Video Game: Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle aka: Embric Ofwulfhammers Castle
Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle is a fantasy Role-Playing Game done with RPG Maker 2003.From the game's manual, The Duchess of the fair land of Elstwhere comes by carriage to the Marque of Wulfhammer, presumably to marry its lord, Embric of Wulfhammer. Embric, however, is nowhere to be found. The Duchess, not being the sort to sit around idly, embarks on her own quest to get to know the body of the eccentric populace of Castle Wulfhammer, among them the ladies and dwarves of the Awesome Fellowship, those rescued on the Fellowship's grand adventures, a bevy of mysterious townsfolk, monsters, nobles, demons, and devils, waitresses, clerks, clerics, and more.But there is something strange about this castle and its people. As the mysteries begin to unravel, and the real lives and futures of the people of Wulfhammer come into question, who can rescue those who are so used to doing the rescuing?Primarily a comedic and heavily Yuri/Shoujo Ai story (having originally been released to the /u/ board of 4chan), the object of the game is not to fight monsters with a band of heroes to save the world from some cataclysm, but to explore the stories of the people of Castle Wulfhammer. There is almost no traditional combat and the game is packed with scenes and endings, and lots, and lots, of characters.A sequel is in the works entitled "A Marquess of Notoriety" which involves the next generation.
Tropes found in this game include:
Abusive Parents: He was her uncle, but Greyghast's "training" of The Duchess. Likely sexual abuse, we see him walking to her in a memory when she couldn't move.
Affably Evil: Carmina seems really nice and friendly for how evil she is, from treating the townsfolk of a Dark Elf city well in a flashback to her relationship with the Duchess.
All Just a Dream: Every ending except the last ending has the Duchess "waking up" in her room. The Final Ending has you traveling through a developer's room with character descriptions for everyone. Then you "wake up" with the Awesome Fellowship led by "Ember", an Embric/Alice fusion rescuing child-Duchess (who looks different from the memories) from being raped by Greyghast. Then it goes to the main screen.
The "Alice" Ending also points this direction. If you defeat ZEALOT and choose not to marry Embric or Louni AND you haven't done the Carmina route; you're back at the Duchess's Empty Castle with Alice. The Duchess wonders what she's going to do; but she tells Alice that she loves her and tells her her name. Then Alice tells her that her name isn't really Alice, it's Ember. BRRRRZT; flashes of Embric and the Awesome Fellowship killing Greyghast; and then a brown haired girl is talking to Embric where the Duchess and Alice usually talk after dreams; and they turn back into the Duchess and Alice.
In the new Deluxe Edition, it is revealed that The Duchess has Precognition. The events of the game are her childhood self envisioning the future; however; these visions are being influenced by her being possessed by a devil who is feeding on her despair.
Cute Bruiser: Alice doesn't have levels in Barbarian for nothin'.
Descriptiveville: The Duchess comes from the land of Elstwhere. Where is Esltwhere, and what is it like? Who cares? It's just somewhere away from the story.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? Early in the game, climb the cliffs and look at the castle. The Lich Vecnatrix walks up and makes conversation. If one immediately selects "Shove", the Duchess pushes him off the cliff and gains "disproportionate experience" for "defeating" him. "I have heroic exploits to talk about at parties! How thrilling!" (No, it didn't destroy him.) Other choices result in running away or getting temporarily captured.
Distressed Damsel: Deconstructed; the Duchess is constantly being kidnapped and imprisoned whenever she leaves the safety of the castle, but she's been kidnapped and imprisoned all her life and has gotten very good at it; the Fellowship doesn't band together to help her and when Louni rescues her, she finds it just as annoying as most gamers do when being forced to rescue the hero's love interest.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Avoided like the plague with Falwythwier; she's a Jerk Ass, and she stays that way. The best the player can hope for with her is grudging acceptance.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Alice seems to think it's hot, anyway; and the Duchess is really forgiving. Compare with Greyghast. The Duchess also seems traumatized during the Fucking Ghosts event— she's afraid that she was raped by the ghosts after she wakes covered in what she can only hope is "oyster sauce"; obviously this is not a concern she has when she knows she was raped by Carmina, or when being molested by.. anyone who's not male, basically. Being a yuri game, rare is the dude in this game who isn't useless, stupid, evil, or some combination of the three, and be prepared for female characters to be Easily Forgiven for sexy crimes that get are left to implication and fades-to-black when committed by men.
Dungeon Maintenance: Our heroine can get to an empty treasure chest before the government official responsible for refilling them. She's outraged at this lapse in standards.
Dungeons & Dragons: It takes place in a D&D setting, with jokes and references made to monsters, spells, and items found in the books. In one story path, we see Embric of Wulfhammer's castle really is a D&D game, with the main cast representing a gaming group's Player Characters— the reason Embric is 'missing' is that the character died, and the Duchess is his player's new character, rather than having 'one of his brothers' join the party instead. This ending also lampshades the heavily Fanservice based set-up.
Emoticon: All of the guards "speak" using these... which the Duchess is somehow able to understand.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Nobody asks what the Duchess' name is. At the end of her romance path, Louni asks, but Duchess is interrupted— she does tell Carmina. The Good Dwarf is called the Good Dwarf because no one can pronounce his Dwarven name. And nobody realizes there's more than one; each with their own name.
At one point, a villain challenging the group to a riddle contest and asks them the Duchess' name. None of them can recall it, and they all get captured as a result. This includes a potential love interest and a friend she's had since childhood.
Foreshadowing: "Awaken without Saving?" She hasn't been saved yet.
Embric's portrait is quite similar to Alice's.
At one point in the game, you can end up kidnapped by Vecnathrax — the Duchess comments that on the way home she felt like she was Embric of Wulfhammer. In the D&D ending, this turns out to be more or less literally true — she's played by the same person as Embric, who decided to play her this time instead of his usual tactic of bringing in an essentially-identical relative of Embric when his latest iteration of Embric died. It's also somewhat applicable to the usual interpretation of the Alice and Final Endings — Embric is simply a product of the Duchess' drug-addled imagination, in which she split the real Ember into two different characters: Embric and Alice.
The manual establishes that it's not actually certain that the Good Dwarf is male — people assume such because he/she looks like a short bearded man, but no-one in Aeresland actually knows enough about dwarves to tell the difference. It turns out that there are 7 Good Dwarves, one of whom is a female — since no-one knows enough about dwarves, they can't tell them apart, or even tell that the female dwarf is female when she's wearing a beard.
A man mentions how Alice looks just like a female Embric when your traveling with her in Everbrook.
Fal will still deride the Duchess's combat abilities when they are about the same level. And at most other points in the game, the game will ignore the Duchess' combat abilities. In one ending, though, this is subverted; in the Fleeing ending (which can only be gotten very late in the game), Alice will point out that the two of you are actually probably strong enough to take on the Fellowship by now.
Gilded Cage: The Duchess's life when Greyghast was still alive.
Gag Boobs: Countess Knockersdale. Lady Backmoore has a Gag Butt.
Harping On About Harpies: Alice was kidnapped by them as a child. They're obsessed with shiny things and not very bright, and had Alice polish mud.
Hidden Depths: Countess Knockersdale, of all people, saves Cathrine from revealing her seer capabilities and councils her on using them in one of the final endings.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Two fights that seem pretty hopeless (and might be if you take them on without a lot of leveling) are actually winnable. First is the evil Lamia, which grants you a Diamond Ring for the Duchess (only outclassed by the Wedding Band from a certain ending) if you win; Fal will save you if you lose. Then there's Xing and company's ambush during the date with Louni.
I Know Madden Kombat: Whenever the Duchess has to actually fight, her combat style involves much of what gets her through aristocratic life. Most of her "weapons" are rings; her "armor" categories include dresses, undergarments, and perfume; her "accessories" are her acquired titles, and her special techniques reek of non-combat.
I Know Your True Name: The Duchess forces a Devil to fail a Question test ala Monty Python and the Holy Grail by asking her for this; the one thing it will not tell her. The Duchess mentions that telling Carmina her true name would give her power over her; but she tells her anyways.
She does this again after beating the same devil in the Bonus Dungeon; after presumably a successful Diplomacy check; the devil gives her name in hopes of seducing her. The Duchess uses the True Name to command the devil to initiate the Dream Apocalypse.
Infinity+1 Sword: The Burst Flame Sword is just lying around in a crate. Ironically, nobody in the party can equip swords. Double Irony: Examining the game code shows that it really does the strongest stats of all the weapons in the game.
Jerk Ass: Lady Falwythwier, full stop. It's hard to feel bad for her when Carmina leaves her a greasy stain on the pavement in one of the endings.
King Incognito: Stew, one of the residents of the castle. He gets a character portrait when it's revealed, and ends up hooking up with Arugula.
Lady Land: The areas the game takes place in do have men in them, but most of them exist as threats to the main character's safety or are laughable, useless idiots; even the man the Duchess has been seeking the entire game turns out to be a woman. It's a Lady Land with Man Hazards.
Lampshade Hanging: Too many instances to list here. Suffice to say, most of the characters are very aware that they're in a D&D style world. Especially Fal.
Lost Forever: Annoyingly, some scenarios are no longer available after a certain point.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Uttered by the Anti-Paladins regarding one of them to Louni. She blows it off. There's a fair bit to support it, in any case: they definitely share a nationality, a language, and a natural hair color. Louni swears she doesn't remember even having a sister, though that doesn't stop her from antagonizing Xing in Everbrook while Hiding Behind the Language Barrier. For her part, Xing asserts that they are sisters even when there is no point in lying.
Man Behind the Man: Vecnathrax is the oft-spoken of Arch-Enemy of the Awesome Fellowship; a very old Lich. It turns out, he's actually quite senile. The person who is really behind his schemes is Louni; who is finding all of his old plans back when he was competent and firing them up and seeing how the Awesome Fellowship handles it. For the Artistic Value.
Male Gaze: Unsurprising in a game about lesbians written by a guy, it's all over the place, but especially notable for Fal and Carmina. Fal's bathing sprite is drawn with an exaggerated rear end, and Carmina uses illusion magic to make it look like she has an ideal body when she would otherwise be weak and emaciated, but it doesn't occur to her illusion up any clothes.
Ms. Fanservice: The Duchess, who can and will end up in her undergarments at the drop of a hat (or a drop down a well). It's also a game mechanic; at least one story path requires her to be in her underwear before it will progress. Her fanservice is especially apparent when she dons her evil dress.
Also Carmina, who usually appears naked and sumptuous— in actuality she's emaciated and sick from being kept imprisoned and malnourished, but she uses illusions to satisfy her vanity.
Money for Nothing: Played with. For the Duchess, funds are tricky to come by. For the Awesome Fellowship; it's nothing; and Falwithwier accidentally over-donates a church so much (enough to buy a county or collapse an economy according to the Duchess) they become the Church Militant.
Multiple Endings: Getting one ending does not end the game, you start over again right before choosing the final choice that ends the game. This often opens up other options.
The Final Ending lacks this option, however; once it's over, you end up back at the main menu.
Only Mostly Dead: The plot goes into quite detail what it's like in a world where anyone can get resurrected for a price. Only one person really dies permanently not including the endings; mostly due to him being a Butt Monkey and getting eaten by a spider. It's implied even then that if anyone cared; they could do a full Resurrection. As it is, you have the option of shelling out money to reincarnate him into a dog.
Pragmatic Villainy: Word of God is that Carmina is really, really unrepentantly evil. She's also more than intelligent enough to know it's not in her best interest to push it. And she does love the Duchess.
RPGs Equal Combat: Almost not at all. Physical combat opportunities aren't available for much of the game and are rather incidental, so much of the Duchess's EXP gain actually comes from her attempts to interact with and integrate into the Marque of Wulfhammer and the Awesome Fellowship (and perhaps also shoving a lich off a cliff once). What few battles there are are introduced by the message, "Negotiations have failed!" In this respect, it's rather more like a tabletop RPG than a videogame RPG - which makes sense when you consider how familiar the game's creator appears to be with the latter.
One of the insults that the elves and dark elves have for humans is "Mon-Keigh."
The Dwarves in this game are the fortress type, complete with interrupt messages, incidents involving killer carp, and allusions to fey moods. On the other hand, one of them cheers "Lali-ho!" once. He is ignored.
Duchess' vocal warm-ups are the same as Daisy Adair's in Dead Like Me.
Examine a barrel and the Duchess will shout "Barrel!" just in the Atelier series.
Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Level 6. Women are always good, men are always bad (unless they're not gay, then the men are idiots and the women are either ugly, stupid, have laughable proportions, or some combination of the two), often to the point of Double Standard. Carmina rapes the Duchess and that's okay, but Greyghast does the same, and it is definitely not okay.
Smarter Than You Look: The nameless, faceless people on the castle grounds only speak short Welcome to Corneria lines because they're scared of the Duchess. When she earns their trust, they speak longWelcome to Corneria lines. One of them even works in the fields so he has lots of time to think deep thoughts.
Spock Speak: The Duchess, with the excuse that she was conditioned that way in childhood.
Duchess: Who is a delightful little nereid? That is correct! It is you!
Spoiled Sweet: Princess Arugula. She may not be pretty, and she may be dumber than a box of remedial hammers, but Duchess is her best friend and she'll face down an angry mob to protect her.
The Duchess herself his a more low-key version (not that a childhood in Greyghast's castle is anyone's idea of being spoiled). She may not know how to "make chore upon a cow", but she's certainly willing to learn.
Stripperific: Duchess tends to lose her clothes a lot and end up in her underwear— which includes panties, a brassiere, gauntlets and footwear, though it's hard to tell whether they're socks or boots or stockings because of graphic limitations.
Underrated And Overleveled: Possibly the only game where this happens to the main character. The Duchess gains experience and levels up over the course of the game's events, almost none of which are remotely related to fighting. By the time she actually ends up in combat, she's likely to be capable of fighting on the level of the Awesome Fellowship, who've presumably spent a long time accruing much more relevant experience.
The Unfought: Vecnathrax. He's not really a threat by himself, though. Duke Thermin. The Grey Elves. All possible Sequel Hook.
Also Tsograleeg/Ecinacea. She may never be fought, though, since she promises not to obliterate any part of the universe the Duchess will miss.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Carmina is sealed inside a magic prison cell, kept naked, chained up, and starved to prevent her escape, and any of the Fellowship could just kill her whenever they felt like it. Considering how much EXP she's probably worth, why didn't they just do that...?
Embric wanted to spare her, Fal wanted to kill her, and imprisonment was a forced compromise.