Video Game / Kiseki Series

Thousands of years ago, Aidios the Goddess of the Sky gave humanity the Sept-Terion, seven sacred treasures which granted dominion over the land, the sea and the skies. Twelve hundred years ago, the cataclysm known as the Great Collapse brought about the end of the ancient civilizations. The Sept-Terion were lost and a dark age descended upon the continent. Seven hundred years ago the Septian Church brought back the worship of Aidios and restored peace to the continent. Fifty years ago, Professor Epstein made a breakthrough in his study of ancient artifacts, ushering in a rapid wave of industrialization known as the Orbal Revolution. The series begins in the year 1202 of the Septian Era in the tiny Kingdom of Liberl and spreads to encompass all the neighboring countries, weaving together purely internal concerns, international politics and the legacy of the ancient civilizations and those who seek out the relics of the past for their own purposes...

Falcom's newest entry in their Legend of Heroes franchise and by far the most successful. Building on concepts developed in the earlier Gagharv Trilogy, the Kiseki series is a sprawling epic set on the Zemuria Continent. The story is divided into arcs which each focus on one country. As the games all take place within the same general time frame, characters from one arc will frequently appear as cameos in later games and while each arc focuses on a new group of heroes, the stories they tell all build on the same plot thread that runs throughout the series. With music composed by Falcom JDK Band and an incredibly detailed narrative focusing on the characters and the world they live in, the series can truly be described as 'epic'. The series has also inspired a spinoff game and an Intercontinuity Crossover with Falcom's other flagship franchise Ys.

Every game in the series in Japan follows the [X] no Kiseki pattern, where Kiseki is a word meaning Trail, Track, Path or Locus. It is also a homonym for 'Miracle', and thus every single title can (deliberately) be heard as "Miracle in/of [X]".

Tropes applying to the series as a whole can be found here. Tropes involving the characters can be found in the story arcs where they first appear or are most prominent. Because of the degree to which the games are interconnected, spoilers abound so be careful which ones you highlight.


Games in the Kiseki Series include:

  • The Liberl Arc: Sora no Kiseki First Chapter, Second Chapter and The 3rd. Released in English as Trails in the Sky
  • The Crossbell Arc: Zero no Kiseki and Ao no Kiseki
  • The Erebonia Arc: Sen no Kiseki and Sen no Kiseki II. Released in English as Trails of Cold Steel.
  • Nayuta no Kiseki: A spinoff set in an unrelated world.
  • Ys vs. Sora no Kiseki Alternative Saga: A crossover with Ys, set in the world of Xanadu Next and featuring cameo appearances and music from pretty much every other series Falcom has made.


Tropes common to the entire series include:

  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Done sometimes to show that there is something very wrong with the speaker, usually conveyed in Japanese by means of random syllables being replaced with katakana. For example some of the ghosts in The 3rd and people dying after using Red Gnosis talk like this.
  • Achievement System: From Zero onwards, the game will track what you do and give you these when you meet the requirements. In Zero and Ao, every one earns points that can be used to unlock bonuses in New Game Plus, gallery mode etc. In Sen, it's just cosmetic. You get Achievements for things like completing a Chapter, killing X number of enemies, maxing out your Detective/Academic Rank, opening all chests, finding all fish...
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Actually averted (though this is equally illogical at times) with items costing the same amount regardless of where you buy them or when in the game you do so. A Tear Balm purchased in Grancel in FC will cost exactly as much as one you bought in Rolent at the start of the game. Most of the time, the items you buy aren't manufactured locally and the ones that are are only sold in that location so there isn't much reason for the prices to be different. Why the unique items tend to go up in value with every new location on the other hand... although it at least some cases it makes perfect sense. If you're selling restored 1200+ year old relics incorporating Lost Technology, you'd probably charge more than for the gear your local blacksmith could make too.
    • It also partially averts Karl Marx Hates Your Guts; for example while you can't buy Honey Syrup in Armorica for cheap and sell it for a profit in Mainz (which you'd think would be logical since it's made in the former and the latter is a remote area that has to import everything and a sidequest actually makes a point of how profitable the stuff is when exported) you can derive a profit from your labor with certain cooking recipes that sell for more than the cost of the ingredients needed to make the items. You can also derive a profit from selling the fish you catch.
  • Adjective Noun Place: It's common for cities in Liberl and Erebonia to be referred to in this fashion, such as 'Seaport City of Ruan' or 'Trading Town of Celdic'. Some places get multiple adjectives, such as Heimdallr, the Crimson Imperial Capital.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. It's true that the playable cast tends to be on the younger side (because they tend to be newcomers to their respective professions) but older characters are as effective or more, they just don't get as much time in the spotlight. Good examples include Cassius and Morgan in the first arc, Arios in the second and the entire Thors faculty in the third, along with every named officer in the military in any game.
    • And even then, in the Liberl campaign, in SC and 3rd more than half of the people who join your party are straight-out adults - the "teens and kids" are actually a minority of the playable cast. Even FC is "merely" an even split between the kids (Estelle/Joshua/Tita/Kloe, and the first two are arguably also adults as they are fully trained, if inexperienced, professionals starting out in their careers) and adults (Schera/Olivier/Agate/Zane). It's only the Crossbell and Erebonia arcs that began to skew the cast younger - and even then, most of the "teens" in Crossbell, at least, are still at least of the age of majority and every party member is ostensibly a working professional - even Tio. (Which even surprises Lloyd, in fairness.)
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Liber Ark, which managed to avoid the devastation of the Great Collapse by virtue of being sealed away in another dimension at the time. Said sealing was also partially the cause of the Collapse. When it's returned to normal reality, people are able to see firsthand what civilization looked like 1200 years ago and it's pretty impressive.
  • After the End: The first game starts 1202 years after the Great Collapse that ended the ancient civilization of Zemuria. The first five hundred or so years were pretty rough (and fittingly are remembered as the Dark Age) but things have improved since then and the world has been in the midst of rapid technological progress for the past fifty or so years.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Glorious is large enough to contain launch bays for smaller gunships which are themselves capable of launching smaller manned craft. The Noble Union's flagship Pantagruel is all but stated to be the Glorious' sister ship and carries a full compliment of Panzersoldat that can be deployed directly via a winch system
  • Alien Geometries: The 'Another Dimension' versions of the Tetracyclic Towers, most of Phantasma, the Azure Tree and the Territory of the Great Shadow
  • All in a Row: How the party appears on the map in the first five games, before the shift to 3D in Sen.
  • All Swords Are the Same: Your weapons don't change in appearance as you equip new ones but since most characters have unique equipment there isn't any crossover between, say, Agate's large blades and Kloe's rapiers. Sen averts this and distinguishes between Eliot and Emma's Orbal Staffs, providing some unique and some shared ones.
  • All There in the Manual: If the in-game universe wasn't complete enough, there are multiple drama-cds, comics, game guides and information books which expand on the universe further.
    • This starts as early as the very first drama CD which retells events from FC. We have two conversations that weren't in the actual game but are pretty important first between Joshua and Cassius after the end credits of the game and then between Cassius and Loewe.
  • Alternate Character Reading: Played straight and played with, as kanji is used to explain the katakana rather than the other way around.
  • Alternative Calendar: The games measure time according to the Septian Era, which counts the number of years since the end of the Great Collapse.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: There are two names used more or less interchangeably in Japanese. Doll Weapon (in kanji) and Overmuppet (in katakana) which cover everything from small drones to machines the size of buildings. XSEED has translated this as Archaism in FC. Whether a new term will be coined for those machines that aren't 1200 years old remains to be seen. Sen introduces two new types, the God Knights (ancient machines whose nature is still mysterious) and the Panzersoldat which are reverse-engineered and mass-produced versions of Ordine, the Blue God Knight.
  • Ancient Artifact: The ancient Zemurians left behind a lot of their technology and other relics and the survivors of the Great Collapse forgot what all those nice things could do in several centuries of chaos. All Artifacts are thus Lost Technology by definition. Some can be extremely dangerous if misused, others are simply inherently dangerous and a lot are simply black boxes. The official position of the Septian Church is that all Artifacts are theirs to keep hidden away for everyone's safety, although this is a fairly flexible rule as they allow people to study the things. It was research into Artifacts that allowed Professor Epstein to reach the breakthroughs that led to the Orbal Revolution.
  • Animated Armor: A large number of enemies encountered in The 3rd. Others are seen in Stargaze Tower and Lohengrin Castle. All cases take place in spiritually active areas and their presence is explicitly supernatural.
    • Sen introduces several massive suits of armor that protect ancient sites. They're apparently mechanized rather than possessed but exactly what makes them work is a mystery to the characters.
  • Anti-Grinding: Monsters have levels, and the amount of experience gained from killing them is based on a formula derived from a monsters base EXP level and the difference in levels between the monster and the party. If you somehow manage to kill a monster ten levels above the party's, the party will gain an enormous amount of EXP that will allow the party to rapidly catch up to the level it should be at for that part of the game. Kill a monster ten levels below the party's and they'll get virtually nothing.
  • Apocalypse How:The Great Collapse was a continent-wide (if not world-wide) one which ended the golden age brought about by the Sept-Terion and set civilization back to bronze age tech levels.
    • Relatively more recently is the Salt Pillar Incident which caused the near-total collapse of North Ambria which still hasn't recovered and probably never fully will.
  • Arc Number: Seven. The Septian Church, seven types of Septium (and Arts), seven official Bracer Ranks, the Sept-Terion, seven Pillars of Ouroboros, seven Circles of Phantasma, Class VII, seven levels of the Old School Building...
  • Archaeological Arms Race: Ancient Zemurian technology is more advanced than that of the present day so acquiring some is a priority for most major powers. The conspirators in FC want Aureole as a Sword of Damocles, the conspirators in Crossbell want Demiourgos to reclaim the power their ancestors once had and the end of Sen suggests one of these is going to happen regarding the mysterious God Knights.
    • It turns out that every single time this happens, Ouroboros is pulling the strings because it wants to obtain the most powerful artifacts of all, the Seven Sacred Treasures of Eidos, or the Sept-Terion for short. We don't know why yet, aside from a single allusion to something called the Orpheus Final Plan.
    • The Septian Church has an order dedicated to preventing this from happening, by investigating ancient ruins and generally preventing the misuse of Artifacts. This is the source of their more recent conflicts with Ouroboros, as the Gralsritter are, at this point, doing everything short of pure open warfare to stop Ouroboros from gathering the Treasures - and if Ouroboros keeps succeeding, it may just come to open war.
  • Attack Drone: The Alpha and Beta Drones Reverie can summon sort of work like this and the Forecep L and R units can separate and act like big drones (in fact, they're first seen operating independently). The Tactical Pod line of enemies also function like this on a personal level, starting with the prototypes used by Weissmann which then reappear in Sen. Early designs of Tio were going to feature these as well as detachable parts of her armor. In the end, they were removed, though her Eidolon Gear does incorporate a pair.
  • Auto-Revive: The Puppet line of accessories and in Sen, the 'Angel' Master Quartz permit the character to revive after death with a percentage of HP, EP and possibly CP restored. The accessories are single-use, the Master Quartz has a per-battle limit. This is also a power of Ao's final boss; its first form will revive if you haven't killed all its support units.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Lots of characters, starting with Leonhardt (but call him Loewe) whose awesome name is commented on by the characters... and once you move past the obviously meaningful names you get ones that are just plain cool like Wazy Hemisphere or Gaius Worzel.
  • Badass Grandpa: This series has quite a few, who can be found on the pages for the individual arcs. For the character who prominently crosses multiple arcs, Yun Kafai. He is literally Anelace's grandfather and he's the man who invented the school of swordsmanship used by most of the series badass swordsmen.
  • Badass Preacher: All Grals Ritter, by definition.
  • Background Music Override: Fairly common in endgame areas, such as Rescue Mission playing on a continuous loop in FC at Erbe Imperial Villa, Castle of Illusions <Phantasmagoria> in The 3rd's Very Definitely Final Dungeon and lots of times in the last three Chapters of Sen.
  • Bigger Bad: Behind almost every Big Bad in the series, there is Ouroboros. However, there are some things that are beyond even them, such as Phantasma and (possibly) whatever was up with Lohengrin Castle, which may have been connected to Phantasma itself.
  • Black Box: Exactly how Artifacts work is usually a complete mystery and several characters even call them Black Boxes. The most prominent example is the Sept-Terion, which can explicitly cause 'miracles' but nobody understands how. Except maybe the Master, if you assume that she is Eidos. Ouroboros is better at figuring out Artifacts than anyone else, judging by the fact that they have managed to A) Copy and improve upon known Ancient Zemurian creations from non-functioning examples (Traumerei Dragion), B) Create copies of Artifacts known only through descriptions which are close enough to the original to fool the original (the Gospels) and C) Indirectly recreate a Sept-Terion, granted, the person responsible of recreating and improving it finished the work before actually becoming a member of Ouroboros, but still..
  • Calling Card: Phantom Thief B (aka Bleublanc, Legion X of Ouroboros) likes to leave these at the scene of his crimes, with similar cards left in a sequence for the protagonists to follow.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Ubiquitous in the series is a Craft which sacrifices HP in return for CP. Each arc has one character with this ability, coming in two levels. The first sacrifices 30% of maximum HP for 50 or 60 CP, the second (obtained in the second game) sacrifices a whopping 70% of max HP for 150 CP. This makes it very easy to accidentally kill yourself if you're not careful, in return for being able to spam Crafts like crazy.
  • The Catfish: From SC onwards, there has been a fishing minigame which inevitably includes at least one legendary fish, the catching of which proves that your character is a true fisherman. Usually, catching this fish can only be done after catching every other kind of fish in the game and requires lots of trial and error or a guide to find in the first place. SC and Sen have one each, Zero has two lesser ones and a main one and Ao has five, the first four needing to be caught before you can attempt the fifth. Catching them tends to reward you with a one of a kind item.
  • Cats Are Magic: Well, not exactly but the Agnes in the Sun books in Ao feature one who definitely is. And which foreshadowed Celine in the very next game.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Absolutely everywhere.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: This has happened for several characters already and is likely to keep happening, particularly with Anelace's grandfather, since he's part of the backstory for so many characters.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Goes hand in hand with the association between the seven families of Arts and the seven types of Septium. Earth is orange/brown (Amberl), Water is blue (Saphirl), Fire is red (Carnelia), Wind is green (Esmelas), Time is black (unknown but possibly Obsidium), Space is yellow (Goldia) and Mirage is silver (Argem).
  • Conservation of Competence: Very neatly averted with Ouroboros. Aside from one moment of Weissmann carrying the Idiot Ball and chronic Butt Monkey Gilbert everyone we see is consistently and extremely competent, which is one of the reasons they're able to be a convincing threat across the entire series.
    • This is also what cements Giliath Osborne's status as a Magnificent Bastard, as he completely blindsides Ouroboros despite their record of extreme competence.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Final bosses in the series are inevitably immune to Instant Death (as are most but not all bosses generally) and the nastier status effects like Petrify and Faint. However, you can frequently encounter other bosses vulnerable to non-OHKO effects such as Delay, which in one case turns the penultimate boss fight of a game into a Curb-Stomp Battle Garcia in Zero and in others can allow you to do things like confuse all enemies into killing each other Kanone in FC or perpetually inflict ParalysisScarlet in Sen. Also, many bosses are vulnerable to at least some stat-downs.
  • Combination Attack: Chain Crafts in SC and The 3rd, Combo Crafts in Zero and Ao and the entire Tactical Link system in Sen are made of this trope.
  • Criminal Mind Games: Bleublanc always leaves his Calling Card at the scene of his latest theft, with a clue leading to another card and so on until the last one leads to the stolen item. He seems to steal mostly for the enjoyment of it and because he likes watching people following his clues, rather than to actually possess what he steals. This is exemplified by Zero where he hid his acquisition in a place it was bound to be noticed eventually, then in disguise personally congratulated and rewarded the party for recovering the missing statue.
  • Critical Annoyance: Each game has a battle theme that will kick in when your total party HP drops below a certain threshold, excepting certain cases of overriding BGM. It's usually a pretty good theme too, just not one you really want to be hearing.
  • Crossover Punchline: Sen no Kiseki II had a pair of DLC costumes for Rean and Alisa that were part of a preorder bonus campaign. In Tokyo Xanadu, there is a popular entertainment program called Mahou Shoujo Magical Alisa based on her DLC from Sen II and another appearing character is 'Prince of Hades Rean', based on his DLC costume.
  • Cross Through: While the series is divided into separate arcs which take place in different regions and with different main casts who deal with their own issues, as of the sixth game there are several characters who have appeared in most or all of the games and played a role in bringing things to a conclusion. Additionally, Ouroboros and its machinations lie in the background of most of the games even when they don't appear directly. Then there are the hundred or so shout-outs to past games in each new one.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: Done once in FC and again in Zero. In the first case, your characters are hiding in a crate and supposedly invisible to detection by Orbal sensors... which pick up life signs in one of the crates. Turns out that it was a cat, specifically placed there to be detected and defuse both suspicion and tensions. In the second case, the cat was part of a Refuge in Audacity plan but filled the same role in distracting the attention of some thugs who otherwise might have looked too closely behind the curtains.
  • Cool Airship: There's one for everyone. Liberl has the Arseille, Ouroboros has the Glorious, the Capua family has the Wildcat, the twelve Dominions of the Septian Church each have a Merkabah, Red Constellation has the Beowulf, Erebonia has the Courageous and the Noble Union separately has the Pantagruel
  • Also applies to small craft. The Intelligence Division, Ouroboros and the Royal Army all have cool gunships and Erebonia and Calvard's largest corporations make their own models as well.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Not really forbidden but functionally, using a Stigma works out this way as it is incredibly taxing on the body and the more the user tries to do, the worse it is. Death is presented as a very real consequence of overusing the power and even less serious uses have been seen to leave a person in a faint.
    • Also applies to Rean's power, as death was seen as a probable consequence of overusing it during an emergency. And that's before considering what it could do to the personality.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In any given game, about a quarter of the playable cast will have one of these (and another quarter will have a moment or too but not a history of it). The Liberl arc gives us Joshua, Scherazard, Kevin, Renne and Loewe while the Crossbell arc has Tio, Randy and Rixia on the protagonist side and Sully on the supporting cast side. The Erebonia arc has Fie and Sara for certain and quite a bit of speculation surrounding several other characters.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: At several points in the series, a character will pretend to be someone they know is dead. Lloyd briefly pretends to be his dead brother Guy (which doesn't fool anyone important) and Joshua pretends to be his dead sister Karin which actually does fool the people it's intended to.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Done several times, always with ample in-universe justification.
    • In FC Cassius being out of Liberl during the coup attempt happened specifically because Ouroboros feared his potential to be the Spanner in the Works, so they arranged an incident they knew would require him to leave the country during the crucial timeframe
    • In SC Cassius does it to himself, weaponizing his Memetic Badass status by ensuring Ouroboros remained focused on him. He still managed to set up the Batman Gambit that ultimately trapped Weissmann despite not directly intervening in any of Ouroboros' major operations in Liberl.
    • Olivier and most of the other adults leaving in Sen II deprives the party of the individuals any one of whom could probably have singlehandedly tackled the problems that the crew of the Courageous had to face. However, this was because their talents could be put to much better use in the more volatile western half of Erebonia, leaving the Courageous to keep an eye on the much more settled east
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Starting with Ao, various breakable objects appear on the map. Destroy them and they'll randomly drop Sepith, healing or cooking items and sometimes U Material.
  • Eldritch Location: Any 'spiritually active' area (where the three higher elements of Space, Time, and Mirage are influencing things) is one of these. In these regions, things like ghosts, monsters unexplainable by science and distortions of time can all be found and these areas are explicitly treated as supernatural, whereas most other 'magical' things in the setting are otherwise explainable scientifically.
    • Just to make things creepier, anywhere that the Pleroma Flowers bloom will become one of these.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: An odd example: Strengths and weaknesses are enemy-specific and there isn't an automatic relationship between strength in one element and weakness to another. However, if the player equips one of the four Talismans in FC or SC their attacks will take on one attribute and they will take less damage from that element but more from another. Time, Space and Mirage aren't subject to this in any way. These accessories disappear from the series just in time for the three higher elements to become subject to the normal rules in The 3rd.
  • Elemental Tiers: Arts are divided into the 'Lower Four' and 'Higher Three' elements. The latter first become subject to the normal rules in The 3rd (which takes place in an Eldritch Location). From this point on, whenever you see enemies with resistances to those elements listed at all, it's significant to the plot.
  • Enemy Summoner: A lot of enemies throughout the series have an ability to summon additional enemies to fight you. Sometimes this involves the enemy itself splitting into two identical copies (including lost HP) but usually it involves summoning a fresh enemy of an entirely different type from the summoner.
    • Final bosses in particular love to do this, killing the enemies they summon ASAP is recommended because they tend to have nasty abilities and can usually heal or buff the boss.
  • Enhanced Archaic Weapon: Part of the ubiquity of melee weapons in the series stems from the fact that firearms are relatively new and partly that sufficiently trained characters in the setting (such as any Hachiyou Ittou or Taito practitioner) can pull off impressive stunts that make melee weapons credible threats. Then there's the simple fact that Orbal technology can enhance conventional weaponry in enough ways that a compound bow can actually be just as useful as a rifle in skilled hands.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The end of FC is the biggest one for the series as a whole. In fifteen minutes and the twin revelations that 'Professor Alba' is the Big Bad and Joshua was The Mole, you go from an enjoyable but relatively conventional (if insanely detailed) game to a world where you're not certain who you can trust or what you can take at face value. This in no way diminishes with later games.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt: Most games have at least one scene where the party investigates a crime or unusual incident and you have to gather clues and come up with conclusions based on what you've found. Finding all the evidence and reaching the right conclusions is necessary to get bonus points towards your respective Ranks. This happens most frequently in the Crossbell arc where the main characters are all police officers.
  • Eye Color Change: There are two prominent examples in the series. The first is caused by the drug Gnosis and the color change is permanent. The second is only found in specific characters ( Rean and Macburne) and the color changes in response to active use of their powers, with the former becoming red and the latter black.
  • Fan Nickname: In-universe, fans call Ilya Platiere 'Princess of the Dancing Flames' and Vita Clotilde 'The Azure Diva'. Out of universe, Randy's in-universe nicknames are fairly popular, as is his fan nickname Ranikinote 
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: The series has several of these. Zane follows the Taito (Great Authority) style which is noted to emphasize fighting without taking life. His fellow pupils were Walter and Kirika (who was also the daughter of their master). There's also the Hachiyou Ittou (Eight Leaves, One Blade) style of swordsmanship used by many of the series best sword-users or ex-sword masters. It is known to be divided into eight Forms and as of Sen II only two Forms are complete mysteries. Proving that Yun Kafai is Crazy-Prepared, the Eigth Form Mutenote  is an unarmed combat style.
    • There's also Cassius' staff style Mu ni shite Rasen (The Spiral that Reduces to Nought), the concept of which he passed on to his daughter. Later Estelle and Joshua both learn some of its more advanced techniques.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: A few of these. The most obvious is Leman, which is Zemurian Switzerland. The country is the origin of the famously neutral Bracers Guild and the birthplace of the Orbal Revolution.
    • There's also Zemurian Prussia in Erebonia, which has not only a ton of Germanic names but a major character is an Expy of Otto Von Bismarck, right down to his nickname 'The Blood and Iron Chancellor'. Then there's Calvard, which has traits in common with the United States of America. It is a relatively young country with a democratic form of government and immigrant-heavy culture... it also has a heavy Japanese/Chinese influence courtesy of its biggest immigrant groups, so the currently nameless countries they came from are doubtless fantasy counterpart cultures themselves. Crossbell City is somewhere between New York and (per Word Of God) Hong Kong.
  • Fictional Field of Science: Orbal Science is the art of deriving new forms of technology from the refined form of seven naturally occurring types of crystals. The science was itself developed by studying Lost Technology from 1200+ years ago. Tita and her grandfather will be happy to explain the subject in copious detail.
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: The Carnelia books you collect in FC are revealed to be based on the adventures of real people. Ein Selnert first appears in The 3rd, Toval in the Ring of Judgment manga and Micht in Sen. Ein notes that the books make for great Plausible Deniability
  • First Episode Spoiler: The series runs on a continuous narrative. It's pretty much impossible to talk about any game after FC without revealing the existence of Ouroboros or the facts that 'Professor Alba' is a villain and that Joshua is an amnesiac former assassin. It's pretty much impossible to talk about any game after SC without mentioning that Renne is also an Ouroboros assassin, that Liberl Ark exists and that Kevin and Campanella are both far more important than the people they initially present themselves as being. It's also impossible to talk about Ao without mentioning the existence of the D∴G Cult and Gnosis from Zero... and Ao itself is a First Episode Spoiler for Sen, making a large chunk of the plot (though not the specific details) a massive Foregone Conclusion that makes it hard to talk about the game with people not familiar with the earlier entries without spoiling things. Then it's pretty much impossible to talk about Sen II without mentioning how Crow is <C>, the ILF are agents of the Noble Faction, Sharon is a member of Ouroboros and Vita and Misty are the same person and also a member of Ouroboros.
    • So in short, Falcom loves this trope.
  • Fishing Minigame: In every game since SC, with locations scattered around the country you're currently inhabiting, multiple rods and types of bait (which usually needs to be farmed) and up to twenty different types of fish to catch. Some fish can themselves be used as bait to reel in even bigger fish, all can be sold for a reward and all fish give you items when caught. Finding the right location/bait combo is an easy way to accumulate lots of U-Material or all the Sepith you could ever want, along with some one of a kind items. Oh, and fishing is Serious Business as each country has a Fishing Guild, with Ao's story involving a competition between Crossbell's Guild and members of the neighboring Erebonia's Imperial Fishing Guild.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: The series has two so far:
    • Celeste D. Auslese is the founder of Liberl. Some of her writings are important to the plot of SC and the party meets a virtual ghost of her in The 3rd.
    • Dreichels Reise Arnor (known as the Lionheart Emperor) founded Erebonia as it's known today, reunifying the country in the wake of a succession crisis known as the Lion War two hundred and fifty years ago.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Crossbell's East Street has a distinct Chinatown feel, as it's where most of the immigrants from eastern countries (by way of Calvard) have chosen to live. It's implied that there are lots of these throughout the Republic, with variations for the different immigrant groups.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Anelace proposes one to Estelle, who accepts. Given the minor Gameplay and Story Segregation in SC's rank system, it's not clear who's winning for real, though in the short term it's evidently Estelle, which just motivates Anelace to try harder. Word Of God has them currently tied at the same rank.
    • Also, by the time of Ao, the Special Support Section and the First Division of the CSPD and the local branch of the Bracers Guild are all on these terms with each other. Before, it was a three-way case of Jurisdiction Friction.
  • Frontline General: Fairly common in the setting. In Liberl, General Morgan (leader of the Royal Army) and Lieutenant Schwarz (leader of the Royal Guard) tend to lead from the front and in Erebonia, Generals Vander and Craig fight alongside their troops.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The playable cast of the Sora trilogy starts as one though it ends up imbalanced by The 3rd. The core cast of Zero is one and the full (permanent) playable cast of Ao is also balanced. Class VII starts out with one more boy, though if you count Sara the number balances out. The series likes this trope.
  • Giant Spider: I hope you're not arachnophobic and if you are, I'm sorry. There are two Chapter bosses in the series that are this trope writ large. First is the Arachne Sisters (so, three giant spiders really) followed by an even bigger spider after you beat them in Sora no Kiseki The 3rd and the second is Ginosha Zanak, a spider-demon sealed away in an ancient quarry in Sen no Kiseki.
  • Going Cosmic: The 3rd brings religion to the forefront of the games, though it was always present before that. The game also delves more deeply into psychology and the nature of reality. It's also the game that opens up a thousand cans of worms for future exploration and turned out to be essential to understanding the meta-plot, despite what some people claim.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Monster Encyclopedia entries, fish, recipes, you name it. From Zero onwards, you get Records and/or PSN Trophies for doing this as well as unlocking nice items. Actually managing this is the source of a lot of Guide Dang It since many requirements are extremely time-limited.
    • Even before that, obtaining every volume of collectable novels is how you obtain the Infinity+1 Sword in all the games but The 3rd.
  • Great Offscreen War: Two of them in fact. The Hundred Days War is a major part of Liberl's history and had a profound impact on the lives of many characters. As it took place ten years before the series begins, we only learn about it in flashbacks, conversations and books.
    • Erebonia has its own example of this in the Lion War, which was fought 250 years ago and had an even greater impact which is still felt in the present. Just ask Arianrhod. There's also the civil war that was this trope in Ao but is going to be an onscreen war in the Erebonia arc. It gets kicked off during the conclusion to Sen.
  • Grim Up North: Toyed with. The Salt Pillar Incident turns a country in northern Zemuria into an example of this but it was a recent unnatural event and not associated with the north in general. Played straight to the extent that Weissmann is from there.
  • Guide Dang It: All over the place, mainly hidden bonus conditions for quests, hidden sidequests, and collectibles that can only be found by talking to a specific NPC at a specific time.
  • Harmful to Minors: Part of the backstory of quite a few characters, chief among them Joshua, Renne and Tio.
    • To a lesser extent, everyone in Liberl in a certain age range was exposed to the horrors of war during the Hundred Days War. Tita was too young to remember it but Estelle and Kloe were not with the former watching her mother die while shielding her from falling debris. Anelace probably counts as well but we never hear of her own experiences from back then.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Comes in all three varieties.
    • The Ghost: Yun Kafai, who has been mentioned since The 3rd and has been a teacher and mentor to a number of characters. As of the end of Sen, he still has never been seen. Perhaps to remind us of this, that game revealed that he is known in-universe as the Sword Hermit.
    • The Voice: All the Anguis and the Master in The 3rd, who are visually represented by pillars and light but the only thing we have to distinguish them is their voices and speech patterns. Since then, several have been revealed to the player while others remain mysterious.
    • The Faceless: In Ao, those Anguis whose identities hadn't been revealed yet were represented in artwork as cloaked figures.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted by the protagonists of the first five games, it's not until Rean in the sixth game that we get a protagonist who really uses a sword.
    • Played with in the case of Anelace, who wants to be a hero and uses a sword.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: The Arseille does this when going up against the Glorious in SC, using its far greater maneuverability to great advantage. In Ao, Aion Type-Beta and Kevin's Merkabah trade off doing this with lasers.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every game in the series follows the 'X no Kiseki' pattern, which usually translates to 'Trails in/of X', though some titles don't translate neatly while maintaining the scheme in English. Falcom also likes titles that don't necessarily make sense until you play the next game in the series. For example, Sora no Kiseki really only makes sense after you play SC and the meaning of Zero no Kiseki is only explained in Ao, which thankfully also explains its own title.
  • Improbable Accessory Effect: The series tries to avert this as much as possible. Some accessories just make sense (a lighter to keep you warm prevents Freeze and aromatic herbs prevent you from falling asleep) but in a number of cases, the explanation is rooted in the presence of Magic from Technology. The Grail Locket (prevents all status ailments) in particular is explained as being based on a piece of Lost Technology. There are also completely straight examples, such as the Lionheart Medals in Sen.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Weapons constructed out of Zemurian Stone serve this role in every game but FC, where you trade directly for a weapon.
  • In-Game Novel: As of Sen no Kiseki II there have been seven of these, six of which are part of game-spanning sidequests whose ultimate reward is an Infinity+1 Sword. The novels are collected in volumes (frequently the subject of much Guide Dang It) and tend to be decently long once put together.
    • Numerous other books exist separately from the above novels and can be read in-universe as well, such as short stories, a dictionary of cat speech, guides on the functioning of Orbments and so on.
    • Also, these books aren't just fluff, they're frequently foreshadowing. See Carnelia and Toby, or as fans are more likely to know them, First Dominion Ein Selnert and Toval. This gets a deliberate nod later on when one of the things you can buy in Sen is a paperback collection of Carnelia. This would be the first game where Toval and Micht appear directly.
  • Irrelevant Sidequest: Averted. In the first two arcs, the main characters are part of organizations whose members are being paid specifically to help citizens with their troubles as well as assisting the government. In FC, the original purpose of Estelle and Joshua journeying around Liberl was to help out at each of the Bracers Guild branches to show they have what it takes to be full members; they fell into the 'Save the Kingdom' job more or less by accident. In SC, the saving takes priority but that's no excuse to neglect the other aspects of the job. As police officers trying to assist the poor public image of the CSPD, the fact that you spend a lot of time in Zero and Ao helping people out also makes perfect sense. In Sen, as you're students at a military academy performing a combination of assisting with Student Council duties (helping students and others at Thors and in Trista) and jobs assigned to you as part of your Field Exams. This is because Olivier is trying to make Class VII a shining example for Erebonians, so having Nobles and Commoners working together on jobs ranging from eliminating dangerous monsters to helping a store owner find a replacement record is all part of the process
  • Item Amplifier: The recurring Master Quartz Moebius, which increases the HP/EP restored by items (but not CP), lets you use items at a distance and at max level grants items a minor area of effect.
  • Karma Houdini: As this series has a continuous narrative where plots are expected to be resolved over the long term, this applies to quite a few characters.
    • On the other hand there are some notable aversions with characters who have learned just what a bitch karma can be. Namely Georg Weissmann and Joachim Gunter whose well-deserved karmic payback was sweet. In the shorter-term there was Gideon, who gets Laser-Guided Karma within mere months of earning it.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: A series staple, the final dungeon and/or boss music in each game tends to include the main melody for the theme song of that game. The 3rd and Zero each have an additional and entirely separate arrangement that plays just before the final battle to pump the player up for the fight ahead.
  • Left Hanging: Pretty much every game wraps up its main plot but leaves you with more unanswered questions than you had going in. In some cases you get cliffhangers where you only think the main plot has been resolved, until the last twenty minutes. The 3rd is pretty much 'Left Hanging: The Game' since one of its primary reasons for existing was to set up plot threads for future story arcs.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Played straight with the map of Liberl, because that country is located at the far western end of the Zemuria Continent and Falcom has been keeping the details of the rest of the world outside its immediate surroundings hidden. Major locations are known to exist much farther north and east and no doubt we'll eventually get maps that avert this entirely.
    • The map for the Crossbell games more or less does this, being positioned to show Liberl in relation to Crossbell without revealing the Tethys Sea or how much further Erebonia might extend west. The map of Erebonia in Sen and its sequel does the same thing, because the player doesn't get to see the western part of the Empire where it runs into the ocean.
  • Ley Line: Septium in the ground naturally releases energy which flows between concentrations of the crystal, the so-called 'Septium Pulses'. These first become important in SC because one of the Gospels is able to manipulate these pulses to cause earthquakes, provided that it's stuck at an appropriate intersection of existing lines. It also becomes important in the Crossbell arc as the pulses are the medium through which 'will' was transferred between Gnosis test subjects and Demiourgos and the greatest intersection of these lines is the location of the final dungeon of Ao. In Sen II they come up again as the 'Spirit Path', a method of teleporting through the pulses to specific locations. Also, the game reveals that Zemurian Stone is the condensed energy of the Septium Pulses, crystalized.
  • Limit Break: S-Crafts, which can also be used to interrupt the turn order and perform S-Breaks.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Two justified examples. When Angel Weissmann and Azure Demiourgos are defeated, the locations they were found in begin to collapse almost immediately. In the former case Liber Ark's ability to remain aloft was entirely due to Aureole which Weissmann had merged with so when it vanished the Ark began to fall apart as the laws of physics reasserted themselves and in the latter case, the dungeon itself was an extension of the boss' power so when the boss vanished, the dungeon vanished with it.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: As a series with a continuous narrative and a focus on world-building, you can expect this. Falcom tries to make every NPC unique and everyone has their own little story going on in the background that you can see if you spend the time engaging NPCs.
    • To illustrate, the Special Collection Books provide a bit of information on every NPC in every town in the game and Crossbell Archive does the same for Zero and Ao, along with mentioning NPCs who aren't seen but are mentioned (including references to previous games) and that came out to twelve pages, at about twenty characters a page... and those are the tertiary characters.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: A series staple and justified in-universe as your characters doing their respective jobs. Sidequests can double or triple the completion time and are one of the best ways to earn money and items. Plus, they're needed to raise your Bracer/Detective/Academic Rank to any appreciable degree (just doing the main story quests won't get you very far) and the rewards for doing so tend to be pretty spectacular at high levels.
  • Long Dead Badass: The series has a couple of people near-universally held as standards of badass-dom who are dead by the time the games begin. In Crossbell, everyone agrees that Guy Bannings was awesome. He's been dead for three years by the time Zero begins. In Erebonia, Lianne Sandlot is the epitome of badass and she's been dead for 250 years. On the more spoiler-y side is Rufina Argent, hailed by Ein as the ideal Knight. Also, Baldur Orlando and the 'Jaeger King' were the two strongest Jaegers in western Zemuria and known for being badasses. Both have died at each other's hands by the time Zero begins though we don't learn that until Ao.
  • Lost In Transmission: Happens twice in the series so far. In SC, the records made by the people who sealed Aureole away 1200 years ago have been corrupted due to age but in a subversion, the only piece of truly vital information is apparent to both the characters and the audience, though some of the missing content includes the bits that justified the creation of the 'transmission' in the first place and are thus important to the story.
    • In Zero, the writings of Joachim of the D∴G Cult are found in the Fortress of the Sun but the text is garbled. The missing pieces are filled in over the course of the sequel.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Not Orbal Arts (which is explicitly Magic from Technology) but Methodism, techniques originating in the east (and a seperate body practiced by the Church) which can produce results similar to Orbal Arts without the need for an Orbment. Both techniques can be learned by anyone with time and training. On the other hand, what Emma and other Witches can do is called magic with no qualifiers.
  • Mark of the Beast: Zero reveals the origin of Renne and Tio's golden eyes: They're a permanent side effect of using an early version of Gnosis in large quantities. Users of the refined form of the drug exhibit red eyes after prolonged exposure.
    • The power possessed by Rean and Macburne has this effect when used, changing their appearance. The latter is particularly extreme with creepy black eyes and tattoos a part of the package. This power is specifically referred to as something 'outside' manifesting through the user.
  • Mascot: The theme park Michelam Wonderland has Michey, an Expy of Mickey Mouse. Michey has in turn become a minor mascot for Falcom as a whole, showing up in Nayuta no Kiseki and Ys as well.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Ouroboros-made Overmuppets are pretty much entirely automated and range from small scouting machines to Humongous Mecha capable of fighting off small armies. They also create machines they sell or otherwise provide to various factions. Revache gets their hands on several sentinel-type units, as do several terrorist groups.
  • Mega Manning: In Ao, Kevin performs Stigma Cannon Megiddels through his Merkabah. Crossbell Archive confirms that this was possible because Anima Mundi used it on him previously.
  • Magic Staff: The Orbal Staff functions like this, except using Magic from Technology to function. Tio tested the first model developed by the Epstein Foundation, which is a Morph Weapon that doubles as a cannon and energy sword. Eliot and Emma use Reinford-made versions with similar versatility (although with less transforming) and Joachim uses an elaborate Lost Technology version.
  • Morale Mechanic: Enemies may swarm you or try to run away from you on the map based on your level. If you're really high, they'll occasionally flee from battle on their turn. Various Quartz may also affect this, such as Beautiful Scent overriding low morale by making enemies more likely to swarm you on the map and Tiger's Majesty making it less likely.
  • Narrative Filigree: Falcom absolutely adores this trope. While there are recycled NPC designs for more generic individuals, almost everyone has a name and everyone has evolving dialogue and their own little story going on in the background. Sometimes these become important to the main plot such as Grancel's Bishop in SC, if you talk to him at just the right time and other times they play a part in a later sidequest but mostly, they're just there for fun and world-building. Also, Falcom really loves foreshadowing many games in advance....
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Ouroboros, full stop. The upper leadership of the organization consists of only eight individuals with a maximum of 22 top agents below that. They have military technology that puts the best that everyone else can offer to shame and they have their fingers in every pie. If something strange is happening in any country, flip a coin. If it comes up heads, it's probably Ouroboros. Tails, it's probably someone being manipulated by Ouroboros.
    • To illustrate, Ouroboros has the world's largest airship (the Glorious, which can launch smaller craft which can launch still-smaller craft) as a mobile base of operations, they have Humongous Mecha which can overpower conventional armies (Aion Type-Alpha alone flattened Garelia Fortress, which was believed to be practically unassailable by conventional means) and they are making the largest country in western Zemuria dance to their strings because they're backing Osborne and the faction opposing him.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Aion machines are made of a super-strong alloy that makes them more or less impervious to harm from conventional means. On top of this, they also spend most of Ao no Kiseki empowered by Azure Demiourgos which allows them to operate at peak efficiency even in prolonged combat against opponents capable of employing distinctly unconventional means.
    • Also from Ao, Azure Demiourgos itself, by virtue of being a godlike fusion of the original Sept-Terion with power over Time and Space added as well.
    • Before that, Aureole's ability to absolutely control Space made it this as it could generate a barrier impervious to harm. Except for Loewe's sword, which by its nature is capable of ignoring the laws of physics
  • Nominal Importance: Averted. Only a tiny handful of NPCs don't have names. Pretty much everyone else though? Names, running background story and the very real possibility that they'll be involved in a sidequest at some point. The corollaries do hold true though for the most part: If they have a portrait, they're more important to the plot than if they don't (exception: three-fourths of Kurt's team lacked portraits in the original release of FC but they still turned out important) and non-battle voice acting is limited to really important characters, with the exception of Zero and Ao Evolution, which give everyone involved in the main plot a voice.
  • Nonstandard Skill Learning: Most Crafts are learned via leveling up, even ones that you might expect to be story-based. The 3rd subverts this with Kevin's second and third S-Crafts which are learned through plot events and Ao gave the player Lloyd's Raging Spin (an upgraded version of Axel Rush) as a reward for clearing a tough sidequest. Sen decided to make all S-Crafts plot-significant while normal Crafts remain level-based.
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Played straight, averted and downplayed. Your average Sister averts this, acting pretty much like you would expect a real-world nun to act. The ones who don't do this (and thus play the trope straight) are members of the Grals Ritter who swear an entirely different set of vows. An example of this trope downplayed comes from Rosine, a student at Thors who helps out at the local Church in her spare time, habit included, but doesn't act strictly like a real nun would be expected to.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Totally averted; advance the plot a little bit and the NPC who was talking to their neighbor about what to buy for dinner will be found in the store buying groceries, the NPC getting beaten in a sparring match will be taking a break and the girl standing in the rain will be inside warming up. Everyone is moving around as long as you are.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Non-gameplay example: Anyone who has their soul taken by the Ring of Judgment will become this; even a minor injury will result in the person keeling over dead within seconds.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: Professor Epstein's research into ancient artifacts brought about the Orbal Revolution which has had a profound impact on Zemurian civilization in the fifty or so years since his first breakthrough. The Epstein Foundation based in Leman continues the work he started and Professor Russell (one of three Epstein's pupils) fills the same role on a smaller scale for the Kingdom of Liberl. Actually in-universe, people in Liberl call Professor Russell as the "Father of Orbal Revolution". The other two students, Gwen Reinford and Professor G. Schmitt, fill this role in Erebonia, to a lesser extend, all three are certified Mad Scientist.(Only Gwen showed a little bit of reluctance(NOT remorse) in creating the Railway Cannons that can potentially kill a few hundred thousand people in half an hour. All three of them are rather childish geezers in their own way.(Russell is one the keeps creating new toys, Gwen is the Lovable Sex Maniac, Schmitt shows no interest in almost everything other than his research and loses interest right when he finishes solving the problem.)
  • One Steve Limit: Gleefully averted with Lloyd and Tio, who were NPCs in the Liberl arc... and two of the main characters in the Crossbell arc just happen to have the same names, which was all to set up a joke when the protagonists of the former arc meet the protagonists of the latter arc. This extends to shared names among NPCs as well.
  • One Time Dungeon: A frequent occurrence from SC onwards is to have at least one dungeon that can only be explored on your first visit, or if it can be revisited to make things like Monster Encyclopedia data only obtainable once. This includes the Lakeside Laboratory, the first part of the Glorious and the 'Another Dimension' versions of the four Towers in SC, Gehenna in The 3rd, St. Ursula Medical College in Zero, lots and lots of dungeons in Ao and everything in Sen other than the Old School Building, since Trista is the only location you get to see in more than one Chapter. Despite having free travel for much of the game, most of Sen II's dungeons are also single-visit because the situations that lead you to fight in them go away after the first time. Notable exceptions are the four Shrines and the Ancient Quarry.
  • Only Shop in Town: Averted in that each city tends to contain separate locations to buy weapons and armor, Quartz and Orbment modifications and a smattering of smaller shops, stalls and bars for healing items, cooking and miscelaneous goods. Particularly small locations like Ravennue play this straight but when you're a community of only a dozen or so, there's not much point in diversifying. Bose completely averts this with its massive Bose Market and Crossbell City has several areas of town which each contain multiple stores. Heimdallr in the Erebonia arc has multiple shopping districts, each containing multiple stores to visit.
  • Optional Character Scene: The game has dialogue variations for all possible party combinations, which can sometimes involve fairly major changes. On occasion, having one or more specific characters will trigger extra scenes beyond this. For example, near the end of SC if you bring particular characters to the fights against the Legions, you will see additional scenes. The 3rd also has a lot of these and Ao does something similar, also having some scenes that trigger later in the game if you bring the right person to the right place beforehand. Sen has a major addition to the trip to Heimdallr to pick up the costumes for the concert if you're on New Game Plus and Emma is your partner, to say nothing of the entire Bond Event system where you can pick who to spend time with on your days off, always resulting in unique scenes.
  • Overworld Not to Scale: The games don't usually have an overworld per-se, with everything operating at the exact same scale. Of course, the time taken by the player to reach a given destination and the time that passes in-universe don't always correspond, such as the Crossbell-Armorica route explicitly taking two hours by car while the player can walk the route in about five minutes.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Owing to Realpolitik, any public interaction between Olivier and Osborne is saturated with this. The one time they're in private and able to drop the act, they lose all pretenses of civility and each effectively declares war upon the other. Which isn't to say that Olivier doesn't do it in a completely over the top fashion of course. This also seems to be a favorite pastime of Erebonian girls, with Alfin, Elise and Alisa all getting in on the act.
  • Phlebotinum Muncher: Monsters are naturally attracted to Septium and some of the more outlandish powers are explicitly stated to come from ingested Sepith of the appropriate elemental alignment. This also handily explains why enemies drop Sepith upon their death.
  • Photo Montage: The end credits of SC and Sen II both include photographs showing what the core cast does after the conclusion of the game.
  • Player Exclusive Mechanic: While enemies operate under essentially the same rules you do (cheap abilities like Sigmund's Ogre Cry notwithstanding) there is one thing the computer should be able to do but never will, even when it's controlling your characters during the friendly sparring matches in Sen: S-Breaking. This is a mercy since having to worry about whether your enemy has the CP to simply steal a turn and get a bonus like Critical or Death with no warning would make some battles next to impossible.
  • Poison Mushroom: Some recipes can lower your health. These usually come in the form of an either/or effect with a really good possible result to counterbalance the bad. In later games, with the right setup you can make either result work in your favor.
  • Prophet Eyes: Anyone who has worn the Ring of Judgment for long enough develops these and will inevitably die
  • Prolonged Prologue: FC and Zero both have Prologues that make up a decent chunk of the game, especially in FC's case as it makes up the entirety of your time spent in Rolent and consists of about 10-20% of the game. In both cases, done intentionally to set up the characters and the world. Other games have somewhat shorter prologues but still tend to throw in a dungeon or two to explore, several boss fights and lots of juicy character development. The 3rd is the only game to avert this.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Ancient Zemurian relics are at least 1200 years old by the beginning of the series. While some are broken and others obviously in the process of breaking down, others are still working as if they were made yesterday. Liber Ark had automated repair systems and was still being powered by the divine relic it was built around, in addition to spending the intervening 1200 years in another dimension which probably accounts for why it is so relatively well preserved. Downplayed in the case of the God Knights which are still functional but need restoration before they can operate at peak effectiveness, and they were kept in locations designed to preserve them.
  • Real Men Love Eidos: Zemuria is quite religious and most characters will mention their Goddess at one point or another. This includes notable badasses like Cassius Bright and Victor Arseid. Also every single member of the Gralsritter who are badass by definition.
  • Saintly Church: The Septian Church. The organization is credited with bringing the continent out of the dark times following the Great Collapse and among other services they provide free education to everyone up to the age of sixteen. They actively help the player throughout the series and several major PCs are priests or nuns. The Church is also generally quite tolerant of other beliefs.
    • That said, they do have a few shades of gray, largely because they are a continent-spanning hierarchy with room for differences of opinion on how best to defend the faith and because they know things that most people do not. The general consensus is that most of the gray comes from higher authorities in the Church putting the long term ahead of the moment. The fact that Kevin, Ries and Wazy willingly work for the Church despite being privy to some of its more secretive elements is a pretty good indication that the organization as a whole is good.
      • And even still, it has to be admitted that the Church higher-ups taking a "greyer", long-term view is understandable in the face of the willingness of their usual opponents to routinely engage in the sorts of depravity and horror that would leave most good-hearted people as shell-shocked catatonics - and has for a while, in the cases of a couple playable characters.
  • Say It with Hearts: And various other symbols, but hearts are a fairly common sight in the dialogue of certain characters, mainly Olivier (played straight) and Randy (usually mockingly).
  • Secret Art: Methodism (techniques that resemble Orbal Arts but don't involve the use of Orbments) isn't exactly secret but its practice is rare in western Zemuria. It's implied that countries to the east have a few of these.
    • Lucciola's illusion-crafting abilities are explicitly refered to in these terms. So is the magical ability of Witches, as first seen in Sen
  • Sequential Boss: Every final boss battle is one of these, usually but not always with a One-Winged Angel sequence thrown in for good measure. Sen's end of Chapter bosses consist of nothing but this trope.
  • Series Mascot: Poms, bouncing little puffballs with eyes that come in all different varieties. The standout example (and the one that represented the franchise in Alternative Saga is the Shining Pom, which adds wings and a halo.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: Certain powerful characters have been known to do this, most prominently Cassius with Houou Reppa where he forms his aura into a firebird. In the Crossbell games Lloyd does something similar with his first two S-Crafts and one of his Combo Crafts does it as well.
  • Single-Use Shield: The Max Guard effect provides complete protection against one attack (including things like debuffing Arts) while allowing items and benefitial Art/Craft effects to reach the character. There are some S-Crafts that grant the effect and can grant double Max Guard at 200 CP. There's also enemy-only abilities that grant the double effect or even a triple effect.
    • In the Sora trilogy, a trio of Arts grant this effect but it was severely nerfed starting in the Crossbell arc because Falcom realized it was too powerful, splitting the effects between physical and magical single-use shields and leaving Max Guard for S-Crafts only, or removing it entirely in Sen.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: Ouroboros is firmly established at High, and borders on Infinite at times. In both the Liberl and Crossbell arcs, they end the games having gotten exactly what they wanted, despite everything the heroes do. This in spite of the fact that Weissmann's personal plan in SC was foiled. In Ao, Ouroboros even ends with a bonus catch of two new members to replace the ones lost during SC.
  • Smoke Out: The Smoke Ball item appears from Zero onwards (when running became a percentage thing, not guaranteed) and allows your party to instantly escape from non-plot battles. Also employed by certain characters as distractions.
  • Socketed Equipment: Orbments, which can have various Quartz crystals inserted (And the number/quality of the slots can be enhanced over the course of the game). Depending on what is placed in the various slots, the characters stats, abilities, and/or arts selection can be upgraded.
  • Standard Status Effects: Enemies tend to be just as vulnerable to them as you are. Even bosses are often vulnerable to at least a couple debuffs.
  • Status Buff Dispel: Eventually you'll start to run into enemies who can cancel all your status buffs with certain attacks. When they're bosses you can guarantee they're That One Boss.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Falcom designated the Sora trilogy as Legend of Heroes VI (at the time FC came out, nobody outside Falcom knew they were planning to turn it into such a huge series) but they stopped numbering the games starting with Zero, which was originally announced as 'Legend of Heroes VII' but the numbering was dropped when the title was revealed and they haven't looked back since then. As of 2014, the Kiseki games outnumber the pre-Kiseki games. It's pretty much outgrown the need for numbers at this point.
  • Storm of Blades: The recurring spell Silver Thorn combines this with Pillar of Light.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Starting with Zero, special character portraits appear at the beginning of S-Craft animations. The Evolution ports have started retroactively adding these to the Sora games as well.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: There are areas in the games where the higher three elements are active. In these places, very weird things can happen which are explicitly supernatural in nature. Certain characters can sense when they've entered one of these areas: People specially trained by the Church, people with a Stigma, people who have used Gnosis and Witches.
  • Take Your Time: A trope that is sometimes played straight but frequently averted. Since your characters are supposed to be doing the sidequests, it's usually not surprising that the game allows you to do them during the main quest. There is a certain element of time-taking at work when, for example, you're supposed to be investigating a recent incident but can spend hours fishing or helping random townspeople with their problems before getting around to the investigation. Generally handwavable and whenever the plot gets really serious, this tends to be averted entirely as you stop being able to do any sidequests until you take care of whatever seriously important event is happening.
  • Team Switzerland: Leman State is one of these for the Zemurian continent, neutral towards all the other countries and the home of the neutral-by-law Bracers Guild and the Epstein Foundation.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Characters familiar with swordsmanship can usually tell a lot about Hachiyou Ittou practitioners from the fact that they use that style and which of its eight Forms they specialize in. This especially comes up in Sen where several characters psychoanalyze Rean by studying his fighting style.
  • Those Two Guys: Anton and Ricks appear in every arc as minor NPCs who provide a sidequest or two and a disproportionate share of crowning moments of funny. Anton is the recurring Butt Monkey of the franchise, second only to Gilbert Stein who hasn't appeared since The 3rd.
  • Translation Convention: Maybe. It's really unclear exactly what the hell the characters are supposed to be speaking; the setting is obviously Western European-inspired and the lettering that appears in-game is the Roman-derived modern alphabet. There is a substitution cipher in Zero that really only makes sense if you assume the characters are using that alphabet for real. Furthermore, a number of terms appear in kanji - like "orbment" and all related terms or the various ranks in Ouroboros - but then include furigana in katakana above the kanji indicating what "foreign" word the characters are speaking while retaining meaning for Japanese readers. Japanese does not appear in-game but obviously Japanese/Chinese derived words do appear in situations involving Calvard or immigrants from farther east. There are also heavy Germanic influences in Erebonia and some in Liberl.
  • Unblockable Attack: Attacks that have the ability to cancel buffs include this as a secondary effect, since the buff cancelling happens before the damage is calculated. Hence, Max Guard and its lesser variants won't protect against them. Up until Sen II these have always been enemy-exclusive abilities. Offensive Lost Arts in Sen II have this feature, finally granting it to the player.
  • Unobtanium: Zemurian Stone. It was rare 1200 years ago when the ancients used it and it's rarer still in the present. They're used to synthesize the strongest weapons in all games but FC. Sen II finally reveals the source of the material condensed and crystalized energy flowing through Septium Pulses, gathered by the use of special structures buried deep underground.
  • Vehicular Assault: On occasion you'll find yourself fighting vehicle bosses. SC has the massive Orgueil, Ao has the RAT-09 with anti-Arts armor and Sen has the Gaspard-G. One battle in Sen II even has an airship providing fire support for the enemy, but it can't be targeted by the player. When the vehicles in question are mobile, they can cause massive damage just by moving around the map and running you over.
  • Visual Initiative Queue: The AT Bar, which shows when you and the enemies will next act and what Turn Bonuses are coming up. Manipulating this system becomes critical to success in later games.
  • Walking Spoiler: Because this series has a continuous narrative and characters tend to remain relevant after their individual arcs, it's pretty much impossible to talk about later games without certain massive character spoilers. It's also pretty difficult to look at character profiles for certain individuals without realizing that Something Is Up owing to all the spoilers.
  • Walking the Earth: The entire franchise generally tries to be realistic about this; the action of the story has, in seven games, still not left western Zemurianote . Each series focuses on one particular nation and doesn't involve a lot of wide-ranging globe trotting simply because the time involved for that would be enormous. Sky SC even points out that a trip from Liberl to Leman (which is apparently not that much further away than, say, Crossbell) is a full 24-hour day by airship, one way.
  • Wave Motion Gun: A signature of the Gordias series, all but one has one of these in each shoulder. Their power was nicely demonstrated by Aion Type-Gamma, which wiped out an entire tank division with a single shot.
    • Also, when using Mode-S, the Merkabah class of airship have the Stigma Cannon.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: Happens in every arc; weapons observed side by side range from swords of every type to whips to handguns and shotguns to various types of bows to spears to Orbal Staffs, and that's not even covering the really exotic weapons. Semi-justified since Orbal technology can make archaic weapons relevant and the protagonists tend to be part of organizations that encourage individuality. When we see regular armed forces, they tend to be pretty consistent about using guns.
  • Wutai: The currently unnamed country or countries from further east where Calvard gets a lot of its immigrants from. Calvard itself is more Fantasy United States of America with a much heavier Chinese/Japanese influence.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Unusual hair colors aren't exactly a surprise for a JRPG but in Kiseki, it's explicitly and repeatedly mentioned that the hair colors we see are the same ones the characters see. Nobody looks at Lloyd strangely when he asks if anyone has seen a green-haired girl walking around for example and Noel describing her own hair as 'pink-brown' doesn't raise eyebrows either.