As described on the MSPA website, Homestuck is "a tale about a boy and his friends and a game they play together." Homestuck is the fourth MS Paint Adventure, and by far the largest one yet, with 6851 pages (out of 8,752 MSPA pages) as of October 16, 2013. It started on the 13th of April 2009; 413 becoming a recurring number in-universe.
Various numerical data about Homestuck are maintained here.
Homestuck's basic premise was inspired by games like The Sims, Spore, and EarthBound. Unlike previous Adventures, Homestuck is no longer primarily driven by reader submitted commands, Andrew having taken full control of the story during Act 4. However, he admits to still drawing inspiration from the speculation and fanart of his fanbase.
The Homestuck Beta, that was started on April 10, three days prior to the now official release, was Andrew's original attempt to start the comic, which he planned to make entirely in Flash, and drop the MS Paint-style art. However, when the Homestuck Stable Release came, it was revealed that it would continue its art style and use of animated GIFs instead. It was revealed a few days later in Andrew's blog that this was not planned, but rather, it was because doing a whole series with Flash was too difficult and time consuming for him. Although most of the adventure is still created with animated gifs, there are still occasional Flash updates which take the form of movies or even interactive minigames, and include music.
The game of Homestuck is shown to have Terezi when she attempts to play it on a record player, causing the game to at an inopportune time. It had to be taken to a scratch doctor in order to be repaired.. The first disc lasts until the . The second disc, resembling , was supposed to last until the end of the adventure, though it was later to only last through Act 6 Intermission 5. The second disc by
ACT 2 - RAISE OF THE CONDUCTOR'S BATON (Started 6/10/09, ended 10/11/09)
ACT 3 - INSANE CORKSCREW HAYMAKERS (Started 10/14/09, ended 1/14/10)
INTERMISSION - DON'T BLEED ON THE SUITS. (Started 1/14/10, ended 2/09/10)
- ACT 1 - MOB1US DOUBL3 R34CH4ROUND (Started 6/12/10, ended 9/19/10)
- ACT 2 - HE IS ALREADY HERE. (Started 9/19/10, ended 10/25/11)
INTERMISSION 2 - THE MAN IN THE CAIRO OVERCOAT. (Started 10/31/11, ended 11/02/11)
- ACT 1 - THROUGH BROKEN GLASS (Started 11/11/11, ended 12/08/11)
- INTERMISSION 1 - CORPSE PARTY (Started 12/08/11, ended 12/29/11)
- ACT 2 - YOUR SHIT IS WRECKED. (Started 12/30/11, ended 3/08/12)
- INTERMISSION 2 - PENIS OUIJA (Started 3/09/12, ended 4/02/12)
- ACT 3 - NOBLES (Started 4/13/12, ended 7/28/12)
- INTERMISSION 3 - BALLET OF THE DANCESTORS (Started 8/30/12, ended 11/03/12)
- ACT 4 - VOID (Started 11/11/12, ended 11/12/12)
- INTERMISSION 4 - DEAD (Started 11/13/12, ended 11/27/12)
- ACT 5 - OF GODS AND TRICKSTERS (Started 11/28/12, ended 2/16/13)
- INTERMISSION 5 - I'M PUTTING YOU ON SPEAKER CRAB. (Started 2/16/13, ended 4/13/13)
- ACT 6 (Started 4/14/13, current sub-act)
The following portions of the story will all be posted at once when the Gigapause ends.
The End of the World
On his 13th birthday, John Egbert receives the latest computer game, a beta version of an immersive simulation game called Sburb. Working with his friend Rose Lalonde, they discover that the game allows the players to manipulate their reality.
A startling revelation comes, though - an apocalyptic meteor shower is beginning to destroy the world before their very eyes. However, the game gives them tools to escape their fate. John, Rose, and their friends Dave Strider and Jade Harley work together to flee the apocalypse and enter a new dimension called the Incipisphere. The Incipisphere is a world of "warring royalty in a timeless expanse," where the forces of Prospit and Derse struggle for dominion over the realm of Skaia in the chess-patterned Battlefield at its center. The kids are given primary guides - spirits known as Kernelsprites - to help them understand this new setting and the rules of the game. The four of them must fight against the monsters of the dark kingdom, controlled by the Denizens, and free the Consorts of the four planets circling Skaia. They must master the inventory system called the Sylladex, and understand the alchemy system the game provides.
John, Rose, Dave, and Jade slowly learn of their roles as the Heir of Breath, the Seer of Light, the Knight of Time, and the Witch of Space respectively. They must all undertake personal journeys, come to terms with their relationships with their Guardians, and wake their dream selves. They learn they must pass the Seven Gates, reach Skaia, and stop the Black King and Black Queen from destroying Skaia in an event called the Reckoning. However, it’s said that Skaia would buy the kids time by creating defense portals that would redirect the meteors to another place in paradox space – Earth. Some of these meteors are to "seed" laboratories like the Skyship Base on Earth, and carry Exiles – former members of the two kingdoms – to the year 2422, long after the apocalypse, for them to repopulate the Earth. Others spawn anomalies like the Frog Temple, and others become the meteors that hit the kids’ houses in the first place. However, another revelation happens as John eventually reaches a laboratory in the Incipisphere’s outer meteor belt called the Veil, where he uncovers a mysterious ectobiology machine. John accidentally facilitates the kids’ and their guardians’ own existences. They are sent back to the past on meteors during the Reckoning as well, to set in motion the entire chain of events.
Jack and the Trolls
On their quest to grow up and fill into their hero roles, the players stumble upon signs that their mission will end in disastrous failure if they continue on their path. A weapon Jade tries to give to John accidentally ends up in the hands of Jack Noir, the nefarious archagent of Derse. He commits double regicide against the monarchs of Derse and becomes the Sovereign Slayer, wreaking destruction wherever he goes – something never intended to happen in the game.
They also learn that they are not the only group of people playing the game. Countless other sessions of players, on other planets in other dimensions, also exist. They begin to be contacted by the twelve Trolls – players from another planet and another dimension, who played a session of Sburb (or, as they called it, Sgrub) long ago in the past. Many aspects of their session were similar, with their own twelve-planet Incipisphere, their own Exiles and more. These twelve managed to win their game, and discovered the ultimate purpose of Sburb – to create new universes. In fact, the kids’ home universe was created by none other than the trolls, led by Karkat Vantas.
However, something went wrong, and an indestructible, omnipotent demon was unleashed into their game. Before the trolls could gain access to the new universe, they were stopped by his appearance in the space-time continuum. It is revealed that this demon was actually a Becquerel-prototyped Jack Noir, who under complex circumstances got into the session of the trolls and prevented them from winning the game. The trolls soon get in touch with the kids, and begrudgingly attempt to help the kids in learning of things like the First Guardians of Earth and Alternia, and the Green Sun which powers them. They work on a plan - to depower Jack by recovering a massive bomb called The Tumor and taking it into the sun, meanwhile causing a scratch to reset their session and escaping it via the fourth wall. The plan is for everyone to meet up in the new session. However, while the kids work to execute the plan, not all is well on the Trolls' meteor. Several of the trolls begin killing each other, and the murderous Gamzee Makara speaks of his mirthful messiahs and a Vast Honk yet to come.
The plan goes off somewhat successfully, and all four of the kids reach god tier in the process. However, it is revealed that the Tumor is a bomb that detonates when the Kids' and Trolls' universes have been destroyed. This occurs when Jack Noir attacks Bilious Slick - the Kids' universe, a frog bred by the trolls - and Spades Slick shoots Snowman - the Troll's exiled Black Queen whose heart contains the Trolls' universe. The resulting explosion gives birth to the Green Sun, which was never meant to be destroyed. The First Guardian of Alternia, Doc Scratch, had deceived them by forgetting to mention just what the bomb actually did. Meanwhile, upon the death of Doc Scratch and the destruction of the two universes, a code activates and the evil Lrd English, a time-travelling crime lord, leader of The Felt and Doc Scratch's master, makes his arrival at the end of the trolls' universe and begins his own work.
The Post-Scratch Session
The scratch resets the Kids' universe so that the kids and their ectobiological parents are sent to Earth at different times. Jane Crocker, Jake English, Dirk Strider and Roxy Lalonde, the B2 kids, are the new players in this instance of the universe. However, while they prepare to play the game, it is apparent that the odds are stacked against them. Earth is a corporate planet owned by Betty Crocker, who is really the Condesce, the former Empress of Alternia now in the service of Lord English and the usurper of the Black Queen in the new Incipisphere. Roxy and Dirk live years in the future in a flooded planet, constantly under threat of the Imperial Drones, and the God Cat makes all kinds of mischief for these new heroes. The B2 kids are contacted by two members of another alien species - the Cherubs, consisting of the friendly and helpful Calliope and the violent and antagonistic Caliborn, who share the same body and are going to play their own session. Caliborn plans to kill Calliope as part of the 'game'.
Meanwhile, together with the surviving trolls, the original four kids embark on two separate three-year journeys to the B2 session. The newly-omnipotent Peregrine Mendicant sends a badly wounded Wayward Vagabond to the kids and trolls at the Green Sun, who then begin to travel through the Furthest Ring - the space between universes - on a meteor. PM proceeds to pursue Jack Noir as he pursues the meteor through the Ring. Meanwhile, John, Jade and the remaining population of their Incipisphere - shrunken by Jade's god tier powers - break through the Fourth Wall and begin to cross the Yellow Yard.
As the three years progress, the meteor's crew passes through dream bubbles, places made out of the memories of players. The bubbles serve as the afterlife for dead players and where living players go while they sleep. Through these dream bubble visits, they encounter the pre-scratch trolls, a group of Troll players who are the ancestors of the more familiar Trolls. They played Sburb and were forced to reset their null session with a scratch, resulting in the post-scratch troll session that the kids had interacted with. One of the trolls, Meenah Peixes, killed all of them so that they could survive the scratch and continue to exist through dream bubbles.
However, they soon discover that English has been destroying dream bubbles and killing players who are already dead, shattering reality in the process. Swiftly realizing the vast threat he poses to reality itself, they begin to come up with plans to combat him. Meenah seeks out her fellow dead players to amass a ghost army, while the dead Vriska Serket plans to use a map of the Furthest Ring and follow English's path of destruction to find a treasure that could defeat him. Aranea Serket wants to find Calliope, who is now dead, having had her body permanently been taken over by Caliborn, who is revealed to actually be Lord English as a child.
As the B2 kids manage to enter their Medium, they find that there are no pre-entry prototypings. The planets are barren wastelands and all of the Underlings are skeletal. The new session is a void session where Skaia can never advance to its final state; the B1 kids must bring their Battlefield and their Genesis Frog so it can release the Vast Croak there. After months of waiting for the B1 kids to arrive, it comes to the day before their arrival. Calliope's spirit meets Roxy in a dream and warns her of the battle ahead. However, the Alpha kids are beset by relationship problems which threaten the unity of their group.
When the kids receive Calliope and Caliborn's jujus - cherubs' prized magical objects - the ensuing chaos leads to the four winding up on their Quest Crypts in the center of Prospit and Derse's moons. The Alpha Jack Noir receives Lil' Cal, a cursed juju that had previously appeared all throughout the story. He becomes possessed and soon channels the powers of Lord English, using them to destroy Prospit's moon. Meanwhile, the Condesce uses yellow blood powers to destroy Derse's moon. The Alpha kids ascend to god tier, and are rescued from an ambush by Jade, who has just arrived in the session. The Condesce uses her powers to mind control Jade, who in turn mind controls Jane; the two kidnap Roxy and Jake, whereas Dirk and Alpha Jack are left at the edges of their Incipisphere.
The group on the meteor, which has almost reached the alpha session, is beset by their own emotional problems, and seems unprepared for the struggle ahead. John, on the other hand, is asleep on arrival. As Lrd English's destruction of reality forms a ring around the Green Sun, a sleeping John meets the ghosts in the afterlife, who have formed a pirate crew led by Vriska. As they approach the treasure, Aranea explains cherub biology and the origin of Calliope and Caliborn, who were raised in their infancy by Gamzee on a planet that was in fact a B2 Earth displaced in space and time.
She explains how Caliborn came to predominate over his sister and enter his own session. Aided by his new servant Gamzee, he began to activate a tower network that let him see the Alpha session - and let him talk directly to Homestuck's author, Andrew Hussie. He discovered that his own session was a dead session, an extraordinarily difficult type of void session that would never be able to produce a new universe, even with outside intervention, and thus possessed its own unique victory conditions. Playing this session, he amassed leprechaun followers which would later become The Felt, and continued to gain power in his journey. In the present, Spades Slick, who was rescued from the death of the trolls' universe by Hussie, takes charge of Ms. Paint and the resurrected Felt, and finds his own way to the Alpha session, planning to take on Lrd English.
The pirate crew finds the treasure, which turns out to be a transparent Sburb logo. John, sticking his arm through, discovers that it is a gateway to any point in time and paradox space. He winds up appearing in many events in the story before appearing in the Alpha session. The meteor crew finally arrives in the session, but Jade intercepts them all (except Gamzee) and leaves them divided into pairs on different planets. With the heroes now in her possession, the Condesce forces them to help enact her secret plan: no longer willing to serve Lrd English, she intends to betray him by finishing the B2 session, seizing the Ultimate Reward for herself, and recreating her empire in the new universe with Earth as its new capital.
With many recurring thematic elements and such a thick, dense plot with so many characters, how the heroes will break free from the cycle of destruction of reality is anyone's guess.
The comic has a sub-comic, the totally rad Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, written by the character Dave Strider.
Differences between the Beta and the Stable Release
- Main article: Homestuck Beta
Besides the art, Flash, etc., Homestuck had many changes made to it when the Stable Release came out. Here's a list of some elements Beta had that the Stable Release didn't:
- The story started on the tenth of April instead of the thirteenth (both in-game and in real life), and starts on a Friday.
- Likewise, the Sburb Beta was released on the seventh of April instead of the tenth.
- John is ten years old instead of thirteen.
- John has a white buckle on his belt, and his shoes are black with white shoelaces rather than white with black shoelaces.
- The hammer and nails are on the desk rather than on the floor.
- Beta only includes the colors green and red, while the stable release has many others.
- You cannot see the other items inside the Magic Chest.
- You "place" the items in your Sylladex instead of "captchalogue" them in your Sylladex.
- It includes a command that the Stable Release didn't: "John: Move green icon to MAGIC CHEST and click." It is excluded because only Beta uses the click-and-drag option.
- John attempts to retrieve his arms from a drawer in his bed instead of his dresser drawer, because the bed drawer is missing in the Stable Release.
- The CD rack beside his computer is missing.
For unknown reasons, four page numbers are skipped in the MSPA numbering, namely(in troll romance), (between Rose and Dave discussing the Horrorterrors), (after [S] JOHN: RISE UP.) and (between John fleeing from Jade on LOLAR). While most of these pages are blank, 8270 is actually a duplicate of 8269 where both the "Go Back" button and the forwarding command button lead back to 8270. Consequently, the actual number of Homestuck pages is four fewer than subtracting the overall numbering would imply, discounting easter eggs and links to images such as Jadebot's dream log or certain characters' drawings.