Roleplay: Dept Heaven Apocrypha
A fan-created Alternate 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
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.
- Monica, a village girl with big dreams. She's close friends with Fia, Seth, and Ein, and tries to help them with their problems. She has a planned storyline... that has been repeatedly postponed and will only start after the conclusion of the current plot and Nessiah's next event.
- 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.
- 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 many issues 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.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Meria and Marietta, who have been shown to completely loathe each other, are suspiciously quick to worry about each other's well-being when Hector shows up to harass them. Possibly a case of Enemy Mine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 demon doing it, too.
- 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.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The way Monica finds Joyeuse is pretty much a direct reference to the way that Joan of Arc found her holy sword in the book A Personal Recollection of Joan of Arc.
- Everyone Is Bi: Holds true for most of the cast, although there are a few characters who are stated explicitly to be completely straight (Fia, Monica) or completely gay (Nessiah).
- 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.
- Freudian Slip: Kylier has a massive one while discussing Milanor and Nessiah's particularly good morning.
- Idiot Ball: ...whose idea was it to let the deeply disturbed kid put half the student body into a waking dream?
- 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.
- Hilarity Ensues: This is what happens when you get a couple of Kleptomaniac Heroes in the same room... and have Meria arrive at precisely the wrong moment.
- Hotter and Sexier: Veiled and not-so-veiled sex references have been in Dept. Heaven since the beginning. Sexual content in Apocrypha is very, very not veiled.
- 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 they took pity on him and killed him outright. After the phantasmagoria event, he starts to regain memories of this, which adds to his Sanity Slippage.
- Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Amusingly averted. Fia would love to do this for her demon and Meria, but since they're using her body to do it, she can't.
- Magnetic Hero: Monica. She knows almost every active character and is friends with almost everyone she knows.
- Manipulative Bastard: Fia harasses her own demon into sleeping with Meria right before he leaves. Whatever her intentions are, they're anything but completely innocent.
- Meaningful Name: In religious context, "Apocrypha" tends to refer to documents outside Biblical canon. (It's also the name of a song the administrator likes.)
- The Medic: Fia still goes around healing people despite herself.
- 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.
- 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.
- No Name Given: Fia's demon is never given a proper name.
- Noodle Incident: Milanor and Kylier's first time is often referenced, but never fully explained. Kylier apparently also has one involving children that's behind her dislike for them.
- No Periods, Period: Averted. Meria's periods are so bad she has to take painkillers for them.
- Nose Bleed: Milanor has one thinking about Kylier and a gender-bent Nessiah. Too bad the actual occurrence doesn't play out nearly as well as he imagines.
- 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.
- 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.
- Running Gag: Vienya haet vending machines.
- And they hate her right back.
- Also, the school's orientation maps appear to be chronically out of date.
- 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.
- Sharing a Body: Fia and her demon. They're different genders. It's awkward, and getting more so.
- Status Quo Is God: Averted. Character relationships and alliances are in a constant state of flux.
- 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.
- 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.
- Who Would Win: Seth and Aegina discuss a possible battle between Ursula and Hector.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nessiah is intensely achluophobic. Hector likes to leave him in pitch-dark places.
- Would Hit a Girl: Milanor, who has recently shown no regret slapping Kylier when she steps far enough over the line.