where he couldn't touch her. She made the choice to continue operating in the shadows where she had no protection from any retaliation he might think up once she left the safe zone.
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  4. I'd prefer Sukebe Art Online if it meant I wasn't being killed off. Wouldn't you?

    Look, all I'm trying to say is that this isn't a game anymore. It WAS a game, and those rules made sense at the time, but then they got tossed out the window and death became real. It... I'm glad there is an anti rape protection but it just bothers me that it protects you from something so minor as that while making sure to give you a thousand different ways to die. It's so PATRONIZING of him to protect people with such an intrusive system, that is more generally considered an annoyance than anything, while at the same time pushing people to kill each other in sickening displays. The prioritizing feels wrong to me.

    Interestingly, in Log Horizon, it's the opposite situation. When you die you get resurrected but sexual harassment can happen as long as you don't actually damage the other person's hp, in town. Outside of town, it's anything goes. Which also makes more sense to me. It's a world, with all the freedom and consequences that implies. No arbitrary pick and choosing what sort of actions go against the creator's sensibilities.

    If I was given the choice, of these two worlds, I would pick Log Horizon in a heartbeat.
  5. Thing is touma that it was designed as a game, thus must be looked at in that context.

    Great story so far, keep it coming
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  6. Oh man, too many death flags to count: Kleins party, Sasha, and now Yuuki. The fact you're going with the canon approach is a bit depressing, but understandable. I would thought that Kayaba would have found a way to make Yuuki into something of a ghost or AI if her RL body were to croak but she does not die due to in-game effects.

    Yui could use a big sister...

    But also, I love how you made Prophet into Prophet(did not see that coming), and now Laughing Coffin is starting appear as well.

    We need to update TV Tropes and include some Arc Big Bads, Arc 1 was Kibaou, and now Arc 2 is Prophet for sure. Now Spriggans might get hated on even more if word gets out of a Spriggan slaughtering CHILDREN.

    Also, I don't mind the Sexual HArassment-Jail thing Catsy mentioned. I am quite fine with what she/he said. After all, this IS is a MMO in the vein of WoW. Raiding and PvPing go hand in hand.
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  7. JumperPrime

    JumperPrime Interdimensional Observer

    He hasn't slaughtered them yet. They may yet be SAVED by a Spriggan, namely Kirito
  8. It is worth noting that the author of this fic, despite the gender ambiguity of his pseudonym, possesses a Y chromosome. ;)
  9. Knowing Prophet he may not keep his end of the bargain, and he could unleash Johnny Black(if he is there) on them out of boredom. But knowing this story, Kirito will make the save alongside Asuna and Yuuki. Sounds like a reasonable Arc 2 climax: PoH, XaXa, and JB vs. Kirito, Asuna, and Yuuki.

    Edit: Gotcha Catsy. My apologies for the confusion :V
  10. Kalaong

    Kalaong Extinction Is Approaching. FIGHT IT.

    Heh. This actually reminds me of something in canon that I don't know if Catsy is going to keep.

    Early in the first volume of SAO, Kirito says, "It's a nice day, with the nicest weather of Aincrad's nicest season. Too nice to spend it trudging around in a dungeon." And he takes a nap. Later, Kirito looks around at his friends, home, wife, and realizes that he loves Aincrad. That despite the deadly nature of the game, he is living a fulfilling and joyful life full of adventure and excitement. That he is having fun. All of this was designed as a game, and those are supposed to be fun, right? Remember that? Fun? What we used to have before gaming felt like a second job?

    This is why he continues VR gaming even after Aincrad is completed.
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  11. Nice pull. Agree whole heartily.
  12. On the subject of this harassment system being a game, anyone ever given any thought to how it works? It's all well and good to just say that this is a game system, but I don't see a lot of the underlying mechanics that determine who is the victim. The system is unable to determine intent, as far as I can tell, so how does it know who is the aggressor?

    From what we have seen, always, one person initiates contact on the other person and the receiver gets the option to jail them. However, how would it work in a case of mutual contact? For instance, a hand shake. Both parties basically mirror each other when it happens. Since physical contact always gets flagged, then who would get the warning? Would both get it? If no one gets the warning, then why not? If only one receives it, then how did the computer select which one was the perpetrator?

    The thing is, I don't see a mechanic for how the system works. On Log Horizon, it's easy, anyone that does damage to another gets flagged. There is no such easy solution here though.

    One way would be to have the computer check body areas. For instance, if someone's hands are on another person's torso, that would be a flag to jail them. However, something like that could also be a loophole, for instance if you could back a person into a wall and their hands are trying to push you away, this could cause the proximity warnings to decide that the other person was the aggressor. It might also be possible that body extremities don't count against the warning system. So hands and feet can grasp each other but as long as there is no touching beyond the... elbow and knees, for instance, then there will be no flags. This would also allow loopholes, since you could then grab someone's hand with no worries.

    There could be a more complex reasoning. Perhaps the computer prioritizes certain aspects, such as gender and strength. For instance. Two people are grappling. One is male, the other is female. The female is stronger then the male. Men are usually the molesters so, normally, he would get the flag BUT the woman is much stronger and is therefore would be able to break away on her own, therefore she would be considered the aggressor. Level may also be taken into account. If there is a 10 level difference or more then the higher leveled person is automatically considered the aggressor.

    Stuff like that. I'm pretty sure this system isn't as perfectly protective as it would like us to believe, if you really try and think about the situation and assign it game mechanics that defines how it does what it does.
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  13. These are extremely good thoughts.

    My thinking on it has been like so: it is not a binary, black/white situation where a given touch necessarily automatically results in a prompt. There is some kind of an internally-defined threshold which must be exceeded, and different factors will make the prompt appear more quickly. The longer a touch goes on before the contact ends, the more likely it is to trip the warning. There is likely a HUD warning for who the system deems the "aggressor" shortly before the "victim" gets their prompt, to allow them the chance to back off in the case of an "innocent" violation.

    Example: contact which involves one person gripping another with their hand contributes more quickly towards a violation than, say, rubbing shoulders with them; otherwise moving through a crowd would quickly become prohibitive.

    Contact closer to the torso (as opposed to, say, a handshake or grabbing someone's wrist) contributes more quickly towards a violation.

    To use your examples, a higher difference in level or strength would cause a violation to appear more quickly.

    The emotion system could come into play as well. The system cannot determine intent, but it can determine when one person is afraid and the other is not, and weigh the contact accordingly.

    Gender could, indeed, also come into play in weighting the interaction one direction or another.

    You raise many good questions, but in the end I don't see that the specific mechanics need to be nailed down in a binary way for the purposes of this story. A weighted system like this would fit the various scenes in which this occurs (or doesn't). For example, why was Rosalia able to grab Silica's wrist and keep her from falling without tripping the system? Likely because that particular interaction was considered a low-weight risk of being harassment versus another context (female to female, yellow cursors to each other, Silica was falling, hand on wrist, short duration).
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  14. daniel_gudman

    daniel_gudman KING (in land of blind)

    Hey Jails are in town, right? Are Jails in Safe Zones? Where DOT is suspended and you cannot take damage?

    If my HP is sliding to zero and I've got like the Super Virus negative status and the raid's screwed, and I'm one of those squishy mages with crap speed and defense, then wouldn't it be kind of a good idea to squeeze the tank's butt and get shipped the hell out of dodge?

    Wait if Prophet has me at knife point and's gonna steal all my gear and maybe probably kill me, and I plant a big ol' wet one on him, is that a "get outta here for free" card? Well, maybe not free since I have to cool my heels in the Time Out Bin for a day, but I wouldn't lose any Col or equipment or my life.

    I agree with Toma about the "patronizing" thing, because Kayaba's like "hey commit any atrocities except kissing without turning off Parental Consent!" And I dunno that "sex" is a completely alien thing to MMOs (hey thar GOLDSHIRE); in fact sexual harassment is probably a more normal part of MMOs than, uh, actually getting your brain fried.

    I mean, from a narrative perspective I actually kinda like the idea that there's kinda this dissonance between "rules from when it was still just a game" and "rules from within the Deathgame", but that's explicitly acknowledging that the Harassment System is disproportionate to the rest of the game's innate morality.

    But don't forget that there are situations where "instant free teleportation to a Safe Zone" is by far the most important part of the Rules Against Bad Touches, and that there are Players who will abuse that loophole.
  15. No, because the victim still has to confirm that they think this was harassment by accepting the prompt. It's not automatic. Someone bent on killing you would laugh. And then kill you.

    I have no doubt there are players who would think of that loophole and want to abuse it. But consider the psychology involved. You have a party. You're Mage McSquishypants. You want the option of being teleported back to a Safe Zone if everyone's about to wipe. But it's not automatic, so you'd have to either ambush another party member with this behavior in the middle of battle and hope they consider it harassment and jail you, or work it out as a plan in advance. I can just imagine how that conversation would go.

    Mage: Hey tank, if things go really bad, I'm going to grab your ass and I want you to accept the harassment prompt and teleport me to jail.
    Tank: Wait. You're telling me that if you think we're about to wipe, you want to do something offensive so that you, and only you, can get teleported to safety at the worst possible time and abandon the rest of us here to wipe. Am I hearing this correctly?
    Mage: Uh, that's not what I meant.
    Tank: Well that's sure as fuck what I heard. *dissolves party*

    That would go over even better in a raid group, I'll bet. And it's not something you could abuse to quickly get free of a dangerous area and go get help for your friends, because you'd still have to cool your heels in a jail cell, incommunicado, for 24 hours--leaving anyone else behind.

    I don't think this loophole is quite as exploitable as you might think. It exists, but human nature and self-interest are going to prevent it from being a reliable get-out-of-shit-free card.
  16. Hmm, well, a good potential reason to make it a black and white, specific, mechanic would be to increase the importance of Yui.

    My understanding of her character is that she is supposed to handle the emotional imbalances of the game. She is the aspect that can determine human nuance, intent, and meaning. By locking her away, that would be crippling a certain aspect of the game, the one that monitors, understand, and responds to changes in emotional health. The main purpose of doing this is to make it 'okay' for people to brutally murder each other and commit suicide. I would think that there would also be other repercussions from having done that though. Such as by making a more rigid system for harassment prompts.

    A good example is the whole sleeping situation. When Yui was active, I would imagine that she would have been able to stop a player from tricking the system in that way. She would be the anti exploit program since she would be able to realize when the players were doing something underhanded. However, since she is locked away, the system will allow such things, even though it knows that the player is being manipulated.

    Since she monitors every, single, player at all times, I could see her as being originally intended for a bigger role before it became a death trap. Could it be possible that she was designed to replace various GMs? She would handle all player problems personally, whenever there is a need. Possibly, she would modify various mobs to subtly help with their playthroughs, if they were having trouble and to give some NPC more life. Maybe other stuff.
  17. And a good reason not to is that it would make almost any scene involving normal human contact prohibitively irritating or impossible to write without constantly drawing attention to the mechanic or finding ways to work around it. Kirito holding Yuuki's hand? Harassment warning. Rosalia stopping Silica from falling? Harassment warning (and one that would've neatly derailed the plot). Klein and the horseplay with his buddies, or his reassuring arm-pat to Sasha? Harassment warning. Sasha interacting with her kids? Harassment warning (and don't tell me there wouldn't be at least one brat who'd love to try sending the teacher to jail for a day).

    Making the system capable of nuance without specifically defining hard parameters for how it calculates the "harassment" threshold gives me a lot more narrative flexibility--or more specifically, gives me almost as much as someone writing real-world interactions--without violating (my own) SoD.

    I do not currently have a specific plot that revolves around bringing in Yui, although she certainly exists as she would've in canon. But I don't see how making this mechanic black-and-white (e.g. touch another person for X seconds), without any capability for discerning nuances between situations (which was the point of this), would help facilitate her inclusion. Her absence would not obviate the possibility of there being nuance in the harassment system; we already know that the system can process and analyze emotional input without her, because that's how the system decides how to animate involuntary emotional responses like tears or nervous trembling (or, in the case of the Cait Sith, unconscious ear and tail movement).

    Let's just say that for reasons specific to one of the core myth arcs of FDD, this need is already addressed.
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  18. Man, this scene is tough to write.
  19. Kalaong

    Kalaong Extinction Is Approaching. FIGHT IT.

    What kind of help are you looking for?
  20. To tell the truth, I don't actually know--I wish I did. I think part of it is that the interactions between Prophet and the kids are very unpleasant and I don't much enjoy getting in his head. So I have an inclination to want to rush this along that I should be resisting.

    On top of various real life foo.
  21. TheSandman

    TheSandman From NERV's Heart I Stab At Thee

    The big question is whether PoH is at a point in his plans where he's ready to become Public Enemy #1.

    If he isn't, then he's going to be constrained by the need to not murder anyone from the orphanage. Or, alternatively, he's going to be murdering all of them. Probably by kiting monsters onto them from the depths, so that the Monument doesn't leave any clues.

    If he is, then he's going to be killing all but one or two of them, so that the survivors can tell the story.

    Plus whether he actually gives a damn about Sasha's notes for his own sake, or if he was hired by someone else and saw an opportunity to further his own goals at the same time.
  22. So, here's a cheerful thought.

    There is one character who is known to canonically be multilingual, who speaks Japanese almost entirely unaccented, but who has native experience pronouncing sounds from non-Japanese languages.

    Can you guess who it is?
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  23. TheSandman

    TheSandman From NERV's Heart I Stab At Thee

    You know, before I moused over your link, I was going to say "Agil".

    But oh dear, that is a disconcerting bit of information.
  24. The air was filled with screams. High and shrill, young and scared, they overlapped with each other and rose and fell until they blended into a cacophony of terror that defied every attempt Silica made to get the situation under control. It took her some time to realize that she, too, was contributing towards this wall of noise, and that this probably wasn’t helping matters any.

    And then, at the conclusion of a guttural chant that she barely even heard until the final syllable was spat out, there was dead silence.

    Not silence—Silence. The spell energy washed over the group of children until it met the sealed gate against which they were trapped, the bracketed ellipsis icon of the status effect blinking into existence beside their status ribbons like white breakers in a wave. In the span of a single breath, there was no more sound—but no less fear. Eight sets of wide, terrified eyes looked back at their adult assailants unblinkingly, stunned into stillness by the loss of their voices.

    “That’s better,” Prophet said with a grunt as he lowered his left hand from its casting position. Into the sudden near-absolute silence there was a low tone receding with a faint Doppler effect which could be heard over the rushing of the water below. Beneath his hood, Prophet’s yellow eyes glided to the left to follow the sound; Silica did so as well and saw a fading violet flight trail heading downstream through the major waterway that cut beneath the span of the bridge. She did a quick count—Jeinaa was missing on this side of the gate; the children on the other side had—thank goodness!—fled by the time the killing started. She hoped they found a way out; there was nothing she could do for them now.

    Prophet glanced down and snapped his fingers once; an Imp with spiked metal gauntlets and a serrated dagger with a glowing tip flew out from beneath the bridge. He, too, was hooded; Silica couldn’t clearly see his face, but she could tell he was looking at the man who’d just summoned him.

    “After her,” Prophet said curtly.

    The noise that came from the Imp was almost comically petulant. “But I’ll miss all the fun!”

    Prophet simply stared back the hovering man. “Then you’d best stop wasting time.”

    As Silica watched helplessly, the Imp shot off at once in the direction of his prey, a high-pitched giggle trailing behind him. Their Spriggan captor then turned back to the group of children, gaze flicking between them as if he couldn’t stand to have it linger on any one of them for long. His eyes finally came to a rest on Rosalia’s fiery Remain Light where it hung in the air at waist level, not far away.

    “That Silence spell is going to wear off soon,” he said without preamble as he stepped forward, causing the collection of kids to take a step back—only to find that there was nowhere to go; the rearmost of them were backed against the gate and it was a long drop on either side to the channel below. “The first one who speaks without permission, dies.” He made a sound deep in his throat, and spat meaningfully at Rosalia’s Remain Light; the effect passed straight through it and disappeared into the slow stream running through the center of the bridge. “If you have any adolescent delusions of immortality, or any doubt that I will end you before you can finish casting a spell… feel free to ask her opinion.”

    He crouched beside the Remain Light, staring intently at it. The way it was positioned between him and Silica put a reddish cast on his ash-hued skin, giving him a demonic appearance that she found sickeningly appropriate. He stretched out a finger and poked it into the silent red flames; they had no substance and offered no resistance to the motion. “Any moment now, Rosalia. I know you can still hear me in there.” His words were clipped, simple, but delivered with a slow and steady cadence.

    “Are you looking forward to meeting Her?” A pause. The Remain Light offered no reply.

    “Are you wondering how it feels when the device kills you?” He traced a finger around the edges of the flames; they seemed to have no reaction, and simply wrapped around his hand until it passed.

    Prophet’s eyes once more darted around in a methodical way, as if he was always keeping track of his surroundings to some degree, then back down at the center of the dwindling light. “Think there’ll be any pain? If you’ll wake at least once before...” There was a flicker, a shimmer; Prophet’s low-voiced taunts trailed off as he watched the last remaining sign that Rosalia had existed in this world begin to shrink and sputter until it went out completely. “Well, consider your curiosity satisfied.”

    He looked up from his crouch and met Silica’s eyes; she gave an involuntary whimper and choked it off as soon as she realized the status was no longer in effect—and she wasn’t the only one. “Good girl,” he said. “Keep control of yourself, and you live a little longer. For now, we wait.”

    Slowly, with hesitation born of fear and uncertainty, Silica raised her hand, head bowed, as if seeking recognition from an extremely strict teacher. She heard a snicker from the backstabbing Imp that Rosalia had called XaXa, and a more ambiguous grunt from Prophet that preceded one bitten-off word. “What.”

    Silica took this as hopeful evidence that she wasn’t going to get cut down by this crazy Spriggan simply for asking the question—and hoped that this didn’t amount to very short-lived wishful thinking. “Um… what are we waiting for? I mean, why are you keeping us here?”

    Prophet was considerably taller than her; it took no effort on his part to look down on her. But even if he hadn’t loomed so, his posture still would’ve radiated contempt for her existence. “We’re waiting for a package. In the meantime, I’m trying to decide whether or not you’re worth the effort.”

    Silica barely managed to get out the follow-up question. “The effort for what?”

    “To kill you,” he said bluntly, eyeing them disinterestedly. The words provoked an immediate ripple of whimpers from behind Silica, and more than a few hissed warnings of silence from the others. “The lot of you must be level 5 or 6 at most. It’d be like popping bubble wrap.”

    “Hey, popping bubble wrap is fun, boss,” said XaXa earnestly, flexing his free hand and making a pinching motion. “Nothing better for relieving stress.” Silica was struck suddenly by the absurd realization of how he sounded; he couldn’t have been much older than Keita and his friends. It stood in stark, disturbing contrast to his words and the deadly threat that lay behind them.

    “Noted,” Prophet said. “You see the problem, though. They’d DOT to death in seconds from one of Black’s poisons. Even a scratch from any of our weapons would pop them. I doubt we’d even get any EXP.”

    “Maybe,” XaXa said apprehensively, sounding as if he was on the verge of having his toys taken away. “But there’s a lot of them. Quantity over quality?”

    “No,” Prophet said firmly. “Sometimes you have to know when to throw the little fish back. The hunt will be sweeter, the delivery to the Mistress richer, after they’ve leveled up a lot more. And then they’ll spend the rest of their lives wondering if today is the day they’re strong enough to be worth killing.”

    Silica couldn’t be sure, but she told herself fervently that this meant they weren’t going to be killed outright here. At least, she did until her mind insisted on avoiding the subject, wandering to irrelevancies. There was something about Prophet’s voice that was almost mesmerizing at times. Something she couldn’t place, something exotic—a hint of an accent, somewhere, lingering in his otherwise flawless Japanese. She didn’t have the right words to narrow it down further than that, but every now and then it grabbed her attention in something he said, as if giving her an excuse to focus on something other than the peril they faced.

    It was still taking everything she had to put on a good face for the younger kids; when she was sure the fear didn’t show, she turned and briefly looked over her shoulder, trying to persuasively fake her calm and confidence. They were all looking at her as if they expected her to do something—all of them, especially Sachi. She couldn’t bear that look for long.

    XaXa scowled beneath his hood, folding his arms across his chest with an annoyed grunt, the long blade of his estoc tapping against his upper arm. “We could at least play a game while we wait,” he protested.

    Prophet angled his head slightly over his shoulder. “You have something in mind?”

    In the blink of an eye, the scowl turned to an eager grin. “I like the one where we make ‘em fight each other, and the last one alive goes free.”

    “The last time we did that,” Prophet said wearily after a beat, “Black killed the winner anyway.”

    XaXa made a show of looking around and shading his eyes with his hand, as if peering into the distance. “Well I don’t see him here now. Who knows how long it’ll take him to get back if he and the girl both run their wings dry?”

    Silica heard several whimpers from behind her. She could sympathize—she herself wanted to shut her eyes, curl into a ball and pretend that this wasn’t happening. She felt someone squeeze her from behind, a head pressing against her back and smaller arms wrapping around her waist. Another set of arms followed the first.

    Prophet made a thoughtful sound, looking back at his captives. Silica reached down and gently pried the hands from around her, and positioned herself unmistakably in the center of the bridge, between the others and their captors. She was aware she was trembling, but she forced herself to meet the man’s bright amber eyes, swallowing and setting her jaw defiantly.

    A smile slowly twisted the corner of the man's lips. “I have an idea.”
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  25. JumperPrime

    JumperPrime Interdimensional Observer

    I suspect that we're not gonna like Prophet's idea, no matter what it is, and Silica definitely won't like it.
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