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Fanfic / Abyssal Plain

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"The Abyss provides."
Cannibal Mermaid

Abyssal Plain by Man Magnificent is a crossover between Wildbow's Parahumans series (Worm/Ward) and his Urban Fantasy work, Pact.

Death was never quite the same for Parahumans, and after the world ended in 2013, all rules were cast aside entirely between the land of the living and the dead. Even then, no Parahuman has experienced anything quite like what the Abyss has in store for the Undersiders and Breakthrough.


Somehow, someway, the Undersiders and Breakthrough find themselves in a world of constant rain despite seemingly battling the Simurgh moments before, and they are now joined by their long dead (and recently dead, respectively) teammates in their confusion. This world is the Abyss, where things and people arrive when they've lost all connections to reality, broken and changed by its desire to keep them there. The villains and heroes form an unusual alliance filled with suspicion, doubt, and a touch of fear as they try to find a way back home to save the world and themselves.


Abyssal Plain provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ex-Victoria and her "sisters" wield knives that can cut Sveta's tendrils. Considering her tendrils have crumpled steel like paper, it's impressive to say the least.
  • Alternate Universe: Breakthrough and the Undersiders come from a universe where superheroes and villains battle it out with giant monsters. The Abyss is from a magical world running on Karma and horror tropes.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The Orderly is rightfully terrifying and wants to harm Skitter's group of capes, but he was also the one who tamed the Asylum inmates back when they ran rampant and separated the most dangerous of them from the rest of the population.
  • An Axe to Grind: Wolf-Pelt uses axes for melee and ranged combat.
  • And I Must Scream: The "Cabbage Patch Kids" as Victoria calls them, are children of some sort that are being grown in a field to be eaten by larger Others, and despite being aware cannot speak.
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  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Victoria is naturally unbelieving of them being in Hell, especially since she's been to their parahuman equivalent of the Afterlife.
  • Armor Is Useless: Skitter's spider-silk armor, which in-universe was noted to be spectacularly knife resistant, does nothing when a carnivorous Mermaid takes a chomp out of her leg.
  • Artificial Limbs: Precipice's tinker specialty are these, though they tend to break easy.
  • Bad Boss: Ex-Victoria only offers to help her sister, who was shredded by Sveta and being attacked by Skitter, if she does a favor for Ex-Victoria in the future.
  • Bad Is Good: Others grow in power the more connections they make and the stronger those connections are. As the Abyss is all about change and grinding people down, this often takes the appearance of scaring, tormenting, and even eating their fellow Others to cement those connections.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Abyss is willing to give you hints as to how it'll let you leave. The price you pay might be steeper than you'd hope though.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: While Breakthrough and the Undersiders are continuously horrified by their experiences in the Abyss, for Whispers this has been his life for quite a long time.
  • Big Bad: The Abyss in it's entirety is this for everyone who resides within it's realm.
    • The Orderly is this for the Asylum, to the point that a small army of Others would rather stay hiding in the building's walls than face him down.
  • Body Horror: The Abyss excels at this, mutating it's inhabitants in symbolic and literal ways. Sheep with human faces, Scarecrows with human organs, children being farmed for food. You name it, the Abyss has it.
    • Tress can unravel her human body into flesh ribbons that leave only her pale human face.
    • Victoria's forcefield can take on the appearance of the Wretch, when she was a ten foot wide pile of human limbs and heads, but she can thankfully control it's form now.
    • Cryptid created a mini-wretch out of mutated bugs that appears to be living.
  • Character Development: Skitter is struggling to avoid her more utilitarian tendencies, but she is trying.
  • Creepy Good: Skitter's mannerisms creep Victoria out, but she does try to be pleasant and polite towards her.
  • Culture Clash: There's definitely a schism between how the deceased Undersiders think and operate compared to the older and still living members.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After they accidentally take over a farm, Breakthrough and the Undersiders are confronted by a seemingly endless army of Others surrounding them on all sides. The Others are boogeymen used to attacking terrified victims and each other. Breakthrough and the Undersiders are experienced teams of Superheroes and Villains who've fought endless armies and giant monsters for most of their careers with exotic powers. By the end of the fight, the surviving Others are left fighting amongst themselves while the Heroes and Villains get away with only a few injuries.
    • Whispers may be good at psychological attacks, but being a painting means he's easily torn apart by Imp and his dog crushed by Antares.
    • Ex-Victoria and her two Other sisters try to threaten Breakthrough and the Undersiders. Even after stealing Victoria's name and catching Imp, the trio are quickly overpowered by Sveta and Antares. When they try to escape, they are quickly ravaged by Skitter and her Other minion, tearing Ex-Victoria apart and sending the others fleeing.
  • The Dreaded: Skitter. Everyone on both sides were mind-controlled by her in the final battle against Scion, and they initially maintain a good distance away from her to prevent that from happening again.
  • Easily Forgiven: Breakthrough makes it clear that they haven't forgiven Chris's betrayal, especially Victoria, though they do trust him to heal others.
  • Emotionless Girl: What Skitter sometimes comes across as. It makes her moments of genuine expressiveness all the more poignant.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Tattletale's power grants her superhuman intuition and information, allowing her to suss out some of the mechanics of the Abyss. Victoria has a similar ability, though it comes from her connection to the Fragile One that gives her hints about danger or inspiration for plans when able.
  • Exact Words:
    Victoria: “Give me your name and I'll tell you mine."
  • Faster Than They Look: The Farmer is ludicrously short and fat, yet he was able to maneuver through the woods faster than Bitch's mutated dogs could reach him. Since her dogs can outrun speeding cars on a good day, it's an impressive feat.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Whispers, who sees Victoria as a fellow scholar he respects and finds violence uncivilized, even though he himself enjoys mentally breaking victims and watching them suffer.
  • Functional Magic: Of the Rule variety. Magic (also called Practicing) focuses heavily on truths, oaths, true names, and karma from various actions. You can also earn blessings or empowerment from other beings depending on the situation.
  • The Glomp: Sveta and Victoria are both huggers and find comfort in physical contact with friends and loved ones. Sveta especially so, since when she's riled up only Victoria can safely hug her.
  • Healing Factor:Played With. The Abyss won't let it's inhabitant truly die and normal people can heal themselves in unnatural ways... so long as they are willing to lose part of themselves to the Abyss. Played Straight with the medicine that Chris creates that can heal injuries, though he notes the Abyss might attempt to mess with it's effects.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Every Other in the Abyss that the teams have seen so far, ranging from giant constantly suffering scarecrows to half-people/half-sheep hybrids. Makes sense considering that it's the Abyss's intention for everyone and everything to change.
    • Victoria's forcefield can take on the shape of when she had been turned into the Wretch, an amalgamation of limbs, torsos, and multiple heads.
    • Sveta is basically stronger than steel flesh-ribbons molded in the shape of a petite woman, but she has an (accidental) death toll in the triple digits.
  • Heroic BSoD: Victoria and Sveta both suffer from this; Victoria due to Cryptid creating a Wretch-lite made out of bugs and Sveta for being trapped in an Asylum and thinking she's hurt someone.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Others in general. There are options for those who don't want to go down that route, but it's far easier to take a bite out those around you for more power than to look for these other methods.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Victoria's morals means that she takes the time to listen to everyone's opinions as earnestly as she can. Regent pushes the boundaries on that with his non-stop snark.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Parahumans and Pact are entirely separate continuities, with Parahumans existing as a tabletop rpg in Pact, and Pact as a successful Franchise headed by Maggie Holt.
  • Ironic Name: Breakthrough and the Undersiders name the mysterious voice attacking them "Whispers", but when they finally meet them in person, they have a booming voice and jaunty attitude.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Regent rightfully points out that separating from each other in a "haunted" horror movie-esque hospital/asylum is a bad idea, even if it's so they can comfort a teammate in peace.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: None of the Undersiders or Breakthrough know how they arrived in the Abyss.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: How Magic functions in the Abyss. Doing Bad Things gets you bad karma, doing Good Things gets you good karma. Unfortunately, what constitutes "Good" and "Bad" is tricky to qualify, since it's being run by Spirits with a flair for the dramatic.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Victoria initially wants to open a dialogue with the Three Sisters instead of fight. Once they reveal that they stole her name, the gloves come off and Fragile One literally begins to tear into one of the sisters with its teeth.
  • Loophole Abuse: Tattletale promised the Three Sisters that her group wouldn't attack them. She said nothing about Skitter's group, who had split up from them earlier.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Antares's forcefield, granting her limited invulnerability and protection from the worst of the Abyss's constant downpour and harsh winds.
  • Made of Iron: Deconstructed. No one can die in the Abyss, and they can persevere through debilitating injuries, but that just means you're now open to eternal suffering and potentially becoming a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Whisper's dog can growl so deep that it shakes people to their cores, though not do any actual physical damage.
  • Mind Rape: The Abyss attempts this on the Breaksiders, trying to give them visions of power or weakness to get them to go along with it's desires.
    • Victoria's aura seems to be this for Others specifically, causing them to freak out and go feral no matter the emotion she outputs.
  • The Minion Master: Quite a few with the teams working together. Skitter controls swarms of insects, Regent can control people given enough time, Bitch leads a pack of dogs, Parian can create giant puppets to fight at a distance, Antares can detach the Fragile One to fight for her, and Cryptid can create lifeforms that follow his commands.
    • The Shepherd Other controls a flock of human-sheep hybrids.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Both teams are badass, but Whispers assumes that they must be Gods or Spirits to have such unique and powerful abilities.
  • Moral Guardians: Breakthrough generally serves to curb the Undersiders worst aspects, though there is a fair degree of give and take.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Victoria tries to convince a Feral Child Other to leave without violence via her aura, only to be attacked for her troubles. She later tries to open up a dialogue with the Three Sisters to prevent unwarranted bloodshed, only for them to screw her over the second they get the chance.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The Undersiders and Breakthrough are powerful cape teams, but far from the most powerful in their superhero setting. In the Abyss, their super-powers and experienced teamwork allow them to fight small armies of Others as they retreat to perceived safety, while the Others are left battered and fighting amongst each other. Notably, while due to the nature of the Abyss, the teamwork is actually more significant than the superpowers.
  • No-Sell: Antares's forcefield allows her to handle the constant barrage of wind and rain far better than most of her compatriots. Swansong seems to be unaffected by the Abyss's attempts to haunt her or run her down mentally and emotionally.
    • Grue no-sells Whisper's sound harassment with his darkness.
    • The Three Sisters are able to detect Imp by using superhuman senses.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite the dire situation they are in, Victoria can't help but make puns when she gets the chance.
    Victoria: Out of the rain, though it didn’t feel better in any way. The door had been of heavy wrought iron that had stood against rains that seemed never ending, but a different sort of Rain had made quick work of it.
    • While she does her best to present herself as a stoic person, Skitter's tone of voice makes it clear she's devastated at the possibility of Grue blaming her for his death.
  • Oh, Crap!: Tattletale has this moment when she sees Cryptid's tinker creation, which looks startlingly like the Wretch, and notices that it's moving right past Victoria.
  • Outside-Context Problem: While Breakthrough and Tattletale have some experience with the Parahuman version of the afterlife, the horror of the Abyss shocks all of them to their cores and breaks all the rules of how they thought the world functioned. Even with the barest of hints about the existence of Magic thanks to Tattletale, they aren't that close to understanding it's history or nuances.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: So far it's become apparent that the Others of the Abyss, while deadly and vast in their horror, are not used to a large group of combat experienced and battle-hardened superheroes and villains with abilities that Magic can't completely replicate. This is partially due to the nature of the Abyss: most things that end up there do so because they've lost all connection to the human world. Tight-knit groups like the Undersiders or Breakthrough generally can't end up there, because the team's very existence and attachments with one another would prevent them from falling through the cracks into it.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Played with. Antares and Skitter devise a system of communication via a bug in her forcefield, but when Skitter doesn't reply to a question while escaping some Others, Antares notes that she never asked about the nuances of how Skitter's bugs receive information. She vows to ask her to prevent any future mistakes from happening.
    • Another one from Victoria is her genuinely answering Regent's sarcastic remarks, not wanting to dismiss him out of hand.
      I was supposed to ignore him. Skitter and Bitch did it without trouble, and Tattletale did it with a roll of the eyes, but his concerns were valid and I didn't want to discount that.
  • Power Levels: Played With. There are very definitive levels of Power for Magical beings in the Abyss, with some leeway depending on the circumstances. Superpowers like those Breakthrough and the Undersiders have are more about how you use them rather than the power itself.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Antares tells the Bell Woman exactly what she thinks about her desire to collect people for her flock of human-sheep hybrids, before flying in to knock her off her feet.
    Bell Woman: “No! No! No! Not my sheep. You can't hurt them. Far and low I've searched! You can't hurt them!"
    Antares: "Fuck you!"
  • Precision F-Strike: Antares' answer to the Bell Woman's complaining.
    Antares: "Fuck you!"
  • Pulling Themselves Together: A literal struggle Sveta has when she briefly loses control of herself due to trauma, though she's able to partially make it work with support from Victoria.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Technically, Breakthrough are the authority figures, but they are willing to and have worked with the Undersiders for the greater good.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Victoria is absolutely right that the Abyss isn't hell. Hell is apparently a Place Worse Than Death.
  • Skeptic No Longer: Tattletale may not believe in magic, but her power does, and it's all she's got to go on.
  • Starfish Alien: The Shards that grant parahumans their powers. Victoria's is a case of Innocent Aliens.
  • Statuesque Stunner: The Three Sisters use Glamor to appear this way to Victoria.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Victoria only looks like an athletically fit twenty-one year old woman, but she's strong enough to bench 14.5 tons and casually kick cars through the air. Sveta is nearly a full head shorter than Victoria with a petite frame, but she can launch boulders at speeds faster than Victoria can fly.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The first four chapters are from Taylor's perspective, while the last two are from Victoria's.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Both Undersiders and Breakthrough have killed people (with the exception of Parian and Kenzie), but Breaktrhough are far more hesitant and reluctant than the Undersiders.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Despite being clearly outnumbered, the Three Sisters still attempt to challenge and intimidate Breakthrough and the Undersiders. One sister ends up being a chew-toy for the Fragile One, another is nearly torn to pieces by Sveta, and the third is sliced in half and carried off to parts unknown.