Video Game / Divinity: Dragon Commander

Divinity: Dragon Commander is a video game set in the same universe as Divine Divinity by Larian Studios. As a Half-Human Hybrid Royal Bastard and youngest prince of an empire in chaos, the player character (the eponymous dragon commander) is tasked with capturing territory and using armies to battle those of his evil half-siblings.

The game has two primary phases with two genres. The strategy map is where the player determines army movements, building placement, research, and the use of strategic cards in typical Turn-Based Strategy fashion, reminiscent of a Risk map. When opposing armies occupy the same territory, the player can let the computer auto-resolve the battle, or opt to take command personally in a Real-Time Strategy engine, with the most notable feature being your ability to turn into a dragon and personally partake in the battles.

The single-player campaign adds RPG Elements by means of the dragon commander's actions aboard his airship, the Raven. As autocratic leader of an empire and military force, there are decisions to be made in both domestic and military affairs. Decisions have an impact on the approval ratings of the empire's five primary species. Many decisions also have an impact on the strategic map itself — for example, enacting conscription is unpopular with most species, but permanently reduces unit construction costs.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Theron to Aida. Probably the reason why she's so prickly.
  • Action Bomb: Troopers and Transports can be given the ability to become these.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Contained in the dialogue of a lot of characters, particularly Edmund.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Ophelia speaks in rather Shakespearian prose compared to other characters.
  • Anything That Moves: Despite proclaiming herself to be a lesbian, Scarlett is very.... open towards just about anyone (although she holds a particular interest in the Commander), much to Henry's delight, Catherine's bemusement, and Edmund's disgust.
    Edmund: "We lizards have superior senses, and I rather object to being forced to constantly smell her in heat."
  • The Alliance: The imperial council is an assembly of representatives from all six Civilized Races, with you as the Human representative. Similarly, your military is assembled from members of all races.
  • Arranged Marriage: Towards the beginning of the second Act, you must marry one of the princesses of four of the races. While the dwarven and lizard princess are primarily in it for political reasons, the undead and elven princess start off quite smitten with you.
    • These are also the subject of one of Catherine's grievances, and the Commander can actually outlaw the practice in the Empire if he so chooses. Doing so will, however, earn you a few choice comments since your own marriage was one.
  • Asshole Victim: The Elven noble whom Scarlett kills with extreme prejudice if you allow her. As a Witch Hunter, he has the authority to inflict truly horrific deaths on anyone found to be a witch. This noble has been abusing his position by declaring homosexuals (or suspected homosexuals) to be witches in order to justify their painful execution. While extra-judicial vigilante justice may not be a good thing, the fact of the matter was that he was so highly placed it seemed that he would have gotten off scot-free with his crimes otherwise. Even your Elven Councillor is aware of his deeds but to protect the good name of the elves he is willing to *bribe* you just to turn a blind eye.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: One of the reasons Maxos seeks out the Dragon.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Warlock units can turn enemy units into beetles.
  • The Battlestar: Juggernauts are capable of launching Goblin Fighters in the middle of battle, even as their immense gun batteries flatten shore targets.
  • Blue Blood: The Lizard's hat is refinement. They tend to dismiss other races as brutish and unintelligent. Despite their occasional abrasive arrogance, they are usually a pragmatic and democratic people with progressive viewpoints.
  • Big Bad: Corvus the demon is responsible for every unpleasant event of the protagonist's life.
  • Blood Knight: Troopers, who are remarkably eager to get stuck in for expendable Mecha-Mooks.
    Trooper: "Pay me in blood!"
  • Boobs of Steel: Both Catherine and Scarlett are quite well stacked, and are two of your top generals. Similarly, Aida, the Dwarven Princess, has the largest rack of all your potential wives by a wide margin, and is both a hard drinking fighter who can crack walnuts with her bare hands and a ruthless politician.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: One of your possible queens is the undead princess.
  • Buxom Is Better: All four of the princesses have notably massive chests — even the lizard and undead princesses.
    • It's noted in the design documents that Ophelia, the undead princess, was supposed to use different kinds of fruit as artificial breasts depending on her mood. Unfortunately, that idea didn't make it into the game. However, completing her story arc by turning her human gives her a rack comparable to Aida's.
    • The undead barmaid at the Raven's bar is shown using a pair of small pumpkins for artificial breasts.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Henry all the way. Think so highly of himself that when Scarlet turns him down he thinks it's because she is a lesbian. (She is but that's besides the point). However he agrees with Catherine that any soldier caught raping a woman should have his instrument cut off.
    • He also approves of you making half of the officer corps women. Mainly because it makes him happy to see more women.
  • Cleavage Window: The dwarven princess wears an outfit with one. Amusingly, it seems that she improvised it, as it consists of a row of undone buttons, and she remarks on how tight her shirt is.
    • Lampshaded at one point, when she states "With all the dirt we'll find in there, we can squeeze [my father] tighter than my boobs are in this bloody blouse!"
  • Deal with the Devil: A literal one with Corvus. It usually involves you allowing him to eat the souls of your people and up to killing your wife.
  • Death from Above: Warlocks can summon a barrage of flaming meteors with a power by this name.
  • Dem Bones: The undead — fairly civilized as a species unto themselves, although their religious zealotry sometimes gets out of hand.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: Your own cabinet of squabbling political leaders doesn't always paint a pretty picture, and having you as the tie-breaking vote in every deadlock is seen as a good thing. If the high lizard approval options are taken, you can move in the direction of a real democracy, something which horrifies all the other councilmembers from beginning to end.
  • Dream Weaver: While trapped in the Raven, Corvus is still able to influence mortal minds through their dreams.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Henry is often prone to this.
  • Due to the Dead: You can allow Aida, the Dwarf Queen, to do pretty much anything but if you allow her to dump her Jerk Ass of a father's corpse in a pig pen you won't hear the end of it.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Your generals and potential queens all have some kind of serious personality flaw or inner grievance that you can either help them overcome — or exacerbate further — with your advice and actions.
  • Emergency Transformation: Princess Ophelia's arc involves her curing her disease in any one of a number of ways: gaining a living human body (either by taking one from a living woman or having a powerful mage "draw" her one), transferring her soul to an imp-built robot, *then* either leaving it that way or adding some skin, simply cutting a Deal with the Devil and turning her into a vampire... or, just being a jerk and letting her die.
  • The Empire: A potential choice for running your territorial holdings. With just a few consular decisions, you can have a highly militarized theocratic state which guts civil liberties on a whim and is led by a power hungry madman backed by a soul devouring demon. Typically taken by players aiming for high Undead approval.
  • Enemy Mine: Happens occasionally, when two normally opposed councilors fall on the same side of an issue, such as the reactionary and theocratic Yorrick backing the uber-libertine Oberon in a policy of restricting the number of children an Imp family can have.
    • Lampshaded during one such occurrence by Trinculo.
    Trinculo: "Commander, here was me actually agreeing with one of Yorrick's proposals. You'll not find another opportunity to please both the Imps and Undead again anytime soon."
  • Evil Is Easy: The primary reasons for turning your faction into The Empire are the considerable bonuses to your military that such policies will grant you. This is also the main reason for striking a deal with Corvus.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Imp Bunker Buster, which single-handedly makes the Juggernaut one of your most useful units in the later stages of the campaign. Hell, its HUD icon is a nuke.
    • Slightly less obviously, the dragon's Eye of the Patriarch spell also serves this purpose.
  • Fantastic Racism: Orcs, despite being a sentient species, are not one of the "civilized" races, and so are discussed in the same way as cattle or other base creatures. In at least one instance, using them as lab monkeys to test a new wonder drug is presented as a positive choice, as it won't harm anyone civilized, though their intense Constitution is part of the consideration.
    • Edmund considers all non-Lizards to be lower life forms, an attitude which Prospera sees fit to rebuke him for, and earns the Commander comparisons to him if he hints at having racist sentiments himself.
    • In general, everyone has some very nasty insults regarding anyone not of their race.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Corvus is a fairly polite and friendly chap, which does nothing to disguise the fact that he's an Eldritch Abomination Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Fetish: If you choose the undead princess, the newspapers will report some people think it's because you have a skeleton fetish. Edmund is the only one on-board to state that you're basically practicing necrophilia.
  • Fiery Redhead: Princess Aida of the Dwarves.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: A possible issue to deal with are domesticated Fangbears - twice as large as regular bears, plus the pack mentality of wolves. Yorrick's is named "Cuddles".
    Yorrick: Seven bless your merciful soul, Commander! I don't know what I'd do without my Cuddles! His blood-stained fur, his glimmering white teeth... He's a darling, that Fangbear!
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Yorrick the undead councilperson is a cranky old curmudgeon and a pompous, religiously conservative windbag. Even his usual political ally, Sir Falstaff Silvervein of the dwarf party, doesn't like him much, and Oberon (who respects Sir Falstaff despite their utter lack of anything in common) mocks Yorrick behind his back. He doesn't even seem like a terribly good politician compared to his fellows, and one of those fellows is an imp.
  • The Fundamentalist: The hat of the Undead race. They tend the view the social status quo as divine will and resist the majority of potential social reforms.
  • For Science!: The Impish hat, blended evenly with the Mad Scientist. They relish experimentation and research, especially anything with explosive or combustible applications, and love to see the results in action. Needless to say, they're quite happy that a new war has broken out, and will back any proposals which would escalate or expand the scope of the conflict. As their councilor puts it...
    Trinculo: "Damn the Gods, for there are none, and damn petty morality, for it is a break on progress."
  • Funny Background Event: When the undead barmaid serves drinks, she does so in a wig with a pair of pumpkins down her shirt.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Grumio, the Raven's chief engineer. You purchase any and all upgrades for your units from him. Played with, as his inspiration comes from things the demon Corvus shows him in his dreams. He is, however, still capable of building fully functioning versions almost totally from memory.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a strategic, card battling, Third-Person Shooter Role-Playing Game (at least according to Angry Joe).
  • Glass Cannon: Your dragon form may be able to bring the pain, but if the enemy has any anti-aircraft units, death comes quick.
  • Godiva Hair: Ophelia, the undead princess, if you choose to encourage her to become human (either as a Body Snatcher or by asking a wizard to "draw" a humunculus which she can inhabit) to escape her disease.
  • Groin Attack: Catherine's solution to your solders' tendency to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the conquered counties is to cut off their members. Even your male general agree with that solution.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: You. Your mother was one of the last dragons. You can transform into one during battle once a turn. It goes as well as you think for the opposing army.
  • Heir Club for Men: Strangely averted with half of the Princesses presented to you. All four princesses were chosen for their potential political alliances, but the subject of heirs is seemingly not a concern. Only Princess Camilla mentions the possible necessity of producing heirs at a later date, but she seems uninterested in doing so unless absolutely required before she warms up.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: If you chose the dwarven princess, she's a redhead, and a feisty one at that.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: The main character was the illegitimate love child of the previous king and the last dragon in the guise of a human woman. He suddenly finds himself heir to the throne when Maxos summons him to defeat his insane siblings.
  • High-Class Glass: Edmund
  • Historical In-Joke: One event involves the Dwarven Scientist Darles Charwin and the controversy surrounding the hypothesis of his latest research paper, specifically, that Lizards and Orcs have a common ancestor. Much like in real life, everyone gets the meaning of this assertion completely wrong and it accidentally creates a small wave of racism.
  • Hot Consort: You are given a choice of four Princesses to marry.
  • Hover Tank: Hunters, Armors and Devastators.
  • Humongous Mecha: Troopers and Grenadiers are towering Spider Tank-style mechs which easily dwarf the ancient trees around them.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Princess Camilla of the Lizards is technically only the Queen Consort but she presents herself as being far more competent than anyone else in your inner circle and, one suspects, her own husband. Certainly of the Princesses, she is the only one with a distinguished career as a Supreme Court Justice.
  • Ice Queen: Princess Camilla starts as cold blooded as an actual lizard in both marriage and her court cases. She'll warm up to the Prince slowly if he proves competent enough in his views on her verdicts to earn her respect and compassionate enough to break her narrow view of the law.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Scarlett doesn't normally express interest in men, but she does flirt with the Commander quite a bit, cracking puns about riding him like a horse and offering him a "kiss that'll blow [his] jetpack off".
  • Ill Girl: Princess Ophelia is one of the rare undead to contract a deadly disease. Her people's restrictive dogma prevents her from seeking a cure. If brought to the Raven as queen, she'll devote her time to finding one with the Prince's help.
  • The Ingenue: Princess Lohanna was brought up to be the "embodiment of elven ideals". She starts painfully naive of the customs of other races and necessities of politics, but grows more pragmatic and competent as the story continues.
  • Interspecies Romance: All four potential queens are princesses of non-human (in one case, formerly human) races chosen for potential alliances with their respective racial parties.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Edmund can get some Character Development along these lines if the player sends him out to deal with rumors of a genocide in Harrowidge, finding them to be true. He muses that he might pay for the library there to be rebuilt.
  • The Kingdom: Another social option for you, it's quite easy to build a society of libertine values, social freedoms and open government with only a few counsel meetings.
  • The Lad-ette: Scarlett all the way. Princess Aida is somewhat more feminine, but is still a hard talking, hard drinking woman with no patience for fools.
  • Lady Drunk: Aida, as befits her usual racial depiction, to the point of having an entire second bar installed in the Queen's Chambers.
  • Lady Land: Westbridge, the country from whence Catherine was queen, is described as being a realm where "...women ruled and men served."
    • Interestingly, talking with Catherine about the place reveals that it isn't a Utopia as one might expect, but is actually more repressive than the rest of Rivellon when it comes to gender politics. To clarify, in the greater Empire, women are treated slightly worse than men, but can easily be high ranking officials or generals with little fuss made of their gender, while in Westbridge, men are essentially slaves based solely on the virtue of their gender.
    • Edmund offers a rather droll opinion of the place.
    Edmund: "Must have been a quaint locale indeed."
  • Lizard Folk: Contrary to the usual depiction, the lizards in your entourage are classy and progressive-minded. Your lizard councilperson is by far the most willing to weigh all points of any issue and take the most progressive approach.
  • Mad Scientist: The entire imp species, to the point where "a true imp's death" is to to be accidentally blasted to smithereens by their own bombs.
  • Made of Explodium: A distressing amount of impish pastimes revolve around it. It's hinted and lampshaded that this is the reason why the impish princess doesn't show up.
    Maxos: There was an...incident. Best not to speak of it.
    • Trinculo can be found in the Engineering Bay immediately after, and speaks of it.
    Trinculo: O dear, o dear! A ravishing Imp princess was on her way to the Raven, Commander, but she and her chambermaids were playing hide-and-seek-the-lit-fuse aboard her transport ship and... well... they didn't find it in time. Poor girl. Died a true Imp's death, though - blasted to smithereens, fireworks in the sky. I'm happy for her really!
    • Word Of God is that they did plan for an imp princess but didn't have the budget for her story arc. So they came up with a sensible, in-character reason for not having her.
  • Nice Girl: Ophelia, the Undead Princess, is also the closest to the Princess Classic, and acts it. Which is hilarious, given the Undead look.
  • Nice Hat: Falstaff Silvervein sports a tasteful, jaunty bowler to complete his robber baron look, while Trinculo Shortfuse's enormous top hat features a clock (that is stuck at five past eight).
  • Noodle Incident: When asked about the absence of an Imp princess, Maxos replies with "There was an... incident. Best not to mention it."
    • Then revealed in the following day's newspaper - "Imp Princess dies during Hide-and-seek-the-lit-fuse game! Ministry of Education demands Nationwide ban!"
  • Our Demons Are Different: Imps apparently carry some demon lineage in their blood. However other than being a bit unconcerned with the ethical ramifications of their technological marvels and having a fascination with blowing things up they aren't in any way bad. Played more straight with Corvus, a giant man/bird demon who's the cause of everyone's suffering.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Rough-spoken, capitalist industrialists with Scottish accents. Which means Elves Versus Dwarves is in full swing.
    • Taken to a point of near self-parody, as the preeminent nation of the Dwarves is called "Hammerdale".
    • They are, however, also master shipwrights and provide the vast bulk of your naval personnel.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Subverted somewhat. The elf councilperson is very enthusiastic and bombastic in defending his typical environmentalist and civil rights agenda, but is merely disappointed when you don't listen to him.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: A race of short, red, Mad Scientists without terribly much in the way of research ethics referred to as Imps.
  • Political Ideologies: Each of the five races seems to fall on one of the typical five basic political standpoints, though, like real people, they can break with their traditional philosophies based upon the situation. They are, from right to left...
    • Undead: Reactionary, dedicated to upholding the status quo and are highly theocratic.
    • Dwarves: Conservative, support traditional "family values" and often back the military. They also have something of a capitalistic streak, as they oppose most business regulation and have a noted dislike of the taxman.
    • Imps: Technocratic centrists, highly pragmatic and focused on simply looking out for number one.
    • Lizards: Liberal, strongly back the ideals of progressive ideology, to the point of actually having a fairly democratic society. Their councilor even tells this straight to the Emperor, and actively bemoans his ilk's tendency to curtail the rights of his people for the sake of his own ego. On the other hand, they're more than willing to pressure others to play along even if their own societies don't want to, such as advocating that all races have referendums on democracy whether they want it or not, and advocating things like smoking bans and limiting reproductive rights for imps.
    • Elves: Radical, have views everyone else considers "out there" and tend to propose highly irregular legislation. They also have an environmentalist bent.
  • Properly Paranoid: Edmund is quite reserved and cautious about anyone else he meets, which he claims is a byproduct of his having spent a good deal of time among backstabbing, self-interested nobles.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Maxos is obviously no spring chicken, but the sheer extent of his age is made apparent when, upon seeing the princesses offered up for marriage to the Commander, he wistfully muses...
    Maxos: "Oh, to be a youth of 500 again."
  • Royally Screwed Up: Besides the Player Character and the terrible things he can get up to, his half-siblings are a corpulent lunatic who has replaced both his hands with axes, a paranoid schizophrenic woman who cut out her tongue to make the voices in her head be silent, and a man who thinks he's an undead who just hasn't died yet and tries to remedy the situation by peeling off his skin. It's implied that it was Corvus's influence in their dreams making them crazy before the endgame.
  • Rule of Cool: Pretty much everything to do with the RTS parts of the game. Steam Punk Humongous Mecha, Fantastic Nukes, Jet Pack wearing Dragons...
  • Science Is Bad: Your advisers' stance. He blames the current situation on science and how rapidly it advanced. The fact that it is all powered by insanity inducing demons eager to escape is the main source of his disdain, though.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Raven, your Cool Airship, is powered by a captive demon called Corvus. Unfortunately, though the can stays sealed, it starts to leak...
  • Share the Male Pain: Late in Aida's questline, she offhandedly mentions that she used to bet people down at the pub that she could crack walnuts with her bare hands, resulting in horrified winces from all present when she did so.
    Aida: "Always got me drinks, that trick. Never got me any boys though."
  • Shout-Out: A couple unit quotes
    • Armors have big guns and they cannot lie.
    • Juggernauts will declare "Apocalypse Now" upon being given a target.
    • Shamans are sick of soldiers taking arrows to the knee
    • Prospera will, at one point, mention the current Dwarven king, whose name is "Theon or some such."
    • The medical unit will sometimes say something along the lines of "[[Series/House Everybody lies]], even those who are dying.
  • Shrinking Violet: Ophelia the Undead Princess.
  • Steam Punk: Mixed with a few dashes of Clock Punk and Magitek for flavor, Rivellon unabashedly parades this aesthetic for all it's worth. And damned if it's not cool.
  • Straw Feminist: Played with through Catherine, former queen of a Lady Land that you conquered, who has some straw elements. Her character arc can go one of two ways, and in the design document the two paths are actually called "Feminist" (the more mellow path) and "Chauvinist" (the angry, frustrated one).
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Camilla the Lizard Princess. Her cold side is readily apparent to everyone, but she will display a softer side if encouraged by her husband to see the world less harshly.
  • Theme Naming: The named Undead characters in the story are all named after Hamlet characters.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The Lizard Queen consort arc is you helping her decide this.
  • Tsundere: Aida the Dwarf Princess. She's somewhat dere to you but is really Tsun to her father to the point of arranging him to be killed and his corpse being eaten by a bunch of pigs.
  • True Companions: Your Generals can become this if you get them to work together.
  • Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat: The strategic level plays out akin to Risk, while the battles, if you direct them personally, take place in real time.
  • The Undead: An entire faction that you have to please. Oddly enough they are actually very religious and conservative, which goes against pretty much every other fantasy setting.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Averted for most Undead. They're perfectly happy as they are, seeing their second life as a sign of the gods' favor. Played straight with Ophelia. The only way she'll survive is to return to flesh and blood or transfer to a robotic body. Her speeches note that she'd prefer to be human again even if she didn't have a disease, missing her human beauty and the sensations of life (especially the touch of the man she loves).
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Scarlett after attending her friends' lesbian wedding if you allow gay marriage. She's still somewhat drunk when you talk to her and the wedding was two days ago.
  • You Are A Credit To Your Gender: Catherine tends to come across as this if the Commander is amenable to her requests for more equality.
  • You Killed My Father: Corvus arranged for the death of the Prince's dragon mother as well as his siblings' destructive madness before the game began.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Shamans are small, ground hugging airships, while full blown zeppelins are also in play in the form of... well, Zeppelins.
  • 0% Approval Rating: King Thelor of the Dwarves is thoroughly disliked by the vast majority of his people, and Falstaff will, despite his slightly misogynistic streak, remark with obvious disgust at the kings abominable treatment of his own daughter and express relief she's safely away from him should you marry Aida. If, via careful maneuvering, you get him assassinated, Falstaff will imply that the "ocean of mead" he's ordering for the funeral isn't to drown sorrows, but to properly mask the almost boundless relief the old bastard is dead.