Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Armor is split into light and heavy variants; casters such as Thorve can only wear light armor. Interestingly, however, fighters such as Matilda can only wear heavy armor and thus have the opposite problem (cripplingly low magic defense).
Armor Is Useless: Due to an oversight in the way defensive stats are handled. Defensive stats on their own do nothing; they merely influence a second defense value that involves percentile reduction. However, due to the way this is scaled, defensive stats do virtually nothing until late in the game, and since armor only augments defensive stats it's nothing but a money sink for most of the game. (This may be a reason for the game's intense difficulty.)
The Gamma spellcard deals huge damage, but is rather unreliable and has a huge MP cost and an unpleasant stat malus.
The Fury spellcard heals your entire party, and pretty well, too. The problem? It makes them berserk. The crisis spell heals even more but causes confusion. Again, though, it can become Awesome yet Practical if you equip the right status protection...
The Ruin equipment that you can steal from smilie type enemies are all phenomenally powerful, but are all cursed in some way or another. The Ruin Mask is poisoned, for example.
Beef Gate: While you can technically enter the four Towers early on, don't even think about going in there until much later, as the enemies are usually at least ten levels higher than you. A good rule of thumb is to leave each tower alone until you can access the next one.
Boss Banter: Hyperion's "DIE! DIE! DIE!" and "I'll stop you!"
Boss in Mook Clothing: Some of the smileys are significantly stronger than the other enemies you encounter in the area they're in. Also, the Black Dragon from the Black Mausoleum, and one enemy type for each tower.
Brick Joke: One of the books lying around at the Biorite Facility is a report specifically on Ethan, and it mentions that, "Physical change in subject is largely superficial." A dungeon or two later, you learn what they meant: he used to be blond.
Broken Bridge: The "energy crystals" are used to prevent you from going to the second and third Entalar seals (and the Tower of Punishment) before going to the first. They're not very hard to get rid of once you do, though.
Cap: Interestingly, while levels cap at 99, HP caps at 9999 and MP caps at 999, there does not seem to be a damage cap, though there are only few attacks in the game that can ever get into five-digit damage.
Disc One Nuke: A relatively minor one: if you play a ton of Hex, it's possible to get 10 Brigand tiles and trade them in for a Steal spellcard before you even leave for Farin Island. As a reward for being way too dedicated, you can steal a unique weapon for Matilda from the boss that's stronger than anything you can get until about fifteen levels later.
Duel Boss: At one point, you have four of these in a row, with different characters. The only one that's really a boss is Drakovic, though; the rest are Elite Mooks.
Dungeon Town: What's left of Cromwell only contains some treasure and an undead monstrosity. There's also a segment on Pargon Island, where you clear out your old home village from bandits occupying it and oppressing the population, and the Entalar quest.
There are many strange random enemies, including mushrooms, dolls, wood wallsnote :which actually don't try to kill you, being the random encounter equivalent of a Joke Character. They have no attack and HP on par with a boss, so they just stand there while the heroes smash them, moles, two very different types of idols, emoticons, and in a Bonus Dungeonbiting "Killer Crystals" disguised as save crystals with slightly different color.
The bosses are even stranger: you will i. e. come to fight a wall with an engraved face, not to mention the Zeitgeist, which is basically a big clock. Don't forget the Tomes and Keys (which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin) either.
Exposition Break: A considerable amount, considering this is a very story-heavy game. There is even one that lasts around 45 minutes... which is followed by a save point, and then another cutscene.
Face Palm: Matilda does this in a couple of cutscenes.
Fate Worse than Death: Tiamat considers being sealed for centuries this and hates Barasur for doing so instead of killing her. Also Tazar's punishment.
Fantastic Racism: Turned around from its usual form; while humans tend to distrust the Havali, it's the Havali who really hate humanity. And with rather good reason.
Four Philosophy Ensemble: Hilbert is the Optimist, Matilda is the Cynic, Thorve is the Realist, Lorenza is the Conflicted, and the other three are all, each for a different reason, Apathetic.
Game-Breaking Bug: If you just try to play the game on Vista or Windows 7, no text is displayed (some issue with the font). There are two workarounds though, one of which seems to be always successful.
After you beat the magic beasts that Castor summons on the Rosehart bridge, you're told to go back to Southbridge, but you can actually keep going and end up in Northbridge after the Global Airship is captured. The glitch also prevents the next dungeon from showing up on the map, rendering the game unwinnable.
The boss battle against Ortas. By the time you fight him, he has a gigantic stab wound, Blood from the Mouth, is very mentally unstable, and is quite clearly on the verge of death. And yet he has over 10,000 hit points and can toss out devastating attacks every few rounds. Hate to think what he'd have been like at full power... Though you can probably thank Critical Existence Failure for that. What's most odd about this is if you scan Helio during your first fight with him, his max HP is 3000, but his HP is only 1000 at the start of the battle, since before the fight he got smacked by a rockslide. It was odd that SCF didn't do the same thing with Ortas.
Also, a small thing near the beginning: it is mentioned that dying people turning into spectres is an extremely rare case requires the person to be died under extreme regret. But a bit later, spectres are randomly-encountered enemies in Alexander's tomb.
Considering that a bit of dialogue later implies that Herzog is built on the site of the Havali capital Luminas, which was razed and the inhabitants massacred by Valkiris's army, this may actuallymake perfect sense.
Genius Loci: The Cluster and by extension Biorite itself. And let's not forget the "Planetary Consciousness"...
The Marid King, the Viviones, the Earth Golem, Pestilence... the list goes on. There are many, many plot-unrelated boss monsters in this game.
The Marid King is actually (just barely) a subversion, as you find out soon afterwards that it's the reason nobody was there to meet you at the start of the dungeon like there was supposed to (nobody wanted to take the risk and try to fight their way past it to get to you.)
Planetary Conciousness is the mega mac daddy of Giant Space Fleas From Nowhere, just suddenly appearing out of nowhere on the World Map (with no explanation as to why you're apparently fighting the planet itself) if you beat the game with all 100 hex tiles.
Gory Discretion Shot: It's partially this (or at least a "massacre discretion shot", since Last Scenario's sprite style isn't prone to being gory anyway) and partially a "spoiler discretion shot" when the Northern Outpost is singlehandedly taken over by Felgorn.
Gratuitous German: The imperial capital is called Herzog (duke), and a mining town is called Kohlen ("coals"; the word "Kohle" doesn't actually have a plural, though), among many others.
Guide Dang It: There's a larger version of the world map, with locations marked. It's possible to play the game through multiple times and not realize this. (Press the A key on the overworld, if you're wondering.)
Hat of Power: Helio wears a speed-increasing hair ribbon, and Flynn has a beret protecting against some detrimental effects. Also, there are items like the Arch-Angel's Halo, which immunizes against all negative status effects and gives huge defence boosts, the Spring Hat, massively increasing HP, and the Crystalline Crown (automatically P-Shielding).
Healing Shiv: Elemental weapons or strikes can be used to "attack" an ally absorbing this element.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Rather spectacularly averted. Hilbert uses a bow, and the rest of your party uses, in order, spears, magic crystals, staves, axes, and throwing knives. It's not until the very last Player Character joins you that the party gets a sword-user.
Heroic Lineage: The story starts out with Hilbert finding out that he's the descendant of the great hero Alexander. Later, this is subverted. By Playing with a Trope, Alexander later declares the entire party his descendants, not in blood but in spirit. Heroic Adoption?
Hidden Elf Village: Subverted. At first it seems that the Havali are living in one of these somewhere, and Lorenza was taken out for unknown reasons. But eventually we learn that the Havali are actually the "demons" from the legend, and the ones who've woken up are really, really pissed about being attacked three hundred years ago for no good reason. A few are some of the primary antagonists as a result.
Hopeless Boss Fight: Melchior is level 99, either immune to or absorbs every element, does thousands of HP worth of damage with his normal attacks, and his Regen spell restores HP in the tens of thousands per round. It is possible to beat him (though very, very, very unlikely), but you're supposed to flee the battle, after which he gives the party a special, unique spellcard.
Thanatos has one that hits your entire party. So do the Black King and the third Elysium boss. The King's one even ignores all shielding spells.
The Rage crisis cast Erosion and the Chi crisis cast Transfer do this to the user, as a prize for great damage or mana restoration.
Ideal Hero: As you can see from the page quote, this is one of the most prominent tropes the game deconstructs.
In a World: The introductory text is very much like this. Though it contains hardly anything but Blatant Lies.
Infinity+1 Sword: Interestingly, there's everything but an Infinity Plus One Weapon. The thing coming closest to them are the "ultimate" weapons of each kind, which just are unique and deal most damage.
Infinity Plus One Accessory: The Hero's Soul, which increases all stats by 50 and grants immunity to all elements. Can only be equipped on Hilbert, though. Arguably, the Gold Sceptre for everyone else, which just grants elemental immunity.
Infinity Minus One Accessory: Warding Charms, which make the wearer immune to all status ailments. You will need them if you want to take on the Bonus Bosses.
Infinity Plus One Helm: The Arch-Angel's Halo, only obtained by defeating the second-hardest optional boss. Grants huge physical and magical defense boosts, and grants immunity to all status ailments.
Infinity Minus One Helm: The Crystalline Crown, auto-P-Shielding, and the Spring Hat, increasing the wearer's max HP.
Infinity Plus One Armour: The Lord-Sorcerer's Gown, which grants a significant intellect boost and halves MP cost.
Infinity Minus One Armour: The Sacral Gown, which grants auto-regeneration of HP, and Mashimizu's Robe, which gives an extreme speed boost.
Lethal Joke Item: The Trick spellcard, pretending to be detrimental with its uses: The normal cast inflicts confusion on the user, and the Crisis cast kills them. Why use it then? Because wearing it boosts almost all of your stats by a huge amount.
Let's Split Up, Gang: Happens at many points, but especially prominent in the Entalar storyline, which starts out by splitting your seven people into four groups and slowly reunites them.
Level Grinding: Averted, thankfully. Though the bosses are usually really hard, it's more a matter of "you didn't equip the right equipment/spellcards, use a different setup and try again" than "go back and grind levels for an hour".
The Lifestream: Biorite. Castor states that it's where all life originated.
Limit Break: Interestingly, the spells, not the characters, have these. Whenever a character's "Crisis" bar fills up from being whacked around enough, they can use a spell's special "Crisis" ability, though it usually costs a lot of MP. note Party members can attack each other, but to prevent abuse, this won't count into the crisis score.
Look Behind You: During the first arc, where Thorve and Lorenza are trying to infiltrate the Herzog art gallery. The guards say "No one is allowed to pass!", and Thorve says "Can't pass? Then who's that person over there?"
Lost Forever: Several items that you can only get by stealing from bosses, as well as anything in the Biorite Facility, since you blow it up on your way out.
Mana Drain: The crisis casts of Life Drain and Mindblow, and the signature ability of the Brain Leech enemy line.
Marathon Boss: Almost all of the bosses have incredibly high health that can take quite a while to whittle down. The fact that they're constantly tossing attacks that can put one or more characters in critical health doesn't help things. Two bosses take the cake, though: the most difficult Bonus Boss in the main game, who has a whopping 200,000 hit points, and the New Game+ boss, which has one million.
Meaningful Name: Lots — quite a few pages ago, there is a gigantic comment about name etymology here. Of note is "Entalar", which means "adapted", "appropriate", or "adequate", "Castor", which comes from a Greek word that means "shine" or "excel", and Saraswati, who is named after the Hinduist goddess of arts and learning (and think about her way of mastering Hex and ensuing Character Development!).
Metal Slime: The "smiley" enemies. They give hefty amounts of experience, and can drop very powerful, albeit cursed, equipment.
Mini-Game: Hex, a collectible board game that has taken the game world by storm. Hex tiles, once won from NPCs or random encounters, can be traded in for items.
Money Grinding: Money is sucked by the costs of new equipment very fast, so it's almost certain that you'll need to do this at one point or another. The experience gotten along with it doesn't hurt either.
Money Spider: Played straight. Additionally, some item drops are rather weird... why the hell can you steal rubber boots from some sort of magical thunder deer?
Mook Maker: The guard devices Watch Disc and Defensive Drone are a justified version of this, alerting pillars or guards.
Mutually Exclusive Powerups: The last two pages of Hex tiles are unique "face" tiles of which only one copy exists anywhere (barring New Game+). They're the game's most powerful tiles, but can also be traded in for powerful items, ranging from huge heaps of stat increasers or high-end expendables to accessories that grant immunity to status effects or all elements, to armor that grants 500 hit points or auto-regeneration, to the most powerful weapon in the game for one of your characters. Many can be gotten nowhere else, but once you make the trade it's permanent, probably to prevent you from "borrowing" equipment.
New Game+: However, in order to access it you need to beat the game after finding at least 90 different Hex tiles.
News Travels Fast: At some points, the protagonists receive news while on a boat without encountering any other ship or messenger.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: No one among the heroes ever mentions directly that they caused Tiamat to be freed. Granted, it was involuntary, but since Lorenza already felt something wrong and decided to stay outside the chamber for this reason at first, maybe bringing her closer wasn't that great of an idea...
Nintendo Hard: Many of the boss battles, although some dungeons are pretty dang hard even without that.
Non-Elemental: The Grenade line of items, and the spells Laser, Rage and Gamma.
Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: As a puzzle element in the Kohlen Mine, the First Seal and the Hall of Judgement, they in some cases transport you to other areas.
Noob Cave: The Abandoned Copper Mine. Your objective is to find a lost cat, and your enemies are various kinds of weak animals. This is quite a contrast to the opening scroll, which prepared you for world-shaking happenings...
NPC Roadblock: An accidental example is found in the Condor Library, and a few places contain entrances blocked off by guards.
One Degree of Separation: Thorve, Felgorn, and Randolph's son Wolfram grew up and joined the army together. Wolfram was killed by a little boy, who turns out to have been Ethan trying to protect his older brother Castor. The random soldier who chased Thorve and Felgorn away from the boy was Zawu.
One-Hit Kill: Various enemy attacks, most notably Hyperion's "Die! Die! Die!", will inflict instant death like a status effect unless their equipment prevents it, no questions asked.
Subverted by the Trick and Gamma spellcards, which are, in a way, two sides of the same coin. Trick's abilities are purely detrimental, with the base confusing the character and the Crisis cast killing them. However, it grants a huge boost to almost all of your stats. Gamma's abilities, on the other hand, are the strongest offensive spells in the game (see Awesome, but Impractical, above), but decrease most of a character's stats.
Played completely straight with the Ruin equipment, which inflicts a status ailment on whoever wears it — this cannot be prevented or cured in any way. Some of the status ailments make a character completely unusable, negating any potential advantage they might give.
The Viviones, a group of five monsters that heal and revive each other in between blasting your party with spells, get much less annoying once you notice that each one only heals the one directly clockwise of it- if you kill one and Mindblow the one before it, it breaks the chain.
The second-hardest Bonus Boss, Alexander. You need to stack various means of damage protection on your sturdiest character and redirect all his attacks to them, or he will absolutely wreck you with That One Attack.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: There are points in the game where one or more party members are unavailable. Usually they're not long, the exception being an entire arc without Lorenza and most of it without Ethan either once you reach Entalar, but it pays to unequip people who aren't in the active party, and to be careful who holds spellcards you can't do without, also, when beginning a New Game+.
Spam Attack: The Dual Strike spellcard (the Quad Strike crisis spell even more). Magical versions are Rage and Vortex, as well as some attacks possessed by boss enemies.
Stock Weapon Names: The ultimate weapons of most characters, and some others; for example, Ethan's ultimate weapon is the Ragnarok, Ortas wields the Lightbringer, and Castor's glaive is known as Lifetaker.
Thirty Xanatos Pileup : There's lots and lots of people manipulating things from behind the scenes for their own gain, though this trope lessens as the series goes on and most of them start dropping dead.
Trippy Finale Syndrome: The entire final dungeon seems to be designed from the ground up to confuse you as much as possible, although it's really deceptively simple to figure out. Then there's the background during the final boss battle and the interior of the biorite cluster...
Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Three scenes, actually, of the Info Dump variety. It occurs in Entalar, where Alexander, Barasur, and Ortas tell your party members about what really happened in the Havali war.
Villainous Valor: The Omega Team, when they're defending the unconscious Castor from the heroes. Bonus points go to Helio, who defies his alleged characterization in a You Shall Not Pass moment.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The Marid King is basically a little note to players. It reads, "You thought those were boss fights? This is a boss fight. Prepare to Die." And making it worse, there's no way to backtrack; if you didn't come in with enough supplies you've got no choice but to reset to an earlier save file.
The Knife Nut is a Cool Old Guy scientist who occasionally gets distracted from the main objective by ruins and artifacts.
They do tend to have the corresponding battle role, however. The exceptions are Randolph, who's mainly defensive, and Ethan, whose focus stat is evasion of all things. And Thorve, though his gem-claw-thing isn't common enough to have an expected role.