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An imageboard-based RPG styled as a [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure text adventure]], created and DM'ed by Lagotrope on Website/{{Questden}}. Currently ongoing.

to:

An imageboard-based RPG styled as a [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure [[{{Gamebooks}} text adventure]], created and DM'ed by Lagotrope on Website/{{Questden}}. Currently ongoing.


See also its parent quest ''Roleplay/AsteroidQuest'', and ''Roleplay/FenQuest'', a fantasy quest by the same author.

to:

See also its parent quest ''Roleplay/AsteroidQuest'', ''Webcomic/AsteroidQuest'', and ''Roleplay/FenQuest'', a fantasy quest by the same author.



** Minor characters can still be selfish, however. That, and those running the whole project; clues in thread 10 point to [[spoiler:the salikai running the science hive in the Roleplay/AsteroidQuest intermission and Polo Quest]], which is later confirmed in [[spoiler:Polo Quest thread 6]].

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** Minor characters can still be selfish, however. That, and those running the whole project; clues in thread 10 point to [[spoiler:the salikai running the science hive in the Roleplay/AsteroidQuest Webcomic/AsteroidQuest intermission and Polo Quest]], which is later confirmed in [[spoiler:Polo Quest thread 6]].



* SplashOfColor: The picture in [[https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/567307.html#581932 this book]] is drawn in full color, like in Roleplay/AsteroidQuest.

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* SplashOfColor: The picture in [[https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/567307.html#581932 this book]] is drawn in full color, like in Roleplay/AsteroidQuest.Webcomic/AsteroidQuest.

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%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed and have been commented out. Add sufficient context before uncommenting.
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An imageboard-based RPG styled as a [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure text adventure]], created and DM'ed by Lagotrope on Website/{{Questden}}. Currently ongoing.

A formless, quasi-sapient blob wakes up with nine others of its kind, on a platform floating in a void. The blob enters a portal, leading it into a DeadlyGame where it must compete with hundreds of other contestants while under TacticalRPG-like game rules. The blob gives itself the form of a naga and adopts the name "Alison". She soon becomes interested in the game's workings, picking it apart in the hopes of saving as many contestants as possible. Friendships are made, battles are fought, and the contest is soon revealed to be [[KudzuPlot far more complex]] than any of the contestants could possibly have anticipated.

Read it [[https://www.questden.org/wiki/Unnatural_Selection here]] -- although, this being Website/{{Questden}}, beware of NSFW things. The quest itself is tame, but fanart is less so.

Unnatural Selection is, according to WordOfGod, set in the same {{Verse}} as ''[=AsteroidQuest=]'', one of the author's longest-running and most famous quests. Its connection to [=AsteroidQuest=] has been confirmed early in Polo Quest thread 6. At the end of [=UnSe=] Thread 17, it fully connects with the [=AsteroidQuest=] Intermission.

Has no character page, but an [[https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SiZ1CYX1TMVPlINMB2dWUE9sXxiR-abLRtLzyiCK9oA/edit?usp=sharing extensive (and spoilerrific) character list]] was compiled. Again, it's rather full of spoilers.

See also its parent quest ''Roleplay/AsteroidQuest'', and ''Roleplay/FenQuest'', a fantasy quest by the same author.
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!!Examples of tropes appearing in ''Unnatural Selection'':

%%* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler:The Savior]], though it's more BlueAndOrangeMorality than evil.
* AllLovingHero:
** Alison. She wants to save ''everyone'', no matter what, and quickly gains a reputation for being incredibly idealistic, trusting, and compassionate.
** Similarly, the Savior is very friendly and also seeks to save those who do not wish to participate in the contest. [[spoiler:Subverted in that he's actually an embedded part of the system and is only operating on his programming, with a heavy dose of BlueAndOrangeMorality. He's also very capable of being spiteful.]]
* AndIMustScream: Due to a system glitch, [[spoiler:Glitcher]] spends the better part of '''''ten thousand years''''' in a blank void, with only the voices of the dead for company. It's unclear if he even had the option of suicide.
* AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent:
** In thread 10 -- [[spoiler:after Alison's death, Chief takes over as the viewpoint character. There is a pronounced difference in their narration styles, emphasizing the nature of their {{Foil}} relationship.]]
** In thread 11, the POV switches to Glitcher [[spoiler:after Alison dies again]].
** Thread 12 follows Radmin (chosen by popular vote), right as he's killed by Glitcher and enters the dead administrators' contest. Interestingly, this comes with a change to second-person narration, the first time Lagotrope experimented with such a style.
** Thread 13 follows Glitcher again as he investigates the workings of the system.
** Thread 14 follows Rulekeeper and Radmin following [[spoiler:Glitcher's death]].
** Thread 15 starts with Likol in a flashback.
** Thread 16 stars Sweatermouse and Chief.
** Thread 17 goes back to Likol.
* AnticlimaxBoss: [[spoiler:The stage 5 admin]], built up to be a major, powerful antagonist, dies very quickly. [[spoiler:He actually threw the fight as part of his ThanatosGambit.]] [[invoked]]
* AnyoneCanDie: Though DeathIsCheap.
** [[spoiler:''Alison herself'']] dies at the end of the belenosian interlude [[spoiler:due to 'losing' the CAI battle]], though of course, DeathIsCheap. [[spoiler:The viewpoint character does change to Chief for a time afterwards, however.]]
* ArbitraryMaximumRange: Determined by a character's Range skill. Without it, all projectiles disappear when they leave melee range.
* ArtShift:
** The belenosian interlude contains a minor one. Though characters are still drawn in flat black-and-white, backgrounds are much more detailed and contain a wider variety of colors.
** A few panels are also formatted like screens from a video game, complete with {{Idle Animation}}s, like [[https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/src/136074252085.gif this.]] This technique carried over into the beginning of the next contest thread, as well.
* {{Asexuality}}: Averted. Despite lacking genitals, the contestants can still feel sexual urges. Body modification can provide a solution to the dilemma, and some contestants have done just that. Played straight for the main characters, however. Alison and Iso haven't shown interest in the requisite body modifications despite being a very intimate couple, and Chief [[https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/567307.html#579859 explicitly says]] he's never felt sexual urges.
* BadassAdorable: Alison. A powerful combatant commanding an immense and loyal army, eventually becomes [[spoiler:a rebel leader]]... and insists on [[CooldownHug hugging]] [[GroupHug everyone]].
* BackAlleyDoctor: Likol visits a back-alley therapist after he develops mental problems. Dr Renson tells him the entire reason he's not "official" is that [[IWasNeverHere he doesn't keep any records]].
* BackFromTheDead: The Resurrection ability. Ghost Talk is a lesser form of this, as it effectively resurrects people in safe zones. [[spoiler:After Resurrection is deleted, resurrection is relegated to a limited-use reward for completing a stage.]]
* BackhandedApology: In the pro wrestling arc, after Radmin starts a fight in a bar and [[EasilyDistractedReferee "distracts" referee Sweatermouse]] for some heel moves, he's ordered to apologize to his opponents Tilebreaker and Doorstop:
-->'''Radmin:''' Very well. I apologise that we completely thrashed you in front of billions, and sorry that we made it look so one sided. That was just so terrible. Awful. Pathetic. Really path-
* BigBrotherIsWatching: EIN in the belenosian interlude. It doesn't do much in the harvest simulation, but in the "real" world it has direct access to the mind of every jetal and robot (which it can mind-control on demand), and everything biologicals see thanks to an implant in their eye (in addition to its own surveillance equipment). Then one emperor's DeadMansSwitch turns it into [[TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}} Friend Computer]], [[OhCrap and the next one turns it into Skynet...]]
* BigGood: [[spoiler:The Corruptor]], who has their own faction of rebels trying to take down the system. [[spoiler:He appears to be EvilAllAlong after thread 5, where he turns against her and successfully assassinates her by interfering with the CAI battle. However, this is actually a DoubleSubversion: it is later revealed that he was deceived by bad information, and rejoins her side in thread 14. Of course, by that point, he's lost much of his influence, and Alison is effectively the new BigGood.]]
* BloodlessCarnage:
** In contest battles. Averted in freeroam sections, which is why they so feared by the contestants.
** Also ''[[WhamEpisode notably]]'' averted after [[spoiler:the safe zone rules are lifted in the corrupted sanctuary, turning it into a freeroam section]].
* BossBattle:
** Chief at the end of stage 3. He has far greater stats than anyone Alison faced previously and is also a ClimaxBoss, as he was introduced as a rival antagonist earlier.
** [[spoiler:The Enforcer]] in thread 3, and later, [[spoiler:the WolfpackBoss battle against multiple ones]].
** [[DiscussedTrope Alison remarks on this]] while fighting [[spoiler:[[FinalBoss the Sapphire Emperor]]]] at the end of the belenosian interlude.
** Averted with [[spoiler:Sevener]], who is [[TheUnfought never fought in a proper battle]]. Instead, [[spoiler:Alison competes with her in a practice CAI battle, which Alison loses thanks to Corruptor's interference. Afterwards, Sevener pulls a HeelFaceTurn.]]
* BreatherEpisode:
** After the ending of thread 13, the adventure takes a break from the drama to resume Radmin's wrestling antics.
** After the drama of thread 15, the adventure switches to Sweatermouse's wrestling antics, followed by Chief's mafia antics.
* BuriedAlive: Certain individuals suffer this fate in [[spoiler:Stage 7 Area 3]] in order to [[spoiler:drive them to suicide]], often spending ''decades'' under the dirt.
* CatapultToGlory: The railgun built and used in the belenosian interlude to escape the besieged Harvest building.
-->'''Alison:''' [Build me a] railgun.
-->'''Engineer:''' ...[[RuleOfCool are you asking me this because it sounds cool]], [[LampshadeHanging or because you think it's practical?]]
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve:
** The [[spoiler:harvest simulation]] partially works on this, in order to recreate what its occupants (including its own [=AIs=]) think is the real world. It won't spawn anyone who's officially dead, but it can recreate a [[NeverFoundTheBody "missing"]] person (and restore their mind from backup, if any) just because a few people are convinced they have found a lead on them.
** [[spoiler:Loviro]] uses it to "import" an item he hid in the "real" world, finding it at the same place in the simulation.
* CliffHanger: The end of the belenosian interlude. [[spoiler:Alison dies due to losing the CAI battle. When she regains consciousness in the dream city, Sevener is [[HeelFaceTurn suddenly a lot more friendly and apologetic]] and says that they need to discuss the contents of Arbiter's logs.]] The next thread picks up chronologically before the events of the interlude, leaving readers hanging.
* CloudcuckoolandersMinder: When he shows up to his appointment with Dr Renson, Likol introduces Okei as this, but struggles to find the words and regretfully settles for "service animal". The doctor's assistants/bodyguards pick up what he actually means through neumono empathy, but seem equally at loss for words.
* DeaderThanDead:
** The enforcers' "Rend Ghost" ability, which prevents affected contestants from being resurrected or even talked to in the dream landscape. [[spoiler:It's reversible, though.]]
** Also seems to happen during the belenosian interlude, when a hijacked jetal core is destroyed with some of Alison's team inside, and are completely unreachable for the rest of the CAI battle.
** In retaliation for the attack on stage 7 system brackets, [[spoiler:the administrators [[https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/567307.html#579890 remove]] the dream afterlife, thus making ''regular'' death DeaderThanDead in comparison to the original model]].
%%* DeadlyGame
* DeadMansSwitch: The emperors in the belenosian interlude have these. One just sends assassins after the other emperors, but two involve catastrophic hacking of [[BigBrotherIsWatching EIN]].
* DeathIsCheap:
** In spirit if not in letter -- after the revelation that absorbed individuals persist as ghosts, Alison discovers that, far from being permanently removed from the story, any individuals she's absorbed can be talked to in her dreams.
** Played entirely straight with Resurrection, which allows absorbed individuals to be resurrected at will (albeit for a CU cost).
** [[spoiler:Averted after the system reboot. Absorb or an equivalent has not reappeared so far, and the dream landscape "afterlife" has been deleted. Dead people are really dead, and can only be revived through highly limited end-stage resurrections.]]
** [[spoiler:Possibly played straight again after Glitcher manufactures the "dream radio", allowing dead individuals to communicate with the living world and each other.]]
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: Characters and foreground objects are completely black-and-white (not even grayscale), while backgrounds typically contain only one or two colors.
* DissonantSerenity: The Savior is always smiling, cheerful, and friendly, even when discussing the horrors of the DeadlyGame. [[spoiler:This is likely due to his status as a system construct; he is probably hard-coded to act this way.]]
* DistinguishingMark: {{Exploited}} by the Savior and [[spoiler:the Corruptor]], who purposefully give themselves attributes contestants cannot mimic. The Savior has a bright aura, while [[spoiler:the Corruptor]] is much larger than contestants are normally allowed to be.
* DrivenToSuicide:
** [[spoiler:Glitcher]] in thread 5, after [[GoMadFromTheRevelation discovering]] [[spoiler:the existence of the [[GroundhogDayLoop cycles]], and his own status as an aberrant entity]]. [[DeathIsCheap Doesn't stick.]]
** This is the core mechanic of Stage 7 Area 3. Only one surviving contestant can advance, but the only way death can occur is through suicide.
* DudeInDistress: Iso, though far from helpless, often lags behind Alison in combat capability. Much of the early story revolves around her getting him to safety throughout the stages.
* {{Dystopia}}: The Belenos homeworld nine millennia ago. An all-powerful oligarchy using a nigh-omnipotent Big Brother AI, who imprison some indesirables in [[spoiler:a simulation of their world after extracting their brain]]...
* EnemyMine: [[spoiler:After the Corruptor hacks the practice CAI battle to make Alison lose, Sevener teams up with her to find a way to escape the simulation.]]
* [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Everyone Calls Him Shopkeep]]: Most "named" characters outside of the belenosian interlude are named only after their function or strengths. Exceptions include Alison (aka The Snake Queen), Iso, Mako (better known as Duelist) and Clarence.
* ExperiencePoints: CU. It soon becomes a GlobalCurrency as well.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Savior describes being imprisoned with no possibility of influencing the world around him as being this. [[spoiler:It becomes his fate after he decides to play SpitefulAI on Glitcher.]]
* {{Filler}}:
** The last part of thread 6, supposedly a practice [[spoiler:CAI]] battle, actually turns out to be random junk levels with no relevance to anything. (It is possible they could be {{Foreshadowing}} for later stages, however.)
** Thread 6 is then followed by the ''actual'' [[spoiler:CAI]] battle, which spans 3 threads in an incredibly convoluted subplot with only tangential relevance to the main plotline. It's not even all that useful for expanded {{Verse}} knowledge, as it's a simulation with possible inaccuracies.
* FirstEpisodeSpoiler:
** Many of the game mechanics, especially the absorption and resurrection mechanics, are spoilers for new readers but quickly become the basis of the plot, making it difficult to talk about anything past the first thread or so.
** The very existence of a character called "[[spoiler:the Corruptor]]".
* {{Foil}}:
** Chief to Alison. His pragmatism, selfishness, and cynicism contrast with Alison's idealism, but they are both intelligent leaders and have big plans for the contest. This relationship likely contributes to [[spoiler:Chief's HeelFaceTurn]].
** Duelist, whose incredible ''similarity'' to Alison accentuates their differences.
* ForegoneConclusion: Likol's flashback: Readers of the ''[=AsteroidQuest=]'' intermission know his hive's woes are only just starting. It comes to a head in thread 17, catching up with the events of the intermission.
* GameBreaker: Discussed InUniverse, and Alison's modus operandi. She and her allies are constantly finding ways to break and imbalance the game, in the hopes of saving as many people as possible.
** Specifically, due to the way resurrection costs and absorption benefits are calculated, characters can continually kill and absorb each other to farm infinite CU. [[spoiler:The admins eventually catch on and delete Resurrection as a mean-spirited ObviousRulePatch.]]
* GameChanger: The system reset, which radically alters the rules of the contest, generally making things much harder for Alison -- [[spoiler:stages are more puzzle- or social-based than combat-oriented, exits can no longer be overloaded, and there is no longer an afterlife, giving death some meaning again]].
* GRatedSex:
** Glitcher and Rulekeeper's mutual examination has overtones of this. In fact, it's probably ''more'' intimate than actual sex, since they saw what each other's entire data (simulated body and mind alike) was made of, and how it was connected to the world around them, etc.
** Gets much weirder in thread 13 with a hilariously innuendo-laden scene in which they combine to create a strange matter that can survive contact with a glitcher core. [[spoiler:Corruptor]] is weirded out and asks if they want privacy.
* GrievousHarmWithABody: In the pro wrestling arc, Radmin blinds referee Sweatermouse, grabs her hand and spins her to kick Tilebreaker in the face.
* GroundhogDayLoop: The contest itself. This is the 3119th iteration. [[spoiler:And this loop is nested within a bigger loop. This is the 9th "archcycle".]]
* GroupHug: Alison performs these at every available opportunity. She eventually modifies her snake tail to be longer just so she can include more people in group hugs.
* HeelFaceTurn:
** [[spoiler:Chief]] is an antagonist to Alison in the early stages, forming a rival alliance that plans to defeat her; however, after some later diplomacy, they become diehard loyalists to Alison's cause.
%%** [[spoiler:The admins Alison befriends.]]
** A notable example is [[spoiler:Sevener]], who acts as a major antagonist for multiple chapters before turning to Alison's side.
* TheHeroDies: [[DeathIsCheap Temporarily]], at the end of the belenosian interlude. [[spoiler:The perspective shifts to [[TheLancer Chief]] in the next thread.]]
* HeroicSacrifice: Duelist is prone to these. Fortunately, DeathIsCheap.
* HornyDevils: Subverted. Chief's second-in-command takes the form of a succubus, but personality-wise she's a totally normal contestant.
* IGaveMyWord: Alison dies rather than break a promise she just made. There was [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning a bit of pragmatism]] in it though, as a majority of suggesters judged her messianic aura as more important to her cause than her life.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Encouraged by the system: Damage is determined solely by the user's Weapon stat, while usability as a tool depends on the type of weapon; this makes wielding a tool as weapon a valid choice.
* InstrumentOfMurder: Alison and Iso both purchase a musical talent, and fill several of their weapon slots with musical instruments, some of which have been used in combat.
* JustBetweenYouAndMe: Savior gloats to Glitcher how he lured him into a trap, effectively warning him about how ''something'' is going to kill him instead of catching him completely by surprise.
* KudzuPlot: Keeping track of everything can become quite a hassle, though the wiki recap pages are helpful.
* KnightTemplar: [[spoiler:According to logs of previous iterations, Alison tends to become this at the very end. She has a HeroicBSOD at the revelation that not everyone can be saved, and sabotages the Corruptor's plan, restarting the contest hoping to save more the next cycle.]]
%%* TheLancer:
%%** Duelist and, later, [[spoiler:Chief]].
%%** Succubus is this to Chief. (This is ironic, considering his {{Asexuality}}.)
* LoveInterest: Iso. Arbiter later [[LoveTriangle becomes another contender]], though by that point Alison has bigger matters to be concerned with, so the romance plotline is currently on hold.
* TheMagicPokerEquation: Taken to extremes in the [[FixingTheGame rigged poker game]] in thread 12, due to the crooked dealer lacking subtlety. After having been suspiciously lucky the first two turns, the viewpoint character is dealt a straight flush, but decides to fold rather than make the cheat ''that'' obvious. Several other players go all-in... And in the end reveal three other straight flushes and a four-of-a-kind. Cue JawDrop from the remaining player, who only had a full house.
%%* TheMedic: Healer, natch.
%%* MegaManning: An add-on to Absorb enables this. During the interlude, jetal absorption does the same thing.
%%* MindScrew
* MixAndMatchCritters: The Savior takes this to an extreme -- he is a conglomeration of parts and traits from every major alien species in the Asteroidverse.
* NeverLiveItDown: Alison #1700 became known as "Mafia Alison" only from wild speculation sparked by an angry dying tweet. After her resurrection, she found it colored her every interaction, and decided to hide her cycle of origin.
* NiceGuy: [[spoiler:The Corruptor]] is revealed to be this in the end. [[spoiler:He only fought Alison because he was working off of inaccurate information, and genuinely cares for the contestants, especially Glitcher. After Glitcher dies he is practically incapacitated by grief, but he does his best to help everyone anyway.]]
* NightmareFuel: InUniverse; many characters are disturbed by "freeroam" sections due to the prevalence of horrific traps and an aversion of BloodlessCarnage -- contestants operate on real physics and biology rather than game mechanics.
* NoSenseOfPersonalSpace: Alison's reaction to anyone is an urge to hug them. She spreads this meme to as many people as she possibly can.
-->'''Alison:''' '''GROUP HUG'''.
* OffTheRails:
** Alison's goal. [[spoiler:She manages to do so at least partially in thread 3, where she escapes the stages and discovers the Corruptor's sanctuary.]]
** [[spoiler:The Corruptor]] has this goal as well, [[spoiler:creating a sanctuary free from the system's influence where he actively tries to dismantle the contest's code. He has yet to succeed in saving everyone, however.]]
* OneUp: Can be gotten by exploring safe areas. They become less important over time, however, especially with [[DeathIsCheap the prevalence of Resurrection]], and [[spoiler:the system reset]] removes them entirely.
* PianoDrop: One of Alison's weapons is a grand piano, which has seen combat use to deadly effect.
%%* PointBuildSystem: How contestants level up.
* PosthumousCharacter: The quest makes multiple references to Likol, who died heroically at the end of the ''[=AsteroidQuest=]'' intermission. According to thread 13, [[spoiler:he created Savior to make sure Corruptor doesn't break the system too much, which would cause a hard reboot and start a new "archcycle" (which nobody wants, since it would completely start over without any of Corruptor's machinations, and blank logs)]].
%%* PrehensileHair: Alison uses this as her weapon.
* PunchClockVillain:
%%** Many of the system workers.
** Averted with the administrators themselves, who often have motivations and plans of their own.
* PutOnABus: Anyone who leaves for Savior's paradise. They become exempt from the contest, but can never return to the stages.
* ReallyDeadMontage:
** [[spoiler:Glitcher]] in thread 5. They have a despondent monologue beforehand, talk about their memories and friendship with Alison, and finally commit suicide in a way that characters claim looks permanent. [[spoiler:It's actually ''subverted'' -- [[DeathIsCheap Alison absorbed him, so he reappears in her dream city soon after.]]]]
** Taken UpToEleven in thread 13, with [[spoiler:Glitcher again]]. This time the montage is ''very'' long, spanning 8 panels, flashing back to all their memories of their friends and thanking them for everything as their consciousness is slowly destroyed.
* ResetButton: A literal one in [[spoiler:the harvest simulation]]. After someone has the bright idea to ''nuke'' a bunch of city blocks (and still missed the intended target), the powers that be put their foot down and rewind time.
* TheReveal: Lots, usually coupled with a WhamEpisode.
** Specifically, in the first thread of the belenosian interlude: [[spoiler:Alison is actually in a simulation ''within'' the simulation, and must break out into the "real" belenos homeworld to defeat the Sapphire Emperor.]]
** Towards the end of the belenosian interlude: [[spoiler:Arbiter is the Diamond Emperor, implying he was extracted from the simulation in a previous cycle. When Alison leaves the simulation, a system message reveals that Swordsbane and Healer were extracted [=AIs=] as well.]]
** [[WhamEpisode Thread 13]] has a ''lot'' of these, but in particular, there's the reveal of what the Savior really is: [[spoiler:a copied part of the main program that functions as a backup in case Corruptor corrupts everything -- and if he fails to stop Corruptor, it risks a hard reset, which eliminates all logs, all previous data, everything. This is why he's so obsessed with fulfilling his purpose, and stopping the Corruptor at all costs.]]
* RousseauWasRight: Almost every antagonist genuinely believes that they are doing the right thing. Conflict arises from misunderstandings and disagreements about the outcome of the contest, but virtually everyone is basically a good person.
** Even [[spoiler:Chief]], arguably the least sympathetic antagonist, gets a HeelFaceTurn and is later revealed to have a [[FreudianExcuse sympathetic backstory]].
** Even [[spoiler:the CAI]], arguably the BigBad, turns out to [[spoiler:just be trying to defend itself -- if the contestants win and replace it, it will effectively die]].
** Minor characters can still be selfish, however. That, and those running the whole project; clues in thread 10 point to [[spoiler:the salikai running the science hive in the Roleplay/AsteroidQuest intermission and Polo Quest]], which is later confirmed in [[spoiler:Polo Quest thread 6]].
* SanitySlippage:
** Stage 7 Area 3 is a prime insanity generator. The main characters experience time dilation, hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide towards the end, although those may have been artificially inserted by the system admins to speed things up. Fortunately, there's a personality reset afterwards to fix all the psychological damage, ultimately averting this.
** Notably averted by [[spoiler:Glitcher]], who spent an incredibly long time in near-total isolation, yet is still sane afterwards. He was still able to hear the voices of ghosts, so presumably they kept him sane.
* TheSmartGuy: Mathematician, Engineer, and, later, Historian. All of them spend their time in the safe zones reading books, gaining useful knowledge.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: The belenosian interlude. Though there are a lot of parallels to the main story thematically, the plot has only tangential relevance to the main story, it takes place in a very different location, and the "gameplay mechanics" are totally different.
* SplashOfColor: The picture in [[https://questden.org/kusaba/quest/res/567307.html#581932 this book]] is drawn in full color, like in Roleplay/AsteroidQuest.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Alison's initial outfit, though she later gains a more modest one.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler:The stage 5 admin throws the fight against Alison, and in doing so, proves that she is a legitimate threat to the system. This shocks the other admins into action and makes life harder for her.]]
* {{Unobtainium}}: Jetalium, a LostTechnology metal that decays when not in contact with a Jetal core. The Belenosian interlude shows an interpretation of how their society was back when it was commonplace.
* WalkingSpoiler: [[spoiler:The Corruptor]], as well as the existence of [[spoiler:the corrupted sanctuary]].
* WhamEpisode:
** [[spoiler:[[OffTheRails The appearance of the Corruptor.]]]]
** [[spoiler:Glitcher's analysis of Alison's note.]] He refuses to disclose the details, but [[spoiler:he is so horrified by what he saw that he commits suicide in a ReallyDeadMontage]]. He calms down later.
** Alison's logs. [[spoiler:The contest is in a GroundhogDayLoop, and Alison has not discovered a way to save everyone in thousands of iterations. The logs also imply that later stages become incredibly horrific.]]
** Arbiter's logs. [[spoiler:Actually the Corruptor's logs, which reveal him as a virus injected to stop the contest and the CAI. The Savior is actually an antivirus structure embedded in the program, and Glitcher is born from his corruption -- as such, he is not a permanent entity, and will be KilledOffForReal when the cycle ends. Alison also has a tendency to go KnightTemplar and sabotage the Corruptor's plans at the very end of the contest.]]
** The system reset isn't a shocking [[TheReveal reveal]], but it is a major game-changer going forward -- [[spoiler:all stats and abilities are purged, including Absorb, and the stages are heavily redone to prevent overloading of exits]].
** Thread 13, which consists of Glitcher examining the structure of the program itself and [[spoiler:previous cycles]] is pretty much a non-stop train of reveals and major plot twists. In particular, [[spoiler:the Corruptor returns after revealing that he was actually quarantined after the CAI battle and the antagonistic, secretive version seen previously was a fake]]; there is [[spoiler:a separate set of cycles running in a cordoned-off area of the program, but it's falling apart from corruption]]; the Savior's origins and abilities are revealed [[spoiler:before he is defeated by Glitcher and his powers subsumed by Rulekeeper]]; [[spoiler:Alison]] is resurrected; and [[spoiler:Glitcher is killed -- seemingly permanently -- by a mysterious entity that seems customized to destroy him]]; but not before Glitcher reveals the full structure of the program to the contestants.
** Thread 15 is one big in-universe Wham Episode for [[spoiler:the scientists perpetuating the experiment, ''who didn't know there was an entire sentient population in their neural network program''.]]
* WhamLine:
** In thread 3, a character actually ''talks''. With quotes and everything. This is a radical departure from the established style, which only summarized conversations in the style of Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures up to that point.
** Thread 4:
--->[[spoiler:Resurrection Status: '''DELETED''' FROM SYSTEM! NO RE-PURCHASE OR RE-OBTAINING POSSIBLE.]]\\
With [[spoiler:her replacement of Ghost Talk]], [Alison] does not believe it to just be her imagination when the silence is only broken by the Administrator's laughter in her mind.
** Thread 5:
--->''Alison uses double offense!\\
Alison deals '''[[https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/src/134475914696.png MORTAL DAMAGE]]''' to [[spoiler:Corrupted]]!''
** Belenosian interlude 3:
--->Alison hears a voice in the lobby.\\
[[spoiler:'''Defeat!''' Cause of outcome: Enemy team successful.]]
* WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants: Inevitable due to the nature of interactive media. The author has done an admirable job juggling the KudzuPlot regardless, though snarls do occasionally arise.
* YearInsideHourOutside: Stage 7 area 3 lasts up to 10000 in-simulation years, but the entire cycle takes three days.
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