Aug 03, 2021 8:00 PM
Bella is an otome villainess
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"- okay, what other hair options are there."

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"The other hair variable is color, and then there's species to consider. The hair color options are blonde--not likely to have any impact, it has narrative implications of 'rich and pretty,' which you would be by default anyway. Redhead--more of a protagonist hair color, but that's not an absolute. Red hair will come with stronger emotions and greater physical strength. Silver--not the dull gray of the elderly, a proper striking silver. Silver hair will leave you a bit physically weaker, but somewhat smarter, and with higher magical potential. 'Brunette'--brown or black, actually--a more down to earth hair color. It will give you something of a relatability advantage, but leave you just a little bit less proactive. And 'rainbow,' which means going whole hog on anime hair colors and making the world more influenced by anime tropes." 

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"- how are these, uh, personality influences, handled. Also I haven't seen any anime besides like fifteen minutes of Pokémon at the dentist's waiting room and three episodes of Sailor Moon at somebody's house, can you like give me a TV and some representative DVDs or something."

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She appears a TV with DVD player and a stack of anime DVDs. 

"The personality influences are implemented as tweaks to your baseline neurochemistry. They aren't hard and fast rules any more than antidepressants are."

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"And the one that makes me smarter does - what more specifically?"

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"You'll just be smarter. All the smart that you already have now but everything's a bit boosted across the board. If you were unusually non-book-smart," she glances at the contents of Bella's room as if to say, which doesn't apply to you, obviously, "it would be focused mostly there."

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"Are you not allowed to tell me what theory of intelligence this implies."

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"...I don't know anything about theory of intelligence as practiced in your world."

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"Will being smarter make me better at - music, or is that separate. Will it make me less clumsy due to neurological knock-on effects. - will I still be clumsy in the first place. Will it make me better at remembering things, and will that be retroactive or only going forward."

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"It will make you better at music in some ways but it won't by itself give you better pitch. It won't make you less clumsy on its own but being clumsy for no reason is very much a heroine trait, narratively speaking, and will not be present. It will make you better at remembering things and that will apply somewhat retroactively--it will make you better at recalling things at appropriate moments but it won't retroactively cache any data presently lost."

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"Uh-huh. Is it cool if I spend a few years here giving myself an education on stuff."

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"As I said, we're time-dilated and I can't get bored."

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"Fun. Okay. What is a 'relatability advantage'."

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"The romance-focused part of the plot is the part where you're a villainess. If people find you more relatable this will give you an advantage in social maneuvering."

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"Okay, so given that I don't care about the romance plot at all -

- uh, am I going to be maneuvered into caring during my uninformed childhood, somehow -"

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"Not necessarily. But the plot starts with your character in a political arranged engagement, and you seem like you care about politics."

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"I assume I can't make it politically irrelevant or easily substituted somehow."

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"You can't make it politically irrelevant. You can't just say 'make it easily substitutable' and have us handle all the details for you, but there are ways to make it happen within the options available."

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"Okay, so I can be like 'you take that one and I will make do with the runner-up' as long as I have invented a social system that produces appropriate runners-up?"

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"Yes, approximately. But you will most likely have to do some finagling not to lose any face when another girl steals your original fiance. Or just not care about losing any face, but I recommend caring at least some if you do want to be a major political figure."

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"Suppose that makes sense. Is that all the hair options or do I also have mechanically significant dandruff decisions to make."

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"That's all the hair options. You can also decide whether you want to be a 'human' or an 'elf,' where 'human' is the baseline sapient in that universe, not necessarily recognizably human, and 'elf' is essentially that but with extra sprinkles. Smarter, prettier, more magical, longer-lived if you haven't made that moot. You know, elfy. It's unambiguously better--that's the whole point--but you also have to take an extra flaw." 

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"Is there a compelling reason to have this sort of species inequality in my universe in the first place instead of just jazzing up my baseline sapients?"

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"Since we have established that you don't find positional advantages a compelling reason, no."

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"I am creating an entire universe, I'm not going to fuck over any substantial fraction of it to win at a stupid romance plot!"

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