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Video Game / Light & Darkness: Heroes of Calradia

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Light & Darkness: Heroes of Calradia is a mod for the videogame Mount And Blade: Warband, which change the setting to add some Fantasy elements and features an actual heavily story-driven main quest added to the Wide-Open Sandbox gameplay of the original game. Although Light And Darkness needs Warband, it uses the map (and the factions) of the first videogame Mount And Blade.

The opening sequence explain the far past of Calradia (the iron rule of an evil empire). The player character is a mercenary who is currently living in the tavern of the neutral town of Zendar. Waking up after a nightmare, he go helping the town by taking part in the hunt of the bandits plaguing the countryside. This quest leads the hero to discover that the servants of the ancient empire are trying to do somethingÖ

The modís story is currently unfinished. The released part of the main quest is called "Chapter 1". A "Chapter 2" is being developed.

Some additional informations and a download link are available here.

For tropes related to the setting and gameplay which are unchanged from the unmodded game, refer to the Mount & Blade page.

The Light And Darkness: Heroes of Calradia Mod Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Girl:
    • The recruitable companion Ymira.
    • Melva and the forest bandits. She joins the party in a later part of the main quest.
    • The arena fighter Xerina. She joins the party in a later part of the main quest.
    • Hel, one of the commanders of the Darkness Religion army.
    • The powerful Sword Sisters are still in the mod. Their upgrade tree has been expanded (the specific Sword Sister unit isnít the highest upgrade anymore).
    • The Secret Man. Maybe.
  • All Trolls Are Different: A few of them appear in the game. Most of them are the Cave Beasts, huge white humanoids wielding clubs, who usually live underground; they are mostly met during the Dungeon Crawler sequences, although one of the encounter is set outside in the Vaegir lands. There is also a Boss Battle in the first gem cave, involving two Cave Trolls (black canine-headed humanoids wielding hammer).
  • Amazon Brigade: It is possible Ė and somewhat easy Ė to create one (except there will still be a few male companions in the party). Each of the Dark Pilgrims party carries several Refugees prisoners, who can be hired when the Dark Pilgrims have been defeated. Refugees are the female peasants who can be upgraded several times until they become Sword Sisters. The mod adds several types of Sword Sisters upgrades: the original ones (heavy horsemen) will be used with footmen and crossbowmen. It becomes possible to have a full balanced army of female warriors.
    • The Forest Bandits are a full Amazon Brigade faction. It is also possible to recruit new troops among them after capture.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Secret Man. The characterís name includes "Man" and his bodyshape looks male, but he/she emits female sounds when striking or hurt. When he/she joins the party, it is impossible to manually manage his/her inventory, making impossible to see the characterís appearance under the helmet and the armour.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Altered from the Vanilla. Each playerís charismaís points raises the cap by one, each playerís leadershipís points raises the cap by five, gaining renown progressivly raises the cap. The mod adds a bonus of 2 for each companionís leadershipís skill points and a malus of 1 or 2 for each highest-tier units in the party (to prevent the player to have a party only made of heroes and highest elite troops).
  • Archer Archetype: Borcha, Rolf, Melva, the Secret Man, and Dranton. The player can play one, too.
  • Automatic Crossbows: Melvaís weapon of choice.
  • Back Stab: During the Dungeon Crawler sequences, if the player attacks an enemy while being unseen, he inflicts a lot more damages.
  • Badass Bookworm: Marnid, who has the background of a merchant, gives the party two high level non-combat skills (engineering, trade). After gaining a few levels and with proper equipment, he can become a rather useful fighter.
  • Bad Liar: Borcha seems to be one. When the player first meets him, he is emprisoned in Rivacheg castle, accused of having tried to steal horses of the local lord. According to his version of the story, he intended to wandering a bit with them in the surroundings of Rivacheg, them give them back, because they didn't look fit. Later in the game, if the player's party rests in a town during a night, there is a scripted random dialog with him who disappeared during the night and comes back early in the morning, looking very tired and without his pants. His explaination? He walked in the town during the night and gave his pants to a beggar.
  • BFS: Most of the swords added to the mod. Especially YuCh, Rolfís unique sword.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Before being actually recruited in the party, Rolf suddenly appears to play this role a couple of time.
  • Black Knight: The top-tier unit of the Darkness Religion faction is one. The heroes can wear their armours if the player founds some of them in his loot.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Sunflower Scroll (see the No Fair Cheating entry above). It gives the maximum amount of Strenght and Dexterity, but drops Charisma to 0. Then the player character becomes an extremelly powerful fighter who can only be followed by a very small army. In a game focussed on massive battles, it is not very useful.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Unlocked near the end of the Chapter 1 and dedicated to Dungeon Crawling.
  • Boom Stick: The dream cutscene of Chapter 1 ends when the Big Bad uses one (exactly shaped like Saruma's staff) to launch a fireball to the player.
  • But Thou Must!: It is impossible to actually leave Zendar (and access to the wide-open game) without having some arena training, working to hunt the River Pirates, and then hire Marnid in the party.
  • Cassandra Truth: How most of the faction leaders react to Count Arrasiesí letter that warn them of the near return of the evil empire.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Hel wears a plate armour bikini with plated stockings.
  • Cutscene: They use the game engine. Occasionally, the plot advances through a few of them (instead only with dialogs). Trying to skip them breaks the scripts and renders the mod Unwinnable.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In the dream cutscene of Chapter 1, the player character stands surrounded by fire in the courtyard of what seems to be the Big Bad fortress. Justified, because this cutscene is a dream (maybe)
  • Damsel in Distress: Ymira begins like one. She is a captive saved by the player when he slays a party of Dark Pilgrims, then she guids him to their lair.
    • When the lair is destroyed she becomes an actual party member and gains levels, then becoming an actual Action Girl.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The player character, sometime.
    • For example, this extract from the dialog after leaving Rivacheg where he was imprisoned:
    Borcha: [...] I can help you make much more than the bounty money. note 
    The Player Character: Yes yes. I am sure you are now planning to steal half of the horses in Calradia, but no thanks, I am not interested.
    • Or this one, about the pirate Nabaer:
    Marnid: Nabaer has many skilled pirates. As they know well about the sea and the rocks, they always attack at the right place. Even a hundred people caravan will be sacked overnight. Some costal lords suppressed them many times, but achieved little. Nabaer boasts he has even cut off the ears of two lords.
    The Player Character (as a choosable answer): Yes, it tells how important it is to wear a good helmet...
  • Defeat Means Friendship / Defeat Means Playable: Rolf joins the party after being vanquished by the player in a duel.
  • Dem Bones: Among the enemies in the Dungeon Crawling area of the mod.
  • Disc-One Nuke: A few very powerful items can be obtains early in the main quest. They are actually Disc-One Nuke because of they high power at that point of the story, not because obtaining them requires cheating, Save Scumming, or using an exploit. They are:
    • A weapon (the kind is chosen by the player) made by Zendarí weaponsmith in exchange of an item found after the cleaning of the Dark Pilgrimsí lair.
    • An armour made by Zendarís armoursmith in exchange of 24 nomad armours (looted on the river pirates that have to be destroyed during the early part of the main quest).
    • The Shield of Fate, obtained by crossing the bridge near Zendar while wearing an iron shield and answering honestly to the fairy who appears.
  • Dragon Rider: The modís files feature a dragon-shaped horse, which doesnít currently appear ingame (unless using cheats or altering the modís files).
  • Dual Boss: The two Trolls at the end of the cave containing the first gem.
  • Dual Wielding: The Lone Swordman fights with a katana in his right hand and a wakizashi off-hand. Technically, the wakizashi is actually a sword-shaped shield.
  • Dummied Out: The town of Zendar, the Black Khergits, and the flintlock pistols are dummied out elements from the original game. The modís files also include a dragon-shaped mount which doesnít actually appears ingame (in the current version).
  • Dungeon Crawling: Used in the first gemís cave during Chapter 1 and in the bonus dungeon.
  • Easy Logistics: More averted than in the original Warband.
    • Any hero companion can be dispatched as an autonomous party, but they will need to have food items in their inventory.
    • Units garrisoned in the hidden valley need to have some food (in the inventory of the place), or they will desert.
    • After each battle, the party lose some money to replace the ammunitions spent in the battle.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: The Lone Swordman, a man dressed like a samurai who randomly appears as the Final Boss in a tournament or an arena mêlée fight.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: There are some zombies in the Bonus Dungeon, they looks like walking corpses wielding mêlée weapons. There is no indication of their origin in the lore.
  • The Faceless: The Secret Man always wears a face-concealing helmet. Even after joining the playerís party.
  • Flaming Sword: The player wields one during the dream sequence which opens the mod, but it canít be found during Chapter 1. It is possible to obtain it ingame by using cheats.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Skipping the cutscenes causes bugs in the plotís progression, making the game becomes Unwinnable.
  • Genius Bruiser: The player becomes a mild one after acquiring the Encyclopedia of Calradia.
  • Gratuitous English: Sadly, the English translation could still use some work.
  • Guide Dang It!: How to obtain a boat from the Sea Raiders. The dialogs say that there should be one in a Sea Raiders landing site and advice to follow a Sea Raiders party, if needed by attacking one and causing it to route. Unfortunatly, this quest is very heavily scripted and just destroying random Sea Raiders landing site is totally useless.
    • This is how this quest has to be done. First, attack a Sea Raiders party. Then, if the enemy is losing the battle, when the "Accept enemy surrending?" window pops up, select the negative answer and order your troops to hold there fire. Then, the enemy should flee the battle area. Sometimes, fleeing enemies return to confront the player's army; if this happens, repeat the operation and expect that they will properly disband. If the operation is properly done, the enemy party will become a demoralized deserters one (neutral group running to the hideout) and the quest objectives will receive an update. Only then you can follow them, find and destroy their landing site, then steal their boats (which will only be ready at least 24 hours later.
  • High Fantasy: The mod changes the extremely Low Fantasy setting of the original Mount & Blade into this. The plot tells the story of the fight against the long hidden remnants of an evil empire planning to rule Calradia again. The setting also features enchanted items, magic, and some fantastic creatures (undead, cave beasts, etc).
  • Horny Vikings: Nabaer, chief of the Sea Raiders, wears a horned helmet (his men still wears the hornless helmets of the original game).
  • Horse Archer: The Secret Man and the Black Khergits bandits. Any of the other members of the team can be trained to be one, but Rolf, The Secret Man and Dranton are the most recommanded to become one.
    • A sidequest in the Horse Market involves the player character being an horse archer.
  • Human Sacrifice: One of the rites of the Darkness Religion. The bands of Dark Pilgrims are usually seen carrying captives somewhere, probably for this reason.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The ending of Chapter 1, if the player chose to become evil. The player is ordered to kill King Ragnar, but Rolf appears and fights the player. Rolf eventually dies, but he gave to King Ragnar enough time to flee and stay alive.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: In taverns, buying a meal to all men of the player's party instantly heal the whole army.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Helís platemail bikini and the Pirate Kingsí armours (a kind of dark plate armour with a bare chest).
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Melva justifies her leadership of the forest bandits by this argument.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Averted. One of the unique weapons of the game is the Tang Sword, a katana with a very slight curved blade. It is one of the least powerful one-handed unique weapons of the mod.
  • Leave No Survivors: During a battle, some units of the computer player may try to surrender if this side is losing. The player can accept (in this case, a random number of the surviving troops leaves the battle and are automatically added to the prisoners pool) or choose to keep on fighting until all the computer player controlled units are eventually killed or knocked out (or manage to flee from the area).
  • Lethal Joke Item: The brick, a throwing / mêlée weapon given as a reward for killing all the mountains bandits in the hideout near Zendar. As a throwing weapon, the brick is more powerful than the throwing knives but less than the javelins (but has the same number of ammunitions), and can be upgraded the same way that other weapons.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • To search the Mirror of Truth, the party has to find a Sae Raiders hideout, kill all its inhabitants, and steal their boats (which will be fit to sail after 24h). The random part is that, to find the hideout, the player must fight a Sea Raiders party and cause a few of them to flee the battle alive (by rejecting their surrender and ordering the troops to cease fire), which is easier to say than to do.
    • Most of the unique weapons appear in random loots after battles.
    • To get the Shield of Fate, the player must first have an iron shield. An iron shiled can be discovered in several random ways:
      • Random loot from a Sea Raiders captain.
      • Random loot from a Female Forest Bandits Captain.
      • Random reward for a tournament if the player bet for the special prize and won the tournament.
  • Mass Monster-Slaughter Sidequest: More than half of the Chapter 1 main quest requires to destroy a specific number of bandits / Darkness Religion parties (usually ten).
  • The Medic: Ymira. She even tells that she has some healing knowledge to convince the player to keep her in the party after the raid on the Dark Pilgrims lair. Depending on how the player spends her skill points, at high level she can eventually become a Combat Medic.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The gems that the player have to look for during the main quest. Having them in the inventory actually grants some stats and skills bonus.
  • Minigame: The camp interface allows to bet money with a slot machine. The player can also play Black Jack in taverns.
  • Mordor: The opening Chapter 1 cutscene seems to be set in this kind of place (a stone fortress surrounded by fire in a dark forest). Without more current information, it is difficult to identify the place.
  • Multishot: Melva' special skill. Which she can teach to the player character if their relationship is high enough.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: There are commanders of the Darkness Religion faction named Hel, Fenrir, and Jormugand.
  • The Neutral Zone: Zendar. It is a town set in the area between Kingdom and Nords and Kingdom of Vaegirs. Zendar doesn't belong to any faction and a dialog says that the town closed to the player if he joins one. Which doesn't actually happens in the current version, which could either be a bug or Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • Subverted at the end of Chapter 1. Near the end, a good-aligned player has to stop the siege of Zendar by the Darkness Religion, an evil-aligned aligned player leads the siege himself.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Chapter 1 opens by one (as a cutscene).
  • No Fair Cheating: The mod includes a Sidequest which consists in searching for five clues, then using them to find the Secret Scroll, which grants a powerful spell when read. If the scroll is retrieved by a player who doesn't have the five clues (which means that he used either a walkthrough or Metagaming) or if the clues have been found by cheating, the Secret Scroll is replaced by the Sunflower Scroll, which raises Strenght and Dexterity to the maximum point but decreases Charisma to 0.
  • No Name Given: The Secret Man.
  • Nonstandard Skill Learning: Companions can teach the player their special skills when asked, if their relationship is high enough.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Occasionally used in the soundtrack.
  • Opening the Sandbox: Happens when the player is allowed to quit Zendar, after taking part in the hunt of five River Pirates' parties and hiring Marnid.
  • Orphaned Etymology: According to Marnid, apparently Calradia has a version of Usain Bolt. Yeah, that Usain Bolt.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Bonus Dungeon features monsters called "zombies", which are walking corpses armed with mêlée weapons. The game (currently) provide no explaination to their origin at all.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: There are Sea Raiders on laid and on sea. The former rob caravans and peasants parties. The trope applies to the latter, who wander pointlessly on sea without doing anything except attacking the player's party (only if they feel more powerful). Not that in the current version the only parties on sea are Sea Raiders and the player.
  • Player Personality Quiz: During the creation of the player character. It replaces the original Mount & Blade Multiple-Choice Past quiz used to determine the basic stats and items of the character.
  • Public Domain Artifact: There are a few of them among unique weapons:
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Contrary to the native Warband, choosing a gender doesn't change anything in the player character's stats.
  • Racing Minigame: There are optional horse races in the mod.
  • Rage Helm: The Helmet of A Champion, reward for winning a National Tournament. It looks like a huscarl / Sea Raiderís helmet with a golden dragon on its top and an iron beard in its bottom part
  • Regenerating Mana: During battle, the characters have an energy bar, which is drained when the character sprints or uses special attacks, and slowly regenerates if those abilities arenít used.
  • Religion of Evil: The Darkness Religion faction is both this and The Remnant of the ancient evil empire who ruled Calradia long ago (before the empire which eventually collapsed to give birth to the five factions of the game).
  • The Remnant : See Religion of Evil above. After the siege of Zendar, the faction changes its name and becomes the Durhua Empire, a remnant faction which started to conquer its old empire again.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Borcha. Not only the character has several points in the skills linked to this speciality, he also can be asked to locate where is the nearest party of bandits or Darkness Religion servants.
  • Sequel Hook: The lore informations explain that there are five gems. The player only finds four during the Chapter 1 campaign.
    • A sequel is explicitly announced in the message stating that the main quest is finished. This being Mount & Blade, the epilogue of the current version of the mod is a normal wide-open Mount & Blade game, the only difference being that two third of the Nord territory have been conquered by a sixth faction which is hostile to everyone.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: How does the player find the fourth gem (the last of Chapter 1)? If the player remained on the Light side, the gem is given by Rolf after the siege of Zendar. If the player chooses to join the Dark Side, the player has to fight and kill Rolf at the end of Chapter 1. The fourth gem is actually a family jewel that Rolf carried during the whole story!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to the movie version of The Lord of the Rings. The Big Bad who appears during the opening dream has the same cloak and helmet that the Witch-King of Angmar while wielding Saruman's staff. Also, two unique weapons come directly from the movies (Narsil and Gimliís Battle Axe), the Elvish bow and the Commander sabre (a scimitar with the same shape that the Elven swords of the movie) can be tributes, too.
    • An evil empire that spawned a Religion of Evil? Nordic mythology theme naming? And of course the opening scroll. All of them are quite reminiscient of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the latter even being a directly modified version of Genealogy's ingame opening scroll.
    • Inexplicably, the opening theme of the mod uses the Tactics Ogre theme, "Restriction On Power". Specifically, the version from Let's Cling Together.
  • Sidequest:
    • There are several specific to the mod, usually of the kind "bring item X to NPC Y".
    • The Dungeon Crawling Bonus Dungeon.
    • The content of the unmodded Mount & Blade is a sort of giant sidequest (fully unlocked after the end of the modís main quest) for the mod.
  • The Siege: The climax of Chapter 1 consists in the player and his party taking part in the defense of Zendar besieged by the antagonist.
  • Siege Engines: Planned feature for Chapter 2.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: If the player choose to join the Darkness Religion, all the companions will defect to become lords in the native factions.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Nabaer is also named "Nabaler", depending on the dialog. It is weird when the player is speaking with the NPC designed ingame as "Nabaer" who presents himself as "Nabaler" in his speech.
  • Storming the Castle: Successfully joining the Darkness Religion gives the player the task to lead the siege of Zendar.
  • Super Drowning Skills: During naval battles, if the player fall in the sea when jumping from a boat to another, the hero sinks like a stone and is automatically stunned. This is justified, as learning to swim was uncommon in medieval times, and wearing mail armour / plate armour to swim is really unpractical.
    • Which is an example of
  • Take Your Time: Groups of Black Knights serving an Evil God are wandering in Calradia, but fighting them is never an emergency...
    • This trope is especially obvious near the beginning of Chapter 1. Zendar's tavern owner gives the player the task to hunt a group of sinister-looking men who are leading several captives (this party is the first party of Dark Pilgrims), having just left Zendar and going to Wercheg. What happen if the players doesn't catch them before reaching Wercheg? Nothing, when those Dark Pilgrims reach the surroundings of Wercheg, they stop and stand still until the player's party attack them.
  • Theme Naming: Fenrir, Hel, and Jormungand, the three original commanders of the enemy armies. They have the names of evil beings from Norse Mythology.
  • Truce Zone: The Horse Market (a place south of the Khergit Khanate),which belong to any faction.
  • True Sight: A late part of Chapter 1 involves looking for a mirror granting this power, then using it.
  • 20 Bear Asses: Subverted. A early quest requires to gives 24 nomad armours to the Zendar armoursmith. They are part of the standard gear of the easiest bandits of the starting area (who anyway require to be destroyed to advance in the main quest) and any nomad armour is accepted, from the most damaged to the top quality ones, making this quest rather easy if the party's looting skill isn't too low.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • The Dungeon Crawling phase in the cave of the first gem.
    • In the second half of Chapter 1, there is a Stealth Based Escort Mission in which the player who temporarilly controls Rolf has to make Melva escape from Pravenís prison.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The sudden encounter with Basthehur and his Black Khergits, after giving Count Arrasiesí letter to King Graveth / Sanjar Khan and travelling to meet the other one. This trope could also apply to the fight against Nabaer, but there is an important difference: the player is strongly advised by the quest-giver to train hard and hire more troops before fighting Nabaer, but the encounter with Bastehur is a complete surprise the first time someone plays the mod.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Nabaer the Pirate appears first on such a poster in Zendarís tavern before personnally meeting the playerís party. There is also a poster for Melva in Praven's tavern.
    • At the end of Chapter 1, after Durhua Empire conquered Tihr and Wercheg, if the player sneaks in those towns, he will see a poster of himself in a tavern.
  • You Are Too Late: When the playerís party reaches the Dark Pilgrimsí lair, Ymiraís parents have already been sacrificed.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Beating the villains in the siege of Zendar doesnít prevent the Durhua Empire to capture Tihr and Wercheg offscreen, as the first step of their reconquest of Calradia.