Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
—"Oran" by Steve Mcdonald, describing the story of St. Oran.
Throughout space and time travels a barge, commanded by the mysterious Admiral, a figure often spoken of but never seen. The Admiral has collected together a group of unique people. He has set them a task.There are two kinds of people. There are the inmates, lost souls who have died. Presented with the harsh reality of how very near to utter annihilation their souls have come, they are given an option: live as an inmate aboard the barge, endure the trials set before them and learn from them, and be eventually granted a second chance at life.They are governed, cared for and protected by their wardens, individuals of moral character (in most cases) given the task to look after them and stand as their moral compass during their time aboard the Barge. They have struck a deal with the Admiral. In exchange for their service, conditional upon redeeming and graduating their inmate, the Admiral will give them one thing. One thing that they need desperately enough to stay on the barge. Some are former inmates.As well as each others company, wardens and inmates have to deal with Ports and Floods. Ports are where the barge docks in different worlds, of varying levels of safety and sanity. Floods are where random phenomena and occurances strike the barge itself. There are normally two or three of these kind of barge events a month.A journal basedDreamwidth RPG, in operation since 2008. Application rounds take place monthly. Further information can be found here.
Black and Grey Morality - The main conceit of the Barge isn't as cut-and-dry as you'd think. Wardens don't have to be paragons of morality to get their jobs done, a lot of crimes go unpunished by authority figures, and the ports and floods cause serious trauma - and sometimes even death - to Warden and Inmate alike. A case can even be made for the Admiral having Orange And Blue Morality, since no one knows what he is or what his standard of "redeemed" is; if anyone complains about him too loudly, they receive a cookie.
The Bridge - Mysteriously, the Barge doesn't seem to have one... or maybe it just hasn't been found yet. It's there, it's just incredibly difficult to get to.
Common Tongue - Barge denizens come from a multitude of different places and times, but there hasn't been an arrival yet who couldn't speak or understand English.
Convenient Coma - Barge comas, which are normally due to players being busy OOC.
He Who Must Not Be Seen - The Admiral is known as a voice and, OOC, an icon of a captain's hat. Wardens, who have presumably seen him in person to make their deals, usually claim to not be able to remember what he looked like.
Super Empowering - The Admiral has the power to remove and restore the canonical abilities of any Inmate. He typically only does this at the request of a Warden. On the character side, Arthas can turn Barge denizens into Death Knights and Cobra Commander used to do this through his nanomites.
Authority in Name Only - Some wardens are significantly weaker than their inmates. The Marquis De Sade and Mark Lilly rely on trust and being decent people to keep their inmates from overpowering them.
Ax-Crazy - Perry has shades of this, but he keeps it under slightly better control.
Beard of Evil - Rhade in the mirrorverse flood had a beard. The "evil" part is subverted because, as he was an inmate at the time, his mirrorverse self was a better, more moral person than his normalverse self.
Berserk Button - Arthas' reaction to any instance of mind possession by an evil force is frightening.
Beware the Nice Ones – Stephanie Brown is generally recognized as a force to be reckoned with, with or without her superpowered boyfriend in the vicinity.
Big Brother Instinct - Dean Winchester lives for this. A lot of the Barge boys have recently rallied around Arya Stark, including Jesse Pinkman and Arthur Pendragon. Allen Francis Doyle has also taken on this role.
Mad Scientist – Megamind and Iris, although both wardens, have been known to design questionable devices.
The Man Behind the Curtain – In March 2013, the Admiral was once more replaced by an impostor who made drastic changes to the barge. That impostor was ultimately revealed to be Toshiko Sato. She was taken down and immediately demoted.
Agent K has told his real name to Narvin ( Kevin Brown)
Orcus on His Throne - Arthas to some degree. Justified in that his powers, while still setting him head and shoulders above most of the Barge's residents, are still severely restricted from their godlike original levels.
Overt Operative - Narvin casually introduces himself to everyone as "Coordinator Narvin of the CIA"
Parental Substitute – Actually, Barbara Gordon is officially adopting Cassandra Cain. Unfortunately Superman has left, but in his time he was this for Kon-el.
Royally Screwed Up - It's complex where Arthas, the Barge's other resident royal, is concerned.
Royals Who Actually Do Something - Holy crap, Arthas. A royal who fought on the frontlines, killed Orc Blademasters, and tracked down demons to the uncharted north to slaughter them brutally. And that's just the shit he did before he came to the Barge.
Seen It All - As the oldest Inmate on the Barge, Arthas can now lay uncontested claim to this title.
Asexual - Castiel, as an angel, avoids things sexy. Seventh Doctor gets nervous at the implication of sex. And the Sixth Doctor's equally O.O at the idea. Vasilia Aliena is openly asexual after an awkward intervention by her also-asexual warden Sherlock Holmes.
Asshole Victim - Harold Lauder got a nasty welcome to the Barge, but as anyone familiar with his canon knows, he kind of had it coming.
Badass Bookworm - Arthur deliberately cultivated this image, even going so far as to work in the library.
Badass Family - The Fire Nation royal family. Iroh is considered to be one of the best Firebenders in history, Zuko came seriously close to overpowering a Death Knight and Azula was not to be messed with either.
Badass Grandpa - Iroh, the quiet and Zen fellow over there sipping his tea, also happens to be one of the most skilled Firebenders in history.
The Chessmaster - David and Bourne in a way - their whole time as pairing was made up of the two of them trying to out-manuever one another. David loses in their first two face-offs, manages an ultimately pyrrhic victory in the third, and finally comes off better in the fourth.
Amanda and Hoffman have both tried to become this. Results ranged from unexpectedly effective to abject failure.
Deadpan Snarker - Bourne's a surprising example. More conventional snarkers include Buffy, Angua, and Shego. Braxiatel and Narvin sometimes get in on the deadpan snarking act, especially at each other.
Deal with the Devil - Dr. Facilier conned plenty of people into making these in life. He spends a lot of his time on the Barge thinking about the ones he made, how they went wrong, and how to get by without their benefits. (He's also the picture on the trope page, natch.)
Death Trap - These are Amanda and Hoffman's stock in trade.
Even Evil Has Standards - In a humorous example, the meticulous eater Rex Lewis is horrified by Impostor Bourne's bad table manners.
The Riddler to Eddie Brock after the latter took a shower with Rex Lewis's corpse nearby. It was even lampshaded by Nygma himself: "You were naked and washing yourself while a dead body was in the room. There's no sugarcoating that."
Evil Redhead - Achilles brought a healthy dose of this to the Barge.
Evil Overlord - Leezar was an affectionate parody of overlords everywhere.
This also applies to Walter White, but he's good at hiding it.
Free-Love Future - Subverted by Chief Stildyne. His universe has a lot of things wrong with it: the monolithic and failing government overshadows the day-to-day lack of hetero (or homo) normativity in all but certain cultures.
Gender Bender - Loki's magic let him do this to people. And to himself.
Genre Savvy - John Connor was purposely raised to be this way.
Glory Days - The fact that Gellert was in jail and thus has burnt up much of his lifespan by now was a source of much angsttttt.
A God Am I - Loki, Coyolxauhqui, Persephone, and Mr. Wednesday really were gods.
Gold Digger - Dame Petronilla. Mainly back home, but still.
Good Cop/Bad Cop - Costigan and Dick during OS-19, while looking for information about David and Kirk. Although really, which one was which is up to debate, as while Dick acted more friendly and social he also dangled a guy off a building to get info while Costigan just interrogated them.
Inhuman Human - Victor Frankenstein had a sneaking suspiscion that everyone who got brought back from the dead was this.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy - Not romantic, but unusually harsh. Amanda's warden deal consists of giving her surrogate parents, John and Jill, a happy ending with their biological child. This requires the erasure of the time she spent with them from history, meaning they won't remember her as a part of their family at all. Cue angst, since their approval and affection were the only things keeping her going for the past few years...
Something Chief Stildyne rarely wants to talk about. But he wouldn't be here if he weren't head over heels enough to throw his career away in order to save the beloved servants of and never see the (straight, unhappy in the military, vicious torturer type) man he loves again.
Jerkass - Quite a few of the inmates. Among the wardens, Bourne's gradually becomes this as time has gone on. If there was a trope called, "Crowning Moment of Jerkass," he'd have about a dozen.
Jerk Jock - Perry carefully cultivates this image.
Karmic Transformation - Bourne did this to David as punishment for impersonating him, trapping him in the form he hates the most - a rat. Though it was only for a few days, it shattered any chance of trust ever forming between them.
Mad Scientist - Rex Lewis/Cobra Commander was by far the most prominent and straightest example. The Rani was another, and to a certain extent Findthee Swing (with his obsession with cranial measurements) very nearly qualified as a third.
Bruce Banner was a heroic variant.
The Man Behind the Curtain - During Halloween 2011, the Admiral was overthrown and replaced by an impostor. That impostor was ultimately revealed to be Randall Flagg.
Manipulative Bastard - The Master, Adam Monroe, Sylar, Rex Lewis and Achilles de Flandres are the best examples of manipulative bastards from days gone by. Malcolm Tucker did his level best to be one. Profit, Iago, Hoffman, Barron, Slater... the list goes on and on.
Manipulative Bitch - Amanda, Merope, Atia of the Julii, Chloe Sweeney, and Rachel Berenson were all fine examples, but the absolute master of this trope? Hayley Stark.
Naytheist – Angua, like many Discworldians, doesn't bother to believe in the gods because she knows they exist.
Nerd Glasses - The Scarecrow wears a pair as Jonathan Crane. Walter White also wears glasses.
New-Age Retro Hippie - Mariska. When she's not busy eating people, she's all about peace, love, hallucinogenic drugs and not showering.
The Nicknamer - Malcolm Tucker. Parker was "Scully", Paddy was "Baldrick" (after a flood that resulted in Malc getting nicknamed "Edmund"), and when Columbus was his warden, Malcolm made a habit of calling him by every major Ohio city and town (Cleveland, Livonia, even Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) except Columbus.
Parental Substitute - Heero Yuy had two daddies during his inmate stint, Slade and Cooper. He also had a maternal figure in Una Persson (as a result of her literally being his mom during the Wild West breach). Zuko also had Iroh, but that one's canonical.
Hoffman played this to David for a time in order to to manipulate him. He eventually wised up to it.
John Kramer, though not present on the Barge, continues to drive Amanda's actions as her surrogate father.
Rassilon tried to play this to Narvin, with ultimately massive failure
Walter White destructively fills this role for Jesse both before and during their time on the Barge. Sarah Connor has also taken on the role of Jesse's surrogate mother.
The Seventh Doctor for Vasilia
Pet the Dog - Wardens and inmates alike are prone to getting these from time to time.
Poisonous Friend - Brax and Rhade. Braxiatel is the poisonous friend to Romana and Benny in canon. Rhade is the poisonous friend of Dylan Hunt. (Ironically, Brax and Rhade are themselves friends and Brax poisoned Rhade, taking the phrase "poisonous friends" to a literal extreme.)
Gaeta may view himself as a subversion of this re: Gaius, in that he considers his own moral code to be vastly superior to Gaius's.
Porn Stache - Gabriel didn't rock it. But he should have. Otto West did, until he shaved it off as a sign of his redemption.
Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers! - Inmates who have powers frequently attempt to get around the Barge's rules through the use of them. David probably is the patron saint (or patron sinner, as the case may be) of this trope.
John Doe and Sgt. Howie. Both are devout Christians, but one wants to save people and the other wants to see them burn. Highlighted when Doe kidnaps Howie and slowly starves him to death.
Billy Costigan, though one of the more morally sound Inmates, was nevertheless a Shadow Archetype to his Warden, Dick Grayson. Like Hoffman and Graham, both men went into law enforcement. Unlike them, both Costigan and Grayson led double lives as part of their work. Grayson was able to successfully accept his duality; Costigan on the other hand had a breakdown and turned to drugs to cope.
Mark Hoffman. It's not too obvious since the two don't interact much, but he's clearly Will Graham's dark counterpart. Both were children of poverty who went into law enforcement and were traumatized in the line of duty. But while Graham resolved to fight the darkness within, Hoffman embraced his darkness and became a serial killer.
Spot the Impostor - When David kidnapped and morphed Jason Bourne. Slade and later Will Graham were able to see through his masquerade - the rest of the Barge was clueless. Rhade could smell that Rachel was female even in morph as a marine.
Took a Level in Jerkass - Bourne's gradually become harsher and more antagonistic as time has gone on, though it's not entirely clear if this can be attributed to his trials with David or just him revealing more of his true personality.
You Are Number Six - Sixth Doctor, Seventh Doctor (although they never in canon go by number names and characters on the Barge don't always know what "number" Doctor each is, but players use the numbers OO Cly for convenience). Seven-of-Nine. 21.
You Look Familiar - Costigan recognized Bourne when he first met him. This didn't end well.
Mal's confusion of Costigan with Cobb ended very, VERY poorly for both of them. May be an example of Beware the Nice Ones, and a consequence of Mal's in-canon Break the Cutie. (But they still ended up as a couple all the same...)