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The many shall suffer for the sins of the one...

The Forgotten City refers to both a quest mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that was released in October 2015, and a remake of the mod as standalone game that was released in July 2021. Both games have a similar premise; a woman asks you to investigate the ruins of an ancient city in order to find another explorer who ventured into the area but didn't return. You quickly find their remains inside, but visibly aged, and with a cryptic suicide note advising that they spent a lifetime trying to fix things, but without success.

Further investigation reveals a strange portal that takes you back in time to the city's heyday, whereupon the leader of the city advises you that the residents are unable to leave, and are subject to a strange curse which dictates that if one person sins, they all will be slain, and thus he seeks your help in finding a way to break this cycle and return you to your world...


Tropes present:

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    The Original Mod 
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Arbiter and Jarl Metellus. The Arbiter is the Dwemer who has been enforcing the Draconian laws of the city while Metellus is violating the law in secret to rape Maisi nightly.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jarl Metellus seems to be a friendly Reasonable Authority Figure who's willing to lend you all the aid you need in order to solve the mystery and get home to your time. Digging a little deeper reveals that that his rule of the city basically means letting himself and his friends (mainly Imperials) enjoy the pleasure of the Citadel while the rest of the city slaves away to survive. Dig even deeper and you'll learn he's a vile rapist who breaks the Dwarves' Law on the regular thanks to a loophole he has discovered.
  • Bittersweet Ending: If you release Maisi from her bonds, she will immediately seek Metellus and kill him with an ice spell, breaking open a nearby water pipe. Once the Dwarves' Law is triggered, the citizens manage to escape through this pipe. While the now-alive Altrius is glad that mostly everyone managed to evacuate, he laments that the city itself could not be saved.
  • But Thou Must!: You can only get the immaculate dwarven armor from Rykas in one of two ways; violence or theft. Either of these will break the Dwarves' Law. As you need this item to get the mod's good ending, this means you have to break the Law at least once.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: invoked Jarl Metellus' face and voice seem to be based on Patrick Stewart. Ironic, given that Stewart isn't known for playing villains, which would make this a meta-example of Playing Against Type.
  • Developers' Foresight: Although the quest can be started as early as level 5, The Arbiter will have dialogue if you're a member of the Thieves' Guild or Dark Brotherhood when you confront him. Certain minor quests are also accounted for; if you've completed "The Taste of Death", he'll be horrified to discover that your crimes include cannibalism. For that matter, if you tackle the mod before completion of Dragon Rising, when he calls you Dragonborn, ask him what he means and he'll mention that he knows things about you that have yet to be revealed to the player.
    • In another example, the player can pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! even before starting the mod properly, if they know where is the escape route in advance.note  There's even an unique conversation with Cassia about this event!
  • Difficult, but Awesome: It's actually possible for the player to get the good ending without breaking the Dwarves' Law, although doing so requires them to have their Restoration and Speech skills high enough (as well as having a large enough mana pool so they can constantly cast healing spells to bypass the radiation) so they can get to the Arbiter, and then convince him. However, doing so locks you out of completing the Immaculate Dwarven Armor or getting your hands on the Arbiter's Helmet, which means that if you also have the Legacy of the Dragonborn mod, you won't be able to display them on the Forgotten City display.
  • Downer Ending: Occurs if Metellus dies before creating the time portal. A Time Paradox occurs and you are thrown back into your own time. You meet up with Altrius (who also never travelled back as a result), but the city is destroyed and its inhabitants are dead. The two of you manage to escape the city, but Altrius will lament the loss of the people who lived there.
  • Driven to Suicide: You'll find Altrius' corpse hanging from a tree when you first enter the destroyed city, and fight his ghost to get the lake house key. Notably, he's aged to an old man as a result of going through the time portal repeatedly, over a period of 30+ years, failing time and time again in saving the city. In either ending, he'll appear again as a still alive and much younger man, having never gone through the portal.
  • Dystopian Edict: The Dwarves' Law: "The many shall suffer for the sins of the one." If anyone commits a crime in the city, everyone in it will be killed. This allows the Jarl and Domitus to bully everyone else into submission, since everyone is too scared to fight back. Repeatedly breaking this law by abusing time travel can ultimately result in a confrontation with the being that set it up.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Occurs if you convince the Arbiter to end the Dwarves' Law, either through persuasion or by killing him and going back in time with his helmet as proof of your deeds. A Time Paradox occurs and you are thrown back into your time. You meet up with Altrius in front of a statue of you wearing the Immaculate Dwarves' armor, and the two of you re-enter the city to discover that Metellus was executed for his crimes, trade is open once more, Domitus is working the mines, and everyone else is living together in true harmony.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Arbiter. Subverted with Metellus, who sounds like Patrick Stewart.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Metellus. He's polite and actually listens to you once you give evidence you're from the future; but once it's revealed that he kidnapped Maisi and kept her for the purpose of being his Sex Slave, he drops the charm and coldly boasts that the Dragonborn can't do anything to stop him.
  • Fantastic Racism: Anyone who's not an Imperial and not kissing their asses doesn't get to live in the Citadel. Also, the only beast race members you'll encounter in the mod are in an underwater cave.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Arbiter's helmet gives him (and by extension, anyone wearing it) these.
  • Humans Are Bastards: An underlying theme of the mod is that, even in a society where crime does not exist, the negative qualities of human nature do not disappear. This becomes very apparent once you've walked around the city a bit and chatted with everyone. In the good ending however, this proves false and the city becomes a much more pleasant place to live.
    • This is also the core belief of The Arbiter - that people are naturally inclined to commit evil deeds and the Dwarves' Law is the only way to maintain a peaceful order.
  • Hypocrite: Metellus never once seems to consider that seeking to maintain the Dwarves' Law while tampering with the statues used to enforce it so that he can keep Maisi as a Sex Slave in flagrant violation of it might bite him in the ass.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: The Arbiter originally established the Dwarves' Law to maintain peace and order. This quickly turned into repeated instances of genocide.
  • Loophole Abuse: While violence and theft are outlawed under the Dwarves' Law, other negative behaviours such as gossip, intimidation, taking drugs, swindling, and necromancy are fair game. Fortunately in the latter case, defending yourself against the undead doesn't count as breaking the law. In addition, if the dwarves' heads don't spot you, you can break all the laws you want.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The mod's trailer portrays Metellus as a benevolent ruler who will be your strongest ally in finding out who will break the Dwarves' Law. He isn't. In fact, he's been breaking the law in secret for a long while.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Bringing Metellus to justice by your own hand, or by Maisi's or Ulrin's, will trigger the Downer Ending. Telling the Arbiter about his misdeeds will trigger the Dwarves' Law, and he only gives you a brief thank you for being honest before attempting to kill you.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Or rather, Outside Context Solution, in the good ending. From the perspective of the inhabitants of the titular city, you just walked out of the Lakehouse one day, somehow clad in the same Immaculate Dwarven Armor that Rykas is wearing, managed to enter the dangerously lethal area beneath the city, and did something that leads to the Dwarves' Law being lifted. This is especially true if you didn't speak to anyone during that timeline.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Taking the persuade option with The Arbiter the first time around prevents you from getting his helmet, which is a Dwarven quality helm with a powerful enchantment (free shock spells) as well as a power that causes fear in most anything you encounter. This is especially bad for players with the Legacy of the Dragonborn mod, as the Arbiter's Helmet is part of the Forgotten City display.
  • Properly Paranoid: Rykas believes that the statues around the city are going to kill everyone. If the Dwarves' Law is broken, that's exactly what happens.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Hjormund is one of the Citadel dwellers who oppress the smallfolk; but as he points out, if they don't work the farmland then no one gets to eat. In the good ending, he's working the mines, but unlike Dominus, he's perfectly okay with it.
  • Really Gets Around: Rastasia has this reputation, due to her flirtatious attitude and being a former Forsworn, but in actuality she never sleeps with anyone. She was married prior to entering the city, but her husband left her out of jealousy for her flirting.
  • Stable Time Loop: Whoever gets sent to the past winds up causing one where the Dwarves' Law ends up broken (either presumably at the hands of a gang of marauders sent to kill a former Dark Brotherhood agent in the city or by the time traveler themselves) and the person who originally traveled through time gets sent back again. The only way out is to force a Time Paradox.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: You are sent seven years into the past to figure out what caused everyone in the city to die and keep it from happening. It's a good thing you get unlimited do-overs, since you are required to trigger it at least once in order to escape the city (at least if you want to keep most everyone alive.).
  • Schmuck Bait: Go ahead and buy that "Super-Jumping" potion from Deglund. Of course it'll work, he's the most honest guy in the city! This trope also holds true for the city itself; there are riches beyond imagining (an absolutely colossal Aetherium deposit) in it... in an unreachable cavern filled with radiation and the angry Dwemer who created the Dwarves' Law. Oh, and there's no way out of the city once you're there either.
  • Spot the Thread: While you're reading through the citizen arrival log to which Metellus directs you, note how many times the word "potential" is mentioned and with whom it's associated. The "potential" relates to whom Metellus would consider to be his potential sex slave — he goes with Maisi.
  • Sword of Damocles: All those Dwarven centurions standing around aren't just for show. They come to life and wipe out the city's population when the Dwarves' Law is broken.
  • Take Up My Sword: The Vigilant of Stendarr you can meet in the city is dying from radiation sickness, and he bequeaths the Boots of the Immaculate Dwarven Armor to you in his will. You'll need to visit him if you want to get the Good Ending.
  • Tempting Fate: While exploring the abandoned palace, you'll stumble upon a book authored by a previous inhabitant of the city attempting to disprove the Dwarves' Law. The last paragraph is about doing him so by punching another person. Yeah... looking at all the dead bodies scattered around the room, that went about as well as you expected.
  • The Unreveal: The Arbiter will flat out refuse to tell you where the rest of the Dwemer went if you ask him about them. That said, while he genuinely does not want to tell you, he also admits that he actually has no idea.
  • Time Paradox: It's brought up in discussions with Brol that the only way to get back to your timeline is to cause one of these. It's true. That said, unlike most examples, when you get back from the past, it's treated more like you slept through the events that would have logically occurred after the paradox-forming event took place.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Ultimately, YOU are the one who breaks the Dwarves' Law, although this gets subverted if you discover that Metellus has been breaking it in secret. The only reason he hasn't caused the City to be killed off is because he's figured out how the Dwarves' Law is enforced.
    • In fact, while the game doesn't openly says it so, this was the reason Altrius committed suicide at the story's beginning. He was unable to cope with the guilt that, no matter how dodgy or wrong the Apathetic Citizens of the City were, none of them broke the Dwemers' Law or were at risk of doing so... Except for the "Looter" party, who were the original people responsible for triggering it. It was, from that point on, always a paragon or a hero who cared enough to Set Right What Once Went Wrong that, in an attempt to save them, instead killed them all. Over. And over. And over. And over again.
  • Transparent Closet: It becomes fairly obvious that Rykas' blatant homophobia is a cover for their suppressed homosexuality. In the good ending, he comes out and starts a relationship with Vernon.
    • And true to their demeanor, they're still keeping it to themself. Always a stick in the mud...
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the original timeline, it was a band of looters searching for a Dark Brotherhood member hiding in the city who kicked off the original violation of the Dwarves' Law. Fortunately, you kill the group at the entrance in the past timeline, ensuring that they never enter the city and doom it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ultimately, The Arbiter created the Dwarves' Law in an effort to prevent the abuse of the massive deposit of Aetherium in the City's mines, as well as to keep things peaceful.

    The Standalone Game 
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Desius, one of the cities vendors, price-gouges life saving medicine needed to resolve a quest. In a twist, he's also been doing it to other residents of the city as well.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The remake greatly expands upon the original mod's plot with it being longer and containing more twist and turns and Multiple Endings.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The barkeep Aurelia gets this treatment compared to the original mod's Rastasia. Whereas Rastasia was a gossipy but harmless flirter, Aurelia is a gossipy flirt who's far more malicious, running a scam where she offers a way out of the city for a thousand denarii, only for that way out to be a dosage of hemlock. She also encourages those who can't afford such to put themselves into debt-bondage with Malleolus, who's in on the scheme with her.
  • An Aesop: Fitting for a story invoking Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Sumerian myth, there are two big morals to the story: first, it is better to follow the spirit of the law rather than it's exact wording. While order is nice and keeps things stable, it can quickly be turned into a powerful weapon against innocent people. Secondly, utopia might be impossible due to human nature, but that isn't a bad thing. It's pointed out that though the God of the Underworld's city is technically a paradise thanks to the nominal existence of no crime, it's also a terrifying place to live where the innocent are abused by the powerful. People need things like violence and lying to protect themselves when things go poorly, else you end up with situations like Iluia and Ulpius's debt bondage scam, or Sentius's kidnapping of his own daughter. Thus, a true utopia scenario of pure peace is impossible, but doing so prevents people from exploiting the system.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: There is only the one punishment for someone in the city "sinning". Among the things that constitute a sin are theft, assault, breaking a contract and speaking out loud your intent to kill another person.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Karen/Charon/Kharon/Kherty thanks to having been different genders to different people and cultures unlike the other Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. Even at the end they only appears as an ambiguous floating robe figure. For what it's worth, Pluto and Proserpina refer to Kharon as "she" but it might only be for the convenience of the player character having appeared as "Karen" first. See:Pronoun Trouble
  • Ancient Astronauts: What all the gods in the Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian pantheon turn out to be.
  • And This Is for...: If you play as a Soldier and opt to free Sentilla by shooting Sentius with your pistol, then you get the option to utter one of these before doing so. Your typical choices are either for Al or Sentilla but you can also do it for Duli if you spoke with him... or if enough people around the city have cursed at you, you get an option to avert this trope entirely and instead say the Latin equivalent of "Die, motherfucker!" note 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Every time you loop back you can send Galerius off to solve the problems you have already figured out, not needing to go and do so yourself every single time. On top of that, once you restore the obelisk, it stays intact through future loops.
  • And I Must Scream: All those people who were turned to gold statues are still alive in there and have been for hundreds, even thousands of years. Depending on your choices, Sentius can meet the same fate. To make it worse, they still feel pain if their bodies are damaged, as Naevia unknowingly discovered.
  • Arc Number: There are several subtle instances where the number four appears. There have been four civilizations in the Underworld, Galerius can only become Magistrate by getting four votes, there are four characters with multiple names, there are four endings, and the golden ending can be reached as early as the fourth loop.
  • Arc Words: The Golden Rule. Other than describing how the inhabitants of the city are killed once they break it (being turned into gold statues via the already existing ones), it also describes the base of how the God of the Underworld mettles out what is a sin or not; as he explains, the multiple cities that had come been here always had a saying that correlated to 'do on to others as they would do onto you', yet could never be able to follow it.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The game takes it as granted that Christians at this timenote  would consider suicide to be forbidden by their faith. In reality, well, it is unknown. However, what we do know is that even centuries later there was theological debate on the topic in which it was pointed out nowhere in the Bible is it explicitly stated as forbidden, and there are several instances in the Old Testament of people committing suicide without a single word of condemnation.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Duli suffers from this, and Magistrate Sentius has had him locked up to ensure that he doesn't unwittingly trespass or steal anything, which would invoke the Golden Rule. And while Sentius has more sinister reasons for keeping Duli locked up, he is correct on the 2nd point; if Duli is freed, it takes him less than a minute before he tries to take a shiny object that doesn't belong to him, triggering the Rule.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Players can invoke this by taking the Archaeologist background, which will translate all of the text of the ancient languages seen throughout the city.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Endings 2 and 3. You can save one person from the city, a few at the most, but Proserpina and the golden statues remain trapped in the underworld.
  • But Thou Must!: Try as you may, you have no choice but to accept Karen's request to search for Al in the city. If you're a Soldier, the game won't let you shoot her either.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: Averted. Anything the player picks up, they keep throughout subsequent loops, making it possible to collect the same valuable items multiple times.
  • Changed My Jumper: As the player character is from the present day and thrust into Ancient Rome, this is expected.
  • Character Class System: The first dialogue the player character engages in allows them four choices to define their past, and in turn any useful skills they have. The options are Archaeologist (allows for translation of all ancient languages seen throughout the city, as well as two unique dialogue options), Soldier (gives you a gun and 10 bullets), Fugitive (25% faster when sprinting) or Amnesiac (50% damage resistance).
  • Companion Cube: 'Galatea', a golden statue who Naevia has fallen in love with. The choice of name is intentional on her part, as she acknowledges in her notes.
  • Creepy Changing Painting: The statues around the city will move when the player's back is turned.
  • Dead All Along: Everyone in the city is already dead, including you.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: As the game is sent in the time period of the Roman Empire, this is expected. Any attempts by the player to talk to citizens of the city about how the Empire is viewed as barbaric in more modern times are summarily dismissed or ignored.
  • Downer Ending: Ending 1. Kill Sentius in cold blood. The Golden Rule is invoked, a Time Paradox occurs and you are thrown back into your own time. You meet up with Al Worth, who never went back in time either, but nonetheless finds a tablet explaining your actions. As you explain everything to Al and hand him over the tablet containing his suicide note, he reasons that there's no way he can find a way out of the destroyed city the two of you are trapped in if he spent a previous lifetime searching and never finding one, dooming you both to a slow death of starvation.
  • Driven to Suicide: Iulia and Ulpius have entered a suicide pact by the time you enter the city due to their suffering under debt-bondage to Malleolus. They'll also successfully go through with it unless you intervene.
  • Flayed Alive: The Peeled Statues, courtesy of Naevia's botched experimentation. As the gold is their skin, removing it is this. Leaving them flayed monsters in endless agony.
  • Foreshadowing: Karen reacts oddly to certain things the player may say, like thanking her for saving their life. That's because she didn't. The player is dead, and "Karen" is really Charon, the ferryman of the Underworld.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Characters are referred to as "Stranger" in the subtitles until you learn their names. If you get an idea of who they are without knowing their actual name, they're given a fitting epithet instead; the man you can find beneath the city is called the Hermit Philosopher.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: While the game is generally very good at conserving details between time loops, Sentius, who is supposedly able to remember every loop, there was a bug that meant he was still reset like everyone else and offered his normal dialogue options. Since this has been fixed, he is now the only character in the game who will outright refuse to talk to you after confronting him once.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Livia, who has figured out that everybody is dead and in the Underworld, although she becomes calmer when the player figures it out as well.
  • Golden Ending: The "Canon" ending which requires finding all four tablets and returning them to the obelisk and successfully talking down the God of the Underworld to give up on the Golden Rule. There is an addition to this, as you can do so either with or without solving the problems in the city, though solving them makes sure the maximum people have been saved.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The game revolves around resolving this. However, the player character is not the only one retaining their memories from the loop. As a side effect of the sacrificial prayer that Proserpina taught him, Sentius retains all of his memories as well, using them to exploit the time loop and effectively remain immortal.
  • Have We Met Yet?: "Uh...salve, friend. I'm Galerius."
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: Averted. Being completely truthful about your intentions in the city will inevitably ruin things for everyone, through either accidentally triggering the Golden Rule or pissing someone off enough for them to trigger it. That said, lying all the time will also ruin things for everyone.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In ending 3, Ulpius and Galerius fall to the golden statues while trying to rescue Duli, leaving only Sentilla, Octavia, Horatius, and Equitia to escape.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Peeled Statues are in agony because of their 'skin' being removed, and will attack the player in an attempt to break the Golden Rule and restore their bodies. If stopped with the Golden Bow, they will thank the player before freezing in place.
  • I Have Many Names: Four characters in particular: Malleolus, the God of the Underworld, the Ferryman of the Underworld, and the Goddess of Spring.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Assassin is full of this. No matter what you say to him, he's convinced that he's uncovered a group of cultists and that you're indoctrinated beyond reasoning.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Even if you don't break the Golden Rule yourself and try to change the course of the day for the better, it will still be broken by at least one of the city's inhabitants shortly after the election is called.
  • It's Up to You: Justified, as getting out of the time loop requires you to break the Golden Rule at least once, and thus your predecessor Al was unable to escape since he was unwilling to do so.
  • Killed Offscreen: Domitius, in the canon ending.
  • Kill It with Fire: This is what happens to Sentius in Endings 2 and 3, courtesy of Sentilla.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: All of the more unpleasant citizens will experience this in the canon ending. Malleolus ends up in a psych ward, Claudia is a broken alcoholic, Aurelia falls for a 419 Scam, Domitius meets his end via underground blood sports, Sentius ends up as the last golden statue in the Underworld and you get the option to suggest some terrible investment choices to Desius that are guaranteed to ruin him. Pluto also shares this fate; after being responsible for numerous genocides and imprisoning the woman he loves against her will, he is forced to return to Elysium in disgrace and without her.
  • Living Statue: When the Golden Rule is broken, the city's statues come to life to turn every citizen to gold. And unfortunately for the people trapped inside those statues, they're awake in there the entire time.
  • Loophole Abuse: Many of the more morally dubious citizens have found ways around outright breaking the Golden Rule, but Sentius will exploit another kind of loophole; evil thoughts are only considered a sin if they're spoken out loud, and if you tell Sentia about where Sentius is keeping Sentilla, he gleefully declares "I'm going to kill you now!" after confessing his crime, which triggers the Golden Rule and another reset of the day, making sure Sentia never remembers it.
  • Louis Cypher: Fun fact, did you know that "Karen" and "Charon" can be pronounced almost the exact same way?
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Naevia is responsible for the existence of the 'Peeled Statues', having conducted many experiments on them in an attempt to figure out how to restore one statue in particular to a living state.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The game opens with the Player Character getting fished out of the Tiber river in Italy by a hiker named Karen, who is unable to discern their identity because they for some reason weren't carrying any ID. The first dialogue then allows the player an opportunity to define who they are, which also gives them certain skills (see Character Class System above).
  • Multiple Endings: Four in total.
    • Ending 1: 'The Many Shall Suffer.' Kill Sentius in cold blood, creating a paradox.
    • Ending 2: 'The One That Got Away.' Free Sentilla and escape with her through the upper cistern when the Golden Rule is broken.
    • Ending 3: 'The Ones That Got Away.' Get Galerius to evacuate as many people as possible through the upper cistern when the Golden Rule is broken
    • Ending 4: 'The Canon Ending.' Restore the Obelisk and convince the God of the Underworld to end the Golden Rule.
  • Mythology Gag: Part of the dialogue in getting one of the townsfolk to go along with your plan is to promise "riches beyond imagining", the same line that opened the mission in the Skyrim mod.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: It is established early on that the player character understands all the Latin spoken by the citizens of the city as English, and vice versa. The exception to this rule is any vulgar language such as swearing, which is both spoken and subtitled in untranslated Latin.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Choose the soldier backstory, and in endings 2 and 3 Sentius can be the first person in history to learn this lesson.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: So, did you complete the complex quest chain to set poor Duli free from his wrongful imprisonment? Not a minute later, he spots a shiny ornament belonging to Desius, innocently takes it and triggers the Golden Rule.note 
  • Not Quite the Right Thing:
    • Freeing Sentilla will result in everyone in the city dying after she kills Sentius in revenge. Alerting Galerius to prepare an evacuation beforehand will somewhat improve things but the vast majority will still die.
    • Getting Galerius elected magistrate. While preventing the evil Sentius and Malleous from gaining the office, his decision to release Duli will cause the rule to broken quickly afterwards when Duli innocently takes one of Decius' items.
  • One-Time Dungeon: Once you have the golden bow, Desius offers to buy it directly rather than involving you in his scheme to swap out the bow from the statue of Diana, meaning he won't unlock her shrine and you can't reenter the palace via the tunnels below.
  • Precursors: Georgios speculates that the city in question was once Greek, based on the presence of two ruined Greek temples near the entrance. This is technically correct, but it's subsequently revealed that the city has also had Egyptian and Sumerian phases...
  • Pronoun Trouble: Equitia has trouble sticking to a single pronoun for Charon/Kharon as they have appeared to different individuals and cultures as different genders.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Naevia, who after falling in love with a female golden statue, decides to commit nightmarish experiments in an attempt to restore her.
  • Red Herring: Invoked with Sentius's request for you to figure out who breaks the Golden Rule. Different people trigger it, depending on your actions, and it ultimately plays very little part in any of the endings. This is actually the point; Sentius is using the loops to prolong his life, so as long as you're running around fruitlessly trying to stop people from sinning, the loop persists.
  • Reset Button: The time loop can end up acting as this. Can't afford Desius' high prices? Picking up the same coins over the course of several loops can solve this problem...or alternatively, the player can just steal the desired item and restart the loop.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: In a Wham Line, Sentius reveals that he remembers everything. He chalks it up to something to do with his casting of the ritual of Proserpina.
  • Setting Update: The remake moves the setting to an ancient Roman ruin.
  • Taken for Granite: If the Golden Rule is broken, all the occupants of the city are turned into gold...after being riddled with arrows fired by the sentient statues. The player can gain one of their bows partway through the game, allowing them to do this to the Peeled Statues inhabiting certain parts of the city.
  • Take Your Time: Zigzagged. Characters like Iulia and Ulpius can only be saved in your first interaction with them, but can be left hanging until then. Likewise, Fabia will crouch on the stairs indefinitely and the assassin will not come through the bathhouse until you or Galerius walk in to meet him. There is still an in-game clock, however, as the sun slowly passes over the hole above the city and eventually moves behind the stone ceiling of the cavern, with the election being called toward the end of the day, with Malleolus ordering Domitius to execute Sentius, win or lose, breaking the Golden Rule if it hasn't happened already and forcing you to start the loop over.
  • Time Loop Fatigue: Al Worth committed suicide as a result of going through decades' worth of loops without being able to prevent the Golden Rule from being broken. He gets better in the endings, though, reset to a point before he first entered the loop.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fabia and the Assassin entering a clearly unstable ruin with a sign outside warning it could collapse at any moment.
  • Torture Cellar: The palace, where Naevia is locked up with hundreds of helpless victims. Exploring those rooms is one of the game's more harrowing moments.
  • Translation Convention: You can directly ask Galarius why he's speaking English, but he'll say you and he are speaking Latin, though your accent is a bit weird. Only a few vulgar phrases are left untranslated.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: While you can certainly kill Sentius at the first opportunity and trigger the paradox that sends you back, the game will immediately call you out on it. Even the tip scripts get in on the ass-chewing.
    Tip: How many might have survived if you hadn't killed Sentius in cold blood?
  • Warmup Boss: Of a different sort, since the game is light on combat and has no real boss battles. You engage the the friendly Hermit Philosopher in a classic discussion of morals and existentialism, simply for his entertainment. Later on, the player will have to use philosophical arguments to resolve life-or-death encounters.
  • Wham Line: "Al Worth." With the mention of a single name, Sentius reveals that you're not the only one who remembers everything from loop to loop.
  • Wham Shot:
    • What happens when, prompted by Equitia, you shine your flashlight into the depths of the bathing pools, revealing a mural that depicts Charon, the ferryman of the Underworld, along with the revelation that "Karen", the woman who pulled you out of the Tiber river, is actually Charon.
    • After you pass through the last door of the Great Temple, you see a shiny metal hallway with sliding doors... and when you step through those, you see you're on a space station.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This is why the Golden Rule isn't triggered when you neutralise the Peeled Statues. Pluto considers them nothing more than "bloodless shadows", so the rule doesn't apply to them, even though they are obviously sentient, very much in pain and do in fact still bleed once the golden layers have been sufficiently peeled off.
  • You Are What You Hate: Rufius is sending Vergil intimidating messages about his homosexuality, but is secretly gay himself. In the best ending, he makes amends, and the two later become a couple.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The crux of the time loop: no matter what happens, the Golden Rule is broken and the entire city is condemned to death, with Magistrate Sentius rushing to the Shrine of Proserpina in the hopes of buying the city another chance. The inevitability of it drove Al Worth to suicide after several years trying to break the cycle. Barring any changes the player makes themselves, the event which breaks the Rule is Malleolus, upon winning the election and becoming new magistrate, immediately abusing his power to have Sentius executed. He does the same if you change the outcome such that Sentius wins. If you manage to get Galerius elected magistrate, Malleolus stays his hand — but Duli steals an item from the market within moments of his release, just as Sentius feared he would.