Drunkard's Walk

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"I am a killer and a clown. I am a hero and a fool."

Drunkard's Walk II, Prologue

Serial Mega Crossover series more-or-less continuously written by Robert M. Schroeck since 1998. It is "serial" in two senses: first, in the more common usage, it has appeared in semi-regular installments for over twenty years (as of late 2019); second, unlike most Mega Crossovers which blend multiple sources into a single setting, Drunkard's Walk visits its different contributing series one after another, with little to no "bleed-through" between them.

At the center of the story is Douglas Q. Sangnoir, who would be called a superhero in any world but his own. On his native Earth, though, he is a metahuman -- and a paramilitary operative in Warriors Alpha, an organization of metahumans contracted by that Earth's version of the United Nation to act as its "super-police" force. A ten-year veteran of the Warriors and its Security Chief, with a rank equivalent to colonel, Doug Sangnoir is a professional soldier with a powerful but chaotic set of superpowers, an intimidating intellect, and a personal style strongly influenced by Warner Brothers cartoons. Ejected from his home universe by enemy action, he is on a quest to return there by traveling essentially at random through the multiverse (hence the name of the series). As might be expected, this means his trip goes neither quickly nor smoothly...

Although an honorable man who is loyal to a fault and driven by his sense of duty to acts of occasionally insane bravery, Doug is no paragon -- despite his powerful intellect, he is prone to leaping to conclusions and acting foolishly, and he is a bigot on two fronts: he initially dismisses most Muggles as fragile ephemeral creatures who need protecting but are otherwise beneath his notice; and he hates most gods and godlike beings with a near-homicidal (deicidal?) passion. Both these attitudes get him in trouble at one point or another during his journeys...

When it is complete, the Drunkard's Walk will be composed of 14 main parts, called "Steps". Of these Steps, two are complete (as of early 2020), four chapters of a third have been released, and the first two chapters of a fourth and the first chapter of a fifth are available. In addition to the these major stories, the author has been writing and releasing short pieces he calls "Steplets".

The home of Drunkard's Walk can be found here.

Drunkard's Walk is part of a larger metafictional continuum mapped out here.

The planned installments in the Drunkard's Walk are:
  • Drunkard's Walk III: Sana-chan no Omocha -- an unwritten story to be set in Kodomo no Omocha.
  • Drunkard's Walk VII: Revolution Calling -- an unwritten story to be set in the aftermath of the events of Revolutionary Girl Utena.
  • Drunkard's Walk VIII: Harry Potter and the Man From Otherearth. After arriving in an apparently-normal 1990s Earth which actually has a hidden magical subculture, Doug trades a year of teaching at a magical secondary school for help from its headmaster and staff in finding a way home. Four chapters of this Step have been released, and the fifth is being written.
  • Drunkard's Walk XII: Nine Flowers And A Weed -- set in Sakura Taisen.

As a Mega Crossover fanfic, Drunkard's Walk incorporates elements from the following works:

Additionally, it contains metafictional crosslinks to the following fanfiction series:

Drunkard's Walk is in fact part of a much larger metafictional continuum mapped out in this image.


Tropes used in Drunkard's Walk include:

A-E

  • Action Girl: Lisa Vanette in DW2.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In DW-S, Doug gets in the habit of "scruffling" Usagi Tsukino's hair between the buns from which her ponytails sprout.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted in Doug's case, as he is the "alien" in many settings. If it's not French, English, Japanese or Valdemaran, he has to learn to speak the local tongue.
  • All Myths Are True: For certain values of "myth". Every god ever worshiped by sapient beings is an expression of one of the True Gods, and most of the stories about those expressions either are literally true or are a distorted account of something that actually happened. For instance, most if not all of the shenanigans the Olympians get up to in their myths actually happened at some point in history.
  • All There in the Manual: The author provides a detailed concordance for each story as well as a master FAQ file for the entire series.
  • Alternate History: Doug's homeworld began noticeably diverging from the "real world" in 1929 (although the real point of divergence is several million years earlier), and is an odd mixture of familiar and alien.
  • Alternate Universe: The stuff from which the whole series is built.
  • American Accents: After a magical accident Delandra from DW1 ends up speaking English with a decidedly Southern California style, and can do a perfect Valley Girl at will.
  • Amazon Brigade: The "heavy hitters" Doug summons in chapter 12 of DW2.
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Drunkard's Walk uses a variation on the In Nomine mechanics for souls; this means the three helices Doug can see in sufficiently powerful souls correspond to Corporeal, Ethereal and Celestial Forces.
  • And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: At the end of DW2, Lisa gives Doug a T-shirt which reads, "I Went To Mega-Tokyo And Freed The Boomers And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt". Doug likes it so much that he has copies made of it to keep wearing for the next century and a half.
  • Androids Are People, Too: Clearly stated to be the default, socially and legally, in Doug's homeworld, and is a core value that informs many of his actions in DW2 and other Steps.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Assorted examples from various settings.
  • Ascended Demon: Marller at the end of DW5.
  • Ascended Fanon: Eimi, Doug's AI companion for the later part of the Walk, originated in a Recursive Fanfiction story.
  • Aura Vision: Doug's magesight.
  • Author Avatar: Averted; the author has a different character from the same origin setting who is explicitly his avatar.
  • Autobots Rock Out: Pretty much every fight Doug is in.
  • Background Magic Field: The basic way magic manifests in a universe, although different universes may also manifest Ley Lines and nodes.
  • Backstory: A considerable amount, born of twenty years of gaming, revealed in drips and drabs throughout the stories.
  • Badass Biker: Part of the image that Doug projects, both professionally and at times personally. Subverted in that he's actually The Man, or an agent thereof.
  • Badass Boast: Doug has several; he usually makes them up on the spot for the sole purpose of intimidating his opponents and doesn't necessarily believe the hype or accept the names that others have given him. That doesn't mean they're not mostly true, though.
  • Badass Longcoat: Doug in several Steps.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The conclusion of the climactic fight of DW2 takes place within GENOM's "Overmind" boomer remote control system.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: How Doug becomes Usagi Tsukino's tutor in DW-S. Everything he says to her parents is the absolute truth, but he presents it all in such a manner so as to lead her parents to believe a school administrator referred him.
  • Berserk Button: Seriously injuring someone Doug cares strongly about; initially this applies to just his wife, but expands to include various individuals he meets on the Walk.
  • Big Bad: Several, in various Steps, including Quincy in DW2 and Glory in DW13.
  • The Big Board: In DW8, Doug uses this exact phrase to describe his duty station in the Warriors' base, back in his home timeline.
  • Big Book of War: Doug references Sun Tzu's The Art Of War whenever training anyone likely to encounter combat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Doug and the other members of Warriors Alpha -- and just about anyone Doug trains or mentors during the Walk.
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: In an example of a different ugly word, the Weasley twins in DW8 deny taking wagers on anything, but they do "sometimes facilitate practical research into probability distribution for select members of the student body."
  • Blade on a Stick: "God's Toothpick" sometimes behaves like this, although the "blade" is actually a construct of Celestial energy.
  • Blood Oath: In DW5, Belldandy swears an oath upon her blood to never lie to, mislead or otherwise deceive Doug when she decides it is absolutely necessary for him to trust and believe her.
  • Bond One-Liner: Doug occasionally snaps out one of these.
  • Boom! Headshot!: Invoked by name in DW8 by Doug to describe his accidental knock-out of a dragon.
  • Born-Again Immortality: According to supplemental materials, this is part of the powers of the Warrior called "Skitz".
  • Brick Joke: In Chapter 2 of DW5, Doug (as narrator) comments sarcastically "What was next? Krishna dropping in for a cup of sugar?" In the last pages of the final chapter, exactly that happens. Almost certainly a deliberate invocation of the trope by Doug, as each story is supposedly an account assembled long after the events described.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Doug, but mainly intellectual laziness -- he tends toward snap judgments and unwarranted assumptions.
  • Bugs Bunny: Doug jokingly refers to Bugs as his "spiritual totem".
    • Also, early in DW2, Doug leaves Bugs Bunny cloisonne pins in the caskets of the victims of a boomer rampage, as tokens of his intent to fight GENOM.
  • Bullet Dodges You: And lasers, and hostile magic, and more than a few good things, too... a typical effect of Doug's improbability field.
  • Bullet Time: "Combat hyping".
  • But Not Too Foreign: Religious/Cultural variant: Doug reveals in DW5 that he's a Roman Catholic of Jewish descent.
  • Casual Danger Dialog
  • Catch Phrase: Doug seems to have one in "Gotta love it" and variations thereon, used both seriously and sarcastically about various subjects:

Gotta love this nanomade stuff -- get one right, and they're all perfect.

Arrogance born of ignorance. Gotta love it.

Gotta love people who appreciate sophisticated humor.

Industrial strength magical protection — gotta love it, except when it screws your life up.

  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Harry Potter and the Man from Otherearth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Practiced religiously by the author -- there are no Ass Pulls here.
  • Chest Insignia: Played with: Doug's "costume" is grey biker leathers. On his left breast is a Velcro mount for a patch, which he swaps between a Harley-Davidson logo and a shield with a stylized "LT" depending on whether or not he's off-duty.
  • Christmas Episode: The short story The First... No... Well...
  • Chrome Champion: Silverbolt.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A mild case of this is included as part of Doug's "public persona".
  • Code Name: Used by the members of the Warriors in Doug's home timeline: "Looney Toons", "Wetter Hexe", "Silverbolt", "Shadowwalker" and many more. Subverted in the case of "Kat", whose code name is a diminutive of her real name that also coincidentally describes her powers.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Douglas Q. Sangnoir, United Nations Metahuman Peacekeeping Force Warriors Alpha.
  • Color-Coded Timestop: As seen in DW5, Chapter 1:

Timestops are weird... Everything takes on a bluish cast -- in this case even deeper than the combination of my combat hype and the fading twilight had already given it.

  • Combat Pragmatist: Doug, to a degree; also the Warriors as a whole.
  • Combat Tentacles: The golden chains created by Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain".
  • Combo-Platter Powers: Doug: A martial artist with heightened intelligence, agility and speed, magically gifted, and wrapped in an improbability field. Somewhat justified in that there's a common cause for all the heighteneds, and the improbability field is a result of a negative mutation of his mage gift.
  • Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: Doug tries to plan around a variation of this trope during his travels by carrying "trade goods". The first time he (or rather a friend acting on his behalf) tries to use them, in Drunkard's Walk II, though, it fails spectacularly because they offer gems (his initial and only trade goods at the time) to someone who can create dozens of diamonds for pennies using a nano-fabricator. In later stories he also carries gold bullion, jewelry, and cash left over from previous worlds; when the cash can't be recycled in a similar world, he can usually sell the rest to a jeweler or even a pawnbroker or "We Buy Gold!" outfit.
  • Confessional: Doug, a lapsed Catholic, makes a confession in DW5 -- not to a priest, but to the Norns.
  • Confusion Fu: Doug's usual tactics in a fight include a heavy dose of this, employing song lyrics, if the opposition and he share a language.
  • Cool Bike: From DW2 onward, Doug's heavily-customized 2015 Mitsubishi Nightblade, a turbine-powered superbike native to the Bubblegum Crisis world which is frequently described as looking like a science-fiction prop or "a missile on wheels"; it also flies.
    • In his native timeline, Doug has his original bike, a similarly-modified 1936 Harley-Davidson. It's never actually seen "on-screen", but Doug mentions it several times.
  • Cool Gate: How Doug arrives in and departs from the worlds he visits. In most of the stories Doug spends a lot of time finding the way to create an exit from the world he's in. Unfortunately, he has no idea where each one will go until he gets there.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: Doug's conviction that all god-mortal interaction amounts to this trope (coupled with his experience of more than a few Jerkass Gods) is one of the reasons why he's a Nay Theist.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Chairman Quincy of GENOM set out to do this deliberately fifty years before the start of DW2. He claims that the Knight Sabers and Doug's presence in that timeline are proof that he succeeded.
  • Creation Sequence: Numerous, including Doug building himself a motorcycle in DW2 and the rebuild of the same motorcycle in DW5.
  • Crossover: With Fenspace.
  • Crossover Cosmology
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Doug's frequent, and often tantalizingly incomplete, references to his homeworld and its history.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Doug's metatalent does screw up his life considerably, but it also lets him do things that almost no one else can.
  • Dance Battler: Doug's patchwork martial arts style -- which incorporates elements of capoeira -- can look like this at times, especially since he occasionally falls into following the beat of whatever song he's using for a power. Just looking at the footprints he left behind after his first fight in DW2, a police investigator said, "This boy's a real dancer, isn't he?"
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Quincy in DW2.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: One of the "key points" Doug informs his Defense class in DW8 he will be covering is the difference between dark and evil.
  • Data Crystal: Used by Doug's helmet, but only seen (or mentioned) in DW2.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: For someone who hates and fears gods as much as he does, Doug ends up dealing diplomatically with them quite a bit.
  • Distant Finale: Many of the Steps get distant finales as epilogues to later Steps -- which all turn into lead-ins to the parallel subseries Girls, Girls, Girls.
  • Ditto Fighter: Modified: Doug doesn't need an original to copy, he just needs a song that can give him an ability.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Averted in the climax of DW2 -- the funnel never approaches the main action, but other effects of the storm do considerable damage.
  • Doppelganger Crossover: By sheer coincidence, several of the core cast of the parallel subseries Girls, Girls, Girls are voiced by Aya Hisakawa.
  • Eldritch Abomination: According to Skuld in Drunkard's Walk V, all Physical Gods are nothing more than three-dimensional masks worn by the extrusions of twelve-dimensional creatures into four-dimensional space-times.

"If it helps you visualize things," Skuld interrupted quietly, "you can think of me as a little tiny finger puppet, attached to something huge and powerful that stays out of your sight."

  • Elemental Powers: Doug's song effects are frequently sets of abilities linked by an elemental theme.
    • Also, some of the Warriors clearly work on Elemental themes: Hexe is Weather; Shadowwalker is sound and darkness; Silverbolt is metal and electricity.
  • Elemental Punch: A frequent tactic when he uses a song that gives some kind of energy attack. He is especially fond of loading his punches with lightning. (This is a representation of a V&V mechanic called "carrier/payload attacks".)
  • Epigraph: Virtually a trademark feature of the stories. Every chapter starts with at least two relevant quotes, their sources ranging from modern pop music to ancient Greek philosophers.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In DW2, Madigan hires the Knight Sabers to indirectly take down another GENOM executive, not only because he is a threat to her, but also because he owns one of the last of the secret "pedophile special" sexaroids made.
  • Everything's Better with Motorcycles
  • Executive Suite Fight: The climactic battle of DW2
  • Expy: There's a possibility that the Marvel Universe character "DJ" may have been inspired by Doug.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: Found in many of the Steps. Sometimes Doug's presence creates them.
  • Eyeless Face: Maggie "Shadowwalker" Sangnoir. Instead of eyes she has a patch of "fur" which is part of the active sonar system she uses to "see".

F-J

  • Fantastic Science: Doug makes occasional mention in both dialogue and narration of "metabiologists" from his home world who study the nature and function of superpowers; readers will learn some of their classification system and terminology, which powers are understood scientifically and which still are mysteries. And some of the worlds he visits have their own Fantastic Sciences.
  • Featureless Plane of Disembodied Dialogue: The final chapter of DW2 includes several scenes written in this style in order to obscure the identities and location of the speakers.
  • Fictional Field of Science: "Metabiology" from Doug's home timeline.
  • Field Power Effect: Doug's "song power" -- when it doesn't produce a result that is inherently targetable, it floods an area about 110 feet in radius with whatever effect it's generating, affecting friend and foe alike. Not every result of its use is a strict example of this trope, but a number of them -- such as emotion controls, gravitic effects and so on -- certainly qualify.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Subverted in DW8 -- the Weasley twins admit it's a gag where they each just have to be quick-witted enough to come up with a suitable conclusion to a sentence the other started. Since no one really knows how the first twin would have ended the sentence, anything that the other says which makes sense in context makes it look like they're a Hive Mind.
  • First-Person Smartass: Doug's narration segments.
  • Flash Step: Doug can put on a massive burst of speed that lets him hit over 80 mph (129 kph) for a second or two, at the cost of being unable to move for a several seconds afterward. (This is actually the depiction of a movement mechanic from Villains and Vigilantes.)
  • Flying Brick: Silverbolt, Wetter Hexe, Shockwave.
  • Flying Motorcycle: Doug builds one for himself from scrap in DW2; it is rebuilt and improved by Skuld and Megumi in DW5. Similarly, his original motorcycle in his home timeline also flies.
  • Flying Dutchman: Doug, across the universes. Averted in that he finally gets home after the thirteenth Step.
  • For Want of a Nail: Doug's very presence changes the course of the worlds he visits, usually without him realizing it.
  • Force Field: Doug's "improbability field", generated as a side effect of his broken mage gift, sometimes acts like this.
  • Forged by the Gods: In chapter 12 of DW2, Wetter Hexe idly notes that her daggers "were forged for me by Hephaestus from mithril mined by the Svartalfar, breathed upon by Indra and blessed by Marduk." Played with in that Hexe herself is an incarnate goddess, and would be expected to wield god-forged weapons.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: What most Physical Gods effectively are. See Eldritch Abomination, above.
  • Functional Magic: Doug meets many spellcasters during his travels, as well as being a variety of mage himself.
  • Fun Personified: Doug, especially in Darker and Edgier settings and situations.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Doug develops a collection of these over his travels; by DW8 they've almost become a trademark for him.
  • Genghis Gambit: Part of Doug's plan in the short story West Side Loon
  • Genre Savvy: Doug, and many supporting characters. And some of the Big Bads, too.
  • Gentleman Wizard: What little information there is about Dwimanor of the Warriors makes him out to be this.
  • Ghost Planet: Although they have yet to appear "on-screen", Doug has made several references to having to survive on "post-human" Earths.
  • Go-To Alias: Doug has been known to use "Quincy Black" (from his middle name plus the second syllable of his last name translated from the French) as an off-the-cuff alias.
  • God in Human Form: Hexe.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Averted. The gods exist independently of mortals, although there is mention of an ancient Covenant that defines some kind of bargain between the two sides that is allegedly beneficial to both.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Doug considers himself a soldier and a killer (with some justification) and not a hero, and tries to correct anyone who expects a superhero's morality from him. His approach to enemies is pragmatic and usually aimed at eliminating them permanently as a threat. And his prejudices, while not extreme enough to qualify him as a Noble Bigot, also prevent him from being any kind of paragon.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In DW2, Lisa Vanette telekinetically bludgeons one boomer with the body of another.
  • Hammerspace: The panniers of Doug's motorcycle, after Skuld and Megumi rebuild it in DW5.
  • Heads-Up Display: Doug has one built into the goggles of his helmet, initially displaying metadata, lyrics, time left to play and other information from his song database, telecomm details, and some personal data management tasks. During his sojourn in Paragon City, it also displayed HeroComm data streams. After an off-screen visit to the world of Shadowrun, it incorporated smartgun targeting functionality.
  • The Hecate Sisters: The Three explicitly are the original Hecate Sisters, among other three-member archetypes.
  • Healing Hands and Healing Factor: Both are the result of any song Doug can use for healing; unlike the usual Healing Hands effect, though, his works at a range, healing everyone within 110 feet of wounds, diseases and all manner of other ills.
  • Hedge Wizard: In DW8, Doug characterizes the inhabitants of the Wizarding World as hedge wizards (compared to the Doctor Strange-level super-wizards he's used to from his homeworld), and notes that only Albus Dumbledore is powerful enough to count as a "proper" magic-user to him.

[I]f I couldn't defend myself against a bunch of inbred hedge wizards like [the Death Eaters], I'd resign my commission and take up needlepoint.

  • Heel Face Turn: Madigan in DW2, Marller in DW5.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Nearly every member of the Warriors mentioned by Doug throughout the stories is based on an actual player character from the Warriors' World roleplaying campaign. The author discovered in early 2020 that the player of "Ai Jiao Min" had drawn a blank when creating her character and named her "I Have A Name" in Chinese.
  • Hermetic Magic: One of several styles of magic in which Doug is well-versed -- though unable to actually use.
  • The Homeward Journey
  • Hot Paint Job: Doug's motorcycle (built during the events of DW2) has a red-flames-on-gloss-black paint job when it's in "civilian mode". (The entire bike, including its license plate, turns naval gray when he uses it as his Thememobile.)
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Subverted in DW2 when Doug temporarily gives Lisa telekinesis -- when she wants to do something, the power itself tells her how to do it.
  • Hufflepuff House: Doug becomes affiliated with the Trope Namer in DW8, which seems to be averting the trope's characteristic lack of characteristics.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each story has a different convention for chapter naming.
  • I Do Not Own: Detailed listings of copyright/trademark ownership conclude each chapter. The author is a professional writer on the side, and scrupulously tracks down all such information.
  • I Have Many Names: Doug appears to be accumulating a portfolio of titles and aliases.
  • I Know Your True Name: All the many and varied gods and demons of every pantheon in every world are essentially "roleplaying characters" for a group of cosmically powerful 12-dimensional beings -- none of whom use their real names with any of the masks they wear in the many universes. That said, Doug admits that he knows the True Name of his commanding officer, one of these beings who incarnated all of itself as a mortal, in order to understand what it was like to live as one. Averted, though, in that knowing this does not seem to give him any power over her, but instead testifies to their respect and affection for each other.
  • I Meant to Do That: In chapter 4 of DW8, Doug instinctively blocks a Confrigo cast by Draco Malfoy, and his personal Wild Magic lets him actually catch and hold the spell. As The Narrator, he then notes

Rule number one when you're a teacher, I learned long ago at Warriors Academy, was "Never admit you don't know what you're doing." So I made like a cat and pretended that catching the spell was what I had intended all along...

"[It's a] lie..." said one.
"...and a base canard," said the other.
"What's a canard, anyway?" muttered the first.
"A lie, or a small wing on a Muggle aircraft," I said. "It's also French for 'duck'."
"Right," said the first. "It's a lie..."
"...and a base duck," finished the other. They shared a grin and a nod. "I like that. Has style."
"Ducks are always in style," I agreed.

  • Instant Runes: Rarely for Doug, but not uncommon for the spell-casters he meets, especially in anime-based Steps.
  • Insufferable Genius: Doug at times.
  • Intangible Man: One of the powers Doug can get, using the Police's "Spirits In The Material World" among other songs.
    • Also Wetter Hexe's "spiritform".
    • And Kat.
    • Note that intangibility is actually slightly subverted under the Villains and Vigilantes rules by which the author handles powers; a sufficiently skilled attacker can actually hit an intangible target in hand-to-hand combat, as Linna and Sylia both demonstrate in DW2.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Technically all but one of the individual Steps is a single such. The one that isn't is a Mega Crossover.
  • Invisibility: One of the powers Doug can get, using the Police's "Spirits In The Material World" among other songs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Doug.
  • Jerkass Gods: Why Doug is a Nay Theist -- he initially considers all deities (aside from Hexe) to be jerkasses. Later in the series he allows for exceptions, but still considers gods to be jerkasses unless proven otherwise.
  • Jumped At the Call

K-O

  • Kilroy Was Here: In DW2, a freed Boomer takes "Kilroy" as his name and uses the graffito as a marker to indicate where other Boomers can find deposits of the nanite/organism which frees them from GENOM control.
  • Knockout Ambush: How Madigan manages to capture Doug in chapter 14 of DW2.
  • Kukris Are Kool: In his confession to the Norns in DW5, Doug mentions that he "slaughtered seventeen of Hanoi Xan's minions with a Gurkha kukri and a pair of chopsticks..."
  • Kung Fu Wizard: Doug.
  • Lady Mondegreen: Deliberately invoked at least twice in two different installments: once, when Doug explains the "H" in "Jesus H. Christ" as "Harold", and another time when he mutters "Harold be his name" in response to another character saying "Our Father, who art in Heaven".
  • Lady of War: Wetter Hexe, Shadowwalker, Silverbolt and Kat; and the Knight Sabers in DW2, just to name a few.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Doug occasionally hangs a lampshade on standard tropes he comes across in the "real world".
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the wake of DW-S. Starting in DW8 Doug knows his memory's been tampered with, making him forget something large and important, because he has a signed picture of himself at Tokyo Disneyland with the Sailor Senshi, but cannot remember who those seven girls are or why he was with them.
  • Last-Episode New Character: The freed boomers with Zodiac-inspired names who appear in the final chapter of DW2.
  • Ley Line: One of the ways magic manifests in some worlds, along with nodes.
    • There is a massive node underneath MegaTokyo that Doug makes careful use of in DW2.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Doug -- as well as most of the Warriors who appear over the course of the stories.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Which is why it's Doug's favorite power.
  • Line to God: The Drunkard's Walk Forums at the author's website.
  • The Loonie: Doug's code name clearly indicates the author's preferred play style.
  • Looney Tunes: Doug models part of his "public persona" on classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Also, early in DW2 he leaves Bugs Bunny cloisonne pins in the caskets of the victims of a boomer rampage, as tokens of his intent to fight GENOM.
  • Loveable Rogue: Part of the public persona Doug likes to project, but also a part of his real personality.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Despite the apparent randomness of Doug's own magical talent, it has been established in DW8 that magic is, at its core, a consistent repeatable phenomenon open to scientific investigation, and that the many and varied styles and traditions of magic across the multiverse relate to it in almost precisely the same way that high-level computer programming languages relate to raw machine language.
  • Magic Hat: Doug's metatalent, to a degree.
  • Magic Music: Another way to look at Doug's primary metatalent.
  • Magic Staff: "God's Toothpick", a Celestial artifact Doug acquired during the events of DW5.
  • Magical Computer: Eimi's laptop, thanks to some Advanced Phlebotinum specific to her native universe.
  • Magic Misfire: Happens sometimes when Doug tries to "force" a song to manifest a specific power.
  • Magitek: Much of Doug's equipment, either deliberately or accidentally.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Shadowwalker.
  • Mary Sue: Deliberately does a "Shuffle Off To Buffalo" all over the line between expressing and subverting.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In DW8, Draco Malfoy responds to the question "What is evil?" with the answer "The opposite of good". He loses points for being a smart-aleck.
  • May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?: In the last few pages of DW5, Krishna (yes, the god) shows up looking to borrow a cup of sugar from Belldandy, in the punch line to a Brick Joke set up six years and several chapters earlier.
  • Mega Crossover: The series as a whole; additionally, the as-yet unwritten DW10 is known to be a four-way Crossover.
  • Meganekko: Eimi.
  • The Metric System Is Here to Stay: Doug's home timeline.
  • Mildly Military: As an admittedly paramilitary organization, the Warriors seem to sit firmly between an aversion and an invocation, from what little we've seen. There is a strict chain of command, and an expectation that orders are orders and to be obeyed, but at the same time the group appears to be composed solely of (courtesy rank) officers who are open to informal and unconventional solutions.
  • Military Superhero: Doug and the rest of the Warriors.
  • Mind Over Matter: The "default mode" of Lisa Vanette's awakened mage gift.
  • More Dakka: The basic philosophy of Doug and the Warriors when it comes to approaching their opposition.
  • Muggles Do It Better: The Unified Theory of Magic, from Doug's home timeline, is equal parts this and Post-Modern Magik.
  • Multi Melee Master: At least as early as DW8, Doug carries and uses both a katana and a quarterstaff, although he still prefers fighting with empty hands.
  • Multiverse: Drunkard's Walk takes place in a metafictional continuum housing a literally infinite number of universes of varying dimensionality, with the 12-dimensional realm of the gods' metaselves at the "top".
  • Mysterious Past: Doug, almost everywhere he goes; subverted in that Doug will gladly tell it all to someone he trusts.
  • Mythopoeia: It's clear that a large, consistent one exists behind the stories, but it is revealed only in fragments here and there. What is known for sure: The multiverse is made of an infinite assortment of universes which range from 1-dimensional "lineworlds" at the "bottom" up to the unique 12-dimensional realm of the Gods at the "top". Any and all Physical Gods who appear in the lower-dimensionality universes are expressions of the greater Gods, akin to role-playing characters which can operate autonomously, and most of the myths and stories about them are true or garbled accounts of true events. The greater Gods themselves are divided into two groups confusingly called "Gods" and "Demons", whose primary conflict appears to be the answer to the question "What Measure Is a Non-God?" The Gods have an undefined Covenant with lower-dimensional sapients that apparently codifies some kind of beneficial relationship between them; the Demons think of the lower sapients as playthings, or worse, prey.
  • Narrator: Doug narrates approximately half the material in the stories; the rest is third-person narrative of events of which he is unaware or for which he is not present.
  • Nay Theist: Doug.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Doug's core super-ability could be easily defined as exactly this.
  • The Nicknamer: Doug seems to do this often, usually for people with whom he is at odds:
    • In DW2, the Knight Sabers became "Lady White and the High-Heel Gang".
    • In DW8, he gives Voldemort numerous nicknames: "Flight-of-Emo" and "Lord Emo" are the two most common. Referring to her amphibian-like appearance, he dubs Dolores Umbridge "Lady Innsmouth".
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Doug's public persona can be summed up as being along the lines of "Badass Biker Kung Fu Wizard with Bugs Bunny as a cherry on top".
  • No Inner Fourth Wall: In the final chapter of DW2, Quincy tells Doug that he's nothing more than a roleplaying character Quincy created as a young man; Doug angrily retorts, "I'm no more fictional than you are."
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Explicitly averted. According to the FAQ page for the series, scientists and others on Doug's homeworld have no problems speculating that Christ and other extraordinary figures from history, religion and myth might have been humans with powers instead of (semi)divine. Of course, some of those powers are supernatural in origin, so the line does get a bit blurry...
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: After off-screen backfires of his powers in both DW2 and DW5, Doug ends up looking like he suffered one of these.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Eimi, an Artificial Intelligence based in a laptop-sized supercomputer, who joins Doug on the Walk at some point between Steps X and XI.
  • Noodle Incident: Doug makes frequent, if undetailed, references to events that happened before the Walk started.

Which is how I ended up, somewhat less than an hour later, standing in a blank, empty "dead-zone" isolation chamber, stripped down to my Fruit-of-the-Looms. (White briefs, if you must know. The rumors that I only wear custom-made Shadowwalker Underoos are gross exaggerations. It was only that one unfortunate incident, and anyway the lady involved settled out of court.)

    • In DW8, there are several references to Doug's time working at the Romanian dragon reserve with Charlie Weasley that come out this way:

[Charlie] stood and then yanked me to my feet. "C'mon, let's go to the Cauldron. My treat."
"Um, no," I said, following after him as he began striding off down the alley. "I remember what happened the last time you offered to pick up the tab at a pub."
"Relax," Charlie called back over his shoulder. "There won't be any trolls in the Cauldron. I swear."

  • Not Wearing Tights
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Doug.
  • Omake: The "Steplets", short pieces showing some of Doug's less world-shaking stops. Also various snippets and one-shots the author posts in his forums, including a collection of over 200 "nanoSteps".
  • Once Killed a Man with A Noodle Implement: In his confession to the Norns in DW5, Doug mentions that he "slaughtered seventeen of Hanoi Xan's minions with a Gurkha kukri and a pair of chopsticks..."
  • One Steve Limit: In-Universe, Doug invokes this trope when re-nicknaming Luna Lovegood in chapter 4 of DW8.
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: Doug does this with quantum black holes to defend himself from a gravity weapon in DW2.
  • Our Liches Are Different: In DW8, Doug catalogues for Albus Dumbledore all the ways he knows of that a sorcerer can evade death, and expresses gratitude that Voldemort has chosen one of the lesser (and less invulnerable) ways to do so.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Doug can see souls with his mage sight, and even make out their component parts if the soul is "powerful" enough.
  • Outside Context Hero: Doug is this in many of the worlds he visits. Even in those with active magic or super-powers, his abilities are so different from the norm as to be completely baffling to the natives.

P-T

If you were to visualize a boomer brain as a stack of circuit boards (which it's not, not even close, but the image is useful), the controls GENOM imposed were all on the topmost board, with the occasional wire snaking down to a lower level.

  • Physical God: The Three and others, especially during the events of DW5. And, of course, Wetter Hexe. Among others.
  • Pinball Gag: Became the basis of an entire combat scene in DW2!
  • Pinball Projectile: See Pinball Gag, above.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Doug.
  • Population X and Counting: Played with in DW8: When Albus Dumbledore uses Legilimency to enter Doug's Looney Tunes-influenced mindscape, one of the first things he sees is a sign reading "Welcome to Wackyland! Population Thursday and still Growling!"
  • Portal Door: One of Skitz's powers is the ability to open 3-by-3 meter teleport gates anywhere within a radius just a bit larger than the Moon's orbit.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The Unified Theory of Magic, from Doug's home timeline, is equal parts this and Muggles Do It Better.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Doug, after he arranges for the resurrection of Toshi and Yui at the end of chapter 8 of DW2.
  • Power Incontinence: Theoretically the basic problem with Doug's metatalent, but he's got a couple of very effective workarounds.
  • The Power of Rock: Literally: Doug's primary metatalent turns songs he hears into superpowers; he has a preference for classic rock and various metal subgenres.
  • Power of the Storm: Wetter Hexe, whose code name is German for "Weather Witch"; she shows why it's her code name when Doug summons a simulacrum of her (along with several other Warriors) in DW2.
    • Doug himself in the climactic battle of DW2.
  • Power Strain Blackout: Happens to Doug in DW2 (after contacting the Three) and in DW5 (after the events of the climax).
  • Private Military Contractors: The Warriors in Doug's home timeline are the U.N.'s contracted super-police, a pre-existing team hired by the U.N. instead of forming their own metahuman force.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: In the prologue to DW8, Sybill Trelawney gives a fairly clear, reasonably precise prophecy concerning Doug's arrival in the Harry Potter world. (Unfortunately, she's completely alone at the time, and no one hears it.)
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Numerous examples, such as

"Excuse me!" A large woman with long dark hair sharply berated her companions. "DON'T! TAUNT! GODS!"

from chapter 13 of DW2.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Unlike most folks who do this, Doug was able to rage directly into a god's face.
  • Raised Catholic: Doug, who retains enough of it after meeting (and working for) all manner of pagan gods, that he did a proper confession to the Norns.
    • Also, Katherine Madigan in DW2.
  • Real Place Background: Seen multiple times just in the first chapter of DW-S. Doug's apartment, the gym where he trains Usagi, even a random 7-11 visited by Minako Aino -- all are real places and most get Google Maps coordinates in the story's concordance.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Firmly averted. Doug's home universe is more advanced than the "real" one because of scientific advances made by studying superhumans.
    • Doug also frequently leaves advanced technologies in his wake which make radical changes to the worlds he drops them in.
    • And then there's Legion's "gift package" to the Knight Sabers in DW2.
      • Which itself becomes the basis of a similar archive of information carried from world to world (and shared) by the protagonists of Girls, Girls, Girls.
  • Refused the Call: In DW2 Doug is initially reluctant to involve himself in "local affairs" -- until Lisa Vanette prods his sense of duty.
  • Robot Girl: Several, in various universes.
  • Rule of Cool
  • Running Gag
  • Scrapbook Story: Somewhat. Those sections presented from Doug's point of view are explicitly composed of or from journal entries he maintains in his helmet computer during his "exile"; the provenance of most of the other sequences is less clear.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: In the Backstory, Wetter Hexe -- the leader of the superhero team to which Douglas Sangnoir belongs in his home world -- is a goddess who did this to herself so that she could fully understand what it was to be human and mortal. (The fact that she's still a world-class level superhuman even so suggests she didn't fully seal the can, despite her best intentions.)
  • Secret Identity: Both embraced and averted. Doug notes that he does not bother with a secret identity "back home", but in worlds where he is a unique specimen, at odds with the local power structure, or both, he establishes one for himself.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Averted; while Douglas Sangnoir is one of the author's roleplaying characters, he points out that he has an explicit self-insert avatar in that campaign in a different character entirely. Furthermore, the author often deliberately subverts the usual conventions of the self-insert fic.
  • Sempai-Kohai: In DW8, Doug compares the self-organizing social structure of Hufflepuff House to multiple levels of sempai-kohai relationships, with almost everyone in the house having both a mentor and someone whom they mentor.
  • Sequel Series: Mostly planned but unwritten: The Drunkard's Vacation, Girls, Girls, Girls. Also at least three fan-written sequels to DW2 are in the works, two of which have been recognized as "official".
  • Shave and a Haircut: Played out by falling crockery in DW8, as a side effect of Doug's "improbability field".
  • Simulated Urban Combat Area: One is generated by the Warriors Mansion Danger Room near the end of DW8 chapter 4.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: See Narrator, above, and Switching POV, below. Doug is usually on the outskirts of the main action in the settings he visits, only occasionally intersecting with their casts and plots.
  • Skip of Innocence: In chapter 4 of DW8, Luna Lovegood skips merrily back into Ravenclaw Tower with Doug as her escort after he sets things in motion to stop the bullying she's been subject to.
  • Song Fic: Justified by the nature of Doug's primary superpower, which uses songs he listens to as catalysts to produce other powers.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: Numerous examples throughout the cycle, as intentional humor.
    • DW2:
      • Discussions between the Three frequently end up this way.
      • Hexe addressing the Three:

"Honored Aunts, once Your bargain with him is complete, kindly butt the hell out."

  • Spanner in the Works: A frequent side effect of Doug's presence in a given world.
  • Speed Blitz: Doug can "combat hype", during which he is several times faster than a normal human. Even without hyping he is occasionally described as moving so fast he seems to blur. And if DW2 is any indication, this is a trope shared by almost all of the Warriors, among whom Doug is merely mid-level in speed. (This is a result of expressing the V&V combat and initiative system in "real world" terms.)
  • Spider Sense: In DW2, Doug claims everyone in the Warriors develops a "danger sense" sooner or later, and notes that scientists in his home time line call it "class 1 post-natal acquired precognition".
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Billy Idol's "White Wedding" allows Doug to manifest shotguns out of thin air. Elton John's "Saturday night's alright for fighting" appears to produce butterfly knives. Other songs may provide similar effects.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted, hard, by Doug, who describes getting shot by a handgun as something that will hurt like hell but not seriously inconvenience him. In the material released so far, he's been hit with attacks ranging from machine guns to particle beam weapons, suffering at the worst serious injury.
    • Dwimanor, however, is shown in Doug's recollections to be a more traditionally squishy magic user -- but still only by comparison to Doug.
  • Stock Shout-Outs: In DW13, Doug describes the residential neighborhoods of Sunnydale as "a maze of twisty little roads all alike".
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Both expressed and subverted; Doug does anything he can to survive, especially immediately after arriving in a new world.
  • Stock Super Powers: Doug can get any of these with an appropriate song -- but only for as long as that song lasts.
  • Stop Worshipping Me!: According to Doug, this is Hexe's reaction to anyone attempting to offer her any kind of worship or devotion, apparently because she incarnated as she did in order to experience the mortal condition as a mortal.
  • Super Empowering: Doug can do this, at least on a temporary basis, with the right song.
    • He uses Genesis' "Invisible Touch" to give Lisa Vanette telekinesis in DW2, unknowingly priming the awakening of her latent mage gift after he leaves that universe.
  • Super Senses: Doug's magesight; Hexe's "air sense"; Chris and the goddesses' different levels of "higher perceptions" in DW5.
  • Super-Hero Gods: Hexe, although the author is coy about just which god(dess) she really is.
  • Superhero: Subverted -- while Doug is a "metahuman" with special powers, he views himself as a soldier, not a hero. And while his homeworld has powered vigilantes, it lacks the very word "superhero".
  • Superhero Paradox: Quincy reveals at the climax of DW2 that he has spent the majority of his life trying to run this trope backwards. And that the presence of both the Knight Sabers and Doug in Megatokyo proves he succeeded.
  • Super-Hero School: Warriors Academy, in Doug's home world, is mentioned several times in passing.
  • Superpower Lottery: Doug bought every ticket and hoarded them.
  • Super Speed: Possessed to one degree or another by all the Warriors we see in DW2, although Doug is "merely" fleet of foot compared to the others.
  • Super Strength: Demonstrated by both Wetter Hexe and Silverbolt in DW2; a classic super-strength stunt is averted with when Silverbolt grabs a car by the bumper in order to lift it, and the bumper rips off in her hand instead.
  • Switching POV: The stories alternate between first-person narration by main character Douglas Sangnoir, and third-person omniscient narration of events for which he is not present.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: In chapter 4 of DW8, Doug mentions how he taught all of his classes at Hogwarts on September 19, 1995 in an exaggerated pirate accent, and that for some reason it seemed to upset Hermione Granger.
  • Technopath: Secondary effect of any song that gives Doug lightning or electrical powers.
  • That's an Order: In chapter 12 of of DW2, Wetter Hexe tells him to stand down from a confrontation, and bellows "That's an order, Mister!", with the thunder from the storm she's currently causing echoing her voice word-for-word.
  • Thememobile: Doug's cycle has a "camouflage" mode in which all its painted surfaces and its license plates turn a neutral grey in color -- which happens to coordinate with his grey biker leathers.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Thoroughly averted. Doug is a soldier with super-powers, not a superhero, and approaches the enemy like any other soldier unless he is operating under non-lethal rules of engagement.
  • Time Stands Still: In DW5, both Chris/Paradox and Doug demonstrate this ability. In Chris' case, it's a divine power as the God of Moments; in Doug's case it's a magical effect caused by the J Geils Band song "Freeze Frame".
  • Time Travel: Several of Doug's power effects allow him time travel or something similar; also, he is not restricted to his "personal calendar" when arriving in a new world, and can show up anywhere in its history.
  • Tim Taylor Magic: Doug and the node under Megatokyo.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Towards the end of his travels, Doug starts wondering why he ends up in or near Tokyo in two-thirds or more of the universes he visits.
  • To the Batpole: Averted in DW2 -- Doug keeps his uniform in his wardrobe and his motorcycle in a garage in the basement of the apartment building he lives in; one time when he has to respond to an emergency, he has to get rid of a guest, change, and then run down twenty flights of stairs.
  • Trapped in Another World: Doug is trapped in a series of other worlds, as he tries to find his way, somewhat randomly, back home.
  • Tuckerization: In addition to the Warriors, who are superpowered avatars of the author's fellow gamers, there are a number of original characters who appear both "on-screen" and only by reference who are named after people the author worked with at the time their first appearances were written.
  • Twin Telepathy: Subverted in DW8, when the Weasley Twins explain that they fake it by cleverly Finishing Each Other's Sentences. Possibly double-subverted, when Doug sees them appear to communicate silently with each other and suspects they really do possess this.

U-Z

  • Undead Tax Exemption: Averted. Doug has to arrange for forged identity papers and history in every world he visits where such matters -- with varying degrees of difficulty.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Trelawny's prophecy at the start of DW8 might be an aversion, or it might be played straight, depending on how much you know about Doug.
  • Values Dissonance : Multiple in-universe instances, usually caused by the collision between Doug's ethics and the standards of the world he's in.
    • Prime example: DW2. Doug comes from a world where AIs and robots are considered people; upon discovering that Boomers are sentient, he immediately views the Knight Sabers as murderers and slavehunters.
  • Variable-Length Chain: One effect of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" in DW2.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Mentioned several times, but never seen.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Kat in DW2.
  • Wacky Guy: Sometimes Doug, sometimes the people Doug gets to know.
    • In DW2, Lisa Vanette develops a very Kramer-like habit of bursting into Doug's apartment unannounced.
  • Wackyland: In DW8, Albus Dumbledore enters Doug's mindscape and finds it is strongly influenced by classic Looney Tunes cartoons; he actually comes across a sign therein declaring "Welcome to Wackyland! Population Thursday and still Growling!"
  • Walking Techbane: Both expressed and averted in Doug, whose field can not only mess with technology but given enough time can erode and evaporate any sufficiently complex object -- yet can also accidentally enchant objects as well. Fortunately, Doug can "nudge" it away from things -- like food, his clothing and useful equipment -- that he doesn't want ruined or "improved".
  • Walking The Multiverse: Doug.
  • Walking Wasteland: The effect that the song "This Corrosion" by The Sisters of Mercy has when Doug plays it -- every non-living thing within Doug's radius of effect rots or rusts or corrodes away.
  • Wall Jump: In DW2, Doug does one to quickly get to ground level from the roof of a three-story building.
  • We Didn't Start the Billy Joel Parodies: Not strictly speaking a parody, but an alternate version of "We Didn't Start The Fire" from Doug's timeline appears in chapter seven of DW2.
  • West Coast Team: Several times Doug mentions that the superteam of which he is part in his home universe has its headquarters and "Alpha" branch near London, England and a "Beta Team" in Tokyo. There is also apparently a Delta Team in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as a Gamma Team, whose location is never specified.
  • What Could Have Been: In-Universe, Doug's recollections of his homeworld often hold tantalizing hints of things that happened differently from our timeline, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman collaborating to write The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted -- Doug almost always does the obvious pragmatic thing, such as making sure his opponents are dead, instead of acting like a movie hero.
    • Actively subverted in the climax of DW2, when Doug actually warns the Big Bad that monologuing about his evil plans virtually guarantees his defeat. However, the Big Bad is meta-Genre Savvy and offers a justification for acting in a way that seems like Genre Blindness.
    • Averted in the Steplet I Dream of Djinni, where Doug uses a sniper rifle to assassinate Jafar from Disney's Aladdin before he can cause any serious trouble.
  • Winds of Destiny Change: One of the effects of Doug's field.
  • Wrong-Context Magic: Doug is this practically everywhere he goes due to the unique effects of his mutated mage-gift.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Born into a show-business family and with a German Jewish grandmother, it's a wonder Doug doesn't use more Yiddish than he does.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: "God's Toothpick", the quarterstaff Doug acquires in DW5, was jointly created by Heaven and Hell as a prototype for a weapon intended to take out god-level third parties who might try to horn in on the relatively peaceful Ah! My Goddess world.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: Evoked and parodied in DW8, especially with the title of chapter 1, "Okay, So, You Meet This Wizard In A Tavern..."
  • You Just Told Me: An example from chapter 13 of DW2:

Leon began to chuckle, but it died in his throat. "Ah... um..." He coughed. "How long have you known?"
Daley gave a sniff of noiseless laughter. "About half an hour. You really should learn to control that mouth of yours, partner."

"When faith calls to faith," she added, "you will know what to do with this."