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The Way of Moderation has ended (page 566)

Posted Apr 5, '11 at 10:59am



3,155 posts

No one else is reading, apparently, so i'll just push a THANK YOU FOR THE NEW STUFF forward. Looking forward to the next release, and even more to the assignments!


Posted Apr 5, '11 at 8:10pm



2,599 posts

I'm reading too; but the entire attack and siege from Newgrounds is so confusing!


Posted Apr 5, '11 at 9:01pm



5,718 posts

If it counts for anything I'm also reading, but have not had anything to say thus far.


Posted Apr 5, '11 at 9:08pm



4,745 posts

I read it too but Im just a lurker around this story.


Posted Apr 6, '11 at 7:05am



4,437 posts

I'm on the same line as Crimson. Sounds gooood though Strop, nice work.


Posted Apr 6, '11 at 7:12am



11,104 posts



Actually guys I wanted to say that update I did wasn't quite right, and that's what you get when you're dead tired from driving 660km over the weekend but force yourself to stay up to do it when you have an early morning start. I'm actually rewriting a small part of it now to get the dramatic balance adjusted.

But no MAJOR changes. Basically tonight and tomorrow I'll work on the next scene, which will see some stuff moving forward. Really forward. That scene marks the end of chapter ten, so you'll find out what happens in the next chapter soonish, I suppose!


Posted Apr 6, '11 at 8:58am



11,104 posts


Okay here's the scene extended to director's cut!



Nobody spoke. In the background, even several hundred metres above, the sounds of a city falling were inescapable.

"Is everybody present?"

Strop did not bother to check who spoke. He could not be bothered to remove his face from the cradle his hands formed, propped on his elbows which in turn were propped on his knees, as he sat, cross-legged, on the floor of his room. "That's kind of the problem," he mumbled bitterly. "There's not many of us to be present right now."

"Darnit Strop," Dank snarled, "That's not funny."

"You still remember that?" Strop smirked to himself. "Was a year ago, about."

"A year ago we had a shortage of moderators. Now we have an even bigger shortage of moderators. Yeah, good one." Dank swatted at the floor with his gauntlet in disgust."

Strop opened his mouth to speak, then shut it. Then opened it again. "I'm going to assume that you are being your angry self in general. Yes. That's what I'm going to do."

"Hey, can it boys," Asherlee rose slightly, before groaning and sinking back, rubbing her head, whereupon Dragonmistress resumed applying cold compresses. She in turn shot Strop and Dank a glare. "This isn't the time to argue."

Dank jerked himself to his feet, which was to say he wasn't much taller than he already was seated, but the gesture stood nonetheless. "Then what time is it? Time to sit around doing nothing? When out there, everything-" Dank waved his arm out the window, where the burgeoning clouds were tinged with the orange of the fires below, "is burning up to hell? My academy. I had to blow my academy up!"

Strop now removed his face from his hands to glare at Dank. "Dank, you're not the only one who suffered a loss today."

At this, an eletronic moaning started sounding from the voicebox of Moe. Strop winced, but Dank, oblivious, baralled on.

"That's precisely my point! How did it get like this, you tell me? How is it that a moderator would perish, like that?"

"Come on now," Dragonmistress chided Dank. "What happened to Ubertuna was unexpected. Or maybe not unexpected, but we couldn't have stopped it."

"We are moderators!" Dank started pacing back and forth. "We are defenders of the order of this land, and when even we are overwhelmed..." he choked up and went red, "Don't you see why-"

Strop rose to his feet.

"I'm going to be blunt Dank. You're not saying anything new here. We're all tired because we've been running ourselves ragged over the entire city while you've been sitting in your Academy."

Dank went from red to puce, bits of spittle frothing in his beard. "What did you say?"

Strop leaned over Dank, trying to press his height advantage to get Dank to shut up and listen. "You fought for and lost your Academy, but we fought for and lost everything else. The Market. The Bank. The Atrium. Even the Courts. All captured and mostly reduced to rubble. And why would that be, when we are moderators? Because we had no teamwork!"

Dank flinched, then came back stronger. "What teamwork is there to be had? It was everything I could do to make it to ArmorGames. You saw it yourself, I was chased all the way from Newgrounds! And I think it's rather rich that you would accuse me of not being a team player when you hijacked the Way of Moderation with that-"

"QUIT IT." Asherlee lurched back upright and banged the hilt of her sword on the floorboards with a massive thump. "It's already obvious. We got beaten up because we didn't have teamwork. None of us. But we need to move forward."

"How? HOW?" Dank pointed at each and everyone in the room but got no answer. "Ash, you say these things, but can you see nobody knows what to do next. Do you?"

"That's not a fair question." Asherlee bristled. "We're not even moderators right now."

"Great." Dank threw his hands up. "Just great. So who DO we have here who is a moderator?"

"Were you involved in the whole community for the past year, you shouldn't have had to ask that, Dank," Strop icily shot at him.

"Well, I'm here, now, having served in the area that nobody else touches because they're simply not equipped to!" Dank riposted, standing higher and higher on tippytoes until he was almost at Strop's chest. "And now you want me to be part of a team to solve a problem that I had nothing to do with in the first place. Do you have a suggestion for us? Do you?"

"Dank, I-" Strop started, his ears flattening.

"DO YOU, STROP? DO YOU KNOW HOW TO FIX THE MESS YOU STARTED?" Dank asked him, point blank.

"I DON'T KNOW." Strop yelled, shocking everybody into silence. "I don't know," he repeated, more softly, looking away.

Several moments passed, heavy, timeless moments that sank deep into the guts of everybody present.

"Nicely done," DM eventually muttered at Dank. "That was real helpful."

"Shut up," Dank muttered back. "Unless you got a better idea."

"How about you think up one for a change then? Instead of hiding behind criticising others?"

"Speak for yourself! You haven't put forward a single suggestion. What were you doing before the idiot horse destroyed my school?"

"We were getting hammered trying to recapture the bank! All that barely after we even arrived for a visit, too!"

"Well a fat lot of good that seems to have done-"

"You're a great guy Dank," Asherlee groaned as she rose to her full height, "BUT NOW YOU'RE WAY OUTTA LINE."

"Guys, could we just-" Strop started, but had no heart to finish.

Dank became, obviously, even more furious than he was already: "Don't patronise me just because you're three times my height!"

Between a concussion and several dispirited mods, Asherlee had endured quite enough: "Don't make me spank you, kid."

Dank attempted to roll up his armored sleeves and the two of them drew closer even as DM tried to pull Asherlee back and Strop decided to simply step between them. "You asking for a piece of me?" Dank grunted, trying to push past Strop.

"ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!" The command came from a completely unexpected angle, shocking everybody into silence (except Moe, who was still moaning). It had issued from Zophia, who, up to this point, was sitting with her arms hugging her knees, but had now peeked her face over to yell at everybody, her tail thrashing around. "You're all arguing uselessly, but nothing is being actually said!" Everybody looked down. Zophia looked around the room, as if surprised at the result, and more surprised at the fact that she now had control of the situation. "Uhm. Could somebody tell me what is going on? Please?"

Dank, Ash, DM and Strop looked at each other. "Since... when?"

"Since about the time 'tuna came up to me asking whether I could turn Nill back into a man."

Strop attempted to fill the confusion with the pithiest summary he could muster. "Well, we got up to the final round of the tournament. Then we were invaded by trolls and /b/tards from Newgrounds. We've lost most of the city because there's not enough people to cover everything."

"Where is everyone else, in that case?"

"Speaking of which, where is Devoidless?" DM paced to the window. "I didn't see him at all this whole time we were here."

"He has issues," Dank snorted. "Said he couldn't be here for a while."

"You already know that Nemo is Nill now, and presumably still so..." Strop shot a quick look at Zophia.

"Hey, I didn't know that we'd be in this much trouble so many months later, okay?" Zophia answered defensively.

Strop backpedaled: "No no, moreso the fact that, well, Nemo wasn't the only one inadvertantly affected."

Zophia frowned. "Huh?"

Strop pointed at Moe, whose eerie electronic moaning had not given out. Zophia blinked, not quite sure what to make of it. Then her ears flicked. "And where's Cen?"

Strop fidgeted. "He's... out of town. He left. After an... argument we had during the finals."

Zophia said nothing, but her withering glare told volumes. Strop shrunk back, and bowed his head, arms folded.

"Has your voicebox broken down or something?" Dank, finally sick of the noise, whirled around to face Moe. "Come on, what the hell is wrong with you? Apart from being a woman, that is."

"Get a grip on yourself, little man," DM and Asherlee rounded on Dank. "You might be angry, but you can't go around saying things like that."

"Don't you start with me again," Dank blustered. "You know full well what I was saying! Besides, it was Zophia who did it in the first place!"

"Don't drag me into your argument, the f-bomb was in good fun and has nothing to do with this mess!" Zophia's tail kinked in irritation as the situation started spiralling out of control again. Strop kept his head bowed, as there was nothing positive he could contribute to the exchange. The voices grew closer and closer, starting to overlap, until-

"Flipski is gone," Moe blurted suddenly.

Everybody stopped arguing mid-syllable.

"Gone?" Asherlee and Dank asked. "That can't be right, he's our staff-moderator. The most powerful of the mods."

"Gone," Moe repeated. "And there was nothing I could do to stop him."

"Wait, what happened?" mixed confusion and horror laced faces.

"Flipski sacrificed himself." Strop finally spoke up. "Somebody fed the trolls, and we were overrun at the courts. Flipski helped us get away."

"It's all my fault Flipski's dead," Moe lamented. "If I was able to use my powers, it wouldn't have happened like this. If I weren't affected like this, I would have been able to fire my laser..." Moe's voicebox started to static over, almost as if it were sobbing. Everybody exchanged uncomfortable looks.

"You can't blame yourself Moe." Strop placed a hand atop the brain jar. "Everybody is to blame. That is to say, nobody is." To the rest, he said, "I accept responsibility for my part in all this. I mishandled the tournament. I did not pay due attention to my responsibilities and the risks generated in the name of fun. I don't know how to fix the problem that faces us now. And I'll apologise properly later, if and when we get the chance. But this mess is too large for any one to tackle."

He took a deep breath. "Now, I need all of your help. Because the land of ArmorGames itself needs our help more than ever. The castle is still ours, for now. From this point on, is where we either turn things around, or lose everything we ever worked for in this place."

"Yeah, that sounds more like it," Asherlee smiled, faintly, but it was a smile nonetheless. "I don't know what you have in mind," Dank echoed, "But we have to start somewhere."

Strop scratched his chin. "It'd be nice if we had Moe and Nemo back for starters. Zophia, what kind of progress did you make with the f-bomb antidote?"

"I don't think we're going to have time to change them back now, if that's what you're asking," she offered. "But I have a better idea."

Everybody looked to her. "Let's hear it, then."


Posted Apr 6, '11 at 10:18am



11,104 posts


Just to help you guys out, here's a list of events summarising the whole WoM, then the events of Round 10:


(in brief)

The Land of ArmorGames is a real tightknit community, but it needs moderators. Since 'voidy broke the legendary Wheel of Moderation, it was decided that a tournament would be held to select a worthy candidate who followed the true Way of Moderation. Strop, at the time the most active of the mods, saw over the whole tournament, and chose his good friend (and sucker for punishment) Cenere to help him run it. Many applicants showed up for the grand opening, but those who survived the wait for the paperwork to be processed were thinned out by the very first test, wherein Strop threw balls at the candidates to 'test their agility'! Cenere silently disapproved of the wanton destruction that resulted, particularly when a runin with regular troublemaker Klaus resulted in Armor Castle itself being temporarily destroyed... but thanks to the delay when Flippo the Hippo's bakery was blown up by Dudeguy, it was rebuilt in time for the next trial, in which the remaining candidates had to navigate an obstacle course built by the imposing brain-in-a-jar, Moegreche! At the same time, both the candidates and Strop had to contend with the nefarious trio of moderators, Nemo, Voidy and the fishy keeper of the moat, Ubertuna, who had joined forces to oppose the existence of the tournament. This time around, it resulted in the hospitalisation of everybody present, and just when the dust was clearing, Klaus returned from an imposed trip and went too far, earning himself a permaban at the hands of administrator Carlie.

Just when Strop thought it was back under control, Zophia showed up to commemorate a Halloween prank with an upgraded version, turning Strop, and everybody else present, into females. As it turned out, even Nemo, who was attempting to murder Strop, and Moe, who was spying on Strop to make sure things didn't get too out of hand again, were affected. Only Cen, somehow, managed to escape the fate. Horrified at the change, many of the remaining contestants collapsed under the mental strain and confusion, whereas others took it in their stride. Strop, as Strip, freed from her responsibilities as a moderator, proceeded to cause trouble in the ancient motherland of Newgrounds, and only came to her senses when she realised the loss of her powers, which would come back to haunt the other moderators later in the story. Following this, Strop had intended to test the dozen remaining candidates on their eloquence, but a doublebooking resulted in the Community Hall being turned into a rap arena, in which Strop, having ingested some suspiciously narcotic substances sold by a certain herbalist, passed out, and the prank hatched by the most nefarious of candidates, Leon McAcid, resulted in Strop being charged with the attempted murder of the youngest candidate, Chill, Grandmaster of George. Daunted but not defeated at the mounting challenges, Strop interviewed the candidates and found he had to disallow the elderly Kingryan from continuing purely on the basis of his health. Thus came the round of eight, in which Thoad narrowly defeated Manta in a mindbending duel, Frank took down Pixel in an aerial battle turned mudfight, Crimson gritted his way past Chill's trickery, and the Bullman was bested by Leon, and his own code of honorable conduct. This finally being a round that seemed to go without a major hitch, Strop decided to push his luck and held the tag-team two-on-two in the hall of the castle itself. Seeing as Carlie wasn't around as she was on a 'secret trip'. What resulted was the most severe carnage of the tournament thus far that left Crimson and Leon victorious, but only Leon relatively unscathed, underscoring the real danger that lurked beneath the chaotic entertainment the tournament provided. Strop had one other serious bit of business to attend to, that being the court hearing in which an unusually affected Moe erratically runs Strop through the wringer before the prosecution's case descends into farce, Leon confesses his guilt in his typical roundabout fashion, and absconds before any consequence is meted.

Thus brings us to the most recent round, round Ten. The day of the Grand Finals, where a barely healed Crimson secretly carries the hopes of preserving good order, against a rampant Leon, the maniacal unknown quantity. Yet as they are about to fight, the round is interrupted first by the appearance of Strop's antagonists, which serves as the catalyst for a monumental argument between Cen and Strop which results in Cen suddenly leaving Strop to fend for himself. Worse, just after he leaves, Dank rushes in bearing the news of a raid- the fire born from embers of trouble stirring from many months earlier. Turns out that Klaus, bitter at being rejected as a moderator, manipulated the flammable crowd at Newgrounds into raiding Armorgames with intent to completely destroy it and its fundaments. Unprepared and still shortstaffed, the moderators are overwhelmed by the rapidity and totality of the raid, and the city rapidly and progressively falls. The nuking of the Free Market triggers a fight between Strop and Klaus. Strop defeats Klaus in an effort to save the Bank and thus AG's economy, but Klaus pulls a last-minute sacrifice move and the Bank falls. Strop is flattened, but saved by Dank, who attempts to defend his beloved Academy. Meanwhile, Strop goes on to reunite with old veterans and ex-moderators Asherlee and Dragonmistress, who agree to help him out while he quests to gather all the mods. However, in the process, Strop witnesses the destruction of most of the city at the hands of mega mutant trolls. Spaminator Flipski sacrifices himself in an effort to block their progress to the Castle and to save Moe, who is distraught. Asherlee and DM try to take the bank back with Crimson but they are heavily beaten and retreat, and it is only thanks to the last-minute arrival of Zophia and Ubertuna, who were trying to return Nemo to his male state that the lot of them were not caught up in the detonation of the Academy. Worse yet, while Ubertuna lead the remnants through the sewers, his ongoing problems with sharks trying to evict him from his home at sea finally caught up with him, and he was taken by a loan shark.

Having plunged to the depths of despair, the moderator crew must now take stoke, regroup, and form a plan to make the best of their last chance to save the City of ArmorGames... how this plan will be carried out is the subject of Round Eleven: For Great Justice!


Posted Apr 6, '11 at 9:42pm



2,599 posts

The director's cut did a good job to increase the tension.


Posted Apr 7, '11 at 4:33am



4,437 posts

So I used word to compare the two versions, and found that the second one was 1.8k words - which is a fair effort Strop. Which leads on to me saying how great of a job you have done throughout this whole tournament.

The recap is really nice - you should almost do a timeline of when each round / thing happened in comparison to real world time...

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