What is the Dark Hour?
The Dark Hour is a daily time and space anomaly that affects certain areas on the game. When it occurs, it affects the areas it occurs within dramatically. Time effectively stops. Electronics fail to work, the environment takes a chilling turn, and most importantly, Shadows emerge.
The Dark Hour occurs at the stroke of midnight. As the name implies, it endures for approximately an 'hour', though of course telling time is impossible within it. Once it has concluded for the night, normal time resumes at 12:01 AM.
Who experiences the Dark Hour?
Persona-users and Shadow-Possessed form the bulk of people who consciously experience the Dark Hour. While technically speaking everyone experiences the Dark Hour, ordinary people or those who haven't awakened to a Persona typically don't remember it, as they almost always are Transmogrified during it.
Exceptions occur, particularly for player characters. The Dark Hour is much more dangerous for those without supernatural powers, of course.
Where does the Dark Hour take place?
The Dark Hour takes place in three locations: all of Tatsumi-shi, Okina City, and Yumezaki Ward. Mechanically speaking, the experience is the same for all three locations, with the only notable difference being that Shadows are rather weak in Yumezaki Ward.
What is Transmogrification?
Transmogrification is what happens to most people during the Dark Hour: they are encapsulated in coffin-like structures that prevent them from experiencing the Dark Hour. They cannot be touched by Shadows while they remain Transmogrified.
People who emerge from Transmogrification in the Dark Hour are at risk of being preyed on by Shadows. This is the cause of Apathy Syndrome, please see the newsfile on it for more information. Shadows may also consume people completely, killing them.
Animals and other forms of life don't Transmogrify. They seemingly cease to exist until the Dark Hour ends.
What is Tartarus?
Tartarus is a tower that pierces the sky within the Tatsumi-shi Dark Hour. It can be called a 'Shadow nest'. Standing where Gekkoukan High typically sits, it emerges with the start of the Dark Hour. Shadows emerge from here into the city streets.
As it is full of Shadows, Tartarus is a good place to train. However, it is also dangerous -- without proper preparation, assistance, and backup, someone could get killed in here. The ever-shifting interior and maze-like nature of Tartarus make it difficult to navigate.
No one knows how tall Tartarus goes; the top floors, if there even is such a thing, have not been explored. Teleporters provide easy access to points within the tower. Every few score of floors, the design of the inside of the tower shifts dramatically. More powerful Shadows than is typical can be occasionally found on certain floors.
From Tartarus, it is possible to access the Abyss of Time. Please see Abyss for more information.
What other things should I know about the Dark Hour?
- People become tired more easily in the Dark Hour. It's possible to build up tolerance to this over time.
- As stated above, electronics don't work. Some organizations have developed special electronic equipment that will work in the Dark Hour, but these are limited to members of those organizations (such as SEES, NWO). Additionally, some powerful Shadows can make electronics work if they possess them.
- Water turns to blood in the Dark Hour. This also applies to snow, ice, etc. It returns to water afterwards. Other environmental transformations include crawling shadows, a huge green moon, and other various signs that all is far from ever being 'well' again.
- Photography within the Dark Hour is possible (with older cameras) but the photographs gain numerous eerie distortions. For example, a photograph of a dark street might develop to have the ghostly outline of a skull overlaying it.
- Ordinary people tend to rationalize the effects of things that happened in the Dark Hour. 'Thugs vandalized that building' or 'someone disabled security' for example.
- Demons can show up in the Dark Hour. They thrive in it. Demons and Shadows don't get along, though, and will fight one another.