Spearbreakers

Spearbreakers is a Dwarf Fortress Let's Play conducted on the Bay 12 Forums. It began with the ambitious goal of being the first epic fortress of version 0.34, featuring the return of Syrupleaf's Spawn of Holistic and encouraging players to participate in storytelling.

What followed was a chaotic mess of mismanagement, hypercompetent management, Spawn getting stuck on ledges, hundreds and hundreds of mugs accidentally being produced for no reason, serial medical malpractice, zombie sieges of apocalyptic proportions, and lots and lots of story-based fiction, ranging in subject matter from a humble caravan guard accidentally averting the apocalypse to a convoluted science-fiction plot involving planeshifting agents of corrupt interdimensional research corporations and an extremist fringe group spearheaded by a megalomaniac trying to take them down.

The Fortress ended some time ago, mainly due to a crippling shortage of players able to take a turn (aas everyone was either preoccupied with Real Life stuff or dropped off the face of the internet.

Spearbreakers provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Mugs, corpses, and even dwarven children are suggested to serve as ammo for catapults when it was discovered it could be done via a DF Hack plugin. Everyone was especially excited about getting to use mugs as ammo though.
  • Aborted Arc: Was originally intended as a Fan Sequel to Syrupleaf; however, this aspect was gradually dropped as the fort developed its own narrative, only showing in the form of occasional mentions of Parasol.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: The Narrator of Vanya's journals.
  • After the End: Technically, Spearbreakers takes place after Syrupleaf, which ended in a cataclysmic apocalypse where the world was turned into a giant block of obsidian.
  • Almost Kiss: One of these is shared by Vanya and Urist.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Spawn are evil without exception.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Colonel Fischer's gender was constantly being mixed up, almost as a Running Gag.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name:
    • One overseer, Tomio, is basically an automaton created by some technocratic mage guild, though he has another name for it.
    • Parasol and Ballpoint employ mechs and tau-style battlesuits of various flavors in their forces.
  • Anachronism Stew: To an extent, logical technological development is completely ignored, and the Timewar companies have mechs, jetpacks, battlesuits, railguns, APC/IFVs and VTO Ls, but fixed-wing aircraft are strangely lacking or not yet being mass produced in the future segments. Spearbreakers also cobbles together multi-dimensional portals, time travel, and medieval warfare.
  • And I Must Scream: Softa, Ashsaber and Mad-Dok's consciousnesses remains trapped in their mind, unable to influence the body. Softa barely clings to her sanity by virtue of Fischer, Splint among others visiting her. Ashsaber on the other hand is without a doubt a gibbering wreck in there. Mad-Dok is that one spawn that never screeches. Just kind of stares at the wall for the most part. Creepy indeed.
  • Anti-Climax: Mitchewawa promised us he would invade hell during his turn. He didn't.
    • The Fortress as a whole ended on such a note, much to the irritation of many.
  • Antihero:
    • Mr Frog, though technically a good guy, would make a pretty wicked villain.
    • Talvi is also technically a good guy/girl, but she eventually becomes the antihero of several story arcs.
  • Anyone Can Die: In most Dwarf Fortress succession games, people embrace the fact that their characters can die at any moment. Due to Spearbreakers' canon style, the writers tried to ensure the overseers avoided deaths of claimed dwarves whenever possible, but even the best efforts were often futile.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Parasol and Sewaturet make heavy use of electrified maces, hammers, and chainsaw-based weapons in close combat. Ballpoint's Contractors meanwhile are often taking weapons into battle that were possibly forged thousands of years ago.
    • As a specific example, Koth uses her (technically several hundred years old) copper whip from Shockedtowns to devastating effect when she escapes the Parasol hanger bay, and Sewat Elysians use regular halberds alongside a chainsaw variety.
  • Army of the Ages: Ballpoint recruits a large number of its contractors via time travel, picking them up from fallen settlements and battles that ended in disaster all over Everoc's earlier history.
  • Ascended Extra: There are a few that fall into this category.
    • Joseph began as an Imaginary Friend of Talvi's, but gradually was revealed to become the leader of a powerful interdimensional company.
    • Vanya was originally a narrator for Talvi's adventures in the side stories, but turned into a main character that several overseers mentioned or made reference to in canon.
    • The italics portions in Vanya's journals turn into second person narration by Dr. Urist Jones.
  • Asexuality: Mr Frog doesn't loathe romance, and it isn't that he doesn't understand it, either. He simply doesn't care about it.
    • Parasol's E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T., a giant creature with turrets mounted to its armor.
  • Awesome but Impractical
    • Sewaturet's Mastodon is a gargantuan monster of a tank equipped with massive cruise missiles and several early nuclear missiles, in addition to two really big railguns, various anti-boarding measures, and a fission engine to make the beast go, but it takes days for it to get anywhere because of its size and its nuclear ordinance is limited.
    • Mr Frog's serrated disc launcher will always at least tear off a limb, if not outright kill the target by chopping them in half or decapitating them. The weapon and ammo are noted as being just a bit on the heavy side, need to be shoulder-fired like a rocket launcher, and slow to fire in-game, severely limiting their utility as a standard issue weapon.
    • In-game railguns suffer from the same, but are at least slightly more capable weapons on thier own with thier bayonets.
  • Ax-Crazy: Talvi, when she tried to murder Mr Frog. In fact, she literally had an axe as her Weapon of Choice.
  • Back from the Dead: This is actually an extremely rare occurrence, but it does happen. After Jack Magnus dies in combat, he gets resurrected again... and again... and again...
  • Back Story: Plenty of it, as found in Boatmurdered, Headshoots and Syrupleaf.
  • Badass Cape: In the canon, Mr Frog wears a cloak that makes him look more Bad Ass.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The new Spawn can inflict this on any dwarf they successfully land a bite on.
  • Balls of Steel: Tomio is impervious to kicks to the groin.
  • Beneath the Earth: Spearbreakers is contained practically completely belowground - even the entrances. This is because the horrors aboveground were deemed too dangerous to face early in the fort's life.
  • Benevolent Boss: Though his speech was admittedly a bit difficult to understand, Sus definitely qualifies as this.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Technically speaking, as he had already gathered all the materials for his strange mood, The Master should not have gone insane. He did anyways.
  • Cannon Fodder: Parasol's Auxiliary Corps consists of people with discipline problems, unskilled laborers, and other extraneous people and undesirables. They get basic training and gear and are generally not expected to actually survive in a real fight, judging by the sorry state of one of Division 48D's squads.
  • Catch Phrase: There are more than one, though most of the characters don't have one.
    • Draignean's is "Armok's Infinite Beard"
    • Talvi's is "Fuggle", a made-up word she uses in the same manner as an expletive.
  • Chainsaw Good: Chainsaw-based weaponry (swords, pikes, axes, and freaking hammers,) were slated to join the dwarven arsenal.
  • Character Development: For a Succession Game, Spearbreakers Canon sees quite a bit of this. Spoilers of the most prevalent examples follow.
    • Non-clone Mr Frog orients his goals towards taking Eris down, rather than !!SCIENCE!!. Clone Mr Frog grows more appreciative of Vanya.
    • Splint changes and becomes more violent and angry, in addition to his Sanity Slippage.
    • Vanya becomes a stronger character.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Vanya has an issue with jealousy during her first encounter with it.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Talvi becomes this after her episode of Sanity Slippage.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Fischer - it's scary how powerful the leader of the army became, racking up over 200 kills by Splint's second reign. Not only that, she was this Bad Ass before she was sent to the danger room.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: This is every dwarf in Spearbreakers. Early on, Ashsaber and Softa transformed into Holistic Spawn, and were locked away in "isolation chambers", screaming their hatred for the living all hours of the day. These chambers were right across from the living area - the dwarves had to learn to sleep through it.
    Hanslanda: "Oh god, everyone in the fort is heavily medicated and boozed up just to deal with backround noise. That's a bit hardcore."
    • And the best example of this? Even after a sudden wave of deaths during the final turn courtesy of a surprise Spawn attack, the dwarves were so numb to various awful things that they actually didn't seem to really care about all the dwarves who were killed or injured besides then-overseer Savero Greenpages, who became rather depressed afterwards.
  • Continuity Snarl: There are multiple contributing authors, and their individual plotlines often don't quite match up with each other due to lack of communication, stubbornness, or both.
  • Corpse Land: Due to the recurring Zombie Apocalypse, at one point there were literally thousands of bones strewn across the blood plains.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Joseph was originally a Parasol executive who became Drunk with Power and did a Face-Heel Turn, leaving and founding Eris.
  • Creepy Cemetery: The Clover contains hundreds of unmarked graves piled together, graves the dwarves are forced to pass on their way to the forges. Simon Tam, the mayor for most of the fort's life, had his rooms beneath it too.
  • Crossdresser: Bombzero the Butcher, who was mistaken for a woman during the population census.
  • Deadly Training Area: Mr Frog put together an advanced-tech "combat simulation chamber" to rapidly hone the abilities of the militia. This was a subject of controversy among the overseers. Also averted, in Reudh's Spawn Containment Facility. Marksdwarves can engage Spawn in combat in complete safety. Doesn't stop civilians urinating themselves in terror whenever they pass by, though.
  • Deal with the Devil: As Hell is basically an extension of Spearbreakers, this happens often.
    • Mr Frog makes a deal and gets taken to Eris.
    • Mr Frog makes another deal to obtain an amnesiac for Talvi. Both of these deals are with Joseph.
    • Vanya agrees to work with Mr Frog as an assistant in exchange for Hans and Urist's lives.
  • Decapitation Required: The Holistic Spawn required either this, bisection, or thier hearts to be damaged in some way to be killed.
  • Depending on the Author: Everyone who writes about Colonel Fischer seems to portray her differently, from rampaging psycho to having some measure of actual... Dwarfanity?
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Vanya Carena. Her Goal in Life is always shifting between arcs, but she's always looking.
  • Did You Actually Believe?: Joseph uses this line against Vanya to great effect as he tries to Break Her By Talking.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Spawn were originally intended to be the main threat to the fortress, but were soon superseded by the fort's own hospital and recurring necromancer attacks.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Both Mr Frog and Vanya dislike most modern weaponry (be they regular firearms or coil/railguns,) preferring to use other modes of weaponry such as daggers or shoulder-fired buzzsaw guns.
  • Doomsday Device: Many are discussed or used in the side-stories, but the fortress itself actually lacked them due to FPS concerns and no running water on the map.
  • Dual Wielding: Sergeants PaintBrushTurkey, Lefton, and Dauros were known to dual wield axes, swords, and pikes respectively.
  • Durable Death Trap: The traps that Dr. Urist Jones nearly falls victim to have been standing for over a thousand years. They may be a little rusty and stick a bit, but they still work perfectly otherwise.
  • Doom Troops: The Sewat soldiers in general tend to invoke this feeling between the gas masks and glowing red-orange goggles. Really all they're missing is black uniforms.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: This is pretty much typical for a Dwarf Fortress Succession Game.
    • Parts of the Eris Facility are this as well, and an escape tunnel for it leads into Spearbreakers' ruins.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Several.
    • The Holistic Spawn.
    • Manamaids - hypothetical and nightmarishly grotesque creatures, a rough cross between a mermaid and a manatee. Various countries/companies supposedly use them as shock troops because of thier size and godawful faces, and god help you if they decide to bust a sexy move. Even spawn can't take that kind of ugly.
    • Scythods - a terrifying alien version of a giant preying mantis. A giant praying mantis that can use guns.
  • Elite Army: Everyone has some form of it serving alongside thier regular disposable troopers.
    • Spearbreakers itself has 1st Company, full of pike, axe, and swordsdwarves able to shred spawn with relative ease by themselves.
    • Ballpoint and Stone make use of "Asset Recovery" forces made up of thier best soldiers.
    • Parasol has unnamed Black Ops intelligence units (of which Vanya was likely part of as an agent) ala the CIA that can hold thier own against several times thier regular equivalents; thier officers are often very potent warriors in thier own right too.
    • Sewaturet makes use of Elysian Halberdiers, who can take on Ballpoint Recovery troops and win with or without guns of thier own.
    • The best and most loyal soldiers compose the Erebus Corps for Eris, who are more than capable of taking on both BT Recovery troops and Elysians at the same time during the assault on the in-dimension Eris baseand only lose because the Elysians were slightly better melee fighters.
    • Both Parasol and Ballpoint also have Battlesuit companies that can mow down larger numbers of less well-equipped soldiers with impunity.
  • Elsewhere Fic: Many of the later stories don't take place at the fortress itself.
  • Expy/Captain Ersatz:
    • Draignean is an expy of Zapp Brannigan from Futurama, taking his ego and mannerisms but making him a competent combatant and surprisingly ok leader. For the most part anyway.
    • Orodogoth is essentially Dale Gribble from King of the Hill, except Dale at least has a job and knows how to drive a tank. Ordogoth was just some crackpot soap maker whose claim to fame is throwing sand in a guy's face during a mercenary raid.
  • Famed In-Story: Uncommon for succession games, but as there's a timewar going on, Spearbreakers fic gets to see its own future.
    • Fischer is noted as a god in several places by multiple people, even managing to have a knighthood order established in her honor.
    • Vanya is noted to be famous among both dwarves and elves (though it's said that the elves hate her).
    • Urist is noted to be a figure of legend as well, though primarily among dwarves, but his name may have something to do with that.
  • Fan Sequel: Intended to be one to Syrupleaf, but it fell flat in that area for the most part.
  • Flat "What.": Mr Frog drops one of these while watching Vanya and Urist argue.
  • Fiery Redhead: Rose was so much of one the trope could've been based on her.
  • Friendless Background: Vanya has had very few friends in her lifetime, which is fairly typical of someone with her personality traits in-game.
  • Fun with Acronyms: A huge number of these. Most of them are short though.
    • Fowl Restrained Over Gate
    • Spearbreakers Laws of Interdimensional Teleportation
    • Personal Electronic Assistant
    • Spawn Powered Uninvitee Destroyer
    • Spawn Powered Invader Terminator
    • Combat And Training Simulator
    • Fucking Incredible Superdwarven Culler of Horrors and Ender of Reigns
  • Gas Mask Mooks: A good guy example, the Sewats again. As they make pretty heavy use of chemical weapons, thier gear reflects it.
  • General Failure: Draignean is the perfect example of this, being somewhat similar to Futurama's Zapp Brannigan. Except he doesn't suck when he gets into an actual fight.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Nuclear warheads? Fixed-wing jets? No, none at all here. Instead, there's plenty of genetic gadgetry and general biological engineering, mental manipulation mishaps and perilous pack and palm propulsing.
  • Genre Shift: Many of the later story entries focus on an extended conflict between multiple interdimensional superpowers, a large shift away from DF's typical medieval fantasy setting. Some players considered this a bad thing
  • Gentle Giant: Hans, the miner/militiadwarf.
  • Glass Cannon: Shadow Devils, the demons below Spearbreakers, are strong enough to fling a dwarf across a room and gib a dog by punching it, but weak enough that a single bone bolt can and most likely kill them.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: After Talvi learned about the Spawn, her brain practically fried.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Hans bats away a grenade that a novice Ballpoint soldier threw.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Splint kicked Reudh in the nuts after the drugs in his personal booze stash finally sent him off the deep end after trying to punch him to his senses didn't work.
    • Vanya attempted this against Tomio, to try to escape him.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Splint's first love, Stova, died after the initial Spawn attack. Splint redirects the pain towards the Spawn as hatred, and even managed to kill several despite his lack of training.
  • He Knows Too Much: Not really that much of a surprise, given Spearbreakers' conspiracy setting.
    • Mr Frog is exiled from Ballpoint pre-story because of what he knows.
    • Joseph and Mr Frog separately try to kill Vanya because of what she's seen.
    • Mr Frog tries to administer an amnesiac to Talvi to force her to forget what she's seen, and later obtains the assistance of Joseph for that purpose.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sus sacrificed his life on the spikebridge to save the last people who were coming in from outside. Interestingly, Sus II got a broken spine from that same bit of Malevolent Architecture.
  • Honor Before Reason: Sus II, after having been critically injured in a goblin attack, recovered, and was then critically injured again in a spike mishap. He still trained as a soldier despite having a broken spine, making him a paraplegic. His response was to simply drag himself around to train and fight.
    • Mincer also refused treatment on his torn hand. His wife, Uvash, attempts to carry out orders despite missing her left foot.
    • Mountain Barbarians despise ranged weapons, seeing them as useless or coward's weapons, despite thier usefulness in support roles.
  • I Call Her "Vera": Multiple examples of this, some in-story, some in-game. The in-game ones are typically the result of an ancient naming tradition known as... Drawing random words out of a helmet.
    • The Master named his beloved wooden pike "Chestnut" in Canon.
    • Colonel Fischer named her pike "Splashslowed" after she made a couple hundred kills with it.
    • Dicer named her axe "Beltadores."
    • Jack Magnus named his axe "Chancefin."
    • Niccolo named his steel pike "Heatherbreeds."
    • Frankly so many weapons and shields got names it'd be more trouble than it's worth to list them all.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Urist says this, though in different phrasing, to explain some of his actions.
  • If I Can't Have You: Later in the story, Talvi tried to kill her crush, Mr Frog.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Mr Frog says variations of this many times over the duration of his turn. This gets dropped afterwards.
    • It shows up again later with Savero Greenpages. Finding out one of the "doctors" wasn't allowed to practice anymore was not a good sign to her.
  • Insert Grenade Here: Bugi, a Ballpoint mercenary, throws a grenade into one of Eris's tanks to blow it up.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: Although Spearbreakers itself only contains one, portals are everywhere, driven entirely by technology.
  • I Will Find You: A surprisingly common occurrence.
    • Mr Frog shouts this at Vanya as she runs away from him after breaking into his room.
    • Vanya shouts this to Salaia as they're separated.
    • Reudh vows he'll find his One True Love, Vanya.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Talvi Diamondknight, both in-game and in-canon, since she was usually the one called on to do something when it had to be done early on.
  • Kick the Dog: A favorite pastime of overseers is throwing cavies into the Spawn containment rooms.
  • Kill 'em All: Joseph wants to wipe out all of Parasol and Ballpoint, using Spearbreakers as the agent to get them to attack each other.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Talvi had a certain obsessive fondness for cavies.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: While plasma and laser weapons exist, just about everyone uses coilguns, mass drivers, and of course good old fashioned firearms, presumably because they or the ammo are cheaper to produce.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Urist has one.
  • Last of His Kind: Mr Frog is apparently the only survivor of his species in the Shared Universe, though not, perhaps, The Multiverse. He's described as being a dwarf-sized gnome, though he perhaps has an inch in height above the average dwarf and a bit scrawny compared to many dwarves.
  • Living Shadow: Rose's pet/companion, Halen. He/it was a source of much irritation and the ensuing discussion took his/its induction into canon as Serious Business.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: Eventually the Spearbreakers dwarves come across the timewar technology, some left behind by mercenaries, some made by Mr Frog. Urist, Vanya, and Hans play around with it quite a bit, usually in the form of coilguns and explosives.
  • MacGyvering: Mr Frog excels at this, creating bombs and weapons from spare lab equipment.
  • Mad Doctor: Kannan especially, but technically, any of the hospital staff could qualify as this.
  • Madness Mantra: The Master's "CARNAGE!"
  • Mad Scientist: Spearbreakers has several.
    • Mr Frog is notorious for his experiments, which have little regard for morality. However, he's not precisely "mad"... At least, not most of the time.
    • Draconik Sankis claims this title with the creation of the Spawn of Fischer, as well as resurrecting Jack Magnus twice. Like Mr Frog, he's quite a bit saner than some of the other residents. It's ironic that in Spearbreakers, the mad scientists have more sense than half the total population.
    • Aussie Evil conducted unusual experiments with blood, greatly enjoying its taste and trying to "improve upon it". He's without a doubt the most "mad" of the three, and he may have been a vampire who traveled to the fort specifically for the blood rains.
  • Malaproper: Talvi has a tendency to use phrases that don't make any sense at all.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Spikebridge, which was your run of the mill murderpath for invaders with a deep drop down one side. It's effectiveness was kind of hit-or-miss.
  • Manchurian Agent: Vanya, the skulker, was what became known in the canon as a "Sleeper Agent" of Parasol, i.e. the person's agent side "sleeps" until "awakened", and they have no knowledge of that aspect of their lives.
  • Meaningful Echo: Vanya's story plays with this trope quite a bit.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: In Spearbreakers, there is no Black and White Morality. No one is all bad, and no one is all good. The players like to show everything from every possible perspective. Sometimes even the Villains get displayed as heroes, and vice versa.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: Spearbreakers' universe has one. It's Joseph.
  • Mysterious Waif: Vanya Carena, a skulker.
  • Necromancer:
    • Spearbreakers has these in spades. So much so that they and thier horde of zombies supplanted the Spawn as main enemy until the Paintbrushian Reforms of the military.
    Player!Splint: Another fucking necromancer got spotted by a puppy wandering around. WHY CAN I NOT HAVE A FORT FREE OF THESE ASSHOLES!?
    • The armies of Ballpoint employ them, Sewaturet uses an Equus one, and on a few occasions it's implied that Joseph may use them too.
    • There are a couple people in Spearbreakers who manage to learn powers related to necromancy, among them being Talvi.
  • No OSHA Compliance: This happens a lot.
    • The whole of Spearbreakers. Unusual casualties and lost dwarves happened regularly until the Mitch Reforms, and it even happened to invaders sometimes. Spawn often got stuck in pits or in one more infamous case, on a ledge, which generally needed soldiers to deal with afterwards.
    • Parasol doesn't seem to care about the safety of its lesser employees.
  • No Social Skills: Mr Frog can never understand people, and, on occasion, Terrahex finds Holistic Spawn easier to understand than his own species.
  • Oh, Crap: When The Master came back to life, several players promptly shat their pants. A lot of dwarves did so in canon too.
    "wait, where are you going? you are coming back, right? your not going to leave us with The Master, are you?"
    —Aseaheru
  • Older Than They Look: Nobody ever guesses Mr Frog's true age until he reveals it. Who would've thought he's been around since Syrupleaf?
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • In-the game, these are often made by the pikesdwarves and axedwarves, most especially by Fischer.
    • In-canon, this includes practically any shot made by a railgun or a serrated disc launcher. The test devices for in-game would generally splatter the target against whatever was behind them in spectacular fashion, while the discs from the launcher would almost always take limbs off, if not outright kill the victim.
  • One-Letter Name: "V" was reluctant to reveal her full name until later on.
  • Only Sane Man: There are a couple examples of these, but each is an isolated occurrence, with special mention going to Mitchewawa and PaintBrushTurkey. The two of them managed to get the hospital, fortress, and for PaintBrush, the military in functioning order (practically switching the military and hospital's places to the relief of many dwarves) in less than a year after years of neglect and mismanagement of each.
    • Of course for Mitch, his accomplishment in mending the chaos of the fort itself didn't last long.
    • Hans, an oversized miner/militiadwarf. While not the sharpest tool in the shed, he's often the only one with his head on straight.
  • Paint the Town Red: Blood falls from the sky (and smells like burnt bacon,) and battles took place everywhere, sometimes even inside the fortress itself. Red has never looked so red.
  • Parental Abandonment: Though it's hardly touched upon, Vanya is an orphan.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Mr Frog, but only after he's been cloned. The clone, through social interaction, gradually gains a sense of morality.
  • Properly Paranoid: Orodogoth thinks that aliens have invaded Everoc. The Cuckoolander Was Right.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Mountain Barbarians, warriors descended from the humans and dwarves of the old world. They have skin that is varying shades of black or gray, feel no pain or fear, and cannot be raised from the dead (though they may still become necromancers or vampires, since neither of these kills them.) They have an entire culture based around slaving, fishing, raiding, and fighting the Spawn (and whoever else, but mostly the Spawn.)
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The first Spawn siege in Reudh's reign resulted in NINE deaths, and two cripples. Additionally, Mad-Dok was infected with the Spawn Fever. The second Spawn siege in the same year resulted in two more, including Jack Magnus.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Mr Frog isn't quite 700, but he's well past three hundred.
    • Scylk is pretty old, too, especially by terrestrial standards.
    • The Overseer of Sewaturet is at least 300 as well.
    • Necromancers in general tend to be this too.
  • Reforged into a Minion: Holistic Detective's Spawn can turn bitten dwarves into more of her toothy minions. This has happened to many over the nearly ten years; among them is Stova, Splint's lover and one of the founders of Spearbreakers, Softa and Ashsaber, both militia, and Mad-Dok, auxiliary militia. Softa, Ashsaber and Mad-Dok are cooped up in holding cells designed by Mr Frog.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist:
    • Mr Frog would rather be living out his days elsewhere, but has found himself assigned to Spearbreakers.
    • Cloned Mr Frog is working for someone he's rather not be associated with, but without choice.
  • Running Gag: Spearbreakers has plenty of these.
    • Mugs. Mugs everywhere. And then more mugs inside those mugs. The spacetime continuum is screwed up just for the purpose of fitting more mugs within the same physical space as the other mugs.
    • For a few turns, the new Overseer would build a new entrance, while messing with or closing off one or more of the old ones. This stopped after the walls were finally finished, resulting in Mr Frog's wagon road being shut down permanently.
    • People requesting a turn while expressing their doubts that the fortress will make it far enough for them to take it.
    • Fischer's gender constantly being mixed up.
    • Did your dwarf die? Yes. Two turns later: No, they just got misplaced.
    • Dwarves (rightfully) assuming the worst when they're sent to the hospital until Mitch's reforms.
    • Using Splint's War Giant Emus for leather.
    • Overseers had a habit of throwing a cavy down into one of the Spawn isolation chambers. Whether this is done for luck, or Just for Fun, nobody really knows. Or cares for that matter.
    • Splint threw mugs at the walls when he got angry.
    • Hans had a tendency to use his shield as a weapon.
    • Something go wrong? Blame it on Reudh.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Talvi experiences this over the course of several years.
    • Splint gradually experiences this too, though it takes much longer, and for a brief time he even recovered. Then Rose died and a Spawn caved his skull in from behind during a battle, while he was beating the shit out of Rose's killer.
    • Reudh experiences this over the course of roughly six months as a result of his booze being spiked with various drugs. He gets better once it's confiscated.
  • Scenery Gorn: Corpses, skulls, bones, zombies, and a plain full of ever-raining blood. It took literal years to finally clean up the mess from the first four.
  • Second-Person Narration: Vanya's story is told by an Adventurer Archaeologist who refers to himself in this manner.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Tomio is a technomancer. Inside his body is masses of integrated weaponry. It's not really a sealed entity, more an Astro Boy type affair, but still close enough.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Mr Frog. It started unintentionally, but became a sort of running gag and character trait.
  • Shield Bash: In the story, Hans had a tendency to use his shield rather than his weapon, becoming a Running Gag as a result.
  • Shout-Out: There are many, many of these. Here's a few:
    • The chief medical dwarf was originally Simon Tam, after the Firefly character. Later he got promoted to Mayor and removed from his position. Simon Tam isn't that great of a doctor.
    • "But it was a good once" - a reference to Doctor Who. This isn't the only Doctor Who reference, either.
    • "Dr. Urist Jones", named after the famous Indiana Jones series. His character is quite a bit different from Indiana's, however.
    • One of Parasol's larger scientific death machines is intended to essentially be a Squiggoth from 40k.
    • Ballpoint's Moghopper dropships are the ones used in the Starship Troopers movies.
    • Several dwarves are named after gods from the Majesty games, them being Fervus (chaos,) Krypta (death,) and Dauros (law.) Dauros is the only one of them to survive the fort's run, with Kyrpta being killed in battle and Fervus during a surprise attack during renovations.
  • Shrinking Violet:
    • Vanya starts as this.
    • Terrahex is even more of a shrinking violet than Vanya is. In fact, he's so much of one that he practically redefines the term.
  • Shrouded in Myth:
    • Ballpoint soldiers from the future imply that Spearbreakers' story isn't the best understood, though well known.
    • An Adventurer Archaeologist states through Second-Person Narration that Vanya's story is only vaguely known by the public.
  • Succession Game: Naw, we're just pulling your leg.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Colonel Fischer's name is occasionally misspelled as "Fisher".
    • Mr Frog insists on his name being spelled without the traditional period following "Mr". Doing otherwise is a good way to get yourself fed to the Spawn (or at least your booze drugged.)
    • LFTON's name is often spelled 'Lefton' to avoid headaches. Two of his alter egos, 0009 and Nine, have even more confusing, even unpronounceable names.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The fortress tried dealing with the horde of zombies by waiting for a squad of Spawn to show up and kill them instead. [[spoiler:It turns out the zombies were much sturdier and numerous than expected, considering what happened to the Spawn when they showed up.
    Draignean: We're into autumn now, WE SURVIVED! (Granted we survived because Godzilla and Mothra arrived at the same time and decided to fight each other, not because of our military prowess)
  • Stalker with a Crush: There are multiple stalkers in Spearbreakers.
    • After the first couple of years, Talvi became obsessed with Mr Frog, believing she was in love.
    • Lord Reudh has a creepy yet adorable crush on Rose, Splint's bodyguard. This is later determined to be an unusual aftereffect of Mr Frog's chemical concoctions. After this, a single kiss from Vanya Carena is enough to make him fall in love with her, determined to follow her to the ends of this world and thensome.
  • Strange Salute: During Draignean's reign, a punch to the face (the stronger the better) becomes the Spearbreakers salute.
  • That Was the Last Entry: This happens after Vanya's twenty-fifth journal entry. It's misleading because she's not actually dead.
  • The Alcoholic: Earlier in the story, Mr Frog was always calling for his Merlot.
  • The Atoner:
    • Urist Okablokum has something hidden away in his past that he's trying to make up for.
    • Vanya Carena is trying to make up for what she's done in her past, too, though it wasn't entirely her fault.
  • The Charmer: This is a facade that Joseph uses to manipulate people.
  • The Chessmaster: Joseph's favorite way of doing things is to manipulate events from afar.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Talvi is right about Joseph - he's the bad guy. Splint and Mr Frog don't realize it until later.
  • The Virus: The new Spawn, who deliver it by way of successful bites that tear the skin, excluding damage done by shaking the victim.
  • This Way to Certain Death: Migrants coming to the fortress had to pass by the rotting corpses of other migrants that were left outside to die in the middle of zombie sieges for several years. Caravans likewise typically had to pass the remains of caravans that didn't quite make it to the depot for only Armok knows how long.
  • Time Machine Did we mention that Portals double as time machines, too?
  • Time Travel: Loads of this everywhere, even though some people protested it. The timestream eventually becomes such a mess that it's a great big Timey-Wimey Ball. Somehow, everything still makes sense, which was an accomplishment in and of itself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dauros, one of Fischer's squaddies, started off relatively strong, but eventually became nearly as skilled and potent a warrior as Fischer herself. Dauros even managed to pull a stunt on par with the old dwarven wrestlers of the Headshoots and Syrupleaf era. By kicking a spawn in the hand so hard he managed to tear it clean off. He also managed to [1] freaking pikes.
    • For his badassery he would be promoted to Commander by Fischer herself in wake of her being debilitated by a Forgotten Beast's gas.
  • Walking the Earth: Reudh does this after his reign, looking for Vanya, after he vows that he will not rest until he finds her.
  • "What Now?" Ending: Vanya's story is left hanging before she goes to try to save her sister.
  • Would Hit a Girl: A Ballpoint soldier takes a swipe at Vanya, and a little girl gets killed by Vanya herself.
  • Worst Aid: The "hospital" was one of the leading causes of death in the early years of Spearbreakers. Come for a stubbed toe, stay for the dehydration!
  • Yandere: There are at least two instances of this.
    • Talvi, with her obsession over Mr Frog.
    • The Master, who was incredibly possessive of Chestnut, his beloved wooden pike.
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Mr Frog yells a version of this at Vanya as she runs from him.
  • You Shall Not Pass: At the end of his reign, Sus held back the invaders long enough for everyone to get inside. He would later be found dead in the pits along the spikebridge.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: At one point, there were well over 300 zombified animal bits roaming around outside, resulting in a squad of sieging Spawn being immediately ripped to pieces.