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"I am a killer and a clown. I am a hero and a fool."
Drunkard's Walk II, Prologue

Serial Mega Crossover series more-or-less continuously written by Robert M. Schroeck since 1998. It is "serial" in two senses: first, in the more common usage, it has appeared in semi-regular installments for nearly fourteen years (as of early 2012); second, unlike most Mega Crossovers which blend multiple sources into a single setting, Drunkard's Walk visits its different contributing series one after another, with little to no "bleed-through" between them.


At the center of the story is Douglas Q. Sangnoir, who would be called a superhero in any world but his own. On his native Earth, though, he is a metahuman — and a paramilitary operative in Warriors Alpha, an organization of metahumans contracted by that Earth's version of the United Nation to act as its "super-police" force. A ten-year veteran of the Warriors and its Security Chief, with a rank equivalent to colonel, Doug Sangnoir is a professional soldier with a powerful but chaotic set of superpowers, an intimidating intellect, and a personal style strongly influenced by Warner Brothers cartoons. Ejected from his home universe by enemy action, he is on a quest to return there, by traveling essentially at random through the multiverse (hence the name of the series). As might be expected, this means his trip goes neither quickly nor smoothly...


Although a honorable man who is loyal to a fault and driven by his sense of duty to acts of occasionally insane bravery, Doug is no paragon — despite his powerful intellect, he is prone to leaping to conclusions and acting foolishly, and he is a bigot on two fronts: he initially dismisses most Muggles as fragile ephemeral creatures who need protecting but are otherwise beneath his notice; and he hates most gods and godlike beings with a near-homicidal (deicidal?) passion. Both these attitudes get him in trouble at one point or another during his journeys...

When it is complete, the Drunkard's Walk will be composed of 14 main parts, called "Steps". Of these Steps, one is complete (as of early 2011), a second is nearly complete, and the first chapter of a third is available. In addition to the these major stories, the author has been writing and releasing short pieces he calls "Steplets".


The home of Drunkard's Walk can be found here.

The planned installments in the Drunkard's Walk are

As a Mega Crossover series, Drunkard's Walk contains elements from or references to — at the minimum — the following works:

Additionally, it contains (or will eventually contain) metafictional crosslinks to the following fanfiction series:

Drunkard's Walk is in fact part of a much larger metafictional continuum mapped out in this image.

In addition to the tropes "native" to the various settings Doug visits, this fanfic series contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Doug wakes up in one at the start of DW6.
  • Action Girl: Lisa Vanette in DW2.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted in Doug's case, as he is the "alien" in many settings. If it's not French, English, or Japanese, he has to learn to speak the local tongue.
  • All There in the Manual: The author provides a detailed concordance for each story as well as a master FAQ file for the entire series.
  • Alternate History: Doug's homeworld began noticeably diverging from the "real world" in 1929 (although the real point of divergence is several million years earlier), and is an odd mixture of familiar and alien.
  • Alternate Universe: The stuff from which the whole series is built.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Assorted examples from various settings.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: DW6.
  • Author Avatar: Averted; the author has a different character from the same origin setting who is explicitly his avatar.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Pretty much every fight Doug is in.
  • Back Story: A considerable amount, born of twenty years of gaming, revealed in drips and drabs throughout the stories.
  • Badass Biker: Part of the image that Doug projects, both professionally and at times personally. Subverted in that he's actually The Man, or an agent thereof.
  • Badass Boast: Doug has several; he usually makes them up on the spot for the sole purpose of intimidating his opponents and doesn't necessarily believe the hype or accept the names that others have given him. That doesn't mean they're not mostly true, though.
  • Badass Longcoat: Doug in several Steps, Utena Tenjou by the end of DW7.
  • Berserk Button: Seriously injuring someone Doug cares strongly about; initially this applies to just his wife, but expands to include various individuals he meets on the Walk.
  • Big Bad: Several, in various Steps, including Quincy in DW2 and Glory in DW13.
  • Big Book of War: Doug references Sun Tzu's The Art Of War whenever training anyone likely to encounter combat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Doug and the other members of Warriors Alpha — and just about anyone Doug trains or mentors during the Walk.
  • Biker Babe: 12-year-old Sana Kurata insists on having a full black-leather-with-chrome-zippers-and-studs outfit to wear whenever Doug drives her somewhere on his bike.
  • The Blacksmith: Tom Hefner in DW7, and Doug after he learns swordsmithing from Hefner.
  • Blade on a Stick: "God's Toothpick" sometimes behaves like this, although the "blade" is actually a construct of Celestial energy.
  • Bond One-Liner: Doug occasionally snaps out one of these.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Doug, but mainly intellectual laziness — he tends toward snap judgments and unwarranted assumptions.
  • Bullet Dodges You: And lasers, and hostile magic, and more than a few good things, too... a typical effect of Doug's improbability field.
  • Bullet Time: "Combat hyping".
  • But Not Too Foreign: Religious/Cultural variant: Doug reveals in DW5 that he's a Roman Catholic of Jewish descent.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Practiced religiously by the author — there are no Ass Pulls here.
  • Chest Insignia: Played with: Doug's "costume" is grey biker leathers. One his left breast is a Velcro mount for a patch, which he swaps between a Harley-Davidson logo and a shield with a stylized "LT" depending on whether or not he's off-duty.
  • Chrome Champion: Silverbolt.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A mild case of this is included as part of Doug's "public persona".
  • Confessional: Doug, a lapsed Catholic, makes a confession in DW5 — not to a priest, but to the Norns.
  • Confusion Fu: Doug
  • Cool Bike: From DW2 onward, Doug's heavily-customized 2015 Mitsubishi Nightblade, a turbine-powered superbike native to the Bubblegum Crisis world which is frequently described as looking like a science-fiction prop or "a missile on wheels"; it also flies.
    • In his native timeline, Doug has his original bike, a similarly-modified 1936 Harley-Davidson. It's never actually seen "on-screen", but Doug mentions it several times.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Doug, to a degree; also the Warriors as a whole.
  • Combat Tentacles: The golden chains created by "The Chain".
  • Combo Platter Powers: Doug: A martial artist with heightened intelligence, agility and speed, magically gifted, and wrapped in an improbability field. Somewhat justified in that there's a common cause for all the heighteneds, and the improbability field is a result of a negative mutation of his mage gift.
  • Creation Sequence: Numerous, including Doug building himself a motorcycle in DW2 and the rebuild of the same motorcycle in DW5. DW13 is alleged to be rife with them.
  • Crossover Cosmology
  • Cursed With Awesome: Doug's metatalent does screw up his life considerably, but it also lets him do things that almost no one else can.
  • Deus Exit Machina: In DW6 Doug departs the Evangelion world about two-thirds of the way through the story and does not return.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: For someone who hates and fears gods as much as he does, Doug ends up dealing diplomatically with them quite a bit.
  • Ditto Fighter: Modified: Doug doesn't need an original to copy, he just needs a song that can give him an ability.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Averted in the climax of DW2 — the funnel never approaches the main action, but other effects of the storm do considerable damage.
  • Doppelgänger Crossover: By sheer coincidence, several of the core cast of the parallel subseries Girls, Girls, Girls are voiced by Aya Hisakawa.
  • Elemental Powers: Doug's song effects are frequently sets of abilities linked by an elemental theme.
    • Also, some of the Warriors clearly work on Elemental themes: Hexe is Weather; Shadowwalker is sound and darkness; Silverbolt is electricity.
  • Epigraph: Virtually a trademark feature of the stories. Every chapter starts with at least two relevant quotes, their sources ranging from modern pop music to ancient Greek philosophers.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: DW-S, when Doug uses Heather Alexander's "March of Cambreadth".
  • Expy: There's a possibility that the Marvel Universe character "DJ" may have been inspired by Doug.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Found in many of the Steps. Sometimes Doug's presence creates them.
  • Fanfic Header: Averted: the author uses a format that looks more like a traditional title page.
  • Final Battle: The conclusion of most Steps.
    • Subverted in DW6 in that Doug leaves that universe long before it happens.
  • First-Person Smartass: Doug's narration segments.
  • Flying Brick: Silverbolt, Wetter Hexe, Shockwave.
  • Flying Motorcycle: Doug builds one for himself from scrap in DW2; it is rebuilt and improved by Skuld and Megumi in DW5. Similarly, his original motorcycle in his home timeline also flies.
  • Force Field: Doug's "improbability field", generated as a side effect of his broken mage gift, sometimes acts like this.
  • Forging Scene: Several, starting in DW7 with the creation of Utena's new sword, and culminating in Doug's furious activity in DW13.
  • For Want of a Nail: Doug's very presence changes the course of the worlds he visits, usually without him realizing it.
  • Functional Magic: Doug meets many spellcasters during his travels, as well as being a variety of mage himself.
  • Fun Personified: Doug, especially in Darker and Edgier settings and situations.
  • Genghis Gambit: Part of Doug's plan in the short story West Side Loon
  • Genre Savvy: Doug, and many supporting characters. And some of the Big Bads, too.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Averted. The gods exist independently of mortals, although there is mention of an ancient Covenant that defines some kind of bargain between the two sides that is allegedly beneficial to both.
  • Hammerspace: The panniers of Doug's motorcycle, after Skuld and Megumi rebuild it in DW5.
  • Healing Hands and Healing Factor: Both are the result of any song Doug can use for healing; unlike the usual Healing Hands effect, though, his works at a range, healing everyone within 110 feet of wounds, diseases and all manner of other ills.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Madigan in DW2, Marller in DW5.
  • Hermetic Magic: One of several styles of magic in which Doug is well-versed — though unable to actually use.
  • Homage: Occasional small ones, almost on the Shout-Out level, plus an extended homage to Marvel Comics' late 1980s "Sword of Doom" sequences in DW13.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Subverted in DW2 when Doug temporarily gives Lisa telekinesis — when she wants to do something, the power itself tells her how to do it.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each story has a different convention for chapter naming.
  • I Do Not Own: Detailed listings of copyright/trademark ownership conclude each chapter. The author is a professional writer on the side, and scrupulously tracks down all such information.
  • I Have Many Names: Hints dropped by the author suggest that by the end of his journey, Doug will have an impressive portfolio of titles and aliases.
  • IKEA Weaponry: Lunar Voulge
  • Immortality Immorality: Subverted, in that Doug is "immortal for a limited time" as a reward for serving the Three in DW2.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Doug finds several opportunities to say, "I'm not a superhero, I'm a soldier" in DW 2.
  • Instant Runes: Rarely for Doug, but not uncommon for the spell-casters he meets, especially in anime-based Steps.
  • Insufferable Genius: Doug at times.
  • Intangible Man: One of the powers Doug can get, using the Police's "Spirits In The Material World" among other songs.
    • Also Wetter Hexe's "spiritform".
    • Note that intangibility is actually slightly subverted under the Villains And Vigilantes rules by which the author handles powers; a sufficiently skilled attacker can actually hit an intangible target in hand-to-hand combat, as both Linna and Sylia demonstrate in DW2.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Technically all but one of the individual Steps is a single such. The one that isn't is a Mega Crossover.
  • Invisibility: One of the powers Doug can get, using the Police's "Spirits In The Material World" among other songs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Doug.
  • Jumped at the Call
  • Knockout Ambush: How Madigan manages to capture Doug in chapter 14 of DW2.
  • Kukris Are Kool: In his confession to the Norns in DW5, Doug mentions that he "slaughtered seventeen of Hanoi Xan's minions with a Gurkha kukri and a pair of chopsticks..."
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Doug.
  • Lady of War: Wetter Hexe, Shadowwalker, Silverbolt and Kat; and the Knight Sabers in DW2, just to name a few.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Doug occasionally hangs a lampshade on standard tropes he comes across in the "real world".
  • Lightning Bruiser: Doug — as well as most of the Warriors who appear over the course of the stories.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Which is why it's Doug's favorite power
  • The Loonie: Doug's codename clearly indicates the author's preferred play style.
  • Loveable Rogue: Part of the public persona Doug likes to project, but also a part of his real personality.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Despite the apparent randomness of Doug's own magical talent, it has been strongly suggested that magic is, at its core, a consistent repeatable phenomenon open to scientific investigation, and that the many and varied styles and traditions of magic across the multiverse relate to it in almost precisely the same way that high-level computer programming languages relate to raw machine language.
  • Magic Hat: Doug's metatalent, to a degree.
  • Magitek: Much of Doug's equipment, either deliberately or accidentally.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Shadowwalker.
  • Mary Sue invoked: Deliberately does a "Shuffle Off To Buffalo" all over the line between expressing and subverting.
  • Mega Crossover: The series as a whole; additionally, the as-yet unwritten DW10 is known to be a four-way Crossover.
  • The Metric System Is Here to Stay: Doug's home timeline.
  • Mind over Matter: The "default mode" of Lisa Vanette's awakened mage gift.
  • More Dakka: The basic philosophy of Doug and the Warriors when it comes to approaching their opposition.
  • Multiverse: Drunkard's Walk takes place in a metafictional continuum housing a literally infinite number of universes of varying dimensionality, with the 10-dimensional realm of the gods' metaselves at the "top".
  • Mysterious Past: Doug, almost everywhere he goes; subverted in that Doug will gladly tell it all to someone he trusts.
  • Narrator: Doug narrates approximately half the material in the stories; the rest is third-person narrative of events of which he is unaware or for which he is not present.
  • Nay-Theist: Doug
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Doug's core super-ability could be easily defined as exactly this.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Doug's public persona can be summed up as being along the lines of "Badass Biker Kung-Fu Wizard with Bugs Bunny as a cherry on top".
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: After off-screen backfires of his powers in both DW2 and DW5, Doug ends up looking like he suffered one of these.
  • Noodle Incident: Doug makes frequent, if undetailed, references to events that happened before the Walk started.
    Which is how I ended up, somewhat less than an hour later, standing in a blank, empty "dead-zone" isolation chamber, stripped down to my Fruit-of-the-Looms. (White briefs, if you must know. The rumors that I only wear custom-made Shadowwalker Underoos are gross exaggerations. It was only that one unfortunate incident, and anyway the lady involved settled out of court.)
  • Not Wearing Tights
  • Omake: The "Steplets", short pieces showing some of Doug's less world-shaking stops. Also various snippets and oneshots the author posts in his forums.
  • Physical God: The Three and others, especially during the events of DW5. Possibly Legion in DW10. Glory in DW13. And, of course, Wetter Hexe. Among others.
  • Pinball Gag: Became the basis of an entire combat scene in DW2!
  • Pinball Projectile: See Pinball Gag, above.
  • Power Incontinence: Theoretically, the basic problem with Doug's metatalent, but he's got a couple of very effective workarounds.
  • The Power of Rock: Literally: Doug's primary metatalent turns songs he hears into superpowers; he has a preference for classic rock and various metal subgenres.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Unlike most folks who do this, Doug was able to rage directly into a god's face.
  • Raised Catholic: Doug, who retains enough of it after meeting (and working for) all manner of pagan gods, that he did a proper confession to the Norns.
    • Also, Katherine Madigan in DW2.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Not only is the series itself Fan Fic, it has inspired other fan writers to create their own Drunkard's Walk stories, including two "official" sequels.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Firmly averted. Doug's home universe is more advanced than the "real" one because of scientific advances made by studying superhumans.
    • Doug also frequently leaves advanced technologies in his wake which make radical changes to the worlds he drops them in.
    • And then there's Legion's "gift package" to the Knight Sabers in DW2.
      • Which itself becomes the basis of a similar archive of information carried from world to world (and shared) by the protagonists of Girls, Girls, Girls.
  • Refused the Call: In DW2 Doug is initially reluctant to involve himself in "local affairs" — until Lisa Vanette prods his sense of duty.
  • Robot Girl: Several, in various universes.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Running Gag
  • Secret Identity: Both embraced and averted. Doug notes that he does not bother with a secret identity "back home", but in worlds where he is a unique specimen, at odds with the local power structure, or both, he establishes one for himself.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Averted; while Douglas Sangnoir is one of the author's roleplaying characters, he points out that he has an explicit self-insert avatar in that campaign in a different character entirely. Furthermore, the author often deliberatly subverts the usual conventions of the self-insert fic.
  • Sequel Series: Mostly planned but unwritten: The Drunkard's Vacation, Girls, Girls, Girls. Also at least three fan-written sequels to DW2 are in the works, two of which have been recognized as "official".
  • Shout-Out: Numerous. Doug is a pop culture maven who isn't shy about tossing references and quotes around. Also subverted — between the different worlds he visits, and the divergence of his own homeworld from other timelines, not all of his references make sense to everyone — and vice versa.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: See Narrator, above. Doug is usually on the outskirts of the main action in the settings he visits, only occasionally intersecting with their casts and plots.
  • Song Fic: Justified by the nature of Doug's primary superpower, which uses songs he listens to as catalysts to produce other powers.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Numerous examples throughout the cycle, as intentional humor.
    • DW2:
      • Discussions between the Three frequently end up this way.
      • Hexe addressing the Three:
        "Honored Aunts, once Your bargain with him is complete, kindly butt the hell out."
  • Spanner in the Works: A frequent side effect of Doug's presence in a given world.
  • Stock Shout-Outs: In DW13, Doug describes the residential neighborhoods of Sunnydale as "a maze of twisty little roads all alike".
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Both expressed and subverted; Doug does anything he can to survive, especially immediately after arriving in a new world.
  • Stock Superpowers: Doug can get any of these with an appropriate song — but only for as long as that song lasts.
  • Super Senses: Doug's magesight; Hexe's "air sense"; Chris's different levels of "higher perceptions" in DW5.
  • Super Hero: Subverted — while Doug is a "metahuman" with special powers, he views himself as a soldier, not a hero. And while his homeworld has powered vigilantes, it lacks the very word "superhero".
  • Superhero Paradox: Quincy reveals that he has spent the majority of his life trying to run this trope backwards at the climax of DW2. And that the presence of both the Knight Sabers and Doug in Megatokyo proves he succeeded.
  • Super Hero School
    • Warriors Academy, in Doug's home world, is mentioned several times in passing.
    • Subverted in DW-S when Doug trains the Sailor Senshi pretty much anywhere that catches his eye: parks, junkyards, empty lots, condemned buildings...
    • Also the use of the Room of Requirement in DW8 to manifest the Warriors' entire headquarters, complete with computer system, labs, danger room, and staff, in order to train the DA.
  • Super Multi-Purpose Room: The Room of Requirement in DW8. Recursively invoked with the recreation of the Warriors Mansion Danger Room by the Room of Requirement.
  • Superpower Lottery: Doug bought every ticket and hoarded them.
  • Super Speed: Possessed to one degree or another by the Warriors we see in DW2, although Doug is "merely" fleet of foot compared to the others.
  • Super Strength: Demonstrated by both Wetter Hexe and Silverbolt in DW2; a classic superstrength stunt is averted with when Silverbolt grabs a car by the bumper in order to lift it, and the bumper rips off in her hand instead.
  • Technology Marches On: The first few chapters of DW2 were written in the late 90s, and it shows when Nene, in 2036, is impressed by the several thousand songs stored in Doug's helmet computer — about the same amount most people have in their iPods today. The author acknowledges this trope in a recent note in the Concordance for DW2: "Go ahead, laugh at me."
  • Technopath: Secondary effect of any song that gives Doug lightning or electrical powers.
  • Thememobile: Doug's cycle has a "camouflage" mode in which all its painted surfaces and its license plates turn a neutral grey in color — which happens to coordinate with his grey biker leathers.
  • Time Travel: Several of Doug's power effects allow him time travel or something similar; also, he is not restricted to his "personal calendar" when arriving in a new world, and can show up anywhere in its history.
  • Tim Taylor Magic: Doug and the node under Megatokyo.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Towards the end of his travels, Doug starts wondering why he ends up in or near Tokyo in two-thirds or more of the universes he visits.
  • To the Batpole!: Averted in DW2 — Doug keeps his uniform in his wardrobe and his motorcycle in a garage in the basement of the apartment building he lives in; one time when he has to respond to an emergency, he has to get rid of a guest, change, and then run down twenty flights of stairs.
  • Trapped in Another World: Doug is trapped in a series of other worlds, as he tries to find his way, somewhat randomly, back home.
  • Tuckerization: In addition to the Warriors, who are superpowered avatars of the author's fellow gamers, there are a number of original characters who appear both "on-screen" and only by reference who are named after people the author worked with at the time their first appearances were written.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: After he learns smithing in DW7, Doug often qualifies, mainly due to his absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of magic and rather substantial knowledge of various engineering disciplines.
  • Values Dissonance invoked: Multiple in-universe instances, usually caused by the collision between Doug's ethics and the standards of the world he's in.
    • Prime example: DW2. Doug comes from a world where AIs and robots are considered people; upon discovering that Boomers are sentient, he immediately views the Knight Sabers as slavehunters.
  • Variable-Length Chain: One effect of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" in DW2.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Kat in DW2.
  • Wacky Guy: Sometimes Doug, sometimes the people Doug gets to know.
    • In DW2, Lisa Vanette develops a very Kramer-like habit of bursting into Doug's apartment unannounced.
  • Walking Techbane: Both expressed and averted in Doug, whose field can not only mess with technology but given enough time can erode and evaporate any sufficiently complex object — yet can also accidentally enchant objects as well. Fortunately, Doug can "nudge" it away from things — like food, his clothing and useful equipment — that he doesn't want ruined/"improved".
  • Walking The Multiverse: Doug.
  • Wandering Jew: Doug, across the universes. Averted in that he finally gets home after the thirteenth Step.
  • What Could Have Been: The author occasionally posts abandoned bits and pieces of stories in his forums.
    • Also, Doug's recollections of his homeworld often hold tantalizing hints of things that happened differently from our timeline, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman collaborating to write The Phantom of the Opera.
  • What's a Secret Four: Doug's frequent, and often tantalizingly incomplete, references to his homeworld and its history.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted — Doug almost always does the obvious pragmatic thing, such as making sure his opponents are dead, instead of acting like a movie hero.
    • Actively subverted in the climax of DW2, when Doug actually warns the Big Bad that monologuing about his evil plans virtually guarantees his defeat. However, the Big Bad is meta-Genre Savvy and offers a justification for acting in a way that seems like Genre Blindness.
    • Averted in the Steplet I Dream of Djinni, where Doug uses a sniper rifle to assassinate Jafar from Disney's Aladdin before he can cause any serious trouble.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: One of the effects of Doug's field.
  • Word of God: Numerous sources, including the author's Yuku forums and his website.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Born in a show-business family and with a German Jewish grandmother, it's a wonder Doug doesn't use more Yiddish than he does.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The quarterstaff Doug acquires in DW5 was jointly created by Heaven and Hell as a prototype for a weapon intended to take out god-level third parties who might try to horn in on the relatively peaceful Ah! My Goddess world.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Doug vs. the Ninth Angel in DW6


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