|Synonyms:||Troll Romance System, Homestuck shipping|
|See also:||Troll Genitalia, List of Homestuck Terminology|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
(designed to pacify)
|Red Romance||Matespritship ♥
|Black Romance||Kismesissitude ♠
The trolls have a specific, complicated romance system that differs from the human understanding of romance. The system is divided into four "quadrants": Matespritship, Moirallegiance, Kismesissitude, and Auspisticism.
The quadrants primarily exist to facilitate the complicated troll reproduction system (see Troll Genitalia for more information). Trolls can reproduce with each other regardless of sex or gender, but they produce different genetic material based on which quadrant their relationship is in. As a result, most trolls find gender irrelevant when considering potential partners, and they don't have a word for sexual orientation in the human sense. (Though some trolls do have preferences, such as Kanaya Maryam, who would be considered a lesbian by human standards.) Trolls can be romantically interested in both humans and trolls alike.
Each quadrant is represented by a playing card suit (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades), and for shipping these symbols are used to indicate the type of relationship, similar to the slash or ampersand. For example, the label "Gamzee Makara ♠ Karkat Vantas" on a story would indicate that Gamzee Makara and Karkat Vantas are a couple in a kismesis relationship. This style is most commonly used when at least one troll character is involved in the relationship, though it's sometimes used for human or other characters as well.
The troll concept of romance has been explored extensively in canon, fanon, fanfiction, and fanart. Some fans have used this system for fusions with other fandoms. Other fans use this romance system to try and explain relationships between characters in other fandoms or for real relationships.
The four quadrants are organized on a grid, with each row and column of the grid forming a conceptual group of two quadrants.
The red romance quadrants are matespritship and moirallegiance. They are associated with positive, loving emotions.
The black romance quadrants are kismesissitude and auspisticism. They are associated with negative, hateful emotions.
The concupiscent quadrants are matespritship and kismesissitude. These are the quadrants required for troll reproduction.
The conciliatory quadrants are moirallegiance and auspisticism. These are not directly related to reproduction, but having relationships in these quadrants can helps trolls maintain healthy concupiscent relationships and achieve better emotional stability overall.
- Represented by ♥ or <3
- Also known as the flushed quadrant
- Singular: matesprit, plural: matesprits
- Portmanteau of "mate" and "esprit"
- Canon example: Dave Strider ♥ Karkat Vantas
The quadrant most similar to the human concept of romance.
While "red romance" technically includes both matespritship and moirallegiance, in fandom the term "redrom" most commonly refers to matesprits.
- Represented by ♦ or <>
- Also known as the pale quadrant
- Singular: moirail, plural: moirails
- Portmanteau of "moira" and "allegiance"
- Canon example: Nepeta Leijon ♦ Equius Zahhak
A moirail serves as their partner's "better half" and tries to keep them grounded, along with pacifying them if they become too violent. The human equivalent would be something like platonic soulmates, though it is still considered a romance by troll standards.
- Represented by ♠ or <3<
- Also known as the pitch or caliginous quadrant
- Singular: kismesis, plural: kismesises or kismeses
- Portmanteau of "kismet" and "nemesis"
- Canon example: Gamzee Makara ♠ Terezi Pyrope
Kismeses feel a strong rivalry or hatred toward each other, but still have qualities about each other that they admire. Since this is a concupiscent quadrant, there is usually a component of sexual attraction as well.
While "black romance" technically includes both kismesissitude and auspisticism, in fandom the term "blackrom" most commonly refers to kismeses.
- Represented by ♣ or o8<
- Also known as the ashen quadrant
- Singular: auspistice, plural: auspistices
- Portmanteau of "auspice" and "armistice"
- Canon example: Kanaya Maryam ♣ Vriska Serket ♣ Tavros Nitram
The only quadrant where the relationship consists of three people, not two. The auspistice serves as a mediator between two others and tries to prevent their relationship from becoming too volatile. For example, if two trolls feel strong hatred for each other, but are already in other committed kismesis relationships, an auspistice could help keep the peace between them to avoid caliginous infidelity or other social problems.
Because troll relationships are complicated and often volatile, it is common for relationships to fluctuate between quadrants, a phenomenon known as quadrant vacillation. The most typical example is red-black vacillation, where two people will go back and forth between being matesprits and being kismeses, as these two quadrants are usually the most emotionally intense.
In Homestuck Fandom
Archive of Our Own has the tag Troll Romance (Homestuck), as well as Pale Romance | Moirallegiance with 3000+ works, Flushed Romance | Matesprits with 2250+ works, Caliginous Romance | Kismesis with 2200+ works, and Ashen Romance | Auspistice with 350+ works. There are also Quadrant Confusion with 900+ works, Quadrant Vacillation, and other tags for vacillation between specific quadrants.
On AO3 450+ works in the Troll Romance (Homestuck) tag are not Homestuck works.
The heart, diamond, club, and spade symbols are sometimes used as relationship indicators in other fandoms as well.