"I am a killer and a clown. I am a hero and a fool."
— Drunkard's Walk II, Prologue
Serial Mega Crossover series more-or-less continuously written by Robert M. Schroeck since 1998. It is "serial" in two senses: first, in the more common usage, it has appeared in semi-regular installments for nearly fourteen years (as of early 2012); second, unlike most Mega Crossovers which blend multiple sources into a single setting, Drunkard's Walk visits its different contributing series one after another, with little to no "bleed-through" between them.At the center of the story is Douglas Q. Sangnoir, who would be called a superhero in any world but his own. On his native Earth, though, he is a metahuman — and a paramilitary operative in Warriors Alpha, an organization of metahumans contracted by that Earth's version of the United Nation to act as its "super-police" force. A ten-year veteran of the Warriors and its Security Chief, with a rank equivalent to colonel, Doug Sangnoir is a professional soldier with a powerful but chaotic set of superpowers, an intimidating intellect, and a personal style strongly influenced by Warner Brothers cartoons. Ejected from his home universe by enemy action, he is on a quest to return there, by traveling essentially at random through the multiverse (hence the name of the series). As might be expected, this means his trip goes neither quickly nor smoothly...Although a honorable man who is loyal to a fault and driven by his sense of duty to acts of occasionally insane bravery, Doug is no paragon — despite his powerful intellect, he is prone to leaping to conclusions and acting foolishly, and he is a bigot on two fronts: he initially dismisses most Muggles as fragile ephemeral creatures who need protecting but are otherwise beneath his notice; and he hates most gods and godlike beings with a near-homicidal (deicidal?) passion. Both these attitudes get him in trouble at one point or another during his journeys...When it is complete, the Drunkard's Walk will be composed of 14 main parts, called "Steps". Of these Steps, one is complete (as of early 2011), a second is nearly complete, and the first chapter of a third is available. In addition to the these major stories, the author has been writing and releasing short pieces he calls "Steplets".The home of Drunkard's Walk can be found here.
The planned installments in the Drunkard's Walk are
Aliens Speaking English: Averted in Doug's case, as he is the "alien" in many settings. If it's not French, English, or Japanese, he has to learn to speak the local tongue.
All There in the Manual: The author provides a detailed concordance for each story as well as a master FAQ file for the entire series.
Alternate History: Doug's homeworld began noticeably diverging from the "real world" in 1929 (although the real point of divergence is several million years earlier), and is an odd mixture of familiar and alien.
Back Story: A considerable amount, born of twenty years of gaming, revealed in drips and drabs throughout the stories.
Badass Biker: Part of the image that Doug projects, both professionally and at times personally. Subverted in that he's actually The Man, or an agent thereof.
Badass Boast: Doug has several; he usually makes them up on the spot for the sole purpose of intimidating his opponents and doesn't necessarily believe the hype or accept the names that others have given him. That doesn't mean they're not mostly true, though.
Chest Insignia: Played with: Doug's "costume" is grey biker leathers. One his left breast is a Velcro mount for a patch, which he swaps between a Harley-Davidson logo and a shield with a stylized "LT" depending on whether or not he's off-duty.
Cool Bike: From DW2 onward, Doug's heavily-customized 2015 Mitsubishi Nightblade, a turbine-powered superbike native to the Bubblegum Crisis world which is frequently described as looking like a science-fiction prop or "a missile on wheels"; it also flies.
In his native timeline, Doug has his original bike, a similarly-modified 1936 Harley-Davidson. It's never actually seen "on-screen", but Doug mentions it several times.
Combo Platter Powers: Doug: A martial artist with heightened intelligence, agility and speed, magically gifted, and wrapped in an improbability field. Somewhat justified in that there's a common cause for all the heighteneds, and the improbability field is a result of a negative mutation of his mage gift.
Creation Sequence: Numerous, including Doug building himself a motorcycle in DW2 and the rebuild of the same motorcycle in DW5. DW13 is alleged to be rife with them.
Gods Need Prayer Badly: Averted. The gods exist independently of mortals, although there is mention of an ancient Covenant that defines some kind of bargain between the two sides that is allegedly beneficial to both.
Hammerspace: The panniers of Doug's motorcycle, after Skuld and Megumi rebuild it in DW5.
Healing Hands and Healing Factor: Both are the result of any song Doug can use for healing; unlike the usual Healing Hands effect, though, his works at a range, healing everyone within 110 feet of wounds, diseases and all manner of other ills.
Intangible Man: One of the powers Doug can get, using the Police's "Spirits In The Material World" among other songs.
Also Wetter Hexe's "spiritform".
Note that intangibility is actually slightly subverted under the Villains And Vigilantes rules by which the author handles powers; a sufficiently skilled attacker can actually hit an intangible target in hand-to-hand combat, as both Linna and Sylia demonstrate in DW2.
The Loonie: Doug's codename clearly indicates the author's preferred play style.
Looney Tunes: Doug models part of his "public persona" on classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Also, early in DW2 he leaves Bugs Bunny cloisonne pins in the caskets of the victims of a boomer rampage, as tokens of his intent to fight GENOM.
Loveable Rogue: Part of the public persona Doug likes to project, but also a part of his real personality.
Magic A Is Magic A: Despite the apparent randomness of Doug's own magical talent, it has been strongly suggested that magic is, at its core, a consistent repeatable phenomenon open to scientific investigation, and that the many and varied styles and traditions of magic across the multiverse relate to it in almost precisely the same way that high-level computer programming languages relate to raw machine language.
More Dakka: The basic philosophy of Doug and the Warriors when it comes to approaching their opposition.
Multiverse: Drunkard's Walk takes place in a metafictional continuum housing a literally infinite number of universes of varying dimensionality, with the 10-dimensional realm of the gods' metaselves at the "top".
Mysterious Past: Doug, almost everywhere he goes; subverted in that Doug will gladly tell it all to someone he trusts.
Narrator: Doug narrates approximately half the material in the stories; the rest is third-person narrative of events of which he is unaware or for which he is not present.
Non-Fatal Explosions: After off-screen backfires of his powers in both DW2 and DW5, Doug ends up looking like he suffered one of these.
Noodle Incident: Doug makes frequent, if undetailed, references to events that happened before the Walk started.
Which is how I ended up, somewhat less than an hour later, standing in a blank, empty "dead-zone" isolation chamber, stripped down to my Fruit-of-the-Looms. (White briefs, if you must know. The rumors that I only wear custom-made Shadowwalker Underoos are gross exaggerations. It was only that one unfortunate incident, and anyway the lady involved settled out of court.)
Secret Identity: Both embraced and averted. Doug notes that he does not bother with a secret identity "back home", but in worlds where he is a unique specimen, at odds with the local power structure, or both, he establishes one for himself.
Self-Insert Fic: Averted; while Douglas Sangnoir is one of the author's roleplaying characters, he points out that he has an explicit self-insert avatar in that campaign in a different character entirely. Furthermore, the author often deliberatly subverts the usual conventions of the self-insert fic.
Sequel Series: Mostly planned but unwritten: The Drunkard's Vacation, Girls, Girls, Girls. Also at least three fan-written sequels to DW2 are in the works, two of which have been recognized as "official".
Shout-Out: Numerous. Doug is a pop culture maven who isn't shy about tossing references and quotes around. Also subverted — between the different worlds he visits, and the divergence of his own homeworld from other timelines, not all of his references make sense to everyone — and vice versa.
Simultaneous Arcs: See Narrator, above. Doug is usually on the outskirts of the main action in the settings he visits, only occasionally intersecting with their casts and plots.
Song Fic: Justified by the nature of Doug's primary superpower, which uses songs he listens to as catalysts to produce other powers.
Stock Shout-Outs: In DW13, Doug describes the residential neighborhoods of Sunnydale as "a maze of twisty little roads all alike".
Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Both expressed and subverted; Doug does anything he can to survive, especially immediately after arriving in a new world.
Stock Superpowers: Doug can get any of these with an appropriate song — but only for as long as that song lasts.
Super Senses: Doug's magesight; Hexe's "air sense"; Chris's different levels of "higher perceptions" in DW5.
Super Hero: Subverted — while Doug is a "metahuman" with special powers, he views himself as a soldier, not a hero. And while his homeworld has powered vigilantes, it lacks the very word "superhero".
Superhero Paradox: Quincy reveals that he has spent the majority of his life trying to run this trope backwards at the climax of DW2. And that the presence of both the Knight Sabers and Doug in Megatokyo proves he succeeded.
Super Speed: Possessed to one degree or another by the Warriors we see in DW2, although Doug is "merely" fleet of foot compared to the others.
Super Strength: Demonstrated by both Wetter Hexe and Silverbolt in DW2; a classic superstrength stunt is averted with when Silverbolt grabs a car by the bumper in order to lift it, and the bumper rips off in her hand instead.
Technology Marches On: The first few chapters of DW2 were written in the late 90s, and it shows when Nene, in 2036, is impressed by the several thousand songs stored in Doug's helmet computer — about the same amount most people have in their iPods today. The author acknowledges this trope in a recent note in the Concordance for DW2: "Go ahead, laugh at me."
Technopath: Secondary effect of any song that gives Doug lightning or electrical powers.
Thememobile: Doug's cycle has a "camouflage" mode in which all its painted surfaces and its license plates turn a neutral grey in color — which happens to coordinate with his grey biker leathers.
Time Travel: Several of Doug's power effects allow him time travel or something similar; also, he is not restricted to his "personal calendar" when arriving in a new world, and can show up anywhere in its history.
To the Batpole!: Averted in DW2 — Doug keeps his uniform in his wardrobe and his motorcycle in a garage in the basement of the apartment building he lives in; one time when he has to respond to an emergency, he has to get rid of a guest, change, and then run down twenty flights of stairs.
Trapped in Another World: Doug is trapped in a series of other worlds, as he tries to find his way, somewhat randomly, back home.
Tuckerization: In addition to the Warriors, who are superpowered avatars of the author's fellow gamers, there are a number of original characters who appear both "on-screen" and only by reference who are named after people the author worked with at the time their first appearances were written.
Ultimate Blacksmith: After he learns smithing in DW7, Doug often qualifies, mainly due to his absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of magic and rather substantial knowledge of various engineering disciplines.
Values Dissonanceinvoked: Multiple in-universe instances, usually caused by the collision between Doug's ethics and the standards of the world he's in.
Prime example: DW2. Doug comes from a world where AIs and robots are considered people; upon discovering that Boomers are sentient, he immediately views the Knight Sabers as slavehunters.
Wacky Guy: Sometimes Doug, sometimes the people Doug gets to know.
In DW2, Lisa Vanette develops a very Kramer-like habit of bursting into Doug's apartment unannounced.
Walking Techbane: Both expressed and averted in Doug, whose field can not only mess with technology but given enough time can erode and evaporate any sufficiently complex object — yet can also accidentally enchant objects as well. Fortunately, Doug can "nudge" it away from things — like food, his clothing and useful equipment — that he doesn't want ruined/"improved".
Wandering Jew: Doug, across the universes. Averted in that he finally gets home after the thirteenth Step.
What Could Have Been: The author occasionally posts abandoned bits and pieces of stories in his forums.
Also, Doug's recollections of his homeworld often hold tantalizing hints of things that happened differently from our timeline, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman collaborating to write The Phantom of the Opera.
What's a Secret Four: Doug's frequent, and often tantalizingly incomplete, references to his homeworld and its history.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted — Doug almost always does the obvious pragmatic thing, such as making sure his opponents are dead, instead of acting like a movie hero.
Actively subverted in the climax of DW2, when Doug actually warns the Big Bad that monologuing about his evil plans virtually guarantees his defeat. However, the Big Bad is meta-Genre Savvy and offers a justification for acting in a way that seems like Genre Blindness.
Averted in the Steplet I Dream of Djinni, where Doug uses a sniper rifle to assassinate Jafar from Disney's Aladdin before he can cause any serious trouble.
Word Of God: Numerous sources, including the author's Yuku forums and his website.
Yiddish as a Second Language: Born in a show-business family and with a German Jewish grandmother, it's a wonder Doug doesn't use more Yiddish than he does.
Yin-Yang Bomb: The quarterstaff Doug acquires in DW5 was jointly created by Heaven and Hell as a prototype for a weapon intended to take out god-level third parties who might try to horn in on the relatively peaceful Ah! My Goddess world.