Now that we’re finally done with the first season’s plot, let’s talk about something just as problematic: the setting.
There’s a lot about RWBY’s setting that I really like. Weapons that double as guns, Semblance powers, the five countries, the Hunter Academies, fancy sci-fi tech, Grimm, Faunes, all of that is perfectly fine. However, the history of this world is messy, and the political relationships between the countries are never really fleshed out. And that’s without mentioning the magical maguffins.
Oh boy, there’s a lot to fix here.
Let’s start with what we’re gonna keep. For one, the five countries. Vacuo, Vale, Atlas, Mistral and Menagerie aren’t very well fleshed out. All we really know is that Atlas likes technology and Menagerie is where everyone threw the Faunes. Aside from that, the countries themselves are very poorly fleshed out.
Which will take a while to fix.
In our version, we’re gonna keep the five of them. Menagerie is a small and young country, having only been formed about two hundred years ago (we’ll get to that in a bit). Atlas is about the same as it was: technologically driven and highly militaristic. They are the leading power in Dust distribution (oh yeah, that’s another thing I’m keeping by the way), as they are the home of the Schnee family.
Vale is a peaceful kingdom with little military power. Instead, they focus their efforts on training Hunters to protect the world from the Grimm. As they are very passive, and always have been, it is the kingdom where the Veytal Festival is housed every year, in which all five countries participate.
Mistral is somewhere in the middle ground, with a strong military machine that focuses on the old ways of fighting rather than depending on technology. They are the second leading country in Dust, and they have a fierce rivalry with Atlas because of it. This used to be an exclusively Faunes country, but most of them have been shipped to Menagerie after the Faunes War.
Again: we’ll get to that in a bit.
Vacuo is the least powerful of the countries, as their kingdom is smack dab in the middle of a harsh desert. They make up for their lack of power with impressive agricultural skills, as they have managed to tame the brutal lands they call home. While their military machine is pathetic, their Hunter Academy produces some of the best around, and is the only rival to Beacon in the world.
All five of them are in an uneasy alliance, which was forged after the Great War over five hundred years ago. Atlas and Mistral were the initial combatants in this war, but Vacuo was dragged into it by Mistral on the promise of better lands. No matter how hard Vale tried to avoid getting in, the conflict simply continued to escalate, and eventually they had no choice but to get involved. However, they didn’t take sides: instead, they simply wiped the floor with everyone else and forced the conflict to end. The Veytal festival is the celebration of this, and it’s been an essential tradition in Remnant’s history for the last five hundred years.
Yes, it’s pretty much the same as the original. But this time, instead of the King of Vale using some magic maguffin bull shit, he was just a really fucking powerful dude with some really powerful soldiers.
Peace lasted for another few hundred years, and it seemed it would for a lot longer. That is, until a group of power mad Faunes rose up and began to oppress the humans, using their animal abilities to over power the humans. This group grew in numbers, eventually growing large enough to splinter off from the other four countries and become it’s own independent land.
That then foolishly waged war against the other four lands.
This marked the beginning of the Faunes War, a battle for the freedom of the Human race against the massive force of oppressing Faunes. Initially, this battle seemed to be going in the Faunes’ favor. That is, until Vale let slip a secret to the other four countries. The very secret that led them to victory in the Great War.
The power of the human soul: the Semblance.
Now with an army of super-powered humans, Humanity bounced back and swiftly defeated the oppressive Faunes faction. With the war finished, it was decided that the Faunes would keep their new country, and that they’d be kept under a strict and watchful eye from the other countries. This land became Menagerie, which was unfairly placed on one of the most dangerous lands in all of Remnant, on which only about five percent could be safely inhabited.
Initially, all the Faunes from each country was shipped to this land. But after a few years, the space became too small, and they were allowed back into the other lands. However, the actions of the oppressive faction have stained the reputation of the Faunes, and now they are discriminated against by many humans, even to this day.
Alright. That’s the main countries. It’s not great, I’ll be the first to admit, but at least now they have some political depth. I could go into greater detail, but that would take way too long, and there are plenty of other things I need to fix.
The next one being: the Semblance system.
If you read my post critiquing the Semblance system in the original show (link for that right here) then you know the fix I’m about to make. In the original show, there were too many other things. Magic, the Silver Eyes, Dust, so on and so forth. Our version is going to shave it down to two things: the Semblance powers and Dust.
On top of that, we’re going to take away Semblances from the Faunes characters. By giving them both a Semblance and animal powers, the Faunes are simply way too overpowered. By taking away their Semblance, we can level the playing field a bit. Plus, it works into our history changes pretty well.
Both of which are about the same as they were in the original, but with a few minor tweaks. For one, not everyone has a Semblance. Sure, everyone has Aura which protects them in combat, but not everyone can manifest it into a power. That is the purpose for Combat Dust: to allow those without a Semblance to keep up. Although, in terms of being a Hunter, those without Semblances are often seen as weak, and are picked on by those with powers.
Y’know. Like our version of Ruby.
‘But Jonah!’ I hear you saying. ‘What about the Seasonal Maidens? Or the Silver Eyes?’
Simple. They’re all different Semblances as well.
Remember: the Semblance is the power of the Soul. This makes it really easy to play around with. The Silver Eyes are an inherited Semblance, which Ruby got from her mother Summer. It is an extremely powerful ability, one that Ruby doesn’t even know exists, let alone how to control. But the fact that she has it means that she’s inherited the same will and heart that her mother had, which make her worthy of it’s power.
The Seasonal Maidens are also an easy to fix. In the original, they were a magical status give to four girls by a kind old man (who was also magical, I guess). The powers are sent down to the next after the current Maiden dies, either by random choice or to the person the Maiden was thinking about last before they died. The only people who can’t get these powers are dudes.
Because, you know… maidens.
Our version will be mostly the same. However, instead of being magic, the Maiden’s Powers are a unique set of reoccurring Semblances. It’s essentially a reincarnation process: when one Maiden dies, another is born. If, however, the Maiden passes down her power to a loved one, that loved one’s power will become a part of the Maiden’s power. Say, for example, Yang became the Summer maiden. On top of getting the powers of the Summer Maiden, she’d also still have her power-up ability. When she passes her Maiden status onto another, the next Maiden would have the Summer Maiden’s powers as well as Yang’s, which is why these Semblances are so powerful in the first place.
Okay. So the countries have been changed, and the power system has been shaved down. What’s left?
Magical maguffins, that’s what.
In the original, there’s this whole plot about two gods who created mankind and these four powerful relics that control the universe. The good guys need to get them and keep them safe from Salem, and only the Seasonal Maidens have access to them.
This is stupid and I hate it.
In our version, there are no magical maguffins that control the universe. Those are dumb and I hate them. However, I will keep the two gods, because that gives me an easy way to fix it.
These two gods are cursed souls, bound to keep reincarnating until one destroys the creation of the other. One must eliminate the Grimm, while the other must wipe out the Humans and Faunes. That is their goal: the complete genocide of the other’s side.
You can probably guess where I’m going with this.
Ozpin and Salem are these two gods. Ozpin formed the Hunter Academies to eventually wipe out the Grimm. Salem, however, only recently started her plan, as she’s finally realized brute force isn’t going to work. This is the same plan is in the original: create political turmoil between the countries and wipe out the Hunter Academies. By tearing humanity apart, her Grimm would finally have the upper hand they need to wipe them out.
No maguffins necessary.
And with that, our version of Ruby’s setting and history is complete! It’s not perfect, I will be the first to admit that, but I feel it’s a step up. Unless I’ve missed something, which is very possible.
There was way too much stuff in the original story.