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Video Game / The Council

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The Main Cast, minus resident Big Bad Lord Mortimer.

The Council is a historical Episodic Adventure Game developed by Big Bad Wolf and released by Focus Home Interactive in 2018.

In an alternate 1793, Louis De Richet is a member of a secret society called The Golden Order, which deals with the occult. Louis finds himself searching for his mother on a private island owned by the mysterious philanthropist Lord William Mortimer. She — along with several other luminaries of the period — was invited there to discuss and influence current events, but her sudden disappearance sparked fears of a conspiracy. Now, her son must step up, out of her shadow, and untangle the secrets and clues hidden on the island to find her.

Inspired by TellTale's TV-like games, it has a heavy emphasis on dialogue and story above all else. An RPG system of skills, such as linguistics or occult knowledge, helps Louis navigate the social jungle and uncover clues as he searches for his mother.


The game consists of five episodes:

  • Episode 1 - "The Mad Ones" (Released March 13, 2018)
  • Episode 2 - "Hide and Seek" (Released May 15, 2018)
  • Episode 3 - "Ripples" (Released July 24, 2018)
  • Episode 4 - "Burning Bridges" (Released September 25, 2018)
  • Episode 5 - "Checkmate" (Released December 4, 2018)

Not to be confused with The Council of Hanwell.

This video game includes the following tropes:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: You can't talk to all of the characters whenever you want because doing so would consume Effort Points needed to follow the actual plot.
    • Louis will magically realize when he's found all the clues hidden at the dock.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Elizabeth Adams suffers from severe mental issues, likely not helped by the barbaric measures taken to "help" her.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Consumables found in the world will persist across chapters and episodes, reducing most of the pressure to use them up just to have space for more in your limited five-apiece inventory. This even applies to the various lockboxes strewn about the manor, allowing you to fill up with what you need and simply come back later for the rest - presuming the room you left it in is still accessible when you need it of course.
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  • Anyone Can Die: Depending on certain choices picked throughout the game, certain characters will die.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Saturn Devouring His Son by Fransico Goya won't be painted until sometime between 1819 and 1823, and won't be transferred to a canvas until the 1870s (Goya originally painted it directly on the wall of his own house), way past the time the game takes place.
    • The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David is visible on a wall in 20 January 1793—six months before Jean-Paul Marat's real-life death (on 13 July).
    • Washington mentions that Lord Mortimer helped him gain the presidency by financing his campaign. In reality, Washington didn't have much of a political campaign and didn't even have opponents when he ran for president.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Lord Mortimer seems to have a finger in every political pie of the era, from Washington's presidency to the French Revolution to Napoleon's rise to power. The project he proposes during the game itself is to lay the groundwork for the Louisiana Purchase. And if some signatures found on centuries-old documents are genuine, he's been playing the game for a "long" time.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: George Washington is the head of the American branch of the secret society that Louis and his mother belong to.
  • Big Fancy House: Most of the game takes place in Mortimer's estate, a mansion that can host dozens of people luxuriously and is tastefully ornamented with fountains, paintings, and marble columns.
  • Boring, but Practical: You can do almost nothing cool with Agility (the exceptions being saving Louis from the lock trap and knocking a gun out of Peru's hand) compared to the other skills, especially since kicking down doors will draw negative attention from the other guests...but the extra consumables it allows you to reach are nice.
  • Character Death: Elizabeth Adams is murdered at the end of episode 1, in most routes.
  • The Chessmaster: Lord Mortimer, friend of soldiers, scholars, and political figures from all around the world.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System: At the end of each quest, the game tells you what objectives you completed and what you failed. There is a third column called "Alternate paths", where you didn't do something because you did something else. Some choices affect the story itself, while others unlock traits. Some traits simply give you a skill point, while others make it easier or harder to use certain skills.
  • Collective Identity: It turns out Lady Hillsborrow is not one individual but two, compromising of Emily and her identical twin sister Emma. Having constantly been mixed up for one another since they were children, they decided to play along. Effectively erasing Emma, the two share everything from information to lovers as they take turns playing the role of Emily Hillsborrow to do missions and other things.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Although they don't revolve around a monarch, Mortimer's parties are this trope. Guests come from every race and ideology, and though they're expected to let external conflicts rest for the duration of the party, many can't... so naturally, intrigue flourishes among the ornate backdrop.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When Louis enters the crypt for the first time, Sarah points a gun at his head from behind.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: It's possible to be wrongfully executed for Elizabeth's murder in episode 2, but it requires you to give the most vague, unhelpful answers possible, completely ignore the room investigation, and act suspiciously for no reason.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: The massive scar on Elizabeth's head comes from brain surgery performed on her by Sarah De Richet.
    • In the prologue, if Louis tries to subdue Borchert on his own, he will spend the rest of the game with a nasty bruise over his nose.
  • Faceless Mooks: Lord Mortimer's servants all wear blank masks over their faces.
  • Guile Hero: Louis isn't a fighter, regardless of what class the player chooses, but he is more than capable of navigating the guests' intrigues.
  • Historical Domain Character: Among Lord Mortimer's guests are President George Washington, a young Napoleon Bonaparte, Manuel Godoy, and Johann Christoph von Wöllner.
  • Human Notepad: Elizabeth's body is covered in occult tattoos and writings. Because her Ambiguous Disorder is viewed as some sort of supernatural possession, the tattoos are intended to imprison whatever entity is supposedly afflicting her.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: There is one puzzle that if you fail, then Louis loses one of his hands. It gives you a penalty in some skill checks and gives the character a limp for the rest of the game.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: There are two icons for doors: one indicates that a door can be opened/lockpicked/interacted with, and the other indicates that a door can be opened/lockpicked/interacted with later, when the plot feels like letting you. Doors that can never be opened don't have an icon at all.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted: It's established early on that the Necronomicon/"Al Azif" is real in this world.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It is revealed that Mortimer is Louis's father, among others. Actually, Mortimer is related to most of the cast.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Emily, who wears a very low-cut dress and can sleep with Louis if he makes the right choices.
  • The Napoleon: Averted with the man himself. Napoleon is actually taller than Louis.
  • Noodle Incident: It's not relevant to the plot, but one wonders why an Emperor of China would beg Mortimer for help.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Of the four French characters (Louis, Sarah, Jacques and Napoleon) Napoleon is the only one who has an appropriate accent.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Soon after arriving on the island, Louis starts having visions which are accompanied by this.
  • Red Herring: Most skill use opportunities are helpful to the player in some way...most of them. One exception is the fireplace ashes in Episode 1, which Louis will tell you (if you burn a few precious Effort Points on a Science use) are completely useless to what he's trying to do.
  • RPG Elements: You use experience points to unlock various skills, and certain actions and dialogue options are only possible if you possess the right skills. The character class you choose at the beginning determines which skills are easier to unlock and which are harder.
  • Shout-Out:
    • On the wharf you can find a letter addressed to a R. Galbraith at 50 Bedford Square, London, which is the real-life location of Bloomsbury publishers.
    • Emily has an origami bird sitting on one of her suitcases.
    • One bookcase in episode 1 has a book by the Miller brothers. Louis says his mother told him to never read it.
  • Spot the Impostor: At one point Louis meets with Emily and Emma, who try to kill each other, both telling him that they are Emily. You have to guess which one is the real. Whether you succeeded or failed will only be apparent later.
  • Story Branching: Your choices can have consequences such as certain characters dying, or even which ending you can unlock.
  • Surprise Incest: In Episode 4, it turns out that certain individuals are actually related. It's revealed that Louis is actually Mortimer's son. Assuming certain choices were picked, it's then later further revealed by the surviving Hillsborrow twin that the sisters are Mortimer's daughters as well. Since Louis could've slept with either Emily or Emma, with both sisters, or with neither of them, this trope is either played straight, played straight twice, or completely averted depending on what occurred. If Emily survived, the revelation that she and Louis are actually related adds to her distress of having just lost her sister. Completely mortified by all this, she decides to drink her pain away. If Emma survived on the other hand, she's seemingly fine with the revelation and even proposes to continue further with the affair. However, based on her dialogue, she's apparently gone completely mad.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Louis can prevent Jacques Peru's suicide attempt.


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