- Authority in Name Only: The Empire starts the game surrounded by loyal counties and baronies that are nontheless represented as fully independent nations with the puppet state of "nominal vassal". When Grover V dies, political infighting will result in half of these regions seceding and removing their nominal vassal status, showing just how little power the Empire has.
- The Empire: The Griffonian Empire cannot go down a peaceful route, and will always begin a long conquest to reconquer their lost territories.
- Klingon Promotion: Nearly every country on the Griffonian continent have some paths, focuses, or other opportunities that lets them go to war with the Griffonian Empire. If the Empire is defeated, and their core territories taken, the new owner of the Griffon throne will often get to declare a new Empire (or a pan-Griffonian republic) under their lead, getting cores on the Empire's heartlands. Even Lake City, a pony nation, gets a chance to put a pony on the Griffon throne in their Princely restoration path.
- Resurgent Empire: The Empire may be decaying in terms of political power, but it is still a military superpower on the Griffonian continent. The new regent for Grover VI will implement some reforms to strengthen the Empire somewhat, then use their military strength to reconquer their lost territories.
- Succession Crisis: Emperor Grover VI is not of age, and thus requires a regent until he is old enough to properly rule. The two options for a new regent are Duchess Gabriela Eagleclaw of Strawberry, or Archon Eros VII of Boreas.
- Vestigial Empire: The Griffonian Empire was once the most powerful nation in the world, even colonizing a part of Equus. They've been on the downhill ever since, with multiple kingdoms seceding and an internal revolution tearing the country apart. Whatever nobles still allied to the Griffonian Empire act largely autonomous, and can break away easily.
Emperor Grover V
- The Emperor: Grover V is the current Emperor of the Griffonian Empire, which is ruled by the Grover dynasty.
- King on His Deathbed: Grover V, a young Emperor by Griffon standards, is terminally ill and not expected to live long. His successor Grover VI is too young to succeed him, and needs a regent until he is of age.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Grover V's death. The focus tree is locked until his death.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Grover V dies within a few weeks of the game starting.
Grand Duchy of Feathisia
- Civil War: If the far-right FNV and the far-left PvdA are chosen as the coalition party options in the political focus tree, a coalition will not form due to their completely irreconcilable ideologies, which only worsens the political crisis in Feathisia. The Duke will then be targeted by an assassination attempt; if he dies, the last string holding the country together snaps, and the FNV and PvdA declare war on each other.
- Enemy Mine: During the civil war path, if the Griffonian Empire invades Feathisia when the civil war is underway, the warring PvdA and FNV can call a truce to unite and defend their homeland against the Empire. They will push a neutral public servant to the position of dictator to redirect the country towards defending against the Empire.
- Faction-Specific Endings: Feathisia is among the nations with the most possible political paths in all of EAW.
- Of the four political parties in Feathisia, (Communist PvdA, Non-Aligned FHP, Harmonist LDP, Fascist FNV) all four can come to power after the political crisis by forming a coalition and getting selected to lead the government.
- The PvdA and the FNV can also come to power if a civil war breaks out, opening up six additional political paths, three each for both sidesnote .
- The Duke can also declare martial law and abolish the democracy if he survives his assassination during the political crisis.
- If the Empire invades during the civil war, this unlocks the final secret PvdA-FNV compromise path with unwilling dictator Edgar Pechvogel.
- Odd Friendship: Two of the options for a new coalition party involve a radical party forming a coalition party with the moderate party on the other wing (left-left and right-right coalitions are not possible); either the far-left PvdA with the centre-right FHP, or the far-right FNV with the centre-left LDP.
Grand Duke Gerlach IV
- 100% Adoration Rating: Grand Duke Gerlach IV is one of the most beloved rulers on all of Griffonia, due to his patient and reasonable personality and democratic political leanings, transforming Feathisia into a Constitutional Monarchy.
- Altar Diplomacy: Duke Gerlach has been interested in Duchess Gabriela of Strawberry for a long time now. When the situation in Feathisia stabilizes, the player gets a decision for Gerlach to send a marriage proposal to Gabriela. If Gabriela accepts, and she is also the regent for the Griffonian Empire, she will transfer the regent title to Gerlach, making him the new leader of the Empire.
- Plot-Triggering Death: If Duke Gerlach was killed in the assassination attempt during the political chaos following the rise of the FNV and PvdA, Feathisia loses the last person holding the country together and collapses into a civil war.
- The Purge: The PvdA, LDP, and FNV all form anti-Duke fronts when the Duke survives his assassination and dissolves the parliament. This only further enrages the Duke, and the Duke orders mass purges to wipe out all of them.
- Sanity Slippage: If Duke Gerlach survives his assassination, he will get mentally scarred and become very pissed off. He will ditch his silence and democratic leanings and personally introduce martial law to crack down on the politicians and end the crisis by force.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In Duke Gerlach's Martial Law route, following his near-death experience, the Duke becomes extremely paranoid, but still holds on to some of his original well intentions. Under the absolute rule of Duke Gerlach, the citizens of Feathisia can find themselves living better lives one day, only to have their freedoms taken away the next.
- Chummy Commies: Despite being a more authoritarian Stalliongradian communist, Stappenbeld is overall benevolent to his subjects.
- The Purge: As a classic Stalliongradian communist, Stappenbeld purges the counterrevolutionaries and traitors in the government after taking the leadership.
- Chummy Commies: Kogchel advocates for socialist direct democracy and state unionism, aiming to create a fair and free socialist nation.
- Commie Nazis: Herman and Reinoud Rozenkamp lead a radical faction in the PvdA, which advocates for a Strasserist "nationalist workers state", mixing nationalistic policies with communist policies.
- The Horseshoe Effect: Despite being a radical far-left, the Rozenkamps' ideology blends nationalistic and militaristic elements of the far-right. Herman himself has has the leader trait "Fascist Sympathies", giving him extra acceptance of fascist diplomacy.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Herman Rozenkamp and his brother Reinoud are expies of Otto and Gregor Strasser, early Nazi party members who developed Strasserism, the original Commie Nazi ideology.
- The Purge: The Rozenkamps purges anyone who disobeys their rule after coming to power.
- Secret Police: Rozenkamp creates the Staatspolitie (Secret State Police) to keep watch over all griffons and ensure their loyalty to the Leider.
Herman of Vorst tot Vorst
- Absolute Xenophobe: After coming to power, General Vorst tot Vorst completely militarizes Feathisia and prepares the nation for any outside invasion. In his final focus, "The Black Spot of Griffonia", he completely locks down all the borders of Feathisia, preventing any entry or exit, even executing anyone who dares to escape the country. His actions are done to "ensure that the Feathisians will stay safe forevermore".
- Aristocrats Are Evil: General Herman comes from a family of Baron Generals, and after he comes to power, he turns Feathisia into an isolated military dictatorship.
- Child Soldiers: General Vorst tot Vorst lowers the minimum age of military service to further militarize Feathisia after he takes power.
- Military Coup: After the FNV wins the civil war, General Vorst tot Vorst starts having doubts on the FNV, and can decide to launch a coup and take out the FNV leadership in a "convenient accident", and take power himself.
- Puppet King: General Vorst tot Vorst installs the weak-willed Stefan Weijermars as a puppet duke for his military junta.
- Anti-Villain: Despite being classified as fascist, Anton Moldernik is the most moderate of the three possible leaders in the event of an FNV victory, and legitimately wants to advance the nation and the people of Feathisia. Moldernik opposes Heeren's racist radicalism and enacts many populist policies, such as a nationalist welfare program.
- Fantastic Racism: Heeren hates the pony minorities in Feathisia, calling them parasites and leeches.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Being by far the most radical member in the FNV, Heeren's views are shared by few, and he's disposed by the FNV if the FNV comes to power through coalition. If the FHP comes to power and does the "Attract FNV Members" focus, the FNV will begin to moderate, once again leading to Heeren being kicked out. If the FNV wins the civil war and Moldernik takes leadership, Heeren will also be purged.
- The Purge: After coming to power, Heeren launches "The Great Purge" to root out the "vermin" from the society. The results are not pretty.
- Secret Police: After taking the leadership of the country after the civil war, Heeren establishes the Geheime Staatspolitie (a reference to none other than The Gestapo), a ruthless secret police force willing to use all the methods of interrogation and punishment to root out the resistance, the traitors, and the citizens harboring the undesireables.
- State Sec: FNV Deputy Godfried Heeren, the most radical leader within the far-right FNV, leads an equally radical paramilitary called the Bronzen Schildwachten or Bronze Sentinels.
Knightly Order of Hellquill
- A Lighter Shade of Black: The Knightly Order old guard compared to the Reformisten. The Order is hostile towards the Riverponies and treat them as second class citizens, but do not actively seek conquest and ethnic cleansing like the Reformisten, instead focusing on more defensive policies.
- The Empire: After Wingfried comes to power, he initially proclaims Hellquill to be the Kingdom of Hellquill. If Wingfried achieves his dreams of conquering all of Riverlands, he declares the Ost-Griffonian Empire.
- The Order: The Knightly Order of Hellquill, alongside the the Knightly Order of Longsword (currently the County of Longsword), are both founded by the Griffonian Empire as crusader states against the Riverponies. After the Empire's decline, both Orders went independent.
- Putting on the Reich: Just like the Changelings who also have Nazi German influences, Hellquill (especially fascist Hellquill) takes on many Nazi influences too.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: After beginning Wingfried's crusade against ponies, Hellquill can force the pony populations in the areas they conquered into slave labor.
- Shout-Out: The focus in the fascist tree where Hellquill scientists request ponies as test subjects is called "Group 935".
- Tested on Humans: In the fascist tree, after Wingfried begins his crusade, there is a focus where Hellquill scientists requests pony test subjects for their unethical experimentation.
- Voluntary Vassal: If Hellquill finds itself in a losing war against the River Coalition, they can call upon the Griffonian Empire for help in exchange for returning to an Empire vassal. Note that if Hellquill is fascist, the Empire will not accept their plea for help.
Wingfried von Katerinburg
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Reformisten, founded by Wingfried von Katerinburg, is a group of radical griffon supremacist knights in Hellquill that desire to cleanse Eastern Griffonia of ponies to create living space for griffons. Wingfried himself is the Reformisten's Hitler, desiring to create a Griffon-only Empire that will last a thousand years.
- Dehumanization: Some of the focus descriptions and events show that the Reformisten consider ponies to be no more than rats.
- Fantastic Racism: Wingfried is a griffon supremacist that hates ponies with a passion, and wants a crusade on the Riverponies to kill them all.
- Final Solution: The Reformisten deal with the problem of pony minorities in Hellquill by launching a deadly pogrom and asking the rest to either leave or face death.
- The Plague: After Wingfried takes over and finishes preparing for his crusade, his scientists will revive an ancient plague known as the Purple Plague, which he can then unleash on the riverponies by injecting it into live ponies and sending them into the Riverlands, causing massive amounts of deaths and leading to an immediate war with the River Coalition.
- The Purge: Wingfried purges the conservative old guard after coming to power.
- Luck-Based Mission: Hellquill is far, far weaker than any nation in the River Coalition, let alone the entire River Coalition combined. Fascist Hellquill needs a lot of time building up strength before they can reasonably challenge the River Coalition. Many scenarios can result in a premature war with the River Coalition (e.g. Lake City going fascist, giving them an early war goal on Hellquill), guaranteeing the early end of Hellquill.
- You Monster!: After Wingfried unleashes the Purple Plague, a global news event fires about Hellquill proudly proclaiming that they had brought doom on the ponies. Every sane country reacts with shock and horror at Wingfried's act.
County of Longsword
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Reformisten from Hellquill have influenced the current head of Longsword, Count Pallas Dusktalon, into adopting their griffon supremacist ideology. Pallas had decided to implement them in Longsword, beginning the anti-pony violence in Longsword.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: During the Longswordian Civil War, all three sides are short on weapons, and will thus break out old weapons to arm their soldiers. The fascist side in particular is so desperate, they will start pulling out the old swords and spears used by their ancestors to arm their soldiers.
- Chummy Commies: The Communists in Longsword are portrayed very positively, as they aim to overthrow a genocidal fascist government and create a country where griffons and ponies are equals.
- Civil War: "The Longswordian Bloodbath" is pushing the county to its edge. Communist partisans are planning for an uprising to overthrow the Reformisten and create a new socialist Longsword, while more honorable parts of the army are planning a mutiny to depose the Reformisten and return Longsword to its traditions. Sooner or later, Longsword explodes into a three-way civil war.
- Fascist, but Inefficient: The Reformisten leadership is certainly rabid, but their attempts at controlling the population results in large amounts of resistance, causing endless trouble for them and eventually collapsing the country into a civil war. Every national focus where they purge the country of traitors results in an event where their actions backfire horribly and weaken themselves in the end.
- Nintendo Hard: Winning the Civil War as the Reformisten is a grueling challenge. The Reformisten start with 3 divisions, not even enough to cover one of their two fronts, while the Army and the Socialists both start with almost double the amount of divisions. Trying to win the civil war is a task of extreme micromanagement.
- Reality Ensues: If the Reformisten wins the civil war, they will fully ethnically cleanse their country of ponies, because they believed that the ponies caused all of their problems. However, they soon see that the ponies did not cause all of their problems, and all they did is just turn their country into a wasteland. While Count Dusktalon is too fanatic to see any of this, his subordinates are starting to have a crisis of faith.
- Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The Reformisten's attempts to ethnically cleanse their country of Ponies is sometimes called "The Longswordian Bloodbath", but outsiders call it by a more appropriate name - "The Longswordian Genocide".
Count Pallas Dusktalon
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Count Pallas is a Griffon supremacist that is enacting ethnic cleansing in his county.
- Asshole Victim: Dusktalon does not get any good endings. He either loses the civil war and most likely gets killed, wins the civil war and gets killed by Rosa Heidenreich, or wins the civil war and gets demoted to a grunt by Wingfried.
- Bald of Evil: Played with - as a griffon, he's not truly hairless or featherless, but his rather lacking cranial plumage strongly resembles mid-frontal baldness, which helps make him look like an evil middle-aged man, and as the leader of the Longswordian Reformisten, he definitely has the evil part down.
- Fantastic Racism: Count Pallas Dusktalon fully buys into the Reformisten griffon supremacist ideology, and decided to put them into action inside Longsword.
- General Failure: Count Pallas is available as a Field Marshal early on. He's among the worst generals in the entire game, surpassed only by a select few with particularly awful traits like "blind" and "imbecile".
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Rosa's goons kills Dusktalon mid-sentence during Rosa's coup."Heidenreich, how dare you interfere in our sacred du-" (Dustaklon is shot and killed)
- Passed-Over Promotion: Dusktalon desires a promotion from Wingfried for his hard work on winning the civil war and purging Longsword of ponies. If his letter reaches Wingfried, Wingfried demotes him instead, and annexes Longsword.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: If Dusktalon wins the civil war, and Rosa delivers the letter of Dusktalon's success to Wingfried's Hellquill without second thoughts, Pallas will get demoted and reassigned to a remote outpost (granting 1 ponypower to Hellquill) while Wingfried annexes Longsword, depriving Dusktalon of even a little bit of victory in the end.
- The Coup: She kills Dusktalon and takes over Longsword in her route.
- King of Thieves: Upon usurping Count Pallas Dusktalon, Rosa turns Longsword into a bandit country existing solely to gather riches for herself.
- Organ Theft: Rosa's bandits begin an organ theft operation on the poor griffon folks of Longsword to make huge profits on the black market.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Rosa will enslave a significant portion of the Longswordian population to further expand her riches.
- The Starscream: Rosa was the second-in-command to Count Pallas Dusktalon and a loyal Reformisten. After winning the civil war and cleansing Longsword of ponies however, Longsword was still a backwards mess, and Rosa began to have doubts in the Reformisten's ideas. This can eventually lead to her deciding to usurp the Reformisten and take over the country.
- Unholy Matrimony: Rosa Heidenreich can fall in love with the bandit king of the Sunstriker Clan, Eriviar Sunstriker, after first meeting him during a raid on the Firtree Villages. Their relationship will improve and can eventually culminate in a wedding between the two.
- Defector from Decadence: Originally a devoted member of the Longsword military, the Reformisten's rule and ethnic cleansing against ponies disgusted Conrad Silvertalon. He now leads a group of traditionalists in the military aiming to depose the Count and return Longsword to the way it was (while also preventing the partisans from turning the country communist).
- Please Select New City Name: If the Socialist Republic wins the civil war, they will rename either Swordsson, Zeldtstadt, or Visaginas to Starrygrad and make it the capital of the new republic.
- Rebel Leader: Starry Night is the leader of the Communist partisans in Longsword, who oppose the Count and want to depose him.
House Erie/House Eyrie
Kingdom of Griffonstone
- Wretched Hive: Despite being the true homeland of the Griffonkind, Griffonstone is one of the poorest places on all of Griffonia. After losing the Idol of Boreas and the death of their last king, Griffonstone broke down completely. The regency council is completely powerless, and no new king is in sight.
Barony of Rumare
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Rumare once ruled a sizeable Kingdom from Erie to the Blackstone Mountains, but now they're a tiny barony on a tiny island.
Kingdom of Aquileia
- Civil War: Aquileia starts the game in a decentralized state, with Pridea, Rila, Vinovia, and Westkeep represented as independent "autonomous vassal" puppet states of Aquileia proper. When the inevitable Second Revolution happens, the five states declare war on each other, representing a civil war inside the borders of Aquileia. If Aquileia proper went with the revolution route, the four autonomous vassals of Aquileia will stay royalist and declare war on the now-Republican Aquileia. If Aquileia stays royalist, two of the four vassals will collapse into revolution, and declare war on Aquileia.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The Kingdom of Aquileia is a corrupt and dysfunctional Kingdom rife with poverty and famine. This triggered the first Revolution, which was brutally crushed in a counter-revolution and resulted in a reverse Reign of Terror where revolutionaries and republicans are executed en masse by the kingdom. This did not extinguish the people's desires for revolution, and the people are eager to launch a second revolution.
- The Purge: If revolution is successful and the radical branch of the communist PAT wins the election. They will assassinate the members of the moderates branch of the PAT and crack down on their former FJA allies.
- You Can Not Kill An Idea: Even though the First Aquileian Revolution was brutally crushed, the revolutionary ideals stuck with the people hard, and directly leads into the Second Aquileian Revolution. This state of affairs is referenced in the Revolutionary path focus "Ideas Never Die" and the Royalist path focus "To Kill an Idea".
King Moriset Discret
- Death Is the Only Option: No matter what path is taken King Moriset Discret will die. If the revolutionaries overthrow the monarchy then he will be executed via Guillotine. If the revolutionaries are crushed then he is assassinated.
- Off with His Head!: Fitting with the French basis of the country, if the Second Aquileian Revolution is successful, Théodore Vérany will execute King Moriset Discret with a Guillotine, the kings preferred method of execution.
- Rebel Leader: Théodore is the leader of both the first and the second Aquileian Revolution.
Princess Vivienne Discret
- Klingon Promotion: After King Moriset crushes the second revolution, he will be assassinated by a servant during a bath, leading to princess Viviane being crowned Queen. It is heavily implied that Vivienne herself ordered the assassination, as she reacts to the situation without any grief or surprise whatsoever.
County of Greifwald
- Kill and Replace: If the Changelings are defeated, and Greifwald goes non-aligned (keeping Cloudet in charge) and opens up their immigration, a secret decision called "A Change of Pace" will appear. If it is chosen, Changeling general Trimmel will secretly replace Count Cloudet, and opens up a new focus tree where Trimmel opens up a pipeline to let the defeated Changelings flee into Greifwald.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Nestor Bernier is a griffon version of Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno. Everything from the name of his army (Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army) to the name of the anarchist territory he creates (Free Territory) are all directly lifted from the Free Territory of Ukraine carved out by Makhno.
- Rebel Leader: Nestor is the leader of the anarchist revolutionaries in Greifwald, and a head of state in name only. Keeping with his anarchist beliefs, Nestor remains a military leader (a figurehead military leader even) after proclaiming the Free Territory of Greifwald, instead of taking on any political powers.
- Shout-Out: The motto of the Free Territory of Greifwald is "No Gods, no Kings, only Griffons!"
Prelate Ludwig Ebonwing
- Foreshadowing: The description for the "The Prelate's Takeover" focus includes a quote of a radio transmission, which says that the decision to work with the prelate was a horrible mistake, and that the Prelate is an enemy to all life, before the transmission is cut short mid-sentence. This foreshadows the fact that Prelate Ebonwing is a Maarite cultist.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: After Greifwald conquers Adelart under the lead of Prelate Ebonwing, the Griffon god of death Maar reveals himself before Ebonwing, driving him insane and forcing him to become a servant of Maar.
- Human Sacrifice: Prelate Ludwig Ebonwing can come under Maar's influence and become a servant of Maar. He will begin offering griffon sacrifices to Maar in exchange for great powers to expand Maar's Empire.
Commonwealth of New Mareland
- Allohistorical Allusion:
- After the collapse of the Griffonian Empire, New Mareland saw its stock market plummet, causing its economy to collapse and creating an era of economic depression.
- In the "Legacy of the Cockatrice War" focus, it was mentioned that New Mareland fought a humiliating "war" with the local cockatrice population. This is a reference to the memetic Emu War of Australia.
- As an analogue of Australia, New Mareland starts with the armor technology "Bitty Simple", which is the infamous Bob Semple Tank invented in Australia's neighbor New Zealand.
- Duke Haygle's BNPL bills (Build Now: Pay Later) are based on Nazi Germany's MEFO bills.
- If Kingfisher was not elected, he might get assassinated by one of his opponents, mirroring the death of the real Huey Long.
- Civil War:
- If MARESOC was not chosen during the First Socialist Conference, MARESOC can go renegade and launch a coup attempt, plunging the country into a civil war. A counterrevolution led by General Candy Garden can also happen in MARESOC-led New Mareland, also plunging the country into a civil war.
- If New Mareland does not support the Solar Empire when it emerges, devout princess follower General Candy Garden will attempt a coup that can end up causing a civil war.
- Government in Exile: If New Mareland remains loyalist, they can accept the Equestrian government in exile if Equestria is defeated. They will get some extremely powerful bonuses and a chance to create a massive faction for a chance to take back Equestria.
- Multiple Endings: New Mareland has one of the largest number of possible country paths in EAW, and goes beyond simply having country paths for individual ideologies, as some of their paths are dependent on other countries going down certain paths.
- New Mareland can remain as an Equestrian dominion. If Equestria was defeated, they will house the Equestrian Government in Exile, which really is a full path of its own considering the drastic gameplay changes.
- New Mareland can seek patriation and begin begin new elections, allowing four different non-communist paths: Jet Set's Harmony path, Gladmane's neutral pro-business Non-Aligned path, Kingfisher's populist anti-communist Non-Aligned path, and Duke Haygle's fascist path
- New Mareland can seek patriation, recognize Stalliongrad, and form Communist Unions. This opens up three different communist paths: Lufty Star's Stalliongradian communism, Blueberry Frost's equalism (further splitting into rational equalism or radical equalism), and MARESOC's "Mareland Socialism"
- If New Mareland remains a dominion, and the Solar or Lunar Empire forms, secret puppet state paths will be opened up for New Mareland, both of which also have three more branchesnote .
- Puppet State: If New Mareland maintains their ties with Equestria, they can choose (or be forced to) become a Solar Empire or Lunar Empire puppet state when they emerge, opening up new focuses and events.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: New Mareland is stuck in a deep economic depression following the collapse of the Griffonian Empire, and Equestria isn't doing much to help New Mareland. New Mareland can thus seek patriation and declare independence from Equestria and seek their own future.
- Good Old Ways: A traditionalist, Jet Set maintains the harmonic government if he is elected after New Mareland declares its independence.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Gladmane, a successful businesspony-turned-politician who rose to prominence through his loud and populist rhetoric and adopts pro-business policies, is based on 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Gladmane promises to build a wall to keep all the griffons out and have the griffons pay for it.
- The Horseshoe Effect: Like the real Huey Long, Kingfisher is an anti-communist (and his tree allows for war goals on communist countries) while having leftist distributionist policies. In fact, some of his focuses directly mirror Lufty Star's communist tree, with both offering free education for New Marelanders for example.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Kingfisher, a populist Presidential candidate for New Mareland, is directly based on Huey Long, who was famously portrayed in Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg. His name is based on Long's nickname "The Kingfish", his slogan is "Every Pony A Princess" is taken from Long's "Every Man A King", his "Share Our Wealth" policy is the exact same policy from Long, and his populism and anticommunism are all traits of the real (and Kaiserreich's) Huey Long.
- Shout-Out: The "President of the Downtrodden" focus description mentions that Kingfisher has a slogan/promise called "It can happen here!" This is a reference to the book It Can't Happen Here, which prominently features a Huey Long expy called Buzz Windrip.
- Cooperation Gambit: Despite being an anti-Griffon pony supremacist, Haygle can make a deal with Beakolini of Wingbardy over their shared fascist ideology, allowing New Mareland to join the Karthinian Pact.
- Chummy Commies: Lufty Star is a Stalliongrad-styled communist whose policies are aimed at benefitting the people. She especially stands out when compared to the other two communist options for New Mareland, the radical Equalist Blueberry Frost, and the totalitarian MARESOC.
- Happiness Is Mandatory: In the Total Equality path, the "Smile, Smile, Smile" focus forces all New Marelanders to be happy, and those who don't share the happiness will be "brought into line".
- Individuality Is Illegal: In the more extreme "Total Equality" path, Blueberry Frost considers any New Marelanders who who believe in individuality to be reactionaries, and sends them into "Equality Camps" where they are reeducated.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Going down the extremist "Total Equality" path will see Blueberry Frost's idea of Equality spiral out of control into dystopian insanity.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Fitting the Whole Plot Reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four, extreme surveillance through telescreens is a key part of the MARESOC society, complete with a Big Sister watching over all of the society.
- The Coup: MARESOC always comes to power through a coup d'etat. They can also attempt a coup in a communist non-MARESOC path, which can plunge the country into a civil war.
- Dystopia: MARESOC's New Mareland, directly based on the original dystopia, Oceania, is just as much of a totalitarian hellscape as Oceania is.
- Expy: MARESOC is unambiguously and totally based on INGSOC from Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- The Purge: MARESOC is simply too radical for the other socialist factions in New Mareland to accept. Therefore, MARESOC resorts to forced disappearance to weaken the other socialist factions and grow their own.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: In a non-MARESOC communist path, MARESOC splits away from the Socialist Alliance when the alliance realizes just how insane MARESOC really is. They proceed to plan for a coup to take power by force.
- Whole Plot Reference: The New Mareland that MARESOC creates is one totally based on Oceania from Nineteen Eighty-Four. The four ministries, Big Sister, though police, brainwashing, and the "War is Peace" slogans are all a part of MARESOC's New Mareland.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: General Candy Garden is motivated entirely by her loyalty to Princess Celestia, even if Celestia had become Daybreaker. She is a force for Harmony when she is launches a counterrevolution against the nightmarish MARESOC, but is also a force of Autocracy when she launches a coup to establish Solar rule over a New Mareland that rejected Daybreaker.
Kingdom of Wingbardy
- Civil War: The communist Wingbardy path will start a civil war in Wingbardy between Beakolini's fascists and communists opposing Beakolini.
- The Famine: Land mismanagement plunged Wingbardy into a major famine at the start of the game.
- Historical In-Joke: One of Beakolini's focuses is an infrastructure improvement focus called "Make the Trains Run on Time", referencing the saying that Mussolini made the trains run on time.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Beakolini is Mussolini with a beak. His Fascist party marches on a decaying monarchy, gets appointed as the Prime Minister by the King, and proceeds to reshape the country into a fascist nation, does away with democracy completely, and starts waging war on bordering nations.
- President for Life: Beakolini's parliament passes the Agerbo Law (referencing the real life Acerbo Law), allowing the Fascist party to permanently gain a majority and make Beakolini stay as the Prime Minister indefinitely.
Barony of Arantiga
- Badass Army: While small in size the Arantiga military is extremely competent and has a extensive army tree.
- Commie Nazis: The PCNA (Partito Comunista Nazionale di Arantiga; National Communist Party of Arantiga) led by Ciriaco Mediate is a radical party in Arantiga with an ideology inspired by the Rozenkamp brothers in Feathisia (who are Strasser expies), which advocates for a radical state that is both socialist and nationalist.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Many centuries ago, before Grover I created the Griffonian Empire, before Celestia even became the Princess of Equestria, King Arantigos Featherin conquered a massive Empire on Griffonia, stretching from Romau to Midoria. Following his death, the Empire collapsed due to infighting, and the Featherin dynasty was reduced to a small barony by the time of the Griffonian Empire.
- Resurgent Empire: Even though King Arantigos' Empire is long dead, Dorotheos Featherin, younger brother of Baroness Margareth Featherin, wants to restore the gory of the ancient Empire by reconquering their ancient territories.
- Four-Star Badass: Dorotheos is said to have a brilliant mind and was responsible for reforming the Arantiga military. Fittingly he starts as one of the best field marshals in the game.
- Military Coup: Dorotheos will attempt a coup in April 1008.
- Young Conqueror: Dorotheos aspires to be this. Wishing to reconquer the territories his ancestor Arantigos Featherin once held.
Republic of Asterion
- A Load of Bull: Asterion is the sole Minotaur nation in the world.
- Enemy Mine: The Communists and Fascists of Asterion have against all odds formed a coalition, their opposing ideologies united entirely through their mutual rejection of the status quo and desire to reclaim their lost territories. When the coalition beats out the Harmonists, the two sides quickly turn on each other, ending with one side forcing the other out of the country.
- Black Market: In Blackrock's route, the focus tree unlocks black market decisions, which allow the player to hire Mercenary Units or buy equipment and "definitely not slaves" on the black market with gathered loot. The former decisions spawn some strong but temporary divisions inside the country (of which there are four types), while the latter decisions grant useful bonuses to the country.
- Civil War: Either Count Cyrille Bluecrest's supporters or Reeve Blyeddin's communists can launch a civil war against Blackrock in the "Plot Against Blackrock" route.
- Wretched Hive: Blackrock and her bandits are running what is formerly the County of Blackhollow, turning it into a lawless wasteland where the peasants are constantly harassed by the bandits.
- King of Thieves: Blackrock is the leader of all the bandits in Blackhollow. If Blackrock managed to triumph, she will eventually transition her banditland into a Queendom ruled by herself, turning her into an actual Queen.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Blackrock is not her real name; her real name is only known by few.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: If Blackrock conquers Prywhen, she will completely plunder her new conquered lands, granting her extra piles of loot while demolishing the provinces, cutting down their ponypower and destroying their infrastructure and factories.
Count Cyrille Bluecrest
- Rightful King Returns: The County of Blackhollow was deposed during a bandit uprising that occurred after a war between Blackhollow and Griffonstone. Cyrille is the last living member of the Bluecrest family, and wants to take down Blackrock and restore the County of Blackhollow.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Countess Cyrille personally commands the rebels against Blackrock to remove Blackrock from power.
- The Usurper: After restoring the County of Blackhollow, Count Cyrille can later declare war on the Kingdom of Griffonstone to depose their regency council and make herself the new Queen of Griffonstone.
- Anti-Intellectualism: Reeve has some radical ideas on equalizing thought through education, and the end results are not that pretty. His "Education Equality" and "No Scholars" both reduce research speed by 10%, and his "State Education" focus straight up removes one research slot.
- Conscription: One of the few gameplay positives that the player gets from choosing Reeve's route is that his "Equal Conscription" focus sets the conscription law to "All Adults Serve" even in peacetime, and his military tree adds another 6% recruitable population, giving Blackhollow some much-needed ponypower.
- Persecuted Intellectuals: Reeve thinks that knowing too much will incite reactionary thinking, and thus equalizes education through Anti-Intellectualism.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Reeve wants to create an equal society modeled on Our Town. To this end, Reeve embarks on a massive social engineering project, which includes some questionable things like redistributing population so that every province has the same population, banning private ownership and higher education, and introducing forced labor and conscription. It is implied that large amounts of deaths occur throughout his implementation of equalist policies, as some of his political focuses involve unexplained deductions of ponypower.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: A revolutionary inspired the Our Town model of Equalism, Reeve has the good intention of trying to overthrow a bandit warlord and create a society where all Griffons are equal. Unfortunately, Reeves' ideal society is very, very extreme, and some of his social engineering focuses have rather disturbing implications.
Kingdom of Brodfeld
- Civil War: Brodfeld begins in a civil war with the Griffon Liberation Army. Though the GLA starts with more territory, Brodfeld holds all the key cities.
- In Medias Res: The Kingdom of Brodfeld starts in the midst of a civil war with the Griffon Liberation Army, which was said to have been going on for years before the start of the game.
- Irony: Brodfeld is considered the "ricebasket of Griffonia" due to its tremendous grain outputs. However, it was hit by a famine in one year due to a blight, and is currently on the verge of another famine due to the civil war.
- State Sec: The Kingdom of Brodfeld maintains a military legion called the The Legion of Eviliana, or more commonly Golden Guard, which is patriotic and religious group fanatically dedicated to King Kloseu and anti-communism.
King Kloseu de Kissau
- Antagonistic Offspring: King Kloseu's son, Prince Tomado, is ideologically his opposite. Tomado is influenced by liberal ideals and wishes to reform the monarchy, while Kloseu (at least initially) only wants to hold onto power at all costs.
- Betrayal by Offspring: If Kloseu makes no attempt to reform, his conflict with his son Tomado will eventually culminate in Tomado leading a protest against Kloseu, which Kloseu considers to be an act of betrayal.
- Character Development: King Kloseu starts off as a desperate monarch with a personal grudge against communism. Depending on the political path chosen, King Kloseu's personality can mellow down into an open-minded constitutional monarch, or his grudges can overtake him and turn him into a sociopathic tyrant wanting to eradicate the world of communists.
- Every Scar Has a Story: King Kloseu has a scar on his cheek, inflicted during an assassination attempt on him following his assumption of dictatorial powers in the aftermath of the famine. The assassin only managed to scar Kloseu, but killed Kloseu's wife. This sets of Kloseu's true Start of Darkness as he becomes increasingly brutal and fanatical.
- Freudian Excuse: King Kloseu's extreme hatred of communism and subsequent descent into tyranny is caused by the death of his wife during an assassination attempt on his life, which he blamed on communists.
- HeelFace Turn: If his son's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to King Kloseu managed to make Kloseu see his errors and decide to turn things around, Kloseu will implement the reforms and turn the country into a liberal democracy with a constitutional monarch.
- Hidden Depths: Several events mention that King Kloseu is an avid fishergriffon.
- I Have No Son!: In path where King Kloseu accepts his gambit to take revenge on all of his enemies, King Kloseu orders his assassins to kill his son Tomado, the leader of a large protest against him. In the aftermath, King Kloseu goes to his wife's grave and apologizes that he had been a bad father that brought their son so low, and makes General Ion Soimescu his successor.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: King Kloseu was initially a reformist minded King who considered the aristocracy to be leeches and abolished serfdom after coming to power. This backfired when the nobles took advantage of his lax trade laws to push the peasants out of the market. A blight in one year led to a deadly famine and political turmoil, leading to a series of bad events (during which Kloseu becomes increasingly dictatorial and brutal) that culminates in the civil war. Things only escalate during and after the civil war, and King Kloseu can become a fanatical tyrant willing to kill anyone in order to end communism.
- Knight Templar: In the fascist path, King Kloseu will become so fanatically anti-communist, that he eventually declares a crusade against the red menace, granting war goals on every single communist country on the planet. His reasoning? He wants to save the world from communism.
- Never My Fault: In the fascist path, Kloseu blames all of his problems on his enemies, seeing no problem with any of his own past decisions.
- Offing the Offspring: In the path where King Kloseu accepts the gambit and doubles down on his tyranny, Kloseu orders his assassins to kill his rebellious son Tomado.
- The Purge: In the path where King Kloseu accepts the gambit, King Kloseu orders the death sentence of all of his enemies: the protestors protesting against his rule, the aristocracy who leeched on his policies and fueled the protests against him, the communists who are waiting for a fair trial after the civil war, and his own son, who is leading the protest.
Prince Tomado de Kissau
- Archnemesis Dad: Prince Tomado is antagonized by his father due to their completely opposite beliefs. King Kloseu wants to hold onto power at all costs, while Tomado is more open to reforms.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Despite his reformist leanings, the communist GLA will hunt him down and can execute him if they win the civil war.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tomado delivers one to King Kloseu after they win the civil war, during which Tomado criticizes Kloseu's past policies and how they backfired on the nation, pointing how how Kloseu's decisions brought the country where it is today. Kloseu can react by either admitting his failures or rejecting them, branching his storyline either into the constitutional monarchy path or the absolute monarchy path.
- Heroic Bastard: One event during the constitutional monarchy path reveals that Enrico is King Kloseu's bastard son from Wingbardy, and is Tomado's half-brother.
- Renaissance Man: Enrico is both an excellent politician and a talented violin player.
Ancient Grand Orient of Prywhen
- Ambiguously Evil: It is uncertain if the Masons are ultimately a Benevolent Conspiracy or an Evil Conspiracy. On the one hand, they promote democracy and Harmonic values (thus being represented as Harmony in terms of ideology), but on the other hand, they desire total world domination through subterfuge, and convert the commoners to their pseudo-religious ideals. They are also absolutely willing to commit evil acts to further their goals (such as launching a false flag suicide bombing to blame one of their neighbors for a war goal).
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Masons of Prywhen are actually an extremely secretive and ancient pseudo-religious group with desires to bring in a new world order under their lead. They will create numerous international organizations of an apparently benevolent nature (International Health Organization, League of Nations, etc.) to further their influences.
- Arc Number: 3, variations of 3 (33333, 33933, etc.) and powers of three (9, 27) appear frequently as stat numbers in their focus tree.
- Covert Group: The Masonic Lodges are a front to the Ancient Grand Orient of Prywhen, a totally secret religious order completely hidden to all outsiders.
- Dystopian Edict: After taking power, the Masons strip the citizenship of all non-Masons, forcing everyone to either join a Masonic Lodge or live as a vagrant.
- False Flag Operation: One of the focuses in the Masons' tree unlocks an event where a suicide bomber detonates a bomb in the capital. The fact that the Masons can blame the bombing on any of their neighbors (granting a war goal) shows that the Masons orchestrated the whole bombing themselves.
- Fun with Acronyms: The Masons use the National Action to Secure Our Modernization (N.A.S.O.M) project to construct a dam in Brodfeld as a front of their operations. Once the Masons take over, they rename the N.A.S.O.M. project to New Arcane Sanctuary Of Masons.
- Guide Dang It!: To trigger the events where the Masons send letters with riddles to King Kloseu and begin the path to Masonic Brodfeld, the player must complete the two NASOM dam focuses in the industrial tree without taking any focus in the political tree. Considering that the political tree has far more lucrative rewards and advances the main storyline, it is very easy to miss the trigger for the Mason path.
- The Illuminati: The Masons of Brodfeld are a parody amalgamation of the conspiracy-theorist version of the Illuminati and the Freemasons.
- Light Is Not Good: The Masons' pseudo-religion is based around seeking enlightenment, and they even have Harmony as their ideology. Despite this, the Masons commit many oppressive acts and seek total world domination by manipulating other countries.
- Meaningful Rename: The Masons rename Brodfeld to "Kingdom of Prywhen", reflecting the now sidelined role of the royalties.
- Only Smart People May Pass: Triggering their path (by doing the NASOM dam focuses before any political focuses) will trigger an event in which King Kloseu receives a cryptic encrypted letter from the Masons, and King Kloseu can either ignore it or make a reply, choosing from one of three options. If Kloseu makes the correct response, more cryptic messages involving decryption and mind puzzles will be sent to Kloseu. If the player (and Kloseu) manages to successfully complete all of them, the Masons will take Kloseu to their secret hideout and give him one last challenge. If he makes it, he's inducted into the Mason Order, and the Masons take over the government. If he fails, the Masons "disappear" him and Prince Tomado takes over.
- Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Unlike the message puzzles sent to Kloseu, Kloseu's final challenge in the Masons' hideout involves two questions that tests the King's understanding and dedication to the Masonic ideology, and are not logic or cryptography puzzles. These two are extremely difficult to answer correctly on the first try.
- Puppet King: In the Masonic Brodfeld route, King Kloseu becomes an initiate of the Masonic Order and becomes their puppet, giving the masons full control over the government.
- Pyramid Power: Their focus tree is shaped like a pyramid, with the top focus having the focus icon of a glowing eye, referencing the eye of providence symbol commonly associated with The Illuminati.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: The Masonic Lodges of the Kingdom of Brodfeld are actually a secret pseudo-religious organization that is planning to spread their rule across the continent. They communicate entirely through obfuscated codes and only admit those who can decrypt their codes and accept their ideology.
- Take Over the World: The Masons seek to bring their light across the whole continent. To this end, they create many seemingly benevolent international organizations and offer their aid to other nations, using the chance to infiltrate their governments with Masons. Once the Masons are in place, they will convert the country to Masonic rule, and eventually let Prywhen annex them.
- Un-person: The Masons forcefully disappear anyone who challenges them or might be a threat to them, and silences the aftermath so the disappeared people are forgotten.
- Walking Spoiler: Merely mentioning the existence of the organization spoils the fact that there is a hidden route for the Kingdom of Brodfeld.
Griffon Liberation Army
- Magikarp Power: The GLA/Prywhen starts as one of the weakest nations in the game, having a lubriciously weak army, extremely low populations, extremely poor industry and science, huge penalties on just about everything, and potentials for even more political crises that further drag its powers down. However, the GLA can snowball rapidly through strategic conquest, able to gain cores on a significant portion of the Griffonian continent, including the Griffonian Empire itself.
- Meaningful Rename: After winning the civil war, GLA renames the Kingdom of Brodfeld to Prywhen, which is the original name of the region that the Kingdom of Brodfeld did not adopt; Brodfeld was instead the birthplace of the royal family.
Free Towns of Gryphus
- The Coup:
- The player's choices in the initial Riaportu Congress debates and other early game events can antagonize or appease the Order of Opinicus or the Gryps-Süd GmbH. If one side is antagonized enough, they will launch a coup, the Order using their Knights and Gryps-Süd using mercenaries. If the player had appeased the other side, their forces can be called upon to put down the coup, keeping the elected council in power.
- If both sides are appeased, a bunch of anti-status quo local extremists will attempt their own coup, only to be stopped by the combined forces of the Order, the Company, and the governing Council.
- Civil War:
- Piss off both the Order and the Company, and they will simultaneously launch a coup on the Council, which quickly breaks down into a civil war between the Order and the Company within Riaportu to decide who will control Gryphus.
- In the event that the fighting in Riaportu ends with a Dark Horse Victory from the communists, a real civil war will start in Gryphus, between the communists and the remnants of the congress.
- Dark Horse Victory: The civil war between the Order and the Company can end up so that neither side wins, and both the Order and the Company are weakened. The oppressed Gryphussian workers will then decide to band together, launch an uprising, and defeat both the Order and the Company, turning Gryphus into a communist nation.
- The Fundamentalist: The Order of Opinicus is fanatically religious. If they come to power, they will create a fundamentalist order-state with state enforced worship of Griffon gods, an Inquisitorial Office that hunts down heretics, a chapterhouse in every town, religious militants, and active cleansing against the natives in the north and the sinners in the cities.
- Mega-Corp: The Gryphusische Südkontinent-Gesellschaft (Gryphus Southern Continent Company) is a large trade company founded in Sicameon, which received an Imperial charter that granted them full rights to all commerce in the Gryphus sea. An extremely powerful and influential force in Gryphus, They are seen as greedy and ruthless merchants that put profit above all else.
- One Nation Under Copyright: If antagonized enough, the Gryps-Süd GmbH can launch a coup with mercenaries and replace the government with themselves, creating a fully privately-owned nation. The government is sidelined and puppeted by the company, and the society is increasingly privatized until the entire country becomes one massive economic zone.
- The Order: The Order of Opinicus is a Knightly Order founded by the Empire to defend their Empire's southern border. They are bunch of fanatics demanding a crusade on the ponies heathens, and are mad that the Gryphussian government is holding them back.
- Chummy Commies: Unlike Aniela, who is a morally grey character with good intentions but awful execution, Piórowski is unambiguously a good communist leader with good intentions and good execution.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Edward Piórowski is the leader of the trade union Solidarność, and can become the leader of Gryphus after resisting against an authoritarian socialist rule, mirroring Polish statesman Lech Wałęsa.
- Allohistorical Allusion: Aniela's Gryphus directly parallels the real life Stalinist Polish People's Republic. Aniela creates the Ministry of Public Security and the Milicja Obywatelska to keep her people loyal. They would only worsen the political repression in Gryphus, and escalate anti-government protests. Edward Piórowski, leader of banned trade union Solidarność, would reappear to lead the protests, and force the government to make talks with Solidarity in a round table talk. The government abdicates under pressure, and Solidarity wins the new elections.
- Heel Realization: After the situation in Gryphus becomes completely unsustainable under her rule, and protests are overpowering the government, Aniela realizes that she had been doing an awful job at running the country, and resigns.
- Illegal Religion: Aniela attempts to rapidly transition Gryphus into state atheism. As with everything else she does, it ends up terribly; the heavy-handed efforts to atheize Gryphus turns into straight-up repression against the church and its members, leading to destroyed churches and even some murdered clergygriffs. This causes everyone from the church to collectively resist against Aniela's government.
- The Peter Principle: Aniela is a capable general and a popular revolutionary, but she has a rather weak grasp of socialist ideals. The Peter Principle thus kicks in full force should she be voted into power; Aniela is not very good at leading a country, and her government is rife with incompetence and overly-ambitious goals, leading to resistance from the people against their policies. She reacts to the resistance with increasing levels of authoritarianism, making the country's management even worse.
- Reign of Terror: In an attempt to instill revolutionary resolve in the masses, members of her party organize an operation named Operation Rozwiązać, where members of the citizens militia (Milicja Obywatelska) would go around and conduct community activities to harden peoples' spirits. However, the undisciplined militia proceeds to encourage people to riot, and attacks random citizens, burns "reactionary" buildings, and starts Kangaroo Courts that hang thousands to death. Things got so bad, that some Ministry of Public Security members actually tried to save people by commuting death sentences to hard labor.
- Secret Police: Aniela creates the Ministry of Public Security to suppress anti-government forces. They would launch Operation Sortowanie, an operation during which the country is put into temporary martial law, and MPS agents mass arrest dissenters and protesters and send them off to labor camps.
- Culture Chop Suey: Lake City has elements of both Serbia and Japan. Their region and division names are all in Serbian, while their culture are based on Japan. Princely Lake City's faction, East-Griffonia Co-Prosperity Sphere, is based on Imperial Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. One of their R&D companies, Neighsan, is a reference to real life Japanese company Nissan, but has a Cyrillic logo.
- Deal with the Devil: During the attempted coup by Princely Restorationists, the government can decide to work with Westerly's Republican Vanguard paramilitaries to restore order. Doing so empowers the Republican Vanguard, meaning that either future elections will come under even more military meddling, or Westerly will be directly put in charge, who is just as awful, if not even worse than the Princely Restorationists (who at least have a sympathetic prince).
- The Empire: After the Princely Restoration, Lake City can begin to militarily conquer the rest of the Riverlands and proclaim the River Empire. If they're feeling bold, they can proceed to conquer the Griffonian Empire and put a pony on the Griffon throne, declaring the Holy Pony Empire and enraging the rest of the Griffonian continent, ensuring an enormous continental war between the Griffon nations and the Holy Pony Empire.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The Principality of Lake City was once the dominant power of the Riverlands, even subjugating the Zaphzan griffon tribes to the south. A civil war would eventually collapse their hegemony, as their subjects broke free. Griffon Emperor Grover I's conquests would further humiliate Lake City, as their capital was sacked and their Grand Prince forced to abdicate.
- Patriotic Fervor: Due to their long history of withstanding attacks from the Griffons, the people of Lake City are having a streak of militarism, emboldening the Lake City Army.
- Tempting Fate: The description of the focus for putting Heavenly Snow on the Griffon Throne says that "our Griffon subjects will soon come to love and respect His Majesty", when it almost always results in every Griffon nation being antagonized at once and declaring war on the Holy Pony Empire simultaneously.
- Military Coup: Wild Tree leads a faction of Princely Restorationists in the military, and launches a coup against the Republican government one month into the game. Should he succeed, he will declare the restoration of the Grand Prince of Lake City, with him serving as a temporary regent until Grand Prince Heavenly Snow is ready to assume the position.
Grand Prince Heavenly Snow
- Affluent Ascetic: Despite being the heir to the Grand Prince title, Heavenly Snow was a modest artisan for most of his life, and lives very modestly even after the restoration. For example, while his advisors wants to restore the tradition of grand birthday parties for the Grand Prince, Heavenly Snow himself does not want a grand party and wishes for a private birthday party only attended by his family.
- Rightful King Returns: Lake City was originally a Principality, but their last Prince was forced to abdicate when their capital was sacked by Griffon Emperor Grover I's forces many decades ago. By 1007 (when the game begins), Heavenly Snow is the individual with the strongest claims to the Grand Prince title, and a radical faction in the military wants to restore him to the Grand Prince position.
- Rags to Royalty: As the last Grand Prince of Lake City abdicated hundreds of years ago, Heavenly Snow lived as a commoner before the military coup restores him to royalty.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Westerly Leeward leads the Republican Vanguards, a radical right-wing party that adopts an anti-griffon position. They fearmonger against the griffon threat, work closely with the military, and have an armed paramilitary wing. If Westerly comes to power, he will militarize the country and begin intervention against the Griffons.
- Civil War: It is possible for General Hector Lipizzan to launch a revolt against a communist River Republic, or for General Caramel Haze to launch a revolt against a non-communist River Republic.
- Red Scare: Socialists united under Nova Whirl's SKR have been gaining a lot of traction in the River Republic recently, causing endless arguments in the Rijekan parliament and fears of a political upheaval.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: River Republic has a secret service called the Office of Harmonic Services (OHS) which makes morally dubious acts in the name of ensuring the survival of harmony.
- Deal with the Devil: If River Swirl uses the Emergency Powers Bill to stop Nova Whirl from getting elected, "The Phoenix Programme" part of the focus tree will open up. If it is chosen, the anti-socialist and anti-Empire elites of the River Republic will come together to put OHS director Arclight in charge of the country, so the political chaos will not happen again. Their actions are entirely legal under the Emergency Powers Bill that River Swirl just signed, and she cannot stop them from effectively couping her and installing the more authoritarian Arclight.
- Emergency Authority: During the political chaos, River Swirl's party, united in anti-socialism, passes the Emergency Powers Bill, allowing the chancellor to suspend the constitution in the event of an emergency. Signing the bill grants an additional choice in the event where Nova Whirl proclaims a motion of No Confidence (normally beginning a series of election events that might end with Nova on top), where River Swirl can suspend the constitution and stop the election, keeping the Harmonist party in power.
- Chummy Commies: Nova Whirl maintains the democratic system in River Republic, and favors peacefully influencing other countries in the River Coalition into accepting communism.
- Dirty Commies: Caramel is a fanatical communist that seizes power by launching a coup against the democratically elected Nova Whirl. This is Downplayed by the fact that his actual focus tree is generally benevolent, though in terms of foreign relations Caramel favors militarist expansion over peaceful conversion to spread communism.
- Cincinnatus: After ending the communists' internal threat and the Empire's external threat, Arclight can decide to let the OHS go back into the background and reinstate the democratic government.
- Emergency Authority: OHS Director Arclight is put in charge of the whole country after River Swirl signs the Emergency Powers Bill and "The Phoenix Programme" part of the focus tree is selected. With a series of authoritarian measures, Arclight is expected to strengthen the River Republic against threats both within and without.
- Permanent Elected Official: After ending the Empire, the OHS can decide to keep them and Arclight permanently in power, making their temporary leadership permanent.
Kingdom of Wittenland
- Civil War: Should both White Star and Honoria die in the duel, Wulfric will ascend to the throne and overturn White Star's reforms. The freed serfs of Wittenland are enraged, and unite under Comrade Voliare to rise up against Wulfric, starting a civil war.
- Klingon Promotion: Wittenland is a meritocratic monarchy where the magically talented are allowed to challenge the crown in a duel. The duel is normally supposed to be safe and non-lethal, but the situation surrounding Honoria and White Star turns it into a duel to the death.
- Magical Society: Wittenland is a country of magic-using unicorns, and their leader is chosen by meritocratic duels.
- Wizard Duel: Honoria challenges Queen White Star to a duel to bring about her vision of a Wittenland where everyone is free to realize their potential as masters of the world.
Queen White Star
- Internal Reformist: Queen White Star is working to phase out the antiquated serfdom and work towards an eventual total land reform.
- Sadistic Choice: Queen White Star faces a difficult situation when Honoria challenges her. Honoria is a former serf freed by her policies, but she is backed by Wulfric who is trying to manipulate both sides so that he wins out. If White Star doesn't abdicate and wins the duel, she would be seen as a betrayer to her reformist policies, becoming an example of nobility supremacy that she opposed. If White Star does abdicate or loses the duel, a new leader backed by the corrupt nobility will be put into power, in the worst case straight up allowing them to depose Honoria and put Wulfric in power. White Star chooses to duel, and if she wins, she Take a Third Option to beat out Wulfric.
- Take a Third Option: If White Star wins the duel, she does not deal the killing blow on Honoria, and instead tells everyone that she is a failure to her ideals and offers Honoria the crown. White Star then secretly tells the defeated Honoria to immediately refuse the crown or die. Honoria complies and swears her fealty to White Star, allowing White Star to keep herself in power without looking like a hypocrite.
- The Coup: Should Honoria win her duel with White Star, the whole situation ends up as more of a coup, as she kills White Star and forces the nobility to support her by taking their family hostage with her guards.
- Rags to Riches: Honoria is a former serf freed by Queen White Star, and became suddenly wealthy by becoming a merchant captain.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Honoria believes in a more extreme version of White Star's egalitarianism, and thinks that White Star is not doing enough. So she challenges the Queen to a duel to take the leadership, takes the nobles hostage to secure full control, and espouses nationalist and unicorn supremacist rhetoric to let every unicorn of Wittenland see their true potential. Her ideology is ultimately classified as fascist in gameplay terms, despite her beliefs in freedom and equality.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Lord Wulfric wants to become the king by manipulating the duel of Queen White Star and Honoria, supporting the former peasant Honoria so that White Star is forced to duel Honoria to the death, while the nobility represented by him can proceed to depose whomever is left and put him in power. He doesn't exactly get what he wants in any of the three outcomes of the duel:
- If White Star wins, White Star spares Honoria and forces her to pledge support to her, and Wulfric gets nothing.
- If Honoria wins, Honoria's guards take his family hostage, forcing Wulfric to support Honoria as the new queen.
- If White Star and Honoria both die in the duel, Wulfric does become King... only for the serfs to unite under a communist leadership and launch a civil war.
- The Coup: In the purists' path, the purists led by General Andreia attempt a military coup, seeking support from the Chief of Army (elected in an earlier event). The coup can either succeed or fail depending on who is the Chief of Army.
- Culture Chop Suey: Nimbusia is an amalgamation of Sparta and Athens, featuring both Spartan militarism and Athenian democracy.
- Fantastic Caste System: Nimbusia's caste system is more or less the same caste system as real life Sparta, just with pegasi. Non-pegasi are put in the bottom slave-like class of Helots, the non-citizen pegasi are in the middle class of Perioikoi, and the pegasi warriors are put in the top class, the citizen-warrior class.
- Fantastic Racism: Nimbusia was founded by Pegasi warriors, and their militaristic society discriminates against non-Pegasi, putting them all in the Helot class which are treated no better than slaves.
- Slave Revolt: If Nimbusia's stability drops too low during the initial Boule debate tree, a Helot revolt occurs, plunging Nimbusia into a civil war.
- Dug Too Deep: The Dig Deep focus eventually makes the Diamond Dogs pay for the massive resource boon (among other things, turning Diamond Mountain into a crystal producer rivaled only by the Crystal Empire) by potentially turning Kazar-ar-Bark into a demilitarized, 0 infrastructure wasteland.
- Mechanically Unusual Class: Downplayed since they don't have any especially unique mechanics like the Dread League does, but Diamond Mountain is both the only non-pony starting member of the River Coalitionnote and the only Diamond Dog nation in the game, giving them a unique racial tech tree and access to unique Ironpaws special forces.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: They're stock fantasy dwarves in every way except for actually literally being short, bearded humanoids, and Diamond Mountain is their mountainhome. They're greedy, industrious, change-averse mountain-dwellers with a literal king in the mountain, and they specialize in defensive combat, especially in the hills and mountains.
- Punny Name: The three major parties all have dog-themed acronyms; the fascist party is named GROWL (Glory to the Royal Will), the harmony party is named BARK (Bread and Recreation Kinship), the communist party is named WUF (Worker's United Front), and the non-aligned party is named PANT (Party National).
- Slave Revolt: Diamond Mountain is currently at risk of a major slave rebellion led by Clifford the Red.
- Token Evil Teammate: They are this to the rest of the River Coalition. They're the only member that starts fascist and their fascist regime maintains a massive system of slavery.
- Underground City: As befits their dwarf-like nature, their cities are under mountains rather than on the surface, and this gives them a significant reduction in factory bomb vulnerability.
- Revenge: King Rover wants revenge on Hellquill for robbing their vaults.
- Archnemesis Dad: Princess Molly opposes her father and wants to end the slavery system in Diamond Mountain.
Clifford the Red
- Ban on Magic: The Firtree Villages ban anyone except the Seers from using magic. The former chief's daughter, Shinespark, was exiled for violating this rule. One of their two main political decisions is whether to maintain this ban, or lift it and allow Shinespark to return after the death of her father.
- Civil War: The decision as to whether or not to allow Shinespark to return can spiral out of control into a civil war for control of the country.
- FaceHeel Turn: If Shinespark is allowed to return, she'll lift the Ban on Magic and turn the harmonious Firtree Villages into either a Bandit Clan or a necromancer state, albeit a less omnicidal one than the Dread League.
- Hidden Elf Village: The Firtree Villages are one of the most secluded countries on the map, and one of their two main political deicsions is whether to remain that way, or to open up to the outside world.
- The Magocracy: Shinespark lifts the Firtree Villages' Ban on Magic, reorganizing the state into the Firtree Magocracy, which may either become an expansionist Bandit Clan or turn inwards and study necromancy.
- Seer: Seers are the only members of society allowed to practice magic in the Firtrees Villages, and Seer Iorweth becomes the leader of the Firtree Villages if Shinespark is not allowed to return.
- Succession Crisis: The big choice facing the Firtree Villages is whether to allow Shinespark, the exiled heir to the Coldmouth clan, back into the clan after her father dies, or to pass rule to Iorweth the Spirit Speaker.
Iorweth the Spirit Speaker
- Prophet Eyes: After Iorweth goes on his Vision Quest, he comes back with glowing white eyes.
- Vision Quest: If Iorweth becomes the leader of the Firtree Villages and remains isolationist, he can commune with the spirit world, opening up new options on the focus tree and gaining Prophet Eyes.
- Bandit Clan: If Shinespark is allowed to return and opens up to the outside world, she turns the country into a bandit state, raiding its neighbors for additional test subjects and resources.
- Necromancer: If Shinespark is allowed to return and remains isolationist, she can study necromancy in Magehold and spread the secrets of necromancy to her inner circle.
- We Have Reserves: If Shinespark starts practicing necromancy, her acolytes are thrilled about the potential of overwhelming their enemies in a tide of skeletal warriors.
- Press X to Die: In the focus tree, players are explicitly discouraged to go down Hempstrand's Socialist Agrarian Party tree, and warns that going down his tree can result in easy game overs. In fact, looking at the tree in detail shows that all of the focuses bar the final one ("Utopia Achieved") provide heavy penalties and no benefits, incurring heavy political power losses, reducing societal development to extremely basic de-industralized societies, and completely disarming the nation. If the player is still not discouraged and goes down his route... ...then mid-way through "Utopia Achieved" (which takes 350 days to complete, far longer than any other focus in the game), the famine hits, and the focus tree is completely replaced with a famine management tree that in the best case scenario ends with Farbrook being puppeted by a friendly country, in the worst case scenario causing hundreds upon thousands of deaths and leaving Farbrook as an unindustrialized, depopulated, and disarmed husk of a country.
- Voluntary Vampire Victim: 800 years ago, Farbrook Chieftain Fingal discovered the Changelings of Greneclyf and willingly offered up sympathy and affection to the starving Queen Dylis in what both countrues came to know as the "First Sharing" and teaching the Greneclyf Changelings about Harmony.
- Blood Knight: Hermane Gering is very warlike and wants to conquer other tribes and countries to demonstrate the might of Farbrook.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After being removed from power, Gering would fall hard and become an alcoholic. In the worst ending for Gering, he would turn to drugs and die of an overdose.
- HeelFace Turn: One outcome of Gering's removal from power is that he decides to use his aggression for good, and goes off to join the Arcturian Order.
- Sanity Slippage: One outcome of Gering's removal from power is that he goes nuts, hijacks a plane, and flies off to Haukland where he starts a new life on an tiny islet, while the equally unhinged Graf Herman Meyer of Haukland drops fishes on him every day because he likes watching a stallion weirdo do weird things.
- Allohistorical Allusion: In one of her endings where the Communists are banned, she gets assassinated by an assassin from Brodfeld with an ice axe, mirroring the death of Trotsky.
- Chummy Commies: Applethorn's socialist policies are overall really positive for the people of Farbrook, granting many useful industry bonuses to the backwards nation (at the cost of some stability). At the bare minimum, she is not a naive Wide-Eyed Idealist like Hempstrand.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the endings where she is removed from power, she gets frustrated at the stubbornness and backwardness of the Farbrook people, and eventually leaves the country for Prywhen (where she learned communism during her travels) or Stalliongrad (if the GLA was defeated), seeking to spread communism elsewhere.
Leader of the Socialist Agrarian Party, Hempstrand advocates for a peaceful retreat from the industrial world, creating a world where people can live in harmony with the nature and with each other. Choosing him for leadership is a bad idea, unless you like game overs.
- Failure Is the Only Option: There is no way for Hempstrand's policies to succeed. Farbrook will either end up the subject of another country, or suffer hundreds of thousands of deaths, and Hempstrand himself will be removed from office either way.
- Joke Character: Choosing Hempstrand's route at best makes things much harder for Farbrook and at worst ends the game for them. The absolute best thing he can do is implement none of his policies.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Hempstrand's desires to create an anarcho-primitivist utopia where every living being lives in harmony backfires horribly, as his destruction of industrial tools caused food production to plummet, leading to a deadly famine.
- Schmuck Bait: The focus tree where he is chosen to lead the country very explicitly warns you "It's a bad idea for a human to choose this option, unless you like getting game overs".
- Reality Ensues: Destroy all the farming tools, and farming output plummets. When food production plummets, people die.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Hempstrand's pacifist anarcho-primitivist ideals are incredibly optimistic, ultimately self-destructive, have little bearing in actual objective reality, and are entirely at odds with the gameplay of Hearts of Iron IV, which is fundamentally a war game.
- Driven to Suicide: If Greneclyf is unable to open peaceful relations with the mainlanders, Gytha will be driven to despair and take her own life, leading to the ascension of either her brother Moax, or a competing noble and the first queen from a different house in over 800 years, Oiren, the latter of whom can also abdicate to establish a communist state.
- FaceHeel Turn: It is possible for Greneclyf to have a crisis of leadership or open relations with Chrysalis and return to the old ways, becoming emotion-devouring conquerors like their counterparts on Equus.
- Hidden Elf Village: While not as cut off or hidden from the world as the Dread League and Arcturian Order, Greneclyf starts with the Isolationism economy law and almost no interaction with the outside world, save for their Odd Friendship with Farbrook, to the point that their island nation has no navy at the start of the game. Opening contact with the outside world will have serious consequences for their society, especially as much of the rest of the world initially distrusts them due to being Changelings, and if not handled correctly, this rough first contact with the outside world can cause a crisis of faith for their Harmonious regime.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Unlike Chrysalis's Changelings, Greneclyf's Changelings follow the path of Harmony as a result of the First Sharing 800 years ago, when Farbrook Chieftain Fingal willingly offered up sympathy and affection to a starving Queen Dylis, laying the foundation for co-operation between Farbrook and Greneclyf and teaching the Changelings there about Harmony, and as such have largely eschewed any nefarious use of their shapeshifting abilities.
- Bandit Clan: The Sunstriker Clan is a clan of bandits ruled by Eriviar Sunstriker. They terrorize the locals and launch raids to gather loot for Eriviar.
- Exact Words: The Sunstriker Clan didn't make a pact with the Empire; they made it with the Emperor, Grover V. When Grover V dies, the Sunstriker Clan breaks away instantly.
- Human Sacrifice: After Eriviar becomes a disciple of Maar, he can make mass griffon sacrifices to Maar in exchange for grand rewards.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: The key moment that defines Eriviar's path is his sudden and unexpected coma into the middle of the path. Eriviar can come out of the coma either as a more rational king, or a howling mad servant of Maar.
- King of Thieves: Eriviar is the king of the Sunstriker clan of bandits, though he is also treated as the actual king of the land.
- HeelFace Turn: One of the two possibilities after Eriviar awakens from his coma is that he suddenly becomes far more rational. Though still an ambitious autocrat, his newly-found mental clarity leads him to reform his country, improving infrastructure, reducing banditry, and improving industry, becoming a more proper and responsible king.
- Unholy Matrimony: If the Reformisten wins the Longswordian Civil War and Rosa Heidenreich takes over, a series of events can fire (via a line of focuses in Rosa's Longsword) where Rosa and Eriviar fall in love with each other and eventually marries.
- Allohistorical Allusion: The Griffonian Republic's "Three Principles of the Griffon" are based on Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen's "Three Principles of the People".
- The Famine: Due to the complete chaos the Republic currently faces, they are sitting on the edge of a major famine.
- Magikarp Power: The Griffonian Republic starts off as a borderline failed state, but can over time build up its powers to challenge the Empire. If the Republic overthrows the Empire, the final focuses for building the Republic grant such enormous bonuses that the Republic can become a global superpower in no time.
- The Remnant: The Griffonian Republic is the remnant of a failed republican revolution in the Griffonian Empire, their forces having escaped to the frigid north to avoid the Empire's forces.
- The Republic: The Griffonian Republic is much more morally uptight than the Empire, and can easily pursue democratic and harmonious policies.
- We ARE Struggling Together:
- The Republican Army is a complete mess at the start of the game. The Army has very low morale, and many soldiers have resorted to plundering locals, and many opportunistic officers are mutineering. The very first thing the focus tree does is trying to get the soldiers back in line by either bribing the generals or completely reform the military. If things don't go so well, there is a very good chance for the soldiers to rebel, starting a civil war inside the Republic.
- In addition to the messed up Army, the socialists in the Republican revolution have decided to split off and form the Socialist Republic of Skynavia under Asper Sickleclaw, after seeing the authoritarianism and warlordism of the other Republican generals. The Griffonian Republic can either reconcile with them or be forced to annex them by war.
- Action Politician: Kemerskai is both a military leader and a political leader, befitting his "President-Marshal" title.
- Cincinnatus: Once the Republic is rebuilt, and the Empire is defeated, Kemerskai will step down and let the Republic's democracy lead the country.
- Emergency Authority: To rebuild the Republic, Kemerskai can declare a state of martial law, aiming to clean up the country and industrialize it so they can fight the Empire.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: President-Marshal Kemerskai is a Composite Character of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, being the leader of a Republican rebellion (that is currently in chaos, like real life China after the Xinhai revolution) against an ailing monarchy like Sun. Kemerskai can also declare martial law and turn himself into a military dictator in the name of pursuing an eventual Republic, just like Chiang.
- The Hero Dies: At the very end of the focus tree, after Kemerskai fully realizes the Republican dream, with a new democracy leading the country, Kemerskai dies, and his nation mourns him. The player can rename the former Republic capital, Cloudbury, to Kemerskaistadt, in order to honor him.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Kemerskai can pursue more dictatorial policies (such as enacting long periods of martial law) to strengthen the Griffonian Republic so they can eventually take on the Griffonian Empire.
Socialist Republic of Skynavia
- Chummy Commies: The Communists of Skynavia are by far some of the most democratic communists on both continents, having a very well developed socialist democratic system (represented as a gameplay mechanic), and even explicitly states that they reject authoritarian socialism in some of the events.
- Magikarp Power: Skynavia begins as a backwater socialist country even more fringe than the Griffonian Republic and the Griffonian Liberation Army. Despite this, they also have pan-Griffonian ideals and with some hard work can expand to encompass all of Griffonia.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Skynavian politics is fiercely divided between Internationalists who are eager to spread the revolution, and Communalists who want to maintain what they have right now.
- Book Burning: Dictator Sickleclaw organizes a massive book burning across Skynavia to destroy subversive socialist literature.
- Cincinnatus: Sickleclaw serves as the authoritarian provisional leader of the Socialist Republic to safeguard the Republic through periods of hardship. Once the hardship is over, he is expected to step down and turn over the powers to the General Congress. He can decide not to.
- Driven to Suicide: If Sickleclaw's military dictatorship is overthrown, he commits suicide inside his office after his headquarters is stormed by a large group of revolters.
- Drunk with Power: Initially the provisional leader of the Socialist Republic of Skynavia, expected to give up his powers to the General Congress, Sickleclaw can decide that he does not want to give up his powers, and soon turns on his fellow socialists.
- Emergency Authority: When the Socialist Republic is in a losing war, Asper Sickleclaw can be recalled back to the leadership to lead the country through the war, granting several temporary bonuses to the country.
- FaceHeel Turn: Disappointed with socialism, Sickleclaw can decide to make his temporary power permanent and begin a military dictatorship. He will then purge socialist elements from Skynavia and declare an perpetual martial law to keep his power indefinitely.
- Full-Circle Revolution: It is possible for Asper Sickleclaw to seize power and become the military dictator for Skynavia, just like Kemerskai's authoritarian government that originally led to Skynavia's secession. In fact, in many ways, Sickleclaw's dictatorship is worse than Kemerskai ever was or ever could be.
- The Gulag: As a part of his anti-socialism efforts, Sickleclaw sends socialist thinkers (activists, teachers, philosophers, etc.) to work camps to reeducate them.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Sickleclaw's path to a military dictator begins very mildly, when he simply states that he wants to stay in power for a bit longer. Once the council reacts against him and begins a civil war, Sickleclaw rapidly descents into a total dictator willing to cleanse the entire society to get rid of socialism.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the event where Sickleclaw becomes the dictator of Skynavia, he initially states that he is a Well-Intentioned Extremist that was disillusioned with socialism and its bickering politicians, and thus wanted to give Skynavia a strong leader. However, his subsequent Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and creation of an anti-socialist police state made it unclear as to what does Sickleclaw truly believe anymore.
- Police State: Skynavia under Sickleclaw is a tightly controlled nation that harshly punishes socialism at every level of society, where the secret police watches every citizen and arrests any sign of dissent, where people are incentivized to report on each other for socialist behavior, where the army either actively purges socialism or gets purged themselves. Everyone lives in fear.
- The Purge: Sickleclaw's dictatorship begins an extensive purge on the society and the army to root out socialist elements, where one tenth of the military personnel are liquidated.
- Revolving Door Revolution: In Sickleclaw's dictatorship route, after he deposes the General Congress to create his military dictatorship, if Sickleclaw does not pacify Skynavia within 450 days, a communist revolt happens and deposes him.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Under Sickleclaw's military dictatorship, fear, repression, and purges run rampant. In his desire to completely cleanse the country of socialism that he thought had failed them, Sickleclaw had become a complete tyrant.
- Walking Spoiler: While Sickleclaw plays a very minor role for the vast majority of Skynavian playthroughs, the Skynavian route where Sickleclaw plays a major role is spoileriffic.
Kingdom of Vedina
- Succession Crisis: While King Wingstrom has a daughter. Princess Sköldsvärd has yet to prove herself by passing the traditional trials to earn her right to the throne.
- General Failure: The Northern Tribes are home to two of the absolute worst generals in the game - Gordon the Archer, who was once a great war hero, but whose blindness more than offsets any skill he may have once had, and Federic Birch, who is an imbecile and exactly as capable as one might expect a drooling idiot to be - no matter what his raw stats are, his Imbecile trait negates all bonuses his stats might offer, and it carriers a significant penalty to division attack and defense.
- Expy: The Arcturian Order is an expy of The Night's Watch, being an ancient and largely forgotten knight order founded to defend the continent against an army of the dead coming from the far north.
- FaceHeel Turn: Rosa may attempt a conference with the Arcturian Order with the intention of either corrupting the Order from within or forming a treaty under false pretenses. If her corruption efforts or treaty negotiations go as she intends, the Arcturian Order will immediately disband and be annexed by the Dread League.
- The Good Kingdom: After their victory against the Dread League, the Arcturian Order reforms into the Arcturian Kingdom, and begins to open up to the world. Still led by the Arcturian Order, with the former headmaster being the constitutional or the absolute king, the Kingdom can either enter the world in peace (Harmonic) or be played as a Knight Templar and spread their rule by force (Non-Aligned).
- Hidden Elf Village: The Arcturian Order adopted a policy of isolationism, deliberately turning away all outsiders to focus on defending against the Dread League. Other countries cannot interact with them until they finish off the Dread League and turn into the Arcturian Kingdom.
- Hold the Line: The strategy to fight against the Dread League is to hold the initial reinforced border at all costs. Any breakdown in the frontline will most likely doom the order to an eventual defeat.
- Instant-Win Condition: If they successfully complete the focus and mission to retrieve the Shield of Hope, they instantly win against the Dread League, no matter how the war is going.
- The Order: The Arcturian Order is an ancient order of holy knights founded to keep the undead up the North of Griffonia under control.
- No Mere Windmill: Following their victory on Dread League, the Order can renew their investigation into former Headmaster Torygg's assassination. It is revealed that Torygg was concerned about some other dark force manipulating many events throughout history — and as the investigation draws to a close, he's revealed to have been right, for with the Order on the trail of the Windigos, they reveal themselves, take control of the Dread Peninsula and launch a second war.
William Steel Beak
- The Good King: William is the Harmony option for the Arcturian Order, and becomes a King of Harmony after the defeat of the Dread League and the creation of the Arcturian Kingdom, pursuing more peaceful diplomatic relations with their neighbors.
- Knight Templar: Østvald has knight templar tendencies, as he believes that the code of the Order should be upheld by all. Once the Arcturian Kingdom is created, Østvald pursuits more aggressive and expansionist policies.
- Hard-Coded Hostility: The Dread League fights two wars: the first one with the Arcturian Order, and the second one with the rest of the world. After taking the focus "Finis Omnium Vitarum", the Dread League will automatically and continuously declare war on all of their neighbouring countries.
- Mechanically Unusual Fighter: The Dread League relies on raising the dead, giving it a near endless stream of bodies and absurd numbers, but its tech is incredibly poor.
- Names To Run Away From Very Fast: A running theme for the country - they're called the Dread League, all of their starting states sound ominous, their leader can take the title "Queen of Blood" or "Queen of Bones", and all of their ships have names like "Corruption", "Desecration", and "Soul Reaver". The theme even extends to some lands once held by the ancient Dread Empire, such as Losthope in Farbrook and Bonedrift in Firtree.
- The Necrocracy: The Dread League is governed by a cabal of necromancers (most of them liches) and a coven of vampire lords.
- Necromancer: The Dread League is a league of necromancers who fight with an army of raised dead.
- Omnicidal Maniac: The Dread League seeks to wipe out all life in Equestria.
- Outside-Context Problem: Semi-omniscience provided by the user interface not withstanding, pretty much nopony outside the Arcturian Order and the Dread League itself is aware they even exist, and in a world preparing for an industrial World War II-like conflict, they're an almost completely magical threat that wouldn't be remotely out of place in a more traditionally fantastic setting.
- Purposely Overpowered: A game set-up option called "Dread Apocalypse" is designed to make the Black Crusade much more intense can certainly make an AI Dread League purposely overpowerednote by allowing the Dread League to to take both the Coven of Blood and Coven of Bones routes, which are normally mutually-exclusivenote , gaining huge bonuses to division quality, recruitable population and population growth, more free factories, basic fighters and kamikaze tactics, offsetting most of their tech rate penalty, and doing both trees in the time it would take them to complete just one.
- Quality Vs Quantity: The main choice for the Dread League is whether to favor the vampires of the Coven of Blood or the lichs of the Coven of Bones. The Coven of Blood is the quality route, trading away most of the Dread League's massive population growth for significant improvements in division attack and speed and offsetting a significant portion of the Dread League's massive tech penalty. The Coven of Bones is the quantity choice, ignoring the Dread League's tech penalty entirely in favor of doubling down on its massive population growth and recruitment rate and favoring attrition tactics in a war of raw numbers with boosted defense and kamikaze tactics.
- The Undead: The Dread League's entire army is made up of the reanimated dead. They get a huge portion of recruitable core population, and basically no recruitable non-core population. However, they can "convert" the living non-core population to recruitable population by decisions, and in the Coven of Bones route, they get massive boosts to population growth to represent raising hordes of the undead.
- Vampire Procreation Limit: Since vampires can't convert the living to mostly-mindless thralls as rapidly or endlessly as the lichs and necromancers can raise skeletons and zombies, the Coven of Blood route sacrifices most of the Dread League's massive population growth. Fortunely for the Dread League, thralls are stronger and faster than zombies and skeletons.
- HeelFace Turn: After being defeated, the Arcturian Order can try to purge Rosa of evil influences and turn her to the side of the light. If the correct choices (the more compassionate ones) are chosen, Rosa will embrace light and turn to goodness, becoming a member of the Arcturian Order. Alternatively, she can attempt to subvert the Arcturian Order via corruption or diplomacy, only to have these backfire and have the Arcturian Order either root out the corruption and convince her to disband the Dread League, or they actually embrace the treaty of peace and friendship and push it hard, which can result in Rosa actually agreeing and giving up the Dread League's goals of wiping out all life.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Rosa's attempts to subvert the Arcturian Order and eliminate them without a war may instead lead to the Dread League being disbanded and itself eliminated without putting up the fight they had spent years preparing for.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: It should be no surprise that somepony whose last name is Maledicta is one of the most evil beings in the setting.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: The flavor text for Rosa as the Queen of Blood describes her as both beautiful and terrifying. To the description's credit, she looks much younger and no longer has the gaunt appearance of her pre-transformation self.
- Broken Record: When the investigation concludes, the post-Dread-League-War Arcturian Order focus "The Investigation"'s description turns into:"They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming. They are coming."
- Diabolus ex Machina: There is no hint towards the existence of the Windigoes before the investigation happens. Once the investigation finishes and the Windigoes are revealed, they also instantly reveal themselves physically and declare war on the Arcturian Order, forcing them into a second, much more unexpected war.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Despite instantly appearing with 40 divisions, the Arcturian Order at this point in time would have developed a very strong army that had already defeated the Dread League before. With a little extra help from other countries, the Arcturian Order can easily crush the Northern Storm.
- Eldritch Abomination: The windigoes are nightmarish monsters that feed on disharmony, and have influenced many events that occurred throughout Equus and Griffonia to produce discord so they can feast. They are also extremely powerful magical creatures, and had hid their presence extremely well.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: The presence of windigoes is associated with a sudden drop in temperature.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The windigoes had a hand in influencing Rosa and causing the Dread League's Black Crusade so they can feed on the disharmony created.
- True Final Boss: The Windigoes are the true final boss for the Arcturian Order. After the Dread League is defeated, and the investigation is fully complete, the Windigoes reveal themselves with little warning, instantly retaking the entire Dread Peninsula and spawning 40 divisions on the spot and declaring war on the Arcturian Order. Only until they are defeated does the Order truly come to peace, and can begin to further expand their Kingdom.
- Walking Spoiler: Everything about the country is a spoiler, along with the existence of the windigoes. Even hinting at the existence of the country would hint at a twist ending in the investigation of the assassination of Headmaster Torygg.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: While Northern Storm the nation does not spawn in the event of a Dread League victory, events surrounding windigoes can still happen, where Rosa learns that windigoes have been manipulating her to create disharmony to feed them. This eventually drives Rosa to commit suicide to spite her puppeteers.