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A group of men, sworn to secrecy, stand in a room. One man is at the head of the room, covered in shadow
"A tournament has been scheduled," The head man spoke, "I am recruiting each of you men to find one individual each."
"From where, sir?" Inquired one of the men.
"Anywhere. Search throughout the entirety of the known- and unknown- universe."
"What kind of people are we looking for?" Another one asked.
"Unique individuals. Those gifted with extraordinary abilities. Whether it can help them fight or simply help them defend. I want them here."
"But... what for, sir?"
The man in shadow gave a twisted smirk.
"A grand battle is about to take place."
The Grand Battle is a writing competition, tucked in a subforum on the MS Paint Adventure Forums; fought between eight lovers of tl;dr-ery, masquerading as a roleplay. The setting is constant across all its iterations: An Omnipotent, multiversal entity gets sick of things, drags eight contestants from across the dimensions, and sticks them somewhere interesting until one of them dies. Send them somewhere else, rinse and repeat, until you have one winner.
That's the setting. In reality, no contestants die in-game until the end of the round, when one player is eliminated (the worst writer), and their character is written out of the story. Until then, players take turns adding to a crazy, collaborative story which allows more freedom using other characters than an RP.
And when people can enter any character, from a giant infectious meatball to a demonic vacuum cleaner, you know the fight's gonna be interesting.
The concept was dragged by its progenitor, Cyber95, from another forum where it was called Otaku Melee. It proved so appealing that Cyber started a second, and Promoted a Fangirl to begin another. Someone suggested that the winners of eight battles be thrown together again in an "All-Stars" round.
Result: A Shared Universe of concurrent multiversal battles, with 22 canon battles in three "Seasons", 15 hosts, and over 150 individual participants... and don't even ask about the numerous type 5 spinoffs!
Grand Battles in general provide examples of:
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Grandmasters, collectively.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Nathan losing out to his demon, Samuel Therion and Gestalt ripping apart The Sunset, Savage Brawl by default, Aeon and Eximo versus the Director, and on and on and on...
- Battle Royale With Cheese without the cheese.
- Big Bad: All the Grandmasters. And to be frank, half the competitors.
- Dimension Lord: All the Grandmasters.
- Eight Lines No Waiting
- And more than often some Meanwhile Back At The in the middle of a narrative thread.
- Failure Is the Only Option: For some reason, many characters don't like being thrust into an Involuntary Battle to the Death without their permission and plot to rebel against whichever Grandmaster they have. Not only considering that the Grandmasters are practically all-powerful but that there's already an All-Stars battle planned where the winners of the first season will go against each other...yeah, these plans go as well as you'd expect.
- Fantasy Pantheon: Most characters with any relationship to religion at all.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Happens a lot.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Every Grand Battle has 8 unique characters, and at the time of writing this there are 24 Grand Battles. Do the math yourself.
- Meaningful Name: There are a few. There is the demonic vacuum cleaner named 'Eximo Pulvis,' which is Latin for 'removes dust.' Konka Rar is a pun on 'conquerer,' which is definitely what he is. Gormand is a pretty fitting name for one who is made up entirely of food, and Algernon is pretty good for one whose memories are in danger whenever he uses his power. Tengeri is derived from the Hungarian word for "from the sea"; Sir Arnold Scarlet is not really noticeable at first until you find out that he was actually a fake character played by one other player whose purpose was to freak out the contestants when the Controller spirited him away to be tortured.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: Every character has a designated font color that all their actions are typed in.
- Play-By-Post Games
- Plot Armor: The fact that every Player Character, no matter how outmatched in combat or plain atrocious, has this is a given for writers at all times. Until it's time for the round to end...
- Running Gag: The community often talks about how many bearded swordsmen there are. Even though there really aren't all that many.
- Also, Bartleby dies often.
- Also, Finch is the last name of everybody who is not given a last name.
- Ekelhaft has no friends.
- Kracht is a jerk.
- ACCELERANDO SLASH!
- Schedule Slip A Grandmaster has been known to comment on "how it seems like it's been months" since a round ended.
- Second Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics: Especially endemic to several of the battles.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The invariable result to date whenever the contestants rebel against their Grandmasters and try to take them down.
- Something Completely Different: While the basic formula of a battle to the death with the round changing every time a contestant dies pretty much always stay the same some rounds add some extra obstacles and restrictions from the players that change the nature of the battle and can force the characters to go about things differently. For example Battle Royale's race to the top of the hoodoo.
- Stuff Blowing Up: See also Second Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics.
- Superpower Lottery: Pretty much a given.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Many characters have elemental powers or the power to summon an army of the dead or super strength or the ability to create things out of practically nothing. And then there are the others...like Maxwell, who stands out from the rest with his ability to...think. Or Wolf, who is a wolf. But can talk. Or Jeremy, who can...open doors. Or the Photographer, who can...talk to inanimate objects. It is possible that all of them have nothing on Annaliese who has the great distinction of being the worst witch in the world.
- Xenofiction: Different authors have a fondness for this trope to varying degrees. Conversely, other like to stick to (and excel at) what they know.
- Aliens and Monsters: Lutherion's minions.
- Battle in The Centre of The Mind: Aeon versus Nathan's demon in round 5.
- Arguably round 7 as well, since it was literally the Subconscious and revolved around Eximo's inner conflict with its loyalty.
- Cargo Ship: Maybe. Possibly. It was implied between Eximo and Amethyst. And that was enough for some to start speculating.
- Chekhov's Gun: The gun in the shower from Mutewood.
- The creator of Amethyst jokingly said that a purple sun would supercharge her. This becomes a plot point in the final round.
- Free-Fall Fight: Free Falling.
- Ghost Town: Killville.
- Groin Attack: Used by Amethyst on Lutherion.
- Library of Babel: Or in this case, of the Director. Location for Round 6.
- Mooks: Lutherion has a whole army of them.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Amethyst.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Emily pouring the last of her strength into Aeon's adaptive tool, so he can use it to save Nathan.
- Taking the Bullet: Nathan stops a bullet for Amethyst in Battleopolis (Round 5).
- Alas, Poor Villain: Samuel Therion.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Destructo-world.
- Ancient Tomb: The Doomish Temple.
- Battle in the Rain: Destructo-world.
- Bizarrchitecture: Escheresque.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Destructo-world again.
- The Ferry Man: Gestalt and Vyrm'n, the last two characters in the battle, each get their own powerful guides who help them through the Dimensional Speakeasy. This trope is promptly subverted when it turns out that their "help" and "guidance" is even more manipulative and destructive than originally implied, but still. What did you expect?
- Pushed in Front of the Audience: Literally in Showtime!
- Zombie Apocalypse: Value City Mall.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Round three, Overtime, takes place in the mind of Joe Peacock. While Joe himself isn't taking part in the battle, the contestants go ahead and trash his subconscious. Joe instead deals with his coma, or at least the symbolic rendering of. At least until he's eaten.
- The Lost Woods: Round one, Foret Noire, takes place in one of these.
- The Swarm: In Round one, there was a giant spider that was made of spiders. May also count as The Worm That Walks.
- Witch Hunt: Round 4 takes place in Old Salem with the contestants having to hide their powers or be accused of being a witch.
- Cargo Cult: Round 2.
- Chekhov's Volcano: Round 2.
- Co-Dragons: The Executive may be the Grandmaster with the title, but all we see are his minions, Sruix and Talis. At least one of these is a Dragon with an Agenda.
- Earthshattering Kaboom: Space colony, at the end of Round 1.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Alex, John, and Blitz respectively.
- Ghost City IN SPACE!: The first round takes place place in an abandoned city built on the inside face as a sphere orbiting a nearby planet. The city served as a temporary colony for people to live in while the planet was terraformed to make it suitable for habitation however it was abandoned when the sphere sprung a leak.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Hello, folks. Know what this excerpt is about?
A black, fluid mass hurtled through space at speeds in excess of thirty-thousand meters per second. It didn't know this, mind you. There were a great deal of things the dark substance did not know. It didn't know, for instance, that its very path was an abomination against physics. It was moving against the flow of natural forces, for where it should have fallen, it rose instead. It would soon be broken into fragments of itself by a much larger mass, then recongregate merely to be shredded into it's molecular components - then fused with other matter in a multitude of ways that would ideally produce a rather large quantity of heat. It was already quite hot... but the inky mass, of course, didn't know this. In fact, it had no mind with which to know anything at all.
Coffee. It's coffee.
- Big Bad Ensemble - The eighth battle of Season 1 had the proviso of "All villains". Ostensibly, this will become a tradition in Season 2.
- Even Evil Has Standards: 7 examples of the most depraved villains from their homeworlds, and they don't have a scratch on the entropy incarnate that is Ekelhaft.
- Evil Versus Evil: See above.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: In Round 2 the contestants are either in a giant's house, or have been shrunk down in a normal person's house. It's never really clear which it is.
- Kick the Dog: Round 3 takes place in a dog park.
- Macro Zone: Round 2.
- Gambit Pileup: Xadrez and Kracht.
- Ghost City: The Arcology is a massive city in which nobody has ever lived and which nobody will.
- Hilarity Ensues: Sirius wants to get into the arcology but can't get through the door. He spends quite a bit of time flying around to find the door-opening Jeremy only to find that he is already in the arcology. Sirius then flies back to get the Photographer who has the ability to talk to inanimate objects (such as doors), but finds that both the door and the keypad are unwilling to help them get inside. He convinces the Photographer to talk to the electronic display, but learns that it is depressed...
- Blood-Splattered Innocents
- Although really the only two characters who aren't evil are Algernon and Pluck. Everybody else is sadistic to varying degrees. And even Pluck is sort of a jerk.
- MacGuffin: The Map of Rome. However, because the locale it was taken from was from an Forum Adventure where its role is touted as such, it could prove to be more useful in future.
- When It Rains, It Pours: In the first round it rains so hard it demolishes the upper two floors and then proceeds to flood the school.
- Cool Train: Round Two happens to be a space-train on glowy rails moving through a void and also it has a whole freaking ballroom inside. And rather luxurious bedrooms. As expected, it gets derailed.
- Alien Geometries: After Syvex attempts to open a portal into the basement, the manor in round two quickly begins to ignore the laws of physics.
- And I Must Scream: The fate of the Malevolence's victims.
- Apocalypse How: Class 6 implied, if the Malevolence is not stopped.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Implied in the second round (from the brother's side, anyway).
- Demonic Possession: Happens to nearly every character to varying degrees in the second round (although it's mostly the ghosts of the witch's family rather than demons).
- Dysfunctional Family: Played for Drama in the second round.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Malevolence.
- Eldritch Location: The manorial house in round two, though it's not apparent at first.
- Fate Worse Than Death: See And I Must Scream.
- The Fundamentalist: The father ghost in the second round.
- Mind Screw: The second round is almost entirely comprised of this.
- Rule of Cool: The location of the third round, the HMS Thunderhead, is a giant zeppelin in space. Yes.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The first round takes place in a version of Earth where Everybody's Dead. Mostly everybody anyway.
- The Undead: All of the contestants are dead to varying degrees. The victor gets to live again.
The non-canon spinoffs in general provide examples of:
- Recursive Fanfiction
- Though, it should be noted that The Grand Battle only hosts itself in the MSPA Forums, not intends to be a part of the continuity.
The Grand Bachelorette provides examples of:
- Dating Sim
- Massively Multiplayer Crossover: Round 1 of The Grand Cook-Off and Round 2 of The Grand Heist are both set in Blackwing Manor. At the same time.
- Unwanted Harem: Shirley is far from pleased with the set of potential boyfriends that have been selected for the contest.
The Grand Heist provides examples of:
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Shirley's pocket watch.
- Preemptive Declaration: "She's probably doing a hell of a lot better than you are."
Vcios Trif provides examples of:
The Grand Tweet provides examples of:
Mini-Grand 2801 provides examples of:
Mini-Grand 2802 provides examples of:
The Great Machine provides examples of:
- After the End: The setting of the first round.
- Crush! Kill! Destroy!: The general behaviors of the robots in round one.
- Killer Robot: Again, round one.
- Sinister Subway: A large part of round one.
- Robo Speak: Take a guess.
The Grand Christmas Carol provides examples of:
- Christmas Episode: Well duh.