A Round Robin tradition at the CivilizationFanatics Forum, each Draw Your Own Story episode is a collaboratively-created comic, usually about the CF forum. The notoriously confusing and complex plot tends to involve the authors' self-insert characters combating a villain/seeking out an artifact who/which has incredible power. Lots of explosions and military hardware is usually involved. There is a massive supporting cast, most of which are characters imported from video games, tv shows, comics, literature, and historical and real life figures, resulting in a massive Mega Crossover and/or Anachronism Stew.Also infamous for personality conflicts among the contributors (not so much nowadays) and frequent Series Hiatus.Yes, it has a Wiki. There have been 13 episodes so far, but unfortunately threads for episodes 1-9 have been deleted and live on only in memory.The available episodes include:
DYOS 10 - a story of the Avatar Wars, where people's old forum avatars rebel against their former masters;
In an example of What Could Have Been, DaemonDD's Lucifer arc in DYOS XI would have provided a whole new act that brought together many of the story's "secondary" protagonists in a battle to save the universe. Ennui from the prolonged Hacker plot led him to drop it, and he has stated that he has no plans to continue the arc in future threads.
Similarly, Kan' Sharuminar and Captain2 were working on a side story originally intended to carry over into DYOS 12; but with the former apparently quitting DYOS over Creator Backlash, this is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
All There in the Manual: The Wiki started out having things that happened in comics, and now has way more information than the story itself, in plenty of cases way more than is necessary, much to the annoyance of the Wiki's Creator.
Alone With Prisoner Ploy: Feldmarschall Schäffer interrupts his own birthday party for a private audience with a recently-captured Krieger. While the particular scene is Schäffer waxing philosophical, later comics suggest he regularly feeds Krieger crucial information on Space Nazi activities.
Art Evolution: Most, if not all of the regular contributors have modified their styles in some way over the years, and not only the pen-and-paper crowd. Toward the end of DYOS XI, Kan' Sharuminar began experimenting with watercolour paints.
It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: e350tb and Judge_Deadd are killed before they even know they're Chosen. The Clone Guild learns the new identities and immediately embarks on a manhunt, captures taillesskangaru and literally rips the trait out of him, possibly inflicting brain damage.
Later on, it's found out he's a Chosen One again. But this time, it pays well.
Continuity Snarl: A frequent problem within and between older threads as each contributor tended to have a unique take on the main story and canonical progression was never a serious concern. More recently, DYOS 11 presupposes the events of DYOS 10.5 when the latter thread isn't even halfway through.
Cool Airship: The Gogf, named after a forum member who has a blimp as his avatar.
Cool Guns: Some of the guns CivGeneral and Jill use would also tread into the Rare Guns category.
Cryptic Conversation: Pretty much everyone when speaking about Mr. Toyoda, including Toyoda himself.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Jill vs. Domination3000. Jill eventually showed him the power of the glow. It was in a non-canon comic though, one of the many "Take That, annoying forumers" comics that have been written over the course of the series.
CivGeneral and Company are kidnapped and brought to Enclave headquarters where Dr. Breen tries to prompt a Face-Heel Turn. Not only does he fail, but the kidnapping spurs Coruscant to launch a scary fast assault across the entire United States that drives the Enclave from the continent. Oops.
The Space Nazis anticipate a quick victory in Europe, thinking it's less unified than it really is. What happens? The invasion force wedges itself between two hostile blocs and now fights for survival.
Wesker grants Dr. Richtofen permission to travel back in time with the aim of preventing CivGeneral from rising to prominence and scuttling his evil plans. While the resulting Alternate Timeline sees Coruscant defeated early in DYOS, Wesker is captured and executed by the Sibling Empire.note It's also suggested Umbrella was defunct and Wesker on the run for some years prior.
Doing Research: When Hannibal learns Toyoda is more involved in the Gem mystery than the heroes think, he goes to the archives to bone up on the lore. The end of the Hard Work Montage implies he now knows the full extent of the Ancient Conspiracy, while pretty much every other character is still stumbling in the dark.
Doomed by Canon: DYOS 10.5, being an interquel to 10 and 11, sees this- the Combine must be defeated, the main characters must survive, most plot threads must be resolved, et cetera.
Earth-Shattering Kaboom: More times than should be legally allowed. Earth was destroyed at least once in every thread up until the 9th one, usually multiple times. In DYOS 8, it was destroyed, replaced by a Communist version, then destroyed again.
The Empire: Combine Empire, the Enclave, the Greater German Space Reich, The Second Galactic Empire, and Transatlasia, to some extent.
Evil Brit: Typically averted as most of e350tb's supporting cast is British, with the pointed exception of Agent Grimsby.
Forever War: Not so much one war eternal as a perpetual stream of new enemies. CurtSibling is probably the closest example, striving for world supremacy in every story he was featured in.
Framed for Heroism: Marsha penetrates the Hacker's firewall and opens a portal to Xen, saving CivGeneral from an otherwise Invincible Villain... or so everyone thinks. In reality, the Eastern Union's IT corps inadvertently stripped the Hacker of his powers through an elaborate back-trace, and Marsha plugged in just after the barrier fell. Given the operation appears to have hacked every networked device on the planet, and that the officer in charge knew she'd probably be fired for it, the Union likely won't speak up.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Stylesrj's team drinks fruit juice instead of regular alcohol at parties. The intoxicating effects could be claimed on a sugar rush.
Genre Shift: Different contributors play to different themes, and the plot can change as soon as the next comic. Some artists even run multiple genres simultaneously.
CivGeneral went from a mercenary-like character in the early threads into the leader of his own nation in response to escalating powergaming in the so-called Dark Ages. Recent episodes show him trying to revert to his mercenary roots.
Demonstrated most poignantly by lord_joakim's abrupt change from campy comedy to psychotic quasi-Mind Screw. And back.
Stylesrj every other month with the Narrator plots
taillesskangaru's entire Gem storyline, notable for being almost completely devoid of any attempt at humour, and for featuring lots of blood.
DYOS 10.5 as a whole. It keeps the humour bubbling on the surface, but the wars and diplomatic manoeuvres are much more nuanced, giving it the trappings of a political thriller.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Justified due to the PG atmosphere the forums has in its rule set. One of many examples: Ayane and Faye were wrestling and got into a few suggestive positions.
Hitler Rants: First done by e350tb and Stylesjl as panel comics. Thorvald occasionally submits full videos, typically criticizing his Schedule Slip.
Hollywood Hacking: CivGeneral's characters are firm disciples, and a few confront the Hacker in a Cyberspace setting. CivGeneral fights the anthropomorphism of his hate in a virtual reality environment.
Averted by Rhiza (although how she ended up physically injuring the Hacker is anyone's guess) and Octavia Deaconescu.
Internal Reformist: Various characters within Coruscant, at different times over different crises. In DYOS 10.5, Kusanagi confronts the nation's victim complex and a renegade CIA.
Killed Off for Real: A few people actually have died and remained dead, although the only dead among the self-insert characters are e350tb and Judge Deadd
Klingon Promotion: choxorn became the leader of the Zombie Apocalypse after vaporizing the original leaders with a Kill Sat. Mythmonster briefly became the leader of Apolyton after shooting the previous one in the head, then forgot about that plotline as a result of his update schedule of "almost never"
Ironically, Coruscant profited as much, if not more: the campaign against the Enclave netted it America and a sizable chunk of the Asian Pacific, not to mention the star systems that flipped after the Galactic Federation imploded...
Limited Wardrobe: Stylesrj used to have this, only wearing the one set of clothes/armour. Then he started changing outfits after he met his wife.
Marth & Martha Shepard are either in their armour or in the clothes underneath
Generals Kwai & Leang. When Kwai went on a date, his normal brown suit was dyed grey.
Make It Look Like a Struggle: Marsha and Krieger unexpectedly encounter Schäffer while fleeing the Space Nazi base. Krieger orders Marsha further on before engaging in a mock fight to give the officer an alibi on the security cameras.
Malignant Plot Tumor: The Gem arc, introduced in DYOS 10 but grew so fast that it earned its own sequel thread. Thorvald has repeatedly hinted that it has in turn provided the foundation for yet a third act.
Within DYOS 10.5, the Nazi War. Originally intended as filler until lord_joakim could resume regular contributions, a combination of Schedule Slip, Continuity Snarl stemming from joakim shifting literally everything plot-critical to DYOS 11, and CivGeneral's disinterest in the more delicate facets of the Gem arc saw the war grossly overshadow the "main" story.
Medium Awareness: Exploited by nearly everyone, especially Thorvald, choxorn and taillesskangaru. Memorable examples include Krieger leaving DYOS 11 to fight in the prequel, Zheng He pondering whether he's in a tragedy or a comedy, and tailless going meta to escape a hostile space fleet.
Mega Corp.: Umbrella Corporation and, arguably, the Clone Guild.
Talon Company probably counts, and Toyoda is inferred to run one.
Meta Fic: Commonly demonstrated in "Narratorspace", "The Reality Warpers' Club", and "Ask that Ninja".
Mind Screw: The Thear arc. Didn't help that E350 lost one of the pages and was too lazy to redraw it, resulting in an As You Know.
Mood Whiplash: With so many different participants, it's inevitable that consecutive comics won't always carry the same tone.
Mr. Exposition: Vyacheslav Molotov occasionally appears to brief the audience on the state of the plot.
Multinational Team: Among the characters are nearly every European and East Asian nationality that exists, and a few that don't. Also true of the story writers, whose present and past ranks include around 15 Americans, 4 Canadians, 5 Australians, 2 English, a Scot, 2 Danes, a Norwegian, 2 Swedes, a Pole, an Asian-Australian, a Pakistani-American, an Indonesian, and some people with an unknown nationality.
Mysterious Woman: Kuraki Tojikawa, a close associate of Toyoda who advises choxorn and provides insider information to Marshal Brusilov.
No Name Given: Most self-insert characters are only known by their username, which rolls into Only One Name for a majority of self-insert characters. Though some over time were given surnames, like Stylesrj, or opted to adopt their spouse's name, like CivGeneral. The hacker in DYOS 11 is known simply as the Hacker.
Regularly defied by CivGeneral's minor characters, some of whom get a first and last name despite a single appearance.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Defied in the cruellest irony imaginable: a nuclear-armed Tupolev bomber sets off to strike an Enclave oil rig from Hiroshima.
Sometimes Stylesrj makes a big explosion and explains that it's not a nuke, but an N2 mine.
Nuke 'em: The above example is only one of hundreds...
One of Us: Everyone who is writing this story, some more so than others, is one of us.
Only Six Faces: Frequently occurs in CivGeneral's comics, but then, it's a limitation of the medium. Amusingly, the same face model was used for both the Chancellor of the Republic (good guy) and the CIA Deputy Director (bad guy).
A notable Lampshade Hanging occurs in choxorn's conversation with Tanaka. Ironically, Tanaka's model was unique.
The Sequel Hook to DYOS 10.5 describes the Galactic Federation imploding shortly after the fall of Daiban, with planets flipping to Coruscant or being steamrolled by the Space Nazis.
The so-called Battle of the Bulge sees the Coruscanti army reaching from Chicago to the Pacific in the span of a single comic.
Originally, Mariko took control of Coruscant, Kuat and Kessel on the same day she founded the Second Empire. Recognized as unfeasible at best, this was later retconned as an overly-ambitious boast on her part.
Private Military Contractors: Mr. Toyoda's Security Company, CivGeneral's Brotherhood of Steel and S.T.A.R.S. factions, Stylesrj's Space Mercenaries, Talon Company.
Reality-Writing Book: The Collected DYOS Episodes 1–9, the only surviving copy of the threads before the server switch deleted them, is stolen by the Hacker and used to erase choxorn and the zombies from the timeline. Surprisingly little else is made of this potentially catastrophic plot device.
Security Blanket: Taillesskangaru in place of Linus in one of the "Why Haven't Contributor Drawn Comics Lately" comics.
Self-Deprecating Humor: All the writers do this, rather frequently, except for CivGeneral, and even he's starting to do it some now.
Self-Insert Fic: Pretty much every major character is a self-insert. The exception is whoever e350tb's main character is at the time- he uses characters from Nickelodeon cartoons as his main chracter(s) instead of himself. He had a self-insert like everyone else for two seconds, but said self-insert was killed in his first comic.
Series Hiatus: DYOS occasionally suffered from this due to contributors being busy with real life.
Georgy Kalanin is usually referred to by everyone other than Stylesjlnote even his brother as Georgie, probably due to the audience's English-language bias (joer-jee rather than the Russian yeor-gee).
Manfred von Richthofen is always spelled Richtofen. Given his brutal character assassination in DYOS V, this may be the contributors' way of separating his portrayal in the comic from the historical figure.
WRITE Your Own Story, a sister project started in 2014 by wannabe participants more comfortable with writing than drawing.
It's actually Older Than They Think, with the first Write-Your-Own-Story thread airing in 2003; in fact, DYOS started as a spin-off of WYOS.
Sprite Comic: Most famously done by Splime, who created an original army set for DYOS IX. Also used by Omega124, and CivGeneral when his gaming computer was being repaired.
Standard Female Grab Area: Subverted with Marsha Conrad. Don't ever try to grab her arm or you will find yourself flat on the floor.
Stalker with a Crush: Jessica Daibijin is Stylesjl's Axe Crazy Stalker in DYOS 11. Her plans of cutting out Stylesjl's heart with her axe were put on hold to deal with the Hacker.
Statler and Waldorf: doing what they do best. Cameoed as Space Nazi soldiers during the invasion of Britain in DYOS 10.5; in DYOS 11, they're perched at the bow of a pirate ship à la Muppet Treasure Island.
Tragic Villain: Space Nazi field marshal Kurt Schäffer. While he harbours no love for Coruscant, he adheres to a higher ethical standard than his fellow officers and works within the system to mitigate the damage as much as possible, even leaking critical information to Krieger.
Happens again later in, when Sandy ends up on the wrong side of an Emergency Roboticiser. Happily for the plot, her mind is intact.
United Europe: A subversion that tries to play itself straight. The continent is split longitudinally between the Eastern Union and Free Western Army, who work very closely with each other. No Iron Curtain here, folks!
Very Special Episode: Happens around Christmas time with special edition comics. A few lampooning comics consist of other posters from the forums. Almost all of the special episode comics are considered non-canon.
Stylesrj recently did a parody of a whole bunch of Soap Opera Special Episode themes.
Vestigial Empire: By DYOS 10, Taillenia has virtually ceased to exist, and the Space Fleet last flies the flag in the battle over Earth midway through the story. The survivors reorganize as the Cosmonarmada Vostok in DYOS 10.5, policing the planet of the same name.