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Roleplay / Persona: Shadows of the Mind

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"When the master of the room greets you at night fall, speak to him the following phrase; 'In articulo mortis'. From thence you shall awaken to the truth within the world of your dreams."
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Persona: Shadows of the Mind is a Play-by-Post roleplay on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages forum. Started in May of 2017, Shadows of the Mind emulates the games of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series and features a group of high school students that are called upon by an occult phenomenon to face their destinies. Unlike the main game series, Shadows of the Mind takes place in Toronto, Canada as opposed to a city in Japan. The main cast of characters attends the private institution known as Horizon Academy, each of them pursuing their own academic goals (or lack thereof).

What the students assume will be a normal school year quickly breaks down as mysterious events begin to occur. They find themselves removed from the school databases as if they had never attended, and begin to have strange dreams that take place in a Velvet Room. The supposed murder of the mother of one of these students coincides with a descent into the world of the subconscious, a mysterious Dreamscape that the students can visit when they sleep. Within this world they discover the power of Persona, allowing them to call their psyche into physical form to do battle with the shadows that lurk within the dream world.

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As the students (or summoners, as they come to be known in the narrative) balance their everyday lives with exploring the Dreamscape, they find that the occult threat facing them has far more drastic implications than they could have imagined...

Has a character sheet.


This RP provides examples of:

  • Adventure-Friendly World: In stark contrast to the exceedingly normal urban cityscape of Toronto, the Dreamscape that encompasses the roleplay's supernatural side can take many forms, and can hold any number of vicious shadow creatures.
  • All Myths Are True: Downplayed. Shadows and Persona take the form of mythical figures from every religion and culture on the planet, due to being Anthropomorphic Personifications of the collective human psyche.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Granted, Toronto is not a small city by any stretch of the imagination, but it's still not Tokyo or any other city in Japan.
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  • Anti-Grinding: Being as that the story exists in the medium of a text-based roleplay as opposed to a video game, many traditional video game aspects that are common in the games are absent in the RP; this includes a far lower encounter rate as to not spend months inside the Dreamscape.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: James' golden revolver does just about as much damage as anyone else's weapons.
  • Arc Words
    • The arc words for the entire Persona series: "I am thou... thou art I..."
  • Artistic License – Religion: Demons and mythological figures are central components of the Shin Megami Tensei setting, and are often quite different from their real-world depictions.
  • As You Know: The DM regularly posts info dumps in out-of-character spoiler tags in the event that any occurrence needs additional explanation; this is done to aid those players that are newcomers to the series.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The first shadow encountered by the summoners, a metallic serpentine monster called Leviathan, stands at just over 25 feet tall.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The DM often borrows musical selections from different works of fiction to set the tone for scenes, battles included.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Subverted. Some of the weapons used by the summoners in the Dreamscape would be functionally useless in the real world, but are quite deadly in the world of dreams.
  • Battle Theme Music: Only a few have been given thus far; the most notable example is the use of the Minor Boss Theme from Xenosaga II for the fight against the shadow Leviathan.
  • Beneath the Mask: Shadows and Persona reflect the true feelings of their other selves. The Personas are manifestations of the confidence of each student, called forth to combat the doubts they face in their daily lives.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention Oscar's family.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Upon initial summoning, Max Delaney's Persona Satyr has the appearance of a gleeful, dancing goat-man with a loose-fitting tie. Max immediately uses Satyr to launch himself across an entire ice rink.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Max might as well be sparkling.
  • Bottomless Magazines: James' golden revolver and Maria's bow both have an unlimited supply of ammunition.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Given that all the players involved in the roleplay have participated in other campaigns on the forum, references and callbacks are inevitable.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Entering the Velvet Room is often accompanied by images of a velvet butterfly.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Although not strictly necessary due to the telepathic bond shared between summoner and Persona, summoners will often give verbal commands, or shout "Persona!" or the name of their Guardian Entity when they intend to perform an attack.
  • The Cameo: Igor from the game series appears in his traditional role as the proprietor of the enigmatic Velvet Room.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Igor and his assistant Victoria make it quite clear that tragedy will follow if any of the protagonists leave the Velvet Room.
  • Central Theme: Confidence and the will to face one's doubts in life.
  • Character Customization: As a text-based roleplay, the players have absolute freedom in their character's appearances, habits, and personalities among other qualities.
  • City of Adventure: Averted. Shadows of the Mind takes place in the very real city of Toronto, Canada.
  • The Conspiracy: Someone apparently deleted the school records of each protagonist. The identity of the culprit and the motivations behind the act are yet unknown.
  • Dare to Be Badass: How the Persona awakenings go. The Persona reaches out to the character, urging them to face their problems with confidence, form a contract, and let their powers run wild against their shadow adversary Leviathan.
    • Igor makes it clear that the choice of the heroes to fight the shadows in the Dreamscape must be one they make of their own volition with an understanding of the consequences.
  • Dark World: Locations in the Dreamscape, and the Velvet Room itself, are reflections of the mental states of the occupants.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Specifically in the case of a person's shadow being defeated by the summoners, it can mean the reconciliation of someone with their own inner doubts.
  • Diary: In a fourth-wall-breaking sense. The DM keeps a record of the playable cast, the songs used, the locations visited, and various other bits of information in the documentation post.
  • Downer Beginning: In the first few pages of the roleplay, the students find themselves confronted with their deep-seated doubts, and Max Delaney's beloved single mother is seemingly murdered.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The first things the characters do in the roleplay is dream of the Velvet Room. They later find themselves within it once again, but are able to speak and move after giving the correct Word Of Power requested by Igor.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The Dreamscape, a manifestation of the collective unconsciousness that the protagonists visit when they go to sleep at night.
    • The Velvet Room, an ever-changing location existing not in space or time but inside the collective unconscious of the human psyche, appears much as it does in the game series, and serves as the entrance to the Dreamscape.
  • Enemy Without: Essentially what people's shadows boil down to.
    • Also a bit of Evil Counterpart in a certain way, but shadows are not as easy to describe as the evil within someone's heart.
  • Epiphanic Prison: A major theme in the roleplay is the concept of people imprisoning themselves within their own doubts and inhibitions.
  • Faceless Masses: Any background NPCs are either described in sparse detail or simply not mentioned at all if they do not have any importance to the plot.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: As with many roleplays, when the story hits a snag or a break in the action, a timeskip is usually called upon to move things along.
  • Fist Pump: Keira after defeating Leviathan.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: Averted. Some of the characters share elemental affinities (two characters are aligned with fire, two with light, and three with physical; Oscar and Brendan share a physical strength and weakness to darkness). Only Makoto (ice) has a unique elemental affinity.
  • Freudian Excuse: Many aspects of the setting reflect the person or idea that they relate to. This is especially true for Personas, associated Major Arcana, and regions within the Dreamscape.
    • James Cothran's alignment with the Fool Arcana reflects his aimless, carefree approach to life. His Persona, Phaeton, has tarnished bronze for skin, symbolizing a false confidence.
    • Maria Parazza's alignment with the Empress Arcana reflects her maternal nature. Her Persona, Vesta, is known as the Roman goddess of the Hearth and Home, fitting her caretaker-type personality.
    • Keira Swanson's alignment with the Lovers Arcana reflects her emphasis on interpersonal relationships and communication. Her Persona Iris exhibits her love of communication as well, given that Iris is the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology.
    • Brendan Rathburn's alignment with the Chariot Arcana reflects his confident yet volatile nature.
    • Makoto Adiev's alignment with the Hermit Arcana reflects her social withdrawal and skepticism. Her Persona, Kitsune, embodies her intelligence and harkens to her Japanese heritage.
    • Oscar Tarinson's alignment with the Strength Arcana reflects his courage and compassion for justice, as well as his lack of self-control. His Persona, Ares, symbolizes his fighting spirit and desire for control.
    • Max Delaney's alignment with the Temperance Arcana reflects his moderate lifestyle and his lack of long-term vision. His Persona, Satyr, calls to mind his flippant, carefree attitude when approaching life's problems.
    • Kieran Ikeda's alignment with the Star Arcana reflects his hope for success and his simultaneous lack of faith in his own accomplishments. His Persona, Pleiades, evokes images of his aligned Arcana as well as the serenity he hopes to attain in life.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The Daily Grind Coffeehouse is a favorite location for Horizon students.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Almost always averted. The characters that do swear typically do so with impunity.
  • It's All My Fault: Max partly blames himself for his mother's death.
  • Large Ham: The game series plays heavily on its anime influence, and the roleplay is no exception. The Personas and the phrases shouted when summoning them are over-the-top to say the least.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Mostly averted. Since the roleplay is text-based, the characters can wear whatever they desire outside of school hours. Horizon Academy has a uniform, but a very lax dress code allows students to make modifications to the outfit.
  • Living Shadow: The aptly named Shadows, inky blobs of shapeshifting negative emotions that can transform into humans, animals, and demons in the right circumstances.
  • Mental World: The Dreamscape is a parallel version of reality inside the collective unconscious that warps itself to reflect the way humans with particularly strong doubts see things; an example is Brendan Rathburn's location in the Dreamscape, a desolate hockey rink that calls to mind his single-minded obsession to not fail in his chosen sport.
  • Mood Whiplash: When the protagonists first encounter Brendan's shadow as Leviathan, it summons shadows that take the form of twisted depictions of relatives and friends to the protagonists. These shadows belittle and speak of things that attack the deep-rooted fear of the to-be summoners. The emotional stress this psychological assault induces awakens each of them to their Persona, shifting the scene from a depressing confrontation of one's fears and doubts to a triumphant battle where the protagonists come to accept their inner confidences.
  • Mythology Gag: Being a UESP roleplay, there is an almost-certain chance that a cougar will show up in some shape or form.
  • No Indoor Voice: Oscar can be very blunt.
  • One-Hit Kill: Averted. In the game series, light and dark spells are often instant-kill spells should they succeed in striking their targets. In the roleplay, light and darkness spells deal damage just like any other spell.
  • Player Nudge: Igor refuses to explain the nature of the Velvet Room until the player characters speak the passphrase 'In articulo mortis'.
  • Power Glows: Personas and their summoners are wreathed in blue flame when the former has been summoned.
  • The Power of Friendship: It is a Persona roleplay, after all.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: After awakening to their Personas, each of the protagonists utters a one liner as they acknowledge the power they have awakened to.
    • "Let's do this, Satyr!"
    • "Okay... let's go, then, Iris!"
    • "Come, Kitsune!"
    • "Let's not waste any time, Pleiades!"
    • "Yes, I hear you, Vesta!"
    • "Burn them, Phaeton!"
    • "Show me the way, Ares!"
  • Public Domain Character: The Personas of the protagonists are all characters from world mythologies (largely Greek) save for Pleiades, which a anthropomorphization of the star cluster of the same name.
  • Punny Name: The Daily Grind Coffee House serves a different blend of coffee each day.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Dr. Cecil Farrow, the vice president of the academy, tries his best to soften the blow when he delivers the news of Max's mother's death.
    • Henry Gauthier, star student of the academy and son of the school's president, is the one to explain the situation with the deleted records to the protagonists. He does so in a very polite way, only passively insinuating that he suspects that one of them did the deed.
  • Recurring Element: Many elements from the game series make appearances.
    • The protagonists encounter the supernatural world during their first few days of school.
    • Igor has yet another platinum-blonde, golden-eyed female assistant. This time it is Victoria, who momentarily masqueraded as one of Horizon's secretaries.
    • The protagonists must sign a symbolic contract to enter the Velvet Room consciously as guests; in this case, the class enrollment sheets provided to them by Victoria the 'secretary'.
    • The Velvet Room constantly emits the sound of piano music and operatic singing, though the sources of these sounds are unseen.
    • The Personas give the classic "I am thou, thou art I" speeches when first awakened.
  • Refusal of the Call: The protagonists dismiss their first few visits to the Velvet Room as strange dreams with no real meaning.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Colors nearly every aspect of the Dreamscape.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Not quite the roof, but students often loiter around inside the school's clock tower. At night it is sometimes a known Make-Out Point for young, enterprising lovers.
  • Stock RPG Spells: Although the roleplay was started after the release of Persona 5 (which introduced the magic elements of Gun, Nuclear, and Psychic, Shadows of the Mind employs the base elements used in the earlier Persona 4: Physical, Fire, Ice, Wind, Electricity, Darkness/Curse, and Light/Bless.
  • Summon Magic: As in all Persona games, the protagonists perform magic and special attacks by summoning a Guardian Entity representation of their own psyches. Unlike the games, the Personas in the roleplay are constantly in view when in battle, as opposed to fading in and out of sight when called to cast spells.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Characters related to the otherworldly Dreamscape or the Velvet Room typically have glowing, golden eyes; this has thus far included Victoria the Attendant and Brendan's Shadow, but not Igor himself.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The locales within the Dreamscape are tailor-made to induce stress and doubt in the heart of the subject that created them.
  • Take Your Time: Time passes relatively to the needs of the plot's progression. In addition, time passes differently within the Dreamscape, and no matter how long the protagonists spend there, they awake at the exact same time as each other; often in the early morning or the middle of the night.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Inverted. The DM takes any post, whether it contains spoken words or actions alone, as an indication that the player is ready for another DM post.
  • Tarot Motifs: As in the game series, the protagonists each align with one of the 20 major arcana of the Tarot deck.
    • It is yet unknown if any NPCs correspond with the remaining arcana unclaimed by the playable cast.
  • Technicolor Fire: Blue flames surround the summoners when they call their Personas, which are similarly wreathed in a blue blaze.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The summoners awaken to their hidden power of Persona to the tune of The Battle for the Umbra Throne from the game Bayonetta.
  • Theme Table: Each player character corresponds to a specific major arcana, two elements in which they are conversely strong and weak against, and possesses a Persona symbolic of their psyche.
  • Time Stands Still: Time in the real world only resumes when the protagonists leave the Dreamscape.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Shadow Brendan transforms into Leviathan when the real Brendan actively rejects him and the protagonists leave the Velvet Room to intervene.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Played with by Kieran's Persona Pleiades, who plucks stars off of her sparkling gown and launches them as projectiles.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: Averted from the main series' standard of the Fool Arcana aligned Protagonists having access to the Wild Card ability, allowing to them to store and summon multiple Personas. The protagonists of Shadow of the Mind each have a single Persona exclusive to them, and James follows this convention despite being aligned with the Fool Arcana.
  • Urban Fantasy: The roleplay revolves around high school students in contemporary Toronto, Canada who can summon an Anthropomorphic Personification of their psyches that take the forms of various fictional and mythological figures. Monsters bearing the appearance of demons and gods are fought both with melee weapons and modern fire arms in addition to magical spells.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Shadow Brendan quickly loses his temper when the other protagonists enter the Lonely Ice Rink, as he had expected to have the real Brendan all to himself for whatever malicious plots he may have had in store...
    • "What is the meaning of this? Why are you here? He was supposed to be mine!"
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The characters spend their days going to school, socializing, and fighting shadowy monsters in the sleeping world of dreams.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Half of the cast. James, Max, Kieran, and Oscar all have varying degrees of Daddy Issues.
  • Year X: To avoid having real-world issues color the roleplay's story, the campaign is set in the non-specific year of 20XX.
    • Given that smartphones are abundant, one can assume that the story takes place, at the very earliest, in 2013 or afterwards.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Dreamscape is a cognitive world where the doubts and repressed emotions of the occupants are made manifest. This similarly applies to the protagonists' use of their Personas and often impractical weapons, all of which are deadly largely because the player characters want them to be.
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