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The Kaerdverse is a series of stories set under a Masquerade in the modern world. The main characters are a rather choleric dragon, a normal girl who gets accidentally gets dragged into the masquerade, two intelligent rabbits from another dimension, and an artificially created demi-phoenix. They all work for a guild which protects the masquerade by stopping criminals and catching magical creatures that slip off the reserves. The stories are very Fantasy Kitchen Sink, featuring a mix of cryptids, Eldricth Abominations, and somewhat more stock fantasy creatures living in the modern world.

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  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Dragonsbane edged swords. To dragons. They actually kind suck against anything else. Various other magical methods can produce them as well, though those don’t cut dragons as well.
  • Accidental Pervert: Skitter, of all people. Skitter, as a silverfish, eats mildew, so he often feeds in the communal showers after dark. Since most people aren’t aware he exists, he’s assumed to be some kind of clairvoyance focus. It doesn’t help that he prefers the women’s showers, because flowery shampoos “grow tastier mildew”.
  • Addictive Magic: Not in effect unless the magic is designed to be addictive, but a common propaganda tool for the church. They claim that magical alterations are addictive and anyone who starts them will end up with neither their body nor mind still being human. This fuels part of the prejudice against demons and naturally occurring “tainted” born with magical abilities.
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  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The flying cities, all of which were destroyed during the coming of the elemental gods. Atlantis is still around at the bottom of the ocean, but it’s basically the magical world’s Detroit now…
  • A Handful for an Eye: Given that most dragons are fireproof, fire breath tends to be reduced to this.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Kaerd attempts to sneak into a mundane office building and steal some information. By the time he makes it out of the vents, they’ve evacuated the building because of all the noise they couldn’t find the source of.
    • Played straight by characters from the shapeshifter side stories, since they can turn into small animals. The characters that who actually do this turn into a bat and a finch.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: There is a rule that says animals can’t play, since it’s quite possible to create various beings that can play exceptionally well. At least one sport mention’s Kaerd by name in the rulebook. Arena games are an exception, since “weight classes” are given by a combat test that determines ability designed for people with vastly different magical abilities, so a place for non-humans works out fine.
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  • Animated Armor: One of the more common types of golem. They're cheaper and easier to make than, say, a statue that's able to bend its limbs. Myrmidon is one, though his design is more insectoid centaur than a suit of human armor.
  • Anything That Moves: Janus felt the need to give a dragon a human form in order to have sex with him.
  • Background Magic Field: The main stuff of magic, which is what one learns to manipulate to become a mage. Yggdrasil having eaten around 70% of Earth’s original mana is what makes Earth significant in this universe as a uniquely mana poor world.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Kaerd does one of these at one point. He meets his original personality, from before Janus grafted a human soul and alt form onto him, and it isn’t happy that Kaerd has become friendly with humans and “weak”. He also meets the original personality of his human form, who has no idea where he is.
  • The Berserker: Stormy loses all control if she fully releases her powers, become a ball of enraged ghosts and weather until she exhausts herself.
    • Kaerd also has shades of this, which is unusual for a dragon. He blames this on his human side giving him the ability to care about things more than his own survival.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Stormy is generally friendly and somewhat motherly little rabbit, but she can be surprisingly dangerous when her friends are threatened. If her husband or children are threatened, she can release the full power of her dozens of rabbit spirits fueling uncontrolled weather powers. Sarah can also be surprisingly vicious when her friends are on the line.
  • Big Eater: Kaerd qualifies by human standards, though he’s also more than twice the weight of a person and has a higher metabolism when he’s active.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: In this setting these animals are known as striders, and can walk between dimensions. They can only walk to parts of other dimensions that match their normal habitat, however. A Sasquatch can walk to any temperate pine forest, for example, while orang-pendek can only walk between rainforest environments. Kaerd originally got to Earth from his home dimension by getting a strider to guide him.
  • Black Mage: Actually fairly rare. While most mages and wizards learn to use whatever field of magic they specialize in offensively at some point, it’s fairly rare to have someone learn primarily offensive magic from the get go. This is affected largely by the magical community not having had a war in hundreds of years. The idea that the uneducated fight while mages and wizards sell them magical weapons has become fairly entrenched.
  • Blood Magic: Since blood is, in general, a good source of life energy, blood magic is common. Most blood magic is used for healing or otherwise duplicating biological functions. Blood magic has some bad connotations, because it is also used in diabolism extensively. The preferred blood source is giraffes, as their blood is the most potent of the selection of animals that are large enough to fuel most kinds of blood magic without health risks. The standard healing potion also uses blood, but human blood for medical compatibility reasons.
  • Burger Fool: Appears in the story which Krade originates from. While Sarah and Myrmidon are trying to skin the evil magic off of Kaerd, Stormy and Streak go to find some food to keep Kaerd’s healing factor fueled so he can live through it. The only thing they can find is a muggle fast food place. This leads to a series of events where two teenage fast food workers try to sneak a crate of hamburgers past their boss to give to some talking rabbits. Serves as sort of a Relax-O-Vision for the extremely unpleasant scene of skinning Kaerd.
  • Canis Latinicus: If we ever get to see the language of the magical community, it’ll be this. Mostly because it’s funnier that way.
  • Cannot Dream: Golems. If they do start to dream (during downtime or when performing mindless tasks, the never sleep regardless), that means that they’re developing something closer to sentience. Some people like golems with their own personality, a lot of people have them stripped down to their original programming immediately. There are conflicting opinions on whether it’s crueler to delete them or keep them as slaves after they’ve developed a mind, as well a vocal belief that they never have something that could be called sentience as far as a moral debate goes.
  • Car Fu: One of Sarah’s general last ditch tactics against strong opponents, as it’s the only thing she can do that is likely to match exceed Kaerd’s fighting strength. This plays into the general Running Gag that Sarah’s cars all get destroyed, often in the form of Heroic Sacrifice. Given the relative strength levels of a lot of characters, the “wielding a car as a club” version may show up as well.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Good Doctor. He creates fairly large scale chaos for no greater purpose than to attract a hero to defeat him. And he’s always easy to defeat, since his plans are specifically set up to be foiled. He’s believed to be some sort of warlock, and he mixes science and magic to a dangerous degree. While he’s usually affably evil, he does actually kill heroes that don’t play their part right, and causes a lot of death and injury with his antics before the hero shows up. He likes Kaerd, who is willing to play snarky anti-hero while fighting him, and is interested in Sarah, even providing her a magical girl amulet in the hope that she’ll become a new nemesis for him.
  • Cats Are Magic: A special breed of cat is used for detecting ghosts. They’re a small, long-tailed breed that has a very high incidence of complete heterochromia of the eyes. Cats that display this trait are consider the best for ghost tracking. Cats in general also have unusually powerful dreaming minds. When Bastet gives them intelligence and purpose, they’re able to help drive back the emissary of Rahab.
  • Cats Are Mean: Kaerd will tell you at length how cats are horrible, kill for fun, etc. This is mostly his ailurophobia talking. Coyote and the various canine mythological entities avoid Bastet, though it’s not clear why.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Dragons are completely unaffected by mental effects, have amazing resistance to disease and poisons, and dissipate magics with their scales (they can be hit by a lightning spell, but you can’t form, say, an explosion spell inside their bodies). This is an adaptation of them being ridiculously long lived and needing to survive to an fairly advanced age alone to breed.
  • Death World: Most of Template’s “moons” actually contain ecosystems that are too disruptive or fecund to be kept on the same planet as the rest of the species. The ending of the original Template stories is that humans get their own moon, as something too disruptive to live on the surface.
  • Defiant to the End: The closest thing most dragons (or at least coppers, I’m still working out to what extent dragons have a shared philosophy) have to a religious belief system is that your reincarnation is determined by the strength of your spirit at the time of your death, so this is basically mandated.
  • Delicious Distraction: Kaerd is prone to this when he isn’t taking the matter at hand seriously. Attempting to deliberately invoke this is dangerous though. Pride comes before gluttony, after all.
  • Destination Defenestration: While Kaerd is fond of smashing in through windows, Sarah is fond of putting people through them. Or putting windows in front of things charging at her, anyway.
  • Distressed Damsel: Sarah doesn’t really do this trope. She’s captured all of twice in the planned stories, and one of those is an arrest under false pretenses.
  • Distressed Dude: If anyone ends up captured a lot, it’s Kaerd. I have three planned plots for him getting kidnapped, though one of them is only so I can use the line “So, the heroic damsel arrives to rescue her dragon fair.”
  • The Dog Bites Back: Kaerds are not toys. Do not convince them you think of them as an equal when you don’t. Do not force human forms on them. Do not trick them into sex. Do not taunt the happy fun Kaerd.
  • The Dragon: Janus was grooming Kaerd to be this. Kaerd started to tend toward Noble Top Enforcer though, which led to Janus making lethally foolish decisions about how to keep Kaerd in line.
  • Dragon Rider: Mostly averted. Dragons will absolutely not countenance riders.
    • There is one historical case of dragon riding on Earth. During the invasion by armies from the dimension of Dunan, a dragon rider air force was brought in from the Dunan side to break the stalemate the war had slipped into. These dragons were controlled by a magically engineered brain parasite. While the initial attack broke the Earth force's defensive lines, Earth's dragon population joined the war and within days the had either freed or mercy killed the entire dragon rider air force. The surviving free dragons turned on their former master's immediately.
    • Kaerd will allow Streak on his back during ground fights, letting him springboard off his wings or combining this with Fastball Special. However, Streak isn't a rider, he's equipment. Also, since Streak really has no way to hang onto Kaerd and strapping him on would defeat the whole purpose, this is impossible while flying.
  • Dream Stealer: The baku, which are spirit creatures that eat dreams. They survive off of the mental energy released by dreams, so they’re more likely to take nightmares or sexual dreams which are more intense. Kaerd’s island has a healthy population of them, as people who see regular combat are good feeding ground and generally don’t mind them being around. Baku are generally harmless, unless there aren’t enough dreamers for them to feed on, in which case they begin to prevent REM sleep. They are just visible as a pink outline when you are very drunk. They look vaguely like elephants or tapirs.
  • Dream Weaver: The predominant form of therapy in magical world is to enter one’s own dreams via darkness magic and confront their problems in the abstract of the dreamworld. Some mages offer something similar for recreation, such as shared dreams of adventures.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Sarah taught Kaerd how to drive so he could use her car in emergencies. She never taught him traffic laws. God help us if he ever realizes (read: I come up with story to include it in) that he can operate a motorcycle without changing into human form.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Kaerd and Streak decide to get drunk after an (offscreen) battle with the monsters from Night of the Lepus. Sarah and Stormy get dragged out of bed to stop the ensuing bar brawl.
  • Empathic Weapon: While Sarah’s crystal shaper isn’t exactly empathic, it works by understanding and controlling the song of the dinarides that shapes the crystal. It can technically be used by anyone, but only if they either have the gift of tongues from Template or can speak the language of singing cave salamanders from another dimension. The shaper can effectively be used only by Sarah, Kaerd, Stormy, Streak, and Hans.
  • End of the World as We Know It: If Yggdrasil dies the massive increase in mana would pretty much instantly mutate all multicellular life to the point that very few things would be able to interbreed. It’s also believed to be capable of destroying humanity if it wanted to. Strix or Rahab getting fully into the dimension would also likely cause this.
  • Everyone Is Bi: A general rule with elves and anyone that lives with them for more than a few months. Their attractiveness aura affects everyone equally, including other elves, so keeping up any serious exclusion to who you'll have sex with is pretty hard within Yggdrasil. Bisexuality is also slightly more common in the magical community in general, as cultural taboos on sex are lighter.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Averted with the main cast, obviously, but true for most of the rest of the magical community. There are only a few dozen K-12 equivalent schools in the magical world, and exactly seven universities (one for each element).
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The Koontz Retrievers, a breed of dogs that look similar to golden retrievers but are as big a small pony. They’re low level psychics and are literally evil detecting. They’re sort of a send-up of glurgy hero dogs and the way Dean Koontz writes golden retrievers.
  • Explosive Breeder: Mimics, which can reproduce extremely quickly by budding anytime they have an abundance of food.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Kaerd prefers a diet of mostly meat and fruit, but given that he can digest and metabolize copper, he can actually stomach just about anything. He has a tendency to threaten to eat Mac Guffins.
  • Fantastic Racism: A general problem in with the magical community. They tend to see any altered humans, non-magicals, and non-human intelligences as abominations or less than human. Only griffons are largely immune.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: I’ve gone over this elsewhere, but there are several reasons why guns aren’t a popular weapon in the magical community. There’re a lot of things they can’t kill, they can kill things that can kill you faster (a wizard might laugh off a weaker magical assailant because the can just no sell them, they’re likely to kill someone who pulls a gun on them), and there are problems with getting them from the non-magical world, since there’s no exchange rate.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but since Coyote, the ghost of General Woundwort, Deep Ones, and Gwangi are all loose in the setting, I think this has become fantasy kitchen sink. The only thing it definitely won’t have is space aliens.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: There’s a fairly large segment of magical society that doesn’t believe in the gods, despite them actually showing up from time to time. Some believe that they’re actually all a hoax by the church to maintain power, while some are closer to the truth that they’re very powerful but not gods. Part of this is because many people simply don’t understand that creating the preserves, vast tracks of land hidden in pocket dimensions that allow the magical community to hide from the mundane, are far beyond any knowledge of magic possessed by humanity.
  • Floating Continent: Dragon’s Rest, the “home” setting for most of the stories.
  • Flying Weapon: Extremely expensive but popular. The main drawback to flying swords is that they rely a lot on momentum and thus rather wild swings or charges.
  • Freakiness Shame: Kaerd feels this way about having a human form. Sarah points out that it's awfully useful and doesn't really change what he is.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Enforced by the rest of the vampires. In order to get turned, a human has to pass a psychological test, live among the vampires for a significant amount of time, and usually have some willing humans lined up to feed them so they never need to take lethal amounts from anyone. It helps that if vampires start getting to visible in the mundane world they face both silver dragons hunting them for slave labor and the magical community at large hunting them down for crimes against the masquerade. Most of the "humans are our cattle" vein of vampires get killed off pretty quickly.
  • Gargle Blaster: “That Damned Dragon” a specialty drink made for Kaerd so he could experience getting drunk when he’s waiting in the tavern for members of a mission team. Alcohol has basically no effect on him, and giving him higher proofs just makes him more flammable, so the bartender resorted to stronger and stronger poisons attempting to give him a stomach ache and get rid of him. He accidentally discovers a mix that actually gets Kaerd drunk, which includes cone snail venom and nightshade berries. Can be dangerous if even spilled on a human
  • Genre Blind: Streak expects things to work out like an old heroic epic.
  • Genre Savvy: Kaerd tends to be this when he’s thinking things through, though he often falls into Wrong Genre Savvy if things aren’t operating on video game or horror movie logic this week.
  • Global Currency: Averted. The magical community uses phen, but because direct trade with the larger world is illegal in the magical community and all but impossible through legal means outside it (not being able to say where magical goods were made, there are few things that are easily tradable) the is no exchange rate. There is no way for people living in both worlds to pay for things without having a job in both worlds. Sarah’s main method of money exchange is through the Kaerd’s zombie friends who make real world dollars by gold farming in MMOs. The only other real way is goods exchange through the lungs’ black market, which is finicky at best as to what goods they’ll take, and at worst… Well, they’re dragon yakuza. It doesn't help that Sarah really pisses them off during the events of Wolves and Silver
  • Gone Horribly Right: During the (last) days of the old magical government, they commissioned the creation of a fighting force of ridiculously powerful flying golems designed to eliminate evils that threaten the society. They cut up demons for about a month before they decided that the corrupt government was a greater threat than any random demons who were mostly existed because they could sell things made valuable by ridiculous bans and tariffs. The destruction they caused lead to Barnum’s Uprising and the overthrow of that regime.
    • The mimics are also an example. They were requested to be “perfect” domestic animals, always attractive, able to control pests, able to grow to a size suitable for livestock, easy to breed. It’s pretty much what they got…
  • Healing Factor: Kaerd trademark ability and the hat of copper dragons in general. It’s very limited without food to fuel it, though. It mainly allows recovery after the fact and protection of vital organs. Abraxas has a significantly more powerful healing factor, though it only works if he can catch fire. Not that he’d willingly go underwater or enter a vacuum.
  • Here There Were Dragons: The Earth used to be a more magical place, it’s just that it got less magical back in the Permian.
  • Hero Insurance: The guild actually has a rather expensive group insurance (fiscal warding, in this setting) policy. It helps that magically destructive street brawls are common destructive enough that few people get mad when someone belonging to authority that will pay for any part of it is involved.
  • Hidden Weapons: Aaron Loew is a master of this. His glasses, pocket watch, lapel pin, cufflinks, etc. are all small golems with hidden weapons.
  • Honor Before Reason: Streak doesn’t believe in any form of fighting beyond a frontal assault ending in arrest or surrender. He can be convinced to use actual tactics if the stakes are high enough, though.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The entire series kicks off with Sarah being dragged to Template to save the humans there. It turns out they succeeded in killing one of the higher gods of Template and severely disrupted the environment, causing that god’s reboot to go on a rampage and start damaging the basic order of Template in order to exterminate them. This is considered more of fluke than a specific problem with humans though. Any intelligent species could become a danger to the gods if left unchecked.
    • Kaerd considers himself far more dangerous and something of an abomination because of his human side.
  • I Am Not Weasel: The rabbits are not rodents, Abraxas is not a cockatoo, and Kaerd is NOT a lizard.
  • I Gave My Word: Streak won’t give up on a promise. Kaerd has a similar ethic, though more as a point of pride than honor.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Generally averted. Vampires consider involuntary turning to be worse than rape or murder. It permanently burdens someone with a need to drink blood and an inability to ever see the sun again. It also creates a new semi-immortal being that did not agree to the follow the laws of vampire society before they were turned and has had a deeply traumatic experience as their first taste of being a vampire.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Sarah’s initial reason for joining the Scutum Guild was that, having just disappeared for several months when she was magicked to template, she had no job, no credit, no car, and only a negative reference from her previous employer. The guardian guild offered rather amazing pay and good health benefits, which she thought she’d use until she built up some cash to look for a real job. A few books in, she realizes she can’t imagine life without talking rabbits and Kaerd smashing through her window in the middle of the night to get her help with some emergency.
  • Immune to Bullets: Kaerd is immune to low caliber rounds and can shrug off glancing blows from stronger guns between his armor and regeneration. He really doesn’t like having his scales ruined by bullets though. Helen is as resistance as your average marble statue. Streak has a certain resistance, being a very small target. Stormy’s cloud form and Myrmidon are the only characters that are really immune, though.
  • I Owe You My Life: Kaerd finally agrees to use the term “friends” with Sarah when he loses count of who has saved who’s life more times.
  • Killer Rabbit: About half the cast, usually literally.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Averted. While vampires can use hypnosis to make their feeders relaxed and can heal the wound afterwards, it’s still as painful as having a pair of large needles jammed in your veins. People who start to overly sexualize being fed on are generally taken off the list of people to be turned as a possible danger secrecy.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Dragons have the dragonsbane plant, and anything made with metal from it. Phoenixes have water, though they have to be submerged in order to be in any danger.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Streak doesn’t really believe things like plans and sneak attacks.
  • Lost Woods: The area in the center of the floating island is a massive forest that is egregiously haunted. Originally, the giant central tree Maxifructus powered the island by moving a giant orichalcum ring inside the island with its roots. When Janus took the island over and killed all the vegetation he switched the island to ghost slave labor, forcing the ghosts of everyone he killed on the island into moving the ring. When Kaerd replanted the island, the ring switched back to tree power, releasing all the ghosts. The place gets haunted house tropes (bleeding walls, curtains forming images of people, mirror scares, etc.) despite being outside. It’s bad enough that only animals below ghosts’ psychic notice can live there, and is populated only by insects, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
  • Made of Indestructium: Kaerd has made some money with a side job doing ads and demonstrations for “indestructible” products. The first most famous of these was for the Zosimus Alchemical’s “Dragonproof” Safes, which he managed to break a tooth on during a publicity stunt where he was supposed to do everything he could to break it. The logo for the brand is still a cartoon image of him with a broken tooth.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The Good Doctor makes a magical girl amulet for Sarah after deciding that he’d really love a female nemesis. It gives her a frilly outfit filled with defensive spells and makes the crystal shaper able to fire sparkly stars of purple energy, which turn out to be lethal doses of radiation. Sarah absolutely refuses to use it.
  • Magitek: While the magical community is technically somewhere around clock punk as far as non-magical technology goes, they have a basically modern standard of living minus phones and computers. Mixing normal technology with magic is illegal and highly dangerous with anything involving electricity. It’s not impossible though. I have a character idea for a mage that’s gotten passed the electricity barrier and can cast spells remotely through cell phones and control RC planes to move the phones.
    • There’s also the Spider Slayers, a group of mages who track down and destroy evidence of magic posted on the internet. They’re called Spider Slayers, because their superiors have never really listened to the explanation of what they do beyond the words world wide web.
  • Mama Bear: If you mess with the younger rabbits, you’re probably safer doing it while the dragon is watching them.
  • Mars Needs Women: Elves need humans to procreate. Or, more to the point, they need humans procreating while living with them. Any pregnancy within Yggdrasil will result in a baby elf. Elves themselves can't reproduce with humans or each other, the resulting babies from any union with an elf is large see that grows into a vaguely human-shaped tree.
  • May–December Romance: Since it’s quite possible for someone over a century old to return to twenty year old body and relatively good health lasts significantly longer, these aren't uncommon. They're not completely accepted, but not scandalous either.
  • Monsters Anonymous: The society of shape shifters and natural magic users that live under their own masquerade in the mundane world. They’re treated poorly in the magical community and would probably be considered monsters in the normal world as well, though most of them are more or less harmless.
  • Mugging the Monster: Kaerd’s favorite movie cliché. He wants it to happen to him so bad. When he finally runs into a mugging to break up, both the mugger an the victim turn out to be golems sent to kidnap him.
  • My Car Hates Me: Magic tends to screw with electrical systems, including alternators. Cars often have trouble starting when dealing with a magical threat. Sarah’s gotten wise to this, and has a shielded electrical system in her car.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Various styles of undead make up most of Janus’s army. Janus was not actually a necronics specialist himself, but a mind control specialist. He kept several necronics masters in his employ, and they could never really turn on him because he could easily control anything they made. He made most of his money selling specialty zombies and other undead monstrosities to people who wanted this effect. Also, while he does use undead and tends toward swarm tactics, they’re far from goombas individually.
  • Odd Friendship: All of Sarah’s friendships are odd. For the most normal, she has a succubus nurse or a magical mob princess to choose from.
  • Omniglot: Most of the main characters, due to being from or having been to Template. This isn’t truly being multilingual, while Sarah understand anything said in any language and be understood by anyone, she can’t actually speak any language but English. This also only applies to spoken language, she’s only functionally literate in Nomen, and Kaerd and the rabbits can barely read any language. Abraxas is a bit more of straight example, as he can understand three spoken and ten written languages.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Something of an expansion of the "dragons with metal themes", dragons have bones and scales with high concentrations of their patron metal. This also extends somewhat beyond the normal set of metals to include things like mercury, aluminum, and tin. They're also directly related to pelycosaurs.
  • Our Elves Are Better: In this setting, elves are literally an opiate for Yggdrasil. The main reason the world tree isn't actively messing with humanity is that it discovered that the psychic fallout from human orgasm is a drug to it. So it created a near immortal, hyper charismatic, hyper sexual type of enhanced human. Elves themselves are somewhat taller humans that are stronger and more athletic as required secondary powers for having sex all the time. They have pointed ears, which act as psychic broadcasters of their sexual pleasure, which serves both to make them a stronger source of Yggdrasil's "drug" and broadcast sexual attraction to humans near them. Other than sex, elves mostly practice magic related to nature or art, and live in an environment reminiscent of a hippyish commune. Elves live exclusively within Yggdrasil's immediate circle of influence, and actually can't survive being away from it for long periods.
  • Post Modern Magic: A source of a lot of the fun in the series. Most of the magical world is pretty out of touch with modern technology, especially since nothing electrical works without shielding in magical cities. However, we still get things like Kaerd’s zombie friends being addicted to video games (they pay for new electronics themselves by selling gold farmed in MMOs), Kaerd wielding a chainsaw (“It’s a sad day when a dragon needs a chainsaw to get someone’s attention.”), Stormy being used to jumpstart a car, Kaerd pretending to be animatronic when caught in public in the normal world, Kaerd carjacking someone, etc.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Stormy’s powers. Rabbits put less importance on individual children, given the natural death rate of young rabbits, and so it’s considered an acceptable sacrifice to use a kit or two for the purpose of increasing the power of a warren’s magic user. In Stormy’s case, she was having her powers increased to protect the warren from a family of kamaitachi (wind weasels), but they put a curse on her beforehand so that the ritual sucked the life energy out of the entire warren. She rather unwillingly has incredible magical potential.
  • Psycho for Hire: Skronk, a complete lunatic who’s based on The Ultimate Warrior (mostly the deranged comic version). He’s a Talkative Loon who can take on Kaerd in hand to hand combat, and seems to get hired by practically every villain. He never remembers who Kaerd is, which drives him insane.
  • Punny Name: Kaerd chose his name because he was tired of being called “drake” or “dragon” (once he learned that it was inherently an insult for a human to call someone by their “race”), so he chose an anagram of drake. When pressed for a last name, he came up with L’orange. Together it literally means orange drake, and since drake can also refer to ducks it also refers to one of his favorite foods.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The Good Doctor. Kaerd actually had his head mounted to prove that he actually does kill him each time the fight. This type or resurrection isn’t supposed to be possible by known magic.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: When Kaerd turned against Janus, he lead an internal coup (which would have been doomed) while also giving information to the authorities to tell them where the island was, and when the anti-air defenses would be down due to his uprising. Then the troops turned on Kaerd’s group. As demons who were already traitors, there was no reason they should be allowed to live. This lead to Kaerd’s desperation move of flipping the island, dumping both sides in the ocean. Having betrayed both his "master" and the authorities Kaerd is still saddled with the title Kaerd the Betrayer in much of popular imagination, not that he cares much.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Generally subverted. While spellcasters will occasionally wear loose clothes or long strips of cloth to make themselves look impressive while casting for an audience, most wear appropriate work clothing for whatever they actually do. Combat mages tend to wear heavy or tightfitting clothing, specifically because an opponent may be able to follow where and how they’re gathering power by how their clothing is moved by the forces created.
    • Janus uses the robe at least. He wears a weighted extra long robe and levitates everywhere, so everyone believes he's several inches taller than he really is.
  • Scare the Dog: Averted and played straight with Kaerd. In general, animals react with cautious curiosity or indifference to his true form, like wild animals from places that have never seen humans often do. However, given that the gift of tongues allows him to tell animals anything that their minds can process, he can stop a cavalry charge by threatening the horses. Fire and roaring don’t hurt, either.
  • Shooting Superman: Using fire on Kaerd or Abraxas. Since police use fire exclusively in the magical community, it's a common hazing ritual to have rookies attempt to arrest Kaerd.
  • Snake People: Some tribes of merfolk, especially those who live closer to shore or in fresh water, have snake tails instead of fish tails.
  • Squishy Wizard: Stormy is an out-of-shape, three pound rabbit. She can be taken out by a thrown shoe is she doesn’t take her cloud form, and then she’s vulnerable to wind, heat, or absorbent materials. Marilyn is a more traditional example, if you can get to her on top of her angry sauropod.
  • Super Weapon Surprise: During Barnum’s Uprising (in the setting’s past) the mining and construction guilds sided with him. It turns out a well-equipped militia designed to fight infantry and mages is next to useless against construction and mining golems.
  • Super Window Jump: Kaerd is very fond of this one, since he’s basically immune glass cuts and he can just barrel through even upper story windows from midflight. He absolutely hates safety glass (and it’s magical equivalent, runed glass). Not because he can’t break it, but because it tends to ruin his entrance if he bounces off and then has to claw his way in. From the opposite point of view, this is Dangerous Windows.
  • Tail Slap: Kaerd's preferred form of attack on humans. While he can make it lethal, its the one attack he can easily control the strength of enough to safely use against someone he isn't trying to maim. He's had bad luck attempting non-lethal claw and bite wounds.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Kaerd to Krade, who started a mind control/dark upgrade spell that was growing into Kaerd from the outside. The spell was removed by skinning Kaerd alive, which he can live through, and retained enough of his regeneration ability to regrow a new dragon. Kaerd doesn’t particularly hate Krade, he just refuses to be called a parent.
  • They Would Cut You Up: A popular bit of propaganda about the mundane world in the magical one. Why anyone would a non-magic user that happens to be from the magical community isn't exactly fleshed out, but it is propaganda.
    • Abraxas fears this in particular because his life, the sentient part anyway, started with this. Testing regenerative capability is a bitch.
  • Threat Backfire: Kaerd is very fond of this trope. There’s nothing he enjoys quite as much as returning to his true form after being threatened as a human. He’s also fond of responding to threats aimed at Sarah or the rabbits this way when the threatener is assuming they need his protection.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Stormy has red velvet cake and rum cake. Abraxas has haggis. Both dragons and griffons have eggs, though this is part of a somewhat friendly stereotype between the species as the other being nest raiders.
  • Tree Top Town: Yggdrasil produced one of these for the elves and their human friends to live in, though it’s more of a tree top randomly generated luxury resort. So some of the rooms just bleed into hallways and some of the pools have apartments in them, Yggdrasil was stoned when he made them.
  • Try Fitting That On A Business Card: Traditional rabbit names are usually a huge list of their accomplishments and notable deeds or abilities. It is somewhat notable that Streak is the only rabbit that uses this as a Badass Boast. Most rabbits consider the concept of badass to be unrabbit. The title system is mostly as a formal address and a conversation starter. Rabbits spend a lot of time sitting around in burrows in the winter months and their names act as a resume of possible topics.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Since Kaerd is both an employee of and landlord to the Scutum guild he can't really ever be fired. He does regularly have his pay cut to pay for damage he does, but only because he doesn't care enough about money to challenge it.
  • Unequal Rites: Mages hold a degree from one of the elemental branches of magic, wizards from two, and archwizards from at least four. Friction comes in when a wizard with basic degrees in two claims to be better than a mage that’s spent their life studying one. These should never be confused with witches and warlocks, who are people who gain magical prowess in a limited field by having a backfired spell alter their brain chemistry.
    • There’s also friction between different elemental branches, fire and water (creation and destruction), earth and air (stability and freedom), light and darkness (superficial and emotional), and life (better than everyone). This last is mostly good-natured though.
  • Unfamiliar Ceiling: Being the most easily injured of the main cast, Sarah is getting rather sick of waking up in the guild’s infirmary. It's only really unfamiliar if she doesn't get "her" room in the infirmary.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Stormy. Anything above her bunnypomorhic cloud form is activated by anger and releases screaming rabbit ghosts. The further along this she gets, the harder it is for her to get back. She also has increasing difficulty telling friend from foe in higher forms. The furthest she’s released in any planned story turns her into a maelstrom that takes down an airship, and requires the Maxifructus’s ghost to stuff her ghosts back into her consciousness to calm her down. There’s no plan to actually do this, but if she completely released all her power at once she would essentially become a hurricane. An angry, haunted hurricane that can sustain itself with magic.
  • Uplifted Animal: Abraxas (intentionally), Skitter (by accident), and PJ (from By The Ears, assuming I get around to stitching that into the Kaerdverse). Stormy and Streak are also widely believed to be this. It’s highly illegal to create uplifted animals, but they can get basic rights once they exist. Assuming that they aren’t quietly disposed of before anyone knows about them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kaerd and Sarah, Kaerd and Stormy, Kaerd and Streak. Part of the reason Kaerd doesn’t like Abraxas as much is that he takes jibes too seriously.
  • Weirdness Censor: At least on a societal level. A lot of what allows the masquerade to continue is that without hard evidence, anyone claiming to have seen a dragon or claims a jackalope attacked their bar is just going to be laughed at because no one considers magic to be even slightly possible.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: Luck manipulation is a low level reality warping power, and one of the most common natural magics for people to be born with, after shapeshifting. It can’t be replicated by learned magic, so it’s a very special ability for those born with it. Most people who are born with it aren’t aware of it though, as it isn’t terribly easy to recognize nor learn to consciously control. There used to be tests for it, but after the gambling guild kidnapped or killed most people with their in the test’s records, the tests were banned. High levels of this ability can get one killed or taken to a prison for reality warpers.
  • Witch Hunt: Fairly common in the magical community. General targets are demons (those whose physical changes aren’t outwardly obvious), tainted (people born with magical powers, i.e. demons who didn’t choose to be demons), corrupted (deep ones and vampires, elves and fae have never really tried to hide or join the community), and literal witches (people who have mental damage from magic backlash). These remain popular despite the damage they cause because there are so many groups that can be tormented and they don’t have much overlap. They’re also almost always successful. Whether they find actual threats or just ordinary people hiding things to avoid prejudice is different issue.
  • Wizards Live Longer: People in the magical community tend to live longer because of magical health care, with an average life span of around 130 for the general population. The wealthy can live considerably longer if they can afford a phoenix potion to revitalize them to the prime of their life. Before lich laws made phoenix potions and other life extending treatments illegal for those over 200, severe political and economic stagnation was caused by the ruling class never dying and never turning over their power.
  • World Tree: Yggdrasil, naturally. Yggdrasil has done a lot for the setting. It caused the Permian/Triassic extinction event, and was able to no sell the KT extinction event from ground zero (this may or may not have been an assassination attempt by dinosaur wizards). It is indirectly responsible for the masquerade, in that studying the technological progress of an intelligent species without magic is what the gods forced the masquerade for anyway. It also made elves…
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Orichalcum, a very precise alloy that resonates with mana to float in the air. It’s expensive to make and completely essential to the manufacture of most modern transportation in the magical world. To anyone who doesn’t known how to produce mana resonance, it’s just brass with slightly unusual composition.

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