The Descended is a webcomic run by Brian D. Lewis, also known as Ranger_Brian_New (on the forums), hosted on ComicFury. It is set in the fictional world of Soano, an original setting with unique rules built from scratch, governed by mechanics of an Role-Playing Game Verse Brian created. The story follows the quests and adventures that three individual groups have the misfortune of undertaking: The Elementals, The Latens, and The Outcasts. Because each group has four members (with the promise of a fourth group to come), it obviously has Loads and Loads of Characters, each with their own distinctive personality and rich backstories.The comic suffered from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus as Brian finished patching up and solidifying the details of the world he did not have consistently filled when he started the comic, a mistake he felt lead to the Writer's Block which kept him from continuing. As of July 2012, he has announced that he has mostly finished with his revisions, to the point where July 30th marked the relaunch of his comic, which is now updating regularly every Monday at 6:00 PM, Pacific Time. Currently, he estimates it will take until approximately November for him to get into new content.Plans are also under way for him to run a game based off of the mechanics he's created as well, though he has not announced an approximate date for this.
The Elementals started off fairly small, but became widely known as some of the greatest adventurers of their nation by the time they were called on to thwart a demon invasion. After losingSanik, his reputation skyrocketed. It wasn't until shortly after repelling an enemy invasion that they well and truly became this, though. However, they've since started from scratch, owing to Helops being destroyed.
Jason Argo Maustrat is hailed as one of the greatest adventurers of all time, a hero across all of Soano. For that same reason, Argus (now anything but heroic) prefers not to use his old name, only invoking it when absolutely necessary.
Abandoned Info Page: Owing to the constantly-evolving nature of Soano, Brian has had most of his extra pages fall behind, with only a couple up to date.
Abandoned Mine: The dungeon which The Elementals and The Latens are going into at the start of the story is one of these.
Action Girl: Considering the series focuses on groups of adventurers—whose daily jobs involve fighting endless hordes of monsters—it's really no surprise that the entire female cast is (or was) one of these. However, the main Action Girl is Aria.
All There in the Manual: Significant amounts of the backstory and setting details do not appear in the actual comic, but in the various info pages, this TV Tropes page, and even Ranger's "edit reason" comments.
Arbitrary Gun Power: Guns fire faster than bows and crossbows, have greater accuracy than either, and have a range and reload time between the two, but at the cost of damage. Justified, as guns in Soano are not powered in quite the same way as guns in real life, owing to the fantasy setting. Sinaer using one made her The Sniper.
Arcadia: Hidenva, the hometown of many characters.
Arc Words: Each arc has a quote associated with it. And So Our Story Begins, the current arc, has the words "Those who know life best are the ones who have lost one already."
Arranged Marriage: Nathan's parents were already in a relationship when this happened for them.
The desire to have this is one of the reasons why Brian chose to change styles from being a Sprite Comic into Animesque art. He's certainly succeeded; even over the course of just the first comic, it was clear Brian was improving.
The decision itself may qualify; the difference between sprite-like and manga-like art is large, as demonstrated nicely here◊.
The Battle of Helops had this for both sides. With The Elementals defeated and the forces of Helops beginning to tire, it looked like total defeat would happen... until Voss, David, and Ian unleashed their fury. This managed to wipe out nine tenths of the invading army and seriously cripple their leader, Celaren. However, Celaren managed to kill David, Ian, and Voss before leaving. Helops survived the attack, but was unable to recover and fell apart, whereas the remnants of the army were still strong enough to level Revan, Lejus, and Yeras Wharf before they died.
Argus had this during his fight with Chaos, who had killed two of their traveling companions and critically wounded Hank. Only after Hank stabbed Chaos from behind did Argus get a chance to counter-attack.
Badass Longcoat: Kinas. Many other characters are slated to feature some in their concept art as well.
Bag of Holding: Standard adventuring equipment once a character gets close to level 100. It doesn't take long before...
Bag of Sharing: ...It evolves into this trope, as inevitably, adventurers need to access each others' items.
Balance of Power: Currently leaning towards Good, since it's difficult to get to the highest-level range as an Evil alignment.
Bare Your Midriff: While mainly only showing up in concept art, it is canonical in the backstories of almost all the girls, though as of the time of the comic, they wear armor which does not have such a gap.
Big Brother Instinct: Played straight with Sanik to Kinas, inverted with Enlecar, who has the instinct for his older brother, Celaren. Argus and Chaos canonically had an older brother who was like this for them until they became old enough to look out for themselves. Kinas also has the instinct towards, of all people, Nathan Betrax.
Black and Gray Morality: Over half of the cast is on the negative or neutral side of the alignment chart, with two of the group leaders being rather evil. They're just fighting things which are worse than them.
Black Mage: While the Fire, Ice, Lightning and Earth Elements have spells which aren't offensive, their main focus is almost entirely on attack, making any practitioner of one or two of them into this.
All over the place. Ironically, it is strongest in Warriors, rather than Mages, as many Warrior skills involve sacrifices. This trend it taken Up to Eleven with the Darkness Warrior, making it the best fit.
Necromancy, one of the only forms of magic actually illegal in Soano, however, is actually made up of the Light and Water elements' combination—fittingly enough, its name is "Reflect", and Necromancy involves inverting the norms.
Blade on a Stick: Davos's weapon of choice is a double-bladed staff; Tyra's weapon of choice is a spear.
Bow and Sword, in Accord: A common choice for Martial Artists. Kinas, Tyra, and Sarge have all previously wielded this combination for periods of time.
Breast Plate: Subverted—that area is the most heavily armored, but it's not the only area which is armored.
Broken Hero: Multiple cast members fulfill some of the criteria, but Sanik is by far the champion of this trope. Despite having his hometown destroyed as a child and losing his friends and family, losing his adventuring partner Celaren (and later learning Celaren was now working for his enemy), and being powerless to stop the deaths of Voss, Ian, and David, along with the destruction of his entire nation, he's actually become more heroic, as each tragedy has turned him increasingly less pragmatic.
Brown Eyes: The original eye color of Argus, Hank, and Chaos, as they all started out normal. Evolved into Blue, Gold, and Red, respectively.
There is no character on the evil half of the alignment chart who does not proudly show it off. Some (like Argus) are so good at it that they can convince others that the "evil way" is better.
As an unfortunate side-effect, the Slave to PR half of the trope also applies to Argus, and every time Aria points out he's done a good deed, his bar on the Karma Meter shifts a little in the wrong direction.
Character Classes: Seven total. The three base classes of Warrior, Mage, and Rogue, along with their combinations: Mage+Warrior = (Death) Paladin, Mage+Rogue = Woodsman, Warrior+Rogue = Martial Artist, All = Joat.
Character Customization: Brian is working out the system on how to allow this; he intends for Soano to be a fully-functional game universe, meaning this is essential.
Most notably, Argus, Hank, and Chaos are considered to be in a four-way chess battle. The fourth player being The Cosmos, which all three are trying to manipulate to their advantage without getting fried.
Voss is also an extremely notable one. Despite him being dead at the start of the story, he managed to predict the exact way both The Elementals and The Latens (before the latter even existed) would act, equipping them with what they would need for their new lifetime of adventuring.
City Noir: Revan, the counterpart to Helops, after it was decided that it would not be the capital of the nation. Before the decision was made, it had the potential to be the ultimate military Capital City. After Helops was chosen as an economic Capital City instead, Revan began to fade.
Cloudcuckoolander: Because the artist Brian is one himself, a large number of his characters take different personality traits from the trope, each incoherent in their own ways, though none are a perfect match.
Argus rants about tropes by name, which people tend to just shrug off.
Sanik, being of the Wind Element, tends to operate on a different wave of thought.
Nathan, designated hanger of lampshades, naturally is not normal, either.
Color-Coded Elements: White/Gray (Wind), Green (Earth), Red (Fire), Light Blue (Ice), Yellow/Blue/Red/White, depending on alignment and power (Energy), darker Blue (Water), Golden (Light), and Black/Purple (Darkness). The Elementals and Latens—being formed from the eight elements—show this color scheme perfectly.
Combat Medic: Sasha is a Light Paladin, skilled in both healing and melee. Tyra is her team's designated healer, but is among their best fighters. Sinaer is a Light Mage, but used to be a Darkness Martial Artist, and therefore is more than capable of fighting when the need arises.
The Corrupter: Chaos has become one. It's so powerful that those he's corrupted are themselves capable of corrupting. Celaren did this to The Latens, and Argus is one as well, able to convince even Sasha (most of the time) that the way of evil is perfectly fine.
Argus, having lived through life once already, is well-prepared for pretty much anything he encounters, since he's encountered it before and knows exactly how to deal with it.
Voss, in the Elementals' backstory, was this. He was so skilled that he prepared for his own death and the death of his old friends, knew exactly how and why The Elementals would be defeated, gave them all new equipment, and wished Kinas well on creating The Latens, something which happened after his death.
Critical Existence Failure: Surprisingly averted—despite being an RPG, characters begin to notably wear down in battles, becoming scarred and damaged.
All The Elementals. Nathan Betrax also plays it straight. Kinas (dark gray eyes, black hair), Sinaer (purple eyes, black hair with purple streaks; yellow eye, yellow streaks of hair), and Enlecar (yellow and blue eyes, with yellow and blue streaks in his hair) all contain the spirit of the trope as well
Both Davos and Sarge originally had hair colors different from their eye colors. Now, Sarge has red hair, and Davos's hair is canonically very-dark-crimson.
Cut and Paste Comic: Originally invoked with Brian's tendency not to redraw characters; it's now averted in the actual comic since the Art Evolution as his justification of the art being based off of a game was lost. However, he still uses it for filler comics.
"It'd not be a filler comic if it took me just as long as a normal comic would."
Argus, having traveled the land before and briefly been a god, knows his situation pretty well.
It runs in Argus's family, in fact. Chaos managed to become the Big Bad and cheat death by averting many of the weaknesses most villains possess. The few weaknesses he does possess he is well aware are weaknesses.
It really runs in the family. Jason Cedric Strat, a simple shopkeeper and Argus's nephew, has the ability to one-hit kill gods.
Voss was so Genre Savvy that he even managed to predict his own death.
Hank shares Argus's and Chaos's experiences, having been in their trio, and has the advantage of having remained a god.
The Dark Arts: Ironically, not the Darkness element. While the darkness element has the typical negative connotations, it is no more evil than any other element, only having its reputation because Darkness Mages (illusions), along with Water Mages (manipulation) are the primary elements of deception, making users less trustworthy. Warriors (especially Darkness Warriors) have a negative reputation because their skills mainly involve sacrifice and bloodlust, but they're not a dark art, either. The true Dark Art is the "Reflect" sub-element, a combination of Light and Water—it's the basis of necromancy.
Dark Is Not Evil: The Darkness element is not evil. However, many evil-aligned players prefer it, as it is one of the most helpful elements for them, along with Water, Wind, and...Light.
Justified—gods generally are not allowed to directly interfere with the mortal realm of Soano, but are permitted to do a little manipulation here and there, creating many of these situations.
Argus, as a fallen god, is a walking Deus ex Machina due to this whenever he intervenes in the affairs of others.
The Elementals and Latens run on them, as Enlecar points out.
Devil in Plain Sight: Argus can choose to hide himself rather effectively, although most of the times, he makes no effort to hide who he really is. Word of God is that he learned the trick from Chaos, who fit the trope far better.
All evil characters become this over time, as a Shout-Out to Fable. However, Davos (as a vampire) has it naturally.
Sinaer became one as well after The Battle Of Helops.
Elemental Eye Colors: Sanik (Wind) has Gray, Sarge (Fire) has Red, Tyra (Earth) has Green, M (Water) has Blue, Kinas (Darkness) has Dark Gray/Black, Sinaer (Light, former Darkness) has Yellow and Purple, Nathan (Ice) has Blue, and Enlecar (Energy) has Blue/Yellow.
Elemental Powers: The standard eight-element system, borrowed from AdventureQuest, was adapted for its relative simplicity. However, there are elemental combinations.
Variant—it's not Evil which pays better; being cynical on the "third wheel" makes the character play their alignment most effectively to its standard.
Also subverted with quality of life. When it comes to quality of life, it's neither cynical nor idealistic characters who have it best; it's those in the middle.
Evil Twin: Chaos to Argus. Technically, Kinas to Sanik counts as well.
Experience Points: The maximum number is 999,999: more than any other stat in the game. Brian's still working out how the levels are applied exactly, but he knows that 999,999 experience gets someone to level 999.
Exponential Potential: Brian had this problem initially with the class/element system; he calculated that he needed to create 259 individual combinations. After a simplification or two, he's managed to cut it down to 27.
While all of The Latens dropped at least a ring or two on the alignment spectrum, none took the hit harder than Kinas. However, even he isn't the most extreme example—that honor belongs to Argus, as he dropped from good to evil.
Failed a Spot Check: Justified in the backstory of The Elementals and The Latens: the army of Chaos was capable of attacking Helops directly and catching them off-guard because they specifically chose to avoid harming so much as a single village on their way, whereas most armies sent to destroy or conquer Helopia wasted their time attacking villages near the boarder of the nation. Faragawa fell through the same tactic, as it was orchestrated by the same man.
Argus's failing of one is how Sasha is introduced.
The most literal example would be Argus, falling from godhood and goodness to the worst form of evil.
However, the true champion of the trope is Kinas, who of all the characters took his fall the hardest.
Family Theme Naming: The Strat family has a tradition of the first son inheriting the unaltered name and all other male children having a modified surname, and they've made a habit of abbreviating their names. For instance, Argus's birth name is Jason Argo Maustrat, abbreviated as Jams.
Fantastic Nuke: Level 3 spells in offensive elements tend to act this way; they are the most powerful spells available, and the strongest of them can typically kill anything.
Fantasy World Map: As Brian intends for other people to use the World of Soano, he specifically decided not to create the whole world, as to give potential dungeon masters a greater amount of freedom with the details of the setting. However, he has made a prototype partial map◊ for Helopia, one of the two key settings.
The Fettered: Most of the cast is this rather than The Unfettered, however, the strongest example is (surprisingly) Sarge: Out of all the characters, he is the only one whose faith in his beliefs has never faded.
Forced to Watch: Kinas, during The Battle Of Helops, due to his stubbornness and iron-will at the time, was the last of The Elementals to fall, so he had to watch all of his friends slowly die. As such, he was the only one conscious to witness the following events, powerless to stop them.
Four Is Death: There are four main groups, and each of them has four members.
The Strats are a long line of heroes, with adventuring being In the Blood...however, most Strats settled down and retire, and do their best to try and keep their children from experiencing the horrors that they faced over their long years of questing. They discourage the horrific lifestyle they once had and hide any evidence that they or any of their ancestors had ever been an adventurer—so as a result, every generation of Strats believes they are the first of their family to have gone adventuring. Argus and Chaos are no exceptions.
The Elementals and Latens have become this as well.
Magical characters have these on so frequently it is almost permanent. Higher-leveled characters get alignment-based variations, blue for good, red for evil, and orange for neutral. Characters who have switched elements and/or alignments tend to frequently maintain one eye from each side, meaning that when their eyes shift fully to one side, it is never a good sign.
Argus is the best example. If his Hidden Eye glows blue, you're dead. If his Hidden Eye glows red, you'll wish you were. If both eyes go red, you're deader than dead.
Good Angel, Bad Angel: Subverted—since they're angels for Argus, the good angel has to convince Argus that the good option is best for the 'greater evil'.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Most of the cast have visible scars from their traumatic pasts. It is noticeably worse on "evil" characters. However, there is one aversion—due to the circumstances of his backstory, Argus's scars are still of the good kind.
Good Versus Evil: When it comes to ascension, there can't be too many good gods or too many evil gods; the two have to roughly be equal in numbers.
Graphics-Induced Super-Deformed: Inverted with Aria—in the new art style, her head is drawn no larger or smaller than normal, but canonically, her head is supposed to be far larger, as shown in the original sprite art.
Green Lantern Ring: Most class abilities are very loosely defined, allowing the user a great amount of freedom on what can and can't be done with them. In the few incidents where what they want to do won't work, there's items, which overwrite the rules of class abilities, as they can do anything.
"Nine times out of ten, if the rules of an item conflict with the rules of Soano, the item wins."
Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: And "guys cast spells to attack, girls cast spells to keep the guys from dying". Both Tyra and Sinaer receive the least amount of damage in their respective groups, due to their role as The Medic. Neither has any problem with it.
Argus isn't exactly a hero, as he is evil. However, he used to be one, and still possesses many heroic trends—among them, that his actions still make the world a better place, as they did when he was still a hero.
Sanik fit many of the literal requirements pre-Battle of Helops, but only became a true hero after it.
As a contrast, Kinas used to fit the mold even better than Sanik did, but is anything but since his Face-Heel Turn, which started because of that same battle.
Hidden Eyes: Argus has one. Kinas has a partial example.
His Story Repeats Itself: Though this could apply to most of the characters, this is most evident for Argus, as Brian's description of the comic basically says that it revolves around Argus's past, and how he's going through everything a second time.
Argus's backstory is also the future of the comic.
History Repeats: The fate of Helops is identical to the fate of Faragawa. The only difference is that things ended up far, far worse for Helops. Justified, in that they were orchestrated by the same man.
Hit Points: Shown as an HP bar whenever things get bad.
Holding Out for a Hero: Averted; being a fantasy setting, most towns know how to defend themselves. It's just that when faced against the army of Chaos, trained specifically to disable cities' defenses, there's not really much they can do to resist without a hero to save them.
Ill Guy: Celaren was consistently sick while he was an adventurer, but carried on anyway.
Incurable Cough of Death: Celaren, AKA, The Agent Of Chaos, Enlecar's brother, had a rather bad case of this. When it became Blood from the Mouth during times it should not have been (during adventures, not unusual. When resting, extremely unusual), it forced him into a hospital.
Infinite Canvas: Conversed during a critique. TheOneBlueGecko pointed out the advantages inherent in the digital artform; it allows for panels to be longer (and therefore have more room for dialog), and for there to be a greater number of them on a page.
Jack of All Stats: When used as designed, Joats are this. If done poorly, they're masters of none. If done well and with enough levels, they can take this trope to its next level. Argus and Voss have both done so.
Eye color can change with any number of events, though most frequently, it's due to alignment—brighter colors for good, darker colors for evil. Ultimately at the higher levels, this results in characters universally having blue eyes, golden/orange eyes, or red eyes, regardless of original eye color.
Argus has one blue eye and one red eye, despite neither being his natural eye color. Kinas's original eye color was golden, shifting to dark gray post-Face-Heel Turn. Sinaer had one of her purple eyes turn gold.
Lampshade Hanging: Nathan Betrax is the designated Captain Ovious and lampshade hanger. However, as every character knows that Soano works on game mechanics, they all have a certain level of awareness. Argus, having been a god for a brief period of time, has it the highest, since he really knows his tropes.
Lazy Artist: The main reason the comic was guilty of being a Cut and Paste Comic. Since he has lost his justification of the art style being redesigned from a 2-D game he was making, Brian has been forced to step up on his art. However, he still slacks off on scenery, and is quite vocal on the subject.
"Why no scenery? HAVE YOU SEEN HOW*CENSORED!*LONG IT TAKES TO DO SCENERY?!?By Lorithia, it takes FOREVER! Now, even if Icopy and pastedsceneryfrom every single panel, I still have to draw it once! And, believe me, it's harder than you think, unless you've done it before. I sure was caught by surprise. What scenery I try to add often fails, and if it DOESN'T fail, then it'll still take a long time.
Leaked Experience: The Latens and The Elementals have stayed at approximately equal levels...despite some party members having been gone for a long time missing whole arcs of their travels.
Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted; Fargawania/Helopia is a Right-Justified map; they have an ocean to their east/right and mountains covering their northern and western boarders, separating them from their rival nation.
The Legions of Hell: Instead of just one demonic dimension, there are several, though none of them are technically "hell". The primary one is the largest, because it's the only group smart enough to never launch a full-scale invasion: instead, they just perform an occasional raid. Their complex plans were laid out by Argus.
Life Meter: Displayed whenever a character takes significant damage in combat.
Light 'em Up: The Light Element has some of this, particularly for Warriors.
Light Is Not Good: While many characters using Light are positively-aligned, smarter evil-characters (knowing they'll get hurt more often than heroes) have a tendency to use it just as often.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Currently, there are three known groups of three in the comic. Word of God is that another team of Four will soon be appearing—and this is all just for the protagonists He says there's an equal number of antagonists.
Man Child: Davos has an adult body, but as vampires age slowly, his mind is still considered that of a child.
Martial Arts Headband: Tyra, M, Sinaer, and Enlecar all play it straight. Sarge is sometimes depicted with one, but not always. Kinas and Sanik are subversions—they wear what effectively is a ring around their head, but because it's difficult to draw, it frequently is shown as a Martial Arts Headband instead.
Meaningful Name: It'd be easier to list the names which aren't meaningful. Brian explained why on the forums in this post.
"I should put in the effort of figuring out their full names. Yes, I consider it more 'figuring out' than 'thought out', because to me, they're living, breathing people. Their names are part of who they are, so I take great care to make sure that their name is, well, them."
The Medic: The core focus of the Light element, especially for Mages.
The Mentor: Voss was this for Enlecar (and later, M). His travel companions Ian and David were Sinaer's and Kinas's. All three inspired Argus as well.
Fair Weather Mentor: Davos fears that Argus takes this approach, seeing Davos as just a disposable tool.
Sink or Swim Mentor: Justified—As Argus is not a vampire, he is unable to actually demonstrate the vampiric abilities Davos wishes to learn. Instead, he simply tells Davos what to do with a vague idea of how and forces him to learn it on his own.
Mind Probe: The spell "Mindreader" and similar abilities.
Mind Rape: Of the psychological kind, this is the specialty of Chaos, to both enemies and allies alike. As Word of God puts it, " Chaos likes to break people, ally and enemy alike."
Money for Nothing: The standard RPG variant: Money is extremely valuable in the lower levels, but in the upper levels isn't as valuable.
Money Spider: Surprisingly, averted. Characters get experience from defeating enemies, but they don't get gold unless the enemy had gold on them; adventurers get most of their gold from loot which the enemies are guarding, as a reward, and from selling the junk the defeated enemies were carrying.
Morality Kitchen Sink: While all nine alignments are in play, many characters' usage of them is different from the typical expectations of that alignment, causing a blur between the lines.
MS Paint: Default program used, as Brian knows all the tricks of the program. However, to encourage Art Evolution, he has begun using Paint.NET to further his artistic skill.
"I feel like such a cheater."
Mysterious Past: All of the cast has one. Argus is the champion of the trope, however, as exploring his past forms the backbone of the story.
Never Gets Drunk: Warriors have this as a built-in ability. Rogues and mages can acquire it by using the abilities which permit them to be immune to toxins.
New Game+: A version is given to any character nerfed. The Elementals and The Latens both receive minor benefits from this. Argus (having been a far higher level) receives far better bonuses. He even calls out the trope by name.
Nice Guy: Despite the nature of their pasts, a few still exist.
Sasha is this for The Outcasts. Similarly, Sinaer fills this role for The Latens.
Tyra is the default for The Elementals, but she is not the only one. Both Sanik and Sarge can fill the role when needed.
Nietzsche Wannabe: Cynical evil characters see the world as their playthings, as just toys which can easily be broken and replaced, ultimately having no meaning.
Oh My Gods!: Normal characters say this. Gods, already being Gods, aren't going to say, "Oh my me", so instead say "COSMOS". Argus, having been among their ranks, picked the habit up.
Older Than They Look: Argus is over 80. Aria hasn't aged since she died years ago. Voss and David were also examples.
Old Master: Voss, Ian, and David (though only Ian looked the part). Since he's now training Davos, Argus counts as well.
The Omniscient: Gods in general. The plot-related ones are Hank and Chaos, with Argus also having similar potential.
One Degree of Separation: Revealed in the full version of characters' backstories; nearly the entire cast is tied to one or two individuals, mainly, Argus's brother, Chaos and one of Chaos's Agents, Enlecar's brother Celaren.
It's canonical that Gods have access to TV Tropes.
Quite obviously, Brian is One of Us. It's to the point where he realized here that he probably was the largest trope addict on ComicFury. To paraphrase,
"Matt said that I have a near-encyclopedic knowledge of tropes. He's not entirely right...but he's not exactly wrong, either."
One Size Fits All: The main restriction for clothing is by class and stat attributes. As such, there is no difference between male and female equipment, nor is there a distinction in most equipment for race.
Order Versus Chaos: Whereas Good Versus Evil has a "cosmic balance" and can't tip too far to one side when it comes to ascension, this is actually averted for Gods; there is no similar scale for Order and Chaos, due to a loophole/paradox involving how the act of balancing them out itself tips the scales towards order.
Orphaned Series: While for the longest time, it looked like this would be played straight (with the last update having been January 2010), it is finally looking like this has been Averted. To paraphrase,
"I'm determined. I might have procrastinated, but I never gave up. This means far too much to me for me to abandon it, and that has given me the will to keep on going."
True to his word, Brian's work on The Descended has gotten to the point where he is almost ready to continue the comic.
Our Vampires Are Different: Brian has a whole tree of terms for different vampires. The strongest of them are Purebloods, those born from two pureblood vampires like Davos. They have few-to-none of the typical vampire weaknesses (except the bloodlust) and most of the typical strengths.
Sanik's slightly whimsical (Wind), Sarge is a little confrontational (Fire), M is coldly logical (Water), and Tyra is strong, yet calming (Earth).
In general, Water users tend to be distant and calculating, as Mages specialize in manipulation, Warriors in conservation, and Rogues in sabotage; Light users tend to be heroic, as Mages specialize in healing, Warriors in duty, and Rogues in confusion and charm; Darkness users tend to be villainous, as Mages specialize in deceptive illusions, Warriors specialize in passion, and Rogues specialize in stealth; Wind users tend to be airheads, but when it matters, helpful, as Mages specialize in Buffs/Debuffs, Warriors in opportunism, and Rogues in support; Fire users tend to be aggressive, as the element focuses on attack power, Ice users tend to be snappy, as the element focuses on speed; Energy users tend to be stubborn and defiant, as the element focuses on willpower and outlasting the enemy; Earth users tend to be calm and in control, as the element focuses on keeping hold on the situation.
Petal Power: While the Earth Element is primarily Dishing Out Dirt, there is no "Nature" element, and so, this falls under Earth's domain as well.
Power Glows: Magical spells make the user's hands glow.
The Power of Friendship: The only universally redeeming character trait in the cast. If not for their friendships with each other, a lot of the cast (The Latens in particular) would be far worse people than they are.
"Humans tend to say, 'Oh, Gods', praying/cursing to/at a higher power. When they become that higher power, what do they believe in, then? What could be greater than a God? That greater force is what they call The Cosmos, a force which nobody can mess with and have it end well. (Though manipulating it is possible...)"
Power Trio: While all the groups in the present are made up of four-member groups, the backstory features a core trio consisting of Argus, Hank, and Chaos.
Three Plus Two: During their "final battle" before ascension, their adventuring party was this. The three above were also traveling with two others, one of them Davos's father and the other, Hank's Love Interest. Chaos killed both of them before they knew what hit them, but failed to kill Hank.
Prestige Class: One can multiclass at any time, however, Martial Artists (Warrior+Rogue), (Death) Paladins (Warrior+Mage), and Woodsmen (Rogue+Mage) only become prestige classes at Level 300, where the penalties for multiclassing once are removed, allowing an upgrade to a mixture of two classes rather than specializing in just one. At level 850, the penalty for Master (All) is removed, allowing for a character to have full access to all abilities from all classes to make ascension easier.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: Aria's large eyes allow her to pull this off perfectly.
Purple Eyes: Sinaer's original eye color, though she now only has one.
Putting the Band Back Together: Sanik tried to after The Battle of Helops. He mostly succeeded—he got Tyra, Sarge, and M back. He failed to get The Latens back, but as Kinas formed his own team with them and they frequently adventure at the same spots, he might as well have.
Pyrrhic Victory: How The Elementals and The Latens eventually 'won' their fight with Celaren. There's a reason everything they do is divided into "pre-defeat" and "post-defeat"; their victory was anything but.
Evil characters who get to a high enough level gain these. Argus has one, hidden behind his hair.
Subverted with Sarge—he has the eyes, and is the main combatant for The Elementals (making him a large threat), but he is not the most dangerous member of the team overall, and is one of the better people in the group on any given average day.
Davos zig-zags this—he's the most deadly combatant of The Outcasts (straight). However, he is generally a kind person (subverted). It's when his red eyes glow that you're really in trouble.
The Red Mage: It is possible to combine any two elements together. You can also master all eight.
Reset Button: When Argus was nerfed, he was sent back to Level 1 (though he kept his equipment). When The Elementals and Latens were defeated by an Agent Of Chaos, they were sent back to level 1 and lost a good portion of their equipment. Unfortunately, this reset only applied to them, with their mentors, hometown, and homeland not having such luxuries. As a result, they all died.
Retcon: A result of the comic being launched as an Obvious Beta; things had to be revised and rewritten multiple times. Brian has taken steps to have this be averted, however, having now planned things out start to finish.
Retired Badass: Voss, David, and Ian. Sinaer also counts, as she now focuses on healing her teammates rather than fighting.
Reverse Grip: When shown, Aria wields her second dagger this way.
Right Makes Might: Inverted, subverted, and played straight at different points in the story.
Played Straight: The Elementals, who have a higher moral standing than their counterparts The Latens, take less damage in combat.
Inverted: The Elementals and Latens, when they were the same group, were weaker than the Agent Of Chaos sent to destroy them, who was evil.
Schedule Slip: This was Brian's largest fear about starting the comic again too soon, so he fought hard to ensure it would be averted. Much to his chagrin, he has already done it, putting up a week of filler on Monday the 13th due to stress. However...
"It's hard to slip if you never had one to begin with!"
Separated at Birth: Though not quite at birth, Kinas and Sanik were separated at a very young age and only reunited many years later.
Series Hiatus: Has suffered a particularly nasty one lasting nearly three years, but it looks like it's about to come to an end.
Shared Universe: The World of Soano which The Descended takes place in is intended as one; Brian specifically said this was the reason he didn't want to think out every single detail for the whole world, as doing so would limit the freedom of others who would potentially want to have a work in the world.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: All of The Elementals and The Latens, having fought for many years, but especially Sarge.
Shocking Defeat Legacy: Technically, the Battle of Helops ended in victory for The Elementals and The Latens—the leader of the army of Chaos was defeated and the army was almost entirely wiped out. Given that it cost the lives of Voss, David, and Ian to accomplish, Helops still fell, the remnants of the army destroyed almost every city in Helopia anyway, and The Elementals and Latens were reset to level 1 without most of their equipment, half-way across the world, it certainly didn't feel like they won. They don't call it "post-defeat" because they won, after all.
Two separate online friends of Brian—completely independent from each other—commented:
"Only you could turn a webcomic into a wall."
Another signature of his is to use exclusively MS Paint, both classic and Windows 7, though his Art Shift means he has begun using other programs to best encourage Art Evolution.
His favorite fonts are Arial and Agency FB. Arial is typically for normal speech, with Agency FB used for everything else. He almost-universally has 'whispers' as being drawn with lines rather than speech bubbles as well.
Skill Point Reset: Played with—this can be done at any location where a character can rest. However, a character is not an instant expert and their new set of abilities and stats either must already be familiar to them or take some heavy adjusting to. Also, changing class and attributes generally requires a different set of equipment the character should have.
When changing class and stats, you don't lose the knowledge of the ability; you simply lose the capability to use the ability. Vice-versa, too: when you become a class with new stats, you don't learn how to use the new abilities; you simply gain the capability to use them.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Brian's "third axis" to the alignment chart is based off of this—Idealists are better people but tend to not be as successful, whereas cynics follow the expectations of the alignment far better, and therefore fall victim to the negative stereotypes of them.
The So-Called Coward: Rogues are meant to be played like this: fighting directly will get them killed, as Aria can attest to. However, they still find ways to fight no matter their situation, as Hank does.
Sound Effect Bleep: Brian dislikes cursing, avoiding spelling out even minor ones, frequently in favor of this.
The Southpaw: Since Sarge is seen wielding his shield in his right hand and his sword in his left, he is presumably left-handed. The same applies to Sasha, who wields her sword in her left hand.
Standardized Leader: Sanik. Argus used to be one. Kinas never really fit the mold, though, and him knowing this was one of the contributing factors to his Face-Heel Turn and forming The Latens.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Nathan Betrax's parents were a subversion: their clans were rivals, so they appeared to have been this...until the clans—already wanting to end their feud—decided that marriage would be a cheap and easy way to do so.
When Sanik was dead, Tyra took his place, continuing on to deal with even larger threats. When Sanik was found again (but still not fit to lead), Tyra stepped down and Sarge took up the mantle of the largest threat they had ever faced. He was more than relieved when Sanik took the helm again.
Hinted at with Ian to Sinaer, David to Kinas, and Voss to M.
Taking You with Me: Ian almost succeeded in taking out Celaren this way. Unfortunately, Celaren thought he would die, so he pulled the same move on Voss, hoping to take out The Elementals and The Latens at the same time.
Telepathy: The "Magic Mail" tree and (to some extent) "Who Needs A Crystal Ball?" tree, along with similar abilities.
That Man Is Dead: Argus says this of his old name, Jason Argo Maustrat. Celaren says it as well. As does Chaos to his birth name Cedric.
Theme Twin Naming: Of the Sdrawkcab Name variety for Sanik and Kinas. Furthermore, Sanik's middle initial is A, the first letter in the alphabet, whereas Kinas (the Evil Twin) has a middle initial of Z, the last letter in the alphabet.
Of all the groups to display this, the strongest advocates? The Outcasts.
Justified with Argus, who really doesn't want people to think of any good deed he's done. Also justified with Davos, who is biologically compelled to help; if he had his way, he wouldn't.
Sasha is a more traditional example from the same team, who chose her lifestyle because she wished to.
Time Travel: It's possible under extreme circumstances, but has limits. While little changes to the past/present are possible, The Cosmos always ensure that things play out "the way they are supposed to".
Time Travel to the past cannot change it, since it has already happened. Do nothing to alter history? That's how it was supposed to go. Try to mess things up, or make things better? Circumstances always foil you. Think that you're supposed to do something in the past and not do it? Someone else takes your place. Think someone else is supposed to do something, but end up doing it yourself? That's how things were supposed to work. Try saving someone who was supposed to die? Only possible if you make it look like they have. And so on.
Time Travel to the future is not recommended, because if you travel to the future and come back, the future you went to is destined to happen no matter what you try. Do nothing? It happens. Try to prevent it? You end up securing its existence. Try to cause it? You succeed. \\This rule has a couple of loopholes, though. It only kicks in for physical travel to the future, so people with the ability to see the future aren't actually seeing "The Future"; they're simply seeing how events are most likely to play out. The other loophole was found by Chaos—by traveling to the future but not traveling back, Chaos managed to cheat Gods into thinking him dead, rendering him untraceable.
Trauma Inn: A good night's rest can cure everything short of death.
Trope Overdosed: For a webcomic with only six pages, you'd expect this page to be a little bit shorter. Nope! Not with Brian knowing a lot of tropes by heart and using many in daily real-life conversations.
Twin Desynch: Played with—Sanik was originally less heroic and Kinas more heroic, so after the Battle of Helops when Sanik became more heroic, he became more like Kinas...but Kinas became less heroic and had his appearance drastically altered.
Two Lines, No Waiting: While there are three main groups, The Elementals and The Latens frequently adventure so closely together that they are almost the same, allowing this.
Uncanceled: Two and a half years after having gone on hiatus, Brian finally succeeded in getting his comic running again.
Uncanny Valley: Invoked by the artist for Demons. Drawn with more realistic proportions and without lines surrounding them, they were drawn to intentionally invoke a sense of unnatural unease.
Undead Child: Davos, by vampire standards, is still a young child, despite being in his 20s.
The Underworld: Where people go when they die (or are struck down); it's actually a pretty good place to live the afterlife. However, it's not quite as good as Ascension.
Universal Poison: Almost. Strictly speaking, there's only one 'poison' status ailment, but there are other similar status ailments such as 'burn'.
Villain with Good Publicity: When Argus introduces himself as Jason Argo Maustrat, chances are, he'll be recognized as a hero. (Justified, in that he used to be one.) Kinas might be less-known, but he still has a fairly high standing in the adventuring community, despite his alignment.
The Voiceless: One of the original problems with the comic; certain characters barely got any lines of dialog. It has since been fixed, all characters having roughly equal amounts of speaking time.
Volcanic Veins: As one of the main inspirations of Soano is Fable, characters who are sufficiently well-versed in magic at a high enough level may gain these.
Robes? Check. Support role in combat? Check. Designated healer of the team? Check. Simple Staff? Check. Caring and compassionate? Oh so very much check. Sinaer plays this almost completely straight; the only things missing are long hair and poor combat skills.
Tyra is a good example as well, having most of the same characteristics, though she plays a little more of an active (albeit still indirect) role in battle. As a bonus, she originally had longer hair, too.
The Wiki Rule: Brian has considered making one to keep track of it. Currently averted, though—Brian considers his TV Tropes page to be detailed enough that he doesn't need a wiki of his own.
Willing Suspension of Disbelief: An in-universe example—people in the world of Soano like hearing good stories, so when someone embellishes their tales, it is rare for anybody to call them out on it, because they are willing to push aside their skepticism.
The lead male of each group with the lead female of each group.
Subverted with Sanik-Tyra and Kinas-Sinaer, though: Word of God says they will, they do, and have been for some time. It's just that when you live your life constantly on the move, adventuring consistently every day and having very few nights where you have private chambers, they don't get the chance very often.
Windows of the Soul: Despite having a relatively-simplistic style of art, Brian knew he wanted to give characters the ability to express a lot of emotion, mainly shown in the eyes. This is why all characters except for Aria have the Black Bead Eyes with the zig-zag eye color—small, simple, but still expressive. With the Art Evolution, this has now become even more obvious.
Look at the main editor for this article. Now look at the name the author uses on the forums...
A significant amount of information on the comic can be found throughout the site: Character Page, About Page, several hidden and only semi-canonical Pages, the blog, and the author notes, to varying degrees of canonicity. Basically, Brian leaks information about the comic every time he opens his mouth on the subject.
A World Half Full: Given how much suffering the cast has gone through, Soano certainly seems like a gloomy place. However, changes do occur over time, and mostly for the better.