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The city must survive.
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Frostpunk is a survival-based city-building game released on April 24th, 2018 by Polish developer 11 Bit Studios, the makers of This War of Mine. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic 1888, where ice storms have ravaged the world except for pockets of civilization around various heat-giving generators. Unlike majority of city management games, the game includes emotional and survival aspects with having to manage meager resources and passing laws to prevent the populace crossing the Despair Event Horizon through the Hope meter (allowing corpses to be buried in mass graves or to be used as fertilizer will decrease it, while individual burial plots will increase it at the price of labor and land).


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Frostpunk contains examples of these tropes:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
    • The cold mechanic works more like a subtraction modifier to building warmth. It's a good thing that's all it does considering it can get cold enough to freeze carbon dioxide.
    • For gameplay purposes, children are just as effective at any workplace they can work at as adults, except with a chance of getting injured or killed on the job. If you have child labor implemented, you can have children doing a variety of tasks, from the physically strenuous woodcutting and mining to healing patients on the brink of death, without any adult supervision. Child labor would be next to worthless if children couldn't do those tasks as well as adults in the same building, as using children would limit the output of any such building, when resources and space for extra buildings are highly important factors to consider.
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    • Engineers are qualified to work any task requiring education of some sort. The same engineer who built an automaton also has the knowledge needed to practice medicine and heal people, and the knowledge of psychology needed to make effective propaganda. Adding another category of citizens for different skill sets would needlessly complicate things and make your workforce much less flexible, removing a lot of decision-making potential.
  • After the End: The entire premise is rebuilding civilization after an apocalyptic ice age.
  • Almost Dead Guy: If you don't go scouting Winterhome soon enough, a straggler from there collapses outside your shelter, telling you of its demise and leading to the Londoner movement.
    • This happens a few other times, with one marking the beginning of the refugees about to reach New London, and another arriving from New Manchester in The Arks.
  • Alternate History: The introduction begins with an unexpected temperature drop in 1886, throwing entire civilizations into chaos. This accounts for the Steam Punk-style technology for the setting. While the generators were constructed to provide sanctuary, many of them were unfinished, with working examples inactive by the time survivors reached them.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The Arks scenario ends before the storm strikes. The ending does not mention the ultimate post-storm fate of the arks other than "We did our best".
  • Amputation Stops Spread: Citizens with grave illness (typically mild frostbite) can only be cured through radical invasive treatment unless advanced medical facilities are available, and will sometimes become useless amputees as a result of the surgery.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The Fall of Winterhome mission that was added to the game vastly shakes up the formula of the base game; you essentially play in reverse for a while, as you must dismantle or clear out half the ruins of your city, then spend the rest of the scenario trying to evacuate (likely dismantling more of the city as you go).
    • The Last Autumn scenario will take things even further, having heating to be a nonissue as the temperature will be hovering around a mild 10 degrees Celsius above freezing (until the Frost approaches eventually). Instead, the main hazard you will have to worry about is the working conditions for the Imperial Exploration Company's employees.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Workshops are one of the best-insulated structures in the early game, which is a godsend when you get your first temperature drop. Some other structures automatically improve their insulation level when they are improved (like Steelworks).
    • In The Arks scenario, you only need to send the supplies to New Manchester to save that city. Those supplies don't actually have to arrive before the big storm comes. This means players still won even if they only got their last supply shipment out an hour before the storm hit.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Courtesy of the loading screen.
    Remember, your people need to eat and sleep from time to time. So do you.
  • Apocalypse How: While it is difficult to tell, it appears to be a class 2 or 3b. While humanity has not gone extinct there are only a handful of cities left. And the population of these cities ranges from a few dozen to a few hundred. What's worse is that it appears there is a high failure rate for cities as half of the cities encountered in the game have collapsed. What we know for certain though is that this a combination of volcanic eruptions in southeast Asia, the Sun cooling, and a possible meteor strike in Patagonia have plunged Europe and North America into an endless winter and caused crop failure and chaos in the Southern Hemisphere.
    • If one piece of information potentially found in Endless Play ends up being true it could actually be a Class 3a, caused by a superweapon called "Saffron Cloud" developed by an unknown nation. However, this was considered malicious slander by the pre-Frost British government, who insisted that such information be suppressed to not cause undue political calamity or distract scientists desperately researching the causes in an already dire situation.
  • Apocalyptic Log: If you fail to save the Seedling Arks and New Manchester in the Arks, the game over entry is one of these.
  • Arc Words: A different set for each scenario. "The City Must Survive" for A New Home, "Our Legacy" for The Arks, and "We Will Never Submit" for The Refugees.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The poor citizens in The Refugees possess this viewpoint, as they were to be left for dead in London by the wealthy Lords before deciding to take over the Lords' ship and go to the generators themselves. The scenario involves dealing with the tension that builds when the Lords eventually show up to the city. While the Lords do have legitimate reasons to be resentful, having had their ship stolen and being forced to make their gruelling, frostbitten journey on foot, they remain quite arrogant and entitled, such as demanding to be served first as nobility even in a city where the poor have made 'equality' the watchword.
  • The Ark: One of the three scenarios in the game deal with preserving the seeds of various plants inside the titular Arks until the winter ends, even if the original inhabitants do not live to see it. The major issues are that there are a total of 45 Engineers and an automaton, which make starting a functioning colony difficult, and the Arks must be prevented from frost, as it will damage the sensitive seeds. Also the late game also had the players decide on whether to aid the unfortunate New Manchester in preparation for the coming storm or not, but it required vast amounts of planning and resources to gain a Golden Ending from fulfilling the needs of both the player's city and New Manchester.
  • Artificial Limbs: A law can be signed allowing steampunk-style prostheses to be manufactured in factories. Amputees who get outfitted with these become fully able to work again, to the point that they cease to be counted as amputees entirely.
  • Artificial Stupidity
    • Sometimes citizens will refuse to eat rations because they're busy elsewhere, staying at home or being in medical care. There's no way to give direct orders to individual people, so the only option is to demolish the building they're staying at. This can get truly problematic in The Refugees scenario where one objective is to feed all the people before time runs out.
    • Some buildings stop working if they get too cold. If that happens, anybody working out of them will still report in for their shift, risking severe frostbite and death in order to sit around doing nothing, unless you go in and turn the building off.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The temperature can drop to past -50 degrees Celsius and you can still hunt and acquire large amounts of food from wild animals. Very few animals can survive in such conditions, let alone in such numbers.
  • Artistic License – Physics: In Endless mode, the fortnightly storm, instead of advancing on your city from one end of the map will close in from all corners of it. What makes this odd is that this is only in Endless Mode; in both A New Home and the Arks, it advances like a normal storm.
    • While the concept of Charcoal Kiln (a structure that converts wood into coal) is impressive, the infinite numbers of coal made by coal thumper made it more efficient than relying on wood to make fuel.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The game received an M rating, very likely as a result of two rare instances of the F-word (with very high discontent, a citizen can occasionally say "Wonder how our glorious Captain's going to fuck things up today!" or say that you're doing "fuck all") in a game which otherwise has only mild swearing and nothing which would be out of place in a T-rated game.
  • Base on Wheels: Dreadnoughts are large tracked steam locomotives that traversed to Frostlands on the now-frozen sea, which can move on ice sheets but has the possibility of being trapped by collapsing ice sheets. In the game, the Dreadnoughts are found abandoned with salvageable parts when scouting across the landscape.
    • This plays a major role in The Fall of Winterhome DLC scenario, where one crisis in the story try to get one of them restored when the generator is about to explode.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The end-game scenario of "A New Home" involves surviving a superstorm event that drops the world's temperature up to -150°C. If players manage to make it through, the superstorm will end with the temperature returning to normal. No matter what happens afterward, the city (now New London) is the only known civilized site left. Depending on the player's actions in establishing laws, the citizens may express pride at not having "crossed the line", or wondering whether the sacrifices were worth it after all.
    • "The Fall of Winterhome", even in the best-case scenario, has your evacuated citizens gloomily mourning those left behind in the city, hoping that someone will come by to bury them. The Dreadnought sets out into the white unknown, in search of greener pastures.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Mechanics-wise, either Extra Rations for the Ill or Overcrowding. Extra Rations is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, providing food for the sick and allowing them to recover faster. At the same time, it costs precious food rations that everyone depends on having. Overcrowding works because you are not dealing with contagious diseases (except possibly common cold) but with frostbite and injuries. It generates discontent, but at the same time, it doubles the number of patients at a medical facility which, technically speaking, also doubles the speed your sick people are being treated AND it frees up more space for other buildings. It basically comes down to which you prefer in a gamerun.
  • Brainwashed: The branches of the Book of Law on the Purpose tree give you several options for keeping your people manageable. The later options involve building a propaganda center or declaring yourself to be the bringer of God's will, and the latest options on each branch involve executing dissidents. Once you take either of the Purpose branches to the end, your people will be completely dedicated to your order/faith, to the point where they will often go overboard of their own will on things like vigilante justice (tying people up and leaving them out to freeze for avoiding work) and book burning, and getting angry at you if you deconstruct the buildings of order/faith you use to enforce your rule over them.
  • Bread and Circuses: One of the ways to satisfy the population includes allowing a fighting arena for entertainment. In addition, "Faith and Spiritual Strength" path is built on this trope with churches and preachers.
  • Bury Your Disabled: When investigating Nikola Tesla's city, you learn that he left disabled members of his expedition to die on the way to it and later on killed those who became sick by exiling them. When you face the refugee crisis in the main scenario, you can choose to invoke this trope by only accepting the healthy refugees.
  • Call-Forward: "The Fall of Winterhome" has several of these for "A New Home". There's several events and occurrances that line up with what is discovered in A New Home, implying that canonically the New Captain of Winterhome didn't evacuate all the children onto the Dreadnought, allowed people to panickedly evacuate to the Freshwater Springs, left the Automaton on snow-sweeping duty on the bridge, sent a scouting team out towards New London in the hopes of spreading word of Winterhome's demise, and so on. Yikes.
    • "The Last Autumn" has an IEC telegram later into the scenario that reveals Lord Craven from the "Refugees" scenario was the (at the time) new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: The start and end to every workday is announced. Pursuing Order allows the Captain to construct Agitators, loudspeakers that blare messages to raise Hope.
  • Central Theme: What people must do to find a balance between hopes of a better future and the pragmatism of survival in a frozen world.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: The generators must be given coal for them to produce heat, which radiates out in a ring around them. As your city builds up, coal consumption will increase as you need to expand that heat radius outward. New steam hubs can be built to provide a secondary, smaller heating area.
  • Church of Saint Genericus: Cities that choose the Faith law path can build, prayer houses, temples, and shrines. While these buildings resemble christian churches, cathedrals, and steeples respectively, they don't use the crucifix as their symbol and the actual tenants of this faith are left vague apart from implied monotheismnote 
  • Cosmic Horror: While a very unusual take on the genre, the series of discoveries showing mankind's desperation to find the cause for the endless winter, which ultimately fails, has surprisingly many characteristics of it. There is no comprehensible intelligence or intent behind the disaster which has brought the Earth to its knees. It's nothing human science can explain, nor is it something that could make sense on a religious or mystical level. It does not seem to be mankind's punishment, and there's no special reason to it. It just happened, and there's nothing that anyone can do about it. The theme of mankind facing not merely destruction but the realization of its utter insignificance in the great scheme of things defines the Cosmic Horror elements of the story more than any amount of tentacled aliens could've.
  • Crapsack World: Human civilizations have been wiped out except for a few isolated pockets around the heat generators. Though just how crapsack your city becomes is up to the player, the best options for the city will be few and far between.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Serenity trailer, along with both final tier of Discipline and Faith law paths, has an execution method where a person is exposed to hot steam to be boiled alive.
  • Day of the Jackboot: The city can be put under an authoritarian regime as the Order and Discipline path to maintain control over the unruly populace, once the Londoners faction starts forming to try and launch an expedition back there, in denial over the destruction of London.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Knowing that players might either delay it, or come with prior knowledge, the formation of the Londoners, resulting from the news of Winterhome's demise can still occur with a survivor even if the city was not explored.
    • There's a multitude of different narrations for Non Standard Game Overs accounting for several different scenarios:
      • If all the able-bodied adults die and there are only amputees left, you are Made a Slave to work for them until you and they inevitably die.
      • If all the adults die and only children remain, the children will proceed to execute you for dooming their parents.
    • While it's to be expected that the game has fail states for quests, the detail to which these fail states occur is staggering. So much so that they weren't fully documented on the wiki until a year after the game's release. For example, in addition to the multiple methods above, there's several different ways you can be deposed ranging from being exiled to executed, depending on how much of it was down to incompetence and how much was down to despotism.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Rifts map in Endless Mode is a great deal more difficult than the other maps, as it shoehorns the generator in the middle of an island surrounded by chasms, which can only be crossed via a bridge. Bridges cost a lot of wood and steel, so it's pretty much essential to rush towards a source of iron for a Steelworks facility, as well as getting to the coal and wood deposits lest resources run out.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Amputees are unable to work, but still have to be taken care of. They are shown to be extremely resentful of this, with an examples being an amputee who would rather be homeless in freezing weather rather than take up shelter because he doesn't feel he's earned it. If your city has enough amputees, they'll beg you to give them some wood so they can at the very least make cooking tools so they can do something to help out (giving them the wood permanently boosts the efficiency of cookhouses by 40%.)
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • You can choose to amputate a patient that begs you not to, rather than let him die from infection. If you don't have a care house to take care of him, he kills himself because he doesn't want to be a burden on the limited resources.
    • In the Order path, a poet kills himself after a smear campaign your propaganda ministry started because of his "dangerous" writings on hopelessness.
    • In the Refugees scenerio, one of the frostland locations you can explore is a man hanging from a tree. If you go there you find out that he was one of the engineers who worked on the generator, and did this after learning that the people who hired him used lies and false hope to get him to work.
    • In the Endless Mode scenario, one of the frostland locations you can explore is a man hanging from a tree with his dead family at the base of it. Your scouting party refuses to even speculate on how they might have died.
    • Also in the Refugees scenario, this is implied to be the fate of Lord Craven if you save him from the lynch mob. He leaves your city and walks out into the icy cold by himself, with no other shelter or source of warmth around for miles. None of your resources go missing, so he goes without any food or coal.
  • Due to the Dead: Anything involving desecrating the corpses, such as mass burial and fertilizer, will take a hit on Hope meter. One such event involves whether to give your people proper burials after witnessing a widow crying and holding her dead husband's hand in the mass graves.
  • Eagleland: One of the events involves finding a camp and later a city manned by an American expedition originating from Tesla Manufacturing. In general display very few stereotypical traits, due to being busy surviving. However if you explore around Tesla City then you'll eventually find a group of American survivors who killed Tesla in a mutiny; they're armed with guns, proud of having killed a man they consider to be a tyrant, and are at first distrustful of your explorers. You convince these survivors to return to your colony with you by starting a friendly chat with them.
  • Early Game Hell: Setting up the right infrastructure is crucial and a bad start often puts you behind the curve for the rest of the game. Losing people early on is a serious hit, and it's possible to end up with all of most people incapacitated or dead in the initial days.
  • Endless Winter: Starting at minus 20 degrees Celsius, and then going down from there.
  • End of an Age: The coming of the Frost is this, bringing an abrupt end to the technological progress of the nineteenth century as well as to the larger period when humanity could easily survive on Earth. Even in the Golden Endings for the scenerios there is no indication that Earth will become warm again.
  • Explosive Over Clocking:
    • The player can increase the generator's output by overclocking it, at the risk of exploding and wiping out the city at 100% stress level. It provides an extra heat level to all affected areas without needing more coal, but you have at most about a day's worth of overclocking before you have to shut it down.
    • Winterhome suffered this in its backstory; the generator was permanently damaged from too much overclocking in the past (because its captain was a fool who pushed it past its limits), and its scenario is about dealing with the fallout of that before it inevitably explodes.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The fate of Winterhome, a nearby settlement with a heat generator. It means that the player's colonists are the only known humans left in the region, if not the world. In Winterhome, a riot broke out over food shortages and increasingly harsh rule by an Army captain before the generator exploded from lack of oversight. Either many of them perished from that explosion, the resulting chaos, or scattered across the region in camps. This news causes a major Hope decrease and the "Londoner" splinter movement in-game as a number of your citizens refuse to accept that London is gone and petition/plot to return to her.
    • The Fall of Winterhome described its fate in detail, the city itself has suffered a massive upheaval that overthrew a tyrannical and incompetent Captain. The survivors then established order, cleaned up the deaths and damages, and began to inspect the generator. Eventually, a crisis occurs within the city when the engineers discovered that the generator was about to explode. They then decided to repair a nearby dreadnought to evacuate from the city, but the time and passenger capacity were too little that there were many inhabitants left behind. While the Dreadnought escaped with its fate and destination still unknown, the city of Winterhome fell into a desolate place with a destroyed generator by the time "A New Home" scenario begins.
  • Fight Clubbing: A Fighting Arena can be built, which is shown in the Book of Laws as two large fighters brawling inside the cage. Alternatively, Duel to the Death can be allowed between discontent workers in the arena to further entertain the crowds at the cost of people.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The Fall of Winterhome is, well, about how Winterhome falls with "victory" coming from evacuating the city, and trying to save as many people as possible.
  • From Bad to Worse: The poor folks in Winterhome just couldn't catch a break. After rebuilding their city from the ground up, they find out that they don't even get to reap the full rewards of their rebellion, as the previous Captain's incompetence has caused the Generator to be irreparable. Things begin snowballing and getting progressively worse as people begin to panic over the possibility of not being able to board the Dreadnought. The only possible way to avoid bloodshed or severe morale hits is if you already have high Hope to stop people from making panicked breaks for it.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Once you have a Guard Station or seat of the Faith Keepers, you can use guards or Faith Keepers to break up protests and keep order. These options are granted regardless of how many people you actually have assigned to those jobs, as long as you have at least one active at the time such an event happens. When trying to impose the New Order/New Faith, you can have all of two guards/Faith Keepers in a city of 500+ people where about a quarter of them are opposed to the law and are determined to fight it, and you will still be able to force your people to submit or die.
  • A God Am I: If you decide to sign the penultimate law in the Faith tree, "Protector of the Truth," the city's captain declares himself the sole voice on what is right and what's wrong in the city.
  • Golden Ending: Each scenario has one.
    • A New Home: Survive the storm without descending into totalitarianism.
    • The Arks: Save the seeds and New Manchester.
    • The Refugees: Allow the lords into the city and peacefully resolve the class conflict.
    • The Fall of Winterhome: Though its ending was already sealed based on its title, the closest thing to the golden ending is to evacuate as many survivors as possible from the city with the Dreadnought after the generator was discovered to be unrepairable.
    • The Last Autumn: Finish constructing the Generator, along with the 3 upgrades that allows it to accommodate a larger population before you are shipped back to Liverpool.
  • Grim Up North: The setting is in a region known as the Frostlands, which used to be a part of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Guide Dang It!: One of the flaws of the game is the lack of details on its objectives and its features.
    • Many players will not notice about the ability to upgrade by building old structures (houses, hunter lodges, and resource gathering) over rather than dismantling and building new ones.
    • The Arks has a mission where the relief effort to New Manchester, which it has to be accessed from Beacon that wouldn't be noticed quite well since scouting missions are done through Frostlands Map. Another is confusion between Tier-3 "Houses" and housing for populace.
    • A major issue of the Order and Faith paths, especially for New Home and Refugees, is that there are no indications for the player to know whether they have "Crossed the Line" for the Golden Ending.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: This happens in the New Home scenario if the Captain chooses the Faith Path and successfully restores the city's hope; the disruptive and violent Londoners lose support and finally disband entirely.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Arks scenario, if the Captain chooses to give New Manchester the supplies that city needs without securing supplies for his own city, then the ending states that the Arks and the scientists caring for them all perished. However, it says of your decision to help "lives were more important" and "more importantly, we saved New Manchester". However, the ending narration does lament that you couldn't save both.
    • In the New Home scenario, when the storm hits, one of your coal mines will have a chance of collapsing because of the supports failing. If you choose to abandon the lower levels of the coal mine, few of your workers will ignore your decision to fix the supports themselves. Not one of them survives.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Due to how the mechanics of selecting citizens to assign to a station, it's hard to tell if the one man in Fall of Winterhome claiming to not want to be separated from his child/ren is really telling the truth. Normally, you can select individual citizens and the UI will tell you if they have any family in the city. Not helping the fact is if you do decide to ship this man off to the evacuation, some of your citizens will comment, "I wish I'd thought of that."
  • Historical Domain Character: The game, particularly "The New Home" scenario, had two characters: Tesla and Nansen. The former managing to found a corporation that would build a city protected by electric forcefield against the ice (also the inhabitants) while the latter not only scouted the Frostlands before the event of the game, but also survived to help any refugees trapped in Frostland to the player's city.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Fridtjof Nansen receives one, though it is justified given that it's in line with his character. In the main scenario, Nansen scours the Frostlands to find refugees and guide them to the player's city before the big storm comes. After he does this he stays behind to care for those two weak to travel onward. He presumably dies as a result of this, being missing if the player rescues the weaker refugees. In real life Nansen was involved in several humanitarian efforts involving the rescue of refugees.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Nikola Tesla also receives one. It is justified given that it's in line with his historical character, though surprising as Tesla is usually the recipient of Historical Hero Upgrade. In the game, Tesla built a city in the Frostlands. He ruled it as a tyrant, expelled all disabled citizens, and was killed by his own men. In real life, Tesla was an ardent eugenicist.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: In the Fall of Winterhome, once the Generator's revealed to be doomed, your citizens will begin to panic. You have the option to lie and claim there's another city your people can flee to if they simply go along with the evacuation. If you decide to do this, you'll have a whole other can of worms to deal with in the form of a conspiracy. Your minority engineer population, who are more or less aware you're full of it, will attempt to milk it for all it's worth. Two will demand to be sent first, and four more will confront you and threaten to out you. In order to keep your lie you have to be short 6 engineers in a scenario where they're extremely valuable.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Some citizens have this mindset, believing that the world will thaw and become warm again even if they don't live to see it.
    "The spring will come!"
  • Humans Are White: Not only is every human in the game white, but almost all of them are British. The only exceptions are the handful of Americans who survived the fall of Tesla City and the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen. Perhaps justified because all but one of the Generators was built by the British Empire, which in real life was quite racist and willing to sacrifice its non-white subjects when expedient. It's also stated in the loading screen that the southern colonies were the first to fall, being unprepared for cold weather.
  • Human Resources: The player can pass a law involving usage of corpses, many of which can demoralize the survivors.
    • I Am A Humanitarian: If the situation becomes dire, the city can resort to this by passing the "Alternative Food Source" law.
  • Humongous Mecha: Automatons are big. They look like Boston Dynamics-style quadrupeds that tower over most buildings, and they replace all the workers inside it by climbing onto the building and attaching themselves to it. They recharge by marching to the nearest heat generator and plugging their steam core into the furnace.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • While the game insists on providing people with hope and optimism, sometimes the player has to cross some lines just to make it through, such as embracing child labor and burying people in mass graves.
    • The Arks also had this situation, regarding New Manchester, which the city next to the Arks had dire need of resources to survive the storm. Other than dealing with resource management for the players, the Arks' denizens will show discontent if the players keep providing resources to the neighboring city instead of focusing on preserving the Arks' seedlings even on surplus. Though there are many who felt sincerity in helping New Manchester but kept the feelings personally due to the prescribed mentality by the Arks' populace.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Despite the 19th century technology, your civilization can develop Automatons. These are towering behemoths of steampunk mechs that are made for heavy industry, and can eventually be used for medical work.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: After signing New Order, one of the events you can be confronted with is an engineer who is said to be "spreading lies about you, accusing you of tyranny." You can let him be, raising discontent; you can have him imprisoned; or you can have guards beat him up. If you take the latter option, the engineer will be right back at the accusations after getting out of medical treatment, claiming that your actions just reaffirm his point; you can let him be at this point, raising discontent, or you can have guards silence him for good.
  • Just Before the End: The Fall of Winterhome is a scenario that detailed the city that players found in "A New Home". At the time of the scenario, Winterhome had a massive revolt to overthrow an abusive captain that destroyed half of the city along with many lives. In addition, the generator has been malfunctioning due to neglect by the said Captain and still under inspection on what is wrong with it. Needless to say, the city's fate is already sealed and the only option for the players is to repair the dreadnought to evacuate the populace.
    • The scenario "The Last Autumn" takes place before the Great Frost, where you are in charge of the expedition constructing one of the Generators.
  • Karmic Jackpot: In the New Home scenario, right before the final storm, one of the exploration sites is a set of arctic huts - the description only says there might be survivors there. If you search there, you find 32 scientists who stayed to study the storm before it came. This provides you with some extra engineers right before you need to make a final push of preparations.
  • Made a Slave: If all the able-bodied people in your city die and you can't put children to work, any amputees will enslave you to perform the labor.
    • If you fail to completely ease the tensions between the Refugees and the Lords, but not bad enough for a massacre to happen, the Refugees do this to the Lords.
  • Mock Meal: Sawdust can be used to create extra rations, but at the price of hope and health.
  • Murder-Suicide: Implied to be the cause of death when your scouts find a man hanging from a tree with a woman and children dead at his feet. Your scouts refuse to speculate as to what might have happened.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: In the New Home scenario, you can find a camp where people ate each other to survive.
    • If there's a mass starvation crisis occurring in the city, a series of events involving this causes your city to devolve into cannibalism if you allow it.
  • No Recycling: Averted in "The Fall of Winterhome" where you can retrieve wood from demolisehd homes and steel from abandoned factories.
  • Not So Different:
    • Lord Craven's last words, whether or not you prevent his execution (for the former, in the form of a notice before he leaves of his own accord). How true this rings depends on you.
    • Though the Order and Faith laws are very different in some regards, the final law on both trees (New Order and New Faith) do the exact same thing - by killing anyone who would oppose you, hope ceases to be a factor when it comes to staying in power, as a result of being replaced by either a mentality of either unquestioning obedience or devotion to you. Both will also set up an execution platform, where you can execute a public enemy/enemy of the Faith in order to drastically reduce discontent among your people. Essentially, going all the way in either branch will have the same end result of turning you into a ruthless tyrant.
  • The Needs of the Many: The Game.
  • The Neidermeyer: The original captain of Winterhome was such an unbelievable buffoon that, in some way, shape or form, he's almost singlehandedly responsible not only for the eventual desertion, destruction and doom of his own town and essentially the challenge of the entire scenario The Fall of Winterhome, but for the near collapse of the player's town in "A New Home", too, since it's finding the ruins of Winterhome where there should've been a large and prosperous town that drives the Londoner schism and threatens to tear the population apart! How incompetent was the guy? After designing his city in the stupidest, least efficient way conceivable, signing the most inane and self-destructive laws in the literal Book, and installing a murderous dictatorship with a 0% Approval Rating, he proceeded to repeatedly ignore all warnings that Winterhome's generator was breaking down, eventually leading to the generator's near explosion and resulting in a massive riot. The captain ordered the rioters be shot dead, killing half of Winterhome's population and setting fire to most of the city in the process. Even after being removed from power and executed, the man's incompetence continues to haunt his former followers, as it turns out that the flaw in the generator, that could've probably been repaired if he'd simply acknowledged it sooner, has grown too severe and there's nothing that can be done anymore to save the town. Ultimately, no matter what the player does, the generator explodes, those who didn't escape Winterhome in time descend to cannibalism and eventually die a horrible death, and New London's scouts finding what remained forces its own captain to embrace either Order or Faith (possibly turning into a maniacal dictator/self-proclaimed prophet himself in the process) in order to retain power. Wow!
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Downplayed. Engineers are qualified to perform any job that requires education of some sort. The same engineers working on developing new technologies in your workshops can also be working as doctors or manufacturers in your factories.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Child labor can be adopted to increase manpower but it will come at the cost of hope and increased accidents.
  • Punk Punk: A frozen world crossed with Steam Punk.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • One of the events involving Automatons is about a pedestrian whose leg was crushed after they stepped in its path.
    • Hunter Tactics and Hunting Gear would help the workers since many of them are ill-equipped refugees with little to no experience in hunting.
    • The Healing House, an unlockable structure from Faith and Spiritual Strength path, is good for providing hope but, being manned by clergy with little medical experience, may not actually help with the general health of the patients.
    • The entire plot of "The Fall of Winterhome" is basically the aftermath of Videogame Cruelty Punishment induced game over, which the new captain (The Player) had to repair the mess that the previous leader had made (namely improper housing placements and poor law-making decisions) along with the destruction of the city he caused in an attempt to quell the rebellion.
    • With update 1.3, a meta-example occurs with Hunter's Huts and Hunter's Hangars. Before, keeping them in the cold had no consequences for the workers' health, since they simply spent a little while preparing in the hut/hanger before marching out into the Frostlands. The update made it so they require heat now to avoid illness.
  • Sadistic Choice:
  • Science Hero: The colonists in the Arks scenario are made up of academics from Cambridge and Oxford, being sent to preserve the last vestiges of plant life on Earth.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: A Darker and Edgier version of it. The severe frost has caused the remnants of humanity to huddle around generators that provide heat, creating the only livable habitats.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs:
    • The Refugees scenario involves working-class citizens who took over a ship meant for wealthy passengers to one of the generators. The new city will have to deal with class tensions when the aristocratic survivors arrive (or to respond if they were refused).
    • The Arks' crisis involving neighboring New Manchester has elements of this between the Arks' small academic population (represented by its Engineer-only population supplemented by automatons for labor) and working-class heavy New Manchester, which the latter lacking sufficient supplies and infrastructure from the start, let alone an upcoming storm. A major issue for the Arks involved a segment of population demanding the player to abandon New Manchester to its fate and a discontent penalty (but a small Hope bonus in some cases) if the player decided to help. Though this got better once the player accepted to keep 6 automatons while delivering spare ones to deliver resources.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: One of the locations your scouts can find is a cairn with both people and supplies buried beneath it. Your scouts insist in their report that the supplies were not intended to be grave goods for the dead to use in the afterlife. If that were the case, then your scouts would be grave-robbers after all.
  • Steam Punk: The overall tech level of the game, featuring steam cores, coal-powered heat generators, and massive steam automatons.
  • A Storm Is Coming: And with it a frost wave at the end of the scenarios, rendering the points of interest in its path unreachable.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • The Londoners' crisis can end peacefully for the city by choosing either the Order and Discipline or Faith and Spiritual Strength paths. However, if their numbers dwindle to one from getting enough hope without "crossing the line", the entire group will suffer from a Heel Realization and decide to stay in the City instead.
      • Alternatively, you can just spam the abilities provided by certain structures in the Order/Faith laws, which force a number of Londoners to abandon their cause upon every use.
    • The Golden Ending to the Arks involved saving both the objectives of the city along with nearby New Manchester, which involved vast amounts of planning and resources to pull it off.
  • Tesla Tech Timeline: Tesla City is one of the examples in Frostpunk, where the city was protected from the ice by an electrical shield but also frying the inhabitants inside the dome as well. In half of the chances for entering the city, the site will become a source for Steam Cores, which cannot be manufactured in your city.
  • Timed Mission: The whole game is this, with both short-term timed objectives (like to build enough shelters for everyone) and a larger, inevitable challenge to be faced - i.e. the Storms/Lords.
  • The Theocracy: Other than the Order and Discipline path for the Londoners crisis, the society can turn to the Faith and Spiritual Strength that seems more benign by comparison. However, at its extremes, it can be Not So Different from the totalitarian and secular path as their top tier level for the Book of Laws also allows purges and punishment against rebels. Furthermore, Devotion will replace Hope.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sometimes, the workers can exhibit this, such as demanding more food rations when the city is clearly short on food, or refusing to work extra hours to mine coal that's needed to power the generator that's preventing the entire city from freezing to death. In the game's canon, The Winterhome Captain is so ridiculously incompetent that he irreparably damaged his own generator and it's a wonder that he wasn't overthrown sooner by his own people.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Lynchings will occur in The Refugees scenario if the Lords are in the city and you don't have security forces at hand.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: Played with. The House of Pleasure law allows you to turn the public house into a brothel and employ five of your citizens as prostitutes there. Enacting this law will cause your population to lose hope, and some of your citizens will complain about it (with one potentially committing suicide due to being frequently abused by a client), but access to sex will lower discontentment.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: In spite of the grim nature of the game, the decision to send children to school and not resorting to child labor can be introduced Book of Laws in order to raise hope. In addition, beneficial decisions can unlock benefits later on, such as the children being able to work as Engineers and Medics if the "Child Shelter" decision is made.
    • Going off of how you handle your child citizens, in the Fall of Winterhome, you are denied the above options due to some of the laws already being picked out for you - including the disdainful Child Labor laws. Despite this, you can reward their hard work and help in rebuilding the city until the end by ensuring that all children are guaranteed a spot on the evacuation Dreadnought. It's the only form of special treatment your people won't openly argue with.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment/Video Game Cruelty Potential: While the players are allowed to make sadistic decisions For the Evulz rather than from pure necessity, it will take a hit on Hope and Discontent that might cause trouble for the city.
    • The Order path allows players to install an authoritarian regime that would gladly jail and brutalize any suspected dissidents.
    • You can use Triage as many times as you'd like, killing a fraction of your sick citizens while instantly healing another. It has a cooldown and has serious Hope and Discontent ramifications, but clever use of Order/Faith abilities can help offset this.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: After completing a New Home scenario, the game reviews your decisions as leader, highlighting the morally dubious policies such as child labor, propaganda, or inquisitions, before asking whether survival was worth the price paid. This gets averted if the player managed to not "cross the line" by avoiding extreme Discipline or Faith laws (and picking the less-authoritarian options in events for 'on-the-fence' policies such as Propaganda Centre if they are signed).
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Justified Trope, the player's colony is one of many expeditions that made it to the generators, with few resources to start from the ground up. The Book of Laws are mainly various mandates for the community.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: "Hope" is how much people trust in you as a leader. When it bottoms out, people give you a deadline to give them a reason to stick around. Your option through the Faith or Order paths is to become some kind of demagogue who turns your supporters into zealots and "hope" gets overidden with "devotion" or "obedience."
  • You Require More Vespene Gas:
    • Food in the form of rations, made from raw food, is required for your colonists to survive.
    • Coal is consumed as fuel by heat-generating structures. It can be generated infinitely inside a city with a coal thumper.
    • Wood plays a role for early structures and is always needed in research. It can also be transformed to coal in a charcoal kiln.
    • Metal is used for advanced structures and technology.
    • Steamcores are external resources that can only be found through scouting, and are needed for Automatons and final-tier structures.
    • The amount of workers is limited and can only be increased by immigrants from other parts of the map. It's divided into skilled Engineers, who perform specialist tasks such as research, staffing medical buildings, or advance resource gathering; Workers, run-of-the-mill laborers, and Children, who can be put to work depending on the laws you choose.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Scouts and eventually Hunters can utilise hot-air balloons, the latter using zeppelins, to survey and acquire resources in Frostland.

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