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Video Game / Rune Factory

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This page is for the series as a whole. For the first game in the series, go here.

Rune Factory is a game series developed by Neverland Co. It started as a Spin-Off of the Story of Seasons series, retaining the core farming and social aspects of its parent series and integrates it into a fantasy setting complete with an anime-inspired art style and some RPG-style elements, such as the ability to fight monsters.

The games in the series are:

This video-game series provides examples of:

  • The Ace: If you play well, YOU. Look at it from the other villagers' perspective: You sweep into town from nowhere, become a more successful farmer, warrior, and item crafter. You also build up a farm that they couldn't for years, become everyone's best friend, and steal away girls (or boys, starting from Oceans) that some of these characters had been going after for since childhood. And this is all in your first year! No wonder some characters hate you so much...
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: The gems in the series look sparkly when they're mined.
  • All There in the Manual: Rune Factory Official Memoirs (summarized here) has a lot of background information not found in the games.
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  • And Your Reward Is Parenthood: You can have children in each game in the series after getting married. 2 has your child become the new hero. 3 lets you have up to three children. And 4 has your child become a potential party member.
  • Babies Ever After: Obviously, for a series inspired by Harvest Moon. Averted in RF 2 when the protagonist's kid eventually becomes a new hero/ine.
  • Blue Blood: The De Sainte-Coquille family can be found all over Norad, living near farming communities to eat food that is made with the freshest ingredients. They can easily be picked out of a crowd, as the head of the family will be a gonk and their daughter(s) will have blue/purple hair. There are exceptions to these criteria; such as Porcoline who runs his own restaurant and has taken an elf under his wing, and Beatrix who is the mayor of an island town.
  • But Thou Must!: In the very start of Rune Factory 2, you can't decline Douglas's and Mana's offer to purchase the hoe and watering can. Similarly, you can't say no to Shara showing you around your new home in RF 3.
  • The Blacksmith: Leo for the first game, Tanya for RF 2, Ganesha for Frontier, Gaius for RF 3, Elena in Tides of Destiny, and Bado for RF 4 are all the town's weapon makers and shopkeepers.
  • Cast from Hit Points: If you're out of RP, actions will drain your HP instead. In the first game, the system for this was really bad, resulting in "RP management" consisting entirely of "carry around the Heal spell and eat a snack sometimes". The second game fixed the two most obvious problems (Magic costs decrease with practice like everything else, and your max RP increases with levels), but the system was still pretty ignorable. The third game made the HP drain much greater and added greater RP gain to more food, finally encouraging players to act the way the game wanted them to.
  • Color-Coded Stones: The series has purple amethysts, red rubies, green emeralds, and white diamonds. However, it also has deep blue aquamarines, so the sapphires end up being pink instead of the usual blue.
  • Cool Pet: Monsters can be tamed from dungeons and used as livestock, farm hands, and battle allies.
  • Cute Witch:
    • Melody. Subverted as she can't use magic. She just likes the outfit.
    • Marion from Rune Factory 3 might be a better example as she CAN use magic. Even though she's more interested in being a nurse/apothecary, and sees magic as cheating in these schools of medicine.
  • Dub Name Change: The aristocratic family name was changed from Viviaaju to de Sainte-Coquille.
  • The Empire: The Sechs Empire. More so in the first, where it directly threatened to invade the kingdom where the village is located by the use of an ancient dragon.
  • Express Delivery: If not then the lead of the second game knew who you were going to have him marry and had an affair with her some time before, because your wife doesn't even take thirty days to pop a kid out after you tie the knot.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Lynette in RF1, the military commander from Sechs who moves in after you beat the Big Bad.
  • Fanservice: Bikini season! In every game but the first (where it's discussed but never done), the first of Summer is a big beach day where at least every marriageable candidate will don a swimsuit and... well, hang out next to the water, because there's no swimming animations.
  • Farm Life Sim: Rune Factory is a Story of Seasons spinoff that became so popular it became its own series. It features similar farming gameplay to the original series, except that it uses a fantasy setting instead of a modern Retro Universe one. There's also combat due to the added RPG elements.
  • Fluffy Tamer: A staple of the series, as you can tame and rear pretty much every non-boss monster (and then some) in the games, including wolves, trolls, giants, golems, ghosts and so on.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The winter-only dungeon in the first game has Mist comment that you can stay overnight with a sleeping bag to stay there into spring. While this is technically true, it also results in the game hard locking and forcing you to turn off your DS.
  • Godhood Seeker: Every non-dragon main villain has had this going. The only exception is Ethelberd in his first appearance. After Raguna stops him he becomes more obsessed with obtaining ultimate power in his second appearance in the series.
  • Green Aesop: Inevitable given the setting. It is important to protect nature and not abuse the power of runes, because their balance holds the world together, brings prosperity to the land and makes it so that the rest of the cast can’t ever seem to shut up about it.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Due to the variety of races in Norad, it is possible for the player to have a hybrid child in every game. Though these lineages won't play a huge part in how the child turns out.
    • In the first game, Raguna can marry Tabatha and have a half-elf baby.
    • In the second, Kyle can marry Cecilia and have a quarter-elf baby. By default, Cecilia will marry another half-elf and have a half-elf child.
    • In Frontier, Raguna can marry Iris and have a baby that is half-"ancient race". Tabatha can also be married again.
    • The third game takes this Up to Eleven and makes the main character a half-human hybrid, meaning the kid you have will always be a quarter-monster. Four of the bachelorettes are also different races, which allows the player to pop out kids that are half-elf/mermaid/univir/phoenix.
    • Oceans allows Aden to marry Pandora and Maerwen, who will produce half-demon or half-dark elf kids.
    • The fourth game has four marriage candidates with monster traits, in addition to a dwarf and elf.
    • The fifth game has two wereanimal candidates, resulting in half-wereanimal children. Ares also has the option of having a quarter-elf child with the half-elf Scarlett, or a half-succubus child with Ludmilla.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The main characters have default names, but can be renamed.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Between a notably sloppier localization of the very first game and occasional switching between Natsume and XSEED Games, there are some very visible name changes, particularly in Frontier. The "First Forest" was permanently renamed to the "Forest of Beginnings" and the Sechs Empire was temporarily renamed Zzyzx. Tori's name was changed to Tart, though as she hasn't appeared again it's uncertain whether this change stuck or not. The manual for Rune Factory 4 lampshade the reversion of the empire's name, stating that Zzyzx "may have been a practical joke, or perhaps the result of temporary delirium due to illness".
  • Informed Ability:
    • When you meet anyone who is "Tough" or "A warrior", you can almost invariably count on never, EVER seeing them fight anyone or anything, despite everyone else saying how tough they are or how well they fight. Due to Gameplay and Story Segregation, most likely, but even so, it's become a running joke for many fans.
    • Most professionals whose skills can be practiced by the player's skills can seem like this too. Though they may be described as "experts" or "the best" by the local villagers and brag about their years of experience and skill, the quality of merchandise they provide is only average at best and the player character can usually produce better equipment than they sell in just a few seasons.
  • Interspecies Romance: Every game in the series (so far) has had at least one elf (or half-elf) marriage candidate. RF3 throws in a mermaid, a horned humanoid and a half-monster (and the half-monster protagonist makes EVERY pairing this trope.) RF4 Includes several bachelors who were originally monsters, and retained several monster features since becoming human.
  • Item Crafting: A central part of the game, as the most powerful tools and weapons aside from the basic ones will be created from this process.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Aden and Sonja of Oceans are (so far) the only series protagonists not to get a dose of this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Nobody in the Kardia pair of games ever changes their outfit. Frontier lampshades it:
    Bianca: You're always wearing the same clothes. You smell.
    Raguna: Wh-what?! But aren't you always wearing the same thing, too?
    Bianca: I NEVER wear the same thing twice. I like the design of this outfit, so I had HUNDREDS of it made for me.
  • Market-Based Title: The "A Fantasy Harvest Moon" subtitle was only used on the first game in Japan. Natsume added it to all the DS games in the US.
  • Nerf Arm: In the first game, the most powerful weapon in the game is: your watering can. Likewise, Frontier has the fishing pole as the strongest weapon. The first example hasn't gone unnoticed, as Kross in Frontier comments about how someone destroyed a tank with a watering can.
  • Never Say "Die": Monsters, notably. They don't die; they return home to the Forest of Beginnings. Mainly because befriending monsters is how the player acquires livestock, and that would be a bit too grim.
  • Non-Idle Rich: The de Sainte-Coquille family. The family works for its wealth, and uses its wealth and connections to fund public spaces and organize most of the festivals. Also implied that they're responsible for shipping the player's crops and importing most products not produced locally.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Mentioned above in Never Say "Die": weapons are designed in the series to not actually harm monsters, but instead send them back to the Forest of Beginnings.
  • Official Couple: Raguna and Mist, Kyle and Mana, Micah and Shara, Aden and Sonja (to an extent). Considering the Dating Sim aspect of the games, this trope's presence has led many to complain about the "forced couples".
  • Only One Name: Most of the characters in this series fall under this trope. The de Sainte-Coquilles avert it due to being aristocracy.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played so straight in the first game that the human who was trained by a dwarf matches every last cliche. In 3, however, when you actually see a couple dwarves, you'd almost assume they were elves at first. Only one is into mining and forging, and the other gets offended by the short bearded man stereotype.
  • Parental Abandonment: The villages in these games tend to be populated mostly by people who aren't even old enough to drink. Roughly a quarter of those youngsters have no visible parents, and most of the rest only have one. The fates of these parents are often only vaguely alluded to if it's ever brought up at all. Kinda makes you wonder how these places stay so darn cheery.
    • Kardia in particular has exactly zero couples, yet no shortage of children. Everyone is either single, widowed, separated or single-parent with no further elaboration.
    • To bring the point home even more, in the second half of RF2 this becomes a plot point for your player character.
    • Trampoli is somewhat better about this. Every youngster has at least one related guardian and, shockingly, Eunice even has a mother AND father. Rosetta, Lara and Bianca live on their own but you know their fathers are back in Kardia (though the issue of their nonexistent mothers still apply). Danny has a family back in his hometown, Selphy is a runaway and Melody's orphan status is a plot point. Played straight with Erik though, and the less we talk about Mist the better.
    • Oceans/Tide of Destiny is a pretty big offender as well. The need to include bachelors ate up some extra character slots, so there are only four characters over the rough teens of the marriage candidates. Only three are residents of the island and only two are related to anyone.
    • RF4 practically adopts this as a theme: literally the only character in the entire game whose parents are both intact and present is the player character's child. Everyone else is either raised in a single-parent household or Happily Adopted.
      • Subverted with a handful of characters, whose parents aren't seen in game but are still referenced. Xiao Pai's father, Yang Fan, is said to be travelling but they still have a relationship and he even turns up in a few town events (albeit as a faceless NPC), and Vishnal has family in another town. Clorica's marriage event also revolves around her relationship with her family.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Melody wears this ensemble in the first game, and Alicia wears a more Stripperific variation in the second.
  • Running Gag:
    • The proliferation of Amnesiac Heroes in this series becomes one in later entries, with NPCs commenting on how oddly common it is.
    • Interacting with an NPC's bed gives you the option to sleep in it. If the owner is nearby, they'll get mad at you.
  • Slice of Life: Being a descendant of the Harvest Moon series, the games can be played as this. You can set your own pace for the plot and focus more on your crops and socializing with the villagers.
  • Talk to Everyone: A requirement, since you have to speak to everyone to get all the basic tools.
  • Too Awesome to Use: A borderline case with the flowers, most notoriously the Emery Flower. Not only does it require 26 000 gold in Frontier, it takes 120 days (which is a full year by the in-game calendar) to grow without aid. What saves this from the effects of this trope is that you get 9 of them in one seed packet.
  • Turns Red: Almost every boss will literally turn red when you've lowered its HP enough. Most of them also let out a vicious roar at this point, just in case you haven't figured out that they're about to get a lot more aggressive.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Quite a few examples, but the de Sainte-Coquille dads and their daughters come to mind.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend:
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Despite the innoncent personalities of the main characters, the game gives you many chances for them to assert their "main character" status on the villagers.
    • In the second game, Kyle can steal a bride on her wedding day if their LP is high enough with him.
    • Frontier allows you to back out of a marriage by not saying "I do", but will cause the girl's FP/LP to plummet to 0 (except Tabatha for some reason).
    • Frontier, 3, and 4 allow you to cheat on your significant other/spouse and take another marriage candidate out on a date. The spouse/significant other's response vary from hurt to anger. Though, in the case of 4, you can actually make a Harem by dating and confessing to the other marriage candidates. Making this more downplayed compared to the previous games.
  • Warp Whistle:
    • In the original Rune Factory it's two different books. "Escape", which lets you exit a dungeon, and "Teleport", which brings you to your house. Neither can be used if you're sealed.
    • Frontier allows you to do this with a simple menu command from the get-go. As a bonus, it also works while sealed. This means that you can fight however much you want without worry that you can always escape just in time.
    • In the second half of Rune Factory 2, one of the Magic Books allows you to warp back to the entrance of a dungeon. If you're not in a dungeon, it'll warp you back to your house.
    • In Rune Factory 3, the spell sends you to different places depending on where you are; for example if you're on your doorstep and cast it, it'll send you right next to your bed, whereas if you cast it while in your home it sends you to your doorstep.
    • And in Rune Factory 4, besides being an usable spell it can be used at any time with a tap on the touch screen.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Building up experience in mundane activities such as cooking, farming and even eating and chatting will eventually raise the character's combat-related stats.
  • Wutai: In the world of Rune Factory, there is a small island country to the east that is heavily based off of Japan's Sengoku and Edo period (with a dash of Chinese culture). If there is a character with an Asian name wearing Eastern style clothes, chances are they're from this country.


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