Same world, different storyShadowside
is a Play-by-Post Game
set in an Extranormal Institute
— the "Dual Campus" of the Avalon Institute of Magic and Technology, and the Azura Evotelluric Academy (more on those later), thought the actual duality of the schools is debatable. It was owned by the user "Shadowdragon24" (A.K.A. Bob), but since his retirement has been maintained by a small group of core staff that changes as need-be, depending upon how life treats them at given times.
It is set in a world in which an event called "Evo's Dawn" which resulted in several thousand children and teenagers (as well as a few animals...) becoming what can best be described as X-Men style mutants ("Evotellurics") in year 2007 (it is set in present time). Also, it is a world in which several different sorts of magic and and advanced technology have (through an extremely complex web of various types of Applied Phlebotinum
) remained, for the most part, fairly unknown to the world at large. This serves as the primary excuse for allowing a vast range of unique characters that run the gamut from Petting Zoo People
and mythological beings
to Androids, Cyborgs and Magi
. (This is in fact a very
conservative look at the range of characters.)
All characters and their abilities are governed by a unique system that allows for the advancement of their powers based on their activity in Story Lines, or 'SL's, rather than combat, allowing for non-combat based characters to develop on equal terms with more combative character archetypes. There is a careful balance between the focus on "Gameplay" and Story — although the focus placed on each varies from member to member. This seems to have been successful, as the site - as of 2014 - has not necessitated many large changes to this systems - although many refinements have been made, especially the revamps between 2012 to 2014.
One interesting part of Shadowside is that it subverts the super hero
genre in general, as even those who have the powers for such a job rarely decide to don a cape and tights, or another form thereof (as at least a good number of them are complete Mundane Utility
, and a few that are just plain detrimental to the owner). Other times, the clothes used may be outrageous, but functional rather than decorative
- and not always by just the Bad Ass Normal
. The few who regularly do are regularly humiliated. The biggest exception is in at least two storylines, in which a few characters acted as Western Superheroes and Sentai
, respectively. The vast majority of the characters use their powers for their own personal ends, whether that is to survive, to save lives, commit crimes, or just to mess around, as is often the case.
Morality is something of a grey area on Shadowside;
Click here for the Character Page
Tropes Exemplified by this RPG:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Vahn's flaming blade, handed to him by the Hallowed Herald... And some others.
- Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Occasionally, the Fantasy Kitchen Sink state of the site creates minor issues that may be somewhat difficult to reconcile (such as different approaches towards Pure Energy or Life Energy), but these are not likely to be noticed unless one actively hunts for them. Often necessary to allow the totality of Character Customization present here, as some powers, backgrounds/origins, and the like would otherwise contradict or contrast with others.
- Aerith and Bob: The natural result of having characters from such a ridiculously wide variety of backgrounds in one place. Thanks to this students named Eugene, Chloe, or Chad can be found alongside others named Phoenix, Kestrel, and Amaranth.
- A God Am I: Limbus.
- Alien Abduction: This story.
- Allegory Adventure: At least once there's been a story that picks elements and character roles from Dante's Inferno.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Limbus attacks the Dual Campus in the first CSL, in the second when a groups is sent to the future, it appears that he has succeeded in conquering the campus (And the world in general...)
- Alternative Calendar: A.D.E., After the Dawn of the Evotelluric. A.D.E. 1 is equivalent to 2008 on the Gregorian Calendar.
- Alternate History: The site is set in current time, however because of the diverse character backgrounds and the Evo's Dawn history and the world as a whole aren't exactly the same to ours.
- Apathetic Citizens: Perhaps because of the hardships that the cities have faced after the Dawn, citizens rarely ever seem shocked about the new Monster of the Week.
- Apocalypse How: Several plotlines, as well as the "Central Story Lines" threaten this, on various parts of the scale. In fact, the current one, CSL #2, is still up in the air about what will happen.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Many new students on the campus show this.
- Attack of the Town Festival: Despite the tradition of a Monster of the Week showing up at events in the campuses, an event has yet to be canceled because of this tendency.
- Axes at School: Despite the campus' rules regarding weapons, several students carry some kind of weapon or another, some concealed, others openly, consequences for this violation aren't frequently touched or seen though.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Some of the most powerful students on campus are relatively non-violent. Until you push them.
- Bilingual Dialogue: As a result of the Translator Microbes, mostly.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Oh so many villains in SLs, especially wasting their (and everyone else's) time with a villainous rant.
- Bullying a Dragon: Anybody who openly speaks against Evotellurics or similarly super-powered humans, without some serious defenses on their side, is pretty much asking to be killed off (or sometimes worse) in any number of ways. If they are remarkably lucky, the person or people they are speaking against will have some reason (morality, law-abiding, or just plain not caring) not to blow their brains out/roast them alive/trap them in another dimension/etcetera.
- Butt Monkey: Lucas, to the point that his merely being present has lead at least one character to realize that bad things are about to happen.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Voluntary or not, Lucas often turns extremely dangerous circumstances in jokes... To the point of having renamed a crystal golem called Billy to Dilly... While the golem tried to kill him and his group...
- Character Customization
- City of Weirdos: The residents of Fukuoka would be hard-pressed to be surprised by ANYTHING anymore.
- Class and Level System: Only by a stretch of the term, however. Characters each have a unique "Primary Magic Principle" or "Designation" in which they develop. Levelling up is not done concretely, but by spending 'credits' on new items, abilities, and training. Levelling up to the next "Year" of school allows one to get discounts on abilities that fall within their designation.
- Cold Sniper: At least one (almost) example exists. Others exist in spirit.
- Creator Provincialism: Averted. The majority of the members on the site seem to be (as inferred from chat) from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, or Australia, and the site is primarily English-speaking. However, there is a very clear anime-influence. Much of the artwork involved, especially character images, is obviously in the Anime/Manga art style. Many characters are Japanese. To drive home this point, the setting is Fukuoka, Japan. (Averting both Big Applesauce and Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe, though it's closer to the latter.)
However, many SL's are taken to places that the ones running them are familiar with.
- Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: A large part of some characters' backstories and many storyline plots.
- Cute Bruiser: Several players run this, or something similar.
- Cute Monster Girl: A few.
- Death Is Cheap: 6 credits or a short storyline later...
- Not even that much anymore...
- Doppelgänger: In the Violent Ultimatum storyline, this was used by a shapeshifter to turn into the leader of the LoL Brigade, Akane. Akane just happens to be the boss of Tails, her current opponent. While this wouldn't likely effect him, it is made immediately clear that the real Akane, who is standing at the side lines, takes the pain. It is a rather effective challenge, obviously.
"KICK HER ASS!" Akane cheered, Looks looking extremely ticked off as she held onto her wand. Thinking about her comment and the situation, Akane immediately retracted her statement, "WAIT WAIT WAIT! DON'T KICK HER ASS! NOT THE FACE! DON'T HIT HER TAILS."
- Elaborate University High: Slightly more compact — though equally elaborate — after the first central story line.
- Elevator School: Kind of... While in theory everyone is in high school level, there are characters that are around 18 and some even older, and characters of around 11 as the youngest maybe. There are a few characters taking university level courses as well.
- Extranormal Institute: Taken to what may be its logical extreme.
- Fantastic Racism: A lot of people really hate Evotellurics, and, by extension, mages. For that matter, a few mages hate Evotellurics, and Vise-Versa. It gets really complicated when you consider the dozens upon dozens of fanciful and science-fiction races included in the school.
- Special mention goes to the school's animal-human hybrids. They get some level of hate from all factions.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Intentionally invoked so that a member is allowed to completely invent their own history, and their specific form of Functional Magic, advanced technology, or what-have-you without actually contradicting anyone else. (Although this is not perfect — see Acceptable Breaks from Reality and Fridge Logic.)
- Fish out of Water: Quite a few characters come from backgrounds where their main goal isn't to fight evil... It's to figure out how to use a cell phone.
- Flat "What.": This is how most people reacted to Eric's supposedly bondage induced death.
- Gender Bender: There was a short, whimsical Storyline based around it.
- Genre Savvy: Half of the students in the Fegefer storyline are already convinced of what's happening, because of their history with random invitations and field trips.
- Guns and Gunplay Tropes: A lot of these actually, a tad strange considering that gunners are uncommon at the board.
- Hollywood Atlas: Every single one of these tropes is averted. In fact, it is set in Fukuoka, rather than a more cliche'd setting like New York, London, or Tokyo.
- Horny Devils: At least one character can be essentially described as a succubus/incubus. At least a few have powers based around seduction.
- Le Parkour: A fairly common skill among characters.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Over 400, and counting.
- Long Runner: The site's been running since 2007, making it longer lasting than most forums of the same type.
- Certain veterans of the site tend to play out long Story Lines over months rather the weeks most members devote to them. Special mention goes to Mirror Paw and Falque, both of whom are culprits for some of the lengthier stories.
- Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: Occasionally.
- Makes Sense In Context: Things can get pretty weird if you don't already know the context. Sometimes, though, see above.
- Mass Super-Empowering Event: Evo's Dawn.
- Memetic Bad Ass: The headmasters. Also Vahn Eloc.
- Mugging the Monster: A severe risk for any criminals in Fukuoka, or anywhere, but especially Fukuoka, where the school is located. Not only do most of the students and many of the staff have powers of some sort, but many completely random citizens can do things like summoning dragons from the air to defend themselves.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Grimmnocht.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Though there are in fact thousands and thousands of possible ways to handle even similar abilities, it seems to be held by the members that Evo powers are not usually considered magic, even if they are functionally the same. It also applies to a single character, whose branch of magic usually doesn't spread too far outside of a primary set of ability types (for example, a pyromancer or fire mage might also have psychic powers, but their primary abilities will generally overshadow the others).
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: ATTACK OF THE MUTANT ZOMBIE VEGETABLES!
- Our Monsters Are Different: External and Internal. It uses various excuses/explanations to allow for a great deal of variety even among two werewolves or such.
- Petting Zoo People: Several dozen, especially wolves.
- Power Limiter: Present and accounted for in the form of the Safeguard Pendant. Some characters use this for a magical character that has shown incredible abilities in their history, but is now at a more acceptable level.
- Raised by Wolves: Some characters have found themselves raised by a wolf pack only to come back in to the real world.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: A memorable one here.
- Required Secondary Powers: Unlike most fiction, a great many of these are actually addressed, and almost every ability and practical skill of the characters are well-defined.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: There are a few reptile characters, all of whom tend to get much more stigma than the mammalian-humanoids.
- Rpg Elements: The site is more gameplay heavy than most RPGs, and keeps a very careful balance. Most obviously, characters "level up" using "credits" earned by participating in story lines, by using them as currency to purchase new abilities and trainings, or to upgrade older ones.
- Running Gag:
- It is a running joke among the members that Werewolves and various Wolf Shapeshifters are a particularly popular character archetype. The memberbase will occasionally yell "TOO MANY WEREWOLVES!!!", at least partially in jest.
- Seen It All: It's been just a few years since Evos Dawn. That's just enough time that some people can still be surprised by absurd events, while others run the gamut between the three subtypes of this trope.
- Several stories are titled after songs, and a few plotlines involve things like Sentai Teams or Superheroes, which are as strange to see in this world as they would be in the real world. (Not that most people are really surprised by strange occurences, mind.)
- More imediately, one of the major "school clubs" (essentially warring factions with various goals) is called the "LoL Brigade". It is dedicated to making sure the boss makes money, and to causing havoc for the fun of it. And, for the record, it is no laughing matter for the other students. It is, for lack of a better term, a school-based Mafia.
- Stranger in a Strange School: There are a few characters who are perfectly normal human beings who somehow got enrolled in the school.
- The Juggernaut: Several students adequately fit this - quite literally, too.
- The Masquerade: Before Evo's Dawn, the world was already full of magic-users, psychics, government conspiracies, monsters, aliens, and high-tech organizations, but this, SOMEHOW managed to completely hide itself away from the world at large — at least for the past few centuries or so.
- The Nth Doctor: The Warden after Cunningham killed him.
- The Unmasqued World: After Evo's Dawn, the world is still in various states of shock as more and more magic users, supernatural creatures, super-technology, government conspiracies, and aliens come out into the open. Some, however, can take it in stride.
- To Hell and Back: Cunningham, after doing an absolutely enormous Heel-Face Turn (See Crowning Moment of Awesome, above) was revived and changed his name (for some reason...) to Zieyad. Though, to be fair, he was in a state of Limbo, and never actually made it to Hell.
- Universal Translator: The school is EXTREMELY polylingual (including several fictional languages) and thus gives each student a "P.L.E.A.S.E.D." (Poly Linguistic Enlightenment And Service Extension Device) unit (which can be upgraded or replaced with several more advanced options) that is worn in a student's ear. Would be just a Hand Wave for the languages, but its capabilities and the device itself are mentioned, changed, and lost often enough that it is elevated beyond that status.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Fairly common, though possibly justified by the setting in most cases.
- Troperiffic: This site has so many stories and characters, it probably encompasses at least half of all the Tropes there are. And that is NOT a hyperbole.
- Weapon of Choice: Many, many examples. By this point, pretty much every instance (and a few in-between) one could imagine has been used at least once.
- Weirdness Censor: The bus in this storyline remains hidden based on this principle.
- Professor X Likes Watching Teenagers Sweat: Wessix Likes Watching Teenagers Sweat — probably the main reason a lot of the on-campus hijinks are allowed to happen in the first place.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair / Hair Color Dissonance: Many character profiles include an image from a pre-existing anime or manga, ether because their appearance was inspired by the character, or because it just happened to fit well enough. Obviously, this results in a lot of odd hair colors. This is either waved away as an inaccuracy in the image or handwaved away as being related to their status as an Evotelluric or magic user.
- X Meets Y: The site is often described as Harry Potter meets X-Men. For obvious reasons.