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Roleplay / Shifting Worlds Anathemus Mythos

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No one is flawless.
Think of the most powerful deity you can think of. Hell, think of many of them. Picture as many gods and goddesses as you can.

Now imagine a God that can squash all of them with his pinky finger. A God who is the most powerful entity in not just the universe, but the Omniverse. A God who can sleep and dream for aeons, whose dreams are multiverses all of their own - which will catastrophically collapse when he inevitably awakens, subjecting their inhabitants to a Fate Worse than Death. A God whose sole purpose for existing is annihilating the Omniverse itself. A God whose very existence is responsible for some of the worst villains you can imagine. A God some would like to awaken.

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That God is Anathemus.

This is a tropes page dedicated specifically to the "Anathemus Mythos" of Shifting Worlds, which includes virtually all of SDM's roleplays. Included here should be tropes about the Hellgate Saga and any supplementary materials thereof, as well as the Xat Roleplay.

For tropes relating to other roleplays on Shifting Worlds and general tropes about the forum, please visit Shifting Worlds.


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This roleplay provides examples of:

  • A Father to His Men: both Kusakabe and Amadeus.
  • A God Am I: Hellgate's ultimate goal.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: justified for the CopTechs aka Mimics, because they're really NOT your average mechas.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Justified in Hellgate 2 Part 3 with the high tech translating devices all rebels use.
  • Alternate Universe: Technically everyone is living in an alternate universe due to Hellgate's meddling.
  • All Just a Dream: The sequences where Hellgate claims to have become a God, both in Hellgate 1 and Hellgate 2 Part 1.
  • All There in the Manual: The Hellgate Gaiden reveals a lot of important information about the character, namely his Start of Darkness. The Solos serve this function for the Xat RP.
  • And I Must Scream: This happens during the final phase of the Black Spawn battle in Hellgate 2 P3. All of those Tear Jerker moments that occurred throughout the Hellgate saga, and then some, come back to haunt the characters. Then they have images of the entire world on its way to become nothing but nothing. Followed by the laugh of the story's very own Big Bad, who managed to affect the lives of many people. Who wouldn't give anything just to get out of that nightmare?
  • Anyone Can Die: In SDM's roleplays, anyone can and often does die aside from the player characters. Try not to get too attached to anyone.
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    • Even player characters are technically not immune. While the roleplays normally unfold more like an interactive novel than an average Dungeons And Dragons campaign (the players are intended to win, the interesting part is the "how will they" rather than the "will they"), there are some things even the power of plot would not protect the party from. A good example was the confrontation against Valis Ail. SDM confirmed that if the Anathemites had not refrained from attacking him, the result would have been three dead Anathemites and probably a roleplay abruptly cut short. It had been a terrifyingly close possibility too - a theme for said hopeless battle had the time to start playing before Terminos stopped the other two.
    • In Coronai, "Anyone Can Die" became "Everyone Does Die".
  • April Fools' Day: The first Hellgate 2 Part III, now known as This Thread is a Trainwreck.
    • More well known is the "Heavendoor" roleplay (officially known as "ATTN: My Future Selves, My Alternate Self, Arachnos, Aurion, Kanako, Cichol, and God-Arachnos"), which parodies Hellgate's introduction.
  • Apocalypse How: the Black Spawn is basically a living Class 6.
    • Well, most of the time. If the world the Black Spawn is trying to destroy manages to put up some resistance, it has no problem leveling up to Class X.
    • Hellgate was aiming for an X-4 his first appearance.
    • In the backstory for Hellgate 2 Part III, the tropical world of Holomon was completely frozen over by The General, effectively earning a Class 5.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Hellgate turned both Flandre and Patchouli into this, brainwashing them and using them as living energy sources.
  • Arc Words: "The Dream Will End", for the Xat RP's Nihilius Arc.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Both the Rebellion's Mimics and the General's X series mechas can utilize blasters and/or swords, which can hit harder at the expense of range. This is justified somewhat, since such mechanical units have the endurance and agility required to actually close with the enemy. No ground troops on either side use swords.
    • The X-1s in particular use either sword or blaster, so those that use swords are left with no ranged options. In addition, they also avert the Enhanced Archaic Weapon trope - their blades are solid metal as opposed to the Mimics' Laser Blades.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Elements of Harmony manage to outmatch the Hellgates by sacrificing their physical forms.
  • Author Tract: Hellgate is primarly based around SDM's idea that Gods—or people with power in general—don't get to rule everything—in other words, might doesn't always make right. Every single one of his characters, if deconstructed, have a general trait or personality that matches with SDM's beliefs, personality, and/or disposition.
  • Ax-Crazy: Anyone infected with Dark Spores will gain immense power, but turn completely murderous. Strange as it may be, Hellgate is actually one of the most "sane" Spore Infected to ever exist.
  • Berserk Button: Do not hurt Patchouli in front of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. It'll probably be the last thing you ever do.
  • BFG: SDM is prone to whipping out Hadron Cannons and the like. But it's the General's Black Star Cannon that is the mother of all BFGs, dwarfing SDM HIMSELF, in his entirety, by its size.
  • Big Bad: Hellgate is probably the most iconic Big Bad of Shifting Worlds as a whole.
  • Bigger Bad: Anathemus. Without him, none of the Anathemus Mythos would exist.
  • Black Speech: When SDM or Hellgate tap into the power of the Dark Spore, their voice is distorted. The result is visually represented like this.
  • Blatant Lies: Hellgate's disguise in Hellgate 2 P1. "Hi, I'm SDM, totally not Hellgate. Oh, and just ignore the creepy static I'm emitting. And that I don't know a single thing about you all." Saddest thing is that it actually works. Well enough to get the heroes straight into the trap, at least.
  • Body Horror: Sayans. Just... Sayans.
    • In a weird example where the body is not even organic, the fusion of Hellgate and O-Hellgate in the Xat RP.
    • Many, many of The General's mutated abominations.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Everyone who gets infected with the Dark Spores.
  • Breakout Villain: Who'd have thought this one little innocent threat in the Mental Shift entitled "I am from the future" would forever change roleplaying on Doujinstyle? After an incredibly successful debut, the madder than mad, sicker than sick monstruosity originally known as "SDM of the future" and now known as Hellgate received an entire saga of roleplays bearing his name (though he was brought back only once so far, the other roleplays are centered around his origins and the origins of those origins), has a WIP Gaiden fleshing out his backstory, and features prominently in the Xat side-RP. He is probably the most memorable villain of Shifting Worlds.
  • Break the Cutie: Mia Coronai. Oh dear lord, Mia. She suffers a horrible, excruciating death right after seeing her kingdom fall apart. She dies with the feeling that it's all her fault.
  • Broad Strokes / Canon Discontinuity: If you look hard enough in some of the earlier stories, you should be able to find a major event that took place, or a sentence or two that's been said, that would normally have a huge effect on the overall story but has been completely ignored for whatever reason.
    • Notably, the reference to Pedobear in the first Hellgate roleplay. As well as a large amount of other elements in the first Hellgate roleplay, in fact. Justified since that RP was spontaneously created back when Shifting Worlds did not exist, roleplays happened in the Randomness section of Doujinstyle - the Mental Shift, and the idea of a continuity was on nobody's mind. When Hellgate became a serious roleplay, many of the sillier elements were retconned out.
  • Butt-Monkey: You wouldn't expect a high-level creator deity to be one, but Arachna suffers from this a lot. Almost whenever she appears in the Mythos, she will either accomplish absolutely nothing or make things worse than they were before, and she's gotten her abdomen kicked more than once. Usually she deserves everything she gets, though. She even got killed in a What If? scenario!
  • Cassandra Truth: Arachnos suffers from this in Coronai when he attempts to warn Mia and Zoruff about the incoming Black Spawn after the army of Dark Spores is over. They dismiss him a bit too easily, especially Zoruff who actually scolds him about "hanging on that thread" for too long.
    • Mia herself suffers this from her father when she explains to him why she pulled the heroes out of their timeline.
  • Cessation of Existence: Nihility is this.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A whole roleplay is an example here: see that little RP called "ATTN Kizeki, Mokou, Aurion, and Present-day SDM"? Didn't expect it to become THE most important RP in regards to Shifting Worlds Canon, didya? A few of the off-hand things mentioned in the RP that become important to the characters and/or the plot.
  • Conqueror from the Future: Hellgate. He even used to be known as just "Future SDM" until Arachnos' nickname for him stuck.
  • Cool House: Scarlet Devil Mansion is sentient, and a Humongous Mecha to boot.
  • Cool Starship: Arguably any and all of The General's fleet, but full stop, The General's Head - a warship the size of a large town, sporting more weaponry than the entire fleet COMBINED plus a BFG capable of obliterating a mystical barrier protecting a whole country in one single hit. To drive the point home, The General's Head is the only thing the General has able to oppose any resistance at all to HELLGATE himself.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The General's fleet completely obliterates Gensokyo with barely any resistance on part of its inhabitants, who can't even scratch his vessels. Satisfyingly turned on him during the Hellgate Gaiden Part 2 when SDM taps into the Dark Spore, obliterating his entire fleet without much effort.
  • Darkest Hour: The Xat RP episode appropriately titled "Evil". What happens? Hellgate all but annihilates the last remaining city in Equestria, takes both Princesses hostage, and plays the heroes for fools multiple times over the course of just one episode. Earlier, you also have the episode where Vocus traps the Anathemites to drain them of their power.
    • Each Hellgate Saga roleplay has at least one. The one that started it all has Hellgate successfully destroying everything and becoming a God (which thankfully was an illusion). In Hellgate 2 P1, there's the battle against Hellgate inside the Dream World, which actually required a Deus ex Machina just to let the protagonists succeed. Hellgate 2 P2 has the arrival of the Black Spawn (both times it happens). The destruction of Gensokyo at The General's hands is this in Hellgate 2 P3.
    • Hellgate 2 P2 What If?: Hellgate has returned, Arachnos is under his control, Arachna is dying, and for that matter so is Enthropod. Yeah, good luck with that.
  • Death Equals Redemption: For Future Flandre, who allows herself to die so that Hellgate would become vulnerable.
  • Deus ex Machina: Famously, SDM deliberately asked for one during Hellgate 2 Part 1, in which he allegedly "lost control" of the eponymous villain and the roleplay turned into a desperate struggle the heroes could not normally win. Aurion swiftly pulls out the miracle needed.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: SDM in the gaiden thread to the Black Spawn. Then, SDM in Hellgate 2 to the Black Spawn, again.
    • A major theme of SDM's roleplays is that, no matter how powerful, Cthulhu can always be punched out one way or another. Even Anathemus himself is not invincible. But it's never easy, and you might well break your arm doing so.
  • Distressed Damsel: Mia Coronai.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Because one of the notable themes of the Mythos is the fight against impossible odds, unsurprisingly this happens many, many times. Hell, the fight against Anathemus himself is this for the Omniverse as a whole. Anathemus is bound to be victorious someday, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't give him hell every time he awakens and delay his victory for as long as we can.
    • Executor's famous "I Am Anathemus" spiel, directed at Terminos, is a notable example. Terminos gives up because he believes there's no way out of their situation, Executor makes him realize that's not a good reason for giving up.
  • Doomed by Canon: Coronai, basically.
    • Used to be inverted by Gensokyo, courtesy of the status quo, much to SDM's chagrin. However, he found a way to get past that by using Anathemus' omniversal rampage to create an alternate continuity. So yes, the Gensokyo destroyed by The General will stay destroyed.
  • Double Take: An interesting variation in the Hellgate Gaiden: the General's scout ship scans SDM once... then scans him again, and again, and again as if it can't believe what it's seeing.
  • The Dragon: The Black Spawn to The General, in a way.
    • Nihilius to Anathemus, perhaps.
  • Dream Land: Hellgate's dream world in Hellgate 2 Part 1.
    • Anathemus' Dream as well.
  • Dual Boss: Nihilius Clan.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Hellgate Saga is a good example of this, with references to Pedobear in pretty much the very first post of Hellgate 1...
  • Eldritch Abomination: Notable is the Black Spawn, which, while not quite capable to drive one to insanity with one glance, is still very alien.
    • Nihilius could count, as well.
  • Elemental Absorption: Everyone knows robots are weak to lightning, it overloads and fries their circuits, right? Haha, no. Whatever you do, never use electric attacks on The General's machines - you will not live long enough to regret it. SDM has gone on record to say that he will never, ever make a robot weak to electricity, as it makes no sense logically for the machine's inner circuitry to be connected to its outer armor with no insulation, and made the Automatic Overdrive as a Take That! to that idea. His robots that are not affiliated with The General are usually still heavily resistant to electricity.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Mia Coronai, though she promptly becomes Queen... when her father is killed of exhaustion and deadly wounds trying to protect his kingdom from a Dark Spored lunatic.
  • Evil Counterpart: Nihilius and Valis Ail to the player character Anathemites, sort of.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Hellgate knows he is a horrible monster and he makes the most of every second of it.
  • Evil Laugh: Hellgate's evil laugh has become, in-universe, legendary. Merely hearing it, whether it is in a nightmare, a vision, or, Arachna forbid, from Hellgate himself, causes an uncontrollable flow or negative emotions amongst all who have witnessed the atrocities committed by Hellgate...
  • Evil Plan: How Hellgate's plan in Hellgate 2 Part 1 works out. First the set up for the plan. He warps the minds of everyone but the protagonists to make them fall asleep. The next step is to pose as SDM and announce his return (which works even better as Patchouli actually did try to bring SDM back). Then he makes the protagonists uneasy by hinting that Hellgate could have possibly returned, followed by letting enemies try to wake up everyone and show up as Hellgate's Shade. Next up, he has the protagonists abuse the sleep potion, and then crushes the waking elixir and enslaves Patchouli. Here's comes the gambit itself: After the protagonists fight him in the dream world and invariably get out and wake up, he presents Patchouli (now in mind-raped and Brainwashed variety!) and gives them a a choice similar to F-Flandre. Then he finishes up with a Not So Different speech against everyone there and gloats about the whole thing. This was ruined by a Spanner in the Works, but just who said Spanner was is still unknown.
    • Also, Hellgate's plan to create a God Aura in the Xat RP.
  • Face–Heel Turn: SDM to Hellgate, of course!
    • Executor turning evil. Of course he did not really turn evil, but he still slaughtered a good part of Equestria just for the sake of his friends.
  • Face Ship: Subverted by The General's Head. Despite being called this, it does not actually bear any resemblance to, well, The General's head, it's just named like this because it's basically his flying headquarters.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Jonathan in Hellgate 2 Part 3 does this rather hilariously. While everyone is on an abandoned ship, Jonathan goes to check out the condition of one of the computers. The computer ends up working fairly well, and brings up a few links related to security cameras, communication lines, and the like. The word, "link" appears on the bottom of the screen. Jonathan scrolls down to Security Recordings, selects it, and then picks the first option on the list of recordings. It takes him back to the first screen with Security Recordings in bold, and the word "link" being bigger. Jonathan, instead of clicking "link", went down to Security Recordings and selected the second recording of the list. Same thing as last time happened, only the word "link" had arrows on both sides pointing to the word. SDM had to practically make "link" shout out to Jonathan.
  • Failure Knight: Arachnos swears to protect Flandre of the present after having been forced to sacrify Flandre of the future. Later on, his failure to protect Flandre and her (short) death is one of the reasons for him becoming Anarchos for a while in Another World in Gensokyo.
  • Fiction 500: Kizeki is a divine entity who runs a company named Kizeki Corp., which can be rightfully described as "a God in Mega-Corp form", because it pretty much is. This comes back to bite the "Hellgate Crew" in the ass when it's revealed a former employee now known only as "The General" has used its technology to start his own empire spanning countless universes... oh, and he's also an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Those who were part of the Hellgate incident basically become this.
  • Fission Mailed: When Hellgate seemingly becomes God in Hellgate 1. It turns out to be All Just a Dream induced by Hellgate's matter control.
    • The first Anathemus' waking in the Xat roleplay. While it does wipe out all the main characters, it was plot-relevant and the roleplay continues in an alternate universe instead.
      • Then there's the time the heroes are consumed by Nihility, except not quite.
      • Actually, apparently it was very much the end of the line for them. It's just that four Nihility constructs exactly like them but endowed with godlike power were created in their stead.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Given its size, the Black Star Cannon probably cannot pivot, though this has not really been explicitly stated. With the punch the Cannon packs and the amount of anti-unit weaponry The General's Head sports, firing it at mobile targets would be a waste anyways.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Everyone knows how the Hellgate Gaiden will end - SDM becomes Hellgate and slaughters in cold blood those who used to be his family. The interesting part is seeing how he got to that point.
  • Gambit Roulette: Hellgate loves his intricate plans.
    • Played for Laughs in the Xat chatroom once. SDM noticed at one that nearly every single member online at the time was a mod (except for Aurion), Kanako claimed it was a big Gambit Roulette for just that purpose. SDM, understandably, shut down.
  • Genius Loci: SDM and Hellgate.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The General is an aversion. A lot of people felt that he would not be able to measure up to the previous villains when he was introduced. However, as it turned out, he was linked to nearly everything bad that happened in the Hellgate Saga and is now even more hated than Hellgate.
    • Anathemus was initially intended to be one, but things have changed since then.
    • Heck, even Hellgate was one back in Hellgate 1.
  • God Is Flawed: Arachna. This was made manifest in the Xat chat side-RP and the Hellgate 2 P2 What If?, which both show how completely helpless she is compared to Anathemus and how often she completely screws things up.
    • As per SDM's Author Tract, even Anathemus himself, the most powerful force in the existance of the whole omniverse, is flawed. (Otherwise, he would have been completely unbeatable.)
  • Hand Wave: After the destruction of Gensokyo in Hellgate 2 Part 3 Arachnos becomes very whiny and overall completely grating, more than is justified by the loss of his homeland. Upon realizing how unsympathetic this was starting to make the character, his author quickly whipped up a Hand Wave that due to the intricate magical and spiritual connection of the spider to the realm of Gensokyo, the destruction of said realm damaged his psyche and altered his personality and behavior.
    • Unfortunately, this does not make it any easier for others nearby to tolerate him when this effect kicks in, as evidenced by this example from the Xat roleplay:
    Second Arachnos: He can't help it. It's what happens when an Arachnos loses his sense of purpose.
    Executor (a Rainbow Factory's soul in a robot pony body): I know. You know what happens to us when an Arachnos loses his sense of purpose? Our ears bleed.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Hellgate gives them away like candy.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Hellgate loves putting heroes into situations like that.
  • Heroic BSoD: Arachnos suffered a spectacular one in Hellgate 2 Part 3, thankfully Patchouli and Kanako helped him get over it. At least partially.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Scarlet Devil Mansion pulled one against Hellgate by possessing him and forcing him to blow himself up, killing them both.
    • Also, Zoruff against the Black Spawn, unleashing his full power to repel it at the cost of his life.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The invasion of Genokyo by the General. Mainly because none of the Gensokyoans had the means to actually harm the General's ships.
  • Humongous Mecha: Scarlet Devil Mansion as of the modifications of Kizeki Corp. And of course, Hellgate.
    • Mimics, the mechas in Hellgate 2.3 which replicate the user's appearance and powers.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Fighting anyone with a Black Spore is this.
    • Also, the battle against Dark Beast -Celestia- in the Xat RP is an even better example. The heroes could not actually damage her through regular means, so they had to call out to the princess, trying to let her resist The Corruption.
  • Kick the Dog: Hellgate and The General both do this constantly and without mercy.
  • Kill ’Em All: Every single major non-player character from the Coronai arc dies. Mia? Dead, horribly at that. Her father, King Gustaf? Dead as a doornail, killed by Saito. Saito herself? Very much dead, killed by Gustaf. Zoruff? Blew himself up to save the world. The Three Goddesses of Coronai? All six feet deep from fighting the Black Spawn. Vocus and his Clan, who were responsible for this? Worry not, they're dead too. Absolutely no NPC survived that arc... except the Black Spawn.
  • Killed Off for Real: Coronai and everyone in it is very definitely destroyed. So is everyone in Gensokyo who was not rescued by The Rebellion. The post-H 2 P 3 Gensokyo is actually an alternate continuity.
  • Kill It with Ice: This is the preferred way of dealing with most of The General's machines.
  • Kill the Cutie: SDM's plots. ALL THE TIME. Poor, poor Mia...
    • And Future Flandre...
  • La Résistance: the Rebellion against the General, naturally.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Hellgate's realm in Hellgate 2 Part 1.
  • Made of Indestructium: The General's fleet. The only thing that can destroy Indestructium is well... more Indestructium.
  • Mad Scientist: The General is one.
  • Madness Mantra: Lynna in the Xat RP, when she finds out she is a shadow of her former self created by Anathemus:
  • Magma Man: The Magma Mage in Vocus's cult
  • The Magnificent/Red Baron: Interestingly, SDM (the player, that is) bears the title... SDM. The name stands for Scarlet Devil Mansion, but the title stands for Sadistic Dungeon Master, denoting his tendency of toying with players' emotions and killing off beloved characters in painful ways.
  • Marathon Boss: The Nihilus Clan battle was probably the longest boss battle in the history of the forum.
  • Megaton Punch: Scarlet Devil Mansion removes the Black Spawn's invincibility with one (imbued with the power of the Dark Spore in the prequel, and the God Aura in Part 2).
  • Mile-Long Ship: The General's Head... is much longer than that.
  • Mind Rape: Hellgate can inflict this upon his residents using his matter manipulation, and liberally does. In the first Hellgate RP, he subjected the main characters to this in the form of a Fission Mailed.
  • Mood Whiplash: SDM thrives on this.
    • The Black Spawn battle at Himitsujou has this by the zigzags. Oh, Crap!! The Devourer of Worlds is coming and there's nothing we can do about it! But wait! The new Rebel superweapon has just broken through the Spawn's invincible barrier, leaving it open! Let's finish this thing off... Oh, Crap!! It's going One-Winged Angel... or not! Let's finish this thing off... for real now! WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT GOT AWAY AGAIN?!
  • More Dakka: SDM, Hellgate, and Kanako Imrah in spades.
  • Motion Capture Mecha: Mimics.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Anathemus, Hellgate.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Happens oftentimes, especially in SDM's arcs.
    • SDM enjoys inflicting Nice Job Breaking It, PLAYER moments upon, you guessed it, players themselves, when occasionally, a player says something and SDM excitedly says this has just given him an idea for an all-new Player Punch.
      • Kanako has gotten this by revealing his favorite character was Reimu. In Hellgate 2 Part 2, Reimu was the first victim of the Dark Spore.
      • Arachnos' constant mentioning of the Black Star Cannon has inspired SDM to use it more than he had originally planned.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Everyone in Gensokyo to the Black Spawn, once Aurion, Kanako Imrah, SDM, and their friends break out of the Spawn's crushing darkness, culminating into major overkill.
  • Not So Different: Hellgate and his opponents, in Hellgate 2 Part 1. Or at least so he affirms.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens a lot. Like when the Black Spawn arives or is mentioned. Or Hellgate arrives or is mentioned. Or anything related to Anathemus happens. You get the idea.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Hellgate, when he was replacing SDM.
  • Planet Eater: Black Spawn.
  • Power at a Price: Dark Spores, natch.
  • Precision F-Strike: Kanako, upon being told that the Black Spawn that attacked Coronai in Hellgate 2 Part 2 when they went back in time and also attacked them in present day Gensokyo is also the same one that they see only two months later in a video feed showing it decimating the Twilight Outpost on Nograd in Hellgate 2 Part 3, gives a good outburst of this trope.
  • Reality Warper: Hellgate is one, but primarily within his walls.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Gustaf.
  • Sadistic Choice: Hellgate wants to know. In order to save the world, will you sacrifice the life of a depressed, innocent girl whose only fault was to have fallen into his grasp? He pulled the trick TWICE, too. It works the first time. Not so much the second time.
  • Serial Escalation: The quality of the roleplays increases with each successive sequel.
  • Shout-Out:
    • SDM Falcon Punches things with some regularity. Including Eldritch Abominations.
    • During the battle with the Nihilus Clan in Hellgate 2 part II, the steel mage ends up using a block similar to Ganondorf's back-block when Aurion attacks from behind. And during a rematch between Aurion and the steel mage, the mage uses one of Link's parry attacks, the one where he rolls behind the opponent and slices at his back. Guess what Aurion used to defend against this attack.
    • By SDM's admission, Mercy, the first boss of Hellgate 2 Part 3, was a Code Geass homage.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: Almost all villains here are High, with one exception: Anathemus, who is Infinite. He is defeatable but not destroyable, and Word of God confirms that someday Anathemus will win. Even more so to the inhabitants of Anathemus' Dream, who don't even get a chance to fight.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: SDM has many very powerful villains in order to pose a challenge to the similarly superpowerful main characters. Many are Universal (like Hellgate), Multiversal (like The Black Spawn or The General), and Anathemus is Omniversal.
  • Smug Snake: Vocus.
  • Spanner in the Works: In Hellgate 2 Part 1, a mysterious voice ruins Hellgate's Sadistic Choice by telling Arachna how to sever his connection to Patchouli. The identity of this voice is still unknown.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": It's "The General".
  • Stable Time Loop: the trip to Coronai. The heroes can't defeat the Spawn, for doing so would cause a terrible time paradox.
  • Start of Darkness: Hellgate's Gaiden prequel.
  • Status Quo Is God: SDM used to frequently lament this fact. He has stated that, were this not in effect, the events of Hellgate would be final and irreversible, with all the involved characters being forced to carve out new lives for themselves elsewhere once all is set and done. He has actually found a way around it since, and thus the events of Crossroads onwards happen in an Alternate Universe created accidentally by Anathemus.
    • By SDM's own admission the continuity has strayed too far from ZUN's canon for status quo to matter anymore, at any rate. An arc is in the works which will completely remove Patchouli from Gensokyo!
  • Super Mode: Some of The General's machines (notably X-2s) can take advantage of their electric Elemental Absorption by voluntarily zapping themselves to receive a massive boost to speed and power (this is called a Manual Overdrive). Because this can only be done once per battle, they (thankfully) use it sparingly. If an enemy uses electricity on them, the same Super Mode triggers, but is then called an Automatic Overdrive.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Hellgate is this to SDM when possessed with a Dark Spore.
  • Taking You with Me: Hellgate's final blast in Hellgate 2 Part 1.
    • In Hellgate 2 Part 2, several Nihilus Clan members went out consuming all of their energy in one spectacular final spell: Earth Mage fired a superconcentrated earth beam, Air Mage conjured a super tornado to smash the heroes into the ceiling and walls, Death Mage summoned a powerful swarm of spirits, Copy Mage unleashed the powers of all his dead comrades into an extremely powerful, omni-elemental blast.
  • Temporal Paradox: Hellgate's goal during his first appearance was to create one of those, survive with the help of his god aura and reign over the wiped out universe as God.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The General is behind the Black Spawn.
    • Supreme Judge Valis Ail to Vocus and the Nihilius Clan. Sometimes even when Vocus is completely unaware of it.
  • Theme Naming: Powerful, unique weapons closely associated with The General are usually known (appropriately enough) as The General's [X]. The most well-known of those is his capital ship The General's Head, but the Hellgate Gaiden also showcases his Humongous Mecha The General's Soul, which holds a smaller craft named The General's Will (in the style of Wily Machines and Wily Capsules). There is also something called The General's Fist, and at Arachnos' insistence SDM also decided to create The General's Shadow.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The final attacks unleashed on the helpless Black Spawn. Even Cirno manages to unleash an extremely powerful attack, Arachnos helping. Seeing as how the Black Spawn, which was just about to destroy their world, is finally rendered defenseless, it makes sense that everyone wants to make sure the creep is Deader Than Dead...
    • ...and then the trope is subverted oh so very hard with a final Player Punch. Despite the fact that basically everyone unleashed their best attacks on the Spawn, it MANAGES TO SURVIVE and gaps out of Gensokyo.
    • It does it again in Hellgate 2 Part 3. Goddamn thing won't stay dead no matter how hard you overkill it.
  • Time Master: Mia Coronai.
  • Time Travel: How Hellgate ended up in present day Gensokyo. Also, how the heroes ended up in Coronai.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Subverted after the events of Hellgate 2.1, when the characters discover that the seemingly redeemed SDM is actually Hellgate. Of course, as it turned out, the difference between SDM and Hellgate is the Dark Spore inside him (which they kicked out), so for all intents and purposes, he is SDM.
    • In the Xat side-RP, the adventuring party of two Arachni, Lynna and Executor access Anathemus' realm, only to be spit out of it. It appears they never actually made it out - what did come out were Nihility clones of them created by Anathemus (and accidentally endowed with their memories).
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Manual Overdrive used by some of the General's Elite Mooks (notably X-2s) makes them nigh-unstoppable but is only usable once per battle. Because they always wait for the perfect moment to use it, this results in many X-2s getting eliminated without ever getting to use their Overdrive.
  • Tragic Monster: Future Flandre, Hellgate.
  • Transforming Mecha: SDM: from regular house to giant house-robot!
    • SDM (the player) is undecided about how Mimics would work when piloted by a shapeshifter. Mimics alter their appearance to mirror their pilots when they are activated, but whether they could do so post-activation and in the middle of battle still remains to be seen.
  • True Companions: Everyone who participated in the first Hellgate is this to each other.
  • Ultimate Evil: Anathemus, so far.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In the Hellgate Gaiden, that happens whenever SDM taps into the Dark Spore's power... at the cost of bringing Hellgate ever closer to inevitably surfacing.
  • Up to Eleven: most members of the cast have God-level characters, sometimes several. SDM has announced that the final boss of his ongoing Hellgate RP will be Anathemus, an entity on a level of omniversal power that will dwarf even the most powerful Gods. How this abomination would be defeated is anyone's guess, and needless to say SDM isn't telling.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hellgate gets a magnificent one at the end of Hellgate 2 Part 1.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: Subverted with Sayans. They don't shapeshift into anything, they just rewire your mind to perceive them differently.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Done literally by Aurion again in Hellgate 2 Part 3 when a reptilian-style door foreshadows an ice dragon head as a boss. Upon realizing this, Aurion freaks out, repeatedly yelling "I HATE SNAKES!"
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Dark Spores give a vast increase to power... but smother everything good in one's soul and amplify the evil within it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Akuko, if you know her backstory.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: SDM had to employ this quite a lot with Hellgate, interspersed with making up things as the RP went along. Hellgate 2 Part 1 has this as well, but Part 2 onward are planned from the start to finished.
    • The same goes for the Xat roleplay. While SDM tries to railroad it somewhat, he also tries to give the players some freedom and tries to make their actions have the realistic consequences. Because of this, the roleplay goes Off the Rails pretty often, and SDM is forced to outright scrap, delay or repurpose a lot of planned plot while coming up with some new plot on the fly. One of the most depressing moments in the RP - Hellgate's victory in Equestria 2 - happened because of a mistake by Arachnos (leading to the infamous Crying Wolf moment from Arachna), and everything in Equestria 4 (that's the vast majority of the roleplay's run) happened because the party made a major mistake in "Esherland" and broke reality.
      • Another good example is Executor's death. SDM had not planned on having him die so early, but the confrontation happened shortly after The Factory had become unsure of where the Anathemites' loyalties lied. Since they needed to prove themselves to The Factory, the Anathemites went at Executor very viciously, forcing SDM to let him die. The direct result of this was the creation from whole cloth of the Supreme Judge Valis Ail (as someone who could oppose the Anathemites) and the entire Remnant arc, which was mostly composed of schemes and assaults Executor would have pulled if he had not died.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Depressing example during the first Black Spawn "battle" in Coronai.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: SDM's modus operandi for ALL his characters in regards to removing them. In fact, nearly every single character (with some exceptions) have their last useful acts be dying for drama or to draw an emotional response from both the players and any viewers, and oftentimes both at the same time.
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