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  • Made of Explodium: All robots explode spectacularly.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase:
    • "2x _____ COMBO!" (Note: Sometimes the "2x" follows the blank.)
    • "All of the _____. All of them."
    • "_____ DOUBLE REACH-AROUND."
    • "It's hard, being _____ and doing _____. It's hard, and nobody understands."
    • Also several originating from Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, including:
      • "the _____ ruse... was a DISTACTION."
      • "i HAVE the _____"
      • "i am the _____. its me"
  • Madonna Archetype: Kanaya Maryam's last name is Maryam, the Aramaic (also Hebrew or Arabic) version of the name Mary. She is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo (the virgin). A mother grub (the species responsible for giving birth to new trolls) has given up its role as birth mother to become her lusus. When the start of the Sgrub session kills her lusus, Kanaya acquires the Matriorb, an artifact that can be used to hatch a new mother grub. This makes her responsible for saving the genetic future of trollkind.
  • Magic Feather: Pretty much everyone creates something that seems to give them magical powers. These are revealed to merely focus their nascent abilities.
  • Magic is Feminine: While supernatural abilities are ubiquitous and the extent to which "magic" is real is heavily debated in-universe, the Classes thematically associated with magic, the Witch and Sylph, have very feminine God Tier costumes and only female characters have been seen to hold them.
  • Magic Kiss: This is a SBURB game mechanic. If a player dies (and if they have an intact dreamself), they can be revived if another player kisses their corpse within an unspecified time limit. If time runs out, the wounds propagate to the dreamself, killing them as well.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: A concept central to the game and the strip itself; everything works by rules, from the mechanics of the game, to the various powers the kids develop and the methods of obtaining them, to the rules around time travel, dying/resurrecting, creating creatures and universes, etc. Whatever extraordinary things happen in Homestuck, there are hard and fast rules around them. Even when the rules get broken, which is rare, there's usually a good reason.
  • Magic or Psychic?: In Homestuck the psychic powers of the various alien castes is a normal and accepted part of life, and is purely genetic. Magic, however, is power lent to whoever is willing (and foolish enough) to make a Deal with the Devil with a demon or Eldritch Abomination, and is either dismissed as fake or seen as utterly terrifying.
  • Magic Realism: There is an element of this in the way that no-one seems particularly surprised when Sburb allows you to manipulate other people's houses. Other fantastical elements of the world (particularly the gamelike ones) go unmentioned and unexplained. On the other hand, the existence of magic per se is realistically controversial.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Some aspects and classes offer little to their players until they reach the a certain level of maturity, at which point the player unlocks god-like power. So far it's known that the Page class and the Hope and Breath aspect all are weak initially before becoming very potent. This makes Jake, the Page of Hope, an extraordinary example of an initially weak character who can unlock great power.
    • In Flarp, the Boy-Skylark class is described as being weak at low levels, but offering great benefits at higher levels.
    • The FancySantakind Strife Specibus class is revealed as this. Dirk openly refers to it as "a straightup shits and giggles specibus", and also thinks it's extremely difficult to extract any damage using it, due to how fragile the figurines are, but he said he'd figure out how to make it work. However, Word of God said in a post believed to have been a joke that FancySantakind is "The deadliest Kind of all". But this was revealed to absolutely not be a joke with the Zilly Santas, the result of combining a Fancy Santa with the Zillyhoo weaponry, resulting in a weapon so unfathomably powerful that in [S]Collide, Dirk was able to successfuly parry Crowbar's crowbar with one, a weapon that is capable of destroying all-powerful and otherwise indestructible things. And the Zilly Santa deflected it.
  • Mate or Die: When the imperial drone comes to the door of an adult troll, they'd better be able to fill both filial pails or else. As if teenage romantic angst isn't bad enough without all that pressure!
  • Meaningful Rename: Beforus was renamed to Alternia after the Trolls preformed their scratch.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Act 2 begins by cutting to a desert wasteland which is set "Years in the future, but not many..." This phrase is invoked often when cutting to the wasteland storyline, though later it was often subverted with transitions like "Years in the future, but really not enough to go on about..."
  • Medium Blending: The comic frequently uses animated GIFs, and there are occasional Flash animations and games. Late in the comic we even get a sequence animated in Stop Motion.
  • Mega Manning: Enemies wielding weapons seem to drop the STRIFE SPECIBUS for that weapon, which can be picked up by players to allow them to wield the enemies' weapon. Though to date this has only happened a few times, as the only weapons any of the enemies have been seen wielding are ones stolen from John. This works for slain players as well.
  • Merger of Souls:
    • Vriska's and Tavros' dead bodies are thrown into Jane's game sprite, yanking their souls out of the afterlife and fusing them together as "Tavrisprite". Their personalities are so irreconcilable that the sprite explodes (sending the two souls back to the afterlife) mere moments later.
    • Eridan and Sollux were successfully fused into an Erisolsprite (which spends most of his time flipping people off at random), and Equiusprite is fused with Dirk's sentient AI auto-responder to create Arquiusprite. Feferi and Nepeta were also fused into a Fefetasprite, which had a peaceful life for six months but doesn't last long once Erisolsprite and Arquiusprite start arguing over her.
    • Lord English, the ultimate villain haunting the heroes, turns out to be an amalgamation of the souls of Caliborn, Arquisprite and Gamzee created in an attempt to defeat the newly immortal Caliborn.
  • Mermaid Problem: Sprites have a similar anatomy to mermaids, leading John to ponder the, er, logistics of a sprite/human romance. He stops just short of asking his own sister how exactly she and her sprite ex-boyfriend got their mack on. Meanwhile, the fandom has come up with some creative solutions.
  • Messianic Archetype:
    • Recurring; every Session leader is some flavor of messiah, dark or otherwise. Other standouts include WV and the Sufferer.
    • The Sufferer is basically Troll Jesus, complete with the mechanism of his nasty death becoming a symbol for his followers.
  • Metafictional Device:
    • The comic is very ambiguous about the degree to which the silladexes' displays physically exist. For the most part, they're depicted as metafictional icons overlaid "on top" of the comic itself, but they're also often interacted with directly by people, such as by characters ejecting items from them as combat projectiles, Sollux slicing one of his cards in half with his throwing stars, or Gamzee retrieving an item by physically reaching into his silladex's display and grabbing it.
    • When a character messages another one through Pesterchum or Trollian, this is represented with a small speech bubble hovering over the relevant computing device. These are for the most part purely metafictional ways of showing the reader what's going on on a non-visible screen, except for one scene where Jade quiets down someone messaging her by kicking the speech bubble away.
    • Cans, a member of the Felt, can punch people hard enough to send them flying through panel borders.
  • Metaphorgotten: During the Jailbreak adventure of B2!Jack Noir, he confuses his metaphorical knives for his literal knives.
    He's not the sharpest tool in the shed. Although now that you think about it, he might be by default, since he just sent you all the sharpest tools in the shed.
  • Meteor of Doom: A major element of SBURB. The moment the game starts, the race is on to get into the medium before the meteors wipe out your home planet. This is ironic considering John discussed his interest in the meteor disaster film Armageddon within two hours of the first meteor impacting his house.
  • Meteor-Summoning Attack: One the forces of Derse defeat those of Prospit and the Black King captures the White King's scepter, he uses its power to unleash the Reckoning, calling down the countless meteors of the Veil in a fiery bombardment intended to utterly destroy Skaia. The Reckoning is a fairly lengthy process, occurring over twenty-four hours as increasingly large meteors are drawn from their orbits, in order to give players time to defeat the Black King before Skaia is destroyed.
  • Mexican Standoff:
    • The 3X SHOWDOWN COMBO sees a god of luck, a white wizard of science, and a juggalo serial killer face off bearing weapons as they recall their famous ancestors, all to building music. The standoff is diffused when a victim of the wizard is resurrected as a vampire and knocks out the other two combatants before cutting the wizard in half with a chainsaw.
    • The rare and highly dangerous 5x SHOWDOWN COMBO sees four of the surviving trolls face off against Gamzee, the deranged clown who inspired some of the violence that tore the trolls apart. The trolls prepare their weapons, but their leader Karkat quiets them and runs at Gamzee alone, sickle in hand... only to shush him and remind him of their former friendship, avoiding another casualty in a stand-off.
  • Mickey Mousing: Inverted. Andrew selects a piece of music from the artists and animates to its beats and any Leitmotifs present. This is taken to its logical extreme in the Descend sequence, which matches every single leitmotif in the song with an appropriate piece of action.
  • Midair Motion Shot: Dave's Character Blog lampshades it, and in-story the UNREAL AIR is an eternally-flying skateboard (and thus it flies off right after its debut).
  • A Million Is a Statistic:
    • The kids and the trolls are more broken up over their friends' and loved ones' deaths than the destruction of their respective races.
    • Virtually nobody brings up the fact that Vriska personally murdered thousands of trolls, or that Eridan murdered their lusi note . Feferi and Terezi likewise escape judgement despite being complicit in their murders for sweeps. The disinterest in bringing up how these trolls are mass murderers gives credence to Alternia's culture of violence, but this disinterest only holds for the trolls. Once Vriska admits to John how many people she's killed, John becomes uncomfortable and only keeps talking to her for the time because Culture Justifies Everything.
  • Mind Rape: Whatever Aranea does to Jake to trigger his Hopesplosion comes off this way. While torturing him isn't her main goal, it's an aggressive intrusion of his mind without consent that causes him to lose it.
  • Mind Screw: A metric ton of it.
    • As a general rule: Anything involving alternate universes will make your head hurt. Anything involving time and history and what happened when in relation to other events (or didn't happen, or happened in a manner that makes the timeline irrelevant) will make it hurt worse. And anything based around life and death and specifically who is dead or alive or both or neither at what point in time will make it explode 14 times in a variety of pretty colors. A lot of the time, you have to think hard about every detail, pore over your extensive notes, and reread several earlier portions of the story (perhaps multiple times) before figuring it out, and then look it up online to realize you were only scratching the surface. Of course, that's what makes it so fun.
    • Keeping track of everything (or sometimes catching the important things in the first place) is what makes you reach for the aspirin. There aren't very many characters at first, but then the trolls show up. And alternate timelines. And extra universes, complete with counterparts to characters we already have. And yes, you have to keep track of them all. And pretty much everything is important in some way, shape, or form. And most plot elements doesn't make sense until you have the whole story behind them—which is why you have to pay such close attention, because you will miss something if you don't and then you'll be lost.
    • It turns out John made himself in a ectobiology lab from his grandmother and Jade's grandfather's genes. This means his grandmother is actually his mother and his father is his half-brother. Nannasprite points out that through this he is sort of her dad through initiating this process - which if you think on it, makes him his own pseudo-grandfather. Apparently, Karkat did something similar with trolls. All twenty-four of them.
  • Mind Screwdriver: The detailed Recaps by Andre Hussie's Author Avatar and the real Andrew's comments in the forums, Formspring and Tumblr serve to make sense of Homestuck's complex and non-chronological plot.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: The Imps. Easily cowed early on by things like threatening the pogo ride with shaving cream, by the Act 6 Intermissions they're just chilling with John and Jade, watching movies.
  • Mirror Universe: In some respects, the Post-Scratch Kids reflect aspects of the Pre-Scratch Kids they correspond to
    • John for a long time had his green slime ghost symbol and blue text, but his Breath sigil ultimately replaced his green symbol. Jane has blue text and a blue PS sprite as her symbol, but her Life sigil (which is an altered version of the Breath sigil) is green. Likewise they have some inverted tastes; John likes Gushers but hates cake but Jane feels the opposite. John was also the last member of his session to awaken his dreamself, but Jane was the first to have awoken, disregarding Dirk since he was already awake. Both are the leaders of their parties because of their "optimism through stalwart skepticism" and for considering themselves everyone's friend, not their leader.
    • Jake fights lusii routinely to survive, as opposed to Jade whose fights with Bec were playful at worst. Also, Jade was awake on Prospit for years, but Jake's dreamself was killed by Courtyard Droll and some peanuts before he even awoke at all. Both have a robot with whom they share the island, but Jade's dreambot is benign and completely passive, whereas Jake's brobot can move actively on its own, and both protects Jake from lusii and ambushes Jake for strifes on a regular basis.
    • Roxy enjoys gaming, hard science like genetics or physics, and writing lighthearted fiction, whereas Rose is one of the least game inclined of the kids, writes darker fiction, and tends to stick with psychology. Roxy is also completely blatant and guileless with her near-constant flirtation, as opposed to Rose, who layers her relatively subdued flirtation with heavy snark. As for their Sburb titles, both are seemingly passive classes, but Roxy and Rose's elements are almost polar opposites, and Roxy wholeheartedly embraces her powers, unlike Rose who went so far Off the Rails that she disrupted her Myth Arc.
    • Dave is associated with crows and favors absurd irony, while Dirk is associated with gulls and favors unsettling irony. Both are artists, with their interests in webcomics, specimen preservation, and photography (and movies), or with puppetry, pornography, and robotics, reflecting this. Dave had a mild phobia of Cal whereas Dirk thinks he's awesome, which is part of why when both awakened on Derse before the game, Dirk ran with it while Dave shut it out. Both have duplicates running around, but Dave is cool with Davesprite whereas Dirk bickers with his AR. Dave's Myth Arc is about overcoming his own self-loathing and being proud of his individuality whereas Dirk's revolves around his incredibly fractured sense of self, and trying to find who he even is.
  • Mission Control: A server player is this to their client player, essentially. Some classes like Seers naturally are this to their teammates. The Exiles are an even better example, since they literally sit behind a giant glowing display terminal giving the kids instructions.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Jade continues to act as Dave's server player while dreaming, ripping apart his plumbing and turning a dead bird into his Spirit Advisor.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Mooks encountered in the Medium (imps, ogres, basilisks, liches and giclopses) assume various combinations of features (and included powers) from the players' prototyped sprites when they enter. In the kids' session it's a mix of harlequin outfits from Nannaquin, wings and a sword from Seppukrow, cat features and tentacles from Jaspers, and dog features and various levels of Reality Warper powers from Becquerel. The royalty of Prospit and Derse take on all the prototyped features at once through their Requisite Royal Regalia, and any Prospitian or Dersite can use said regalia. This is taken to an extreme in the trolls' session when they accumulate twelve separate prototype features including some nearly gamebreaking psychic abilities that made the Black King almost unbeatable.
    • The lusi, alien animals that are responsible for raising young trolls, often resemble mixes of various Earth animals. Examples include Aradia's, which resembles a kangaroo with a ram's head; Tavros', a small bull with insect wings; Gamzee's, a giant goat with fish hindquarters; and Dammek's, a panther with deer antlers referred to as a "cuspidated grimalkin".
  • Moby Schtick: Eridan's introduction in the comic proper begins with him harpooning down a giant flying white whale lusus. Additionally, he uses his signature weapon, which is a harpoon gun rifle called Ahab's Crosshairs.
  • Mock Hollywood Sign: On post-scratch Earth, Dirk's bro, a movie superstar, is responsible for creating a horribly misspelled and visual artifact-filled version of the Hollywood sign ("HOPYWOODOO"), either replacing the original one, or somewhere else entirely.
  • Money for Nothing: Zigzagged example. Boondollars start off as seemingly useless, then have a purpose revealed, then end up useless again as Dave earns so much money that their purpose is rendered irrelevant. On a more comical note, certain items of very low quality can actually cost negative artifact grist to make. And here we learn that post-Scratch Dave massproduced them and got rich because they also are of a low enough quality to cost negative money to produce.
  • Monochrome Casting: The cast is aracial. They're white in the sense of a coloring book, and the reader can extrapolate any race onto them. This is Hussie's stated intent, but most readers may find that for the human kids, their eye and hair colors serve to limit the reasonable possibilities somewhat (though see Mukokuseki, down just a bit). Dave's "white" hair and red irises do suggest he may be albino, so he could technically be of any race. (Rose, his ecto-sister, also has "white" hair, but at one point John describes both her and Roxy as blonde after meeting their ectobaby selves.)
  • Monumental Damage: Say goodbye to Lady Liberty.
  • Mooks: The Underlings are entities created by Sburb, a reality-altering game, to serve as foes of various levels of challenge for players drawn into it. The best matches for this trope are the imps, who are by a wide margin the most numerous, most widespread and least powerful kind, posing a serious threat only in numbers and often not even then.
  • Morality Pet: The troll concept of "moirails": particularly unstable trolls naturally gravitate towards nicer trolls that can keep their worst behaviour in check: examples include Equius and Nepeta, Eridan and Feferi, Vriska and Kanaya, and rather surprisingly, Gamzee and Karkat. Can be awkward if one member of the moirallegiance would rather it was matespritship (e.g. Eridan, Kanaya)
  • More Diverse Sequel: The comic can be seen as this to the other MS Paint Adventures, though it's not exactly a sequel to them. While the other MS Paint Adventures have only male protagonists, Homestuck has equal gender representation, important disabled characters, a world where pretty much Everyone Is Bi, alien species that explore Bizarre Alien Sexes and Fantastic Racism, etc.
  • More Hero Than Thou: Rose and Dave trying to decide who will be the one to sacrifice themselves blowing up the Tumor to destroy the Green Sun.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: High ranking Agents of Derse and higher troll castes.
  • Motive Decay:
    • At first, Jack's motives appeared to revolve around a desire to rule, but as the new ruler of Derse, wanton destruction is Jack's sole motive. Hammered home with Jack's duel with Rose versus his duel with Vriska. He doesn't remotely take Vriska seriously and simply flies off to murder the rest of the trolls to rub it in her face.
    • Eridan crosses this after he KO'd Sollux, killed Feferi and Kanaya, and attempted to fight Gamzee and Vriska.
  • Mr. Exposition: The narration only rarely exposits, so characters in story end up explaining quite a bit.
  • Mukokuseki: All human characters in the traditional racial sense, also extending to every character in the comic in terms of physical characteristics in general. Hussie has explicitly stated that every character is meant to be physically ambiguous in every way, stating that their physical characteristics are effectively up to the reader to interpret as their personal headcanon. The big exception is Hussie himself:
    Note that I am caucasian, and I draw myself orange. I don’t see no orange kids there! Can’t really pin them down as definitively white, though this is likely the widespread presumption. They are canonically a-racial, and elude concrete bodily proportions through diversity of stylistic representation. You decide what they are! The thing you decide is right.
    • He's also stated that one reference to Bro being white was a mistake that he put in before he'd firmly established the character or his role in the story as Dave's father, so the intention was not to give implications of Dave or Rose's ethnicity through that line, to say nothing of commenting on Dirk.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Alternia. Not surprising, since the trolls are very human.
  • Multi-Disc Work: Happens In-Universe thanks to the recursive Meta Fiction of the comic. A character inadvertently scratches Homestuck Disc 2 partway through Act 5, which causes Corrupted Data on the next few pages and is thematically linked to the Cosmic Retcon of "The Scratch", which launches Act 6 by creating an Alternate Timeline that can interact with the original timeline. In addition to Disc 2, there's also the Act 6 Act 6 Supercartridge Expansion Pack, which contains the rest of the comic after Disc 2 finishes at the end of Act 6 Intermission 5.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Grandpa (Pre-Scratch) and John Crocker (post-Scratch) are still presiding over their households as stuffed trophies. Jake is deeply envious.
    GT: God jane is so lucky every day in her household must be like Weekend at Bernie's! What a riot it must be im so jealous.
  • Munchkin: The trolls. In their session, they pretty much only cared about gaining levels and skills, and killing all the monsters, while ignoring side quests and game lore. This is ultimately deconstructed when they get to the end of the game, since failing to create the Genesis Frog led to the creation of Bec Noir, who prevented them from winning the game.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Andrew likes this trope. For instance:
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Barbasol. "Be careful with that thing! Jesus!!"
  • Mundane Utility: Jade uses her space powers to eat a piece of cake.
  • Musical Spoiler: The background audio for "[S] Jade: Wake up" is "Let the Squiddles Sleep", which is on the Squiddles Soundtrack released well before the flash was. So a number of readers could tell just from the music that things were about to go horribly, horribly wrong...for Jade at least. For Feferi it's basically meeting the in-laws.
    • Used in a different sense with Umbral Ultimatum, the music for [S] Jade: Enter, the first few keys of it are played at the very end of [S] Descend, one act prior.
    • To those in the know, the second intermission's music instilled instant feelings of dreadnote 
  • Myth Arc: Players in Sburb have one related to their title during their adventure. For example, Knights have to overcome their lack of self esteem, Seers have to deal with some sort of trauma caused by a sun, and so on. This also applies to the second part of their title as well; Heroes of Breath are initially weak but end up very powerful, Heroes of Light are dubiously heroic and reckless loners who ultimately can be very self destructive and hurt their team, Heroes of Space organize the session and awaken on Prospit beforehand, and so on.
  • Mythology Gag: Many to Andrew Hussie's other works, especially the rest of MS Paint Adventures.
    • John's rejected name, "Zoosmell," is an older, shorter webcomic Andrew wrote.
    • John also owns the games of the three other MS Paint Adventures: Bard Quest, Jailbreak, and Problem Sleuth, as well as one for one of Hussie's older works: And It Don't Stop.
    • Early on, John is ordered to fondly regard cremation. This is a reference to Godhead Pickle Inspector in Problem Sleuth - after he was ordered to ascend to godhood, he refused to obey any order other than 'fondly regard creation'.
    • Dave's brother is obsessed with Muppet-like characters and even creates a comic of one to unnerve Dave. On the MSPA forums, Hussie once encountered a troll who demanded him to draw strange Muppet comics.
    • An upgraded form of the Pumpkin Appearifier from Jailbreak is used by WV.
    • Three unfulfilled objectives in Problem Sleuth are finally achieved: toppling a sacred urn (Nanna's), defiling a hallowed tomb (Jaspers the cat's), and desecrating mystic ruins (the Frog Temple).
    • The name "Lil' Cal" was first used in an old comic by Andrew's brother called Say What?. Really, these keep continuing.
    • The character "Equius Zahhak" has a strange collection of muscular, naked centaur-like creatures, referencing Andrew Hussie's unnerving comic Humanimals.
    • Kanaya's lipstick works like the lipstick from Problem Sleuth, in that it can also turn into a chainsaw.
    • The tree stump from Jailbreak and Problem Sleuth reappears whenever the MSPA Reader considers suicide. This references a Non Standard Game Over from Jailbreak.
    • Wayward Vagabond has built a fort in his Skyship Base. Forts were a key mechanic in the beginning of Problem Sleuth.
    • Dirk Strider's alterations to a Pony Pals book are very much in the same vein as Hussie's own forays into humorous defacing of books.
    • Dirk's Shade (rhyme) and Groove (theme) TECH-HOP MODUS and literal rap battle with Squarewave is a shout-out to And It Don't Stop.
    • The three-skull door puzzle in the Act 6 Act 3 mini-game is a call back to a similar puzzle in Problem Sleuth.
    • Gamzee Makara, also known as the Bard of Rage, ends up wearing the ridiculous codpiece from Bard Quest.
    • The wizard fan-fiction Roxy made is an adaptation of an unfinished satire Hussie made about Harry Potter.
    • Jack starts a Jailbreak adventure in a clear parallel to the comic Jailbreak.
    • Andrew Hussie (the in-universe character, not the person) briefly takes the form of a weasel from Problem Sleuth during the End of Act 6 animation.
    • For Halloween, as shown by MSPA's Snapchat, John dresses up as Problem Sleuth's Candy Corn Vampire.
    • The last picture from MSPA's Halloween Snapstory has the four main characters pose for a picture as a team, and directly quote a Running Gag from Problem Sleuth.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Brain Ghost Dirk gives what is almost certainly a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer:
    Brain Ghost Dirk: I am Brain Ghost Dirk. You kissed my boyfriend. Prepare to Die.
  • My Own Grandpa: Mind-boggingly, every human and troll except for John and Jane's adoptive dad / biological son.

  • Narrative Backpedaling: After telling how Jack Noir found and slayed all the trolls in one fell swoop, Doc Scratch explains: "What sort of story would this be, with our Knight and Seer made to stay cadavers? Certainly not one the alpha timeline would allow. And not one she'd allow either." This reveals that the events he'd just told the reader were actually an alternate timeline that Terezi foresaw and averted.
  • Natural End of Time: Lord English is summoned at the end of a universe's lifespan, which doesn't inconvenience him at all. He then proceeds to go back in time to try and destroy existence much earlier than that.
  • Necessary Fail: Any event which deviates from the Alpha Timeline creates a doomed offshoot timeline. Many events in the Alpha Timeline are, from the perspective of the characters, astounding failures, but must happen due to the nature of time in Homestuck. In addition, doomed timelines can exert influence on the Alpha Timeline. This influence is in fact necessary for the Alpha Timeline to exist. So the failure to create a Necessary Fail is itself a Necessary Fail. This dialogue from Karkat seems to suggest that preserving the Alpha Timeline can be a Guide Dang It!:
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Scratch, which initially seems to be some sort of wormhole that ends the Kids' universe and brings a demon to the trolls' universe. Turns out it's a universal Reset Button that wipes out the current existence and replaces it with a mildly different one. The thing that brought the demon to the trolls turns out to be a pretty simple transportalizer.
  • Neglectful Precursors: The Trolls created the universe where the Humans live, but they made some critical mistake while doing that because they thought frog breeding wasn't such a big deal. The resulting universe was thus doomed to fail.
  • Nerd Action Hero: Nearly all the trolls and kids obsess over some obscure piece of pop culture, which doesn't stop them from attaining godhood and ensuring the safety of their cosmic progeny.
  • New Game+: The Post-Scratch Human Session ends up as this by virtue of breaking Sburb in two.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Jade's attempts to send John a weapon to fight Jack Noir created the bunny Liv Tyler. Unfortunately, the bunny ended up in the hands of Jack and allowed him to stage his coup in the first place.
    • Turns out the trolls have nobody to blame but themselves for how badly the kids' session went. Vriska ended up putting John to sleep at a crucial moment, prompting Becquerel to use himself as a prototype for Jade's kernelsprite. Karkat skipping the last frog for breeding Bilious Slick didn't help, since that just ended up giving the kids' universe cancer.
    • The trope gets Zigzagged when Rose and Dave tried using the Tumor to destroy the Green Sun in an attempt to weaken Lord English and Doc Scratch. Since time and space don't work correctly out in the Furthest Ring, they ended up creating the Green Sun with the explosion instead. Since the Green Sun's power is required to make a ton of other stuff in Paradox Space work correctly, it's not a complete loss.
    • Calliope theorizes that her alternate self was able to dominate her brother because she never had contact with the post-Scratch kids and thus never became as friendly or kind. Her brother grows up to become Lord English.
    • Terezi believes this about her actions regarding Gamzee and Vriska following Jack Noir's invasion of their session. She ends up sending John back to Retcon things in the hopes that it'll produce a better result in the post-Scratch session.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Vriska and Tavros try to map the Furthest Ring to find a treasure that can supposedly kill Lord English. The only problem is that the furthest ring doesn't conform to the laws of physics, and is essentially a great black void, so trying to map it is completely impossible. However, English has been smashing his way through the furthest ring and dream bubbles, literally cracking the fabric of space time, thus making landmarks for Vriska and Tavros' maps!
  • Nightmare Face: Gamzee, in spades.
    • Caliborn pulls off one when the kids arrive to face him. Impressive really, seeing as the whole scene is done in dodgy claymation.
  • Nintendo Hard: Dead Sessions are said to be this. Because Sburb requires multiple players in order to properly set up the game's parameters, attempting to initiate a session of just one player means none of the basic requirements for play are met. The resulting session is designed to be unwinnable, and exists almost exclusively to punish the player who initiated it.
  • No Animosity in the Afterlife: Vriska and Tavros are weirdly chill with each other in the afterlife, especially considering she was the one who killed him in the first place. Most alpha trolls in general are also pretty chummy with Meenah, despite the fact that she laid the bomb that killed them all.
  • No Escape but Down: An imp absconds via umbrella.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • At the end of Act 5, the kids literally escaped a collapsing universe/reality by riding a spaceship through the fourth wall, into the meta-level one plane removed from the actual story itself, co-existing with the author for a span of 3 feet, and then crashing through another fourth wall into another universe/retelling of their story. It's almost like a cyclical loop of how many meta levels removed from the story Hussie can try to get at this rate.
    • In Act 6 Intermission 4, Caliborn discovers a tower that appears to be transmitting the words of the narrator, and begins talking to it. Then he begins beating it with a crowbar, which results in the website being knocked into pieces.
    • In-universe example: In Roxy's fanfic wizardy herbert, the characters know they're in a story but are forced to do what the plot demands of them, and they complain about it all the while.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Trolls. Averted, for their first names, at least. Hussie gave pronunciations on his old Formspring account, though he says that he doesn't care if other people pronounce them differently. Incidentally, in several cases, the fans who originally suggested the names have specified pronunciations based on the actual etymology - and often times they're completely different (Terezi, for instance, is, according to the original suggestion, pronounced tuh-REE-see. Really.)
    "When in doubt, be sure to pronounce everything in the least affected manner possible, from an American perspective. note "
  • Non-Combat EXP: Players can gain experience from solving puzzles or fulfilling elements of their quest. They can also cheat the system as well; if they fully awaken their abilities due to some circumstance, like John's Die or Fly manifestation of the Breeze, they automatically reach the top of their Echeladder.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: Trolls are considered bisexual by default, as their means of reproduction involves supplying material to one large mother grub rather than reproducing with each other, so any pair of trolls has the same reproductive effectiveness. They don't even consider the concepts of "straight" or "gay," as trolls who are exclusive to a single gender (namely Kanaya) are considered having a strong preference more than anything. Additionally, troll society is matriarchal, and their non-traditional views on sexism are explored through the social-justice-oriented characters of Kankri and Porrim.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Some of the titles are confusing vague. Light powers are actually over luck because apparently "Light is the essence of fortune", Heart is about souls or "the essence of being," and the Seer of Mind knows about alternate universes via synaptic causality.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Despite the fact that Troll reproduction and life cycle has more seemingly in common with insects than primates, including a very insectoid larval stage, female trolls have breasts. Andrew has confirmed this is mostly so readers can identify with them. Arquiusprite starts to explain that female trolls' breasts do have some important biological function, but Dirk tells him to shut up because he thinks the topic's gross.
  • Noodle Implements: Troll reproduction and its strange connection to buckets are a Running Gag at this point.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • "Cirque du Soleil once filed a restraining order against your father. You were never so embarrassed in your life." Jane's version of Dad had a similar incident in which cops were not pleased with him roughing up street thugs as a vigilante.
    • Karkat and Terezi share one.
      CG: WHOA
      CG: YOU MEAN
      CG: DURING
      CG: FUCK.
    • Karkat's grand speech, suggesting that they troll the kids. It's referenced repeatedly, and the other trolls mock him relentlessly for it throughout Hivebent's logs, but we never actually see it.
    • Dirk and Dave discuss this in regard to the exploits of Post-Scratch Dave.
  • Noodle People: Noticeable whenever the kids are drawn as opposed to appearing as sprites. As seen here. The adults and the exiles don't have this though.
  • The Noseless: Virtually every single character (with the exception of John's Dad, who interestingly enough has nothing but). This is one of the few tropes Hussie has invoked (almost entirely) without lampshading. After the post-AlterniaBound Art Shift, when a panel is in a more detailed style the characters are sometimes drawn with noses.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Averted, John states his suspicion that there are monsters in his house to Dave, who is Genre Savvy enough to believe him.
    TG: skepticism is the crutch of cinematic troglodytes
    TG: like hey mom dad theres a dinosaur or a ghost or whatever in my room. "yeah right junior go back to bed"
    TG: fuck you mom and dad how many times are we going to watch this trope unfold it wasnt goddamn funny the first time i saw it
    TG: just once id like to see dad crap his pants when a kid says theres a vampire in his closet
    TG: be fuckin dad of the year right there
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Doc Scratch's message to Karkat is a simple warning: "Don't turn your back on the body." Of course, this occurs just after Eridan has killed Feferi, so Karkat looks away from the monitor and at Feferi's corpse... Only to find that nothing has changed.
    • Much later in the story: "John Egbert has gone missing." Not even the nigh-omnipresent narrative knows where John is after Jade attacked him.
  • Now Do It Again, Backwards: Parodied on this page. One person is in a panic because he accidentally sat on his hat and apparently ruined it (...look, this is Homestuck; we shouldn't have to say it makes sense in context). The others suggest repairing it by "unsitting" on it, and one suggests turning it upside-down then sitting on it again. Thankfully, one person steps in to be the voice of reason.
  • Now You Tell Me:
    TT: John, I'm about to throw a bath tub through your wall.
    TT: Watch out.
  • Number of the Beast: Rose's THORNS OF OGLOGOTH cost 666 units of tar to make.
  • Numerological Motif: The number two and duality in general. It's. Freaking. Everywhere. Prospit and Derse, Sollux and all his duality attributes, the trolls' and kids' multiverse, Pre-scratch and Post-scratch sessions, the bifurcation of Act 5... you get the idea.

  • Ominous Latin Chanting: All: Behold glory of Zillyhoo. The lyrics are english (literally just "Warhammer of Zillyhoo" slowed down) but the flavor of the trope is present.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Several examples, but the most ominous plays for Rose as she descends into grimdark
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: In A6A6I4, John finally manages to play the one in his denizen's lair, with rather... interesting effects.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch:
    • Dave Strider, author of the deliberately awful in-universe comic Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, finds a way to manifest objects from SBaHJ in real life, complete with jpeg artifacts. They're not as ominous as most examples of the trope, with the silly SBaHJ quotes appearing often when the artifact-riddled objects appear.
    • Disc 2 of Homestuck itself gets a nasty scratch, resulting in visual glitches reminiscent of an unreadable DVD. This leads to Doc Scratch taking over the narration while he fixes the disc.
    • This happens again when Homestuck shows up as a game cartridge and gets clogged with "special fairydust". Entire planets get covered by visual glitches, scenes get skipped over because they're "unplayable" (and the protagonists don't remember anything that happened in these unplayable parts), and text glitches prevent some characters from understanding each other.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The scene at the end of Act 5.1, where the trolls are about to claim their prize, is revisited during [S] Jade: Enter, when the nature of the threat that prevented them from doing so is finally revealed.
    • Another example: one scene from the End of Act 3 flash revisits a detail from the End of Act 2 flash, revealing that WV's ship was the cork of a giant wine bottle.
    • In [S] Jane: Enter, many of the buildings and scenery first seen in [S] Act 6 are revisited, showing how they change after a Time Skip. It then reveals that some of the images in [S] Act 6 - the ones involving the interior of Dirk and Roxy's houses - were actually from after the Time Skip, showing that Dirk and Roxy were living in the future all along.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: No one will ever let Karkat forget his godawful, hilarious shipping diagram.
  • One Character, Multiple Lives: One of the features of SBURB is that players have an additional body, their dream self, who begins the game in a tower on Prospit or Derse. Once the player awakens their dream self (usually via a personal epiphany or extreme shock) their consciousness will shift between both bodies: when you sleep in one, you immediately wake up in the other. There are a few variations on this setup such as Dirk Strider, who's fully awake in both bodies, simultaneously.
  • One-Gender Race: Played with. The trolls' reproductive cycle simply involves the mixing of two individuals' genetic material in a bucket, then dumping the resulting slurry into the womb of the Mother Grub to be amalgamated with countless other couples' DNA. This means that reproductive couples need not be of the opposite gender (see Everyone Is Bi). So, theoretically, all trolls could very well have the exact same reproductive organs. However, they still have genders and physical sexes, which according to Word of God are simply vestigial.
  • One Steve Limit: No two characters share exactly the same first name, even though three of the main eight kids have names that are only one consonant off from each other (Jane, Jade, and Jake).
    • The Aimless Renegade/Authority Regulator goes by his initials, AR. The fact that Dirk's auto-responder is also referred to with these initials is lampshaded in MSPA Reader: Mental Breakdown.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: When Terezi attempts to bring Vriska to justice, she briefly pauses to give a compliment:
  • Onion Tears: Dave, stewing in a cauldron of boiling water and surrounded by hungry crocodiles, blames the tears running down his face on the sliced onions the crocs assail him with. Terezi, as an alien, thinks he's just lying.
  • Online Alias: All the main protagonists have "chumhandles" that they use in their in-universe instant messenger clients. All of them reflect the user's interests or personality, or foreshadow their role in the series.
  • Only Six Faces: By default, every troll and kid has the same body and facial structure. Going further, the beta kids have the exact same face as their alpha counterpart (though with Jade and John's counterparts switched due to their genders, and Dave and Dirk with different sunglasses).
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: Deliberately invoked when Hussie personally rescues the Handmaid from Doc Scratch and Spades Slick from the destruction of the universe, though ultimately subverted with the Handmaid, as she ends up falling into Lord English's hands soon after.
  • Ontological Mystery: It begins with John starts a multiplayer video game and finds himself and his house are suddenly Trapped in Another World, while back on Earth meteors are destroying civilisation, and it all escalates from there.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: One of the easiest ways to tell when something really serious is going on is when a character drops or changes their typing quirk.
    • Of course, this isn't always the case.
  • Orwellian Retcon: A few panels have been redrawn due to errors. A big one would have to be when John puts his arm into a white SBURB symbol, causing it to appear in various events during the story; the existing panels were re-drawn, implying that this was also a Cosmic Retcon in-universe.
    • In [S] Roxy: Sleepwalk and [S] Prince of Heart: Rise Up, when Dirk takes his sunglasses off to look at the Furthest Ring from Derse, his eyes are the same color as his text. His eyes, in the first iteration of these flashes, were red like Dave's before they were retconned into orange.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Generally, when two iterations of a character meet up, they end up insulting each other. Examples include Jade with Jadesprite, Karkat with Kankri, Dirk with AR, John with John from earlier, Vriska with (Vriska), Rose with Jasprose. The only major exception is Dave, who gets along fine with Davesprite and his future selves, although he's rather apathetic regarding whether they live or die.
  • Our Angels Are Different:
    • For one angels have no faces, and resemble winged snakes made of light. They are associated with Heroes of Hope and are seemingly evil. Angels have also been said to serve Paradox Space. Eridan ended up attacking the angels that appeared on his land for most of his game, but ended up being nurtured by them to become more evil.
    • Cherubs don't display particularly angelic characteristics as juveniles, where they just look like green skeletons; they live up to their name better as adults, when they possess white or black wings, cosmic powers, and the morality of either angelic or demonic figures, depending on which personality dominates.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The comic never defines what a "demon" is, but the term is frequently used to describe Lord English, an immortal time-traveling mob boss who can only enter a universe upon its destruction. He's devilish in the sense of being an evil, hideous, and unintelligent monster opposed to all goodness, but he looks nothing like one. The only other "demon" in the comic is the fully-prototyped Jack Noir, a pitch black Winged Humanoid that calls to mind a Fallen Angel.
    • Aradia's ancestor, the Handmaid (post-scratch Damara), is often referred to by Doc Scratch as a "demoness".
  • Our Gods Are Different:
    • Successful players of Sburb eventually reach the "God Tiers," the highest character levels available. These fully realize a player's strength and Elemental Powers while also granting them Resurrective Immortality so long as they don't die heroically or justly. The condition for ascension is steep though: the player must first die on their Quest Bed.
    • The Gods of the Furthest Rings are stereotypical monsters of the H. P. Lovecraft variety, residing in the dark abyss between universes where time, space, and all other aspects of existence fail to act consistently. Its impossible to place their morality, but their mortality is made explicit once the Greater-Scope Villain gets to them.
  • Our Hero Is Dead:
    • Grimdark Rose reacts in complete rage and fury when Jack kills John during their fight, likely unaware that, since John is God Tier and his death was neither "heroic" nor "just", he would just resurrect within a couple of minutes anyway.
    • Jake's dream self's early death on Prospit is mourned with such lines as, "The Page is dead" "Our hope is lost".
  • Our Imps Are Different: Imps are the weakest and most common of the underlings. They resemble stout humanoids about the same size as human children, and while their basic form is simplistic and generic they gain a number of increasingly complex traits as the game progresses — among others, jester and princess outfits, feline and canine traits, facial and arm tentacles, and wings all become present among them. They're fairly challenging foes when the game first begins, but as the kids grow stronger they quickly cease to pose a meaningful threat and eventually cease to be seen as dangers at all. They're also portrayed as more mischievous than violent; while stronger underlings focus on attacking players, imps primarily steal objects, vandalize houses and make nuisances of themselves.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Liches are enemies encountered in the Medium once the kids are drawn into the reality-warping video game Sburb. They're only shown fleetingly and in limited detail, but they don't appear to be undead creatures and instead resemble demonic humanoids with horns and skull-like heads.
  • Our Ogres Are Different: Ogres are the second type of underling to be shown. They're huge, hulking humanoids with immense tusks, and while big and strong they only provide serious danger to inexperienced players — even early in the comic, Rose is shown taking them down with ease.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Alternian "rainbow drinkers" are most active during the day and glow in the dark, as opposed to sparkling in the light.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Though Jade's default Dogtier form falls under Little Bit Beastly, the Condesce's influence turns her skin black, gives her sprite widened eyes, and intensifies her bestial senses and behaviors so that she's occasionally called a werewolf.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Alternian zombies crawl up from the sand at sunrise.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: All trolls have High-Pressure Blood and can bleed for frankly ridiculous amounts of time and come out okay. Averted for humans, who bleed a realistic amount.

  • Painting the Medium: The names of The Felt are always in lime.
    • Along with Snowman and Doc Scratch (and later Lord English's) names are green except for the o (black, white, and an animated pool ball cycle, respectively).
    • Later, Dave starts complaining about it when Rose talks about THE TUMOR and the Green Sun.
    • Bro physically destroys Dave's Strife battle commands not once, but twice.
    • Terezi ended up scratching Homestuck Disc 2. Since then, animations and panels have been notably glitched-looking. After the "scratching", Doc Scratch takes over as narrator once more. For our convenience, he changes the site format to a green color theme, so we could read the white text. That was nice of him. While this is happening, the audience is treated to the interior of Felt Manor/Doc Scratch's house, as seen at the top of the page. Eventually, Spades Slick walks in, and proceeds to give Doc Scratch the hitching post drubbing we saw earlier.
    • When Caliborn starts attacking the giant radio tower in his session with a crowbar, the entire contents of the page are shaken and jumbled up with each hit. If you turn the sound off at this page, the sound of the crowbar hitting the tower stays. The second time he does it, the [S] in the page's command is replaced with [FUCK YOU].
    • Trickster text flashes brightly in multiple colors - with the exception of Dirk, who serves as the Only Sane Man in the situation.
    • When John is about to be sucked into Lord English's Treasure, his text becomes progressively illegible.
    • When Caliborn stuffs the expansion cartridge with stardust, it causes the game to become glitched again. This seems to affect the characters as they can't remember what happened right after they were transported in front of John, when Rose tries to explain what happened, nobody can understand it because the text is glitched. It has been decoded, though.
      • In the same vein, every swear word in ARquius's speech is obfuscated with glitches; AR's foul mouth is being censored by Equius.
    • The text of pesterlogs becomes fuzzy and blurry twice. Once when John sticks his arm into the Sburb house juju, and once when Karkat tries to speak to Dave, who is talking through a foam puppet ass.
  • Pair the Suitors: Originally, Dave and Karkat are both competing for the attention of Terezi, with the subtext between them mostly Played for Laughs. After John's Cosmic Retcon, however, neither seem particularly interested in getting with Terezi and instead spend most of the story's later arcs growing closer to each other. By the end, they are very heavily implied to have become an item.
  • Palm Tree Panic:
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Even the protagonist thinks so.
  • Parasol of Pain: BARBER'S BEST FRIEND, which kind of has to be seen to be believed.
  • Parasol Parachute: An imp absconds off of John's roof via umbrella.
  • Percussive Prevention:
    • Rose stops Dave from embarking on the suicide mission to deliver The Tumor to the Green Sun by beaning him with a ball of yarn.
    • Near the end of the series, the denizen Echidna promises to release the Genesis Frog that will create a new universe on the condition that Kanaya keep Karkat safe. Knowing Karkat could easily get himself killed during the final battle since he's a relatively weak fighter, and to keep her promise to Echidna, Kanaya bonks him on the back of the head and knocks him out.
  • Person of Mass Construction: Sburb players usually become this, often turning the houses of their client players into tall and bizare complexes by copy-pasting various parts of the already existing house on top of it. The size of the buildings is only limited by the score the client achieves.
  • Phosphor-Essence:
    • The troll's inverse version of vampires, "rainbow drinkers", glow a bright white.
    • When Rose goes Grimdark, she gains a black glow to show her immense power.
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: The core of Skaia (a god-like planet with low-level Alien Geometries — in other words, very unlike Earth) is a Yin-Yang Bomb called The Tumor. Toward the end of Act 5, John drills into the core to remove The Tumor so it can be used to blow up the Green Sun, a powerful source of cosmic energy that powers some of his friends' enemies. It doesn't quite work out as planned - the kids end up accidentally creating the Green Sun instead.
  • Planetary Relocation: In "[S] Cascade", Jade ascends to god tier, and uses her power as Witch of Space to shrink the four planets (and the planet-sized Battlefield) from her Medium, and she transports them to a new universe. Later, Caliborn's home planet is pulled into a black hole and deposited in his version of the Medium. Even later, Caliborn finds out his home planet had been transported once before, as it originated in another universe entirely.
  • Plot Armor:
    • Played straight. There are several loopholes that allow dead characters to come Back from the Dead, like being resurrected as their dream selves that live on Prospit or Derse, reaching their God Tier, time travel, alternate timeline duplicates, and prototyping a Kernelsprite with their dead body.
    • Most directly present in-setting in the form of God Tier immortality, which grants them Resurrective Immortality against any "unworthy" deaths (that is, any death that isn't either suitably heroic or suitably just.)
    • Due to the plot element of Weird Time Shit, readers often have knowledge of conversations or actions that may or may not have happened yet, depending on the perspective. Most notably, Karkat trolls the kids backwards in time and thus has plot armor that lasts until his first conversation with them has taken place (from his perspective).
    • Almost literal in Lord English's case. As the Lord of Time, inevitability always works to his advantage. In fact, EVERYTHING that has happened in the first five Acts (more than half the story) has retroactively lead to his rise to power.
    • Lampshaded by Vriska:
      VRISKA: Gamzee is supposedly relevant to some stuff that's going to happen in the new universe.
      VRISKA: He's still got some "plot armor" or some shit.
      VRISKA: So when Earth is resitu8ted, I'm just going to drop the fridge in the fucking ocean or something, and let him find his own way out.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up:
    • The journey across the Yellow Yard will take three years according to Jade... coincidentally putting her and John at 16, same age (or close) as the kids from the post-Scratch universe, as well as the age they would be if time in the comic flowed normally compared to the Real World. With the timeline weirdness that occurs in the Furthest Ring, it also happens to Rose, Dave, and the Trolls, putting every Sburb player at the same age when they all come together.
    • The Post-Scratch story starts two and a half years later than the Pre-Scratch one did, and so the Post-Scratch kids are two and a half years older, meaning that the Running Gag of trying to give them a terrible name on their 13th birthday can't continue. Despite this, they look identical to the kids and trolls sizeways in their "symbolic form", though look noticeably older in "hero mode"
  • Poe's Law:
    • Dave's Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff webcomic is described as "a webcomic ironically maintained through a satirical cipher" with "legions of devoted fans, most of whom are totally convinced" of his sockpuppet persona's sincerity.
    • When Karkat tries to warn everyone about Gamzee's rampage in a transtimeline memo, Feferi can't tell if he's serious or if all the memos have been jokes.
  • Portmanteau: Given the sheer number of random places and concepts requiring some form of new terminology, there are pretty much an endless assortment of these to choose from, many of which one might not even notice at first.
    • Inverted: When Calliborn lampshades the common use of Portmanteaus in the comic, he ironically splits the word "Portmanteau" itself.
  • Pop Culture Symbology: The cute and adorable Squiddles franchise is an in-universe direct allegory or interpretation of the Horrorterrors from the Furthest Ring.
    • Both Alpha Dave and Alpha Rose become dedicated anti-fascists, disguising their revolutionary ideals in movies and literature respectively.
  • Portal Cut: Briefly considered by Roxy in the alpha session concerning the fenestrated walls, before being shown to be untrue concering the fenestrated walls. More likely than not a Mythology Gag, considering how often this turned up with the windows in Problem Sleuth.
    • Demonstrated later on by Dirk and a sendificator.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: John, Karkat, and especially Jake have bedroom walls covered with posters of their favorite movies (which, for Jake, is most movies).
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Or should we say Painted With A Forsaken Child. Turns out that Alternian paint sets use the blood of culled wrigglers.
    • Dirk's auto-responder is perhaps a lesser example; AR is, quite literally, a clone of 13-year-old Dirk forced into a pair of idiotic glasses and used as a chat-bot. Yikes.
  • Power Gives You Wings: A consequence of Dave's sprite prototyping when putting on one of the queen's rings.
    • Trolls grow wings if they hit their god tiers as well.
  • Power Glows:
    • Powerful glowing beings: freshly revived gods, guardians powered by the GREEN SUN, the Denizens (especially Yaldabaoth whose head is a big ball of light), anything empowered by Lord English (though that's more of a thick seizure-inducing haze than a glow).
    • Powerful glowing things: the GREEN SUN (powers omnipotents characters), Skaia, the prototyping rings, the Genesis Frog(s), the uranium needed to power the various devices, the universes.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • This is vital to being able to complete Sburb, since the game is designed in a way that requires players to work together in order to win and create the new universe. While the Beta Kids' session fails for several reasons, the teamwork aspect is not one of them, as the kids are True Companions who work together very nicely. Despite a significantly rockier road for the trolls, they were able to successfully use this as well to (mostly, with the exception of Jack messing things up at the very end) complete their session.
    • In fact, the game brutally punishes players like Caliborn who try to skip this and play a solo game by giving them a Harder Than Hard Dead session.
    • Near the very end of the story, Ghost!Tavros who died in the pre-retcon timeline is able to successfully recruit the giant ghost army that Vriska and Meenah need to fight Lord English using nothing but this, to Vriska's total shock and chagrin.
  • Pseudo-Crisis:
    • "I won't be coming back." It's just her dream self won't be coming back, actually; she herself will be fine. Only an example as Hussie stopped there for the day; the resolution was solved the next day. It turns out to be Foreshadowing, though, since by the time it actually comes to go on that mission, all the kids' dream selves have died, meaning that whoever goes has to (apparently) make an actual heroic sacrifice.
    • John's dramatic impalement in the chest on this page is a lot less worrisome for those who remember that players who've reached the God Tiers can only die heroically or justly, and getting sucker-stabbed by the Big Bad is very unlikely to fall into either category. Or, who remember that we've seen a panel that shows John, in his godhood, that takes place after that battle.
  • Psycho Serum: The Spiral Sucker compels its user to lick it before it's even consumed, and when Jane licks it, she engages Trickster Mode, which turns her into a mind-numbingly saccharine Stepford Smiler with enough power to revive cover half a decaying skeleton planet with plant life.
    • In much earlier pages than that, the Mind Honey certainly counts; Sollux's psychic abilities seem to be overtaken by it, leading to him causing great destruction while under its influence. Just an accidental taste of it makes him shoot off a psychic blast so powerful it kills his lusus, and Vriska takes advantage of its potency to psychically manipulate Sollux into killing Aradia.
    • Averted with Gamzee and the sopor slime; it STOPS him from going insane rather than compels him to.
  • Pun: You slay them all with your RAPIER WIT.
  • Punched Across the Room: Dad decking a Shale Imp through a wall.
  • Purple Is Powerful:
    • Purple-blooded trolls are the most powerful of the highblood aristocracy and Fuchsia-blood Empresses are the most powerful of all: they (or at least Her Imperious Condescension) are incredibly long-lived and can possess powers from the whole hemospectrum.
    • The shadowy, purple-spiked moon of Derse is home to many antagonists (Jack, Black Queen, Jack and the Midnight Crew, Jack...) and the kids who "wake up" there aren't slouches themselves: Rose (whose chat color is purple) briefly becomes host to a horror-terror, Roxy can make things appear out of nowhere, Dave and Dirk are master manipulators.
    • The new universe created in Act 7 glows purple (the trolls' was red and the kids' was blue; the survivors of both are shown living in harmony on a new planet within along with carapace people and consorts).

  • Queer Flowers:
    • Rose and Kanaya start a relationship with one another, and even though Kanaya's species has no concept of "homosexuality" (or "heterosexuality" for that matter), Hussie has specifically stated that Kanaya is a lesbian.
    • Rose flirts with various alien ladies, such as Meenah, throughout the webcomic.
    • The desktop image on Rose's computer is of a sexy tentacle lady.
  • The Quest: The whole story is one giant journey to beat Sburb and create a new universe to replace Earth.

  • Race Against the Clock: Multiple uses, all of them involving specific countdown clocks and lots of really, really big meteors.
  • Rage Against the Author: Taken to the logical extreme. The Big Bad, Lord English, not only kills Hussiebot, but he kills Andrew Hussie himself.
  • Rainbow Speak: Aside from color-coded chatlogs — Often, differently colored words are also converted into animated GIFs and have a sort of supernatural sparkle to them. Then there's this particularly memorable piece of Angrish: SHE HAS WHAT!?
  • Raised by Wolves: All of the trolls aren't raised by their immediate ancestors, but by a random monster called a "lusus" who chooses them after they go through several trials in the "brooding caves."
  • A Rare Sentence: Via Hussie himself on Twitter.
    a line i seriously just wrote in reality: "People were less prepared for a double juggalo presidency than they ever imagined.
  • Readings Blew Up the Scale: Kanaya's "flighty broads and their snarky horseshitometer" explodes when Kanaya watches Rose blow up her first gate. It simply couldn't take this much horseshit.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: In a more roundabout way that usual, exemplified during the first text log of post-Scratch Lalonde: she is the only character to make accidental misspelling in her text and then correct them with an asterisks (something way more common in real life texting). Even she only appears to do this because she is drunk. Or maybe on purpose. Of course, we've been shown that all kids are pretty intelligent for their ages, and can all be safely described as "nerds", so it's not as unrealistic as it first appears. And trolls write in another alphabet altogether anyway.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Karkat gives one about himself in a memo to Jade. Earlier, he gives a pretty satisfying one to Vriska in Act 5 Act 1, calling her "the biggest sociopath who ever lived".
  • Recap Episode: 3 thus far. Hussie began a fourth a few updates before the end of Act 5 Act 2, but comically decided against it.
  • Record Needle Scratch: This occurs several times, the first time being here.
    • Here, an actual in-universe record is involved.
  • Recurring Riff: Several songs have become these, most notably Doctor and Sburban Jungle, with Upward Movement also becoming quite prominent.
  • Resurrection Gambit:
    • After being wounded in a fight, Vriska forces Tavros to take her to her quest bed and commands him to kill her, as dying on your quest bed causes you to be reborn with God-Tier powers. Tavros can't do it and she has to kill herself instead.
    • In order to be able to get into the session and escape forces attacking him, Dirk decapitates his own head and sendificates (teleports) it to Jake, who is pressured into kissing it, knowing that this will bring him back to life. This also serves as a way to force a Relationship Upgrade between the two.
  • Resurrective Immortality: There is guaranteed immortality for any Sburb player who reaches God Tier which can only be achieved by a player arranging to be killed on their Quest Bed. They simply cannot be Killed Off for Real unless the death is deemed just or heroic. They'll be dead for a few minutes, and then they'll jump right back up again without any blood on their clothes. In theory they can come back even if their corpse is annihilated (and it has been more or less proven that they can come back after being incinerated.) They also won't succumb to old age.
  • Retconjuration: John tries utilizing Lord English's secret treasure by putting his hand through it. It allows him to access any point in time of any of Homestuck's continuities, shown by featuring dozens of panels concerning previous events now containing glimpses of John's arm. What's interesting about this is that the original panels found within the comic have been replaced with the ones present in the updates in question - including the animated sequences. A similar thing happened once John met his Denizen - he retconjured all the oil from his land to different points throughout the comic.
  • Retroactive Preparation: The Appearifiers and Sendifiers easily facilitate this. The Bunny was intended to be this trope by Jade and her penpal from the future. While it definitely helps the Kids against Jack, it's also what caused Jack to be such a problem to begin with.
    • A more subtle example: The Trolls help the Kids in their preparations for the Scratch by passing on information from their future selves. They then tell the Trolls what they need to be told in the past.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Discussed since Grimbark!Jade uses it as a threat against Kanaya.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    GT: Yeah but come on its not like youre from a century in the future.
    TT: Well. No.
    GT: Nor am i a quaint man of the past. Pardon me but do i SOUND like some trollycar bellwether toiling in the heart of the mustache belt from the ruff n tumble year of nineteen aught nine???
    TT: ...
    TT: He said unironically.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: WV comments to himself that women are "a riddle draped in a mystery wrapped in post-apocalyptic shroudwear."
  • Rivers of Blood: Karkat's Sgrub Baby Planet, the Land of Pulse and Haze, is filled with rivers of blood. Fitting for his role as the Knight of Blood.
    • The Carpacean rebellion, led by WV, ends with every soldier but him dead, and the Battlefield's river fills with their blood.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Karkat launches one to save Terezi from Gamzee while Dave chases after PM and Jack to save Jade (who is already dead). Both of them are killed, though thankfully this gets undone by John's retconning.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The [S] Game Over flash contained many different varieties of these: Kanaya going against (and killing) Gamzee to avenge Karkat. Rose going against HIC to avenge Kanaya (and getting mortally wounded for her trouble). Terezi going against Aranea to avenge Karkat (and also getting mortally wounded). Jake trying to perform a Heroic Sacrifice for Jane (but failing) and Roxy saving Rose. HIC going against (and killing) Aranea. Not to mention John beating CALIBORN to a pulp in a fist fight.
  • Robot Hair:
    • Jade Harley, Dirk Strider, and Andrew Hussie all have robots of themselves complete with matching hair that appear to be carved/shaped out of the same metal used for the body.
    • Aradia Megido's soulbot has synthetic hair that is the same long, curly hairstyle that she had when she was alive.
    • The herd of robotic Maplehoofs have the same mane as their living counterpart.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: John's 'Boss Fight' vs the Ogres on the roof of his house.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Many characters have scribbles all over their walls. John's is the only true example of the trope however; the rest are mild or intentional for Sburb.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse:
  • Rule of Animation Conservation: Flash is used for a) exposition via walkarounds in which one interacts with the environment, b) minigames, c) atmospheric detail via music or sound, or d) epic cinematic moments. Andrew seems to like the last usage best; as of late the other three types of flashpages have been greatly reduced. Simple .gif animation, on the other hand, is so common it's not even worth mentioning anymore (unlike in the early days of Problem Sleuth).
  • Rule 34:

  • Sampling: Sollux's theme, The La2t Frontiier, features a snippet of Guile's Theme.
  • San Dimas Time: Called "circumstantial simultaneity", which is when two events can happen at different times or time lines and can still be thought of as happening at "the same time".
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Terezi manages to get her revenge on Vriska due to the fact that Vriska is unable to stray from her compulsive behaviors.
  • Save Scumming: One of the main functions of being a Hero of Time, particularly for Dave as the Knight; he is able to travel to different points in time at will, though doing this always creates a doomed offshoot timeline (for the version of himself that chose not to do so). He openly resents the fact that, every time he uses his ability, he is dooming another version of himself to death.
  • Saving the World: Subverted Trope; It's assumed that the whole point of the game is to save it from the meteor shower that's pummeling it, but by the middle of Act 2, John is informed that not only is that not the point of the game, but it is impossible to save Earth and its destruction is part of the game plan. The human civilization may be doomed, but John and his friends have a greater responsibility: the creation of the next universe.
  • Say My Name:
    • John is quite fond of this, yelling out people's names whenever they get the best of him.
      • naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!
    • After seeing his guardian fall to his death, Equius screams "AURTHOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUR!"
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: This trope ends up Played for Laughs; the evil cult that dominates the hierarchy of the planet Alternia paint walls with the blood of the lower castes as sacrifice to the Mirthful Messiahs, who will usher in the death of the universe itself. The joke? Their vernacular, belief system and aesthetic are all directly ripped from the work of Insane Clown Posse and juggalo culture.
  • Scenery Gorn: Major gorn when John is flying through the aftermath of [S] GAME OVER. All lovingly rendered in super-wide and super-tall images. Among other things, graphic glitches, smashed buildings, and entire planets smashed into each other are seen.
  • Scenery Porn: Skaia gets quite impressive after a few prototypings, and that's to say nothing of most of the Lands - LOWAS and LOFAF stand out the most.
    • Not to mention any time clouds appear, they are incredibly detailed.
    • The planets of the B2 Kids are very impressive to look at, from Act 6 Act 4. As desolate and empty as they are, they still manage to look very visually appealing.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Justified with the Green Sun. Space works differently in the Furthest Ring. Averted during Cascade, the Act 5 finale. Despite the Human Universe being destroyed by Jack, Earth hangs around for a few minutes simply because the Universe is huge, and none of the Red Miles had reached it yet.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • Battles in Skaia are fought with swords, flying battleships, and genetically engineered chess monstrosities.
    • Mindfang's journal reveals that Alternia had sailboats and starships at the same time.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: In-universe, several of the more cumbersome fetch modi can be a pain to work with.
    This will obviously prove to be a completely ridiculous and untenable way of managing an inventory, and lead to a great many follies. Later on, you would swap your modus with your hacker friend, a guy who unlike you happens to be competent with programming. It would only make sense. But for the time being it makes your life kind of a nightmare. There are so many stupid things that happen because of this modus. So many, you just have no idea.
  • Screw Destiny: Homestuck at its core is a constant back and forth between this trope and You Can't Fight Fate. Even when characters dedicate all of their time searching for ways to avoid or rewrite their destiny, they only end up learning that even their dissent was taken into account by the game, and that ignoring the game's will could lead them to an even worse fate. It's only through multiple colossal failures and trial and error that the characters manage to succeed in the end.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When John is first attacked by the ogres, an imp quickly flees the scene by parachuting from the roof with an umbrella.
    > John: Be the imp
    You be the imp and quickly abscond the fuck outta there!!!
    This is what weaker adversaries do whenever things get too hot to handle, which is frequently.
  • Screw Yourself:
    • The reader imagines John's Retconjuration-induced meeting with himself from earlier in the comic resulting in the two Johns making out with each other.
    • After the creation of Jadesprite, Karkat has an Imagine Spot of Jade and Jadesprite making out, causing many a Freudian Slip in conversations with the kids.
    • An angry Karkat sarcastically suggests that Dave fuck himself, only to remember that Dave can use his time powers to "TURN [THAT] AUDACIOUS FANTASY INTO A SENSUAL REALITY."
    • Karkat suspects at one point that his soulmate (of hate) may be his future or past self.
  • Scully Syndrome: Inverted with John following an ominous trail of black ooze.
    TG: dude monsters arent real
    TG: thats stupid kids stuff for stupid babies
    EB: maybe. yeah you're right.
    TG: what are you an idiot
    TG: of course there are monsters in your house
    TG: youre in some weird evil monster dimension come on
  • Seahorse Steed: Eridan, as seen here, rides his giant seahorse lusus as a steed capable of moving in both water and air.
  • Sea of Sand: Tavros' planet, the Land of Sand and Zephyr, is covered by an immense sea of reddish-tan sand dotted with occasional ruins.
  • Second-Person Narration:
    • The narration refers to the focus character as "you" and only uses "I" when Andrew Hussie inserts himself into the plot, in keeping with MSPA's role as a sort of Interactive Fiction.
    • Caliborn doesn't understand this point of view and inconsistently attempts to parody it throughout his own work, Homosuck.
    • The "you" in the narration is sometimes not used to describe a character, but the actual person reading Homestuck. Andrew Hussie uses this to treat the reader like a character under his control, such as when he spends five paragraphs describing how the reader instinctually takes selfies and upload them to the internet while watching the terror of page 9828 loop at least 20 times.
  • Secret Message Wink: Roxy frequently types out *wink* (usually misspelled as "wonk") while making innuendos and transparent hints, such as on several occasions when she drops messages that Jane likes Jake.
  • Seductive Spider: Marquise Spinneret Mindfang, Vriska's ancestor, was a pirate who, like her descendant, had a spider lusus and an arachnid motif. Her journal describes her as having many lovers, from her dysfunctional kismesitude with Orphaner Dualscar, to the many trolls she Mind Raped into becoming her Sex Slaves - including Virgin Mary archetype the Dolorosa, to the Summoner, her flushed partner who eventually killed her. Vriska attempts to emulate this flirtatious behavior, especially in her toxic relationship with Summoner's descendant Tavros, dressing in a silk fairy dress to seduce him, forcibly kissing him, and attempting to mind control him into loving her.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Much of the dialogue, when not about the plot, devolves into random (when not dark) topics. Dave and Karkat in particular are prone to prompting these due to their shared Motor Mouth tendencies. When they're together, we get gems like this one, where a conversation about Dave's Unresolved Sexual Tension with Terezi somehow devolves sideways into an argument over mayonnaise.
  • Self-Parody: The first five sub-acts of Act 6 Act 6 are incompetent satires of the early acts of Homestuck, and are fittingly created by the comic's Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: When Aranea launches a sword at Jane in Game Over, Jake jumps in the way and is impaled. Aranea promptly telekinetically moves his body, with the sword sticking through him, to stab Jane anyway.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The Black Queen's outfit is much skimpier than the White Queen's. On the other hand, Snowman's attire is sensible, particularly for a Femme Fatale.
  • Separated at Birth: The four Kids and each of their parental guardians were all genetically engineered simultaneously in a lab, strapped to their own meteor, and shot through portals to different points in time and space. This divides the Four Kids into two groups of siblings, which makes shipping incredibly weird. This turns out to be an aspect in every successful game of Sburb, as the twelve trolls and their twelve guardians were made in the same convoluted way.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Sessions of Sburb can take weeks or months to complete between fighting each planet's Denizens, ascending through thirteen gates, and waiting for the Black Army to kill the White King. In the Kids' session, John accidentally gives a NPC a Disc-One Nuke that lets him kill the White King less than a day into the session, leaving the Kids with 24 hours before they lose all chance to win the game. The odd thing here is that the supposed "breaks" were part of the sequence all along, since everything the Kids will do has been predestined.
    • One of the trolls convinces John to fight his boss-monster Denizen far, far before he's powerful enough to do so, getting him brutally killed. Immediately played straight again when Future Dave comes back to prevent this, since he brings a massive pile of endgame gear for the heroes to use.
  • Serial Escalation: Yes. Everything just flipping its shit further and further off the handle.
    Andrew: There was only one sure thing I knew when starting HS. That was that this thing would go batshit insane in ways I couldn't begin to imagine. In fact, it was practically the mission statement.
  • Serious Business: The name of a website Dad frequents, which focuses on the distresses brought about by business attire.
    • For cherubs, mating isn't just a means of procreation. It's an epic battle for the fate of the cosmos.
    • Post-Scratch Draconian Dignitary eventually takes to Dad's fashion motif, and forces the entire kingdom of Derse to wear one at the threat of execution (in effect his also causes the Courtyard Droll and the Draconian Dignitary to wear their Midnight Crew outfits). He also puts Dad's 'Serious Business' network back up, but only for Derse. Most of the discussion in the network is about hats, until the Condesce gets angry at DD for wasting money on what he told her was a 'public work project'.
  • Serpent of Immortality: Cherubs dueling in serpent form are immortal and invulnerable to anything from outside their duel.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: When Davesprite travels back in time to prevent John's death. And when many, many Aradiabots do likewise to prevent various mistakes in the trolls' timeline.
  • Shades of Conflict: Many, due to the expansiveness of the cast and conflict. Vriska is probably the best case to showcase the diversity; her shade goes all over the place depending on where she is in the story and who she's up against.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Fire is quite notoriously the hottest thing there is.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Earth in the year 2422, following its destruction in the beta timeline, certainly fits the bill with its rolling deserts. The Land of Sand and Zephyr also qualifies.
  • Ship Sinking: Lots.
    • John/Jade and Dave/Rose were popular ships... until they were revealed to be Separated at Birth Half-Identical Twins.
    • Parodied in the opening flash for Act 6 Intermission 3, where a character warns that ship sinking is a potential trigger.
    • In Act 6 Intermission 2, after a year of traveling between sessions, John looks back at all the romantic shenanigans of the previous acts with a huge shrug, since that was all just stuff that happened on a single crazy day. He's more interested in adventure and games than his half-forgotten conversations with Vriska or Karkat's crazy shipping grid. He also says that he wasn't even remotely sure how to react to Vriska's flirtations, and dismisses the idea that he had feelings for her. He later tells Roxy that he sort of hated Vriska after seeing the way she treated her supposed friends in the afterlife.
    • Several pairings that were popular with the fans actually briefly became canon, only to receive little-to-no screentime as a couple before breaking up, including Davesprite/Jade, Dave/Terezi, and Dirk/Jake (though the latter may or may not have gotten back together by the end of the series).
  • Ship Tease: All over the place. The teasing has gotten more and more prominent as shipping has grown exponentially within the fandom, to the point that sometimes Hussie is clearly putting it in just to mess with the fans. Some of the most prominent early examples were Dave/Jade, Karkat/Terezi, John/Vriska, and Rose/Kanaya, but this greatly expanded over time as more characters were introduced.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Initially played straight during the events of Game Over, in which most of the Kids and Trolls end up dying after the three-year journey into the session, which becomes FUBAR'd due to Aranea's self-righteous crusade and the Condesce stepping up to the plate, making the Session completely Unwinnable... But this is ultimately subverted when John figures out how to utilize his Retcon powers to their full potential and wipe that timeline from the narrative.
  • Shout-Out: Oh, you love shout-outs. If only there were a whole page just for thoH HELL YES!
    > Document references to other media.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • The webcomics the author wrote before Homestuck (Jailbreak, Bard Quest, and Problem Sleuth) are all video games within the Homestuck universe, presumably within the same franchise.
    • The very site which hosts Homestuck, MS Paint Adventures, exists within the Homestuck universe, where Andrew Hussie has apparently started a new adventure featuring the Midnight Crew. And during the Midnight Crew intermission, it is revealed that Homestuck is the Show Within a Show for the Midnight Crew universe, only for it to later turn out both the Midnight Crew intermission and Homestuck proper exist within the same reality. It's every bit as confusing as it sounds.
    • The ironically terrible Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is presented as a webcomic created by one of the leads, serving as an in-universe meme generator for the kids.
    • This game-influenced comic focuses on the characters' attempts to conquer the in-universe video game Sburb.
    • "Squiddles" is also a kid's show within the series' universe. John, Jade and Rose all have merchandise related to it, in addition to the Squiddles poster and album that you can buy in real life.
  • Shown Their Work:
  • Shutting Up Now: When Dave has a grand Freudian Slip, he quickly decides to stop talking.
  • Shy Finger-Twiddling: Eridan in [S] Kanaya: Return to the Core.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Mildly associated with the Space aspect with Uranium, First Guardians, and the Green Sun.
  • Side Quest: Innumerable pointless ones. Every player's planet seems to have them, as an alternate way of advancing up their Echeladder. They are mostly pointless, but may tie into the planet's Denizen subplot.
  • Sigil Spam: Tons of them - the characters' symbols, the Sburb/Sgrub logo, and the fenestrated plane (representing the fourth wall) make frequent appearances even before their meaning is fully understood by the reader.
  • Signature Instrument: The four main kids each have an instrument they play which is associated with them through their leitmotifs and Lands. These associations also apply to their post-Scratch counterparts, with the apparent exception of Jake.
    • John plays the piano. A piano version of his leitmotif is played in-comic and his land features a massive pipe organ, which he must play as part of his quest.
    • Rose, an elegant yet fiercely rebellious goth, plays the violin. Violin music dominates her leitmotifs and battle theme. Her quest involves her learning to "play the rain", which is likened to instrument strings.
    • Dave uses mixing equipment such as turntables. His time powers make use of turntable-based equipment, his leitmotifs and battle themes feature turntable-like effects, and the device he must activate to begin the Scratch is a massive record turntable.
    • Jade plays bass guitar, which is featured in her leitmotif.
  • Signature Laugh:
    • Most characters have one, for example Sollux's is "eheheh", Terezi's is "H3H3H3", and Nannasprite/Jane's is "HOO HOO HOO!"
    • "HAHAHA HEHEHE HOHOHO" is a laugh shared among three different characters: Calsprite, Doc Scratch and Caliborn, each with their own variations in capitalization and punctuation.
  • Silliness Switch: TRICKSTER MODE in some of the game segments activates upon certain button commands.
  • Single-Biome Planet: The planets of the Incipisphere, excluding Skaia. Particularly notable examples include Rose's planet, which is made up entirely of a massive ocean and endless rain, and Tavros's planet, which is almost exclusively a barren, sandy desert.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: In here in the Final Round of Dave's STRIFE with his Bro. Dave loses, but gets Bro's Sburb discs anyways.
  • Single Tear: John sheds one when he reads Jade's birthday letter to him about her wonderful time in Prospit and that she is looking forward to showing him around... after she sacrificed her dream self to save his. Grandpa Harley does as well after he recovers Dream Jade's body.
  • Sky Face: After freaking out over how Con Air is actually a terrible movie, John storms off outside and sees Davesprite's face in the sky. He promptly accuses him of using his sprite powers to do this.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Quite literally, between Aradia and Equius. In troll culture romances based on hating another person are considered just as normal as ones based on love. In one conversation with John, Karkat tells John that his hate is "purely platonic."
  • Slap Yourself Awake: Dave tricks Jade into doing this to herself via Dreambot.
  • Sleep Cute:
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate:
    • The story itself is well up the Fate end, with Stable Time Loops and You Already Changed the Past all over the place. The characters' reactions to this vary: John is skeptical and believes a conventional "win" is still possible ("TT: That's why you're our leader, John."); Rose acknowledges it but is all the more determined to find a way to break the system once and for all; Dave accepts it and complies with Stable Time Loop shenanigans in order to stop more D34D D4V3S appearing, and later on begins to bemoan it as the endless hell of timeline loops erodes at his sanity; Jade revels in it and uses the system to her advantage constantly. Attempts to change the alpha time-line usually result in an offshoot doomed timeline which is destined to fail. Attempting to leave this timeline is possible but you're still marked.
    • John ends up looking right near the end: John acquires a strange power from Caliborn's treasure: he can hoop throughout the alpha timeline and change it. This ultimately helps him prove Terezi's thesis, W3 M4K3 OUR OWN LUCK.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Seesaws all over the damn place. On one hand, the strip on the whole is definitely lighthearted and has a definitive happy ending. On the other, Mood Whiplash abounds in the later acts, and the characters' plight becomes incredibly bleak. This relationship is even embodied in the two "leaders" - we have the plucky, unfailingly optimistic John and the cynical, ever-scowling Jerkass Karkat.
  • Snow Means Death:
    • After destroying a planet with his newfound omnipotence in a Flash Forward, Jack Noir faces the camera as his body flashes with different images from throughout the universe, before settling on an image of Jade falling through the snow back in the present. This is the first hint that Jade will die, because Jack gained his omnipotence by absorbing the monster who loved and cared for Jade, so Jack also absorbed the monster's love for Jade. So, when Jack remembers Jade falling through the snow, it tells us that he is still thinking of her death in his vengeful slaughter. Little does Jack know that Jade will recover, better than ever.
    • When (a version of) John finally meets Vriska, it's in a snowy dreambubble... a big hint that both are dead.
  • Snow Means Love: It's snowing when Vriska finally gets to go on her date with John. Unfortunately, this is because she has died and they've met up in a dream bubble. And this actually isn't her John, but a John who died in a doomed timeline before he met her. Their conversation is sad, but still sweet.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Much of the series is written in this style. This page is a good example, and combines it with some Buffy Speak as well.
    • Also:
      "You should understand that i understand that I am dealing with forces that if handled recklessly will nullify the ability of intelligent beings in all real and hypothetical planes of existence to give a shit."
    • Virtually refined into an art form by now:
      "And the Knight of Blood so embraced the Bard of Rage, and in each other's arms they were aquiver. And with righteous pap and blessed shoosh he did quell his brother's fury. For the Knight looked upon his Bard all acting up and completely losing his shit and he did resolve to calmeth his juggalo ass right the fuck down. And so calmed down his juggalo ass was and would continueth to be for all time. And the Knight in totally settling a murderous clown's ludicrous shit down proper said, Let there be Moirallegiance: and it was so. And between moirails would flow bounteous mirth, and they did hug bumpeth plentifully, and honks of reconciliation echoed far and true into the darkness upon the face of the deep."
    • Jake talks like this a lot; in particular, his idea of profanity tends to vary from old-timey euphemisms to fairly heavy cursing by modern standards, sometimes within the same phrase, resulting in pronouncements like "What the devilfucking dickens?"
    • From Sollux's near-intro page: "You could always try to guess his name. But instead of that, here's a better idea. Why don't you fuck off and go to hell?"
    • Roxy to Jake:
      TG: jake here is some sage advice from a veteran of substance abuse and its deleterious consequences
      TG: dont use your fuckin skulltop when you got a hangover u dork
  • So Proud of You: Dad seems to say (or typewrite) this to John and Jane so often that it's lost most of its meaning to him.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: [S] Act 6 Act 3, in loving homage to the adventure game genre. The puzzle involves collecting skulls, realigning mirrors and beams of light, and messing with pedestals that react to weight for no real good reason except that it's a game and the expected thing to do.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
  • The Spartan Way: Troll society. More specifically, post-Scratch troll society, due to Doc Scratch's influence.
  • Special Edition Title:
    • When Rose checks up on John in Act 3, the Sburb loading icon has been defaced with Shale Imp slick — just like John's house.
    • When we finally see Rose's entry, the roof of the Sburb house is on fire.
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Uses elements of fantasy and sci-fi setting to be a queer work, with lesbian interspecies.
  • Speech-Centric Work: The vast majority of the plot is told through pesterlogs - records of online conversations between characters.
  • Spider Tank: Seen here, presumably in relation to Karkat's Cruxite Artifact.
  • Spirit Advisor: So far, almost every player has protoyped their Kernelsprite with the remains of the deceased, in essence reviving the departed in sprite mode, with all memories of their past life. Using something dead isn't strictly necessary - as seen with John's harlequin doll, Becquerel, and AR - but Kernelsprites are preternaturally drawn to death.
  • Spoof Aesop: This is exactly why babies should not be allowed to dual-wield flintlock pistols.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
    • The trolls didn't come up at all until early in Act 3 with Jade's trollslum and Karkat's one angry rant at her. Then Act 4 featured a few conversations between them and the kids. Then they got the first half of Act 5 entirely dedicated to them while becoming major players in the second half.
    • The Kids get their spotlight stolen again come Act 6, when the Post-Scratch Kids take center stage until Act 6 Act 6.
  • Stable Time Loop: A major element of the comic. Even people with control over time can't do anything more than ensure the timeline goes the way it was supposed to in the first place, because if you do change the timeline, then the totality of existence will slate you for imminent destruction.
    • The first notable example comes from John having a conversation with Future Karkat in which F!Karkat mentions that Terezi came over and punched him. In a conversation with Terezi immediately following this one, John mentions this incident to Terezi who, not having done it yet, asks John about it, leading him to lead her to do it. This comes right after Terezi telling John that the universe "eats paradoxes for breakfast," and really sets the tone for the rest of the story.
    • Vriska makes stable time loops by looking into the future for cool events, and then going back in time to tell people to do things that make the events happen. She wants to be responsible for all of the major events in the story, both good and bad. So yes, it's all her fault, but it was going to happen anyways, and she might as well be responsible for it for bragging rights.
    • Special mention should go to Ectobiology - see My Own Grampa - and the Green Sun. In the case of that latter, it was created by the destruction of two universes. Said destruction was carried out by beings empowered by the Green Sun (directly in one case, through proxy in the other.)
    • Even Lord English's name is the result of a time loop: Post-Scratch Jade renamed herself English after Lord English as a way to spite the Condesce (Lord English being pretty much the only thing the Condesce fears), and her grandson Jake naturally inherits that surname. Much later, during the Kids' confrontation with Caliborn, Jake manages to inflict such an ass-whooping on Caliborn with his Hope powers that Caliborn actually develops a smidgen of respect for him, and thereafter decides to steal Jake's name, naming himself... Lord English.
  • Standard Alien Spaceship: Troll spaceships are streamlined vessels adorned with numerous smooth, forward-pointing spines and painted bright red. The overall impression is one of a swift, sleek, aggressive predator... which suits the troll empire's culture quite well.
    • The "spaceships" used by the Prospitians and Dersites in their eternal war are a bit of an odd case — they're for all intents and purposes world wars-era warship designs capable of flight, but they nonetheless use tapered, slender designs (as a consequence of their real-life bases) and are painted bright gold or purple, respectively.
  • Standing Between the Enemies: Jade attempts to do this during [S] Collide by using the love Bec had for her against both PM and Jack Noir. While it works against Jack, PM responds by sheathing her sword and then punching out Jade out of sheer determination.
  • Star Power: Those with First Guardian powers get them from the Green Sun, a giant star that's twice the mass of the universe.
  • Star Scraper: Sburb necessitates building one's house higher and higher in order to reach the Gates. Eventually, the houses get ridiculously huge. Jade's house is a good example. It even provides the trope image.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Dave and Rose talk under their breaths while important inter-dimensional discussions are going on, only for their friendly neighborhood lesbian vampire to slip in.
    KANAYA: (Whats Liquor)
    DAVE: (SHIT)
    DAVE: (oh god i never get used to how quietly troll vampires sneak around)
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The programming languages, "^CAKE", "~ATH", and "DIS*". Reading the non-alpha characters as their names, we get "carat-cake" (carrot cake), "tilde-ath" ('til death), and dis-asterisk (disaster risk).
    • Rose tries to prototype the Kernelsprite with Colonel Sassacre's, which would have made it a Colonelsprite. In addition, everything Rose writes is both ridiculously fancy and in purple text.
    • Dave uses an Akai MPC-1000 Sampler, with "akai" being Japanese for "red," which is Dave's theme color.
    • WV accidentally turns off the caps lock key on the terminal, unlocking a capsule. Then he hits tab, opening another capsule of... Tab.
    • John has both a "stack" fetch modus, and a "queue" fetch modus, which he eventually combines with his "control deck." Gotta love John's Queuestacks.
    • Fear No Anvil is a hammer that stops time.
    • This one might sneak under a lot of radars due to the abbreviations used for names: AR can’t hit the broad side of a barn. In other words, Aimless Renegade can’t aim.
    • Halley, the dog, whose genes were used to create Bec, who was launched into Earth on a meteor, or perhaps a comet. As further basis for the Stealth Pun, Halley's owner Colonel Sassacre is an Expy of Mark Twain, who was famously born the month Halley's Comet passed by Earth, and who died the next time it came around.
    • "Taking priority at the moment is shipping two passengers". Needless to say, the two passengers turn out to be a couple.
    • Dave's combat style involves repeatedly looping back in time. His shirt's symbol? A broken record. Furthermore, he does this with time-manipulating turntables...i.e, timetables.
    • When Dave alchemizes the SBaHJifier, he generates some Artifact Grist.
    • Those reaching God-tiers receive hoods.
    • After Nepeta's conflict with Gamzee ends ambiguously, the plot shifted focus to the other characters for a period of time during which the audience could not observe the catgirl, and thus could not prove she was alive or dead.
    • In Doc Scratch's section of Part 2 of Act 5, he is always saying what a good host he is. By the time Intermission 2, "The Man In The Cairo Overcoat" rolls around, we found out he meant it in the parasitic sense of the word.
    • Jack being the first guy to think of carving a face on a pumpkin a Jack-o'-lantern.
    • Lord English's Cairo Overcoat doubles as a time-traveling Egyptian sarcophagus. A 'Chicago Overcoat' was a coffin in popular mobster-era slang.
    • The Post-scratch kids are referred to as the Nobles on several occasions. All four of their lands have an element from the rightmost column of the Periodic Table in their names: The Noble Gases.
    • A Brainwashed and Crazy Jane told Dirk to "CEASE REPRODUCTION" when he tried contacting her. So basically... fuck off.
  • Stock Footage: Quite a lot. Hussie frequently reuses old art, either to save time or to highlight the similarities between two different scenes.
  • Stock Scream: Caliborn's intro music to Homosuck contains the Wilhelm scream.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Kankri lectures Mituna on how he's making mentally disabled people look bad by wearing a helmet. He disregards the fact that Mituna is mentally disabled and that he needs to wear a helmet for safety reasons.
  • Stop Motion: Caliborn's "masterpiece" in Act 6 Act 6 Act 5 turns out to be this. Filmed on Vine, even! (Though in reality its just a Flash gif.)
  • Stopped Clock: In the Midnight Crew interlude, Spades Slick uses his knowledge of exactly when a clock breaks in combination with Time Travel to get the drop on the several members of The Felt.
  • Straw Critic: Gamebro Magazine, if their review of Sburb is any indication.
  • Strong Enemies, Low Rewards: Eridan kills all the angels inhabiting his Sburb planet, despite the fact that they aren't initially aggressive, are very strong in a fight, and don't drop any loot. He complains about this, but never realizes that he's supposed to be working with them on his personal quest instead.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Vriska's Nicholas Cage shrine is accompanied by one of these. The full version later makes it onto Vol. 6 of the soundtrack.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • A user of this trope, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, is treated here like the In-Universe creation of one of the characters, who made it so awful as an experiment in irony.
    • Coming from a different direction, while Rose has an excellent vocabulary for a 13-year-old, her brand of purple prose is not well suited to writing an emergency walkthrough for Sburb. It's even less well suited to writing fiction.
    • Roxy's style of writing is even less suited for writing wizard fanfiction. Having No Fourth Wall, inconsistent font switching from monospace to comic-sans, and being drunk half the time only makes it worse.
  • Suddenly Voiced:
    • Pesterchum is the first example of actual dialogue in MS Paint Adventures. Later this gets extended to actual in person dialogue, accompanied with appropriate Lampshade Hanging.
    • John has also sung twice in flashes - despite this, Andrew Hussie has stated that the characters have no canon voices.
  • Super-Deformed:
    • It's hard to see because it's permanent and the protagonists are kids, but when they do something awesome, they're dechibified. Drawing the children in realistic proportions for heroic acts is now called "hero mode". Lampshaded with Aradia, whose first appearances had been in non-chibi form: Render the girl in a more symbolic manner.
    • Doc Scratch does this AGAIN to what turns out to be Aradia's ancestor in the 8/8/11 update: You render yourself in a more symbolic manner this instant.
    • Also played with concerning Gamzee: Andrew drew three blurred out slightly-offscreen visions of Gamzee in Hero Mode before he gave him a Hero Mode panel. It was incredibly silly.
  • Superior Species: Played with and subverted. Karkat in particular lords over the kids claiming the trolls are innately better than them in every way possible. Act 5 reveals that, although their level is technology is much higher than Earth, the younger trolls on Alternia get almost none of it. Their society also seems to be rather behind where people's rights are concerned. Even Karkat hates troll society, until he decides that humans are worse because of something the four protagonists have done.
  • Supernatural Sealing: The Treasure is a literal plot hole that can seal someone with Metatextual Attraction, overwriting their powers and imprisoning them in a nexus outside of canon.
  • Supporting the Monster Loved One: Trolls are raised by wild beasts called lususes. Several of these are horrible monsters, most notably Vriska's "Spidermom", an enormous, troll-eating spider and parental figure. Vriska is forced to regularly kill or lure to their deaths other troll kids in order to feed her lusus. Vriska even keeps her chained up next to her castle.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Unlike Clubs, no one's ever gonna find Spades leaving his smut lying in plain view. And even if you did, that copy of TERRIER FANCY MAGAZINE could belong to ANYBODY. No one could prove nothin'."
    • From Karkat.
    • Karkat also denies that he would ever be interested in a blackrom relationship with John. And then proceeds to spend far too long adding that if any troll ever did say anything in a past/future conversation that John might completely misunderstand due to cultural differences, then clearly that troll was having a bad time and not thinking straight.
    • Jane's epic meltdown over Pesterchum when she encourages Jake to Take a Gay Option, to his surprise.
      What, are you expecting me to advocate a more conservative approach?
      GG: To tell you to keep being shy and cagey and keep beating around the bush indefinitely??
      GG: What would ever give you that idea about me!
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Some of the ancestors' clothing is drawn with repeating patterns reminiscent of their symbol. For example, Orphaner Dualscar's symbol is the Aquarius wavy lines, and his outfit includes a lot of wavy lines.
  • Symbolic Mutilation:
    • Tavros Nitram has zero backbone to stand up to the bullies that abuse him. In short, he has no backbone, largely because a bully threw him off a cliff and paralyzed him.
    • During the Cycle of Revenge where she maims several heroes, Vriska loses her left arm and eye. The injuries are significant both because they emphasize her left side (i.e. her evil side) and identify her with Jack Noir, an Omnicidal Maniac from another storyline who had the same injuries.

  • Take My Hand!: Rose's introduction to JASPERSPRITE; he catches her as she's seconds away from plummeting to her death.
  • Take Our Word for It: Used three times: You both then proceeded to have one of the worst/best/neutrally ratednote  rap battles in the history of Paradox Space.
  • Take That!:
    • Dirk has a bona fide Buster Sword in the kitchen. Dave tries to Captchalogue it, then concludes that it "might be the only thing in the whole apartment that's a bigger piece of shit than [Dave's] own sword. You put it back behind the microwave where it belongs".
    • Jane's love of MUSTACHIOED FUNNYMEN. ...Except Gallagher. "You've got to draw the fucking line somewhere."
    • Dirk is pretty blunt about hating Avatar, though Jake liked it a whole lot. Later, when Dirk breaks the news about the post-apocalyptic Earth being flooded, he takes a jab at another movie.
      GT: Wow like the epic kevin costner film?
      TT: Almost exactly. Especially by the same degree of shittiness.
    • Guy Fieri is the third and final Antichrist. And the Insane Clown Posse getting elected president (both of them) was the official sign that civilization was doomed.
    • All the conversations in Act 6, Intermission 3 so far have been in the style of Tumblr posts (complete with Twitter-style hashtags and the option to heart or spade conversations or "rebubble" them.) Of course, Hussie has spared no opportunity to take jabs at the Tumblr community with this (including Kankri, who's a walking Take That! to a specific species of self-involved and self-righteous social justice blogger).
    • John comments that he finds Doctor Who to be lame, and notes that would be a substantially better show if it just revolved around the Doctor using his powers to prank people using the TARDIS instead of saving the world. He takes this playful jab at the series further by adding that Harry Anderson would be a better Doctor than any actor that has already played the character.
    • John tries to cheer Jake up by pointing out how silly Batman is and how much work his sidekick must do.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • So much. AH is constantly making jokes about things that the fans had gotten wrong, or failed to grasp something implicit. Sometimes, it's subtle, like when Kanaya reveals that the Genesis Frog the Kids are meant to create is also the universe they are meant to create. The only reason she didn't point it out is because she thought it was so obvious, apparently unlike the audience.
      GA: Sorry I Thought That Was Obvious
    • The text at the bottom of this page makes it clear AH doesn't care as much about "Hero Mode" as his fans do.
    • He even takes potshots at the readers who complained about the dramatic shift in tone and execution of Homestuck and Problem Sleuth.
      Since then, the author has been steadily updating PROBLEM SLEUTH 2, which you have been following avidly. You are happy that he stayed in that lane, and stuck with a time-tested formula. If he went in a different direction, you probably would have found it really disappointing.
    • And Tavrissprite was pretty much a concentrated Take That, Audience! at fans who were clamoring for Vriska and/or Tavros to come back somehow. The resulting abomination lasted all of three pages before it self-destructed.
    • The explanation behind The Felt jabs at fans for obsessing over troll romance and anatomy over the story.
  • Take That Me:
    • Doc Scratch at one point flat out refuses to cross the fifth wall to interact with Homestuck's other omniscient narrator, Andrew Hussie, the creator of MS Paint Adventures.
      Doc Scratch: I refuse to acknowledge this foolish man's self indulgent rubbish. His frivolous charades have no place in this building, or anywhere in this reality.
    • Hussie has a bit of fun at the expense of his own medium in this bit of a pesterlog between Caliborn and Dirk Strider:
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Jade shoves John out of the way of a falling moon, sacrificing her dreamself in the process.
    • Jake leaps in front of the zonked-out Jane, taking Dirk's sword through the chest via Aranea's telekinesis and sustaining a Heroic death.
    • John shoves sleeping Dream Roxy out of the way of Meenah's trident, which hits him and wakes him up.
  • Talking to the Dead:
    • Jade talks about and interacts with her Grandpa as if he were alive and well. He isn't there. Rose also has a brief argument with Jaspers, before concluding that "The last thing [she] need[s] is sass from a dead cat." Also Aradia and anyone who's spoken to her.
    • Inverted with Feferi, who can speak with living dreamers in memory bubbles.
  • Tangled Family Tree:
    • John is, in a way, everyone's paradoxical father. He created the Guardians in a lab, then created himself and his friends from splicing the Guardians' DNA.
    • John and Jade are genetic siblings and their genetic parents are their adoptive grandparents (Nanna and Grandpa) which makes Mr. Egbert John's genetic half-brother as well as his adoptive father.
    • Bro and Mrs. Lalonde are genetic father and mother respectively to both Dave and Rose, who are genetically full siblings. Bro is also Dave's adoptive older brother. Mom is the only guardian whose genetic and adoptive relationships line up.
    • Post-Scratch, the genetic relationships are the same but the adoptive relationships are even more complicated. Mr. Crocker adopts his genetic grandmother Jane as his daughter. Jade adopts her genetic father Jake as her grandson. Roxy believes her genetic daughter Rose to be her mother. Dirk is aware that Dave is his genetic son but thinks of him as an adoptive older brother instead.
    • Some fans have proposed an alternate theory to remove the genetic relationships between the B1 kids and the resulting Incest Yay: the kids are half-identical siblings of their respective Guardians. The relation between Bro and Dave is normalized, but John then becomes his grandmother's brother and his father's uncle.
    • For trolls, things are MUCH simpler.
  • Technicolor Eyes:
    • Trolls have yellow sclera and black/gray irises as juveniles and eyes the same color as their blood as adults, meaning that every one of the trolls would have a different adult eye color—except Terezi, whose irises are permanently red after being damaged by the Alternian sun, and Sollux, because of his unusual red and blue eyes.
    • Both sets of human kids use text colors that reflect their eye colors. The Prospit dreamers have a range of blue and green eye colors that mostly fall within the natural human range. The Derse dreamers' eye colors are much less realistic. Dirk's (orange/amber) and Rose's (lilac) are at best improbable; Dave's (red) and Roxy's (pink) are only seen in extreme cases of albinism, although Word of God suggests that neither character is specifically intended to be albino.
    • The frog needed to complete the Genesis Frog AKA Bilious Slick has flashing red-blue-green-purple eyes with yellow swirls around the pupils.
    • Lord English has a particularly unnerving pair that his followers occasionally share.
  • Teeth Flying:
    • Fin loses a tooth during the intermission. Importantly, Diamonds sees the tooth on the floor and uses its placement to know where and when to throw a swing that, due to Fin's time powers, hits him several minutes ago, knocking the tooth onto the floor in the first place.
    • Sollux has this happen to him which has the benefit of removing his Lisp.
    • Caliborn spits out a tooth after gnawing one of his legs off.
    • Gamzee loses a couple after being ravaged by Caliborn.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Alternia, as all adult Trolls are off-planet.
  • Temporal Paradox: For obvious reasons, the various Appearafiers are programmed to avoid creating a grandfather paradox when appearafying subjects; they will respond to any such attempt by producing a gelatinous paradox ghost imprint.
  • Tempting Fate: "The downpour of meteors has stopped."
    • Dave's and Davesprite's conversation about how safe their copy of Rose's DNA book is. However, this is Dave we're talking about, and he immediately subverts it once he's finished being ironic as usual.
      DAVE: safer than some flintstone vitamins in a bottle
      DAVE: keep twisting junior all you get is clicks
      DAVE: yeah
      DAVE: anyway guess ill go back down and burn that book note 
    • Also, waaaay back in mid-Act 1, Dave asks John why so many people want to talk to him and John jokingly mentions that he's "discovered a comet that will destroy the Earth". Oh, if only he knew...
    • Meenah at some point, when Aranea is expositioning on how the beta trolls all died. Meenah asked if someone would just kill her. She wonders wait, is that possible, can you kill a ghost? She asks if someone could just make her double dead. Shortly after, the Big Bad KILLS all the ghosts in a dream bubble. He just killed hundreds or even thousands of already dead people. She was tempting fate, but the good news is she, or at least the version of her that asked the question, didn't double die.
    • From here: "You almost feel sorry for the adversaries you will face tonight. They will likely pose neither team much challenge at all. Unless one of the links in the prototyping chain includes something especially huge and monstrous, but really, what are the odds of that happening?"
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: While all trolls have black lips (as stated in Kanaya's introduction), the boys and Nepeta are depicted with lips the same color as their skin, i.e. grey. This is because all the other girls apparently do care about fashion enough to wear lipstick. Also, only the female trolls are drawn with eyelashes, and many of them wear eye makeup.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • Doc Scratch has to die in order to become an, ahem, "excellent host" for Lord English. The means by which this happens are complex to say the least.
    • In the A1 session, Meenah deliberately blew up herself and her 11 teammates as soon as The Scratch was past the point of no return, so that they could continue to exist in dream bubbles after death and help shape events in the A2 session.
    • In the B2 session, Dirk uses a microwave-sized sendificator to decapitate himself and send his severed head to Jake. The Auto-Responder went along for the ride via his glasses and instructed Jake to kiss the head. After a certain amount of squicked-out "You want me to do WHAT???" and LOTS of frustration from both him and AR, Jake complies, reviving Dirk via his dreamself. Dirk is then in position to round up Roxy and Jane, travel back in time to get all four players synchronized in space and time, and wake Jake up so he can kiss Dirk's decapitated head, thereby completing a stable time loop and guaranteeing that this will remain the alpha timeline.
  • That's What She Said: Roxy drops one on this page:
    JOHN: yes, see, there's this huge organ...
    ROXY: that is almost certainly what she said
    JOHN: oh, shush. :p
  • Theme Naming: There are few names that don't fit some sort of pattern.
    • The kids each have a four-lettered, one-syllable first name and a two-syllable surname: John Egbert, Rose Lalonde, Dave Strider, Jade Harley. The trend is continued with the alpha-kids: Jane Crocker, Jake English, Dirk Strider and Roxy Lalonde.
    • The initial joke names for the first four are themed, too: Zoosmell Pooplord for John matches Farmstink Buttlass for Jade, and Flighty Broad for Rose and Insufferable Prick for Dave were name-callings they gave each other.
    • John is the odd name out among the Prospit dreamers, as Jade, Jane, and Jake are all different by only a single consonant.
    • All Pesterchum/Trollian screennames are a combination of two words, the first left lower case and the second capitalized. The kids's chumhandles are ectoBiologist (formerly ghostyTrickster), tentacleTherapist, turntechGodhead, and gardenGnostic. The girls (TT and GG) have like-lettered initials, and the boys (TG and GT) have differing letters, which corresponds to XX (female) and XY (male) chromosomes.
      The twelve trolltags are all Meaningful Names that reveal a Western Zodiac motif. The trolls' real names, first and last, are six letters each, and generally have some meaning related to their associated sign.==> 
      The trolls' screenname initials together with the kids' form all sixteen two-letter combinations of A, C, G, and T, the four DNA nucleobases. Or they did until John changed his chumhandle, which makes ectoBiologist an Odd Name Out. (However, there is significance to ectoBiologist being a reference to a pseudoscience that sounds similar to carcinoGeneticist: like John, Karkat was the one destined to create paradox clones of himself and his friends in the trolls' session.)
    • The Exiles have descriptive Adjective Noun monikers related to wayfaring and/or defection: Wayward Vagabond, Peregrine Mendicant, Aimless Renegade, Windswept Questant. Pre-exiling, their occupations fit their initials. PM was a Parcel Mistress, AR was an Authority Regulator, WQ was the White Queen, and WV was a Warweary Villein.
    • The Midnight Crew members are named after playing card suits: Spades Slick, Diamonds Droog, Hearts Boxcars, Clubs Deuce. The kids' instances of the Agents that make up the MC members in the trolls' session share their initials: the Draconian Dignitary, Hegemonic Brute, Courtyard Droll, and the Sovereign Slayer, a.k.a. Jack Noir.
    • And then there's The Felt, pool-themed adversaries of the Midnight Crew with Numerical Theme Naming. From the bottom up, we have Itchy (from ichi, Japanese for one), Doze (dos, Spanish for two), Trace (tres, Spanish for three), Clover (as in a Four-Leaf Clover), Fin (slang for a five-dollar bill), Die (as in a six-sided die), Crowbar (from the crooked shape of a 7), Snowman (from the shape of an 8), Stitch ( time saves nine), Sawbuck (slang for a ten-dollar bill), Matchsticks (two straight lines, like an 11), Eggs (a dozen eggs), Biscuits (a baker's dozen), Quarters (quatorze, French for fourteen), and Cans (quinze, French for fifteen). Each member's name doubles as a reference to their respective billiard ball number and a Meaningful Name related to their power or appearance. On top of that, they're led by Lord English (named after a sidespin put on the cue ball), and Doc Scratch (named after a foul in pool).
  • Theme Table: A pretty in-depth listing of the similarities between protagonists can be found here. The parallels also have a tendency to spawn numerous fan theories, some a little loopier than others. The truth turns out to be pretty loopy itself, mind.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Sort of. Although there are too many pieces of music for one to really count as the comic's theme tune, the theme tune it doesn't have is probably Sburban Jungle, a short version of which is played here. The full version is then used in a Theme Music Power-Up here. And then it's remixed into all the other songs that have appeared so far, and some that haven't, and you end up with the magnificent Mind Screw of an update here.
  • There Are No Therapists: A downplayed example in that there are no professional therapists, but plenty of amateurs: Rose takes a keen interest in psychology (with the irony that she probably has the most mental issues of any of the Chums) and Kanaya seems to perform a lot of therapy on her fellow trolls (suggesting that Tavros gives his self-esteem a name, arguing with Aradia and Vriska about the nature of fate and free will). John also seems to have a bit of talent for this, at least in terms of diagnosing the problem. Karkat seems to fancy himself a relationship counselor, and manages to accurately psychoanalyze Vriska in between gushing about romance. The fact that the other trolls seek out his counsel when they are in need of romantic advice suggests that he may actually have a deep and useful understanding of the complicated subject; whether this is just part of his personality or if watching rom-coms actually taught him useful things about hate and pity remains unknown, and probably up to interpretation. The lack of even an amateur in the Alpha kids session is probably one reason why they don't even manage the half-victories the others achieved.
  • They Do: Rose and Kanaya get married in the credits.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Normally present in all of the characters' base sprites, but absent in Hero Mode.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
    • After preparing herself a beautiful purple dress and eldritch wands, Rose drops a gigantic F-bomb while killing a few enemy Mooks.
    • Equius warns Dave not to get in the habit of breaking things, since addiction is powerful. Just before breaking excalibur out of the stone, Dave notes he's as powerful and ends his boast with a "bitch" for emphasis.
      TG: bow down before your new king bitch
    • Spades preparing to Neck Snap Sawbuck, and calls him a "bitch" in keeping for his love of generic one-liners. His exact phrase is even reused (with an alien twist) by Meenah.
  • Those Two Guys: Eridan and Feferi, Nepeta and Equius, and Aradia and Sollux scarcely appear without each other. Tavros is "That One Guy" by himself, while Gamzee is an Ascended Extra.
  • Time-Compression Montage: Almost all the music flashes efficiently pack a lot story into a few minutes, in contrast to the frequent Walls Of Text.
  • Time Dilation: When John and Jade move at near-light-speed, three nanoseconds from an outside perspective become like three years for them. As mentioned in Artistic License – Physics, this is more or less exactly the opposite of how relativity actually says time is supposed to work.
  • Time Skip:
    • The Wayward Vagabond interludes take place several years (but not many) after the meteors strike. According to the Appearifier, the current date is 2422-04-13. Exactly 413 years after the start of the comic.
      Admittedly, from a certain perspective (that of the exiles themselves) it is quite likely that it has only been only a few years, and as we watch the gap between the past and present of those segments has shrunk considerably.
    • Played with when the Pre-Scratch Kids travel to the Post-Scratch session. We see three days of their story in the intervening three years, but the rest of it is skipped over.
    • Happens for the Post-Scratch Kids, too. After their eventful entrance into the session, they spend several months exploring it and their planets, which is covered in a single flash video that just gives an overview and glosses over most of it before the story jumps to 5-6 months after they entered the medium. This is justified, since, due to them having a Void session with no battlefield that is incapable of creating a new universe, there's not much going on in their game.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Dave has pulled off a three-day-in-one-day takeover of the LOHAC Stock Exchange, leaving him with billions of dollars and full control of the market.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: The characters speak informally enough to not be bothered, but it can hinder conversations on occasion. It becomes especially apparent when the Felt is around since they have give or take twelve different time travel powers.
    Something went down here in the past. Or... is about to go down in the future? You know what, never mind.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball:
    • Every universe and game session exists in a completely separate timeline, so a lot of interactions between them take place out of order, such as all the players of a game session being cloned by one of it's players, and then being sent to Earth to become those players in the first place, or the interactions between the trolls and the kids, which sometimes result in information without any real origin.
    • Skaia has Defense Portals which open up at random points throughout the history of its selected planet.
    • The Furthest Ring, which separates all the game sessions, does not have reliable forms of time or space, resulting various time shenanigans, the most notable of which being Rose taking a bomb to a star there called the Green Sun, to blow the sun up, only to find out the bomb created the sun in the first place.
    • Heroes of Time (including Lord English) can travel throughout the timeline they're in but they must follow the rules of Stable Time Loops - time loops have to be planned carefully because paradoxes cause you to move from the "alpha timeline" to a doomed timeline. At a few points though, character from doomed timelines go back in time and change history, which actually creates the alpha timeline that was supposed to happen in the first place. However, characters who do this are still from doomed timelines, and thus are themselves doomed even within the alpha timeline.
    • The Felt has several varieties of time travel which apply the rules more loosely. For example, Die's doll can transport him to a timeline where any person he chooses is dead
    • These rules are all ignored when John used Caliborn's juju, hopped around reality, and actually altering history within the alpha timeline. According to him, it's not technically time travel - it's completely outside the normal rules of time travel, so he's capable of altering what's "supposed to happen" without creating a doomed timeline.
  • Title Drop:
    • Almost.
    • Another almost when you check the Cruxtruder here.
    • Finally done in the album Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido, which features the song Chain of Prospit with the line "Feeling like you're Homestuck" (emphasis in the song). Said song is basically made of a bunch of shout outs to Acts 1 and 2. However it is not exactly canon.
    • As of Jane's introduction, she is FORBIDDEN FROM LEAVING THE HOUSE.
    • Up to this point all of the near-Title Drops were part of the narration, but here it's nearly uttered in dialogue between characters. One of those characters is a quite literal Author Avatar, but still.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
  • Took a Level in Badass: Almost everyone reaches the top of their ECHELADDER by the final Act. it keeps going and going and going.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Karkat (who uses the trolltag carcinoGeneticist and the astrological symbol of cancer) admits to Jade he may have given her universe cancer. And it turns out the cancer is Jack Noir, the seemingly harmless sadist who amassed enough power to slaughter millions. The fact that he is an Anthropomorphic Personification of a cancer sums up his personality.
  • Total Party Kill: Meenah does this intentionally to her own party with a massive bomb. This allows them to live on as ghosts, as opposed to being obliterated by the scratch, which would have meant absolute death.
  • Totally Radical: GameBro magazine oozes this trope.
    AR: You are ripping up so many hellaceous shreds this fierceshitty biznasty is getting so deliriously rudebrazen it... Ok you lost the handle on that sentence.
  • Towering Flower: Winning Sburb causes the planet Skaia to germinate a new universe, during which time its surface blooms with lily pads large enough to see from outer space.
  • The Treachery of Images: B2 Jack Noir ends up locked in a Prospitian jail cell. (Un)fortunately, there's a (crude drawing of a) key right on the floor in front of him.
  • Triang Relations: Comes up fairly often, especially with the trolls. Perhaps the "cleanest" example would be Karkat-Terezi-Dave; Karkat and Terezi may or may not have A Thing, Dave and Terezi DEFINITELY had a Thing, and Dave and Karkat are heavily implied to be an item post-retcon.
    • On a similar note, there's another between Karkat, Terezi, and Gamzee. As mentioned above, Karkat and Terezi have a Thing, and even though Terezi has chosen Dave by the time they're all on the meteor together, there's nonetheless still plenty of UST between her and Karkat. Meanwhile, Terezi is "secretly" hate-dating Gamzee (eventually causing her relationship with Dave to fall apart), which ends badly, and Karkat and Gamzee have a moirallegiance, which also deteriorates.
    • Eridan, Feferi, and Sollux have one of these. Feferi is Eridan's ex-moirail whom he has a red crush on, Eridan probably has a black crush on Sollux (which may or may not be requited), and Feferi and Sollux totally had a Thing, although it was never made clear if it was red or pale.
    • Another possible example, hidden in Act 6, consists of Dirk, Roxy, and AR. Roxy, of course, has a crush on Dirk, who doesn't reciprocate. AR is heavily implied to have a crush (or what constitutes as a crush for him) on Roxy. Roxy may or may not reciprocate, but Dirk and AR feel animosity towards each other.
  • Training from Hell: Both Bro and Dirk seem to be fond of this. Bro regularly beats up Dave in Curb Stomp Battles for no reason other than to toughen him up (or maybe just for laughs - the jury's still out on that), and Dirk sends Jake psychotic robots that wipe the floor with him in the most painful way possible.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Queens' rings and Kings' scepters. They only work for Carapacians however.
  • Troll: Both literal trolls, and the Author himself.
    Why do you take such apparent delight in teasing your fanbase?
    Andrew: Cause it's funny!
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: All the trolls. All of them. By the end of Act 5 it's pretty hard to remember that they are all 13. Yes, Vriska too. And this is the reason Terezi keeps playing with her scalemates and wears her ridiculous cosplay suit when she goes to kill Vriska to prevent her from dooming them all. She's freaking 13, and she's the only kid behaving remotely her age. To put it into perspective, in Act 6 they meet their counterparts/ancestors from the pre-scratch universe, who are 6 years older than them - as in, 13 vs 19 - and the post-scratch trolls consistently feel older and more mature.
  • True Companions: By the end of Act 5, all surviving kids, both trolls and humans, have banded into this. The human kids were this from the start, but it took the trolls some effort to get there.
  • True Love Is a Kink: Parodied. Caliborn pesters Dirk Strider to draw the vilest, most degenerate pornography Caliborn can imagine... which turn out to be hilariously tame scenarios like a happy couple holding hands, or kissing. Then he subverts it with his last request: he asks for the happy couple to eat their baby. Elsewhere, it's revealed Caliborn is an alien from a species whose romantic relationships are all based on mutual hatred—so love really is a bizarre kink for his species.
  • Trust Password: Once John masters his Cosmic Retcon powers in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, he realizes he can go to Terezi's location in the past by thinking of a word she was thinking of at the time. This causes a new choice to appear in a previous page - and the reader has to enter Terezi's word to continue. Terezi then gives John a list of words she was thinking of in the past so he can jump to various points in the timeline. This opens up more password protected choices in previous pages.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Karkat actually thinks John and possibly most other humans are this when the latter treats the former's scathing hate as good fun and asks for more during their first conversation (from Karkat's perspective).
  • Two-Headed Coin: Terezi has one which, like that of Harvey Dent, has a scratch on one side. She has a habit of ignoring the results of the toss, though, and sarcastically justifying it with her blindness.

  • Underground Monkey:
    • Starting in Act 4, the protagonists encounter enemies based on different varieties of grist: Chalk Imps, Amber Imps, and so on. The prototypings are also randomly shuffled for each enemy, leading to combinations such as tentacled suit-wearing imps and flying basilisks.
    • It seems that the Black Queen enforces this trope, as seen when Jack finds himself forced to wear his much-hated harlequin costume.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • An early "page" of Act 2 shifts from a pseudo-text adventure to a Flash-based point-and-click game. Meanwhile, a later page presents John's fight with the Shale Imp as a short fighting game, albeit one that only lets you do a few hits of your own.
    • Later, John's suggestion box was temporarily locked and all commands delivered instead by a mysterious and rather brusque entity, the Wayward Vagabond in all caps. The meteor destroyed John's suggestion box.
    • The start of Act 4 uses a similar point-and-click Flash game with John in the "Land of Wind and Shade". This version also allows John to beat the snot out of imps and utilize his sylladex though.
    • In story, Sburb quickly transitions from a Sims clone into an RPG.
    • For a given definiton of "gameplay," this applies to Act 6 as well. Act 6 has branching paths in that after Jake's introduction, the reader can choose to follow Jane's story or Jake's, and then Roxy's and Dirk's after their introduction. Or at least it would in theory; Andrew updates only one arc at a time, so for the daily reader, it's essentially unchanged. It seems later on too, that the multiple paths will apply to more than just the Post-Scratch Kids.
    • Act 6 Act 3 introduced a new concept, where Jane's Land is introduced and explored through the medium of a Myst style point and click minigame, complete with puzzles to solve.
    • Act 6 Intermission 3 on the other hand introduced a full blooded HTML 5 Adventure Game engine; one that also is available for fans to use.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: In-universe example. Dave thinks that Gamzee freaking out over his religion is just another troll.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • Karkat's haste in creating the Genesis Frog rendered the Human Universe cancerous, causing the pre-scratch kids' session to be doomed from the start.
    • Some pre-scratch sessions will suffer from a glitch where the players' ectobiology clones are created by their post-scratch players instead of by themselves. This paradox results in a disastrously Unwinnable session which inevitably leads to the session being scratched.
  • Unnamed Parent:
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Both Rose and Jade can be seen rolling around the battlefield, as this is their Auto-Parry technique. Rose will even do it while outside of combat.
  • Unreliable Canon: Specifically the Word of God coming from its Trolling Creator. Andrew Hussie frequently answers fan questions with blatant nonsense and a sarcastic tone—but sometimes that "nonsense" actually turns out to be true. For example, after Tavros and Vriska died, Hussie jokingly confessed that he was planning to bring both of them back to life—then, months later, they actually did come back (albeit in the form of Tavrisprite, who only lasted a few panels before exploding). Which leaves the fandom unsure of how to take his other claims, like "Sollux's full name is Solluxander" or "All fantrolls are canon"...
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Many examples, but probably the biggest in the series is Karkat/Terezi. The two of them have "a thing" and Everyone Can See It, get loads of Ship Tease together, and very obviously do have feelings for each other to some degree, and yet they never officially become a couple at any point during the story. Though this is downplayed post-retcon, where neither of them seems particularly interested in getting together anymore.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Hussie claims to be Lord English, then admits he isn't before moving on to do a Recap.
    • Hussie Lampshades it here when we almost get to see Calliope's Juju:
      Suddenly it becomes painfully clear that we aren't going to get a look at this thing. At least not for a while. How typical.
      Why don't we stop wasting everyone's time, shut the lid on this lousy MacGuffin, and get on with it.
    • Lampshaded again when Vriska finally (after a massive quest) uncovers a weapon supposedly capable of beating Lord English. The comic cuts away to a meaningless side-story right before it's revealed, with the narration saying we probably won't find out what it is for hundreds or thousands of pages...only for Vriska to immediately throw a tantrum and reveal it in the most undramatic way possible.
  • Unsound Effect: Too many straight examples to list; Hussie never uses a normal POW or BANG if he can help it.
    • Inverted with "PCHOOOOO", which John at first thinks is a sound effect but is actually the punchcard code for the rocket pack.
    • The sound that the hat makes when landing on a branch is "SETTLE."
    • A popular one for a while was DEAD, signalling the collapse of characters who were Killed Off for Real. Only Kanaya managed to avert this, and she's an exception.
    • When a character hits their self in frustration, they manage to do so with the sound "DUMB."
    • Breaking Eridan's "science wand" makes a sound right in line with the theme of science: DEBUNK.
    • And of course, when someone falls down stairs we get "HAPEN." When Rose falls down stairs while completely intoxicated, we get the DRUNK HAPPEN xROSE COMBOBOB.
    • When Dirk is drawing smut on Caliborn's request, after a "cop" we are given the immortal "uncop".
    • There are several instances of "____splode!"
    • To demonstrate surprise: "Shoutpole," the troll word for an exclamation point.
    • What sound does Rose's spell make? "SPELL!"
    • In [S] Game Over, the fight between John and Caliborn is riddled with them, to hilarious effects.
  • The Un-Twist:
    • In-Universe example, sorta. The narration itself notes that nobody is surprised by the revelation that Caliborn and Calliope share a body, mostly because the indications had by that point moved from "tiny hint" to "brick to face" in terms of subtlety.
    • The narration reveals Aradia's posthumous status and the Troll's Unified Session in the same nonchalant tone.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: You've got ACTS. And ACTS inside ACTS. And INTERMISSIONS. And then, INTERMISSIONS inside INTERMISSIONS...
  • Unwanted Assistance: Jade attempting to 'clean' Dave's bathroom, and Dave explicitly telling her not to put anything weird in the seizure kernel.
    > Jade: Put something weird in the seizure kernel.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • Failing to prototype all the kernelsprites before entering the Medium results in a Void Session, which is Unwinnable, barring any outside intervention from another session. Skaia never evolves to the point where it can create a new universe, the war between Derse and Prospit never leaves a stalemate, and all the planets become dead worlds inhabited by only undead underlings.
    • Attempting to play Sburb with only one player results in a Dead Session, which is completely and utterly Unwinnable in the sense that no amount of effort or outside intervention will result in the creation of a new universe. In a Dead Session, Skaia clouds completely over and the kernelsprite simply implodes into a black hole.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The entire playable cast, Jack Noir included. Their combined actions end up creating the Green Sun when most were trying to destroy it. The ones not trying to destroy it didn't even realize what was going on.
  • Up to Eleven:
  • Urban Ruins: The Land of Tombs and Krypton, a whole planet covered in green skyscrapers. Problem is, LOTAK is exclusively inhabited by hordes of undead skeletons, who were killed thanks to the fact that the Land's atmosphere consists of obscene levels of toxic krypton.

  • Verbal Tic: Everyone's typing style is exactly indicative of how they talk. While this is most notable for trolls, it still applies for humans as well; Dave is monotone and rambling, Rose is precise and rather melodramatic, Jade is energetic, etc. As detailed on their individual entries, the trolls all have unique typing quirks. These also seem to reflect how they actually speak, such as Kanaya Carefully Enunciating Every Word or 2ollux 2peakiing wiith a lii2p, but it also seems like they use the tics on purpose, as evidenced by Eridan and Feferi typing normally when they have a serious conversation. For some other trolls it's almost a mental compulsion however; Gamzee said not using his quirk felt odd. These also change to reflect the troll's emotional state, as s0llux begins to type like aradia once he is blinded by eridan and kn0cked t00thless by karkat, AND GAMZEE begins alternating caps WITH EVERY OTHER LINE once he runs out of sopor slime AND GOES ALL Ax-Crazy. Alternatively, this suggests that Gamzee has two personalities (rather like his Mirthful Messiahs). As long as they're FaIrLy WeLl InTeGrAtEd, he's pretty easy-going, and in fact mostly acts like he's permanently stoned. when they become more distinct IT'S TIME TO WATCH OUT. Likewise once Mituna burned out his psiioniics he became mentally unbalanced. His quirk is so thick that he's almost rendered The Unintelligible.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Naturally, there's plenty of room for this, too.
    • The physical ramifications are unclear: In Sburb, you can apparently help someone swing a held weapon, but not carry him from place to place by an object he's sitting on. However, in Sgrub, you can pick someone up by his wheelchair and shake him abusively. Not that the difference might not have been Sburb/Sgrub, but the object being moved in question. In both, it seems that one can wiggle something that someone is on, but not move it. The wheelchair was lighter then a bed (and wheeled), and even it did not move much.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Sburb lets the server player alter the client player's actual physical environment. The potential for cruelty is clear, though the most of the kids and trolls don't deliberately abuse their power... and then there's Vriska, who builds a labyrinth of stairs for her wheelchair-using client.
    • FLARP also has considerable cruelty potential if the clouder is abusive enough, which is directly tied to why Vriska's client is in a wheelchair in the first place.
      • Just for an idea of FLARP's cruelty potential, Vriska used to use it to keep her lusus fed.
    • Eridan was unwittingly using this in the Land of Wrath and Angels; convinced that the angels were enemies (rather than the innocent Non Player Characters of his world), he determined to exterminate them all. Unfortunately for him, he ran up against a Video Game Cruelty Punishment, as the angels only died after a minute of sustained fire from his high-level weapon and began swarming him in vengeance after he began murdering them.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: There is a lot of material to keep up with. “To understand the story, you don’t need much of a background in anything. To understand every detail, you need a fairly diverse range of knowledge.”
  • Viking Funeral: "The SAFE was slain in battle. A great flaming nautical pyre carries it off to VAULTHALLA."
  • Villain Episode:
    • The Midnight Crew intermission, sort of. The Midnight Crew are alternate universe versions of the villains.
    • Later on, we have the sequence beginning here, which provides us with a glimpse of what the human sessions' Derse agents are up to.
    • And there's the section where Doc Scratch takes over narration.
    • Caliborn gets several of these starting mid-way through Act 6.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The various agents of Derse... at first.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The game's alchemy system allows for the creation of a wide array of sweet outfits, which the kids invariably experiment with during each round of item-crafting. Interestingly, the trolls don't engage in this behavior, aside from Kanaya, but her interest in fashion came from before she entered the game.
  • Visual Pun:
    • When WV presses "Tab" on his keyboard, a capsule opens and Tab soda spills out of it..
    • CAPS LOCK key unLOCKs a CAPSule.
    • When John gets to command to "snoop" around Rose's house, the next page has a faint watermark of Snoop Dogg.
    • Tavros' ghost holding 'sick fires' while talking to a Doomed Dave ghost and Aradia.
    • To get Roxy to engage Trickster Mode, Jake bomped her with a pumpkin with a question mark. It was a "What?" pumpkin.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: A significant amount of the characters have this sort of friendship, especially troll-troll friendships, but this trope is best exemplified by Rose and Dave (whose introductory conversation has both snarking at each other right off the bat), Karkat and Sollux (who are openly antagonistic to one another to the point that Karkat often asks Sollux to confirm they're still friends, which Sollux teases him for), and Dave and Karkat (who initially start out at odds, but become actual friends through their banter). John and Karkat develop into this in a bizarre from-both-directions way due to Karkat trolling him in reverse chronological order, and Rose and Kanaya maintain some pretty snarky banter even after becoming a couple.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Furthest Ring functions as this.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Gamzee pukes his own blood up. The grotesque sight even manages to gross out Caliborn. The narration is not happy.
    You made this dear, sweet, pseudo-innocent juggalo vomit liter after thick, glutinous liter of nasty purple blood.

  • Wackyland: The Land of Tents and Mirth, Gamzee's clown-themed planet.
  • Walkthrough:
    • In-universe on GameFAQs, of Sburb Beta, by tentacleTherapist (Rose), which ends up helping the Trolls.
    • Some of the minigame segments also have a walkthrough attached.
  • Wall of Text:
    • Rose's Sburb walkthrough is incredibly long considering she wrote it as meteors were destroying the planet around her.
      TG: oh my god
      TG: so many words
      TG: do you think like the pulitzer committee is secretly scouring the dregs of the gamefaq archives or something
    • The conversations between characters start off fairly brief, sporadic, and uncommon, but quickly increase in length and frequency. By the Hivebent chapter and onwards, large text dumps are commonplace, for better or worse.
    • Never mind Spinneret's journal, an attempt to re-create the type of verbose fanfiction that dwells in the darkest corners of the world's widest web.
    • The three Recaps of the comic that are written by Andrew Hussie's Author Avatar are absolutely massive due to covering thousands of pages of shenanigans.
  • Watsonian versus Doylist: The fandom often invokes literary tropes like Plot Armor and the like, trying to predict where the plot will go next. They often fail.
  • We Have Those, Too: Constant comparison between the humans and trolls leads to a bit of these.
    TG: we have cotton candy dumpass
    GC: >8O
  • Webcomic Time:
    • An anniversary update page made it clear that not even a day has passed since the beginning of the comic. After a year of updates it's still April 13th. Which would fit with the first pesterlog occurring at 4.13PM in John's timezone, and the approximate number of hours between then and Dave's medium entry... Webcomic Time still definitely applies though.
    • The Trolls to a lesser extent, as we are treated to 25 days' worth of events over the course of 3 months.
    • Lampshaded again in the Christmas Eve 2010 update by Jade, and again on the 25th.
      HAPPY APRIL 13TH, 2009 EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Part of the illusion of more time passing comes from the numerous flashbacks, that the story is being told non-linearly, and lots of Time Travel.
    • And, of course, once we get into the Medium, linear time in general matters a whole lot less, if it even can be said to exist.
    • Lampshaded when Jade is testing the magic 8 ball; though it also turned out to be foreshadowing about the Kid's nature as clones.
      Jade: [paraphrased] Is today John's birthday?
      '''Magic 8 ball:;;; Not exactly.
    • Act Five Act Two takes place over the course of around 24 hours (the span of the Reckoning) on the kids' end and ten hours on the trolls'. It came out over the course of more than a year, from 9/19/10 to 10/25/11.
    • Dave lampshades it again in Act Six Intermission Three, saying that being stuck in 2009, his references are probably getting dated in some alternate Earth where the world didn't end.
    • Inverted by Act Six Act Four. The first 153 days of the post-Scratch kids' session (from 11/11/11 to 4/12/12) are summarized in one page.
  • Wedding Finale: The credits sequence includes Rose and Kanaya's wedding.
  • Wedding Smashers: As briefly shown in the credits, Calliope brings a Spiral Sucker to Rose and Kanaya's wedding and somehow gets all the guests drugged with it. Chaos ensues.
  • Western Zodiac:
    • Each of the twelve Trolls take their handles from a symbol of the Western Zodiac. For example, "carcinoGeneticist" for Cancer. Their actual names are also based on their sign (for example, Tavros is derived from Taurus), and use the symbol of their zodiac sign as their associated symbol. A lot of the trolls' various quirks and interests (although not necessarily their personalities) are also related in some fashion to their representative sign. For example, Sollux (Gemini) is obsessed with bifurcation and duality, Equius (Sagittarius) has a thing for horses and archery. Even the monsters that raised them follow the motif. It even turns out they created the constellations of the Zodiac, and thus the astrology itself. They're not patterned after the Zodiac, the Zodiac is patterned after them.
    • In Act 6, a troll based on the thirteenth sign appears, and then that character's brother turns up with an alternate version of that sign. Turns out they were raised on the history of the Trolls and took on those signs as an expression of Fandom. By coincidence, the thirteenth sign contains a pair of interlocking snakes on it, and it turns out their species reproduces by interlocking after turning into giant snakes.
  • Wham Episode: The end of each act delivers a pretty big wham, even if you know something's coming. The beginning of the next act usually does too. And there are lots of others in the middle.
  • What Could Have Been: Rather than pause the comic to animate an elaborate fight scene, the author instead uses this page to invite the reader to imagine their own fight scene to save time.
    "We decide to listen to that track, close our eyes, and imagine what might have been."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • During his first alchemy binge, John creates BARBER'S BEST FRIEND, using an umbrella and straight razor, and mentions that he has an UMBRELLAKIND strife specibus lying around. Neither the weapon nor the strife specibus are ever mentioned again.
    • What happened to the Prospitans who accompanied WQ into exile? All we know is that they seemingly died, though Ms. Paint at least has shown up in Andrew's study. Apparently, he rescued her from Prospit's destruction.
    • What happened to the Troll session's White Queen? All we know is her ring was destroyed.
    • The Post-Scratch DD and CD are both last seen in Act 6 Act 5 and are never dealt with.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Alternian Trolls consider friendship a disease, and are unfamiliar enough with humans that the Kids can prank them into thinking friendship is a human emotion. Trolls also use the same word for "friend" as "enemy."
    EB: friendship isn't an emotion fucknuts.
  • Where It All Began: After the Scratch, the story is visibly shown rewinding, back to the first panel of John's introduction, and then a fade to white. No surprise, considering the nature of the Scratch. The beginning of the next Act is then very similar to Act 1, with the first panel extremely similar to John's introduction.
  • Which Me?: As lampshaded by Davesprite-timeline Rose and Dave...
    TG: and hey you might even be able to help your past dream self wake up sooner without all that fuss you went through
    TT: I think the true purpose of this game is to see how many qualifiers we can get to precede the word "self" and still understand what we're talking about.
  • While Rome Burns:
    • Rose plays a haunting violin refrain during the countdown to the destruction of John's house. The game sarcastically compliments the player's time management skills.
    • While their city is being destroyed by a meteor shower, Dave and his bro head up to the roof of their high rise to have an epic showdown for no apparent reason beyond Rule of Cool. Still, given how Genre Savvy they are, and their love of irony, they're probably aware of it. Dave also seems perfectly fine continuing to update his web comic, even though shit is getting pretty damn real, and the fact that the Internet is basically gone.
    • Almost everybody who is faced with a countdown timer at any point wastes some of that countdown doing something silly, but the all-time, unsurpassable king— no you hate kingsmayor of this trope is Wayward Vagabond, who wastes four hours playing with his cans during a countdown and then scrambles around with the fear of death in him during the last four minutes and thirteen seconds.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: While the rest of the Felt is fighting with time-travel shenanigans, Crowbar's plan for dealing with Jake during [S] Collide is to stand still and fill him with lead. Spades Slick applies a similar strategy towards Dirk.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Said by Terezi to Gamzee as she tries to stab him to death because of her sheer hate for him. Oh yeah, and justice. The reason he won't die isn't because he's a god tier; he isn't even a real god tier. It's because, for reasons that don't make sense, clowns never die.
    • Though it is later revealed that Gamzee needed to survive in order to complete a time loop later, and any timeline in which he died before that point would have been doomed.
  • Wild Card: uranianUmbra has described the Bard class as this, known for their "dramatic story-altering inflUence" and how bards have frequently either brought their party to success or utterly ruined them. Considering that Gamzee, the sole Bard character seen thus far, has done both for the trolls' session, it's hard to refute it.
  • The Wiki Rule: As described in the main page.
  • Widget Series: Definitely counts as a W(H)AT , aka Weird (Humourous) American Thing.
  • With Friends Like These...: The reason why John is so skeptical of Karkat's claim that they're destined "TO BE FRIENDS, IDIOT" is that Karkat and his friends have done nothing but bully John up to this point in his life. The situation is a little more complicated due to time travel, but John doesn't know that yet.
    EB: wow, yeah you're totally not trolling me, bro!
    EB: i see now we are bffs forever.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: Caliborn requesting Dirk draw porn for him:
    TT: Dude, I'm sitting here with my stylus ready to go. Do you want me to draw you some porn or not.
    uu: OH YES.
    TT: ...
    TT: I'm waiting.
    • Arquiusprite insisting that Davepetasprite^2 touch his muscles, even after they've already agreed:
      ARQUIUSPRITE: Would...
      ARQUIUSPRITE: You like to touch my muscles, davepeta?
      DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < yes i believe i would
      ARQUIUSPRITE: Then I must command you
      ARQUIUSPRITE: Please touch my muscles
      DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < yes ok
      ARQUIUSPRITE: I won't take no for an answer, Davepeta
      ARQUIUSPRITE: Touch my muscles
      DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i said yes!
  • The Worf Effect:
    • It took a monumental effort by three characters to defeat two of the Giant Mooks. Since then, everybody is allowed to take these things down with ease to prove how strong they are (even Rose, who first took one down when she logically shouldn't have been much stronger than anyone else the first time they fought the giants). Especially powerful characters even get to kill gianter mooks.
    • This begins applying to actual characters in the second part of Act 5. To wit:
      • Dave's Bro is, to quote Dave, "a crazy hard dude" who can Flash Step so quickly you end up fighting the after-image and could fight triple-prototyped Jack Noir to a standstill. He is the most active of the Guardians in combat and seems to be the most competent. Once Jack becomes "Bec Noir", he kills Bro in practically a single stroke.
      • Equius is initially portrayed as the strongest of the trolls; his trip through Hivebent is shown as being almost effortless, even as a low-level player. He can ruin dudes in one punch and strongjump through gates without having to build his hive. When Equius confronts Gamzee, Gamzee uses several methods both physical and psychological to dominate Equius completely, in order to show just how dangerous (and Ax-Crazy) Gamzee is off the sopor slime.
      • Sollux possesses telekinetic powers so potent, particularly from his eye-beams, that he doesn't even need to bother with a Strife Specibus, because his powers will always be better. Kanaya is also no slouch in the fightin' department, and famously uses a chainsaw as her primary weapon. Eridan KO'd and blinded Sollux, killed Kanaya outright, and required one shot each to accomplish this.
    • In Act 6, Hope-powered Jake curb-stomps Jade, a character established to be omnipotent. It was a direct confrontation of powers, and the most powerful character in the story so far lost.
  • A World Half Full: The human population has been reduced to single figures, the destruction of sentient species is apparently standard multiversal policy, and those that remain seem doomed to failure... but hey, that's no reason to stop trying, right? In fact, Homestuck in general (much like one of its key inspirations) has a habit of taking very dark concepts and portraying them in a lighter, more whimsical style.
  • World Limited to the Plot: The world outside of the main characters' lives appears almost desolate. None of them seem to have any other friends apart from themselves and characters on the periphery of their interpersonal interactions (their guardians) appear almost vacant and robotic. And they're not really very affected by Earth's imminent and unavoidable destruction either. On the other hand, there are cases where we do have a glimpse outside the plot, with current events like how Barack Obama is the president, and other people completely irrelevant to the plot, like the Serious Business and GameFAQs users, are still shown to actually exist, even if they are never shown. We also see maps of the entire planet, and the plot does, in fact, make an impact in places irrelevant to the main characters.
  • World of Badass: Just try and find a character anywhere in the webcomic that doesn't do something badass at some point. Go on. We'll wait. Hell, even Ms. Paint takes a badass look at one point.
  • Wrecked Weapon:
    • Dave's specibus is less Sword than PIECE OF SHIT. When he discovers Caledfwlch, he identifies it as a LEGENDARY PIECE OF SHIT before he breaks it in the retrieval attempt. Apparently resigned to this, he later tries to claim his brother's sword by breaking it in half. The game seems to be resigned to it as well: When Dave reaches God Tier, he acquires the Royal Deringer (as in "De-Ringer", based on Narsil from The Lord of the Rings), which comes conveniently prebroken.
    • Every bow Equius picks up is broken by his sheer strength. It hurts his archery, but the half-bow makes a good bludgeon.
  • Write Back to the Future: Jade transporting her birthday present to "MR MAYOR!♥" in the future.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Averted, especially with Betty Crocker. John even points out the resemblance the Build Grist bears to blue Gushers.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: In early Homestuck there is a running gag about the narrator quoting things and then attributing it to the wrong source. They start out plausible enough if you don't know your literature but quickly turn ridiculous, e.g., when "Drop It Like It's Hot" is sourced to "English romantic poet John Keats". Later Subverted when the frequent quotes attributed to actor Charles Dutton are actually correctly attributed in-universe. Later done in-universe when a line from one of the characters is wrongfully attributed to Cherub Shakespeare.

  • Yin-Yang Bomb: THE TUMOR, in a literal sense. In addition, the actual reaction taking place is the simultaneous destruction of two universes. The reaction actually creates the Green Sun, which was earlier said to mass at 'two universes.
  • You All Look Familiar: The Salamanders in the Land of Wind and Shade, except for the mushroom farmer, Crumplehat, and the secret wizard. Also applies to all Incipisphere inhabitants in different sessions.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Fate is a slightly odd thing: on the one hand, stable time loops conspire to weave the outcomes of actions into the very structure of the game so that things "always had to happen this way". But on the other hand, these things still come about from people making (apparently) free will decisions. Kanaya highlights this a couple of times in Act 5 conversations with Aradia and Vriska. So ultimately fate may be one huge Batman Gambit. Of course, if you do fight fate, it spawns an alternate timeline and proceeds to kill off everyone.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The Kids and Trolls cannot save their sessions, the plan to destroy the Green Sun ends up creating it, and Bec Noir isn't dead. But the Kids (and the remaining Trolls) do manage to escape their sessions, all four Kids plus Aradia are God Tier, and Noir now has someone who can potentially take him down in PM. This leads them to try and thwart any potential Stage Two's their enemies have in store
  • You Have Researched Breathing: It takes ascension to God Tiers and then an additional post-ascension level-up to receive The Gift of Gab, which allows for direct, unmediated...conversation. This is something of a meta-example as Word of God says that the kids could already talk to one another directly but the AUDIENCE would have been unable to hear them through the Fenestrated Plane.
  • You Just Told Me: Dave advises John to "not do the Vriska thing" (of repeating letters eight times). John responds to her name with "who?", but then later addresses his patron troll by it, leading to this exchange:
    AG: Secondly, I am very pissed off that you figured out my name.
    EB: well, i didn't know it was your name for sure until you just told me now.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You need BUILD GRIST to edit rooms and build things in Sburb. Making items often requires other types of grist (such as SHALE, TAR and MERCURY). Counting the slots in the inventory, there's likely to be thirty-six types of resources.
    "You can't wait to find out what amazing items this new supply of grist will be just barely insufficient to produce."
    • There was just one item, and barely didn't even begin to describe how insufficient John's grist supply is for that, but a couple of Dave's possible weapons have material costs even more absurd than John's.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Jake praising his "friend" Jane's advice on his Unresolved Sexual Tension with Dirk.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The afterlife is like this, with the user able to manipulate their dream bubbles to recall past events or conjure things at will.
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Buckets. Also, it's considered pretty bizarre for a troll to be raised by a member of his or her own species instead of a lusus. Inverted with the trolls wondering why incest and sexual orientation matter to humans.
  • Very Special Episode: Act 6 Act 5 Act 2 might be as close as the comic gets to one, since it has a effective drug abuse Aesop. Hussie's explanation to Caliborn of the reasons he should not encourage further human use of Trickster Mode is especially memorable:
    You see, teenagers are sensitive and beautiful creatures.
    Well, not you. You are repulsive. But most teenagers, I mean.
    You can’t just force them to settle all their issues with insane psychotropic game powerups.
    They have to face all those issues themselves, or they will never learn and grow as people.
  • Zany Scheme: Ties in with Finagle's Law in that everything bad that has happened to our heroes is ultimately the result of Lord English's meddling. Crappy Troll society? Lord English. Omnipotent, omnicidal opponent who destroys the universe? Lord English. Queen who destroys her universe upon death? Lord English. Betty Crocker from space? You'd better believe it's Lord English.

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