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Fledglings

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Spiteful Murkrow, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    It's been a... long time since I last showed up around here for commentary- what, you don't remember me? I'm that guy, you know, *that* guy!

    Decided to take a look as part of some other things though because I haven't seen precious
    precious
    birb Pleo in a while, and was told it'd be a good idea to take a look at him during Ch. 55. So fair notice, this is a running commentary for past content. Not that it was a content any less enjoyable, though begin that chapter with a chained and wingclipped Pleo! SpitefulMurkrow y u do this

    Well, last episode Team Traveller got hit hard and they got captured. It happens every once in a while - every 14 chapters or so? :p This time at least he has company, he's not alone unlike that time where Nida and Elty had to go Solid Snake into a ship to get him back.

    And speaking of Elty it's good to see him and Berecien sharing a scene! About time I got to read more of them, certainly. I've been in about the same position regarding the outside world as Guardia for the last several months so.... I welcome a very official briefing if it is delivered by the best Ponyta I swear.

    Yup, this is how these relationships begin. Best friends 4ever.

    Anyway, Nagant does the smart thing as usual and makes sure Pleo and the others don't remain together for long but at the same time not leaving them out in the cold, nothing to lose, which is when opponents become the most dangerous. It's interesting to see their workings and priorities here.

    Hey when you are nice secondary characters in a world as big as this you have to fight for every inch of screentime.

    One thing that called my attention during Lyn's arrival scene is, well...

    >Lyn assigns Ellsberg for infiltration

    I see this going to places. I mean, it is the right tactical move but out-of-universe we all know what kind of luck Elmer has so... this can only end one way:

    "Hopefully well"

    >""And you [Ketu] are accompanying him," the Samurott added.

    I retract my last statement. The two of them get a long so well that I'm actually impressed they got far enough to move from one district to another. These places tend to have... higher security, in a world where it's normal for creatures to just fly, hop or dig past walls.

    > 1 President of the United States disliked this section

    So almost everyone is here! Pladur's team will hopefully get on in the action. One complaint that I had had during some of the previous episodes was that their team was always lagging an exact number of steps behind, never making any plot-related progress that was not born out of them merely being dragged along with the plot, but I see they have gotten better at it to the point that they have managed to trail Lyn. Let's see if their good luck doesn't run out here.

    And now, I'm ATM only mostly missing joyful, soft Daraen.

    I mean, the answer is basically obvious, didn't I just say they had gotten better at this? Sometimes I have to wonder if the adventure has built them enough self-confidence. Now, Kiran does fail his first bluff check spectacularly, so certainly we'll have to see the team using a different skillset here.

    (I do have an obvious solution but given that we're already at like Ch. 60, I guess it's a moot point)

    Will this become Super Smash Bros: Fledglings Meelee? :p

    >Hess' crew infighting on who's a better suited "volunteer" to go scout

    As expected, truly. I did have the expectation that Valatos would be picked (nice ruining the day by him, by the way) because he's a flier and also a kind of bug that can handle well remaining near water and not needing much refreshment while just hanging out there waiting for information (something that a Ledian woud be far too visible for). Did I also mention Valatos ruining the day for his teammate? Thanks, Valatos.

    Hess is a character to feel sorry for, sometimes. If only he had some sort of trinket or divine assistance to try and correct his bad luck...

    My "more characters, more problems" senses are tingling.

    Kecleon's is a franchise! I hope they are not very tight on their "you have to be a Kecleon to participate" policy.

    That does bring me an idea for the team to try and get deeper into the city... but no. Traveling by Kecleon can get complicated and I'm not sure the critters would like to shuffle breathing live cargo from store to store, no matter how good they pay. (As if they could even pay, but hey)

    OH NOOOO!!! It's the dreaded bunch of random 'rescue a Caterpie' missions in between plots!

    You sir are truly evil in your way of nudging and winking at the actual PMD games. What else could happen to our bunch of protagonists, I wonder.

    Good thing there was a timeskip here.

    >Detective Cardino

    >Detective Cardino the Pikachu

    I WONDER

    It's nice to see a reference to Detective Pikachu and stuff! Even more if it can be built into some sort of homage and a small plot. We do have one very good sniffer who is also very good at finding trouble, one Pokémon with good size for getting into and out of places, and one Pokémon who could be good at clubbing and interrogating people.

    Perfect for a detective job!

    And meanwhile, Valatos and team barely miss an encounter with Crom and team. Probably for the better because we can see the town is quite well equipped to curb urban scuffles before they grown into something larger. With the way both Nida's team and Valatos' team will want to go about things, this is a hook for a more focused and progressive approach towards their goals, going step by step and letting chance provide the opportunity where they can. As for Lyn's crew, let's see, I don't think the duo of Elmer and Ketu will be any subtle in their findings, and Lyn's response might also be not too subtle either with the overgrown Wingull at a very critical position outside his grasp.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  2. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin I'm just here

    D'aww, what a sweet little father-son moment. I can relate to Pladur, being all cooped up in bed too weak to move is the most awful thing in the world. I'm amazed he's not getting terribly sea sick from being cramped in the cabin. Especially since his stomach's all banged up. The magic of berries, I guess? Speaking of magic... let's talk the magic of blackmail! Because Team Sentinel was great at getting to the point, there. A nice combination of smarminess (because they know they've got these goons right where they want them), humor (mostly Zelle's overly-dramatic "acting"), and genuinely threatening behavior. Even if their plan is a bit of an impromptu one, it's fundamentally better than some of the stuff we've seen in the fic to date. The one head-scratching part is leaving Ketu and Ellsberg to deal with Pleo, namely because the latter is weak to him. But clearly they know something I don't, so I'm-a shut up with this part.

    I do wish there had been a little bit of pusbhack on the part of Team Traveller, given they've had some really lousy mystery dungeon experiences to date. Pleo has a brief moment of indecision, but that's after he's in the dungeon and he never vocalizes it. C'mon, Pleo, take some initiative! Like, I feel like if I was living there, I'd have red flags going off if someone wanted to meet me in the middle of a mystery dungeon. It's like those "Let's go to my secret base!" missions in Super that always led to Monster House ambushes. Wait... is this supposed to be referencing that? Oh, well played, I suppose. Volcano dungeons are always fun, at least! (Read: they're never fun. Damn lava tiles...) Also, an honest-to-goodness Heatmor shows up for all of a tiny fight sequence! I say that because Heatmor is, like, one of those stupidly irrelevant 'mons I always forget about it until I see it somehwere... like here, apparently. XP

    Oh, hey, Inler's got grandkids. That's... unexpected, actually. I assumed he was the type who was married to his job, so to speak and the Director title wouldn't go to a blood-relative, but to an Administrator he had groomed for the role. Though, maybe his falling out with his kids (which is what the grandkids seemed to allude to) has something to do with that? In any case, it's surprising to get this softer side of Inler while Queen Alecia is going in much the other direction at the moment. no, i will not stop comparing the two main villainous factions... look what you've done.

    One last thing before the quotes. So, with this chapter, I noticed that your formatting when it comes to dialogue is very reptitive. Pretty much every paragraph that contains dialogue follows the exact same pattern:
    "I'm talking to you," X said. "And now I'm saying something else."
    Like, I had noticed it during the first scene... but this continued through the rest of the chapter. It prompted me to glance back at a couple of other chapters and I realized they're following the exact same pattern, too. Now, I fully concede part of the reason this caught my eye is because I noticed it in my own writing and have been making a conscience effort to vary the sentence structure a bit. Given you've also got yourself a very long fic with a ways to go, I think it would be to the story's benefit if you tried to vary things up a bit, too. It's not that the dialogue itself is bad or anything, just that I think it might read better if the pattern you use to present dialogue gets switched up every so often. Does that make sense? I hope so...

    Might be a personal preference thing, but I find the idea of stuttering within narration to not make a lot of sense. Same goes for the "?!". They're best used sparingly and in dialogue to convey frantic urgency. But that's just my take.

    Whoa, hey, let's not reinforce harmful dragon stereotypes, here! Especially when this is really just one step shy of Scrooge McDuck territory. :V

    I feel attacked. D:

    There's always a Russian judge in these things... [shakes head]

    If ever you needed a hint that this is totally, obviously a trap for an ambush, then this would be it. Like, I can't imagine people regularly meet inside mystery dungeons in Anyilla, right?

    Do I detect a hint of jealousy?

    Now the birb protests. Good grief. XD
     
  3. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    So, I was told I should comment more so I will. Who can pass up the opportunity, right?

    This is from reading Ch. 56 and 57. Which are both of them about a VERY UNHAPPY BIRB. Why are you doing this? Pleo doesn't deserve it. He has friends and a good life back home and while it's admittedly nice to see that the populace here a the capital, not knowing better, seem to have a sincere degree of surprise admiration for him, it comes at the cost of clipping his wings COME ON!

    Now, the adventures start with everyone trying to get into the main part of the city via various midadventures which include trying to land a job. Or, rather, almost everyone, because certain characters are better than others.

    Because, really, this is how it feels. Nagant in particular is a treat for this part of the adventure, allowing us a very first-person view of the inner city culture that, barring events at the Arena, we don't really have access to a wider portrayal of. Speaking of Nagant, the Captain's observations and musings about the family line's fate and fall from prestige and the thought that even in this place, everyone has gone through really bad times since That Event in the Backstory... all this paints a rather melancholic view of the Empire.

    ...I see both Nagant and Anyilla have their good share of times of hardship. I see mention that the Royal Family escaped the Calamity by luck - I wonder how much public knowledge that stroke of luck is, I could see Aleria being seen at least in some circles as someone "born lucky". And it can be seen that recollection of these kinds of things does seem to be the kind of stuff that can get through Nagant's shell and leave a visible change in the character's mood and posture.

    It really makes me hope the next gaiden story in the Fledglignsverse is about Nagant (hint hint oh and for @Virgil134 too :p )

    For the record my totally unbiased opinion as an author of a Starly character and a co-writer of another one is that Staraptor are truly the best birds ever. Then again bird generals in Fledglings are made of awesome starting with our Legendary protag and all the way down, but Starly specimens deserve the extra attention.

    That said, I have nothing against seeing that Aleria, the current ruler being a pretty cloudbirb! Altaria are fluffy things and I find it fitting that the ruler of an Empire is a Pokémon who, kind of, rests in the clouds! She's really cloud-niney °3°
    (Also should I make a mention that the choice of Altaria as the representative of the Empire draws a nice parallel to Lugia being a god of storms)

    Have I mentioned that Aleria is quite cloud-niney? Because she is, in an enjoyable way because it reflects some of the tropes about how royalty are portrayed to be in fiction to be either disinterested, lacking in understanding, overly idealistic, or very person-focused, or any combination of the above, and how other characters in their immediate circle - councillors, guards, etc- have to deal with them, but then changes the foundation of the trope's application by hinting a number of these things to rely on her personality and her Calamity background as a cloud-birb and how something happened to her egg that, in a way, makes us lucky that she survived until now.

    For a simple example, much of her participation in the conversation regarding what to do to introduce Pleo to the Empire as a Protector can be summarized as such:

    Really, how does she even manage to rule. How does even Osborn deal after hours. Also DO DE DOOO~ You've gotten a Lugia! :p

    Cabot interfering (totally in-character btw) is a good touch to remind us that Pleo is still not alone in this. Of the various characters in the various faction chasing after the birb, Cabot's team is most likely the one that has the least ill intent, if any, towards him.

    Of course, Aleria seems to get this sensation too and totally adds her Seal of Approval™ to the various silliness that Cabot suggests. I could see Berecien and a number of nobles rolling their eyes but at least Cabot got things to work, it seems. Hopefully, the bad news from Polderfield don't do much to diminish Cabot's moods. He should write home more often! And hopefully he has some sort of friends on the transit routes who can bring fresh, trustable news from back home.

    Also nice touch from that Kecleon who obviously works in retail so they know they have to make their client feel *~important~*. This might come back to save the Empire from an excessive bite in the ass later I hope, because there's some characters who totally deserve to live despite the Empire and the Company being a Bad Thing (hints, again, at Aleria).

    Now, how do you get the birb to trust you enough to not kill you? Well you provide EDUTAINMENT!

    Iiiiiiiiiii should have expected this, pretty much.

    The idea of having some sort of introduction so that we can achieve a dual objective - to get the birb to know the Empire and to get the Empire to trust him, these are two important factors to take into consideration when designing this kind of event. So we need activities that can provide Pleo with enrichment and can get him up to speed with the nation's culture.

    Because he can't even read how cute~ So surely we need to start with that, how can we indoctrinate the birb in our Nationalism if he can't even get the basic glyphs. So, let's see how does the Queen and her council approach this matter:

    Aleria will solve all our problems in the plot from here on I am sure!

    After all these matters during the meeting, one thing that called my attention was to see Nagant reaching for their fair reward:
    [​IMG]
    (I'm not sorry)​

    That part there and Aleria's explanation and sudden un-cloudiness were one of the best parts of the episode, and brought a nice reminder of the way her coming bak to the Empire is not all the oomph and hurras that we would have probs expected to be. Hey, at least Lyn and Hess are having worse days!

    I think Nagant is not into high-class stuff that much, alas :p

    Speaking of the rest of the people, we already know that Nagant can make into town without issues and that at least Nida's group can make it to the inside with some difficulty if they go into an entire sideplot. Let's see how everyone else is doing!

    Yup, it looks like Super Smash Brothers: the Fledglings Edition will end up being a thing. Also, Empire Sec really needs to really up their game, just saying. Even if their attempts at getting in suck well at least they get the work done... somewhat. Kiran's "terribly sick crewmember" ploy starring Crom anyone?

    Her Cloudy Highness Queen Aleria, here to save us all! :p Pleo and Team Traveller will owe her one I bet.

    The various teams getting into the tournament for the chance to NAB PLEO is a nice touch to the storyline in that it both sets everyone with suddenly the same goal, but also because it flattens somewhat the levels of competence the various factions have - I'm sure the tournament is for fun and things like killing or maiming your opponent are disqualification. Because otherwise boy I don't want to imagine how that Rotom is going to decorate that for the audience. And we totally can not have our new Protector envisioning the Empire as a bunch of bullies who go around attacking people and lording over others and using foreigners for fun and oh wait-

    Well, at the moment I am going to close here with two comments.

    First, I'm kinda sad that Lyn and Hess are sending out a couple of minions for the tournament rather than going themselves. It obviously makes sense since they are renowned characters and having them make a public appearence in the deep of Empire territory is just inviting trouble...

    But I really wanted to see such characters as Lyn and Hess duking it out for an entire audience to see. Oh well! Maybe next time, when the holy birb is within reach...

    Second, I have to say I liked the progression Nida'a storyline with Cardino is taking once they find out who their clients are. Being Marked in the Fledglingsverse is Suffering™ already, and here we have Sela and her team threatened with a one-way ticket to the Wastes, and Nida and her team are the ones charged with proving their innocence, all while on a deadline go get their birb friend back! Which means getting into the Arena -same Arena their birb friend is held hostage VIP guest, doing some ISO Standard fortress exploring with a nod to the TR Casino in Celadon, getting into a complicated situation with both Valatos' team *and* the Empire guards and, once again, having to do all this on a deadline.

    But despite the somewhat tightly compressed exploration and action while leaving the various other protags by the side, what I liked most is how the encounter between Team Traveller and Sela's group unfolds.

    Truly, any exchange where Guardia brings out her lore, her culture and her status in this adventure is comedy gold, not to mention it also brings up a closer parallel with the roles and toolset of both Sokka and friggin' Toph in Avatar: The Last Airbender. I only hope Guardia doesn't run out of PP during the tournament, because having her remote-whack anyone who disagrees with her would surely put her right into a Toph-tier level of awesomeness that right now her team desperately needs if they want to recover their birb friend.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  4. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Well here we are! Fledglings. I’ve had this on my radar for a while, but as my life goes, I have a long queue to get through before I can actually do my reading. You can thank Virgil for reminding me to get to this after I caught up a decent amount on the other stuff I’ve been reading.


    Anyway, seeing as this fic is also divided up into episodes, I guess it’s only appropriate I review them as such, at least until I’m caught up (after a year…) But regardless! It’s time to review the prologue and episode 1. As is tradition, let’s look at the first sentence:


    I mean, it’s technically not a sentence and more a stylized fragment, but it gets the point across. This is a calmer opening, focused more on establishing the setting, and I think that it works well. However, it has one issue that I noticed in the following chapters as well—a bit of unnecessary word repetition. In this case, “earth.” Footprints in the earth below, and earthen walls right after. Here are a few other examples where that happens:



    In this case, it’s the word “Pool” that gets used a lot. This is a little awkward for me to criticize on because, as of this posting, you made this two years ago, so who knows if you’ve fixed this word repetition issue since then, but I’m just working with what I’m reading so far! I don’t plan on looking ahead. This will be a blind read.


    Okay, onto the actual content of the prologue. The first part was good for a calm opener. Nighttime, I sorta felt a cool breeze from the words, and it fit the tone of the title, a bedtime story. Opening with lore is an interesting choice. Not an uncommon one, but interesting, especially considering the subject matter. Pretty heavy to be telling a kid! Considering the implications, at least. Apocalypse and stuff. You’re setting the pieces for future plot points, I’m sure.


    The second half of the prologue was a bit weaker. The dialogue, at points, felt a bit on-the-nose, or perhaps “as you know”-style exposition—which is what most of this prologue is, exposition and world building info dumps—that seemed odd to talk about. The future chapters suffer from a similar problem at points, particularly during the dungeon exploration, where Nida’s team, who had apparently gone through this dungeon a number of times before, have to remind each other about certain mechanics for the reader.


    Oh, speaking of dungeons! Looks like you’re following a lot of the game mechanics here, even referring to them as “floors,” having outright stairways, and so on. I’m of the philosophy that it’s better to work with the canon than against it, even if sometimes you’d omit or modify certain things to make it feel less like a game, but to be honest, I don’t mind this approach at all! So I’ve got no complaints here. I’m not sure if it was intended or not, but I also have the feeling that the egg hatching was a reference to the dungeon winds? Maybe? No? Well, it reminded me of it.


    That brings me to the transition into chapter 1. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, since it’s just your typical exploration through town. I don’t have a clear picture of what the town looks like, but thanks to the lore, I do at least have an idea that it’s an island. How big the island is I’m not totally sure about yet, but the feeling I get based on the creation story is it’s teeny.


    Druddigon is probably my second least favorite Dragon Type Pokémon (behind Dragalage) but this work might bump him up on the tier list. Crom is adorable! I kinda expect him to be the strongest of the bunch, even if he’s not much of a fighter, just because of his sheer size and species advantage, but I can easily be proven wrong here. I’m a sucker for “fierce Pokémon, kind heart” types, though, so that might also contribute to my opinion on him.


    The main highlight for chapter 1, for me, is the cutaway to the egg hatching. That was a good move, even if it breaks from what felt like third-person-limited up until now. It’s showing me that something’s gonna happen soon. Not sure what hatched, but if I had to make a guess… it’s an avian of some kind, and probably a Legend of a sort. Given the location of the egg… mm… Lugia? Guess I’ll see. As of this writing, I’ve only read up to chapter 2.


    Speaking of chapter 2, let’s talk about that! The bulk of it is dungeon exploration. It’s obviously an expository dungeon, meant to explain more of the world while they do a mission. I’m very familiar with that approach, and the scene that stands out the most to me is when the group looks up and sees the floor they had just been on, upside-down. It was a nice touch. I didn’t really have a real sense of danger while they went through it—I mean, it was just a bunch of Krabby—but I don’t mind that at all. I was entertained by the fight, and that’s all that really mattered. My gripes about “as you know” speeches aside, I liked the exploration, and it was a fun little cliffhanger at the end. I think that’s a pitfall trap. And it also looks like the final chapter of the episode is here, so I’m curious what that’ll amount to. Finding the egg? Babu Lugia?


    Oh, that reminds me, as an aside—it’s an interesting flavor to add foreign words sprinkled throughout the dialogue. Gives it a unique touch. But I’m a bit uncertain about the design choice on a practical level: beyond some context clues, if I’m stumped on a word, that sentence’s meaning will be lost to me, and there will always be a bit of doubt on a new word if that’s what it truly meant. And because these are long chapters, and the translations for these words are at the bottom of them… by the time I get there, I’m probably going to forget a good bit of context. I’m not sure if that works. Thankfully, it’s not all that frequent, so I wouldn’t call it entirely disruptive.



    Chapter 3 is when things get really interesting for me. Very good! It only took you a prologue and two chapters for me to think, “Okay, there’s something a bit unique going on here, and it’s not just the lore.” So we run into a Lugia—a baby one at that! It was a little strange to see one that just hatched and is capable of speech, but I’m just going to chalk that up to Pokémon magic since, well, even the ferals are capable of talking at some level.


    I thought Lugia as a whole was very entertaining. It earned a few amused smirks out of me seeing the little hatchling be so ignorant of his own power, his own status, and, well, everything that wasn’t within its own little cave. One thing that struck me as odd, though, was the strange diversity of reactions that he got from the others once they left. Considering a name like The Protector, I was surprised to see a somewhat dulled reaction from Team Traveler. That becomes doubly strange in hindsight when everyone else reacted more to how I had expected—reverence, more or less. I also thought it was a touch silly that it took them this long to realize he was a hatchling. Maybe a bit of deniability because the sheer thought of a baby god didn’t register in their minds? I can buy that.


    So, according to the table of contents you have on serebii, that’s the end of episode 1. Very strong first episode! You’ve got some lore here, some intrigue there, and to top it all off, some good characters and a kindhearted Dragon-Type, which always gets bonus points from me. I’m eager to see what’s in store next with these set pieces you have going down.
     
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