Kartia: The Word Of Fate was an RPG for the PlayStation released in 1998.The main action of the storyline was split into two volumes. You could play as either the Free Knight, Toxa Classico; or the Shrine Warrior, Lacryma Christi. Toxa is a young man who is looking for someone to protect (hence the title "Free Knight"), whereas Lacryma is duty-bound to her role as a Shrine Warrior. Their paths will both intertwine as they go about their adventures...Gameplay was fairly similar to most other Turn-Based Strategy games. What made it unique was that you used Kartia, a kind of blank card, to do everything: heal your characters, create new weapons and armor, and cast offensive magic, all determined by a grammar system where the effect is determined by what ideographs are placed on each card. Each character has their own weapon and armor levels ranging from E to A; this dictated what they could equip. Combat also heavily revolves around "Phantoms", various Mooks that your characters create to do your fighting for you.It's not the best game ever, but it's worth a look.
Tropes present in this work:
Artificial Human: Lacryma, sort of. Her life was saved by an Original Kartia as a child, turning her into a sort of homunculus. She never gets sick, and has immense potential ability with Kartia.
Big Bad Duumvirate: The bad guys are a coalition of several powerful individuals who are meddling with seriously dangerous Kartia in search of Eden. The leaders are Cardinal Beltschumeltz, San Saradiart, Raguruzet, and Vandor. They work together for most of the game, but both Saradiart and Vandor are running their own games on the side.
Brought Down to Normal: Mona destroys almost all of Saradiart's clones and prevents him from using his natural Elf magic, which allows you to fight him as if he were "merely" a high-level Kartia user. Of course, Mona doesn't just whack him down because then there would be no boss battle.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Unlimited License allows you to use the most powerful Kartia combinations in the game. Subverted in that you can use the combinations without the License if you hack the texts together yourself, you just don't see them on the menu (but if you have a guide, you can work around that).
Gambit Pileup: The Big Bad Ensemble are not working towards the same goal. Cardinal Beltschumeltz, Vandor and Raguruzet want to use the Original Kartia to create a new world; Beltschumeltz in particular wants to create God. Saradiart, meanwhile, wants to Kill All Humans. They're manipulating the bandits involved in the initial phases of the game into doing a lot of their dirty work.
Geo Effects: A character who has the high ground does more damage with an axe. Spears work better from below, while swords are best used on level terrain.
Half-Human Hybrid: Druids in general, Mona and San Saradiart in particular, are half elves
Heel-Face Turn: Misty is the first enemy you face in Toxa's scenario. She later joins your party.
Heroic Sacrifice: To use the Original Kartia, the user must die. In the backstory, Lacryma's mother did this to save her life; in game, Bachstail uses the Death Kartia in a failed attempt to destroy Saradiart, Lacryma uses the Nothingness Kartia to erase the "earth" of Eden that threatened to crush everyone, and Vandor uses the Human Kartia to bring Lacryma back after the aforementioned use of the Nothingness Kartia. Also, the Original Kartia doesn't kill its user, it transports them to Eden, which is a physical place.
Human Resources: Original Kartia are made from the blood and bones of half-elves
The Load: Troy accuses Posha of being this, and Posha agrees. Other characters tell her it's not quite as bad as that. In any case, she does take enough levels in badass that even Troy stops picking on her.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Troy complains about everything, picks fights with everyone, and generally acts obnoxious. He says he's only a member of the non-profit organization Vigilance because it's the easiest way to get an unlimited Kartia license. Yet he sticks with the group through thick and thin and, despite stating repeatedly that he's not too keen on dying, is prepared to put his life on the line for the people he cares about.
Magic A Is Magic A: The spells work based on a combination of Grammar Text, which determines what element or class of Phantom or weapon you're creating, and Letter Text that specifies the exact spell, Phantom or weapon. The ability of a Kartia user is determined firstly by the number of Kartia they can use in one spell, secondly by what Letter Text they know how to use, and thirdly whether they have the power to create Phantoms (though even if they have the ability, certain classes are legally forbidden to create Phantoms, which becomes a plot point in Lacryma's quest).
Magic Knight: Theoretically all your characters, since any human can both fight and use magic. Some are better at one than the other, though.
Magikarp Power: In the early chapters, Toxa's team is stronger due to Toxa's physical power and Alana's ability as a Magic Knight, while Posha, on Lacryma's team, is a complete waste of space. Later on, though, Posha joins Toxa's side, and while she eventually becomes a moderately-useful character, Lacryma is a powerhouse late-game, Kun becomes a Knight on par with Toxa (though lacking Toxa's Kartia abilities), and you can't get all of the Text in Toxa's quest (in fact, even the basic Iron text can be Lost Forever in Toxa's if you aren't careful).
Old And Busted New Hotness: In his A Taste of Power scenario, Rimzan will slaughter anything and everything. Later on, your Knight characters will have caught up, you'll have enchanted better weapons than his BFS, and he'll still only have the skill to use two Kartia (even Kun gets better than that).
The Resenter: At one point, after some drinking, Alana reveals that she feels this way towards Lacryma, because even though Alana is better at basically everything, Lacryma is the one everyone looks up to, simply because she's the daughter of a hero.
Supporting Protagonist: Toxa. Even in his own quest, he's not the commander; that role goes to Duran, and later to Posha. And the quest itself is Mona's quest to stop Saradiart.
Took a Level in Badass: Everyone - halfway through the game, your weapon and armor levels increase, so each character is able to equip better stuff. Character-specific levelings include Posha (goes from wimpy Shrine Maiden to confident Shrine Warrior), Kun (becomes a Knight later on in Lacryma's tale) and Lacryma (becomes an Inquirer and is therefore able to create Phantoms, as well as use five-card spells).
Vitriolic Best Buds: Troy and Ele start off as two abrasive people who don't really get along with anyone too well - least of all each other. As the story progresses, however, their bickering starts to sound more and more like playful banter and by the end they're pretty clearly good friends.