Here’s a social experiment.Take a popular sci-fi series (in this case, Mass Effect).Start up a news feed that posts official, daily, in-universe news blurbs.Add a commentary box.And just watch the roleplaying begin.This is what happened to Cerberus Daily News, a fake news blog based off of the daily news feeds that would show up on Mass Effect 2’s Start Screen. Growing into a roleplaying site almost overnight, it has since created its own forum, storylines, chat channel and site wiki, staying true to its roots by releasing daily news articles on the state of the Galaxy written by its userbase.Cerberus Daily News has played through the events of Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, using the articles and in-game Codices as its backbone. Having rebooted its forums, it now explores eventsAfter the End, choosing one of the game’s canonical endings and creating a scenario that takes place one year after the final events of the series’ finale (Specifically, in CDN's canon, Shepard was female and went for the Control Ending), using a series of community-written “Retrospectives” to flesh out the forum’s current setting.Cerberus Daily News can be found here. The original (unformatted Wordpress site) can be found here, its old forum can be found here, and its wiki here. If you would like to submit your own front-page story for the site, here are the posting guidelines.We are in the process of compiling our greatest adventures in the form of recaps. Please enjoy the first one: The Battle of Veratix Station.
Cerberus Daily News contains the following tropes:
Actor Allusion: An actor named Carth Onasi plays a fictionalized expy of Kaidan in Citadel XXX. They're played by the same VA.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: D.W.I.C.K, apparently. It briefly appeared to have taken over Dwick Dwickcast Syndykyt. Terrorbyte activated it during his short-lived coup attempt following the real Dwick's multi-day disappearance. Hijinks ensured.
All Animals Are Dogs: Choriick. Which are essentially salarian spider-dogs. Also Talxu, which are asari aqua-dogs (with a little chimp in the mix).
All Drummers Are Animals: Skhash the drummer. A vorcha who plays drums for a red metal band. By vorcha standards, he's actually pretty well-spoken and shows considerable intelligence.
Abad Sam-mel: What the hell?! 'CDN' stands for 'Cerberus Daily News', not 'Cosmic Dating Network', damnit.
After the End: The forum is currently in a post-Mass Effect 3 timeframe. A couple of years have passed, with the relay network coming back online and galaxy-wide travel starting up again. Most of the nations and factions are in the process of rebuilding.
Amusing Alien: The vorcha. Terrifying in battle. Hilarious as pets.
Special mention to Curr the News Vorcha, whose popular show "News With Curr" is good for a laugh and/or the urge to end it all.
Author Existence Failure: Happens in-universe when Suzi Spektre, the actress who plays "Shepherd" in Citadel XXX is killed during the Reaper attack on earth. Shepherd's role is taken up by MelodyJovia. The change in appearance is explained via the Cerberus "Elazar Project's" facial reconstruction. Just like inthe game.
From The Life Egregious: "I lied, Holmes!" A minor moment from the early third season that sets up a joke in the series finale.
Buccaneer Broadcaster: The Voice of Omega run by Job Larson and his hobo friends. Used primarily to talk about whatever rumors are currently spreading around Omega. With occasional conspiracy theories thrown in. Ask him about the Tusk-Man.
Cannibalism Superpower: "Devour The Hearts Of NKaria's Adversaries So That You May Take Their Power For Yourself", a side-scrolling platformer; distribution is banned in the Illuminated Primacy due to extreme gore, subversive religious themes, and depictions of intense violence. Featuring Jammin' Moxie, voiced by Tethys Reave.
Child Soldiers: Part of several characters' background - most commonly turians or drell. The issue of child soldiers is currently a controversial one due to reports of underage drell soldiers used by the Illuminated Primacy; the drell rights groups have been making a fuss.
Coincidence Magnet: Applicable to the entire forum, and the characters' habits of running into each other even when doing mundane things like grocery shopping. The characters often Lampshade it, usually by joking/theorizing that the CDN forums are actually an exercise in probablity manipulation.
Comedic Sociopathy: Krogan, vorcha, and pretty much any mercenary on the board. To be honest, much of the humour runs on this trope.
Conspiracy Theorist: Several. Current Conspiracy Theorist in Chief: Capice, who ran practically every Reaper-related rumor by the boards before the Invasion of Earth (to everyone else’s irritation). Job is also good for a conspiracy theory or two.
Continuation: Bioware’s official CDN news articles have ended, but forum members continue to create them in their absence.
Cool Cat: Jammin' Moxie (moxies being four-eyed turian cats).
Cool Shades: Julmoth. Twice as cool because he's a batarian.
"I don't always come back from the dead, but when I do, I make sure to wear awesome shades."
Cool Starship: Too many to name. Many were destroyed in the Reaper War, however.
A thread in the Virtual Lounge (the OOC section) is about inventing even more of these.
It is said that when the Hierophant of Gruul asked for a superweapon to destroy his enemies, he was told it could not be done. When he asked for a dreadnought, he was told that he did not have the budget. So he asked for a heavy cruiser, and told his men that it must be the best cruiser that could possibly exist, one that would crush his enemies and lead his fleets to victory. When he was brought back the design for the Hierophant-class, he asked why his men claimed that they could not bring him a superweapon."
Deadpan Snarker: A staple characteristic for the forum. Although the ultimate example might well be Dyson, the galaxy's most sarcastic geth, whose put-downs and come-backs (eminantly logical, of course) have become legendary. It has a disturbing habit of keeping tabs on other posters and linking effortlessly to previous posts as a means of demonstrating his opponents' hypocrisy or contradictions.
Distressed Damsel: Kidnapping is a very common occurrence, so much so that one child was given a subdermal distress beacon for “in the unlikely circumstance that you leave your father's line of sight again.”
Eye Scream: Considering the average forum-goer’s occupation, bullets and knives to the squishy bits are a distressingly common occurrence. Just ask Davril, Dietrich, Aphin, or really any member of Cerberus before the end of Mass Effect 3.
Fantastic Racism: Incredibly common. Nearly every race hates at least one other race by default, and practically everyone despises both vorcha and quarians.
Likewise for GyChief Tritt, who got his current rank after ending a hostage crisis with no civilian loss of life. Unfortunately, he's now stuck as company logistics NCO
Gambit Pileup: This happened when Varril was imprisoned and several different complicated plans were hatched to rescue him, but most of the disorganized confusion you'd usually expect is averted, as Varril gets out in the end.
I Call It Vera: A somewhat arhaic trope, but consider Quint's FMBLA and Aphin's Fishjolnir. The former is a gun that shoots spent heat sinks at their opponents. The latter is a three foot-long rubber fish on a handle.
I Just Want to Be Normal: The calling cry of many a character. Pertinent examples include Emon Spiza and the more reluctant mercenaries.
Kicked Upstairs: When Jaquento Schmidt accepted a position at the Alliance Tower on the Citadel, he was promoted for formal reasons only, giving him rank superiority over his coworkers and a bigger pay check.
Same for Gunny Tritt, whose new rank came with the billet of company gunny, placing him in charge of logistics and training, and taking him off the line. He's doing his best to get put back on the line, though.
Killer Rabbit: An expedition to an uncharted planet yielded the discovery of small blue lizards with biotic powers, though they seemed pretty harmless.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Several. The often antagonistic relationships between characters contrast with the out of character relationships.
Mega Corp.: Titan Corporation (possibly the name seeks to lampshade its status?). Its corporate armies, general lack of ethics, questionable experiments, and household name paints it as a classic Megacorp.
Name's the Same: As a sort of conclusion to a running gag of the boards, serial killer The Tayseri Strangler ended up sharing the name of one of the forum's most respectable posters...along with many life details that were suspiciously similar, too.
Never Found the Body: Julmoth and Justicar Velinara come to mind. Also a useful tool for players who come back from hiatus.
Never Live It Down: Where were the salarians at the Battle of Earth? Everyone else was there - even the remnants of the batarian fleet. Everyone. But not one of the four Council races. The Salarian Union has been in damage-control mode almost non-stop in the war's aftermath.
New Neighbours as the Plot Demands: Efforts have been made to avert this. A thread in the virtual lounge exists for the creation of sovereign nations within the Terminus, so that the region can be fleshed out consistently and with a fair amount of pre-established political backstory. It also provides plenty of inspiration for new Terminus characters.
Non-canon species are not permitted; although it's known that both the Turian Hierarchy and the Terminus contain several species as yet unrevealed, characters are limited to official canon species. Some of these minor races have been named, but that's about it.
Noodle Incident: Used all the time. Examples include: Tomaz’s pilgrimage, Spiza’s indentured servitude, the invasion of Gunny’s ship by krogan, and several of Aphin’s and Jules’ benders.
No Social Skills: A seemingly common trait of the raloi. In Najhil's case, it's a result of the brutal, strict state-run orphanage she was raised in. Some of the more technically-minded people are prone to this as well.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: One Classy Bloke - ha ha, it's a volus in a top hat with a cane! Funny, right? Well, he not only showed signs of being a Magnificent Bastard...he's a biotic vanguard on top of that. It doesn't help him in the end.
Occupiers Out of Our Country: This has been a growing sentiment amongst human colonists towards the Alliance's post-war government, which they consider to be exploiting their resources without recompense to aid Earth's reconstruction while simultaneously neglecting their needs.
Bitterskin*'s reaction to the Yahg showing up on the forum.
One Steve Limit: Averted. “Goronak” is such a prevalent batarian name that it’s become a racial slur. It actually means "second son"; it's so common as a name because the second son is blessed in traditional batarian culture, and many parents proudly name their second son "Goronak" to emphasis this.
Only Sane Man: More than a third of the forum has experienced this at least once.
Open Secret: Inconspicuous Organic was clearly a robust human specimen, NOT a form of synthetic intelligence.
Abattoir and Velinara's "engagement" was this for a while until it became an open secret.
Politeness Judo: When trying to convince a politician to come to a charity dinner, Laykalar the excitable hanar ends up talking to the man's staff. They try to get him to leave the conversation, but being too polite he can’t do that (or even take the hint). They grow desperate to get rid of him, and he thinks they’re being extra cooperative.
Porn with Plot: Illium-based ExtranetPlayground is pursuing this niche with some success. Their flagship trilogy Citadel XXX is 'based on real events' in-universe, thus serving as an homage/parody of Mass Effect itself.
The Remnant: Several neo-Cerberus groups have formed in the wake of the organization's dissolution.
Replacement Scrappy: In-universe the entire cast of the Life Egregious season five. Luckily Tethys Reave regeneratesnote from being disintegrated by a reaper at the start of the war and kills them all during a live broadcast.
Retcon: Given how one character’s actions affect others’, this is suppressed whenever possible.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Batarian Hegemony. One part antebellum slaveowners, one part goose stepping nazi, one part paranoid propaganda-spewing communist. Serve chilled. However, batarian space is in upheaval after the events of Mass Effect 3, and to some regard they're now The Alliance.
Silence, You Fool!: Grand Executor Menekhotep Tran'Darvas, on The Life Egregious begins almost every sentence with "Silence!"
Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The whole scale is explored, from beloved idealists like children's entertainer Uncle Garm Garm to the most pessimistic and brutal parts of galactic culture. The post-Reaper War period is potentially shaping up to be either complete hell or the beginning of a golden age, depending on who you ask. Such events as the curing of the genophage, the transition of the batarian government from Hegemony to Confederacy and the welcoming of both the geth and the rachni into the galactic community have divided characters considerably - are these changes for good or ill?
Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of the first major characters, Inconspicuous Organic, was a robust human specimen and most certainly not an artificial intelligence.
The Engineer: Probably the second largest demographic after mercenaries. Quarians are especially prone to using this trope.
Theme Naming: The elite Hammer operatives of the Paladin organization use callsigns named after medieval equipment. Allard Kyarlen is Helm, Jurea Foron is Dagger, Kiral Ohurdrat is Mace, Paroc Didonas is Sword, and Everett Maliszewski (Son_of_Orion) is Anvil.
Third-Person Person: Najhil Holken (a poorly-socialized raloi), as well as Flak and Dreket (both vorcha). The hanar, of course, speak like this all the time, though they depersonalize themselves and never use their name. And some of the drell have adopted the hanars' use (or non-use) of pronouns.
Timeskip: The forum timeframe jumped forward one year after the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, giving the setting enough time to begin healing itself from the catastrophic last days of the Reaper War.
Took a Level in Badass: Stick around long enough and even the most ineffectual character may end up doing this.
Unexplained Recovery: Several, including Wedeg Biigs, who seems to have survived being swallowed and digested by a sea monster.
Wham Episode: May 5st, 2012 (2186 in-universe), when the Reaper invasion began in the forums.
The terrorist attack on Sur'Kesh in August 2013, which ends a period of relative calm in memorable fashion.
What Did I Do Last Night?: Julmoth and Diplomatic Immunity are very prone to this; the former once lost two weeks due to some really strong drugs and ended up on Earth with a bunch of human junkies and a volus prostitute.
What You Are in the Dark: The Chresk threads are a near perfect example of this, as you'll never know who will actually bet on the slaves being forced to fight to gain freedom until they do so.