What do you get when you fuse martial artists, an online forum and a love of online roleplaying?
An organisation known simply as The Dojang, named after a Korean place of learning martial arts. The founder, Azriel, studies Tae Kwon Do. The Dojang came into existence in mid-2002 on the Martial Arts sub-forum on Gamefaqs. There weren't too many serious plots in this early era, and most of the interaction wasn't in-character, but the general idea was (semi) serious dueling. The Dojang attracted a following of about two dozen members during its time on the MA board. When it became known that most members had a love for serious roleplaying, it migrated to the Roleplaying/Fanfiction board and Azriel posted a signup thread with basic rules and a character profile template.
People flocked to the Dojang signup topic in droves - most were accepted, not all. Those that weren't could try again with a new character or rework their character's profile. In its heyday the Dojang had about 150 members of various skill levels. Naturally, this led to a lot of opportunities for writing. Duels stayed commonplace, and to give a system of fairness to the proceedings, some of the original (OoC) Dojang members created a judging template. Dueling went like this: The challenger created a topic with an in-character introduction narrative that described the character, the dueling arena and everything else that might be relevant. The challenged would post a response to explain their character's presence. Usually, one of the higher-ups in the Dojang (OoC) would then post and appoint a judge who would read both sets of posts and grade them based on grammar, creativity, detail and setting.
On the story side of things, there was an overarching plotline, usually involving a BigBad attempting to break through to the mortal world or taking over, upsetting/misusing the Spirit Wheel- the CosmicKeystone of the world - or unleashing TheLegionsOfHell. Because of the varied nature of the characters, the overall cosmology had an AllMythsAreTrue vibe - you could find anything from knights to angels to samurai to ninja to Tolkienesque elves.
The group disbanded in 2005 with a parting roleplay detailing the IC disbandment of the Dojang. Since that point, a few writers have carried on stories in the continuity, following their characters' adventures and trials post-Dojang. The Spirit Wheel Chronicles are the collection of these stories, following into the next generation of characters.
Although there were some truly amazing stories and duels written by Dojinians (as the informal name went for members of the Dojang), none of them can easily be reached for permission to use their characters. This page has tropes that appear in those stories intended for publication.
In roughly chronological order, here are the roleplays currently being used for a work base:
'''The Unraveling Time''' (formerly The Beginning of the End)
After a solo journey, Chang returns to the Dojang in an attempt to reunite with Yonten. A misunderstanding in their relationship has temporarily driven a wedge between them, but Chang, along with Michi and Wolf X, journey to Yonten's homeland of India. What starts out as a simple journey to reunite the two teenagers brings a centuries-old grudge to the forefront, helping Chang deal with her so-called dark half, and reveals a plot to revive a demon of unimaginable power, leading to...
As the name suggests, this is the most pivotal of all the Dojang stories in this list. Miedo, a millennia-old demon versed in many forms of magic and combat, appears on the plane of Earth and wreaks havoc on the Dojang complex, scattering its members and sending them into the extremely distant past. Riko, the leader of the organisation, brings the surviving members to battle Miedo. Along their journey, they meet the Guardian Spirits. After death and resurrection, the high-ranking members end up defeating Miedo and sealing him away. It isn't the last seen of him though.
'''The Parting of Ways'''
This is the disbanding of the Dojang as a coherent force. Most of the members (and writers) drop off the radar at this point, but a few of them remain in contact. Michi and Chang begin their journeys together wandering the Earth, after Chang says her goodbyes and rejects an offer from Riko to join another group.
'''Dusting Off the Cobwebs'''
Taking place immediately after ''The Parting of Ways'', this story sees the unexpected return of Larry Linford, one of Chang's oldest friends whom she presumed dead for two years. Chang's hangups with her inconclusive relationship with Yonten spark a series of misunderstandings between her and Larry, and overall tumultousness. It's set in the context of a friendly duel that reveals a plot point about Chang.
Six months after ''Dusting Off the Cobwebs'', Chang has briefly separated from Michi, setting off on a mission of her own that he doesn't know about. Her and Larry's paths cross again, as they have a mutual enemy in Chang's father, Damien Isaacs. The confusion continues, and Yonten makes another appearance after returning from Hell after the events of ''The Unraveling Time''.
While Chang is in America and South Africa with Larry and Yonten, Michi returns to Japan to address issues there, aiding an undercover organisation that seeks to bring out the truth of what happened during ''Cataclysm''. He finds himself in a countrywide fight for his life and unable to contact Chang at all because of a communications lock on the entire nation.
'''Rebuilding the Past'''
Chang, Michi, and Larry find themselves in the ruins of the Dojang complex in Japan, where they attempt to reform but fail. They all part ways again, on considerably worse terms. Chang, however, receives a serious power upgrade from her mentor Hayabusa, and reunites with Riko.
Five months after the events of ''Rebuilding the Past'', Chang has been briefly abandoned by Riko after being given a serum that removes all inhibitions and morals, and she seeks vengeance on the three people she sees as having wronged her most: Yonten, Michi, and the enigmatic Khirsah. First on her list is Yonten. She burns down his temple in India.
Shortly afterward, Chang finds herself in a run-down city in China and finds Michi. She seduces him by placing date-rape drugs into his drink, and attempts to burn him alive. He is placed in a hospital to recuperate, after having impregnated Chang with Yaori.
Three months after the Chang and Michi's ill-fated meeting, he finds her at Stonehenge after having tracked her through following underground rumors and the media. This relatively short piece is a fight between a severely-injured Michi and a mentally-deteriorating (and pregnant) Chang. He attempts to reason with her, but almost all mental faculties are gone, and the PsychoSerum given to her by Riko is just about to wear off.
'''When the Dust Finally Settles'''
The Dojang does OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest. Silliness aside, this story concerns Chang's two-year incarceration in Tameside Psychiatric Ward courtesy of Michi, undergoing marginally successful treatment for her perceived delusional schizophrenia among other mental disorders that come to light later. Michi has taken up residence in Mossley to keep a closer watch on Chang, having appointed himself as her guardian and visiting her nearly daily. He has a burgeoning relationship with Liz, which provides a bit of a coping mechanism. As if things we're already weird enough, old Dojinians start poppingout of the woodwork: Yonten, Larry, and Riko; each with their own agenda for Chang. Yonten is smitten with infatuation, Larry wants to help her get better in his own way, and Riko wants access to a memory that Chang has. Much conflict and mayhem ensues, and Chang escapes with Yonten. She continues to be chased by Riko and an atoned Miedo. The two rivals are embroiled in an eons-long conflict that has now made its way to Earth.
'''The Enemy of My Enemy'''
Yamin, an enemy of Riko's has invade Earth with a legion of Devi, or fallen Angeli soldiers. Their first objective is to wipe out all magical resistance, then move on to the world's militaries. Michi and the Taleheart family fend off the initial attack in Mossley, after Michi has received the Water Essence from Riko as a parting gift. Miedo begins rallying the new version of the Dojang, with himself, Chang, Michi, and two new Guardians as the top members.
This story picks up with the war between the Dojang-led Earth militaries and Yamin's forces. The first major engagement takes place in the newly-grown Sahara rainforest. This is courtesy of the new Forest Guardian, Imamu, manifesting his powers. All Guardians, veterans or untrained, are sent into the field to perform a search-and-rescue operation to prevent the Forest Essence from being taken by the Devi. Subsequent battles take place around the world, culminating in the final confrontation with Yamin at the old Dojang ruins in Kofu, Japan.
''Note'': Sometime during ''Dust'', a divergent timeline is created, often referred to as the peaceful timeline.In this one, the other Dojinians do not make appearances, leaving Chang to progress through her treatment as as planned. After a brief stint of travel (two years' incarceration leaves one yearning to stretch the legs),. she returns to Mossley, where Michi is still staying, and takes up residence with him. The two form a romantic bond over raising Yaori together, leading to a lifelong relationship and the three other Tomoe siblings. Only two major storylines as of yet exist in this timeline, which are detailed below.
This series has a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/SpiritWheelChronicles character sheet]]. Provides background context for the stories.
Tropes that apply to the entire continuity:
* AffectionateParody: Bruce Leeroy could be this at times; the early years of the Dojang could be a lot more tongue-in-cheek and focused less on strict IC interaction.
* AllMythsAreTrue: Given the nature of the writing, with different characters pulled from different religious/mythological frameworks, this was inevitable.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: Dojinians, both IC and OoC, moved up the ranks by proving their aptitude.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: OoC, high-ranking characters were allowed to use more than one Essence.
* BigFancyHouse: The Dojang complex.
* CosmicKeystone: The Spirit Wheel, which exists on multiple planes of reality. Its physical avatar is on Earth.
* DarkIsNotEvil: Dark magic, while frequently used by more evil characters due to its subtle and secretive nature, is not inherantly evil. Exposure to Dark magic or its conduit will not warp a character's morality.
* [[ElementNumberFive Element Number Thirteen]]: Chaos.
* ElementalRockPaperScissors: AND HOW. Fire, Water, Earth, Forest, Wind, Lightning, Ice, Light, Darkness, Spirit, Energy, Time and Chaos.
* EvilOverlord: Four main ones: Musako, Dark Shug, Felix, Miedo. Duratio, the BigBad of ''The Beginning of the End,'' was one of Dark Shug's servants.
* MeaningfulName: Several.
** The in-universe Dojang was originally made up primarily of martial artists, with a bit of magic thrown in.
** The planet Ijus is home to a former guardian race created by Kera, the goddess of light. 'Ijus' itself is derived from the Icelandic word 'ljós', meaning 'light.'
** The Devi name has two meanings. One is a straight perversion of 'Angeli' (a commonly used Earth nickname for Ijans), since they are effectively polar opposites. 'Devi' is also the Sanskrit word for 'Goddess', foreshadowing their eventual connection to [[spoiler: Kera]].
** Miedo - the meaning of the word in Spanish is 'fear.'
** The current Earth guardian's powers originally manifested in the form of control over rock. Fitting, then, that he should be called Peter.
* MildlyMilitary: The Dojang had a nominal hierarchy, but things were lax when not on a mission.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: The Devi. ''Fire mage winged zombies.''
* PowerDegeneration: Chaos. The moment somebody uses or is exposed to Chaos magic, their fate is sealed. Their body will slowly decay from the inside out (speeding up the more they use it), until eventually their organs melt, their skin peels away, and their lives inevitably end in a sometimes literal puddle of degenerated tissue and agony. These effects cannot be reversed, as Chaos' inherant ability to cause decay in all things also decays any healing magic used on anyone affected by it.
* SchoolOfMagic: The Dojang complex was a curious mix between this, a martial arts dojo, a military barracks, and a university dormitory.