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Video Game / Telepath RPG: Servants of God

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Telepath RPG: Servants of God is the third chapter in the Telepath RPG series. The story is not a direct sequel to the previous chapters, though it is set in the same world.

Nelis, the shadowling queen, has been defeated, and without her, the Shadowling Empire has crumbled. However, a new menace has arisen in the world of Cera Bella. Known as the "Servants of God", this cult believes that there is only one true god, and he alone has the right to peer into the hearts and minds of mortals. This makes those with "the Gift" — psychics — anathema to them. They are persecuted by this cult as "dark ones" who manipulate the minds of others. As a radical fringe group, their beliefs are easy to dismiss — until they stage a coup and take over the desert city of Ravinale.

Your main character is the son of two senators, Alder and Catherine Duvalier. Your character was thrown in prison shortly after the coup took place. Fortunately, his friend Griffin, along with the People's Resistance of Ravinale, breaks him out. He now has to work together with a ragtag group of resistance fighters to topple the Cult's theocracy and reinstate the old democratic government.

The game tackles a number of theological and philosophical questions about the nature of God and the role of religion in society — the god the Cult worships being called "Yahwah" is no coincidence. The writing has been critically acclaimed by a number of video game critics, and it sports a fun tactical RPG experience as well. A demo can be downloaded on its home site, Sinister Design, and the full version can be purchased for 25 US dollars.

Examples of tropes used in Servants of God:

  • Actual Pacifist: Set. He doesn't have any attack skills, because he can't bear to hurt anyone. In fact When Duvalier asks Set how he dealt with people who attacked him, particularly bullies when he was younger, he replies that he simply puts up a barrier around them until they feel stupid and give up.
    Set: I do fight! But I fight to save lives, not take them.
  • Ambiguous Gender: We don't know Iblis's gender since they're a spirit inhabiting a statue and we never see the spirit's true form.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Some orbs amplify Duvalier's attributes.
    • The blood orb increases his maximum HPs.
    • The violet orb increases his maximum PsPs.
    • The yellow orb increases his PsP regeneration.
    • The opal orb increases his personality stat.
    • The green orb increases his movements during battles.
  • ...And That Little Boy Was Me: Before the player fights Malekahin, he tells the story of a little orphan who was forced to live in the street, conning people to have the money needed to live until he was found and given parental love by Cygnus. Malekahin then says that the orphan was him.
  • Antagonist Title: The "Servants of God" in the title refers to the cult of Yawah, which are the main enemies of the heroes.
  • Antimagical Faction: The Cult considers people with Psy abilities to be Dark Ones, abominations against Yawah's will. This is a Hypocritical version, as they don't apply this to their own Acolytes, believing their powers to come from Yawah instead of the Dark.
  • Anti-Villain: The Cult's leaders are mostly ordinarily-decent individuals caught up in a fanatical religious movement.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Like in the previous game, you can raise it with your personality stat but the maximum is 8.
  • Arc Words: When a character learns a new skill, the narration almost always starts the skill's description with "As it turns out...".
  • Art Evolution: The character portraits are way better looking than in the previous game. The interface is also a bit more aesthetic.
  • Back from the Dead: Luca has this ability, though it's explained that there are a number of limitations. Firstly, she apparently can't do it without Duvaliernote , justifying We Cannot Go On Without You. She also needs an intact body and a "soul charge" that you can get by killing ennemies with her "soul suck" attack.
  • Back Stab: As with the second game, hitting someone from behind results in more damage. Assassins' attacks have a better bonus and even have a sidestab bonus damage.
  • Badass Normal: Qudssi is the only playable character who cannot learn any other skills than his normal melee attack, since he has no psychic powers. But he has good enough stats to balance it and he has an unique resistance to mental attacks.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The shadow bugs and the nymphs are back, this game also adds desert scorpions and giant mantisses.
  • The Big Guy: General D'kah is the biggest human character in the whole game, and is also one of the strongest opponents.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Greater Ghosts. They are completely immune to physical attacks, have a boatload of health, and they use devastating area effect attacks.
    • Loyalist Captains and Avengers are also quite tough. The Captains can deal tremendous damage to large portions of your team, and the Avengers can return the damage you deal to them with Feedback, requiring you to press to offensive to have any hope of defeating them.
  • Break Them by Talking: If Duvalier has high enough personality stats before the final boss, he can call out Cygnus on his dangerous religious fanatism and make him give up without even fighting by having him start to doubt his beliefs, to the point where Cygnus starts to weep. Though the player still needs to choose the correct dialogue options.
  • Breath Weapon: Like in the previous game this is the spriggats' main method of attack.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Despite Rajav's claims that he is a legendary lover, his attempts to woo Luca are absolutely terrible. It is possible, however, that the time spent in the labyrinth simply caused his skills to become rusty. Very rusty.
    Rahel: [Rajav] couldn't seduce a cat out of a bucket of water.
  • Casting a Shadow:
    • Duvalier can choose to learn shadow powers when he has to choose between the four elemental powers.
    • Shadowlings in general are associated with shadow powers; this includes Malis, one of your party members.
  • Cephalothorax: Shadowlings are floating round heads with floating hands and no body.
  • Character Portrait: Almost every character has one when you talk to them; this includes most NPCs.
  • Climax Boss: Malekahin, who challenges you during the raid on the Armory and tries to convince you to join the Cult.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In-Universe, the shadowlings' eye and hand colors indicate their age, but for the sake of convenience, Malis is the only purple shadowling in the game and also happens to be the only playable one.
  • Continuity Nod: A number of references are made to the events of the prequel. Many major characters from that game even make appearances.
  • Crutch Character: Qudssi is faster than Griffin by two points, is resistant to mental attacks (an unique trait), and starts with his melee attack at an incredibly high level. He also has no special skills. This makes him a useful alternative to Griffin in the early game, but he falls behind in the endgame, when Griffin starts learning more skills.
  • Cyclops: All the golems only have one eye.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Duvalier is the protagonist and can learn shadow powers which have no influence on his status as a good guy; that would be your dialogue choices, which are un-related.
    • Since the last game, the shadowlings are separated in two factions, and only one is considered evil.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rahel, if you aren't on her good side.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Even moreso than in the prequel. Revival now costs easily-accumulated "soul charges" instead of gold.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Rahel, if you pick the right options when talking to her.
  • Dialogue Tree: Lots. Most notably, there is an absolutely massive one for your pre-battle parley with the Final Boss, with numerous different outcomes.
  • Disc-One Nuke: With high Aptitude and a bit of persistence, it is possible to crack the combination on the Order of the Black Rose's safe before the first mission. This gets you 5000 gold and an orb.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: During the final battle, Cygnus spawns five clones of himself, each with its own powerful attack.
  • Elemental Powers: Heat, cold, light, and shadow. Physical attacks and non-elemental psy powers count as their own elements too, the latter is called "mental".
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Griffin, Rahel and Arman start out with basic attacks with their respective weapon, but with training, they can use psychic powers to enhance their attacks.
  • Energy Weapon: The energy golems are back and so are their laser cannons.
  • Everything Fades: Characters fade away while turning purple when they die.
  • Fire/Ice Duo: La'Man and Naj are a couple composed of a red spriggat (fire-based) and a frost spriggat (ice-based).
  • Floating Limbs: The shadowlings who are already floating heads also have floating hands.
  • Golem: Like the previous game, there are three kind of golems, 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.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Griffin and Arman are melee fighters, Rahel is an archer. Possibly subverted with Duvalier, who often attacks at range using his Psychic Powers.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Zig-zagged. While you get to choose the protagonist's first name, he does have a canon last name, which is Duvalier.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Duvalier can eventually learn one which is different depending on what elements he chooses.
  • Inconsistent Coloring:
    • Malis's eyes and hands are purple on her sprites, but they are somewhere between pink and magenta on her character portrait.
    • Rahel, Set and and Qudssi have dark skin on their sprites, but light skin on their character portraits.
  • It Gets Easier: Discussed and subverted in the prologue.
    Griffin: First time you've ever killed someone, huh? [...] It gets...easier. But it's never easy. And it never should be.
  • Karma Meter: Defied by the creator, who says he wants to avoid moralizing the choices in the game.
  • Last Disc Magic: Double Strike, Trueshaft, and Mega Stab for Griffin, Rahel, and Arman, respectively. Arguably the elemental area attack for Duvalier as well.
  • Life Drain:
    • The "feedback" skill and its upgrade, "revenge", heal you for the same damage it deals to the enemies. Note that the damage is ALWAYS equal to the healing, so if you have all your HP, you won't do damage at all and waste your turn. Canonically, as said by the flavor text, the characters purge negativity and wounds from their bodies, then inflict that same negativity on the enemy.
    • Luca's Soul Suck is a mix between Life Drain and Mana Drain. It drains the opponent's health, but converts it into PsP when Luca absorbs it. Iblis' Drain attack works in the opposite manner.
  • Magic Knight: Every weapon-using fighter in the party except Qudssi is Gifted, and they use their psy abilities as part of their combat style.
  • Magikarp Power: Duvalier. He has the worst stats in the game, with no intrinsic health or PsP bonuses, and only starts with a basic offensive and defensive skill. He is also likely to have low battle stats, since it's most advantageous to max out Personality and Aptitude at their expense. Once he gets a few orbs and starts learning elemental attacks, however, he easily becomes the strongest and most versatile member of your team. He's still a bit squishy, though.
    • Also, Malis. She starts with nothing but Mind Blast, but once she starts learning more skills, she becomes the most manoverable character in the game, and, unlike Arman, can actually keep herself alive with Feedback. She can't match Arman in terms of pure offensive output, however.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Cygnus always wears a golden mask that looks like the face of an infant.
  • The Medic: Set's role. He mostly has healing skills and does not have any offensive skills because he's a pacifist.
  • Military Coup: After the Ravinale Guard was subverted by the Cult, the next step was to purge the Parliament of any Senators who wouldn't vote as instructed.
  • Monochrome Apparition: Spirit people are pure white and glowing.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • One: Agree to surrender at the Al'Dukkan armoury, and join the ranks of the Cult. This one has a lot of What the Hell, Hero.
    • Two: Beat Cygnus to a bloody pulp and arrest him. This is the "standard" ending.
    • Three: Trump Cygnus in a theological debate and force him to surrender.
    • Four: Let Cygnus run away.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Duvalier can have one of these after mission four, if he took the violent route and discovers that Luca's personality has been irreversibly altered.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics:
    • All character types and attacks that were in the previous game respectively re-use their assets and animations.
    • If you look closely, you'll notice that Luca uses recolored character assets from the first game of the series.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted; there are numerous enemies with healing skills.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: When the final boss is beaten, he falls on his knees instead of dying.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Every member of the Ravinale guards wears distinct white armor and a white cape, but General D'kah wears a purple cape which really makes him stand out when he's surrounded by his underlings.
  • One-Man Party: You can do it this way if you want, since characters are upgraded by spending gold (allowing you to train up whoever you want), Duvalier is much less expensive to upgrade early on than most, and he can heal himself with Feedback and Vengeance. It works very well early on, but later, he could probably stand to have a little backup.
  • Optional Party Member: Qudssi, Malis, La'Man, Naj, and Rajav.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: Ravinale is still formally a Republic, but after the Cult's coup d'etat, any Senators who don't vote as instructed are going to end up imprisoned or worse.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • All of the Optional Party Members, if you piss them off, kill them, or flat-out refuse to let them join. Most notably, Qudssi calls it quits if you tell Luca to kill the innocent civilians at the end of mission four. He also becomes lost if you don't recruit him before that point, no matter what you do.
    • Some of the orbs can be lost if you screw up the relevant sidequests badly enough.
  • Personality Powers: The Nameless One asks Duvalier about his personality before selecting an elemental affinity for him. Apparently, pyrokineticists believe in great passion, cryokineticists believe in rationality and detachment, photokineticists believe in analyzing future possibilities, and skiakineticists believe in analyzing past mistakes. This also seems to hold true for the Cult's Acolytes — Fernatus is a fiery, passionate executioner, while Malekahin is a scholarly preacher who is focused on correcting his past mistakes.
    • There seems to be a degree of this going on with Luca, as well. Specifically, if Duvalier convinces her that she really is an angel of wrath in mission four, she will learn Light Blast, an offensive skill.note  However, if Duvalier keeps her grounded during that scene and she retains her more passive personality, then she learns Transfer 2, a support skill.
  • Posthumous Character: Darime, the previous leader of the resistance, dies before the game starts.
  • Psychic Powers: Explored to an even greater depth than in the prequels.
  • Purple Is Powerful: General D'kah wears a purple cape and is the second most powerful opponent in the game and the strongest character in the whole game in term of physical power.
  • The Resistance: The player controls a group of freedom fighters trying to resist the cult of Yawah, who tries to seize the control of Ravinale through religious fanatism.
  • Relationship Values: Most characters have these. They can be affected by what you say when talking to them in your headquarters, among other factors.
  • Rousing Speech: Duvalier can make one of these later in the game to gain support for La Résistance. Its success depends on a number of factors.
  • Sand Blaster: Iblis can use two sand-based attacks: sand blast, which hits a random character, and sandstorm, which hits every playable character on the field.
  • Secret Character: Rajav, to an extent. He can only be recruited by completing the fourth crypt.
  • Self-Duplication: Cygnus has an unique psychic power to create clones of himself.
  • Side Quest: All over the place. The latter half of the game is largely made up of these.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • There's a lot of them, but probably the biggest one is the Final Boss himself.
    • You can fight General D'Kah, but he has more HP than the Final Boss. You can also just run past him.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: The fact that the solid state shield skill cannot be used on occupied tiles is justified by Set's pacifist nature, since using this kind of shield on someone would suffocate them to death and he refuses to harm anyone.
  • Stationary Boss: Iblis can't move because it's a jinn possessing a statue.
  • Tagalong Kid: Duvalier for the most part. He is granted tactical command in battle, but doesn't have much influence on the group's major, long-term goals. He's mostly just there because he needs shelter and/or he feels like helping out.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: You can do this to the Final Boss. Albeit not literally, and you do need a very high Personality score.
  • Technicolor Magic: The most common psy attack, "mind blast", and its upgrade, "mind shock", are colored purple.
  • Telepathy: A common power in this game's universe. Shadowlings always use this to communicate despite having mouths.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: Malis can learn the "Shadowport" skill which makes her teleport and thus allows her to move more than she usually can at the cost of a few psy points. This skill has two variants which teleports her at a different distance.
  • Underground Monkey: The spriggat species is composed of variants with different skin colors that indicate their element. Red spriggats are heat-elemental, frost spriggats (white) are cold-elemental and dark spriggat (black) are shadow-elemental.
  • The Unfought: Hakim is the only one of the three Ravinal Acolytes who is not fought in the game, unlike Fernatus and Malekahin.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you tell Luca to murder a bunch of innocent civilians in mission four, Qudssi will desert if you recruited him.
  • Video Game Set Piece: Both Iblis and Cygnus use weird attacks that aren't what one might normally expect. Iblis cannot move, but can drain PsP for health, and has an attack that can hit anyone, anywhere (there are no range restrictions). Cygnus can create clones of himself, switch places with those clones, create electrified solid state shields out of thin air, and attack every character on the field at once.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization:
    • Duvalier, Malis, Luca: "My mind is my weapon."note 
    • Griffin, Qudssi: Sword
    • Rahel: Archer
    • Arman: Blade Enthusiast
    • Rajav: Blade on a Stick
    • Naj, La'Man: Breath Weapon
    • Averted for Set, who litetally wouldn't hurt a fly; all he does is healing.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Justified this time. Luca is purely loyal to Duvalier; if he dies, she just fades away (or something) and can't revive him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Happens repeatedly throughout the game if you have Duvalier do things the other characters consider immoral.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: When the game is finished, a text explains to the player what every playable character does after the story is over. Some of the epilogue may change depending on the player's actions throughout the game.

Alternative Title(s): Servants Of God