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Video Game: Solid And Shade
Consider a world where Christianity does not exist, in a late dark ages setting, where the gods are actually active forces in the world. Throw in all of Poe's stuff, and european folklore - and you have a more well-informed society, even at the lower levels who don't just believe in higher powers - many have seen them. Not to mention the dark powers of the Necromancers beginning to spread their plague across the world...

Solid & Shade is a mod for the videogame Mount & Blade (NOT Warband). It keeps the original Calradia settings and the Wide Open Sandbox gameplay, but changes the atmosphere in a Dark Fantasy universe.

Some additional informations and a download link are available here.

For tropes related to the setting and gameplay which are unchanged from the unmodded game, refer to the Mount & Blade page.

The Solid & Shade Mod Provides Examples Of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Werewolves Natural Weapons (which are technically a clawed paw shaped mêlée weapon and an identical shield).
  • Arc Number: 13. Any time there is a golden colored 13 engraved somewhere on the scenery, there are probably quest items very near. Also, there are 13 artifacts (one for each skill) that have to be crafted and kept in order to become a Lich.
  • And I Must Scream: Fortunato is the ghost of a nobleman entombed in a crypt beneath Praven.
  • Anti-Hero: The player character becomes one if he stays out of necromancy for enough time. To be more accurate, it is a Self-Imposed Challenge which requires to reach level 30 without talking to the Bloodfountain. Easier to write than to do. It means that neither the Necronomicon nor crafting nor neither undead or demon summoning would be available. Most of the new companions would be impossible to hire, too. You'd still be allowed to loot graves, eat corpses, and raid villages though. Given the setting, it would make the protagonist being a Pragmatic Hero at best. Doing this grants the player character free stat points and a unique helmet.
  • Apocalypse How: Planetary Extinction. According to the Great Artificer, the destruction of the Infinity Stone could cause the end of the world. If the player speaks to the Bloodfountain while carrying the Infinity Stone, the player is forced to give it the Infinity Stone. Then a message appears to tell that all life on the planet has been wiped out and the player is redirected in Mount & Blade main menu.
  • An Axe to Grind: Choosing to be a former murderer makes the player character begin the game while carrying the Axe of the Black Cat, a two-handed axe which inflicts 60 damage points per hit.
  • Badass Bookworm: Dupin. A very intelligent detective who is also very skilled in gun fighting.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:
    • The Infinity Stone is protected by a half-flayed Leonardo da Vinci (using the nickname "Great Artificer") who is linked to life-preserving machines.
    • Poe is Edgar Allan Poe as a Living Shadow trapped in his own literary world.
  • Black Knight:
    • Several pieces of equipment allow the player to look like one.
    • The Acolytes are promoted in a large array of mounted armoured units with armours of different colours, one of them (the Shadowlord) looking exactly like what this trope implies.
  • Black Magic: … where to begin?
  • Body Horror: Lamia is a former Zeus’ mistress who has being changed in a sort of spider/vampire hybrid. She is mostly humanoid with six insectoid legs under her ankles and chitin armour on her chest and belly.
  • Brain in a Jar: Hiring Rasputin requires you to find his brain, put it in a jar and hidden in a secret room in Halmar Castle.
  • Classical Mythology: One of the inspirations for the mod (the others being occultism and Edgar Allan Poe).
  • Clockwork Creature: Dupin is one. He has been created by the Great Artificer.
  • Cool Shades: Dupin wears some.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Choosing "madness" as the justification for starting the adventure gives more intelligence to he player character. And constant auditive hallucinations.
  • Dark Fantasy: The worldmap’s colours and textures have been altered (brown seas and rivers, sickly dark green grass, etc), giving the impression that the earth is dying. Necromancers wander in Calradia and the player is heavily advised to become one as well. Graverobbing, black magic, and cannibalism are important gameplay aspects.
  • Demonic Possession: One of the reasons that can be chosen to explain why the player character start wandering in Calradia.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A sidequest involves descending in the Underwold to retrieve Hades' sword. A few days after this, he hunts down the player's party and attacks with several hundreds undead.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • Choosing to be a former murderer gives a very powerful two-handed axe as a starting weapon.
    • The Samurai weapons and armour pieces stored in hidden chests in Tihr, Rivacheg, and Jelkala, with upgraded stats.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Lamia was a mistress of Zeus. She suffered from punishment by Hera, who turned Lamia into a creature who suffered from constant impulse to eat human flesh. Her first victims were the children she by from Zeus.
    • Fortunato has been entombed alive by his former friend Montresor as a revenge for what he describes himself as a minor offense. We don't hear Montresor's version of the story, though.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • The Abominations (top-tier zombies, they are an infantry unit that looks like a flayed man) fight with two cleavers. Although they are unable to strike with both for technical reason: they are actually equipped with two similar-looking item, one being a weapon and the other being a shield.
    • The Alchemist's Adamant is a weapon/armor set that can be obtained from an alchemist that travels from tavern to tavern. The set gives you a similar weapon/shield combo that allows you to 'dual wield' with the same technical limits above.
  • Dug Too Deep: The Bloodfountain has been unearthed near Zendar by local miners (who were turned undead in the process). At which point it killed the townsmen who didn't flee.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted as in the original Mount & Blade, even the zombies and undead troops still need to be fed and paid for some reason.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Bloodfountain is a sentient chalice-shaped fountain that sprays blood, with an Omnicidal Maniac goal.
    • The Behemoth Worm looks like a giant bald human head, with empty eye sockets dripping blood, several eyes protruding from its forehead, and a worm-like body extending from the base of its neck. It is a monster incubated in Rasputin's brain, with the same Omnicidal Maniac goal.
  • Escort Mission: The Chrisalid is a unique and totally useless unit which disappears from the game if killed in battle. Protecting the Chrisalid for enough time allows it to hatch the Behemoth Worm, one of the most powerful companions of the mod.
  • Evil Weapon: The Undying Sword of Vlad Dracula, which is also a hirable companion.
  • Eye Scream: Lamia blinded herself to stop being harassed by the memory of her eating her own children.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There:
    • Rasputin has two always closed eyes in the normal places and an open eye in the middle of his forehead.
    • The Hellraiser (one of the top-tier unit from the Acolyte troops tree) is a knight in red armour riding a red horse-thing which head is replaced by a giant eyeball.
    • The Destroyer (top-tier demon unit) has eyes located in a horizontal strip all around his head.
  • Flesh Golem: The weakest undead unit is the Patchwork, a zombie created with flesh and bone scavenged from the area.
  • Friendly Sniper: Dupin becomes one after his meeting with the Great Artificer, when the latter gives Dupin a very powerful Sniper Rifle named "the Wolfbane Alpha".
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Carrying the Infinity Stone or a Philosopher's Stone is supposed to prevent the player character from being Killed Off for Real. It doesn't work for the Non-Standard Game Over triggered by dialog, only for death in battle.
  • Gothic Horror: The mod has some bits of it.
  • Gratuitous Greek: "The Wolfbane Alpha", "the Wolfbane Beta", and "the Wolfbane Omega", which are a sniper rifle, it's ammunition, and a large knife given to Dupin by the Great Artificier.
  • Grave Robbing: An essential part of the gameplay. It requires the player to carry a shovel and to enter a castle or town graveyard at night. It is the main way to obtain corpses. Unless the player is the lord of the place or carries a Hand of Glory, there in a small chance to be caught by the local guards.
  • Guide Dang It: Most of the mod content related to the new companions and quests suffer from this. For example, half of the hirable companions disappear from the game if they were not hired when the player character meets the Great Artificer.
  • The Gunslinger: Dupin begins the game with a pistol in his equipment and uses his skill in gunfight as an argument to be hired by the player character.
  • Hellish Horse: There are mere classical black horses, but also horses with skeletal wings and a head that looks like a human skull, or even zombie horses. The horsemen evolved from Acolytes usually mount the latter, the horrors are zombie mêlée fighter on a zombie horse.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Rasputin is a demon with a human form who serves as an incubator for a powerful monster.
  • Human Resources: Corpses can be used as food and as one of the main source for the crafting system: an intact corpse is an ingredient by itself (i.e. to raise zombies), dismembering a corpse creates thirteen ingredients (the player can choose to keep only one of them and throw the others away): Blood, Eyes, Brain, Heart, Liver, Entrails, Skin, Bones, Flesh, Death Hands, Death Feet, Death Body, and Death Head. Most of them are also food, the four latter can be used as amours (glove, boots, chest armour, and helmet), which is useful early in the game. Horse corpses can also be eaten and serve as resource for crafting.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Corpses and severed body parts can be used as food. The morale bonus provided isn’t very high, though.
  • Improvised Armour: Using corpse parts as armour. The player will have the exact same appearance as a Zombie, but he will receive relatively high protection for the beginning of the campaign.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Shovel Strike: As a polearm. Choosing to be a former gravedigger makes the player begins the game with a shovel in their inventory.
    • Coffin nails are an other starting weapon, a throwing weapon.
  • Indestructible Edible: Corpses don't rot and stay edible for an infinite time. Even when they have been unearthed from a graveyard.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Hematite, the Sword of Hades. It is a one-handed/two-handed sword which inflicts... 125 damage per hit.
  • Item Crafting: There are several dozen of recipes, to create actual items or troops. For example, raising zombies requires a Ouija board and one corpse per zombie. A Ouija board is created with the combination of wood, graveyard soil, and blood.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • It can happen to the player when they choose a Non-Standard Game Over branch in a dialog or if they fall in battle. Although definitive death can be avoided by carrying a Philosopher's Stone (which is then destroyed) or the Infinity Stone.
    • The Chrisalid disappears from the game forever if it killed / stunned during a battle.
  • Living Shadow:
    • There are a few among the summonable units.
    • Poe is a shadow hirable companion. In case you're wondering... Yes, it is a fictional version of the famous writer.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Finding diamonds. They are a rare item randomly available through merchants or graverobbing. Diamonds are a critically important item because they are one of the ingredients to craft the Necronomicon.
      • The official guide advices to choose the profession of Neophyte Necromancer when creating the player character. It makes the character begins the game with the Necronomicon already in his stash.
    • Any loot during the graverobbing sequences is randomly determined.
  • Man on Fire: Not actually shown on-screen, but a way to upgrade the basic zombies is to set them on fire (with the Philosopher's Stone and an oil jar). Each basic zombie-type troop as a burned equivalent, which is faster.
  • Medusa: Stheno (who is actually Medusa's eldest sister).
  • Min-Maxing: The mod allows the player character to become a Lich, a Vampire, or a Werewolf. Vampire and Werewolf are mutually exclusive, but it is possible to become a Lich-Vampire or a Lich-Werewolf. However, because of the high stats and skills level required to obtain this status, achieving it requires the player to very carefully follow a specific build.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Not only for the original party members, this feature is also added for the new hirable heroes. For example, Dupin and Fortunato doesn't like each other, if they stay to long in the party both morale will drop until one of them leave.
    • The Undying Sword of Dracula and Crossbones are indirectly mutually exclusive. The first requires to make the player character to become a vampire, the second requires them to play a werewolf, two conditions mutually exclusive in the game.
  • The Necrocracy: An actual Undead faction is planned for a future version of the mod.
  • Necromancer:
    • You are supposed to play as one: you can loot tombs and create an undead army. "Neophyte Necromancer" is one of the possible choices of background during the character’s creation.
    • There are hostile parties of Necromancer-like units wandering on the world map, just like standard bandits. They consist of a bunch of undead lead by an Acolyte. Parties of a few Acolytes can also be hired from taverns, but they won't include any undead. The Acolyte is a low tier unit consisting of a light infantry unit wearing a black robe identical to the ceremonial clothes found in Zendar after choosing to serve the Bloodfountain. There is an unit actually called "Necromancer", which is a mounted fighter and an evolution of the Acolyte.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Several, including:
    • Talking to the Bloodfountain while carrying the Infinity Stone (an unlimited use Philosopher's Stone).
    • Choosing "The Life" instead of choosing "The Death" after speaking to the Bloodfountain ("The Death" means accepting to serve it).
    • Talking to Lamia without being able to feed her (with a chunk of flesh taken from a corpse).
    • Talking to Crossbones without being yourself a Werewolf.
    • Talking to the Undying Sword of Dracula without being yourself a vampire. Though, unlike Crossbones, there is a dialog option allowing the player character to flee without being harmed.
  • Number of the Beast:
    • Some of the new shields have 666 hitpoints. Their low quality version has 333 hitpoints.
    • There is an item set which is automatically found by the player after looting 666 tombs.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Bloodfountain's goal is to eradicate all life on Calradia. The mod is intended to be played with a player character who serves it.
  • Our Liches Are Different: The player can become one. It is required to hire Poe.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The Hellraiser mount is a red horse-shaped thing, with human hands instead of horse hooves and a giant eyeball for head.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Lamia, the Mother of Vampires, is a former mistress of Zeus cursed by Hera. She is bald, blind, and is part spider. She can create vampire troops by combining vampire blood with corpses.
    • The player can become one if he is strong enough (Agility and Ironflesh) and carries Vampire blood in his stash.
  • Public Domain Artifact:
    • The Necronomicon: Allows to access to most of the crafting recipes.
    • The Philosopher's Stone: Gives a bonus to the Surgery skill and prevents the player character from being Killed Off for Real. It is also a tool to convert iron into gold.
    • Pandora's Box: Gives a small bonus to the Trade skill.
    • The Hand Of Glory: Prevents the player character from being busted when looting tombs.
  • Public Domain Character:
  • Race Lift: Nizar, Deshavi, and Rolf are inexplicably turned Caucasian in the mod. Also, not an actual Race Lift, but Klethi turns blonde instead of being a redheaded like in the unmodded game; same with Alayen (brown hair in the original game, blonde hair in the mod).
  • Set Bonus
  • Shout-Out: A lot.
    • The modders are especially fond of Edgar Allan Poe, who is quoted as one of the inspirations for the game. His work provided the basis for hirable heroes (Dupin, Fortunato, the Raven, and Poe himself) and a few quests. Also, there are Poe's quotes are used as hints on the Loading Screens.
    • Like in Hellboy, Rasputin is a demonic sorcerer whose body serves as an incubator for a worm-like powerful monster, freed by his death.
  • Silver Bullet: The Wolfbane Beta (ammunition for the rifle Wolfbane Alpha) has a name and an appearance which refers to this. In game, it is just a pack of bullets which inflict an equal (and very high) amount of damage to any target.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: The mounted units evolved from the Acolytes wear bone armours. The same equipment can be created from the Bloodfountain after some crafting.
  • Snake People: Stheno, who is depicted as a gorgon with a scale skin and a snake-like body under her waist.
  • Steam Punk: The mod has minor elements of this. For example, one of the top-tier evolutions of the Acolyte is the Artificer, a man riding a kind of primitive car and wielding a big screwdriver as their mêlée weapon. There is also the Wolfbane Alpha Sniper Rifle (a musket with a spyglass), and Dupin who happens to be a Clockwork Creature built by the Great Artificer.
  • Tarot Motifs: There are cartomancers NPCs in some taverns.
  • Theme Naming: The cartomancers are named Mars Reader, Saturn Reader, and Neptune Reader.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Necronomicon, which is a manual needed for most of the crafting and summoning ingame.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: If the player character is neutral with any the native factions, they won't be bothered by the sight of a guy wearing an evil-looking armour leading an army of zombies and black knights. Even if said army stops in a town to shout "Death to Calradia" (which is required to do a quest).
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Butchering prisoners, then eating them, raising their corpses, or using their flesh in crafting.
  • Villain Protagonist: The core of the mod is to be a Necromancer warlord obeying an Omnicidal Maniac Eldritch Abomination who wants the player character to kill everyone in Calradia while leading an undead and demonic army. The choice to be an actual Villain Protagonist or just a mere Anti-Hero is up to the player roleplay, not joining the Bloodfountain is even an official Self-Imposed Challenge.
    • Also, the character creation options allow the player character to be a former murderer.
  • Voodoo Zombie: The zombies troops (mêlée, ranged, cavalry) belong to this kind of zombies, although they are resurrected by an unspecified kind of Black Magic instead of Voodoo.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Fortunato gives several sidequests derived from Edgar Allan Poe short stories. Several characters are directly taken from Poe's work.
  • Zerg Rush: Patchworks are weak units but their creation is free (no other resource than the Necronomicon) their wages are low. Their building lasts several hours, however.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Sort of, though it isn't an infection. The main character is a necromancer and just animates the bodies him or herself. Though it feels a lot like an infection or apocalypse, since a good way to get corpses is killing them with your zombie army and then reanimating them. It is not uncommon to lose your entire army in a fight, and then get them back with the corpses of your foes. The zombies are semi-intelligent, as they can use weapons, but not sentient. They can be killed by anything that can kill a human, but are much more difficult to kill. They don't appear to require food, although not having food will lower the morale of the party overall (most likely because you still need it) and, due to game mechanics, zombies will abandon you if they have a low morale.
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alternative title(s): Solid And Shade
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