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Video Game: Rune Factory

Rune Factory is a game series developed by Neverland Co. It started as a Spin-Off of the Harvest Moon series, retaining the core farming and social aspects of its parent series and integrates it into a fantasy setting complete with an anime-inspired art style and some RPG-style elements, such as the ability to fight monsters.

Has a character sheet and a wiki here.

The games in the series are:

This video-game series provides examples of:

  • The Ace: If you play well, YOU. Look at it from the other villagers' perspective: You sweep into town from nowhere, become a more successful farmer, warrior, and item crafter. You also build up a farm that they couldn't for years, become everyone's best friend, and steal away girls that some of these characters had been going after for since childhood. And this is all in your first year! No wonder some characters hate you so much...
  • All-Natural Gem Polish
  • All There in the Manual: Rune Factory Official Memoirs (summarized here) has a lot of background information not found in the games.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Magic. While some spells in later games are actually a huge help, many are just a waste of RP, especially when they can only be cast from RP. In the first game you'll have a tough time finding a good situation to use your spells in before you've used up too much RP to cast them, making them a waste of space and money.
    • Fixed in RF3. Practicing magic not only reduces the RP consumption of that particular magic school, but also contributes to increasing your max RP. Add that to that wide array of spells and that it's possible to do some Mega Manning of boss abilities by upgrading staves with boss drops, and magic is a viable alternative.
  • Babies Ever After: Obviously, for a series inspired by Harvest Moon. Averted in RF 2 when the protagonist's kid eventually becomes a new hero/ine.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Carlos.
  • Big Eater: Jasper, Sherman, Collette.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The wireless dungeon in Rune Factory 3 under your house.
  • Broken Bird: Raven, quite literally.
  • But Thou Must: In the very start of Rune Factory 2, you can't decline Douglas's and Mana's offer to purchase the hoe and watering can. Similarly, you can't say no to Shara showing you around your new home in RF 3.
  • The Blacksmith: Leo for the first game, Tanya for RF 2, Ganesha for Frontier, Gaius for RF 3, Elena in Tides of Destiny, and Bud for RF 4.
  • Cast from Hit Points
    • Not applicable in RF 3, as trying to do anything without RP leads to you fainting in short order.
      • Not as applicable, but if you've got your HP high enough and your RP consumption for a particular task low enough you can do a little.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mist, Pia.
  • Color-Coded Stones: The series has purple amethysts, red rubies, green emeralds, and white diamonds. However, it also has deep blue aquamarines, so the sapphires end up being pink instead of the usual blue.
  • Commonplace Rare: You would think empty bottles wouldn't be so hard to come by.
  • Cool Pet: Monsters can be tamed from dungeons and used as livestock, farm hands, and battle allies.
  • Critical Annoyance: In the first Rune Factory, becomes significantly worse the less HP you have
  • Cute Witch: Melody. Subverted as she can't use magic. She just likes the outfit.
    • Marion from Rune Factory 3 might be a better example as she CAN use magic.
  • Disk One Nuke: In the first game it's perfectly possible to make the Heaven Asunder, one of the best swords in the game, well before the first Winter makes available the rest of the game's caves, and with them, the ingredients for the other, much harder to make, weapons and tools.
  • The Empire: The Sechs Empire. More so in the first, where it directly threatened to invade the kingdom where the village is located by the use of an ancient dragon.
  • Express Delivery: If not then the lead of the second game knew who you were going to have him marry and had an affair with her some time before, because your wife doesn't even take thirty days to pop a kid out after you tie the knot.
    • Ditto RF3. Fifteen day pregnancies for three years running. Ow.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Lynette in RF1, the military commander from Sechs who moves in after you beat the Big Bad. (You can also marry her.)
  • Eyes Always Shut: Neumann
  • Fanservice: While the original game talked about bikini season, Frontier actually has people go to the beach and put on swimsuits. And aside from two little kids the only ones to do so are marriage candidates.
    • Rune Factory 3 takes this one step further by having not just all marriage candidates, but also many of the other villagers have their own swimsuits.
  • Fantastic Racism: Displayed by Jake and alluded to as being somewhat common in most of the world.
    • Integral to the plot of Rune Factory 3, too, since most of the plot is about getting the sentient/peaceful monsters and humans/Hornless to live together peacefully.
    • Mostly subverted, though. Every game has elves and/or dwarves living in mainly human settlements, with the only sign of racism between the three races being Jake's attitude toward humans.
  • Fetch Quests: Many of the Bulletin Board requests in RF2
    • Only Mist, Sharron, and Zavier do this. Zavier is 'an explorer' so it makes sense he'd get permits, Sharron is clearly obsessed with the dungeon she enters so it'd be Fridge Logic for her not to have a permit, and Raguna does question how Mist can always enter.
    • Melody does it once as well, but she was looking for a hot spring so she probably got a permit, too.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In RF2, reading some signs (especially the one in front of your barn) will cause the game to freeze.
  • A God Am I: Every non-dragon main villain has had this going. The only exception is Ethelberd in his first appearance. After Raguna stops him he becomes more obsessed with obtaining ultimate power in his second appearance in the series.
  • Green Aesop: Inevitable given the setting. It is important to protect nature and not abuse the power of runes, because their balance holds the world together, brings prosperity to the land and makes it so that the rest of the cast can’t ever seem to shut up about it.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Various half-elves appear as characters.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Selphy in Rune Factory Frontier uses the same dub voice as Haruhi Suzumiya and Konata from Lucky Star.
    • And Raguna is voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch in Rune Factory Frontier.
    • Raguna's Japanese voice is done by Romi Paku.
    • Lara is also voiced by Karen Strassman in the same game.
    • Let's just say Rune Factory Frontier is just littered with this.
  • Hot Librarian: Selphy
  • Hot Witch: Alicia. She actually has powers - she can control the weather, if you pay her to.
  • Incest Is Relative: If you marry Dorothy in Rune Factory 2 and have a son, he can court Cammy—Dorothy's younger sister, which would make her your son's aunt.
    • Ditto if you marry Rosalind or Alicia, making Leann (daughter of Rosalind's brother, Max) or Sera & Serena (Twin daughters of Alica's brother, Ray) your child's cousins.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Between Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon and Rune Factory Frontier due to the former being localized by Natsume and the latter by XSEED Games. The former game's Tori became known as Tart in the latter game, and the Sechs Empire was referenced as the Zzyzx Empire.
    • Although to be fair on the country name change, when you say both terms correctly, Sechs does sound like a shortened version of Zzyzx. Some fans speculate the name reading was changed so that people stopped pronouncing it "Sex Empire". (The words seem to be German-based names for the games, with Sechs being said more like "zeks" (if you spell in English phonetically), and Zzyzx is roughly "zaizeks". So it could be said that the Sechs is simply a shortened version of the empire's name.)
    • Referenced in the setting description of Rune Factory 4's manual; apparently the change to Zzyzx was temporary, and "may have been a practical joke, or perhaps the result of temporary delirium due to illness".
  • Informed Ability: When you meet anyone who is "Tough" or "A warrior", you can almost invariably count on never, EVER seeing them fight anyone or anything, despite everyone else saying how tough they are or how well they fight. Due to Gameplay and Story Segregation, most likely, but even so, it's become a running joke for many fans.
    • Most professionals whose skills can be practiced by the player's skills can seem like this too. Though they may be described as "experts" or "the best" by the local villagers and brag about their years of experience and skill, the quality of merchandise they provide is only average at best and the player character can usually produce better equipment than they sell in just a few seasons.
    • Averted in Rune Factory 3, where you can invite characters to adventure with you. Different characters will have different combat abilities, though they will still generally be inferior to you.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Many of them throughout the series.
    • Sometimes literally.
  • Interspecies Romance: Every game in the series (so far) has had at least one elf (or half-elf) marriage candidate. RF3 throws in a mermaid, a horned humanoid and a half-monster (and the half-monster protagonist makes EVERY pairing this trope.)
    • RF4 Includes several bachelors who were originally monsters, and retained several monster features since becoming human.
  • Item Crafting: A central part of the game, as the most powerful tools and weapons aside from the basic ones will be created from this process.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Aden and Sonja of Oceans are (so far) the only series protagonists not to get a dose of this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded in Frontier:
    Bianca: You're always wearing the same clothes. You smell.
    Raguna: Wh-what?! But aren't you always wearing the same thing, too?
    Bianca: I NEVER wear the same thing twice. I like the design of this outfit, so I had HUNDREDS of it made for me.
  • Mascot/MascotMook/Series Mascot: The Woollies, and the Buffamoo to a smaller extent.
  • Meganekko: Tori.
    • And Kuruna in Rune Factory 3.
  • Market-Based Title: The "A Fantasy Harvest Moon" subtitle was only used on the first game in Japan. Natsume added it to all the DS games in the US.
  • Milestone Celebration: Especially notable as the series started off as being a game for Harvest Moon's 10th anniversary and then became popular enough to become its own series.
  • Nerf Arm: In the first game, the most powerful weapon in the game is: your watering can. Likewise, Frontier has the fishing pole as the strongest weapon. The first example hasn't gone unnoticed, as Kross in Frontier comments about how someone destroyed a tank with a watering can.
  • Never Say "Die": Monsters, notably. They don't die; they return home to the Forest of Beginnings.
  • Non-Idle Rich: The de Sainte-Coquille family. The family works for its wealth, and uses its wealth and conncections to fund public spaces and organize most of the festivals. Also implied that they're responsible for shipping the player's crops and importing most products not produced locally.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Mentioned above in Never Say "Die": weapons are designed in the series to not actually harm monsters, but instead send them back to the Forest of Beginnings.
  • Oblivious to Love: Mist (natch) is utterly blind to Zavier's crush on her. Probably.
    • The player character can come across as this at times, too, if the player chooses the "wrong" romance choice.
  • Oddly Named Sequel
  • Official Couple: Raguna and Mist, Kyle and Mana, Micah and Shara, Aden and Sonja (to an extent). Considering the Dating Sim aspect of the games, this trope's presence has led many to complain about the "forced couples".
    • Its not that surprising since this occurs in most visual novels and other dating sim games with a designated "main heroine." This is one aspect that is different from the Harvest Moon games, probably due to the fact that the Rune Factory series actually have a plot instead of just being a life simulation.
  • Only Sane Man: As each games get's increasingly eccentric characters the lead obtains more and more aspects of this.
  • Our Elves Are Better: They don't seem much different from humans, and some can even be married.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played so straight in the first game that the human who was trained by a dwarf matches every last cliche. In 3, however, when you actually see a couple dwarves, you'd almost assume they were elves at first. Only one is into mining and forging, and the other gets offended by the short bearded man stereotype.
  • Overprotective Dad: Douglas.
  • Parental Abandonment: The villages in these games tend to be populated mostly by people who aren't even old enough to drink. Roughly a quarter of those youngsters have no visible parents, and most of the rest only have one. The fates of these parents are often only vaguely alluded to if it's ever brought up at all. Kinda makes you wonder how these places stay so darn cheery.
    • Kardia in particular has exactly zero couples, yet no shortage of children. Everyone is either single, widowed, separated or single-parent with no further elaboration.
    • To bring the point home even more, in the second half of RF 2 this becomes a plot point for your player character.
    • Trampoli is somewhat better about this. Every youngster has at least one related guardian and, shockingly, Eunice even has a mother AND father. Rosetta, Lara and Bianca live on their own but you know their fathers are back in Kardia (though the issue of their nonexistent mothers still apply). Danny has a family back in his hometown, Selphy is a runaway and Melody's orphan status is a plot point. Played straight with Erik though, and the less we talk about Mist the better.
    • Oceans/Tide of Destiny is a pretty big offender as well. The need to include bachelors ate up some extra character slots, so there are only four characters over the rough teens of the romancables. Only three are residents of the island and only two are related to anyone.
  • Rich Bitch: Bianca.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Melody wears this ensemble in the first game, and Alicia wears a more Stripperific variation in the second.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The protagonist of RF 4 is mistaken as a prince/princess, and is expected to do works like farming as such.
    • Ivan and Raguna are both members of the royal family of Norad, though since only Ivan is aware of this Raguna may not count.
  • Running Gag: Protagonists' choice of attempting to sleep on other people's beds, which will enrage the owners of the beds if they're nearby.
  • Shift To Another Plane Of Existence: A monster's "death" returns them to the Forest Of Beginnings ("First Forest" in Frontier), a parallel plane of existence.
  • Shrinking Violet: Tori and Dorothy.
  • Shrug of God: There is 0 confirmation that Raguna is Ivan's brother. Despite it being stated in an interview that both are related to the king the two's relation to one another is still only suggested.
  • Slice of Life: Being a descendant of the Harvest Moon series...
  • Talk to Everyone: A requirement, since you have to speak to everyone to get all the basic tools, and in Rune Factory 3 your first request is literally to introduce yourself to everyone in town and then ship one item.
    • Considering that building up Relationship Values is a major part of the game, I'd say this trope, normally a side thing in most RPGs, is at least a quarter of the gameplay.
  • Too Awesome to Use: A borderline case with the flowers, most notoriously the Emery Flower. Not only does it require 26 000 gold in Frontier, it takes 120 days (which is a full year by the in-game calendar) to grow without aid. What saves this from the effects of this trope is that you get 9 of them in one seed packet.
  • Turns Red
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Quite a few examples, but the de Sainte-Coquille dads and their daughters come to mind.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change
  • Unfortunate Names: Sechs Empire. Just say it out loud.
    • "Zecks," for anyone knowing even basic German.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Nicholas made a Child Hood Marriage Promise to Cecilia in Rune Factory 1 but is absent entirely in the sequel.
  • Unwitting Pawn: From the time Raguna stumbles up to Mist's house to the point the final boss is summoned he is single handedly supplying the enemy with all the energy they need to summon said boss.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can steal another man's wife! — although you need to fill up her up with love first. And you will you get a What the Hell, Player? for it. Marry Mist or Rosetta in the first game and Zavier or Lucas will tell you off.
  • Warp Whistle: In the original Rune Factory it's two different books. "Escape", which lets you exit a dungeon, and "Teleport", which brings you to your house. Neither can be used if you're silenced sealed.
    • Frontier allows you to do this with a simple menu command from the get-go.
      • As a bonus, it also works while sealed. This means that you can fight however much you want without worry that you can always escape just in time.
    • In the second half of Rune Factory 2, one of the Magic Books allows you to warp back to the entrance of a dungeon. If you're not in a dungeon, it'll warp you back to your house.
    • In Rune Factory 3, the spell sends you to different places depending on where you are; for example if you're on your doorstep and cast it, it'll send you right next to your bed, whereas if you cast it while in your home it sends you to your doorstep.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Building up experience in mundane activities such as cooking, farming and even eating and chatting will eventually raise the character's combat-related stats.
  • X Meets Y: Rune Factory is Harvest Moon meets Monster Rancher meets the dungeon crawler of your choice.

RoommatesDating SimRune Factory Frontier
RollerCoaster TycoonSimulation GameRune Factory Frontier
Romancing WalkerEastern RPGRune Factory Frontier
Pokémon OriginsMons SeriesRune Factory Frontier
Romance of the Three KingdomsWide Open SandboxRune Factory Frontier

alternative title(s): Rune Factory
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