Adorable Abomination: Played straight in general terms, but inverted in how it's used—the monsters have hideous appearances and adorable personalities rather than the other way around. It's interesting to contrast this setting with Pokethulhu, which uses the more common adorable-appearances evil-personalities combination.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with in several ways. ARE is, in fact, actually clinically insane. It's developed Multiple Personality Disorder, both from its isolation and from having its heart broken. However, ARE is also absolutely smitten with humanity, and would have been a willing servant of its creators had they lived. The hell the world went through, however, has somewhated... twisted the computer's goals.
Further, ARE has discovered that its own AI is a crapshoot, as several of its Celestial Engines have developed odd quirks that ARE finds really weird, ranging from the merely weird- Engines assigning genders to themselves- to the worrisome- like survivor guilt.
The Alliance: Wreathe's trying to start one in the human nations. Mortasheen can do the same, and not just with the human nations!
Aliens and Monsters: The "Unknown" class makes up the aliens, everything else is monsters. Unknown are fantastically odd monsters in the game, capable of tons of status effects, but not very heavy on the damage... except for the Meteor Series, who reverse the trend.
An Ice Person- This power, listed as the Attack Type Cold, is rare, yet not totally unknown. In-game, Cold damage functions as the equivalent of a Neutral damage type, only being resisted by one Class of monsters, though doing extra to Botanicals.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Day to day life in Mortasheen looks like this, since they daily contend with mad science that can rearrange their memories, kill them instantly, or clone them... or they use this mad science to make toast.
Author Appeal: Of a sort. Those familiar with Wojcik's other work will be aware that he's downright contemptuous of dolphins, for various reasons. Absolutely any monster that resembles or is based on a dolphin will be Always Chaotic Evil or otherwise thoroughly repellant.
Ax-Crazy: Several monsters are like this, and while they tend to be awesome, awesome battlers, they can prove to be more trouble than they're worth. The Cockatross, who is based on a chicken, is one of the best examples; it's so Ax-Crazy it attacks and eats its own kind!
Badass Bookworm: Dr. Faceless, who is a giant psionic collective of floating brains, is this trope personified; one of, if not the, smartest beings in the world, Dr. Faceless is also a Holder and a general, and the only one of Mortasheen's would-be military leaders to have gotten even close to Wreathe itself. Mortasheen's general impression of Wreathe, which is as a dome-like "turtle" in the north, are based on the good doctor's eyewitness accounts.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: There are NPCs like this. Laverne, in particular, though she's not by any means the only one. There's also an entire class of monsters, the Arthropoids, based on this. So... we kind of hope you aren't terrified of them.
Beware the Nice Ones: Wreathe's people are genuinely nice... unless you're not human. In monsters, Doomboros fits this best, though it's more Beware the Coward; normally terrified, if someone harms a master the Doomboros truly loves, it'll flip out and become nearly unstoppable.
The Blank: Goza start out like this, but have a biologically programmed urge to make their own faces through self-mutilation.
Blob Monster: The newly revealed Slime class is this. They come in over a dozen different types and each kind has its own special ability.
Bloody Hilarious: Oh yes. Wojcik himself said of the game (actually a failed prototype originally conceived as a flash game) that he envisioned the battles "playing out like an Itchy And Scratchy cartoon".
Bloody Murder: a power used by a couple of creatures - both incredibly high-tier. Mothneaser, one of the legendary Destructors, will slaughter you using its own blood. Viviphage, the ultimate vampire, will slaughter you using YOUR own blood.
Nozo produce a variety of cartoonish sproings, boings, honks, cuckoos, hee-haws, quacks, giggles, and bloodcurdling screams of hellish agony to keep children amused
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Laverne loves doing this, and in Mortasheen itself, it's considered a totally valid method of advancement.
Butt Monkey: Humanity! Also deconstructed; the main reason Wreathe is so dangerous is because the humans there are so sick of getting kicked around. The culture there is based on both vengeance against the entire world and utopian society. Wreathe was secretly started by a supercomputer in Wreathe, which named itself ARE, because it loved humanity and hated seeing it suffer so.
Cast from Hit Points: A lot of healing works like this... since most healing abilities for Mortasheen consist of eating the healer. Wreathe uses more "standard" electrically-based healing that doesn't work like this, through the VNS Transmitters, delicate feathery machines that can restore morale, shoot lightning, and heal friendly units.
Cloning Blues: Averted. Mortasheen views clones as the same person as the original, which is good, because it's teleportation and resurrection systems both rely on quick cloning. So most people in Mortasheen are, in fact, clones. But they still consider themselves to be the original, because they are such a perfect copy. Culturally, it's no more interesting- or looked down upon- than someone drinking tea. Wreathe, meanwhile, finds this horrifying, and refuses to use clones no matter what.
Confusion Fu: a Harlequeen seems to act completely randomly, but her random actions always yield brilliant results.
Cool Airship: Your house could become this, with even more expense. The URNS Celestial Engine is this.
Cool Old Guy: Harlan Ellison, for the people of Wreathe. This bearded, bushy eyebrowed old man is the beloved Governor of all Wreathe's multitudinous peoples. Also from Wreathe, General Pompeii, commander of their ground forces, who is a beloved Father to His Men, though he's somewhat excitable. It just makes the people love him more. He's also the Avatar of the MRS Celestial Engine, a trilobite-based giant robot that can control the ground, causing earthquakes and fissures. Pompeii is also secretly being controlled by MRS possessing his cybernetics, while Harlan Ellison is the Avatar of ARE itself, the supercomputer that secretly rules Wreathe!
Mortasheen, meanwhile, has Dr. Suctorious, a Gill-Man Surgeon who is one of the oldest people in Mortasheen. He's the Holder of Surgery, meaning he's basically the leader of all the city's Surgeons (a player class). He's had his position as Holder longer than any of the other Holders, and he was really old before he became a Holder. He's also one of the smartest people in high command that Mortasheen has.
Polluted Wasteland: Mortasheen City covers an area the size of Australia, the landscape is a wasteland, and one of the oceans is full of garbage instead of water.
Creepy Doll: There are almost a dozen or so of these and each has a nasty ability like mind control or the ability to inflict pain telekeneticly. Of course, a few of them (such as Cackle) look more goofy or adorable than creepy, even though they do still have deadly powers...
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Definitely believed by Mortasheen's people, especially now that Wreathe has declared war on them. However, it's pretty obviously clear that this isn't the case: Oog is as awesome- and dumb- as he ever was, as is Professor Zernobog. It's a case of fear running wild. Played with regarding the Avatars- cybernetics did eat their soul, but only because the Celestial Engines are using their cybernetics to possess them.
Cyborg: All of the Purifiers and Mechmasters of Wreathe are cyborgs of varying extents.
Dark Is Not Evil: Our heroes! Mad scientists may be horribly mutated, but most of them are genuinely heroic and champion the cause of freedom. Some mad scientists are without doubt evil, but most are, at worst, merely possessed of Blue and Orange Morality, and even that tends to be fairly restrained. Some, of course, are just nuts, but still.
Many monsters are even better examples of this, as most are not inherently evil, and some are even benevolent... yet nearly all of them look very grotesque. The Shreeg, who loves songbirds and beautiful sounds despite looking like a pissed-off ocarina from hell, is probably one of the best examples.
Fangatan, who is one of the gentlest and kindest of all monsters despite being a monster gorilla with hypnotizing eyes and a tiki mask for a face, is also a great example.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Mothstrous. If you want to know: Mortasheen's people consider it horrible and ugly. It's probably one of the most innocent-looking monsters.
Demonic Dummy: That attacks with mind control parasites... and functions as a babysitter-golem... and "smells like cake". And that's only one member of the Doll class, which includes even more horrible things.
Deus Est Machina: Averted by ARE in its first meeting with primitive humans, freely telling them what it really was instead of pretending to be a god. Double subverted, however, when ARE decides that it really is a god. After all, what other name could be given to a being that seeks to protect its people out of love? It doesn't have them worship it, though, that's inefficient.
Doing in the Wizard : The Devilbird class are John Wojcik's tribute to great religious art depicting demons, most notably the works of Hieronymus Bosch, but as an avowed atheist he reconciles this as them being genetically engineered creatures deliberately created in the image of classical demons to punish people for socially irresponsible behavior. There are hints, however, that they may have somehow come into powers far beyond what their creators intended.
Dynamic Entry: Managers, a player class, have this as a Discovery, able to make their monsters so enthused about serving that they come out swinging.
Eldritch Abomination: The Unknown class includes several of these, and Psychodrome's signal may be rebounding off of one. Xenogog can apparently see something in the static that appears on TVs whenever they go near them, and what they see scares the hell out of them, causing them to blow up the TV.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: More complicated, more scientific, and a lot weirder than normal. Classes range from chemical-based Acid attacks to Corrosion, the specific class of rare and really useful abilities that specifically destroy metals and inorganic substances.
Enemy Civil War: Mortasheen, at least from Wreathe's perspective, is going through a constant period of this. Meanwhile, PLTO is thinking about starting one of its own against Wreathe, when the time is right.
Fantastic Racism: Used in two ways, one straight, one a variant. Wreathe uses the straight variant, hating all non-humans. Mortasheen, meanwhile, is non-racist- racism being a hilariously inappropriate concept in a city where people change bodies like others change clothes- but they do hate Engineers, whose use of computers and cybernetics makes them seem too close to Wreathe for most people to be comfortable with them.
Well, Mortasheen does tend to look down on ordinary, living humans — some of the preview notes state they're lower on the social ladder than cockroaches and considered vermin more than people — but the place is so hostile to human life that most of them end up mutating, dying and becoming zombies, or intentionally giving up their humanity as a survival tactic, all of which are handy ways to advance quickly up the social ladder to the generally equal status enjoyed by all other races. And even then, it's less hatred and more pity/contempt.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Medama is Japan, past, present, and future; samurai borg and dueling sit alongside giant robots and other modern conveniences. Otherwise averted; Wreathe, while it resembles many future dystopia/utopia societies, has no direct analogue in the real world, and Mortasheen is even more out there. Cannontown, if you really stretched it, could be based on American militarism, but are more actively based on survivalist types. Considering where they live, survivalism is not a bad strategy.
Fate Worse than Death: Not only do they exist, they happen every day to lots of undeserving people- but don't worry about that, it's just how it goes! (skipping noises)
On a more serious note, it's the above-stated feeling towards these ever-present fates- the fact that most people just accept that this stuff happens- which creates the odd cheer of Mortasheen. Horror happens; but it's okay. Stuff like that just happens~
Flying Seafood Special: Every Vampire is this to some degree, except those who choose/are able to walk. Plus some of the other stuff is this as well. Scalamax take this to its logical extreme, being sword-faced fish that fling themselves through the air telekinetically to slice and dice- and they get bonus points for being chefs on their "day jobs".
For Science!!: It's safe to say that your average mad scientist has this as his motto. The non-average ones simply use a variant- like "For Surgical Science!"
Frickin' Laser Beams: A big part of the Purifier arsenal, and for a good reason- laser beams do Heat damage, which the vast majority of monsters are at least vulnerable to, if not actively Weak against!
Gas Mask Mooks: Laverne's Arthropoid soldiers are colored-eyepiece versions of these- and each color corresponds to a type of weapon! Red is flame, green is poison gas, and the normal yellow is a machine gun.
Gray and Gray Morality: Wreathe correctly points out that the world sucks. Wreathe also, incorrectly, believes the solution is murder. A lot of it. Mortasheen, meanwhile, correctly points out that Wreathe is crazy. Mortasheen also, incorrectly, does horrible things to people for fun. It's a messy situation.
Grim Up North- Cannibal penguins, occasionally weather-controlling cannibal penguins with a name based on the Wendigo of Native American myth, and ridiculously bad blizzards. Yes, that's fairly grim. Subverted for Wreathe, and maybe the player too, in at least one sense: The north hides a colony of humans who don't have the zombie virus in their veins, the last such humans in all the world and the only promise of a cure.
Half-Human Hybrid: There's very little that human DNA can't be spliced with. An entire monster class is just monsters made from human DNA.
Humongous Mecha: Medama has a metric crapload of these, from relatively tiny buildings that become giant spiders, to the really big guns: each island has its own unique defender robot that is leagues stronger than almost anything else in the setting. Based on various insects, they not only function as military defense, but they also determine the political structure, battling it out every so many years to determine which island leads the nation. They are also popular merchandise icons, too.
The Devilbird of Sloth. Among a race of horrifying demon stand-ins that inspire and feed on emotions in the most grotesque and horrible ways imaginable, the Devilbird of Sloth is... an egg. That doesn't do anything. It doesn't even hatch.
Lethal Joke Character: Doomboros become this; normally just a scared, if nearly invulnerable, monster whose only real advantage is that it causes Stunning, if its master drops below half health, it flips out and gains powerful attacks. Further, Garbage monsters can randomly become the Garbage Beasts, superpowered monsters that are some of the best in the game.
Kill It with Fire: A very good strategy. Fire, labeled under the system as Attack Type Heat, is good on a wide range of monsters, being the single best Type to use on the majority of them. Problem? Wreathe knows this and built accordingly- both ways. The very common lasers of Purifiers do Heat damage, and Purifiers are mostly immune to Heat damage. Except for the plastic-based ones.
Kill It with Ice: Works most of the time, as the "ice" element (Cold) is the neutral element and is good on most stuff.
Lightning Gun: You can build these as an Electrician. Engineers prefer rocket launchers and railguns.
Light Is Not Good: Wreathe in general, and the Purifiers in particular. They use laser beams, have shiny and slick designs, and hold themselves out as the defenders of humanity. They also enjoy committing genocide on everything else that isn't human, and even on the humans who disagree with obeying them.
Love Makes You Evil: ARE is only so driven, determined, evil and, frankly, genocidal because it fell in complete and total love with humanity from reading its writings and works, then believed that humanity was wiped out, breaking its heart. Finding out that humans still existed has put ARE into Knight Templar mode, determined to protect what it loves.
Mecha-Mooks: That would be Purifiers. Note that they do not explode when defeated- instead, they implode, and teleport their data back to Wreathe to be analyzed. They use the energy created by the implosion consuming the robot's materials to power the teleport function, teleporting an object the size of a floppy disk back.
Nano Machines: How it all started. Necromizers make the most direct use of them, though, as the homunculoids they use are biological ones made from their own DNA. But nanomachines are used to make a lot of the mad science work.
Order Versus Chaos: Perhaps the central conflict. A lot of the Wreathe v. Mortasheen battle revolves around this, with Wreathe's shiny robots and organization on the side of Order, and Mortasheen's mad science and anarchy falling on the side of Chaos. It's also partly deconstructed; the main reason Wreathe is doing so awesomely well- they have their shit together, while Mortasheen is relying on a goofy and inefficient Vigilante system to wage war. Chaos really doesn't handle modern warfare that well.
Organic Technology: What robot wouldn't be complete without an extra eyeball? Mortasheen alone does this, though; Wreathe averts it for the most part. The Celestial Engine PLTO uses it, though, as it's a "recycling" center underneath all major Wreathe locations that consumes the target area and recycles it.
Our Demons Are Different: The Devil Birds are about as close to demons as it gets in a magic-free pseudoscientific scenario. They're artificially engineered creatures designed to punishdestructive behavior. Rather predictably, they did not function as their creators intended and led to the downfall of their civilization.
Our Giants Are Bigger: In the Mountains are mutant-descended giants who fragrantly violate the Square-Cube law, something that irritates Mortasheen- and excites them, because if these guys do have a way around it...
Our Vampires Are Different: YES. For one thing, most of them are fish or other aquatic creatures. For another, they don't transfer their disease with a bite, but rather, are species that have evolved to their current state due to a strange, space-faring alien virus... And vampirism can affect almost any multi-celled organism.
Our Zombies Are Different: As different as it gets, really. The zombie virus does not kill the people it infects, but simply guarantees they rise from the dead after succumbing to something else. The zombie's core tissues are still "alive", but the outside decomposes at a varying rate, and zombies are often colonized by various creatures evolved to live on them. Some zombies are also intelligent... and, oh yeah, there is a giant zombie so large that he's an underground cave system. They are also a player character race.
This is helped by the fact that many zombies retain minds, and the only thing it's guaranteed to do is make you Made of Iron.
Overly Narrow Superlative: Occasionally subverted with things that would be such anywhere but Mortasheen, such as "the city's handsomest theoretically male organism" or a Slobbular famous for making "some of the city's finest mucus-based art."
Plague Doctor: Mortasheen features a family of monsters that are avian and heavily based in appearance on the plague doctor. This being Mortasheen they spread plague.
Powered Armor: Pretty much what Mechmasters wear. Purifiers could be considered this... but in most cases, they are the suit.
Psychic Powers: omnipresent in the setting. Since the Mortasheen world has no magic, all of the more outlandish monster abilities (telekinesis, cryokinesis, pyrokinesis, and of course good old fashioned Mind Rape) can all be chalked up to psychic powers. This is also the way monster trainers typically communicate with their monsters.
Puppeteer Parasite: A huge number of monsters revolve around this trope, ranging from babysitter doll-golems that throw them at attackers to fungi that assume control of insectoid monsters and mutate them into withered, barely-living husks. Perhaps the most notable, however, is the Wormbrain monster class, sentient brain-worms that control the minds and bodies of specially-bred human hosts. Most of them are based on a certain real-world snail parasite.
Raygun Gothic: The original design idea for Wreathe. Has been changed many times throughout development; Wreathe has underwent the most intensive redesign work.
Much to Wreathe's frustration, Mortasheen has access to extremely easy, quick, and highly efficient teleportation mechanisms, simply by cloning the person at the destination.
Wreathe has access to extremely inefficient teleportation technology, but Wreathe also has "true" teleportation rather than simple cloning- it's technology which actually sucks the teleported object through a wormhole to wherever they want it to go. It's just really inefficient.
Shock and Awe: The Damage Type "Electricity" is one of the most common attacking Types, but due to this, is also more commonly resisted than most. Electricians specialize in this, while Engineers have a minor in the field.
The Devilbird Astarath is strikingly similar to the Shin Megami Tensei version of Decarabia, only made even more awesome with eyeless, wrinkly bird heads instead of normal starfish arms and a talking sphincter opposite its eye.
There are a huge amounts of Shout Outs, for example the Eldirge invented by a a madman who suffered nightmares of far-off planets and long-dead civilizations
The entire Devilbird class is an expression of Wojcik's deep admiration for the art of Hieronymus Bosch.
Super Prototype: Played with. The Celestial Engines are all Super Prototype versions of the normal Purifiers, but only in the sense of inspiring ARE to build the Purifiers. The Engines themselves are unique machines, the Purifiers are only inspired by them, not based. ARE, if it actually did develop Super Prototype robots, would simply keep producing them, not use an inferior version.
Stepford Suburbia: The "Nature Preserves" maintained by some of Mortasheen's scientists so they can study pure humans.
Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: The Purifiers in general have better stats and better damage reduction than the average monster. The few exceptions are legendary monsters like the Destroyers, or monsters that have been highly souped up by their trainers- like the Player Characters.
Synchronized Swarming: Swarm attacks, which do this, are some of the best in the game. Why? Because not only do they hit every opponent in every Part, but they also hit mad scientists, even if they are protected by their monsters!
Tank Goodness: CannonTown. It's made up of tanks so large that some have entire natural parks on top of them, along with more practical things like giant drills to dig for water and farms. It's one of the last remaining human civilizations left on the planet, too, and probably the strongest outside Medama and Wreathe.
Tin Can Robot: Averted for Wreathe. Wreathe's machines are all based on pre-Cambrian animals, to look like, in the words of Mr. Wojcik, "heavenly, shining trilobites" . Mortasheen Engineers can, however, create their machines to look like this if they want.
Transhuman Treachery: Gleefully shot where it stands-even zombies come off as being perfectly playable, since the only thing being undead always does is make you Made of Iron. If anything, Wreathe is human treachery. And the Purifiers, made up of dead and dying humans secretly made into combat machines, absolutely stand with humanity.
Unusual User Interface: Mechmasters and Purifiers have their commands given and received via cybernetic implants. Mortasheen mad scientists use psionics to do the same thing.
The Worm That Walks: You can be this. Totally. In NPCs, Magdolene, who is made up almost entirely of maggots and flies, is the clearest example; only her skull and brain are still human. She was also born like this, and thinks she's really hot- despite the fact that everyone in Mortasheen disagrees with her. Even in Mortasheen, there are limits.
For reference, this◊ is considered "the city's handsomest theoretically male organism", and in Mortasheen, that's not as much of an Overly Narrow Superlative as you might think.
Theme Naming: all of the Celestial Engines have sigles referring to the planets in the Sol system.
Hilarious in Hindsight: as of now, the only exception is Pluto, which has been declassed as dwarf planet. Whi it's hilarious? PLTO is planning to overthrow ARE.
Weaksauce Weakness: Several in the monster descriptions, like Jitter being so terrified of mustaches that its heart explodes. In game mechanics, Wreathe's rare plastic models can be this- invulnerable to the Corrosion that so hurts its brethren, it goes down easy to Heat based Attacks, the same Type so useful against ordinary monsters.
When Trees Attack: Some of the botanical monsters are trees with strange powers. There are even zombie trees!
World of Badass: There are cities that are made up of tanks, the closest thing to a normal civilization is a Japanese-themed island country with giant robot spiders for defense and even bigger giant robots for serious defense, there's an ocean made out of zombies, the normal oceans are full of gigantic kraken vampires, a well-led, well-armed, incredibly fanatical robot army is coming out of the north, and the main characters are mad scientists in a polluted, irradiated city the size of Australia. If it wasn't for the fact that the whole setting has the flavor of a Saturday morning cartoon, it would be one of the most dour settings outside of Warhammer 40K... and to some extent, it almost is, anyway!
World of Ham: Mortasheen tends to be, since everyone is a mad scientist. Other areas tend to be more subdued, particularly Wreathe, which adopts a reserved persona and doesn't even have battle cries.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Fangatan won't hurt any female opponent, no matter how dangerous. Luckily, it comes with a built-in tiki mask to scare anything that tries to attack it away.
Your Head Asplode- A common result of dealing with Unknown. Also how teleporters work. Also how Buffume fight. High Sanity can do this. Also... well, let's just say this shows up somewhat.
Yandere: Pretty much what ARE is for humanity, after having gone crazy.
Zombie Apocalypse- Just one of many bad things that have happened to the planet. Still, even amongst such a list of atrocities, the zombies have a claim to fame: the Zombie Apocalypse was arguably the worst of the bunch, perhaps creating the Mutants that make up Mortasheen, certainly creating the Great Corpse Sea and all related locations, and to this day, all humans are still infected with the virus from birth to death except for the colony in the north.