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Video Game / Stories: Path of Destinies

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What kind of hero will you become?

What kind of hero are you?
The Narrator

Stories: The Path of Destinies is an Action RPG made by Spearhead Games starring a lot of really badass Funny Animals with some heavy visual novel-style influence in the nature of its storytelling.

Reynardo is a retired sky-pirate in a land filled with floating islands, high above an endless expanse of blue skies. The Emperor has devolved into horrific, unspeakable rituals involving blood sacrifices and other dubious methods, and the resistance is desperately trying to stop him - for if he succeeds, the Emperor could very well unleash the Old Gods, horrific, monstrous beings that once ruled the islands.

Reynardo is forced to come out of 'retirement' and in his attempts to help the resistance, he manages to pick up a mysterious book, and before he knows it, he's thrust into a sprawling, multi-layered adventure with many, many different outcomes. Reynardo loves, lives, and repeatedly dies as his choices lead him to his doom... before being sent back to the moment he opened the book for the first time. Reynardo doesn't understand it right away, but he soon figures out that the book is showing him alternate universes, and that it's up to him to find a future where he preferably doesn't die, and the Emperor is defeated.

The breadth of Stories's gameplay is an action-RPG as Reynardo hacks and slashes his way through the armies of the emperor, powering himself up to become as strong as he can be. At many times throughout the story, you're offered a choice from one of a few options - the path you pick will then splinter off into one of twenty-four wildly different endings - in one, you may become an all-powerful legend of a man, and in another, you may die alone in a dungeon. Each ending can give you crucial information, key to unlocking the best timeline possible and more upgrades.

Has a spiritual sequel by the same company called Omensight.

What trope do you pick?

  • Action Bomb: A unique type of enemy explodes after a brief period when you damage it. It can also take out other Crows near its explosion radius.
  • An Aesop: The purpose of all the normal endings is to show the player some critical flaw that is fouling up their plans for victory. Some morals are outright stated in the narration.
  • Alternate Universe: An interesting version. The book is not showing Reynardo a future set in stone, but a possibility of what could transpire, despite him directly living it. Some information taken from other universes is remembered by Reynardo, and this can cause some events and dialogue to change, along with causing some new paths to become accessible.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In order to prevent the story from becoming boring if you backtrack through a new path, dialogue is shifted around, newer, harder enemies appear and new shortcuts are accessible, along with the actual path of the level itself being different from path to path.
    • The later branches of the upgrade tree are all about finishing combat faster, including an upgrade that makes every hit an instant kill after a certain combo level, allowing the player to more quickly get through stages and see explore storylines after the combat reaches its upper limit of challenge.
    • After you unveil all four Truths, the narration begins to drop hints about what the true path to victory is.
    • Story-wise, the Book is a Reset Button that activates when Reynardo dies after getting a bad ending. Dying in regular gameplay (killed by enemies or traps), however, will simply reload the last checkpoint instead of forcing the player to start over again from the beginning.
  • Apocalypse How: In certain endings, misusing the Skyripper causes a Class VIII destruction of Metaphysical proportions. Others 'just' cause regular mass destruction.
  • Arc Words: "That's what it means to be a hero" or some variation thereof shows up in nearly all of the final chapters of any playthrough, with Reynaldo summing up the ideology that all of the player's choices has given him: selfless or selfish, reckless or cautious, so on and so forth. It's given a few twists: like in "Return of the Hippie," where Reynaldo states that the way to win is by not being a hero, but by being better.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In one of the endings, Lapino mentions what he thinks about Reynardo in this line:
    Lapino: You always get to be the hero! Brave Reynardo, epic Reynardo, super sexy Reynardo.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Skyripper and the Iblis Stone. The Skyripper has a chance of ripping a hole in the universe with each time it's fired, and even the Core itself poisons anyone who holds it for too long. The Iblis Stone gives power, but drives the holder mad with power to the point of becoming an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Artistic License – Statistics: Discussed and defied in one ending. After discovering that the completed Skyripper could potentially destroy the universe if fired, he discusses the matter further with the sage Calaveras, who narrows it down to a 1 in 128 chance. Reynardo decides this is no big deal; when confronting Zenobia, he even explains the 1 in 128 chance in terms of the Gambler's Fallacy (i.e. that the risk will increase the more he fires the weapon, but the first shot should be perfectly safe), which an exasperated Zenobia points out is not how odds work at all. Needless to say, he fires it, and it destroys the universe.
    "One in 128. What are the odds?"
  • Batman Gambit: The Golden Ending includes a lot of manipulating Lapino so the Artifacts of Doom would end up in the Emperor's hands, knowing that these things will bring destruction to the user, by telling him about these artifacts in a manner that leads him to believe that they're vital to the Resitance's plans, knowing that he would steal them and give them to the emperor.
  • Beard of Evil: Worn by Renardo's Evil Twin, summoned from a magic mirror.
  • Black Humor: In some of the darker paths, the game still makes some attempts at humor despite the grave circumstances. For instance, in the "The Awakening" path, one of the most disturbing paths in the game, Reynardo accidentally offs Lapino by complete accident and it's played for laughs. Becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when you remember he's a traitor, but it's still rather cruel.
  • Black Speech: The Iblis Stone speaks in evil whispers as it corrupts anyone who holds it.
  • Bond One-Liner: The narrator will occasionally remark on Reynardo's kills in this manner.
    (When an enemy is frozen and killed using Winterthorne): Chill out.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: One path has these as a pivotal moment, finally convincing Zenobia to side with Reynardo.
  • BFS: The Hero Sword is absolutely gigantic. Oddly enough, it's special power is the ability to heal yourself at the cost of MP.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: After you get the Golden Ending, you are given both the Iblis Stone and the Skyripper with all the benefits involved: healing with each mook killed and a laser that kills them.
  • Character Development: This is ultimately the point of the book, to give the user the best possible outcome via forcing them through several terrible ones in order to earn the skills needed to ascertain the best possible future they can get.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Each story starts out happy and comedic, but many of them will steadily spiral into a series of tragic events, ultimately ending with Reynardo dead at best, and the whole world destroyed at worst.
  • Cool Sword/ Heroes Prefer Swords: Reynardo wields one of four swords at a time, and all of them are pretty rad:
    • Good Thing You Can Heal: The Hero Sword can channel magic to heal its wielder (while remaining deadly to his foes).
    • Kill It with Ice: Winterthorne can channel ice to freeze enemies solid, letting Reynardo shatter them with a follow-up blow.
    • Incendiary Exponent: The Fire Sword can imbue its blade with flame to set its victims ablaze.
    • Super Mode: The Void Sword bolsters Reynardo's damage and attack speed.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: If you pick the route that makes no sense (getting the arming device to the superweapon, then going straight to the enemy commander to be inevitably captured) no one believes Reynardo would be that stupid, and all wrap themselves in knots trying to figure out his master plan. Hilariously this almost leads to a Golden Ending, but backfires at the very last moment.
  • Crosshair Aware: Area-of-effect attacks from enemies are highlighted on the ground just before they go off and deal damage.
  • Cutscene Boss: The Emporer, Zenobia, Lapino and The Counsel Speaker are only "fought" in a narrated slideshow at the end of a playthrough.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: At max level, in the player's hands, Reynardo is an unstoppable whirlwind of magical swords, employing Flash Steps, Bullet Time and Implausible Fencing Powers to utterly annihilate the Raven hoards without breaking a sweat. In cutscenes, he's merely an above average swashbuckler who's gameplay feats are only replicated when armed with the Iblis Stone.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The Iblis Stone makes you stronger. Problem is, it also drives you to murder everyone you see.
  • Death of a Child: Not only do you see a young rabbit under Reynardo's protection get incinerated by a Goggler's optic laser, but the narrator's voice-over in later chapters reminds us that the Emperor slaughtered children in dark rituals.
  • Demonic Possession: The ultimate outcome of letting Zenobia come into contact with the Iblis Stone.
  • Diagonal Cut: The Gobblers' death animation.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A lot of Reynardo's actions, and even endings, are usually because Reynardo rushed in headlong without thinking of the consequences.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Breaking certain objects will provide the player with healing and energy-restoring items or orbs. The narrator will also comment on Reynardo's actions if he breaks too much in a short amount of time.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Reynardo in one ending, in Zenobia's arms. It's rather heartbreaking.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Reynardo is accidentally thrust into this position in one ending but he manages to go along with it and it backfires on him hilariously.
  • Downer Ending: To some extent you could say every ending. Obviously in the Golden Ending Reynardo gets the girl and lives, but there's other endings that imply this isn't so hot for everybody else.
  • Dying as Yourself: In the ending "Voices", Reynardo kills himself to escape the Iblis Stone's control.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And by the time you unlock the Golden Ending you will have earned it.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Lost Gods that were banished by the Transcendent Emperor that Emperor Isengrim III wants to bring back for power and immortality. The Iblis Stone in one ending is revealed to be a sealed form of a Lost God.
  • Enemy Mine: One ending has the Rebel Council and the Empire teaming up to try and take down a power mad Reynardo.
  • Faceless Eye: Gogglers, of course.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Though they never actually fight side-by-side, Reynardo, Zenobia, and Lapino share this motif—Reynardo's the sword-wielding hero who battles his foes head-on; Zenobia is a sorceress well-known for her mystical talents; and Lapino is a trickster whose true skill lies in subterfuge.
  • Foreshadowing: An interesting version of this- upon learning a truth, much of the dialogue centered around that truth will change, and the narrator/Reynardo will call out some of the things he definitely should have noticed.
  • Fridge Horror: In-Universe example. Reynardo wonders why the original owners of the book, Hypatia and Peter, didn't use it to avert their own death. Then he thought that perhaps this (their deaths and the book subsequently landing in Reynardo's hand) was the best future that they could find.
  • Fridge Logic: Played up In-Universe when Reynardo wonders who left all the posts he grappels onto.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Iblis Stone's power is so great that even Lapino or the Counsel Speaker can effortlessly trounce Reynardo or Zenobia if they get a hold of it. In the player's hand, however, all it does is provide a slight health recharge on every kill.
    • On one ending Reynardo and Zenobia fall in love and decide to escape together, but Lapino backstabs and kills Reynardo but instead of two truths being unlocked as should be expected, the only truth that is unlocked from this ending is "Lapino is a traitor".
    • While the game does change narration and dialogue depending on what truths the player has unearthed, they have no effect on what Reynaldo actually chooses to do in cutscenes and he will blindly step forward even if he knows its a bad idea. This is usually integrated, as the player and Reynaldo are making these decisions together, but sometimes the plot will have extra choices that Reynaldo makes on his own which can clash with this. A good example is "The Endless Moment:" where the player chooses to trust Zenobia and take her to the Rebel base, and in the following cutscene Reynaldo opts to additionally call Lapino and tells him the location of the secret Rebel base. This ensures a Diabolus ex Machina, as Reynaldo will do so - and blame Zenobia for the subsequent betrayal - even if he already knows for a fact that Lapino is The Mole. Unlike most decisions, the Truth about Lapino isn't mentioned at all even in the narration until the end, as the story requires Reynaldo to not consider it.
    • As mentioned above under Anti-Frustration Features, dying in battle during enemy encounters or getting incinerated by a fireball trap will not be treated as a "plotline death", meaning the Book will not bring Reynardo back in time even though it logically should.
  • Genius Loci: In one of the scrolls you can discover, the Emperor theorizes that the World in the Sky has a mind of its own.
  • Golden Ending: What you unlock when taking the path revealed by discovering all four truths and following a specific set of choices in a New Game Plus.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Reynardo's Hook, which lets him snag certain objects to pull himself across gaps—or, in combat, to drag faraway enemies into the range of his sword.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lapino. His Motive Rant in one ending reveals he turned traitor simply out of jealousy for Reynardo hogging all the glory.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Reynardo gets to backtrack the events of the game until he finally gets it very right. Each time he fails, he learns something new and takes it to the next attempt.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Some of the ways Reynardo kills Ravens.
  • Happily Adopted: Despite having been adopted by the Emperor, Zenobia views him as a genuine father, and he sees her as a true daughter. Alas, see Powered by a Forsaken Child...
  • The Heavy: Zenobia, the Emperor's daughter and main general, plays this role in some storylines, but usually if there is primary antagonist thwarting the heroes at every turn it is Lapino, The Mole. Even in stories where Reynardo never realizes it, it can become clear to the player that he is the cause of many of Reynardo's inexplicable misfortunes.
  • Hit Stop: A skill allows Reynardo to slow down time when he makes a successful slash at an enemy. This is practically useful in crowded fights when you get surrounded so you can quickly react to the other enemies' moves.
  • I Like Those Odds: One ending has Calvera telling Reynardo that using the Skyripper has a 1 in 128 chance of destroying the universe. Of course, it ends up going exactly like he said and the universe gets destroyed. Again.
    • Reynaldo's lack of comprehension of what one in 128 means is repeatedly lampshaded, with Reynaldo having an internal debate over what the odds actually mean.
      "Someone had told him the odds didnt' change just because you'd had a streak of good luck. His gut told him that was wrong, though. And he always listened to his gut. On the other hand, 128 chances to win, but one of them, he'd destroy the universe. That seemed a bit serious."
    • And later
      Reynaldo: Sure, the first time, the odds are practically nothing. They only go up if I use it a bunch more times—
      Zenobia: That's not how odds work! Didn't you pay attention in class?
  • Karmic Death: Discussed.
    Soon he'd confront the Emperor. Funny that this whole war had come about become the Emperor feared death. And now it was coming for him. There was some sort of lesson there, wasn't there?
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: The elite Raven soldiers carry shields that make Reynardo's sword useless. This can be circumvented by throwing other Ravens into them, using the Hook to yank said shield away, or socketing a gem that lets Reynardo's sword cleave right through the shield.
  • Lemony Narrator: He's somewhat Bastion-esque, in that he comments on the story at hand as well as some context-sensitive actions, like breaking pots.
  • Lightning Bruiser: With the proper points into skills and socketed gems, Reynardo becomes this after hitting a combo threshold where it becomes a one hit kill on anyone he hits!
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The game has a rather long loading time even before presenting you the main menu. It also loads every time you proceed to the next level. On older builds, this becomes very evident.
  • Meaningful Name: "Iblis", the name of a powerful stone with a dark side-effect, is the personal name of the Devil in Islam.
  • Multiple Endings: Twenty-four, to be precise, and unlike most games none of them are remotely the same- some may share similar concepts at best, but every single one drives Reynardo down a different path. The Golden Ending can only be reached by learning all of the four Truths.
  • Mythical Motifs: Reynardo seems to have some loose references to Reynard the Fox, a Karmic Trickster from European legends. In the Golden Ending, it's clear that he himself has become a trickster, as the ending is focused on manipulating and tricking Lapino, the Hare (a hare was also an enemy of Reynard in the stories) and the Emperor to make sure that they use the objects he knows will cause them harm. In some of the scrolls hidden around the levels, the Emperor's name is revealed to be Isengrim, which is the name of Reynardo's most frequent antagonist, though the Emperor is a toad and not a wolf as is the original Isengrim. In fact, Reynard the Fox's first appearance was in a poem titled Ysengrimus.
  • New Game Plus: Reynardo's stats and weapon upgrades get carried to the next playthroughs after you reach an ending.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Some of the choices you can make are so bad, they don't even qualify you for one of the many Multiple Endings - you just get a detailed description of how horribly you fucked up, and then a normal Game Over - same as if you had been defeated in combat, except you now have to redo the ENTIRE LAST LEVEL from the start, just so you can make a less boneheaded choice.
  • Notice This: Story choices will have indicators in the lower-right corner of the images to help you in unlocking other truths:
    • Exclamation marks for choices that you have not read yet, allowing you to branch into other endings.
    • Once you've unlocked all four truths, the game would sometimes throw you a bone by showing a golden key icon on the story choice that leads to the Golden Ending.
  • Obviously Evil: The presence that dwells within the Iblis Stone. Pitch-black gemstone, hissing rasp of a disembodied voice, the promise of untold power if you feed it with the souls of your slain it any surprise that it's an Artifact of Doom? For bonus points, "Iblis" is the Satan of Islamic theology.
  • One-Hit Kill: The final upgrade of the Combo skill tree makes every attack after 30 hits (20 with an upgrade) an instant kill for all enemies, including shielded units.
  • The Power of Love: In one of the final branches, Zenobia takes the Iblis Stone from Lapino, and is corrupted. As part of the Golden Ending, if Reynardo stands up to her, she is unable to kill him on the Iblis Stone's urging because of her re-awakened love for him, and the Iblis Stone disintegrates.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Emperor seeks immortality by sacrificing someone who truly loves him in a ritual to the Lost Gods. Someone like his own adopted daughter, Zenobia.
  • Production Foreshadowing: One of the platforms apparently has a flyer advertising balalaika lessons. Ratika plays the balalaika.
  • Remixed Level: Despite the many paths and embranchments of the plots, the number of different levels is actually very low; while there are some minor changes depending on the chosen path, they essentially remain the same. If you try to discover all endings, you'll see the same levels a lot of time. No matter the player's choices, the levels always require to choose from those:
    • First level: Lapino's village, the Skyripper Armature's island, or the Iblis Stone's temple.
    • Second level: The city conquered by Zenobia or the Skyripper Core's island.
    • Third level: The Nexus (there are two paths for this level, but they are both set in the same area).
    • Fourth level: The mountains or the ruins surrounding the rebel's base.
    • Fifth level: The battle in the sky.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: In one path and also in the True Hero path, Reynardo tries to convince Zenobia to do a Heel–Face Turn by trying to convince her that her adopted father is evil. But Reynardo needs proof, so he takes Zenobia to see a "witness" to her father sacrificing innocent creatures. Unfortunately, when you get to the end of this level, the place has been burned down, and the witness (and therefore the evidence) along with it. However, the fact that her father would go to such obvious and extreme lengths to prevent Zenobia from hearing the witness is itself proof that Reynardo is telling the truth, so Zenobia still makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Enforced. Reynardo must learn from his mistakes, and applying what he has learned can open the path to new solutions.
  • Screw Destiny: Reynardo's ultimate goal is to figure out how to use the knowledge gained from his alternate lifetimes to find a future in which he survives, the Empire falls, and—just maybe—he gets the girl in the end. To do so, he must make choices that will lead him to four Truths: The Skyripper's truth, Lapino's truth, Zenobia's truth, and The Iblis Stone's truth.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Two of the endings (one of the regular bad ones, as well as the Golden Ending) consist in Reynardo and Zenobia fleeing together during the last battle.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: The Emperor, in the Golden Ending. Overclocking the Skyripper's Core while trying to shoot down Reynardo's fleeing ship with a mystical Wave-Motion Gun backfires rather literally on him.
  • Shared Universe: A loading screen tip in the game, Omensight, states that both this game and that one are in the same setting, and a picture of Reynardo can be found in a locked house in Ekka. As for this game, a statue of the Harbinger can be found in the Iblis Stone desert temple, towards the end of the side path that takes the player back outside.
  • Shoot the Medic First: There are two kinds of magician - a yellow Raven and a blue Raven. The yellow raven will cast homing fire spells on you; the blue Raven will power up other Ravens. So it's a good idea to take these guys out first,
  • Shout-Out: The game has numerous references to popular culture as listed here.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Reynardo and Zenobia have a subtle bond despite being on opposite sides of the conflict. Figuring out how to reconcile with her is one of the key elements in unlocking the best ending.
  • Stealth Pun: When you approach an elemental door, the narrator will drop puns in his sentences:
    (In front of an Ice Door): Ice doors would only let you through if they know you're cool enough.
    (In front of a Fire Door): Fire doors would only let you through if they know you're hot enough.
  • Stupid Evil: The Emperor's Ravens. Very evil, very stupid; the narration notes that they have the nasty habit of eating the people they capture without even bothering to interrogate them, even if said people know important informations that could benefit the Empire. The Emperor himself even acknowledges how dumb they are in one of the notes you can find.
  • Sword Drag: It's easy to miss thanks to the way Reynardo rapidly leaps around the battlefield, but if you're just moving normally during combat, Reynardo does this.
  • Together in Death: In the ending "Run Zenobia Run", seeing Reynardo losing himself to the Iblis Stone, Zenobia kills herself and him so they can be "together in the Halls of the Valiant".
  • Was It All a Lie?: In one path, a crestfallen Reynardo asks Zenobia this after being mortally wounded by Lapino, who was planning to lead her to the Rebel base. Turns out that the kiss was real; as Zenobia strikes down Lapino with her magic, then sadly cradles the dying Reynardo in her arms.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the True Ending, Lapino disappears from the main plot near the end, but explicitly survives. It's likely not to end well for him, whether he made it back to the Emperor and was either executed for incompetence or blown up, or stayed behind to die when the famine and anarchy seen in other endings descend on the kingdom.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Some of Reynardo's deaths are really idiotic, like reaching Enlightenment in the midst of battle, and sitting down to meditate.