Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / For Honor

Go To
“Honor. What do you know about honor, you who has never faced true fear? Learn what honor is before pretending you are a warrior. Know this before you step onto that thin red path where no misstep is allowed. The path that only ends when your legs fail to support you, and your heart stops beating. The path where sadness goes along with pain and where glory is the color of blood. This narrow path only goes one way, a way covered with enemies and brothers. And it will take you without any shame into the hands of death for the name you were given and for your descendants. For honor.”

For Honor is an original property made by Ubisoft Montreal and announced at E3 2015 on June 15, 2015. It is a competitive third-person melee fighting game mixing speed, strategy, and team play with visceral close range combat in multiplayer action.

The sound of shouting and clashing metal fills the air. Fallen enemies and allies alike litter the battlefield. Every encounter is a brutal, tactical fight to the death. Kill or be killed. For Honor puts a blade in your hand and sets you loose in a medieval battle.

Players side with one of three factions - the Legions (Knights), the Warborn (Vikings), or the Chosen (Samurai) – duel one another for control of the battlefield. The game takes place in a low fantasy universe where these three Fantasy Counterpart Cultures exist next to each other and are locked in an endless war with each other.

The game uses an innovative combat system called the “Art of Battle”, where players lock on to their dueling opponents and can then choose to position their weapon from above, left, or right, able to attack, defend, or deflect enemy attacks on the same position. The addition of dodging, movesets, and guard breaks make fights more complex and skill-based, where fights are not determined by random button mashing, but careful observation and prediction of enemy stances and movement, and the fate of the fight could be decided in just a single mistake.

The game also has a story mode, where the three factions fight not only one another, but also the bloodthirsty warlord Big Bad Apollyon. It was released for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC on February 14, 2017.

Over the course of the first year after release, six new heroes (two per faction) were released. An update for Year Two, Marching Fire, was released in 2018, containing a Chinese faction known as the Wu Lin, and a new 4v4 Breach mode. 2019 saw the start of Year Three, known as the Year of the Harbinger, was released, bringing four new heroes (one for each faction). In 2020, Year Four started, with the seasons of Peace, Tyranny, and Resistance, and included the new Warmonger hero.

Also in 2020, the Warden was introduced as a Guest Fighter for Samurai Shodown.

Provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    General Tropes 
  • Anachronism Stew: There’s quite a mishmash of historical equipment from different periods in each faction’s gear, along with what’s made up out of the whole cloth. It’s not such a problem since this is a fictional setting that’s upfront about running on Rule of Cool.
    • The Samurai wear armors that mix together elements from the Heian to Edo periods pretty haphazardly, and the rigid sections aside from the helmets are depicted as being made of wood. While there is some archaeological evidence of wooden armor being used in the Yayoi period (ca. 300 BC – 250 AD), the lamellae and plates of armor were made of iron and/or rawhide from the Kofun period onward, meaning it’s probably safe to say that no historical samurai ever armored himself with wood.
    • The Conqueror’s cylindrical great helm, coat of plates, tabard, and shield are all twelfth to thirteenth century Crusader era equipment, the Warden’s Longsword and full Maille with elements of early Transition armor hail from the fourteenth Century while the Lawbringer’s full plate armor and anti-armor pollaxe are from the late medieval period, fifteenth Century and later. The Peacekeeper’s fighting style and weapons are derived from early Renaissance sixteenth Century dueling manuals.
    • The Centurion’s three main armor sets are based off of armor from different eras of Roman history. He has Republican Lorica Musculata, Imperial Lorica Segmentata, and Byzantine Klivanion.
    • The Highlander has sets based on the modern kilt, as well as others based on the early modern great kilt and medieval léine that modern kilts derive from.
    • The Assassin's Creed weaponsnote  take it even further. The Highlander gets a claymore taken from the late eighteenth century while the Valkyrie gets a spear and shield from around 50 years before Christ.
    • Probably the biggest example is the Dominion map Forge, which uses a gigantic blast furnace setup (with water wheels, a huge smelter, and bellow-powered hammers), all built on top of a huge dam complex. While the first blast furnaces did start to appear in the early Renaissance, nothing on the sheer scale of Forge's operation would appear until the Industrial Revolution.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: So much so that some players jokingly refer to the game as “For Fashion” due to the sheer amount of customization options.
    • One of the main rewards for advancing in Reputation for each hero is unlocking more cosmetic options, including color palettes, symbols, material colors, and embossing for armor. At certain Reputation levels entire outfits (with color palettes and symbols) will be rewarded.
    • Steel can be used to purchase other outfits, as well as ornaments, emotes, executions, and cosmetic effects, and certain cosmetics can only be acquired by completing the Story missions on various difficulties.
    • As of Season 6, any weapon or armor piece rewarded at the end of a battle unlocks that piece’s appearance as a customization option, though this requires use of Steel or Salvage depending on the piece’s rarity.
  • Anti-Frustration Features
    • The Duel and Brawl modes use variations of the regular maps, with some environmental hazards removed and ledges blocked or closed off, making it harder to use the environment for easy kills. Revenge mode was also disabled in Duel mode post launch, preventing the combatants from exploiting the momentary power up.
    • The spawn locations were also changed on a few brawl maps, placing them away from the environmental hazards at the start, since players would regularly move to those locations before starting the match.
    • Originally if someone left a duel they were replaced with a bot. This was later changed so that the remaining player automatically wins instead of having to waste time fighting the AI.
    • The appearance of weapons and armor can also be changed to match that of other pieces in the player’s inventory(provided they are the same rarity), allowing players to keep their desired appearance without sacrificing combat effectiveness.
    • Since launch, ledges and other environmental hazards have been removed from several maps so that players cannot exploit them for easy kills.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Each Hero plays to different tropes surrounding its core theme and comes with its own set of emotes to characterize them from each other.
    • Knights
      • The Warden: Vanguard, Jack Of All Trades/Blademaster. The Warden is an honourable knight in shiny armor and with a longsword to complement. His average playstyle and rightous design could make him the hero of a brighter medieval tale.
      • The Conqueror: Heavy, Avoidance Tank. A rough-and-tumble warrior who was once a convict, this dangerous looking knight wouldn’t have been out of place in Game of Thrones. However, he seems to be a softy within, gleefully playing around with his morning star and taking his self-injury in strides.
      • The Peacekeeper: Assassin, Damage Over Time/Scrapper. The dual-wielding spies and assassins of the Knights, armed with a short sword and a dagger to swiftly eviscerate and bleed out their enemies.
      • The Lawbringer: Hybrid, Mezzer/Mitigation Tank. Judge Dredd's medieval cousin, fitted in spiky heavy armor and a massive polearm. Their Black Knight image make them feared within Ashfeld as they enthusiastically deal out punishment to whoever they find wanting. He would be more menacing if he didn’t constantly hurt himself with his poleaxe, though.
      • The Centurion: Hybrid, Scrapper/Mezzer. The Centurion utilizes a Gladius, but most notably engages in brutal melee combat to punch, kick, knee, backhand and throw his enemies around to set them up for brutal stabs from his Gladius.
      • The Gladiator: Assassin, Scrapper/Mezzer. Having become champions of the gladiator pits, these warriors now move to the battlefield where they slay their foes with trident and shield, focusing on pestering the enemy with quick stabs, buckler bashes and their famous toe poke to confuse their enemies.
      • The Black Prior: Heavy, Mitigation Tank/Buffer. Returning from a long exile of atonement, these gothic knights use heavy kite shields and arming swords to absorb incoming attacks and counter-attack. They can also support allies with buffs, particularly shields.
      • Warmonger: Vanguard, Jack of All Trades/Debuffer/Damage Over Time. Fanatics devoted to mimicking Apollyon and her ideals and thus on spreading war and weeding out the weak. While wielding similar weapons and armor to the Warden, their methods are far more ruthless and brutal, and they freely use alchemy and poisons to get an edge over their enemies.
      • Gryphon: Hybrid, Healer Classic/Jack of All Trades. An order of Bardiche wielding knights inspired by the reformed Holden Cross, the Gryphons use similar alchemical reagents to the Warmongers to heal their allies while also boasting a truly versatile movepool inspired by the heroes of all 4 original factions.
    • Vikings
      • The Raider: Vanguard, Blademaster. Bare-chested, braided beard and a massive axe; how much more of a viking can you be? By Thor, the dude’s got a horned helmet! The Raiders has no fear, because they know their death is determined already. Does this sound like a fictional viking stereotype? Well…
      • The Warlord: Heavy, Avoidance Tank/Scrapper. The Warlord is an elderly chief with a sword and shield for front-line combat. Compared to the other vikings, the Warlord looks mostly historical and is the least blood-hungry, acting more like a doting grandfather.
      • The Berserker: Assassin, Scrapper. The Berserker wields two axes in light armor allowing for some truly wild attacks. Too bad he’s more than a little insecure about looking cool.
      • The Valkyrie: Hybrid, Mezzer. An all-female hero type with a spear and shield, chosen by gods to decide who’s honorable enough to go to Valhalla and act as a substitute for the many civilians who have no way of getting there themselves. They act as scouts and hunters for the Viking forces.
      • The Highlander: Hybrid, Scrapper/Mezzer. The hearty Highlander wields the claymore, the largest sword in the game, using its weight and his own to bear the brunt of attacks or transition into a stance that allows him to become an aggressive grappler who can dodge quickly, interrupt attacks with quick pommel pokes or deliver vicious melee attacks that set enemies up for hard hitting heavy attacks.
      • The Shaman: Assassin, Damage Over Time/Scrapper/Regenerator. Crazed, solitary and erratic warriors whose fervor for battle is almost quite literally fueled by their enemy's blood, being able to hunt down lone enemies and emerge from fights relatively unscathed by healing through damaging bleeding enemies.
      • The Jörmungandr: Heavy, Debuffer/Mezzer/Meatshield/Regenerator. Cultists who worship the great serpent deity of the same name, they cull the Vikings by killing the weak so that the strong remain all the while wielding mighty war hammars like the God of Thunder, Thor. While lacking in any meaningful offense, the Jörmungandrs are able to capitalize on enemy mistakes brutally by draining their stamina and potentially healing with the right perks and can deliver incredibly high damage under the right circumstances.
    • Samurai
      • The Kensei: Vanguard, Blademaster./Jack of All Trades A master of the ōdachi, the Kensei is the most traditionally samurai of the faction, boasting long range and mobility in any fight.
      • The Shugoki: Heavy, Meatshield Tank/Regenerator. Wielding a massive kanabō, this enormous warrior functions as a Mighty Glacier, but is nonetheless able to keep up with the best, and has more health than any other fighter. His weapon and mask gives him the image of an oni, both threatening and protective.
      • The Orochi: Assassin, Scrapper/Avoidance Tank. The Imperial assassin of the Samurai, the Orochi is lightly armored and uses their speed to their advantage to destroy enemies while dodging their foe's onslaught.
      • The Nobushi: Hybrid, Scrapper/Debuffer. Helping those who are beyond the other samurai’s protection, this female warrior uses her naginata as a relative Long-Range Fighter to bleed out her enemies while staying out of range of guard breaks that would otherwise counter her Hidden Stance.
      • The Shinobi: Assassin, Scrapper/Mezzer/Avoidance Tank. A stereotypical ninja armed with a pair of chained Kusarigama who can deftly avoid enemy attacks from all angles while delivering swift counter attacks and can pin down enemies for their allies.
      • The Aramusha: Hybrid, Scrapper/Mezzer/Avoidance Tank. This disgraced samurai wields a pair of katanas to disorient, discombobulate, and parry his enemies.
      • The Hitikori: Heavy, Meatshield/Scrapper. Being an executioner took its toll and the “manslayers” of the Samurai now roam the countryside with double-sided axes to reap the souls of their victims. Their lethargic movements belie their strength and single minded desire to kill their enemies no matter what.
      • The Kyoshin: Hybrid, Avoidance Tank/Scrapper/Mezzer. Outcasts of the Samurai believed to be demons, they wield both the sheathe and blade of their Sword Cane in tandem with defensive sword techniques and demonic magic to protect themselves and debilitate their enemies.
    • Wu Lin
    • The Outlanders
      • The Pirate: Hybrid, Jack of All Trades/Avoidance Tank/Mitigation Tank/Scrapper/Mezzer. Pirates who hail from the South on the orders of the Warmongers, they bring gunpowder with them to battle in the form of their pistol which can stop enemies in their tracks at point blank or deliver deadly ranged gunshots.
      • The Medjay: Hybrid, Blademaster/Scrapper/Mezzer. Warriors who hail from the remnants of Egpytian civilization, they wield a transforming, double bladed fan-axe that can split into two weapons in order to stand their ground with wide sweeping slashes or confuse with swift slashes and shoulder tackles.
      • The Afeera: Hybrid, Avoidance Tank/Scrapper/Mezzer. Protectors of the sultana of Arabia, drawn into the war by the actions of the Horkos, live up to their namesake with graceful speed and acrobatics in order to lay down a relentless melee assault on their enemies.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In Breach mode, the attacking side has an arbitrary number of respawns available. Once those respawns run out, they lose. The number can be replenished by breaking down each gate, and it doesn’t cost anything if the downed player is revived by a teammate.
  • Arrows on Fire: Both flaming arrows and boulders can be seen raining down during the battle.
  • The Artifact: Story-mode still uses the day 1 build of the game, meaning that it has several moves and abilities that can no longer be found anywhere else in the game. For example, heroes still have special sync-kills that are used on Mooks.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Low-level AI heroes are easy to kill. But once you start hitting level three and higher AI opponents, even an experienced player will started being in trouble because of how skilled they are. Bosses will even tackle, push, or throw players right into environmental traps (you know, how you do to other opponents all the time). They even adapt their AI to your fighting style, learning which moves you’re best at countering, and will respond to player pings and messages.
  • Ascended Meme: General Tozen’s “You are a Raider… Legendary!” line became deeply memetic within the fandom. “Legendary” is one of the titles a player can earn if they get a long-enough killstreak in multiplayer, and a later patch adjusted this to being in all caps in reference to the meme. In Season Three, a new high-level Gladiator bot was added, whose name was simply “Legendary!”
    • Another example can be seen in the execution “end him rightly” where the Warden unscrews their pommel and throws it at the downed opponent. This is a reference to a meme popularized by the YouTuber Skalligram. He takes this from a translation of a medieval fighting manual which depicts the same thing.
    • The “Vultcano” meme, where Knight players would put all their soldiers on the volcano on the map, became this with the Arcade Mode update. The Volcano territory is called Mount Ignis and one quest involves fighting a cult of fire-worshippers who revere the volcano.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Each faction speaks a foreign language unique to them, and each hero will say a line when doing certain moves. These can be translated. A full list can be found in this video and the Reddit thread linked in its description.
    Raider: (Icelandic) “Ég ríf ykkur í bita!” (I’ll rip you apart)
    Warden: (Latin) “Te secabo!” (I will cut you!)
    Nobushi: (Japanese) “Oshite mairu!” (Literally, “impertinently advancing”, but is old-fashioned and means something like “Have at you!”)
    • Uniquely, the Highlander has a few Scottish Gaelic lines alongside the usual Icelandic.
    Highlander: Dunmaghlas! ('The Fort of the Sons of Glas', the traditional seat of power of Glan MacGillivray).
    Highlander: Priachaill! (Clumsy oaf!)
  • Boss Rush:
    • What the season 5 special event mode “Test Your Metal” amounts to; a 4v4 Elimination match against a team of bots consisting of characters from the game's Story Mode, most of whom are bosses with the odd Guest Star Partymember as well; the Viking team consists of Ragnar, the Raider boss of the first chapter, Siv the Berserker, Runa the Valkyrie PC, and Gudmundr, the unique Warlord Final Boss of the Knight chapter (sans his pet wolves). The Samurai team consists of Kizan the Shugoki and Ranja the Kensei, two of the rival Daimyo that Ayu faces in the Myre, Seijuro, the Orochi and pretender to the Imperial throne, and General Tozen, a second unique Orochi and the final boss of the Viking chapter (though he lacks the ability to duplicate himself in this mode). Finally, the Knight team consists of the Warden's best friend, Stone the Conqueror, Mercy the Peacekeeper PC, Holden Cross the Lawbringer, and Apollyon herself. The battles start out relatively easy, but there's a distinct difficulty spike as the matches progress, and they do not fight honourably.
    • Year 4 Season 2 brought Test Your Metal back, as well as a new variant in the form of "Tyrant's Test." In this special mode, the players would fight the Year 3 Harbingers (Black Prior, Jormangandr, Hitokiri, and Zhanhu) as well as the new Warmonger hero. These AI opponents are extremely tough and aggressive, and even have unique abilities that the players don't have access to, such as being able to feint guardbreaks or when out of stamina.
  • Button Mashing: Thoroughly averted. The fighting system not only makes this impractical, but fatal. Random and thoughtless attacks are easily countered and dodged, leaving openings for other players to exploit, ending duels in an instant.
    • Furthermore, certain combos actually fail if you button mash them such as the Peacekeeper’s Stab ability on guard break (where if you do not spread out your stabs to be in time with the attack, the combo ends early).
  • Character Customization: Every warrior’s armor and weapons can be customized with gear won at the end of each round, including color and paint patterns. The physical features of the Heroes can also be customized to a lesser extent.
  • Character Level: As you play the game, you will accumulate experience points and gain levels. Gaining levels will unlock perks that will allow you to do things like heal mid-battle, give you an aura that will buff nearby allies, and even call in devastating catapult strikes. After reaching max level with a character they will begin to earn Reputation ranks, which unlock new and more powerful gear.
    • In battle characters accumulate Renown, which acts as experience, leveling up and allowing them to use said perks.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In team-based modes, Attacker and Defender teams are marked by particular color schemes. Attackers tend to wear warmer shades (reds, oranges, and yellows) while defenders wear cooler shades (blues, greens, and purples). Some color schemes may mix things up a little, such as an Attacker color palette being primarily orange and white with blue highlights, or a Defender palette with primary black and blue with dark red highlights. Higher Reputation levels give access to more color palettes with bolder or wider variations, but they still broadly fit this pattern.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Despite the name, this is very much encouraged. The characters will gladly use underhanded tactics to win, and none so other than the Raider who can tackle the enemy and stun them with a knee to the head. Also, kicking people off ledges is a viable and popular tactic.
  • Combat Resuscitation: In team-based modes, players who run out of health can be revived by their allies unless they were defeated via Finishing Move or Ring Out.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: While not as noticeable on slower characters, the higher-level AI on fast characters such as the Orochi, Valkyrie, and Aramusha have no compunctions about abusing their faster-than-humanly-possible reflexes to feint and attack from multiple directions, making blocking (to say nothing of parrying) all but impossible unless the start up is either blocked or dodged.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: The game’s entire premise is three of the most feared warrior cultures of the middle ages going to war with each other.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Averted - even before the introduction of the post-launch heroes, heroes that fulfil the same role across factions have very different playstyles. For example, the Peacekeeper (Legions-assassin) focuses on attacks that gradually bleed the enemy to death, while the Berserker (Warborn-assassin) is much more aggressive, with several unblockable attacks and unlimited combo chains.
  • Close-Range Combatant:
    • The game is focused on this aspect. The only ranged attacks are perk specials, like an “orbital strike”-esque volley of arrows.
    • The Berserker takes this up to eleven as their axes have the shortest range but they are capable of chaining them and staying mobile.
  • Crosshair Aware: The artillery show great big red cirles where they about to strike.
  • Crossover: For Honor has had some crossovers with other franchises in and out of the home game:
    • The first crossover event in game was with Assassin's Creed, giving heroes unique emotes and executions as well as weapons based on Assassin's Creed weapons. Soldiers were also changed to resemble enemy units from the game. And a new event mode was created so that heroes can actually fight Ezio and Cesare themselves, using abilities like throwing bombs.
    • The second crossover event in game was with Prince of Persia, which also gives heroes unique rewards and new soliders. In this new event mode, the heroes can fight The Prince himself, complete with his abilities such as his time reversal.
    • An April Fools crossover involved all soldier units transforming into Rabbids from Raving Rabbids. Definitely counts as a Weird Crossover due to soldiers becoming... well... Rabbids. The main menu is filled with Rabbid objects, music is changed into the Rabbids music, and all sound effects are Rabbid sounds.
    • On May 4th, all characters weapons become glowing Laser Blades. Sounds familiar? They even have similar sound effects to lightsaber clashing.
    • A limited crossover event has Shovel Knight as its theme. During the event, players were able to purchase Shovel Knight themed outfits, patterns, effects, and an exclusive emote. The exclusive emote had Heroes pick up a 3D replica of the Shovel Blade and they would attempt to do a Shovel Drop with it. There were three effects creating replicas of Shovel Knight's helmet in blue and gold variants and a third effect has the propeller mooks hovering above the Heroes.
    • The 2021 Halloween Event "Survivors Of The Fog" brings Dead by Daylight into the game. This event includes an exclusive map that recreates the environment of The Survivors game mode and The Trapper himself appears as a boss hazard. He definitely qualifies as an SNK Boss due to the fact that he sets up unsuspected bear traps all over the map, has super armor, and hits absolutely hard. The event also includes Illustrious Outfits that give heroes masks of The Trapper and The Huntress and an execution that makes heroes throw their enemies onto the hooks just like in The Survivors game mode.
    • There are armor and emblem patterns have the logos of Rainbow Six Siege, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry Primal, and many other Ubisoft franchises.
    • Likewise, For Honor characters have appeared as Guest Characters in outside games as well:
    • The Warden appears as an outfit for Bayek in Assassin's Creed Origins and as a fully playable character in Samurai Shodown (2019).
    • The Raider and Valkyrie appeared as unlockable event characters for The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot.
  • Death from Above: There’s a catapult strike perk that you can activate if you’re doing particularly well. It functions similar to an air strike in a first person shooter; it rains fiery death on your opponents. The Samurai instead has fire arrows, which deal less damage. Another way to bring death from above is either by sliding down ladders and stepping in someone's face or hopping off a ledge and hit them with a plunging attack anywhere.
  • Elite Mooks: The Captains, who actually have their own health bars and can be engaged in the Art of Battle unlike the rest of the mooks, though they’re not as durable as the actual heroes.
  • The Enemy Gate Is Down: In Breach, if the ram is destroyed before the second gate is destroyed, the defenders automatically win, no matter how many zones the attackers control or how many respawns they have left. The gate can be on its last legs but the defenders will win if the ram’s health is depleted. On the other hand, if the Commander dies, the attackers win, no matter how many respawns they have remaining.
  • Fisher King: The maps visually change with the controlling faction. Viking held territory takes on a snowy and frigid appearance, while Samurai controlled land becomes foggy marshes, with Knight occupied land being a temperate and clear-skied middle ground.
  • Flynning: Averted - while some of the attacks used by Heroes are flashier than they need to be, all of the attacks down are based on real-world fighting styles, and tend to be used as such. Further averted in the campaign and the earlier version of multiplayer, where Heroes have unique One-Hit Kill animations for taking out Mooks, such as the Warden using a Mordhau to run a soldier through.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: The Raider, the Warlord, and the Lawbringer are capable of doing this, with the former two stunning their enemy if you push them against a wall.
  • Genre-Busting: An online hero-based hack n’ slash + 3D fighting game boasting competitive modes right out of modern first person shooters, seasoned with MOBA and strategy elements.
  • Gorn: The game is easily the goriest game Ubisoft had created, thanks largely to the executions. You have the decapitations, the neck crunches, the gut impalements, the occasional dismemberment, and lots of blood.
  • Kill It with Fire: A viable technique in combat is to knock someone into open flames or throw a fire flask at them, which causes major damage.
  • Mêlée à Trois: It’s the Legions vs the Warborn vs the Chosen.
  • Microtransactions: Players can pay real money to gain Steel. While the cost of gear packs are low enough that they can be earned from multiplayer matches alone, emotes and cosmetics are far more exorbitantly expensive, making microtransactions the fastest and most practical method of getting them.
  • Mooks: In addition to the player-controlled characters, both teams also have AI-controlled foot soldiers who behave similar to creeps in MOBA games. These AI mooks are considerably less powerful than the player-controlled Heroes and can be killed in one hit.
  • Mook Chivalry:
    • Encouraged by game mechanics - not only does an enemy who isn’t locked onto you have an easier time blocking and parrying your attacks, being outnumbered rapidly builds your Revenge meter - an unskilled player interrupting a duel can get both himself and his ally killed by the newly empowered opponent!
    • This also only really applies to players ganging up on other players. Regular soldiers, officers, and commanders do not add to Revenge, and are all too eager to pile onto a player already fighting an opponent. It's not uncommon for a hero to be winning against an opponent only to get taken down by a pikeman or officer attacking them from behind. They'll also interrupt executions, and in some cases a player who only narrowly won a duel and started an execution will be killed in the middle of the animation by a spear or sword in the back thanks to a nearby minion.
  • Mook Horror Show: The game can become one of these if your hero quickly and brutally kills a bunch of the opposing team’s AI mooks. For heroes with the Body Count feat active, this also heals them. This can get flipped back on a player who tries this against Pikemen in Breach; without support even a Vanguard or Heavy hero will likely get badly mauled by a group of Pikemen, and an Assassin will likely get killed in moments due to their low health.
  • Optional Boss: In Breach, during the second phase a special enemy known as the Guardian will appear in a shrine area off to the side of the battlefield. The Guardian is hostile to both sides, and the players who fight him gain a special buff to speed, health, and damage if he is slain.
  • Power Glows: Some special attacks and buffs make your weapon glow to indicate the effect - purple for bleeding, orange for unblockable, yellow for knockdown, white for superior block, blue for combo .
  • Rain of Arrows: Samurai heroes can call down a barrage of arrows on an area after earning enough Renown during the match. All classes can call down a full volley for their final feat, while some classes like the Nobushi have a smaller one as a second tier feat.
  • Ring Out: Getting knocked off a cliff or overhang will instantly kill you. Several classes, such as Conqueror, Lawbringer, Raider, and Warlord, have special moves designed to knock or push you around and rack up kills in this way.
  • Scotireland: The Highlander has moves as well as armor and weapon sets named after elements of both Irish and Scottish mythology and geography, and one of his swords in particular is modelled after a medieval Irish design.
  • The Siege: Most multiplayer maps, including all Dominion Maps, take place during variants of these, and many of the campaign missions involve variations on sieges.
    • In the very first Knight mission, the Warden is fighting off a siege on the fortress of Harrowgate, and the next mission they’re repelling a Viking siege of the Citadel (which also forms the basis of the iconic Citadel Gate multiplayer map). The fourth and final missions of the Knight campaign center around besieging Viking fortresses, with the last one involving escorting a massive ram up to the gates.
    • In the Viking campaign, the Raider leads a massive amphibious raid on one of the main samurai fortresses and rapidly overruns it. The final mission involves attacking the Imperial City of Koto across a long, well-defended bridge… ending with the Raider and his army being trapped by General Tozen’s army attacking them from behind, at least before the Raider kills Tozen and scatters his men.
    • In the Samurai campaign, the Orochi has to end the siege of the Imperial Palace by sneaking in and unleashing an elephant to smash down the gates. The final battle of the campaign involves a massive siege on Apollyon’s citadel the Shard by both the Samurai and Knights under the Warden.
    • Most multiplayer Dominion maps involve variations on sieges. The Shard and Overwatch maps involve massive siege towers sending huge numbers of infantry onto the walls of defended fortresses. River Fort has troops attacking massive artillery emplacements in a Viking fortress, while the High Fort map involves attacking a Viking fortress on top of a hill. Sanctuary Bridge is a redux of the final Viking campaign mission to attack the bridge leading into Koto, and Citadel Gate is a redux of the second Knight mission. The Temple Garden map is a raid on a Samurai temple, while the Forge map is a raid on a large foundry complex on a river dam via sappers sneaking in through tunnels beneath the forges.
    • Breach Mode is a full-on siege of an enemy fortress, requiring the attackers to escort a ram through multiple enemy walls and slay the fortress’s commander at the end. The defenders can use archer positions and boiling oil to damage the ram and clear away troops defending it to allow their own troops to attack the ram. The attackers have to protect the ram by killing enemy soldiers and capturing the archer positions, as its health after it breaks the second gate determines how many respawns they have left when assaulting the Commander.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The NPC foot soldiers all have shields, not that it helps them against the PCs. Some campaign missions feature higher ranking soldiers whose shields can deflect a few hits, but they’re nowhere near as dangerous as Warlords, Conquerors, or Vikings. Breach Mode features pikemen with tower shields, who can take several hits before dying.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • From the announcement of the game, the fulfillment of this trope has been part of the pitch to players. The announcement video had a prominent use of the sword techniques half-swording, and mordhau, both of which involve grasping the blade of a sword to swing or guide it, and both appear in game. The use of these techniques is well documented in the middle ages, but rarely depicted in modern fiction.
    • A universal Samurai feat has them using a Japanese longbow, or yumi. In real life, samurai fought primarily as mounted bowmen, preferring to use either the naginata or yari in melee combat because of their greater reach. As Japan unified, gunpowder weapons took prominence on the battlefield and swords and training in their use became status symbols as the samurai evolved into a peacetime upper class.
    • The Orochi using the katana makes sense as his role is as an assassin; while on the battlefield the katana was a backup weapon compared to a yari, naginata, or yumi, it is an ideal tool for close-quarters combat inside a house, castle, or on the street. In the campaign, the Orochi is actually employed mostly as a scout or battlefield assassin.
    • Though it’s mostly seen in the multiplayer, all the characters speak in the language they would use at the time - While Knights (Latin) and Samurai (Japanese) are easy to figure out, most people wouldn’t expect the Vikings to speak Icelandic. It is in fact the language closest to Old Norse. Additionally, while the Wu Lin and the Outlander Pirate are both Chinese, the Wu Lin use Mandarin (spoken in Northern China) while the Pirate uses Cantonese (spoken in the South). Most Chinese pirates came from Southern China and would've spoken Cantonese.
    • The shields used by the Chosen Mooks are based on actual Japanese wooden shields used during the Kofun and early Asuka periods.
    • While some of the characters have visible hair, all of it that is visible is short or kept tightly braided to avoid it getting grabbed or tangled. When we see Ayu and Cross without their helmets, both are depicted with short hair. That said, Raiders and Valkyries tend have particularly long beards and braids sticking out, but Rule of Cool applies here.
    • The battles in the campaign show realistic tactics, such as extended sieges, dispatching scouts, and how bloody a rapid assault on a fortified position can be when you don’t have surprise or advanced siege weapons available. At one point, Apollyon notes that they could have besieged a Viking fort for weeks or months with minimal losses, but that they have to commit to a massive assault with a titanic ram because if they waited for more than a day, the Vikings would summon reinforcements and an entire army would be in the nearby bay by the next day.
    • The Samurai live deep in trackless swamps and forests, which are metal-poor regions, which is reflected in their mostly-wooden armor.
    • People in medieval ages generally suffered from a lack of nutrition resulting in stunted growth and shorter stature, which is credited as the reason that foot soldiers are so much shorter than the warriors, who would have a serious advantage thanks to their height.
  • Sinister Scythe: During the Eclipse event, players fight for control of a scythe composed of Draconite. The weapon has a unique set of attacks, including a heavy attack that creates a cone of damaging draconite across the ground, but it is impossible to block while using the scythe. It is also one of the few weapons able to damage the other team's commander.
  • SNK Boss: Apollyon, the final boss, is a big cheater. For starters, she has more health than any opponent in the entire game. In phase one, she has back up (she has back up in phase 2 if you are co-oping as well), but she really doesn’t need it. She is very strong, taking chunks out of your health with every blow, hard to block, and in phase 3, it becomes ridiculous as she gains a unique unblockable charging move that will impale you for heavy damage and knock you down that's very hard to avoid and she can activate revenge at basically any time, even moments after exiting it. Pretty much your only option when she does is to run as fast as you can away from her in the (rather cramped) arena. And to top it off, balls of fire are raining from the sky. And (on hard mode at least), if you die at any phase in the fight, you start the entire fight over again.
  • Sticks to the Back: All of the warriors' weapons stick to their back without visible straps whenever they need their hands free.
  • Super Drowning Skills: All of the heroes will drown and die if pushed into any large body of water.
  • Sword and Fist: Pretty much everyone gets in on this with guard breaks which all consisting of grappling or looking like they struck the enemy with their weapon’s haft or pommel (or both). The Warborn heroes' animations particularly tend have a lot more hitting their enemies with more than just the business end of their weapon of choice.
    • Exaggerated with the DLC character, the Centurion. He only uses his gladius for about half of his moves. The rest involve various kicks, punches, and uppercuts to stun and disorient the opponent, or even knock them to the floor. Even his throws involve more or less punching them in the desired direction. Made even more ridiculous with the Haymaker feat, which makes all this even do damage, allowing you to just punch people to death.
  • Sword Sparks: Sparks fly each time a blow is blocked - even if it doesn't make sense like blocking a wooden axe handle with the wooden shaft of a spear.
  • Taking You with Me: Be careful about ganging up on an enemy with a fourth tier area of effect feat - they may decide to drop it in as one last hit back.
  • Unblockable Attack: Special attacks and certain combos can end in one, going through the target's guard, but it's donwplayed as they can be parried or deflected.
  • The Undead: For the Feast of the Otherworld Halloween event, soldiers are replaced by skeletons, and new spooky magical effects are available for executions, emotes, and idle animations, creating creepy blue and green death auras.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • The Conqueror is the only hero who cannot feint(cancel) their attacks, since there is no way for them to stop their chained flail once it is in motion.
      • Averted as of Y 6 S 2, as Conqueror was given the ability to feint his heavy attacks, though they look... off.
    • The Heroes various executions are not immune to this either; such as the Lawbringer's opponent dying of their injuries before he can actually finish them off in one, or Warlord getting his sword stuck in his enemy's chest after stabbing them.
    • In Breach, trying to pull a One-Man Army by rushing large groups of Pikemen who are guarding or attacking the ram is at best going to deal serious damage to even the heaviest heroes, and for assassins it's an outright death sentence. You'll need to wait until you have support (either from other Pikemen or allied heroes) to stand a chance of clearing the Pikemen unscathed.
  • Unfriendly Fire: It is possible to unintentionally damage your allies via an errant swing of your weapon, meaning that you must be careful if you and your teammates are ganging up on a single foe. But experienced players exploit this feature by performing a Mercy Kill and resurrecting the ally right then, healing to half of the hero's maximum health in any relatively safe place and also saving from Finishing Move which makes field resurrection impossible.
    • This applies doubly so to area of effect feats like catapult strikes or ranged attacks like the Longbow feat - if an ally is either in the line-of-fire or is in the area when it detonates, they'll take damage as well.

     Story/Setting Tropes 
  • The Alliance: One is formed at the end of the story campaign between Ayu, Cross, and Stigandr in an attempt to stop the Forever War that has been raging between the factions. Later on, in Year Four, after the Order of Horkos invaded the realm of Heathmoor, the various factions put aside their differences to form the Chimera Alliance to lead a rebellion against the Order's tyranny.
  • After the End: The game is set after an enormous cataclysm that devastated the lands of the Warborn, the Chosen, the Wu Lin, and the Legions. The Forever War that's going on during the game itself stems from the three groups fighting over (once) scarce resources, and Apollyon's plot is an extended gambit to reignite the war.
  • Alternate Timeline: Word of God states that the game takes place on Earth, but one that was struck by a global catastrophe some time around 1000-1100 AD, which rearranged the continents and destroyed civilization, keeping it in Medieval Stasis for a thousand years.
  • Anachronic Order: Year 6, Lost Horizons, is the first year where the different seasons don't necessarily take place in sequential order — "Golden Age"'s story takes place in the distant past, while "Curse of the Scarab" appears to take place concurrently with the ongoing conflict in Heathmoore.
  • An Aesop: One that is actually in conflict with the very title of the game: There Is No Honor In War.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: In addition to the three main Player Characters, the player takes control of Holden Cross, Mercy, Stigandr, Runa, and Ayu for individual campaign chapters.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Draconite, an esoteric substance used by the Order of Horkos to create the Corruption, which only starts showing up in Year Four. The Warmongers are apparently able to use it as a poison or as a tool to cause mind control.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The war between the three factions started after a massive earthquake royally wrecked all three factions, forcing them into fighting one another over resources to survive, but they keep fighting, despite some peace efforts, even after the land recovers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, even with the death of Apollyon, there's still a massive war going on between the three factions, and so much war and bloodshed is not going to be forgiven overnight just because The Chessmaster has been killed. Instead, the three faction leaders have to work together to forge a lasting peace after the fact, and know that they are likely to die in the attempt. Apollyon even gives it all a Lampshade Hanging.
    Apollyon: Peace? So... what happens now? You all just... go... home? You came into my home. And you brought your armies. What did you think would happen?
  • Call-Back: At the start of the Viking campaign, Ragnar screams "Valhalla!" in defiance of the Raider right before the Raider kills him. At the end of the Viking campaign, when they're faced with a trap and near-certain death at the hands of General Tozen's reinforcements, the Raider shouts "Valhalla!" while charging them.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During the Warden's story, while the Blackstone Legion is executing vikings, a viking raider with a distinctive helmet is brought forward to be executed. Apollyon lets him go free after he keeps the soldier escorting him from making him kneel. Later, at the very beginning of the Raider's story, the Raider is hunting for Ragnar, a viking raider with the same helmet, outfit and character model as the one Apollyon spared.
  • Combat by Champion: In order to spare the lives of able warriors on both sides, Holden Cross demands this of Daubeny at the conclusion of the Blackstones' assault on his keep. Daubeny refuses, and the fight is actually carried out by Cross's second-in-command and The Warden.
  • Death World:
    • Ashfeld is filled with boiling geysers and poisonous rivers as a result of the active volcano in the region.
    • Valkenheim varies between being habitable and being a frozen wasteland with limited food depending on the local volcanic eruptions. When the story begins, recent eruptions have forced the Vikings to get more aggressive, which is why Apollyon is attacking while their food stores are vulnerable.
    • The lands of the Dawn Empire consist of places considered too inhospitable for the Legions and too isolated for the Vikings. To invade means somehow surviving the swamps of the Myre, and the capital city itself is on a plateau surrounded by an impenetrable forest. Decades before the Raider's attempt a group of Vikings attempted to raid the Dawn Empire by using their longboats to enter the Myre. Not a single one came out.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Shown in the cultures of the three factions, and in one observable Apollyon mentions it directly, saying that the Knights, Vikings, and Samurai treat prisoners differently: the Knights treat prisoners as guests and ransom them back if they can, the Vikings enslave prisoners, and the Samurai treat being captured as a dishonor and execute prisoners unless they want to deeply shame them. This difference has led to unpleasant disagreements in the past.
  • Doom Magnet: The keep from the first level of the Knight campaign changes hands nearly every year, Lord Daubeny being only its latest owner.
  • Downer Ending: Apollyon is defeated, however she ultimately succeeds in inciting war between the three factions and its years before their leaders realize what truly happened. While Cross, Stigandr, and Ayu agree to try and end the war, they admit that it will be extremely difficult and likely get them killed, and the collapse of peace caused the faction war in multiplayer. Worse still, the Order of Horkos would continue to sabotage any attempts at peace.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Order of Horkos is made up of warriors from all four factions. During Year 4 Season 2, all attacker factions field warriors wearing their distinct livery and armor, including horned helmets and rose or raven designs on their uniforms and shields. Horkos soldiers will use the voices and languages of all three major factions.
  • Escort Mission
    • The Warden has to escort a Battering Ram as it slowly makes it way to the gate in the "Wolves Among Sheep" level.
    • The Orochi must escort Momiji after she is injured by an arrow in "Honor".
    • Breach is an extended example of this, as the attackers have to escort and lead a Battering Ram through enemy defenses to knock down two gates, all the while the defenders are trying to damage it by using archers, pikemen, and a cauldron of burning oil. If the battle proceeds to the third phase, it gets flipped, as the defenders will have to escort and protect the Commander, who is being targeted by the attackers.
    • The Emperor's Escape special event involves the players protecting the Wu Lin's Emperor as he flees through the ramparts of Quiang Pass, all the while being attacked by the Blackstone Legion.
    • During Resistance in Year 4, there is the Rescue event, which involves the player's group protecting Ilma the Blacksmith while she tries to escape a fortress controlled by the Order of Horkos.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Vikings discover some dead Blackstone soldiers in the Myre, hinting that Apollyon is planning something.
    • Each player character narrates their particular chapters in the story. As seen in the ending, this isn't just a narrative device, but each individual telling their part of the tale leading up to the three-way war erupting, so that Cross, Ayu, and Stigandr can get the story straight.
    • Stigandr mentions that ending the Forever War between the three factions will not be easy and will take years. Four years later in real-world time, the Truce of Wyverndale event happens, in which the factions lay down their arms... and then immediately afterward the Blackstone Legion returns under the banners of the Order of Horkos and end the truce.
  • Forever War: The war between the various factions has apparently been going on for a millennium, only having stopped recently by the time of the main game. Invoked by Apollyon who seeks to reignite it to weed out the weak. This has also been happening in the Wu Lin's homeland, and is the reason their faction has entered the fray; their heroes are their leaders who have left their homeland to seek a new one elsewhere. However, the first season of Year Four centers around an event known as the Truce of Wyverndale, in which some of the faction leaders have come together to discuss peace, having become weary of the endless struggle. Then the second season starts, in which the Order of Horkos reveals itself, led by the Warmongers, who shatter the truce.
  • Framing Device: The final ending reveals that the campaigns were retellings that Cross, Stigandr and Ayu were telling each other.
  • From Bad to Worse: Year 5 in a nutshell. The first season, Asunder, sees the Chimera Alliance going into a full-scale war with the Order of Horkos. Then Season 2, Mirage, rolls in, bringing with it a massive drought that leaves everyoene desperate for water. The rains finally come in Season 3, Tempest... but they don't stop, resulting in Heathmoor flooding. And then the floods flash freeze in Season 4.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Ayu's portion of the Samurai chapter, she has to track down and kill all three renegade Daiymo in the bamboo forest. But if you execute all three via beheading, their corpses are perfectly intact in the next chapter after when Orochi finds their corpses.
  • Gender-Inclusive Writing: The writing surrounding the three main Player Characters of the campaign is deliberately devoid of gender due to those characters having their gender chosen by the player.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Each of the post-release classes is some form of outsider who came to join the war effort.
    • Centurions hailed from a land far to the south, the predecessor and remnant of the pre-cataclysm empire that the Legions stemmed from, and have come north to aid their descendants.
    • The Shinobi were secretive agents working in the shadows of the Dawn Empire's lands, but with war enveloping their home, they've come out of hiding to fight in the open for their people.
    • The Highlanders aren't part of the war, but their oaths to the Vikings have kept their lands safe, and now those oaths have come due.
    • Gladiators are arena fighters from the Legions' lands who have decided that they cannot find a Worthy Opponent in the ring anymore and are seeking out challenges and glory on the battlefield.
    • The Shamans are mentally unstable wild warriors from the forests who have been called out to fight for the Vikings.
    • The Aramusha are all Rōnin samurai who have come to fight for a higher cause.
    • The Wu Lin are all refugees from their destroyed homeland, looking for a place to call their own.
    • The Black Priors are an order of Warrior Monks who once served Apollyon but have emerged from hiding and their atonement to fight once more.
    • The Hitokiri are wandering vigilantes who joined the war effort to cleanse the world of outlaws and criminals.
    • The Jomungandr are apocalyptic death cultists who sensed the end of the world approaching.
    • The Warmongers arrived along with the Order of Horkos, invading and subverting members of the main three factions.
    • The Pirates avert this trope, having arrived in Heathmoor while searching for lost treasures in the area only to find themselves dragged into the local conflict.
    • Medjays and Afeera are also aversions to the trope, deliberately inviting themselves to Heathmoor after their conflict seeps into their homelands.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: There don't appear to be any clear-cut "good guys" or "bad guys" in this game. The Chosen are seeking a homeland of their own after centuries of wandering, the Warborn are fighting to reclaim lands that were taken from them long ago, and the Legion are fighting off an invasion from both sides. The one unquestionably evil side is Apollyon, who appears to be deliberately causing the three sides to war with one another for little more than a hatred of peace.
    • Averted by the Order of Horkos, who are unambiguously evil and outright worship Apollyon's corrupted world view.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Two in the cinematic trailer. The first is when three warriors from each side first meet over a solitary small source of water and consider a course besides violence for a moment, but desperation and mistrust win out. The second is years later when another set of warriors meet on the same spot and, seeing the devastation around them, they all lower their weapons... only for Apollyon to shoot an arrow into the Viking's shoulder, reigniting their hostilities.
    • As Apollyon lies dying it looks like the Knights and Samurai may be able to resolve things peacefully, only for the viking's arrival to cause a Mêlée à Trois killing any chance for peace.
    • In Year 4's first season, the factions grow tired of the war and arrange for a truce, and celebrate the ceasefire with a festival remembering the great heroes of the past. Then the Warmongers crash the party in the second season of Year 4, slaughtering the festival and starting another massive war.
  • La Résistance: Year Four Season Three is titled Resistance and is about heroes who are fanning a rebellion against the tyranny of the Order of Horkos who have conquered much of the land.
  • Lost Technology: The Legion has lost much of their old engineering knowledge, instead relying on centuries old plans and designs that they no longer fully understand. Furthermore, the Lawbringer's armor is a closely-guaded secret of their order, which is why most Knights wear mis-matched plate and chainmail instead of massive suits of full-body plate armor.
  • The Lost Woods: The Myre's swamps are a constantly shifting and changing morass, to the point that the Chosen don't bother building permanent structures there because stone buildings disappear eventually. Entire armies have entered the swamps and vanished. The Warborn are forced to steal up-to-date maps from the Chosen in order to navigate the Myre.
  • Low Fantasy: Although the game takes place in a fictional world, magic doesn't exist... that we know of. If it exists, it's extremely low key.
    • The Cataclysm that merged together the lands of the Samurai, the Vikings and the Knights and created Ashfeld doesn't really seem like a normal geological event. What with the lightning and the pure distance that entire regions were moved.
    • The Myre is not a normal swamp or jungle and the skulls of the creatures there don't match up with anything from Earth. The fact that the geography apparently changes without warning and explosive mushrooms exist in it unlike anything on Earth further indicates it is a very alien place.
    • It's also not 100% clear what General Tozen does when he summons his "shadows," and whether they're just flunkies wearing replica armor, or something more mystical (Kyoshin's release would eventually confirm the former). In addition, Ranja, one of the Daimyo that Ayu hunts, is noted as being highly religious and that when she is confronted, she immediately enters Revenge mode and fights much harder than the other two Daimyo.
    • Some of the Viking classes claim to have some manner of supernatural powers, with Raiders being described as having the "spark of the gods," Berserkers channeling the spirits of the wild, and Valkyries making direct covenants with the gods. They could be just highly religious, or they might be drawing power from some supernatural force.
    • A couple of heroes, like the Shinobi and the Shaolin, outright teleport in the middle of their attack chains.
    • There are some questlines in Arcade Mode that hint at magic being used, including one quest to hunt down a group of pyromancers (who wield weapons that inflict fire damage) and several of the weekly quests involve hunting down legendary and supernaturally-powerful warriors.
    • The Sakura trailer shows the titular Hitokiri surrounded by an unnatural, ghostly wind and an inhuman, spectral distortion to her words.
    • The Jomungundr all but outright shows mythical fantasy elements, as their hammer has glowing mystical runes surrounding it, and the hammer will actually return to their hands if they use their throwing feat. One event relating to them has the World Serpent himself show up and spit out Mjolnir, and doesn't treat this as just a hallucination...
    • The Order of Horkos, revealed in Tyranny, has engaged in alchemical studies and discovered strange, fantastic potions and elixirs. In Resistance, this substance is known as Draconite, which is the key to their Corruption, but is otherwise a benign substance. One execution available during Resistance involves the hero jamming a shard of Draconite into their opponent's face, which completely vaporizes them.
    • The Kyoshin are the first heroes to use straight magic, being able to summon demonic spears from the ground to ensnare enemies with their fourth feat.
    • The Wyrmmyre event (spring 2022) outright features dragons as part of some map's scenery and texts talk of a pact between an ancient knight and one of the wyrm, a pact that granted the Lord Rasiel outright powers... but is also stated to be a recollection of an ancient In-universe myth.
    • Year 5 (2022) seems set on pushing the story into High Fantasy territory — The Curse of the Pharaoh event (summer 2022) outright features mystical events themed on the plagues of Egypt with dialouge indicating they are really happening, while the Demon Dagger event (fall 2022) has Youkai starting to make appearances after their can was accidentally opened.
  • Meaningful Name: The story goes that the Blackstone Legion was founded by seven members around a large piece of obsidian (literal black stone) carved into a round table.
  • Medieval Stasis: Justified in that the people of the Knights, Vikings and Samurai were hit by an apocalyptic earthquake a millennium ago which halted their technological process and left them scrambling to reclaim the resources and knowledge of ages past, keeping them stuck in a medieval era ever since. One observable lore entry indicates that the Legion doesn't actually know the mechanical principles behind how their siege engines and war machines work, and instead just build exact copies based on the schematics left by their ancestors.
  • Mordor: Downplayed, since the game is Low Fantasy, but the tectonically-active Ashfeld becomes this after Apollyon takes over and subjugates its people to her brutal rule.
  • Motive Decay: While the factions were originally fighting for resources after a devastating earthquake, they continued to fight long after settling down. By the start of the campaign all three have stopped fighting to give peace a chance.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Most of the Blackstone Knights subscribe to this theory; they're loyal to Apollyon, despite the fact that she's a psychotic dictator who wants to start a devastating war. The Warden, however, places their oaths to protect the weak above their loyalty, and leads a rebellion against her joined by a number of other Blackstone troops, including the other major Legion NPCs.
  • Onrushing Army: No matter how deadly and skilled a swordsman the Orochi is, they're pretty much stuck desperately defending themselves against a massive cavalry charge through the gates as the Blackstone Legion breaks down the door.
  • Order Reborn:
    • In the Knights campaign, Apollyon has taken over the weakened remains of the Iron Legion after they've fallen apart due to endless battles with Viking raiders. Some of the Iron Legion desert but most join Apollyon. By the time the Samurai campaign reaches Ashfeld, however, the Warden has rebelled and rebuilt the Iron Legion from Apollyon's defectors, creating an army strong enough to open the borders into Ashfeld and allow both forces to besiege and overrun Apollyon's castle.
    • A couple of years after Apollyon's death the Order of Horkos was formed, created from a remnant of the Blackstone Legion who still follow Apollyon's ideals. This was the group responsible for the attack on Qiang Pass and whom the players fought during the Emperor's Escape event, and who stole Sun Da's secret weaponry. They have also apparently been assassinating soldiers as well as leaving their symbols scattered around certain battlefield maps, and are intent on ending the peace started at the Truce of Wyverndale.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • The Iron Legion deserters recognize that the Warden doesn't know how bad Apollyon and the Blackstones are. Rather than explaining this, they try to kill them.
    • The primary Legions continue to send supplies and reinforcements to the Knights, either completely unaware that Apollyon has seized control, or that she's an insane warmonger.
    • The factions know virtually nothing about one another, with one of the Orochi's companions being surprised to see Blackstone knights defecting to the Warden's side, asking if they can do that. Then the Warden's forces attack the Orochi and Momiji assuming they are spies.
      • This is Played for Laughs during the Viking campaign, as Runa the Valkyrie is on a scouting mission and decides to interrogate one hapless Samurai mook.
        Stigandr: Well? What'd they say?
        Runa: (Shrugs) I don't speak Japanese.
    • The Vikings arrive to attack Apollyon's fortress, not realizing she's already been defeated, and proceed to attack the Knights and Samurai, breaking their ceasefire.
    • Even shown right during the final battle: when the Vikings attack, both the Warden commanding the Iron Legion and the Kensei leading the Dawn Empire troops try to rally their men and keep them from attacking each other when the Vikings arrive, but then both sides descend into chaos and fighting each other, forcing the Kensei and Warden to fight in an attempt to save their armies from each other.
    • This is temporarily inverted with the Truce of Wyverndale, in which the leaders of the four factions came together to form a temporary ceasefire. Unfortunately, this was only temporary, as the Order of Horkos is intent on sabotaging this peace and starting the war anew.
  • Practical Currency: Steel, both in-game and in the storyline, due to its rareness. When the Warborn capture Odingard from the Blackstone Legion, they find crates filled with steel plates looted from the Dawn Empire, and steel serves as the currency used to upgrade gear, buy loot crates, and purchase heroes, effects, emotes, outfits, and executions in the in-game store. Several quests in Arcade Mode explicitly describe steel as currency, i.e. "A group of warriors attack you, hoping to make good steel from the bounty on your head."
  • Precursors: The factions were thrown together by a cataclysm that tore the earth asunder and left the survivors in conflict over basic resources. Remnants of the civilizations they descended from are scattered across the landscape.
    • The Knights of Ashfield believe that many (if not all) of the ruins covering the landscape were built by the Great Empire, the precursors to the Iron Legion, who are analogous to the Roman Empire. Apollyon claims to have met some remnants. Indeed, the Centurion hero even hails from the remnants of this old empire, located in a distant land.
    • Given the developers' statements, it's likely the Great Empire really was/is the Roman Empire, or a remnant of it, at any rate.
    • The Viking's ancestors lived in much of the lands that the Legions currently hold, with many of their ancient totems and monuments still standing. Naturally, their descendants want to take these lands back.
    • Apollyon theorizes that in fact both the Knights and the Vikings share a common origin.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: There are a number of "breakables" in the single player levels that can be smashed for bonuses like extra steel or emblem pieces.
  • Schizo Tech: Armor, weapons, and engineering vary wildly depending on the faction. Justified, as the cataclysm that destroyed the world also locked every faction in Medieval Stasis.
    • Knightly armor ranges from early 13th century designs like that of the Conquerer's gear to advanced renaissance plate such as that used by the Lawbringer - with the latter being explicitly described as a secret of their order.
    • Samurai designs range from 10th to 17th century armor, but many of the designs incorporate wooden plates.
    • While the Vikings lack advanced weaponry or armor, they have startlingly-advanced engineering, including what looks like gunpowder-fired grappling hooks and a massive mountainside elevator to let them ascend and descend a difficult mountain path.
    • The Wu Lin tend to have slightly more advanced technology, with lots of metal in some of their armor. The Zhanhu even has access to fairly advanced gunpowder and incendiary weapons.
  • Shout-Out:
    • After Momiji's leg is wounded by an arrow in "Honor", she references the famous "arrow to my knee" line from Skyrim.
    Momiji: My knee! I hope I can keep adventuring!
    • The Shugoki's season 4 execution "The Mountain" has him crush his opponent's head in his hands.
    • The Warden's season 5 execution "End Them Rightly" has him unscrew his pommel, throw it at his opponent's head, and then screw a fresh pommel on.
    • The Centurion's "Veni Vidi Vici" execution is an exact copy of Achilles' leaping neck stab from Troy.
  • Stamina Burn: Stamina draining is the main feature of the Jormungard class. He has four ways to execute a move that does this, easily knocks down an enemy who had lost all the stamina and does very high damage to whoever is knocked down, be it caused by him or his allies.
  • Storming the Beaches:
    • The Warborn do this to the Kaiyo Kabe fortress in "Up the Beach", a legendary Chosen stronghold that has never fallen before. They've got good reason to fear it; it's heavily defended with a lot of artillery and other traps (such as wooden stakes hidden under the water), commanded by a legendary general, and has a lot of troops in it.
    • The attackers in the Beachhead map in Dominion and Storr Stronghold map for Breach begin their assaults by landing boats on the shore outside of the strongholds and assaulting the castles.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: A common theme in the campaign, especially in the Samurai chapter:
    • When the Vikings invade the Dawn Empire's lands, they rapidly discover why it's so hard to attack the Samurai's home: the swamps are a morass that is nearly-impossible to navigate, and the invasion is stuck in place until Runa can find the local's maps. To this end she captures and interrogates a Samurai soldier, forgetting she can't speak Japanese and doesn't understand him, deciding to steal some maps from a nearby temple instead.
    • Both sides know exactly who is going to win when Ayu marches against Seijuro. While Seijuro holds the Imperial palace he is hopelessly outnumbered by Ayu's forces. Despite this the Orochi is still sent in to open the gates, since the defenders could still cause a fair bit of casualties in a prolonged siege.
    • The Dawn Empire chose to settle in the Myre, which, being a trackless and hostile swamp, rendered them almost impossible to invade. However, because it's still a wet, swampy environment far from any mountains or other metal-rich environments, it's hard for them to make metal weaponry. Their armor is mostly wood and thick cloth because of this, and the rare metal they have is saved for their weapons.
    • Despite what Apollyon thinks, the majority of people aren't vicious killers and don't want a Forever War, resulting in the Warden, Holden Cross, Mercy, Stone, and many of her soldiers rebelling against her. The attempt to forge a lasting peace nearly works, and it takes an invasion by a cult loyal to her ideals to actually have any chance of it failing. And even then, said cult has made enemies of the factions, resulting in them banding together to fight the cult.
  • Time Skip: Each story section takes place a few years after the last, with twelve years passing by the end of all three, and Holden, Ayu, and Stigandr's meeting taking place several years after that.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Combined with Trailers Always Lie. The trailers and commercials showed the Warden deserting the Blackstones and parts of Holden, Ayu, and Stigandr's meeting. Implying that they would realize Apollyon's manipulations and unite against her. This meeting and realization does not happen until the epilogue, where she has been dead for years and her plans have come to fruition.
  • Translation Convention: The Legion primarily speaks Latin, the Vikings Icelandic, and the Dawn Empire Japanese. Whichever faction you're playing which gets translated into English, while whoever you're opposing speaks in their native language.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: The Conqueror is the only class that cannot feint, since there is no way to stop the flail once it's in motion.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Shard, a colossal fortress that serves at the headquarters of the Blackstone Legion.
  • The Warlord: The main antagonist of the game's campaign is Apollyon, the warlord of the Blackstone Legion. Under her leadership, the Blackstones were able to conquer Ashfield. While she admires the warriors of the other three factions, Apollyon is disgusted that they have chosen to stop fighting one another in favor of peace. She plans to start a new age of war by turning the three factions against each other once more and ushering in what she calls "the age of wolves", viewing those who are willing to fight as "wolves" who will fight for their survival, and those who advocate for peace as "sheep" waiting to be slaughtered.
  • World of Action Girls: There isn't a single female character in the story or the game as a whole that isn't a warrior. This is entirely justified as thanks to the cataclysm and Appoyllons machinations, having half the population not fight for survival is just not possible.


Video Example(s):



The Aramusha is a Samurai fallen from grace. They are not silent nor elegant but they move with the precision of a predatory cat and waste no movements. Their dual blades make short work of any who stand against them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / Ronin

Media sources: