The Mad Scientist Wars is an ongoing Roleplay, set in the same universe as the webcomic Narbonic. It also added Girl Genius into the canon some time ago, and with the recent character originating from Discworld is becoming the strict Universe equivalent of a Massive Multiplayer Crossover. That is, the canon may involve several different Universes, including original characters' backgrounds, but no characters from any of these works except Jane Narbon's parents have yet to actually appear.
It started as a series of increasingly silly comments on the comments sections in the Narbonic Director's Commentary, before moving to its own forum, where it has—pardon the pun—mutated into a sprawling, ongoing work.
So far, the plot has been divided into "Chapters"—each one, after the end of the very beginning's more chaotic start, run by a different player, who assumes the role of 'GM' for the duration. At 16+ chapters and over two full year of dedicated play, the game has currently spanned 275+ pages of posts. (Luckily, a condensed Plot Summary is in the works for new players.)
Despite the silliness, a lot of effort goes into it. Character development has occurred over time, loads of extra material and backstory has been worked out—even a full explanation of the combined time line from two different canons being used.
Due to Loads and Loads of Characters once you hit the Secondaries, we recommend you visit the forum's 'Character Dossiers'. But following is a truncated list of the main characters—notably, each original main character is played by a separate forum goer.
Andrew K. O-P P. R. Tinker
- his Son, Fredric Z. Tinker
-Commander Primary Xerox
Thaddeus Atrius Guy (AKA That Guy)
Wallace Caine (AKA Wallycaine)
- Lagos, his henchman/pet
-Jess, aka 'The Chimera'
Dr. Amino, w/ Ingrid
In general, the plots are issue based- a threat arrives, and the characters have to deal with it over the course of the chapter. Some characters are strict Heroes, some... not so much, so it;s hard to say who will be doing what any given chapter.
The whole thing was ultimately abandoned sometime around 2014.
The Mad Scientist Wars contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Of Science. Specifically, Chicgeek, Jane Narbon, and Jess are all good examples.
- All There in the Manual A lot of the plot makes more sense if you read the Tales of Madness, the Dossiers, and the Notes. Set aside a few months...
- Ambiguously Gay: Typically averted - most characters are very open about their respective sexuality, but there's still some questions to be asked about the Tinker Twins and Dr. Mallory....
- Angrish: "This is Commander Xerox. If you are hearing this message, then you have angered one of our agents to the point of being incapable of coherent speech..."
- Back from the Dead:
- Andrew Tinker manages overcome supposed death way back in the Redneck war arc. So It Begins, thanks to a series of backup personality copies and god cloning, pulled this off a LOT, and David was not just killed, but erased from his own body by his evil sentient mechanical Arm. He ends up making a case for his own existence, and makes it back. Also, Erik Tinker makes a deal with the devil. Sadly, the man he died killing, one of the most dangerous men ever, may well be back too....
- Subverted with Sayasuke, a.k.a. "the Saya demon", who was never technically alive before he died. He won an award for cheating death regardless.
- Badass Bookworm: Most members of the Tinker family fit this trope— they tend to be bespectacled, lab-coat wearing geeks who can kick your ass six ways to Sunday, save the world, and do it with science. Dr. Andrew Tinker is probably the definitive example- he's an English Professor.
- Badass Longcoat: Subverted by most of the cast by said coats being Lab Coats, but played straight by the Viktor Twins, Fredric and Hawkwolf.
- Berserk Button: No matter how tempted you are, or how true it is, do not call Andrew Tinker "girly". The last guy got pinned to a wall by his neck.
- Big Word Shout: Kinestro and his DOOOOOM! (TM)
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Most of the cast is capable of slugging back drinks probably capable of killing a normal man - with one notable exception. Commander Primary Xerox is, surprisingly, capable of getting hammered on a half a cup of banana daiquiri. This is explained in the series however, as he has been stated to have a mild healing factor powered by an insanely high metabolism — so the alcohol is absorbed into his system faster then it should be. At least he won't get alcohol poisoning...
- Child Soldiers: Commander Primary Xerox, head of The Men in Black-style organization M, used to be an example. Up until the age of ten he was trained along with other children to be an assassin, and sent to kill Mad Scientists. On one hand, he now has amazing reflexes and a great deal of weapon training, but on the other hand The guilt of his only mostly repressed memories has haunted his adult life, and he's never really recovered from the emotional stress. And he has the body of a Jaded Vet to go along with his mentality.
- The Clan: The Heterodynes and the Viktor-Tinkers are of note. As are the Umbras. The Toboz's and the Narbons avert this somewhat.
- Cloning Blues: Subverted - so far, the only clones have been those of SoItBegins, and there the clone is always a perfect copy, used as recovery after some sort of fatal accident. The clones never go angsty— they just pick where the old copy of SoItBegins left off.) As of Bluelight, however, the trope is in full force.
- Collapsing Lair: Used in The Game mini-arc, for the Video Game dungeons.
- Corner of Woe: Third-rung character "Calypso", a Caribbean Retired Badass James Bond parody who now works as a secretary. He is once mentioned crying in the corner, supposedly due to being beaten in arm wrestling by the new girl. It's likely he was fooling, as he recovers suspiciously quickly.
- Dark Is Not Evil: 'The Saya Demon', aka Sayasuke, is a off-putting, scarred demonic being who turns out to be inherently noble. Andrew, also is best described as 'A Hero who Acts like a Villain'- in his style, not in deeds.
- The Dark Side: Subverted for the Mads, who tend to take being evil as just a fact of life.
- Disappeared Dad: Eric Tinker, whose death caused Andrew to go mad in the first place.
- Dynamic Entry: Used in the series to the point the Mad Science Awards even had a special category for it.
- Evil Twin:
- The story eventually involved evil twins of a pair of twins. Who actually came first by several years. Long story. Cloning was involved.
- A more straight example of this is The Nega Verse, a universe of Opposite Alignment Clones. Has a surprisingly genial relationship with the Main Verse, and several 'Nega' characters have become favored Secondary characters.
- Fatal Flaw: The mad scientists are known that way for a reason, and so most have at least one. For instance, Andrew Tiker may be Genre Savvy, but he has been known to forget common things like how to work a doorknob.
- Fluffy the Terrible: A literal example in the form of a cute flying, talking, Vorpal Bunny named 'Fredric', formerly nicknamed... well, guess. He later eats a magic artifact, and can assume human form. However, he keeps the Bunny ears...
- Genre Savvy: Quite a few people, and one of the primary advantage of the character Professor Andrew Tinker.
- Geographic Flexibility: Xycon City, as the main location of the Wars is now named. Apparently it has large forests, but not much else is known.
- Government Conspiracy: The story appears to set one of these up by introducing the mysterious M, The Men in Black-staffed Government Agency. Subverted in that it turns out that they have no ulterior motives — instead what they do is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, keeping Mad Scientists from destroying the planet, and helping them.
- Has Two Mommies: A male example. The Tinker Twins adopted Desius when he was ten. And more recently have had Eta Tinker with their (ex) rival, Dr. Mallory. Justified in that he was going to clone them for a vengeance plan, included his own DNA as a part of it, but couldn't go through with it. So... three daddies.
- Hero Insurance:
- Parodied. Xyon City has an abandoned warehouse that is paid for by a tax on explosives. When old abandoned warehouses are destroyed, new ones are built. The reasoning seems to be that if people are going to blow stuff up, it might as well be in a designated area away from the important stuff. Played straight in that this doesn't always work.
- A storyline involves the characters trying to run a group of heroes out of town, partially because of this trope.
- Contractors in the city give discounts depending on the number of times your house has been destroyed.
- Malevolent Architecture: Q, which has three settings, the lowest being "hard" and the highest "Indiana Jones". Castle Heterodyne is also this, though we hardly get to see it in action.
- Our Souls Are Different: Souls are basically an imprint or image of a person that is tied to the body, and constantly updates. Upon death, they go to either heaven or hell depending on their deeds. The mind of a person is something else entirely and can be copied, moved or altered, but the soul will still be the same. Intelligent creations that were not physically born need to pass a test to see if they should exist and have had existence (i.e. If they fail it, they will have never existed at all).
- Overly Long Name:
- Andrew Kaboom Omega-Particle Prince Risk-Tinker. Most of the Tinkers suffer from this, but Andrew has it the worst so far.
- Rolf has one as well. Rolf Erich Kaspar Steve Von Eisenberg, but like most jaegers, he goes by just his first name.
- Prehensile Hair: Jane Narbon had invented a "hair symbiote" that gives her this ability. How it gets the necessary leverage and tensile strength to lift people and swing objects is unexplained.
- Quirky Town: Xyon City. The titular mad scientists account for 60% of its citizens, and a good chunk of the rest are latents, henchmen, constructs and normal people from Mad families. Weird sights are so commonplace as to be more annoying than interesting.
- Rewriting Reality: Andrew Tinker's most powerful skill, as his knowledge of Literature due to having a doctorate in English allows him to re-write reality around him. He can do it by writing on just about anything, although he prefers to use an old Notebook of his. There are even implications he may eventually be able to do this without writing. While he's very aware of the consequences and tries not to rely on it too much, so far he has: brought the dead back to life (Although it has been established that he can't do it if too much time has passed); created little odds and ends - a new Cravat, a new room in his house; made a character he wrote real, a Demon named Sayasuke- and inserted him into the last 500 years of Japanese history to support his backstory.
- Science-Related Memetic Disorder: It's even referred to as such, and is considered a purely genetic condition. Interestingly, one character was shown to have been taking some kind of medication to repress the syndrome, before a skipped dose and stress caused him to "break through".
- Simple Staff: Commander Primary Xerox uses a high-tech version in favour of guns, and second to his huge Net. It's collapsible, made of unknown material, and can be adjusted to weigh up to 100 kilo. Hence, it's about as violent as a non-violent weapon can be.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- Xyon/Xylon/Xykon/Xyclon City. Xyon seems to be the most popular spelling, though.
- Ri Xean/Xi Rean/Rhy Zean the Martian.
- Storming the Castle: Chapter 11 saw the assault implemented as a threefold plan. Group One pretended to join over, offering someone as a fake bribe, Group Two sneaked in and sabotaged security, and Group Three just charged the gates and blew things the hell up. At least, that was the idea - Group One failed, though the other two more or less succeeded. Then, the chapter's Big Bad, an evil robotic arm, used his master stroke, and everything went to hell.
- Tangled Family Tree: After The Tinker Family discovered that The Tinker Twins had adopted Desius and that Vladimir was the long-lost father of Chic Geek, Wallace Cane set out to create a complete family tree. By the time he was done, it took up most of a table.
- Travelling at the Speed of Plot Andrew Tinker can't travel at anything other than the speed of plot, which sometimes annoys him.
- Unreliable Narrator: The third-person narrative text has proved to be... inaccurate on occasion, due to the multiple instances of a Gambit Pile Up. As such, what you hear about future plans in the Wars may not be much, and it's not necessarily true. It's only when everything unfolds that you can be sure.