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Video Game / Mordhau

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Mordhau is a medieval melee multiplayer game developed by Triternion Studios. It's a Spiritual Successor to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, specifically made by veterans of the game to correct upon its flaws and modernize it.

Players have access to a sizeable arsenal of medieval weapons, shields and armor from multiple ages, each with its own stats and style. Combat consists of a variety of directional swings and stabs, which can be combined with parries, feints, ripostes, chambers and more, all of which can be combined in almost any manner conceivable. The combat system can be very difficult to pick up due to its complexity, but leads to even small skirmishes having their depth and some impressive, practically cinematic duels among skilled players.

It was released in April 29th 2019.


Examples of Tropes in this Video Game

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Bladed weapons cannot cut through plate armors in real life. In fact, swords were mainly used as sidearms rather than primary ones. However, it would be very pointless having such a huge variety of weapons in the game if only 20% of it is viable.
    • Unlocking the painted versions of various armor pieces in game is quite expensive compared to the unpainted versions. While in real life painting seems to have been reserved for cheap mass-produced armor and hand-crafted high quality armor was instead polished to a mirror shine, with our modern notions of decoration, the painted armor seems much cooler, and so is accordingly more expensive.
  • All Swords Are the Same: Nope. Each of the dozen-or-so swords in the game have different stats and animations. Don't expect a longsword to handle exactly the same as a bastard sword.
  • Anachronism Stew: The developers intentionally let the game's setting and time period vague so that players have more freedom with their customizations. This leads into situations like vikings fighting side-by-side with a knight in Gothic armor, wielding rapiers and zweihanders, against landsknechte with throwing axes, among other things. Correspondingly, players' making use of Virtual Paper Doll are able to reproduce characters from all sorts of settings and time periods.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: Sharp killing strikes are bound to remove a limb if they hit one. And stepping on a Bear Trap will kill you if you don't have leg armor by way of removing everything below the ankle.
  • Anti-Cavalry: While polearms in general have the reach to at least try and counter cavalry, the Billhook in particular is made with this in mind, by way of it violently yanking the rider off their horse when it makes contact. The thus floored and heavily disoriented rider is usually easy prey after that.
  • Armor Is Useless: Not in this game. Having good armor can mean the difference between dying from a single stab to taking dozens of hits without dying. Of course, wearing that much plate will slow your character's movement speed. However, actions such as weapon swing speeds are not influenced by this, meaning a fully-armored character wielding one weapon can attack and defend at the same rate as a lightly armored opponent with the same weapon.
  • Artistic License – History: As mentioned above under Anachronism Stew, the equipment available in game is jumbled together from roughly 1000 years of history for the sake of variety. Apart from this, there are some minor inaccuracies here and there in regards to the equipment itself:
    • The visored barbute and its derivatives are based on erroneous Victorian reconstructions rather than actual historical armor.
    • The eye slits on the Flat Templar and Round Templar helmets are far too big compared to historical examples, a common error which most of the other in-game helmets actually avoid.
  • Bear Trap: Players can lay bear traps. It will incapacitate and heavily injure the caught enemy, although they will outright kill any enemy with no leg armor, since it dismembers their feet instead.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Raider voice includes “Buaidh no bàs!” as a warcry - Scottish Gaelic for “Victory or death!”
  • Boom, Headshot!: Strikes to an unarmored head is almost always fatal. Heavier helmets will reduce the damage, but even then certain weapons can still kill in one hit.
  • Cherry Tapping: One special emote while wielding a longsword has your character unscrew the pommel and throw it for minimal damage. You can also pick up and fling turds, which is actually capable of killing someone at minimal health. One achievement requires you to kill another player using the tutorial's training sword - a blunted blade that has the lowest damage stat of any melee weapon in the game. And in a more accidental and embarrassing manner, even thrown medkits cause a single point of damage, so it's not unknown for people to kill their heavily injured teammates with a thrown medkit.
  • Confusion Fu: A vital skill for duelists, since being predictable will neuter your offense at best and usually get you killed. Duelists often have to resort to a repertoire of feints, morphing different attacks into one another and hitbox manipulation (drags, accels, footwork, targeting, etc.) to avoid damage and inflict it in turn. Slower weapons also have a variant in that it's very easy to mistime parries against them in the heat of battle; the maul and the heavy handaxe are especially guilty of this.
  • Counter Attack: There are many ways to perform this in game. Chambering is mirroring an enemy attack (i.e. left horizontal slash vs. right horizontal slash, or a stab vs. a stab) with the correct timing will deflect the opponent's attack while letting your strike go right through. Ripostes are a different style of counter, where you can follow a successful parry with a quicker, unfeintable swing/stab. It is also possible to dodge through various means, from stepping out of range to ducking under weapon strikes, to even leaning the camera to sway one's head and torso just out of harm's way. Such a dodge can allow you to attack while the enemy recovers.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • The only way for one-handed bladed weapons to defeat an armored opponent. Some, like the Cleaver and Arming Sword, are better at delivering those thousand cuts in a timely manner than others. Somewhat inverted for the Carving Knife, as it is without a doubt the fastest weapon in the game, and cuts remarkably quickly for very low damage; however, its attacks cannot interrupt an enemy, so it's very easy to knock a carving knife user aside by simply swinging your actual weapon into their face.
    • In horde mode, all the enemies have access to an attack in which they pull out a turd and throw it at you, with no apparent limit. It does minimal damage, but they only start doing this when they can't reach your current location, which usually means you will be completely surrounded by angry enemies that will all start pelting you; it's not unheard of to end up lethally buried in crap in a matter of seconds.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: In the game Mordhau, you can, in fact, use a mordhau grip with longswords.
  • Elite Mooks: Later waves of Horde mode have them.
    • Enemies with black armor are much tougher than common enemies. Their armor is even more durable than the toughest armor that players can use, and their weapons hit harder.
    • Ogres are very big, and they have a huge amount of health. Their weapon is a huge club, and they smash you really hard with it.
  • Evil Laugh: Some of the voicesets' laughs can be pretty malevolent. Raiders and Barbarians often sound absolutely bloodthirsty, and Cruel voices sound appropriately malevolent.
  • Excuse Plot: There is some kind of war, and two bands of mercenaries known as the Iron Company (Red) and the Free Guard (Blue) are fighting in it. The map Grad has a Lord on the blue side, who may be the one hiring the Free Guard to fight for him, but as far as the players are concerned, they're here to fight and get paid.
  • Field of Blades: The Mountain map has several stuck swords on the snow. You can pull out and use them, but they are weaker than normal swords because they are broken and rusty.
  • Fragile Speedster: Wearing little to no armor makes you vulnerable, but it also makes you faster.
  • Friend or Foe: Your attacks will hurt your teammates too. This is especially common when players use big bladed weapons like Zweihanders...or siege weapons.
    • Probably because of this, a "Friendly" perk exists to make players with it deal less and take less damage from friendly fire.
  • Glass Cannon: Any low-armored player with a high-damage weapon is this. Notable examples include the maul and the Zweihander, and certain polearms; several of these have high point costs that leave less room for armor.
  • Gone Horribly Right: A downplayed meta example. The game was met with such success that the developers could not anticipate this many players joining their server, causing it to pretty much melt down for several days after launch.
  • Heal Thyself: Bandages are a cheap way to regain half of your health, if you can't wait for the Regenerating Health to kick in. Medical bags are even more effective and can be thrown on the ground to be shared with other players.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Not wearing a helmet will let your character appear more distinctive on the battlefield, but a well-placed blow from any weapon will lob your head right off. In fact, several of the most sought after items in game ARE helmets, which players wear as a point of pride as well as protection.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: The titular mordhau grip, which involves your character holding a longsword by its blade and hitting enemies with the pommel or crossguard. Especially useful against heavily-armored enemies, as blunt strikes goes through armor better than cuts or thrusts. Subverted in that this is actually a case of Truth in Television: the mordhau is a real technique that was taught in several schools of fencing, such as the German Lichtenauer, or the Italian Fiore styles. Greatswords also allow for half-swording (grabbing the sword by the blade half-way like a shorter spear to facilitate stabbing). This also allows such weapons to be used in more narrow areas much more efficiently, as it is less likely to catch your weapon on the wall.
  • Joke Character: Picking the Peasant perk restricts your gear selection to farming tools and the like, on top of costing eight points, effectively cutting the available points in half.
    • Lethal Joke Character: However, if you are really good at defending yourself by parrying, Mercenaries with the peasant perk easily can become this. They can't wear heavy armors, but their weapons can deal a considerable amount of damage. Namely, the Scythe is extremely lethal against lightly armored opponents, but does little against medium armor and less against heavy armor.
      • More inversely lethal, but literally just doing nothing but tossing around medic bags near the back of your team as fast as possible can easily allow a player to top the scoreboard if they don't find themselves getting murdered the moment they see enemy contact.
  • Joke Weapon:
    • The lute. You can use it as a regular instrument, or flip it around and cave someone's skull in.
    • Horse turds, which can be thrown as projectiles and are capable of killing people with tiny amounts of damage.
    • The training sword, a blunt-edged blade which is the weakest proper weapon in the entire game. Actually managing to kill somebody with it is an achievement, and the game tracks kills done with this weapon.
    • Also, the carving knife. Without a doubt the fastest weapon in the game, but its hits cannot interrupt an opponent's swings, meaning anyone who tries to apply Death of a Thousand Cuts will likely get their head knocked off before they reach cut number three. The only way it can quickly kill someone is by throwing it into a person's head, which kills a person without a helmet instantly. Anyone else will survive the throw, if it hits that is.
  • Kill It with Fire: The fire bombs can set the ground ablaze.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much everyone; every voiceset available for your builds gets some pretty bombastic voice commands. The default keybinding even reserves a button for warcries.
    "Dodge THIS you bastaaAAAAAAARD!"
    "You're terrible! LOOK MEN, LOOK HOW TERRIBLE HE IS!"
    "Fathom this you imbecile: I'M. ON. YOUR. SIDE!"
  • Life Drain: The Bloodlust perk fully heals a player after killing an enemy. Without the perk, killing an enemy grants 30 HP, helping to reward successful kills and keep players fighting for longer.
  • Literal Disarming: If you have the Flesh Wound perk, it's possible to have your arm cut off and keep fighting.
  • Limited Loadout: You can have up to three weapons or items at a time.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: You can reuse swords, arrows, and throwing axes that lodged into characters. Pulling out lodged weapons from living characters will never hurt them.
  • Low Fantasy: Ogres exist in the Horde mode, establishing that certain fantasy elements exist in the world. Then again, the 'ogres' take the form of oversized human models.
  • Mighty Glacier: An inevitability of wearing both heavy armor and heavy armament. Your footwork will be suboptimal, and you won't get too many swings in, but the enemy is going to have to put a lot of effort into taking you down if they didn't bring something blunt and heavy, giving you more chances to take them down.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Firebombs are a medieval version, likely using oil. The effect is the same, setting a whole chunk of land on fire and burning people alive.
  • Money Sink: Unlocking some of weapon skins needs a ridiculous amount of money, like 50000 golds. For comparison, unlocking weapons themselves only needs 300 to 500 golds. Although, given that there are no microtransactions in the game, the only thing required of the player is to fight in battles and earn their battle pay.
  • Never My Fault: The Raider and Cruel personalities:
    Raider (Sorry): "Have you seen the size of this fucking sword? Of course you're gonna get clobbered if you stand next to me ya tit!"
    Cruel (Retreat): "Your incompetence has routed us! Fall back!"
    Cruel (Sorry): "It wasn't me, it was him!"
    Cruel (Sorry): "You DARE get in MY way?!"
  • Nintendo Hard: The sheer complexity and high skill ceiling inevitably means that, even when you have players willing to tutor you for a while, you should expect to get your ass kicked for a long, long while in both Frontline and in duels before you start catching up.
  • No Fair Cheating: Horde mode enemies can't jump, and there are places in the map they cannot get to. Hiding in one of those places, however, may under certain circumstances lead to them pelting you with minimal-damage turds until you get back down or die. They almost never do this otherwise, despite apparently having an infinite supply of crap.
  • Off with His Head!: Unsurprisingly common, what with all the swords and axes being swung around in a typical match. Having this happen to yourself three times in a single match is an achievement.
  • One-Hit Kill: A strike from the maul can deliver instant death to any enemy if it hit in the head. The attack speed of it is quite slow, though. Being hit by a catapult or ballista is also as appropriately lethal as you'd expect.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Possible with big enough weapons, though a little hard without getting wrecked in the first place by the fact you're either outnumbered or about to hit an ally. Ballistae, for their part, do it all the time; they go right through people and don't stop until they hit terrain, no matter how many body parts they skewer on the way.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: The appropriately-named Flesh Wound perk enables your character to survive for five seconds after taking a fatal blow. As the game notes, limb integrity during this time is not guaranteed.
  • Parrying Bullets: A well-timed parry or strike can swat a projectile out of the air. Doing the latter even nets you an achievement.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Engineers build things from the ground up and fix them just by hitting them with their smithing hammers.
  • Point Build System: Creating a custom mercenary gives you a total of 16 points to be distributed between perks, weapons, and armor choices.
  • Ragdoll Physics: A minor, but attractive selling point is the heavy ragdolling of corpses. Strike someone with a maul full-on, and they'll fly a foot or two into the ground. Hit someone on horseback hard enough to kill however, and be prepared to see some ridiculous aerial stunts. And if siege weaponry is involved, things get sillier.
  • Reality Ensues: Anyone going without a helmet will find themselves dying from a single strike to the head an awful lot...
  • Scratch Damage: Even very weak weapons like carving knives or training swords can deal some damage to fully armored knights.
  • Shoot the Bullet: It's possible to deflect an incoming catapult projectile by shooting it with an arrow. Tests are still being done to see if it's possible to deflect arrows with arrows.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
    • The "Flesh Wound" perk is obvious one for the black knight of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • Kicking the enemy to make them fall to death will earn you the achievement "This isn't Sparta".
    • Killing two enemies in one stroke from a melee weapon will earn you the achievement "Guts".
    • As promised during the trailer, you can unscrew your sword's pommel and throw it at your weakened opponent to end him rightly.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Blunt weapon kills in general, but especially the maul. The splatter of a maul reducing someone's head, helmet and all, to chunky red paste is notoriously loud.
  • Siege Engines: You can use catapults to throw stone projectiles afar. Thrown rocks cause AoE damage. There's also ballistae, in both the large map-based and small engineer-built varieties; both put a lot of hurt on anyone they hit.
  • Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship: The game system lets you thrust with hammers and axes, or slash with spears and thrusting swords. Obviously this is far from the most effective use of the weapon.
  • Smoke Out: Smoke bombs can be used to hide yourself and allies from ranged attacks.
  • Spikes of Doom: People with toolboxes can lay these down, oriented diagonally in a direction and made out of sharpened logs. Running into these is going to hurt, and the faster you run into them the more they hurt; sprinting or galloping into them is almost always fatal.
  • Spiritual Successor: Of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. In fact, a good chunk of the dev team is composed of competitive Chivalry players. A joke in the community is how former Chivalry players are the bane of everyone's existence.
  • Stance System: Pressing the R button lets you access an alternate grip mode for certain weapons. In most cases, the alternate grip shortens the weapon's reach in exchange for faster attacks. Exceptions include bastard swords, which switch from one-handed to two-handed grip, while longswords can access the aforementioned mordhau grip, and Greatswords can be carried half-sworded to increase stabbing effectiveness; the Heavy Handaxe can also be turned around to use its hammer side, the Billhook can be set to push or pull on a stab and do the opposite on a swing, and the more swing-appropriate polearms can be flipped around to access the other side's weapon. Averted with most one-handed weapons, which are thrown instead.
  • Take That!: One available voice line is “And they say Chivalry is dead!”, a not-so-subtle jab at Chivalry: Medieval Warfare’s dwindling playerbase.
  • Taunt Button: You can choose and perform various taunts from taunt menu. Also, there is a dedicated key for shouting battle cries.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: It deals a good amount of damage, at the very least, provided you can actually land it.
  • Truth in Television: The spear-and-shield combo is hated by many players for being hard to counter, but the combo is really that good in real life. The spear is not only better at penetrating armor, but it's also far easier to use and has a longer reach than most swords. Couple that with a shield and you have an extremely deadly warrior that can defend himself just as well.
  • Unbreakable Weapons: Weapons in this game will never break. This can become quite ridiculous on some occasions, especially when you are parrying Zweihänder strikes with your wooden quarterstaff.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted. Players can pick up and equip weapons from dead enemies freely.
    • Played straight for boss enemies of Horde mode. They have exclusive weapons like "Great Maul" or "Ogre Club", but you can't pick up them. Other enemies use perfectly normal weapons that you can use, but you still need to find and buy them; their corpses won't drop them, even if all you want is some peasant's scythe.
  • Utility Weapon: Weapons like the mallet or blacksmith's hammer can be used to repair defenses.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can brutally dismember bodies of dead enemies to pieces with your weapon.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The character customization system lets you dress your character with period-appropriate clothing, alter their body shape, and even sculpt their facial features.
  • Weapons of Choice: There are many weapons in Mordhau, and they have diffrent traits.
    • An Axe to Grind: Varies from small throwing axes to massive pole axes (for when you can't pick between a spear, an axe, or a hammer). In general, axes deal massive amounts of damage on swings at the cost of pathetic thrusting attacks, and are particularly good at hacking structures apart.
    • BFS: Greatswords and Zweihanders are among the most damaging weapons in the game, offset by their low attack speed and impracticality in close-quarters. Executioner Swords are lesser examples, in that they're not as big but have added weight that makes their slashes deadlier (and better at armor-piercing), in exchange for having a blunt tip.
    • Blade on a Stick: All manner of polearms are available to use. Save for the short spear, they are invariably two-handed weapons, and require significant points to buy in exchange for having excellent range and damage.
    • Carry a Big Stick: You can use maces in this game. Mercenaries with the "peasant" perk can use a heavy branch from a tree as their primitive bludgeon.
    • Drop the Hammer: Hammers and mauls are good weapons against armored foes and structures. Peasants also get a sledgehammer, to act as a poor man's maul.
    • Frying Pan of Doom: Mercenaries with the "peasant" perk can choose a frying pan as their weapon. It acts like a club.
    • Good Old Fisticuffs: When nothing else is available, you can always fall back on your fists. It actually deals noticeable damage, more so if you pick the appropriate perk, and you can hold your guard up infinitely like a shield (even if it won't actually block a real weapon).
    • Hooks and Crooks: While the billhook is mostly a normal polearm, that hook on one end is a useful bonus that will help pull infantry around during certain attacks and, more importantly, yank cavalry riders right of their horses if you catch them right.
    • Javelin Thrower: The javelins are stronger throwing weapon. They have only two charges and take a long time to throw, but hit hard.
    • Jousting Lance: Useless on-foot, but when mounted on a horse, a strike from a couched lance is often enough to kill in one hit.
    • Knife-Throwing Act: You can equip throwing knives as ranged weapon. They are especially good against unarmored opponents.
    • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Having a shield is a large boon for survivalbility, as you can hold your block instead of having a strict timing window as in parrying. Crafty opponents can simply strike around the shield, however, and you can only use one-handed weapon along with it. Ranged characters can also carry deployable pavises.
    • Machete Mayhem: Falchions, essentially a medieval machete with a crossguard, is available as a weapon.
    • Royal Rapier: Usable as a basic thrusting sword alongside the estoc, its two-handed cousin. Subverted in that any kind of character can use them (even if they're dressed as a dirt-poor peasant), and that the default class who wields the rapier is the rogueish Scoundrel.
    • Simple Staff: Quarterstaves are available as weaker polearm weapons.
    • Swiss Army Weapon: The Heavy Handaxe has both a sharp side, for chopping up the unarmored and hacking structures apart, and a hammer side, for the heavily plated enemies and the occasional quick repair. And a point at the top, to make it properly stabby.
    • Sinister Scythe: Farming scythes are available for mercenaries with the "peasant" perk. It's a surprisingly deadly weapon.
  • Weapon Twirling: For most weapons, using the Flourish emote will have your character giving the weapon a spin. Most often seen in duel servers before the official duels were implemented; players would flourish at each other to declare a duel.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Each voice pack has a pool of insults that you can hurl through the voice command menu.

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