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Roleplay: Otherborn
"There is a world that overlaps ours, a parallel realm where "demons" lay in wait, living in a hell unlike anything that religion or science can imagine."
Neku Sakuraba

Otherborn (link here) is a message board primarily dedicated to roleplaying. You've probably heard of this sort of thing before; everyone signs up with an account that serves as their character, and then proceeds to immerse themselves into another world as those characters.

Otherborn, however, has a twist.

As an enforced Alternate Universe fanfiction setting, all "Main" characters are required to be from some other Canon. This is part of the integral concept of the website.

The story takes place in Urbadelphia, a mysterious city plagued by outbreaks of "Demons", which are destructive, unearthly monsters that seek to conquer our world. These demons come from an alternate dimension known as the Otherworld, a creepy, twisted world that in some ways mirrors our own. When they cross between their world and ours, they pierce a mystic Veil that separates the two. For a brief time, this Veil overlaps our world, causing it to twist and shift. Of course, the mundane inhabitants of our world cannot perceive it - it takes special people, born with an arcane connection to the other side, to perceive the shift; these people call themselves Otherborn. Blessed (or cursed) with special abilities, these Otherborn are often alienated from society by their powers, afraid that they are freaks or even monsters themselves. To relieve this, and combat the demonic threat, there is the Network - a secret organization, created by Otherborn to act as support for their own kind and serve as a central agency for those who would fight for the survival of the world.

Warning: Anything in spoiler tags has not happened in RP yet. Thus, to those who are participating, these points really will spoil something. Read spoilers at your own risk.

This page has a character sheet. If you're on Otherborn, why don't you go add your character?

Tropes present in Otherborn:

  • Action Girl: Arguably, any female character that isn't Namine.
  • Action Mom: Aqua.
  • All There in the Manual: This page, being mostly edited by Neku, can be considered Word of God - and thus, the manual. The companion novel, Rise of Network, is the Manual for Neku's (remembered) backstory.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The demons are perceived this way in-universe.
  • Alternate Universe: Everything on the story is when comparing to original canons, even fan canons.
    • One is in the works based on an event in Neku's past having not happened; see What Could Have Been below.
  • Angel Unaware / God Was My Copilot: Joshua is the Composer. He just doesn't have most of his powers in this universe.
  • The Atoner: Sora Shimomura, though he’s less of this here than he was in the fanfiction he was taken from.
  • Badass Normal: Vaan Shepard, the protagonist of Ascension. A human given weapons to fight demons...and arguably is more heroic than the already established heroes. Not to mention he has done what is considered difficult to do, impress Namine Lebeau. "Step up the program, Boss! He's Vaan, much more epic than you ever can be."
  • Battle Couple: Shiki and Sora; possibly Aya and Lea
  • Berserk Button: If Neku is in the room, don't ever insult, mess with, or touch Namine LeBeau. If Namine is in the room, don't mess with Neku, either.
    • Honestly, threatening any of Neku's friends will achieve the effect, Namine's just gets a bigger boom.
    • Screwing with Shiki will have the Ghost Rider on your back in no time flat; Sora doesn't mess around.
    • Never, ever, ever threaten Aqua's kids.
    • Go on. Mention Jack of Blades in Seifer's presence. I dare you.
    • Word of God says that Lea's is racism.
      • Also demons messing with any of the people he considers 'his' - particularly Ifrit or Izaya.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The LeBeaus definitely, definitely count.
  • Blind Seer: Lilly Satou
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Izaya Orihara… or is he? Lampshaded by Neku, both in and out of character.
  • Break the Cutie: Sininen started as a cute, spunky blunette teenager. He has been revealed to have massive psychological issues, barely keeping hold of his sanity, and getting by only because of the support of his friends and mom. Even worse, his brother is significantly less supportive, and the further down a dark path Midori goes, the further towards madness Sini gets. Then Midori joined the Scarves. Which confronted Sini with the one truth his mind couldn't handle...
  • Broken Masquerade: Haraken has become the victim of this; the death of his friend Kanna led him to investigate what caused that event; he found it...
  • Buffy Speak: The Masquerade thread gave us this little gem:
    Namine: [upon seeing Neku's costume] Neku... Wow, he's like... Wow...
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Oh, God this is Neku and Namine to a T. Of course, Sora and Shiki also apply, and Lea takes this almost as far as Neku does in terms of relationships.
    • Well, as of the Masquerade, they both have. Now, to get over the relationship angst...
  • Catch Phrase: 'IIIIIIIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The Chessmaster: Izaya Orihara, complete with weird board game comprised of three other ones that no one really knows how to play, except Izaya.
    • Jack of Blades, as well.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Jazz, oh so very, very, very much. Though she actually knows she's crazy, her Cuckoolander-ness goes far beyond her supposed mental illness.
  • Cursed with Awesome: True to his original character, Shizuo Heiwajima just wants to be normal. When angry, he goes into a berserk rage that effectively removes any upper limits on his strength.
  • Cross Over: The entire point of the forum. However, certain characters do stand out.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Almost everyone. At one point, the Admin noted that there were only two (heroic) characters who didn't have one. Few of the villains do, of course, but there are some notable exceptions (oh my god, Angel).
    • Lea is a survivor of the Halfer Camps, which have been compared numerous times both in and out of character to Nazi concentration camps.
    • We haven't been exposed to Neku's entire past, but the one scene he can remember is being cradled in his mother's arms as she is dying, lying in a pool of her own blood, and then being shot twice by a mysterious man he can't remember because he is so terrified of him his brain erased the memory. His player has dropped hints that this man is Alexander Anderson.
    • Noctis was experimented on by Hojo. Yes. That Hojo. Need we say more?
  • Darker and Edgier: In the currently-running Ascension Saga and upcoming City of Vengeance arc, the Network is in big trouble, the CIA is closing in, and a Code Alpha has been called for the first time since World War II; to elaborate? A terrorist is claiming Otherborn supremacy and deciding to genocide all humans to promote their race. The CIA is blaming Neku and the Network for the terrorist's actions, and it's up to them to stop him before their secret is blown and they become hunted as terrorists themselves. It was designed by Michael Fri as an homage to his original idea for Otherborn, before admin!Neku's creation of the Network.
    • In Eternal Future, an on-hiatus project detailing Michael's idea for an Otherborn fighting game, the CIA has already won. The Network is on their leash, Izaya runs the Urbadelphia underground, Midori has turned to the dark side, Sini has to go find him, and an even darker threat is looming on the horizon. Ascension is somewhat based on Eternal Future's idea, and both were created with the same thing in mind.
  • Demonic Possession: The Jinchuriki (Roxas, Utau, Gaara, and Utau/"Kyuu-chan") are an interesting case.
  • Elemental Powers: Several - these are considered the second most common type of Otherborn powers.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: This is, basically, what Code Alpha signifies is about to happen; in the planned tie-in, Alpha, it's already in the process of happening, and some consider it as already having happened.
  • Expy: Is both played straight and subverted on the site; all characters are based on canon characters from other works, yet some copy those characters outright, and some bear only nominal resemblance to their original selves.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Most of the Network's names for concepts are this - justified in some cases because the terms were invented by teenagers. Examples include "Halfers", the offspring of humans and demons, the Veil, which is a magical veil that separates our world from the Otherworld, the Otherworld itself, and Otherborn, who are people born with the ability to touch the Otherworld.
    • The term "drawn through" counts as well.
    • Many thread titles are this, as well.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The title of Ori and Kny's adoption group for orphaned demon children is "Help. Options. Protection. Everyone (is accepted)" - H.O.P.E. Evidently, the kids came up with it; Ori liked it so much, he kept it.
  • Gender Bender: 'Kanra' is actually Izaya Orihara. Justified, as Izaya is a kitsune which means he has the ability to take any shape he wants - including female.
  • G.I.R.L.: An amusing inversion; head admin Neku Sakuraba is female. She has yet to create a female Main Character; her only female character at all is an obscure NPC featured in two posts and exists only because Neku needed an adult owner for the characters' hangout, a club/bar/hangout called Veil.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Haraken's glasses allow him to see things that he really shouldn't be able to. Then again, given what he's from...
  • Good Guy Bar / Local Hangout: The Veil, which is a bar-grill-nightclub-teen-hangout-zone that also serves as the secret base of operations of the entire Network.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: All of the Halfers are this - children of a human and a demon. There are several being played, including Lea Strife, Shizuo Heiwajima, Aya Brea, Dante and Vergil, Yeul, and Seifer; the latter has an entire gang of Half Human Hybrids.
  • Hammerspace: Haraken's pouch; of course, this is justified in that it can hold only digital items that are really just VR programs with no physical form, but it doesn't make it any less weird when he pulls things like swords and brick walls out of it.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Namine's reason for not being able to spit it out to Neku that she is head-over-heels for him.
  • Infodump: It's generally recommended for a new player to read all the entries in the Important Information sidebar before creating a character. There are fourteen entries, if you include the Lore section. Of course, because your character hasn't read them, inducting them into the Network often gets you another, slightly redundant one from the character of Neku himself. Usually, at least, his player tries to do it in such a way that it presents a different perspective on things.
  • Invisible to Normals / Weirdness Censor: It's explicitly stated that humans generally do not see the paranormal unless they literally cannot ignore it any longer; one of the long-standing debates, according to some characters, is whether this is Selective Obliviousness or some side effect of the Weirdness in particular not being of this plane.
    • Also, everything happening during a Crossing is literally invisible to normal humans, because it's taking place in a place where two dimensions have combined, leaving most humans grounded in their own world and unable to even perceive all of it.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Angel, Namine's first NPC. Let's see... he's an abuser of all three types, killed his best friend over a girl, is completely controlled by his demonic instincts... but emotionally, he's completely and totally broken, is only doing what he does in order to keep around the only person in the world who ever really gave a crap about him, and after all of this comes out, everyone on the site hates his guts. A oneshot detailing future plans of his creator shows him, after Namine has been kidnapped by her abusive parents, curled up in a ball with his incredibly depressed thoughts, and completely silent, except for the rare occasions when he expresses his desire to die. The female members' general reaction was, "Why do I suddenly have the urge to hug him and tell him it will all be okay?"
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted; Lea already knows Ifrit is his father, and has since he was a little kid. He just never told everyone else.
  • Mad Scientist: Jeremie Belpois. When Haraken jokingly tells Jeremie that he'd rather his old friend not help, out of fear of his turning him part-demon, part-ninja, part-robot, Jeremie thinks about how he had been considering all three of those options, before giving his friend a serious reassurance aloud that he, of course, would never do that.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Izaya Orihara, in all of his glory. Fans of the original source material will need no more answer than that.
  • Mama Bear: Tifa, according to Word of God and commented on by several characters.
    • Aqua fits this role a bit better.
  • Masquerade: The Network is very, very careful to keep its presence and the existence of demons a secret, because to reveal their existence would cause a lot of panic, possibly cause the Otherborn to become experiments (which has already happened in some cases), and seriously threaten a whole lot of demons whose existence depends on the Masquerade... thus causing an even bigger threat to exist, because the demons would have no reason to hold back anymore. The demons uphold their own version of the Masquerade, because most seek to conquer society from within, and so do not wish their true identities to be revealed.
    • The Masquerade is currently being threatened by the actions of a [[Comicbook/X-Men Magneto]]-like terrorist and a panicking government. This does not bode well for our heroes...
  • Masquerade Ball: In the appropriately-titled Masquerade thread.
  • Meaningful Name: The above-mentioned Mizore Shirayuki is one that survives from her original source, but there are other examples. Another example can be found in Namine LeBeau, which translates from French to "The Beautiful", and Pit Icarus is meaningful both in meaning, and as a Shout-Out to the game he came from. However, the trope is downright subverted with Angel, who is not only a quarter demon, but is also a total, abusive Jerkass. Unintentionally, according to Word of God.
    • Other original-series survivors include Fluttershy, Ginta Toramizu, whose name includes the character for 'silver' and who uses accessories to fight, and Noctis Caelum. Some characters subvert this as names that were once meaningful in original context, such as Aqua, no longer are.
    • Lord Ifrit also counts here. This is actually a holdout from the series his true form comes from.
  • Mood Whiplash: Because of the various demographics represented on the site (and sometimes within the same roleplayers), threads can swing wildly between genres, including Slice-of-Life comedy; drama and angst, a-la-Lifetime; desperate action-adventure battles for the characters' lives; suspense and intrigue; and horror.
    • The We Need To Talk -Nami Version- thread takes the cake for sheer amount of Mood Whiplash in one thread, though. From troubled and Angsty, to cute and fluffy, then to suspenseful, mysterious, and creepy as Izaya MindRapes Neku, then to so fluffy it Tastes Like Diabetes, to a raging, screaming fight, to bittersweet fluff again... and all in a single thread. To top it off, the thread itself is still going.
  • Noodle Incident: In-character, it is never mentioned exactly why pissing off Tifa is a bad idea - people tend to leave that to the imagination.
    • A notable out-of-character one included an early cooking attempt by Lea; Neku gets as far as mentioning that Lea managed to burn water, at which point Lea shuts him up.
    • Sin's famous debt to Izaya; whatever he owes Izaya for must have been quite costly, but what it was has never been explained, nor has what exactly he owes Izaya that he hasn't paid.
  • One Steve Limit: This is actually a rule on the forum involving NPCs, as an NPC must have his or her name changed if someone claims that NPC's inspired character as a Main. Subverted as well, in that it is perfectly within the bounds of the rules to have two completely different main characters (or an NPC and a main) from different series that share the same name; for example, if Sora Takenouchi showed up, Sora Shimomura would not be required to change his name.
  • Official Couple: Since most of the forum's members are female, there are quite a few; most notably the "Power Trio" of Shiki/Sora, Nameku, and Lea/Aya, with Shizaqua as an added bonus.
  • Psychic Powers: According to Neku, this is the most common form of ability for 'normal' Otherborn. There are several examples.
    • Neku is a telekinetic; he also later develops telepathy.
    • Noctis reads the pasts of objects and people.
    • Namine can see into peoples' memories - specifically, painful memories. Needless to say, it's not all that enjoyable for her...
    • Darla can play with peoples' emotional ties.
  • Ret Gone: Drunk!Yuna and Ichigo, along with anyone else whose accounts are deleted or leave the site, although these are the only examples so far.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Sora Shimomura and Riku Nomura, if allowed, were to be voiced by Josh Keaton (Sora) and Christopher Daniel Barnes (Riku) who had appeared as two Vitriolic Best Buds in a certain Marvel game.
    • However this seems to be one-sided, Riku Nomura is way too nice to Sora to be a Deadpan Snarker while Sora is doing his job perfectly fine.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: Izaya's is, well, Izaya - twenty-something male, black hair, snazzy coat. He takes it because it's simply what he's most comfortable with, and because most demons use human appearances in order to interact with humanity and uphold The Masquerade.
    • His true form is very, very different. He's a shadow kyuubi - a giant black fox with nine tails.
  • Shipper on Deck: Namine, for Sora and Shiki. Riku, too, although he almost falls under The Matchmaker.
  • Shout-Out: The creators make several, usually to the original works their characters are from.
  • Stunned Silence: Namine's reaction to surprise is usually this; when the surprise is great enough, even her thought processes become unintelligible. See "Buffy Speak" above.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Riku is this, but not as extreme.
    • His actions recently have also made him something of an Anti-Hero.
  • Take That Me: Most examples here talking about Neku's more annoying traits were added by Neku herself.
  • Team Mom: Aqua, hands down.
    • Also Tifa, in the unfinished companion novel, Rise of Network.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Neku Sakuraba learns that the secret he's forgotten about his past, and the reason Izaya was so interested in him, was that he was a demon who had been turned human by Izaya ten years ago. His parents were both Halfers living on this side, but he inherited only demonic traits and was born a full demon.
    • Rin Okumura experienced something similar when he learned that he was also a demon turned into a human at a young age, though this happened at the beginning rather than the end of his plot.
  • Tragic Villain: Angel.
  • The Unmasqued World: The plot of an announced tie-in story, Alpha, written by Neku.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Shizuo Heiwajima. 'Nuff said.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Izaya's stock-in-trade. He is a kyuubi, after all.
  • Wall of Text: Neku can get a bit... verbose when talking about the Network, as evidenced here. This is true for his player, as well - just read the official rules threads. At least she attempts to break things up into reasonable paragraphs, even if it doesn't always work.
    • Not as verbose as Namine, evidently...
  • What Could Have Been: The idea was originally created by Michael Fri, who depicted a much darker world in which Otherborn are hunted and hated by both humans and demons. The current incarnation of the site was created when the idea was taken over by Miri/Neku, who added The Network as a support structure for Otherborn and made their existence a secret from the world at large. The result - owing partially to Neku and Wresie's penchants for focus on relationships - is much Lighter and Softer than the original idea.
    • Neku has mentioned to several players that she's working on a series of stories and oneshots based around the concept that the event that orphaned Neku and ultimately led to his memory loss never happened. Though none of this work has seen official release, due to major spoilers about just what it is that Neku doesn't remember, she has mentioned that almost everyone seems to be, on average, much happier... with a large emphasis on 'almost'.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Izaya versus Jack of Blades
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