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Video Game / Mari and the Black Tower

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Mari and the Black Tower is a 2017 RPG Maker MV game developed by Joshua Keith and Team Bewitched. It's the second entry in Timeline 1 of the Knights of Ambrose series and the sequel to Knight Bewitched in that timeline.

In the year 1708, Halonia was destroyed by the wizard Morgoth, who summoned the Black Tower from its remains. Many adventurers tried and failed to climb to the top of the tower until it disappeared in 1713. Unfortunately, the tower returned with a vengeance in 2000, wiping out all of humanity by spreading miasma. Two scientists send an Artificial Human, Abbie, back to the 18th century in the hopes that her miasma immunity will allow her to prevent humanity's extinction. In Westvale, Abbie and her nymph friend, Mari, recruit a team of adventurers to explore the tower and discover the truth behind Morgoth and the miasma.

A sequel, Finding Light, was released in 2018.

Has an Ardorlea page here and an Android version here.

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unknown if Morgoth was ever defeated in the original Timeline 0, since Ned points out the the Black Tower vanished after its first appearance and failed to wipe out humanity, only to succeed in its second appearance. Adding to the ambiguity is that in Celestial Hearts, a game in Timeline 2, Ruth, Gwen, Stray, Uno, and Lissandra somehow defeated Morgoth without Abbie's anti-miasma abilities, which were necessary in Timeline 1.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the ending, due to Ned's warning that the Black Tower will reappear in the 2000s, as well as the god Zamas's connection to the miasma, Abbie and Mari know that they must go on a journey to further investigate the miasma and how to stop it.
  • The Assimilator: The Black Tower somehow contains the nymph forest and Halonia, despite how Morgoth already destroyed those locations. This is because miasma can bring back anyone it kills as slaves of Morgoth.
  • Bad Future: At the start of the game, the world reached the year 2000, but the Black Tower from the past reappeared and released a plague that wiped out most of humanity. The Scitech scientists send Abbie back to the past in order to investigate the Black Tower and prevent the plague from ever happening. This leads to the creation of Timeline 1 of the Knights of Ambrose series.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Once the player obtains Ned's updated Floor 1 map, they can find a new section of that floor that contains mostly damage tiles, the strongest enemies, and the strongest boss Tiamat.
  • Came Back Wrong: The miasma is not only deadly to living beings, it can also be used to revive and control its victims. Morgoth uses it to bring back Vera, the nymph leader, as The Dragon, who in turn uses miasma to control the king of Halonia. This also ends up happening to Harold, Therese, Lucius, and Marsha, making them the bosses of the HELLGATE floor.
  • Child Prodigy: Sera is a child with a lot of potential in magic, since she can use a short-range teleportation spell and a spell that can reveal an invisible enemy. In the endgame, she creates a warp stone that can activate the west portal in Halonia's castle.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Morgoth, like Typhus before him, has been influenced by Lilith's master into plotting the destruction of humanity. Unlike Typhus, who was corrupted by the Vulcan Stone, Morgoth was Driven to Madness by Lilith's master directly due to receiving visions of the world's destruction. Additionally, Typhus has his own Doomsday Cult of mostly willing followers while Morgoth has to use the miasma to brainwash Vera and the nymphs into serving him. Finally, Typhus is defeated by an ancient enchanted sword while Morgoth is defeated by a miasma-immune warrior from a sci-fi future.
  • The Corruption: Some monsters in the tower, including mechanical ones, are infected by miasma, which causes them to inflict the miasma ailment with their normal attacks. Worse yet, those who die to miasma are turned into slaves for Morgoth.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game is much darker than Knight Bewitched, due to how miasma destroyed the future of Timeline 0. Even in Timeline 1 where Abbie is supposed to prevent the Bad Future, Halonia is still destroyed and the citizens are brought back in the Black Tower, but they can't leave and many of them vaguely remember their deaths.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Morgoth reveals that he wasn't aware of the existence of the Golden Essence in the Black Tower or its healing properties, despite being the one who summoned the tower in the first place. This is a hint that he's ultimately the pawn of the true ruler of the tower, Lilith's master.
  • Dual Boss: The original Void Beast was a singular boss, but in the rematch, there's two of them.
  • Dying as Yourself: The boss of the HELLGATE floor, Harold's team, will give their party words as they die. Harold in particular will point out an alternate portal the party can take to get to the next floor.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Although Morgoth went his separate ways from Keller after turning on humanity, Morgoth dies while thinking of Keller, showing that even in his corrupted state, he thought of Keller as a friend.
    • Although Vera exiled Mari from the nymph village, she still misses the latter. Unfortunately, Vera is corrupted by miasma and tries to convince Mari to live with her and the other nymphs in the Black Tower forever. She kills Mari in the endgame, but regrets it and has a Villainous Breakdown during her boss fight.
  • The Exile: Mari and Abbie were exiled from the nymph village because the latter blamed them for the miasma. In the ending, if Vera is revived, she'll see the error of her ways and lift the exile, though Mari and Abbie want to explore the world more in order to solve the mystery of the miasma.
  • Fallen Hero:
    • A bargoer reveals that Strife, a Recurring Boss of the series, was once a knight of Halonia. It's implied that Zamas corrupted him somehow.
    • Morgoth was once a wizard who wanted to use his powers to heal people, but due to the influence of Lilith's master, his desire to do good is twisted into ending humanity for generating chaos energy.
  • Fantastic Racism: The nymphs don't trust humans because the latter keeps chopping down their forests. Although they allow Abbie to live with them for some time, they never fully trusted them and immediately blamed them for spreading the Black Tower's miasma. In the ending, if Vera is revived, she and the surviving nymphs make peace with the humans from Westvale, who offered to help them restore the forest.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Jondar forbids his daughter Sera from practicing magic, so she goes off into the Black Tower in order to find research material. When she comes back, the two reconcile and Jondar allows Sera to study magic, but under his supervision.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • The Lich will summon multiple skeletons as they lose HP. In their rematch, they'll have all their minions from the start.
    • In the first fight with Vera, she'll summon nymphs to fight by her side. Sparing the nymphs will lead to additional rewards after the boss fight.
    • The Chess King has various chess pieces to support him, and when they die, they automatically activate a skill that gives a major boost to the king or punishes the party. In his rematch, he has an additional bishop and rook.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In the ending, Ned points out that in Timeline 0, Matthew's book about the Black Tower vanishing is still mostly the same, and that it's possible that the Black Tower may resurface again to wipe out humanity despite Abbie defeating Morgoth.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ned is rude to the party and mocks them for their lack of knowledge of technology and dank memes. However, it later turns out that he intentionally revised his first map to exclude the dangerous magma area, showing that he does care about the party to some extent. He also wants to help them prevent the Bad Future of Ambrose in order to honor his late mother.
  • Jerkass to One: Morgoth is normally Affably Evil even towards his enemies and is willing to entertain Mari's questions, but he shifts to a condescending attitude towards Abbie, who he considers an abomination for being an Artificial Human.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The nymphs become suspicious of Abbie and Mari for being immune to the miasma, so they exile the duo instead of heeding their warning to leave the forest. Later, it turns out Abbie can cure miasma poisoning, which means the nymphs doomed themselves by kicking Abbie out.
  • Made of Evil: All living things have an energy in them called "chaos," and humans have more of it than most other beings, which explains their inclination towards violence. The Miasma released by the Black Tower comes from humans. Originally, humanity's essence of chaos was balanced, but Zamas destroyed that balance in order to cause humanity to destroy themselves.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: On the final floor, Vera deals a fatal blow to Mari, but immediately regrets doing so and spends much of her boss fight freaking out.
  • The Needs of the Many: Morgoth supports the idea of the greater good of the greatest number, but Matthew points out that utilitarianism isn't so simple when considering the morality and long-tern consequences of actions. This is deconstructed because Lilith's master fed him visions of humans destroying each other through constant conflict, causing him to believe that absorbing humanity's chaos energy into the tower is necessary to save the planet even if it results in the near-extinction of humanity. He claims that even if this plan kills off humanity completely, it would still save the rest of the planet.
  • Never My Fault: The ending of the book, "Of Gods and Men," shows that Helena sacrificed herself to save humanity from Zamas. Zamas proceeds to blame humanity for making Helena do this, all while ignoring his own responsibility in corrupting them.
  • No Biological Sex: Before Artificial Human Abbie is finalized, the scientists call Abbie "it" and the female scientist has to assign a gender. It's implied that Abbie was created without a sex, despite being cloned from a girl.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Although Abbie was canonically cloned from a girl, Abigail, the player can choose Abbie's gender. Abbie's sprite will change based on both their chosen class and chosen gender.
  • Rush Boss: Vera's third form is powerful due to getting three actions a turn, but she loses 100 HP per turn, making her go down quickly.
  • Save the Villain: If the player completes the Golden Essence sidequest, they can choose to revive Vera with the Golden Essence. This frees her from the miasma's influence and allows her to pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Sole Survivor: Downplayed. Abbie is seemingly the only survivor of the Bad Future where miasma wiped out humanity, since the last two scientists sent them back in time. Later, it turns out Ned was also sent back in time, and that he's the son of the scientist, Mary.
  • Superboss: Tiamat guards the Raganarok sword in the ROGUE magma area, which is already a Brutal Bonus Level. Tiamat is also stronger than the Final Boss, due to getting three actions per turn. Although they get fewer actions per turn as they lose heads, they use increasingly powerful skills to compensate.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: Abbie seems to be no different from a regular party member at first due to the class system, but they're the only one who can use the Dispel Miasma skill. This is because they were bioengineered specifically to survive the calamity that destroyed humanity in the future, making them the only one who can stand against the miasma-using enemies of the tower.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Angoma is a clumsy thief who can't land a hit to save his life and is too shy to talk to his crush, Natalya. He also accidentally steals Natalya's ring, incurring her wrath. Later on, he improves enough at fighting to give the party a serious challenge. In the ending, he manages to get a date with Natalya.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Harold's party continues venturing higher into the Black Tower, even after it's established that only Abbie is immune to miasma and is the only one who can cure others from it. On the HELLGATE floor, Vera kills them and revives them as miasma slaves.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Angoma was initially an Unskilled, but Strong boss who had decent durability, but terrible accuracy. In the endgame, his attacks are more accurate and he has a high evasion rate, showing that he can now live up to his boasts of being a great thief.
  • Wolfpack Boss:
    • In the knight class quest, the party has to fight Darrick, Leonard, and Lissandra, a trio of Halonian knights.
    • On the HELLGATE floor, the party fights Harold, Therese, Lucius, and Marsha.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: In the first encounter with the clumsy thief, Angoma, he'll miss with all of his attacks. He becomes more accurate in his rematch and can easily KO party members with lower defense.