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Thread: [Open Discussion] A centralised canon for the wRHG?

  1. #1
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    [Open Discussion] A centralised canon for the wRHG?

    With the prospect of a new StickPage on the horizon, the winds of change have come to the Writer's Lounge too. For a while now, ideas have been thrown around on how to improve the Writer's Lounge. One concern has been for the wRHG's canon, and the way the wRHG plays out. I figured that instead of letting the idea for this discussion brew endlessly while I worked out the details, I'd just get off my ass and put this out here so the community can get involved in all of this.

    So what's this about? Well, the way we're going about it right now, the wRHG doesn't really have much of a centralised canon at all and people end up filling the blanks themselves. A way that has served us pretty well so far, and maybe some folks will think I'm being silly. Cause after all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Would a central canon really be all that beneficial, after all? Would it push the wRHG to new creative heights, or would it stagnate the often wild creativity we see in our writers, and turn many away from the wRHG? Before we go any further, let me clarify what it is I am asking:

    A centralised canon would mean we would establish one definite world, one definite setting, for the wRHG. A world with defined places, defined 'rules' and limits and so forth, that all wRHG writers would adhere to. Suppose for example we would decide that near all wRHG activity takes place in and around a city called Sierra Pines, and every writer from that point on would be obliged to use this city of Sierra Pines as a central orientation point for their own world, that would be a case of an at least somewhat centralised canon. My question to you, the Writer's Lounge, is whether you think the wRHG would be helped by such a thing or not.

    I implore everyone here to give their input on the matter. It's rather important to make yourself heard, and give your input in the matter. It's the only way you can really make a decision on the matter, and if you don't make yourself heard, other people will make that decision for you. I understand not everyone might feel at place to give their full input on the matter though. To those of you who would feel like they've little to contribute to the conversation otherwise, I ask the following: How do you go about your own canon, why do you go about it in such a way and why do you like doing it in that way? Even as little as this will go a very long way.


    ------------------------------------------------------


    It's of course important that we consider the pros and cons of both options. I'll go ahead and list my speculations and concerns to get the discussion started.

    I do think a centralised canon is at least somewhat worth considering, because it might make the wRHG more accessible and consistent across the board.

    The way we do it now, one dude's canon has all of these people with godlike powers and all of that's normal, and the other dude's canon is much more grounded and someone with even the slightest hint of supernatural powers is already considered exceptionally strong. Or another example, one has a very futuristic image of their world, while the other's takes on a less modern form, hearkening back to such places like ancient Greece or the medieval times. Inconsistencies like these can make it very hard for some people to really have their characters interact in a meaningful way at all. Suppose we have this Godlike Hercules on one hand, and this average joe with a knife on the other, both writers are really gonna have to bend their worlds quite a bit for this kind of story to make any sense at all. Both characters will have to be molded and squeezed until they can find a proper place in the author's world, and adhere to the rules said author has defined for his world. This more often than not results in rather... lackluster reading, though. An argument could be made that it forces both writers to 'get creative', though in my experience it's been detrimental to such a degree that I try to avoid conflicting canons altogether now, barring me from interacting with certain writers in the Lounge completely so I wouldn't have to fuck up my own writing so much for it to make sense. Honestly I think if there's anyone out there who can testify that this causes a shitshow canon-wise, it's Chrome.

    A centralised canon in this case would immediately solve nearly all of these inconsistencies because the 'rules' and limits of power in the universe would be defined to an extent. It'd make the wRHG as a whole more accessible to newcomers, too, and the reason for that is twofold. One, it would make assessing whether their character fits in or not, a hell of a lot easier. Two, it'd prevent outliers from happening. Those people that make a canon and character, but generally don't really end up interacting much with anyone in the Lounge. Sure, we'd set a bit of an entry bar but at least it'd guarantee people are primed to start doing shit with other folks once they're in. All in all, this world would start making a lot more sense across the board and the reader would have more of a clue what to expect when getting into a battle.

    Now comes the big con in my eyes, namely the concern that deciding on a centralised canon could potentially stifle the wild creativity we've got going right now, and potentially kill interest in the wRHG because of it. After all, I've seen people do things at times that struck me as breaking the mold by quite a bit, in a good way. It adds quite a bit of heart to this whole place, and I'd hate to see that go away. As I said though, this is largely just a concern though. There are arguments to be made that having a centralised canon would spark creativity, as opposed to stifling it.

    I'm not sure how familiar y'all are with the concept of "creative limitation", but what it boils down to is basically that once a writer is forced to put boundaries on his imagination, he will go through greater creative lengths to make his writing work. We all do it. All ideas start in this white void, where anything is possible. But then we start making a few decisions. For example, we decide that our story takes place in the present day. That's a creative limitation, because now all things past and future are largely beyond the limits you've put yourself. We decide that our protagonists are human, and the story takes place on earth. We decide the story takes place in America. We decide our protagonist is a woman, that our genre is a murder mystery, and so forth. All of this is creative limitation. All of this forces us to scratch certain possibilities, and try to make our story work with the choices we've left ourselves with. Deciding on a centralised canon could, in a sense, be deciding on the creative limitations we impose on all writers of the wRHG.

    Besides, if we take a look at how most people approach the matter of canon, we can already see that most folks decide on a somewhat similar setting. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your setting is most likely: A city called either StickPage (city), or Sierra Pines. Chronologically, we're in a current day setting though we're ahead a bit technologically. Generally, aliens and supernatural shit are commonplace in your canon. The RHG itself is known across the world, probably as a TV broadcast run by the RHG corporation.

    What I'm trying to prove here is that we're really not that removed from a centralised canon as we might at first expect. So yes. What do you guys think? Do you think we'll be helped a centralised canon, or that we'll just screw ourselves over? If I'm honest, I myself don't think we'll ever end up settling on a completely centralised canon, though I think we'd be helped by at least defining the boundaries a bit more.

    I eagerly await your comments.

  2. #2
    Unlimited Potential Xate's Avatar
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    Limitations make creativity shine, so I think having a central wRHG battlefield would make it interesting. We could also handwave it to have the city's features change ever so slightly according to a character's perception so that one character's Stickpage can be slightly different from my Stickpage.

    OR we can make it a parallel universe thing, with Stickpage as a hub, suffering/benefitting from the spacial/temporal distortion that makes the specific attributes of Stickpage to be anything we dream of, fitting for the right plot.

    When it comes to GOD HERCULES THE VII vs bob with knife, I feel that it's a matter best left to the writers. Having characters of different power level fight can make for either interesting stories, or bullshit conveniences.

    A workaround for the above limitation is having a "class" system, like "lightweight", "mediumweight", "heavyweight", like wrestling. You pick a class and make characters that would fight characters of similar weight class, making the power level less skewed. Sure you can have mediumweight face off against heavyweight in a classic "overcome an obstacle" plot, or lightweight vs heavyweight AKA "David vs Goliath", but this should make it easier for the writers to consider the right opponents.
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    The Stickpage Ghost PitchEnder's Avatar
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    I like the idea of a centralized canon. I feel like having everyone build from this basic world can lead to a pretty cool place. However, what kind of rules would need to be put in place and would those rules potentially mess with creativity, as you said? I'm all for having organization within canons but not if it stifles creativity.

    I, for one, like the parallel universe thing. This idea that the RHG corporation has a sorta inter-dimensional monorail that transports gladiators over to another gladiator's dimension so they can participate in a broadcasted fight.
    Last edited by PitchEnder; 11-11-2017 at 10:17 PM.

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    Limitations make creativity shine, so I think having a central wRHG battlefield would make it interesting. We could also handwave it to have the city's features change ever so slightly according to a character's perception so that one character's Stickpage can be slightly different from my Stickpage.

    OR we can make it a parallel universe thing, with Stickpage as a hub, suffering/benefitting from the spacial/temporal distortion that makes the specific attributes of Stickpage to be anything we dream of, fitting for the right plot.
    As I told you in Skype, you're basically proposing we decide on a centralised anti-centralised canon, which kind of defeats the purpose of deciding on a centralised canon to begin with. After all, if everyone is entitled to their own parallel universe where anything is possible, what's the point of taking such a system over the one we already got going right now where we don't really give much of a shit about how people do their stuff?

    When it comes to GOD HERCULES THE VII vs bob with knife, I feel that it's a matter best left to the writers. Having characters of different power level fight can make for either interesting stories, or bullshit conveniences.
    In my experience its always lead to bullshit convenience or plotbending, as I already said :P

    A workaround for the above limitation is having a "class" system, like "lightweight", "mediumweight", "heavyweight", like wrestling. You pick a class and make characters that would fight characters of similar weight class, making the power level less skewed. Sure you can have mediumweight face off against heavyweight in a classic "overcome an obstacle" plot, or lightweight vs heavyweight AKA "David vs Goliath", but this should make it easier for the writers to consider the right opponents.
    My point is that I'd rather see anyone fight anyone. I'm just proposing that we at least consider the idea of a world where the smallest underdog at least has a realistic chance of beating the biggest fish in the pond without plotbending, if the author's creative enough. We've seen people like Penny take a shot at behemoths like Omega before. I still think that's one of the best battles out there, to be honest.

  5. #5
    Seņor MemeBar Alphaeus's Avatar
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    So, I'm tired and drugged up so I'll post more another day. For now, let me say I really, REALLY support the idea of a unified canon.

    Here's the deal -- SP City should be this kind of Tardis-like place that is anywhere and everywhere and nowhere. That said, it should NOT just be a shifting generic place because we already have that. Honestly, I'd support creating a map for it. A map with areas left vague enough for people to work with, but certain confirmed recurring places used.

    RHG is a system that some people participate in, but some don't. There are official battles and personal conflicts. Nothing binding here, but if you DO sign up you're a celebrity. Treat it like making movies -- you can vanish from Hollywood, you can make tons, you can do one now and then, etc.

    More thoughts will come but I'm just tired RN.
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    Secret Psychopath Crank's Avatar
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    I feel like this conversation pops up every so often, so, from all those times, my stance is no. I keep my cannon vague so I my character can interact with others, but that isn't something that should be a rule.

    Recommended starting set, sure. I'm fine with that, but I don't want to discourage people. I'd rather see a character in action and judge them that way than add on X isn't a thing in this universe to critiques. Multiple characters have met God(s) at some point. Some are angels, some are demons. One streamlined cannon means X happens when you die, X are the deities and you have to be pretty important to meet death. One cannon means you can't go as large scale.

    I do small scale because it's easier to insert, but if we're one world, I don't want to ask for permission to burn down the orphanage. If August runs into a fire during a terrorist attack, that doesn't make John a dick for not being there pulling out the puppies. One world means you have to be aware of everything, which is a hell of a commitment. People who leave with open ends leave lingering mysteries.

    Here's my cannon:

    Magic: Usually weak; Rare; Unsettling in public

    City: Never named, but on the coast and surrounded but forests. Metropolis with suburbs. Some pretty crime ridden

    RHG: Extremely rich; Celebrities made; People (sometimes) die; Huge influence; Largely in control

    Crime/Police: Mostly vigilante justice; Police unequipped

    If you want to fit in, don't stand out, but if you want to go big, you don't need permission

    Side note: Your omission of Vague City is amusing
    Last edited by Crank; 11-11-2017 at 11:05 PM.

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    I feel like this conversation pops up every so often, so, from all those times, my stance is no.
    That much I could have guessed. Yes this conversation pops up every so often as do so many others, simply because every time such conversations are left unresolved and just die out.

    Recommended starting set, sure. I'm fine with that, but I don't want to discourage people. I'd rather see a character in action and judge them that way than add on X isn't a thing in this universe to critiques. Multiple characters have met God(s) at some point. Some are angels, some are demons. One streamlined cannon means X happens when you die, X are the deities and you have to be pretty important to meet death. One cannon means you can't go as large scale.

    I do small scale because it's easier to insert, but if we're one world, I don't want to ask for permission to burn down the orphanage. If August runs into a fire during a terrorist attack, that doesn't make John a dick for not being there pulling out the puppies. One world means you have to be aware of everything, which is a hell of a commitment. People who leave with open ends leave lingering mysteries.
    I'm honestly not in favour of a completely centralised canon either. Right now, I just want to see the community's thoughts on the matter, their input and ideas, before I do anything else. Ultimately, I hope we can simply agree on some matters canonically, such as how exactly the public views the gladiators, how the city looks like, perhaps what it's called--

    Side note: Your omission of Vague City is amusing
    It wasn't intentional, my friend. I just always tend to draw from my own experience when making examples. Sierra Pines is an easy example, so is StickPage city. Vague definitely bears mentioning as well.

    But yes, for now I wanna see what people have to say. Thanks for the input.

  8. #8
    Blending City ErrorBlender's Avatar
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    Hi.

    My personal canon for the city is simply a city slash country, much like Vatican City but considerably larger. I don't make it a point to fill in everything in it as to conform to people's canons that could possibly be medieval in nature or high tech; they could be sections of the city I just haven't had my character venture into very often. The city itself is open to a variety and is left open ended for the purpose of taking in canons to make it all be nice and tidy.

    My point is, the rules and places can never be static. They have to be open and out for the writers to use. However this puts in a problem that writer A blows up this building but writer B had a story there and had plans for a future canon-linked story in it, say he can't change the location for that canon story. How do you consolidate? Putting this all in a centralized universe will have to make writers aware of all other writer's characters and what they do.

    Centralized canons are fine. Though it will take a lot of discussion to create and in addition to that, make the already existing canons merge or be made to conform; we can't expect the new people to follow suit if we don't make the sacrifice as well.



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  9. #9
    Senior Member Chromium7's Avatar
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    "Shitshows" Trivia:
    1) Decentralized canons only become "shitshows" when they are forced into a centralized canon. (Like fitting a large square peg into a small round hole.)
    2) Centralized canons only become "shitshows" when they are forced to decentralize. (Like trying to craft a large square peg out of a small round peg.)
    3) Just because a canon has "gone to shit" does not make it unsalvageable.
    4) For a "shitshow" canon to be salvaged, it must simply change into something that isn't complete shit.
    5)

  10. #10
    No ordinary girl... Cassandra's Avatar
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    I didn't worry that much about canon when I was on the forum for the first time. However, as I sent my characters into different battles, had them meet other wRHGs; I began to add in some minor 'canon-esque' stuff:

    1) In my old writings, the wRHG world (now Vague City), was referred to as SP.

    2) When my wRHG fights another person's wRHG, two battles actually take place...one being my own, and then my character has a rematch (to complete the "other side" of the story). I changed this later on, seeking to omit the existence of the other person's battle entirely, or stick flashes of it into my character's memories. The latter was mostly because I didn't want my characters probably learning things in the other fight, and never putting them to use in my stories.

    3) At some points in my stories, some of my characters had 'OP knowledge', because other characters of mine (e.g. some rather secret beings in the WRF) monitored the actual Stickpage Forum. The information that they gathered would sometimes surface in my stories, which could be quite inconvenient. Later on, I made this 'OP knowledge' into an actual interconnected electronic web system that only these secret characters had access to. The secret characters are still under development, but rumors state that they can switch freely between digital and physical forms. That would mean that no electronic system...anywhere...is inaccessible to them.

    Vamprina knows about these characters, and only asks for their help in situations of the extreme nature (or just to inconvenience someone, sometimes). As they are their own separate organization, there is no guarantee that they would help...or do exactly as she expects them to.

    4) When the idea of Vague City came up, I simply changed my city's title of SP City to Vague. Story events proceeded just as they always did.

    5) I referred to Cansad City often in my old stories, back when Vamprina's old clan was still alive (the Wind Chasers). Most of my characters hung out there (namely Erebus and Agana, Spune Swiftwing, sometimes Vamprina). I even made up a specific species for the town: sand pigeons.

    Nowadays, I just have all my battles/stories as my canon. Sometimes, I do have points in there from other people's stories, but the tales are mostly mine. Maybe it's the path of least resistance, but it works for me. That being said, it would be nice to have a list of different places named places in the wRHG world (as was done in *Vague City: People and Places), but a centralized canon sounds way too complicated (unless some people are willing to make some sort of daily/weekly "events" list for the areas in VC, and somehow stay on top of everyone's written works to keep it updated). It would be like giant 'Hall of Warriors' thread, except with events. I agree with Crank; all writers here can't expect to know what each and every one of their fellow writers are going to do with their characters.

    The only way I see all this working out is if we all lived in the same house, and discussed all our plans for our wRHGs together daily. It would be like a mega-writer's-collaboration!


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    But we're going to lay down the lines. The pattern. The FRAMEWORK upon which these stories and canons can build. That way we don't have people scribbling all over the page like a spasmatic retard and saying the lines aren't there, because they are and will be.

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