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— The Mgmt.
"Would you stake your life on a world that cannot be saved?"
The Reconstruction is a very atypical RPG from Tilde-One Games. The author describes that his intention in making this game was to defy convention at every turn -- both in Eastern RPG gameplay and Heroic Fantasy writing.
The story is set in a seemingly-peaceful world that is full of turmoil under the surface. Three species live in a rough and unhappy coexistence in the world along with humans: fih'jik, cat-like humanoids who are very religious and devoted to the Supreme One, despite her apparently turning her back on them in a catastrophe known as "the Blackening"; fortians, similar to humans in appearance, but extremely stoic and scientifically-minded, with exceptional magical talent; and shra, Lizard Folk who cannot use magic, and are reviled and enslaved because of it.
The story focuses on Dehl Sikohlon, a shra of the peaceful Sikohlon clan. He's devoted his life to repaying the kindness the city of Wadassia has shown him with civil service as a city guard. To further this goal, he comes up with the idea to make a guild -- a band of heroes -- who go around doing tasks that ordinary people cannot, such as slaying monsters. Dehl's guild eventually traverses the entire world, exposing and mitigating the problems that each species face, with varying results. Further compounding problems is the existence of a mysterious woman known as Fell, who claims to receive messages from a divine being she calls "The Voice Himself". She seems to have even greater plans in store for Dehl and his guild, dispersing cryptic clues throughout his journey. But can she be trusted, and does she really know as much as she claims?
For those interested, the creator has posted a load of trivia about the game on his blog. Beware of spoilers, obviously.
- Accidental Murder: Dehl killing his father. After Father Sikohlon went insane and tried Offing the Offspring, Dehl's pseudo-magic powers manifested for the first time, and he spirit-crushed Father Sikohlon right before he would have been killed himself.
- Action Prologue
- An Aesop: It's not explicitly stated, but it's definitely an important part of the ending and Dehl's Character Arc. A single person cannot save the entire world, and even if they could, the psychological stress would break them first. So, instead of shooting for over-ambitious goals or lamenting the fact that we can't accomplish them, we should focus on what we can do to make the world a better place.
- After the End: Chapter 6.
- All There in the Manual: Sort of. There's an in-game glossary that has background information and history on tons of things, some of which are part of the plot that the game itself only half-explains to you.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In chapter 6, Wadassia (and all other major cities for that matter) has been burned to the ground. Causes Dehl to have a Freak-Out.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: The prologue centers on Rehm, Vasra, and Taru, then chapter 1 switches the focus to Dehl and the starting cast.
- Anyone Can Die: By the end of the game, Vasra, Skint, Aryn, Cort, Adi, Metzino and literally millions of unnamed NPCs all bite it.
- Arc Words: "Scope". Fitting, since it's the game's Central Theme.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The main characters bring Tezkhra Back from the Dead, but his claims to actually be the one known as Tezkhra? Preposterous!
- In fairness, he looks and acts completely different than how the legendary Tezkhra is described.
- Back for the Finale: Though it's done in a rather depressing manner. Yacatec appears in the final dungeon as a slave, and helps you get through said dungeon after you free him.
- Back from the Dead: Tezkhra.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: Discussed -- the "Noxious" element is directly opposed to the "Holy" one, and it's generally perceived as purely destructive, so the character who specializes in it tends to worry about whether it will corrupt him. He's one of the nicer folks around, though, and eventually he decides that Dark Is Not Evil.
- Big Damn Heroes: Brutally subverted. After the world is destroyed in chapter 6 and the Big Bad kills or enslaves everyone, Dehl's guild is the people's only hope...but they aren't able to come until it's far too late.
- Bloodless Carnage: The game isn't afraid of showing blood in some of the monsters' Character Portraits, but avoidance of blood in cutscenes is the norm. The trope is, however, averted in a few instances, usually as a sign that things just got really serious.
- Brain Bleach:
Kott: "'The sky boils, the sea burns, the soil begs forgiveness.' You ever heard anything like that?"
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the opening cutscene of chapter 1, Fell talks to the player directly. Justified in that she is some sort of demigod.
- Break the Cutie: Dehl's Dark and Troubled Past has this, in spades. Possibly subverted, though, as it's part of the Backstory that is only revealed near the end of the game; most of what we see of him is after the fact.
- Happens to Xopi as well, who, as another Sikohlon child, is quite identical to how Dehl used to be.
- Brick Joke: At the beginning of the game, Qualstio complains about the fanfare that plays when characters join the guild. Much later on, another character comments on it after joining.
- Central Theme: Scope; the necessity to understand all sides of the story and the full truth before one can make the correct decision, and the danger of jumping to conclusions. However, you must acquire the necessary knowledge without also losing sight of what is truly important.
"How far back must we stand before we can see everything ahead? And...does that mean we must lose sight of what was closest to begin with?"
- This is strongly represented by the Multiple Endings; if you get the normal ending, your scope stays in place, and does not expand. In the Golden Ending, your scope explodes, as you realize the story was Science Fiction all along, not Fantasy.
- It seems like I Miss the Sunrise is continuing in this vein. It is likely to be the theme that ties together the trilogy.
- Character Development: Dehl, and how! He undergoes an almost complete transformation from the beginning to the end of the fifth chapter. Though you may wonder if the change is completely positive...
- Chekhov's Gun: The artifact Havan finds, as well as the fact that he technically becomes the leader of the si'shra in Chapter 4.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Havan.
- Cryptic Conversation: As explained in The Quiet One below, Tezkhra almost never speaks audibly, but does hold internal monologues often. They usually take the form of this, however.
- Dark and Troubled Past: An impressive portion of the cast: Dehl, Moke, Rehm, Sirush, Ques, Qualstio, Skint, and Tezkhra.
- Darkest Hour: Chapter 6. The Watchers are dead, the world is in ruins, and an all-powerful "Lord-God" is sweeping up what little remains.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Most of the characters are perfectly okay with slavery, and even those who don't treat the shra like dirt are prone to using racial slurs or calling them out on their smell.
- Doing In the Wizard: The Golden Ending reveals that Tezkhra isn't actually a god and the Watchers aren't actually angels/demigods/things; it's all just because Tez and his pals are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. Magic is still magic, though. Probably.
- Double Entendre: Almost every sentence Kidra says.
- Driven to Suicide: Rehm, though some Nalian officers catch him before he can finish it.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: "Everything we once knew and loved has vanished from this world. We are the only surviving chance for reconstruction."
- Dysfunction Junction: Not everyone has major problems, but there are reasons why there are so many character-centric sidequests, most of which deal with resolving the Dysfunction Junction.
- The End of the Beginning: Subverted. By the end of the story, the world is almost completely annihilated and has to be rebuilt practically from scratch -- it is definitely the beginning of a new era. However, it's never actually said anywhere that it's a new beginning -- even the phrase "reconstruction" is never mentioned.
- Fake-Out Opening: Rehm isn't the main character, and the prologue happened 50 years prior to the actual story. This is fairly obvious, though.
- Flat What: Qualstio's reaction to seeing the Tatzylvurm.
- Flash Back: All the interludes. Subverted in that all but one of them are flashbacks to the prologue's cast.
- Calm and level-headed Zargos to the hot-headed and eccentric Santes.
- Qualstio to Dehl. Opposite elements, and pretty different personalities too. This even extends to their attire: Dehl wears a simple white robe while Qualstio wears a black leather coat. They both share similar goals and ideals, however.
- Dehl and Skint, once you realize Skint was the third Sikohlon father. At heart, Skint is almost exactly like Dehl -- a lawful, orderly man devoted to defending those in need. However, unlike Dehl, he was betrayed by a friend and was cursed as the "scourgelord", warping him into the bitter, jaded man we see. Or...maybe they're not so different after all?
- Foreshadowing / Futureshadowing: There's tons of this, though most of it is so subtle that it's unlikely you'll pick up on it except on a replay. Make sure to remember every Cryptic Background Reference referenced in the early game.
- The Fundamentalist: Most Kir'Sshans. The Blessed Corps in Do'Ssha are extremely dogmatic as well.
- God Is Dead: Tezkhra is. (You have to bring him Back from the Dead.) Subverted in that he isn't actually a god, he's a sufficiently advanced alien, and just as killable as anyone else.
- Healing Factor:
- Shra have very high rates of bodily regeneration, though not to the extent of most Healing Factors. This is deconstructed with Skint (who does have a very potent Healing Factor), who got stabbed in the back with a large sword...and his body healed the wound, with the sword still in. To make things worse, the sword was lodged through his heart, making it impossible to take out without killing him. It also means he can never take off his armour, which must make sleeping pretty difficult, too.
- Qualstio's final passive skill, Physidrawing, gives him high regeneration rates as well (in gameplay terms); it is not as strong as the bodily regeneration of the shra, but regenerates all his gauges quickly. Plus, being intrinsic regeneration, it's still stackable with regeneration buffs.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Sort of. The Cryomancer dies from being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by one of his own icicles.
- Similarly, Dehl's father dies by falling into a sword he left lying on a table.
- Home, Sweet Home: In the epilogue, Santes and Zargos settle down in Wadassia. The four Nalians in the party also return home. Averted with the fih'jik members of the party, not only because they don't want to go back, but because they don't really have a home to return to. Also averted with Dehl and Qualstio, who continue to wander and help the world.
- How to Stop the Deus Ex Machina: Rulian is stripped of his necromancy powers by Tezkhra accidentally. If not, he probably could have simply resurrected the millions who were killed during the rise of the Lord-God, making the ending much less of a downer and allowing an easy reconstruction.
- I Choose to Stay: Tezkhra.
- Idiot Ball: After the Watchers are killed and the party decides to wait for someone to show up and tell them what to do, the only attempt Tezkhra (if you have him in your party) makes to stop them from trancing out is saying that they should tell him if they "feel anything unusual". Even though he knows that emitter radiation, which they're currently being exposed to, causes trancing if people sit around and do nothing, which is exactly what they said they would do. He should at least have done something to keep himself from trancing... But despite all this, he just goes along with them and sits there like an idiot. See also the Fridge page.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- Infallible Babble: Falitza's cryptic predictions. Subverted, as she's actually sane and just analyzing the situation.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: The Cryomancer.
- Killed Off for Real: Metzino and Sara.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall / Left the Background Music On: Whenever a character joins the guild's roster, there's a little fanfare that plays. When the starting cast joins in the beginning, Qualstio says "Is that nauseatingly cheerful music gonna play every time someone joins?" at one point. Kulkumatz also asks "What was that sound?" when he joins.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The game borders on this, with eighteen playable characters and quite a few important NPCs as well. However, almost all of the main cast have genuinely unique and interesting personalities and good Character Development, sidestepping some of the negative traits of this.
- The Man Behind the Man: Havan behind Skint. Subverted by the man in front of the man turning out to not have been a villain in the first place. The real Big Bad also has much shallower motives than the fake one, which may qualify as an additional subversion.
- Man in White: All Sikohlon. They dress this way to show their ascent from savagery.
- Mathematician's Answer: Ques does this at a few points.
- Mental World: Sirush's sidequest takes place in one...maybe. It could just be an example of Bad Dreams.
- Mercy Kill: Skint asks for one in chapter 6. Dehl gives it to him.
- Mission Control: Ques. (And later, Alito.)
- Mood Whiplash: In chapter 6, interlude 3, and interlude 4, done well.
- Motive Rant: Havan, right before you fight them, explains exactly why they snapped and killed the Watchers.
- Neglectful Precursors: The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who terraformed and populated the planet are somewhere between neglectful and outright abusive; they periodically annihilate all life on the planet to prevent it from getting too advanced, and don't seem to view the populace of the planet as actual people, just subjects in their experiment.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Dehl leaves Havan behind at the end of chapter 5, who then proceeds to slaughter the Watchers and take over the world. Dehl also allowed Havan to get the Chekhov's Gun that drove him to do that in the first place.
- Also, Tezkhra accidentally makes the final boss go One-Winged Angel.
- Dehl broke it before the game even started; he brought the Blue Plague to the mainland via Moke, though it did abruptly end the revolt, saving some lives...which were probably then taken by the Plague anyway.
- And Father Sikohlon broke it even before that by creating the Plague in the first place.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Funnily enough, in spite of everything that happened in the last chapter, if Havan had not interfered in the Watchers' plans, the entire surface would have been razed to the ground by the Watchers, resulting in a level of death and destruction even Havan's rule as the Lord-God would not have matched.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Kidra.
- Off the Rails: Throughout most of the game, you're part of the Watchers' plans, and everything seems to be going well...until Havan kills them. As such, the entirety of chapter 6 is this.
- One Degree of Separation: (spoilers, seriously)
- Taru Clapian is Tehgonan's father.
- Moke served Dehl's 'father'.
- A Pazzato attacked Rehm's ship and killed Vasra.
- Tezkhra and Mahk have the same ...origin.
- Skint was a Sikohlon father.
- Councillord Crossar is the father of both Yfus and Zaka.
- Both Zargos and Skint fought in the Nalian Revolt.
- Out-of-Character Moment: See To Be Lawful or Good, below. Your choice will be spoken through Qualstio's mouth...and since he normally despises the Fantastic Racism and laws in general, it makes no logical sense for him to tell the truth. Lampshaded by Tehgonan, who worries Qualstio's "going soft" by avoiding trouble.
- Pan-Up-To-The-Sky Ending: The Golden Ending uses the "night sky" version.
- Pardon My Klingon: Yacatec does this twice; Early in chapter 4, he calls Tehgonan a "Zin d'an", at which point Dehl snaps, "Yacatec, please do not call him that." Later, after the camp is threatened to be washed away by magical rain, he snaps at Ques, flinging what is presumably a heinous insult at him in his native language.
- Personality Powers: Averted or played straight for the most part, but maimed, stomped on, and tossed out a window with Moke, a compassionate, meek, and lovable little guy who wields noxious, foul poison.
- Please Wake Up: In Interlude 4. Upon seeing that Father Sikohlon has killed all his brothers and gone insane, Dehl says "What happened to our brothers? Why aren't they moving?" Justified in that he is a Sikohlon, and probably still pretty young by that point.
- Poison Is Evil: Subverted; the Noxious element is generally regarded as evil or at least more shady than other elements, but both Noxious-elemental party members are perfectly nice people. One's sidequest even revolves around disproving this.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Partly because you end up having humans, fih'jik, shra, and fortians all in the same group, but also, pretty much all the optional party members are just random people off the streets, some of which have rather weird class names. While one can probably guess that "Spectrumancer" and "Whiteblade" are legitimate classes, what in the world is a "Flashcurve" or "Whitewind"?
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Qualstio and Dehl. Lampshaded by Qualstio with their support quote.
"A little cliché, don't ya think?"
- The Reveal: The revelation of who the Big Bad is doesn't come until the cutscene before the Final Boss. And your jaw is guaranteed to drop when you find out that it's Havan.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Dehl goes on one in chapter 6. His temporary personality change makes some of his skill descriptions read almost like black comedy.
"The serene, peaceful nature of the knight manifests in enhanced inner traits."
- Sacrificial Lion: Skint, Aryn, and the Watchers.
- Save the World: Deconstructed. Dehl attempts this, but finds that he can't, as any accomplishment he does make will not last; only the people can truly save themselves. He also finds that the psychological stress is unbearable (especially combined with his other issues). See An Aesop, above.
- Screw Destiny: A villainous example. After performing tests of character for years, Havan is casually brushed aside and told that he isn't The Chosen One after all. But he won't tolerate this, and murders all the Watchers in an attempt to get to Dehl.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules: There are a few quests where Dehl turns down payment afterwards.
- Sequel Hook: And a prequel hook, no less, in the Golden Ending.
- Sound-Only Death: The screen abruptly fades to black right before Dehl kills Havan, who we only hear screaming. This is rather odd, considering that there was a graphic Family-Unfriendly Death not much earlier, plus the fact that the game has no reason to pretend it's still a happy-go-lucky family-friendly adventure story at that point.
- Although, it could be a way of showing that the extremely dark tone of chapter 6 is finally over, and that the story is now going to return to a more lighthearted state.
- Strength Equals Worthiness: Moke assumes this when he is told he will be put through a "test" by a mysterious stranger; he quickly objects, but it turns out the test is of a different nature.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Tezkhra and his pals. See Clarke's Third Law and Doing In the Wizard, above.
- Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Falitza allegedly destroyed her mind by "peering into the unknown". Subverted, though -- it's Obfuscating Insanity. She was so sick of being "little miss perfect" that she staged the whole thing to get thrown into Sanctifel.
- Title Drop: The First and Second Reconstructions. Subverted in that they're only minor backstory events that are only briefly mentioned once each throughout the entire game (and you won't get any details unless you read Ques' glossary).
- And then played straight in chapter 6:
"Everything we once knew and loved has vanished from this world. We are the only surviving chance for reconstruction."
- Those Two Guys: Prowlers Tamo and Teno in Chapter 4.
- To Be Lawful or Good: The player themselves must make this choice at the end of one quest -- after you see a bunch of criminal shra run out of the city, you have the option of pointing the Nalian Officers in the right or wrong direction.
- Took a Shortcut: There's one quest that involves trailblazing a previously-untraversed mountain pass. One of the obstacles you face is a camp of bandits. This is Lampshaded in the narration.
- Treachery Cover-Up: The fortian Councillords cleverly disguise what is effectively Metzino's execution as a seemingly fair duel against Pazzato.
- True Companions: The guild ends up like this by the end.
- The Unfought: Skint. You come extremely close to battling him (there's even a Fight Woosh!), but Dehl calls off the battle and solves things diplomatically.
- Unwitting Pawn: Literally the entire game is pretty much simply the Watchers moving Six Stars around like chess pieces (remind you of a certain stylistic art choice?). Until chapter 6, that is...
- Possibly subverted, as the chessmasters don't seem to be inherently evil. It seems like their ultimate goal in finding The Chosen One is so that the world won't have to be destroyed, in fact.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: The Big Bad attempts this after he's defeated, but just as he's about to escape, he discovers that all the survivors of Wadassia have arrived to block his path.
- Weapon of Choice:
- An Axe to Grind: Zargos, Yfus
- The Archer: Fero
- Blade on a Stick: Cort. Zaka uses a lance, as well.
- Cool Sword: Dehl uses a blunted one (that deals Slashing damage), Rehm uses two shortswords, Ques uses a rapier, and Havan uses a giant scimitar-like blade.
- It should be noted that if you are strong enough you can still cut with a sword even if it has dull edges, but the cut won't be nearly as deep, making it harder to land a lethal blow on somebody accidentally.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Falitza (bizarrely)
- Knife Nut: Vasra, Kidra, Sirush, Moke
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Lani
- Magic Wand: Tehgonan. Adi uses two when you fight her.
- Prongs of Poseidon: Taru
- Power Fist: Tezkhra
- Simple Staff: Qualstio, Santes, Kulkumatz
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: the Cryomancer. He just wanted to preserve things and help people! But then you went and killed him. You Bastard.
- Wham! Episode: "To Ascend", the final quest of chapter 3. Up until that point, the story reads like a fairly typical Heroic Fantasy adventure story, with a few hints of a greater, overarching plot and only a few very serious moments. You'll probably think that it'll maintain the fairly carefree, happy-go-lucky vibe the heroes have going on. Well, at least, until Metzino gets thrown off the Faithall Tower, you fight your first boss fight with a human character (who dies bloodily), and the entire mess ends in a giant Downer Ending revealing that the characters were Unwitting Pawns the whole chapter and their efforts were meaningless. It's also immediately followed by interlude 3, which is filled to the brim with Tear Jerker.
- Even moreso, Interlude 4. By the Supreme One, interlude 4.
- Also Lampshaded; the "accept" option for the save prompt afterwards is "After all that? Hell yes."
- Chapter 6 is also pretty shocking, though it comes quite late in the story.
- Even moreso, Interlude 4. By the Supreme One, interlude 4.
- Wham! Line:
"Third Watcher? You mean Donz? I thought he went down with you guys, Ma!"
- What the Hell, Hero?: Dehl receives an indignant speech from Mahk after he kills (or at the very least, severely injures) two Nalian slavers in front of Xopi. He becomes an outcast of the Sikohlon family because of this.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue
- You Can't Fight Fate: Subverted and deconstructed.
- You!: Dehl's "YOU?!" at finding out that the "Lord-God" is Havan.
- You Monster!: Dehl's response to learning that Havan tortured Donz to death.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The game doesn't actually wrap everything up when the twist is pulled, but it looks like it's on a fast track towards doing so. However, just when it looks like you're about to have some climactic final boss fight and Save the World, Qualstio screams in horror as he finds that the Watchers have all been slaughtered. Also, you failed to stop Donz from activating the pillars, so civilization has been nearly wiped out. So, instead of going along with Fell's advice, the rest of the game revolves around stopping the Big Bad and trying to reconstruct civilization.
- Actually Four Mooks: Played straight in normal Preexisting Encounters, but averted in unavoidable ones (usually). This includes boss battles; their flunkies will usually have visible sprites on the map before the battle (except for the bosses of chapter 1 and 2, whose flunkies come out of nowhere).
- Advancing Wall of Doom: The Tatzylvurm has a powerful "Ceiling Drop" attack which starts out at the backmost row but increases its area of effect by one column every time it's used.
- The Cryomancer has an attack that is nearly identical, though it also freezes the squares it affects.
- Always Close: No matter how much time it takes you to climb the Faithall Tower, you will always arrive just in time to see Metzino getting killed.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted.
- An Adventurer Is You / Competitive Balance:
- Magic Knight / Jack of All Stats: Dehl is probably the best example of this, though there are others as well.
- Mighty Glacier: Zargos, Dehl (initially), Lani, and Tezkhra. (Fortunately, support combinations (and sometimes passive skills) can alleviate this.)
- The Medic: Santes, who has two potent healing skills, though she is also very powerful offensively.
- Yfus is a straighter example, as he doesn't have much to offer offense-wise (his damage skills are more spread out, with greater area-of-effect, but much lower damage).
- Squishy Wizard: Santes, Tehgonan, Qualstio, Falitza, Moke, and Yfus, technically...but also subverted hugely. See the full article below.
- Kulkumatz is a specific subversion; Mind is actually his Dump Stat.
- Fragile Speedster:
- Fero, sort of. He has the highest Agility stat in the game (plus a ton of Agility-boosting support combos) and his skills have very long range due to his weapon of choice. However, to compensate, his attack power is a bit lacking compared to other characters'.
- Also, Kidra, though she doesn't have long-range attacks and focuses more on utility abilities.
- Sirush, though his final passive ability makes him much less fragile (while also greatly increasing the speed aspect).
- An enemy example: Slashlings. They have abysmal defenses, but a whopping Agility of fourty-two.
- Stone Wall: Lani, oh so very much. Unfortunately, in this game, the best defense is a good offense, so her talents are not particularly useful.
- Also, sadly, the sixteenth character, who is virtually unkillable, especially since his abilities do not consume any energy, but only has one offensive ability that isn't even modified by attack stats!
- Glass Cannon:
- Sirush, sort of. Due to the way stat gains are handled, one can simply upgrade his defense, so that isn't a problem. However, all his skills consume very high amounts of health, and all of them are short-range, causing him to get attacked a lot as well.
- Also Tehgonan, who has the potential to be extremely powerful if you're good at setting up elemental enchantments. However, all of his stats are pathetically low and his skills have high costs.
- Moke. He's one of the most powerful and versatile attackers in the game, and though you'll likely make him suitable for soaking up Body (and, to a lesser extent, Mind) attacks, his defenses start out virtually nonexistent.
- Lightning Bruiser: Rehm. Various other characters can become this with the help of passive abilities and character support, too (Dehl, for example, who is initially is quite slow).
- Magikarp Power: Tehgonan. He starts off as a pathetic Squishy Wizard, with terrible stats and high-cost, gimmicky abilities. However, if you take the time to level up his "Geomancer" passive skill, he becomes incredibly powerful -- those gimmicky abilities get increased chances of success, making them legitimately useful in combination with other party members' attacks. But best of all is his final skill, 'Geo God', which gives him incredible boosts to his Body and Soul stats, which are otherwise pathetically low. Suddenly, he stops being so squishy and his skills can be put to formidable use.
- Spoony Bard: Falitza. Her abilities are extremely gimmicky and either costly, weak or prone to having detrimental effects for you. She does, however, have the only full-party Focus spell and an Enemy Scan ability.
- Anatomy of the Soul: Instead of just having HP and MP, characters have Body, Mind, and Soul gauges that all count as both. This is a major aspect of the gameplay.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Justified; according to Wadassian law, guilds are restricted to six armed combatants at any one time. This is violated a few times, though you still can't ever control more than six characters at once.
- Bonus Boss: Three; "The Cryomancer" in Chapter 1, Captain Asarik in Chapter 4, and Tatzylvurm in Chapter 5.
- Boss Banter: Chapter 5's boss. "You fools! You should never have allowed yourselves to come within my grasp!" Said just before executing That One Attack.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Most enemies with Area of Effect attacks (Bone Swirl and Kir Devouts, for example) can easily obliterate you if you're not careful.
- But Thou Must!: At one point, a character asks you if you are serious about something. Your choices are: "Quite serious," "Dead serious," and "Serious as a heart attack."
- Can't Drop the Hero: Averted. There's even one storyline quest where you can't use any shra at all, so you're actually required to drop him. There's also one sidequest where you can only use characters with high charisma (a qualifier that Dehl lacks without major support bonuses), and Falitza's recruitment quest, where you can only use casters (you don't need to kick Dehl out of your party, though).
- Cast from Hit Points: Body, Mind, and Soul points all serve as both Life Meters and Mana Meters.
- Character Level: Averted! Essence gains from monsters are used to upgrade stats directly.
- Character Portrait
- Climax Boss: Every single one, except for the Hemofalcon.
- Combat Medic: Santes is one of the strongest characters in the game, while being one of the best medics at the same time.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Completely averted; nothing is immune to status effects. Skills that inflict Disable are a bit of a Game Breaker because of this.
- Classic Cheat Code: At least three: Naming you guild after the numbers from Lost, the first digits of pi, or the first digits of Euler's number will give 50000 essence of every type and 5000 skill/mana points to every character when you start the game. Space Lizard says there might be more, though (he can't remember, and doesn't have access to the source code anymore).
Dehl: Forgive me, the ink must have smudged. What I mean to say, is... 'The Lost' will suffice.
- Convection, Schmonvection: In chapter 3, since you're on a volcano, there are numerous magma lakes and streams that even have bridges over them. You can go right up to the lava without harm. Averted in one quest, though, as you need someone alone and wearing heavy armour to cross a certain passage.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Zargos is really good at inflicting Body damage...but that's the only type of damage he can inflict. Since everyone else except Tehgonan can damage at least two of the three life bars, he's not that great at working in conjunction with other characters. As such, most players will probably drop him from their party early on. His main speciality seems to be the addition of Rush to normal attacks, but he develops most of it after being likely considered underwhelming and dropped.
- Difficult but Awesome: Ques, fittingly. He requires a bit of setup, and many of his skills have drawbacks that will cripple him if you use them improperly. However, if you know what you're doing, he can be very formidable.
- Tehgonan may count as well, though he's more of a support role, and you do need to beef him up a bit first.
- Difficulty Levels: You can set them at the beginning of the game, though they aren't universal; they change specific things. Your characters can gain 150% essence and at the same time have monsters at 150% strength.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: Almost every chapter-ending quest, though it's usually pretty easy to tell that you'll be travelling somewhere else in the next chapter, if for no other reason than those huge gaps in your roster.
- Disc One Nuke:
- Minor example, but still worth mentioning: Santes' passive "Bulwark" skill is one of the first she can learn, and it's one of the best passive skills in the game, as it makes her stronger, faster, and tougher at the same time.
- Focusing on upgrading some attack abilities like Spirit Crush, Judgement or Perfect Frenzy early on allows you to One-Hit Kill most enemies in the first half of the game.
- Really, your starting party is mostly this -- with the exception of Zargos and Tehgonan, they're all well-rounded and quite powerful. Most characters that join later are gimmicky and difficult to use without a greater knowledge of the mechanics, making the starting party Boring but Practical.
- Dump Stat: Body for fih'jik, Soul for fortians, Mind for shra. Humans are the Jack of All Stats, as usual.
- Easter Egg: If you manage to attain a rank higher than 17 before the end of chapter 3, Ques will lampshade how it's odd he's still around when his contract should have expired by that point.
- Enemy Scan: Falitza's "Procure Status" skill. It's also a rather disproportionate gamble, as it has a high chance of failing and very high cost. However, it additionally gives some entertaining snippet from the thoughts of the enemy...
- Extended Gameplay: Sort of; every chapter's storyline is pretty self-contained, so when a new chapter starts it can feel a bit like this. It's not much of a surprise, though, as there's tons of Interface Spoiler and the storyline itself doesn't make much attempt to hide that you'll be travelling somewhere else next chapter.
- Flunky Boss: Every single one except for Chapter 3's and Chapter 5's Bonus Boss.
- Game Over: Almost completely averted; losing a regular encounter will just lead to the character(s) in the party crawling back to the beginning of the area and licking their wounds until they recover. There are a few quests with greater consequences for failure, but the game doesn't end, the quest just restarts (to quote Ques: "Let's just pretend that never happened, shall we?"). The only way to get a true game over is to lose to a boss fight, and even then, only if you refuse to retry.
- Curiously, this does not apply to the Final Boss; your party members will literally stand back up and keep fighting if everyone is defeated. The boss regenerates all their health, though. This is probably because the normal penalty for losing to a boss (loss of essence rewards) is meaningless against the final one.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: Each species' Healing Factor and Dump Stat.
- Fortians, being the most logical and magic-oriented, have great mental stability, and therefore have the highest Mind values. However, it is that same focus on logic and suppression of emotion that causes the to have the lowest Soul values.
- Fih'jik, being extremely pious and religious, have enough faith and confidence to have nearly unbreakable will and resolve, so they have the highest Soul values. However, they are Fragile Speedsters compared to the other species, meaning they have the lowest Body values.
- Shra are stated to be extremely tough and have the ability to recover from wounds quickly, therefore they have the highest Body values. However, due to Fantastic Racism, they tend to be uneducated and savage, giving them the lowest Mind values.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: After you defeat him, chapter 3's boss is always shown lying in a pool of blood, as if he sustained bodily harm...even if you defeated him through Mind or Soul damage and didn't leave a scratch on him.
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Hemofalcon, chapter 2's boss.
- Harmless Freezing: Qualstio's "Flashfreeze" skill only inflicts Mind damage, leaving the target completely unharmed physically.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Santes' "Judgement" ability, which is the most powerful Divine spell in the game.
- Instant Death Radius: If Zaka reaches the front line, you're screwed.
- Interface Spoiler: You can tell how many available party members there are, and how many you don't have, just by looking at the roster. Also, if you check the "Achievements and Records" page, you can see how many quests will be in the chapter, and also the secondary area you'll be going to later.
- Joke Character: Rehm Sikohlon is this in his recruitment quest; his stats are on basic level and he only has unusable "Twiddle Thumbs"-like joke abilities. Of course, he gets better.
- Late Character Syndrome: The stat problems are averted; even characters who join in the final chapter are pretty useful, since the stat growth system allows them to catch up very quickly. However, due to each character being tactically unique, you'll most likely develop a general strategy with each character having an essential, individual role, so late characters like Yfus might have bad chances of becoming members of your active party.
- In general, the higher your difficulty, the worse this will be, since the later characters are balanced for what your rank would be on a normal-difficulty run. If you've set everything to max, you'll probably have received all possible rank-up bonuses by the time you recruit the last three characters--meaning they won't gain any of the skill points they'd have gotten from being in your party when you ranked up.
- Lazy Backup: Justified; Wadassian law restricts your guild to six armed fighters at a time, so other characters aren't allowed to intervene. See Arbitrary Headcount Limit, above.
- Leaked Experience: The support system transfers essence and some skill points to the supporting character. Unfortunately, that means you'll still have to leave out four people if you get a full roster.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Averted, as both fighter-types and caster-types start with all their skills, and casters can actually afford to take a hit thanks to the game's health system. Casters are also generally better at exploiting elemental weaknesses and can attack from a distance, but fighters wither and die if anything with a Mind attack pokes them. (They are good at soaking Body attacks and exploiting armour weaknesses, though.) Rushing is generally more useful than Enchanting, however.
- Lost Forever: Almost fully averted; you can wait up until the Point of No Return to finish any sidequests and recruit any characters.
- Mana Meter: Subverted; all three gauges serve as both Life Meters and fuel for special skills.
- Multiple Endings
- Multiple Life Bars: Every character has Body, Mind, and Soul points, all of which serve as Hit Points and Mana at the same time. Any of these reaching zero KO's the character.
- No Name Given: We are never told the real name of the Cryomancer.
- Non-Elemental: Tezkhra's element is "Order", which is described as having no strengths or weaknesses. There's also Tatzylvurm and Chaos Havan, whose elements are "Chaos", also without strengths or weaknesses.
- Non-Lethal KO: Subverted and justified -- it's stated in-game that Soul and Mind damage are usually non-lethal, but Body damage usually is. This even comes into play in one quest.
- One Stat to Rule Them All: Agility, definitely. The battle system just rewards quantity over quality too much; more turns means faster acceleration of the chain, more Tech Points, and more opportunities to trigger random-chance effects like debuffs.
- Optional Party Member: Six of 'em.
- Overrated and Underleveled: The sixteenth character, Tezkhra. They specialize mainly in status effects and gimmicks, which, due to the strategical nature of the game, are more useful than most, but still makes them fall behind other characters that can dish out significantly more damage. Also, they're slower than molasses in January, and in a game where speed is the One Stat to Rule Them All, that hampers quite a bit. (This can't even be cured by character support like with other Mighty Glaciers, since Tezkhra has no support combinations.)
- Perfect Run Final Boss: Chaos Havan.
- Point of No Return: It's quite obvious when you do reach it though, as the game will tell you in a red warning box in capital letters. There is also a lesser version: when you leave Kir'Ssha, as you can never go back there again.
- Power-Up Letdown: Santes' final passive ability grants her an automatic Empower buff at the start of battle. Which sounds pretty good...until you look at everyone else's rank V abilities. Such as one that increases all three' regeneration rates by the same amount. And increase that stat itself, so that they can be further increased by buffs, unlike Santes, who completely loses the bonus if she's hit with Wither.
- Random Effect Spell: Falitza's "Press Fortune" ability. Whether or not it even causes a good or bad effect to occur is random. Its effects aren't too varied, though -- just full-party buffs or debuffs.
- Random Encounters: Averted.
- Ring Out Boss: Boulders in the penultimate Nal mission.
- Rousing Speech: What's probably a shortened version is Ques' Rousing Call ability, which greatly restores Mind points to all allies, but tires him out. You'd think it'd restore Soul points instead, though.
- Scratch Damage: Averted. If your defenses are high enough, incoming damage will be reduced to zero.
- Sidequest: There's one that's chapter-spanning, though there are quite a few besides, mostly devoted to getting optional party members.
- Status Buff Dispel: Kidra's "Suggestive Taunts" ability does this to all enemies at higher levels (though it cannot remove Regrowth). This can also be accomplished just by smacking the character in question with the opposite debuff, however.
- Squishy Wizard: Lots of 'em. Thankfully, you can just upgrade their defense until they suffer Scratch Damage from most Body attacks, and you most likely will do so, as there is not much else to do with the essence type of their Dump Stat. Subverted hugely by the fact they usually have stellar Mind or Soul stats. If you stab them they'll die, but they'll be able to easily shrug off that spell that just decimated your not-so-sturdy fighter.
- Also subverted by the fortians. Everything in the narration points to them being this, but oddly enough, Soul is their Dump Stat, not Body. (This is probably supposed to imply that their logical-minded ways of thinking inhibit their emotional and spiritual strength.) Fih'jik do have Body as their Dump Stat, but they tend to be Fragile Speedsters instead.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Ques' Vocal Threat skill does this quite literally.
- Timed Mission: Subverted. Most missions have a timer, though it's only for bonus points.
- Tech Points: Skill and mana points. Although, they're granted from actually using abilities rather than as a second type of Experience Points, making skill progression fueled by a similar principle as Stat Grinding.
- Useless Useful Spell: Averted. Nothing is immune to any status effect, and all five can be quite effective. Feel free to spam Disable on bosses, which can turn them from That One Boss to ordinary Mooks with a large health pool.
- There are a few specific skills that are too gimmicky or situational to have much use, though. Unfortunately, the sixteenth character's skillset is composed primarily of these, which is quite a letdown.
- Useless Useful Stealth: Subverted; completing the prologue without killing anyone up to the boss fight nets you bonus points. (Then immediately Double Subverted, as those bonus points turn out to be worthless.)
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: To stealth in interlude 1 and the sidequest "For The White".
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Drop in chapter 6.
- Videogame Set Piece: The Final Boss doesn't exactly play by the rules. He himself cannot be defeated until all three of his Life Meters are depleted, and also, his attack deals a random type of damage instead of being set. In addition, one of his flunkies changes their elements randomly every turn, and actually has an attack that inverts the normal Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.
- Violence Is the Only Option: Two innocent and possibly brainwashed characters are part of the final boss fight. You have no choice but to kill them. See Alas, Poor Scrappy on the YMMV page.
- "Wake-Up Call" Boss: Captian Yat is actually rather difficult, as you have only three party members, and one of them can be one-shotted by one of his attacks, which is also an area-of-effect spell. He also starts with the three regenerative buffs.
- Alliterative Name: The skill names of the Final Boss and their flunkies -- Burning Brandish, Wavering Will, and Spinning Strikes.
- Art Style Dissonance: One of the darkest chapters of the story, which tackles head-on issues of war, death, poverty, and religion, is set in the land of...the adorable cat people.
- The art style in general looks somewhat cartoonish, with everything having outlines and less shading than standard RPG Maker XP sprites, making them look more like drawings. Though this is fitting for the more lighthearted sections of the game in the beginning, it is in stark contrast with the dark and serious mood the story takes later on.
- Black Eyes / Black Bead Eyes: Due to the art style, most characters have small pupils and appear to lack irises, which makes them look like this.
- Call Back: In the Golden Ending, the last line of the game is very similar to Fell's "How far back must you stand before you can see 'everything'?", but with a new take on it as well.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Non-comedy example; a group of wealthy individuals who hold most of the power in the world due to having a monopoly on an extremely important resource that only they can provide, and who try to stifle any new ideas that could undermine that monopoly? Hm... (see Medieval Stasis, above)
- Genre Deconstruction: Of Heroic Fantasy; see An Aesop, above.
- Lemony Narrator: Sometimes. Occasionally the narration with throw in a joke or say something that gives it a bit of personality. One of the best examples is in a certain sidequest where you need to search a room for something, and the narration box says "You feel like you should take a look around. Don't ask why; you just do, okay?! It's not like you have anything better to do." (Humourously, the "decline" option is "I have better things to do.")
- One of Us: The developer, Space Lizard, is a troper.
- Playing the Player:
- Retirony: Right at the beginning of the game, Crewman Murphy comments on how it's his last day before retiring...right after having been issued a Red Shirt. Subverted when he just narrowly avoids death and goes out for a cup of coffee with his coworker.
- Ship Tease: Lani interacts with Rehm an awful lot, and they appear to admire and respect each other. Weirdly, though, they don't have a support combination.
- Shout-Out: See Classic Cheat Code, above.
- Sudden Downer Ending: Not for the story in its entirety, but specifically, chapter 3.
- Possibly, chapter 2 counts as well: it ends with the man you've been trying to protect throughout the entire quest jumping off a cliff.
- Technicolor Eyes: Or rather, Technicolor Sclerae. Most shra have yellow sclerae (though some have have bright blue or blue-green -- Kulkumatz's and Cort's are also neon green, and the si'shra warden's are blood-red), and fih'jik can have anywhere from blue to bright green sclerae. (Curiously, though, Moke appears to have normal white sclerae.)
- Sclerae Color Dissonance: You'll probably forget about the weird colors quickly -- or not even notice them in the first place.
- Theme Naming: Fih'jik names are all made up of two two-letter syllables. This is mentioned in the developer blog to be a Shout-Out to NES games.
- The four Watchers -- Fell, Nath, Kott, and Donz -- all have four-letter names as well.
- Space Lizard really likes four-letter names -- except for their 'fathers', all the Sikohlon we see follow the same pattern.
- Title Theme Drop: During pivotal (usually uplifting) moments in the story, often as a Theme Music Power-Up of sorts.
- Unlucky Thirteen: Lampshaded by Ques, as usual.
"Let it be known that Six Stars has achieved the luckiest rank of all: 13."
- Whatevermancy: Tehgonan is a "Spectrumancer", and Moke is a "Fetormancer".
- There's also "The Cryomancer".
- The Wiki Rule: Here.
- It literally means "little brother" in Shra, but because si'shra use it to refer to ordinary shra, its slang use is a serious insult
- The first time you play the game, you most likely won't remember the mention and brief appearance of Donz in the prologue.
- It can be upgraded to have four new effects, though -- increasing/decreasing the Rush meter, and advancing the skill chain by 8/breaking it.