The Stampers Five
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|The Stampers Five|
I hate my job...
|Name||The Stampers Five|
|Type||Bureaucrats in the BOF|
|Location||Department of Plot|
|Job||Stamp every character's folder as either "GOOD", "BAD", or "NEUTRAL".|
|Members||Four penguins and a puffle, bored out of their minds.|
|Headquarters||Bureau of Fiction|
The Universe Bias Engineers, or, normally, The Stampers Five, are a bored group of lowly BOF bureaucrats tasked with what would supposedly be an amazing power. Their job is to take every character passed through the BOF and stamp it as "GOOD", "BAD", or "NEUTRAL". The stamp determines if the universe will automatically work in their favor, against them, or be forbidden to intervene.
However, ask any employee and they can all tell you that the job is one of the most boring and mundane of tasks. Oh, it's touted as vital and needed, but really, it makes no more sense than keeping an elevator operator once an elevator is automatic. Obviously, the job could be done just as easily by Benny upon approval, or by a secretary of a Master, but NO, they have to send it all the way down the halls for five stampers. Isn't impracticality just glorious?
The Stampers Five are some of the lowliest of Bureau employees, just slightly above the janitors. They are probably Class Three or Class Four wall breakers, but no one cares enough to ask.
At 7:00 AM Penguin Standard, they shuffle in to work, and sit there, pulling a folder from the "IN" bin, stamping it, and putting it into the "OUT" bin.
When the Masters write a character, it starts at Author Billybob, goes to Director for approval, back to Author, back to Director, to Illustrator, the Director again, back to the Illustrator, the Director one last time, and then to the Narrator... before going to the Director to be put into existence. Benny insists on "improving", editing, and revising the item each step of the way.
The Stampers come in on the Director's second-to-last run, just before the Narrator. All of the forms describing the character's name, species, parody (if applicable) etc. (AKA Infobox parameters) are on top, and under that are pages and pages of words describing the character (AKA the body text and headers, what we are reading), and finally, a table of references and trivia (AKA See also and Trivia).
These files are all put together into a folder and that folder into a manilla envelope. On the envelope is the character's name, the BOF logo, and a one-sentence summary of the character. These are shoved into a bin marked "OUT" and carted out of the Masters' quarters, down the halls and floors, and to the Stampers, where they are wheeled next to their desk. Once stamped, they are shoved back into an "IN" bin to their right and taken back up to the Masters to continue.
Each Stamper has a small desk, and they sit on a stool. To their left is the "OUT" bin, to their right is the "IN" bin. They reach into the first bin and pull out an envelope containing a character's folder.
To the top right of their desk are three ink pads. One is blue, one is black, and one is red, in that order. Accompanying these are three rubber stamps, with ornate wooden blocks holding the rubber with the words on it. The stamps read, in order, "GOOD", "NEUTRAL", and "BAD".
A Stamper grabs the stamp, puts it in the ink, and stamps the folder, and moves on. It really couldn't be any simpler... or more boring.
Criticism of the position
Aside from the complaints of the Stampers themselves, the position receives a lot of criticism from other bureaucrats. The job is seen as unnecessary, harkening back to the days when the Bureau did not use computers (and indeed, the company created the position in the 1950s). They state that an add-on/extension/plug-in could easily be placed on Benny's software, or, to prevent bias, a stop in McFlapp's organ, or even, just to save time, giving the same stamping job to Becky to prevent having to scale floors and halls just to move a bin.
The Stampers are under the Director branch of the Bureau. Benny refuses to abolish the job or fire the Stampers, three of whom are as old as their position. Of course, the Stampers could take their job and shove it, but you don't do that to Benny.
In short, it's an unnecessary position that slows down writing and coast the Bureau five unnecessary salaries and pensions. Benny loves doing that.
Even worse, the Masters can stamp a file themselves. Tortugadesetas, a neutral character, was stamped not by a Stamper, but by Benny, providing more complaints that the position is just there to be there.
However, if the Stampers could ever realize the so-called "importance" of their job, they could begin manipulating the universe a bit. Stampers' stamps are irreversible. Once stamped, the effect is permanent, the archetype applied (regardless of what the contents say), and the bias is binding. No Master can edit a stamped folder's bias. The universe will forever tilt things for or against them, or, if neutral, leave them alone.
Stampers could mark "GOOD" on a villain, resulting in an Anti-Hero or a gray character, in which the universe benefits them despite them being evil. Anti-Heroes were often intended to be villains, but the "GOOD" stamp was applied by mistake, causing them to have an urge to do some good, even if it is for selfish reasons.
Vice-versa, this can cause Anti-Villains, good creatures with an urge to do bad, or good creatures that are just horrible on their luck.
The three stamps bestow the character a particular position in literature. Even when no Master is at a console and the world guides itself, the very nature of the universe can be tilted for or against them by these three little stamps.
The "GOOD" stamp, when applied to a character, causes the universe to, at random, supply them with benefits and luck. Characters marked "GOOD" are, of course, good creatures with well-intended means.
Also coupled with a "GOOD" stamp is a slight urge to do what is right no matter what the contents of the character otherwise say. However, this is slight and may not be immediately visible, but it's always there. This urge can be corrupted by avarice, but it's there and can't be removed.
The "BAD" stamp does the opposite. It cause the stamped character to fall into hard times, or their plans to fail, or things to just simply go wrong. Villains get this, but the most powerful of villains receive the universe's bias about fifty percent less, because they're so powerful as to fight the stamp (characters like Herbert, Darktan, Nightmare, and Lizlord, for example).
They are also given an urge to do bad and tend to receive an excellent evil laugh as part of the stamp.
The neutral stamp does exactly what one would think it does. Characters stamped as "NEUTRAL" receive no benefits or setbacks from the universe. They rise and fall at their own merits, choose their own paths, and do as they wish.
Proper uses of this stamp are things like Zone, who is obviously a villain, but really just chooses what path to take depending on which benefits him more. He can do good or evil, however he wishes, without bias, and really, he's too complex to stamp one thing on him.
Like any office job and especially any bureaucracy, the Stampers have been known to screw up big time. There are many types of errors that can occur. In the table below, these are described in further detail.
|No stamp||Exactly what it says on the tin: the Stampers forget to apply a stamp but send the folder onwards anyways.||An unstamped folder usually results in a character with odd behavior and no set pattern. Grey characters are usually the result. Zone, though, was successfully stamped.||Austin8310|
|Mis-stamp||The Stamper uses the wrong stamp. This is the most common error in the job.||A villain ends up being an Anti-Hero (F) or a good guy tries to be evil (Xary), resulting in an Anti-Villain. That, or nothing affects them because of the neutral stamps. Each are given the respective urge to do good, bad, or to rise and fall on their own merits.||Xorai|
|Missed the envelope||The Stamper used the right stamp, but he accidentally stamped on the side of the folder, resulting in the letters on the left, and looking like "[BA" or "OOD]", for example.||Any effects on the character are drastically lessened. Neutral characters receive good and bad bias.||Tammyshroom|
|One multi-stamp||The Stamper accidentally stamped a folder more than once with the same stamp.||Any effect from the stamp(s) used are increased by ten, per stamp. For example, two "GOOD" stamps get ten times as much bias, three "BAD" gets one hundred as much, etc. etc., and the urge to do right/wrong is also increased in the process.||Luce (received three "GOOD" stamps)|
|Stamp combination||The Stamper accidentally uses two or more different stamps on the same folder.||The stamp with more takes over the bias, but all other stamps will have an effect, too. For example, two "GOOD" with one "BAD" may produce an anti-hero, because he still has a "BAD" on him, giving him a slight urge to do evil, which is suppressed. A "BAD" and a "NEUTRAL" would make the character tend to be evil, but it would also lessen the bias and give him an occasional opportunity to do what he wanted.||Darktan ("GOOD GOOD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD NEUTRAL NEUTRAL", resulting in a dark evil with a bit of what's right and a possibility of change)|
The bias stamp of a Stamper can be revoked in two rarely used ways.
- ONE, any employee with L11 Clarence can apply for an application to Them to change a bias stamp. They are then presented with about one or two pages of forms and are told to attach a lengthy essay on why they wish it to be revoked. The essay must be of spectacular quality and be at least thirteen pages long, or it will be rejected with the forms. This red tape prevents this method from being used much. That, and only a Master can do it.
- TWO, any employee with L9 clearance and up can call for a Regna Revoke, and after filing a short form, the creature's universe bias is handed over to fate, and with a spin of the Wheel, the creature will be given a new bias based on whatever the wheel lands on. Since this is too risky, the first method is surprisingly used more despite being harder. Such a powerful item as the Stampers' bias shouldn't be left to a game of chance! (That, and since the Board is unknown to any but the Masters, it's never really used, and to most, this is the only way.)
- The bias of the universe is diversified at random by Vannah Fortuna and the Rota Regna.
- All five Stampers are jealous of Vannah, who holds another position of universe bias.
- They hate their jobs and their lives.
- If a Stamper says "I hate my life.", always expect another Stamper to say "I hate yours too.".