—Nick, pretty well summing up one of the game's big themes
Ather City is part of a Play By Post Game created by SpiritfChaos. It focuses on the titular city, and the events therein after it's devastated by a massive nuclear explosion. At the game's start, most of the city's civilians are dead, and the survivors have grouped into several factions, which are locked in a brutal gang war. Eventually, the gangs dissolve, and the focus shifts to the characters' attempts to survive in, and eventually escape, the hellhole the city has become.The story is told in the form of a forum roleplay, or as the creator calls it, "collaborative fiction". While this format makes it vulnerable to trolls, it also means that it updates constantly, sometimes reaching almost two hundred posts in one day. Short, action-based posts are often interspersed with increasingly long walls of text, whichincreases the story's length considerably.The game has two sequels. The first one is known as The World After or Ather City 2. This one is run by Gambi69, although SpiritfChaos was still a major figure in the production. It has now ended, and is succeeded by Tabula Rasa or Ather City 3; this one is once again run by SpiritfChaos.It has a character sheet.
This work provides examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Dominic's sword. Doesn't matter which one, it just seems to happen to every sword he picks up.
Pretty much any weapon made of adamantium, orichalcum, brimstone, luciferite, or some other form of Unobtainium.
And Osiris' BFS in the sequel, to at least some extent.
And Luke's sword in the third game.
Action Girl: Rogue in the original, Solaris in the sequel.
Pretty much all female player characters count, more or less.
All-Loving Hero: Nick. He's currently devoted his life to improving human-mutant relations, and has gone so far as to confront the Big Bad by offering him tea before fighting. His pacifist outlook helps a bit.
Anyone Can Die: Officially announced by Gambi for TWA - before the announcement, people had around three weeks and a certain number of warnings to post with a given character before they were killed off, assuming they were remembered by him before they posted; as of 19th January 2012, no warnings are given for disused characters, and the time they have to post is roughly altered to "the point at which the character cannot keep up with the game".
...unless the character in question has earned their Plot Armor back with good character development and activity.
Also, Andrus is no longer the main protagonist. It's whoever manages to kill Lucius now.
In the third game, a random player character will killed if no one posts anything for a week.
Applied Phlebotinum / Unobtainium: So far, brimstone (hellish substance which secretes incredibly deadly venom, is horrifically radioactive, superheated, and virtually indestructible), orichalcum (absorbs energy and substance traits upon contact, excluding those of brimstone, which can then be used to great effect), luciferite (a metal that directly opposes brimstone, is virtually indestructible, and is saturated with a form of energy apparently only usable by a select few) and bloodsteel (corrupts other substances to turn them into more bloodsteel, and violently repels orichalcum).
Also, there's the pieces of unnamed Thunderbolt Iron that Chaos has been hunting down. It grants scary boosts in mutant and magic power, but drives the user horribly, horribly insane.
And adamantium, although considering that its only notable effect - that of nigh-invulnerability - is replicated in a minimum of two of the other substances in this list, it still comes out bottom in all of them.
Notably, these are all metals.
Artifact Title: The city that the series is named for no longer exists as of the end of the first game.
That's without accounting for that time goes more slowly in the Mindscape.
One should note that neither character is forced to permanently remain in a plane of existence other than their own, and that they only attain their godly status power after leaving their respective alternate planes, which somewhat ruins the point of this trope.
Nick even uses the word ascended to describe Dominic and himself, but it's actually a reference to Homestuck rather than this trope.
The term 'godsoul' has been officially adopted as the term for characters with power on a deific scale. Other than Nick and Dominic, the only other ascended characters in existence are the Phases, and the TKoH.
Arthur McQuietus and Lucius also count for this. Evangeline Wright may or may not count, given that her secret ability implies a great amount of strength.
Badass Crew: The main characters of both games, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Badass Normal: Everyone except Nick in the beginning of AC 1, just Michael by the end of it.
Michael obtains a robotic arm near the end of AC 1, and has a shapeshifting arm from Hell before that. I wouldn't exactly count that as normal... maybe by Atherverse standards, but not Real Life standards.
Badass Longcoat: Argus and Solaris. In addition, Jonathan wears a black leather duster.
Badass Transplant: Michael. Twice. The first transplant occurs when he loses his arm and Cepheus gives him one made of brimstone; he is then given a mechanical arm from Nick after the brimstone arm is torn from the roots.
Granted, he kicked ass before either transplant, but after that, it's made clear he could probably beat anyone in the series in a fight if he wanted to.
BFS: Pharoah Osiris' sword, now in Solaris' possession - assuming an average height of 180cm, and considering the fact that it's about twice as long as him, that gives the sword a minimum length of roughly three and a half meters.
Her Moral Event Horizon is reached when she somehow resurrects herself and indirectly kills her own son.
Blindfolded Vision: Demonstrated by Andrus against General Monash. After being deprived of sight, he continued the whole of the rest of the battle by sensing the heat energy from his surroundings, and the energy created from attacks.
Blood Knight: Michael. The only times he isn't sleeping in the sequel is when he's in combat.
Blood Magic: In the sequel, two kinds are seen in several characters - a certain mutation allows the user to control and solidify their blood for use as weaponry and such, whilst actual, vampire-esque blood magic exists, having been derived from Water magic, to make the user ageless and significantly more powerful than the average human, so long as they continuously drink the blood of others for sustenance.
Played straight with Jonathan. Jonas set himself ablazeto look cool, while blatantly stating that his black leather duster was badass enough to be fireproof. Justified, since he was covered from head to toe in psionic armor, including his clothes.
Lee: "Because, while all this is ‘fighting huge groups out for your blood’ thing is new to me, for you it’s just damn Tuesday and Sarah is only Number 152 on the list of things trying to kill you, just below ‘Generic NOS Mage Number 34’ and just above that rock over there.”
It gets destroyed, though. She promptly swears vengeance against the NUO for it.
Rick has a cowboy hat, too.
Convection Schmonvection: Apparently, it is quite possible to get right up close to the Field of Black Glass without suffering too horribly, either from the heat or the radiation emanating from the pure brimstone it is composed of. Woe betide you if you actually move over it, though...
Crapsack World: Confined to the titular city in the original, but played straight in the sequel, after the closing of the hellhole.
Averted in the third game... at least at the moment.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While not necessarily stupid, Michael tends to be rather lazy in the sequel, and spends a lot of his time either asleep or unconscious. If he wakes up, however, he will absolutely wreck your shit.
Subverted in the battle against Sarah. She gets beaten up by Solaris, and is just taking punches from her for no reason, then when Lee goes to stab her she bursts into life and kickstarts the battle again.
Deader than Dead: Achieved by Dominic against Void; after essentially being disembowelled, the latter's body is impaled hundreds of times beneath the neck, then crushed between two slabs of rock on his left and right, leaving only his head behind.
Evil Weapon: Michael's brimstone arm. It actually tries to strangle him a few times.
The Juuchiyosamu, or Ten Thousand Cold Nights katana, forged using dark magic. It contains brimstone and bloodsteel, two of the "evil" supermetals.
The Darendrake, later renamed the Apocalypse, also contains dark magic and is said to have similar powers as the sword above. But whereas the Ten Thousand Cold Nights is wielded by the protagonist Cheryl Smith, the Darendrake belongs to the Angel ofDeath.
Extreme Omnivore: Both Void and Solaris are capable of consuming nearly anything you could think of with no ill effects, as their stomachs break the ingested matter into its base atoms before appropriately reforming said atoms as excess cell biomass.
Eye Scream: Michael does this a couple times, with a harpoon and an ice shard to an ally gone berserk and a frost giant, respectively.
Also, one might see Void as the Older and Wiser mentor of sorts, in certain lights... perhaps not a very mentorial mentor, but certainly the oldest of the main group in the sequel. Of course, this subjects him to Mentor Occupational Hazard, and... well, yeah.
As of Dana joining the main group in the sequel, Solaris has been relegated to The Heart. Either that, or Dana herself is The Heart. Exactly who's who hasn't been made entirely clear just yet.
And with Michael and Connor showing up... well, by this point, I think the Five-Man Band thing has been slightly destroyed for the sequel, wouldn't you agree?
Actually, most of those mentioned above have died, or otherwise been removed from the protagonist group. It currently consists of Andrus, Jack, Lucinda, Michael, John, Connor, Lee, Amy, Solaris and Conglacior, with the recent update meaning that nobody is The Hero until Lucius gets killed off.
Andrus and John have both been kidnapped. Michael and Connor have been removed from the group, too. That leaves Lucinda, Lee, Amy, Solaris and Conglacior (and technically Jack, but his controller has left TWA indefinitely).
Less quirky, more evil. But still rather incompetent, in comparison to the mutants fighting them.
Hypocritical Humor: These examples are slightly detached from one another, but Void is quoted as being a "wandering whore" by Dominic, despite not enjoying how frequently others wish to have sex with him due to his age; Dominic himself, meanwhile, was merely "practising" for the last two hundred and fifty years, and is about five hundred relative years older than even the other members of the Old Guard. Perhaps not humorous, but at least somewhat hypocritical.
Those are... humorous? This Troper thinks the mark was missed by a wide margin on this one.
"Perhaps not humorous." Read correctly, please.
Idiot Ball: Void, you cannot reason with or fight against God. Even if you don't care whether he is or not, you should at least read his mind to check before insulting him repeatedly.
Or attempt to use your telepathy to alter his mindset, thereby getting out of dying at his hands.
No, neither can you, Solaris.
I Fell for Hours: A possibility, given Dominic's teleportation ability. Apparently, though, gravity only affects him when he wants it to.
Justified since he can keep himself up with a variety of propulsion methods, none of which require his teleportation ability.
...in the sequel. Electricity alone does not count as a propulsion method, as far as this troper is aware.
Immortality: Dominic becomes type I after five years in the Abyss; Void, and presumably Solaris, are type III due to their mutant abilities.
Marvin would also be type I, considering any form of damage simply causes his body to phase around it like water. Of course, having been dropped into Hell via an expanding hellhole at the end of AC 1...
Actually, it's been established that living beings can fall into and survive in Hell for a while, at least until the torture destroys their physical forms. What with Marvin's inability to actually be destroyed, or even take damage, he should be alright. Probably.
Nick and Sarah have this resulting from the latter's necromancy abilities.
On the flip-side, he does manage to kill a supposedly immortal being by himself... perhaps only through the luck of discovering his one weakness, but that's still a plus.
Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: In the sequel. The fight of the main group against a particularly rare species of dragon and that of the Jonathan group against another served no purpose in plot progression.
Averted in the original, where Ancalagon, the Dragon of Hell, played an important part in displaying the might of the antagonist. Said battle also armed the main party: Dominic acquiring his dragon fang sword; Victor, his dragon scale shield.
Lamarck Was Right: A lot. Solaris inherits her power directly, Andrus is nearly identical to his ancestor Victor as well. Lucinda's family ability of shared memories might also count.
Landmarkof Lore: Stonehenge, Machu Pichu among others. They are sites from where magical energy can be obtained (simply put, one can become a mage by absorbing the magical energy of these places).
Large and in Charge: Matthew. He's by far the largest of the original cast, and definitely the strongest.
Leave No Witnesses: The NOS decides to destroy all of Giza only because, contrary to their plans, the dead body of king Osiris Ptolemy landed within the city.
Leave Your Quest Test: One is presented to Dominic: either he traps himself in the Mindscape, forever left to create and destroy as he sees fit; or he returns to the mortal world, and continues to defend it from threats. This being Dominic, he goes for the former option. With fair reason, of course.
He promptly returns, after he realises that he cannot control his own mind. And then he goes completely insane.
Legacy Character: A lot of characters in the sequel are in some way related to members of the cast in the original.
A meta-example, Spirit stepped down from the GM position after the first game, allowing Gambi to take his place.
The name Chaos doesn't refer to the guy from the second game, but whoever happens to wear the mask at the moment.
Let's You and Him Fight: Michael just randomly attacks Dominic on sight in the sequel. Presumably he knew Dominic was basically a god by now, so he likely knew it would be a Curb-Stomp Battle. He does it anyway.
ARGUS is said by Nick to see everything, much like his namesake from Greek mythology.
"'Conglacior Solus' translates from Latin to English as 'Freeze Alone'."
"Lucius Ferre" looks a lot like Lucifer. His first and last names also refer to light and metal respectively, indicating his power over these two elements.
Lucinda's name is the same reference. She emits a weak glow.
Wu Shuang, i.e. Frost. His name in Chinese, "吴霜", literally means "Wu Frost". But it has the exact same pronunciation as the word "无双", which means "unique". "双" also means "two", indicating his dual nature (life and death powers, mutation and magic, Chinese and British heritage).
His cousin Wu Ming has a similar pun in his name. "吴明" means "Wu Bright", but it has the same pronunciation as "无名", or "nameless" in Chinese.
Arthur Mc Quietus's name consists of 'quietus', which means 'a state between life and death'. Considering how Arthur generally doesn't consider himself to be a human being, but a machine of destruction...
His second form, Pictor Mortis, is Latin for 'Painter of Death'. His signature material is known as Paint.
His potential for doing so is quickly disproved, however; he flatout states afterwards that he never intended to actually rape her, merely using his actions as a method of getting information as to what had occurred to her when she was younger to make her so paranoid/psychopathic. Which, both incidentally and unfortunately for Void, was being raped by someone.
...and it then turns out that she wasn't actually raped at all; she just pretended to have been to hide a massive anger spike.
Morph Weapon: Michael's morningstar after it gets separated from his arm.
To justify why they aren't "of ill repute": at least one of them owned a gaming system, which is a rarity, given the circumstances; it was also noted that most of the townspeople got along fairly well with them... although what they did with him and Argus (and what they intended to do afterwards) would put them somewhat closer to the Moral Event Horizon than before.
There was plenty of help from the main group, namely Victor and Mike.
Survive unimaginable torture at the hands of an Eldritch Abomination;
Even Lovecraftian lore has humans surviving encounters with Cthulhu and those of his ilk... granted they're not SANE, but Dominic has the benefit of Matthew's mind to keep him from going over the edge.
His soul was at the TKOH's mercy for five hundred years (since one year is equivalent to a century in Hell). By all rights, he should be insane to the point of not being capable of doing anything, regardless of Matthew's mental presence or not.
Can a supercomputer understand madness to that extent, though? Dominic could be a slobbering, raving mess in reality, but because of the circumstances regarding his possession he could be forced into some form of clarity. Then again, perhaps this could be a good reason too?
So he's so insane he's sane, then. That'd actually explain a lot.
Possess Matthew's body, which is mechanical and should not be able to contain a soul;
You'll have to ask Dark about that, he's the only one that knows what Matthew had been doing before the possession.
Learn how to flash-step after fighting Chaos for a couple of minutes;
There is no indication that Chaos is doing anything other than moving very quickly, and the android body Dominic possesses is more than capable of matching that speed.
Learn and master the Mindscape spell (which Word of God states only Nick can do without training) after talking to Nick for a few minutes;
The time is glossed over, admittedly, but that doesn't mean that a few moments isn't enough to learn the initial process, after which all that matters is training. Dominic can (and is) doing that on his own.
"Mastered" is perhaps a minor overstatement - it is made obvious that he can barely control his mind, let alone form anything of worth in it. Matthew, on the other hand, is far better at manipulating the Mindscape to his whims.
Destroy a person and absorb both their bodily mass and their soul;
Marvin has both of these, and he literally can not die. He just regenerates from everything. (He's likely dead after the end of part 1, though.)
He has nanomachines in his body that are actively regenerating the instant injuries occur. Nothing can kill him because there's nothing fast enough to do the job before he heals it.
Jonathan has his psionic armor. Usually not too indestructible, unless the dominant personality is Nathan.
And Lucius has his silvery metal, luciferite. It can't be destroyed by anything except Anti-Magic. It even managed to chip off a small shard of brimstone and fuse with it.
Not So Invincible After All: Dominic, when faced with Chaos' power nullification ability. Promptly subverted due to the nanites in Matthew's body, which Dominic is possessing, that make him essentially immortal anyway.
Same thing happened to Lucius.
Almost exactly the same thing, except replace "Dominic" with "Lucius' soul jars".
Actually, this applies to Void and Solaris in equal measure, since both have tentacles and regeneration to absorb the impact. Void frequently uses this to his advantage when travelling in AC 1; Solaris also uses it, but not very often.
Nuke 'em: Lucius plans to do this to Chaos because Anti-Magic can't nullify an ordinary nuclear blast.
Officer and a Gentleman: Both Nick and Lucius. Leaders of their respective factions, two of the three strongest people in the world, both rather cultured under most circumstances.
Offscreen Momentof Awesome: Nick and Michael's fight, which was supposedly awesome enough to spawn an entirely new universe, takes place entirely between near the end of the second game and the third.
Omniscient Morality License: Dominic in the sequel; being immortal, and having lived for two hundred and fifty years or so at that point in time, he honestly doesn't care what happens to the world around him any more, and has even considered ending it a few times just to end his own life.
Justified in that all of them except Michael have some form of Immortality working for them.
Michael's cell death rate was slowed to about 1/25th its usual rate due to his exposure to the Hell arm. That, in my own view, is close enough to partial immortality anyway.
Dominic plays the trope completely straight by actually being seven hundred years old, due to the severely stretched passage of time within Hell.
Ret Gone: Jonathan and Jennifer are whisked from the Atherverse by two immensely powerful beings from a game of their controller's own creation without ever meeting the main group; one Phaeus "Shade" Eclipsion was also completely destroyed by one of these beings.
Nick references Homestuck a few times during his fight against Wallenquist.
One of the most blatant examples in the sequel comes when Void and his bedfellows are shown playing Mortal Kombat and Halo. The issue with the Xbox logging out all players on a console when a single one does so is even referenced.
Cheryl Smith can apparently use Fire Release ninjutsu and has a zanpakutou that is basically a fusion between Senbonzakura and Ryuujin Jakka. Her "zanpakutou" also has several attacks that are blatant expies of Byakuya's techniques.
Someone Has to Die: In the end, Dominic sacrifices himself in order to prevent the world from being engulfed by the expanding hellhole. Somebody has to die in order to close it.
Of course, with Dominic's escape five earth years later, he has gained immortality and general powerful magery skills to go with his teleportation... not a bad reward for surviving five (or, you know, five hundred) years of torture against The True King.
Soul Jar: Lucius had hundreds of these around the world. Most of them got destroyed by Chaos's Anti-Magic fire though.
Telepathy: Too many to count; most notably, Void has some powerful telepathic techniques which will start injuring him as though he were a human being if used too much. Jonathan has this too, which can be used in hundreds of different ways. It also seems to be a prerequisite for becoming the Big Bad in either game, as seen with Cepheus and Lucius.
The Mindscape could be considered a more in-depth version.
Sword Fight: Occurs frequently. In the original, barring other smaller (but no less important) sword fights, the fight against Cepheus is noteworthy.
German NUO Soldier: [moments before his soul is absorbed into Legion] "Oh, come on! What could be worse than death at the hands of whatever that is?"
The Battle Didn't Count: When Nick broke into Lucius's Mindscape, at first it seemed that Nick totally curb-stomped Lucius. But that turned out to be not the real Lucius himself but a presumably much weaker psychic stand-in.
The Lost Lenore: The deaths of Riley in both the original and the sequel are an ongoing source of grief and turmoil for Dominic.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Marvin, upon realising that he can never die, becomes cripplingly depressed for several decades, extending right through the first game to its end.
Dominic expresses hatred for his immortality, wishing to meet his mother and sisters in this universe's equivalent of Heaven. He's forever banned from it, unfortunately, because of his exposure to the True King.
This trope is averted with Void, although unlike the other two, he actually can (and does) die in the sequel.
Word of God: The players are the ones editing this page.
Artistic License - Physics: Averted by Solaris' lightbending ability, which conforms to real physics as part of the in-game power limitation agreement that everyone has. Played straight with Dominic's teleportation in the first game, as he apparently ignores gravity for a fair while after teleportation, and can seemingly control whether excess momentum is carried over between teleports or not.
Artistic License would be argued, but only because You Fail Reading Forever doesn't exist. In the first game his teleportation was always conforming to the direction of his current movement. It is only in the sequel that it changes, allowing Dominic to move through the void in-between the Realms whenever he teleports, resetting his momentum if he wishes.