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Tabletop Game: Princess: The Hopeful
A Storytelling Game of Fighting Fear

A fan project on RPGnet, what began as a joke - the New World of Darkness take on Magical Girl anime - has since evolved into a titan of a fan line that examines what it means to be a living avatar of Hope and Light in a world where Despair and Darkness has essentially won, while drawing heavily from Second Edition Exalted (the titular characters are both Reincarnations of heroes from long past yet separate people, Grey and Gray Morality, the general thematic of A World Half Full, social combat, etc).

Once Upon a Time, there was a great Kingdom, a paragon of happiness and stability to its people. Under the guidance of its Queens, it became very-nearly a Utopia, giving guidance to its sister states and the first line of defense against the All-Consuming Darkness, a mindless, cosmic force of sorrow, fear, and hunger. This was not a hard job. It was so easy, in fact, that over time, that their light became self-righteous and insular, caring more for their vision of what was right rather than what was needed. This gave the servants of the Dark opportunity to form a plan.

Simply put, it worked.

Of the Queens, five were imprisoned in the Dreamlands, to avoid further interference. Two escaped, but not unchanged; the one now known as the Queen of Tears was able to save the city of Alhambra by shunting it into the middle of the Darkness, while the one called the Queen of Storms abandoned her own body as a possible weakness, becoming a living tempest of anger and vengeance to stop the Dark by any means. These, along with a mysterious individual called the Queen of Mirrors, became known as the Twilight Queens.

Thus, possibly in conjunction with the fall of Atlantis, the World of Darkness began, the dream-Queens and their servants completely unaware that Dreamlands were a never-fallen Kingdom, the Alhambrans draining Light from the world to keep their city alive, the soldiers of Storms reshaping themselves as the cybernetic part-spirit androids called the Goalenu, not caring who they had to hurt in their never-ending mission to eradicate the Dark. And the Darkness itself? It just continued on as it always had, consuming the world bit-by-bit...

Until the Apollo moon landings, that is.

You see, a fundamental praxis of the Lotus-Eater Machine that used the Dreamlands as part of its trap was that the moon was a source of light in and of itself, including the sun. After it was proven without a doubt that yes, the moon just reflects the sun, the trap just couldn't take the contradiction, and fell apart. While it still exists, it is just a Dream World now, with at least some inhabitants aware that it is just a simulation of the real world. While a few, known as the Amanojaku grew to envy the real world and decided to take flesh bodies by force, the captive Queens were also freed from the illusion, and sent out their captive Light into the world, to find those worthy of rebuilding the Kingdom... without making their mistakes, hopefully.

The inborn splats of the game are refereed to as Callings, the ways in which a Princess is called to serve the cause of The Light.

  • Champions:Champions are those who stand up and defend those who are weaker than themselves. They are the heroes, the dragon slayers. As such, they have a natural affinity for charms involved combat, as well as those that strengthen themselves and others and grant abilities.

  • Graces: Graces are the messengers of Hope. They seek guide others to confront their own fears and doubts so that they may better serve the light. They have a natural affinity for charms which grant special abilities, as well as those which affect personal relationships and allow the princess to recognize counter supernatural influences. More often than not, they tend to be leaders among any group of Nobility.

  • Menders: Menders seek to aide others who are suffering physically or spiritually. The posses affinity for charms that can mend and heal living and non-living things, as well as those that can grant abilities and shape materials.

  • Seekers: Detectives, scientists and scholars, seekers are those driven to discover truth and knowledge. The are skilled in charms that allow them to gain knowledge, recognize and counter supernatural influences, and craft illusions.

  • Troubadours: Troubadours are artists and performers, seeking to bring joy and enlightenment through their works. They have an affinity for charms of illusion as well as those that arouse emotions and shape materials.

The chosen splats of Princess are the eight Queens. When a Princess reaches the apex of her power she becomes a source of magic, like a colored mirror who not only reflects more of The Light onto the world but impresses her ideals onto it. If a Princess' beliefs align with a Queen she may draw on that source of magic in addition to calling on The Light directly, both to make her magic stronger or to move it in new directions. The Queen's themselves are teachers, mentors, and moral exemplars who help define the ideals Princesses live up to. The five Radiant Queens were killed when the kingdom's fell. Their souls were trapped in the Dreamlands, and they have chosen to remain there after the release as they feel they can do more good as dead Queens than living Princesses. Though most Princesses swear to a Queen it is nearly universal to show some affinity for many Queens.

  • Clubs: The Queen of Clubs is loosely based on Taoism, with hints of environmentalism. Her Princesses tend to blend the best of modern life with spiritualism. Fittingly the Queen's philosophies emphasise finding a way to express your true self in harmony with the world, accepting and adapting to change, and to avoid committing violence. Club's signature emotion is Harmony and tranquillity.

  • Diamonds: The Queen of Diamonds embodies Enlightenment values. Her courtiers aren't exclusively scientists, engineers or academics, but every member believes in the power of reason to improve the world. Her chief philosophies are to think through a problem before attempting a solution, to educate others, and to focus on big picture structural changes. Diamond's signature emotions are curiosity and wonder.

  • Hearts: The Queen of Hearts believes in politeness, responsibility trust and duty. Her Princesses believe that building and leading social institutions is key to making a better world. Heart's chief philosophies are to bring people together in community, to honour traditions and that authority must be earned. Heart's signature emotions are trust and duty.

  • Spades: The Queen of Spades favours good humour and lateral thinking. Her Princesses are jesters, rogues and scoundrels who do their best thinking unfettered by social orthodoxy. Spades' philosophies are to think outside the box, to spread laughter, and to think and run quickly so you don't get caught. Spades signature emotion is Laughter.

  • Swords: The Queen of Swords believes that you should always follow your heart and your passions. Her Princesses try to become heroes who's example will light the world. Sword's philosophies teach that at heart morality is about not hurting people, the importance of broadening your horizons and of course to embrace your passions. Sword's signature emotion is Love.

The three Twilight Queens survived The Fall, for a given value of survived. They are the moral flaws of Princesses taken to extremes, and yet their goals are noble. They offer unique advantages unavailable to the Radiant Queens and many Princesses have been tempted to dabble in their dangerous magic.

  • Tears: The Queen of Tears survived the fall by using unholy magic to turn her city, Alhambra, into an impregnable fortress. Living deep into the heart of The Darkness she sends her agents out to steal hope itself to keep her city alive. Though she believes in Alhambra's right of rule, the core of Tear's philosophy is protecting the ones you care about, at any cost. Her ability to shelter friends or family in Alhambra, and her unique control over a large mortal infrastructure tempts the Radiant to her cause. The Queen of Tears' signature emotions are depression and resolve.

  • Storms: The Queen of Storms transformed herself into a living embodiment of her own ideals and so survived the fall. She remains in the heart of The Darkness, destroying everything within reach, and she grows stronger as her followers die and their souls join the gestalt Queen. Storm's philosophies revolve around killing the darkness, and accept of collateral damage but her powerful battle magic tempts more followers to her suicidal war. Regular mortals will develop some limited magical abilities if their beliefs align with the Queen of Storms, no other Queen has demonstrated this effect. The Queen of Storms' signature emotions are rage and hatred.

  • Mirrors: The Queen of Mirrors ran away shortly before The Fall. No one knows what she did afterwords, but she's still around and probably still alive if only because she talks to Princesses outside the Dreamlands. The Queen remains the most distant and unknown of the eight, but her Philosophies are simple: A mixture of vanity and predestination, which attract Princesses who want an life free from constant struggle. The ability to prophecy or remain transformed indefinitely help too. The Queen of Mirrors' signature emotion is selfishness and solipsism.

The wiki can be found here There is now a PDF which can be found here

Tropes used in Princess: The Hopeful

  • Abstract Apotheosis The Queen of Storms has transcended her body to become her Invocation: A part of the Queen exists within every soul that feels hate and anger, if they feel it strongly enough they can meet the Queen within their dreams, becoming fanatical soldiers of Storms. This is an autonomic process, the Queen isn't even aware of it. So far The Queen of Storms is the only Queen known to have become her Invocation.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Queen of Tears has more than a few of these going to advance her agenda on Earth.
  • Alpha Bitch: A distinct possibility for a Princess of Mirrors.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The Kingdom(s) fell when the Queens grew arrogant and narrowminded, allowing the Dark to grow within the cracks in their society. Alhambra is the only surviving remnant of the Kingdom.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Hitting Belief 0 can ultimately drive a Princess to this.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Yes girls, you are warriors of Light and Hope, battling the Darkness, but Division Six and Task Force VALKYRIE still want you dead. As the introduction of the Rule book says when discussing the themes of the game, in many ways an angel is just another type of monster.
  • Badass Bookworm: A possibility for Diamond's and a certainty for Alhambra's Order of the Tortoise. Librarians and archivists who're trained to fight to the death in protection of their collection, and who archive Alhambra's best Bequests.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: The Embassy to the Economy. Supernaturally powerful financial investigators, enemies of corrupt corporate executives everywhere and patrons of nice suits.
  • Bag of Holding: The entire point of Miss Poppins' Bottomless Bag.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Princesses of Mirrors come with a power that allows them to be better at everything because they're pretty. They also fit the "don't have to work hard" part of the trope; since being the True Heir is a matter of destiny rather than hard work, a Princess of Mirrors can work at her own pace.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The Persistently Peachy Pretty Perfect charm lets you shrug off dirtying effects. Composed Come What May, meanwhile, allows you to remain beautiful even when you're covered in mud.
  • Black Magic: Lacrima (The power of the Queen of Tears) and Tempesta (Storms). The former draws upon your own despair and willingness to compromise your beliefs, and Tempesta simply won't work if you show mercy. Ever. And the latter is Cast from Hit Points a lot, but that seems rather minor by comparison.
    • In-Universe, it's debated whether Specchio (the power of Mirrors) counts as this, as it draws upon solipsism and selfishness. Some Princesses consider the Queen of Mirrors to be a Radiant Queen to be honored with the others, while others believe that any Princess who even dabbles in Specchio is hopelessly corrupt.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: A Lacrima Charm which temporarily makes you a Creature of the Darkness does this.
  • Blessed with Suck: Since this is the New World of Darkness, this par for the course. You are a Magical Girl with the ability to smite the darkness with the Power of Love but now, the evil and corruption of the world is a source of literal pain and suffering for you. The forces of Darkness, are extremely dangerous adversaries who are not above targeting your friends of loved ones if they ever found about them. The inevitable double life that comes from being a Princess is exhausting, and makes any semblance of normalcy all but impossible. Last but not least, you are just as likely to be targeted by Tears and Storms as you are by the Darkness.
  • Blithe Spirit: Troubadours of Swords, though they're even more likely to introduce a little verity into a normal culture as they are to shake up a repressed one.
  • Born-Again Immortality: All Princesses have this. However their memories of past lives are a bit hazy, and the nurture side of the nature/nurture split means different lives can have very different personalities.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Tempesta Charms. Storms attitude as a whole could arguably be described by this trope. They favour strong attacks, Tempesta punishes retreating, and many Furies want to die and become part of the Queen of Storms.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Justified by the Royal Tongue merit, which grants a bonus if you spend a turn announcing and describing the Charm you are going to use.
  • Came Back Wrong: On occasion, a person never touched by the Darkness and who died after crossing the Despair Event Horizon (usually after being Driven to Suicide, though they can also lose the will to live) will have their corpse reanimated by the Dark, creating a special kind of Darkspawn called a Cataphractoi. They retain some memories from their human lives, but Cataphractoi are incredibly bad at pretending to be as such, only going through the motions their memories tell them to. And then there's what happens when they get pissed off...
  • Central Theme: Succeeding in the face of all hardships, hope.
  • Child Mage: Princesses can Blossom at any age. Unfortunately, younger Princesses are often drawn to the Court of Mirrors.
  • City of Adventure: San Francisco.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The Queens are linked to colours, and to elements; for example, the Queen of Swords, linked to Fire, is also Red.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The Terra Charm Strength of Ten uses tactical coordination to strengthen one attack. The Specchio Charm One Perfect Woman is a much more powerful and purer form of Combined Energy Attack, but also deconstructs it, since drawing her followers energy leaves them drained of Willpower. It's the sort of Charm you'd create if you really did believe it's all up to you.
  • The Corruption: Taint, the metaphysical presence of the All-Consuming Darkness - it can infest locations where great evil was committed, and it can infect people who stay around it too long. The Darkened develop, among other things, Villain Teleportation and the ability to draw power from the pain of other people - and their moral compass inverts, so that their Vice is worth far more emotionally than their Virtue (ie, it refills all Willpower rather than just refresh a point). Those who drop in Morality (often by learning Caligines, the mystical arts of Darkness) without developing a derangement get Umbrae, mutations that enhance physical and supernatural ability at the cost of sanity and social ability. A Darkened with Umbrae who hits Morality 0 dies and becomes a Darkspawn, a monster whose only impulse is to serve the Dark...which is far better than those who don't have Umbrae, who become Mnemosyne who retain their bodies and intellects... and nothing else.
  • Cute Bruiser: Just about any Princess with well-developed Fight and Perfect charms.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Twilight Invocations all carry a certain measure of risk to them. Using Lacrima is almost always a compromise of Belief and requires a degenration check. Tempesta inflicts wounds as price of its use. And Specchio causes madness.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Darkness is Evil with a capital E. Moreover, the Lacrima Invocation used by the Queen of Tears is linked to the element of Void, and can be used to drain Light from the world. More importantly, it won't work for you if you won't compromise your beliefs to protect what you love, which inevitably leads to becoming just as much of a Well-Intentioned Extremist as Tears is.
    • Darkness Equals Death: Very much so, especially for Alhambra - if they don't keep the lanterns burning, any particularly dark area begins to be eaten by the All-Consuming Darkness, even spawning monsters to put out the lanterns.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Very rare. However, there's technically nothing that prevents a good Princess from taking the Lacrima Invocation; it's a frighteningly potent tool for defending one's own Nation, and there's nothing more powerful when the Godzilla Threshold has been crossed. In addition, there are Diamonds who use Lacrima to study the dead and the Underworld, with the blessing of their Queen, and take vows to never use the Invocation against mortals.
  • Dark Magical Girl: You'll likely find at least some in service of the Twilight Queens.
  • Death by Despair: The least-bad thing that can happen if a Princess hits Belief 0. For Muggles, often what causes them to rise as a Cataphract.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: This is invoked by a Specchio Charm. (Actually, it just creates a magical connection, it doesn't influence the target's behavior directly.)
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: The Dreamlands has many of the associated troupes, however it is Beacons who tend to go through the standard narrative.
  • Dream Land: The Dreamlands, appropriately enough.
  • Elemental Powers: Charms are mostly generic energy effects, but by using an Invocation or an Invoked Charm Princesses give a certain elemental theme to their magics.
    • Blow You Away: Aria is strongly associated with wind and speed and the Invocation favoured by the Queen of Spades.
    • Casting a Shadow: Lacrima is the Invocation that has most to do with manipulating shadow, darkness and death. The Darkness' own minions make use of Caligene, their own magic system that draws strongly on the themes of Darkness, Decay and Corruption.
    • Dishing Out Dirt: The Terra Invocation, favoured by the Queen of Hearts.
    • Green Thumb: The Invocation of Legno is this, and the favourite of the Queen of Clubs.
    • Light 'em Up: Specchio attacks take the form of pure light, in a world where Light is Good this only feeds their arrogence further. It's downplayed though, Specchio's real "element" is actually time and space.
    • Making a Splash: The Aqua Invocation, and by extension, the servants of the Queen of Diamonds.
    • Playing with Fire: The Fuego Invocation, which also involves manipulating the flames of the heart, is favoured by the Queen of Swords.
    • Universal Poison: Tempesta, the very point of Tempesta is to be destructive, to the enemy, to your allies, to yourself and to everyone and everything around. And not necessarily in that order. The Queen of Storms' servants find this Invocation most easily used, and use it to great effect.
  • Emotional Powers: All Princess magic comes from their emotions, in addition each Queen's Invocation has signature emotions.
  • Enemy Mine: The appearance of an extremely powerful force of The Darkness will cause all the Princesses in the area (including those that serve the Twilight Queens) to team up to stop it.
  • Enemy Without: Done interestingly (and with moral alignments inverted) for Ishmael Goldstein-his soul actually remained on Earth as a dybukk even as his body reanimated as a Cataphract. He uses his Body Snatching powers to great effect when saving people from his body, and it is suggested that the Cataphract attempt to use the troupe as Unwitting Pawns to get rid of him.
  • Expy: The Darkspawn are pretty much The Heartless (as in the trope namer) while the Dethroned are immediately recognizable to anyone who watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica and their powers also resemble the Dark Queen from Sailor Nothing.
    • The Darkened and Mnemosyne also have no small resemblance to the Yamiko, too.
  • Everything Is An I Pod In The Future: The dominant look for Ambassadors to the Machine is the "iPrincess" look; sleek, hard and white clothing, Technicolor Eyes, hair and skin.
    • Older Ambassadors to the Machine tend to use a variety of Zeerust instead. Steampunk Wrench Wenches, however, are timeless, and found in young and old Princesses alike.
  • Evil Counterpart: Princesses tend to view Unchained as this, particularly how a curious demons tends to become a Stalker Without A Crush, because they find the Inner Light...fascinating.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Besides Darkness vs. Everyone Else, the Seraphim (Storms' faction) really, really, hate Alhambra for running and hiding from the war. For their part, Alhambrans just wish they wouldn't be shot at.
  • Evil Is Not Well Lit: As a city in the heart of the Darkness, Alhambra lacks a true sun, and is only illuminated by the lanterns which burn stolen hope.
  • Fallen Hero: The Dethroned, a possible fate for Princesses that hit Belief 0. Unlike most Magical Girl versions, however, they're mostly passive-most are content to wallow in their own misery in the Dark World until more driven Darkspawn sense the Godzilla Threshold has been passed, and provoke them into awakening (the reason they generally don't do this is because most also have the ability to overwrite Darkspawn into their servants, destroying any mind they have in the process).
  • Fix Fic: An in universe example. The Embassy to Stories opens with a Fix Fic where Santa Claus marries The Little Mermaid to [1] and they all live Happily Ever After. Since the Embassy believes the world runs on stories they tend to do this a lot, mostly to people's lives.
  • Gender Bender: It's possible to have your transformed self be the opposite sex.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Lacrima can always be used without cost if the situation is truly desperate.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: More or less up to the various developers' fancy. Gratuitous Italian is used in naming the Invocations, Shikigami, Nakama, and Amanojaku are the terms used for the Animal Companion, the PC group, and a type of Monster of the Week, while the Darkness gets esoteric-sounding for the monsters and their powers
  • The Heartless: At least some Darkspawn (it's implied more than a few are created directly from the Darkness) and Mnemosyne.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Nobody knows what's up with the Queen of Mirrors, but her Invocation is generally seen as a bad thing, and her Princesses as useless jerks.
  • The High Queen: The Queen of Hearts, although the Queen of Diamonds tries to be a particularily intellectual one in public. The other Queens avert it, only the Queen of Tears shows any interest in formality and she has other problems.
  • Hollow World: The city of Alhambra is a rain-drenched bubble world inside the Darkness, only kept real by Light stolen from the outside world. The city is around the inside of a sphere, broken up by lakes and canals which provide its food.
  • Hope Bringer: Every Princess is supposed to be one. Not all are.
  • Hostile Weather: Remember what we said about Storms being a living tempest of anger? That's not merely a metaphor, it's literal.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: One of the ideals of the Court of Mirrors; the True Heir does not choose the least evil option! She will save everyone without sacrificing anything at all! This is reflected in game mechanics: anyone who invokes Specchio and dings their Karma Meter in the same scene is far more likely to go insane as a result of the disconnect between their ideals and reality.
  • In the Name of the Moon: If a Princess is collapsing too badly due to Belief transgressions, she may need to use this to psych herself up enough to Transform.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: A fundamental unit of horror in Princess is that Sensitivity means the Nobles can never build up armour to the suffering they witness.
  • It's All About Me: The Specchio Invocation reinforces this kind of thinking.
    • For Example: Specchio ceases to work if you show any form of humility or try to play down your actions or allow yourself to be taken down a peg by someone else. The latter can easily be undone by publicly humiliating who ever made you look bad.
  • Karma Meter: Belief, the measure of how closely a Princess adheres to the ideals of the Light as she understands them. While it uses the Integrity system from God-Machine Chronicle, Belief is still lost through compromising one's own morality rather than through being shocked by supernatural things.
  • Language of Magic: The Royal Tongue is this, perfectly comprehensible to the Hopeful but not anyone else. It's not recordable, but boosts Charms. Actually speaking it requires a Merit. Amusingly it usually translates into friendship speeches.
  • Light is Good: Princesses draw their power from "the Light," a force created by love, friendship, and the desire to help others. Every act of love or kindness brings more Light into the world. Accordingly, Princesses have some of the best benefits for keeping their Karma Meter high, are inherently driven to prevent suffering or bring joy (and can build power by doing so), and the mysterious processes that cause Blossomings select from among the best of humanity.
  • Light Is Not Good: Princesses that follow the Queen of Mirrors believe that being a Princess says more about their morality than their deeds. They tend to use the brightest, most obvious colour schemes and powers. Their Invocation also strongly promotes being self-absorbed Jerkasses
  • Lost Technology: Tears has access to Bequests that pre-date the fall and use Invocations that no longer exist.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Dreamlands is far from a perfect prison anymore, but its original purpose is still intact - spend too long there, and it's possible to forget it's not the real world, and that the physical world is nothing but a horrible nightmare. By the way, what makes it such an effective trap isn't that it's a Utopia; It's that the rules of the place means evil always loses sooner or later, without irreplaceable sacrifice or damning yourself in the process. Think about what that says about the World of Darkness for a second.
  • Love Freak: Princesses of Swords are most commonly like this, though almost any of the Radiant courts can draw in a few of this sort.
  • Mad Oracle: All the best scrying and prophecy Charms require Specchio so using them means you're more vulnerable to gaining Derangements. This might seem odd given the Princesses of Mirrors' usual shallow attitudes but remember that the Queen of Mirrors used to be the Hierophant Queen before The Fall.
  • Magical Girl: All Princesses generally act as this.
  • Magical Girlfriend: It's entirely possible for this to be the relationship between a Princess and a Sworn or Beacon, or even a regular mortal.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The War of Hope makes it a sad necessity for every Noble to have atleast some combat capability.
  • Mama Bear: Any Princess of Tears is this towards Alhambra. Non-Alhambrans who use Lacrima instead substitute loyalty to their family, True Companions and followers.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Princesses of Spades have the power to destine themselves to serve this role for someone else. The power is even called "Manic Pixie Dust." Unlike most pixies they don't tend to have inexplicable attraction to the strait laced, making the world better is every the job of every Princess and the Knaves in particular enjoy making people laugh.
  • Martyrdom Culture: Both Alhambrans and Stormite cultists, to different extents-Alhambrans believe that there is no price too high, including their lives, to protect the city, and Stormites simply don't care if they die, only that they take the Dark with them.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Subverted by the Queen of Diamonds, who acts something like a Vulcan while performing her royal duties but reverts into a technology obsessed Genki Girl in private. Her court tend to simply avert rather than subvert the trope, being a group who proudly fuel their often intellectually and technologically focused emotional magic with scientific curiosity and a love of learning.
  • Monster of the Week: While many monsters can of course be used, Darkspawn are explicitly created for this. They're highly customizable and introduce no moral of philosophical questions to the setting that might get in the way of a simple action scene.
  • Monster Lord: Both Mnemosyne (people who embraced the Darkness without becoming physical monsters) and Cataphractoi (the Darkspawn occasionally born from suicides) count for the Darkspawn.
  • Moral Myopia: Alhambrans believe in moral behavior...toward other Alhambrans. Taking what they want from the Rebellious Provinces is only just and proper.
  • Monster Clown: The Fools Upon the Summit, Alhambra's official jesters. Due to the extremely formalized society the city possesses, any one who survives for a significant period of time is a master Manipulative Bastard who knows just how to get under your skin without openly insulting you...and if you do react to them, you will discover the hard way that they're the public face of the Ghost Owls, who's explicit job is to weed out people who are more easily tempted by the Darkness. Such as, for example, people who react to the guys whose explicit job it is to satirize you.
  • Multiple Choice Past: What the Kingdom was before the Fall, and what specifically happened to it, is unclear; the only ones whom have might have any records of this are Alhambra, and the Queen of Tears is an Unreliable Narrator at best. The Radiant Queens have confused memories from being dead, the Queen of Storms only cares that Alhambra and the Darkness were responsible somehow, and the Queen of Mirrors isn't talking.
  • Mythology Gag: The moon landing helps to bring a tide of hope and inspiration into the world is also featured in Changeling The Dreaming.
  • Never Gets Drunk: An Aria charm allows a Princess to get as drunk or high as she wants and always keep her poise and composure. However, it just masks the symptoms. It doesn't actually stop the drugs' effects.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Princesses of Mirrors HATE each other, as there can be only One True heir.
  • Not So Different: In the wiki section for crossovers, Tears holds vampires in contempt for how they feed off the world solely to extend their unnatural lives, yet Alhambra steals hope to extend the longevity of their city.
  • The One Guy: It is up to individual groups to decide how true they want to remain to the source but male Royals do show up. (The Embassy to the Economy's iconic Matthew Sheppard for instance).
  • The Power of Hate: The invocation of Tempesta is powered by hate and rage, though it is usually pointed at the Darkness.
  • The Power of Love: Any Princess can use it, but the Court of Swords use it most of all.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Some Inspire Charms that also use Specchio are specifically made to aide in Seduction.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Alhambra gets its raw materials by putting a chunk of material they need copied into a furnace, extinguish the light and wait a few moments for the darkness to surge up and over it. Then they light the lights again, causing the shadows to solidify in a larger amount of what it just tried to eat.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The Karma Meter in this game is much more forgiving if you're doing bad things to bad people than it is if you're doing bad things to good people.
  • Personality Powers: In addition to being linked to the elements, the Invocations resonate with certain philosophies and worldviews. For example, Acqua calls to those who believe that truth and reason will build a better world, while Lacrima will only work for someone who will do whatever is necessary to protect the ones she loves.
  • Playing Card Motifs: Four of the five Radiant Queens correspond to the four traditional suits.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: To fuel the lamps that are critical to Alhambra's survival the Princesses of Tears drain mortal on Earth of their hope.
  • Prestige Class: Embassies and Protectorates.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Ishmael Goldstein, one of the example Cataphracts. He just wants you to get over your relationship difficulties...many of which his minions caused...so he's quite willing to push you over the Despair Event Horizon to break you and your significant other down into something he can work with.
  • Purple Prose: Anything said in the Royal Tongue is very deep purple due to the structure of the language; even saying a one syllable "thank you" translates to a two-paragraph dissertation on the magic of friendship. The Queen of Hearts sees this as a feature, not a bug, while the Queen of Diamonds prefers to speak Earth languages for this reason.
  • Really Gets Around: The Queen of Swords has a lot of consorts, and deeply loves every one of them. To a lesser extent, the Queen of Diamonds, who has a lot of one-night-stands, but no permanent consorts.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: All of the Radiant Queens, but most intensely embodied by the Queen of Hearts, who strongly encourages her Nobles to follow this trope as well.
  • Red String of Fate: Invoked by a Fuego power that allows a Princess to become someone's destined lover. It can also happen naturally with the Entwined Destiny merit. The natural destinies also come with compatible personalities. Both forms of entwined destiny are one-way and only affect the character with the destiny (though there's nothing stopping both partners from taking the merit), so the individual who the Princess has chosen to love is not bound to her and may freely reject her affections.
  • Rightful King Returns: The True Heir to the Kingdom is supposed to be this, according to the Queen of Mirrors.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment:
    • The philosophy of the Queen of Diamonds is the Enlightenment in its purest form, while Hearts is rather Romantic (though an idealistic variant). The other Radiant Queens' followers have mixed positions on the subject.
    • The Kingdom of Alhambra is unabashedly Romantic and backward-looking, but that's because of how it's structured; the philosophy of Lacrima itself passes no judgment on the issue.
    • Specchio is as purely Romantic as it gets. The True Heir to the fallen Kingdom will be The Chosen One by destiny and divine right, and she will put the world right and rule over it because that's how things are meant to be.
    • The Queen of Storms doesn't have time for philosophy when there's Darkspawn to be killed.
  • Romantic Vampire Boy: Stereotypically, Princesses of Mirrors divide vampires into two kinds: the evil (and ugly) fiends and "the hot ones I can save." Naturally, this is the precise opposite of the reality going by Vampire: The Requiem (the pretty Daeva are Vice-addicted Stepford Smilers with a marked tendency towards emotional abuse, while ugly Nosferatu tie with the Mekhet for least evil vampire clan).
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: It's arguable if Princesses are actually royalty, either way they certainly do stuff. The Queen of Mirrors was in part deliberately intended to sponge up all the tropes about royalty only looking pretty and being superior to keep them away from the PCs.
  • Sacred Language: The Royal Tongue's nature as utterly incomprehensible to even other supernaturals in the World of Darkness turns it effectively into this.
  • Sickly Green Glow: A common feature of the Tempesta Invocation, belonging to the Queen of Storms. Comes in both glowing green radioactivity, and glowing green acid variants, too.
  • Size Shifter: The benefit of the 3-dot Perfect charm Royal Stature, as well as the Darkspawned Caligines Diminutive Size and Grotesque Bulk.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smug Super: Princesses of Mirrors are required to be smug to some extent by their Invocation, while Princesses of Tears tend to lord it over Earthlings for cultural reasons.
  • Sorceress Queen: The eight Queens are among the most powerful beings in the game. Six of them rule a kingdom, the other two used to.
  • Spiritual Successor: Arguably one to Sailor Nothing. The game also oddly enough, shares many of the same themes as Changeling: The Dreaming thought handled slightly differently.
  • Take Over the World: A key tenet of Lacrima is that Alhambra must "Subdue the Rebellious Provinces." However, as a matter of policy, Alhambra doesn't go conquering, because the City must be protected above all else. The tension between ideology and policy has led to a growing faction who say that it's time to take back Earth.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: The Royal Tongue is so dense that you can make entire speeches on hope and friendship in the middle of battle.
  • Theme Naming: 4 of the Radiant Queens and their courts are each named after one of the playing card suits most often used in the English speaking world. The odd woman out is the Queen of Swords, whom uses an archaic name for the suit of Spades, which is still used by Italian tarot as a suit of minor arcana.
  • Tarot Motifs: The Five Radiant Queens are all named after on of the suits of the Minor Arcana, (including Spades, which is just an older named for Swords). Also, the Queen of Tears was known as the Queen of Cups before the Fall, the Queen of Storms was once the Queen of Wands and Mirrors was Pentacles.
  • The Magocracy: The magical girls are refereed to Princesses, Princes and Nobles for a reason. Though the differences between a Magical Girl and a Wizard Classic means that many of the magocracy stereotypes do not apply, as does the presence of six different magocracies and thus the need to make them distinct from each other.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: While Princesses have more leeway than Muggles in this department, a Princess who has abandoned this rule has descended into a fairly gray area of Belief and is suffering penalties for it. If they've abandoned it without replacing it with some kind of Fictional Geneva Conventions, then they're on the fast track to Dethronement.
  • Tortured Monster: Generally speaking, Dethroned were not nice individuals before they bottomed out the Karma Meter, and the transformation into a full Darkspawn turned them into powerful, insane monsters if they weren't already. At the same time, they also literally do not have the ability to feel hope, and now they just exist to be pushed into doing whatever more driven Darkspawn want. At this point, death is a Mercy Kill. Except that it doesn't work; the Dethroned will just reincarnate if slain.
  • Transformation Trinket: It's an RPG about MagicalGirls, of course it has these.
  • Utility Magic: The Embassy to the Economy are masters of magical accounting and magical economic forecasting. They use it to fight white collar crime.
  • Utopia: Every Queen has her own in The Dreamlands.
  • The Unfettered: The Invocation of Lacrima requires this. In service to your Nation (which is either Alhambra, or else the people you've chosen to protect), you must be willing to commit absolutely any sin if that's the best way to go about it. However, this state is also impossible for any Princess to really achieve, because Princesses cannot wall themselves off from the suffering of others.
  • Vestigial Empire: Alhambra is the last remnant of the Kingdom that wasn't trapped in the Dreamlands, and they believe the Queen of Tears to be the rightful ruler of the entire world.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Glasgow was the site of a major war between the Enlightened and Alhambra, and just about every Princess who was active there in the Nineties learned to draw upon Tempesta. Many such Princesses are every bit as psychotic as the Seraphic General's own champions.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Both Tears and Storms fall under this.
    • The Last Empress wants to save her city, the last remnants of the Kingdom, and damn the consequences for the rest of the world.
    • The Seraphic General will burn the world to defeat the Darkness, if that's what it takes.
    • The Queen of Mirrors is publically in this place as well, constantly testing Hopeful to determine whether or not they are the Kingdoms' True Heir. Most don't measure up and break. Those that don't measure up in the most spectacular ways break worse.
  • White and Grey Morality: The Radiant Princesses vs the Twilight Princesses. The Twilight Courts have understandable goals but really terrible methods. The Radiant Princesses don't find it easy to be good, they don't always succeed, but they try so hard.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: Anyone who has the Two Hearts, One Soul Flaw.
  • You Rebel Scum!: A common attitude of the followers of Tears towards everybody else, judging by their stereotypical views. The even call Earth "The Rebellious Provinces."
Pathogen: The InfectedTabletopGame/New World of DarknessOutsider The Calling
Genius: The TransgressionTabletop GamesMonte Cook's World of Darkness

alternative title(s): Princess The Hopeful
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