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Ivan

CBUB Match Judges
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Everything posted by Ivan

  1. Head over to Redux to check the thread: https://redux.justicewebsolutions.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2
  2. I was thinking about the kind of stories we used to write here. I wrote a piece of one today. There is nothing more dangerous than The Right Idea. Some folks- not very many, but some- are born believing they can kill god with a sword. It is a stupid idea, but they don’t particularly care. They put a lot of energy into finding the right sword, learning how to swing it, perfecting the stroke, and practicing pithy murder quips. Invariably, they die before they ever find him. They look everywhere, but he is very good at hiding. So they die, and sooner or later another dummy comes along to pick up that sword. Like I said, it’s a stupid idea; they’ll never find him. Thing is, he’s not hiding from them. He’s hiding because some folks- not very many, but some- are born believing they can kill god with a song, and he knows they’re right. It’s easy to assume that when you kill god things go to shit, but every god I know sets things up to run in their absence. What’s the point of being god if you have to micromanage every little raindrop and volcano? There are systems in place for the day-to-day, decade-to-decade business. Some of them are so well-designed it’s a difficult for even their creators to disrupt them. Such complicated systems aren’t efficient when fully automated. Rather, most are overseen by a set of... let’s call them empyrean middle-managers. These are folks who are terrifyingly powerful and prototypically incapable of thinking or feeling much beyond the scope of their duties. You can think of them as angels and archangels, if you find that personally appealing. You can also think of them as gears and springs set in place by a skilled-yet-easily-distractible clockmaker. Of course, even in this highly reductive cliche, someone’s got to wind the damned thing from time to time. That’s me. I suppose I am, to mix metaphors, the celestial checksum. I monitor the rest of the systems, so the creator can make repairs and replacements if something goes wrong. No, this doesn’t mean I know where he’s hiding, but I do have his email. Most of the folks I observe- if they assign a name to me at all- call me The Audience. It’s fine. Most everyone else calls me Dex. Lucas calls me “Oreo,” which is only funny if you’re bad at Latin. Lucas Pastor is far too complicated to think of as a mere cog in the celestial machine. He’s no angel, either, but that’s not really his fault: his species of eleven-dimensional… cog… always exhibits a tendency toward catechismic neuroses. He’s a friend, and he has an important function: to follow the songwriters, and keep tabs on the ones born with The Right Idea. It should be obvious this task requires a degree of nuance orders of magnitude greater than a task like overseeing the tides. Not many cogs need to be eleven-dimensional, and only one has an existential mandate to parse the lyrics to Hallelujah. The resulting hot mess is the only good friend I’ve got, and he’s been missing for 72 hours. He left me a note: Oreo- I’ve got an idea.
  3. The bit-scroll resolution is limited to about 8K tripixels per inch, but if you turn off the interferometry you can get a bit more with good content fillers. You lose the 3D, obviously, so no Academy trained res-modeler would think to do it, but down in The Belly we learn to make do. While the nix are wringing their hands over density readings don't make a lick of sense, Nell and I have one clear picture, half a name, and a ninety minute lead before the hardsuits think to ask why the floor is sticky. There's a bloody fine line between futility and art. The gheist they pulled out of there looked like he came out of a warzone, not a basement. There's a whisper of a chance that we get to him before they wrap him in red tape and seal his file, but I'm feeling Irish and Nell is good at hospitals. Her current host body was originally a surgeon I think, good organic hands, soft and cruel, with the kind of porcelain features which suggest the quality of the work is on display, somewhere in the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" tax bracket. It's hard to tell if this guy was agency or a rover, but between Nell's perfect tits and her savage hands, we'll probably get more out of him than the hardsuits ever do, and in half the time. The light finally changes, and the on-ramp hums beneath the wheels of the Jeep. I have to close my eyes when we're driving, else I process too fast. I have a stretch of the 91 burned into my memory from when I was six years old; fractal mountains, diminishing Antisin curves, and seventy seven license plate numbers which haunt my dreams, all because I risked sneaking a split-second peak at 200 kph. Even with my eyes closed, even with headphones on, with the ionic air filters on full, I record things. My nose tells me the man Nell shook hands with was a smoker. My vestibular sense records eight lane changes. My proprioception tries to calculate our precise altitude using cell phone tower triangulation, but I do have SOME self control. The hospital is a massive affair, glass and stainless steel facade with a beaded hologram waterfall, sort of Frank Lloyd Wright meets Pale Horse, and we're headed underground. Nell hates labyrinths and mazes, getting lost scares her I think, but I have no idea what it's like to not know precisely where I am. Nell talks us past security, I'm never sure if it's her silver tongue or her cleavage doing the work, but I suspect the former, when we were eighteen she tried a male body for about a month, and it didn't slow her down. I spend a few moments with a pen and crank out a rough copy of the bit-scroll image, detail accurate to about a 4x zoom, which should be enough for this guy. Just in case, we've got badges too, a nice bit of digital forgery which, when scanned, calls up an obscure error message which suggests, without outright saying, that we're above the paygrade of whoever scanned us. Like I said, futility and art.
  4. I'm porting all the Alpha Sentinels and the entire SLJ command structure. I'm sorry if that seems like an obviously terrible idea, my characters and ego are much too important for me to try and do something, you know, useful. Ugh. Looks like the biggest preconceived notion of all will be making the transition to the new FPL. The worst thing this site ever did was convince people that having an idea is enough. (Sorry all, just being bitchy. It's hard to watch this vision of a fresh start get blown apart by people insisting on clinging to tired old ideas. I realize this is just my bias, and that y'all looooove your old stuff so much that you can't stand to part with it.)
  5. Late 1999. I did an internet search for "Thanos vs Darkseid." Wound up reading through the comments of the classic "Apocalypse vs Darkseid" CBUB match. (You CBUBers have to remember this was the late 90s- Apocalypse had tons of Street Cred, there was no such thing as The Sentry, and demanding "feats" for anything would still get you laughed off the internet. It was a better time.) I wound up intrigued by the idea of a "create your own superhero" site and clicked over to the FPL. It was possibly the single most influential link I've ever clicked on. I lurked on the site for a few weeks, reading message board posts which lamented the loss of The Simulator (a very old program which would predict the results of a match between any two FPL characters based solely on powers, an idea which is laughable today.) There were discussions about piercing, and reinforced defenses, and a whole thread of math to try and quantify Standard vs Superior vs Supreme vs Ultimate power levels. I decided to register and vote just as Stella Aurorae was just starting her Main Event run, and create my own character. Oh god, my first character was a mess. He was a port from a fantasy RPG, and he had an amulet which shot magic beams at people. The character was straight-up rejected for lack of content. I got over it, rewrote him and resubmitted. The new version was 10 times better, which meant he was still pretty terrible, and I had the luck to enter the FPL during a period when everyone was congratulating themselves on how great the writing was. I did my best to step up, and my next major effort was part of a group project called The New Management. At the time the FPL was flooded by group projects where creators got together to create related characters, and for a while the voting trends heavily favored being part of a group. Writing quality grew by leaps and bounds, and nostalgia for this period still exists today, (even though every single one of those characters straight-up sucked by today's standards.)
  6. Yeah the Berglar has the right idea. Take off and Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. The best advice is to get rid of everything. Don't start planning to remake your old or current or conceptual FPL characters. Don't plan to port storylines, locations, plot devices, organizations, proper nouns, casual mentions, or cleverly subtle oblique references regarding your old stuff. No Khazan, in any way, shape, or form, not even as an accidental misspelling of the last name of the Academy Award Winning director of On The Waterfront. Also, to chime in to the earlier discussion, the FPL definitely limits creativity, but only if you care about votes.
  7. I sometimes write critical commentary on students' poetry assignments... ...in haiku.
  8. Yeah, and maybe a standing rule that story elements can't be edited out for contradicting an idea someone else has for the future that they may or may not ever get around to implementing... if someone beats you to the punch on an idea: they say there is a base on the moon, your future plot idea you talked about in chat one time needs the moon to be a hologram, the moonbase takes it because that story is actually finished and accessible to the community, whereas one night's plot from two years ago that nobody ever did anything with is not. To balance this we could create some starting circumstances that everyone can jive with, like "Yeah there is a moon, just one, and it has a normal lunar cycle just like the one we have on Earth, and some astronauts when there once."
  9. You guys know that Khazan has already been through one Apocalypse, right? Heh.
  10. I think you can collectively take the EF community with you to those sites- I followed some friends from the FPL to a now-defunct creative writing based social networking site called Consummating.com, and we had our close-knit group and made new friends (one guy even met his wife there!) I understand the social aspect of the site. The FPL has had conventions in Vegas, I've attended two of them. I've- at the very least- had dinner with a dozen or so people from this website. Many of them have moved on from the FPL but we've stayed in touch- one electricferret alumnus even got his novel published and nominated for a John W. Campbell award. The basic functionality of this place exists elsewhere. You can take the family with you when you move.
  11. electricferret.com is ending, but Khazan doesn't have to if y'all want to keep writing about it.
  12. Dear CBUB: CBR, Comic Vine, KillerMovies, Screw Attack... all these sites are virtually identical to what you do on this site, with the possible exception that one or two people on those sites have actually read the comics about which they're arguing. You might try signing up for one or all of those.
  13. That's cool, but the councilors who serve the Syndicate Body shouldn't have agendas- they're the Internal Affairs type of folks who make sure everyone else is playing by the rules. They also serve as judge and jury in the case of any disagreements between Syndicate members that can't be solved legislatively.
  14. Going to try to redo the other team information write-ups to be more concise and open.
  15. Here is the rough draft of The Syndicate: It’s true, crime is a deregulated industry. By definition, you don’t need anyone’s permission to rob a bank, sell drugs, or murder your enemies. There are thousands of criminal empires in the world; illicit fiefdoms where individuals survive by being clever, or brutal, or both. The most successful of these enterprises realized long ago that survival in a world of supercops and vigilante heroes requires more than that, though. It requires cooperation, strategy, and diplomacy. The Syndicate represents a council of the most prosperous criminal empires in Khazan. This “Congress of Crime†is comprised of representatives from dozens of the city’s most notorious groups of criminals, all collectively focused on working together to ensure that they don’t put one-another out of business. Among the Syndicate there are more conservative factions which favor maintenance of the status quo and more progressive factions which favor expansion and action, and as in any democracy the wheel of change turns slowly. Every participating organization can send two members to the Syndicate High Council- one voting representative and one non-voting representative. The Syndicate High Council is attended by a Deputy Secretary who has no voting or legislative power, but simply runs the procedural and organizational aspects of the meetings. The current Deputy Secretary is Mr. Twist, a man with an extraordinary talent for numbers, who exhibits overwhelming politeness. This is part of his charm: although he has no real power in The Syndicate, Mr. Twist commands the respect of so many important, powerful people that he can afford to be nice to everyone. The hierarchy is headed by the Syndicate High Council, but there is a separate group simply referred to as The Body which is comprised of five councilors. These five individuals are tasked with enforcing the Syndicate’s decisions. This is done by keeping tabs on the various member organizations within The Syndicate and ensuring they are abiding by the agreed-upon decisions. The balance of that is maintained financially- The Body’s operating budget comes entirely from taxes levied against member groups, ensuring that while they all agree oversight of their competitors is necessary, they enjoy a measure of control over The Body’s purse strings which helps dissuade personal agendas. The de facto spokesman for The Body is councilor Dawkins, known as “Dodger,†who runs an upscale art gallery in Villa Lobos and does contract work as one of the best professional appraisers in Khazan. There are four additional spots open on The Body for any creators who wish to specifically have their characters involved in the internal politics of The Syndicate. A note on terminology: "The Syndicate" is an umbrella term which refers to the collective proper noun of the organization and all its constituents. Any individual who is a member of any criminal organization which participates in The Syndicate is by default a part of The Syndicate. By contrast, the term "Syndicate High Council" refers to those Syndicate members who represent their respective organizations and actually sit on the council.
  16. It looks like two of them were folded into the general topic board, and the third has just disappeared.. Sentinels of Liberty and Justice The Angels of Mercy The third thread, which may have been called "The Advantages of Syndication" seems to have disappeared (I believe the opening line was "It's true, crime is a deregulated industry.") I will try to get a new Syndicate write-up done this week.
  17. I understand that the team forums were erased, which makes sense, because nobody was using them. However, did anybody save the SLJ, AoM, and Syndicate information stored in those threads? I can't seem to find any of it, and it would be a major pain to rewrite all of it again!
  18. Might want to choose a new name, as "Who Is More Powerful" doesn't lend itself to a particularly flattering acronym...
  19. Needs Updating, treach. It mentions Street Level, which is no longer a thing. Come to think of it, the Character Template thread needs updating now, too.
  20. FIRST AND FOREMOST THANK YOU! Thank you for two things. First: taking the time to read other characters before submitting. Second: Asking for input nicely on the boards. Just to add another agreeing voice to the masses: what both of these creators have said is accurate. The phrase used most often around here is "Show, don't tell." The idea is that this is a vote-driven site, and although we won't make any claims as to there being a correct or incorrect way to write a character, certain traits, like quality storytelling, tend to garner more votes from other users than just picking some powers and saying that they're powers. In Pseudonym's example of "the wrong way" to do it, there are seeds of a story, and it is a writer's job to nourish those seeds. A character's hands burning with uncontrollable fire. A destroyed house. There is a Midas-level tragedy under the surface there, begging for someone to tell us about this man, cursed to never again be able to hold his daughter, directing his loneliness and anger into his fists. Telling us his mere touch was enough to incinerate his house is not enough for most voters. You need to let us feel the heat, smell the smoke, hear the screams. Without getting too deep into the philosophy of it, the general consensus among voters is that character creation is about much more than picking superpowers from a list- it's about crafting a living conduit for storytelling. If you would like feedback from the voters before you submit your character, the Character Analysis board is a good place to post.
  21. The Ugly and Beautiful World of Ellie is a character that really caught my eye. I would like to see more from that creator.
  22. I made a seven member team once. Can't remember what it was called.
  23. I like to take work from famous artists who got paid a lot of money for their work. For example, I think I've mentioned before, the image for Silver's Hammer was taken from a DC Comic book cover. No offense, starving deviantartists, but I steal from only the best.
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