Splat for Magical Girls In WOD, in which the main characters live and fight in the world after the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion. As such, this page assumes you've watched and understood the events in the movie, as the world has been seriously changed by Homura's action.
In the new world, there's no 'magical girl' in the standard, Puella Magi sense of the word. Homura has banned the Incubators, now under her control, from exalting new magical girls. She does so to prevent anyone from gaining anywhere close to the same level of power as she has.
However, the new world needs to be maintained in much the same way as the old. New enemy called Nightmares —manifestation of Homura's agony— have begun appearing and they can, nay, must be harvested to sustain the world. In order to do this, Homura ordain her own version of grief cube collectors, called Archons. Unlike magical girls, Archons don't get their wish fulfilled. They don't even have a say in their becoming one. One day you might be walking down the road when a Nightmare suddenly appear and killing people left and right, and just as suddenly you become an Archon, forced to fight the Nightmare. And if you refuse to fight, you'll eventually turn into Trauma, guilt-ridden ghostly mockery of yourself barely able of self-control. It's the whole magical girl and witch cycle all over again.
The theme of the game is guilt, madness, and the necessity of evil actions. Overall, the supplement is incredibly bleak compared to the primary game. The bleakness is comparable to Wraith: The Oblivion meets KULT, which is saying something.
All is not lost, though. Rumours have it that there's a force in the world capable of changing the sorry situation, called the Holy Quintet, and Archons can seek some kind of salvation there. If they can find it, that is.
Decretum provides angst, inner torments, insanity, and examples of these tropes:
- And I Must Scream: Homura is the biggest victim of this. She wants none of the world she's ruling over, save for the fact that Madoka is completely untouchable by the Incubator. Everyone else are also inflicted by this trope to various extent.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: If fighting the Nightmares don't kill you, you'll eventually turn into Trauma, exacerbating Nightmare appearances and color them with your own personal tragedies. This applies to both magical girls and Vigilantes.
- Machine-angels on the other hand, turn into a coldly rational entity that resembles the God-Machine. The game flat out states that the God-Machine started as machine-angels aeons ago, which means that the rise and fall of God-Machine(s) is cyclical, something that is only a conjecture by the Iteration X in the primary game.
- Angst: The game is heavy on one.
- Arc Symbol: A Sun in a Cage, which seems to appear randomly in places touched by the Nightmares. Some people call this The Conquered Sun, though it really does not have a name. It's Madokami's SOS signal.
- Biblical Motifs: Angels, both the ordinary ones and the fallen ones.
- Big Bad: Homura's 15 Autarchs, each one assigned to one of the Clara Dolls. They wear uniform similar to Homura's purple-grey dress, adapted to their personality. No one has seen the supposed 15th Autarch, AI.
- Big Brother Is Employing You: You're not even aware of it. All you know is that you're fighting monsters who are threatening the people. But you're actually reinforcing Homura's tyranny, which makes the world a crapsack place to begin with.
- Big Good: Sayaka. Next step down are the six senior Exarchs who make up the Angelis Council (sic). Sayaka and the Angelis Council are seen as paragons of the Seven Virtues of the pre-Homura world.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: There are people like these amongst the Exarchs. The majority of Exarchs are appalled by their blatant disregard of lives, but the awful truth is that they are more effective in dismantling the infrastructure of the Incubators.
- Cool Ship: The Decretum. It's a magically-cloaked heavily-armed mother-ship and the seat of power for Angelis Council. She is also sentient, and is implied to be a Legend 8 machine-angel. The ship is perpetually wandering the oceans of the world to prevent her from being detected by the Autarchs.
- There's also another Cool Ship that serves as mysterious ally for the Exarchs, called Archangelsk. She's a Legend 8 machine-angel created by the Russians— her namesake is the city where she was built.
- Crapsack World: See World of Chaos below, for starter. Now interpolate what the psyche of the people must be like.
- Council of Angels/Government in Exile: The Angelis Council. It governs the Exarchs and calculate the actions to be taken. It's supposed to be good gals, but readers may notice the similarity between them and the Black Hand (read: they orchestrate political assassinations and terrorism).
- Dysfunction Junction: Board of Autarchs is not a place of harmony and singing unicorns. They are tied to Homura's Clara Dolls and thus are similarly deranged. This is before you factor in human nature: each of them try to one up each other and gain more control of the Hierarchy. Vampiric Elysiums look idyllic compared to them.
- The other side is not much better. The Angelis Council can't agree on how to go back from the brink in their struggle against the Demon Queen. Some of them want to set the world on fire and rebuild it from the ashes. Some of them want to inflict humanity with mass insanity to liberate them from the Demon Queen's mental suppression. Sayaka often have to drop the veto-hammer, which doesn't guarantee that the plan won't be carried in secrecy...
- Everything Is Trying to Kill You: City of Weeping Angels. Filled to the brim with immortal nightmarish entities who perpetuate their personal drama, who cares little of the poor people trapped in the crossfire.
- Evil vs. Evil: One of the central themes of the game. Homura and her Archons kicks puppies daily to maintain the order. Exarchs rebel any way they can against Homura's regime, causing collateral damage on regular basis. Machine-angels want to set on fire anything that smell of divinity and then piss on the ashes. The Vigilante are actually insane.
- Sayaka provides a shade of gray to the conflict, but even she wonders where her reverence for Madokami ends and her hatred toward her rival Homura starts. Various side bars suggest that the reverence had come to an end long time ago.
- Expy: City of Weeping Angels, which is basically The City That Is Everywhere from KULT, but only inhabited by Trauma. The Vigilante awaken to their power after accidentally visiting the City of Weeping Angels, instead of seeing Archons or Exarchs in action.
- Failure Is the Only Option: No matter what you do to preserve Homura's cosmic regime, the world is slowly slipping into utter chaos and eventually, early Heat Death. In a throwback to Old WOD, this phenomenon is called Gehenna— you're living a Hell on Earth and you can't escape it.
- Fatal Flaw: As a gameplay mechanic. All Archons have their power derived from one or more of Homura's Clara Dolls, which themselves are Homura's Fatal Flaws. Learning Clara Doll charms require you to incorporate those Flaws into your character, which means that your characters can't make sound judgement, if she's to be effective.
- For Want of a Nail: Machine-angels are developed by the Soviet Union instead of Japanese, since the occupying Communists managed to get a hold of the Ghostapo's magical girl research results before they can be stowed away. The Cold War continues well into the 21st century. It's strongly implied that machine-angels control the Comintern, up to and including the Soviet Premier, Svetlana Mikhailova, being actually a machine-angel!
- God of Evil: Homura.
- Good All Along: Oriko and Kirika gets a significant hero upgrade from their initial appearance. Oriko, despite being an Autarch, is actively sabotaging Homura's regime from the inside. This is mostly because she understands what her vision of "world destroying black-winged witch clad in black" means— it's neither Walpurgisnacht nor Kriemhild Gretchen, it's Homura.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Homura. She's rarely seen in the world, with the Autarchs being the highest command of the Hierarchy that the Archons will ever see.
- Guilt-Based Gaming: Invoked. If you quit this Archon business, you'll betray those who have died! Oh, and your magically-altered soul will also degenerate into a permanent trainwreck!
- HeelFace Turn: The Exarchs, ex-Archons who have joined the Holy Quintet. That being said, they also have their own psychological baggages, and generally are slightly-off.
- The Ingenue: Sakura Momo. She is like Madoka, if Madoka was a Cloud Cuckoolander. She's also aware of the state that her big sister is in, because Madokami speaks to her in dreams.
- In-Series Nickname: Sayaka is rarely referred to by her name, most of the Exarchs reverently call her The Archangel.
- Magical Girl: You're still one, just not the bubbly-happy kind.
- Miki Sayaka is the only one in the world who is an old-style Puella Magi, complete with old-style Soul Gem. She retains her configuration due to her connection to Madoka, who is imprisoned.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Incubators. To make sure that the Archon to-be will not refuse her job, they only make Archons out of people who have survivor guilt from Nightmare attacks.
- Necessary Evil: An underlying theme of the game. To what extent are you willing to destroy the world in order to save it?
- In Kyouko's case, she doesn't believe a whit that Homura's world is worth defending. She's only in her Hierarchy so that Sayaka won't die again. She actually hates Homura as much as Sayaka does.
- Also, Kyouko's family is alive and well. Homura subtly implies that if Kyouko doesn't side with her, the family would be gone like how they were in pre-Homura world.
- Nightmare Fuel: Literally! The settings' Vigilante gets a significant Psyche refill whenever they step into The City of Weeping Angels and interact with the entities there in a way that impose the Vigilante's own psychological torment to The City. They even call this "Drilling the Nightmare Fuel Well". Not for the faint of the heart.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The Soviet machine-angels are significantly more effective in destroying God-Machine's infrastructures than the Japanese ones can ever hope. Their rallying cry is "Gott is tot, the Devil next!"
- Sanity Slippage: All Archons are going down that road.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The God-Machine, with Homura's iron will being the lid that keep the can closed.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: The God-Machine does its best to sabotage Homura. Homura keep reprogramming the God-Machine to patch out the loopholes, while maintaining a functional world. And it's implied that Homura will simply blow the entire cosmos up when she finally lose, trusting the next Big Bang to settle things right.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Madokami.
- The Vicar: How Mr. Sakura is when he's not pushed to the edge. The book states that, yes, he's an Anglican, and yes, he's excommunicated because he is fighting for marriage equality.
- World of Chaos: The law of physics doesn't hold very strongly in some part of the world. For example, the continent of Australia was thoroughly eroded by sentient oceanic waves(!) that it looks more like an archipelago. Also, the entirety of the Middle East is an impossible patchwork of biome— rainforest next to desert next to glaciers. No one bats an eyelid to this phenomenon— it's just the way it is.
- Certain remote corners of the world has become Rakshastan— places where law of physics have completely resigned from its job, its law is the whim of whatever supernatural denizen inhabit it. There are vampire-controlled Rakshastans, Fae-controlled Rakshastans, and so on. And the Rakshastan will continuously grow until its controllers are killed, to the last of them.
- And then there's the City of Weeping Angels.