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Video Game / A Tale of Two Kingdoms

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Maeldun captured by the goblins
An indie Adventure Game created by Crystal Shard. The player takes the role of Maeldun Whiteblade, who is framed for murdering King Vortigern of Theylinn. While on the run trying to clear his name, he has to deal with a goblin invasion, an assassin on the loose, an evil wizard trying to stop him, and the quirky faeries of Thierna na Oge.

The game is fully voice acted and can be downloaded from Steam.

Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Branwyn. She proves her chops from the beginning of the game to the end when it comes to swords and thrown daggers.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The monk considers faeries a "figment of man's imagination" while an army of goblins is camped just a few miles away.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: If you are friendly with the tailor and give him a bottle of wine, he'll give you a cloak for free.
    • If you help the sorcerer's apprentice, she will not turn on you.
    • Although in gameplay there is no difference, Rhiannon will comment on this if you save her from the faerie glamour.
  • Behind the Black: When Maeldun needs to hide, he positions himself so that you, the player, cannot see him, even if logically he should be able to be seen from any other viewpoint (such as that of Geraint or his guards).
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: The reason why you're accused of murder. No, you can't avoid it, as you need to take the dagger to defend yourself against the assassin.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends with Maeldun attacking Castle Theylinn.
  • Brutal Honesty: Lady Branwyn and Geraint. Subverted with Cailte.
  • Burn the Witch!: Downplayed with the sorcerer's apprentice. Born in the village of Havgan, she left to study magic under Taranis and has effectively been ostracized from Havgan ever since.
  • Captain Ersatz: The protagonist's sprite looks very much like Prince Alexander from King's Quest VI (see Spiritual Successor, below; funnily enough, in the original concept, Maeldun is a captain ersatz of Graham, not Alexander).
  • Captain Obvious: as one of the goblin guards points out, their leader Rashakk Skullcrusher would be happy to crush your skull if you meet him. The other guard calls him out on stating the obvious.
  • Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun: Maeldun is absolutely able to deduce the murderer by gathering clues and discussing the situation at camp. In a twist, however, Maeldun will use the evidence to eliminate suspects, not convict them. evidence includes a piece of cloak, the style of which dictates the murderer must live in Carbonek; the fact that the killer had to be in the castle at the time of the murder; and the suspect must have black hair. This allows the player to narrow the field down to Calite.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Arawn Nos. He looks evil and he lives in the dark and creepy part of Thierna Na Oge, but he will aid you if you prove your worth to him and he isn't even remotely evil.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Branwyn always has something to add to the conversation between Maeldun and another character when she is present. Geraint is also not bad at this.
  • Disguised in Drag: In order to escape from Carbonek at the start of the game, you need to steal a dress from the tailor to disguise yourself and sneak past the guards.
  • Eldritch Location: Taranis' tower is invisible to the naked eye, and noted as being "not of this world" when Maeldun does reveal it. Moreover, Taranis' power is MUCH stronger inside the tower than anywhere else.
  • Evil Chancellor: Taranis was one to King Vortigern and implied to be responsible for Vortigern's more belligerent acts in the backstory. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the prologue shows him teleporting away just as Maeldun and his army accost Vortigern.
  • Evil Overlooker: The Big Bad, who will cast spells while watching from his crystal ball.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: There are twenty "Cutscenes" throughout the game, and most of them involve Maeldun doing this. Some provide alibis for various characters, which is useful for sussing out the murderer. Others simply provide interesting or amusing information about the characters.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Want to catch that assassin? Sorry, you just can't.
  • Forced Transformation: Geraint is turned into a hawk.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The druid is kind to all animals (but not goblins, unless Maeldun convinces him otherwise).
  • Genre Throwback: This is a 2007 game deliberately stylized, in terms of gameplay and graphics, to look like it had been made 15 years before that.
  • Good Luck Charm: To win a gambling game, you need to find a horseshoe for luck first.
  • Happily Married: Downplayed by Maeldun and Branwyn. They are very happy together, but they are always described as consort or companion to each other rather than husband and wife.
  • Have a Nice Death: As common in adventure games. Deaths are accompanied by a tombstone that has a poem written on it, describing your death.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Ashe, the stable boy, if given some of Nimwe's power, turns into a prince, complete with pumpkin coach.
  • The High Queen: Nimwe, the Seelie Queen, is an elfin lady of incredible grace and beauty.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: An in-universe example. The tailor believes that the king was assassinated by Muldan Blackblade, a barbarian with a massive black sword.
  • I Know Your True Name: Sidhe and master sorcerers have true names, and speaking the true name of such a being gives the speaker power over the being, unless the being is powerful enough to resist. It says a lot about Nimwe's power relative to Maeldun that she is willing to tell him her true name.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Branwyn demonstrates her skill at throwing daggers in the prologue, and has a better aim than Maeldun.
  • Info Dump: The opening narration in the original game. The updated relrelease has a playable prologue instead.
  • Informed Ability: In the opening Info Dump, Maeldun is presented as a great warrior. In the game, he is anything but. Branwyn pointedly explains to the fawning Iseult that Maeldun is their diplomat, and Branwyn herself is the great warrior. She'll show it if you lead the barghest into your camp.
  • Interface Screw: one of the spells Taranis casts on you inverts the mouse controls. If you pick up the snake statue in his tower, a similar effect also happens.
  • Invisibility: Downplayed. Maeldun has a spell cast on him so that he will be unnoticeable by anyone not strongly connected to the murder and at least one person who is. Rhiannon and Geraint are the only ones able to see through the magic, but Iseult and the Chancellor will see through it if Maeldun talks too much. Funnily enough, the murderer themself won't see through it, no matter how much you talk to them.
  • Jerkass: Iseult is a real bitch to someone who isn't wealthy or well-connected.
  • Light Is Not Good: Nimwe de Danaan is kind and benevolent, and she lives in the bright and beautiful part of Thierna na Oge... but she has seduced mortal men into spending their lives in Thierna na Oge before, and she will happily do the same to Maeldun after he proves his heroism. Failure to actively resist her charms results in a Bad Ending.
  • Merlin and Nimue: Taranis and his apprentice have this relationship.
  • Mirror Character: Lord Geraint and Lady Branwyn, when you think of it. Both command the armies of their master/companion, are completely loyal to them and would do anything they can to protect them. Both are brutally honest deadpan snarkers to some degree. Branwyn hates Vortigern and Geraint because the latter's armies destroyed here village. Geraint hates Maeldun and Branwyn because the latter's armies vanquished Vortigern's empire. Both cases are mentioned in a conversation between Maeldun and Rhiannon.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Maeldun, since he is the first to find the murdered king and he picked up the murder weapon from his corpse to fight off the true killer.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The game's creators definitely tried to avert this, but many instances do crop up, particularly the infamous murder mystery. Some people consider this a Guide Dang It!, but the information is all in the game, and through elimination you can figure out that the assassin is really Cailte, in case you wondered.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Geraint, more or less. He doesn't die so much as get turned into a vulture.
  • Reconstruction: The game attempts to recreate the fun and joy of old VGA quests while jettisoning their annoying moments (Unwinnable, Guide Dang It!, etc.).
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lady Rhiannon refuses to sit idly in the castle while the kingdom is in trouble, and Maeldun can overhear her arguments with Geraint and Midir to that effect.
  • Shout-Out: Dozens of them, especially to King's Quest games.
    • There are at least two to Discworld. You can find "Twurp's Peerage" in the monastery's library, and Maeldun describes cider as a drink made of apples. "Well, mostly apples."
    • Near the castle, you meet a talking scarecrow. You can give him a brain, and afterward he will name himself Baum.
    • If you try to enter a stump, a message will appear, requiring you to insert disk 23, followed by 'Oops, wrong game.' Also, on the monk's bed there is a book called 'The Mystery of Ape Atoll,' (no, not THAT Ape Atoll) which involves swordfighting, dark magic and the undead.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the prologue shows a sorcerer teleporting away just as Maeldun and his army are closing in on King Vortigern. Princess Rhiannon will tell you early in chapter 1 that that was Taranis, the king's former advisor.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The first puzzle in the prologue (after climbing the castle wall and entering the barracks) involves slipping some strong liquor into a guard's cup so that you can steal his uniform.
  • Spiritual Successor: Of the King's Quest series. It was even originally conceived as a Fan Sequel to the aforementioned franchise.
  • Spot the Imposter: One of the characters in Theylinn is a Faerie changeling, and can be exposed as such in a sidequest.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The next puzzle in the prologue after Slipping a Mickey is to distract Geraint. Maeldun does so by telling him "There's nobody drunk in the barracks, sir."
  • The Fair Folk: Both the Seelie and Unseelie faeries, but most especially the Pooka.
  • True Love's Kiss: Required, of course, to wake the sleeping princess. In the subversion, you are not her true love. You just give him a confidence booster and a magic glamour.
  • Updated Re-release: The game later received a graphic overhaul and added voice acting. However, it's no longer available for free on Crystal Shard's website and you have to buy it on Steam.
  • Unwinnable: One trait of old Sierra adventures that wasn't adopted by the game's creators. However, this trope still does apply to the best ending. If you don't want the normal or bad endings, which leave several problems unsolved, you'll still need to keep several spare save files in case you miss or lose certain items from solving puzzles the wrong way.
  • World of Ham: The dialogue is bombastic, grandiose and full of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. Very often Lampshaded.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The fairies talk like this. Blossom the changeling also tries to, but isn't very good at it. It's also subverted and lampshaded many, many times, particularly in this Easter Egg:
    Helloeth! Thou appeareth to be playingeth an adventure gameth. Wouldeth thou liketh help with thateth?
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Deirdre used to live in the tiny village until she left, and the villagers...don't take kindly to her when she shows back up. Mostly they think it's inappropriate how she lives with a much older man.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: As a Shout-Out, you can try this in your fight against Rashakk. It doesn't work.