Dungeon Siege

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Dungeon Siege is a well-known (and fun[1]) action RPG series by Chris Taylor, first released in 2002 and officially ending in 2006. What sets it apart from the others is its unique ability to let you the player specialize in whichever class you want rather than just preselected classes. The four classes are: Fighter, Ranger (archer,) Nature Mage (mostly defensive magic and some offensive magic) and Combat Mage (the reverse of Nature Mage.) The Expansion Pack to Dungeon Siege II, Broken World, adds two more: Fist of Stone (combination of Fighter and Nature Mage) and Blood Assassin (combination of Ranger and Combat Mage.) You can also create a party of eight hireable NPCs (six in DS II,) offering more flexibility, plus a pack mule to carry all your extra stuff. Unusually, you do not control your characters directly in combat; you instruct them ahead of time, and set formations as they travel, and when enemies appear, they act according to their instructions, casting spells, fighting close in, healing allies, or whatever you've instructed, autonomously.

The game takes place in the land of Aranna, specifically in the region of Ehb. You start the game as a humble farmer. Unfortunately, a normally passive race suddenly attacks your hometown. A dying friend of yours asks you to head over to the next town and seek help. However, it turns out the quest doesn't end there. As you gather up your forces and progress through Ehb, you find out that an ancient demonic race, the Seck (who once served under the tyrant Zaramoth the Unmaker, but that's expanded on in the second game) has returned to Aranna to seek revenge. It is up to you and your friends to destroy it and end the threat.

In 2003, an Expansion Pack was released: Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna. While it offered a lot of new options for the player and his party (transformation spells, armor and weapon sets, a more combative pet, and new enemies to fight,) the game wasn't very well-received (As PC Gamer asked about it, "Does it even have a story?")

Then for a while, nothing happened. But in August 2005, a sequel hit the markets: Dungeon Siege II. It was greatly improved: the story was worked up, the world you travel through looks impressive, the hireable NPCs were very much fleshed out (they even got their own personal Side Quests, although the party size was reduced from eight to six,) and the character classes were given impressive powers to turn the tide of battle. Not only is the current story worked on, but the backstory was as well. A thousand years ago, Azunai the Defender clashed with the aforementioned Zaramoth. Both of their armies fought valiantly, but when the two warriors' personal armaments - the Shield of Azuna and the Sword of Zaramoth - clashed, the Endtime happened. The Age ended borderline-apocalyptically and a new one began. Many years later, a power-hungry prince named Valdis, the game's Big Bad, got a terrible fever and with it prophetic visions. When he recovered, he went to the ruins of Zaramoth's Horns. He found the tyrants sword (now a Sealed Evil in a Can) and became exactly what he wanted: a powerful tyrant bent on world domination. He even created an army of evil creatures called the Morden (an appropriate name, as "mord" is German word for "murder".) In a twist, you and your best friend Drevin start as mercenaries working for Valdis. Unfortunately, after you complete your first quest (in which Valdis kills Drevin,) you end up the prisoner of the people you were fighting: the Dryads. After a few quests to prove yourself, you form up a party and head back to your hometown of Aman'lu. Unfortunately, Valdis beats you to it, and the Archmage who serves him destroys it. Inspired to revenge, you and your party seek out Valdis and destroy him. Unfortunately, the game has a Downer Ending. Let's just say Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.

In 2006, another expansion set was added to the series: Dungeon Siege II: Broken World. Its a darker continuation of DS II and wraps up the story. An evil force - who is much worse than Valdis - has taken over Aranna in the aftermath of your Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment, radically altering it and nearly killing all of its inhabitants. Don't worry, though; your friends have survived the Cataclysm and are ready to help you once again. Which is good because this time, It's Personal. . PC Gamer didn't give Broken World that good of a review either.

Uwe Boll made a movie of the first game. With Burt Reynolds as the king. And, it must be noted, Ray Liotta as an evil sorcerer.

A sequel to the first two games, Dungeon Siege III, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, was released June 2011. It tells the story of four descendants of the 10th Legion: Lucas, Anjali, Katarina and Reinhart as they attempt to rebuild the Legion and defeat the woman who disbanded them in the first place.

The first Downloadable Content pack for DS III, Treasures of the Sun, was released October 25, 2011.

Tropes used in Dungeon Siege include:
  • All Myths Are True
  • Exclusively Evil: Quite a few examples, actually: the Morden (except for the Morden refugees in Broken World,) the Familiars, and the Cinbri.
  • Ancient Tomb: A variety of these are present throughout the entire series, complete with puzzles, traps, and all manner of undead creatures and other nasty surprises.
  • Anti-Grinding: Only happens in the first game. In the second game, the enemies respawn (sometimes only a few seconds later.) Also averted in III.
  • Anti-Villain: In the third game Jeyne is more delusional than evil.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Especially in the second game, where the amount of space in your party is dependent on the difficulty setting, and any setting above "easy" can only be unlocked by finishing the game on the earlier setting. On the plus side, the first four party members you can find all fit the 4 main classes, so it makes things a bit easier.
  • Bag of Sharing
  • Becoming the Mask: Jeyne Kassinder falls under this as she initially calls herself "The Living Saint of Azunai" in order to gain support from the church in her crusade against the 10th Legion. She secretly still worships the Archon's Creator Gods but eventually begins to believe her own propaganda thus beginning her leap over the edge.
  • Black and White Magic: To some extent, with Combat Magic and Nature Magic, respectively.
  • Blood Knight: When the normally passive Taar says she fights the Morden because she must, Finala gives the near psychopathic response that she fights them because she can.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The first game had Bloodless Carnage. In the second dealing sufficient overkill to an enemy causes Ludicrous Gibs and leaves a puddle of blood where they once stood.
  • Bloody Murder: the Blood Assassin's abilities.
  • Broken Bridge: To an almost ridiculous extent. In the first game, the first obstacle you encounter to impede your journey, sans the various beasties, is a bridge, which was caught on fire, and then had a wagon driven across it, with the monsters who did the catching riding it. The bridge collapsed, and you end up going through an army of the dead in order to reach the other side. The loot was nice, though. It doesn't end there, of course. Both games have many, many, many broken bridges, in both the literal and figurative sense.
    • The next major dungeon after the above is a fight through a Demonic Spider infested underground lair. The reason? A door was blocked by a rockslide. It gets cleared away later. Not that you'll ever go backwards in this game.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Lucas and Katarina in III.
  • Brutal Honesty: Deru after your initial meeting with Finala.

Deru: She hates you.

  • Came Back Wrong: In the third game, this is what happens when one tries to resurrect a creator god with the intention of using it to destroy.
  • Canon Name: In III, we learn a bit about the canonical PC of DS I - no first name, she's referred to as either "the farmer" or "lady Montbarron". She's also the ancestor of Lucas and Katarina.
  • Captain Ersatz: Amren is really Spock in disguise.
  • Chain of Deals: A side quest that starts in Act I and spans all the way to Act III.
  • Clock Punk: The city of Stonebridge in DS III, and the wizards trained there especially.
  • Convection, Schmonvection
  • Continuity Nod: The third game is full of them.
    • You can plunder the crypt of the heroes of the first game.
    • When trying to guess a password for a magickal door, your character will come up with several references to enemies from the first game.
  • Corrupt Church: According to all the stories Azunai was a pretty swell guy, his Church is a whole other matter. The Azunite Church appears to want complete and unquestioned domination of Ehb. So it appears that they stoked Jeyne's ego a bit and let her believe her own propaganda and even gave her an army. They have her declared Apostate and try to have her killed when she decides to give up her attempt to rule Ehb and help rebuild the Legion for all the evil she did.
  • Crapsack World: Pretty much the point of Broken World. Fortunately, unlike the other examples listed on the page, this Crapsack World doesn't last forever, but you have to defeat a lot of tough bosses to make it happen.
    • On the other hand, the main game had some dashes of Crap Saccharine World. You may think the Dryads are sweet and lovely plant girls, right? Well, not all of them are that nice. They equip their prisoners with "Rings of Submission", which can sense your intentions before you've even thought of them and then do painful and even deadly stuff to you accordingly. When did this turn into Nineteen Eighty-Four?
  • Critical Hit
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Azunai/ The Radiant Youth.
  • Darker and Edgier: Also pretty much the point of Broken World, but also the case for the Blood Assassin. In the lore, death magic is described as pretty nasty already. The Blood Assassin's abilities are a shade darker than that.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lucas
  • Door to Before
  • The Dragon: The Archmage.
  • Easter Egg: In the multiplayer map, at higher levels one can stumble upon a dungeon full of giant chickens. The developers of Dungeon Siege and token Microsoft execs await, including Bill Gates.
    • Also from the multiplayer map, The Pit of Despair, and the infamously hard to find hidden pyramid in the desert, which leads to an entirely new island impossible to reach otherwise.
  • The Eeyore: Amren in Broken World. Heck, every elf you can talk to in the expansion is morbidly depressed, except for Finala.
  • Elemental Punch: In DS 3, Reinhart's standard attack in his Dynamic stance is a lightning-punch powered by his magic gauntlet. Anjali's last move on her string of standard attacks while in her Human stance is a fire-punch.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Nonexistent in the first game. It shows up in DS II.
  • Escort Mission: III has a fun one: You have to keep four unkillable (but not undefeatable) sentinels occupied so they don't kill Phineas. The sentinels prioritize you, it's a more or less stationary fight and it's not long, so it doesn't outstay it's welcome.
  • Evil Uncle: It is revealed that Valdis is Evangeline's uncle.
    • In the third, it's also revealed that Jeyne is Queen Rosalyn's aunt.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Pets in Dungeon Siege II.
  • Face Heel Turn: Celia in Broken World, to the surprise of absolutely no one.
    • The Dapper Old Gent in 3.
  • Faceless Goons: The Morden-Viir wear helmets that obscure the upper parts of their faces, showing only their jaws.
  • Five Races: In the first game, you could only play as a Human and hire Dwarven NPCs, although multiplayer also allowed you to play as a dwarf or skeleton. In Legends of Aranna you could hire Utraean NPCs. In DS II, including Broken World, the race selection was greatly expanded: Humans, Elves, Half-Giants, Dryads and Dwarves. Averted in the third game, where three of the playable characters are human and one is an Archon.
  • Formulaic Magic: Reinhart's specialty is being good enough at math to kill people.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Reinhart uses a Power Fist and is able to channel entropic magic.
  • Game Mod: Lots for the first game, not so much for the second. Including remakes for Ultima V and Ultima VI (which are pretty handy, as while Dungeon Siege can easily be found on internet shops, "other methods" are the only way to obtain either game)
    • The most famous of these is the "Lands of Hyperborea," siegelet. It had custom skills, custom spells, a ridiculous amount of story depth, a ridiculous amount of level content, an ambitious suite of new creature types that stretched the game's engine to its limits, and its non-linear nature meant that its multiplayer content drove the game through the roof in terms of replay value.
  • Genre Savvy: In the third game, if Reinhart isn't the chosen player character, he states that he didn't come to the gathering in the beginning because he could tell that it was an obvious trap. He then apologizes for accidentally insulting you.
  • Gonk: One of the quests in the third game involves dealing with a particularly ugly human who everyone thinks is a Krug and is the victim of misaimed Fantastic Racism because of it. Because of this he's chosen to hide in a jailcell to avoid dealing with people.
  • The Gunslinger: Katarina dual-wields a Hand Cannon and a shotgun in close quarters and uses a rifle for range.
  • Heel Realization: You can cause this for Jeyne by pointing out that Hugh Montbarron didn't come to the Mournweald to ambush her but for a place to hide. This, more than anything, make Jeyne realize that her entire quest for revenge was pointless and she essentially killed her own Creator Gods with her own selfish pride.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Several characters/NPCs in III, most prominently Lucas. Interestingly averted with Anjali, although only the late-game helmets are actually displayed, otherwise she just has helmet hair.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Valdis, full stop. He can't seem to stop himself from doing stuff to piss you off starting by killing Drevin and not even paying you. In the immortal words of Nathan Ford, "Yeah, you should've just paid us!"
  • Hot Amazon: Eva, especially in this here picture.
  • Hot Witch: Leona and Katarina.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Not actually in the game, thankfully, but the description for humans in the DS II manual reads like it could have been written by Johnathan Swift. To be fair, the description for the Dryads isn't all that flattering either.
  • Incendiary Exponent/Kill It with Fire/WoMan On Fire: Anjali and most archons.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: A quest in Broken World makes mention of these. Fortunately, they turn out to be metaphorical descriptions for quest drops.
  • In Name Only: III has many controversial departures from the previous titles' gameplay.
  • It's Up to You: Played with a little; in these games, saving the world isn't a one-man job. It makes for a great Self-Imposed Challenge though.
  • Jeanne D'Archetype: Jeyne Kassynder is a villainous example.
  • Jerkass: Celia and Finala.
  • Judgment of Solomon: You can do this to settle a land dispute in the third game.
  • Killed Off for Real: Drevin.
  • Knight Templar: The Overmage considers the atrocities he's committing as good for Aranna, and he thinks his actions will redeem him in his races' eyes.
    • Jeyne Kassinder fits this in III.
  • Man Behind the Man: The Azunite Church appears to want to put Jeyne Kassinder on the throne so that they can be this to her.
  • Meaningful Name: Just like the Morden, Valdis's name also has a hidden meaning. It is derived from "valde", the Latin word for "great".
  • Mecha-Mooks: Stonebridge in III has an army of these. They tend to be very sarcastic.
  • Medieval European Fantasy
  • Mercy Rewarded: In the third game, spare Rajani, and she'll eventually realize how crazy Jeyne is and help you defeat her.
  • Monster Compendium: In DS II. In the original, you first have to kill five monsters of a specific type to gain information on it, unless its an Elite Mook or a boss. In Broken World, on the other hand, you only have to kill a monster once to get the info.
  • Monty Haul: Even by videogame standards. In the first and second games, you had to bring along pack mules if you wanted any hope of carrying all the loot you'd find.
  • More Criminals Than Targets: Given the number of bandits clogging certain roads, you could be forgiven for thinking that bandits are the country's single largest demographic group all by themselves.
  • More Dakka: At a certain point in an otherwise internally consistent fantasy game, you get a MINIGUN. It's also Katarina's final ability with her rifle.
  • The Movie: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Unfortunately, it was directed by Uwe Boll.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: You can inflict one of these on Jeyne Kassynder after you defeat the corrupted Creator God by asking her why the Mournweald allowed Hugh Montbarron and his Legionnaires in. You then proceed to point out that they were only looking for shelter and the Creator Gods granted their request. Jeyne realizes she essentially betrayed her own Gods in her blind quest for revenge when she used the Seed of Creation to kill Hugh Montbarron. She subsequently realizes that her entire quest was pointless and she essentially killed her Gods over a petty grudge.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: An early sidequest in the second game revolves around a Haku tribe that doesn't want to murder and devour everyone else.
    • Another example is Anjali, the playable archon from 3. Nearly every other archon swore allegiance to Jeyne, Anjali was raised seperately and joins the legion, which pits her frequently against her sisters.
  • Mysterious Waif: The Radiant Child. It is implied that he may be Azunai.
  • Noodle Incident: See the page for details.
  • Not So Above It All: When the Azunite Scholar turns out to be the Overmage of the Cinbri, he chides Valdis for thinking he's Zaramoth Reborn. Later, when you fight and kill the Overmage in Broken World, he shouts "NOOOO! But this is impossible! I am Zaramoth!"
  • One-Gender Race: All Dryads are female and all Half-Giants are male. Players can only play as male Dwarves, but female Dwarves are mentioned in the dialogue.
    • All Archons are female.
      • That is so hot.
  • One-Winged Angel: Rajani and Jeyne reveal their true forms when they are faced with enough pressure.
  • Razor Wind: Lucas' Wind Shear ability.
  • Real Time with Pause: A staple of the series, despite having very little actual value, especially in the second game.
  • Recycled in Space: Space Siege, although it's a much more simplified game it's still based on the same engine and similar in gameplay.
  • Reincarnation: Near the end of the third game, it turns out that Anjali is the reincarnation of an old friend of Rajani, who died when the archons first came to Ehb. The Radiant Youth speculates that it may have been a Xanatos Gambit on the part of the Creator Gods
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: in the third game, Jeyne's massacre of the entire 10th Legion is basically revenge for the murder of her father, the King.
    • Also, The Dapper Old Gent is a former Legion mage who's been waging an underground guerrilla war on Stonebridge.
  • Roma: The first Dungeon Siege had a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version called the Travelers. And they spoke with thick French accents. The third has the Lescanzi, who have a mild Russian accent.
  • Ruins for Ruins Sake: Especially in DS II, most ruins in the games get at least a feasible explanation for their presence. The Ruins of Okaym, on the other hand, do not.
  • Save the Villain: In the third game, this is deconstructed. While sparing Jeyne gives the Legion a much needed PR boost, Jeyne herself either is imprisoned in a pitch black prison cell forever, lets herself be assassinated, gets exiled from the entire dimension forever or is declared apostate by the Azunite Church.
    • You can also do this to The Dapper Old Gent, on the basis that as a Legion mage he'd be useful to have on your side.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Schizo-Tech: The Goblins in the first game have very advanced technology for a Medieval European Fantasy. Strangely, they're nowhere to be found for the rest of the series, but other forms of technology still exist, such as elevators and sliding doors.
    • They're back in the third game, having made peace with the humans in the centuries between games.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Averted in the third game, the characters you didn't choose show up later at some point in the story to join up with you as companion characters with some reason as to why they weren't at the gathering in the beginning.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Anjali in the artwork.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: Wesrin Cross in the first game.
  • Shout-Out: Some aspects of the game draw some parallels with "The Lord of the Rings". For example, the Battle of Snowbrook Haven is similar to the Battle of Helm's Deep (except for the dragon,) and the Morden-Viir who are doing the besieging look very much like the Uruk-hai. The Morden's Head quest is a shout out to Babylon 5.
    • As a matter of fact, when you get to Act III on Mercenary difficulty, after a while, the armor salesmen sells a helmet that looks just like the ones the Uruk-hai wore in the movie versions of The Lord of the Rings. Minus the White Hand of Saruman, of course.
      • It's a unique chinless helm called the "Onyx Steel Helm".
    • For another shout out, the personal side-quest "Evangeline's Folly" has pretty much the RPG version of "Our Princess is in another castle." When Eva hears the second such answer, she even says "This is starting to sound familiar."
    • The Automaton Constables in DS 3 look remarkably like Clanks, right down to the triparate camera eyes, brass finish and shako hats. The only noticeable difference is Auto-constables have an Arm Cannon and a two fingered claw, rather than proper hands and a minigun rifle.
  • Spin-Off: Space Siege, which is quite literally Dungeon Siege IN SPACE!
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: III can be pretty idealistic... if you want it to be.
  • Stance System: In the third game, all four characters have two different stances they can switch between, each with their spells and different attack styles.
  • Teleport Spam: In the third game, playing on Hardcore as Anjali or Reinhart.
  • The Stoic: Anjali, except for the occasional Black Humor quip
  • Title Drop: Towards the end of the first game, the Droog leader says "Journey fast, kingdom child. The Seck dungeon siege may soon be underway."
    • In III, too - near the end of the game, you can get a quest to rescue some nobles from a dungeon, titled Dungeon Siege.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The Blood Assassin Ressa, in the form of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Took a Shortcut: The Utraean historian in Legends of Aranna.
    • Not to mention the Azunite Scholar (who, as it happens, has the same voice actor) in DS II.
  • Tree-Top Town: The Dryads live in one in DS II.
  • Undying Loyalty: Odo, Jeyne and the Gent in 3. Archons in general are also pretty devoted to their dead gods.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The first Dungeon Siege unfortunately had a lot of them. Thankfully, the game developers learned from their mistake and removed such spells from DS II.
  • Verbal Tic: Katarina tends to end her sentences with "yes?/no?"
  • Violation of Common Sense/Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the third game, at one point you have to enter an area filled with volatile gases, which can be set off by the slightest spark, even if you're Anjali, who has no attacks which do not involve fire.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: See the page for details.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In the second game, much of the first few parts of act 1 are spent having characters chew you out for being Valdis' stooge. Oddly enough, once you get back to your hometown, the only one who antagonizes you over it is the resident Jerkass.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: The ending of Broken World. Also happens in III by showing what the consequences are of your choices.
  • White and Grey Morality: In III, everyone has their reasons for doing what they do/did.
  • X Meets Y: DS 3 is the bastard child of Diablo and Devil May Cry.
  1. although it's probably on its way to the bargain bin these days