In this World of WarcraftFan Fiction epic, begun in March of 2006 and completed in April of 2011 (and resumed in August 2012, then ended once more in June 2013), Destron (a Forsaken mage who can still pass for a living human) sets out to explore. As he does so, he keeps a journal, offering wryly insightful commentary on each region and culture that he happens upon. The author attempts to stick with the setting's established lore as much as possible, while at the same time expanding and embellishing upon it.It's a very lengthy work, but is constructed in such a way that you don't have to read the whole thing, or even read it in order. If you do decide to read it in order, take care to pace yourself.Travels Through Azeroth and Outland is on our list of fan fiction recommendations. But it's actually hosted here. There's also a discussion forum.Here there be spoilers. While some of the bigger ones have been blanked out, keep in mind that Travels through Azeroth and Outland is a case where the journey is more important than the destination.
Provides Examples Of:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Undercity is an entire city built out of the sewers and crypts of an uninhabited city. The city of Dalaran is almost as large underground as above, and has entire towns, social systems, and even its own economy, all located out of sight of the world above.
A Chat with Satan: Due to his powers of disguise and simple good timing, Destron is frequently able to meet with his enemies, outright villains, and characters who come in all shades of grey. Most notable are his encounters with Dark Iron commanders in the Badlands, a demonic Dreadlord in the Blasted Lands, and a Twilight's Hammer cult leader in Silithus, as well as many Knights Templar around the world. The narrator occasionally bemoans his inability to speak with other, greater villains.
Action Girl: Vyldra above all, but there are too many to list.
A Day in the Limelight: A curious example, in that entire cultures, rather than individuals, get featured. These are aspects that can't really be covered in-game, and rely heavily on the writer's own interpretation, though they (usually) don't contradict the actual lore.
Adventurer Archaeologist: The narrator, occasionally, as well as nearly every archaeologist and a great number of adventurers in the story.
Affectionate Parody: The Wintergrasp section, with its discussion of partisan groups (basically, guilds) might fall into this category.
A Form You Are Comfortable With: This is seen a great deal in-game, especially with the dragons who frequently take human, elven, or gnomish form. The travelogue takes it a step further with Monkormi, a bronze dragon who prefers her gnomish form to the point of using a flying machine instead of her own draconic wings. Merun'khet, the nerubian vizier in a Forsaken body, might also be an example of this, though he would have been much happier in his previous form.
Alchemy Is Magic: The arakkoa claim to have been masters of this during their glory days.
Positive examples of some mook races are never shown. Examples include troggs, harpies, and iron dwarves. But this doesn't necessarily preclude the existence of positive examples.
Demons and qiraji are apparently all quite horrible.
Surprisingly averted by the Cult of the Damned. Many were taken in by the Cult after Lordaeron fell into chaos. Some of the necromancers genuinely believe they are doing good.
Another surprising aversion is seen in the Royal Apothecary Society. The apothecaries in the Ghostlands make some efforts to healing the forest, which the Cenarion Circle refuses to touch since it was initially grown with arcane energies. There are also apothecaries who are more interested in medicine than in creating new plagues.
Ambadassador: Pazshe, an etheral diplomat, is the very picture of polite restraint who can even make a declaration of war sound gracious. He's also a badass who can wield weapons with his mind and teleport at will.
Ancient Keeper: Arkkoroc, a lonely sea giant in Azshara, is an example. He appears in-game, but Travels offers its own spin, in which Arkkoroc, who once controlled the tides but no longer does so, desperately wishes to be remembered by others, though he knows his time is long past. Destron agrees to tell others about him. One wonders what happened to Arkkoroc after Cataclysm…
The Storm Peaks has plenty more examples.
Animals Hate Him: Animals despise the Scourge, but are curiously indifferent to Forsaken. This is a convenient excuse that lets the writer take Destron into Alliance territory. Then again, the addition of Forsaken hunters in Cataclysm shows that there might be something to it...
Animate Dead: All of the undead and Forsaken, including the narrator. The Knights of the Ebon Blade are notable, animating mounts out of dead bones when needed. One of them, Lord Vadu, even keeps a ghoul, an animated corpse named Baneflight, as a personal butler.
Anti-Air: The Burning Legion’s failure to have this is one of the reasons they haven’t conquered Azeroth… yet.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Most of the human nations suffered from this at varying point, though Destron says that (in many nations) the nobility had lost much of its power by the time of the First War.
Artificial Intelligence: Destron learns about this concept from a gnome in the Borean Tundra, though it’s called Created Intelligence. The gnome concludes that, if a free-willed created intelligence equal to a sapient mind were ever created, it would have to be considered a legal equal to its living peers.
Artificial Limbs: Destron loses a hand fighting a frostwyrm in Icecrown. As of the epilogue, he's had it replaced with a magitek prosthetic. However, said prosthetic is itself a subversion, as it's explicitly stated to lack precision.
Ascetic Aesthetic: Once you get beyond all the shiny crystals (which usually serve utilitarian functions), draenic cities are rather austere.
Asexuality: Pretty much all Forsaken, including Destron. And thank goodness for that. Sporelings and ethereals may also count.
The Atoner: In the Swamp of Sorrows, Destron meets an orcish shaman named Thok'dan, who tries to help the mutated draenei living in the north. Back in the day, Thok'dan had been one of the first orcs through the Dark Portal. He feels great shame for the genocide that the orcs inflicted on the draenei, and wonders if his own actions against humans and draenic slaves in the past have put him beyond redemption.
Ax-Crazy: The satyrs, centaurs, Drakkari, and Frenzyheart wolvar are notable examples. For individuals, there's Alen-of-the-Gun, a psychotic Forsaken rifleman who rides with the Magram centaurs.
Awesome but Impractical: Both Orgrim’s Hammer and Skybreaker end up like this. While powerful, they’re such huge investments for their respective owners that they are basically forbidden from engaging each other in combat.
Author Filibuster: Destron tends to do this when criticizing monarchic or despotic rule, which can be a bit jarring. To be fair, he respects relatively enlightened despots like Thrall, even though he thinks that they set bad precedents for future leadership by being dictators.
A Wizard Did It: Though Destron usually explains said wizard’s motivations. For example, Queen Azshara used magic to put her namesake realm in a state of endless autumn, explaining its appearance in-game. This is also why it looks autumnal despite being a coniferous forest.
The high elves did something similar to Quel’thalas, as a way of recalling the glory of their former home.
Badass Bookworm: The narrator may be a wandering scholar, but he has repeatedly proven himself to also be a dangerous warrior when necessary.
Barbarian Tribe: The centaurs play this trope straight, as do the wolvar. The mag'har are only a little better.
Become a Real Boy: Sporelings start out as clones of their parent, but some develop actual personalities. Those who do are immensely valuable to the community.
Benevolent Dictator: Discussed at great length, with Thrall as the primary example. Destron believes that Thrall is a genuinely good leader, but that the orcs cannot realistically expect to get anyone else like him. Thus, for Thrall to be truly great, he must relinquish power and create a more democratic state. Probably counts as an Author Filibuster as well.
But Destron arguably has a point, considering that Thrall was succeeded by Garrosh Hellscream, who took a much more tyrannical and powermongering approach to leading the Horde. He also proved horrendously inept at working with non-orcs, and eventually this led to most of the Horde openly rebelling and teaming up with the Alliance to depose Garrosh at the conclusion of the Mists of Pandaria expansion.
Big Sister Instinct: Niddy and her brother, Yezz. They survived debt slavery under a brutal owner with each others’ help. Niddy came through okay, but Yezz lost his sense of self-preservation. Like most mentally disturbed goblins in this fanfic, he was encouraged to become a sapper. Niddy followed her brother wherever he went, to keep him from blowing himself up.
Big Heroic Run: Taunka long runners, who can trek for days at a time across some of the meanest environments in Northrend, might be described as doing this.
Black Market: Actually plays a pretty big role. The pirate base of Lost Rigger Cove is like a marketplace and networking center for every nasty group, where the Dark Horde buys lumber from the Venture Company, and the Defias Brotherhood hires Southsea Freebooters to ship goods. Later on, in Underbelly, Destron encounters the Red Market, which is the quasi-legal trade of demonic armaments. Partisans (read: players) kickstarted the Red Market after the events in the Burning Crusade, flooding Azeroth with corrupting materials. Governments look the other way, since these armaments can be useful. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
In dwarven society, those kicked out of their families for any reason become the Unwanted, which means most respectable people will have nothing to do with them. Most can’t get hired, so resort to begging or crime. The Unwanted are allowed to have children—but those children are taken from them by the state and given to a normal family, who won’t ever tell the child its true origins. Needless to say, some Unwanted try to move out of Khaz Modan proper and start new lives elsewhere.
Gnomes are supposed to earn surnames that reflect their accomplishments. Those who fail to do so end up keeping their family names well into adulthood. Being “So-and-so the Second” is a mark of shame, not one of a proud lineage.
Omokee are tauren who’ve been kicked out of the tribe. Getting expelled from one’s tribe is hard to do, but when it happens it’s pretty much a death sentence. Tauren will attack omokee on sight, and the outcasts almost invariably go insane.
The draenic ashem are those who’ve suffered to the point that they can no longer participate in the communal happiness of their society. Ashem are encouraged to keep their distance so that their misery will not spread. However, the draenei do their best to rehabilitate them, and recognize that the ashem are not at fault for their state.
Warlocks are treated as Black Sheep in orcish society, and are hated even by peons.
Bizarre Alien Biology: Frequently seen in Outland, especially with the sporelings and ethereals (to the extent that ethereals can be considered biological). While this is true in the baseline World of Warcraft setting as well, Travels goes into a lot more detail.
Body Horror: Zandalari priests undergo extensive mutilation and scarification. Merun’khet, the nerubian forced into a Forsaken body, as an even more visceral example. Not to mention that poor orc kept by Lady Tsravash…
Bolt of Divine Retribution: More like a giant tiger of divine retribution. Surrounded by the god-killing priests of Zul’drak, the Zandalari priestess, Mumbwe, calls down an avatar of her god. In minutes, the sanctuary is drenched with the blood and shredded flesh of her enemies.
Bookworm: Destron and Daj’yah are the most notable, though there are many others.
The City Narrows: The Forlorn Cavern of Ironforge. This is where gnomish warlocks are told to practice their magic, so that if something goes wrong the only victims would be the undesirables who live in the neighborhood. The Lower City of Shattrath also used to be pretty rough, though has calmed down by the time Destron visits.
Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: An arguable case. In life, Destron was romantically involved with a Dalaranese woman named Emette. Throughout most of the travelogue, he has no idea whether she survived the Third War, and makes some attempt to find her during her travels. However, being undead, he is no longer romantically interested. Destron finally meets Emette (who has since married), and they have one last conversation before going their separate ways. This scene was a Tear Jerker for some readers.
Cliff Hanger: The Blade's Edge Mountains (Part 1), the Howling Fjord (Part 2), Dalaran (Part 1), and—most recently—Icecrown (Part 2).
Cold-Blooded Torture: Destron sees a gruesome example of this used against a necromancer in Dragonblight. He intervenes... by killing the necromancer before he can be tortured any further. Whatever the case, Scourge necromancers are incredibly dangerous, and Destron couldn't, in good conscience, free him.
Convenient Enemy Base: Locations generally reflect their in-game locations, but sometimes the way Deston reaches them seems a little convenient (convenient from a narrative standpoint, not necessarily convenient for the character himself).
Corrupt Church: A few examples appear, like the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow followed by many Forsaken. The cult is sort of an umbrella group, and the most sinister faction is probably the Lamentation, which provides a religious justification for Forsaken atrocities.
Cosmic Horror Story: The Twilight's Hammer Cult believes this is the true state of things, but they're quite happy about it. The arakkoa also think that they live in a horror world, and it scares them to the point of insanity.
Crapsack World: Even the regions that haven't been poisoned, polluted, tainted, war-ravaged, infested with sociopaths, and/or blown up are still pretty miserable. The places that are more habitable have got their own list of social problems. It says something that the single safest place to live is a refugee camp.
Disagreements between orcs and tauren are difficult to resolve, since the two races use very different debating styles. Orcs are loud, brash, and even threatening, while tauren are self-effacing and polite. Basically, the orcs come across as fools to the tauren, and the tauren as timid to the orcs. In the end, neither side is convinced by the other.
A surprising example occurs in the Grizzly Hills, when gnomes and dwarves argue about how to handle some unwelcome information about their racial origins. An iron dwarf prisoner says that the regular gnomes and dwarves suffer from the Curse of Flesh, and have gone astray from the Titans’ intent. The dwarves regard this as blasphemy, but the gnomes want to do more research to find out if this claim is true. They reach a sort of compromise, in which the gnomes will study iron dwarf “myths.”
Cursed with Awesome: Arguably, Destron’s undeath. Travel is a lot easier when you don’t have to worry so much about exhaustion or finding clean food and water (in this interpretation, it seems like undead still need to eat, but only very little and the quality of the food doesn’t matter).
Cute Monster Girl: Examined. The troll mage Daj'yah, while somewhat attractive by human standards, is considered quite ugly by her own race.
Cynicism Catalyst: Destron’s younger sister, Nadina, drowned. This frayed his family and caused them to become even more distant from each other.
The Dead Can Dance: Destron witnesses a macabre dance party in Undercity. It ends with the revelers tearing realistic dummies of Arthas, King Terenas, and Archbishop Alonsus Faol to pieces.
Deadpan Snarker: Daj’yah. Destron has his moments, though usually as asides to the reader and not in actual conversation.
Death Seeker: The demon hunter encountered in the Blasted Lands is an example of this, as is Vyldra. In both cases, Destron tries to talk them out of this course of action, citing it as selfish and useless. He fails. Augra, an old orcish warlock, may be a more sedate example of this.
Death World: The Plaguelands, Silithus, Hellfire Peninsula, the Netherstorm, and most of all, Shadowmoon Valley.
Den of Iniquity: Lost Rigger Cove is one of these for pretty much all of Azeroth.
Dramatic Irony: Used a few times when Destron gets something wrong. Generally, these are things that someone in his position wouldn’t have any realistic way of knowing, but that the players know because they, well, played the game! Now for some (very minor) spoilers for World of Warcraft and WC 3.
He dismisses rumors of dragons being somehow responsible for the Defias.
He thinks that Illidan killed Magtheridon.
He recounts the official story of Arthas’ mercenaries destroying the human fleet during the Third War.
Defector from Decadence: Destron himself becomes this over the course of the story. The Nerubians are an entire race made of this trope.
The Devil Is a Loser: The Lich King is a loser. Destron realizes that, for all the Lich King's power, he's totally alone.
The Drifter: Several characters, most importantly the narrator himself.
Dying Town: The Alliance base of Honor Hold becomes one of these. Its defenders are aging and cut off from the rest of the Alliance in Outland, after failing to maintain control over the expeditionary force. While actually playing World of Warcraft, players can see that the NPC guards in Honor Hold do look old.
The Defias are near starvation after burning most of the farms.
The Illidari regime was basically broken from day one, and has no real hope of defying the Burning Legion or the armies of Azeroth.
The Burning Legion itself is incredibly cumbersome and inefficient, though nigh-unstoppable by virtue of sheer momentum.
The Scourge is steadily losing ground due to its aggressive policies turning the entire world against it.
Earn Your Happy Ending: In Northrend Destron sees the Horde returning to its savage past, confronts the Scourge, loses his left hand, and suffers through a serious period of self-doubt. In the end, he returns to Orgrimmar, able to feel contentment in his life as a translator in the Valley of Spirits, though he is still troubled by the Horde's behavior.
Easy Logistics: Often averted. The narrator sometimes studies the difficulties that remote outposts face in getting supplies, and details their ways of dealing with the problem.
Evil Cripple: Harz Blacknail might be a partial example. Though he actually does some good, he is also a warlock, and is thus likely to end up corrupted.
Evil Virtues: The Cabal, in Terokkar Forest and the Bone Waste. Though cultists of the Burning Legion, they are quick to kill anyone who summons a demon without their permission, knowing full well the dangers uncontrolled summoning can bring. They’ve created a ruthless but organized state that is able to provide for its citizens. They also seek to develop their economy and infrastructure by importing experts from Azeroth.
Some of Kael’thas followers also apply, at least the lower-ranking ones.
Expy: The blind scholar Belgrano is an obvious expy of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Goblin science-fiction writer Artz Cyklurk in Area 52 is clearly meant to be Arthur C. Clarke, while Fil Kaydik (referred to but never actually encountered) is obviously Philip K. Dick. The crazy troll, Dan'jo, is a reference to Emperor Joshua Norton. Niharalath is presumably an expy of Nyarlathotep.
Extremely Short Timespan: Apparently common in night elf novels. One extremely lengthy novel is described as taking place across a single second! These books are devoted to exploring a character’s psyche, rather than narrating events.
Several human ethnic groups are introduced to flesh out the setting. Kirovi have a distinct Slavic/Russian flavor, particularly in their naming conventions. The Ralmanni are Romany in origin. There are also the Dromascoi, who were conquered by Lordaeron, and are loosely based off of Romania. However, very little information is given about the Dromascoi.
Shadowprey Village has a Hawaiian feel, surfing and all.
Tauren legends sound like they could have come straight out of Native American oral tradition.
Stromgarde gets something of a German spin, while Dalaran is more French. The Tirasi names tend to sound Italian.
The Dark Irons are apparently inspired by Stalinism. Similarly, the Defias take their cue from Maoists and Jacobins.
Fate Worse Than Death: Undeath under the Lich King is basically Hell. Free-willed undeath starts off quite horrible. Whether or not it stays that way depends on a number of issues, the most important of which is the attitude of the undead person in question.
Fictional Holiday: Bounty Day, which is celebrated by coastal human towns. There’s also the Festival of Nature’s Song, honored in Moonglade, which has the night elves return a piece of nature to the Emerald Dream. In Outland, Destron sees the Phoenix of Victory Rising from the Ashes of War, a high/blood elven holiday commemorating a victory over the trolls.
Fire-Forged Friends: A cute example is seen in Tarren Mill, where a Forsaken warrior swaps old war stories with an elderly orc. Both are veterans of the Second War, but they fought on opposite sides.
Fisher King: The Lich King is Fisher King to much of Northrend, the Plaguelands, and other nearby areas, while Ragnaros is to the Searing Gorge and Burning Steppes.
Fisher Kingdom: Duskwood. Also, Quel'thalas, specifically Quel'Danas and the Sunwell.
Flanderization: An unusual in-setting example. Demonic corruption is said to simplify the recipient, making the baser aspects of their personality dominant. Destron even describes fel orcs as resembling a cruel parody of normal orcs, defined solely by aggression.
Floating Platforms: The blood elves use these to show off their magical ability (which is made possible thanks to their nation being located at a conflux of leylines).
Glamour Failure: This happens in Silvermoon City. Destron bumps into a bystander during a parade. Before he can apologize, he stumbles [i]through[/i] the bystander, revealing her to be an illusion. It turns out that the blood elves use illusory citizens to make their city seem less empty after the decimation of the Third War.
Glory Seeker: Common enough in such a violent setting, but the partisans (independent warriors and mercenaries… in other words, the players’ in-game characters) of the Horde and Alliance are the worst examples.
Torsen Velsemin is a courageous preacher helping the people of Westfall.
Father Lacitus is the frail but charismatic priest who kept Honor Hold from completely falling apart.
Father Vanya is the spiritual leader of the Kirovi in the Grizzly Hills who still follow the Light.
Kastoor, a draenic anchorite who is the only one protecting the human inhabitants of Farshire. He doesn’t quite understand humans, however.
Got Volunteered: Happens to Destron a few times. Also the fate of some Lordaeronian refugees who were forced to join the Southsea Freebooters or Defias Brotherhood.
Grim Up North: The continent of Northrend is a pretty grim place, and gets even grimmer the farther north one travels on the continent. This culminates in the northernmost point of land, Ulduar, home to an Eldritch Abomination. The dismal Plaguelands are located in what was previously the northernmost traversable regions of the eastern world. In the West, the northern regions are Night Elf territory, which are rather grim in their own unique ways.
Happiness in Slavery: Orcish peons are culturally conditioned to see themselves as worthless, and make no fuss with warriors casually abuse them. Peons who try to better themselves are condemned as not knowing their place by other peons. This really irks Destron. Later on, in the Borean Tundra, this gets turned on its head when Destron encounters Krug, a peon who has inspired his fellows to take pride in their work, giving them a motivation outside of pleasing the warriors. Krug even gets his own short story, which can be found on the forums.
Happiness Is Mandatory: Pretty much made explicit in tuskarr society, where expressing sadness is believed to attract malign spirits. The draenei are like this too, to a lesser extent.
The Heretic: Theka the Martyr, in Zul’farrak. Heretics from the early history of the Holy Light are also mentioned from time to time. There’s also the Order of the Mandible, a druidic sect that sided with the silithids, and the tauren shamans who followed the Stonemother (Therazane).
Hidden Elf Village: The reclusive mok'nathal live in one of these. Destron's visit is claimed to have opened them up to being friendly to the Horde.
Hobbes Was Right: Destron expresses this sentiment (though not in so many words) after finding the aftermath of a Defias massacre. Other times he seems more optimistic about the nature of sapient beings.
Human Resources: Iron dwarves are melted down upon death and recycled into new soldiers. The dead iron dwarf’s memories are scanned by their leaders, and those deemed useful are implanted into newly forged bodies.
Humans Are Bastards: Nearly averted, as humans are treated rather fairly. Most humans, however, treat the Forsaken horribly, causing the Forsaken to reciprocate.
Humans Are Cthulhu: This is how the iron dwarves see regular dwarves, humans, and other living entities. The poor iron dwarf prisoner is positively horrified by his captors.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Destron doesn’t usually carry weapons, but he never seems to have trouble storing his writing materials (which must be considerable). Likewise, his photo-recorder (camera) doesn’t get in the way or even suffer damage.
I Am Legion: Theka the Martyr, though he uses mummified corpses rather than living people.
I Did What I Had to Do: Several examples. A significant one occurs in the Badlands. Destron sees a group of Dark Iron refugees turned away from the Horde outpost of Kargath. Vaska, the soldier who turned them away, explains that if he sheltered them, the Dark Irons would wipe Kargath off the map, which is against the Horde’s strategic interests. Vaska is deeply conflicted about this, however, and wonders if he should disobey his orders and lead his warriors to an honorable death against the Dark Irons.
In Harmony with Nature: Travels through Azeroth and Outland examines this trope a bit. While the night elves claim to be in harmony with nature, their attitude towards it is presented as paternalistic. Also, because of their special relationship with the natural world (like the wisps harvesting wood without damaging trees), one can argue that the night elves actually live apart from true nature, even though these benefits are given with nature’s consent. The tauren are closer to the actual ideal, and the mok’nathal closer still.
Inherent in the System: Destron often frets about the orcish fondness for violence, which is supported by many cultural elements. Events in Northrend show he was right to be worried.
Intelligence Equals Isolation: Daj’yah, sort of. An as-of-yet unfinished short story with Daj’yah as the protagonist shows that her pride, itself a defense mechanism coming from the trope in question, plays a big role in her isolation, along with the fact that most trolls consider her ugly, and see her talents as being of questionable use.
It's Always Spring: Lampshaded. The static nature of Azeroth’s seasons is explained by way of the planet having only a very slight axial tilt. Granted, this probably has some other implications as well…
Knight Errant: Lentz Averlome, a crusading Forsaken knight dreaming of a new Lordaeron in which the undead act as gallant protectors for the living. No one really takes him seriously, though he’s at least strong enough to survive on his own in the Western Plaguelands.
La Résistance: The Returners, a militia in Lakeshire that took to the hills after the First War and waged a guerrilla campaign against the Horde until the end of the Second War.
Large Ham: Destron, when he’s disguising himself as a lich.
Agree to Disagree: Destron and an old tutor end up doing this after debating the merits of draconic elitism.
Luke Nounverber: Lampshaded in Netherstorm, when a goblin makes a dismissive comment about the frequency of such names in many cultures.
Made a Slave: For a time, Destron was turned to one of the Hyldnir's slaves in the Storm Peaks.
Mad Scientist: Plenty of Forsaken apothecaries fall into this category, but a special place has to be given to Narotta Casca, who transplanted a nerubian brain into a Forsaken body. She is weirdly reverent of her own creation, and seems to think that the nerubians would want the Forsaken as allies. The nerubian in question, Merun’khet, does not seem to agree.
Magic Versus Science: Averted. They’re presented as complementary, arcane advances spurring scientific ones, and vice versa. Magic is generally approached in a scientific fashion, being the study of arcane energies.
Mama Bear: Irianne Hollisworth is a peculiar, undead example. Don’t get between her and the sporeling infants she’s chosen to protect.
Masquerade Ball: Destron attends one of these in Silvermoon. In the past, masquerades acted as social levelers, a release valve for the highly stratified elven society. By the time of Travels through Azeroth and Outland, however, the masks are removed towards the end of the party in order to reestablish the social hierarchy, which was threatened by the devastation of the Third War.
Master of Disguise: Destron is able to effectively disguise himself as a human named Talus Corestiam. The disguise was purchased from another Forsaken, known as The Masquerade, who makes a living selling human disguises.
Military Moonshiner: Drin Bessard, who distills a foul-tasting liquor in the Westfall Brigade Encampment. Though it’s against the rules, the officers let it happen so long as it doesn’t get out of hand. Drin’s also an unrepentant former Defias.
Mind Rape: A nasty example of this is seen in Silithus.
Moral Myopia: A few of the orcs use this to justify their own actions.
Mr. Exposition: Occasionally, one will show up to give the narrator the rundown.
My Country, Right or Wrong: Plenty of people think this way. A bit surprisingly, so does Destron. He states that he will take the Horde’s side in a war against the Alliance, even if the Horde is at fault. His reasoning is that the Horde was the only nation to give the Forsaken a chance. This does not extend to Sylvanas and the Forsaken, however; in a hypothetical war between Undercity and the rest of the Horde, Destron would side with the Warchief.
Never Accepted in His Hometown: Destron is pretty much an unknown in Undercity. While he has connections to important people in Orgrimmar, he’s still pretty far from the limelight (and to some extent prefers it that way). But he’s considered a hero in Stormwind for the good deeds he did traveling through there, especially in Redridge where he helped save the town of Lakeshire. Of course, none of them know he’s actually undead…
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As we all know from World of Warcraft, Azeroth and Outland are both full of loot-crazed adventurers killing each other and stealing powerful magical items. This fanfic examines some of the (mostly negative) consequences of these actions.
Noble Savage: Played partly straight with the tauren, though they are shown to be quite ruthless to their ancestral enemies. For instance, one tauren is shown helping the centaurs fight each other to extinction. The tauren are also shown as being too conservative for their own good. Averted in most other cases.
The above centaurs aren't shown as having much in the way of noble traits, though they may have possessed them in the past.
The Broken tribes of Outland tend to be pretty cruel.
Perhaps most notable is the case of the Mag'har, who are presented as a warrior culture invoking some of the worst excesses of The Spartan Way. In fact, Destron believes that the Mag'har bear some responsibility for the Horde's increasingly warlike behavior.
In Northrend, the tuskarr are a somewhat straight example. The taunka, while ruthless, aren't any worse than most of their neighbors. Interestingly, the tauren tend to see the taunka as quite savage. The wolvar are an aversion, being extremely vicious (though this is believed to be partially biological).
Nostalgia Filter: Subverted. Destron expresses nostalgia for his life in Dalaran and for the world before the Third War. At the same time, he acknowledges that things were not as pleasant (and that he was not as happy) as he remembers them being, and even points out the danger of too much nostalgic thinking.
Obviously Evil: Generally the case for bad guys outside of the Horde and the Alliance.
Original Character: Destron himself, and most of the people he encounters. Very few important lore characters make actual appearances in the story. Sometimes minor NPCs (who are just shopkeepers or questgivers in the game itself) are encountered and fleshed out.
Our Demons Are Different: The writer adds a lot of strange details to the Mooks of the Burning Legion, perhaps to make them stand out. To give some examples, felguards are described as being sown into their armor with threads of pure gold, and the one dreadlord encountered by the narrator speaks through mouths in his hands in a voice that sounds like a full angelic choir.
Patchwork Map: Attempts are made to explain Azeroth’s odd geographical arrangement. For instance, Un’goro Crater has ancient Titan machinery that attracts storms, explaining why a jungle lowland is surrounded by deserts. The Titans did this because they presumably wanted to study a jungle rather than a rocky waste.
Pirate: In Travels through Azeroth and Outland, they’re definitely the nasty, Type 1 variety. They lead short and violent lives, and take pleasure in cruelty. The Bloodsail Buccaneers even go so far as to splatter their sails with the blood of victims. The Southsea Freebooters are more professional, but just as vicious.
Planet of Hats: Sometimes averted, as the races are presented as having far more variety than outsiders might initially notice.
The tauren who live in the Barrens and Mulgore differ from the relatively individualistic and aggressive tauren of the Thousand Needles (who became that way by repeatedly besting their centaur enemies), and from the reclusive and ultraconservative tauren of Feralas (who also defeated the centaurs, but ended up as hunter-gatherers instead of pastoralists).
Human and dwarven cultures vary from nation to nation, though this is true in-game as well.
Regional differences also play a part. The blood elves in the Ghost Lands (more specifically, Tranquilien) tended to be more accepting of humans. Humans in Silverpine were more reclusive than other Lordaeronians.
There are also substantial differences between the troll groups. Forest trolls are extremely violent, and lethal duels are considered an acceptable way of settling disputes. The jungle trolls look down on this behavior as savage, and instead solve interpersonal problems with insult contests. The desert trolls are a strange bunch who follow the decrees of a mummified heretic, and have little in common with other trolls.
Proud Merchant Race Guy: Much like in the source material, goblins and ethereals both fulfill this trope. Travels explores the idea a bit further, with the goblins actually having an elaborate ethical system (albeit one that has greatly declined in influence and stature) that is still a source of pride for the more conservative. The etherals, meanwhile, consider cosmopolitanism a prime virtue.
Pulp Magazine: Because of their busy lives, most goblins don’t have the time for lengthy or introspective literature. Instead, they enjoy serialized stories that are described as often being in the style of the pulps. Destron considers some of the serials to be quite thought-provoking.
Redshirt Army: The Burning Legion, whose generals were made lazy by an overwhelming numerical advantage. Some characters point out that, if the Legion starts using capable generals, Azeroth is doomed.
Reformed Criminal: The biggest example is the Westfall Brigade encountered in the Grizzly Hills. Most of them are former Defias (who very often served the Defias as child soldiers) who were unable to fit into Westfall’s post-rebellion society. As a result, Stormwind sent them north to die or at least stay out of the way.
Religious Bruiser: Ileana, the Argent paladin encountered in the Eastern Plaguelands, is an early example. Really though, pretty much any veteran in the Argent Dawn and Crusade, as well as a substantial portion of the draenei, qualify as this.
The Remnant: In addition to the dozens of remnants described from the source material, the orcish town of Stonard is shown as one of these. Orcish fugitives resettled the abandoned town (which the Alliance had originally intended to preserve as a sort of museum, but eventually forgot about) after the Second War. Much later, they joined Thrall’s Horde.
Revenge: Destron encounters a lot of people, even entire societies, motivated by revenge. He generally looks down on revenge, and criticizes it every time he encounters it, in what might be an Author Filibuster.
The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: When writing about the Defias, the author took inspiration from various Maoist insurgency groups and the French Jacobins. The results, (mass murder of villagers, societal collapse and total warfare) are not pretty.
Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Generally on the enlightenment side. While mages (like Destron) are typically on the “romantic” end of things in media, Travels through Azeroth and Outland treats magic as being essentially scientific. Destron even describes one poor and ramshackle area as looking “medieval,” suggesting a more modern mindset. Organized religion tends to come across relatively favorably, however, so long as it’s for one of the good-aligned faiths.
Saintly Church: The Church of the Light sometimes comes across like this, which feels a little out of place with the general tone of the story, through YMMV.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The draenei come off as this (the Red Scare variety, specifically) and as Lawful GoodStepford Smilers. But this being a work as involved as Travels, twists get put on it. (For example, Anchorite Kastoor doesn't really "get" humans, and is frustrated by the fact.)
Scavenger World: An interesting example appears early on in Tirisfal Glades. Here, daring Forsaken search abandoned towns for mementoes of past lives, which they then sell to their fellow undead. Destron encounters this again in Dragonblight.
Science Fiction: The fanfic has Science Fiction as a literary genre invented by goblins that’s referred to as speculative fiction (which is what sci-fi in RL is sometimes called). Azerothian speculative fiction even inspires the development of in-world technological and arcane advances (much as sometimes happens in RL). Dwarves, gnomes, humans, and Forsaken also write in the genre.
Schizo Tech: A big part of the Warcraft universe, Travels through Azeroth and Outland tries to explore the inner workings of this with varying success. In general, Travels tends to skew much more to the modern than medieval aspects.
Seeker Archetype: Destron travels for the sake of learning. As a living student, he risked severe punishment by sneaking into the library's forbidden books section, simply to see what was there.
Sense Loss Sadness: This afflicts all Forsaken to some degree, though some are more bothered by it than others (the level of sense loss may vary for the individual). There are times when Destron is actually thankful for this, since it keeps him from having to smell the world's nastier odors.
Shout-Out: A list of them can be found on the blog itself. Some are very obvious, but others are easy to miss.
Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Type 4. Prophecies are basically predictions that look at probable outcomes. If Monkormi the Bronze Dragon is to be believed, the universe is arranged like a layman’s version of M-Theory.
The Sociopath: Gul’dan comes across as one of these in survivors’ descriptions. So does Destron’s older brother, Torilun, though he died in a knife fight before he could really start doing harm. Other characters may also qualify.
Sociopathic Soldier: Tends to appear a lot in Northrend, especially in Wintergrasp. The brutalized Kirovi survivors who try to torture a necromancer to death might be another example.
The Spartan Way: This is how the Mag'har are portrayed, given that Nagrand is a tough place, for all its beauty. The Mag'har have to be tough to survive.
Strictly Formula: Though each section presents new and interesting ideas, they do follow a basic formula of: a) narrator visits place, b) narrator talks to people and learns stuff, c) narrator ruminates on what he's learned, with some combat thrown in from time to time. The writer breaks with the formula a bit in the Northrend sections, however.
Surreal Horror: For some reason, this appears a lot in the Stormwind zones. Sometimes it’s effective, like the Morbent Fel encounter and the Shadowsworn, but other times it feels more like weird for weirdness’ sake like the night spent at the Slaughtered Lamb tavern in Stormwind City. YMMV, as always.
Swamps Are Evil: Averted. Destron’s relieved to reach the biologically rich Swamp of Sorrows after hiking through Deadwind Pass. Zangarmarsh also sounds fairly pleasant coming after Hellfire Peninsula.
Sympathy for the Devil: Destron admires the Alliance (at least in the Eastern Kingdoms; he seems a bit wary about night elves and draenei) a great deal, and wishes the Horde would be more like it. Partial example, since the Alliance isn’t particularly devilish.
Techno Babble: The attempts to explain the Exodar’s mechanics fall into this, as do some of the discussions revolving around magic.
The Teetotaler: Emette, which Destron found surprising given her nationality (the Dalaranese love wine).
¡Three Amigos!: Destron was part of one of these while a living student in Dalaran, along with Danner and Emette.
Time Dissonance: Immortal or long-lived races are suggested to perceive the passage of time differently from normal humans. This is seen in the night elves and draenei, who rarely know exactly how old they are.
To Hell and Back: In Duskwood, briefly, thanks to Morbent Fel. To a lesser extent, Destron's entire trip to Outland.
Torture Technician: The naga, Lady Tsravash, claims that her society is full of these, and is very proud of this. The horribly mutilated orc she uses as her mouthpiece suggests she’s telling the truth.
Town with a Dark Secret: Arguably Dalaran, what with the sleazy goings-on in the Underbelly, not to mention the conspiratorial and deeply nepotistic attitudes of the ruling magocracy.
Tragic Monster: Believe it or not, the ogre-magi. Blessed with high intelligence, their creator (Gul’dan) also gave each of them two heads. The result? Two aggressive and combative personalities trapped in a single body. Most ogre-magi completely broke down after the Second War and Gul’dan’s death. The few who survived did so by one of the personalities achieving a decisive victory over the other. How was victory achieved? By driving the loser insane, which still means the winner has to share a body with a lunatic. Whatever chance the ogre-magi had to lead their race to something better is long gone. Only the ogre-magi in Ogri’la avoided this fate, but they had to pay a price of their own…
Tragic Villain: Eteria Dawnwalker is a loyal minion of Kael’thas, and participated in the sabotage of the Exodar, which led to many draenic deaths. However, she feels great sympathy to humans, and risked her life to aid Lordaeronian refugees during the Third War. Despite this, mana addiction drove her into the ranks of the Sun King.
Translator Microbes: A pretty much literal case in Sporeggar, where visitors must consume special spores in order to communicate with the natives. A weirder example occurs in Zul’drak, in the form of an invisible snake spirit that translates the Zandali spoken by the trolls.
Underestimating Badassery: Destron when he’s disguised as a human is a partial example. People in the Alliance are surprised that someone who looks so sickly is able to keep up with the strongest and healthiest of their number. Then again, it has less to do with badassery and more to do with the fact that Destron’s undead, and thus doesn’t get tired easily.
Undying Loyalty: A sad case is seen in the Storm Peaks. Tock, a mechagnome, is fulfilling the duties assigned to him by the Titan Watchers, fully expecting them to return. He’s been waiting for tens of thousands of years, continuing to toil as his companions broke down, leaving him totally alone.
Unperson: What is implied to have happened to Ulrecht, a Forsaken who helped the 7th Legion defend Wintergarde Keep from the Scourge. Destron also believes that this happened to Commander Stonefuse for implying that the Dark Iron supply lines were stretched, and thus indicating weakness. This is never confirmed, however.
Unreliable Narrator: The work is told from a limited first-person point of view. As a result, information given to the reader is occasionally incomplete, inaccurate, or filtered by the cultural and social views of characters.
Unwanted Rescue: Corboran, the son of important Dalaranese mages, is believed kidnapped and brainwashed by the Blue Dragonflight. Because of his familial connections, the Kirin Tor send a partisan group called Dawn’s Grace (who are accompanied by Destron) to rescue him. Turns out that Corboran was never brainwashed, and joined the Blue Dragonflight willingly.
Utopia: The society of the draenei is just as utopian as they claim. But you still wouldn’t want to live there.
Wallet of Holding: Coins are heavy, but Destron always seems to have just enough. It’s also a mystery as to how he gets the money (admittedly, he’s far from a lavish spender, but you figure the costs would add up over time).
Weaponized Animal: A weird example pops up in Azshara, in which a naga uses a jellyfish attached to his arm as a weapon.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: For all of Destron’s curiosity and compassion, he doesn’t seem to care very much about mook races like the gnolls and murlocs. Granted, a few complex examples of the above do appear, but for the most part they come across as expendable.
What Might Have Been: The writer very nearly had Daj’yah accompany Destron on his second trip to Northrend.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Destron's not worried about this, since he figures that his adventurous lifestyle will kill him before immortality gets too boring.
Wretched Hive: Destron seems to run into a lot of these during his travels.
Ratchet is a dangerous and seedy seaport where murder is commonplace.
Lost Rigger Cove is a haven for pretty much every kind of pirate and criminal.
Underbelly is seething with intrigue and espionage, to the point where some spies can't even be sure who they're working for.
Gadgetzan, with its smoggy noir-esque streets and the shady conflict between the Steamwheedle Cartel and the Water Company, may qualify.
Zeth'kur and Shattrath's Lower City were apparently like this in times past.
Averted with Booty Bay. Though founded by pirates, it's actually a really nice place.
Ye Goode Olde Days: Averted. The narrator claims that many of the previous eras regarded as idyllic golden ages were just as chaotic and fearful as the present era. In cases where they weren't, they still had serious problems that would eventually lead to their downfall (like the ancient elven empire's dependence on magic). This is lampshaded by the tauren, who refer to the present era as the Age of Peace. Why? Because, for the first time in thousands of years, they aren't being persecuted by the centaurs and quilboar.
You Can't Go Home Again: Daj'yah killed an orc in Orgrimmar in self defense. Hellscream's Horde is notoriously racist however, and after fleeing the city she joins Destron on his travels through the post-Cataclysm Azeroth.