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Roleplay / Can Cry

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Based on Crystar, the small private game Can Cry is a twist on the "teamnesia" genre in Journal Roleplay, in which factions of characters with Laser-Guided Amnesia compete for pieces to restore their former selves.

Here, an assortment of characters wake up in Purgatory; formerly Spectres, they have become Eidolons, now aware that they're dead and in the afterlife, but still missing all their memories and pieces of what makes them them. There's just one problem. Purgatory has started to warp into a twisted dreamscape due to a population influx, because something has clogged up the Cogs of Renewal and nobody can move on. It's up to the newly awakened Eidolons, guided by canon player character turned GMPC Rei, to become Executors, face the sins that weigh them down in Purgatory, and clear the path before they — or anyone else — can be corrupted into monsters.


The game began on August 1, 2020 and was stated to have hit a roughly halfway point on its first anniversary. It can be found here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Initiative: Enforced in boss threads, but minor combat threads are generally run by the players however they want.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Different levels of Purgatory have their own concepts of currency and economy, but the biggest example of this is Avaritia, the Greed Layer, which not only has its own currency but an out of control economy.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Chiron's cheery message before he releases the footage of Kotori's suspicious death.
    The following program is rated R for Revolting, Retch-inducing, Repugnant, Rude, and Reprehensible.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Team Dads Chiron and Beast both tend to do this for the younger members of the team whom they're close to.
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  • Alien Blood: The dead all "bleed" a dark, sparkling substance called pneuma.
  • Alien Lunch: The Limbo convenience store sells weird food in addition to normal food, stocking everything from moose-flavoured chips (which really existed) to the concept of the colour yellow, which is somehow edible.
  • All There in the Manual: The Story So Far and NPC pages introduced for the game's first anniversary recap past events in the game while also including new information that the characters had yet to learn, such as Alice and her fangirl starting an offscreen romance and an idol career after Invidia was finished.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: Even though everyone in Purgatory has lost their memories, some things still ring to them as important, and sometimes a skill they had in life will come naturally to them.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Boss encounters are three players to a boss, with the characters chosen from a pool of volunteers.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: Phoenix cuts off Miss Phantom's hand to defend his teammates in the Avaritia heist.
  • Arc Villain: The story is shaping up so that each floor's Authority is the villain of that arc (with few exceptions), as well as hinting that there's a Big Bad out there who corrupted them.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Authorities, naturally, have a lot of power they can use in their layer and over its inhabitants. They lose these powers if they lose their Authority, though they're replaced with new abilities when they become Aberrants.
  • Bad Black Barf: Twisted with Mammon's desperation attack, in which she (as befitting a greed-themed dragon) upchucks molten gold in enough of a quantity to spread over most of the boss arena.
  • Balance Buff: The combat system is improved from its debut in Cosmographia to streamline minor fights (restricting Action Initiative to boss fights) and is stated to allow flexibility for the sake of a more fun game. The Alcea system was also overhauled in the early game to allow Alcea to be earned more easily, tying them to thread length rather than Character Development.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Esme does this when she gets rushed by Pariah.
  • Big Fancy House: The gigantic mansion in Invidia owned by Esme and later taken over by the Executors. It's noted to be so over-the-top fancy that it doesn't even seem to be part of the surrounding area.
  • Birdcaged: Volucris, one of the Invidia enemies, is encountered breaking out of a makeshift cage. Fitting, as her name means "bird," and it's meant to hint to her original identity before becoming a Revenant (Kotori).
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Ruin triggers the boss battle for the Aberrant of Greed on his birthday, though it's by coincidence.
  • Bland-Name Product: The Invidia-exclusive social media network Caw.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: The most basic of Spectres, as well as the injured butterflies that somehow relate to Rei and contain her memories.
  • Canon Character All Along: After a precedent had been established that all the Authorities and decoy Authorities would likely be original characters, Superbia introduces the student council president: Mu.
  • Casino Park: The Avaritia level is one of these.
  • Catch the Conscience: Part of the plan in the Invidia arc's climax is to expose Esme's little habit of Removing the Rival on stage.
  • Chaos Architecture: Everything in Limbo. Don't make the mistake of leaving your stuff in your hotel room, unless you want to open every door in the building five times to find it again.
  • Chest Burster: The boss of Invidia, Beelzebub, transforms from Esme by bursting out of Esme's body after Lion tries to just kill her beforehand.
  • Conditional Powers: Authorities can only use their Authority abilities on their own level, but they can be very powerful on that level.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: The Executors slip up talking to Esme undercover by saying that they've just arrived in Invidia. Esme quickly informs them that she knows something's up with them because regular Spectres don't have the self-awareness to know that they've arrived there from somewhere else.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: The only things about Avaritia that don't seem to be based on Las Vegas are its constant state of rain and a technically advanced bank vault, a monument to the greed it's based on.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Ariel buys a few posters of Esme to attach them to training dummies and beat them up.
  • Dead to Begin With: Everybody, as the story is set in the afterlife.
  • Death of Personality: While the dead can't really die, they can revert to mindless level-one butterfly Spectres, though apparently this is reversible.
  • Degraded Boss: The minibosses of previous Undersides often return as generic Revanants of future dungeons.
  • The Diss Track: During Idol-ON's performance in the Invidia plot, Medic devotes an entire rap solo to calling out Esme. It flies right over the fans' heads, but Esme herself is seething.
  • Dragged by the Collar: When Monarch is about to rush into the Underside with no plan and fewer resources, Brainiac grabs him by the collar and keeps him from going in.
  • Double Entendre: Ruin makes a few comments about (and in front of) Lion, such as how he's "like a dog... obedient," which just make Sword roll his eyes.
  • Egopolis: Invidia has Esme on every corner on posters, magazines, and TV screens, since its floor Authority is determined by who is the most envied among the people there. Invidia's Underside instead depicts her younger sibling, Lapis.
  • Exposition Beam: Occurs when Executors strike the killing blow against a particular Authority, which causes them to experience some of their most formative memories in life.
  • Fangirl: The nameless NPC in the Invidia plot who's one of Alice's few devoted fans. She ends up helping the team remind Alice of her memories and brings her backstage to them.
  • Fastball Special: Lion chucks Royal Veil into a group of thief-type Revenants to get their weapons back from said Revenants. Soon after, Medic asks him to throw her during a boss encounter, with which he reluctantly complies.
  • Feathered Fiend: Every boss and miniboss in the Superbia Underside is either a bird or a heavily bird-themed person.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Lion has a habit of ending up in these situations, facing off against other Executors who have either gone berserk from a memory or want to antagonize him for some other reason, such as self-imposed punishment. He even recalls having to fight people who were once his friends in his previous life after a betrayal.
  • First Town: Limbo, the first level of Purgatory, where people will generally arrive upon death. The Executors use it as a home base and/or source of materials, especially when later levels require them to trade for items.
  • Flavor Text: Every boss and miniboss has this in their descriptions.
  • Freak Out: Sometimes a character will have a bad reaction to a memory regain. This can cause some problems, such as when Lion runs off when Medic destroys the Henricus in the Limbo Underside, and occasionally the character will go berserk and have to be fought and/or talked down.
  • GMPC: Rei, the original heroine of Crystar, is now a mod-played NPC cat-herding the new Executors.
  • Good Luck Charm: Beast gives Rei one of his feathers to serve as one of these before she goes out on stage.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When greed overtakes Miss Phantom and she chooses to go into the vault rather than escape the walls closing in, the narration tells readers, "I'll leave what happens after to your imagination."
  • Go Through Me: In the Invidia boss encounter, Lion stands between his allies and the Aberrant to keep them from hurting her, as he's been taken in by her illusion.
  • Got Me Doing It: After catching herself giving a chirpy greeting to a new Eidolon ("Welcome to being dead~ ☆"), Ariel laments that she's been spending too much time with Medic.
  • Hate at First Sight: When Sword attends his first group training session, he immediately zeroes in on Wolfsbane and declares that her Unstoppable Rage makes her reckless and all but ensures Friendly Fire. Wolfsbane immediately Dislikes the New Guy for (as Sword puts it) not thinking she's perfect and untouchable. Neither is particularly nice to anyone, but they despise one another more.
  • Healer Signs On Early: The party's first two healers came from the first round of application acceptances.
  • Healthy in Heaven: Zig-zagged. Disabilities are not miraculously cured (such as Phoenix's blindness), but illness or infection can be (such as Seal's "bad orange"). As well, if a character doesn't know or remember that they have a physical condition, they may not have it, Mona's toxic touch being the best example.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Lion gives one or two accidental innuendoes to Ruin in their spar gone wrong when he actually starts trying to hurt him. Ruin's into it and responds by kissing him, freaking Lion out.
  • Hellgate: While they're still in Purgatory, the imagery is definitely evoked when the earth opens up underneath everyone's feet every time an Authority's power goes to one of the Executors and the corresponding layer's Underside opens up.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rei breaks down and goes nearly catatonic when she's forced to intervene to stop Kingslayer and Lion from throttling each other while Kingslayer is on a berserk rampage. The first thing Rei can say once she recovers is blaming herself for attacking an ally and driving them into self-imposed exile.
  • A Homeowner Is You: While the Executors start out with hotel rooms, the hotel's Chaos Architecture and location in the First Town lead them to seek and obtain home bases in the other levels as well. One plot development even lets them take over Esme's Big Fancy House.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The encounter with Birdie in Superbia is very clear about this; not only can the Executors not escape, players are told in no uncertain terms, "Don't concern yourself with victory. Above all else – please, just survive."
  • Horrible Housing: The abandoned homes in Avaritia that the Executors have to live in on that level are the only thing they can get for free there. Unfortunately, that's because most of them are cramped, falling apart, haven't paid their electric bills, often lose their hot water, and have a constant damp smell to them.
  • House Squatting: The Executors start out living in hotel rooms that were assigned to them, but they regularly take over empty residences as they make their way down the levels. These range from a Big Fancy House to an abandoned slum.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played for Laughs. Rei grumbles that her teammates are more monstrous than the Revenants when Ariel trolls her by encouraging a store clerk who wants to give her a makeover.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Rei worries about the effect on Esme's psyche should the Executors dethrone her, but by this point, Esme more than deserves it.
  • Idol Singer: Esme, the floor Authority of Invidia, is an idol and overall celebrity. A few of the gang become underground idols during this arc as part of the plot to dethrone her.
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: Rei gets stage fright during the idol plot and tells herself to "pretend everyone in the audience is a Revenant and dancing is how we'll beat them."
  • I'm Okay!: Medic calls this out cheerfully after being hurled across the battlefield in the Mammon boss fight.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Ariel trolls Rei by egging on a store clerk who wants to stuff Rei into an "eye-searingly pink" dress, only for it to backfire as they both end up forced into the ugliest things in the store. Description text is reluctant to describe the outfits as clothing.
  • Interface Screw: The Hopeless Boss Fight with Birdie halfway through the game displays her name as "???? ????" and all her stats as "unknown."
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Ruin is unhappy with Medic calling a feminine humanoid monster "she" and insists on "it," not wanting to think about the fact that Revenants were all once Spectres. On a meta level, the only enemies that the action text genders are those whose identities before becoming Revenants or Aberrants are established.
  • Joined Your Party: Every time an Eidolon joins up with the Executors, they get a bold-text "Contract established."
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Executors collect Memoria to restore their memories and pieces of themselves. Thing is, though, even if they do get all of them and more, the FAQ is explicit that they will never be fully restored and most of their memories will be lost forever.
  • Loss of Identity: Explained as the process of a Specter becoming a Revenant. Some characters also fear that the same will happen when they reincarnate into new lives.
    Rei: A Specter becomes a Revenant when they start losing (the sense of who they are). The missing pieces hurt them so much they end up consumed by it and they start consuming anything they can find to fill it.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Functionally what the Executors are, complete with new powers and transformations.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Kotori's sudden illness is supposed to have been a tragic coincidence. Some of the Executors discover evidence that Esme poisoned her, and that Kotori's over-the-top and sudden reaction to the poison was probably why she toned it down for them so that they would (if Medic hadn't tested herself and intervened) die later rather than right then and there.
  • Meaningful Name: All of the Executor titles are intentionally this, with some meaning that resonates with who the Executor was in real life, obtuse or otherwise.
    • All non-Original Generation bosses and minibosses are taken from the original Crystar, where they were all named for writers and philosophers, many of whom wrote treatises about souls or the afterlife.
    • Esme, the floor Authority of Invidia, is appropriately green with envy. The Original Generation miniboss of this level is Volucris, which means "bird" — a reference to her true identity, Kotori.
    • The floor Authority of Avaritia is Greta, meaning "pearl," fitting for a greed-themed boss who hoards wealth.
    • The Original Generation miniboss of Superbia is Agape, unconditional love, often described as between a deity and their worshippers, which you could compare to an Authority and the clueless Spectres she presided over.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Can Cry has a one-character-per-player limit, a trait it inherited from the murdergame genre; unlike those games, it allows players to swap out their Executor for a new character. This way, certain characters can never be in the party together, but some can replace others.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Some Executors who were villains in their canons start to react in horror when they get their memories back.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: The characters chosen for the Invidia boss battle fall perfectly into this. Veil (Nice) still tries to reason with Esme and only reluctantly fights, beginning the fight only using Status Buff abilities and only resorting to attacking Beelzebub when she has no other choice. Lion (Mean) is immediately out for blood and goes berserk quickly, only stopping when hit with an illusion. Monarch (In Between) demands an answer from Esme at the start, is quickly pushed to fight back, and his actions in the fight after that move back and forth between trying to keep the others out of danger and wailing on Beelzebub when he gets the chance.
  • Nominal Importance: Justified in that unawakened Spectres don't have a real sense of identity, including names, to begin with. Any Sinner or Eidolon around who the Executors meet, on the other hand, will have a name and will generally be either a major obstacle or otherwise important to the plot.
  • Non-Human Undead: Not all of the Executors were human in life, though humans are by far the most common.
  • Noob Cave: The Underside of Limbo. Still dangerous enough to warrant Rei having to seal it off before the story begins so that the Revenants inside don't escape and attack civilians, but once the player characters become Executors, they're able to go in there after a little training. It serves as the game's first dungeon.
  • Off with His Head!: Lion's first instinct when Esme starts speaking with a Shifting Voice of Madness and projecting her old Arch-Enemy onto the party. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't stop her.
  • One-Winged Angel: Defeated Authorities transform into the Aberrants from the original game to act as level bosses.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Chiron makes a comment to this effect when Lion drags Ruin back home from an Underside excursion, the two of them badly beaten, before chiding them about it.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted hard; characters still have to learn and train their powers, even if they had them in life. Authority powers are also much less effective when claimed by the Executors, since they haven't had time to master them.
  • Power Misidentification: It at first appears that one of Esme's powers is Villain Teleportation, but Lion later discovers that she can actually turn invisible and just pretends she's teleporting.
  • Power Tattoo: Each Executor has a different mark on a different part of their body, usually with a design significant to them. These are gained when they become Executors.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Right before she and Ruin kill Greta's human form, Medic chirps, "Oh, well, then, thank you for donating your body to science."
  • Princess in Rags: Authorities who have their power and place taken from them become Aberrants, warped on the inside and obsessed with getting their Authority back. They also gain new powers that allow them to take on multiple Executors at once, making them the boss enemies of their respective levels.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: The setting. Here, Limbo is just one level of Purgatory, followed by levels themed to each of the sins.
  • Put on a Bus: Dropped characters simply leave the team, possibly losing their memories and reverting to regular Spectres.
  • One Degree of Separation: Discussed when Phoenix wonders where he's heard a familiar voice before and he and Lion agree that all the Executors having known each other in the past must be practically impossible. The irony here, of course, being that Phoenix does have a canonmate in-game and Lion soon receives one.
  • Rash Equilibrium: After the Executors agree to a "fair" contest they know is anything but in Invidia, both Esme and Chiron mess with the vote-counting to put their own side on top.
  • Recycled Title: "Can Cry" is the main theme song of Crystar, the video game that this game is based on.
  • Reincarnation: Inferred by the existence of the Cogs of Renewal, not that they're working.
  • Removing the Rival: In the Invidia level, the Executors discover that Esme prefers to remove her competition from the picture, to the point of fatally poisoning a fellow idol who considered her a dear friend.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: When Medic studies the poison Esme used on Kotori and the Executors, she discovers similarities to snake venom. She can't find any snakes anywhere in the level, but Phoenix theorizes that it might have come from a snake-like Revenant.
  • Rock Theme Naming: Esme matches her original rival, Lapis, who's implied and later confirmed to have been her younger sibling.
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: Beast accidentally discovers his allergy to chocolate this way.
  • Self-Punishment Over Failure: Kingslayer runs away after their rampage until they're dragged out of their self-imposed exile, which causes strife between them and Rei over whether it was just punishment or further causing problems by abandoning the group. Later, Ruin similarly stalks off after using Lion as a pawn to try and trick Esme and failing; Lion comes after him and tries to talk him down, leading to Ruin flat-out asking him to hurt him (which Lion negotiates into a fair fight because he won't attack somebody unarmed).
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Each floor of Purgatory is themed after one, with Limbo and the Cogs of Renewal at the bottom as the exception. According to Rei, the journal through Purgatory is designed to help them souls move past their Sins in life.
  • Shoplift and Die: While Invidia's Spectres will just enforce paying for merchandise using magic to force shoplifters back into the store, its Underside has Revenants that will attack you for taking anything.
  • Shout-Out: While Kotori isn't actually the same Kotori from Love Live!, she is named after her, and "Awaken the Power" from the same series is used for the song she wrote (with a rap solo added in for Medic).
  • Show Within a Show: Brutal Instinct, a poorly-written Slasher Movie that somehow made it into Purgatory from Medic's universe. The Executors, at best, make fun of it.
  • Slumber Party: Rei's idea to try to get the Executors to bond and get along before they begin their journey. While many of them roll their eyes at it, they largely comply, at least enough to show up and eat the snacks.
  • Social Media Before Reason: The people of Invidia are so whipped up in the celebrity hype that their first thought is often to post on Caw about what's going on or worry that Esme might unfollow them for it, no matter how serious it is. To be fair, Spectres don't have all their faculties, and most of them do sensibly run from danger when the Underside opens up in an earthquake.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Executor weapons are summoned when they transform and can be re-summoned if destroyed.
  • Super Team: A few of the Executors do characterize the group this way.
  • Take That!: The description text when Phoenix drinks one of the stranger, more unreal drinks from the Limbo corner store.
    ...Hm. Tasted very vaguely fruity. Like the concept of orange as distantly remembered by someone who only sort of knew what a fruit was. [Beat] In other words, your standard LaCroix.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Chiron gives Monarch a sandwich from the convenience store to try to calm him down when he worries about either overstepping his bounds as a new Executor or not doing enough to help.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Multiple characters comment on how much of a disaster it is that the Avaritia heist plan expects Wolfsbane and Sword to work together, given that their meeting was Hate at First Sight even compared to how Sword normally treats people. Thankfully, by the time of the actual heist, they don't end up killing each other, though there's still a layer of passive-aggression and glaring at one another.
  • There Was a Door: Lucretius, the boss of the Limbo Underside, greets its enemies by bursting through the nearest wall.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The climax of Invidia has the Executors willingly walking into a setup by Esme, who has tried to kill them and who they know is still after them, because they need to take her down and can't reach her otherwise. The Executors end up turning it around on her by invalidating her cheating and using the event as their own trap so that she'll be right there with the crowd she gathered when they expose what she did to Kotori.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: At the end of each arc, the former Authority will disappear after losing their Authority, retreating to the newly opened Underside in the blink of an eye (or apparently being sent there, as we've seen them disappear even in the middle of trying to attack the Executors or their allies for revenge).
  • Viva Las Vegas!: Avaritia is a fictional equivalent (fitting for the level based on Greed), including shout-outs to real attractions like the Neon Museum (here called the Neon Light Graveyard). When the Executors hit it up, the area description presents all the usual plot hooks: fancy shows, tacky souvenirs, and gambling to try and get money. The real Las Vegas later shows up in Greta's backstory flashback.
  • Warmup Boss: Lucretius. Being the boss of the Limbo Underside, it's the first real enemy that uses the boss combat system aside from the non-canon test run for said system.
  • Warp Whistle: The bullet train allows for backtracking to previous levels without having to trudge through stairs and monster-littered Undersides. Unfortunately, the next level after getting it, the Executors lose access to the upper levels at all, with or without the train.
  • We Buy Anything: Stores in Invidia (and in Limbo, though they'll also just flat-out let you steal) will take all kinds of things as payment in lieu of currency.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Rei was apparently abandoned by a friend, a fellow Executor, who may or may not be the one behind the problems in Purgatory.
  • Wham Shot: During the Superbia arc. When Monarch finally encounters the Student Council President, she is fully introduced in a two-part comment, the second half of which not only assigns her an icon (usually limited to Authorities and plot-important NPCs) but reveals her to be not a Crystar character or an original character, but Mu from an entirely different canon.
  • White Sheep: Discussed. Medic wonders what they'll do if an Authority does want to help them, given that all the Authorities they've had to deal with have done everything from blocking their path to trying to kill them.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: While a few Executors and other named characters have normal names, others have stranger names like "Your Majesty," "Brainiac," or "Clocks." This is called out, with many of the characters stuck with odder names deciding to go by something else, such as "Mona" for Magnum Opus.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Medic adds a rap solo to one of Idol-ON's songs so she can insult Esme with it.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: Ariel kills the mood after some giggly bonding with Rei when she accidentally calls her "Madoka."
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: How everything in Purgatory works. If a character's body should work a certain way (e.g. if they don't need to eat or sleep) but they have no reason to know that, they'll still have that need because they don't know otherwise.
  • Your Television Hates You: When most of the Executors are laid up in Medic's makeshift field hospital recovering in the Invidia arc, they're stuck in, well, Invidia, where every single channel shows Esme, who's the reason they're there in the first place, swanning around without a care. What's more, they only have one movie on hand to watch instead, and it's terrible.


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