So I realize that there are some things about Korean culture that people might not think of readily, so I wanted to offer a few fun thoughts and tidbits:
To recap, Hana Song aka D.Va is a teen World Starcraft Champion from the port city of Busan, famous for its beaches and Buddhist temples
At 19 years old, she is old enough drive, but the legal age is 18, so she wouldn’t have had a license for long. Oh, and personal anecdote: The Korean system makes it so that you can attain your driver’s license in three days if you really wanted to. So, I have a license, but I haven’t touched a car since I got the license… which I got in three days…
Also, within Korea, Busan is known for its aggressive taxi drivers / drivers in general, aha. I did a day trip with some friends the other day and it was gorgeous, the beach was stunning, but the bus ride was… a little nervewracking…
Korea has mandatory military service for its men for about two years, which you can fulfill between the ages of 18 and 25. So, unless Overwatch plans to change the system in their world, D.Va is working in a military with this in place.
Dunno what Overwatch is going to do with futuristic Busan, but in Korea, if you’re super famous, you’re going to end up on a lot of pizza, fried chicken, cosmetics, and or air conditioner commercials. Each of those are links, but if you want an example of how excessive Korea can get about one person, look at this Kim Yuna compilation. That’s not even all of them - just some of the ones from the year 2016. If D.Va is recognized as a national hero and an idol simultaneously, I wouldn’t be surprised by this kind of treatment.
Further, Korean idols are held to a high standard of moral character, as they are expected to be hardworking, positive role models for children and other youths.
But seriously, I could write an essay on how celebrity culture / marketing in Korea differs. Heck, I have, for school.
okay so, dis gonna be my faves I’ve read recently with a variation of series, oneshots, smuts, fluffs, etc… None are mine, the url of the author will be by the title of the writing. Also, I'm a multifandom hoe so, I’ll try to have a mix of my favorite groups in the list, but for now its mostly exo and bts. Enjoy ya nasties xoxo.
reader applies and gets a job at sin city, her sweet and dangerous moves make the owner jimin break some of his own rules because of his attraction to her, 10/10 would recommend to anyone in the kpop fandom, favorite series ✩
airplane crash au, you’re stranded with Jongin after being the only survivors of the accident and learn how to live with eachother but feelings get caught up in the middle, smut torwards the end, amazing plot
incubus!yoongi, you summon a demon just for funs and now he’s stuck in the ground half naked and he’s obligated to stay with you until he sexually satisfies you, read it even if you aren’t a yoongi stan, this had me laughing so hard
soulmates!jongin, in a world full of people with their true love, you and your boyfriend go against the odds and continue dating and as he finds his soulmate, everything gets tougher but not all hope is lost, angsty fluff, its really good I promise
— heavy drinking | cursing | oral sex | jimin being sleazy | hoseok being an asshole | lots of pool references | just adult things
— jimin’s the bartender, you’re the billiard hotshot who frequents his bar and challenges him to a clean game of 9-ball after hours. “see if you can make this shot with my hand down your pants” au
DEVELOPER(S):Bobby “ponett” Schroeder ENGINE: RPGMaker VX Ace GENRE: RPG, Fantasy SUMMARY: SLARPG is a short, turn-based RPG following the story of Melody Amaranth, a kindhearted but meek transgender fox who’s decided to learn healing magic and become a paladin. She’s joined by her adventurous girlfriend Allison, as well as their friends Claire (a sarcastic, rule-bending witch)(she is also trans) and Jodie (a dependable, somewhat motherly knight). Over the course of the story, our inexperienced heroes will meddle with forces beyond their control and find themselves responsible for the fate of their quaint little hometown. They’ll also fight some spherical frogs, travel to a forgotten land in the sky, befriend a robot or two, and anger the local librarian. But that should go without saying.
All smut will be marked, requests are currently closed!
Please request. I don’t write personal fics, but I might create characters for some of them. Its mostly Dylan O’Brien (because I’m complete trash but you already knew that) but I do write for a lot of other characters. Send me an ask if you’re wondering who I write for I’ll answer it. I don’t do girl/girl or boy/boy. I’m sorry, I just wouldn’t be able to do it right. Other than that, enjoy my trash-list Masterlist.
Summary: Your friends mock you for being a virgin so you turn to tinder.
Pairing: Jeon Jeong-guk/ Reader
Genre: Fluff (eventual smut)
A/N: Basically I quickly wrote this to rant on how much friends suck…the first part of this story actually happen to me and its literally hell but unfortunately I dont have a tinder and never will, unless Jungkook really has one ;) lol jk
A = Aftercare Kai’s definitely going to be a guy that’s going to take care of you well. He’s got dogs that are practically his kids, his niece, Taeoh, on Yummy Yummy he said he wanted to know how to cook so he can help his wife. He’s going to take care of you, and happily do it too. He’s one that’s got a warm rag on stand by, lotions and things are waiting in the bedside.
B = Body part (Their favorite body part of theirs and also their partner’s) We all know the golden part on Jongin is his hips, c’mon. He relishes in how him just dancing can get you all hot and bothered, watching the sharp thrusts and fluid rolls. I’m not even going to try and act like he’s not a basic lil horny boy. He likes your boobs. No use hiding it. He’s almost kid-ish with his touching fixation he has with you, he likes squeezing the soft bits of you, that includes ya titties.
C = Cum Kai’s still pretty young, I don’t think he’s quite mastered the art of not making a fucking mess with his male tears. He’s pretty messy, and very vocal when he cums. He’s a pretty loud moaner with you in general, but when he finishes, he goes up a good 4-6 notches in volume.
D = Dirty Secret (a dirty secret of theirs) While he’s really touchy feely with you, he’s got somewhat of a voyeur kink, that he hasn’t revealed to you yet. Kai has such open play with you, that he likes toying with the idea of not being allowed to touch you, and just having to watch you play all by yourself while he’s squirming in his seat.
E = Experience (How experienced are they? Do they know what they’re doing?) Between him and Sehun borrowing Noonas’ phones and returning them with the history deleted, and he was the only one of him and Sehun who understood the dick joke the lady on Yummy Yummy said, I’m pretty damn sure his ass knows about dicks and sex and the whole shabang. He knows too much about moving those damn hips too. If he hasn’t had sex, then I wanna know who taught him that shit. He’s easily taught though, so if he doesn’t know what’s going down, he knows enough from watching things to know what to do, he’s just gotta apply his knowledge to you.
F = Favorite position Knowing he needs proper room to work the magic that is Kai’s hips, doggy style is usually what he prefers. You laid out before him, exposed to his eyes, and unknowing of when he’ll strike. From behind, he’s able to get his grab on, let his hands wander around your back, easily reach around and touch your chest, grab a handful of your ass, and be able to unleash the beast that is his thrusts? it’s the best of all worlds in his eyes.
G = Goofy (Are they more serious in the moment, or are they humorous, etc) Kai’s a typically lighthearted and goofy guy in most situations, I don’t see any way that doesn’t spill over into his sex life. Although sometimes he likes to play that there’s a difference between Jongin(ur soft lil bby bf) and Kai(ready to fuck you into next week), in general, the atmosphere isn’t tense or serious, it’s all fun with him.
H = Hair (How well groomed are they) He whips those abs out so much, my Nana makes so many jokes about his lil nip nops it kills me. Not much hair in sight, and he’s very clean and put together but he does have stubble a lot so I don’t think he shaves every day. I think he grooms down there, but it’s not very frequently, maybe a few times a month.
I = Intimacy (How are they during the moment, romantic aspect…) [Back to Aftercare] He’s very loving, and caring, and he’d be the most romantic you can imagine. He’s the classic kind of romance, maybe a few candles but mostly he’s very vocal during sex, cooing about how perfect you are, how well you take him, how much he loves you.
J = Jack Off (Masturbation) [Back to using the Noona’s phone….] Kai almost always has his hand on his dick, let’s be honest. I think it’s hilarious he’s playing a character that addicted to video games and porn, that’s practically him at this point. He’s all the time in the bathroom, or always in the shower. He’s not fooling anyone, but we’ll just let him think he’s being sneaky.
K = Kink (One or more of their kinks) I lowkey think Kai has(i think this is what its called) exhibition kink? Or is it voyeur? Idk, whatever, he likes being watched with you. He doesn’t necessarily want a threesome, but it’s been toyed with in convo, that you might try out at some point with having a third person just watch. He watched porn with sehun dont play me i know whats going on
L = Location (Favorite places to do the do) Kai will pretty much nail you anywhere, he’s not a stickler for location. Seeing as Chan’s the lockpick master, a locked door doesn’t even matter so with the amount of times Chan has gotten into the bathroom while Kai’s in there…Kai just doesn’t care anymore. He favors the bathroom though, he likes plopping some nice bathbombs in the tub and spending some relaxing time with you before he takes you for a ride.
M = Motivation (What turns them on, gets them going) Grindings kind of his thing, all you have to do is trick him into back hugging you and roll your hips back into his crotch, and he’s sweeping you off to find a closet or bathroom or practice room to bend you over.
N = NO (Something they wouldn’t do, turn offs) While he does have a thing for being watched, under no circumstances will he agree to a threesome, no matter who the third person is. Kai’s pretty protective and possessive, which is why he likes being watched, it sends a pretty clear message that you’re his and they can watch all they want but they can’t touch you like he can, can’t make you moan like he can, can’t make you cum like he can. It’s a show of dominance to him.
O = Oral (Preference in giving or receiving, skill, etc) I don’t trust his tongue tbh Kai’s more of a fan of being in you, rather than your mouth or his on you. But of course foreplay is very important, and he doesn’t dislike going down on you, he’s actually really good at it, he’s just so impatient he’d rather get to the main event. He doesn’t turn down a bj, but again, he’d rather be in between your legs, rather than in your mouth.
P = Pace (Are they fast and rough? Slow and sensual? etc.) If his damn thrusts are any indication to how he is in the sack, Kai’s got a pretty fast pace. His thrusts are pretty unforgiving, and teeters on the line of being rough, but he’s good at reading your body if he’s being a little too rough.`
Q = Quickie (Their opinions on quickies rather than proper sex, how often, etc.) Quickies are actually really frequent in your relationship, Kai’s a fan of being able to pull you away from the group or something for a fast pounding, more so because he likes seeing your face all flushed and hair a mess when you two return to the group and have to pretend like nothing happened even though everyone knows…they know..
R = Risk (Are they game to experiment, do they take risks, etc.) Kai’s really playful in the bedroom, if you or him want to try something, there’s almost a 100% chance you’ll test it out, at least once. Positions, toys, locations, kinks, etc, he’s game to try anything with you.
S = Stamina (How many rounds can they go for, how long do they last…) Kai’s still young, and he’s got a lot of young boy energy still. Sex with him lasts a significant time, and dick entering stuff lasts a good 5-10 mins, but one round is all he can handle honestly.
T = Toy (Do they own toys? Do they use them? On a partner or themselves?) He’s got a few basics, just to bring in just for a little extra fun every once in a while. Some silk ropes, a blindfold, some interesting vibrating panties. They’re not used very frequent, but when they come out, he does enjoy them a lot.
U = Unfair (how much they like to tease) Kai is a bit of a little shit, he’s really into teasing you a lot. He likes watching you twitch, and he gets off on you begging, so teasing is an all time favorite of his.
V = Volume (How loud they are, what sounds they make) He’s insanely loud, to the point you’ve joked and toyed with the idea of getting him a freaking ball gag. He’s a moaner, but hell that might as well be bumped up and call him a screamer, he’s so loud.
W = Wild Card (Get a random headcanon for the character of your choice) Lord knows you’ve been walked in on more times than you can count, being walked in by the EXO members that you’re close to is already bad, but the dressing room backstage during an SM event when Kai’s squeezing a quick one on and you’re caught with your pants around your ankles and a dick in you by Taemin is top 5 worse moments of your life. Kai found it hilarious though…idiot boy…
X = X-Ray (Let’s see what’s going on in those pants, picture or words) I have a fascination with Kai’s crotch. Is that weird? Same with Taemin and Hansol, I really like the guys that know how to tuck right and it’s practically completely flat in the front.
but boi :)))))
Y = Yearning (How high is their sex drive?) How may horny puppy references can I make? Bcuz that’s what he is. His sex drive is just a smidgen above average, just high enough that it’s a ‘did you seriously pop another boner? didnt we just do this smh’ kind of thing. He’s pretty much ready to go at any moment, and he’s turn on at the drop of a hat, so I’ll pray for your souls.
Z = ZZZ (… how quickly they fall asleep afterwards) I imagine Kai as a puppy tbh. After he’s had his little work out, he needs a nap straight away. So Kai falls asleep fairly quickly after you two do the do, even if he’s only got a few more minutes to spare, he’s done closed his eyes and he’s snoring. Night Night Nini.
Druids already have a huge part in most roles, so they don’t need much in terms of catering. A bard might need to feel more involved in a campaign, but a support druid can also provide utility, tankiness, damage… they can Wild Shape or cast a spell whenever they need anything! They are one of the most versatile classes in the entire game. If they need encouragement, give them a variety of challenges (as you should always be doing, really) to force them to take more creative problem-solving measures.
Make unique landscapes and environments for the druid. You don’t have to do it every time, but every once in a while feel free to go overboard. Floating midair land masses, waterfalls that flow upward, geysers of acid, an insect hive the size of a city… just describe some beauty shot that can really tug at the druid’s magic-strings. They will be interested in the unique plants and animals and magic there, which can influence how you populate such a land. Not to mention the other players will love such a wondrous place, too.
One thing a lot of DMs forget is to give druids a place to excel. Druids fall flat inside an enclosed dungeon. Give them space out in the open; in the wild. Give the druid some non-magical beasts to interact with. DMs always forget that regular threats like lions, tigers, and bears exist and with a druid, these often turn into roleplaying encounters rather than combat ones. Speak with Animals, Animal Friendship, Beast Bond, Beast Sense, Animal Messenger, Dominate Beast, Locate Creature, and Commune with Nature can all interact with beasts in some way. Beasts are everywhere if the druid is looking for them.
Another thing to keep in mind is plant life. I just did a whole two-part post about Herbalism as a more fleshed-out system for 5e. Part 1 is just a pipeline of dice tables to make up new herbs. The herb could play a minor role in a story or adventure, or it could simply be a useful tool that exists in your world. For instance, I once had some herbs with yellow flowers that would act as healing potions, but you could only eat them twice within 24 hours or you would get sick. Ever since then, the players could find those herbs elsewhere and have a unique source of HP instead of a boring old potion. Plus they have the a-ha moment of realizing they found something useful on their own instead of opening a chest and finding it there. Part 2 of the Herbalism Guide was more about how to use the herbs as potion ingredients, as medicine, and as spell components. If you want to go the extra mile or want ideas for what herbs could do, use it!
Just like clerics, druids can have supernatural senses that can add to the mood of an adventure. Imagine if you were a druid PC and the DM says “The druid senses something off about this forest. It makes you feel sick.” or “This jungle is in agony. You empathize with its pain, which feels like insects stinging you all over your body, and you can almost hear the wails of the trees.” Druids could make an Insight check to try and feel how a beast is feeling in the same way. It singles out the druid, identifies the problem as environmental corruption, and enhances the mood. What more could a DM want.
As a Player:
Get the Most Out of the Game:
Ask your DM questions about the flora and fauna and traits of the setting. When you travel to a new area in-game, be sure to cast Commune with Nature and get a lay of the land. This can add to the experience and provide vital information on targets for Locate spells, herbalism, and beast-influencing spells. Don’t be afraid to ask your DM for strange things that might not exist in the standard rules like “Can my druid think of any herbs that could cure paralysis in this environment?” The DM might find that intriguing and make it a plot point (making things a bit easier on the DM and giving you a potential solution to your problems to boot).
Don’t be afraid to request unique creatures to Wild Shape into, even if they aren’t in the book! I don’t see jellyfish in the Monster Manual but if a player asked me for it, I would just turn them into a Poisonous Snake with no land speed and 10 ft. swim speed, but maybe increase the poison damage a tad. And heck, who says there aren’t Giant Jellyfish in the realm of D&D? Use a Giant Poisonous Snake for that! You could easily reskin monsters like that, especially for cosmetic reasons. In the tropics? Turn into a Giant Parrot instead of a Giant Eagle. In the tundra? Turn into a Snow Hare instead of a Badger to better hide in the snow. In the desert? Turn into a Coyote instead of a Wolf. There are so many animals in the world, there is no excuse for creativity on your end as a druid!
Optimize the usage of your Wild Shape. Pick the right animals for the right jobs!
Mobility/Scout: Giant Elk, Deer, Hyena, Horses, Flying Snake, Giant Owl, Giant Eagle, Giant Badger, Ape, Panther, Giant Toad, and Giant Crab all have either fast movement or unique movement (fly, swim, climb, burrow).
Tackle: Lion, Panther, Allosaurus, Giant Octopus, Crocodile, Giant Constrictor, Giant Toad, and Giant Crab can all knock enemies prone or restrain them.
Poison Damage: Poisonous Snake, Giant Scorpion, Giant Spider, and Female Steeder (OotA) all have poison that can deal damage to those not resistant.
Sustained Damage: Wolf, Giant Crocodile, Tiger, Giant Boar, Ape, and Dire Wolf all deal reliable damage and have adequate tank.
Tank: Warhorse, Black Bear, Giant Constrictor, Rhino, Ankylosaurus, Whale, Elephant, Hulking Crab, Triceratops, and Mammoth all have a bunch of HP and AC.
Spy: Mule, Horses, Cat, Frog, Crab, Snakes, and Spiders are great at hiding and some have blindsight! Crag Cat (SKT) has Nondetection as well!
Thumbs: APES HAVE THUMBS. Which means that they can manipulate things other animals can’t. Also: You can wield your weapons while in Wild Shape!
Other tips: use summoned minions or your allies to help flank enemies while in Wild Shape. Cast buffs before you Wild Shape, make sue they don’t require concentration if you want them to stack, otherwise you can at least concentrate on one thing while in Wild Shape. If you are in a long dungeon with little to no rest, save Wild Shape for big fights when the tank is worn down or save it for utility when the other casters are low on spells. Also for grappler beasts knock the enemies down before you grapple. Then they can’t move and when they break grapple they can’t get back up as easily!
Buffs: Druids are great for buff spells. Be sure to buff yourself before entering Wild Shape! ex: Enhance Ability, Faerie Fire, Longstrider, Barkskin, Stoneskin, Protection from Energy, Antilife Shell
Zoning: Druids have crowd control spells, but many of them control crowds through zoning. Take advantage of the fact that you are the largest influence on the surrounding environment. You get to change the battlefield to your advantage! These are big, flashy spells that make the druid fun. Use them to put obstacles in front of creatures to slow their advances, make it harder for creatures to dodge, provide cover for your party, or force enemies into a trap. “Oh there’s a Wall of Fire there I better go around it” [gets bottlenecked by ranged PCs instead of taking fire damage] ex: Wind Wall, Wall of Fire, Entangle, Plant Growth, Spike Growth, Flame Sphere, Sleet Storm, Insect Plague, Wall of Stone, Wall of Thorns, Bones of the Earth (such a cool spell)
Minions: In D&D 5e, most ACs are nearly the same thanks to Bounded Accuracy. So more attack rolls equals more damage. Minions help with this, and druids can get plenty using Conjure Elementals, Conjure Fey, Conjure Woodland Beings, and Conjure Animals! Not to mention spells like Awaken and Dominate Beast to get more allies.
Healing: Druids are good at healing. Note that Healing Word is a bonus action and has range, unlike Cure Wounds. Druids also get the Restoration spells and Reincarnate, which is less powerful than Resurrection and such, but hey it’s something!
Damage: Druids can output damage, mostly through their zoning spells, but also with some neat single-target spells. Note that Moonbeam and Blight are rare sources of Radiant and Necrotic damage, respectively.
Utility: Druids have utility. Various divination spells can break the game if you are clever. Several spells help you get where you want to go or get rid of enemy spells. Use them liberally unless you have a Wizard to lighten the necessity for utility spells. ex: Speak with Plants/Animals, Water Breathing, Animal Messenger, Pass Without Trace, Find Traps, Locate Object/Animals/Plants, Gust of Wind, Detect Poison/Disease, Detect Magic, Dispel Magic, Meld into Stone, Scrying, Tree Stride, Commune with Nature
missing, if seen, please report to- [ teen!richie x teen!reader x teen!stan ] .1
summary:it’s the 90′s and richie tozier is still in love with you. in an unexplainable turn of events, the losers are lead to believe that pennywise is back. and that you’re missing because of him.
a/n:dis will be a series? also, requested by anon:Hey! Can you do a female!reader x Richie where they are at a sleepover with all the losers and everyone is sleeping when they start talking about kisses and they’re trying to be quiet; they are going to kiss, but both of them are wearing glasses so it just makes a loud “clank” when they try? Thanks! (that actually happened to be rip)
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fucking think about me. Because all I do is think about you.
It is hopeless, however, because Richie Tozier can’t
reach you no matter how hard he tries and simply regards you with a longing
look as you pass through the halls. The two of you are worlds apart. Exist in
the same space as different entities, parallel lines, occasionally meeting but
never meant to touch. And he had had this fire burning in him since he was
eleven. How could he not? You were best friends back then. With him. With everyone. Now, you’re merely a shadow of
your former self, an unexplainably hot shadow, but so different you’re hardly
I think, too, that part of the reason why this episode and this arc is hitting so hard is because it wound up being a really intensely honest portrayal of depression and substance abuse in a livestreamed D&D game. That’s… not something you necessarily expect to be signing up for when you start watching, especially since that particular character arc started off as purely comedic.
Sam has talked about how the whole cast has played the same characters for so many years that they feel a real responsibility to be honest and genuine with their choices, and he’s also said that he feels he owes it to the people he knows who’ve been through this not to take it lightly and to portray it as accurately as he can.
And the thing about that kind of honesty? It really hurts to watch, especially if you’re not sure whether resolution and catharsis are coming anytime soon. I had a rough time getting through 85, because both Scanlan’s lashing-out and understandable-but-unfair attacks on his friends and VM’s well-meaning but just-the-wrong-thing-to-say responses were deeply, personally familiar as the things you hear both from folks who have never been through it and from folks who know exactly where you’re at but whose depression manifested in a different way that happened to catch fewer people in the crossfire (Vax in particular comes to mind there—he was saying the things he needed to hear from a friend back then, which were not the things Scanlan needed to hear in the moment). It hurt because it was raw, because there’s no easy way to put somebody at fault for the conflict, and because the other players were reacting so genuinely with such a familiar combination of betrayal, defensiveness, anger, frustration, and above all hurt and concern.
For me, personally, the episode was cathartic in a strange sort of way, because Scanlan was able to remove himself from the part of his life that was the epicenter of his misery, and he was able to recognize that the only thing that had a chance in hell of pushing him toward recovery was getting to know his daughter as a person rather than as a symbol he couldn’t disappoint (sound familiar to his relationship with Pike?). Sam’s talked and hinted for a while now about how Scanlan’s been putting more and more pressure on himself to be something different since he met Kaylie, and you just know that a lot of Scanlan’s “how could you not recognize there was something wrong with me?” comments were directed toward himself as well as the group.
And to me, the thing that kept the episode from descending into a horrible morass of hurt feelings was the moment when everyone in the argument sort of took a step back and had that realization of “okay, this is a fight, this is a serious fight we’re having, and it’s because we’re family”. Because this show’s always, always emphasized the validity and importance of the family you make, and despite some very serious conflicts that come up between them, the love’s always there and no conflict is flat-out insurmountable. Some conflicts can’t be resolved with constant painstaking conversation, some wounds can’t keep getting exposed to the air if you want them to heal properly, and Scanlan recognized that things were just going to get worse if he didn’t have some time to himself for a while.
So… it’s rough, but one of the biggest strengths of this show is its ability to evoke pathos without wallowing, to find hope and humor and fun even in the worst places imaginable, and this whole mess with Taryon felt like the best possible way to keep that narrative going while still giving the characters agency and treating this thing with the gravity it deserves. It’s going to be challenging, and everyone’s gonna be raw and grieving for a while, but I honestly think the end result’s going to be worlds more positive and hopeful than what would’ve happened had Scanlan stayed on and continued to spiral. If nothing else, I have a whole lotta trust in these players’ devotion to giving their characters development that isn’t just pain for pain’s sake, so I have no doubt that Scanlan will return at some point.
I joked about how great it is that the group can now band together through their dislike for Taryon, but that’s actually really true—the worst part of 85 was the moment when it looked like the rest of the party might fracture over this loss. But in the end, they all sought each other out in ones and twos throughout the night and came back together in the morning. I’m honestly very excited to get to know the new Vox Machina that survives this (and also kind of wants to kick Taryon’s ass).
Change sucks. No question. But this, to me, felt like a change that was necessary but also hopeful. It felt like the only way forward that didn’t end with a body, and that’s something this show and these characters have always put in the effort to find.
All that stuff about making Super AI was Super Interesting, but how is the normal not-playing-games-against-itself-to-try-and-win AI designed & developed?
Ok, so… Game AI is a really deep subject. Like… deep enough that there are professional engineers and designers who are employed full time to make this sort of thing happen. I can’t do the entire subject justice in a small post I threw together in one evening. So instead, you’ll all get a multi-part series on the topic because it’s something I find fun.
Let’s take a look at the eagle-eye view of the topic.
Developing Game AI (Part 1)
Normal game AI is definitely different from experimental/theoretical AI. Experimental AI like Deep Blue, AlphaGO, the UC Berkeley Overmind, or OpenAI are developed to see how far computer learning can go. Game AI is primarily geared towards providing a fun experience for the player. This can have some amount of overlap with experimental AI, but the fundamental goals are different, which necessitates different design and implementation. From the very beginning, we developers establish ground rules for what the AI is supposed to do, as well as its limitations. We have to answer questions like:
Does the AI represent an equal opponent for the player? (E.g. Hearthstone, Chess, Street Fighter)
Will the player fight many AIs at once? Is the AI effectively disposable? (E.g. Dynasty Warriors, Doom)
Will the AI need to cooperate with the player? (e.g. Mass Effect, StarCraft)
Will the AI need to cooperate/interact with other AI? (e.g. Fallout, Skyrim)
Will the AI need to navigate non-uniform terrain? (e.g. Uncharted)
One of the bigger factors to the answers to these questions is how long (we think) it will take us to actually implement these things. We are, after all, always on a schedule. Complicated and extensible AI is great, but not if we can’t fit it into the schedule or budget. Once we figure out the limits of what the AI is supposed to do, we begin with rudimentary design and implementation.
AI development is generally broken into two separate parts - getting the AI to make a choice, then actually executing that choice.
These two parts can be (and often are) developed independently of each other.
Making the choice would be figuring out which card to play, which spell to cast, or which ally to heal. Typically, this involves some sort of prioritization system, where the AI evaluates potential options and chooses one based on some set of established rules. Is attacking more worthwhile than using a spell? How about using an item? Should the AI try to maximize its use of mana per turn for tempo, or should it try to maximize card advantage? Which enemy should the AI target for this attack? The most dangerous one? The one with lowest HP? And how do you quantitatively define “most dangerous” anyway?
Executing the choice is the less sexy, but incredibly important part that most fans don’t think about. In fact, most of the design and implementation time for AI in games is often spent making the execution work. After the AI chooses which spell to cast, how does it actually do it? The AI probably has to move into range, which requires pathfinding. The AI has to cast the spell, which means that it can’t be taking damage, unconscious, silenced, etc. The AI might have to consider environmental hazards when pathfinding. The AI might have to consider its location in the world - say that the player is trying to kite an enemy out of its home base, but the game must stream the environment from the disc. If the player goes too far from the enemy base, it will get unloaded from system memory, and likely take enemy with it. How do we handle such cases?
In addition to that, in many games there’s also an even lower level of AI that often needs to work as well. At its most basic level, the character animation system is governed by AI as well. If the player shoots an enemy, it probably needs to play some sort of take-damage reaction, right? How does the enemy know to do that? Something has to prioritize which animations are playing when, and which take priority over what. Dying usually trumps climbing a ladder or casting a spell. There’s generally an AI that handles what animations a character needs to be playing, and when to transition from one animation to another. Remember, the machine doesn’t have any inherent concept of matching motions or positions or anything; any sort of animation transition must come from some sort of set of rules that we create. That also includes keeping track of states like death, unconscious, aggression, snared, which direction to face, etc. and that AI must be able to override or pause the higher order functions too. After all, the AI shouldn’t be trying to navigate to a point on the map if it’s dead.
Building these sorts of systems require a lot of thought and work. The vast majority of developing game AI is spent solving these kind of core problems on a system-wide level. Things like emulating a personality or adding polish touches often come super late (if at all) in the development cycle, simply because getting the core elements to work requires so much time, effort, and iteration. AI can be as simple or deep as we want, but the very basic stuff requires a lot of work to set up.
Next time, I’ll talk about how we get AI to evaluate choices.
another edited commission, but it was nice to write something long for w1′s vocal visual hehe~
to be honest, you blame jaehwan for all the madness that occurs at the beginning of the new fall semester
because if he hadn’t been so enthusiastic in all his damn ambitions, maybe minhyun would have decided that a bake sale was more fitting or a can drive,,,,,
but no - jaehwan had slammed his hand down against the desk during the charity club meeting and loudly exclaimed “let’s go big! or go home! A FULL BLOWN CARNIVAL!”
unfortunately, jonghyun had beamed at the idea
dongho,,,,slightly more wary finally shrugged and caved in and minki was already talking about themes, banners, colorful pretty lights!!!!!!
the rest of the members all chimed and buzzed in agreement and excitement - college was always dull and depressing a carnival was sure to spark interest
only minhyun, the ever voice of reason, bit back his lip and chewed in thought
you, who had been sitting across from him wanted to ask if he was thinking the same thing you were - how expensive would this be? how much work? could they do it-
but before you could, jaehwan wrapped an arm around the seniors neck and grinned
“c’mon,,,,,,,,,,,,,you’re the new leader of the club,,,,,,imagine how good this is going to look when you graduate!!!!”
you hadn’t noticed the breathe you sucked in,,,,,,
that was right - this was minhyun’s last year in college. after this,,,,,he was off to actual med school and you,,,,,,,
his junior,,,,,,,,,wouldn’t see him as much again
minhyun’s eyes, always a docile and calming brown brightened up and you knew - he was convinced
jaehwan grinned, ear to ear in his usual way and shook minhyun’s shoulders in glee
“WE’RE GOING TO PUT ON A CARNIVAL!”
“yes, but all the proceeds are going to the children’s hospital - we are a charity club after all.”
jaehwan nodded at the notion, but almost immediately jumped into the group conversation about plans
dongho, minki, and jonghyun gravitated that way too
and soon it was just you and minhyun
“is this a bad idea?”
minhyun’s voice made you look up at him, his side profile coming into your view as he stared at the group
you cherished the sight a bit more, the daunting idea of his graduation on your mind even though you still had this whole year ahead of you
“it’s a little,,,,,,,,,crazy but,,,,,,”
minhyun turns finally, gaze settled on you
“but it could raise a lot of money for the hospital, and that’s why you joined this club right? to help out the kids?”
minhyun hummed a “yes” before smiling and,,,,,,,,god did it make your heart beat just a millisecond faster
reaching out, he ruffled the top of your hair
“you always know what to say, thank you.”
he got up, shifting his way into the center of the blabbering group
while you sat there and watched,,,,,,minhyun’s words still making the skin on your face turn softly hot
to put it simply, you and minhyun had become friends through minki
originally you had planned to join the fashion club, headed by minki at the time
unfortunately you and another person were the only two to show up to the first meeting and minki was devastated, the second week - it was only you and him
it was still fun, talking with minki about the latest runways over coffee and gushing over art exhibits around the city
but at some point - it was less a club, and more or less just friends hanging out
and on one afternoon, you had met up with minki to go see a mini reveal show at a small designers studio when you realized there was another person with him
upon first seeing him, minhyun had seemed almost unreal - with a skin so smooth and untroubled, eyes of earthy velvet brown, and a smile that pulled his slightly curved lips into a mischievous and almost beckoning smile
you found yourself nearly speechless when minki introduced him with a casual wave, minhyun reaching out to shake your hand
when he’d asked your name, you barely managed to stutter it out
but as the show went on, minki being as lissome as ever as he spoke to random people and other designers
you and minhyun grew closer, both quiet and reserved unlike ren
he had told you he was pre-med, hoping to become a dermatology doctor at some point. you both liked similar books and found minki’s undying energy amusing. you also both valued organization - both in fashion and in your daily lives
so it wasn’t hard to get close
the only thing that you felt barred you two was the fact that minhyun had,,,,,,,,,,a face like that
a face that you didn’t think belonged sitting the crowd beside you
but up there, on stage, with all the other models
when everything was over, minki had half a dozen invitations to afterparties
all of which he said he could refuse and go to dinner with you and minhyun instead
but minhyun shook his head and told minki to go have fun, something almost paternal in the way he addressed him
you were expecting to part ways, but minhyun grew up mannered
you two got something to eat somewhere inexpensive and kept talking, at some point that night minhyun had said “you seem like my kind of person, those are hard to find”
you weren’t sure if minhyun remembered that, it was a while ago when you were still a freshman, but you did
and in a weird sense it had made you feel proud,,,,,because minhyun was popular - by no means was he ever lonely or lacking attention, but he was,,,,,,,selective with the people he brought in close
you were one of them,,,,,,,,it had happened to naturally but so fast that at some point you didn’t notice but you weren’t only friends with minhyun
you were friends with his inner circle, dongho, minki and jonghyun all welcoming you with kindness
and ok,,,,,so what that it made you feel special,,,,,,,,,
classmates and campus students alike clamoured to be at the attention of one of these four boys - but it was like you had been chosen
sometimes you’d daydream a bit about it,,,,,how it happened,,,,,,what was next
and embarrassingly, that would include bits and pieces of this idealistic future,,,,,,,with minhyun
minhyun whose handsome face glowed when you came around, his hands tracing the skin of your cheek, lips parting “my kind of person”,,,,,,the feeling like feathered wings of his mouth grazing yours -
but then you’d snap from it, pulled into reality
like now, when november was half over and the carnival was scheduled for the upcoming weekend
and even though the weather was chilly, the hype of it was undeniable on campus - everyone wanted to go
to eat at food stalls, play games, and unwind from the dawning of finals
all for a good cause, to help the children’s hospital minhyun was so passionate about and that you, in turn, had become passionate about too
but even though your initial fears about this being crazy had come to light, volunteers and club members all breaking their backs to get their parts done
there was one thing that irked at you the most
and it was,,,,,,,,the job minhyun had assigned to you
“you’re so visually observant - i think you’d be great at making the opening banner. something eye catching and beautiful, but that still tells people why we’re doing this carnival.”
the compliments had made you feel weak in the knees for a moment, but then minhyun moved his head and pointed to jonghyun
“you can help them right?”
that weakness in your knees was abruptly changed to a sort of heaviness,,,,,,,you don’t know why or what made you think minhyun would pick to work on a task with you
when he had so much to oversee, so much to check up on
but,,,,,,a small tiny sliver of your heart had harbored hope
that you and minhyun would be together, hands and clothes stained in paint - laughing together in the sunlight of an open classroom, excited for the carnival
but jonghyun nodded and minhyun was off to go assign other roles
your eyes avoid jonghyuns when he comes over to plan with you, they don’t necessarily look for minhyun but for some reason you’re even more closed off than usual
jonghyun doesn’t seem to mind or notice, he’s too busy trying to figure out your tiny budget
and now, after its been a couple of weeks working together with jonghyun you two are nearly finished
and you know minhyun is going to be coming in to check up on it
for a bit, you consider letting jonghyun handle it alone - he can explain it to minhyun why the banner is this color why they choose the clipart of the children and the balloons
you just,,,,,for some odd reason,,,,,don’t want to be around minhyun for this
it’s kind of childish - to be hurt ,,,,,, but you are
and you are because this whole time, as you toiled alongside jonghyun to paint and cut and decorate
you could catch minhyun bustling around
the people around him, the pretty other pre-med students and the starstruck volunteers with nice smiles and affectionate touches to minhyun’s shoulder
at one point you were sure you saw him hand his phone over to one of them,,,,,,smile in the way you thought he only smiled when he was around the people he genuinely cared about his bestfriends - the people,,,,,,he loved
and yes, he was working hard and sweating over this charity carnival night and day, but he was also surrounded by opportunities to meet people more personally
tell them,,,,,,,,they were his kind of people,,,,,,,,
everything had just been bubbling inside you, settling finally at the surface when you stood there
jonghyun beside you with a proud smile, minhyun looking over the banner carefully
“it’s great, do you think you two can hang it up about an hour before the carnival starts?”
jonghyun gives a kind “of course!”
minhyun’s eyes turn to you, but your own bolt to the floor
“can you be there too?”
with your hands folded across your chest, the large sleeves of your cardigan basically enveloping your frame
you shake your head, “im not going to the carnival. i have to study for a final that day, sorry.”
you ,,,,,,,,, aren’t sure why you say what you say
it’s all of those feelings at the surface that come spilling out of you to the shock of both jonghyun and minhyun
you know jonghyun is just going to say ‘oh but you put some much work into this!’ and minhyun is going to ask, simply ‘why?’
so you give a sort of timid bow and leave, hurrying out into the cold of the approaching winter
and you don’t expect to be followed - and you’re not
instead, your phone buzzes in your back pocket, but you don’t check it
from minhyun: is something wrong? please please please tell me
on the day of the carnival, you wander across your nearly abandoned dorm
everyone is there, you’re sure of it. bundled in scarves and hats but laughing amidst the cold, enjoying the games and the food, couples trying to win prizes for one and another and even professors coming out to show support
but you just walk the dorm, lost in your mind as you try to figure out what to eat for breakfast
the common kitchen is empty of course, and you put on morning coffee. everything seems like it’s in slow motion
that’s why you don’t react when you hear someone come in, not until you hear their voice
and the morning grogginess makes it hard for you to tell who it is
“minhyun is worried sick, let’s get you dressed and go to the carnival.”
you see minki, a look of desperation you’re not used to seeing is scrawled over his features and you just shake your head
“everyone has finals, but everyone is at the carnival. go get dressed and eat breakfast there, your favorite place is catering one of the stalls.”
you know it’s a bribe, but you also know that going to the carnival means seeing minhyun and,,,,,,,,
having to explain why you did what you did, said what you did
and you don’t want to, you don’t want to lie to him and the truth stings worse - “oh why didn’t you pick to work with me? you’re graduating and we won’t see each other a lot - but you’re fine hanging around others - doing work with them - i wanted memories with you,,,,,”
but minki is unmoved as you try to think of something to say, he pulls you by the wrist back to your room where he has you haphazardly throw on a coat and you find yourself following behind him
“thanks for bringing them.”
minhyun is in front of you now, at the opening of the carnival - you and jonghyun’s banner overhead
you blink at him as minki waves goodbye, but look away when he meets your gaze
“what’s going on?”
words are hard to process without your breakfast, with the cold whipping your cheeks
“why did you send minki,,,,,,,,,,,”
you start, slowly and then feel something turn in the pit of your stomach - it’s not hunger
“you couldnt,,,,,,,,,come yourself?”
minhyun’s face down casts, a shadow of something makes its way over his features and you feel guilty
obviously he had to be running this carnival,,,,,god why can’t you think before you speak,,,,,you really need to eat something and wake up
but then minhyun reaches out and you feel something settle on your shoulders
you touch it, the fabric is soft - it’s minhyun’s coat that he’s shrugged off
“you’re quivering. why did minki pull you out here in your pajamas,,,,,”
you open your mouth to protest, you also have your jacket on - but it’s true the extra layer stops the cold from coming in much better
but now,,,,minhyun in just a turtleneck looks like he might freeze
but somehow he doesn’t seem phased at all, instead his eyes are searching yours and he looks like he’s thought long and hard about what he’s about to say
“this is my last year, after this med school is going to,,,,,,,,,,,is going to take me away from here. away from you and i -”
the sounds of the carnival die away, the words ‘away from you’ ring like uninterrupted white noise in your mind
minhyun pauses but then breathes and it’s so cold you can see it
“and i don’t want that. i don’t want that all, but i only have a limited amount of time to enjoy your company everyday, to see you everyday and im sick and tired of wasting it. i don’t know what i did or what happened but i,,,,,,need you.”
you can’t help but be pulled into minhyun’s eyes this time around
“i need you so don’t run away from me like that anymore, please. be by my side while time allows it.”
his words make sense, you know what he’s saying but what ,,,,,,,,, but what does it mean
minhyun is not oblivious and although he knows that other people flirt their way up to him, surround him in a cloud of suggestive atmospheres
he has never ever wavered - it’s been you and it has been you since you met
his hand comes up, slightly chilled from the lack of layers and you want to say something back but all you can say is
opening your arms, minhyun pulls you toward him
and suddenly it makes sense, what he said and what it means
his head buries itself in your neck and his lips graze the warm skin and tremble
“be next to me,,,,,,,,be mine,,,,,,”
the sound of the carnival comes back, everyone too distracted to see you and him clutching onto each other
“ok,,,,,” you answer and it’s just a sleepy whisper, but it makes minhyun hold you tighter and when he pulls back just enough to kiss you
it as sweet and light as you remember it in your daydreams
your emotions conflate in your heart - fireworks of adrenaline, calm waves of relief, and small fires of embarrassment for the sudden pda
but it’s worth it when he pulls back and he’s not just minhyun, your friend anymore
he’s something more,,,,,,and you’re more to him
one of the many perks of having friends turn to lovers is they seem to know you,,,,,better than anyone else
Part 3 is here and ready to go! Surprise!!! I’ve decided that this series needed a couple more things to make it truly complete. The fourth and final part will be out soon! So please keep an eye out for it!
The game did not rest in peace. It
had simply been a pause menu for Lance he guessed, and he wasn’t sure what
would’ve hurt worse. Them never caring at all and letting him continue on
letting go and . Or getting his hopes up just to practically let him fall and
crunch onto the cold metal ground.
post is going to be a longer one but with different sections to break
it up a bit, per loose theory bits and I’ll try and keep it
organized. Includes images woo! Gifs
and images are compiled by me (first tries at video gifs yay). But
without further ado!
At PAX Anti sported two, very deliberately, neck stab wounds. Maybe
from one jab, maybe two. (That
they are stab wounds is sortof confirmed by a post from @wubkins that
placement is rather suspicious, its right where the vocal cords are.
Most likely to shut Jack up and to not get interrupted during his
little message to us (but Jack did try though with a very broken
‘Help me’). And
Anti probably doesn’t need vocal cords anyway since he is most likely
some kind of spirit/ghost/entity
capable of 'out of body’ speech.
kind of being could he be? The Tulpa has been going around as a
theory and Jack himself has said that it’s fairly accurate (answered
in an ask). A section of the Wikipedia page about it gives this bit:
the part of a real being’ is the part that creeps me out the most.
Anti pretending to be Jack, slowly taking over the channel. People
find it difficult to distinguish between them.
despite Anti being the chameleon that he is, he is not flawless in
his doings. He gets impatient very quickly, is often very rude and
more aggressive than Jack. Absolutely loves violence. Going as far as
wanting to chop off fingers for fun (EVERYTHING IS AGONY | Clone
where did Anti come from? Another part of the Wikipedia page says
that Tulpa’s are generated by a powerful concentration of thought.
Who’s thoughts in the case of Anti? The community? It might have
started when the community started drawing/imagining/writing about a
counterpart to Jack, his anti version. That was most likely the start
of the inevitable snowball that accelerated during the October of
2016 and on Halloween itself Anti 'solidified’, was powerful enough,
thanks to the attention the community gave him, to take over. “You
could have stopped me, but you just watched, as this happened”.
then proceeds to brag about Jack being gone forever but that might
not be the case. Anti has taken over Jacks body but Jack is still
around, in the background, crying out for help. Or in the case of the
intro of EVERYTHING IS AGONY | Clone Drone #5, shouting stuff to Anti
about what not to do. Two 'souls’ in one body kind of thing.
Glitchverse and dimension breaking. What exactly are the glitches
that Anti is doing? Just video glitches or something more.
like his 'green’ dimension a lot, as well as fades/cuts to black.
During these bits the viewer can’t see what is happening. During
these blackouts the switch between Jack and Anti seems to happen a
lot. Also during the blackout of the Detention episode the character
went through a door with doors usually being the symbol for gateways.
Might be a far stretch with the blackouts but it has happened quite a
few times. Down below are gifs of the several blackouts, in
chronological order of appearance.
4. Anti’s message at PAX. Ohboy.
This was just brilliant. I attended the livestream and when Jack
mentioned the participation thing, I too grabbed my phone to start
recording but then Anti said hi. After finishing recording and
getting hyped from that and watching the panel itself I did not think
much of it at first. But the day after I realized something, why did
Anti wanted that we record him…? Now I don’t know if there are any
Whovians around but my mind immediately strayed to the Doctor Who
episodes of the The Time of Angels, where a recording of a Weeping
Angel came to life. Quoting the Doctor: 'That which holds the image
of an angel becomes itself an angel’.
if that’s the case with Anti, well, he’s probably just be grinning
his ass off of the fact that we just multiplied him everywhere. And
are we going to delete that footage? Not likely. It was too much
hype. But watch your back.
'͞I͝'͝m ̛not ̕going ̀a͘nywher̡é,́ I̧'́m̨ a̶l͡wa͏y͜s t͜hére, ͏a͘l̶w͟ays̛ ̧wàt͝c͟h͞i̸ng̀'͘.
glitch video montage.
Gif is at 50% percent of original speed, my
brain is molten from seeing it at full speed too many times haha. @amycampbell00 did an amazing job at splicing the segment down, frame
by frame, game by game over here.
quite odd to think that Clustertruck, Totally Accurate Battle
Simulator and Happy Wheels are in this compilation since it’s before
the Halloween event but if Anti has been lurking around for some time
then these series are perfect. Why? Clustertruck is a high energy
game and Jack has mentioned that he gets all pumped up from it. Anti
could sneakishly drain this energy from him, tiny piece by piece
since he probably wouldn’t miss it anyway.
TABS and Happy Wheels? Well… Death, violence and gore. Again, Anti
getting energy from this.
what if the other games in the montage are the series that Anti has
played/is playing. The Japan World Cup is probably one of the
distraction ones, just like the Pipe Job one with a sneaky Anti at
Portal Collab and Don’t Starve ones have gotten me a tiny bit worried
about Jacks friends. If they can’t tell the difference then, yikes,
I’m still trying to figure out the message of the montage. The
different audio segments. My feeble guess at what he says?
ha, ha. Jack is dead, bitch. Now I’m terrified.’
part makes kind of sense, second part, not so much. I’ve listened to
the segment a heap load of times now but I’m not getting much wiser
these are my Anti theory bits for now. To
anyone reading this, thank you. Also, have a cookie!
free to share your thoughts about things.
It’s a lot of fun going through all the theories that people have
come up with so far and it gets me all excited. Good for story
inspiration stuff too.
surviving (and maybe even thriving) in the sherlock fandom after s4
…OR, maybe even kind of sort of learning how to enjoy oneself again while being a johnlocker.
This is a post for people who are on the fence / still turned off by s4 / still struggling with how to frame it for themselves.
In light of the upcoming fic writers’ retreat, in anticipation of (I hope) having a conversation or two about this very topic, and in partial response to comments that my good fandom friends have dropped recently about their struggles with feeling like they don’t want to engage with the show or the fandom after s4, I’ve been thinking about how to continue on as a johnlocker, and why I feel more motivated than ever to find a way to have a relationship with the show (albeit a substantially altered one than before), and what fandom engagement means to me.
It probably doesn’t look like it, because I’ve participated full throttle in all kinds of conversations about the show since s4, but I do get why s4 was entirely offputting for a lot of people. While I strongly suspect that mofftiss are doing something interesting and unusual with s4, that whatever-it-is came at a heavy price: a series that looks like a hot fucking mess and actively does things that one should never do (i.e., constantly throwing into question the reality status of the story one is telling) if one wants to avoid frustrating the shit out of one’s audience.
What’s worse, the series was promoted with a promise of FINALLY answering the question of who Sherlock loves, without delivering on that promise in a way that was in any way definitive (John? Molly? Irene? Chips?) or satisfying (JOHN???). We got a scene that was really close to the kind of thing we’ve always wanted to see, at the end of The Lying Detective, an episode that also brought us an interaction between John and Sherlock that was so awful, it singlehandedly ruined the show for a lot of people.
Even though I love the shit out of talking about the puzzle of s4, I love it because I love how smart everyone in the fandom is, and how much I’ve learned about Doyle, and the many many intertexts the show engages with. I love how stunningly great people here are with teasing complex arguments out of this hot mess.
I don’t love that we got this weird thing to figure out instead of actual story. I don’t love that for some reason a major plot point was John and Sherlock detonating their relationship even more profoundly than they had before. I still think that the more skillful thing to do would have been to make a puzzle for viewers to figure out, but make it actually enjoyable to watch. (Personally, I did enjoy TLD, but I’m a sucker for Nick Hurran’s direction, I thought Ben and Martin performed incredibly, and I have a high tolerance for creepy shit and violence, so.)
SO: WHAT TO DO?
I’ve been thinking about a few of the strategies I’ve put in place / fallen back on for approaching all of this. I don’t know if any of this is helpful but here it is, for what it’s worth.
Acknowledge that the showrunners are human people and human people make good choices and bad choices and questionable choices
Before s4 aired, I wrote about the fact that mofftiss had set up a highwire act with extraordinarily high stakes, as of the end of s3. This meant they could pull off an astounding feat of storytelling, or they could fall. Instead they sort of burned down the circus tent and re-encoded all the elephants…not what any of us were expecting. I mean, surprises in storytelling can be great, but this was like hey everyone, suddenly the show is going to be performed in Esperanto instead of English, have fun with that.
Questionable at best.
To sum up: good choices resulted in the following:
Ben and Martin in s1 and 2 creating this beautiful dynamic together, eyesex and all the subtext and a tragic love story with mistakes and denial and pining and hope. s3, which bumped up the subtext to the point of ridiculousness. And TAB, which doubled down on that subtext EVEN HARDER. The purple shirt of sex and the swishy coat of alone protects me and a stalwart and broken John who is finally strong enough to partner his Sherlock and enough sexual and romantic tension to drown the population of the earth planet and a Mary Morstan who is actually Moran and there’s always two of us and hey did I mention romance yet?
We got all that, and then we got–this s4 thing.
Let me tell you about writers (speaking as one). They shit the bed all the time. They make weird choices. They have strange ideas. They fail to stick the landing. When that happens, it’s their tragedy. It doesn’t have to be yours.
Maybe this story isn’t done yet. I don’t think it is. I’m willing and able to reserve judgement, but this post is for those of you who aren’t, or can’t.
You can still like the parts of the show that you liked before. You weren’t wrong for liking what worked for you before. You would not be wrong now, for still liking those bits. All the shitty choices the showrunners could make, did make, and might still make, do not make you wrong for liking the bits you liked.
You can still like the parts of the show that you liked before.
Need permission for that? Here it is: BECAUSE MAY SHEPARD SAYS SO. I’ll make you a certificate if you want.
Need more specific help? Here’s another idea:
Get selfish. Get really, really selfish.
Remember that you are here for you. You came here, probably, because thinking about John and Sherlock together is something you enjoyed. Back immediately after s4 aired, and I was still stuck firmly in the wtf zone, I had to have a talk with myself about this.
I asked myself what I liked about the show. Why John and Sherlock, together, were so crunchy and beautiful to me. It came down to one thing: the fact that I read the show as a love story.
I’m here for my own entertainment. This is my happy place. This is where I come when my regular writing is stuck or I want to try to hack out a new part of my skill set. I get a lot out of thinking about John and Sherlock, as characters.
I still read the show as a love story, and I will continue to do so.
That means, in light of s4, doing a lot more reading in to the little moments than I used to have to. It means cherry picking a lot harder. It means ignoring vast swaths of what we actually saw onscreen. (The fact that this is the current state of meta too helps a whole heck of a lot.)
Playing the what if game a lot harder than I have previously has become the rule of the day.
What if John and Sherlock are in love? They are. For me, they are, and they always will be. Will they be in canon? Get yourself to a place where this question doesn’t matter, where your personal happiness doesn’t hang on this. We’re several months on after s4. It’s time to give your head a shake and remember that John and Sherlock love each other and will always find their way back to each other, because we say so.
If you don’t believe this, try because May Shepard says so. I’ll say it until you believe it, too: John and Sherlock are in love. The show is a love story.
I will read the show as a love story, regardless of whether it wants me to. Hey show, get ready for some sweet sweet interpretation. I hope you’re in the mood.
Still not convinced? Try this thought experiment:
Put Some Distance Between You and S4
So a few nights back I was chatting with @laughing-at-the-darkness (who is the best, go follow her immediately), and I jokingly said that what we need in this fandom is a reset, like the kind of perspective you can only get ten years after a television show has finished airing.
Try this on for size:
The year is 2027. You’re looking for some good content to watch. You remember hearing, dimly, about the fact that, a while back, BBC made a Sherlock Holmes adaptation with some pretty famous actors.
You read about it a bit first. Ah yes: the adaptation that everyone was raving about, but that did a weird thing in its fourth series. Bearing this in mind, you decide to watch.
You’re charmed by series 1-3, and the one-off Victorian special. You decide to watch s4, bearing in mind what you know about it, that it seemed to go off the rails relative to everything that had come before. You watch, prepared to laugh along at Mary’s bullet tango and the way she just won’t seem to go away and Sherlock has a sister who is also an X-Man? What????
You watch it. You shrug. You carry on thinking that s1-3 and TAB are great, like you were prepared to do.
We know what we know now: that s4 is a difficult part of canon, a stumbling block for a lot of us. If you can accept that, then you can move forward, liking the parts you like, and leaving the parts you don’t.
I still personally have some questions about how to deal with s4 as a fic writer. There are so many potential interpretations–how does one go about sorting through the detritus? A lot of people don’t want to / can’t bring themselves to rewatch, so how much can I assume they do and don’t remember about the episodes? But these are mostly logistical issues, and solvable with some rational decision making. (I did start a fic a while back based on TST, but I wasn’t ready to finish it, and I don’t think people wanted that type of fix it in that particular moment.) s4 changed the stakes for a lot of people, so writing fic now is all about writing to a different emotional register, I think. I’m personally having fun with that, while sorting through the implications for the wips I started before s4 aired. I’m hoping we can talk about some of these issues, as writers, and as fans, but that’s a post for another day.
In any case, I’m here, John and Sherlock are in love, and I hope this is helpful in some way. I don’t want anyone to lose the thing that used to give them enjoyment, nor (on a more selfish note) do I want to see people still leaving the fandom if they don’t have to.