A few things! Thank you to everyone who is reading the comic and also to all those commenting. I really appreciate it, it’s a huge help into seeing how much people enjoy and are invested in my work which is a wonderful feeling! Even if you don’t agree with a direction or thing I do! I really appreciate it and thank you for your support.
For anyone who’s continued enjoyment of the comic is based on the current events being reconciled in some way, all the information I’ve given to people in the comments and more details are in the scripts yet to come. The balance between exposition dumps and giving everyone enough information to make conclusions is a difficult thing to do, if not impossible to do so that everyone can be on the same page. Some things might feel like they are blatant exposition while something may be so subtle people don’t catch it at all. I’ve adjusted some dialogue in future pages to help a little bit with explaining but the majority is still as it was written. If you are waiting for something to be brought up, please understand it takes time to get to the right place in the story for these things to be mentioned and in ways that aren’t out of nowhere. Some of it is also not even in this chapter so I hope you look forward to next chapter and beyond and I hope you all enjoy my work!
Oh, and if I appear or sound snippy or rude in replies to your concerns I do apologize for that. It’s not my intent to come across that way. I’ve read back over a few of them and I’m like “Well- I certainly could have worded that better.”
I would say the biggest issue is no matter what, since I write the story I will never be able to approach looking at the story from a point of view other than the person that knows the reasons for everything- even if that reason is not presented yet or- if it was presented just a long time ago and wasn’t obvious back then. I am in the unfortunate position of having to defend my choices without spoiling things, and even then I did spoil some things.
“I would say the biggest issue is no matter what, since I write the story I will never be able to approach looking at the story from a point of view other than the person that knows the reasons for everything- even if that reason is not presented yet or- if it was presented just a long time ago and wasn’t obvious back then. I am in the unfortunate position of having to defend my choices without spoiling things, and even then I did spoil some things.”
One trick I use (that also encourages reader comments) with my writing is to invite people to leave questions for the characters. The one that gets the most replies/votes (depending on platform) gets answered by said character in the next release. That way I can spill a little extra info—injecting some levity and “interruptions” to avoid actual spoilers—without break Death of the Author.
“Thank you to everyone who is reading the comic and also to all those commenting. I really appreciate it […]”
And a huge thank you for making a wonderful story that’s worth reading.
Crap. Had a long reply typed out and lost it. Well let’s try again.
I think part of the problem is that it’s not immediately obvious here that she’s supposed to be a raid boss that you’d want another 50 PC characters around to realistically fight. That’s why we got a bunch of comments going “Oh yeah she could just fight back later” or “she’s just trying not to hurt the mother in law”. Both of those reasons should be out the window just knowing how strong she is to begin with.
Which I guess isn’t helped by Kaitlyn actively saying a few pages back that “she’s not trying-” implying that the rest of that sentence is “-to hurt you”. She should already know that there’s not a good chance of doing any real damage here, right?
Yes she’s the leader of the village, so she’s not going to be a pushover sure. But it’s not super obvious just how one sided this is.
Another thing that stands out to me that’s related. If she is a former raid boss, how does our protagonist not immediately recognize who she is? Raid bosses that need 50 or so people to fight tend to stick out in your mind, especially as a long time player. Did Aiya change her name or something or have a more formal title that players would recognize?
The UI thing you mentioned in another comment I’d agree with. The art kinda implies she’s worse off than she apparently is if she’s still at 2/3rds health, and that this is more shock than being on the brink. Might have also helped make the point of “Oh wow, you took all that and you’ve still got that much stamina to play with? While naked? Alright maybe I believe some of this then.”
As for fear of exposition dumps, personally I feel like it’s not that big a deal, and sometimes is just needed. Sometimes it’s better to keep things more subtle or in the background, and sometimes it’s better to just have that information up front for the reader to be aware of. As long as it doesn’t feel like a classroom lecture it should be fine, which I guess is probably the real worry in avoiding that.
Thanks for the feedback, yeah, my reasoning for not saying she’s a raid boss at the beginning was so people would still think that Kaylin has a chance, and I was hoping that the fight would make it obvious she didn’t. As for Kaylin not knowing her – that’s explained in the next chapter and goes into a lot more depth on it so I’ll avoid saying it here.
As for the UI bit and if she had commented- I did think about stuff like that but most of it sounded like dirty innuendoes- which I mean- yeah, Aiya loves that, but considering the situation and all the stuff shes already said even I felt it was getting to be a bit much. I have considered possibly going back and adding a health bar on Kaylin though, but honestly I am not good as designing elements like that and I’m a bit worried about making one, not liking it, and then sorta being stuck with it! Since AI does get printed, so I can’t just go back and edit it all to match later… not sure if I should be concerned about that though as much as I am. Everything technically has changed quite a bit since then already.
As for Exposition dumps, I’m pretty firmly on the side of to avoid or minimize them as much as possible. They are something people LOVE to nitpick at and I personally like to do “Perspective Exposition”. Where a person tells something that they BELIEVE is true yet from someone else’s POV it’s very different. Problem with doing those is people often take all that stuff as fact because I put it in the comic. That’s kind of a bad habit though, it’s really not a great idea for writing, but it is more realistic.
I for one, thought it was rather clearly stated quite some time ago that she was something that even an experienced high level adventurer had to take care and planning for. Raid boss is well above what I was expecting, but I was not surprised in the least that she was able to trounce our hero without any preparation, to say nothing of lacking her equipment and being caught completely by surprise.
As for Perspective Exposition, I personally love that. It is closely related to the Unreliable Narrator and comes with all the same benefits and pitfalls.
Oh agreed, but there’s a difference between “I need to be prepared before trying something” and “I need to rally a small army.”
The former is why we got people saying let’s have a rematch once she has her gear. The latter is why that’s a terrible idea.
As for perspective exposition, I totally get where you’re coming from with that, but yeah there is the problem of everyone going “it was said in comic so it has to be true.” It kinda reminds me of what I’ve been told happened back when Empire Strikes back came out, Vader has his big “I am your father” reveal, and.. people didn’t believe him. Because he’s Vader, and Obi Wan wouldn’t lie right? Thus prompting the whole “from a certain point of view” chat early on in Return of the Jedi to clarify “No yeah that plot twist is real folks.”
It’s the downside to not really living in the world and having no other way to verify any information that the characters say. I love the idea, especially if it can be done well, but that is the downside here.
And yes, too much innuendo I agree would have been a problem there, point was more having a line that better showed what she was really after there. I’m not sure what the best way to write such a thing would be, I’ll fully admit that.
But all that to say that that’s where the disconnect seems to stem from. If nothing else, maybe it’ll help when it comes to future scenes and how to approach them? Writing ain’t easy folks.
I’m just weirded out by how…passive Kaylin is about the whole thing.
My gut reaction would be to never, EVER trust Aiya again, and ALWAYS to make sure I have a way to do maximum (irreversible) damage to her at any given moment, as well as making damn sure I use any opportunity to inflict said damage… (then again, I am a person who can and have easily held grudges for 20+ years…and oh boy, you better hope you don’t encounter me while I have a grudge against you…)
Maybe seeing a thoughtbubble with Kaylin’s current thoughts about the whole situation would help? (unless that would go into spoiler territory?)
Thought bubble would 100% contain spoiler information. Also- maybe you should work on your anger issues? Holy crap man, you want to permanently maim people you lost against? O_O
But- Kaylin is not being passive. She can tell that Aiya is not going to kill her, she’s still dangerous so shes going to be on guard but- she does know she can’t beat her and trying to would just be a death sentence for herself. Now, does that mean she has no way to strike back in some way? Nah, she’ll do what she can do safely but shes not stupid enough to do something crazy.
She does want to run but shes been afflicted by Aiya’s status effect, she can’t run physically. She’s an amazing actor – so she may seem calm- but she isn’t. Also her tone here is completely different from how shes been talking to Aiya, I hope people pick up on these little things so I don’t feel I have to say it XD
No, I don’t want to permanently maim people I lost against.
What I DO want, is to permanently maim people who have betrayed my trust, and in doing so have wounded either me, or someone I care about. BIG difference.
If you “just” betray my trust without causing physical harm, then meh, my own fault for ever trusting you to begin with. But you sure as hell are NEVER getting my trust, ever again. Period.
Addendum for slight clarification: the whole “getting betrayed and injured” thing has happened to me… more than once. I still have scars on my head from the first time, and that was almost 25 years ago now…
Excellent scene. Wouldn’t it be “works” not “work”, or is “magic” considered plural in this case?
Fixed it! Thanks for catching that one!
As a casual reader it wasn’t obvious Aiya was a raid boss.Even then, the term “raid boss” can be misleading. Is/was she a current max level raid boss or a prior expansion raid boss? Since we don’t have access to the game mechanics and nuts-and-bolts game information (datamining, etc.) there’s nothing to give us filthy casuals 😉 a clue this encounter could go really bad.
None of this is a complaint about the writing. This is more an explanation as to why there was some confusion in the case of this reader.
Yes, it was not meant to be obvious at all. I was expecting people to assume Kaylin was going to win so Kaylin can later reveal Aiya’s identity based on the clues she got. However, I don’t think the issue people had was with Kaylin losing- if that was all it was then that would be something everyone should get over quickly because heroes lose all the time.
@Sage: the thing is, up till now, for the entire comic you’ve written Kaylin as being basically totally above everything she’s fighting. Most of the fight scenes, including against Nyna, describe her being more bored than anything else. With Aiya, from the writing it appears that she’s basically tricking Kaylin to face her without her gear, becasue she would be scared to face her without the gear – and having Kaylin state she’s not even trying, just enhances that perspective… essentially placing Aiya into position of worst kind of villain – one that offers hospitality, and then abuses the trust of her guests to make them vulnerable and ambush them. That’s the impression the story gives to a reader at that point, so it’s in no way surprising that she – and her actions – get a lot of hostility. And honestly, raid boss or not, her actions as written, ARE deserving of it.. I can see no redeeming factors there. The ‘honorable’ way to do the same would be to be upfront, explain her view, and do a sparring match. If you’re saying she had to make it ‘real’ to be sure Kaylin is taking it seriously.. that still DOES make her the villain in the story, even if she’d claim ‘the end justifies the means’.
“TOO scared to face her WITH the gear”, a bit of a typo I had there.
I’ll address these all again to be clear. Kaylin has said many times that humans seem to be incredibly weak, the strongest shes seen besides other adventurers (like Mike and Callum) was the false Arch Mage. However, time and time again she has pointed out when she’s been face to face with a true threat. The monsters that stopped her and Nyna, several of them she identified as actual threats and blatantly said so. If people just don’t believe what she says that’s – probably not my fault?
Aiya’s goal was to make sure that Kaylin wasn’t lying and wasn’t a threat. Aiya doesn’t know if Adventurers got super charged or something, but quickly realized Kaylin’s skills were well bellow hers at least without gear. Kaylin was trying to avoid fighting, yes, but she was seeing Aiya as a person sees another person. Aiya was looking at Kaylin as a possible threat to her people and- being a monster, she’s got a bit of a one track mind when it comes to how to deal with threats. That much I thought was something that didn’t need explaining.
Finally, Kaylin was not granted hospitality, or protection, does this make Aiya a good person? HECK no. Aiya is seeing Kaylin in a more “hospitable” way than most adventurers see monsters, but not in a completely different manner either. Her only goal is to assess the threat and find out information.
“If she wanted information she should have just asked!” – I’ve seen this a lot from people, I don’t know if they have missed a lot of the comic or not but Kaylin is a master at bending the truth. It’s pretty much her gimmick. I already went down that path when i was writing this to begin with. That path leads to a very bad end when some truths come to light and nothing short of divine intervention can really help with it. If you know a reason why you think this wouldn’t work then you might have stumbled on a white lie told a while ago.
As for Aiya being a villain, well she kind of is! She’s an antagonist for sure and no one has to like her or ever forgive her but- Aiya’s not the one that murdered someone who is never coming back, that’s on Kaylin.
Sure, I’m just saying all the fights that we’ve seen so far. That doesn’t just include humans – like I said, the fight against Nyna, or the barghast (I think it was spelled) whom she pops by tossing a rock. I’m not really saying anything about Kaylin’s actual strength, only how all the fights she’s been involved in have been presented so far. In practice that can simply mean that she’s smart enough to pick her fights, and talk her way around situations that aren’t certain wins.
I do fully get the futility of ‘simply asking’, I’m just saying it would have depicted Aiya in more positive light if she’d been more honest about things herself… and if it’s not her nature to act that way – well, there you have it. That pushes her towards a role of antagonist that needs to be either avoided or defeated. And the latter being impossible, an inclination of many, probably most, people would be to GTFO the first chance – and I think a lot of the comments reflect that.
There’s also possible shift in perception towards Kaylin herself. If she’s seen as someone who’ll get deceived, take one to the chin.. and just smile and wag her tail, and say “thank you Mistress, may I have another?”, that’s probably going to be a departure from how her attitude has seemed so far, and will possibly have a bunch of people lose some respect towards her.
But again, don’t take this wrong – I’m enjoying the comic, and hope to keep reading it in the future. I’m mostly just trying to go through the possible reasons for the comments/reactions from reader’s perspective. Summarizing it, I think this encounter represented a fairly big shift in how Kaylin is presented – even if it’s unintentional, that’s how I personally see it as a reader – and that’s going to rub some readers the wrong way.
It’s good to have a reminder that Aiya is a monster. She’s not going to act in ways people expect. Remember Nyna was originally tagging along to try and find a way to defeat Kaylin. That said, the switch from Kaylin curb-stomping everyone to getting curbstomped is pretty jarring. Sage was trying to “show, not tell” how strong Aiya is, but playing with audience expectations is tricky business and can easily be interpreted by readers as bad writing. In addition, attempts to make a character hateable to frustrate the audience can leave them frustrated at the writer instead.
For right now Kaylin is taking this pretty well because putting on a false front is exactly what she would do. We’ll see if she decides to take precautions against this in the future.
I really wish there was an edit button 🙂 I watned to add: your intent as a writer may have been different, that would simply mean it didn’t get through to some of the readers.
I’ll add this much:
Assuming Kaylin is aware of Aiya’s strength, from her viewpoint facing a high tier raid boss, naked, is flat out impossible. She’d know she has zero chance of beating her, or defending against her.. the only option for a smart person in that position is to hope it’s some kind of show of dominance, roll belly-up and hope that’s enough to not get you killed. Under those conditions, I don’t see that Aiya could hold it as a reliable way to assess Kaylin’s strength. But then, that’s just my opinion and view of it.
take 2, lets see if this works.
Love the comic phil! I think some of the confusion with the Kaylin-Aiya fight is webcomic time. Nyna did mention her mother was an Elite that adventurer’s didn’t want to solo back when we met her in chapter 3, but that was posted January 2018 over 3 years ago! For me personally, I was hoping Aiya was closer to a traditional Elite, in a 2-3 people but you can solo with tricks/good rotations and not the raid/world boss you need 40+ people and some of you might still fall kind of boss.
Yeah, Nyna doesn’t know how powerful her mother is. She knows that she’s way stronger than she is, and Nyna is a level 85 Elite- so shes equivilant to a level 95 Adventurer – roughly speaking, while she told Nyna that some adventurers referred to her as elite, that wasn’t false but it also wasn’t all, the never wanting to fight her solo was a bigger clue as to how strong she actually was. I’ve not gone into detail on what kind of raid boss she is – as that’s discussed later, but I can’t discuss that with significant spoilers. It’s important to remember that Aiya is over 300 years old, while Nyna is 32. I can say though- Rune Aria has different tiers of raid bosses, usually ranked by players by how many parties on average should be taking on a challenge.
Still love the comic and reading the replies from the last week comic and this week is entertaining to see all the views people have about it. Watching Sage draw the comic live all ways have me wondering about what is happening and no filled in bubbles makes it much more interesting so never use bubbles please. Well that’s my 2 cent or 14 cents with inflation and taxes now days.
Pouty Nina is CUTE
“Kaylin was never offered Hospitality or protection…” Phil? Kaylin was in the bath because Aiya invited her. By definition, being in the bath with someone is a very, very vulnerable position, and Kaylin is an invited guest. Regardless of the reason, Aiya’s actions are hate-worthy.
Might be nit-picking here, but Kaylin wasn’t invited as a guest. However, she was titled as Nyna’s pet, see pg5 of this chapter, and Aiya acknowledged that multiple times by referring to her as such and even offering a leash and collar.
So instead of the tone being that Aiya lured a guest into an ambush and thus violated sacred hospitality; it is instead that Aiya convinced Nyna to trust her with her prized pet and the moment she left, Aiya threw a net over said pet and proceeded beat it, some hyperbole but not really that much due to the strength difference between Kaylin and Aiya.
Neither tones put Aiya in a good light, but the former does so to a larger degree.
Yeah- I don’t like the picture of Aiya beating up a dog- as I expect many people to think of when talking about a pet, but for people to understand this perspective, Kaylin in Aiya’s eyes is a wolf pretending to be a puppy. Aiya has seen her people torn apart by people like Kaylin, and now one is dragging her daughter around the world.
So Aiya’s thought process works like this. “Maybe Kaylin isn’t that bad but- what if she is? She did kill a villager even if the others reported he was rude, but she did stop there. They also reported that Nyna was acting strange but Tali seemed to think Nyna was infatuated but not like mind controlled. Well, I could talk to her, but she was really careful about talking to me, she might actually be really smart, some adventurers were really clever and tricky. when it comes to persuading people, I personally am not good at doing that, I rely on my intimidation. Intimidating other monsters is easy, I have an aura that monsters can clearly identify as being more powerful due to my status. To intimidate a powerful adventurer, I need to use a technique after injuring the target but it’s a high level fear/intimidation effect. That’s my best shot at getting what I want… but adventurers use gear to resist status effects. She’s got bracers, armlets, a choker, boots, pants, and a chest piece, but jewelry accessories and even helmets can be secretly worn somehow by adventurers. I need to separate her from my daughter, separate her from the kid, and her clothes- ” – Offers her the bath.
Still feel sorry for Kaylin for all this. That stated, it also probably reminded Kaylin that whatever Aiya LOOKS like, she’s still a monster and NOT a human, despite how Nyna acts with her. This could also have the downside of Kaylin developing a unconscious fear in regards to Nyna as well, which…kinda sucks. They’re so cute together.
But now I’m just curious about that worlds meta-game and if there was an OP build that did some cheesy stuff to solo the raid bosses.
Among other trollish deeds and misbehavior. xD
In the vein of a professional critique, I have a suggestion for the future based on what you *could* have done.
You had a sequence where Aiya put Kaylin underwater, and it had a profound effect on her. Thing is, there’s something missing from that sequence.
Say you took that frame where Aiya was talking while holding Kaylin under, and in its place was a frame showing the moment Kaylin actually went under, complete with a *sploosh* or something. Then have an entire page dedicated to that moment when she’s under. The frame with Aiya talking could be either the first or last frame of that page, but most of it would let us see Kaylin and know what she was experiencing, thinking, and feeling. A couple of frames to show the decreasing health bar, to show her realizing how helpless she is underwater where she can’t breathe and thus can’t cast spells, the moments where panic is taking over because she can’t think her way out of this. Aiya has all power over her, and she is helpless. And then the next page opens as it did, with Aiya bringing her up out of the water.
See, it would have shown us what was happening and how it was affecting her without even needing to describe everything with exposition and whatnot. It would have shown, no need to tell, and would have reduced confusion a bit, I think. And, really, this was apparently a very big moment for Kaylin, and we didn’t actually see it.
Something to keep in mind and learn from, I think.
LOL I don’t think people are upset because they didn’t get to see Kaylin in an extended amount of pain and suffering! XD
The major issue is how people are upset that Aiya is not a nice person to Kaylin and that she broke an unspoken trust that was based on her being welcomed into the home and that trust being crushed. Which is kinda what happened- but from Aiya’s perspective she took in Kaylin to do this and to confirm that Kaylin isnt a threat. You know… like a trap.
If anything I would prefer people didn’t think Kaylin was extremely traumatized by that because she’s got stats and skills that make her more capable of dealing with that, but she’s still affected. So, she has some trauma, but she’s not going to have PTSD over this – but she’s not just over it, but she is basically supernaturally strong, especially when it comes to things within the game. Her real PTSD has to do with her previous history and life being decimated but not enough for her to forget it all. So – you know- yay! I can remember that I forgot something! XD
I would argue that a single page is not “an extended amount of pain and suffering.” But setting that aside, and more to the point, I would argue that you’ve created a scenario which is apparently complicated enough that you, yourself, seem to be having trouble describing the impact of it in the comments. It has apparently left a number of us confused, not understanding what you’re trying to mean here. In short… “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then one extra comic strip could probably have saved you a good deal of explanation.
Again, it’s just a thought, just a suggestion for future use.
I really enjoy your comics.
Unfortunately from what I can tell this is not something I can do and make everyone happy. People aren’t confused about what is happening- they are angry about it. There’s not a failure to communicate, there is a failure to view things from a different perspective.
Most people are looking at this as a “If I were Kaylin” perspective, they aren’t looking at it from an “If I were Aiya” perspective. They feel betrayed, tricked, fooled and harmed. While Aiya feels she’s protecting her people, her family in the best way she knows how.
If I add more to explain this PRIOR to all this it’s like a writer saying just before a fight “Hey everyone- before the fight I just want you all to know that Aiya is going to just totally destroy Kaylin- even if she did fight back- but she’s not because shes caught off guard and without her items- so – now that you know that- enjoy!” which is just a spoiler or an out of place flashback.
You know those annoying Flashbacks in Anime where they show the bag guy wasnt always a bad guy? They do that right before they get defeated or just after for the watchers perspective to understand they aren’t REALLY bad, they just ended up in this position because of stuff- but flashbacks are often seen as filler, most people dont like them. So i have that information come out in topics later and sometimes before. There are hints and even lies prior to this about Aiya to know who she really is. That all gets confirmed later- not now- not before this fight.
I appreciate the comment, but I thought it was funny that you suggested I draw more of what I have already done that doesn’t seem to help the issue without it just being like- a whole comic of Kaylin drowning and Aiya laying on exposition- which is totally something I can see people doing- but it sounds so mean to do and for only the readers benefit not the story XD
To be clear, what Aiya says, and exactly as much as Aiya says, is pretty perfect. No info-dumping exposition needed. I mean, I easily got that Kaylin was trying not to hurt Aiya (and Aiya apparently not picking up on that seems a little odd, but whatever) and there wasn’t any need to info-dump on that. But we didn’t even see Aiya put Kaylin under, just grab her throat and cut to Aiya holding her under. For Kaylin’s experience of it, it’s strange to see her so jarred by it when it seemed to last only as long as it took Aiya to say that, a few seconds. Why did Kaylin not try kicking her off, for instance? You’ve mentioned that she saw her HP dropping, but we didn’t see any of that.
As far as people being mad at Aiya, that’s to be expected when she suddenly attacks Kaylin in the bath. What, could she not just demand that Kaylin do magic or something?
Perhaps another way of putting what I’m thinking would be, quite simply… screw making everyone happy, just make what happens clear. 😉
I understand and I agree with some of this but I do want to point out a few things.
Aiya does recognize Kaylin isn’t fighting back. This is not seen by her as a reason to stop but rather a reason to stop going easy on her if she’s not taking the attack seriously. It does tell her Kaylin is strong enough to stay calm under pressure.
As for kicking her off it’s simply a matter of she can’t. Aiya grabbed from behind which means she’s got kaylin head first under water pinned from the back. If there was a way for her to kick her off or force her off she would but she physically can’t beat Aiya.
Finally asking her to cast magic doesn’t tell her anything. Npcs can have and use skills and spells, also Kaylin can only cast the spells she has as a racial ability. She doesn’t have magic. She did both steal Aiya’s spell and use it to counter her follow up attack spell.
I did wrongly assume people would imagine time passing from dunked under water to her pulling her out before she started drowning.
I like what you’ve done.
Though it does jump-cut a little bit.
Aiya seems to be acting well within her expected nature.
If anything the whole thing makes her more distinct as an individual entity as opposed to some random pocket ally.
MOOOOOOOOOOM! Stop playing with my toy! You’re going to break it!
Strong feelings come from strong engagement with the story and characters, so on one level you should see it as a positive sign!
There’s probably not much you could have done to blunt the impact of the surprise attack itself on readers short of making it no longer a surprise. We didn’t see it coming and that’s in a way a good thing.
I will disagree with you on one point – to me comments do suggest some confusion in addition to the anger. UI aside, missing from the fight was context of how impressive the flashy fire and attacks should have been. I know you want to avoid exposition, but you HAVE used it before – nyna got a panel of mental reflection before answering if she was an elite. Such panels might have helped in this fight – one split moment of kaylin mid dodge thinking “So much in one hit? That is NOT just an elite!” As bad as it may sound, having her think frantically that she doesn’t want to die might have been powerful – both for her history and her own recognition that she couldn’t win so readers know she’s outclassed. A trick to be used sparingly for sure, but it could help show relative strength when hp bars aren’t around.
There’s still time to use such silent reflection going forward, especially with how withdrawn kaylin is acting. Taking some time to let it all sink in for both readers, kaylin, and aiya in the aftermath – capturing where everyone stands.
Either way I look forward to seeing where it all goes from here!
Ah, ya see, I think I agree with ya on a lot of this. I could have added more to the dialogue in the action scenes – I don’t think they would have helped with what most people really have an issue with, but it would have let me further expand on what’s happening. It would be a bit of extra exposition, but it might have been better. That said though- I also didn’t want to clutter this with text because I did put a lot into the art for these and getting the fun censoring. I just don’t think the exposition would have added enough. I feel like showing Kaylin always on the back foot from the beginning should be enough for people to see her as overwhelmed. I don’t think that’s the main complaint though. I feel like anyone who is ok with things as they are- but with the exception of Kaylin winning instead of Aiya, would just be disingenuous about the reasons for being upset. I hope there’s no one out there that feels like that.
I definitely saw the emphasis on the ‘fun censoring’! Amazing how many things can blur or cover in a bath house 🙂 The art turned out really well, so I can totally understand not wanting to cover it up with text. Adding a split-second ‘thoughts’ panel in there might have required reorganizing pages, but you could probably still have had those big pretty action shots on either side of it.
As for Kaylin always on the back foot getting the message across – I honestly interpreted that as her holding back and intentionally not counterattacking while Aiya took swipes at her, as opposed to being /unable/ to do so. Kaylin even started to say she wasnt trying, which fed that perception. She even looked unhappy or sad as she blocked in the panel where Aiya commented her grip was too soft, not panicked. Kaylin didnt clearly appear ‘in trouble’ until the final exchange when Aiya got her from behind out of the steam and grabbed her throat. There wasnt really an indication that the in-world Kaylin actually felt /threatened/ until that point – if she recognized the trouble she was in, that didnt quite come across until it was too late and Aiya had her underwater.
I’m not really sure how that could have been /shown/ without some form of exposition, thoughts, or UI indicators. We had plenty of signs of Aiya’s power in the form of collateral damage to the environment and she briefly taunted Kaylin’s grip strength and told her to start trying, but there’s no real visual basis for the level of power needed to damage or threaten either an adventurer or monster/boss/etc of Aiya’s level. Compare it to any anime where someone gets thrown through a wall/tree/mountain/planet/etc and doesn’t care, but a sudden underwhelming slice or punch from an opponent of equal power is lethal – environmental damage isnt a stable frame of reference.
It’s definitely a tough problem, given the sheer nature of ‘high level’ characters in this world setting. I hope this feedback is helpful!
I very much appreciate it- and yes, Kaylin was avoiding an actual conflict, and she didn’t feel like Aiya was actually going to kill her- but she was too afraid to take a hit on purpose. More stuff will be explained in comics to come and especially in the next chapter as its a big part of what’s revealed then.
For what is worth, I’m not a big MOO player, so some context / raid boss implication is probably lost on me, yet taking it in context of “person lost / stuck in computer game” I have no problem with this. Sure it was unexpected, perhaps “blue – orange morality” but I’m just along for the ride and enjoying story. I expect it will become clearer later in story. Keep up the good work, tell the story at your pace, don’t worry about rushing it just because your readers had a WTF moment just like our protagonist had…