Between 12.5-12.6

Your recent post about “magic that doesn’t follow human ideas” made me think of a webcomic called Triangle and Robert that I read years back. The magic there doesn’t /really/ fit what you’re talking about, but I figure a magic system based around the four food groups (grain, meat, vegetable, dairy) instead of the four elements might be non-traditional enough to spark your interest somewhat. Possibly worth thinking about as fodder for a future liveblog?

Huh. That’s certainly an interesting approach to it!


I like your post about magic not following human ideas [here], and how it’d need to be analyzed and how it never comes up in fiction. I think you forgot to take one thing into account though. What if magic’s ideas are different in all these stories, but all the analyzing has already been done? Cavemen wizards just threw energy around, slowly refining it for more power and more precisions. Over generations new possibilities are discovered and explored. Figuring out transmutation, and how to enchant, etc

Hmm. I suppose that is fair. Spells could work conveniently because they’re not inherent to the magic, but rather the human-imposed framework that takes over the role of the magitech I mentioned in guiding the magic into doing what we want it to do. Wild magic that hasn’t had this framework imposed on it might do unpredictable and dangerous things like the examples I gave in that post, and the same thing can happen if someone messes up at casting a spell, unleashing the restrained/”tamed” magic.

(#reminds me of the d&d 5e wild magic sorcerer’s wild magic surges
#in which there’s a chance of a random effect whenever they cast a spell
#but even those effects still follow human ideas
#or the ideas of something like them)


I’ve been waiting to say this until it took effect. The full quote from TV Tropes (item 4 on the “here’s what I know about Worm going in” list from your intro post [here]) actually goes like this: “Over the first few plot arcs, though, the story shifts away from the hellish landscape that is contemporary high school towards the more uplifting setting of a bombed out city at the mercy of a roving band of psychopaths.” And now it’s there.

Hah, nice!

I didn’t know it was a TVTropes quote – I only knew of it because Sharks said it while recommending Worm. But in retrospect, it really does sound like something TVTropes would say about this story. 😛

I think it’s going to be fun to check out TVTropes’ Worm page(s) if TVTropes still exists when I finish Ward.


In an alternative universe, bonesaw is known as franken fran

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Ahaha, looks about right!

This manga seems like a lot of fun, I think I might read it. 🙂

And hey, look who else makes an appearance:

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It’s Buzz 7.3 Skitter!


Given your interest in how stories handle magic, I’d recommend reading the serials Ra and Unsong. Magic is studied as a science in Ra, and it’s puns and wordplay and mass produced office work controlled by large companies in Unsong.

Sounds like bard magic dominates the world in Unsong. And, uh, office worker magic…? Anyway, sounds like fun!

As for Ra, I don’t think “magic is studied as a science” on its own is enough to get me interested in a work, but it is very appropriate to the post I made. I did basically conclude that if magic didn’t naturally work with human ideas, humans would use science to force it to do so to the best of our ability, because humanity as a whole just doesn’t give up on things like this.

A work that I think does neat things with magic is El Goonish Shive. It doesn’t do the sort of thing I was describing in my post – rather the opposite, in fact; EGS magic is explicitly designed to be convenient both to the author and to the characters. But it also has a will of its own, a nonphysical sort-of-entity in charge of how magic works, which doesn’t quite understand humanity because its only direct perception of people is through the magic they use and because it has trouble with subtlety. So while EGS magic is usually convenient and very rarely dangerous, there’s a) a reason it is the way it is (magic is sentient, sapient and trying) and b) a certain disconnect between magic and humanity’s ideas and behaviors.

Oh, and on top of that, there’s a race of ethereal beings (”immortals”) running around and giving people powers for their own varying purposes. Turns out there’s a lot of plot you can be at the root of even while restricted by law to “guide and empower”.

It also significantly features magitech and magic science, especially around one main character in particular.


As the person who sent that worm d20 post, I would like to apologise for the whole spoiler thing. It’s not really a spoiler it’s just me being daft and getting my interludes wrong. I would also like to apologise for the autocorrect of Krix to Kroc and fic to doc, that’s caused way more confusion then I intended. I would be happy to confirm that there is a worm ttrpg system (written by Wildbow), but Worm d20 isn’t it, it’s just a short and funny fic I’d thought you might like.

Ah! Yeah, the Kroc thing I just found funny, but “fic” to “doc” did confuse me a bit. That’s the other part of why I thought Sharks might not have intended to send it – I figured it might’ve been for her, since I don’t remember actually taking recommendations for docs of any Worm TRPGs.

After I answered the ask, it was mentioned to me on Discord that Worm d20 is a fic in the style of Darths and Droids, DM of the Rings, etc (though I figured you and the person who told me that were talking about different things by the same name). That sounds like fun!

I do want to note though that for an adaptation-style project like that, it’s probably better for me to read it after the point in Worm that was current when the thing was canceled, rather than after the point in Worm it had gotten up to with its adaptation. When making something like that, future ideas and details may slip through, especially if the adaptation is comedic in nature. I’m guessing this is why I haven’t been told any of Worm Abridged Arc 3+ is spoiler free yet, too.

That is, if I should read fan works during the liveblog at all. As far as I’ve gathered, at least some of you readers feel like that introduces too much bias from fandom ideas and portrayals, which I’m inclined to agree with.

As for the Worm TRPG, I think I may have known there was at least one – or at least that some parahumans’ powers had been converted into spells – but not that it was written by Wildbow himself, making it official! That’s pretty cool!

And finally, the Sarah thing – yeah, some of the other asks (coming up in the next post) set me straight about that. My reaction to seeing that in the ask was partially a result of me not remembering who Sarah was. No worries, then! 🙂


The Sarah thing was already known. Coil addresses her as Sarah Livsey in her interlude, and she says she’s willing to answer to either that name or Lisa Wilbourn but prefers Lisa these days.

The “Sarah thing” from that one ask is, I assume, the fact that Lisa was previously named Sarah Livsey, which was revealed back in arc 8. I can’t think of any other Sarah things it could be.

Ahh, right!

Here’s the thing: I remembered well enough that Lisa had changed her name. But I did completely forget what her previous name actually was.

(I know, I’m a disgrace to everyone who calls Lisa their favorite Undersider.)


The L shape of the clock is the side view.

Oh! So:

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The thing on the right is how I imagined it. Bit of a fancy modern design, y’know.

But yeah, I suppose the left design does make a lot more sense with Hebert sensibilities and economy.

(#it’s later on the right clock because 12:00 looked stupid on it #or is it earlier?
#who can tell without an am/pm marker on the left clock)


Holy crap your hometown looks gorgeous.

Thank you! 🙂

It’s not exactly a big place or a tourist destination (though it does see a fair amount of tourists on their way to other places, which is part of why they’re planning the hotel), but I think it’s a nice little town we’ve got.


“This is insane.” And some real Shatterbird bait, too.

Hell yeah. A 240-room hotel with roof-to-floor glass windows on every one of them and their little bathrooms too? That’s a massacre waiting to happen if Shatterbird shows up here.


I can’t be sure of what my feelings on Rachel were at that point in the story but I think that back then even though she didn’t tell about being a candidate I still felt sympathy for her because from her interlude it’s obvious she wants to get closer to people but she’s been hurt too much in the past so she’s keeping her distance to avoid being hurt again. Yeah, she never met Taylor halfway, but given her history I can’t blame her.

That’s fair. I don’t blame her for that either, really, but it’s still kind of hard to take “I have no real positive connections” as a sympathetic motivation for shitty behavior when there’s seemingly been no attempt from her side to create some (and said behavior actively harms any such efforts), even when it was initiated by someone who actually wanted to look past her shitty behavior and get to know her.

She’s ended up kind of neutral on the sympathy scale, I guess. I don’t sympathize with her much, but I don’t hate her either. It’s understandable that she acts this way, just not sympathetic after all the shit she’s pulled.


Dude when do you even sleep? Aren’t you Norwegian?

The only thing that is regular about my sleep schedule these days is it getting fucked up. I do usually manage to fall asleep somewhere in between 2 and 9 AM, at least.


It wouldn’t really make much sense for real paramedics to be at the house so soon after the attack. Even if they had time to prepare early because of Taylor’s warning, it’s not like they can send ambulances to every house in the city. It would be a pretty big coincidence if Danny’s house happened to be one of the very few houses that they were able to send paramedics to.

That is fair point.


“It just delays the issue, allowing another 15 or so years for humanity to prepare.” What would preparation look like?

For some examples:

  • Allowing more powered people to emerge.
  • Developing more tinkertech and regular tech that might come in handy.
  • Informing select parahumans about the upcoming apocalypse to prepare them for whatever efforts might be done to reduce damage and possibly even ending the event. They’d need to pick trustworthy ones, though, because it leaking to the public might cause panic, rage, riots, dejection… on another hand, maybe the negative reactions to the US government publicly predicting the upcoming apocalypse would be worth it for the people who would take it seriously and become apocalypse preppers. Maybe some of them would be able to survive because of it.
  • With more time, Dinah and other parahuman sources of information may be able to provide more knowledge of the exact threat and its timing (especially if Dinah’s power gets easier to use with age/training), helping to make plans for how to best deal with it. Plans that are probably largely going to fall out the window when the threat actually comes, but still plans that might help. Knowledge is power in this setting, let’s not forget that.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this preparation would solve the problem, or make a huge dent in it, but every little thing that might help is desirable in this scenario, and each extra year before it happens might provide several such little things.

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