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Video Game / Six Ages

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Life Between Myths.

Six Ages is a series of games following up the cult classic King of Dragon Pass. Like KoDP, the series is about leading a clan in the primitive, fantastical world of Glorantha. Every entry takes place in a different era of Gloranthan history, enabling players to import "their" clan into successive games and significantly customize its culture.

  1. Ride Like the Wind: The first game, following a colony of Riders in the mythic Storm Age. It was released for iOS in June 2018, and was ported to PC and Mac on October 17, 2019.
    Premise: The sun god Yelm is dead, and the mighty empire your people once lived in is covered in ice. Your clan has escaped that fate and must now make a home in a new land, populated not only by fellow Riders but by their Wheel cousins and the barbaric Rams— worshippers of Orlanth, Yelm’s murderer.

  2. Lights Going Out: The second game, set in the apocalyptic Great Darkness. Currently in development for iOS; a demo was released May 4, 2023, and the full game was released on August 21st of the same year.
    Premise: Glorantha is dying, and your gods with it. Everywhere the earth is withering, monsters emerging, and sunlight growing dimmer day by day. Never before has it been so hard to survive. But you are Berenethelli, and death is not an option. Somehow you will persevere through the darkness- as its stalwart foes, or desperate servants.

  3. The World Reborn: The third game, currently being conceptualized.

The series has a website here.

This series provides examples of:

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     General Tropes 
  • Action Girl: Followers of Osara, the Hyaloring goddess of Action Girls, count as Elmali for most purposes. And most Rider and Ram women fight if the clan is attacked.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In RuneQuest sourcebooks, the Yelmic order that Orlanth dismantled was an abstract thing that nobody literally needed, and that people could live outside of. In Ride Like The Wind, the sky falls because Yelmic order isn't maintained. That's not a metaphor, that's an objective event that everyone in the valley sees and that beings other than Yelm- including Orlanth's people- are hurt by. Which makes Orlanth's unwillingness to accept he did anything wrong (until the Lightbringers' Quest, over a century later) look a lot greyer. note 
  • Alliance Meter: Other clans' opinion of you is measured on two scales. One measures whether they Like or Hate you, which is what it sounds like and is reflected in the color of their clan name on the map. The other measures whether they Fear/Respect or Mock you (that is, do they think you're a threat or not?)
  • Ancestor Veneration: Everyone— Riders, Rams, Wheels, and even nonhumans like the trolls— has to uphold their ancestors' ways or suffer the consequences. For the player clan, this means that your ancestors will reward you for striking against their foes or following their example when it comes to adopting outsiders, and curse you if you do the opposite. In the second game, you can even find dedicated ancestor worshippers among your nobles.
  • Character Portrait: All the nobles of your clan have these— most chosen at random, but your preset heroes always have unique faces. Their expressions don't change, but they do age over time. And if Beren loses an eye, he gets a new portrait set reflecting that.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: Your clan circle members serve to give you advice on how to handle certain matters, but there's no guarantee their advice is good. The quality of the advice is affected by their skills (e.g. someone who has no skill in trading is unlikely to give you good advice on the worth of a Treasure) and their personalities, including personal prejudices (e.g. someone who hates the Wheels will almost always tell you not to trust them, and someone obsessed with goats will usually just ramble uselessly when asked about a matter involving cows).
  • Cool Horse: Horses are a big deal to the Riders. The standout is Gamari Horse Mother, a goddess who started life as Hippogriff and later became the first horse, but honorable mentions go to the Flying Horse (a living treasure that Gamari herself can give you) and the fiery-maned steed that Elmal rides. In the second game, the Berenethtelli also greatly value their horses. The character Reda goes on a quest to see a legendary horse, and if she's very lucky can come home with a magical horse of her own.
  • Creator Cameo: Several possible noble portraits are based on various members of the dev team. These portraits were also used in lieu of photographs for a series of interviews with team members.
  • Deal with the Devil: The outlaw god Uldak offers his aid in exchange for sacrifice. Your pantheon will not approve of you taking him up on it. The second game adds the Chaos gods and their cultists, who offer some suspiciously generous deals.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Hyalor, founder of the Rider culture, is now worshiped as a god by the Riders, although he is rejected by the related Wheel culture. By the second game, Redalda has joined him as the Berenethtelli goddess of horse-riding.
  • Ethnic God: The Hyalorings worship Hyalor, the Wheels worship Samnal (and both worship Elmal and consider him the king of the gods, so the two cultures are sometimes grouped together as Elmali). The Alkothi worship Shargash, the Demon Sun. And the Ram People worship Orlanth, which is one of the reasons you Solar peoples don't get on with them—their god killed Elmal's father, the Sun Emperor. The Berenethtelli tribe in the sequel has Redalda, their founding queen consort, now deified as the goddess of horses.
  • Facial Markings: The Rams tattoo their faces (as well as arms, necks, and presumably other body parts) with magical runes.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Hyalorings are Glorantha variants of Steppe Nomads of Central Asia.
    • Culture Chop Suey: Their clothing, armor resembling mirror armor, and theme tend to amalgamate Indo-European predecessors of India, Scythians, Native Americans, Mayincatec, and Far Eastern agrarian culture.
    • The Orlanthi also appear in this game, which they retained their overall Celtic and Germanic feel.
    • Wheels are an amalgamation of Chariot Cultures, which their chariot designs resembled both Mycenean and Sumerian designs. Furthermore, a tinge of Mayincatec as they share the Rider's Dara Happan progenitors who shared this culture.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Riders and Wheels worship the Sun Court, centered on Elmal now that Yelm is dead. There's also a Storm Court (worshipped by Rams) and a Darkness pantheon (worshipped by trolls). Some gods have counterparts—for example, all three have a god or goddess of trade—and some of those counterparts, like your Earth Queen Nyalda and Ernalda, Earth Queen of the Storm gods—are so very similar that one might be forgiven for confusing them...
  • Food God: The role is split among several deities in each game. The first has Busenari Cow Mother, Uryarda Goat Mother, Pela Barley Mother, Inilla the foraging goddess, and Dostal the god of the hunt; the second has Dostal and Inilla, now joined by Uralda Cow Mother. You will likely need all their help (and possibly that of food-related spirits) to keep your clan alive.
  • God Couple: Elmal and Nyalda, the two chief gods of the Hyaloring pantheon, are one example. There's also their daughter Inilla and the hunting god Dostal. The Orlanthi have Orlanth and his wife and advisor Ernalda (and be careful how you bring up the similarities between her and Nyalda!) And before his death, Yelm was married to Oria, the first Earth Queen. Hyalor and Aldrya are also treated as this trope sometimes, although other stories put a different spin on the relationship.
  • God Is Displeased: You can lose the favor of the gods in a number of ways, ranging from participating in a Wheel rite that doesn't sufficiently respect your shared goddesses to sacrificing clan members to an outlaw god.
  • God Is Dead: Yelm, the Top God of your clan's ancestors, has been killed by Orlanth. Many of his duties have been taken on by other gods (most notably Elmal), but the world is still feeling the effects. And due to the ongoing Gods' War, the bones of fallen deities can periodically be discovered. Four major gods die during the prolog of the second game: Ernalda the Earth Queen, Orlanth the Storm King, Lhankor Mhy Lore Keeper and Issaries the Trader.
  • Guide Dang It!: Like all RuneQuest games, Six Ages prioritizes immersion and setting verisimilitude over giving the player actual concrete stats to work with.
    • Players are never outright told what the endgame is, so as to make the plot twist around it and the decision of allying with the Rams more emotionally impactful.
    • The descriptions explaining what spirits and treasures do are vague at best. How useful is a magical brazier that "aids you against Darkness"? Is it more valuable than another treasure you can trade it for? What the hell is the Antelope spirit, who "lets our heroes and their horses leap into the air" good for?
    • If your explorers meet other explorers, you will be asked if you want to "waylay" them. Waylay here means attack.
    • The "low clan magic" event, unlike every other event that involves hurting another clan, does not give you an opportunity to choose who you want to kidnap from. If you're unlucky, you can accidentally break an alliance by doing this.
    • Some ritual blessings last for the rest of the game, others for only a few years. You're not told this, or which ones are temporary until you pick.
    • Many shamans look androgynous, which can be a problem if you've just started a ritual that requires someone of a specific gender and [clan's best magician] turns out to be incompatible. (Rituals cannot be stopped once they've started.)
    • Some events let players choose multiple responses to them (such as the endgame marriage preparations); you're not told beforehand which.
    • The game doesn't tell you that Beren has a hidden "heroism" score that gives him bonuses to certain tests. It is increased when he pulls off suitably heroic stunts or you perform actions appropriate to his heroic fate. Sacrificing at his birth also helps. This score also helps Redalda during the endgame.
  • Heroic Lineage: Those descended from gods are often The Chosen One by default, even if their godly ancestor wasn't all that noble. Apparently they have more possible destinies open to them than most people- which is not to say that those destinies are all good.
  • Horse Archer: The Riders are accomplished cavalry archers. So are the Berenethtelli.
  • Jumping-On Point: The creative team went to great lengths to avoid Continuity Lockout with players who hadn't heard of RuneQuest before. To accomplish this, they placed a Hints section on the title page explaining that worship and cultural continuity are vital to player success, included some sort of context in the narration of all random events, and implemented KoDP's advisor dialogue so that players would always have an in-universe perspective (if not an accurate one) on problems.
  • Morale Mechanic: Your clan's mood (ranging from Grim to Jubilant) influences how likely the people are to cooperate with their leaders' decisions. A bad mood can trigger special events in which members of your clan demand satisfaction. And morale has a role in battle, too: confident clans can pull off risky strategies, while less confident ones can't even try them and have a chance of running away from the enemy rather than fighting.
  • No Stat Atrophy: Averted for Combat, the one skill that measures physical ability— after age 50, there's a chance that characters may lose Combat skill rather than gaining it. Played straight for all other skills, however.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Once again, your clan circle is prone to this - even more so since they now represent the interests of major families within the clan.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Chaos is a force inimical to all existence, something that scares even the gods. And it's getting stronger.
  • Playing with Fire: The form of battle magic most Riders specialize in.
  • Practical Currency: Once again, cows.
  • Race Lift: An in-universe example. In the "real" scenes (see Art Shift ), Orlanthi are only slightly darker than Hyalorings, but Hyaloring art depicts them as distinctly brown-skinned- likely to emphasize just how different the two peoples are.
  • Relationship Values: Other clans can Like or Hate you, and Fear or Mock/Respect you. The three are separate, which makes maintaining your reputation more complex than it was in King of Dragon Pass.
  • Religion is Magic: As with the previous game, magic involves propitiating either gods or spirits. The game tab that deals with worship and enacting sacred rituals is even called Magic.
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Each turn you can take one action (build a shrine, send out a trade caravan, and so on), and each turn takes half a season.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The Wheels (more formally known as the Samnali) are distinguished from Rider by refusing to allow women to fight or lead, in addition to driving chariots rather than riding horses. One Ride Like the Wind storyline includes a Wheel clan "marrying" off their rebellious woman—who will embrace Rider culture and even become a noble— into your clan just to get rid of her.
  • Tagline:
    • Ride Like The Wind: Life Between Myths.
    • Lights Going Out: Life After Myths.
  • The Time of Myths: Ride Like The Wind is set in the Storm Age, prior to the beginning of linear time. Lights Going Out is set several generations later, during the apocalyptic Great Darkness. Many of the events that occur in the game have become myths and legends by the time of King of Dragon Pass.
  • Trickster Archetype: Followers of the Raven spirit and the Ram trickster god Eurmal.
  • Video Game Tutorial: The tutorial introduces you to the game through a scripted year of play, which can't be continued into a normal game.

    Ride Like The Wind 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Nameforgot, a Hyaloring chieftain who was such a terrible leader that his name isn't remembered. Your advisors often bring him up as an example of what not to do.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Some, though not all, of the Ram gods are depicted this way. In particular, Orlanth in the game has blue skin, and Ernalda green— very different from their appearances in King of Dragon Pass.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The protagonists of the game are Hyalorings - enemies of the Orlanthi, and worshippers of the Sun Pantheon. Ride Like the Wind also takes place in the Storm Age, a mythic era long before the events of King of Dragon Pass.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Horses: Obviously, Riders are strongly associated with Horses, symbolizing their strength, mobility and desire for freedom. Horses are also associated with the Wheels, but the Riders loathe them for using the horses to pull chariots instead of riding them.
    • Birds: Eagles symbolize the royal power of the dead sun god Yelm. Riders revere them because their Top God Elmal is Yelm's son. They also revere Raven, a powerful trickster spirit.
    • Sheep: The Ram people are the only sheep herders in the valley, as everyone else herds goats. Hence the nickname.
  • And Show It to You: The Alkothi demon-men can pull this on one of your nobles during battle. True to the trope, you can decide what that noble's final action is, including stabbing the demon-man for a defiant Mutual Kill.
  • Anyone Can Die: Including the Chosen Ones. And the demi(?)goddess who singlehandedly restores the valley's flora. In fact, part of playing the game is getting the stats of future ring members high for when your current ring members die off. A successful player will have seen several generations pass in-universe.
  • Apocalypse How: The Skyfall is a Class 0, causing massive devastation and disruption throughout the valley, but relatively little damage outside it. The ending, however, reminds the player that Glorantha is due for a Class 2 in a few centuries.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A neighboring clan that visits yours to talk about the danger of Chaos will mention three problems that they ascribe to that dire power. The first two can be anything from undead goats to bleeding cheese to malformed cattle. The last one is always... insolent teenagers.
  • Art Shift: The game has three distinct art styles: woodcut style for historical events (used during clan creation and in the ending slides), watercolor for the bulk of the game, and a third style for the Gloranthan otherworld (myths, rituals, and other appearances of the gods). Occasionally, characters drawn in the "divine" style appear in "normal" scenes, including a visit from the god Elmal, come to repossess the bones of his deceased herdsman so that he can have them forged into weapons, and the in-game appearance of Cenala, Hyalor's daughter by the elf goddess Aldrya. And secondhand events are sometimes shown in monochrome, like the blue tint of the scene where you first hear of the Daughters of Vingkot.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Riders, Wheels, and Rams are all generally considered barbarians by their neighbors.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The God Wars rage on and the Great Darkness is coming, but Beren and Redalda have made peace between the Riders and the Rams, and laid the foundations for the events that will bring about the Dawn Age.
  • Born in the Saddle: The Hyalorings refer to themselves as "Riders" for a reason. By contrast, Wheels—at least the warrior aristocracy—are rarely seen without the chariots that they consider cherished possessions.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: In Cenala's own version of their story Hyalor was this to Aldrya. He was old, dying, and reluctant to involve himself with another woman, but she persuaded him that their peoples and the world itself would need their child to survive. Their union was motivated by love, but not love of each other so much as everything else.
  • Colony Drop: A dead god gets dropped on the valley, with predictable results.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: The myth of Nyalda's Bride Price tells this story from the maiden's point of view, as she rejects the suitors who seek to imprison her and chooses to marry Elmal, who respects her enough to offer freedom. Beren is ultimately required to do this in order to win the right to wed Redalda by gaining divine sanction, offering an extravagant bride price of hundreds of cows, killing an enemy of humanity, and revealing the secrets of horsemanship to the Orlanthi. Redalda eventually reveals that she had to perform equivalent deeds to make the marriage happen, just as Nyalda had to do to marry Elmal.
  • Continuity Nod: Players of King of Dragon Pass will not be surprised that Six Ages's endgame revolves around an intercultural marriage.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: If your explorer tries to fight Ugarra and fails badly, Ugarra will turn them into an otter and then beat the otter to death. And a ritual gone wrong can lead to a noble being squashed under a giant dragon.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: When one of your young men breaks the edict against having a relationship with a Ram woman, your only options are to exile them, order them to commit suicide, or return the woman to her people (who may or may not be angry with her too) while subjecting the man to one of the same punishments. Even if you're as merciful as the situation allows you to be and supply them before sending them away, one or two people cannot survive on their own for any length of time.
  • Cultural Posturing: One of the many, many reasons the Riders dislike the Wheels is their tendency towards this. The Wheels are absolutely convinced that they are superior to the Riders in every way, and will take every opportunity to show it.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Hyalorings are not identical to the Orlanthi from King of Dragon Pass, but like them, they hold tribal, Bronze Age values, and success requires you to set aside modern morality and embrace that of the Riders.
  • The Empire: The Dara Happan Empire to the north, which is currently trapped under a magical glacier but is nevertheless occasionally able to interact with the outside world, and sees nothing wrong with sending its armies to pillage the Riders' lands. Your ancestors were Dara Happans, but rejected the whole "hiding in a dome under the glacier" thing, to the point where Dara Happa is one of the choices of their ancestral enemy.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: All the ending quests have a stage that requires Beren to fight a terrifying Chaos monster, sometimes without help.
  • Enemy Mine: This can happen several times and in various combinations of former enemies and common foes. It also plays a role in the ending, as the warring gods of the Riders and Rams must unite against the coming threat of Chaos.
  • Escort Mission: An automated version. You must provide warriors to escort Cenala back to her home. If you don't send enough, she can get ambushed and die.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: A otherwise friendly stag spirit will flee from members of the Antler Society. It has a very good reason for doing so, although that reason isn't revealed until the next game; the Antler Society are embryonic broos.
  • Fantastic Racism: You will have clan members who passionately hate the Wheels, the Rams, and your ancestral enemy (which can be elves, dwarves, the Rams, the Dara Happan empire that you once belonged to, the forces of Chaos, or the forces of Water). One of the most powerful clans in the valley also considers the Rams to be their ancestral enemy, and these Ram Killers can wind up becoming a significant stumbling block in the endgame.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: The downside of Hyalor's golden tablet. In a society with no fixed goal other than "survive", you get clans who insist that they need to keep slaves/burn heretics alive in fire cages/torture innocent shepherders to survive. And Hyalor helps them all. There are a few tinges of modern-day egalitarianism, though.
    Narration: (during the Ram Killers' endgame attack) Instantly you realize why. Their ancestors have always hated the Rams. They have always hated the Rams.
    • Another subversion can occur when a clan member suggests attacking the tiny, primitive Weeder tribe. Most times, people will be happy to "leave the poor Weeders alone".
  • Forbidden Fruit: One potential way to deal with the Cenala Revelation. If you send someone to verify that the revelation is true, then you can tell the other clans that you have a secret of Hyalor that you're willing to reveal in exchange for a gift. This makes it much easier to prevent a full-scale religious schism, as the clans that do learn the secret are more likely to accept it.
  • Foreshadowing: The ritual "Nyalda Marriage Maker" foreshadows aspects of the Beren/Redalda storyline, including the bride working behind the scenes to bring the marriage about while the groom knows nothing. It also establishes that "true love" is not an acceptable thing to bring up during marriage negotiations, whether or not the couple in question are in love with each other.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Towards the end of Beren's storyline, he becomes unavailable to lead missions, presumably to avoid derailing things with his death or absence at a key moment. This is neatly explained in-game with both Beren and your other nobles saying that he's too distracted by his personal life to represent the clan properly right now. Similarly, when Ayvtu is pregnant, she briefly becomes unavailable as an expedition leader, saying that she thinks she'd be all right but she promised the midwives that she would stay home.
  • Ghostly Goals: The ghosts of Elempur want revenge on the Rams for sacking their city, and will reward any clan that fights the Rams for them.
  • Good Old Ways: The Hyalorings are an interesting twist on this. You're supposed to honor the traditions of your ancestors, but one of those traditions is a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. Success ultimately requires you to give up at least one particularly outdated tradition. (Their Samnali cousins play this trope straight, though.)
  • Graceful Loser: If Beren the Swift is chosen as Redalda's husband, you are locked into a bad ending, as your clan will inevitable be forgotten. However, if you are graceful in your loss and support the wedding, your actions can still positively influence the future of the valley's Rider clans, and potentially make sure that Beren the Tall is remembered in a positive light despite not fulfilling his heroic destiny.
  • Grim Up North: All that you can find in the north is the steadily advancing glacier and the Alkothi demon-men.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Your clan discusses the unlikeliness of humans and elves producing offspring together, given that Gloranthan elves are in fact plants. This comes up when you receive word of the priestess Cenala, said to be the daughter of your formerly-human god Hyalor with the elf goddess Aldrya. The Rider clans are divided between those who believe that Cenala is divine and those who think the idea of their god having a relationship with a nonhuman goddess is preposterous.
  • Haunted Castle: The ruins of Elempur, a former Dara Happan city at the confluence of the Black Eel and Osliri rivers, which was sacked by the Rams long ago. The city is now haunted by the ghosts of its former inhabitants, who will reward you if you make war on the Rams.
  • The Heretic: After a traveler spreads word in the valley that Hyalor had a daughter with the elven goddess Aldrya named Cenala, the Rider clans split into those who accept this revelation and those who reject it. Cenala is very real, and it's possible for your clan to prove her divinity by having her heal the valley after the Skyfall.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sometimes in battle, the enemy will bring out an Elite Mook, such as a war machine or giant monster. If you elect to have one of your nobles fight it head-on with "heedless resolve", that noble is guaranteed to kill it at the cost of their own life.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Three children of your clan develop powerful fire magic. Unfortunately, they don't know how to control it, so it falls to the clan circle to decide how to deal with the situation.
  • Human Subspecies: The demon-men of Alkoth are technically human, but can grow to enormous sizes and have bizarrely elongated skulls.
  • Hypocrite: A Trickster clansman lampshades that Orlanthi worship the god of freedom but keep slaves.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: If you cozy up to slavers despite your clan's firmly antislavery traditions, Raven will force your trickster to sell your children into slavery as punishment. And when the sky breaks, a piece of it can fall on a Ram clan, who worship the guy who is the reason the sky's breaking in the first place.
  • Light Is Good: The Riders are worshipers of Yelm, the sun god, and his son Elmal.
  • Love Triangle: One can develop between the two Berens and Redalda.
  • Made a Slave: Many of your neighbors sell captives into slavery, and several keep slaves themselves. Your clan doesn't, because your ancestors chose to give up the practice—but you still need to protect your own people from this fate, and sometimes have to decide whether to intervene to help others. Fail to uphold your ancestors' antislavery traditions and you can get an event where Raven orders your trickster to sell several of your children into slavery as punishment for your hypocrisy.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Both Rider and Ram traditions forbid marriage with the other group; among other things, it's believed that the offspring of such marriages have a high chance of becoming wicked magicians. Actually asking the gods about the matter reveals that it's a purely human taboo rather than a divine edict, which suggests to your people that it might be okay after all.
  • Manly Facial Hair: Except for shamans and tricksters (who try to project a more androgynous appearance, especially the former), Rider men wear beards; one of your more warlike nobles decorates his with a death rune, and another clan member dyes a fire rune into his. This serves to contrast with the Wheels, who are always clean-shaven, and the Rams, among whom only lawspeakers (experts in lore rather than combat) wear beards.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: One early story event has two families arguing over which of them should be allowed to adopt a baby found in the river. Although divination reveals nothing, they consider the unusual circumstances a sign that the baby may grow up to do great things. You can rule in favor of either one, have the chief adopt the child instead, or put the baby back in the river.
  • Multiple Endings: While there's only one good ending the wedding of Beren the Tall to Redalda, it does have some variations depending on what divine blessing, if any, you pass on to your descendants. Meanwhile, there are a variety of ways to end the game, ranging from your clan disbanding due to lack of people or cows, to the Orgovaltes tribe arriving when you fail to achieve your destiny, to losing Redalda to Beren the Swift, and either helping defend their wedding or treacherously attacking it, to a last-minute tragedy should either Redalda or your own Beren die at their wedding.
  • Mystical Cave: The setting has several examples, most related to the earth goddess Nyalda/Ernalda.
    • In Inilla's heroic ritual, she can prove her parentage by descending with Nyalda into a cave. This variant of the myth tests the quester's magic stat.
    • The clan's explorers can physically meet Nyalda if they search a particular cave on the overworld map.
    • In Rider culture, the process of initiating girls into full womanhood involves them being "reborn from the dreaming cave", like some real-world Aborigine tribes. Because Riders constantly migrate, this cave (no plurals are used) is probably metaphorical or situated in the astral plane.
  • Non-Standard Skill Learning: Magic is the only skill that can't be boosted through Gods War rituals.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The game starts off with a premise fairly similar to that of King of Dragon Pass - your clan has just arrived in a new land and is trying to carve out a place for itself. Then, about halfway through the game, the sky cracks open and a dead god plummets to earth, utterly annihilating a neighboring clan and unleashing a wall of fire that scours the entire valley and devastates people, crops, and herds, leaving a permanent crater where your neighbor used to be.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Beren's friend from another clan is also named Beren.
  • Pals with Jesus: It's possible to get the demigoddess Cenala to officiate at Beren and Redalda's wedding.
  • Pegasus: A priestess of Gamari visits, telling your clan of her project of trying to breed winged horses. If your own priestesses learn her secrets, you can gain a flying horse from a successfully completed Gamari ritual.
  • Pretty Boy: Elmal somehow manages to pull this off despite having a full beard.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Clan advisors are careful to distinguish between guests and mere visitors. You can murder guests in some cases (usually the interface won't even give you the option), but doing so will make your clan magic and reputation drop like a stone — no matter how disrespectful they were being. In addition, offering hospitality is often potentially rewarding, as most of the foreigners who ask for it, or to be adopted into your clan, have something useful to teach you if you help them. For example, the Dara Happans can teach you how to worship Venurtera, Yeleni can teach you better hunting techniques, Votanki can persuade dog spirits to help you, Ergeshites can help your goats...
  • Schmuck Bait: There are a few events that give you plenty of opportunity to make really, really bad decisions. Go ahead, tell the Alkothi demon men to "do their worst".
  • Secret Character: You can build a shrine to Venurtera, the Dara Happan goddess of pottery only if you learn about her from a particular group of refugees.
  • Serious Business: Your clan heartily disapproves of anything that smacks of charioteering.
  • Severed Head Sports: The Riders usually play chadash with the preserved head of an old foe as the ball; they sometimes celebrate a victory by playing the game with the head of the enemy leader they just killed. (The game can also be played with the corpse of a goat if no head is available.)
  • Shout-Out:
    • It's possible to find a magical artifact called Mojara's Mask.
    • The event where your clan members catch a Ram man romancing one of your women (which is strictly forbidden by custom) is called "Rameo and Juliet" in the game files.
  • Shrouded in Myth: By the time of King of Dragon Pass, Orlanthi myth said that Elmal became Orlanth's loyal thane after Chalana Arroy healed his blindness, and he was able to see the evils of Yelm's court for what they were. In the end-game of Ride Like The Wind, Beren, a mortal man who has Elmal's favor, nearly goes blind after being captured and tortured by a rival clan, but can be saved by the intervention of Orlanthi priestesses of Chalana Arroy, which can directly contribute to the unification of the Elmal-worshiping Riders and the Orlanth-worshiping Rams.
  • Slice of Life: There are many subplots, but the main plot is simply "don't let your clan die" and, several generations after the game begins, "achieve the marriage that is necessary for the above". This fits Elmali mythology, which idealizes defensive war and tradition. It also makes the game easier than King of Dragon Pass, in which you constantly had to assert your clan's supremacy and make highly risky, specific decisions in order to get anywhere near victory.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Any pairing between a Ram and a Rider, as the children of such unions are inevitably evil sorcerers. Beren and Redalda are hit with this the hardest. Ultimately subverted; it turns out that the only thing holding the marriage back is the Riders' and Rams' own superstitions, and fate is, if anything, actively pushing for it to happen.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: Cenalan clans are simply better than those which don't believe, having unique blessings and particularly effective responses to events like Beren's wedding and the skyfall that their counterparts cannot replicate. To be fair, the game is largely about how great Rider ideals are, and Cenalan belief is objectively in line with those ideals.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Safely crossing either the Oslira or Black Eel Rivers requires you to either propitiate the river with gifts or tame it with a ritual.
  • Uncanny Valley: The demon-men of Alkoth are technically human, but there's something off about them, such as their unnaturally elongated skulls and sharp teeth. They can also grow much larger than other humans.
  • Unequal Rites: The Riders practice two kinds of magic. Priests and god-talkers derive their magic from the gods, while shamans derive theirs from nature spirits. There are a few events that deal with conflict between the two groups, as well as advisors who stubbornly insist that their brand of magic is superior. And then there's the Antler Society, a new shamanic movement whose practitioners quarrel with traditional shamans...
  • Upper-Class Equestrian: In Nivorah, only nobles owned horses. During the exodus, this actually caused some problems: everyone who left with Hyalor was proud of their horse-riding status, and correspondingly unwilling to do "servant" work. These days, while something of the kind is true for Wheels (only men of high status own their prized horse-drawn chariots), among the Riders everyone rides, regardless of rank.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: If your people catch one of your young men dallying with a Ram maiden (which is strictly forbidden according to the customs of both cultures), you are given several options on how to deal with them. The most merciful option is to equip the pair before exiling them. This increases their chances of survival, and may allow them to find a new, meaningful existence outside your clan.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If Beren dies, the game ends shortly thereafter, no matter how well things were going for your clan up until then.
  • Wedding Smashers: The Ram Killers are not happy about Beren and Redalda's wedding, and will try to break it up with force. And if you preemptively attack them, someone else will take their place, such as your ancestral foe.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Zenangar, Stelfor, Nameforgot and your own ancestor Basikan, the four chieftains of the Warring Chieftains Generation— the first time there was more than one Rider clan— were great friends as children, but fought bitterly as adults, with the implication that Stelfor may have killed Nameforgot.
  • The Wise Prince: How Elmal is depicted in Hyaloring myths.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • A particular combination of choices in the endgame can result in Ernalda herself calling your heroes out. During the ritual "A threat to crops and forests", you can have Beren and Redalda first make peace with the dwarves and then betray them. Ernalda declines to curse them because it's their wedding day, but she is quietly furious and disappointed in their behavior.
    • If you exile the Fire Children, a merchant from another clan will call you out on your cruelty after he/she finds their remains (the children, while capable of powerful magic, have next to no survival skills, and will be torn apart by wild beasts). What's worse, your clan circle may actually encourage you to exile them after they accidentally burn down a couple of houses.
  • What the Hell, Player?: If you get Beren the Tall killed, his best friend Beren the Swift will come to berate your clan circle for getting a potentially great hero killed when the Riders need their heroes more than ever. Then the game ends, because he's right: you really did need your Beren.
  • Witch Doctor: The Riders practice shamanic magic, and shamans can provide valuable advice for dealing with spirits.
  • Zerg Rush: The Rams are powerful, but their main strength is numbers. They don't have horses (meaning they can't move as fast as Riders, or effectively flee from them) or much of a military hierarchy (two Ram berserkers fighting each other instead of their actual target is not an uncommon sight), and enemy clans become more familiar over time with what Ram magic is capable of. An endgame Rider clan can regularly fend off the Ram raids that terrified it a few generations ago.

    Lights Going Out 
  • All There in the Manual: All RuneQuest sourcebooks are set centuries after Lights Going Out, in a time when the basic events of the Great Darkness are common knowledge. invoked Fortunately, details on the Berenethelli tribe are much more sparse.
  • Body Horror: Get used to seeing a lot of Chaos monsters.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: A legal case involves one clan stealing another's slaves and setting them free (for religious reasons). On the one hand, slavery is terrible. On the other, tribe law says that slavery is not illegal, and ruling that it's okay to steal from people if your gods tell you to would set a really dangerous precedent.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The bite of a krarshtkid causes its victims to go homicidally insane. In one event, an ordinary murderer tries to get away with his crime by claiming he was bitten.
    Advisor: Kinstrife caused Chaos, not the other way around.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Ernalda, Orlanth, Issaries and Lhankor Mhy all die during the prologue, and Pela and Zarlen died at some time between the two games. The former's names are actually crossed out in the Religion panel.
  • Diegetic Character Creation: Clan creation includes a prologue which takes place a generation before the game proper. Advised by the previous king and his ring, you play through the disintegration of the tribe, choosing enemies, reacting to the deaths of major gods, and determining which political faction holds sway.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: In the introduction, Arachne Solara informs the player that their clan has a chance- not to survive, because nobody will, but to help resuscitate the world after it dies.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Chalana Arroy may tell the tribe that "travel will heal the world". And damn if she isn't right about that.
    • In the demo ending, a trickster character will declare, "I'm going to break the world, so that we can have a new one." This is exactly what happens (although the character doesn't have much to do with it).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The demo ends with a screen where the clan ring talk about what awaits them.
    Sereden: What do you think happens next?
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's said that Erissa met her mother, Chalana Arroy, when the Berenethelli tribe was founded. This is one of many instances in Gloranthan lore where deities with similar purviews "discover" they are related.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Unity War against the apocalypse takes place in the epilogue; it's narrated, but the player doesn't actually participate in it.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Many people believe the gods are sleeping rather than dead, which the source material confirms. Indeed, maintaining a temple to the "dead" goddess Ernalda results in her granting crop blessings at random times.
  • Puppet King: Iverlantho, depending on player choice. He's the blood heir to the tribe of Berenethelli, a rapidly disintegrating tribe consisting of clans on the brink of death. The council who actually lead his clan will probably not include him (because of his unimpressive stats), and may outright bully him.
  • Red Herring: Royalist beliefs are useful up to a point, but it is impossible to gain the crown artifact needed to legitimize a kingdom. The world is too weak for such grandiose dreams to matter anymore.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The dwarves who Beren enslaved to build Berenstead left a hidden passage in it, which is later used to steal from his descendants.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Uryarda, the Rider goddess of goats, is not worshiped by the Berenethelli and therefore unimportant to the narrative.
  • Sole Survivor: The endgame starts with everyone dying, except one clan member of your choice. Choose wisely, because that character will have to wander through an abyss of nothingness, fighting off despair until they meet Arachne Solara and (hopefully) learn how to reweave the world. Once that's done, it's revealed that some other Berenethelli survived, including the heir. Basically, they go through a prototypical "I Fought We Won" battle.
  • Supernaturally-Validated Trans Person: Characters can note in passing that a child they regarded as a boy named Rodar informed them a while ago she was a girl named Rodene, and is now being initiated as an adult according to Ernalda's women's rites. We know from KoDP that getting men involved in those is bad shit.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: The player clan is large compared to those of Ride Like The Wind, and produces a lot more cows, goods, and magic points. Which is good, because you'll probably need to slaughter dozens of cows every year to keep from starving, sell goods to pay the skyrocketing price of food imports, and expend magic points persuading gods who can barely take care of themselves to fight the monster army on your doorstep.
  • Tragic Villain:
    • In one event, a group of gatherers return home as zombies. When their clanmates tell the zombies what's happened to them, they think they're joking.
    • Clanmates who eat the Zarkosites/Ergeshites' goat meat (which, unbeknownst to them, is anything but) will be "infected" with cannibalism. Fortunately, they can be healed.
  • Unique Protagonist Asset: The player's clan has a history of royal prestige (which helps them diplomatically) and a fortress home built by dwarves.
  • You Are Not Alone: If the endgame protagonist endears themselves to a market of skeletons, the skeletons will thank them and promise to keep trade alive until there are living to hold it again.