Literature / For All the Marbles

For All The Marbles is an ongoing story written by William_Dellinger on, that can be found here. Currently in its fourth iteration, the story follows the best and brightest from Earth's history as they wake up on a strange planet.

The fourth iteration is notably distinct from the first three, and as such, the tropes for the first three can be found in the first folder, with the tropes for the latest version in the second.

There is also a story-only thread for the original version, as well as the second version.

    Tropes concerning the first three iterations of the Story 

Tropes found in this story include:

  • A Father to His Men: Oliver Cromwell takes part in his soldiers’ training.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Avarkian Confederation uses mankind as chess pieces, playing God, and generally being arrogant asses. There *is* a method to the madness, however…
  • Alien Space Bats: Marvin.
  • Almighty Janitor: Aboard the Hub, the place where the Opening Ceremonies for myox take place, the bartender, named Ian, virtually runs the entire game
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Kind of the point of the whole game. Once you finish off one faction, there’s plenty more to take their place.
  • Anyone Can Die: Due to many of the general’s being lead-from-the-front types, and the tactics that have to be used in the early days, expect many of the mid-ranking officers to get promoted pretty quickly.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The cloning technology that enables Marvin to bring back the great men and women of Earth.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Kit Marlowe’s trademark fighting style.
    Kit turned his attention back to the one with the sword. He could guess the man’s strategy just by looking at him. Accustomed to overpowering opponents. He’ll lead with an overhand strike. Move left, hit second man with foot to sternum. Strike first man at right temple. Take sword, cut throat. Block partner’s wild swing. Right foot to instep. Sword through solar plexus. All of these thoughts passed through Kit’s mind in a fraction of a second.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: These guys (and gals) got picked from the entirety of human history for a reason…
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Attila the Hun, Leonidas of Sparta, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Christopher Marlowe when they flush out Theodore Roosevelt’s assassin.
  • Badass Boast: Patton’s speech to Mavra’s champion, when asked “Who is this little man?”
    • “I am Colonel George Patton, commander of the 9th Cavalry. I’ve commanded armies that shook the Earth when we went into battle.” He stepped slowly toward the Mavra brothers. “I’ve faced down Mexican bandits, fought in the trenches of France, and wiped an army of evil from the face of the Earth. My army advanced farther, captured more enemy prisoners, and liberated more territory in less time than any other army in military history. That’s who the fuck I am. Now draw your sword, you bastard son of a whore, and prepare to be run through.”
  • Badass Bookworm: Nikola Tesla stands out, especially when he finally faces off against Lord Mavra.
    "I'm not your wife. I hit back."
  • Badass Crew
  • Badass Family: Charles Martel and Charles Magnus are grandfather/grandson. John Churchill and Winston Churchill are also relatives, albeit distantly descended.
  • Bond One-Liner: Averted after Kit Marlowe takes out the two thieves.
    • “I suppose I should say something witty. But nothing seems to come to mind.”
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Kit Marlowe takes care of Theodore Roosevelt’s assassin.
  • Character Development: Many of the characters have their own arcs over the story, but Alexander’s stands out more than most. His growth from arrogant, petulant child to humble cog in the machine allows his absolutely terrifying military genius to soar to new heights.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Averted. Having Charles Martel (AKA Charles the HAMMER) on the team, leading an armored division, has that effect.
    • Richelieu’s no slouch, either.
    • Napoleon!
  • The Chessmaster: Machiavelli, Bismarck, Churchill, Sun Tzu, Alan Turing.
  • Christianityis Catholic: The Imperial Catholic Church consists of Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant members, though it eventually expands to include the Muslim, Jewish, and pagan characters as well.
  • Church Militant: The Imperial Catholic Church clergymen aren’t pushovers…
  • Clarke's Third Law: The attitude of many of the pieces to Marvin’s technology. Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and (surprisingly) Archimedes of Syracuse are about the only ones to really come close to understanding Marvin’s technology.
  • Combat by Champion: Patton for Tesla.
  • Cool Airship: Due to airships being easier to construct than airplanes, the Calainian military uses airships in the beginning.
  • Cool Ship: The entire freaking Navy.
  • Cool Spaceship: The Thande.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Charles Martel is one, though a bit more eccentric than dumb.
  • Cultured Warrior: Soooo many.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: All the time. Many modern leaders are disturbed the racist and classist attitudes of older leaders. One stand out moment is a meeting between Nathan Bedford Forrest and Colin Powell...
  • Fishoutof Temporal Water: The majority of the pieces. They all adapt, eventually.
  • Four-Star Badass: Pretty much all of them.
  • Geeky Turn-On: History geeky turn-on, anyway.
  • Gun Porn: Every conversation between Samuel Colt and John Browning.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Pretty much all of them.
  • The Lancer: Machiavelli to Thomas Jefferson. Hell, Machiavelli to just about everyone…
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: 164 characters, plus Marvin, plus 30 or more cameos.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: not an actual instance of this happening, but when Patton asks Rommel why they (the Germans) chose to follow Hitler, Rommel says that Hitler seemed to be the only one that could bring Germany out of the darkness, and for many of the Germans it was a matter of Germany first.
  • The Mutiny: The Terran pieces take matters into their own hands after finding out what exactly they’re supposed to do on this alien world. It fails, due to rebelling against an almost omnipotent Alien Space Bat, but the principle is still there.
  • Nerd Gasm: Stephen Hawking has one when he realises that Sir Isaac Newton is asking him to lecture both Albert Einstein and him (Newton) on the advancements on physics since the latter died.
  • Nice Guy: Henry Clay, who is very accepting of Colin Powell despite being of African descent.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: seen in a very negative light here. One of the other contestants, Irving, is always mentioned as someone who constantly cheats but always manages to cover his tracks.
  • Red Baron: They don’t get much better than Charles the Hammer.
  • Rule of Cool: History's version of The Expendables.
  • Schizo Tech:
  • Serial Escalation: The inventors of General Innovations, Inc. are forced to continuously build bigger and better instruments of war to fight the ever-growing threat.
  • Shout-Out: Far too many to name. There’s at least one, either to pop-culture or culture, in every chapter. Usually both.
  • Worthy Opponent

    Tropes concerning the fourth iteration of the Story