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Off Topic and Forum Support => Off Topic => Topic started by: Gunslinger on 25 July 2013, 22:15:52

Title: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Gunslinger on 25 July 2013, 22:15:52
I want to read this in its entirety...

I'd put this in General Discussion, but I'm unsure if it violate the rules. A live journal post from someone in 2011.

Only thing that would be better? If they had done this about the American Revolution. That is some serious unbelievable author fiat...

"As I mentioned in my last entry, I've been watching Babylon 5 lately. It's not a perfect show, but it has one big advantage: it's consistent and believable.

Contrast this with Doctor Who. Doctor Who is fun to watch, but if you think about it for more than two seconds you notice it's full of plot holes and contradictions. Things that cause time travel paradoxes that threaten to destroy the universe one episode go without a hitch the next. And the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver, and the Doctor's biology gain completely different powers no one's ever alluded to depending on the situation. The aliens are hysterically unlikely, often without motives or believable science, the characters will do any old insane thing when it makes the plot slightly more interesting, and everything has either a self-destruct button or an easily findable secret weakness that it takes no efforts to defend against.

But I guess I'm not complaining. If the show was believable, the Doctor would have gotten killed the first time he decided to take on a massive superadvanced alien invasion force by walking right up to them openly with no weapons and no plan. And then they would have had to cancel the show, and then I would lose my chance to look at the pretty actress who plays Amy Pond.

So Doctor Who is not a complete loss. But then there are some shows that go completely beyond the pale of enjoyability, until they become nothing more than overwritten collections of tropes impossible to watch without groaning.

I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called "World War II".

Let's start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn't look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn't get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil. And that's not even counting the part where as soon as the plot requires it, they instantly forget about all the racism nonsense and become best buddies with the definitely non-Aryan Japanese.

Not that the good guys are much better. Their leader, Churchill, appeared in a grand total of one episode before, where he was a bumbling general who suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Ottomans of all people in the Battle of Gallipoli. Now, all of a sudden, he's not only Prime Minister, he's not only a brilliant military commander, he's not only the greatest orator of the twentieth century who can convince the British to keep going against all odds, he's also a natural wit who is able to pull out hilarious one-liners practically on demand. I know he's supposed to be the hero, but it's not realistic unless you keep the guy at least vaguely human.

So it's pretty standard "shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong" versus "evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide" stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics. The actual strategy of the war is barely any better. Just to give one example, in the Battle of the Bulge, a vastly larger force of Germans surround a small Allied battalion and demand they surrender or be killed. The Allied general sends back a single-word reply: "Nuts!". The Germans attack, and, miraculously, the tiny Allied force holds them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive and turn the tide of battle. Whoever wrote this episode obviously had never been within a thousand miles of an actual military.

Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy - the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin' play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible...and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?

...and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin' unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you're starting to wonder if any of the show's writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made.

I'm not even going to get into the whole subplot about breaking a secret code (cleverly named "Enigma", because the writers couldn't spend more than two seconds thinking up a name for an enigmatic code), the giant superintelligent computer called Colossus (despite this being years before the transistor was even invented), the Soviet strongman whose name means "Man of Steel" in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman "Man of Steel" and the Frenchman "de Gaulle", whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).

So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don't even try to make their stuff believable."
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Darrian Wolffe on 25 July 2013, 22:20:27
I'd prefer it if EVERY time somebody bitches about "author fiat", you copy-pasted this as a direct response.

EVERY TIME.

Well done.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 25 July 2013, 22:37:45
If an author writes something I love its good writing. If they write something I hate its fiat.

Ok. Ive never called fiat. But still
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: rebs on 25 July 2013, 23:22:35
Nice post, Gunslinger. 

I've only mocked the idea, like many.  Writers are the facilitators of the true fiat that comes from the developers.  It's pure fiat at that level.  :)  So pure it would make a nerdrager's head explode.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Sabelkatten on 26 July 2013, 07:01:51
I'd say that's a pretty nonsensical description of WWII, but whatever.

IMHO "Writer's fiat" is a reasonable response when one side in a story get completely unwarranted advantages. IMHO CBT isn't really there, even with all the complaints about the FS and later CC - it's like complaining about the Brits getting "fiat" when they attacked Denmark back in the early 1800's.

Valid complaints could be the Rebellion in Star Wars, when we have the Prequels - Palpatine really has to become completely senile to not be able to manage that after what he's done!

In general, when one side suddenly loses every bit of competence and power they've had as soon as the other side shows up, then I'll call "writer's fiat". If the first side doesn't have the competence and/or power in the first place, then it's not so strange the other side can pull a fast one, is it?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Biggles Antilles on 26 July 2013, 07:17:43
Hilarious, and accurate. It's everything a growing boy needs.

By accurate I mean an excellent example of fiat achieved through hyperbole, not that it was a true examination of the war; eg. history notes well many flaws in the heroes and many positives in some of the villains. Although truth IS stranger than fiction.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Mecha82 on 26 July 2013, 07:34:07
Author fiat can fit to some stories while it can't fit to some other stories. I usually use Stackpole's BT novels and SW novels as example of this. SW is already rather B&W so obious good guys having author fiat on they side is only natural even if it makes bad guys look far more incompetent than they would be. How ever in my opinion that dosen't fit BT as way I see it no one is really good or evil in it and all sides to morally gray things even if wobbies took that to whole new extreme. Its more about one man's hero being other man's villain. Then again there has been some things about SW universe like Tie Fighter on PC that have potrait Galactic Empire just as force that wants to keep order in galaxy instead of being shown outright evil.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Atlas3060 on 26 July 2013, 09:10:43
I laughed, bravo.  [applause]
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 26 July 2013, 10:26:58
Clearly the British were OP and history is racist against the French.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Mecha82 on 26 July 2013, 10:56:24
History is something that has happened. You can't really compare it to author fiat that is about fictional work even if records of historical events in some times are written by victors or changed during time. Those historical events still took place even if records of them might not be unbiased. 
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 26 July 2013, 11:30:21
History also doesn't have to sell you on the idea of a balance of power maintained by attrition over 2 centuries, just to throw it out the window.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: JadeHellbringer on 26 July 2013, 12:07:45
I deeply object to this post, on the grounds that it implies that History still shows anything about history at all. Had this been about pawn shops and aliens, I'd believe it, but WWII? Nonsense.

 ^-^
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Rorke on 26 July 2013, 12:27:37
Haha nice.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Matti on 26 July 2013, 12:51:00
And how about the men (and women) fighting the wars? Just look at Simo Häyhä (http://www.badassoftheweek.com/hayha.html): he has highest kill record in the history, he made (most of) it with bolt-action rifles without scope, and in just 3 months! Who'd believe THAT in work of fiction?


Then again there has been some things about SW universe like Tie Fighter on PC that have potrait Galactic Empire just as force that wants to keep order in galaxy instead of being shown outright evil.
You should not overlook Imperial Military Personnel Stories (http://www.impstherelentless.com/tek9.asp)
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Banzai on 26 July 2013, 12:58:51
I deeply object to this post, on the grounds that it implies that History still shows anything about history at all. Had this been about pawn shops and aliens, I'd believe it, but WWII? Nonsense.

 ^-^

Yeah, is this "WWII" before the Pawn shop guys or after Larry the Cable Guy?  ;)

Nice post.  I believe "fiat" is near to "munchkin" in by book of Terms to Hate.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Reaver on 26 July 2013, 14:48:15
. . .The problem people have with author fiat is not that it's unrealistic.  It's that it's not a compelling enough of a story to let them ignore the inherently unrealistic parts of said story.

All stories have parts that are inherently unrealistic.  If you don't believe me, here, let me tell you a story about Peter, a young peasant who dreamed that one day he would be a knight.  He used his what little time free time he had away from the fields to practice swordcraft with sticks, until the day came when he was twelve that a priest came to town preaching that from the peasantry shall arise a humble leader to free the Holy Land from the Moslem infidels.  Peter took up the call, and armed only with a stick, he began his march to the Holy Land.  Unfortunately, he managed to get only twenty miles from home before he caught cholera, and he died alone pleading for water with blood-streaked watery stool staining his legs and smock.  The end.

Is that story realistic?  Unfortunately, yes, it's very realistic.  Why do we not bother to tell that story?  Because the reasons we tell stories are not to convey accurate historical information.  It's to cut and tailor reality into a story that gives our actions meaning and purpose in a universe where our acts and hopes and expectations are so frequently left unfulfilled.  We want to believe that by being just and right and decent, our goodness will be rewarded.  We want to believe that what we do matters.  We want to believe that our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled if we work hard enough to achieve them, despite the fact that the universe is all too often utterly indifferent, inflicting misery on the just and unjust alike, and elevating people without regard for whether they do or do not deserve it.  The answer to the Just World Hypothesis (short version:  people get what they deserve) isn't that the universe is unjust; it's that it is utterly indifferent to the notion of justice.  Our stories, however, need not be so.

When I criticize authorial fiat, what I'm really criticizing is the author not doing enough to cloak the fact that it is a story with characters I believe in and hope for.  When the heroes win only because the villains are idiots, it's not compelling.  When the heroes are beleagured only by their own ineptitude, it's not interesting.  When the story could be solved in five minutes, without trouble, if only various parties had not pulled their brain out of their heads, it's not satisfying.  And because it's not compelling, nor interesting, nor satisfying, I take my satisfaction out in nit-picking the details of the story and generally claiming that it only happened because the universe needed one side to win in order to reinforce the Status Quo is the One True God nature of the Battletech universe.  Because rest assured, I do not nitpick stories that are done well.  I've never once commented that the real reason The Galactic Empire lost is because they never developed a device known as a "grate."  I give people who say Frodo should have just flown to Mordor on the back of an Eagle the deadliest McKayla Maroney-face I can manage.  And I do it because I love the stories, and feel that those who try to create solutions that nullify the climax to be missing the point.  The point of stories isn't to tell what would happen in a perfectly plausible universe.  It's to tell me a story that is meaningful.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: pensiveswetness on 26 July 2013, 14:59:12
i complain about 'Author's fiat' everytime i watch an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants...
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Von Jankmon on 26 July 2013, 16:08:31

Ok, lets put this in perspective before too many people drink the fanboi Kool Aid.

I want to read this in its entirety...

I'd put this in General Discussion, but I'm unsure if it violate the rules. A live journal post from someone in 2011.

Only thing that would be better? If they had done this about the American Revolution. That is some serious unbelievable author fiat...

Rebels lost most of the battles but won the war, it would make pretty balanced reading translated into fiction.

Contrast this with Doctor Who. Doctor Who is fun to watch, but if you think about it for more than two seconds you notice it's full of plot holes and contradictions. Things that cause time travel paradoxes that threaten to destroy the universe one episode go without a hitch the next. And the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver, and the Doctor's biology gain completely different powers no one's ever alluded to depending on the situation. The aliens are hysterically unlikely, often without motives or believable science, the characters will do any old insane thing when it makes the plot slightly more interesting, and everything has either a self-destruct button or an easily findable secret weakness that it takes no efforts to defend against.

OK, we are starting way off scale.  The Doctor is not to be compared to Kai Allard or another BT hero, despite normal appearances he is an alien superhero.  If you want to compare him to anyone try Superman.  He wears tweed as his form of spandex.  Who wins between Kai Allard and Superman?  In an episode where The Doctor faces off against The Clans, all of them, he wins and the Clans go home to Strana Mechty plotting revenge, to be thwarted again later.

I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called "World War II".

Let's start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn't look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn't get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil. And that's not even counting the part where as soon as the plot requires it, they instantly forget about all the racism nonsense and become best buddies with the definitely non-Aryan Japanese.

Biting off more than they can chew is part of the ego of being a mad dictator.  And why not, Amaris did it, so did The Master, and it was complained about less than other plot elements. This sounds incredulous until you realise just how often in history this has happened.

Not that the good guys are much better. Their leader, Churchill, appeared in a grand total of one episode before, where he was a bumbling general who suffered an embarrassing defeat to the Ottomans of all people in the Battle of Gallipoli. Now, all of a sudden, he's not only Prime Minister, he's not only a brilliant military commander, he's not only the greatest orator of the twentieth century who can convince the British to keep going against all odds, he's also a natural wit who is able to pull out hilarious one-liners practically on demand. I know he's supposed to be the hero, but it's not realistic unless you keep the guy at least vaguely human.

Ok. Churchill appeared in quite a few episodes prior to World War 2, most of those prior to Gallipoli.  There was the episode where he led a successful cavalry charge in the modern age, where he escaped from capture by the Boers and made a lengthy escape run across southern Africa,  then there was the episode as a war correspondent/adventurer in Cuba.
Before people point him out as a Mary Sue he had many failures too to counterbalance.  Including political career failures and the Gallipoli episode.  He did an impressive amount but the script writer showed his failings fairly. He also made mistakes in the World War 2 episodes also.

So it's pretty standard "shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong" versus "evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide" stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics. The actual strategy of the war is barely any better. Just to give one example, in the Battle of the Bulge, a vastly larger force of Germans surround a small Allied battalion and demand they surrender or be killed. The Allied general sends back a single-word reply: "Nuts!". The Germans attack, and, miraculously, the tiny Allied force holds them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive and turn the tide of battle. Whoever wrote this episode obviously had never been within a thousand miles of an actual military.

They held not because of "Nuts" but because the bad guys executed prisoners shortly prior to this.  Knowing it was surrender or die they were motivated to hold.  Plausible bit of plot writing I think.  After all TPTB consider 'when in death ground, fight' to be an integral part of the fluff to the series.

....So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?

It sounds far fetched, but introducing a new supertechnology as a plot device or for a deus ex machina ending is ok, so long as its persistent to the fluff.  The 'atom bomb' technology introduced remained in future episodes and became presistently central to the plot in the Cold War series.  It's ok to dream up a super weapon so long as its not forgotten about in the next episode.  Star Trek makes that mistake every time Kirk fires a phaser at a door to no effect.  The door is closed as a plot device, but no one thinks to remove the door and copy its materials as armour for the ship.
Atom bombs however while not subsequently used except in the episode 'Test' are a concurrent theme that the script writers took the time to weave into the entire meta-plot.

...and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin' unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you're starting to wonder if any of the show's writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made.
Evidently you watched the Vietnam episode story arc but missed out on the Cuba story arc.  It was all explained especially with the Kruschev character that was part of the recurring cast prior to Vietnam.


I'm not even going to get into the whole subplot about breaking a secret code (cleverly named "Enigma", because the writers couldn't spend more than two seconds thinking up a name for an enigmatic code), the giant superintelligent computer called Colossus (despite this being years before the transistor was even invented), the Soviet strongman whose name means "Man of Steel" in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman "Man of Steel" and the Frenchman "de Gaulle", whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).

Got me there, so ripped off Superman, DC comics should sue the Soviets for plagiarism.
 
So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don't even try to make their stuff believable."
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: RGCavScout on 26 July 2013, 16:27:47
I had no idea that reality was so unreal.

Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Davout73 on 26 July 2013, 16:58:29
"Reality...you can't make this **** up...."
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Darrian Wolffe on 26 July 2013, 19:16:49
I had no idea that reality was so unreal.

The quote people are looking for is:

"The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction must be plausible"

-commonly attributed to Mark Twain


It reminds me of when I asked a BT community elsewhere for feedback on a campaign game I was running during the Amaris Coup.  The SLDF PCs were aboard a bunch of barely-servicable DropShips that would fly in and deliberately crash basically on top of a major bridge so the defenders didn't have time to blow it.  It was criticized for being "entirely unrealistic", and  that "no military would ever deliberately crash airborne troops onto an objective to achieve surprise" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Deadstick)
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Banzai on 26 July 2013, 19:31:38
Yeah, well, Audie Murphy would like to argue that Kai was a slacker.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Gunslinger on 26 July 2013, 20:10:08
The quote people are looking for is:

"The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction must be plausible"

-commonly attributed to Mark Twain


It reminds me of when I asked a BT community elsewhere for feedback on a campaign game I was running during the Amaris Coup.  The SLDF PCs were aboard a bunch of barely-servicable DropShips that would fly in and deliberately crash basically on top of a major bridge so the defenders didn't have time to blow it.  It was criticized for being "entirely unrealistic", and  that "no military would ever deliberately crash airborne troops onto an objective to achieve surprise" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Deadstick)

"Haters gonna hate!"
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Marveryn on 26 July 2013, 20:20:34
Yeah, well, Audie Murphy would like to argue that Kai was a slacker.

really who had the most fiat? Mruphy or Sgt York?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Biggles Antilles on 31 July 2013, 07:20:29
Ok, lets put this in perspective before too many people drink the fanboi Kool Aid.

Can I just say this post was awesome, so awesome I had to rub my laptop all over my oiled body just to feel close to its awesomeness.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Von Jankmon on 31 July 2013, 08:04:50
really who had the most fiat? Mruphy or Sgt York?

T.E Lawrence
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Von Jankmon on 31 July 2013, 08:07:01



It reminds me of when I asked a BT community elsewhere for feedback on a campaign game I was running during the Amaris Coup.  The SLDF PCs were aboard a bunch of barely-servicable DropShips that would fly in and deliberately crash basically on top of a major bridge so the defenders didn't have time to blow it.  It was criticized for being "entirely unrealistic", and  that "no military would ever deliberately crash airborne troops onto an objective to achieve surprise" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Deadstick)

That is acceptable because its Amaris coup, however in 3025 calls of 'totally unrealistic' would be supported, as dropships were too precious to waste this way.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Marwynn on 31 July 2013, 09:15:44
Believe it or not (Hah) I used to be cry "Fiat" every once in a while in my younger days, though I use the word ironically these days I'd like to defend these people.

This is a game universe.

It is not modeled on realism, though it has realistic aspects. Vast swathes of it are painted over with "Just go with it". So does the argument that this sorta stuff happens in reality hold water when we ignore the economy for the most part? Or physics?

And while the fluff and the histories are well written and at many times very sober but creatively done, there's still a buy-in that this is a fictional universe.

Is it at all relevant that the US became such a powerhouse and therefore it's okay that--in the eyes of many fans--a certain faction still wins even when it loses? Or for whatever elicits cries of "Fiat!" nowadays.

Is it fair for a fan to expect that ill-defined of most qualities, balance, in such a universe that they're invested in? Do you expect a fan of a single faction to have that perspective? Is that fair for you to expect that?

Or maybe we all have different perspectives on what should be, and what is fair. I mean, fiat is the will of the author(s) in fictional universes. God, or whatever force you do or don't believe in, can be blamed for unbelievable stuff in reality as well. And I'm sure we have plenty of real people crying to the heavens about good or bad events.

Yes, there are fans who say stuff like "that's totally unrealistic" given from their point of view. That's usually a knowledge problem.

Anyway, this is as philosophical as I'll get without some caffeine in me.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Biggles Antilles on 31 July 2013, 09:28:18
It's just life fiat, which as we age becomes history fiat, which influences another generation as cultural fiat, which means sometimes we lose objectivity for creative or other reasons, and write fiat. It's deus ex machina and Chehkov's gun [which I'm sure has already been mentioned I'm sorry] but if it's not wrapped in a cogent and well-thought out package then it becomes so obvious we lose the illusory quality that makes good writing good writing I suppose.

Then you can cry fiat, but it's pedantic to point it out all the time and being a pedant is like so totally lame. [btw I know that's not what we're saying, unless somebody said it, in which case don't be a pedant it's lame]
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 31 July 2013, 09:33:30
The ultimate success is that people care enough to debate about it. Its a fictional universe that allows you to choose a faction and be invested in it. There is no way to avoid people claiming that the arbitrary way the story is advanced by authors isnt based on favoritism. We want our factions to win. To do well. Im not a huge fan of people who call fiat but thats because its a poor debate crutch and used to defend some pretty weak points.

The universe is decided logically and arbitrarily by authors.

But so is history. Not just writers. Leaders are the authors of our world. Alexander, charlemagne. Ghengis khan, julius ceasar, bismark, frederick the great, ghandi, etc wrote some pretty crazy stuff.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Biggles Antilles on 31 July 2013, 09:48:18
The universe is decided logically and arbitrarily by authors.

But so is history. Not just writers. Leaders are the authors of our world. Alexander, charlemagne. Ghengis khan, julius ceasar, bismark, frederick the great, ghandi, etc wrote some pretty crazy stuff.

This guy gets it. Life is one crazy story, and if we just take a narrow slice of figures (in)famous enough for us to know about and look at how much trouble they're inclined to get themselves in then you worry for the wider human population.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: rebs on 31 July 2013, 19:21:00
Fiat has always been in the hands of the historian, we shouldn't kid ourselves about that.

In this case, the authors are the historians.  But they get their picture of events from the developers, who are also writers. 

Complaining about authorial fiat is nothing more than complaining that the story didn't go the way one hoped and/or thought it would, or should, go.  It's a matter of taste.  Crying fiat is simply a way of shoring up one's side of a disagreement about taste with wishful thinking. 

Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: FedSunsBorn on 31 July 2013, 19:38:27
I think author fiat can be called out in certain situations but overall, I would say it is a lot less common than what a lot of people scream about.

As to real life.....life is stranger than fiction.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Tokage on 31 July 2013, 20:02:55
I'm a firm believer that life is truly more amazing than fiction.

However, fiction tends to focus on individuals, whereas life/history covers every single person alive. So yes, bizarre and incredible things do happen in real life, things that in fiction would seem too implausible - despite having sometimes actually happened to people.

The thing is fiction, because it's focused, can rarely rely on such aberrant events, or risks becoming 'implausible' if it does.

Also, just because real history contains incredible or shocking/surprising events, does not excuse author fiat  that flies in the face of previously established canonical consistency. Especially not when there is a clear factional bias at work.

In the BT setting, for example, prior to the 4SW there was no canonical evidence to support that the FS could wage a war as quick and crushing as the 4SW against the CC. There just wasn't. Even were the FS able to muster enough JumpShips - which is highly doubtful - the CC military in early pre-Stackpole canon for the late 3SW era were shown to be generally quite successful and efficient. They certainly were not portrayed to be a paper tiger ready to fall. Also taking planets that quickly was not possible - even Kuritas 1SW steam roller into the FS moved much slower, over the course of many years. That's what we mean by author fiat - an overturning over the established rules of a setting, just because the author wants one side to win quickly.

I've personally never understood why tptb wanted a goody-two-shoes invincible white hat faction in BT. That wasn't the case originally, and easy victories do not generally make for interesting stories.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Tokage on 31 July 2013, 20:09:08
Fiat has always been in the hands of the historian, we shouldn't kid ourselves about that.

In this case, the authors are the historians.  But they get their picture of events from the developers, who are also writers. 

Complaining about authorial fiat is nothing more than complaining that the story didn't go the way one hoped and/or thought it would, or should, go.  It's a matter of taste.  Crying fiat is simply a way of shoring up one's side of a disagreement about taste with wishful thinking.

This guy gets it. Life is one crazy story, and if we just take a narrow slice of figures (in)famous enough for us to know about and look at how much trouble they're inclined to get themselves in then you worry for the wider human population.

The ultimate success is that people care enough to debate about it. Its a fictional universe that allows you to choose a faction and be invested in it. There is no way to avoid people claiming that the arbitrary way the story is advanced by authors isnt based on favoritism. We want our factions to win. To do well. Im not a huge fan of people who call fiat but thats because its a poor debate crutch and used to defend some pretty weak points.

The universe is decided logically and arbitrarily by authors.

But so is history. Not just writers. Leaders are the authors of our world. Alexander, charlemagne. Ghengis khan, julius ceasar, bismark, frederick the great, ghandi, etc wrote some pretty crazy stuff.

I only call author fiat when they change the rules of the setting to allow their fictional Alexanders to achieve their amazing victories.

Alexander's army moving at foot and horse speed for example would be fine in a fictional ancient history setting. His covering established distances far faster than has been previously established as possible, then teabagging the Emperor of China ... that would be fiat.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 31 July 2013, 20:11:37
Sounds like a particularly deadly Dynasty Warriors super move.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: rebs on 31 July 2013, 21:06:29
No doubt.  But there's a difference between bent rules and broken ones.  The instances of out-and-out poor writing decisions like that are few and isolated. 
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: CrossfirePilot on 31 July 2013, 23:17:19
really who had the most fiat? Mruphy or Sgt York?

Lawrence of Arabia?

Carlos Hathcock?

Dick Marchinco?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: rebs on 31 July 2013, 23:32:27
Hemingway's abuse of fiat manifested in a horse falling on Robert Jordan's leg in For Whom the Bell Tolls.  :-)  

Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 31 July 2013, 23:56:25
Lawrence of Arabia?

Carlos Hathcock?

Dick Marchinco?

Id go with richard marchinco. That guy is way too breathing for the amount of times his chutes dont deploy.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: ANS Kamas P81 on 01 August 2013, 02:05:58
I'll back Ataturk on this one.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: bytor on 01 August 2013, 03:18:12
I think author fiat can be called out in certain situations but overall, I would say it is a lot less common than what a lot of people scream about.

I agree, and I would take some people a bit more seriously if they stopped screaming "author fiat" every time something doesn't go their way in fiction.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: BrokenMnemonic on 01 August 2013, 03:48:16
In my completely random study of the use of the term "author fiat", results show that at least 3/4 of the time "author fiat" means "you violated my personal feelings of entitlement".
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: bytor on 01 August 2013, 03:50:08
In my completely random study of the use of the term "author fiat", results show that at least 3/4 of the time "author fiat" means "you violated my personal feelings of entitlement".

LOL! That sounds about right.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Lazarus Jaguar on 01 August 2013, 06:52:28
I'm a firm believer that life is truly more amazing than fiction.

However, fiction tends to focus on individuals, whereas life/history covers every single person alive. So yes, bizarre and incredible things do happen in real life, things that in fiction would seem too implausible - despite having sometimes actually happened to people.

The thing is fiction, because it's focused, can rarely rely on such aberrant events, or risks becoming 'implausible' if it does.

Also, just because real history contains incredible or shocking/surprising events, does not excuse author fiat  that flies in the face of previously established canonical consistency. Especially not when there is a clear factional bias at work.

In the BT setting, for example, prior to the 4SW there was no canonical evidence to support that the FS could wage a war as quick and crushing as the 4SW against the CC. There just wasn't. Even were the FS able to muster enough JumpShips - which is highly doubtful - the CC military in early pre-Stackpole canon for the late 3SW era were shown to be generally quite successful and efficient. They certainly were not portrayed to be a paper tiger ready to fall. Also taking planets that quickly was not possible - even Kuritas 1SW steam roller into the FS moved much slower, over the course of many years. That's what we mean by author fiat - an overturning over the established rules of a setting, just because the author wants one side to win quickly.

I've personally never understood why tptb wanted a goody-two-shoes invincible white hat faction in BT. That wasn't the case originally, and easy victories do not generally make for interesting stories.

Go back to the WW2 scenario.  Even if Germany could muster the forces necessary for that rapid a campaign, France had always been shown pre History Channel as quite successful and efficient.  Then author fiat and suddenly they're totally beaten in 4 weeks.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Tokage on 01 August 2013, 16:50:22
Go back to the WW2 scenario.  Even if Germany could muster the forces necessary for that rapid a campaign, France had always been shown pre History Channel as quite successful and efficient.  Then author fiat and suddenly they're totally beaten in 4 weeks.

I think that's absurd. There are clear tactical reasons why the French army (which was set up for static defence) was defeated by the Germans at that time - there are no clear tactical reasons for the conquest of the CC. We were simply told (suddenly) they were a crappy military, when that had not been the case prior to the Warrior Trilogy. They were smaller in numbers, but were shown to beat HD in late 3SW at least as often as they lost.

I am not one of these strange posters who favours one or other faction, I just like consistency. Also I didn't like the way HD seemed invincible suddenly, seemingly due to some kind of moral decency as much as anything else. It was not a good way for a morally grey setting to head. Indeed it led to many another metaplot mess that came after. IMHO.

But, we're heading into well trod territory, so I'll agree to disagree and bow out of this one.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Davout73 on 01 August 2013, 17:52:35
The End of the 3rd Succession War in game time is 1920 IRL.  A massive war has just been fought to a grinding halt, and both sides have tons of data on how the war was fought, what was successful, what was unsuccessful, and both sides are using that hard earned data to prepare for the next war.

The Capellans are the French.  They say "This is how the war was fought last time, this is how we won last time, and this is how we prepare to fight the next time.  But instead of building a Maginot line they deploy in trip lines, expecting an attack, and expecting to reinforce an attack from the interior.  As the 3rd SSW wound down, you did not have the massive military movements that characterized the 1st SSW, and it was the strategy that worked for them.

The Davion are the Germans.  They looked at the last war, they study the data and outcomes, and they say "We aren't going to fight the last war, we're going to fight the next war."  Both sides have the same data, but they each draw a different conclusion, a conclusion that is validated by what they learned the last time they fought.

Cue to 1940/3028.  The Tactical problem is this:  There's a huge fortified line in front of you/Your enemies deployment is built to take advantage of his interior lines of reinforcement.  So, what do you do?  In 1940 you send the Panzers lancing through the Ardennes; in 3028 you have multiple units hitting individual units, overwhelming then before the reinforcements can arrive, and then attacking again.  Yes, in a standup one on one fight, your average Capellan is better than your average Davion.  That's why you send two or three (or four) Davions each time your attacking. 

The Capellans weren't a crappy military, anymore than France was a crappy military in 1940.  They were just unprepared to fight the way they needed to in order to win, and once attacked, were not given the chance to recover.

Also, the fact that Davion was willing to ruin his economy by appropriating jumpships and had an ally who was distracting his other opponent had a lot to due with the successes in the CC.

Dav

I think that's absurd. There are clear tactical reasons why the French army (which was set up for static defence) was defeated by the Germans at that time - there are no clear tactical reasons for the conquest of the CC. We were simply told (suddenly) they were a crappy military, when that had not been the case prior to the Warrior Trilogy. They were smaller in numbers, but were shown to beat HD in late 3SW at least as often as they lost.

I am not one of these strange posters who favours one or other faction, I just like consistency. Also I didn't like the way HD seemed invincible suddenly, seemingly due to some kind of moral decency as much as anything else. It was not a good way for a morally grey setting to head. Indeed it led to many another metaplot mess that came after. IMHO.

But, we're heading into well trod territory, so I'll agree to disagree and bow out of this one.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: omega2010 on 02 August 2013, 01:59:13
"Reality...you can't make this **** up...."
Well then... I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Uh, oh, I hear Adam Savage's lawyers beating at my door.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Matti on 02 August 2013, 15:26:33
I think that's absurd. There are clear tactical reasons why the French army (which was set up for static defence) was defeated by the Germans at that time - there are no clear tactical reasons for the conquest of the CC. We were simply told (suddenly) they were a crappy military, when that had not been the case prior to the Warrior Trilogy. They were smaller in numbers, but were shown to beat HD in late 3SW at least as often as they lost.
What are your sources? And when you talk about the Fourth Succession War, do you derive it only from the Warrior Trilogy, or have you actually read NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas too?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: guardiandashi on 02 August 2013, 17:57:00
What are your sources? And when you talk about the Fourth Succession War, do you derive it only from the Warrior Trilogy, or have you actually read NAIS The Fourth Succession War Military Atlas too?
there were lots of factors that lead up to Davion curb stomping Laio.  That does not fall into author fiat

1 davion built up and concentrated their military, and hired lots of mercs to further expand their "effective" forces
2 they pulled "wargames" enough in the years preceding the attack that when they said "its just more wargames" people believed them.
3 Davion deliberately swamped the laio defenders, if it looked like laio had a company they dropped a battalion to a regiment on it.
4 they moved faster than anyone thought they could. They also dropped heavy forces on the "tripwire forces" and then dropped heavy forces on the reaction forces ALSO (in many cases before they could even respond to the "tripwire" calls for help.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: ColBosch on 02 August 2013, 18:36:27
5. They inserted two spies into top Capellan intelligence positions.
6. The Confederation was controlled by megalomaniac.
7. The assault relied on tactics whose repercussions - such as JumpShips far from their normal routes - lasted through the Jihad; in some ways, the very thing that allowed the Federated-Commonwealth alliance to jump to such strong and early gains was also its downfall.
8. The Confederation, it should be pointed out, survived and has since taken back its lost territory and then some.

No, the Fourth Succession War was reasonable and rather realistic.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Marveryn on 02 August 2013, 18:48:28
9 forces that normal be use in the draconis march were instead use for the invasion leaving Lyran and Wolf dragoon forces to handle Kurita. 
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Banzai on 02 August 2013, 19:20:34
10.  They were trusting in information provided by a traitorous March Lord who was trying to play both Houses against each other so he could take over.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 02 August 2013, 22:30:06
11. Justin Allard and Jack Burton killed maximillian liao on sian, rescued candace liao and escaped with the use of sabotaged triple strengh myomers And their dropship the porkchop express!

some of this post is a fabrication.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Biggles Antilles on 03 August 2013, 09:47:07
some of this post is a fabrication.

Nothing wrong with a vivid imagination!
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Taharqa on 03 August 2013, 14:17:50
Of course, machine guns did shoot the appropriate range in WWII, iirc.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 03 August 2013, 20:34:54
Of course, machine guns did shoot the appropriate range in WWII, iirc.

As they did in Battletech.

http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=3134
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Biggles Antilles on 04 August 2013, 07:23:26
As they did in Battletech.

Holy smokes boys! That's it no more dipping my toe I am getting back into BattleTech!  ;D
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 04 August 2013, 09:15:09
Holy smokes boys! That's it no more dipping my toe I am getting back into BattleTech!  ;D

Oh ive been waiting for an opportunity to use that trap ♥

 ;D
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 05 August 2013, 10:18:41
9 forces that normal be use in the draconis march were instead use for the invasion leaving Lyran and Wolf dragoon forces to handle Kurita.

Herein is where I actually start to side with the fiat crowd.  The monumental failures of DC and FWL during the 4th SW make the CapCon's beating possible.  I can only blame Stackpole so much.  The Dragoons were "handling" the most feared military in the Inner Sphere while the Lyrans.... the Lyrans took advantage.  Say what you want about the build up to beat the CapCon.  The Dragoons being able to hamstring the entire DCMS?  That has never sat well with me.

- there are no clear tactical reasons for the conquest of the CC. We were simply told (suddenly) they were a crappy military, when that had not been the case prior to the Warrior Trilogy. They were smaller in numbers, but were shown to beat HD in late 3SW at least as often as they lost.

I'd need to check the release schedule from days of yore, but the House Laio book makes it clear that the CCAF exists in a perilous state.  The CapCon had been beaten down until it was small enough to shift troops around to counter enemy invasions without tremendous delay.  Hence the whole elastic defense approach.  So much of their strategy was based around delaying actions and defense, followed by counterattack that once the first was overwhelmed, the second couldn't kick off.

Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 05 August 2013, 11:24:19
Herein is where I actually start to side with the fiat crowd.  The monumental failures of DC and FWL during the 4th SW make the CapCon's beating possible.  I can only blame Stackpole so much.  The Dragoons were "handling" the most feared military in the Inner Sphere while the Lyrans.... the Lyrans took advantage.  Say what you want about the build up to beat the CapCon.  The Dragoons being able to hamstring the entire DCMS?  That has never sat well with me.

The Dragoons did soak a lot of the regiments in that district. But I doubt that the Draconis Reach was completely quiet. Also, they are pretty quiet about the Lyran Commonwealth's actions. There are a lot of 4th Succession War products, but they mostly retread what happened in the stackpole novels.

It would be nice if they released a historical that covered the action that the Lyran Commonwealth went through as it distracted its two neighbors. Though, the Free Worlds League was still reeling from its civil war if I remember correctly.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 05 August 2013, 11:27:12
They were taken for a ride by the Tikonov Free Republic Army.

...yep.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 05 August 2013, 11:30:33
Though, ironically, the civil war fourteen years earlier involved those same dragoons.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Matti on 05 August 2013, 14:28:00
Holy smokes boys! That's it no more dipping my toe I am getting back into BattleTech!  ;D
Remember to buy Total Warfare and Tech Manual. Tech Manual has number of PBI weapons (like Bolt-Action Rifle) you can use for infantry, and Anti-'Mech Skill can be used to incapacitate tanks like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M8_hS0gqU8).
(Can anyone identify the flamethrower tank for me?)
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Matti on 05 August 2013, 14:34:53
Herein is where I actually start to side with the fiat crowd.  The monumental failures of DC and FWL during the 4th SW make the CapCon's beating possible.  I can only blame Stackpole so much.  The Dragoons were "handling" the most feared military in the Inner Sphere while the Lyrans.... the Lyrans took advantage.  Say what you want about the build up to beat the CapCon.  The Dragoons being able to hamstring the entire DCMS?  That has never sat well with me.
Dragoons weren't there alone. Team Banzai did its part, and Northwind Highlanders arrived in nick of time to Northwind bagpipes playing. And those were in Stackpole's novels. For more details about those events and whole lot more not covered in the novels, read NAIS Fourth Succession War Military Atlas (http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=31). And there is Volume 2 (http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=32)
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Banzai on 05 August 2013, 14:58:03
In addition, the DC was in the same boat as the CC in that their military was fighting the last war.  The Elsies had changed tactics, fighting more like Davions, and the DC didn't adjust.  The one commander who was thinking forward, Theodore Kurita, was hamstrung by his father and the Warlords as the DC system was designed to be a break upon ambition (to protect the Coordinator) and it held Theodore back when he could have done more.  By the time he was in a position to attack, with his plan having a great chance to carve a huge chunk from the Commonwealth, he had to have all his eggs in one basket.  After Frederick Steine's suicide charge (say what you will about the Drac's tendency toward seppuku, but when they kill themselves to regain their honor they don't take a crack regiment down with them,) at  Dromini VI, followed by the LOKI strike to the jumpships as Katrina's hole card, there was no way to move the assembled troops.  But he learned.  (See the War of 3039.)
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 05 August 2013, 15:03:40
Frederick Steiner is maybe one of my favorite people. His pyrrhic victory over the DC.

Should also probably remember that Wolfs Dragoons are a pretty odd mercenary unit. To try and fit in they came with enough regiments to seem like a normal unit in the first succession war.

They're a massive army in the Fourth.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Banzai on 05 August 2013, 15:13:42
Frederick Steiner is maybe one of my favorite people. His pyrrhic victory over the DC.


Which in turn gave the DC a bone to throw Comstar when they did not give all of Rasalhage away, which gave Comstar the leader they needed to deal with the Clans, which in turn saved the DC.

Strange is fate. 
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Decoy on 05 August 2013, 15:30:02
Dragoons weren't there alone. Team Banzai did its part, and Northwind Highlanders arrived in nick of time to Northwind bagpipes playing. And those were in Stackpole's novels. For more details about those events and whole lot more not covered in the novels, read NAIS Fourth Succession War Military Atlas (http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=31). And there is Volume 2 (http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=32)

And to add to this, the Davions still lost key worlds, such as Marduk to the Combine.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 05 August 2013, 15:44:13
Dragoons weren't there alone. Team Banzai did its part, and Northwind Highlanders arrived in nick of time to Northwind bagpipes playing. And those were in Stackpole's novels. For more details about those events and whole lot more not covered in the novels, read NAIS Fourth Succession War Military Atlas (http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=31). And there is Volume 2 (http://www.battlecorps.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=32)

The Northwind Highlanders were part of what can only be described as the dubious change of face in the Laio forces, along with the Tikonov Free Republic.  One day they were in the Laio handbook as house troops, next they are fighting the Dracs.  If we're talking about fiat, that certainly needs to be part of the discussion.

And I have read both atlases.  I still prefer the Jihad Hotspot storylines.  Perhaps because there was more history behind the events therein I find the plot twists more believeable.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Davout73 on 05 August 2013, 16:00:20
Herein is where I actually start to side with the fiat crowd.  The monumental failures of DC and FWL during the 4th SW make the CapCon's beating possible.  I can only blame Stackpole so much.  The Dragoons were "handling" the most feared military in the Inner Sphere while the Lyrans.... the Lyrans took advantage.  Say what you want about the build up to beat the CapCon.  The Dragoons being able to hamstring the entire DCMS?  That has never sat well with me.

It wasn't that, but rather that the DCMS, and in particular the Galedon District, became so focused on destroying the Dragoons that the other strategic and tactical options fell by the wayside.  A historical parallel is the German 6th Army at Stalingrad.  There were other tactical options available, and on other fronts, but the focus on taking Stalingrad became such that any other plan of action or effort was either ignored or not given enough attention until it was too late.

Dav
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Davout73 on 05 August 2013, 16:01:26
The Northwind Highlanders were part of what can only be described as the dubious change of face in the Laio forces, along with the Tikonov Free Republic.  One day they were in the Laio handbook as house troops, next they are fighting the Dracs.  If we're talking about fiat, that certainly needs to be part of the discussion.

Because troops never change sides during the course of a war?

Dav
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 05 August 2013, 16:18:44
They do.  But, it isn't about whether or not it ever happened ever.  If that is the qualification nothing is rediculous.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Davout73 on 05 August 2013, 16:24:44
They do.  But, it isn't about whether or not it ever happened ever.  If that is the qualification nothing is rediculous.

So whats your quibble with it?  Curious to know.

Dav
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 05 August 2013, 16:41:45
That is was not just over done, but that it was sloppy.  The Highlanders had 3 of 4 regiments listed as fanatical and they jumped ship without major internal conflict and arrived to help the Draconis March intact and ready to fight.  Meh.

Tikonov defects once cut off and kisses major FC boot, forms 2 regiments and attacks the FWL with enough force to paralyze them.  This undercuts the difficulty of organizing and operating a military unit in BT, which is supposed to be a big thing.  TFR just does it, and effectively. 

St. Ives defects along with Candice Liao, transforming her from flipant hedonist to star crossed lover and national mother figure.  This is less about Justin Allard or St. Ives as so much Candice's 180.

So basically, all that info you absorbed and liked in the HLSB, don't get attached.  Maybe i'm guilty of liking the original housebook too much.  It's just all sloppy and rushed.  I don't care that there are 2 atlases and a trilogy behind them, the events of the 4th Succession War still come off as forced.  Fiat might imply a certain amount of venom, so let me say, I dislike the events of the 4th SW because they feel sloppy, rushed, and with the atlases, rationalized after the fact.  That's all  :)
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Banzai on 05 August 2013, 17:14:12

St. Ives defects along with Candice Liao, transforming her from flipant hedonist to star crossed lover and national mother figure.  This is less about Justin Allard or St. Ives as so much Candice's 180.

I see her less as you describe her (well, other than "star crossed" means exactly the opposite of how people use it, but that is the TA geek/pedantic, so ignore me there,)  and more as a realist.  The writing was on the wall, and it wasn't going to go well for the CapCon.  Defecting gave her an ability to maintain her holding's identity in exchange for forming a buffer state. 
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Hammerpilot IIC on 05 August 2013, 17:52:54
Oh, it's author fiat...and here I thought the FedCom Civil War started over Kat's envy of Arthur's new sports car. :P
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: CrossfirePilot on 05 August 2013, 18:21:21
What they're making all the author's drive Fiats now?!?! ??? ???
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Taharqa on 05 August 2013, 18:37:12
I can only blame Stackpole so much.

Actually, blaming Stackpole for pretty much everything works really well for me.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Lazarus Jaguar on 06 August 2013, 06:58:34
Is Fiat still around in the 32nd century?  Have they made anything?  Maybe they're helping rearm the Republic inside the fortress
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 06 August 2013, 09:12:51
Is Fiat still around in the 32nd century?  Have they made anything?  Maybe they're helping rearm the Republic inside the fortress

They don't build fusion engines. Not sure what Fiat or Mazda would be up to in the future.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 06 August 2013, 09:23:33
Mazda would still be trying to get the Wankle engine to work.

Fiat would side with the Blakists.  Who else but the Manei Domini would be able to control such tiny cars?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: rebs on 06 August 2013, 10:07:07
And Victor, stymied often in his quest to be the Alpha, was likely rather miffed that he had to settle for a Alfa Romeo.  And only after a dropship full of Stackpolian internal grumbling  O0
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: YingJanshi on 06 August 2013, 10:48:14
Davout73 pretty much summed it up about the DCMS/Dragoons front. Things would have turned out much differently if Takashi hadn't had such a narrow focus on them. The Wolf's at that point were a good size army and while they did hold the Dragon at bay, they got seriously mauled in the process.

As for the Highlanders, well, for all their vaunted reputation they've always seemed pretty unreliable to me. RE: their set-in during the Jihad.

And didn't Tikonov break away because Ridzek wanted his own little fiefdom?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 06 August 2013, 11:05:40
Davout73 pretty much summed it up about the DCMS/Dragoons front. Things would have turned out much differently if Takashi hadn't had such a narrow focus on them. The Wolf's at that point were a good size army and while they did hold the Dragon at bay, they got seriously mauled in the process.

I understand what happened, and let me just say, the role of Wolf's Dragoons was largely overstated.  The LCAF inflicted the actual losses.  WD drew a disproportionate amount of attention which allowed the AFFS to operate with more attention paid to giving Max Liao a noogie.

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As for the Highlanders, well, for all their vaunted reputation they've always seemed pretty unreliable to me. RE: their set-in during the Jihad.

Well, we knew the Highlanders were around in the Dark Age as a Republic unit, so they had to survive in some form.  Their close proximity to Terra makes it unlikely that an openly defiant Northwind would not get Blakist attention.  In other words, I think they have something of a pass simply because of the MWDA fluff, as sad as that is to say.  As for their unreliable nature, I dunno...  It has been detailed at length how self interested the Highlanders are.  But, prior to Hanse throwing independence at them they had gone the distance for the CapCon.

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And didn't Tikonov break away because Ridzek wanted his own little fiefdom?

Sort of.  Tikonov was cut off by the AFFS attacks on the CapCon.  Ridzick requested aid for an attack that didn't come.  He eventually formed the Tikonov Free Republic as a means of keeping the area intact and him at the head.  But, prolly not for the same "altruistic" reasons St. Ives was handed over.  Ridzick was essentially beseiged and sided with the FedCom in a bid to stay at the top of the TFR's heirarchy.  I don't have a problem with that alone.  It is the idea that this just happened and turned out in the best possible way for the FedCom, in the same conflict at the Northwind defection and St. Ives surrender turned out in the best possible way that irks me.  The military victories over the CCAF are fine.  Those are explained at length and have prior establishment in the HLSB.  But, whatever.  Ancient history.  Davions getting their's now.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Kitsune413 on 06 August 2013, 12:56:55
I get the feeling that the Highlanders are only Fanatically loyal to Northwind.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Giovanni Blasini on 07 August 2013, 23:13:44
These days, every time I hear someone mention author fiat, I wonder if they sprang for the Abarth.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: Lazarus Jaguar on 08 August 2013, 04:06:57
I get the feeling that the Highlanders are only Fanatically loyal to Northwind.

Ok, nkw we're talking about Toyota too?
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 08 August 2013, 10:56:02
I get the feeling that the Highlanders are only Fanatically loyal to Northwind.

The Highlanders kept the legacy of the SLDF alive with the secret Black Watch group and reforming it after the 2nd Star League formed.  But, whether or not that is a silly plot device or not is up to you.
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: YingJanshi on 08 August 2013, 11:37:22
The Highlanders kept the legacy of the SLDF alive with the secret Black Watch group and reforming it after the 2nd Star League formed.  But, whether or not that is a silly plot device or not is up to you.

Considering how the reformed Black Watch performed...I'm not sure that's really a point in their favor...
Title: Re: Everytime I hear someone complaining about "author fiat"...
Post by: False Son on 08 August 2013, 11:56:18
No, but it goes hand in hand with the Higherlands' over romanticizing everything Scottish.  And the Ghost of the Black Watch rescued Hohiro, so it isn't all bad for them.