Plot SummaryCheck it out here.
Plot AnalysisWell, this is a series of things. There are three main threads.
One is Xavier Ridgecrest. The fallen leader of the Questers. He's fallen on hard times. Everything is broken. All his friends have left him. He has nothing but memories and the Wing Fortress. But somehow, someway, he refuses to give up. Despite everything having been tainted, despite the literal energy that allowed him to fight being destroyed... he refused to stop. He continued fighting against his fate. Others soon joined him. And before anyone could see it coming, he managed to wrench back the hands of fate itself: he re-obtained the Smash Energy, and revived his fighting chances. The Season 3 Questers returned at his side, and together, they swore revenge on those who had sullied their name, and those who threatened their existence.
Another is Illian MacGregor. The false leader of the Questers. He now had created the Protectors. These Protectors were the anti-Questers. A highly hierarchical and controlled organization, they were to do only what Illian wanted, and nothing else. So naturally everyone left this group, leaving only Valron. And Valron, as his player will even attest to this day, was really just trying to steady the ship, rather than mindlessly obey Illian. Illian didn't get it, though. All he wanted was to see Xavier DEAD. And so he rambled about, made complex plans to nowhere, and flew his shiny spaceships around. Though for this Battle, he was ostensibly the main group. And he ultimately killed Jack the Widowmaker -- a Mad Man, who had betrayed the planet. And given the twist that Illian CREATED THE PLANET OF ALSA (or so he claimed), that temporarily made him the main villain. But Illian wrathfully killed him, and Valron did the coup de grace. Thus, for this Battle at least, we see that Illian was the one most in control... even though he was rapidly losing it as time went on.
Then there was Garrick Fy'aar. Ostensibly the greatest asset of Illian, instead he betrayed Illian pretty much immediately, then was a one-man team. Said team accomplished mostly a lot of angsting about the future (just like Illian), but with an additional super-hatred of all things Quester. Garrick thought he could do far better than Illian, and so bent any rules that existed to try and get his way. He ultimately managed to aid Illian from a distance in this season, but it was rather uncertain whether it was decisive. In the end, all he really did was introduce Alsans to Alex Fender and disconnect Jack from his Alsan Planetary Powers. Which was enough to allow Valron and Illian to kill Jack, so, I guess that counts. He also warned everyone of the impending Questerocalypse, but, that will be seen as to whether it was any effective in the next Battle.
Now for the deeper parts. Why did Xavier recover? Why was it that he managed to come back from absolutely nothing? Simple. He had Ederick Holmes by his side. Ederick helped get him his first Time Engine. Ederick at every turn countered whatever Garrick did. Ederick refused to give up or to lose faith in Xavier.
Valron did his version of this, but there was a key difference: Illian trusted no one. Thus, instead of trusting him, he asked... SIMBER? Red Text? The Alsan planet? He had no plan. He had no trusted allies. It's no surprise he ended up having to resort to exploding mountains instead of having any sort of efficient way to get to his goal.
And Garrick... was Garrick. Playing Garrick's game. Maybe it'd have made more sense in the past, but in this game? It was mostly him going in circles, searching for sympathy. A cross between Xavier and Illian. That'd be fine, but what was his endgame? He wished to 'stop the killing', but he also 'killed for the people.' He believed Borne was horrible, but also that the Alsan Questers were horrible. He thought Illian was both not extreme and too extreme. And so on. In the end, his motivations were so vague as to be painful to even try to understand. So my retrospective there is -- like with Charles and Julian, it would have made more sense to not allow him into the game. It made for great conflict, sure, but... detracted from the attempt to tell the story.
Hm, what else. Well we have a giant junk drawer of also-ran characters too. Like... Azon! It's Anonyman again, but he feels rather... out of place. Okay, how about... huh... the ones whose names I forgot, Alestorm... yeah, I mean, really drawin' a blank here. This was a bad game (at this point) for characters. Man. I wish we had some more. Otherwise it's like, King Demon, who got stuck a lot in warps, or Gibby, who vanished. Or Aribar, who appeared in one log. Yeah... not very exciting.
So what about it? The reality is this was just the plot of Alsa, redone, but now with characters, well, GMPCs and Garrick and Valron and Ederick, who were willing to actually fight it out. So they all beat down the old Alsan stuff. They properly made deals with Borne. They properly destroyed Jack. They... properly blathered on forever with boring other NPCs that did nothing but bloviate about background details that weren't very important.
I think there was, ironically, a lot of fat that wasn't needed on the plot. The core parts were strong, but let's just say they were buried. What we really needed was a clear focus: Xavier moping about, and slowly obtaining what he needs. Illian coordinating his heartless and surgical extermination of heartless and not-so-surgical Alsan villains. And Garrick either not present at all, or, if he is, building his grudge against BOTH Metal Men as he plots behind the scenes.
Instead we got Borne Sloan Jack Anthon SIMBER (later version) SIMBER (earlier version) Valron Alestorm Illian Marley Eggman Clone #14 and so on and so forth all wandering around all over the place, and at times making it eye-glaze-over material. But then the action scenes just grab you, and you realize, "Wow, if only the filler was more concise. I could make it more bearable in between the ULTRAVIOLENCE." So it's... better than anything that came before, but, was definitely not that great compared to what it could have been.
So, all in all, it wasn't as problematic as past Super Smash Quest stories, and it had a lot more strength to it, but it was still somewhat early days for 'proper' stories. I still to this day strive to improve the writing, and to deal with the fact that most of all this game is rather, well, a bit glitchy with the whole... consistency thing.
Oh, and also, no longer relying on antagonistic players for the antagonism. It was a long ride, and there were sometimes some great moments, but post-CONFRONTATION, anyone who fashions themself a Garrick, Charles, or Julian will just be informed that's not something I want and will politely decline. It's nice and all that players offered, and provided, the missing pieces of what was needed for a full 'conflict', but ultimately all it did was limit my own ability to do that in the game. Also, players doing it meant that they were often not fully synchronized with the plot -- see the moment where, awkwardly, Alex Fender breaks the 4th wall thinking he knows more about how the plot should go than I do. It gives players the presumption of GM powers, without the actual knowledge of the plot or the game to properly make it work.
This is of course not a single person at fault. It's the combination of the GM (me) not controlling these things on their own and the player (them) for then exceeding their (limited) mandate. But in this equation the GM takes the bigger piece of the fault, because it shouldn't be this way in the first place. Players are not GMs, and players who want to become GMs, should they be promoted to that level, should gain all the powers and also all of the responsibility. That way, when they screw up, it's the same as when say, I screw up, and there is no "It's just my character" defense; it just becomes the same as anything else. Is it good or bad GMing? The players and the GM decide.
Well, that, and then I come in after it's done and log it, and then get a second, final take on it. So, in the spirit of that, my final decision is that CONFRONTATION BATTLE 1 was a bit flawed, but one of the first games that was really 'mine' and, I like it much better than the previous games as a result. No more pretending to fit someone else's wants. The only real blemishes are self-inflicted; allowing another player to horn on in on plot details that belonged to Illian. And having too much technobabble mcOldPlot references that nobody needed. Ironically, there WERE oldplot references that were good; but it should have been cleaned up. Less references to SSQ^2; more references to Season 3. As then the game would have been much more concise:
There'd just be three sources of info to keep track of, instead of thirteen billion. Alsa as it stands: (abbreviated as just 'destroyed', without much detail needed.) Nintendus as it stands: (also destroyed). Past Nintendus: The source of both potential cures and potential peril. And that's it. All the other stuff... it was too early to introduce interdimensional factions like Dweezil and Erastians or "Solarions" other than the handful of each that were supposed to be around with the respective Metal Men. So the key lesson to take is to not overload it. As some of this info was in fact rather valuable... but in future games, not this one. So why overload the poor players with it? I wasn't fully certain, that was why. I needed to solidify what it would be about earlier.
So there you go. A game which wasn't entirely baked, but still tasted good. Wait, what? I mean it played alright, not tasted. This is what happens when I don't eat lunch on time while writing this, heh.
Word Map (Made with Wordle)
Ah... for this I've upped the detail some, utilizing some advanced options in Wordle. You still get the initial 300 words, but it continues out towards (nearly) infinity so you can get additional details. Gone are the days where I just sit there, speechless; it has so much detail that it can go on forever. It might not work for everything I summarize, but I like it for this.
So then, what to say about it? Geez, a lot. We got Jack, Borne, Alsa, Garrick, Questers, Red Text, Valron, Gibby, Azon, space ships, (King) Demon, Ragnar, The Void, Deathguard, Ael, Julian, Autumnus, Grim, Wolfman, Ederick, and so on. You can really see the additional detail. I can sorta get lost inside the cloud of words, as it zooms out into infinity. My computer also got lost in the words, as it took a while for it to figure out all the convoluted geometry. Anyways. This is a Season of many characters, fighting, thinking, wanting, and killing their way to victory. They always must go about Time manipulation, encountering all sorts of energies, mind warping entities, and contemplating Smash Energy. It is in this that they deal with Mad Men, technology, Time Cops, Professor Oak, crystals, GUN, and the very question of what is real and what is fake, all while still earning some gold and fighting skeletons.
Well, that's just a summary. There's way more, you could probably sit there staring off into the distance for a while on this one, so I let it speak for itself beyond that. It's like a prism that contains all the information restated, and gives a general 'feeling' for everything... I might even go back and re-generate past Wordles, because this one is way more interesting than the older ones. It however doesn't need me to over-interpret it; the words are quite detailed and tell of a chaotic war between a bunch of violent factions over what reality should be, and what energies should even be allowed.
Oh, and amazingly, it placed Valron next to Dragoshi, symbolically noting the changing of his name. Neat. Not to mention Jack, Alsa, and Borne are all next to eachother. Fitting.
Top 10% Logs of this SeasonThere's only room for one log in this tiny Battle of a "Season." So... what is the best log?
Number 1: Chapter 11: The Will To Save The World
This is the log where Xavier regains his mojo. Where finally, it becomes clear that this game isn't going to be just a one-sided death of Xavier. Also this quote: "Damned... damned people like Garrick and Charles and Julian won't have succeeded after all! We'll take the Questers back for ourselves and burn to ashes those people who stole my dreams!"
After a lot of demoralizing stories in SSQ, this was the first in a long time where an actual recovery had occurred. It was inspiring, to say the least. A final rebellion against the sad, overly depressed stories of SSQ:I and SSQ^2. This log also contained Garrick having to think a bit harder than just 'point, shoot, disrupt', which was also key. Sadly, that was rather short lived.
Then, Xavier uses his regained power... to troll Borne, and prove that the Questers are back, baby!
It's even interesting for Illian. Having Red Text, Ael, and Illian and SIMBER all argue about killing Xavier... really gives you the impression of how cold-hearted and mean spirited Illian is. But also gives him some teeth, so he isn't just a doddering upset old man. Which is important, because up until now, he'd been kind of like a wet noodle.
All in all, if you only read one log, read this one. It's probably the best in this season, at least according to me.
Cast (In order of Appearance)Here we go again! Except this should be (relatively) short... I hope?
Xavier Ridgecrest - Leader of the Questers - Recovering Chaos-a-Holic
Borne - Leader of GUN - Cynical Anti-Hero Skeptic
Ederick Holmes - Quester - Determined Anti-GUN / Anti-Garrick Renegade
Brimson - GUN Soldier - Saved by a Rookie
Guard 1 - GUN Elite Guard - Rule Infraction Counter
Guard 2 - GUN Elite Guard - Order Reminder
Smash Dex - Quester Tool - Order Receiver
Illian MacGregor - Leader of the Protectors - Bipolar Warrior
Gibby - Protector - Ambivalent About This Whole Illian Thing
Garrick Fy'aar - Outlier - *Sigh* Will Stop The Killing By Killing For The People, Dammit!
Dragoshi AKA Valron - Protector - Illian's Left-Hand Conscience That He Ignores Too Often
The Arbiter - Time Cop Tool - Regretfully Accepting Illogical Data
Autumnus - Leader of the Time Cops - Gleefully Lets Everyone 'Go Ahead' And Get Killed Without Him
Soldier1 - GUN Soldier - Questions Orders
Soldier2 - GUN Soldier - Doesn't Have Any Beef
Garrok Wat'aar - Outlier - The Clone That Borne Regretted
Red Text - Protector Tool - Illusion of Control
Marley - Protector Ally - Waiting for Fitty Years To Do Not Much
Emperor Cylus - Leader of the Echidna Cultists - Part of the Anti-Borne Alliance
Anthon Tark - Leader of The Original GUN - Placed in Peril By Panzer; Escaped
Sloan - Outlier - Always There To Meddle In Things
O'Neill - Leader of Stargate SG1 - Anti-Borne Ally
Ragnar - Protector - Both Cat And Cat-Person In One
Soldier - GUN Soldier - No Activity In This Quadrant
Guard - GUN Guard - Oh No, Questers!
Guard2 - GUN Guard - Wants To Become Dead, er, a Deathguard!
Deathguard - GUN Deathguard - Guards are Expendable.
Deathguard 2 - GUN Deathguard - This Doesn't Make Sense.
Illian Soldier - Protector Soldier - Garrick's Protector
Computer - Outlier Tool - Garrick's Magnetic Wastes Thing-Knower
Master Hand - Creator of Nintendus - Has Misgivings Against Everyone
Samus - Smasher - Monologue Maker
King Demon - Quester - Constantly Left Behind In Time Vortexes
Legion General Antonius - Leader of the Erastian Remnants - Forgotten Plot Object
Xao - Quester??? - Cameo of An Old Quester, or Maybe Not, But Deadpan Cigarette Smoker, Definitely
Randall - Erastian Remnant Soldier - Sir, None of This Makes Sense!
Drekon Tal`dath - Dark Elf - Overdosed on Grimderp
Jack the Widowmaker - Leader of JackLand - Flinger Of Spicy Salsa, Murderer Of Innocents, Hater Of Logic
Edgar Ridge - Protector Soldier - Solarian Who Knows Of Xavier
Glyph Phoenix Hallucination - Path of Daggers Obstacle - Memories of A Regrettable Multiple Personality
Dan - Path of Daggers Obstacle - Still Weird
Aetos - Path of Daggers Obstacle - Still Stupid
Ivan Robotnik Ghost - Path of Daggers Obstacle - AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Dark Metal Man AKA Xalron - Path of Daggers Obstacle - Persistently In The Way Even Now
Sam McGillicudy - Thesquare Ex-Official - Died For Lack of A Cheato
Chaud - Leader of The Thesquare Ex-Officials - Think of the Fallout 3 Narrator, only about Thesquare. "Idiots... idiots never change."
Avul - Outlier - The Weirdest Mish-Mash I've GMed in a While
Ael - Time Cop - Strangely Smarter Than He Ever Was
The Void - Leader of The Outliers - STILL READY TO WRECK THE WORLD! AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!
EviL WolfmaN - Outlier - Really Wishes He'd Done Better Last Time
Mario - JackLand Servant - Ignored Warning
Grim - Protector - Fairly Generic Member
Dark Colonel - Leader of the Repliforce - Corrupted Failed Reploid Leader
Pektos - Leader of the Spectrogeists - Corrupted Ignored Chozo Leader
Aliyna - Protector - Short-lived Protector Member #23892032 Billion
Car - Time Cop Tool - Enter The Sphere
Fizban - Protector - Who, Who are you people? Who am I? What?
Professor Oak - Stadium Staff - PseudoCube Bazooka's Protector
Raichu - Stadium Tool - Professor Oak's Protector
Dr. Mario - Stadium Staff - Mama Mia! You Are Entirely Too Alive-A For My Tastes!
SIMBER - Protector Tool - MUST KILL XAVIER
Wing Fortress - Quester Tool - NO AI DETECTED, CANNOT SECURE
Farmer - Dreamland Civillian - Victim of Xavier's Food Runs
Metal's Smash Dex - Quester Tool - ERRORERRORERROR
Mewtwo - Stadium Staff - Has Had Enough Of Reading The Minds Of Future People And Being Confused
Alsa Mario (SSQ^2 Version) - Mushroom Republic Defender - LET'S DO THE MARIO-WARP
MEP - Mechanized Elite Hunter Machine - *Whirring noises*
Dr. Robotnik Clone #11 - GUN Tool - Let's Hope He Escaped Somewhere
Dweezil Commander - Dweezil Commander - OH S@#T IT'S AEL!
Eithne Hearthenholme - Protector - Al Roighty, It's Crikey Crockodile Time Heer
Pawn - Dweezil Pawn - Defending the Armada
Pawn 2 - Dweezil Pawn - AARGH!
Pawn 3 - Dweezil Pawn - They Said There Were Only A Few To Kill!
Pawn 4 - Dweezil Pawn - Damn, These Pistols Suck
Joel - Quester Tool - SkyHigh's Dex, Also With Bonus Forgotten Name ("Joe"? Get Real!)
Vylch - GUN Tool - Zo, You Aren't Who Yoo Zay You Zare. Vat Eez All Zees Avoot?
Laconius - Leader of the Dweezil - Oh, Let Me Talk About My Southern Charm While Ignoring Everything Because I Don't Care
Gray Mann - Leader of Gray Industries - Is Really Just a Gray Area To Me
Wolfman - Leader of the Old Questers - Oh No! The Website Is Down!
Alsa - Protector Tool - Betrays Jack for Illian
Mack the Repairman - Stadium Staff - Thinks Everyone Is Stupid
Sergeant Levis Skeleton - JackLand Soldier - Protector, Quester, It's All The Same To Him
Dr. Light - Stadium Staff - Disapproves of Time Travel Despite Doing It Himself
Ruvyn - Old Quester - Failing Yet Again!
Aribar - Quester - Piffle, It's Time To Save The World Again
Alestorm - Quester - Maybe A Bit Too Much Alcohol Went Into This Character
Air Traffic Controller - GUN Civillian - Oh No, Everything's Gone Crazy!
Alex Fender - Outlier - *Takes out Script* Alex Honey, You Really Screwed Up, This Isn't About You, It's called CONFRONTATION See, Here's Illian, Here's Xavier, nobody Gave You A Role, So I'd Appreciate It If you Just Did Some Fights And Got Out of the Way, Yeah, That's Better, Thanks
GUN Pilot - GUN Pilot - Prepare To Die, Terrorist Cowards
Ivan Robotnik - Leader of Nintopia - Mildly Befuddled Non-Brainwashed Interloper
Jonathan Dark - Carrington Institute Agent - Only Second Best
Daniel Carrington - Leader of The Carrington Institute - Reduced To Living In Caves (Still Has That Tux, Though)
GUN Man - GUN Soldier - Tired Of Being Nearly Killed For Borne's Follies
Bulldozer Operator - GUN Bulldozer Operator - Wants To Smash Things
Statue - Protector Tool - Stop, This Is Not Your Plot, Alex
Ricky Koopa - Magellean Military Butler - Turtle Soup?
Doopliss - Outlier - OH MY GOD THE FLASHBACKS FROM SEASON 4 ARE HAPPENING AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH oh he only appeared here, ok, phew
Policeman - GUN Civillian - You Ruined This Planet, Garrick
Bouncer - JackLand Tool - Fifteen Seconds Of Fame, Guitar-Man, Then Death
ConclusionIn the name of 'stripping the fat', I didn't see much use in a Conclusion; you basically got all you need here. But for the sake of consistency, here it is:
This game was the first real game I did that was for me, not just trying to impress other people. As a result, it was way more fun. Both to run, and to reread. However, lessons had to be learned about issues left over from the past. Both ICly and OOCly, these were brought up. And in the end, we move on, ever forwards. Futurus Infinitus!