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Hello there, Fediverse!

I'm Phorm. I'm a vixen, and a chemist, and most importantly: I'm a genie. I spend a little too much time puttering about the internet, and a non-zero amount of time being shamelessly horny on main (Though admittedly a lot of it can be crypto-horny).

As I sometimes discuss sensitive topics, I'm a bit wary about followers. If you'd like to follow me, please note:

1.) Please be over 18 (I lean NSFW)

2.) Please send me a DM first, particularly if we have a previous connection

3.) Please note that I am BEYOND genie obsessed and if you follow me you will be getting a face full of GENIE.

Further top hits from today's dysphoria extravaganza (gosh I'm sorry I keep posting like this) 

Me, answering phone: "Hello?"

Doctor's office, the only place that knows the name I call myself: "Hello, I'm looking for Miss [Femme Name]?"

Me: "This is her."

Doctor's office: ". . . "

". . . "

". . . "

". . . "

"Hello, sir."

"The A.I. generated, unending, continually-generated sitcom being streamed on Twitch was banned from the platform for being transphobic" sure is a headline about our current timeline I never could have anticipated.

mh (--) 

Suddenly the future is nothing but isolation, malice, and illness.

I do not want to go there.

Dysphoria, Trans stuff, 'Discourse' 

Not gonna lie.

The ongoing "You'll never pass if you started your transition at age 'X'" discourse has dropped a fucking mountain of dysphoria on me lately.

SLARPG Thoughts (Very-Spoilers - 2) 

Anyhow, those are most of my thoughts about SLARPG. I very much enjoyed it. From start to finish. I spent about 22 hours playing, and there were something around 215 kisses during my playthrough.

Also, yeah this game is gay and trans as hell and I fucking love that it was so absolutely lowkey about that. This isn't the story of Melody's transition struggle. She's just a girl, and everyone accepts she's a girl. That's not to say that she and Claire don't reference the pain and difficulty of their transition - Nor is it to say that there aren't trans allegories throughout the game. But it is to say that the story and the pacing treat the subject with respect and care, and honestly the whole world is just so cozy with regard to representation.

Also, you get to see a bunch of cute animal girls kiss each other.

Cute animal girls kissing!! Yeah!!

Anyhow. If you made it this far, thank you for reading <3

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SLARPG Thoughts (Very-Spoilers - 1) 

This is going to be an unfocused dump of thoughts, without much direction or purpose. But it will deal with some deeply spoiler-ish topics, so please be forewarned that if you read further, you will encounter MANY SPOILERS.

I'd be lying if I were to say that I didn't empathize deeply, entirely, and utterly with Melody. She's a fox. She's trans. She feels like she has no direction in life, swept up in the currents of the story around her. Overall, her character arc is at the center of the entire story, the one we as the audience follow most closely. We watch her grow, and we also see her go through evolution as she grows.

Midway through the story, Melody succumbs to mana poisoning inside a desert dungeon. As a result of this, she has an introspective episode in which she encounters a kind of mirror self. The mirror self, calling herself Harmony, claims to be an aetheral bit of mana that latched onto Melody's thoughts, and was given substance. She pops up throughout the game, making herself known as an antagonistic representation of Melody's insecurity, self-doubt, and most importantly, self-loathing. Arguably Harmony is with Melody from the start, but when she's made more fully manifest, she makes it clear that she's only around to harangue and belittle Melody - And in a way that makes her really start to turn her own hatred inward, even more.

Harmony accosts Melody by telling her that she's nothing, that she's not what she wants to be: A paladin. That everyone around her is just humoring her, pitying her, and tolerating her. This is all directed at Melody by Harmony specifically for her ambition to be a paladin, and in the context of her wanting to pleas Allison, but it gets heaped on even more about how she's an unambitious nobody who has no defining features, and no direction of her own.

Eventually, Melody defies Harmony at the climax of the story, and goes on to become who she really is, taking charge of her own identity and her own desires. It's a wonderful moment, and one that stuck with me.

Honestly, I wish a little more had been done with Harmony. Melody never opens up to anyone throughout the course of the story about seeing Harmony, or what Harmony has said to her (Though, to be fair, she does talk to people about the insecurities and topics that Harmony jabs her about). I feel like for a story who's crux is "It's okay to ask for help, we all need each other", that's a pretty glaring omission.

I guess, selfishly, that's also just because I... wanted something more concrete in terms of a resolution with Harmony. The idea of one's own internal sense of self-loathing made manifest into a separate entity, one who constantly badgers and insults, who tries to push one to the edge of their own tolerance for themself? Yeah, that's familiar to me. I'm not plural, or anything, but I have a lot of internal self-hatred within me that I've never been able to work out reasonably. So Harmony resonated with me - in a very uncomfortable way.

Still, despite selfishly feeling like "It can't be that easy, please, tell me more about how to deal with this!" I was very happy to see Melody defy Harmony and go on to be a hero <3

Claire. Gosh, what can be said about Claire that hasn't already been said? She might be my absolute favorite character in the whole game - even with my identifying with Melody so much. Clarie's just... Look, she's a disaster lesbian, and there's no way around that. I love her for striving to make herself better. My heart ached for her when she openly called herself a screw up. And at the same time, my heart sang when she succeeded, and when she was able to obtain very good things. She's also just about as snarky as my old heart would want. Her character arc is a tremendous one, particularly since the blame for the entire Javis debacle gets laid at her feet more than once. Seeing her fight to make it all right, and seeing her find comfort in her friends, gave me some hope that maybe one day I can find something good in life too.

Also, Claire's aesthetic - Particularly her unwillingness to take off her hat - are top tier.

Allison was a wonderful character with a fun arc, though I don't have too many thoughts about it personally. What I will say is that mechanically, she's a goddamned powerhouse. Watching her essentially fell a god was good fun. Her relationship with her mother played out a little slow, but it was heartening to see. Her working things out with Melody over the course of the story was wonderful.

Allison brings to the table the central strength of the narrative from my perspective: The idea that honest and forthright communication make the bedrock of a solid relationship. She struggles with this for a while, but she absolutely nails it in the late game - and she and Melody are all the stronger for it. She's a wonderful bun, and tremendously fun.

Jodie... Oh gosh, where do I start with Jodie? I absolutely, positively loved everything about Jodie from the word go. She's a strong Tigress, who is emotionally mature, is a good cook, and is deeply and passionately devoted to protecting her friends. Her character arc has a lot to do with her feeling like a failure for being unable to take on everyone's problems all at once, and learning that even in the midst of being emotional support, she, too, needs help.

I have a Tigress in my life that she reminds me of, very fondly. So I was always going to love Jodie.

My only complaint is that Jodie felt like she took a backseat to the rest of the action throughout the story. Narratively, that's totally fine. She got plenty of screen-time, including the game's obligatory beach scene with her girlfriend! But mechanically? Oof. Jodie kinda got done dirty.

Most of her abilities are support-class powers, which makes a ton of sense. But her only way to build up enough power to actually deploy her best skills is to either A) take damage, or B) deploy low level protective skills. Very often this results in the player either wasting turns using taunt abilities to provoke enemies (which often doesn't work!), or else, using those early turns to deploy low level barriers. The result is that by the time Jodie's ready to bring out the big guns, the battle's over. There are some builds that get around this, but overall, Jodie's skillset in the game feels almost like an afterthought. Which is a shame, because she's absolutely shredded, and kicks ass.

I may be being a bit harsh, though. I think Jodie does a fine job supporting the team, and she is the emotional bedrock that the other characters can rely on. I enjoyed seeing her growth with Faith, and she gets a real shining moment in the final battle. Overall, I just wish she had a bit more time and space to shine.

The entire game, though, really works well as a whole! As much as I'm nitpicking small details, these things are insignificant compared to the whole package you get.

I love, love, love, love that the central conflict in the game gets resolved through discussion and communication. I love the kind of Villain Verena turns out to be, and how they bake in Zinnia as an emotional pillar to organically provide identifiable motivation and sympathy for her. I also love that even in the final battle with her, you can sense she's having second thoughts about her whole plan. And that she just decides afterward that "Nah, we're not doing this".

(Con't next post)

SLARPG Thoughts (Non-Spoiler) 

Yesterday, I finished Super Lesbian Animal RPG, and I have been thinking of it ever since.

This whole thing will be a little lengthy, but I'm going to keep it as Non-Spoiler, and will make a separate post for Very-Spoilers, so please be aware of that if you decide to read along!

So, Non-Spoiler thoughts....

Super Lesbian Animal RPG is a very good game, and you should go play it.

Simple as that.

Okay, okay, I have more nuanced thoughts than just "play the game", but I wanted to get that out of the way up front. It's a lovely game that I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing, and I feel that putting that out there up front is important.

I suppose what makes the game so enjoyable to me is that the writing and characterization are really top notch. We're not talking about world-changing literature here, but nevertheless I felt that the story was engaging and lovely and cute, without being cloyingly saccharine or bogged down with complications. The plot moves along at a good clip, and you always know enough that you want to know just a little bit more.

And a big part of why I felt that I wanted to know just a little bit more, all the time, is that the characters are fantastic. I really do love them all! Every single character gets a nice little bit of character progression, and it feels like they are whole characters, rather than archetypes. The fact that there is representation everywhere in this game makes it so comforting to play, too. It's really... It's really nice to see a positive and grounded portrayal of a character I identify with deeply.

"Wait, Phorm - grounded? In a game about magical lesbian animal creatures going on a world saving adventure?"

Shockingly, yes! Because even if the premise and the setting are fantastical, it's always seen through the lens of some very relatable, very identifiable, very grounded characters. They worry about their friends. They worry about their families. A recurring theme throughout the game is "God, doesn't it suck we have to pay /rent/"?

Watching the characters progress through their arc is wonderful, and kept me engaged throughout. Which is, honestly, really, really good.

Because I'll be brutally honest on this point: SLARPG is not breaking any new ground in the realm of gameplay. This is a bog-standard, by-the-numbers, what-you-see-is-what-you-get classic turn-based RPG. The core gameplay loop involves an RPG overworld that you explore as a party, engaging with the story, and then enemy encounters you experience, engaging with the combat mechanics.

The most charitable comparison I can make about the combat mechanics would be that it is very akin to Earthbound. Or at least, that is the game I can invoke to elicit the closest game in recent memory to lean this heavily on turn based RPG mechanics, and will statistically evoke good feelings. You input commands, small animations play on static representations of your enemies, and enemies play flourishes of animation on character portraits. There are a few notable exceptions to this, but they are rare (and good!) rather than the norm. Characters level up, you equip gear you find in dungeon chests or purchase from vendors, and you acquire new skills as you go on.

It is, honestly, a rote RPG in its core gameplay loop. If you are looking for something novel with regard to mechanics or implementation, or even graphical flourish, I fear that SLARPG ain't it.

AND THAT IS 100% GOOD AND FINE!!

Part of what I adore about this game is that it does so much with what it has. The game was made in RPG Maker, and obviously that platform has some limitations. But SLARPG works within and around those limitations, knowing exactly what they are, and stands to bring its strengths to the fore. When I was playing, I didn't need more than the standard RPG mechanics, because the game was built with those things in mind to support the story and the characters. And that's great!! So while I have to acknowledge that the enemy encounters can get a little samey, and that the mechanics aren't novel, I don't think that's a detriment to the game in any way, shape, or form.

(Side note: With very limited exception, enemy encounters in this game are handled on a 'wandering monster on the overworld' system - Wherein you see sprites of the monsters moving around, and 'encounter' them by colliding with them. This is in contrast to the 'random encounter' mechanic from RPGs of yesteryear. And thank GOD for that, honestly. That was an excellent choice, and I think the pacing of the game is kept brisk and engaging because of it.)

So SLARPG eschews things like the ATB system (active time battle) for AFB system (Awesome Furry Besties), and I think it comes out stronger because of it. You still feel a sense of character progression, but that progression is much more closely tied to storyline and character evolution than anything else. And that's where the game shines.

I don't know. Maybe it's because SLARPG is a story about friends coming together to overcome obstacles. Maybe it's because the character interactions feel more real and important than other games I've played in the genre, because they acknowledge character's failings, inter-party conflicts, and inner struggles. Maybe it's because the game isn't really afraid to show how working through those conflicts and failings is a messy, painful thing - but that it's possible, and you don't need to do it alone. How this group of friends knows that, together, they're stronger than they are apart.

Maybe I'm just so stuck on this game because it's showing me something I sure don't have, and I sure wish I did.

But at the end of it all, it's just a lovely experience.

Super Lesbian Animal RPG was just the game my furry queer heart needed.

I want to infodump about it, but I just finished it and I think I'll ruminate a bit before bothering everyone here about it.

It was very nice, and it gave me a little hope. Which is kind of what I need right now.

TMI, medical, bitching 

Things you don't want to hear from the technician just before you get an MRI: "Well, this is going to be a challenge."

Also, props to the tech for trying to inject contrast into the back of my right hand, and instead getting a syringe full of my blood and giving up entirely. What, was going into my upper forearm too easy? Should we have gone under my tongue for the extra challenge??

Cryptic, Vent, mh (--) 

It never mattered what I thought or did. It didn't even matter before I had a name for him. It didn't matter when I swore I'd be better off without him.

He's always with me.

There used to be a rich inner world, allegorical and symbolic, lush with differing landscapes, representations, characters... Sure, there was conflict, but it had basis in reality to some extent. And the way it played out was instructive from a thousand-view. It had purpose.

There's nothing now. A ruined world, devoid of people or meaning. When I go there, there's only him.

Even in embodied life. At the end of the day, in the dark, in bed. Really always, there's only him.

I can distract myself well enough. But eventually the computers turn off, the phone switches to sleep, the visitors depart. And there's only him.

He loves to remind me that even when I don't realize it, even when I feel him most distant, when I don't think of him... There's only him.

We're all alone, always.

He'll get his due from me eventually.

Interesting question for you all:

Which of the following would you consider the NEWEST game that you would classify as being "Retro"? Not retro-styled, but legitimately "Retro"?

I am currently playing through Super Lesbian Animal RPG. It is very good, and very cute, and surprisingly engaging story wise (I suppose it is probably unsurprising that I enjoy the game with the timid, transgender, magic-learning foxgirl as the main protagonist).

And recently I stumbled upon this background interaction - I feel like I am being directly, distinctly teased!!

Just had a blood draw at the doctors.

I should've asked them to leave some in there for me to use.

TMI, attempt at humor 

How is my lower gastrointestinal tract currently like a badly behaving unix system?

They both repeatedly core dump.

Now that 2022 is behind us, calling someone a "Fussy Eater" has taken on an entirely new definition.

*Checking my internet speeds in this, the year of our Network 2023*

Download Speed: Over 600 Mbps
Me: Wonderful. Perfect. About what I need. No notes.

Upload Speed: 8 Mbps
Me: What the actual fuck am I paying for here?

Confusion and Turmoil in the Age of Social Media (Birdsite, Other Alternatives Mentioned) 

One of the consequences of Twitter's continuing "Shoot ourselves repeatedly in the foot" policy has been the emergence of numerous social media platform alternatives. We're all familiar with Mastodon, of course - Though I wish in more popular media circles Mastodon was discussed in frank terms, instead of being framed as an up-and-coming novelty that will fade quickly (Spoiler: A lot of us have been using Masto for YEARS before this went down. It's a mature and enduring place!)

One of the other alternatives is CoHost.

I'll be honest: I really like CoHost. It's a really fun platform, with a very fun userbase. There's a lot of retrogaming talk, a lot of interesting discussion, and It feels extremely queer-friendly. I will say that CoHost is extremely more *visual* a medium than Mastodon - The CSS trickery as well as the ability to inline images really gives it a unique flavor that makes it distinct from any other platform. That's pretty cool!

One thing I didn't anticipate, though: The seething, overwhelming, white-hot hatred for Mastodon.

Yesterday I was reading a long post about cult survivorship that's been making the rounds. It deals a lot with the difficulty of identifying that you're IN a cult, while you're in there. That's a valid and important point. And then the post turn a hard left turn by saying "I didn't realize that I was in a cult until I looked at Mastodon, and realized it was being run by left-leaning KiwiFarmers". Which left me going ? ? ? ?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

The sentiment isn't unique, nor it is niche on the platform. A lot of people on CoHost use a lot of energy to describe Masto in scathing terms, pointing to it as a failure of communication and a hotbed of the worst people on the internet.

Which, like, I don't *get* at all? I have zero idea why Mastodon is being discussed as if it were a monolith - Each instance swings its own way. I don't think you're going to find many people on Dragon Style who are eager to kowtow to Garg, or who feel like the larger instances are the ones that define our experience here.

But I suppose I'm also a deep and consistent user of the platform, so I may be blind to the horrible things that happen here? Or is the cult talk just a thought-terminating cliche?

I honestly don't know. All I do know is that apparently there is some kind of bitter, massive hatred between Mastodon and CoHost, and once again I feel the eyes of friends and people I care about on me, because above all else _I MUST CHOOSE A SIDE_.

I'm sure that people on CoHost would positively despise me for using Mastodon, and similarly I feel like the day is coming when people on Mastodon will regard me with revulsion for being on CoHost.

I think they're both neat platforms, and I have friends on either. The problem is, I also have friends on both who go to efforts to malign the other platform.

It feels a lot like the days when I was being told to choose between friend groups, and I don't like that at all.

I don't know. I don't have answers. I just have anxiety.

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Dragon Style

I'm a grumpy queer dragon lady and this is my quiet cave for me and some friends.