The Accidental Warlord and His Pack

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Fanfiction
Title: The Accidental Warlord and His Pack, AWAU
Author(s): inexplicifics
Date(s): 2020-
Length: 344,850 words as of Sept 2021
Genre: slash, AU, Found Family, Enemies to Lovers, polyamory
Fandom: The Witcher
External Links: AO3 page

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Accidental Warlord and His Pack, sometimes abbreviated as AWAU, is a popular on-going The Witcher epic AU series, created by inexplicifics. In September 2021 it comprised of 41 works for a total of 343k words (up from 22 stories for a total of more than 235k words a year earlier.)

The verse is composed of main stories which advance a complex plot, and of side-stories which give alternate points of view on the series events or add character backstory and smutty interludes. It is notable for including many female characters, especially many Original Characters who subsequently took on a life of their own in other authors' stories inspired by the verse. The author has also taken care to include ace, trans, non-binary characters, and more.

It is also notable due to the fact that the author did not consume any canonical material (books, video game or TV show) before writing, leading to some questions about the characterisation used in the fic.

As of Sept 2020, the first installment of the series, With A Conquering Air, was in the top 20 stories with the most kudos in the Witcher AO3 tag, with almost 70k hits and 7k kudos. In Sept 2021, it had become the 5th most kudosed work in the tag, with 179k hits and 11k kudos. The series had been bookmarked more than 39k times on AO3.

The verse has inspired fans to create an incredible number of related works, set in the same universe or Alternate Universes of the verse. In Sept 2021, 70 works were listed as "inspired by" the first story in the series, including multiple podfic adaptations.

The AWAU Fan Server, a Discord server, has been created for fans of the verse.

Summary

The verse was born out of a Kink Meme prompt:

AU Warlord!Geralt receives Tribute!Jaskier as a sacrifice to appease him in every way possible. Jaskier has no choice on the matter and he’s fully aware of the awful rumours that have spread about Geralt and his ruthless conquests. (But we all know those aren’t legit.) A classic angst with a happy ending please! A dash of smut to heal those scars and a sprinkle of new found love!

Writer's summary for the first part:

Jaskier arrives at Kaer Morhen knowing his family gave him up without a second thought, and absolutely sure that the dreaded Warlord of the North will value him even less than his own blood did. But the White Wolf and his pack are not what Jaskier expected...and if he's unreasonably lucky, Kaer Morhen might become far more of a home than Lettenhove ever was.

Chapters

As of September 20, 2021, 41 chapters (parts or individual stories) of the ongoing series had been posted. The posting dates do not follow a strict chronological order of events. However, the author has also published Accidental Warlord Supplements, which include a timeline and chronological reading order, as well as a character list and face claims, a list of songs appearing in the verse, and other notes including a Blanket Statement giving permission to create works based on the verse:

If you would like to podfic, remix, make art of, make new fic of, or otherwise play with any of my fic, please feel free. I am delighted by how many people want to play in this universe, and welcome any and all works inspired by it. Just let me know so I can come and squee over it! --Chapter 3: Notes in Accidental Warlord Supplements

Cast and pairings

The story features a full cast of Witcher characters from the book series, including main characters Geralt of Rivia, Jaskier, Yennefer of Vengerberg, Ciri; side characters Eskel, Lambert, Vesemir, Triss Merigold; minor characters such as Letho, Aiden, Serrit, Aubry, Priscilla, etc.; and Original Characters, among which Milena de Roggeven, who got her own canonical AO3 tag.

The chapters are written from various points of view, showing various perspectives on the verse's timeline.

The main pairings are:

IC or OOC?

The series is notable not only for its length and popularity, but also because the author explained they had not consumed any of the canon material (books, video game or tv show). See for example the author's replies to Tumblr asks:

charbroiledpotatoes asked: Just saw your ask about canon-canon ... I’ll admit I’m surprised! what brought you into the Witcher world? (Trust me, we’re happy to have you 😉)

You may blame astolat and Dira Sudis for that! I read some of their Witcher fic, and then I read some more fic, and then this fucking year happened and in distracting myself I got a plotbunny that wouldn’t go away, so I wrote some fic, and then…well…the Accidental Warlord AU happened.

Swear to any god you care to name, it was meant to be one silly fic. Just one.

inexplicifics Tumblr ask reply, Aug 30, 2020
Anonymous asked: You’re telling my you’ve written 72 fanfics for a series that you’ve consumed 0% of the source material for? That’s incredible. I’m genuinely awestruck. How did this happen

I don’t know.

It just…happened. Sometimes the plotbunnies choose you, y’know?

I do haunt the wiki. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse.

inexplicifics Tumblr ask reply, Feb 19, 2021

This has led to some discussion about whether the fic was in character or out of character.

While some fans of the series praise its canon-compliant characterisation, others have a different opinion. The reference to Astolat's fic is interesting in this context as her Witcher stories, though extremely popular and beloved by a large portion of the fandom, have also struck some fans as being OOC compared to the books and video games' canons.

This question discussed for example in episode 146 of the Fansplaining podcast, posted March 24, 2021, as a follow-up to the previous episode about the relationship between fans & the canon. The podcast hosts read a listener comment and reacted to the news of the author's avoidance of canon:

Elizabeth Minkel: OK, this also came in through our website. This person writes, “I’ve been really enjoying the published results of your survey on how fanfic readers and writers interact with source material! Have y’all looked into the fic series ‘The Accidental Warlord and His Pack’ by inexplicifics?” [...] “It’s a long fic series which got me absolutely hooked earlier in the pandemic when I really needed something to sink my teeth into. Personally I find it both oddly IC,” that’s in-character, “and wildly OOC,” out-of-character, “for a Witcher fic, as someone who has played Witcher 3, read one of the books, and watched the show a couple of times (so you can guess where I tend to fall on the scale of consuming the source material, haha).

“But, yeah, idk, something about the series really scratches an itch for me, and clearly for a lot of other people since the first entry has 9500 kudos. One of the most fascinating things about the series is that the author has apparently not ever consumed any of the source material, in any format??” [FK laughs] [...]

“I’m deeply Intrigued by the popularity of this AU and the amount of time the author has put into it (the series is currently at 320,847 words), all when last I checked the author had no interest in watching the Witcher show, playing the games, or reading the books.”

Flourish Klink: I mean, my mind…on the one hand, I knew that this happened. I knew that people wrote things for things that they hadn’t seen or watched or read or whatever. On the other hand, my mind is also completely fucking blown by this, because I cannot—like, God bless inexplicifics for being able to do this. I cannot even imagine doing this, and it’s not that I don’t see how that could happen. I just can’t empathize in any way with the mindset that they must be in, even though I don’t think it’s a bad—I don’t think that’s wrong, there’s no wrong way to do this here! But also: what?!

ELM: Yeah! It is fascinating to me. [...] There’s a weird assumption underpinning a lot of this, and maybe from us too, that the writers of the stories people are reading without knowing the source material know the source material. And it’s wholly possible that, you know, you could totally do this. I don’t know if inexplicifics reads a lot of Witcher fic [...] In which case, you’d pick things up by osmosis. [...]

And I think it’s interesting where the letter-writer comes in on this saying “I really liked this a lot,” and they’re saying it’s both in-character and wildly out-of-character. Probably like, hitting on that ambivalence of—this compels me, but…

FK: Yeah yeah yeah. I mean I think it’s also weird with The Witcher because I also have read some of the books and played The Witcher 3 and watched the TV show, and like, they’re kinda different characters in each of those things. They’re not different different, but it’s not the most unitary thing. They’re slightly different takes on the characters. So you know, maybe that’s also something about it too is like the—there’s like a possibility space for some characters, right.

Fan Reactions/Reviews

From the comments on the first installment's AO3 post:

The whole thing was so good, holy fuck. I am so thankful to you for writing this and sharing this with us. This was truly an amazing experience. I can't express how much I love it, but I'll surely reread is before long! Thanks again!
CAN I LEAVE MORE THAN ONE KUDOS LORD AO3 PLEASE

WHAT AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING FIC THE PACING WAS JUST :OK_HAND: :OK_HAND: :OK_HAND: GOD I LOVED THE WHOLE RIDE FROM START TO FINISH AND YOU ABSOLUTELY HAD ME WITHIN THE FIRST FEW PARAGRAPHS AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I'VE ALREADY BLINKED AND DEVOURED THE GLORIOUS 27 ALMOST 28K WORDS HERE AND I AM SO
SO

SOSOSOSOSOSO GLAD THAT THERE IS MORE BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY HUMOROUS MOMENTS MIXED WITH SWEET AND WITH HOT AND GOSH, I LOVE EVERYONE HERE AND I'M SO HAPPY FOR JASKIER. I FELT SO BAD FOR HIM AT THE START, AND MY HEART WAS SO FULL SEEING HIM FIND A PLACE TO BELONG, AND JUST ABSOLUTELY GIGGLING AS HE FELL FOR GERALT AND I JUST GOSH. [...]
This is one of my favorite witcher fics of all time. I absolutely adored every second and am both overjoyed with the excellent ending and heartbroken theres not gonna be more. thank you so much for this, it was something for me to look forward to during a really rough time.

More praise for the verse:

I think it’s time to remind everyone who isn’t following this Witcher series that they absolutely should be. Fuck, even if you don’t care about The Witcher, it’s just fucking awesome. (Accidental Warlord, for those of you already following)

I am having a lot of Feelings about the last two installments in particular, in which the main cast of The Witcher ... uh. Appear? Sometimes? *hands*

Tweets by @solarcat, March 16, 2020 [1]
Just finished reading through this series and it is lovely. The characters are spot on without leaning too heavily on the show and I am a sucker for competent Jaskier and soft Geralt. Who knew I’d get it in a warlord AU?
Tumblr rec by geraskierficrecs, April 14, 2020 [2]
I love this series.I love the worldbuilding,the plots,the original characters (I'm in love with Milena) as much as the canonic ones. I think it's very well written and, while fluffy, not overwhelmingly so
Tweet by @ArtisNaanie, August 25, 2020 [3]
I've officially read th Accidental Warlord fics so many times that I forgot it wasn't canon. Which had me very confused for a moment when I opened another fix and it didn't even mention Geralt being the warlord and all of the witcher weren't staying at Kaer Morhen.
Anonymous Tumblr ask to the author, Sept 17, 2020 [4]
Accidental Warlord and His Pack series is a huge long lovely series where everything bad that happens gets comforted and fixed. Full of stories that are just warm and loving.
Tweet by @zortified, Oct 3, 2020 [5]

Related works

The verse has inspired fans to create an incredible number of related works. In Sept 2021, 70 works were listed as "inspired by" the first story of the series. A Google Spreadsheet had been compiled to keep track of them. As of 20/09/2021, it had 197 entries, including art, fic, podfic, music and translations.

Podfic

As of September 2020, only AceOfTigers seemed to be recording the whole verse. They have recorded most of the universe (39 stories as of Sept 2021).

Translation

Filk

Fanart

Series banner by Kaister [1]
Geralt, Eskel & Jaskier ilustration by @ainmaio [2]
Milena de Roggeven drawing by kayabiter [3]
Mood board by ciaimpala [4]

Fic

Stories listed as "inspired by" the verse range from AUs of the verse (spinning off the main plot at various stages), stories which re-used the same warlord!Geralt set-up, or the concept of witchers as warlords in general, and stories directly set in the verse itself and either fill in "missing" scenes, present alternate points of views, or unofficially continue the story.

So many stories were inspired by or set in the verse that a canonical AO3 tag was created: Inspired by The Accidental Warlord and His Pack Series - inexplicifics.

An open collection: Fics inspired by inexplicific’s warlord AU was also created.

Witcher fics

In Other Fandoms

Meta & Other

Resources

References

  1. ^ Tweets by @solarcat, March 16, 2020
  2. ^ Tumblr rec by geraskierficrecs, April 14, 2020
  3. ^ Tweet by @ArtisNaanie, August 25, 2020
  4. ^ Anonymous Tumblr ask to the author, Sept 17, 2020
  5. ^ Tweet by @zortified, Oct 3, 2020