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YMMV / Erfworld

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  • Arc Fatigue: Book 4: Lies and Dolls is the least focused and slow to progress book in the series. It is also worth noting that it was informally split from Book 3, which became longer than intended.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Part of the point, the protagonist is fighting for the "Bad" Guys, and the "Good" guys are willing to stoop even lower than Stanley to win. And Stanley stoops low.
    • Is Sizemore really a Woobie who lives in a world that wants to make his life miserable, or has he just always been privileged and is now unable to handle the reality of normal life in Erfworld?
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    • Is Jillian a selfish brute who refuses to think of anything in terms other than how it affects her, or is she just working off her experience in old Faq, where the court refusing to think about the immediately practical in favor of philosophy nearly destroyed the side, and worse?
  • Anti-Climax: Erfworld manages to turn Anti-Climax into a Moment of Awesome when a shocking Wham Episode (an imprisoned Wanda taking the Arkenpliers from Janis using Exact Words to justify stabbing her with them, intending to decrypt her and use her to fight her way out of prison) is bluntly put down in the very next update (Janis rolls her eyes and asks "Really?"), neatly pulling the rug out from under the 33 pages of forum ranting the first update had produced.
  • Ass Pull: Book 4's ending has one after another, in the form of both Contrived Coincidence and a lack of foreshadowing regarding what an awakened tower is capable of (although their being scary, unknown, game changing entities is sorta the point). While doing things that should be impossible is the entire premise of the comic and a major theme of Book 4 in particular, Parson is explicitly here in Erfworld to "break war itself", and it's more-or-less established that Fate is a real entity that will create incredible contrivances to ensure what is Fated to happen will happen (including and especially Charlie's death), said contrivances were seen as narratively dissatisfying by many fans. Many characters lampshade this by expressing concern about the rampant cheating getting out of hand and changing the status quo too quickly - Claud was always ambivalent about the guns he hacked into existence, but is so appalled by the implications of Big Think's infinite juice hack that he tries to threaten Big Think into using Thinkamancy to force itself to forget what it's just discovered.
    • Charlie's archons have Wanda at gunpoint. Charlie gives the order to pull the trigger, and the archons are immediately - and coincidentally - croaked by Big Think using Lilith's strings as a conduit. Briefly foreshadowed in the previous update where Tondeleyo directly states that this action might force Fate to intervene in a drastic and unpredictable way, an explanation which is more-or-less confirmed at the very end of the book when Fate allows Charlie's second attempt to kill Wanda to succeed because circumstances have changed and it no longer needs her for its plans.
      • Big Think's entire existence could be considered an asspull, since what happens when casters die while linked has never been discussed before.
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    • After investing a large amount of effort, Charlie gets a Near-Villain Victory by successfully tricking Parson into using a scroll designed to banish him back to Earth, or at least fatally slam him into the sky. How does he get thwarted? It rather suddenly gets revealed that the mystical connections created by bonding with other people can be empowered to pull people to where they feel they belong (i.e. The Power of Friendship). Jed notes that this was actually cheating, and implies that serious trouble is coming because of it.
    • Caesar commits suicide, which would normally seal the end of Transylvito due to all sides being a Keystone Army. With little foreshadowing, it is revealed that awakened towers can promote units to heir, even without payment. It is also suddenly revealed that towers can break contracts, and Transylvito's tower rips apart the unpleasant contract Charlescomm had just made them sign. Like Jed, Huehue views this as a positively criminal act that essentially makes him and Transylvito outlaws in the eyes of the other "Tutelaries".
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    • Some people have argued that the Uncroaked volcano from the first book is an asspull, as the only foreshadowing given is that links allow casters to do things they can't normally do. Other people have used said volcano to justify Book 4's asspulls, since Book 4 gives us much better insight into the mechanisms that make these cheats possible. Calling it foreshadowing might be a stretch, though.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Jillian. The fanbase will sometimes argue over whether she is an awesome Conan the Barbarian-esque free spirit or a Too Dumb to Live Flat Character with loads of Character Shilling. Or a woobie who had her mind destroyed and never healed, for that matter.
    • Wanda. On the one hand, when she wants to, she can be a very badass spellcaster able to turn the tide of a battle all by herself. Being attuned to the pliers helps tremendously, making her the most powerful Croakamancer who ever lived thanks to her army of Decrypted units. On the other hand, she is full of herself and makes several mistakes regarding Jillian, whom she was sure to be able to manipulate, but her attempts backfired twice. She also has a blind faith in Fate, which she doesn't completly understand, leading her to make some very dumb decisions like preventing Lilith from shooting Charlie, on the basis that Parson is supposed to be the one to croak him (completely ignoring the fact that indirect orders from Parson himself may or may not qualify as him being responsible for Charlie's demise, that there are multiple clever ways to fulfill the prophecy, and as Marie pointed out "Fate would have adapted").
  • Broken Base: In Summer 2019, after the announcement of a hiatus for the rest of the year and a change in art style to 3d modeling (supported largely by kickstarters for 3d models for user's forum profiles), questions about previous kickstarter rewards resulted in Rob shutting down the /r/erfworld subreddit, and a new, "fan" subreddit being formed (/r/erfworldascending). This has largely set the "Cult of Rob" against the "Rob Haters" (as each side calls the other).
  • Cry for the Devil: While not evil per se, the morally ambiguous Great Minds got IMMEDIATE sympathy from the fandom when the majority of them were killed and Isaac was left a broken man from the psychic backlash and mental trauma.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Misty and "Scarlet". The latter of which has now been officially named Lady Sylvia Lazarus.
    • Jack, especially after his wits return to him.
    • Lilith, the decrypted archon, earned her fanbase thanks to her wits (after all, she managed to scam Charlie and were it not for Wanda's intervention, she could have possibly killed him) and her defiant personality. The more readers saw of the mayhem she caused in Charlescomm City all by herself, the more they wished her to survive the seemingly insurmountable odds. And eventually she did.
    • In an incredible example of Ascended Extra, Vinnie's Bat 11.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Wanda. Her Unlimited Wardrobe helps somewhat.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the 7 epilogue, Jack in Black, Jack tells Parson about Charlie (the stuff that happened in Book 0). Parson is surprised that it was the Arkenshoes that are the last Arkentool and not the Arkensaw which was one of the guesses for the forth tool on the Wild Mass Guessing page. Amusing given how many Erworld readers are tropers.
    • Also, in a previous page of Book 2, Parson referred to Jojo's offer of taking him home as ruby slippers.
    • In one of the text updates for Book 2, Ossomer mentions that he could take King Slately out with one kick. Later on, Parson does kick the king (he even gets an achievement for it).
  • Jerkass Woobie: Charlie's signamancy implies this, since he appears as none other than Charlie Brown through a lens of Dark Lord on Life Support. He is literally fated to fail and have his plans continually foiled by things outside his control, but he keeps persevering endlessly. None of this changes the fact that he's an evil jerk.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I can taste key lime pie."
  • Mind Game Ship: The interactions between Wanda and Jillian have traces of this.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • In Book 0, one might be able to forgive Olive Branch for killing Tommy, as this is a world of war. One might even be able to forgive her for wiping Goodminton out for the same reason. But on page 50, we discover that Overlady Judy Gale is trapped in a garden of addictive flowers, her teeth rotting out and skin like paper. Olive Branch is controlling her side by supplying the Ruler with drugs.
    • Also in Book 0, the Healomancer Betsy crosses the line when she decides to take advantage of a Thinkomancy/Healomancy dualcasting with Charlie to try and 'fix' Jillian's warrior nature by randomly destroying and deleting several of her memories.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Unusual in that it seems deliberate by the creator, but Stanley's team is usually cast in a more favorable light than the Royal Crown Coalition. Consequently, a quick look at the forums will show fans cheering whenever Parson's plans succeed and booing whenever Ansom has some success. This is primarily because all factions are equally unlikable, and Parson is the protagonist.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Stanley wants to train Parson in tactics after Book 1. Everyone scoffs at this idea, but if you think about it, he's right to a certain degree. Why did Bogroll die? Because Parson was unwilling or unable to croak Ansom on his own (with a possibility of surviving). Parson doesn't lead from the front when it's better for him to add his bonus to a stack. Finally, Parson is a level 2, overweight man who has no combat prowess. Warlord Artemis shows us that, with training, a unit can level without going into combat. Parson doesn't level at all between book 1 and book 2. Maybe Parson should have listened to Stanley just to get the combat lessons and his perspective on combat theory if not his strategic theory. This is redeemed by the fact that Parson has been doing his own dirty work more and more since midway through Book 2.
    • Jetstone's fixation on Royals ruling Erfworld is slightly redeemed in Book 2, when it becomes clear that to them Royalty is highly bound to honor and justice, which Gobwin Knob and especially Stanley almost completely lack. It moves from "We don't want the peasants to get above themselves" to "Only the Lawful Good deserve to rule and that means Royalty."
  • The Scrappy: Jillian seems to attract a lot of vitriol from some corners of the fandom.
    • Vanna the Turnamancer has, if anything, eclipsed her in unpopularity.
  • Squick:'s 404 page originally featured Bogroll, a bulky twoll, in one of Wanda's pretty outfits.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Book 2 is drawn by a different artist than book one. The new art is just as good, it's just... different... in small, subtle ways. One can get a sort of Uncanny Valley effect the first time seeing the new art style after being so used to the old one.
    • With another new artist taking up the reins for "Book 2 Epilogue" onward, this is happening again.
  • Values Dissonance: In-world: many aspects of day-to-day life in Erfworld don't sit well with Parson.
  • What an Idiot!: Jillian telling her captor, Olive Branch, how she will escape from her trap. This allows Olive to correct her initial plan in order to stop Jillian from escaping. Then Jillain spots a way out of the countertrap, and brags again, letting Olive organize a recapture. And afterwards Jillian still hasn't learned her lesson.
  • The Woobie:
    • Sizemore. He's a pacifist, but he lives in a world of violence and lacks the free will to carry out his philosophy, so he's forced to kill. He's viewed as useless by his master, while Parson views him as the ultimate weapon. He's one of the few people who is interested in learning new magic and studying, but lacks the ability to cast anything but the most mundane and ugly magic (that happens to cause mass chaos and destruction when paired with someone adept). Simply put, he's trapped in a world he doesn't belong in, even more so than Parson.
    • Prince Tramennis is introduced as The Gadfly but proceeds to do nothing but lose during the fight with Gobwin Knob. So far, that has cost him two big brothers and his father, two of them dying twice. He is very much The Unfavorite and a "Well Done, Son!" Guy which does not blend well. And now, he's forced to assume the throne and knows that he must change his side or be defeated, but he is the only one in Jetstone that realizes there needs to be a change.
    • Digdoug, like Sizemore, was unappreciated by his side. Unlike Sizemore, however, his chief caster refused to let him go to the Magic Kingdom making his life more boring (well maybe not given his interest in the shallow politics of his homeland, but he was definitely less sociable than Sizemore.) He finally gets to a side that appreciates his talents and even finds a warlord who greatly recognizes his talents so much and admires him to the point that she outright asks if he wants to screw. He is flabbergasted. He never even CONSIDERED sex. Ever. Again, SIZEMORE was more sociable because he was allowed to go to the Magic Kingdom (he's gotten laid before). Digdoug decides to think it over and holds off on it. At this point he is recalled to the capital and Lady Chains, the warlord that respected him the most, is killed, stealing any chances away from him. Then his side is destroyed with no explanation just when everything was just about to turn out fine. The dude goes insane and, soon after recovering from that, suicidal. If it wasn't for Dove Barstool, the guy would've gone the way of Dunkin McClown. No wonder he wants Charlie dead.


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