A fan-createdAlternate Continuity to the Dept Heaven series, usually referred to simply as "Apocrypha". This uniquely-told and unabashedly bizarre creation is a (mostly) linear narrative constructed through an online roleplay... or wait, maybe it's the other way around, just an online roleplay that's wound up creating a mostly linear narrative.Whichever the case, the story has been going for a year now and is still continuing strong. The basic premise is that characters from any and all Dept Heaven games arrive as students of, or teachers at, a vast interdimensional school that accepts talented students from the ages of six to twenty-six. This school, the Collegium Caelum as it's formally called, has been producing excellent warriors, mages, healers, and scholars from time immemorial, and its many students are watched over by its two headmasters, Ursula and Hector.Due to the nature of the medium, the cast tends to fluctuate a little, and in order to keep the continuity from collapsing in on itself, many characters are Not as You Know Them. Apocrypha also finds itself flirting with near-constant Development Hell, as inevitably something will be interfering with one or another of its creators' lives and putting one or another of the plot threads on hold. This is balanced out, however, by the fact that the creators are all quite good writers, many of whom also happen to be tropers fond of placing lampshades on their own actions.As of this writing, the story's main characters are:
Nessiah, a prickly transfer student struggling to acclimate to the school despite new disabilities and a slew of progressively more disturbing and horrific secrets. One of the central characters of the story's first and third arcs.
Milanor, a backwater thief sent to Apocrypha unwillingly to get some formal education. The experience is proving to be more of an eye-opener than he first expected.
Kylier, Milanor's long-standing girlfriend and emotional support—although maybe their relationship isn't as healthy as it appears to be. Recently she's been having trouble keeping her foot out of her mouth.
Ledah, the taciturn president of the Student Council. It's common gossip in the school that he's not on good terms with his family.
Fia, a young girl from Riviera who is displaying unprecedented power in her holy magic—and is having trouble controlling that power. The central character of the second arc.
Seth, the headmistress' cheery younger sister, for whom Apocrypha is her first taste of the world... among other things. Has a reputation as a troublemaker.
Meria, a well-traveled mercenary sent to Apocrypha because of family problems. She has connections to many different stories within the school.
And as of late September, Ein, an amnesiac, wingless angel who—unbeknown even to himself—once had a connection to Ledah. His arrival should bring Ledah's plot out of Development Hell.
There are several other characters as well, and new cast members are always welcomed, for anyone that wishes to get involved. An up-to-date backlog of the story thus far can be found here. Just be warned that the subject material can get mature in every fashion.A Character Page is under development.
Dept. Heaven Apocrypha utilizes the following tropes:
A-Cup Angst: An interesting case with Meria - her own cup size is average, bordering on gifted. Despite this, she still manages to be smaller than her three sisters, the elder two especially, and has been shown to be spiteful about it.
A Date with Rosie Palms: Seth has a log to this effect. It's plot-significant, the fact she's able to be comfortable with her own body again is a milestone in dealing with her issues after accidentally cheating on Meria.
All There in the Manual: It's not necessary to enjoy the story, but things will make one hell of a lot more sense if you're familiar with series mythos and trivia (this includes the canon bible and the drama CDs).
Ascended Fanon: Kylier's last name, Schofield, was used by her player in an unrelated project. Another player used the name here, making it official.
Asexuality: For all intents and purposes, Ledah is asexual—this is one of the manyissues he's been left with after his parents and Hector's abuse. Word of God is that he is technically bisexual, but just cannot bear sexual contact after what he's been through.
Can't Have Sex, Ever: Meria and Fia's demon, most likely—Fia isn't happy with the idea of lending her body for something like that.
Lately it seems they may be taking some creative measures to work around this without stepping on Fia's sense of propriety too badly.
Cartwright Curse: Every relationship Meria has ever had that might become serious has ended with an abrupt breakup or the death of the significant other. It has not done much for her inclination to get serious, or her self-esteem.
Cast From HP: What tends to happen whenever Nessiah expends more power than his chains really allow. Also, any of Meria's really flashy attacks.
Seth's powers are a variation - if she ever depletes her magic reserves entirely, she dies.
Caught with Your Pants Down: Variation - Kylier walks in on Milanor trying to tidy up after he and Nessiah made a huge mess of the sheets.
Chaos Architecture / Geographic Flexibility: The school has no official floorplan, so players invent rooms, corridors and settings as required, leading to some minor inconsistencies, such as exactly what furniture is in Milanor's room at any given point.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Not that his circumstances (or Kylier) have ever really helped, but Nessiah fits this to a T. And given his Yandere tendencies, it wasn't pretty when he finally snapped.
Cluster F-Bomb: Meria achieves this when her rage takes hold. In a particularly memorable example, more than five percent of a single post was instances and variations of the word.
Milanor also has one when he hears the Big Bad is coming back. It does a good job of showing just how bad the situation's getting - not only is he not known for such outbursts, he does it in front of the headmistress.
Comedic Sociopathy: Fia and Milanor tend to get the brunt of this, although no one's really immune. The former still gets our sympathy, at least—when hilariously terrible things happen to Milanor, we just point and laugh. He can deal with it.
Cosplay Otaku Girl: Several characters seem to be into cosplay (if the Samhain events are indicative of anything), but Meria in particular stands out—not only did she cosplay as Beatrice, she went out of her way to be in character, too. And got Fia's demondoing it, too.
Creator Breakdown: Recently, one of the players has been going through this behind the scenes.
At least one of the creators is always on the verge of one at any given time.
Cute Mute: As of this writing, Nessiah, who has aphasia.
Darker and Edgier: Relatively. Dept. Heaven does address issues like slavery, racism, insanity, and depending who you ask, rape; but it does so with subtlety and tact. Apocrypha approaches these taboos and more with all the subtlety of a freight train with an atom bomb strapped to the front fender.
Fantastic Racism: Apparently the Red Sage has been getting some of this from those darn NPC students.
Flanderization: In Yggdra Union, Monica's resemblance to Joan of Arc was largely implied through subtext and side materials. Here, her player is self-admittedly determined to play this up for all it's worth, including Shout Outs from Monica's username ("callmejeanne") to a few scenes that might as well be from the classic book A Personal Recollection of Joan of Arc.
To be fair, one battlefield's worth of spotlight isn't much to play a character on... but that's still an awful lot of lampshades.
Hellfire: Fia's fire magic can burn through anything, including souls.
Hero Looking For Group: Fia needs outside interaction to get anywhere in her story. Much advertising was done. She has since acquired the crude basics of a party. There was much rejoicing.
Heroic BSOD: Milanor after the phantasmagoria event, and Seth after she realizes she's just cheated on Meria. Nessiah had one during the confession thread, but it was the source of much hilarity and didn't last too long (comparatively).
Seth goes through another two in rapid succession during a conference in Ursula's office. The first, when she incorrectly guesses she'll have to play bait for Hector, she recovers from quickly. The second, when told that if it comes down to it, she'll have to be the one to kill him, not so much.
I Am Who?: Nessiah is a more-literal reincarnation of a variation of his canon self. To explain, he has the same backstory up to midway through the unexplained years of his canonical plan, during which he suffered a period of deep depression and killed himself over and over until after he'd ritualistically butchered himself, the gods were squicked enough that theytook pity on him and killed him outright. After the phantasmagoria event, he starts to regain memories of this, which adds to his Sanity Slippage.
Meta Guy: How many tropes has Meria lampshaded so far?
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: An unfortunate side effect of the Gender Bender incident. While Nessiah's sexuality remained the same, the fact that he was stuck in a female body meant that he was attracted to Kylier while in it. Which would have been fine, except that she wasn't as careful as she should have been. Even after an entire year, he's still not over it.
The Mole: Possibly the Red Sage, although it's a little early to tell whether or not this is Fauxshadowing. Fia's demon was also supposed to have a combination of this role and assassin.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Apparently Nessiah has strongly considered killing Kylier a few times in the past, although having thought it through logically, he never even tried because he knew that losing Kylier would be the worst thing that could happen to Milanor.
The Other Marty: Due to a lack of source art, some of Seth's icons are recolorings of Ganaha Hibiki. She's half-jokingly credited as an actor in the icon notes.
Panty Thief: A passtime of Milanor's early on, though not an exceptionally perverted or unlikable example. Being otherwise busy and a general increase in maturity have curbed this habit, but apparently most of the school's female population still holds it against him.
Person of Mass Destruction: Seth can destroy things just by thinking about it, so she's extremely careful about who/what she uses her powers on.
Power Gives You Wings: Meria. It lasts about as long—and is about as exhausting—as it is for Maria canonically.
Put on a Bus: Any dropped characters, although Cierra is the most egregious example—her player pulled her out of the story during an argument with the administrator, and as that player got permabanned, it's highly unlikely she'll ever be brought back.
Rape as Drama: Making up a large part of Nessiah's story. When any incidents are written out, the players purposely made them as full of horror as possible.
Room Full of Crazy: Many areas in the phantasmagoria, but Nessiah's workshop in particular.
Schizo Tech: While the level of technology in the Dept. Heaven canon is more or less on par with the Middle Ages, students of the Collegium have access to such conveniences as cell phones, showers, and (possibly) modern-day drugs.
Shower of Angst: The first thing Meria did after finding out she'd been cheated on after her first night together with Seth was hide in the shower for hours and cry. The getting drunk and body count happened later.
Status Quo Is God: Averted. Character relationships and alliances are in a constant state of flux.
Stepford Smiler: Meria. Perhaps because this character doesn't act anything like your typical example, most people would not believe the issues she has.
Suddenly Sexuality: Deconstructed. Milanor's revelation that he's bisexual puts him in a very subtle Heroic BSOD and makes him constantly question his sexual identity, which winds up causing a lot of problems in his relationship with Nessiah.
Triang Relations: Milanor, Nessiah, and Kylier. And it just keeps getting more and more complicated.
There's also Fia, her demon, and Meria, especially if you count the fact that Fia's body is involved, if not her feelings. At any rate, it's at least a Type 9.
This ratchets into full-on Love Dodecahedron proportions when one takes into account that Meria may have lingering feelings for Seth, and the latter may have lingering feelings although she may be acquiring a new love interest soon.
And now, we have Ledah, Ein, and Monica.
Troubled Fetal Position: Nessiah is found doing this quite a lot, especially as the F Rom Bad To Worse trope was stalking him for quite a while. Meria had her share of it, too, and Kylier acted like this briefly while under her blunt trauma migraine.
Tsundere: Nessiah. Meria has shown hints of the non-romantic version, too.
Vapor Wear: Nessiah is stated to be unable to stand wearing tight clothing because of his negative body image (among other things), which includes underwear. A much more traditional example would be Meria.
Verbal Tic: Nessiah's "mii". Originally, "mi" was just a nickname for Milanor (who'd answered to it enough times when Nessiah only got the first syllable out for it to stick), but after Nessiah's mental breakdown and slow rehabilitation, this was all he could say when his vocal cords started working again. He's in speech therapy now, but still resorts to saying "mii" occasionally. It seems as though even once this is over with, it's going to remain a permanent tic.