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Video Game / Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle

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Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle is a fantasy Role-Playing Game done with RPG Maker 2003. If the official website is down, it can be downloaded at the mirror

From the game's manual, The Duchess of the fair land of Elstwhere comes by carriage to the Marque of Wulfhammer, presumably to marry its lord, Embric of Wulfhammer. Embric, however, is nowhere to be found. The Duchess, not being the sort to sit around idly, embarks on her own quest to get to know the body of the eccentric populace of Castle Wulfhammer, among them the ladies and dwarves of the Awesome Fellowship, those rescued on the Fellowship's grand adventures, a bevy of mysterious townsfolk, monsters, nobles, demons, and devils, waitresses, clerks, clerics, and more.

But there is something strange about this castle and its people. As the mysteries begin to unravel, and the real lives and futures of the people of Wulfhammer come into question, who can rescue those who are so used to doing the rescuing?

Primarily a comedy and heavily Yuri (having originally been released to the /u/ board of 4chan), the object of the game is not to fight monsters with a band of heroes to save the world from some cataclysm, but to explore the stories of the people of Castle Wulfhammer. There is almost no traditional combat and the game is packed with scenes and endings, and lots and lots of characters.

A sequel is in indefinite hiatus entitled "A Marquess of Notoriety" which involves the next generation.

After a resurgence in the popularity of her games, Saintbomber would rebrand as Large Battleship Studios and begin to produce Yuri RPG Maker games once more. Embric would receive an official re-release on in 2020.

Tropes found in this game include:

  • Alice Allusion: The God of Tardiness is said to be a White Rabbit, a reference to the White Rabbit character who is introduced being late for the Hatter's tea party.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Every ending except the last ending has the Duchess "waking up" in her room. The Final Ending has you traveling through a developer's room with character descriptions for everyone. Then you "wake up" with the Awesome Fellowship led by "Ember", an Embric/Alice fusion rescuing child-Duchess (who looks different from the memories) from being raped by Greyghast. Then it goes to the main screen.
    • The "Alice" Ending also points this direction. If you defeat ZEALOT and choose not to marry Embric or Louni AND you haven't done the Carmina route; you're back at the Duchess's Empty Castle with Alice. The Duchess wonders what she's going to do; but she tells Alice that she loves her and tells her her name. Then Alice tells her that her name isn't really Alice, it's Ember. BRRRRZT; flashes of Embric and the Awesome Fellowship killing Greyghast; and then a brown haired girl is talking to Embric where the Duchess and Alice usually talk after dreams; and they turn back into the Duchess and Alice.
    • In the new Deluxe Edition, it is revealed that The Duchess has Precognition. The events of the game are her childhood self envisioning the future; however; these visions are being influenced by her being possessed by a devil who is feeding on her despair.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Just click on everything. You'll either get something important or funny.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Falwithwier, Louni, and the Good Dwarf (the girl one, anyway) for the Fellowship, Arugula, Duchess, and Alice for "Rugie and her Happy Friends".
  • Big Bad: Azraela D'Fleur/Tierra del Fuego is revealed in the Final Ending as the one behind all the villains the Duchess has faced, as the events are the Duchess dreaming of the future, but Azraela is influencing the dreams to feed on her despair.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Carmina's romance arc, if you choose for Carmina to "Be by your side." The Duchess and Carmina escape the castle to Elstwhere. The Duchess and Carmina rule over Elstwhere, and eventually over Wulfhammer's Castle, also, evicting the Awesome Fellowship. Carmina and the Duchess spend the rest of their lives together (or, more accurately, the Duchess' life) until the Duchess passes away from old age, while Carmina still appeared as young and flawless as ever. Suffice to say, Carmina becomes devastated.
    Duchess: I wonder, in vanity, if there has ever been a human man or woman who has had a dark elf weep loud and open over them as they passed. My love. Forever... Carmina.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Downplayed most of the time (in that it's typically not really rape), but one example stands out in that the Duchess can get attacked by demonically possessed, love-crazed zombies and if they catch her, the Duchess wakes up the next morning covered in... mysterious fluids.
  • Boss Subtitles: Parodied with The COW.
  • Broken Bridge: At one point, the Duchess finds a boulder in the path of The Lost Woods. She's absolutely delighted at finding such a cliche and calls Alice over to make fun of it.
  • Canon Ending: So far according to the demo of A Marquess of Notoriety, it's mostly a combination of Iron Duchess+ with some aspects from the others.
  • Cast Full of Gay: The Duchess is bi, most other female characters are bi or lesbian. For the male characters, it's not really known since they make no mentions in regards to their preferences.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Elven Chainmail Bikinis are even better.note 
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Discussed In-Universe in the D&D Ending. Duchess is played by a guy who always plays a Fighter named Embric and wanted to Play Against Type.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Sure, it's a lighthearted romp through lesbian sex and fourth-wall-breaking Dungeons & Dragons references. Until you start discovering horribly dark backstories involving exposing children to death, rape, brutal and explicit murder, an Eldritch Abomination or two, and it turns out the entire thing is a dream of the future that is being twisted by a devil woman.
  • Descriptiveville: The Duchess comes from the land of Elstwhere. Where is Elstwhere, and what is it like? Who cares? It's just somewhere away from the story.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Early in the game, if you climb the cliffs and look at the castle, the Lich Vecnatrix walks up and makes conversation. If one immediately selects "Shove", the Duchess pushes him off the cliff and gains "disproportionate experience" for "defeating" him. "I have heroic exploits to talk about at parties! How thrilling!" (No, it didn't destroy him.) Other choices result in running away or getting temporarily captured.
    • At one point, also fairly early on, Alice punches out Ecanecia, who is an Eldritch Abomination taking the form of a young lady.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Avoided like the plague with Falwythwier; she's a Jerkass, and she stays that way. The best the player can hope for with her is grudging acceptance.
  • Double Entendre: Duchess muses that male lords prefer large water jugs over small ones, which are more convenient and easier to carry.
  • Downer Ending: Carmina's romance arc, if you choose for the Duchess to "Be by her side." The Duchess and Carmina escape the castle to the Underdurt, where the Duchess had to be passed off as a slave in order to live there. Eventually, the Duchess is squished to death by a couple of golems on the orders of Carmina's jealous sister/ex-lover.
  • Dream Apocalypse: What happens in the Final Ending- the entire dream world fades as Catherine awakens from her dream.
  • Dungeon Maintenance: Our heroine can get to an empty treasure chest before the government official responsible for refilling them. She's outraged at this lapse in standards.
  • Emoticon: All of the guards "speak" in Emoticons, but the Duchess (and just about everyone else) understands what they are saying. It's even parodied when the Duchess finds a guardsman who doesn't speak in Emoticons, calling him an imposter!
  • Fantastic Racism: Elves, and Falwythwier Windgrace in particular, are appallingly racist (not that this is unusual), and they're even worse against Dark Elves. Granted, most Dark Elves are Always Chaotic Evil, so at least some general distrust is justified.
  • Fisher King: Sovereign Oaks only grow leaves when a good ruler sits on the Throne. They're all dormant...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "Awaken without Saving" is the message displayed if you are quitting the game. Saving in this case refers to the Duchess, who hasn't been saved from her despair yet, and she is awakening from her dream.
    • Embric's portrait is quite similar to Alice's. Alice was created by the Duchess in Embric's image.
    • At one point in the game, you can end up kidnapped by Lord Vecnathrax — the Duchess comments that on the way home she felt like she was Embric of Wulfhammer. In the D&D ending, this turns out to be more or less literally true — she's played by the same person as Embric, who decided to play her this time instead of his usual tactic of bringing in an essentially-identical relative of Embric when his latest iteration of Embric died. It's also somewhat applicable to the usual interpretation of the Alice and Final Endings — Embric is simply a product of the Duchess' drug-addled imagination, in which she split the real Ember into two different characters: Embric and Alice.
    • The manual establishes that it's not actually certain that the Good Dwarf is male — people assume such because he/she looks like a short bearded man, but no-one in Aeresland actually knows enough about dwarves to tell the difference. It turns out that there are 7 Good Dwarves, one of whom is a female — since no-one knows enough about dwarves, they can't tell them apart, or even tell that the female dwarf is female when she's wearing a beard.
    • A man mentions how Alice looks just like a female Embric when you're traveling with her in Everbrook. She is, in a sense.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Duchess gets stripped all the time, but she always has all her equipment, including her dress.
    • Fal will still deride the Duchess's combat abilities when they are about the same level. And at most other points in the game, the game will ignore the Duchess' combat abilities. In one ending, though, this is subverted; in the Fleeing ending (which can only be gotten very late in the game), Alice will point out that the two of you are actually probably strong enough to take on the Fellowship by now.
  • Gilded Cage: The Duchess's life when Greyghast was still alive. She lived in a Big Fancy Castle, but her uncle would abuse her at every opportunity and kill any suitors she had.
  • Gainax Ending: Many endings are just weird in some way, and they almost always end with the Duchess waking up from a dream, still dressed in the clothes she wore during the respective ending.
  • Game Maker: Made in RPG Maker 2003, and cited by several players as being a prime example of what can be done with the program with time and effort.
  • Guide Dang It!: A lot of the endings give only vague hints as to what to do next, and after completing a questline, you will often have to Talk to Everyone to see if anyone has anything new to say that will trigger the next quest.
  • Hot for Student: Raine has the hots for the Duchess. The Duchess has to make it clear that Grettel is hands-off.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Whenever the Duchess has to actually fight, her combat style involves much of what gets her through aristocratic life. Most of her "weapons" are rings; her "armor" categories include dresses, undergarments, and perfume; her "accessories" are her acquired titles, and her special techniques reek of non-combat.
  • I Know Your True Name: The Duchess forces a Devil to fail a Question test ala Monty Python and the Holy Grail by asking her for this; the one thing it will not tell her. The Duchess mentions that telling Carmina her true name would give her power over her; but she tells her anyways.
    • She does this again after beating the same devil in the Bonus Dungeon; after presumably a successful Diplomacy check; the devil gives her name in hopes of seducing her. The Duchess uses the True Name to command the devil to initiate the Dream Apocalypse.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Burst Flame Sword is just lying around in a crate. Ironically, nobody in the party can equip swords. Double Irony: Examining the game code shows that it really does have the strongest stats of all the weapons in the game.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Given a thourough lampooning in the forest with a small boulder that blocks the path. Duchess even calls out to Waysthi, Goddess of Contrivance upon discovering it. Considering how roundly mocked it is, it's a wonder she and Alice weren't lightning-bolted by her...
  • Jerkass: Lady Falwythwier, full stop. It's hard to feel bad for her when Carmina leaves her a greasy stain on the pavement in one of the endings.
  • King Incognito: Stew, one of the residents of the castle. He gets a character portrait when it's revealed, and ends up hooking up with Arugula.
  • Lady Land: The areas the game takes place in do have men in them, but most of them exist as threats to the main character's safety or are laughable, useless idiots; even the man the Duchess has been seeking the entire game turns out to be a woman. It's a Lady Land with Man Hazards.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Too many instances to list here. Suffice to say, most of the characters are very aware that they're in a D&D style world. Especially Fal.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Uttered by the Anti-Paladins regarding one of them to Louni. She blows it off. There's a fair bit to support it, in any case: they definitely share a nationality, a language, and a natural hair color. Louni swears she doesn't remember even having a sister, though that doesn't stop her from antagonizing Xing in Everbrook while Hiding Behind the Language Barrier. For her part, Xing asserts that they are sisters even when there is no point in lying.
  • Male Gaze: Unsurprising in a game about lesbians written by a guy, it's all over the place, but especially notable for Fal and Carmina. Fal's bathing sprite is drawn with an exaggerated rear end, and Carmina uses illusion magic to make it look like she has an ideal body when she would otherwise be weak and emaciated, but it doesn't occur to her illusion up any clothes.
  • Mind Screw: The Alice ending and the Final Ending. Was it Time Travel? Alternate Universe? Some kind of prophetic call for help into the future?
    • Mind Screw Driver: Invoked and Inverted, the new "Final Ex" ending explains it more. And the Natural Twenty ending gives more questions.
  • Mind Rape: Carmina rapes the Duchess in a dream.
  • Money for Nothing: Played with. For the Duchess, funds are tricky to come by. For the Awesome Fellowship; it's nothing; and Falwithwier accidentally over-donates a church so much (enough to buy a county or collapse an economy according to the Duchess) they become the Church Militant.
  • Multiple Endings: Getting one ending does not end the game, you start over again right before choosing the final choice that ends the game. This often opens up other options.
    • Louni endings (Empire/Marquess Wulfhammer): Louni confesses that she has been working with Lord Vecanthrax to set up traps and obstacles for the Awesome Fellowship because it's fun. The Duchess either joins Vecanthrax (Empire) or marries Louni, who takes Embric's title of Marquis, and a bunch of ogres invade the wedding ceremony (Marquess Wulfhammer).
    • Falwythwier endings: The Duchess and Fai go to a ball held by Duke Thermin to celebrate his birthday.
      • Leave The Ball: Fal leaves the ball early because she is sick of it all, and meets up with the Awesome Fellowship. Embric returns after his absence. They all decide to run off and have adventures again.
      • D&D Session: Fal gets drunk and starts dancing with the Duchess, and is getting all romantic, when the entire game is revealed to be a D&D session based on the DM's perverted fantasies.
      • Proxy Marriage: Since Embric is likely never coming back, Fal decides to marry the Duchess in his place.
      • Embric's 'Replacement':
    • Dwarf Endings (Iron Duchess/Iron Duchess +): After discovering that the Good Dwarf is several different dwarves under a Collective Identity, the Duchess bonds with them and becomes a close friend. Years later, Duke Thermin launches an invasion on Wulfhammer, intending to take it for himself, while the dwarves help the Duchess fight back. Eventually, the Duchess wins, but she dies of old age- except in the plus ending, where Carmina is able to get the dwarves to the Wellspring of Life and allow the Duchess to live longer.
    • Carmina Endings: The Duchess grows close to Carmina, and eventually tries to help her escape captivity.
      • Naharess: The Duchess and Carmina run away to the Underdurt to live together, but the Duchess is forced to become a slave called "Kyassarin" to be allowed inside, and eventually Lady Gwenyr, Carmina's jealous ex-lover, kills her.
      • Flight to Elstwhere: The Duchess is able to get the Awesome Fellowship to stand down peacefully, and takes Carmina with her back to Elstwhere. They live together happy until the Duchess dies of old age, and Carmina cries on her deathbed.
    • Huraine Endings: After becoming Huraine's "Anointed One", the Duchess goes to have her ceremony with Embric.
      • Dorcas' Despair: The thing turns out to be a trap and the Duchess gets killed, driving Dorcas to despair.
      • Huraine's Awakening: The ceremony goes swimmingly and the Duchess decides to join the Awesome Fellowship as their mage.
    • Bunny Ending (Syluthians): After holding an orgy with all the girls besides Bunny, the Duchess gets Bunny comfortable enough for her to join in. Eventually, Bunny breeds with the Duchess a thousand young, but they all end up destroying civilization as she feared.
    • Kumoda Ending (Dark Elf's Curse): The Duchess tries to break the curse on Kumoda with the help of a Druid, but Kumoda kills the Duchess before that can happen. The Druid brings her back to life... as a spider woman. The two decide to eat Grettel.
    • Nereid Ending (Water Goddess): After getting frozen trying to save the Duchess from a freezing lake, the Nereid is stuck there while the Duchess builds a religion around her to give her enough power to be revived. Unfortunately, it takes decades, and by the time the Nereid awakens as the Water Goddess, the Duchess is long dead. The Nereid decides to go back in time to save her.
    • Dark Duchess Ending (Fleeing): The Duchess, having been a spy for Z.E.A.L.O.T., either delivers them a letter that will help them destroy the Awesome Fellowship or destroys the letter. Either way, she and Alice need to go on the run.
    • Sidequest endings:
      • Bath Ending: After having bathed in all the baths across the land, the Duchess bathes in the Celestial Bath that comes once every millennia. She has a grand time and believes it is some cosmic miracle, only for Ecinacea to inform her that, save for the portal, it is just a regular, quiet bath and she was just trolling. Shocked, the Duchess thanks her, then finally fires her for trolling her. With her gone, the people of the world can finally bathe safely again. Ecinacea records the whole experience in a book.
      • Jumped off the Tower: After going to the River of Fangs tower and jumping off from the roof once, Leanne makes the Duchess promise not to do it again. If she breaks her promise, she dies and Huraine has to resucrrect her.
      • Killed by Vecnathrax: When going to the top of the cliff north of Wulfhammer and meeting Vecanthrax, if the Duchess presses the cancel button, Vecanthrax kills her.
    • 999 Anti-Paladins Event Endings:
      • Embric/No More Lies: The Duchess and her allies defeat the Z.E.A.L.O.T. army, and Embric finally returns after his absence. The Duchess marries wither him or Louni.
      • Elstwhere with Alice/Elstwhere with Carmina: The Duchess and her allies defeat the Z.E.A.L.O.T. army, and Embric finally returns after his absence. The Duchess decides to go back to Elstwhere, and gets together with either Alice or Carmina. They then prepare for war against the Grey Elves.
      • Betrayal: The Duchess decides to join Z.E.A.L.O.T. and defeats Louni and Fal.
      • Final Ending (That Will Be All): The Duchess enters the shrine near the path to Z.E.A.L.O.T. and finds the Developer's Room. It turns out the entire journey was a dream of the future she was having, and she is being abused by Greyghast while asleep. She wakes up and confronts Greyghast, then sees him killed by the Awesome Fellowship and relays her experiences to her family.
      • True Final Ending (Natural Twenty): Same as the Final Ending, but the Duchess encourages Alice not to fade out of existence. This prompts Azreala to appear and reveal that she was the true mastermind behind the Duchess' dreams. She challenges the Duchess to a twenty question quiz, with her memories and ability to awaken as the prize- once the Duchess wins, Azreala leaves her alone. The Duchess wakes up and becomes significantly more of a schemer as she grows up.
  • Ninja Maid: Alice is a barbarian maid, rather. Ecinacea is also not to be underestimated, but for completely different reasons.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: The Duchess is only temporarily miffed at Carmina raping her in her dreams; she even wrote the entire thing in her dream diary for Alice to... enjoy.
  • Odd Job Gods: Everything has a deity associated with it. One of the more plot-relevant ones, Huraine, is the Goddess of "strawberries, chocolate, and secretly, illicit sex". Other minor ones include the God of Tardiness and Gods of Romantic Comedy.
  • Only Mostly Dead: The plot goes into quite detail what it's like in a world where anyone can get resurrected for a price. Only one person really dies permanently not including the endings; mostly due to him being a Butt-Monkey and getting eaten by a spider. It's implied even then that if anyone cared; they could do a full Resurrection. As it is, you have the option of shelling out money to reincarnate him as a dog.
  • Pamphlet Shelf: Lampshaded when the Duchess picks up the "Manual of Brevity" in one of the libraries — fittingly, it has only one page.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Annoyingly, some scenarios are no longer available after a certain point.
  • Punny Name: Lady Backmore and Countess Knockersdale are named for their... assets and huge tracts of land, respectively.
  • Rescue Romance: A few of the plotlines result in this.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Almost completely averted. Physical combat opportunities aren't available for much of the game and are rather incidental, so much of the Duchess's EXP gain actually comes from her attempts to interact with and integrate into the Marque of Wulfhammer and the Awesome Fellowship (and perhaps also shoving a lich off a cliff once). What few battles there are are introduced by the message, "Negotiations have failed!" In this respect, it's rather more like a tabletop RPG than a videogame RPG - which makes sense when you consider how familiar the game's creator appears to be with the latter.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Duchess is ever quick to correct people when they call her a princess. She states:
    "Seventh-In-Line for the Throne is great. Close enough for privileges, but too far away for casual assassinations."
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Many of the endings imply or state contradictory elements about the overall setting. A character lampshades this in her endings; stating that she doesn't really take anything to be real unless she encounters it stated three times in different instances. Incidentally, there are at least 3 endings with her as a romance possibility. There are also at least 3 Carmina endings... Word of God is even the Betrayal ending where the Duchess turns out to be a spy for the Anti-Paladins is possible; because nothing to that point contradicts it.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page here.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Defied. The Duchess states at several points that a noble who learns magic forefits their title immediately.
  • Stock Shout-Outs: The Tabletop RPG tradition of referencing Monty Python is continued here. However, it's the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch that gets referenced instead of Holy Grail as usual.
  • Take That!: The library contains a copy of both Call of Cthulhu D20 and The Collected Works of RA Salvatore. Falwythwier is dismissive of the latter and outright hostile to the former.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Mentioned word for word when the ZEALOT Commander is speaking with the Duchess and explaining his motives instead of just killing them right there.
  • The Unfought: Vecnathrax. He's not really a threat by himself, though. Duke Thermin. The Grey Elves. All possible Sequel Hook.
    • Also Tsograleeg/Ecinacea. She may never be fought, though, since she promises not to obliterate any part of the universe The Duchess will miss.
  • Verbal Tic: Wilhelm. Mmhm, quite. It eventually rubs off on The Duchess, which he finds rather endearing.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The dialogue just before you enter a certain tomb certainly gives the player this vibe. Final it is, dungeon it is not.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Inverted. ZEALOT is an Evil Self-Defense Force.
  • Villain Shoes: Well, Anti-Hero Shoes in her case; but when The Duchess and Fal are at Duke Thermin's party, we get to see how Fal perceives social events with humans. It's not flattering for either party, but it is hilarious.
  • Visions of Another Self: Arguably the entire cast, though it is most prominent with Alice/Ember.
  • Welcome to Corneria: A limitation of the system. The dialogue's longer and funnier than most games, except when the Duchess needs to HangALampshade on it.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Carmina is sealed inside a magic prison cell, kept naked, chained up, and starved to prevent her escape, and any of the Fellowship could just kill her whenever they felt like it. Considering how much EXP she's probably worth, one wonders why the Awesome Fellowship didn't collect on it. However, it is eventually stated that while Embric wanted to spare her, Fal naturally wanted to kill her, so the imprisonment was a forced compromise.
  • Yuri Genre: The Duchess is supposed to marry a guy (Embric), but most of her adventures inside the bedroom and out involve other women.