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I led them to the light. I, alone...
— Unknown
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Enderal: The Shards of Order is a total conversion mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim made by the German team SureAI (also responsible for the Nehrim total conversion for Oblivion). It was released officially in 2016 and re-released on Steam in 2019.

Set in an all-new universe unconnected with Tamriel or Nirn, in comparison to Skyrim, Enderal features a completely new world to explore, overhauled gameplay mechanics, and a new skill system. Much like its predecessor Nehrim, there is no level scaling or randomly generated loot/enemy lists in dungeons. Skills are not raised by using them, but by spending "learning points" and reading corresponding skill books, giving it a much more CRPG feel than Skyrim.

The story and the world is significantly darker, grittier and — not least — bleaker in its tone than Skyrim, skewing heavily towards gloomy European Dark Fantasy with plenty of Gothic Horror undertones (and even a fair bit of Cosmic Horror), featuring a dark, psychological storyline, and focusing on the impact the conflicts have on the people of the land of Enderal.

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The mod takes place on Enderal, one of the continents of the world Vyn. Set two years after the events of Nehrim, Enderal tells the story of an outsider who arrives at the titular continent in search for a second chance in life amid all the chaos and wars plaguing most of Vyn, but is soon dragged into working for the Holy Order, a religious organization that rules Enderal, to help prevent The End of the World as We Know It. Thanks to their strange ability to see glimpses of the past, this Prophet/Prophetess may just hold the fate of Vyn in their hands.

Originally downloadable just from the developer's site, the game and the expansion Forgotten Stories is now available on Steam, for free, however it requires a legal copy of the regular (now unlisted but still downloadable and purchasable regardless) Skyrim to play.

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Enderal provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: It is implied through the game that player's father was a serious case.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Despite all the suffering and sacrifices the characters go through to prevent the Cleansing, it ends up happening anyway by the end due to incredible manipulation and human nature.
    • In the Rhalâta questline, Tharaêl says this word for word if you side with him at the end. Despite a challenging fight, the Father survives anyway and still achieves Transcendence, leaving Tharaêl completely broken, realizing all the unjustified acts he did to get to the Father ended up being in vain.
  • Anti-Grinding:
    • Usually averted. The level of bosses and enemies spawned in a certain place is fixed, and the game openly encourages the player to build up the hero's skills before venturing too far into the main quest.
    • Played straight during the Nehrimese attack on Ark. Actively looking for and killing the Nehrimese infiltrators and the Nehrimese regular troopes is pointless because their deaths don't grant any XP.
  • Anyone Can Die: Everyone in Enderal is dead by the end of the main quest, except the player and one companion. The player character can then either sacrifice him/herself to ensure that what killed everyone on Enderal doesn't spread to the entire world or just give up and escape.
  • Apocalypse How: The apocalypse you tried to prevent actually happens at the end of the game. Depending on the player's choice, it will either destroy all civilization on the planet, or "just" destroy Enderal, but leave the planet largely intact.
  • Arc Words: "Flesh." Those infected by the Red Madness get obsessed over the 'flesh' of others, and the moment the Prophet hears someone mention it, the situation takes a nosedive.
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • Black Stones, strange crystals than can unknowingly corrupt their owners, giving them incredible magic powers at the cost of eroding their sanity.
    • Also the Beacon is an unusual example, because it has the potential to be either the ultimate salvation of mankind or its ultimate destruction.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The High Ones only succeed in bringing forth the Cleansing because they make humans do it for them, by manipulating their negative emotions. If humanity manages to stand above these emotions, the High Ones would be as good as powerless, since their main threat comes from those humans they manage to manipulate.
  • As You Know: Averted. Like in Skyrim, the protagonist is a foreigner to the lands of Enderal and thus learns at the same pace as the player.
  • Back from the Dead: Death in the game world is almost always permanent (aside from undead rising from their graves). But there have been exceptions through extraordinary feats of magic...
    • The Prophet can be considered as such, having actually died in the very beginning of the game, although it is only revealed near the end. Through the course of the game, the Prophet was in fact some sort of magical construct, the physical manifestation of the original Prophet's unfulfilled wish.
    • Also, one of the main characters, Tealor Aranteal, grandmaster of the Order and de facto ruler of Enderal, turns out to be just like PC in this regard.
    • More so, both of PC companions are literally this trope. Calia died in her childhood and was resurrected by her grieving father with the help of the vicious magical stone. Jespar dies through the course of the game by the hand of his sister only to be resurrected later by Mysterious Woman
  • Big Good: Deconstructed. Tealor Arantheal seems to fill this role as he is the most powerful man in Enderal and tries stop the Cleansing from happening, but is ultimately revealed to be a very flawed and insecure man, who's insecurity actually makes him cause the Cleansing to begin with.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Enderal's society may be a stagnant, caste-based theocracy, but the threats they face are literally aiming for The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Body Horror:
    • When mages succumb to Arcane Fever, they become an Oorbaya, hideously deformed hominid creatures with tumors growing everywhere and their right arm stripped to the bone and turned into a blade. You encounter a few as slow but tough enemies, but an entropist Prophet can summon one to fight for them.
    • Later in the game, the Prophet encounters a child born with serious deformities, but is an otherwise cheerful child despite his birth parents abandoning him. But then he received his only inheritance, a Black Stone...
  • Book-Ends: The first location the player visits is a literal dream version of their family home. Regardless of which ending the player chooses, it's one of the last places they will visit prior to the end credits. Played straight in the non-Dreamflower version of the "Sacrifice" ending, in which it is the last place the player ends up.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Your romance quest with either Calia or Jespar turns out as this. While waiting on the Order to find the City of a Thousand Floods, Calia decides to finally let loose and invites you to dance with her, while Jespar invites you to a joint mission to explore an uncharted continent after the Beacon is lit. Either way, you spend a peaceful night with your companion before the final quest.
    • Forgotten Stories adds the side quest Cuthbert's Legacy which serves as a relatively lighthearted and humorous adventure in comparison to most of the side quests. The main objective is to just retrieve a diploma with the help of a dead pig's spirit. Surprisingly, the two characters, Maxus and Aurora, actually turn out to be pretty decent people who don't seem to have a dark ulterior motive, as it turns out The Reveal of the quest is Maxus recruited you to acquire his diploma all because he wanted to impress Aurora, who also has feelings for him. The end of the quest can have you prepare a dinner for the two, where they both confess their love for each other and decide to live together.
  • But Thou Must!: Short of ignoring the main quest entirely, nothing the Prophet does can avert the Cleansing.
  • Character Development:
    • Calia Sakaresh is an idealist, who is very serious about her responsibilities and dedicated to her work as a Keeper of the Order, to the point of non-existing personal life. Through the course of the game it becomes obvious that the main reason for this is her constant struggle against the dark entity that exists in her. She later understands that it is this exact reason that makes this entity so strong. She finally accepts this entity and decides to be more easy towards herself (and more relaxed in general).
    • Jespar Del'Varek is an easy-going, cynical mercenary who lives for the moment and doesn't like to feel himself responsible for anything except for his contracts. Later in the game he decides that his constant run from responsibilities made him even more responsible for many things in his life, and decides that it is necessary to be able to take it.
  • Church Militant: A very strange inverted example. The Holy Order is certainly a religious organization with a strong military force, but they barely qualify, as they're essentially just the government of a theocratic state. It's the Nehirimese that count, when their leaders essentially declare a Holy War on Enderal midway through the game. They hope to stamp out all Light-Born worship, all while preaching their ideals with a fervor even the Holy Order considers insane. The kicker? The Nehirimese are all atheists.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The two gambling games. The AI will win a lot more often due to "lucky" dice throws and "lucky" coin tosses than not. Also, the computer will never overroll if they tails in the dice game. This means that unless you resort to Save Scumming, gambling will almost always result in you leaving in poverty.
  • Continuity Nod: When asked about his past, Archmagister Lexil Merrâyil tells you he's from Nehrim and lived for a while as the slave of someone Kreo, who ruled over a town named Sildren. Lexil also tells he recently learned Kreo was dead. If you played Nehrim, you went to Sildren and met (and killed) Kreo.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The main quest "All the Dead Souls" has you examine three horrific murder scenes perpetrated by a serial killer named the Bone Judge, a supposed vigilante who decides to Pay Evil unto Evil by forcing criminals to be gruesomely tortured to death. Just how cruel are these deaths exactly? Well, a contract killer is left to starve in a locked cage surrounded by unreachable food and drinks, a slaver is crucified over a bath of acid to be subsequently burned alive, and a child trafficker is left enchained while being eaten alive by rats.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Mere moments before you can obtain the final MacGuffin, Yus'lan reveals he was The Mole for the High Ones and suicide-bombs himself with the MacGuffin. The High Ones have won, the apocalypse has begun, and you were a key part in its conception. Your only real say in the ending is to choose between bad (destroy the apocalypse caller but kill everyone in Enderal) and worse (escape, Fling a Light into the Future, and let the whole world burn). There's a third, secret ending which is a bit better (contain the Cleansing to the sole continent of Enderal without committing an Heroic Suicide), but it is strongly implied beforehand that it is merely a dream.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: many of Enderal's main characters have it in common.
    • PC: Religious fanatics killed the PC's sister and parents, and PC was raised among them. Also, the Prophet's father may have abused the Prophet's mother..
    • Tealor Arantheal: He has abandoned his own son to make himself a career. Later, he was imprisoned in the dungeon for 30 years by that same son, all alone. He was also compelled to slay many innocents on the beginning of his career, before his mission ended up in a trap.
    • Calia Sakaresh: She has some dark entity within her that takes control over her in emotionally compelling situations and makes Calia into mad berserker for a short time. She may destroyed a whole village in her childhood while under control of this entity, but she doesn't remember anything about her past before this event. This entity entered her body in the first place because it is the essence of the Black Stone, which her father used to return her from the dead when she was a child.
    • Jespar Dal'Varek: His family was killed by the mercenaries of some criminal whom Jespar's father tried to bring to justice. Only he and his sister survived. Later, his sister became a serial killer due to the influence of the Black Stone. In addition, Jespar left his former love interest to die by the hands of highwaymen. This incident continues to bring him guilt.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to Skyrim. In addition to Enderal focusing a lot more on how the conflicts mentally and morally break the people they impact, many of the quests in the game cover much more mature themes than in Skyrim, with many of them typically ending on a sour note. Also compared to it's predecessor, Nehrim, as opposed to the Lightborn being able to Screw Destiny, the Prophet learns that You Can't Fight Fate, and the apocalypse occurs (with the only way to save the world at large being to centralize it to a single landmass, and delay it for the rest of the planet).
  • Deconstructor Fleet:
    • The protagonists are magically-augmented superheroes on a quest to save the world from an eldritch threat. Except (A) having superpowers does not inherently cover your character weaknesses (if anything, it makes them worse), (B) you can be a great fighter but still lose to your friends' angst and personal issues, which have been deep rooted for decades, (C) heroes can only focus on a limited number of things at a time, so if your army consists of trainees who haven't even practiced on bandits, no amount of Asskicking Equals Authority from your Frontline General will save your 'soldiers' from a meatgrinder of trained fanatics, and (D) since you're the heroes destined to save the world and all that, and your enemies have had literal ages to plan their strategy, expect them to get sadistically creative - by creating the heroes themselves, as undead puppets who will end the world for them.
    • Any 'medieval fantasy' setting which has had thousands of years in medieval stasis is usually a bad one because of a general lack of technological, social, and economic progress made through suppression of free thought. While the immortal Light-Born kept the world from waging fanatic wars for millennia, they still had to limit technological progress to keep up the masquerade of being infallible gods. Inevitably, they failed in certain areas, which began a bloody revolution that succeeded but fell out of control into a Reign of Terror, and other areas which had been more thoroughly suppressed were not ready for the upcoming war with an army equipped with cannons. Enderal in particular ascribed to the obsolete method of isolated suppression of propaganda, which also suppressed trade routes and caused the destruction of most of its towns. By the time you have made it to Enderal, the roads are filled with bandits, nobody wants to migrate across the land, only two towns and one city remain, and the city's underbelly is bursting at the seams with diseased refugees.
    • The Path is the religion of the 'good guys', yet it is Fascist, but Inefficient, and it shows; the nobles pretend to follow the path but secretly or unknowingly break it constantly behind their fancy houses, while the middle class follow the path ferociously but are unprepared for the upcoming wars, and they both ignore the majority of the slums whose population is implied to number in the millions and decreasing every day from starvation and fleshmaggot disease.
  • Deus ex Machina: the mysterious Veiled Woman appears out of nowhere several times through the game, and turns otherwise impossible odds into very possible ones. She appears at first to act completely against the player, but her intervention allowed to save at least the Prophet's life; had her not intervened, both them and Sirious would have been discovered at the docks and killed on the spot. Much later, it's revealed that, thanks to this interference, the Prophet actually died anyway, but their death was a necessary step to stop mass destruction. Later in the game, she resurrects Jespar Del'Varek, and saves the dying Prophet, bringing him to a portal to the giant robot that survived several former Cleansings, actually making it possible to break the cycle for the very first time. The nature of her godlike powers and her motivation for doing all this is never explained.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The initial fire spell tears through the early game as easily as cutting butter with a chainsaw.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: Happens relatively early on in the main quest, and also subverted because you and your companion rather quickly recognize it as a trick by the High Ones to confuse and deceive you. Later, you learn that it's a double subversion: your character is a copy of the original, who is Dead All Along, and that really was the body of the original.
  • Double Meaning: Near the end of the game, the Point of No Return warning tells you're about to start "events which lead to the end of Enderal". "Enderal" is both the title of the mod and the name of the continent most of the action takes place. As the ending consists in the heroes being manipulated to trigger the end of the world, you indeed are about to cause "the end of Enderal".
  • Downer Ending: Unlike in Skyrim, most of the quests usually end on a rather sour note, such as the final mission and its two outcomes.
    • In the Sacrifice ending, the world as a whole is temporarily saved from the Cleansing, but the player character and most of Enderal (except for one of our companions) is obliterated. And since the Cleansing was only delayed, chances are extremely high that the High Ones will win eventually. But at least there is some time and hope left for Vyn since their two major pawns are dead.
    • In the Escape ending, the Cleansing happens, and all human souls on the face of Vyn are devoured to form another High One, but the Prophet and one of his/her companions (either friend or love interest) are able to survive, having fled to the abandoned floating city of the Space Elves that is unaffected by the Cleansing. They are the last of their kind, undead, and will be left isolated for millennia, waiting for the next civilization to begin so they can warn everyone of the High Ones ahead of time. Of course, given the Aged Man's track record, as an immortal who has failed to save mankind from itself, it's not as hopeful as it seems.
    • Warning: unless you are a cold hearted bastard who loves torturing children, prepare yourself for Silvergrove. It's heartwrenching.
    • The Rhalâta questline ends with you failing to assassinate the Father before he can Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Your contact suffers a mental breakdown from the realization that all the civilians he murdered to keep his cover have been for nothing, and may commit suicide. And if you want a really powerful secret technique, you'll let him.
    • Can end this way in the Golden Sickle questline if you side with Dijaam but refuse her idea to steal the Green Scarabeaus. Regardless of everything you've done to help her, she'll immediately turn hostile and you'll be forced to kill her. In the end, you're left with your only ally in the questline dead and your relationship forever tarnished with the Golden Sickle, all for a massacre neither parties were responsible for.
    • Esme couldn't save Tara from committing ritual suicide to feed an immortal goddess.
    • Kurmai spent his whole life trying to find the mythical Star City, where no Starling goes hungry or unhappy. He found it... and then went homicidally insane when he realized everyone up there was dead.
    • In "The Brotherhood of the Kor", the alchemist Mirelle Godshand hires the Prophet to look for her son Rukas, who left to join the eponymous brotherhood. He's dead, along the rest of the cult. They committed mass suicide before the Prophet set foot on the island which harbours their lair.
  • Drunken Master: Like the base Skyrim game, alcohol increases your mana regen at the cost of decreasing stamina regain, but unlike skyrim, the effects are stackable as long as the items have different base ids. Mana potions are also stackable, but they're expensive and only last for seconds, and enchanting's nerf mean you'll often run low on mana anyway. Given how cheaply you can hoard alcohol, chugging as much wine, mead, and ale as you possibly can increases a Mage character's mana regen to insane levels, effectively giving you near-infinite mana as long as the booze lasts.
  • Dream Intro: The game kicks off with the Prophet having a nightmare about the death of their family. Upon awakening, their travelling companion Sirius guesses that they had the dream again judging from how they were screaming in their sleep.
  • Dump Stat: Since all the perks are now governed by three large skill trees instead of 18 smaller trees, and leveling infinitely is much harder to accomplish, some skills are simply not worth investing your limited points into anymore. The Lockpicking stat was hit hardest, thanks to the associated benefits of picking stronger locks now governed by general perks. A player could easily be picking Master locks with the base 15 Lockpick skill.
  • Dwindling Party: As soon as Nehrim invades Enderal, slowly your allies start dropping like flies either by getting killed or betraying Tealor in order to mitigate the situation.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Oh boy... The final conversation with the Black Guardian reveals that you, Tealor Arantheal, and Taranor Coarek were manipulated by the High Ones throughout the entire main quest in order to bring about the Cleansing, which only occurs if the Beacon is activated without a Numinos. Additionally, both you and Tealor were Dead All Along and your current form is just a projection created by the High Ones based on one's "ideal" self. With the Cleansing currently destroying Enderal, you're left with either sacrificing yourself to buy the rest of Vyn time, or to escape and assist the next civilization from making the same mistakes again.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The main quest is all about preventing the upcoming world-ending event known as The Cleansing, despite it seeming inevitable. The Prophet actually can do it, but Enderal (the continent where game takes place) is always destroyed in the end along with themselves.
  • Everyone Is Bi: The two companions who accompany the Prophet during parts of the main quest, Calia Sakaresh and Jespar Del'Varek, can be romanced regardless of the Prophet's gender.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: No matter what ending you choose, everyone you meet on Enderal is dead (your Player Character included if you choose Sacrifice) by the end of the main quest besides one of your companions.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Like most fantasy games, the world of Enderal is filled with vicious bandits, hungry wolves, and horrible monsters who will throw themselves at you the moment you step off the cobblestone paths, but the setting starts to justify it. The Red Madness is starting to infect the human populace, but citizens theorize that the absurdly aggressive animals have already been overtaken, since they attack with wild abandon and rarely eat what they manage to kill.
  • The Extremist Was Right: The Father is a sociopathic cult leader who forces his acolytes to rename themselves after their past vices, is obsessed with separating the soul from the body with child-killing experiments, and sees the physical world itself as his greatest obstacle to enlightenment. By the end of the game, you realize that for all the horrible things he did, he probably saved over a dozen people from the end of the world, made them immortal and happy, and put them where they could do the most good for the next civilization: in the collective subconscious, where they can help mortals resist the High Ones.
  • Final Boss: The Black Guardian, a quadriplegic giant mecha piloted by a god-complex immortal. He seems harmless until he starts flash-cloning falmer and spewing a combination of multi-spell trap runes and fireball artillery.
  • Foreshadowing: A fair amount throughout the main quest.
    • The vision you have when you are tossed overboard uses various lines throughout the entire main quest.
    • At the start of the game, your character notes the machine in the starting temple seems familiar for some reason, hinting the importance of the Beacon and the Prophet's role in the Cleansing.
    • When you first meet Tealor, he is in the middle of a discussion with Natara about the attack on the excavation in Old Rashêngrad. He then states if the mercenaries ever get a hold of the Signet Stones, then "the Black Guardian alone knows how to stop the Cycle."
    • Your interactions with Aixon, the High Ones, the Aged Man, and Firespark during his supposed Sanity Slippage all make significantly more sense on a second playthrough when you realize the Cleansing's true nature.
    • The dream you have during "Part of Something Momentous, Part II" more or less hints the entire Cycle arc of the main quest as well as Aixon outright telling you The Reveal of your original character's death.
      Aixon: "If I told you and your friend Sirius actually lie dead at the bottom of the sea, and everything that has happened so far - your journey to Ark, the search at the Sun Coast - was only a dream, would you be able to recognize the truth?"
    • During the journey through the Living Temple, the Prophet and Jespar end up discovering a dead body that looks exactly like your character along with Sirius' dead body. The duo leave thinking it's just an illusion. It's not.
    • When Natara and Tealor are arguing about going to war with Nehrim:
      Natara Dal'Veram: "This is ludicrous, Tealor, it's completely irrational. The man I knew would never have acted like this."
    • When encountering a person infected with the Red Madness, they will sometimes say "Where is your flesh?" to the player specifically. At first glance, it sounds like typical nonsense... until the ending.
    • When the game is loading, one of the loading screen hints can instead be a quote spoken by an unknown person which reads "I led them to the light. I, alone." By the end of the game, this quote is revealed to be Tealor Arantheal's final line in the story.
    • A few seconds after discovering Lishari's dead body, Yuslan Sha'Rim walks in out of nowhere and immediately interrogates you on what happened. You can even question him about his sudden entrance, to which he never ends up answering and it is left as a coincidence. But as it turns out, these two instances are dead giveaways on Yuslan's involvement.
      • In relation to Yuslan, there are a few subtle hints on his past as the sole survivor of Tealor's massacre in his Sun Temple dialogue. First, he says he hasn't been to Qyra in about 20 years, which is around the same time the Night of a Thousand Fires occurred. Secondly, he mentions he lived on a coastal village when he was in Qyra, which sounds very similar to the location the massacre took place at. And most importantly, he states he hasn't had a pleasant history with the Order, where he proceeds to say "Didn't we, Näea?"
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: As it turns out, the protagonist being a glorified illusion affects the player as well.
  • Gainax Ending: In the secret ending, you take a magic super-soldier drug and manage to survive a continent-obliterating superweapon at point-blank range. On one hand, Yuslan is adamant that the drug simply locks you into a perfect-scenario Dying Dream as your body slips into a permanent coma, which would explain why everything is finally coming up roses for you. On the other hand, you're an artificial construct who might react to the drug differently, Yuslan was infected by Red Madness and would say anything to benefit the High Ones, and even after you take the drug you're plagued with nightmares, failure, and doubt.
  • Gladiator Subquest: The Rhalâta questline from the Forgotten Stories DLC starts with a quest named "Blood and Dust", in which the Prophet takes part in pitfights in the Undercity's arena.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Dal'Marek's attempt to make the eastern region of Thalgard inhabitable left it as a magically contaminated wasteland populated by the mentally deformed descendants of the survivors. Also Samuel Dal'Galar's attempt to revive his daughter Maya (Calia) and turn her into a benevolent superpowered healer backfire and put a violent demonic entity inside her instead, killing him in the process.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • There's three Collection Sidequests consisting in finding a ton of collectibles hidden in the world (229 Ice Claws, 15 Mystical Symbols, and 100 Magic Symbols). Some of them are in the open, some others are inside caves, dungeons, houses... usually hidden, or in corners. None of them have quest objective's arrows, and a few of those located in caves or dungeons can even be found in locations which don't even have map marker.
    • The "Lost Hearts" sidequest. After interacting with a wishing well, you get a quest objective requiring to find the three others. There's no map marker and the only clue mentions the well is somewhere in a specific region. Also, each well asks for its "heart", which ingame means bringing it a specific item. The requests is a riddle which only refers to the nature of the item itself, not its specific location (which of course doesn't receive an objective marker). Oh, and one of the riddles is very cryptic: "Trapped in the light, Sunk in the stone, I shall last forever, Yet cold and alone. My jags, they are broken, My star pale and void, My laughter has ceased, I will shine no more" is supposed to refer to a Broken Soul Gem; the reference to "star" and "broken jags" actually refers to the item using the "Broken Azura Star" asset from unmodded Skyrim, but good luck figuring it unless you didn't randomly found it before receiving the riddle.
    • "Home of the Forsaken". You must gather nine fragments of a statue (the complete thing looks like a Vatyr's head) dispatched all over the continent, then put the complete thing inside the correct socket to open a tomb which contains valuable loot. There's no objective marker about the localisation of any fragments or the socket itself, and no clue are provided. Each of the fragments are located in places or dungeons you visit during quests (though sometimes in places which aren't immediately accessible), but the socket itself is stuck in a remote corner of the Crypt of Ark (a massive dungeon you occasionally must quickly cross in a couple of quests, but none would lead you to the specific place required to open the tomb).
  • Hate Plague: The Red Madness, a magical plague that causes otherwise peaceful people to turn violent and insane. The name comes from the glowing red eyes all victims sport in their final stages, and even powerful mages like the Holy Order's Magisters can succumb. The Order quickly surmises it's caused by the High Ones' corruption, and use shards of a sigil stone to protect their own members from it. They were right about the High Ones being the cause, but their "protection" was little more than glowing rocks. Plague is also an appropriate term despite the Demonic Possession, as the true vector of infection isn't just negative emotions, but the urge to deny they exist, the same way diseases can only truly take effect if they can convince the host's immune system to ignore them.
  • History Repeats: A recurring theme of the game. Thanks to humanity's shared failings and vices, much of the misery of the world is caused by different people making the same mistakes of their precursors, so it's up to you to learn those errors and avoid them. It gets hammered in heavily at the end, when your glimpses of the Pyreans' downfall have their own heroes making the same statements verbatim, which led to their own demise, just as it leads to yours.
  • Horse of a Different Color:
    • The Myrads, giant winged creatures that citizens tame as beasts of burden. Since fast-travel is disabled in the game, flying a Myrad is the primary method that players will use to travel around the world. Given their size and grace, Myrad Keepers often lament how their ubiquity resulted in the populace considering their beasts little more than winged mules.
    • In addition to regular horses, there are also donkeys and direwolves.
  • I Am What I Am: Calia Sakaresh when she accepts the fact that black stone essence is part of her and stops fighting it as violent as she did before this realization.
  • In-Game Banking Services: Ark's bank offers various services, one of them being a personal account which offers a daily 2.80% interest rate; interest are capped at 250 Pennies per day, making pointless to store more than 8928 Pennies. Other services include a vault (a personal storage vault for the player character, as well as NPC vault than can be accessed through theft or quest reward), shareholding in a few businesses (obtained through quest reward or thieft, result in bonus daily account income added to the daily interests), house buying, and a merchant (sells skill books and blueprints).
  • Last of His Kind: The player and his or her eventual companion will eventually become this when choosing to flee to Star City, as all sentient life on Vyn will go extinct due to the Cleansing.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When asked how their Myrads know where to take the Prophet, one Myrad Keeper explain that their birds are specially trained to hear imperceptible "clicking noises" that tell the Myrad where to go. Whether he's describing noises outside human hearing range or the player's mouse is up to you.
    • During one of the player's dialogues with the High Ones, they say you are the only character in the game that matters - leaving ambiguous if by the game they mean the fight against the Cleansing or the actual game.
    • When you arrive to the gate of Dal Galar's castle and you have a keg of gunpowder on you, Calia will note she is always surprised how much stuff you manage to fit into your small pockets.
    • An area of one level is called the "sureai." This, of course, being a self insert of the studio that made the game.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: It turns out the one who starts the Cleansing isn't the High Ones or Taranor Coarek, but Tealor Arantheal, albeit unintentionally.
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Seems to be a recurring theme.
    • Tealor Arantheal admits that he's grown weary of life after decades of mistakes and regrets, but wants to see the Cleansing prevented as his last hurrah, even if he dies immediately afterward. Exploited, as the High Ones use his unwillingness to die a failure to ensure he falls for their traps.
    • So is the player, actually. They, along with Tealor, are "Fleshless Ones," beings conjured by the High Ones shortly after their actual death. They're carbon copies of their templates, except that their original's dying wish becomes their primary motivation. For the Prophet's template, they desperately wanted to be more than a nameless slave, and so the Prophet literally won't stop until the fate of the entire world rests on their shoulders.
    • Finally, a rare villainous example with Sha'Rim, the last Nehirimese mage standing. He actually gave up on life decades ago when his wife and daughter were killed thanks to Tealor's bad orders, and has only continued on for the sake of revenge on Tealor. Furthermore, a simple assassination wouldn't do; Sha'Rim wanted to ensure that Tealor would die a failure, alone and in despair, even if his moment of vengeance ensured The End of the World as We Know It. Unlike the previous examples, Sha'Rim dies happy.
  • Money for Nothing: Unlike Skyrim, the game does its best to avert this trope. To develop skills, you need to purchase skill books for every point, which start to cost thousands once you move to Master-level. In addition, even the higher-tier items sell for less than Skyrim vendors would offer, and there's even a Bank that encourages players to invest in with an absurdly high interest rate.
  • My Greatest Failure: A common trend with many of the main characters.
    • The Prophet: Heavily implied to be the incident that resulted in their family dying. Even before they become a Fleshless One, they are plagued with a recurring dream where their father blames them for their deaths.
    • Jespar Dal'Varek: When he was traveling with his ex-girlfriend, Lysia, he left to get firewood for their camp only to come back and find her unconscious, surrounded by six bandits. He quickly fled from the scene, leaving Lysia to the bandits.
    • Calia Sakaresh: Her first memory was her Superpowered Evil Side destroying a village while feeling an immense sense of pleasure from the violence.
    • Tealor Arantheal: The Night of a Thousand Fires. An incident decades ago where he led a Keeper expedition to Qyra in order to reinforce their allies in Nehrim. The town they were passing through weren't exactly sympathetic, but the tension erupted when Tealor perceived their armed onlookers charging and gave the order to attack. He realized his mistake seconds later, but there was no stopping the violence, resulting in his Keepers slaughtering the entire village. His mistake comes to bite him and the entire world in the ass, because there's somebody else who also considers this event his own Greatest Failure....
  • Mysterious Woman: The Veiled Woman. She appears several times through the course of the game, always acting as Deus ex Machina. It is hinted that she can be some sort of incarnation of possibility, but her true nature is never explained.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Two pretty major ones in the final quest:
    • With the Nehrimese practically massacring every Endralean civilian on sight, and with Tealor refusing to halt his mission against the High Ones, Natara goes to Coarek and offers him Ark in exchange for peace. Coarek agrees initially, but then kills Natara as soon as the gates are open and begins to pillage the city.
    • With the Numinos gone and with the Nehrimese closing in on the Sun Temple, Tealor decides to activate the Beacon regardless to destroy Enderal in the hopes that it can buy the other countries time from the Cleansing. It soon turns out that activating the Beacon without the Numinos actually causes the Cleansing. Unfortunately, The Prophet doesn't realize this until it's too late.
  • Non Standard Gameover: If you lie during Taranor's interrogation, he orders his bodyguard Samael to take care of you. Oddly enough, after the game over screen, you're brought directly to the main menu, instead of being brought to your last save game.
  • Noodle Incident: It's never fully made clear on what actually happened that resulted in the deaths of the Prophet's family. Only that some masked men from Ostian's Creator's Temple had some role in it and the Prophet may have been responsible.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: After a long journey to reconstruct the Beacon, you, Tealor, and Yuslan finally reach the Numinos against all odds. But right as Yuslan is about to retrieve it, he reveals he was The Mole, and his only concern is to get revenge on Tealor for the massacre that resulted in his family's death. Despite Tealor begging and pleading Yuslan to reconsider, he soon kills himself along with the Numinos, which becomes the final nail in the coffin for Enderal and possibly the world.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Forgotten Stories DLC adds the Lycanthrope class.
    • These Lycans are scientific rather than supernatural and transform through the use of potions.
    • There are also various kinds of potions used to augment a Lycanthrope's form and abilities.
    • They can release toxic gasses to poison their foes in the middle of combat.
    • They are capable of speaking, looting, casting and picking locks even in wolf form.
    • There are various breeds of Lycanthropes which vary
    • Unlike in Skyrim, there is a special perk to glamour werewolves while they are in towns, and some werewolves have a good reputation in the fighting pits.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • There is exactly one (respawning) Skyrim dragon in the game, though it's unknown what they are doing in Enderal and why they limit themselves to a single acre of land. It's implied that without a Dragonborn in this world, they'll come back every time you kill them.
    • Myrads are giant dragon-shaped six-eyed griffons. Most have been tamed and are used for Fast-Travel, but two are rogue and can be fought to the death.
    • Later in the Starcity, you meet a steampunk mecha-dragon. You can not kill him, he's that badass.
    • And to top it all off, the final act features a ghost dragon. She simply aims for the ceiling to crush you all.
  • Perspective Flip: While in Nehrim the player character joins the Order founded by Narathzul Arantheal to oppose the reign of the Light-Born, here in Enderal the Prophet joins instead the Holy Order, founded by the Light-Born Malphas himself to rule over the continent as a theocratic government. This comes into play mid-game, when the united armies of Nehrim invade Enderal with the purpose of "liberating" the continent from the "tyranny" of the Holy Order. They're lead by Taranor Coarek, an ally of Narathzul Arantheal and the player character in Nehrim.
  • Playable Epilogue: Averted. Despite being based on a game known for this trope (and being the sequel of another mod which did use it), Enderal truly ends after having finished the main quest. Which is logical, as the apocalypse happened after the end of the game, which, depending on the player's choice, either wipes out all civilization on the planet, or "just" destroys the continent the game takes place at. Either way, you can't really explore the world anymore.
  • Point of No Return: In the main questline, the late quest "For the Greater Good" eventually results in the Nehrimese allies of the Order betraying them and the Nehrimese invasion managing to occupy Ark, which unsurprisingly results in the open world no longer being open. The trigger for those events is in a dialog with either Jespar and Calia (in an explicit option to proceed the plot). There's actually an explicit warning:
    The following decision triggers events which lead to the end of Enderal. If there is still something you have to do in the game world you should do that beforehand.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Father, leader of the Rhalâta, is stated to be more than 400 years old. A dialog points explicitely that it's older than normal life expectancy of the Aeterna.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A symptom of the Red Madness. People infected by it turn violently mad, and their eyes always turn red.
  • Romance Sidequest: there are two companions in the game with whom the Prophet can romance.
  • Schrödinger's Question: In the Golden Sickle questline, while you're employed by them, a convoy of the eponymous merchant guild is raided while carrying a very valuable artifact they intended to sell back to the Kiléan people (it initially belongs to their country); each party suspect the other one orchestrated the attack. In a late part of the quest, you must choose between remaining faithful to your employer or siding with the Kiléans. It turns out that the attack was orchestrated by the party you didn't side with. Turns out it was a set up made by a third party, but the side framed by the set up is still the one you didn't sided with.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Actions that were taken to prevent the prophesied Cleansing were carefully manipulated by the antagonists to cause it. It seems after countless times, the High Ones have their manipulation down to an art.
  • Self-Deprecation: The mod features a reference to the "arrow to the knee" meme. In the Steam version of Enderal, finding it gives an achievement titled "We're Sorry", with this description: "You suffered through Enderal's rendition of the arrow in the knee joke. You knew this was coming".
  • Shout-Out: A few:
  • Sole Entertainment Option: Taverns feature gambling tables (usable by the player), as well as bards performing. The city of Ark also includes a theater (with ads for plays on the walls), a bathhouse, and a pitfighting arena in the subterranean slums.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The interplay between these two worldviews is the main theme of the story.
  • Stationary Boss: The final boss, the Black Guardian. It is the giant robot that never was been completed fully. Therefore it cannot move, but it can protect itself by throwing the waves of enemies on the Prophet to stop you from destroying its life support conduits..
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Yuslan Sha'Rim gave up on the world and only lives for revenge on Tealor, thanks to his family dying at the Grandmaster's hands. However, thanks to the High Ones, the exact moment of his betrayal comes when Tealor is counting on Yuslan to save the world. Yuslan certainly manages to screw over Tealor, with the rest of the world as simple collateral damage.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In the nightmare prologue of the mod, the Prophet's "Daddy" can be heard whistling the leitmotiv played during many plot-related portions of the game (an instrumental version is played right before this scene). Also, the Aged One plays the same tune on his piano during the visit of his estate.
  • Twist Ending: Every action the Prophet has taken to prevent the Cleansing ends up causing the Cleansing to happen, thanks to a mind-boggling amount of manipulation on part of the High Ones.
  • Understatement: When the Beacon is almost complete, the Archmagister Merrâyil warns against activating it without its final component, as he calculates the explosion would easily demolish the city it's built in. His guess was actually extremely conservative, since an uncontrolled activation causes a World-Wrecking Wave, i.e. The Cleansing itself.
  • The Unfought: Despite a large amount of buildup, your first and second chances to fight Taranor Coarek and the Nehirimese Heavies is interrupted. And then they're all Cleansed before you can finally face off, but you can find some of their corpses in the epilogue.
  • Vicious Cycle: Every civilization that existed previously on Vyn came to an abrupt, sudden end, with startling similarities between them. Your job this time around is to figure out why and how to stop it before it happens again.
  • Vigilante Man: Jespar Del'Varek's sister can be considered as Vigilante Woman. It also can be applied to the Butcher of Ark from the in-game book series of the same name.
  • Wham Episode: The final quest subverts your expectations of an epic save-the-world ending. Yuslan is infected with Red Madness and was The Mole all along, destroying the final component of the Beacon and screwing the world over in the process. Tealor decides to activate the continent-spanning self-destruct function of the beacon to take Coarek and the Nehrimese army with him, in the hopes that someone else will destroy the High Ones... except you soon learn from the Black Guardian himself that everyone has been carefully manipulated by the High Ones with Reaper-precision indoctrination and thralls into causing the end of the world. And to top things off, you and Tealor are undead "projections" produced by the high ones themselves as their main pawns. You now have one last choice: fuck off to the Star City while the world ends and try to save a future iteration of human civilization, or sacrifice yourself to destroy the beacon but lose an entire continent anyway.
  • Wham Line: Later in the game and with the climax rapidly approaching, a young Novice approaches the Prophet for some reassurance. Having witnessed her family die by hands of the Nehirimese invaders, she hates how weak she feels against fate and begs the Prophet to help with just a tiny donation of flesh. The anti-possession stones are either complete duds or part of the disease. And every Keeper has one.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?:
    • The player character is an undead creation of the High Ones known as a 'projection' and does not naturally age or wear down over time. Unfortunately, the only ways for them to survive are to either (A)leave the rest of the world to die knowing they could have saved a large chunk of it but chickened out, or (B)take an extremely dangerous super-soldier drug which will leave them guessing for the rest of their existence whether or not they're actually in a permanent coma and their survival is merely a Dying Dream that could end at any moment. As for their companion, it's nebulous as to whether or not they can also be made immortal to keep the Prophet company, but given their 'unique' circumstances it's not too far-fetched.
    • The Black Guardian has spent eons watching human civilizations grow, rot, and die from the comfort of his immobile brass prison, knowing he was close to becoming a god but utterly failed. He begs you to die - only to turn the tables on you and try to steal your immortal and mobile body. And then you put him out of his misery.
    • Depending on which side quests you do, there actually are two more immortal survivors - a witch hunter trapped in a painting and a starling who managed to transfer herself into a mecha. This trope definitely applies to both, as they're trapped in immobile objects and were set to mute..
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