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Dariush: "Uh, what? We started out as a simple stick figure in some sort of a top-down parody of oldschool dungeon crawlers. Now we're in a graphic sideview sprawling open-ended RPG kind of thing with characters, deep story, sociopaths and murder, occasional flash animations and danceoffs. How is this even remotely consistent?"

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Your name is Ciro. You have traveled for some time from your land, the Kingdom of Haria, to the dungeon you now stand in: the Warrens of Oric the Awesome. You do not know who Oric the Awesome is, but if he's so awesome, he probably has awesome loot, too!

An illustrated suggestion adventure (ISG) started by freeformschooler of the Bay 12 forums (best known for its dwarfs) on January 17, 2013. It mixes inspiration from classic dungeon crawlers and other retro video games, tabletop games, and the works of Andrew Hussie, with an ever-evolving storyline and a respectable host of side characters. The game was officially ended by freeformschooler on February 25, 2017, though the final update was four months prior and regular updates had tapered off well before that point. May be found here.


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This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Acid Pool: Can be found in the areas surrounding the Underside, and near the entrance to the Greens. Riltia falls in one of these, and understandably perishes. An enraged Al throws Wilford in the same pool moments later, where the same fate is met.
  • Action Girl: Riltia, Cherish, Ciro... most of the cast, really.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Lampshaded.
    • Attempts at bargaining with shopkeepers revealed their eyebrows gave them a massive boost in difficulty during such rolls.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "The Six Sinister Siblings of Oric the Awesome."
    • Riltia is a great Glass Guardian.
    • The Rubric Registrar really reels in tubular titles.
  • Aerith and Bob: Ciro, Riltia, Cherish and Al.
    • Averted once it is revealed that Al stands for Alaric.
    • There's also the Six Sinister Siblings- Oric, Proxxy, Ecco, Riltia, Cain and Floe.
  • Affably Evil: Oric the Awesome. It's not clear whether he's actually kindhearted, or just doesn't see the need to interfere until DL 4.
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  • Affectionate Parody: Of dungeon crawlers, (sometimes).
  • Air Vent Escape: Involuntarily, when Proxxy drops Ciro and Riltia into the Underside.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Yaos' gender caused a great deal of confusion among forum-goers when he was introduced, and for a good while thereafter.
  • Antagonist Title: Named after the setting, which is named after the villain.
  • Art Evolution: The art style grew more refined over time, naturally, as freeformschooler pushed away from the simple designs he'd used to open the game.
  • Art Shift: Transfers to and between top-down and sideways perspectives (depending on if the update was in the Underside or the Warrens proper), and even a 3D-rendered environment for at least one scene, were interesting examples of freeformschooler testing new waters for the project.
  • Ascended Extra: Riltia, Al, Cherish, Slog, Goom-bess and Proxxy.
  • Back from the Dead: Al and Ciro bring each other back from the grave. First, Al restores Ciro with a resurrection machine linked to soul power; in kind, Ciro later restores Al with the use of Oversoul. Ciro also brings back Riltia in this way, though it doesn't go nearly as well.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are Riltia's weapons of choice.
  • Bloodless Carnage: A very creepy example with Betweenford. The Warrens of Oric the Awesome normally isn't afraid to show blood or mutilated corpses, but when Betweenford is stabbed or cut, he doesn't bleed and hardly seems to notice.
  • Blood Magic: Ciro's blood magic seems to be a more literal interpretation, as it takes actual blood from her body and turns it into various items. More uses may exist, but were not discovered.
  • Boastful Rap: Riltia and Betweenford duke it out with this. Ciro's attempts are, meanwhile, ignored.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Fairly common, especially given the game draws from works such as Problem Sleuth. For instance, when Al tries (and fails) to bribe Wilford with Cherish:
    "I think you would have had to roll 25 on that one, dude."
    • The forum-goers exist in spirit within the Warrens universe, and can be summoned as spirits to help or hinder the main cast. Polydectes connects these spirits with the influence said forum-goers have over the game here. Note that the wall-breaking here does not go so far as to incite Medium Awareness within the ISG's actual cast; that is to say, the forum-goers are not discussed as being forum-goers within the lore.
  • Bribe Backfire: Ciro tries to pay a Giant Spider to leave him alone. It takes the gold and attacks him anyway.
  • Brick Joke: When Ciro attempts to check Al's items shortly after his recruitment, Al replies:
    "Whoa, back up buddy. Buy me a drink before you start touching MY stuff."
    • Later on, Al has this conversation with Cherish:
    Al: "Heh. Cherish, didja already forget what I told you about touching my stuff?"
    Cherish: "Was it something about alcohol?"
  • Came Back Wrong: Well, "came back different." When Al brings Ciro back to life, he becomes a female Blood Mage.
    • Riltia is a more textbook example, but she gets better.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: And how! The Warrens of Oric the Awesome shifts from a lighthearted dungeon-crawler parody inspired by Problem Sleuth, to an often quite dark, plot-driven Dramedy with high stakes and intricate lore. One can pinpoint pretty much the exact moment everything goes south, and that would be when, in rapid succession: Riltia melts in an acid lake while crying out to the deceased Ciro, Al throws an innocent man into said acid lake in a fit of rage, followed by maniacal laughter, and Riltia then comes back to life as a massive, carnage-seeking Illborn wyrm. Oh, yeah, and both then proceed to threaten the life of the 12-year-old apprentice white mage named Cherish, who, having watched all of these traumatizing events unfold from mere meters away, is promptly forced to flee for her life from Al- a twisted shadow of the only family she'd ever really had- and a horrifying woman-turned-worm-beast who devours the very earth before her in a relentless pursuit of the child. All in all, it is not a great day for anybody, and the story is never quite the same after it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Ciro, the "Practical Fighter", rarely has reason to put this title to use.
    • An Outer Slicer which, despite being the sort of creature generally expected to act on instinct, leaves to get reinforcements rather than stay to fight Ciro and company.
  • Combination Attack: The Bro Attack mechanic, which allows a character with a Perfect Heart Shipping Grid ranking towards another to initiate a powerful team attack with that person.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Al, who for instance seems to have decided at some point that kicking Cherish away from stuff is the most effective and healthy method of keeping her out of trouble.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Dungeon Level 1 has a room surrounded by lava. No one finds this odd.
  • Creepy Doll: When Al and Riltia are captured, and Slog is slain, Ciro makes puppets of the crew as a coping mechanism and means of staving off boredom. The first puppets are simple, but as time passes they become increasingly unsettling as they are increasingly hastily made.
  • Critical Hit: If a 20 is rolled, as per the tabletop rules this ISG's rule set has its basis in.
    • Ciro's "WHACK" ability guarantees this.
  • Curse Cut Short: "YOU LITTLE BIIiiiitttccc..."
  • Cut Short: "Loose" storytelling formats such as the Illustrated Suggestion Game are vulnerable to sudden demises, and The Warrens of Oric the Awesome was unfortunately no different. Its last update was on October 26, 2016, following up a very major plot point, and the adventures of Ciro and company came to their abrupt yet official end on February 25, 2017, with freeformschooler citing a lack of time for and investment in the continuation of the project.
  • Cutting the Knot: Attempted several times, with a door over lava. Eventually, stabbing the door works... well enough.
    Riltia: "I think this dungeon hates us."
  • Dance Off: The Groove Battle mechanic involves partaking in one of these.
  • Death Is Cheap: No fewer than three main characters are brought back from the dead.
  • Destined Bystander: Al goes from "unimportant bodyguard for hire" to "potentially the destined ruler of the Warren."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Al destroys one of Proxxy's search-bots. Proxxy, in retaliation, sends Al a timer bomb in the mail- a device powerful enough to blow out the power grid of the Warrens from within the tunnels of the Underside.
  • The Ditz: Riltia has a reputation for being this, as the token user of DUMB FIGHTER STRENGTH.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The driving force of the game, especially at the start. Of course, matters get a little complicated later on.
  • Fembot: Ecco pilots a PRETTY PRETTY PRINCESS ROBOT.
  • From Bad to Worse: In an attempt to help his neighbor, Mili, Al uses his recently-acquired Grass Knot skill on a ceiling leak in an attempt to patch it up. This causes what was a simple crack to become a gaping hole, through which a giant and very pointy robot tumbles, instagibbing the person Al was trying to fix the leak for. It then proceeds to kill Ciro.
  • Funny Background Event: While Ciro and Cherish attempt to climb up on a ledge, A.W. calmly picks up Goom-bess and walks offscreen without them noticing.
  • Giant Spider: The first monster Ciro encounters in the Warrens.
  • Gender Bender: Ciro. Though not actually aware of it at first, when Riltia points it out, Ciro understandably freaks out.
    • Gender Change items are carried by some early-game shopkeepers.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Al, and some of the forum-goers.
    Dermonster: Dammit man are you trying to decrease the chance of yuri shennannigans!?
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Very common due to the nature of the game. Examples include Cool Crab, Yaos, and PX-39.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Mili, and Al very briefly.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Riltia, although it's questionable how much of a "heel" she was.
    • Proxxy joins the team after the events of Chapter 2.
    • Possibly also invoked by the Illborn Exchange.
    • And then, of course, Riltia pulls a Face–Heel Turn at the end of the game, for an overall Heel Face Face Heel Turn. No wonder she's so messed up in the head, the poor lass is dizzy.
  • Hero Killer: The search-bots.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords/Epic Flail/Improvised Weapon/Mix-and-Match Weapon: The SWORDFLAILCHAINLAMP
  • Heroic Mime: Ciro, at first. Then, he realizes he's talking to Al.
  • Idiot Ball: In this case, an Idiot Scroll. Early on in the story, Ciro reads a scroll which makes him... less intelligent.
    GreatWyrmGold: "Only an idiot would eat [what was believed at the time to be a likely-poisonous organ within a slime], but we've been temporarily rendered an idiot, so yes."
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: SOP. An extreme example is when Mili is killed, and Al claims her house. (Which the players promptly attempted to sell.)
    • This is not limited to just their stuff, either, as a corpse is a pretty handy storage device.
  • Improvised Weapon: Ciro attacked a giant spider with his bandanna. Surprisingly, it worked.
  • I Warned You: Near the beginning of the game, freeformschooler said that Rilitia would "probably just (...) steal all [Ciro's] stuff and kill [him] later." Forum-goers nonetheless allied themselves with her, and nearly three years later, Riltia abandons the party, takes all of her valuable equipment with her, and ominously says she will see the crew again on Dungeon Level 7- if they make it that far.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Al is somewhat contemptible, but is also a reliable ally who really cares about Cherish.
    • Okay, only so reliable, as he does state he intends to abandon Ciro in an unnamed cataclysm- but for the sake of saving Cherish, so it more or less balances out.
  • Killed Off for Real: Yaos, and several minor characters.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Ciro, of course. Sometimes even in the middle of combat!
  • The Lancer: Riltia and Al both act as this to Ciro's The Leader at various points in the story.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Involuntary example when Al and Riltia fall through a trap door.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Ciro the OK starts with one of these. Ciro the Reborn bloodshapes a new one after remembering her identity.
  • Meaningful Name: Cherish, whom Al cherishes.
  • Mega Crossover: A small one, with only around six properly extraneous characters appearing or being referred to, and only two among them having especially meaningful story roles.
  • Minus World: Implied when the players take a ladder and put it down in a shop, leading to a dark, under-the-level level, though this is never really confirmed to be a proper Minus World deal.
  • The Multiverse: Mega Man implies this to be how the Arena battles - and possible even mercenaries such as Slog and Goom-bess - end up in the Warrens.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "The Six Sinister Siblings of Oric the Awesome."
  • No Hero Discount: The vendors here just hate Ciro. Possibly justified, in that Ciro isn't trying to save the world or anything like that, as far as anyone is aware.
  • Not the Intended Use: Using corpses as extra storage. A standard corpse takes up two inventory slots, but possesses as many inventory slots itself as the person did when alive- this usually being four or more.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: Skyship Serabella. Given, it's a bit lacking in the "ominous" department with Ecco at the helm... more of an Obnoxious Floating Castle, really.
  • Our Angels Are Different:
  • Our Souls Are Different: The Soul Stars. For one thing, they produce Soul Charge, which grants limited narrative control.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Alaric is the only (known) vampire in the story, but seems to lack many traditional vampire powers- while also, very ironically, being a druid.
  • Parental Substitute: Al is like an adoptive father to Cherish.
  • Portable Hole: The ladder works in this manner. Riltia and Ciro use it to access a Void Between the Worlds.
  • Put on a Bus: Cherish joins Proxxy, causing the story to move elsewhere. The bus comes back, however, when Ciro finds Cherish and convinces her to rejoin the party!
  • Relationship Values: The Shipping Grid is an important gameplay element representing the affection of certain central characters towards other central characters. Gauges interpersonal relationships and allows the use of the Bro Attack mechanic when a relationship is sufficiently strong.
    Shipping grid calibration achieved.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: All the Angels, especially Betweenford.
  • Schizo Tech: From various mechanical monsters to Proxxy, many high-tech elements exist alongside the setting's heavy amount of standard fantasy fare.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Ciro, whose name is a mirror of the titular Oric's.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The Astral Influx was not found for a fair amount of time.
  • Ship Tease: Al and Ciro, when they met for the third time- much to the readers' frustration.
  • Shout-Out: freeformschooler quoted a comment from Luigi Quest, another of his games, following Mili's death:
    Darvi: "OH NO MURDER."
  • Spikes of Doom: Ciro steps on a weight-triggered spike trap almost as soon as he enters the Warrens.
  • Soul Jar: The Soul Stars act in a similar way.
  • Stat-O-Vision: The Polar Eye can reveal almost anything about a person, if a user has the proper clearance and there is data available on the target.
  • Stick-Figure Comic: In the beginning, but freeformschooler moves away from this soon enough.
  • Sword Beam: The Clot Cutter is a blade which also fires surgical lasers.
  • Tagalong Kid: Cherish is initially a textbook example.
  • Tempting Fate: The forum-goers did this relatively often, allegedly in jest; rarely seriously, according to them.
    Xantalos: "Go through the door. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?!"
  • The One Guy: There have been three dudes in the main party: Al, Ciro, and Slog. Slog, however, probably doesn't have much of a sex to speak of, so it's more like two dudes in total. And of course, Ciro is later reborn as a lady, changing the male-female ratio from 2-3 to 1-4, leaving Al as The One Guy. Lampshaded by one forum-goer:
    GreatWyrmGold: "[Al will] probably make some joke about a harem, and he wouldn't be particularly incorrect. Although he may be heavily injured."
  • Time Bomb: Sent to Al in the mail by Proxxy.
    • Yaos counts as a living example, due to the self-destructive nature of his Soul Star.
  • Use Your Head: Ciro the OK headbutts things often. It works well against spiders; not so well against slimes.
  • Vendor Trash: The spider leg is explicitly described as such. A merchant refuses to buy other spider bits. Items which were promptly sold and had no other apparent use, such as the search-bot remains, may also count.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Empty space not in use by the random room generation. Ciro and Riltia fight Betweenford there.
  • Wham Episode: A multi-update Wham Episode in the early days of the adventure starts when Al encounters Wilford outside the Greens, and continues until Cherish meets Proxxy. It hits hard enough to throw the entire course of the game rather out of wack.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Asked of Al by Cherish, when the former chucks Wilford into a pool of acid.
    • Asked of Riltia by Ciro at the end of the game, when the former reveals she'd been working with Oric and enters full-tilt passive-aggressive-crazy-eternal-love mode.
  • White Mage: Cherish is explicitly an apprentice white mage. Cleri the mercenary also appears to be a white mage by trade, but she never joins the party.
    • Slog takes on this role briefly, when he gains access to the aptly-named Healus ability as a King Slime.
  • Yandere: Riltia has tendencies, which greatly increase in severity over time.
    Riltia: "But as long as the Cycles continue, it doesn't matter if I botch this one up, like I had to do this time. Next time Ciro and I will be friends again! Sure, s-sometimes we have to fight... but those rare Cycles where we're MORE than friends... that makes it all worthwhile."
    Ciro: "Okay, I suspected it before, but now I KNOW you've gone COMPLETELY off your knocker! You're supposed to be the stable one here, Riltia!"
    Riltia: "I am. More than you know. Well... I guess I couldn't keep up this illusion forever. See you all on [Dungeon Level 7]. If you make it."
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