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In a city of eternity, conflict has bubbled slowly, but is destined to come to a head.

Will you fight to protect your home and the people there you care for?
Will you crumble the city walls and escape an eternal prison?
The choice is yours to make.
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In a world much like our own, a magical forest has appeared to individuals in times of intense desire all throughout history. Should they choose to step through it, they arrive in the city of Sybal-Heim, populated by others that have made the same choice. Apart from the wide array of peoples from across the globe, split geographically into five districts, the most notable features of the city are as follows:

1. Each night, every person transforms into their sybal, an alternate form that is a manifestation and symbol of their innermost traits and desires, and

2. This nightly transformation completely halts the aging process, resulting in a population of ageless immortals.

For some this is paradise, for others a living hell. But once you have entered the woods, leaving does not seem to be an option, as they shift and turn so that all paths lead back to the city again. The city’s god-like ruler, Basileus the Organizer, has made his domain a prosperous one, but many suspect that he hides secrets. Capital crimes like treason or murder are met with a sentence to Kardia Manor, where most are never heard from again, and those that return come back… different, and unwilling or unable to describe what happened within. After nearly 4000 years of relative peace under his rule, the struggle between his leadership and the underground resistance begins to escalate in 1891, and civil war looms on the horizon.

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Sybal-Heim is an online role-playing group created by Anna Earley and hosted on DeviantArt. Set in the titular immortal city, members are split between Disciples, those loyal to Basileus, and Insurgents, those opposed. The story uses a self-described "choose-your-adventure book" style plot progression, where these factions compete to earn points, with the winner of each event impacting the direction the story takes.


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Sybal-Heim provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Necalli's power was Stone Blades, which let him rapidly extend or retract his claws into flexible, durable, weightless obsidian-like blades up to 5 feet long. This made him an absolute nightmare to face in the arena where he used to earn his keep before becoming the minister of Doxa.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The stormways and other tunnels beneath the city are unnecessarily large for a climate that never experiences extreme storms. This leads some characters to speculate that the weather used to be different.
  • Abusive Parents: Multiple characters entered the city to escape these.
  • Acrophobic Bird: Timur is agoraphobic, so he doesn't fly even though he can.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Howling Dog in Doxa, The Handsome Parrot in Heiros, and The Six-Pawed Panda in Heilig.
  • Adult Fear: Entering Sybal-Heim pregnant will abort your unborn child during your first sybal transformation, and any parent that enters will almost certainly outlive their children.
  • The Ageless: Everyone in the city.
  • A Head at Each End: Bastian's sybal, for a given definition of "head." Neither of them have any visible facial features, but he can perceive through them anyway.
  • Alien Sky: The constellations in Sybal-Heim are different than ours, though they appear to follow all the same natural mechanics.
  • All Deaths Final: Powers that heal injury or reverse time are unable to bring dead characters back to life.
    Lady Lin's character sheet: "If the subject has already deceased, Memory of Anima will not even activate. Mina will be unable to trace anything. Death cannot be undone."
  • All There in the Manual: The group has developed a quite extensive Frequently Asked Questions page, with links to other documents expanding on details of the setting.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Played with. Docile citizens remember their experiences as sybals perfectly clearly, but some ferals can have difficulty holding onto memories or not be capable of it at all.
  • Alternate Personality Punishment: Citizens are held liable for any crimes their sybals commit, even if they have radically different personalities between day and night.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Inverted Trope. The fish, chickens, bees, and beetles that Basileus has created are all black, matching the aesthetic of of the Constables and Basileus himself.
  • Anachronism Stew: Justified Trope. Since people are drawn in from various places in history up to 1894, they bring their different customs and practices with them. The city's technological advancement lags behind the contemporary depending on how much the newcomers can reproduce.
  • Animal Motifs: Many sybals are based on animals to one degree or another, typically drawing upon the associated symbolism.
  • Animorphism: Goes hand in hand with the Animal Motifs.
  • Anti-Climax: The Ashes and Glass story arc ends with Pyotr confessing to the assassination attempt and going to Kardia without resistance, all off-screen while Marron sat in jail. Marron gets an apology from Darshil for his trouble, but no chance to talk with Pyotr and understand why he did it, leaving him feeling disoriented and unsatisfied, much like the reader.
  • Anti-Magic: The Kardia Mansion neutralizes sybal powers, which keep them from being used to damage, teleport into, or peer inside it. Likewise, Basileus himself seems to be impervious to sybal powers other than his own.
  • Antimagical Faction: One possible reason for joining the Insurgents is viewing Basileus as a demon and the Sybal transformation and powers he grants as witchcraft.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Enforced Trope; gunpowder-based firearms are nonfunctional in Sybal-Heim, presumably of Basileus' doing. This applies whether they were brought in from outside or constructed within the city, so even in the late 19th century, weapons don't get more advanced than swords and crossbows.
  • Arc Welding: The Redey or Not mini-event was so well-received that it was integrated into the main storyline and revealed the identity of Necalli's killer.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Pyotr asking Marron if his friendship with Tristine had ever benefited him.
  • Art Attacker: Timur's power summons inklings, helpers made of ink, that can be used for defense.
  • Assassination Attempt: A successful one on Minister Necalli begins the escalation of conflict between the Disciples and Insurgents. Ministers Colo, Sila, and Tristine survive attempts on them as well (though those were unrelated to their stations), which provides the justification for the Civl Affairs Commission. Colo and Tristine get targeted after that again.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The crystals at the center of a Constable's head can be damaged to take them out. However, it is just as likely to result in the Constable flailing wildly as to make it inert.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Citizens often retain a fondness for the style of clothing they knew before entering the city, so Sybal-Heim's fashion is a blend of numerous different time periods.
  • Bad Boss: Xana keeps many of her subordinates addicted to her witchwine, and when Tris shouts out her real name, her reaction is to immediately kill them.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Thanks to Personality Powers, this is generally the case, but not always.
  • Barrier Warrior: Not an uncommon power, as Jody, Kesaimi, Miguel, and Yetunde all have versions of it.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Since sybal's represent souls, a beautiful sybal can indicate virtuous moral character. On the other hand, it could also represent vanity.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Traveler's Woods only appear to people in the The Outside World if they are experiencing a strong desire that the city can meet. However, once inside they may discover that it isn't what they wanted after all.
  • Big Fancy House: Kardia Manor. Also the Eternal Estates and the mansions of Adien and Bael.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many of the city's locations have literal meanings in other languages.
  • Bird People: Several characters. To wit: Adien Nivtel, Ammon, Ashika, Burr, Darshil, Rayu Yeong-ryong, Timur, and Zephyrus Amenos.
  • The Black Death: A few characters entered Sybal-Heim to escape it.
  • Blessed with Suck: The sybal transformation is intended to be a gift to the citizens, but for some it is a nightmare. Inconvenient physical limitations and unstable Feral tendencies make this element of the city more curse than blessing to some.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: Theo is an excellent fighter, but is nonetheless always accompanied by the Eidolon for protection, even if that isn't readily apparent.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Edwin calls off his marriage to Chau and tells her he never loved her, all so she won't be at risk as he enters the dangerous world of Insurgency.
  • Breath Weapon: Li Fubai's power shoots fire- or lightning-based fireworks from his mouth. Ammon can exhale the flammable gas he emanates to have a similar effect as well.
  • Burn the Witch!: Deyri and Adelaide entered the city to escape this fate, which gives the establishment of the Civil Affairs Commission concerning to them.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: When the Traveler's Woods appear in The Outside World, they are only visible and physical to the person or persons that they are targeting. This is seen most prominently with Ta Yeh's Immutable Steps entry, allowing Ta Yeh to see the forest and step into it, while from his friend's perspective he was stepping through a solid wall.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: While sybals and sybal powers aren't necessarily capitalized, when spoken by characters with more reverence for them, they tend to be. Minister Tristine is a notable example, as the reader always knows when she is Pushing something.
  • Caring Gardener: Bastian, after being demoted.
  • Cast From Stamina: Many powers fatigue their users and are limited in use by endurance.
  • Centauroid Form: Solomon Sanbourne had a sheep centaur sybal.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: Tahiry's power.
  • City in a Bottle: The titular city. New citizens are always coming in at a steady trickle, but no one ever leaves.
  • The City Narrows: The Stormways and the tunnels carved out of them serve this function, since their labyrinthine passageways make them an ideal setting for surreptitious crime even in the districts that put more effort to policing them. Plus the Constables don't go into them at all.
  • Clock Tower: The Heilig ministry estate has one whose structural defects prompted a renovation of the estate.
  • Common Tongue: All newcomers spontaneously learn Sybalian upon entering the Traveler's Woods.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Being investigated by the Civil Affairs Commission is a black mark to the more paranoid citizens even if they are eventually cleared. One unnamed character shouts during the riot that the CAC ruined their business.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: The Irizima were trying to slowly sway public sentiment against the Ministry and Basileus. They have and do use assassination and other violent methods (albeit the only outright murder attempts we've seen in-story have been operatives acting without approval from their higher-ups), but most of their operations have been low-key and nonviolent. After the CAC cripples their network, they turn the mass protests of the CAC into city-wide riots and plot direct assaults on the Ministry offices.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Taken Up to Eleven and justified. The city's populace is comprised of individuals from all over the world and from different periods in history, so the aggregate culture is a combination of all of them.
  • Dances and Balls: One of the mini-events was the Sybal Gala.
  • Dance of Romance: During the Founder's Festival, Rose and Ta Yeh take advantage of the dance event for this, as do Felice and Praxiteles. Then of course there's Tris's dancing lessons with Darshil.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Necalli's assassin is hung up along with the message DEBT COLLECTED after being mysteriously Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • Den of Iniquity: If you're inclined to think of Insurgents as the bad guys, the bar that Edwin starts to allow people to speak freely without fear of the CAC is this.
  • Distant Prologue: The first part of the prologue takes place over 500 years before the main plot.
  • Dog Pile of Doom: The Constable's preferred apprehension technique.
  • Don't Go Into the Woods: At night the forest is where dangerous sybals go to avoid posing a threat to others in the city proper. Constables do not patrol deeply into it, so if you get into trouble there, you're on your own. And if you try to run, the forest is just as likely to turn you in circles.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: Stepping through the forest that might appear before you (which is not limited to happening outside) when you're experiencing strong desire takes you to a city of immortality and magic.
  • Draconic Humanoid: Lu'ka's sybal.
  • Dramatic Irony: Basileus tells Tristine in Chapter 1 that he has no control over who enters Sybal-Heim, but it is known from the character creation rules that his preferences qualify newcomers.
  • Eating Optional: The healing properties of the sybal transformation mitigate the harms of going without eating. Eating regular amounts is still typical, but death by starvation would take far longer than normal.
  • Empathy Pet: Adien's bird shares his emotions.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Edwin Einhardt is an accomplished composer and pianist, and he always dresses snazzily.
  • Elemental Baggage: Marron and Cayo need a supply of water to make use of their powers.
  • Elemental Powers: Many sybals have powers that are elemental in nature.
  • Emergency Transformation: Played With. The transformation isn't triggered by trauma and it occurs at a scheduled time, but since injuries are healed by the transformation into sybal and vice versa, it can allow characters to survive what would otherwise be fatal or crippling. Such as Marron and Tristine after being hit with a bomb
  • The Empath: Constables can sense emotion, though as artificial constructs they might not know the best way to respond to it. Some Sybals have empathic powers as well, such as Phan Thi Chau and the head of the Ambrotos cathedral.
  • Enforced Technology Levels: Guns are rendered nonfunctional through magical means and other contemporary technologies are either unknown within the city or rare due to strict economic regulation.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Leo's healing ribbons work this way. Since he's tough, he can usually take it more than his patient.
  • The Faceless: The Eidolon's faces are completely covered by their masks and their identities are unknown.
  • Fantastic Drug: Redey, an opium-based beverage that has plagued the city's underbelly despite the government's attempts to stamp out the trade. A raid to dismantle a large-scale operation in Seele was the focus of the Redey or Not community event.
  • Fantasy World Map: Though limited to little more than a single city, the journal header includes a link to a map of the setting.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: What was the corruption between Marron and Tris that preceded Pyotr making up his mind to go through with trying to blow them to bits? Tris helped him pay rent one month to make up for the work he lost when he got dragged into the Solomon Cipher debacle. To be fair to Pyotr, Marron didn't elaborate on how he had benefited from his friendship with Tris, just that he had, blending this trope with Dramatic Irony.
  • Fertile Feet: Aleksi Khilkov's power.
  • Fantastic Racism: Since sybals reflect one's character, you may be judged by its characteristics. In particular, ferals that lose control of themselves at night can be regarded as undisciplined or neurotic.
  • Fictional Disability: Feral sybals have a different personality in their sybal form, and some of them can be violent, mentally impaired, or otherwise unable to function as normal.
  • Fictional Zodiac: Since Sybal-Heim's stars are different, new zodiac and astrology systems have developed around them.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Newcomers who time jump significantly can experience this. For example, Tuku arrives to learn that her civilization is long dead.
  • Flechette Storm: Marron pulled this off against Xana in the climax of the Solomon Chronicles by hurling water and then freezing it into daggers as it flew through the air.
  • Flight: Some sybals have this as a natural ability, others have it granted by their sybal power. Examples of the former include Ammon and Darshil, the latter Han Mi Ran and Minister Colo.
  • Fog Feet: Asma's sybal.
  • The Fog of Ages: Older citizens can have trouble remembering their life before Sybal-Heim, which they can react to either with indifference or horror.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Characters sometimes swear in their native languages.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Rose and Ta Yeh knew each other as friends for years, but the Love Confession and marriage proposal were one and the same, since Ta Yeh comes from a culture where Arranged Marriage is the norm.
  • The Fundamentalist: Arias Martin, a participant in the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Genius Loci: The Traveler's Woods seems to have something like this, since it responds to mental desires and decisions when offering the option to enter Sybal-Heim and won't pull its Lost Woods tricks in ways that are too obvious to an observer.
  • Glamour Failure: Lady Chen's illusions only alter how others perceive the objects she effects, not the properties of the objects themselves. She has to be careful that the illusions don't clip into walls or otherwise interact with the environment in an unexpected way.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The prologue opens, after a flashback, with Minister Tristine being woken up from an unplanned nap by Bastian.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: The healing provided by the transformation keeps the injuries from sybal fights from being as lethal as they otherwise would be.
  • Guilt by Association:
    • Yaotl Caxcan purported motivation for assassinating Necalli is that he, belonging to a race that later allied itself with a conquistador to devastate the Caxcan people among others, was morally bankrupt and the fact that he was chosen as Doxa Minister by Basileus showed he was too. That's two to four degrees of guilt by association, depending on how you count it!
    • Implied with Pyotr being willing to blow Marron up along with Tristine after he couldn't deny benefiting materially from his relationship with the Ambrotos Minister.
  • Hammer Space: Where peoples clothes and belongings are stored while they're in sybal form. There's also the minion Xana wears to disguise herself and allow her massive sybal to fit into smaller spaces.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: After the creation of the Civil Affairs Commission, expressing dissatisfaction with the ministry or with life in Sybal-Heim becomes cause for suspicion.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Cairistona Conner's sybal.
  • Having a Blast: Rayu Yeong-ryong's power.
  • Healing Hands: Another common power, such that it is enough to be a professional field.
  • He Knows Too Much: Solomon was killed by Xana for this reason. The same fate also befell Xana's subordinates when Tris shouted out her real name. She tried to do this to the protagonists, but didn't manage it.
  • Historical Fantasy: An interesting version, since all the characters have origins in history but the setting of the plot is self-contained, with no indication it will necessarily have any effect on the "real world."
  • How Do I Shot Web?: A common experience among new sybals. Some take days, months, or even years to figure out what their powers are.
  • Human Like Hand Anatomy: Several sybals based on animals still have humanlike hands.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: Entering into the woods for the first time heals newcomers of a wide range of maladies, and the daily transformation clears out any new infection in development. The only exception is the sybal flu, a mild infectious disease which has evolved a rapid incubation rate to work with the small window between transformations.
  • Imagination-Based Superpower: Basileus appears to be able to create anything he can think of, including life forms. A less powerful version of this ability is possessed by some sybals, but their creations usually degrade or begin degrading once the night is over, which Basileus' do not.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Citizens are frozen at whatever age they entered, so this is not inherently the case, but Basileus prefers to bring people into the city in their prime because it is the most pleasant experience. Citizens younger than 14 and older than 65 are noted to be rare outliers.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Even living for a few centuries can't cure some citizens of their trouble-making ways. In general, character age and maturity don't seem to have any correlation.
  • Immortality Inducer: Simply being in the city is enough to stop someone from aging.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: The nightly sybal transformation prevents the women there from maintaining pregnancy. Some newcomers experienced the misfortune of entering while pregnant and having their unborn spontaneously aborted.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Almost an Inverted Trope. The healing provided by the transformation tends to make longer-lived citizens more cavalier with their health, if anything.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Necalli's assassin is impaled by perpetrators unknown after escaping confinement for his role in the Redey crisis.
  • Inciting Incident: Necalli's assassination.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Many sybals are like this.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Basileus sending the forest to the past and allowing people to essentially vanish from history has not resulted in any Alternate Histories or Time Paradoxes. It's theorized in-story that citizens with large time displacements must necessarily have a negligible impact on history.
  • Instant Sedation: During the Redey Raids, the deputies were armed with slingshot pellets that instantly incapacitated on a clean hit. It's not clear how much of this is supernatural, since the pellets were made using a sybal power but most magical effects don't last during the day.
  • Inter Species Romance: Couples become this after night falls.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Rose and Tris get drunk after making their plans to renovate the Ambrotos cathedral tower.
  • Invisible Means Undodgeable: On display in the differing mechanics between Tris's telekinesis and Colo's levitation. Tris produces a visibly glowing telekinetic field which one can potentially avoid or thrash out of, whereas Colo's levitation is invisible and unavoidable within range, albeit Cast From Stamina.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: The transformation happens whether it is desired or not. Resisting can delay it, but only by a few seconds.
  • Intangibility: Levyse Siriande's power.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Colo briefly loses his temper and uses this against Necalli's assassin.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Necalli's assassin doesn't survive long after he is exposed.
  • Land of One City: Sybal-Heim is a singular city-state.
  • Language Drift: The sybalian language has changed over the years. While newcomers supernaturally know the language perfectly upon entrance (only limited individually by what concepts they already comprehend), new developments have to be learned the old fashioned way.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Solomon Cipher strongly revolved around the identity of the arc's villain, and their character sheet was gradually updated as more information was discovered in-story. That part of the experience isn't the same for anyone coming in late.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Xana's response to her real name being blurted out is to try to kill everyone in earshot, including the people working for her.
  • Liquid Assets: Leo's power treats injury this way.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: Tristine upon her first sybal transformation and discovering she had a second leg again.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The Disciples are of this persuasion. No aging, no disease, no war; what's not to love?
  • Longevity Treatment: The nightly sybal transformation bestows immortality by undoing the effects of each day's aging.
  • The Lost Woods: The forest rearranges itself haphazardly when it is not being carefully observed, which can shunt travelers a farther distance than anticipated or turn them around. Sliced objects and abrupt changes in soil elevation or composition can mark where a shift happened in the past. These effects, which also take place at high elevations and deep underground, are what keeps citizens from leaving, as they will always eventually end up back at the city.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Multiple characters make questionable decisions for the sake of love.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Adien is able to keep a single one of his bird summons active during the day.
  • Luminescent Blush: Darshil sports this briefly after agreeing with Necalli's wife on the merits of ice block racing.
  • Magical Land: The realm of Sybal-Heim.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Sybals and their powers aren't explicitly magical, but their regard for the laws of physics are cursory at best. Discussed Trope, as different characters have different opinions on whether they are divine or naturalistic.
  • Magic Enhancement: Sher's power amplifies the powers of sybals who drink from his well.
  • Magic Mirror: One Ambrotos Detainment Aid has a mirror shield that is an impervious Attack Reflector if the sybal it reflects does not fully accept themselves. Minister Tristine uses it when dealing with new sybals, since they almost never do.
  • Magic Pants: Typically a person's clothes will vanish when they transform into a sybal and reappear once they change back. There are exceptions, such as Minister Tristine, whose sybal is humanoid enough to appear with the same clothes day and night. It's not uncommon for characters to drop their wallets or equipment before transforming so they can have them at night.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: This is suspected of the death of the Heilig minister before Yul, who fell to her death off of construction scaffolding.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Cairistone Connor's power.
  • Masquerade Ball: The Sybal Gala, where attendees dress as their sybals.
  • Master of Illusion: A few sybals possess this power, such as Lady Chen and Lady Courtemanche.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Every sybal has this, though it's not always obvious what the meaning is.
  • Mermaid Problem: Charvi, an NPC involved in the Redey or Not event, is noted to be sexually promiscuous in her mermaid sybal form, but how she accomplishes this is unclear.
  • The Mind Is A Play Thing Of The Body: Feral sybals change personality along with appearance.
  • Monochrome Past: The flashback in the prologue, which also takes place at night.
  • Mood Ring Eyes: The colored tiles on the face of the Ambrotos cathedral's head change color according to other people's moods.
  • Monster Modesty: While some sybals are content with being naked, others transform with clothes or make sure to have some handy to put on.
  • Monster Town: Once night falls, the citizens turn into inhuman creatures which can have monstrous appearances or uncontrollable personalities.
  • Morphic Resonance: Some sybals still bear traits of their human forms. Minister Tristine has more of her human features than she doesn't.
  • Morph Weapon: Adele La Flamme's sybal can manipulate the paint that makes up her tail into various shapes, including weapons.
  • Mundane Utility: Since Everyone is a Super in a society that spent centuries at peace, this is a given. For example, Tris uses her telekinesis to grab books off of high shelves.
  • Multiarmed And Dangerous: Some sybals, such as Leo and Nike, have multiple sets of arms.
  • Mushroom Man: Miguel's sybal.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Rose and Ta Yeh married in private, as did Carrie and Saul.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: It turns out Xana was wearing another sybal whose Hammer Space allowed her to fit her large sybal into a much smaller disguise.
  • Non-Humans Lack Attributes: As a PG-13 group, sybals are drawn with no visible genitalia even if they have them.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The names of the districts and geographical features of Sybal-Heim (lakes, river, etc.).
  • Never Grew Up: Averted. Characters that entered the city as children continue to develop mentally. That said, Immortal Immaturity applies to them the same as any other citizen.
  • Never Suicide: The apparent suicide of the previous Ambrotos Minister, Solomon Sanbourn, turns out to have been a murder by a crime lord.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The closest things have gotten to this is Sila figuring out how to enlarge and throw her shield just in time for the Boss Fight with the Big Bad of The Solomon Cipher.
  • New Super Power: Downplayed. Sybal powers and natural abilities represent one's innermost characteristics, which can only be changed through major Character Development. And such changes are just as likely to make you less powerful as more, as demonstrated when Minister Tristine's crisis of faith weakened her telekinesis and when Rosette Fueller's firmer sense of identity removed her Voluntary Shapeshifting. There can also be aspects to a power that they simply hadn't figured out yet, such as Sila being able to enlarge and throw her shield.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! / Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Darshil formed the Airavata to defend Basileus, so Erina formed the Irizima in response. The intended peacekeeping measure ultimately escalated the conflict.
    • The assassination of Necalli and the attempted assassination of Colo were performed by Insurgents without approval from their higher-ups and drew attention to their organization that wasn't desired.
    • Basileus' institution of the Civil Affairs Commission to try to quell Insurgent sentiment only added more fuel to the fire.
  • No Periods, Period: Justified Trope. Women who enter Sybal-Heim on their period age just enough to not be on it anymore. An eternity in that state wouldn't exactly be the paradise Basileus intended.
  • The Nose Knows: Since many sybals resemble animals, an acute sense of smell is not uncommon.
  • No-Self Buffs: Sheridan's well water cannot affect himself. Taking it a step further, it can't affect sybal powers that buff others either, so he can't even use it as a self-buff indirectly.
  • No-Sell: Some powers don't effect certain kinds of sybals, such as Darshil's poison gas not effecting sybals that don't breathe, and some powers render the user immune to others, such as Blunt's power making him fireproof.
  • Offered the Crown: Ministers are selected by Basileus and then have near-absolute power in their respective districts.
  • Older Than They Look: Literally everyone in the setting, since physical aging ceases as soon as one enters Sybal-Heim.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: Discussed Trope. Some citizens wonder if sybals, many of which resemble mythological creatures, could be the source of those myths themselves after escaping Sybal-Heim. Time Travel is involved in entering the city, after all.
  • One Person, One Power: Each sybal has a single power.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted Trope with Heiros Minister Chaska Palla and minor Lakota NPC Chaska.
  • Opium Den: Redey dens form the setting's equivalent.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: They're sybals.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Characters come from different cultures with different opinions on what constitutes inappropriate nudity, but legally speaking it's public indecency to have your waist area uncovered or to have exposed female breasts while human, but sybals can go around with exposed breasts or genitals with no issue.
  • Origins Episode: During the Immutable Steps community event, members were invited to portray their characters' initial entry into Sybal-Heim.
  • The Outside World: Sometimes referred to as simply Outside.
  • Painting the Medium: The character sheet for the villain of the Solomon Cipher arc was gradually updated as more information became discovered by Tris.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: Rose had access to a massive library and private tutor teach her the technology of the Victorian era. Ta Yeh attended Yale for engineering and was exposed to the patents and inventions that were proliferating in 1870s America. The two of them probably have more technological knowledge than anyone else in the city. They end up married.
  • Past Right Now: Thanks to the immortality of the citizenry, practices and technology from the distant past are still maintained in the present day. It's even an Enforced Trope to some degree, as the ministries don't grant business licenses to sell something if they think it will be too disruptive to the economy, limiting Ta Yeh's introduction of the telephone out of fear it would put mail couriers out of work, for example.
  • Peacock Girl: Zephyrus Amenos is a rare male example.
  • Personality Powers: These powers, like sybals themselves, reflect an individual's innermost traits and desires.
  • Place of Power: Sybal powers are granted simply by virtue of being in Sybal-Heim.
  • Plant Person: In addition to the many sybals based primarily on animals, there are a handful that are plant-like. For example: the Ambrotos guardener.
  • Plot Driving Secret: What is Sybal-Heim and is there a way out?
  • Pocket Dimension: Since the city's stars are unrecognizable, Sybal-Heim is presumed to be this.
  • Poisonous Person: Cayo secretes a poison that his power helps him deliver.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Yaotl Caxcan's Guilt by Association-based motivation for performing the story's Inciting Incident ultimately boils down to racism.
  • Portal Cut: Anything left in the woods is at risk of this.
  • Power Glows: Many sybal power include luminous elements, such as Minister Tristine's telekinesis or Tuku's Tron Lines.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Eidolon are an elite force of guards that protect Basileus' right hand Theo. They are experts in stealth, so they can pursue him without making their presence known, a useful skill for keeping the newcomers he greets at ease.
  • Psychic Powers: Many sybal powers involve elements of telepathy or clairvoyance, but all of them put their own spin on it. Direct, invasive mind-reading is forbidden as a Story-Breaker Power.
  • Premiseville: Mixed with Bilingual Bonus; heim is German, Norwegian, and Icelandic for home, so Sybal-Heim translates to "home of sybals."
  • Psychic Radar: The Constables can sense nearby emotions, and use intense feelings of anger or distress as a sign that their intervention is needed.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Since sybal powers are based on personality, this isn't unexpected. For example, the magnitude of Ashika's pyrokinetic abilities depends on his bipolar swings.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Age can't be assumed from appearances in Sybal-Heim, since it stops leaving a mark. Notable examples include Minister Colo, who looks 14 but is 105, and Theo, who appears to be in his mid-to-late 20s, but it somewhere in the range of 4000 years old.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: The CAC invades the privacy and destroys the livelihoods of numerous innocent citizens in its Gestapo-esque search for Insurgents, creating a negative sentiment against the program that the Airizima were easily able to stir into riots, but the flash comic following the chapter 2 event reveals that it was quite effective at crippling the Irizima's underground network. Even though most of the Ministers reined the CAC in after the riots, the damage was already enough to force the Irizima to go on the offensive.
  • Retcon: The Minister of Heiros was retconned from Jasy to Chaska when the moderator in control of the former wasn't able to continue moderating. Since the story had barely gotten rolling at that point, it wasn't a jarring change.
  • Rags to Riches: The prosperous economic environment of the city can allow people that only had poverty to look forward to in their lives before to ascend to wealth in Sybal-Heim.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: It's common for role-plays to involve codified turns between the players, resulting in an even split in the conversation.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Most player characters from the second and third group openings aren't newcomers, but have been in the city for as long or longer than the first opening. There is an entire city of people, after all.
  • Required Secondary Powers: John Blunt's sybal is impervious to high temperatures, otherwise using his metal-targeting pyrokinesis on the iron parts of his body wouldn't work out too well.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Joining the Irizima is a one-way trip.
  • Ret Irony: It's possible that the date he would have picked was actually several years down the line, but Necalli's assassination took place just before he was scheduled to announce the date of his retirement.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: The removal of the Seele ministry maps of the stormways clues Colo in to the fact that they have a Redey conspirator on the force.
  • Riches to Rags: Since newcomers typically enter with nothing but the clothes on their back, those accustomed to wealth have to deal with starting with nothing.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: The climax of Redey Retaliation.
  • Royal Blood: While extremely uncommon due to the nature of Sybal-Heim, there are a few characters that were royalty, including Amynta Amenos and Jinhai.
  • Ruler Protagonist: Tris and Colo are the protagonist and one of the protagonists of the Solomon Cipher arc and the Redey Retaliation arc, respectively.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Lin, one of the Redey operatives encountered by Ta Yeh, Saul, and Blunt, wasted no time using her power to tunnel to safety when the opportunity presented itself.
  • Sculpted Physique: Etienne Robespierre's sybal looks like a statue and that statue is stacked.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The stormways and other tunnels beneath the city are a veritable maze where the less well-to-do of the city have carved out their own pathways to facilitate their not so legal dealings.
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: The powers of Ira and Chandra.
  • Self-Duplication: The power of Seele police chief Naserain.
  • Setting as a Character: The overall mood of the city is stated along with every major event.
  • Small, Secluded World: The realm of Sybal-Heim contains a city of about 40,000 and miles of forest in every direction, nothing more.
  • Society of Immortals: The population of the city.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Since the time period of the setting predates codified romanization schemes, some characters' names are deliberately spelled differently than they would be in the modern era. For example, Ta Yeh's name would be spelled Daye. There's also not consistency in whether to include a space in an Asian given name. Contrast Wen Ta Yeh and Li Chen Bai with Jinhai and Li Fubai.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Sybals tend to receive titles/nicknames from other citizens to distinguish from their human forms. More often than not they start with The.
  • Spirit World: Some characters, such as Colo and Sila, believe Sybal-Heim to be this.
  • Starting a New Life: Newcomers have no choice but to do this, since they aren't able to go back after entering the Traveler's Woods.
  • Stronger with Age: Since elder citizens gain the benefit of experience without the ravages of old age, the best fighters in the setting, such as Darshil and Theo, tend to be older ones.
  • Super Mode: Minister Tristine's Airavata bodyguard achieves his Super Strength by ballooning his muscles with his power.
  • Super Power Lottery: The utility and scope of sybal powers has a wide range. On one end you have Basileus (maybe), who is a nigh Physical God, and on the other you have Felice, who can sense your physical age (which isn't otherwise apparent in sybal form).
  • Super Reflexes: Gerry's power and a component of Ashika's.
  • Super Strength: Minister Tristine's Airavata bodyguard has this power in the form of a Super Mode, while Tuku's is proportional to the darkness.
  • Themed Aliases: Xana used aliases that alluded to the alcoholic nature of her power.
  • Thinking Up Portals: Matila Fairchild's power. It is considerably more limited than most examples of this trope, requiring her to play music, be emotionally close to the person on the other end of the portal, and receive their consent to open it.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: Lady Chen can use her illusion powers for this, since everything she uses them on combusts afterward.
  • This Was His True Form: Sybal corpses revert back to human.
  • Time Master: Lady Lin, with a number of caveats, can revert an object or sybal back to a prior state, making her a very limited version.
  • Time Travel: Experienced to at least a minor degree by every newcomer, since they enter the city at sunrise regardless of what time it was in the outside world, but some citizens can jump forward centuries and find themselves Fish out of Temporal Water.
  • Toothy Bird: Adien's sybal has a frightening set of chompers.
  • Transflormation: Sybals that are Plant People experience this every night.
  • Transformation Fiction: The sybal change is a major element of the setting.
  • Trapped in Another World: Basileus claims that there is no way back from Sybal-Heim once you have entered, and there is no record of anyone ever having done so. The Insurgents, however, intend to fix that.
  • Translation Convention: The primary language of the setting is Sybalian, which is rendered in English.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Kenshin forcefully cut short Rose's hair, symbolic rape in his culture, in an attempt to provoke Adien to fight him.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Transforming into a sybal and for the first time and gaining a power is a strange and fantastical experience that can be quite traumatic. The ministry does its best to avert the traumatic part by providing plenty of guidance and space.
  • Trial by Combat: If both parties are willing, Heilig and Doxa have options for legal arbitration through nonlethal combat.
  • Vigilante Execution: The death of Necalli's assassin.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Bael had a sterling reputation as an accomplished surgeon and philanthropist despite being a ruthless crime lord behind the scenes.
  • Voice Changeling: Adelaide's power.
  • Wall Crawl: Tahiry's sybal can do this.
  • Weather Manipulation: It is suspected by some citizens that Basileus controls the weather and that is why the city has such a pleasant climate. To a more limited degree, Khandro can do this by summoning snowfall.
  • Weredragon: All the draconic characters thanks to the sybal cycle.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Some sybal powers aren't particularly impressive. Examples include sensing physical age, secreting musk, and memorable speech.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Since they weren't exactly offered the terms and conditions before entering Sybal-Heim, many citizens don't find it to be something they want.
  • Winged Humanoid: Arias Martin, Cairistona Conner, and Nagi.
  • Win to Exit: This is the goal of many Insurgents.

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