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Video Game / Battle Realms

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Every warrior has a name and they are all willing to die for you.

Battle Realms is a Real-Time Strategy game developed by Liquid Entertainment and released by Ubisoft in 2001. It follows the story of Kenji, one of the sons of the Serpent, as he unites the land under the reborn Dragon clan or becomes a tyrant like his father.

Battle Realm’s greatest strength is the fact that the player is incapable of purchasing any unit. Instead, peasants (the worker of the game) are trained in a variety of schools, getting the unit the player wants. Sending a peasant to an Archery trains them into an Archer, for instance. Furthermore, the unit can usually be trained again. Sending that Archer into either the Dojo will turn them into the melee oriented Dragon Warrior (though they can still shoot using magic) or sending them to the Alchemist Hut will turn them into the Powder Keg Cannoneer heavy siege units. Couple in the seven damage types and the inclusion of Battle Gears which allow a unit to change their damage type or initiate some other effect or change their role in combat period (The humble Archer, alone, can go from a Ranged Support Unit to a Scouting Unit with his Zen Arrow Battle Gear to a Demolitions Specialist if you give him the Fire Arrow Battle Gear) and you have a very complex game.

The Expansion Pack, Winter of the Wolf, is a prequel tale that follows the Wolf chief Grayback as he rises against their clan's Lotus and Serpent enslavers and stops the nefarious sorceress Yvaine from unleashing a blizzard.

A sequel, Battle Realms 2: Lair of the Lotus, was announced by Liquid Entertainment, but later cancelled.

As of 2012, the game can be bought together with its expansion from In 2019, both the game and its expansion were packaged into the Zen Edition on Steam, which added balancing unit weaknesses/resistances, Anti-Frustration Features, and a more helpful "Siege" system to the game.

Tropes found within the game's story and gameplay include:

  • Adaptational Context Change: Prior to the 1.58 patch in the Dragon campaign, Tao tells Kenji to "watch where (he) step" shorty after the latter takes out an ambushing Ninja. After said patch, Tao doesn't show up until Kazan walks over to the Ninja's corpse, suggesting that the former's reminder is aimed at the latter (and not at Kenji as initially assumed).
  • Adjustable Censorship: There is an option to toggle the "Violence" option off, which leaves the weapons completely clean and gibbed enemies to simply disappear in a blue mist.
  • Ascended Extra: Sperri (the Dragon Clan peasant) was originally exclusive to the tutorial, where the Geisha acted as a tutor. In the version 1.58, Sperri gains another role in Kenji's journey where, depending on which path the latter takes, either joins up with him (as thanks for saving the village earlier) or is among the villagers kidnapped by Serpent bandits and is made to work.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: The Master Warlock. Some may say that it's the skull who's the Warlock, others say the holder of the skull, and still others claim it's both as a bizarre partnership.
  • Almighty Janitor: If Kenji chooses the Dragon path, he is briefed on the Serpent's geopolitical situation by Otomo. If he chooses the Serpent path, a Bandit who presumably led the attack in the previous mission gives him this talk.
  • Arm Cannon: Averted; Serpent Cannoneers carry their arm-length cannons with both hands.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. The Wolf Clan's Shale armor improves their durability from damage, especially from magic.
  • Artificial Stupidity: You're all but required to micromanage your troops to make full use of your abilities. Doubly so if you have healer units like Geisha, who will attack by default if there's an enemy to fight unless you specifically order them to heal a unit. A good way to make the most out of them is to arrange them as a separate control group, where they would heal a few critical condition units, then retreat. More useful if those healers are on horses, making this "heal-and-run" tactic easier to pull off.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical:
    • Lacking a "super unit", the Dragon Clan has the Dragon Spirit summon. It rains huge fireballs for non-elemental damage, but there's a huge chance that it can only whittle down high-tiered units or maybe kill a few weakened one-tiered units from an enemy army. The catch is it doesn't damage any enemy buildings at all. Sacrificing 4 Samurais and 3 Yang points to initiate this flashy attack and barely killing anyone is not uncommon.
    • Monks' Zen Trance. It gradually heals the monk to 100% health at a rapid rate. The catch? Defense is reduced to zero, and the Monk must stay in place and unable to attack, thus it is not recommended in the heat of combat.
  • Bad Black Barf: Unclean Ones fire this from their weapons.
  • Bad Boss: Budo. His skill forces peasants to work faster and repeated usage may result in their deaths, and that's not getting into what he does to the Wolf Clan in Winter of the Wolf.
  • Battle Aura: Kenji, once he embraces the Dragon's Spirit for the final battle.
    • Zymeth, under the power of Tarrant's Orb. Yvaine remains invulnerable while within the vicinity of the corrupted White Wolf Totem.
  • Battle Cry: Otomo and Grayback's skill, which increases the damage of nearby allies.
  • The Beastmaster:
    • Pack Masters handle tamed wolves, while Werewolves can tame wild wolves.
    • Dragon hero Garrin can summon wild horses from across the map.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Warlocks, unlike other Lotus Clan units, are nigh-immaculate, reflecting how their perverse quest for "enlightenment" has led them to transcend corruption and filth.
  • The Berserker:
    • Wolf Berserkers lash their talons with speed and power, and can be blessed to become Werewolves.
    • Guardians with the "Last Stand" Battle Gear. Upon losing all hit points, the Guardian continues to attack nearby enemy units for a couple extra seconds with increased damage and takes none himself before finally dropping dead.
  • BFG: Dragon's P.K. Cannoneers, Serpent's Cannoneers, and Wolf's Ballistamen.
  • BFS: The Dragon Warriors' flamberge, Garrin's sword-lance and Otomo's huge broadsword.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Zymeth and the Nightvol in the Dragon Path.
  • Big First Choice: The first level in the original campaign determines if Kenji follows the Dragon or the Serpent Clan, by giving him a choice between defending rebellious peasants against bandits oppressing them, or joining the bandits in slaughtering the rebels.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of the Zen Masters have names from languages other than English (mostly Japanese, but also other Asian languages and some European ones). See the Characters page for individual examples.
  • Bio Punk: The Lotus Clan seems to be transitioning into this amidst all the Warlock antics. Which could explain the gas masks and pseudo-industrial trappings in some of their structures.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: If a fight goes on for long enough or kills enough opponents, the units' weapons will be stained with blood (the chances will be increased if an opponent is gibbed).
  • Blood Sport: Wolfball is considered a dangerous sport (to the point that only Wolves are capable of surviving. No outsider has ever made it past the first round) - so much so that its players, the Hurlers, are used as units.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The final shot in the Serpent path ending is Kenji, accompanied by Shinja and the Necromancer, facing an army of hordelings advancing towards them (with the intent of showing their true might to them). This contrasts with the Dragon path ending where Kenji, with the might of the Dragon, wipes out the entire hordelings surrounding him.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The Musketeers' Sniper Scope can even kill horse-mounted units directly by sheer accuracy.
  • Boring, but Practical: Wolf Clan's Shale Armor Battle Gear (i.e. unit enhancement). A unit cannot simultaneously have this armor and a Blessing from a Druidess, so player has to choose one or the other. Blessings grant flashy special abilities like calling wolves, damaging multiple enemies, extending field of vision etc. Shale Armor just passively increases defense, especially defense against magic. Yet in many cases players prefer the Armor to all the other options.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: The Dragon Clan Samurai (katana and yumi bow) and the Serpent Clan Bandit (sickle and arm crossbow).
  • Breath Weapon: Lotus Shadow Steeds; Kazan can breathe fire via a toxic brew.
  • Calvinball: The Wolf Clan's wolfball. According to what little we glean from it in the manual it involves a pack of rabid wolves, a solid iron ball and a walled-in arena. No non-Wolf Clan player has ever survived the first round and even spectating is supposedly dangerous ("Because a Wolf knows when to duck, you see").
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Devouring peasants grants second tier Lotus units a new ability.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Dragon's Guardians carry a studded club, while Wildeye swings a mace that doubles as a drumstick.
  • Cast From HP: The Shale Lord can grant Shale Armor to any Wolf unit at the cost of his health. See also Dangerous Forbidden Technique for other unit examples.
  • Character Catchphrase: Nightvol: I am the dark and I am always here.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Serpent Clan, they eschew honor if favor of using underhanded tactics such as firearms and poisoned weapons.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • When moving the cursor over an enemy to attack, the sword or arrow changes color: bronze means the target will resist and take less damage, silver means the target takes normal damage, while gold indicates this unit is extremely effective against the target. See Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors below.
    • In the main campaigns, each clan represent the Four Seasons through their colors: Dragon is Summer/Light (orange), Serpent is Fall (red), Lotus is Winter/Darkness (purple), and Wolf is Spring (green).
  • Command & Conquer Economy: While the game uses the standard "make peasants to build and harvest" mechanic, it features its own take on unit creation, by making military units simply upgrades of the peasants.
  • Cool Sword: A lot, but the Dragon Warrior's flamberge and the Blade Acolyte's Reverse Grip-held grooved swords top the list.
  • Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel: Winter of the Wolf comes first chronologically, wherein each clan's town squares are upgradeable and new units and heroes can be employed. However, even with the expansion intact, Kenji's Journey does not carry over the said upgrades, units and heroes.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Played straight by most units, but averted by some, like the Samurai.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Subverted units with low health will limp instead of walking and cannot run, but can still fight like everything's fine.
  • Damage Is Fire: Averted, unless fire is actually used to attack the building. See also Kill It with Fire.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • Many Battle Gears are like this, like Glass Sword, which can kill any non-boss opponent but inflicts critical damage or even death to the Swordsman himself.
    • The Dragon Geisha's Sacrifice completely heals nearby allied units at the cost of the Geisha's life.
    • In-universe example is the Lotus Clan. They are a once-benevolent civilization befallen by greed for arcane power via the Tree of Corruption. The Three Brothers Lythis, Sehk, and Tausil are their ancestors who tend the tree and are revered in the clan's three training buildings. These brothers are embodied by the 1st level warriors: Blade Acolyte, Leaf Disciple and Staff Adept respectively.
  • Determinator: Guardians, with their Last Stand ability.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In the Serpent Path, you can permanently recruit Utara or Koril by destroying her keep or after damaging them to danger level, respectively.
  • Demolitions Expert: As of the Zen Edition, units are now identified as Siege or Non-siege units, indicating their effectiveness against buildings. A simple fire-based Battle Gear or a training technique can upgrade these units to raze an unprepared town in moments.
  • Double Weapon: Utara's dual-blade sword.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The Motif of the Dragon clan, obviously. The Serpent clan, too.
  • Dual Wielding: Brawlers, Blade Acolytes and Ronin. Vetkin has a pair of sai, and Shinja notably dual wields poisoned blades.
  • Education Through Pyrotechnics: Alchemist Huts train units with explosives and similar magics, deploying the Chemist and Musketeer.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Nightvol IS the dark.
  • Elemental Nation: The Dragon is associated with Summer, the Serpent with Fall, the Lotus with Winter, and the Wolf with Spring.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: Monks can detect a scouting invisible Ninja and attack him immediately.
  • Epic Flail: Maulers and Enforcers.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Complete with katanas and shortbows.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Lotus Clan is ruled by a cabal of Warlocks and Master Warlocks.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The Dragon Clan is modeled on an idealized version of medieval Japan mixed with elements from China, à la the Heian Period.
    • The Serpent Clan, on the other hand, is very reminiscent of the Sengoku and Edo Periods of Japan with a dash of Darker and Edgier, reflecting the less romanticized parts of the era.
    • While the Wolf Clan's story has much in common with various enslaved peoples rebelling against empires throughout history, it most clearly borrows elements of Roman-era Celtic peoples, as most units are redheads (a stereotype associated with Celtic peoples like the Irish), one of the units carries a ballista (a Roman invention), and another unit is the druidess (a female member of the Celtic clergy). Which, coincidentally, fits their backstory of being a displaced tribe.
    • The Lotus Clan, meanwhile, seems to have no clear real world analogy. Many of its thematic elements call to mind a dark mirror of both Buddhist monasticism (with the Lotus achieving "enlightenment" through successive corruption and spiritually perverse philosophies) and Japanese Kirishitan (given their use of Christian terms like "acolyte", "disciple" and "brother").
  • Fertile Feet: Gaihla. This also works for your food supply if you place her near the rice fields.
  • Flechette Storm: Lotus Leaf Disciples; Powder Keg Cannoneer's Shrapnel Keg blasts an area with huge fletchettes for wide-area damage.
  • Golem: Soban's earthen creations, who act as peasants.
  • Gatling Good: Teppo's crude wheel-gun strapped on his back can fire bursts of three explosives at a time.
  • Genre Refugee: The Wolf Clan, after a fashion, with their a Celtic-esque tribal aesthetics and culture clashing with the Dragon and Serpent. Justified, however, in that their forefathers were displaced from an entirely different land.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Zig-zagged. Musketeers, Cannoneers and P.K. Cannoneers use gunpowder weapons. They're not particularly more damaging than their non-gunpowder using equivalents, nor cheaper or easier to train. On the other hand, Musketeers never miss when using their normal attack or Sniper Scope.
  • Happy Ending Override: Those who played Kenji's Journey before Grayback's would know that the Wolf Clan would not be celebrating their freedom from the Lotus Clan for long. In Kenji's Serpent campaign, Kenji and Grayback eventually come to blows that end with the Serpent Clan completely wiping the Wolf Clan out and Grayback goes out taking out the Nightvol, leaving Kenji the sole victor. It's downplayed in Kenji's Dragon campaign, though, where the Wolf Clan ends up getting defeated by the Lotus about 2/3 into the story but Kenji is willing to take the Wolf survivors in, implying that the clan could still survive and thrive again. However, Grayback is nowhere to be found in this campaign, leaving his survival ambiguous.
  • Headbutting Heroes:
    • Otomo and Shinja for the Dragon/Serpent clans during Kenji's Journey — Shinja views Otomo as weak for protecting the peasants, while the latter chews out the former for his ruthlessness and robbing the townspeople of their belongings.
    • The Lotus has Koril and Issyl. In Winter of the Wolf, the player must take advantage of the rift between the Archmages of Space (Koril) and Time (Issyl). Upon killing either one, failure to destroy the remaining archmage within the time limit causes him to seize control of the other faction's army.
  • Healing Factor: The Wolf clan can recover health to full by standing still.
  • Healthy Green, Harmful Red: Unit health bars start out green when full or near-full, turn yellow around the halfway mark and turn red when at quarter health.
  • Hellish Horse: The Lotus Shadow Steeds.
  • Hero Must Survive: Kenji and Grayback in their respective campaigns, until you unlock the keep.
  • Hero Unit: Each clan has four heroes, plus one more in the expansion pack.
  • Hostile Weather:
    • Rainfall plays an important factor in the game, giving circumstantial (dis)advantages during combat. Rice grows faster, burning buildings are doused, and Lord Zymeth becomes even more powerful when it is raining. Therefore, assaulting your opponent's camp with burning weapons won't work too well during rainfall.
    • Played straight with Winter of the Wolf. Once Grayback gets out of the Shale Mines, the Wolf clan has to contend with a blizzard instead of rain. During a snowstorm, rice growth rate is diminished and units gradually take small damage (fortunately circumvented by the units' natural Healing Factor).
  • Idle Animation: All units have them, and some are actually beneficial. The Kabuki Warrior's is a juggling act that entertains peasants and speeds up their work, while the P.K. Cannoneer's is a sumo wrestling style salt-throwing ritual that temporarily increases allies' defense.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • Issyl's weapon is a giant hourglass with spikes on both ends.
    • The Wolf hero Grayback uses a pickaxe. But then, most of the Wolf clan use the very tools during their enslavement as their prized weapons.
  • Improvised Golems: Soban can create small golems out of mud, who can therefore act as free peasant units. Sending them charging to enemy ranks will cause an explosive Suicide Attack.
  • Improvised Weapon: The Wolf clan in general have taken and refashioned the very mining tools they were forced to use in captivity into arms symbolizing their defiance.
  • The Infested: The Lotus Clan's Infested One allows his body to become a breeding ground for maggots that he can then use to attack enemies with in close combat.
  • I Owe You My Life: The majority of heroes who join Kenji and Grayback are recruited this way, as long as these newcomers don't die on the stage they join you or the mission will end or (worse) they just won't appear in the Keep in subsequent stages.
  • Item Caddy: A Clan-wide example, Serpent clan units and Heroes are rather mediocre in combat. They however, make up for it with very powerful and gamechanging Battle Gears. A Serpent unit without Battle Gear is virtually only about half as effective than they could be.
  • Katanas Are Just Better:
    • A lot of Dragon and Serpent units and heroes use variants of Oriental swords as melee weapons.
    • Subverted with the Ninja, who is armed with a ninjato (melee) and shuriken (missile). A one-on-one encounter against a Monk is a Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of the Monk.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Subverted; since almost all units are resistant to fire, except the Necromancer, Werewolf, Zombies and Shamblers, who are extremely weak against it.
    • Played straight with buildings. Along with hit-and-run tactics, upgraded siege units that deal fire (Raider) and explosive (Pitch Slinger) damage are guaranteed to set a camp ablaze within seconds.
  • Large and in Charge: The enemies in the final battle only consist of black Hordelings who walk on fours. Once you see something big, scary, and walking on twos, you know that it's Nightvol.
  • Laser Blade: The Dryad from the expansion employs a magical blade from thin air as her basic weapon.
  • Leave No Survivors: Most missions in the campaigns are this. Averted in Skirmish and Multiplayer if the game mode is set to "Razing" (destroy all enemy buildings) or "Kill the Keep" (destroy all enemy Keeps) as opposed to "Survival" (destroy all enemy signs of life).
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The Shale Lord, despite his size and the fact that he's made of shale, can run really fast, easily hurt men and buildings and is highly damage-resistant.
    • Kenji has good strength, speed and selection of resistances, a ranged attack in his second and third forms, and his battle gear allows him to One-Hit Kill most non-hero units in the game. Since you lose the campaign if he dies early on, employing him becomes a high risk/high reward type of affair.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Units with weaknesses to blunt, explosive, or magic damage often end up like this.
  • MacGuffin: The Serpent Orb aka Tarrant's Orb.
  • Mad Scientist: Soban. Other than being described as such and actually showing a bit of his skill know-how with the golems, he's also responsible for turning the Shale Lord into what he is.
  • Made of Plasticine: Because of how magic, explosive, and blunt-type damage works, there is a chance that a unit will explode into body parts if they are weak to it. This also means that a Monk (who fights barehanded), or a Musketeer (whose rifle bullets deal explosive-type damage), can reduce a person (or a horse) into pieces if they are weak to it.
  • Mana: The game employs stamina, which units expend to run or use their specific Battle Gear.
  • The Man Behind the Man: While you have killed the apparent Big Bad Zymeth or Grayback in Kenji's Campaign, you still have to face the one who had manipulated them in the first place: Nightvol and his Horde.
  • Mighty Glacier: Master Warlocks. Tier 4 attack power and hit points, but literally can't run.note 
  • Multiple Endings: An odd variant, as you choose which path to take in the very first mission. note 
  • Mutually Exclusive Power-Ups: Every unit can only have one Battle Gear at any time. While Zen Masters, Monks and Ninja only have one anyway, most units usually have a choice between two or more, depending on the player's choice. For example, the Dragon Clan's Samurai can either get Yang Blade from the Shrine (which boosts Yang generation and damage the more Yang the player has) or Dragon Skin from the Fireworks Factory (which shields the Samurai from projectiles).
  • Mystical Lotus: The Lotus Clan is the most magically specialized faction in the game. Its units are all afflicted with some sort of corruption until they transform into a Warlock, at which point they violently expunge this corruption away. This symbolizes the flower's tendency to bloom in the mud, and how it seems so clean despite living in such a filthy place.
  • Ninja: Can be employed by the Serpent and Lotus Clans in multiplayer. Can also be employed in the Dragon campaign.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Tao is half monk, half ninja.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Actually subverted in that you can choose to go down the "evil" path in Kenji's Journey, although played straight with the other campaign featuring only the Wolf clan, thus leaving the Lotus the only faction without a campaign.
  • Noble Savage: Compared to the rest, the Wolf are the most primitive faction in the game, bordering on Stone-Age levels if not for all those repurposed mining tools. Then again, they're also shown to be well meaning in general and just want to be left alone.
  • No Such Thing as Dehydration: Averted, where rice and water are the two main resources you gather, with the in-game explanation that your troops needs rice to eat and water to drink.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: In the original game's campaign, neither Otomo nor Shinja in Kenji's Serpent and Dragon paths respectively are really interested in helping the protagonist achieve his goals. They're more concerned instead with what they think is best for their people and one of them will eventually turn on Kenji, regardless of which path he takes.
  • Older Than They Look: Issyl is an unsettling 12-year old boy physically, but is actually suffering from Merlin Sickness.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Serpent Clan Swordsmen's Glass Sword does this to any non-hero units (at the cost of their own lives) and the Wolf Clan Brawlers do this to heroes with their Zen Counterpunch.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Soban's Golems. Needless to say, they're of more use collecting rice and water.
  • Outside-Context Villain: The eldritch Nightvol acts as this for what's otherwise a Wutai setting.
  • The Paralyzer: The Druidess's main attack entangles victims in tangles of vines, rooting them to the spot.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Shinja, Utara, Gaihla, and Diseased One's melee breath. Bandits and Crossbowmen's weapons can also be upgraded to this. As of the Zen Edition, the Ninjas' shuriken are also poisoned.
  • Power Fist: Wolf Clan Brawlers attack with knuckledusters made from shards of shale.
  • Power Glows: The Samurai's Yang Blade and the Ronin's Yin Blade, where both generate respective Yang or Yin points. The former's damage output increases as does his Yang, while the latter steals the target's stamina to create Yin. Kenji also does this when he unlocks his 11th-Hour Superpower in the Dragon campaign.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Longtooth, the Wolf hero.
  • Reverse Grip: Lotus Blade Acolytes hold their weapons like this.
  • Rings of Death: The Dragon's Battle Maidens throw chakrams with deadly accuracy.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Wolves in this case. The Wolf Clan raises pet wolves from horse meat, while Wildeye can summon three Spirit Wolves at a time.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: Kenji's Journey allows you to select which province to liberate or conquer on an overworld map.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Much of the Wolf campaign concerns Grayback's quest to escape Serpent and Lotus captivity, while finding a new home for his people.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Sledgers (face, physique, accent) are reminiscent of a certain Austrian governor.
    • The Sledger in the first missions of the Wolf Campaign: "Grayback! It's a trap!"
    • Chemists will occasionally shriek "Light my fire!" when you send them into battle.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Each clan has one female unit and one female Zen Master, and the former can be upgraded in the expansion.
  • Staff of Authority: Tao the Monk/Ninja; Soban, the Archmage of Matter.
  • The Starscream: Zymeth is formerly Lord Oja's advisor. And depending on which path you took in Kenji's Journey, Shinja or Otomo will betray you as well.
  • Stout Strength: Sumo wrestlers carry cannons as personal weapons, and are specifically recruited because no-one else can lift the things or remain standing when they fire. Serpent Cannoneers also carry heavy cannons made from hollowed logs.
  • Super-Speed: Vetkin. Issyl's Battle Gear endows nearby allied units with mass haste for a limited duration.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors:
    • There are 6 damage types: slashing, piercing, blunt, explosive, magical, and fire. Each unit deals a specific damage type in melee (missile attackers also have a weaker melee damage type) plus about 2 weakness types and 2 resistance types. As a rule of thumb, never build an army consisting of a single unit type.
    • The clans' respective units mostly have common strengths and weaknesses, it is good to know which clan is good at countering which; Dragonnote <Lotusnote <Wolfnote <Serpentnote =Dragonnote .
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Samurais commit seppuku upon loss of his last hit point, damaging any opponent within his vicinity. Ronins stab the ground with their katanas upon death, cursing nearby opponents with an attack power decrease for a short duration.
    • Upon death, 2nd tier Lotus units also cause direct/gradual damage or envelop enemies with darkness.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dragon-Kenji, in between his father's death and his return... and once again before Serpentholm, where he recruits some additions to the army, gains a gun, and loses the funny hat.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Serpent-Kenji becomes driven by bloodlust to eradicate the Dragon clan rebels and the Wolf clan.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kenji in the Serpent campaign.
  • Walk It Off: Issyl, Crossbowmen, and all Wolf Clan Units can regenerate 100% of their max health idling. Everyone else, save Zombies, for whom this trope is inverted, only regenerates up to 80%.
  • Whip of Dominance: The Empire's Overseer units in Winter of the Wolf wield whips to keep their slaves in line, both cracking and lashing at the prisoners at their discretion. They also just so happen to be dressed in kinky black leather gear. Serpent Enforcers have chain whips, while Lotus Overseers have the regular whip.
  • Wolf Man: Berserkers when they use the Lycanthropy ability.
  • Wutai: There are heavily predominant Chinese and Japanese influences among both the Dragon and Serpent clans.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: "I am Tao. I am both Monk and Ninja. Half Light, half Darkness. I serve Yin and Yang, and the balance of all things."
    • Interestingly, Tao can be recruited in both paths of Kenji's Journey. Tao joins Dragon-Kenji in destroying the ninjas' Soul Flame; on the other hand, he reluctantly joins Serpent-Kenji in smashing the monks' monastery.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas:
    • Both rice and water are Gold-type, as water is required to build all but the simplest structures.
    • Yin and Yang on the other hand are of the Power-type. They can only be earned by killing enemy units and buildings, and are the costs for upgrades and heroes.
  • Zerg Rush: The Hordelings, as shown in Tarrant's backstory and Kenji's final battle. They might be small, but they attack en masse, capable of shredding buildings and units alike.
    • A common tactic in multiplayer games is creating an army of Tier 1 units and attacking the enemy town as early as possible to destroy resource production and the ability to build advanced buildings.


Video Example(s):


Battle Realms

Kenji is unable to enjoy his victory not just because of the damage the battle caused, but also due to it reminding him of how his ruthless father would've fought.

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