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Video Game / Thea: The Awakening

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Thea: The Awakening is an indie not-quite-4X Turn-Based Strategy released in 2015 by the British-Polish studio MuHa Games. It is based on Slavic Mythology and plays a lot like Civilization does in the first turns: you explore the randomly generated world map, collect resources, expand your settlements, and craft upgrades.

The story is told via special dialogue events that trigger upon reaching certain random locations on the map. You play as a Physical God of the Slavic pantheon, who has just returned to consciousness after the great Darkness swallowed Thea, the eponymous setting of the game, a hundred years ago. You find that in the gods' absence, the civilization of Thea has collapsed and was overrun by The Undead and other foul forces. Only a few tiny settlements survived the Darkness, so you take charge of one such village and help it recover and rebuild what has been lost, while also searching for answers as to what caused the Darkness in the first place and what can be done to prevent it from returning.


Has a wiki here. Players beware that the game is ridiculously addictive.

The game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Baba Yaga: Being based on Slavic folklore, Thea is home to these old hags who steal children in the night to eat them. They will even kidnap and eat adult party members in a random event.
  • Boring, but Practical: Staves and spears are the best weapons in the early to mid game as each party member wielding one gets a free attack before the round starts. They start to lose ground against hammers and axes which do double to triple the damage once the player has access to the better crafting materials in the game. Analogically, one-handed clubs are quite powerful in early game as the blunt damage allows to spill damage to the next creature and at the start of the game, you will be mostly fighting multiple small creatures. In the mid-to-end, Two-handed Swords and Axes are much better in terms of damage output.
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  • But Thou Must!: Depending on what God you chose, you are forbidden from making certain decisions in the main quest. For example, when playing as the sun god Svarog, you cannot choose to let the world remain in its current balanced state between darkness and light, whereas the god of the underworld and the occult, Veles, will not allow you to destroy the Cosmic Tree to usher in an age without magic. The only choice you have in these cases is whether you communicate the fact in a polite or an aggressive manner.
  • Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: The Turn-Based Combat card minigame is reused for Social, Stealth, and all manner of other challenges. It plays exactly the same, except different character stats are used to "attack" and "defend" in each challenge type. Whether you have an option to talk or to sneak is highly situational, but not fighting is usually preferable because you don't risk losing precious people that way.
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  • Crapsack World: The Darkness has destroyed the old world's civilization, and it's up to you to rebuild it. The night still lasts longer than daylight, and everything is out to rob, curse, play tricks on, or murder and eat you. The only remaining ember of civilization in the entire world is your own tiny village. There is no restoring light and civilization within the mechanics of the game, even if you do achieve victory. Life is a constant struggle against Everything Trying to Kill You. The only solace the player can have is that once they mine enough mithril and moonstone to outfit all their villagers with the best armor and weapons, they will have an Elite Army that will comfortably curb-stomp dragons and giants and can travel about the Death World of horrors that is Thea with complete confidence.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Subverted. When a character's Hit Points drop to zero, they cannot participate in combat, but do not die and can, in fact, recover from their wounds if they have enough food and a medic to look after them. Sadly it works the other way around too, a party member gravely wounded, even if undefeated in combat, has a chance to die until they recover. That chance can be lowered by having a medic in the party.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The player will encounter plenty of night creatures that aren't evil, but are just trying to get by. The player themselves can choose the night god Horos (who is not evil either) as their patron. One of the many benefits is being able to see at night as if it were the daytime and even fight more effectively.
  • Death World: Thea became this due to the hundred year darkness, although most of the non-human races seem to getting by just fine. The only two prerequisites for being in mortal danger all the time are being alive and human.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: For the most part, everything is - especially at night.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The century of darkness was caused by a band of human mages who wanted to use magic to put an end to the reign of gods and elves over men, but they only succeeded in dooming everyone instead.
  • The Fair Folk: Anything you encounter that's not directly out to kill you will present itself this way to you. Don't expect it to buy into concepts like "morality" or "fairness".
  • Fake Difficulty: Sometimes a random event will occur that kills a member of your expedition and you have no choice in the matter or opportunity to avert it. The event exists purely to ruin your day. Only Save Scumming will help you.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: You can forge weapons and tools made out of gold and they're as practical as iron, though they're still much weaker than steel and offer a bonus to willpower to compensate. You can also construct buildings out of gold, which will attract dwarfs to your settlement.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Steel weapons. Easier to find the raw material and quicker to craft than Mithril and they offer the second best damage in the game.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Mithril and Moonstone weapons. You have to go far down the tech tree to get them and gathering the materials to make them is often a serious challenge. The payoff is that they are four to five times stronger than even the very best weapons you start out with. You won't be able to slay dragons and giants without them.
  • Item Crafting: It is essential to gather materials and craft new tools and weapons from them, since you can never scavenge enough of them out in the world.
  • The Lost Woods: Any thickly wooded area in Thea has become this, due to the hundred year darkness.
  • The Magic Goes Away: One of the possible results of the main quest. By burning the seed of the Cosmic Tree, you can initiate an age of reason and science, while any magic left in the world will fade away.
  • Money Spider: Averted with animal attacks. If you win the fight, they'll drop meat, leather, and bone.
  • Monster Allies: The player can attract wolves, ghosts, orcs, goblins, elves and many other non-human creatures to their settlement and have them as loyal soldiers.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Warriors can wield a two-handed sword with only one hand, leaving the other free for a shield.
    • Orc warriors can wield two-handed battle axes in one hand, whereas dwarf warriors can do the same with two-handed warhammers.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Most supernatural beings that wield magic in some form are referred to as demons.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The Dwarves of Thea are stout warriors which tend to live in underground caves. They love gold and give mithril as a reward for quests. Furthermore, they are the only race that can wield two-handed warhammers in one hand.
  • Our Elves Are Better: If you manage to recruit an Elf, they're far superior to most other fighters. They get a free attack before the round starts regardless of the weapon they use, so you can give them an Infinity +1 Sword and they will inflict massive damage before combat begins. (Actually, as this ability is inherent, give them the biggest two-handed axe you can find as 2h axes are weapons with the highest damage in game)
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The game randomly creates the entire world map upon starting a new game.
  • The Sacred Darkness: The night was this before the hundred year darkness. It was the domain of the moon god, Horos, and you can worship the dark if you chose Horos as your patron.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Both the vampiric strigoi and the werewolves of Thea are vulnerable to silver. In one quest, you encounter a werewolf who attempts to immunize himself to the metal's mystic power by sitting at the foot of a large silver statue. You can then either ask him for some of the silver or attack him in his weakened state.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Each character has a random selection of skills, which also randomly increase with every level (although their class makes the increases gravitate towards certain skills). The skill levels are used in various ways in different challenge types: for instance, the Tactics skill is used to maneuver in combat challenges, but to deal "damage" in tactical challenges.
  • The Swarm: Bats, spiders, crows and bees. Although low on both hitpoints and damage, they will use their superior numbers against the party, confusing your fighters and setting them up to be killed by their stronger companions or via Death of a Thousand Cuts.
  • When Trees Attack: There are forest guardians called Leshys that are roughly analogous to Ents. You will have to deal with them in order to complete the main storyline objectives. You will also sometimes encounter some who have gone rogue and live on human flesh instead of the energy of the forests.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Every group of your people, both the village and exploring parties, have to bring enough food and fuel with them or begin to starve/freeze. You also get substantial bonuses for bringing many different kinds of (crafted) food.
  • World Tree: The Cosmic Tree, which at the beginning of the game has been burned by humans. As the tree is one of the pillars of the world, its destruction led to the age of darkness. At the end of the main quest, you have the choice to either replant it, which restores the world of magic that existed before, or to burn its last seed, which leads to an age of reason in which mankind rules surpreme and the other races are vanishing from Thea. Or you can just leave the tree in its burned state, leading to a balance between darkness and light.


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