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Video Game / The Shrouded Isle

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"Being a pastor is way more fun when you're allowed to stab that one congregant who peddles naughty pictures."
Wthomas9, Steam review

The Shrouded Isle is a Rogue Like cult management sim by Kitfox Games (who had earlier created Shattered Planet and Moon Hunters.) It was released for PC through Steam on August 4th, 2017, and ported to Nintendo Switch on January 17th, 2019.

According to a prophecy 495 years ago, the god Chernobog will Awaken in 500 years. Having only five years until Judgement Day, you must guide the Faithful until then.

The Shrouded Isle provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Bedlam House: The Tower, introduced in the Sunken Sins microexpansion. Villagers who are suspected of contagion (or who you simply don't like) are confined here in cages. "Purification" consists of dunking these cages into water for a season. If you confine villagers during winter, they beg you to light a fire and state that they fear they won't survive the cold, and it's not impossible for there to be some kind of accident that kills off one of your dunked villagers.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: The flavor text for being ousted as a pervert is: "It does no harm to the squids, I assure you." That's, uh, not the point, dude...
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: In-Universe. One event involves a villager coming to you and saying that "500 years" should be "5,000 years" and worrying that it'll take another four and a half millennia for the Apocalypse to happen. (There's no good outcome for this: Telling them that Chernobog's will is absolute upsets their House, telling them to excise that verse and never speak of it again makes Obedience suffer, and telling them to preach "5 more years" anyway makes Fervor suffer.) They're wrong.
  • Body of Bodies: Chernobog is essentially a mountain of corpses pierced by giant swords. It's implicit that the "salvation" of your island means becoming part of him.
  • Church Police: House Blackborn serves as your law and order in the village, enforcing the tenet of Obedience by looking into any rumors of misbehavior or dissent.
  • Cult: The entire point of the game is to run one until its patron Eldritch Abomination awakens and destroys the Earth.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The default is yellow and navy blue, but it can be changed in the options menu.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The cult considers Ignorance to be a virtue, and therefore artistry, higher education, etc. are Major Vices. Likewise, while it preaches that theft, lying, perversion, and embezzlement are major sins like most other religions, gentleness is a sin and violence of temperament is a virtue. It also practices Human Sacrifice.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The islanders have Slavic given names, and Chernobog is the name of a Slavic deity. On the other hand, three out of five noble houses (Efferson, Cadwell, and Blackborn) have English-sounding names, and some of the cult's culture resembles New England Puritanism.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player character's appearance, gender, and name are never shown in-game. You are briefly portrayed from behind during seasonal executions, but all that can be seen is your robes. Villagers may occasionally bark "sir, yes sir!" when appointed as advisors, but even that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
  • Fish People: One event has a village girl come to the cathedral and talk to you about her pregnancy. Telling her to give the child to the Vicar when it's weaned results in the baby crying whenever it's not in the bath. You can tell her to take it to the seaside, whereupon it swims out into the ocean. It is regarded as a good omen by the townsfolk.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: On top of the seasonal sacrifices Chernobog demands, he will also whisper to you in your dreams about six specific members of your community that he wants slain. His instructions are unhelpfully vague, giving you only a title (such as The Thieving One) and gender to identify your next target.
  • Hidden Eyes: Part of the art style. Every member of your community's eyes are obscured by shadow, bangs, or glasses.
  • Human Sacrifice: Chernobog demands one scion of the noble houses on the island per season. Sacrificing too many members of one house antagonizes their surviving family members (likewise for minor vices), and not revealing their Vice in the first place is especially upsetting. If you sacrifice someone with a major vice, their house will take a much smaller relationship hit and will "grudgingly accept" their death.
  • Hypocrite: Visual art is heretical, but verbal art (songs, hymns, etc) isn't.
    • Truth in Television: Some stricter sects of certain religions do ban visual artwork (particularly of living things) as a form of idolatry. They may allow liturgical music, but ban secular music and even musical instruments. It's clear that singing praises of Chernobog is the only form of self expression that isn't seen as sinful.
  • Multiple Endings: Six proper endings, along with five game-ending fail states caused by letting your tenets falter before the end of the game. Of the six endings, only one has you actually succeed in winning Chernobog's favor when he returns. Whether or not this makes it the good ending is a matter of opinion.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's more likely that you'll bottom out a Virtue or crank off the nobs than see Chernobog remake the earth.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Chernobog means "Black God" in Slavic languages.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: House Iosefka's duties prompt the town to construct massive monuments in less than a month, if they're good at their job. The flavor text implies that Chernobog's blessing grants them this expediency.
  • Sadist: Chernobog outright tells you your struggling pleases him.
  • Sinister Minister: The player character and their advisors.
  • Sleep Deprivation: The fate that befalls you if you allow the village to falter in their Fervor. You stop receiving dreams from Chernobog and your sleep is no longer restful, making you increasingly lethargic until you simply waste away.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Just being a teenager is considered a minor sin.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Failing to uphold the harsh virtues of Chernobog will have disastrous results for your village. Even trying to usher in a new era of kindness and tolerance dooms the islanders. Granted it's kind of hard to say if it's worse than what happens if you are in fact judged worthy.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The "Damnation" ending that occurs if your Penitence drops too low brings this about. Vicar Efferson leaves her whips behind. Then the sun doesn't rise the next day, or the next...
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: Antagonizing a noble house (by not using their Advisor enough or sacrificing too many of their scions) results in them staging a coup and murdering you.