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Video Game / Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales

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Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is a role-playing strategy video game developed by CD Projekt RED. It is a single-player spin-off of Gwent: The Witcher Card Game which was released on 23 October 2018. The game combines gameplay elements of point-and-click adventure games, strategy card games, and visual novels. It is played from a top-down perspective, with movement in the world facilitated through use of the mouse or controller. The protagonist is Queen Meve of Rivia (yes, that Rivia), who has lost her throne to traitors working for Nilfgaard and seeks to regain it through conquest. Players can instruct Meve to to roam the map freely and complete quests while gathering resources such as gold, wood, and recruits, used to maintain and expand their army.

Thronebreaker contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, Meve is described as being middle aged and that her looks have faded a bit. In Thronebreaker, not only is her beauty commented on by several characters, but her cutscene appearance makes her look in her mid to late thirties at most.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The entire game serves as one to Queen Meve who - in the books and other games - is one of the most Out of Focus rulers of the Northern Kingdoms.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Meve's eldest son, Villem, leads a coup against her and surrenders the country to Ardal aep Dahy.
    • Played with somewhat since Count Caldwell has convinced him that war with the Nilfgaardian Empire is suicidal and surrender - something Meve would never accept - is the only way for Villem to ensure the safety of both his country and his mother.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: On easy difficulty, you have the option to skip any battles if you get defeated.
  • Arc Villain: Eldain and his Scoia'tael forces in Chapter 2.
  • Ascended Extra: In the books, Queen Meve is a minor character. Thronebreaker is told from her perspective during the second Nilfgaardian invasion. Same goes for her Number Two, Reynard Odo, who only appears in one scene in the books.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Meve's face gets disfigured during the Battle on the Yaruga.
  • Big Bad: General Ardal aep Dahy of the Nilfgaardian Empire.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Reynald and Gascon return in time to save Meve from an assassination attempt by a trusted lieutenant who was actually a Nilfgaardian spy just before his rope could strangle the last bit of life out of her.
    • Geralt's hanse turns up late in the game and ends up assisting Meve's army against Nilfgaard.
    • Meve helps an injured witcher from being overwhelmed against some monsters.
  • Bling of War: Meve wears golden plate armour. Later in the game, she goes for mercenary attire after she has been betrayed.
  • Bodyguard Crush: It is implied that Reynard's loyalty towards Meve goes deeper than his duty as her knight and advisor, and she reciprocates. In the endings in which Reynard survives the Final Battle it's strongly implied he and Meve have had a Relationship Upgrade but keep it quiet for the sake of politics.
  • Death Seeker: Arnjolf the Patricide is a Skelligan warrior who joins Meve hoping to find a glorious death to wash away the shame of killing his abusive father.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: For the dwarves of Mahakam, whistling in the mines is a crime punishable by death. Even the more reasonable Gabor Zigrin agrees with how heinous whistling is.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Meve's wounds during the Battle Of The Yaruga leave her with a temporary lisp and an inability to pronounce her Rs correctly, which makes knighting Geralt a little difficult and quite comical.
  • Evil Chancellor: Count Caldwell becomes this to Villem, manipulating the young prince and the Council of Peers into overthrowing Meve and handing the country over to the Nilfgaardian Empire.
  • Facial Horror: Xavier's face is terribly disfigured and covered in horrific burns when he defended the city of Rosberg from the Nilfgaardians. He suffered this particular horror whilst defending East Tower, when a Nilfgaardian spy set fire to the tower with a rigged oil cauldron, allowing the Nilfgaardian forces to take the city and butcher its inhabitants. Although, it later transpires that his injuries are actually Laser-Guided Karma since Xavier was the Nilfgaardian spy that started the fire in the first place.
  • Fantastic Racism: Black Rayla exhibits great amounts of this towards nonhumans. She won't be more than a Guest-Star Party Member if you show sympathy to the Scoia'tael in Chapter 2 and if she does end up staying with Meve's forces all the way into Mahakam she doesn't treat their dwarven hosts much better, executing any who she fears are spreading the Scoia'tael ideology.
  • Fat Bastard: Caldwell is a greedy count with a taste for the finer things in life who plots a coup against his Queen, surrenders his country to the Nilfgaardian Empire and plots to have Meve quietly assassinated in the dungeons without her son's knowledge.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Meve is wounded during the Battle on the Yaruga and lives the rest of her life with a large disfiguring scar on her face.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: One of the options the player has to Villem's attempted Heel–Face Turn is to arrest him on the spot and have him thrown in the dungeons where he will rot away for the rest of his life and be buried in an unmarked grave.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Villem starts out the game by leading a coup against his mother. However, after his most treacherous advisors have been removed and it becomes clear he is losing the war he comes to his senses. He opens negotiations with Meve to peacefully hand the country back over to her on the condition he and his remaining advisors are left unharmed, his reforms go unchanged, and he remains her heir. Whether or not Meve accepts his attempts to redeem himself lie in the player's hands.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the Final Battle, someone pulls this to open the gates to Rivia Castle for Meve's army. The player's previous choices determine if it is Reynard, Gascon or Villem.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Having Sir Eyck in your army allows certain battles to be bypassed, as he can take care of the situation by himself. There's also Ivo Of Belhaven, a witcher who's in the midst of a contract for the Nilfgaardians, and, of course, Geralt of Rivia.
  • The Mole: Engineer Lieutenant Xavier Lemmens is actually Gwalter aep Llwynog, a Nilfgaardian spy, who tries to assassinate Meve once her paranoia over who the mole is has seemingly pushed all her actual trustworthy lieutenants away from her.
  • Morale Mechanic: Your card strength will be dependent on your army's morale. Your choices will either raise or lower their morale.
  • Multiple Endings: Par for the course with the franchise, the end state of the game hinges on several of Meve's choices, notably whether Reynard, Villem or Gascon pull a Heroic Sacrifice to open the gates of Rivia Castle for Meve's forces.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Meve kills Caldwell by confronting him during the Siege of Tuzla Castle and pushing him out a tower window.
  • Lady of War: Queen Meve.
  • Lovable Rogue: Gascon fits this trope.
  • Old Save Bonus: Buying Thronebreaker on GOG gives you cosmetics, card packs, and a set of Thronebreaker cards in Gwent. Finding treasure chests and unlocking achievements in Thronebreaker grants more cosmetics, premium versions of those Thronebreaker cards, and other rewards.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Geralt turns up late in the game alongside his hanse, since the battle in question occurred at the end of Baptism of Fire. His Knighting is depicted in a cutscene.
  • Puppet King: What Villem is to Count Caldwell and the Council of Peers, and they themselves are just puppets of Ardal aep Dahy and the rest of the Nilfgaardian Empire.
  • Puzzle Boss: There are a few puzzle encounters scattered around the map. These encounters have specific rules and give you a specific deck as well.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Gascon is actually the Sole Survivor of the Rivian noble family of Brossards. When he was eight, his family revolted against King Reginald who responded by wiping them out. The young Gascon then fell into a life of crime. If he survives to the end of the game and Meve learns about his hidden past she can restore his title and lands to him.
  • Redemption Equals Death: If Meve rejects the conditions of Villem's surrender but lets him leave the negotiations without apprehending him, he will be the one that pulls the Heroic Sacrifice during the Final Battle to open the gates to Rivia Castle. The Nilfgaardian guards deal him a mortal blow but he dies earning his mother's forgiveness and is remembered by Rivia as a hero.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Meve fights alongside her soldiers in the front lines of the multiple incursions throughout the game.
  • Sadistic Choice: Many of the game's decisions are about choosing one evil over another. For example, do you slaughter a sleeping dragon that's harming nobody, or do you leave it, causing Eyck to leave your army in disgust?
  • Sketchy Successor: Villem is Meve's heir as her eldest son but lacks the qualities of a good ruler. It is commented that he inherited all of his father's recklessness and none of his mother's wits. Even Meve thinks Villem makes a poor politician. And whilst he proves himself skilled enough to plan a coup, it is obvious to everyone but himself that he is merely a puppet of the manipulations of Count Caldwell and the Nilfgaardian Empire.
    Count Cadwell: The boy's not fit to wear the crown. Hasn't sufficient wit nor valor. I know this, you know this... just, he knows it not.
    • Averted in the ending in which Meve accepts Villem's conditions during their truce negotiations at Devil's Tower. Villem works hard to regain Meve's trust and respect, becomes more involved in helping her rule the country, and channels his recklessness into leading daring missions to protect their borders. It becomes widely accepted that he has shaped up into a worthy successor to his mother.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration: A large number of cards in your deck represent NPCs the player has recruited to join their army. Many of those card's special abilities will reflect the personalities of the NPC they represent, such as Black Rayla's Fantastic Racism against elves manifesting as her growing stronger whenever an enemy Scoia'tel unit is destroyed.
    • Several choices throughout the game have the potential of angering your followers, causing an NPC or unit to leave. This means their card is removed from your deck. This causes many players who build their deck around a certain character to seriously consider making choices they'd otherwise find reprehensible in order to not lose their best card. This helps simulate the experience of being a ruler with limited forces being forced to choose between appeasing her followers or doing what is right even if it loses her the support of much needed warriors.
  • Spoiler Cover: Geralt's appearance on the game's cover, as seen on the page image above. Geralt doesn't appear until very late in the game. Of course, anyone who's read the books won't consider it much of a spoiler.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The one Meve's army treks through in Angren in Chapter 4 certainly counts given the sheer amount of horrendous stuff they find in it.
  • Undying Loyalty: Reynard Odo is completely devoted to Meve and takes great offence at that devotion being questioned. It's notable that he's one of the few NPCs who will never permanently leave Meve's army even if she makes every decision he disagrees with.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Gascon and the Strays of Spalla were hired by Count Caldwell to pillage the countryside, forcing Meve to stay away from the capital and waste time hunting them down. Once Caldwell had successfully negotiated the country's surrender the Strays where defeated and Gascon arrested. Gascon realised he and his men had been used just as his men were freeing him from the dungeons and he decides to help Queen Meve escape too so she can take her revenge on Caldwell.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Reynard and Gascon - understandably - loathe each other at the beginning of the game. But after much Teeth-Clenched Teamwork they eventually seem to develop into this. Both seem quite upset if the other dies during the Final Battle.