King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame
is a video game by Neocore Games 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.
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
and Christianity or The Old Faith
, unlocking new units and hero abilities based on these leanings.
It now has a sequel.
The game makes use of the following tropes:
- 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 worshipped in Britain, Christian Saxons long before their widespread conversion and Viking raiders.
- Awesome yet Practical: Many of the direct damage spells, particularly Lightning, Curse Of Shadows and Merlin's unique Meteor. Also many of the higher end units are distinctly impressive to look at and highly effective.
- BFS: Many of the knights use them. Also the Golden Griffins, Springborn, Autumnbreed and Sidhe melee units.
- Big, Badass Wolf: Wargs are a not uncommen troop type to face in the Orkney/Viking armies.
- Black Knight: A few.
- Blood Knight: Sir Caradoc.
- 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.
- 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.
- Damsel in Distress: More than a few.
- Darker and Edgier: The sequel.
- Death of the Old Gods: If you like. Whether the Old Faith or Christianity triumphs depends on the player's choice.
- Druids: Present and accounted for.
- Excalibur in the Stone: Yep.
- 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.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Morguase.
- 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.
- King Arthur: Um, yeah...
- 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.
- Lowest Cosmic Denominator: Averted. Both Christ and the Tuatha De Dannan are all named.
- Magic Staff: Most of the magic centred heros carry one.
- 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.
- 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 courst of the Sidhe and possibly both.
- The Fair Folk: Lots of them, acting as antagonists, allies or recruitable troops at various points and depending on the player's choices.
- The Legions of Hell: The Formorians are technicaly not demons but you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.
- The Lost Woods: Bedegraine.
- The Magic Comes Back: What happened when Arthur pulled the sword from the stone.
- The Maze: The quest in Dagonet's castle.
- 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.
- The Virus: Formorian corruption in the sequel.
- The Good King: Arthur, obviously, but only if the player wants him to be.
- 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.