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Video Game / Underrail

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Underrail is an old school turn-based Western RPG that throws the player into a dystopian post-apocalyptic world on the underground. According to the developers, and it shows, the game has lots of influence from Fallout, System Shock, Arcanum, Jagged Alliance (for the tactical aspect) and many other Computer RPGs of the 90's.

The story is set in a future when life on the surface has long since been made impossible and humanity dwells in a system of underground rail stations that have become self-contained states, last bastions of a fading civilization. You are a member of the South Gate Station, a pacific but well-equipped city on the southern Underrail. After receiving great aptitude results from tests applied by various specialists, you are called by the SGS leaders in order to put those talents to the test and get increasingly involved in the nightmarish dangers of the underworld.


The game is notable for its "Oddity XP" system which completely averts Level Grinding and instead encourages the player to explore, making the character advance solely by discovering unique "oddity" items, which are found in a great variety of environments. It's still possible to enable "Classic XP" to gain experience from killing enemies, but the oddities found don't grant as many points.

An Expansion Pack, Underrail: Expedition, has been announced. In it, you’ll be able to take a break from the usual metro-crawling to take a boat to the infamous Black Sea, a massive underground body of water.

Visit the game's website here. The game can be found on Steam and GOG.


The game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: There are Shock, Acid, Incendiary and even Infected ammunition types.
  • Acronym Confusion: One of the oddities is a registration plate that the PC atributes to the United Stations, even though they are confused how it ended up deep in South Underrail, far away from the Protectorate.
  • Action Bomb: The aptly named Kamikaze Bots, small quadruble robots whose sole purpose is to rush up to you and blow up. Fortunately, they have no armor to speak of and thus not only they are easily destroyed, but also can set off a chain reaction with each other.
    • Thermodynamic Destabilization lets you make any enemy into one of these.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: As more and more powerful items become available, prices skyrocket as well.
  • Affectionate Parody: Al Fabet is a travelling Intrepid Merchant found in Core City, who simply sells Vendor Trash out from... everything, including a human brain.
    • So much in fact, that he shares the same burden that the Player Character is been going through it all by carrying a sack of random loot to sell anyone who can buy them. Bonus points for also being under the effects of Critical Encumbrance Failure.
  • After the End: The surface became uninhabitable long ago, and humans now live in the eponymous Underrail metro network underground.
  • A Home Owner Is You: As of the the May 2015 update, player housing has been added to the game.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: IRIS, the AI responsible for ARKE powerstation, who due to prolonged separation from its creator became obsessed with protecting the facility.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: A feature in most dungeons, which provide an alternative route to hacking or picking locks. They're big enough for you and packs of rathounds to fight inside with no difficulty whatsoever.
  • A.K.A.-47: Understandable given the futuristic setting, but some guns are "old world" ones with fake names.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Shall you decide to leave SGS and travel north by the end, the epilogue says that you decided your destiny lies somewhere else, going to Hexagon.
  • Apocalypse How: An apocalyptical event rendered life on the surface impossible, pushing the remainder of humanity to live in underground stations, mostly subway systems.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Many are found when exploring the underrail, especially in the deep caverns.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Certain types of ammunition, feats and skills can negate mechanical damage protection. Alternately, one could opt to utilize different damage types which enemies lack protection against, such as biological, electrical, and fire.
  • Art Evolution: Compare earlier Alpha screenshots when the game was still named Timelapse Vertigo to the newest, more refined ones.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The AI is capable of some nasty tactics to take you down.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Fixer in Junkyard, who charges extra for anesthetic. Heidi Gratz in Core City behaves like one, but it turns out she's actually very competent.
  • Back Stab: The Stealth plus melee weapons build is highly effective, provided that you don't accidentally bump into someone before attacking.
  • Boring, but Practical: An Assault Tank build (Assault Rifle, at least 6 Strength, high Constitution, Guns skill, heavy armour) can be very viable past the early game and highly adaptable to different circumstances.
    • Traps are extremely useful at evening odds against either a large number of opponents, or a single, powerful one. Set up in chokepoints or just around corners, they can incapacitate or even kill incoming attackers. While enemies will attempt to avoid or even defuse traps if they see them, this can be abused to force enemies to expend extra APs on moving around them, and on occasions where there are no alternate routes, will run through them anyways. They don't require too much skill investment to use, though they can't be laid during combat unless you possess the Quick Tinkering feat.
  • Breakable Weapons: Most weapons and armor have durability. You must either buy or craft repair kits that can be used to keep your equipment in working order.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Several, but some can be averted with certain materials that protect you from other elements instead.
  • Character Customization: Though there is little visual customization outside of your portrait and name, the skills and feats system is extraordinarily diverse and in-depth, allowing for considerable variety in character builds.
  • Crapsack World: Imagine never being able to go back to the surface to breath some fresh air and having to live in a dark, dangerous, underground living society.
  • Critical Hit: Attacks have a small chance to crit for at least double damage. Certain feats and equipment can increase either the probability of attaining a crit, or the maximum damage dealt.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: You can build most items in the game with components/ingredients you find in the Underrail, sometimes at a lower cost than the complete examples sold in shops. At higher levels and with the right feats, it is possible to create weapons that are far superior to any that you can find in the game, including unique weapons.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The ever-evolving immortal being that is Tchort? It's the final boss, and you kill it.
  • Down in the Dumps: Most settlements, but especially the Junkyard.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Basically the whole game.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The being worshipped by the Institue of Tchort turns out to be one, with the ability to summon a variety of tentacles.
  • Experience Points: One of the most interesting parts of the game's mechanics is the alternative way of gaining experience through the Oddity system, that rewards exploration instead of combat grinding, though a few of them can only be obtained through combat (regular XP through combat is also an available option).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The scavenger Al Fabet has the habit of picking up every item he can find, no matter whether he ends up barely able to carry it all. If you wait around in his general vicinity, he will start walking around with a very low FPS animation - the same effect applied to you when you walk around over-encumbered.
  • Genre Shift: Once you reach the Deep Caverns, the game suddenly turns from a relatively grounded post-apocalyptic scenario with cyberpunk elements into a full-blown Cosmic Horror Story. As much as the game foreshadows this, the extent of this mood swing will still likely catch many players by surprise.
  • Gray and Grey Morality: Many situations will leave the player having to choose between not so clear moral choices, given the amount of conflicting factions.
    • White and Grey Morality: Some choices also involves ones that deal as little conflict among factions as possible. As long as you have the right skill to do so.
  • Groin Attack: The Dirty Kick does just this - it is even more effective against male characters.
  • Hard Science Fiction: Some backgrounds shown in the game are detailed to the dotted line. Some conversations by the Player Character, provided with a decent amount of skill, will iterate or even do convoluted detailing in order to either convince other similar professionals or simply do stuff without a fuss in fighting big, hard guys.
  • Healing Potion: In the form of bandages and health hypos (similar to Fallout stimpacks).
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Persuasion and Merchantile. While little the skills can do at the beginning, pursuing them to go even higher will benefit each other mutually, reducing buying prices while raising yours significantly. Doing so will also make certain situations significantly easier, such as allowing you get a second freebie from Quinton for your next Metathermics skill, persuading the Rathound King to make amends with Camp Hathor all awhile revealing you the shortcut that directly leads to his lair from the cave entrance to his maze and/or convinced a group of angry zoners to leave a damaged tunneler drill for you to repair it yourself.
    • Crafting Skills also come out in the same area, especially when you find high-quality components that comes along with your playstyle.
  • Hub City: The Core City is the sole stable passage between Upper and Lower South Underrail, and is also a link to North Underrail.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Several enemies are crazed lone cannibals or even worse, organized in gangs like the Lurkers.
  • Inescapable Ambush: Stealth enemies love to ambush characters with lack of good perception. You can also invert this with the right build and most likely be at the other end of the trope on tougher yet dumber enemies.
  • Instant Expert: Averted on the Skill point system, where every technical area of crafting requires a lot of level grinding before reaching a particular level where you can weld very tough, lightweight metal into an armor.
    • Played Straight on the Feat point system, where you literally become a doctor just after killing some Rathounds.
  • Invisible Wall: Completely averted by the underground setting. If a tunnel exists, you can go through... that is, if you can survive.
  • Killer Robot: Oh so many.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: An available playstyle. It also comes in handy dealing with little harm towards others as possible in completing certain quests.
  • Land of One City: The majority of communities seen in the game.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: PSI abilities.
  • Merchant Prince: The Three Oligarchs of Core City: The former research and security chiefs of a local Biocorp branch took advantage of Biocorp collapse and took over, forming CoreTech and Praetorian Security, and later a third party came and uplifted the Arena into the comercial success, forming JKK.
  • Modular Epilogue: Like in Fallout, the long-term consequences of your involvement in the various settlements, good or bad, is shown at the end.
  • Mouth of Sauron: The Mouth of Tchort is a being used by it for the sole purpose of communication. Naturally, it is weak in combat.
  • Multiple Endings: A given, with the Modular Epilogue. The game has two major endings for your character, which depends on whether you stay at SGS to become a councillor, or leave to travel north.
  • Mystery Meat: The Junkyard Surprise is a rare random example of the trope, but beneficially and not so beneficially. It randomly gives you a Status Buff that makes you stronger, faster or smarter by simply eating the stuff but it can also make you weak, slow or stupid, all in 20 minutes.
  • One-Man Army: You essentially are one, especially when equipped with a proper build to specifically clean a room filled with cyborgs, psychics, mutants and robots.
  • Optional Stealth: Depending on your build, you can either storm in guns blazing/hammer swinging (and suffer the consequences) or stealthily backstab or snipe enemies.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted. You need huge Persuasion skill to fool any guard worth their salt. A guard at Core City Docks will actually pretend to fall for it if you flash him a pass you stole from another guard, then reveal he was just stalling you while the other guards surrounded you.
  • Point Build System: Underrail has a complex skill system that underlie in a straightforward level system.
    • Every level allows an extension of 5 points of skill in each area with a provided count of 40 points.
    • Every 2 levels gives 1 point of feat that can accompany your character.
    • Every 4 levels gives the actual attribute point that substantially increases the accommodated skills you maintained beforehand.
  • Powered Armor: Metal armor can receive enhancements and secondary bonuses that make it behave like a Powered Armor (regeneration, health increase, higher damage).
  • Rat Stomp: Subverted. The first creatures you encounter are rat-hounds the size and ferocity of a wolf.
  • Recycled In Space: Fallout IN THE UNDERGROUND!
  • Rock Beats Laser: Energy shields are great at deflecting plasma shots and good against shrapnel and non-critical bullets. Simpler attacks such as crossbow bolts, sledgehammers or just straight up fisticuffs will partially or completely ignore them, though.
  • Save Scumming: The game autosaves every time you enter an area AND keeps an extra autosave and quicksave on a buffer. With the many things that can go wrong, it is no surprise.
  • Scavenger World: Goes with the post-apocalyptic dwellings.
  • Schmuck Bait / Wrong Genre Savvy: At the very beginning of the game you'll be in a testing room with your teacher and a few lootable containers. If your first move is to loot the container, as you would be wont to do in most WRPGs, the teacher will pump you full of bullets before you can say "oops".
  • Seen It All: Discussing about the Junkyard Surprise says it all.
    "I hate surprises." - Player Character
    "Me too." - Kareem
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sinister Subway: Due to the underground setting, this span nearly whole game, and even some cities give this vibe. Needless to say that the dangerous parts and "dungeons" are this in spades.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Actually, skills and feats.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the classic Fallout games and many other RPGs with tactical combat such as Jagged Alliance.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Even after you're a battle-hardened veteran, outclassed enemies and creatures will still want to have words with you.
  • Techno Wreckage: Considering the setting, a lot.
  • Turn-Based Combat
  • Urban Segregation: The Core City has a large shanty town called the Drop Zone, and the ruling Oligarchs more or less ignore it.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Some of the factions have this belief.
  • We Buy Anything: Averted, as all merchants will only buy a certain number of general items (for instance, food, weapons or medicine) and you will have to wait to sell something again to the same merchant. Only certain merchants will accept an unlimited amount of certain goods, and even then it will be stock stuff such as bullets or batteries. A comic relief NPC is Wrong Genre Savvy about it and keeps pestering merchants around Core City hoping they will buy things he randomly found in the trash.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Your fists is potentially the ultimate example for some playstyles, especially with the following feats that support it. It comes very handy in several circumstances:
    • Need to kill a guy who's hiding behind an energy shield? Punch him!note 
    • Out of bullets or having trouble shooting rathounds that surrounded you, punch them.
    • Robot near its death but not enough action points to kill it with your sniper rifle, punch it.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The player character can go wherever he or she wants after leaving the first city, provided he or she has the skills to survive.
  • A World Half Full: It is a harsh world, but some places are surprisingly stable and self-sustained (the starting city is a good example), and life can be relatively safe for those who keep to themselves.
  • Wretched Hive: The Junkyard, the literal junkyard that grew into a small town with the increasing number of scavengers, is under complete control of two rival gangs, the Scrappers who control the supply by owning the best scavenger spots and the Black Eels who control the means of transporting said supply by owning the docks.

Example of: