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Another direction with the cameos

Another direction with the cameos

Postby Argron » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:19 am

First of all, let me say that I really like the bussiness model of the cameos, and that I really thank those that can pay to support the comic we so love in such a way, and in turn get to appear in the comic.
But I feel that, although most of the cameos fit well with the story and the drowtales world, some didnt, and kind of dragged the comic in their direction. Its understandable though, you only get a few panels to make your character memorable, so you need to make it as distinctive as it can get. This unfortunately makes some of them more like charicatures of characters, rather than characters: the demon air guitarring goat vloz, the beldrobbaen with a beldrobbaen eyepatch (what is this, kill bill with red cross eyepatch nurses?), a sarghress with black eyes (what.), a beld with a mohawk, someone afraid of breasts, a subhouse of sharen with a non-tainted, an untainted royal guard, another royal guard that wont chase after an assassin because he is afraid of heights, ...
If you compare those characters with almost any other character in drowtales, you will find they are more flashy, even compared with main characters like Ariel.
I never had a problem with that, until ch41, pg 41. Before this, demons where these really scary, invisible monsters that you could almost not defend against, and that ate at you and turned you into some hideous monster that ate the faces off the people close to you, as we saw with the sharen attack on the nidraachal, Lu'lianne backstory, or the sarghress squad that got ambushed by demons and couldnt get saved by Chiri&Shan&that fallen templar. There are whole clans focused on fighting them, and the last big war on chel was fought because of them. Now they are cute goats that lick sealing stones, because a cameo summons cute goats that you can pet.
Same with the cameos that surround Kiel and that have become the solution to every problem kiel faces, protect her from physical and mana attacks, wake her up when in danger and call upon her friends when in need, an always present deus ex machina.


What if, instead of these physically flashy cameos that show abilities and traits out of the blue that make no sense, we could have less flashy cameos that fit better with the rest of the story but had more background depth, say, after each chapter, 3 pages get dedicated to the cameos, either to explain something about them, to make them fit in some part of past history, to explain how they become what they are in interwoven short stories, ...
The creators of the cameos could receive information about all other cameos of the story and try to make background that includes several of them, and then the drowtales team could choose between the stories the cameo owners give them the ones they like most, and maybe adapt those stories as they see fit. If you make a good story that manages to include most characters, you could get almost 3 pages worth of exposure for your cameo and all others, plus get a short story of your own published by the drowtales team as part of their printed comic.


As a reader, I wouldnt mind at all reading a bit of background about cameos, and how they fit with previous parts of the story, and i bet the cameo owners would like it too.


PS: I didnt know where else to post this.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby MEK1724 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:15 am

Argron wrote:Before this, demons where these really scary, invisible monsters that you could almost not defend against, and that ate at you and turned you into some hideous monster that ate the faces off the people close to you ....Now they are cute goats that lick sealing stones, because a cameo summons cute goats that you can pet.

1) Demons can be anything , from useless to deadly .
2) You're assuming that the goats didn't kill anything off screen .
Argron wrote:someone afraid of breasts

I don't actually recall that factor coming up at all in the plot .
an untainted royal guard

I'm not sure how that doesn't fit in exactly ? Provided they weren't constantly demanding to see Diva , like a certain guard , I'm unsure how untainted wouldn't fit in exactly ? A significant amount had apparently never seen fake Diva?
to explain how they become what they are in interwoven short stories, ...

Some characters can't be interwoven with one another . At least not in 3 pages .
3 pages get dedicated to the cameos

This is a very short time to explain anything considering they can be 10-40 of them in a single chapter . Assuming you wanted all of them .

I'm really not sure I understand what exactly you are suggesting ?
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Dalvyserran » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:16 am

I suppose it boils down to the cameo creator being more consistent with the world setting rather than trying to be flashy and make their mark on the world, if that's what you mean. It's a hit-or-miss because some people consider fitting into the setting and some don't. I assume kern does most of the pruning to keep out unnecessary details that have nothing to do with the role.

As for cameo backgrounds, well... As much as I'd like to see what happened to my Sullisin'rune, it aint gonna get shown in MA. I'd have to write about it myself or request a commission. I think what you're asking for is something like the endings of the Suikoden games, where there are epilogue summaries of each 108 character... Right?
Last edited by Dalvyserran on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Whizzard » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:30 am

I actually don't see what's the problem. So far most outrageous character in whole chapter 41 has been... Nirn'aya, a non-cameo character who has been in the story for ages. She has incredible combat talent, near cheating ability of flying daggers, impregnable armor and is nearly unshakeable in a chase. If she was a main character and not actually dumb in her attempts to play three sides at once I'd say she's very Mary Sue.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Strossus » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:46 pm

Having the cameos fit in better would allow for more face time, and recurrence.
But sometimes it is nice to see some short lived flashy characters.
And the model for cameo commissions at present would take a hit if the cameos stayed around too long.
It is a tricky situation to balance wants and needs of many people.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Reva » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:54 pm

Being a Mary Sue isn't about combat ability, or else any older Drow in this story would be a raging Mary Sue. Nir'naya never bent reality, broke worldsetting rules or was impossibly lucky. She's just a well-trained Imperial Guard with good equipment. People need to stop throwing the term at any vaguely competent character, it becomes meaningless.

I can see what OP is trying to say. Statistically, even though there's the oddball everywhere (and some of the main characters are just that, the opposite of what their group expects), you'd expect most people to be average. But people don't want to be average, so they start pilling up too many bells and whistles to their character. Then it's this parade of quirks and unexplained traits that can leave some readers dizzy, in particularly those not familiar with the community AND with the in-depths of the world setting (Drowtales already has enough problems with being accessible for new readers). I came across many similar problems with RPG players. I think there is a line where you can distinguish "unique and well-defined" from "too much information, too much speschulness". That's what people should strive for.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Strossus » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:10 pm

The 'too much speeshul' thing usually comes from someone pooling everything they want to do into one character and/or when they TRY to make a Mary/Marty.

As for all the personal extras about characters mentioned in the forums, I had thought that was all non-canon anyway.
All that matters is what we see in the comic itself, and I suppose the official side stories. Maybe ;).
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Dalvyserran » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:12 pm

Reva wrote:I can see what OP is trying to say. Statistically, even though there's the oddball everywhere (and some of the main characters are just that, the opposite of what their group expects), you'd expect most people to be average. But people don't want to be average, so they start pilling up too many bells and whistles to their character. Then it's this parade of quirks and unexplained traits that can leave some readers dizzy, in particularly those not familiar with the community AND with the in-depths of the world setting (Drowtales already has enough problems with being accessible for new readers). I came across many similar problems with RPG players. I think there is a line where you can distinguish "unique and well-defined" from "too much information, too much speschulness". That's what people should strive for.


These points I have to agree with, particularly with people not knowing what in the world is going on with some characters that have traits only certain readers will understand. I think this is what Argron is trying to say too--some cameos are need of further explanation by their owners or those out of the loop will get lost. If it's not part of the general world setting, it's gonna get glossed over.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Sonor Val'Illhar'dro » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:20 pm

So far I have seen no problem- Kern specifically asked that the cameos have a quirk or two to give them a little personality. Chel'el'sussoloth is a crazy place, and I've seen crazier things preexisting in the DT universe than what we've seen cameo wise.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Dalvyserran » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:36 pm

there's also the benefit of people who add in specific characteristics you wouldn't otherwise see in MA; stuff that helps expand parts of the world setting that are lacking, like how a cameo uses their sorcery
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Leopardwerecat » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:37 pm

I'd rather have unique cameos with quirks and personality flaws than an endless line of faceless background mooks.

Half of the points you came up with as to why they 'don't fit in' are irrelevant to the actual plot.

Argron wrote:the beldrobbaen with a beldrobbaen eyepatch (what is this, kill bill with red cross eyepatch nurses?)

Argron wrote:a beld with a mohawk


Tell me again why it's somehow canonly impossible for a character to wear an eye-patch due to a missing eye? Maybe not everyone wants a golem replacement, and why one character can't have a more punk style in a clan that's essentially goth/punk themed? Khal'harror has a tongue piercing and numerous tattoos but I'm not seeing any complaints about his physical appearance.

Argron wrote:someone afraid of breasts


I don't even know how that's relevant, it's just a character quirk and has at no point in MA impacted on the story. hell, it wasn't even mentioned!

Argron wrote:I never had a problem with that, until ch41, pg 41. Before this, demons where these really scary, invisible monsters that you could almost not defend against, and that ate at you and turned you into some hideous monster that ate the faces off the people close to you, as we saw with the sharen attack on the nidraachal, Lu'lianne backstory, or the sarghress squad that got ambushed by demons and couldnt get saved by Chiri&Shan&that fallen templar. There are whole clans focused on fighting them, and the last big war on chel was fought because of them. Now they are cute goats that lick sealing stones, because a cameo summons cute goats that you can pet.


In the war summoners would go out of their way to summon the more destructive, or to put it simply, 'carnivorous' types of demons: Horrors, the bestial type, and gluttons, purely because they're the most dangerous. however it's been thought that there aren't just 'carnivore' aggressive types, but the demonic equivalent of herbivores too. There's an infinite amount of different netherplanes with an infinite variety of different demons that inhabit them (ver'aku, vel'akars, etc).

It isn't completely destroying canon if there's one summoner who prefers to summon non-dangerous (for the most part, they still eat mana and can possess someone) demons.

Argron wrote:What if, instead of these physically flashy cameos that show abilities and traits out of the blue that make no sense, we could have less flashy cameos that fit better with the rest of the story but had more background depth


Or, what if, you let people create the design that they're bloody well paying for and if they're too nonsensical, Kern can ask them to change the details so that they do indeed fit.

Argron wrote:say, after each chapter, 3 pages get dedicated to the cameos, either to explain something about them, to make them fit in some part of past history, to explain how they become what they are in interwoven short stories, ...


Three extra pages per chapter is an unnecessary extra workload that Kern and Kite don't need. Most of the cameo creators will post bios and background information in and around the forum anyway, and you were already complaining that they detract from the story too much by being too 'flashy' and non-canon.

Sometimes the fans themselves will write or draw an epilogue for the characters and Kern will post it in the news feed, but I seriously doubt he wants to put even more work into unnecessary cameo pages when some people are already complaining that they take up too much of the story. (I for one don't believe this is true). So unless you're planning on funding the extra pages personally by paying for one of the other team members to draw them up, the cameo pages will not be happening.

Argron wrote:The creators of the cameos could receive information about all other cameos of the story and try to make background that includes several of them, and then the drowtales team could choose between the stories the cameo owners give them the ones they like most, and maybe adapt those stories as they see fit.


The problem here is although a lot of people have each others skype, it can be difficult coordinating between people and writing up new bios to fit in with what other people have written. A majority of us live in different timezones too, and when one person wants to collaborate their two cameo's bios in the morning the other person might be going to bed or at work. Sometimes we do already collaborate (Pitdragon and I's cameos ended up looking similar by coincidence so we sort of agreed that they were sisters) or the characters already know each other within roleplay settings (like Tur'geis and Mini'issya).

TL;DR: extra pages not happening. You're asking too much of a studio that already has a reduced workforce and a huge workload. If a suggested cameo is not fine Kern usually asks them to change it. If a cameo that you personally didn't happen to like the traits of was accepted, it's because Kern found it okay within canon.

However I do agree there are cases where people have submitted cameos that definitely are weird compared to the setting, but like Sonor said, Kern said he preferred quirky and weird cameos to boring ones. Backstory for them all would be great, but in the end it comes down to balancing screentime for each character and not straying too far from the plot for the sake of the cameos.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Whizzard » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:23 pm

Reva wrote:I can see what OP is trying to say. Statistically, even though there's the oddball everywhere (and some of the main characters are just that, the opposite of what their group expects), you'd expect most people to be average.


Uhhh... the Vloz'ress are anything BUT average. You have to be crazy to join that clan. Look at everybody's favorite Kuso, he seems like your average merc, he isn't even tainted. But he's handsome AND has a extremely foul mouth, spewing all his colors the moment he opens his mouth. That's his quirk spewing foul language and being quite a looker at the same time.

And then there's Imperial guard. You'd think anyone average would make it to the imperial guard? They all are extreme badasses. And really, reading the comic not even single cameo has struck me out of ordinary. The Sarghress squad in previous chapter was pretty normal with almost no quirks blatanlty on display.

The actual thing is that you THINK that there are outrageous amount of people who stand out but when you read the comic, does any of them show the colors? No, there's a hint here and there.

Tell me, would you have noticed anything out of ordinary when you hadn't seen cameo pages on the news and cameos weren't mentioned in footnotes?

I certainly wouldn't. Hell, Vloz are crazy as always and I'd expect imperial guard to be a group of heavily talented individuals.

As for asking people to make their characters more average? What does average actually mean? Everyone I know has their own style, they stick out with their voice, their haircut, their clothing, their use of language. And all of them have a quirk or two. In reality, everyone IS different. Everyone stand out once you know them.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Shoedrinker » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:10 pm

Dalvyserran wrote:
Reva wrote:Then it's this parade of quirks and unexplained traits that can leave some readers dizzy, in particularly those not familiar with the community AND with the in-depths of the world setting (Drowtales already has enough problems with being accessible for new readers).


These points I have to agree with, particularly with people not knowing what in the world is going on with some characters that have traits only certain readers will understand. I think this is what Argron is trying to say too--some cameos are need of further explanation by their owners or those out of the loop will get lost. If it's not part of the general world setting, it's gonna get glossed over.


I do agree with this point. However, I feel most of these cases need to be addressed within the story itself - expecting a reader to check extra material to make sense of them is not a sound strategy, in my opinion.

And most of them could require no more than a few lines of dialogue or small tweaks of the scene, instead of the proposed extra pages. For example, in the subject of the untainted overseer guards, the beldrobbaen contact that helped Kiel with this assassination, Verthandi, could have added:

    "One more thing: there are some untainted overseers. They're Beldrobbaen. And although their loss would be understandable, we would be thankful if you were to spare their lives".

Actually, if I remember correctly, the possibility of having beldrobbaen overseers was established by Kern himself in the news post calling for 41 chapter cameos. That it is being mentioned now as an issue calls me to think that perhaps there could be other important details and world setting not mentioned inside the story the readers need to know. Or in other words, that the story could be suffering because of a lack of explanations. Which is worrisome. *hmmm*

Could someone think of any? Or am I just too fearful?

Argron wrote:a sarghress with black eyes (what.), [...] a subhouse of sharen with a non-tainted,


What? Where those happened? o_O
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Whizzard » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:13 pm

Shoedrinker wrote:Actually, if I remember correctly, the possibility of having beldrobbaen overseers was established by Kern himself in the news post calling for 41 chapter cameos. That it is being mentioned now as an issue calls me to think that perhaps there could be other important details and world setting not mentioned inside the story the readers need to know. Or in other words, that the story could be suffering because of a lack of explanations. Which is worrisome. *hmmm*


We don't need to know anything more than the characters we follow. If Kiel is the main character, then we know as much as she does. If she does not know anything about imperial guards then it's good if we don't either. The story would have been ruined entirely if Kern told us: "Yeah, in this chapter kiel goes to kill the empress and has to fight the imperial guards, some of whom btw are not tainted and are Beldrobbaen. Their leader is relentless in chasing her prey if she feels her honor is on the line. Oh yeah, and Kiel's not against opening nether gates in Beldrobbaen territory."

I don't know anything about Uganda in Africa. If story took place there, should i know everything about it's culture, the big players, their customs, how are they doing in their life, how did it go afterwards, blah blah blah. No I don't.

If you watched the Matrix and saw an agent dodge bullets and being able to switch bodies for the very first time, did you think: they should have said that important story detail beforehand!

Don't you ever want to be surprised by the story?

And besides, Kern writes explanations for every page. Sure it's not very into detail but certainly helps us to understand what happened on the page. And i don't feel I missed out on something if I don't read em at all or they don't go into detail about every aspect of what is going on and why.

What you actually need to know is what is the character we are following trying to do. Or just that they are going to do something but that something is a surprise that wouldn't be a surprise when we were told beforehand.

Would you want to know what Snadhya'rune has planned for the meeting in Felde? I don't. I want to story reach that point in it's own flow.
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Re: Another direction with the cameos

Postby Reva » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:16 pm

Whizzard wrote:
Reva wrote:I can see what OP is trying to say. Statistically, even though there's the oddball everywhere (and some of the main characters are just that, the opposite of what their group expects), you'd expect most people to be average.


Uhhh... the Vloz'ress are anything BUT average. You have to be crazy to join that clan. Look at everybody's favorite Kuso, he seems like your average merc, he isn't even tainted. But he's handsome AND has a extremely foul mouth, spewing all his colors the moment he opens his mouth. That's his quirk spewing foul language and being quite a looker at the same time.

And then there's Imperial guard. You'd think anyone average would make it to the imperial guard? They all are extreme badasses. And really, reading the comic not even single cameo has struck me out of ordinary. The Sarghress squad in previous chapter was pretty normal with almost no quirks blatanlty on display.

The actual thing is that you THINK that there are outrageous amount of people who stand out but when you read the comic, does any of them show the colors? No, there's a hint here and there.

Tell me, would you have noticed anything out of ordinary when you hadn't seen cameo pages on the news and cameos weren't mentioned in footnotes?

I certainly wouldn't. Hell, Vloz are crazy as always and I'd expect imperial guard to be a group of heavily talented individuals.

As for asking people to make their characters more average? What does average actually mean? Everyone I know has their own style, they stick out with their voice, their haircut, their clothing, their use of language. And all of them have a quirk or two. In reality, everyone IS different. Everyone stand out once you know them.


*facepalm*

Of course Vloz are weird. Of course Imperial Guards are well trained. I explained Nir'naya's character on the same post. Average is a relative term: a character is average based on how common their behaviour is in their community. Kiel is crazy, but that's Vloz behaviour, she's not an oddball in relation to her group. Nir'naya is not a Mary Sue because the very least you expect from the commander of the Imperial Guard is that's she needs to be a great warrior with good resources. That's average. Average in this context doesn't mean: dull, blank slate, boring, predictable. I adressed this on the post when I said that you can do unique characters without them constantly raising questions to the reader that will never be answered.

And yes, I think the background/secondary characters from before and the cameos from now have a noticeably different presentation in general, with a few exceptions.

Edit: On the subject of WS not shown in the comic: Drowtales is HEAVY in WS and this WS is necessary to actually have a full grasp on what's going on. However, if you start showing minor instances where you aren't sure why the rules (the ones you know from just reading the comic, not forum, not wiki, not extra pages) are being broken, it leaves a reader confused about what should be taken in consideration later when the rules are applied to plot points. It's unnecessary and a turn-off for people that want a self-contained work and don't have the will or the time to hunt through the massive amount of extra content DT produced over the years. It's a part of storytelling: work the necessary exposition smothly into the story, avoid raising questions that we will not know or care for the answers and don't make the reader get a phD to understand what's going on.

Showdrinker's example is pretty great in all aspects. It has logic in-universe, explains something that might confuse some people and is not intrusive. :)
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