Old Site FAQ
Please note that the content of this page is out of date. Links and references to the old Crystal Hall are (clearly) inaccurate. It has been included here purely for history / reference purpose.
What the heck is this?
Stories. Stories about teen aged kids who happen to be mutants. Their powers will lead them to eventually become super heroes, super villains, or perhaps something more complex. During the course of their mutation or school experience, most of them will also have a TG (trans-gender) event that either changes the boys into girls, or girls into boys (although m2f is by far the most common). The changes are usually, but not always, permanent.
What is “Whateley Academy”?
In this story universe, superheroes first appeared a little before World War I. Mutants and other empowered individuals began to appear more and more often as the century rolled on. By the sixties, a group of heroes and villains came together to create a safe, neutral high school where newly-emerged mutants could learn to control their powers. Mutations typically become evident at around puberty, often signaled by a change in eye color and other physical changes. Some mutants became fantastically beautiful. Some became hideous. Some changed sex. Many were rejected by their families and friends. To protect these children, ease their transition, ensure a future legacy for “their kind,” and guard society against rampaging adolescent godlings, this group of heroes and villains created a secret boarding school covering all four years of American high school. On the surface, this is a normal private boarding school of around 650 students, nestled in the remote hills of New Hampshire. It is known as "Whateley Academy." Unknown to the world at large, this school trains the future leaders of the world – both heroes and villains. And while the school attempts to maintain a strict neutrality on the good vs. evil issue, the individual students have no such requirement.
What is the story timeline? What is the time period of the stories?
The first stories revolve around a group of students who entered Whateley as freshmen in September, 2006. After many years of writing, the stories and timeline have progressed to 2007. The “plan” is to cover the entire high school career of these characters, but at the current rate of progress that blessed event (graduation from Whateley in spring, 2011) will actually be written sometime in the 22nd century.
Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys?
Go read the first story. In brief, this universe spans the range. You have "good guys" who are legally empowered law enforcement officers, and recognized as being "good." There are criminals and terrorists, who are recognized as being "bad." There are people who took over countries, became sovereign rulers, but are still seen as "bad". There is the MCO, the "Mutant Commission Office," which oversees mutants and is seen as good by the general public and bad by mutants. There are powerful individuals who aren't mutants, but get called "mutants", because most people with powers are mutants, aren't they? There are corrupt heroes and benevolent villains, overbearing bureaucrats, and super-powerful kids that don't understand how any of these things fit together.
But mostly, there is high school. Whateley was founded jointly, by heroes and villains working together. The school is neutral. It doesn't matter if you have dreams of being a "cape" or a rule-the-world terrorist. It doesn't matter who your parents are. All that matters is learning to control your powers, and passing your classes. In theory. Because this is still high school, and sometimes the kids around you can be far more threatening and cruel than any simple supervillain.
Who writes this?
Initially, a mix of TG fiction writers. The list is broadening as time goes on. See the authors page.
What are your influences?
Comics, obviously. Not merely the Marvel and DC lines (which also exist pretty-much as-is, in the Whateley Universe), but independent comics, manga, and animé. Science fiction, across the spectrum. Fantasy of every flavor. H.P. Lovecraft (many place names and, er, “situations” are taken from his earlier public domain works). Trans-gender writing and stories of all kinds. J.K. Rowling’s Hogwart’s Academy showed how fun it is to throw a bunch of strangely-powered school kids together. Oddly enough, the movie Sky High was not an inspiration – Whateley had been publishing for several years before the movie came out.
Does it cost anything to read this? Is this copyrighted? Are you stealing from other authors?
There have long been fan sites for Star Trek, Star Wars, and other "owned" creations. At the same time there have been smaller fiction sites devoted to ideas and concepts that were not media creations: historical fiction, or sites for general fantasy and science fiction. Likewise, there have been sites for LBGT fiction. Most of those stories have explored topics of interest to their communities. Separate "universes" have evolved within the TG community -- the "Spells 'R' Us" universe, stories about the "Medallion of Zulo," "Altered Fates," "Bikini Beach," "MORFS," etc. Whateley carries on that tradition with the creation of our own universe, which we call the "Whateley Academy" universe. Although inspired by countless sources, it is not based on any previous work, nor on any (outside) copyrighted material. The stories themselves are copyrighted (to the individual authors), but they are released free to the public, for your reading enjoyment.
Did this start as some sort of Role Playing forum?
Yes and no. The initial authors tried to start a round-robin email role-playing game, which quickly collapsed. They junked those characters and started exploring new characters and concepts. They decided to write round-robin comic-book-style stories. "Enter the Chaka" was the first story and pretty well established all the basic concepts. Initially, it was planned to have new submissions coming out weekly, and that each submission would be like an issue of a comic book. Each story line would track a particular character; the stories would be open-ended; you would have lots of cross-overs and giant specials, etc. The first half-dozen or so stories still show this effect, and the stories "Welcome To Poe" and "First Assembly" were crossover events that tied the early "issues" together. "Quote the Ninja, Nevermore!" was the equivalent to a giant Annual Edition, bringing together all the characters in a spectacular fight, which was the climax to plot threads opened in several different story lines. But QTNN had a far-reaching effect: it was more interesting and satisfying than many of the open-ended threads which had fed into it. Following the publication of QTNN, we toyed with a radical new concept: "What if each submission was actually... a full story?" Or putting it another way, what if we abandoned the idea of open-ended comic-book installments, and made each new submission a stand-alone story with a beginning, middle, and end? After the first dozen or so installments, most of the rest follow this more conventional approach. (Apparently, there are good reasons why it became a convention.)
So if it's not an RPG, I can't make my own character?
Oh, that's not a problem. Check the Crystal Hall Forum. There are periodic attempts to create games. There's also plenty of fanfiction. Fanfiction is usually proceded by a standard disclaimer:
"This is fan fiction for the Whateley Academy series. It may or may not match the timeline, characters, and continuity, but since it's fan fiction, who cares?
With that on the front, you can write whatever you want, and post it on the forum for other Whateley fans to read, comment on, and critique. Go wild! Let your character take over the universe, change everyone in the world into monkeys, or do whatever else suits your fancy.
Where else are the Whateley stories published?
The first stories were originally published at Sapphire’s Place and The Big Closet. Those both hold large libraries of TG stories. This site (Crystal Hall) contains all the Whateley stories, even the early ones.
What is the proper order for reading the stories?
Start on the stories page and read in order. The chronological dates are not strictly sequential, but this is the best order to read things for purposes of understanding the universe and getting to know the characters. There are a lot of stories there. And if that isn’t enough, there are plenty of fan fiction stories, too. (Visit the Crystal Hall Forum.)