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How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

5 months ago
Not a single ending where he becomes truly powerful or truly immortal (not an immobile brain in a jar) besides the Harbinger ending where he ends up being some god’s bitch. This is a far cry from Necromancer, which is ironic because the Necromancer was some random inexperienced kid incompetent at everything in magic until he toggled necromancy hax while the eternal was born and molded to excel at combat and magic 24/7 from birth by the very best in his verse. This Eternal guy gets one shot by bullets or knife stabs from random grunts, from what I understand some random kid could smoke him with a pistol. He also spends the entire series never being able to beat Semra, let alone come close to the likes of Casimir, Nicomedeus, or Dendrin, and there’s nothing you can really do especially since he falls victim to aging.

Only possible thing is that with is that in the Harbinger ending you might get a chance to combat or take over the Death God rather than be his bitch, but I doubt it. The path where you choose to rule could have put you on the route to gain more power but ironically, the path where you choose to serve gives you more options and more potential power. Oh well, still enjoyed the book greatly and went through every single epilogue.

How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

5 months ago

Are you sure you played every ending?

How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

5 months ago
If you’re referring to the ending where you forever become unconscious shadow matter then yeah I’ve also played that. I went through all 13 endings.

The most brutal thing is that MC falls victim to aging in all the endings except for like 3 or so. For all his magic ability and having a Necromancer emperor father figure and going to Mortos, you’d assume he could be a master necromancer lich, especially given that all the demonologists in Necromancer could become necromancers on a whim and even were about to become immortal liches before they got killed. Or maybe become a vampire, or many of other ways to prolong his life without being a brain in a jar given his S tier talent and background in magic as well as being ruler of the most powerful empire in the world with access to almost anything. Who knows, maybe in the Eternal universe magic is much weaker and technology reigns?

The Struggle path where you choose to rule could have put you on the route to gain more power but funnily enough, the path where you choose to serve gives you more options and more potential power.

How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

5 months ago

Did you start reading these before you made an account, or have you spent the last four days in service and devotion to EndMaster?

Also why didn't you rate either of those stories?

How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

5 months ago

Obviously I can't speak for EndMaster's intentions, but I felt that this was of major benefit to the story's theme. It feels like a lot of storygames tend to go the power-fantasy wish-fulfillment route of having the main character become an ultra-powerful god being. There's nothing wrong with this--as you mention, Necromancer does it to great effect, and Eternal has no small amount of power fantasy as well--but you can only get so nuanced about mortality in games where death is genuinely escapable.

Eternal is a story about the quest for immortality in its various forms, and each of its endings show the tradeoffs that one faces in seeking them. You can become immortal by writing a book, but you might not create a lasting political institution. You can found a long-lasting nation or city, but you might sacrifice some close personal relationships to get there. You can seize power and control from a world that is unfamiliar to you, but you might make practical mistakes and lose control over the meaning of your legacy. You can extend your lifespan indefinitely, but you might lose most of the thigns that really brought you joy. And as you mention in the Harbinger end, you can actually shed your mortality and live forever, but it comes at the cost of pretty much everything else.

This is a nuanced and thoughtful approach to examining mortality. The variety of endings with their various strengths and weaknesses leaves the reader with something to think about long after putting the book down. There's no right answer for which epilogue is 'best', and people who value different things will feel differently about the tradeoffs in each ending. (In fact, the 'canon' ending is the one in which immortality is totally sacrificed so that the Eternal can return to Alison.) This is true to life--you can't have it all, and you can't do everything. You have to make choices about what you want to do with the time you have, and live with the consequences.

Having an objectively superior 'victory' ending in which you escape aging unscathed would destroy this nuance. Suddenly the story stops being a thought-provoking examination of life and death, and becomes a challenge to be won. Anyone who fails to become immortal has failed, anyone who chooses to value something else in life is really just weak. It really takes away from everything else in the story.

On a less large-scale level, I actually prefer stories where the hero has humble origins and is vulnerable to normal death (unless the story is about invulnerability itself, like Necromancer). That the Eternal is mortal is what makes him interesting, and his accomplishments impressive. If he can survive a battle unscathed just by virtue of his natural abilities, who cares? As a reader and player, I want to have to work for it. (Though as a side note--I'm not sure this topic actually applies, since the Eternal is a supersoldier trained from birth to fight. He took those lemons and made lemonade, but he didn't exactly pull himself up by the bootstraps.)

I'm sure there's some things I'm forgetting here... the thing about Eternal is you can write a four paragraph effort post about it and still miss tons of relevant themes. Anyways, glad you enjoyed the story, and hope you enjoy your time on the site!

How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

5 months ago
Commended by mizal on 2/6/2024 8:03:34 PM

Cool that you enjoyed it.

As to your question, well there’s probably a multilayered answer to that depending on what you might have been looking from a personal perspective or maybe you weren’t looking for anything and were just wondering from a story lore standpoint.

Let’s go with story lore since that’s more important. Alright let’s get the main one out of the way.

Why is Francis so weak in all the ending?

Short answer is he’s ultimately mortal and will get old and die. 

Which brings up, why doesn’t he just become immortal through magic? Well that’s a bit longer of an answer, so we’ll break it down.

So for just about every path, the concept of “immortality” isn’t really an option. 

The whole normal soldier path is right out. (Beg in the beginning) He doesn’t have access to any magic and eventually gets old and dies. Doesn’t matter how good you are/were, old age is going to catch up with you as long as you’re mortal, which he is. The best he can do is make such a mark in the world that he becomes “Eternal” due to legacy.

That’s five of them down right there.

Moving on to the Shadow path (Die in the beginning) 

As a shadow, he does have magic, but it’s not nearly enough to cheat death in any way. He’s only got the amount he does have due to Dendrin being amused by him and in one path he completely rejects Dendrin as any sort of god and the shadow religion in general. Though even in that one, along with the other two where he’s more dedicated to being a shadow, he basically merges with the shadow plane when he dies. 

Now I left it vague on purpose, but in all three endings it does say he manifests as a being of pure shadow from time to time. His sheer force of willpower is at play in allowing this, so I’d say that’s a kind of immortality and not really weak even if he’s not really himself anymore.

Of course again, could just be a wishful idea from the shadows that look up to him as their “messiah” of sorts. Personally, that’s how I always saw it when I wrote it, but again readers can interpret how they wish since it’s all a make believe story anyway.

That’s those three down.

Moving on to the path everyone likes due to having a dark elf fetish (Struggle in the beginning)

So in this path he definitely has magic. Though if he ends up Buck Rogering himself into the future, he doesn’t ever really achieve his maximum potential (Never goes to Mortos). So again dies of old age, only achieves immortality through deeds.

That’s two out of the way. Three more to go.

Alright so in two of the paths, Decena lives through the battle with Mortimer/Zelvix which ends up changing events quite a bit. Francis ends up not being so focused on himself directly and due to certain events happening with her, he actually thinks about heirs and resolving the whole sterility thing. 

So if he actually goes with that idea, he’s already discarded the idea of living forever in exchange of making the Eternal race live. He figures this his is immortality. Gets old and dies again.

That’s one out of the way.

The other one is becoming a brain in a jar, which means despite having someone in his life and such, he returns to placing goals for himself first. 

Now in this one he definitely becomes immortal and I’d argue that he’s pretty powerful given that he’s still an Emperor and has been for hundreds of years. He could have continued this reign on a different planet with galaxy spanning empire if he wasn’t just tired of life at that point. (No Emperor of Man here)

Even if you mean he’s weak from a physical standpoint, he can just pop his brain into a battle mech and he’s definitely a threat on that front.

So now on to the last branch that leads to the potential Harbinger ending. This part will address the whole necromancy and magic thing.

So there aren’t any vampires around, so they don’t exist here. At least not in the traditional sense. (More on that in a bit) Liches do to a minor extent, but even then only on Mortos where necromancy is strong and all the necromancers there are just living a dull gray existence and they won’t really let anyone do anything more than that for fear of letting in the big bad Azrael in. 

Necromancy doesn’t really work very well outside of Mortos and even then it only works by a powerful user of it like Casimir. Casimir has extended his life longer than most, but it isn’t working anymore hence why he came up with the whole Eternal project in the first place.

Besides necromancy not working very well, magic in general is on the decline in the world of Eternal. (As you pointed out in one of your posts) That’s mentioned on more than one occasion. There aren’t many powerful wizards around at the start of the story and usually regardless of which path that gets taken, wizards are in shorter supply. All of which means necromancy (extending your life unnaturally) is even weaker.

Only in this path does Francis get the abilities of a necromancer and by the time he does, he’s trying to accomplish what Casimir never did and he’s obsessed to the point where he’s not looking for half assed measures like life force draining people to keep himself alive like a semi-vampire. (That doesn’t work very well either since he’s gotta keep doing it more frequently and with more people just to sustain himself at the bare minimum.)

And of course as we all know when he tries to do what Casimir did and actually succeed, he fucks the entire world and that’s why it’s dead now.

But yeah, if he becomes the Harbinger, he definitely becomes a powerful immortal, but its at a pretty high cost. Nothing’s free.

So that’s the answer from a story lore standpoint 

Now if you were asking for another reason like you wanted to become a god emperor that has 72,000 waifus (one for each 1000 years before repeating yourself) well that’s not what I wrote. Lol.

I just had the concept of a “womb to the tomb” story and wanted to write from the perspective of a villain protagonist. That’s literally it. While there was some planning and outlines, a lot of other stuff just fell into place a little later. 

Ascending to godhood would have just been repeating Necromancer and while I do like repeating certain story ideas, I don’t want to repeat them so much that it’s practically the same story just with slightly different paint. Plus I couldn’t very well have godhood ascension in all the major endings anyway. 

Also too, there is the idea that Francis’ life is a “mistake” anyway. He was never supposed to be in the Eternal project. He doesn’t usually get immortality since he wasn’t even supposed to get as far as he did in the first place. Whereas with Azrael from Necromancer it was sort of hinted at that he was sort of destined for his fate. He’s more of an example of a “Chosen One” though again I just did it from a villain protagonist point of view and that story was an attempt at what I ultimately accomplished in Eternal.

Still, I stuck with the title “Eternal” so that in every major ending he leaves a lasting legacy of some kind despite dying. Except of course for the one where he actually becomes immortal since in that one his world dies, so there is no lasting legacy. It’s just him as an immortal killing machine.

Anyway, that’s the basic answer for potentially “Why did you write this in this way” I guess. I never thought of him as being particularly weak even in most of the endings though. He’s just really damn old and death happens. Still manages to accomplish a lot when he was in his prime (and past it a lot of times).

A few other quick questions:

Why does Francis gets one shotted a lot?

Well it is grimdark fantasy so despite potentially being powerful, if someone blows a hole through your chest with a flintlock, you’re dead. And that’s exactly what happens to Casimir in one path.

Casimir, who was kicking Francis AND Semra’s ass at the same time gets killed by Jacob of all people. A simple old bean counter with a gun. (Yes, Francis finishes Casimir off with a sword, but Casimir was already dying of the bullet wound at that point.)

Sometimes the peasant gets a lucky crit with a pitchfork, it happens. Just ask Geralt of Rivia.

Why can’t Francis beat Semra?

Well if he becomes the harbinger he does actually beat her. There’s actually a death ending where he kills her at the same time and he hasn’t even visited Mortos at that point. Which is another great example of despite Semra being powerful, she basically got wasted by a glorified “grunt” compared to her.

Usually Semra stays a certain distance from Francis whenever she believes him to be a danger. So he doesn’t usually have the chance to really try.

Typically whenever they do fight, either Semra greatly outclasses him at the time or he’s a bit more of a match up with her and she takes enough precautions to avoid getting killed. In fact despite trying to stop him from getting the book from Nicodemus and taking it back with him, she doesn’t really do what it takes to stop him at all cost. Semra’s ultimately selfish enough to save her own life at the risk of letting the world potentially burn and Francis is too obsessed with the book at that point to go chasing after Semra when he’s got what he believes to be immortality in his grasp and he can always go kill her later.

So arguably it isn’t why can’t Francis beat Semra, it’s more like why can’t Semra beat Francis since she’s several hundred years older than him with a whole lot more fighting experience and magical power. And the answer to that one is she’s a got a weird Joker/Batman crush on him and not giving it her all like she really should be.

I think that’s it. 

Anyway always like elaborating on certain aspects of my stories when asked, so there you go.

How come Eternal is so weak in all his endings?

2 months ago
and with a perfect 13-0 score eternal wins