Set in the original fictional world of Etheril, Fire Emblem: The Rune of Shadows is a forum roleplay that follows many traditions present in the Fire Emblem franchise of video games (and then subverts them) while introducing some game mechanics not present in the series. Like in any Fire Emblem story, a great evil dominated the land in the ancient past, before it was ultimately banished by the efforts of a band of powerful heroes. Five hundred years later, one of those immortal heroes, now accused of treachery, returns to Etheril to fulfill his own dark and bloody prophecy. Naturally, the Player Characters are not too happy about it, and decide to stand in his way.
The original story, Fire Emblem: Rune Of Shadows, was planned to be divided into several lengthy 'books'. The first book of the original roleplay is centered around the so-called 'Raven Company', a part of the Levarian Resistance that fights against the invading horde of 'barbarians' called the Kregeans. Needless to say, the odds are not in their favor, so they must find something special to win the war - namely, the ancient runes of power; ancient artifacts crafted during the darkest of times. Through a magical infusion, these runes give greater power to both weapons and spells, giving the Resistance a decisive advantage over the overwhelming force of Kregeans. To complicate things a bit, their 'ally', the Weracian Alliance, learns of these forgotten stones and demands more than a fair share by threatening to break their pact unless Levare hands them over.
The prequel to the original story, Fire Emblem: Rune of Shadows - Chronicles of the Holy War, starts more than 500 years before the beginning of its predecessor. It is centered around the regiment of North Milirin in the Grand Etherilian army, a ragtag band of mercenaries and militia recruits trying to stamp out banditry in the northern reaches of the original Grand Etherilian Empire. Much to their chagrin, they get wrapped up in something much bigger than themselves.
The following tropes make an appearance:
- The Alliance: Werace in the original
- Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted with the original's Levare.
- Angst: Oh, yeah.
- Animal Theme Naming: The companies of the original's Resistance army are named after animals.
- Anyone Can Die: A major point. The apparent protagonist of the original RP was killed by a lucky archer mook.
- Arcadia: Levare in the original used to be this.
- AuthorExistenceFailure: When a character's player leaves, the character tends to fall out of the focus or disappear completely.
- Big Bad: Chaos. The origin of the multiverse itself!
- Black and Grey Morality: A lighter shade of grey, but hardly white.
- Canon Discontinuity: Some (player) characters disappeared without a trace and haven't been mentioned since.
- Cessation of Existence: Lucina hinted that this is what happens to bad guys, while others are 'rewarded' with eternal rest while retaining their existence. The reason: can't let those Shadows get their hands on them.
- Command Roster
- Conveniently an Orphan: Quite a few characters.
- Corrupt Church
- The Corruption: Being touched by a Shadow eventually turns you into one.
- Body Horrors ensue.
- Crapsack World: Poor Levarians. Even their "allies" take advantage of their plight.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Olerene religion is a subversion. Their values are different.
- Darker and Edgier
- Death Is a Sad Thing
- Doomed Hometown: That's how it all began.
EarthEtheril Is The Center Of The Universe: Averted. The home planet of the main characters is just one world among many that has been attacked by the Shadows. However, it is one of the few that has survived such an invasion. Still, notice "one of".
- Eldritch Abomination: Loki in his One-Winged Angel form.
- Enemy Summoner: Necromancers.
- Grim Up North: Played straight by the original's King of Shadows, whose stronghold was up there.
- Healing Factor: The Shadows, and how! Here, overkill is a practical solution.
- The Horde: Kregea in the original.
- I Call It "Vera": Any rune-enhanced weapon has the potential for this.
- Knight Templar: The theocratic state of Olerin in the original is full of these. Doesn't help that its founder was one.
- La Résistance: The Levarian Resistance in the original, though against The Horde, not The Empire.
- Light Is Not Good
- Magic Knight: The way magic works encourages this.
- Mooks: Subverted. The nameless enemy soldiers are actually competent and, in terms of raw power, often even stronger than the player characters.
- Mook Chivalry is non-existent.
- Neglectful Precursors: Thoroughly averted.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. There was a Katrine and a Katherine.
- Our Souls Are Different: Unconscious, colorful and glowing balls of Life Force that float around, which can be used to create runes of power.
- Physical God: All six ancient heroes
- Although Gods In Human Form would probably be more accurate.
- Point Buy
- Power Glows: The runestones of power give a faint glow.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The original's Levarian Resistance tries to avert this in-story, but the Raven Company ends up being one, anyway.
- Random Number God: At its worst.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The King of Shadows in the original.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: As you have probably guessed, both versions are more cynical than your average Fire Emblem story.
- Socketed Equipment
- Summon Magic: Of the "instant ally" variety, particularly useful when the PCs are screwed. Which is always.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: The original's Harald with his troops decimated the Raven company.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: Averted in the original. The Raven Company kept on fighting even after both of their leaders were killed.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Mostly averted in the original, where Shelby is the only character with a completely unnatural hair color. In Chronicles, played straighter with some green and blue hair.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The ruins in the side quest for the original's Chapter 2 were infested by those mindless creatures. Fortunately they were trapped in there, thus averting a real Zombie Apocalypse.