Piranha Bytes apparently takes any concepts that are salvageable out of the trainwreck that is Ultima IX (figuratively speaking), patch it all up with what they carried over from their pen&paper passion, and somehow make a great game out of that. The new German RPG prodigy is called Gothic.
Not to be confused with the genre of Gothic Literature, or the Goth lifestyle, or medieval architecture, or the tribe of people from Gotland.A 2001 German game translated into English, Gothic is the first in a trilogy of PC action-RPGs starring The Nameless Hero, who has been thrown into a prison colony. We never find out exactly what crime he committed, or what his name is, and none of the other characters really care. At first, he's just trying to survive, and maybe escape if he's lucky - but he ends up having to save the world.Had a sequel, Gothic II, where the Nameless Hero, now finally free, is promptly recruited again to defeat the approaching army of dragons. Sounds easy enough. It also had an Expansion Pack, Night of the Raven (uniquely for an expansion pack, Night of the Raven makes large changes throughout the world instead of making them self contained to the new area), where Raven, a minor NPC from the last game, attempts to obtain the Claw of Beliar and the Hero is out to stop him, rediscovering an ancient, lost civilization in the process.In the third game, Gothic III, the Nameless Hero travels to the mainland of Myrtana, only to find out that the land has mostly been conquered by the Orcs, though several factions are still struggling, such as La Résistance. Finding himself in the middle of a political struggle which also represents a war of dominance between gods, the Nameless Hero has to choose a side. First game in the series to feature Multiple Endings, allowing the hero to join several of the previous game's Bad Guy factions, or even Take a Third Option. Was something of an Obvious Beta at release, but due to hard work by the fans and various patches, may have been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by now...for some.An Expansion Pack called Forsaken Gods was also released, which took the Obvious Beta status Up to Eleven and wasn't made by Piranha Bytes. Most fans consider it So Bad, It's Good at best. This time, the Nameless Hero returns from exile because he is majorly pissed off at the people of Myrtana not enjoying the peace he has brought them with hard work, but rather warring each other in various factions once again. In the end, the Hero becomes the new King of Myrtana to unite them once and for all.The fourth game in the series, Arcania: A Gothic Tale or simply Gothic 4 also not made by PB, stars a New Hero who goes out on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after the troops of the King (yeah, THAT King) butchered his village and killed his Satellite Love Interest. Of course, things are yet again not how they seem and the previous Hero didn't become an Evil Overlord just for fun... Arcania received low reviews and was poorly recived by fans for being decidedly un-Gothic in most ways, primarily being very linear. An add-on was completed, but Piranha Bytes's temporary sale of Gothic's rights only allowed JoWood to make two games, including expansion packs, and the obvious legal issues have prevented its release.Meanwhile Piranha Bytes made their own spiritual successor named Risen, which received good reviews and praise from journalists and fans.One interview with Piranha Bytes has confirmed they have regained the rights to the series due to their sale to JoWood being temporary.Gothic's main draw was its wide open world and the ability to 'choose' in the plot, although this really came down to just picking one of three camps for the first half of the game, as you are railroaded back into the central plot eventually. The world, however, is exactly as promised: within the limits of the magical barrier surrounding the colony (or the sea serpents/mountains in the 2nd game), exploration is rewarded with beautifully detailed scenery, complete with weather, and many hidden items.Another notable draw of Gothic is the method of character advancement. Only hit points increase on their own at level up, while the player gains skill points as well. To spend these skill points the player must seek out trainers. Basic abilities like raising an attribute typically have free, easy to locate, trainers (at least for low levels), while trainers for more esoteric abilities (such as lock picking) may be limited to a small handful that require a quest to learn from and higher skill levels generally require faction specific trainers. The hero's skill is also a much greater effect on combat than just speed or damage; at low levels he is visibly inept at weapon use, being slow, predictable and frequently stumbling, while as skill increases, new abilities in combat are gained, movement is more fluid, and fumbles are lessened. Armor also matters a great deal, and, (with the exception of a few early pieces that are simply bought) is linked with quest progress. Gothic in based much more firmly in character skill than most RPGs with real time combat, with a weak PC being unable to make any damage on a strong enemy.Also notable for containing a character named Gorn, but no actual gorn.
The series provides examples of:
Aerith and Bob - Predominantly an odd mix between German, English and Spanish names, with fantasy names mostly for important, powerful characters such as mages.
Ancient Tomb - Quite a number of them, since both Khorinis and the mainland (specially the desert of Varant) house ruins of ancient civilizations. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be full of undead.
Animal Motifs - You'll never be able to guess what Raven's motif is.
It's not exactly true. The Skeleton mages can summon endless waves of undead skeletons to their protection, unless you kill them. It's a good way to grinding, especially if you have Death to the Undead magic rune.
Though the plot-important NPCs in the first two games tend to become killable after they have played their role in the plot.
Armless Biped - Scavengers and the various Snapper species in the first two games. In Gothic III, their designs was changed and the Snappers were given arms.
Artificial Atmospheric Actions - NPCs go about their daily lives, and animals hunt each other and scavenge corpses. The player can also perform almost any action that an NPC does, no matter how pointless (sit on chairs, play instruments, ...).
They also share generic after-battle-lines. It can be a bit odd when a wise, dignified and serene priest of Innos or Adanos is dragged into battle with a monster and afterwards goes "Man, I do love this shit..."
Artificial Stupidity - NPCs when acting as temporary companions in Gothic 3 are walking examples of this. To be brief, they will only notice an enemy when said enemy gets close enough to hit them in the face (sometimes they'll actually need to receive damage in order to unsheathe their weapon and enter combat mode).
In Gothic 1, you can run straight into an owned house, lockpick a chest, take all of its contents, and then run away, with nobody being angry on you. Yes, as soon as you enter a house, surrounding NPCs will immediately shout "Hey, you!", run towards you, threaten you with their weapons and eventually attack you if you won't leave. However, they won't attack you despite the fact that you're lockpicking a chest right in front of them, and as long as you leave before their "timer" runs out, they won't attack you, and won't mind that you just completely robbed them of all their possessions.
You can also unsheathe your weapon and make everyone around you forget about what they were doing in favor of threatening you. For example, it works on guards who are supposed to not let you pass. They will be more worried about you running around with an unsheathed weapon than you going where you shouldn't go. It allows you to, for example, get to the Fire Mages without joining any camp and get the reward for delivering the letter. Though trying to get to Gomez this way makes him kill you.
The Artifact - In Night of the Raven the Milita trainer still notes that one handed and two handed skills are linked and you need to learn one to master the other, despite the expansion doing away with that mechanic.
Ascended Extra - Raven goes from being a quest giver/bodyguard for Gomez in the first game to the main enemy of the add-on.
Asshole Victim - Come chapter 3 in 2, the Jerk Ass "Paladin" Lothar is killed so one of the mercencaries can be framed for it to ignite tensions between them and the city.
Automatic Crossbow - Not quite, but, while still slower than bows, crossbows in the first two games had a fairly impressive rate of fire. This kind of makes sense with the setting being Renaissance-ish and was likely also done for balance reasons, see Bow and Sword in Accord below.
Awesome but Impractical - The Magic Crossbow and the Fire Bow from the Gothic II Expansion Pack are very powerful and deal high amounts of special-type damage, but they cannot use normal projectiles of their weapon type and once you used up the limited supply of special ammo you find next to them (there are two copies of the firebow+ammo to be found at least), they're useless, essentially downgrading them to a mere trophy or Vendor Trash. There is also the impractically long casting time of powerful spells like Fire Rain and Army of Darkness in the first game, but that was fixed in Gothic II.
Badass - Your player character attains this status after Gothic I for destroying the barrier and The Sleeper, but this can make certain parties hate you enough to want to kill you.
Badass Army - The Orcs, enmasse, are tough enough to qualify.
Bag of Spilling - justified pretty well in Gothic II. By Gothic III it got silly.
The loss of status from I to II makes sense. The Colony had a society all its own, and no one in the greater world is going to care if you were a mercenary or a templar in the Colony. The Fire Mages in Khorinis wouldn't know about you if you went that route in Gothic 1 because the ones in the Colony all got killed. The only faction this doesn't make total sense for is Lee's mercenaries, but that can be justified because the new ones wouldn't just accept the Nameless Hero, and he's quite a bit weaker since he signed on with them in 1. Still, from II to III the loss of status makes no sense.
Gothic III had a Hand Wave that justified the equipment loss: pirates ganked your gear. As for the loss of status, that applied to Khorinis, which you find out via Thorus is also under Orc control, and King Rhobar II's kingdom no longer exists from a practical standpoint, so even if anyone remembered you, no one would care because you would be no better off then themselves (slaves, mercenaries, or rebels).
Boss Battle - most notably the Sleeper, although there are others.
Boss in Mook Clothing - in Gothic III, while several wild animals could qualify due to the severely unbalanced combat system, the Sabretooth tigers definetely take the cake. They can sustain moderate amounts of damage, hit quite hard and fast... and come in packs. A group of three can be found pretty early in the game in a cave which an orc patrol will task the player to investigate (and "cleanse" if neccesary); amusingly enough, the only way to complete the quest at a low level is to attract the tigers to the orcs' position and assist the orcs to take the beasts down. Packs of four or five (found in Nordland) will keep being quite a menace even to very well geared and high-leveled players.
Packs of goblins and blood flies in Arcania. While the game is not specially challenging when compared to the previous installments (even in the "Gothic" difficulty setting), these two are the most likely ones to give players a run for their money, mostly due to their numbers. Goblins have a rather annoying special power attack that hits quite hard and is not easy to avoid when fighting against a whole group. Blood flies move relatively quickly, and some attack at melee while others stay behind shooting their venom at you from distance. Both goblins and blood flies are encountered relatively early in the game, as well.
Bow and Sword in Accord - Many characters, such as bandits, mercenaries, shadows of the Old Camp, and various hunters throughout the world favor this combination, and the hero can do it as well. Some factions, like guards of the Old Camp and knights/paladins, however, prefer using crossbows instead. The whole thing is also played with from a gameplay mechanics perspective in Night of the Raven: Bows correspond to Dexterity, while crossbows correspond to Strength. Strength is the main attribute required to use and wield melee weapons, making crossbows an ideal Ranged Emergency Weapon for melee characters. However, there are a handful of dexterity-based melee weapons in the game that can be of great use for archers, but they will still always be inferior to the weaponry a proper melee character can equip. Trying to skill both dexterity and strength, meanwhile, while likely result in your character becoming a Master of None.
The Chew Toy - Mud. Oh, Mud. To be chewed on is his raison d'etre. He develops a crush on the player character, follows him around, gets in the way and tells increasingly depressing stories about his abuse at the hands of every other character. The vast majority of players eventually kill him just to get him out of the way; he is the only NPC in the game whose death earns you zero XP (even a Meatbug, which can't retaliate at all, gives some XP).
Killing him is probably the kindest option. The alternative is to beat him up, then when he stands up again you tell him you enjoyed that. That's right, you can show him that you're just as much of an asshole as everyone else who's been kicking him down all his life. You bastard.
Well, there is a kinder option - let him join one of the camps with you. He becomes a guard/acolyte, learns to fight, and FINALLY shuts up.
The Chosen One - Subverted/defied. The Nameless Hero is treated as the Chosen of Innos, God of Fire, Light and Justice, even by Innos himself, but considers himself no one's champion but his own and is perfectly capable in the third game to join Innos's mortal enemy instead, or just screw them both over and end divine rule over the world for good. Bet you didn't expect that, oh God of Light?
Combos - In Gothic I and II, you can chain multiple weapon swings together with properly timed presses of the "attack" key, instead of slower normal attacks. The combos also evolve as you improve your weapon proficiency skills, becoming longer and more efficient.
Commonplace Rare - Armor, arguably. The Gothic series always made a great deal out of their importance, since they generally represented faction affiliation and status. Therefore wearing a Paladin armor gave you quite the sense of accomplishment for having worked yourself up all the way from a lowly militiaman with a cheap uniform. However, to achieve this, they obviously have to prevent you from simply looting armor off the corpses of NPCs that already wear that armor. It sometimes makes you wonder. "Why do I have to work for the pirates to earn that Bandit Armor to infiltrate their camp if I could just take out a bandit and wear his?". Made worse by the fact that the game states the "guard" ranked guards in the colony got the armor they have by killing the pre-barrier guards.
In-universe, this happened to magical ore, which was so common in the first game that is was used as currency, the hero could easily carry around thousands of chunks, while in the second game, it has become so rare that a single piece is worth a lot and there are only about a dozen or so chunks in total that one can find and use to make magical weaponry.
Crapsack World - And how. What do you expect from a world where the traditional greeting to newcomers is a punch in the face?
Critical Hit - Notable because of the way the game calculates damage. In close combat, usually, a hit will deal the damage stat of your weapon to the enemy HP, minus their armor protection value. However, the Hero can train in weapon skill, which is a percentage value. In Gothic I, it could go up to 60%, in Gothic II, it could even be raised to 100%. Aside from giving you new combos at 30% and 60%, it regulates Critical Hit chance for close combat attacks. If such a critical is scored, the attacker's Strength value will be added to the weapon damage. This combination makes fighting NPCs (thank god you can block...) extremely dangerous, since they tend to have Weapon Skill of somewhere around 30%-70% and strength values of often 100 or above, meaning there's about a 50% chance to be instantly downed every time an NPC hits you in early parts of the game.
Archers have a weapon skill stat, but instead of regulating critical hits per se, it regulates the chance of actually inflicting a wound when the arrow hits. However, since every wound is a critical hit, you quickly learn not to messwith archers.
Critical Hit Class: This becomes very common in Gothic 2, where your weapon skill is a measure of 10-100% that also serves as your critical hit odds (in addition to determining how fluid the hero's attacks are and how likely he is to make fatal mistakes), so any character with a higher skill than strength/dexterity (depending on the weapon) will only do noticeable damage on a critical.
Crutch Character - Diego in 2 joins you briefly in chapter 2. He is strong enough to plow through the, otherwise nigh-unkillable at this point, enemies encountered when he is with you and will generally earn you a few levels.
Dark Is Not Evil - Xardas. In the first game, he can actually teach a PC who has already taken both the Vow of Fire and the Vow of Water to become a Demon Summoner/Black Mage as well. So yes, you can totally be a hero that frequently uses a spell called "Army of Darkness" which summons six undead warriors. Though they will attack/be attacked when you summon them in a public zone.
Death of a Thousand Cuts - In Gothic II, the easiest way to bring down the big Troll enemies (if you weren't a caster) was to just keep whacking at them. Averted in Gothic I by your attacks doing nothing against a sufficiently tough opponent.
Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Played with in GII with the introduction of Dragonsnappers. Mutated by the Dragons' corrupting magic, they replaced the Biters and Razors from the previous game.
Even more so with the Fire Varans, who resemble Dimetrodons and breath fire.
Disc One Nuke - In the first game you can forge a sword that is better anything you can buy by just buying a piece of steel for 40 ore.
After clawing his way up to a position of respect and prosperity at the end of one game, he'd be right back where he started by the next one. Seeing as he's understandably frustrated that he gets no respect each time and it gets worse the more he tried to be a good guy, by Forsaken Gods he's becoming disillusioned with helping others because he just gets spit on for his trouble.
Early Game Hell - A deliberate use due to how character progression is handled from a story prospective, working to mirror how The Nameless Hero is completely inept at fighting.
Easter Egg - In the Expansion Pack to Gothic II, Diego can temporarily become a companion. If you go to the place where you originally met him in the first game rather than to the other side of the Pass, he'll get all nostalgic and you'll get a few hundred bonus EXP labeled a "Nostalgia Bonus".
Getting into Khorinis at the start of Gothic II is normally just a simple task of obtaining a set of farmer's clothes and bluffing your way past the guards, but if you enter via Sequence Breaking, you not only get a nice sum of experience, but a few unique lines.
Various other Easter Eggs include the stunt bonus, a used car hull, and a sign written by a mighty alien dwarf.
Excuse Plot - Forsaken Gods' plot is essentially an excuse to explore Myrtana for another twenty hours.
It's also a bridge (albeit a weak one) to Gothic 4.
Fake Ultimate Mook - Shadow Beasts in caves in 2. While hyped in the setting and one of the more likely things to maul a new player, once you have a weapon+weapon skills+strength that can hurt them even the slightest bit, just repeatedly attacking can kill them due to their huge delay before attacking. The Black Troll is a very noticeable example, so threatening and prominent it's marked on your map, but it can't turn at a decent rate and is easily circle strafed.
All trolls in Gothic 3. Huge, physically imposing monsters with a loth of health... but so slow you can repeatedly slash or maul them to death without sustaining any damage, since they just can't block your attacks and aren't fast enough to land a punch if you keep attacking again and again.
To some extent, Dragons in Gothic 3. They only attack by throwing fireballs out of their mouths, and since their wings seem to exist only for decorative purposes, a player with good hunting skills can use any big enough environmental object as a shield and shoot arrows at them until they drop dead. With good timing, positioning and movements, even an average player character with average equipment can take down one of the (supposedly) toughest enemies in the entire game.
Too many examples in Arcania. The most physically imposing enemies the player will encounter tend to have rather predictable attacking patterns, so taking them down simply requires spotting said patterns and exploit its weaknesses. Shadow Beasts and Golems are probably the most clear examples. Packs of apparently 'sparring enemies' like goblins and blood flies, on the other hand...
Though any combination of their individual skills is possible and by the end of Gothic I, you're most likely going to be a Magic Knight due to the mages being the highest rank in all the factions, so you have to go through the fighter-based ranks first. Though how many skills of theirs you learn is up to you.
Five-Man Band - In Gothic III, albeit they split up from the beginning.
While Arcania, due to its linear nature, has less sidequests than the previous games, you'll spend most of the time doing this if you want to progress in the story. The hero even lampshades it: by the time he arrives at the monastery he's so annoyed of being the errand boy and/or hired thug of virtually everyone, that he outright asks what does he need to kill in order to get the information he wants.
Freudian Trio - The High Council of Fire, consisting of sceptical, jerk-ish Serpentes (Id), calm, understanding Ulthar (Superego), and serious, but reasonable Pyrokar (Ego).
Getting Crap Past the Radar / Easter Egg - A name that will ring a bell for most Gothic fans is Velaya. She is the slave girl that appears in the opening and can be found in the room above the throne room in central hall of the Old Camp in the original Gothic. Velaya has exactly one spoken line of dialogue. Yet, she has almost reached Ensemble Darkhorse status among some fans, so much that some German modders made a Game Mod featuring her as the main character. The reason for this? Going into the room Velaya is locked in at certain times during the day will result in the player finding her completely naked (without any Barbie Doll Anatomy, no less!) and seemingly having a lot of fun while washing herself in a bathtub.
In Gothic 1, there are at least a few places with guards who will warn you and then attack you if you try to walk past them. However, taking your weapon out allows you to walk right past them while they're busy warning you to hide your weapon.
Grey and Gray Morality - The guilds that the player can join in Gothic 1/2 are this, you can choose between a militaristic, Knight Templar faction, a freedom-loving and rough bandit/mercenary faction, or a group of religious fanatics. Averted with non-humans, Beliar and his "evil creatures" servants are Always Chaotic Evil.
It's noteworthy that the Adanos-based factions (the middle ones, usually) tend to try neutral alignments to begin with, but the Innos factions (Paladins and Fire Mages), especially in Gothic II are essentially Lawful Good with pride issues and the tendency to overstate their own importance. Otherwise, they're often somewhat decent people still. A Lighter Shade of Grey.
It's more traditional White And Black in Gothic III, but it immediately goes pretty far back into Grey and Gray by the time of the Expansion Pack, which prompts the frustrated Nameless Hero to Take a Third Option.
Hanging Judge - The justice system after the discovery of magic ore was HARSH. It didn't matter if you killed someone or ignored a "keep off the grass" sign, the punishment was the same: you get thrown in a big prison colony where you either mine ore or get shanked by your fellow prisoners.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Unless you're the kind of player who regularly empties out their inventory just for the sake of having it easier to look over and move around in quicker, an endgame Nameless Hero's inventory likely contains the following things: About a half a dozen different swords and ranged weapons, several thousand projectiles, a dozen different sets of clothing and armor, the majority of plants and mushrooms to have ever grown on the island, enough food to hold out in a siege for years, enough potions and magical scrolls to make even the most accomplished alchemist or mage jealous, as well as a large variety of miscellanous stuff reaching from books and letters over animal trophies, silverware, torches and various random household objects.
Impossible Item Drop - Averted, the drops make almost total sense. If a humanoid NPC has a weapon in his hand at the moment of his death, he'll drop it - the player can pick it up and then go through the body's inventory, picking and choosing the best loot. Non-human monsters don't initially have a visible inventory; the player has to learn specific hunting skills in order to, for example, skin wolves for their pelts (which can then be sold to traders).
Insurmountable Waist High Fence - That they avert this trope rather spectacularly is part of what makes Gothic games what they are. The Barrier in G1 is not a case of an Insurmountable Waist High Fence, not even metaphorically, because it makes perfect sense for it to stop you. Anything else - fences, roofs, city walls, the huge battering ram in G2, mountains - if it looks climbable, it almost always is. Hell, there are at least three little known ways to get into Khorinis in G2 that depend on this (though just using the gates and tricking the guards to let you through is easier, but perhaps not as rewarding). The game actively encourages you to look for creative ways to get to seemingly inaccessible places.
There is one instance in G2 that plays this straight, although it is likely to be a glitch. The Orcs cannot follow The Hero up the log leading into the besieged fortress but they will try. Oh yes, THEY. WILL. TRY. In the end it is possible to have the entire Orc camp clustered at swordslength and much Level Grinding ensues. Glorious days, those.
And then they dropped the context sensitive jump system when they changed engines for G3... The trope is still averted, but is much more difficult to avert.
Also extremely blatant for the enemies in G3, many of whom cannot jump at all. Is there a high rock nearby? Do you have a lot of arrows / the mana regeneration ability? Okay, everything nearby without a ranged attack is dead.
Doubly excellent when you could find dragons that followed the same pathing rules as normal people, so they couldn't just step up waist-high breaks—or, y'know, fly.
Invisible Wall - The Barrier. Which becomes more and more visible the closer you get to it, and starts manifesting as electric death when you get much too close.
Ironically brought back in III with the same guy who put your character in one erecting the same thing around himself willingly!
It Only Works Once - Spell scrolls. They are, however, surpremely useful, since they exist of any spell, yet have no spell level requirements like runic magic has, and only very basic mana requirements. Using them tactically is a key part of the metagame, especially in the Expansion Pack for Gothic II. Using summons, AoE-spells or scrolls of shapeshifting, the player can easily take down boss monsters or fierce packs of enemies way beyond his level, often enabling him to instantly gain 2 or 3 levels afterwards from all the foes destroyed.
Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Some special merchants in the 2nd game that will buy 1 item type for full price are an exception, but everyone else pays the same for every item.
Kiting: One of the first NPCs encountered in the first game explicitly advises you do this whenever possible if asked for advice. Most enemies can be dealt with in this manner, wolfs (who automatically agro any other nearby wolfs when agroed) being the most prominent exception.
Knight Templar - Innos, mostly in the third game. He is as stubborn to wipe out all darkness and defeat Beliar and his hordes as Beliar is to corrupt and hurt the world. This fierce struggle of power causes a lot of suffering for the world's common population.
La Résistance - The Human Rebels, united against Orcish oppression in Gothic 3. Arguably the "mercenary" factions in G1 and G2 too.
Lizard Folk - Elite Mooks in the second game. They are implied to be a servant race of the Dragons, responsible for spreading their eggs across the land, but are never mentioned again after that. They probably all got wiped out when the Nameless Hero attacked Irdorath.
Load-Bearing Boss - the Sleeper's temple collapses the moment it's defeated. On top of you.
Low Fantasy - Yup. Magic directly comes from the gods and can only be cast using certain catalysts, it's also limited to the various priests. Magical creatures do exist, but there's usually nothing more mythical about most of them other than their design, they'll attack with their claws and fangs, not by shooting lightning out of their mouths or something. The only other vaguely civilized race like humans are the orcs. Moral points, the hero included, are generally varying shades of grey and people are usually aware of what a crappy world they live in, so they're appropriately cynical, disillusioned or just try to make a fortune off the situation.
Magic Knight: In the first game, an Old-Camp player could join the guards, learn 2 handed weapons using a bunch of hoarded skill points, then join the Fire Mages (overwriting their "guard" rank) via glitch note Ask to join the Fire Mages when given the ability, join, but before the initiation ceremony join the guards, then go to the imitation ceremony when done. In the 2nd, Paladins are a straight example, able to learn some basic (only healing and attack, plus one flashlight), but potent, spells, and unlike Fire Mages, don't suffer double cost physical skills.
Master of None: Not an issue in Gothic I or II, but Night of the Raven's extremely brutal way of handling skill points and greatly powering up enemies means that any PC who isn't absurdly specialized and seeking out every last oppurtunity to improve their skills by just a little bit is likely to get absolutely murdered in the harder parts of the game.
Nintendo Hard - When the fans complained that Gothic II was too easy, the developers raised the difficulty A LOT for the Expansion Pack. Now just about every enemy is a lot stronger, raising your stats on higher levels costs ludicrously large amounts of XP and you'd better get your fingers on each and every Stat Boosting Item you can find, you'll need them.
The series as a whole prides itself on this. In fact, you can possess every Game Breaker and exploit every Good Bad Bug you want, and the games are still hard and unforgiving even on the easiest difficulty.
No Name Given - the Nameless Hero. In fact, people actively try to shut him up whenever he attempts to introduce himself.
Non-Combat EXP: The game gives you experience points for each completed quest.
Non-Lethal K.O. - One of the parts that make this game unique is that characters enjoy engaging in close-combat duels with each other, where the looser will fall to the ground, have his HP reduced to 1 and will often afterwards be robbed and have his weapon taken away by the winner. In many parts of the Gothic world, this is a perfectly regular pastime and will even have nearby characters cheer on the fighters. A downed adversary can be finished off by driving one's weapon into their chest while they still lie on the ground, but this is generally looked upon less favorably by onlookers. If you don't finish them, they'll get up after a short time, usually acknowledging your victory with an annoyed comment or even running away from you. However, none of this is true for combat with any kind of monster (in which emptying the health bar is always fatal for either player or enemy), some always-hostile characters (like bandits), ranged weapons or most kinds of spells.
Non Standard Gameover - Swiming too far out to sea in 2 will result in a cutsceen of sea serpents eating your character.
Forsaken Gods was a very obvious version of this, but the same team that fixed Gothic 3 has managed to turn this game into something, while somewhat weak story wise, is playable and fully functional in a gameplay sense.
One-Handed Zweihänder - Played with. Orcs are so strong that what appears to be a weapon made for one-handed use by orcs can barely be wielded with both hands by a human.
Played straight if you train the "Twohanded"-skill to its maximum. Sure, you're holding the weapon in two hands - but your attacks are one-handed.
One-Man Army - Your character winds up becoming this for a lot of missions in Gothic III, as well as against the orcs for one mission in 2.
Arcania is pretty much built on this trope.
The Other Darrin - Rather noticeable in the english version, with characters changing voices between games. This is very noticeable for Diego, who doesn't even attempt to have the same type of voice (going from "deep" to "nasely")
Depends on the release. The Polish version of the Gothic series is notable for having many of the same actors reprise their roles from previous games. Apart from the protagonist (obviously), at least Diego and Xardas have the same actor voice them. On the other hand, G2 with Night of the Raven installed can invoke this within the same game. You might be listening to someone talk about the quest they're giving to you, then suddenly switch their voice to talk about some EP-only stuff.
Oxygen Meter - Interestingly, one of the few examples not instantly refilled on surfacing.
Plot Armor: In Gothic I and II, all plot-important NPCs have it, none of it in Gothic 3, though.
A rather literal example occurs in Gothic 2. Sylvio the mercenary captain is said to possess magic armor making him invincible, which is used as the justification why the player cannot challenge him to a duel and win yet. You can, however, beat up his Dragon.
Somewhat averted in the Community Patched versions of Gothic 3 and Forsaken Gods, with some enemies set to respawn with a given percentage of posssibility.
Prestige Class - Guards / Fire Magicians, Mercenaries / Water Magicians and Templars in Gothic 1, Paladins and Dragon Hunters in Gothic 2
Quicksand Box - Gothic 3, specially if you haven't played any of the previous two games. The storyline is "tenuous" to say the best, and very few characters will actually get detailed at explaining anything. While this can be considered a token of realism (people aren't usually prone to give full elaborate explanations to a stranger that just knocked at their door), it also means you can easily get lost and walk around aimlessly without knowing what the hell is going on.
In fact, at the very start of the game you're given the task of finding Xardas (the main quest) but no info at all about where he is. You'll need to do a lot of sidequests to just get some clues about his location, and at the beginning they'll be pretty vague. The game also makes little to no effort to explain who is Xardas and what he has done, so if you're a newcomer to the series you'll probably spend a good portion of the game without really understanding why you have to seek him at all.
Another main quest, finding the fire chalices, will take almost all of the game for you to complete it. However, the quest itself is given by a very minor character in the first rebel outpost you'll probably visit, and he's not extremely hard to miss by the way. To add further insult, the quest was broken in the initial release, and took quite some patches to get it fixed.
Raptor Attack: Snappers and their even more dangerous relatives, the Biters and Razors, all of which are basically small, armless theropod dinosaurs.
Arguably Scavengers too, at least in the GI and GII, where they were scaly and more similar to Snappers than to birds.
The Biter's in-game model is actually derived from the Scavenger's, not from the Snapper's.
Recurring Riff: Title theme of Gothic III sounds in several battle themes, mostly boss encounters. It's also a version of the original Gothic's title theme.
Retcon - A minor one: Gothic ends with the Nameless Hero leaving the Sleeper-Temple completely unharmed, Gothic 2 starts with the Hero buried beneath it.
A bigger one, or perhaps just a particularly unusual change in perspective, happens between the second and third game in regards to orcs and the nature of the war they are locked in with humanity. Though there were a few sympathetic orcs capable of communication and implications that orcs do have their own culture, they for the most part seemed like a race of brutes and savages following a Religion of Evil, and the struggle of mankind defending themselves against the orc onslaught while drawing strength from their faith in their light-god Innos was portrayed as fairly heroic. Come the third game and orcs are all civilized and capable of speech and while they oppress humans (just as humans used to keep orcs as slaves), they are a somewhat honorable Proud Warrior Race and try their best to keep order in their subjugated territories, far from the all-destroying chaotic force they were previously shown to be. This is somewhat handwaved by saying that the Khorinis orcs encountered in the first two games were a less developed, more brutish subrace of the orcs. Meanwhile, the conflict itself is presented as a neverending struggle that only wastes lives on either side, making humans and Innos just as responsible for it as Beliar and the orcs. In addition, it is revealed that orcs are creatures of Adanos, not Beliar, while the true champions of Beliar are the assassins of Varant (which are humans) and that the orcs have just as much a right to make their own destiny in the world as humankind does. It is not a bad twist, but lacking in foreshadowing.
Rogue Protagonist - King Rhobar III (the Nameless Hero from the previous games) in Arcania. It turns out he's possessed by a demon and gets exorcised at the ending.
Roof Hopping - While not required, the roofs of Khorinis have some very nice stuff for the early game that can be found if you do this.
Rule of Three - Three camps, three guilds, three deities, three endings...
Scary Black Man - Gorn has the look, but is subverted by the fact he's a fairly nice guy (He's said to has "a lot to pay for" in the 2nd game, but it is never said what). Thorus plays this trope straight, though he gets less scarier each game.
Scenery Porn - All of the games to some degree, but perhaps more notable in Gothic 3, since it has the most modern graphics of the three games.
Sequence Breaking - The Insurmountable Waist High Fence subversion above, combined with the willingness to run like a maniac past enemies you cannot overcome at low level, means you can get some nice loot early and basically run entire quests well before receiving them as actual tasks.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog - In 2, after spending 2 chapters having Lothar insult you and call you mad, you've finally gotten something you can shove in his face to prove he is wrong and you're right, but by the time you get back to town, he has been murdered.
Sole Entertainment Option: The bubble-world of the first game has a single fighting arena in the Old Camp. The Sect Camp is composed of narcotics-users, and their whole religious cult around the Sleeper, so they have something to occupy their time with. The New Camp is most egregious: asides from mining and rice-growing, there's not much to do. (Well, except for going to the pub.)
In the German version, the Old Camp had (on the gallow platform at the entrance to the inner keep) the real world Medieval Metal Band In Extremo, performing their song Herr Manelig. This was cut from all other language versions due to copyright problems.
Sprint Shoes - The running jump gave you just a little extra speed—enough to outrun most sword-wielding maniacs. Well, OTHER sword-wielding maniacs.
In G2 this was changed, but still true if you had Acrobatics.
Storming the Castle - Expect to spend a good portion of Gothic 3 doing this, since by meddling into ongoing struggles between rebels and orcs (in Myrtana), nomads and hashishin (Varant) and nordmarians and orcs (Nordmar) you'll usually end up assaulting fortified places full of defenders with little to no help from your chosen allies.
Averted in some towns, where La Résistance will actually lend a generous hand: Braga, Bakaresh or Montera qualify. Played absolutely straight with others like Silden, Faring or Ben Sala, where you'll be all alone against a full garrison of orcs and mercenaries/hashishin.
Story Branching: In the original Gothic, you could decide which camp to join after starting the game, opening up different quest lines which eventually converged back into a single plot.
Super-Persistent Predator - Normally averted: "monster" enemies generally do give warning to back off for a few seconds and will break chase if you run far enough, though they don't react to being injured.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard - In Gothic 3, NPCs with magical abilities will never run out of mana, and sometimes will surprise you by throwing remote-controlled magic missiles at your face, with said 'nukes' even slipping through several other enemies - and even environmental objects - before hitting its moving target (usually, your ass) with deadly precision.
The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized - Rebels and nomads are supposedly the "good guys" in Gothic 3, yet don't expect them to take prisoners when reconquering strongholds or villages.
This Loser Is You - Interestingly combined with eventual Take a Level in Badass. Originally, the Nameless Hero starts out like a newbie (which, if you are playing for the first time, you are), and he's weak and has no clue how to fight and survive (again, for a first time gamer, this is also true). He also starts out not knowing what's going on and dependent on others for help (again, a new gamer will also be like this). This trope was strongest in Gothic II, but was dropped in Gothic III, where it would be in universe impossible to justify the Nameless Hero being a total newbie all over again, hence why he doesn't start off nearly as incompetent and dependent on others like the other games.
Took a Level in Badass - Just compare what the Nameless Hero says in the start of either Gothic 1 or 2 to what he says when he faces down the undead Shamans and Cor Kalom in 1 or makes his demands to the dragons when he has the Eye of Innos in 2
Trauma Inn: Sleeping in a bed for any amount of time will regenerate all your health and mana.
Spending too long in someone else's house will eventually make them attack you, but if you're quick, you can dash in, lie down on the bed, get a good night's sleep and run out again without setting off the attack.
In Gothic 2, the Seekers can "possess" you, causing you to have nightmares that prevent you from this kind of recovery.
Unexplained Recovery - One dialog option when meeting Bloodwyn in Night of the Raven is to comment that you killed him back in Gothic 1 note Note that killing an NPC is Gothic 1 meat impaling him while he's unconscious (while never required or even recommended, killing him was common because he's pretty damn evil). His response is that he survived a lot of things.
Un Winnable - The manual for the second game explicitly states that the dev team went out of their way to avoid this. The game should always be winnable in some form, even if you choose to go on a wild killing spree in a plot-critical zone. Within reason, of course. They said you can still break your game by, say, throwing the Eye of Innos into the sea. This is wrong, of course. They prepared for that, too.
Weaksauce Weakness: No enemy will chase you over water (and if trapped in water, none of them can attack, just like you). While this looks like gameplay limitations, it's noted by one NPC vaguely in 2, and water is representative of a god opposed to most of the creatures you are fighting.
To elaborate, Gothic III had three endings: side with humanity and drive out the orcs; side with orcs and drive out the humans and head off with Xardas to another world; and the Hashishin ending which screws both over and hands over power to the third party. However, Forsaken Gods goes the route of Deus Ex and uses elements of all three endings as the starting point for two years after the G3 ending.
Who's Laughing Now? - Remember Bullit, the guy from the opening who punched you in the face? You can go back to him near the end of the first game, wearing the most powerful equipment there is and by this point, being strong enough to slaughter the likes of his in droves. The Nameless Hero will even remark on how nicely the situation is reversed now. Then you can butcher the guy. Or, for added irony, punch him until he drops, provided you have trained your strength enough to do damage despite his armor.
You Bastard - Thorus in III feels this way about your protagonist.
You Have to Believe Me - Averted/Defied in Gothic II. When the Nameless Hero has to gain Paladins' support against the dragons in Valley of Mines, he simply tells Lord Hagen, "The question is not if you should believe me, but whether you can afford to not believe me if I'm telling truth." It works pretty well — the Hero is sent to the Valley for confirmation.