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Video Game / Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins

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Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins is an RPG Maker 2000 game developed by Shoukichi Karekusa in 2008 and translated by Dinklations in 2021.

The adventurers of Holm discover an ancient ruin just north of town, but soon after making some headway in their exploration, a horde of "Nightseed" demons attack the town. Although they fend off the monsters, several children are now falling prey to a disease that slowly encases them in a purple crystal. Worse yet, the Nightseed continue to attack the surrounding area, destroying nearby villages in the process. The cause of these attacks must be in the ruins, so it falls on the adventurers to continue their quest and solve the mystery of the Nightseed.

A remake was announced at TGS 2022, the concept trailer for which can be seen here.

Download here.

Has no relation to Library of Ruina.

This game contains examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Ranger: In the final dungeon, If the main character is a rogue, Titus I possesses Chuna's body and fights the party until her body is mortally wounded. If the party only contains three people, and the player has the Iterio Fragment, Chuna will be revived and will join in the fourth slot.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: During the final battle, Overlord!Titus will cast a spell that drains the party's MP while reducing their stats and accuracy. However, the Iterio Fragment skill can be used to reverse that spell and regenerate MP each turn, allowing the party to spam their best skills.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Justified with items obtained directly or indirectly from agriculture. After the Grotto dungeon, the price of food and healing items increases due to the monster attacks on farmers. The prices increase again after the party returns from the Ancient City, due to time passing quicker in the real world. Downplayed with equipment and adventuring supplies, which are sold at fixed prices, though new equipment tends to be priced several times higher than their slightly weaker predecessors.
  • Ambiguous Start of Darkness:
    • The Witch of Varamere was stated in one legend to have been betrayed by Titus I, making it seem like she was forced to become a demon lord. However, the River Girl legend states that she used a love potion to seduce Titus, making it seem like she was the one who corrupted him in the first place. It's not clear which legends in the game are true, making her morality before becoming a demon lord ambiguous.
    • For that matter, did Titus I turn evil because of the princess's love potion or did he succumb to his ambition and power of his own volition? Due to the conflicting lore, it's not clear what changed him.
  • Ambition Is Evil:
    • Prince Teor of the Kness Dukedom starts out as an ally, but eventually, it becomes clear that he's exploring the ruins not out of altruism, but to gain power and glory for himself. He eventually decides to rebuild the Archean Empire with himself as the ruler and plans to trap everyone in Star Spirits in order to preserve Titus's spirit.
    • In the final dungeon, if the player asks Titus I how he can justify his actions, he states that it's human nature to seek power and immortality. His goal is to force everyone on the planet to dream of him and his empire so that he can preserve himself and his legacy forever.
  • Anti-Grinding: EXP from individual battles are far lower than event EXP. Additionally, the encounter rate for an area goes down if the player kills too many mobs.
  • Astral Projection: After obtaining the Book of Keys on the Sage Route, the protagonist can separate their spirit from their body to fly into the Cosmos, the route's Unique Dungeon. It is through this that they can learn and master the book's techniques.
  • Big Bad: The cause of the Nightseed attacks is the spirit of Emperor Titus I, who wants to lure the protagonist deeper into the ruins and force them to prove themselves worthy as his vessel. He intends to use the Star Spirits to force everyone to fall asleep and dream of Argadium, keeping his spirit and empire alive forever.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Iterio Fragment is the completed form of the four cursed elemental gems and the non-cursed Yunum's Moonstone, but the Iterio Fragment and Yunum's Moonstone don't have any stat boosts. They're still mostly preferable to their cursed counterparts because they have no side effects, have instant death immunity, and cannot be used by Titus I against the protagonist.
  • Cap: The inventory can only contain 10 of each consumable item. This is actually a soft cap due to the underlying engine, with the hard cap at 99. That's relevant here because it's possible to obtain more than 10 of an item if the player farms them from events that don't check the soft cap.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Pingar is the greedy CEO of Pingar's Emporium. On the rogue route, he pressures the protagonist and Paris into selling treasure to him while making empty promises of saving their friend, Chuna. He later manipulates the duo into attempting to assassinate Duke Kamur and sics another assassin on them when they refuse to hand Chuna over to him. He then kidnaps Chuna and several other crystallized children to sell them to Teor, knowing the latter is going to perform dangerous experiments on them and keep them in their crystallized state.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The class system gives the user both stat penalties and stat bonuses depending on which class they level up. This means a protagonist who only masters classes they have aptitude for will likely have very high primary stats and very low Dump Stats.
  • Cursed Item: Combined with Stuck Items. Some powerful pieces of equipment are cursed so that if the player tries to remove them from the wearer, an event is triggered after the player exits the menu, which causes the equipment to go back on the previous wearer. While Ada can remove most cursed equipment by destroying them, she cannot do so for the elemental gems that only the protagonist can equip. Those require the player to activate the fountain at the bottom of the Cemetery.
  • Demonic Possession: The spirit of Titus I intends to take over the protagonist's body after the latter proves themselves worthy. When that fails, Titus takes over the body of either Teor or one of the protagonist's close friends, depending on the route.
  • Developer's Foresight: If the player manages to defeat Titus I at the bottom of the crypt without having obtained the Iterio Fragment, the game will warn that you still lack an important item before you enter the final dungeon. In addition, every fight against Titus during the game's final segment will have the protagonist becoming enthralled just like the crypt fight.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The TTEXP system rewards players if they can gather enough EXP before returning to town, and the requirement increases by 100 each time. The player can meet multiple TTEXP thresholds in one dungeon session, but upon returning to town, TTEXP is set to 0. This encourages players to get as much done as they can in one dungeon session, which can be dangerous on normal and higher due to the limited save opportunities.
  • Duel Boss:
    • In the upper part of the Dragon Tower, the player can select a party member to fight the self-proclaimed Nightseed King, who is immune to weapons and magic, but not fists. If the chosen character wins, the Nightseed King rewards the player with strength-boosting equipment.
    • In the Ancient City, once per day, the player can select a party member to fight several consecutive duels against human minibosses in an arena.
    • Also on the rogue route, Laban will offer to fight Uryu one-on-one in the duke's mansion. While she is normally a very strong boss, she gets weakened in this duel because Laban is familiar with her swordplay, enough to practically No-Sell her attacks
    • On the Sage route, Syphon can be challenged to one when you first meet him in the tavern.
  • Dungeon Crawling: The gameplay involves exploring nodes on a map in order to activate events and expand the visibility of the map. These nodes can contain any combination of rewards, traps, battles, and lore.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: On the Sage route's unique dungeon, the Cosmos, the player can meet some sort of strange tentacled alien creature, known simply as "Old One," escaping from somniun crystals. Rescuing it will result in some friendly chatter before being given the option to have it join you. Reaching the end of the dungeon will have said the Old One bestow upon the player some bonus SP.
  • Early Game Hell: The early game equipment isn't able to cover all ailments and elements, making it easy to get wiped out due to a lack of resistances. The later part of the game makes it easier to build against bosses' traits and skillsets, especially if the player knows which random drops to save scum for.
  • Frame-Up: On the rogue route, it's revealed Paris's mother was executed by Duke Kamur for supposedly heinous crimes. In reality, the government pressured him to frame her because she found a baby who had a connection to West Siwa's royal family.
  • Indestructible Edible: This is only played straight with preserved foods like jerky, which can be made by combining ingredients with mysterious salt. These preserved foods won't expire, making it possible to hoard them over the course of an entire playthrough. All other foods have a chance of expiring whenever a day passes.
  • Golden Ending: If the player defeats the Final Boss within 10 turns, the party gets to return to Holm without being frozen in time by Titus's spell, allowing them to reunite with their friends. However, this ending is not considered the "true ending" despite being harder to obtain than the actual true ending.
  • Guide Dang It!: Kileha's sidequest requires the player to raise her affection to 12 if the protagonist is male or 15 is the protagonist is female, and this has to be done sometime before clearing two of the Fairy, Giant, and Dwarf Towers. While the rest of the quest is easy to clear, activating the quest in the first place requires the player to know about the deadline. The only saving grace is that the skill she learns from the quest can be obtained by leveling her to 25.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The fourth party slot is reserved for temporary party members and summonable allies. These party members usually leave the moment the player returns to town or another guest joins, though some of them can rejoin as normal party members. Significant guests include Dalim, who joins as an AI-controlled ally in the Dwarf Tower and Chuna, who joins right before the Final Boss in the rogue route.
  • I Need You Stronger: In order for Titus I to take over the protagonist's body, the latter needs to prove themselves equal to the former by performing the same feats. This requires the protagonist to go through the ruins and subjugate the bosses of Dragon, Fairy, Dwarf, and Giant Towers. As a result, Titus I doesn't take direct action against the protagonist until the latter resists his control in the Cemetery dungeon.
  • Interface Spoiler: On the priest route, you will be joined by a boy simply known as "Boy" in the route's unique dungeon, Oblivion. Taking a look at his skillset shows that he shares the exact same skills as Melodarke, and at the end of the dungeon that's who he's ultimately revealed to be.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: If the River Girl legend is true, then the Princess of Varamere used a love potion to seduce Titus I and lead him to betray Archiphea. However, she ended up betrayed and subjugated as one of his demon lords, which might not have happened if it weren't for her love potion.
  • Leaked Experience: Only EXP from events are leaked to inactive party members, but EXP from the battles themselves aren't.
  • Lethal Chef: While many characters can learn the Cooking skill, some like Melodarke and Fran have a higher chance of making failure dishes. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it's possible to use failure dishes as attack items in battle.
  • Karma Houdini: On the rogue route, Pingar captures and sells the crystallized children to Teor for profit. After Teor is defeated, Pingar flees and faces no consequences for his actions.
  • Multiple Endings: There are two different main endings, though there are dialogue variations based on who has the highest affection. There are also a few Non-Standard Game Over endings as well.
    • If the final boss is beaten in 10 or less turns, the main character gets to return to Holm and talk to all of their friends before moving on with their life. The turn limit is increased on subsequent New Game Plus runs.
    • If the final boss isn't beaten in time, the party is frozen in time for at least 170 years before waking up in a later era, where Holm no longer exists. However, the people of the modern day tell tales of the protagonist being the hero who saved the world. Despite this ending being easier to obtain, it is considered the true ending.
    • If the player racked up too much bad karma and is cursed by one of the elemental gems, Titus I successfully possesses the protagonist when he's confronted in the Cemetery.
    • On the Priest route, Melodarke will leave a note for the protagonist to meet him alone at the town graveyard about the circumstances of their birth. He reveals that he has arrived with the Temple Guard with the intent to take the protagonist away and imprison them to prevent the resurrection of Titus I. Normally, your other party members will rebuke him for this and refuse to let him take the protagonist. If you do go alone however, you have the option to accept, which will lead to a Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Deneros the sage has his hut burned down by the Temple Guard once the invasion of Holm takes place. Despite this, he makes it out safely and takes refuge in a section of the ruins, where he can continue to sell the player herbs. However, on the Sage Route, he will have injured himself searching for the protagonist when they disappear into the ancient city. This leaves him in poor health and in no condition to resist the Temple Guard once the invasion begins. While he still attempts to escape with the protagonist, he is shot by an arrow and dies right there. His last words to them was to "search for the Silver Tower."
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Demon Lord Namris is immune to all attacks from humans, and the game expects the player to recruit the dragon girl, Enda, to damage him. However, if that isn't an option or if the player wants to get his bonus drop, he can be killed through summoned beasts, angels, and strategies involving ailment-inflicting items.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Kileha's sidequest will be lost if the player cannot raise her affection enough before the Holm occupation event.
  • Psycho for Hire: Uryu is a kill-happy swordswoman who takes on hit jobs for the thrill of the hunt. She is encountered in the rogue route due to Teor and Pingar hiring her.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • There are random drops from both the regular battle system and the dungeon event system. This means winning a regular battle could cause the player to receive both the normal battle reward and an evented reward, with the latter dependent on the current map rather than the enemy.
    • In the Burial Chamber dungeon, each of the undead emperor minibosses have rarely dropped equipment, with drop rates ranging from 10 to 20 percent. Fortunately, they respawn each day.
  • Realpolitik: Duke Kamur didn't want to execute Paris's mother, but the government forced him to do so because she adopted a baby that West Siwa wanted dead. If he refused, West Siwa would have declared war on the Kness Dukedom. However, he spares her adopted children, fakes their deaths, and refuses to kill them even when they later try to go after him for revenge.
  • Replay Value: In addition to the New Game Plus feature, the player's starting class can alter the story significantly. This decision changes the protagonist's relationship with various characters, changes the protagonist's upbringing, changes who gets possessed by Titus I, and grants access to route-specific dungeons.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The Executioner from the Palace dungeon revives every time he's killed. To get rid of him, the player has to either throw him outside of the dungeon or kill Emperor Titus XVI, who is the source of the Executioner's power.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Zigzagged with the Titus line. Some of them were benevolent and competent rulers, but many also went mad with power. It's implied that Titus I had a hand in driving them to madness as part of his conspiracy to preserve his immortal spirit.
  • Save Scumming: The TTEXP system rewards players for accumulating a lot of experience before returning to town, which is intended to discourage returning to town constantly to save. However, the random drop events can still encourage save scumming if the player needs rare drops from those, since the number of random battles are limited each day. Save scumming is also encouraged for cooking, which produces random results.
  • Shadow Dictator: Notes from Titus XVI indicate Titus I manipulated all future generations of Archean emperors behind the scenes as a bid to maintain his power and immortality, having them secretly perform experiments to find a way to extend his life.
  • Silicon-Based Life: After the Nightseed attack on the town, several children, including Chuna, slowly have their bodies enveloped by sentient purple crystals. These are later revealed to be Star Spirits, which force their victims to dream.
  • Supreme Chef: Of all characters, Kileha and Allson have the highest chance of succeeding when they use the cooking mechanic. This can save time in save-scumming to get the best cooking results.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: The Perception skill allows the user to detect traps and ambushes. However, some of these bad events have to be dealt with in order to make story progress. Even optional traps can grant additional EXP if they player survives, making it inevitable for such traps to be triggered.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay:
    • The nodes in the dungeon crawling system can contain useful rewards, traps, or both. There's no way to figure out the best approach without taking a leap of faith or looking up a guide.
    • Unlike the mixing menu, the cooking menu doesn't list all the recipes, meaning players will need to experiment in order to find out what foods they can make.
  • Unreliable Expositor: The player can collect several in-game legends and fairy tales, but it's uncertain which ones are the most truthful, since any of the authors could have unreliable or biased accounts. It doesn't help that some of the lore have contradictory accounts. An example is "River Girl" and "Witch of Varamere," with the former painting the Varamere princess and Titus's relationship as being induced by a love potion and the latter implying their love was initially genuine.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Methusalah Temple War Monks team up with West Siwa to occupy Holm. While West Siwa just wants to claim territory, the Temple believes that the people of the town must be subjugated to prevent any further exploration of the ruins. Balsimus, a high ranking priest, believes that the power in the ruins will lead to the end of the world. In the ending, Methusalah abandons the war because the protagonist took out Titus I, giving the Temple no more reason to fear Holm.