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Fate Revelation Online by Daniel-Gudman is a crossover of the Sword Art Online universe with Fate/stay night.

Following the Fifth Holy Grail War, Ilya is living happily with Shirou and has decided to spend her remaining months enjoying modern media. Shirou is happy to indulge her and has been shanghaied into playing with her in the next big game: Sword Art Online. Things go awry when they are trapped in the game with the other Players but that is not the only complication. Akihiko Kayaba is not only a brilliant game designer, he is also a magus. With the official announcement of the Death Game he implements a "thaumaturgy patch" allowing for magecraft to be used. In order to figure out his goal, escape alive, and save as many people as possible, Shirou and Ilya are forced to play the game.

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Character Sheet in progress and can be found on Sufficient Velocity.


Tropes found in this fanfiction:

  • 108: The sheer versatility of the skills Shirou demonstratesnote  leads to various players seeing him perform a feat referring to it as "one of the 108 special skills of the Sixth Ranger".
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Same as Sword Art Online canon except the only way to die is being physically disconnected; despite Kayaba's warning, defeated players are used for testing purposes.
  • Accidental Truth: Cuvie facetiously calls one of Agil's spells Heat Hawk. Agil is shocked that Cuvie knew the name.
  • The Ace:
    • Shirou is considered this due to his skill when it comes to the game's magic and combat systems, as well as discovering how to make steel early on. Shirou's reputation grows to the point that some of his exploits are told jestingly because they're too outrageous to believe, such as essentially soloing a field boss and later soloing a floor boss.
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    • Ilya also gets this treatment, because of her knowledge and ability to use Alchemy to make the Sorcery Trait for Mystic Eyes of Binding when it hasn't been unlocked yet. Diabel notes she's not really better than a lot of the players in combat; she simply doesn't hesitate when attacking.
    • They're actually so strong and knowledgeable about magecraft it leads to suspicion among some players that Ilya and Shirou are alpha testers, in league with Kayaba, or even outright AI. For Ilya, one of those rumors is even true.
  • Action Girl: Ilya gets this early on. Asuna does, too, as per canon.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: The avatar that Ilya originally made for Shirou, deliberately designed to match his real life appearance when younger, makes him seem like this while it lasts.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: It was meant to be an MMO, after all. Kirito notes that the only part of the game which isn't friendly is the thaumaturgy system, whose complex rules, limitations, and eccentricities are too messy and cumbersome for a game.
    • Orange players benefit from this in their own way, as Cardinal develops special content for them due to being locked out of most activities and towns.
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  • Anachronism Stew: Ye Olde Chymistry Shoppe is run by a classic fairy tale witch wearing a white lab coat and lab gloves over her black dress. The shop's construction is Middle Ages-quality but all of her equipment and procedures are up to modern laboratory standards.
  • Animal-Eared Headband:
    • Silica wears one to match her Element and serve as an aid to enter [Mindset of the Beast].
    • The Black Cats use these as a substitute for guild-themed costumes but eventually get rid of them.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Keita's familiars are furniture that move around in a cross between doll-making and carpentry.
  • Annoying Arrows: Unsurprisingly averted once ranged weapons are patched in; this is half the reason they were removed to begin with.
    • Shirou at one point manages to kill a floor boss with only two arrows.
  • Antlion Monster: The quest-boss on the third floor, [Hungry Antlion], is one. It even has the ability to leech the MP and HP from others and is considered a raid-class boss. Grimlock explains how to exploit its Logical Weakness, so his party win despite having few members.
  • Arrow Catch: Shirou manages this during his duel with the Black Cats.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Yui, as seen in a chapter. Diabel wonders if Shirou is this or a Ridiculously Human Robot.
  • Audience Participation: Ideas and drafts of chapters are posted to a separate forum allowing critique and discussion by other forum-goers. Some ideas in the story originated from or were modified through these discussions.
    • In the original version of One Snow and Itagaki's deaths, early readers noted that the setup felt heavy-handed and their actions amounted to a "super death flag". The chapter was subsequently revised to make their deaths more unexpected.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • Shirou's Structural Analysis. He's so good at it that he manages to accidentally go into the system and discover how to make steel. Outside of his magecraft, Shirou's skill in analyzing his opponent's style allows him to custom-tailor weapons perfectly suited to them.
    • Grimlock is exceptionally skilled with magecraft and can easily identify ways to improve or counter any spells he encounters. As a magus he has experience, and he can determine the weakness in a quest boss's bounded field as well as point out how his party could have killed it instantly with a curse.
  • Barrier Change Boss: The [Prismatic Duke] field boss on the fourth floor can shift between the various slime monster colors and abilities. See Colour-Coded for Your Convenience for details.
  • Beach Episode: Diabel and Thinker compare the 20th floor as such, making them worried that the genre of the game is changing and that it's the calm before the storm.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Kayaba is, of course. Only Ilya, who is helping him, and Diabel, who learns through a PM he sent, are aware.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shirou bolsters his [AGI] stat solely so he can pull this off early on, as his increased speed allows him to quickly reach people in danger.
  • The Blacksmith:
    • After the players become organized enough that the Sixth Ranger is no longer needed, Shirou turns to blacksmithing in order to help people. Lisbeth is rather depressed when she realizes he can easily outdo her when crafting a sword.
    • Grimlock was primarily a blacksmith until his wife convinced him to start actively playing, being one of the first blacksmiths able to make steel weapons. He still crafts some weapons to order, specializing in mystic codes.
  • Black Knight: [Kari-Ya the Fettered] is this after his One-Winged Angel change.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: In Chapter 15.4, Shirou crafts Lind a halberd made out of platinum, among other similarly heavy and rare metals. Partially subverted in that the heaviness of the weapon synergizes with Lind's Magecraft, making it functional as well as opulent.
  • Blob Monster: Slimes are amorphous blobs, which renders them highly resistant to purely physical attacks.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Due to the game engine, it's merely a red line and blood isn't shown... at first. Averted later on as the graphics upgrade into further realism on the fifth floor.
  • Body Horror: Players who reincarnate as monsters often suffer severe issues dealing with the more exotic bodies they're given.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Sasha and Diabel disagree over Boarding School's children learning magecraft. Sasha argues that it's a step towards turning them into Child Soldiers participating in the Death Game which has already left some emotionally scarred. Diabel counters that he merely wants them to contribute in a research role to support the children who are still fighting and paying for their school. Unspoken is his fear that Kayaba may interfere if more players don't participate.
  • Breakable Weapons: Any weapon that takes too much damage breaks.
  • Brick Joke: Yona, while testing the construction module, develops a deep hatred for the wolvesnote  that harass him, swearing to drop every last one of them into a lava pit. When the content goes live it includes a "Wolf Trap rule".
  • Broken Masquerade: Discussed. Players who know of the existence of thaumaturgy worry that the development of thaumaturgy in-game will cause this, prompting the Magus Association to kill the players. Kayaba's ultimate goal is to cause this by actually training the players as magi.
  • Can't Catch Up:
    • Argo worries she'll fall further and further behind other players and as an information broker due to possessing no magic circuits. Shirou's intervention alleviates that.
    • Kirito begins worrying about this as players display more and more powerful magecraft whereas his own lags behind.
    • Leviathan's "blood" element is useless until the anatomy update introduces blood. He thinks that this starting penalty will keep him from ever making it to the front line until Ilya recruits him. Even after that he's very conscious of how different his experience and ability are in comparison to his guild mates.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Magic spells will cause an HP penalty if the player casts them beyond their limits. Given that healing spells are one of the most useful and easiest to cast, many players kill themselves early in the game without noticing their HP gauge sapping to zero.
  • Child Soldiers: As Diabel puts it in Chapter 14.3, there are children on the front, middle, and rear lines facing various levels of danger voluntarily. Several children under Sasha's care were originally active players but now suffer from night terrors due to their bad experiences.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shirou is given an outlet for his Chronic Hero Syndrome and nearly runs himself ragged trying to save everyone who's in danger in the early days of the game.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The slime monsters on the fourth floor come in all colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
  • Crutch Character:
    • Shirou serves as this during the beginning of the game since he is miles ahead of other combatants for the majority of the early boss battles and knows what he's doing as a magecraft-user to a better extent than most others. The fact that the first, third, and (fake) fifth boss battles end without causalities is because he directly intervenes.
    • Ilya is one, as she knows more about magecraft than anyone else and can easily curbstomp a boss while having a greater capacity than anyone else. She's just more subdued about it.
    • For Griselda's party, Grimlock is cited to know all the information and methods to improve magecraft once someone gets him talking. His knowledge basically makes what is supposed to be a raid-sized boss a very easy kill. Then again, he is an actual magus...
  • Critical Hit: Any damage that would normally be fatal registers as a critical hit, and if it passes a threshold it can sever a limb.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The only way to describe the fifth floor's boss battle, both of them. Shirou manhandles [Kari-Ya The Fettered] and Ilya completely takes apart [Worm Master Zolgen].
  • Cycle of Revenge: Johnny Black intentionally promotes this with Lux after Xaxa kills Rossa, stating that if Lux wants revenge to come at them as a challenge. When later asked why he did it, his answer boils down to It Amused Me.
  • Difficulty Spike: As the game progresses, in line with Kayaba's goal of training them to be actual magi, it becomes more difficult. Even something like healing evolves from "filling HP bar" to "generating new flesh to stop bleeding" on the fifth floor and will require the players to research further, just to survive the later floors.
  • Driven to Suicide: Several players, much like in SAO, have thrown themselves off the edge of Aincrad. Shirou recalls one in specific whom he desperately tried to save but was unable to.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • Ilya's new castle requires her to do a long quest to get the keys to it. Her solution is to use her [Mystic Eyes of Binding] to have the NPC trade it instead. She states she does it pretty regularly. Her senior apprentice is the first one to use it that way on-screen - by forcing the NPC to enter into marriage with him.
    • On the 12th floor the [DDA] use jetpacks to bypass the complicated bridge and cavern system Kirito is slogging through.
    • Grimlock does the same in Chapter 14.4, circumventing a long quest chain by having one of his wife's friends douse for the wife of the missing person and working from that direction.
  • Elemental Crafting: Certain materials used in forging have benefits, like silver against spiritual beings.
  • Elemental Powers: Courtesy of one's elemental alignment. There are the Chinese and Western basics, as well as rare elements:
  • Encounter Bait: [Lure Tinctures] are made using a drop of a mob and lure in specific monsters that eat that mob. They're great for grinding.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: The various theories regarding the true nature of Shirou and Illya since magecraft's existence in the real world is still a closely guarded secret.
    • Kirito and Argo suspect that Shirou may be an alpha-tester who contributed to the development of the game's [Sword Skills] and through that gained experience with the thaumaturgy system. They also suspect Illya of being a member of the development team whose true appearance wasn't revealed by the [Magic Mirror].
    • Diabel thinks that Shirou may be a brain-scanned AI of a deceased player due to his quick reaction times, overwhelming ability, and unorthodox way of thinking.
  • Equivalent Exchange: In accordance to Nasuverse rules due to the crossover nature, you pay for your magecraft no matter what.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Kirito has to escort the defenseless (and adorable) Agatha through the hostile fifth floor to her doctor, Zolgen.
    • A group of front liners decide to use a cow-type mob from the second floor as a lure for the tenth floor boss. They fail to account for the fact that, being underleveled, it will lure in mobs, making getting the bait into position an impromptu escort mission. Kirito is delighted when the boss snatches it.
  • Expy: Several NPCs are based on the Matou family: [Agatha] is based on Sakura, [Zolgen] is based on Zouken, and [Kari-Ya the Fettered] is based on a mix of Kariya and Berserker!Lancelot whereas [Omi the Fool] is Tokiomi.
  • Eye Scream:
    • During beta testing and before they were patched out, Ilya at one point amused herself by shooting arrows into other players' eyes. Since pain wasn't enabled it didn't hurt, but as a curious Kirito found out, it is not a pleasant sensation.
    • While dueling the entire Black Cats guild, Shirou catches an arrow and then stabs it into a player's eye.
  • Fake Boss: [Kari-Ya the Fettered] is this on the fifth floor as he's the field boss instead of the floor boss.
  • Famed In-Story: Aside from Shirou and Ilya, many of the more prominent front liners such as Diabel are well-known and respected by the player base.
  • Fangirl: Silica is this to Shirou because he's the Sixth Ranger.
  • Fast Ball Special: Johnny Black and several orcs get into a safe zone by getting thrown by a giant.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Some players are reincarnated as monsters upon their death, to be killed and respawned endlessly in order to play-test upcoming content patches and avoid additional scrutiny due to a higher death toll among players. The stress of their situation is so bad that many develop serious mental issues such as paranoia and schizophrenia.
    • Also rather hilariously subverted. The one player we see subjected to this fate takes his continual reincarnation as a challenge and promptly starts using the new building construction rules to play Dwarf Fortress with his tormentors.
    • Players who choose to "die" after dying in-game are used as test subjects-slash-specimens for Kayaba Akihiko's experiments, where their very souls are operated upon. Yet others are used as magic circuits inside monsters.
  • Fetch Quest: Discussed by Argo, Liz, and Ilya in Chapter 13.4 as a way to keep casual players from mooching high-level weapons from Shirou, a policy adopted by 15.1. The annoyance factor typically associated with this trope is somewhat mitigated once the other players realize that the more effort they invest into collecting their materials, the better quality the final product will be.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: This is implemented in the UI to help players perform ritual chants. XaXa notes it really kills the whole "demonic summoning in the dead of night" vibe.
  • Functional Magic: Nasuverse style magecraft:
    • Alchemy: Magecraft that focuses on acts instead of effects, anything done with it tends to be permanent because it's conversion rather than creation, closer to chemistry through the arcane. It's also dangerous since a poor conversion of metals can transmute your base metal into a lethal relative, especially with heavy metals, so it's essential to memorize the periodic table.
    • Dousing: A mystery that flows along the easiest path to what is desired, so in the case of fresh water it is a balance between the largest and the closest aquifer that draws in the spell. More often than not, it is performed to use a wand or rod as a conduit so that the spell effect can cause a physical effect. Yolko can use her lightning element to feel for electric fields.
    • Druidry: Magecraft centered around the use of nature and a variation of runic magecraft.
    • Formalcraft: Magecraft that uses rituals, it uses circles and draws from mana. It requires following instructions perfectly and most players aren't that well into it because it's too much work compared to other forms, but it scales well.
    • Onmyōdō: Japanese magecraft with the use of things native to the Far East, like an ofuda that can act as a Protective Charm.
    • Runes: Nordic magecraft using the letters of the Futhark system.
    • Gemcraft: The use of precious stones as Amplifier Artifacts.
    • Summoning Ritual: Rituals to summon spirits and demons, including the Bornless Ritual like out of Ars Goetia.
  • Gender Bender: Ilya used a male Berserker-esque avatar during the beta test. After its form is reset to match her real body, she keeps her [STR]-focused build and now plays like a Cute Bruiser/Pintsized Powerhouse.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The [Moby Roc] constantly circles high in the air, well out of reach of any offensive magecraft or archers. The only time it comes into range of the ground-based raid is when it dives for a One-Hit Kill. The original plan is to stake out its nest, but then Shirou kills it.
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Asuna, Itagaki, Lisbeth, and Silica have a girls' night out that involves following a chain of deals to what they eventually make out is a "Gift of the Magi" Plot. They run out of time on the quest, however, and so never manage to complete it.
  • Hammerspace: As in the original light novel, items are stored in an inventory system rather than physically on the player. Each item has a weight, so the players can only carry as much as their STR allows.
    • In order to "increase realism" Kayaba eliminates one of the inventory tabs in Chapter 15.1, which creates fear among players that this trope will eventually be averted.
  • Harmful to Minors: Everyone is a part of the game, meaning even the children are at risk.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • There are three reoccurring shows for non-canon deaths: Tiger Dojonote  for Shirou; Imouto Dojonote  for Kirito; and Kotomine's Church (for Bad Guys)note  for, well, bad guys. The hosts offer advice to the character... but also note that since it's a linear story there was no real choice to be made.
    • The Altar of Serious Businessnote  is a show hosted for actual deaths, primarily those who die mainly to escalate tension.
    • The Alley Cat Alliancenote  is based on the other shows and focuses on side characters. Instead of offering "advice", it acts as an outlet for minor characters to vent about being minor.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: This is Asuna's response to Ilya's teasing remarks about "equipping [Bishounen] (Kirito) as a boyfriend". In response Asuna tries to invoke this trope from Ilya, but the latter innocently says that "Shirou is just her onii-chan"... and then her expression makes a 180 and assures Asuna that it's not like she and Shirou are related by blood or anything. Cue sputtering.
  • Hopeless with Tech: In the omakes Rin manages to kill Shirou twice, and gets Ilya as well the second time, due to having no clue how the NervGear works.
  • Humble Hero: Shirou and Kirito are each one, as per their source materials.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The five basic elemental spells get named after bird-type attacks from other media and are cool... except for Ether being Psy-Duck. The joke is so lame it pretty much discredits the entire spell series.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Chapter 6:2, though given who's talking it's debatable whether the innuendo is intentional or not:
    Ilya: Shirou! I absolutely won't allow you to cheat on me with any other [Guild Leaders]! Hurry up and become mine!
    Asuna: Ilya-chan... Couldn't you have phrased that in a less scandalous way?
  • Informed Attribute: Kirito is a hardcore soloer as in canon, but due to the story's design he's almost always shown in groups with other characters. An omake points out it takes 200,000 words before he gets his first solo chapter.
  • Item Crafting: Blacksmith and Tailor players create weapons and clothing, respectively.
  • Item Farming: Gatherers do this, harvesting materials to give or sell to other players.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • NPCs and actual magi are very insistent on using the correct terms and will attempt to correct players who use the wrong word. Grimlock is especially picky here.
    • Diabel has the name of Sasha's orphanage changed to "Boarding School". He wants to keep people thinking of the children there as students and not orphans, as that could mess them up even more than they already will be when the game ends.
  • Invincible Hero: Shirou's and Ilya's in-game reputations grow into this. In fact, a minor plot point in the story is the worry that the auto-balancing functions of the Cardinal system will lead to an inversion of Lowered Monster Difficulty and make the game harder for everyone else.
    Shirou: So it's a choice. Between saving people now and sacrificing people in the future, and sacrificing people now so that people in the future will be safe.
    Diabel: "There is a third possibility. In gamer slang, you could call it the [Nerf Bat]. The rules of the game will beat down the nail that sticks up."
    • This reputation only grows when the game patches them into [Titled Players], with one of the perks being complete exclusion from the auto-balancing system, as its way of solving the issue.
  • Invisibility: By the time the players reach the ninth floor there are several versions of this spell running around, but each one has a huge flaw. Foreign prana washes away the invisibility and it only turns what the spell is cast on invisible, so an Invisibility Cloak will appear invisible but show the person beneath it.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Subverted when Sasha believes Diabel intends to cut funding from the [Boarding School] if she doesn't go along with what he's suggesting. He points out that he'll simply fire her instead and let Yuiler take over with the [Church Aid Society].
  • Jetpack: By the twelfth floor, the [DDA] have a prototype combined with the Gravity-Reduction magic to completely go over the canyon.
  • Joke and Receive: Cuvie facetiously calls one of Agil's spells Heat Hawk. Agil is shocked that Cuvie knew the name.
  • Keep the Reward: Argo offers Shirou 50,000 Col for the secret of making steel, due to the Death Game making it difficult to get information that should have been gleaned off a wiki, but Shirou tells her to keep it as long as it goes in her (free) guidebook. Zig-Zagged, however, as this method also prevents her from making more money by charging others for the information, not that Shirou realizes this.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": The Paladins develop rune-based landmines by the fifth floor, and Laughing Coffin have a minefield of some form around their base.
  • Laser Blade: Shirou and Kirito have a prototype light-saber by Chapter 15.3, but it can't cut anything due to a conflict caused by the creation method that can't be solved.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narration for the omake sequences is decidedly more playful than the standard narration, including comments on Saber nearly blowing the special effects budget and protests when the Alley Cat Alliance call their writer a hack.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: When one member of the [Sorcery Hunters] suggests doing this, Schmitt points out that's a horrible idea.
    Schmitt: That sounds most efficient but splitting the party against a horror-themed quest is asking for trouble.
  • Logical Weakness: The Hungry Antlion has a bounded field that connects its magic circuits to the field and lets it leech prana from everything in it. Grimlock's solution is to simply let it drain as many Mana Potion items as it can handle until its body can't hold anymore. It can't limit the amount taken because of the bounded field and is overloaded with prana to the point its body is destroyed, as well as negating its own magic resistance to Curse magecraft.
  • Loss of Identity: This happens to Shirou if he's not careful when using [Trigger On] before sympathizing with the experience.
  • Lost in Character: Hanzo, himself, mentions this happening in 17.1.
    Hanzo:But it was easier to stay in character. The emotions were becoming more real.
  • Mad Scientist: [Slime Breeder] has some shades of this. He's obsessed with slimes, to the point that he's created both a two-colored and an albino slime, and has created the first [Grenades] in the game by refining and purifying their essence.
  • Magi Babble: Given the premise, the more advanced players delve into this more and more.
  • Magic Enhancement: The [Reinforcement] series of spells are the most basic, but there are others.
  • Magical Eye: Ilya and Hexadecimal have [Mystic Eyes of Binding]. Silica and Kuradeel get their own variation, as well, and Bel manages to create one that perceives sound.
  • Magical Flutist: The Pied Piper monster plays a magical flute.
  • Maid Cafe: There's one on the first floor, for some reason.
  • The Masquerade: So far, almost everybody still thinks that the thaumaturgy patch is merely an innovative expansion to the game.
  • The Masochism Tango: Word of God is that Pawnzer and Wonderful are a couple and genuinely like one another, but they're also individually nasty enough that the relationship is not a healthy one.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • The familiar system is set up such that body parts from different creatures can be combined to create this.
    • The [Handy Hawks] on the twelfth floor are hawks with arms and hands for legs and feet... which they used to fire crossbows and wield swords.
  • The Mole: Diabel and the upper echelons of the [Paladins], as well as Argo, Kirito, and Asuna, suspect Ilya of being this. To be fair, they're right for the wrong reasons.
  • Morph Weapon: Kuradeel's personalized weapon from Shirou is one. Casting [Reinforcement] on it transforms it from a mediocre sword to a large, powerful, demonic-looking blade, and Shirou implies that other spells will have equally dramatic effects.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Ilya dislikes Visual Novels where sloppy writing makes the player think there is a flag for a route that simply doesn't exist.note 
    • PoH forcing the warlord to accept his duel challenge by moving its finger is a nod to Sleep PKing in Sword Art Online.
    • A character named Sacchi has massive prana reserves and a traumatic Origin. She's not pleased with the parallels.
      Argo: Isn't it sad, Sacchi?
      Sacchi: Please don't go there.
  • Necromancer: One player is called this because he killed NPCs to make them into Familiars.
  • Nice Hat: Subverted. Ilya crafts a helmet with deer-like antlers for Shirou. Everybody but she thinks it looks ridiculous until it gets an upgrade later on.
  • Ninja: Some players devote themselves to role-playing as ninja, building their stats and developing magecraft accordingly. They form a ninja guild, [Fuumanin], in the service of Diabel.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted. Arrows follow a trajectory when fired.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Ilya does this, on occasion.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • Cardinal automatically balances gameplay to ensure it remains challenging, leading to concerns that extraordinary players like Shirou will trigger an increase in difficulty. The Titled Player rule patches the auto-balancing feature to ignore such players while continuing to balance gameplay for the majority.
    • The Wolf Trap rule delays placement of structures while outside Safe Areas. This ensures the system can't be exploited to trap or kill enemies, as Yona apparently has been doing.
  • One-Hit Kill: Had [Moby Roc] targeted any other player but Shirou, they would have been killed. It's explicitly mentioned that if Asuna hadn't slowed it down and he didn't have such a high agility score, he wouldn't have been able to activate [Ribs of Steel] in time and it still takes out half his health. A normal player would have been skewered and carried off if still alive.
  • One-Winged Angel: A boss on the fifth floor changes form completely once its HP drops to a certain point.
  • Only Sane Man: Asuna is this compared to Shirou, Kirito, and Ilya within their group. The key example early on is witnessing Shirou stitch himself up with swords. Shirou is insane enough to do it, Kirito is interested enough to research it, and Ilya is indifferent because she's a magus, whereas from a normal perspective Asuna is the only one freaked out about it.
    Asuna sighed like she was surrounded by idiots. Kirito didn't really understand why.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Many of the children Sasha has taken in have night terrors, either due to witnessing other players die or due to separation from their parents. Diabel is concerned their mental issues will be even worse if they come to identify themselves as "orphans" only to be reunited with their parents, so he has deliberately changed the Orphanage into a Boarding School.
  • Our Demons Are Different: In-game, the demons are bizarre, incapable of human speech, and controlled by Players who have died and are considered emotionally or mentally damaged by Yui.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombies are Familiars made from human corpses through [Hoodoo Magecraft]. Everything else is [The Dead].
  • Player Killing: Diabel used to be a player killer in the beta test and Ilya was a monster by normal standards, to the point that Argo thought the police should keep a lookout.
  • Poison Is Evil: So far, only two people have used poison, and both are villains in the making.
  • Power Glows: The sword arts make the user's weapon glow. Shirou glows when he's using Prana Burst.
  • Primal Fear: Yolko's fear of bugs.
  • Red Baron: Shirou's is literally the "Sixth Ranger" because of how he always shows up at the last moment to save the day. It becomes official later on.
  • Reverse Mole: Diabel intends to turn Ilya to his side against Kayaba using her Pet the Dog moment.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Kirito narrates events, even mundane conversations, as if he were in one. Which, y'know, he is.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: Shirou wears a crimson one with his extra low-weight white jumpsuit. He moves and fights so quickly that its red afterimage is sometimes the only thing most people manage to see.
  • Set Bonus: Blacksmiths can assign items to a "set" of armor, which grants a bonus when all slots of the armor are equipped. Multiple pieces can be assigned to the same set, allowing incremental upgrades without breaking the bonus.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Asuna and her friends take a Chain of Deals quest so a husband can get his wife a present. They determine it's a "Gift of the Magi" Plot but fail the quest due to Zolgen eating the wife. A follow-up quest has the husband going on an epic trek to find his wife only to also get eaten by Zolgen.
  • Shout-Out
    Why? Diabel didn't know. Maybe he was experimenting on their brains to develop Mind Control Software. Maybe he was an egoist who genuinely wanted them to play his game.
  • Shown Their Work: The third floor boss is based off the Mongolian Death Worm.
  • Sixth Ranger: Shirou quickly earns this moniker as an 'outsider' player who speeds from battle to battle, saving parties in distress at the last minute and then vanishing as quickly as he arrives.
  • Soul Jar: Dr. Skull's ultimate goal is to have one of these for himself and become a lich.
  • Standard RPG Items: Kayaba removed these from the game, but the players themselves can reproduce them using magecraft; e.g., using Ether and Water prana to create a Mana Potion.
  • Stock RPG Spells: These exist through magecraft.
    • Healing Hands: [Cure] spell. As part of the growing realism, it later on works by creating false flesh and gluing it to the wounded flesh to stop bleeding.
    • Status Buff: [Reinforcement] does a general job, and some monsters have their own variations.
    • Status-Buff Dispel: One of the bosses can strip players of their buffs, forcing them to be reapplied.
    • Standard Status Effects: The various bosses early in the game have these; e.g., the floor boss on Floor 1 can cause paralysis, and the Floor 3 boss can cause poison.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Poisons come in various colors: Red causes Status Debuffs, Green induces Paralysis, and Blue does Damage Over Time.
  • Teen Idol: The [Slayers], a group of teenage girls, are treated like this by other middle liners.
  • There Are No Therapists: Defied.
    • Although Kayaba deactivated Yui's emotional counseling like in canon, the [Mutual Aid Society] establishes a system after the Sixth Ranger drags someone who tried to commit suicide to them, and Diabel makes sure anyone in his guild who has lost someone or needs it gets it. Whether or not they accept it is another story.
    • Yui actually has something to do this time around - she serves as a Psychopomp and devises treatment for adversely affected specimens Kayaba experiments upon.
  • Think Nothing of It: This is Shirou's usual response to those who thank him for saving them.
  • Think of the Children!: Sasha's argument that the children in the [Boarding School] shouldn't be taught magecraft is under the assumption that if it became a required course they would be made to help clear the game. Diabel shoots her down by pointing out that not only are there already children on the front line, their money helps maintain her school; it could just as easily be spent on giving the front line children better gear to protect them.
  • Town with a Dark Secret:
    • By the end of Chapter 13.2, the town that was under an orc invasion ends up being the new headquarters of Laughing Coffin.
    • The NPCs of a town on the 10th floor don't believe in magecraft due to Zolgen using it as a hiding place and messing with their memories.
  • Turns Red: Most of the bosses do this once they enter the [Red Zone] during their final health bar. It is an MMO, after all.
  • Useless Useful Spell: [Structural Grasping] is seen as mostly a variation of the [Appraise] skill by most players and thus useless. Kirito and Shirou use it to great effect in many situations, to the point where Shirou's borders into psychometry after he maxes it out, reflecting his canon/real world abilities.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Argo can use the [Generate Od] spell, but she doesn't have any magic circuits. Fortunately for her, she runs into the one guy who knows how to [Make One].
  • Yakuza Princess: From her cheerful ruthlessness, Argo thinks Ilya is one in real life. She and Kirito also wonder if Shirou is her bodyguard, given the odd Dark Lady And Black Knight vibe they feel from them.
  • Walk on Water: By the twentieth floor, Hanzo has become able to do this by drawing the air beneath him, compressing it and sliding it along the surface of the water before him, by moving at high enough speed that the surface tension of the water provides enough resistance to his legs.
  • Wham Episode:
    • 10.4: One Snow and Itagaki are killed by Zolgen and it's made clear that Agatha is an expy of Sakura.
    • 13.2: Laughing Coffin invades an out-of-the-way village and makes it their own personal headquarters.
    • 16.1: Laughing Coffin summon a Magical Flutist demon that they can't control and allow it to run free. On the other side we learn that some of the players who died have gone insane or catatonic due to the stress of the test servers.
      • 16.2: The first of the children are taken by the Pied Piper.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: NPCs are treated as non-humans, with players manipulating them through magecraft. A small number of NPCs are noted as acting unusually self-aware but appear to be rare thus far. Now, remember that Nasuverse rules apply here and consider the NPCs as Muggles for the implications.
    • Fortunately, not all players totally agree with this mindset and the more extreme examples are generally viewed as being at least a bit shady.
    • At least one of the more self-aware NPCs, Ellis Bell, is actually the avatar of Kayaba who is mentoring Kirito.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: During the second Alley Cat Alliance segment the female characters appear wearing Playboy bunny costumes. They quickly fall into lamenting how the hacks writing their segment can only come up with one gag and fall back on cheesecake to cover for it. The writer takes umbrage with this.
  • Wild Mass Guessing: In-universe, there's quite a lot of this as to how Illya and Shirou get stuff done. Kirito and Argo suspect Shirou to have been an alpha tester, one of the people who helped model the combat engine and sword skills, whereas Diabel suspects him to be an AI.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: Will-o-Wisps are ethereal monsters that are intangible to physical attacks and have a compulsion spell to lure players into the swamps of the fourth floor, before shanking them with a knife projection.
  • The Window or the Stairs: "Dead" players are given two options: Become beta-testers for upcoming content or die. Kayaba is too stingy to actually kill people who choose the latter option and instead uses them as test subjects for direct soul modification. This is not a good thing.
  • Witch Species: Like in the Nasuverse canon, magi like Shirou and Ilya are born. However, Kayaba has somehow managed to induce magic circuits into most other players, allowing them to use magecraft.
    • Justified: Supposedly most people are actually latent magi, except their magic circuits failed to initialize properly at birth – sort of like being born with a stunted limb. This entire [Death Game] is apparently Kayaba's attempt to both prove this hypothesis and correct the defect in the players.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: [The Prismatic Duke] uses this mystery, spreading prana out with each word as a shockwave that acts as a probe to complete a circuit with whomever hears it. It can then send the prana directly into them and cause them intense pain.
  • The Worm That Walks: Zolgen.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The fifth floor is set with this theme.

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