Follow TV Tropes


Role Play / Replay Value Universe

Go To

The Replay Value AU RP was a slice-of-life roleplay set in an existential horror setting. It was based around the Sburb Glitch FAQ written by GodsGiftToGrinds (also known as grindinglyGodliest ICly). In this world, Sburb's Ultimate Reward is broken - it just kicks people into another session of Sburb, over and over and over again until they die. The players of this buggy, horrifying version of Sburb, known as Replayers, keep themselves going by making connections to each other through servers in the Ring. Some of these servers have IRC channels, and that's where most of Replay Value AU took place...


Nothing here is spoiler-tagged because there's no archive to go through; this is just a description of a setting. (In fact, this TV Tropes page was the documentation of the setting for most of RV AU's existence.)

Replay Value has had many iterations. An attempt at a forum rapidly diverged from an IRC channel established to coordinate events on said forum. The original Replay Value AU, held in a small set of IRC channels, eventually failed. There was an attempt at a reboot. Many of the people from the original Replay Value eventually set up shop in a Discord chat, and there is a low-key character-focused roleplay there. There is an uncurated AO3 tag. A particularly prolific Replay Value AU writer is writing a conversion of classic (pre-reboot) Replay Value AU to a Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine campaign and setting fan-supplement, called A User's Guide to the Apocalypse. And there is now a new iteration of the forum. An attempt to straighten out the resulting Continuity Snarl is found here.


Examples (split up by medium):

    open/close all folders 

     The Game 
  • Adventure-Friendly World: Sburb, by design and definition, is designed to facilitate a Coming-of-Age Story.
  • Alternate Timelines: Splinter timelines. Of course, Splinter timelines are also *doomed* timelines by default. No one except the Time player is likely to emerge from them in one piece, and not even the Time player will survive for very long.
  • Artificial Limbs: Fairly common. Most are troll biotech.
  • Black Speech:
  • Break the Cutie: Any new player is going to be broken, *hard*, by the time they hit their second session - if not sooner.
  • But Thou Must!: Many of the game's cruelest moments are forced on the player with no alternative or active punishment for resisting. The Denizen stands out as the prime example.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Magicant's layout does not make physical sense, and the doors randomly reshuffle what rooms they point to.
  • Comfort Food: Replayers do not, technically, need to eat (the 'food' Sprites generate when healing their players, as well as the light produced by Crystalanths, is sufficient to both heal and take care of hunger) but they do so anyways. Real food that tastes good is highly prized by them, as a result.
  • Continuity Drift: From the original forums, which were considered entirely non-canon for the reboot.
  • Cooldown Hug: Used often and to great effect; the cure of choice for many ailments.
  • The Corruption: Angels and Others and Saccharine Doppelgangers, oh my!
  • Crapsack World: What SBURB actually is, although it manages to pass as a Crapsaccharine World on good days.
    "Kids and fun."
  • Crazy-Prepared: Always have a pillow/towel with you. And at least five computers. Otherwise you're the worst kind of Sboob.
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: No matter how nice the world you end up in, during the pre-install's going to die to meteors, and soon. Most Replayers try not to think about it, but have developed a very loose moral code when it comes to acquiring the things they feel are needed to survive their next session.
  • Culture Clash: Trolls and humans (never mind all the other species that show up) have as many rough patches as they do spots where the two get along quite well.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Bargaining with the Beast is a downplayed example - while it is technically a deal that usually requires you to trade something important in response, it is part of the Game itself and often helps make one's session winnable.
    • Also, Horrorterror deals, which play this trope straight.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Dreambubbles.
  • Death Is Cheap: Between godtier, dreamselves, and everything else, you're not likely to stay down for long when you die.
    • Though Killed Off for Real is also a frequent occurrence and one they do have to deal with, and in theory Anyone Can Die. Players will generally know within a day or two whether a death was permanent or not, and the only method of getting back someone who's truly dead is inherently temporary.
  • Death Is Dramatic: In the case of God Tiers and their conditional immortality.
  • Decapitation Required: Decapitation results in an instant permadeath. Nine times out of ten, anyways.
  • Deus Angst Machina: The entirety of Sburb.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: For Horrorterror deals, in some cases. (At least one instance of dealing with P'Shorshasa in RV Classic has actually involved having tea with her.)
  • Divided We Fall: Working with other Replayers and being very clear about what's going on is a big deal. The game will kill you if you try to go it alone.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: As in Homestuck, Prospit dreamers can see the future in the clouds of Skaia.
  • Due to the Dead: Death may be cheap, but sometimes it's permanent. When that happens, Replayers find ways of grieving. Due to the nature of their world, however, there is rarely anything officially organized nor is there any actually formalized ritual to go by.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Others, also known as the Horrorterrors.
    • And the Angels.
    • There are some arguments that Sburb itself might qualify.
  • Eldritch Location: The Furthest Ring's space and time are twisted and warped.
  • Everything Is Online: Nearly all game constructs can be hacked using a sprite pendant, session CD, or other gamebreaking tricks. Doing so is rarely a good idea, however, unless you're trying to fix something that was already broken - as in, making your session unwinnable - to begin with.
  • Exact Words: When you make a Horrorterror deal, make sure to pay very careful attention to the wording...
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: The weirder and more oddly specific a 'kind is, the more damage it seems to do. Not that this stops jokerkind from being considered OP in some circles.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: When you're faced with death daily, there's no shortage of situations in which to face death together.
  • Genre Savvy: Necessary prerequisite for long-term survival.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In-Universe, finding bugs in Sburb that can be exploited for players' benefit is a popular hobby.
  • Harmful to Minors: First-time players are most likely to be teens and pre-teens. The Game will force them to kill underlings...and PKers...and maybe their friends, too, if they're unlucky enough to roll a Cataclysm class. When they allow themselves to think about it, the older vets are horrified by the fact that this thing gets aimed at children.
  • Heroic BSoD: Every Replayer's been through at least one of these.
    "Sburb Mental Disorder: Aggrievance. Also known as "I have enough of this stupid game just leave me alone". Maybe with a touch of "Why don't you just go and win this pointless session while I just stand there and weep forever". [...] "It usually stems from emotional trauma or from a minor disorder that has been left unchecked for too long." - Sburb Glitch FAQ Chapter 14
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Heroic deaths are permanent, according to Skaia.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Many Replayers spend increasing amounts of time stuck in survival mode, to the point where it becomes normal. It's perceived as "better" than BSODing or slipping into a Berserk Trigger, but it has its own problems.
  • Hero Killer:
    • Player killers, most of whom are Ax-Crazy.
    • Several classes - most notably the cataclysm classes - have an event coded into their myth arc which has a very high chance of causing them to kill one or even several coplayers, though these are generally held to be "not their fault".
  • Hive Mind: The Angels. They can bring Players into it, too.
  • Humanoid Aliens:
    • Hobs are fur-covered dinosaurs, "like a squirrel crossed with a troodon". Their hat is that they live in clans and, when displaced from them (such as when forced to play Sburb), will build themselves another clan.
    • Birdbros are Funny Animals that are mostly avian in shape. They have wings instead of arms, with a claw on each wing-end like a bat's. They have short, "chirpy" names and are very likely to be Conspiracy Theorists.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul
    • Heroic version: "Psybuffs" can be used to alleviate some game-trauma. This doesn't substitute for a real psychological therapy.
    • Those thoroughly corrupted by the Angels will also often seem quite "happy", and attempt to spread this "happiness".
  • Improbable Weapon User: Replayers tend to use weird weaponry with a preference for what works.
  • It Gets Easier: Yes, your second Denizen is going to be easier than your first. Yes, you will have to kill Player Killers before they kill you. That's just how it works. There is no veteran who has not killed sentients in order to survive. And that's before you start getting into the whole "are imps and other underlings intelligent" argument.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: The vast majority of veterans. The morally sound veterans, that is.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Angels. But the Others are almost as dangerous.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Inevitable, over the longer term.
  • Made of Explodium: Computers explode. All the time. This is Discussed in the Chuubo's sourcebook; a guest writer says that this is why you shouldn't ever implant computers.
  • Magic Music: If you don't already know an instrument or have some basic skill at singing, you're going to have to pick it up and fast if you want to use fraymotifs and player commands.
  • Meaningful Name: Pesterchum/Trollian handles usually are pretty meaningful. Some trolls have names with meaning as well.
    • A troll's eight-eight is always intended to be meaningful.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: The premise. Unfortunately for those who try to Win to Exit, the Door is broken.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The mad dash to the first Gate is this.
  • Non-Linear Character:
    • Unlike in Homestuck, this is mostly averted, thanks to timetrav encryption (which enforces linearity of communication).
    • Time players have the ability to rewind and skip around in their timelines, creating both stable and unstable time loops. Their time shenanigans usually stay quarantined to the sessions they're in, though.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Everyone who isn't still in the process of aging out of the awkward "puberty" stage does not, physically, get much older than "mid-to-late twenties", between Life players, dreamself revivals, and god-tiering. This is at least partially because physically older players have a higher tendency to get killed "dramatically" by the Game.
    • Some aliens live a lot longer (and age much slower) than humans do.
    • Averted if you have been Doom for long enough; god-tier Doom players age at the normal rate, unlike every other god-tier.
  • Organic Technology: As in Homestuck itself, this is the aesthetic of most Alternian technology.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Every Replayer has lost their guardian or lusus. It's a frequent topic of conversation.
  • Our Souls Are Different: The "Shiny" that Heart Players can manipulate is present in every Player, being, object, or game abstraction. The only known exception is Saccharine Doppelgangers.
  • People Jars: You can find these in the Veil Labs holding carapace warriors.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Some data points of the fic were changed to suit roleplay and to balance things.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Played With, with trolls. Many troll replayers are glad that the game freed them from their oppressive, martial-focused civilisation. Some, however, still believe in the ideas preached by the Empire.
  • Quest Giver: Consorts are the "unmarked so you will need to talk to everyone" version. Players tend to find ways of marking the consorts who give quests, to make it easier on themselves when it comes time to turn them in.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Replayees will often have the most bizarre things written on their walls...
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Alternian and Beforan trolls, as in Homestuck.
  • Seen It All: Played with. The longer you are in the game, the less things will suprise you. However, there still are situations that leave even the most experienced veteran slack-jawed.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Angels are inside the Underworld, sealed behind indestructible bedrock. Until you go through the quest chain to open the Underworld.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Whisperings all have agendas and personalities, although they are very subtle.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Varies wildly, but contains a darker blend of comedy/horror than in Homestuck.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The favored speech pattern of most intelligent characters in this world, as inherited from Homestuck proper.
  • Speak of the Devil: There are some horrorterrors, such as P'shorshasa in RV Classic, that will come to the memo when their name is spoken. Less sinisterly, there are many players who have pings set up that will alert them when their names or handles are mentioned.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    • The Angels, as in one of their inspirations.
    • Hoppers/hoofdogs are an Sburb-playing species that are vaguely dog-shaped, with hooves on their back feet. They communicate almost exclusively through telepathy, which stunted the development of their language - when they try to write or speak, they use the word "thing" in place of almost every noun, which makes it very difficult to communicate with them.
    • The book speculates that other Starfish Aliens could have their own versions of Sburb, with incomprehensible goals and game mechanics.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: Inverted. The end of the session, and encroaching session decay, is signaled by stars appearing - instead of stars, they're actually Horrorterror eyes.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Averted. SGAMEs generally don't warn for truly dangerous situations, and one can meander into an Atomyk Ebonpyre with almost no health. Played straight with pre-session situation - a player is destined to start the game, and circumstances will ensure they would survive. Then again, they don't arrange for survival in one piece, and some players that try to exploit the probability are in for a nasty shock.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Eye color, matches text color, matches player pendant and crystalanth color.
  • The Multiverse: Countless Earths, slightly less countless Alternias, and a smattering of other alien species.
  • Total Party Kill: Many veterans have been the Sole Survivor of a sessionwipe.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The players have to scrape and struggle for every scrap of information about big things like the setting, the game's rules, etc, and their knowledge is both limited and imperfect. Unless they want to make a Deal with the Devil for knowledge, of course.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In the RP's canon, trolls are allergic to cinnamon.
  • Weirdness Censor: Replayers end up replacing other players who failed. This means that people who do not fit the description of the replaced individuals end up needing to fill their shoes. To facilitate this, apparently no one notices the fact that someone's teen son has been replaced by an adult alien woman.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: After you've been replaying long enough, nothing about the Game is surprising anymore. Giant monster-thing that looms over you and insults you? Normal. Wacky zany critters that tell you to behold their robes? Whatever. Bashing imps' heads in with a fancy santa? Yawn.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Others. It fits their general Lovecraftian-horror aesthetic.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The Reckoning will always happen and the game will always destroy the civilization that's reigning on the planet the players enter from.

     Individual Classpects 

Certain Classes and Aspects have their own Elemental Powers and associated tropes.




  • Alternate Timelines: Splinter timelines, by default. Of course, Splinter timelines are also *doomed* timelines by default. No one except the Time player is likely to emerge from them in one piece, and not even the Time player will survive for very long.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: There are many timelines. Only one is Alpha.
  • Exposition Beam: The Time player can touch one of their doomedselves (dead or otherwise) to get the memories of what happened in the Splinter timeline.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: What happens if you use certain Time abilities to acquire memories from a Splinter timeline without the psybuffs needed to cope with them. It's why Mist players are strongly discouraged from fogging their Time players or "samming" Time abilities.
  • Non-Linear Character: Time players don't *do* linearity. Even if they start out wanting to, the game makes it so that they have to do loops and shenanigans in order to make sure things work out 0kay (or as 0kay as anything gets in this game).
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Time players get a passive ability that allows them to get the memories of their deceased doomed selves. This includes the memories of how the doomed self died.
  • Retroactive Preparation
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: One of the Time player's Duties, if things go badly. Deliberately engaging in behaviour that causes Splinter timelines is will make them extremely displeased with you; some Time players have been known to react by tossing timecorpses at the offender until he or she knocks it off.
  • Stable Time Loops
  • Time Master: Well, duh.
  • Time Stands Still: An endgame ability.
  • You Already Changed the Past
  • You Cannot Change The Future

     RV Classic 

  • Aerith and Bob: By necessity, given so many players. Exacerbated further by troll names.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Zeimah, through a Deal with P'Shorshasa caused the details of everything Benedict did - and details about Ben himself - to become forgotten and blurred. This means that no one in the session he died in clearly recalls him, and the effect is rigged so that it slowly spreads and makes sure that everyone eventually forgets Benedict.
  • Creating Life Is Bad: Thinking about getting pregnant (or otherwise acquiring children of your blood) will get you screamed at by most of the community for being sadistic.
  • Healing Potion: ballisticSpectacle, in tandem with integratedInfiltrator, came up with lifeshakes (as well as a whole host of ghost-imaged goodies for Replayers to eat). These items have saved lives, since the only other reliable means of healing one's self is to go to a Crystalanth or appeal to one's Sprite (which has usually vanished a couple months into the game (and generally can't get down to your land anyways)).
  • Mana Potion: Pluckshakes, created by the same people who made Lifeshakes. Pluck regenerates slowly, so this is very valuable.
  • Misery Poker: A favorite pastime.
  • Power of Trust: Major heartwarming moments, including the time a Player was reclaimed from Angels by their moirail.
  • Rule of Empathy: Those who argue for Heries ICly will often conveniently gloss over her high body count, since many of the ones she killed weren't part of the community.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Stan, twenty-seven session veteran, Myra's best friend, and died a Death by Despair (well, a death by having cratered his roleplay coefficient, which is very closely linked to stats effectiveness but also emotions). Not originally brought in to demonstrate that Anyone Can Die.
  • Scandalgate: The cracking open of the Seer Network (courtesy of epinephrineElectrified leaking their entire archives) was immediately dubbed Seergate by everyone else.
  • World of Snark: Too many examples to cite on this page.


     A User's Guide to the Apocalypse (RV Chuubo's, "the book") 

  • The Alternet: An extensive "Replayernet" of servers in the Ring.
  • Anachronism Stew: The author likes the aesthetics of 1990s computing, which means that old-style BBSes, IRC chats, and modern websites coexist.
  • Brand X: On the Replayer internet, there is a knockoff Image Board, a knockoff of Reddit, a knockoff of Tumblr, a knockoff of Internet rationality...
  • Captain Ersatz: A few characters have been replaced due to the writer not having permission to use them.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The book uses cosmic horror themes as an Allegory for child abuse. Oddly enough, this isn't because of the Others or Angels (even though both are classic Lovecraftian monsters). The cosmic horror is actually built into the structure of Sburb itself - because Sburb threatens to kill you if you don't adhere to the behavior expected of your Classpect, and will break you if you try to escape.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: First, the bleakness of the setting of Sburb is introduced and hammered in. Then, the book goes on to explain how people manage to live in the Crapsack World anyway - by making social connections and finding Purpose In Life. Where it ultimately ends up on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism is... ambiguous.
  • Don't Try This at Home: The educational section about how to use roleplay to explore emotions contains a disclaimer that doing so could result in unearthing destabilizing amounts of emotion, and thus could be too dangerous to attempt from inside the abuse. Then the author points out that she is in no position to actually demand this, having done so herself, and provides a different set of safety rules for those circumstances.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: There is a quote for nearly every chapter and section heading. While some are drawn from various real-world literature (quite a few are from HitherbyDragons actually), most are fictional. "Sources" for these fictional quotes include in-character blog posts, a "Gamebreaker's Glossary", various self-help guides in the style of game FAQs, and even an in-universe novel series written by one dryadTornado.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Apparently Skaianet produced almost every computer operating system and computing device since the 1980s. In every universe.
  • It's a Small Net After All: Zig-Zagged.
    • Averted in terms of size; PrototypeTowers archives large swathes of presession Internets, and while the size of this archive is never actually stated outright, it's large enough that a "swarm" of hundreds of thousands of servers is needed to hold it all.
    • On the other hand, the population of the "Replayernet" is only about 2,000 people.
  • Footnote Fever: Inherited from the game it's a sourcebook for.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: For the most part, the book is "written" by two characters from inside the universe. However, the author is directly credited for a few entries that would be impossible for the characters to write (because of Corruption risk or what-have-you).
  • Open Roleplaying Decay: Discussed in the sections that reflect on why RV Classic fell apart.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: There are a few notable differences between RV Chuubo's and the original Replay Value/Glitch FAQ, to make it more playable. For example, Sand is now an Aspect focusing on Rules Lawyering, rather than lying, so that having a PC roll Sand doesn't make the party explode.
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: Inverted to horrific effect. If you become a Death Seeker, you will be unable to die. It is only those who don't want to die, or who accept death as a simple inevitability, who end up dying.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: Based on RV Classic, which in turn was based on Sburb Glitch FAQ, which in turn was based on Homestuck.
  • Restraining Bolt: The Ancient Law, which prevents many of the more intelligent and powerful Non Player Characters (including Derse carapaces, the Denizens, and the Horrorterrors) from interfering with normal, functioning sessions of Sburb. (If it weren't for this, for example, Derse would murder the Dreamers in their sleep.) If your session of Sburb is no longer "normal" and/or "functioning", many of these restrictions are removed. The results are... unpleasant.
  • Space Whale: Ringbeasts, which float through the Furthest Ring and are immune to Corruption. They are a very rare sight, but you do not want to bump into one when you're traveling the Ring.
  • Technobabble: Be honest. Did you understand the Info Dump on timetrav encryption?


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: