The Telepath RPG
series is made of three chapters currently. Except the first chapter, they are all very highly-polished tactical RPGs with not only smooth and interesting gameplay, but a well-written plot as well. Characters are very lively and have great personalities, including the main character, whom you can name and customize at the beginning of the game. While the protagonist never speaks for themself, every conversation has many dialogue options, allowing you to choose what you want the main character to be like.
The first and second chapters revolve around an event later known as the Shadow War. Telepathic beings known as "shadowlings" are at war with humans, and are seeking to expand their empire. Your character is enslaved while trying to rescue their brother. From there, they must figure out a way to escape and, possibly, take down the empire from within.
The third chapter, Servants of God
, is not a direct sequel to the second chapter. It is set a few decades after the conclusion of the Shadow War, but a new and dangerous faction has arisen. A religious cult deems all psychics anathema to their religion, and stages a coup in the desert city of Ravinale to enforce this ruling. The main character is the son of two Senators, and joins the People's Resistance of Ravinale, a group dedicated to overthrowing the Cult and re-establishing their democratic government.
The series can be found at its home site, Sinister Design
. Some may find the first chapter to be rather low-quality, but don't be off-put by it; the series gets better
and the first chapter isn't really necessary to understand the second chapter's plot.
Tropes used in chapters 1 and 2 of the Telepath RPG series:
- Action Girl: Helena.
- A God Am I: The shadowling queen.
- Ambiguous Gender: The protagonist.
- Amplifier Artifact: The orbs.
- Animated Armor
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: It can be increased by upgrading Personality, but it still caps at eight no matter what.
- Back from the Dead: The shadowling queen has this power; if someone on your team dies, all you need to do to revive them is pay her some money.
- Badass Normal: Helena and Gamblin' Jack.
- Big Brother Is Watching: It's implied that the shadowling queen is capable of this, though whether the shadowling society actually counts as one is unknown.
- Can't Drop the Hero
- Casting a Shadow: The shadowlings, in particular Shadowboxer and Darkling.
- Character Level: Almost entirely averted; you pay for training to upgrade stats directly. The main character does gain levels every three training sessions, however.
- Character Portrait
- Cutting Off The Branches / No Canon for the Wicked: Judging from the Servants of God demo, the "bad ending" where you ally yourself with the shadowlings is non-canonical, since there couldn't be a Shadowling Republic otherwise.
- Likewise, the first chapter has 4 multiple endings, but only the 2 endings where the hero becomes a slave do not contradict the sequel.
- Also, all the party members from TRPG2 (except for Niven and Gamblin' Jack) make appearances in Servants of God, which means that everyone survived the final battle.
- Cool Sword: Helena and Gamblin' Jack.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The shadowlings are not inherently evil; it's just because of their queen that they've been driven to such racism and violence against humans. Their queen even uses light powers!
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: All it does is make you cough up some cash to make the queen revive them. It can be pretty bad during battles themselves however, since people cannot be resurrected in-battle, and it reduces the amount of gold you gain after a battle.
- Defector from Decadence: Niven, Festus, Shadowboxer, and Darkling will continue to follow you if you opt to fight the shadowling queen.
- Dialogue Tree: Lots.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: If you ally yourself with the Academy, you end up fighting Nelis, the shadowling queen, who is rumoured to be a goddess. Subverted, however, as you are told she is not actually divine (she is still extraordinarily powerful, however).
- The Dragon: Tastidan.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is completely different than 2 and Servants of God in gameplay, and uses some odd mechanics that the designer decided to scrap.
- Elemental Powers: Light, Shadow, Heat, and Cold.
- Emo Teen: Grotius.
- Face-Heel Turn: The main character themselves, if you choose to ally with Tastidan.
- Flunky Boss: All of them.
- Fragile Speedster: Darkling.
- Friendly Fireproof: Played straight for your team, but averted for enemies.
- Glass Cannon: The main character generally ends up as this.
- Heel-Face Turn: Arguably, Niven, Shadowboxer, Darkling, and Festus.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: The shadowling queen. Until the climax, that is.
- Hot-Blooded: Darkling.
- An Ice Person: Grotius. Justified, since he's a frost spriggat.
- Jerk Ass: The main character can be this if you pick certain dialogue options.
- Light 'em Up: Dean Lucas and, surprisingly, Nelis and Tastidan.
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Subverted, interestingly enough. For a time, the developer sold a special CD version of the game that came with additional dialogue and cutscenes, special art, general rebalancing, and even an extra playable character — essentially, an Updated Re-release. Once they sold out, though, the developer decided to simply add the limited edition content to the free version on the site.
- Lost Forever: If you don't recruit him at the end of mission 5, Grotius leaves and can never be recruited again.
- Helena and Flint will also be lost forever if you refuse to pay them when you first land in the bug pit. They'll just stand there and refuse to talk to you.
- Magikarp Power: The main character is generally like this, especially if you opt for high Personality and Aptitude during character creation. They're frail and weak to begin with, with no health or psy point bonuses, but if you take the time to level them up (and get the eight orbs), they can easily become the deadliest and most versatile of your teammates. They still tend to be a bit of a Glass Cannon, however.
- The Medic: Anya and Festus.
- Mighty Glacier: Flint and Dorgon.
- Multiple Endings: Four in the first (canonically, the hero is enslaved by the Shadowlings and David is released), two in the second. Servants of God assumes the Good Ending of the second game.
- New Game+
- Noble Demon: Tastidan.
- Niven is also very polite to the main character, and does not appear to harbour any racism towards humans.
- Non-Action Guy: Festus. Though he does participate in combat, he will usually spend much more time healing people than fighting.
- No Name Given: The protagonist. The author and fanbase always refers to them as "Main" or "Hero".
- Optional Party Member: Niven, Dorgon, Flint, Helena, Grotius and Gamblin' Jack. In addition, Helena, Flint and Grotius can be Lost Forever.
- Playing with Fire: Guy and, to a lesser extent, the main character.
- Psychic Powers: Explored greatly and overlaps with Gameplay and Story Integration. During dialogue, you can often scan people to find out what they're thinking, scan thought imprints to read books you can't understand, etc.
- Random Encounters: Averted except in Lake Alto, which is one of the reasons it's a Scrappy Level.
- The Red Mage: The protagonist, although they lean more towards offense than defense.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Shadowboxer and Darkling.
- Silent Protagonist: Averted. While the main character never says anything automatically, they can be very talkative depending on which options you choose for them.
- Stockholm Syndrome: The is a possible in-universe reason for why the main character might side with the shadowlings.
- Ted Baxter: Darkling.
- Updated Re-release: See Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you kill Grotius' father, not only do you have to kill him too, but your Personality goes straight to hell.
- Stay with the Shadowlings in the end, and you lose two party members who side with the Academy.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: If the main character gets killed, you lose, no matter how many other characters are still alive. This can cause Fridge Logic to kick in once you realize that your other teammates could just drag his corpse back to Somnus and have the queen revive him, as you do if anyone else gets killed.
- What the Hell, Hero?: If you take the "evil" dialogue options, people will occasionally call you out on it, the most notable example being Festus.
- The Wiki Rule: Here.