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You've always known it was here, this strangeness familiar - the subterranean realm, the pathways to all space and time, and the doors, the doors, the doors! Things you may designate godlike or demonic roam the transdimensional corridors and cities. Hulking automatons patrol the way. Technology and magic interlock like a two-headed calf. The craft is beyond the scope of your species. Yet the clever secret worlder can learn to ride the anywhere paths to reach far away places. The anima-touched may enter.The Hollow Earth, a place where colossal trees grow eternally, the apparent source of Anima, nerve centre of Gaia, home of the Bees, and a convenient way to get from Seoul to New York in the space of a few minutes. Accessible only to those touched by the Bees, Agartha supports the players throughout the game, allowing transportation, resurrection, and even their powers - given in order to help them combat the threats that face Gaia.
- Alien Geometries: Agartha is seemingly infinite in terms of space, and if not, nobody's been able to specify just how big the Hollow Earth is, just how much of it's contained within the planet itself and how much of it's contained in another dimension. In any case, the trees are so tall that their upper and lowermost reaches appear to simply vanish into Agartha's golden light, and the ground is essentially invisible - assuming that it exists at all. According to the Stationmaster, the oldest and lowest branches lead backwards in time and cluster together so weirdly that the growth forms a Matryoshka of clustered timelines.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: As is revealed in Issue #7, Agartha has been infected by the Filth via the Tokyo portal, corrupting an entire branch of the great tree and allowing the Dreamers limited access to the wellspring of Anima they've been after all this time. For good measure, the Whispering Tide event features the player warring with the newly-formed Filth beings across Agartha's branches.
- Big Good: By all accounts, Gaia serves as this to the players.
- Deus Est Machina: Despite its status as a gigantic tree and a wellspring of natural magic, and despite being named "Gaia," the divinity that controls Agartha is actually an ancient biocomputer of immense power over the world; it even has its own angels in the form of the Bees and a set of chosen ones consisting of the player characters. For added irony, the Immaculate Machine is actually a creation of the angelic Host that constructed the Earth.
- Eldritch Location: Consisting of a space that apparently goes on forever, dotted with gigantic biomechanical tree trunks that stretch infinitely upwards and downwards with highway-sized branches that support a portal network that can lead virtually anywhere and everywhere - including Hell and even one-off visions of the past. The Stationmaster even suggests that the lower regions of the trees are now protruding into the past, and you can actually meet yourself if you're not careful. Even without the presence of the Bees and the Immaculate Machine, Agartha is an extraordinarily weird place.
- Fertile Blood / Fertile Feet: As the lifeblood of the world, wellsprings of Anima often support extensive plantlife, and the portals to Agartha are no exception: assuming the portal hasn't actually formed in the side of a tree - as is the case in the Shadowy Forest and Kaidan - it'll have attracted a miniature garden of long grass, flowers, vines, roots, and the occasional tree. Even in locations that logically shouldn't be able to support such flora, like Akhenaten's desert-based city, the frozen Carpathian Mountains, or just a sterile patch of Brooklyn concrete, the plantlife refuses to decline.
- Genius Loci: Agartha's great tree is actually a divine bio-computer and one of the few things to exist outside of the cycle of the Ages; known by names ranging from Gaia to the Immaculate Machine, it serves as something of a Big Good to the player characters, and though it only communicates through the Bees it nonetheless makes its presence felt in many subtle ways throughout the game.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Any human attempting to access Agartha without being bonded to one of the Bees will find themselves on the receiving end of this; according to Zhara, citizens of al-Merayah who attempted to escape from the Atenists via the nearby portal found themselves "stung" in their minds, and though she doesn't elaborate on the symptoms, it's bad enough to permanently discourage any further escape attempts. But apparently that's not the only side-effect of trying to enter Agartha without the aid of the Bees, as the Bees themselves obliquely testify.
- Hollow World: Referred to as "The Hollow Earth," Agartha is a particularly eldritch version of this trope; though the Stationmaster assures you that it's undeniably part of the Earth despite its seemingly impossible size, it obviously has some extradimensional aspect, especially given that nobody's yet been able to pinpoint its precise location within the Earth or even specify its size in comparison to the rest of the world.
- Layered World: At once part of the world and dimensionally separate from it, Agartha is one of the more prominent layers of the Secret World; for good measure, it also serves as a gateway to many other realms and other layers, including the Spirit World that players arrive in after falling in combat.
- The Lifestream: The source of all Anima in the world and the wellspring from which both the souls of the living and the energy of magic springs, Agartha and the Immaculate Machine are essentially an impossibly arcane biotechnological form of the lifestream that just so happens to allow passage across reality to the player characters. In a further parallel with the afterlife, Gaia releases Anima into the world via the roots of its great tree, creating the wells that players are drawn back to upon dying.
- Mechanical Lifeforms / Organic Technology: Agartha's trees are actually biomechanical in nature; despite incorporating bark and foliage into their structure, their branches also sport glowing veins reminiscent of circuitry, and (despite the balmy temperature) actually form part of a vast floral supercomputer that presides over the world.
- Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Despite Agartha's seemingly limitless depth, falling only results in the player being helpfully teleported back to the entrance.
- Only the Worthy May Pass: Only those touched by the Bees can enter Agartha safely; uninitiated visitors simply can't handle the energies inherent to the Hollow Earth, and usually find themselves subjected to increasingly unpleasant symptoms if they try to enter. Simply getting too close to a portal can result in a nasty jolt to the brain, whilst actually venturing inside can result in "a messy discord." Apparently, this even extends to most forms of Fourth-Age machinery, with only the Anima-powered Custodians of the Third Age being capable of withstanding the Hollow Earth, hence the reason why the Orochi Group's attempts to send mechanical drones into Agartha have failed miserably. Project Odyssey attempted to get around this by augmenting their drones with organs taken from a Bee-imbued character they'd obtained, but most of them ended up too unstable to function. In the end, Orochi gave up on the plan altogether and just hired their own Bee-imbued agents in the form of the Mitsubachi.
- Portal Crossroad World: Thanks to its vast array of portals scattered across its seemingly infinite branches, Agartha provides easy transportation not only across the Earth, but to other worlds altogether. Portals to Hell at different stages of development and visions of the distant past aren't entirely uncommon in the Hollow Earth, to say nothing of the branches that lead backwards through Agartha's history; in fact, the only place that the portals don't lead to is the Dreaming Prison - and probably for good reason, too.
- Portal Door: Naturally supports a large number of these, both in its hub and in the world beyond. Entrances to Agartha are a particularly distinctive example of this trope, given that all of them radiate a vivid golden light, and all of them are surrounded by plantlife regardless of the environment where the portal has emerged in.
- Place Beyond Time: Quite apart from its increasingly eccentric relationship with linear time and the distinct possibility of bumping into yourself if you travel far enough, Agartha exists beyond the Ages; already the most prominent sign of the Host's grand construction project still in existence, it's also the only place where Custodians can still be encountered on a casual basis, and probably the only place on Earth not touched by the cataclysms that have ended each Age.
- Time Abyss: Agartha and the biomechanical AI at its centre are truly ancient, having been created way back in the First Age by the Host, predating even the Custodians that patrol the branches.
- The World Tree: All the "trunks" of Agartha are part of a single vast biomechanical tree that supports the entire Hollow Earth - and likely the rest of the planet as well. For good measure, both the Norsemen and their gods referred to the Hollow Earth as Yggdrasil, another famous World Tree.
You understand, though, a massive floramechanical network won’t run itself. One always finds something needing doing down here. I’m certainly more of a groundsman than an engineer.The only human resident of Agartha, the Stationmaster introduces players to the Hollow Earth and gives the player their Conduit.
Voiced By: Tim Watson
- Badass Mustache: Instantly distinguished by his glorious handlebar moustache.
- Clock King: Eternally seen with pocket watch in hand, and speaks of the local rail service as "100 years late at quarter past the hour".
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Referred to only by his function, his real name remaining unknown to the players; the Stationmaster himself doesn't appear particularly interested in sharing his true identity with anyone at present, nor does he seem to mind being known only as "The Stationmaster."
- Mysterious Past: At present, it's not known how the Stationmaster ended up in Agartha's service, how he's managed to extend his lifespan, or even who he was prior to his recruitment.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Subverted; the Stationmaster cheerfully mentions an occasion where he bumped into his younger self on one of the lower branches of Agartha, with apparently no ill effects.
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Impeccably polite and very British.
- Really 700 Years Old: Looks no more than forty or fifty, but casually mentions Amundsen's own visit to Agartha and how Queen Victoria regarded Agartha as a "Marvel of engineering."
- Seen It All: Having been surrounded by weirdness for over a century, the Stationmaster has clearly learned to take it in his stride.
- Stepford Smiler: Implied by the Buzzing in Issue #14:He works as he has always worked, as he always will work. Our kindly Sisyphus. You cannot even see the tears behind his smile. "How much longer?" he asks, when no one is looking.
- Stiff Upper Lip: The Stationmaster remains endlessly cheerful in the face of the ongoing Filth crisis, only faltering very briefly in a moment of private reflection, before pressing onwards as briskly and happily as ever. The Buzzing even remarks on how "he carries on. He keeps calm." However, as mentioned above, it's implied that this is something of a façade...
- Token Human: Of all the weird and eldritch beings counted as permanent residents of Argatha, the Stationmaster is the only human among them.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?/Miles to Go Before I Sleep: The Bees heavily imply that his years of immortal service to Agartha are slowly wearing him down, though he never admits to his depression in person.
For how many centuries they patrolled these stations alone, who can say. I pride myself on punctuality and dedication, but they are the original article.Giant machine-creatures that maintain and protect the Agartha network. Very nearly indestructible, extremely powerful, and single-mindedly dedicated to the defence of the Hollow Earth.
- Clock Punk: As working examples of Third Age technology, the Custodians are powered by a mixture of clockwork mechanisms and Anima.
- Gentle Giant: Unless you've made the mistake of actually attacking them, the Custodians are generally peaceful by nature, spending most of their time either repairing Agartha's internal mechanisms or guiding travellers along the branches.
- Humongous Mecha: Twelve feet tall at the very least and built like a colossus, the Custodians are right at home in Agartha - one of the few mechanical environments large enough to hold them.
- Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Technologically distinct from the rest of the Hollow Earth, the Custodians weren't incorporated into Agartha until many ages after its construction.
- Lost Technology: The Custodians were actually constructed during the Third Age, having survived the end of the age thanks to Agartha's nature as a Place Beyond Time, and remain some of the most prominent and accessible forms of 3rd Age tech in the game.
- Magitek: Like most 3rd-Age Tech, the Custodians are powered by Anima.
- Mighty Glacier: As their introduction clearly demonstrates, the Custodians are extremely slow and sluggish at the best of times; however, they make up for their lumbering gait with sheer destructive power.
- Mini Mook: It's actually possible to buy a miniature Custodian as a battle companion.
- Not So Invincible After All: Very nearly indestructible isn't the same as indestructible, as "Rogue Agent" demonstrates.
- Unstoppable Rage: Angering a Custodian commonly results in a fit of rage that can only end in the offender's messy demise, as a group of Orochi researchers discovered.
- The Voiceless: They only communicate in order to provide directions, and even then, can do so only by pointing.
We are the Education Protocol. We climb the twisted ladder of your cells; we haunt your digital text; we hide in your hat. We are the jagged teeth that trip the tumblers of your mind. You will not know our triggers. For all the world's a cypher. And everything is true.
Be not afraid. Be terrified. The dark days are here.
Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.A techno-organic Hive Mind of tiny insectoid probes native to Agartha, and one of the few entities capable of leaving the Hollow Earth on a regular basis. Servants of Gaia, they have set out to provide the Immaculate Machine with a defence force by bonding with various humans across the world - including the player character: the Bee currently bonded with the player is responsible for giving you magical powers, saving you in the event of your untimely death, and providing you with knowledge gathered by the hive over the millennia - specifically in the form of the Lore entries known as "the Buzzing."
- Berserk Button: If the lore entry for Halloween 2015 is any evidence, the Bees do not like being forced to take hosts. When the Council of Venice captures a Bee and forcibly bonds it with Lorraine Maillard, the Buzzing refers to it as an "unlawful exploit," and admit that "our voice may have not sounded too kind" when they finally got around to speaking with Lorraine.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Lore entries show that Bees take a very whimsical, almost otherworldly view of events and morality.
- Catchphrase: Their Lore entries almost always begin with, "Our Wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and See."
- "Initiate the secret histories."
- "What is time to us? We stand outside. Everything has happened. Everything is happening."
- Cloudcuckoolander: The Lore entries reveal them to be this, decorating their already bizarrely-written explanations with mechanical commands and error messages, along with quotes from film, literature, pantomimes, nursery rhymes, and even advertising.
- Cryptic Conversation: They're often prone to this. Many of their lore entries will be narrated in a verbose and complicated style that tends to stray towards ambiguity, preferring to pose questions to the player rather than actually answer them. This is partly due to their rather alien view of humanity, but mostly due to the fact that they don't want to provide too much information just in case it kills you.
- Death Is Cheap: Thanks to them; whenever your body suffers mortal injuries, they save your anima form (your soul) and return it to the nearest anima well, where a new body can be grown — or else allow you to track down the old body and resurrect it.
- Deus Est Machina: Not only do they serve a "Machine-Goddess" who created Agartha, they aren't slouches in this department, either - being effectively the angels to the aforementioned goddess.
- Enigmatic Empowering Entity: Especially in the beginning, when the players have only the vaguest clue why they've been empowered or what the Bees expect them to do with their powers.
- Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: The Bees have access to knowledge collated throughout history and across the universe, delving even into the Hell Dimensions that lie outside Gaia. More to the point, they're prepared to share this information with players willing to tap into their signal and track down the lore objects. In keeping with the eldritch nature of this trope, the Bees indicate that receiving too much information at once can be hazardous to the player's health, hence the reason why they prefer to explain things one lore entry at a time.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: They're almost indistinguishable from real bees, but their descriptions indicate that they're mechanical in nature. It's possible that they're at least partly organic in nature, given that they can actually produce honey just like a real bee - though, according to the Stationmaster, it has an aftertaste rather like machine oil.
- My Skull Runneth Over: The chief reason why they package information as vague lore entries rather than just explaining everything; the exact symptoms aren't specified, but the Bees have seen them before and they'd rather not see them again.
- The Nicknamer: They have a habit of calling people - especially you - "sweetlings."
- The Omniscient: As inhabitants of Agartha, they have access to virtually everything in the universe at almost any point in history...
- Not So Omniscient After All: ...which makes it all the more startling when something blocks their vision.
- Poke in the Third Eye: From time to time, the Bees will attempt to delve further into the secrets behind a particular faction, and find themselves not only blocked but actually hurt by the enemy's supernatural defences - as is the case with the Morninglight.Signal disruption! Something rips our data-weave flesh, dims our incandescent eyes. What protects them?
- Sentient Phlebotinum: Having already proved themselves extraordinary by virtue of bestowing magical powers upon you, the Bees go one step further by revealing that they're actually sentient and responsible for the lore entries you keep wandering into.
- Starfish Aliens: Even leaving aside the fact they're well, tiny robotic insects, the Buzzing shows they think and communicate in a pretty alien fashion. Ironically this is actually how the Bees view humans; the lore has several instances of them finding human physiology incomparably bizarre, often wondering how you can even function. They don't hold it against us.
- Sour Supporter: Having seen countless failures committed by prospective heroes throughout the past, they seem pretty pessimistic about you actually saving the world. Doesn't stop them from investing their all into helping you.
- Super Empowering: Type 5; the Bees have the power to alter the brain chemistry of their host, eventually allowing them supernatural awareness and the ability to perform magic.
- Superpower Lottery: Bees confer an incredible range of powers upon their hosts, giving them the ability to perform magic, teleport, travel through Agartha, walk between dimensions, and endlessly return from the dead. However, if Lorraine is to be believed, Gaia is also draining something even more important from the hosts in exchange.
- Swallowed A Bee: Their modus operandi for granting magical powers involves simply flying into the player's mouth in their sleep.
- The Symbiote: According to Zurn, players are permanently bonded to their Bees, likely inextricably so; the player's relationship with the Bee is apparently one of mutualism, with the player benefiting through the incredible powers and impossible knowledge granted to them, the Bee benefiting by the aid that the player is compelled to give the Immaculate Machine.
- Time Dissonance: The Bees have a distinctly non-linear view of time, seeing past and present occurring all at once, suggesting that their probes are still transmitting information from the past even as they try to explain things to you.
- Touched by Vorlons: They're the Vorlons.
- You Are Not Ready: As the Hell Dimensions lore, they admit to only providing you with the bare minimum of knowledge necessary in the lore entries, claiming that you aren't ready to receive it all at once.We have said too much. All in time. All in the slow, erratic trickle of honey. We have given too much before. We have pulped the heads of sweetlings past with too much forbidden lore. Every one of them broke our electromagnetic hearts.
Emma Smith, AKA: Anima
- Voiced By: Lauren Mote
- Animal Motifs: During Issue #12, John compares her to a bee larva which has been fed the royal jelly, suggesting that she is being groomed for the role of "Queen Bee.
- Child Mage/Psychic Children
- Creepy Child: At times.
- The Empath: She's very sensitive to the movements of Anima and Filth in the surrounding area, and can be driven into feverish spells by particularly unpleasant wellsprings.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: When fully powered up.
- Iconic Item: Her teddy bear and shoulder bag.
- I Know Your True Name: Variant. The only way to awaken Emma and give her the strength to fight off Lilith's influence is to spell out her real name inside her mind.
- Lady Mondegreen: In-universe example; it turns out that her real name is actually Anima, having been misheard as "Emma" by a firefighter rescuing her from a burning building.
- Little Miss Almighty
- Living MacGuffin: For the Orochi Group and Lilith in particular. Late in Issue #7, it's revealed that the Breach in the Carpathian Mountains was only opened through the forced application of her powers.
- In Issue #12, it is implied that she has a talent for manipulating the Gaia Engines, explaining why Lilith wanted Emma and her claims that the girl could cleanse Tokyo. Additionally,, both The Buzzing and John imply that she is just the latest in a long line of Gaia's countermeasures against the Dreamer/Filth incursion.
- Mind over Matter
- Morality Pet: She's apparently become one of these to at least two Orochi employees - the first being her surrogate father, Winston, the second being Dragan.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: If Emma no longer seems eerily calm and all-knowing, worry. If she actually seems scared, run. The confrontation with the Filth at the end of Issue #7 is a prime example of this.
- Pajama-Clad Hero: Complete with pink slippers and a teddy bear.
- Put on a Bus: In the climax of "Mortal Sins," Emma is snatched up by a tendril of Filth while investigating the Breach, and though the player follows, no trace of her is found.
- Happens again in Issue #7: having temporarily defeated Lilith and escaped the Filth, she stays just long enough to explain a few things to you before abruptly vanishing.
- Teddy Bear: One of her signature possessions, only left behind as an indication that things have gone very wrong; apparently, he's also capable of communication - at least as far as Dragan's concerned.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Her preferred method of transportation is to simply disappear from sight and reappear a few metres away.
- The Bus Came Back: After the revelations in Issue #7, Emma disappeared into Agartha... only to return in Issue #12 under the Orochi Tower, having been drawn to the Gaia Engine stored there, and is currently intending to learn how to use the Engine in the hopes of cleansing Tokyo of the Filth.
The Hell Dimensions
A burning place, desiccated corpses of a hundred thousand demons smoulder in the ashes of strange cities and petrified forests. The oily oceans boil and the mountains roar to the soot-choked sky. Salt and sulphur dunes give way to wrong-angled cliffs. The burning glow of the far horizon is occasionally broken by the monolithic remains of Second Age structures, relics from a time when humanity openly consorted with demons. These once great ziggurats have been worn down by the elements to featureless black shapes, their original purpose lost.Created during a previous age of history, the Hell Dimensions are now a fiery, Anima-deprived alternate dimension, populated by starving tribes of demons and strewn with the remnants of ancient machinery. Until now, the inhabitants have been forced to survive on what little Anima they can scavenge from dimensional fissures, or buy through Faustian bargains with ignorant humans; now, in the aftermath of the Tokyo Incident, the demons are conducting an invasion of Earth in order to feast upon its naturally-occurring Anima. Entering the Hell Dimensions a number of times in order to curtail the ongoing invasion, the player manages to entangle themselves in a civil war between two major factions: the rebellious demons (led by Theodore Wicker), and the forces of the ruling order (led by Eblis).
- Another Dimension: Or rather, a lot of other dimensions.
- Circles of Hell: Apparently has a great many of them, give that the Hell Dimensions are the inspiration not only for the Judaeo-Christian Hell, but also many other unpleasant afterlives throughout human culture - including Japanese mythology, judging by the presence of the Oni.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Hell Dimensions arc ends with Eblis dead and the revolutionaries victorious. However, the war has claimed the lives of countless millions of demon tribes, some to the point of extinction; the cities of Hell lie in ruins, and Wicker is still no closer to making the fallen dimensions into a paradise - if that objective is even possible anymore. In the end, Wicker resolves to give up his dream of an Infernal Paradise, and instead find a new world where the surviving demon tribes can live in peace.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Demons, for all their status at being demonic, ultimately just want to live in a better world than Hell. They are by no means inherently evil, just easily bossed around by Eblis (who is a Fallen Angel, not a demon).
- Death World: Quite apart from the fact that they're Hell, the dimensions are particularly inhospitable to human life; on top of the volcanic landscape, flesh-stripping sandstorms and hostile natives, the air itself will eventually be lethal to mortal visitors - to the point that Wicker has to notify you that the shortness of breath you're feeling is actually a result of your blood slowly turning to metal. He himself only adapted to the environment through a complicated series of occult rituals that rendered him distinctly non-human.
- Demon of Human Origin: A possible fate of the damned souls that fuel hell. Though none of them are ever encountered in captivity or in transition during the players' visits, a trio of them appear as the second-last boss battle of "Paradise Now" before you confront Eblis. In turns out that they are none other than Brutus, Cassius, and Judas, the three great traitors of The Divine Comedy, having been reforged into the Hadean Guard in the centuries since their arrival in Hell.
- Eldritch Location: Even by the standards of Hell established throughout fiction, the Hell Dimensions are pretty damn weird. Along with the monstrous environmental hazards and complicated sense of time, there's also the distinct fact that the entire realm is paused in mid-apocalypse and has been for thousands upon thousands of years.
- Eternal Engine: Neatly crossed with Nightmarish Factory; the most prominent landmarks of the Hell Dimensions are the eroded remains of buildings and mechanisms left over from the legendary Second Age. In spite of the ongoing collapse into entropy, many of these machines still work after a fashion, and are commonly put to use in Eblis' war against Earth. As the Hell Dimensions arc continues, these are repurposed towards the ongoing civil war between the current regime and Wicker's revolutionaries. Sadly, after centuries of repurposing, nobody's entirely certain of what these devices were originally used for.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Certainly has the fire, lava, brimstone and petrified forests; the decaying machinery adds to the atmosphere as well. Admittedly, they weren't always this way, having only fallen into decay and disrepair once the dimensions were cut off from Earth and the Anima started running out.
- Infernal Paradise: Hell used to be like this, back in the days when humans and demons associated freely. Getting cut off from Earth and its Anima put an end to its prosperity; however, inspired by the stories of the splendour that demons used to enjoy, Wicker has set out to restore the Hell Dimensions to their former glory.
- Hell Gate: Most of the demonic forces conduct their invasion through various portals in America, Egypt and Transylvania - most of them instantly recognizable due to the burnt plantlife, semi-demolished buildings, demonic technology embedded in the scenery, and infernal fissures tearing the ground open.
- Hell Is War: Variation; on all three of your visits to Hell, it's embroiled in an immensely destructive civil war.
- Hell on Earth: Currently waging a war on Gaia in the hopes of accomplishing this in totality, with a lot of aggressive terraforming in progress around the portals.
- Horny Devils: Succubi are one of the many breeds of Hellspawn encountered in the game, and in keeping with the trope, most of them tend to be involved with sex and temptation to some extent or another. According to the lore, they used to be handmaidens and majordomos to the Host before they abandoned Hell; as a result, most of them envy humanity very deeply, and their attempts to seduce and corrupt human beings are largely motivated by a desire to drag them down to their humiliating level of existence. Even the ones who bear some affection for humans are often driven to degrade or destroy those they love - or those they believe they love, at any rate.
- The Legions of Hell: The majority of the natives. For good measure, most of demons encountered are those employed either for the invasion of Earth or for the civil war, making them literal legions - especially in the case of the Hellsoldiers and the Rift Martyrs.
- Narnia Time: According to Wicker, time is one of the many things that have stopped working in Hell. This is further evidenced by the fact that thousands of years have gone by in Hell since Wicker arrived, but on Earth, only twenty years have passed.
- Oni: One of the many species of demon encountered, usually as members of the Nine Houses - or, if you're in Tokyo, as members of the House-In-Exile.
- Our Demons Are Different: In this case, they were a benevolent race of beings who were reduced to savagery once their home dimensions were cut off from a reliable source of Anima. They are not Always Chaotic Evil, contrary to the furious outbursts of the Templars and the Jingu Clan, and they are not fallen angels; they're just ruled by one.
- Our Genies Are Different: The Jinn of Hell are a Proud Warrior Race of airborne fire elementals, often encountered serving as lieutenants, magicians, and above all, bosses. They do not grant wishes, do not live in lamps, and consider humanity unworthy of inheriting Earth, hence the reason why they champion the demonic invasion at the Egypt beachhead so enthusiastically.
- Scavenger World: Because most of the Hell Dimensions' technological arsenal was destroyed when they lost access to Anima, Eblis has had to build his kingdom from what little could be salvaged from the ruins; even though the results are impressive enough to grant the demon armies a significant edge against most enemies - even those empowered by the Bees - it's still barely a fraction of what these ancient marvels were capable of back in the Second Age.
- Vampiric Draining: Deprived of Anima ever since the end of the Second Age, the inhabitants of the Hell Dimensions have been hunting down alternate sources of it for millennia in order to sustain both themselves and their world. Because stealing it from Earth is only possible on very rare occasions, a popular means of obtaining Anima is through Faustian Bargains with greedy demonologists - or by intercepting the souls of the dying, if the presence of "the Wicked Dead" is any evidence.
Now, I am beyond the cage of humanity. I am... rarefied. This dimension has worked a great alchemy on me, and in return, I mean to restore it... to greatness. Every petrified forest must start from a single manganese seed...A legendary Oxford-educated demonologist who disappeared twenty years prior to the events of the game, Wicker nonetheless left a long trail of clues that both Daniel Bach and the player end up following - all the way into Hell, via the portal in the Overlook Motel. Once there, it's revealed that Wicker is actually leading a revolution on behalf of the demons, apparently out of a desire to restore the Hell Dimensions to their former glory.
Voiced By: Mark Healy
- Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: It's hard to tell which, given that he's committed several murders just so he'd be able to send himself to Hell and plunged the Dimension into a civil war all for the sake of restoring demonkind to the height of civilization. Even following the end of the arc, it's still a bit ambiguous, and he could swing in either direction ...especially considering that he never really specified where he would find a new world for the demons.
- Badass: Wicker is likely the only character in the entire game that's ever managed to fight Eblis in a Wizard Duel and survive to see a stalemate. By contrast, it takes an entire team of Bee-empowered agents and a hell of a lot of luck to duel Eblis during the finale of "Paradise Now."
- Badass in Distress: "Into The Inferno" features him unexpectedly captured by Eblis' army and used as a power source for the hellgate, requiring the players to mount a rescue mission.
- Beam-O-War: Ends up getting caught in one of these with Eblis in the last battle of "Sympathy for the Devil."
- Crucified Hero Shot: Encountered in a similar pose during the final boss of "Into The Inferno," having been used to power Eblis' gateway to earth.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being a partly-demonic being who willingly sent himself to Hell at the cost of several lives, Wicker is one of the more benevolent figures in the game - and even moreso thanks to the loss of his soul.
- Dark Messiah: Wicker clearly sees himself as a messiah-figure to demonkind, and will do anything to ensure that a new and perfect world can be found for them, either by fighting Eblis for centuries on end in order to claim Hell on their behalf, or searching for a new and untouched world where demons can live in place. For their part, the inhabitants of Hell seem to agree with this belief, not only deferring to him as a leader but also revering him as a prophet; they even erect huge statues of him posed as a preacher and messiah, as "Into The Inferno" demonstrates. Funnily enough, even the game itself occasionally assists with this self-image, for when the players first meet Wicker, he's harnessed to the gateway machinery in a pose reminiscent of crucifixion.
- Healing Hands: Easily mends your injuries during the boss battle of "Sympathy for the Devil."
- Heart Trauma: As part of his preparations for surviving the Hell Dimensions, Wicker actually tore his own heart out; you can still see the scar on his chest. In keeping with this trope, sacrificing his soul alongside his heart has left Wicker eerily calm and distant.
- Hell Seeker: Fascinated by Hell and the paradise it could have been, Wicker spent years looking for a means of entering the Dimensions without dying first; as "Hell And Bach" demonstrates, it was a long and arduous journey that took him all over the world, resulted in several deaths both accidental and deliberate, and led him to perform extensive magical alterations of his own body in preparation for the Hellish environment he'd be subjected to. This search ultimately came to an end in room #13 of the Overlook Motel on Solomon Island, where Wicker successfully entered Hell; according to Scrapyard Edgar, he also ended up taking several guests with him and rendering the motel closed for business until the demonic invasion twenty years later. For his part, Wicker doesn't regret a thing.
- Heroic B.S.O.D. / Villainous B.S.O.D.: In the aftermath of "Sympathy for the Devil," Wicker is deeply depressed at how badly the struggle with Eblis has gone, sounding especially anguished when he notes that, even after all his preaching and his demonstrations of how Hell can be made great again, so many demons still choose to support the invasion - if only because claiming Earth as a refuge seems more achievable than making a Heaven of Hell.
- Humanoid Abomination: A fairly benign example, but thanks to the various alterations he made to his body and "the great alchemy" that the Hell Dimensions worked on him, Wicker is no longer truly human. Though he remains outwardly unchanged by this transformation, his voice now possesses a distinctly echoing reverb effect that makes it immediately apparent that things have changed a great deal since the last time Wicker was seen in public...
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: A firm believer in this. At the end of "Into The Inferno," he claims that he was only capable of committing the murders used to propel him to Hell because he possessed a human soul, observing that "psychopathy is a uniquely human trait." He actually ups the ante in "Sympathy For The Devil," suggesting that- through demon-summoning - humans corrupted the demons and not the other way around; he even goes so far as to portray the usual interaction in a Deal with the Devil as desperate scavenger demons prostituting themselves to greedy hedge-mages. That said, Wicker is willing to see the merits of humanity, if only because he sees demonkind as what the human race could have been, if Earth had been the world abandoned as a failure and not Hell.
- Immortality: One of Wicker's many new traits as a result of his self-modification, according to the Bees; born out by the fact that in spite of the eons that have passed in Hell's Narnia Time, Wicker hasn't aged a single day.
- Infernal Paradise: Hopes to create one of these via restoring the Hell Dimensions to their former glory, and with Wicker's knowledge of Second Age technology, this isn't an entirely impossible goal. Up until the war with Eblis leaves Hell apparently unsalvageable, forcing Wicker to give up recapturing lost glories, and instead build a new world for the survivors of the revolution.
- MacGuffin Super Person: On top of being a rallying figure for one faction of demons and a potential gateway for the other, your contacts reveal that Wicker was being courted for membership by both the Templars and the Illuminati in the days before he vanished; the latter wanted to make use of his occult knowledge and magical skills, while the former wanted to keep him from doing anything potentially apocalyptic (as they also did with Gladstone). The same holds true for both of them even now: the Illuminati still want him for the powers that he's spent the last few thousand years honing, and likely to find out how he made himself immortal; the Templars, meanwhile, want him to answer for "the mess he left behind in Soho." As of "Paradise Now," both have been unsuccessful in retrieving him.
- Man in White: The outfit might be battered and slightly discoloured from his time in Hell, but Wicker still draws attention by being the first character in the area to be seen in white clothes. Even Eblis calls him "the One in White." After finishing off the last of the Hell Dimension dungeons, you're rewarded with a copy of this outfit, titled simply "The Dandy Hellraiser."
- Master of One Magic: According to the Bees, Wicker isn't just an expert on the creation of magical gateways, but "this Age's greatest master of portal magic." In other words, in all the thousands of years that have comprised the Fourth Age so far, nobody has ever encountered anyone as adept as Theodore Wicker. However, he doesn't appear to suffer from Crippling Overspecialization, having apparently devoted quite some time to honing his abilities in offensive and healing magic during the many centuries he spent waging war against Eblis.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: According to "Hell And Bach," the removal of his soul resulted in Wicker being unable to cast a reflection.
- Mission Control: Remotely guides you through the battlefields of Hell in "Sympathy For The Devil" and "Paradise Now."
- Not So Different: Encourages this perspective in regards to humanity and demonkind, reasoning that the human race would have ended up exactly the same as them had Earth been the world cut off from Anima and not Hell.
- The Promised Land: Having already spent years searching for Hell as his Promised Land, he then spends years trying to make it into a Promised Land for the demons. Then, in the outro to "Paradise Now," Wicker realizes that the rebuilding efforts have been made impossible thanks to the war with Eblis, and instead resolves to find another Promised Land altogether - one where demons will never have to endure the tyranny of angels or the corruption of humanity.
- Rebel Leader: To the rebellious demons.
- Rousing Speech: Can be heard making these via loudspeaker during the latter two thirds of the arc, at one point imploring his revolutionaries to fight on even if Eblis' assassins succeed in killing him. He provides a short but poignant one in the finale of the arc, introducing his newest goal to the survivors of his army.My kin...do not come before me abject. Raise your proud and terrible heads. I will find you another world. A better world, where angels fear to tread and man is a cautionary tale...
- Scarf Of Ass Kicking: His distinctive white outfit is augmented with an equally distinctive scarf draped around his neck. This also becomes part of the player's wardrobe upon finishing the Hell Dimensions arc.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: During their first face-to-face encounter, Wicker proves quite adept at puncturing Eblis' attempts at intimidation.Wicker: At last we meet, the architect and his destroyer... and still you deny me a face to put to your basic nature. Could I feel, I would almost be disappointed.Eblis: Oh, I'll make you feel... the agonies of the cosmos. I'll find your bargained heart and eat it.
- The Soulless: Another one of the many sacrifices he made in order to make himself a physical resident of Hell was his own soul. He actually thinks that this is a good thing, claiming that his soul allowed him to perform the worst of his past crimes in pursuit of his objectives.
- The Stoic: Wicker doesn't often show emotion, having lost most of his capacity to feel and express it when he removed his soul.
- Not So Stoic: He does still experience emotion, though, and makes it known in the aftermath of "Sympathy For The Devil" sounding genuinely upset when discussing the extremes that the demons have been driven to in their attempts to survive the collapse of their world. He also sounds quite dejected during the outro to "Paradise Now," while discussing the countless lives that the war with Eblis has cost them.
- That Man Is Dead: Decides to insist on this during the very last cutscene of the Hell Dimensions arc, requesting that the players report that Wicker died in the battle against Eblis. Notably, you decline this request, as the after-mission reports reveal; then again, it doesn't matter all that much: after all, Wicker is now beyond the reach of those who wanted him back on Earth.
- Thinking Up Portals: Though he's primarily known as a master demonologist, Wicker's true magical specialty lies in portal magic, hence his ability to reach the Hell Dimensions and connect them back to the real world. Unfortunately, this gift also makes him immensely valuable to the enemy, who actually go so far as to use Wicker to power their own gateway to Earth during "Into The Inferno."
- Token Human: Subverted; it might seem like Wicker is the only living human in the entirety of the Hell Dimensions, but thanks to the rituals he's performed on himself, he can't really be described as this anymore.
- Tongue Trauma: One rumour claims that he tore his tongue out in order to speak the demonic languages better; if he has, it doesn't appear to have effected his ability to speak coherently, though a little tongue-modification might explain the odd distortion of his voice. Mosul later confirms that Wicker has "cut into his mouth" to allow him to speak the tongues of the Hell Dimension.
- Voice of the Legion: There's a faint but audible reverb in his voice whenever he speaks, an apparent result of his self-modification.
- Weakened by the Light: "Hell And Bach" reveals that Wicker's extensive self-modification made him allergic to the human world even as it allowed him to survive Hell, and one symptom of this process was his negative reaction to Earthly light, ultimately becoming sickened and nauseated just by the sight of it. Given that this sort of light never shows up in the Hell Dimensions and Wicker has no interest in returning to Earth, it never really becomes a serious problem for him during the game.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Along with sacrificing his heart, soul and humanity, Wicker was also willing to assist his journey into the Inferno with several murders, even allowing his entry to the Hell Dimensions to claim the lives of several motel guests. However, Wicker did all of this with the intention of restoring Hell to its long-lost splendour, and though he laments the deaths that occurred as a result, he still believes that the chance to return demonkind to glory is worth any sacrifice.
- Wizard Duel: Holds one with Eblis in the climax of "Sympathy For The Devil." Astonishingly, the two of them are almost evenly matched, and have to resort to fighting through proxies to break the stalemate - the players on Wicker's behalf, a small gang of Oni assassins on behalf of Eblis.
You, me... on a beach of razor-fossils... the Vultures of Leng plucking your nerve-endings like a fabulous instrument... Call me some time?Theodore Wicker's right-hand demoness, and the reason he got into the whole "redeeming hell" thing to start with.
Voiced By: Catherine Taber
- Dark Mistress: To Wicker, though they amicably separate in the outro to "Paradise Now."
- Decoy Damsel: Plays this part during "Into The Inferno" in order to gain the players' assistance in rescuing Wicker.
- Did Cthulhu Just Proposition Us?: At the end of "Into The Inferno," she goes so far as to flirt with the players, using decidedly Lovecraftian promises in the process. See the page quote for more.
- Exposed to the Elements: Despite the volcanic activity, flesh-stripping sandstorms and showers of fireballs, Saccharissa seems perfectly comfortable with wandering the Hell Dimensions stark naked. Of course, given how tough demons are compared with humans, this isn't much of a surprise.
- Horny Devils: As a Succubus, this is a given, and Saccharissa lives up to this role by remaining both consistently flirtatious and consistently disturbing in her overtures. However, as she's also one of Wicker's revolutionaries, she's also pretty benign compared to Recursia and the other Succubi who've remained loyal to Eblis.
- Interspecies Romance: As well as having an ongoing relationship with Wicker, Sacharissa also openly flirts with the player.
- Mission Control: Plays this part throughout "Into The Inferno," guiding players through Hell Raised and its many dangers.
- Number Two: To Wicker, being more than comfortable directing both the players and the revolutionaries.
- Sexy Walk: Her default walk animation, apparently.
- Shameless Fanservice Girl: Like all Succubi, Sacharissa has absolutely no problem with wandering Hell naked or with using it as an opportunity to flirt with players.
- The Voice: Remains unseen for the majority of your first foray into the Hell Dimensions, likely to hide the fact that she's actually a demon from less-accepting Secret Worlders. It's not until the outro cutscene that she reveals her true self.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Said exactly word for word at the end of "Into The Inferno," apparently teasing the players for thinking that the so-called damsel in distress was human.
- Winged Humanoid: Like all Succubi, Saccharissa possesses a large pair of batlike wings. Good Wings, Evil Wings are thoroughly averted in the process.
Eblis, Dominus Inferni in Profondis
How very human, unable to resist an invitation to your own autopsy. Your race doomed itself. I'm simply ushering you over the cusp of insignificance...Ruler of the Hell Dimensions and Wicker's nemesis, Eblis is the nearest equivalent to the devil present in the game. Coordinating the demonic invasion of Earth through the beachheads in Solomon Island, Egypt and Transylvania, he is single-mindedly dedicated to claiming Gaia as his new kingdom, having long since grown tired of ruling an Anima-starved wasteland. With a burgeoning revolution on his hands, however, he has had to divide his forces and eradicate any threats to his power - in particular, Theodore Wicker and anyone allied with him.
Voiced By: Nicholas Boulton
- Anime Anatomy: Doesn't appear to possess genitals.
- Anti-Magic: One of his favourite tactics in the final boss battle is to temporarily depower one of the players, disabling all abilities and reducing their HP to 1 for as long as Eblis remains focussed on them. The only way to break Eblis' concentration is by attacking him - requiring the player to rely on the rest of the team throughout the boss battle.
- Arc Villain: Of the Hell Dimensions dungeons. Yes, Satan is not the main Big Bad of the game.
- Bad Boss: He takes great delight in knowing that his assassin's enforced One-Winged Angel status is extremely painful.
- Bald of Evil: Completely hairless, unrepentantly monstrous.
- Beam-O-War: Ends up getting caught in one of these with Wicker in the last battle of "Sympathy for the Devil," leaving Eblis unable to attack the players except by harnessing the deadly gales of the Hell Dimension around them.
- Bishonen Line: Noticeably more human than his monstrous lieutenants.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Despite being the game's equivalent of the Devil and a former member of the impossibly-powerful Host, Eblis can be killed by the players.
- Divinely Appearing Demons: Given that he was one of the Host, this is a given, especially since he still likes to show off his angelic nature through his wings and eerily flawless appearance. Unlike the ones you meet in the Dreaming Prison, though, Eblis doesn't even bother making himself look human for the player's benefit.
- Fallen Angel: Specifically noted; quite apart from the fact that Eblis is essentially Lucifer, the Bees also mention that he was once one of the Host, and actually helped to construct Hell eons before it was cut off from Earth and fell into disrepair. For good measure, his last appearance prompts Sonnac to sheepishly admit that angels are rarely on the side of the angels - though few go so far as to foment total war between Earth and the Hell Dimensions.
- Fantastic Racism / Puny Humans: Very dismissive of human beings, and very vocal about it.
- Flaming Sword: In keeping with his angelic ancestry, he goes into battle with one of these in the final battle of "Paradise Now."
- Final Boss: Of both "Paradise Now" and the entire Hell Dimensions arc.
- Flunky Boss: "Sympathy for the Devil" has him send in a gang of assassins to take out the players, while he tries to batter down Wicker's defences from above.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Averted. Eblis possesses the same kind of energy wings that other members of the Host possess. Also an aversion of Good Colors, Evil Colors, for Eblis' wings are pure white... though he does manifest at least three pairs of them at once.
- Hell on Earth: His ultimate goal is to take over our universe, remake it as his new kingdom, and enjoy the benefits of living in a world that hasn't been starved of Anima for the last few millennia.
- Large Ham: Especially during the final battle with the players.
- Light Is Not Good: In sharp contrast to the demons and damned souls that serve him, Eblis is an eerily beautiful humanoid figure rendered in white and electric blue. He's also more villainous than any of his underlings put together.
- Make My Monster Grow: After the assassination attempt on Wicker and the players has failed, Eblis magically transforms the last surviving assassin into the the next boss of "Sympathy For The Devil."
- Power Gives You Wings: Much like the other members of the Host encountered during the game, Eblis possesses wings of Pure Energy that deploy whenever he feels like travelling quickly - or when he's unleashing his most powerful attacks, such as during the final battles of "Sympathy For The Devil" and "Paradise Now."
- Tron Lines: Eblis' body is covered in luminous blue lines, forming patterns across his skull, heart, fists, hips and shins.
- Villain Teleportation: Likes to pull this little trick during the final boss battle.
- Weather Manipulation: Turns the skin-flaying windstorms of the Hell Dimensions against the players during the final battle of "Sympathy For The Devil," forcing you to run for cover.
The Dreaming Prison
Row, row, row your boat, gently through my dream. Terribly, terribly, terribly, terribly, this is all I've seen.First accessed in the opening cutscene of the game (appropriately enough, via a dream) and periodically revisited throughout the main story and DLC, the Prison is the world in which the players first encounter the Dreamers in person. It manifests primarily as a world of icebergs, black sand islands and many cuboid Gaia Engines floating in the middle of an ocean of Filth, beneath a bleak night-time sky of floating asteroids and desolate planets. As the apparent source of the Filth, portals to the Dreaming Prison often manifest in areas where the Filth has been allowed to accumulate in large enough quantities - Tokyo being the first encountered in the game. And though it appears to have successfully contained the Dreamers for the moment, there are hints that the prison isn't as stable as first suspected...
- Alien Sky: Complete with an orbiting chain of asteroids, a huge cracked planetoid, and the occasional angry-red star.
- Always Night: The only point in the game where the sun can be seen over the Dreaming Prison is during the Tokyo Flashback and the conclusion to "From The Valley To The Stars," and in that case, it's a red giant looming over a dying solar system of barren planets.
- Dark World: Prone to recreating objects and buildings from the real world, though rarely to any meaningful degree... up until "The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn," when it's revealed that the Fog around Solomon Island conceals a portal to a location under the Dreamers' influence known only as the Red Sargassum Dream, consisting of a twisted recreation of Kingsmouth populated by Filth-infected duplicates of its people.
- Eldritch Location: As well as being the cage for a swarm of Eldritch Abominations, the near-permanent night and odd gravity adds a thick layer of surrealism to the area.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: As the name implies, the Dreaming Prison is essentially the can for the Dreamers.
- Leaking Can of Evil: Judging by the activities of Filth-infectees around the world.
- Sinister Geometry: The Gaia Engines, for all their extraordinary functions, are very basic in structure, being little more than enormous cubes either hovering in space or set into the beach.
- Weird Sun: The red giant seen looming over the Prison's solar system from time to time.
You will see the End of Days. You will see the dawning of a new age. To be a monarch... or a beggar. To lose everything... or become a god. To stand with us... or against us. The choice is yours. Remember this.The creators of the Filth, the Dreamers are a mysterious group of beings who are constantly trying to enter our reality for reasons unknown - though probably not for anything benign if the Lore entries are any evidence. They're called "dreamers" because, in a sense, the Filth is their dream, their desire to conquer and control all life made manifest as a physical entity - and because of their literal ability to create Eldritch Locations that are actually called Dreams. Though apparently imprisoned beyond the boundaries of our universe, they've been attempting to devise means of breaking out for millennia; the disaster in Tokyo is just the latest example of their efforts to escape...
Voiced By: Enn Reitel
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: During the finale of "Mortal Sins," they're so desperate to escape their prison that they resort to openly begging with you, even if you made it clear that you're not interested in pledging yourself to them.
- Body Horror: A common source of it, being responsible for Filth and the many different forms it takes over the course of the game.
- Blue and Orange Morality: A distinct possibility; the Dreamers you meet during the main story claim that their imprisonment has left them unable to understand human nature, though given the fact that they're essentially begging for a way out makes this testimony unreliable at best. On the other hand, the Dreamer you meet during your voyage into the Fog is much more visibly abstract in thought patterns, almost giving the Buzzing itself a run for its money in the eccentricity department.
- Celestial Body: Implied to possess this to a certain degree, if the Buzzing's description of them possessing event horizons for mouths was accurate.
- The Corrupter: Throughout history, the Dreamers have seduced various individuals by many different methods, either offering to help them fulfil their ambitions in life, or tempting them with supernatural gifts and promises of power. Akhenaten accepted their help in leaving his mark on Egypt; Halina Ilyushin joined them in return for achieving her childhood dream of travelling through space; finally, most obviously of all, the players are offered the opportunity to seize all the power their faction has denied them - in exchange for disabling one set of defences on their prison.
- Their followers continue this trend of corruption, with beings like Dr Armitage and John tempting unsuspecting mortals towards similarly corrupting deals, offering anything from artistic success to spiritual transcendence.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The Red Sargassum Dream's most vocal inhabitant; in sharp contrast to the straightforward monologues of Dreamers encountered during the main story, this particular Dreamer prefers to speak in a mixture of childish chattering, creepy nursery rhymes, stuttering Robo Speak, and near-lucid explanations. In one area alone, he/she/it swings from "Mommy, what will Daddy bring back from the sea? Whatever his heart desires, my sweet!" to "They rowed, rowed, rowed their boats/ through the Sargasso Sea/ Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily/ soon we'll all be free." For good measure, this dialogue is delivered in an unearthly, whispering monotone, making it a thousand times more disturbing to listen to.
- Cosmic Entity: As star-eating, reality-warping, eldritch gods with enough power to will their thoughts into physical existence even while still imprisoned, it's hard to think of them as anything other than cosmic.
- Cosmic Horror Story: The centrepiece of one spanning the entire setting. For good measure, the Dreamers are the only enemy in the game that can't be fought on any conventional level, and likely never could be fought if they ever escaped. Worse still, the only mechanism for keeping them asleep is on very shaky ground at present, and the only means of saving the world from awakened Dreamers might just be broken...
- Creepy Monotone/Dissonant Serenity: The Dreamer encountered within the Red Sargassum Dream speaks in an eerily calm and oddly soothing monotone despite the fact that it's providing a commentary to a hideous replica of Kingsmouth floating over a sea of Filth, populated by corrupted replicas of the townsfolk. This, combined with its Voice of the Legion, has the effect of making this particular mission really fucking creepy.
- Dark World: Their Red Sargassum Dream, a dark, twisted version of Kingsmouth inhabited by Filth-infected versions of the residents... because the real ones have all been infected with a strain of Filth carried by the Fog. More disturbingly, it's also implied that this place is essentially a sneak-preview of what the Dreamers hope to do with all of Earth, namely recreating the areas they've conquered within the Dream from the memories of those they've infected, and populating their expanding world with the souls of their victims. Those Dreamers found within the Red Sargassum claim that this is actually a good thing, as it means that nobody ever truly "dies."
- Deal with the Devil: During their first "face-to-face" meeting with you, the Dreamers lavish you with offers to unlock your true potential and grant you everything you've ever wanted in life - offers that you are free to accept or decline. Furthermore, they also provide proof of their apparent generosity by displaying a huge gallery of individuals who've accepted bargains from them in the past and profited immensely, choosing to be rewarded with wealth, political power, artistic vision or even linguistic abilities. The Dreamers offer you the chance to reach even further they did, and claim true power.
- Later in the game, you actually meet several individuals who accepted such bargains, and they seem fairly content. Admittedly, most of them end up trying to kill you, if only for getting in the way of their ambitions.
- Eldritch Abomination: Often described by the Buzzing with labels such as "a multitude of eyes and mouths glaring and gnashing beyond the outer dark," "hungry mouths made of event horizons," and "those who slumber in the spaces between," it's hard to imagine the Dreamers as anything other than Lovecraftian gods. For good measure, the only thing capable of stopping them is a complete universal reset - and this is known because the Third Age ended in the wake of a single Dreamer being roused from its sleep.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: According to the Buzzing, they're somewhat squidlike in nature. Apparently, the Ur-Draug is a massively scaled-down replica of one of the Dreamers.
- Faux Affably Evil: The Dreamers encountered during the main storyline are polite and welcoming, encouraging you to aspire to greatness and modestly offering their help. But refuse the gift they offer or get in the way of their plans in Egypt, and they'll turn very nasty, bombarding you with insults and threats of betrayal, madness and destruction. The Dreamers you encounter in the Red Sargassum Dream are similarly faux-affable, and perfectly frank about how they want to "free Kingsmouth from civil trappings" ie: turn the inhabitants into Filth-infected monsters and allow their deranged souls to wander the Dream forever. They even claim that living forever in a nightmare is actually good thing, at one point offering you the position of mayor - or god, if you prefer. They even go so far as to suggest that you bring your friends along on your next visit...
- God Guise: Given their activities in Egypt, it can be inferred that the Aten is just another one of the Dreamers and Akhenaten was one of the many historical figures who accepted a bargain from them.
- Greater Scope Villain: They're pretty much behind everything with the Filth, which is just about everything in the game.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: The Dreamer within the Red Sargassum Dream provides some creepy variations on "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" during your visit in Issue #5 - complete with an especially chilling verse of "merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, soon we'll all be free."
- The Man Behind the Man: The entities behind virtually every single regional disaster in the game, either directing the activities of the Draug on Solomon Island, calling upon their Atenist worshippers in Egypt, encouraging Hallina's ambitions towards dimension travel in Transylvania, or even indirectly kicking off the subway bombing in Tokyo.
- Mind Rape: On your second visit, greatly displeased by your activities in Egypt, they begin threatening you with this. Given what happens to Filth infectees on a regular basis, it's likely that they really are capable of the Mind Rape they threaten; it's just that their current state of dormancy prevents them from reaching out to uninfected minds.We can enter your mind, and we can wreak havoc. We can leave you an empty shell, or we can instil you with fear and anger, like those you have seen and fought in the world above. A mere thought from us, and you would vanish from this place and enter another: you would see sights that would destroy you, inside and out. We would leave only enough of you to mourn the loss of your soul!
- The Minion Master: How they affect the world despite being prevented from accessing it; they can still control the Filth and its many entities and infectees scattered across the globe, and their influence still commands the allegiance of cults from Egypt to New York.
- Multiversal Conqueror: According to the Bees, their goal is to take over our universe and convert it into their own private kingdom/larder.
- Physical God: The Dreamers have been worshipped as gods by many cultures throughout history, and given the powers they possess even while still dormant, it's not hard to see why.
- Plague Master: As the creators and controllers of the Filth and its many offshoots, the Dreamers fall under this heading.
- Planet Eater/Spacetime Eater: It's mentioned throughout the game and its expansions that the Dreamers eat stars. According to the Bees, they're currently content to lick at craters in moons while waiting to be released and "dreaming of the bigger feast." However, it's also implied that they feed on more extraordinary things as well; for example, the notes of the FNF counsellors, who are acting in imitation of the Dreamers, often mention devouring the light at the end of the universe. In issue #7, Emma wonders aloud why the Filth entities would be interested in her, given that they feed off stars; the shades only answer, "You are all made of stars."
- The Power of the Sun: As both the Atenists and the Cult of Deus Sol Invictus demonstrate, the Dreamers have a tendency to inspire the creation of sun-worshipping cults; indeed, one of the man warcries of the Atenists is "for the Black Sun!"
- Reality Warper: Having apparently willed the Filth into existence, transmuted the Viking dreams of the mythical Draug into physical reality, replicated entire landscapes as physical "dreams," and rewarded their willing followers with all manner of improbable gifts, the Dreamers are likely the most powerful entities in the setting even while still incarcerated and asleep. If they were to ever awake, chances are nobody would ever be able to stop them. The awakening of just one of them ended the world in the Third Age, and the only reason why they didn't escape to wreak further havoc was because the Dreamer nodded off before it could continue. Lore on the Filth Guardians expands on their powers further: it's the only reason why the world still exists; if an apocalypse continues all the way to the bitter end, the Gaia Engines nudge the Dreamers into unwittingly hitting the reset button on the planet. Unfortunately, after three strenuous uses, the Engines might not be able to do this again...
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Imprisoned in state of dormancy outside our world, most of their activities throughout the game involve their followers trying to release them. At the end of the main game, the Player has the option of either breaking down one set of restraints or reinforcing it. Apparently, the main line of defence against their invasion are the Gaia Engines, which Emma Smith describes as "music boxes" lulling the Dreamers to sleep - with dire consequences if enough stop playing. They're also a Reset Button for the planet, capable of directing the reality-warping dreams of the Sleeping Ones into rebuilding the world. Sadly, this function might just be on its last legs.
- Leaking Can of Evil: Imprisoned as they are, they can still direct the Filth into our reality - especially in the event that a Gaia Engine is damaged or destroyed.
- Time Abyss: The Dreamers have been trying to emerge from their prisons for millennia, and have likely been in existence for much longer than that - perhaps having originated in another universe countless eons past.
- Ultimate Evil: Nobody is entirely certain what they really look like... and that's assuming that the Dreamers even have stable shapes or bodies of their own. The Bees hint that they may be vaguely cephalopod in appearance and possess mouths like black holes, but that's about it.
- The Unfought: To date, no Dreamers have ever given you the option of actually fighting them, and to be brutally honest, it's not likely that you would survive if they did.
- Villainous Breakdown: It's subtle, but during the final mission of "Mortal Sins," the Dreamers sound a little desperate in their attempts at convincing you to release them, even going so far as to beg you to open the locks on their prison.Our imprisonment has blinded us. We're insensitive to the needs of humans, and we've forgotten what it is to be free. We do what we do simply because we are in pain. Please forgive us. We don't often apologise, but we feel we may have misjudged you. Please allow us to repair our relations. You won't regret it. Those who are merciful will receive mercy in return. Please, have mercy.
- The Voice: The most they're willing to reveal of themselves at present are their voices, and that's only when you visit the Dreaming Prison or the Red Sargassum Dream. However, as Issue #7 reveals, a visit to Dreamer territory isn't necessary to hear them speak: they're more than capable of making Filth-creatures speak for them.
- Voice of the Legion: All Dreamers speak with an eerie whispering reverb.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A villainous example; during your first and third visits to the Dreaming Prison, the Dreamers encourage the perspective that you are so much better than your masters among the secret societies, encouraging your to reach higher and achieve more with their help. Granted, they don't stay very friendly if you refuse their overtures, but still...
- We Can Rule Together: Throughout the game, the Dreamers make overtures to this effect. Indeed, the one you encounter during the opening cutscene is very quick to inform you that standing with them will mean ascending to the monarchy of world they hope to create, and refusing them will leave you as a beggar in a world you no longer belong in. During the finale to "Dawning Of An Endless Night," the Dreamers expand on their sales pitch, displaying the legacy of "those who were bold and dared to dream" and offering you the chance to gain more than any of them. After briefly trying to threaten you into submission at their second meeting, they try again at offering the world during the finale. In turn, you're free to accept or deny these offers.
- Outside the main storyline, the Dreamers and their allies continue making offerings of shared power: the Dreamers presiding over the Red Sargasso Dream in "The Vanishing Of Tyler Freeborn" inform you that the dream-version of Kingsmouth is open to anyone who wants to enter, and suggests that you might make a good mayor of the town - or perhaps a monarch if the dream gets any bigger... or even a god. During the visit to Tokyo, John continues the Dreamers' marketing campaign by demonstrating that humans really can be transformed into demi-gods through the power of the Dreamers while still retaining their sentience, and with his help, you too can become "a voracious abstract."
Information is a super-weird substance, sometimes floating as oil, sometimes vapour, invisible waves, pollution, roiling black storms, a viral rhyme. It is the harbinger of change - the sizzling, celestial syphilis. The flesh mutates. The mind boils to bilious madness. All lucid thoughts to slay. All sweetlings are fair game to the drip.The Dreamer's primary weapon in their attempts to escape their prison and break into our reality; essentially their desire to awaken and conquer transmuted into a physical substance, it commonly manifests as a viscous black fluid studded with writhing tentacles, though it can appear in many different strains. Exposure to the Filth, directly or indirectly, commonly results in hideous mutations and a swift descent into insanity, ultimately concluding with the victim being reduced to a servant of the Dreamers and forced to continue the spread of the infection. Having leaked in from the Dreaming Prison and diversified into hundreds of monstrous forms, it has nonetheless been kept under control through the efforts of the secret societies and resistance groups such as the Marya. However, following the Tokyo bombing, the Filth has experienced a sudden upsurge in activity around the world, with several previously-dormant sources becoming dangerously active, and new sources emerging alongside them - all threatening the awakening of the Dreamers.
- Alien Kudzu: Areas suffering Filth infestations are easily recognized by the fact that most of the available surfaces will be covered in oily black roots and vines, the thickest concentrations of which tend to give way to thick "bubbles." Kaidan naturally sports a pretty extreme case of this: many buildings sport large growths of vines and bubbles along their outer (and presumably inner) walls; meanwhile, Tokyo's subways and sewers have been colonized so extensively by Filth creepers that the tentacles accompanying them are now big enough to block the gates. As of Issue #7, the branches surrounding the portal to Tokyo are now covered in this stuff, allowing the Dreamers to manifest Filth entities inside Agartha.
- And I Must Scream: Several victims retain their personality during the later stages of infection, leaving them mutated and firmly under the Dreamers' control, but also fully conscious of their actions. Plus, they also retain just enough self-control to speak and spend most of their time either warning you to stay away from them or begging for a Mercy Kill.
- Animalistic Abomination: Along with the animals infected by the Filth, several advanced entities take on animalistic forms, such as the Dimensional Arachnids, the doglike Guardians, and the Birds of the Zero Point Pathogen. According to Lilith, these particular entities are just the Dreamers' extremely hazy dreams of reality made flesh: one of the reasons why they look so hideous is because they don't have a clear vision of earthly life - so they can only make rough facsimiles of birds, dogs, spiders and the like.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Occasionally, a victim directly exposed to an especially potent source of Filth can actually transcend physical reality; this is rare, but two figures have emerged as examples of those who have become "a voracious abstract." The first of these, Dr Armitage, exists as "a legion of fractals dancing on impossible curves," perpetuating his existence through characters in fiction bearing his name. The second of these, John, is an intangible presence active throughout Kaidan, controlling Filth-beings and warping technology to his will. Worse still, Lilith implies that John is actually the larval form of a Dreamer, a human mind slowly being accepted into the eldritch collective.
- Bad Dreams: One of the earliest signs of infection is a sudden upsurge in nightmares, as observed during "Contagion."
- Body Horror: A very common feature among those infected by it, most infectees at the very least featuring slimy black flesh and sprouting tentacles. The Bees also detail the Slow Transformation experienced by the few who were infected by some of the more subtle variants of the Filth, describing a woman sprouting boils all over her body that slowly formed into new eyes, and a truck driver whose head "blossomed into a bouquet of writhing lampreys." In the game proper, this gets all the more extreme as Filth infection continues, with characters like Dr Klein and Dr Schreber barely being recognizable as human beings by the end of their transformations.
- Brown Note: Worryingly enough, the Bees hint that the tentacle-studded oil is just one of the many forms the Filth has been known to take; other forms include rainstorms, poisonous gas, radio waves... and worst of all, certain forms of writing. Just reading these symbols is enough to transmit the Dreamer's corrupting influence, and according to the lore, they can be very easily reproduced as grafitti on a wall.
- Also, certain Filth infectees become capable of these, particularly those who've been exposed to reduced and diluted dosages. For example, the Romanian monks who drank Filth-tainted water were known to sing "alien hymns" capable of killing small animals within earshot.
- Celestial Body: Marianne Chen claims to have noticed one Filth-infected animal sporting this.Strangest thing of all, it was like I could see straight through it, and...and I could see stars. Dying stars.
- Creepily Long Arms: Filth shades often sport unearthly long arms that frequently lengthen into tentacles - the better to drag passers-by to their deaths. The Shade Stalkers are also distinguished by their stilt-like limbs, though this has the effect of making them look like giant spiders.
- Cthulhumanoid: Though infectees tend to only sprout tentacles from their heads, the Shade Stalkers often possess betentacled mouths reminiscent of a squid.
- Dark Is Evil: Along with being a thoroughly evil substance commonly manifesting as a thick black oil studded with tentacles, environments dominated by it tend to desaturate the player's vision, making it appear much darker.
- Death of Personality: Ultimately, the mental effects of the Filth conclude with the victim's personality being effectively destroyed by the infection, leaving them permanently under the control of the Dreamers. Those who don't endure this are either gibbering lunatics - or willing converts to monstrosity.
- Dug Too Deep: Throughout the history of the Secret World, vast underground reservoirs of the Filth have been unearthed by people doing this, often with disastrous consequences - as is the case with the Blue Ridge Mine and the excavation of the Ankh. Not so much in the case of the Ankh's construction process: that was intentional.
- Elite Mooks: The Filth Evolved of Tokyo; having received a purer dose of the Filth than most victims and having had more time to develop than their lesser counterparts, the Evolved are much more dangerous than the ordinary infectees among the Filthy swarm - and almost as numerous, unlike monsters like the Shades and the Stalkers. The Evolved are capable of more impressive feats than lesser infectees, too, manifesting claws, blades, clubs and snaring tentacles... and when they die, they don't just let out the bog-standard spray of Filth, but melt into a huge puddle of it, forcing the player to back off or risk a taste of the Filth.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Bees, and by extension, Anima. Lore entries make it clear that the Filth is similar in nature to them, but where the Anima grants vitality and the Bees transmit information, the Filth distorts its victims' bodies and destroys their minds - "crucifies sentience," as the Bees put it.
- Evil Makes You Monstrous: Those of a sociopathic or sadistic bent find themselves more open to the metamorphosis of the Filth than others; they change far more rapidly and with less mental trauma, forming a symbiosis with the Filth and quickly developing into an advanced form of infectee known as the Bestial Filth. Though they aren't common, they're easily recognized by the hulking, animalistic build and four-legged gait. One of the most prominent examples found in the game is Dr Schreber of the Nursery; already a cold-hearted psychopath with no regard for the suffering of children, his brush with the Filth gradually transformed him into a monster - and judging by his final notes, it did so with his blessing.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Infection, especially when it's implied that some victims retain fragments of their former personality... just enough to plead for a Mercy Kill.
- Festering Fungus: The Fungal Filth (see below).
- Fog of Doom: On top of being at the beck and call of the Draug, it's later revealed that the Fog surrounding Solomon Island is actually an airborne strain of the Filth. Given that the Fog temporarily covered the entire island following its arrival, it's likely that every single resident has been infected and likely to be fully corrupted at some point in the near future. Furthermore, the Fog itself actually contains a portal to the Red Sargassum Dream, and entering it is apparently fatal for anyone except those touched by the Bees - as Tyler Freeborn discovered.
- Footprints of Muck: Observed by Marianne Chen as the easiest way for the infected to spread the disease to the surrounding environment.
- Full-Boar Action: One of the forms their Guardians can take.
- Giant Flyer: The Birds of the Zero Point Pathogen, encountered in Agartha during the Whispering Tide event, and later throughout Tokyo.
- Giant Spider: Some of the more advanced Filth entities take on spider-like forms, such as the dimensional arachnids encountered in the Ankh - though it's interesting to note that they have humanoid torsos and heads where other spiders would have mouthparts, making them essentially spider-centaurs. The Shade Stalkers, like Billy's Muse, also look eerily arachnid, though they only have four legs - the result of a human Filth infection reaching its final conclusion, ie: a crude mock-up of one of the Dreamers.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: A common feature among Filth entities and infectees; even the Atenists, most of whom have only been given an infinitesimal dose of Filth, sport red eyes that glow ominously in the dark.
- Grimy Water: A common source of this, especially in large concentrations.
- Hellhound: The doglike Guardians, the first of the Filth abominations encountered in the game.
- Humanoid Abomination: While all Filth-entities and infectees come close to this, those who've had personal dealings with the Dreamers are the truest possible examples; recipients of a Deal With The Dreamers and the brush with infection that follows often possess bizarre and reality-defying physiques, such as Akhenaten's towering undead frame and Halina's glowing body of blended Anima and Filth.
- I Have Many Names: The Filth; throughout history, it's been known as the Eater, Nergal's Rot, the Devouring Plague, the Zero Point Pathogen, the Dark Homunculus, the Blackworm Jism, Apa Moarta, Anti-Anima and many other titles.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Occasionally experienced by the infectees. Not that they'll actually die - unfortunately.
- Mystical Plague: Reportedly willed into existence by the Dreamers and capable of infecting almost anyone or anything through countless different methods. Yep, it's not likely anyone would ever mistake the Filth for a normal disease.
- The Plague: By large, the Filth itself doesn't appear in pandemic proportions, except of course in Tokyo. However, according to Dr Klein (who admittedly isn't a very reliable source) the Filth spread alongside the most infamous outbreaks of the Black Death, even suggesting that the Bubonic Plague itself was just another strain of Filth infection - albeit a comparatively limited one.
- Polluted Wasteland: Tends to produce environments like this, contaminating bodies of water, destroying local plantlife, and clustering the landscape with oily Filth creepers. Also, some of the worst-afflicted areas tend to have had the Filth delivered to them via industrial pipelines, as is the case with the Moon Bog.
- Sanity Slippage: Often experienced by infectees not long after their nightmares begin; catatonia, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, violent episodes and shockingly irrational behaviour are just some of the mental symptoms that can arise. In the later stages of infection, sufferers tend to lapse into aphasia, losing a good deal of awareness and self-control in the process; most of them spend their days wandering aimlessly unless forced into a specific course of action by the new masters, or if someone attacks them directly. In the end, the victim's mind is completely subverted and reduced to a pawn of the Dreamers.
- Even the more accepting victims find themselves prone to this, though to a different extent: those who deliberately expose themselves to the Filth or adapt to its effects more readily - like Dr Klein or Dr Schreber - often exhibit delusional eccentricity, megalomaniacal behaviour, a pronounced Lack of Empathy, and a flair for the grandiose.
- Swamps Are Evil: It's not uncommon for bodies of water to be overtaken by the Filth, resulting in it thickening into a tarry, bog-like mess. Understandably, the Moon Bog ends up becoming a prime example of this during the mission to Solomon Island; not only have the waterways been converted into a toxic quagmire of Filth, but the few patches of dry land are irregularly patrolled by Filth infectees, and shades lurk in the nearby pools, waiting to drag unsuspecting victims into the poisonous depths. Worse still, the monster that inspired one of the bloodiest succession of murders in the island's history is also prowling around the Bog...
- Talkative Loon: Most sufferers end up as this in the terminal stages of their infection, having lost their sanity but not their personalities. As such, Filth-contaminated humans can often be heard shouting at nothing in particular, either repeating certain phrases over and over again or just gibbering long streams of non-sequiturs, though a few are coherent enough to beg for your forgiveness even as they attack you. Averted in the case of more advanced cases of Filth infection, in which the fully-converted victims remain eerily silent as they tear you to pieces.
- Toxic Phlebotinum: All attempts to harness the Filth - whether for religious purposes, for science, for profit, or for personal enjoyment - have ended very badly for this reason. Granted, its inherent toxicity doesn't appear to have actually stopped anyone from trying to make use of it for one reason or another. Just ask the Orochi Group.
- The Virus: The Filth makes Phazon seem like penicillin. Technically, it's not even a real substance - it's an idea that's become real and started seeping into reality, an Evil Counterpart to the Bees in memetic form; quite apart from transforming its infectees into tar-skinned betentacled monstrosities, it also destroys their minds and enslaves them to the will of the Dreamers. The only known cure is sustained doses of Anima, and that has only worked once.
- Wall Crawl: Filth Shades are capable of scaling sheer walls with their bare hands, as demonstrated in "Confrontations And Revelations," when John sends an entire army of Shades up the side of the Orochi Tower to attack Lilith.
- Was Once a Man: All infectees exhibit this, though the most prone to the trope are those who've had time to become something quite clearly inhuman; the Shades are little more than human-shaped masses of Filth, their original bodies dissolved away by their infection, while the Shade Stalkers have grown into gigantic spidery abominations, capable of warping reality by touch alone. Even the Bees have to remind you that entities like Billy's Muse and the Ender Thing were once human.
- Word Salad Horror: Inherent to the dialogue of most infectees, a result of their minds beginning to dissolve, often delivered in a solid stream of barely-coherent babbling - occasionally broken by the rare and equally unnerving moment of lucidity.Toilet paper! The one with the pink hearts! Triple strength!HE LOVES ME! He loves me NOT! He loves me, he loves me not...I see them, the red eyes, the whispers, the voices, they whisper and promise, they promise death and darkness! Oh God, I can't sleep, I can't...Tell me I'm pretty, please tell me I'm pretty, I WANT YOU TO TELL ME I'M PRETTY...They were THERE when I left, I left them THERE on the table, but I can't find my keys, my keys, I left my keys on the table...Orange juice with the bits in it, I like the chunky bits!Cheese! Chicken breasts, they're on sale this week!Milk! Bread! Bananas! Make sure they're speckled brown, not the green ones, never the green ones!Why are they crawling all over me?!
There are fragments of older tales embedded in the seagull screams - mariners' tales of things birthed in dead bodies and dark water. Putrid souls, stippled with eel holes, these unquiet dead, these hungry dead, with their milk-cataract stare. A few seagulls even remember the name. Draug-draug-draug-draug!The results of a unique Filth infection among the Norsemen returning from the Darkness War, the Draug began as nightmares within the minds of the afflicted warriors before being willed into physical reality by the Dreamers; as a result, the unfortunate Vikings were transformed into a new race of aquatic undead. Over the centuries, they multiplied and flourished, preying on unlucky travellers across the ocean and becoming the inspiration for many a marine ghost story; now, with the arrival of the Fog around Solomon Island, the Draug have emerged from the oceans to attack Kingsmouth en mass in search of new breeding grounds.
- Adorable Abomination: As horrific as their adult counterparts maybe, the Draug Lord puppies are astonishingly cute.
- Cute Is Evil: Flavour text indicates that the Puppies only stick around until they've "grown enough to feast upon the coprses of your friends and family."
- Alien Kudzu: In keeping with the Filth's habit of leaving weird plantlife sprouting on everything, Draug territory can easily by recognized by the thick red seaweed growing there.
- Animalistic Abomination: The Draug Lords, who resemble giant octopi.
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Given that they aren't Filth-infectees in the truest sense of the word, the Draug rely on a much stranger form of propagation than simple exposure. Essentially, it begins by having Draug mages reanimate the corpses of the their victims; from there, the Broodwitches inseminate them with their tentacles, transforming them into Incubators; these walking eggs wander onto the beach, looking for a suitable place to nest, before planting themselves in the sand and becoming brood pods. Eventually, these brood pods will hatch, producing newborn Draug. This is one of the many purposes of the attack on Solomon Island, for apart from the zombies that can be produced from destroying townships like Kingsmouth, the Draug can also make use of the countless mass graves and hidden tombs scattered across the island to swell their ranks, hence the reason why some groups of zombies are found digging holes in the ground. Of course, this isn't the only reason...
- However, though straightforward reproduction-through-exposure doesn't often occur in the case of the Draug, it does happen: some unlucky humans exposed to the Draug's home environment tend to experience similar infections to the original Viking progenitors, ultimately transforming into Draug themselves as is the case with Joe Slater.
- Body Horror: On top of the grotesque blend of undead bodies and piscine biology, the Draug have a habit of impregnating zombies and mutating them into lumbering Incubators, which wander for a bit before sitting down and forming brood pods. Those weird fleshy triangular shapes all along the shore of Solomon Island used to be people.
- The rare few individuals who end up getting mutated into Draug experience this. Poor, poor Joe Slater.
- Black Speech: Subverted. The Draug's native language might sound disturbing and otherworldly, especially when it's being shouted by undead fish-people... but, as Dr Bannerman discovered, it's really just the Old Icelandic of the original infectees.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The unfortunate fate of the Darkness War veterans who became the first generation of Draug; sure, they managed to stop the Mayan cultists from reaching the Gaia Engine under the Blue Mountain or freeing any of the Dreamers, but Filth-infection resulted in them becoming the newest addition to the Dreamers' armies nonetheless.
- Combat Tentacles: Broodwitches have two large tentacles sprouting from the centre of their chests, and generally use them to attack enemies... when they're not being used to impregnate zombies - making them also examples of Exotic Equipment.
- Derelict Graveyard: When they're not attacking unfortunate ships and Maine coastlines, the Draug live in a vast half-submerged graveyard of all the vessels they've plundered over the centuries; known only as the Isle of Lost Ships, it's apparently inaccessible to most travellers except the Draug themselves. Unluckily for them, the Lady Margaret found it by accident and stayed just long enough to steal Excalibur from the wreckage.
- Expy: The Ur-Draug, which is essentially Cthulhu in all but name. Lore entries imply that it's really just a physical mock-up of one of the Dreamers, making this essentially a stand in for the real Cthulhu.
- Fake-Real Turn: Apparently, the Draug really were just a legend in Norse society, either because they were effectively extinct or because they'd never existed at all... up until the Dreamers got hold of the idea.
- Fish People: All Draug are piscine to a certain extent, the degree increasing depending on the caste. Maulers and Impalers only possess crustacean claws and clubs, whilst the only fishy traits of the Seacallers and Broodwitches are the tentacles sprouting from their chests; Broodsources are swarming with colonies of seaweed and barnacles; Draug Warmongers possess exoskeletons and crab claws; finally, Draug Lords are essentially octopi.
- For good measure, Draug often fight alongside the Deep Ones, who adopt a subservient role. According to the lore, the Deep Ones worship the Dreamers as gods and treat the Draug as their prophets, eagerly rising from the depths to serve their commands.
- Full-Frontal Assault: Draug Warriors and Broodwitches all go into battle stark naked; given the unpleasant mixture of aquatic mutations and necrotic tissues, most of them fall under the heading of Fan Disservice.
- Giant Enemy Crab: The Warmongers, which are essentially enormous crabs from the waist upward.
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Adult Draug Lords tend to stand at ten feet tall at the very least; larger specimens, like the Primordial Dwellers, can grow to more than twice that height. Draug Lord puppies on the other hand, are barely three feet tall - roughly waist height with the players.
- Ghost Ship: Responsible for many legends of these. Also, the Draug invasion force arrived on Solomon Island aboard a ruined Orochi cargo ship called the Polaris, and the dungeon mission "Dead In The Water" features players being sent into the wreck to confront the Draug's commanders head-on.
- Hive Caste System: In contrast to the chaotic hordes spawned by exposure to normal Filth, the Draug have taken on a rigid hierarchy of castes. The lowest levels are occupied by the zombies they've animated, which are commonly just there to help create more zombies or to be converted into Incubators; this is swiftly followed by the Incubators themselves, and from there, onto real Draug. The next caste, the Warriors, naturally help protect the brood pods, herd the zombies, and combat possible threats to their clan - either through brute strength or magic. Bolstering their ranks are the Seawitches and the Seacallers, the mages of their kind - and among the few who retain a twisted sort of individuality. Above them are the Broodwitches, who play a vital role in fertilizing the zombies. The Broodsources command the Broodwitches and generate the enyzmes used for creating new Draug. Draug Warmongers are the lieutenants and bruisers of the clan, often commanding waves of attackers and usually doing the most damage in the process. Finally, at the head of each clan are the Draug Lords, directing the invasion and the movements of the clan as a whole... and directing the Lords of each clan is, of course, the Ur-Draug.
- It Can Think: In spite of their monstrous behaviour, the Draug are capable of complex thought - at one point actually stealing Orochi force-field emitters and setting them up around their brood pods for defence.
- Large and in Charge: The upper echelons of the Draug castes tend to be more imposing than the run-of-the-mill warriors; the Broodsources, the Warmongers, and the Lords are all prime examples of this. And the Ur-Draug, the apparent commander-in-chief of the entire invasion is borderline Kaiju-proportions... but even it's miniscule compared to the being it was modelled on.
- Meat Moss: The spawning grounds for high-caste Draug often end up becoming layered with tentacles and fleshy growths, along with enormous heavily-carapaced pods for the growing Warmongers.
- Power Floats / Flying Seafood Special: Draug Lords have a habit of levitating into battle. Amusingly enough, their puppies levitate up to six feet in the air as an Idle Animation.
- Power Pincers: Natural weapons of the Draug Warmongers; as cutscenes from "The Search For Tyler Freeborn" demonstrate, these claws are not only large enough to shield a Warmonger from gunfire, but also strong enough to smash moving vehicles off roads and swift enough hurl them at helicopters with deadly accuracy.
- Stronger with Age: According to the lore, most Draug drones are eventually broken down into compost to fuel the growth of new brood pods; however, the rare few who survive gradually develop into progressively stronger specimens, eventually becoming the gigantic Draug Warlords and Behemoths. In turn, these elite warriors grow stronger with age: as "Dead In The Water" demonstrates, the Norsemen first converted into Draug have become powerful enough to count as major bosses.
- Walk, Don't Swim: The cutscene to "Draugnet" features them doing exactly this, marching slowly from the waves and onto the beaches of Kingsmouth.
- Was Once a Man: The oldest of the Draug, having been drawn from the ranks of Filth-corrupted Vikings. Particularly tragic in the case of the Varangian, who once wielded Excalibur during the Darkness Wars, came to the aid of the players against the Mayan summoners, even led the final charge against the Hound of the Nameless Days... only to be eventually distorted into one of the Warmongers guarding the Polaris.
- Also, some of the newest additions to the horde fall under this heading, though they are rare in comparison to the pod-born majority: Joe Slater is the only living example of a Draug convert encountered in the game.
The Fungal Filth
The alien energies of the Zero Point slide and drip and crawl and spread. In places, they irradiate the local fungus, taking on yet unseen manifestations. A new strain, or at least new to this Age. The Filthy fungus thrives in places of upheaval or of rot. Its spores spread, first infecting trees, but then taking over local fauna and commanding them to further the spread..."Initially a comparatively mundane breed of fungus, upon being exposed to the Filth's "putrescent radiation," a dramatic mutation occurred: appearing in vast semi-mobile colonies, the Fungal Filth multiplies and flourishes across the globe, growing in countless different environments and living off a variety of fuels - ranging from electricity to human flesh. First encountered in the shadowy forests of Transylvania, a shipment of the Fungus from the Congo has recently arrived in Tokyo, worsening an already-apocalyptic disaster...
- Alien Kudzu: Their territory is often distinguished by the huge patches of multi-coloured fungus growing on the sides of buildings.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: In sharp contrast to the pitch-black Filth entities and the muddied blue-green Draug, the Fungal Filth appear in a wide variety of bright colours, ranging from electric blue to phosphorescent yellow.
- Bioluminescence Is Cool: Quite a few variants of of the fungus exhibit this trait; unfortunately, Sycoil Alpha's attempt to study it as a potential power source have naturally gone horribly wrong and left the entire department and most of the staff covered in neon purple mushrooms, by now the only viable light source on the entire floor.
- Energy Absorption: Some varieties of Filthy Fungus learn to feed on electrical current, hence the infestation of the old Soviet power plant in Transylvania.
- Festering Fungus: On top of being highly toxic and prone to damaging vital utilities like electrical power stations and water purification plants, they're offshoots of the Filth. They don't get much more festering than that.
- Fungus Humongous: Apart from the enormous mushrooms sprouting in the vats at the water purification plant, the more mobile kinds of fungus can actually grow in excesses of ten feet tall.
- Garden of Evil: Just about any area they've colonized will usually end up turning into one of these.
- Giant Spider: Many of the lesser breeds of mobile fungus take this form.
- Killer Gorilla: One breed of Fungal Filth infected in Tokyo appears like this, being more distinctively simian than most mobile varieties of Fungus. According to the Buzzing, it's actually an ape that's been overtaken and colonized by the fungus, grown beyond any other variant of Fungal Filth encountered up until now.
- Water Source Tampering: In Transylvania, one such colony of fungi has taken over an entire water purification plant, threatening thousands of unsuspecting citizens and forcing the player to intervene.
The Black Signal (AKA: "John")
Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss-I am the pirate signal-let me in.
Pleased to meet you. I'm the message. I'm John. Nothing fancy. I want to get to know you-you-you.The Voice of the Filth, and the opposite number of the Buzzing; a mysterious voice that first makes contact with the player in Tokyo via strange black lore pieces found throughout Kaidan. For unknown reasons, he calls himself John. It's later revealed he was once a human being, specifically the FNF suicide bomber that caused the Tokyo Disaster.
Voiced By: Andre Sogliuzzo
- Affably Evil: He's a pretty friendly, light-hearted kind of guy who just so happens to be a living Filth infection and the bomber who unleashed the Filth on Tokyo's subway. Of course, he's not so friendly if you don't happen to be a player character, spending half his time trolling Kaidan's populace for his own amusement - though he apparently makes an exception for a very small circle of people: Naonomi Tanaka, Kaoru, and Harumi.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: As a result of being at the very epicentre of the detonating Filth bomb, John was transformed into an entity far more advanced than any normal Filth infectee, even transcending physical existence to become "a voracious abstract." During the climax of Issue #11, Lilith reveals that John is actually becoming part of the Dreamers' collective, providing his masters with more information about the world they hope to invade - and even suggesting that he's actually a proto-Dreamer of sorts.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Viciously exploited by Naonomi Tanaka and the rest of the Fear Nothing Foundation over the course of John's indoctrination; by providing him with the friendship and affection he was so desperate for, they were able to mould him into the perfect suicide bomber. John's love for Naonomi was so well-rooted that he apparently payed a visit to her following the blast, assuring her that the mission was almost complete.
- Implied in Kaoru's case. Despite knowing all about John's transformation and providing you with access to his backstory in the form of the A/C suite, he takes no retribution against her - apparently because she was kind to him during his visit to the Dream Palace.
- Berserk Button: Don't go into the Dream Palace's AV Room, and more importantly, don't go through his memories.
- The Blank: When the player explores his memories during "Nightmares In The Dream Palace," John's human form has been left faceless.
- Break Them by Talking: Attempts to do this to Ricky Pagan during the introduction to "The Pagans."Your friends are all dead-dead-dead-dead- deeeeaaad. Your name is Ryuchi Sagawa. Ryuchi Sagawa. Ryuchi Sagawaaaaa. Ryuchi Sagawa, you have no power. This is just a park: a pile of sod and shrubs. Amaterasu is something you ate, or something you smoked... or a hard black tumour in your soft brain-in your brain-in your brain- in your brain. Your friends died following a lunatic. I saw them suffer-suffer-suffer-suffer-suffer...
Werewolves, vampires and communist gnomes? Is this even likely, Chuck? Maybe you're just some slob who got stung in the throat by a bee while sleeping and slipped into a coma. Wake up, Chuck. Your family is waiting. Your bills are waiting.
- In an Apocalyptic Log it is shown that John succeeded in this in the days after the Bomb, driving several people to suicide.
- He tries this on you during "Nightmares In The Dream Palace," specifically while trying to mind-rape you into submission.
- Catch Phrase: "Hiya Chuck. It's John." and "I am the __. Let me in."
- The Corrupter: The Black Signal lore entries mostly involve him trying to get the players to stop trusting the Bees and Gaia, while also trying to convince them that what the Dreamers and their supporters are doing isn't wrong at all.
- The Disembodied: By all appearances, the Black Signal does not possess a physical body - and hasn't done so since he was first exposed to the Filth of Ground Zero. He's usually content to remain an incorporeal intelligence haunting the electrical systems of Tokyo, but in the event that his technopathic powers won't get the job done, he's more than capable of possessing multiple Filth entities to fight on his behalf.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Befitting his technopathic abilities, John usually speaks with his victims by hijacking television sets or radios.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The mission "Immersion" from the Sidestories: Further Analysis mission pack, in which he shows up as a bombardment of text messages in the Sunken Library's simulator - long before Tokyo is chronologically accessed.
- Interestingly enough, it's possible that he may have appeared even earlier than that: In "Obstructive Persons," the Morninglight tablet obtained during the mission contains an entry on a man known only as John Copley; though most of the details on him have been redacted, he has been identified as a member of the FNF, and employed as a "messenger..."
- Electronic Speech Impediment: In keeping with his tech-oriented nature, he has a tendency to repeat the last word in a sentence several times - wether in speech or in text. Also, he has a habit of beginning his text messages with an eerie "sssssssssss" reminiscent of radio static.
- Enemy Mine: When he discovers you came to Kaidan despite facing Lilith back in Issue #7, he decides to help you by unlocking the gateway to the Orochi Tower, apparently out of respect for your bravery.
- Issue #11 reveals that he was intending you to kill Lilith for him, however, and the alliance quickly turns sour once the player decides to hear Lilith out instead - prompting John to attack both of you with all the forces at his command.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Buzzing. He even contacts the player through lore pieces - assuming he's not in the mood to start hijacking local tech.
- Evil Laugh: Chuckles malignantly while undermining Tanaka's emergency speech with footage of unarmed citizens being gunned down by the military, and again while trying to break Ricky Pagan's spirit in "The Last Pagan."
- Evil Sounds Deep: Obvious from the moment his voice is heard during "A Message From Kaidan."
- Face Your Fears: A rather odd variation. John has been terrified of Lilith from the moment Marquard introduced her to him, and has been avoiding her at all costs since his ascension - even though the success of his mission depends on him killing her. However, upon realizing that you've pursued her to Tokyo despite the injuries you sustained in your last encounter, John is inspired to complete his mission, even going so far as to overcome his fears and attack Lilith with all the bodies at his disposal when the player hesitates.Lilith: John. Sweet John. I thought you were afraid of me.John: Oh, I am. I am. I am. But Chuck gave me courage. I gave the blackness a brain. Now all we need is your heart.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: In the preview comics to issues #9 and #10, John is wearing a pair of large rectangular glasses that completely obscure his eyes.
- Friendless Background: His memories reveal that he started out as a lonely young man with a self-confessed case of No Social Skills, along with a dead mother and absentee father. Quite naturally, the Fear Nothing Foundation exploited this, offering him acceptance and friendship in exchange for his loyalty - ultimately indoctrinating him into the perfect suicide bomber.
- Friendly Enemy: From the moment you meet him, John seems determined to cast himself as your new best friend, and for the most part, he does seem genuinely affable in spite of his grotesque nature. Even when you insist on defying the Filth, he holds back on retaliating - up until you hammer his Berserk Button one too many times. The aftermath of "Nightmares In The Dream Palace" sees him become even more friendly with you when he decides to help open the gateway to Orochi Tower. And though it's eventually revealed to be all part of an assassination attempt on Lilith, he seems genuinely sincere when he credits you with teaching him bravery; more to the point, when the two of you meet again in Issue #12, he actually sounds disappointed at having to fight you again - not that it stops him, of course. Of course, to everyone else in Kaidan, the Black Signal offers nothing but hostility...
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from a neurotic outsider recruited by the Fear Nothing Foundation, to the bomber who unleashed the Filth upon Tokyo - and from there, to a powerful incorporeal entity haunting the electrical systems of Kaidan.
- Gold-Colored Superiority: In the preview comics to issue #9 and #10, John is depicted this way via Splash of Color. Not only is his human form coloured gold, but technology under his control is also tinted the same eerie shade of gold. For good measure, it's pretty clear that John is more powerful than any other Filth entity in Tokyo.
- Hope Crusher: Most of his soul-destroying lectures are specifically targeted at his victims' hopes and dreams, often designed to make the listeners feel mundane and powerless - or just drive them to suicide. John's attack on Ricky Pagan is a prime example of this: during this, the Black Signal not only rubs the fact that the other Pagans are likely dead in his face, but forces Ricky to become Ryuchi Sagawa once again, proclaiming that Amaterasu and the power of Rockabilly were just meaningless fantasies that led the rest of the gang to their deaths. In "Nightmares In The Dream Palace," he even tries a similar approach with you.
- I Have Many Names: Along with his official title of The Black Signal, John also calls himself the Pirate Signal, the Brain Pathogen Grammar, the Word Virus, the Symbiotic Signal, the Dreamer's Dream, the Truth Pathogen, the Knock-Knock Joke, the Smoking Mirror, the Cymothoa Exigua Tongue, and the Empty Fortune Cookie - titles all provided in the introduction to his lore entries.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: "Nightmares In The Dream Palace" is based almost entirely around you getting to do this, courtesy of John. In the first half of the mission, the player is able to access John's memories via the imprint he left on the Dream Palace's A/V room and following the young cultist through the events that transformed him into the Black Signal - most prominently Che Garcia Hansen's wild night on the town note and John's nightmares of Lilith note in the days leading up to the bombing. And then the Black Signal catches up and turns the experience on you, sending you on a replay of the three major bosses of the game.
- Kick the Dog: According to the journals found in the Clubhouse, John went out of his way to torment the trapped FNF kids by explaining how their families and friends were suffering in the wake of the bombing; eventually, one of the kids broke down and attempted to force John's voice out of his ears by fatally stabbing himself in the head with a corkscrew - prompting raucous laughter from John.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Black Signal has a particular flair for manipulating the emotions of others, particular in encouraging mental breakdowns; a dramatic shift from his days as a human, most of which were spent being manipulated by Naonomi and the rest of the FNF. However, it's not until the events of Issue #11 that John proves just how wily he really is: he essentially tricks you into believing that Lilith was behind the Tokyo bombing and the real Big Bad, ensuring a confrontation that will end with Lilith dead; when you hesitate at the last minute and decide to listen to Lilith's explanation instead, he shifts approach and tricks Lilith into wasting time until the Host arrive to arrest her.
- Mind Rape: After catching you exploring his memories in "Nightmares In The Dream Palace," John decides to inflict this on you, namely by hurling you into a twisted replica of the game's introduction in which you end up getting empowered by the Filth instead of the Bees, then forcing you to watch all your memories of the main campaign and occasionally fight the three main bosses encountered there — and all while John hammers you with Breaking Speech after Breaking Speech. And then he catches a glimpse of Lilith and accidentally turns the mind rape on himself, thumping his own trauma button so badly that the Mental Picture Projector that was sorting through your memories abruptly breaks down and reverts to a test pattern.
- Mouth of Sauron: Speaks for the Dreamers, often attempting to convert you on their behalf.
- The Nicknamer: He always refers to the player as "Chuck", possibly referencing the cut of meat; in the lore he refers to other humans as dead chuck and "a screaming sea of meaningless meat". It's hard to tell whether he means it more as Call a Human a "Meatbag" or an Insult of Endearment.
- Oh Crap!: He totally loses his composure when he rifles through the player's memories and finds an image of Lilth.You're all windows and no doors, Chuck. Not a problem - I've got a brick, and a million unanswered questions. Oops... spoilers.(projector screen freezes on Lilith's face)...SHE'S GOING TO GET ME! (projector blacks out)
- Poke in the Third Eye: Performs this on you in the climax of Issue #10, via a mind-rape... only for him to come face to face with one of your memories of Lilith, forcing him to retreat in a panic - apparently believing that the memory itself might be able to deliver a Poke in the Third Eye to him.
- Precision F-Strike: During the final battle of the Manufactory, John none-too-politely advises you to fuck off while he kills Emma.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Despite his immense power and eldritch reputation, the Black Signal often behaves more like a spiteful child frying ants with a magnifying glass than anything else. Most of his on-screen appearances prior to Issue #9 are spent tormenting and teasing the citizens of Tokyo for little more than cheap thrills, while his affinity for tech seems modelled on a child's love of toys — indeed, he spends most of the Manufactory dungeon referring to his army of Orochi drones by this very name, all the while gloating at how "nifty" they are. Lilith is treated as his own personal monster under the bed, and his final scene with her occasionally seems reminiscent of a neurotic kid standing up to the school bully. Even his aggressively chummy lore entries are further proof of this: quite apart from acting like a stereotypically rebellious "cool kid", his lonely life prior to joining the FNF suggests that he genuinely wants friendship, and the player characters are the only people he can really relate to in his current state. In one lore entry, he invites you to become like him by shedding your shadow so that you can "fly to Never-Never-Land," unwittingly invoking the fact that he is essentially a child who never grew up.
- Seeing Through Another's Eyes: John claims to have the ability to see through any Filth-infected being's eyes, though he apparently dislikes this, ultimately preferring to observe and influence the world through technology. The climax of Issue #11 proves that he's capable of doing a whole lot more than just seeing, however: over the course of his assassination attempt on Lilith, he possess and directs a Bird of the Zero Point Pathogen, a small army of Shades, a squad of Bestial Filth, two Filth Hulks, and a massive Shade Stalker. And even after his last Shade is splattered across the penthouse, he's still able to speak through it — if only for the sake of wasting Lilith's time.
- Shoot the Messenger: He repeatedly asks the player not to do this. He's just the message, after all.
- Start of Darkness: "Nightmares In The Dream Palace" allows the player to witness John's SOD in great detail, including his recruitment into the FNF, his seduction by Naonomi Tanaki, the confidence-boosting night on the town with Che Garcia Hansen, and his mission to deliver "The Great Message." Ultimately, the memories conclude with him detonating the Filth-bomb and becoming the Dreamers' voice.
- Suicide Attack: While still human, John was selected by Phillip Marquard himself for a suicide bombing of Orochi Tower - an act referred to as "The Great Message." It was during this mission that John was stopped by a security guard and, terrified of Lilith's retaliation, prematurely detonated his device, beginning the Filth infestation of Tokyo and becoming the Black Signal in the process.
- Technopath: As a Filth entity, John appears to possess the ability to influence electrical devices. Among other things, he disrupts Tanaka's broadcast with horrific imagery and psychic heckling, hijacks Ricky Pagan's boom-box in order to deliver a Breaking Speech, sabotages the Dream Palace's AV room in order to prevent the player from accessing any of its functions, attacks Lilith by transmitting an army of Filth entities through her phone, and in all probability corrupted Orochi's security mechanoids; in "To The Dark Tower Below", he tops himself by mobilizing just about every single drone, tank and mech in the Manufactory against you. Plus, he also created the Patchwork Horror.
- Trauma Button: When John was human, Lilith became this for him, in part due to Philip Marquad getting a little too descriptive when explaining the many horrible things she or her many names could do to him. Even John doesn't entirely remember what he was told, but it was enough to make him throw up; after this, he spent the next few days cowering sleeplessly in his room, terrified of disappointing his masters and even more terrified of Lilith. He managed to recover long enough to carry out the bombing of Orochi Tower... only to lose all composure when a rail security guard tried to stop him, and in a fit of blind panic over what Lilith might do if she were to find out, John detonated the bomb a few stops early. As a Filth entity, John is still affected by this particular Trauma Button, enough to suffer a Villainous Breakdown when he finds a memory of Lilith herself lurking in your mind.
- Troll: When not chatting with the player or messing about with Kaidan's technology, John has a habit of emotionally tormenting people for little more than his own amusement. His first scene involves him sabotaging the emergency address by showing Kaidan audiences exactly what will happen to them if they surrender, and gleefully heckling Tanaka's attempts to calm the people. Even on occasions when the intended victim manages to shake off the Signal's influence, John doesn't appear to mind - if anything, it actually prompts him to burst out laughing. Evidently, getting his target to break down just once is amusement enough.
- Verbal Tic: In both his speech and lore entries, John will sometimes repeat the last word or phrase in a sentence several times, somewhat reminiscent of a Repetitive Audio Glitch. He's also in the habit of calling player characters "Chuck," regardless of gender.
- Villainous Breakdown: The teaser comic for issue #10 features John suffering a panic attack when he realizes that in spite of the fact that he's managed to transform himself into an intangible Filth-being, Lilith is still capable of killing him.
- He suffers one in the issue proper, after discovering that the player has actually met Lilith in person.
- Was Once a Man: More specifically, was once a terrorist bomber.
- We Can Rule Together: Already in the habit of encouraging you not to trust the Bees or Gaia or any of the apparently heroic factions around you, John occasionally goes the extra mile in offering you the chance to become "a voracious abstract" like him.
- Would Hurt a Child: During the final battle of the Manufactory dungeon, John decides to give up on trying to dissuade you and focuses his attention on killing Emma before she can access the Gaia Engine. Worse still, he's fully capable of doing so: if you can't disable John's Scorpius Mech before it finishes cutting through the blast doors, you'll be treated to Emma's Sound-Only Death and a game over.
- Villain Has a Point: Over the course of his lore entries, the Black Signal spends a lot of time trying to undermine your faith in Gaia, the Bees, and just about every single allied faction he cares to comment on, usually while portraying them as corrupt, uncaring, untrustworthy. It's pretty clear that John's only doing this in the hopes of corrupting you into a servant of the Dreamers, but that doesn't stop him from being absolutely right about the factions: the Jingu Clan are indeed responsible for the deaths of countless innocents particularly due to Gozen's unwillingness to look past the threat of the Oni and investigate the FNF; the Korinto-Kai, for all their affability, are still an organized crime group who played a direct role in the Tokyo Disaster by allowing the Filth bomb into the city and letting the Morninglight detonate it; and as for the Big Three, they are definitely keeping secrets from you - especially about what happens to Bee-imbued agents who don't join a faction.
- Villain Respect: Already trying to stay on a friendly basis with you, John actually ends up respecting you once he discovers that you've met Lilith, and not only survived, but followed her into Tokyo.
- The Voice: A variant; as the Evil Counterpart to the Buzzing, he most commonly communicates with the player via text-based Lore. From time to time, he also presents himself as the more traditional voice, usually emanating from televisions and radios across Kaidan. In keeping with this trope, he never presents himself physically - it's not clear if he even possesses a physical body.
The enigmatic builders of this reality and others like the abandoned Hell Dimensions. They have divided into factions over the Ages which include the Grigori and the Nephilim.
Tropes shared by all members
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Grigori seem to have one, as at the end of Transylvania notes that she should not be speaking to you, even in the Dreaming Prison, but that as long as the Nephilim interfere so will they.
- Civil War: Back at the end of the First Age, the Host suffered a civil war between the Grigori and the Nephilim, which ended with the Nephilim's defeat. Presumably, the Civil War was over what to do with the Dreamers and the Gaia Engines.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: The opinion of the Grigori, who wish to keep the Dreamers sealed in the Gaia Engines.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: All of the known Host have wings style of energy wings but tend to be Color-Coded for Your Convenience depending on what group they may be with, white for the Grigori and black for the Nephilim.
- Hijacking Cthulhu: The goal of the Nephilim, so that they may create a "New Gaia", which is shared by Lilith and Samael, but the latter no longer seeks to use the Dreamers, while the former wishes to use the Dreamers for her own purposes.
- I Know Your True Name: According to the Buzzing, only the Nephilim know Lilith's hidden eighteenth name, Ki-sikil-lil-la-ke, and use that to bind her at the end of Issue #11.
- In-Series Nickname: They are also referred to as the Builders.
- Our Angels Are Different: Implied that the Host are or were angels.
- Son of an Ape: The Nephilim, at least, are offended that "Samael should couple with a talking ape."
Guardians of Gaia (Pitiqtu Nasiru, Anzanunzu Nasiru, Abnu Nasiru, Isatis Nasiru, Basi Nasiru, Halbu Nasiru, Erbu Nasiru, Kasu Nasiru, Kaspu Nasiru, Samsu Nasiru)The Guardians of Gaia are massive Elemental Golems which act as as a secondary line of defence in the places where Gaia has been damaged most heavily. Unfortunately for everyone they are indiscriminate in who they attack and it is up to the faction agents to stop them.
- Bling-Bling-BANG!: Samsu Nasiru, as pointed out in some of the mission reports.
- Elemental Embodiment: The Guardians each embody a different natural force, seemingly corresponding to the major features of the environment where they are summoned.
- Elemental Powers: As befitting an Elemental Embodiment.
- Life Drain: A few of the guardians (Isatis Nasiru, Kasu Nasiru, Samsu Nasiru) have this ability.
- Golem: Although differing in appearance, they are all basically giant golems.
- In-Series Nickname: They are referred to as the "White Blood Cells of Gaia".
- The Bus Came Back: After being removed from the game after the first Anniversary, Kaspu Nasiru the Golem of Fusang returned to the game during the 2016 Anniversary Event.
- Theme Naming: Their individual names and titles also follow the same pattern, namely X Nasiru or The Guardian of X respectively. However, Samsu Nasiru breaks the trend with its title being The Gilded Rage.
The Patchwork Horror
Hiya, Chuck. I'm testing a theory here - consumer consumption can cause coincidental catastrophes commencing concurrently.While the Guardians of Gaia rampage elsewhere, a horrific amalgamation of thrown away technology stalks the streets of Kaidan. It is the result of John's attempts to make his own golem, using his Technopath skills.
- Evil Counterpart: It is stated in the lore that it is a Filth mockery of the Guardians of Gaia.
- Frickin' Laser Beams
- Hypno Ray
- Mechanical Monster
- Robotic Psychopath: One of the machines which make up the Patchwork Horror — a traffic light which caused several fatal accidents — is described as this by the Buzzing. It Makes Sense in Context.
- TV Head Robot
"We Are the Swarm. We are many. We know the truth"An anonymous group which first contacts the player characters during the mission "Choose Your Own", the Swarm appears to both know what the players are as well as the secrets of the factions who employ them. They are in fact a collective of Bees who escaped both the attentions of the factions as well as the Hive, who want the player characters to question their loyalty towards their factions.
- Animal Motif: In contrast to the player characters the Swarm is represented by wasps.
- Evil Counterpart: Though the "evil" part may be questionable. They are counterparts to player characters, just like the Mitsubachi. But unlike them and the players, they have no masters.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The members of the Swarm all appear to wear wasp masks. For good measure in "Choose your Own" they appear to follow the player throughout the mission as well as kidnapping them.
- Walking Spoiler