Oct 22, 2021 5:28 AM
a grape grapples with tropes outside her literary canon
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"Patriarchy is the opposite of Matriarchy and does exactly what it says; the world is deeply sexist and not in your favor, and the fate patterns will assist the heroine but not you in defying this. Time Twisted will give the heroine memories of a counterfactual timeline where you--or rather, your 'canon' version--won and did horrible things to her. 'Save the World' will put the world under threat from some danger the heroine and your fiance will have to save it from. Sickly will--well, make you sickly. Your ill health won't ever kill you, but it'll get awfully inconvenient."

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Note note note note note note. "And the last batch?"

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"Spoiled Rotten will result in expensive tastes, an unfamiliarity with being told 'no,' and a tendency to dramatically fail to cope when your standards aren't met. 'There's Two of Them' will give your heroine as an ally one of the heroine options you did not select. By default your new self will be very pretty even if you don't choose the Goddess of Beauty perk, but if you take Unattractive, homely is probably the best that could be said of your appearance. If you choose Unprepared, your memory of this time between dying and being reborn will be wiped, and you won't know that the Roses of Villarosa story isn't native to your original universe; alternately, if you also take Not a Fan, you won't have any inkling of it being theoretically a story at all. I can also have your memory of your original life wiped if you want that for some reason, in which case, assuming you do not take Not a Fan, your meta-knowledge of the story will seem like some kind of precognitive effect."

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Nooote note note note "And is that everything, or are there further considerations?"

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"That's all the mechanical choices."

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"...you say that like there are further considerations that aren't mechanical choices."

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"You can customize things a lot beyond the bare mechanical choices." She consults her notes. "Apparently the appropriate word for this in your language is 'greebles.'"

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"Greebles!" she says delightedly. "I don't think I've heard that one before! What a good word. What sorts of things can I customize, then? Or should that wait until I've thought about the mechanics?"

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"What greebles you want can influence mechanics! One of the most basic things to customize is world--there are a lot of defaults that we can fill in if you don't bother with greebles, but you can decide things like what the language is like, what the architecture and clothing styles are like, what 'human' and 'elf' actually mean--elves are overall like 'humans' but better, essentially, but what that human baseline is like is up to you, within limits. You can also specify a lot of details about the perks you choose, and your minions--essentially, if something isn't specifically determined by what I told you about the mechanical choices, you can probably make it however you want."

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"Hmm."

Her eyes light with a sudden enthusiasm, and she flips to a new page in her notebook and starts making architectural sketches.

"—I don't suppose you have modeling clay? I want to see what some of this will look like in three dimensions—"

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She produces modeling clay. "I can give you anything from your home dimension that can be justified as relevant to making your choices."

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Gleeful modeling commences. "I can design buildings! I can design entire architectural styles! Am I going to be cut off eventually or can I take as long as I want to get things looking right?"

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"You can take as long as you want! We're time-dilated and I'm psychologically incapable of getting bored."

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Cheerful humming. Sketches. Tiny clay architecture. "I should design the magic so the practical constraints of construction are different... can I do that? It would be so interesting!"

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"You can absolutely do that! There are limitations to what can be immediately achievable with magic--it can't be in a place such that someone's going to invent interdimensional transit before the end of the 'plot,' for example--but I can let you know if you run into anything else like that."

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"Ooh, interdimensional transit, there's a concept—we should have interdimensional transit, but no, not right away—although, actually, is there a good reason why there couldn't be multiple worlds in play to start with?"

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"Because any worlds we didn't create wouldn't have the fate-patterns for the story. I suppose there's no reason we couldn't create a limited set of worlds all at roughly the same tech level and have transit between those specifically."

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"Yes, that's the thought I was having. It would make things more interesting! Do they all have to have the same tech level? The continents I'm familiar with differ wildly on that front."

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"They have to fall within the same tech level category, because you can't choose more than one of those. They don't have to be at exactly the same tech level."

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"—hmm, really? That's an odd constraint—how fine-grained is it, will it be fine as long as there's at least one city in every world that's at the right level and that's the one that the story is in primary contact with—"

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"You could maybe justify that, but by default no."

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"What would justifying it consist of?"

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"Making an argument that satisfies me that it will satisfy my bosses that a) the relevant tech disparities make narrative sense, and b) won't impact the story."

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"Well, all right, let me see."

She plays with her modeling clay. She asks for more modeling clay, and a table to work with it on. She sketches and models and hums and mutters and scribbles in her notes and— "I know you said you don't get bored but I can try to explain what I'm after if you like—and I should probably attempt to make some mechanical choices at some point, too—"

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"I would enjoy it if you explained, but that's not about avoiding boredom, that's just about being interested."

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