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The Drowtales Venting Thread!

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Alright, after a little chat with Wolfdancer, I'd thought I'd create this thread for people to vent about their problems with DT, and given ASVS' looser rules, not worry about a mod shutting down the conversation.  Here, people will be free to scream their hearts out about the faults in DT's story-telling, problems with the community - especially about problems with a certain someone *cough*Nowhere Girl*cough*, any and all beefs with Kern, and so on and so forth, without having to worry about being silenced, or having a thread getting locked.


Now, to quote Strong Bad, let's get this train-wreck a-rollin'!

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Let me start off by saying I really love Drowtales and I love the forum, it's one of the most civil forums I've ever been on.


Passive aggressiveness slides but if you call that passive aggressiveness out you've started a fight and I don't like that. There have been people in the past where the forum as a whole would not entertain them and answer them in a civil manner, and the Passive Aggressive people continue until they get bored or eventually get a rise out of someone. It's difficult to have a conversation when someone keeps bringing up the same points, or points that have been refuted and need to be refuted again or their hate for a character is so strong they would see everything they do as idiotic without seeing the reason behind it. it get's old quick. If someone gets agitated a mod comes in with a warning. I know the desired effect is to let the conversation continue with that in mind, but it tends to kill the conversation outright. rinse, repeat for the next time.


Storytelling-wise, Drowtales has been a slow burn. pre time skip showed Ariel and 


it's just that 15 years later there isn't much left of young Ariel in older Ariel which isn't bad. We watched her grow into the Ariel we know then the time skip happened and it was confusing trying to figure out what parts of her childhood stuck and what didn't. It's apparent that she and Faen have been keeping each other from going insane or from hurting themselves. She seemed to have gotten... goofier? especially jarring since she had recently gotten her arm cut off.  I mean, she's probably feeling relieved and letting loose now that she has approval from Quain completely but still unsure of herself, her partnership with Faen hasn't been called into question by Quain since she's got enough heirs that she won't be asking for a good while. 


Then Kalki died in 46 after building her up to be Ariels foil and Kalki's mother's right-hand woman when it comes to military matters. It was a huge shock that she was killed like she was and not in an epic fight with Ariel. What would have been the difference if Ariel and Kalki were not related at all other than dialogue changes about Kalki being Ariels sister? From a storytelling perspective, Kalki served to demonstrate two things, Snad had strong Jal connections and kept her baby a secret from the Empress herself and showed how far she would go to keep out of her mother's eye when a baby would have eased the tension between them. The second one was to demonstrate that Snad and Quain weren't so different when it comes to Mel, both wanting children out of her, only Snad went behind her back to do it when if asked Mel would have said yes- which might have been why she WASN'T told because she would have wanted a hand in raising Kalki at all costs.


Kalki was born and raised to be a tyke bomb, and her personality shows of it. She enjoys fighting and has a sadist streak when it comes to it. However, her actions at the dinner in 46 felt forced. we've seen her drink in her introductory chapters and seems to have a tolerance for it. She has the capacity to act childish to get a rise out of people. but other than that we don't know much about her, what she thinks about Mel, her 'father' that she called "father!" and hugged pre time skip she said she was kidding and after that doesn't have a lot of interaction with Mel, to the point that in the dinner Kalki says that Mel is her father to ruin the conversation between Ariel and Mel, and Mel tells Ariel to ignore her. We're left to interpret Kalki's behavior as much as we want but don't have anything solid to go on other then if and buts.


I just felt really let down about her death and she would not be coming back. She was unstable and coming to the verge of uncontrollable but Snad surely had to have had ways to reel her back in but decided to kill her. Now, she was probably set on killing her after Snad got her goal because she probably didn't want a repeat of what Snad did to her mother, and the entire Nid philosophy is not run on nepotism and Kalki would have been set to inherit everything "if" Snad died but her status as a 'bastard' if you could even call Kalki that.


Kalki coming back with a robot arm would have served her a lot of character development. She would have come back less foolish when fighting Ariel and 'grown up'. Snad for all of her manipulation points could have convinced her daughter to wait to get back at her 'sister', keep it from Mel what happened and sent her again better equipped. Kalki has a couple of decades more experience than Ariel and their fight wasn't satisfying and it could have been. Ariel was one arm down while Kalki had all the advantages and it was only a distraction that allowed the squad to get out alive (sans Shala ;__; ) I did lit that fight for the most part because Ariel and her group suffered loss. Shala was lost Kau was tainted and the emotional impact was hard on both of Kau and Sarnel . NOT Ariel who loss but gained her arm and doesn't seem the LEAST affected by the events that went down. Kalki would have had three people with personal reasons to fight and defeat her, Kau, Sarnel and Ariel because of the loss they suffered. Hell, her annoyed reaction to Mel talking about her three youngest could serve as foreshadowing to her going after the three youngest due to not wanting any more family members to take what little attention she has from her parental figures away.


Moving on to Ariel.


I understand that Ariel's shapeshifting powers allowed her to be able to take an arm from someone, and in old world setting pages, her powers were 'explained' or at the very least the theory behind it. she could theoretically take over someone's entire body and take the mass for herself and serve the host brain, something Kaless frequently does with no attention to mass due to being a demon. It gave her the option to take an arm, however, Ariel refuses to from a fellow soldier, however, does it to Kalki. Yes, I know that she's justified in taking an arm from Kalki, girl took it in the first place and it was beautiful Karma. I understand Ariels thought process behind why she took it. Ariel is a soldier that needs both her arms and frequently uses her shapeshifting to infiltrate places, taking her arm away would cripple her use of shapeshifting. she can't grow an arm back (or can she???), a mechanical arm would cause the same issues with infiltration.


"Shit my dude my daughter took your arm the least I can do is to fit you with a new one." was all Snad needed to say- I kid, however knowing Snad, it's odd that she went this way of thinking Ariel would take an Arm from someone. I don't understand why she spelled out that Ariel could just get a new arm from someone and tried to force her to use that ability when at the dinner she should have gotten a clear read on Ariel. Her body language, and how uneasy Ariel was the entire time. Ariel losing her arm, rejecting a replacement then going on to not get a replacement for a while would have been cool to watch, especially since it seems that Ariel's body naturally tries to assimilate the arm from Riz, her own body working against her will would be less of a bonus like her hair being an added advantage to a double edge sword. Ariel was scared of becoming a monster/ being a monster pre time skip, and suddenly being a danger to others due to not being able to control her shapeshifting would have, again, been cool to watch and to show downsides to shapeshifting other than what's been applied. Ariel could accidentally misplace her heart, but we know that can't happen because Ariel would theoretically can't survive that, we know that she might accidentally forget her 'true' form, but that hasn't had an impact.


All in all, her losing an arm and keeping it lost, at least for a couple of chapters, would have given her a chance to grow and change as well as show that she still struggles that don't have to do with leadership. Kern has stated (no source because I either heard it second hand from someone on the forums who heard Kern say it on a stream or Kern said it himself on the forum but I don't want to go through dozens of pages to find it) that he regrets Ariels shapeshifting as it's so over powered.


Moving on to the latest chapter which has a few people up in arms about. Drowtales has been a victim of its own layout. its slow moments feel even slower due to having to wait a day or more to read the next page. However the complaints about how easy the fight between the Hermies and the Drow I feel do have some merit. We're told a lot about the Hermies and what they have done off screen and unless you're a veteran of the comic you would have no idea who they are, that they hate elves and anything much about them. I feel that they lack characterization that every opposing and villainous character has. At the moment they're faceless mooks to be defeated and slaughtered. I understand what might come of this and why the hermies hate elves. Elves ruined the surface and only coming back because the world healed without them. Elves enslaved humanoids raided their villages non-stop and hold themselves superior. but that's speculation, and I'm hoping we do find out why exactly they hate elves and more on their culture and philosophies, but might not due to having to fit all that in as Drowtales comes to a close.


I still love Drowtales and will read it to the end as Kern has shown to be an excellent story teller and I only have a few complaints about 15 YEARS of content. I mean, you could hate Drowtales with a passion but you would be foolish to deny that a lot of love and commitment went into it.

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I, on the other hand, have more decidedly mixed feelings about DT.  On the positive side, the art is fantastic, and it definitely is a labor of love.  I still like a few of the characters, but that number has dwindled.  As for negatives, well, let me explain.


The first is that some of the world-building makes no sense.  I know it's fantasy and all, but fantasy is still supposed to make sense.  Some things, however, just don't add up.


The first, is that this world somehow evolved both mana-bearing and mana-less life.  Given the overwhelming advantages mana-bearing life has, you'd think it would've out-competed mana-less life hundreds of millions of years ago, and rendered it extinct, long before the Australopithecus-analogs were a thing.  And also, how did mana even come about in the first place?  I could never get a coherent answer, so, my imagination took over, always leads to a very... Lovecraftian place.  Like some eldritch abomination that feeds on both flesh and mana introduced mana to that world, and guided the evolution of life there so that it would have a good supply of livestock.  But then, this is just me.  And I have been influenced by both the Cthulhu Mythos and "Berserk".


The second thing that just doesn't add up is the fact that their world has nine moons - unless those moons are just small enough to be spherical, they should have collided with each other billions of years ago.  I mean sure, gas giants can and often do have multiple large moons, but that's because those planets so utterly dominate their gravitational neighborhood, and the moons in question are so tiny in comparison that it's not a problem.  Earth-like worlds... tend not to have this advantage.  Plus, while it's one thing to have nine Luna-sized objects in an Earth-like world's Hill sphere, having nine stable orbits in such a region is another thing entirely.


The third is more something that just gets under my skin, as opposed to not adding up, but is actually a fairly common complaint about the comic, even among people who tend to give it positive reviews - Kern's hard-on for the Drow.  Yeah, I know it's called DROWtales, but the Drow so utterly dominate the scene that the Non-Drow races might not even exist.  Contrast this against say, the Star Trek: Klingon Empire novels - centered around the crew of the IKS Gorkon - a Klingon starship, as opposed to the usual Federation ones  - and their adventures, trials and tribulations, and ultimately, their search for glory as they conquer worlds for the Klingon Empire.  However, we also know that the Klingon Empire is just one powerful state among many in the galaxy, with some, like the Borg, Dominion, Species 8472, and ESPECIALLY the Iconians heavily out-classing them.  Drowtales on the other hand... doesn't.  So, for people saying that the Drow are Mary Sues/Villain Sues... yeah, I can see where they're coming from, and, to an extent, agree with them.  Especially when Kern started doing unnecessary things like retconning the height so that the Dokkalfar ancestors (and characters who were as tall as them, like Quain'tana), were all about 9 feet tall (which is actually a HUGE disadvantage, as it puts a massive strain on the organs) and other things to make the Drow more "special" without any thought to reality.  Then again, even with all this going against them, they aren't anywhere CLOSE to the most obnoxious Sues I've encountered (Chakats, Kaldor Draigo, Marissa Picard, things like those).


The Battle against the Hermionnes was, as EVERYONE said, handled poorly, since it didn't seem like the Drow were taking heavy losses (which, supposedly, they were).


And while the forums have a lot of nice people (like SFI, Isaiah Cortez, Disestablish, Durlyn, Junglefowl, TGTG, Ace, IkaikaKekai, Gunbird, Basileus, CutieSquiggoth, Thrair, 'Lement, Whizzard, Django, MoonCrafter, etc.), they also are home to some real chucklefucks (like Nowhere Girl, Raziel (thankfully now perma-banned), TheFinalFan (also now banned, and is on this list not so much for being an asshole as they are for being, well, kind of a numbskull), etc.).  Some of these people also sport a truly ASTOUNDING level of cognitive dissonance, or are massive hypocrites (looking at you Nowhere Girl - saying "Drowtales is too dark for me, the only character I like is Snadhya'rune" is literally the same thing as going "Game of Thrones is too dark for me, the only character I like is Joffery").  No, Nowhere Girl isn't the only hypocrite there, but she is the most prominent one.  There are also a few sycophants there, but you'll find those on any board, and there are certainly boards where the sycophancy problem is worse (*cough*StarDestroyer.Net*cough*).


And finally, we approach two bits of DT that is probably what ultimately makes me unable to fully enjoy it as Wolfdancer and others.  The first of these would be the behind-the-scenes DRAMA (some of it financial in nature) that occurred (and occurs, but to get a full view of that whole story, you'd have to ask some of those involved).  The second... would be the unremitting horror that was Old DayDream.  Of the fanservice-and-porn-laden side-stories that make up "DayDream", only one has survived from the Pre-Retcon days (at least that I've seen, what with not having a DD account) - Space Age - and with damn good reason.  Simply put, Old DayDream was filled with stories that contained shit that, had it not "merely" been drawn, would've landed somebody in prison, and would be a perma-ban-worthy offense to so much as link to them on this site.  Now, to be fair, Kern DOES consider those stories (and in fact, the entire Old World Setting) to be an old shame, and absolutely despises them nowadays.  And, to be fair to the fans of current DT, it's not like a lot of them even know they existed.  Hell, I didn't know about them until last year, when I learned about them from several reliable sources.

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I know some of that post may have seemed harsh - especially the "cognitive dissonance" part.  But it's just my honest feelings.  And don't worry - the only people who I said have cognitive dissonance are in the "chucklefuck" category.

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