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Roleplay / The Para-Verse: The ZONE

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Getting in is easy. Getting back out is another story.
Created by New Grestin on the NationStates Portal to the Multiverse forums in 2016, The ZONE is a survival-horror Play-by-Post roleplay. Set three years after an unknown event destabilized reality, it focuses on a group of scavengers entering the government quarantine zone to search for expensive, and dangerous, artifacts. The Zone itself is enormous, surrounded and constantly patrolled by the United States military to prevent anyone from getting in, and to prevent anything from getting out.
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Reality has no sway over the Zone. Considered the most dangerous place on Earth, it's a risky but profitable venture. Evil cults, deer people, psychopaths and houses with legs are commonplace, and it begins to seem to the scavengers that this get rich quick scheme won't be so quick.

The ZONE also now has a sequel, which you can find here.


The ZONE contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Miller calls Amatol "Arytom", "Argo" and the like.
  • Alternate History: Downplayed, as it is implied by several of the news reports that the Zone's reality differs slightly from our own.
  • Alternate Reality Game: Something that sets the story apart from other roleplays. The main thread post regularly changes, adding in hidden messages with plot-important details, such as hexidecimal code replacing parts of the sample applications and so on.
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  • Anyone Can Die: And die they do.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Valerie can believe that the center of the Zone contains a giant monster or a black hole, but aliens are just too outlandish for her.
  • Arc Villain: The Yellow Man.
  • Artificial Zombie: Salk creates one to fight off the hit squad.
  • Ate His Gun: Implied by the corpses littered about.
    • Salk attempts this.
  • Ax-Crazy: John Doe.
    • More literally, Giuseppe/The Yellow Man.
  • Big Bad: The Priestess. Hellbent on bringing back an ancient God that will destroy every single universe. Nobody's quite sure what SHE actually is, however.
  • Black Comedy: Throughout the Roleplay, especially with the fatalities list.
  • Body Horror: And how.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Used often, sometimes with the same character.
    • Spencer, multiple times.
    • In particular, the death of Alex Lee.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Characters run out of ammunition constantly.
  • Bungled Suicide: One poor fellow attempts this and paralyzes himself. And then he bleeds, and bleeds, and bleeds, for days.
  • Butt-Monkey: Several characters, actually.
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    • Yuki enters the story dehydrated and half dead, and is subsequently killed only to be resurrected later on as a monstrous hybrid.
    • Jennifer. Every attempt she makes to look cool fails miserably and she regularly has the snot beaten out of her.
  • Break the Cutie: Yuki. She's subjected to considerably more torture than the rest of the crew, and for her trouble is turned into a Nightmare Fuel crow-worm-human hybrid.
  • Cool Sword: Silvas' singing sword, in particular.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Very much so, with the Church and the Black King serving as the primary antagonists.
  • Crapsack World: It is stated in the interviews and news reports that issues of disease and energy have been solved, but the characters frequently discover the dark reality of those solutions. The world is being secretly run by all manner of anomalous organizations, war is frequent, and the Expanded Universe materials heavily imply that even terrorists have their hands on anomalous weapons.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Oh God, where do we start?
    • Giuseppe Mann, who was just an eccentric police officer before the Zone ever happened, is possessed by The Yellow Man multiple times, is forced to kill Yuki, is shot in the face multiple times, and then his body is eaten by a giant work to the bone. Talk about overkill.
    • Harold Dumonte. Is kidnapped by the psychopathic John Doe, who tossed him to mutated wolves which rip him apart.
    • Jeremy Clifford. Was bisected, painstakingly apart, inch by inch, centimeter by centimeter, by a spatial anomaly. And there was absolutely nothing he could have done about it.
    • The many deaths of Richard Spencer. Examples include being turned into a fire hydrant, being incinerated, having his organs pumped with alien bleach, and having his arm ripped off by Walter Keele's corpse.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Roy revealing himself to be a version of Walter
  • Dysfunction Junction: An alcoholic, two soldiers, a Snake Oil Salesman, robots, and people possessed by eldritch forces, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Black King, and to a lesser extent, The Yellow Man.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dreamscape.
  • Enemy Mine: The group is forced to work alongside Clarice, an agent of the Initiative, against the greater threat of the Black King.
  • Evil Minions: The cult known as the Church, who serve under the Big Bad Priestess. Violent and unforgiving, it's said they skin their victims alive without mercy.
  • Fantastic Racism: Walter refers to Asimov, a humanoid machine made out of spare parts and garbage, as a "Junker" on various occasions.
  • Gorn: Really, almost everything. The fleshlings and other particularly gruesome creatures, as well as many, many deaths in the storyline, satisfy a desire to introduce gore for gore's sake.
  • Government Conspiracy: It is hinted at, if not outright stated at several points, that the government had more to do with the Zone anomalies than they're letting on.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Black King.
  • Horror Hunger: Yuki after her transformation.
  • Living Aphrodisiac: Worms are these. It's a byproduct of their life cycle.
  • Mad Doctor: Salk, and the scientists at Groom Lake and the Initiative.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Constantly.
    • The Hooded Man in the back of the bar in Crossroads, just before the first shootout with the Secessionists.
    • The Yellow Man shows up frequently in the background, most notably in the marketplace in Dry Lake.
    • Characters being influenced by the King's Court start to experience symptoms well before their mind is totally overtaken. Most characters barely notice this.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: The Initiative.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Happens often, due to the Zone's unpredictability.
    • Walter Keele. The Priestess appears to him, and gives him quite a scare. Twice.
    • Lt. Brit Nicholson. Has mysterious dreams about being a Spetznaz soldier recovering a special VIP.
    • Winston Garnett. Has a few dreams about the psychopathic John Doe.
    • Callum Domhain. After getting injected with a strange serum to generate a new arm, he starts having nightmares about an Eldritch figure.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Used sparingly, such as after the Shroom battle in Overton and in Valerie's dream sequence.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Court of the Black King. It isn't made apparent how many there are, but the ones that are named include: The Priestess, the Jester, the Judge, the General, and the Emissary. The Expanded Universe elaborates on some of these characters, particularly the Emissary and the Judge, as well as the Concubine, a character not mentioned in the main storyline.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Zone tends to reanimate characters in varying and perplexing ways.
    • When Giuseppe Mann and Katori Yuki die, they both transform into new versions of themselves. Yukeppe, arises from Giuseppe's living skeleton, with the minds of both Giuseppe and Yuki. Yuki lives on as a half-bird, half-worm, half-human hybrid.
    • After dying rather quietly, Walter Keele's corpse transforms into a horrifying fleshling and begins to attack the other characters in a mad rage.
    • Richard Spencer exhibits a tendency for coming back to life over and over again. However you kill him, he just keeps coming back.
  • Running Gag: Worms.
    • [DATA REMOVED BY ADMINISTRATIVE REQUEST]
    • Silvas is repeatedly referred to as a "Mobster" despite his claims to the contrary.
  • The Pornomancer: Yuki, temporarily, thanks to worms.
  • Surreal Horror: The story in general, especially the monsters the group encounters.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Krausser.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I hate you for reminding me of what I used to be."
    • "Eh-heh, nice shot, Red."
    • "I heard you killed a lot of people, Roy"
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