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Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an Adventure Game by Lori and Corey Cole, creators of the Quest for Glory series, set in the similar parallel world. The story centers around the titular Hero-U, a school for heroes located on the island of Sardonia, west of Silmaria (the setting of Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire). The protagonist is Shawn, a thief who got caught during his thieves guild initiation and given the choice between prison or reform at Hero-U. The game follows Shawn's adventures and eventual redemption.


The Coles have mentioned they have a second Hero-U game planned featuring a female Wizard (They had originally planned to write its story first, but changed their minds once they realized it would draw some unwanted parallels to another wizard sent to a strange magical school).

Hero-U provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Averted. You can't complete everything in this game in a single playthrough because of the time limit and certain mutually exclusive options, such as the romance sidequests.
  • Academy of Adventure: It's a school for heroes, established in an old castle with a mysterious backstory, with plenty of secret passages and abandoned dungeons.
  • Accidental Murder: While the full truth is left somewhat ambiguous, it seems that Shamus O'Conner accidentally knocked his brother, Shawn's father off a cliff when one of their heated arguments came to blows. For the full truth of Shamus' intention, get into a fight with him and then lose; he'll do the same thing to Shawn that he meant to do to Donal.
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  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. While most of the threats in the game will be handled by the students, those threats also tend to be something personal to the student and aren't a greater threat. When someone's life is on the line (specifically Joel's) the teachers start a search. It turns out they're looking in the wrong place, but if you tell them the right place (rather than doing it yourself), they will save the day for you.
  • Adventurer Outfit: The Headmaster, the Famous Adventurer, is depicted throughout the school wearing the standard safari outfit. The outfit is even on display in a glass case.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Choosing to drink wine in the Wine Cellar results in a very merry Shawn spending a while hanging out with equally merry drats and proaches ... which proceed to maim him after the booze runs dry.
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  • All Animals Are Dogs: Played for Laughs when you meet a giant sea serpent that pants and wags its tail when you offer it something nice to eat.
  • All There in the Manual: Many details in the Cole's Alternate Universe. Like Master Urwald being the Chief Thief from the first game, and the hero rescued the fox that was his son who was transformed by Baba Yaga are only partially referred to.
  • A Load of Bull: There's a minotaur who lives in the Catacombs. Though he has a slight case of Hair-Trigger Temper, he's not a bad person and just wants to chill out and play chess. He's also an optional Bonus Boss, but Shawn must specifically provoke him into a fight.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Shawn, who starts as a thief and has to develop the "hero" part at Hero-U.
    • As Urwald explains, a Rogue is a Hero, but part of their job description is helping people and getting the job done by working around the rules. Thomas in particular struggles with this, as his objective is to become a Paladin and an Ideal Hero, and part of his Character Development involves accepting that he can be a Hero as a Rogue too.
  • Back Stab: Shawn does about twice as much damage in combat if he begins it by attacking his opponent from behind. Even a sneak attack to the face does a little more.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Wearing a certain cursed bit of jewelry or falling in battle to the Drat Queen results in Shawn being permanently transformed into a drat.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The proaches.
  • Bindle Stick: Shawn is shown carrying one if he's expelled from the school for any reason except becoming a Thief, such as after accumulating 100 demerits, failing to get Rogue Of The Year, or outright asking Urwald for permission to leave.
  • Book Dumb: Esme has already learned many practical rogue skills from her upbringing as a Rover, but her relatively weak literacy causes her to struggle with written exams. She improves as part of her Character Development.
    • Much of the problem seems to stem from Sardonian not being her native language.
  • Boxed Crook: Subverted. Shawn does initially face the choice of Hero-U or jail, but once he's there, he can quit with no consequences just by asking to be released (though this loses the game).
  • Cain and Abel: As an example of how dishonorable thieves can be, the fact that some of them are willing to kill their own siblings is a major plot point. To say more would be a major spoiler.
  • Caper Rationalization: A good chunk of the lessons in the game are about why the Rogues should be considered heroes and not common criminals, and it lays out which sorts of roguish acts it's okay to rationalize and which ones just make you a thief.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Master Urwald has a very wry and understated sense of humor. Make no mistake, though: he will make use of it when pointing out your shortcomings or answering a stupid question.
  • Dean Bitterman: Senior Staff Administrator Mortimer Terk, to the point of even referencing some of the more famous ones. He has it out for you since the moment you arrive at the school and even tries to get your entire class shut down. On the other hand, he's essentially the only faculty member that isn't a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Decomposite Character: The Bird Siblings are all the Hero from Quest For Glory, separated into each of his classes.
  • Does Not Like Men: Katie is suspicious of men by default. If Shawn wants to win her over, he has to go out of his way to help her achieve her heart's desire.
  • The Dreaded: All advice in-story about fighting The Undead: Don't. Leave it to "Death Stalkers" and Paladins. Of course, you still can. (Bring magic weapons and defense)
  • Eldritch Abomination: Mentioned in the backstory, if you know which books to read.
  • Extranormal Institute: Hero-U gathers people of all kinds and species from all around the world to learn whatever skills they need to become heroes, be it magic, mad science, or even music, all in an old castle that was once built to guard against an incursion by an Eldritch Abomination.
  • False Reassurance: Shawn enjoys pulling this on Sosi. On one possible path, Sosi will demand that Shawn give him a cut of the immense riches hidden in a secret location. Shawn can agreeably reply that Sosi will "get exactly what [he] deserves", which can be taken to mean "nothing".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Rovers are the fantastic counterpart of the Romani.
  • Fictional Currency: Lyra is the currency in Sardonia.
  • Fish People: The Gogs. Was Once a Man remnants of the Eldritch Abomination incursion.
  • Gay Option: Shawn can give the One and Only Ring to Joel. He can also romance Aeolus.
  • The Ghost: The Headmaster, Captain Mombera MacGillicuddy, and Maestro Lorenzo Lafcadio are all mentioned in the handbook as Hero-U faculty, but are never actually seen in the flesh. The Headmaster is verbally mentioned on occasion, and Aeolus frequently talks about Maestro Lorenzo (his Bard professor), but MacGillicuddy only exists as a portrait in the reception hall.
  • Golem: The final challenge before the Drat Queen. It's guarding a door that you cannot open, likely leading to the Eldritch Abomination. It's programmed to attack anyone who gets that far. You can destroy it with three Big Booms; but maybe that's not the best thing to do. Nevertheless, the ramifications of destroying it or not are not brought up in this game.
  • Gratuitous German: Master Gerhard von Urwald hails from Germania, and he makes ample use of "Germanish" words and phrases.
  • Guile Hero: This is the ideal Rogue: someone with the skills and wits of a thief who uses them to become a hero.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Aelous is half-human and half-faun. This gives him small little horns and goat-like eyes that unsettle some of the characters.
  • Have a Nice Death: Most game overs are also accompanied by a humorous poem. Considering who designed the game, there are surprisingly few ways to actually die, and most of them are very obvious. Even falling in combat usually just results in someone dragging you back to the infirmary, with the exception of the boss battles.
  • Healing Herb: The First Aid elective is about gathering these to make Status Buff, Magic Antidote and Healing Potion.
  • Heroic BSoD: If you fail to rescue Joel in time, Thomas is the one who comes closest to succeeding, being just a short time too late. He takes it pretty hard for the next couple days, lamenting that all the hours he had spent attending class, eating supper, or resting safe in his bed could have been spent helping someone in urgent need.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Aeolus would very much like to date Katie, but she's not interested in him.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Can't get away from this one, being in the parallel Glorianna universe to the Quest for Glory. Fittingly enough for the trope name, most of the puns come from Aeolus.
  • I Know Kung-Faux: Mr. Bun E. Slippers (the owner of the house that Shawn is robbing at the start of the game) is apparently a "Bunny Fu Master" and can knock Shawn unconscious with one kick — while wearing some exceedingly plush-looking bunny slippers.
    Mr. Slippers: Woo-ya! Face the wrath of the rabbit!
  • Informed Equipment: Other characters may comment on the clothing and armor you've applied to Shawn's equipment screen, yet his 3D model never changes from the white shirt and brown jacket.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Every object interaction is accompanied by Shawn describing what he sees and what he's doing. There are a great many silly actions that Shawn will refuse to do, often with humorous excuses and occasionally addressing the player, more like you're telling Shawn what to do rather than controlling him directly. Other characters sometimes overhear Shawn's more incriminating comments, and Master von Urwald even rubukes his habit at one point.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Rogue class is officially the "Disbarred Bard" and it's a rule to insist as such due to the concept of training people to be master thieves being hard to explain (to the point of being a controversy even within the school's management).
    • Also within Rogue class it is emphasized that a Rogue is not a thief. Rogues are sneaky heroes who work to improve society. Thieves do not.
  • It's All About Me: Sosi only cares about himself and uses others for his own benefits.
  • Lawful Stupid: In Quest for Glory tradition, the game goes out of its way to insist that paladins are not this in the game's universe.
    • The paladin representative in this entry, Moira, is one of the nicest characters in the game and firmly committed to Good rather than Law. Her status as a Reasonable Authority Figure can be plot relevant depending on your choices.
    • Thomas' father was a famous paladin. Wishing to follow in those footsteps, Thomas initially feels that being an unlawful rogue is inherently incompatible with paladin ideals, but he always speaks for himself, that he would like to be transferred to the paladin class, and not criticizing his fellow rogues. He eventually learns that rogue skills can accomplish just as much good as paladin skills, and he is nearly as capable as Shawn at solving the major storyline quests.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • The Librarian is a classic Grammar Nazi and has no patience for small talk or the figures of speech that Shawn uses so freely. Over time, his tendency to argue over casual word misuse reduces to the occasional Deadpan Snarking.
    • Due to Gregor's less-than-perfect grasp on human language, it's Played for Laughs when Shawn tells him, "See you later, alligator," and Gregor indignantly replies that he's a Ratty, not an alligator. He's a bit embarrassed when he realizes that Shawn didn't mean it literally, and counters with a whimsical farewell of his own.
  • Lovable Rogue: By improving his Charm skill and his reputation with his classmates and the staff, Shawn can become one. Katie and Thomas in particular also strive to fulfill this trope.
  • Magic Knight: Shawn can become this by practicing magic. The various runes can help him in battle, particularly the Spark Rune, which empowers his dagger.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: The card game Poobah is an abstracted form of Draw Poker. The other players' portraits are shown and some of them have tells indicating the strength of their hands. Aeolus and Sosi have blatantly obvious reactions to strong hands. Katie tries too hard to lie, grinning right before she folds her terrible hand and scowling at excellent cards. Esme occupies a middle ground, smiling at good hands but having only average card skill. Joel is dangerous; he only smiles at really good hands and very rarely folds in the first round, making it hard to tell just what he's got. Thomas has an impeccable poker face, but is an overly "tight" player and often folds everything except the very best hands.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Shawn ask if the final exam will be multi choice or an essay. Master Gerhard simply reply "Yes".
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: The proach, which is a cross between a praying mantis and a cockroach. Also a Big Creepy-Crawlies.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Being the main goal of the game, no-one should be surprised that Shawn can find his redemption and become Rogue of the Year.
    • Alternatively, not being heroic enough may disqualify him from the prize. This can be due to Shawn keeping the Raven and declaring intent to become the King of Thieves, which backfires in a big way. Having the Raven doesn't equate to having the skills and connections to make it in the criminal underworld.
    • Shawn can court and, during the final class, profess his love for a fellow student. If it's not the person you gave the One and Only Ring to, expect some bitterness from whoever just got kicked to the curb.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: You cannot take all the electives and get the benefits of all of them in one game. First half of the game there are 3 electives, and then the second half you can either take a different elective or else an Advanced Course of the first elective.
    • Magic. Wizard Silvia Witherspoon Featherstonehaugh does not expect anyone to be full Wizards, but they can learn how to sense magic and she can teach them how to charge runestones for combat effects. Her Advanced Class is more of the same with stronger runes.
    • Science. Dr. Emmental von Braun is a rather sane Mad Scientist who appreciates that magic exists but likes teaching things like physics and chemistry which teaches you how to make explosives and adhesives for combat purposes. His Advanced Class, however, goes into things like Zap Guns and Friction Belts.
    • First-Aid. Moira Glenshannon teaches you to identify restorative mushrooms (healing and buffs) and how to make bandages. Her Advanced Class teaches how to make them into more potent medicine.
  • My Profession Doth Protest Too Much: Professor von Braun scorns the magicphobic Mad Scientists from previous QFG games like Dr. Pretorius and Dr. Mobius or even Dr. Cranium; who is somehow related to him.
  • Nice Guy: Joel is a very polite person, standing out as the only rogue who will play any parlor game with Shawn and always end with a compliment. The only occasions where he gets angry with Shawn are if Shawn betrays him with the One and Only Ring, or Shawn fails to rescue him from the wraith.
  • Noble Wolf: Sometimes you come across a wolf hunting drats and proaches in the wine cellar. Quest for Glory fans and players who pay attention to certain details about her can figure out exactly who she is even before The Reveal.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Master Gerhard invokes this trope when discussing the difference between thieves and rogues.
  • No Name Given: Technically subverted if you look into things deeper. The hero from Quest for Glory has a prominent statue in the main hall, across from Erana's. Instead of having a name, the "Statue" is dedicated to the "Hero in All of Us" (and right clicking calls it the "The Unknown Hero"), referencing that hero's status as An Adventurer Is You. Actually you can find a picture of him in the Foyer, and Moira will comment when discussing it, that his name is Falcon, and he was Moira's mentor. In fact there are four heroes, each of a different class, and each named after a bird. Hawk the Warrior, Falcon the Paladin, Owl the Wizard, and Wren the Rogue. Certain backstory details of at least two of these characters appear in the game. The characters originate from an unpublished novel series called School For Heroes: By the Book, which has them as four siblings (two older twins, a middle brother, and a younger sister) who all end up going on Hero's journey from the QFG games, and saving the world. The Coles have stated that they wanted to leave certain things vague enough however that all players could believe that their individual Heros were part of the world as well (yes, including Devon Aidendale). A character in Hero-U 2 is said to have a second name, named after one of the Heroes, which can be anything even Mwamba Devon. A book in the library makes reference to "Fox" which was Wren's alias as a thief (and the game also discusses some of her history with Urwald, and Silmaria Thieves' Guild). The book was written under her pseudonym "I.M. Fulin".
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught:
    • One of the rules of the Rogues' class is "Don't get caught." In fact, most of the rest of the rules are variations of "Don't get caught." Master Gerhard says the rules are more like guidelines anyway, and it's more important for rogues to give the appearance of following the rules.
    • It's implied that a certain amount of Shawn's gaming skill comes from discreet cheating. Joel can also offer to cheat in your favor in the later Poobah games, with nobody the wiser.
  • Orphaned Punchline: All of Shawn's jokes during supper only have the punchline. Since they always include puns, the setup doesn't matter so much. One punchline is from an Erasmus joke in Quest for Glory I, "What's the difference between a comma and a cheetaur?"note 
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": "Pesce spada," which means Swordfish in Italian. As in the remake of Quest for Glory I, knowing that doesn't do you any good unless Shawn learns it in-game.
  • Pun-Based Title: Mixing 'rogue' and 'road to redemption', making a Meaningful Name on many levels, with it being a story about Shawn redeeming himself from an (attempted) life of crime, the Rogue class itself sort of being a redeemed Thief, and being indicative on a meta level of the Hurricane of Puns you'll find within the game.
  • Rat Stomp: The weakest monsters you'll find in this game are — you guessed it — dire rats.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pretty much everyone but Terk. This is most notable when Joel goes missing. If you find out where he is, you can certainly deal with it yourself, but if you inform the teachers, Moira has you lead her to the spot without delay in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The drats, which is the common name for dire rats.
  • Scientifically Understandable Sorcery : Unlike previous Scientists in Quest for Glory, Dr. von Braun the Science Teacher doesn't deny that magic exists nor is he resentful. He is working on a theory that can explain both.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The castle is built over a dormant Eldritch Abomination. One possible ending/game-over drastically reduces Hero-U's ability to keep that abomination contained, resulting in its eventual awakening and the complete destruction of Sardonia.
  • Series Mascot: Meeps and Kwirks, described as "Tribbles with legs, eyes and sharp teeth."
  • Science Hero: You, if you take the Science Elective. It starts with being able to collect things like sulphur and phosphorus to make bombs. If you take the Advanced Course you can get access to Zee Rust like the Zap Gun and Friction Belt.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Of all of the students in the Rogue class, Thomas Kent is the only one dressed with a three-piece-suit. Subverted as Thomas is actually a girl disguising as a man.
  • Simplified Spellcasting: The only true "spell" that Shawn can cast from Magic Class is "Sense Magic." The rest is mana powered runes that are pre-made spells crafted either in magic class or bought late-game.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few.
    • Most portraits and statues in the game depict either a Kickstarter backer or a character from Quest for Glory, or both.note 
    • Joel Kyro is a reference to The Maltese Falcon. Fitting as he's Ugarte's son, who was also a reference.
    • Esme is named after Esmeralda.
    • If you are defeated by the zombie pirates in the Sea Caves, the Game Over screen is a poster of "Shawn of the Dead".
    • There's a reference to The Cask of Amontillado in the wine cellar.
    • Dr. von Braun of the Science Department looks a lot like Dr. Emmett Brown. In the movies, "von Braun" was the name of said iconic scientist's ancestors before immigrating.
    • Thomas Kent is a reference to Shakespeare in Love, as is the fact that he's actually a woman.
  • Skippable Boss: All of them. There's always a solution for each boss that doesn't involve combat (aside from not doing the quest at all, which is always an option).
  • Sore Loser: Esme and Katie hate to lose at parlor games, and will refuse to play any game that Shawn wins too many times. Sosi will outright accuse you of cheating.
  • Soul Jar: The Wraith King in the Catacombs has one, which can be destroyed in an optional side quest.
  • Spiritual Sequel: To Quest for Glory, though both are set in parallel versions of Glorianna (the main difference is that in this universe there were 'Four Heroes' who jointly saved the world, rather than single heroes (one of each class) saving the world in four separate universes).
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Someone at the school isn't completely candid about their gender. There's some foreshadowing about it if you read the files in Terk's office, but it isn't until you accompany Thomas to visit his father's tomb that it's revealed "Thomas" is actually a young woman named Janet. Shawn is not necessarily bothered by this.
    • Wren the Rogue, i.e.: the Thief Hero, called herself Fox and posed as a man.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: A surprisingly prevalent attitude among the relatives of certain students, although the students themselves defy this trope.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Esme has animalistic golden eyes for a very good reason: she's a Rover and has the ability to shapeshift into a wolf at will.
  • Take Your Time: Averted. The game has a time limit for certain events and you'll most likely miss some of them because you can't do everything at the same time.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Defied. You can try to hit on Moira, but she's not going to have a relationship with a student.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Sosi is related to the prince of Sardonia and has an appropriately arrogant attitude.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You're supposed to be studying to be a Hero and seek redemption, not fall back into your old ways as a Thief. A little antiheroism is fine, but if you decide to truly become a Thief instead, you will suffer for it.
  • The Von Trope Family: One of the teachers at the school is named "Master Von Urwald".
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • The cook's assistant, Riki, is a ringajou, which looks like an animal but is sentient and can talk. Ifetaya met Riki when she was being sold like an animal and was horrified by such treatment towards one she recognized as a person.
    • Gregor, the ratty who runs the school store, mentions being viewed and treated as a rodent elsewhere.
    • Defied by Shawn, himself. Reading the xenology books in the library will have him remark that people are people, no matter what they look like. It's no surprise that he shows no discrimination toward Riki or Gregor.
  • Weak to Magic: Lemures and Wraiths can only be hurt by magic; either through runes, or magic weapons.
  • Wizarding School: Downplayed. There are magic classes (which Shawn can attend as electives), but most of the school is not magical. The actual Wizard School is mentioned, and will appear in Hero-U 2: Wizard's Way.
    • The Magic Teacher admits that her students can't be full Wizards, but she wants "Mundanes" to be able to enjoy it as well.


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