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Darkstone is a role-playing game for the PC and PlayStation, created by Delphine Software International in 2001. It was one of the earlier Diablo clone action RPGs to use fully polygonal graphics - technology that would eventually be adopted by many developers, including the creator(s) of the genre codifier themselves.
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In the land of Uma, a corrupt monk named Draak turned against Kaliba, the goddess of light, and cast his shadow over the land. The goddess shed seven crystal tears, which were joined together to form a relic called the Time Orb. With this, the other monks of Kaliba were able to stop Draak from destroying the world. To protect it from Draak's followers, the Time Orb was then split up into the seven tears, known as the Crystals of Virtue, and these were hidden throughout the four lands of Uma. They can only be collected and reassembled by one of the Pure of Heart.

Now Draak is regaining strength, thanks to a foul creation called the Darkstone. This monstrosity is slowly draining the life energy from the people of Uma, and as they grow weaker, Draak grows stronger. As one of the Pure of Heart, it is your task to acquire the seven crystals of virtue in order to reforge the Time Orb and destroy him forever. To do this, you must visit seven dungeons throughout the four lands of Uma and solve the quests affiliated with those dungeons, then make your way to Draak's lair (the eighth dungeon) and defeat him in battle. There are more than twenty such quests of varying difficulty, randomly selected when a game is started.

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Darkstone offers standard RPG classes, four male and four female. The males are Warriors, Wizards, Assassins and Monks; the corresponding females are Amazons, Sorceresses, Thieves and Priestesses. The PC version of the game has an optional online multiplayer mode and gives the player the option of controlling two characters at one time, with the ability to switch between them at will. The PlayStation version, however, limits control to one player character at a time. The multiple possible quests and player characters give the game a high replay value.

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This video game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Your characters' level caps at 99, however level ups become meaningless around your 30s outside of reaching the level requirements to upgrade your skills and access harder difficulty levels, and the last relevant level that does anything is level 60, the requirement to access the Legend difficulty, which is a ridiculously long ordeal to reach as is without just cheating your level up to it. You'll have to be insane and have no value for your time at all to legitimately grind your character's level up to 99.
  • Ancient Artifact: The Astral Hand, a powerful crystal that Draak used to acquire his powers and allows him to transform into a dragon.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Done with a bit of a twist; play as long as you want, but don't leave the game open and go to sleep or something. You'll return to find your character aged about 20 years and dead of starvation.
  • Asteroids Monster: Giant bats and the Giant Worm.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Poison and Fire weapon enchantments will grant your weapon those respective elements in addition to a huge damage increase, but all those elements will do is make it so your weapon will only ever be able to deal 1 point of damage to any enemy that is immune to those elements, of which there are plenty, meaning you're going to need a carry a backup weapon if you use them or entirely rely on magic to kill enemies that resist those elements. The Magic Missile enchantment face a similar issue where the fired projectiles will only deal 1 damage to immune enemies, but you can still damage such enemies in melee normally with those weapons, so the Magic Missile enchantment is only impractical for ranged-weapons.
    • The Mutation spell. Sure it's hilarious to turn enemies into chickens that can't do anything to you, but it has an insane mana cost (the maximum of 100) that is never decreased when upgrading the spell, and a very short duration (5 seconds at its first level) that also barely improves with upgrading (only 1 second with each upgrade, meaning it'll max out at 12 seconds), so when used you'll have to kill the enemy very quickly or else you just wasted 100 mana for nothing. You're much better off just killing the enemy outright with attacking spells, or if you need to incapacitate them you can use the much longer lasting Stone, Fear, or Slowness spells to do so with a not-as-ridiculous mana cost, or use the Confusion spell to turn the enemy on your side.
  • Bald of Awesome: The Monk class has no hair.
  • Beef Gate: Right from the beginning of the game the whole world is open, nothing prevents you from going to later lands and dungeons, you can even go to the final dungeon in Serkesh and all the way to Draak without doing anything first, you just won't be able to kill Draak without the Time Orb. However enemies of course get stronger and more dangerous the farther you go, so exploring where enemies are beyond your punching weight and trying to get the crystals out of order will very easily get you killed.
  • Big Bad: Draak
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Giant wasps, spiders, and scorpions.
  • The Blacksmith: Gunther, in the town, who buys, sells, and repairs equipment for you.
  • Blessed with Suck: Lucky you! You found a Potion of Surprise! Guess what? It might reduce your age by as much as ten years, making you younger and stronger! Or it might completely screw up your stats and reduce your skills by as much as five points. And there's no way to know without drinking it.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Amazon is blonde; the Sorceress has black hair while the Thief has brown; the Priestess has red hair.
  • Blown Across the Room: There's the Storm spell, which blows all enemies around you away, and damaging them if they hit a wall. A weapon with the Storm enchantment will also blow enemies away when struck.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: In one quest about half way through the game Draak himself shows up. Instead of just killing you before you can get high enough level to beat him, teleports away and summons a much weaker Giant Spider boss to fight you.
  • Bonus Boss: Three of them - The Evil Garth (a Skeleton Captain), Buzbal the Furious (a Ratman Chief), and Nosferatu the Vampire. If you kill them for a sidequest, you can get a tidy sum of cash.
    • In the Poison Vats quest, the three bosses you fight, Arach, Eraldus, and Angelique, are all optional; you can just go to the crystal room, use antidote potions on the poison vats connected to the crystal to free it, and then collect the Crystal of Nobility. You don't ever need to kill Arach nor resue Angelique from the prison to get the crystal, but killing Arach gets you the prison key needed to rescue Angelique and lets you pick up his two medals that you can then use to get yourself a powerful weapon in The Armory (either to use or to sell for a good amount of money), and then killing Eraldus and Angelique after they attack you will get you the key to Eraldus' chest, containing a Leather Armor and Master's Sword that can also be sold for a decent amount if you already have better equipment.
    • in the Statues Of Arkhang quest, Ubus initially appears as a friendly NPC just asking you to go help his master Aeron, but once you find Aeron and see him die, talking to Ubus again will have him thinking you killed Aeron and then attacking you. Fighting and killing Ubus is not required at all to get the Crystal of Strength, but killing him will have him drop a spellbook for a very powerful level 4 spell, which can be sold for a lot of money if you don't have enough Magic to learn/upgrade the spell or already have it upgraded to its max.
  • Boring, but Practical
    • Gunther's Upgrade service. Pay a bit of coin and the selected item will have its stats upgraded by 1 (AC for armors, and both Min/Max damage for weapons) at the cost of reducing its max Durability by 1. However, as equipment gets stronger so does their maximum durability, and later equipment have HUGE durability pools that you'll never come remotely close to depleting unless you just never repair your equipment, meaning you can basically craft an especially powerful piece of equipment for no real drawbacks if you have the gold to spare, as opposed to hunting for a pricy one in shop or just lucking upon one in the field. Just be careful not to overdo it, as higher difficulties see faster equipment degradation and it sucks to have your powerful new equipment nearly broken after two minutes.
    • Some of the spells aren't exciting but will have endless use:
      • Magic Door. Opens a portal to the town, and from there can be used to go back to where you were. Nothing more, but endlessly useful, particularly to quickly get to town and back to sell your loot and stock up inbetween dungeons floors, and to escape to somewhere safe in emergencies.
      • Light. It just lights up the area around you for a limited duration, but Darkstone can visually be a very dark game, and in dungeons you'll often find it difficult to see with how dark it gets if you're not playing on a tv/monitor with ramped up brightness/gamma, so Light will be a big convenience you'll use a lot just to help you see better, especially with its cheap mana cost and long duration.
      • Antidote. It just cures you of poison and each upgrade just makes its already cheap mana cost a point cheaper if anything at all, but you'll get poisoned by enemies pretty often throughout the game so it'll always be handy to have, alleviating you the need to devote inventory space to antidote potions.
      • Food. Fills your food meter, which alleviates the need to carry any in your inventory so long as you have mana to spare for it.
  • Broken Bridge: One of the more complicated quests involves fixing one.
  • But Thou Must!: Averted; although the residents of the starting village do present you with additional side quests, you are not required to fulfill any of them. However, as they all entail either recovering a lost artifact or destroying a monster who happens to hang out in one of the local dungeons, fulfilling the extra quests tends to be incidental to the plot anyway.
  • Cap: Each of your stats for every class can go up to 9999, but each class have individual soft caps for each stat, where upon reaching them you can no longer allocate stat points gained from levelling up to those stats. Each class' primary stat has a soft cap of 1000, but their other stats have drastically lower soft caps of 150, 100, and 50 for their second, third, and four best stats respectively. Upon reaching those soft caps, you must drink the stat-boosting elixers to continue raising those stats.
  • Cartography Sidequest: Somewhat averted; each time you enter one of the four lands of Uma for the first time, your map will only display the land as you visit it. Walking around and filling out the entire map doesn't yield any particular reward, but if you eliminate all of the enemies in that land, they stay dead and you don't have to fight them again. The same is true of each dungeon level.
    • This is true only of the PC version of the game. In the PlayStation version, the random above ground monsters will respawn. The event-driven ones that are part of quests do not. A small number of random monsters in the dungeons will respawn when you re-visit a level. Same as with above ground, the monsters in special rooms like the ones with four jail cells do not respawn.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: Early on you'll depend heavily on level ups to raise your stats and get stronger, as the levelups come fairly quick and the 6 stat points each level provides is significant. Around midgame they'll slow down and you'll start depending on enchantments that raise stats to supplement you, particularly in increasing HP and mana. By late game when you're around level 30 the levelups will slow down significantly and their 6 stat points aren't worth so much anymore while stat-boosting elixers become available to buy, so you'll start depending on the elixers to increase your stats while the levelups are just occasional nice bonuses at that point. Then when you complete your first quest and start tackling the harder difficulties your levelups will slow to a crawl, as well as you likely being only able to invest stat points in your class's primary stat at that point, so you'll be depending entirely on elixers and enchantments to get higher stats from that point forward, with the only real purpose of leveling up being to reach the level thresholds required to upgrade your skills and access harder difficulty levels.
  • Chain of Deals: The Broken Bridge mentioned above gets fixed as part of one of these.
  • Continuing is Painful: When you die, you will drop all equipment and items you were holding at the time in the spot you died. Unless you have a recent save you can just load up, to get your stuff back you'll have to go back to where you died and pick it all up. Not so bad if you just died in the overworld not far from a spawn point, but die deep in a dungeon with powerful enemies while lacking good backup equipment and it can be a ordeal, especially if you were reliant on enchantments from equipment to boost your stats up. This can be averted in the PC version where you can play with two characters and have your partner revive you, but in the Playstation where you're just one character there won't be such luck.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: No matter which character you choose to play, a conversation with the guards at the town gate will include a mention of them not having seen you since shortly after your parents were killed.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Time Orb; the Darkstone is sort of the opposite.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Equipment have durability, with weapons gradually losing durability as they're used and armor losing durability when you're hit. Your equipment though will remain completely fine with their full power intact until their durability hits 0, where they then just suddenly break and disappear forever.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Pretty much how all the bosses in Darkstone work, being not much different than the regular enemies you fight other than having waaaaaay ramped up health that make them take much longer to kill.
    • The most glaring example is Korgun, the Orc chief you fight in the Horgan's Amulet quest. He is exactly the same as the other Orcs, he doesn't move any faster nor have a projectile nor hits harder nor anything else, just with about like 20-30 times the amount of HP a normal Orc has.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: As long as you've been saving fairly regularly, that is. It's even less than a slap if you play with two characters and the survivor carries a Scroll of Life, knows the Resurrection spell, or is a Priestess.
  • Deflector Shields: The Reflections spell, but it only works on ranged attacks.
  • Degraded Boss: You can initially fight the Fire Golem and Ice Golem as bosses in the Horn of Plenty quest at the beginning, but then encounter them as regular enemies near the end of the game, where they're not only much stronger but also now throw Fireballs and Sparks at you respectively, unlike their boss forms that were melee-attackers only.
    • In general most of the bosses are just palette swaps of regular enemies with altered stats and extremely inflated HP, or in some cases don't even get a different color, such as multiple bosses just being the Spectre enemy with a name.
  • Deus ex Machina: Literally, in one quest; a monk has lost his eyesight and his faith. You must restore both, with the help of a minor deity.
  • Dem Bones: Animated skeletons are wandering all over the place.
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Smashing crates, vases, and barrels in the dungeons can yield lots of gold, equipment, and magic books and scrolls. Unfortunately, some of them are booby-trapped and will explode.
  • Disc-One Nuke: As mentioned in the Beef Gate section, you can explore wherever you want right from the start of the game, there will just be increasingly stronger and more dangerous enemies the farther you go. And expectedly, the farther you go the better loot enemies will drop, so if you go to the farther lands at the start and can kill the enemies there (which is especially manageable as a Thief/Assassin with their ranged weapon proficiency to keep them out of harm's way), with some luck you can get yourself a particularly strong late game weapon before you go after your first crystal, allowing you to stomp the early lands with an overpowered weapon. While such a weapon may have high minimum stat requirements that may prevent you from using it initially, Min-Maxing in your class' main stat will allow you to use a preferred weapon quickly (for example you get 6 stat points per level up and your class' main stat starts with 20 points, so after 10 levelups that come fairly quickly you'll already be able to use weapons in that stat class with an 80 point requirement if you devote each entire level up to that stat).
  • Dismantled Macguffin: The Time Orb, which was split into the seven Crystals.
  • Doomed Hometown: Somewhat averted. The town in which you begin the game is the only completely safe place in all of Uma, and can be revisited at any time. However, when the Darkstone makes its appearance, the residents are affected.
  • Door to Before: When you complete any one of the four-level dungeons, you have to make your way back through the entire thing to the exit. This is, however, made easier by using the game's list of places visited in the dungeon; you just click on "Level Exit" and your avatar will promptly run the shortest route through the level to the stairs leading up.
    • This can be averted in a two-character game by having one character plant a Magic Door above ground outside the dungeon entrance; have the characters then then always use the other character's Magic Door to return to the village. The trick here is to always enter the door generated by the other character. For instance, if you're playing a Warrior and a Thief, drop the Thief's door outside the entrance, then always have the Warrior generate Doors underground but take control of the Thief to enter the door at either end. Entering a Door with the character that created it results in the destruction of the Door. Not good when you're relying on Magic Door scrolls before you've found or bought the spell book.
  • Dump Stat: Each class has one:
    • If you're playing an Assassin/Thief or Wizard/Sorceress, you'll get little benefit out of spending stat points on Vitality. Getting more health is crucial, but it takes them a few points in Vitality to get a single hit point, and the only other thing increasing Vitality does is let you use better Priest equipment, so until you alleviate stat-distribution concerns by being able to mass buy stat-boosting elixers, you're better off depending on enchanted equipment to increase your HP and focusing your stat points on Dexterity and Magic. Strength also isn't very useful for them, as for them it takes several points in Strength to get any increase in your base armor/damage while they'll never want to use any Warrior weapons, so it would always be more beneficial to invest points into Dexterity instead where they get the same damage/armor improvement faster plus increase their hitrate and build towards using better ranged weapons. But Strength is required to use shields, which besides providing more armor, will provide another piece of equipment to get vital enchantments from, so you don't want to completely neglect Strength if you want to be able to use more than the weakest shield, which you won't find any enchanted versions of once you reach Marghor.
    • If you're playing a Warrior/Amazon or Monk/Priestess, Dexterity is the clear dump stat. For them it takes several points in Dexterity to get any increase in your base armor/hitrate/damage, and spells will much better supplement their close-range combat than ranged-weapons will, so besides increasing their primary stats, it's much better to put points towards Magic to learn better spells and get more mana than points towards Dexterity to use ranged-weapons that they attack very slowly with. And with improving their hitrate, they can rely on the Berserker spell and enchantments to hold them over in the hitrate department until they're at the point where they can buy Elixers Of Dexterity without sacrificing improving their other stats.
  • Easter Egg: Dropping a gold piece into the bowl in front of Audren, the black-garbed woman in the middle of town, will activate a bonus sequence in which she sings a song about the titular Darkstone.
  • Electric Jellyfish: Medusa enemies, which shoot magic missiles.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: This occurs later in the game, if you're a Wizard.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the opening video the narrator talks about how Draak is back after the disciples of Kaliba banished him. We then see said disciples praying peacefully until Draak breathes a a huge blast of fire and fries them all.
  • Empty Levels: Gaining levels is very important early on to get stronger but as you progress they'll become gradually less important, and once you reach about level 35 and start taking on the difficulties beyond Novice your level ups will become irrelevant other than for reaching needed level requirements to upgrade your skills and access harder difficulty levels. The reasons for this are each of your stats beside your class' primary stat have very low soft stat caps (of 150, 100, and 50 for their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best stat respectively), where upon reaching those caps you can no longer allocate your stat points from levelling up to them despite those stats being way too low to handle any of the difficulties beyond Novice, while stat-boosting elixers become available to buy, which can continue to raise all your stats beyond their soft caps and will make you so much more stronger than your level ups ever will. It's a wonder why the devs locked the Legend difficulty behind reaching level 60, when you won't be remotely close to it after beating all the other prior difficuties once and when reaching that level is so meaningless for your character's actual readiness for the difficulty.
  • Exploding Barrels: Booby-trapped barrels, pots, and crates will explode upon being will explode upon being broken. Characters with a sufficiently high level in the Perception skill will identify the booby-trapped barrels/pots and chests, which permanently highlights all traps in red, but only when you're controlling that character. There is also a time-limited spell which will identify traps. The Assassin/Thief can even learn to defuse the traps with the Defusing skill, but it's easier to just identify them and then stand back and break those barrels/pots with your ranged weapon, or in the case of chests, just open them manually from far enough away to avoid the explosion.
  • The Fair Folk: One of the quests is performed at the behest of a fairy, who travels with you in your pocket to rescue her friend the unicorn. Another fairy can be seen performing "the song of the snakes" so your character can learn it.
  • Fairest of Them All: In one of the quests, the desire of a very old Vain Sorceress to be this leads her to curse a nearby village. The player character must perform a reverse Glamour Failure to trick her into undoing it.
  • Fetch Quest: Occasionally, you'll be tapped by the townsfolk to find an artifact from a dungeon. Doing so nets you a tidy sum of gold.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: You can reach the level requirement to play the Expert, Master, and Hero difficulties naturally by just successively playing through each difficulty once; you should reach level 20 to access Expert around or even before the halfway point of your first Novice playthrough, you should reach level 35 to access the Master difficulty near the beginning of your Expert playthrough or even at the end of your Novice playthrough if you grinded some, and you should reach level 45 to access the Hero difficulty by the end of your Master playthrough. But by the end of your Hero playthrough you will probably be around level 47-50, while the level requirement to access the Legend difficulty is 60, and at this point it becomes so slow to level up you'll only be gaining about one level or two a whole playthrough. Even if you ensure your character is always 20 years old and have your Learning skill maxed out to gain EXP as fast as possible, you'll have to grind for a ridiculously long time before you can reach level 60 to access Legend, and it's especially painful with how meaningless levels are at this point. Upon beating Hero you're much better off just cheating your way to level 60 to access the Legend difficulty.
  • Fortune Teller: Madame Irma, in the town, is implied to be this (she has a crystal ball on her table), but you never take advantage of her prophetic skills. She helps you by curing you when you're poisoned and identifying unidentified trinkets you find in the dungeons.
    • For a hefty price, she also removes cursed objects from your character. Note, however, that she does not remove the curse from the object, only the object from the character - so don't be dumb and equip it again. Sell it to Gunther.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Fountain of Youth appears as part of a quest, but it dried out long ago.
    • Elixirs of Youth reverse your age by five years or down to the minimum age of 20, which is the only way to remedy stat atrophy caused by aging. As you progress through the game, Master Elmeric eventually has Elixirs of Youth to purchase. Without the Trade skill, the price is 100,000 gold. The higher the difficulty level, the sooner he has the Elixirs.
    • One of the possible equipment enchantments is Eternal Youth. This enchantment doesn't prevent your character from aging, but as long as you're wearing equipment with Eternal Youth your character's age will be functionally 20.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Normally, items and equipment left in the overworld will remain where they're left until you pick them back up. This is always true on the PC version. However, a glitch in the Playstation version can result in an overworld item disappearing permanently. Usually it's not a big deal as it's probably some junk you left lying around in a dungeon and you won't even notice it, but it can affect a plot-important item you left lying around to save inventory space until needed, in which case - unless you're playing an Assassin/Thief who managed to steal a duplicate through a Good Bad Bug with their Thief skill - the game is rendered Unwinnable by Mistake and requires a restart. It can even affect one of the Crystals of Virtue, though since the crystal collection in Serkesh only checks that you have seven crystals total rather than checking if you got all seven of the individual crystals, your playthrough can still be saved if you're playing an Assassin/Thief and managed to steal a duplicate crystal from a boss that drops one.
  • Giant Spider: One of the enemies in the game. It's noteworthy that some of them spit fireballs.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: Happens in a couple of the quests.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Part of one of the longest and most convoluted quests involves finding a new worshiper for a fading deity. The god in question appears as a Flying Face in a Greek-style temple.
  • Golem: Of fire and ice variety, the latter of which throws lightning.
    • Learn the Invocation spell or use Invocation scrolls and you can summon a Fire Golem. In some cases you can drop one into a room you haven't opened the door to. One caveat, due to monster professional courtesy these golems will not attack other monsters with fire attacks. You'll just have to open the door and wade into the room full of fire spitting spiders on your own.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The seven crystals.
  • Grid Inventory: And a small one at that, forcing you into an Inventory Management Puzzle. The best way to get around your limited carrying space is to leave items (particularly the seven Crystals) inside one of the uninhabited houses in town, where they won't be disturbed.
  • Healing Factor: One of the effects of the Berserker spell is giving the player fairly fast HP regeneration while the spell is active. Equipment can also have the Life Recovery enchantment which grants the same HP regeneration, but permanently as long as it's equipped.
    • The reason Draak is impossible to defeat without the Time Orb is his regeneration ability, as whenever his health is depeleted to half he'll instantly regenerate his health back up to full. When the Time Orb is activated Draak will be unable to regenerate, but if he is not finished off before the Time Orb's duration is up he'll instantly regenerate back up to full health again.
  • Healing Hands: The Priestess class has this ability and can even revive a secondary character who has been killed.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Subverted. You can name your Pure of Heart whatever you like, but the name is never used by other characters. Most don't call you anything at all; one quest-specific character addresses you as "Child of Light."
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Time Orb
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There are five difficulties, named from easiest to hardest: Novice, Expert, Master, Hero, and Legend. Initially every new character can only access the Novice difficulty, as your character must be at a minimum required level to start a new game on the harder difficulties, which are level 20 for Expert, 35 for Master, 45 for Hero, and 60 for Legend. As you go up in difficulty all enemies will scale up drastically in stats, with the beginning enemies being about as strong as the enemies at the endgame of the prior difficulty, as well as getting faster, and they may gain new tricks too, such as some enemies having permanent Reflections on Hero difficulty. However the loot that gets dropped and that you can buy from the stores will also get increasingly better as the difficulty goes up, and the enchantments that equipment can have will get more powerful too, though cursed equipment will also start showing up on Expert difficulty and will get more common the higher the difficulty becomes.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The Pure of Heart are incapable of being seduced by evil.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Pretty nearly every quest item you could possibly need will be kept in one of these down in the dungeons; most of the few exceptions are given to you by other characters.
  • Infinite Supplies: The Horn of Plenty, a Plot Coupon which must be recovered from a deceased NPC in one dungeon, has an inexhaustible supply of food. It has to be turned in to the leader of a community in exchange for one of the Crystals of Virtue; however, there's nothing stopping the player from carrying it around for the entire game while acquiring the other six crystals. It can be used to generate as many chicken drumsticks as desired.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Each character has a distinct voice, in which they will inform you that they are getting hungry, identify what they are examining, or - when close to death - cry out, "Help! Please help!"
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Lots.
  • Invisibility: The Exactly What It Says on the Tin Invisibility spell, which turns your character invisible and makes enemies unable to see you unless you're making noise such as by attacking. It is very useful, but no NPC in town will be able to see you and so you won't be able to talk to them when the spell is active.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Somehow, one of the Pure of Heart became an Assassin, and another became a Thief. Make of it what you will.
  • Karma Houdini: Gutrick in the Fountain of Light questline, who poisons his sister-in-law out of jealousy due to his brother dying and leaving her their fortune. And just for added points, Genna's worried son is part of their caravan. Once you confront him with the proof of his poisoning Genna, however, he goes with you to request the antidote from the wizard he ordered the poison from and...nothing further comes from it. To be expected of a game with limited storytelling, but it's a particularly standout moment that Gutrick doesn't pay any more for this crime than that.
    Gutrick: So you found this letter, did you? I suppose it's better this way.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Thief. She can even steal eggs from the chickens in town as a way of practicing that skill.
  • Level Editor: Before Delphine International disbanded, their official forums had a link to where PC players could download a free one. They could then design their own levels and share them with other players on the same forums.
  • Lie to the Beholder: The Mirror of Lies
  • Life Drain: When the Absorption spell is active, 20% of the damage you deal in melee combat will be drained to recover your health and mana. The only caveat is you have to hit a living enemy, you won't absorb anything from undead enemies like skeletons and bloodless enemies like golems. The Vampire enchantment on weapons does the same thing but lasts permanently and allows ranged-weapons to still absorb from a distance.
    • Vampires are enemies that will recover health from the damage they deal when biting you.
  • Lizard Folk: The Lizard Men enemies, which are quite prominent throughout the first half of the game. They're heavily involved in a couple quests too, with one having you rescue a woman's baby who was kidnapped by a horde of Lizard Men that destroyed her village, and another quest has you destroy their unhatched offspring.
  • Loading Screen: Seen whenever you ascend or descend to the next level of a dungeon, or enter one of the various lands of Uma.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: In the Playstation version this game has some really bad load times, each time you enter a land or enter/exit a dungeon level you'll have to go through about 30 seconds of loading. The game also takes a similarly long time to save. Playing on an emulator with a speed up option will be handy to avoid so much wasted time.
  • Meaningful Name: Draak means "dragon" in Dutch.
  • Medusa: Here named "Gorgons", a mid-to-late level enemy packing poisoned dual swords and bows. Not to be confused with the Medusae mentioned in Electric Jellyfish above
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Crystals of Virtue.
  • Mission From Goddess: The basic plot.
  • Mook Maker: Several.
    • One dungeon is home to a hive of giant wasps, which have nests that spawn young wasps that shoot magic missiles. There is also the Wasp Queen, which spawns fully-grown wasps that shoot fireballs.
    • Some enemies are able to summon mooks, like Giant Bats and Dragon-Draak.
  • New Game+: Since your characters are saved separately from their quests, you can actually start a new game with your characters at any time while carrying over their level, stats, money, spells/skills, and equipment from the last time you saved. The main use of doing this though is after beating the game, you can then carry over your character with everything but their inventory intact to a new game set on a harder difficulty, where even the beginning enemies and loot is scaled up appropriately for the expected power you would be at in the endgame of the prior difficulty. With four harder difficulties beyond the initial Novice difficulty you start at, you'll be at it for a long time before you reach the point where your character can do no more.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: During the Poison Vats questline, you can help the knight, Eraldus, save his wife, Angelique, from a dungeon filled with spiders since he's too scared of them to save her himself. While it's not required to get the Crystal of Nobility, you can still choose to do so...after which he immediately chews you out and tells you to leave because you took too long to save her. Talking to him two more times results in him attacking you. Kill him in self defense and his wife will turn into a werewolf and try to kill you too! You do get a key to a nearby chest for your trouble though.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Averted; your character can and will age, and once you hit a certain age your stats begin to decrease. Additionally with each year you get older the rate at which your character gains exp will slow down by 1%. You can counteract this however and lower your age by five years (or down to the minimum of 20 years if you're younger than 25) if you drink an Elixer Of Youth. Since Elixers Of Youth will become available to buy at Elmeric's shop late in the game (and will become available even sooner on harder difficulties), you should be able to ensure your age will never be a problem and even keep yourself permanently at 20 if you have enough money, unless you somehow take a very very long time ingame on your initial Novice playthrough to reach the point where you can buy elixers (you should be no older than 30 by the time you can buy them).
  • One-Winged Angel: Draak's dragon transformation.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Draak
  • Our Dragon Is Different: Draak was a man who became a dragon; however, in one of the quests, he does put in an appearance in his human form. He also is apparently the only dragon in the world, or at least we never see or hear about any others.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Sorceress class (and the Wizard too in the Playstation version) comes with the Lycantrophy skill to turn into a werewolf for a limited time, where they'll move and attack much faster, and have their mana become their HP (and vice versa), to become much more durable in the process. Additionally since it's a skill, it has no cost to use and you can continue spamming to stay a werewolf for as long as you want. However with the HP and mana swapped you'll be more limted in your spell usage as a werewolf, and can't use any weapons, being restricted to your claws, that will be relatively weak past midgame.
    • In the Poison Vats quest, when you rescue Angelique and then kill Eraldus in self-defense, she'll turn into a Werewolf to attack you. Though rescuing her and then killing Eraldus and her is optional and not neceesary to obtain the quest's crystal, doing so will get you the key to their chest.
  • Plot Coupon: The Crystals of Virtue, again.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: The item variant. The game has several quest-specific items, such as the magnifying glass, which are useless once that quest is completed.
  • Point Build System: Each class has set base stats they start from, but upon levelling up you get six stat points that you can allocate however you desire to the four stats; Strength, Magic, Dexterity, and Vitality. Increasing Strength will gradually increase your character's base armor and damage, with a faster rate for Warriors/Amazons, as well as letting you use better Warrior equipment. Dexterity also gradually increases base armor/damage in addition to increasing your base hitrate, but with a faster rate for Assassins/Thieves, and is the stat used for the stat requirement of Thief equipment. Increasing Magic will gradually increase your max mana and the damage of your attack spells, as well as letting you use better Wizard equipment and learn higher level spells or upgrade spells you already know farther. Then increasing Vitality will gradually increase your max HP, as well as let you use better Priest equipment. Once you can buy stat-boosting elixers from Elmeric however stat distribution goes out the window, with the only limitation to increasing your stats from that point forward being your money.
  • Precision F-Strike: The Village of the Damned, which also qualifies for Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
  • Random Event: The game runs on this trope, given that you don't know at the beginning which quests or mini-quests will be presented to you.
  • Rare Candy: There are the Elixers of Strength, Magic, Dexterity, and Vitality, which each raise the corresponding stat permanently by 1. When you reach near the end of your first Novice playthrough you'll become dependent on them to get your stats stronger from that point forward and through all the harder difficulties, as level ups will slow immensely and become no longer rewarding, and they're the only way to permanently increase your stats beyond their soft caps, which except for your class' primary stat will be all very low. They can be bought from Elmeric when you progress far enough (they'll be available earlier the higher the difficulty), but they're quite pricey at 10,000 gold each, limiting how much they can be abused by how loaded you are.
    • There's also the Potions Of Surprise, which when drunk will randomly permanently decrease one of your stats by 5, while permanently increasing another stat by 5 or 10. They can be a risk as you may get a vital stat decreased in exchange for increasing your Dump Stat, but if you're willing to Save Scum you can ensure you get the 10 point increase on the stat you want every time.
    • Then there's the Elixers Of Youth, which will decrease your age by 5. These will be vital to ensure you never become old enough to have your stats weakened, but also vital if you want to get your level high enough to upgrade your skills and access harder difficulties as fast as possible, as the rate you gain EXP will very slightly decrease with each year you get older. They also will eventually be buyable from Elmeric, but for a very pricey 100,000 gold.
  • Sand Worm: The Giant Worm, a sub-boss that appears in a certain dungeon.
  • Santa Claus: A special bonus in one of the highest-level dungeons has you rescue Santa, who presents you with a miniature copy of Darkstone 2 (which was never made). Yes, really.
    • Santa also appears as a monster in some dungeons. Instead of gifts, the Santas give you fireballs, at great speed, with deadly intent.
  • Save Your Deity: What Kaliba's monks had to do in the backstory.
  • Saving the World: Kind of the point.
  • Schmuck Bait: Cursed equipment will appear to have an enchantment that raises all your attributes by a very high amount, and will often not having a stat requirement to equip too, really enticing you to put it on, but upon putting on cursed equipment it'll turn out it doesn't raise your stats at all and will instead inflict a nasty status effect on to you, while you'll be unable to unequip it unless you go to Irma and have her free you from the curse for a hefty price. In the PC version you can use the Detection spell/skill to distinguish cursed equipment from legitimate enchanted equipment, but in the Playstation version you'll have to deduce it yourself or take it to Gunther to see if it'll sell like a legitimately enchanted equipment will (or Save Scum to safely put it on to see), but equipment having no stat requirement will be a 100% sure sign that it is cursed.
    • Go ahead, click on the well in the Village of the Damned. See how that works out for you. It summons literally hundreds of venomous spiders. Your character will be dead within seconds.
    • Or how about those exceptionally rare elixirs of youth in the dungeon with Kolos? Hope you like giant spiders.
    • In the Holy Number quest, each of the three dungeon levels before the last will have a "Crystal Room", where you'll find what appears to be the Crystal Of Strength just left lying on a pedastal for easy pickings, with no sign of anything relating to the holy number and demon the monk's scroll told you about. Try picking up the crystals in these rooms and they'll instead turn into Potions Of Surprise, while in the second and third "Crystal Room" you'll also be surrounded by two super-powered Chief Rat Men that move and attack at insane speed.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: You can pick one or two of the eight potential characters to be your avatar(s) in the game. Where do the other six go? No one knows.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The Confusion spell, which when cast on an enemy will have them turn and attack the other enemies for a limited time or until killed. A weapon with the Touch Of Confusion enchantment will do the same when it strikes an enemy. There are enemies that can't be confused though, and confused enemies will never attack some enemies, such as the Queen Spiders.
    • Ranged-attacking enemies can also hit and damage enemies that get in the way of their projectiles, they won't retaliate back but you can still potentially get enemies to indavertently kill each other through this.
  • Shock and Awe: The Spark and Thunder spells, where the former fires an electric ball in a straight line for moderate damage, and the latter strikes all nearby enemies around you with a bolt of lightning for the most damage of any spell in the game. There are also Ice Golems that, for some reason, throw Sparks at you.
  • Shout-Out: The guards at the gate of the town where the game begins are named Bill and Murray.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Trade ability. When you're playing a character that can learn the Trade skill, Gunther the blacksmith will reduce his prices on repairs and increase what he pays you for items you don't need - even at level one of the skill. The deal gets better as you increase the skill level. Trade makes it pointless to learn Repair. Master Elmeric and Perry the Publican also drop their prices when you know Trade. It has no effect on Master Dalsin's skill class prices, however.
  • Squishy Wizard: Both played straight and averted. The Wizard class starts with the lowest strength and the weakest weapons; however, the acquisition of rings and elixirs which enhance attributes can result in a Wizard who is just as strong and weapons-proficient as the other classes.
    • Ditto for the Sorceress, who can learn the Lycanthropy skill, allowing her to turn into a powerful Werewolf. While in Werewolf form, the Sorceress gains strength based on her magic skill, effectively trading off magical power for raw physical power.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In the Luxorious The Vampire quest has you regain an artifact for the titled character who is quite obviously a vampire. An evil vampire. The sort of character you should not be helping. But you have no choice.
    • In the Sun Cross quest, you have to steal the Sun Cross from the Kaliba priests and give it to Drakus, who you are explictly warned by the farmer Greg of his shady nature and to stay away from him. However there's no other way to progress and once you give the Sun Cross to Drakus he'll turn into a Spectre and attack you. Killing Drakus will have him drop the Crystal Of Wisdom.
    • Subverted in the Fountains Of Immortality quest. In Omar you'll find a monk named Langolin, who tells you he'll need three Potions Of Immortality to recover Mrs. Argana's husband, which sounds reasonable enough, but after doing so he says he also needs the Crystal Of Wisdom, an obviously questionable demand. And sure enough upon giving it to him he reveals his true nature and teleports away while leaving behind a horde of Spectres to attack you. Upon reaching the final floor of the associated dungeon you'll find Langolin at the Crystal Room where he is about to use the Crystal Of Wisdom to get the Crystal Of Compassion, and confronting him will have him to turn into a Damned Spectre to attack you, where you then have to kill him to get the Crystal Of Wisdom back. The subversion comes in that you don't actually need to ever give any of that stuff to Langolin to complete the quest, you can just head straight to the Crystal Room, find Langolin there anyway blocking the entrance and kill him, and then use your crystal to get the Crystal Of Compassion. Doing it this way saves you the Potions Of Immortality which you can then sell to Perry for a good sum of money after you complete the quest, but if you're on the Playstation version and playing an Assassin/Thief you can duplicate the Crystal Of Wisdom by giving it to Langolin and stealing it from him in his boss fight.
  • Super Speed: There's the Haste spell, which doubles your movement speed for a limited duration, and the Berserker spell, which does the same in addition to granting a myriad of other buffs.
    • A few enemies have variants that move and attack at absurd speed, most notably the two Mystical Wyverns that Draak summons nonstop to aid him when you fight him.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: One quest requires you to find the Celestial Sword, the only weapon capable of performing the necessary deed. It's not a very good weapon otherwise. There are plenty of other quests that also have special pieces of gear which are essential to finishing those quests, but are otherwise useless afterwards.
  • Taken for Granite: The Stone spell, which turn enemies into stone for a limited duration. Weapons can also have a Stone Curse enchantment, which turn enemies into stone briefly when struck by the weapon.
    • In one quest, there is a witch who was so obsessed with her looks that she swore to turn any woman to stone if they dared to be more beautiful than her. Given that she looks to now be about two hundred years old, this has been a problem for her neighbors.
    • This is what the Darkstone does to people after they've been drained of their core energy.
  • Teleport Spam: Enemy Wizards prefer to teleport instead of walk. If you open a door to a room with Wizards, they'll immediately teleport over and start throwing fireballs. The player can also try to do this with the Teleport spell, but as it takes time for the Teleport cursor to reach far distances and each usage of the spell has a non-negligible mana cost, it's far from as effective as the enemy Wizards can do it and not so practical.
    • This is additionally the preferred tactic of the bonus boss Nosferatu.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Draak is essentially this; to defeat him you must have the Time Orb active or else he'll instantly regenerate his health up to full upon reaching half health, however the Time Orb's effect has a limited duration and can only be used once, where then when that time is up Draak can regenerate again and you must flee back to Sebastian to have him recharge the Time Orb. To make the time limit more forgiving you can deplete Draak's health to near half to avoid triggering his regeneration before activating the Time Orb.
  • Training Dummy: A section of the starting town is dedicated to allowing the player to develop proficiency with their chosen weapon.
  • Unknown Item Identification: Some of the weapons and items found in the dungeons are unidentified; you should never wield or wear anything without having it first identified (either by Madame Irma or by your character with the Identification skill), because it can poison you or lower your stats. The really good stuff makes your character say "Whoa!"
  • Useless Useful Spell: There are many spells, skills, and enchantments in Darkstone that really aren't useful or are sorely outclassed by other abilities. Each of these equipment enchantments also have the side-effect of making your equipment much more expensive to repair despite providing little-to-no benefit over the same equipment with no enchantments.
    • The Night Vision spell. Being able to see better in the dark when dungeons can be so dark could be handy, but its mana cost is not that cheap and its duration is awful, lasting only seven seconds at level 1. Comparatively, the basic Light spell that just lights up the area around you instead to let you see in the dark has a very cheap mana cost and has a much better duration, lasting over 30 seconds at its first level, and it has a lower Magic requirement to upgrade farther, as it's a Level 1 spell while Night Vision is a Level 2 spell. You really have no reason to ever use Night Vision instead of Light unless you somehow missed getting a Light spellbook. It does have a secondary effect of showing you enemy locations on the map when active, but rarely should you ever be needing to avoid enemies (and often probably can't anyway), or if you're seeking them out instead, they won't be hard to find either.
    • The Haste spell. Doubling your movement speed is really helpful, but then the Berserker spell exists, which not only does the same but also drastically increases your armor and hitrate while granting significant health regeneration, all while having a lower mana cost than Haste and significantly longer duration, on top of being a Level 1 spell while Haste is a Level 2 spell so it'll have a lower Magic requirement to learn and upgrade. Similar to the Night Vision vs. Light example above, you'll have no reason to ever use Haste instead of Berserker unless you were unlucky enough to miss picking up a Berserker spellbook, in which case you should just reset if you didn't get a Berserker spellbook in the first few dungeon levels as it's so essential. You can't stack the movement boosts of Haste and Berserker either, eliminating the one possible use Haste could have had.
    • The Healing spell. Being able to recover your health is vital in Darkstone, but health potions exist, which are cheap, can be carried in stacks of 9, can be set to one of your belt items for instant access any time, and heal you fully instantly, as opposed to Healing recovering a portion for a non-negligible mana cost. Additionally you can just cast Berserker instead to regain more health through health regeneration on top of all the other aforementioned benefits of Berserker, while Berserker also has a lower mana cost than Healing.
    • The Forgetfulness Spell. It'll make an enemy temporarily unable to use any spells, which could be handy as magic-using enemies are usually more dangerous, but it has a severely high mana cost and short duration while only being able to affect one enemy with each casting. Additionally an enemy using magic always entails them throwing projectiles at you in the form of spells, which means to neutralize them you can just cast Reflections instead to reflect all projectiles off you, which has a drastically more reasonable mana cost, longer duration, and will neutralize all magic enemies when it's active instead of just one. Plus Reflections is a level 1 spell while Forgetfulness is a level 3 spell, so you'll be able to learn Reflections right off the bat and it'll have a much lower Magic stat requirement to upgrade. The only real possible niche for Forgetfulness is against the Bat Goblin and Wizards that summon Bats and Ice Golems respectively, as it'll prevent them from being able to, but with the latter duo they attack by magic so Reflections will neutralize them anyway and with the former you'll be better off using AOE attack spells to control them that don't have the ridiculous mana cost Forgetfulness has, especially as unless you have Invisibility active they would have probably noticed you and summoned the Bats before you got a chance to cast Forgetfulness.
    • The Telekinesis Spell. It lets you open doors, flip switches, pick up items, and open chests/pots/crates from a distance. However there's really never a time where doing that stuff from far away is really any useful and worth expending mana on other than opening booby-trapped chests, and with such chests you can still stand far enough way to open them manually without getting hit by the explosion, while with pots and creates you can just break them with a ranged weapon, or if you don't have one, use the cheaper Magic Missile spell to break them.
    • The Defusing skill. It's a manual skill that when used will break and open booby-trapped pots/crates/chests without them exploding, but since you can already break/open them through manual means without getting hit by the explosion as covered prior, it's just a waste of time to actually set it to a spell slot and use it.
    • The Detection skill. When active it'll show you where enchanted equipment are on the map, but it'll only show such equipment after it already dropped, in which case you already have the enchanted equipment in your inventory or left it lying around because it's junk, in which case you probably won't bother trying to find it again unless you're just really that strapped for cash. This really screws over the Wizard in the PC version when he has this skill instead of Lycanthrophy like the Sorceress does, a very vital skill to helping the Wizard's and Sorceress' very weak early game, but in the Playstation version with the multiplayer-only Languages skill removed the Wizard gets Lycantrophy too in its place.
    • The Eternal Youth enchantment. Being permanently 20 while wearing Eternal Youth equipment sure is nice, but the enchantment doesn't actually prevent aging, it just makes the game ignore your character's age while it's worn, so unless you plan to keep that Eternal Youth equipment on forever you're going to need to still drink Elixers Of Youth to bring your age back down once you swap the equipment out for something else. Additionally those elixers will be available to buy by the time Eternal Youth equipment can appear and you'll be able to easily afford buying one every couple ingame years, so you're much better off just continuing to drink the elixers to stay young and wearing equipment with other enchantments that are actually useful.
    • The Abundance enchantment. When wearing equipment with this enchantment your food meter will never deplete, but then normally it goes down so slowly that unless you're just sleeping all the time to recover health/mana, you'll easily subsist by the food dropped by enemies and crates/chests, and if you'll really need more food than that you can just use the Food spell to refill your food meter, which can be combined with the mana regeneration from sleep to sleep as long as you want. So you'll just be wasting a valuable enchantment slot by wearing equipment with Abundance.
    • The Poison's Effect Slowed Down enchantment. Poison as is is pretty slow in its effect and depletes health very slowly (you'll recover health much faster through Berserker than you'll lose through poison), so just slowing its effect down farther isn't really helping you survive better when it's already little threat towards your survival. Then when you're poisoned you can just cast the Antidote spell whenever that will cost you barely any mana, and if you just really want to not have to deal with poison at all you can get your poison resistance up to 100% through other enchantments to ensure you never get poisoned to begin with.
    • The Permanent Perception enchantment for the Assassin/Thief and Monk/Priestess classes. They get Perception as an innate skill, and by the time you can get enchantments you'll have the skill more than levelled up enough to see traps, so this enchantment will do nothing for them.
    • The Quick Recovery enchantment. When you're wielding a weapon with this enchantment and get flinched by an attack, your character will be able to act sooner out of the flinch, which should be quite useful as being stunned like that around enemies is hazardous. However to get flinched an attack has to deal about one fifth of your max HP in damage, which should rarely happen at all unless you're out venturing to areas/difficulties above your character's punching weight, and taking that amount of damage in a single hit is very dangerous to begin with, so your priority should be enchantments that give you more HP to stop losing such a big proportion of your health when hit. Then if you get your max HP up enough to survive better, you won't be getting flinched anymore, meaning this enchantment will do absolutely nothing. So in short, rarely should Quick Recovery come into play, and simple common HP-increasing enchantments will obsolete any need for Quick Recovery.
  • Vendor Trash: The only thing you can do with most of that armor, weaponry, and various other dungeon loot is to sell it to Gunther the blacksmith (armor and weapons) or Master Elmeric the wizard (rings, amulets, spell books). Many plot equipment and items are also able to be kept after completing their relevant quest but the plot equipment is almost certainly going to be worthless to actually use compared to the equipment you already have and the items will have no use at all, but after finishing their quest you can sell them as artifacts to Perry for a nice sum of money.
  • Wallet of Holding: In the PC version there's a living one in the form of Larsac the Usurer. Instead of wasting valuable space in the limited inventory on coin, you can hand all your money over to Larsac, who will take care of your debts with the merchants in town. In addition, any money your character stores in the bank can be accessed from other games if you start another playthrough with the same character, making it work as a sort of off-shore bank account.
    • In the Playstation version your character can hold onto the gold instead without it taking up inventory space, with your character having a carrying capacity of up to 99,999,999 gold. Your character will additionally carry all their gold through other playthroughs.
  • When It Rains, It Pours: Once the Darkstone shows up, the country is drenched by endless rain.
  • Who Forgot the Lights?: Dungeons in Darkstone can get very dark, becoming increasingly darker as you progress through the game. In earlier dungeons it's not so bad and you can manage without a light source if your monitor/tv isn't dark itself, but once you reach Omar and start going through the later half dungeons it can get near pitch-black, meaning that unless you use the Light or Night Vision spell, equip a torch, or wear equipment with the Light Aura enchantment, you're not going to be able to see anything that aren't lighted-up objects.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: One of the quests involves collecting a series of pipes to play "the song of the snakes" in order to lull a huge horde of them into a trance so you can collect the nearby Crystal. Once you have it, however, get ready to run, as the snakes are normally enemies you'll encounter much later into the game that will probably be too strong for your character to safely handle at such an early point, and in the Playstation version killing them will have them respawn elsewhere like normal enemies, making exploring the rest of the dungeon level much more dangerous.
    • There is one dungeon where you rescue someone's wife from a nest of spiders, of which he is terribly afraid.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Your character will inform you that "I'm getting hungry." More unsettling is the "Help! Please, help!" they shout when they're running out of HP.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Type One. Part of Draak's master plan. In order to become godlike, he needs to extract the core energy of the country's inhabitants by using the Darkstone.

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