Video Game: Kiseki Series
Thousands of years ago, Eidos 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 Eidos 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
- 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:
- 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...
- 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: Very heavily 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 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 are ostensibly working professionals.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Liberl 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.
- All in a Row: How the party appears on the map in the first five games, before the shift to 3D in Sen.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Randy and Rixia on the protagonist side and Sully on the supporting cast side. The Erebonia arc has Fie for certain and quite a bit of speculation surrounding several other characters.
- 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 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.
- 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. This form is known to be divided into eight Forms, with four revealed as of Sen. 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.
- 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, unifying a number of princedoms under one rule, following an event known as the Lion War two hundred and fifty years ago.
- 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 it's probably Estelle. This just motivates Anelace to try harder.
- 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.
- 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.
- Harmful to Minors: Part of the backstory of quite a few characters.
- 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.
- 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.
- In-Game Novel: As of Sen no Kiseki, there have been six of these, five 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Limit Break: S-Crafts, which can also be used to interrupt the turn order and perform S-Breaks.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Axle 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: Both played straight and averted. Your average Sister acts 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. The straight part comes from Rosine, a student at Thors who helps out at the local Church in her spare time, habit included.
- 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-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 Epstein's pupils) fills the same role on a smaller scale for the Kingdom of Liberl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.