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The Character Development Threads are a series of roleplaying threads that can be found in the Writer's Block section of TvTropes. Intended as a shared story and a writing exercise, tropers can write a character in and develop them through a Story Arc. These threads have become a tradition, since borrowed from NaNoWriMo. Although some of the earliest threads such as Bar, Nightclub, and Picnic have been sadly lost forever in the archive purges, most of them can still be read deep in the depths of the Writer's Block thread list.


There are two main 'styles' of thread: 'serious', 'non-casual', or 'main series'; and 'casual', which each carry their own quirks, benefits, and drawbacks. In 'serious' threads, combat is allowed and characters can fight to maim or kill, whereas in 'casual' threads, violence is generally not allowed and may even be physically impossible.

The discussion thread for the CDT threads in general can be found here.

    open/close all folders 

    List of Main Series Threads 

    List of Casual "CDT Lite" Threads 

    List of "Other" Threads 

"Mixed" Threads

CDT Threads with their own pages:


The Character Development Threads include examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Arcs last only as long as they keep people's interest.
  • Absentee Actor: Sometimes, writers get busy, too busy to continue posting in the threads, occasionally even so busy they don't have time to stop by the discussion thread and let everyone know they'll have to drop. That, or they have internet problems. Since meatspace business can sometimes strike at inopportune times, like when the writer has several characters spread across a number of Cast Herds or performing pivotal roles- such as leading a party, or fighting -their fellow writers are left trying to write around the suddenly absent characters.
  • Anyone Can Die: Troper characters aren't immune from deaths, though declaring that another troper's character died from one of your own's attacks is generally frowned upon.
  • Cast Herd: Splitting characters into small groups of 2-6 is pretty much essential to the threads for the sake of making sure everyone gets enough attention. It's also easier to manage who posts when.
  • Characterization Marches On: Since the purpose of these threads is to learn about and develop your characters, this is the expected result of using your character in the thread, especially if they return in a later thread.
  • Closed Circle: Castle takes place in an Island Base surrounded by a tropical storm. Hotel and Bar had intense snowstorms. Carnival takes place in the middle of a thunderstorm 30 miles away from the nearest city. Nightclub seems to have this at first, only for the cast to adventure out to the end of the city, into the depths of the ocean, to Rapture. The trope has become less popular in more recent threads, as it can make it difficult for writers if they have to leave.
  • Crossover: Inherent to the concept, of characters from Tropers' works-in-progress showing up in the same place to interact.
  • Death Is Cheap: Though characters can certainly be Killed Off for Real, this status only lasts for the duration of the thread. Characters who have been killed in past threads are completely free to return in later threads whole with possibly little more than some sour memories and feelings regarding their murderers.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: A common result of these threads is a character's nature getting examined in a new light.
  • Everybody Lives: Sometimes- Castle is one notable example in living memory. Enforced in casual threads, as violence is against the rules in such threads, if not completely impossible.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The majority of the threads' events take place in less than twelve hours, due to Webcomic Time. Averted in Heist (about one in-story week), Resort (several days) and Archipelago (a full day and then some).
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Or sci-fi kitchen sink. Or anything kitchen sink you like. Expect to see characters from all tech levels and origins and abilities running around any given CDT.
  • Genre-Busting: Inevitable when crossing over characters from different settings and genres. Although the threads tend to attract science fiction and fantasy writers in general, due to the overall leanings of Writer's Block as a whole, there is still quite a bit of mixing between the various subgenres of speculative fiction.
  • Genre Roulette: The genre of each thread can vary quite a lot, to say the least, and even within a single thread. Casual threads tend to be more relaxed, while the non-casual threads have featured Closed Circle mysteries, adventures, puzzles, and so on. But no thread, regardless of style or genre, has ever been in particularly short supply of interpersonal drama.
  • Genre Shift: Different conversations in the same room can appear to be from completely different works and settings, let alone what's going on between different rooms.
  • Idiot Ball: This was lampshaded by Ian Down during Castle due to his recklessness that got him injured several times.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Several characters throughout the threads have openly mused and/or wondered about the nature of the settings that appear in the threads as well as the more classic questions of their own fictionality:
  • Lighter and Softer: Some OPs insist that the setting should be relaxed in order to avert meaningless fighting, but that doesn't stop other writers from writing in life-threatening crises.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: A typical thread often ends up with twenty or more characters interacting in their own plots all at once. And given the nature of roleplays, every last one of those characters is technically a main character.
  • Myth Arc: Believe it or not, there is. The question of what has been drawing these various characters to certain locales remains up for grabs.
  • Never Live It Down: An in-universe example in Island. Prisha has known Bianca to hallucinate once and he sees her as a schizophrenic for the rest of the thread.
  • No Ending: Constantly. These threads will, more often than not, fade without a proper end when people get bored or too busy in Real Life to keep going. Castle was the first to avert this, and Carnival, Resort, and Mansion have followed in its stead.
  • The Other Darrin: On rare occasions, writers have allowed other people to borrow their characters for threads. invoked
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Whenever characters are brought in that don't come from a speculative setting that at least leans towards cynicism.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Any Cast Herd that's gathered together for an adventure or mission of some kind is probably going to have quite a variety of characters and settings of origin due to the jumbled, Fantasy Kitchen Sink nature of the threads in general.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: If the writer of a certain character just doesn't have any free time or is having internet issues, their characters will also become unusually absent.
  • Spiritual Successor: Due to the popularity of the debut thread Bar, a troper started Nightclub, the Spiritual Successor. But it didn't stop there. After Nightclub, many more Spiritual Successors had also spawned.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Unless enforced otherwise, usually in the form of the writer adding an OOC comment along the lines of, "By the way, you can interrupt him/her/them whenever you want."
  • Translation Convention: Since the threads generally attract Speculative Fiction writers who might have Constructed Worlds that contain characters who would logically be speaking languages other than English, this trope allows those characters to mingle with each other and focus on their characterizations without having to deal with language barriers.
  • Webcomic Time: An average thread pre-2014 tended to last for around six weeks while usually only spanning twelve hours of in-story time. Many threads from 2014 onward have begun to drift towards more extremes- due to several active writers at the time transitioning from high school to college -lasting for months of meatspace time and 48 hours or less of in-story time. This has resulted in characters becoming way too-close friends over a single conversation, a conversation that might have taken several weeks for the writers involved to write.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: If someone leaves the thread without removing their character in any way, this is a frequent result.
  • World of Badass: Very few threads have ever been in short supply of characters with at least some practical combat prowess.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Very much so. Especially during fight scenes between more than two writers, they also sometimes even feel the need to rush to avoid being ninja'd. invoked
  • Wrong Context Magic: There's all sorts of interactions between magic, Anti-Magic, and Sufficiently Advanced Technology from different 'verses.

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After Morgulion dropped out, Karl Miller simply vanished without a trace. The idea was tossed about that he had thrown himself overboard, but this scene was never actually written in.
  • No Ending: Unfortunately, the thread petered out before long, well before the inevitable sinking.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Sophia Noe and Sophia Rosenfeld Kunstler.

    Dig Site 
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Subverted — it seemed that way, but the "eldritch" entity in question was "just" an ancient and powerful lich.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: K-12Z-2, when speaking with Crescent Raptor, calls his prized crossbow "a formidable weapon in its context", which briefly causes Crescent Raptor some distress as he wonders what frame of reference such a politely dismissive comment must come from.
  • For Science!: Moonlit Blossom, who is introduced by asking to dissect someone.
  • Moral Dissonance: A couple different cases. Crescent Raptor tends to evoke this giving his Cultural Posturing and anti-magic bent. al-Faddil mentions that people the age of "the kids" would already be eligible to enlist where he's from.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nice work releasing the Lich, Crescent Raptor.

    Cantina I & II 
  • Culture Clash: William and Borghild have an argument on magic and gender.
  • No Ending: The thread petered out following the launch of the Character Heist.
  • Numbered Sequel: Cantina II was announced on the discussion board to be released soon after the original Cantina.

    Mountain Resort 
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Camille is a little surprised to see a yeti as a bartender despite being a vampire herself.

Alternative Title(s): Character Development Threads


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