Reflecting on W4R

Nov 18th, 2021


On June 2nd, I watched a video by the YouTube channel People Make Games - it talked about a collaborative storytelling medium, being put on by dozens of artists across the internet. How these people had come together to make hundreds of comics and tales all set in a world that everyone, together, helped to shape. It talked about a story, full of love, and sorrow, and wonderous terror.

This was the War for Rayuba.

Sorry, what?

Let’s back up a little.

War for Rayuba is an OCT - Original Character Tournament - put on by Abbadon, creator of the webcomic Kill Six Billion Demons. The tournament is a sucessor to the previous event he held, Ring of Power, both of which were set in the world of Kill Six Billion Demons. In an OCT, artists submit characters they designed to be paired off against other characters, who in-universe they fight. Both artists draw a comic detailing how their character overcomes the other, and the better comic becomes ‘canon’ in the history of the tournament. This is how the previous OCT, Ring of Power, went, taking place in an in-universe competition of the same name.

War for Rayuba, though, was different. Instead of an elimination style bracket, there were two teams - Bastion and Pyre - fighting for the preservation and destruction of the universe, respectively. You joined a team, and players competed to claim tiles on a board game esque map.

Joining

When I first saw the video, I was intrigued - I’d heard of events like these before, but they hadn’t been around for a while. Signups for the 6th round of combat were opening soon, and this would be the perfect time for me to join.
But…
It was, intimidating, to put it lightly. There were hundreds of artists already there, who had crafted a story unique to themselves. Would I be welcome, trying to insert myself into that? Besides, my artistic ability has improved over time, but looking at the comics of some of the artists involved made it feel like I would be going up against gods. These were people who knew what they were doing, and you could have found their work in a comic book store and not even known it was done by a single person in their free time.

All this is to say, I felt a little overwhelmed going in, but eventually decided I was going to at least try. Abbadon had made it clear at this point he didn’t plan on hosting another event after this one, due to the scale it had grown to, so this might have been my last chance to get in on something like this.

I decicided to submit my character Iekika - I’d been drawing her for ages at this point, so I could scribble her down pretty quickly. I made an introduction comic for her, aligning her with the Bastion, and submitted.

I didn’t plan on actually getting in, though. The People Make Games video had thousands of views, and even if only a fraction of those viewers decided to join and enter, that was hundreds of artists I was up against, on top of the artists already involved who had narrative arcs to flesh out and concluse. Thankfully, on top of the main fights, every round had an event called the ‘grand battles’. These were for people who didn’t get picked as a main fighter, since there were only 100 slots per round, and could be comics about anything, not just fights, and would contribute to your side’s score in the end.

I had a whole comic planned out for this, and when the combatants were announced for round 6 I had to throw all those plans out because I got picked as a fighter.

Round 6

To this day, I’m in awe that I got selected. Round 6 had hundreds of entrants from the flood that came from the PMG video, and, somehow, among all that, I got picked. I don’t know how it happened, but, I’m immensely thankful towards the judging team for putting me in.
Now, to make a comic.

My opponent was Vanta - a little girl possessed by some terrible, eldritch shadow, but who mostly just messed with people and acted as a general nuisance. Coincidentally, they were also a cyclops. This was her creator’s first round, too, and we had decided to use a special round modifier - our comics had to be 2 pages, maximum. I figured this would be to my benefit, since I’d never really made a comic before this, so having to do less work would let me make more mistakes.

Cramming a whole story into so few pages was harder than I thought, but in the end we both completed our comics (Which you can read here!).