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Literature / Metamor Keep

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A web original fantasy story universe, Metamor Keep is a massive shared story universe that has been active for many years, and still enjoys a good following of writers and readers. With well over six million words archived to date, and has a reasonably open policy to submitting your own content. One of the writers, named Raven Blackmane, who abandoned his alias and became known as Chris Lester, wrote a spinoff known as the urban fantasy podcast and story universe Metamor City, which has since been declared non-canon. A sequel series to the original Metamor Keep is in the works under the tentative title of Metamor Future.


The setting chronologically begins with the fierce engagement, known as the Battle of the Three Gates, in which a wizard from the north attacks all three gates of the titular Keep, seeking to pass through the surrounding valley and into the southern Midlands, which he believes are waiting to be conquered. In order to quickly dispatch his enemies, he engineers a curse, which changes the defenders minds and bodies into one of three forms; animals, babies, or the other gender. This incapacitates the defenders, and allows the wizard and his army to enter the city. Unknown to Nasoj, however, was that a group of mages from the Keep had been sent to activate an ancient defense system. They succeed a few minutes after the curses fall, and the defenders, restored partially to their old bodies and fully to their own minds, attack the invading army with enough fervor to drive them out, keeping the Midlands safe for now.


The story universe focuses on the inhabitants of the Keep after the Curse. Now bipedal animals, gender flipped, or unable to age past puberty, they are now thought of as monsters in the south, and still subjected to constant attacks from the north.

It also has an IRC channel, and as per The Wiki Rule, there is a wiki.

The Character Page needs some love.

Provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob:You have characters named Misha, Cedric, Phil, Thomas, George, Claire, Jon Charles, Kimberly, Jessica, Josephine, Georgette, Edmund, all sharing the same universe and in some cases house as characters named Zyphar, Zagrosek, Altera, Thalburg, Wessex, Malakai, Xhyz, Zalgorithim, Nasoj, Hawl, Pascal, and Yariv. A woman named Lhindesaeg changes his name to Lindsey upon her becoming a man.
  • All Just a Dream: Central to the canonicity of "Expansion of Power". Because it is written by one author using another's characters, it was originally intended to be noncanon. However, after some discussion, it was decided that the story could, with a few adjustments, fill the role of foreshadowing for future developments.
  • All There in the Manual: There's info so that newcomers aren't bogged down having to read millions of words to join in, as per The Wiki Rule.
    • Also noteworthy are copious amounts of information that are not directly mentioned in the archives, but can be found on the Wiki. For example, the exhaustive list of the Pantheon and their powers.
  • And I Must Scream: Zig-zagged with Laracin, who has been turned into a tree. He cannot move, but he is able to talk with people.
    • One potential future for Nasoj suggests him getting hit with all three curses...that are constantly changing him, forcing him to never maintain the same form for more than a few minutes.
  • Animorphism: One of the three curses.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Played for Laughs.
  • Anachronism Stew: Where to start? Well it's a running gag amongst the authors that several characters wear glasses before they were invented, Pascal appears to have a gas stove in her workship, and do not get us started on Stealth.
    • Some of the anachronisms are explained as the result of magic pushing technology forward in some areas. Lampshaded by all the authors.
    • Portusia itself is based off of an amalgamation of Spain, Portugal, and most of South America.
  • Arboreal Abode: Glen Avery has houses built out of the trees themselves, justified by a local wood mage who can shape living wood.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Pretty much everyone affected by the gender bender curse - invoked, as Nasoj intended for the curse to turn the men of one gate into sex slaves.
  • Author Avatar: Most of the writers have one to some extent: Copernicus, Charles Matthias, Raven Blackmane, Wanderer, Virmir, etc.
    • Hawl and Seranima are both Author Avatars of the same person, Hawl being made to portray who the author was until her hormone therapy and Sera meaning to portray who she is today.
  • Badass Army: Metamor's knights are usually this, it is sometimes, but not always Played for Laughs:
    You Might Be From Metamor If: "you have personally witnessed the aftermath of an entire battalion of soldiers with PMS."
  • Bad Ol' Badger: Subverted. Angus may be hard on his scouts, but he's actually a Sergeant Rock, while Will Hardy is a Papa Wolf to his daughter Caroline.
  • Baleful Polymorph: One of the three curses.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Charles Matthias may be friendly, courteous, patient, honorable, and an absolute gentlemen. But if you say anything bad about his wife or threaten his home or family. The gloves are off and he will unleash the full force of the Sondeck. Which him basically becoming fueled by rage to gain a power that allows him to kill with his mind and enhance his speed and strength to herculean levels.
    • Misha Brightleaf, who is a good friend and a generally level-headed individual in daily life, has been known to go on insane one-man assaults when anyone presses his Berserk Buttons.
  • Berserk Button: Intructions for surviving Metamor's citizens are as follow Do not threaten Cedric's sister, do not insult Charles' family, do not call Virmir "Kendo" or point out that he resembles a child, and always call Loriod, Lord Loriod when speaking to him.
  • Big Bad: Nasoj, Lilith
  • Boxing Kangaroo: Zhypar Habakkuk, who loves a friendly fistfight.
  • The Caligula: Loriod, ESPECIALLY in "Keeping The Lamp Lit"
    • A country in the south (Portusia) had a ruler named King Rafael III, with the last eighteen years of his tenure being called the "Reign of Terror". Subverted in that it was actually a group of advisers, and the real king had died of Polio.
  • Centauroid Form: Called taurs. Misha becomes one from a magic misfire, though it is temporary. It then turns out, any animal morph can become a 'taur, though it takes more effort and an ability to visualize it.
  • Chaos Architecture: Metamor Keep itself.
  • Child Soldiers: Zig-Zagged - there are children serving in the army, but they're all Older Than They Look.
  • Cerebus Roller Coaster: The overall tone of Metamor Keep shifts around greatly. Early on, it was mostly Slice of Life of people's characters hanging around the Keep with occasional adventures. Then Charles Matthias has a nervous breakdown, Christopher and Wanderer are forced into serving the gods, one of Misha's teammates is killed and his girlfriend raped, an assassination leads to the onset of global war... And all throughout, there are stories about picnics, drinking games, romping about as taurs, and Wish-Fulfillment for new arrivals.
  • City Guards: They come in two flavors at Metamor Keep. One patrols the Keep walls, while another ("the Watch") patrols the city itself.
  • Clingy Macguffin: In "Hoof and Claw", the Adventurer Archaeologist Jon finds an ancient magic artifact that binds with his life force when he wears it. Additionally, until he can turn it off, it transforms him into a raptor.
  • Curse: Obviously.
  • Curse That Cures: Because the curse literally reshapes the body, it can be used to cure otherwise uncurable diseases. The biggest downside is that the more advanced the disease is, the stronger the curse is, resulting in a more animal/child/libidinous body.
  • Crisis Crossover: Winter Assault, although the entire series could be considered one between the fursonas of various TSA writers past and present.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: There was one with Fox Cutter's A Fox In The Works and Metamor Keep, where two versions of Fox Cutter met one another, one Lioness the other a Male Fox.
    • Another is a crossover with Hawl's Paradise stories, and she has stated it to be incredibly dark, though deliciously non-canon.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Surprisingly, a couple Daedra. Nocturna is the goddess of dreams and omens, and quite helpful to those who show respect. Oblineth is the goddess of cold and winter, but not evil, just neutral and solitary.
  • Daydream Surprise: In "Duke of Metamor?", Misha has just killed the duke of Metamor, and is battling with his friend Andre to become the new duke. It's actually a D&D-style game they're playing, pretending to become the duke.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Altera Loriod is an evil cringeworthy example.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Averted with Raven, who is a wolf. Justified in that she is much older than the curse, and was likely named for her black hair.
  • Door Stopper: Many of Matthias's stories are LOOOOONG. Heck, if you turned his stories into an anthology, it'd be bigger than most phone books.
  • Elite Army: Metamor's Long Scouts are the best of the best, only couple dozen strong.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Most stories that focus on Metamor's military, tend to focus on the Long Scouts.
  • Emergency Transformation: The animal curse has the side effect of removing any serious injuries of illnesses the victim suffered before the curse set in.
    • Phil was covered in Greek Fire when Nasoj set the curses, accidentally saving his life but bringing the flames back whenever his curse is suppressed.
    • A number of characters came to Metamor after the battle with terminal diseases that they hoped the curse would cure, such as Rickkter and Phil's bodyguard.
  • Eternal Sexual Freedom: Downplayed. Metamor is more accepting of homosexuality and women's rights because of the curses. Most of the time the former is reserved for people who were wed before the curse hit them and the latter for men turned into women.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: One would think that Duke Thomas would have the foresight to predict that a permanent transformation curse would one day fall on a kingdom called Metamor(phosis)
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Invoked, as the wiki describes regions as being similar to real-world counterparts to establish a sense of familiarity. (Irombi is Africa, the Giantdowns are Siberia, the Kkhart empire is Egypt, Fan Shoar has been discussed as a possible Mesoamerican-empire, etc.)
  • Fantasy Counterpart Religion: A few early stories brought full, unchanged Christianity into the story. After some controversy, Catholicism and Protestantism were renamed to "Ecclesia" and "Rebuilders". Christianity itself is now called "the Way", and Christians are "Followers".
    • Jews are now called Predecessors, and Pagans are now Lothanasi.
  • First Law of Gender-Bending: Not in-universe, but by far, male-to-female gender morphs are more frequently written than female-to-male.
  • Fisher Kingdom: Stay in the Valley long enough, and (assuming you are human) you will be cursed. No exceptions.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Raven considers the Aedra and the Daedra to be nothing more than beings of immense power who trade "miracles" for prayers and other "favors", despite being a High Priestess.
  • Fountain of Youth: One of the curses.
  • Gender Bender: One of the curses.
  • Gender Is No Object: Even before the curses, Metamor Keep had a mixed-gender military. There are also female animal morphs and even female child morphs. Notable examples are the mage Jessica, the High Priestess Raven, the Long Scouts Arla & Lisa, and the pikewoman Claire.
  • Gender-Blender Name: There are plenty to go around! Most TG Keepers Charles/Chantel, George/Georgette, Edward/Edwina, Matthew/Malisa, Joseph/Josephine, Lhindesaeg/Lindsey (Lindsey being the male name) and Cedric/Cedrina is suggested jokingly. Though somewhat averted as a few Keepers who are now men/women such as Walter, Altera, and Yariv refuse to rename themselves.
  • Genius Loci: Kyia, the spirit of the Keep.
  • Greek Fire: Whales has literal Greek Fire. "Greek" was later revised as being the original inventor's name.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The curses were designed to work on humans, half-lutins and half-dragons are susceptible but half-elves are not.
  • Hellhound: Moondogs are a version of this. They're creatures of Lilith that are fast, have powerful bites, and induce fear in all nearby listeners. Only the person they are bonded to is immune.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Ava-Shavåis is an Åelf village hidden in an ancient forest.
  • High Fantasy / Low Fantasy: It goes in and out of this.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: In "For I Am Lost", Christopher steps into Wanderer's mind (Wanderer had previously messed with the gods, and has had his body and mind changed to a wolf's). He sees a barren field, except for one tiny plant. That plant gives him hope that Wanderer's mind is not lost.
  • Long Runner: This started in the late 90s. Yeah, not that old compared to other long-runners...but for a Web Original series, that's actually quite old, especially since it has had spinoffs like Metamor City and a What If? universe in the making.
  • Mage Tower: Several of them at the Keep. Murikeer and Saroth are each given their own towers, as do Kiska and Quickpaw. Oren builds a tower for his friend Gornul and his family of telepathic dragons. Meanwhile, in Ava-shavåis, the Åelf elder mage lives in his own tower.
  • Most Writers Are Adult Males Comfortable With Their Birth Sexes: Most of the main characters tend to be Animal Keepers, while Child and Transgender Keepers, though prevalent, tend to stay closer to the background.
  • Neck Lift: Rickkter does this to Murikeer when the latter tries to apologize for spraying him. Which is a huge improvement over what Rick intended at the time.
    • Murikeer dishes one out himself on Walter Levins, the shrewish gendermorphed tailor of Glen Avery, as he's trying to tell her that she is the sister of his dead mother, and therefore his aunt.
  • Nested Story Reveal: In "Duke Of Metamor?" Misha Brightleaf proclaims himself Duke of Metamor after killing Duke Thomas, but it's revealed that he's an honest and loyal Metamorian who merely got lost in a roleplaying game with a friend.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nasoj probably didn't want to curse Metamor after all, since his animal curse in particular fulfills a prophecy that will set up his doom. Later it's revealed that Baal's price for creating the curse was that it would be eventually used to ensure that Nasoj would be defeated.
  • Ninja: The southern mage tribes each fill parts of this role for the setting. The Sondeck are physical fighters who make use of a powerful internal force to strike blows far harder than they could physically manage. The only weapon they are shown using is the Sondeshike, a polearm. On the other hand, the Kankoran are far more weapons-oriented, basing some techniques around mastery of the sword specifically. The fact that the two clans hate each other causes almost any meeting to result in a Cool vs. Awesome battle.
  • No Antagonist: Some stories lack an Antagonist, merely being a Slice of Life.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted by Malger, among others.
  • Nothingis Scarier: Nasoj is purposefully without any description of his physical appearance for this reason, though it is suggested that he might be a shapeshifter.
  • Offerings to the Gods: The Aedra's insistence on a price for their blessings, which can range from the weapons of one's defeated enemies to their ability to speak, is one of the biggest reasons for Raven's agnosticism.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Madog is able to do this somehow.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Naturally for a fantasy setting. Followers tend to swear by Eli or Yahshua; Lothanasi tend to swear by Kammaloth, Artela, or Akkala. People of unorthodox faith, such as Rickkter, might swear by the Great Maker.
  • One-Man Army: Between being a Combat Pragmatist, a Walking Armory, a warrior mage, and The Ace, Rickkter makes an Establishing Character Moment by leveling a small army of 50 lutins by himself.
    • A few months after the curse, Misha ran away from the curse wielding only his axe. A year later, he returns, having carved his way through the Giantdowns by himself.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Zig-zagged. Nasoj appears to be taking his sweet time destroying the keep; but one of the biggest story arcs was actually dedicated to an assault lead by Nasoj.
    • Note that, due to the rules of the setting, although Nasoj is massively powerful, he could not hope to wage a one-man war with the Keep without utterly failing. Also, since his power has waned in recent years, it's less an example of this trope, and more of an aversion of Suicidal Overconfidence.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Centaurs do exist, but are mostly hidden in the Aelfwood.
    • Rois is not a natural-born centaur, though she resembles one.
    • Some animal Keepers can shift to a "taur" form, starting with Misha following a backfired curse on the part of one of Nasoj's minions.
  • Our Elves Are Different: It's assumed the elves in this universe are descendants of the Fair Folk. Actually, not that far off from other mythologies.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Lutins.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The only true god is the Follower god, who only rarely influences the world. The Aedra and Daedra are Physical Gods who generally have free reign over non-Followers, and require offerings or sacrifices before helping a petitioner.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: A few varieties. There are the Nauh Kaee, who are reclusive to the point of only one Nauh Kaee seen in-universe (Guernef). And there are the "gryfin", most of whom have died or gone into hiding except for Quickpaw. Her best friend, Kiskin, becomes a gryfin morph at the Keep.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: There are other lycanthropes, not just Werewolves. An entire dynasty in the Kkhart Empire was a line of werelions. There are also even werespiders in this universe, too, commonly found around Irombi.
  • Pedophile Priest: This is part of the reason why Baron Calephas was expelled from the order. And why a keeper disguised as a child leads to his death
  • Playful Otter: Caroline and Oren are the two most prominent otters, and both can be quite mischievous.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Repeatedly, although some end up in an Orphaned Series.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Altera Loriod rapes Hough, largely for being Charles's friend and not giving into his torture. After this, and being cursed into a child in the process, it takes weeks before he is able to talk again.
    • Caroline is captured by Lutins and held for several days. In addition to being locked in a dungeon with several Lutins raping her at once, she has Survivor's Guilt for the death of her fellow Long Scout Craig, and her hands are mutilated, forever affecting her ability to fight.
  • Rascally Raccoon: Zig-zagged:
    • Brian Eirik Coe is a complete aversion. He's open and straightforward, and one of the most caring doctors a patient could hope for.
    • Rickkter is played very straight. He's a sharp-tongued mercenary who distrusts authority and loves cracking jokes and acting as The Gadfly, though he stops short of stealing.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: There used to be a person on a mailing list named "Jason" who was annoying people. This inspired the character "Nasoj."
    • The romance subplot between Charles and Kimberly was not only written about the author's relationship with his girlfriend, but said author actually used the story where Charles proposes to Kimberly to propose to said girlfriend. According to the author the "ring was out of his hand faster than he could blink" and the two have been happily married ever since in both canon and real life.
    • There have actually been some instances where people worked in gags from the chats into the stories.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: "Winds of Destiny" reveals that Phil, the former master of Greek Fire and now quarter-human rabbit morph, is actually the Prince of Whales.
  • Running Gag: Authors have plenty of running gags, such as latex, muffins, the Hyacinth in the Garden, or how Copernicus can never be beaten in pool. (The latter of which is actually a cardinal rule of the setting.)
    • See also playing random animal-instinct bits for laughs.
  • Savage Wolf: A pack of dire wolves are among the many enemies who invade the Keep, led by a werewolf. Not willingly, though; once the werewolf is distracted by the Keepers, they fight against the werewolves and join Metamor Keep.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Although a couple stories have magic clothes that adjust or disappear when a character shifts, usually they disrobe first. Which leads to some Naked People Are Funny moments when they are forced to shift back.
  • Shout-Out: So much it has its own page.
  • Slice of Life: Some stories lean into this...even a Slice of Life in this universe can be quite fascinating!
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Altera Loriod was a minor villain in Charles Matthias's stories, killed early on by a more plot-significant villain. However, the lands he controlled were dominated by his politics: gender-swapped spouses were forced to remarry, animal morphs were forced into manual labor, and racism against animal morphs was encouraged by his human subjects. Even in-universe years later, his subjects still have not recovered from his 6-year rule.
  • Smelly Skunk: Skunk morphs are always smelly, which tends to make them looked down upon, even among animal morphs.
    • Kayla is given a magic amulet that hides her scent. Before this, she was a painfully shy Shrinking Violet who had once loved socializing.
  • Species Surname: Jack DeMule, Pascal Q. Porcupine. Hawl's middle name is Tygarus (Tiger-us).
  • Spin-Off: The audio podcast Metamor City by Chris Lester, basically a Film Noir Metamor Keep. Not a Sequel Series, due to the writers of Metamor Keep and the creator of Metamor City both agreeing to keep it a separate continuity.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Chris O'Kane is fond of this trope, especially when introducing a new character:
    • In "Snips and Snails", Madog comes to life, knocks out Misha, and sets off to kill the Duke of Metamor. When he sees him, surrounded by guards, he leaps through and rips the Duke to pieces. He then sneaks around until he finds a child morph, and leaps... and starts licking his face. The duke turns out to be a statue of a centuries-old duke, the guards were just passing by, and Madog was caring out orders programmed centuries ago to assassinate that specific duke, not the current duke.
    • In "Shadows of the Past", a ghost fox is seen watching the Long Scouts as they investigate haunted ruins. When they are attacked by Lutins, the spirit strikes... and attacks the Lutins for them.
    • In "The Winter Assault", the dire wolves do this twice. First, they sneak up on a boy in a kitchen... and then the Long Scouts discover that they have not attacked the boy, and are just eating a bunch of food in the kitchen. They then follow the Long Scouts until they meet a werewolf, and then they attack... the werewolf.
  • Third Law of Gender-Bending: Generally inverted. The conflict usually isn't that individuals are forced to follow their new gender norms — it's that the largely medieval world is forced to accept women who act like men, and less commonly, men who act like women.
  • Transformation Conventions: Because several of the characters are Author Inserts of people who happen to be furries, this is actually the case with various characters:
    • Charles who is very intelligent and very stealthful became a rat, and it's noted that this an appropriate body for him by several characters in canon.
    • Cedric who is a very traditional knight noted for being very brave and on task becomes a horse.
    • Thalburg who is ornery and bi-polar became an alligator.
    • Pascal who was very flirtatious and young minded became both younger and female,
    • Wessex who was always the runt growing up and had moved to Metamor to try and prove himself an adult before the curses became eternally a child.
    • Loriod is a corrupt power-hungry jerk who liked being in charge of other people, and she became a man.
    • It is suggested that Dame Seranima suffered from Gender Identity Disorder when she was a man, no surprises what she turns into.
  • Unanthropomorphic Transformation: Animal morphs can assume a "feral" form at will.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl:It is noted that for this reason Cedric Bariclauph will not fight a woman and is harsh to people who do. Even when his life is threatened by one he mainly stays on the defensive. He also tends to count people under the Metamor Curse as women, even when they weren't that way before. Cedric also repeatedly denies Sir Yariv's request to duel her (Sir Yariv is a woman due to an unbreakable curse) for the same reason, but Cedric is no hypocrite as he makes it clear that if he were ever turned into a woman himself he would give up fighting.
  • Write Who You Know: The original story was this for several prominent writers on a Transformation Fiction mailing list. Among those early inserts: Charles Matthias, Pascal Q. Porcupine, Thomas Hassan (as Duke Thomas Hassan V), Bob "Posti" Stein (as prime minister), Malisa (as Thomas's heir — the real Malisa was admin of the IRC channel), Phil, Brian Eirik Coe, Mark Van Sciver, and the author himself Copernicus.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Keep had a "protection spell" that interacted with the curse to give everyone the ability to shift. Morphs can become full animals (and sometimes 'taurs), the age regressed can become babies, and gender benders can control the size of their "endowments". Additionally Jessica can temporarily place any of the three curses upon a Keeper, used to great effect in "Healing Wounds In Arabarb".
  • The Video Game: By Stealthcat, though it is quite buggy.
  • What the Hell, Hero??: In "Never Again A Man" Duke Thomas yells at Father Hough for asking him a favor, ignores his daughter's request for him to marry a woman from the south (a requirement to keep his power), and sneaks out at night to pretend he's a work horse, all to fufill a sexual fetish. Justified as Dame Byronoth is controlling his mind, because Zarogsek was in turn controlling her mind, because Marzac was in turn controlling his mind.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Zig-zagged. Some of the rats are unpleasant characters early on, and make plans to start a Thieves' Guild, but Charles, his wife Kimberly, and the knight Saulius are as courteous and chivalrous as any noble.