One sleepless night, the player is transported to the land of Cythera from their home by Alaric the LandKing. Alaric is bonded the land and has used his power to keep the land prosperous, but lately the bond is weakening, causing chaos across land. Plauge, violence, and treachery now threaten the land, and in desperate attempt to save Cythera and himself, he has used most of his remaining power to summon a hero from Earth to save the land.
To complicate things further, the hero is warned through a mysterious entity called Omen that Alaric may not be all that he seems and must be destroyed to return balance to the land.
And so with only a few leads, the hero sets off to discover the truth behind, well, basically everything. While Cythera is an RPG, the focus is less about the combat and more about figuring things out. The dialogue system allows the player to type in keywords that the NPCs react to, so it's important to figure out who to talk to and what about.
The game provides examples of the following:
- Dismantled Macguffin: The Crolna is multiple pieces.
- Due to the Dead: Some of the quests the player gets involve honoring the dead. Hadrian asks you to put flowers on his mothers grave, and Jhiaxus asks you to leave an offering of hand-baked bread for Jinrai.
- Elemental Embodiment: There's a race that's representative of each of the four classical elements. The Seldane/Metics for earth, Undines for water, Firesprites for fire, and Sylphs for air.
- Element #5: Humans are representitive of the fifth elements.
- Fisher King: Alaric, the LandKing
- Four-Element Ensemble: Each of the classic elements has a race representing them, are associated with a different direction. Fire and Air, and Water and Earth are considered the opposite elements, with Fire being south, water being west, air being north, and earth being east.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The player can name the hero, and select one of three different portraits per gender to represent them.
- I Have Many Names: Magpie reacts like this if asked for his name.
- Karma Meter: Karma can be increased by completing quests and slaying monsters, and decreased by stealing things or killing people. Alaric won't heal you and Seldanes won't talk to you if your karma is too low.
- Due to a bug, killing generic NPCs doesn't decrease your karma, and some things can be stolen without penalty if you move them first.
- Keywords Conversation: Each character has a few keywords that are shown by default, but there's also a text box where the player can type any keyword they feel like.
- Kill and Replace: Stentor saw Pelagon die years ago, but no one believes him because Pelagon was replaced by a shapeshifter.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Discouraged by the karma meter.
- Lie Detector: Berossus the Judge knows a truth spell, which confuses him when it confirms the innocence of a suspect that Berossus saw murder someone.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Jhiaxus was a Seldane, and Jinrai an Undine. None of their people approved of their relationship.
- Mineral Macguffin: The Crolna is a glowing green crystal with mysterious powers.
- Mystical Plague: The illness in Catamarca is caused by a Crolna shard at Catamarca's water source.
- Nonstandard Gameover
- After using the panpipes to break the lock in House Comana, you'll get a bad ending if you didn't bring all the Crolna shards with you or if give them Magpie at any point.
- After getting all the Crolna shards, you can get nonstandard gameover by using the corrupted Crolna on Alaric.
- NPC Scheduling: NPCs can be found in different locations based on the time of day.
- Rainbow Speak: Sometimes words in dialogue will be blue to indicate that it's a keyword the speaker will react to.
- Really 700 Years Old: Alaric has been LandKing for over two hundred years. The elementals are apparently immortal.
- Shapeshifting: This is used to frame Halos for a murder he didn't commit.
- Songs in the Key of Lock
- Summon Everyman Hero: The player character is summoned from Earth to be the hero of Cythera
- Third-Person Person: Magpie refers to himself in third person.
- Due to game developer oversight, some characters will use the generic response to keywords with dialogue that references themselves.Demodocus: The best musician is certainly Demodocus, the famous travelling bard.
- Due to game developer oversight, some characters will use the generic response to keywords with dialogue that references themselves.
- You Can't Get Ye Flask: People only react to specific keywords, which can take effort to figure out. Philinus will give you panpipes after rescuing Ariadne, but only if you ask for pipes and not panpipes.