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Rig the Game: Royal is a Persona 5 Royal Alternate Universe/Peggy Sue Fan Fiction by Hawkright01121999 and some1upoyo.

The Trickster won a game rigged against him. The odds were zero in his favour and yet he still won, but not before the false god wiped out the rest of humanity. Akira Kurusu is left with an empty world, and only Igor and Lavenza remain to comfort him.

But after seeing the outcome of the Trickster winning a rigged game, Lavenza and Igor give him another chance to avert ruin, another chance at happiness, only this time in a different reality. In this reality, the Trickster is a girl named Rem Amamiya, and as Akira enters the new world three years before the game begins, his task is to twist the odds in the new Joker's favor.

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Or, in short, Joker from the vanilla P5 begins an advanced New Game+ in P5R, unrigging Yaldabaoth's game against the Trickster from the outside.

Beware of unmarked spoilers for Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal


Tropes contained in Rig the Game: Royal:

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Goro Akechi. Although he's still Shido's assassin, thanks to meeting with Akira earlier on and Akira being a major Morality Pet for him, Akechi has much more of a conscience and demonstrates fierce protectiveness towards Akira. He's also genuinely enraged on Yusuke's behalf about how Madarame stole the Sayuri, an expression of sympathy that he didn't express in canon. What ruthlessness we DO see is bent towards protecting Akira than committing the mental shutdowns, and Goro even freely admits that Akira is the only person in the entire world he gives a damn about. Akira's ultimate goal is to turn this fully into Adaptational Heroism.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Since Akira isn’t the founder of the Phantom Thieves because of him taking a more backseat role in the game’s events instead of being the Thieves’ founder, coupled with a lack of criminal record, Akira’s relationship with those like Ann and Ryuji are cordial, but not on a personal level. Nevertheless, they have a decent relationship, but Akira’s different circumstances makes the relationship with the alternate Phantom Thieves more professional. In Ryuji and Ann’s eyes, Akira’s an acquaintance, albeit one they are willing to talk to.
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    • Sojiro also doesn’t have a reason to be cold towards Akira because he lacked the criminal record he had in his world, making him still gruff, but more welcoming.
    • Akechi’s one of the biggest cases of this, since Akira’s willingness to reach out to Akechi and befriend him caused the two to have a healthier relationship compared to canon.
  • All Your Powers Combined: In the final battle against Yaldabaoth, before Akira deals the coup de grâce with Satanael, he expends a lethal amount of energy to summon every Persona in the entire Sea of Souls to take their revenge against Yaldabaoth.
  • The Aloner: Downplayed. Akira does have people he’s willing to talk to such as Akechi, Sojiro and Sumire, but it’s implied by onlookers that he prefers his own company. Ryuji even notes how Akira seems like the type of guy who keeps his distance when it comes to befriending people and Sumire adds how nice of Akira to actually talk to people aside from her. It’s rather justified in that it’s probably seeing the Phantom Thieves alive and kicking, but not really remembering him open up some emotional wounds.
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  • An Ice Person: Akira has access to every Persona in the compendium, but thus far, the only one he's used to fight is a ludicrously overpowered Jack Frost.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Odin gives Akira this ability by virtue of being the God of Ravens; his two raven companions, Huginn and Muninn, grant this ability to both the Persona and his wielder.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Cybele, the Ultimate Persona of the High Priestess Arcana—and as such, the strongest representative of Akira's bond with Makoto—inflicts head-splitting migraines on him whenever he considers not bending over backwards to help Makoto, be it as minor as joining the student council or as major as staying up all night to fill out paperwork, drinking so much coffee in the process that he needs his powers to stay alive, let alone awake. And whenever he makes his pain known, she just giggles at his misery.
  • A Rare Sentence: From Chapter 20:
    Cybele giggled in his mind, floating languidly in the air as Akira grumbled to himself because he couldn’t even control himself.

    Wow, that’s a weird sentence to think of.
  • Back from the Dead: The Samarecarm spell resurrects a fallen ally to full health. Akira uses it to revive Wakaba's Shadow after Akechi kills her.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In Chapter 2, as soon as Akira tells Akechi he's free to leave if he doesn't want to stay there, he gets up and walks away...to bring in the luggage that he left on the doorstep.
  • Berserk Button: Goro Akechi hates Shido with a burning passion and has every intention of seeing him fall. He also cares dearly for Akira and is murderously protective of him. Not to an unreasonable degree, per se, but if you're in the wrong and Akira gets hurt because of it, fearing for your life is a good idea.
    • Goro's also genuinely enraged on Yusuke's behalf for how Madarame plagiarized the Sayuri, a mother's expression of love for her child, from Yusuke's mother.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Odin's two crows: Huginn, Old Norse for "thought," and Muninn, Old Norse for "mind."
  • Broken Ace: Akira by a mile. In the Metaverse, having all of his endgame abilities allows him to singlehandedly take on the alternate Phantom Thieves by himself. And in the real world, his perfect stats make him a well-respected member of the student council, soon becoming the face of Shujin Academy, and behind the scenes, he's also very rich. However, the Pyrrhic Victory he achieved in killing Yaldabaoth gave him PTSD, making him reckless to the point of suicidal when it comes to helping others. It's not until Dr. Maruki observes this that Akira actively takes steps to fix it.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Akira, naturally. Akechi puts it best in Chapter 9:
    Akechi: I'd ask [the doctor] to keep you bedridden till you're fully healed but we both know you’re too stubborn for that, just…please [stop] saving women. You're going to get yourself killed.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The very first chapter ends with Akira seeing that one of the Constant Events that he can't change is Wakaba's death.
    • Chapter 4 ends with Akechi getting a phone call from Shibuya Private Hospital saying that Akira has been hospitalized.
    • Chapter 7 ends with Akira settling into class right after Rem arrives following her Awakening in Kamoshida's castle...with the nagging feeling that he's forgetting something. That is to say, Shiho.
    • And Chapter 8 ends with Akira falling off the roof along with Shiho, using his body as a shield to mitigate the damage (plus a Marakukaja spell).
    • Chapter 16 ends with Dr. Maruki meeting Akira in the hallway.
    • Chapter 21 ends with the Thieves wondering if the black-masked intruder that Madarame's Shadow mentions might be the Remnant, much to Akira's frustration.
    • Chapter 26 ends with Makoto informing Akira that thanks to the fact that him saving Sumire from a sleazy middle-aged man in Shibuya Station Square and scaring him away, and the fact that it had been recorded and went viral, he is now considered the face of Shujin Academy.
    • Chapter 29 ends with the talk show host finding out about Akechi's relation to Akira, finding Akira in the audience, and then 'inviting' him to join them onstage.
    • Chapter 31 ends with Rem dumbfoundedly looking at Kawakami in a maid outfit after calling the maid service.
  • Code Name: Akira's becomes Remnant in the new reality; he introduces himself as a remnant of a ruined world, and the name sticks among the Thieves.
  • Convenient Coma: Akira invokes this trope; he may be able to exploit a loophole in the Constant Events by resurrecting Wakaba after she's been killed, but nobody can know that she's still alive if he wants her to stay that way. So as soon as he resurrects her Shadow, he casts Dormina to put her to sleep, then retrieves her 'corpse' in the real world and hides her in a long-term hospital ward run by the Yakuza, where she'll remain until her life is no longer in danger.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In retaliation for how much Akira inadvertently expanded Kamoshida's confession and the amount of extra work it put onto Akechi, Akechi...gives him a pair of tickets to Madarame's exhibit so that he can 'enjoy' a couple of hours looking at paintings and take Sumire with him so that he'll have someone who can make sure he takes it easy. Lampshaded:
    Akira: …this is a weird and unusual punishment from you.
    Goro: It’s the best I could come up within about ten minutes…
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Akira versus anyone, though he cannot use his power directly against any major events (eg fighting the Palace Rulers) without unraveling reality.
    • Taking inspiration from the Bonus Boss battle against Caroline and Justine, he invokes this against the new Thieves during their first infiltration of Mementos, beating them to a pulp and leaving them at his mercy. After seeing their solid resolve, he heals them and promises that he'll challenge them again every time they erase a Palace.
      • The second time around, Akira doesn't actually attack them much; they just exhaust themselves by pouring out their magic at high speed, making it more of a Curb Stomp Cushion. But it's only thanks to the accessories forged from the Will Seeds—Royal-exclusive—that they manage to satisfy Akira with their growth rate.
    • Akechi finds Akira in Madarame's Palace and, needing to vent his anger on something after hearing the true story of the Sayuri, stabs him in the back. Akira throws him back to the entrance of the Palace, giving him a concussion, and then kills his Persona (temporarily) with one Ice Age attack.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: In the first chapter, Akira summons every Persona in the Compendium simultaneously to attack Yaldabaoth, and his body gives out shortly thereafter from the energy it took; he survives only because his soul returns to the Velvet Room afterward.
  • Death Seeker: In Akira's counseling with Maruki in Chapter 16, the doctor identifies traces of this in Akira: he doesn't necessarily want to die, but judging by what he did for Kasumi and Shiho, he thinks nothing of putting his life in grave danger. Akira hadn't noticed it himself; Maruki pointing it out is what lets him start to heal.
  • Dramatic Irony: Because it's been so long and because his Personas are too cacophonous to be clear, Akira completely forgets about Shiho's suicide attempt until the last minute. He was at least able to mitigate some of the damage.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Rem. Good thing Morgana comes with seatbelts.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Ryuji, in Chapter 26, responds to the concerns about how it could be suspicious that victims of Kamoshida and Madarame were meeting up. He suggests that they tell the truth: Yusuke asked Rem and Ann to become models for them and they became friends along the way. Not the whole truth, of course, but still the truth.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Akira inadvertently intensifies the impact of Kamoshida's confession. He calls Akechi just as it's about to start...but Akechi had his phone on speaker while in the midst of the entire Shibuya precinct.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Akechi confronts Kobayakawa after Akira is hospitalized from trying to stop Shiho from jumping, he says this while holding the principal at gunpoint:
    Akechi: Don’t misunderstand, I don’t care that one of your students tried to kill herself. She's not my problem. What's been done to her, however? I do many things and killing is one of them, but sexual abuse? On a minor? Even I have lines I won't cross.
  • Eye Scream: Odin summons his companion ravens by crushing the eyeball that they took the place of.
  • Foreshadowing: You might not think much of the quarreling that Akira's Personas do, like the two Ultimates Kohryu (Hierophant, i.e. Sojiro) and Ongyo-Ki (Hermit, i.e. Futaba) wanting to be the ones to help Wakaba. But it soon becomes clear that it's a reflection of just how much turmoil his mind is really in; he hasn't recovered from his last life.
  • Forced Sleep: The Dormina spell, a staple of the series. Akira uses it on Wakaba's Shadow to put her into a coma.
  • Forgiveness: Through Igor's pendant, the Personas from the ruined world's Sea of Souls make their feelings about Akira's failure to save humanity known: with love and acceptance, they tell him that they forgive him and believe that he'll prevent it this time.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Something of an inversion: Akira saves Kasumi from dying in the car accident and then talks with Sumire in the hospital, helping her get over her inferiority complex and suggesting that she finds people who want her for her, encouraging her to switch schools and start over if she wishes. The end result is that Sumire Yoshizawa enrolls in Shujin Academy as an honor student.
    • Because of the aforementioned pep talk, Sumire retains her sense of self with no need for Maruki's actualization. Seeing this, Maruki is taken aback, but nevertheless pleased that she found her happiness and strength.
    • The fact that the new Trickster is a girl doesn’t change much with the sequence of events, but one notable exception is her violent refusal to participate in Operation Maidwatch. So, how does Rem establish the Temperance link? When she gets home after her second battle with Remnant, she needs to clean her room but is too exhausted, but Morgana sleepily reminds her of the maid service. And that’s how she meets Kawakami in a maid outfit.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Akira has shades of this after only the first two Palaces. Understandable when he's literally bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders alone.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The karaage curry that Akira makes for everyone at the Inokashira Park cleanup event. It leaves everyone who's eating it in a euphoric haze; either Akira is just that good, or a little magic was thrown into it, whether by Akira or by Dr. Maruki.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In a background conversation about Sumire, with Rem being in full agreement with the second speaker:
    Shujin Student: She’s so thin… It’s not fair, my hair's straight as well if I take it out of a ponytail…
    Sleepy Student: Okay, and what's that got to do with being thin?
  • Jaw Drop:
    • Akira's reaction to Rem's grappling hook.
    • In Chapter 17, Ryuji's reaction to Rem guessing (correctly) that Ryuji had pulled an all-nighter trying to study, gave up, and did something else until morning.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Chapter 31, Ryuji compares the doors in Mementos to checkpoints in role-playing games, where they open after you complete a quest.
  • Lethal Chef: It's not so much that Akechi is a bad chef, it's just that the first and only time he tried cooking his own pancakes, he accidentally caused an oil fire and then threw water on it, and Akira has handled all of the cooking since. Dr. Maruki apparently made the same mistake in the past.
  • Love Redeems: When Akira meets Akechi in the new world, two years before Yaldabaoth's game begins, he reflects on how Akechi in the previous world had wished that they could have met sooner, and decides to try invoking this trope. It works; Akechi is still Shido's assassin, but when he sees what the Phantom Thieves can do with the Metaverse, it immediately strikes him as the better option for his revenge...because he doesn't want Akira to be ashamed of him.
  • Magical Accessory: Igor uses his powers to coalesce what remains of the ruined world into a pendant for Akira to wear. In addition to providing a constant reminder of what he's fighting to prevent, it allows him to access the Metaverse and even lets him use his powers in the real world.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the new world, Goro Akechi's Trademark Favorite Food is...wait for it...pancakes.
    • When Akira enrolls in Shujin, the author's notes cite that his new outfit is the one he had in Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, minus the red gloves, red shoes, and red handkerchiefs in his pockets.
  • No Indoor Voice: Ryuji, as in canon...for the first part of the story. He's shown actively trying and succeeding in keeping his voice down after Akira's reprimanding.
  • Not Always Evil: It turns out that several police officers were completely unaware of Kamoshida's abuse, and when it came out, several police officers who had daughters at Shujin were disturbed. When one such officer talks to the Thieves in Chapter 26, Ryuji admits his surprise that this trope applies.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Silence is a Trauma Button for Akira, stemming from the crushing silence he knew in the battle against Yaldabaoth with nobody else left alive in the world.
  • Only Friend: Akira serves as this for Akechi, to the point where he admits Akira’s the only person in the entire world he cares for. Unlike in canon, where their friendship had underlying tones of vitriol and envy from Akechi’s part, they have a much more normal one this time around, where at worst they merely rib on each other for laughs.
  • Original Character: Two members of the student council are fleshed out.
    • Azusa Nakajou is a second-year, the secretary, and a short squirrelly girl who looks up—physically and emotionally—to Akira.
    • Suzune Ichihara is a third year, the treasurer, and a tall, beautiful, and stoic Deadpan Snarker.
  • Panacea: Soma, the best healing item in the game that completely heals the entire party's health and stamina, and one that appears very little across the gamenote . Joker seems to have no shortage, however, as he uses one to heal the Phantom Thieves every time that he defeats them.
  • Precision F-Strike: Akira gets one of these at the end of Chapters 21 and 26. See Cliffhanger for why.
  • Punched Across the Room: In Chapter 21, Akira's response to Akechi stabbing him in Madarame's Palace is to calmly grab his head and throw him out of the Palace. He crashes through a building and leaves a trench in the street from the impact, and gets a concussion from it.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Akira did the impossible and killed Yaldabaoth. But only after the false god had wiped out the rest of the Thieves and the rest of humanity.
  • Right Behind Me: At the end of Chapter 15 and the beginning of Chapter 16, when Maruki asks Rem where Akira is, this is the answer.
  • Secret-Keeper: The only person who knows anything about Akira's Dark and Troubled Past is Dr. Takuto Maruki, whom Akira confides in after Maruki points out his lack of self-preservation instincts, after confirming that Maruki will hold to doctor-patient confidentiality.
    Akira: Three years ago… I lost everyone I cared about. I don’t want to say how, but… three years ago everyone I knew, everyone I cared about, everyone I loved… died. I watched as they died… one by one. They disappeared from my life in a matter of moments until I was left with nothing… until I was left alone…I-I don’t think I came out of it whole… I never got over it… and I still don’t think I have…
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: And the only other person who has any idea of what Akira went through is Goro Akechi, who did his own digging just to ensure that Akira had no ties to Shido; in the process of satisfying that, he found that Akira's past was nonexistent.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Rather frequent between Akira and Sumire. Sumire has the blushing, stammering denial while Akira is completely unfazed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Three in one for Rem Amamiya. First, her Persona is Selina. That is to say, Selina Kyle, though she still has wings like Arsène's. Second, her melee weapon is a pair of chained nails, a direct reference to Rider from Fate/stay night. And third, her thief outfit is Velvet Crowe's Rutee outfit from Tales of Berseria, with the addition of a black underlayer to the crop top covering her whole torso.
    • In Chapter 23, as a sleazy man grabs Sumire's wrist, the narration references Saruman's iconic quote: "Ah. So he's chosen death."
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Fate demands that Wakaba Isshiki dies and her research be stolen. Fate doesn't demand that Wakaba stays dead; Akira resurrects her with Samarecarm, casts Dormina upon her Shadow to plunge her real self into a coma, then delivers her unconscious body to a Yakuza-run hospital to be kept alive, healthy, and out of the public eye until she's no longer in danger.
    • By virtue of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, Akira intervenes in Kasumi Yoshizawa's car accident. She falls into a coma for a month and needs physical therapy afterward, but she lives and will make a full recovery. Of course, it would have been a Heroic Sacrifice if not for Akira's powers.
  • Spell Book: The other source of Joker's power besides Igor's pendant is his probation diary, which Lavenza modified to serve as his personal compendium so he could summon back his Personas at will.
  • Stations of the Canon: Akira has free reign to use his resources and powers to change the game however he sees fit, except for twelve Constant Events that he must not interfere in. Said events are the biggest points in the plot, beginning with Wakaba's death and the theft of her research, continuing with Morgana's birth, then proceeding to the Trickster's Awakening, conquering the seven Palaces, infiltrating the Prison of Regression, and finishing with the Trickster's Second Awakening.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Considering Akira’s at his strongest upon arriving in the new world, there wouldn’t be much of a story to salvage if he actively took part in the Palaces and even to Shido himself. Thus, he’s been warned that the new Trickster needs to handle the major events, or else risk that the Butterfly of Doom would lead to the end of the world.
  • Tempting Fate: In Chapter 20, after watching the Thieves open the locked door in Madarame's Palace, Akira looks forward to taking a couple of days off due to the strain of using multiple Personas simultaneously. The very next day, the exhibition is covered in calling cards.
  • Time Skip: Chapter 3 ends with Goro Akechi taking up Akira's offer of being a roommate. Chapter 4 begins just a little over a year later and ends with another seven-month skip.
  • Touché: In Chapter 26, discussing Yusuke's new design for their calling cards:
    Morgana: No kidding, it was so much better than the one Ryuji made.
    Ryuji: Hey, not like you could do any better
    Morgana: I have paws, what’s your excuse?
    Ryuji: Dammit…
  • Tranquil Fury: Akira when he saves Sumire from the sleazy man in Shibuya Station in Chapter 23.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Less 'vitriolic' and more 'best buds,' Goro Akechi becomes Akira's roommate after he buys his new house, and over the next three years, for as much as they rib each other, Akira becomes the only person in the world that Goro truly cares about, and Akira hopes that he can save Akechi with the extra years of development.
  • Weapon of Choice: Combining Chain Pain and Blade on a Rope, Rem's melee weapon is a pair of long iron nails fastened on opposite ends to each other by a length of chain.
  • Yakuza: Almost the first thing that Akira does after returning to the past is head to a spot he knows of thanks to Iwai and request a meeting with Tsuda so he can buy a house despite being underage, the first of several deals he makes and pays royally for thanks to the fortune he brought with him. Tsuda misinterprets it as the carrot and the stick: Akira's unshakable calm, knowledge of their meeting places, and request for the house to be in Shibuya makes Tsuda believe that he's behind the recent string of mysterious deaths. This has an unexpected benefit far down the line: when Shido contacts his Cleaner about Akira, planning to use him as leverage against Akechi, the Cleaner warns Shido off, saying that Akira has connections even higher than his own.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Gloriously subverted. Akira is warned that preventing any of the twelve Constant Events could risk the end of the world, and Wakaba's death is at the top of the list. But nothing says he can't resurrect her with a well-placed Samarecarm after she dies.
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