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"May the best villain win."

Hands Of Chaos (abbreviated as HOC) is an Original Character Tournament hosted on deviantART. It opened to auditions on January 15, 2011, and officially kicked off on August 8 of the same year with sixteen competitors.

The tournament is judged by several “Judge Characters” created by the host and co-judges – which, needless to say, are quite varied.

The essential premise is an inversion of Heroes "R" Us; all of the competitors are among the most evil forces in existence. How evil? The judges threatened to refuse any competitor whose Original Character had even the slightest trace of performing a Heel–Face Turn. Indeed, most of the competitors had been pushed beyond their Moral Event Horizon before the tournament began.

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     Season 1 

Season 1 began with this roster of Judges:

  • Myzaraphiston Synderfell, “Founding Member of the Hands of Chaos, and an incarnate version of the Devil.” also, is a woman.
  • Rache, “Water based Goddess of Revenge”
  • Orion, “A ‘sweet, innocent girl’.”
  • The Oracle, “Enigmatic seer and puppeteer of fate.”
  • Grand Arsonist Cruul, “A pyromaniac Genie.”
  • Siegfried von Eisenhower, “Heavy-handed Inquisitor”
  • Ian Caker, “A delicious villain.”

The story takes place aboard a dimension-traversing ship called the Black Eden. The rosters opened to contenders on January 15, 2011, and the tournament officially kicked off on August 8 of the same year. Only each round's winners had their entries become cannon; the rest fall under What Could Have Been.

On September 25, 2012, it was announced that Brasken's creator has won the first Hands of Chaos Tournament, in a blog entry that subsequently confirmed an upcoming, second season.

The contenders in Season 1 are, in the order in which they joined the tournament:

  • Gizmo; defeated Vronti in Round 1; defeated by Wildcard in Round 2.
  • Vronti Lysing; defeated by Gizmo in Round 1.
  • Puzzle, Piear, and Solution; defeated by Dominic and Thurston in Round 1.
  • Dreamcaster; defeated by Wildcard in Round 1.
  • Raptura the Wall Shadow; defeated Aiden and Ellixandria in Round 1; defeated by Lilith in Round 2.
  • Dominic Payne the Pirate/Werewolf/Vampire, and his Cyborg/Ninja/Butler, Thurston Thurstoner. Defeated Puzzle, Piear, and Solution in Round 1; defeated Anni and the Voice in Round 2; defeated Wildcard in Round 3; defeated by Brasken in the Final Round.
  • Lust; defeated by Lilith in Round 1.
  • Anni and the Voice; defeated Francis and Nel in Round 1; defeated by Dominic and Thurston in Round 2.
  • Wildcard; defeated Dreamcaster in Round 1; defeated Gizmo in Round 2; defeated by Dominic and Thurston in Round 3.
  • Francis & Nel: defeated by Anni and the Voice in Round 1.
  • Brasken. Winner of Season 1; defeated Sven, Nezeki, Lilith, and Dominic & Thurston, in that order.
  • Aiden & Ellixandria; defeated by Raptura in Round 1.
  • Vellek; defeated by Nezeki in Round 1.
  • Lilith the Succubus; defeated Lust in Round 1; defeated Raptura in Round 2; defeated by Brasken in Round 3.
  • Nezeki; defeated Vellek in Round 1; defeated by Brasken in Round 2.
  • Sven Svenson, the Swede; defeated by Brasken in Round 1.

The cannon story contains the following tropes:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Sven Svenson, the Swede. Occupation: Soul Salesman.
  • Aerith and Bob: Dominic and Thurston. Francis and Nel.
  • Affably Evil: Wildcard. Ian Caker, as well. Puzzle may also qualify.
  • A God Am I: Inverted. Becoming beings of actual godlike power is the ultimate goal of the Hands of Chaos.
  • All There in the Manual: All of the information about the Hands Of Chaos is in a few of the journals posted on the group’s page.
    • The participants as well; everything you need to know about the contestants is in the reference sheets they submitted along with their audition. The judge characters likewise have a reference sheet for the contestants’ convenience.
  • And I Must Scream: Wildcard feeds Dreamcaster to a carnivorous plant. (it turns out to be Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.) Seeing that she can regenerate tirelessly, it would appear as though she won’t escape any time soon.
    • Until the ship explodes, that is.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Wildcard’s name, according to his profile.
  • Back from the Dead: Piear.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT say the word “love” in front of Caker – the results can be unpredictable.
  • Big Bad: It’s a tournament full of them.
  • Bloody Murder: Brasken, whose blood is flamable.
  • The Cameo: Audrey III.
  • Coat Cape: Siegfried. Bonus points for using a Badass Longcoat.
  • The Coats Are Off: Wildcard in Round Three. His shirt, as well. Subverted, though, as he is defeated in that round.
  • Chekhov's Armory: The Blackhammer testing grounds. Subverted in Round 1 – Vellek had a bunch of weapons at his disposal but failed to win.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Wildcard made a Deal with the Devil immediately following Round 2. It was probably the only reason he's still alive.
    • An interesting case, since Wildcard's creator intended to utilize the deal as a means to keep his character alive if he lost the round, but didn't really count on losing Round 3.
  • Chess Master: Myzaraphiston. For one thing, she managed to trap a god and use him as a power source for the Black Eden. Also, the whole point of the tournament is to get the souls of the participants who die – and being villainous, their souls yield more energy than the Average Joe. Then there’s her plan to blow up the ship and grant her (and her comrades) even more energy.
    • Oracle also qualifies.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Piear.
  • Continuity Nod: Brasken's final round entry contains a small nod to his previous opponents.
    • In a crossover example, "Audrey II" is referred to as "Audrey III."
  • Creepy Doll: Anni.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Anni/Voice VS Francis/Nel in Round 1, consisting solely of one page of cartoon panels.
  • Cyborg: Gizmo
  • Deal with the Devil: Wildcard makes one after Round 2.
  • Death by Irony: Nezeki, if you think about it. She managed to defeat Vellek, a were-shark with superpowers, by stabbing him in the back – only to be defeated by Brasken, a werewolf whose only abnormality was highly flammable blood, in spite of Nezeki actually using more of her psionic abilities this time.
    • Myzaraphiston, at least according to Dominic/Thurston’s entry, which has the god Tantalus freed from the Black Eden and Myzaraphiston shoved into his place. Which hardly mattered since the ship was about to explode.
  • Deleted Scene: All of the non-cannon entries.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Raptura easily qualifies. Nobody was willing to fight him! Luckily, Lilith defeated him.
  • Emergency Transformation: Gizmo can invoke this trope. Subverted upon his death.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Most of the judges qualify, but Orion is a notable example when Fridge Brilliance is applied. She’s just a small, one-armed girl whose only ability is to manipulate the substance known as “powan,” which she carries in a small pouch on her person. In order to be on the same level – or even close – as the other Judges, she has to be badass!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Siegfried von Eisenhower refused to accept any share of the power he would obtain upon destroying the Black Eden in between the multi-verses. This has led to speculation that the winner would be given Siegfried's share of the power.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Ian Caker.
  • Fur Against Fang: The final round, by definition. Brasken is a straight werewolf, but since Domnic is a pirate who happens to be a werewolf/vampire hybrid, it's literally half an example.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The end of Round 1 for Sven; described as Brasken "opening his Christmas present."
  • Healing Factor: Dreamcaster, Caker, and Gizmo have the capacity for this. Subverted by Raptura.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Averted, as the judges made it very clear that any character with the slightest trace of morality would not be accepted.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Oracle and the Librarian. Possibly the Janitor.
  • Immortality:
  • Informed Ability: Essentially everyone eliminated in Round 1, as very few of them made tactical use of their abilities - at least, not in the canonical ones.
  • It Only Works Once: The Oracle may lend his power to a contestant only once. Wildcard used his up right away.
  • Karma Houdini: Wildcard lost the tournament, but was spared thanks to a Deal with the Devil.
    • Puzzle, Piear, and Solution also managed to survive, representing the only characters (collectively, a single contender) to have lost without permanently dying.
    • Voice nearly got away, but was killed by Raptura, presumably before Lilith defeated him. This technically makes Raptura an inversion, since it is against the rules to attack any competitor other than the one they're supposed to fight.
  • Killed Off for Real: Myzaraphiston, though the only thing made clear by Word of God is that she was still aboard the Black Eden when it exploded. Dominic’s entry suggested that she was forced to take the place of the god, Tantalus, by another character made up by the author. Brasken’s creator alluded to this in his winning entry by having said character state that he’d trapped Myzaraphiston in “her own vessel.”
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Lilith, after a brief Villainous BSoD, Takes a Level in Badass to defeat Raptura.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Raptura.
  • Meaningful Name: Ian Caker...has a cake for a head.
    • Gizmo, the cyborg.
  • Medium Awareness: Myrazaphiston, to the point that she plans on penetrating the fourth wall in the next iteration.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Francis and Nel.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Cruul. Raptura also counts.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Two of them!
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Wildcard invites the winners of Round 2 to a tea party.
    • Oracle has his own seminar, as well.
  • The Nth Doctor: Gizmo can invoke this trope. Subverted upon his defeat, though his Round 2 entry ended with him examining the implications of having done so.
  • Oh, Crap!: Wildcard, before he is attacked by Dreamcaster in Round 1.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Twice! We have Dominic Payne, a vampire-werewolf hybrid pirate vulnerable to the weaknesses of both, potentially – and then we have Brasken, a more standard werewolf who can fashion weapons out of his own blood (which is more awesome than it seems.
    • Ironically enough, both of them made it to the final round.
    • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Vellek is explicitly referred to as a 'wereshark'.
  • Playing Possum: How Nezeki defeated Vellek in Round 1.
  • Physical God: Vronti Lysing is a descendent of a thunder-god entity, but as he is not a true god, he’s still mortal, which allows for his death in the first round at the hands of Gizmo.
  • Plague Master: Subverted by Nel. You'd think he'd qualify since he uses "Plague Bombs" as a weapon, but in actuality he's an absolute germaphobe to the point of never removing his full-body suit.
  • Precision F-Strike: Wildcard, to Piear.
    • Also the OCT's theme song, with the line "Good can go and fuck itself."
  • Psychic Powers: Nezeki.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In a way. All contenders write a winning entry, and the judges then determine which in a given pair of contenders is canonical to the OCT's story.
  • Red Shirt: Everyone who was eliminated in the first round.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Wildcard is evil, but at least he's polite about it.
  • Rule 50: Audrey III.
  • Scratch Damage: How Wildcard eventually defeats Dreamcaster. To prevent her from healing all the way, he then fed Dreamcaster to a carnivorous plant.
    • Neither he nor his creator knew, though, that the plant was actually Audrey III, as intended by the Judges and hinted at by a "Don't Feed the Plant" sign, and thus ensured a great advantage to both, until later on.
  • Sequel Hook: During a chat, some of the contenders were told by one of the judges that Myzaraphiston planned on overloading the Black Eden's power reserves in-between dimensions; the resulting explosion would output enough power to yield the "Godlike power" the other judges were promised. Subsequent implications that the world beyond the fourth wall would be the only world unconquered after this resulted in speculation that the possibility of a second tournament was open.
    • The plan failed in-universe, but a second season was still confirmed.
  • Serious Business: Inverted; Brasken doesn't particularly care about potentially getting godlike power, though it may be that he simply doesn't know what he'd do with it.
  • Shark Man: Vellek
  • Shout-Out: Audrey III
  • Start My Own: Raptura's and Nezeki's creators co-formed their own OCT after both of them lost
    • INVERTED. In the same OCT, one of the Hands of Chaos' judges became a finalist. He lost.
    • A second inversion: another co-founder of the same OCT became a competitor for the second season of Hands of Chaos.
  • Stylistic Suck: their theme song.
  • Super Mode: Per Word of God, one of the judges conceptualized a God Mode for each character.
    • He admitted that Raptura’s “wasn’t pretty. He ate Yogsothoth.”
  • Terms of Endangerment: Lilith and Wildcard.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Siegfried, initially.
    • Every contender, to a certain degree. Wildcard discovered the scheme and opted to become a witting pawn instead.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: During a group chat, the competitors in attendance arrived at the ultimate goal of the Hands of Chaos before Word of God could confirm it. All four of them planned accordingly.
  • Villainous BSoD: Enforced in Wildcard's first round; both he and his creator had very little idea as to how he was supposed to defeat Dreamcaster.
    • Lilith, in Round 2, after finding out what Raptura was really capable of.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: Raptura was capable of this, but he never fully utilized this capability.
    • Subverted by Wildcard. His ability appears to be this, though it’s actually illusion.
  • Weakened by the Light: How Lilith defeated Raptura in Round 2; she trapped him in a holding cell below decks, turned the lights all the way up, and made sure he'd stay there until the light killed him.
  • What Could Have Been: inverted by "spectator entries," written in-between Rounds in response to what became canon.
  • The Worf Effect: Brasken. Think about it: he defeated a vampire/werewolf/pirate and his ninja/cyborg/butler...who defeated an illusion-empowered thief...who defeated a potentially regenerative cyborg...who, in turn defeated a Physical God with lightning powers. Add to this the fact that Wildcard also defeated a Nigh Invulnerable sorceress who, even with the destruction of the Black Eden, may still be alive, and everything becomes more awesome in hindsight.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The judges’ true agenda consisted of this, regardless of who won the tournament. It didn't quite pan out, though; Myzaraphiston, and possibly all the other judges may now be dead...barring Siegfried and Oracle, who are definitely still alive.
    • Wildcard’s creator attempted to invoke one, as well.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: No matter who wins, the Judges win.

     Season 2 

The Second Season of the Hands of Chaos tournament opened to competitor registration on September 29, 2012 – less than a week after Season 1’s winner was announced. The audition period opened on November 26, 2012, and the group accepted character applications since the second season was confirmed.

Following the events of Season 1, a few new judges have joined the ensemble. They are:

  • Otto Rasmund, a card-wielding assassin of the underworld.
  • The Oracle, returning from the previous season.
  • Morkeal Schnitter, a mad doctor commanding a chess-motif legion of the undead.
  • Gthnbnlu'xalxal, AKA "Mister Squishyteeth," a shape-shifting Eldritch Abomination.
  • Joseph Tsyiak, a demonologist with the powers of several demons contained in his tattoos.

In addition, the new contenders for Season 2 are:

Note that this is an incomplete work in progress. More information will be added as it becomes available.

The Locations and Characters of Season 2 exemplify the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Undergut Sanitation Facility.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Akusei Akki.
  • All There in the Manual:
  • And I Must Scream: According to his profile, Nihi keeps its hosts alive while it feeds off their life energy. When it's done, it stores what's left of the host's soul inside its body, and it has hinted that these souls are still (for all intents and purposes) perfectly alive and sentient.
  • Anti-Villain: Klyglich. He excels at massacre basically because his daughter's dead.
    • Sir Demarrick is implied to be this as well, being rather religious for a werewolf. Also, his written reference sheet provides a quotation saying as much:
      All things, by the design of the Creator, ultimately serve the cause of Good. Even Evil.
  • Badass Normal: Klyglich.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Sandcrab Tunnels.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: This time with a few Anti Villains thrown in for good measure.
  • Blood Knight: the Reaper. He smiles whenever he is fighting an opponent - especially a skilled, worthy opponent.
    • So does Komset, albeit at the mere thought of killing people in general.
  • Brown Note: Whenever Seth is possessed by the Reaper, people around him feel slightly unsettled.
  • Chekhov's Armory: The Hall of Blades, echoing last season’s Blackhammer Testing Grounds.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Hellbrand Forgeworks may end up housing one in the form of an Infinity +1 Sword.
    • The Inquisitor's Revenge contains several holy artifacts - some of which are the real deal - which could be useful against characters vulnerable to such.
  • Chess Motifs: Morkeal's minions are named after chess pieces - but there isn't one called a "king," presumably because Morkeal is the "king."
  • Climactic Volcano Backdrop: Pride's Fall.
  • Companion Cube: Inverted with Morgan's chain, Isaac, which actually is alive.
  • Continuity Nod: The Black Eden’s engine housing ended up on another planet, where it was revered by the local tribe as a sign from their gods; this is one of the potential combat areas offered in the upcoming season.
    • The Inquisitor's Revenge is basically Siegfried's attempt at a final jab at first-season judges Myzara and Oracle. Even more of a nod is the fact that the cathedral has statues of all of Season 1's Judges.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The Inquisitor's Revenge is one, filled to the brim with booby traps.
  • Creepy Child: Morgan. Justified in that he is possessed by a sentient, malevolent length of chain.
  • Determinator: Subverted by Seth/the Reaper. Seth's body has limits, even while possessed, leading to the Reaper attempting to invoke this trope until (or even after) Seth tells him he can't keep up.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Fully inverted by Gthnbnlu'xalxal. His bio suggests that he could escape his contract at any time - but also that if he did, he would lose all the friends he made in the Hands of Chaos.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Gthnbnlu'xalxal. Morsus is possessed by another (completely different) one named Nihil.
  • Eldritch Location: The Abyss of Endymion.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Komset’s backstory.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "The Innards of Gthnbnlu'xalxal." One travels by his circulatory system, controls him with the nervous system, and can finish off opponents with the digestive system. Though evidently the immune system doesn't take kindly to invaders.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Seth's possession by the Reaper qualifies in that the Reaper doesn't feel anything, and therefore does not react to pain - and meanwhile Seth, as long as he's possessed, can do absolutely nothing about any amount of pain he's experiencing despite taking the full brunt of it.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Gthnbnlu'xalxal, AKA Mr. Squishyteeth. Exaggerated to its logical extreme, since he's an Eldritch Abomination.
    • Oddly enough, "Mr. Squishyteeth" also exemplifies Deathbringer the Adorable, since his behavior is far less aggressive than his appearance would lead you to believe; Justified in that he's basically an infant.
  • Foil: Morsus/Nihil and Morgan/Isaac might form a pair.
  • Genius Loci: Inverted by the Haab System, where the specific location is the inside of a dead, star-sized "void whale."
  • Gilded Cage: The Palace of Infinite Pleasures.
  • Hammerspace: Where Komset keeps his trident; also his tuxedo and armor when not wearing them.
    • Lampshaded by name. Komset literally calls it etherspace. Translated into Standard English, he literally pulls items from thin air. But only the ones he puts there.
  • Healing Factor: Nihil can repair any of Morsus's injuries with ease as long as it can consume its host's life energy.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Once again defied.
  • He’s Back: Some of the competitors from Season 1 are returning for another attempt.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Exploited by Sir Demarrick. While he fights evil because of his faith, his werewolf form knows how to fight evil because it is also evil.
  • Immortality: Morsus has the Vampiric form, whereby he's constantly falling apart and needs to absorb the energy of other people to remain alive.
    • Nihil itself is almost Nigh Invulnerable and will most likely retreat to an alternate dimension to repair itself if it is badly damaged.
    • Taska, being a vampire, also has a similar variant. Even cutting her head off theoretically won't kill her, except that she'd starve to death.
  • The Killer in Me: A variation. Lisa is capable of murder, but cannot come to terms with it - so she invented her imaginary "friend," Megan, to do it instead.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Viper Trees won't target anyone with a visible flame, inviting a few competitors to invoke this trope.
  • The Lost Woods: Viperid Forest.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: Corridor of Memories, essentially a physical version of Fighting Down Memory Lane...Specifically it's a hall of doors, where each (physically unique) door leads to somebody else's memories.
  • Meaningful Name: Gthnbnlu'xalxal. There's a reason why he's called "Mr. Squishyteeth", and it's not just because his name is The Unpronouncable.
  • Mobile Maze: Bokold’s Labryninth.
  • No Biological Sex: Nihil.
  • The Nth Doctor: The Judges are a meta-example; they are the same people in Real Life, but (with exception to Oracle, so far) using different characters.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Taska is pretty much immune to sunlight (through hundreds of years of desensitization), but is still very vulnerable to other traditional vampire weaknesses...and has a limited shape-shifting ability.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Sir Demarrick's non-human form has a few feline features in addition to the overall wolflike appearance.
  • Papa Wolf: Klyglich - the only thing driving him is his desire to bring his daughter back to life.
  • Partial Transformation: Invoked by Taska's shapeshifting abilities, whereby she can turn parts of her anatomy into those of another animal (the examples provided include the arms of a bear, and wings or ears of a bat), but despite the list "going on," it is limited to her knowledge of said animals.
  • Previously On: Enforced, though according to Word of God the events of Season One do not have a direct bearing on this season.
  • Shapeshifting: [So far] Taska and the Tidus/Petre duo, as well as Akusei's race, all have some variant of a shapeshifting ability.
  • Talking Weapon: Isaac.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Petre and Tidus may qualify.
    • Their Real-Life creators form a literal Tag Team.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: According to The Manual, explicitly averted with Petre and Tidus.
  • The Unpronouncable: Gthnbnlu'xalxal.
  • When Trees Attack: The Viper Trees in Viperid Forest.
  • Winged Humanoid: Reconstructed through Komset, since his wings are massive enough to provide legitimate flight.

The canon story contains the following tropes:

  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Komset VS zeGraiya, though mainly to invoke The Worf Effect.
  • Cyborg: zeGraiya. Word of God is that his entire species is a Cyborg race.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Komset's audition starts with one, a Cyborg serial killer named zeGraiya, killing a detective on his trail.
  • Shout-Out: Whoever hired Echo to deliver Morsus' invitation, he seems enthralled with the Louvre, just like last-season's Wildcard.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Komset's invitation starts with an instance of this. Justified in that Oracle wrote it.
    • For bonus points, Oracle even addressed it to Decoy Protagonist zeGraiya even though he knew Komset would kill him and find the letter anyway.
  • Technology Marches On: In-universe example; Morsus has a laugh at the fact that he received a letter in an envelope – neither of which is used in his time, apparently.
    • Komset's audition, set in a different sci-fi universe, also gives written letters this treatment.
  • Title Drop: Double-subverted for Komset's prologue, "For Me, Though...", which seemingly gives a half-title drop in the opening: "For zeGraiya, though, it was Sunday." Once Komset kills him though, he gives a proper Title Drop: "For me, though, the experience was rather enjoyable."
  • Too Dumb to Live: the drunkard who insulted Morsus basically existed for no other purpose than to demonstrate Morsus's powers.
  • Weirdness Censor: Subverted in Morsus’s audition. The bartender of the pub he visits seems unfazed by his presence, but various reasons for this are gradually revealed: Morsus is a regular, the bartender wants less dead bodies, etc.


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