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Jaune had always dreamed of being a Hero, of being someone. But dreams were just that; for in the world of Remnant the Class you are born with determines your fate. Jaune was born a Blacksmith, and thus that was his destiny. But when a strange opportunity allows him to change that, can a simple Blacksmith become something more within the Beacon Academy for Heroes?
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/commissioned___knight_by_dishwasher1910_4.jpg
Fanart by dishwasher1910 commissioned for Coeur Al'Aran

An AU RWBY fanfic written by Coeur Al'Aran, creator of Professor Arc. In this universe, Remnant is entirely governed by RPG Mechanics with people born to various Classes that can be read above a person's head, and where Grimm drop loot when killed. Here, Jaune is born a Blacksmith, but dreams of becoming a Hero. Thanks to a magical amulet he's discovered that changes the appearance of his Class to Knight, he manages to enter Beacon to fulfill his dream, but without any real knowledge of what being a Knight or Hero truly entails, and under constant fear of being discovered.

The work is currently updated on a weekly-basis every Monday. It can be found here on Fan Fiction Dot Net.

The fic is split into multiple Books, each 15-17 chapters long.

  • Book 1: Establishes the setting and tells the story of Jaune's rocky start as a Hero of Beacon. note 
  • Book 2: The newly formed guild, and Blake, set off on their Annual Quest, investigating strange goings on in the Kingdom of Atlas.
  • Book 3 - The Guild War: Having successfully completed their Annual Quest, The Hunters must now address their domestic troubles and find a way out of debt.
  • Book 4 - The Forsaken: As the most distinguished first year guild in Beacon's recent history, The Hunters are tasked with investigating suspicious activity in Mistral.
  • Book 5 - Blurred Lines: War has come to the Kingdom of Vale and The Hunters must do their part, even as they come to terms with what it truly means to be Heroes.
  • Book 6 - The current story arc. A tenuous peace has been achieved, and The Hunters are sent to the deserts of Vacuo to secure it before time runs out.

Note: Due to the length and structure of the story, beware of some Late Arrival Spoilers.


Forged Destiny provides examples of:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: The primary ability of Watts' rune-enchanted sword, with which he can cut through weapons, armor, and people without much exertion. He loses this ability when Jaune uses his Blacksmith skill to smudge one of the runes, rendering it a normal sword.
  • The Ace: What Prestige classes are in general. So much so, Mistral favors them with the most difficult and rewarding quests, and societal positions of importance. However, individuals of more mundane classes can also be this given a high enough Level and ability, such as Ironwood and Goodwitch for their respective Kingdoms.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Since Heroes generate lien by killing Grimm, merchants charge them vastly inflated prices for their goods and services.
    • Jaune's awareness of this and habits gained from a lifetime surrounded by Shopkeepers gives him an edge when haggling, a concept most Heroes don't even seem aware of. His guildmates see this as a Knight's high charisma at work and leave most monetary dealings to him.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Jaune will always be Blake's "Strange Knight" for being her friend, and thinking the best of her.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Tyrian, a noble and accomplished Hero who failed to save the Mistral Queen due to her own cowardice, was made a scapegoat and Forsaken by the Mistral hierarchy to save their reputation, and ends up dying in an (unneeded) attempt to save his new Queen Salem, whom he summoned in a mad attempt to create a more peaceful and inclusive Mistral. And then Salem dismisses him as a failure, leaving Tyrian a broken and sobbing mess as he succumbs to his wounds.
  • Alternate Universe: Aside from the obvious RPG nature of the fic, many elements and circumstances surrounding characters are vastly different from the show.
  • Ancient Order of Protectors: The Del'Ashari of Vacuo guard the various ruins in the desert to prevent ancient knowledge from being rediscovered.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Pops up a few times, fittingly enough for an RPG Verse.
    • First in the Faunus village when they're given fur cloaks for helping after an avalanche.
    • Then after their time in Mistral they're each allowed to take one item out of the Beacon vaults as a reward, with Ruby and Weiss taking a pair of boots and a mage's robe respectively.
  • Antagonist Abilities: Salem has several. Her very presence presses down everyone till they're on their hands and knees. Striking her with a weapon will either go right through her, or be caught with ease. She can easily detect the location of those out of sight or the true nature of those in disguise, can hurl and grab people without physical contact, and cross distances in an instant. All this, in addition to being the Queen of Grimm, and thus able to create any kind of Grimm she wants!
  • Apocalypse How:
    • A Class 0 happened in Atlas during their civil war, permanently turning the nearby mountains into frozen wastes and decimating the local towns and cities.
    • Another Class 0 happened in Vacuo's past when the king of the Ashari made a wish to Salem to "make his people strong", leaving behind a desert littered with the ruins of ancient kingdoms.
  • The Archmage: Ironwood, as the most powerful Mage in Atlas with many arcane skills, such as creating living metallic trees (called "iron wood"), portals, and giving Penny life. It's even an official title signifying him as the head of both the Atlas Magic Academy and the ruling Mage Circle, and is referred by it even more than his actual name and class.
  • Art Shift: Strangely for a pure text based work this happens in regards to Salem's speech patterns, as her first appearance has her words appear in the normal text font like everyone else. By her second appearance her words have shifted to a bold font to emphasize her inherent menace and wrongness.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Varies in several cases.
    • In Beacon one of the standard requirements to becoming a teacher is to have a Level of at least 60, and a notable reputation for outstanding achievements.
    • Subverted in the Kingdom's usual standard forms of government, where the ones in charge are Noble Caste members who are not very suited to fighting like the Hero Caste. Though played straight in Atlas, where the Noble Caste has been replaced by Mages.
    • Also subverted with the Hunters Guild, where Jaune is made the Guild Master despite having the lowest level in the group.
    • Then played straight again with Cinder who, as both a Prestige Class and the future princess of Mistral, kicks a metric ton of ass with any fight she participates in becoming a Curb-Stomp Battle as a result.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Discussed as the justification for why certain classes like Assassins such as Blake are discriminated against, since their Stats and Skills make them best suited for crimes like theft and murder. Jaune points out that having abilities that makes them better or easier at such acts, doesn't inherently mean a person has to use them for evil, or that other people can't commit theft and murder as well even if they don't have such Skills.
  • Badass Crew: The Hunters are repeatedly pitted against opponents and obstacles that should be far beyond their Levels but they triumph against them regardless, often saving hundreds of lives in the process. They are also fiercely loyal to each other to the point that each of them is willing to risk their own lives if it meant the others would be saved.
  • Badass Normal: Jaune's class means he has no combat-based skills, he starts at a lower level than most other heroes due to a lack of experience, and his stats will always be less combat focused than a true Hero's. Despite this, by Book 2 he is capable of holding his own against Grimm and Heroes alike. By Book 4 he's fully capable of leading a Soldier Caste garrison against a horde of Grimm.
  • Base on Wheels: The Roaming City of Vacuo is a High Fantasy Desert Punk take on the trope, with the city moving throughout the desert along a series of oases. Every few months the entire city is disassembled and moves on once the current oasis is exhausted.
  • Batman Gambit/Deliberate Injury Gambit: Jaune pulls this off against the fanatical Tyrian. Realizing that his friends wouldn't be able to defeat such a skilled opponent, he made a show of attacking the enemy's object of worship. The attack would have been entirely ineffective, but Tyrian didn't know that and left himself completely open while attacking Jaune.
  • Battle Couple: Technically, all romantic relationships among Heroes are this, including Jaune and Blake who've hooked up by Book 4.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The mutual basis of Jaune and Blake's friendship and eventual romance, with Jaune seeing Blake as a good person regardless of being an Assassin because she saved him on the First Quest and frequently going out of her way to help him, and Blake being surprised and happy with Jaune always treating her with respect and kindness.
  • Becoming the Mask: Jaune
    " I was a Blacksmith, but I'd never felt less like one than I did right now. I could remember back when Beacon started and that reality had plagued me every day.[...] No one could look at me and think I was a Blacksmith. I never acted like it."
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: The nomadic tribes in Vacuo freely offer help to those they come across, as it might be them needing help in the future.
  • The Blacksmith: Both Jaune and his father are Blacksmiths. Jaune's father has a very high level for a member of the Labour Caste at 25 while Jaune himself may be well on his way to becoming an Ultimate Blacksmith as he has already greatly surpassed his father's level after being at Beacon for under a year.
  • Blessed with Suck: Weiss being a Mage unsuited for physical combat, has a Passive requiring her to use a sword when casting magic, denying her the ability to Min Max her stats with staves like normal Mage types. What benefit this gives her in return has yet to be explained.
    • Later revealed to be the outlook of Qrow's tribe in regards to him being a Druid. Their emphasis on physical Strength caused them to disdain any form of magic, and so they forced him to use a sword to the point the majority of his Skills are melee based, with him now unable to cast anything but the most basic of spells.
  • Bodyguard Crush: A fairly common occurance in Atlas with Mages and Sentinels being partnered for most of their lives. Also the reason for Watts' love for Weiss mother Willow, who he served as her Sentinel, and subsequent jealousy when she married Jacques instead. It eventually lead to him hiring an Assassin who killed both Jacques and Whitley, and later almost poisoning Weiss and Winter in an attempt to have Willow for himself, before he ended up murdering her as well.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The Kingdom of Atlas during the war between Vale and Mistral. Despite stated as being strong allies to Vale, they do nothing to aide them under the dubious reasoning that it would just make the situation worse.
  • The Cavalry: Multiple characters have taken this role. Often showing up to rescue Jaune and the others at the final conflict of a Book.
  • Character Narrator: The story is told entirely from Jaune's perspective.
  • Charm Person: Anyone who has a Charisma score that's high enough over others, but especially Torchwick whose Passive -Silver Tongued Rogue- allows him to use his Dexterity for any and all Charisma checks.
  • Chastity Couple: Averted. By the end of Book 4 Blake decides to become more physically intimate with Jaune. By Book 5 onwards it's shown they continue sleeping together on a semi-frequent basis, although Blake takes measures not to alert the others to this.
  • Control Freak: Weiss, not only in personality, but also in her style of magic as she specializes more in controlling the terrain than in directly damaging enemies. It's later revealed this is largely due to the trauma of her mother's trusted Sentinel Watts betraying and murdering all but herself and Winter, giving her severe trust issues.
  • Crossing the Desert: After learning that Roman and Neo were sent to Vacuo, the Hunters are tasked with traversing the Sahara-like kingdom in order to capture them, and are subjected to it's many inhospitable features such as fighting off scorpion-Grimm during the scorching heat of the day, spider-Grimm during the night, and frantically searching for shelter when caught in a sand storm.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Invoked as the basis for why Beacon and all the other Hero schools set such high standards for students, and won't hesitate to send them to the lower Soldier Caste should they fail. They understand that the life of a Hero is harsh and dangerous, and so if a person can't make it through the First Quest, or the various school demands, then it's better they be kicked out than get themselves and others killed. Word of God is that this is why only 5 percent of the entire population are in the Hero Caste, while another 30 percent make up the Soldier Caste, despite there being no differences in the Classes that comprise the two. This is seen twice during the Beacon entrance exam:
    • Jaune sees a nervous applicant by herself, and tries to comfort and give a few tips, while Blake helps the same applicant by intimidating her to go back to the rest of the group while giving her a story to bond over. Jaune speculates that, between the two of them, Blake helped her more.
    • Jaune then has to practice this himself while overseeing the actual examination. He spots the same applicant in the midst of a losing battle, but doesn't interfere so that she could have a chance to prove herself. His desire to see a younger initiate succeed nearly gets her killed before he's forced to rescue and subsequently fail her.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Pyrrha's opinion of her class. Being born a Champion, and thus a Prestige Class, gave her special attention and incredible power while growing up in Mistral, but lead to increasing isolation as people saw her more for her Class than the person underneath, until she moved to Vale and met Jaune and the others.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: This exists as a trope In Universe. Unfortunately for our heroes, most healing classes attend specialized healing schools instead of the Hero Academies.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Strongly implied with Blake. She doesn't like talking about her past, her mother died in unexplained circumstances, she has an incredibly high level in a world where such a thing is only gained through killing, and she has shown no desire to shed any light on the subject.
  • Dark Secret: Jaune has one, as is common for Coeur Al'Aran's works. His identity as a Blacksmith is something that he does his utmost to keep hidden.
    • Ruby also shares this with Jaune in regards to her Reaper Class. Although she doesn't have it hidden, what exactly a Reaper is, and what particulars are involved, is a topic that is pointedly avoided by both Ruby and Yang whenever it's brought up.
  • Deal with the Devil: The unifying factor of the Greycloaks with their only consistent goal being to summon Salem and ask for a wish. Merlot asked for the power of the Grimm while Tyrian asked for a fair and just ruler. Neither was given what they truly wanted.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Blake. While not exactly cold, in the beginning she's a guarded and enigmatic figure Jaune has no clue how to really approach. As the story progresses she becomes more comfortable in opening up and expressing herself not only to Jaune, but to the other guild members as well.
  • Determinator: Implied to be one of the more tangible effects of Res.
    • An early sign of this comes after Jaune realizes that one of his A-rank's being in a Dump Stat will always put him behind his friends.
      Jaune: It was just a setback. Nothing more.
    • Later on, it is implied that this gives Jaune the ability to ignore pain, fatigue, and fear, as well as resist mental interference, and Salem's paralyzing presence.
      Yang: "We tried to stop you before. You wouldn't listen, though. Didn't matter who tried, you just kept going on like some kind of golem. It was incredible."
      • This almost pushes into And I Must Scream or Heroic Safe Mode territory as Jaune still feels some fear but seems unable or unwilling to act on it
        I should run, my mind pointed out. I should flee. I should scream. I I shouldn't feel this calm. But I did, and as the Ursa loped towards me, I shifted my feet and prepared myself to meet its charge. It would surely crush me, but one good cut would put it down and give the others a chance to escape. That would be enough.
  • Door Stopper: With Book 5 just completed, the fic stands at 79 chapters and more than 591k words long. And with 10 books planned for the series, it's only half over.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Salem and thus the Grimm that come from her. She has no name or class above her head, a core rule of the character's world, exudes a presence so wrong and evil it causes paralysis to all but those with a high enough Resilience, and is revealed to come from a separate dimension, only appearing when attracted by being summoned and provided negativity. Word of God confirms that if Remnant is governed inside a RPG System then Salem exists outside of it.
  • Elite Mook: Beowolves. In this fic, they sit between Lesser Grimm and Elder Grimm in threat level, and can even serve as a Mini-Boss in Dungeons.
  • Emotion Eater: Salem, and by extension the rest of the Grimm. She has a preference for despair and anger, and dislikes love and satisfaction at a job well done.
  • Empathic Environment: The Grimm are a particularly nasty varrient of the trope, spawning wherever there is enough negative emotion. In some cases the negativity will somehow seep into the land, causing Grimm to spawn until enough have been killed and the negativity is used up. Beacon is located close to several such areas which seem to perpetually spawn Grimm despite the students farming the area for decades.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Jaune's sword, Crocea Mors, is given this several times as the story progresses, which is made easier as, being a Blacksmith, Jaune can reforge it into a better version as he grows in Levels. In Book 1, it starts as a common and fairly low quality blade; by the beginning of Book 4 it has been remade with higher quality mundane metal and a Rune of minor Dexterity, and at the end of Book 4 it's again remade with magic metal.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Salem of all people seems to find Merlot's betrayal of his Sentinel to be distasteful.
    I wondered if it were a trick of the light, or perhaps my own fear, but I almost imagined I could see a hint of displeasure [in her gaze.]
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: For someone who put ten years of effort into learning how to summon and control Salem, Merlot really should have put more thought into what he would do once he succeeded.
  • Eye Scream: Happens to Watts curtesy of Blake with his own magic dagger.
  • Fantastic Caste System: People are sorted into 4 general castes, although each nation puts its own spin on things.
    • Noble: The ruling caste. They collect taxes from the Labour Caste, pay Soldier Caste wages, and support in the training of the Hero Caste.
    • Hero: Those who fight and defend against Grimm, as well as perform general Questing. They are the main source of income for the kingdoms as the currency, Lien, comes from defeated Grimm.
    • Soldier: They are composed of the same classes as the hero caste, but failed or didn't attempt to graduate from a Hero school. They are mainly used for the defense of fortified locations and in wars between nations. Paid a wage from the Noble classes.
    • Labour: Also known as the Needs Protection Caste (NPC). They are the main producers of society's goods, and pay taxes to the Noble caste.
    • Other unofficial castes are also occasionally mentioned
      • Mage: The effective ruling caste in Atlas after their civil war.
      • Sentinel: Heroes in Atlas that are chosen to be the bodyguards and companions of Mages and thus elevated above other Heroes.
      • Bandit: Mainly Hero and Soldier Caste members who have abandoned their duty.
      • Entertainer: A subclass of the Labour Caste.
      • Rogue: A subclass of Heroes comprised of Thieves, Assassins, and other 'immoral' Classes.
    • Vacuo is notable for having little regard for the system, putting more emphasis on individual ability regardless of formal Caste.
  • Fantastic Racism: In many varities and in different degrees, though notably none involving Human-Faunus prejudice as per canon. Examples include:
    • Most Castes look down on the Labour Caste, with "NPC" (Needs Protection Caste) being a commonly used derogatory term.
    • Rogue types are generally seen with suspicion and disdain by almost everyone for their more underhanded methods and containing 'immoral' Classes, with Thief and Assassin receiving particular contempt.
    • Even some classes within the same Caste have rivalries based off of their methods and histories:
      • Warriors, such as Cardin, dislike Knights, such as what Jaune's disguised as, since they believe it to be a less pure version of the Warrior Class, sacrificing Strength for Charisma.
      • Mages (like Weiss initially) in particular hate Assassins since they primarily go for high priority targets that can't fight back at close range, i.e., mages.It later comes out that the real reason that Weiss distrusts Blake is because her father and little brother were killed by an Assassin for the equivalent of a day's wages.
      • Blake expects Jaune to distrust her because she's an Assassin while he's a Knight, someone whose code of honor should prevent him from ever associating with someone of her "dishonorable" class. Jaune, being a Blacksmith in disguise, is too in awe of Blake to consider her anything but a hero.
      • It is pointed out that most Barbarians value Strength above all else and will actively attack and degrade those that they think are weaker than themselves. Nora proves to be the exception to this rule as she is best friends with Ren despite his low Strength.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Appliance: The Hunters are gifted a set of magic cellphones after their Annual Quest in Atlas.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Torchwick. He'll act the gracious host and businessman, all the while trying to scam students into poverty and force them out of Beacon. It's also a necessary tactic to lower people's guards so that they're more willing to follow his suggestions.
    • Salem. She plays along with whoever summons her, but seems to always do her best to screw them over. Best exemplified with her interactions with Tyrian - everything she said was an act to endear herself to him, just to take it away and break him as he lays dying.
  • Fearless Fool: Summer. While Qrow remembers her fondly as a great person and Hero, he describes her ultimately as a woman whose lack of fear got her killed, and warns Jaune from becoming the same when he notices Jaune being far too calm and focused during a Grimm invasion.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: The Grand Treaty that regulates what all Castes are allowed to do during a war for all 4 Kingdoms in order to prevent both needless bloodshed due to the difference in levels, and causing Grimm to spawn and overrun whole areas. It's basic rules state:
    • No member of the Hero Caste may be used against other Kingdoms.
    • No member of the Soldier Caste may kill a member of the Labour Caste, except in the case of self-defense.
    • No member of the Labour Caste may draw arms against the Soldier Caste, and any village must surrender to an opposing force, unless garrisoned by the Soldier Caste.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The Mistral crew Jaune and the others meet in Book 4 have this set up, with Cinder the Elementalist being the Mage, Mercury the Adept as the Fighter, and Emerald the Mesmer as their Thief. Though interestingly they are all Classes that incorporate elements that let them each serve as two of the three roles.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Basically how Jaune and the others all came together; with him, Nora, Pyrrha, and Ren teaming up in Beacon's initiation quest, then again with Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang joining them in a Dungeon. This all culminates into their forming of the Hunters Guild (sans Blake initially).
  • Foil: Both Blake and Jaune are to each other in multiple ways. Both are people with troubled secrets that strive to overcome the prejudices of their inherent Classes. But while Jaune is a low Level Blacksmith who is new to the larger world, Blake is a relatively high leveled Hero with much experience in multiple societies. While Jaune tries to be a Knight known for their honor and directness, but achieves this through deceit, Blake is openly an Assassin known for their underhanded and backstabbing methods. While Jaune grew up with a large and loving family, Blake was an only child whose parents died when she was young. And while Jaune is socially awkward, yet is outgoing, Blake is much more reserved and anti-social. This all ultimately culminates into them becoming a couple in the story.
  • Forging Scene: Several. Fitting, given that the Protagonist is a Blacksmith:
    • In the Dungeon, Jaune forges Ruby's scythe out of a dropped weapon and metal removed from the walls.
    • Jaune reinforces his armour with extra metal so as to add more protection.
    • Later, Jaune engraves runes into his sword and Blake's daggers to give them stat bonuses.
  • Fragile Speedster: Ruby, even more so than canon, as she's incredibly fast even at the start of the story, but is unable to take a hit by even a relatively weak Labour Caste opponent, and is often out of the fight by a single blow. Exemplified by her stats: she has S rank agility making her literally the fastest person on the planet, but X rank Constitution which means she never has and never will gain even a single point in the stat.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Qrow. Sort of. Being a Druid, he has an ability that lets mundane animals view him as this, regardless of his personality. He mainly takes advantage of it to lure and kill unsuspecting animals for food. When Jaune calls him out on it, he simply dismisses it as helping out scavengers like wolves, which are also living things.
  • Glass Cannon: Certain classes, especially Mage types, but particularly Ruby who can deal incredible damage even to high-tier Grimm and Heroes, but is vulnerable to the point even low level Labourers can threaten her.
  • Glowing Eyes: Happens whenever someone levels up or is using a skill.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: Mistral has developed this expectation for their Heroes to the point any failure is met with punishment even if the particular Hero wasn't at fault, although the degree of which depends on both the failure and the Hero's status. Pyrrha notes that the expectation is even worse for Prestige Classes as they are viewed with such awe for their inherent power and societal positions, that any amount of failure risks disproportionate consequences such as what happened to Tyrian, and is a big part of why she left Mistral for Vale in order to escape that pressure.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Viktor, a real and experienced Knight of Atlas, is dedicated to accomplishing his Quest to investigate the natural disasters occurring on the Fang, and protecting his long time Mage charge and best friend, but is harsh, demanding, and dismissive of the entire Beacon party (save Weiss, who as a Mage is a social superior in Atlas) tagging along. Later, Qrow explains that this is the typical way to describe all Knights, and is the main reason Jaune's friendly and nonjudgemental behaviour is noted by almost everyone, especially Blake.
    Qrow: "[A Knight is] Brave, courageous, a natural born leader capable of uniting people under a common cause. [...] A Knight is callous and cruel, uncaring of those beneath him or those he considers unimportant."
  • Greater-Scope Villain: What Salem is shaping up to be. She seems to have little interest in humanity, makes no overtly hostile moves against any of our heroes, and only comes forth when she is summoned. This is implied to be because they are all so far beneath her notice as to not even matter.
    Salem:"I am the origin. I am the beginning and the end, I am eternal and ever-present. My children roam this land, and did so long before your kind claimed dominion. In time, they shall claim it as their own once more."
  • The Heart: One of Jaune's main roles in the group along with The Hero and The Leader.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: What the Resilience (Res) Stat is turning out to be. Oobleck explains that it's effects are largely unknown and only Labour Caste members have it as a major stat, leading most to regard it as a useless Dump Stat; but as the story progresses Jaune displays several subtle abilities over others of higher levels that can't be explained by anything other than a higher Res score, which include resisting fatigue, pain, mental interference, and being able to move about when in Salem's presence.
  • The Hero: Played with:
    • This is the purpose of the Hero Caste but several heroes abuse the power and authority for their own gain, and even those that don't generally don't care about the "NPC Caste" beyond as a source of goods that requires protection.
    • Ironically, Jaune, who is the only member of the main cast that isn't of the Hero Caste, seems to most closely align with what most people think a Hero should be. He cares nothing for Class prejudices, having been raised a member of the Labour Caste, often inspires hope or determination in others, either through his actions or his words, and always shows a great deal of care for everyone around him.
      Blake: "Everyone else looks up to you, even if Pyrrha or Nora are stronger on the front lines. There's a reason they chose to make you the Guild Leader."
    • Both Summer Rose and Tyrian Callows were implied to be perfect Heroes, and both of them paid dearly for it.
      • Summer was always eager to help others with no care for the cost to herself or her family. Her overzealous desire to save others, regardless of personal danger, lead to her spending little time with her children and eventually dying on a quest, leaving her family behind to pick up the pieces.
      • Tyrian gave his everything to perform his duty as a hero of Mistral, but, when his charge fled in fear, duty demanded that he chase after and save them, forcing him to leave his fellow Heroes behind. His charge, the Queen of Mistral, ran away from her carriage and drowned in a swamp before he could save her and his comrades died since he wasn't around to save them. The king condemned him a Forsaken so no one would believe the embarrassing truth. He didn't take it well.
    • Also something Ruby aspires to be in imitation to her mother. Best seen during the Eldon Quest with Jaune. When the threat is discovered to be human bandits rather than Grimm, Ruby decides to press on and save the village immediately despite the level of threat being potentially greater, while Jaune (and everyone else who learned about it later) believes it's better and safer to delay for a little while to get help. Afterwards it's revealed to be a major concern for both Yang and Qrow, as Ruby's low Constitution means she's even more likely to be killed.
  • Hero Academy: Beacon, as well as its counterparts in the other kingdoms, train members of the Hero Caste to become Heroes capable of defending mankind against the forces of Grimm. Dropouts are relegated to the Soldier Caste, a group that is loyal to kingdoms rather than mankind as a whole.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A definite theme that the villains all seem to share.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Seen throughout Book 5 in the war between Vale and Mistral. The first major battle shown effectively consists of both sides' infantry, cavalry, and long range artillery basically charging and fighting their counterparts without any greater use of tactics.
  • Honor Before Reason: Mistral's mindset seems to be based entirely on this. One early example is that they demand that Heroes always succeed and punish them for failure no matter if they are personally at fault or not as seen when they scapegoated Tyrian to take the blame for the Mistral Queen's cowardice getting herself killed.
    • Their entire approach of the war between Mistral and Vale also seems to revolve around this. They first declare war over a series of naval incidents where it's questioned if Vale was even at fault; they then reject any diplomatic compromise under the excuse of Vale not immediately agreeing to their demands is seen as an insult; they then try to outright conquer the entire kingdom of Vale despite numerous characters pointing out that they don't have the military force to realistically hold it for any real length of time; and in the early conflicts we see commanders simply ram their armies into each other, and run too far ahead of existing supply lines in order to immediately storm a key fortress. One really has to question how Mistral has even survived up to this point.
    • Seen again at the start of Book 6 where Ozpin and Cinder work to have the Mistral King attend a celebration in Vale to honor the soldiers who died at Magnis as part of a plan to convince both sides to end the war. Despite the inherent nonsensity for the leader of an invading kingdom to enter the heart of enemy territory, and celebrate cooperation while planning to go right back to war, Cinder assures that the king must attend as to do otherwise would be an insult to the fallen soldiers.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Pyrrha's reason for coming to learn at Beacon instead of staying at Mistral.
  • I Meant to Do That: Jaune the first time he uses a lance. He misses his target entirely but the results are still fairly impressive:
    I'd aimed for a tall lizard-like creature in the front row, but I missed it by a hideous margin, instead striking a Canis maybe four rows behind and eight Grimm to the left. If Blake had been there to see it, she'd have palmed her face and sighed.
    As it was, the men had no idea what I'd been aiming at, and as the wood punctured through the Canis' face, pinning it to another Grimm behind and killing both, they stared in absolute awe.
  • Indy Ploy: Jaune is quite adept at this as the story progresses, and is often the deciding factor for how he and the rest come out alive. Justified as being a Blacksmith, he has no experience in combat, and often has no knowledge of the true situation in Quests beforehand or finds things often going From Bad to Worse.
  • Inferred Holocaust: There are several locations near Beacon that constantly spawn Grimm, even after decades of farming by generations of students. Considering a town that was irradicated by Grimm was cleared in just a few hours, one can only imagine what happened to cause the sites' creation.
  • Info Dump: The epilogue of Book 5. Ozpin and Cinder are forced to lay out the entire plot of the Magnis Arc, due to more attention being given to Jaune's personal struggles in the story. YMMV on how much sense any of it makes.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Initially Jaune's friends constantly refer to members of the Labour Caste as NPCs, though not out of derision, but simply because they honestly believe that's how the Labour Caste is referred as. When Jaune points out it's derogatory, they make an effort to correct themselves.
  • Inter-Caste Romance: Seems to be generally frowned upon if not outright forbidden. The only confirmed case is Weiss's mother and father, a Mage of Atlas and a common Soldier respectively, and even then it only somewhat applies as both were Hero classes despite the differences in their political station.
  • It Amused Me: Pretty much the only reason Salem talks to Jaune is the novelty of meeting the same human twice, and letting Blake, Pyrrha, and Weiss help Qrow in fighting Tyrian to make the battle more interesting.
  • It's All About Me: The whole reason storms and disasters were caused on the Fang, was so that Merlot could become a god by sacrificing Faunus Labour Caste in order to summon Salem. Then he goes the ultimate step by betraying and murdering Glenn, his loyal Sentinel and love, for his own gain.
  • Kick the Dog: Salem takes full advantage of Tyrian's last moments to emotionally torture him just to wring out the best kind of negativity from him before he dies.
  • Kill It Through Its Stomach: How Penny ultimately kills the monstrously transformed Merlot.
  • King Incognito: Cinder is actually betrothed to the Prince of Mistral, but neglected to mention it as she did not believe it relevant at the time, nor did she have any way to prove her status.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Glynda Goodwitch, whose class is Warlock, has many curses and arcane spells, is one of the most powerful Heroes in Vale, and is even called "The Dark Warlock of Beacon." Best exemplified in her fight against Watts.
  • Lawful Evil: Salem. She is an unapologetically evil Eldritch Abomination who feeds on despair, but she has her own peculiar form of honor, and events in her second appearance heavily imply that she operates under an unknown set of rules that she always tries to undermine, but can't fully break.
    I am a being of pacts. Of Contracts. I claim what is mine, but I also repay my debts.
  • The Leader: Jaune continues to develop as one as the series progresses by both inspiring his comrades and often providing a plan that sees them triumphant.
  • Level Grinding: This being an RPG Mechanicsverse, everyone partakes of this to one degree or another with boosting, a process wherein a higher level adventurer weakens a monster for a lower member to gain levels, exists but is looked down on by some. The amount of experience given varies based on the task with killing Grimm seeming to give more than any mundane activity. This means that members of the Labour Caste are almost always locked at a lower level than those of the Hero or Soldier Caste. Jaune, who had completed a very large amount of work under his Blacksmith father, was Level 12 at the start of the story, four levels higher than his old Labour Caste friends but still four levels lower than the average Beacon applicant.
  • Literal Genie: Salem has shades of this. Understandable given she is compelled to obey whoever summons her. Salem later reveals she can play this straight or refrain, depending on not only the nature of the wish, but also her particular view of the summoner.
  • Loan Shark: The Hunters run afoul of one before they even properly become a guild.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: It's revealed that Weiss, Blake, and Ren pulled this on the others by switching Ozpin and Cinder's scrolls that give them authority over both Vale and Mistral's army with mundane Quest scrolls without telling anyone else in the guild about their actions. Jaune doesn't get upset about it when their efforts prove to get the Hunters out of trouble, uphold the Grand Treaty, and keep the Greycloaks from learning their true mission, even though it did endanger his life.
  • Luck Stat: Brought up several times, but mostly as a joke. If it does exist, it's hidden.
  • The Magocracy: Atlas, with mages and other magic using classes effectively replacing Nobles.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Roman Torchwick. He has a particular fondness of targeting naive first years.
    • Salem. Almost every interaction between her and another character is for the sole purpose of leading others to both physical and emotional destruction.
  • McGuffin: Jaune's amulet, which changes his class name above his head from Blacksmith to Knight, and which Salem recognizes from a previous owner.
  • Moral Myopia: The Greycloaks, who are engaging in mass murder and terrorism on a global scale in order to spawn Grimm and summon Salem for their own selfish desires.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Watts to Jacques for Willow. The Sentinel believed that, as it was common for Mages and their Sentinels to enter into relationships, it was only a matter of time until he and his Mage did the same. Unfortunately for him, his charge met, fell in love, and started a family with a Fencer from the Soldier Caste. Watts hired an Assassin to take care of the problem, husband and children all.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: Averted by Blake and Jaune. When the two are trapped in a cabin by a blizzard and decide they want a pleasant last experience before freezing to death, they are found and rescued by the others before they can get too far.
  • My Greatest Failure: What Jaune considers his inability to tank the Beowolf that nearly killed Ruby in the Dungeon. Since then, it becomes one of the driving motivations for his becoming stronger, and placing the well being of his friends before himself.
  • One-Man Army: Prestige Classes are seen as this as their inherent power is greater than normal classes; although this can also apply to any Class if they are able to reach a high enough level. Invoked by Qrow who as a high-leveled Druid notes he's able to single-handily take on an entire moderately garrisoned village - Soldiers, Labourers, and all - at least in theory.
  • Order vs. Chaos: There are shades of this in the war between Mistral and Vale. Mistral represents Order, as it is shown to have a more organized military with a more rigid and unified command structure which serves them well in the war's initial phases. Vale represents Chaos as it has a much looser organization which is less suited to coordinated maneuvers but is more capable of acting in peacetime where the primary threat is from random and localized incursions by the Grimm.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Hunters are one for the Grey Cloaks, interrupting or otherwise thwarting their plans when they come across them in Atlas, Mistral and Vale.
    • Jaune is one for everyone he comes across thanks to his amulet, as absolutely no one expects the Knight to actually be a Blacksmith.
  • Parental Neglect: Summer. While often described as a loving mother, Yang amends that it was only when she was around, as she was more often away on a quest to help others no matter the situation with her family, until she eventually died on one. This has caused Yang to remember her with some bitterness, while Ruby was too young to understand, and regards her as a Hero whose example she should strive for as well.
  • Playing with Fire: Jaune's Blacksmith skill -Stoke the Forge- allows him to ignite his hands to incredible degrees in order to burn various materials, while his Passive -Fire from the Forge- grants him immunity from being burned himself so long as he is the one igniting it.
    • Seen by various Mages through the story, including Weiss, but special mention goes to Cinder as an Elementalist, who specializes in Fire abilities as her only form of magic.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Blake, Ren, and Weiss's plan to conceal the true scrolls' locations from their own allies so that they would act like their scrolls were important worked, but it also convinced Jaune that he needed to defend his actually mundane scroll with his life while facing off against Neo. Luckily, it never came to that.
  • Positive Discrimination: Explored alongside the other aspects of prejudices and discrimination as a theme of the story. It's also the reason Jaune and the others are tricked into taking a ruined guildhall by the Peddler Azure, who is really Roman under an illusionary spell, as Jaune's belief in the Labour Caste being more honest and victimized than Heroes keeps him from being more critical of the deal. From then on Jaune resolves not to fall into this again.
  • Power Levels: In addition to traditional levels, classes can be subdivided into different tiers based on their potential to gain stats.
    • Tier 3 are considered weaker and less useful than most other classes due to their lower base stats. They are thought to be rarely seen due to the majority of them having died out.
    • Tier 2 are the most common and seem to have an even spread of stats that enables them to improve even outside of their class.
    • Tier 1 are specialist classes that focus on one specific skill-set and build around that, sacrificing flexibility.
    • Prestige Classes are rare, one-in-a-million classes whose births are even recorded by the kingdoms. They are almost always better than any other class of an equal level at what they focus on.
    • Grimm are organized into two general categories - Lesser Grimm and Elder Grimm, with Beowolves somewhere in between the two. Lesser Grimm are generally only a threat in groups and Soldiers or reasonably organized Labour Caste can deal with them without too much trouble. Elder Grimm are rarer and much more powerful, requiring the attention of a well prepared Hero to deal with them effectively.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Jaune and the rest who compose the Hunters Guild. Comprised of a disguised Labour Caste civilian just entering the Hero life, a 15 year old determined to prove herself no matter what, her boisterous overprotective older sister, a proud, acerbic, but ultimately kind Mage, a powerful Champion that resents her special Class, an excitable Barbarian and her Monk companion, and a mysterious high-leveled Assassin. And by Book 4 they are being called upon to directly fight against a global terrorist group.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ozpin. Even though Coco, Jaune, and their respective guilds started a forest fire and a giant guild-on-guild brawl, when faced with evidence of Torchwick's extortion and other crimes, he abolishes the Hunter's debt, returns their money, and rejects Coco's resignation while merely assigning her paper work as the only punishment.
    • Seen again in Book 4, where it's revealed he and the Headmistress of Haven are working diligently behind the scenes to resolve tensions between their kingdoms. And even after war starts to breakout by the end, he emphasizes the need for Heroes to stay out of the conflict, and place the lives of all people before governments.
  • Reasoning with God: Jaune to Salem in Book 4. He proposes that, as her presence naturally paralyzes those around her, her orders to Tyrian to kill them would be unfulfilled as she would be the one responsible for their deaths, not her servant, and such an act would not prove said servant's worth. Becomes Subverted as Salem does not care for how worthy Tyrian is, so a fair fight doesn't matter. Then Double Subverted as, while the fairness of the fight doesn't matter, how entertaining it is does so she agrees to remove her presence from three heroes of Jaune's choosing.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Jaune and Blake, who start as strangers and acquaintances in Book 1, are friends with hints of mutual attraction in Book 2, and officially become a couple by the end of Book 3.
  • Retcon: In the prologue, Jaune's narration states he bought the amulet he uses to change his class, while later chapters state he found the amulet in the woods near his home. Whether this is a case of Early Installment Weirdness or Unreliable Narrator has not yet been made clear.
    • Now gone, as the prologue makes no mention of how the amulet was found, merely that it was.
    • Happens twice in the first chapter of Book 6. Book 5 begins right at the start of Beacon's school year and doesn't take more than a week or two till the epilogue. Come the start of Book 6 the year is half-way over, with Ruby indicating that only a week has passed since the events of Book 5. Another one takes place with Jaune farming the very limits of the Emerald Forest and lamenting on its lack of challenging Grimm for his level; in contrast to the Boosting he got from Coco (who was at a higher-year and level) who indicated there were indeed Grimm strong enough in the forest for higher years to farm.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Coco in regards to Torchwick for his scamming her, Yatsuhashi, and Fox that lead to Fox getting kicked out of Beacon while the other two stayed. When Jaune comes to her asking for a few extra hands to help raid Torchwick's guild hall to recover stolen property, she recruits her entire guild to set fire to the forest, and start a giant brawl in the streets between guilds to ensure they're successful before the teachers intervene.
  • Right Through the Wall: Revealed by a drunken Ruby, that Jaune and Blake aren't nearly as quiet and discreet when they're together as they think.
  • Rite of Passage: Successfully completing an Annual Quest is required to progress to the next year in Beacon and the other Hero Academies.
  • Ritual Magic: While most spells are specific to an individual based on their class, a few seem to be accessible to anyone able to supply the requisite energy. Examples so far include portals and Salem's Summoning Ritual.
  • Rogue Gal on Hero Guy Drama: The romantic relationship between Blake as an Assassin and Jaune as a Knight is seen with derision and scorn by the general Beacon students, but is the only form of societal pressure the two have come across, and they easily dismiss it.
  • Royal Blood: As classes are (supposedly) passed down from parents to children, and seeing as the Noble Caste exists and there is also a god king in Mistral, this seems to be the case at least in Vale and Mistral with Atlas being the standout Mage ruled kingdom
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse:
    • The main point of the story is based around people being born with a class that determines their role and fate in society and the main character, Jaune, hiding his class to become a hero.
    • Beyond that, everyone has a hidden level, stats, and class based skills.
    • Paths act as a sort of talent tree as the skills that a person will acquire are heavily influenced by what they focus on in life.
  • Sadistic Choice: For the people of Vacuo, who have to keep traveling between oases, the infirm or elderly are a significant drain. So when someone is too weak to move on, they stay behind and "return to the desert" rather than be a burden for their loved ones.
  • Secret Art: Jaune's Runesmithing, as he seems to be the only person who knows about the skill. This is implied to be because, as Jaune is the only known Blacksmith to have tried to be a Hero, his Path is trying to provide him with the means to accomplish his goal and this is the closest thing to a combat skill that it could give him.
  • Secret Keeper: Several.
    • Yang and Qrow are ones for Ruby. What exactly a Reaper is and what issues come with it is largely unknown in-universe, and is not something that either are willing to talk about for Ruby's sake.
    • Cinder of all people is one for Jaune. She doesn't know that he is actually a Blacksmith, but it's hinted that she suspects the class above his head to be a lie due to their interactions during their first meeting.
    • Ruby is revealed to be one to Jaune in Chapter Five of Book Six, tearfully confessing that she is aware that Jaune is lying about his Class, immediately after making him one of her secret keepers.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Attempted by both Jaune and co. against the Paladin Watts, and Torchwick against the Beacon Priest Tsune during their battle. Each side fails due to both healers being of much higher levels, capable in a fight, and aware of this trope.
  • Show Some Leg: Whenever Jaune or Ren fail to persuade men with words, Yang has stepped in to emphasize her generous figure to make them more cooperative.
  • The Six Stats: Every person in Remnant is born with the six classic stats, in addition to Agility (Agi) which denotes the ability to move and dodge, and Resilience (Res) which has unknown abilities.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: Averted by Jaune in the Magnis Quest when a Blake-disguised Neo sneaks into his room at night to murder him, and he wakes up. Of course he believes it's another one of Blake's nightly visits, so she instead proceeds to make-out with him before attempting to strangulate him.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: One of the major themes of living in an RPG World, where the Class you're born with determines your role in society, and discussed between Jaune and Cinder.
  • Smug Super: Watts, a high level Paladin, spends as much time mocking and gloating over Jaune and co. as he does beating them with contemptuous ease. Even when Miss Goodwitch shows up, he can't help but state his confidence in winning if circumstances were a little different.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: A common result of Classes being inherited, where children have a higher chance of being the same Class as one of their immediate parents, though not always. Best exemplified with Jaune's family, where Jaune inherents his father's Blacksmith class, and all seven daughters are Shopkeepers like their mother.
  • Summoning Ritual:
    • Salem has been called up twice by the Greycloaks.
    • Cinder's Phoenix may also count as it seems to take orders from, and act semi-autonomously of, its caster.
  • Superpower Lottery: Prestige Classes. They are mentioned several times throughout the story as being much stronger than equivalent classes of the same level with superior stats and abilites, and stand out to the point their very births are recorded. Examples so far include:
    • The Champion Class such as Pyrrha and the bodyguard to the King of Vale, who are a superior Warrior type that historically were used to settle entire wars in single duels.
    • The Elementalist Class like Cinder, a Mage-Melee cross type that specializes in only a single kind of elemental magic.
    • The Paragon Class like Tyrian, who are the perfect embodiments of the Hero Class with A rank Stats in every category.
  • Their First Time: Jaune and Blake have theirs together after attending Beacon's end-of-the-year festival.
  • The Theocracy: Mistral is governed by a state religion that glorifies the King as a God Emperor with unquestioned rule. How seriously this is taken seems to vary person to person, but the attitude is a pervasive part of Mistral's cultural identity that the foreign guild finds a little overbearing, much to Pyrrha's embarrassment.
  • Threatening Shark: When Jaune takes a dip in the ocean on their quest to Mistral, he is surrounded by a shiver of sharks with one quickly latching onto his leg. Justified as they were drawn to the large amount of bodies tied to the ocean floor and the one that grabbed him quickly pulled him to the surface, as it was asked to by the Druid, Qrow. All of the sharks then work together and attack the large Grimm that had knocked Jaune into the ocean to begin with.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The group of Mistral soldiers that Jaune and Blake escort in Book 5. Not only do they try to kill their unarmed Vale prisoners while the two Heroes are briefly away, they also insult and dismiss both Jaune and Blake once they're caught, while flaunting the Grand Treaty's broad rules of Class protections, and then try to continue killing their prisoners right in front of the two. As a result, one soldier is killed accidentally after Jaune steps in to defend a prisoner in the midst of an attack; the rest die by Blake's hands in order to protect Jaune from possible execution.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As per RPG mechanics, killing Grimm or completing specific Labour tasks grants Experience allowing everyone to gain Levels and become stronger.
    • Special mention goes to Jaune. At the start of the story he needs the help of Blake, Ren, Nora, and Pyrrha to kill a lone Beowolf. By Book 4 he's gained enough Levels to easily kill another Beowolf single-handily while also fighting a horde of lesser Grimm.
  • Time Skip: There are several throughout the story, usually a few months at a time after a Book ends.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Invoked by Word of God. Due to the story being told entirely from Jaune's perspective and his initially isolated upbringing, certain world building facts about RPG Remnant may be initially inaccurate, and thus corrected later.
  • War Is Hell: Invoked. Despite the medieval setting, and lack of media showing people the consequences directly, the general attitude of society has taken up this viewpoint. Justified, as Grimm are created due to negativity, and thus not only appear directly on the battlefield to make things even worse, but also increases the likelihood of larger society being attacked as well. Thus the mere act of war, however restrained it's carried out, endangers everyone.
    • Is made even starker when the guild witnesses a battle between Vale and Mistral, and Jaune's focus is more on the specific gore and visceral of the conflict than the overall fight.
  • Wham Line: Ruby gives one in Chapter Five of Book Six when she confesses to being aware that Jaune is lying about his Class, and has been since he gave her Crescent Rose.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The common perception of Res among Heroes as it isn't directly related to combat, although it is implied to be indirectly beneficial as the series progresses.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Jaune, being a Blacksmith, is only capable of having Skills that allow him to forge and craft materials. Despite this he's able to apply it in a variety of combat situations, such as burning people and objects with his -Stoke the Forge- skill, or melting and weakening weapons in order to break them, and later gains the -Runesmithing- skill to further aide his combat abilities.
    • It's later revealed that this can potentially apply to everyone to some degree, as people who take on specific roles or methods will gain skills designed to better aide them and will eventually be locked into those roles should they progress far enough. Thus unless one deliberately focuses on versatility from the beginning, they'll eventually only be able to use specific methods for the rest of their lives.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Given to Jaune by both Ruby and Blake whenever he becomes self-depreciating about his lower Level (and false Class, though he's yet to reveal this particular fact), and ability to lead their guild.
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: One of the problems Jaune faces early on is the cultural differences between Labourers and Heroes, in particular how level and stats are treated.
    • For Labour Caste, someone's level is important to know as it is a general indicator of the quality of the goods or services they can provide, while stats are just another personal, but non-intrusive, detail like someone's height.
    • For Hero Caste, knowing another Hero's level tells them how difficult or easy they would be to kill, and thus is only told to people they trust absolutely. Likewise, the exact nature of someone's stats is incredibly personal, with revealing them being akin to being naked and exposed to the world.

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