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Literature / Mediochre Q Seth Series

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The Mediochre Q Seth series, otherwise "The Mediochreverse" or just "The Mediochre Series" — although that last sounds unfortunate — is an in-progress five-part Urban Fantasy series by Calum P Cameron. He started writing it while in high school, primarily out of boredom, but also out of a desire to see if he could write a story about a unique and powerful Doctor-like individual while having them remain realistically human and fallible.

Also, he really likes dragons.

Charlotte Johnson is an Ordinary High-School Student from the USA whose parents have forced her to move to Edinburgh, Scotland — with predictably resentful results on her part. So far, so normal. Then, one day, she is almost run over by a lorry.

The driver of this lorry is one Professor Doctor Laird Sir Mediochre Quirinius Seth, PhD MusD MSc CBE OBE MIMC VC-Bar — although he prefers just "Mediochre" or "Dr Seth" — an eccentric dracologist from the parallel society that has existed for generations hidden from Charlotte’s own world by a government-enforced Masquerade. A society very much like her own, but with a few important differences — most obviously: magic.

The world turns out to be a lot more dangerous and interesting than Charlotte had initially assumed, full of giant dragons, emotionless half-vampires, powerful magic-users (or "mancers", to use the correct term) and, of course, Mediochre himself, who's never been the same since an accident in his past left him immortal, trapped in a fifteen-year-old body and able to calculate probabilities exactly at the drop of a hat. And those are the people on her side. Or at least, she's pretty sure they are. It's hard to tell, sometimes...

For more information, visit the series's website.

When complete, the series will consist of:

  • The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre (Available now) — in which Charlotte pretty-much forces her way into Mediochre’s ongoing adventure in returning a rare dragon egg to its mother and thwarting the dragon-slaying attempts of an international smuggling ring. But things are never that simple around Mediochre, and it starts to look like there may be a grander conspiracy at work here...
  • Black, White and Shades of Mediochre (Ditto) — in which a mancy-related murder practically on Charlotte's doorstep gives her a way back into the Mantically Aware world and Mediochre's life, just in time for them to get uncomfortably caught up in the increasingly-murky issue of Undead-human relations. Naturally, it soon turns out that something even worse than murder is going down here, and if someone doesn't stop it then the consequences will be world-changing...
  • Caught Mediochre-Handed — (Also ditto) — in which Maccabeus Fervour's inability to run the country and a risky Batman Gambit by Queen MAB to get rid of him before he starts a war leads to a mass prison escape at the Stygian Secure Unit, leaving Charlotte and Mediochre with a quarantined country and a whole bunch of Unsealed Evils Previously In A Can to deal with while Joseph and Dhampinella become Sealed Good in a Can through the actions of an increasingly paranoid Fervour...
  • Sent into Mediochre-drive
  • Mediochrity

In addition, it has become customary for the author to write a "Christmas Special" short story every December — seemingly working his way through the main party of characters and focusing one story on each. Thus far, these include:

To date, two non-Christmas short stories have also been released:

For those wondering, the name 'Mediochre' is an intentional pun on 'mediocre' — although in-universe, Mediochre insists it’s a shade of red between pale ochre and dark ochre.

The author is a troper, so expect a lot of tropes.

The main series provides examples of:

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     Series as a Whole 
  • Action Hero: Joseph prefers to thwart the bad guys by shooting or punching, leaving the guile part to Mediochre.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Mediochre.
  • Aerith and Bob: Mediochre and Charlotte, Joseph and Dhampinella, and so on.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: All sorts of magic-related nasties seem to turn up in Scotland these days...
  • Anti-Hero: Mediochre and Joseph both, in different ways. Mediochre aims to be an Ideal Hero but his impatience, hot-bloodedness and frightening capacity for cruelty when you push his Berserk Button cause him to fall short. Joseph, meanwhile, is a Pragmatic Hero more than willing to commit morally reprehensible deeds out of loyalty to Mediochre and his plans.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Technomancy, in particular Chips the IMP, is frequently used to have whatever effect on mundane technology the plot requires.
  • The Apprentice: A standard method of education among the Mantically Aware. Dhampinella is Joseph's.
  • Author Avatar: Mediochre looks much like the author did aged fifteen. The author has also noted that, personality-wise, Mediochre is similar to what he would be if he was an idealist. And more badass.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Mediochre's gift with probability.
  • Badass Normal: Joseph. In a world full of magic-users, The Undead and Half-Human Hybrids, this guy comes across as particularly badass despite having, at best, Charles Atlas Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Badass Longcoat: Joseph and Dhampinella.
  • Badass Teacher: Mediochre and Joseph are both university professors. Joseph actually has an apprentice with him during most of his adventures — although the apprentice is also a badass and doesn't really need protecting.
  • Bat Deduction: Justified with Mediochre.
  • Berserk Button: While within range of Mediochre, it is never a good idea to harm a child or a dragon. Harming a child dragon will earn you instant death.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mediochre is a thoughtful pacifist with a love of silly puns, but he is more than capable of engineering your death if you make him angry enough.
  • Big Good: Queen MAB fills this role, being the person in charge of keeping Mantically Aware Britain stable and intact.
  • Broken Masquerade: The story starts with Mediochre accidentally breaking it for Charlotte.
  • Buffy Speak: Mediochre and Charlotte both have a habit of talking like they stepped out of a Joss Whedon show.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Most Mantically Aware buildings have enchantments that induce this.
  • Can't Grow Up: Mediochre only ages if he gets damaged enough.
  • Celibate Eccentric Genius: Mediochre. The genius is natural, the eccentricity is implied to be his way of coping with his unusual life, and the celibacy... well, he's physically fifteen and practically immortal. It'd be awkward.
  • The Champion:
    • Joseph automatically takes Mediochre's side in any conflict, and trusts him unthinkingly.
    • Dhampinella, similarly, will do anything (up to and including kill a woman) to protect Joseph.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several, including Chips, at least one sword and a few actual guns.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mediochre's training as a street magician and escapologist becomes relevant.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Mediochre seems to have a bit of this going on.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Mediochre, Joseph and Dhampinella all have unique and notable costumes.
  • Clueless Mystery: Mediochre has a habit of revealing clues that suddenly make everything obvious just as we get to The Reveal. In fairness, though, there are usually other, less obvious clues scattered around beforehand.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Queen MAB to Mediochre.
  • Cool Teacher: Mediochre and Joseph. Don't say you don't wish your tutor took you out Undead-hunting.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Mediochre. He trained his mouse to provide a distraction if they got captured.
  • Creator Provincialism: Most of the action takes place in Scotland, the author’s home country, and the majority of the characters live in Edinburgh, the city of his birth.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Mostly subverted — Dhampinella is only cute in a Stoic Woobie sort of a way.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Mediochre is still carrying around his trauma from everything from the First World War to the accident that gave him his powers to whatever exactly happened with his mother.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone, but Charlotte and Mediochre stand out.
  • Defective Detective: Mediochre is a traumatised Broken Ace making a living partly by hunting down monster-slayers.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are the lowest form of Undead, and are mentioned periodically.
  • Dhampyr: Spelt "Dhampir" here. Dhampinella is the most prominent character to be one.
  • Fish out of Water: Charlotte, initially, being a mantically-unaware person stumbling through mantically-aware society.
  • Flashback: Several are used in the second and third books to reveal Mediochre's backstory.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main four.
  • From Dress to Dressing: Joseph tears apart his shirt to wrap wounds on more than one occasion. He even notes that he really ought to start carrying actual bandages.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The Organisation Which I Represent — TOWIR.
    • Mantically Aware Britain — MAB.
    • Intrusively Mantic Phone — IMP.
  • Gambit Pileup: The first book has Mediochre, Maelstrom, Sapphire and TOWIR all trying to outsmart each other. The second has Mediochre, TOWIR, Jacqueline Sable and the necromancer. The third has the various escapees from the Stygian Secure Unit interfering with each others plans while Mediochre, Fervour and Queen MAB all respond to the situation with their own schemes.
  • Geek Physique: Mediochre is stuck in the body of an awkward teenager.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal:
    • Mediochre frequently suffers wounds that would be fatal to anyone without dragon's blood.
    • Dhampinella is usually the character to get shot or run over if Mediochre isn't available, since she, as a Dhampir, can survive things humans can't.
  • Guile Hero: Mediochre is a weakling who has to rely on his brain and charisma to outwit the bad guys, leaving the physical action to Joseph.
  • Immortality: Mediochre and Melz have Type III (Regenerative). Maelstrom has a cross between Type III and Type VII (External). Undead obviously have Type V (Undead).
  • Immortality Immorality: A major theme of the series. Maelstrom in the first book, the necromancer in the second and Stormhold Elect in Born to Raise the Sons of Earth are all major Heavy villains who can cheat death and are at least partially motivated by a desire to continue cheating death. Melz somehow manages to be an aversion, remaining a kindly old lady. Mediochre himself... is trying to avert it, but he's pretty bad at it.
  • Immortality Seeker: Generally speaking, the bad guys want to live forever, the good guys don't.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Mediochre is technically a laird (among other things) but seemingly requires multiple jobs to get the money needed to justify not selling his house.
  • Indy Ploy: Mediochre and Joseph's default Plan B seems to be "wing it".
  • Insistent Terminology: Magic is called 'mancy'. Mediochre and Joseph are Doctors — although they only insist on that one with people they dislike.
  • The Insomniac: Mediochre doesn't ever seem to sleep until he actually has to.
  • Inspector Javert: James Chrome is on the side of good, but his hatred of Mediochre's unorthodox methods leads him to get in the way of the latter's plans.
  • Interdisciplinary Sleuth: Mediochre and Joseph are scientific researchers and university professors who also happen to catch monster-slayers on the side.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Mediochre is arrogant and has a nasty temper, but he cares deeply about people and consistently tries to do the right thing.
    • Your Almighty God is even more of a condescending, narcissistic Insufferable Genius than Mediochre is, but he's always eager to help save people without complaint.
  • Lemony Narrator: The third-person omniscient narrative voice is a lot more sarcastic and self-referential than would usually be expected.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Mancy does have consistent rules, and at least some types are consistent enough to be taught and studied in university. We don't get most of it explained, though.
  • Magician Detective: Sort-of. Mediochre is a slayer-catcher who has 'MIMC' after his name. This comes in useful.
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: Averted with Mediochre Q Seth, who freely admits that his middle name is Quirinius. However, in a more meta example, the author publishes under Calum P Cameron, and makes several jokes out of what the P could potentially stand for.
  • Mysterious Past: Touched on with Mediochre and a few others.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Joseph Carrion. Maelstrom.
  • No Name Given: The Mantically Aware mostly use aliases. TOWIR use aliases for aliases.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Mediochre and Joseph have both picked up some useful medical skills, but technically they're only qualified to work on dragons and Undead respectively.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: James Chrome's insistence on standard protocol even in extreme situations puts him at odds with Mediochre frequently.
  • Occult Detective: Mediochre and Joseph are private slayer-catchers, which largely amounts to the same thing.
  • One-Man Army: Dhampinella literally holds off a small army of normal humans in the first book.
  • Out-Gambitted: Pulling this off is what Mediochre seems to be for.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Zig-zagged. The mantically-aware have been making some subtle improvements to the world, but they're very cautious about not doing too much or breaking the Masquerade.
  • Retired Badass: Melinda Quinn used to be Mediochre's dracology apprentice, but has since settled down into a quiet artist's life.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Mediochre's willingness to ignore the rules when he believes lives are at stake is a frequent source of conflict between him and the MABGov
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Mediochre does it when he wants to prove that his opponents really do not want to fight him.
  • Sequel Hook: Literally every book has the tempomancer turn up at the end to set some of the events of the next book in motion.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Mediochre may or may not be intentionally fostering some of the rumours about him.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Dhampinella (technically it's auburn or copper, but her eyes are very green to make up for it, and she's the second-most significant female present). It adds to the whole 'striking, inhuman creature' shtick she's got going on.
  • Single-Power Superheroes: Most of the mancies seem to revolve around being able to do one specific superpower really well.
  • Smug Super: Mediochre has a few abnormalities that could be called super-powers. Modesty is not one of them.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Mediochre thinks better when playing awesome music.
  • Theme Naming: All TOWIR operatives refer to each other by the names of expensive stones.
  • Token Non-Human: Dhampinella is a Dhampir in a team that otherwise consists only of humans.
  • Tranquil Fury: Whenever Mediochre really loses his temper, he goes chillingly quiet and starts plotting.
  • Try to Fit That on a Business Card: Professor Doctor Laird Sir Mediochre Quirinius Seth, PhD MusD MSc CBE OBE MIMC VC-Bar. Grade 8 in piano.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Melz is old, female, disabled, blind and deaf.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Everyone. If you aren't unintentionally working for TOWIR, you're unintentionally working against them for Mediochre.
  • The 'Verse: The Mediochreverse. The author began to use this term to refer to the world of his own work, and it kinda stuck.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: All of the classic Undead weaknesses are out in force. Dhampinella almost has several used against her at once.
  • Whatevermancy: So far mentioned are necromancy (death), pyromancy (fire), hydromancy (water), technomancy (technology and enchantment), medimancy (healing), tempomancy (time), iconomancy (images), thermomancy (heat), phobiamancy (fear), philiamancy (love), and psychomancy (minds).

    The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre 
  • Big Bad Friend: One of the major villains, Sapphire, is actually the same person as Kiwi Mashuga, a supposed ally of Mediochre's.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Joseph turns up at the last second to prevent Isobel from rampaging through the uni.
    • Mediochre arrives just in time to save Charlotte from Maelstrom.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Charlotte looking into classrooms.
    Empty, empty, empty, empty except for a teacher who clearly didn't get enough of her classroom when she was actually teaching or something...
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kiwi Mashuga turns out to be a much more cold-hearted person than their amiable exterior would imply.
  • The Cavalry: Subverted. The timely arrival of the MIPF at the end wasn't quite timely enough to help much.
  • Check and Mate: Subverted for laughs. Mediochre, being a smug git, sets things up to let him pull one of these on the Big Bad — but forgets to factor in the fact that he has the body of a scrawny teenager and the Big Bad is capable of cutting off his airway before he can finish.
    Mediochre: You made me ruin it, you moron. It was gonna be so good, like one of those smug moments in a film. You were gonna say 'what?' and I was gonna... look, let’s try that again: Kiwi?
    Kiwi: What?!
    Mediochre: The CCTV’s still on.
    Kiwi: WHAT?
  • Clothing Damage: "Dhampinella's biggest injury seemed to have been to her coat." Antler's suit also gets ruined by the explosion.
  • The Coats Are Off: Dhampinella, before taking on the entire SSS army at once.
  • Cutting the Knot: Mediochre once brought down a whole load of criminals in a single blow by punching the fire alarm. Joseph gets into an SSS store room by breaking the lock.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Maelstrom and the tempomancer are both only working for the SSS until it stops suiting their own goals.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Mediochre is really displeased when Kiwi turns out to be evil.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Oscar and Stephanie abandon their role as Mooks for the SSS in order to help Mediochre stop Maelstrom
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Danny stays behind in the SSS's hideout to buy Mediochre et al the time they need to escape. Subverted when it turns out he was never a hero, and was never planning to sacrifice himself.
  • I Have Your Wife: The SSS try to pull a "we have your many-times-great aunt" on Rowan to make her comply.
  • I Know You Know I Know:
    Mr Antler was not a stupid man. Mediochre knew this. A stupid man would not have noticed that running in with weapons was not Mediochre’s style, and would have assumed that he had foiled the plan once he stopped this. A man of average intelligence would realise that this was probably a distraction or a trap, and so would have killed him straight off rather than risk a renewed attack from within. A clever man would reach the conclusion that Mediochre was deliberately doing something which was not his style in an attempt to surprise his enemies and, having foiled this plot, would assume they had beaten him and would have no reason not to keep him alive to gloat. It took a very clever man to factor in the possibility that Mediochre already knew which of the above three you were, and had tailored his plan to fit. Mediochre knew himself to be a very clever man, and as such he had correctly identified Antler as a clever man.
  • The Mole: Danny is TOWIR's mole, and Kiwi is the SSS's... sort of.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Oscar and Stephanie, the SSS mooks who switch sides to help Mediochre stop Maelstrom.
  • The Reveal:
    • Mediochre's powers were caused by absorbing dragon's blood four hundred years ago, which has kept him young ever since.
    • Sapphire is actually the same person as Kiwi Mashuga.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Beowulf.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: An SSS thug describes Charlotte as Mediochre's girlfriend when they've only just met. Mediochre gets sarcastic at him.
  • Unicorns Prefer Virgins: The standard method for hunting unicorns is to get a young female virgin to stand in the middle of a forest clearing and hide nearby with a gun. The heroes try to foil this when they find it happening by getting Charlotte — a younger female virgin — to stand in a different clearing, thus attracting any unicorns away from the hunters.
  • Universal Driver's Licence: Double-subverted — Mediochre can't fly the helicopter initially, but he learns pretty quickly.
  • The Unreveal: Rowan almost reveals Mediochre's Backstory to Charlotte.
    Mediochre: If she does, she's not permitted to tell you.
  • The Vamp: Danny seduces Charlotte as part of TOWIR's plan.
  • Virgin Power: Both unicorns and dragons are apparently drawn to virgins.
  • Visual Pun: The cover is a shade of red almost slap in the middle of the ochre spectrum. It is literally medi-ochre.

    Black, White and Shades of Mediochre 
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Abrahams and Fervour are a little bit fascist, bordering on BNP. Millacra's obsession with Rowan, meanwhile, plays out like a stalking and attempted rape.
  • Dramatic Wind: Because the only thing cooler than Joseph Carrion is Joseph Carrion with air conditioning.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Humanist Movement is a Human Supremacy group.
  • Fetus Terrible: The necromancer possessed his current body when it was an embryo.
  • Forced to Watch: Obsidian threatens Joseph with this regarding Dhampinella to keep him in line.
  • For the Evulz: Spencer has no interest in the cause beyond it's ability to serve as an excuse to kill things.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Mediochre is the oldest man alive, "depending on what you count as a man".
  • Gallows Humour: Mediochre remembers Pigeon for this.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Subverted. Archie the Vampire is drinking wine when Charlotte first meets him, but he turns out to be perhaps the only unambiguously-good Vampire in the series.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Zack Abrahams has an evil one running from his mouth to his eye.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The necromancer, by binding himself to a body, ensures his eventual death.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Joseph thinks so.
    Humanist: (after getting punched) Resorting to the Neanderthal now, are we?
    Joseph: No. That was pure Homo Sapiens.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Vampires can regenerate their bodies after drinking enough blood. Drinking Mediochre's blood makes it happen all the faster.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: "I daresay he can get them out alive" cuts to "What d'ya mean we can't let them out alive?".
  • The Man Behind the Man: Jasper is behind the necromancer, with the Organisation Which I Represent behind him.
  • Precision F-Strike: Dhampinella gives a Precision D Strike. It works because it's literally the only time she has ever been anything but tersely polite.
  • Previously on…: The plot of Book I is summarised at the start of the story.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Because a Vampire is about to eat you. (Also lampshaded with Leeroy.)
  • The Reveal: Two big ones — the identity of Purity/Hyde and the true nature of the necromancer.
  • Rule of Cool: The main reason given for Joseph's Guns Akimbo moment. Also mentioned in the zontanecrological note.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Mediochre gets in and out of Fervour's office undetected... somehow.
  • Take a Third Option: It's mentioned that both Joseph and Mediochre found third options to an old teacher’s personality test.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Subverted — Joseph prevents Mediochre killing the necromancer, but only so he can do it.
  • Throwaway Guns: Joseph when fighting the Vampires — he has no time to re-holster them.

     Caught Mediochre-Handed 
  • Affably Evil Simultaneous Velocity Carnage is just as likely to have a casual conversation with you as she is to kill you. Plus, she actually manages to out-snark Mediochre.
  • Angrish: Carnage descends into it when Mediochre tricks her.
  • Arch-Enemy: Only a year after he finally offed Maelstrom, Mediochre gains another one in Carnage.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Springheel's rapsheet — thirty-three counts of theft, twenty-two of arson, twenty-five of GBH, at least twenty-nine of rape and eleven of murder. And one hundred and seventy-seven counts of property damage, mostly to roofs.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Mabel Hart saves Mediochre from Vanadium Steel and Springheel Jack saves Rowan, Charlotte and Sam from Thunderbolt Charlie, both by means of murdering the threat.
  • Batman Gambit: Queen MAB's plan to turn Mediochre against Fervour by getting him to go Papa Wolf over Aoife — whom he barely even knew beforehand — is pretty impressive, especially considering she wasn't in the country at the time.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Between Mediochre and Joseph. No, it's not what you think. Probably.
  • Blatant Lies: Mediochre claims his greatest fear is "lecturers" when asked. Not long after, Carnage is asked where Dhampinella is and decides to answer "Munich."
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Much of Floor Theta, but especially the Scissorman and the Pied Piper.
  • The Brute: The Choromancer is the biggest and most (physically and mantically) powerful of the villains in the book.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Fervour. Even Rising understands that taking a Dhampir hostage practically counts as assisted suicide.
  • The Caligula: Fervour turns into this post-breakdown.
  • Captain Ersatz: Jonathan Scruff seems to have deliberately modelled himself off Jonathan Crane AKA Scarecrow from Batman.
  • Chrome Champion: Vanadium Steel, eventually. Deconstructed in that it takes extraordinary conscious effort to hold himself together while moving.
  • Colony Drop: The Choromancer wants to destabilise the orbit of the moon.
  • Damsel in Distress: Aoife, thanks to the Scissorman, and later Charlotte and Edith Bartley, courtesy of the Choromancer.
  • I Have Your Wife: The Choromancer summons Mediochre by kidnapping Charlotte.
    We have your apprentice. Follow the golem.
  • I Know What You Fear: Jonathan Scruff can force people to see their greatest fear via reverse placebo. We don't know whether he is aware of what they see or not.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Archie goes from polite old man to literally lightning-fast badass when threatened by Thunderbolt Charlie.
  • May–December Romance: Mediochre and Melinda used to be in one of these.
  • Meaningful Name: Wattford. Springheel. Valentine. Bogle. Vanadium Steel verges on self-parody.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Mediochre's certainly is. It also appears that using psychomancy on an insane person drives you insane, which is why nobody's tried it on most of the Floor Theta in-mates.
  • Mind Rape: Mediochre manages to basically Mind Rape an attempted Mind Rapist. Also, the Pied Piper's actual criminal charge was "psychological violation".
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Charlotte tells Stephano who she is in a Badass Boast just before she wallops him.
  • The Needs of the Many: Mediochre's initial decision when given a Sadistic Choice — he changes it to Thou Shalt Not Kill at the last moment.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Springheel Jack, not that we see him get hit much anyway.
  • No Delays for the Wicked: Inverted — Fervour is less efficient in everything he tries than Queen MAB was.
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Dine: Sort-of. Carnage insists on going for coffee with Mediochre.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Neither Fervour nor Carnelian actually fight anyone, but they are responsible for the Stig Unit incident and Floor Theta's escape.
  • Noodle Incident: Tanner gave Kirk a nasty scar for some unknown reason. And Samantha Travis is mentioned again.
  • Obliviously Evil: Unlike the rest of Floor Theta, Valentine Scruff seems to genuinely not know how much damage he causes and can't work out why all his girlfriends die. Although he does still keep trying to make new ones, so he's either evil or really not very bright.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with the arrival of Charlotte ‘Thunderbolt Charlie’ Watford.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Tanner is frightened when Fervour manages a whole speech without any Latin.
  • Out-Gambitted: In a notable instance, Mediochre even managed to out-gambit Carnage, whose sole gambit is 'not having a gambit'.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Hard to tell which confrontation is the climax, but there is almost definitely at least one other confrontation after it, whatever.
  • Precision F-Strike: Charlotte calls Valentine a prick; the first time she's described another person by a vulgar term in the series.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Thunderbolt Charlie and her girlfriend Carmen are actually pretty level-headed as fictional lesbian criminals go — but when Carmen dies, Charlie snaps big-time.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Springheel Jack sets things on fire because he thinks flames are pretty.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun??: Joseph and Dhampinella list Joseph's accomplishments, some of which we've seen, after Rising attempts to show off.
  • Reverse Polarity: Possibly a deliberate reference by Mediochre.
  • Roof Hopping: Springheel Jack. Also the Scruffs, although theirs is less 'hopping' more 'skipping and leaping'.
  • Sadistic Choice: Given to Mediochre accidentally by Fervour — he can save the Stig Unit or he can prevent the prisoners escaping, but he can't do both.

The Christmas specials provide examples of:

    "Born to Raise the Sons of Earth" (Short Story) 
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally, with Joseph's pistol. Zig-zagged, however, in that it's not the gun that finally kills Stormhold. Also, of the six bullets, only three are useful and one doesn't even get fired.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: On reflection, Stormhold Elect — or rather, his schizophrenia — quite possibly counts as one given the nature of the necromancer in Black, White and Shades of Mediochre.
  • Future Shadowing: Lex advises Joseph to wear more black. When we first meet him in the series, he's wearing black from head to toe.
  • Teen Genius: Joseph turns out to have been one, which makes sense since he is a Professor by the time of the main series. Also, Mad Lex Gunpowder earned a doctorate at seventeen. Yeah.
  • Titled After the Song: The title is a line from 'Hark, the Herald Angels Sing'. In the song, it refers to Jesus bringing eternal life to human souls. Here, it refers to necromancy.
  • Trigger-Happy: Mad Lex Gunpowder, although we knew that already. It implies he struggles to think clearly unless he's shooting at something.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Justified here in that it's peachwood, which Jiang-Shi are said to be repulsed by.

    "Please to Put a Penny in the Old Man's Hat" (Short Story) 
  • Evil Redhead: Lark is, at least, a pretty scary and unpleasant one.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Pigeon promises in his letter than Mediochre's gift wasn't stolen — although it may have been bought with money that was "a bit" stolen in the first place.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Exploited by Mediochre. He allows Lark to eat bits of him, to prevent her from hunting down innocent humans for food.
  • Horror Hunger: Whatever Lark is, she seems to be compelled to eat human meat.
  • Memento Macguffin: Turns out that the cross Mediochre wears around his neck was a gift from Pigeon.
  • Public Domain Character: Mediochre is in London to find Springheel Jack, the famous Urban Legend.
  • Small Steps Hero: This story shows Mediochre to be one.
  • Titled After the Song: Specifically, after a line from "Christmas is Coming", a traditional British Christmas carol.
  • Tragic Keepsake: This is probably why Mediochre is still wearing that cross, many years after Pigeon's death.
  • Victorian London: The entire story is a flashback to the Victorian era. So, naturally, it has to take place in London!

    "A Visit from the Yule Goat" (Poem) 
  • Bad Santa: The "Saint Nick" turns out to be a goat-like monster using a disguise to sneak into people's houses and plant eggs which will eventually hatch into murderous babies.
  • Enfant Terrible: The Yule goat's species doesn't appear to be sapient enough for true evil, but it does have a life cycle that involves the babies taking the form of the first creature they see and then, uh, disposing of the original.
  • Kill and Replace: Part of the natural life cycle of the titular "Yule goat".

    "To You and Your Kin" (Short Story) 
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Orcus and Vitus, respectively.
  • Christmas Episode: The third official Mediochreverse "Christmas special".
  • Cool Car: Kind-of subverted. Demetrius owns a classic 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith — but it's almost certainly just for the name.
  • Evil Duo: The Viscountess uses her brother Vitus and her broodchild Orcus as henchmen.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: As a child, Dhampinella has long hair and a demure Emotionless Girl personality, in contrast to her adult self's Boyish Short Hair and stoic badass personality.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: The story ends with Dhampinella and Melinoe referring to each other as 'outcast' and 'link' for the first time.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: The Chlodoveches like the half-human Dhampinella even less that they like her father.
  • Last-Name Basis: Demtrius prefers to use his last name (which is all the main book series ever calls him). Turns out, he does have a first name, and it's Albin.
  • Meaningful Name: Melinoe's Viscountess mother is named Erzsébet — also the real name of the historical Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a notoriously blood-obsessed serial killer.
  • Nouveau Riche: Demetrius, in contrast to the more traditional but less smarmy Old Money Chlodovech family.
  • Older Than They Look: Dhampinella was ten years old in 1983, making her somewhat older than Joseph. In fairness, she's not human.
  • Opposites Attract: Melinoe and Dhampinella, due to being raised by an Old Money crime family and a Nouveau Riche "modern" gangster, respectively.
  • Parental Neglect: Dhampinella and Melinoe bond over their shared experiences of crappy parenting.
  • The Quiet One: Dhampinella was this anyway, but it turns out she was worse as a child. She has exactly one spoken line in the entire story. Oddly, Melinoe is apparently good enough at reading whatever signals Dhampinella does give off to continue the conversation, leading to something like a Newhart Phonecall between two people who are both in the same room.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Demetrius keeps his sunglasses on inside. It's because he intends to set off a light charm if things don't go his way.
  • Teleport Spam: Vitus is so twitchy he can't help doing this. He uses it to his advantage when he fights.
  • Titled After the Song: Named for a line in 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'. The full phrase is "Good tidings we bring/To you and your kin", making this an ironic Complete-the-Quote Title, since the tidings brought between the two families are far from good.
  • Woman Scorned: The Viscountess really does not like her ex-husband.

Other stories provide examples of:

    "Trains Run on Time" 
  • Muggles Do It Better: In the end, Charlotte manages to foil Winchester St George at the last minute by accusing him of having a bomb (which is almost true) and letting the mantically-unaware security deal with him.
  • No Delays for the Wicked: As referenced by the title. A last-minute platform alteration almost prevents Charlotte from catching up to Winchester St George, while St George himself remains unobstructed by the inefficiencies of the train system.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The story revolves around preventing an attempted anti-dragon terrorist attack.
  • Western Terrorists: Turns out the Humanist Movement is still producing them. Winchester St George is plotting a terror attack to disrupt a diplomatic event between humans and dragons.

  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Mediochre challenges the Bookwyrm, a creature that hordes stories, to a storytelling competition. He wins by reciting a story he knows the library archive doesn't contain, meaning the creature can't possibly be familiar with it.
  • Brown Note: One of the books in the library can't be read by anyone not pregnant without them losing their sanity. Another one has yet to be translated because the last person who tried to translate it seemingly got absorbed.
  • Deadly Book: Many of the books contained in the library have harmful enchantments, capable of blinding, poisoning, driving to insanity or just killing people who handle them incorrectly.
  • Magical Library: The National Library of Mantically Aware Britain contains both books which reference mancy and books which are themselves enchanted.
  • Mushroom Samba: Bookwyrm venom causes people to hallucinate whatever the Bookwyrm wants them to see.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: It's noted that 'monster' is just the term for a mancy-related pest. The titular Bookwyrm is just a slightly obsessive reading enthusiast who only poses a threat because it doesn't understand the importance of correct book preservation.
  • Punny Name: 'Bookwyrm' is a pun on 'bookworm', as in 'avid reader'. 'Wyrm' is an old word for dragon.

Alternative Title(s): The Good The Bad And The Mediochre, The Mediochreverse, Mediochre Series, Black White And Shades Of Mediochre