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Blackguards is a 2014 Turn-Based Tactics RPG developed by Daedalic Entertainment, set in The Dark Eye universe. You play as a human accused of murdering the daughter of a powerful Count, escaping from jail alongside a Dwarf named Naurim and lustful mage Zurbaran Florios, a southern grandee. While the main character would like to clear their name, they're unfortunately suffering from some Laser-Guided Amnesia and unable to remember the events of what happened the night of the Princess' death, resulting in a quest to solve the murder.
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A sequel, Blackguards 2, was released in January 2015. The main character is a madwoman named Cassia, who has a single obsession: to sit upon the Shark Throne and rule over an empire, even for a day. Except she's broke, insane, and currently locked up in the worst prison in history. But she has a plan. The Conquerors of the Nine Hordes, half the party of the previous game, are currently in a rut and shells of their former selves. All she has to do is break out, hire the Conquerors, rally an army behind them, rip and tear their way across half the country, overthrow King Marwan from the Shark Throne, and hold it for at least a full day before being torn apart by an angry mob. What could possibly go wrong?


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Examples of tropes in this game include:

  • A God Am I: In the sequel, Takate develops a god-complex from defeating the Nameless God, claiming to be the son of Kamaloq, the god of the hunt.
  • Anti-Grinding: There are no random encounters - the only repeatable fight is doing battle in the arena but it rewards no Adventure Points and very little money.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: As is true more broadly in the Dark Eye rule system, wearing metal armor interferes with casting spells.
    • Downplayed in the sequel; there are two special magic-based passive skills that negate the interference.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Warriors' Targeted Stab and Death Blow abilities ignore all armor.
    • Archers'
  • Awful Wedded Life: Telemache's list of grievances with her husband is so long, she asks the party to retrieve a long-lost ritual book so that she can confer to him the blessings of all the gods, thus turning him into the perfect man who'll dote her at every turn. She succeeds... only to find herself hating him even more due to him being too perfect.
    • Cassia has it worse: her husband is The Caligula, he is exactly as repulsive as the rumors say he is, and after he got tired of her he threw her in the catacombs underneath the city, laughing as the spiders and their venom slowly drove her insane.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When the group has to partake in arena battles:
    Niam: Do I have to fight, too?
    Tulefa: Nobody can force you to, sweetheart. But I recommend that you at least parry your enemies' blows.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After the final battle, your character walks to the crevice and utters the name of the nameless one. This would mean that your character dies in the process, but the ending is unclear about your ultimate fate. Your companions later move on with their life, the world continuing to be crapsack with the events largely remaining unsung and ignored. For better or worse, the setting returned to the status quo.
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    • In the sequel, for better or worse, Cassia succumbs to her illness nine hours after claiming the throne. If you played her as a paragon of virtue, the people entomb her as the greatest queen in history. If you played her as a sadistic psychopath, the people parade the severed head of of their short-lived tyrant.
  • Bag of Spilling: Justified; even legendary items are heavy, and after they were done adventuring the party sold their gear or stuffed it in a vault somewhere, and spent years doing anything but fighting.
  • Barrier Warrior: The mage spell Gardianum Magic Shield conjures up a barrier against magical damage.
  • Blood Knight: Naurim is fierce and hot-tempered, as expected from a warrior dwarf.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: After a long questline investigating the assassination attempt on Keidre, the leader of the Courtesans' Guild, it's finally revealed that the person who ordered the hit was Clarizia, a priestess of Rahja in the small town of El'Halem. She blamed Keidre for slowly turning her temple into a glorified bordello.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When approaching a group of bandits to determine the truth in an Evil Twin situation, the leader mentions a palace - Naurim becomes fixated on it, and it will even initiate combat if he keeps pressing the issue.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Mostly averted; almost all characters and enemies can be vitally wounded, causing a mark to appear on the character's portrait and decreasing their physical stats based on the severity of the wounds. However, enemies can be killed without gaining these vital wounds, and rare enemies (like Golems) are immune to wounding.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Naurim spends Chapter 1 claiming he fought a dragon in a cave. When you go there, it's filled with crypt lice and one of them has Naurim's battleaxe stuck in its carapace. And then in Chapter 4/5, you get to fight a Rock Dragon. Complete with an epic treasure - two dragon eggs and a magic crossbow.
  • Curse: A merchant in the town of Benivilla is suffering from one that's causing him to slowly rot away, and he tasks the party to find a way to stop it. While they do eventually succeed, upon returning they find the merchant already dead, having changed his mind about wanting to live and either ending his life by his own hand or voluntarily letting himself succumb to the curse.
    Aurelia: He looks happy.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The warrior ability Hammer Blow, usable only with heavy two-handed weapons, axes and maces, deals triple normal attack damage but is both inaccurate and forfeit's the character's parry that turn. Despite it's downsides its sheer damage potential makes it one of the most useful abilities in the game.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: A side quest in Chapter 3 involves finding the 9 scattered pieces of the legendary spear Bloodletter and putting it together for your own use.
  • Dispel Magic: The spell Magica Infracta clears enchantments from both allies and enemies.
  • Evil Former Friend: Lysander. It's made clear via flashbacks that he and the player were once very close, but Elanor's death has now driven him completely insane.
    • Aurelia turns out to be this, being a member of Count Urias' Nameless One cult. Depending on how you treated her throughout the game, it's possible for her to undergo a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fantastic Slur: While presumably not meant to be offensive, Naurim the dwarf will call humans "bigguns". Also, Bailiff Lasca addresses Naurim as "imp" at one point.
  • Fake Aristocrat: Zurbaran isn't an Al'anfan noble, but the escaped slave of one.
    • In-game lore reveals that Mirai was adopted by Cassia and given a fake identity as her Ill Girl sister.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Zurbaran acts like a cheerful, smart and careless noble. He is in fact, an escaped slave who killed a noble and took his identity, using it to deceive people and trick women into sleeping with him, even poisoning the husbands of the women. He likewise makes several sexual advances towards both Aurelia and Niam, and even tries to sell Takate in the third act.
  • Fireballs: Ignisphaero Fireball is your classic fireball spell, though it only deals full damage on the primary target while anyone hit by its splash take less.
  • Gladiator Games: A prominent feature of Mengbilla and the surrounding area. Chapter 2 is a Gladiator Subquest; afterwards, you can return to the arena for some further fights, which are optional.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Ten copper to a silver, ten silver to a gold, as is standard for the Dark Eye system.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Almost all of the possible decisions the player can make are painted as this, with no clear way to determine which is the "right" choice.
  • Great Escape: The game kicks off with you escaping prison along with Naurim, who planned it, and Zurubaran.
  • Healing Potion: Come in a variety of types and with varying degrees of effectiveness. Master healing potions which restore vitality to full are both rare and expensive.
  • The Hero Dies: The main character seals the hell-gate from the inside, dooming them.
    • Cassia succumbs to her illness nine hours after claiming her throne.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Berserk spell can turn any of your foes into a mindless angry death-machine that will automatically move towards the nearest character until they reach stabbing range, followed by aggressive stabbingnote . The level 4 version of the spell gives it an area-of-effect, causing victims to drop anything else they were doingnote  and wail on each other until there's only one left standing.
  • Made a Slave: Chapter 2 kicks off with this.
  • Mage Marksman: Niam is a hunter who also has the ability to cast spells.
  • Magnificent Bitch: In the sequel, Cassia starts out disfigured, insane, imprisoned below the gladiator arena where the monster kennels are kept, with nothing more than tattered rags, a few shoddy weapons, and a strange book from another world, written by one of Earth's most ruthless strategists. She then goes on to conquer the country with three ex-gladiators and a small army of violently insane mercenaries, simply by following the teachings of the book. Also, she fights in every main battle on the front-lines. If you play your cards right, she can claim victory against a giant Eldritch Abomination with petrifying powers, a tyrant whose life is ritually-linked to her sister, and her own backstabbing army, all at once, by poisoning the entire army with the the same life-link ritual to herself, forcing them to fight for her or die, and using the monster to petrify the tyrant for the rest of her sister's life.
  • Mana Burn: Certain poisons can drain mana in addition to health, making (the mercifully few) enemies which make use of them highly dangerous to your spellcasters.
  • Mana Potion: Astral Potions are a crucial thing to stick in your spellcasters' belts before heading into battle. As with healing potions, the best versions are as rare as they are effective.
  • Mushroom Samba: When Niam is drugged on the third day of the Nine Hordes, she sometimes shoots randomly into space instead of at enemies. According to the battle log, she's shooting at hallucinated unicorns, which always dodge her attacks successfully.
  • Mystery Box: One questline involves tracking down a strange box for the head torturer of Mengbilla which he claims to be a gift for the head of the Courtesans' Guild. While it turns out the box really was just a gift, its exact contents are never revealed.
  • Plotline Death: Niam is killed by the Louse Queen in the final gladiator battle.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Lysander and Aurelia spend half the game undermining each other, thinking they are The Dragon of the overreaching evil in the story. Except neither of them is fully on the Big Bad's side. Whoops.
  • Portal Picture: One of the DLC quests involves the elvish painter Eodil who fell in love with a portrait of a woman he had painted, but upon losing the portrait, grew bitter of the real world and retreated inside one of his paintings to live in isolation.
  • Power Nullifier: The Mask of Shame, kept on the witch in the Mengbilla arena, completely prevents its wearer from casting spells. They also can't stray more than a hundred paces from the person who carries the key to the mask.
  • Projectile Spell: Despite its name, the spell Thunderbolt launches a damaging magical projectile and has nothing to do with electricity. Ignifaxius Burst of Flame is the fiery equivalent.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Your party, including the player character, consists of three convicted criminals, a drug addict, a Blood Knight pit fighter, and a slut-witch/death-cultist.
    • The famous band of thieves known as the Flying Foxes, whose members all seem varying degrees of cruel or unhinged, also qualifies.
    • And in the sequel, the current party is made of half the party from the first game, a former princess turned madwoman, and a mercenary company of insane zealots who worship the god of spilled blood.
  • Regenerating Mana: The Astral Regeneration passives provide this during combat, as do certain pieces of equipment. Both are quite valuable as mana potions are expensive and limited in number.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What is the Nameless God's true name?
    • And in the sequel, How did a copy of Machiavelli's The Prince find its way into the world of The Dark Eye, let alone survive in a giant crumbling labyrinth?
  • Set Bonus: Equipping a full set of a single type of armor gives you a bonus to armor and reduces its encumbrance penalty.
  • Spell Levels: All spells have four ranks which are unlocked by investing enough AP on the spell in question.
  • Tentacle Rope: Lysander meets a gruesome end as he gets repeatedly bashed against a stone wall while wrapped in one of the kraken newt's tentacles.
  • Trauma Inn: You can restore health and magic points by resting at inns. This doesn't heal wounds, though.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Cassia betrays her army by poisoning them with celebratory wine. If she was good, it's because they're all Ax-Crazy psychopaths who love pillaging already-conquered cities, will gleefully hunt down fleeing villagers (and will hang their own men for disobeying their own kill orders if they don't), and killed a puppy that was just trying to play with her. If she was evil... well, why not?
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