Video Game: Betrayal at Krondor
Betrayal at Krondor
is a computer Western RPG
created in 1993 by Dynamix and published by Sierra
. It takes place in Midkemia, Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar
While coming home from his cousin's wedding, a young magician named Owyn runs into an injured Seigneur Locklear, a squire of the Prince's court, and his strange moredhel
companion named Gorath. After an assassination attempt by another moredhel, which is foiled by Gorath, Locklear forces Owyn to join them in a journey toward Krondor, capital of the Western Realm. It seems that Delekhan, the leader of the moredhel in the Northlands, is gathering troops for war, and Gorath must get this message to Prince Arutha to mount a counter-offensive, but there is more going on than it seems. . .
The game takes place over nine chapters. Due to the graphical limitations of the time, a lot of the game's plot is presented in text form, in a prosaic format that reads like one of Feist's novels. The game itself utilizes a first-person perspective as the party traverses a (primitive) 3D landscape representing the world of Midkemia and various cities therein, switching to a third-person view whenever the player enters combat.Betrayal at Krondor
was, and still is, a unique CRPG. Instead of levels and XP, characters gain percentage points in over a dozen skills, but only if they practice that particular skill. For example, a character can only improve his crossbow accuracy skill if he uses a crossbow during combat. Mages do not have any MP; instead, any spells cast use an amount of their health/stamina points
. In addition, the game utilizes some unorthodox RPG elements, such as day/night cycles, riddle-based puzzle lockchests, and even a food system.
Sierra published a Spiritual Successor Betrayal In Antara
as well as a more direct sequel Return To Krondor
, although neither were as well-received as the original game. In 1998 Feist novelized
the game, and Krondor: The Betrayal
became officially a part of the Riftwar canon.
Has a character sheet
.Needs Wiki Magic Love
Betrayal at Krondor provides examples of:
- Abandoned Mine: The Mac Mordain Cadal.
- The dwarves are trying to get it un-abandoned, though.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers under Krondor are enormous. They are about as large as another dungeon in the game, the Mac Mordain Cadal, a dwarven mine which goes under an entire mountain range.
- Abusive Precursors: The Valheru, who were an extremely powerful, multiverse-raiding, dragon-riding and elf-enslaving people with a complete lack of a sense of right and wrong, and went extinct because they challenged the gods and the survivors locked themselves in a gemstone to wait for better times. It takes a special kind of crazy to genuinely want them back.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Locklear's hair colour change from blond to brown gets Lampshaded when he and Jimmy meet. Also, Pug - having dark brown hair and a beard in the books, and usually wearing his Great One's black robe - gets shoulder-length blond hair, a clean-shaven face and a white robe.
- Adaptation Distillation: The novelisation cuts away some of the less plot-relevant or dramatically-appropriate sidequests, such as the Quest for Ale.
- All There in the Manual: The backstory of Midkemia and the events of the first Riftwar and the Great Uprising. Also the information that Gorath had a human mother and is only half-moredhel - which, in the game, is only ever alluded to once, on a fake gravestone. Supposedly, this is why he is able to grow a beard. In Midkemia canon, however, bearded elves and half-elves are equally impossible, so it's just as well this never became a plot point. Especially since it means that he's trying to stay anonymous while sporting his most distinguishing feature in plain sight. Also, why does Moraeulf have a beard, then? Nah, it's better to just assume that Gorath has a beard because it looks badass.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The moredhel in the eyes of the humans. Subverted in that one encounters moredhel, including one of the main characters, who are decent or even admirable people, or at least far more complex and ambiguous than the label would allow. The difference between moredhel and other elves is strictly philosophical anyway, and a moredhel who rejects the more unpleasant parts of moredhel philosophy is welcome among the other elves - as much is offered to Gorath, at least in the novel adaptation.
- Played straight with the pantathians, who do not appear in the game except as enemies. Justified as they are genetically hardwired to single-mindedly work towards the purpose of restoring their master and creator, the Valheru Alma-Lodaka, to power.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: This happens a few times, actually, but the most egregious is the beginning of Chapter 5, when you lose Owyn for the first time and instead get Patrus, whose stats are...well, he's a very old man. And not that kind of old man either.
- Artifact of Doom: The Lifestone traps the souls of the Valheru host. Touching it is bad.
- Arch-Enemy: Delekhan and Gorath go way back. Far more pronounced in the novelisation, where Gorath hates Delekhan with a passion typical of the moredhel and their clan feuds - so much that at the end, it's the only thing keeping him from fully Returning. In the game, Gorath seems more detached and sees Delekhan as a threat and someone who needs to be stopped, taking Delekhan's violence against him as more of the same old bloody political struggling rather than a personal insult.
- A Simple Plan: Averted. Gorath's plan of rescuing his would-be ally Obkhar from the napththa mines by pretending to offer Owyn into slavery, getting them both captured as slaves, finding Obkhar and swimming out through the underground streams works pretty much as he outlines before-hand, not counting the unforeseen dependency on gas masks to keep from dying from the poison fumes, or Owyn nearly drowning after his mask slips off underwater.
- Awesome but Impractical: Some spells, particularly Mad God's Rage. The caster fires bolts of energy at his line-of-sight enemies until they die, or the caster does, which means it's not very practical if the caster is already low on hitpoints or there are just too many enemies. It does make the "mad" part appropriate, though.
- Bag of Sharing: Averted, as each character has his own separate inventory. This can get frustrating, especially at the end of certain chapters when the party members switch around. Was a certain member of your party carrying all the healing potions, or some rare artifact that lets you cast certain spells or poison your weapon? Oops, he's gone now, and in at least one case the leaving party member will never again be in the party with the two remaining members.
- This problem is addressed only once. At the end of chapter one the game switches out Locklear for James, but right at the beginning of chapter two James can rifle through Locklear's old inventory and take what he needs.
- Of course, storing all your healing potions on one person is a bad idea, anyway, since you'd most likely need those during a battle when a character can only access their own inventory. Also, if you think about it, distributing critical supplies between party members makes sense given the amount of danger you're facing at any given moment, complete with the risk of becoming separated.
- Played ridiculously straight in the case of keys, to the point that later in the game, when the party splits in two and the game switches between them between chapters, they all still have the same keys (including ones picked up by the other party).
- Batman Gambit: The entire moredhel attack was orchestrated by Makala and six of his comrades to provide a gigantic diversion so he could study the Lifestone and possibly steal it. Everyone fell for it too, including Pug at first, who only realizes the truth after he is stranded on an alien world without means of escape. In fact, if Owyn or some other magician hadn't been the one to find Pug, then it's likely that both Midkemia and Tsuranuanni would have been either destroyed or under the control of the Valheru, thanks to Makala's meddling.
- Betting Mini-Game: In some inns you may find a character willing to gamble with you. Pick a bet, and it's basically a 50/50 chance of winning. More often than not, however, the gambler will complain that he's "come to the end of his funds."
- Big Bad: Makala. He is behind all that happened since the start of the game, the final boss and by far the most dangerous opponent the heroes ever faced.
- Big Good: Pug. He is the real target of the Big Bad, the one with the knowledge to foil the evil scheme and supposedly the greatest magician there is.
- Bittersweet Ending bordering on Downer Ending: The world is saved, but not without a Heroic Sacrifice. The Well-Intentioned Extremist refuses to be reasoned with and has to be killed. The invasion of the moredhel gets nipped in the bud, but the bloody power struggles between the leaders continue and the moredhel as a people don't seem to learn any lessons from it, making Gorath's efforts turn out to be ultimately in vain.
- Breakable Weapons: Kind of. Swords, armor, and crossbows lose their effectiveness with use, and a party should carry around a whetstone, an armorer's hammer, and a vial of aventurine to repair and maintain them. Crossbow strings do eventually snap if not maintained, and the party must buy or find a new bowstring to replace one.
- Border Patrol: Many areas of the game are inaccessible during certain chapters. If the party tries to enter these areas, either an NPC will pop up explaining the way is blocked somehow, one of the player characters will note that "going that way is a waste of time," or sometimes a respawning enemy combat will be initiated.
- There is also an infrequent bug, that may place the party after combat beyond the point where enemies respawn infinitely. This allows to continue toward forbidden areas... only to hit an invisible wall several steps later.
- Bottomless Pits: All over the place in most dungeons. Fortunately, every single one has a hook above it and you can use a rope to swing across, if you have one. (Well, OK, they're not technically bottomless, but you can't see the bottom even if you fall in one, and they are fatal.)
- Call to Adventure: Of all the PCs, Owyn is the only one who doesn't need to stay involved in the story. This is at first subverted, as he tries to go his separate way again after helping an injured Locklear who stumbles into his camp with a chained Gorath in tow. When they realize afterwards that he could talk to the wrong person and get them all killed if they just let him go, Locklear says he's either coming along with them or getting his throat slit, which would be undesirable for both of them.
- Double-subverted at the start of Chapter II - after Gorath has been escorted to Krondor and now needs to accompany James on a mission to uncover the details of the conspiracy, Owyn intercepts them as they sneak out of the city. Throwing the argument from the start of the game back in their faces, he insists that he could jeopardize their mission, because who knows who he might accidentally talk to between there and Tiburn? James reluctantly agrees to take him along, reasoning that he'd be a hypocrite for hindering someone's efforts to get himself killed at a tender young age.
- Canon Foreigner: Of the six controlled characters, Gorath, Owyn and Patrus appear only in the novelisation. Particularly jarring in Owyn's case, as he comes out of it alive, a very powerful magician with a great destiny in store for him, aware of the secret of Sethanon, able to understand spoken moredhel speech, and implicitly Pug's apprentice to boot. His absence in subsequent books is handwaved with a "went home, gave up magic, made up with his father and lived a normal life" explanation.
- Canon Immigrant: Besides most of the characters appearing in the novelization and occasionally getting brief mentions in later books, the game also introduces the character of Lysle Rigger, who appeared in many more Feist novels.
- Also, mentioned only once in a sidebar quest, is Nalar, the Mad God and Lord of the Void.
- The dragon statue at Malac's Cross that became a solid part of the canon landscape later on first appeared in the game.
- Cast from Hit Points: All the mage spells use up health/stamina points, even the non-combat ones.
- Cave Behind the Falls: There is a large one of these that plays a big role in Chapter 3.
- Cliff Hanger: Chapter VI ends with Gorath and Owyn teleporting into a place they know nothing about save that Pug, the most powerful magician on two worlds, needs to be rescued from there. Chapter VII ends with James and Locklear seeing a flash of magic signalling the arrival of powerful enemy magicians through the rift. Both cliffhangers are followed by a switch to the other group.
- And then the two converged storylines get tied together again in an unexpected if somewhat contrived way when it turns out that the supposed enemies coming out of the rift are actually Gorath and Owyn successfully returning from that dangerous place with Pug in tow.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Gorath wears a red cloak. The enemy moredhel fighters all wear blue cloaks, moredhel mages wear yellow cloaks. Rogues all have white leggings, rogue mages have yellow ones. Nighthawks and Black Slayers alike are dressed in black, though the Black Slayer outfits have a bit of red in them. Sentinel Ogres (fighters) are yellow, Highland Ogres (spellcasters) are blue.
- In a subtler and possibly coincidental example, all of the spellcaster protagonists have a very light colour scheme and wear white or, in Owyn's case, a sort of sunny beige.
- Coming-of-Age Story: For Owyn, to a certain extent.
- Continuity Nod: Almost every detail of the setting, given that it's based directly off Raymond Feist's fictional world Midkemia. Beyond that, however, there are many, many little things that can be recognised by someone who's paid closer than average attention to the books. For example, a mention is made of the Master of Ceremonies in Krondor, deLacy, and near Armengar you can find the grave of Locklear's old sweetheart Bronwynn from Armengar who got killed during the siege, with an appropriately heartbroken epitaph.
- Crapsack World: The Northlands
- What any world would be if the Valheru got control over them. Eventually you visit Timiranya and realise that it's what the natives did voluntarily to prevent having the Valheru rule over them.
- Curious as a Monkey: Owyn
- Cutscene Incompetence: Somewhat. Gorath and Owyn are ambushed, surrounded and captured at the end of Chapter III. Depending on the powerful spells Owyn may have amassed at that point, and Gorath's Scouting skill, a bunch of enemies managing to sneak up on them and overpower them may or may not make sense. Then again, it IS a bunch of deadly warriors with ranged weapons.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The moredhel (aka dark elves) in general, contrary to what the common populace thinks. More specifically, there are many times when Gorath is described in a very sinister manner.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The moredhel higher-ups are like this when they aren't actively slaughtering each other.
- Deadpan Snarker: James and on occasion Owyn. Gorath is curiously exempt from this, being too stoic even for snark, and his humour tends towards the very, very dry:
Owyn: "No one has ever died doing this?"
- Deus Exit Machina: Unraveling the mystery of the phrase "The Book of Macros" left by Pug, Owyn and Gorath eventually figure out that it's a request for aid addressed to Warleader Tomas of Elvandar. In previous Feist novels Tomas is shown to have inherited the power of the Valheru, who had the power to traverse the cosmos and other godlike abilities, and he would have solved the problems faced by the party and Pug in fairly short order. Conveniently, he was just poisoned by an arrow a few days before Owyn and Gorath meet him, and is unable to do anything but lie in bed, so the members of the party have to save the day on their own.
- Fridge Brilliance: It is no great secret that Tomas and Pug are close friends. Poison that can bring down a Valheru presumably isn't easy to come by, and the timing is very convenient. Once you find out what role the Great One Makala plays in the whole mess, it seems likely that he was behind this, as well - as the leader of The Six, he is already ideally positioned to distribute such supplies to moredhel troops, and considering his thoroughness in getting the mage Pug out of the way, it's inconceivable that he wouldn't have taken measures against the second most powerful person on the planet as well as the first person who'd go after a missing Pug.
- Disc One Nuke: Using a few money-making exploits, it's not that hard to get a set of Greatswords (the third-best sword and best purchasable sword in the game) without even leaving the first area of the first chapter.
- If you pick all treasures and kill all enemies in the first area and finish all sidequests that don't require to leave it, you should get enough money to buy two Greatswords. But even with Greatswords the northeastern route (Tyr-Sog — Highcastle) is hard for untrained party. Though if you manage to make your way through this road, chapters 1-3 are a breeze.
- Difficulty Spike: The beginning of Chapter V is a great example of this. You're suddenly using a party with characters you haven't used in a while (or ever), two of which have nearly empty inventories aside from weapons and armor, and must fight through at least three extremely difficult combats (in which the enemies are wearing and wielding magically enhanced armor and weapons, which hadn't been seen before in the game) before making it to the nearest town.
- Early Game Hell: Combat in Chapter I is usually a lot more difficult than it becomes in later chapters, after you've upgraded your equipment and learned some useful spells. This is especially true if you try to take the long way to Krondor (through Highcastle and Northwarden, then down the east side of the map) as the few combats of five or six moredhel blocking the way will normally rip you to shreds, despite such a combat becoming fairly standard by Chapter IV. The last chapter, in particular, is really easy compared to earlier ones. It's probably for this reason that a lot of the tips on websites for this game are ways to earn enough money to afford good swords and armor early on.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Owyn seems to get formally recruited as an apprentice by Pug at the end - as he jokingly remarks, studying magic was all he ever wanted in the first place.
- Elves Versus Dwarves: Averted. Dwarves and elves get along just fine.
- Enemy Civil War: The Northlands, always - except when someone like Murmandamus or Delekhan unites them, though in the latter's case the suggestion of another invasion after the disastrous results of the last one just becomes additional fuel for conflict.
- Enemy Mine: Why Gorath seeks out Prince Arutha in the first place. Similarly, James and Locklear cooperate with a different moredhel who likewise opposes Delekhan's plans.
- Equipment Spoiler: A subversion. All swords and armor have a "racial mod" of either human, elven, or dwarven, granting a modest effectiveness bonus for the corresponding race. You'll never get a single dwarf, so even though the items are still perfectly usable, the dwarven racial bonus will never benefit you.
- Fish out of Water: Owyn and Gorath on the alien world of Timiranya. Also Owyn in the Northlands, and in the whole adventuring business in general. He gets used to it quickly, though.
- Flanderization: Owyn suffers particularly from this in the novelization. In the game, he is an inexperienced youngster new to the trials of adventure who will occasionally voice a complaint when the going gets tough, but is rather plucky and likeable, and a very effective foil for Gorath. In the novel, Owyn is Flanderised into a clumsy, whiny, incompetent Butt Monkey comic relief character who, despite his leech-like curiosity about magic in the game, has somehow willingly dropped out of Stardock and Jumps at the Call to avoid having to go home and face his disapproving father. For anyone who first played the game, it is particularly cringe-inducing as he is essentially the main viewpoint character there and the one the player is most likely/encouraged to relate to. To go from that to the book, with its expectation that you'll laugh at seeing him mess up, is... jarring.
- Similarly, Gorath - whose common sense, honour and nobility of spirit are defining traits - is much more petty, hateful and vengeance-driven, and is supposedly not ready to fully Return to the eledhel because of his hatred for Delekhan, whom he must kill to fully leave his moredhel life behind him. Yes, that's right - he has to kill to be able to join the Lawful Good pacifists in their Utopia - what the hell? Of course, that's what he thinks he needs to do, but the fact that the book ends without clarifying or bringing any closure to that issue doesn't exactly make for a satisfying arc.
- Fog of War: A spell lets you create literal fog of war to help you sneak up on or past enemies.
- Foil: Gorath and Owyn to each other, both in appearance, personality and skills. To a lesser extent, James and Locklear, usually with Jimmy being his usual worldly self and Locky acting the bumbling uptight type.
- Foregone Conclusion: Since the game took place between two books that had already been published, anyone who read the series knows that Gorath's attempts to forge a lasting peace between humanity and his people are doomed to failure.
- Foreshadowing: At one point, you can get any of the main cast to visit a fortune-teller. Some of what she tells you serves as a Continuity Nod.
- Friendly Fireproof: Averted. Miss, and your spell or arrow WILL hit an ally.
- Friendship Moment: A few subtle ones between Gorath and Owyn in the later chapters, when they've been continuously going through hell together, usually involving a Not So Stoic moment with Gorath showing that he is much more fond, protective or appreciative of a human with whom he has nothing in common than a simple ally and companion strictly needs to be.
Gorath: It was not my intent to alarm you. Only to reassure you that no matter what may happen between here and Elvandar, I have come to consider you a friend.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Late in Chapter 6, you can find a well that should let you raise your strength by a few points. However, in all versions of the game except the diskette original, you can use the well as many times as you like, raising your strength to an insanely high amount. This might be a simple Game Breaker; however, if you raise your strength too high (above 255), your hits in combat will start doing negative damage to the enemy.
- Grave Humor: Several graveyards litter the landscape of Midkemia, mostly with these types of epitaphs on them. Some of them provide a clue to what's buried there, and you can dig it up and take it with you.
- There is a fake cemetery in Northlands with magic gravestones which show epitaphs insulting the reader.
- Gorath says that Moredhel put gravestones only if they want to insult the buried.
- Grid Inventory: Your inventory space is very limited. Stackables only stack up to a maximum of two dozen or much less, depending on the kind of item, armour is huge, and there's Vendor Trash.
- Grim Up North: The Northlands, and how. Barren, snowy, with ominous drumbeats punctuating the score, and a whole mass of people immediately trying to kill you as you take your first steps through it.
- Have a Nice Death: Sort of. There are book-style text screens for every major and minor occurrence, and each different way to die shows different descriptions of your characters' dying breaths and their eventually decaying bodies - whether you were killed by a trap, defeated by enemies, fell into a pit, tried to light a torch in a mine heavy with naphtha fumes, starved in the Sleeping Glades, or annoyed the half-dead gods of Timiranya by repeatedly trying to walk into a restricted area, to name a few.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Owyn and Gorath develop this vibe in Chapter IV and VI.
- Also James and Locklear, though it's explored more in other Feist novels than in this game.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: The moredhel Obkhar convinces James and Locklear to lend him their ears with this argument.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Somewhat averted with the moredhel riddle lockchests, as they are supposedly put in their locations by advance scouts to provide support to an invading army. That doesn't explain why they turn up in some strange places for army scouts to be, like in the sewers of Krondor.
- Informed Equipment: Wizards may be wearing the Dragon Plate Armor on their inventory screens, but in a fight it looks like they've still got just that robe on. A bit less jarring for warriors, whose sprites always show the same armor, regardless of what they wear.
- Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Interchangeability is justified somewhat in the fact that there are several different types of keys, and in the description for some of them it is mentioned that "they are manufactured by the hundreds." The antimatter part hardly comes into play — you can keep using the same Peasant's Key from Chapter 1 till the end. Unless you accidentally break it because of low lockpicking skill.
- In-Universe Game Clock: Days pass into nights and your characters need food and sleep every day. On the other hand, time passes proportionally to your movement rather than in real time, which means that if you're standing still you're frozen in time. But really, why would you want to stand still?
- I Will Only Slow You Down: After a battle where one (but not all) of the characters enters near-death status, the injured member will insist that the others go on without him - and will be told, word for word, that No One Gets Left Behind. No one.
- Just One Second Out of Sync: In the novelization (but not in the game), this type of time-shifting protection had been placed on the Lifestone, and most of the purpose of the invasion plot was to provide Makala the time he needed to bring it back into normal time so that he could study and/or steal it.
- Kansas City Shuffle: The first half of the game concerns the party trying to find evidence of an impending moredhel attack on the kingdom. Eventually, James finds strong evidence that the moredhel will attack through Northwarden, and he sends word to Prince Arutha to help defend the pass, who arrives in the nick of time to save the fortress. However, the entire attack on Northwarden was a ploy to get Arutha's army to the border so that Delekhan could march through a rift machine into the Dimwood and straight into Sethanon. Oops!
- Kill Us Both: At the end of the game, Gorath and Delekhan grab the sword sticking out of the Lifestone - Delekhan trying to pull it out and Gorath trying to stop him - and nearly freeing the spirits trapped within. Owyn and Pug have to kill both of them to preserve the world, much to Owyn's regret.
- Large and in Charge: Gorath and Delekhan. They are a head taller than most other Moredhel.
- Lie to the Beholder: The spell "And the Light Shall Lie", a spell that makes the caster appear moredhel. This is only useful once (to help Owyn walk through a town in the Northlands without raising suspicion), and apparently it is only designed to work on Moraeulf, though it prevents his army from attacking you too.
- Locked Out of the Fight: Gorath stays behind while Pug and Owyn try and fail to reason with the Big Bad. Pug convinces Gorath that Makala would be more respectful and less likely to act rashly if confronted by fellow magicians, and the moredhel warrior would be more of a liability in a mage-versus-mage fight, and someone should stay and protect the Oracle of Aal, anyway. (Gameplay and Story Segregation is in play; the real reason is that the designers knew that Gorath would be able to harry the enemy magician and protect the magicians, which would make the fight a complete Anticlimax Boss by this point.)
- Long-Lost Relative: Lysle Rigger, long-lost half-brother of thief-turned-squire James.
- Loveable Rogue: Squire James aka Jimmy the Hand
- Mind Probe: Gorath is subjected to this by the telepathic Gamina (and Makala as well) when he first meets Prince Arutha to warn him about the coming invasion from the north. However, as a moredhel, he seems to have innate defenses, so he's not let off the hook quite that easily.
- Mistaken Identity: James becomes aware of having a long-lost twin brother when he gets mistaken for him.
- Morality Pet: Owyn to Gorath. While Gorath has no pronounced tendency to act amorally, whenever he does something that shows off his softer side, it usually involves Owyn.
- Mysterious Protector: Subverted. In Chapter 4 Gorath and Owyn are captured and brought to Sar-Sargoth, where they are set free by a mysterious magician magicking their cell doors open. They are unable to find out who it was. Later on, though, it becomes apparent that it was undoubtedly the Big Bad Makala - not out of any concern for their wellbeing, but so that they could deliver their false warning to Prince Arutha and carry on being his unwitting pawns.
- The novelization implies that it was actually Narab, who freed them out of spite.
- The novelisation has Liallan, who has as little clue as anyone else, speculate that it might have been him. No definite answer is ever given. However, this may also be a case of Creative Differences between the way Neal Hallford envisioned the story and the way Feist adapted it.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Gorath's method of saving his race unfortunately happens to be one that his entire race condemns him for. Ultimately, his heroism directly leads to his death - had he not been merciful enough to be willing to spare Delekhan even after everything he had done and had simply killed him when he got the chance, the Lifestone never would have been endangered.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: Facilitated by an all-male main cast.
- Non-Lethal K.O.: Death is usually permanent in Midkemia, so in this game, a character reduced to 0 Health will go down non-lethally. However, being wounded and near-death is still a major difficulty early in the game, because the character will be effectively unable to recover Health until they climb out of the Near-Death state, which generally takes either a visit to a temple (which is expensive), twenty doses of restoratives, or weeks at an inn.
- Non Standard Game Over: If your entire party is reduced to zero health by any means, you're done. But for extra fun, try lighting a torch while in a cavern saturated with flammable naphtha fumes.
- Not So Different: Pug and Makala. Both Tsurani Great Ones, both willing to step over bodies to make a point or uphold what they perceive to be their duties, both having done so in the past.
- Novelization: Krondor: The Betrayal
- Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Automatic quest logs or journals? Nonsense!
- Odd Friendship: Gorath and Owyn - a taciturn centuries old dark elf clan chieftain and a bubbly 19-year-old human mage apprentice. Said age difference also makes it an Intergenerational Friendship.
- Old Master: Patrus fits the bill.
- Orphaned Series: The actual sequel, (titled Thief of Dreams and supposedly set in Kesh) the one thought up by the big brains behind this game and the one meant to expand on the loose ends left dangling here, never saw the light of day, thanks to Executive Meddling. To elaborate, the studio closed up and the team went their separate ways because Ba K didn't sell so good at first. Then it became wildly successful, and the meddling executives tried to backpedal and get the sequel going again, but the original team and concept were no longer there.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: All the dwarves encountered in the game are miners, drinkers, and/or gamblers, and they all have atrocious Scottish accents.
- Our Elves Are Better: "Dark" elves and "light" elves (aka moredhel and eledhel) are, in fact, more or less the same race. Their only difference is what "path" they follow - effectively worldview and ideology - dominance, blood feuds and "might makes right" versus pacifism, neutrality and temperance. The ideology of the moredhel is one they adopted from the Valheru, the ancient dragon riders who enslaved all elves at one point - only where the eledhel focus on being as different to the Valheru as possible, the moredhel see the power of the Valheru as their birthright and humans as invaders that drove them from their lands (which they did, actually). More to the point, if a moredhel ceases to have a moredhel worldview, then he ceases to be moredhel and is welcomed in Elvandar as a lost brother. This is referred to as the Returning.
- Overrated And Underleveled: James is legendary for his mastery of the sword, having been taught by Prince Arutha himself and all. But don't get too hyped when he replaces Locklear in your party in Chapter 2 - depending on how much levelling you'd been doing in the first chapter, James may actually be weaker, stat-wise.
- It also strains credulity that some random picklock named Abuk can teach anything about picking locks to the great Jimmy the Hand, yet it happensnote .
- Similarly, Pug is the greatest magician in two worlds, but when he joins your party late-game his stats are probably worse than Owyn's by that point. Plus, he won't be able to learn any magic beyond what Owyn already knows. Though this is justified in-game by his use of an overpowered magical artifact, it is still disappointing, especially for fans of the books.
- On the subject of Locklear, the explanation is simple: Locklear's better than Jimmy when it comes to swordsmanship, as he tells Limm. Gorath, meanwhile, is something of a legend himself on the opposite side.
- Point of No Return: After Chapter VI, you won't be able to travel Midkemia again with those particular characters, as their next adventures take them to a different world and then to the final boss battle. Meanwhile, the B team in Chapter VII are limited to the Dimwood and never used again afterward.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Gorath occasionally shows instances of this, though he's far more a Warrior Poet.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Avoiding this is the reason for Gorath turning against Delekhan. He knows that even if the invasion succeeds at first, the moredhel would take so many casualties that any counteroffensive would completely destroy his people.
- Railroading: A bizarre example. The plot is completely linear; the only thing you can influence is choosing to do available sidequests at a sooner or later point, with a different constellation of characters and under different main plot circumstances, or choosing from one of the alternative approaches sometimes available for fulfilling chapter objectives. Nevertheless, the game is pointedly praised for the illusion of freedom it provides with its Wide Open Sandbox gameplay.
- Red Herring Mole: Gorath is suspected of being a double agent for much of the game, with several unfortunate (and no doubt orchestrated by his enemies) incidents painting him in a highly suspicious light. When the party arrives in Romney to find the Krondorian Lancers brutally murdered, one of the witnesses reports of someone sharing Gorath's name and description supposedly being seen there earlier, much to James' fury. Later, when Gorath and Owyn are captured by Delekhan, the former is treated somewhat like a spy who has failed in his tasks. Owyn is unsettled by the idea but concludes that he still needs Gorath's help to get out of there alive, whatever his real loyalties might be.
- Refuge in Audacity: Invoked several times in-universe:
- James's plan for finding out more about the hostile army's plans involve disguising himself as a subordinate and walking up to their commander and asking him, though "not without saying hello".
- The reason Owyn gives to a suspicious Kingdom patrolman for why he and Gorath are walking in from the wrong side of the mountains.
"The Prince just sent us to spy on them, all right? They'd never suspect a scrawny nineteen-year-old boy and a moredhel, so...that's why he sent us."
- Gorath walking around the Kingdom where people would shoot him on sight if they knew what he was. But of course, it's completely insane to think that a moredhel could be walking around freely this deep into the Kingdom, so that ominous-looking pointy-eared guy has to be one of the light elves, right? Right?
- Riddle Me This: For being a Proud Warrior Race, the moredhel sure do love their riddles, as is evidenced by the moredhel lockchests scattered everywhere, each with a riddle to solve on its faceplate.
- The manual provides a justification as having the riddles exist for the benefit of those couriers who tend to forget what word opens what chest. Considering that most of the people who run across the chests won't be able to read the moredhel language anyway, it's probably not as great a risk as it might seem.
- Shaggy Frog Story: The book "Thiful's Bird Migrations" starts with a discussion on birds, but since the author simply cannot keep on topic, it becomes the only book to provide bonuses to every skill in the game.
- Single-Biome Planet: Timiranya, the planet Pug is stranded on. Justified, as it was left barren by the plunder of the Valheru Dragon Lords ages ago.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Averted in Chapter II, since when Locklear leaves he leaves his equipment behind (when he returns in Chapter V he has all new gear). Subverted at the end of Chapter III: while Owyn and Gorath don't ever get to legitimately trade equipment with James again, they can access the Northwarden area via a bug and pick up stuff James and co. left behind there, and in turn it's not hard for Owyn and Gorath to dump some surplus equipment in a puzzle box in the Dimwood for Jimmy's team to pick up in Chapter VII. You'll still need to decide which team gets to keep the Spider and the Spyglass, though. (Common practice is to give them to Gorath's team, since the first part of Chapter IV is That One Level.)
- Spanner in the Works: The Big Bad Makala imprisons the magician Pug on an alien planet where magic can't be cast, to buy himself time to study the Lifestone without Pug's interference. Presumably he assumed that anyone looking to free the prisoner would either fail or not do so in time. The rescuer would certainly need to be a powerful magician, which few people are, and they tend to go on such missions alone, since non-magicians would just get in the way. If the rescuer went without preparation, the "no magic" problem and the hostile natives would make dead meat of them. If they scouted and found out about the "no magic" problem in advance, they'd sit and look for a solution before going there. Enter the Sword and Sorcerer team of Gorath and Owyn, who just wade right in.
- Strategy Guide: Though it's online and not a hard copy, the BAK Help Web goes way beyond a normal FAQ or Walkthrough. Featuring detailed maps, stats on every weapon and item, every single bit of text, and even a screenshot and stats for every combat in the game, it's one of the most comprehensive resources on a single game out there.
- Stupid Sacrifice: Gorath's death arguably has shades of this. The most dangerous artifact on Midkemia is in the room and the two powerful magicians capable of disintegrating a puny fighter in an instant just let Delekhan get close to it? Exhaustion is only so much of an excuse.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Gorath and Owyn for much of the game, the only combo of characters to consistently stay together.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Although the moredhel are the antagonists of the game, one of the main PC's, Gorath, is a moredhel trying to save his people from another disastrous war. And in Chapter 4, Gorath and Owyn traverse the Northlands and meet more than a few noble moredhel, and even rescue one, Obkhar, who then helps you out in a later chapter.
- Take Your Time: All of the objectives range from the urgent to the semi-urgent, but how long you take in doing them has no effect on the game whatsoever. In fact, going through sidequests and exploring the world is actually rewarded, since exploration is the only way to find new spells and earn the gold for your fancy weapons.
- Talk to Everyone: Failing to do so has various consequences from missing out on quests and training opportunities to missing crucial bits of plot information.
- Teaser Equipment: For most first-time players and anyone not willing to grind up their gold by fighting everyone and selling everything they find (or using money-making exploits and/or bugs), this is what the fancier weapons are in the shops in LaMut, Tyr-Sog, Yabon, etc. in the first chapter of the game, especially since the likelihood that you'll be in the neighborhood later when you can afford them is pretty slim unless you take the time to explore the entire world again every chapter. You do have to go to the mines just south of LaMut in Chapter 6, but few players would then head up to Yabon or other areas in the vicinity.
- Telepathy: Gamina has this ability.
- The Determinator: Gorath
- The Greatest Story Never Told: In the context of the series, this is what the story ends up as, in particular the events of the final struggle over the top-secret Lifestone beneath Sethanon and the circumstances of Gorath's Heroic Sacrifice. About five people end up with a new-found respect for the supposedly Always Chaotic Evil moredhel, but that's it. The people of the Kingdom and Gorath's people in the North never learn what happens.
- The Infiltration: There are several options to get past the guards in Harlech - the neatest one is finding the local witch and Gorath's wife and getting her to teach Owyn a spell to make him appear moredhel, find out the password, and then just walk past them. At a different point, James and Locklear pretend to be Quegan mercenaries to walk into Delekhan's army and deactivate the Rift Machine he's using to teleport more of his army to the Dimwood.
- The Lost Woods: The forest between Caldara and Elvandar is so thick that it's almost impossible to see anything in the normal view other than trees. Also, there are deadly sleeping glades and a few other supernatural phenomena lurking about. Plus, it's the home of the elves. Strangely enough, the other forest in the game, the Dimwood, is so sparsely vegetated that it can barely be called a forest at all. As one NPC puts it "It isn't very dim and as far as a wood goes, well... I think it's a bit of a stretch to call it a forest..."
- The Mole: The Tsurani Great One Makala
- The Multiverse: A premise of the setting.
- The Omniscient: The Oracle of Aal, who can see different possible futures, sort of. A crucial exception is her inability to see things that concern her own fate.
- The Quest: Preventing another moredhel invasion into human lands, for the sake of both nations. This takes the party all over the continent and even onto another planet in an effort to overcome various obstacles.
- The Starscream: In general, this is common whenever one moredhel leader serves another. (One reason Murmandamus was so dangerous was his Messiah status that made him basically immune to this.) Specific examples include Narab, who serves Delekhan, and Liallan, who married him to stop their clans from fighting and thus cannot actively move against him.
- The Wise Prince: Prince Arutha can be considered this. Gorath as well, though the moredhel have neither princes, nor royal blood in general.
- Thrown Down a Well: What Makala does to Pug by trapping him on Timirianya (see Trapped in Another World below).
- To Absent Friends: The novelisation ends with this in honour of Gorath, complete with a toast and everything.
- Touch of Death: The spells Touch of Lims-Kragma and the Idol of Lassur both kill their target immediately.
- Trauma Inn: With a twist. Sleeping in an inn restores your hit points at the same rate as sleeping on the ground, only in an inn you can sleep until you're fully restored, but on the ground you can only recover up to 80% of your hit points. Also, sleeping at an inn won't automatically cure you from poison/sick/plague/near-death/etc. status unless you rest there for several days or even weeks.
- Trapped in Another World: Pug/Milamber, the most powerful magician on two worlds, is coerced into this situation to leave him unable to interfere in the villain's scheme. Having been sent to find him, Owyn and Gorath end up in the same place. The twist being that the world was left almost completely barren by the destructive plunder of the Valheru Dragon Lords of old, to the point where the first thing you notice is that magic doesn't work there, naturally including the magic one would use to travel back out of it.
- Tree Top Town: Elvandar, which is also a Hidden Elf Village.
- Trust Password: When sending Gorath off with James to investigate the moredhel threat, Prince Arutha makes it explicitly clear that he doesn't trust the moredhel and will only act if he has James' personal word for it. They split up, with James leaving to prepare Northwarden against the coming attack and sending Gorath and Owyn to alert Arutha and tell him that "There's a party at Mother's". James and Arutha used that phrase years earlier when dealing with the Nighthawks and so Gorath and Owyn's use of it confirms that the message is from James.
- Vendor Trash: Of the myriads of jewels and shells you can collect, only two can be used in any game-affecting way; the rest are just there to be sold.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted. Every enemy that has armor or weapons can be looted after a battle.
- Using You All Along: The mastermind behind the entire scheme is Makala, a Tsurani Great One who was supposed to be an ally to Pug and Arutha. He's even present when Gorath first brings Arutha his warnings about Delekhan's plan and it's his words that finally convince Arutha to take Gorath's warning seriously.
- Unwitting Pawn: Since all attempts to stop him from contacting Prince Arutha were unsuccessful, Gorath is actually of more use to Delekhan when alive and loose in the Kingdom, to the point of Delekhan becoming completely enraged when an ignorant underling presents him with a captured Gorath as a gift.
- Warrior Poet: Fits Gorath perfectly.
- Wallet of Holding
- Warp Whistle: Once the party visits a temple they can warp there from most other temples, for a fee.
- Walking the Earth: In the course of the game, one has usually travelled all over the Kingdom several dozen times in various courses, and has paid visits to Elvandar and the Northlands.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The political situation of the moredhel in the Northlands. Sure, everyone agrees that it would be great to take over more land from the humans and such, but there's too much infighting and clan feuds for them to get their act together under normal circumstances. In fact, the first friendly face Gorath and Owyn encounter after escaping Delekhan's clutches is Liallan, Delekhan's consort, who openly supports him but hopes and works for his plans to fail.
- We Buy Anything: Averted in many shops. For example, if you try to sell a sword in a shop dedicated to jewels or magic the shopkeeper simply says, "I have no use for such an item." Similarly, exotic items like moredhel lampreys also tend to be rather hard to get rid of.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Big Bad of the story Makala who as a Tsurani Great One has a genuine duty of protecting the Empire against potentially great and unknown threats such as the Lifestone, and is willing to manipulate and gamble with the lives of pawns in typical Great One fashion. As Pug - who is also a Tsurani Great One - points out, he himself might not have acted much differently if he had believed that the stakes were as high as this.
- We Need to Get Proof: The premise of the second chapter is a search for proof of a conspiracy and clues of its nature.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: An intriguing subplot concerning someone calling himself "The Crawler" trying to dislodge the Mockers from Krondor and set up his own criminal empire crops up a few times in earlier chapters. After Chapter 3, however, it never gets referenced again (other than a brief sidequest at the beginning of Chapter 6). Apparently, Raymond E. Feist thought the subplot was interesting enough on its own to become the basis of the next book in the Riftwar Legacy series: Krondor: The Assassins.
- What You Are in the Dark: Gorath's initial act of joining the humans to prevent the war qualifies. He knows in advance that it will strip him of his rank as chieftain, that his own people and what remains of his friends and family won't consider him anything more than a traitor and a coward for thinking of cooperating with humans, and the humans themselves will at best distrust him and at worst have him deliver his message on a rack. He goes anyway.
- Where It All Began:
- The place of the final battle, the ruins beneath Sethanon and the chamber with the Lifestone, has played a crucial role in the ancient history of Midkemia as well as the more recent Great Uprising.
- Also, you exit the Kingdom (and thus the main area of most of the game) for the last time (other than the B team getting stuck in the Dimwood) through a mine near LaMut, in the same basic area where the game started.
- Wide Open Sandbox: Done well. The entire Kingdom is available for exploration from the very beginning of the game and there is a lot of side material available, but a lot of it still ties into the main plot in some way and at any rate, your objective is stated on your map page, so you never forget what you're supposed to be doing.
- Wizard Beard: The Great One Makala - in defiance of the canon, which states clearly that only slaves wear beards in Tsuranuanni.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: This can happen if you fail to stock up on enough rations.
- You Are Already Dead: Delekhan and Gorath, after touching the Lifestone.