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NanQuest Q&A truncated

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Jun 28th, 2015
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  1. <TG_Weaver> Dim the lights, please.
  2. <TG_Weaver> Ahem!
  3. * TG_Weaver sets mode +m on #nanquest
  4. <TG_Weaver> Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for joining me this evening.
  5. <TG_Weaver> A few ground rules and headlines to start, while I have your undivided attention:
  6. <TG_Weaver> This chat will get hectic at times. I hope you will all do your best not to flood, spam, or otherwise attempt to unnecessarily disrupt or distract. That said, you should also not feel you should have to sit out a conversation that really interests you just for fear of speaking up.
  7. <TG_Weaver> This is my show, and I reserve the right to be a big whiny baby and/or prima donna, and will kick or ban as I see fit. I will also sometimes switch the chat to moderated mode, especially for important or drawn-out answers which I want to focus on, so every once in a while you will be muted. This is normal. Do not worry, your voice will return shortly.
  8. <TG_Weaver> I want to address your questions, but a foreword on that: "What if" questions are particularly hard to answer. NanQuest was a story born of two forces, the author and the players. The story was written together. The plot progressed in ways I could not have initially expected, and I certainly could not have produced the story if I was writing alone.
  9. <TG_Weaver> Therefore, theoretical possibilities can be hard to imagine without being able to actually progress down that path, just as I could not have predicted certain turns that were made in the storyline we did get.
  10. <TG_Weaver> I will answer some theoreticals to the best of my ability, but just be warned ahead of time that "what if we did this, what if we did that" questions can be very sticky.
  11. <TG_Weaver> The other point on answers I wanted to bring up is that I will not pull the curtain back entirely. Those who know me and my works already are well familiar with my love of ambiguity. I enjoy seeing fans speculate, and come up with their own theories and interpretations. Therefore, some of the biggest and deepest questions and secrets may not ever be fully answered.
  12. <TG_Weaver> I will however do my best to shine light on certain possibilities, and to ask questions on points that I think merit certain further considerations.
  13. <TG_Weaver> Now, that brings me to my last point, and one of great importance here tonight.
  14. <TG_Weaver> NanQuest's canon is only what is in the quest.
  15. <TG_Weaver> NanQuest is a finished work at this point. What you see is what you get, and as I am in ways a belief of the whole rise of "death of the author" and all that, the work stands for itself right now.
  16. <TG_Weaver> Therefore even what I say or reveal is only canon inasmuch as it can be tied into the quest itself.
  17. <TG_Weaver> The bottom line is this: what I am about to expound on is, in its own way, really just another interpretation of possibility. I can say I interpret one thing one way, or that I believe one answer is the truth, but even as the author, that doesn't necessarily make it canon. The only canon is the quest proper.
  18. <TG_Weaver> So really, this is all just speculation, in a way.
  19. <TG_Weaver> Now, that said, I think I'll open the floodgates. Please try to be courteous, and remember to let others ask their questions too.
  20. <TG_Weaver> Thank you again for joining me. I hope this will prove a fun little chat.
  21. * TG_Weaver sets mode -m on #nanquest
  22. <TG_Weaver> I also want to say that I'll be catching up/picking through questions so please be patient with my responses.
  23. <TG_Weaver> geeze where to even start
  24. <TG_Weaver> First I want to grab an easy one.
  25. <TG_Weaver> <Raptor0> What was with Henry making the creepy smile from behind the mirror in the beginning? This one's easy. Santiago warns Nan that if she wants to see the truth in this place, all she has to do is look in a mirror.
  26. <TG_Weaver> A lot of people saw the mirrors with threatening imagery and assumed it was the hotel trying to intimidate/scare them, but when you consider what we saw was Henry with a manic, menacing smile, maybe the message was more literal than anyone thought. At the time, no one really took this as foreshadowing, of course.
  27. <TG_Weaver> Nan's shattered reflection was indeed a subtle and abstract implication that her identity was more fractured than she realized. She hadn't quite put all the pieces together yet.
  28. <Darkly> Whenever characters got emotional, they started becoming more like monsters, as we saw with Anderson and Santiago. Was this a stylistic choice, or was the Hotel changing them?
  29. <TG_Weaver> That's a good question Darkly, but one I'm leaving mostly up to interpretation. Was the hotel corrupting them from outside, or did it just know which ones to pick that were already decaying from within?
  30. <TG_Weaver> Did the storm bring the darkness, or are some people just basically rotten?
  31. <Excalichat> The hotel was overrun with capital 'E' evil. Everyone has some sort of evil inside them, and the hotel probably played off it, like an amplifier for a guitar.
  32. <TG_Weaver> Another point I wanted to mention was overall motifs. RubyQuest didn't have quite so solid a theme, in my mind, but NanQuest was very specifically a theme about certain philosophical points
  33. <TG_Weaver> Now, like I said, it's very open for interpretation. But to me, NanQuest is very decidedly a story about one thing:
  34. <TG_Weaver> Mortality.
  35. <TG_Weaver> Good guess, excalichat. That's sort of what I was going for.
  36. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, NanQuest to me is largely about morality and coming to grips with it, especially as it relates to a sort of deathbed "was I a good person?" soul-searching.
  37. <TG_Weaver> Yes I meant mortality. That was a typo.
  38. <TG_Weaver> That's why one point that comes up over and over is this idea of people being "remembered". That's why the Padre brings up being remembered so much, even at the cost of committing great atrocity. Why Kim asks about being remembered for her sins. It's why so much is placed on any given character's death.
  39. <TG_Weaver> But the sudden harshness of death, and the duplicitous edge we all walk, is also why it was very important to me that a dead character never "comes back to life" in NanQuest. When Anna dies, we only ever see her again in memory. She never returns to the hotel.
  40. <TG_Weaver> On this same note of mortality, it was really tempting, as an author, to give various characters sort of "death speeches". But it almost never worked out that way in practice, and I'm glad I restrained myself. I even had a long final line for Lorenzo to give, but when it came down to it, he just said "there's no time to say the things I want to say. They must die with me." and got stabbed without warning.
  41. <TG_Weaver> Henry gets no last words at all. This was incredibly important to me, especially regarding his character and development.
  42. <TG_Weaver> Henry's death being harsh and empty was the whole point of the scene. It couldn't be too satisfying -- it had to feel like we had done what we needed to survive, but it was in ways an unsatisfying victory. It was violent and bloody and messy.
  43. <TG_Weaver> Next I want to address Nan's "children", then I'm going to move on to talking about Henry.
  44. <TG_Weaver> A topic that I see come up a lot is Nan's "children". I feel like there's a lot of confusion here. This ties into the fact that NanQuest went on frequent, extended hiatuses and for many it was hard to follow the story consistently, so certain plot points and even characters became cloudy or forgotten. In a way this actually worked to my advantage, mirroring, on a meta level, Nan's own foggy and fading memories.
  45. <TG_Weaver> Nan's "children", Holley and June, first show up in a flashback triggered when we shine the flashlight on the injured Beast.
  46. <TG_Weaver> In this scene:
  47. <TG_Weaver> And then in the finale, while the Padre is whisking Nan between various fragmented memories (With the implication that they are not actually her own memories) we see this scene
  48. <TG_Weaver> Many people seemed to confuse the abusive husband/father with Henry, though he is indeed a distinct and separate character, featured in both images, here.
  49. <TG_Weaver> The point, in the scenes near the end, where Padre is showing Nan all these memories, is that she has spent so much time reliving the memories of others -- usually adopting a narrative role within them -- that she's lost sight of which ones are actually hers. She's seen through the eyes of so many she's forgotten which eyes she's supposed to be looking through.
  50. <Raptor0> Was she even an electrician?
  52. <TG_Weaver> Raptor: Did she?
  53. <TG_Weaver> That's the point I think most people missed.
  54. <TG_Weaver> She decides to finally hum a showtune and she can't think of a single one
  55. <TG_Weaver> It's likely that her own identity even as simple as someone who likes humming showtunes is false.
  56. <TG_Weaver> I want to cover these memories a bit, then I'll move on to Henry (and his foreshadowing)
  57. <TG_Weaver> In the end, it's never quite clear which memories (if any) are Nan's. Padre's speech at the end implies that even the scenes that began the quest (with her in her apartment, and at the arcade) are not real. The Padre says of the apartment: "Did you live in a humble home? I have seen this place. A dead man's memory. Have you claimed that for yourself, as well?"
  58. <TG_Weaver> Bear in mind: when we flashed to a vision of Henry, where Nan was living with him, that flashback took place IN THAT APARTMENT.
  59. <TG_Weaver> The implication, which I don't think most people understood, is that the scene in which Nan wakes up as Henry's girlfriend is a flashback OF HENRY'S PAST.
  60. <TG_Weaver> In that scene, Nan is presumably taking the role of Henry's wife.
  61. <TG_Weaver> The same one he is killing people to return to, whose memory haunts him through the hotel.
  62. <TG_Weaver> Even the scenes before Nan enters the hotel are not necessarily accurate. They are a meta way of presenting false memories as if they really happened, rather than just telling the audience "okay you remember living in an apartment"
  63. <the_Lacemaker> i feel like the padre's big reveal at the end, where he breaks it all down and reveals nan's memories and identity as false, got written off by a lot of people as a lie, him just trying to fuck with nan's and psych her out
  64. <TG_Weaver> yes I absolutely agree lacemaker
  65. <TG_Weaver> that whole speech is undoubtedly him tormenting her on purpose but that doesn't mean it's all lies
  66. <TG_Weaver> In the end, after all that, people still clung to the idea that Nan was an electrician -- but the Padre pointed out that Kim had childhood memories of electricians because a nightclub near her burned down. It seemed an odd coincidence that was Nan's job too. Which could mean Nan was responsible, or that Nan had adopted her "core" identity from a stolen memory as well.
  67. <TG_Weaver> At the end, Santiago's question of "who are you, really?" is really poised ambiguously because the intention is for the players to ponder that point, as well. It's the question I wanted to leave the audience with rather than answer for them. That's why we never learn Nan's full name, or get any truly concrete answers about her "true" identity.
  68. <TG_Weaver> Even her most likely identity as an electrician is thrown into question at the very end, within the vortex of the Beast, where we see Sister Maggie -- only she's wearing Nan's outfit, complete with baggy overalls.
  69. <Diesel> so like.....wait wait. If Henry sent out a letter for an electrician was that the hotel making Henry think that he did that? And if not then why did Nan arrive if she ISNT an electrition? HOW DID NAN GET TO THE HOTEL
  70. <TG_Weaver> good question diesel
  71. <TG_Weaver> Someone asked what surprised me in NanQuest. I think one thing that really caught me off guard was that when Padre twisted her up and revealed her mistaken identities and stolen memories and taunted that she had no idea who she was
  72. <TG_Weaver> And the resounding response was "it doesn't matter. We're here now. We're stopping you. That's what matters."
  73. <TG_Weaver> Which honestly I was surprised and kind of impressed by. It certainly showed that Nan, through the audience, was making a growth of character throughout her arc, and had really learned priorities and goals during her quest.
  74. <Harbard_Grim> could we have found out if we took the bait and left through the open door that the Padre opened for us?
  75. <TG_Weaver> Padre was taunting Nan with the door to leave, but he would never have let her pass. He closes it before she can even respond, saying "It wouldn't matter if I let you go anyway" because there's nothing out there for her.
  76. <TG_Weaver> Nan's own lost identity is no doubt a result of leaping into the memories of so many others. Images of sorrow, pictures of delight. Things that go to make up a life. So many photos in frames she lost sight of her own life.
  77. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, just to wrap up this whole line: The children in that flashback scene are not Henry's (and the abusive father is not Henry), and they're as likely to be Nan's ACTUAL kids as any other flashback is likely to be ACTUALLY Nan
  78. <TG_Weaver> Okay, I want to talk about Henry, then maybe a bit about imagery/symbolism and plot points like 466
  79. <TG_Weaver> Oh yes, and then I'll talk about everyone's "problematic favorite", Santiago
  80. <TG_Weaver> Okay, so, on the topic of Henry
  81. <TG_Weaver> Throughout the writing of NanQuest, a lot of plot points changed over time. I didn't have the whole backstory planned out at the time I started, only vague concepts and ideas about the central/present plot. As a result, throughout the story, there were many, many ideas that morphed or were scrapped.
  82. <Diesel> Did you keep the "anyone can die" rule from Rubyquest?
  83. <TG_Weaver> Yes. Anyone could have died.
  84. <TG_Weaver> So, here's an example: Early on, the idea for the Padre was that he wasn't actually evil.
  85. <TG_Weaver> The Padre was going to be a sort of interdimensional janitor, and the hotel was less a moral/ethical prison and more a tangled point of collapsing realities. With the site of the hotel long burned down, the Padre's fire poker was central to this theme. Essentially he would stalk through the hotel and try to remove people in the wrong place/time, basically "errors" in the spacetime continuum
  86. <TG_Weaver> He was the antagonist, but not evil, trying to keep order in the threads of reality.
  87. <TG_Weaver> Another example: For a long time I planned a sub-arc in which it was revealed Kim was heavily into the Occult.
  88. <Hatticus_Finch> the hotel's preceding structure, a mission, is what actually burnt down. The hotel structure was never mentioned to burn down.
  89. <Hatticus_Finch> at the end though, it is the ruins of a hotel on the hill. ???
  90. <TG_Weaver> Yes hatticus
  91. <TG_Weaver> The implication in the ending is that at some point the hotel burned down
  92. <TG_Weaver> And the land was being bought end rebuilt so they could restore the old Mission.
  93. <TG_Weaver> When it burned down is up for debate -- was it even truly standing when she "entered"?
  94. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, in the final version of the quest, Nan and Pablo discover a charred imprint under the bed in the saferoom, giving dark implications to the room itself and their time there. However the initial idea was that there would be a very ominous occult sigil underneath the bed instead. And it would be learned that Kim put it there.
  95. <TG_Weaver> It would be learned eventually that Kim was actually just trying to hold off the evil, not encourage it. The rituals and offerings/sigils were meant to hold back the darkness, and were the reason there was even a semblance of safety in the safe room.
  96. <TG_Weaver> However Anderson would turn his back to her after that.
  97. <papplemelon> So would the cross on the door have been Kim's doing?
  98. <Diesel> oh like in tim burtons headless horseman movie
  99. <TG_Weaver> Presumably, the cross was there before any of them. Probably old survivors. Who knows how many the hotel brought in after the catastrophe
  100. <Jukashi> was there any significance to anderson’s cigar, or was that just random creepiness?
  101. <Diesel> IM VERY SORRY that I keep comparing Nanquest to other things it just helps me understand better
  102. <TG_Weaver> Yes Diesel, part of why I abandoned that idea is that I saw Sleepy Hollow and it did basically exactly what I was planning so I threw it out
  103. <TG_Weaver> Jukashi -- I'm sure you could read meaning into it, but honestly, I mostly threw it in there because early on I was focusing hard on establishing an unsettling atmosphere.
  104. <KamenBMXRider> Was it ever really a check?
  105. <TG_Weaver> As for Nan's check from the Fun Family Arcade, when she finally checks it (for the first time) it's blank. So whether she had ever really been there is again called into question. A stolen memory?
  106. <TG_Weaver> Speaking of things written out -- I had intended to go more into Kim's "guilt"
  107. <TG_Weaver> It's implied throughout the quest, and early on by Anna, that everyone is in the hotel because of some sin. But a more accurate explanation might be guilt, not sin.
  108. <TG_Weaver> Many who were trapped in the hotel were troubled and dark individuals, even those who had not been psychos and murderers on the outside.
  109. <TG_Weaver> SO I'm going to tell you all about a secret deleted scene
  110. <TG_Weaver> Early on, I had a plan for Kim's guilt. If she died, and Nan ever went into her memories, like we did with Anna, we might have seen it. But it ended up being scrapped (not solely because she lived)
  111. <Jukashi> hmm. I wonder: the church, originally, was partly a place where the guilty could go to confess and pay penance to help themselves. So maybe the evil twisted that to pull guilty people in and make them go through a punishment
  112. <TG_Weaver> Quite thematically accurate, Jukashi. I quite like that interpretation.
  113. <TG_Weaver> Anyway Kim's scene: Essentially, it was just a scene with Kim sitting in a planned parenthood-type clinic, clicking a pen nervously and staring at a stack of papers. Kim glances up. Clock says 5:05. Keeps clicking. Doesn't write. Glances at clock again. 5:06. Tries to write. Pen is dry. If Nan had the pen here, I assumed that was the point people would use it.
  114. <TG_Weaver> While the implication would be that Kim had gotten TEEN PREGNANT and was considering an abortion, the truth was left ambiguous.
  115. <Raxas> That occult orgy didn't work out as well as she expected huh
  116. <TG_Weaver> Whether or not she'd actually gone through with it, or put the child up for adoption, or it was just a pregnancy scare with no real child involved, is up for interpretation. But whatever happened, she always felt guilty about it.
  117. <TG_Weaver> There was also possibly going to be another newspaper article for Nan to find, about a young woman being brutally beaten to the point of hospitalization outside of a clinic.
  118. <Apocrea> 5:06, aka 4:66
  119. <TG_Weaver> Correct, Aprocrea~
  120. <Diesel> i never did understand what 4:66 was
  121. <DarklyQuill> Diesel, there were 466 people in the original sacrifice, but there's probably more to it than that
  122. <Diesel> ooooOOHHH
  123. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, this eventually was scrapped, but Kim's guilt appeared again -- it's implied she had a Catholic upbringing (this survived into the final draft). So if she did have a college fascination with the occult, she could be harboring guilt over that.
  124. <Diesel> I miss tiny details like that
  126. <TG_Weaver> THAT IS A HUGE DETAIL
  129. <Diesel> AAAHH
  131. <TG_Weaver> AAAHHH
  132. <TG_Weaver> anyway
  133. <Diesel> I am so sorry
  134. <TG_Weaver> ANYWAY, the reason I bring this up
  135. <TG_Weaver> The reason I keep talking about alternate interpretations and other possibilities that got written out, all the way these plot points changed or evolved over time
  136. <TG_Weaver> Is that there's one plot point that never changed. One that was always there.
  137. <TG_Weaver> It was always Henry.
  138. <TG_Weaver> From the very beginning, Henry was the Pilgrim. Long before the Pilgrim even appeared, the plan never wavered. I planted so many bits of hints and foreshadowing that I was really scared people would figure it out. But then, even at what I figured would be his huge reveal ("oops.") a lot of people still didn't get it, so I had him physically put on the skull/hood to demonstrate. (Though
  139. <TG_Weaver> even then some people were like "so there's TWO pilgrims??")
  140. <Raxas> People didn't want to believe it, also not surprising tbh
  141. <Johnnoz> really making him potential romance material is all you need to trick this audience
  142. <TG_Weaver> Everyone assumes that shadow monster in the elevator was Anna but there's really no reason to assume that. Anna shows up at another time. It's not a clear chronology from Nan escaping.
  143. <TG_Weaver> There's a reason I had Nan meet (not "see") Henry first. I knew readers would glom onto the first opposite sex character they encountered.
  144. <TG_Weaver> Plus, Henry intentionally plays kinda bumbling and clueless to seem cute and endearing, and it works, right up until the very end.
  145. <TG_Weaver> Speaking of, I'd like to briefly review some foreshadowing I had for Henry.
  146. <TG_Weaver> When Nan first enters Henry's room, he has a sack sitting on the floor by his bed.
  147. <TG_Weaver> Now at the time we assumed it was because he just came into the hotel, but knowing what we know now... what do you think is in there?
  148. <TG_Weaver> Here's another point: When we first meet Henry, he's naked.
  149. <TG_Weaver> Now everyone assumed he was just harmless and vulnerable but now that we know he changes into the costume
  150. <the_Lacemaker> Q: the protagonists of both rubyquest and nanquest are conspicuously chaste; even their close relationships with men are presented as platonic, not romantic. in present day, it barely seems to cross their respective minds, but in previously-unremembered flashbacks, they are both almost aggressively sexual. for example, ruby mackin' on tom in the old security cam footage is jarring in large
  151. <the_Lacemaker> part because it seems so out of character (or at least what we know of it) - was this something conscious? there seems to be a sexual subtext throughout both, especially in nanquest, where there's a whole lotta naked goin on, and the antagonists are religious figures
  152. <TG_Weaver> Okay, here's maybe my favorite, and the one I was worried was so obvious it would give away the whole game:
  153. <TG_Weaver> In the Chapel, Nan wakes up after her second(?) flashback in which she meets Lorenzo.
  154. <TG_Weaver> She wakes up in cloudy darkness, and remarks that the Pilgrim is looming over her.
  155. <TG_Weaver>
  156. <TG_Weaver>
  157. <TG_Weaver> BOOM
  158. <Guest57330> i gotta say when "Henry screamed like a child" it was pretty cute
  159. <TG_Weaver> That bit where Henry screams and he's shirtless. He says he tore his shirt up for bandages. But rather he had just escaped the Anasazi Lounge, like Nan did, and was scrambling to change out of his Pilgrim costume.
  160. <TG_Weaver> BUT
  162. <TG_Weaver> There's something buried into Henry's very design, from the fucking start of the quest, that was put there to make him seem subtly "off".
  163. <BlueDude> Was it the horns?
  164. <Hatticus_Finch> Henry was a gazelle. Gazelles are the embodiment of evil itself.
  165. <ThatStrangeDoll> the fucking horns man
  166. <Dallas> His goddamned HORNS.
  167. <TG_Weaver> It wasn't the horns.
  168. <TG_Weaver> But look closely:
  169. <TG_Weaver>
  170. <TG_Weaver> It's in the eyes.
  171. <TG_Weaver> They say the eyes are the windows to the soul
  172. <TG_Weaver> And Henry's got a wild eye.
  173. <TG_Weaver> His eyes never quite line up. Look at basically any picture of Henry -- one eye is bigger, or crooked where it shouldn't be.
  174. <TG_Weaver> I didn't think anyone was going to look at his weird eyes and go "wow he's the killer for sure"
  175. <TG_Weaver> But it was always there.
  176. <TG_Weaver> It's not a giveaway, it's just a part of who he is.
  177. <TG_Weaver> ThatStrangeDoll> why does henry wear nothing under his pilgrim costume tho The short answer is he's fucking crazy.
  178. <TG_Weaver> Nakedness is a recurring theme in NanQuest -- in the climactic scene the characters are nude, which is symbolic of a number of things, including basic vulnerability in the face of the threat, iconic symbolism with the concept of mortality and death, leaving the world as you were brought into it, that sort of thing. It also represents being stripped of identity (and in some cases, sanity) which was thematic with the speech the Padre was giving her at the time.
  179. <TG_Weaver> Coincidentally Henry's full frontal is basiaclly the only time I've ever drawn a dick in a canon quest.
  180. <BlueDude> Wait I don't remember his dick
  181. <ThatStrangeDoll> wait what
  182. <TG_Weaver> you do actually see Henry naked
  183. <TG_Weaver> I'm sure someone can find the image
  184. <mbad> it's a glimpse between tghe legs when he has nan tied up
  185. <TG_Weaver> it's when Nan wakes up tied up in his room
  186. <TG_Weaver> yes
  187. <Parsley_Magnet> right here
  188. <TG_Weaver> <mnatra> when we threw the crowbar(?) at the pilgrim, did you intentionally make it so we messed up the eye socket? YES! A very good question. The eye symbolism was heavy for Henry. In fact, when he dies:
  189. <TG_Weaver> that crazy eye.
  190. <TG_Weaver> Lacemaker had a good question earlier, re: sexuality and nudity in the quest. I addressed nudity already, but there are sexual overtones in NanQuest, which I feel are important to the theme and motif. In dealing with mortality lots of themes of life came up, including sex, and none quite so glorious and flowery as in many stories, just as many deaths had no final speeches or last words.
  191. <TG_Weaver> One thing I think a lot of people don't realize is in relation to the "how people look in the dark" idea.
  192. <TG_Weaver> When Santiago is at his worst, in the Chapel, he steps out of the light and suddenly appears ragged and monstrous.
  193. <TG_Weaver> When Anderson lashes out in rage and dips into shadow, he appears more monstrous too.
  194. <TG_Weaver> And the VERY FIRST MONSTER Nan truly sees
  195. <TG_Weaver>
  196. <Mickey_Boots> That's henry.
  197. <Mickey_Boots> Holy shit, that's henry.
  198. <TG_Weaver> EXACTLY
  199. <TG_Weaver> Why would this horrible, deformed, monstrous reflection of a human figure be standing in Henry's Room, exactly where Henry was? And why, when hit with the light, would Nan be transported to A MEMORY OF HENRY'S
  200. <TG_Weaver> We hit Lorenzo with a flashlight, we see one of Lorenzo's memories. We hit this, we go to one of Henry's memories.
  201. <TG_Weaver> It's not that that monster is Henry. It's that Henry is the monster.
  202. <TG_Weaver> Next up: 466, Santiago, and the rats
  203. <the_Lacemaker> Q: what were your major inspirations for nanquest? i noticed several quotes (all santiago's, now that i think about it) from the gorgeous film "the fall"
  204. <TG_Weaver> <Diesel> we ignored a lot of things thinking "its just the hotel being a bitch" I capitalized on this intentionally a few times, but people were oblivious to important patterns. I feel like largely, people never went back and interpreted what they'd seen. There was a severe lack of critical thinking, nobody just stopping to ask themselves "hey, what does that mean?"
  205. <TG_Weaver> So many things people wrote off. Early on we had huge revelations but people were so obsessed with "time travel" (which wasn't really a point) that they ignored major realizations. Even more than this, a lot of people complained the Quest "was not consistent" and there was no way to figure out how or why things were happening.
  206. <Diesel> @weaver It was hard to remember a lot of things when we came back from hiatuses
  207. <TG_Weaver> Flashbacks and visions were almost always triggered by hitting a figure with light while it was in the darkness. But it took ages for people to spot the pattern. People always said "HIT IT WITH THE FLASHLIGHT" but always seemed surprised and so many folks would go "welp sit back and ride the railroad!!!" when it led to a flashback, because they felt they had no agency, no control over these things happening.
  208. <TG_Weaver> Instead I felt like people just didn't recognize patterns.
  209. <the_Lacemaker> as nan is the spiritual successor to ruby, i assume there will be a third part; is there any advice you'd like to impart to your quest-ers for next time?
  210. <TG_Weaver> And yes, as Diesel said, a lot of this is on me for taking so many breaks/hiatuses. People had a hard time remembering everything that happened, and all the details, so much of that blame -- probably most of it -- falls on me.
  211. <TG_Weaver> Still, I feel like people were often so eager to jump on "out there" theories like time travel and alternate dimensions that they didn't do what Santiago urged all along: just look at what's right in front of you.
  212. <TG_Weaver> Speaking of Santiago, yes, Lacemaker, he has several quotes in reference to the Fall, including his end-climactic line "We make a strange pair, don't we?". I love the film to death -- my brother introduced me to it and I've done my best to spread it around since then. It's gorgeous and poetic and I really loved that line, as well as "are you trying to save my soul?" which Santiago does indeed utter earlier on.
  213. <TG_Weaver> And while I'm on the subject, there may be a third quest in this style to round it out to a trilogy, but that's not even a twinkle in my eye right now so I couldn't speculate. DiveQuest will be coming first.
  214. <the_Lacemaker> for that matter, you've described nan as a "spiritual successor" rather than a direct sequel to ruby. but are there any direct connections between the two (eg the five-pointed icon) that people may have missed?
  215. <TG_Weaver> There are some points that connect Nan and Ruby -- the iconic five-pointed cross in NanQuest is actually seen IN RUBYQUEST at a key point
  216. <J__> I distinctly remember there being a skull of a goat in Ruby quest in a room that looked much like the Lobby. Was this connected?
  217. <TG_Weaver> Take a look at what Stitches is holding.
  218. <DarklyQuill> Oh, yep, I remember that. The five pointed cross is from your World Eater campaign as well. Symbol for Death, right?
  219. <TG_Weaver> Correct -- the symbol originated in my worldgen Quorum, as a symbol of death. Which, given Nan's focus on mortality, was more than fitting.
  220. <Raptor> What's Wuorum?
  221. <Raptor> Quorum
  222. <Raptor> sorry
  223. <TG_Weaver> Quorum is my worldgen. It's a little fantasy universe I created. And sure, you could probably spin it that way.
  224. <TG_Weaver> As for the goat skull, it was not necessarily connected in any canon/timeline sense, but there are absolutely thematic or visual nods between the two quests, like Santiago's fishooking injury that leaves him with a Red-like smile on one side.
  225. <Raxas> I hope we get more Aganomad, just throwing that out there.
  226. <KamenBMXRider> Was Naaloqomvi's design being similar to the five pointed symbol purposefull?
  227. <TG_Weaver> absolutely we will don't worry
  228. <TG_Weaver> Yes, definitely
  229. <TG_Weaver> Okay, real quick on rats and then symbolism, then I'm gonna talk about Santiago
  230. <TG_Weaver> The rats were only a minor detail really. Originally the idea was that they were the children who died in the mission fire sacrifice.
  231. <Diesel> Whoever compiles the archives do not include weaver yelling at me
  232. <TG_Weaver> But they were revamped to be instead the souls of the native peoples, mostly Hopi indians and similar tribes, who the mission was trying to convert from their "heathen religion". Father Velasco has a bitter distaste for them, and calls the natives savages and "vermin" in his journal, which is the main link between their efforts and appearance as rats, VS their origins.
  233. <SamTheMan> Just wanted to ask, aren't there semi-related Bible passages that contain 4's and 6's? Like Isaiah 66:4
  234. "so I also will choose harsh treatment for them
  235. and will bring on them what they dread.
  236. For when I called, no one answered,
  237. when I spoke, no one listened.
  238. They did evil in my sight
  239. and chose what displeases me."
  240. <TG_Weaver> Good question because I'm now dipping into 466 and arc symbolism
  241. <TG_Weaver> Okay, so 466 is a common number in Nanquest. It's basically the plot number, and is significant to many things
  242. * sodamotor has quit (Ping timeout: 240 seconds)
  243. <kanelel> "arc number"
  244. <TG_Weaver> right
  245. <TG_Weaver> It's the room number of the Anasazi Lounge, it's the number of people who died in the fire, stuff like that
  246. <TG_Weaver> But the question is, why this number, and not another one?
  247. <TG_Weaver> 4:66
  248. <TG_Weaver> That's how we first see the number: as a time.
  249. <TG_Weaver> 4:66. 60 minutes in an hour, so 4 hours 66 minutes is actually 5:06
  250. <TG_Weaver> And here's the key:
  251. <TG_Weaver> That's the book of Leviticus.
  252. <TG_Weaver> Allow me to quote: Leviticus 5, Verse 06.
  253. <TG_Weaver> And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.
  254. <TG_Weaver> The verse, in fact that whole segment, is about a burnt offering to atone for sin.
  255. <TG_Weaver> It's why Nan is important both to Padre and Henry. Henry views Nan exactly the way this passage comes out: he wants to bring her to the priest so the priest can sacrifice her, and in so doing, atone for his own sins.
  256. <TG_Weaver> You can even see part of the passage in that picture of the bible, I think
  257. <TG_Weaver> Also the bible is where we get the term "scapegoat" isn't it?
  258. <Guest57330> btw weaver are the figures in this a suble nod to ruby and henry?
  259. <TG_Weaver> You know the etymology there, right? The idea you transfer all your sin onto the goat and it takes the blame for you.
  260. <Mazz> Guest, they look like the two kids
  261. <TG_Weaver> Mazz has it right.
  262. <TG_Weaver> The shadowy forms in the vortex of the beast are all characters we may have seen earlier -- it would be safer to assume that's Holley and June than Tom and Ruby.
  263. <TG_Weaver> Anyway that's the gist of the goat/bible/466 symbolism.
  264. <TG_Weaver> It's central to the Padre's whole conflict: he's consumed with guilt. More than any other in the quest, probably. He's got doubts, he doesn't know if he can hack it as the Padre of the mission, he mistreats the natives he's supposed to be helping, his own congregation and the nuns don't seem to trust him too much.
  265. <TG_Weaver> One thing that came up was at some point someone complained to me that they were disappointed that for all the buildup of morality and sin in NanQuest, that ultimately it was just another eldritch horror behind everything.
  266. <TG_Weaver> And I think that's kind of missing the point.
  267. <Diesel> the eldritch was just a catalyst behind the plot its really not the main issue here
  268. <TG_Weaver> In RubyQuest, it's suggested some eldritch horror IS behind everything, in its way - but in the way it manifests in the quest is through corruption, body horror, distrust, multiation, undeath, all that. So it could have been a meteor from space or just bad science just as easily, becaue what matters is what the characters actually deal with.
  269. <Reka> I got a totally different vibe from it. To me, it seemed like all the guilt was largely self-inflicted. Like, characters were torn up about their guilt, but in the end it was just like, "Hey. Nobody's judging you. And I think you're pretty okay."
  270. <TG_Weaver> In that same sense, I wanted to emphasize that it was guilt, morality, mortality, and sin that was at the heart of everything. Like someone said, in a way, the dark force the Padre wrote about was only a catalyst -- or maybe even just a reflection -- of the darkness he feared was growing inside himself.
  271. <Reka> So like I said earlier, a big running theme to me in the endgame was forgiveness.
  272. <TG_Weaver> At the climactic scene, the padre says "the darkness was inside me all along" -- and maybe that's true, or maybe it isn't. Whether it was created or amplified by the dark force, that's up for debate. Maybe it's the other way around: maybe the sin of the people, the guilt that festered within them and grew over decades, generations, the blood and misery sown for so long, finally manifested itself as a living entity.
  273. <TG_Weaver> Who's to say which is true? Were the Padre and his congregation consumed by the darkness? Did its power expose them for what they already were? Or did they create that darkness themselves?
  274. <TG_Weaver> Regardless of which it is, the eldritch horror factor was mostly unimportant; what mattered was how it manifested in player interactions, how it affected the immediate aspects of the quest that we could actually deal with. In that sense it was guilt, sin, death that loomed overhead.
  275. <TG_Weaver> I felt Velasco was a very fun character to write for. He was a man divided, full of guilt and sorrow and anger. Throughout the quest he's much like Ace: people aren't sure if he's a villain or a victim. In the end maybe it's both. He hated others, but he hated himself most of all. Did he bring the darkness, or was it by his hand it was finally stopped?
  276. <TG_Weaver> And Reka, I quite like the point you brought up: Guilt and sin are not synonymous.
  277. <TG_Weaver> A big theme in NanQuest is guilt and sin, and how they don't always line up, but people can blame and hate themselves their whole lives even if it wasn't really their fault -- and maybe not enough, if it was. Pablo and Henry embody two sides of this, with Pablo being eternally guilt-stricken over a tragedy in his life, while Henry has almost no remorse whatsoever.
  278. <TG_Weaver> And similarly, yes, as a result, forgiveness was a huge factor here, and a turning point in many characters.
  279. <TG_Weaver> Fabio> so if everyone was dealing with guilt and sin, what was Anna feeling guilty about? Or Kim? A lot of their story is still unknown I went over ideas for Kim earlier, but none made it explicitly into the final draft. All we have is her saying she "strayed from god's path". Part of me wanted to say she had experimented in college or discovered something about h erself, but it just never made it in, so it's left to imagination.
  280. <TG_Weaver> As for Anna, we find out she may have caused the death of a family when the elevator she was maintaining malfunctioned and dropped.
  281. <Shorpinski> I'm gonna stick with the "Occult orgy gone wrong" theory
  282. <TG_Weaver> Enough with the occult orgy
  283. <TG_Weaver> Okay: Now for the controversial topic. The "problematic favorite" as I've seen him tagged, Santiago.
  284. <TG_Weaver> Here's the thing about Santiago, which I'll say right off the bat: what's canon is what's in the quest.
  285. <Diesel> hot foxy grandpa
  286. <TG_Weaver> So what I say here is just speculation; it's my own interpretation of the character.
  287. <TG_Weaver> I think people give Santiago a bit too much leeway (and too much love, certainly) especially early on when he definitely hasn't earned it.
  288. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, some points to bring up: Santiago's entire fervor for the hotel is because, as he says repeatedly "this place is true freedom".
  289. <TG_Weaver> However, we find out in the quest's end that Santiago has been under Henry's thumb since the beginning.
  290. <TG_Weaver> So how do you reconcile his love for the "FREEDOM" of the hotel with the fact that he's basically at gunpoint the whole time
  291. <TG_Weaver> Now, Santiago may have been coerced under the murderous Henry's orders. Henry makes it clear he could have killed Santiago at any time, and Santiago doesn't deny this, so obviously he's no match for Henry in a fight (which is why he and Nan only succeed together, and with the element of surprise, though Santiago still gets stabbed)
  292. <TG_Weaver> But it would be remiss to assume that all his creepiness is a result of Henry.
  293. <TG_Weaver> See, again, this is my impression, but I think in a way he reveled in it. Santiago had been there for weeks, so maybe he had already gone mad, seeing so many people picked off and murdered and god knows what else. But whether it was part of who he was or just a defense mechanism, I think he latched onto that.
  294. <TG_Weaver> I think he intentionally leads Nan to suspect he might be the Pilgrim in their talk in the Sunset Room while he's on the piano. Maybe he likes the attention. Maybe he's not murderous himself, but likes people to think that he is. Whether it's some twisted psychosis or just a middle schooler's desire for attention, it's hard to tell, but I think he encourages that suspicion. And Henry is more than happy to let him suggest it, since it takes suspicion off him.
  295. <TG_Weaver> Now, that doesn't mean he truly loved it. Maybe he clung to it as the only way to keep his mind together. It's too tangled to tell, but Santiago is certainly not blameless, and even though he never killed anyone, he did assist a murderer. Over time, the guilt of that decision wells up on him, but it's facts either way.
  296. <TG_Weaver> The chapel scene is pivotal here. He attacks Nan in the Chapel and essentially "warns" (rather, threatens) her to stop poking around, and that she might not like what she finds. In a way he was speaking directly, but in another his words reflected on Henry, as well.
  297. <kanelel> santy is the enuch
  298. <TG_Weaver> When Nan balks, he's not used to it and lashes out in violence.
  299. <TG_Weaver> Here's the thing: Henry and Nan head into the chapel. Santiago attacks Nan, then Henry swoops in and saves her from him.
  300. <Mozai> Maybe Santiago's embracing of the 'scary guy' persona was like a Stockholm Syndrome, a way to escape being Henry's tool by taking ownership of the role Henry has him play. He starts being a bastard willingly, as a way to evade being forced into bastard-ness.
  301. <Mozai> i'm not excusing Santiago's behaviour -- he's still culpable for his actions -- just tracing a path back to where it started.
  302. <TG_Weaver> Yes, I think that's a good guess. Henry pushed him into this role, and he adopted it enthusiastically because it's a sort of mask, a way to cling to what little sanity he has -- but like you say, he still did it.
  303. <TG_Weaver> Now, if Santiago's been under Henry's thumb this whole time, it's possible that this whole encounter in the Chapel was scripted.
  304. <TG_Weaver> That Henry intentionally let Nan get attacked so he could "save her". In this way he put more suspicion on Nan, painted himself in a better light, and subconsciously deepened Nan's dependence on him.
  305. <TG_Weaver> By encouraging dependence he could exploit it later when he finally needed to sacrifice her.
  306. <the_Lacemaker> but go back and look at their first encounter. ok, so maybe he had a proverbial gun to his head to do certain things. but his behavior- his almost gleeful mania, THE FACT THAT HE ALMOST MUTILATED NAN, his amoral philosophy... was he going for extra credit?
  307. <TG_Weaver> What makes you think he would have actually done it?
  308. <TG_Weaver> Santiago talks big but I think he's more pathetic than that.
  309. <TG_Weaver> I think he's a truly pathetic individual in most senses of the word, especially early on. He's like that kid in middle school that stuck safety pins in his cuticles or whatever to seem like he was WEIRD AND CRAZY AND EDGY
  310. <Diesel> santiago is a hot topic disaster
  311. <TG_Weaver> I mean sort of yeah
  312. <TG_Weaver> Santiago is very "LOOK AT ME I'M DANGEROUS"
  314. <TG_Weaver> OOH I'M SO MYSTERIOUS
  315. <Raxas> Santiago seeks attention to assuage his inner feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
  316. <TG_Weaver> Yeah, Santiago definitel has feelings of inadequacy
  317. <TG_Weaver> Now a big point in this scene is that Nan chooses to forgive Santiago for his attack. I think that's pivotal for his eventual turnabout.
  318. <TG_Weaver> BUT.
  319. <TG_Weaver> There's another big point in this scene, though, which may be even MORE important to his change, that I think people didn't realize the significance of at the time, and which I'm re-examining now: When Santiago's thrown off and 'defeated', at their mercy, Henry asks Nan "what do you want we should do with him"?
  320. <TG_Weaver> Now all this time Santiago's been living largely in Henry's shadow, no doubt getting pychological scars and deepening psychosis for it. But as I said, he somewhat reveled in it. He was the bad guy by proxy, and got all the attention and intimidating mystery of Henry without actually having to kill anyone himself (though he obviously felt implicit)
  321. <TG_Weaver> But suddenly as he's sitting there and Henry asks "what should we do with him"
  322. <TG_Weaver> There's that realization that -- oh shit
  323. <TG_Weaver> He's selling me out.
  324. <jadecore> The boss was willing to terminate him easy if it would score him more points. he doesn't matter. He's JUST the proxy.
  325. <TG_Weaver> Exactly.
  326. <TG_Weaver> Henry was ready to ice him, without fucking hesitation, if Nan had said to kill him.
  327. <TG_Weaver> And the fact that Henry asks, even plants that idea, shows that he wants to.
  328. <TG_Weaver> So Henry just asked him to play along (for weeks) and maybe had him set up this attack to win him trust points with Nan. "Then I'll jump in and save her and stop you". Except now that he's played his part, he's expendable.
  329. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, point is, that realizing his whole psychological shelter -- his "mental safe spot" in Henry's shadow -- has just come crumbling down
  330. <TG_Weaver> That's a hugely sobering realization that he staggers off just to come to grips with.
  331. <TG_Weaver> But that, plus Nan choosing to forgive him (even after he attacked her and Henry planted the idea in her head!)
  332. <TG_Weaver> As he said, "you gave me a lot to think about".
  333. <TG_Weaver> So I think in a way, the "new" Santiago we sort of see later absolutely is a starkly different character.
  334. <TG_Weaver> But that's because he's pathetic in a new way: his mask has come off, and he's finally free for real, since he's not under Henry's thumb anymore -- but not just that. He doesn't have Henry's shadow to hide (or even bask) in anymore.
  335. <TG_Weaver> It's a sudden shift because he loses his protection, his threat, his identity all at once.
  336. <TG_Weaver> So what's left is just kind of a weak, meek guy who's scrambling to make sense of what he is and what he has. He's a big fuckup but he recognizes it more. It's why he talks about himself like he does at the end.
  337. <TG_Weaver> So he moves from on form of patheticness to another.
  338. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, I do feel like he has a huge (and rather jarring) character shift, but when you account for all the shit that happened I think there's reason for it.
  339. <TG_Weaver> Okay, NOW: the assault itself.
  340. <TG_Weaver> Again, this is just my interpretation; make of canon what you will
  341. <TG_Weaver> But what a fucked up scene, goddamn
  342. <TG_Weaver> Okay, so a few points: Santiago reveals at the end of the quest he had an abusive father. Now obviously this isn't a get-out-of-jail free card either, he can't wash his guilt from that alone, but I bring it up because it highlights a subtext I tried painting into the assault scene in the chapel.
  343. <TG_Weaver> The language he uses in the assault is really dark if you think about it.
  344. <TG_Weaver> "Disobedient child. Bad little girl. If you won't do as your told then you'll have to be punished."
  345. <kanelel> rapist have often been raped themselves
  346. <TG_Weaver> actually kanelel recent evidence suggests that's not as true as people thought
  347. <TG_Weaver> I mean, take it as you want, but yeah: I wrote this with the idea that, like
  348. <TG_Weaver> Santiago's probably saying this because he's heard this before.
  349. <TG_Weaver> Santiago starts crying during the assault. Even before Nan hurts him.
  350. <Parsley_Magnet>
  351. <TG_Weaver> And since it's brought up: Yes. Personally, my theory is that Santiago is a eunuch.
  352. <TG_Weaver> Santiago's lines in this scene are pretty fucked up and telling. In the end, he says that when he was a boy "my father took a knife to me and--"
  353. <TG_Weaver> And he doesn't even flinch when Nan knees him square in the crotch
  354. <TG_Weaver> So anyway, I think that covers most of what I wanted to say about Santiago.
  355. <TG_Weaver> At the end, Santiago isn't trying to die, necessarily, but the way he volunteers for the mission (and to be the sacrifice) make it clear he's kind of given up. "What kind of life do you think I'm going to have? I'm fucked up, and I don't just mean the hole in my side or my pretty new smile"
  356. <TG_Weaver> That's assuming he's not full castrato anyway
  357. <TG_Weaver> He says specifically "I don't exactly get to rewind on this".
  358. <Diesel> but he DID rewind
  359. <Diesel> so HA
  360. <TG_Weaver> Yes exactly.
  361. <TG_Weaver> But at the time he didn't know that.
  362. <TG_Weaver> He actually DOES get a second chance -- and it's not just physical. I think his willingness to risk himself to help Nan is a good indication that maybe he's finally (through her) finding little threads of ACTUAL morality to cling to, unlike before, when he was latched onto the dark shadow of Henry.
  363. <TG_Weaver> In fact, perhaps most telling of his final shift, I think, is that he risks everything -- not just his life, but potentially even more, given the nature of the place -- to go back and help Kim when she screams.
  364. <TG_Weaver> As for why he (and Kim) are children at the end, the implication I felt was fairly simple, that people were coming out at the same moment in time (Nan's time, basically), but at that point in their own lives. Which is why Kim, who'd be younger chronologically, is still a little girl.
  365. <TG_Weaver> As for why Santiago's a kid despite saying he came in the 80's: Either he lied, as he lied about many things (often for basically no reason), or by going back and escaping with Kim, he somehow jumped to her timeline.
  366. <TG_Weaver> Who can say.
  367. <TG_Weaver> Assuming the former, though, I don't think he'll be going back to live with his dad any time soon.
  368. <TG_Weaver> Ultimately I don't think Santiago is a blameless enough character to warrant absolution, necessarily (though honestly who is? even anderson had some serious shit going down that we didn't get to know about, as the accusatory note his son wrote him implies). But what he does get is another chance to make it right. It's on him. But with what he's learned, I don't know. I'm optimistic.
  369. <TG_Weaver> All this is why I think his relationship with Nan at the end is more parental than romantic. He never had much of a childhood, plus he looked at Nan as a new figure to follow (with Henry having been his last, rather poor role model), more than anything. And believe me, I was more than happy to end the quest with Nan not having any romantic figures.
  370. <TG_Weaver> People threw a lot of shipping around, but of the two main options, one turned out to be a serial killer, and one killed himself. So instead she's buying Santiago ice cream. I much prefer that, because to me, unlike Ruby, Nan never really had any romantic chemistry with the other survivors. She liked Henry's butt but even at his most innocent she was never really romantically attracted to him. And I'm real pleased with that, it wasn't really a setting fit for romance.
  371. <TG_Weaver> [one second catching up with the chat]
  372. <TG_Weaver> can you guys please stop flooding/spamming/singing
  373. <TG_Weaver> seriously
  374. <TG_Weaver> I'm trying to catch up and I will hand out kicks if I need to
  375. <TG_Weaver> I told you I needed to catch up y'guys cmon
  376. <TG_Weaver> that's what happens when I stop talking too long apparently
  377. <TG_Weaver> Okay so
  378. <TG_Weaver> at the very least if you're gonna spout dumb stuff can you keep it to one line
  379. <TG_Weaver> While I'm wrapping that up, I wanted to say Nan ends up much like Santiago, with the "start over" thing: she doesn't know who she is anymore. But she has a chance to make an identity.
  380. <TG_Weaver> Okay, so another point: Anasazi lore.
  381. <TG_Weaver> "YOU ARE NOT ANASAZI" is a quote that comes up repeatedly. MANY people don't seem to realize even now that "Anasazi" is the name of a real-life tribe of native american peoples
  382. <TG_Weaver> It's not the name of the monster, it's not the name of a role in the ceremony I made up, nothing like that
  383. <ThatStrangeDoll> wait really?
  384. <TG_Weaver> Yes. Anasazi is not their true name technically, it's a Navajo word meaning "ancient enemy". They lived in cliffside stone dwellings and the like and popular lore is they "disappeared overnight", which really just means they started dying out at a quick rate. They didn't vanish, though, and as the quest mentions, many of the migrated and subsumed into or became other tribes, like the Hopi.
  385. <TG_Weaver> (That's why the Hopi icon of Kokopelli shows up)
  386. <Fabio> Weaver, i thought you explained that when Lorenzo was explaining the background?
  387. <TG_Weaver> Yes, I did, not quite this thoroughly, but yeah, a lot of people still didn't quite get it.
  388. <TG_Weaver> The phrase "you are not Anasazi" is used because the "Outsider" role in the ritual, the title of the person who plays that role, must be played by one who is "not Anasazi": that is, one who is not a part of the group sacrificing itself. So it couldn't have been just some congregation member for instance.
  389. <TG_Weaver> It does not literally mean "not of anasazi ethnicity". It means someone who is outside of all this.
  390. <Mozai> aaaah, so "you are not Anasazi" isn't "you don't belong here" but "your role is unique"
  391. <TG_Weaver> EXACTLY
  392. <kanelel> we already knew this stuff though
  393. <TG_Weaver> Yes, that's my point, I guess I didn't make this clear enough, so I'm clearing up confusion now
  394. <TG_Weaver> Whether Henry or the Padrew as right about where Nan came from, she is the Outsider. She's not Anasazi.
  395. <TG_Weaver> Likewise, the horned, wild-eyed, scarred character we see in the colorful flashback is not named "Lightbringer". He's also not Francis Velasco. He's just the person who plays the role of the Lightbringer in THAT instance of the ritual -- but it's the same role Velasco eventually plays in the mission fire.
  396. <mio__> so the horned person is a completely new character?
  397. <TG_Weaver> Yes, the horned scarred guy in the colored flashback is probably not someone we ever see in another scene.
  398. <TG_Weaver> He is speaking to Nan, who like in all her other flashbacks, is probably reliving a memory through someone else's eyes. Presumably, she is seeing things as the Outsider of THAT ritual, whoever that person was. Which is why the Lightbringer gives her instructions he'd give the outsider. Though Nan DOES end up being the outsider in the modern ritual too.
  399. <KamenBMXRider> Same land I would assume
  400. <TG_Weaver> The implication, then, is that the strange stone location that colored-in scene takes place in occurs in the odd "lighthouse" structure by the sea, which we see in a painting in the hotel at one point.
  401. <TG_Weaver> Presumably this "lighthouse" is ancient, and stood on the same spot that the mission and the hotel were later built on.
  402. <KamenBMXRider> Weaver you did a really good job with putting things in the paintings.
  403. <TG_Weaver> Also the implication is that the downfall of the Anasazi (who in real life were VERY religious and spiritual and had a complex and involved series of rituals and worships that dominated their rather advanced culture) was linked to this darkness, this ritual, which probably went wrong at some point and unleashed the same kind of hell before.
  404. <TG_Weaver> Which of course means that the scrawled writings -- well, they certainly mean something.
  406. <TG_Weaver> <dedbeb> So... the colored Lightbringer played the same role as Velasco, but failed to complete the ritual? Or did the seal just not last? Up for interpretation, really.
  407. <TG_Weaver> Also thanks Kamen, I tried to do some scene setting with those paintings. You can even see the mission's adobe courtyard in one of the paintings.
  408. <TK> DO YOU SEE?
  409. <TG_Weaver> yeah, something like that TK
  410. <TG_Weaver> And hey, speaking of that ancient lighthouse...
  411. <TG_Weaver> Standing by the sea
  414. <aetherglow> was the decision to make the lighthouse the darkest place in the quest intentional then
  415. <TG_Weaver> absolutely
  416. <TG_Weaver> the dark light house
  417. <TG_Weaver> might as well make that official
  418. <TG_Weaver> The "light" house being the darkest place was definitely intentional. Like much of the quest, as Lorenzo suggests, the overall "aura" of the dark force twists space and time. The Chapel the ultimate fight takes place in is obviously NOT the same chapel that the sacrifice was made in, for instance -- it could be a small chapel attached to the hotel in present day.
  419. <TG_Weaver> Meanwhile the light house is a fourth-floor door that leads to the lighthouse hundreds or even thousands of years old.
  420. <TG_Weaver> And once they get inside:
  421. <TG_Weaver> Etched with that sigil all over
  422. <TG_Weaver> I had initially intended the "Anasazi Lounge" to be a modern sort of library lounge, with winding shelves. Nan was going to read something and in the background a surprise-animated part would be the Pilgrim smashing Anderson in the head with something.
  423. <TG_Weaver> But as the quest changed over time it ended up becoming this instead:
  424. <TG_Weaver> The intention for the Anasazi Lounge, as you see it here, is really more like the modern lounge physically shifting into the lighthouse itself. The two locations being sort of jammed together like putty.
  425. <TG_Weaver> That's why you've got a modern sofa next to the same firepit that Nan saw earlier.
  426. <TG_Weaver> And why the bookshelf literally turns from wood to stone as it gets closer to the fire.
  427. <TG_Weaver> You can even see the furniture getting rougher and more primitive as it approaches the firepit, which is sort of the nexus of the "lighthouse" part of the room.
  428. <TG_Weaver> And again, comparae the two images: VS
  429. <TG_Weaver> And beyond, in faint glimmers, the shimmering ocean.
  430. <Raptor> Well, now I really gotta go
  431. <TG_Weaver> Thanks for comin'
  432. <TG_Weaver> Yes, the hotel, mission, and lighthouse were all built on the same spot, by the sea.
  433. <TG_Weaver> Now, how about a little mythos on the darkness?
  434. <TK> Q: both ruby and nan have strong references to the sea, especially as a source of evil. is this just thematic, or is there a deeper connection?
  435. <TG_Weaver> Here I'm going to be a little more vague than on other topics, but the name "Naaloqomvi" comes up.
  436. <TG_Weaver> that's mostly me thinking the sea is creepy and awesome I guess
  437. <TG_Weaver> the sea is terrifying in a primal way
  438. <TG_Weaver> somewhere, beyond the sea~
  439. <TG_Weaver>
  440. <TG_Weaver> NAALOQOMVI
  441. <TG_Weaver> That word -- it's in there if you look.
  442. <TG_Weaver> The one word out of place.
  443. <TG_Weaver> "Naaloqomvi" is, as someone pointed out already, a portmanetau of two words from the Hopi language (which was spoken by Velasco's native congregation, who were presumably descended from the area's surviving population of the Anasazi)
  444. <TG_Weaver> "Naalöyö", meaning "four", and "qömvi" meaning "black".
  445. <ThatStrangeDoll> so 4 niggers?
  446. <TG_Weaver> don't be a fuckin idiot strangedoll
  447. <ThatStrangeDoll> there there
  448. * TG_Weaver has kicked That_Guy from #nanquest (there, there. there, there.)
  449. <TG_Weaver> oops
  450. <TG_Weaver> I kicked the wrong guy
  451. <TG_Weaver> WHO ELSE BUT WEAVER
  452. * TG_Weaver has kicked ThatStrangeDoll from #nanquest (take two)
  453. <TG_Weaver> at least I didn't kick myself that happened before
  454. <TG_Weaver> so, yeah
  455. <TG_Weaver> Black, four. I'm sure it could mean anything.
  456. <TG_Weaver> anything at all
  457. <TK>
  458. <TG_Weaver> yes thank you TK
  459. <TG_Weaver> exactly that
  460. <TG_Weaver> I can see the similarity
  461. <papplemelon> The creature itself looks like the story's iconic five-point symbol too
  462. <_Apollo_> Weaver; I still think the best part of that last pic is that the horns look like they're wiggling around and it's super creepy
  463. <TG_Weaver> As papplemelon said, the cross we see throughout the quest (necklace, scrawled sigils, carved signs, reassembled out of a broken christian cross, etc) is the same basic shape. Presumably it's a symbol both for and literally, visually of something.
  464. <TG_Weaver> Yes, that's certianly my intention apollo
  465. <Karuai> I guess Naaloqomvi is to Padre what Cjopaze was to Ace
  466. <kanelel> why would a visage of itself repel it?
  467. <TG_Weaver> Probably a close enough comparison, Karuai. I don't think Padre, or what we fought, WAS Naaloqomvi. But it was certainly a piece of it, or under its influence.
  468. <TG_Weaver> Symbolism doesn't always make sense. I mean the Christian cross itself was just a torture/capital punishment implement until Jesus.
  469. <TG_Weaver> Symbols do evolve over time I suppose.
  470. <TG_Weaver> So yeah, the symbol itself is sort of an abstracted icon that may have been derived from this visage itself.
  471. <TG_Weaver> I thought the Padre's final hoodless reveal here was pretty definitive of the symbol
  472. <TG_Weaver> (Also easily one of my favorite panels in the entire quest)
  473. <aetherglow> So then why did the symbol work so well as a ward against the evil? was it just the belief put into it that lent it power or something else I'm missing
  474. <TG_Weaver> I think it came out as monstrous and imposing as I'd intended
  475. <TG_Weaver> The symbol was a ward, perhaps? That doesn't make it infallible though.
  476. <Fabio> oh, so why did the Padre have the burlap sack on his head?
  477. <TG_Weaver> Because that's how he was killed (or attempted to be). He was strapped to the altar and his head was sledgehammered under the sack.
  478. <TG_Weaver> Presumably for ritual purposes or just to avoid a much more grotesque mess.
  479. <TK> as long as we're posting great panels, this was one of my very favorites:
  480. <TG_Weaver> Yeah, just that approaching wall of darkness huh? I like that a lot too
  481. <TG_Weaver> Oh, and absolutely this panel, too:
  482. <TG_Weaver> The hood is already coming off, peeling up his face. The first time we see underneath it is when he's threatening Kim. And what's underneath is just... I mean, it was very much the conundrum I faced with Ace: you have this ominous masked antagonist through the whole quest, how can you make what's underneath terrifying enough to justify the suspense?
  483. <TG_Weaver> So when he peels up that burlap cloth, it's not a human smile at all. I'd initially considered having just a broken, fragmented mouth like that picture of the "true" Father Velasco (since he'd been clubbed in the head), but I went with something even worse.
  484. <TG_Weaver> In very early versions of the quest, when I hadn't even drafted much out, let alone planned an overall arc, I had an idea that the Padre would eventually be revealed to look like one of the existing characters.
  485. <TG_Weaver> They would find a portrait of him in the mission or something, and he'd look like Pablo or Nan's ancestor or something.
  486. <aetherglow> were the vague intentions of that meant to imply a reincarnation cycle then or just a bloodline
  487. <TG_Weaver> Yeah, part of why I scrapped that idea is because I didn't like that cliche of "IT GOES DOWN BLOODLINES!!! HE'S YOUR FATHER!!!"
  488. <TG_Weaver> At another point, I'd planned for Nan to enter a "flash" from the Padre himself, and there would be a scene in his quarters, but as they were before everything went to hell, and it would be the Padre sitting in his chair, as he was in life, looking very calm and peaceful. "I think you've been looking for me. My name is Francis Velasco."
  489. <TG_Weaver> That sort of thing. But again it didn't hit quite what I wanted.
  490. <TK> yes, i feel like a lot of stories these days rely too much on "it's all connected, everything ties in, this was all preordained etc etc"
  491. <TG_Weaver> Yeah, I tried to have the overall purpose more tangled than all that. The story's messy, not clean. Nothing gets tied up. No last words.
  492. <TG_Weaver> In that way I tried to make it like life itself -- and death. I guess I didn't want things to be too neat.
  493. <Shorpinski> JUst like in real life
  494. <TG_Weaver> shorpinski's got it
  495. <TG_Weaver> Anyway, I tossed all these ideas out, and as I was getting closer to the end, I realized the heart of it: I didn't want Velasco to have a face.
  496. <kanelel> so we saw 4blacks face instead
  497. <TG_Weaver> speaking of I notice that other guy never came back
  498. <TG_Weaver> We never see him clearly in flashbacks. We glimpse his face only after it's been gripped by darkness. And at the very end, when his true, bare self comes through, it's in the broken, bloodied, fragile, "I should be dead" frame of humanity. His face has been crushed -- repeatedly -- and he's got blood and brain matter everywhere.
  499. <TG_Weaver> So we see his face, but it means nothing.
  500. <Reka_> Because underneath all that terribleness and dark, underneath it all, he was just a broken man.
  501. <TG_Weaver> yes exactly
  502. <TG_Weaver> Here's the thing: for all his flaws, all his guilt, his self-hatred, and the quote at the end about the darkness being in him all along, presumably, Velasco really did try to stop all this. So when it fucks up and the thing rides his body around for fucking 100+ years, he's in the worst nightmare of anyone.
  503. <TK>
  504. <TG_Weaver> I mean being hunted by this thing is bad, but imagine living inside it (or vice versa)
  505. <TG_Weaver> True facts: Padre's appearance WAS partially inspired by the animated Scarecrow
  506. <TG_Weaver> It was also partially inspired by a horror manga I saw once where a guy had this cartoonish face painted on a sack that he wore over his head
  507. <TG_Weaver> The Scarecrow's narrow neck and sackhead definitely helped inspire Velasco's crush-headed look, too.
  508. <TG_Weaver> He had a very strangely shaped head (in a world of mostly ovals) and it's not revealed till near the end that's why.
  509. <TG_Weaver>
  510. <TG_Weaver> Here's another thing.
  511. <DarklyQuill> Oh WOW this panel suddenly makes a lot more sense
  512. <TG_Weaver> How so darkly
  513. <DarklyQuill> I didn't see it before that the Beast is like, pinning Naaloqomvi
  514. <TG_Weaver> This panel actually came about because I switched to the wrong layer blending mode in photoshop, and I loved the effect (which brought it out as mostly white, a stark contrast) which really shifted the scene
  515. <TG_Weaver> This was the original version!
  516. <TG_Weaver> Here's another secret panel that never made it into the quest
  517. <TG_Weaver> This was just before Nan realized Henry-as-the-Pilgrim was standing right next to her in the lounge and got tackled
  518. <Diesel> that would have been a note from santiago right weaver?
  519. <TG_Weaver> Yes. She DOES read the note, but the audience was quick to suggest she move to the other side of the fire (with the group, and thus right next to the Pilgrim) BEFORE reading it, so I ended up scrapping the panel. Final version was this:
  520. <TG_Weaver> And here's one more scrapped panel: Padre's "THE DARKNESS WAS INSIDE ME" pose as super important. So when I saw how unimpressive that panel was coming out, I scrapped it and started over, much closer, and with a lower angle.
  521. <TG_Weaver> Here's the unfinished version.
  522. <TG_Weaver> One more:
  523. <TG_Weaver> When we first encounter the Pilgrim, he's butchering Anna. The original panel was this:
  524. <TG_Weaver> But it felt kind of like... too much. Not too gory, just kind of over the top. Almost goofy. I dropped it in favor of this:
  525. <TG_Weaver> <Mozai> I guess the skipped numbers or out-of-order numbers were where the audience surprised you. Yes but also sometimes I'd save a file, realize something was wrong, edit it, and then save it as a new file (with the next number) because I'd forgot I saved it already and I relied on photoshop to tell me what number I was on
  526. <TG_Weaver> <BoxDog> You might wanna change the topic. Sorry, what am I missing?
  527. <BoxDog> "You're early! The QA session isn't for a while yet."
  528. <TG_Weaver> OH. The channel topic.
  529. <BoxDog> Yeah I shoulda made that more clear.
  530. <TG_Weaver> I thought you meant to stop talking about the uh, topic of the pilgrim
  531. * TG_Weaver has changed the topic to: NanQuest Discussion. Spoilers abound! NanQuest Q&A ongoing.
  532. <TG_Weaver> A big question so far has been "what would happen if" and "what would you do differently"
  533. <TG_Weaver> It's really hard to say! I liked NanQuest a lot, and while I'd have worded things differently and maybe reacted better or drawn a little more carefully in certain situations (and, knowing what I know now, put it even more foreshadowing)
  534. <TG_Weaver> But overall I really like how it turned out, and how everyone played it. I feel like the players were often too ginger in their actions, almost never wanting to act even when lives were on the line and time was the essence, trying to reason it out with someone who was literally trying to kill them with a knife
  535. <TG_Weaver> But there were enough people suggesting more realistic things to not let the quest constantly go that direction.
  536. <TG_Weaver> And someone literally suggested hugging the Padre at the end
  537. <Reka_> "End this." Nan hugs him. "What the fuck Nan."
  538. <TG_Weaver> haha reka
  539. <TG_Weaver> So honestly, I can't really imagine a lot of how I would have rather done it, because I liked the end result, and I'm happy with how it worked, and hey, you guys beat all odds and finished a really dark, claustrophobic, mortality-obsessed quest with what is honestly a pretty happy ending.
  540. <TG_Weaver> I feel like you guys were maybe too obsessed with getting a "perfect" score and making friends with/saving everyone
  541. <TG_Weaver> A lot of people died.
  542. <Rukral> Weaver, any tips/advice for someone with a story to tell and no quest experience? Getting started, managing it, etc
  543. <TG_Weaver> Rukral I have a tumblr post about it somewhere, search "quest" tags I think?
  544. <BoxDog> Ruk, there's a big thread on quest advice stickied on /questdis/
  545. <TG_Weaver> And yeah check the sticky especially
  546. <TG_Weaver> So like I said, it's hard to imagine how things might have gone differently, because to know that we would have actually had to go down that path. It's not something I can just theorize out of thin air.
  547. <TG_Weaver> BUT... I can say a few things about how the ending happened, for instance.
  548. <TG_Weaver> For example: You gave Pablo the knife.
  549. <TG_Weaver> Pablo only had the crooked knife because of the survivors, Nan chose to let him keep it. She was the one in control of that and she gave it to him.
  550. <TG_Weaver> Another thing: The magnifying glass started a dark path.
  551. <TG_Weaver> This wasn't really intentional, necessarily, but there is a theme throughout the quest to the tune of "don't look too closely". "Don't go digging, you might not like what you find." We use the glass and find Pablo's name on the totem, then confront him with it.
  552. <TG_Weaver> Now the same people who told Nan this were also the villains, basically, so let's not forget that. Digging is also a big part of how Nan learned enough to survive the hotel so hey, you can't have it all. You can't be prescient about this stuff.
  553. <TG_Weaver> But here's another thing: Once we defended Pablo, he offered to open up about his past.
  554. <TG_Weaver> He said it was really painful and he didn't like thinking about it, but that Nan, after all she had done for him, deserved to hear the truth -- if she wanted it.
  555. <TG_Weaver> And Nan told him to spill it.
  556. <TG_Weaver> So here's the thing: this is not the one singular moment where things went wrong. But Pablo reopened old wounds. Part of why he acts the way he does at the end is that he tried so hard to forget the tragedy of his past but it still haunts him (thanks in no small part to the hotel) and he decides he can't go on, can't deal with the grief anymore.
  557. <TG_Weaver> That doesn't mean that after he opens up he was doomed, but it certainly affected his mood and his outlook.
  558. <TG_Weaver> Another thing: By choosing Santiago over Pablo, he ended up feeling more worthless. He wanted to do something to help, so he found a way. If you'd chosen to bring him along, AND HE MADE IT BACK ALIVE (which is NOT a guarantee), he wouldn't have been so eager to die, I think. It was a number of factors, so this would have just been one less.
  559. <TG_Weaver> Then again, having him instead of Santiago might have made things harder for both him and Nan; Santiago might have been the better option just for the sake of survival, too. We can't know, now.
  560. <TG_Weaver> Lastly, someone had to die anyway. If not him at the end, then Santiago. I don't imagine anyone would have pushed Kim, and Nan couldn't do it herself. So it had to be one of them.
  561. <TG_Weaver> Incidentally, Pablo is basically the only character who does get last words.
  562. <TG_Weaver> I even had last words planned out for Santiago, should he have been the one to die.
  563. <TG_Weaver> I suppose I might as well share.
  564. <jadecore> we want a new game plus, what did you expect
  565. <Mozai> NG+ would be... same story but we get to carry over all our fears, injuries and trauma from the last game? uhhhh.
  566. <BoxDog> NG+ could make for a great quick speedrun
  567. <Reka_> Nan NG+ would make a pretty funny gimmick quest. Play Nan who already knows all the plot twists and she just bullets through the whole thing yelling plot points at people while they're all like "woah what the fuck"
  568. <PoppyMuffin> New game +: barge into Henry's room a bit earlier/later
  569. <TG_Weaver> all right calm down
  570. <TG_Weaver> do you want his last words or not
  571. <TG_Weaver> then shhh for a second .
  572. <TG_Weaver> and stop talkin about new game+
  573. <dedbeb> They're just having fun.
  574. <TG_Weaver> oh no really do you think
  575. <TG_Weaver> anyway should it have been Santiago for whatever reason, he'd have a similarly succinct yet distinct last words
  576. <TG_Weaver> "Don't remember me."
  577. <TG_Weaver> anywy
  578. <Mozai> a good ending. How far did we deviate from the expected ending?
  579. <TG_Weaver> I think I've said mostly what needs to be said
  580. <TG_Weaver> not many extras or topics left at this point
  581. <TG_Weaver> Mozai, as I've said, I mostly go with the flow on quests like this, to see where it takes me. Up until right before it was happening I didn't really have an ending in mind. So there wasn't much to stray from. But I did have the image of Nan looking over the ruins and a much older Pablo putting his hand on her shoulder with a knowing smile as they watched the sun set over the ocean.
  582. <TG_Weaver> And honestly? I think I like NanQuest better than RubyQuest. I put a lot more into it, to be sure, and I had a lot more practice and polish.
  583. <TG_Weaver> I watched RubyQuest over on the ColabHQ channel and it was.... not nearly what I remembered, I guess.
  584. <TG_Weaver> It felt so much more flat to see it out like that, but I guess every author looks back on his old works harshly.
  585. <TG_Weaver> Either way, I enjoyed NQ a lot and I'm glad you all had fun.
  586. <TG_Weaver> Thank you all for coming!
  587. <TG_Weaver> I think I'm wrapping it up here so I'm gonna break for dinner. You guys are free to stick around and discuss Nan or monstergirls or whatever you want amongst yourselves as likeminded people
  588. <TG_Weaver> but I'm gonna head out for abit
  589. <TG_Weaver> Thank you one and all for your patience, your attention, and your support!
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