The Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society, also commonly referred to as the ACMSES or simply the Society, is a small group of individuals who are dedicated to rooting out Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus.
- “We, the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society, do hereby swear to eliminate all beings of the Mary-Sue race and to bring order and peace to the words of fandom and to never abuse the powers that we as authors have been given…” - The ACMSES Mission Statement.
The Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society exists as an entity in the Multiverse who have made themselves responsible to take on the actions of Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus, whose presence pose a very real threat to a certain fandom or storyline.
Mary-Sues/Gary-Stus are characters developed by an author who are effortlessly perfect, often having a romantic relationship with or power over canon characters. The Society's duty is to send an Agent or Agents into the fandom at risk to capture these Sues before they get too out of control.
The Society has many identifiers, the most prominent of which is the logo or icon: a quill and sword in saltire (diagonally crossed). This is also the main charge on a heraldic shield, although this is more for show and is not used. The Society is known as the Ordo Maria-Rosa ('Order of Mary Sue', as 'Sue' eventually translates into 'Rose') in the Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy fandoms.
It is hard to believe that once upon a time the Society consisted of a mere three members, but it has now expanded to include other authors across various fandoms, who bring their own talents into the fold. Members may join out of boredom, or they may be those seeking a challenge, or they may simply have a Sue of their own creation that they have unleashed and are now unable to control. For whatever reason, all agents' efforts are welcomed.
Inserting into a fandom is often the easy part, as long as one's knowledge of the fandom is up to scratch enough for them to proceed with their mission with the least amount of interference from the canon characters.
In order to capture Sues/Stus, it is often necessary to block their powers in order to stand a fighting chance. Once a Sue's powers are blocked, their effect of manipulating the fandom and characters in it also disappears. To block a Sue or Stu’s power, a Prohibitor is the easiest and most effective device. This bracelet-like device must be secured onto the wrist of the Sue or Stu, and their powers are immediately cancelled out. If a Prohibitor is not an option, knocking a Sue/Stu unconscious with something large and heavy is the next most effective method.
Upon arrest, the target is then held in permanent custody in the Basement of the Library, separate from other Sues/Stus, and unable to escape. Arresting the Sue or Stu is preferable to killing them, and thus death should only be a last resort, such as if the Sue or Stu is so dangerous that bringing them in alive is impossible.
There is little formal and rigid structure to the Society. There is no official ranking system, though length of service is generally respected for the experience that goes with it. Everyone else is more-or-less equal and friendly and insubordination is (mostly) returned in kind. There is a training scheme and a probation system for rookies and parolees, but most of this entails just supervision and support. Only one exam and a practical test is required for entry, with no retesting.
The people in charge of the Society are the Leaders:
- Harriet as the foremost, from whom the others take their orders;
- Michael, who is also the Chief Agent
- Tash, who also holds the title of Assistant Librarian.
Thus far, three departments have also been formed to ease workload and to focus on certain projects. These are
- The Medical Department, headed by Valerie;
- The Technology Department, headed by Charis;
- and the new Public Relations Department, headed by Dave.
- Main article: Society Agents
The Agents of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society cover many different walks of life, all with a varying range of skills that apply themselves to one common goal.
Often Agents are Self-Inserts, who have a similar power basis to Mary-Sues although with more control, as using these is the cleanest way to clear the fandom of any Sueish traces; by the time the Society get involved, the Sue is usually too powerful to simply write out. Many Agents are Original Characters instead, having a high level of autonomy and the support of the Society behind them to not turn. Some may be an avatar of their author, who for varying reasons - assumed self-Suishness, perceived weakness, privacy concerns - do not wish to undertake missions themselves.
The actions, disasters and accomplishments of the Society are numerous. Many different extended projects are being taken by groups of Agents every day, on top of the day-to-day running.
Most notably, the swift actions of the Society thwarted the plans of Willowe Foxblade to invade Real Life.
Currently, the Society is engaged in a long-term and increasingly bitter war against Runoa and her allies.
- Main article: Library Arcanium
The Society's Headquarters is at the Library Arcanium. It unsurprisingly takes the form of a large library, with bookshelves on every wall, rooms of archives and more books, and piles of yet more books that threaten to trip the unsuspecting. With the Society's moving in, practical rooms like kitchens, meeting rooms and computer rooms, have gravitated to a central hub for ease of operations. The Library Arcanium is a transdimensional space, which exists everywhere and anywhere.
- Main article: Gadgets
To combat Sues and Stus, the Society technicians work hard to provide devices that make Agents' jobs easier. These gadgets can be reliable or unpredictable depending on which one, and often the whole fate of a mission depends on one. Some gadgets have proven so useful that they have become the standard issue to every Agent before they embark on a mission.
- Main article: Weapons
Along with the gadgets, an agent may prefer to use his or her own personal weapon. This can prove to be an advantage as the person may be more familiar with the weapon, or have magical skills geared towards it.
- Main article: Allies
The Society has many allies, but not all of them are Agents. Some are more personal, like an individual's pet. The Society's autonomous allies are important, as there are many that appear often to help Agents in need.
- Main article: Society Pets
Often, Society members will have pets, sometimes used for missions but more often kept just for fun.
- Main article: Muses
Members may also have muses for various reasons.
- Main article: Authors
As not all Society members are self-inserts, some are instead separate characters created by Authors. These Authors generally do not wish to join the Society, and will only insert themselves into a plot to aid the Society or provide counsel.
- Main article: Counter Guardians
These powerful individuals have assisted the Society in certain times of need.
- Main article: Adversaries
The Society has many, many enemies, as one would expect. The vast majority of these enemies are those whom the Society was formed to guard against in the first place. Unfortunately the Society's position, reputation and activities also invites hatred from other, non-Sue sources as well.
- Main article: Mary Sue/Gary Stu
The creation of Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus can happen in many ways, but a lot of authors agree that their own Sues and Stus were brought about when they were just beginning their path as writers. Starting out in any aspect of life means making mistakes, and learning from them, and Mary-Sues are often mistakes that authors make and learn from. It is safe to say that a character who is perfect in every way, loses its appeal after a while, so the lifespan of these Sues and Stus does not generally last long. Depending on the fandom, a Sue or Stu may have a longer lifespan than another, but that does not mean that they may not have the power to corrupt the fandom, if they break free of their author’s grasp.
The Pro-Cliché and Mary-Sue Protection Society
- Main article: The Pro-Cliché and Mary-Sue Protection Society
The Pro-Cliché and Mary-Sue Protection Society is a character foil to the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society. Most (but not all) members have a counterpart; the Protection Society also has a few members not with Elimination Society counterparts.
The Protection Society is described as being an Elimination Society from another dimension with reversed names that "saw the light" and decided to protect Sues and "perfection". They are fond of lampshade hanging and know that they're evil counterparts but don't care.