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Roleplay / Airlocked

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Airlocked is a five-season series— er, five-part murdergame in the "weekly murder mystery" format made famous by Trustfell and Dangan Roleplay, but with an extraterrestrial twist. This one is set in space!

The premise is that 20 Champions from various worlds have been brought together as representatives of the best and the brightest that their homes have to offer. With the guidance of the Overseers and the mysterious, invisible Benefactors, the Champions will have the ability to rise to the challenge, or else succumb to the despair and attempt to escape with the one option available to them: murder.

Round 1 began on February 12, 2017 and ended April 1st that same year. Round 2 ran from May 14th through July 8th. Round 3 began on August 14th and ended in late September. Round 4 ran from October 13th through November 24th, and Round 5 ran from February 4th, 2018 through to early April of the same year.

Airlocked may be watched on InterGal 7's solar streaming network here

This game provides examples of:

  • All or Nothing: Win the trials or face a mass execution. As well, any deaths in Rounds 1-4 stick after the round is over; 5, the last one, determines if the players get a Golden Ending for the entire series. (In the end, they succeeded.)
  • Always Murder: Justified, since no one's going to die if they don't have an investigation and trial for, say, graffiti or shoplifting (though it would be funny).
  • Amateur Sleuth: Just about everyone, since the criteria for kidnapping someone didn't include "professional detective."
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Some of the prizes the Benefactors give out, which in Round 1 is a good reprieve from rations.
  • Another Side, Another Story: There originally wasn't going to be a deadland, but one was announced shortly before reserves. For those unfamiliar with the term, it's murdergame genre convention to have a separate community (private during the round, unlocked at the end) for the ghosts of the dead to continue to interact.
  • Anyone Can Die: With "survivors' next characters can't live" as an actual, enforced rule so that anyone can only have one survivor in all rounds but the last. (In DRRP, it was an unwritten rule with a few caveats, and Trustfell doesn't have that rule at all.)
  • Artificial Gravity: Except for a single zero-g room on the station in both Round 1 and the mock week, this is enforced.
  • Artistic License Animal Care: It's brought up in both R3 and R4 deadland that you really shouldn't take a bear home as a pet. It's only okay here because Bear-san is virtual and orphaned and any risk in feeding him would only matter if the dead weren't in a deserted town, and even then "okay" is relative and justified by Mai's lack of common sense and Lee's tendency to indulge her.
  • Badass in Distress: Most of the Champions can normally take care of themselves, but they still get kidnapped 1-4 times each by the network.
  • The Bear: Referenced with the "Bearies" item.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The alien showrunners and most of the aliens out in space have vastly varied biology, many have a ton of limbs, at least one staff member eats via photosynthesis, and one sleeps in green slime a la Homestuck.
  • Black Site: Any ship or station where Champions are held captive is top secret, with no leaks getting out, and practically impossible to track down. The Big Bad just has that much power.
  • Body Horror: The PIP devices are fused onto the Champions' bodies and rooted throughout. #3 tries to remove hers, and she's fried to death with her PIP cables exposed. Much later, Yl'lb surgically removes Jamie's with a lot of blood involved. Thankfully, there is a mostly painless way to remove them — having the showrunner herself do it, if you can convince her.
  • Break The Game Breaker: Regains that would give an unfair advantage are modified before being handed out. For example, in Round 1, Lightning's combat knife was replaced with a plastic replica and the Doctor's screwdriver was covered in gunk that rendered it useless until he could get it off, which took the entire round to do. Round 2's de-nerfing motive and power-swap motive eased up on this a little (particularly Mai's demons and de-nerfing of prop weapons) but still kept some game breakers broken (like Queenie's mind-reading).
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Along with the out-of-universe option (carried over from Dangan Roleplay) to use an eligible thread to opt out of a death roll, there's also an in-universe option, the Boon/Sabotage system.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Some Champions' abilities are completely dampened, and even for the ones who were only nerfed, one PIP setting lets the Overseers temporarily block someone's powers in full. The dead also go through this.
  • Closed Circle: In fitting with the genre.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The survivor groups meet up with each other randomly in public after weeks of fruitless searching. Twice. This is constantly lampshaded and the Champions start to wonder if their PIPs attract one another. It's slightly justified in the second instance, though, as the Round 3 group had been deliberately searching for the civilian who was (unbeknownst to them) harbouring the other survivors. Round 4's intermission implies that the PIPs really were traceable all along.
  • Courtroom Antics: Even the Champions who take the trials seriously end up speculating about romance and coming up with crack theories.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Even a Sympathetic Murderer has to be executed, after all. Though Xander gets out of it and, while Queenie seemed to be killed, her R2 execution was faked.
  • Deadly Game: Though this time it's just called an experiment, it still fits the idea of a game, and many characters start calling it a game anyway.
  • Doomed Protagonist: Due to the setup, we know that even the survivor pools aren't safe; most of the survivors will fall to Round 5 when they return.
    • Thanks to its premise as a prequel, all of the characters in Round 4/0 that aren't Bolton or Jamie are doomed to die.
  • Dwindling Party: There are fewer Champions left alive every week.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Characters yet to be introduced tend to briefly appear in either intermissions (Yl'lb and Rad debuted in the Round 1 intermissions but were introduced in the Round 3 intermission and Round 2, respectively) or endgame (Kip, Price, and Rox had brief recorded or written messages in the ends of the rounds before their own).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first two rounds, Blaze Dudely was set up to be an unsympathetic villain. When his backstory and Hidden Depths became much more important in Round 3, minor retcons took place so that the characters who remembered him had their memories coloured by time and bitterness towards their situation.
  • Earth Is the Centre of the Universe: Zig-zagged. None of the action takes place on Earth until the epilogue, although Deadland usually takes an Earthlike form and spends two seasons and most of a third mimicking a specific Earth place. However, most of the Champions are from various Earths and the enemies do consider Earth a valuable target. Target demographic, that is. After this universe's Earth was liberated from a thousand-year spell a few years before the story, alien companies found it a very lucrative market, so InterGal 7 stuffed their shows with humans and human-passing aliens and covered topics that Earth people could relate to.
  • Famed in Story: The Champions, since their ordeals are broadcast to countless aliens. The Overseers, too; Jamie, Bolton, and Xander were once Champions, Kip is a TV host cast As Himself and Rox is also an established InterGal personality, Blaze is a notorious pirate, and PAL was also shown in the previous seasons. The only Overseer this doesn't apply to is Price, which hints at the Round 5 revelation that his round really was supposed to be unrelated to Airlocked! and was changed on the fly.
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: The Champion Excellence Program is actually broadcast as the supposedly fictional show Airlocked!, popular in seven galaxies. Most of this game's subpages treat this as a Late-Arrival Spoiler.
  • Foil: The round two and five masterminds, once you know the R5 ending spoilers. Both had "helpless ally" personas (Kip Larimer, Cece Diver) and "sadistic enemy" personas (P.A.L., Rox Petuu) and drove themselves on despite becoming attached for their show, their dreams, and their pride. However, in part because Nina took Kip out of the picture for a while, Kip's final confrontation had him try to show that he was more like his "enemy" self and the others proved that his "ally" self was the real Kip; Nina, in contrast, tried to come off as a saint like Cece, but because she could only consider "solutions" that let her win, the Champions saw that she was slipping further away from her "ally" self and treated her more like her "enemy" self, Rox.
  • Food Pills: Unpalatable "nutrient blocks" are apparently common in space.
  • Foregone Conclusion: To ensure that enough players will qualify for round 5, no player is allowed to have more than one character survive rounds 1-3. As a result, if a player whose character survived round 1 or 2 comes back with a new character in the next round, that character is guaranteed to die. In practice, this only affected round 2, as for round 3 the mods deliberately prioritized players who wouldn't be subject to this rule, again to increase the number of players who would have a shot at round 5.
  • Foreshadowing: Things that don't seem to make sense upon inspection early on will often turn out much later to be relevant to the plot. For instance, P.A.L.'s Character Development in Round 2 sometimes doesn't seem to have a reason, but when you realize he's Kip, his actions make much more sense.
    • The password for the applications for each round foreshadows something about the round.
      • Round 1: "Rob Boss," a reference to Bob Ross. This refers both to Jamie's talent of painting landscapes and the fact that most NPCs in the game are in part based on their PBs with similar names.
      • Round 2: "Lucky Flannel," referring to how Kip, a character partially based on Markiplier, would be added to the main cast.
      • Round 3: "Cool Motive," a reference to Brooklyn Nine-Nine ("cool motive, still murder"). The theme of this round is people who have killed before, even if some of them are Sympathetic Murderers.
      • Round 4: "Airlocked: Reach," a reference to Halo: Reach, another prequel where the protagonists are Doomed by Canon.
      • Round 5: "Still Murder," the other half of the Round 3 reference. This symbolizes that the Big Bad is a Tragic Villain, but that this doesn't excuse what she's done.
  • Fun with Acronyms: AIs from the setting have acronym names.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: The space food and military food all over the stations qualify. The setting does have real food, with every round getting some eventually, but artificial is still common.
  • Hard Light: Hardlight projectors, which alter a person's appearance and give them a warm, slightly buzzing physical outer skin, are well-established in the setting. In the Round 1 intermission, it's shown that they're uncommon because they're expensive, so the survivors aren't able to acquire any until the end of Round 2.
  • He's Dead, Jim: The narration, as is tradition, declares that victims are dead whenever they're found.
  • Holodeck: The setting of Round 1, the Round 1 mock trial, and every test drive has one so advanced that the Champions can program in locations they know from memory. After a long time without a holodeck, Round 5 gets one late in the game.
  • Hurting Hero: Everyone. Even the odd character here and there who doesn't come in with a Dark and Troubled Past will be traumatized in short order and spend the rest of the story learning to cope.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The game is a series, being broadcast to aliens, under the out-of-universe Working Title and with spinoffs and a huge fanbase. The audience is led to believe that it's fiction.
  • Indestructible Edible: Army rations, which were established in the first round and still occasionally pop up later.
  • Inexplicable Cultural Ties: Exaggerated to the point of parody, as this random space station in a completely unfamiliar world even has actual Earth books, movies, music, and sports.
  • Interface Spoiler: Deliberately averted by the regain system: players of upcoming victims and culprits can and do submit threads, and are subsequently awarded items that their characters won't live to see. Some players have also noticed that a culprit or victim will get an especially good regain on Thursday that they won't live to see, though this is a far-from-perfect method.
  • The Intern: Along with promoting real suffering as fictional entertainment, InterGal 7 doesn't pay their interns, either. Multiple NPCs have been interns for the organization.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Champions have all lost memories and regain them throughout the story.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: The party needs to split for investigations. In-universe, this is to cover as much ground as they can. Out-of-universe, it's to make sure that more players have something to do.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Champions wake with only their Space Clothes (and, in Round 2, a set of formalwear), not even any spare clothes from home like other games have offered. Other outfits usually only appear in the limited number of personal regains or must be made by the characters in-setting, though some rounds have sources of premade clothes.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Everyone is from a different series. Round 1 especially, as everyone was a lone canon warrior.
  • Meta Twist: Unlike other mystery-style murdergames, Airlocked doesn't tend to have traditional mastermind trials. Round 1 had the Final Examination instead, where one NPC acted as a "mastermind" but only quizzed the characters on what they'd discovered and the twist at the end of the round. Rounds 2 and 3 did have mastermind trials, but they still weren't quite as expected by veterans, having the evidence show that the masterminds were backstabbed by the Big Bad and largely just working much like the Examination; of these, only the R3 game-runner dies. Round 4 couldn't have a traditional final trial due to its premise as a round where most of what would have been the survivor pool died trying to rebel and they never even made it to the end. Round 5, however, does have a traditional mastermind trial, as well as the widely beloved common type of golden end where the player characters and most NPCs come Back from the Dead, meet each other's loved ones, and find some method of still being able to see each other again.
  • Modern Stasis: Zig-zagged. There are plenty of cultural differences and futuristic electronics, but also lots of things that look like they came out of the 2010s, due to the setting's Affectionate Parody of contemporary fandom.
  • Nerf: Most Champions have their abilities rendered mostly useless by the PIPs, most of the time.
  • No Body Left Behind: Characters like this are barred from application to Rounds 2 and 3, without the option to invoke the Meridiana clausenote , for plot reasons.
  • Oh, Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: Anyone who realizes that their ordeal is a show presented as fiction to aliens.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Some of the Champions' titles are bizarrely specific. It's hard to imagine there being much competition for the title of Champion Chairman of the Kijin Clan, a Subsidiary of the Omi Alliance, for example.
  • Peace & Love Incorporated: InterGal 7 appears to be a friendly company with a good relationship with its fans and consumers. They're also the main series antagonists.
  • Play Every Day: Short-run game activity requirements are commonly very high, and that is the case here too.
  • Pleasure Planet: The Vegas Quadrant is the touristy parts of Las Vegas in the form of a cluster of planets.
  • Plenty of Blondes: Three NPCs are blonde women. Two are the same person, at least in Round 5, though there was hinting that Simone's first appearance before then really wasn't Nina.
  • Public Execution: Culprits are killed in front of everyone. Round 1 has them all Thrown Out the Airlock, while Round 2 brings back the traditional personalized executions.
  • Recurring Element: Each round has a group of strangers kidnapped, imprisoned, and assigned Champion titles, while under the watch of two contrasting NPCs who themselves report to fickle, unfathomable masterminds. This is why Round 5 seemed odd for starting with one Overseer. Final Fantasy characters who regain plush chocobos, previous rounds' characters being terrified to see their canonmates in the current round, and silly references to fandom trends are all also constants.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The premise is "murdergames, but in space."
  • Rousseau Was Right: A theme across rounds is that people are inherently good, no matter how terrible they've been either to you or to people back home. Every single NPC save for the Greater-Scope Villain and Rox has had a redemption arc showing that they'd been played and learning to grow attached to the Champions, and even unsympathetic culprits get their day. As for those two, they turn out to be the same person, who does have regrets despite her determination to finish her evil plans, and some acknowledge that she's got the potential to become a better person while she serves her well-deserved jail time.
  • Running Gag: People from SF canons mistaking Seth's deadland form (during the time that he has the mannequin body) for a robot because that's what they're used to. Finn, Angel, and Akande all have.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Airlocked!, the Immoral Reality Show they're on, has half a billion viewers and is the most popular show around... in seven galaxies, all highly populated. This is fixed in later rounds with the numbers left vague.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Cameras are installed throughout the space station, with a rule against tampering with them.
  • Space Clothes: The Champions' uniforms. Notably, clothes from home are all regains, so everyone is stuck in the uniforms at first.
  • Space Station: The setting the cast is trapped on.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Though there are more physical fights than in some games, murders are still solved with talking it over in trials.
  • Technology Levels: They vary between worlds (and are a major topic due to the space setting), but can still be plotted on a straight line.
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Meta example. According to the mods, the players overshot the requirements for a Golden Ending by a wide margin.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The Champions are put through suffering constantly with the motives and murders.
  • Universal Translator: To make the game playable, every character's speech is subject to this so they can communicate.
  • Verbed Title: Referring to the theme of all the executions in the (chronologically) first two rounds.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: You wake up in a space station... Aside from that being the beginning of every round, Round 1's "clown room" is this as a Played for Laughs punishment.
  • We Will Use WikiWords in the Future: InterGal 7 is an example of this. It's the network that Airlocked! runs on.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Used in-universe. Multiple pieces of merchandise and lenient alien parents are shown letting their kids watch Airlocked! Sure, they don't know it's real, but that's still a lot of murder.
  • Win Your Freedom: The supposed reward for a successful culprit.
  • World's Best Warrior: Some of the Champions' skills are this or related, since they are supposed to be the best in their fields. Sometimes it's very specific, like Margulis being the Champion Flaming Swordsman.

Due to page length, individual rounds have been given pages: