[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/crimson_skies.gif]]

You ever wanted to be a SkyPirate, kiddies? Well, then have we got the game series for you. Created by Jordan Weisman and Dave [=McCoy=], Crimson Skies is a media franchise and fictional AlternateUniverse in which the United States of America collapsed in the 1930s into a bunch of quarreling nation-states. With the collapse of the federal government comes the collapse of the interstate network of roads and railroads; but goods still need to be transported across state lines. Stepping up to the challenge are air cargo services based around [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld massive cargo zeppelins]]; but with modern air shipping comes modern air pirates!

Basically, the series is an excuse to - in Jordan Weisman's words - "take the idea of 16th century Caribbean piracy and translate into a 1930s American setting." So far the series consists of a board game from Creator/{{FASA}}, a collectible miniatures game from Wizkids,a series of books and three arcade flight-based video games published by [[MicrosoftStudios Microsoft Game Studios]]: ''Crimson Skies'' for the PC, an [[http://arcadeflyers.com/?page=flyer&db=videodb&id=4458ℑ=1 arcade version]] and ''Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge'' for the Xbox.
----
!! Setting contains examples of:

* AcePilot: Entire series is based on this trope with several of the main characters being one. For instance, Nathan Zachary is a UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Flying Ace.
* AcrophobicBird and AerialCanyonChase: both these tropes are present for RuleOfCool reasons: It's just more interesting to have a battle in a canyon and low hills instead of open air.
* AdaptationExpansion: The novel ''Rogue Flyer'' retells some of the events of the [[VideoGame/CrimsonSkies first video game]] from another point of view, and as a result things unfold a little bit differently. Some secondary characters from the game, such as [[SkyPirate Fortune Hunter]] [[AcePilot "Brooklyn" Betty]], also play a [[AscendedExtra larger role]].
* AirborneAircraftCarrier: A number throughout the series. The Fortune Hunters operate out of a carrier zeppelin, the ''Pandora,'' and most pirate gangs have one or two. Then there is the fact that each air force of the American successor states is bound to have at least one in their arsenal.
* AirstrikeImpossible: Nathan Zachary cannot resist a juicy target no matter how heavily guarded it is.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: And vice-versa! Pirates are especially popular. Jonathan Kahn's [[http://crimsonskies.wikia.com/wiki/File:Characters_kahn.jpg picture]] shows him with two women, the [[FemmeFatale Black Swan]] has lots of admirers... And of course, there's [[HandsomeLech Nathan Zachary]].
* AllThereInTheManual: There is a series of books and an [[http://firedrake.org/roger/csarchive/ official website]] that can give you much more in-depth background information about the setting.
** The novel ''Pirate's Gold'', written by Stephen Kenson, chronicles the life of [[LoveableRogue Nathan Zachary]], the protagonist of the video games, from his experiences as the youngest American [[AcePilot ace]] during the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Great War]], up until the formation of the Fortune Hunters two decades later.
** The story of the novel ''Rogue Flyer'', written by Loren L. Coleman, runs parallel to the events of the [[VideoGame/CrimsonSkies first video game]], painting said events in [[BothSidesHaveAPoint a different light]], and adding depth to the rivalry between [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation]] and [[VillainWithGoodPublicity Sacred Trust]].
* AluminiumChristmasTrees: The outlandish aircraft designs in the game are largely based on real outlandish aircraft designs engineers experimented with in the early days of commercial aviation.
* AlternateHistory: the divergent timeline begins after UsefulNotes/WorldWarI with a "Regionalist movement" that grew out of the Isolationist movement. Prohibition failed as a constitutional amendment and states were left to create their own liquor laws dividing the nation between wet and dry states. Then an influenza epidemic forces states to close their borders, further dividing the Union. And shortly after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Texas seceded from the Union and formed the Republic of Texas on January 1, 1930. New York quickly followed. By 1931, the old United States was gone and the successor states were well on their way to becoming the new Balkans.
* AmazonBrigade: The Medusas, an all female pirate gang with a hate for men... incidentally, their leader is Zachary's ex.
* BadAss: Nathan Zachary
* BadassCrew: The Fortune Hunters.
* BalkanizeMe: Happens to the United States and Canada. Examples of the successor states include: The Kingdom of Hawaii ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Hawaiian Islands]]), Pacifica (Washington State and Oregon with parts of Canada and northern California), the Nation of Hollywood (most of California along with parts of surrounding states), Arixo (Arizona-New Mexico, now mostly inhabited by Native Americans-with planes), the Industrial States of America (the Great Lakes States), the ISA's main rival The People's Collective (Christian Communist Nation formed out of the Mid-Western States) the Republic of Texas (self-explanatory) Empire State (New York) and the Confederation of Dixie (Guess). If you have any questions, [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/84/Crimson_skies_map.png please refer to this helpful map]].
* BattleshipRaid: Any mission where you had to face an enemy zeppelin. This is also an option in the create-a-mission.
* BettyAndVeronica: In ''Rogue Flyer'', Trevor Girard is engaged to [[UptownGirl Amanda Rassmussen]], but is attracted to [[PirateGirl Betty Charles]]. [[spoiler: He [[DidNotGetTheGirl gets neither]].]]
* BigApplesauce: As seen above, the game's box depicts a battle over Manhattan. One of the game's supplements, ''Wings over Manhattan'', describes New York and the surrounding "Empire State" in detail.
* BiggerStick: Customizing your planes is a big part of the fun of the tabletop game.
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: Nathan Zachary sees himself and his Fortune Hunters as [[JustLikeRobinHood modern Robin Hoods]], while the anti-pirate forces such as [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation]] see them as capricious lunatics. The novel ''Rogue Flyer'' alternates between the two points of view.
* CallForward: In ''Pirate's Gold'', during the chapters set during the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Great War]], Nathan Zachary helps smuggle a pre-teen girl named Natalia out of [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober Russia]]. It is strongly hinted that the girl grows up to become [[spoiler: the Black Swan]].
* CameBackWrong: Subverted with "Fortune Tell" in the short story ''Fortune's Hunt''. He was [[OnlyMostlyDead left for dead]], but returns with LaserGuidedAmnesia. People who had met his old self comment that he was pretty much a {{Jerkass}}, with maybe a hint of a HiddenHeartOfGold; however his new, amnesiac personality is generally [[NiceGuy nicer]] and more [[HeroicNeutral heroic]].
* CityOfSpies: Columbia
* CommieLand: The People's Collective.
* CoolAirship: Several throughout the series. Let's start with Nathan Zachary's ''Pandora.''
* CoolPlane: Most aircraft of the thirties didn't look as cool as the aircraft in the games.
** They're substantially based on [[http://firedrake.org/roger/crimsonskies/equivalency.html weird WWII German concepts]]. According to [[http://www.montanaraiders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=89 this fan forum]] the experimental Curtis XP-55 Ascender was another plane that really helped define the look of the universe.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Johnny Johnson and Lucas Miles.
* CrapsackWorld
* DeepSouth: Confederation of Dixie.
* DefectiveDetective: Trevor Girard in ''Rogue Flyer''. A former pilot, he's now working as an [[InterdisciplinarySleuth investigator]] for [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation]], but he has a ''lot'' of issues.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: The USA has dissolved into a bunch of bickering and quarreling nation-states. Over alcohol, even.
* DieselPunk: The series very much defined, and perhaps established, much of the modern style of this theme.
* TheDragon: In ''Rogue Flyer'', Ace Dixon is the Dragon to Black Hats leader [[TheDreaded Ulysses Boothe]], who in turn secretly answers to [[TheManBehindTheMan Lucas Miles]]. The novel's BigBad, [[HeroKiller Victor "Jackal" Caul]], is trying to become Miles' Dragon and eventually get rid of [[TheStarscream both Dixon and Boothe]].
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The novel ''Pirate's Gold'', first book of the ''Wings of Fortune'' trilogy, gets a few character names wrong: Jonathan Kahn becomes Jonathan Khan (a [[SpellMyNameWithAnS common mistake]]); Ilse Fassenbiender becomes Ilsa.
* EagleLand: the Empire State.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Jonathan [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast "Genghis" Kahn]] ''is'' a ruthless SkyPirate whose many misdeeds include starting [[WarForFunAndProfit a war between the Utah and the People's Collective simply to make some money]]. He ''does,'' however, have something of an honor code; when he gives his word to somebody he will honor it and if you save his life he will repay the favor.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: "Ace" Dixon is a recurrent antagonist in the first [[VideoGame/CrimsonSkies video game]], and also appears in the novel ''Rogue Flyer'', but he's never given an actual first name. Unless Ace is [[HisNameReallyIsBarkeep actually his first name]]...
* EverythingIsBigInTexas: the first state to secede from the Union in the 1930s and pretty much putting the final nail in the United States' coffin. Now it's an independent republic (again). The supplement dedicated to Texas is even called ''Pride of the Republic''.
* {{Expy}}: The increasingly toxic partnership between Zachary and [[spoiler: Lucas Miles]], as described in the novels, seems based on the similar relationship between Peter Blood and Levasseur in [[Film/CaptainBlood Captain Blood]]. Considering Zachary is often compared to Creator/ErrolFlynn's movie heroes by other characters...
* TheFederation: The Industrial States of America and the Confederation of Dixie both qualify.
* FemmeFatale: the Black Swan.
* FollowTheLeader: Much of the movie ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'' seems suspiciously similar or even lifted from CrimsonSkies. Subverted as Kerry Conran started working on the short film that would become ''Sky Captain'' as early as 1994, several years before the release of CrimsonSkies. Both works are basically [[OlderThanTheyThink inspired by the same things]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Pirate's Gold'', Heinrich Kisler, the [[RedBaron Black Ace]], warns Zachary that sooner or later he'll associate himself with "less honorable men" who will "stab him in the back". A few months later, [[spoiler:Zachary meets Lucas Miles]]...
* FragileSpeedster: the Hughes Aviation Bloodhawk is one of the fastest aircraft in the setting but that speed comes at the price of crappy armor.
* {{Gangsterland}}:
** Arixo
** Free Colorado
* GoodWeaponEvilWeapon: a lot of Pirate Gangs fly Fairchild F611 Brigands while air militias tend to fly aircraft like the William & Colt Peacemaker 370.
** There is an aircraft company in the setting called the Blackflag Corporation. It is run by pirates and they actually raid other corporations for parts and weapons to build their aircraft. All of Blackflag's aircraft are designed and built by pirates for pirates.
* HandsomeLech: Nathan Zachary is quite the ladies' man. Although depending on the lady, he can act more like TheCasanova or a ChivalrousPervert.
* HeroicBSOD: [[PirateGirl "Brooklyn" Betty Charles]] gets one in ''Rogue Flyer'', during the assault on the "Promised Land" zeppelin. Seeing Boeing field in flames makes her realize that the Fortune Hunters and Black Hats are maybe NotSoDifferent.
* HighAltitudeBattle: What the franchise is all about.
* HisNameReallyIsBarkeep: Paladin Blake. According to the supplement ''Blake Aviation Security'', [[MeaningfulName Paladin]] is his actual first name.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Being by far the most eccentric character in the history of aviation, it would be surprising if the setting didn't make good use of Creator/HowardHughes.
** ''Blake Aviation Security'' reveals that Paladin Blake is the hero of a popular RadioDrama, written by fellow [[PinkertonDetective ex-Pinkerton]] Creator/DashiellHammett. He has also been portrayed by Creator/ErrolFlynn in a movie.
* HollywoodCalifornia: when California secedes from the Union it forms the Nation of Hollywood. Note that not all of California belongs to this new nation (Pacifica occupies the northern part of the state). As expected, most important events in this new nation tend to take place in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco.
* InjunCountry: Navajo Territory and the Lakota Nation.
* InspectorJavert: Paladin Blake seems obsessed with taking down the [[JustLikeRobinHood Fortune Hunters]], instead of taking care of more dangerous threats such as the [[RuthlessModernPirates Black Hats]]. Subverted as ''Rogue Flyer'' reveals that Boeing, one of [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation]]'s [[HeroismWontPayTheBills biggest clients]], is [[TheChainsOfCommanding forcing his hand]].
** Once he is [[WeNeedToGetProof given proof]] that [[spoiler: the Black Hats are working with Sacred Trust]], Blake has [[spoiler: [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure no problem]] [[ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules allying with the Fortune Hunters]]]] against the BiggerBad.
* InSpiteOfANail: Outside of North America the world is pretty much exactly the same as it was in real life at the time. Justified in that the series takes place less than a decade after the point of divergence, not enough time for any particularly major changes to take place.
* KillItWithFire: The Blackflag ''[[MeaningfulName Firestorm]];'' the plane earned its name when one of the first prototype fighters' guns were loaded with magnesium rounds and it spread so much fire across the sky that onlookers had thought the air itself had burst into flames.
* TheKingdom: The Kingdom of Hawaii, which, coincidentally, is a pirate haven. The Kingdom looks the other way, as it tends to keep the other nations off its back. If it's not going to get invaded by the British.
* KingIncognito: It is hinted that [[spoiler: Natalia, the Black Swan]], is somehow related to [[spoiler: the [[UsefulNotes/RomanovsAndRevolutions Romanovs]]]], explaining [[spoiler: her personal vendetta against [[UsefulNotes/RedOctober the Bolsheviks]]]].
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Played straight with "Fortune Tell", the protagonist of the short story ''Fortune's Hunt''. He has forgotten his own identity after being shot and [[OnlyMostlyDead left for dead]]. Yet he retains all his skills as a pilot and proves quite knowledgeable about the world.
* LawEnforcementInc: Blake Aviation Security.
* LawfulGood: Paladin Blake, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as his name suggests]].
* LegallyDead: [[spoiler: Amanda Rassmussen]]'s situation by the end of ''Rogue Flyer''. Everybody believes [[spoiler: she was [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat killed in a crash]]]], when in fact [[spoiler: she's a prisoner of the Black Hats]].
* LightningBruiser: the Focke-Wulf Hellhound qualifies.
* TheLostLenore: Played straight with Trevor Girard, the main protagonist of the novel ''Rogue Flyer'', who is haunted by the gruesome murder of his beloved Faith. Subverted with Nathan Zachary, who gets over the [[spoiler: betrayal and later death]] of his first love [[spoiler: Hanna Ullen]] relatively quickly.
* LoveableRogue: Nathan Zachary and a few others.
* MeaningfulName:
** The most common pirate fighter plane is the Fairchild F611 ''Brigand.''
** The "Blackflag" corporation.
** Paladin Blake.
* MightyGlacier: Examples include the [=McDonnel=] [=S2B=] Kestrel, the British Balmoral and the Sikorksy SB-3 Mako. These planes might not be fast and maneuverable but they more then make up for it in terms of thick armor and heavy firepower. All three of these planes also have tail-gunners to discourage close pursuit by enemy aircraft.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: the series is practically loaded with this trope. First you have people with these names like air pirate Jonathan ''Genghis Kahn;'' then you have aircraft with names like ''Hellhound, Devastator, Brigand, Fury;'' then you have ships and zeppelins like the ''Machiavelli;'' and lastly you have entire organizations like ''Die Spinne'' (German for ''The Spider'') in the [[VideoGame/CrimsonSkies Xbox game]].
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: In ''Rogue Flyer'', after the Black Hats' [[CurbStompBattle assault on Boeing field]], Trevor Girard tries to get in touch with his [[ReverseMole informants within the pirate gang]]. Unfortunately his actions end up [[spoiler: blowing their cover]], leading to their [[spoiler: [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves execution]] [[CruelAndUnusualDeath by the Black Hats]]]], as well as [[spoiler: the [[NoOneCouldSurviveThat apparent death]] of Trevor's betrothed, Amanda]]. Understandably, Trevor is [[HeroicBSOD not in a good place]] after that.
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Nathan Zachary, captain of the pirate airship ''Pandora'' and known throughout the Americas as the Gentleman Pirate.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: the few RealLife '30s aircraft that make it into the setting tend to be overshadowed by the fictional aircraft.
* PinkertonDetective: Paladin Blake's job before founding [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation Security]].
* {{Pirate}}[=/=]SkyPirate: Just about every major character. Nathan Zachary is definitely a Type 2 pirate. Others, like Ulysses Boothe and Lucas Miles, are firmly in the Type 1 category.
* PirateBooty: The novel ''Pirate's Gold'' is named after a stash of gold stolen to the British by renegade pilots during the Great War.
* PointDefenseless: all zeppelins have point defense turrets armed with flak guns, machine guns and rocket launchers. They pose more of a threat to AI controlled aircraft then to you.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Several examples. First you have LawEnforcementInc outfits like Blake Aviation Security that field fleets of zeppelin carriers and battleships in addition to several squadrons of fighter planes and regular ground troops and naval forces. Then you have pirate gangs that hire themselves out as mercenaries to the various American nations from time to time.
* {{Privateer}}: Bands of aerial privateers have been awarded letters of marque by the new nations of North America to reward loyalty and direct piracy against that nation's enemies.
* {{Ranger}}: Of course Texas has Air Rangers.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: In ''Rogue Flyer'', [[MeaningfulName Paladin Blake]], [[AFatherToHisMen the boss]] of [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation Security]], does not dismiss Trevor Girard's claims about [[spoiler: the Black Hats and Sacred Trust actually [[TheCon working together]]]]. But he [[WeNeedToGetProof can't do anything without proof]], and in the meantime their client [[MegaCorp Boeing]] is [[TheChainsOfCommanding forcing him]] to deal with the Fortune Hunters [[HeroismWontPayTheBills first]].
* ReleasedToElsewhere: Victor Caul likes to play this trick to pilots who disappoint him. ''"You're being kicked upstairs"'' does ''not'' mean you're being demoted to crew the zeppelin. Victor has another "[[{{Heaven}} upstairs]]" in mind...
* ScoundrelCode: Most gangs of pirates have one. The Fortune Hunters' is very clear about [[NeverHurtAnInnocent never attacking civilians]].
* SeriesContinuityError: "Sparks", the Pandora's [[GreaseMonkey mechanic]], is given the real name Simon Conroy in the novels, while in the [[VideoGame/CrimsonSkies video game]] his name is revealed to be Eugene Rasmussen. To add to the confusion, [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2000/08/03/the-characters-of-crimson-skies an article published on IGN shortly before the release of the PC game]] gives him yet another name, Eddie Conroy.
* SlidingScaleOfAlternateHistoryPlausibility: Difficult to categorize; the designers proudly admit that they started with "an alternate history in which SkyPirates would be plausible" and worked backwards(Type III). However, it only took [[http://firedrake.org/roger/csarchive/universe/history.htm three little changes]] to create the world they wanted(Type I); a ''failed'' vote for Prohibition, an inter''state'' military incident, and a second influenza pandemic was enough to [[BalkanizeMe Balkanize]] the United States. However, after that RuleOfCool took over with the aircraft designs, which drops it solidly in Type II.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Jordan Weisman later founded a video game company, Harebrained Schemes. Their first game was called [[http://harebrained-schemes.com/crimson/ Crimson: Steam Pirates]], and is essentially ''Crimson Skies'' at sea and with a {{Steampunk}} vibe. It also bears [[RecycledInSpace similarities]] to another of Weisman's creations, the tabletop game [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_Constructible_Strategy_Game ''Pirates of the Spanish Main'']].
* SympatheticInspectorAntagonist: [[LawEnforcementInc Blake Aviation Security]] for the [[SkyPirate Fortune Hunters]].
* TraumaCongaLine: In ''Rogue Flyer'', poor Trevor Girard watches his loved ones get killed one after the other [[spoiler:by [[HeroKiller Victor Caul]] and his [[RuthlessModernPirates Black Hats]]]]. No wonder he [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight disobeys his orders]] and goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
* TwoFistedTales: The beating heart of the series, especially ''High Road to Revenge.''
* VestigialEmpire: Columbia, the last remaining seat of the old USA's federal government, with UsefulNotes/CalvinCoolidge as President.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: BigBad air pirate Lucas Miles hides his operations behind a well-known private security firm: Sacred Trust Incorporated.
* WarForFunAndProfit: One of the first acts of the Red Skull Legion involved escorting a zeppelin supposedly full of Mormon refugees from the Industrial States of America. It wasn't, but the ruse allowed the zeppelin-loaded with a small army of pirates-to slip past Utah's air defense network. Once inside, the Red Skulls seized control of an airport and stole the zeppelin carrier ''Moroni'' (later renamed ''Machiavelli''). Then the Red Skulls repainted their planes in the colors of the Utah Air Militia and launched a series of raids into the People's Collective. Utah got blamed and the People's Collective launched a series of punitive expeditions. While the Collective and Utah were at each others throats the Red Skulls slipped away scot-free with a brand new carrier zeppelin and a cargo hold of loot. Ladies and Gentleman, there is a reason that Red Skull founder and leader Jonathan "Genghis" Kahn is considered a MagnificentBastard.
* WretchedHive: Arixo, a desert nation-state formed from the remnants of Arizona and New Mexico. Its vast desolate and lawless expanses makes it a natural haven for bandit activity.
** Which is nothing compared to the pirate kingdom of Free Colorado.
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: Somewhat appropriate considering the time period of the setting, but they were used far more than in real life.
----