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Video Game / Telepath RPG

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from far off
feeling suffering

The Telepath RPG series is made of three chapters currently. Except the first chapter, they are all very highly-polished tactical RPGs with not only smooth and interesting gameplay, but a well-written plot as well. Characters are very lively and have great personalities, including the main character, whom you can name and customize at the beginning of the game. While the protagonist never speaks for themself, every conversation has many dialogue options, allowing you to choose what you want the main character to be like.


The first and second chapters revolve around an event later known as the Shadow War. Telepathic beings known as "shadowlings" are at war with humans, and are seeking to expand their empire. Your character is enslaved while trying to rescue their brother. From there, they must figure out a way to escape and, possibly, take down the empire from within.

The third chapter, Servants of God, is not a direct sequel to the second chapter. It is set a few decades after the conclusion of the Shadow War, but a new and dangerous faction has arisen. A religious cult deems all psychics anathema to their religion, and stages a coup in the desert city of Ravinale to enforce this ruling. The main character is the son of two Senators, and joins the People's Resistance of Ravinale, a group dedicated to overthrowing the Cult and re-establishing their democratic government.


The fourth game in the series, Telepath Tactics, is a departure from its predecessors, featuring a brand-new engine that shucks the Western RPG approach in favor of a more linear Tactical RPG akin to Fire Emblem.

The series can be found at its home site, Sinister Design. Some may find the first chapter to be rather low-quality, but don't be off-put by it; the series gets better and the first chapter isn't really necessary to understand the second chapter's plot.


Tropes used in chapters 1 and 2 of the Telepath RPG series:

  • Action Girl: Helena is a ex-mechanic captain who specialise in physical attacks unlike Anya who uses psy and is better for healing.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The protagonist, until a Retcon refers to him as a male in Servants Of God.
  • Amplifier Artifact: 4 of the 8 orbs amplify the Hero's abilities.
    • The indigo orb change your shield to a better one.
    • The green orb boost your speed from 5 to 9, allowing you to walk more distance per turn.
    • The crimson orb change your pyro blast to pyro hail which hits more enemies.
    • The yellow orb boosts your psi regeneration.
  • An Axe to Grind: Phantom armors attack with axes.
  • Animated Armor: You will fight phantom armors if you go against the shadowlings at the end. They are slow but tough with a devastating melee attack and shadow resistance.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: It can be increased by upgrading Personality, but it still caps at eight no matter what.
  • Art Evolution: The human characters' assets improved between the first and second chapters which is more noticable with capes who look like baggy clothes in the first chapter but look like actual capes in the second chapter. Weirdly enough, an NPC from the Psy Academy looks exactly the same in the first and second chapter.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Ennemies with area of effects attacks still focus on attacking a single tile in front of them rather than strategically trying to hit multiple targets.
    • Spriggats prefer to only uses their breath attack when one of your character is just one tile in front of them even though their attack extend to 2 tiles so they will often skip their turn even if on of your characters is in their range.
    • Bronze golems doesn't seem to realise that they can hit multiple targets with their saw blades, they may sometime only attack one of your characters when they could hit more and they may also hit one of their allies when they could have avoided it simply by turning around a bit.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Bug Queen has a metallic sheath that makes her immune to attacks. But one half of her head isn't covered, and that's where the player must attack.
  • The Atoner: Festus changed careers to healing to make up for the suffering he caused doing unsavory things for the Shadowling army.
  • Back from the Dead: The shadowling queen has the power to bring dead people back to life; if someone on your team dies, all you need to do to revive them is pay her some money.
  • Back Stab: Characters who get attacked from behind will get 50% more damages.
  • Badass Cape:
    • At the Psy Academy, a student's cape more or less has the same role as a belt does in martial arts. In the first game your character has just earned their black cape. By the time you reunite in the second game both Guy and Anya have theirs. You can also snark at another classmate for still being a blue cape after the four year Time Skip.
    • Knights characters also wear one, mechanic soldiers wear a gray one, mechanic captains and marksmen wear a red one and knights from the psy academy wear a white one.
  • Badass Normal: Helena and Gamblin' Jack both start out with only a melee attack, but have capable stats for when you can recruit them.
  • Bald of Evil: Mechanic Marksmen are balding but still have some white hairs one the sides.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: It's implied that the shadowling queen is capable of this, though whether the shadowling society actually counts as one is unknown.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The shadow bugs, nymphs and huge bugs are giant spider-like bugs with only 6 legs, then there is the bug queen who is twice as big as other bugs and takes up 4 tiles instead of one.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • The spriggats attack by breathing their elements, which is either fire, ice or shadow.
    • Flint can breath fire like the red spriggats if you buy a flamethrower attachement and give it to Helena.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Not only can you not leave them out of your battling party, but you also can't move them from the fourth character slot.
  • Casting a Shadow: The shadowlings and dark spriggats have darkness based power.
  • Cephalothorax: Shadowlings are floating round heads with floating hands and no body.
  • Character Level: Almost entirely averted; you pay for training to upgrade stats directly. The main character does gain levels every three training sessions, however.
  • Character Portrait: Most characters have one when you talks to them, this include several NPCs.
  • Circling Stars: When you beat Cerzak in battle, rather than fading away while turning purple like everyone else, he'll fall over with stars circling over his head, this is the only time a character does not die when out of HP.
  • Color-Coded Armies: If you play the duel mode to fight against another player, there are two teams each associated with a color. The red team has psy fighters with red capes and red shadowlings while the yellow team has psy fighters with yellow capes and blue shadowlings.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: While In-Universe the shadowlings' color indicates their age, for gameplay purpose, every shadowling healers is blue like the shield sjills which serve as healing.
  • Combat Medic:
    • On top of their three combat skills, the Hero can also use the mind shield skill.
    • Gamblin' Jack can become this too if you unlock his healing skills, while Festus and Anya can attack too, they are more usefull at healing while Gamblin' Jack is a good fighter with minor healing spells.
  • Cutting Off the Branches:
    • The first chapter has 4 multiple endings, but only the 2 endings where the hero becomes a slave do not contradict the sequel.
    • Also, all the party members from TRPG2 (except for Niven and Gamblin' Jack) make appearances in Servants of God, which means that everyone survived the final battle.
  • Cyclops: All the golems have only one eye.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The shadowlings are not inherently evil; it's just because of their queen that they've been driven to such racism and violence against humans. Their queen even uses light powers!
    • The protagonist wears black clothes, whether he's good or evil only depend of your dialogue choices and the canon ending play the trope straight.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: All it does is make you cough up some cash to make the queen revive them. It can be pretty bad during battles themselves however, since people cannot be resurrected in-battle, and it reduces the amount of gold you gain after a battle. Unless the main character dies, that is; in that case, you lose the battle instantly.
  • Defector from Decadence: Niven, Festus, Shadowboxer, and Darkling will continue to follow you if you opt to fight the shadowling queen.
  • Degraded Boss: The Mechanic Captain first appears as the boss of an early mission. At a certain point Captains take the place of basic Swordsmen in Random Encounters.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: If you ally yourself with the Academy, you end up fighting Nelis, the shadowling queen, who is rumoured to be a goddess. Subverted, however, as you are told she is not actually divine (she is still extraordinarily powerful, however).
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is a traditionnal turn based RPG rather than a tactical RPG like 2 and Servants of God there is also some odd mechanics that the designer decided to scrap like the ability to summon other characters. The hero was also the only playable character.
  • Elemental Powers: Light, Shadow, Heat, and Cold.
  • Emo Teen: Grotius is a teenage Spriggat who doesn't like to be told what to do by his father.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Gamblin' Jack can train his Psy Defense to let him unlock some psychic support powers. Helena can learn a psychic Status Buff that boosts her own melee damage.
  • Energy Weapon: The energy golems attack with laser canons and can hit everyone in a line.
  • Everything Fades: Characters fade away while turning purple when they die.
  • Exorcist Head: Bronze golems can spin their heads 360 degrees.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The main character themselves, if you choose to ally with Tastidan in the end.
  • Floating Limbs: The shadowlings who are already floating heads also have floating hands.
  • Flunky Boss: All the bosses you fight are assisted by mooks.
  • Fragile Speedster: Darkling doesn't have the best damage potential or durability, but has the highest Speed of any character, and with Shadowport he has near-unlimited mobility.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Played straight for your team, but averted for enemies.
  • The Gambler: Gamblin' Jack is a gambling addict who can gamble with the player at the HQ. His love for gambling is reflected in his Sneak Eye attack which is the only attack in the game with a randomness factor.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Ironically, the bug queen cannot be hit in any way if you play on Google Chrome meaning you cannot advance in the story by the point you reach the fight against her.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: While the dialogue during the second encounter with Cerzak changes depending on whether his son Grotius is in your team or not, this has no effect on gameplay, so during the fight, Cerzak can possibly attack or kill Grotius, even if it contradicts dialogue that shows that they care about each other and wouldn't want to kill each other.
  • Glass Cannon: The main character generally ends up as this, having punishing damage spells (which you can train individually along with your Psy Power stat that already boost the dammage of all of their skills) but less-than-great durability and mediocre Speed. Guy has most of the same traits.
  • Golem: The Mechanics employ these. Stone and Bronze Golems have a powerful melee attack, with the latter hitting targets in an arc. Energy Golems are immobile but can attack in a straight line with unlimited range.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: General Darkeye is playable in the mission where you must save him, but he's so weak that you'd rather keep him safe in a corner since he must not die.
  • Heal Thyself: Gamblin' Jack's can learn the Recover skill, allowing him to hold his own without the need for a healer.
  • Heel–Face Turn: All of your shadowlings allies will stay in your side if your decide to fight against the queen in the end because they are tired of the war and the queen's rule.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You choose the name of you protagonist. They have no canon name so the author of the game and the fanbase always refers to them as "Main" or "Hero".
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Shadowboxer, Helena and Guy learn area attacks when their Psy Power is trained. Grotius has the same elemental breath that Spriggat enemies do, and with training can learn a better one. Training the main character's Feedback turns it into an area version, and activating the Crimson Orb does the same with their Pyro Blast.
  • Hot-Blooded: Darkling seems exited to fight enemies.
  • An Ice Person: The frosts spriggats including Grotius have ice based breath attacks.
  • In the Hood: The protagonist wears a black hood on their character portrait that hides most of their face. This is to keep their appearence and gender ambiguous so the player can imagine them to be however they want. All we see is that they have white skin and red hair.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Niven keep trying to miss the hero when throwing his knife but somehow always manage to hit.
  • Jerkass: The main character can be a jerk if you pick certain dialogue options.
  • King Mook: As the name implies, the Bug Queen is a stronger version of the shadow bugs, being bigger, doing more damage and being invulnerable aside from her weak point.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: This is Niven's shtick. The problem is he's very good at hitting the target with his knives, not missing them, forcing him to reimburse you for the damage he deals to you when you volunteer. You can get him to join your party and put those 100%-accurate blades to better use.
  • Life Drain: The "feedback" skill and it's upgrade "revenge", heal you for the same damage it deals to the ennemies. Note that the damage is always equal to the healing so if you have all your HPs you won't hurt them at all and your turn will be wasted.
  • Light 'em Up:
    • The energy golems' lasers do light damage.
    • Dean Lucas and a random psy fighter can uses a power called the light bomb which involve shooting a ball of light which explode and hurt multiple opponents.
    • Surprisingly, Nelis have a light attack that huge damages to one character and also hurt everyone one the battlefield.
  • Light Is Not Good: Nelis, the shadowling queen knows a powerfull light attack.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Shadowboxer and Grotius combine high damage, great mobility and solid defenses.
  • Magikarp Power: The main character is generally like this, especially if you opt for high Personality and Aptitude during character creation. They're frail and weak to begin with, with no health or psy point bonuses, but if you take the time to level them up (and get the eight orbs), they can easily become the deadliest and most versatile of your teammates. They still tend to be a bit of a Glass Cannon, however.
  • The Magnificent: Darkling calls himself "Darkling the Magnificent, Greatest Assassin in the Known World".
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Most shadowlings have name that evoke darkness and obscurity.
    • For Gamblin' Jack while the "Gamblin'" part is clearly a nickname there is no indication that "Jack" is too and "Jack" is a reference to the card game "Blackjack".
  • The Medic:
    • Anya and Festus are healing specialists, both gaining more support options though training rather than damage ones.
    • Enemies may have some healers in their ranks too, spriggat's battle during the Lake Alto mission often include at least one spriggat healer and if you go against the shadowlings at the end, they have a few healer themselves.
  • Mighty Glacier: Flint have high damage starting out but a miserable Speed stat. He can boost his speed in battle if you buy the Steam Engine.
  • Multiple Endings: Four in the first (canonically, the hero is enslaved by the Shadowlings and David is released), two in the second. Servants of God assumes the Good Ending of the second game.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups: Depending on which stat of his you choose to train first, Darkling will either learn Shadow Blast with psy power or Feedback with psy defense with the other becoming unobtainable.
  • My Name Is ???: The first energy golem you encounter in a fight is reffered as "???" by the battle interface.
  • New Game+: Chapter one and two both have one when you finish them.
    • In the first chapter you can restart with all the skills you learned.
    • New game+ from the second chapter let you keep your stats and the abilities your learned, raise the game's difficulty, and allow you to open the chest near Hellion in Somnus.
  • Noble Demon: Niven is also very polite to the main character, and does not appear to harbour any racism towards humans.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: As seen in the sequel: Servants of God , the "bad ending" where you ally yourself with the shadowlings is non-canonical, since there couldn't be a Shadowling Republic otherwise.
  • Non-Action Guy: Festus. Though he does participate in combat, he will usually spend much more time healing people than fighting. Anya more so, who lacks Festus's useful mobility but packs a ranged heal enabling her to stay out of the thick of battle.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The frost spriggats' ice breath attack is called "frost blast" contrary to the red and dark spriggats having a more accurately named "fire breath" and "dark breath" attack respectively. In future games, the attack's name is changed to a more indicative "frost breath".
  • Non-Lethal K.O.:
    • Unlike other enemies, Cerzak does not die once he runs out of HP during the battle against him. However, the player can choose to kill or spare him after the battle.
    • It's possible to get into a fight with a shadowling citizen in Somnus. Beating him won't kill him, but it will piss him off more than normal.
  • Off-Model: Anya's character portrait shows her having untied brown hair, while her sprites show her having red hairs and a ponytail.
  • Optional Character Scene: If Grotius is in your team during the fight against his father Cerzak, the dialogue before and after the fight will be different.
  • Optional Party Member: Niven, Dorgon, Flint, Helena, Grotius and Gamblin' Jack. In addition, Helena, Flint, Dorgon and Grotius are permanently missable.
  • Palette Swap:
    • While some shadowling have some distinct features that make them uniques like horns or headgears, most of them look exactly the same except for their eyes and hand colors which are either red, blue or green.
    • The spriggats all looks the same in battle except for their colors which determine their elements, red for these who breath fire, white for those who breath ice and black for those who breath darkness.
    • If you look at all the human psy users, you'll notice that beside a few different haircuts, they all look the same except with differents colored hair, clothes and skin. Even the hero doesn't have an unique design.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • If you don't recruit him at the end of mission 5, Grotius leaves and can never be recruited again.
    • Helena and Flint will be lost forever if you refuse to pay them when you first land in the bug pit. They'll just stand there and refuse to talk to you.
    • Some orbs are missable if you don't do their sidequest at time.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Guy's skills are based on fire, he can have 2 fire attack and even get a passive heat resistance.
    • To a lesser extent, the main character who start with pyro blast and can change it to pyro hail with the crimson orb.
    • Flint can have a Flame Thrower installed.
    • As for enemies you have the red spriggats and If you side with the shadowlings, some of the ennemies include two psy fighters with pyro hail while if you side with the humans, you will fight Nelis in the end who know an unique fire attack called fire gate.
  • Psychic Powers: Explored greatly and overlaps with Gameplay and Story Integration. During dialogue, you can often scan people to find out what they're thinking, scan thought imprints to read books you can't understand, etc.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Shadow attacks are colored in purple and black.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The more optional party members you have, the more your roster fit this trope.
    • Gamblin' Jack is an enslaved psy academy guard you brought into your team, also he's a gambling addict. It is notable that he will stay with you even if you choose to go against the academy in the end, so he's also a potential traitor.
    • Niven is just a knife thrower who joins you for celebrity.
    • Dorgon is an energy golem you simply stole from the mechanics.
    • Helena is a traitor to the mechanics who joins you for money. Flint follows her everywhere.
    • Grotius is a teen Spriggat who join you just because he's bored, despite the fact you are working for the shadowlings, the spriggats' ennemies.
  • Random Encounters: Averted except in Lake Alto.
  • Randomized Damage Attack: Gamblin' Jack's Snake Eyes skill is the only attack in the game that has a randomness factor.
  • Red Is Violent: Helena wears red armor and has a purely offensive move set. She also glows with red light when she uses her "whirlwind" and "fury" skills.
  • The Red Mage: The protagonist, although they lean more towards offense than defense.
  • She Who Must Not Be Seen: The shadowling queen. Until the climax, that is.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The serious and mature Shadowboxer and his little brother Darkling who is Hot-Blooded and have a huge ego.
  • Silent Protagonist: Averted. While the main character never says anything automatically, they can be very talkative depending on which options you choose for them.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: The ability to see your opponents' attacks and stats is justified by your main character's telepathic powers allowing them to read their opponents' minds.
  • Spin Attack: Helena can learn the whirlwind skill which makes her spin around with her sword and hit every ennemies around her.
  • Stationary Boss: The Bug Queen cannot move from her spot since she's blocked by rocks and lava.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: The most common psy attack "mind blast" is colored purple.
  • Super Prototype: Dorgon is an energy golem prototype. But he can move, unlike the other energy golems, who are immobile in battle.
  • Telepathy: A common power in this game's universe. shadowlings always use this to communicate despite having mouths.
  • Teleportation: Darkling can learn the "Shadowport" skill which makes him teleport and thus allow him to move even more than he usually can at the cost of a few psy point. This skill have two variants which teleport him at a different distance.
  • Theme Naming: Every named frost spriggats is named after real life philosphers: Grotius is named after Hugo Grotius, Hobbes after Thomas Hobbes, Locke after John Locke and Rousseau after Jacques Rousseau.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: There is a way to get softlocked during the Lake alto battles. You are on a tiny boat surrounded by water, so non-flying units can't move much. You are encouraged to bring some flying units but not obliged to do so. If you don't bring flying units with you, all you can do is wait for the spriggats to come for you. The problem is that there is always a healer among the spriggats enemies in these battle and if the healer is the only enemy left, it will just keep hiding in a corner in the map and non-flying units cannot reach it and kill it, meaning the player will be stuck and forced to refresh the page.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Grotius's frost shield, which gives cold resistance to any allies he uses it on, sounds nice but it has a problem: the only enemies in the game who deal cold damage are frost spriggats, and you only fight them in a single chapter, on Lake Alto. (You do fight a trio of frost spiggats earlier in the game, but Grotius isn't in your party at this time). To make it worse, the frost shield doesn't work on characters who already have a passive elemental resistance, so if your shadowlings already unlocked their shadow resistance they won't benefit from the frost shield, and because shadowlings are flying units they're very useful on the Lake Alto battles, which take place on a boat surrounded by water. Basically, there is no points in using this spell at all even in the only chapter where it could theorically be useful.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • If you kill Grotius' father Cerzak, not only do you have to kill him too, but your Personality goes straight to hell.
    • Stay with the Shadowlings in the end, and you lose two party members who side with the Academy.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If the main character gets killed, you lose, no matter how many other characters are still alive. This can cause Fridge Logic to kick in once you realize that your other teammates could just drag his corpse back to Somnus and have the queen revive him, as you do if anyone else gets killed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you take the "evil" dialogue options, people will occasionally call you out on it, the most notable example being Festus.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: When you finish the game you are told what all your party members (and David) do after the end of the story. Some are different depending of which side you choose at the end or if some allies died.


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