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Fanfic / Substitute Actor

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Used with MorphyMorpheus's permission.

"... You named someone Sherman and gave me these options..."
gorilla_fingers, first reply of the thread

Substitute Actor is a RWBY quest written by General Trash, also referred to as the General.

The adventures of Ash T. Sherman and his many failed attempts at not making friends.

An OC-replaces-Jaune quest with the catch that Jaune—who in this world joined a police academy—is replaced by the militant, one-track-minded, Grimm-hating grandson of a fictionalized William T. Sherman. Started in Oct. 22, 2018, the General updates quickly, sometimes with two installments a day. As of Dec. 4, 2018, the quest is at 884 replies.


Substitute Actor contains examples of:

  • Alternate Universe Fic: In the world of Substitute Actor, Jaune Arc is training to become a police officer and Ash T. Sherman is attending Beacon.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Not the fic itself, but Port admits at the end of his story about the giant wolf that he doesn't know what it was or if it really had a rider.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite accepting aura, semblances, and Grimm as normal, a Beacon textbook writes off the possibility that wizards or people made of wood could exist. Lampshaded when the narration notes that of course wood people don't exist, only wood monsters.
  • Birds of a Feather: Ash and Weiss. They're both initially interested in teaming up because they recognize each other's families, they get along because they're both hard workers and derisive of anyone they've decided is below them, and they're (along with Blake) the only students who have a real idea of what it means to be a Hunter.
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  • Comes Great Responsibility: The responsibility to make difficult decisions. At the end of his first class, Oobleck explains that with so many people counting on them, a single misstep from a Hunter could cost thousands of lives.
  • Crossover: A non-canon one with Enkida's Grimm quest, Bloody Evolution, in which Ash has a nightmare about being Bloody Evolution's leading rabbit Grimm.
  • Dream Sequence: A comical one in the final part of Act 1 where Ash dreams he's a worm slaughtering countless Grimm with a fancy stick and riding a solid silver eyeball. The enemy grim are led by an Obviously Evil Ozpin, who worm-Ash beats to death with his stick.
  • Famed In-Story: Pyrrha, as in canon. Weiss still tries to recruit her because of her reputation, but Ash points out that they can't trust word of mouth and that they should hear it from Pyrrha herself.
    • The Schnees and Shermans. Weiss and Ash are initially willing to give one another the time of day because they recognize each other's families.
  • Fantastic Racism: The CRDL boys, as in canon. They're introduced harassing Velvet about her ears in the background. Ironically, three of them make up team BWBL, lead by the Faunus Blake.
  • For Want of a Nail: Jaune enters a police academy rather than Beacon and a war hero's militant grandson attends Beacon as a Hunter trainee. Unlike Jaune, Ash's disposition and background quickly have him allying with Weiss, starting a blood feud with Pyrrha, and assigning Blake to lead a minion squad made up of the CRDL boys.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Great War between the Four Kingdoms, which Ash's grandpa fought in. It ended long before the main characters were born.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Sky and Dove still end up partners despite the teams being reshuffled.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ash and Weiss may be blunt about it, but they're right that Hunters are essentially soldiers and city-based Hunters should be prepared for having to kill the occasional criminal. Weiss also correctly points out that Yang doesn't take being a Hunter seriously enough.
    • Ash is excessively rude about it, but he's right that Pyrrha's experience fighting humans in a controlled environment is not entirely comparable to fighting life or death battles with Grimm.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Faunus, natch. So far, Blake has been introduced and Velvet has been referenced.
  • Military School: Beacon and, presumably, the other Hunter academies. Highlighted by Ash's presence and attitude.
    • Particularly apparent in the Beacon First Company omake, where Ash has turned Beacon's first years into the titular military company and marched them into Vytal Festival.
    • Discussed in chapter 23 of the main story. Beacon is a government school that's explicitly treated as part of the military for funding purposes.
  • Noodle Incident: Why Yang isn't allowed to go clubbing anymore. All we know is that it involved blenders and that she still goes clubbing anyways.
  • Omake: Two non-canon one-shots and an Interlude.
  • Rousing Speech: Parodied. Ash delivers a few in the style of a military officer boosting morale in the troops.
    • The first one is delivered to Ruby, accidentally, when Ash gives her grief over almost blowing herself up with Weiss's Dust. She gets him on the topic of killing Grimm, which he's very passionate about, and gets the impression that he was just worried about her well-being when he flubs his intimidation roll.
    • Another, nastier speech is aimed at Ruby and Ren when they don't want to team up because Ren wants to work with Nora and Ruby doesn't like Weiss. Weiss later tries to talk Ash out of being so rude, which he tells her he will consider but doesn't intend to.
      Ash: What we here for, Munchkin, Ren? To play with dolls? To have a tea party? To braid each other’s hair? No! We are here to become Huntsmen, the first and most crucial line of defense between humanity and the soulless onslaught of the Grimm, and in order to do that successfully, we need to be as efficient and effective as possible! To wit: Munchkin is a fast, in-and-out precision fighter, the Schnee family Semblance is virtually unmatched when it comes to support, and it is easier to list what I can’t do than it is to list what I can. Whatever you can do, Ren, it would easily fit within the dynamic of such a team. Your concerns are noted, written down, and promptly thrown into the trash.
    • Considering one of his electives is Language, Dialects, and Communication, Weiss might get her wish after all.
      • A few scenes later, when Weiss and Ruby are arguing about where to store Weiss's Dust, Ash argues for Ruby's point by playing to Weiss's ego... and then smugly asking if that was diplomatic enough for her. Weiss is not amused.
    • Chapter 22 has Ash gush about warfare... and how it's a huge waste of time when it's not against Grimm.
    • The next chapter, he follows up by going into detail about how Hunters are essentially soldiers and the Beacon kids are at school to learn how to be very, very good at murder. Of Grimm, obviously.
    • Ozpin's speech to the new students is also periodically interrupted by him sipping smugly from his mug.
  • Running Gag: Ash going on a Character Filibuster to inspire the troops.
    • Ash terrorizing the CRDL boys in the name of making them better Evil Minions.
    • Ash having to clarify that he doesn't care for human on human violence, just human on Grimm slaughter.
    • Ruby Completely Missing the Point of whatever Ash is trying to accomplish and accidentally trampling his ego.
  • Serious Business: Being a Hunter. Ash and Weiss in particular are angry and confused when Yang says that Hunters aren't soldiers, and Ash doesn't like Pyrrha because he doesn't think her experience as an arena fighter is comparable to the life or death situations Hunters are expected to face.
  • Shout-Out: Professor Port's first class has him retelling two stories, one involving a duck and a wolf and the other ending with his grandfather complaining about how he could have gotten hurt, referencing Peter and the Wolf.
  • Stunned Silence: The class's reaction to Yang's knowledge of Vale's geography.
  • Training from Hell: Ash starts waking his teammates up at 4am and running the four of them to the ground training. Unlike other instances of this trope, Ash (reluctantly) recognizes the others' limits the first time he does this and drops them off in class while he finishes up.

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