Web Video: Valkyr Studios aka: Rather Vocalized Illusion
Val'Kyr Studios is a commentary/comedy group centered around Youtube and Tumblr, run by five members across the globe: Bhaalspawn and Renegade, in Nova Scotia; NintendoGal, in Quebec; and Wolfenangel, in Texas.
Actually Pretty Funny: Bhaalspawn takes a serious attitude through most videos, but often slips a gag or visual pun into his narration that gets much attention in the comments section. YMMV on whether the jokes are actually funny or just groan-inducing.
Angrish: Bhaal has moments where he stutters out of sheer shock.
This has been averted in newer videos, where his editing and public speaking has drastically improved.
Dark Is Not Evil: The Psychosocialist goes around wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask, Proudly listens to heavy metal artists such as Disturbed, Korn and Ozzy Osbourne, Wears all black (with few exceptions) and in videos is shown to be a cynical, dark individual.
One episode had Bhaal knocked out while talking so the Psychosocialist could hijack the show (a second time).
Bhaal was cut off in a rant about plot holes in his second episode on Brony Culture by the editing software.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Bhaalspawn is very rude, smug, snarky, cynical, and oftentimes insulting to his audience. Jerry is laid-back, respectful, and very nice to those who reach him outside of his show or blog.
No Fourth Wall: Bhaal is always talking directly to the audience, never to other characters outside of gags.
Noodle Incident: Bhaal (and Peet in real life) quickly changes the subject when anyone asks about the "Bhaal/Psycho Slash Fic."
Oh Crap: The Psychosocialist's reaction right before Bhaal beats him for hijacking his show.
Jerry: You want to claim to be "Pro Life"? Why don't you go help the poor, feed the hungry, heal the sick. Why don't you target the parents who disown and abandon their children for being gay/lesbian/bisexual/ect. Why don't you work to end war, instead of propagate it. If you're so Pro Life, why do many of your supposed allies viciously defend the Constitutional Amendment that does nothing but ENDANGER life?
Jerry: Why become the very thing that had you in it's cross-hairs not two years ago. I said in the last video that I'd like to be wrong about fans and fandom. The same thing is said here. Normally I'd be inclined to think that a webcomic played for laughs is of no harm and wouldn't affect the mentality of the people who view it but... I'm not so sure anymore, the evidence proves otherwise. Bronies, you should... no that's not right, we should know better than this. We should be better than this. We can be better than this, so why aren't we?
Rule34: During a series of videos on Bronies, Bhaal often inserted Rule 34 images into his videos as a method of revenge.
Bhaal seems to have a habit of forgetting names of characters, settings, and even whole websites, often asking for help from an unknown and silent person offscreen.
Shipping: invoked Over half of the questions that have been posted on the Confessions Blog have been shipping confessions. From the sane (Bhaal/Brittany, Bhaal/Tara), to the fanatical (Bhaal/Blake, Brittany/Tara), to ones that don't make sense (Brittany/Blake, NintendoGal/Blake), to just plain crack ships (Bhaal/Twilight Sparkle, Bhaal/Gardevoir).
Peet has designed several video games with RPG Maker, but the general public has very little knowledge about them. The first of these games, based on Tale of the Valkyrie, has an article on the show's Wiki here.
White Knighting: Bhaal does this in the Ask Bhaalspawn blog, where mistreatment of the character of Brittany is met with his fury... unbridled fury.
He also White Knighted the entire company of BioWare in one episode of the web series.
More recently, White Knighted the character of AnakinSkywalker in a current RVI.
Winds of Ascension is a 2D Story Based RPG built in RPG Maker VX Ace. The story centers around Ascentia, a young huntress' daughter who makes her way out into the Imperial nation to carve out a name for herself. Along the way she encounters a religious war between the Ravians, paranoid evangelicals who terrorize the Empire's open and free way of life.
Bi the Way: invoked Ascentia can be played as either straight or gay by the player. The ability to have multiple consenting partners if the player is conversation savvy enough also allows her to be bisexual.
Chainmail Bikini: Subverted, both from a graphical standpoint (It is a top-down 2D RPG after all) and from a story standpoint.
Character Customization: The player can choose Ascentia's class, ethical standing, sexuality, and even her sexual fetishes (though being a non-explicit game they won't be mentioned much).
Through modifying the graphics files, her appearance can be altered as well. The developer fully endorses this, and has included plans to exploit this with varied character designs.
Damsel in Distress: Jim The Knight is on a quest to rescue his Princess from the evil clutches of... evil.
Subverted by the fact that Ascentia has to help him most of the time or he'd get himself killed.
Also subverted when it turns out that his kingdom, along with said Princess, was destroyed and he went insane from the shock and genuinely believes his Princess is being held captive.
Darker and Edgier: The end of Jim's storyline, where it turns out that his kingdom was burned and everyone, inclduing the Princess he was searching for, was killed. The trauma drove him to insanity, believing the Princess was merely captured. Even Ascentia tears up at it.
Ascentia has the same name and general physical design as Ascentia Kortai from the Tale of the Valkyrie series. However their personalities are vastly different from one another.
Game-Favored Gender: The player can choose Ascentia's class, sexuality, moral and ethical standing, but her gender is non-negotiable.
Some players have asked for a male option, and the developer has said flat out "No".
Near-Rape Experience: One of the villains has this. After being defeated, her controlled monsters turn on her. Ascentia pulls her out of the situation, though.
The evil option is to just leave and not help her.
The REALLY evil option is to laugh afterward.
Plucky Comic Relief: Jim the Knight. A mighty knight in shining armor... who is nuttier than rat crap in a pistachio factory.
Polyamory: This is one of the few non-hentai games that allow the player to have more than one romantic partner.
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The player occasionally has the option to commit rape on another character. This usually comes with heavy penalties for doing so.
The biggest example is the Succubus Nyaria, who the player can opt to rape and kill upon meeting her. The player is given two options to back down from this decision, with the demoness begging for her life.
What's worse is that if the player had been playing a good and righteous character up to that point, their Ethical and Morality scores will be reset to 0 (True Neutral).
Jerry asked the Alpha Testers to take this option along with the others to test the event code. Despite the scene not overtly showing them what exactly happens, they commented on being unable to finish the entire scene.
Take That: Has numerous shots taken at female character design in video games.
If Ascentia is a Warrior or Blademaster, she can ask the armor vendor in the Imperial Capital about revealing armor.
Ascentia: You have anything that will cover the unimportant areas but leave my midsection free to be eviscerated?
If Ascentia is a Sorceress, there is a hidden Take That to Dragon's Crown
The Cutie: Jim The Knight is this to some people. Some players find his over the top devotion to heroism adorable.
Ascentia to some players. Especially her faces.
Transsexual: Kind of averted. Jim asks Ascentia if she ever used to be a man and had her gender magically altered. Ascentia handwaves the question and tells Jim that if that were the case, telling people what she used to be would beat the purpose of changing her gender in the first place. Even choosing to answer Jim with a blatant "Yes" or "No" gives the same speech.
In brothels, Ascentia has the option to choose between a Male Courtesan, a Female Courtesan, and a "Female" Courtesan.
The entire game treats gender as an inconsequential character trait.
The developer has stated that the amount of variations to account for an openly transsexual character was crossing the line of reasonable for a one-man development team. The hand-waving, coupled with the varied romance options, allows the player to role-play any gender identity they wish.
Except for anything involving being a man, as the protagonist is locked in as being female.
Tale of the Valkyrie
A long and multi-universal series of adventure stories written by Jerry Peet and Cassie Chevrier.
Academy of Adventure: The Val'Kyr Capital houses a training academy for their young, and students are often sent into battle with their teachers.
The Earthen War is this in spades, as every Val'Kyr was called to arms regardless of age.
Ambiguously Evil: Lord Ryder is a highly unpleasant person in most iterations and installments. His list of war crimes during the Earthen War alone puts him well above the likes of Stalin and Hitler. However he is also characterized as a dedicated family man, a stressed leader, and someone who believes in a firm yet gentle hand for his people.
The actual mortality of Lord Ryder is determined on whether the Val'Kyr are at war or not.
Asskicking Equals Authority: Lord Ryder and Ascentia Kortai are the largest figures of authority despite there being another Val'Kyr as the supreme leader, mostly by their respect as war heroes among other Val'Kyr.
Val'Kyr rage shifts embody the user with enough raw power to devestate entire continents. However, this only really happens during an adrenaline rush, which means the already powerful Val'Kyr have encountered something strong enough to make them fear for their own lives. And since the rage shift can leave a Val'Kyr completely drained when it ends, they have to kill their target or they are doomed.
Fel Magic is incredibly powerful, however using it drains the caster's life, making it nearly suicidal.
Bury Your Gays: Subverted, as bisexuality is very common among the Val'Kyr. Many high ranking Val'Kyr (Ascentia, Tolrah, Aiden and Kalthi) are openly gay.
Creator's Favorite: Ascentia is given far more development and screen time, as well as numerous different variations on the character. Furthermore, the inner workings of Ascentia's psyche is something that both Jerry and Cassie claim to spend a lot of time working on. Playing with Ascentia's character is a fun pastime for them.
Chainmail Bikini: Averted, as all armor among the Val'Kyr is perhaps a little too practical (constructed from metal that is heavy enough to make an entire suit of it weigh 700lbs).
Darker and Edgier: The series does this with it's crossover universe. See Massively Multiplayer Crossover below.
Disproportionate Retribution: Humanity destroys a statue of Jaina Ryder and kills twelve Val'Kyr. Lord Ryder takes his entire army and wipes out all of Humanity in retailiation.
Lord Ryder to Anakin Skywalker, Arthas, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Darth Sidious.
Ascentia to Kreia, Captain Janeway, and Commander Shepard.
Peet has also used the phrase "What if Lauren Faust was a Death Knight" to describe the basic idea behind Ascentia, as well as use it as a comical defense against criticism of the character on the basis of how "awesome" the mere idea sounds.
Tolrah to Elsa. Right down to the ice powers.
April Fyon to Pinkie Pie, Larxene, and Loki
Fate Worse than Death: The Val'Kyr have the power to "Necrotise" an entire race at once, turning them into undead, mindless slaves to be used as Cannon Fodder. It's considered so morbid that Lord Ryder has only ever ordered it to be used on one occasion, and that occasion wasn't even canonical.
Made of Indestructium: Saronite, the metal that most of the Val'Kyr's weapons, armor, and structures are constructed from, is not only incredibly dense and resistant to heat, cold and impact, but is also incredibly carcenogenic in it's raw form to mortals.
Mama Bear: Any female character that has Val'Kyr powers and loved ones is this.
Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The galaxy is drawn out in such a way that any work of fiction in the real world has some sort of representation in the franchise's universe. Peet has admitted that keeping track of all of this tends to get so difficult he's resorted to drawing up a Galaxy Map for his own sake.
The Power of Love: The power of love doesn't appear to exist in the universe, however love tends to drive the already omnipotent to go completely Ax-Crazy.
Really 700 Years Old: Most Val'Kyr are significantly long lived. Ascentia is counted at roughly 900,000,000 years old.
The Smurfette Principle: Averted. There are far more significant female characters than there are male characters, and the women are often given far more development time than the men. Even for minor characters.
This is especially true with Ascentia, who started out as a token apprentice character and quickly became the Creator's Favorite.
Take That: When King Dainn rants to Lord Ryder about how he will purge the weak so that only the strong may survive... Ryder proceeds to show him how weak he is in comparision to a Val'Kyr. As well as taunt him that his takeover of Equestria was fueled entirely by the treachery of Princess Cadance and the guerilla tactics of sneaking into Canterlot and brainwashing the guards. He then proceeds to call Dainn and his ilk cowards who are too weak to rule... and how they will be purged.
Shout-Out: Tale of the Valkyrie is filled with them. See Massive Multiplayer Crossover above.
alternative title(s): Rather Vocalized Illusion; Valkyr Studios; Rather Vocalized Illusion; Rather Vocalized Illusion; Rather Vocalized Illusion; Rather Vocalized Illusion; Rather Vocalized Illusion; Rather Vocalized Illusion