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Friday Fun Thread for September 1, 2023

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I don't know why there isn't some mechanism for individual investors to invest in an artistic project like a film or play in exchange for a cut of the net profit equivalent to the proportion of the budget that the investment covered.

In the classic movie (and musical adaptation of) The Producers, this mechanism exists, and random old ladies can partake in it, not just rich people with connections. Today, we have Kickstarter, which offers rewards, but not potential return on investment.

I may be wrong, but I think that such a scheme might fall afoul of the same onerous regulations on the sale of securities that cryptocurrency has been encountering recently.

Edit: Apparently, the SEC has instituted a separate, less stringent set of rules for crowdfunding of this kind.

Is "equity crowdfunding" what you are after? I remember Psychonauts 2 backers on fig getting some money back, after some sales threshold

Yes, thank you! I want more things like that.

Starfield thread.

Mediocre writing, animations, gameplay, many loading screens. And yet I can’t deny I played until 7am today, and I started very tired and wanting to go to sleep at 10. There’s a certain charm to this game that’s hard to describe, a sense of adventure that was in Skyrim but not - in my opinion - in Fallout 4 (although that might just be because I find post apocalyptic settings very boring). I slept for three hours, now I can’t stop thinking about playing some more. You overhear something, then the next thing you know you’re off a grand adventure around the galaxy; time vanishes.

Would I recommend it? I’m not sure, all the criticisms are valid. But I’m having more fun with it than with Baldur’s Gate 3 so far.

It's weird, there are quite a few games that I have played for no reason other than it was leaked early, but with Starfield I just... It feels like a waste of bandwidth? That's not really it, it can't be - I have unlimited bandwidth, but I'm going to get the game on gamepass and I've already downloaded the files and it just seems like a waste to play a leaked copy. Besides, I'm still playing Sea of Stars (which is pretty good, wears it's chrono trigger inspiration on its sleeve and the soundtrack is by Yasunori Mitsuda. And while some of the early tracks are a bit weak, the music really picks up once you pass the first act) so I figured might as well try to finish that.

Also has anyone here gotten their hands on the Chunks promos Bethesda are sending out? A friend got the full swag bag and along with the hat and tote bag and shit it comes with a smart watch designed to look like the starfield version of the pip boy and, more importantly, these bricks of flavoured marshmallows mimicking the Chunks food items in the game. Sadly however, the Chunks Chicken Fillet is toffee flavoured, not chicken fillet flavoured. And while I think the idea of advertising your game/movie/universe by recreating iconic products from it is great (and the more they commit to it the better), I've never understood why they are so stingy with them - I haven't found a way an ordinary member of the public could get chicken fillet marshmallow slabs, and without one I have no way to justify eating my way into a diabetic coma.

But I’m having more fun with it than with Baldur’s Gate 3 so far.

BG3's writing and quests are.. nothing much, however, compared to Todd Howard Fallouts they're genius.

Never giving that poisonous dwarf Todd H. any money ever again. Let others fund his Skyrim reskins now with Barbie houses.

A copy magically appeared on my machine, but I'm yawning my way through, so far.

Mechanically uninteresting, enemies are bullet sponges, making guns full-auto somehow cuts their damage output down to a third, hogs too many system resources for too little to look at, and oh boy yes please I can't get enough of inventory management. All the RPG pacing where you're just a random miner who still happens to be able to wipe the floor with dozens of pirates at once, and everyone you meet takes one look at you and gives you a job (often their job!) to do, still weirds me out. And the lack of a mini-map is just insulting.

Edit: I normally put all my gripes into steam reviews, but since that's not an option, I'll put them here instead.

The quests, at least at this stage of the game, are asinine. Talk to person A, talk to person B, retrieve object from clearly marked point that's five loading screens away, return to person A to receive uniformly paltry reward. No challenge whatsoever, pure busywork.

The need to forego the use of my perfectly atmospheric-flight-capable spaceship and its giant guns in favor of trudging around entire planets on foot and shooting entire brigades of pirates or mercenaries with those underpowered bb rifles they use in this future is baffling. Not that it's difficult - it isn't - but how time-consuming it all is, where it could be so much faster! If you could at least pack a jeep into the cargo hold, but no, no.

Surveying planets requires scanning resources and plants. Well, I thought I was doing so by pointing my scanner at them, but somehow my survey percentage didn't go up. Turns out you not only need to point your scanner at them, but also press a key to actually make it scan. This takes no time and consumes no resources and requires no skill of any sort - the keypress is perfectly superfluous.

The game is very frequently interrupted by loading screens, but don't you dare alt-tab and do something else, because they won't load in the background.

The space combat and by extension the shipbuilding are so basic and linear that I don't think anyone would miss them if they were gone.

Edit: Played some more, and it's not worth reviewing at length. Hot trash.

making guns full-auto somehow cuts their damage output down to a third

This always gave me an aneurysm in Fallout. At least modded weapons aren't as susceptible to this bullshit.

I also hate the fact that bulletspongy enemies have become a staple of the "RPG" genre, for all that it has nothing intrinsically in common with trying to role play anything but a mass shooting at an airsoft convention..

There was a brief golden moment, in the original Deus Ex, where it looked like we might have been able to move to a more serious timeline. I remember being flabbergasted at my first death, in the first level: "He just shot me once! With just a pistol! How did I get killed by a single pistol shot to the head!?! ... Wait a minute. What kinds of games have I been playing, to make me believe I should be able to shrug off a bullet to the head?" That might have been on hard mode, but even so the principle surprised me. Of course, what's good for the PC is good for the NPCs, so only the armored enemies were bullet sponges.

But shortly into the game, even Deus Ex gave you some options for handwavy "use nanotech to make your skin more bulletproof" magic armor. Naturally, because in a long game "bullets all miss" would be even more implausible, "you can't let yourself get shot at ever" would be too hard, and "every now and then you die instantly" would be too frustrating. It's easy to sympathize with game designers who just skip the "too hard" and "too frustrating" options entirely; I just wish it wasn't so many of them.

Well, I play a lot of Tarkov, Squad and Arma, and in those games people usually die when you shoot them even once in the head.

(Sometimes characters might seem even tankier in Tarkov than many RPGs, but only because you're using piddling rounds against really good armor, and you'd have much the same result IRL. Good bullets can kill in 2 or 3 torso hits.)

I don't understand why this became such an RPG staple, and I hate every time it shows up. At least in some games, like Fallout 4 or Stalker you can mod the damage and end up with a much more enjoyable experience!

A copy magically appeared on my machine

Did you pre-order it a long time ago?

No, it's far too expensive to me.

It sounds like a piracy joke to me.


I tried it briefly. Don't feel like playing it before they add HDR support. On PC there's no HDR mode at all. Even the SDR implementation is poor. Everything looks washed out, and I suspect it was even intentional.

I got Windows auto HDR to work with it by copying the executable, renaming the copy to farcry5.exe, and setting the steam launch settings to

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Starfield\farcry5.exe" %command%

What the hell.. why should that work or be needed ?

Is that a Windows 11 thing?

I'm on Windows 11 yeah. Not sure if it's on other versions.

Culture war angle

Starfield has a black scientist named Vladimir who speaks in a Russian accent and wears what appears to be a telnyashka. They basically made a stereotypically Russian character, named him after the Russian president, and then also made him a black dude.

quickly checking setting and lore of the game

Starfield is set in an area that extends outward from the Solar System for approximately 50 light-years called the Settled Systems.[16] Around the year 2310, the two largest factions in the game, the United Colonies and Freestar Collective, engaged in a conflict called the Colony War.

In this case, unlike various medieval fantasy worlds where tiny villages in nowhere are perfectly diverse and multiracial, this is realistic and all nerd rage is misplaced. Easily to imagine 24th century where white race is long extinct, but modern nations still exist, only all black (some might see it as utopia, some as dystopia).

this is realistic and all nerd rage is misplaced

I skimmed the thread you linked... Where do you see the nerd rage?

in Fallout 4 (although that might just be because I find post apocalyptic settings very boring).

Nah, it's not you. Fallout 4 was a shameless cashgrab trying to milk the positive sentiment people had for the previous part. It felt very sterile to me as well, but I loved Fallout 3.

I'm a little bit worried about the positive comparison to Skyrim, though. I know lots of people love it, but in my opinion it was already missing something fundamental to Bethesda games.

Whenever I've seen opinions on the wider Elder Scrolls series, it has always been that the most recent edition has been a tragic dumbing down of the series. People who played Daggerfall find Morrowind to be a mass market, lowest-common-denominator mess. People who played Morrowind think the same of Oblivion, and those who played Oblivion find the same issue with Skyrim.

I've only played the last two, but from what I've seen of the other games there is certainly some truth that the series gradually became simpler, more accessible - but perhaps at some cost. I wouldn't be surprised if a similar plan was in place for Fallout, until New Vegas came along and ruined any chance of people looking positively at the others.

I thought Fallout 4 was pretty decent, mechanically anyway. The gunplay was fine ("best in series" is not saying much, but I'll say it anyway), the settlement building and crafting were shallow but offered a decent respite from the endless "walk from person a to person b" quests or clearing what looks like the same dungeon post apocalyptic factory for the 10th time. I didn't play the story through to completion (and probably the less said of the writing, the better) but it was a reasonably memorable ~30 hours before I got bored. I liked the power armor. Solid 7/10.

Starfield seems considerably streamlined, even compared to Fallout 4. The loss of attributes means the only thing differentiating your character build is your choice of skills now, and unfortunately I have terminal RPG brain and cannot justify taking anything that doesn't grant me more utility (e.g., better lockpicking to open more doors and explore more locations, higher persuasion chance to open up new quest options, etc) and the combat isn't exactly difficult (you can spam medkits to brute force any encounter, even on Very Hard) so I can't see myself dropping a point into any of the weapons skills until, like, level 30+.

Companion AI seems even more braindead than I remember in Fallout 4, with followers regularly getting stuck on geometry, and they don't teleport to you until you change location, so they're useless in most fights. The space combat is basically just a minigame (and a hard DPS check if you're up against >3 enemies, as there aren't any useful mobility options, cover/asteroids are rare and get destroyed almost immediately) but the lego-style ship customization is still pretty fun to toy around with. Jump jets are cool, different planets having different levels of gravity makes combat feel a little different depending on where you are.

It feels extraordinarily casual. This is not necessarily a criticism, it's just a reasonably well executed AAA video game, with all that entails. My biggest complaint is that the design is unambitious: it's Fallout 4 In Space. Any time they had a choice of introducing more systematic complexity, they chose against. With the extended development cycle I was hoping we'd see something genuinely novel, but alas. I think they either experimented a lot (and cut a lot) or spent most of their time on content (and from what I can tell, there is a ton of it). Overall, it seems competent. It's not God's Gift to Gaming or whatever people were hyping themselves up for: it's a mainstream Bethesda game with as many rough edges filed down as possible. I'm still having a good time and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in an open world sci fi light RPG shooter.

The gunplay was fine ("best in series" is not saying much, but I'll say it anyway)

VATS is objectively the only proper way to play a Fallout game, so that's irrelevant.

the settlement building and crafting were shallow

I saw the potential in it, but it felt pointless.

but offered a decent respite from the endless "walk from person a to person b" quests or clearing what looks like the same dungeon post apocalyptic factory for the 10th time.

There's the rub, even if Fallout 3 had the same quest structure, it didn't feel like endless "clear dungeon"/"escort person". It felt the way 2rafa is describing Starfield - going on an adventure.

but it was a reasonably memorable ~30 hours before I got bored. I liked the power armor. Solid 7/10.

The contrast between your description and the final grade feels rather flabbergasting. I'd never give a 7/10 for a game too boring to finish (and yeah, I couldn't force myself to complete it either even though Steam says I clocked in 75 hours). As for memorability... I suppose, but I only remember it because of how disappointing it was.

It feels extraordinarily casual.

Ok... this is pretty much why I haven't bothered with a mainstream game in a long time. Thanks for the warning.

Starfield definitely seems more systematically complex than Skyrim, there’s a lot more to do, skills and stats are more prominent etc. I don’t know that dialogue is more complex, but then again I don’t think Morrowind had particularly complex dialogue trees vs the CRPGs of that era either.

but then again I don’t think Morrowind had particularly complex dialogue trees vs the CRPGs of that era either.

Yeah, I don't think the dialogue was particularly good, but the world-building was. The quests, the books you could find, all the little details scattered around the map... it was all very well done.

Yeah, I don't think the dialogue was particularly good, but the world-building was. The quests, the books you could find, all the little details scattered around the map... it was all very well done.

Seconded. The purpose of NPCs in Morrowind is admittedly to be walking lorebooks and direction-givers. The only character you can have in any way a dynamic conversation with is Vivec. (Which, hey, he achieved CHIM, so...) But Morrowind didn't focus on character relationships, so judging it by this rubric seems to miss the point.

Morrowind's writing is good in the same way of Dark Souls or Outer Wilds. It isn't about the interaction of characters. It's the process of collecting shards the backstory in your mind, and eventually piecing together truth out of fragments.

Has anyone here ever tried NaNoWriMo? I have a decentish idea for a novel and I think doing so this way might at least get it on paper in terrible form so it can be revised into something not quite as cringe as what’s in my head.

I did NaNoWriMo for about ten years, and was the organizer of it in my city for two. When I started as a 20-year-old, I had no idea what it took to write a novel. By the end of my time doing it, I had "won" multiple times and knew that I could sustain big projects as long as it took to finish.

NaNoWriMo, as an exercise, is one of the best things I've ever done for my creative life. There's just no substitute for getting words on paper. 90% of it may be trash, but the 10% where you're really feeling it and it turns out well, it's extremely fulfilling and motivating.

I eventually concluded I had gotten all I could out of it. The community aspect of it is effectively moribund now. In 2020 and 2021, NaNoWriMo HQ forbade official in-person meetings, regardless of whatever local Covid regulations were. Additionally as you can imagine, as a San Francisco-based organization, their official messaging has become extremely woke in recent years. NaNoWriMo is the prime personal example from my own life of entryists making something much worse than it was at inception. Still, every city is different and you may meet some interesting people. A core aspect of NaNoWriMo is "write-ins," where you gather with other WriMos and grind out word count in a coffee shop or something. It's a nice accountability feature.

Out of interest, have you had anything published professionally?

Not of fiction, I've never tried to. I do have one legit writing credit: I wrote a section of a guidebook to the city I live in. So that's something.

I signed and up am interested to try it this year, but god damn the pictures on this site give me the willies:

I regret to advise it really do be like that. All I can say is you do usually get a sprinkling of well-adjusted people amongst the shut-ins. I, for one, am full of physical vigor and fashion sense.

What's wrong with them?

They don’t look physically fit or seem to care much about conventional appearance. I am judgmental about that sort of thing.

I've done it while working full time, though admittedly back when I had zero social or family responsabilities. I missed the deadline by 4k words, and the novel was a real mess, but for what you're stating it's a fantastic thing to try. Actual production is vastly underrated, it's the most important part of the process.

Can some explain upvotes and downvotes? This might seem like a silly question but I saw someone mention in QOC don’t use downvotes because you disagree.

But what I want to discuss is I never vote. I read and scroll. Stopping to vote just seems like a waste of time to me. Is my behavior weird and everyone else reads a comment and then decides if it’s good or bad?

I assume the voting system here is better than on Reddit and more people vote positively if it’s a good thought versus I don’t like this opinion. But I’m still completely clueless on who the people are who take the time to vote.

I could move this to main board if there is some culturally thing with voting versus fun.

I use votes a lot - it's how I build consensus. How does dropping an anonymous vote into a bucket full of other anonymous votes that people can only see 24 hours after a post and can never connect to any identities build consensus? Nefariously, that's how.

I upvote if I want to see more stuff like what I just said, and downvote if I want to see less of it.

But the vast majority of comments I read I don't strongly feel one way or the other, so I don't vote.

I am almost the same. I only upvote if a comment makes me pause and go, "huh, I didn't consider that angle".

Don't you feel a need to give something back after having read a good post? The tiny bit of moral support given by the very quick and simple upvote is the least you could do.

I like it when people upvote me and I see a lot of likes. To an extent I should vote more.

I sometimes vote if someone has written something I think is insightful. So I do cast votes very occasionally, but they're virtually all upvotes - I basically never downvote or report people for that matter.

Comments I find boring I scroll past and don’t vote. I upvote/downvote based off a mixture of information/entertainment I get from a comment and how much I agree with it. So a mediocre comment I agree with probably gets an upvote, but a really poorly argued comment, even if I agree with the conclusion, gets a downvote. I’m more restrained about downvotes though, I only downvote if I think someone is very wrong or making really bad arguments.

I don’t think there’s really right/wrong way to downvote as long as you’re not trolling though. People can have lots of different systems of deciding what deserves upvotes/downvotes, but as long as everyone is roughly aligned that upvotes are good and downvotes are bad, the good stuff will always get a lot of upvotes and the bad stuff will always get a lot of downvotes.

This is where I disagree since I believe there is a wrong way to vote and basically all of Reddit is an example of the wrong way to vote. Reddits voting system strongly pushes to censorship and groupthink.

The version of the voting system here or the people here seems to remove that issue.

I think the people here are just a bit less partisan is all.

Stopping to vote just seems like a waste of time to me.

Casting a vote takes literally half a second.

Is my behavior weird and everyone else reads a comment and then decides if it’s good or bad?

In most cases, you should be forming your opinion on the goodness or badness (or neutral status) of a comment simultaneously with your reading of that comment, not as a separate decision phase after reading it. If a comment is so profoundly thought-provoking that deciding whether it's good or bad (or not worth voting on) takes a few seconds, then you should not begrudge it that small amount of time.

But what I want to discuss is I never vote. I read and scroll.

A suitable response to this passage is an "I'm scrooling!" Wojak image.

Please take a moment to appreciate the secret history of Manos…TheHandsOfFate.

"For an amateur production," she went on, "the color came out very well, however, and perhaps by scrapping the soundtrack and running it with subtitles or dubbing it in Esperanto, it could be promoted as a foreign art film of some sort or other."

Since it's the fun thread, let's ignore how politicized Brass Against are and just wonder at how their cover of Guerilla Radio slaps even more than the original and leaves whiny gingers swallowing dust.

After the infamous piss incident, someone on 4chan referred to the vocalist as "Urethra Franklin" which is all I can think of whenever I hear them.

their cover of Guerilla Radio slaps even more than the original

Disagree, even though RATM aren't a band I love, I still prefer the original.

I forgot how god damn fun the series Cradle by Will Wight is. Something about the cultivation/progression fantasy genre just really speaks to me, inspires me in a way other fiction doesn't do often enough.

On the non-fiction side it's rarer to find a fun book, but I remember really liking Moonwalking with Einstein, where a journalist learns to become a memory champ.

What are some of the most fun things you've read, fiction or non fiction?

Lmao, why is everyone talking about this progression fantasy ? I found it peculiar when ZeroHPL said he started an unfinished xianxia novel about Barron Trump...

Although I'm guessing a few of the longer-running fantasy series I've re-read over the years qualify.

Dresden files is pretty entertaining if a bit too American. (even the hellish villains play relatively nice and fair). The Alex Verus series is somewhat similar, but the enemies are, for a change, refreshingly 'normal' and behave as badly as people would if given unlimited power.

Tbh I liked it more - Dresden Files was not intended as a series, with Verus I'm fairly sure there was a plan from the start so it fits together more neatly. And it also has a plausible mechanism for why the protagonist survives all these tough fights - his brand of magic allows him to see short-term futures. The only infuriating thing is why is he poor-ish ? If I could see short-term futures I'd first get banned from all the casinos and then start trading stocks. Dealing with whatever would be a lot easier with half a platoon of very well paid special forces veterans on retainer.

Come to think of it, most western examples of the genre seem to involve dubious pacts with unholy powers or doing extremely unadvisable things with dangerous magical artifacts out of sheer desperation.

Dungeon Crawler Carl is the absolute best page turner I’ve ever read, it’s a litRPG. It is kind of progression fantasy because the MC levels up and gets a lot stronger, but I’d say the focus is a lot more on the MC’s clever plans than the MC unlocking new powers to annihilate enemies with. The MC is usually behind the power curve in raw power but more than makes up for it in cleverness and utility.

Progression fantasy is my guilty pleasure and I've read a truly shameful amount. So clearly I enjoy the subgenre (and the adjacent ones).

Yet I struggle to find any redeeming quality of DCC. IMO it's got all of the weaknesses of the genre and none of the strengths.

I know there's no accounting for tastes, but DCC seems to be one of the more popular series and I really can't wrap my head around why.

Mind trying to tell me what you found enjoyable in it?

First, I enjoy the creative fight scenes. From the first action where Carl panicking kills a bunch of goblins trying to kill him in a weird scrap vehicle, the fights are pretty creative and better than just two people punching or throwing fireballs at them.

Second, I liked the world building. There’s a lot of mystery about how exactly the wider universe and the dungeon crawl work, and I like reading more about it.

Third, I like all the characters- they have imo realistic personalities and are all fighting hard to survive.

Ultimately I like reading it because it’s a page turner, I have no idea what’s going to happen next in the plot but I know whatever it is, it’s going to have lots of action and be satisfying.

What I don’t like- I don’t mean this as a criticism, just parts that other people love I don’t consider a real draw. I don’t think it’s particularly funny. There are lots of jokes, but they never make me laugh, they more add a sense of grimness to the setting that the death game world is just entertainment for aliens. And I don’t think it’s really very progression fantasy-y. Earlier I said that the fights were better than just throwing fireballs, but it is missing that certain satisfaction that comes from the MC going from shooting sparks from their fingers to blowing up city blocks with a wave

Last angel was a ton of fun. Not art, fun.

I’ve previously shilled for Thunder Below, a kickass submarine memoir.

And I can provide a variety of fanfiction recs that are hilariously, deliriously fun. I probably have, if you peruse the /r/rational recommendation threads. There’s something about a cracked premise that just skips over the part where you need suspension of disbelief, making it easier to get immersed in a familiar world.

And I can provide a variety of fanfiction recs that are hilariously, deliriously fun.

And yet you have not, taunting us with your hoarded knowledge. Is this the act of a friend?

Is there a particular genre or setting you have in mind? I didn’t just want to open the floodgates.

Just wanted to say that I finished the first book of Last Angel this weekend. Thanks much for the recommendation!

Naruto? Harry Potter? I dunno, hit me with your best shot.

...Honestly, I just love fanfic. I love the weird passion projects people put into it, and I love the guilty pleasure aspect where the authors tend to optimize for raw appeal. All entertainment is manipulation, but I think I appreciate the honesty of fanfic. People write what they want to read.

I already checked out Last Angel, looks like my jam!

A Practical Guide to Evil is a great deconstruction of fantasy. 12 Miles Below is an action-packed sci-fi progression fantasy. Super Supportive is supposedly a book about superheroes but really takes a turn--I'd call it more of a modern fantasy story. The Game at Carousel is a horror movie litRPG.

All highly recommended, those are the first things that come to mind when you mention fun.

+1 on the 12 Miles Below rec. It was one of the best progression fantasy books I've read in awhile. The pacing was superb and the writing was as good as progression fantasy gets (low bar, but still).

Have any other recommendations for someone with the following tastes?

  1. Decent writing
  • I'd say something like at least highschool level and with at least some attempt made at proofreading
  • Sadly, it seems less than 25% of the books pass this bar.
  • If I have to read another book that includes the dreaded "As you know..."
  1. Novelty
  • I've read probably 100 progression fantasy books. I don't need to read yet another inferior Cradle clone.
  1. Respectful of reader/subject matter
  • None of the writers in this genre are skilled enough to pull off breaking the 4th wall
  • Similarly, their attempts at "humor" usually are so bad they break any immersion.

As an aside, having a genre with many non-native speakers and authors I imagine are under the age of 15 does lead to some unintentionally funny situations. Earlier this week my girlfriend and I had a good laugh at a MC applying a tourniquet to his neck because his head was bleeding :)

Earlier this week my girlfriend and I had a good laugh at a MC applying a tourniquet to his neck because his head was bleeding :)

LOL, my wife just had a first aid training and they emphasized like 10 times in the training that you're not supposed to do exactly that. We laughed like "who thinks that's a good idea?" but apparently enough people think that way for it to be in the training.

Here are some books I've somewhat recently enjoyed:


Great litRPG Isekai. Really slows down about halfway through but I'd say is still a good read.

  • Dungeon Crawler Carl

Possibly the best litRPG. Good humor but still very high stakes.

  • Double Blind

System apocalypse litRPG, well-written so far with a ton of good subterfuge.

  • Dawn of the Void

Another system apocalypse. I liked this one because it focused more than most tend to on the logistics of the apocalypse. Lots of work trying to save civilians from monsters, organize systems, create strongholds, etc. The ending was a tiny bit rushed but still very satisfying.

  • Primal Hunter

Pretty much just fight popcorn. There are never any real stakes or character growth, but the fights are fairly good and the setting is pretty cool. Good story to waste time on.

Progression Fantasy
  • Mother of Learning

Classic time-loop fantasy story, a must-read in the genre imo

  • The Hedge Wizard

Good progression fantasy, no surprises here but it's reasonably high-quality. Overall entertaining enough.

  • Nameless Sovereign

Currently reading this one, it's pretty good. I'm not a big fan of cultivation but this story does a good job of focusing on the characters and the actual plot, rather than just thousands of pages of endless fighting to obtain the Supreme Heavenly Qi Mastery Shadow Demon Technique Ultimate Blood Pill #318132.


This story is absolutely fantastic, one of my favorites of all time, and my wife's #1 favorite book. Blurb:

An antimeme is an idea with self-censoring properties; an idea which, by its intrinsic nature, discourages or prevents people from spreading it.

Antimemes are real. Think of any piece of information which you wouldn't share with anybody, like passwords, taboos and dirty secrets. Or any piece of information which would be difficult to share even if you tried: complex equations, very boring passages of text, large blocks of random numbers, and dreams...

But anomalous antimemes are another matter entirely. How do you contain something you can't record or remember? How do you fight a war against an enemy with effortless, perfect camouflage, when you can never even know that you're at war?

Welcome to the Antimemetics Division.

No, this is not your first day.

  • Anything by Wildbow

This guy writes some really great web serials. Worm is a classic superhero deconstruction story, probably the best one out there. Pact does the same to urban fantasy. It's a bit rougher but IMO the setting is just fantastic. That's continued with Pale, which has its own issues but is probably better written. Twig is a standalone biopunk story that's also quite good.

Wow, this list is fantastic! Way more than I could've hoped for. I've read like half them already which means that there is more than enough here for me to waste an embarrassing amount of time on.

Let me know if you'd ever like some recs and I'll return the favor.

Glad you like it! I'd love to hear what you think about them. I'd appreciate some recs too; if it's a long list though then maybe the Friday thread would be a good place to put it so that others can benefit from it too.

+1 on the 12 Miles Below rec.

I enjoyed 12MB, but mostly because of the unique setting. The protagonist lucks into all the things that give him power progression, as opposed to planning, training, or using his own unique cleverness to problem solve. IIRC, despite being characterized as a brainy engineer, his major contribution to his own success is using a few Bash commands.

While I would disagree that he is that helpless, I actually think this one of the better aspects of this story.

Most MCs in progresssion fantasy fall into one of two tropes:

  1. Hardest worker/never back down (this often makes little sense given how growth & power is exponential. If progress was that linear many more people would be grinding, but I digress)
  2. Boy genius. Sometimes this works, but often it is the redditor meme: “In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any phony god’s blessing. But because, I am enlightened by my intelligence.”

so it is nice to see something a bit different.

12MB is definitely a much slower burn. Rather than a chapter of being worthless (or just a paragraph in many Isekais), the character is weak for almost all of the book. Weak in terms of power and weak in terms of decision making. He is very much an imperfect character who makes stupid decisions that have heavy costs. I personally like this aspect because it makes the progression feel more meaningful. I don't want to praise the pacing too much since it is still just the first book and there are still plenty of ways the author could ruin it.

Cool I'll check out practical guide to evil, it's finished! Woo

It's super long (which may be a plus or minus to you) and sometimes drags a bit, and everyone is in love with the protagonist, but if you can get past that it's a ton of fun and has lots of interesting ideas and good payoffs. Looking forward to hearing what you think about it!

I had to look up what the cultivation/progression fantasy genre is. Don't think I've read much of it, if ever. But I like the idea of it! I see that it's someone's tied into Buddhist philosophy? Do you know of any good books in this genre where Buddhism and awakening is central? I've already read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Maybe some of the Chinese works are tied to Buddhism because cultivation is basically a Chinese genre, but it’s really just “junk food” books that are about really bad ass protagonists getting super powers and fighting and getting more super powers. I enjoy the genre but I wouldn’t recommend it someone who wants more stuff like Siddhartha lol

Closer to Dragonball Z in book form than to Hesse, got it. :P


If you like self-reference and logic (and who doesn't, really?) Gödel, Escher, Bach is a lot of fun.

Eh, I am actually sick of self-reference and logic. Spend most of my life getting high on the philosophy and logic supply, and I'm realizing there is far more human experience outside of that framework that I've been totally missing. Scientific rationality is great and all, but it's not even close to everything out there.

I love the progression fantasy genre. Oddly I couldn't get into cradle. I'm usually concurrently reading a half dozen or a dozen online web serials in that genre.

I'd highly recommend "Mother of Learning" if you liked cradle. If you've already read that one, maybe try Threadbare for something out of left-field that might tickle your fantasy progression itch.

By the way, "Mother of Learning" author wrote 3 "alternate-universe" chapters for it and started a whole new series, the first chapters of which hooked me hard:


I did see that they started a new series, I have been trying for as long as possible to hold off on reading it, so I can binge as much as possible when I finally break.

Loved mother of learning. I might check out Threadbare next if it's finished, but I'm allergic to unfinished series. Burned too many times.

I'd say its finished. There was a feeling at the end of the story that protagonist's story had been told and things were mostly nicely wrapped up. But that there was still a bigger world out there within the story, and maybe the author could come back later and tell more tales within the same world.

Over the years I have grown a skill to find my own stopping points in web serials. Usually at a point where "too much is fucked" for the author to ever recover in a satisfying way, or "enough is wrapped up" that I can tolerate a few dangling storylines for the sake of a feeling of completeness. But this skill wasn't necessary for threadbare.

Want to give a few examples of web serials you chose to finish reading?

I generally just read until it's done or until I lose interest. Dangling plot threads don't keep me going long at all--bad story quality is sufficient to kill any lingering curiosity I might have had.

The only time I can think of where I failed at this was Mark of the Fool. I kept reading for hundreds of chapters after I should have stopped because the eventual destination of the plot seemed so interesting, and the manner in which its quality dropped so much harder to notice than is typical.

Mark of the fool is one. Defiance of the fall. Primal Hunter I might stop reading. Sylver Seeker I stopped. I've gotten close to putting down millennial mage and chaotic craftsman worships the cube.

It's hard to think of stories in this category cuz I'm optimizing for being able to forget the story and be done with it. So I typically don't remember them unless they are always at the top of the fictional list on royal road.

Over the years I have grown a skill to find my own stopping points in web serials. Usually at a point where "too much is fucked" for the author to ever recover in a satisfying way, or "enough is wrapped up" that I can tolerate a few dangling storylines for the sake of a feeling of completeness. But this skill wasn't necessary for threadbare.

This is actually why I don't like webnovels for the most part, compared to more traditional fantasy series. While they are fun and well written a lot of the time, it irks me to no end when a story just kind of fizzles out because the author didn't know where to go with it.

Fair enough, but I think I've come to realize that is the main thing I enjoy about web serials. If the author doesn't know where they are going, you don't know either! Or maybe even more fun, you can guess where the author could go, tell them, and have it go there!

Goes back to that post I wrote last month about indie vs popular:

Anyways, Threadbare is a more polished story, but it came out of that weirdness that exists in online serials of throwing crazy ass ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Premise: You enjoy something and want to thank its creator with money. (Examples: A YouTuber's years-old archived videos; a gacha game's gameplay, which is fun even with no money spent; HPMoR)

Problem: The creator has failed to provide an avenue of compensation that is linked to the specific item that you enjoy. If you compensate him through the avenues that he has provided, then you will send the wrong signal to him. (Examples: Subscribing to the YouTuber's Patreon account, when you aren't watching his current videos; buying the gacha game's premium currency, which will not make the gameplay much more fun when used; donating to MIRI)

Solution: idunnolol

Usually with Patreon or whatever you can submit a reason or something like that. If not just email them and tell them what you like. Doesn't seem that hard.

Shrug, forget it, use this as a lesson in your future (i.e. make avenues available to be thanked, paid, rewarded, etc.) if you ever create such things yourself. It's not up to you as the consumer of such things to bend over backwards.

Alternately, people probably don't care about what signal you're sending if you are sending them cash. Just send the cash however you can.

Without a specific circumstance that's the best answer I have for you.

I just had a dream about watching a movie called "French Bleu". At a certain point, there was a fantastical CGI sequence in the movie. It was very detailed for a dream, but I remember thinking to myself, "Oh great, now AI generated animation is showing up in movies. I bet this took five minutes to generate you hacks!"

AI generated animation is showing up in television already, in Secret Invasion. I thought the shape-shifting uncanny-valley effect of it fit the intended theme of the show perfectly, but people are complaining about it just being a cheap way to generate art. Personally, in the context of the WGA/SAG strikes, I'd have suggested not picking "less art like Secret Invasion's credits, more art like Secret Invasion's scripts" as a rallying cry, but "de gustibus non est disputandum".

Reminds me of a roald dahl short story collection about automated stories generation, kid me never thought it would come true and I would get to study that stuff.

My brother and I have a tense relationship, unlike my mother and her five elder brothers. She grew up as the only daughter in the lord’s house of her ancestral village. Her youngest brother, a politician and landowner, surprised her with a visit yesterday for Raksha Bandhan, a festival where sisters tie rakhis to their brothers and receive gifts in return. He drove all night with his driver and left this morning. My mother talks to her family daily, but I failed to be a good older sibling for my only brother. He turned 19 today and we will go out for dinner to his favourite restaurant. I also had a female friend tie me a rakhi yesterday, as I have no sister or cousins here, it is a very Hindu thing so I do not think most will get what this means lol. I don’t know what to buy my brother so suggestions are welcome. We all will go out for dinner to celebrate his 19th today.

as I have no sister or cousins here, it is a very Hindu thing so I do not think most will get what this means lol

Have you... have you been friendzoned forever?

No lol, I have slept with women and I can sleep with them. I just do not hit on ones who are like my mom, very traditional, I do not do it because I like being friend-zoned lol, on the contrary, I am somewhat decent at pickup, I just share a bond with this girl because she is religious and I do not want to be someone who sleeps with her.

I friend-zoned her and a few other traditional conservative girls the first time we interacted because I know how much sleeping with a guy impacts them, that is just how some feel in my religion. Sleeping with girls who are really chaste is something I see as a sin, maybe I am weird. I do not have issues with those who sleep around, I just only sleep with them and not ones who are chaste.

My oneitis is a different girl altogether and even she had not friend-zoned me but I did fuck up big time with her.

No lol, I have slept with women and I can sleep with them.

Uh... username does not seem to check out, but good for you I guess.

My username is about me being realistic in the short term, and delusional in the long term, A friend started calling me a practical romantic since that day.

I actually do not even believe in romance at all and do not think have ever even been on a date the way most people do them, usually just have sex the night or day of and that is about it. I do not even believe in romantic love or soulmates being real (find the second thing very cringey).

I have despised the term one-itis since I first saw it used some ten or more years ago. I don't hate it less now. You use the term regularly in your posts, referring presumably to the same woman each time. I think sloughing this off is something you need to seriously consider doing. Not the term. The feeling, the tacit acceptance of it as an unavoidable part of your character, your life, your affection. Alternately, if you are intent on embracing this woman as your one-and-only, distance yourself from it so that there is no such thing as a fuckup, there is just life, with her in it however she is in it, without some ulterior motive on your part to get in her pants--and where your failure at this results in some existential crisis. Nothing but madness lies that way. Be true to your username. You'll find a certain weight is lifted.

I think sloughing this off is something you need to seriously consider doing

Totally, my main priority is fixing my life, being a good programmer, and making money and my lack of skills plus being in my town makes me hate meeting good women, I am certain that I will move out soon in a year or less to a metropolis and meet better women but until then my brain refuses to change. I need to fix my skill deficit and move out, I will get over her.

I detailed the entire saga on themotte subreddit and it was painful, I wish to get over her soon. I want nothing to do with her, I wish her well but I want out of this misery, need to sleep with hotties frequently but that is a few months away.

I know this is supposed to be a "fun thread* so I won't sully the well, but you don't need, with me at least, to use terms like "better women" or "hotties." You seem to be pushing (flogging) yourself forward and perhaps that will build your confidence.

fair enough, also I am surprised that the term oneitis was around 10 years ago.

Also I do agree with your broad sentiment, apologies if I made the post too serious.

I first saw the term in Neil Strauss's The Game (2011) which arguably popularized the idea of being a PUA, though apparently it predates even that.

Edit ' wrong date

Pretty much. It's at the very least a strong L if he had any romantic aspirations whatsoever.

I did not, I friend-zoned her as as soon as I met her as I do not sleep with traditional women and never wanted to sleep with her, I meet women and am decent at pickup lol.

Respect. It's hard enough for traditional women to keep it in their pants nowadays, every little bit helps.

Finally, someone gets it. I have had girl issues but that was just one girl and I learnt how to talk to girls after that. I would feel bad sleeping with a girl who is really chaste and thinking of me as some marriage material which is what happens with them.

I am a religious man, not the most religious but this would be sinful of me.

I would feel bad sleeping with a girl who is really chaste and thinking of me as some marriage material

Do you never get an urge to pick up some delicate and pristine artifact of purity and beauty and smash it to bits, grind it into dust, stomp it into mud with your feet, debase the very idea it represents?

Not unless it's an artifact representing an idea I hate, no.

No because I like my mother. She was this way when she was young so I can't do it.