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Oh my god.

The problem is that when the subject of troll romance is broached, our sparing human intellects instantly assume the most ingratiating posture of surrender imaginable.

But we will do our best to understand regardless.

Humans have only one form of romance. And though we consider it a complicated subject, spanning a wide range of emotions, social conventions, and implications for reproduction, it is ultimately a superficial slice of what trolls consider the full body of romantic experience. Our concept of romance, in spite of its capacity to fill our art and literature and to rule our individual destinies like little else, is still just that. A single, linear concept. A concept usually denoted by a single symbol.

<3

Troll romance is more complicated than that. Troll romance needs four symbols.

Their understanding of romance is divided into halves, and halved again, producing four quadrants: the FLUSHED QUADRANT, the CALIGINOUS QUADRANT, the PALE QUADRANT, and the ASHEN QUADRANT.

Each quadrant is grouped by the half they share, whether horizontally or vertically, depending on the overlapping properties one examines. The sharpest dichotomy, from an emotional perspective, is drawn between RED ROMANCE and BLACK ROMANCE.

RED ROMANCE, comprised of the flushed and pale quadrants, is a form of romance rooted in strongly positive emotions. BLACK ROMANCE, with its caliginous and ashen quadrants, is rooted in the strongly negative.

On the other hand, the vertical bifurcation has to do with the purpose of the relationship, regardless of the emotions behind it. Those quadrants which are CONCUPISCENT, the flushed and caliginous, have to do with facilitating the elaborate reproductive cycle of trolls. Those which are CONCILIATORY, the pale and ashen, would be more closely likened to platonic relationships by human standards.

There are many parallels between human relationships and the various facets of troll romance. Humans have words to describe relationships of a negative nature, or of a platonic nature. The difference is, for humans, those relationships would never be conceptually grouped with romance. Establishing those sort of relationships for humans is not driven by the same primal forces that drive our tendency to couple romantically. But for trolls, those primal forces involve themselves in the full palette of these relationships, red or black, torrid or friendly. Trolls typically feel strongly compelled to find balance in each quadrant, and seek gratifying relationships that each describes.

The challenge is particularly tortuous for young trolls, who must reconcile the wide range of contradictory emotions associated with this matrix, while understanding the nature of their various romantic urges for the first time.

Of course, young humans have this challenge too. But for trolls, the challenge is fourfold.

When two individuals find themselves in the flushed quadrant together, they are said to be MATESPRITS. Matespritship is the closest parallel to the human concept of romance trolls have. It plays a role in the trolls' reproductive cycle, just as it does for humans.

This is pretty obvious! Not much more needs to be said about this. Moving right along.

When a pair of adversaries delve into this quadrant, they become each other's KISMESIS. As one of the concupiscent quadrants, it plays a role in procreation as well. There is no particularly good human translation for this concept. The closest would be an especially potent arch-rivalry.

For instance, human players would never be able to adequately diagnose the relationship between the queen and her archagent. But troll players could immediately place it as a dead ringer for kismesissitude. They would think we were all pretty stupid for not getting it. And they would be right.

Trolls have a complicated reproductive cycle. It's probably best not to examine it in much detail.

The need to seek out concupiscent partners comes with more urgency than typical reproductive instincts. When the IMPERIAL DRONE comes knocking, you had better be able to supply genetic material to each of his FILIAL PAILS. If you have nothing to offer, he will kill you without hesitation.

The genetic material - WITHOUT GOING INTO MUCH DETAIL - is a combinative genetic mix from the matesprit and kismesis pairs, respectively. The pails are all offered to the mother grub, who can only receive such precombined material. She then combines all of it into one incestuous slurry, and begins her brooding.

This doesn't mean the initial combination was for naught, however. In the slurry, more dominant genes rise to the fore, while the more recessive find less representation in the brood. Especially strong matesprit and kismesis pairings yield more dominant genetic material. The more powerful the complement or potent the rivalry, the more dominant the genes.

TROLL REPRODUCTION SURE IS WEIRD. We all take a moment to lament how pedestrian the human reproductive system is, and further lament that the phrase "incestuous slurry" is not a feature of common parlance in human civilization.

This quadrant involves a particular type of three-way relationship of a black romantic nature. Falling on the conciliatory side, it has no bearing on the reproductive cycle, except for indirect ramifications.

When two trolls are locked in a feud or some otherwise contentious relationship, one can intervene and become their AUSPISTICE. The auspistice mediates between the two, playing the role of a peace keeper, preventing the feud from boiling over into a fully caliginous rivalry.

Since such lesser feuds are quite common among trolls, there is a significant need for auspisticing parties. Without them, too many ashen feuds would become caliginous, and begin to conflict with other exclusive kismesis relationships, leading to a great deal of social complexity and sore feelings (even more so than black romance usually involves). Without auspisticism, the result would be widespread black infidelity.

The relationships each quadrant describes tend to be malleable, if not volatile, especially on the concupiscent half where more torrid emotions reside. It doesn't take much to flip a switch and transmute blackrom feelings to redrom, and vice versa.

In many cases, one party will have red feelings while the other has black. But it will often be the case that one party's feelings will swap to match the other's, since there is no quadrant which naturally accommodates such a disparity. But thereafter, it's not uncommon for the two to toggle between red and black in unison now and then. These scenarios naturally result in both red and black infidelities.

This sort of relationship volatility is why conciliatory relationships are an important part of troll romance.

An auspistice can stabilize particularly turbulent relationships. If the auspistice fails to mediate properly, or has no interest in the role, or perhaps has different romantic intentions him/herself altogether, then the relationship often quickly deteriorates into one of an especially hostile and torrid nature. There are many outside factors and influences tugging and pulling these relationships in different directions, and unlike humans who have very orderly, simple, straightforward romantic relationships without exception, trolls exist in a state of almost perpetual confusion and generally have no idea what the hell is going on.

Being confused by troll relationships is one thing we do have in common though.

This quadrant presides over MOIRALLEGIENCE, the other conciliatory relationship. A reasonable human translation would be the concept of a soul mate, but in a more platonic sense, and with a more specific social purpose.

Trolls are a very angry and violent race. Some are more hot-tempered and dangerous than others, to the extent that if left to their own devices, they would present a serious threat to society, or even to themselves. Such trolls will have an instinctive pale attraction to a more even-tempered troll, who may become their MOIRAIL. The moirail is obliged to pacify the other, to function as the better half. The two partners in a strong pale relationship will serve to balance and complement each other's emotional profiles, and thus allow their other relationships to be more successful.

It's often ambiguous especially among young trolls whether a bond formed between an acquaintance is true moirallegence, or the usual variety of platonic involvement. Furthermore, romantic intentions of a more flushed nature can often be mistaken for paler leanings, much to the frustration of the suitor.

But some pale pairings, as the one above, will be strikingly obvious to all who know them.

God you just can't get enough of this can you! That would have been a great point for a transition out of this illustrated sociological study, but ok, if you insist.

Now see, what's going on here is...

It's perfectly simple. When the full matrix of troll romance is in action, we have... uh...

Hey, why don't you figure it out! You should be an expert on all this by now anyway.

Later our troll hero would try to explain this to our human hero, attempting to convey all the nuance of troll romance through a nearly verbatim recitation of the preceding excerpts.

He would try to describe how rich and textured the troll romantic comedies were compared to the one dimensional schlock of our human cinematic counterparts. He would barely scratch the surface of Troll Will Smith's virtuosity with the delicate lattice of troll romance, as he would assist the bumbling fudgeblooded Troll Kevin James through the interwoven minefield-briarpatch of redrom and blackrom entanglements, all the while sifting through his own prickly romantic situation and ultimately learning the true meaning of hate and pity. But would they succeed before the imperial drone came knocking with his thirsty pails at the ready??? Yes, they would.

But John didn't understand any of this because he's a moron, and he wouldn't shut up about his awful bullshit Earth movies. He would just go on and on and on about that garbage.

But if there was one theme to be hammered through his thick skull, it would be the trolls' cultural preoccupation with romantic destiny. Yes, the romantic landscape is rife with false starts and miscues and infidelities, red and black. But every troll believes strongly that each quadrant holds one and only one true pairing for them, and it is just a matter of time before the grid is filled with auspicious matchups through the mysterious channels of TROLL SERENDIPITY.

In short, their belief is that for each quadrant there exists a pair or triad of trolls somewhere in the cosmos that were...

MADE FOR EACH OTHER.

> Wow.


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RSS: Adventure Updates

Posted on 26 January 2017 by Andrew

Status of Hiveswap: the game is just about done. It could still use some more testing to be absolutely certain we are not releasing a buggy piece of shit! To that end it will be worth waiting another several weeks or so. Perhaps more intriguingly I should mention that I've been working with some people on another thing, which will need to be announced when it is ready. I think it would be best to coordinate the announcement of the thing in question with the release of the game. So I'm not sure which will be done first, the thing or the testing, but neither will be unveiled until both are good and ready. Thank you as always for your legendary patience.

P.S. here is an ongoing reminder that you can still get cool Hiveswap stuff in advance of playing it, to aid you in your tireless quest to achieve supreme brand loyalty. God speed.

Posted on 22 October 2016 by Andrew

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Posted on 12 June 2016 by Andrew

The final Homestuck album Volume 10 has been released. More fantastic music by many familiar names who have contributed to the comic over the years. Thanks to all who came together to make this. It's a great way to cap off an impressive discography, now standing at 27 albums.



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