The story centers on a man named Daniel, a colonel in the Kirgard Army. Kirgard and Zelmony are two nations at war, fights breaking out every 20 years or so. On the eve of the invasion of Helman Island, Daniel blacks out and wakes up in the middle of the woods, only to be branded a traitor.Seeing no other alternative, he joins the other side in order to try and bring a swift end to the war. He is then put in charge of a special unit to defend Zelmony, whereupon... erm...Okay, fine. The plot begins as one big Cliché Storm. Luckily, the plot thickens over time (culminating in a few legitimate twists toward the end), and it makes up for the initial unoriginality in depth, beauty, a colorful cast of characters and motives being used in unexpected ways.Never confuse the protagonist, Daniel Vinyard, with the similarly-named character (Daniel Vineyard) of American History X. This work is also not about exiting Fate.Get it here.
A Million is a Statistic: The armies have literally hundreds of people dying on each side, but the importance of one noteworthy character's fate is more important than the rest.
The Alliance: Deconstructed. The State Union of Zelmony was founded by an idealistic statesman who singlehandedly unified five warring countries... however, thirty years later, it's incredibly corrupt, the state governments spend more time bickering amongst themselves than actually getting anything done, and he's been relegated to being stuck as a powerless figurehead.
Anachronism Stew: Mostly expressed through the character's outfits and mannerisms. A possible side-effect of giving every character a unique appearance is putting five dudes in plate-mail (each with a different style, mind you) next to a modern-age rock guitarist, or having the kimono-wearing samurai walk up to the man with the plasma gun and ask to use his teleporter. This is probably a natural consequence of deliberately choosing an army's elite soldiers purely on the basis of who stands out the most in a crowd of normal people.
Anticlimax Boss: General Leonius. Also Boris the second time you fight him and Brunhild right before the final battle, since she was extremely powerful when you faced her before, and you are supposed to think that she's the Final Boss.
Anti-Frustration Feature: The bribe system is really helpful and solves two annoying features of random battles commonly found in RP Gs. The first is, once you get to know the area, it will tell you what type of encounter you get before you battle by the price of the bribe, and the second is it will allow you to skip the battle, which means you can avoid annoying or otherwise inopportune enemies, such as enemies with with strong melee attacks when training up mages or enemies comparable to a Boss In Mooks Clothing.
Apathetic Citizens: Zigzagged, but mostly played straight; some NPCs have evolving dialogue that changes depending on the situation, but those that do are hardly panicking: most of the ones who talk about their situation are either optimistically hoping that their leaders will solve their problems for them, or are only vaguely concerned about the problems in the first place, with some NPCs remarking that things like the economy and their day-to-day lives are more important. The most extreme examples are NPCs afflicted with Welcome to Corneria and keep asking if dinner is ready yet.
Bittersweet Ending: The Last Report from the Hall of Memories is actually a scroll with a formula for unsummoning demons, which also kills the target. When Brunhild reads it to remove the Hand of Fate from Daniel, Daniel survives and the Hand is possessing Brunhild. After the following Final Boss fight, she manages to suppress the Hand's influence and asks Daniel to read the end of the Last Report formula. He refuses to kill her, and so she does it herself, resulting in her and great parts of Vanaheim being atomized.
Block Puzzle: Justified, being part of a dungeon made by a "mad king". A switch puzzle in the same area is Double Subverted: Daniel is scolded when flipping the switches to match the lit torches springs a trap, but it turns out that was the solution, but he had up and down reversed. It wasmade by a MAD king, after all.
Blood Knight: Pereious, Boris and Clint. Ash is a much more cruel, ruthless example.
Bodyguard Crush: Ayara as some very severe elements of this. Jasper isn't quite as bad, but it's still there.
Bonus Boss: Six shadow versions of important party members, reachable if you recruit all 75 party members, plus an unrelated pair of ghosts from the backstory hidden behind misleading architecture. Also, a slew of (simulated) bonus war battles (as many bonus ones as storyline ones!), culminating in a nearly-impossible battle against a souped-up version of your own army.
Boss Banter: Fukubei, an optional boss, likes to taunt you right before switching elements.
Butt Monkey: Leonius, to the point where he betrays Kirgard because he can't stand it anymore.
Cain and Abel: Daniel and Brunhild are brother and sister, not two brothers, but the idea is the same.
Came Back Wrong: Derek the skeleton is type 4: He's perfectly fine and decent, but he's still a frickin' skeleton.
Can't Drop The Hero / Required Party Member: You often have to include specific characters in the party due to plot events, and Daniel in particular is nearly always required. However, you can always move them into the "reserves" if you don't want to use them.
Catch Phrase: Almost every character drops one either when talked to, taken into the active party, or losing their army unit. They usually also fit the character's personality very well, especially the message when they join your active party. Some memorable examples:
Merrick: "Arg! Damn you!" (which of course is not the joining message,note which is "I'll show you a thing or two", by the way., but his unit losing text.)
Completely Missing the Point: Played for both comedy and as a show of Yan Angwa's personality when he doesn't see what's special about "frozen water" appearing in the middle of the Oischin Forest... despite both Daniel and Ljusalf explaining it right before asking him.
Conflicting Loyalty: Invoked by Angel by forcing Daniel to choose between his friendship to Jovian and his ideals early and later in the game. Angel thinks Daniel chose his ideals, betraying their friendship, when he really didn't have a choice at all. However, she didn't expect him to Take a Third Option instead.
Continuity Nod: There is a man in one town telling his grandchildren a story about "a boy who wanted to become a hero." For other references to Last Scenario, see the Shout Out examples on this page.
Custom Uniform: No one on any group's high command seems to follow any sort of standard uniform.
Seriously, how does Daniel get away with wearing that nifty coat in an army? Angel and Bruce are the same rank as him to start with, and also wear totally different outfits. In a flashback scene they are shown as new recruits, and at that point they all wear the standard Kirgard Plate seen on ordinary soldiers like Ayara.
Even the Kirgard legion commanders, all of whom wear plate armor and a cape, have different styles of armor and different colored capes.
Within the Elysium army, the variety in armour is probably justified by the democratic, individual-focused "structure."
In some of the later war battles, you'll probably start wishing you could just take your party in and cut a bloody swath through the opposing army without bothering with yours, particularly when you've been fighting the enemy mooks enough that you can wipe out six of them before they even get the chance to attack. The last battle in particular.
Dark Is Not Evil: Most of the Dark-elemental characters you can recruit. Shin is definitely something evil (God knows what) and a few others (like Deke the Mad Scientist) are questionably moral at best, but most of the rest are perfectly nice people (Francesca is just a goth and Derek is an ordinary guy who just happens to be a skeleton, for instance). Even Vanrushal, a vampire, is decent enough, if rather smug. Played straight with legitimate importer Marcello and, as already mentioned, Shin.
Death Seeker: Arguably Leonius, who wants to be punished by Daniel in a duelbecause he knows he can't win. Well, he does wield a poison sword, but Daniel knew anti-poison spells and still had the rest of the team close to heal him. Maybe Leonius wanted the fight to still hold a minimum of equality. A last burst of anger and desperate pride...
General Keyser, Colonel Merrick, Captain Erin and Jasper, as well as a couple of optional characters who you have to beat in some way or another. Sort of inverted with Shadfork, who you have to "lose" to in a race to recruit.
Daniel tries and fails to invoke this with Pereious.
"I think you misunderstand. We're still enemies."
Here's a list of the optional ones: Paris (but only if you defeat him really soundly), Naja, Johnny (who demands that you beat him at gambling), Reod (if you call outsmarting defeating), Deke (indirectly), Soth and by proxy Shin, Vanrushal, Mai.
Bast stays with you even after you rejoin Kirgard.
Tarlia, who defects to Elysium when she can't put up with her higher-ups anymore.
Daniel's action of rejoining Kirgard due to his reluctance serving the stubborn, corrupted Republic of Zelmony also counts.
Degraded Boss: Sort of. When the party first runs into them, one Mist Monster counts as a boss, but it's pretty clearly established that there are a whole lot more of them deeper in the forest. Sure enough, they're all over the place as random encounters once you get back there.
Demonic Possession: Daniel's Super-Powered Evil Side is actually a very powerful demonic spirit. Towards the end of the game, after Trevor and Sick get possessed in the same manner, it's revealed that Almenga found a way to summon demons into soldiers in their army to turn them into Super Soldiers. The demons eventually took over, naturally, and nearly destroyed the country.
Difficulty Spike: The last war battle. The enemy has you outmaneuvered, and even if you've recruited every single character, you're seriously outnumbered, too. It doesn't help that thanks to the plot, Daniel's unit, which you have to keep alive to win, is right in the middle of the battlefield, separated from all your other minions (although you can return into their lines within a single turn by moving him back and the other units forward). All the previous battles could be beaten without too much pain if you were prepared, but this one tends to mean a whole lot of restarts, and will in all likelihood net you a Badge of Shame.
Disc One Nuke: Outsider can be hired as early as Chapter 3 for a then-outrageous price of 1400 Arn; however, he's worth the pricetag, not only starting at level 18 (at least 5 levels higher than other characters if recruited as soon as possible) as a good melee character, but also allowing early recruitment of Francesca (who needs a Dark-element party member) and acting as a commander in field battles. In fact, if he isn't hired in Chapter 3, he becomes unrecruitable, what with Kirgard invading Mayfall and all, until near the end of Chapter 4.
Duel Boss: At one point, Daniel is forced to fight off an assassin by himself. Leonius also requests, and is granted, a one-one-one fight.
Dumb Blonde: Zig Zagged. Tiffany, the stripperiffic dancing girl, eventually leaves her partner to pursue a career in academics. But after you recruit her, she admits that she found all that studying to be extremely boring. However, she seems to have either learned a lot or have a lot of talent, since she has a very high magic stat that can't come from nowhere. (Though admittedly intelligence and magic power aren't the same in this game)
In-universe example: Ayara and Jasper are effectively the same character with different bosses, except Jasper's got a few years experience over her. They even marry in the epilogue. Gudrun seems to be what happens when that same archetype then gets applied a third time to a very bad boss.
Fangirl: Francesca seems to be a goth who speaks in Purple Prose. Then you bring her a Dark Element character and she starts gushing showing that she's still a teenage girl. Then she goes back to her normal self.
Fantasy Gun Control: Plays this straight for the most part, but Clint has a cowboy six-shooter (much to Daniel's confusion), and Deke has his own PLASMA GUN! (which is one of the game's better weapons, too.) This is Somewhat justified in Clint's case, since he's from a different country that has presumably made it past the Medieval Stasis the rest of the world is in. And Deke is a mad scientist, though how he got the materials to make something like a plasma gun in a Medieval Stasis world is anyone's guess.
The Federation: The State Union seems to have been one of these when Ryan was young and the government was less corrupt.
Field Power Effect: Both Demon Commandos possess one such spell; one buff to his entire party and one debuff to the entire enemy party.
Foreshadowing: All the cryptic conversations, not to mention the occasional line that's absolutely redolent with irony on a replay; Daniel's "Is it justifiable to murder your own father to put an end to a war?" is particularly memorable.
The opening scene. As Keltena's Let's Play put it:
For Want of a Nail: After you defeat one of the shadowbosses, they show you a flashback cutscene of their past, only they made a different decision than the character they are a shadow of. This leads to their eventual death. For instance, in Shadow Daniel's cutscene, the party decides to try to find Brunhild when she runs instead of moving on immediately; as a result, the soldier with the Portal Key gets tired of waiting for someone and uses it before they get there. They try to get home via ship from Ashton Port, not knowing it's been taken over, find out the hard way that Pereious and Ash have conquered mainland Kirgard, and are executed. This was actually the point though — the tellers' dialogue amounts to warning/informing the main characters of just how unbelievably lucky they all were.
Four Star Badass: Essentially every single general in the entire game; several of them are among the most powerful player characters. The only real exception is Leonius.
Good Republic, Evil Empire: Inverted at the start of the game - You're fighting for the Kingdom of Kirgard against the Republic of Zelmony. Played straight at the end of the game, though, when you're fighting for the Republic of Elysium against the Empire of Almenga.
Guide Dang It: Some of the optional characters are a real pain to find. Frore in particular, who you have to hunt down in a bunch of locations around the world with minimal clues. Or Klaus, who moves around in such a way that if you carefully explore everywhere you visit and think to talk to the cat, he's not a problem. But if you miss him in one place, he's a pain in the neck to hunt down.
Guinea Pig Family: Siegfried used his own unborn child as a demon host, also causing the death of his wife in the process.
Would you kill your own father to bring an end to a war?
Health Damage Asymmetry: At the end, your highest-leveled characters will most likely have 1250-2000 HP. The last optional boss has 25000. Many enemies also have attacks almost as strong as yours - the balance is kept by your party usually consisting of six people, your healing spells, and the status buffs you obtain later.
Arguably, Tarlia, Orlando, Ice, and possibly Vanrushal.
Also Governor Miller.
Hero Antagonist: Daniel winds up switching sides often enough that he's often fighting people he likes and respects.
Heroic Sacrifice: After the final boss fight, Brunhild, who is then a host for the Hand of Fate, kills herself with an ancient spell to destroy the Hand, much to Daniel's grief.
<Hero> Must Survive: Losing Daniel's unit makes you lose a war battle. On the plus side, this applies to enemies too; if you can take out the commander's unit, it doesn't matter how much of their army they have left, though you get a higher score if you defeat all of them.
Honor Before Reason: Daniel cooperates with the Matrech governor's staged trial because he thinks it's the right thing to do, even though he knows the whole thing is just an excuse to get rid of him. Luckily, his subordinates recognize that he's being an idiot and rescue him after the Kangaroo Court convicts him.
Item Caddy: Aside from Reod, who's an excellent spellcaster, most of the thief characters have mediocre stats at best. Joe is the worst offender, being pretty much useless when he's not actually stealing things. Roshash also has high speed, and in fact the highest speed growth in the game, which in the later games means he will have more mana to cast status buffs, which don't depend on the magic stat, but don't expect him to do high damage.
Jerkass: Yan Angwa almost never talks, but when he does, it's usually to say something nasty.
Job System: There are four interchangeable unit types in war battles. There are no Character Levels or special skills for units, though; the unit class only affects attack, defense and range. Each unit leader can handle each job more or less well; units using a job their leader isn't good at receive a penalty.
Klaus is a real pain to get, and has pitiful defense. To make matters worse, he can't wear armor. Though Klaus is needed to recruit a useful character, and he does fairly high damage with a meat shield since he combines abnormal speed with decent attack power.
King, however, is an ordinary dog and doesn't even compare to Klaus, since he's only slightly better defensively and nowhere near as good offensively.
Bartolli the shopkeeper is basically a melee version of Royston.
Fitch becomes it if you re-recruit him, but at the point you get him, he's rather useful since, though weak, as one of two party members he still makes quite a difference.
Kangaroo Court: After Daniel is arrested, the Governor of Matrech stages one of these.
Kansas City Shuffle: Keyser and Rock both love plans that involve deliberately leaking information to the enemy. Naturally, when collaborating at one point, they wind up with a plan that involves deliberately leaking two different stories about what they're going to do, with the intent that the enemy will realize one of them is fake, think they're very clever for seeing through the ruse, and assume the other is real.
Kudzu Plot: Explaining the plot of this game is hard, even if you don't mind revealing spoilers. A politically-focused High Fantasy with Loads and Loads of Characters, a complex backstory, and a lot of side-plots will do that to you. Still, most of the important plot arcs are wrapped up or left as clear Sequel Hooks.
Lady of War: Several, but especially Griever, Tarlia, Angel, and Erin.
Lame Pun Reaction: The "Caretakers" were so named by Boris because: "If you get in our way, we'll take care of you!" Most of the other characters respond to this with, "...."
So very, very much. Daniel can't even remember conversations about the subject for more than a few minutes.
And then there's Nikolai, who has a much more standard case of this. He doesn't remember his name for quite a while after you can meet him, but immediately remembers everything with some prompting later on.
Laughably Evil: Despite everything that happens, Trevor and Sick are still... entertaining in their very own way.
Leitmotif: Even though it's imported from another game, the Hand of Fate has music that plays every time it's on screen. Clintnote who uses the Turks Theme from Final Fantasy VII, Brunhild, and the Commandos also have their own music.
Lethal Joke Character: Klaus the cat has pathetic defense and can't wear armor (because he's, well, a cat), but he makes for one hell of a Glass Cannon if you put him behind someone with better physical defense.
Light Is Not Good: There are monsters who are light-elemental, and, of course, light-elemental damage spells. This is kicked up a notch when the final boss is light-elemental as well.
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Rather spectacularly inverted; due to the way the game's battle system is handled, characters in the back rows can't be targeted (except by ranged attacks) if there's a fighter in front of them. Thus, fighters often take the role of Meat Shields while Squishy Wizards in the back dish out extremely powerful magic and healing. However, once you start getting the -strike spells and the ability to max out weapons, fighters can have very powerful attacks and can exploit elemental weaknesses (one of the reasons spells are so powerful), easily outclassing even top-tier spells and for no MP cost to boot. Thus, the casters become relegated to healing and buffing while the fighters dish out most of the damage.
The Load: Several characters can become this when they are a Required Party Member for a certain plot event. Fortunately, you can always just put them in your entourage (two slots for characters who won't appear in battle) and fill your actual party with more useful characters.
Sally at the Shiro arc. She sucks at battle and doesn't even have a helpful special ability, but you MUST put her into your party at that point, which blocks a slot for an actually usable character.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Seventy-five recruitable party members, and a cast of NPCs to match. Somewhat justified by the fact that you are in control of an army, so tons of troops is expected.
Lost Forever: Mostly averted! Not a single potential party member in the game can be permanently missed. Secret dialogues and special boss items, however, can. (What do you mean, you didn't haul along an otherwise-useless thief character and protect them while they attempt to steal that armor from the boss?)
Ludicrous Precision: Wilona is pretty much always calculating things to a hundredth of a percentage point.
Luck-Based Mission: To recruit an optional party member, you have to win 5000 in currency from him in blackjack. Be prepared for many restarts if you want to get him when he's first available. (Or you can wait until later when you can bet 10000 at a time, but where's the fun in that?)
Luke, I Am Your Father: Daniel and Brunhild are the children of the Almengan emperor. This is blatantly foreshadowed by the opening cutscene starting a new game and an earlier reveal that Daniel and Brunhild are siblings, probably twins.
Macho Masochism: Boris is bad about this, to the point that it gets him killed.
Whatever StripperifficValley Girl Tiffany studied at Faraday University, it helped: Her magical powers can compete with several powerful mages like Mai.
Magnetic Hero: Acknowledged. The maximum count of 75 player characters should tell enough.
Marathon Boss: All the secret shadow bosses. Even when you've been Level Grinding so much that you're able to OHKO nearly everything, even the Dracoknights from the last dungeon, and even the Hand of Fate itself wouldn't get more than two turns, you still need about 10 minutes to defeat a bunch of those nasty Shadow Legionnaire random encounters. The bosses themselves need many many turns to get down - it's the worst with Ljusalf and Yan Angwa. All of them have at least one Total Party Kill attack, and your buffs will wear out. Fighting them is dominated by buffing, restoring fallen characters and refreshing buffs, and you are likely to run out of most healing spells.
Marathon Level: Vanaheim is two or three times longer than any other dungeon and has three bosses before you reach the final boss.
Mutual Disadvantage: Characters of the same element deal less damage to each other, and with characters of opposing elements it's the other way round. With meat shielding and elemental enchants, you can turn this to your favour or change it, though.
My Greatest Failure: In the flashbacks to the pasts and eventual deaths of the aforementioned shadowbosses, one even explored a decision which the maker spent his entire life regretting and second-guessing: Eander, feeling responsible for the King's death and the fall of Kirgard. However, if he had refused Leonius's request to be transferred to the defense of St. Reinard, Leonius would have shown up anyway and Eander and his legion would have been killed.
Ayara follows Daniel no matter what he does. Jasper is similarly devoted to Erin. And, emphasis on the "wrong" part, Gudrun to Siegfried (for a certain reason).
Subverted with Tarlia. After seeing all these characters who will do anything, no matter how uncomfortable they feel about it personally, to protect their master, Tarlia leading a chunk of the army directly against her commander Ash comes as a bit of a surprise.
Nintendo Hard: Getting an A rank on some war battles is nigh-impossible.
War battles in general are much more difficult than the RPG aspect of the game, even if you have all the available characters up to that point.
No Hero Discount: While this is to be expected in any RPG worth its salt, it becomes extremely jarring when you can recruit characters to run various shops in your castle. All of them work for you, but they all charge full price for their wares. The only exception is that someone occasionally arranges a free inn stay for you.
No Name Given: "Yan Angwa" is actually the name of a religious order.
Only One Name: Notable exceptions are Daniel Vinyard, Angel Windsor, Jovian Knight, Charles Ryan, Bast Gunwood, Siegfried Jĺdengand and Clint Harrison. Just about every other character in known by only one name. The game isn't really consistent about using the first or the last name either, even when it includes a title (Erin/Captain Erin, Keyser/General Keyser, ...).
One Size Fits All: Mostly played straight, but averted by a few unique female-only/male-only pieces of armour (Silver Tiara, Valkyrie Dress, Circlet of Insanity) and by the two animal Optional Party Members who can't wear armour at all.
Out of Focus: Many characters who were important in the beginning are just pushed into the background later on. Of course, this makes a certain amount of sense, given the number of characters and the increasing scope of the conflict. The game developer was clearly aware of this, too; there's an entire mini-arc around chapters 6 and 7 where Ayara gets depressed because Daniel doesn't pay as much attention to her anymore.
Paranoia Gambit: Bast's plan against Keyser after Mayfall in invaded. The logic is that if they do anything that makes sense, then Keyser will have taken it into account, but if they do something that doesn't seem remotely worth the trouble, it'll throw him off and make him start questioning his own decisions.
Personality Powers: Variously averted, subverted, and played straight. Daniel, the nice, pacifistic hero is light-elemental, while hotheaded, berserk Joshua is water-elemental. Most characters just seem to have a random element tacked on to them that doesn't have anything to do with their personality at all, though. Elements seem to be a gameplay element mostly.
Pirate Girl: Sally. Might also be exaggerated, since she's "just" a young girl who owns her own ship. Her grandfather had been a famous pirate, but she herself isn't an actual one — just acts like one, complete with an accent.
The Plan: Most of Keyser's and Bast's plans are one of these.
Playing Both Sides: Variation; Brunhild framed Daniel in order to pit him against Kirgard. The timing of the war was probably the Empire's fault as well, and they certainly benefited from it.
Sormaus, to the point of ridiculousness. Lampshaded in his interview.
Yan Angwa is willing to help Daniel beat up monsters so he can watch him, but won't explain a damn thing no matter how helpful it would be, much to Daniel's exasperation. When he finally does decide to chime in with useful information, everyone is rather shocked.
Played for chills with Shin, who (which?) rarely says anything aside from "Hmm."
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A reporter, a university student, a lawyer, a dancing girl, two elves, a vampire, an elemental, a mob boss, a cat... the list goes on.
Rapunzel Hair: Most of the female characters, prominent to the point where it's obviously Author Appeal; e. g. Angel, Brunhild, Francesca, Griever, Marian, Naja, Petra, Tarlia, Tiamat, Tiffany, and Wilona. Some males too, like Daniel and Avelion.
Items: the standard healing herbs as well as epic ultimate armour like Lord-Sorcerer's Gown, Archangel's Halo, Mashimizu's Robe, or characters' weapons (Seraphim [Blade] = Zawu's ultimate sword as well as Daniel's Weapon of Choice). Like in case of the enemies, the items are very different in both games. LS' Mashimizu's robe is more similar in function to the Hermes Boots than the item of the same name, and EF's Lord Sorceror's Gown is more like the Sacral Gown of LS.
Myst has been trying to bring the dead back to life for god knows how long when Daniel comes along and does it for him on his first try.
Nomad also is unable to find the clues to entering Avalon on his own, but is still reasonably competent - he's the only one who knows how to open the doors, for example. And it's understandable that Nomad wouldn't think to ask some random guy in an inn somewhere in another country where Avalon was. (Nomad then rubs his victory in the face of his sister, who had made the terrible mistake of trying to find it methodically.)
Relationship Values: Sort of. Each character has three relationships to others, either marked by an A, B, C or F. If you put characters with a relationship into your active party, their stats are modified. 'A' means a very high bonus on all stats, B a still significant bonus, C a small bonus and F a malus. These relationship values seem to depend mostly off of off-screen interaction between characters, though; for example, Cool Old Guystend to be friends with each other as soon as you get the characters in your party with little explanation as to why Royston and Midian are C-rank relationships with each other. Other relationships make sense, such as Deke being F-rank with Joe (who broke into his house), and Klaus being A-rank with Griever.
Set Swords to Stun: Despite being fought with heavy and very sharp weapons, many battles are obviously nonlethal, and it's implied about others (for instance, by the Non Lethal KOs inflicted on your characters).
Although there are other fights where this is subverted. The main factor as to if this trope will go into effect: Are the enemies you're facing forceful and strong willed, or at least committed to the battle? If the answer is "yes" then the enemy will most likely die from the fight, instead of being captured or running away.
Sequel Hook: Quite a few hints in the epilogue; notably, Daniel left with Nashal, and both of them and several other characters (notably Yan Angwa, Frore, and Shin) "disappeared" or "were not heard from for fifteen years." And there's that scene after the credits...
Ship Tease: Minor but there, a combination of Daniel being the center of motivation for everyone he's shared a scene with and two Bodyguard Crushes. Daniel/Angel, Daniel/Ayara, Daniel/Tarlia, Jasper/Ayara and Jasper/Erin seem to be the most obvious.
One of the random encounter monsters in Vanrushal's mansion is a little vampire girl who looks exactly like Remilia Scarlet.
Similarly, Vanrushal references one of Remilia's win quotes against Patchouli from the TouhouFighting GameSpin-Off ''Scarlet Weather Rhapsody':
Vanrushal: "These books are boring. Don't you have only comics?"
Remilia: "What, you have no manga? These are the only books you have."
The entire cast is one big Shout Out to the members of an online Final Fantasy messaging board, popular between 2001-2008 mostly.
A few self contained weapon names: Vanrushal (A vampire) and Nosferatu, Erin and McLeod, Venkal and Rembrandt (a well known artist).
Side Quest: Lots of 'em, almost all of them devoted to recruiting optional characters. Many of them contain an optional boss as well: Mai, Vanrushal, Tiamat, Fukubei, the Demilich, Soth, Deke's Iron Golem, Pendragon, the Mist Queen...
The dynamic between Daniel and Brunhild is very similar to the dynamic between Ethan and Castor in LS, as well: two siblings who used to be very close, but are now on opposite sides after one turned on the other, and one of the two doesn't even remember they are siblings due to magically-induced Laser-Guided Amnesia. Once the amnesiac finds out, he's conflicted because he feels obligated to stop what his sibling is doing, yet doesn't want to hurt them.
A Slasher Smile is also the standard expression for Demon Trevor and Sick, and Sick in general.
Smoke Out: Instead of your JRPG-standard escape command, you have this as the special ability of some characters.
Snipe Hunt: Marcello tries to get rid of you by sending you after a black ruby. You can get them by stealing from a Hoarder or finding it in Vanaheim, it turns out, to his chagrin.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Characters leave your party often, especially near the beginning. They take equipped items with them. While every character that leaves can eventually rejoin later (most automatically, a few must be hunted down), it'll usually be so much later that their items will be worthless.
The worst by far is Luther. You first meet him when you're clearing undead out of Credence Castle, but he then disappears and you don't see him again until you've conquered half of Almenga. And even if you plan to remove the equipment you give him, you'll probably still miss the chance when a boss fight fails to materialize.
Thankfully, you can also "steal" from temporary crew members that only join you as long as you support them in their quest (and afterwards), like Richard or Sef.
Squishy Wizard: Most magic-users have very low defense and HP. On the plus side, they tend to have very high magic defense, so put them in the back row with a fighter-type in front and nothing that hits will do significant damage.
Suicidal Overconfidence: Besides the RPG standard of monsters 30+ levels lower than you attempting to ambush you, NPC units in war battles occasionally act this way. For example, take the first real battle, where the newly-minted Elysium Army is assisting with putting down a rebellion in Highland. There are two AI-controlled units of 350 soldiers each already there. There are 2700 rebels. Those 700 soldiers will charge straight into the front of the enemy army and get themselves shot to pieces.
Summon Magic: Seems to be quite popular in Almenga; pretty much any time you encounter them, there are Summoners of some flavor around the place.
Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest: Credence Castle. You run around fighting off very strong undead, and you finally walk into an ominous-looking room expecting a boss battle with a vampire. But it turns out a little different...
Which is probably for the best. The actual boss is over level 70 and would have stomped you into the ground if you'd actually fought him then.
Take Our Word for It: Out of the two survivors of Daniel's Superpowered Evil Side rampage during the Almengan war, one was unconscious at the time and the other was so terrified by it that he refuses to give any details, even years later. However, it's rather telling that a slightly lesser repeat of the incident is one of the few times the game actuallyshows blood.
Averted in King's case: unlike Klaus, all he says is "Arf!"
There Are No Tents: The only way to get an instant full heal is to stay at an inn or equivalent. Luckily, some of these are free, and if your party has enough mana and healing spells left over after a battle, they'll cast them, meaning that by late in the game, when even your meat shields have an MP+ stat well over 30, you'll rarely come out of a battle much below full health.
Tomato in the Mirror: May or may not count, since the fact that there's something wrong with Daniel's memories is obvious from the very beginning, but he's the host for an extremely powerful demon that's been messing with his head for years.
Turbulent Priest: Galius is the only governor who opposes the plot against Daniel.
Unspoken Plan / Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Zigzagged. Some on screen discussed strategies work because the player needs to know what to do next, somethimes the plan fails at the last minute. But when the game doesn't show the negotiations between Rock and Daniel, you just know something's fishy.
Who's Laughing Now?: The quirky, comic relief Trevor and Sick suddenly become a major threat when Brunhild summons demons into them and they become a Two Man Army. There's one scene that's a Hopeless Boss Fight against them, and their reaction to seeing Daniel forced to kneel before them is basically this.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The major downside of demon summoning is that it drives the user into a psychotically violent rampage. The exception is Daniel, and that took very special measures. Plus he still goes nuts when the Hand takes over.
Wutai: Despite being a pseudo-European fantasy world, Mayfall, Blackwater Port, and Amen Corner all have distinctly Asian architecture. Not to mention the NINJA VILLAGE. The presence of Shiro (a kimono-wearing Samurai) and Merrick, (an Eagle Land-style military commander) in not just the same state, but adjacent cities, does not help things.