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November 24, 2011

The Interview

Hello everyone, guess what, I decieded to stop procrastinating for once and actually did that interview with Dia I've been talking about.  As you probably already know, Dia runs the blog Be Wary of These, and she is a regular commentor on several blogs, including this one from time to time.  After reading all of the interviews she has done I decided it might be intresting to here her side of the story, so I contacted her through her e-mail and we did the interview through G-mail's chat function.  I have to say, I'm glad I decided to do this, I learned a few things, and got a chance to speak with her more freely.  But that's enough prolouge, here's the interview:

Me:  I guess I'll just start then, I apologize if there is too much in here that you have already answered on your blogs, I guess my goal is, as much as anything else to just compile all of the information in one spot, and maybe get you to expand a bit more on those blurry areas.

Me:  First question: When and where did you first discover the mythos?

Dia:  Oh, let's see...
I'd have to say through a friend that had stumbled into a sticky situation with the Wooden girl.
She asked me for help figuring out a series of puzzles that The Wooden Girl's puppet, the Jester, had started putting her through.
I started... I'll say doing research on the people and things that were connected to "Grace Smith" and wound up tripping over face-first into the Fear Mythos.

Me:  So you knew right away that it was all true?

Dia:  People... can't make up the kind of pain that girl and her brother were going through.
Besides, who wouldn't want to know more about the things that make up their nightmares?

Me:  And how is your friend now, if you don't mind my asking?

Dia:  Surprisingly, she's fine. She didn't wind up with the Compulsion like most people do.
Though.. well, she's getting curious.
She's starting to ask the same questions I did when I first got into all of this.

Me:  What will you do if she gets sucked back in?

Dia:  Well... I'll help her. That's what I try to do, though most of it stays behind the scenes. If I said 'everything' I knew publicly, it would no longer be able to help people.

Me:  That's as true a statement as any.

Me:  In one of your posts you said you knew more about “The Bogeymen” than you had any right to, what did you mean by that, was it just a way of saying you looked in to deep or was there something more.

Dia:  Oh lord. Do you want the official PC version, or do you want something a little more truthful?

Me:  I'd prefer the truthful version.

Dia:  Well, for one, I use the term 'Boogeymen' because there are more Fears than we officially recognize. There are plenty, lord knows. The truly strong, the old ones, the ones that have infected enough to no longer be able to contain... they are the ones that deserve the label "Fears."
And well... I'll put it this way, love. The Boogeymen, the Fears, the nightmares... hell, even the proxies don't always kill the people they torment. Sometimes they prefer to leave them alive.

Me:  They are the true definition of "A fate worse than death," aren't they?
So you're saying that you regret finding out just how bad some of these creatures are?

Dia:  Oh yes, you caught that? I continuously leave statements about them in my blogs, but I normally don't say anything too specific.

Dia:  Damn the typos. Anyway. I don't regret finding them whatsoever. My being involved in the Fear Mythos has helped save more than one life. Why on earth would I regret that? Out of some silly wish that I didn't have to deal with pain or discomfort from dealing with them or their victims?
Even when the Fears aren't involved, we have to deal with things that cause us pain or break our lonely hearts. So this, to me, is no different.

Me:  Well it seems to me that most of the fears are higher up on that level of pain.
You surely know that and yet you keep writing to help others.

Dia:  I've been dealing with pain in one form or another all my life. Not all pain is physical, and not all the pain in our lives is caused by the Fears. I have scars from a few months ago to prove that.
We deal with it and try to make our loved ones' lives better, or we roll over and die. Honestly, I don't feel like watching people go through the same shit I have, and much worse, and know that I could help them... and not out of some kind of preservation instinct.

Dia:  That would be cowardly.

Me:  Fair enough, I'm fairly sure I wouldn't be so noble about it myself, but I certainly respect your attitude.

Dia: I'll answer any question I know the answer to. Unless it'll get someone killed. Then you're shit out of luck.

Me:  Let’s talk about your stalker, the one leaving you all these messages, what do you know about this person?

Dia:  My...stalker?
You mean the guy with the envelopes that showed up before the... David incident?
The police caught him shortly after I was released from the hospital.

Me:  You're sure?

Dia:  Of course. I hear from them regularly. They pinned the incident on him, and he left prints on the letter, along with saliva on the envelope itself.
He's going to be gone for a very, very long time.

Me:  Very well, what do you do for a living?

Dia:  I help people.  I wake up, go and help people and watch their pain destroy them from the inside, and try to help them the best I can. I come home, and try to keep people from dying from the supernatural ailments that find them.

Dia:  Someone already found me from being careless about where I lived. If I gave them what i did for a living combined with that knowledge, my life would be fucked.

Me:  Fair enough.

Dia:  I'm not trying to hinder your research, love. I just can't tell you things that would be nailing myself on a cross, that would make my 'real life' a giant target.
Ask the right questions.

Me:  You said your nightmares have been getting better, have they gone away entirely?

Dia:  Oh lord no! I've just gotten used to them. I realized that fighting them was causing me pain. I was waking up to scratch marks on my arms, weapons by my bedside, and some kind of demented version of them written down in pages I would find lying scattered around my house.
So I just... how do I say this? Let  myself dream. I use it as a learning exercise. And so, I never dream the same thing twice.

Me:  What are some of the dreams you've been having then?

Dia:  Not all of them are nightmares, anymore. Sometimes... I dream of love. Sometimes I dream of people I swear I should know.

Me:  What do you mean "should know," do you recognize them?

Dia:  Never seen them before in my life. But... it's like deja vu, and most of the time it's happy when that happens. People that...
How do I say this? Have you ever met someone and known if they were to hold you, you wouldn't scream? Something like that.

Me:  Not quite, but I see where you're going... you feel comfortable around them.

Dia:  Ha. You must have had a very different kind of life than mine.
Yes. Then again, I feel comfortable around baby killers and rapists.
So that statement doesn't mean much in context.

Me:  Heh, well I rarely feel comfortable around people I genuinely enjoy, so I can imagine the other extreme.
Does that mean your dreams include those you interact with through the blogs?

Dia:  I've never thought of it that way. I've technically 'met'
two of the people I know through the blogs, and only one of those was a 'happy' encounter.
Though, I can hardly say the KK interview was a happy experience. *laughs*

Me:  Well if it wasn't happy than at least it wasn't as miserable.

Dia:  The bitch brought a government issue weapon to the table, and only told me afterwards! Jeezus.
I was at least lucky enough to meet her before she became Blight.

Me:  Small victories are to be praised, I suppose.

Me:  I'm sorry if this is a sour subject, but how do you feel about the David incident, now that some time has passed?

Dia:  I leave the radio on constantly to help deal with the...after-effects.
I do dream of him sometimes, though the dreams are different. I remember things I wish I didn't. And sometimes, well, I remember David in a positive way. It's an odd experience.

Me:  How is it positive, is that just a feeling or is there something specific?

Dia:  He taught me a few things. He was very cruel, but very kind. He spoke like a lover, acted like a lover, and well... you can imagine the rest.

Dia:  He knows how to fuck with people's minds, and he is very much an expert at it.

Me:  I see.

Dia:  Mostly, he taught me to stop trusting anyone besides myself. And to stop being so soft.
He was a very good teacher in that way.

Me:  So you believe he helped you better yourself, and you feel grateful.
I can understand that.

Dia:  You could say that. That's a very nice way of saying that he taught me I was going to die if I didn't stop being so fucking stupid. Torture is a very good motivator at times.

Me:  How has your memory been?
(There's a pause)

Dia:  It's been...about the same level of oddity as my dreams.
You have to understand.
I sleep at most 3 hours a night, and I should probably be sick by now.
I half believe this is a dream. So half of what I DO remember, I chalk up to another dream or a foolish fantasy.

Me:  That's interesting, are you losing time at all with this, or are you just unsure of your reality?

Dia:  That brings to mind a certain quote.

Me:  I love a good quote.

Dia:  "Of course this has all happened in your mind. That doesn't mean it isn't real."
Forgive me for the loose translation, it's from my memory.

Me:  That's o.k., it carries quite well.
But you still didn't answer my question about losing time.

Dia:  Losing time? I feel every moment.
Do I understand them? No. Do they mesh with what I've apparently been doing? No.
I've "woken up" to some extremely odd situations in the last few months.

Me:  That would be...disconcerting.
Any examples you care to share?

Dia:  Oh sure. I've woken up to acting like it was a zombie apocalypse, boarding up walls and windows and having a full fucking arsenal beside my bed.
How I acquired these weapons, I have no freaking clue.
I've woken up naked standing in front of a mirror, with what looked like a nightmare standing behind my shoulder.
Nothing was there when I turned around.
Let's see.... I've also had some of the silly ones. The remote in the icebox, the mail in the garden, blood on the front step. You know. The normal.

Me:  And you remembered events up to those moments, but they don't match with what actually happened?

Dia:  Not whatsoever! But I don't really care. I've never hurt another soul during my wanderings, and anything to myself has been easily covered.
I'm generally pretty nonchalant when it comes to my own self-destruction, dear. You aren't going to find any fear or regrets with this line of questions. I'm sorry if you were expecting some.

Me:  I don't mind terribly, I'm not here just to feed off of your fear.
I just wanted to know more about you, and now I do.

Dia:  Was that really all you had to ask?

Me:  For the sake of this interview, yes, I think its quite long enough to torture my readers.

Dia:  If you say so, love.

Me:  Anything else you want to say for the record?

Dia:  That you should be extremely careful what you label the truth.
I've always told the truth, but you would be surprised what people can omit when they have the ability.
I see a bit of that from you, in fact.

Me:  My tide, that warning is in the second post on my blog.
And it's not just a warning about me.
(These next two were posted very close together, so my next comment is more of a continuation of this statement than a reply.)
Dia:  *laughs* Making sure you remembered, is all.

Me:  It's a reminder.

Dia:  Yes.
Also, if within reason you need help or want to trade some day... let me know.
You aren't a fool.

Me:  I will, thank you.

We talked for that a bit afterwords as well, but it was "off the record," and no matter how dubious I might be about telling the truth, I do not renegade on my word.  If you want to know anything else about Dia, she always encourages asking questions, so ask her yourself.  Anyway, that's all I have for you this time, but if anyone else wants an interview let me know and I'd be glad to do this kind of thing again.

See you around

November 21, 2011

Quick update

Hey everybody, I don't like going a full week without some kind of post (and lets face it: my last one wasn't all that groundbreaking) so lets get the first part of this out of the way quickly.  Self-deprecation, poor excuses, apologies for poor excuses, apologies for apologizing for poor excuses.  Good, I think that saved a full 90 seconds with that, on to business.

My plan (because that always works out) is to put out a post on binary codes this week.  Following that I should have the case study I have been tyring to work on for a little over a week now ready, it's just a little depressing writing about people who are already dead, but I will try to put more work into it to get it finished.  Finally, my interview with Dia, I have everything ready, but I'm struggling to find the correct amount of balance in free time and privacy to do the Skye chat I wanted, but I do have your e-mail, Tide, and I'll let you know when I can make it work, if worst comes to worst we can just do it over a chat engine, it doesn't revel as much, but it gets the job done.

Next I want to mention that blogger seems to have reset my last poll, as I distinctly remember seeing more than 5 votes on it earlier in the week.  The confusing bit about this is that it didn't seem to erase all of the votes, just some of the later ones, not that it really matters, I obviously won't be recording the poll in this case.  So I'll probably try to think of a different question this time, as it seems that last time about a third of the votes went to "other" and I'd rather see more votes on the analyze I can answer concretely.  And not that I'm running out of ideas or anything, but if any of you have ideas or suggestions for polls feel free to let me know, they aren't just for me you know.

Now I want to address an anonymous comment left on Cage's blog (for those of you that don't know this is where my darker half, for lack of a better term, vents, it's mostly useless ramblings of emotion and violence, no real substance), normally things like this wouldn't get their own paragraph, but this made me laugh for a good five minutes so I feel its earned it.  I usually don't even check the comments for this blog (if you want to get a coherent answer about something that is said there ask me here), but because of the picture that was put up there I was actually checking the comments to see if anyone had decrypted it.  That's when I noticed this Anonymous (like I don't know who you are, who else talks like that) comment there apparently challenging me.  First off, if you want to play a game of wit, I'm over here, don't pester the part of my personality that deals with immediate problems and brute force solutions; it's like telling someone you can beat them up when they stopped listening, it doesn't matter weather you can or not, it just looks stupid.  And attacking through an anonymous account when it's pretty clear who you are is just even more stupid, in fact just for that you lose 5 points (it would be more, but it made me laugh so hard I actually decided to take off fewer).  You do know "handling you" only requires the deletion of that post and disabling anon comments, right, I really hope that wasn't your best taunt.  In fact I like all of your insults and taunts, they're good for a laugh, and as such I welcome your little feud, or vendetta, or trolling campaign, or whatever it is you want, so bring it over here, if you can make an insult that actually causes me any mental distress at all I'll give back all of the useless points that don't mean anything you lost from the anonymous comment.

O.k., last thing, and far more important than the prior paragraph, I notice that several those whom I frequently associate with are going through... "things" right now (you know who you are), and if you need to talk about it or anything my E-mail is available through my profile.  If not I get that too, and I'll just continue seeing you around the blogs, but know I am thinking about your various situations.

I'd like to close by introducing you to a band I discovered while searching for some more easy studying music. I'm of the opinion that good music should always be shared, and maybe it's just the romantic in me, but I love this song, and it feels appropriate for the coming winter months, so enjoy.

See you around

November 14, 2011

A day of mild disapointment

Well, I guess its time to call it, 11/11/11 was a bust.  I suppose it wasn't a complete disappointment, after all, Elaine, Shaun, and Konaa pulled of a daring rescue, A harassed someone, and the good Doctor Ciaro had a bad day.  There may have even been a few other occurrences of activity, but those that have surfaced since have not specifically mentioned that they happened on the 11th, and while things like this aren't an everyday occourance, it seems that this much activity isn't entirely rare, either.  So it looks like my acquaintance The Gargoyle was correct, the theme of repeating numbers is not a necessary facilitator of "Slender Activity."  Its annoying when theroies are debunked, espically when I subscribe to them, sometimes I think he does stuff like this just to screw with me, and by me I ovbiously mean people, because I'm not so vain as to think everything he does relates to me.  Seriously though, we "talked" just tonight, and I swear he was screwing with me the whole "conversation" becuase I kept bringing up the whole repeating numbers deal.  Still, even theroies proven wrong are new information, and Idid get some intresting facts out of the few events that actually did occur, so all in all not a bad  week.  Sorry for the short post I'll try to do another code post soon, since my stats tell me the last one was fairly well recived, now if you'll excuse me I have to go bug a few people that have been way  to quite recently, followed by just the wrong amount of noise.

See you around

November 12, 2011

The oldest trick in the book

Hello again, everyone, I'm sorry I haven't been posting more, but sometimes it is difficult to find the time to sit down and focus on a single subject for a while.  In fact, I still have to record the results of that last poll, update my return post, and begin work on a case study I'm preparing.  But you aren't here to listen to me talk about the things I need to do or my excuses for not doing them, and because my actually useful tag is getting a shameful amount of work I thought I would give a basic tutorial on basic codes, specifically the Caesar's Cipher.

The Caesar's Cipher was so named because it was used first and most famously by none other than the great Roman Emperor: Julius Caesar.  Caesar would, when writing information he wished to keep a secret, shift all of the letters in his message right three times, for example A==D, B==E, and so on, with letters at the end of the alphabet wrapping around to the front ( X==A, Y==B, Z==C).  While this is infamously the most simple code out there, it worked quite well for Caesar, as many of his enemies were largely uneducated and the whole idea of encryptions was not widely used.  However, today it is embarrassingly simple to crack a Caesar's Cipher, though it can be admittedly time consuming if you lack the proper tools, as letters can be shifted as many times as the user chooses (up to 25, of course, for obvious reasons), though the most popular shift seems to be one of 13, so if you think you are dealing with this kind of code you should probably start there.

Of course shifting a letter over two or three (or even 13) places in the alphabet isn't likely to fool anyone for long, and to overcome this problem the Cipher has evolved over time.  One of the most successful ways of making a Cipher more difficult to crack for your enemies is to include a key in your encryption.  This means that instead of simply shifting letters over through the alphabet you use a phrase or other reference point to shift the letters to seemingly random other letters, so the shift is no longer completely liner. If the key is "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" (which is a convenient phrase at it contains every of letter in the English language) than you could use it one of two ways.  First you could shift the letters within the phrase over on top of each other, so that within the encrypted message T==H, H==E, E==Q and so on, leaving an encrypted message looking like this: "Heq Uickb Rownf Owj Uipso Wlqo Heq Azyd Gwt"  Ovbiously, this looks far more confusing if you aren't encrypting the actual key, but for teaching purposes it should be sufficient.  The other option is to use the key itself as the basis for coding the alphabet, and then adding extra shifts as needed, for example:

T H E   Q U I C K   B R O W N   F O X   J U M P S   O V E R   T H E   L A Z Y   D O G
A B C   D E F G H   I J K L M   N K O   P E Q R S   K T C J   A B C   U V W X   Y K Z

To avoid unnecessary confusion already used letters in the key were struck through, as were their translated counterparts.  As you can see, this makes cracking a keyed cipher far more challenging.  However, while it is no longer possible (or at least no longer feasible) to crack a keyed cipher through a brute force application (randomly testing all combinations of matchups until one that works is discovered) these can still be overcome logically, even without the key.  What is most important to remember when cracking a keyed Cipher (I am running largely off of memory and personal experience here, so I'm no longer sure that these examples qualify as strict Caesar's Ciphers, but they are close enough that I will cover them a bit further) is that English is a structured language.  There are many letters that will appear together very commonly, and other letters that appear only rarely.  If you are having trouble with some of the letters in a specific word it may help to make note of where within a sentence it is, that could narrow down the words purpose or meaning, and make it clearer what the letters within could be; this is where knowing the writing style of the coder can be very helpful.  Finally it helps to make a list of as many two or three letter words as you can think of, as these will be the easiest to crack, and will often give hints as to what some of the letters in the other words are, and make them easier to crack as well.  Needless to say, one letter words should be quite easy to crack as well.  All in all the longer a keyed Cipher is the more chances someone has to crack it, which is something to keep in mind when you are making your own.

That's all I have on Ciphers for now, though I will probably explore other kinds of codes in the future.  In fact you can make a cipher even more difficult to crack by stacking it on other codes, but this post is long enough, so that coding strategy will have to wait for its own post.  Now I must go update my return post, so until next time

See you around

November 11, 2011

Something of moderate intrest

Asuming I've timed this right this post should go up on November 11, 2011 11 seconds after 11:11.  Nothing important, but amusing enough.  I hope this post finds you well and alive.

See you around

November 6, 2011

A Return

The blogger A has returned!  Now some of you may not know who this is, I myself have never actually seen any of his actual work as his previous blog (Defining) seems to have been mostly erased, but it seems he is back after over a year of silence.  I have no idea what A is actually like, I honestly haven't looked into him all that much, but from what I have discerned he was once someone important, and so I will, of course, be watching to see what this develops into.  Of further interest he claims that he is "Going to kill the Slender Man", wonderful, it's not like anyone has ever tried that before... I could provide more links, but you get the point.  Also his URL is "overcoming my humanity", which is daunting or concerning in the slightest.  I don't know why I'm complaining, if he succeeds than maybe my life can be just a little less dark, and I can spend less time trying to make a decision that will eventually kill me.  Who knows, maybe he knows something I don't, maybe he knows something I do, wouldn't that be interesting, but regardless I'm sure all will be revealed in time, and it looks like it should be interesting until that point anyways.

Anyway, because I didn't start this blog to outline the specifics, I'd like to turn this to a more general topic: Zombies.  Seriously though, it seems as though some of you people just can't stay dead, and I'd like to explore why that is.  We all know the Tall Guy likes hunting his prey for a very long time before moving in for the kill, some people have gone years before finally being killed, now I have several theories on why that is, but I'm not exactly at liberty to discuss all of them, so we'll just focus on how this effects someone's survival chances in other high risk scenarios.  It seems like many times He will just leave someone for dead rather than killing them himself, giving them a chance to survive exclusively through the force of will.  I believe that being hunted by such a fear inducing creature gives people a sense of determination that fades only when faced by the Man himself.  It is this new found determination and desperation that allows people to push through events that would have left them helpless and resigned to their fates prior to their stalking.  In short, because they have already been through so much, surviving some of these incredible circumstances isn't as big of a leap as it once was.

I have a little more to say on this subject, but I have a draft for an essay due tom arrow and I've been putting it off for weeks, so I'm going to leave off here for now.

Right, so I'm finally updating this, good for me, I need to get a cookie later to celebrate.  But first I'd like to go ahead and reiterate what some of the comments below have already said: Many times we have no way of knowing weather or not a person really died.  Heck in the Messenger's List of the Deceased there is a second list filled with people who might be dead.  It can be difficult confirming the death of a hunted (new term of mine, it's faster than typing runner/fighter, this is the only time I'll clarify), so many people are spread out, and when the one unifier we have is the interned it can be tough finding someone who actually identify the body.  Also I'd like to refer you back to the sacred Rule #1, while this is for me, it is important to remember that just because one person says they saw someone die doesn't mean you can trust them on that.  It's things like this that make it hard to be sure of a persons death, and thus make it more common to see such people return.

Also I'd like to address the possibility of supernatural resurrections.  Yes, yes, let us all sigh and roll our eyes at this thoroughly absurd notion, in fact, lets do it in unison 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... go.  Good, now that that's out of the way let's all remember what we're dealing with here: a supernatural creature whose origins, motives, and powers are largely unknown.  Things like someone genuinely coming back from the dead should surprise none of us at this point, as virtually everything else has been done already.  Of course the ramifications of such developments should not be taken lightly, either, anyone who has truly been revived has likely undergone a tremendous psychological metamorphosis, regardless of weather or not that was the intention of the resurrector.

Well, that's all I've got, sorry it wasn't full of danger, excitement, and intrigue, but hey, this is an analysis blog, not an action one.  I promise if I ever decide to be interesting again I'll let you guys know.  I hope it was at least informative, and not mind-numbingly boring.

See you around

November 4, 2011

Prophecies of a Madman

O.k, it's time to address the Core Theory, I can already imagine what some of you are thinking, but I feel I need to discuss this, and I simply ask that you hear me out before making your judgments.

I feel it is practically obligatory that I begin this post this way:

”There's a dark jungle next to the village. People who go into it never return. The villagers fear the jungle. Then one day a man with a torch goes in, the villagers scream at him to not, but he does anyway. He returns the next night, crawling back, bleeding to death, claw marks on his back. With his last breath he says 'Within the Jungle lives a Tiger, who is twelve feet long, obsidian claws, and has fire in its eyes...but it is just a Tiger and it bleeds.' After that he dies. The villagers no longer fear the jungle after that day. Oh, it's still scary and they take precautions from the huge Tiger...but it's just a Tiger. No longer is it Unknown or Shadows, perhaps one day someone will go and kill the Tiger...but there is no need for pointless fear.

The Mystic: ”The Mystic can equal to -Veteran.- Mystic has fought, stores the knowledge of the past, and continues to give support when possible.”

The Hermit: ”The Hermit lives by himself, has developed methods to survive, and is willing to pass on instructions, but has his own priorities, and odds are will not fight as opposed to run.”

The Warrior: ”Brave, Bold, Stupid in that headstrong way, Fights for the sake of the fight, Fights without fear, Only fights on This Side, Can push /Construct/ back to Other Side for a while, cannot beat it. A stop gap, and if they become an /Agent/ then there's going to be a lot of trouble.”

The Guardian:  ”Calm, controlled with knowledge, FIghts for others BUT will have nothing left on This Side, FIghts on Other Side, Stays on Other Side and keep Him there for a much longer time, will return when the Vigil is over, or if a Hero emerges.”

The Hero: ”Afraid but pushes on, Foolish but gains wisdom from Sages and Mystics, Fights for those who are important to him, Fights on both This Side and Other Side Only a Hero can kill a monster...but the Hero always dies at the end of the story.” 

I like this...

Remember I asked for you to hear me out.

The story painted by Robert Sagel is artistic, inspiring, and heartfelt, it has everything a good story should (or at least the outline of a good story should), including a fair amount of fiction.  The very concept on which the Core Theory was founded is flawed, the Construct, as Sagel called him is not bound be the rules of fiction, and naming someone a hero does not ensure His demise, no matter how many people believe in the Hero.  Core Theory is not something people should ever have relied on, the more thoroughly I look at Sagel's blog the more apparent it is to me that the man was delusional, he was brilliant in many ways, but his grasp on reality was compromised, and people who live exclusively by his rules are unlikely to survive extremely long.

That said, the Core Theory did provide some interesting points, and it offered something up to the Runners at the time that they needed: Hope.  Granted hope won't do you much good when you're bleeding out on the ground, or being ripped to shreds by an inhuman monster, but it isn't a currency that should be undervalued.  Of course the one thing I admired the most was the concept of Names that Sagel introduced.  Perhaps it's just the avid reader in me, but the concept of naming the players in this battle made it so much more interesting.  Of course he was wrong in assuming that his players would be bound by their roles, there is absolutely nothing keeping The Guardian from having something left on "this side", and there is no reason that the Hero has to be the one to make the final blow, or even die at the end, for that matter.  Rather I liked the names because they identified people, it showed how they were important, what they thought, and where they came from, I didn't need this theory to hold these people to a standard, but perhaps it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it had been used to organize people into a unified front, with the titles identifying the officers of the group.  I suppose in a way that this is the one true effect of the Core Theory, people have become more organized, and show special respect to the Named and the Sages, however it is done on such a small scale as to be almost irrelevant and so I suppose I shall never get to see such unification.  Well I suppose this simply makes my current situation that much safer, but, since I'm feeling creative why don't we add a few roles to Sagel's Theory: (I will be using gender neutral for all of these, as they can be filled by anyone.)

The Scholar: The Scholar is a reservoir of knowledge, it is xis goal simply to learn, xe will never fight if xe can help it, however xe is also unlikely to run, and will always stand xis ground if xis research is threatened.  Xe may send people out on errands for xim, but xe will never purposely task anyone with a quest they cannot handle so long as it can be avoided.  That said, xexe is often unaware of others capabilities, and will go to great lengths to obtain any piece of new information.

The Merchant: The Merchant is a skilled barterer, and might be known for trying to swindle xis friends and foes alike.  However, xe has a way of getting xis hands on very rare or difficult to acquire items, and will gladly trade them for something xe wants or needs.  Unfortunately for those who seek xis wares what xe wants is not always something material, as xe is more than capable of getting such things on xis own, rather xe will request favors from his clients, and some can be quite difficult.

The Thief: The Thief may work with The Merchant or may work alone, in fact sometimes the two roles can be combined.  However, the thief is far more withdrawn than The Merchant in most cases, preferring to brood by ximself instead of hawking wares and swindling travelers.  The thief can find a way into almost any place, no matter how safe, and relive it from its belongings.  The thief will always take great pride in xis work, and has some level of honor.  However xe is also quite reclusive, and finding xim will surely take a fair deal of work.

The Dragon: The Dragon is a very powerful creature, xe may work for either side, but it is not unlikely for xim to betray xis current allies for seemingly no reason.  Xis reasons for fighting are often just the fight itself, and if it is anything greater xe is likely not to reveal it.  Often The Dragon works directly with either the Hero or The Construct, and is extremely unpleasant to anyone who tries to become him and his master.  The Dragon is also quite fond of flames, and will use fire as a powerful tool or weapon much more effectively than xis comrades.

The Spy: The Spy will maintain the allusion of working for one side for a considerable period of time with the sole purpose of reaching a position to do considerable damage to that side.  While The Spy almost never actively sabotages anything xe is a part of, xe will often feed information to the other side subtly.  Xe is quite clever, but will often make ximself appear only moderately intelligent so that xe will not inadvertently help the side xe spies on win the war.  Xe will either try to come of as needy to gain sympathy, or heroic to gain respect, the damage xe can do changes with each role.  Xe is most likely to relay information back to xis side through The Scholar or The Thief.

And because its after midnight, and sleep deprivation makes me do stupid things because they seem funny and clever at the time:

The Princess: The Princess is always in need of rescuing, though xe(Yes I'm still going with gender neutral here, The Princess may very well be male) contributes next to nothing to the group when xe is captured or cut off all other matters take a back seat.  Saving The Princess is of the highest priority, as xe will usually be a romantic counterpart for The Hero.  Xe is quite concited and foolish, and almost always falls for The Merchant's scams, occasionally endangering the group in the process.  If one must choose between saving The Princess and ensuring survival, victory, or the continuation of the human race, one must always rescue The Princess first.

The Expendable Crewman: The Expendable Crewman is a title that should be given to a new person at least once a month, and if someone has held on to the title for longer than a month xe should promptly be sent on a suicide mission.  Xe will be someone with very little background, and will be generally considered useless and stupid.  For added meaning this title should always be given within minutes of sending xim on a mission that has very poor odds and is virtually obsolete.

The Fool: The Fool has made one very bad decision that has tainted everyone's view of him.  Xe exists without respect and is often blamed for the most embarrassing failures.  The Fool is actually quite intelligent, and will usually have a plan with good odds for saving the day, however because of the stigma against xim no one pays attention.  Sometimes xe will grow very bitter and spiteful and switch sides, when this happens xe is a very destructive force.

EDIT: Well apparently Sagel's back, so in honor of his (fourth? fifth? I don't even know) return I give you a new title:

The Zombie: The Zombie is the one person who just won't stay dead.  Whether it's because of proper planning, pure luck, a mistaken witness, or actual necromancy, this person has a talent for raising form the dead.  

Well there you have it, the new and improved Core theory.  I'm aware that this whole post is probably in very bad taste, and I do not plan on going around and handing out titles to anyone.  But what the heck, I put a lot of work into making those characters, so if you want to name someone go right ahead, let me know and I'll even make a separate page to keep everyone listed.  Just be warned, names are good for identifying someone, giving them authority, but don't blame me if what you got from here doesn't turn out the way you expected, that's not the way it works, people aren't bound by their roles, merely given direction by them.  Oh well, I'm done, obligatory hate for anything relating to the Core Theory goes below, and thanks for hearing me out.

See you around

November 1, 2011

What binds us together

So in hindsight that title is a tiny bit pretentious, but I couldn't think of anything better, and it ties in well with what I want to talk about first, the things that cause people to bind together into communities.  Communities don't just spontaneously arise, their has to be a unifying principle to bring people together, in fact there are three great commonalities that are associated with creating communities: Common Goal, Common Need, and Common Fear.  While many reasons exist to come together, most, if not all, fall under one or more of these three categories, in fact it can be rationally said that even communities built on common need and common fear fall under the ideal of achieving a set goal.  People come together for these reasons, they depend on each other for survival, protection, and mutual benefit, but there are many different ways that people come together.

Much of what determines the effectiveness of a community is the level of trust and cohesion in it, communities with members who cannot rely on each other to fulfill their responsibility to the whole of the group cannot achieve their mutual goal as easily.  This means that until enough of the individuals of a community have developed strong relationships with each other or shared several bonding experiences communities are quite chaotic, and finding members willing make sacrifices for the good of the group are very rare.  Eventually this can be overcome without conscious effort as the individuals start to see evidence of how much they need to rely on each other, and how much their comrades rely on them, and start to take bigger risks and contribute greater efforts with the idea of the groups benefit rather than their own.  Communities at this level have higher levels of survival and success for both the community and the individual, as many people are willing to step in and assist each other when they see fellow members suffering.  However, communities with this level of support often take longer to form, as it takes shared experiences to form an emotional bond; these communities also have a higher standard for true membership, they may accept new people in a superficial manner, but they will often not trust this new member without considerable reason or need.

Communities will often have a specific way of choosing their membership, usually centered on how they were formed.  Geographical communities will encompass everyone in the given area, however, these communities can often be very critical of new members, as geographical communities have a higher tendency to go long periods of time without experiencing any new members.  The smaller the community is the more likely this is to be the case, as all of the members will recognize someone new.  Cultural communities are different in the fact that they are much larger, and often have more specific requirements for membership.  However, these communities can sometimes be quite easy to join, assuming you fulfill some physical requirement (usually  based on race or ethnicity), and sometimes even these can be ignored if enough other requirements are fulfilled.  Finally there are communities that develop around highly specific goals, cultural and geographic communities are designed to limit their membership based on boundaries that aren't very static, whereas goal-oriented communities only require that new members contribute to the goal the community is focused on, and restrictions will only be made to reduce behaviors that inhibit the goal.  A goal-oriented community is the one most likely to follow the growth outlined in the previous paragraph, due to the fact that the creation of new goal-oriented communities are far more common than new cultural or geographic communities.  Goal-oriented communities are also have the shortest "life-span" by far, primarily because they no longer have a purpose after either completing their goal or finding that they are incapable of being more successful in a group than tackling the problem as individuals.

There, I sat down and cranked that out a day early, aren't you proud of me.  As usual feel free to leave any questions, corrections, or advice in the comments section, or e-mail me through my profile.  Next I should be posting my opinion on the Core Theory presented by Robert Sagel, I know I was going to talk about hive minds, but I do lie, and I need to do some more research first anyways.  Besides considering it is currently between the Halloween and the solstice I think this is the perfect time to examine the concept that defined almost an entire generation of bloggers.

See you around