Finally making its triumphant move to TV Tropes' Troper Works index. Though the plot remains on paper, elements of the world-building project can be viewed from this DeviantArt gallery.
Sweatshirt Brigade is a conworld story project by Master Jay AM, a byproduct of too many hours of TV Tropes coupled with an attempt to deconstruct the Evil Overlord List. The lame title is a working one, but the odds of it becoming its real title are great because it's kind of catchy. The series draws inspiration from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Code Geass, but got its start from TV Tropes.
Warning: Pot holes galore.
The setting is the constructed world of Fibonacci, an abandoned human colony world which rebuilt civilization from an extensive library left by one of the colonists. The colonists were able to recreate a technological level close to that of the early 90s up to the late 2000s. Politically, the planet is divided into the Meridian Empire, the The United Federation of the Allied Interdependent League of Democracies (or UFAILD), the People's Republic of Bufferia, The Republic of Shinar, and The Kingdom of Concord.
The states can correspond roughly to the major powers during World War I, although many of the nations are a Culture Chop Suey based mainly on Western, Latin American, and Islamic nations (as an inversion of Avatar), with the Federations subnational entities taking on a more diverse flavor that includes African, Asian, and Native American influences.
Naturally, the Meridian Empire is a hegemonic superpower, ruled by a Genre Savvy Emperor and a political elite whose idea of good governance is using an out of the way shanty town populated by rounded-up poor people as a nuclear weapons test site.
Anyway, the story is intended to follow a plot arc but be driven forward mainly by a somewhat formulaic (and heavily parodied) take on traditional hero storytelling with the genre savvy cranked up to eleven for both the heroes and the villains.
It takes place during a Cold War setting between the Empire and Federation, where a Federation Colonel is sent on a mission to create and train a foreign legion of saboteurs to destroy the Emperor's weapon installations.
His first recruit was the 18-year-old son of a deceased leader of a reform group (a friend of his back in the day), who is ironically, a very skilled mechanichal engineer in the Emperor's service. Ironically and conveniently, he was more than happy to sell his own country out to a foreign power, ostensibly because he believed in serving his nation better by overthrowing the corrupt evil overlord and his regime. Plus, the evil schemes and rampant corruption are costing the Imperial Treasury too much.
The basic formula involves the heroes going to a facility, discussing at length on how to blow it up, launch an attempt to do it that fails, followed by the hero doing one action that turns out to be a plan that succeeds Or not.
So far, the story is rather indecisive as to whether it's an honest-to-god parody of storytelling conventions and the hero genres, a parodic reconstruction grounded on the Rule of Fun or a dark deconstruction thereof. So far, the setting has been a Crapsaccharine World to say the least; it could go from Phineas and Ferb-style referential humor on one end and black comedy/dark serious drama on the other.
It was made into a novella during National Novel Writing Month in 2016, and its setting was uploaded on Tumblr for World Building June 2017. A spinoff story/prequel, Catacombs, is currently being written for World Building June 2018. Sweatshirt Brigade's tumblr page can be found here, while Catacombs can be read here.
This series might contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: The Emperor is surprisingly level-headed and is kind, if a bit distant, toward his children.
- Action Girl: Multiple.
- Citadel City: Threshold, capital of the Meridian Colony at Campbell.A Shining City for its inhabitants yet surrounded by a wall, shanties, and districts of fenced housing blocks where travel is monitored.
- Crazy-Prepared: The reason why the team needed to bring a defecting engineer in.
- Designated Hero: Finbar might be this, given that he's by and large a collaborator with a foreign power.
- Disappeared Dad: Finbar's father had been missing and presumably killed during an uprising that emerged some 14 years before the story's present.
- Evil Colonialist: The Meridian Empire.
- Genre Throwback: There should be quite a bit, seeing as the civilization in the colony was built from a single person's library.
- The Hero's surname is "MacGuffin."
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Has shades of this and Culture Chop Suey
- The Meridian Empire's aesthetic would be heavily based on Imperial Austria and Britain in its eastern regions and Ethiopia in the west.
- The Federation is an amaglam of many cultures; its government and organization is a mix of that of Switzerland and the United States. Regional cultures take on different characters.
- The Kingdom Of Concord is based on the Islamic Golden Age and has shades of Arab, Ottoman, and Mughal architectural styles.
- Bufferia is an an authoritarian Stalinist Police State typically run by a strongman chancellor from any of the five political parties that control its five provinces, but mainly from the socialists and the fascists.
- Shinar is a Diesel Punk nation with an Art Deco aesthetic centered on an exceptionally large city that hearkens to both the the Tower of Babel and Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
- Layered Metropolis: Babel, capital of Shinar, and Galt, the Capital of the United Federation. Galt's Catacombs (underground train and pathway system) is so complex it has a permanent population and is administered as a city borough.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Many place and city names are named for authors and characters in literature. Those that aren't are usually named after tropes. Some are extracted from the Wiki itself.
- The Plan: From both the villain and the hero, no less.
- Shining City: The Empire and the Federation have these as Capitals.
Tropes found in Catacombs:
- 20 Minutes into the Past: Set in the future, but in a technology level comparable to The '90s
- Absurdly Cool City: Galt, capital of The Federation and the world's largest city. Each of the boroughs, the size of a large city in their own right, have their own tropes:
- Palm Tree Panic: Saburo has palm trees, while the Beachhead has the waterfronts.
- Industrial Ghetto: The Mill
- Not-So-Safe Harbor: The Yatsude Dockyards
- Shining City: Smith Park, home of the wealthiest citizens and some of the most beautiful city landmarks, and Saburo, a hub for entrepreneurs, also counts.
- Skyscraper City: The Gulch, center of business. Smith Park also counts.
- Space Brasília: The Internal Affairs District, center of the Federation government.
- Suburbia: Lincoln, albeit with terraced rowhouses and parts of the Internal Affairs District are like this.
- Underground City: The Catacombs
- The Alternet: FedNet, a heavily regulated computer document system used by students, journalists, and the military.
- Beneath Fibonacci
- Bland-Name Product: Tumblin' Torus is a ubiquitous coffee shop franchise.
- Caught in the Bad Part of Town: Alluded to. Torben describes several districts within the city as seedy; Torben himself used to live in the less well-maintained sections of the Catacombs.
- City of Adventure: Torben seems to think so.
- Defector from Decadence: Todd, Torben's friend, is an immigrant from Meridian and built a new life for himself in the Federation. Although an aristocrat, he is of Mixed Ancestry and the discrimination he experienced made him resentful of his homeland. He works as a consultant for Meridian cultural affairs and is always described as a Meridian.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Finbar MacGuffin, the main protagonist of Sweatshirt Brigade, appears as a featured person.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Todd is the center of the Love Dodecahedron that emerged among his friends, which includes Torben.
- "Friends" Rent Control: Averted hard. Most of the people who live or study in the of the very expensive Smith Park borough live in underground capsule hotels.
- Ghibli Hills: A national park is located some distance from Galt proper and kept pristine.
- The Great Offscreen War: The Pequodese uprising, which led to protests within the city of Galt.
- Has Two Mommies: Todd's maternal grandmother was the daughter of two noblewomen and a male concubine.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Todd and Torben are still great friends despite Todd moving across the country years ago.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Torben and his great aunt Nancy.
- Land of One City: Most of Galt, including its city government, comprise its own canton within the United Federation.
- Love Dodecahedron: Todd used to date Torben's ex-girlfriend, whom Darville flirted with. Darville also has a massive crush on Todd and they date by the middle of the story.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Torben has five siblings.
- Military Brat: Torben is the son of a colonel.
- Multiple Government Polity: The United Federation itself, with differences between the individual cantons varying wildly from the central government, with most of its capital city being its own canton.
- Must Have Caffeine: All the Galtans seem fixated on coffee.
- Not So Different: Torben and his father don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, but they both share a propensity for snooping around facilities (the colonel being in special ops and Torben an urban explorer).
- Parental Favoritism: Torben's father Sven clearly favors his brother Junior over him.
- Premise Ville
- Scrapbook Story: The entire story is told from Torben's Character Blog, sharing in-universe documents, including some of his own articles for a news magazine.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Torben holds this opinion of Todd and Darville.
- Shipper on Deck: He otherwise supports the couple and is happy for them.
- Slice of Life
- Soapbox Sadie: Darville herself is an activist.
- Soapbox Square: The city itself has places where protesters can gather.
- Token Enemy Minority: Todd is a Meridian citizen (and a member of the ruling aristocracy), though of mixed ancestry. The Meridian Empire and the United Federation are rivals and at the start of the story embroiled in a row regarding one of Meridian's protectorates.
- Urban Segregation: People who don't make a lot of money are often consigned to living in underground capsule hotels in the Catacombs.