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Video Game / Golden Treasure: The Great Green

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Embrace the wind.
"As one Sun sets, another rises. [You are] now but a spark, tiniest of flames. To survive, [you] must learn the great contradiction: to every virtue, there is an opposite which must be equally embraced."

Golden Treasure: The Great Green is a graphical Interactive Fiction game with RPG and Adventure Game elements created by indie developer Dreaming Door Studios. Set in a Science Fantasy version of Bronze Age Earth where dragons (called Draak-Kin) coexist with early human civilization, the player's role is to guide a newly hatched Draak from infancy to young adulthood — by surviving, exploring, learning, and living. The world hides many secrets, and time is limited. The young Spiritkeeper must overcome many challenges in order to determine the fate of Draak-Kin and Earth.

The gameplay is primarily controlled through selecting text-based options at the bottom of the screen or selecting points of interest. The player can decide to hunt for food, explore the unknown, deal with threats, and converse with numerous wild beasts, spirits, other Draak-Kin, and more through selecting text menu options or spots on a map. Scenes are illustrated by paintings, brought alive by parallax techniques and glimmers of spirit lines that all Draak-Kin see. There are some RPG elements in that the player's Draak-Kin grows stronger through mastery of the four Elements of Nature, and may accumulate treasure and artifacts. The Macrogame of collecting animal masteries and achievements provides permanent stat boosts across playthroughs, making difficult parts more feasible over time.


The game was released on June 17, 2019, and can be bought on Steam or on A free demo is available that contains the full Prologue and Part 1.

This video game provides examples of:

  • The Ageless: Draak-Kin don't seem to have any upper limit on age; like most classical dragons, the elders are millennia old and have only become Stronger with Age. Draak are also naturally resilient to disease; the Spiritkeeper can be exposed to rabies (a disease with a functionally 100% fatality rate without vaccination), but is only made generically ill and is able to shake it off within a few days. Reaching a certain level of Earth mastery also makes the Spiritkeeper completely immune to disease altogether.
  • All Just a Dream: Downplayed. Whenever you die but have an extra Sigil of Life to spare, that day is revealed to have been a bad dream that acts as vision warning the Spiritkeeper away from bad decisions.
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  • All-Loving Hero: The Allmother, Elder of Compassion, loves all creatures and seeks to build coexistence between them, even between Draak-Kin and No-Tails. In Allmother's ending, the Spiritkeeper follows its path and also becomes an All-Loving Hero.
  • Ambiguous Gender:
    • Draak-Kin are typically referred to with "it" pronouns and have no obvious sexual dimorphism. Based on one news release, the Draak-Kin "have no concept of gender outside of mating season". So they are male or female, but Gender Is No Object to such a degree that both genders share the same pronouns. There are exactly three Draak with known gender in the story: two of them are the Spiritkeeper's parents, and the other is the Ruiner-Empress, an important figure in Draak history.
    • Allmother has a feminine name and looks quite feminine by human standards. However, it is also said to be last of the Crystal Clan, even though it is among the oldest Draak alive and should have had plenty of time to find mates. Because a Draak's Clan is said to be inherited from the mother, the logical implication is that Allmother is male and therefore incapable of producing Crystal Clan offspring — although it is equally possible that Allmother is female and infertile.
  • Animal Talk: The speech of Draak-Kin and goodbeasts is referred to as "singing", and most of them can communicate with each other with ease. Most humans do not sing in the same fashion, and it is very difficult for Draak-Kin and humans to communicate. There are sometimes difficulties between goodbeasts; Spiders sing in Braille, and insects can be difficult to communicate with because of their individually simple minds. The different fonts used for each species of Goodbeast seems to imply how well the Spiritkeeper can understand them, with fellow Draak-Kin having clear, easy-to-read fonts, Slideclaws having loopy cursive fonts that are hard to read, and so on.
  • Ant Assault: A colony of ants is capable of bringing down creatures many times its size through cooperation and Zerg Rush tactics.
  • Appeal to Force:
    • In the School of Wealth, the Instructor believes that morality and other ephemerals are meaningless. That teaching means that you can tell it to give you its blessing or die, instead of buying it.
    • When the star falls on your territory, Fathom comes to claim it for itself. By Tradition, it should be yours, but Fathom's a lot bigger and stronger than you are. If you bargain or riddle for it, then you'll get something valuable in exchange, but Fathom will take the star whatever you do.
    • At the Grand Moot, Many-Times-Burned declares war on humanity and orders all Draak-Kin to join the Purge or die. This is a violation of almost every Tradition of the Draak, but refusing an Elder is tantamount to suicide.
  • Autocannibalism: At high elemental mastery, the Spiritkeeper can take a bite out of itself to restore some energy at the cost of health. This can end up being okay, because Draak-Kin can heal at supernatural speed.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Draak-Kin are not bound by anything resembling human morals. They are not just allowed, but expected to do whatever they wish in search of power and treasure. There is a Code of Honor (referred to as Tradition) concerning how Draak-Kin interact with each other so that the species can keep strong and not start sneak-killing each other in paranoia. Compassion and unity are considered weaknesses, as the Draak-Kin are largely isolationist and rivals.
  • Breath Weapon: Breath weapons are a staple of Draak-Kin in general. Depending on certain factors, the newly-hatched Spiritkeeper (an Emerald Clan Draak) can breathe fire potent enough to utterly incinerate a small bird. Sapphire Draak are shown to favor lightning breath, which can also be learned by the Spiritkeeper with much more effort.
  • But Thou Must!: Only one occasion of this appears when the Spiritkeeper becomes an adult, and it has no choice but to embrace the wind!
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Animals (called goodbeasts) are almost never referred to by their ordinary English names, but by some kind of unique trait. Rabbits are Longears, Wolves are Clansingers, Rats are Baretails, and so on.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • The battle with Bloom is rather easier than it should be. The rooster on Bloom's head poetically describes each attack in advance, allowing the player to choose the correct counter-element.
    • Whisper also calls attacks in battle, and exploits the trope. It's trying to bait you into countering what it says, so it can counter your predicted counter. The best thing to use is the same Element that Whisper calls out, as this will make its trick backfire.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Many, many words are capitalized to indicate a deviation or expansion on the word's ordinary meaning.
  • Cats Are Superior: Slideclaws consider themselves to be perfect already, so the only thing worth doing in life is seeking amusement.
  • Code of Honor: Tradition, the rules for social interaction between Draak-Kin, including respecting each other's treasure and territory and the rules for challenging for it. However, Tradition is not Law. Breaking it may have social consequences, but success is often more important than playing by the rules, and conversely, invoking Tradition to protect yourself works only to a point.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Played with, because even living Draak-Kin parents normally provide only basic education to their offspring before expecting independence. The developers admit that it's a bit of a cliché, but the Spiritkeeper's mother is killed by No-Tails both for convenience, and to make clear that they are a deadly threat even to adult Draak. The Spiritkeeper's father is still around, however.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Reaching the health states of Battered, Injured, or Crippled will afflict you (or your opponent in battle) with progressively harsh stat debuffs. The effect can be mitigated with a high enough level of Earth mastery.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: If you can take out a Tusksnort Hatchling (baby pig) quickly, you're fine. But if a battle with one goes longer than a couple rounds, it will be replaced by an angry parent coming to the rescue.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: It is easy to see the dark and volcanic Many-Times-Burned as a misanthrope who supports violence as the first and only choice to all problems. But this would be a shallow interpretation. As it has scried the (in its opinion) Bad Future of Earth as we know it in 2019 where Draak are extinct, it is willing to Screw Destiny and take the only path that will prevent that from happening.
    Many-Times-Burned: I am free from hatred and partiality. I fear nothing, and love nothing but life itself. Our people, the true children of above and below, shall be gone, and worse than gone. We shall become fantasies for the No-Tails to prove their power to themselves ... and the immortal spirit of the Green, which should rightfully outlast us, shall die. I alone stand before the oncoming storm.
  • Death Seeker: The Spiritkeeper can meet an old badger who wants to die valiantly in battle, and battle with a Draak would definitely suffice.
  • Demonic Possession: You can encounter a Smilodon spirit that has possessed a human for the sake of causing trouble and letting out some anger over its species being long extinct. You can put a stop to its rampage by killing its host body in combat, or by performing what is effectively a Draak-Kin exorcism.
  • Destroyer Deity: Many-Times-Burned is worshipped by many beings as an avatar of the End of all Things. Darktooth wryly notes that that might be the case.
  • Determinator: One creature took its name this way. An Enkindled Baretail refused to die. When asked when it would surrender to the Void, it answered "Never-Ever."
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: A painting by Darktooth shows that ancient Draak-Kin took many saurian forms. However, those days are long past, and Bronze Age Draak have exclusively wyvern bodies. Though other reptiles, such as Tailbeasts, are descended from the ancient Draak.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Crystal Fang is found during the Prologue sequence, requiring a specific set of actions — have 11 points of Water mastery, get the Whiteblack to tell you a secret, and sneak forward. Using it grants 5 or more points to all Elements, which is a significant boost by any measure and makes many challenges much easier.
  • Don't Think, Feel: At the Great Moot, when Darktooth calls out Allmother's plan as unlikely, Allmother just replies that it feels that it can be done.
    True Compassion is beyond all your logic, Wise One.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "The Great Green" can refer to primeval forest, or to the Spiritkeeper, a special and unusually powerful Emerald Clan (green-colored) Draak.
  • Dragon Hoard: Draak-Kin are expected to accumulate large hoards of both Shiny Things and unique objects. Having a large number of Shiny Things for its age will boost the Spiritkeeper's elemental masteries, and many objects can be used to resolve certain events in a safe or positive way.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Draak are occasionally subjected to what they call True Dreams, premonitions of a possible future that can still be changed. The Spiritkeeper may have a True Dream that symbolizes an upcoming forest fire, and may take steps to prevent it.
  • Early Game Hell: You're likely to die several times early on because of a variety of factors. Lack of game knowledge means you will probably spend your limited days inefficiently, and you don't know whether each map icon hides extreme danger or free perks. Animal Mastery and Tarot Cards increase your stats across all lives, but that's no help when first starting out. You're likely to stumble into unwinnable battles from overconfidence or lack of knowing better. However, the game also has a lot of interesting narrative for failing stat checks or staying clear of danger, and a sufficiently knowledgeable player can run through a fresh save file with zero risk of unintentional death because the game has very little randomness.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: At high elemental mastery, the Spiritkeeper can eat Shiny Things from its hoard to regain energy.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Fire beats Air, Air beats Water, and Water beats Fire. Earth is neutral, but it only has basic moves like Bite and Brace (defend). In battle, the combatant with the winning element does more damage, receives less, and is likely to trigger potent bonus effects on that turn. A large power discrepancy makes this less important. A squirrel that selects the right Element against a Draak is still just a squirrel.
  • Epigraph: Each chapter opens with an excerpt from classic literature or poetry, generally on the optimistic view of life being a treasured and wondrous thing. While there are options in the game to be a "traditional dragon" who deals fire and destruction to anything in your path, there are many more based on quietly listening and learning about the world.
  • Expy: Darktooth is named after Dunkelzahn, which means "dark-tooth" in English. Many-Times-Burned also refers to him as "Far Scholar," and he's a dragon known for the virtue of Wisdom, for clever dealing, and his ending path involves a really big hoard of treasure.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The True Song of Destruction and the antimatter are both capable of large-scale destruction when used.
  • Feather Boa Constrictor: In the Time of Creation DLC, Bloom sports a very fashionable constrictor snake around its neck, just par for the course along with the several other animals it "wears".
  • Feathered Dragons: Most Draak-Kin are covered from head to tail in feathers, although it's unclear as to whether the Onyx Clan has feathers or not. Both birds and reptiles are also said to be cousins of Draak, diverged after the Skyfall that massacred the ancient Draak-Kin.
  • Fiery Salamander: Some of them can make an appearance during Part 1. They are not natural creatures as such, but normal salamanders whose ancestors were enkindled by Draak-Kin some unknown number of years ago, demonstrating the potency and longevity of enkindling.
  • Foregone Victory: It is impossible to lose the final battle during Allmother's trial because you will infinitely revive from death on the spot, but the opponent's health does not recover.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are statements and themes spread throughout the story that foreshadow the Omega Ending, such as from examining your eggshell, singing a hymn to all four Elements, and listening to the fireflies. Some recurring themes are "many and one", layers of reality, and the fact that you must reject traditional dragon behavior.
    • When you meet Never-Ever in the Hatchling phase, it advises you not to go into the dungeon for treasure, because it's not worth risking your life for. This is actually an early lesson in the Survival philosophy of Many-Times-Burned.
  • Freudian Trio: The three Draak-Kin elders:
    • Many-Times-Burned, representing Id and Survival, calls for individual Draak to reject guilt, and to seize whatever they want through physical force. As Draak must fend for themselves in the wilderness against many dangers, this makes more than a bit of sense.
    • Darktooth, representing Ego and Wisdom, encourages thoughtful and cautious exploration of the world. While Draak are more Survival-inclined by nature, he would rather find the best options instead of the quickest.
    • Allmother, representing Superego and Compassion, wishes for Draak to rise above their basic instincts with an emotional plea for love and compassion rather than cold logic. From a gameplay perspective, following this path often carries the greatest risk with few material rewards, as would be realistic for life within the untamed wilderness.
  • Gender Is No Object: Aside from breeding (which is still done the normal way), Draak-Kin gender is so irrelevant that the entire species has Ambiguous Gender. Even the Draak character known as "Allmother" is not necessarily female, despite its name implying femininity. It would probably be trivial for a Draak to figure out another's gender. They just don't care.
  • Good Parents: By Draak-Kin standards, Darktooth is a pretty awesome Giver-Creator. He's not going to give you a free ride in life, but he'll instruct you in what you need to survive in Draak society, he's an excellent source of knowledge and stats if you've got the treasure, and he teaches you to think for yourself and develop your Wisdom.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Bloom is a mandatory obstacle in the middle of Part 2, suddenly presenting the player with an extremely difficult battle unless one of two alternative options are taken. The best option, forming an alliance with the wolves, is itself another Guide Dang It! as it's easy to accidentally disqualify yourself.
    • The Great Lesson's labyrinth comes in two parts. In the first part, you must view seven paintings located at different dead ends before reaching the actual exit. The second part includes an infinitely looping maze with four schools and two exits distributed among the various iterations of going left and right. It's easy to waste in-game days and energy just wandering and backtracking.
    • The Omega Ending is not too hard to start, given the numerous clues that point toward its existence. The single hardest part is the sacred number that fled to physicality and was swallowed by a waterbound warrior, which refers to a non-guaranteed combat against a longscale chieftain at the hunting ground within Tempest's territory in Part 3.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Discussed. A major theme of the game is confined safety vs. hazardous freedom:
    • The Spiritkeeper is shocked to see goodbeasts like sheep, cattle, and wolves allowing themselves to be enslaved by humans in exchange for safety from predators.
    • The Draak-Kin, as apex predators, can scarcely imagine being anything except completely free.
    • Cats, feeling themselves perfect as they are, deign to grace human settlements with their presence while refusing to be tamed, maintaining both safety and freedom.
    • Several sea creatures remain in the Schools of Wisdom because, despite the inanity of the schools' Enkindled masters and their rules, the schools are safer places and food is easier to come by than in the open ocean.
  • Harmful Healing: Darktooth's idea of curing a bacterial infection is to set you on fire (which isn't that bad, since dragons are traditionally fiery creatures), and his idea of curing a fungal infection is to inject you with corrosive venom (which is that bad, and reduces your health to its minimum).
  • The Heretic: The Allmother's embrace of compassion and cooperation is considered heresy by the other Draak.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Eating the Herb is a quick way to boost your elemental masteries. Just use responsibly.
  • Hive Mind: The ant colony. Each ant is a separate mind, but all of them are driven entirely by love for each other, and especially for the arch-Birther, and so they cooperate flawlessly, sacrifice themselves without hesitation and are eaten by the larvae when they die.
  • Humanity Came From Space: The main reason why humans are such a problem for Draak-Kin is because they were always an Outside-Context Problem. To summarize: The Draak-Kin dominated Earth in ancient times. Extraterrestrials, called the Others, arrived and massacred the Draak-Kin in a Curb-Stomp Battle. The Others populated Earth with humans, dwarves and neanderthal-like "enforcers", and then left, never to be seen again. Over time, humans killed all the enforcers and the dwarves gladly remain underground. The Bronze Age setting is a flashpoint. The Draak-Kin's numbers have recovered just enough to contest domination of Earth again, and humans are on the cusp of numerical and technological invincibility.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: The Draak-Kin and wild beasts in general refer to humans as Tailless or No-Tails.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Humans are portrayed mostly in silhouette, doing things that are utterly bizarre by Draak-Kin standards. Time and again, the Spiritkeeper can barely comprehend things that are at least fairly recognizable to the player.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Being infected with blueblight will cause increasing quantities of blue motes to hover around the screen at all times.
    • The battle against Never-Ever inverts the combat actions, inverts colors on the screen, and causes other forms of visual screwiness as the battle goes on.
    • Reaching Crippled health state in battle will cause the sound and music to become muffled as a reflection of the pain the Spiritkeeper is feeling.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Territorial challenger Flare arrives and burns down a tree with its firebreath as a show of power. You can return the favor by burning down a bigger tree, which sends Flare packing without an actual battle.
  • The Joy of First Flight: The Spiritkeeper definitely isn't human, but the trope is otherwise played exactly to form. Only adult Draak are able to fly, so the first flight scene is treated just the same as a "coming of age" or "ascending the throne" sort of moment. Also true to the trope, the joy is interrupted by Darktooth bearing grim news.
  • Judgment of Solomon: In a variation, one event involves squirrels and woodpeckers each claiming ownership of a large tree, and they ask the Spiritkeeper to pick a side and drive the opponent away. As Solomon did, you may threaten to destroy the tree, provoking both sides to agree they can share after all. You can also burn down the tree anyway just because they dared to bother a Draak with their petty arguments.
  • "Just So" Story: A collection of many smaller "Just So" Stories are contained within the Draak-Kin mythology and encyclopedia entries for Goodbeasts. For example, Tailbeasts (snakes) are described as former Draak-Kin who sacrificed their legs in order to survive, and the ancestors of Blackburns (ravens) performed a Heroic Sacrifice that charred their feathers and ruined their voices. Even the main plot can be taken as an explanation for why dragons are no longer physically seen today — they either escaped to another planet (Wisdom ending) or have continued on as Otherkin (Compassion ending).
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • It goes both ways. The Spiritkeeper is rather cute as a hatchling, but has the potential to kill badgers, deer, and even humans. Squirrels and rabbits are not completely harmless in combat. They are no match for a Draak, but they can ankle-bite you to death if you let them.
    • Never Ever, the black, enkindled rat doesn't look too unusual, apart from the sigils hovering around its head. But you can fight it later on when the Spiritkeeper is fully grown, and it's a serious challenge.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Darktooth believes that saving the Earth is exceedingly unlikely, and instead chooses to save the Draak-Kin by moving to another world.
  • Lazy Dragon: The Spiritkeeper undergoes hibernation periods to end childhood and adolescence. The time awake is about two months and one year, respectively, and then about sixty years of total hibernation. During the Wisdom ending, the Draak-Kin only find it slightly inconvenient to hibernate again for untold years on their journey across deep space.
  • Live Item: Draak-Kin are lenient as to what counts as "treasure" and worthy of being added to a hoard. Gold and gems are desirable, of course, but you can also collect a wolf pup, a wolf pack, a bat colony, and a city of Lilliputians as artifacts.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Not forced, but likely to happen. At no time is any music cut short against the player's will, but there is generally little need to stay on the map screens for long (despite their music running for minutes before looping), and battles are generally resolved long before the track loops at 2 minutes. On most other occasions, there is so much narrative that slower readers will easily hear the entire track.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: When you pass Darktooth's Great Lesson, Darktooth reveals that it is your character's father — or "Giver-Creator", the term used in-universe. This has less emotional impact on the character than most examples, thanks to the solitary nature of Draak, but it does help to explain why Darktooth is so helpful and relatively friendly towards your character. Even if Draak are loners by nature, Darktooth no doubt harbors some affection for its child.
  • Macrogame: Any ending, whether good or bad, does not erase the player's accomplishments. Animal mastery and tarot cards (achievements) provide permanent stat boosts and other bonuses across all future playthroughs. Many unique artifacts can be "inherited" on a new play starting at adolescence or adulthood. The player can start at the beginning of any Part already reached, so there's no obligation to start from scratch every single time.
  • Mad Mathematician: Mathematical aptitude is usually a sign that, by normal standards, a creature isn't right in the head, often due to Enkindling. Warden is addicted to order and perfection, while the School of Logic is driven by the urge to learn facts whether or not they're relevant to anything. Never-Ever delves a bit into the logical underpinning of mathematics as well as raw number, and is more-or-less sane - but it'll drive you nuts.
  • The Marvelous Deer: Deer are especially revered goodbeasts. Nature has seen fit to grant them royal crowns (antlers), and their presence in a forest biome is irreplaceable. They are also delicious to Draak, but the Spiritkeeper must prostrate itself and beg them to protect the Spiritwood from an upcoming wildfire, as the deer can do what even a mighty Draak cannot.
  • Meaningful Name: One news release mentions that the true names of Draak-Kin are personal and secret, so their public names are simply descriptive. When meeting a new Draak, the Spiritkeeper typically invents a name for them based on personality or defining feature. Thus we have "Darktooth" who has a prominently dark tooth, "Warden" who is obsessive about managing its land, "Flare" who is a firebreathing bully, and so on. Even the player-character's informal name of "Spiritkeeper" is just describing its territorial holding (the Spiritwood).
  • Mentor Archetype: Darktooth is a mentor and teacher for the Spiritkeeper throughout infancy and adolescence, and is one of the main sources of information about Draak-Kin culture and the game's unique world.
  • Messianic Archetype: This is Allmother's plan. It and those who follow it will embrace their own Destruction, so that they may be reborn among the No-Tails, and show them a better way than killing the Earth. It's a difficult road, but the Spiritkeeper may be able to make it happen.
  • Mind Manipulation: The True Song of Dominion and the Hypnosis ability allow you to control minds. Darktooth's Song of Command also counts, forcing you to attend the Grand Moot (though not forcing you to take any particular side).
  • The Minion Master: Bloom is a Draak that has somehow managed to convince a small army of various animals into following and obeying its commands. When Bloom comes to challenge for the Spiritkeeper's territory, you may have to fight some of the animals in addition to Bloom itself.
  • Money Spider: The basic currency of Draak-Kin is "shiny things", which includes anything that is visually pleasing or is a minor trophy. For that reason, killing certain animals will convert their feathers, pelt, antlers, or whatever into generic shiny things.
  • Mushroom Samba: Eating a certain mysterious herb (poison ivy, which happens to be psychotropic to Draak-Kin) causes the Spiritkeeper to go on a psychedelic acid-trip. And gain some elemental mastery points. Eat the herb five times, and you die.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Most humans react to Draak-Kin with terror or hostility, but the Artist is a thinker, inventor, and Nature Lover. He can ask to be friends with the Spiritkeeper, despite friendship being an utterly foreign notion to Draak — and especially Interspecies Friendship.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • The typical words are often replaced by others having magic capital letters. "Dead" becomes "Silent". "Kill" becomes "Destroy". "Battle to the Death" becomes "Dance of Destruction". Rather than being euphemisms, it carries a kind of spiritual connotation related to life among feral nature. For practical reasons, it probably wouldn't do for the Spiritkeeper to be described as some kind of mass murderer for acting as any wild carnivore would.
    • It is harrowing to the Spiritkeeper when it sees that humans are murdering strong and healthy trees instead of harvesting sickly ones, as this violates the natural order of the wild. The typical words like "dead", "die", and "kill" pop up sparingly throughout the story, usually for added emotional weight.
  • Noble Wolf: They appear many times throughout the game. Honest, honorable, and deeply connected to their packs, the Clansingers are a stark contrast to the solitary and greedy Draak. Still, the Spiritkeeper can befriend a local pack and even become their chief not through force of claws alone, but mutual respect. In Part 3, the Spiritkeeper is chagrined to see that a number of Clansingers are now dimwitted thralls of humans — the predecessors of modern-day dogs.
  • Non Standard Game Over: There are two special game-over cutscenes besides the regular one that play for losing your last life in two ways: One for failing to claim the spiritwood in part 1 or losing it to an opponent in part 2, in which the Spirit-keeper is simply exiled from the Great Green. The other is for consuming the herb too many times in part 2, where the Spirit-keeper loses its mind over its addiction, complete with the regular soundtrack becoming distorted and slowing down to a Drone of Dread.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: In fact, the Draak use the term "coldward" for north and "warmward" for south. As the game takes place around what are today called Germany and Belgium, this is justified for the Spiritkeeper's perspective.
  • Nuclear Option: Dropping an antimatter grenade on the humans, or using the True Song of Destruction, is a valid method of putting human civilization to bed - which is a good thing for the Draak-kin.
  • Omega Ending: The secret 4th ending requires almost complete exploration of the game's many paths and options.
  • One-Hit Kill: Throwing an Antimatter grenade in combat, or using the True Song of Destruction are both guaranteed one-shots against any foe.
  • Painting the Medium: Different fonts and font colours are used for different species of Goodbeast and for each unique character, implying how easy or hard they are for the Spiritkeeper to understand.
  • Permadeath: You have only one save file that regularly overwrites itself. The first and second deaths on a single playthrough will send the player back to the start of that day, but the third death is final and deletes the saved game.
  • Philosophical Choice Endings:
    • Wisdom: By aligning with Darktooth, the Spiritkeeper and like-minded Draak-Kin travel across space to another hospitable world that they call Newhome. Although humankind will dominate Earth and the remaining Draak-Kin are now exiles, they will live. Will the Draak-Kin remain wise, or will they change Newhome as the humans changed Earth? The next planned installment, Hierophant, will explore Draak-Kin life from this vantage.
    • Survival: By aligning with Many-Times-Burned, the Draak-Kin enact a Final Solution against the young human civilization through utter annihilation. It works. Although Humans Are Survivors and will be difficult to exterminate completely, their potential as Earth's dominant species is gone. Earth and goodbeasts thrive under the protection of the Draak-Kin. The Draak-Kin survive on Earth indefinitely, and all it took was a little xenocide.
    • Compassion: By aligning with Allmother, Many-Times-Burned is outraged, and orders the Spiritkeeper and any sympathizers immediately executed. The Spiritkeeper is slain, but its Draak-Kin soul endures, flung thousands of years into modern-day Earth and reborn in human form, hoping to save Earth by guiding humans to prosperity and harmony from within, not by destroying them.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: Played both ways:
    • Most opponents in combat will follow a predictable pattern of elements that you can exploit, as most of them are animals who fight on instinct. Lumberkin are particularly vulnerable, as their pattern of Fire-Fire-Earth-Fire means they are easily killed by repeating Water attacks at them. Pricklebacks only use Brace in the singular hope that you impale yourself on their quills.
    • Draak, humans, and certain other high-level opponents are flagged as "unpredictable", and do not follow a specific pattern. Some of them may still favor certain elements based on their personalities.
  • Predation Is Natural:
    • Draak-Kin (and all carnivores) have a duty to hunt, Destroy, and consume other animals. Although the animals in this setting are intelligent and can speak, all implicitly accept that carnivores (especially Draak) will hunt anything that does not escape or defend itself effectively. The act of predators hunting with their own Body is considered a sacred and honorable activity, such that humans are considered all the more bizarre for using bows and spears.
    • By using the True Song of Destruction against Tempest, it causes a lot of collateral damage to the surrounding plant and animal life. Tempest submits to the overwhelming power, but not without expressing disgust at killing animals without an honorable hunt and Dance of Destruction.
    • This is the dilemma of Compassion that Allmother faced. Either the Blazetail would Destroy the Longear, and survive, or it would not, and it would starve to death. Allmother rejects any Destruction at all, so it gave up its own flesh to the Blazetail instead.
  • Random Encounters: Only during the three labyrinths, random encounters appear within a certain range of steps. The first and third labyrinths have combat encounters. The second labyrinth is a bit more cerebral and gives you math question encounters.
  • Riddle Me This: If you don't feel confident in taking on other Draak in a physical contest, this is often an alternative. Other animals sometimes also challenge you to these sorts of challenges. Sometimes, you may need your abilities to be at a certain level to access this.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Three (passive) neighbors border the Spiritkeeper's territory.
    • Three (aggressive) rivals attempt to conquer the Spiritkeeper's territory.
    • Three Draak-Kin Elders get the most face time.
    • Three main endings can be seen by following the recommendation of those Elders.
    • Three items are needed by the Artist.
    • The Spiritkeeper's third life per playthrough is the one that risks Permadeath.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Antimatter is not a toy. Do not touch. But it's useful if you want to turn something into a smoking crater.
    • Vantage tries to take advantage of the Spiritkeeper's greed and curiosity by offering things that are too good to be true.
  • Screw Destiny: The Draak will perish from the Earth, the No-Tails will inherit it, and the Great Green and Great Blue will succumb to the Great Grey. This has been seen by all the Elders. But Many-Times-Burned is Survival made flesh. It will not surrender to Final Destruction, and it will wage war against the No-Tails until the Draak-Kin and Mother Earth are saved.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Darktooth warns for the Spiritkeeper to "not meddle in the affairs of the Others." The peculiar phrasing can only be a reversal of the classic dragon joke, "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
    • The description of the Prickleback notes that its spines do not seem like something your snout would like to run into, particularly not at high speed.
    • The mysterious fungus you can find in chapter one that came from another world, has an eerie blue glow, and can slowly poison the Spiritkeeper sure sounds a lot like Phazon.
  • The Social Darwinist:
    • Among the Draak, only the strong survive, claim territory and treasure, and Create. Those too weak to hold onto what's theirs, don't.
    • Many-Times-Burned, embodying the principle of Survival, refutes this interpretation in favor of a more actually Darwinistic approach. In its volcano, its herald Never-Ever explains that the Tailbeasts were Draak who were willing to do whatever it took to survive, to the point where they abandoned their status as Draak and their treasure hoards to attain a form that was more fit to survive as a species.
    • The Clansingers keep the trope despite adhering to their cooperative strategy. Only the chiefs of their tribe may Create, so weaker Clansingers can survive and contribute to the group but don't pass their genes on. Those who are strong enough can strike out on their own, find mates and claim their own territory to start a new tribe.
  • Space Elves: The Brightlings are shiny and beautiful specimens (alien holograms) of whatever (sentient) species they would like to collect ... samples ... from. The typical targets are human males, so the Brightlings appear as attractive Elves. Should the Spiritkeeper pique their interest, you will get to see an Elf-Draak.
  • Stomach of Holding: Although the messy details are glossed over, the narrative explicitly states that Draak-Kin transport most items via swallowing and regurgitation. There is no word as to how the hatchling-aged Spiritkeeper can swallow large items like the Crystal Fang or Shakestick, or how any item is readily available while exploring or hunting, especially something as hazardous as an Antimatter grenade.
  • Stronger with Age: Like classical dragons, the oldest Draak (at least several millennia in this story) are also the strongest. The Spiritkeeper can attain an impressive level of power despite being only about 60 years old, but it is only a fraction of what the Elders possess.
  • Tarot Motifs: The in-game achievements are named after many of the Major Arcana, though not all of them are used.
  • To Serve Man: Draak-Kin eating humans? The humans might object, but nobody else does.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Draak-Kin are capable of "enkindling" other goodbeasts, typically granting them exceptional longevity and power. As Darktooth notes though, it can result in some undesirable changes in personality in the subject if not used with discretion.
  • The Unfettered: This is the principle of Survival, as embodied by Many-Times-Burned. Rid yourself of everything that doesn't help you survive, change yourself into anything better fit to survive, even abandon the Law of Treasure if you must. And when the Void asks when you'll surrender to it, your answer should be "Never Ever."
  • The Unfought: The game sets up Warden as a future adversary for your territory. However, during your second sleep, No-Tails kill it and occupy its land, setting up your dealings with them in the third act.
  • Unwanted Healing: If the Spiritkeeper offers a powerful healing item to Many-Times-Burned, it is terrified of the thought. Though not fully clear why, it seems that Many-Times-Burned is the sum of its millennia of scars and painful life experiences to the degree of becoming a living volcano. Being healed would erase the reason for its self-identity.
    Darktooth: The young one cannot know what great Many-Times-Burned has sacrificed. To make the Broken One whole again... it would cease to be all that it is.
  • Weird Currency: In the School of Wealth, grains of sand are the currency. As Pedantus explains, currency has value because its users agree that it has value, so sand is as good a store of value as any.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tempest is not impressed if you use the True Song of Destruction or Domination to win your challenge for its territory. It shows particular consternation in that you've demonstrated the power to use such mighty Songs at such a young age, without having learned when not to.
  • Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Discussed during conversations with the wolves, who deny this as a "false truth" when asked why they howl at the moon. Still, it doesn't stop the full moon from being featured alongside wolf scenes, and you get an image of both Spiritkeeper and wolves howling at the moon should you become allies with them. Rule of Cool is definitely applicable here.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: The True Song of Destruction can slaughter whole groups, ripping out souls and mangling bodies beyond recognition in moments. Simpler organisms like plants and fish are killed instantly. Using it in battle is a One-Hit KO against anyone, and the combat text remarks that "little remains" of the target (although Gameplay and Story Segregation is in effect if the enemy wants to parley). Even Draak-Kin on the receiving end of such a True Song can only endure it for a few seconds before risking death.
  • Video Game Time: Each major action that the Spiritkeeper embarks upon — exploration, hunting, resting, researching — takes one "Sun", which is taken to substitute for "Day" in common parlance. Part 2 mentions the passing of seasons, so each "Sun" for the player is counting for a week or two in terms of narrative. Time keeps passing during long dungeon delves, but is determined by movement, not dialogue or standing still.
  • Xenofiction: The story is from the perspective of a proudly non-human creature and takes great pains to show what a wild dragon's thought processes might be like, as well as exploring how other animals might see their own roles in the world.
  • Zerg Rush: At one point, the Spiritkeeper sees how an ant colony fights: they work together and sacrifice their individual selves to bring down much larger foes.

May you be blessed.