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Video Game / The Logomancer

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You have a creative spirit.
Your words are as sharp as any sword.
Your mind is as valuable as an army.

The Logomancer is a PC Role-Playing Game, made by Jeffery Nordin in RPG Maker VX Ace, and was's featured game of July 2014. Its premise is that of a "JRPG without killing": the player engages in turn-based battles with foes just like in any RPG, but the battles are rhetorical rather than physical. A Boss Battle may just be an attempt to convince a store owner to give you a discount, for instance.

In the world of The Logomancer, everyone is connected to a communal dreamworld known as the Mindscape. During sleep, everyone interacts together inside this strange mental world. As a realm based in thought, everyone can mold and shape aspects of the Mindscape to an extent, but only a rare few can create permanent, elaborate dreamworlds for others to participate in. These talented individuals are known as logomancers.

Ardus Sheridan and his apprentice John Marrow are negotiators for Powell-Mercer, a company that specializes in dream commodities and thus takes a special interest in logomancers. They are dispatched to the seaside city of Ordolus to finalize a contract with the recently discovered logomancer Glenton Dahl, and are soon joined by Mindscape and logomancy researcher Cynthia Hadrospec. The heroes also have the opportunity to assist the residents of the city with their own problems as well. In the process, the three discover new insights into the nature of logomancy and the Mindscape, eventually becoming embroiled in a matter far darker than a mere contract negotiation if they dig deep enough.

The Logomancer is notable for its use of near-100% custom art assets, as well as its gameplay concept. Though technically little more than a regular Eastern RPG with a different coat of paint, the idea is fairly original and provides for a different experience than in most RPGs. Download it here.

It had a commercial Updated Re-release on Steam, on August 4th, 2015.

Examples of tropes present in The Logomancer:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Averted. The level cap is a fairly low 30, and players are practically guaranteed to at least approach it if they do all the sidequests.
  • Abusive Parents: ...Possibly. Nikolai's Mindscape implies this, but in the tape recording, his father is distraught by his death and seems very concerned for him.
  • Actually Four Mooks: What is represented by one sprite for Pre-existing Encounters, can be more than one, like one of the White Raven sprites being three of them.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Ardus asks Nick Knack about his name:
    Ardus: Is your name really Nick Knack?
    Nick: Yes and no.
    Ardus: Yes, your name is really a pun or, no, it's just for business purposes?
    Nick: Exactly!
  • Armor Piercing: Ancestral Seed.
  • Author Avatar: Ardarius in Ardus' novel, "The Tower of Ideals", was originally conceived as this.
  • Author Appeal: Invoked. As said in the Strategy Guide - Playable Characters, about Cynthia:
    I created Cynthia with a lot of the qualities that I find personally attractive (short hair, glasses, brainy disposition etc.). The bizarreness of this method of character creation is explored in the Edited for Content questline.
  • Auto-Revive: The Reinvention skill gives this affect to whoever it's applied to.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Narrowden is a clever example — his current weakness is telegraphed through his color, but as his area is Deliberately Monochrome, you have to guess every time he switches. Unless, of course, you've found the well-hidden prismatic claw that restores color to the area, in which case he's a cakewalk.
  • Battle Theme Music:
  • Bleak Level: The "Haunting Memories" quest and the corrupted plantation.
  • Book Ends: Exhibited by the normal ending, where Ardus visits the exact same Mindscape location as in the beginning of the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Final Horizon appears to be a completely normal enemy wandering a completely normal area, but it's a very powerful Superboss. In fairness, the boss battle music does play during the fight, though, which should be a tipoff.
    • Paper Dragons may be a straighter example. It's possible to encounter them pretty early, and if you don't have a way of reducing enemy persuasion they will swiftly destroy you.
    • The Watcher in the Abyss is an Optional Boss in mook clothing, occasionally overriding regular monster fights to fight you once you've kicked off the appropriate plotline.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Composer's lesson, which gives you access to every skill in the game (even enemy skills), making all future encounters trivial. You can only get it after beating the ultimate Superboss, however.
  • Breast Plate: Eve Angelus' battle armor. Lampshaded by John, who points out it's not terribly practical; Eve counters that she doesn't actually plan to fight in it, she just likes the look.
  • Breath Weapon: The dragons of the world of Ardus' novel, "The Tower of Ideals", can breath fire.
  • Butt-Monkey: John.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • If you lose the tutorial fight, you get to keep trying again until you win:
      Slashing sound and red [Hit Flash]
      [Ardus has a red exclamation mark Pictorial Speech-Bubble].
      Ardus: Urgh...he stabbed me again.
      Ardus: John, your arguments aren't working!
      John: I'm trying! The pressure is getting to me...
      Ardus: The *blood* pressure is getting to me!
      Ardus: Try again!
      Ardus: I don't (pause) want to die.
    • When you enter the Maldias Residence Mindscape, your only options are:
      Also Yes.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Almost Everything, due to the setup:
    • Defense is "confidence"
    • Hit Points are "willpower"
    • Special attack is "elocution"
    • Character Level is "Reputation".
    • This extends to skills and other gameplay elements as well, which are all named based on rhetorical techniques and terminology.
    • Averted with special defense, which is "resistance" — although the term can probably interpreted as conveying a different meaning here.
    • Averted with some skills, such as Spear of Longingus, which are pretty clearly physical attacks.
    • Averted with EP Drain and EP Nullify.
  • Cap: Many:
    • Research Level for an enemy is capped at 10.
    • The books that you can buy, are capped at 1, not counting the ones equipped.
    • Lily's Vichyssoise are capped at 2.
    • Smelling Salts are capped at 5.
    • Memory Roots and Energy Drinks are capped at 10.
  • Casting a Shadow: From the description for Malebaldur's shadow: "Malebaldur's more esoteric spells allow him to draw strength from his own shadow."
  • Character Portrait: Of the full upper body variant. Glenton is the only character with multiple ones.
  • Character Level: It's called "Reputation", but you reach them through getting 1000 Experience Points, like other video games.
  • Chekhov's Gag: When telling Ardus to make grammatical corrections to his novel, Sindarin warns that semicolons are particularly vicious. As you explore the novel yourself, you'll quickly realize he wasn't speaking figuratively, as semicolons are among the most dangerous enemies in the area.
  • Chest Monster: A few.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Ardus, if you make him do all the Sidequests.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Everything relating to the rhetorical elements; logos is green, ethos is blue, and pathos is red. (Interesting setup, that.) In addition, verbal is purple and gnostic is yellow.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Almost entirely averted; only a few Puzzle Bosses are immune to status effects that would make them too easy. However, all bosses do heavily resist the Percent Damage Attack gnostic damage.
    • Eve Angelus is an interesting example. She's not explicitly immune to offensive debuffs, but if you use them she'll instantly counter with the appropriate buff, dispelling the debuff.
    • Notably, the Composer's satellite is not immune to self-loathing. The Composer is quite miffed by this if you inflict it.
  • Cosmetic Award: Subverted. The Horizon Mastery and Rhetorical Master items seem like they're merely awards for beating the Optional Bosses, but they actually unlock the way to the third Optional Boss.
    • Lampshaded when Eve Angelus gives you the Rhetorical Mastery trophy; she admits it's just some random junk she found, and its value is purely symbolic.
  • Counter-Attack: Rebuttals. If they trigger, that character gets to avoid damage from the attack entirely in addition to counter-attacking.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Treatise is a general one, Sensitivity increases damage taken from verbal attacks specifically. The rhetorical states arguably count as well, since while they grant resistance to certain elements, their main purpose is to generate a weakness.
    • The "perfect" states are also this, giving enemies a tenfold rhetorical weakness without any of the associated resistances.
  • Damage Over Time: Apathy is a pretty extreme example, inflicting a fifth of victim's health in damage every round and remaining permanently until cured. Interestingly, not all bosses have Contractual Boss Immunity against it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ardus.
  • Deadly Euphemism: When Ardus tells Nick Knack about he'll deal with the leader of a group of thieves, Ardus says he'll "make him an offer he can't refuse", and Nick takes it as this trope, but he means it literally, as his job involves negotiations.
    Nick Knack: Whatever you have to do to sleep at night.
    Nick Knack: I'm not judging.
  • Death by Irony: In Ardus' novel, The Hero Ardarius is killed by his Love Interest, the very object of affection he had put on a pedestal and set out to rescue, because he refuses to see past that image. John is quick to point out how Hilarious in Hindsight this is when considering what Ardus discloses about the characters.
  • Death of a Child: Nikolai dies at the age of 10, but we aren't given any details about his death.
  • Developer's Foresight: If you use the Orb of Recall to jump out of Winthgraden Tower, you'll still be in 8-bit form. A vision of Malebaldur will appear to snap you out of it.
  • Doomed by Canon: Conversed when the characters discus a potential prequel to Ardus' novel; John points out that any significant divergences or surprises would instantly be suspicious because of this trope.
  • Double Entendre: Mentioned in the Flavor Text for the Seduction skill.
  • Dream Land: The Mindscape is a communal dreamworld entered by falling asleep.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Logical people are easily riled by passionate arguments; emotional people are susceptible to arguments based in expertise and authority (also known as ethos), and ethos-minded individuals are best persuaded by logical arguments. The color coding for that is reminiscent of something...
  • Eldritch Location: The Mindscape is a world where Your Mind Makes It Real, shaped by intellectual argument. Several regions, those shaped by logomancers, can look like anything. Some parts of the Mindscape can get even weirder than that:
    • Ardus' novel is an 8-bit video game populated by mental representations of bad grammar.
    • The Minus World in the Plantation, which is tied in with glitches in the greater Mindscape.
    • Nikolai's dreams are extremely creepy and nearly Lovecraftian, including rooms that fill with bloody water and endless Wrap Around between nearly identical rooms, as possible metaphors for child abuse.
    • Ordolus' entire Mindscape is a little distorted as a result of Stanislav Anarkum's Malformed Thought touching the Abyss and twisting everything.
  • Enemy Scan: Cythia's "investigate" command.
  • Experience Meter: Only seen in the screens at the end of a battle, when Experience Points are being totaled.
  • Experience Penalty: Monsters give progressively less experience with each level when the character that fights them gets to a certain level, different for each monster, and stops at 1 EXP per monster, and it takes 1000 EXP for every level.
  • Experience Points: Noted in the battle end screen, and when trading special items for it: Vicariousness, Memory, and Actualizations of Experience.
  • Field Power Effect: The Final Boss and the Watcher of the Abyss can do this.
  • Finale Title Drop: At the very end of the Golden Ending, Ardus states that the working title of his new novel is "The Logomancer". Given that his new novel is a Plot Parallel to the game itself, this is fitting.
  • Flavor Text: Some skills have text irrelevant to gameplay:
    • Backhanded Compliment: "A (mostly) kind word of encouragement coupled with a slap to the back."
  • Freudian Trio: Averted despite the main characters specializing in rhetorical styles that seem to reflect this dynamic. Cynthia occasionally has shades of The Spock, but in general, the characters exhibit traits of all three archetypes depending on the situation.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • If you lose in the battle against The Composer, there will be no Regret increase, as he says:
      There is no regret in losing to me.
    • Subverted in the original, free release, due to a bug, when opening the fridge in the Pathos Curse Shop, where there's a message which says that the party's regret has increased, but it doesn't actually increase. It's fixed in the Commercial Updated Re-release.
  • Game Over: Mostly averted; losing a battle will only increase regret (and wake the party up if they're in the Mindscape). There is a game over screen, however — it appears to be a failsafe for the possibility of players reducing everyone's willpower to 0 through the eyes of greed/despair.
  • Genre Shift: The majority of the game is a sort of Slice of Life game involving contract negotiations and exploring the game's setting, along with some mystery involving the many lost secrets and local legends of Ordolus. Once the Minus World in the Forgotten Plantation is found, Abyssal creatures begin to manifest, and the "Haunting Memories" quest kicks off, the whole thing becomes a horror game.
  • Golden Ending: The True End, achieved after completing all 10 quests that can be seen in the quest log. There are unmarked sidequests, but those aren't needed for the True End.
  • Gradual Regeneration:
    • Regenerating Health type, as Hit Points are called Willpower in this game:
      • The Willpower Regeneration stat: The amount of Willpower (WP) regenerated at the end of each turn.
      • The Proofread skill gives Regenerating Health to the user.
    • Regenerating Mana type, as Mana is called Erudition in this game:
    • The Erudition Regeneration stat: The amount of Erudition (EP) regenerated at the end of each turn.
    • Amemnesis is both a skill, and the status given by that skill. The status gives temporary Regenerating Mana to whoever it's applied to.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Subverted. No one can consciously remember what happened, but Ardus retained enough subconscious details to reconstruct the story in his next novel.
  • Guile Hero: Ardus.
  • Healing Hands:
    • John's Backhanded Compliment skill which can be used on any party member, which recovers Willpower, the game's version of Hit Points, and also cures distraction and self-loathing.
  • Heal Thyself:
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The Variable Gnome talks about WP and EP, saying that he'll restore the party's. That statements gets the party wondering about what WP and EP are:
    Variable Gnome: I'll also restore all of your EP and WP!
    [Party turns around and walks across the room.]
    Cynthia: A variable gnome?
    Cynthia: And what does he mean about WP and EP being restored?
    Cynthia: I *do* feel a bit more focused, but that could easily be a placebo effect.
    Ardus: The Mindscape is a weird place, Cynthia.
    John: I've learned to just go with it at this point.
  • Hero Antagonist: Malebaldur in Ardus' novel.
  • Hidden Depths: John knows Forstatian and minored in Forstatian history, but forgot a lot of the details.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: When confronting Josef Harper about missing his cloth shipments to Eventide, and learning about some other things he thought Ardus knew:
    Josef: Don't insult me by trying to feign ignorance. I know you were sent here to collect the deed to the Galden farmland. If you're going to ruin my life, at least be upfront about it.
    Auden: Well, this is an interesting turn. (great, now I've said the word 'interesting' so much it's starting to sound weird)
    —> Josef: You must be joking. You were actually here for Eventide?
    Josef [In larger font]: Ugh, I should have kept my mouth shut!
  • HP to One:
    • Thanatos Instinct is a particularly nasty example; it reduces your Mana to one as well.
    • Stack Overflow may count; it's a Percent Damage Attack that inflicts 99% damage.
  • Infinity +1 Element: Two, actually; abyssal and Caranthian. Their main advantage is that they can't be resisted by perspicacity or avoided through rebuttals. They are also used exclusively by enemies.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The Final Horizon drops epiphanies. Yes, really. You can grind infinite epiphanies off the thing if you're really dedicated.
    • After beating both Eve Angelus and the Final Horizon, you gain access to a secret shop that sells epiphanies for 500 gold.
    • Get infinite epiphanies through the methods described above. Use them to raise everyone's rebuttal chance and perspicacity to 100%. Laugh as enemies flail helplessly against your invincible rhetoricians.
  • In Medias Res: Though exhibited by the game itself, this is also Conversed by John and Sindarin, who claim that Ardus' novel would be stronger if it started this way.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Flavor Text for the Modus Tollens skill: "If the enemy were eloquent, they would win [the debate]. They won't win, therefore they're not eloquent." And it works.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: Much of the stuff in the game is composed of mercantile insights gained in the Mindscape, which can be traded for gold in shops.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Empty Mind, which makes an ally immune to all damage for one round.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded by John if you get Harlon's map or Udumo's journal before talking to them.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: People can never retain conscious memories of meeting with the Composer, only subconscious impressions.
  • Last Disc Magic: Flawless Deduction, Onus Probandi, and Null Hypothesis are the ultimate logos, pathos, and ethos skills, respectively. They're among the last skills your characters learn and are immensely powerful, inflicting a special Damage-Increasing Debuff that magnifies an elemental weakness tenfold.
  • Leaked Experience: The Steam version of the game causes Cynthia to have the same level as Ardus when she joins, instead of starting at Level 1, which is what happens in the version.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: All the discussions of Ardus' novel are very obviously commentary on writing concepts in general, and quite possibly the writing of this game in specific.
    • Glenton's speech about the use of logomancer realms as interactive, educational experiences is also clearly a reference to the video game medium itself.
    • The Composer also asserts that explaining instructions is important because, even if Ardus won't remember it, it gets the information out there, allowing it to be known by what needs to know it. This could be a nod to player direction and agency, as the player can remember the Composer's instructions fine even if Ardus can't.
  • Living Memory: Abyssal creatures are powerful regrets and painful memories given physical form in the Mindscape.
  • Love Interest: According to Ardus, Sylvanne was originally based on his ideal love interest, but evolved into something different as he developed her character.
  • Magikarp Power: Downplayed with Cynthia, who has some skills that grow in power the more she's researched an enemy. Research levels are preserved through battles, so she may be ineffective at the start of an area but become very powerful once the enemies are fully researched.
    • In addition, her Standard Deviation ability becomes slightly more powerful every time she uses it, allowing her to become devastatingly strong if the player takes the time to power it up.
  • Mana: It's called Erudition here, and used for all activated skills, except the Erudition recovery ones.
  • Mana Burn: EP Nullify.
  • Mana Drain: EP Drain and Flirtatious Smirk.
  • Marathon Boss: The Final Horizon has one million Hit Points. This is referenced in its description, which notes that it's immensely stubborn and difficult to convince of anything.
  • Meaningful Echo: After defeating the True Final Boss, Ardus quotes the final lines of his novel.
  • Mind Screw: A lot of the dreams on the path to the Golden Ending are plain weird, often involving incomprehensible rules seen through a child's eyes.
  • Minus World: The Plantation, the subject of the contract negotiations, has a glitch area that's related to the deeper plot of the game.
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: The ending is narrated in Omniscient Third Person Narrator style, as described in Ardus's ending, but then he switches to first person as he describes himself.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Eventide, whose dress opens up and the neckline goes to her navel.
  • Non-Elemental: Subverted;
    • Verbal damage is close, as it's set apart from everything else in the official Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors chart, but enemies can still resist it and it can be affected by other influences.
    • Abyssal damage plays this straight.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Glenton has great respect for Cynthia because she helped him through a difficult event in his past, though it's never explained what that event was.
    • In a corridor where Ardus and Cynthia see images of themselves in the walls, John appears to see someone other than himself, but he never says who it is, leaving the mystery unexplained.
  • No-Sell:
    • Contractions will choose to ignore either verbal or rhetorical damage at the start of battle.
    • Malebaldur will become immune to another source of damage every time you reduce his willpower to 0, until he becomes totally invulnerable in his final stage.
      • Eve Angelus has a similar schtick where she'll decide to flat-out ignore certain rhetorical elements when she gets low on health. She never becomes immune to verbal damage, though, unlike Malebaldur.
  • Notice This: Some important items are marked out with sparkles, quest-important locations have exclamation marks above the locations of where to activate, and quest givers have question marks above them.
  • Number of the Beast: Nikolai's Regret has 6666 willpower points.
  • One-Hit Kill: Dissertation.
  • Overflow Error: In the version, defeating a Watcher of the Abyss underflows the Regret stat. This is changed to just being set to 0, in the Steam version.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • When Josef says "Ugh, I should have kept my mouth shut!", it's in larger font than usual, implying that he's yelling, as a result of being found out.
    • When you tell her the sordid tale that is at the heart of her quest, Eventide says "That. Is. Crazy!" in large font.
  • Palette Swap: The different Ordolus merchants at the Bazaar and other robed human enemies in the same area, just have different colored robes, on the map and in battle. Purple, Orange, Blue, Green.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Gnostic damage.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Averted in terms of items, but certain scenes that are dependent on performing a quest in a certain order are obviously mutually exclusive on a single playthrough.
    • There is the plot twist in Winthgraden Tower; if you clear the area before getting it, Ardus will explain it to you, but that doesn't compare to actually seeing it in action, of course.
  • Plot Tunnel: Once you pass a certain point in the "Haunting Memories" quest (jumping down the hole into the Abyss), you're stuck there until you clear the area.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: John.
  • Point Build System: Inspiration points, though they coexist with regular Character Levels.
  • Posthumous Character: Nikolai.
  • Precursors: The Eistancians, died out 800 years ago and whose artifacts number things like a Magnetic Tape Recorder. Explicitly called "precursors" in the cutscene after finding the Magnetic Tape Recorder.
  • Pre-existing Encounters: All enemies are seen on the map, and move around, so you have to avoid bumping into them.
  • Prequel: Conversed during some discussions of Ardus' novel; the characters all seem to agree that prequels are boring because no one wants to read a story where they already know how it will end, and Doomed by Canon is a big pitfall.
  • Pun:
    • Equipping the last will and testament of Decimus Zastari greatly increases willpower.
    • Your characters can learn to use the "Incredible Pun" attack. It literally kills your enemies. Literally.
    • John can use the "Sarchasm" attack to...make a chasm.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When you tell her the sordid tale that is at the heart of her quest, Eventide says "That. Is. Crazy!" in large font.
  • Punny Name: Nick Knack, a trader, who when talked to during the hunt for thieves:
    I'm Nick Knack, do you see anything you're interested in?
    Ardus: Is your name really Nick Knack?
    Nick: Yes and no.
    Ardus: Yes, your name is really a pun or, no, it's just for business purposes?
    Nick: Exactly!
    Ardus: I'll be direct.
    Ardus: I'm looking into the recent reports of a group of thieves moving into the bazaar. Have you seen anything?
    [Rest of the conversation is about the quest.]
  • Rainbow Speak: Everything relating to the elements is colored the appropriate color in dialogue and system messages. (Every time the word "logos" or "reasonable" is used, for instance, it is colored green.)
  • Random Drop Booster: The Temptes Tuxedo doubles the drop rate of items.
  • Rare Candy: There's one for every stat, as well as "epiphanies" that give you inspiration points to allocate as you please. There are also items that provide Experience Points and AP.
    • Books might count — the vast majority of them just provide stat bonuses that become permanent after enough battles.
  • Reality Warper: Logomancers are this inside the Mindscape.
  • Reduced Mana Cost: This is a stat, "Reduced Erudition Cost" that can be increased one percent at a time through inspiration points, and its also a passive skill learned from one of the books.
  • Required Party Member: Cynthia for the Forgotten Plantation and the "Haunting Memories" quest. It's possible to complete most of the game without ever picking her up, however.
  • Retraux: The Winthgraden Tower area has graphics and music reminiscent of the 8-bit era.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What's up with the Watchers in the Abyss? The creator's commentary in the strategy guide says that they're tied in with the greater mythology of the Logomancer-verse, but the focus of the game prevented him from going deeper into that, and he likes them being unexplained anyway.
  • Rule of Cool: Eve Angelus' battle armor is rather impractical and serves no purpose, but looks really cool. Characters point out its impracticality, and she counters that she doesn't plan to fight in it, she just wants to look awesome for the duration of their debate.
  • Running Gag: Ardus always says the same line ("Could you be more clear and less cryptic? Obfuscating the truth never helps anyone.") every time he meets the Composer. Due to Laser-Guided Amnesia, he isn't aware of the repetition, but the Composer generates increasingly exasperated responses.
  • Save the Princess: Conversed. Ardus' novel is a deconstruction of the idea, as he pondered why a princess would just be passively waiting to be saved and why a hero would want to save her. Eventually he decided to create a princess who ran away under her own power, making the hero misguided in trying to rescue the object he placed on a pedestal.
  • Science Hero: Cynthia, a researcher aiming to catalogue and better understand the phenomena of the Mindscape. Due to the slightly offbeat approach this game takes, however, physical technology is not her tool; she's a Science Hero because she attacks using the scientific method, and statistical analysis in particular.
  • Script Breaking: The dialogue in the cutscene at the start of Aspect of Family assumes that you've broken the rules in the Aspect of Blood at least once, even if you never did.
  • Sequential Boss: Malebaldur. He has relatively low health, but after defeating him, he'll revive himself, provide a witty quip, and become immune to a certain type of damage.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Everywhere. Expect five-dollar words to be frequently used by both the characters and the game itself.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly; it's not an exact reference, but there's a skill called "Doublespeak".
  • Show Within a Show: Ardus' novel.
  • Sidequest: They make up most of the game; the only required quest is the Forgotten Plantation.
    • If you want to get the Golden Ending, however, the only truly optional sidequest is Eventide's.
  • Skippable Boss: The Eistancian Soldier won't fight you if you don't pick up any symbols of avarice.
  • Squishy Wizard:
    • John, who has high erudition but low willpower.
    • Cynthia may also fit this; while not very fragile, she has the highest elocution (magic attack) stat and no regular/free attack, meaning she can only attack with abilities.
  • Status-Buff Dispel:
    • Inflicting a stat debuff will do this automatically, removing the corresponding buff if it's active.
    • Clear Mind removes rhetorical states from the party. Rhetorical states are more often negative than positive, however, so this actually tends to work to your advantage.
    • Tabula Rasa removes all status effects, positive or negative, though it's most often used by enemies to remove debuffs.
  • Status Effects: They're under different names of course, but they're there. Poison is "apathy", paralysis is "distraction", confusion is "self-loathing", and silence is...silence. There are the standard stat buffs/debuffs as well.
  • Story Within a Story: Ardus's novel, which has fire-breathing dragons, princesses, knights, monsters, etc.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Eventide. Judging by her dialogue in the Eve Angelus battle, however, it's a personal choice of hers.
    • Inverted with Cynthia, who wears an extremely modest outfit.
  • Suicide Attack: Unchained Ids have a Self-Destruct attack that kills them and harms one party member.
  • Superboss: Technically everything except Narrowden, but in the particular definition of "optional difficult challenge", the Final Horizon, Eve Angelus, and the Composer all count.
  • Symbol Swearing: The animation for Dysphemism, is a flash of red "#&@%!", and a dysphemism is a swear.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: The game's premise is that all combat is like this. Many of them (especially in the Mindscape) still feel like normal battles though...
    • There is actually one point where this is done literally, and the "a JRPG without killing" tagline is proven wrong: Stanislav Anarkum's Malformed Thought, the Final Boss. Winning the battle involves convincing it to kill itself.
  • Tempting Fate: When entering the Maldias Residence Mindscape, Ardus says, "What could go wrong?"
  • The End: How the Golden Ending ends.
  • Time Travel: Mentioned repeatedly by John in the True End:
    Ardus: John. What's your obsession with time travel recently?
  • True Final Boss: The Malformed Thought. It's also the only Final Boss, and can be encountered only by pursuing the Golden Ending route.
  • Turns Red: Some bosses will become stronger at low health.
    • Eve Angelus will inflict the whole party with every stat debuff when she falls below half health, and will start ignoring certain types of damage when she's on her last legs.
    • The Composer will change his tactics when he falls below half health, using telegraphed Last Disc Magic abilities and asking you math questions that can help or harm you depending on how well you perform.
  • Updated Re-release: A commercial one, on Steam, on August 4th 2015.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Dissertation. By the time you get it you have better (and less costly) methods of oneshotting foes, and it seems to have a random chance of failure anyway. And bosses are immune to it, of course. Works fine on The Watcher Of The Abyss, though.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The genocide of the dragons in Ardus's novel.
  • Vague Stat Values: There's some Percent-Based Values like Thesis dealing "20% extra verbal damage per research level", but that's about as unclear as the adjectives describing damage because there's no baseline. For example, the damage part of these skills' descriptions:
    Double Blind: Deals heavy ethos damage to all subjects.
    Null Hypothesis: Deals vast amounts of ethos damage
  • Whatevermancy: Logomancy, the ability to manipulate the shared dream of the world.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of "Edited For Content", Ardus reveals that the ideal Love Interest he created for his novel looks and acts exactly like Cynthia, even though he wrote the manuscript long before he met her. Everyone is quick to point out how weird this is, but it never comes up again.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Stanislav Anarkum succeeded in separating his mind from his body, giving him eternal life within the Mindscape, but the time and isolation eventually drove him insane.
  • Wrap Around: The Aspect of Confusion, fittingly.

Consider it an indictment of humanity
that compassion would be so unusual a quality
that even its glimmer
could inspire a profound change.