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Video Game / Tradewinds

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Tradewinds is a series of video games released by Sandlot Games. The original version, simply called Tradewinds (now called Tradewinds Classic), has since spawned a number of sequels.

The basic premise of the first game is this: you start off in one of the ports in The Orient, with very little cash (or a huge debt, in some cases) and one ship. Your ship can be equipped with guns and loaded with cargo. You purchase the cargo from trading centers at ports. Ideally, your cargo should be bought low and sold high in order to make a profit.


While travelling between ports, you may get attacked by pirates. Both sides take turns to fire their cannons at each other; the side that destroys the ships on the other side wins the battle, as well as some cash.

As you progress through the game, you can buy additional ships and form a fleet. Each ship will increase the amount of cargo you can carry between ports, as well as your offensive firepower.

Your only goal is to reach the rank of Tai Pan. To do this, you must get a million points from either trading goods, battling pirates, accepting tasks from the head of authority of each port, or all three at once.

Tradewinds has spawned several sequels: Tradewinds 2, Tradewinds Legends (and its expansion pack, Tradewinds Legends: Unlikely Heroes), Tradewinds Caravans and Tradewinds Odyssey.

The original Tradewinds was considered a turn-based strategy game due to the way all battles are conducted, with each side taking turns to fire at each other. Every sequel since conducts all battles in real-time. Tradewinds 2, Legends, Odyssey and Caravans all have Story Mode.


This game includes examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Every female protagonist is able to direct her crew against pirates and her other enemies and usually has combat-oriented power to help them.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • In Classic, one of the locations you can unlock is the floating city of Shangri-La. Shangri-La first appeared in 1933 in Lost Horizon.
    • In Odyssey - Asterion, you can get both quests of warning Trojans about Theseus's plan to kidnap Helen and getting Odysseus to Ithaca (in this case Delphi). The former is definitely before Trojan War is over, the latter is after. The game also depicts both Helen and Paris as early-teenage kids.
    • All over the place in Legends; One sidequest heavily references 1984, a couple others reference television in passing, and one involving dating genies names a place called "LavaLampLife" which sounds a lot like a website, meaning the internet is apparently a thing.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • Having full hull integrity or more armor doesn't stop your ships from losing cannons. Possibly justified when you consider the cannons would have to be exposed to be of any use, making them vulnerable to lucky shots.
    • Only Phoebe in Odyssey is depicted to wear armor, every other player character in franchise doesn't. Yet they can still kicks ass all the same. Justified, since there's rarely, if ever, any hand-to-hand combat; all of the battles are between ships.
  • Arms Dealer: You, especially. You buy weapons and you sell them to other ports. And in the majority of the games, weapons and armaments are contraband.
  • Anything That Moves: Zeus kidnaps beautiful girls in order to get it on with them.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The story ending for Asterion in Odyssey.
  • Badass Army: Your fleet if you choose to fight every enemy, win, and survive with intact fleet.
  • Badass Book Worm: Phil the Cynic. Philosopher, trader, and admiral of his own fleet.
  • Badass Crew: You mercenary bodyguards in "Caravans" may include magicians and War Elephants.
  • Battle Aura: There are several people or magic items in Tradewinds 2 and Tradewinds Legends that grant you this. As an example, the Berserker's Blade! in Tradewinds Legends gives your cannons near-perfect accuracy, but at the same time giving your enemies a slightly better shot at you if you buy anything but the most expensive one.
  • Big Bad: Several to list, depending on which character you play as.
    • Tradewinds 2 has Sebastian LaRoche, a feared pirate whose crimes include the murder of Ignacio Verdugo's father. It's the player character's goal to defeat him.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • Madame Tso in Tradewinds Classic has a broken bridge. You start off having a fleet of Chinese Junks, but you can't go to Edamame without having at least a 1 masted sloop. You wouldn't necessarily know that, though, if you started playing as someone other than Madame Tso.
    • In Tradewinds Legends, some of the ports are inland, instead of being seaports. In order to access them, you need to have progressed far enough into the game to purchase (and replace your entire fleet with) flying ships. Also an example of Sword of Plot Advancement in Story Mode.
    • In Caravans and Odyssey, you can't go to another city / port until you advance the story by getting new quest.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Magical Charm in Legends; it guarantees a 100% success rate in smuggling in contraband goods, but is the most expensive item in the game at 100 million gold. Making that much money either involves a lot of patience with normal goods (usually well past when you could complete Story Mode), or smuggling contraband using a lot of lesser items like the False Bottom Crate (the effects stack) and Save Scumming. Either way, if you can make enough money to buy the charm, you probably don't need it.
  • Bounty Hunter: An additional source of income in Classic.
    • In the rest of the series, you may be called to capture or kill a pirate in the story.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: In Odyssey, this is why Zeus is trying to kill Socrates: because gods are shaped by the beliefs of mortals. If Socrates' view of the gods as perfect, moral beings were to catch on, Zeus would be locked into that myth - something he finds a thoroughly unappealing prospect.
  • Collector of the Strange:
    • Odyssey, dev's interpretation of Atalanta is this as commented by her friend and favorite knick-knack merchant. "The more expensive and pointless, the better."
    • Legends - Ivory, one of city ruler likes to collect magical items.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Played straight with Tradewinds 2. You cannot buy more than one ship. Your enemies can.
  • Cool Airship: In Legends, Dragon Boats. The bird boats that are just one level down also qualify, trading a bit of hull strength and a few cannons for having the highest storage space in the game.
  • Cool Boat: In Odyssey, Triton's Destroyer. Yes, a ship that looks like a marlin.
  • Cosmetic Award: The ranks you obtain as you get richer.
  • Crapsack World: The world is rampant with piracy and/or banditry, you can be cursed/be troubled without knowing the reason why, may get some divine being's wrath for something which is not your fault (Odyssey), get Disproportionate Retribution if you are guilty for minor offense, become friend/subordinate/in employ of some trouble magnet dude/lass .... You get the idea.
  • Crossover: The storylines in "Legends" happen roughly around the same time and cross over into each other occasionally. One of Nandi Patel's plot quests involves Hasan's search for Sheherezade: Hasan regularly gets information from the Caliph, but never meets him, while Nandi is constantly ferrying the Caliph around not realizing who he is. Tiger Bai's story involves the son of one of the lords who is fated to be killed by association with Nandi, a prophecy that is mysteriously fulfilled without either knowing. And everybody runs into Hasan's possessed brother Omar, never for the better. One of the last Story Mode quests for the Custom Character involves you rounding everyone up to watch the insufferable prophet you've been chasing the whole time finally get his.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: In Caravans, virtually all references to Islam are cut out and replaced with vague mentions of "the gods." Curiously, Buddhism, Hinduism and Chinese mythology are left in and played straight (if sometimes comically).
  • Death Takes a Holiday: Daimonea ran away from Hades and took a vacation in ancient Greece. Doesn't end well.
    • Though the plot is not her fault, but Sisyphus who doesn't want to go back to the Underworld.
  • Death Faked for You:
    • Odyssey - Phil, the purpose of his main quest is faking Socrates' execution because of his unorthodox thinking of the divine.
    • Odyssey - Asterion, he discovers in one of his main quest that turn out Icarus didn't die after his wings melted and fell to sea. Instead, Icarus was saved by the harpies and lives peacefully with them. He faked his death because his father would definitely make him as lab rat until he dies like the rest of his father's sons.
  • In Odyssey Asterion and Phil are of particular note.
  • Determined Widow:
    • Jinpa in Caravans lost her husband on a trade expedition, and had to take up trade in her own right to feed the kids. Though she isn't really a widow until you are done playing her storyline.
    • Rihana Sayar lost her husband a month before her story begins. You later learn he was attacked, robbed, and left for dead by the 40 thieves, driving him to drink and eventually to death. The rest of the storyline after this is mostly dedicated to Rihana getting payback.
  • Doom Magnet: Sindbad in Tiger Bai's storyline. Despite very clearly knowing this, Bai is very good friends with him and is always willing to have him on her ship, no matter what misfortune may follow.
    • This is also referenced in a few other character storylines: at one point one of the kings even shows that threatening to make someone be cabin boy on a Sindbad voyage is a very effective means of punishment.
    • Odyssey, Odysseus is storm-magnet as PC's fleet always intact but blown off course whenever Odysseus is on board.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Theseus.
    • To elaborate, he boasted of 1) killing the Minotaur and 2) getting out of Labyrinth on his own. Both are lies as you play as still-living-Asterion (The Minotaur) and he gets help from Ariadne and her thread. He is a complete Jerkass and pervert to boot.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Completing Story Mode allows you to do this.
  • Funny Background Event: In Odyssey - Gythio, you will see some people who queue on a ledge only to jump off it. It is clear there is neither water nor a safety net where they fall.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: One of the sidequests of the "Unlikely Heroes" expansion is incomplete.note  Attempting to claim the reward for it crashes the game, and trying to continue the game after accepting that quest but without attempting to complete it will eventually corrupt the save.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Just read any of the quests carefully that supposedly have you on a time limit. Yet when you "run over" the time, there is no punishment.
  • Heroic Bastard: Petrakles is one of the PCs in Odyssey. He is the son of a temple priestess and never knows his father before the story starts. Three guesses who his father is. it's Zeus.
  • Historical Domain Character: In Odyssey, some Real Life characters appear. In Legends, Harun Ar-Rashid appears in late game as a drunkard and one of PC's dad.
  • 100% Completion: Tradewinds: Odyssey introduces Feats which are achievements by another name.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: In Odyssey in the storyline for Phil the Cynic, he acts as this for his cousin Herakles.
  • Immortality Hurts: One of the two connected storylines in Daimones the Goddess' Story Mode. When you have an agent of Hades who refuses to do her job, you get many Greek soldiers who can't just die even though they're in excruciating pain.
  • It's Up to You: The tasks given by the head of authority in most ports, ranging from grocery shopping to slaying the Big Bad.
  • Intrepid Merchant: You play as one in each storyline.
  • In Vino Veritas: In Tradewinds, if you tip the bartender enough, she'll provide the location of Shangri La for the next six months that someone let slip while drunk.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The merchant Baobab in Legends has a inexplicable French accent.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Sometimes player character's quests are making sure someone pays for his mistake/sin, usually the Big Bad. In Odyssey: Theseus, Sisyphus, King Minos (accidentally), Polydectes, .... The list goes on.
  • Karmic Transformation: In Caravans, one of the possible characters you can unlock to play as is a dragon known for terrorizing caravans. His story starts when the gods of karma turn him into a camel—a common caravan animal—to teach him some humility, and only when he acquires enough good karma can he be changed back.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Fire Pot special ammunition in Tradewinds 2.
    • In Odyssey, you can get "Hades Fire" which gives additional damages. You can get it by putting 20 salts in sacrificial altar.
    • In Caravans, you can buy "Heavenly Fire" at Temple.
  • Long-Lost Relative: The Tazere brothers in Tradewinds Legends ... twice. Hasan Tazere's plunge into the high seas and skies started when his brother, Omar, went missing. The first time this trope occurs is when Hasan encounters a Djinn-possessed Omar at sea. Hasan must eventually kill the King of the Djinn, but at the same time put his brother to the sword. Hasan believes that Omar died from the two stabs, but when he visits a temple later on, he meets his brother again, alive and well. Omar promptly forms a Sibling Team with Hasan for the rest of Story Mode and beyond.
    • Legends, it turns out Tiger Bai and Ivory are sisters. Ivory is half-djinn and half-human. Because Ivory's human half is kidnapped when she was small, both of them only realized late in Ivory's storyline.
  • Magikarp Power: The Tradewinds Odyssey characters' special attacks are based on total damage dealt, and the DPS rates get huge later in the game as you get More Dakka.
  • Nice Guy: The brother-in-law of one of the player characters in Caravans. In spite of being a widow with three children, he does everything can to help you, including taking care of your cursed children while you're out on the road. As it turns out, he's been in love with you for years and thinks of your children as his own.
  • Noble Bigot: Yu Qian from Caravans isn't a bad guy, but he's rather gynophobic. Normally, this is actually merited - he has taken a Vow of Celibacy and the vast majority of the women he meets are trying to get in his robes - but he gets deservedly slapped by the plot a couple of times when he acts nastily to women who haven't said anything and in fact aren't after him.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The floating city of Shangri-La, a man-made island. In Lost Horizon it's a Hidden Elf Village in the Himalayan Mountains, and the name is Tibetan for "Shang mountain pass."
  • No One Should Survive That!: Sindbad. His habit for surviving through sheer chance what should and does kill everyone he's with on a constant basis is so amazing that it's strongly suggested that the murderous djinn who pursues him, Ivory, is actually a force of nature who has come to ensure he finally dies the death he is due.
  • Not Blood Siblings: On one route in Caravans, you play a supposed widow. At the end of the game, she mentions the possibility of her husband's brother (Truth in Television; this was virtually expected in the cultures of the age).
    • Said brother had actually been love with her several years and aids you greatly throughout her storyline. He was, in fact, the one who inquired about her when he saw her at a marketplace, and was heartbroken when you were betrothed to his elder brother instead.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Su Min dies in battle in Yu Qian's quest. Upon her death, she attains Nirvana, and rejoins the battle as an arahant.
  • One-Man Army: Well, since you can't have more than one ship in Tradewinds 2 ... it is even lampshaded by one of the governors in the game.
    "I am not fit to bow in your shadow, commander. Defeating LaRoche - with a single ship!"
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted In Legends, Smith shares his real name with Big Bad in his storyline. The fact which makes him captured by authority in the first place.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield:
    • Caravan - Sameer, Sameer is asked to find a worthy heir for desperate town ruler. The selection process is by pulling the string of the ruler's family heirloom bow. It becomes a funny moment as everyone and their dog (Not Hyperbole there) can do that. The ruler climbs out of his own tomb and tries to find the worthy heir by interview instead.
    • Legends - In one of sidequests the PC must find a magic sword. The description of the sword is "Only the pure-hearted may wield this sword.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: Asterion the Minotaur, one of the player characters in Tradewinds Odyssey.
  • The Paralyzer:
    • The Hive of Bees "Magic Curse" in Tradewinds Legends does this in battle, rendering a single target unable to return fire for ten seconds. Considering that most enemies have at least five cannons, and each one fires every four seconds, the Hive of Bees can actually come in handy in cutting down the damage taken by your fleet. It has saved many players.
    • Also, Phil the Cynic's argument attack in Odyssey.
    • Muse's Revenge in Odyssey definitely is this, which can be boosted with one of the relics from the Reliquary.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • In Legend - a local ruler uses 6 of his children as collateral of his debts. He justifies it as the solution to his financial and inheritance problems.
    • Odyssey, few of Zeus' illegitimate children meet him or even know he is their father.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Once you finish the final quest of the main storyline, you enter free trade mode and can't take on any more quests(though you can still complete quests that you took but hadn't yet completed). If there were any quests that rewarded exclusive loot that you didn't take before this point, tough luck.
    • Tradewinds Legends: Unlikely Heroes was a Yahoo-exclusive DLC that unlocked the ability to play as the Ifrit that had been terrorizing Sinbad. Now that the game is unavailable on Yahoo, so is the DLC.
  • Pet the Dog: One Story in Caravans has you play as a ruthless Mongol conqueror. At one point, you have to fetch the head of a beast, only for that beast to be in the care of a young girl who managed to tame it. You end up just renting it from her. As the quest giver puts it,
    "So the great conquering Mongol couldn't bring himself to murder a child's pet in front of her eyes? Interesting. Quite interesting."
  • Rags to Riches: One of joys in this game. You start as small time merchant with limited cash and a rather pitiful ship/caravan and ends the game with lots of money and awesome ships (except in 2, due to only being able to own one ship).
  • Ramming Always Works: Your ships are given the option to ram enemy ships in Tradewinds Odyssey.
  • Recycled In Space: Every game has different setting. Original game is Taipan with more story.
  • Save Scumming: You can do this and this trick is useful to avoid pirates/bandits and avoid your banned good from getting confiscated.
  • Secret Test of Character: In the overarching story of the "Custom Character" in Legends, you're once told to bring a secret clan leader (of a clan you are a part of, albeit a junior member) to a city leader or be beheaded. When you find the clan leader, he's so beaten down by running for his life that your character can't bring themselves to take him in. When they return to the city leader, the leader praises you for not going through with it.
  • Shop Fodder: Precious Gemstones (Rubies, Sapphires, Diamonds, and Yellow Diamonds) in Legends; utterly useless except for being sold for a nice chunk of change.
  • Shout-Out: Many, "Mik the Jagged" of the "Rho Ling Stonemen" being just one of them.
  • Sky Pirate: You'll be facing those Dirigibles, Viminas and Dragon Boats during the second half of Trandwinds Legends.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: One of the side quests in Odyssey.
    • In Phoebe the Priestess' story, it's a girdle of the Goddess that poses a lot of problems for her when she has it.
    • In Caravans, Yu Qian the male monk has just about every girl on the Silk Road lusting after him when he's just trying to obey his Vow of Celibacy. He doesn't take it well.
  • Spiritual Successor: The original game was a Taipan! clone. Since then, the series has branched out and evolved, however.
  • Storming the Port: If you previously had access to a port and it's now blocked off due to certain circumstances and suddenly the port is hostile towards you, this happens. In 2 and Legends, you have to fight a fort and several ships in order to regain access to the port.
    • Subverted in Odyssey. Instead of a port fight, it becomes the usual navy vs navy fight.
  • Straight Gay: In Tradewinds Legends, the Tazere 'brothers' are very strongly suggested to be a Straight Gay couple using 'brother' as a term of affection.
  • Subsystem Damage: With every hit your vessels take, they run the risk of losing a cannon. In addition, when the hull strength of a ship is reduced to around half, as well as a quarter, it looks visually damaged.
  • Supporting Protagonist: In Yu Qian's quest in Caravans, he's ostensibly a monk on the quest to get a book of holy sutras back to Chang'an, and Su Min is a monk from a more martial order assigned to support and guard him, as well as (seemingly) a test of his Vow of Celibacy. Actually, remaining polite to the misogynistic Yu Qian is Su Min's final test on the road to Nirvana, and her death in the Final Battle and subsequent return to battle Mara is the culmination of her story. Of course, discovering this fact is still a priceless lesson for Yu Qian's own Character Development.
  • Swashbuckler: Many characters, Hasan from Legends being a particularly good example.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement:
    • Junks in Tradewinds Classic can't sail in open oceans, so you need to buy at least one One-Masted Sloop to travel to Edamame in playing as Madame Tso, who starts with a fleet of junks.
    • Flying ships in Tradewinds Legends. You cannot complete Story Mode unless your entire fleet comprises of flying ships. Also an example of Broken Bridge.
  • Symbol Swearing: This can happen in two quests in Tradewinds Legends, once when dealing with the crap wine manufacturing system in the Ten Kingdoms, which sends you to at least four different ports just to get one bottle of wine for the quest, and a second time when you have to deal with a bunch of golden women, a retirement home, and massive damages.
  • Technical Pacifist: Yu Qian in Caravans is sworn to nonviolence. Healing his troops while they're fighting is a gray area, though.
  • Theme Naming: The original Tradewinds and Tradewinds 2 do this with virtually every ship for sale, excluding the Juggernaut in the former. Also probably classifies as Meaningful Name if you take into account the size and cannon mounts of their real-life counterparts.
  • The Unfavorite: In Odyssey between Ariadne and Asterion, Asterion is the definite unfavorite of King Minos.
    • Also In Odyssey, rotund King Eurystheus is compared to his more physically impressive yet dumb Hercules by his parents. The fact which made him a jerk, and in turn the tasks he gives Hercules as hard as possible.
  • Truth in Television: Once in a while, upon talking to the owner of an alehouse, temple or such, depending on the game, you may get a small piece of Real Life history.
  • Unlockable Content: In pretty much all the games you have to complete one of the storylines to unlock the custom character mode.
    • Additionally in Tradeswinds Odyssey completing a character storyline unlocks a Secret Character.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Some of the highborn or wealthy characters who appear in various title are this trope, so the player can be their messenger/gopher/sidekick to them. Ardru Haroun and his dad, Haroun Ar-Rashid, in Legeds are good example.
  • Violenceis The Only Option: Sometimes you must win a fight to advance and complete particular quest(s) to get access to some port.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Petrakles the Athlete in Tradewinds Odyssey. Lampshaded by other characters.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Free Trade Mode, also Story Mode once you finish it.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: In Legends, That's how a prince (Ardrou)and a simple blacksmith (Smith) first met. Their "partnership" begins because they were chained at legs and continues because they escaped prison without any mean to break the chains.