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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 attacks 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 art improved between the first and second games which is more noticable with capes who look like baggy clothes in the first game but looks like what they are supposed to be in the second. Weirdly enough an NPC from the Psy Academy looks exactly the same in the first and second game.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Ennemies with are of effects attacks still focus on attacking a single tile in front of them rather than strategically attack multiple targets intentionnaly.
    • 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 not attack even if they could.
    • Bronze golems doesn't seems to realise that they can hit multiples targets with their saw blades, they may sometime only attack on of your characters when they could hit more and they may also hit one of their allies when they could have avoided it.
  • 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 this power; if someone on your team dies, all you need to do to revive them is pay her some money.
  • Back Stab: Any character getting attacked from behind will get 50% more damage so it is advised to attack ennemies in the back as much as possible while protecting your own behind in the same time.
  • 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 take up 4 tiles instead of one.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • The spriggats attacks 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 gives it to Helena.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Not only can you not leave him out of your battling party, but you also can't move him from the fourth character slot.
  • Casting a Shadow: The shadowlings and dark spriggats have darkness based power.
  • 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: Almost every characters have one when you talks to them, this include several NPCs.
  • Circling Stars: When you beat Cerzak in battle, rather than than fading away in 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 for Your Convenience: While In-Universe the shadowlings colors show their age, for gameplay purpose every shadowling healers is blue which is the same color than the shield spells.
  • 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 / No Canon for the Wicked: Judging from the Servants of God demo, the "bad ending" where you ally yourself with the shadowlings is non-canonical, since there couldn't be a Shadowling Republic otherwise.
    • Likewise, 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 wear 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 also the hero was 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.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The main character themselves, if you choose to ally with Tastidan.
  • Floating Limbs: The shadowlings who are already floating heads also have floating hands.
  • Flunky Boss: All the boss 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.
  • Frickin' Laser Beam: The energy golems attack with laser canons and can hit everyone in a line.
  • 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.
  • 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) 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 blast 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.
  • She Who Must Not Be Seen: The shadowling queen. Until the climax, that is.
  • Hot-Blooded: Darkling seems exited to fight enemies.
  • An Ice Person: The frosts spriggats including Grotius have ice based breath attacks.
  • 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 this if you pick certain dialogue options.
  • 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 deal to the ennemies. Note that the damage is ALWAYS equal to the healing so if you have all your HPs you won't do damage at all and waste your turn.
  • Light 'em Up:
    • The energy golems laser do light damage.
    • Dean Lucas and a random psy fighter can uses a power called the light bomb which involve shotting a ball of light which explode and hurt multiple opponents.
    • Surprisingly, Nelis have a light attack that do lots of damage to one character but 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.
  • 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.
    • Ennmeies may have some healers in their ranks too, spriggat's battle during the Lake Alto mission ogten 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 restert 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 makes them uniques like horns or headgears, most of them looks exactly the same except for their eyes and hand colors who 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 differents haircut they all looks 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.
  • The Red Mage: The protagonist, although they lean more towards offense than defense.
  • 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.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Darkling calls himself "Darkling the Magnificent, Greatest Assassin in the Known World".
  • Spin Attack: Helena can learn the whirlwind skill which makes her spin around with her sword and hit every ennemies around her.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: The most common psy attack "mind blast" is colored purple.
  • Teleportation: Darkling can learn the "Shadowport" skill which make 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 teleports him at a different distance.
  • 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 so you are encouraged to bring some flying units even if you are not obliged to do so. If you don't bring flying units with you then all you can do is wait for the spriggats to come for you, except that there is always a spriggat healer in these battle and if he's the only ennemy left, he will just keep hiding in a corner in the map and you can't kill without approaching him with a flying unit and the battle won't end until every foes is dead so you'd better bring you shadowlings and/or Grotius if you don't wanna be stuck and be forced to refresh the page.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Grotius' frost shield which gives cold resistance (makes cold attacks are half as effective) to any allies he use it on, the problem is: the only enemies in the game who deal cold damage are frost spriggats and you only fight them in the General Darkeye rescuing mission (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 worst, the frost shield doesn't even work on characters who already have a passive elemental resistance so if your shadowlings have shadow resistance they won't benefit of the frost shield and because they are flying units they are very usefull on the Lake Alto battles which take place on a boat surrounded by water.
  • 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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