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Webcomic / Debugging Destiny

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Debugging Destiny is a webcomic created by Joseph Abolt, started on a dare during quarantine for COVID-19. It tells the story of two unnamed narrators attempting to fix the universe simulator. The problem? Apparently Destiny is broken. While working on this, they spin up a second simulation to see what works - this is where most of the story comes from. In it, King tries to find his place among the different factions, eventually teaming up against the manipulative wizard Baleyg.

Notable for being produced entirely in PowerPoint, giving it an art style reminiscent of a storyboard. A very lo-fidelity storyboard.

Starts here.

Debugging Destiny contains examples of:

  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: The Mysterious Voice broke the universe simulator in the backstory, prompting them to recruit Redshirt Guy, kicking off the plot.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: Results from an intersection of many characters' specials affecting the world itself and the world being After the End of whatever came before. Since everyone can change the world to suit their own whims, everyone is encouraged to venture out and take action to achieve their goals.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • Strider is immune to any ambient magical effects.
    • Alexander can fire a pulse that cancels any nearby specials.
  • Art Shift: The simulation is rendered very differently than the real world. Both are drawn in PowerPoint, though, so there is not much different.
    • The real world is a stylized, low-polygon drawing of a man at a desk. See episode 1 for an example.
    • The simulation is 2D, with characters as teardrop-shaped icons with chess symbols on them. See episode 9 for an example.
  • Beast in the Maze: Osborne begins the story in a labyrinth created by Shanahan's Wall of Stone special, where he was trapped after ambushing and attempting to devour the Blue encampment. Shanahan rebuilds the maze each day, but Osborne tears through it trying to escape each night. He gets free, eventually.
  • Bit Character: Every character represented by a pawn is an unnamed bit character. Most notable are the various knights in the Stallways, who only exist to provide muttered commentary when King first arrives (in 31-10). The guards in the Stallways playing cards, as well as Ignacia's hypnotized slaves all count as well, each having minimal lines intended to set a scene rather than being full characters.
    • Averted with Morton, who is the only main character represented by a pawn. The other characters still treat him like an extra.
  • Casting a Shadow: Osborne's Shadow-Walk special lets him generate an aura of darkness that follows him. It's implied that he can still see in this, though others cannot.
  • Catlike Dragons: Ignacia at times. Especially when lying down, since she waves her tail back and forth like a cat. Since dragons in this setting take the Western form, they are already cat-shaped, helping reinforce this behavior. The Rant also comments on this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Crypt Sword, aka Tamwen, is introduced early in the story but picked up much later. Discussed and lampshaded by Redshirt Guy and the Mysterious Voice.
  • Chess Motifs: Characters do not have faces, instead using chess piece symbols for identification from Omega Chess, which includes the Champion and the Wizard. Characters with the King and Queen icon are unique, with no trends to their characterization. Characters using a Bishop or Wizard icon are magical. Characters with a Rook or Champion icon are physical. Characters with a Knight icon are tricksy. Pawns, of course, are so numerous and unimportant that they often have only a few lines, at best, except for Morton.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Every character in the simulation appears as a colored teardrop-shaped icon with a chess symbol on it. Since the symbols repeat, the color is the only way to distinguish characters. The color families (red, blue, green) also create a Geodesic Cast - see that entry for more details.
    • Baleyg is a purple Bisohp.
    • King is a bright red King.
    • Osborne is a blood red Rook.
    • Ignacia is a medium brown Wizard.
    • Alvis is a pink Knight.
    • Ambrose is a blue-grey Champion.
    • Mercury is a violet Bishop.
    • Strider is a medium blue Knight.
    • Shanahan is a sky-blue Wizard.
    • Elizabeth is a green Queen.
    • Alexander is a yellow-green Champion.
    • Morton is a dark green Pawn.
    • Quinn is a blue-green Rook.
  • Constructed World: The simulation used by the Mysterious Voice and Redshirt Guy is created in episode 5. Most of the story takes place within it. It is created explicitly to avoid breaking anything on Earth.
  • Creepy Cute: In-Universe, Strider, Elizabeth, and Alexander find zombies to be creepy, while King and Mercury think they're cute.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Baleyg (and only Baleyg) loves having cryptic conversations. He actively avoids giving straight answers, and prefers to mislead people than to directly ask for favors or help.
  • Dark Is Evil: Osborne is the only character to have literal darkness powers and is the only character presented as unrepentantly evil. In his first on-screen appearance, he is revealed to be a humanitarian to establish that he is irredeemable, and has been since long before the story began.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both the Mysterious Voice and Redshirt Guy are very snarky, bordering on Snark-to-Snark Combat. Usually anything productive one says is replied to with a snarky comment first. Morton earns an honorable mention as the Only Sane Man willing to call everyone out on being overly dramatic.
  • Determinator: A surprising amount - King, Strider, and Elizabeth all have shades of this, with speeches about refusing to compromise when they think they are right. King seems to be following this toward I Did What I Had to Do when he crushes Ignacia's slaves against a wall, killing several instantly.
  • Dragon Hoard: Ignacia has a traditional one of gold, but she also collects Red characters. It's unclear if all dragons in the setting have this compulsion or just Ignacia.
  • Dull Surprise: When the Mysterious Voice and Redshirt Guy are making fun of each other, this is their preferred tactic.
  • Enemy Mine: Elizabeth's first thought when hearing about Ignacia is to ally with her against Baleyg. No one else is willing to consider this, though.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Baleyg tries to be hammy. He even set up braziers that magically ignite or go out when he appears or disappears. Lampshaded by King.
    King: Is he really so theatrical to set something like that up ahead of time?
  • Exact Words: Used by King to protect Morton's secret: that Morton can detect requests to use Elizabeth's teleport special, and that Morton can recreate her special's effects.. No one else understands specials well enough to know this is an evasion rather than King's own lack of knowledge.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: One of Elizabeth's specials lets her perform long-distance charges. This is how she introduces herself (in 25-18), where she throws her foes aside with the force.
  • Foreshadowing: Baleyg the Prophet's predictions are this. We have seen one of them come true so far (King is now the strongest man alive).
    • Redshirt Guy and the Mysterious Voice think that Baleyg will kill everyone, which is either a straight example of Foreshadowing or In-Universe Wild Mass Guessing.
  • Geodesic Cast: Each color corresponds to a set of roles: warrior, mage, strategist, and teamwork. There's one of each role in Red, Blue, and Green. There may be further parallels, though they are not obvious yet. King is the Red Warrior, Osborne is the Red Mage (since he relies on his specials instead of combat strength), Ignacia is the Red Strategist (she prefers to use pawns), and Alvis is the Red Cheerleader. Elizabeth is the Green Warrior, Quinn is the Green Mage, Morton is the Green Strategist, and Alexander is the Green Cheerleader. Ambrose is the Blue Warrior, Shanahan is the Blue Mage, Strider is the Blue Strategist, and Mercury is the Blue Cheerleader.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: King is developing this mindset after his first conflict with Ignacia forced him to crush several of her unwilling slaves against a wall, killing them instantly.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Ignacia can hypnotize anyone she makes eye contact with, and has used used this to enslave all but 3 Red characters in the simulation. Alvis is scared of eye contact after living in the Ashes because of this.
  • I Have Many Names: Said nearly verbatim by Baleyg. So far, he is the only character with multiple names - he introduces himself as Baleyg Gangari, and is also referred to as Grim Eyes.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Osborne eats people. While he has not done this on-screen, he did ask to go into a room full of sleeping people so he could.
  • Invisibility: Alvis has short-duration invisibility powers. They are probably more than just invisibility, though, since they let her escape King's stasis field and walk through walls.
  • Living Statue: Living statues are present in the ruins. According to Strider, they are very difficult if not impossible to slay, though not all the statues are alive.
  • Living Weapon: The Crypt Sword is eventually revealed to be Tamwen, a spirit of earth and fire who happens to be sword-shaped. According to Elizabeth, she can talk, though no one else can hear it.
  • Love Triangle: According to Morton, Elizabeth, Alexander, and Quinn are in one. Elizabeth cannot pick one over the other, and they value their friendship with each other too much to fight over her.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Everyone's specials are Lovecraftian Superpower. The art style obscures the worst of this. Not the strongest example, since while all specials are unintuitive, are unique, and involve Body Horror when activating, they are common in the setting and are not treated as unnatural.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Baleyg prefers to manipulate people to keep them dependent on him and doing his work. Ignacia uses her Hypnotic Eyes to enslave an army of Red pawns.
  • Meaningful Name: Almost every named character's name is a hint at who they are or their role in the story.
    • King is represented by the chess symbol for a king and is foreshadowed to become a king someday.
    • Baleyg and Gangari are both lesser-known names for Odin, a trickster god of knowledge and death.
    • Strider is fated to walk the earth.
    • Elizabeth is the name of a famous English Queen, and is a queen.
    • Mercury has a magical song.
    • Alexander and Quinn mean "defender" and "advisor" respectively, which are also the roles they serve in their kingdom.
    • Osborne means "divine bear" representing his role as a supernatural monster.
    • Ignacia is a dragon whose name means "fire".
  • Mr. Exposition: Mercury often serves this role. Justified, since his Storied special means he knows a little about everything.
  • Necromancer: Appears to be part of Baleyg's powers, using the Power of the Void. When he reanimates Ambrose's corpse, Elizabeth decides Baleyg must be killed.
  • Note from Ed.: After all kinds of tricks to avoid boring scenes of people walking, the author finally resorts to one of these in 49-15.
  • One Scene, Two Monologues: Redshirt Guy and the Mysterious Voice in 32 talk right past each other.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Osborne's Vampire special heals him when he damages other creatures.
  • Power Incontinence: More powerful specials tend to have this.
    • Alexander's Unbeatable special makes him unable to lose a fair challenge... sometimes.
    • Shanahan's Portal special lets her open portals... with unreliable accuracy.
    • Ignacia can hypnotize people she makes eye contact with... except when she can't.
  • Power of the Void: This may be Baleyg's special. If so, this is how he achieves Necromancer status. Although it is not clear he even has specials, or what exactly he is.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: The Mysterious Voice does this while pretending to be Redshirt Guy's stream of consciousness. Crosses with Tempting Fate.
    Mysterious Voice: Alright, Universe. Bring on the caffeine-and-fever dreams.
  • Run or Die: So far, every time we have seen Ignacia she incites this in everyone else. Although there is the ever-popular third option: get hypnotized by her.
  • Running Gag: People assume King is royalty because of his name. Although, according to Baleyg, he will be royalty someday.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Heavily enforced in the Stallways. Ignacia's betrayal of Sacred Hospitality is our first big hint that she's an antagonist.
  • Shout-Out: Somewhat common between Redshirt Guy and the Mysterious Voice. So far, they have mentioned Hamlet, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Matrix, Little Shop of Horrors'', and Arthurian Legend.
  • Talking Weapon: According to Elizabeth, the Crypt Sword is a spirit named Tamwen. No one else can hear Tamwen talk, though, so something else may be going on.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Morton's special is to make sure he nettles everyone he interacts with.
  • The Protagonist: King, defined by the simulation. A number of Deuteragonists and Antagonists are officially added later.
  • The Rant: Appears on every episode (it is a webcomic, after all). Sometimes helps clarify points that the medium is ill-suited to, such as time "stuttering" in episode 3.
  • Unsound Effect: Smoosh, whenever King crushes someone against a wall. Otherwise averted.
  • Voice of the Legion: Ignacia speaks in many different voices when trying to be intimidating. She does this by having all her slaves speak together.
  • Walking the Earth: Strider and his followers are doing this while trying to find a way home, although Baleyg uses the name of a different trope (Miles to Go Before I Sleep) when describing it.
  • Zerg Rush: Ignacia can pull this off with her army of hypnotized pawns, and does so to try and trap King.