The Crusaders is an online forum roleplaying game that started out on the HeroMachine forums on UGO.com but has since migrated to RolePlayerGuild.com. It has had several different incarnations on both sites.
The Crusaders is the story of a ragtag bunch of misfit superheroes fighting crime in what was originally New York City but was later Retconned as Veridian City (not that one). Due to the nature of forum roleplays, new characters are constantly being introduced and disappearing (often with no explanation), leading to a bit of a rotating cast, though a small core group of characters have stuck around for the long run.
Current CrusadersNighthawk, founder and leader, played by Nighthawk
Streak, founding member, played by Anarchangel
Kadabra, played by JesterTheGreat
A.L.I.C.E., played by Anarchangel
Decibel, played by Vampyrist
Blackout, played by Tophat
Noir, played by Tophat
The Incredible Human Ooze, played by Wrath
Dallia Millan, played by Murkus
Torch, played by Zeromaru
Granite, played by DigitalExorcism
Former CrusadersThe Dealer, founding member, played by Almost Insane
Mosquito, founding member, played by Nickfriggin
Direct Hit, played by Hakoon 1
Platinum Claw, played by Hakoon 1
Oz, played by Anarchangel
Fusion, played by Idemus 046
Chrysalis, played by Anubite 670
Foresight, played by The Silver Fox
Provides examples of:
- Alice Allusion: There was a running theme in the original UGO RP of making allusions to Alice in Wonderland.
- When Streak is about to show the other founding members of the group what is to become the Crusaders HQ for the first time, he says "Hold onto your dress, Alice ... We're about to enter Wonderland."
- A filler arc that focused on some of the Crusaders going inside of Bas-Ket (see Bag of Holding below) to rescue Mosquito somewhat resembles Alice's journey down the rabbit hole.
- The Crusaders Tower's AI is called A.L.I.C.E.
- When Streak uploaded a virus into Emperor Scorpion's robotic suit during the Crusaders' battle with him, it caused an image to be displayed on his visor of a chibi Streak dressed as the Mad Hatter.
- Alternate Continuity: Return of the Crusaders on the UGO forums and the Crusaders RP on the Role Player Guild take place in seperate continuities, being two different attempts at the same concept. They both begin with the reunion of the group five years after the end of the original Crusaders RP on the UGO forums.
- Badass Normal: The Dealer and Noir.
- Bag of Holding / Bigger on the Inside: Bas-Ket, Kadabra's sentient magical bag which acts as a portal to alternate dimensions.
- Big Eater: Streak, due to his Super Speed giving him an equally super metabolism.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Punk Rocko.
- Bus Crash: After a Long Bus Trip following his imprisonment in Bas-Ket, Hellfire was off-handedly stated by Kadabra to have been eaten by the fluffies. According to her, the door was clearly labled 'do not enter'. ... Or 'enter at one's own risk' ... Or 'cookies within'.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Happens with many characters throughout the RP as their creators suddenly leave without warning. One character, Arachne, a man with extra limbs among other spider-like qualities, appears, joins the group, then vanishes shortly afterwards and is never seen or mentioned again until receiving a humorous Continuity Nod when Direct Hit is talking with a new recruit.
- Direct Hit: We once had a member with 8 legs, but he wasn't up for the commitment.
- Coat, Hat, Mask: Noir and Decibel.
- Code Name: As is typical of comic book-esque superhero groups.
- The Commissioner Gordon: Officer Henry Davies from the original UGO RP takes up this role after an off-screen promotion to Commissioner during the Time Skip before the Role Player Guild RP.
- Crossover: One is in the works between the Crusaders and the Webcomic Dreadfire.
- Clothing Damage: Happens to Dallia every time she transforms into her monster form, leading to many an awkward situation where she ends up exposed in front of all of the other Crusaders.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Kadabra.
- Domino Mask: Decibel sports one of these.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Subverted with the Dealer at one point in the original UGO RP. He was written as spontaneously collapsing as the result of a brain tumor with the intention of having him wake up with Psychic Powers, but his creator decided that he worked better as a Badass Normal and the idea was dropped and never brought up again.
- Evil Albino: Pale Serpent.
- Expy: Both Nighthawk and Noir are this to Batman to an extent, as they both have many characteristics in common with him. Nighthawk's costume is very reminiscent of the Caped Crusader, and he has a backstory involving his parents being killed by a robber, inspiring him to take up crimefighting. And Noir is an incredibly rich, Badass Normal martial arts master who acts as the head of a large company while moonlighting as a Superhero, possesses all sorts of high-tech equipment which he keeps in an underground secret base, and has a kick-ass butler. The latter of the two is lampshaded in-story many times.
- Filler: There will often be short filler stories between major story arcs. They can range from the characters having mundane conversations with one another to wacky, nonsensical hijinx to deep and thought-provoking side-stories that help to develop the characters.
- Hidden Depths: The most noteworthy examples are Streak and Kadabra. The former is a snarky, self-centered, super genius Millionaire Playboy and the latter is a Cloudcuckoolander turned up to eleven and both are very light-hearted and humorous characters. However, underneath his joking exterior Streak is a deeply troubled individual suffering from depression and insomnia on top of the burden of having a Super Villain father who he had to put in jail himself and Kadabra's bubbly, light-hearted persona is simply her mind's best attempt to keep itself sane after an incredibly traumatic event in her past in which she spent an effective eternity in the Outlands, the insane realm in which the fabric of reality is frayed.
- I Believe I Can Fly: Nighthawk's power.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: This was explicitly Direct Hit's superpower.
- Intangible Man: The villain Wraith.
- Jerkass: Streak is the king of jerkasses. Though, Noir is certainly a contender for that title. Most of the two characters' interactions with one another ultimately boil down to competitions to see which one can be more of a dick. Though they're both nice guys deep down.
- Lamarck Was Right: Streak inherited his Super Speed from his father, who got it as the result of a scientific experiment.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Almost every character does this at one point or another but Kadabra and Rodney Conrad are the worst offenders. This makes sense given the former's Cloudcuckoolander nature and the fact that the latter is heavilly influenced by Deadpool.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Decibel, as well as one-off villain Punk Rocko.
- Next Sunday A.D.: Return of the Crusaders and the Roleplayer Guild RP take place in 2014, five years after the end of the original UGO RP, which took place in what was then the present day.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The incident that caused the Crusaders to break up between the end of the original UGO RP and the beginning of Return of the Crusaders / the Role Player Guild RP, leaving Crusaders tower in ruins and several members of the team missing and presumed dead, is only talked about after the fact. It was described in the out-of-character thread of the Role Player Guild RP as an organized attack on Crusaders Tower by all of the group's past enemies, all of whom escaped from prison in a massive jail break orchestrated by Speed Freak, Streak's Super Villain father.
- Offscreen Teleportation: a Running Gag in the original UGO RP was that the Dealer seemed to be able to be anywhere he needed to be without explanation, often beating other characters to places despite their superpowered means of transportation.
- Old Master: Noir and Norman's old mentor in the most recent arc.
- Playing with Fire: Torch's power, as well as the villains Hellfire and Ember.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The battle against Emperor Scorpion, a Technopath in a nigh-indestructible robotic suit. Every member of the group present for the fight plays some part in its conclusion.
- Power Copying: Fusion's power is of the Discard and Draw variety.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Punk Rocko's four superpowered underlings, Ember, Thug Misses, Lynxx, and Ink. The trope is even referred to by name.
- Reality Warper: Kadabra.
- Required Secondary Powers: Torch is a pyrokinetic whose main weakness (aside from Power Incontinence) is that he doesn't have the Required Secondary Power of being impervious to his own flames, and is thus forced to exercise caution when using his powers, as well as wear fire-proof gloves to avoid burning himself.
- Robot Buddy: Oz to Streak. Alice could count as well, despite technically being an AI that appears in the form of a hologram as opposed to an actual robot.
- Secret Identity: Just about every member of the team has one.
- Single-Power Superheroes: Just about every Crusader is this with some exceptions, such as when Nighthawk for a time had aerokinesis on top of his usual ability of flight.
- Something Person: Consistently averted with the Crusaders' superhero names.
- Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Ooze is a scientist, Torch is a high-school student, and Foresight is a private eye.
- Sunglasses at Night: Torch's costume includes a pair of sunglasses, which he wears at all times in his superhero persona.
- Superheroes Wear Tights: Averted with most of the Crusaders.
- Super Serum: Ooze's powers come from this, as well as the villain Scab.
- Super Team: The titular Crusaders.
- Superpower Lottery: Hoo boy, Kadabra. She can pretty much make any other character's abilities look like nothing with her near-omnipotence. Good writing prevents her from becoming a God-Mode Sue.
- Tagalong Kid: Torch, at 16 years old, is the youngest member in the team's history, and is considerably less mature and experienced than most of the other Crusaders.
- Team Mom: Alice, despite being a computer program with the appearance of a teenage girl.
- Technopath: Emperor Scorpion.
- Time Master: Foresight.
- Time Skip: A five-year-long one between the original UGO RP and the beginning of Return of the Crusaders / the Role Player Guild RP.
- The Unmasking: Nighthawk seems to have a tradition of unmasking himself in front of new recruits as a way of building trust amongst teammates, doing it with the other founding members when the group was first formed, as well as with the new members at the start of the Role Player Guild version. On the former occasion, the gesture isn't reciprotated, but in the latter instance Blackout and Decibel respond by revealing their own identities. The trope is parodied by Noir, who claims that he's really mild-mannered Clark Kent.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One of the founding members, Mosquito, vanished from the story without explanation when his creator left the RP. His disappearance is lampshaded but never explained.
- Wolverine Claws: Platinum Claw had these.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Blackout.