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Twilight Histories is an alternate history time travel adventure podcast told in the second person. You, yes, you the listener, get to explore strange and exotic (if not outright dangerous) alternate worlds.

Set 200 years in the future, the framing device deals with a company known as Twilight Histories, which sends tourists on vacations to alternate universes where history took some unexpected turns. From a resurgent Aztec Empire, to a Carthaginian colony on Mars, to an Ancient Egypt ravaged by a new ice age, Twilight Histories covers them all. But danger lurks behind every corner of these alternate worlds. The podcast website can be found here.

Though originally created by Jordan Harbour, the podcast has expanded to include a crew of several other writers including Josh Hutchins, Kevin Valbonesi, Tristan Verboven, and Devon Field.

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Has nothing to do with sparkling vampires.


Twilight Histories contains examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "Project Gliese" takes place in a world where a supercomputer was created to aid with space colonization, but instead it built a robot army and nearly wiped out humanity. Averted in the main Twilight Histories timeline, where things went off without a hitch.
  • Abusive Parent: Your son Daedalus is this towards his daughter Persephone in "The Winged Victory". He resents that she was born crippled and is an outspoken young woman.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The early episode "Rome Industrial" is being expanded into a full-length novel.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: You explore one of these, which might also be the ruins of Atlantis itself, in "The Isle of the Lost".
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: You play this role in "The Isle of the Lost" and "The Drowned City". In the former, you explore the ruins of Atlantis, while the latter see you explore a Mesopotamian city that has been abandoned under mysterious circumstances.
  • An Aesop:
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    • "Cato's War" pulls no punches with its depiction of the horrors and brutality of slavery.
    • "Hannibal One" shows that the dangers of space colonization aren’t just restricted to the hostile environment of space. In fact, Jordan Harbour wrote the episode in response to the Mars One proposal to show just what could go wrong with such a mission.
  • After the End: "Project Gliese" takes place in a world where a supercomputer created an army of robots and waged war against humanity. Billions are dead, and the few surviving humans have long since given up hope of defeating the robots. They're simply trying their best to survive another day. Likewise, "Deep City" is set in the aftermath of a thermonuclear war.
  • Alien Invasion: Played straight in "The Voyage Home" but inverted in the second segment of "The Moon" where humans are the hostile invaders subjecting the native Lunarians to colonialism.
  • All Myths Are True: "The Isle of the Lost" features Atlantis, while "The Drowned City" features Mesopotamian mythology. "Prester John" features several creatures form Medieval Folklore, as well as the titular priest-kings. "Lakota Thunder" has the Ghost Dance prove highly successful. "Lord of Heligoland" ends with the protagonist meeting a Norse god. "Light of Eternity" has you transporting a pearl, which belongs to the goddess Amaterasu, across Kofun era Japan.
  • All There in the Manual: The backstory for "Roma Islamica" is detailed in its companion book.
  • Alternate History: The bread and butter of the podcast. Each episode takes place in a different universe where history occurred differently.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The band of Mongols from "Mongol America" initially believe that they will have an easy time conquering the Great Plain then they encounter members of the Cree and Blackfoot tribes with access to steampunk technology.
  • Ancient Africa: "The Blood Ape" takes place in a world where human civilization first developed in East Africa 200,000 years ago.
  • Ancient Egypt:
    • "City of Pyramids" takes place in a world where Egypt was the only civilization to survive the Bronze Age Collapse. 12,000 years later, not much has changed. Well, apart from the new ice age and all that.
    • "May His Kay Endure Forever" takes place in a world where a warrior pharaoh spread Egypt's empire from Ethiopia to the Pillars of Hercules. You are sent to investigate his vast underground necropolis.
  • Animesque:
    • "Project Gliese" takes several cues from the anime of the 80s and 90s.
    • "True Aztec" is specifically described as manga-inspired.
  • Apocalypse How: "The Paris Event" features a Class 0. The asteroid that caused the Tunguska Event instead strikes Paris. The city and surrounding area are destroyed, but the world is otherwise unaffected.
    • "Project Gliese" is a Class 3. Billions have died as a result of the robot war. What few humans remain have long given up hope of winning, and are merely trying to survive another day.
  • Artificial Limbs: The Japanese teenagers from "Project Gliese" have augmented their bodies with cybernetic enhancements. You also receive a robotic arm. Kaisa from "True Aztec" has a steam-powered prosthetic leg.
  • Asshole Victim: Given his role in Xiuhcoatl's death it's safe to assume nobody was terribly sad when Necalli gets killed by a samurai robot in "True Aztec".
    • Given how abusive he is to you and his wife and given that he killed an innocent Jew, Master Basso from "Mask of the Plague Doctor" also counts.
  • Atlantis: Its ruins are explored in "The Isle of the Lost".
  • Author Appeal: Jordan Harbour is a double major in anthropology and Greek and Roman Studies. Naturally, many episodes of the podcast involve Rome and/or Greece.
    • Josh Hutchins and Kevin Valbonesi are fans of Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft. Their episodes certainly reflect this.
    • Devon Field also runs the Human Circus podcast about Medieval travelers. Unsurprisingly, his episodes tend to focus on the Middle Ages.
    • Sam McDonald has admitted that the Aztec of "True Aztec" have air conditioning, because, having grown-up in Louisiana, he understands the importance of air conditioning in hot climates.
  • Awaken the Sleeping Giant: Quoted almost word for word at the end of "True Aztec".
  • Becoming the Mask: Actively encourages by the Twilight Histories corporation so that you will fit in better and get the most out of your trip.
  • The Big Race: The third segment of "The Moon" is set in a world where the Space Race ended in a tie when America and the Soviet Union landed on the Moon at the same time in 1955. Since then, the two nations compete in a literal space race each year. The winner gets to determine lunar policy for the next lunar year.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • "True Aztec" ends this way. On the sweet side Tenochtitlan survived the invasion. The Japanese have been driven back into the sea, and the Aztec intend to bring the fight to Japan. China, Markland, Zululand, and the Southern Inca Empire have all committed to the Aztec war effort. On the bitter side Balam, Minako, Kaisa, and, most of all, Xiuhcoatl are all dead. The last is somewhat softened by the hints that Jingjing may find new love with Tupac someday.
    • "Re-Write!" ends with George Washington winning the game show. Hitler's 1000 year Reich never comes to be, and the United States of America is saved. However, due to the alternations to the timeline, Washington's children were never born.
    • "Court of the Giants" ends with Pomperton executed for heresy and his works burned. However, his wife Lucerna recovered three copies of Pomperton's edit to the holy book. You leave with her to spread these copies.
  • The Black Death: "Mask of the Plague Doctor" takes place in Medieval Florence in 1348, the year the Black Death arrived in Italy.
  • Bolivian Army Ending:
    • "The Drowned City" ends with the heroes face-to-face with what might be the goddess Tiamat.
    • In "The Green Man", you are left alone with the Green Knight after he kills everyone else and inflicts a mortal wound on you; he shows you his magic cauldron that will heal all wounds when it cooks a meal, but that it doesn't boil for cowards. So you sit there, wait, and hope.
  • Bowdlerise: Some of the dialogue in "Cato's War" certainly gives off this vibe. At worst, the slaves are referred to as apes, whereas in real life they'd probably be called a considerably stronger word.
  • Brain Uploading: The titular Blue Dragons are utilize this technology with most of them living in cyberspace. This also winds-up happening to you.
  • Casual Time Travel: Downplayed. The Twilight Histories corporation can easily send tourists on vacations to alternate worlds. However, they pretty much have a monopoly on the technology. That said, other companies, such as Red Star Transport, are attempting to create their own world splitting operations.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The titular Winged Victory plays a major role in the episode of the same name.
    • The robotic arm you receive in "Project Gliese" plays a major role in "Napoleon in Afghanistan" and "The Winged Victory".
  • China Takes Over the World: "The Voyage Home" takes place in a world where half of Earth is ruled by China. Greece rules the other half. Averted in the main timeline, however, where China has collapsed into civil war.
  • Continuity Creep: The episodes written by Jordan Harbour started off self-contained before developing a light continuity, mostly the occasional nod or brief reference to a previous episode.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: "Legions of Agincourt" involves a Roman legion facing off against French knights at the Battle of Agincourt. It is revealed that a possible future version of the Twilight Histories corporation will specialize in this sort of thing. They take an army from one era, and transport them to another time and place for the entertainment of their clients.
  • Corrupt Church: Religious organizations tend not to be presented in a very positive light.
    • The Catholic Church in "The Black Scourge" has all the corruption and nastiness of the pre-Reformation church and then some. Specifically, the Pope got tired of playing cat-and-mouse with the Holy Roman Emperor, has him assassinated, and claims the throne for himself. The now Emperor-Pope declared himself humanity's sole link to God, and that humanity would be forever cut off from Heaven were he to be killed. He and his minions gleefully engage in all manner of torture against anyone they deem heretics or otherwise threats to their power. There's also the priest who kidnapped Native American boys with intent to molest them.
    • "Hannibal One" gives us the Cult of Ba'al. They practice human sacrifice, use drugs for their rituals, and use intimidation and threats of violence to keep dissonant members in line.
    • The priests of the pharaoh in "May His Kah Endure Forever" trick the peoples of Egypt into giving tribute to the deceased pharaoh. They pocket offerings for themselves and use the pharaoh's necropolis as their private palace.
    • Subverted in "Mask of the Plague Doctor" where the lone Catholic priest we see attempts to serve as the voice of reason as tensions run high due to the plague.
    • The religion in "Court of the Giants" supports a strict caste system that discriminated against the more ape-like hominids.
  • Crapsack World: Many of the worlds visited are not very nice places.
    • "Cato's War" see the horrors of Confederate slavery taken to up to eleven with the coming of industrialization. Factory slaves must keep working even if injured, and the death of a slave is treated as only a minor inconvenience. Worse, slaves aren't even allowed to have families, and female slaves are often assigned to birthing crates, where they are raped until they're impregnated. Children as young as five are sent to work in the fields. It's mentioned that slaves account for over seventy percent of the Confederate population.
    • "Project Gliese" is set in a world where a supercomputer created an army of robots to wipe out humanity. Billions have died as a result of the robot war. What few humans remain have long given up hope of winning, and are merely trying to survive another day.
    • Paris in "The Paris Event" is described like something out of Dante’s Inferno. The asteroid that would have caused the Tunguska Event instead struck Paris. The force of the strike was comparable to that of a hydrogen bomb. You are sent to investigate the ruined city shortly after the impact.
    • "City of Pyramids" takes place in a world where Egypt was the only civilization to survive the Bronze Age collapse. 12,000 years later, Egypt finds itself face a new ice age. There is a strong sense that Egyptian society is on its last leg and about to collapse. There's mass unemployment, but also mass taxation to pay for the constant construction of new pyramids. Oh, and everyone's houses are melting due to the constant rain.
    • "Deep City" takes place in a Soviet city at the bottom of the ocean. The government not only controls the economy, but also the light and even the air the citizens breathe.
  • Cyberpunk: The home timeline of Twilight Histories has some very strong cyberpunk vibes. The world is dominated by a series of city-states, with corporations stepping in to fill the gaps of government. Said corporations are often less than moral in their business dealings. Body modification, often conducted at back-alley clinics, is common place. Wealth disparity is fairly large, and many people retreat into virtual reality to escape the world. Mercenaries are often employed by the various sky cities and corporations. One of the appeals of Twilight Histories is that it allows people to get away from their world.
  • Death Ray: The titular device in "Eye of the Sun" is a massive magnifying glass lens that concentrates the light of the sun.
  • Death World:
    • Earth has become this in "Frozen Earth". Earth got knocked out of its orbit and now it is as far out as Neptune. The atmosphere is a sea of liquid gas, which, along with the extreme cold, means it isn't possible to walk on the surface with a specialized spacesuit. As a result, most humans have long since retreated underground.
    • The world of "Project Gliese" also counts due to all of the killer robots running around. In fact, before departure you are advised to seek shelter as soon as you arrive on the world.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Twilight Histories seems to take a rather dim view of certain eras in history. For a start, "Cato's War" pulls no punches in showing just how demeaning Confederate-era slavery was, and then some.
  • Dieselpunk:
    • "True Aztec" is set in a dieselpunk Aztec Empire facing off against an equally dieselpunk Japanese Empire.
    • "The Big Turk" includes some slight elements such as airships and high-speed trains.
  • Dirty Commies: Communist have appeared as antagonists in several episodes such as "Red Joseon" and "Deep City".
  • Divided States of America: "Cato's War" takes place in a world where the Confederacy won the American Civil War.
    • Like most nations, the United States collapsed following the robot war in “Project Gliese.” However, several nations sprang up across the former United States, including a Mormon nation centered in Utah.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: "Beyond the Indus" takes place in a world where dinosaurs somehow survived in India, and were domesticated by the Indians as sources of food and beast of burden.
  • Downer Ending: Certain episodes ends this way, such as "The Voyage Home" which ends with Earth getting destroyed by aliens.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Early episodes had some noticeable differences to the current show. In them, the protagonist travels through the alternate worlds in a flying time machine, jumping to various points in the worlds’ history. There was also less emphasis on plot and characters, with the emphasis being on the changes to history.
    • Additionally, even after the show settled into its current style, some episodes gave the "You" character a more solid backstory, and the character was obviously meant to be male. This is most evident in shows such as "Ice Age Misery" and "Deep City". Some episodes, such as "Ice Age Misery" and "Mask of the Plague Doctor", are straight-up time travel rather than alternate history.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite how dark the show can get, this is how the episodes tend to end more often than not.
  • Egypt Is Still Ancient: Egypt in “City of Pyramids” hasn’t changed much since the Bronze Age. Of course, with the coming ice age, that is starting to change.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The titular being in “The Pale God” is a massive bloated pale serpent that vaugly resembles the feather serpent from Mesoamerican Mythology. While “The Drowned City” features what is either the Mesopotamian goddess Tiamat, or the creature that inspired her legend.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs:
    • In "Blue Dragons", this is what the titular Blue Dragons turn out to be. They’re dinosaurs from a universe where the asteroid that caused the K-T extinction never struck the Earth.
    • "Beyond the Indus" takes place in a world where dinosaurs somehow survived in India, and were domesticated by the Indians as sources of food and beast of burden.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: In "True Aztec", Tupac (after the leaders of several Incan uprisings) and Xiuhcoatl (after the Aztec god). “The Black Scourge” gives us Hiawatha, named for the mythical founder of the Iroquois Confederacy.
  • Fantastic Livestock: "Beyond the Indus" takes place in a world where dinosaurs survived in India and were domesticated by the Indians as sources of food and beast of burden.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The "You" character is written as vaugely as possible so that the listeners can imagine themselves in the role.
  • For Want of a Nail: This trope is referenced by name is "Legions of Agincourt". Specific examples mentioned include how a delayed messenger lead to the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade, or how bad weather and a muddy field spelled dooms from the French at the Battle of Agincourt. The chance clearing of the weather, and subsequent drying of the field, gives the French a major advantage over the Romans.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • "Re-Write!" is set outside the main Twilight Histories continuity.
    • "True Aztec" is notable for being a different narrator for each segment, including two female narrators.
    • "Ghosts of Chernobyl" is the first episode to feature multiple narrators in the same episode.
  • The Fundamentalist: Necalli and his followers from "True Aztec" believe that the Aztec Empire has grown soft because it has given up human sacrifice and flower wars. They're also highly xenophobic and bigoted against immigrants.
    • "Hannibal One" gives us Alyssa and her cult of Ba'al. They use gaslight and intimidation to trick colonists into performing religious rituals. Said rituals utilize hallucinogenic drugs and often culminate in human sacrifice.
  • Gainax Ending: "The Drowned City" ends with a surprise appearance by goddess Tiamat... or maybe an alien monster. Its a bit unclear.
  • Genius Cripple: Your granddaughter Persephone from "The Winged Victory" was born paraplegic, but that didn't stop her from helping design the titular Winged Victory.
  • Genre Anthology: Of a sort. Though sharing a framing device, each episode takes place in its own self-contained world.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: A major plot-point in "The Winged Victory" is that you try to develop enough technology so that the Greeks will be able to defend themselves when the Romans return to try to conquer them. Ironically, given the trope title, you also attempt to keep the advanced technology out of Roman hands.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: A major concern in "Hannibal One". One of the hardest aspects of life on Mars is the shear boredom. This is a major factor in the rise of the Cult of Ba'al.
  • Going Cosmic: Later episodes include quite a few philosophical undertones and discussions. This is most evident in the second halves of "The Black Scourge" and "Blue Dragons".
  • Good Shepherd:
    • Minako and the other Shinto priestesses from "True Aztec" welcome and help all people regardless of ethnicity during the invasion of Tenochtitlan.
    • The priest from "Mask of the Plague Doctor" attempts to put down rumors that the plague is caused by Jews.
  • Happy Ending Override: More like Bittersweet Ending Override, but the start of "Project Gliese" reveals that Lucerna was killed following the events of "The Court of the Giants".
  • Hate Sink: Necalli from "True Aztec" is a xenophobic bigot who holds all Japanese people, even the ones who came to Tenochtitlan to escape persecution, responsible for the actions of the Japanese Empire. He gleefully price gouges his Japanese customers, including little girls, and then tries to take their bowls of shaved ice back before they’re finished. He's also a member of a group of violent religious extremists who want to purge the Aztec Empire of all foreign elements and revive human sacrifice. And that's before he tries to kill Tupac, Jingjing and Haruhi, and succeeds in killing Xiuhcoatl.
  • The Hero Dies: The ending of "The Drowned City" and "May His Kah Endure Forever" has this happen as your fate.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Balem pulls one in "True Aztec" to give you and your friends time to escape.
  • The Horde: "Roma Islamica" sees the armies of the Islamic Roman Empire facing off against the Mongol Horde. "Khan of England" takes place in a world where the Mongols conquered Western Europe.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The middle segments of "The Moon" takes place in a world where the Moon is a habitable world teeming with intelligent life. Unfortunately, this, combined with the fact that the Lunarians only have a Victorian level of technology, makes the Moon a tempting target for human colonization. It's mentioned that the number of crater cities massacred by humans have grown too numerous to count.
  • Human Sacrifice: This happens in "Aztec Steel". The Aztec of "True Aztec", by contrast, have long since given it up, with the exception of a few fringe religious fanatics.
    • The Cult of Ba’al turn out to have been sacrificing the missing colonists to their patron deity in "Hannibal One".
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Trophy Hunting" reveals that the Twilight Histories corporation gives tourists the options the hunt and kill major historical figures in alternate timelines. You are on the Western Front during World War I to hunt for Adolph Hitler.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • You are presented with this option at the end of "Ice Age Misery" but you return to your own time.
    • You are again presented with this option in "True Aztec" and this time you decide to stay with your friends.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Jingjing from "True Aztec" was born in Fusang, a former Chinese colony, but considers herself a proud citizen of the Aztec Empire. The residents of Shin Nihon also proudly embrace their Aztec citizenship.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The titular show in "Re-Write!" Sixteen historical figures are forced to compete in contests of strength and knowledge. Losing a competition results in the contestant having a major live event altered. Getting eliminated often leads to changes resulting in unpleasant deaths.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: The aliens from the second segment of "The Moon" only have a Victorian level of technology and society. This makes them easy targets for human colonization of the Moon.
  • Living Dinosaurs:
    • "Blue Dragons" is set in a world where the dinosaurs never went extinct.
    • "Beyond the Indus" has Alexander the Great and his men discover these when they arrive in India. The Indians appear to have been domesticating the dinosaurs for quite some time.
  • Lost Roman Legion:
    • The titular legion from "Legions of Agincourt" initially appears to be one of these in reality, it has been transported to the fields of Agincourt by a future version of the Twilight Histories corporation.
    • A variation occurs in "Mongol America". A group of shipwrecked Mongols wash-up on the west coast of North America. They make their way to the Great Plains in hopes of establishing a new khanate.
  • Lunarians: The second segment of "The Moon" takes places in a world where the Moon is home to several intelligent lifeforms. Said lifeforms have a Victorian Era level of technology and society and communicate via vibrations, though not with sound. As of late, they’re dealing with invasion from humans.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: "Legions of Agincourt" reveals that a future version of the Twilight Histories corporation includes this as part of the experience for tourists. The Julius Caesar you encounter is actually a tourists who has undergone this procedure. The end of "The Winged Victory" also shows that the home timeline is capable of completely reversing the effects of advanced aging with relative ease.
  • Magical Native American: "Lakota Thunder" takes place in a world where the Ghost Dance proved considerably more effective.
  • Mammoths Mean Ice Age: "Ice Age Misery" is set during the ice age, and features mammoths at several points. In fact, the episode title card even features a mammoth.
  • Mars: "Hannibal One" is set in a Carthaginian colony on Mars.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Was the butterfly from "True Aztec" really just a butterfly or was it Xiuhcoatl's soul returned from the dead? For what it’s worth, Sam McDonald has stated that he believes it was indeed Xiuhcoatl, but the listeners can decide for themselves. You just get slightly different stories.
  • Medieval Prehistory: "Beyond the Indus" takes place in a world where Alexander the Great continued to push into India. He and his army discover that the Indians have domesticated dinosaurs, who somehow survived the K-T Extinction. The dinosaurs are used as sources of food and beasts of burden.
  • Medieval Stasis: Egypt in "City of Pyramids" hasn't advanced much since the Bronze Age. From the same episode, we learn that most universes explored by the Twilight Histories corporation haven't advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer
  • Miko: Haruhi from "True Aztec" is a miko at one of Shin Nihon’s temples. Several other mikos are briefly seen during the parade.
  • Mirroring Factions: The Aztec and Chinese in "Aztec Steel" are presented this way. On the one hand, the Aztec take several Chinese colonists as hostages, forcing them to compete in the ball game and serve as human sacrifices. On the other hand, the Chinese invaded the Aztecs' homeland and use brutal inhuman slave labor in their mines.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: Well, more Dieselpunk than modern, but "True Aztec" takes place in a technologically advanced Aztec Empire.
  • Mythology Gag: All of the worlds mentioned in "OMG Daily" come from proposed ideas for mini-episodes that never got made.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Master Basso from "Mask of the Plague Doctor" is quite a bit older than his wife Beatrice. It's mentioned that her parents are younger than he is.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: "The Winged Victory" has you introducing steam engines, flintlock riffles, gas lamps, flamethrowers, and even rudimentary airplanes to Ancient Greece.
  • Parents as People: Applies to you in "The Winged Victory". You loved your son Daedalus, but preparing Greece for the inevitable Roman invasion meant that you did not always give him the attention he needed.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Emperor Montezuma XII gives one at the end of "True Aztec" calling for peace and compassion across the tribes of humanity, and for the citizens of the Aztec Empire to share that kindness and compassion with one another regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • Pedophile Priest: One appears in "The Black Scourge" kidnapping Native American boys and hiding them beneath the baptismal font of a church. The narration makes it clear that he intends to molest the boys.
  • The Plague: "Mask of the Plague Doctor" is set during the Black Death's arrival in Italy.
  • Plague Doctor: In "Mask of the Plague Doctor" you are apprenticed to a barber who becomes a plague doctor after the Black Death arrives in Florence.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Captain Jorez, your companion for most of "Aztec Steel", displays all of the beliefs and prejudices one might expect of a 16th Century Spanish nobleman.
  • The Power of the Sun: The titular "Eye of the Sun" is a giant magnifying glass atop the Library of Alexandria that focuses light from the sun.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Hannibal One" takes place in a world where Carthage won the Punic Wars and crushed Rome. Or to put it another way, Hannibal Won
  • Ret-Gone: One of the potential consequences of failing to answer questions correctly in the quiz round of "Re-Write!" is having an individual’s loved ones erased from history. We see it happen to George Washington's children.
  • Robot War: Features in the backstory for "Project Gliese". An AI designed to aid in space colonization instead created an army of robots and waged war against humanity. Billions are dead, and the few surviving humans have long since given up hope of defeating the robots. They’re simply trying their best to survive another day.
  • Rubberband History: The end of "The Kaiser's Assassin" suggests that the world will soon be rocked by a war just as bad, if not worse, as World War I.
  • Saintly Church: In contrast to Necalli and his extremists, the Shinto priestesses of "True Aztec" help out everyone during the invasion regardless of ethnicity.
  • Second-Person Narration: All episodes use this style of narration. You, the listener, directly take part in the action of the stories. As such, the “You” character is written as vaguely as possible. This way, all listeners can envision themselves in the role.
  • Series Fauxnale: "The Winged Victory" was originally going to be the grande finale of the podcast, but Jordan decided to keep the show running by hiring a team of writers to help with episode production.
  • Series Mascot: Master Basso from "Mask of the Plague Doctor" appears on the main Twilight Histories title card.
  • Settling the Frontier: "Hannibal One" takes place on the first Carthaginian colony on Mars.
  • Shaming the Mob: Xiuhcoatl attempts this in "True Aztec" and actually succeeds before Necalli kills him.
  • Shout-Out: "Project Gliese" features teenagers in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo including one named Tetsuo and Jordan Harbour has stated that Yoshirou was originally going to be named Akira, but he decided that was a little too on the nose.
  • Shock and Awe: "Lakota Thunder" has the Lakota gained power to call down lightning by contacting the thunder spirit via the Ghost Dance.
  • Single-Biome Planet: "Frozen Earth" has Earth becoming a frozen wasteland due to getting knocked out of its orbit. By the time of the story, it's almost as far out as Neptune.
  • Slave Liberation: "Cato's War" follows a slave revolt in a world here the Confederacy won the American Civil War.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • "Cato's War" pulls no punches with its depiction of the brutality of industrialized slavery. Factory slaves must keep working even if injured, and the death of a slave is treated as only a minor inconvenience. Worse, slaves aren't even allowed to have families, and female slave are often assigned to birthing crates, where they are raped until they’re impregnated. Children as young as five are sent to work in the fields. Oh, and slaves account for over seventy percent of the Confederate population.
    • The Chinese mines in "Aztec Steel" also strongly invoke this trope. Slaves have to walk in a giant wheel to keep the water level down. Stopping too long causes the water level to rise, and many slaves die of exhaustion. It really says something that the Aztecs and their rituals almost look merciful by comparison.
  • Space Opera: "The Voyage Home" see an Earth dominated by Greece and China facing-off against hostile aliens.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: "True Aztec" is this to "Aztec Steel". Both center around the Aztec, but take very different approaches. Whereas "Aztec Steel" cast them as antagonists, "True Aztec" has the Aztec firmly as heroes. "Aztec Steel" has human sacrifice play a major role in the plot, while the Aztecs of "True Aztec" abolished it many years ago. Sam McDonald has said this is deliberate, as he wanted to write a story where the Aztec got to be the heroes for a change, instead of their usual role as stock villains.
    • "The Winged Victory" is arguably this to the early shows involving Rome. While the earlier shows presented things from the perspective of the Romans, "The Winged Victory" takes the perspective of the peoples that Roman conquered. In this case, the Greeks. Tellingly, the Romans are presented far more villainously than in previous episodes.
  • Starfish Aliens: The inhabitants of the Moon in the middle segment of "The Moon". They range from what appears to be sentient cluster of ribbon to creatures that look like bat-people. Notably, none of them communicate verbally, though they do use vibrations and sight to communicate.
  • Steampunk: Has popped up on a few occasions:
    • "Roma Islamica" shows early signs of steampunk technology, such as steam powered lifts and carts.
    • While primarily dieselpunk, "True Aztec" shows some slight elements, such as Kaisa's steam-powered prosthetic leg.
    • Thanks to your inventions, Greece in "The Winged Victory" has developed technology such as paddle-wheel steamships, flamethrowers, rudimentary firearms, and wheelchairs, among other things.
  • Take That!:
    • "Hannibal One" was written in response to the Mars One proposal, showing just what could go wrong with such a plan.
    • The scene in "True Aztec" where Necalli tries to convince the crowd that Tupac poisoned their children with vaccines was meant to be a swipe at those who claim vaccines lead to autism.
    • Sam McDonald has stated that he wrote "True Aztec" because he was tired of works that reduced the Aztec to stock villains, while ignoring their more progressive elements, and wanted to make a story where they got to be the heroes for a change.
    • Jordan Harbour wrote "Ghosts of Chernobyl" in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. He wanted to show heroic Ukrainians fighting back against hostile Russian invaders.
  • Terraform: This has happened to Venus in the world of "Blue Dragons". You've been sent to investigate who did it and how they accomplished it.
  • Time Travel: a few episodes invovle time travel, rather than travel to parallel universes. "Ice Age Misery" has you travel back 20,000 years to Western Europe during the last Ice Age. "Mask of the Plague Doctor" see you visit Medieval Florence in 1348. Specifically, right before the Black Death arrives in Italy.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Well, parallel universe travel, but the Twilight Histories corporation specializes in sending guests on vacations to alternate universes. Also, in "May His Kah Endure Forever" the pharaoh is a traveler from another universe who has come to carve out an empire of his own in Egypt.
  • Trapped in Another World: Happens in "The Winged Victory". You become stranded for nearly seventy years due to the main Twilight Histories particle accelerator getting destroyed in a terrorist attack.
  • The Tunguska Event: "The Paris Event" has the asteroid strike Paris instead.
  • Used Future: The main Twilight Histories compound is fairly dingy and run-down. The company felt it was best to invest most of their money in actual guest experiences and maintaining the particle accelerators. Upkeep of the compound is treated as a distant afterthought.
  • Venus Is Wet: "Blue Dragons" takes place in a world where Venus has been terraformed into a habitable world. Your mission is to find out who did this and how they accomplished it.
  • War Is Hell: If warfare or battles factor into the plot, it is guaranteed to be like this. Detailed descriptions of dead bodies? Sympathetic characters placed in hopeless situations? Check. Immersive sound-effects of warfare? Check. The protagonist haunted by their experiences well after the fighting has stopped? Check, and double check.
  • Weird Historical War: "Lord of Heligoland" takes place in an alternate World War I where Germany has been conducting experiments and rituals to contact the Norse gods.
  • Weird West: "Lakota Thunder" takes place in a world where the Ghost Dance allowed the Lakota to access the power of thunder and lightning.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A major concern in "Court of the Giants". The society is ruled by a strict caste system, with ape-like hominids given few to no rights. Even the holy book enshrines this inequality. Your master, a social reformer named Pomperton, seeks to challenge the caste system by creating edited copies of the holy book that promote equality among all hominids.
  • World War III: "Deep City" is set in a world where the Cold War turned hot.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters:
    • "The Kaiser's Assassin" mentions attacks by French terrorists working to free France from the rule of the German Empire.
    • Also pops up in "Fortress Afrika". African terrorists, funded by the Soviet Union, are fighting to free Tunisia from German rule.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: "The Big Turk" begins and ends on a Zeppelin, although high-speed rail is also used for transportation.

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