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Video Game / Heroine's Quest

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Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok is a freeware adventure/RPG hybrid by Crystal Shard. It's available for free on Steam or

Set in the world of Norse Mythology, the game pits the eponymous heroine against Egther, last of the frost giants, who wishes to fulfill the prophecy of Ragnarok by covering the world in eternal ice. The game is retro-styled, offering gameplay similar to classic Sierra games, in particular Quest for Glory, along with plenty of easter eggs to Sierra's games.

Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: The heroine, par the course for this type of game, and Brynhild the valkyrie. Sigrun grabs a bow and Kraka pulls out her daggers when danger approaches.
  • Adventure Game: It's a Spiritual Successor to the classic Sierra adventure games, particularly the Quest for Glory series.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Standard fare for action-adventure games. The alchemists you meet in the game (Liff, Aurvandel, and Skrymir) are all wizards. The Sorceress starts with skill in Herbalism and gets points for brewing her own potions.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Comes in various colors and they all Carry a Big Stick. Traditional "turn-into-stone-in-sunlight" curse is also in full effect, and the main troll, Thrivaldi presumes this is also the case for humans. He attempts to kill the Heroine by burying her in an avalanche and leaving her to turn to stone, but is later informed that humans don't turn to stone by Egther.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Svartalfar, being able to appear in any form they please, are not clearly masculine or feminine, and Eitri will be quick to point this out if you ask them about it. Regin and Fafnir are identified as "brothers," but that's the closest thing any svartalf has to a gender identity.
  • And I Must Scream: Loki's punishment in Svartalfheim. This actually matches the Norse Mythology well.
  • An Ice Person: All of the jotunn have ice-based magic. Egther's is the most powerful
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Regin gives you the golden sword Gram, which breaks if you try to fight with it. The game immediately lampshades that gold was a poor choice to make a weapon from. On the other hand it can be reforged with the right material, and is then better than a regular sword.
  • Bag of Spilling: When you try to enter the fortress at the end of the game, you're dropped into a pit and none of your potions survive the fall.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: The game has loads of lampshade hanging on its plot, characters, the adventure genre as a whole... See No Fourth Wall below.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Heime is kidnapped, Hervor gets so angry she bends a well-tempered sword with her bare hands.
  • BFS: Sigurd pulls one out when Thrivaldi attacks Munarvagir and fights with it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the stinger at the end, after the credits The Heroine is mortally wounded in a fight some decades later, and is visited by the Valkyrie, who takes her to Valhalla. While her body is never found, she is almost certainly dead. It's a pretty dark and serious moment in a game with so many easter eggs, shout-outs, references, and jokes. At least, to modern sensibilities, as this was considered an optimal, heroic death in the values of Norse myth.
    • Nevertheless, most warriors in game worry about how things like illness or a job in town can prevent one from going to Valhalla (Because you can't have just been a brave warrior, you have to die in battle). Definitely a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance. Especially with how in trying to get the player to finish the game, "die in battle" is evidently interpreted as "die in battle between armies". If you die in combat with an enemy, no matter how much you've accomplished in the game, it still says you go to Niflheim. There wouldn't be any einherjar if they all had to do something like succeed in an epic quest to stop a frost giant's plan to destroy the world!
  • The Blacksmith: Volund.
  • Boss Bonanza: If playing as as the Warrior you get one with having to face Thrivaldi, Fenrir and Egther in relatively short order in the endgame.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The jarl can fall under the spell of the huldra.
    • The heroine can fall under this if she moves to where Loki is imprisoned, and Sigyn leaves the room. The heroine will be compelled to take her place. This also happens if you attack Sigyn, causing her to fall off the platform.
  • But Thou Must!: Averted at the beginning, where you are offered the game's main quest and can choose to go play Tetris instead.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cast from Hit Points: The channel spell which drain your health to replenish your Mana Meter. Actions will drain health if the heroine has no stamina, as well. The final boss for the sorceress is actually built around this trope, because Egther drains her mana before the fight.
  • Clear My Name: Kraka asks the heroine to do one of these for her.
  • Cleavage Window: The heroine is mostly modest (given the climate, that's practical), but she shows a little skin.
  • Clingy McGuffin: Andvari's cursed ring. If you restore your game to before you've picked it up, you'll find that it's still there.
  • Convection Shmonvection: Averted at one point where standing too close to some exposed lava results in a death. It takes a while, though.
  • Cool Helmet: Byrnhild sports a winged helmet. Justified, valkyries were often portrayed this way.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: The forest of Jarnvidr and the caves of Svartalfheim.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Snorri is master of this.
    • The Heroine herself gets her share of choice lines in. Particularly when dealing with Ratatosk.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Aurvandel's speech pattern is rather redundant because he repeats himself, making his speech redundant.
    • He does know he does it, and warns you against making fun of a wizard when you do it back at him.
  • Developer's Foresight: The game keeps track of which residents of Munarvagir are indisposed when Thrivaldi attacks the village; if Liff is busy with Lithrasir, Sigrun with Helgi's ghost, or Kraka in the jarl's dungeon, they won't show up to fight; if all three of them are indisposed, neither will the troll that they would have fought. Brynhild will also be at the battle, helping Sigurd, if and only if the Heroine has restored Sigurd's memories.
  • Devious Daggers: Rogues favor Dual Wielding these. Kraka's an expert with throwing daggers. When Thrivaldi attacks, she joins in the defense of the town with them.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The heroine is meant to be one of the Prince of Shapeir.
  • Dramatic Wind: On game's main screen, the heroine's hair and cloak float in the wind. Casting Arctic Wind will also cause this.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The heroine's notified of some of her first major goals by seeing something happening in a dream.
  • Dual Wield: The rogue's default weapon is a pair of daggers.
  • Early Game Hell: It can be frustrating in the early game getting food and saving up money, with how the game mostly makes you forage for rations and enemies that drop money are rare until later in the game so just buying food isn't very viable. Let alone how just being outside for a while drains your stamina meter. Once you've cleared a few chapters, befriended a few key NPCs and opened up some new areas, those aspects get a lot easier to deal with. Shopping at the blacksmith seems like it'll take ages to grind enough to afford what he's selling, for example, until you save his son from the underworld, and he cuts his prices in half for you.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Name the Heroine after one of the love interestsnote  from Quest for Glory V. She'll start with Hera's Ring in her inventory, suggesting that she is the daughter/descendent of the original hero and named after her mother/female ancestor.
    • Turn down Jarl's Call to Adventure and he'll mock you for turning down the main quest in an adventure game before asking if you'd rather play Tetris instead. Turn him down again after that and you can actually play a functional game of Tetris that even keeps score. It's an Endless Game though, and when you inevitably lose, you get yet another game over message that states that the world ended since you were too busy becoming the best Tetris player to save it.
    • Failing to draw the sword from the tree 100 times in a row will instantly max out the heroine's strength and endurance.
  • Easy Amnesia: Sigurd forgets the woman he loves Brynhild the Valkyrie. Justified, as it was caused by the gods.
  • Elemental Crafting: Played with. The sword Gram given to you by Regin is made of gold. It breaks the first time you try to fight with it, because gold is not very durable. That said, Volund can offer to reforge it for you...
  • Empathic Environment: The garden will thaw if you complete the Matchmaker Quest.
  • Evil Pays Better: Some of the winter gear that helps you avoid the draining effects of being out in the cold are only available through theft or making a selfish choice. Which are of course both encouraged when you're playing a rogue.
  • The Exile: Self-imposed by Arngrim, as he was ill and worried if he was contagious.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Inverted. The heroine's stamina will slowly be drained from being out in the unforgiving winter for too long. There are cold weather clothing items you can get that mitigate this somewhat, but getting a couple of them is technically stealing, and at least one has to be passed up if you're trying to be honorable enough to earn Balmung.
  • Fetch Quest: How else can one become a heroine?
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three character classes you can choose from.
  • Flaming Sword: Balmung.
  • Frictionless Ice: This is one of the few games where a character trying to run across ice won't merely slip and slide, they slip and fall down.
  • Freeware Games: Available for free on Crystal Shard's website or on Steam.
  • Funny Background Event: A minor one, but your mouse cursor actually has a reflection on some surfaces (such as the ice of the frozen lake). See No Fourth Wall below for something of an explanation.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "The Herald Of Ragnarok" spells "THOR".
  • Good Morning, Crono: The game begins with the Heroine waking up in the adventurers' guild in Fornsigtuna.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some of puzzles and quests aren't easy to solve and have multiples solutions.
  • Grave Humor: Like past Quest for Glory games.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: As a rogue, you break Kraka out of jail and make distractions to fool the guards.
  • Have a Nice Death: As a love letter to Sierra's adventure games, this trope is a must-have.
  • Hostage For Macguffin: Thrivaldi tries to set one of these up by kidnapping Heime. The heroine foils this.
  • Hostile Weather: Jarnvidr is gripped in the midst of a bitterly cold winter, and this becomes a gameplay mechanic wherein it's possible to freeze to death.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Balmung. And there's an infinity plus one spell, the lightning bolt. The Bless spell could be considered one as well, as it will instantly kill a Draug, if used on one before combat is initiated. (Using it on a group of them in the cemetery will kill them all at once!)
  • Karma Meter: The sword Balmung can only be drawn if the Heroine has not committed too many immoral acts up to that point. Several NPCs, when asked, explain what choices are considered good and which ones are considered bad.
  • Life Meter: The green bar in the heroine's stats.
  • Literal-Minded: Eitri asks for a rare item, the footfalls of a cat (as this was one of the items that made up Gleipnir.) You get it by getting an ink print of a cat's paw.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The warrior starts out as this.
    • The Shield spell learned by the Sorceress will do this by blocking Egther's ice beam during the final battle.
    • Also a villainous example in a troll who blocks passage over a bridge at night, by means of a seemingly impregnable shield (but which can be broken if the player's a warrior wielding a battleaxe).
  • MacGuffin: The Eyes of Thiassi.
  • Magic Knight: Skrymir is a powerful warrior who also knows magic. The Heroine can be this too if you start as a Fighter and take Magic and/or Herbalism at the start of the game.
  • Magic Staff: The Sorceress' weapon, along with different flavors of magic.
  • Mana Meter: The purple bar in the heroine's stats.
  • Matchmaker Quest: You can get Liff and Lithrasir together.
    • In a milder version, you can also get Sigurd and Byrnhild back together.
  • Merlin and Nimue: Aurvandel and the Sorceress downplay this trope, which is a trope that Aurvandel downplays because he does not spend much time teaching the Sorceress, whom he teaches; nonetheless, Aurvandel teaches the Sorceress more magic spells than any other character in the game (three of the game's ten spells come from him).
  • Mini-Game: Several, including playing dice with Snorri and Volund (they kick you out of the game if you win too much).
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The gulon.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Generally avoids this, but there are a couple cases.
    • To get your stuff back from Thrivaldi as a Warrior, you need two things: a mirror, and a fox. The mirror is pretty easy to guess: Thrivaldi hangs out asleep in his cave, and knowing trolls are vulnerable against sunlight, it's not too much of a stretch to conclude using the mirror to shine sunlight on him might be something to try. However after moving him out of the way, you need to use the fox to fetch your bag. Nowhere is it suggested you can use the fox to do this.
      • The solution is barely hinted at: if you look at the bag before Thrivaldi moves, the Warrior gets a unique text box saying that you won't be able to get it without help. Still, there's nothing to suggest that the fox is somehow trained to retrieve stuff at your command as long as you can get it to trust you.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The stuffed moosehead from King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human makes an appearance. It made a cameo in various Sierra games. Just like all of the Quest for Glory games (except for the third), it's in the adventurer's guild.
    • The Sierra "half-dome" makes a cameo during the introduction.
    • If you rob Snorri's house, he has one of the Blackbirds.
    • One of the stories you can tell Arngrim will be recognizable to veteran fans as the plot of the first King's Quest game, but he says you're full of bologna and demands another one.
  • Named Weapon: The people of Midgard love to name their swords. Weapons and treasures with specific names are pretty common in the legends this game's based on though, of course.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Towards the end, the heroine will encounter her future self, who will say some things to her and give her an item needed to do some time travel work. After this is done, she will return to this point in time and encounter her past self. She must reenact the scene exactly, including saying the same exact things that her future self said to her, or else both she and her past self will be erased from existence.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer has the heroine being attacked by a Spectre, a Draug and a Duergar in broad daylight. In the game however, all those monsters only show up at night or in Svartalfheim. Plus, different monsters never gang on you like this, you only face them one encounter at a time. (Vargs, Draugs, and Duergars will occasionally attack you in pairs or groups of three, but you will fight them one at a time.)
  • Noble Bigot: Snorri thinks that saving the kingdom is man's work, but he never tries to stop the heroine from her tasks and praises her when she proves herself.
  • No Fourth Wall: Pretty much everyone, from the narrator, to the Heroine herself, to the various NPCs, lampshade the fact that this is a game to the point that it goes far beyond just leaning on it. Right down to the Censor Boxes hiding the Huldra's naughty bits.
    • Eitri the svartalf at one point takes control of the cursor and even asks if he can trade you something for it, like it's one of the magical artifacts he's interested in. You refuse since you can't complete your quest without it.
    • Thrivaldi complains when you skip a cutscene where he appears.
    • Aurvandel gives you a potion that will restore someone to his original form. He adds that it won't work with the dead and you need to restore your game for that.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: (At least) two examples avoid the usual "Your Soul Rests in Niflheim" screen.
    • During the endgame, if you mess things up during the time-travel sequence, your heroine will vanish in a swirl and the screen will fade to black with the words "You have erased yourself from existence." You're then taken back to the title screen.
    • If you jump or teleport to Loki's island, Sigyn will try to run away. If she gets to the exit before you, you're compelled to take her place. This will also happen if you hit Sigyn with a projectile, knocking her off the island. You get a short description of how your former life fades from your mind before the game takes you back to the title screen.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Thrivaldi can be considered this in a sense. In cutscenes he comes across like the typical half-witted, bumbling henchman of a much scarier villain. The only reason you survive past the prologue is because he leaves you to die after not quite killing you with an avalanche because he thinks humans turn to stone in the sun like trolls do. If you actually fight him, he's a very tough opponent and story-wise the only reason he loses is because he gets so caught up in fighting the heroine he doesn't realize it's almost sunrise.
  • NPC Scheduling: Unlike Quest for Glory, people go about their business and wander the streets, shops and so forth. Sometime, they even ask you to leave as they are closing for the night or leaving themselves.
    • Particularly important for Rogues, who have to plan robberies with the NPCs movements in mind.
  • Off with His Head!: One the jotunn's attacks is a decapitation with his axe.
  • Optional Boss: Surtr, (basically a re-skinned and much tougher muspell) can be found past the Point of No Return if you wander in the opposite direction from the Final Dungeon. There's an achievement for defeating him.
    • Also Brauggi and Dolores. There's also an achievement for defeating them with the later requiring Guide Dang It! to find her.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Duergar in Svartalfheim. They're actually Svartalfar in another form.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The svartalfar, AKA, dark elves.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Of the Frost Giants variety as well as the Muspell.
  • Pacifist Run: The rogue can finish the game without engaging in combat, and near the end of the game (after dealing with Thrivaldi, to be precise) she gets Loki's attention and approval for doing so.
  • Permanently Missable Content: To get the sword Balmung, the Heroine must behave in a certain way. Specifically: treat everyone with respect, respect the dead, and be honest. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible to screw this up even before you learn the criteria for drawing the sword.
  • Point of No Return: Not sign-posted, but reasonably easy to guess. Once the heroine has the Eyes of Thiassi, there's nothing to do but face the final boss.
  • Random Encounter: Wouldn't be an RPG without it.
  • Real Men Cook: The best cook in the game is Sigurd (who's also the mightiest warrior among the game's NPCs) and no one will deny it.
  • Refusal of the Call: Refusing jarl Ylfying's quest at the beginning of the game will make him pissed and break the fourth wall, saying that a heroine who refuses a quest offered at the start of an adventure game might as well go and play Tetris instead, and offer you to choose again. Refusing a second time does start a game of Tetris, after which a Game Over screen pops up.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The little fox.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Aurvandel.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Fafnir and Regin contend that the other of them killed their father.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Hervor is a swanmaiden, and stuck in human form since she doesn't have her wings anymore.
  • Shout-Out: All over the place. In particular, the game loves to refer to the classic Sierra adventure games (particularly the Quest for Glory series, like several achievements in the Steam version sharing titles, to which it is a Spiritual Successor), but shout outs to the adventure genre as a whole are present, including Zork and the Monkey Island series. There's even a nod to the ill-fated Hero 6, a previous attempt to create a spiritual successor to the Quest for Glory games.
    • And of course, the game draws heavily from Norse Mythology. Many of the character names are drawn directly from the mythology, and even their relationships are grounded in the Eddas.
    • You can spot the Harry Potter novels in Aurvandel's lab. He will speak of the Philosopher's stone and his good old friend Mumblemore. Mumblemore's tombstone can also be found in the graveyard, together with a wish that "Larry" will avenge him.
    • The PC's sprite looks like Zanthia from The Legend of Kyrandia. One of the characters even talks about how they sometimes import things from Kyrandia.
    • If you look at a stump in the forest, you get a message mocking the idea that you'd find something valuable or useful in some random tree stump. This is how many treasures were found in early instalments of King's Quest.
    • One particular one to Quest For Glory is that Brauggi, the frost giant from the first game, guards the villain's castle. With the way he talks completely in alliteration and even has the exact same dialogue portrait, what else are you supposed to think?
    • Near the end of the game, the heroine can meet a future version of herself, who could say It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!
      • Furthermore this seems to be based around a similar plot event from Sorcerer. Although with the other nods to that series, it was probably based on the instance of that puzzle from Escape from Monkey Island.
    • Drinking the water from the mushroom cave gives the words: Ah, life-giving water, nectar of the gods. (Heroine) feels strength and renewal flowing through her.
    • Using the touch icon on Fenrir after you defeat him gives the message: Dude, don't taunt the god-killing abomination.
    • A Rogue with fast talk can trick Thrivaldi into staying out till morning by singing Bohemian Rhapsody.
    • There's a book of strategy written by Moon Tzu. Said book appeared earlier in A Tale of Two Kingdoms, where it can be read.
    • There is shelf of atlas's in the library that mention several lands the heroine has never heard of including Oz, Midkemia and Westeros
    • The Jarl gives you SPIM rations, which can also be bought from Sigrun.
    • Chuck the Plant from Lucasarts games can be found in Adventurer's Guild.
    • Heime's sprite looks like Adam Greene from EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus.
    • In the library, there's a book about Zee Tee and his quest to rescue a princess. It starts off cheerful, but the Heroine feels it will get dark really quickly and stops reading.
    • The Heroine can pick up some unstable ordnance that will explode if she wanders around with it. Why Sigrun is leaving unstable ordinance on her counter is not explained in the least.
    • If you ask Arngrim about Ratatosk, he'll quote Tim the Enchanter's tirade about the Killer Rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Shown Their Work: In concert with the Shout-Out above, the designers really put a lot of work into keeping the characters and setting true to the source mythology.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: The game generally avoids these sorts of puzzles, but one in particular stands out: The slide puzzle in Andvari's shop. There's nothing in the game that says you need to do it, and no indication of what it even does. It opens passages to where Loki is bound, and to a Marathon Level where you can fight a number of monsters and attempt to beat your best time. Fortunately, neither of these are strictly necessary to complete the game, though the Rogue may struggle.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The deeper you get into the game's plot, the more powerful monsters that show up as random battles. You'll start off just fighting wolves and human raiders, and late in the game will get attacked by fire and frost giants.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Sierra's adventure games in general, and the Quest for Glory series in particular.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker:
    • Aurvandel repeats himself with every sentence that he speaks, which is a sentence that he speaks, and then repeats himself.
    • Does Alviss say everything in the form of a question?
    • Uncommon is it for Eitri to begin sentences with their subject. Correct is such grammar, but highly uncommon is it nowadays.
    • Fafnir uses "one" as a first- and second-person singular pronoun. One may be confused as to which one one is referring to.
    • Skrymir speech terse. Highly efficient. Connectives deemed wasteful.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Draug that attacks you at night.
  • Thieves' Guild: The Thieves' Lodge. You can join it, shut it down, or leave it alone and just get your junk back.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Parodied; if you eat a fish, you'll get a message saying that you needed it for a difficult puzzle later in the game and you'll have to restart now... followed by another message saying, "Nah, just kidding. It was just a tasty fish, and you could get another one if you really wanted to."
  • Utility Magic: A number of spells serve this function, such as Arctic Wind. Flame Aura also has utility purposes, since it melts ice and can warm Sigurd when he's lying unconscious in the snow.
  • Verbal Tic: One of Thrivaldi's heads punctuates his sentences with "Oho, yes!"
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: The very first thing that happens to the Heroine (in the credits, no less) is getting buried in an avalanche and left for dead. She wakes up in the Adventurer's Guild, at which point the player takes control.
    • This also happens when the heroine rescues Heime. As soon as they leave Svartalfheim, a vicious blizzard kicks up and they barely manage to get close enough to the town, to be found and brought to the Guild once again.
  • World of Badass: While the heroine is the only character who is controlled, almost everyone in this game is a badass who can defend themselves in a fight. It would be easier to count the ones that can't: Hervor, Heime, the librarian, and Lithrasir. One of them is a child, one is a crippled old man, and one of them is actually a swan.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: All the town guards look exactly the same. You can lampshade this and they won't appreciate the comment.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Lampshaded in the message you receive after picking up the unstable ordnance and carrying it outside the village.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Two examples.
    • The portal to Svartalfheim. You can use the steps to activate it and give the Norns the "right" answers before you're supposed to, but you're stranded in limbo for all eternity for trying to outpace the plot.
    • The Sorceress's riddle quest. She must learn the riddles and their answers by talking to those who already know them; she can never learn them in another fashion.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: If you play as the warrior you'll eventually have a choice of several weapons, each of which are more effective against certain enemies (battle-axe is better against trolls, warhammer is better against bergrisi, and so on).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Heroines Quest The Herald Of Ragnarok


Heroine's Quest Pillory Scene

One of the death scenes where the character dies in the pillory via frostbites.

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5 (2 votes)

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Main / StockPunishment

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