Ætherion is a freeware Role-Playing Game made in RPG Maker VX by the same team that made Avarice — Anaryu, Krisanna, and Solitayre. It was made in one month for a contest, the theme of which was surrealism.
The world of Ætherion is in constant danger of the malicious Raythe, evil spirits from another plane. They feed on human emotions and desires, taking the form of whatever their target is most frightened of. To prevent the Raythe from destroying the entire world, the Institute of Æther Research and Containment (ARC) was created. The Institute trains the most skilled magical students in the world to combat the Raythe and hold them at bay. They are constantly researching the Raythe and their strange home dimension, the Æther, to be more effective at fighting them. Their ultimate goal is to destroy the Raythe permanently, though they have a ways to go before accomplishing that.
The story centers around a young man by the name of Edan Mekaisto, a country boy who was recently selected to join the Institute. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he hopes to fulfill ARC's expectations. Things go awry while he tries to find a mentor, however, and he soon finds himself wrapped up in the adventures of two older students, Flynn van Lucia and Alaria Reinhardt. Both of them seem to at odds with one another, and seem to have a Dark and Troubled Past.
Gameplay-wise, it uses a battle system that is similar to Grandia's. A fast-paced ATB-like system is used, and the casting times of skills are major components of the strategy. Being hit while casting delays the technique, and if the casting energy is completely reduced to zero, the caster loses their turn. Each character also has two sets of skills — attack and support — with three skill levels on each. Characters can use weaker low-level skills to build up energy and unleash a powerful third-level skill.
The game can be downloaded here. Due to the game's positive reception, the developers have expressed a desire to continue the storyline with new installments in the future. When this will happen has not been announced, however.
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
- Another Dimension: The Æther appears to be this.
- Battle Aura: Edan gets one of these when he is exposed to the Phoenix's power during the final battle.
- Blank White Eyes: Edan utilizes these.
- Brainy Brunette: Alaria.
- Brick Break: Flynn's Thunderclap and Alaria's Shield Pierce.
- Character Portrait: Tons, for almost every expression imaginable.
- Child Prodigy: Possibly the entire Institute, but Alaria was definitely this when she was younger.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Edan, oh so much.
- Dying as Yourself: Ephrian.
- Elemental Eye Colors:
- Elemental Powers: Everyone seems to have magical powers based on one of the four Classical elements: Edan, Ephrian use fire, Flynn use wind and Alaria uses ice and water spells. The "punk" that makes up the tutorial battle use earth magic.
- Anaryu says that some characters in future installments will have a blend of two elements, however.
- Elemental RockPaperScissors: Averted. The developers say that they didn't want to base the strategy around this, seeing how it's been done to death in Role-Playing Games already.
- Fiery Redhead: Played straight and subverted at the same time. He's literally fiery, having fire-based powers, but personality-wise, he's quite mellow and laid-back.
- Glass Cannon: Edan, who has powerful offensive skills that tend to attract enemy aggression, and weaker support skills.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: There seems to be something at play here; Edan has gigantic eyes, Alaria has more reasonable-sized ones, and Flynn has tiny eyes.
- Idiot Hero: Edan's solution to most problems is just "Punch it in the face."
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Alaria. She has a roughly even balance between offensive and defensive skills.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Flynn.
- Lady of War: Alaria.
- Life Drain: Edan's Incandescence.
- Limit Break: 4th-level skills, which will be present in the revamp. They come with a price, though; they leave the character in an "exhausted" state, forcing them to take double damage until their MP bar cools down.
- Magic Knight: Alaria. Edan can be this too if you focus on his Spirit-based abilities.
- Not Quite Dead: Ephrian.
- Point of No Return: Once you head to the final dungeon, there's no turning back.
- Preexisting Encounters: Enemies can be seen on the field as a moving black mist.
- Shout-Out: At least two of the ultimate talents, as revealed in this video. Edan's is "Deus Ex", Flynn's is "Master of the Wind".
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Spoofed with Flynn, who jokingly cites this as the reason why everyone in the Institute hates him.
- Squishy Wizard: Flynn, oddly enough. He has the most healing and supportive skills out of the three characters, and his offensive skills are more geared towards debuffs and breaking than raw power.
- Super Move Portrait Attack: 4th-level skills.
- Supporting Protagonist: The majority of the plot revolves around Flynn and Alaria. Edan is just along for the ride.
- Urban Fantasy: The technology level is quite modern, though magic powers appear to be commonplace as well.
- The Von Trope Family: Flynn van Lucia.
- Weapon of Choice: Good Old Fisticuffs for Edan, a Simple Staff for Flynn, and Blade on a Stick for Alaria.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Ephrian. Justified, as the Raythe were damaging his mind.
- Wizarding School: The Institute is a modern form of this.