Tropes pertaining to the factions of From the Depths.
While the player is free to use whatever strategies they want, there are a few tropes that apply to their prefabricated starting vehicles and backstory.
- Ace Pilot: Investing in the "Sky Captain" captain buff will help, and the Flashheart biplane and Gnat attack plane are good for practicing.
- Crew of One: In single-player mode anyway. Controlling more than one ship requires AI assistance.
- The Engineer: The player needs some actual engineering chops to build anything seaworthy. In addition, the "Engineer" captain buff increases engine fuel efficiency and cooling.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: If the player knows what they're doing, it's easily possible to go from a lone person deserted by pirates to a warlord that's crushed every other faction on Neter and single-handedly driven back an alien invasion.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: While the player's backstory suggests they're human (or Neter's equivalent), they use the standard "robot with a brain-in-a-jar" avatar as in the vehicle designer and campaign modes.
- Although this does get a nod in the description of the Megalodon mentioning "a guy in a robot suit" attacking the Steel Striders who deploy said vessel.
- Houseboat Hero: Grew up on the Wanderlust until it was commandeered by Captain Sal.
- Invisible Parents: The player's parents are alive (and repairing the Wanderlust during the "Muddy Waters" tutorial mission) but are never seen in person.
- Red Baron: The "River Rat".
- RPG Elements: The player's skills, personal equipment, and stats can be customized by spending experience points.
- Treacherous Advisor: Captain Sal, a pirate that taught the player everything he knew...except "Don't trust pirates".
- Universal Pilot's License: The player can control anything with a control panel. Anything from aircraft carriers to X-planes is fair game.
A loose alliance of pirates, fishermen, and other nautically-minded plain folk that turned to piracy for survival and gain.
- A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: While most of their population is made of poor saps that just make their living off the sea, their "higher-ups" are all pirates of one breed or another.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Falkenheim zeppelin carries a pair of propeller planes in its interior, and the Barracuda surrounds itself with mini-jet fighters. Unfortunately, Artificial Stupidity prevents the Barracuda from making full use of its aircraft.
- Big Badass Rig: The Desert Boa carries a pair of powerful guns in its trailer, and the truck itself has ramming spikes on the front bumper. A much larger one, the Tremor, comes pre-packaged with several Copperhead motorcycles.
- Cool Bike: The Copperhead is another oddity in their land "fleet". It has an uncanny resemblance to the Mach Bike.
- Cool Airship: Probably second only to the Grey Talons in terms of airships, thanks to the Mad Skylord Sven Kno. Standouts include the Atlas, Barracuda, and Moray, and Simoon.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Many of their vehicles use paddlewheels rather than propellers for propulsion.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Riverhome has a swiveling metal shield at the bow with small cannons embedded in it. Unfortunately, the rest of the ship is made of wood.
- Point Defenseless: The Deepwater Guard's ships don't always have close-in weapons systems, and few of them have Laser Anti-Missile Systems, making them cripplingly weak to missile spam.
- Sky Pirates: Someone's got to build and use all those airships, after all. The Mad Skylord Sven Kno is particularly infamous for his air force.
- Starter Villain: While not quite evil, they're the first enemy you'll face, and subsequent enemies are much more dangerous.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: The Deepwater Guard is a ragtag band of seasteaders and pirates, and it shows. Most of their ships are made of unpainted wood with metal reinforcements, powered by sails, paddlewheels, propellers, or any combination of the three. They include everything from tiny go-fast boats like the Coyote or Javelin, somewhat modern designs like the Pilferer and Ransack, Final Fantasy-style airships like the Atlas or Moray, and just plain silly designs like the Patchwork (a bunch of scrap welded together) and the Cockatrice (a chicken-shaped airship).
- The Goomba: The Deepwater Guard has plenty of these, like the Antlion, Rat, and Urchin. One good shot will do them in.
- Those Magnificent Flying Machines: While they do have several conventional aircraft, others are just bizarre. The Monkey Barrel helicopter flies using a LeonardoDaVinci-like "air screw", the Cockatrice and Angry Chicken are chicken-themed airships, and the Casket Bolt and Coffin Nail "helicopters" are closer to low-altitude satellites than anything.
An old mercantile navy and shipbuilding union that reforged their old trade fleet into a powerful combat navy. While they have a good variety of sailing ships, they lack aircraft.
- BFG: The Combat Fleet's M.O. Even relatively small ships like the Culverin carry disproportionately large guns.
- Crippling Overspecialization: They almost exclusively use surface ships with big guns, lots of guns, or lots of big guns. They rarely use missiles, they only have one aircraft (the Eyrie airship), and they don't believe in submarines or helicopters.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Catapult mounts an enormous four-barreled CRAM cannon, but can't aim it horizontally without turning the entire ship around.
- Grim Up North: Their home of Cold Loch is an icy wasteland with vicious winter weather. In fact, the harsh weather is part of the reason they fortify the hell out of their ships and avoid aircraft.
- More Dakka: The Combat Fleet generally uses gatling guns for this, while the Trade Fleet uses the "lots of guns firing at once" variety. Trade Fleet ships like the Constitution and Huskarl have broadsides mounting up to three decks of guns; flanking them will leave you with a face full of cannonballs.
- Mighty Glacier: The Onyx Watch Combat Fleet is not built for speed, but its metal armor and huge cannons can put huge holes in ill-prepared ships. If you haven't invested in armor-piercing weapons, you're not going to get very far.
- Military Mashup Machine: Almost all of their "tanks" are colossal land battleships.
- Proud Merchant Race: The Onyx Watch takes great pride in their trading fleet and craftsmanship (they're known as "the Gunsmiths", after all), and they're ruled by a council of their best craftsmen-merchants. They're also particularly keen on the petroleum industry, mostly to fuel their enormous castle ships.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: The Onyx Watch is cleanly divided into a "Trade Fleet" and "Combat Fleet". The Trade Fleet uses pre-industrial sailing ships loaded with broadside cannons, while the Combat Fleet uses ironclads with huge guns and castle-like turrets. Both of them generally avoid modern conveniences and focus on raw firepower and durability.
- Wooden Ships and Iron Men: The Trade Fleet sub-faction has this doctrine and aesthetic, with sailing ships of all rates armed with numerous small cannon. They are faster and more fuel-efficient than the Combat Fleet, at the expense of armor and single-shot firepower.
A corrupt, violent cult that tears enemy ships and sailors apart in the name of "The Flayed God" (and their priests' treasuries).
- Corrupt Church: Not only is the Church of the Flayed God a Religion of Evil, it's also crooked. Its priests are mostly in it for the power and plunder, and let the fanatics do the dirty work while the clergy reap the benefits.
- Deadly Disc: The Buzzsaw has two enormous circular saw blades at the bow, and several other ships mount smaller ones elsewhere on the hull. The Condemned tank and Uropygi ship have "Deadly Drums" instead.
- Difficulty Spike: Literally! The polar opposite of the Onyx Watch, they can easily outrun your ships and tear them to flotsam if you can't keep them at bay.
- Flayed Alive: The White Flayers got their name for a reason. Fortunately, you don't get to see it "in action", mostly because their are no visible people (save for you) at all.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Scary as they look, the "sacrificial grinders" are harmless to you. The ramming spikes and giant sawblades, on the other hand...
- Human Sacrifice: What else would buildings like the Grinder, Sacrificer, and Sinners' Pit be used for? For extra blood in the water, the Charon has a sacrificial grinder at the stern.
- Monowheel Mayhem: The Wrecker is a bizarre flying example. For all intents and purposes, it's a flying circular saw, with the "monowheel" as the blade. And, of course, it's completely covered in spikes.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: While all the factions have scary-sounding ships, the White Flayers elevate this to a dark art. Basher, Condemned, Desecrator, The Flayed Soul, Marrow Pulper...
- Offscreen Villainy: While the White Flayers are said to commit all manners of atrocities in the name of their Flayed God, you never see their members or rituals in person. Like every other faction in the game, you only see their vehicles and structures, but their menacing appearances and equipment leave little to the imagination.
- Ramming Always Works: The White Flayers' chief naval doctrine. Almost all of their ships have ramming spikes somewhere, and even some of their airplanes can get stabby if need be.
- Religion of Evil: Why do they tear ships apart with buzzsaws, flay and sacrifice innocent people, and plunder the hell out of everything? For the glory of the Flayed God, of course!
- Spikes of Doom: Their most distinctive aesthetic trait. They do not believe in curves (unless they are used to make buzzsaws). The Valkyrie, Veles, Wrecker, and Zealot take this even further; every surface is covered by ramming spikes, even parts that logically wouldn't make contact with other ships. Even their houses are covered in decorative spikes.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: With their spikes, whirling melee weapons, spikes, sacrificial grinders, and spikes, the White Flayers wouldn't be out of place in Warhammer 40,000. Even their paint scheme reflects their beliefs: their fleet colors are white and black with red trim, giving them a menacing "bloodspattered" look.
A collective of artificial intelligences and robots originally sent to prepare Neter for alien colonization but turned rogue.
- Arch-Enemy: While they always hated their Scarlet Dawn creators, they developed an even deeper hatred for the Lightning Hoods for infecting Eros with a virus and raiding their factories.
- Attack Drone: In spades. They have an unmanned vehicle for just about every situation, and their larger ships can spawn them ad infinitum.
- Even their mechs work this way; the mech's body is actually a drone docked to the mech's base (the real "mothership"). If the upper half is destroyed, the lower half can just make a new one.
- Benevolent A.I.: Killer Attack Drones and Humongous Mecha aside, Eros and Thanatos were surprisingly friendly with their allies in the Steel Striders.
- However, Eros didn't take the Lightning Hoods' virus too well, and began cranking out aggressive micro drones far beyond established protocols.
- Energy Weapon: The Twin Guard is the first faction to take energy weapons seriously, although they don't use them nearly as much as the Lightning Hoods.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: Eros was initially designed as an automated factory ship. Not only did it become sapient due to broken code (and a clumsy crash landing), she also communicated with the other factory ship, Thanatos, and inspired it to become self-aware as well.
- Humongous Mecha: Their other defining trait aside from their bot-spawning motherships. Mechs like the Titan and Juggernaut are the vanguards of the fleet, providing fire support and "meat" to protect the ships and their fragile spawn.
- Every single one of their land vehicles except for the Marabunta, the cars accompanying it, and the cars accompanying larger mecha.
- Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Eros gained self-awareness after its AI core was damaged by "lithobraking" (crashing) due to a seagull stuck in its main turbine.
- Kill Sat: The Seraph is an odd example. It's composed of six gun pods orbiting a central command pod, and while it doesn't fly high enough to qualify as a full-blown satellite, it fulfills the same "untouchable artillery" role.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The aquatic Wasp Nest and flying Hornet Nest are armed with large missile arrays, and they are spawned from the Nest of Bees and Swarm of Bees motherships (which are themselves armed with missiles). Hope you have Laser Anti-Missile Systems handy!
- Meaningful Name: The Twin Guard's titular "twins", Eros and Thanatos, were the personifications of love and death in Greek mythology. Eros and Thanatos were brothers, and their relationship is reflected in the Twin Guard's manufacturers and capital ships.
- Mook Maker: Even relatively small boats like the Beggetor have some kind of vehicle sub-assembler. Fortunately, they can't self-replicate; they can only make small drones.
- Robo Family: An odd example in that Eros became sentient first and uplifted Thanatos to self-awareness (like a mother), but the two regard each other as brother and sister.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: Despite their humble robotic origins, the Twin Guard's design philosophy is surprisingly artistic, with a white and gold color scheme, metal tracery, and other Bling of War. Their sub-drones, on the other hand, are pretty much floating/swimming guns or missile launchers with few adornments.
- Turned Against Their Masters: The Twin Guard was originally developed by the Scarlet Dawn to provide infrastructure for subsequent colonization, but went rogue and allied themselves with Neter's government.
- We Have Reserves: While they have firepower to spare, they prefer to let their expendable drones draw enemy fire and harass the enemy before going in for the kill.
A conglomerate of high-tech corporations and shady businesspeople dedicated to the exploitation of alien technology.
- Beam Spam: They use lasers as often as other factions use guns, i.e., all the time. When they do use "regular" guns, they opt for railguns.
- Computer Virus: The Lightning Hoods' first great success againt the Twin Guard involved infecting the TG's Eros AI with a "Paylogen X Virus". It didn't outright destroy her, but it did screw up her programming and turned her into the drone-spamming machine she is today.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Inara Ventarius, head of the Ouroborus Defense Group, is dogenote of the Magistrate and the Lightning Hoods' de facto leader.
- Expy: The Caspian is a laser-armed version of the "Caspian Sea Monster", an experimental Soviet ground-effect vehicle tested on the Caspian Sea during the Cold War.
- Futuristic Pyramid: Most of their installations are pyramidal in shape, and they are the second-most technologically advanced faction (second to the Scarlet Dawn).
- Lightning Bruiser: Thanks to their jet-propelled ships, hydrofoils, and big honking laser guns, they can easily outrun what they can't outgun, and at least attempt to outgun what they can't outrun. They also have decent defenses thanks to their shields and all-metal construction (although by the time you face them that shouldn't make much of a difference).
- Mega City: The Lightning Hoods apparently live in these, but due to gameplay limitations they only have individual skyscrapers.
- One Nation Under Copyright: The Lightning Hoods are an oligopolynote ruled by various MegaCorps, with the owners forming a "government" called the Magistrate.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: The Lightning Hoods fancy themselves the future of Neter, and their designs are suitably futuristic. Sleek angles, contrasting shades of green and black, and energy weapons everywhere give them a distinct Raygun Gothic style.
Neter's current governing body, struggling against numerous pirates and splinter groups in a desperate attempt to maintain order.
- Ace Pilot: They don't have the sheer aerial firepower of the Grey Talons or Scarlet Dawn, but their jet fighters, attack helicopters, and strategic bombers can handle just about anything. They have plenty of launch options, such as aircraft carriers like the Annularis, Trident, and Whale Shark, helipads on other ships, and the Damascus offshore fortress.
- The Alcatraz: Limbo is an offshore "long-term detention facility" with four railguns on the roof and sentry guns on the inside. There are no visible inmates, but then again there are no visible people in the game at all.
- Boring, but Practical: The Steel Striders generally aren't the types to spend taxpayer money on fancy lasers or giant airships when guns and missiles will do the job just as well. It doesn't help that the Lightning Hoods and their White Flayer allies sank or stole their most advanced technology. They aren't total technophobes though; a few ships have small railguns, the Mako fighter jet has wingtip lasers, and the Whale Shark aircraft carrier has a huge particle cannon turret at the bow.
- Expy: The Raptor fighter and Spirit stealth bomber are near-carbon copies of their real-world counterparts, and the Iceberg Logistics Hub bears an uncanny resemblance to the Allied Nations' Shipyard in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3.
- Future Copter: With the Dromaeo, Hydra, Icarus, Manatee, and Reaper, the Steel Striders actually have more Future Copters than conventional helicopters.
- The Generic Guy: The Steel Striders are Neter's equivalent of a modern/near-future Earthling navy, and don't have the other factions' fanciful styles.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: As the most "conventional" faction, the Steel Striders don't have any specific strengths (except maybe air power) or weaknesses.
- Macross Missile Massacre: While the Steel Striders outfit many of their craft with missiles in keeping with their combined arms doctrine, their strategic bombers and missile submarines can blot out the sun with rockets and torpedoes.
- Nuke 'em: One of the few factions with nuclear missiles, launched from Polaris launch vehicles, Black Current missile submarines, or stationary silos. Unfortunately, they aren't actually missilesnote , so they can be shot down by conventional anti-air weapons.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: The Steel Striders generally follow real-world design philosophies, with boats that look like boats, aircraft that look like aircraft, and submarines that look like submarines, all in various shades of steel blue or battleship grey. That said, there is a fair degree of variation:
- The Thunderchild is a side-wheeler paddleboat that wouldn't be out of place in the Deepwater Guard or Onyx Watch.
- The Guernsey is an old dreadnought with broadside guns.
- The Norge is an all-gun World War II-style battleship.
- The Thyr is a modern combined-arms battleship with heavy guns, CIWS, vertically-launched missiles, and even a helipad.
- The Megalodon and Thresher Shark both use science fiction designs with low silhouettes, the former being a super-battleship even bigger and more heavily armed than the Thyr and the latter a smaller ship with a pair of huge raliguns, a massive laser anti-munitions system, and several missiles.
- The Remnant: After an Alien Invasion (and resurgence), a brutal Civil War, and an increasingly strained web of alliances, the Steel Striders are on their last legs. It hasn't stopped them from fighting.
- Vestigial Empire: The Steel Striders are all that remains of the old Steel Empire after the Scarlet Dawn invaded, the Lightning Hoods seceded in a brutal Civil War (with help from White Flayer terrorists), and the Onyx Watch withdrew support after the Lightning Hoods left. Even their alliance with the Twin Guard is growing increasingly tense.
An enigmatic airborne civilization that remains aloof from the surface-dwellers.
- Ace Pilot: An entire civilization of them. The only time a Grey Talon will touch the ground is if they crash.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Ascension, Crivetz, Iron Butterfly, Iron Condor, and then some.
- Aloof Ally: While they're all too happy to fight off threats like the Scarlet Dawn, they rarely outright help the puny groundlings.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Aethrogen, a rare gas that allows their otherwise impossibly heavy airships to fly.
- Cool Airship: The Grey Talons' stock in trade, ranging from small barrage balloons to giant ironclad zeppelins to flying dreadnoughts, all kept aloft with Aethrogen and turbines. The Iron Condor in particular is the largest airship in the game.
- Death from Above: Their M.O, with enormous guns, missile volleys, and whatever else they can fit on their flying war machines. You'll need some powerful Anti-Air weapons to even touch them.
- The Dreaded: They're the most powerful faction native to Neter, and it shows. Their habit of threatening any and all trespassers on their territories with giant airships and equally giant guns terrified even the forming Steel Empire, and though they were caught off guard by the Scarlet Dawn's first assault and had to team up with the Steel Empire to drive them back, they were more than ready by the time the Scarlet Dawn came back and singlehandedly drove them into a stalemate. They would also have taken over the entire planet long ago if not for their constant intertribal conflicts.
- Floating City: The Grey Talons spend their entire lives in the sky, with their houses and hydroponic gardens held aloft by turbines.
- Humongous Mecha: The Greataxe, Hobgoblin, and Extinction are bizarre flying machines that defy all other description.
- Nuke 'em: The Extinction flying mecha carries a pair of nuclear freefall bombs—and only a pair. Once they are dropped, the Extinction can't make any more.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: The Grey Talons borrow heavily from high-flying dieselpunk like Crimson Skies and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, with an industrial grey color scheme, airships a-plenty, and an enormous sense of scale.
- The Sky Is an Ocean: To varying degrees. Ships like the Aardsterk, Cirrus, and Dreadnought are just conventional ships with rotors and jet engines mounted on their hulls. These ships float just above the water and are the closest things the Grey Talons have to a surface fleet.
The descendants of an alien civilization that is attempting to conquer Neter.
- Drop Pod: The OLSCnote is a special defense craft that drops from the sky, then floats on the surface as a stationary laser turret.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Despite their menace, the Scarlet Dawn's history on Neter has been less than successful.
- When they first came to Neter, they underestimated the planet's weather and terrain, causing them to lose some of their colony ships in the atmosphere.
- When they finally landed a century or so before the events of the main game, the Steel Stridersnote and the Grey Talons fended them off after 50 years of war.
- 55 years later, their next big push was foiled by a seagull. Specifically, a seagull that got sucked into the turbine of the Eros constructor ship, causing a chain of Disaster Dominoes that eventually formed the Twin Guard.
- Their most recent attack, initiated 5 years before the main campaign, finally managed to take much of the Steel Striders' territory...only to be repulsed by the Grey Talons and forced into a stalemate.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Exactly how evil they are is up for debate, but their invasion lead to the breakup of the Steel Empire and the formation of the Twin Guard, setting up the present day's state of affairs.
- Hover Tank: Like the Grey Talons, they don't have any actual watercraft, instead opting for hovercraft that float just above the surface using what appears to be Anti-Gravity technology (in-game, they use internal propellers)
- Kill Sat: The Archangel is armed with a "halo" of missiles, the OCPLACnote has a railgun, and the Palladium carries several powerful lasers.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Scarlet Dawn's space-based fleet flies fast and hits hard. Exactly how fast and how hard depends on the craft, but they're guaranteed to put up a fight no matter what.
- Send in the Clones: Most of the faction's pilots and marines are clones, cranked out in the thousands daily...but, like the rest of the game's fluff, none of them are ever seen in person.
- Space Fighter: Many of the Scarlet Dawn's smaller aircraft started out as these and were converted to atmospheric craft. Others, like the Specter, don't work in atmosphere at all.
- The Aesthetics of Technology: Fittingly for the de facto final faction, the Scarlet Dawn combines the best aspects of the game's most powerful factions, like the Grey Talons' airships, the Lightning Hoods' sleek aerodynamic hulls and beam weapons, and the Twin Guard's artistic tracery, all with a menacing Red and Black and Evil All Over color scheme.