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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:51 pm 
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So... there are quite a few people in Reactions expressing a displeasure with the focus of the current book on the battle between Parson and Charlie, and how "Fate" is actually standing on the side of Parson, making him hard to root for an impossible to worry for.

I personally also have some misgivings about story structure in the latter half of the book, but I guess it wasn't that bad. What seems somewhat glaring is that the whole Parson vs. Charlie thing feels as if some foreshadowing in Book 0 and earlier books about Fate and the role of Parson (including his unwillingness to fulfil such roles) have been laid aside.

So... what I'm wondering (and actually hoping) might happen is that Erfworld is on the road to follow what I termed the Final Fantasy Plot Twist Pattern (though this will require at least one, but hopefully at least two further Erfworld books after this one). What the "FFPTP" is?

Well... in many Final Fantasy and both Chrono games, things follow this pattern:
  1. The hero is presented with a limited scope quest to solve and gain an understanding the world through, and Big Bad A is introduced on the side, showing their power and menace. (eg. Charlie, Queen Brahne, Magus, President Shinra, etc.)
  2. The hero sets out to defeat Big Bad A, and after a long journey, succeeds. However, it turns out that Big Bad A was actually either a misguided good guy fighting against, or a genuine villain facing or passively holding back, an even greater evil: Big Bad B. (eg. Lavos, The Dragon God / Time Devourer, Kuja, Sephiroth / Jenova, etc.) They either die leaving the hero to face Big Bad B (eg. Queen Brahne in FFIX), or join him (eg. Magus in Chrono Trigger).
  3. The hero has to rise up and challenge Big Bad B in a world-shattering final confrontation, often over the ruins of an ongoing apocalypse.

So... now I guess Parson is fighting Charlie as Big Bad A. I wonder what happens when this confrontation comes to a head. I'm really psyched for Big Bad B. Fate? Erfworld itself? The Titans? :)

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:01 am 
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    Actually, I feel Charlie is already Big Bad B, and Jetstone was Big Bad A.
    Book one and two were focused on fighting Jetstone; Charlie did had a part in both wars, but it isn't until the end of Book 2 that Parson sets himself the goal of killing Charlie. He wasn't even mentioned until the RCC hired him. In the course of book 2 he became the big bad, and during book 2 and 3 Jetstone became possible allies.

    I do feel that Charlie will die, and that there will be at least one book after his death. I think that Parson would fight fate afterwards.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:56 am 
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    I'm kinda following Sigmoid's argument.

    Fate has been offered as a tangible "BBEG B" and could be it, although, since fate works through agents, to me, it would mean that new antagonists should be introduced. Which isn't impossible of course, but seems unlikely as Rob has done his best (especially in this book) to give all possible sides some time in the spotlight - GK & its agents, TV, Jetstone, Charlie, MK & all its factions.

    Another possibility that has been suggested often were the Great Minds, but after that last explosion at their temple, I don't think they will be the major BBEG. I'm sure they'll have a role to play (extracting their revenge for example), but I don't see them as the bigger evil boss (just evil).

    What could happen (but is in contradiction with my first point), is that a/some of the titan(s) return. I don't think it likely, but it is an option. After all, they were quite real at some point (leaving a gem). Where are they now?

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:53 am 
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    It would be a very lousy story if Charlie was Big Bad B. For one, he's not really all that bad. Just a battlespace solutions provider, a successful player and ultimately an underdog hacker / explorer.

    Sure he did many rotten things, but Big Bad B has to be a metaphysical threat, and our Charlie Brown just isn't one. And he did hint at greater forces he's facing off against...

    Also, would it really be satisfactory for Parson to be a glorified assassin destroying a somewhat unscrupulous, but ultimately relatable antagonist? Would he be a "player", as he exclaimed at the end of book one? I'd say he'd only be a tool, in good old stupidworld sense.

    Also, we know what happened to Judy Gale once Fate was done with her. Completing the quest is not a real win condition.

    As for the Great Minds, they were just "the government". They weren't evil or a metaphysical threat. Sure they were corrupt, but that's different. Big Bad B is never just "the government". :)

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:37 am 
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    Sigmoid wrote:
    As for the Great Minds, they were just "the government". They weren't evil or a metaphysical threat. Sure they were corrupt, but that's different. Big Bad B is never just "the government". :)


    Although I'm not arguing that the Great Minds are the BBB, I'm don't think one should see them as the "government". They weren't governing anything. At most, they were influencing the decision making process in the Magic Kingdom.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:09 am 
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    Maybe you're all right, and missing the greater picture. This doesn't have to follow the same plot flow as this final fantasy arc structure.

    Maybe Charlie IS Big Bad B, and that's all well and good, but something else (fate?) is going to end up as Big Bad C

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:35 am 
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    Astelan wrote:
    Fate has been offered as a tangible "BBEG B" and could be it, although, since fate works through agents, to me, it would mean that new antagonists should be introduced.


    You don't have to introduce someone new - Wanda would fit that rule very well. Wanda could be fated to decrypt the entire world, which I'm thinking would be too much for Parson.

    Sigmoid wrote:
    It would be a very lousy story if Charlie was Big Bad B. For one, he's not really all that bad. Just a battlespace solutions provider, a successful player and ultimately an underdog hacker / explorer.

    Sure he did many rotten things, but Big Bad B has to be a metaphysical threat, and our Charlie Brown just isn't one. And he did hint at greater forces he's facing off against...

    Also, would it really be satisfactory for Parson to be a glorified assassin destroying a somewhat unscrupulous, but ultimately relatable antagonist? Would he be a "player", as he exclaimed at the end of book one? I'd say he'd only be a tool, in good old stupidworld sense.

    Also, we know what happened to Judy Gale once Fate was done with her. Completing the quest is not a real win condition.

    As for the Great Minds, they were just "the government". They weren't evil or a metaphysical threat. Sure they were corrupt, but that's different. Big Bad B is never just "the government". :)


    You're saying a lot about what the Big Bad B has to be, which I don't think is even consistent with what Final Fantasy did (my knowledge of the series is very lacking, but what I heard about 6 contradicts what you said). I don't feel like any Big Bad has to be pure evil or metaphysical or close to it.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:30 pm 
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    There's also Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That show may not have been the first to use the exact phrase 'big bad' to mean primary antagonist, but it sure popularized it. That went on for seven seasons, and it was only the last that had a purely metaphysical villain ('cause hey, after you defeat 'EVIL', what's left?)

    If we look at Ansom as the primary antagonist of book 1, and his father Slately in that role in book 2 then we can pattern Charlie in as book 3. He might be a worthy enough antagonist to last more than one book.

    For another possibility for the ultimate bad, I'm sure Parson has been brought up more than once over the years. What if his games are altering reality enough to meet Heinlein's definition of eschatological pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism?

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:45 pm 
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    I'm, personally, not compelled by the story to see if Parson wins against Charlie. I want to see the losses.
    We knew in Book One that Parson was going to save the day. Why tell the story at all, if he's not? But, we had to see Parson cope with "acceptable or unacceptable losses." Parson didn't mean to kill Misty and it was an unacceptable loss for him, but led to his understanding of the complexity of Linking, which has sort of been a linchpin to his efficacy as a leader and strategist.
    Similarly, in Book Zero, we watched Charlie allow the death of his daughter (attempted assassination or no, he was strong enough to just do away with her, if he wanted that) and then agree to the loss of the heroine buds to secure the DoaL with Faq & Co.

    I wanna see who dies, because I feel like I already know Vader is gonna toss Palpatine down the Shockamancy hole.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:11 pm 
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    tadthornhill wrote:
    For another possibility for the ultimate bad, I'm sure Parson has been brought up more than once over the years. What if his games are altering reality enough to meet Heinlein's definition of eschatological pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism?


    I'm sorry, but this seems like a really dumb idea. Parson hasn't really 'warped reality' as far as I can see, he's just not from it and thus a lot of things about him are off by erfworld standards. We've also gone well past the whole 'is this all a dream i'm making up' plot thread and Parson has pretty much accepted at this point Erfworld is real. Deciding to make the plot twist that he dreams up a new parallel world in his mind seems like a serious step back.

    And like you just wanted to show off that you know this complicated word for a concept to everyone.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:51 pm 
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    Kaed wrote:
    tadthornhill wrote:
    For another possibility for the ultimate bad, I'm sure Parson has been brought up more than once over the years. What if his games are altering reality enough to meet Heinlein's definition of eschatological pantheistic multiple-ego solipsism?


    I'm sorry, but this seems like a really dumb idea. Parson hasn't really 'warped reality' as far as I can see, he's just not from it and thus a lot of things about him are off by erfworld standards. We've also gone well past the whole 'is this all a dream i'm making up' plot thread and Parson has pretty much accepted at this point Erfworld is real. Deciding to make the plot twist that he dreams up a new parallel world in his mind seems like a serious step back.

    And like you just wanted to show off that you know this complicated word for a concept to everyone.

    Dude. What's the point of the personal attack? I mean, really? I'm not gonna read your mind and say I know your motives.

    What's the point?

    To everyone else, maybe I didn't say enough about Heinlein's theory. He made it up as a joke; using big words as satire on people who come up with ideas like this and then try to make themselves look smart.

    I posted the link to a google search because none of those links were really the idea, they just contained it.

    It's basically the idea that when we create fiction, we create an alternate universe where that fiction is reality.

    A story that has the character create an alternate universe full of pain and suffering just from their thoughts without knowing it is a way to explore the concept that negative thoughts have consequences, even when you think you're not hirting anyone else.

    I'm not saying this is what Rob is doing, it's just an idea I'm tossing out for fun.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:15 pm 
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    Of course this "plot twist pattern" is really just a simplification, but I find it pretty characteristic anyway. Of course there are exceptions, it's not bloody holy scripture. (And yes, sometimes there are more iterations of this, like in Chrono Cross: Lynx -> the Fate System -> the Dragon God -> the Time Devourer...)

    Point is, to me, Charlie simply just doesn't feel threatening enough for an endboss. It's entirely beyond the point what we mean by metaphysical, and whether for example Kefka or Kuja was a 'metaphysical' villain or not. They attempted to destroy life and death itself... Sephiroth attempted to control the Planet as a parasite virus... all that is a lot more metaphysical than anything Charlie ever attempted.

    Charlie was pretty much just another player, attacked preemptively by the Great Minds, and Parson was just the weapon of that preemptive strike. It's just, well, really unsatisfying.

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     Post Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:23 pm 
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    I'm inclined to accept that the RCC (not Jetstone particularly) was Big Bad A, and now that the RCC is basically defunct Charlie has emerged as Big Bad B.

    But I doubt Fate will be Big Bad C.

    Charlie's relationship to the RCC was mostly helpful, a supplementary adversary that could be revealed as using the RCC to toy with the protagonists and attempt to destroy them by proxy. Fate does not have this relationship to Charlie. Charlie does not serve Fate, and Fate is not helping Charlie against Parson.

    I think that Big Bad C will have to be War. And I suspect Parson might be taking it on by the end of this Book. It's already been foreshadowed, and a plausible relationship made with Charlie as a willing servant/ally of War in Erfworld. War helps Charlie and hurts Parson, and Charlie helps war by attacking Parson.

    And if Wanda and her decrypted take the MK, GK is going to be at war with practically every other side in Erf. Not a win for Parson.

    Parson spent much of Book 2 dithering over whether to declare war on Charlie. So far he's thought about declaring war on War, but hasn't committed to it. I think the upcoming battle might change that. If Parson inflicts a crushing blow to Charlie such that the next Book is basically mopping up Charlie while War becomes the main adversary (and oh what a nuisance 'mopping up' Charlie could be if GK were at war with everyone), then Parson would have to get serious about breaking the mechanics that make war necessary.

    Alternately, the battle of Portal Park could be considered the crushing blow against Charlie, he lost the battle itself quite decisively and the results have crippled him extensively. He lost the shocked 'disk, he lost a lot of goodwill in the MK, he lost a lot of schmuckers (and worse, handed them to GK), and most of all, he lost all the secrets Bonnie knew to the GMTTA. Charlie is still clawing back to try and regain all those things, so it wasn't the kind of decisive and irrevocable loss the RCC suffered of their army at the Battle for Gobwin Knob. But Charlie and the RCC aren't precisely comparable in a lot of ways.

    But by the end of this book, I think that War is going to go from a persistent annoyance to something that clearly stands as the real enemy behind all threats thus far.

    Will Fate turn out to be Big Bad D?

    Perhaps. We'll see what role it plays in the war on War. Marie seemed to have been talking up an alliance between Fate and Peace on Erf, but right now she's sorta acting like that was a setup for a giant backstab. But only sorta, and I think that Peace on Erf kinda stabbed GK in the back first here. So it isn't for sure that Fate will back War in the war on War...but it really could.

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