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Roleplay / Trustfell

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"One way or another, all Participants are expected to take responsibility for their actions."
The last line of every round's IC rule list (with "Participants" subbed out for another title in rounds 2-5)

A murdergame-genre Journal Roleplay, Trustfell is based on the idea of a group of strangers trapped in small quarters for a "trust exercise." Every so often, characters will be given an incentive to kill one of their fellow captives, in addition to the basic "kill to Win Your Freedom" terms. Do they trust one another to make it out of this together, or trust in what the guy in charge is offering?

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Aside from its understated, less wacky (at least as presented) tone, Trustfell sets itself apart by being run and populated with murdergame veterans along with newbies (the format is borrowed from Dangan Roleplay with permission from its creators), setting up expectations of the genre and its players, mod team, and premise, and often twisting or subverting them. This makes it into a game where anything can happen, often things that players might never have thought of or automatically ruled out, and there's always something new to see. And, of course, the story takes itself in its own directions.

Six rounds in total have been announced; originally it was to be only one, so every round since has been on a different community. Round one and six are here, round two and four moved over here, and round three and five here.

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Warning: due to the nature of the series, all spoilers are unmarked.

Trustfell provides examples of:

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    General A-M 
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Extremely important to the metaplot. The first round took place in manga Amestris and alchemy was how the Students were captured. The second round had FMA 2003 characters crucial to the backstory and its final trial derailed with the Kingmakers wondering what Kimbley's notes were for and what turning lead into gold had to do with any of it anyway. The next four rounds each have at least one FMA character from the start, and in fact, Isaac kept complaining about this trope.
  • Always Murder: Well, the genre isn't called "car theft game."
  • Anyone Can Die: And they do, at least two a week and often more.
  • Arc Villain: Each of the masterminds, while they have a tenuous thread between them, acts on their own (even Round 2's, despite technically playing into the Greater-Scope Villain's industry), and is exclusive to their own round. The last one is the only exception, in fitting with the Grand Finale.
  • Arc Words: "Trust has been broken" and "Take responsibility."
  • Bad Dreams: Given the setting, these become common for the characters.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The first and last rounds take place in Graceside Prep, where the original exercise that started it all also seems to have taken place.
    • Round 1's first culprit declared in his MTB, "I am the industry!" Round 6's mastermind actually represented an organization known only as "the industry."
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than your standard murdergame. It's very common to find Body Horror, torture, dismemberment, and rooms covered in blood without warnings given beforehand.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Most of the characters' powers, at least those that would give them an unfair advantage, are removed. The first round's cast does not get them back at the end, as they were stolen by the gate as part of the price for taking them, but they do want to keep searching for a way to restore these abilities.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Call a captive a Participant, Survivor, Competitor, Apprentice, or Patient and call a mastermind a Conductor, Kingmaker, Adjudicator, Wordsmith, Transmitter, or Coordinator, depending on the round.
  • Closed Circle: The characters are trapped in the setting.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Round 1 is associated with black and gold, Round 2 with purple and white, Round 3 with blue and gold, Round 4 with red and black, Round 5 with teal and black, and Round 6 with black and mauve, as per their signature icons.
  • Courtroom Antic: The participants are... distractable, to say the least. Discussed and justified during one of the first round's trials for its use as a coping mechanism amidst all the horror and death.
    Sol: We've always made small talk at these things. I can't - sometimes we need to have something to keep sane, okay?
  • Deader Than Dead: Late in both Rounds 1 and 2, it becomes known that the victims of the exercise are haunting the living, so the mastermind sets out to put a stop to it and kill the ghosts again. It's then made into a motive in Round 4.
  • Deadly Game: In fitting with the genre.
  • Deal with the Devil: The first two rounds have (eventually disproven) running theories that the mastermind made one of these deals and is paying off the force he's working for with weekly deaths.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Sometimes a culprit will fake another cause of death to trip up investigators.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: The so-called "Norman clause" designates that cases of Split Personality, Demonic Possession, and other cases where two people or personalities share a body but only one commits the murder still mean that they're executed. As the Kingmaker says, "we vote by title for a reason."
  • Double Think: It's not unheard of for the same thing to be listed underneath both "likes" and "dislikes" on a character's profile.
  • Driving Question: Twofold. One, of course, is the mystery of who runs each round and why. The other question is how everything ties together between rounds, particularly the involvement of the six mysterious women the R1 Conductor wrote about in his heavily censored notes.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: Twisted in round one, where Ashley trying to use the intercom just creates static for the living to hear. In round two, Sigrun tries to invoke this with "ghost radio" experiments.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Each round aside from 5 had a vampire, who had fangs and who has usually been a culprit (Round 4/6's Elda bucked the trend by making survivor pool twice). Round 5 didn't technically have a vampire, but a throwaway comment in Fate/stay night indicated that Rin and Young Sakura have a vampire ancestor. Even the final boss of the last round is a vampire!
  • Fatal Flaw: A common theme has characters getting themselves and others hurt or killed either by not trusting enough or by trusting too much.
  • Fauxshadow: Death guess discussions will almost always say someone's been deathflagging this week, only for the supposed foreshadowing to just be normal Character Development while someone else dies instead.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Characters regain a memory every Sunday night, while they sleep. The memories aren't always nice.
  • French Maid Outfit: The "Apron Dress" item is a cutesy maid outfit.
  • Graceful Loser: Some of the culprits take being caught rather well.
  • The Group: "The industry," with no company name, serving to show that Deadly Games are woven into the world they come from deeply, even if they're highly regulated and unconnected ones are deemed to be "unsanctioned." The closest we get to a name aside from "the industry" is the silly nickname, "Murdergames, Inc."
  • He's Dead, Jim: "(Character) is dead" for victims in descriptive text, and "Goodnight, (title)" for culprits in speech.
  • Hot Sauce Drinking: A common punishment in Parlor Games for things like refusing a dare.
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: Food that comes out of the prize machine is all perfectly safe.
  • Kudzu Plot: With six rounds, each with its own complex plot and with hints on the metaplot given out very sparingly, the series quickly gets more complex the further you go. It leads to greater payoff whenever dots do connect.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Used to tempt and manipulate the characters into murder.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The sequels are named for Die Hard.
  • Make an Example of Them: This is what happens when you break a rule. Often, there won't even be a body left, just a room full of blood and maybe the deceased's Iconic Item.
  • Mood Whiplash: Often, due to trials' serious tone giving way to Courtroom Antics.
    Isaac: I devoted myself to revenge... but along the way, I found something else.
    Robert: Puns.
  • The Multiverse: Necessary with all these crossover characters, of course, but alternate universe counterparts and alternate timelines are a huge part of the metaplot as well.
  • Myth Arc: The individual rounds are more or less self-contained, but a metaplot spans the whole thing with plot threads left hanging and picked up again much later. Officially, the story is divided into three question arcs and three answer arcs, a la When They Cry.

    General N-Z 
  • No-Holds-Barred Contest: The trials. The characters are free to solve them using whatever it takes. After all, if they don't uncover the murderer, everyone but the culprit will be executed.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Rounds 2 and 4, each of which had a different character named Bruce, and Round 5, which had two characters named Sakura.
  • Only One Name: Characters like this don't get new surnames for the game.
  • Ontological Mystery: The person in charge certainly won't tell everyone where they are and why.
  • Our Souls Are Different: It's established in the setting that animals do not have souls. This is why R1 deadland doesn't get a pet chicken when one of the chickens dies, as well as why R3 was restricted to human- and human-passing characters.
  • Parlor Games: Truth-or-dare parties are common to get the captives' minds off things and develop their characters.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The masterminds to the captives by necessity, and many of the captives to one another, too.
  • The Power of Trust: The presumed aim of the exercise is to prove or disprove it, though the true aim varies.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Goodnight, (person being executed)."
  • Prestigious Player Title: Participants in the "exercises" have titles like Survivor, Apprentice, etc., along with their individual titles.
  • Primal Fear: Aside from the ever-present fear of death, most of the themed executions call to these. Rounds 1 and 4 evoke fear of the dark, 2 can be interpreted as either the undead/visceral fear of something that should be dead being alive or dread of consequences, and 3 is existential fear. Round 5's execution theme is made to evoke betrayal, a learned fear, and Round 6's are just callbacks to previous rounds, so they don't count under this.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Trustfell" is a pun on "trust falls" (the team-building exercise), "fell" as a Deadly Euphemism, and "fell" as a term for "dark or evil." The second round adds another layer of pun by moving to a new community, "trusthell," which was reused for round four, and round three and five's community name, "trustfelled," foreshadows that the Competitors of Round 3 and the Risen of Round 5 were Dead All Along.
  • Recurring Element:
    • Vampires. It's practically become tradition for each round to have at least one in its cast (Dio, Kamui, Ferid, Elda twice; Rin and Young Sakura sort of count for Round 5).
    • Fullmetal Alchemist tends to come up quite a bit- especially series villain Solf J. Kimblee (and his 2003 counterpart Zolf J. Kimbley), who played the role of the Conductor in Round 1 (manga version) and returned as a Round 6 cast member, was mentioned in Round 2 (2003 and manga versions) and 3 (manga and Brotherhood versions)'s backstories, and became a member of Round 4's cast (2003).
    • The six mysterious women; at least one will have part of her backstory revealed per round, and most of them have been deadland NPCs, even if she was already the signature character of another round (R4 was Ziska's round but R2's Hilda was a major NPC in it, and R6 was assumed to be Johanna's round but Alena was one of the Coordinators and all six end up being important to and appearing in R6).
  • Resurrected Romance: If a survivor pool earns an ending that revives the dead, some pairings will consist of a survivor and one of the revived.
  • Running Gag:
    • The resident Troll theorizing that the mastermind is a dork in a sweater vest. In round 4, everyone wears a sweater vest with the school uniform.
    • The laundry room having old buckets and washboards instead of modern machines. While in Round 1 it fit with the pre-modern setting, it's returned even in later rounds, where there's newer technology available. Except Round 6, even though it's set in the R1 setting.
  • Rustproof Blood: Averted. Blood being fresh or dried, bright or dark, is often used in evidence, so it's not always red and wet.
  • Sadistic Choice: The characters must vote in the majority of the culprit, no matter why they killed, or all of them will be executed instead.
  • Sinister Surveillance: All masterminds conduct this, and none of the characters are ever entirely sure how.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: While it's at least presented as less zany than games like Dangan Roleplay and especially Airlocked, being more serious in tone doesn't mean that the game isn't still a horror comedy with puns, stripping, and party games.
  • Sore Loser: Some culprits don't take being caught well at all.
  • Subverted Trope: Just about everything you expect from a murdergame can and will be turned on its head, so expect nothing. Some examples:
    • As proven by asking the Conductor about it in 1-7, the three characters who discover the body do not all have to be innocent.
    • There can very well be more than two victims in a single case.
    • As shown by the first round's ending, any setting is game, including those from established fictional settings none of the captives are from.
    • Since Giovanni survived the first round, the "dad curse" is not in effect here. Round 2 adds to the curse-breaking: not only do more dads live, but so does The Leader!
    • Forget Video Game Caring Potential. Showing mercy to the final boss very nearly netted the first round's cast a Nonstandard Game Over.
    • Weapons can be distributed with the regains in specific circumstances: "gifts from the Kingmaker," which are generic weapons, and "dead regains," which are given at random to other characters after their owner has already died. As 2-5 proved, if the mastermind thinks it'd be interesting, you can also get back your own supernatural murder implements by asking nicely.
    • Unwritten rules regarding The Mole may as well not exist. For example, "there can be only one" or "it probably wouldn't be a mod character" (double-subverted in Round 2, though; Mettaton wasn't a mole, he was a mastermind pretending to be one).
    • Stan in Round 2 proves that the same player can make survivor pool twice without having died in another round.
    • Character roles are very different from the Hero/Heart/Cynic triad of Dangan Roleplay. For example, there is clearly no protagonist, though usually a character will make survivor pool who could have been the protagonist if this were a shounen manga instead of a more mature, darker RP, like Bakugou or Yosuke. Other roles include a hero who's become more cynical balanced out by a villain or ex-villain who's become kinder.
    • Round 2 is not a direct sequel to Round 1 and none of the latter's characters received a Previous Player-Character Cameo. The same goes for all the other rounds, which have a few references to the previous rounds but nothing from the previous player characters until the very end of Round 5, and even then the old characters don't get to do anything.
    • Round 3 is built on subverting murdergame conventions from the start, like seeing the mastermind in the flesh from day one. As well, unlike in Rounds 1 and 2, where they were genuine, any hauntings or ghost communication (aside from Chitoge's return and the mass return in the final trial) were hoaxes.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Nobody is coming to save the captives in other worlds, even if many Round 2 and 5 characters and a few from Round 1 wanted to do just that. Presumably, they're off chasing false leads or some of the real murdergames we don't see.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: No matter how monstrous the killer, no matter how awful the murder, there will always be someone who mourns their passing.
  • Trauma Conga Line: An effect of the people around them dying week after week - not to mention the occasional Amnesiac Dissonance and traumatic memory regains.
  • Try Everything: Investigate and press everything, especially in setting investigations. Murder investigations, having outlined numbers and locations of clues, depend less upon trial and error.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Anyone who survives to move in with a friend to escape their own world has to deal with getting themselves established.

Due to page length, the individual rounds now have pages:


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