Imagine, if you will, an Earth where the great crowns of Europe and Asia still retained their power, alongside young burgeoning republics. An age of prosperity and bright progress. Where some things are different, while others continue more or less as you'd expect them to. This world may thus look in many ways familiar, but where the course of events turn generally for the better.
The RDNA-verse is both an Alternate History timeline and Alternate Universe for Axis Powers Hetalia. Originating from a Play-by-Post Game on AlternateHistory.com (Found here if you're a member), as well as a few drabbles on the Hetalia Kink Meme, it's over time developed its own continuity and is designed to work as its own universe as much as a Fan Work with a few slight tweaks.
Set in a world that's been locked in a Diesel Punk Cold War for about a century, the 'verse follows the "Free Nations" and those living there as they try to go about their daily lives even as they hold out against the ever-present Collectivist Internationale. Below the surface however, turmoil and uncertainty mount as the balance of power slowly falls apart. Meanwhile, away from the public eye the Nations themselves continue (and struggling) to cope with the persistent legacy of The Terror. Whatever happens from here on could determine whether the world could finally move on... all while rumors persist of something driving the Internationale's masters towards fulfilling their global "crusade" once and for all.
The "RDNA" itself is short for the Royal Dominion of New Austria, an alternate Mexico where the Austrian Habsburgs took over from Spain shortly after the Conquistadors landed. By the time much of the AU is set in, it is a major power mirroring in ways the "lost" Austro-Hungarian homeland of its inhabitants and rulers. On the other hand, her sanity hasn't exactly held up well, and with tensions rising, it seems to be only a matter of time...
The RDNA-verse provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Alliance: The Assembly of the Free World, which is an alternate version of the UN run by the Free Nations. The League of Neutral Defiance is the Reactionary version, at least in theory.
- Alternate History
- Alternate Universe
- America Saves the Day: Or rather, America really wants to be the hero.
- Banana Republic: Banana Kingdom: Brazil by 2014 is under a military junta that under the protective grasp of Gran Patagonia.
- Black and Grey Morality: While the Collectivists in general (or at least the Party) are portrayed as undeniably bad, the Free Nations themselves have skeletons in the closet. And that's not getting to the Reactionaries.
- Culture Chop Suey: The mass influx of refugees have left various marks on the Free Nations after the Terror:
- Loyalist Canada has developed a noticeably Ukrainian and Francophone flavor, whereas the British Isles are home to the descendants of French, Russian and other European refugees. Tellingly, the ruling royals belong to the House of Windsor-Romanov.
- While New Austria was already a mix of Austrian and Hungarian cultures pre-Terror along with a healthy presence of Poles, Czechs and Mezoamerikaners, the influx of refugees brought with it (among others) Swiss survivors.
- The United States of Liberal Africa was formed mainly from Danish and Prussian colonies that managed to hold together after their homelands fell. It's over time incorporated native cultures and other European (mainly German) refugees.
- Day of the Jackboot: While the Collectivists brought this about on a large scale since the Terror, England in the 1940s was close to reaching this trope.
- Dirty Communists: The Collectivists are this crossed with The Fundamentalist. Their ideology, for all their pretenses of following a "pure, true" version of the AU's version of Marxism, bears little resemblance to even our world's Socialism. Instead, it's essentially an unholy cross between Stalinism, North Korean Juche and Ingsoc with an ironically zealous bent reminiscent of a theocracy.
- Downer Beginning: The Terror effectively serves as this for the AU.
- Eagleland: The American Federation, like America in Axis Powers Hetalia is a mix of both flavors though in a peculiar blend taken Up to Eleven. On the one hand, these Americans are portrayed as reminiscent of Fallout's USA (minus the sociopathic Enclave) and rather obnoxious being the self-proclaimed guardians of democracy. On the other hand though, they're also shown to be well-meaning and at best very sincere in upholding liberty.
- The Empire: The Collectivist Internationale, which also serves as a warped version of The Federation.
- Enemy Mine: While the Free Nations and Reactionaries are technically part of the same camp against the "Reds," a common enemy is pretty much what's really keeping the two blocs from getting at each other's throats.
- Enforced Cold War / Status Quo Is God: These along with the threat of atomic holocaust are how the in-verse Cold War between the Free World and the "Red" managed to keep going for about a century, more often than not with the Collectivists dictating the terms. By 2014 though, cracks are starting to show. While by 2024, it's on the verge of breaking down altogether. Which is not helped at all by whoever's behind the Internationale pushing for outright war.
- Fighting for a Homeland: The Revivalist groups, which formed among the various refugee groups long to free their "Lost Nations" from the Collectivists.
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople): Some of the names, like Gran Patagonia (Argentina) and Kuba (Cuba).
- Magical Realism: This is a world where science and tangible reality meet the more mysterious. Not even those in-the-know on the Nations really have an idea how they came to be or what they are exactly.
- The Masquerade / Extra-Strength Masquerade: The Nations' existence are mentioned as being kept secret by their respective governments as well as amongst themselves. It's strongly implied however that the Collectivists somehow know about them and is in part why they seemed to be so successful in the wake of the Terror.
- Mayincatec: New Austria's Mezoamerikaners are the descendants of Maya and Nahuatl-speaking natives who were given relatively fair treatment by the Habsburgs. They eventually came to have equal representation and sizable enclaves of their own within the RDNA. Interestingly, New Austria herself is mentioned as having a blade with some Aztec stylings.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: While not a direct parallel of Nazism, Reactionarism in its various strains is described as essentially Fascism with particularly strong authoritarian, militarist and supremacist policies. It's the dominant ideology of the isolationist League of Neutral Defiance, an Oswald Mosley-analogue laying the foundations sometime around the Terror.
- Original Character: Quite a few. Including Francesca/New Austria, who in another timeline would be called Mexico.
- Putting on the Reich: While the RDNA takes a lot of aesthetics from the Austrian Habsburg Empire, there are also influences reminiscent of the Axis Powers present in their uniforms and military.
- The Republic: The American Federation and Gran Patagonia are this.
- Retro Universe: The AU's atmosphere and aesthetics circa 2014-2024 could be described as that of a Diesel Punk Cold War reminiscent of the early/mid-20th Century with some Raygun Gothic elements: where clunky machines and even mechs coexist with people seemingly straight out of The '40s or The '50s. On the other hand, social norms (for the Free Nations anyway) tend to be rather progressive and modern, mirroring real world standards. It's also implied however that apart from military developments, this has largely been static for a good deal of time.
- Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: A number of historical figures show up in different circumstances and degrees of relevance. The "Throne-in-Exile" of New Austria, for instance are directly descended from Franz Ferdinand.
- The Roaring '20s: The Terror started sometime in the early 1920s in-verse. The worst of it ended by 1927-28, though the chaos persisted into The '30s and beyond in a warped parallel of the Great Depression.
- Scrapbook Story: The Personal Records of a Doctor, which is largely written as if it was taken from the titular journal pages of a New Austrian doctor tasked with treating his Nation in the 1930s.
- Spexico: Present, although it's Gran Patagonia that undergoes this as a result of most Spanish refugees landing in Buenos Aires after the Terror.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Free Nations themselves don't always seem to get along with each other all that well. America and Gran Patagonia see their "royalist" allies as either wannabe democracies or has-beens. And while New Austria is on friendly terms with Loyalist Canada, Brazil and South Italy, the British still strongly resent them. And with good reason.