Video Game / King Arthur The Role Playing Wargame

King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame is a video game by Neocore Games (later the creators of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing) based on the exploits of King Arthur himself, chronicling his rise to power in an England divided by bickering kingdoms. The game itself is a mix of strategy (in the vein of the Total War series) and role-playing (which is reminiscent of text-based adventure games). It also features hero characters that lead the armies and level up in a manner similar to RPGs. The gameplay more strongly favors the real-time battles with its units' varied capabilities and heroes' magic compared to Total War's empire management, with the gameplay following hard-coded plot quests that your armies undergo rather than players going about their conquering goals entirely of their own accord.

While obviously based on Arthurian mythology it diverges fairly widely from versions of the myths. It also features a morality axis that tracks the player's decisions and whether they tend toward Rightful or Tyrant and Christianity or The Old Faith, unlocking new units and hero abilities based on these leanings.

It has a sequel.

The game makes use of the following tropes:

  • A Commander Is You: The Morality trees, outside of actual role-playing implications, provide different benefits to certain strategies to tailor your style. Christian favors Brute Force and gives knights and heavy infantry along with defensive abilities to aid them, Old Faith helps out as Guerilla with archers and infantry units that tend to be good in the woods or difficult weather as well as tricky spells, Rightful provides Generalist benefits with a variety of infantry units and various benefits to use as you will, and Tyrant provides more Brute Force with lots of damage or melee bonuses - even its archers are better in melee.
  • Action Girl: There are a few female knights that can be potentially recruited depending on your choices. Funnily, none of them can work with cavalry units and are all forced to fight dismounted.
  • Anachronism Stew: Good grief, yes. Apart from the usual Arthurian tradition of medieval equipment, terms and attitudes in just post Roman Britain we have units called "Crusaders" centuries before the First Crusade, Irish gods being worshiped in Britain, Christian Saxons long before their widespread conversion and Viking raiders.
  • Annoying Arrows: Brutally averted, other than heroes and Giants, nothing matches the hitting power of the various archer classes. Both nonhuman archers are especially devastating and can wipe out even the most heavily armoured armies off the map without much effort. An tickbox to weaken archers was patched into the game.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Magical damage ignores the regular defensive statistics and just considers magical resistance as they damage health. The Dragon's Breath skill has flavour text implying the trope to it working.
    "When a dragon breathes on you, it doesn't matter who you are."
  • BFS: Many of the knights use them. Also the Golden Griffins, Springborn, Autumnbreed and Sidhe melee units.
  • Black Knight: A few.
  • Blood Knight: Sir Caradoc. Lancelot too - he has a trait that causes him to lose some loyalty if he doesn't fight in a year, but gains some if he fights multiple times in a year.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: As usual the Sidhe follow this trope.
  • Body Horror: Formorians in the sequel.
  • Celtic Mythology: Oddly, the Irish variety despite the game being set entirely in Britain.
  • Call That a Formation?: Played straight by a small few Orkney units that only have the spread-out-blob formation of "Horde". Everyone else however, at least has the "Close-Order" formation for close-combat and withstanding charges, with a large degree of units having a variety of other formations available to them (the next most common being the spread-out-line "Shield Wall" to defensively cover as much area as possible against infantry, and the "Wedge" formation to cut through an enemy unit).
    • Unfortunately, knights are only reliably in the front and therefore immediately in combat of Wedge formations. For the other ones...be sure to take a close look at your knight's unit to make sure they'll be fighting whenever you activate skills that are based around themselves.
  • Changeling Tale: Both courts of Sidhe take children, though the Seelie seem to treat them better. Those kids then return, all grown up and equipped with magical weapons, to fight for their Sidhe masters.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: More powerful units tend to be lower in total manpower compared to other comparable units in the same class.
  • Damsel in Distress: More than a few.
  • Darker and Edgier: The sequel.
  • Dark Fantasy: The sequel descends wholeheartedly into this at times. The first part was both Lighter and Softer as well as slightly more toned-down concerning the fantasy elements.
  • Death of the Old Gods: If you like. Whether the Old Faith or Christianity triumphs depends on the player's choice.
  • Druid: Present and accounted for.
  • Excalibur in the Stone: Yep. It's a King Arthur game after all.
  • The Fair Folk: Lots of them, acting as antagonists, allies or recruitable troops at various points and depending on the player's choices.
  • Fisher King: Not the original, despite the Arthurian setting. Arthur himself becomes the Maimed King in the sequel which causes his kingdom to decay and the Formorians to return.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Cavalry can gain momentum as they gallop to a location, consumed as they reach an enemy unit on the way to try to trample the enemy, immediately cause damage (though also to themselves) and potentially kill lighter infantry. However, momentum is lost from veering off-course or moving up a hill, and dense formations will be more able to hold against the trampling charge more effectively.
  • Geo Effects: Anything aside from flat ground affect the troops standing on them. Difficult terrain like forests or water slow units down, consume more stamina to run through, and afflict their combat stats (though more to heavy infantry and cavalry than light infantry). The usual logic of what happens when you run up or down a hill applies, with cavalry gaining momentum faster from going down a hill or losing from going up one. If hidden in a forest for at least minute, units will gain an ambush bonus when the enemy sees them (and the units hopefully start to attack).
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Morguase.
  • The Good King: Arthur, obviously, but only if the player wants him to be.
  • Grim Up North: In the original all the land from the Midlands to Hadrian's Wall is covered with the forest of Bedegraine, the dangerous home of the Sidhe. In the sequel we find out what's above the Wall and it is not pretty...
  • Happily Adopted: Arthur by Sir Ector, as in the myth. Ector himself acts as your advisor throughout the first game and Arthur's foster brother Kay is your first hero.
  • Hell Gate: The Samhain gate. Also the Formorian's gates.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The attitude of most tyrant leaning knights and possibly Arthur himself if you go that way.
  • Instant-Win Condition: An army's morale going to nothing causes it to immediately lose, no matter how much they outnumber their adversaries. A player can kite an enemy's army or occupy them away from the victory points to win a battle they'd have no chance at otherwise.
  • King Arthur: He's in the title.
  • Kill 'em All: Not normally neeeded. Battles continue until one army's morale meter reaches zero. While heavy causalties is the quickest way to acheive this, other options exist and the morale usually breaks before the entire army is dead anyway.
  • Kill It with Fire: Plenty of spells along this line.
  • Knight Errant: The Knights of the Round Table spend the time their not leading armies into battle behaving like this.
  • Knight Templar: Some heros are over zealous.
  • The Legions of Hell: The Formorians are technicaly not demons but you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Rather than individual morale, an army's morale provides an alternate victory condition aside from killing all of them. Both armies have a morale bars which, much like the ticket system in the Battlefield series, go down if one side is holding more points and as they take losses. An army's reaching zero causes them to immediately lose.
  • The Lost Woods: Bedegraine.
  • Lowest Cosmic Denominator: Averted. Both Christ and the Tuatha De Dannan are all named.
  • The Magic Comes Back: What happened when Arthur pulled the sword from the stone.
  • Magic Staff: Most of the magic centred heros carry one.
  • The Maze: The quest in Dagonet's castle.
  • Nemean Skinning: Sir Caradoc wears a wolf's skin in this manner.
  • No Arc in Archery: Averted. The archer units fire in realistic arcs.
  • Non-Entity General: Sort of. The armies are supposedly led by whichever knight is in command. However overall command belongs to Arthur, who never appears in person in any battle.
  • Opposites Attract: No they do not. Troop types that have an opposing morality in the same army will lower that army's morale rating and thus make it easier to defeat.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Only in story backgrounds in the first game but showing up in person in the sequel.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Mostly appear as enemies but several occasions allow you to recuit them.
  • Plant Person: The Green Knight.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The game's writers seem to have done their research on Arthurian characters and events but many are heavily adapted to serve as in-game quests.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Not so much Arthur, who mostly just hands out orders via the player's decisons, but King Mark, one of the earlist recuitable heros, is a reliable leader and combatant.
  • Savage Wolves: Wargs are a not uncommen troop type to face in the Orkney/Viking armies.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In the sequel the Formorians in general and particularly Balor.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Percivale, though possibly with a good reason for the sealing. Depends how you feel about the old faith.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Many of the Tyrant leaning knights have them to some degree, but Mordred takes the cake.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Whichever ending you reach you'll be defeating at least one of the course of the Sidhe and possibly both.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Archers beat light infantry and spearmen (well, with "Weaken archers" on at least), spearmen counter heavy infantry and cavalry, light infantry counter spearmen, heavy infantry and knights rather conflate to counter light infantry, archers and light cavalry (with heavy infantry being more effective against lighter forms of infantry while knights are faster and better at catching archers but lose terribly against spearmen), and light cavalry counters archers but is most useful for their speed to capture victory points or provide sight as needed.
    • This is also significantly affected by how lighter units are less affected by difficult or rough terrain while heavier units' sheer stats do best in open terrain (The scale goes from light infantry, spearmen, light cavalry, heavy infantry, knights by the degree they get hampered by terrain). Scrubland or forests provide cover against archers' fire, making them places archers not want to be around.
  • Touched by Vorlons: A couple of occasions allow you to solve issues with the Sidhe and other magical types by sending one of your knights to serve them for a set number of turns. Such knights are unavailable for that time but often return with new powers.
    • Actually all the Knights are this trope. In the logbook, it explains that all the Knights were normal people but either by prayer, studying magic, finding a magical item or creature they have been touched by the supernatural and empowered according to their talents. That's why the Knights have such incredible stats and powers, not Charles Atlas Superpower.
  • The Unfought: Queen Morguase, at least in the original.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The Rightful morality options.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The Tyrant morality options.
  • The Virus: Formorian corruption in the sequel.
  • Weather of War: Weather can changed by skills. Fog, storms, night, or a clear day can be caused. Fog reduces sight, benefits Unseelie units and hampers archers; storms benefit seelie units and greatly hampers archers, knights and heavy infantry; night reduces sight and benefits Unseelie units, and a clear day hampers Unseelie units.

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