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Video Game / Celestian Tales: Old North

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Top to bottom, left to right: Cammille, Ylianne, Lucienne, Isaac, Aria, Reynard

Celestian Tales: Old North is a Kickstarter-funded JRPG-inspired turn-based RPG released by Indonesian video game company Ekuator Games for the PC in 2015. The game is intended to be the first of a trilogy.

The game is set in a medieval-inspired fantasy world and follows the parallel stories of six squires (knights in training) as they learn the ways of knighthood and nobility together, and individually face the hard decisions they will have to make on their own. You are given the choice to play as any one of the six squires. Each playable character generally follows the same linear story track, but each character arc also includes moral dilemmas unique to each of them, and if you wish to learn every last detail of the story, you will need to play through all six individual scenarios.

As previously mentioned, since the game is the first of three planned installments, this game centers on the formative period of the main characters' lives, particularly their first exposure to the vastly complicated world that they inhabit.


The game also contains a DLC episode, Howl of the Ravager, which is a prequel to the main game, as it documents the early days of Severin Leroux, one of the game's main supporting characters, and how he came to be a hero of the Old North.

A sequel, Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond, was released in May 2020.

Now has a character sheet.

The game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Another Side, Another Story: As mentioned above, although all six squires are in the same general story, certain details are only revealed by playing as certain characters. For example, only through Cammile's story can you learn that her brother Daniel is the father of Sophia's child. Also, Isaac's true identity as a commoner named Reed is something you will only find out by playing as Isaac.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Unlike in other RPGs where the playable characters have their own individual levels, this game has a party level, where all the playable characters share the same level and amount of experience points earned from battle and completing story-relevant quests. This makes grinding less repetitive.
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  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have three characters in your active party, and your lead character cannot be removed from the party. This is actually explained by Jacques in the first part of the squires' training.
  • Art Shift: The title sequence is rendered in a classic 2-D animation style incongruous with the general aesthetic of the rest of the game.
  • Batman Gambit/Desperation Attack: In the middle of the fight against the Enders, as the soldiers are slowly losing, and with the third Bladebearer dead, Cammile and Artur come up with the idea of making Artur play his lute to them and testing the Enders' reaction, based on their prior experiences with the Enders and music. It actually pacifies the Enders, and with the exception of a decisive duel between Severin and an Ender leader, no further blood is shed.
  • Battle Chant: The Enders do this as they march into battle.
  • BFS: The Garou, as wielded by Severin.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The momentous occasion of the squires' knighting ceremony is tainted by a violent confrontation between Alain and Severin, which ends with Alain (and possibly Severin) dead, all centered on a scandal involving the new Levant heir's true parentage.
  • Bonus Boss: The Grey Giant can only be fought in the final chapter, at The Needle (the summit of the Grey Woods), after collecting all Honor Medals. Note that some of those medals can be missable.
  • Breather Episode: Chapter 5 has the squires on a small errand to investigate for evidence, without any required fighting.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: While in the middle of warring with the Enders, Severin, Rossaval and Mariene still find time to banter and cajole each other.
  • Character Focus: Although the story does give a fair amount of detail to its setting in general, it is primarily focused on how the six leads are shaped by the world they live in and the choices they make as they go.
  • Combat by Champion: The war with the Enders is decided by a duel between Severin and an Ender leader, after the Enders are placated by Artur's lute-playing.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: After Alain reveals that the new Levant heir is Sophia's unborn child, Severin angrily attacks him, stating that because Alain is infertile, not Sophia as widely believed, he couldn't possibly be the child's father, and therefore the child is not a legitimate heir.
  • Family Honor: Plays a significant part in the nobles' perceptions of the world. Aria begins her story willing to go along with her father's plans to eventually have a Geraldine become a Bladebearer; Reynard considers it underhanded for a person to bring family into trading insults; Cammile has her own aspirations but is told to become a knight in order to honor her father's wishes and elevate her family's status.
  • Fantastic Racism: Two kinds of discrimination are portrayed in the story.
    • Human/elf racism is not that virulent as far as the humans are concerned; however, Ylianne is looked down on by her fellow elves, since her half-human heritage means she won't live as long as they will.
    • The more prominent form of prejudice in the story regards the nobles' condescension toward lower-class people. The Geraldines, particularly Abel, exemplify this.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Several characters consider execution a more merciful fate than to be sentenced to a remote island called the Witch's Nest, where the worst of the worst are imprisoned for life. In addition to there being no hope for release, prisoners are also mercilessly tortured by wardens, and heavily chained in order to prevent them from committing suicide. In the final choice of the game, if Severin is not killed, he will be sent there as punishment.
  • Flowery Elizabethan English/Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Geraldines, and Gareth's Inquisitors in general talk like this. One Inquisitor NPC by the docks explains this as a mark of their distinction as nobles, as well as a show of politeness in their attitude. Tellingly, the only inquisitor who doesn't talk like this is the sadistic Abel.
  • Foreshadowing: The last clip in the title sequence has Severin slashing at the camera. Guess who's the final boss.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • The Cynic: Isaac, who lived most of his life as a lowborn farmer and experienced the nobles' discrimination from both sides.
    • The Optimist: Ylianne, partly since she's only begun to learn about the human world, and also as her own way of coping with the elves' condescension.
    • The Realist: Cammile, due to her being an avid reader and keen observer of her surroundings. Lucienne also counts, having been raised as a soldier and knowing firsthand the brutal necessity of war.
    • The Apathetic: Reynard, whose only pleasure is fighting.
    • The Conflicted: Aria, who's trying to juggle her responsibilities to both her family and her own faith.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine: Ylianne, the resident optimist.
    • Choleric: Lucienne, closely mentored by a prominent general. Reynard exemplifies some of the more negative aspects of this temperament.
    • Melancholic: Aria, The Fundamentalist in the team.
    • Phlegmatic: Isaac, who has strong opinions but knows to keep them in check. Cammille is the most knowledgeable and perceptive member of the team, but is also the most timid.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: During Astori's Info Dump on crystals, Aria explains that Bright Red Crystals are so difficult to make that nobles are allowed to have only one at a time, which means that the entire party can only have a total of six. Once you have enough money, though, you can buy as many as you want.
  • Incest Subtext: When Lucienne is fangirling Severin a bit too hard, Reynard suggests that if she weren't his niece, she'd want to be his wife. She gets a bit flustered.
  • Insistent Terminology: Severin's troops are referred to as either the Red Wolves or simply soldiers. Meanwhile, Mariene's are called Paladins, and Rossaval is the leader of the Arbiters.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Some of the better gear for you or your party members can be found inside the houses of NPCs. Amusingly, Aria's Ritual Blade is inside a tent in the war camp right next to an NPC guarding the supplies.
  • Knighting: The last chapter of the game has the squires attaining knighthood.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Nothing to do with the main characters' literal roles in the story:
    • Knight: Lucienne, a trained soldier; Reynard, a Blood Knight; Aria, who fights for her faith.
    • Knave: Isaac, who's trying to hold on to his values while dwelling with the nobles he once despised, and Cammile, who's only doing her duty for her family's sake.
    • Squire: Ylianne, who's only beginning to learn the ways of the humans.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The more prominent Enders are clothed in red. Subverted by the chief Ender who duels with Severin.
  • Libation for the Dead: The Stinger of Isaac's story has Reed, the one pretending to be Isaac, pouring a drink over the grave of the real Isaac Goldenlake as a gesture of respect.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are more than 20 named characters in the game, aside from the six leads.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: This trope highlights Lucienne's tomboyishness as compared to the other three female leads.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Severin accuses Alain and Sophia of presenting an illegitimate heir as the real thing, because Alain was infertile and couldn't have produced the kid. He's right, but that doesn't save him.
  • Mercy Invincibility: If you flee from a battle, you are briefly rendered immune to encounters for several seconds.
  • Noble Bigot: Aria is a high noble and a born zealot. She looks down on commoners, has no sympathy for bandits, and is particularly contemptuous of any religion other than that of Deus. Nonetheless, she is brave and honorable, and she takes her duties as a squire seriously, including protecting the innocent and refusing her father's orders to arrange an accident for the unborn heir of Levantine. One of her moral dilemmas is deciding whether to give a funeral to a fallen soldier of another religion, allowing her to favor either the "noble" side or the "bigoted" side.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Isaac sympathizes with the bandits and believes that they only resort to it out of necessity. The Enders are revealed to be this as well later in the game.
  • Overworld Not to Scale
  • Party in My Pocket: While wandering the map, only your main character is visible, although they do split up for several cutscenes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Aria is the red to Cammile's blue. Aria is actually as smart as Cammile; the main difference is that Aria has biases due to her faith and upbringing, while Cammile is more open-minded.
    • Lucienne is the blue to Reynard's red. Lucienne, having grown up under Severin's wing, learned to be disciplined and fight strategically and defensively, while Reynard is a Hot-Blooded Leeroy Jenkins Blood Knight.
  • Required Party Member: Your Player Character cannot be removed from the active party.
  • Revenge Before Reason: When the heroes manage to subdue a group of bandits at Orsea, the people's first reaction is to have them executed by hanging. The acting Lord Lupin then intervenes and asks the squires to hand them over to face trial instead. You are given the choice of what becomes of the bandits. If you're playing as Ylianne, however, she insists on leniency and no choice is available. Isaac, on the other hand, immediately lets the people hang the bandits to cover for his familiarity with them.
  • Rousing Speech: Severin is good at giving these as the leader in the fight against the Enders. It turns out Lucienne is also picking up on this, as she gives one to Ylianne to motivate her to fight after witnessing the bodies of the fallen.
  • Shout-Out: Two possible references to Valkyrie Profile: Lady Mariene Belenus (Belenus being the name of one of Lenneth's Einherjar), and Lucienne (a feminized take on Lucian).
    • Reynard's father is named Gaston de la Foret.
    • From the Howl of the Ravager DLC:
    Pierre: One does not simply walk into Anon'Taure!
  • Shrouded in Myth: The Sacred Swords and the Bladebearers. Many people believe that the swords imbue their wielders with mystical powers that grant abilities beyond what normal warriors are capable of. The Bladebearers in turn are a prestigious lineage; the highest-ranking nobles in the society of the Old North, and the only ones truly fit to rule. Most of the Howl of the Ravager DLC's storyline revolves around these legends, specifically with the Sacred Swords Garou and Durandal (also known as the Feyslayer).
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: Whichever Player Character you choose is the party leader and decision-maker in that scenario.
  • The Stinger: Each scenario features a short scene after the credits.
    • Cammile: Daniel is revealed to be the true father of Sophia's child, making Cammile the Honorable Companion of her own nephew. If you took the Arcane tome, she takes a moment to herself and contemplates whether it will later become necessary.
    • Aria: Gareth sees Aria's new position as an opportunity to usurp the Levant and have her as the new Bladebearer, but Aria refuses his command to kill the unborn heir. In response, Gareth disowns her.
    • Ylianne: Her pet rabbit Bunyip finds its way to Levantine, and Ylianne talks with it. Part of the monologue is dependent on the choice you made previously, whether to lie to a guard for a servant, or to tell the truth and cost the servant his job.
    • Lucienne: She and Lupin console one another after Severin's death, and Lupin takes over the lordship of the House of Leroux while Lucienne has to uphold her duty as an Honorable Companion despite her wishes to serve with her family. As Lupin comments on the sacrifices Lucienne has to make for the sake of her duty, including time to have her own children, Lucienne takes a moment to think about that particular cost based on whether she experienced holding a child in her arms or not.
    • Reynard: His father Gaston visits him in the Levantine castle a few days after his knighthood. Gaston is surprised to catch him in a more introspective mood than usual, and Reynard admits to still being rattled by Severin's unexpected acts of rage against Alain and Sophia. He comments that Severin appeared to act purely on emotion, and wonders if he himself would have done any different. Gaston simply says that setting him on this path was the right decision, as he has begun to learn that there is more to knighthood than being a fighter. After his father reminds him to also rely on his fellow Honorable Companions, he comes back to himself and invites his father to a meal.
    • Isaac: He stands at the grave of the real Isaac Goldenlake, and talks to the grave about his journey. He brings up what it had cost to keep up the ruse, and renews his resolve to be better than the Isaac Goldenlake he knew and killed as he pours out a drink.
  • Story Branching: While each character has their own specific moral choices to make, there are two choices which all characters share. The first is the choice to spare or execute the bandits at Orsea, unless you play as either Ylianne, who insists on having them stand trial; or Isaac, who lets the villagers hang them. The second is given at the end of the game, wherein you decide whether to Mercy Kill Severin or have him tried. If you're playing as Lucienne, however, she would rather kill her uncle than have him tortured at the Witch's Nest.
    • Cammile: After Astori is sentenced to exile, Cammile heads back to Aevum's dungeon to look for books about Arcane. She finds a tome containing Arcane spells, and you choose whether she keeps it or leaves it alone.
    • Aria: One of the fallen soldiers in Whiterock Hill is discovered to be a Fiellite and as such is not permitted to be buried along with the believers of Deus. A suggestion is made, however, that the Fiellite can be burned in a funeral pyre in keeping with their faith, thereby allowing the burial ground to remain untainted. It's left up to you whether to refuse to participate in a heathen practice but desecrate a burial ground instead, or to acknowledge a heathen rite and still honor the rest of the fallen.
    • Ylianne: Before the knighting ceremony, she stumbles on a servant who has broken a vase decoration in the castle hall. The servant pleads with Ylianne not to report him, because he knows it would cost him his job, and he needs the work to support his family. Right on cue, a guard walks up to them. You decide whether to tell the truth as you've been raised up to do despite ruining another's life in the process, or to go against your upbringing and lie in order to protect an unfortunate victim of circumstance.
    • Lucienne: On the eve of their knighthood, Sophia invites Lucienne to her chambers to ask about Severin's personal life. In Sophia's arms is a baby born from one of her maids, and she explains that she's practicing in the hopes of one day bearing children of her own. She then asks Lucienne if the thought of becoming a mother had ever crossed her mind, then asks if she would like to hold the baby. Lucienne explains that she's committed to becoming a soldier, which not only deprives her of any time to make a family, but also makes her wary of leaving orphans, exactly the way her own parents left her. You decide if you would like to at least have an idea of what it's like to be a mother, or affirm your resolve as a soldier.
    • Reynard: While recuperating at Moncalm and bantering with other soldiers, Reynard is bumped by a drunken knight named Theo. Reynard recognizes that Theo was purposely looking to provoke him, especially as Theo makes a scene and demands that Reynard apologize for getting in his way. Theo taunts him and calls him a weakling, while the other soldiers around them plead with Reynard to not make a scene and embarrass his family. It's up to you whether to defend your own personal honor at the potential cost of your family's, or to go against your instincts, swallow your pride, and show restraint.
    • Isaac: Before the knighting ceremony, he receives a letter from Francis, his friend from his old life. They meet at a bar near the Levantine docks, where Isaac tells of his journey to knighthood. Francis then attempts to blackmail Isaac and asks for favors to keep his gang of bandits alive in exchange for not talking about Reed. You can choose to either help an old friend and let him dangle your secret over your head, or tie up a loose end and end your journey as a squire the way you started it.
  • Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: This game leans more prominently towards story, although what little gameplay there is in comparison is still relatively well-developed.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Inverted. Four of the playable characters are women and two are men.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Severin, Rossaval, and Mariene appear to be these, more so with the two men.
  • The War Has Just Begun: Severin's words at the end hint that there is a dark conspiracy going on within the nobles of the Old North, and he laments that the heroes have unwittingly placed themselves on the wrong side of it by going against him.
  • War Is Hell: The first thing the heroes witness on arriving at Whiterock Hill is the bodies of fallen soldiers. Ylianne is horrified and asks why it had to happen, and Lucienne simply but encouragingly explains why war is necessary.
  • Wham Episode: After our heroes are knighted, Alain declares that the newly-knighted are to be Honorable Companions of the Levant heir. It is assumed to be Severin who will inherit the Levant throne, but Alain then reveals that his wife Sophia is pregnant. Severin angrily attacks Alain, explaining that Alain is infertile, and so the child isn't his, and therefore not a legitimate heir. Severin then threatens Sophia, forcing our heroes to intervene and stop Severin from killing her and the unborn child.
  • Whip It Good: The bandit ringleader at Orsea wields a whip.

The Howl of the Ravager DLC provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Call-Forward: As this is a prequel, there are lots of these throughout the DLC. Several examples:
    • Severin's story begins at Orsea where he sneaks through the wheat fields to subdue the leader of a gang of bandits, the same way that you can play out Chapter 2 of the main game.
    • Parce, the domain of House Beaufort, is the same place where Isaac a.k.a. Reed was born and raised. One of the NPCs there happens to be his father, who is considering joining the war against the Celestians. There's also a child who mentions playing with Francis, who goes on to become one of the bandits.
    • Severin meets Sophia in the Emerald Forest, where the house of her family was overgrown by the roots of the Emerald King. At one point, he winds up threatening her violently in an eerily similar fashion to the ending of the main game.
  • Composite Character: To a certain extent, each of the three playable characters' skills are an amalgamation of those from two of the squires in the main game; Severin from Isaac and Reynard, Pierre from Lucienne and Cammile, and Niena from Ylianne and Aria.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Many maps of certain places visited by the six squires in the main game are reused in the prequel.
  • Eldritch Location: The Summerlight Gardens leading to the elven land of Anon'Taure is a ridiculously convoluted maze where pathways loop back on one another and fold into themselves repeatedly. It's further explained that it's due to the resident spirits wanting to play with hapless travelers who have the misfortune to stumble into their land, and without the guidance of an elf, no human can hope to find their way out. A hint for players: sometimes the right way is to turn back the way you came.
    • Anti-Frustration Features: If you do make it out, a spirit will volunteer to transport you to and from Anon'Taure without having to enter the maze.
  • Empathic Weapon: It is revealed that according to the elves of Anon' Taure, the Garou and the Durandal (also known as the Feyslayer) are indeed mystical weapons, only selecting individuals who meet their criteria. The Garou reacts to wielders who have a great deal of courage, and the Durandal reacts to wielders who have a great deal of temperance. The two weapons also amplify the virtues found in their respective wielders, whether they like it or not.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've completed Ylianne's story, you will know that Pierre fell in love with her mother Niena and thus was her father, and that he later did a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat the Emerald King once and for all.
  • Genius Loci: Severin and Pierre are tasked to go to the Emerald Forest in order to kill the Ancient Emerald King. Niena later clarifies that the Emerald Forest is the Emerald King.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first encounter with the Emerald King in chapter 4, no matter how you do, will always end up with a powerful attack that will instantly knock out Severin and company.
  • The Stinger: Severin and Alain mourn the death of Pierre, and discuss the ramifications if the truth about the Sacred Swords and Bladebearers were ever to come out. They agree to keep it a secret, and lament that they can't shoulder each other's individual burdens. Severin suggests that Alain take a wife to help him in that regard, which Alain casually laughs off. After Alain leaves, Severin thinks that he may know the perfect woman that can do just that, alluding to Sophia.
  • Story Branching: When Severin, Pierre and Niena arrive at the Emerald Forest, they find the House of Aramis in ruins, and most of its soldiers dead or wounded. Lord Henri and Sophia welcome them to their house, and although they understand the urgency of preventing the Emerald King's awakening, Sophia asks the knights to at least look for survivors around their house so that they can be sheltered and tended to. You decide whether to continue on with your task and leave the soldiers to their fate, or to take the time to rescue survivors and give the Emerald King more time to gather its strength.


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