Monstrous Compendium Ch 7 up on AO3

Monstrous Compendium Online Chapter 7, “Come to the Fluff Side”, is up on Archive of Our Own.


38 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 7 up on AO3

  1. -All of Asuna’s denials etc-
    The Tsun rating: it’s over 9000! πŸ˜€

    Kirito shook that stray thought off. Asuna could do so much better than one scruffy Beater.

    So why does she want to mark me with her scent?
    -Mad cackles continue-

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Trust is very important, and he’s one she trusts. Even without romance, someone you can rely on is worth holding onto with both hands.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Characters making plans – seeing what they can do to thwart a dragon. Never the easiest task.

    Can’t blame them for being afraid.

    And yes, help should be asked. But I can see Kirito being torn because yes, he wasn’t asked but he’s made friends and he doesn’t like to leave friends in the lurch. But there is his family in Otherworld . . . but the high probability of his friends like Klein and Asuna being taken to the real Aincrad and needing help . . . Suguha was in the ALO part . . . maybe we can make the Mission ALO a family affair? Might be interesting to see his parents involved . . . (besides, they have to meet this girl of his)

    Kirito, you might be able to learn to tolerate it but I bet being without the ability to touch the wild will always bother you, feel like you are missing a limb or having lost your eyesight in one eye or something . . . we might need to find a way of the characters having their cake and eating too. Can’t see how to do that in Earth-proper without being the Bring Magic To or Back To that whole and that could be messy.

    Unless Vathara decides to crossover this with an Earth setting that already has magic but it’s not something particularly well-known in some fashion . . . or it’s a Earth where the Magic Comes Back is already in progress, so adding some new magic might not be such a big deal?

    Through of the later, I think the only one already in progress is the ‘Around universe and that sounds messy. If for no other reason than the Djinn would probably confuse the heck out of the Aincrad people. Through Simon would make a good draconic. You know, if SAO hadn’t been a Japan exclusive to start with, in a world where it existed, Simon probably would hook up his students to it as some kind of learning experience . . . Ja’far only reaction to the Opening Day thing “Typical. Can’t even play a video game with this idiot without getting caught in a death trap.”
    “You are awfully calm about this.”
    “This isn’t exactly my first rideo. That purple-haired lunatic is always getting me into stuff like this.”
    “This has happened to you before?!”
    “Not this specifically. The video game part is a new one. But a death trap filled with monsters? Absolutely. It’s pretty much our standard Tuesday.”

    Bunnies, not everything has to a crossover ‘verse on the level of Urban Legends.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hancock High in SAO would be scary.

        But fun. And awesome.

        Mostly scary for people who deserved to be scared. Like Kayaba.

        Especially if the Djinns come along for the ride.

        They probably would insist. For curiosity’s sake at first. See how it stakes up to their dungeons. Then after the plot starts, if they weren’t already there, they would be trying to get in because no one puts their Kings in a death trap like that . . . it’s like a dungeon in some ways. Because I imagine Ba’al and Amon would have words if Simon and Alan tried to run even another Djinn’s dungeon without their Metal Vessels, let alone an unknown like Aincrad.

        (The bunnies postulate that it might be amusing if after the meeting with Hancock, SG-1 would really, really like to return to the familiar insanity of the Gao’uld because at least it’s not magic . . . and the next world they ended up dialing up on the Stargate is a world with actual magic and monsters.)

        I do have a plan for what’s happening on Earth, it’s not quite what anyone in SAO would expect.

        Curious and curiousier. That should be interesting.

        Might be interesting to see what is going on Earth while all of this is happening . . .

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >
        Might be interesting to see what is going on Earth while all of this is happening . . .
        Well the big thing we (and the players) assume is that SAO earth is devoid of magic.

        But as has been seen, Kirito, Asuna and lots of other individuals have talents for magic and other supernatural abilities. But one of the things Vathara often brings into her stories is genetics, inheritance etc etc.

        So you have to ask, why would these people have a talent for magic, if their home doesn’t have any?

        My guess is that magic on SAO-Earth does exist but its very different from Eberron’s. In that it’s based around the notion of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. So there’s nothing one can really point at and say ‘it’s magic’ instead of just seeing the person as being particulary skilled and/or lucky in that instance.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Given some of your comments about Kayaba not wanting to catch Amaterasu’s notice I assume that she /has/ noticed something strange is going on with the SAO thing and is…taking a more active role in the world.

        Possibly prompting others to do so as well and causing brown pants in certain sectors.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. To be fair, there’s already a fairly well-known DnD-esque Modern-Earth-but-The-Magic’s-Come-Back setting.

      It’s called Shadowrun.

      Given in Shadowrun‘s backstory things were basically at the level of tech seen in Johnny Nuemonic and Then the Magic Woke Up, and canon Sword Art Online is quite close in tech level to Johnny Nuemonic while also being a believable Next Sunday A.D…

      This is not as out there a possibility as it could be. With a Shadowrun-esque setting being the eventual result on Earth of all of this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’ve just given me a bunny involving some Meso-American stuff, a bunch of different properties, and maybe some real world politics inspired bullshit. But no megacorps, cyberpunk’s megacorps are just too silly for my taste.

        Stars taking turns being the sun are totes serious.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. >
        Hmm. Shadowrun needed a few (thousand) good entrepreneurs breaking up the megacrorps. πŸ˜‰
        Which is why the megacorps kept armies of lawyers on hand and hired said ‘runners to ‘curtail’ said entrepreneurs.

        Competition is just such an annoying thing that should be reserved for the little people, not them.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Thing is, armies of lawyers do you no good without a legal system. There are different ways of doing it, but the legal system will need an underpinning. Your team of lawyers has less chance of being lynched by a posse of concerned citizens when that underpinning is some form of government.

        A corporation by definition is a fictive person that exists in some code of law. Who makes and enforces that code? The corporation? Wouldn’t that be a bit like the snake eating its own tail?

        A certain function is often accompanied by a certain form.

        Corporations buying influence from government is absolutely possible. Governments restricting economic activity by anyone not their cronies is absolutely possible. Corporations becoming so awesome that the state withers away? The many forms of government give them a strong competitive advantage over corporations when it comes to doing the things that governments do.

        France went from fitness to rule (perfection) by blood to fitness to rule by education. The people who go to the perfect schools from which all high leadership is drawn? By purest coincidence, the old French nobility.

        Lots of the communist regimes became de facto aristocracies. It’s part of why so few of them have leadership as insane as the first generation was. (The Kims are special. Butterfly and rainbow are a bad cross. πŸ™‚ )

        We have a lot of examples of utterly horrible forms of government that would be more plausible worldbuilding than ‘lol corporation’, willing to let the corporation do whatever so long as it pays, but they would be able to hold on to enough power to demand that pay. But using those, or a corporation that realistically more closely resembles a government or criminal conspiracy, would not fit the target aesthetic for cyberpunk.

        One function of government is keeping populations under control. Left to their own devices, a population can put together an army. That literal army can put a government in place. With the usual caveats about quality, etc…

        Cyberpunk’s choices work for cyberpunk’s market, but I’m not really cyberpunk’s market.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I would argue what you meant by ‘The Aesthetic’ for Cyberpunk.

        Like any genre of art ‘Cyberpunk’ is colloquially used to cover a broad range of related sub-genres that tend to be linked and grouped in ways that are highly debatable, and indeed highly debated.

        Shadowrun is a fairly aged and established Cyberpunk setting, on top of that it was one of the early DnD derivatives that branched off to try and cover another genre than the Tolkeinesque High Fantasy that DnD focused on. Surprise, surprise, as part of that Shadowrun imitated many main-stays and conventions of the Cyberpunk genre without really analyzing them or pausing to consider the why behind those conventions. At this point plenty is kept on through build-up and tradition; people will say ‘it’s just how the setting is’ or ‘it wouldn’t be Shadowrun if X wasn’t the case’.

        There’s a certain amount of truth to that, and the original reasons for the Cyberpunk genre and it’s old fears and hopes and everything that made it popular do still have a place in discussion. Corporations can’t overpower and undermine the state? Tell that to the East India Company, or the Standard and United Fruit Companies that participated in the Banana Wars and caused so much chaos in Honduras and other nations of the region. How will humanity change in the face of growing technological dependence? Sword Art Online itself is the latest in a long line of fictions continuing to ask not just that question but hyper-focusing specifically on MMOs.

        It’s true, not all the works to ask that question of technology can or should be considered ‘Cyberpunk’ (though an argument can be made to include SAO in that genre, especially when taking into account the author’s other series set in the same setting a few decades later, Accel World). Further my ‘Megacorp’ examples are quite old, with modern laws putting specific limits in place to contain and prevent some of that behavior, and those situations relied specifically on outside Colonialistic powers to maintain themselves. But I don’t know that it’s as ridiculous as ‘a snake eating its own tail’… maybe more of the exact situation ‘Who Watches the Watchman?’ is supposed to advise against.

        I do agree with you, the Megacorps replacing nations, or reducing them to puppets, is one of the more ridiculous aspects of many Cyberpunk settings. But the fears the fictitious Megacorps were based on – corporate abuse; government corruption; powerful profit-based organizations simply buying elections – are all fears that are being discussed in politics right now with questions about money in politics, corporate nepotism for former politicians, and the limits or lack thereof on lobbyist organizations. Those fears are valid, and using simplistic props to explore cultural fears is what a great deal of fiction does. Shadowrun choosing to use those props for a fun setting to adventure and game in is a completely fair choice, even if it’s not your cup of tea.

        But the Cyberpunk genre is a lot bigger than just Shadowrun and Nueromancer. Snow Crash is technically labeled as ‘Post-Cyberpunk’; the Megacorps and governments are all equally as good and bad as governments and corporations are today, and while behaviors and custom change due to technology that change is not necessarily for the worse. At the end and all throughout the novel, people are still people, no matter who they’re allied with or how techno-savvy they are. All of these traits stand in direct counter to more traditional or ‘original’ Cyberpunk works. Snowcrash and many of it’s derivatives are still considered part of the Cyberpunk genre by many because they maintain the feel of Cyberpunk. That aesthetic we were talking about.

        Unfortunately for this argument,
        Snowcrash does still use Megacorps and shattered governments as its simplistic and occasionally silly background. So for something that specifically doesn’t how about Ghost in the Shell?

        The franchise crosses the line between Cyberpunk and Post-Cyberpunk throughout its run, but it maintains that very aesthetic of ‘Cyberpunk’ throughout. While Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig, Individual Eleven, and Solid State Society are more black-ops conspiracy thrillers, all of them feel like Cyberpunk. Further, none of them use Megacorp constructions, relying on corporations no more powerful than modern day ones, and governments around the world continuing to function as they have, even if positions of world power are traded.

        Pulling back more broadly, I brought up Shadowrun – even though it isn’t the perfect equivalent to the future of SAO-Earth in the setting of Monstrous Compendium Online – because it provides… possibilities. The Megacorps are silly and inaccurate, but they’re one part of Shadowrun’s greater setting. Will Adventurers of Eberron come to more closely resemble Shadowrunners in this future? Do we see racism not just between humans and various supernaturals, but maybe even between humans of Earth-SAO and Eberron? What roles do Arcanists or divine casters take in society? Shadowrun gives a template to start from, a checklist of ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘maybe’ to work off as the discussion furthers. Even if it does end up being dismissed as too different to be a useful resource, I figure it’s too close to be ignored.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Shadowrun is too close to be ignored.

        The design choices of Shadowrun? D&D itself was originally a fairly incoherent mash up favorite fiction. For a game setting, if it is gameable and the audiance enjoys it, it is fine.

        If I’m mashing elements together for a project, particularly a story, and I’m ripping off Shadowrun, I’m likely to drop the megacorp type worldbuilding. If I’m going to sell the falsehood to others, I’m more convincing if I can fool myself first. It’s more efficient to pick lies that way.

        I thought of those historical cases, you kind of hit on the why of ‘snake eating tail’ with ‘colonialism’. Those were not the jurisdictions they were incorporated out of. (Plus, they did lean on other entities, governmental entities, for population control.)

        The purpose of a corporation is that it can sign contracts without having to redo them whenever its officers change. What would happen in a dispute involving a corporation’s officers where the corporation fully controlled the jurisdiction it was incorporated in? I see a very elevated chance of civil war. If there was a victor to a civil war, what would it look like? Arguably the necessary functions (fielding armies, controlling populations, probably raising taxes) would make the victor have a form of some type of government.

        Eighties fears? For the portion which wasn’t simply direct communist propaganda, I’m going to have to lean on ‘My Sifu told me.’ My natural aptitude for leadership, management, and organization is fairly bad. My teacher’s teacher had a book which I found incomprehensible until my teacher explained it. My teacher’s explanation of effective management included the claim that a specific flavor of management fad, which had become widespread during the sixties and seventies, was in fact deeply dysfunctional. The anti-corporatist complaints about psychology matched my teacher’s objections. This makes me think that those fears were about a specific widespread flavor, not an inherent quality of the category. (And the fad could also be blamed on communist influence. The communists claimed that the soviet union worked, which was widely believed. The way it was purported to work was technocratic, which would have raised the prestige of technocratic ideas. The management fad I mentioned? Has distinct technocratic qualities.)

        Current day fears? A close student of this previous election might notice fairly strong evidence that elections do not simply go to the best funded. Income inequality is one of the things being pitched. I’ve seen claims about how the total cost of US regulations compares to world economies. The larger the cost of US regulation is as a fraction of the US economy, the more companies can justify paying their executives to buy influence with. Government has to have power in order to create a high cost of regulations. If the cost of regulations is low enough, buying influence with government is a losing proposition. Conversely, high regulatory overhead can perhaps be more easily adsorbed by a large company, making market entry more difficult for smaller operations.

        I also suspect that a number of non-profit NGOs have a fairly destructive impact on the third world.


      6. My issue with steampunk is that even before I’d seen any steam tables, I had good enough ability to guess at the costs of materials, labor, power density, etc… to have questions about how plausible the cartoons were. Fortunately, I’ve learned to be better at turning that little nagging voice off.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. >
        What would the-magic’s-come-back-wrong be like?
        Presumably magic coming back in a different form. The ‘mundanes’ might not know the difference but any returning magical critters might be altered or find what the magic they once knew to be highly alien.

        A based-on-RL example I can think of would be the site of the Battle of Verdun. The sheer amount of death, destruction etc would scar the land’s spirit/magic (ignoring all the unexploded ammunition, arsenic and other chemicals) from it’s original form to something much more aligned with death.

        Can’t see the various spirits really being comfortable in what was once their old stomping grounds.

        Of course then there would be the ‘echos’ in the cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Stalingrad to name a few.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I could totally see ALO as a Batman Gambit to scoop up the ones that got away. So anyone who managed to go back home as a final $@&! you to a certain red dragon could have some time to figure out exactly how well they don’t fit in anymore. It’s even canon that some of the SAO players got into ALO because they still loved the game, no matter what happened last time. (Pretty sure. It’s been a minute.)

      Maybe the still sleeping 300 are those who stayed in Aincrad?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Would multiple Batman Gambits be a 30 Batman Pileup? Because that invokes a mental image that makes me want to either giggle or run screaming. Jury’s still out on which option to take.

        Is Can’t-Get-A-Date-Any-Other-Way McCrazyeyes likely to feature in any of these gambits?

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Grrrr…

        You are entirely too good with sneaking us some previews without giving away the plot. We’ve seen some of the high points, but… hoo boy.

        Asuna getting groomed by Kirito is everything and more of the heartwarming scene the previews promised it to be.

        I wonder what came through that portal… and I also wonder about Yui. For some reason, I don’t think she’s the Mental Healthcare Program from canon.

        And the youkai lords are going to get utterly blindsided by the player’s ingenuity and subsequent shenanigans. Stheno was poleaxed by the modified fireball.
        Now imagine what Lisbeth and other players can come up with, having Tiger’s Milk and cockatrice feathers…
        Beniryuu is so. Very. Much. Screwed. Muahaha…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Been following this, since having got to the end of “Waking to Another Sky”, and found “Monstrous Compendium” as well. Epic Scale Premise, with a potential mass kidnapping/kamikakushi scenario. As in WtAS, the “players” are working to complete Beniryuu/Kayaba(Presumably!Heathcliff)’s dastardly plan as a matter of trying to survive and “escape”…

    With the ways the laws/principles of magic work, at least there is a chance to turn the tables on the central culprit…

    Not that the plight of the true denizens of Aincrad is unsympathetic by any means, but the potential backlash could/would be devastating in a number of ways when it all becomes clear.

    I imagine such a major working would not stay/be unnoticeable according to the original planned climax, nor the event simply take place without a permament effect on how the two realms/universes interact. If anything, any detectable “wrinkles” in space-time, for instance, would very likely get the hell poked out of it by an international alliance of scientists and the military. Because however things are actually playing out, if the “dieing” players truly die, and if in the final phase the “winners” are bodily transported, or they leave dead “shells” behind, – events would certainly be viewed as an attack by, well, aliens from another dimension. There wouldn’t be much hope for peaceful contact- heck, the nations of Earth would join in with the 5 Kingdoms…

    I doubt things will be playing out in quite so dire a fashion. I’m reminded of the ending of the Log Horizon Anime (haven’t read the LN), where Shiroe makes contact with his sempai from the “Debauchery Tea Party”, and the way she announces her goal of not just finding a way back home, hell no, she wants to be able to bring her child to visit Gaia (I think that’s the name of the world?).

    Ideally, some way of being to travel back and forth, perhaps using another game as an interface (hello, ALO) will be developed, because I also doubt that there won’t be lasting psychological/spirtual effects among those that immerse themselves in Aincrad the most.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks.

    Gave me a really silly bunny. “two-leg” reminded me of Animal Farm. Thematically, if Asuna gets the last attack with a head strike, it would be on Snowball.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hang on a minute. I feel like an idiot for not noticing it sooner, but they defeat the final boss on level 75, not 100. Does this mean the ten times ten completion thing is a no go and that’s how they break the spell?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Might be earlier, because they are looking for the clue that Kirito accidentally noticed early. This is late December of the second December in game. Canon they were out the following November.

      Liked by 2 people

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