The first, third and fifth seasons are set in the fantasy setting Hieron, and are collectively called "Seasons of Hieron". These seasons were primarily played in Dungeon World along with other games used for holiday specials or finales. An interstitial prequel season played between Autumn and Winter in Hieron, called "Marielda", used Blades in the Dark.
The second, fourth and sixth are science fiction set in the Milky Way galaxy. Season two, "COUNTER/weight", is set in the titular Noir/ Cyberpunk / Mecha planet of Counterweight. Season four, "Twilight Mirage", is set in the far future of the same world, far enough to be considered post-cyberpunk and is concerned about the fate of a declining utopia called the Divine Fleet. Season six, "PARTIZAN", is set millennia afterwards and is about the Civil War within the Divine Principality, the most powerful empire in the galaxy. Recurring motifs amongst these seasons include impossibly powerful machine gods called Divines and a general love of mechs.
Bluff City is a bonus season available only to Patreon backers, telling various standalone stories of strange happenings in the titular fictional midatlantic city.
Tropes are broken down by season.
Works contained in this series:
- Hella Varal the fighter, a human who is evil and conflicted about it, played by Ali Acampora
- Fero Feritas the druid, a halfling who rejects the old world, played by Keith J Carberry
- Lem King the bard, a history loving orc who can perform pattern magic through music, played by Jack de Quidt
- The Great Fantasmo the wizard, a pompous but clever elf who used to teach in a university, played by Nick Scratch
- Hadrian, Sword of Samothes, Defender of the Undying Fire, Officer of the Order of Eternal Princes the paladin, a human deeply devoted to the god Samothes, played by Art Tebbel
- Throndir the ranger, an elf who left his isolationist people after learning a terrible secret, played by Andrew Swan
Autumn in Hieron contains examples of:
- Ambiguously Evil: While many of the monsters and antagonists of the season are aligned with Samot, Samot himself doesn't seem to be that evil, to the point that he resurrects Hadrian fully healed and in return demands not that the latter renounce Samothes for him, but simply that he think about it. The Marielda season takes Samot further into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory.
- Anti-Magical Faction: Hella and her home country of Ordenna have this attitude.
- Arc Words: You can never leave Nacre. You can travel away, but if you've spent the night there it comes with you wherever you go.
- Boom Stick: The Golden Lance has magitech guns that can disintegrate people.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": A magical bird that can split into a swarm of smaller birds is called a panther.
- Cool Sword: Hella's sword can cut through magic and has several ghosts trapped in it.
- Crisis of Faith: Hadrian has this towards the end of the season as he learns more unpleasant things about his god.
- Cursed With Awesome: The inhabitants of Nacre are cursed to reanimate as zombies when killed and ghosts when killed again, but remain mentally the same, effectively gaining extra lives without any mental degradation. As ghosts they can only be killed by voluntarily dying, by a few forms of magic, or by Ordennan steel. The people of Nacre see it as a blessing, while most outsiders (including the player characters) consider it a curse. The empress plans to spread the condition to the entire world.
- Deal with the Devil: Hella makes a deal with the god of death, the former emperor of Nacre to kill his son in exchange for not dying herself. Surprising everyone else in the group, she actually does it instead of reneging.
- Death Takes a Holiday: The god of death used to literally go on vacation to the city of Nacre, but mortals continued dying as usual until he gave up his godhood to save the city from a disaster and people there started turning into intelligent undead instead of dying.
- Detect Evil: Hadrian has a power to do this, but it detects not objective evil but what his god considers evil.
- Evil Counterpart: Tabbard is one to Hadrian, right down to having the same titles, only with Samot instead of Samothes.
- Expendable Alternate Universe: Fantasmo casts Dispel Magic on a window into another universe, accidentally destroying the entire universe. It was treated as disturbing and upsetting but not all that traumatic for an entire universe being destroyed.
- Ghost Pirate: Captain Brandish and his crew are mostly zombie or ghost pirates since being killed by Hella before the game started. Brandish is actually an undead privateer, working for for an entire nation of sapient undead.
- I Was Just Passing Through: Fantasmo looks out for his friends, though he if asked he would brush it off as being strategic to maintain the well-being of his traveling companions.
- Kill the God: Inverted by Hella, who killed the empress of Nacre only for her to inherit her father's position as the god of death.
- Our Elves Are Different: The elves of the setting have mostly started to live shorter after the Erasure, and the snow elves live in xenophobic isolation.
- Our Orcs Are Different: The orcs of the setting mostly operate out of the New Archives, a scholarly organization dedicated to collecting, cataloging and studying artifacts and history from before the Erasure.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The inhabitants of Nacre rise as zombies when killed, then as ghosts when killed again. However, they remain mentally the same in both cases.
- Physical God: The gods in the setting have physical forms, as seen when the god of death was known for taking vacations in the city of Nacre. The god Samot shows up in person at the end of the season.
- Soul-Cutting Blade: Hella's sword can kill ghosts, or keep those killed from reanimating to begin with. Ordennan steel can similarly harm spirits.
- Taken for Granite: Samot's pala-din are soldiers transformed from humans to living statues. Hadrian narrowly avoids the same fate.
- Talking the Monster to Death: When fighting a Word Eater, a creature that steals words to make their concepts part of itself, Fantasmo tells it his motive for becoming a wizard, tricking it into eating the word Ignorance.
- Twisted Christmas: The Holiday Episode was notably more grim than the main series (which is not all that upbeat itself). It begins with the party investigating a brutal murder on the dawn of the holiday High Sun Day (the equivalent of New Year's Day) and ends with the killer revealed to be a grieving man who was manipulated into the deed by Hadrian's boss with promises of redemption, Hadrian snapping the killer's neck after telling him everything would be all right, and his boss getting disintegrated by the Golden Lance. Furthermore, it starts snowing heavily in Velas, where it has not snowed in decades, starting a winter that many would be completely unprepared for and die from.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Fero's primary power is this. He usually transforms into birds or a cougar.
COUNTER/Weight is a cyberpunk/mecha game composed of a ground game (with a party of player characters going on missions) and a faction game (with factions controlled by other players operating on longer time frame and interplanetary scale). The game takes place on the planet Counterweight in the Golden Branch sector of the galaxy where two feuding factions, the The People's Conglomerate of Orion (or OriCon) and the Autonomous Diaspora have a tenuous cease fire after banding together to win a war against the once-massive Apostolosian empire.
COUNTER/Weight has its own wiki.
The Chime (ground game party) consists of:
- AuDy / Automated Dynamics / Liberty & Discovery, a robot valet gone sapient and turned pilot, played by Jack de Quidt
- Aria Joie, an Idol Singer turned smuggler, played by Ali Acampora
- Cass / Cassander Timaeus Berenice, a semi-exiled prince of the Apostolosian Empire, played by Art Tebbel
- Mako Trig, a laid back stratus (psychic with the power to hack into technology), played by Keith J Carberry
COUNTER/Weight contains examples of:
- Abstract Apotheosis: In an episode of the Waypoint Radio podcast, Austin admits Rigour is essentially "the living embodiment of late capitalism".
- Arc Words: We could have made them look like anything, but we made them look like us.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Orth Godlove, the Chime's main employer, starts out as this. He later gets a demotion and then a promotion due to political events unfolding during the story.
- Bilingual Bonus: The titles and descriptions of some the of the music in the seasons's soundtrack are done entirely in Morse code. Notably, they're all to do with Rigour, and are accordingly ominous in tone:-.-- --- ..- .-. / .-- --- .-. ... - / -.. .- -.-- ...:translation .. - / .. ... / -.-. —- — .. -. —. —..— / .. - / .. ... / -.-. —- — .. -. —. —..— / .. - / .. ... / —- -. / .. - ... / .— .- -.— —..— / .. - / .. ... / -.-. —- — .. -. —. / .- - / .-.. .- ... - —..— / .. - / .... .- ... / .— —- -.- . -. / ..-. .-. —- — / -... . -. . .- - .... / - .... . / .. -.-. .translation
This Is A Delay: - .... .. ... / .. ... / -. —- - / .- / ...- .. -.-. - —- .-. -.—translation
Everything At Last Must Come To An End: .. - .——. ... / .... . .-.translation
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Chime has to flee Counterweight due to having angered the Liberty and Discovery Automatic Corp enough that Ibex has sent a personal Breaking Speech to Cass vowing to hunt him down. When the Chime finally meets Ibex face to face, he has absolutely no memory of the speech... because he didn't even make it. Ibex has Righteousness send automated personalized threats with his likeness to whoever becomes an enemy of the LDAC.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: After the Iron Choir debacle, Orth declares he is pretty much done working with the Chime...but once he learns that Ibex is after them, he immediately drops everything to help them escape.
- Characterization Marches On: Orth starts the game as a dead serious Bald, Black Leader Guy (Austin even compares him to President David Palmer). However, once the Holiday Special establishes a younger Orth as borderline Nervous Wreck who ends up faced with a literal impossible task and ends up falling into the thrall of Ibex, present day Orth still remains assertive when he has to be but still lets a few cracks shine through. Austin even lampshades it:Austin: Poor Orth. Poor everything. ...Is Orth — is Orth Otacon?
Sylvia: Orth might be Otacon.
- Cloning Blues: Mako discovers that he, like many other students at the September Institute, is one of many clones. Though Mako frees the other copies of himself and treats them like younger siblings or children, all of them aside from the main Mako end up dying via Heroic Sacrifice in the final battle. Mako's Virtual Ghost copy Larry meets a similar end.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Austin's vision of Ibex is modeled after venture capitalist Tristan Walker (no relation).
- Contagious A.I.: The Divine Righteousness is a program with no physical form that can load onto other machines to enhance them. Liberty and Discovery work a similar way.
- Continuity Drift: At some point everyone starts to refer to Horizon Tactical head Adler using female pronouns despite having used male ones in the past.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Jack conceived AuDy as a direct counterpoint to Lem King's usual modus operandi of getting through a crisis by talking — AuDy speaks little, and when they do they often make things worse.
- Cyberpunk: The setting is cyberpunk in general, but especially the OriCon, which was once communistic but has since become a corporate oligarchy while keeping some of the old populist rhetoric.
- Cyber Space: Mako's psychic hacking works like this.
- Do Not Call Me Sir: Sokrates does not like being addressed by their Candidate name Enhydra.
- Dream Melody: At the beginning of the theme song, there's a low humming sound. It's the hum of Rigour.
- Dystopia: Every society in the Golden Branch sector is messed up, and Counterweight can sometimes get the worst of all worlds.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: At the end of the season Rigour is defeated, the Golden Branch sector is mostly at peace, and Counterweight is being brought back to an inhabitable planet, but only after a final episode composed almost entirely of Heroic Sacrifice that claims the lives of Cass and most of the secondary characters.
- Exact Words: In the Firebrands game, whoever obtains Zeal gains an advantage but it can be stolen once by another player if the latter simply announces it, leaving the previous owner worse off than he was before. Keith gets around it by having Mako give Zeal to Orth willingly.Austin: ...You rules lawyering motherfucker... I love it.
- First Church of Mecha: The Diaspora reveres the Divines in some ways like gods. The Iron Choir worships the "dead metal", a mostly inactive Divine containing a life giving artifact.Ibex: You know, there's a thing — I don't like OriCon very much, you know that, but there's a thing about it that I like a lot, which is that you recognize that your Riggers are just Riggers. They're just machines, they're just very advanced machines. We got it in our head that these things are gods, man.
- Flat Character: Austin notes in the postmortem for Season 2 that Keith didn't have much fine detail conceived for Mako's backstory compared to Art and Ali's more extensive off-mic discussions of what life was like for Cass and Aria before the Chime was formed. This contributed to the revelation that Mako doesn't actually have a past on September.
- Gone Horribly Right: Rigour. It was built to influence people and make them work harder and more efficiently, and that is exactly what it did, to the point of dominating their lives utterly.
- High School A.U.: On September, the Chime members have false memories of being students at the September Institute, as part of a Lotus-Eater Machine.
- Hover Board: Mako goes through considerable effort to obtain a hoverboard called the Ring of Saturn.
- Human Aliens: The Apostolosians are visually indistinguishable from humans. They claim to have been behind Atlantis, though it is left ambiguous whether that is true.
- Idol Singer: Aria Joie used to be one, and still sometimes makes music (though she contractually can't make money from it anymore).
- Irony: Ibex gained the informal title of "Executive" due to his control of his Divine apparently far exceeding that of a normal Candidate yet he is revealed to be the one the most enmeshed with it, to the point that it's pretty unclear where Ibex ends and Righteousness begins. Indeed, once Ibex disappears during the Time Skip, people start questioning whether Ibex was ever real or just a construct created by Righteousness.
- Join or Die: The pirate Odamas Fleet annexes the mercenary company Horizon Tactical Solutions.
- Just a Machine: Sapient robots are still rare, so AuDy still has to deal with this attitude at times. This is also said later in the series in a very different sense about Rigour; not to say that it isn't a person but to say that it isn't a god.
- Lethal Joke Character: For most of the game, Keith plays Mako like a long-form improv game, and the other players constantly tease him about purchasing several dozen (credits' worth of) construction robots. Lazer Ted is a similarly goofy and washed-up Stratus, played up to be a harmless, if somewhat annoying, Expy of Riff Raff. Then the finale happens. Mako not only cheats the conditions of Zeal to boost the team's overall point value, but brings back the construction robots during the finale, weaponized and ready for combat. Lazer Ted similarly goes out in a fitting Heroic Sacrifice, contributing significantly in the battle against Rigour.
- Line-of-Sight Name: When pretending to represent a company buying mining robots, the name Mako gives (at Jack's urging) is "Drillbot Taylor."
- Even worse, when he's pretending to be the captain of the Kingdom Come and is asked to identify himself, he sputters "You can call me...Captain". This gets them immediately boarded.
- Literal-Minded: Most of the robots are this to varying degrees, notably when JM-27 flatly says "I would like a bribe" when the Chime wants an illegal favor from them.
- Lost Technology: Weight was created by an ancient super-tech artifact, which the Chime is later sent to locate. The Rapid Evening faction exists to make sure much of the lost technology it stays lost.
- Mecha: Multiple forms. The OriCon has Riggers the size of smaller buildings, the Diaspora has the the sapient, powerful and individually unique Divines, and Apostolos has large Colossi and small Hoplites.
- Mechanical Abomination: To some extent all Divines qualify, with each having unique powers and sort of Blue-and-Orange Morality. Rigour is essentially an ancient man-made elder god, complete with its reemergence from deep in the ice thousands of years after being blasted into the planet from the distant detonation of hundreds of star systems leading almost immediately to it killing scores of workers and enthralling the survivors.The sound came from beneath the ice, or from the ice, or within the ice. The distinction is no longer important.
- Mega-Corp: OriCon is run by them, despite keeping some trappings of its previous communist government.
- The Men in Black: The faction The Rapid Evening is somewhat like this, though about controlling proliferation of super-tech instead of hiding the existence of aliens.
- Meta Origin: The first four Divines in existence were all created by the same engineer, and the ancient conflict with Rigour is directly responsible for the separation of the Autonomous Diaspora from OriCon and later the Principality of Kesh and the ancestral founders of Apostolos from both. In Austin's own words, Rigour is the reason the Golden Branch Star Sector is the way it is.
- Mood Whiplash: After the emotional moment of Aria putting down Cyborg!Paisely, Mako walks into the room clutching a fried chicken coupon.
- Mythology Gag: The Chime's ship is named the Kingdom Come as a direct nod to the vessel of Captain Brandish.
- The Panther, Jace's custom Rigger, splits into a swarm of birdlike fragments like the Hieronian animal of the same name.
- Art's character's religious background once again includes a pantheon of similarly-named beings which include a patron of teaching, relaxation, and wolves.
- No Social Skills: AuDy parked cars before they attained sentience. It takes some time for them to get used to being part of a team.This is a situation I am trying to deal with, but I have been handed a crew of incompetents.
- Not So Different: Irene Klipsch-Dove, creator of the first Divines, observes that the naming conventions the Diaspora uses for Divines are little more than the same kind of marketing language OriCon applies — Divines aren't embodiments of the things they're named for, for all that they hold to principles that generally align with those labels. In the other direction, the end of the Golden War saw Grace hold the position that the Orion Conglomerate's increasing reliance on automation would eventually lead to their adoption of systems which would be Divines in all but name.
- Oh, Crap!: When one of the players in the faction game moves Rigour to September, the planet training hacker psions, as well as where the main party is currently headed.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Divines' pilots, called candidates, experience extreme stress from their link with the Divine and are usually recruited young and die young. Becoming a candidate is considered an honor, and it is possibly (though extremely rare) for candidates to resign.
- Preserve Your Gays: Jaqui Green, Aria's girlfriend is one of the relatively few secondary characters to survive the final fight.
- Professional Slacker: Mako's college friend Lazer Ted has a long list of jobs he made up for himself to slack off at.
- Psycho Prototype: The thing eventually revealed to be Rigour is described as "like a Divine, but broader." As a pseudo-psionic paperclipper AI who took over OriCon for hundreds of years and whose body is made of "new flesh" that survived the explosive destruction of multiple star systems, the First Divine presents a strong argument for its successors' more stringent limitations.
- Refuge in Audacity: Mako's plans often have an element of this, like when he infiltrates a corporation by pretending to be a representative of another company buying construction robots in bulk and then actually buys the robots, going massively into debt.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The idea of being trapped in a pocket dimension with Rigour is so terrifying to Liberty that it breaks its bond with Discovery and hijacks Detachment's body to flee near the end of the timeskip.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Rigour twice; once before the beginning of the series and again between the Chime's first fight with it and the final battle.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Chime starts out doing jobs like investigating a kidnapping, and ends up fighting the galactic-level threat of Rigour.
- Starfish Aliens: Early on in the faction game, it is established that "a true alien" may dwell on the planet Sigilia, in contrast to the more familiar "aliens" like Apostolos or the designer genetics of Kalliope. Come the finale, we get the payoff: It's Sigilia.
- Straight Edge Evil: Rigour is a mechanical god of this. As it exerts control over the company that found it, the company's previously laid back Corrupt Corporate Executive leaders start giving way to this.
- Super Robot: The Divines have common powers such as opening portals to other Divines, or individual abilities such as reading minds or uploading to and physically reshaping machines. The former is acknowledged as "as close to space-magic as [the setting] gets."
- Take a Third Option: After learning the truth about Grace's "erratic behavior", Kobus is faced with the opportunity of either overwriting Grace with Liberty or merging them into Liberty & Grace/Freedom. Kobus does the latter... to take advantage of the confusion of the two Divines to pilot the mech into the system's sun, destroying the three of them.
- Tomato in the Mirror:
- Audy finds out they are two connected Contagious A.I. Divines, Liberty & Discovery, inhabiting a robot body.
- Mako finds out he is one in a series of clones.
- Town with a Dark Secret: The September Institute is composed mostly of virtual ghosts disguised as real people or clones with false memories, who are killed and reset when they "graduate" as part of an experiment.
- Twisted Christmas: The second Holiday Episode does not involve a holiday in-universe, but is still fairly grim. It is a flashback of how the Golden War ended, and though the protagonists won Jace and Addax turn on each other, and Sokrates's hopes of a grand alliance after the war don't pan out.
- While the episode was not made on a holiday, the Liberty & Discovery flashback episode is incredibly dark and involves an in-universe holiday. It is about one of the first rebellion attempts against Rigour, and ends with the rebellion crushed. After he fails, Liberty & Discovery's first and only candidate is left for dead with only a wreathe made by one of his companions who died in the rebellion.And it holds you in its hand, and it looks at you.
And the Liberty & Discovery system shuts down. And Righteousness shuts down.
And you're a person in a machine. And it's not even your machine.
How could it have been? You are small. You are so small that this doesn't matter.
There is a galaxy that is so much larger than you, that one small rebellion does nothing.
You are insignificant. You aren't the spruce, you aren't the pine, you aren't the fir. You aren't the cedar.
You are a walnut, and you will be cracked.
- While the episode was not made on a holiday, the Liberty & Discovery flashback episode is incredibly dark and involves an in-universe holiday. It is about one of the first rebellion attempts against Rigour, and ends with the rebellion crushed. After he fails, Liberty & Discovery's first and only candidate is left for dead with only a wreathe made by one of his companions who died in the rebellion.
- Villain Decay: Horizon Tactical Solutions is introduced as a fairly dangerous Private Military Company and during the first mission, their men actually manage to lethally wound Mako and Aria, forcing them to get cyberware to survive. During the course of the campaign, they end up suffering multiple humiliating defeats (by both the Chime and the Odamas Fleet in the faction game, the latter of which literally ends up assimilating them) and in their last appearance, the Chime manages to make them go away with nothing more than a forged invoice, a blown up empty mech and a vague threat from AuDy.
- Virtual Celebrity: Since Aria Joie left being an Idol Singer to make music on her own terms, the company she worked for has continued putting out songs and concerts by a virtual version of her.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ibex is arrogant, ruthless manipulative and opportunistic, but genuinely does want what's best for the sector. He eventually cedes power to Aria, believing that she could help people more than he could. His Divine, Righteousness, practically runs on this.
- Wham Line: In the aftermath of the fight with Detachment, AuDy's ability to resist connecting to the Mesh breaks down.Austin: This isn't the first time you've been online, AuDy. And it really rushes back to you. A looong time ago. Before you knew there was the Golden Branch Sector.
Jack/AuDy: As I was being manufactured?
Austin: No. Well, I guess someone built you. We haven't quite figured out how they build Divines yet.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Detachment is more or less explicitly left up in the air.
- Your Costume Needs Work: It is only after starting a relationship with her and looking at her private quarters that Jacqui Green realizes that Aria is THE Aria Joie. She was apparently under the impression that Aria was just an impersonator.
Members of the Six:
- Aubrey a bookish cobbin alchemist, played by Sylvia Clare
- Castille a sapient, clothes-wearing pala-din who is actually the ghost of Charter Castille, an elven mage serving Samot, played by Ali Acampora
- Sige Colburn, an intimidating human bruiser, played by Andrew Swan
- Captain Edmund Hitchcock a human scoundrel and ex-cavalry officer, played by Jack de Quidt
- Third episode spoiler character, Ethan Hitchcock Edward's identical twin and partner in crime, also played by Jack de Quidt
The DM is Austin Walker.
Marielda contains examples of:
- Actual Pacifist: Aubrey will not kill or permanently injure people (instead using alchemy to make things like sleeping gas). She does, however, work with people who have no such compunction about killing.
- Though when it comes time to kill Samothes, she says she is "ready to do harm."
- Bittersweet Ending: The Six make it out alive, but both the plans of Maelgwyn and of Samothes fail to stop the Heat and the Dark, which ravages most of the world as the Erasure.
- Body Horror: The weavers appear to people who returned from being lost in the woods with extremely elongated bodies and limbs (whether or not this is their true origin is ambiguous).
- Book Burning: The Font Men, Samothes's Culture Police, are known for this.
- Boom Stick: An earlier version of the Golden Lance's magitech guns from season 1 show up, wielded by the Golden lance and the pala-din.
- Creepily Long Arms: The Weavers are unnaturally elongated in general, but the length and flexibility of their arms in particular is remarked upon. Despite looking like abominations, they behave like normal people.
- Church Police: As a city run by a strict god, there are naturally multiple forms of this in Marielda, ranging from the pala-din to the Golden Lance to the Font Men.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Here Austin finally describes Samothes as looking like a slightly older Sendhil Ramamurthy.
- Culture Police: The Preceptors of the Font of True Knowledge, or Font Men, are holy bureaucrats that are technically considered educators, but in practice, hunt down illegal ideas and controlled information. Their motto is the saying "people talk; gods write", and they enforce it with weaponized canes that are wreathed in flames on command.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Hedy and the weavers are people who were found horrifically elongated after being lost in the woods, but despite only being copies of the original lost people they have as a group been legitimately helpful and upstanding citizens.
- Dark Is Evil: The Heat and the Dark seeks to destroy Hieron.
- Destructive Savior: Samothes's pala-din show up with guns in the first battle of Marielda to drive off the invading army, but do almost as much damage to the town as to the invaders.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Hedy got lost in the woods and apparently returned transformed into the first weaver, except the body of the original Hedy was later found. Unusually, she acted entirely benevolently and might not have even known she was a copy. The other weavers are implied to be similar.
- Divine Parentage: Maelgwyn is the child of Samot and Samothes.
- Dungeon Punk: Marielda is a city run by an artificer god, with automaton guards, city blocks that re-arrange themselves overnight, trains that generate tracks through the air, and a fanatical bureaucracy dedicated to keeping the knowledge of how any of it works out of the hands of civilians.
- Fantastic Racism: From the people of Marielda towards the cobbins and weavers.
- Flaming Sword: Lance Noble Quince is an orc who, unlike the other Lance members' magic guns, has a sword with a blade made of magic fire.
- God Couple: It's revealed in The Valentine Affair Part 3 that Samot and Samothes were an item before their differing opinions on what to do about the Heat and the Dark drove them apart.
- Golem: Samothes's pala-din are stone automatons shaped like people. Castille, however, is sapient due to being posessed by the ghost of Charter Castille, an elven mage serving Samot.
- Humanoid Abomination: Rector Sabinia (or at least the evil copy of her).
- Hungry Weapon: Mr. Calendar's knife. It influences its bearer towards violence, and grows with each life taken. By the time Maelgwyn is done using it to kill Samothes, it has grown into the sword that will later be Hella's in Autumn in Hieron.
- Ironic Echo: At the end of the Crosstown Job:Ali: I kind of like the idea of Castille being like, "Yeah, I live, like, two blocks from here, let's all just hide out and relax for a bit."
Austin: [laughing] That's what criminals do, they go back to their real homes after they've robbed God?!
Austin: So what happens to the Six? Because I can tell you what happens to Marielda.
- And then after Samothes has died:
Jack: We can't just all — go home together.
Austin: Is that not what happens after a heist? You don't all just go back to your home?
- Kill the God: The Killing of the King-God Samothes By The Traitor Prince Maelgwyn.
- Knife Nut: When Sige isn't using his brute strength or gun, he uses a trench knife.
- Mr. Calendar's magic knife fills whoever holds it with a nihilistic presence. It is eventually used by Maelgwyn to murder Samothes.
- Knowledge Broker: The protagonists' criminal enterprise is this, in a city where knowledge is a controlled substance.
- Lemony Narrator: Each episode of this season is narrated with cryptic commentary by Samol, the god of the land, and first god. He later shows up as a character who is directly involved with the protagonists.
- Lizard Folk: The cobbins are basically the lizard-dog-humanoid kobolds from Dungeons and Dragons (though they prefer not to be called that).
- Patricide: Maelgwyn is the son of Samot and Samothes, and kills the latter in an attempt to make himself regret hard enough to form a new god. It doesn't work out the way he planned.
- Primordial Chaos: Before the world and the gods, there was the Void, or Nothing. Samol, the first god, was created when Nothing flinched, and Nothing has since tried to return things to the way they were.
- The Lost Woods: When people gather lumber from the woods near Marielda, some of them go missing, then show up later horrifically elongated.
- Master of Disguise: One of Hitchcock's main talents.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Invoked by Maelgwyn by killing Samothes in an attempt to form a new god. It doesn't work like he intended, and he instead becomes a broken copy of Samothes.
- Noodle People: The Weavers are people who came back from The Lost Woods unnaturally elongated. Their entire bodies are horrifically stretched out and their arms in particular are extremely long and flexible. Despite looking like abominations, they behave like normal people.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: In Hieron, people become ghosts not out of any personal connection with how they died, but basically from sheer luck:Most folks will tell you that ghosts come from extreme circumstances; a traumatic death, an unavenged betrayal, a depraved killing. They couldnt be more wrong. See, I know the man what moves a soul after the body goes. He aint leavin' behind those that have been wronged. Ghosts aint about quality of death, theyre about quantity. See, sometimes that old boy gets very busy, cant keep up with em. Maybe a war is on, maybe its a flood or a fire. Too many lives to process, and some are bound to slip through the cracks. After all, the truth is, all death is traumatic. But, dont get me wrong. Every now and then, a ghost does want a little revenge. But that aint supernatural — thats just numbers.
- Our Gods Are Different: They're born from the powerful impulses of other beings — Samol created Severea and Samothes when he saw the land lonely and its creatures vulnerable, and Nothing created Tristero after Samol's birth made it afraid it had done something wrong.
- Overly Long Name: The Rector and College of the Last Living Spirits, in Memoriam, For Their Service Awarded the Grace and Wisdom of Our Proctor, Originality Alive. Most Marieldans know it better as "Memoriam College."
- Sword Cane: The Font Men have weaponized canes that are wreathed in flames on command, which they use for combat and Book Burning.
- Trickster Twins:
- Edmund and Ethan Hitchcock.
- Their student Caroline is revealed to have a twin, Carolyn.
- Wham Line: By midway through The Valentine Affair, it's become clear that the narrator is no ordinary person — ordinary people don't profess to know the god of death — but he makes his true nature a little plainer here:There ain't much that should scare folks like Samothes and Samot, like Severea and Tristero. These are, these are powerful beings, not like you. They squabble over concepts the way families argue about bills. They live in palaces of gold and fire and wind, castles they built with their own hands and ingenuity. So you should be asking yourself: what makes a thing like that afraid? What makes a thing like me afraid?
- When Hitchcock says to Rector Sabinia "I think there's an evil copy of you in this book," she replies "What makes you think she's the bad one?"
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Hurting a child is the one crime that Sige categorically refuses to do.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: Slow Point in Emberboro is a place you don't want to be taken.
This season has the same cast as season 1, plus two new characters:
- Prince Ephrim, The Gifted, His Summer Sun, Lord of the Coming Spring, Prophet of the Unwavering Flame, Silver Hand of Samothes, the immolator, a human Eternal Prince of Samothes who believes winter is coming and he is the only one who can stop it, played by Sylvia Clare
- Adaire Ducarte the thief, a human who tells people she is a cartographer, played by Janine Hawkins
The DM is Austin Walker.
Winter in Hieron contains examples of:
- And Then John Was a Zombie: They don't know it, but the armies of Ordenna are already affected by and spreading the curse of Nacre, causing them on death to turn into the undead they seek to eradicate.
- Anti-Magical Faction: Ordenna's opposition to magic is even more pronounced in this season, as Ordenna's Justiciars and Anchor have started actively hunting down magic outside Ordenna.
- Bishōnen: Ephrim is described as being perfectly androgynous and very pretty.
- Beneath the Earth: The group going to the tower Boat Party never got to spends a lot of time discovering what's under Hieron.
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Uklan Tel is not great with metaphors.Tel: The Heat and the Dark is like a jar of bees if the jar of bees was the Nothing on which existence is written by mistake. There is no We can turn an empty room into a room filled with jars of bees. A maniac would do that, to be clear, not a normal pattern magician — I would never use my power to fill a room with jars of bees, to be clear. But — You can't I may have lost my point. The Heat and the Dark is incredibly dangerous and unlike anything else.
Fero: [holding back laughter] Ooh, thanks, that helped!
- Emergency Transformation: Throndir dies and is brought back as a member of the Golden Lance.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Disciples of Phantasmo are in fact the followers of Fantasmo, or at least his Split Personality Arrell.
- Hobbits: The halflings of Rosemerrow.
- Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: The Ordennan Anchor run on magic despite the Ordennans' insistence that they would do no such unholy thing. Unlike many examples of this trope the Anchor are being mass produced though, implying that someone in Ordenna is very much aware of their true nature.
- Married to the Job: Hadrian, Sword of Samothes, Defender of the Undying Fire, and Officer of the Order of Eternal Princes, spends far more time and energy trying to serve his god than love his wife. As a lay leader of the Church of Samothes herself, she understands. But Hadrian is a true paladin — we heard the word 'Samothes' in his original introduction, long before we heard about 'Rosanna'.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Anchor are mass produced soldiers of steam-powered metal (reverse-engineered from the pala-din), used by Ordenna to hunt down the supernatural. Their strength and antimagic metal make them a legitimate threat, with their explosions on death being notably hazardous. Despite the Ordennans' insistence otherwise, they actually run on magic.
- Our Gods Are Different: The origins of Galenica/Samaantine (whose origin is not discussed in Marielda) are revealed here — the Shield of Our Will was born from mortal need, as Nothing tore apart the eastern islands of Hieron.
- Peace Pipe: During some down time after narrowly avoiding a fight with Mother Glory, Fero improves relations by passing around some halfling pipe weed. In a twist on the trope, the gnolls are the tribal society in this case while the halflings are not.
- Shipper on Deck: In the recap episodes, Samol appears to ship Lem and Emanuel, referring to their first encounter as a Meet Cute.
- Steampunk: Velas, with knowledge taken from Nacre and other pre-Erasure sites, has rapidly industrialized. They now have steam-powered metal versions of the pala-din called the Anchor.
- Tautological Templar: The Ordennan Justiciars. "In the new world of Ordenna, the only sin is working against the state."
- Title Drop: In the recap episodes, Samol calls Hella's sword the Blade in the Dark. Marielda was run in the role playing system Blades in the Dark
- Twisted Christmas: The third Holiday Episode is back to Hieron's holiday of High Sunday, and continues the trend of holiday episodes ending in tragedy. It is the story of a number of other nonhuman or otherwise marginalized merchants including Red Jack and trying to make a living in post-Samothes Marielda. While things go alright for a while, their earlier success makes the neighborhood more desirable, which leads to the group getting broken up and driven out by wealthy humans acting on racism and a desire to own the now valuable property.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Ordennan Justiciars are intent on stamping out the "plague of undeath", despite the fact that the undead made by Nacre's curse are mentally unchanged from before their death.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Mother Glory, the gnoll alpha, wants what is best for her people (who have historically been wronged by the halflings), but her preferred methods are extremely violent.
- Also Arrell and the Disciples of Fantasmo plan to fight the Heat and the Dark by placing people in solitary pocket dimensions where they can spend a potential eternity researching how to save the world.
In the past, wed convinced ourselves that our technologies were just reflections of those who made them: Tools to fit our hands, robots to ease our labor, artificial beings to teach, protect, and entertain us. We believed that our greatest achievementthe machine-gods we called Divineswere simply idols made in our own image.
We were wrong. Since the first grain silo, the first cathedral, the first ship, the first computer. Since the first time we put pen to pageweve always made things bigger, quicker, longer lasting, different than us. For a long time, we thought we were building mirrors. But now we know better: We were setting fires.
When humanity made this realization 30,000 years ago, we faced a dilemma: The divines were not only more capable than us, they were different. And we were no longer capable of denying those facts. But the scholar and prophet Kamala Cadence diverted disaster by unifying loose, competing strands of organic and synthetic belief to form a new school of thought: The Resonant Orbit, a harmonic faith that affirmed both human and robotic life without reducing one to the other. Where other ideologies saw difference as a threat, the Resonant Orbit saw it as an undeniable fact of life.
And so, in this small corner of the Milky Way Galaxy, life blossomed. A choir of 300 Divines built a new society alongside billions of human devotees. Advancements in science and technology joined with a diverse, growing culture of art and scholarship, leading to whole new ways of life. And while threats did arrive, peace always followed. The Divine Fleet always had room for difference, and because of this, the Divine Fleet knew only peace and prosperity for eons.
But over the last millennium, the divines have begun to die. Attacks from within and without have pierced their once-immortal shells, and even small mistakes have proven fatal. Three hundred years ago, their number fell to eight, and in the face of these deaths, the Divine Empyrean created the Twilight Mirage, a false nebula in which the fleet might find shelter and time.
And for a while, we did. A new stability arrived, and though more divines met their ends, our faith gave us the strength to fight, to work, to find new ways to survive.
But today, there are only two divines left. We will face a future more uncertain than weve ever known. Our utopiaa world that so many worked to buildis in decline, and our pantheon is decimated. For years, the Divines protected us, gifted us with their strength and technology, lifted us into the forms we most desired.
But now we face a hard truth: We are no longer their wards, they are ours.
Twilight Mirage is a post-cyberpunk game set in the far future of the COUNTER/Weight universe. In the tens of thousands of years since the events of COUNTER/Weight, a group of Divines, humans, and synthetics have grouped together in the Divine Fleet, forming an extremely diverse yet harmonious society united by the pan-belief faith of the Resonant Orbit. Over time, synthetics, humans and even other Divines have created new Divines, with their number peaking at 300, each watching over their own subcommunity with their own values and protecting them from a hostile universe.
Unfortunately, the Divines started dying. Despite perishing to varied causes, they did so suddenly and unexpectedly, leading some to speculate some sinister force at work. When their number was dropped to eight, the Divine Empyrean created the Twilight Mirage, a giant nanomachine cloud that had the dual purpose of both disguising the fleet as a nebula as well as serving as a giant augmented reality system, blurring the lines between the physical and the virtual. By the time the story begins, there are only two Divines left. And Empyrean is about to become the Last Divine.
This season has two separate parties: the Beloved Dust, a special police force dedicated to combating threats to the Divine Fleet; and a the crew of the ship Myriad, a group of settlers tasked with finding a new home for the Divine Fleet on the planet Quire.
The Beloved Dust consists of:
* ⸢Signet⸣Full name , the former Excerpt (pilot) of the Divine Belgard, who caused the latter's death by deserting it at a critical moment. Played by Janine Hawkins.
- Tender Sky, a Cat Girl former Mesh architect who was disgraced after becoming involved in the death of the Divine Anticipation. Played by Ali Acampora
- Fourteen Fifteen, a Bounty Hunter with the ability to Body Surf via transmitting their consciousness as data. Unfortunately, their digitization process suffers from an unfixable bug that corrupts their consciousness with each jump, which will eventually kill them. Played by Jack de Quidt.
The crew of Myriad is comprised of:
* Even Gardener, a Super Soldier whose body is integrated with a biomechanical parasite. Played by Andrew Lee Swan.
- Echo Reverie, a Badass Normal petty criminal with no cybernetics or connection to the Mesh. Played by Sylvia Clare.
- Gig Kep-hart, an occupational safety vlogger. Played by Keith J Carberry.
- Grand Magnificent, an artist who specializes in mech design. Played by Art Martinez-Tebbel.
The DM is Austin Walker.
The Twilight Mirage contains examples of:
- Ace Pilot: At its peak, the Divine Fleet was home to three hundred Divines. Declan's Corrective killed twenty-seven.
- Aerith and Bob: Divine naming conventions have drifted as time goes on, from the "democratic virtues" names found in COUNTER/Weight to the more general ideal-based names of the second generation to the more obscure terms applies to the third. As the fleet's protectors dwindle, this gulf becomes more evident, with the eight player-specific Divines sporting names like Harmony, Potency, and Memorious. By the beginning of the game, the only two Divines left are Empyrean and Gumption.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The Iconoclasts' god Volition and its creations the Axioms, for very specific values of "anthropomorphic" and "personification."
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The former body of Independence looks like "a giant horrible gun-centipede." The Rogue Wave faction has built a city over it.
- Brandishment Bluff: Gig at one point interrogates a hitman with the threat of a "thermal detonator" that happens to pop out of his head.
- Broken Record: The Iconoclasts, about whom little is known.more info
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: A lot of it compared to earlier seasons.
- Grand Magnificent looks an awful lot like Randall Park.
- ⸢Signet⸣ is modeled after Yuga Yamato.
- Massalia d'Argent bears some resemblance to actress Fan Bingbing.
- Morning's Observation is modeled after rapper Lil Peep.
- Declan's Corrective looks like "a very specific picture of Benicio del Toro."
- Multiple Castlerose assassins are encountered in bodies named for and modeled after famous musicians, like the Duke, Mister Fahrenheit, and the Thin White Duke.
- Continuity Nod: Despite it being thirty-thousand years after the events of COUNTER/Weight, the Beloved Dust's opposite numbers in the Beloved Ivy include Masalia D'Argent, who establishes that the Apostolosians are still around. So're the Rapid Evening — their undercover operatives in the Fleet supply the cold open narration.
For all of their beauty, for all of their impossibility, for all of their power, we could only have ever made them look like us.
- The cargo of the Holiday Gambit that kicked off Quire's Glassed Age? It's the Gnosis virus.
- Irene Klipsch-Dove, a.k.a. the woman who created several early Divines, went on to write a guide to outsmarting sapient machines.
- In the scene where the Doyenne describes the canvas, the music turns to the opening notes of "The Long Way Around" on the pivotal phrase:
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Grand Magnificent stands in sharp contrast with the more stoic characters Art played in Autumn in Hieron and COUNTER/Weight.
- Cool Starship: All of the surviving ships of the Divine Fleet are pretty cool. The Tides of Harmony, for example, consist of two normal-ish spaceships connected by the body of the Divine Harmony, which looks like a giant crystal dahlia.
- Dead All Along: "godspeed, glory" reveals that the body of Empyrean has had no Divine in it since the day Gumption died.
- Deity of Human Origin: The Divines, technicalities aside, still fill this role. This is, in fact, the main point of contention of Volition and the Iconoclasts — they view any consideration of humanity in the creation of an incredible machine to embody a concept as a limitation to be overcome.
- Electronic Eyes: Gig's equipment includes a cybernetic eye that can pop out and fly around. He and Surge don't get why the rest of the ground party think it's weird.
- Evil Counterpart: The Divine Independence is so ideologically antithetical to the core values of the Divine Fleet and the Resonant Orbit that even the trivia section doesn't give it the time of day.Entities: Divine: Unresonant
There is nothing left to say. -Kamala
- The Faceless: The Iconoclasts, who pursue ⸢Signet⸣ for reasons unknown.
- Fight Unscene: Fourteen Fifteen's third encounter with Mother's Story.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: The Advent Discovery & Salvage Society upgrades from a petty group of grave-robbers and tomb raiders to one of the premiere forces in the Quire System, able to stand toe-to-toe with the Divine Free States and the New Earth Hegemony.
- Genius Loci: Qui Err Vi Qi-Emtranslation formerly Qui Err Vi Na-Em.translation
- In a different sense, Acre Seven.
- Gone Horribly Right: Grand Magnificent starts the game with the goal of building a new body for the hidden Divine rumored to be somewhere on Quire.Gig/Keith: Are we — Are we sure he's on our side? Because it seems like he accomplished his exact objective, which is now the problem that we're facing.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Chthonic, revealed to be a dead and withdrawn Empyrean, burns itself out to destroy Independence.
- Horse of a Different Color: Duck, who Gig found at a mysterious facility on Quire and whose notable features include a prodigious appetite, limited speech, a prehensile mane, and the approximate proportions of a pennyfarthing bicycle.
- Hypocritical Humor: A common reaction when members of the Fleet introduce themselves to visitors from the New Earth Hegemony.Kentucky's Corona: ...Fourteen Fifteen. Wild names out here.
- Machine Worship: The Divines are machines and the religion of the Divine Fleet centers around them.
- Mecha: Always called Mechs. Every faction has some, and designing them is Grand Magnificent's art.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In trying to reunite the two separated ships of the Tides of Harmony, the Notion inadvertently turn Advent, a group of tomb raiders and fascists who absolutely suck, into a notable superpower in the Quire System.
- Overly Long Name: The Fleet's counterpart for what the Autonomous Diaspora once called a Candidate is "Excerpt"; their names are lines from the Resonant Orbit's canon, typically abbreviated to one word. Aside from ⸢Signet⸣, there's also Empyrean's pilot ⸢Blooming⸣ Full name and Gumption's operator ⸢Covenant⸣.Full name
- Phrase Catcher: Fourteen Fifteen.
- Prehensile Hair: Even's symbiote turns his hair into 'tendrils' he can use to interface with machinery.
- Prescience by Analysis: How Crystal Palace, the oracular machine of the Rapid Evening makes its predictions.
- Sequel Hook: Part of the finale narration is spent on the resulting fate of the Divine Free States and the Rapid Evening/Principality of Kesh. Aram Nideo engineers the merging of the two powers into the Divine Principality, a nascent empire that will come to dominate the galaxy, setting the stage for Season Six.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The entire motivation of Grand Magnificent throughout the finale.
- Space Battle: The Siege of the Lineage Brighton
- Starfish Aliens: Acre Seven.
- Thanatos Gambit: Gumption's death has kicked off a contingency plan for its resurrection, set up hundreds of years ago on Quire — the Salvage Mandate of the fallen Divine.
- Theme Naming: The assorted chapters of the Beloved are named for Frank Ocean songs with one-word titles. Echo Reverie's immediate family all have given names drawn from musical terminology.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The Miracle of the Mirage has caused time to progress more quickly or more slowly depending on where you are, even on the same planet.
- Time Skip: The second part of the season takes place (roughly) a year after the Miracle of the Mirage, with Pure Cascara uniting the members of the ground game and the ship game to form a group called the Notion.
- Wham Episode: Things rapidly escalate in the penultimate story of both games in the first half of the season.
- In the ground game's Sculpture City arc: Grand Magnificent draws the ire of his patron from the Fleet in the form of multiple Castlerose agents being sent to kill or capture him, Even participates in an attempted coup, and Gig learns a brief history of Quire before being used by the planet to broadcast a message about the Divine Independence, whose heart serves as the impetus for a gunfight. By the end of it all most of the group is badly wounded, the Doyenne has been taken from the city, and the Fleet's ambassador Alekhine has revealed himself as an Independent and stolen the Glass body Grand built.
- In the space game's Privign arc: Tender manages to use her already-unusual Architect powers in physical reality, Fourteen discovers who contracted them to kill Tender and where The Sky Reflected In Mirrors came from, Signet learns the truth of the Iconoclasts and the nature of Quire's fifth moon, the extent of the New Earth Hegemony's engagement with the Fleet turns out to be comparatively minor, the last Excerpt of the first third-generation Divine Privign is revealed to have been Satellite's ancient and embittered predecessor, the extent of how badly Independence twisted Quire during its Blooded Age is laid out in stark detail, and a collection of individuals on the By-and-By, including Open Metal and Robin's Song, have taken the Cadent Under Mirage into "protective custody" as a coup against Empyrean.
- And then "godspeed, glory" happens.
Months ago, the Heat and the Dark emerged from the Long Sands of Rosemerrow, bring terror and destruction to Hieron, and though the sun has returned, and though the vicious blizzard that battered the North-West has weakened, and though Adelaide's so-called curse has vanished, the warmth of Spring has not yet arrived.
The people of Hieron have faced calamity, and now they look to their leaders, to you, in hopes that they may recover and rebuild.''
- —Spring in Hieron Episode 1 Opening Narration
Spring in Hieron features examples of:
- Canine Companion: Throndir's dog, Kodiak, continues to be with him and very large.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: The Solarch, head of the Church of Samothes, leader of the Cult of the Dark Son, is none other than Snitch Nightly, the petty criminal from Marielda.
- Our Dragons Are Different: The purple Western dragon Fero meets is a shape of the god Samol, who is Hieron (That is, the world). He's quite friendly and hasn't eaten people since Marielda.
The Road to PARTIZAN is an interstitial season comprised of one-shot games aimed at bridging the gap between Season 4, Twilight Mirage, and Season 6, PARTIZAN. It tells the story of the Divine Principality, a Galactic Superpower that will become, by the time of Season 6, the most powerful empire in the known galaxy.
These games were originally played as Live at the Table sessions for the show's Patreon but were re-edited and released to their main feed in the gap between Spring in Hieron and PARTIZAN.
The games played:
- Dialect, telling the story of the Hypha, a space-faring race of deer people, and their encounter with the Divine Principality.
- Armour Astir: Advent, telling the legend of House Brightline, the Divine Perennial and their attempt to check the Divine Principality's expansion at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
- ech0, telling the story of three kids wandering a ruined mech battlefield, carrying with them the recorded mind of a deceased mech pilot.
- dusk to midnight, telling the story of four mech pilots working for the Orion Combine during their war with the Divine Principality.
- Beam Saber, continuing the above story, focusing on a desperate joint mission between the Orion Combine and the Divine Collaborate, in an era that will be known as the Divine Clash.
- For The Queen, telling the desperate diplomatic mission of the Apokine and their retinue in a bid to end the war between Apostolos and the Divine Principality.
- Microscope, stepping back and looking through the entire 5'000 year gap between Twilight Mirage and PARTIZAN.
The Road to PARTIZAN contains examples of:
- Alternative Calendar: The Divine Calendar, which organizes months as constellations, with each year comprising 10 months made up of 50 25-hour days.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Two are espoused and worked over during the Microscope game.
- Apostolos was assimilated into the Divine Principality as Stel Apostolos thanks to a fake Apokine sent by the other heads of the Principality.
- Progressive Asterism, the other half of the Church of Asterism, was formed thanks to Pique Nideo hijacking and perverting the teachings of the Prophet Logos K'antel.
- Balance of Power: This is essentially how the Divine Principality keeps its form. The Many-Stars Thesis allows for minor conflicts between entities within the Stels but such is the structure that the entire foundation of the empire has yet to be fully shaken. Come PARTIZAN though...
- Based on a Great Big Lie: How Apostolos is incorporated into the Divine Principality. After the Apokine's failed assassination attempt, the heads of the Principality send back a fake Apokine to lead Apostolos to the Principality.
- Being Human Sucks: The Branched have become posthuman, to the point that having to shape themselves into human form, the better to fight against the Divine Principality, is considered a tragedy.
- Blood Knight: Smack TalkDo you wanna know what the weak point of a mech is? The fucking pilot.
- Clarke's Third Law: Invoked in the Armour Astir game as it is set in what's called the Age of Fables. Then, technology has become so advanced that it becomes indistinguishable from magic, allowing mech pilots to essentially channel magical effects into their machines.
- Continuity Nod: Several elements from the previous sci-fi seasons return in new forms.
- The descendants of OriCon and the Autonomous Diaspora return in the Divine Clash era as the Orion Combine and the Divine Collaborate. OriCom sells out the Collaborate and becomes Stel Orion, one of the Divine Principality's great powers.
- Apostolos returns, as part of a war against the Principality. They also become assimilated into the Principality as Stel Apostolos.
- The descendants of the Golden Branch aka the society of Counterweight and beyond, return as the Branched.
- The outro to the entire Road to PARTIZAN is delivered by Keen Forrester Gloaming, former intercessor for the Rapid Evening in the Twilight Mirage.
- Cyborgs: The Equiaxed, a sub-community within the Columnar Tabulary, are what's described as reverse-cyborgs: Synthetics that have taken on organic parts, such as skin, hair or even eyes.
- Evil All Along: Though it was rumored to be Stel Nideo's unwilling pet, the Divine Empyrean turns out to be solidly in-favour of the Divine Principality's actions and morals i.e. strength above weakness and imperialistic drives.
- FaceHeel Turn: While not exactly heroes to begin with, OriCom pull a massive turn on the Divine Collaborate by developing a Divine-controlling weapon and selling them out to the Divine Principality, re-constituting itself as Stel Orion.
- Flower Motif: The pilots of Divines, now called Elects, are named after various flowers, such as Hyacinth and Cymbidium.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Aram Nideo starts out as a petty bureaucrat working for the Divine Fleet before rising through the ranks and helping to found the tyrannical Divine Principality.
- Forever War: The Unbroken War, specifically the war against the Branched, which has been going on for hundreds of years.
- Guttural Growler: The Divine Motion.
- High Priest: Pique Nideo, the ruling administrator of Asterism in the moon that will become Partizan. He goes on to found the Progressive Church of Asterism, with the original becoming the Received Church.
- Hostile Weather: The Perennial Wave is likened to being like a tide; it ebbs and flows, allowing some hours for advanced technology to function and then fade away once more.
- Mega-Corp: The Orion Combine, descendants of OriCon from Counter/WEIGHT, is described as a fractious alliance of corporate warlords. Stel Orion is much the same way.
- Minovsky Physics: The Perennial Wave, to such a devastating effect that it knocks down the technological level of the entire galaxy to pre-Counter/WEIGHT levels. Strangely, Divines remain unaffected by the Wave.
- Nanomachines: How the Perennial Wave works.
- Opening Narration: Each episode's opening is narrated by an Elect of the Divine Principality.
- The Remnant: Both OriCom and the Divine Collaborate are explicitly described as not being successors to OriCon and the Autonomous Diaspora respectively but as remnants of those former powers forced into an alliance thanks to the Divine Principality.
- Resurrective Immortality: Divines can now come back after being destroyed thanks to the Divine Principality cannibalizing Gumption's workings at the end of Twilight Mirage.
- Shrouded in Myth: The events of Armour Astir eventually become this.
- Space Nomads: The Hypha travel throughout the galaxy, never staying put, using a light-marking method called the Strand to lead the way.
- Super Robot: Worship of Divines have become literal, with them being the focal point of the Divine Principality being enshrined in the Many-Stars Thesis and the resulting church of Asterism.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Vessel's Gold tries to talk the Divine Empyrean into turning against the Divine Principality. It doesn't work.
- Third-Person Person: Memphis Longhand, oh god Memphis Longhand.Memphis Longhand: The only god Memphis Longhand has ever seen in a mech is in Memphis Longhand's onboard mirror.
- Unreliable Narrator: Gallica, Elect of the Divine Present, recalls the events of Armour Astir as involving a "swarm of ships" devoted to the Divine Perennial (unlike the actual one ship and three mechs involved in the story).
- War Is Hell: The ech0 game, which is about children picking through the scraps of abandoned mechs, makes it clear that the Divine Clash sucked.
Abetted by immortal, machinic gods called Divines, and the legions of Hallowed mechs which extend their terrible reach, the Principality spent millennia sharpening itself on its rivals. What it could not devour it obliterated. What it could not obliterate, it simply outlived. It was an empire, unshakeable.
For the first time in the Principalitys long history, two of its five Stels have gone to war with one another, each guided by a ruler with sound claim to the title of Princept, leader of All Divinity. For five years, they have fought to a standstill, while equivacators and scavengers find profit in rubble.
But historical crises do not only serve crass opportunists, they revive opportunity itself. Under the shadow of this war you find yourself wondering: For how long will there be empires? For as long as we breathe? Longer? Will the categories of our conquest outlast us, or could there come a day for something else.
We once dreamt that breaking free from our ancient home in the cosmos would allow us to escape the mass and pull of tyranny and trauma. We failed then, but perennial chaos offers us another chance: Can we launch with such speed that we glide, graceful or imperfect, beyond war and pain? Or is the truth more damning that: Might we carry our own gravity with us?
PARTIZAN is a game of war, politics and empire set in the the COUNTER/Weight/Twilight Mirage universe. 5000 or so years after the events of Twilight Mirage, the galaxy has been conquered by the Divine Principality, using the power of Divines to extend and keep control over much of the galaxy. The game is set on the moon of Partizan, the one place in All Divinity where the Principality's five great Stels meet. The game is set at a time when two of those Stels, Kesh and Apostolos, have gone to war with each other.
The game consists of two parties: the Rapid Evening, a special ops group consisting of Kesh prisoners working under a noblewoman; and the Society of Banners and Bright Returns, a mercenary group of oddballs and outcasts working for Stel Orion. After certain plot developments, the two parties are combined into SBBR, informally called Big SBBR.
The Rapid Evening consists of:
- Clementine Kesh: a spoilt Kesh princess sixth in line for succession with dreams of conquest beyond her station, played by Jack de Quidt
- Exeter Leap: An infamous cyborg pirate/bank robber looking for a chance to escape, played by Keith Carberry
- Ver'Million Blue: A tank-grown super soldier clone of an ancient Apostolosian eidolon bred for war but not particularly keen to wage war, played by Sylvia Clare
- Sovereign Immunity: Also known as "The Farmer" or "Byron," a warrior monk disgraced by leading a failed rebellion, played by Art Martinez-Tebbel
The Society of Banners and Bright Returns is comprised of:
- Kal'Mera Broun: An Apostolosian "arms innovator" just trying to make a buck in desperate times, played by Ali Acampora
- Valence: A mysterious empath from a culture unknown to the Principality, scouting ahead and collecting information for their people, played by Andrew Lee Swan
- Thisbe: A strange robot crafted in the form of a Hypha whose place in the world she has yet to uncover, played by Janine Hawkins
"Big" SBBR sees the new characters:
- Phrygian: A Branched frontlines researcher who was sent here from the posthuman culture of the Golden Branch to learn more about the Divine Principality, who is waging a genocidal war against them. A posthuman entity that can transform into a war form that is equivalent to a mech. Played by Keith Carberry after the events of the Kingdom game when Exeter Leap forms a new squad.
- Kalar Anakalar: A Talonite who is opposed to Divines being used in warfare on moral grounds...so he wages war without a vehicle, being able to tackle machines of war on his own. Played by Jack de Quidt after the events of the Kingdom game when Clem dies.
- The Figure in Bismuth: A servant of the Witch in Glass, a semi-crystalline reanimated battle casualty. Played by Andrew Lee Swan after the first post-Kingdom mission where Valence sacrifices themself to kill Chrysanth Kesh.
The GM is Austin Walker
PARTIZAN features examples of:
- The Alliance: Millennium Break, a collection of different groups and political entities including SBBR and the Rapid Evening who agree on very little except that it is time for the Perfect Millennium to end.
- All There in the Manual: Each episode has a Dossier in the description detailing the characters, NPC's, factions, mechs and general facts that are relevant for that episode. Episode 00, in particular, has a cheat sheet on the Divine Principality as a whole.
- Alternative Calendar: The Divine Calendar.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The purpose of the Curtain of Divinity is to rein in the Principality's most tyrannical institutions along with uphold the Tranquil Princept's oath to Autonomy Itself, the so-called True Divine. The oath is meant to keep the Scutum-Centaurus arm of the galaxy free of the Principality until Autonomy Itself deemed the Principality an equitable society. This goal puts them at odds with Pact of Necesarry Venture.
- Armor-Piercing Response: Clementine, venting to Sovereign Immunity to try and work through some dissatisfaction with the Rapid Evening's first mission, gets one of these in turn.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Part of Kesh's culture is holding on to the past and ancient history, exemplified by their use of mechs from eons past. The best example being Clementine's mech being the Panther aka the Panther piloted by Jace Rethal all the way back in COUNTER/Weight.
- Civil War: At the start of the game, Stels Kesh and Apostolos have been at war for five years, each with their own Princept with a claim to being the leader of All Divinity.
- Continuity Nod: Besides the ones already detailed in the Road to PARTIZAN, several concepts/characters from previous sci-fi seasons return, including:
- Clementine's mech is the Panther aka the actual Panther, the one piloted by Jace Rethal in the Golden War that served as backstory to COUNTER/Weight.
- Figure A, the predictive robot assistant for Crystal Palace, detailed in Twilight Mirage, is found in the Divine Past.
- Gucci Guarantine, Clementine's rival, pilots a modified mass-produced Independence mech.
- Up to the north, there is an important dig to try and locate something hidden underneath the ice...
- The Divine Future has shown up in a previous season. Originally, it was Zeal.
- Cyborg: A common part of the setting. Most notably, Exeter Leap is an Equiaxed, a culture of synthetic beings who have splcied in organic material to their bodies. To that end, Leap as "80% of a digestive system" along with a human tongue.
- Defector from Decadence:
- Million was created to be an Apostolosian super soldier but actively rebelled against her intended role.
- One of the NPC's, Mourningbride, is said to be a former Elect who abandoned her post and is now living amongst the Sable Court of Partizan. She turns out to be The Mole for House Leson, is still the Elect of the Divine Courage and nearly manages to decapitate Millennium Break's leadership.
- Cymbidium, Elect of the Divine Past, had written to Mourningbride about his misgivings on the Road to PARTIZAN and was on his way to Partizan to join her. Sadly, he dies, along with the Divine Past, upon entry into PARTIZAN.
- Disney Villain Death: Clem and Gur perform a Mutual Kill, with the former pulling the latter down after they shoved them off of the top of Fort Icebreaker.
- Driven to Suicide: The Partizan Palace contains footage showing no one shooting at the Divine past as it crashed into Partizan, meaning that Past killed itself.
- Famed in Story: Sovereign Immunity was the Farmer who kidnapped Dahlia as a child, kicking off a chain of events that led to the current civil war within the Principality.
- First Church of Mecha: Literalized in the bluntest way possible, compared to previous sci-fi seasons. People now actively pray to the Divines, either seeing them as reflections of the Divine Principality's attributes or as actual, walking representations of God's aspects.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Aram Nideo was a mid-level bureaucrat at the start of Twilight Mirage and goes on to help establish the Divine Principality, ending up being canonized into a Divine by the time of PARTIZAN.
- Here There Be Dragons: Valence comes from a part of the galaxy dubbed by the Principality as "Caelestia Nullius" and is such, a complete mystery to the rest of Divinity.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Leap goes straight to picking up anything that could be of value in the Divine Past.
- The Man Behind the Man: The whole modus operandi of the Curtain of Divinity, as personified by Chrysanth Kesh. While Clementine wants the throne, her mother doesn't give a damn as the Curtain pulls the strings anyway.
- Mask Power: Valence wears a wolf mask that completely covers their face. It's also quite expressive, in-fiction.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
- Valence's weird empathetic gifts seem to be guided by using mundane objects like a book and scrying tools.
- Divines seem to follow this logic now. Despite being nothing more than machines built by the Principality, their impossible technology and the way they are worshipped by the Principality's citizens given them a sheen of this.
- Minovsky Physics: The Perennial Wave, as noted in the Road to PARTIZAN, has knocked down technology levels in the entire galaxy to pre-Counter/WEIGHT levels.
- No, You: This beautiful exchange:Cardiff Reach: What is this? Who are these people?Clementine Kesh: My name is Clementine Kesh. I am part of a delegation from-Cardiff Reach: Kesh!? No nonononononono! No Kesh!Clementine Kesh: Yes Kesh!
- Not in This for Your Revolution: A major theme of the season, especially during the Kingdom game. Having lived for so long in an oppressive, seemingly unstoppable space empire, the main characters are called to wonder and are challenged with the idea that a better world is possible. Many characters, such as Broun or Leap, only care about their own well-being, despite being in proximity to the chance of changing the world.
- Only in It for the Money: Whether it's scurrying off after having finished the job and leave the Oxblood to their fate or jockeying for a reward for helping the Sable Court, Kal'Mera Broun is the embodiment of this trope.
- Perpetual-Motion Monster: The Black Century is an Apostolosian unit whose mechs are styled after vultures and hyenas and whose pilots serve a mandatory hundred year term of service that does not treat them well, judging by the state of the Elect that leads them. What allows them to press on in this manner without needing to stop to refuel is, of course, the Divine Motion.
- Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: Kal'Mera and Ver'Million, although in Apostolosian culture, the parts before the apostrophes are not so much their actual names as pronouns—referring to Broun as "kal" is, depending on the context, as valid as "them".
- The Remnant: The Rapid Evening seems to have gone from an elite counter-intelligence group to a motley Tier 0 squad of prisoners-turned-soldiers led by an arrogant, spoiled Kesh princess. As it turns out, what people and history would know as the Rapid Evening mutated into the radical reformist organization known as HORIZON, whose Partizan contingent is led by Gucci Guarantine.
- The Rival: Actually mechanized in Beam Saber, wherein Rivals are extremely powerful characters tied to PC's that get free actions against them and are extremely hard to get rid of. So far, we have:
- Gucci Guarantine, Clementine's rival, who works for House Brightline as a diplomatic attache but also secretly runs a covert black-ops squad.
- The Divine Motion, Ver'Million's rival, a monstrous Perpetual Motion Machine of Stel Apostolos who's dedicated to ensuring the pilots under her service never waver in their duty.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Clementine Kesh may be a spoiled, arrogant princess way in over her head but she's not afraid to get her hands dirty if the situation calls for it.
- So Last Season: The opening mission ends with the Divine Past AKA Crystal Palace, the oracular machine/former de-facto ruler of the Principality of Kesh back in the era of Twilight Mirage, getting shot down and destroyed.
- Taking You with Me: Two instances, both concerning the same family.
- In their final confrontation, Clementine Kesh and Gur Sevraq fight and fall off the edge of Fort Icebreaker, into the Prophet's Sea, gone just as the eyes of the galaxy turn to Millennium Break.
- Valence takes the chance to take out Chrysanth Kesh, overloading their body until it breaks apart in a wash of energy, obliterating the two of them.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: It's clear from the start that the Rapid Evening are absolutely not on the same page. In fact, on the very first onscreen mission, Leap and Million take the first excuse to try and escape. It takes a talking-down and some negotiation from Sovereign Immunity to get them to stay.
- Theme Naming: The pilots of Divines, now called Elects, are named after plants this time around, with names such as Dahlia and Rye.
- Time Master: The Mysteries Metronomica, derisively dubbed 'the Cult of Perennial,' believe in the cycles of history and can use the Perennial Wave to affect time in limited ways, as shown by Apparatus Aperitif in the fight against Mourningbride.
- Wham Episode: Episode 28 - The Storm Over Cruciat.
- After having spent the Kingdom game exerting their influence within Partizan, Millennium Break scores its biggest victory yet by teaming up with Cas'alear Rizah and the Stormbreakers to take over Cruciat, the capital city of Stel Kesh in Partizan. Dahlia, the Glorious Princept and the other half of the Principality's Civil War, extends a treaty with Millennium Break. The players pool their Drive clocks to formally establish Millennium Break as a faction in Partizan. Exeter Leap fulfills his Drive and leaves the party. And Clementine Kesh and Gur Sevraq have their final confrontation atop Fort Icebreaker, taking each other into the ocean....
Dont get me wrong, you could understand why someone would die for it in the old days. Greens and golds, bread and honey. But around the time that those well dressed devils of Aldomina swept in, five, six hundred years ago, that's when things started to turn.
They wanted to fence it in. Rows of corn and cane, columns of people. Nations reduced to gardens. Is it any wonder the ground itself started to ache? No one noticed until about 200 years ago, of course. See, the truth of the heartlandthe truth of the worldis that it cannot be fenced in.
So, the storms came, and they brought a deep sickness to the plains and valleys. Soil turned barren, animals twisted in form and character, unkind spirits swept through the fields, farmhouses, and burgs. Reality, unhinged, drew its own course. Unpredictable, though never dishonest.
And as if in response, a rigid, mechanical malediction arrived, delivered by the cursed railway called the Shape. To be near places touched by such fearsome Structure was to hear a drum played too on beat, to see a circle drawn so smoothly as to make you stumble from its perfect curve.
Those who could, those who held the whips and pocketbooks, fled. Those left behind tried to find stability, tried to make a home on this re-frontier of ash, metal, and ichor.
Aldomina called this territory San Fielle. But there aint nothin saintly this bout place. Now, we used the name that our ancestors, those forced to work this land or force from it, called it under their breath: Sangfielle. The Bloodfields.
Sangfielle features examples of:
- The Dreaded: The Pale Magistrates, servants of Fulmina, goddess of instant justice, are this, and for good reason. They're tough, hit hard, carry all kinds of magical weapons, and, being huge zealots, are impossible to talk out of trying to kill you if that's what they've decided is "just". The nuns inside the hymn don't want to deal with Ezzek Semm, and clearly think the Blackwick Group are out of their minds for not just giving up and letting him have Janek.
- Eldritch Location: Sangfielle became one, described as the land itself revolting against its exploitation. The fear that its eldritch-ness might spread further led to the construction of the city of Concentus around the whole region, serving as a physical and magical barrier.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The Curse of Eastern Folly arc wraps up in about three and a half days due to how the group rolls (first they rolled for days, then they kept rolling ones to see how many days). In less than a week the town finds itself dealing with a dragon egg found beneath the abbey, tooth trolls, an extremely early harvest, emissaries from an underwater empress who's supposed to be dead, defectors from that empress, a surprise train station, and the breaking of the curse that has stalked them for generations. Things get so chaotic that the players question if there will even be a town left to play in after the arc ends.
- Framing Device: The story is being reported in the Almanac of the Heartland Rider, who opens every episode and also provides the character and place descriptions in the show notes.
- Haunted House: Roseroot Hall, the ancestral mansion of the yon Vantzen-Estonberghs, has become this. The layout and decorations shift and change at night, and moonlight won't pierce the windows no matter how bright. Dayward calls in the Blackwick Group to investigate. Turns out it's the house itself; Roseroot Hall is a Genius Loci who Dayward's ancestors sacrificed people to in exchange for its power and protection. Dayward has no idea, and accidentally pissed it off because he's living there without feeding it.
- Meaningful Rename: San Fielle became Sangfielle when the empire panicked and pulled out. In a more cheerful example, Eastern Folly becomes Blackwick when the curse is broken.
- Odd Job Gods: Slumbous, the god of putting out candles at bedtime. Slumbous has a very dedicated nun who has moved into the town's deserted abbey and is spreading the word of snuffing your lights properly to the townspeople. For people who forget to put their candles out (or cant, if theyve incurred the divine wrath of Slumbous), theres Snuffos, who puts them out for them.
- Order vs. Chaos: Sangfielle is harried by two reality-warping natural forces: the bizarre and unpredictable Course, and the Shape, which renders things as orderly and artificial as a theater backdrop.
- Punny Name: The devil noble Dayward yon Vantzen-Estonbergh, abbreviated as Dayward YVE, pronounced eve. (He was almost "Dayward Nightguy", but Austin vetoed it.)
- Town with a Dark Secret: Eastern Folly is cursed so that the mines occasionally eat people. The townsfolk would very much like to not have a dark secret, and are always trying to protect the miners, but unfortunately the curse also prevents them from talking about it.
- Reality Is Out to Lunch: Reality in Sangfielle is...flexible...and it's not uncommon to wake up and find the sky is just a different color today, or to go mining and find a vein of ham (and those are the nice things). The moon is always full, and gets closer instead of waxing and waning; the Shape is a semi-sentient railway that will occasionally just decide it wants to stop in your town, so a train station will appear overnight. Occasionally terrible reality storms will roll through and screw up everything. Also, time is broken.
- Ribcage Ridge: Eastern Folly/Blackwick is built around an abbey built by some beast-worshiping nuns built inside the gigantic ribs of an unknown monster. The nuns have since departed, but the abbey is still around. The rest of the monster, a colossal seven-legged dragon, is still intact and possibly still alive, buried beneath the abbey.
- Symbiotic Possession: How heritrixes work. They're incorporeal spirits who make contracts with humans to borrow their bodies for a set amount of time. The human gets something out of this as well—in the case of Es's host, adventure and excitement.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Things go fairly well during the mission to find Janek right up until the group actually get to him and have to deal with the Pale Magistrate who's chasing him. Ezzek Semm is extremely tough, and deals out a lot of damage both physical and mental, poisoning Marn on a metaphysical level with his horns and removing Virtue's religion skill by yelling at her. The group has to abandon their original goal of not killing him until they're out the Pocket Dimension and just go all out, and even then, it takes everything they have to put Semm down and they've all taken nasty amounts of stress.
- The Worm That Walks: Duvall is mostly bees—he pissed off the Sleeping City by somehow entering it outside of schedule, and the bees of the Structure colonized him as a result. He doesn't mind the Body Horror so much as the question of who he even is if he's outnumbered in his own body by bees who occasionally run the show.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: In the last part of the "Hymn of the Mother-beast" mission, the Pale Magistrate poisons Marn so hard that being poisoned becomes part of her. And they don't have anything in Blackwick that heals that kind of stress.