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Visual Novel / Cursed Lands

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Cursed Lands is a fantasy RPG by Winter Wolves, and a prequel to Loren: The Amazon Princess. In addition to an adventure with turn-based combat and a "social talent system" that lets the player use bluffs or reason to influence a battle, it also offers six possible romances; four bisexual (two girls, two guys), and one same-sex relationship per gender.

A Mysterious Mist has sprung from the lands around the Castle of N'Mar, bringing with it an undead blight. As an Envoy of the Human Empire, working with the Grimoire Council, it is the player's job to recruit a team from across Aravorn and put a stop to the evil within the castle.

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This visual novel provides examples of:

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Discussed by Leena. Yes, the Amazons choose their combat leaders by skill in combat, but that's because the best warriors have to have the necessary skills to be an expert leader as well. They have to be able to read their adversaries, the field and the flow of battle, and they have to have the charisma to scare their opponents. So, goes the theory, a great warrior is also a great leader.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Dunemarcher Nomad tribe. Thankfully they're very friendly and even provide two party members.
  • The Beastmaster: Several of the vampire foes control creatures of one kind or another.
  • Call-Forward: A number to Loren: The Amazon Princess and Seasons Of The Wolf such as the young Loren taking up Dual Wielding from Sylrissa and Enok discussing the Dingirran portal network.
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  • Cast Full of Gay: There are no straight love interests. Most are bi, but there's one gay love interest for each sex.
  • Character Customization: Instead of having one or two preset characters, the player can pick their gender, their race (human, elf, half-elf, or dwarf), their profession (scholar, debt collector, bard, or merchant), and their appearance.
  • Create Your Own Villain: During one story mission the Envoy comes across Grob, the goblin mage that is one of the main villains in Loren: The Amazon Princess. He's already villainous, invading a dwarven mine, but is both less sadistic and less competent than his in-universe later appearance and seems at least partly driven by the noble goal of helping his people. After the Envoy tricks and defeats him he escapes, swearing vengeance at any cost, likely leading to him joining Fost and the demons.
  • Demoted to Extra: Demons and Dark Elves, both major parts of Loren: The Amazon Princess, are reduced to minor sidequests here.
  • Enemy Civil War: Zachary was Humbra's creator and the two were friends once, but Morte's manipulations caused a rift between them, leading Zachary and Valery to turn against Humbra and scheme to take Castle N'Mar for themselves.
  • Enemy Mine: The Envoy has little reason to trust Zachery and Valery but the two are opposed to the current regime in N'Mar so they help each other out.
  • Erotic Dream: Shortly before the final mission the Envoy will, if in some romances, experience a sexy dream about their partner. If the player maxes out approval with Queen Karen they will have a highly inappropriate dream about her as well.
  • Evolving Title Screen: A variant with an evolving map screen; as the game progresses more and more of the land around N'Mar is covered by mist.
  • Gay Option: Leena and Jaspar. Unusually there are no straight options, with all other romance options being bisexual.
  • Gender Flip: In-universe. The Nomads remember their legendary hero Urd as a man. When an acient lich who knew said hero is encountered it turns out Urd was actually a woman.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: When scouting the sea attack route for N'Mar the party comes across a kraken. It's not undead nor does it seem to be under the vampires' control in any way, it's just there, by simple bad luck blocking the sea route for the good guys.
  • Gladiator Games: Grimoire, Horus and the Amazon Citadel hold non-lethal fights daily. Handy for adventuring parties looking to grind.
  • Going Native: An Envoy who finishes the game in a romance with Leena or Nuala will be shown in the epilogue joining the Amazons or the Dunemarchers respectively by marrying their lover.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Can happen to Edgar Arasmas, richest dwarf in Hammerhands. His father left most of his money to Edgar in his will but also left some to his daughter from an affair with a maid who he knew about but had lost track off. Edgar, not wanting to give up any money, destroyed the will and claimed it was never found. In the absence of a will the law grants everything to the eldest child. This works until it's discovered that party member Dasyra is the lost daughter... and it turns out Dasyra is two years older so now, given that there's no will, she is the only legal heir and Edgar loses it all.
  • Honor Before Reason: During the third in-game month there is a debate over whether to move a war memorial to allow a steel weapons factory to be built in it's place. If the Envoy supports the factory many military veterans refuse to help them, despite there being a horde of undead looking to overrun the Empire.
  • Interspecies Romance: Highly likely, as the player character can be a human, elf, dwarf or half-elf and the romance options are human, elven and naga.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: A kraken appears as a boss fight. It's more octopus than the usual squid-like appearance.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All the sprites always wear the same thing. This is par for the course for most visual novels but it does get a bit odd for Breza; her ragged dress amd dirty face makes sense when she first encountered as a prisoner but when she still looks like that several days later one begins to wonder why no-one's offered the poor girl a bath and change of clothes.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Not any of the main characters thankfully but is ultimately behind the plot. Humbra, the vampire knight leading N'Mar's forces, became a vampire as a result of losing his beloved and started attacking the Empire as the price for a necromancer bringing her back.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: When recruiting for their team the Envoy three times finds themselves in a position where there's two promising candidates but circumstances only allow one to be recruited. Dasyra, Galan and the Envoy are arrested in Hammerhands and during their escape one of the two dwarves gets recaptured, one out of Enok and Sylrissa will get captured by lizardmen while scouting and Kusho is hunting Vaeril and can only be persuaded to let him be arrested, not go free so the Envoy has to side with one over the other. This only lasts for the first in-game month however, as the remaining characters can be recruited in the second month.
  • Mysterious Mist: A strange mist spreading from the Castle of N'Mar, blighting the surrounding lands and spreading at an alarming rate.
  • Non Standard Game Over: It's possible to refuse the offer to assemble a task force to deal with N'Mar, which will lead to a short sequence of someone else being chosen and the player wondering what could have been before being booted to the title screen.
    • There are two more in similar circumstances: Refusing to keep working against N'Mar after completing the first story mission will get you assassinated by Kusho while fleeing from the battle on the second full moon causes the envoy to be caught by Zachery and turned into a vampire thrall.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Grimoire Council often acts as this. As an example they continue to refuse to let Amazons fly their griffons over Imperial lands despite A) the Amazons never showing any aggressive intentions towards them and B) aerial support being of potentially critical aid against the undead invasion of their own land.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Technically future player character cameo, this being a prequel. Various characters from Loren provide assistance to the player, such as Amazon Queen Karen, Archwizard Apolimesho and Myrth the Druid.
    • Loren herself also appears, although she's in no position to help, what with being a little girl at the time.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The party, being basically recruited on the criteria of "people I ran into who seemed competent and said yes when I asked."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: While the Grimoire Council plays too many politics to be this, Queen Karen and Apolimesho are nothing but helpful.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: During the first infiltration of Castle N'Mar the Envoy can convince some or all of the vampire lieutenants to abandon the castle and their master's cause, whether by intimidation or persuasion.
  • Sex Equals Love:
    • Your love interests tend to assume this. If you sleep with more than one of them, they'll be very cross with you, even if there wasn't even an implied romance beforehand. You can reply that you were only having fun with them, which ends the romance.
    • Sylrissa struggles with this in her romance. If you romance her and have sex with another partner, she says she doesn't care who you have sex with as long as you only love her - but the PC gets the hint that they should probably not push their luck by taking her up on that.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Several bosses can be talked down, sometimes even before the fight starts. Within the fights this is worked into the game mechanics with the "social talents," abilities possessed by the PC that can manipulate enemies in various ways.
  • The Stinger: The Stinger reveals how Karen met her forbidden love, the slave Ryzom.
  • The Unchosen One: The Envoy has no great destiny, they just happened to be in the right place at the right time to help out some Imperial soldiers and impressed them enough to be offered the job. This is driven home if the player turns down the Council and later hears that someone else beat the threat without them (though possibly with less success then a well played Envoy could).
  • The Undead: The main foes of the game.
  • Undying Loyalty: The party can develop this toward the Envoy. Somewhat subverted if the Envoy becomes a vampire. While sufficient approval with the party member will cause them to stay many of them state that it's only until the threat from N'Mar is over at which point they'll be leaving.
  • The Unfought: While the leader of the vampires is defeated it turns out he was acting on the behalf of a necromancer called Mother Morte. She is never even seen in this game and, while her plans are thwarted, she gets away scot free. Thankfully she did appear in the expansion to Loren: The Amazon Princess and the party in that game is able to kill her.
  • Vampire Hunter: The Envoy's main job, given that vampires are attacking the Human Empire.
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