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Video Game / Black Sigil

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Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled is an Eastern RPG developed by Studio Archcraft and published by Graffiti Entertainment. It was released for the Nintendo DS handheld system in 2009.

The plot involves our protagonist Kairu, who was born in the world of Bel Lenora, a world built and filled with magic. Kairu has the misfortune to be born without any magical ability at all, in the 15-year aftermath of another magic-less person's war of terror. Naturally, no one other than his immediate family trusts him.

Black Sigil is an homage to Super Nintendo RPGs of the mid-1990s. Not related to the 1997 game Blades of Exile from the Exile series.

This game provides examples of:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Rogurd and Gavin. They're hunting for "IT" specifically.
  • All Myths Are True: You'll see. The first instances come in Cythere, when you hear about Dragons, as well as an underwater sea monster near a neighboring island. The second instances are all the clues and comments you'll get in Genufa's library.
    Scholar: Of course, considering how much writers like to embellish stories, this could be something as silly as a locust outbreak though...
  • Almost Kiss: Kairu and Isa, thank's to Juji's judicious application of oars.
  • Alone-with-Prisoner Ploy: Twists it just a tad. Later in the game, after being separated from the rest of the group, Aurora and Nephi are alone in Drakus Tat. Nephi (the local King) has to extract information from his loyal subjects (and Aurora is a known enemy of their master, the Forbidden), so he declares Aurora his slave and brings her to the dungeon to "break her in". He then calls in one of his minions to lure out the necessary intel in what the minions believe is his "interrogation" of Aurora.
  • Always Close: No matter how much time you have left when you exit Apogea, it'll crumble immediately once you're safe.
  • Anime Hair: Nephi's. In a game with otherwise normal-looking character designs, he stands out.
  • Animesque: This game was made by a Western developer.
  • Arbitrary Head Count Limit: There is literally no reason the game enforces a party of three.
  • Armor Is Useless: No matter how leveled you are or expensive your armor, enemies still seem to do as much damage to you. Accessories are useful, at least, in preventing status effects, and granting MP reduction. Armor is more useful for elemental damage protection than it is for damage reduction - see the Onyx Armor, which completely blocks all fire damage.
  • Badass Normal: Kairu. Even though the game likes to rub it in your face that Kairu is useless without magic, he's easily your most versatile character. Then he gets some magic of his own and he gets all the better. Vai/Asi also qualifies, having a similar skill set.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: This is how Mondu keeps getting away.
  • Behind the Black: Way too many secret passages would have been immediately obvious were you actually Kairu.
  • Black Magician Girl: Aurora, leaning towards the Tomboy variety.
  • Black Market: There's one at Tradefair.
  • Black Sheep: No one in Duke Averay's duchy bothers to hide their contempt for Kairu, especially in contrast to the adoration for his sister Aurora and his father.
  • Blessed with Suck: Kairu, who lacks any kind of magical ability. This makes him perfect for awakening ancient evils.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Rogurd.
  • The Caligula: King Zodiat loses it and lays waste to his glorious civilization. Later we find out that the evil spirit controlling him is the one who pushed him over the edge.
  • Canis Latinicus: Used for spell names (but not abilities). Nox Ico, Curo Orbis, Magus Absorbus...
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Averted. You can drop Kairu from the combat party anytime you have four or more characters to choose from. You don't even need to do a sidequest, either.
  • Cap: Just like the classic 16-bit games. Levels at 99. Damage per hit at 9999. HP and MP to 99.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: IT, the Forbidden.
  • Captain Ersatz: Blacktooth the pirate.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Nephi. Kairu completely forgets that he lent his sword to him, and it comes back much later to bite him in the ass.
  • City Guards: All over.
  • City in a Bottle: Bel Lenora voluntarily sealed itself off from the rest of the world then forgot that the rest of the world existed. Oops.
  • City of Canals: Cythere.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nephi and Rogurd both exhibit traits of this.
  • Cognizant Limbs: One of the bosses, Octo Terror, has four targets: its main body and three Tentacles.
  • Collapsing Lair: Apogea Tower, after the scene at top, which leads to a Timed Mission.
  • Combination Attack: Black Sigil takes a page out of Chrono Trigger in this respect. Every character can combo with another character for three different moves. No Triple Techs though, sadly.
  • Counter-Attack: Several enemies can do this, and they usually hit very hard. Many enemies also get off a Final Attack before expiring.
  • Covert Pervert: Kairu politely suggests that the men and women share the same bath. Aurora shoots him down.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Kairu can nullify the burning mark on his right hand by collecting Armaments. Or so it seems, anyway.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Nephi's green hair and eyes. It hints that his ancestry isn't entirely human.
  • Damsel in Distress: Aurora wakes up in a wooden wagon, hears people fighting outside, assumes that a handsome man is about to rescue her, and decides to stay put instead of burning her way out. Her rescuer isn't exactly who she expected.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Rather badass moment when confronting The Forbidden in Vai's body. He declares that all magic is useless against him as he is the origin of all magic. Aurora and Isa look at each other, and proceed to blast him. He doesn't react well.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Twice. First time in Xanadu. Second time is in Isapolis. Both times, the game throws a major boss fight after a long dungeon.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Storm Strike, a Kairu/Isa Combination Attack. You get it very early and it can two-shot a couple of bosses. It can three-hit the Climax Boss.
    • Nephi and Isa get Nox Toxus, a fairly low-MP Combination Attack that hits all enemies regardless of position and turns practically every regular battle for a good portion of the game into a giant One-Hit Kill Curb-Stomp Battle against regular monsters. If they manage to survive, they're hit with about 3-4 negative statuses as well.
  • Doomed Hometown: Poor Isa.
  • Dramatic Wind: Called upon when Nephi is casting his spells.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Kairu and company will "acquire" some guard uniforms to board the Imperial airship.
  • Elemental Powers:
  • The Empire: Imperialistic Sammarkand.
  • Enemy Scan: Rogurd has an ability that lets him read enemy stats. There's also an accessory that does this, the Monster Codex.
  • Energy Absorption: Both Nephi and Aurora have spells that can drain health or mana, respectively. They can also combo with each other to drain both at once.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Rogurd. It also helps him scan.
  • Facial Markings: One NPC mentions that Fuer, the Evil Chancellor advisor to the King of Cythere, has a mark on his forehead that he tries to hide.
  • Fake Difficulty: The absurd Random Encounters rate combined with the annoying enemies you'll always face. Well, it's either Fake Difficulty or Fake Longevity, depending on your skill level and patience.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Sammarkands really dislike the Genufans to the south.
    NPC: Those Genufans are so dark and secretive! We can't trust them.
  • Fiery Redhead: Aurora.
  • Fight Woosh: Averted. It's just a fade to black, and easily mistaken for entering the next area.
  • Fireballs: Aurora's favorite attack.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Subverted during the Cythere siege: you can heal the fallen soldiers using Aurora's magic. It'll cost you MP, as well. If you save everyone, you'll get a nice reward after the scene.
  • Get on the Boat: You'll have to do this several times throughout the game, the first at Tradefair.
  • Global Airship: The main military advantage of Sammarkand. You get your own later on in the game!
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Nym's eyes glow when he summons.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Mondu. What's annoying is that he doesn't get any harder the more you fight him.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Straight as a pencil. Genufa, Tradefair, Cythere? All good, or at least neutral. Sammarkand Empire? Evil.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In the airship base, after Kairu, Isa, and Aurora bypass the guards with some stolen uniforms, the following exchange occurs:
    Guard A: That slim guy sure had a girlish build...
    Guard B: And a girlish voice...
    Guard A: And a girlish face...
    Guard B: You thinking what I'm thinking?
    Guard A: The military will toughen him up.
    Guard B: Yeah...
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Kairu, Isa, and Asi all use swords.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Nephi definitely takes a liking to Aurora immediately upon meeting her. Shame he takes awhile to become a hero.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kairu in the end if you do not recruit Val. Val if you do not recruit Doll. Doll if you recruit both.
  • Hidden Elf Village: A couple. There's a village in the mountains after you're chased out of Fort Domfriu, and Bel Lenora voluntarily isolated itself from the rest of the world.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Nephi. Having lost his dragon powers, and believing that Asskicking Leads to Leadership is the only thing that matters to the dragons, he has to keep up appearances, such as taking Aurora as a slave. She gleefully plays along, much to Kairu's shock when the matter is brought up in front of him.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Used as a plot element in the opening chapter. Duke Averay sends Kairu to fight a monster which can only be killed with magic, hoping it would trigger his latent magic.
  • Inn Security:
    • Isa arranges a good night's sleep for Kairu and Aurora. Of course, you're awoken in the middle of the night by a siege breaking out.
    • A second time when you get a free night's rest while sailing on a ship, you're awoken in the middle of the night by pirates capturing the party.
  • Interface Spoiler: Minor, but you'll occasionally find weapons for a character you don't have yet.
    • Also looking at the top screen will spoil that you are going to get a ship and an airship over the course of the game.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Aurora runs around Fort Domfriu righting wrongs by using magic. This is when the party goes to Artania, where magic users are nearly extinct, and the ones still alive are considered to be evil. It doesn't take long before she's arrested.
  • Jumped at the Call: Early on, Aurora forcibly joins Kairu when Kairu is banished from Bel Lenora by his adoptive father. She constantly exclaims how amazing their adventures will be.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Averted with Kairu and Aurora. Each of them find their own romantic interests during the game. Romantic tension isn't even hinted at. It helps that Kairu was adopted into her family.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Isa doesn't react well at all when she finds out that the High General of Sammarkand who she's been battling is actually Vai, her long-lost father.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: How many times are you going to show up near an Armament only for Sammarkand to show up and snatch it? It's especially egregious at the top of Apogea.
  • Magic Knight: Everyone playable, except Kairu. At first, anyway.
  • The Magocracy: Bel Lenora, as well as Zodiat's ancient kingdom.
  • Meaningful Name: Asi. It's Vai, using Isa's name backwards. Isa is Vai's daughter.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds look great and better than many SNES RPGs.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: There's a reason they call him The Forbidden. Yet people love to ignore this...
  • Shout-Out:
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Your party members will take their gear with them when they disappear ever so often. Curse you, Nephi!
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Played completely straight, though you'll find yourself keeping a lot of old equipment for the effects/resistances they confer.
  • Status Buff: Several abilities can do this, and you have Hero Drinks. You can also find (stat) Potions, which permanently increase the associated stat.
  • Summon Magic: Nym is the resident summoner. If his summon needs a combination technique, it will usually be of the element the other character is proficient at.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Mondu constantly shouts this at his soldiers.
    Mondu: SHUT UP! Don't make me repeat myself, you gangrenous ball of slime!
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Kairu's Sword of Averay fills this role multiple times in the game.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: There are some in Bel Lenora's capital, and Zodiat's kingdom surely had them as well.
  • Tempting Fate: One NPC in Cythere invokes this:
    NPC: There's talk of an imminent attack by Sammarkand, but I'm sure our military can handle it.
  • Think Nothing of It: Nephi and Rogurd often invoke this when they show up in the nick of time to save the protagonists.
  • Timed Mission: You get 10 minutes to climb down Apogea Tower before it collapses. This includes time spent in battles.
  • To the Pain: Played to hilarious effect when the party has to interrogate a pirate. Each of the characters offers their own unique method of extracting information.
  • Underground Monkey: Mostly averted, you'll generally see enemies appropriate to the environment (worms and slimes underground, mammals aboveground).
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: While the game was originally supposed to be released on the Game Boy Advance, development moved it to the Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, the game has a bit of notable bugs to the point where you have to use your 3 save slots wisely. Some of the Timed Missions may have random encounters to where there is not enough time left to make it out.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Vai tries to conquer every free city in the world to get ahold of the game's Plot Coupons, and use it to create world without violence. Shame he didn't know what he was getting into when he did it.
  • Where It All Began: Bel Lenora is the island where the main character began his journey. It becomes the final area unlocked after certain events and serves as the entrance to the final dungeon in the game. Additionally, the final boss's music is the same music as the battle music played in first battle.
  • Whip of Dominance: Aurora is a bossy and flirtatious Fiery Red Head who uses a whip as her weapon. One of her whips is even called "Love Whip" Its description? "Kinky!"