Fan Fic / Like One Sundered Star
Like One Sundered Star
) is a Homestuck
fanfiction based on a superhero
Alternate Universe fanfiction called Real Men Wear Tights
. Like One Sundered Star
follows Real Men Wear Tights
until the latter's eighth chapter, when it branches out into a continuity of its own.
The story focuses on the four B1 kids plus Karkat as they navigate the secret world of masked vigilantes and superpowers. Along the way, they get sucked into a sinister plot by a gang called the Midnight Crew, and must fight desperately in order to protect their families and various hometowns and defeat the Crew. Despite the formidable threat that the Crew poses, they are smallfry compared to the dangers from the SBURB universe that begin to make themselves known, including grimdark and grimlight Horrorterrors
, rogue players from the trolls' session, and the lingering after-effects
of having endured significant mental trauma
in a past life. Dysfunction abounds
Oh, and the countdown is on to the end of the world
. No biggie.LOSS
has two intermission fics - Like One Sundered Star - Shit, Let's Be Troll-Heroes
, which follows the heroic (and villainous) adventures of the eleven other trolls up until the beginning of Arc V where they join the main plot, and Like One Sundered Star - Irons in the Fire
, which focuses on events that occur between Arcs VIII and IX.
This trope page is currently in progress.
Like One Sundered Star contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: While none of the guardians are all that good at being parents, Dad Egbert beats out all the rest.
- Action Fashionista: Kanaya's not surprising, given her canon badassery and love of sewing. Dave as her runner-up for Most Fashion Savvy might surprise some readers, but remember he's the kid who alchemized himself an entire wardrobe of snazzy suits. The Dolorosa's cameo in IITF reveals her to be as adept at costumes and disguises as her descendent.
- Almighty Janitor: The character with the most comprehensive understanding of events? The one pulling a surprising number of strings from "outside the main storyline"? Ms Paint, seemingly the only character who has yet realized Zachal Kynaia's role in the story and the metanarrative.
- Alternate Universe: The story is an AU fanfic of Real Men Wear Tights, itself a superhero AU fanfiction of Homestuck. LOSS parallels RMWT up through chapter 8 of the original fic, then branches out into a completely separate and much wider continuity of its own.
- American Accents: In an interesting overlap with Informed Ability. When Dave presses Bro for details of his history with Diamonds Droog, Bro's response is "TT: kid you think i have a texas accent? TT: we started in fucking Atlanta". The reader can't judge the truth of this statement, as in writing all that comes through is a mild, generalized Southern dialect.
- Angels, Devils and Squid: Starting in Chapter 29: The only reason the players aren't dead within seconds of Lord English (the "Devil" in this trope, where Calliope would be the "Angel") arriving in the game session is that Leviathan post-feeding-frenzy (Squid, natch) shows up at exactly the same moment. Devil and Squid start fighting each other for control of the session, allowing the players just enough time to attempt their Speedrun session.
- Apocalypse How: Class 5, as in canon. The Reckoning's meteor bombardment will destroy all multicelluar life on Earth. In an ordinary session, this would be the prelude to repopulation with carapacian Exiles. In the broken session, however, the carapacian arrival took place hundreds of years too early and they may die along with Earth's humans and trolls.
- Art Evolution: The first half of the fic is strictly text-only — however, from Arc VI onwards, the text is occasionally accompanied by illustrations (mostly photoshopped from existing Homestuck panels), photographs, and short animated gifs. This parallels the art evolution in Homestuck, which moves from being mostly simple .gifs and short text logs to complex Flash animations and HTML 5 mini-games.
- Author Avatar: A Moebius Double-Reacharound example. Not only does Andrew Hussie's canon Author Avatar from Homestuck appear as Ms Paint's mysterious upstairs neighbor, but his output is being affected by the writing of Zachal Kynaia, Oriflamme's fan troll Author Avatar.
- Badass Grandpa: Grandpa Harley.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Diamonds Droog, hands down.
- Bad Black Barf: John vomits up black, oily sludge in his mind space while being tormented by the Trickster. It's unclear whether this was a hallucination or not, but the presence of said oil seems to be a manifestation of deep depression and self-loathing.
- Bare Your Midriff: By Arc VIII, Kanaya's redesigned Jade's costume to incorporate this.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Rose's conflict with Leviathan takes place primarily within her perception of her mind space. Later, the confrontation with the Trickster takes place primarily in John's mind space.
- Berserk Button:
- When Dave's without technology and has to rely on ASL for communication? Don't grab at his hands. It's the equivalent of shoving a gag in his mouth.
- Don't ever question Gamzee's moirallegiance with Karkat. You will not like what will happen.
- Black Speech: The voices of the Horrorterrors are painful and harsh even to those comparatively immune to their influence. For Derse dreamers, however, they are a full-on psychic assault complete with headaches and nosebleeds.
- Blood Oath: Karkat and Spades Slick appear to have a blood contract linking them that has carried over from the troll Sgrub session, and Spades has recently renewed it without explaining to Karkat exactly what the terms or side effects might be.
- Brainwashed: Die's got his claws in a substantial chunk of the cast at this point.
- Every single non-ace member of the Midnight Crew is chemically conditioned by mindgrubs to remain loyal to the Felt, and the ace members have realized their minds have been tampered with as well.
- Samuel Egbert has been a synchronized Felt agent for decades... so John has been brainwashed for the entire story as well.
- The Scratch Kids have also been subjected to the Felt's brainwashing though Roxy and Dirk have both managed to retain some autonomy.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The story itself is shown to be written by the author's fantroll, Zachal. This becomes very interesting when Bro Strider and Oriole stumble into her apartment in the middle of a fight with the Midnight Crew in chapter 21. The damage to her laptop that results impacts her writing in later chapters, and in Chapter 28 she hands Dave a list of plot holes to plug for her via time travel.
- Break Them by Talking: The Trickster attempts this with John - Rose explosively kicks it in the face before it can finish the job. Overlaps with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Chainsaw Good: Kanaya. And she carries at least five of them at all times, like a sensible person.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cue ball in Kanaya's apartment.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Sollux appears briefly in the main narrative to help track down Rose's white-text computer stalker. He suddenly becomes much more prominent when he helps Terezi and Vriska escape to Canada, and SLBTH reveals that he and Aradia are the only players with awakened dreamselves.
- Childhood Friends: Rose and John.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Eridan's powers in a nutshell - he can hope weapons into being and believe himself into recovering from the physical trauma inflicted on his body by going grimlight. There are limits to what he can do given his serious mental health issues, but he's one of the strongest players in terms of raw juice especially after he god-tiers in Chapter 28.
- Cooldown Hug: Between John and Karkat on numerous occasions, as is normal between moirails.
- Cool Shades: Striders as a whole, and later Rose.
- Continuity Cameo: Karkat is registered as a rustblood, not a mutant, thanks to "the most gracious, forgiving jadeblood in the history of trollkind". Word of God confirmed this to be The Dolorosa, who does not appear in the story until Irons in the Fire.
- The Corruption: What's been happening in Novaya Ukraine since the grimlight influence arrived.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Crichton - he's Diamonds's minion of choice when running misinformation and smear campaigns by inserting himself into criminal investigations, but he's too violently obsessed with Diamonds herself to be useful for other work, particularly guard duty.
- Cryptic Background Reference: In Chapter 18, Doc Scratch muses on the rumor that Leviathan once 'paid court to the Lord Azathoth himself,' and Leviathan confirms this rumor later in their conversation. The Fridge Horror really kicks in when it's hinted that by Lord, they might well be referring to a Lord English-esque Horrorterror, with all the destructive power that entails. Calliope confirms this when she explains the Lord/Muse metacycle in Irons in the Fire.
- Dad the Veteran: Dad Egbert. He was a mercenary, and later hired by the Midnight Crew.
- Darker and Edgier: Even in the early chapters, LOSS focuses much more on the dark side of superhero culture, the effects trolls have had on human history, and the kids' internal turmoil than the relatively light-hearted RMWT. Later chapters involve a great deal of violence and Body Horror.
- Despite the Plan: The main heroes' plans have a tendency to go horribly, horribly wrong, perhaps due to Finagle's Law, to the point that they appear to have become resigned to it...yet they somehow manage to scrape through by the skin of their teeth every time.
- Determinator: This universe's Clubs Deuce is a cheerfully villainous version, completely unrelenting in his transcontinental pursuit of Jade. Scratch counted on both Clubs' ineffectual combat and his dogged pursuit, as his real goal was to delay Jade making contact with the other kids, not to actually capture her.
- Die or Fly: Future!Dave pulls this on his own past self in order to activate his time travel powers. Past!Dave's only previously managed brief time-stops but learns to travel backwards when Future!Dave throws him out of a 13th-story apartment. (His trajectory is into the building's empty dumpster, so Dave rewinds to when it was full of trash to cushion his fall.) Learning to step forward in time, instead of back, requires being cornered by the Midnight Crew while protecting Oriole and PM.
- Doorstopper: As of chapter 29, the main fic alone is over 1.4 million words long, the longest Homestuck fanfic on AO3 and the 11th longest fic on the entire site...and the combined SBURB session has only just started. With the two side-arcs (SLBTH and IITF) included, the series is nearly 1.6 million words, the 8th longest work on AO3. As of last count, Oriflamme has at least 34 chapters planned for the main fic.
- The Dragon: Diamonds Droog to Doc Scratch. She chafes within the confines of the Midnight Crew-Felt merger, but recognizes that the Crew wouldn't have survived a prolonged turf war against the Scratch-backed Felt.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Never wholly loyal to begin with, Diamonds begins to sacrifice her usual professionalism in favor of subtly sabotaging Scratch's plans in Seattle after her interactions with Sharpshooter bring her pre-existing discontent to the fore. In Arc VI, she goes outright rogue when she discovers that Clubs Deuce has been fully brainwashed. Suuuuuure he's not your moirail, lady.
- Dramatic Unmask: Diamonds Droog forcibly does this to Hemogoblin, apparently just for the hell of it.
- Dreaming of Times Gone By: Jo Crocker may have remembered the most about the kids' origins thanks to her dreams of her past life in addition to her ectobiologically detached harlequin hands. Karkat also has particularly nasty nightmares that center on John's in-game deaths. The White Queen mentions that it's extremely abnormal for Knights to have Seer-like dreams, but there's so much else going on that none of the main characters have really stopped to wonder about it yet.
- Eldritch Abomination: Horrorterrors, both grimdark and grimlight, qualify by default. Rose and Rue repeatedly describe them as "many-angled" and "blood-brined".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Diamonds Droog goes rogue after seeing that Doc Scratch has brainwashed Clubs Deuce.
- Evil All Along: Dad Egbert, of all people.
- Eye Colour Change: A common symptom of Horrorterror entanglement.
- Faking the Dead: Joanna Egbert is not dead, a fact first established through her rendezvous with cyborg!Grandpa Harley at the end of Arc III. At the end of Arc VI, we see how she survived first the meteor strike, and then her son's sudden but inevitable betrayal.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Kanaya faces a great deal of prejudice as jadeblood trolls are expected to cloister themselves at adulthood and devote their lives to tending the Mother Grubs, or at the very least to enter a caretaking profession. Kanaya defied these expectations by joining the military (even though she was medical corps, not infantry) and opening a dressmaking shop after returning to civilian life.
- Karkat's blood mutation has to remain a carefully guarded secret, lest he face immediate culling.
- Humans and trolls alike are often prejudiced against carapacians, leading to the xenocide of this world's Holocaust.
- Forceful Kiss: John's Trickster mode inflicts several of these on Karkat in an I Have You Now, My Pretty scenario.
- Group Hug: Twice now with the beta kids, Karkat, and Kanaya.
- Gut Punch: Arc II, the definitive point of divergence from RMWT, opens with John's gale-force freakout at Bro and then shifts almost immediately to Rose's grimdark possession and rampage through New York City. And then Doc Scratch turns up and it becomes obvious that there WILL be a SBURB session in this 'verse.
- Healing Factor: All players seem to be unnaturally resilient and quick to recover from major injuries, but John, Jade, and Karkat stand out from the pack: John and Jade have some innate Supertoughness, while Karkat's blood powers allow him to heal almost any soft tissue damage, or at least scab over the wound until he has time to get medical attention. Life players aren't even worth listing here, as their entire powerset revolves around growth and regeneration.
- Hero Insurance: Canada has instituted socialized insurance for damages due to hero/villain activity.
- Heroic Safe Mode: John keeps his civilian self separate from his identity as the Heir of Breath for his mental health. On the villainous side, we have DS-2409, who obeys Felt orders vs. Dirk who is haplessly trying to keep his team from fully succumbing to Die's brainwashing, and John's Trickster Mode against his cover identity.
- Hive Mind: Horrorterrors again - the grimdark ones tend to be picky about assimilating new minds, but the grimlight variety are characterized by massive feeding frenzies in which they swallow the minds of anyone unfortunate enough to be killed by them.
- Horrifying the Horror: Gamzee to Malā'ikah. The mere sight of him is enough to send a full-fledged Eldritch Abomination fleeing in terror, much to Eridan's disgruntlement. Which raises the question - what did Gamzee do to it to deserve that kind of reaction?
- Leviathan was already considered intimidating by other Horrorterrors, as one of the oldest and most powerful elder gods in the Furthest Ring - however, as of chapter 24, it has begun to resort to Monstrous Cannibalism in order to become even more ludicrously overpowered, devouring the other two prominent Horrorterrors in the story before they can offer any resistance.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: John to Rose in New York.
- Instant Costume Change: Jade can pull this off with her space powers.
- Knife Nut: Spades Slick, by a landslide.
- Literary Allusion Title: The title itself comes from Charles Algernon Swinburne's "Atalanta in Calydon"; in addition, every chapter starts with a quote from other works by Swinburne.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Even just in terms of POV characters, there are a LOT. The fic has 5 main POV sections each chapter—one for each of the B1 kids plus Karkat. In addition to these main sections, the A2 trolls, some of the Dancestors, all the carapaces, the Midnight Crew members, some of the Felt, the guardians, the Scratch kids, and some of the horrorterrors have had secondary POV sections.
- Mad Scientist: Die qualifies, experimenting with chemical and surgical behavioral conditioning.
- A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss: While the kiss probably wasn't required, Malā'ikah still pulls one of these with Eridan to seal their new tanglebuddy status.
- Man in White: Doc Scratch for the bad guys, and Dad Egbert on the heros' side. Well, until he reveals his true loyalties, at which point it looks more like he's imitating Scratch.
- The Masquerade: The civilian identities of superheroes seem to be protected more by social convention than by foolproof security measures (as discussed in more detail under Paper-Thin Disguise), but even the exceptionally lax Dave and Bro have a basic code of silence regarding their powers and other heroes' identities. The few individuals who remember the A2 game are maintaining a Masquerade within the superhero Masquerade to conceal the impending Apocalypse How.
- Meaningful Name: The reveal of the ominously titled Sburb Omega. Also qualifies as an Oh, Crap! moment for the audience.
- Medium Awareness: Gamzee is aware of the section breaks, and comments when they come out of order due to his rampant insanity. He appears to be reading Zachal's fic and using that to guide himself and Tavros towards the general locations of the other troll players. At one point, he notes that the "enclosure talons" of his sentences are missing.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The recap of the B1 SBURB session. The B1 players (and Kanaya and Karkat) are now young adults instead of children, and much more capable of comprehending the moral implications of their actions and experiences. Grown-up John, who is mindful of his responsibilities to others to the point of neurosis, is horrified at his previous incarnation's blithe dismissal of the Reckoning and the destruction of Earth.
- Necessary Fail: As in original-flavor Homestuck, this is a major drawback of timetravel. Future!Dave prevents Karkat and the others from immediately rushing to help John because while Samuel Egbert forcing John into Trickster Mode and shattering what remains of his son's sanity is bad, any attempt to change this key event means "the body count for today just kind of does this thing where it hits the double digits". Likewise, Aradia can't prevent Gamzee from attacking John or the jellyfish Horrorterror from appearing because those horrible events have important consequences.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Spectacularly averted with all of Dave's time traveling selves: they freely interact, though sometimes they omit vital information not just to avoid altering key past events, but also as way to spite themselves for past/future grievances.
- Never Was This Universe: Though there is no set point of divergence from Universe B1, trolls and humans evolved presumably around the same time, and this has drastically affected the course of major historical events. The arrival of the carapacians may qualify as a case of AlienSpaceBats, leading to changes such as Hitler expanding the focus of the Holocaust to include xenocide.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Diamonds Droog to Hemogoblin. You don't fuck around when Diamonds Droog is in town...
- Ominous Message from the Future: Any time future!Dave is on screen. This includes Dave's POV section in Chapter 28, when he embarks on the lengthy time-journey that we get glimpses of elsewhere throughout the fic — although in this case the most ominous messages come from the characters he interacts with in the future.
- One Bullet Left: The Black Queen subjects Dave to a Fake Kill Scare to ensure this trope. After she fires, there is only one bullet left in the pistolkind she gives him, so if he turns it on her, he's got no way to reach god-tier. Dave being Dave, he still manages to lose the pistol at exactly the wrong moment, but a crazed Gamzee destroys Derse so he still dies on the crypt Quest Bed.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The mutated abominations in the remnants of the Ukraine are horrifically twisted corpses puppeted by Gl'bgolyb's will.
- Painted-On Pants: Hemogoblin. The things they do for his glutes are arguably secondary superpowers.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with throughout the story.
- John as Heir and Karkat as Hemogoblin, but only with each other. Practically everyone else figures it out within minutes of meeting their civilian identities.
- Dave likes to pretend that taking his shades off when superheroing actually fools some people, although he also doesn't put up much resistance when they ID him as Flashstep. Bro doesn't even bother pretending his identity as the Puppeteer is a secret. Bro's unusual lack of paranoia in this area is explained later: one of Rue's void generators protected their Houston apartment from scrutiny, so it was much harder to exploit their civilian identities against them.
- Rose has to keep a very low profile after the incident with Leviathan, lest anyone realize that Dark Star looks exactly like a half-dressed Seer of Light. Kanaya has to drastically redesign Rose's costume so that it really does obscure her identity.
- Parental Abandonment: Rue Lalonde left Rose alone for three years to try and throw the Midnight Crew off her trail. When they finally reunite again, their relationship has not only gone down the tubes but into the Marianas Trench.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Condesce. Only about 4 feet tall, if you don't count the hair, but those feet are all fuschia-blood, PLUS her game-granted Life powers, PLUS the accumulated battle acumen of thousands of years of vicious competition.
- Power Born of Madness: There's a chicken-or-the-egg question with Gamzee's highblood dementia and his Rage powers — does one spring from the other, or do they have independent sources but catalyze each other?
- The Power of Blood: Karkat's super powers are in his blood, which he can exploit to harden shed blood into sharp weapons or heal injuries of varying severity. Spades Slick has now exhibited limited blood manipulation thanks to his pact with Karkat.
- Power Up Motif: Fraymotifs and other game abilities are usually accompanied by music. At first, Dave is the only player who can hear them, and since it takes longer for the explanatory game narration to kick in, even he doesn't understand what he's hearing. By Arc VIII, enough game mechanics have activated that other players are beginning to hear the music as well.
- Psychopathic Manchild: The Trickster may qualify as a Type C.
- Recursive Fanfiction: Based on Real Men Wear Tights, which in turn is based on Homestuck. LOSS has in turn inspired at least one fanfic of its own, continuing the recursion.
- Reincarnation: A necessary side effect of the Scratch - literally everyone is a reincarnated version of their A2 or B1 selves. While carapacians do not reincarnate in the traditional sense, they tend to repeat personalities and actions according to the whim of paradox space, and each ectobiological clone has the capacity to spontaneously recall their past clone counterparts' lives. However, even the Queens rarely remember more than the last 2 or 3 sessions in any detail. Clubs Deuce is the only known carapacian with constant access to memories from almost all of his past lives. The current Spades Slick can recall his life in the trolls' session but little more.
- The Reveal: This is a post-Scratch universe, right? So doesn't that mean there should be player versions of the B1 guardians? Turns out that Jane, Jake, Dirk, and Roxy DO exist, but all four are under the control of Doc Scratch.
- Romantic Wingman: Dave offers to be this for John before John's emotional breakdown hits hard at the end of Arc VI.
- Sadist: Some of the other villains may qualify, but the Trickster's whole-hearted glee at being free to emotionally and physically torture John borders on the sexual.
- Shout-Out: Abundant pop culture and meme references (especially in Dave's sections). Just a few prominent examples:
- The Chicago chapters are essentially a fic-within-a-fic crossover with A Us of Hannibal and Daredevil.
- One account on the supernatural forums Rose visits has the handle huntersAnonymous.
- John quotes the Joker in his POV sections for several chapters before his trickster mode finally activates.
- An Arch-Deaconstructor and Siege Titan (giant war-carapacians the size of large buildings, piloted by smaller carapacians) are their way towards the icy coastline to potentially duke it out with a giant alien sea monster...
- Dave's arrival in the post-apocalypse includes a sand dune and a half-buried Statue of Liberty. He deliberately drops to his knees and delivers the Charlton Heston line just for the ironies.
- The Speechless:
- Dave is mute and relies on a voice-synthesizer collar for speech. When it's broken, he has to fall back on typed Pesterchum messages and American Sign Language. The only people around who understand ASL are carapacians and Bro. Dave was not always mute; Bro recalls listening to his first words in chapter 16. It isn't until the end of Arc VIII that we get an explanation: when Dave was a toddler, Diamonds Droog attempted to kidnap him and fatally injured Bro in the process. Dave used his latent Time powers to doom that timeline, allowing them to escape but drawing Lord English's attention. As seen in Aradia's previous POV sections, using the Lord's own aspect against him causes body parts to fail — in this case, Dave's larynx.
- WV also qualifies until Arc VIII, as his carapacian telepathy/sign language is malfunctioning, likely due to whatever is also causing him to spontaneously erupt into green flames. His dialogue doesn't start to make any sense until Dave teaches him a bit of ASL.
- Speedrun: The players' only chance of surviving the corrupted SBURB Omega session is to exploit their existing game knowledge and the growing number of glitched mechanics in a desperate sprint through the Ultimate Alchemy. Even the notoriously uncooperative denizens have reduced the requirements to access their grist hoards in order to accelerate the process.
- Staging an Intervention: Dave's chapter of Irons in the Fire is this trope to a tee. The other B1 kids have noticed the distress Dave's been trying to hide ever since finding out his Time powers will likely kill him before the final battle. Despite Dave's attempts to derail the conversaton with phallic hot dogs, Rose, John, and Jade drag the truth out of him and promise to send him through Calliope's portal as quickly as possible to save his life.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Gamzee appears to employ this casually; Jade, whose space powers can usually detect bodies near her, is spooked when Gamzee abruptly shows up without warning in a previously empty room, doubling as a Mirror Scare.
- Stuff Blowing Up: All the damn time, to the point that Seattle eventually declares all hero or villain activity within its limits as ongoing terrorism.
- Superpowered Evil Side:
- Grimdark/grimlight corruption brings out the worst in everyone. Just ask New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.
- So does brainwashing in someone concealing a highly dangerous Trickster Mode.
- Super Strength: John and Jade, as well as Jane, Jake, Diamonds Droog, and Hearts Boxcars to varying degrees.
- Talking Down the Suicidal: John's depression reaches suicidal levels when the Eye of the Storm fraymotif he's been using as a coping mechanism for years glitches irreparably and the Trickster takes over his conscious mind. Dave manages to talk him out just ending it all (by allowing himself to suffocate rather than abandoning John to his despair).
- Tears of Blood: People affected by Die's mind-controlling grubs tend to suffer from this, along with extreme nosebleeds. John's repeated nosebleeds whenever the game is mentioned may have been an early warning sign of his being brainwashed, or the result of abusing his Eye of the Storm fraymotif.
- Telepathy: All carapacians communicate using a combination of sign language, telepathy, and verbal clicks. All three elements have to be present for the message to get through clearly but the method seems to work across all human and troll languages, including signed ones.
- That Man Is Dead: Reincarnated Davesprite gives his name as "Oriole". Dave calls him out on this, as they're both obsessive enough to know that his wings are from a different bird species. Oriole replies that the past associated with "Crow" is better left buried.
- They Fight Crime!: What do you do when you're born with magical abilities from a world-destroying videogame you'll one day have to play? Why, vigilante justice, of course!
- Took a Level in Badass: According to future!Dave, Oriole takes a pretty big one after Bro decides to train him up.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: John's god-tier ability to dematerialize into a gust of wind first manifests itself when he's driven to the emotional brink by Bro's taunting. He travels from Seattle to Houston in a matter of minutes.
- Troubled Fetal Position: John in Chapter 20.
- Undying Loyalty: Knight-class players function best when protecting others from immediate harm. This is taken to its logical conclusion, with a sizable outright stat bonus for pledging service to another character (especially a Prince or Heir). In Karkat's case, this takes the form of a Blood Oath, such as the one that binds him to Spades Slick.
- Karkat was never going to be able to defeat Diamonds Droog in their fight, but he only really got curbstomped after sending Jade and John away.
- In the battle against Dark Star, Dave holds up just fine while ushering a group of schoolchildren to safety but falls under Leviathan's influence as soon as they're gone.
- At the beginning of Arc VII, Dave swears fealty to John, activating the fraymotif [I Pledge Myself to Thee]. Future!Dave's voice collar is sky-blue to indicate his allegiance, and he implies he may have made other pledges for further bonuses.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Oriole and Dave walk around Houston together without drawing much attention from anyone except the Midnight Crew. This despite the fact that Dave is carrying multiple swords and Oriole is orange from head to toe, including his massive wings.
- Weirdness Magnet: Aside from brief periods of calm, John attracts an incredible amount of weird shit; once all the B1 kids and Karkat have gathered together, they're essentially a walking Weirdness Magnet squad. It's getting to the point that strange things barely register anymore - they've Seen It All.
- Wham Episode:
- The first instance is the Gut Punch in Arc II/Chapter 4, when Rose goes grimdark, John freaks out at Bro so badly that he teleports halfway across the country, and Doc Scratch's presence confirms that there WILL be a SBURB session.
- Chapter 11: Feferi is being influenced by Gl'bgolyb and the Felt have been brainwashing their operatives with mindgrubs.
- Chapter 14: The Post-Scratch players appear for the first time...as villains controlled by the Felt. Dave travels back from after the start of the session with ominous tidings.
- Chapter 17: Ms. Paint's "upstairs neighbor" is Andrew Hussie and he's being influenced by Zachal Kynaia, Oriflamme's Author Avatar.
- Chapter 19: Samuel Egbert is a "synchronized" Felt operative and has also subjected John to brainwashing.
- Chapter 24: The rest of the troll players arrive at the lab, just in time for Gamzee to finally realize Karkat and John are in a moirallegiance. Vriska destroys the void wards under the influence of Doc Scratch's cue ball, Gamzee unleashes the reality-bending fraymotif [Babylon], and Eridan is possessed by Leviathan in its new jellyfish form.
- Chapter 25: [Babylon] causes the narrative itself to become jumbled and is only resolved when John shooshes Gamzee. The two then accidentally-on-purpose draw Karkat into a pale threesome.
- Chapter 28: Dave's trip to the future reveals that Clubs Deuce will die before the SBURB session begins.
- World of Pun: Everyone ends up making awful puns at some point or another. Dave fights it as long as he can, but between John and Jade's influence he's using vaguely suggestive puns as a way to troll Karkat within days.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- Diamonds Droog had no qualms about being assigned to kill 3 year-old Dave.
- SBURB as a whole. Karkat finds the most disturbing element of his dreams about the game to be the extreme trauma inflicted on children.