This a new fiction story which is inspired by the "populists versus liberals" conflicts in real life.
Genre: MMO game, fantasy, supernatural, action, comedy, politics
Anime Inspiration: Accel World, Bakemonogatari, Myriad Colors Phantom World
In this alternate earth, magical pocket spaces form in each metropolitan city by absorbing the mana, manifestation of human emotion, from the city inhabitants. In these pocket spaces, the mana coalesces to create monsters that can enter the real world. Many Virtual Reality (VR) MMO games is created though this pocket space as a VR world. A headset is used to access this VR world with a combination of magic and modern technology.
Factions and Groups
Humans enter this VR world for many reasons; some come as players of MMO game, some come to research this VR world, some come to breed monsters, and some come to kill the monsters before they enter the real world. Two major factions arise in the VR world: the monster right advocate, who want to integrate the monsters into human society, and the human nativist, who want to kill the monsters before they take jobs from human employees. The two factions are, respectively, affiliated with liberalism and populism. The unaffiliated players are initially bothered by the wars, advertising, and arguments from the two major factions but they later get used to it.
The games allow the formation of groups which act as the guilds from other MMO games. The group can create respawn towers in various locations. Members of a group can spawn nearby their group’s towers after their login or death. The maximum number of respond towers of a group is proportional to the number of its members. Without the respawn tower of a group, a player need to spawn near one of the few neutral respawn towers which often disappear and reappear on different locations. The respawn towers of a group disappear after the dissolution of the group.
A group can be added into, or formed within, another group as a sub-group. To avoid confusion of hierarchical relation, the owner of an outer group must also be the owner of any sub-group that he is a member of. A sub-group can create their own respawn towers but members of the outer group can respawn in those towers as well. The sub-groups have the purpose of limiting the power of the outer group’s owner by preventing the outer group’s owner from having direct control over an individual of a sub-group. The sub-group also serve to preserve a fragment of the outer group after the dissolution of the outer group.
Random Citizen #1: “I want to ask you a question. Why are the monsters appearing out of this MMO game? No modern technology can make this possible unless a phantom is involved. However, I had never known of any phantom with the capacity to make things in a game became real; at least, not to this extant.”
Phantom Specialist: “I had done some investigation on my part and I can say that you make a bad question; a better question is what is used to make the game work. Do you find it suspicious that a VR game can be possible with the current technology? Do you find it suspicious that pain can even be experienced in the VR world even though in-game death does not cause real death? The game use a pocket space as its virtual reality world and the pocket space, along with the monsters, are a type of phantoms. The monsters can enter the real world because they created from mana, the manifestation of human desires. The pocket space seems to have control over many aspects of the game and I even doubt that the game company have much control over the virtual reality space.
Random Citizen #2: “If the game company have little control over the virtual reality. then why would they want to invest in the VR system.”
*Meanwhile, in the game company meeting*
Manager #1: “I did not expect this outcome from this VR game; we had found a magical pocket space that naturally arise in the metropolitan city and we plan to use the pocket space for a VR game system that is cheap enough for civilian use. The game was intended to be an form of entertainment where players can form a community isolated from the real world. I expect some control by the pocket space over the VR but I never anticipate the invasion by the monsters into the real world.”
Manager #2: “What should we do? Should we abandon the VR project?”
Manager #1: “We will not abandon the VR project. If we do not use the pocket space for a VR system, then our rival companies can monopolize access to the pocket space with their own VR systems. We shall continue investing in this VR game and market it for new demographic groups; we will allow the liberals to continue accessing this space to breed monsters and then force the populists to buy the game headsets as the only legal method to enter the game and kill the monsters.”
Investigating the WEIRD culture
Gameplay and Game Setting
The VR worlds resemble fantasy MMO games and has the same time flow as the real world. Besides combat, the game also involves significant amounts of economic activities and group management. The warfare in the game is dynamic since the base of a group can often be raided relatively easily and the game system do not provide a huge advantage to one player over the other. Guns and explosives are under-powered in the game to allow effective close-range weapons and magic attacks. A logout will cause a death status unless the avatars are near a respawn tower. A respawn tower can be destroyed and the destruction of a neutral respawn tower will cause a new neutral respawn tower to appear on a different location.
The MMO games each use a magical pocket dimension as their VR world so many aspects of these games can barely be developed or controlled by their respective game company. Instead, much of the game content are created by the players and monsters. Besides monsters and the avatars of human, the VR world also host AIs which lack advanced cognitive capacity as they do not use magic. Each VR world imitates the landscape around the real world metropolitan area where its respective pocket space was formed. The VR environment has more extreme weather patterns and frequent natural disasters due to the instability of the VR worlds. Settlements and dungeons do not exist by default but they can be easily constructed by the players.
Chapter 1: Factions Introduction
News Reporter: “This is a live reporting. In this street, two crowds are protesting toward each other in response to the rise of monsters from a magical MMO game. Here is the statement of one of the crowd.”
Monster Right Crowd: “Monsters should be given the same right and status as humans! The monsters have self-awareness, intelligence, ambitions, and dreams! Stop hanging to tradition and embrace diversity!”
News Reporter: “And here is the statement of the other crowd.”
Human Nativist Crowd: “Monsters should not be in our world! They are demons and illegal aliens! They should be deported back to their own world! Stop depending on outsiders and preserve our native heritage!”
*In another location, a group of players in the magical VR world capture some monster breeders and monster smugglers. Calling themselves the crusaders, they tied up their captive up in a pillar and proceed to burn them until their HP reach zero*
Captive #1: “Do you think that I will stop smuggling monsters just because I get burned in-game even when I can experience the pain? I can endure a way more intense burning!”
Crusader Leader: “Actually, we set the burning to low intensity. Since you ask for it, I will tell our fire mages to intensify the burning.”
*Burning get intensified*
Captive #1: “Wait! I was just kidding! Ouch! It burns! It burns!”
Chapter 2: The Dark Guild
*A small liberal team raid a populist outpost but something seems wrong…*
Populist General: “Stop right there, Liberals! I have taken one of your high-level monsters as hostage!"
Liberal #1: “What are you saying? That monster is not working for us.”
Populist General: “Then who is that monster working for?”
*Suddenly, a third group appear with a surprise attack on both the populists and liberals. The Populist Generals recognize the new invaders; they belong to the Black Angel group. The Black Angel are highly combat-orientated and they contain some of the greatest fighters in this VR world. They are the independents, or players with little to no affiliation toward the two factions, so they do not have many members nor allies. The groups within the two factions have advantage in numbers and allies but even they show hesitation in fighting the Black Angel. Unlike the two factions who are restrained by their ideologies and allies, the Black Angel will raid and kill any players that they encountered*
Populist General: “All soldiers! Retreat! We are abandoning base!”
Investigating the WEIRD culture
Is this supposed to be a radio play? Why is it written in this style?
What even is this thread?
Investigating the WEIRD culture
If I have to explain it, then I could say that I am experimenting with a style that I developed.
Well, in my opinion, by writing this way you are losing pretty much all of the benefits that come with writing while gaining most of the drawbacks that come with radio plays (or other pretty much exclusively dialogue mediums), but if you want to write this way, thats up to you. I will say that I think you need to write a lot more and actually construct scenes. A few lines of exposition does not a chapter make.
What even is this thread?
Chapter 3: The Trump Train
*A large liberal base get assaulted. The invaders employ many war vehicles which indicate a large-scale invasion by the other faction…*
Liberal #1: “I had gather information of the current situation: the invasion is carried out by the populist force. The invasion is likely a response to a major political event in the real world.”
Liberal #2: “Understood. I will contact one of our elite combat group.”
Liberal #2 (in radio): “We have an emergency. One of our key base is under siege. We request your support.”
Liberal #3 (in radio): “We cannot help you; we are currently invading a major populist base but we…”
*Moments later, the Liberals realize that a radio jamming has occurred*
Liberal #4: “Our communication system must be jammed. Should we send a runner.”
Liberal #2: “We should not send a runner. Such action will put the runner in risk on the open battlefield. Even if the runner did reach our ally, our ally may not provide assistance.”
*Liberal #4 recognize the meaning of this order: although the events in the game affect the affairs in the real world, most the members in the game’s factions consist of hardcore video gamers and they do not always submit to central authority. The political parties are unwilling to send their members into this game due to the associated stigma and the availability of video gaming fans affiliated to their political position. The two major factions did manage to unite their core members under one group most of the time but centralized command is still impossible*
Liberal #2: “All soldiers, get into formation and maintain the lines of commands.”
*The defense is holding on until some suspicious activities occur in the invading force…*
Liberal #4: “What is that thing over there in the distance?”
Liberal #1: “I identify the object with my telescope: it is a fast-moving train with a respawn towel and many passengers. Enemies are being spawn on the train as I watch.”
*30 minutes ago, at the siege of the populist base*
Liberal #3: “Are you sure that the populists are planning something big here? We launch this invasion because of the information that you provided.”
Player #1: “I am sure about the time but not so much on the location.”
Liberal #3: “The enemies are behaving suspiciously; they seem to be distracting us so I can at least believe that they are hiding something here.”
*Suddenly a heavily armed express train appeared from one of the populist factory. The train ram out of the local battlefield and head straight to the large liberal base. ‘Trump Train’ was painted on the train’s walls*
Liberal #3: “So they had build a Trump Train in this game; interesting. Send team #2 to pursuit the train!”
*Back at the present time at the invasion of the liberal base, the liberals realize that the invaders are moving away from the trajectory of the oncoming train. Two aircraft and an armored vehicle pursuit and attack the train. The pursuers use projectiles like guns, laser, missiles, javelins, and knives against the train. However, the train fend off the attackers with magical barriers and guns from its passengers. Some players from the pursuit vehicles attempt to board the train but they are attacked by swordsman who defend the train*
Liberal #4: “The train can move extremely fast. It can even make slight change to its direction to avoid obstacles. I wonder how its emergency breaks can gain enough stopping power in case of an accident?"
*Suddenly an answer appears as the train get tripped by a bump on the ground and flipped several times before it crashes; the train do not have any breaks as it will head full speed into an obstacle that the train cannot steered away. The train suffer heavy damage and its respawn tower get destroyed. However, the train manage to crash into and destroy a large portion of the liberal base when it gets derailed*
Liberal #2: “Did the train get derailed by accident? Or did the enemy planned the derailing?”
Liberal #1: “The enemies in the train are coming out and regrouping. Some of them show heavy wounds and their number seem to be way lower than what the train can carry. The derailing is likely an accident.”
Liberal #4: “Even if it is an accident, we cannot be careless; the train crash had killed and wounded many of our army.”
Investigating the WEIRD culture
Chapter 4: Gabriel Dropout Parody
*At an Evangelical church in a rural community, a priest was giving a seminar speech to mothers and their children*
Priest: “And this is the power of the temptation of the new entertainment from the metropolitan cities which can turn your child into a slob. The metropolitan entertainment is spreading into the countryside so you must always keep an eye on your children and prevent them from being exposed to such entertainment. I have a sample of a girl who get slobified from the temptation of MMO games. Her slobification occurs when her family moved into a city. Here is the slob.”
*Show a slob who display a bored emotionless expression*
Mother #1: “Is video games that bad? How can such entertainment turn our children into slobs?”
*Suddenly, a scream occurred at the doorway behind the seminar. Everyone turn their attention to the doorway where a girl was demanding to go back to her home as her mother drag her to the seminar*
Mother #1: “Who is that naughty misbehaving girl that is resisting her mother?”
Priest: “That’s Gloria White. She falls into temptation of the metropolitan entertainment.”
Mother #2: “You mean our #1 model student who moved into the metropolitan city six months ago with her family so her father can preach the gospel to the city people?! This is terrible! Why do God allow such gifted girl to fall into the path of a slob! She even bear a name which signify God in all his glory!”
Mother #3: “How can the city people allow such evil temptation to exist! I know that the city people allow sinful practices but I could not believe that they could embrace sinful acts to this extent. From now on, we must always invade the privacy of our children and monitor their internet usage so we can ensure that our children could never fall to the temptation of metropolitan entertainment! I wonder how such entertainment can have such powerful effect?”
*Flashback to a week after her family move to the city*
Gloria: “I must enter this magical VR game that my new friend in class had introduced to me so I can heal the players of this game and stop the liberals from smuggling monsters. I know that I have to discuss this with my parents but my parents are too busy with their missionary work.”
*Gloria enter the game where she heals numerous populists, independents, and even a few liberals. She also fights against a few high-level monsters that is causing chaos in the game. A surprisingly familiar girl appeared in front of Gloria*
Gloria: “So you are working for the liberals and you had lure me to this game. What are you planning?”
Bad Girl: “You fool! Do you think that I introduce you to this game so you can lead all these players into the path of Christ? By entering this game, you will be consumed by the darkness of MMO games. Your parents think that they can act so high and holy in this city but let see how your parents will react when they see their own daughter fall into the path of darkness.”
Gloria: “Do you think that the children of God can fall that easily? With the protection of Christ, a person can overcome anything!”
Player #1: “Help me! I am fatally wounded! I am dying!”
Gloria: “Do not worry! Help is on the way.”
*Gloria try to cast healing magic but failed. She realizes that she does not have enough MP. She panics and become distress since she cannot heal all the players around her who are pleading for help. The darkness of MMO games begins to consume her as her heart get filled with doubt*
Monster #1: “You over there. If you make a contract with me, then you can gain enough MP to revive all these players.”
Gloria: “I am the follower of Christ! I do not make contract with demons like you!”
*Although she refuses help from monster #1, the temptation of the monster overwhelms her since she can find no other way to relive the distress of the dying players. The doubt in her heart keep increasing and it finally allow the darkness of MMO games to fully consume her. With her heart consumed and her spiritual resistance shattered, she undergoes an inevitable progress of slobification*
Chapter 5: Gabriel Dropout Parody Part 2
*2 months after Gloria’s family move into the city, Gloria’s father meet a phantom specialist for some discussion*
Phantom Specialist: “So your daughter, Gloria White, get turned into a slob due to the darkness of a metropolitan entertainment called VRMMO game. You further suspect that the slobification is related to a phantom and you ask for my service to cure her? Your payment for my service is acceptable. Let’s start with the diagnosis. What information had you gathered so far?”
Father: “My daughter is a very good girl and she has good life skills so I expect her to handle her school life all by herself. Me and my wife were so busy with our missionary work that we did not realize that our daughter become slobified until three weeks after we moved into the city. By then, she had been using the allowance from us to buy junk foods and portable video games. I tried to ask her how she become slobified.”
Father (in a flashback): “Oh daughter, what demonic magic had turned you into such a slob.”
Father: “When I questioned her, she ignored me and keep playing a video game. I finally get her to reply with enough coaxing and her answer is very horrifying.”
Gloria (in a flashback): “My life as a model student is a lie; my real self is a girl who want to do nothing but play video games all day.”
Father: “I try to ask one of our populist allies about the slobification by metropolitan entertainment but they cannot provide much information.”
A Populist (in a second flashback): “Video games can slobify some people but many do not become slobified by such games. It is not easy to tell who will become slobified. I am focused on fighting the liberals so I do not have any time to investigate.”
Father: “I eventually managed to get Gloria to reveal that a liberal are involved so I interrogate a liberal who I often encounter since I moved into this city. That liberal insult my family but I pay little attention to the insult as I am too focused on curing my daughter.”
A Liberal (in a third flashback): “How ironic! You had claimed that a child who is raised by a disciplined and loving Christian family cannot possibly become a slob. How can you explain that your own child has become one?”
Phantom Specialist: “I understand the situation. Your daughter is facing some confusion on her identity and her position in her society. Until her identity crisis is resolved, she cannot be deslobify. You had made a mistake when you focus on the external force but negate your flaws. The metropolitan entertainment slobify people with a weakness in their heart. The weakness can be overcome but you first need to identify the weakness. You and your people once do not need to face this weakness since an external force protected you from any who tries to exploit this weakness. However, that protective force is no longer protecting you and you now need to face this weakness.”
Investigating the WEIRD culture
The players can choose one of three options per day: create their avatar (which delete any old avatar), revive their avatar, or level up their avatar. All avatars begin at level 1 and the level cap occur at 5. Unless the avatar is revived by external assistance, the death of an avatar will reset its level to 1 and prevent the user from entering the VR world until the next day. The avatars are created by their user’s mana so the parameters of the avatar traits are determined by the desires of their user. However, the parameter allows such wide variations that the player can develop almost any basic builds with their avatar. All avatars have a built-in telephone system to communicate with other avatars.
Avatars take human form by default but they can transform into a talking equipment called “sub-avatar” so they can work with multiple avatars as one physical unit. Sub-avatar retains their HP and MP gauge but some abilities became unusable in this form. Sub-avatar retains their equipment form even after logout and the transformation need to be cancelled manually. Sub-avatars are mainly used in large combat operation since they can be readily prepared as high-functioning equipment. Compared to the anthropomorphic avatars, sub-avatars generally have less individual variability and are used by less experienced members of a team. Sub-avatars are rare in small team due to their lack of versatility and the MP cost of cancelling the transformation.
The sub-avatars are classified into weapon type, machine type, and AI type. The weapon type act as an infantry gear. The machine type take the form of either a machine or a machine part. Certain equipment may be needed for the machine type transformation. The AI type are used as part of an AI system to combine the cognitive capacity of both human and computer. There are monsters and AIs who can take a form like these three types of sub-avatar.
Chapter 2 -Extended-
*A populist player instructs a recruit on the basics of combat in this VR game. The recruit takes the form of a weapon sub-avatar so he will bear a manageable role in combat. As a weapon sub-avatar, he only need to aid his wielder by acting as an extra eye and casting support magic spells so he has time to observe and understand the combat first-hand. The experienced player now instructs the recruit on an established procedure*
Experienced Player: “The Black Angel had taken one of our outpost while we are distracted by the liberal fighters. The liberal team likely retreat from the surprise attack as well. Normally, we ask for combat support from an independent team against the liberal fighters but this procedure could easily apply against a powerful independent group like the Black Angel. The independents are willing to help us against a strong group to prevent that group from gaining to much power to dominant the game. However, we should not ask for support from independent group when we have the advantage since they could turn against us and take our base. We ask for their support when our base is going to be taken over either way. An independent group who takeover our base would not be much of a threat since their smaller number allows us to take back the base more easily compared to the takeover by a liberal group.”
Investigating the WEIRD culture
I now decide to recontinue the plot.
Chapter 6: Konosuba parody 1
*a recently unemployed man meets a priestess*
Priestess: “Hello. I am the priestess of the invisible hand of culture. I will be recruiting you to fight against the populist king that is taking over a magical virtual world, but I do not expect much from you; you are only recruited to fulfill meet my long overdue status quo and from your feminine fragility. You lost your job from a heart attack when you tried to save a woman. Here is the information of the virtual world.”
*The man read a brief introduction of the VR world. The introduction includes a brief history: this game world allows RPG-styled fighting, but most players choose to pick a non-combat niche to experience their transgender life. After the populist invasion, fighting becomes the focus of this game. The man also read something suspicious...*
Man: “This world does not produce any job-stealing monsters that could invade the real world. Why would a populist want to invade this VR world?”
Priestess: “The populists do not tolerate LGBTQ culture which is the main attraction of this VR world. In this VR world, male players can use an avatar of a beautiful cross-dressing boy and female players can use an avatar of a non-traditional women; the players can take the role of the opposite gender and a male avatar is virtually indistinguishable from a female avatar. This world had previously been given legal protection, but the election of Donald Trump had eliminated the legal protection. Without the legal protection, the populists can now invade this world and ban all transgender practices especially cross-dressing. The popularity of this VR world is threatened by the populist invasion and many players are abandoning this VR game.”
Man: “And you expect me to help save this VR world full of traps? Why would I want to save a world where I could be used as a cross-dressing doll?”
Priestess: “Do not worry; although the wage is very low, your living expense will be covered. You could also use an overpowered weapon, skills, or abilities of your choice in this VR world in your mission to defeat the populist king. To obey the rule of the VR worlds, the populists established six lords and a king in this VR world, so you could think of this job as a fun game. Besides, did you often cross-dress during your childhood?”
Man: “How did you know about the part of my childhood history when I was used as a cross-dressing doll by my sisters and my sister’s friends?!”
Priestess: “Do not underestimate my overpowered organization. Now that I had introduced the job opportunity to save this VR game, will you accept this job or suffer the shame of unemployment?”
Man: “I had trouble finding another job, so I will accept your offer even when I would become a well-known cross-dresser; just make sure to hide my real-life identity from public. For my overpowered assist, I would choose the priestess of the invisible hand of culture that is right beside me.”
Priestess: “Ok...wait! You cannot choose me! I have a duty as the priestess of the invisible hand!”
*A woman appeared*
Woman: “Okay! We accept the decision of this man. You will now be going with him to defeat the populist king.”
Investigating the WEIRD culture