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Visual Novel / Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem

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A hundred years ago, with the seven kingdoms on the brink of destruction after centuries of constant war, one princess gathered the younger members of each nation's royalty and nobility to a mysterious island, hoping to use the proximity and neutral ground to foster understanding and form connections that would lead to peace. She succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.

Thereafter, every seven years, each kingdom sends seven delegates from among its best and brightest for a seven-week Summit, to form alliances and strengthen international relations. Over time, however, much of what was learned during that first Summit has been forgotten. The peace that was formed a hundred years ago has never been closer to falling apart.

You, the player character, are one of the delegates arriving on the island for the latest Summit, from any of nine possible backgrounds and with any number of possible goals to achieve. You might find love, form an advantageous political alliance, solve a mystery, maybe even influence the state of the world as you know it... if you can survive long enough amidst the Summit's tangle of secrets, hidden motives, and cutthroat politics.

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Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem is a Ren'Py-based Visual Novel by Azalyne Studios for PC and Mac. Described as a "Romance Game / Political Fantasy," the game involves honing a broad array of skills and knowledge to effectively interact with its cast of characters and uncover the secrets going on beneath the surface of the Summit. A demo was released in June 2015, available for download from the official website. The game went to Kickstarter in August 2015 and smashed through all of its initial stretch goals within the first two hours. In January 2017, Azalyne Studios released a limited-time version of the demo extended to include new content through week five of gameplay.

Not a new expansion of the old school strategy game Seven Kingdoms.


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The Visual Novel contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abduction Is Love: It's not uncommon for Hise citizens, male or female, to just sail out and grab foreigners when they want to find a spouse. The Hise MC's parents are an example of this practice ending well, with both parties growing to love each other, but law does not forbid less sympathetic pirates from doing the same thing...
  • Achievement Mockery: The achievements for dying on the group ride or the set accident and getting sent home by the matchmaker all come off this way.
  • Achievement System: There are various achievements to be unlocked by clearing certain events in the game. They don't have any effects on gameplay, and are there purely for fun and/or bragging rights.
  • Alliance Meter: The approval bars work like this, with one for each country, each of the secret factions, and other important groups.
  • All Part of the Show: If the main character can salvage the theatrical in week five, it is largely by virtue of applying this trope, staying in character and finding ways to incorporate the various mishaps into the story.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: If you pick a secret romance or no romance at all, the secret romances you've unlocked will approach you at the banquet to either comment on your budding romance or express their disappointment that you didn't pick them... Except not being matchmaker-approved means you pick them through a dialogue option that is the MC's internal thoughts, so they shouldn't know what you said to the Matchmaker, or who you're keeping in your heart.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Present all over the place, and one of the Summit's main goals. Arland in particular is known for their sheer number of diplomatic marriages, going back to even before the tradition of the Summit was founded.
  • Animal Motifs: Both the Arland and Corval MC are compared to a caged bird, with the Corval MC even being called 'Songbird' at a few points.
    • Prince Zarad is also mentioned to have 'catlike' grace a few times and signs the note that kicks off the Hise MC's personal plot as Blackbird.
    • Earl Emmett is compared to a puppy several times, both in-universe and out.
  • Ancient Tradition: There is at least one secret society at work behind the scenes of the Summit, with hints of possibly more than one. By investigating and successfully gathering clues from week to week, the player character can discover more about them, potentially leading to a scene during the fourth week in which Jasper and Yvette are both confirmed to be members of the Historians, an Ancient Tradition with a directive to observe and record events without interfering in them.
  • Arc Number: Seven. Seven kingdoms each send seven delegates every seven years for a seven-week summit...
  • Asian and Nerdy: Clearly in mind with regards to the design of the Jiyel contingent. The country has a Far East flavor and chooses its delegates based on their intelligence and academic prowess.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Skaltians have to be tough; their queens have to be even more so to live up to their predecessors.
  • Attractiveness Discrimination: Beauty contributes to the Likeability cumulative stat, meaning that people will like a pretty character more. Downplayed in that even a hideous character can raise the other related stats high enough to be well-liked.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: High-manipulation builds are considered to be this by part of the fanbase. 75 manipulation right out the gate opens a lot of dialogue options, is required for at least one achievement, unlocks a certain background, and feeds into persuasion, but it also requires you to give up courage, the ability to defend yourself, and to lead others. Additionally, manipulation is one of the few stats the Matchmaker doesn't consider in her final evaluation, meaning you're free to ignore it completely in favor of other stats if you choose.
  • Babies Ever After: Averted. According to the creator, none of the endings with any LI will mention children, so as to avoid the implication that a Happily Ever After has to involve marriage and children. Though she also admits that alliance marriages do imply children, and that each player is free to imagine what they please about their delegate's post-summit life.
  • Balance Buff: A few are planned for the full release: making Emmett's respect easier to raise alongside his friendship/romance, and adjusting the requirements to get Zarad's help with at least the Hise Pirate' personal plot, possibly some of the others'.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Skalt is one of the two kingdoms that Revaire never conquered. Naturally, its people enjoy pricking the delicate sensibilities of less self-reliant foreigners.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: The faceless, nameless butlers of Hamin and Ana, who are constantly trying to wrangle them into some sort of respectability.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Romance with Prince Zarad runs along these lines, albeit with most of the belligerence supplied by the player character. The dynamic is beautifully illustrated in their first meeting - swept will you or nil you into dancing with the prince, you have the opportunity to respond to his nonstop flirting with an equally nonstop barrage of cheerful insults. Zarad is delighted.
    • A relationship with Prince Jarrod inevitably involves a very high degree of belligerence, and requires you to be willing and able to stand up to his arrogance and aggression.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Revaire Royal family, Aamir, Kade, Blain, whomever set up the week 5 accident, possibly the Weavers, the Matchmaker, the ambassadors... And the Bad-ness of most of these depend on which side of various conflicts the MC is on.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Hamin and/or Zarad can be this during the group ride. Also, the unnamed stable boy the night before the theatrical.
    • In a somewhat less life-threatening case, Lyon and Zarad (again) during the trial. Especially Zarad, who gives information critical to unraveling the whole story and that is difficult for the protagonist to obtain on her own.
  • Big First Choice: The choice of which delegates (if any) you introduce yourself to at the start of the Summit largely determines with whom you will be mainly interacting for the next few weeks. The game graciously warns you of the importance of this choice beforehand, however. Related but less immediately obvious is the choice of how early you do or don't arrive to the welcome feast, which in turn impacts how much time you have for mingling.
  • Blue Blood: Owing to the game's premise, pretty much every named character in it who isn't a servant is a noble, if not a royal, of some kind.
  • Bribe Backfire:
    • You can overhear Lord Blain attempting to bribe the Matchmaker to pair him with Princess Anaele, only for her to tear him a new one.
    • More seriously, this is the real story with Lord Adalric. The Revaire royal family tried to buy his loyalty, but he betrayed their trust by warning the MC ahead of her horse riding accident and making a love match that didn't benefit Revaire, making Gisette realize he couldn't be bought, and having him murdered ASAP. Ironically, the protagonist would have never gotten the whole story if she hadn't been charged with defending the maid accused of murdering him.
  • Buffy Speak: A quirk of language barriers means that the Skalt delegates - with Anaele the foremost example - tend to fall into occasional comical syntax.
  • But Thou Must!: Generally averted, as there are usually multiple ways to pass skill challenges, so you can take a few hits to an optimal build for roleplay reasons. But your relationships are as important as your stats, and only certain dialogue options result in max approval/minimum rivalry, with some options even giving you stats like the supremely-useful-and-impossible-to-raise-elsewhere Insight and Manipulation, making it harder to really get into your character.
  • Central Theme: A few of them:
    • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: According to Word of God, one of the major themes of the game is "the struggles and dilemmas and limits placed on the women in stereotypical feminine roles in historical fantasy/medieval politics," and the subtitle 'the Princess Problem' refers to these issues. Five of the seven kingdoms favor men and expect submission from women, especially the very conservative kingdom of Arland, which is known for raising princesses to marry off to other nations as a form of diplomatic currency. The pirates of Hise, who primarily value skill rather than bloodline, are the closest thing the setting has to an egalitarian nation; Skalt is a woman-dominated society where women are the leaders and fighters while men are expected to care for the home.
    • Ambition Is Evil: Averting this is another major theme: The MC can comment at the Welcome Feast that petty ambitions don't exist, only petty people. Many characters are ambitious because they hope to make the world better, some may wish to protect something dear to themself, while others are maneuvering solely for their own power. MC herself has her Ambitiousness tracked separately from her Nobility, Ethics, and Compassion.
  • Calling Card: A group of elite assassins scent themselves with rare "red incense", as a way of intimidating those they have not yet decided to kill. When the Corval MC smells it all over her bedroom, she correctly recognizes it as a warning to stop what she's doing or else.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System: Building a good relationship with someone can lead to them assisting you in a later event, and found secrets can come back in significant ways later.
  • Clucking Funny: The logic behind the chicken in the theatrical: in-universe, it seems to be part of the actual play (if not necessarily part of the climax) and out-of-universe, it's probably the reason Hamin chooses a pirate chicken to create chaos.
  • Color Motifs: Red, along with its traditional associations with danger, is the color of death and mourning in Revaire. The Revaire player character notes the color symbolism on more than one occasion during her personal plotline, in which an unknown person trying to blackmail her marks their messages to her with red flowers.
  • Commonality Connection: Jiyel and Skalt do not appreciate each other, but there's a degree of respect between them because every other kingdom chooses commanders based on bloodline, not merit. Skalt's society makes some degree of sense, even if (from Jiyel's perspective) it values the wrong ideals. The Jiyel MC specifically can impress Anaele by using academic knowledge of pressure points to escape her grip.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Though she did find fault with all of them, none of the other delegates have to match the stat requirements the MC does.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: A justified trope. Corval's delegates wear all kinds of jewels and silks to the Summit — not because it's what they normally wear, but as a way of emphasizing their economic power to the other kingdoms.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • If you are playing Story Mode instead of Challenge Mode, this is how your character survives the sabotaged horse ride if you don't pass the skill checks: just before your horse can plunge over a cliff, a hawk accidentally drops its captured rabbit in front of your horse, causing it to rear up suddenly, change directions, and drop you to the ground, which saves your life. Your character thinks she must have been "born under a lucky star".
    • It happens again in week five if you don't pass the necessary skill checks to save yourself when someone tries to drop the balcony set on you the night before the theatrical. Specifically, a stable boy sees you wander into a dark room and comes in to check to see if you're okay, and he arrives in time to pull you out of the way before the balcony set can fall on you. Notably, this can also happen on Challenge Mode, but there's a check for it there that makes it less of a coincidence.
  • Conveniently Seated: The times the protagonist is sat near people who like her and whom she wants to be around can be counted on one hand. The best seats she ever gets is next to Avalie during the self-introductions and next to Zarad during dinner one night, and the worst involved sharing a table with Blain and Jarrod.
  • Covert Group: At least three operating at the Summit. Of the Historians, Weavers, and Rebels, we only really know what's going on with the first. While the third can be guessed relatively easily, the second remains mostly a mystery.
  • Culture Clash: The MC runs into three of them in the span of the first week. They're there so Jasper can explain each of the current intercountry conflicts.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: One particular background is a room filled with the same table cut, pasted, and the ladies at it recolored.
  • Decadent Court: The royal court of Corval is famously decadent and intrigue-riddled. The Corval "Court Lady" background requires, and gives further bonuses to, social and political savvy.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Skalt's matriarchal society is no better than the patriarchy of Wellin, its neighbouring country.
  • Depending on the Artist or Writer: There's some dissonance between the written descriptions of the characters and the portraits and it's unknown whether the text or the art came first.
  • Dialogue Tree: The main character's responses to other characters and situations are dictated by her stats, usually in one of two ways: one option for 'no stats high enough' and the others for every stat she does have enough of; or two to four options that give different amount of Relationship Values and one special if her relevant stat or relationship is high enough.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Making the wrong choice or failing the associated skill checks (in Challenge Mode) at a key point in week five results in the player character dying in the arms of her distraught love interest.
  • Difficulty Levels:
    • The game has two modes of play. In Challenge Mode, skill checks are harder and failure may result in your character being sent home in disgrace or getting killed before the end of the Summit. In Story mode, meanwhile, the skill checks are more forgiving and you're guaranteed to at least make it to the end of the Summit alive.
    • Additionally, some origins are easier to play than others. The Hise Pirate, with no unlock conditions and hefty stat and knowledge bonuses right out of the gate, is the easiest. On the other hand, the Sheltered Princess and Tomboy Countess origins start off with mandatory limitations on some stats - the Countess even takes a stiff penalty to Etiquette - making them less versatile and more difficult to play.
  • Domino Revelation: Secret chains work this way; you can't even get the second and third secrets in a chain if you haven't found the previous ones.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Can be invoked by an Arland Princess who romances Zarad, as his half-brother Aamir is married to her sister Constance and can also be subverted, if they chose to make Constance's life better by assassinating her husband.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: There are achievements for hosting a pretty good event and for hosting a perfect event. The former can be surprisingly hard to obtain.
  • Dramatic Irony: If you are in a relationship with Ria, and choose to throw the trial, you can reassure her that you will save Imogen moments before you send her to the chopping block.
  • Driven to Suicide: After he murdered Lord Adalric, the servant Lee would be guilty of one attempted murder and one successful. With no way out, the mastermind planned for him to simply kill himself to escape punishment, conveniently tying up all loose ends. It's implied he would have gone through with it if Kade hadn't gotten to him first.
  • Dump Stat: Self-defense, Cunning, and Grace. Very few checks against either, and the few there are either don't factor into anything important or can be substituted with friendship with certain characters. Cunning and Self-defense also have the disadvantage of starting at 0 rather than 25, making that the final nail in the coffin when deciding to dump them on origins that don't give a boost. Defensive Instincts as a cumulative stat is also ignorable thus far.
    • On the knowledge side, only Politics, People, History and Academia factor into cumulative stats. Knowledge checks don't come up often, and almost never affect the plot in significant ways. At worst, you'll miss a few secrets, or not be able to pick the best dialogue option.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: If you actually prepare for it, it's very, very hard to fail the trial without outright throwing it. You won't always get a perfect acquittal, but you should still win.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: As is typical in a game about nobility, there's a lot of bows and curtsies everywhere. Cordelia and Avalie are noted to be masters.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: The protagonist, several times. Not that she always gets something useful or goes unnoticed, but most of the examples are this.
  • Fictional Disability: The adventuresome nature ("feeling the call of the wind") of Hise natives is so endemic to them that someone who doesn't have it is considered pitiable. An argument between unnamed Hise and Corval delegates implies that the former think they're doing foreign women a favor by kidnapping them, because otherwise they would be trapped in stagnant castle life forever.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: At least half of the eponymous kingdoms are based on a real life prototype: Skalt is a matriarchal Proud Warrior Race from the Grim Up North who evoke Horny Vikings without the ships, Hise is a land of Dashing Hispanic Pirates, Corval is inspired by Arabian Nights, while Jiyel is a mixture of Imperial China and Japan.
  • Far East: Jiyel. Mostly Chinese, with a few hints of Japan in their military doctrine, general isolation, and size.
  • Fatal Flaw: Vail natives have a... thing about independence. They will never (barring stat checks) admit to being anything less than calm, capable, and reliable, and will go to great lengths to keep up their appearance of such. In week 4, the Isle's leaders essentially scapegoat someone they love rather than admit they can't find the person who murdered Adalric. This is partly justified by the importance and fragility of the Summit... partly.
  • Fission Mailed: No matter which stats you've raised and which decisions you make, in your first meeting with the Matchmaker, the Matchmaker will always decide that she doesn't feel confident about recommending you to anyone. However, you aren't actively kicked out of the Summit, and you are soon informed that you will have a second meeting with the Matchmaker later on, and thus the game continues with you preparing for this next meeting in hopes of changing her mind.
  • Flowers of Romance: The protagonist receives flowers at various points, up to three times from Prince Zarad alone; sometimes they're to signal romantic intent, other times to send coded messages.
  • Forced to Watch: Whoever set the trap in week 5 not only lured the heroine in with intent to kill her, but also her love interest to watch her die.
  • Foil: As noted in Prevent the War, each country has another it is at odds with (plus Revaire and its internal faction), and the delegates from those countries contrast each other in certain ways, but are also similar in a lot of others.
    • Hamin and Zarad are both devil-may-care, Trickster Boyfriends who react positively to a PC that isn't strictly adhering to propriety. Both are considerably sadder and lonelier than they like to appear and have low self-esteem. However, Hamin had to be forced to the Summit and refuses to drop his mask to the point of hurting his own happiness; meanwhile Zarad jumped at the opportunity to further his goals, and will be serious when the occasion calls for it. In turn, Hamin mostly runs around causing mischief, while Zarad gathers useful information.
    • Anaele and Lisle are both homosexual heirs to their kingdoms looking for a wife. Owing to the cultures of their respective countries, Ana is considerably more open about her goals and professes her affection for the protagonist openly. Lisle keeps his sexuality from all but those he can trust to not use it against him, and actively avoids saying anything about his feelings for the protagonist so as to not lead her on.
    • Lyon prefers academics to conversation, and Emmett prefers nature to intrigue. It's important to both that the MC is a good person, but Emmett can be fooled while Lyon cannot. Emmett also doesn't mind friendly chats, while Lyon tends to hide from all conversation.
    • Finally, while Clarmont and Gisette are both ambitious and Jarrod and Clarmont are both capable fighters, they're on opposite sides of the morality scale. An immoral PC needs high Manipulation to fool Clarmont while an Ethical MC needs the same to fool the royals. Finally, Clarmont takes his rejection gracefully, even commenting that MC probably made the right choice not getting involved with him, while the royals... don't.
  • Foreshadowing: During a possible outing with Prince Lisle, while you, Lisle, and Penelope are riding horses, your character's narration jokes that your horse is trying to murder you. In week 2, a horse does almost kill you, though it isn't intentional as someone else slipped a thorn under its saddle.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the extended demo, a Court Lady who deals with her personal plot by assassinating her blackmailer is unable to access the last scene that gives the achievement. Choosing to blackmail him back works fine, though.
    • Sometimes you can have Hamin join your boat team note , but then not come save you during the group ridenote 
    • Having high beauty increases romance with Prince Jarrod. In the first demo, Jarrod would sometimes confess even if you'd only spoken to him once, on the basis of the MC being so pretty. It was such a problem with Arland Princesses in particular (who lacked the stats to reject him) that the confession scene was removed from his romance path on her route.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: As a result of trying to keep the game's various branches to manageable levels, and also as a result of the character customization possibilities, there are many cases:
    • Princess Anaele proclaims your character's name to be quite a mouthful and asks for a nickname, even if you've picked a one-syllable name or something as short as "Ana."
    • The Jiyel MC is poisoned early on, but the symptoms never show up except for the scene for her personal plot in week 2.
    • Most of the narration is shared between MCs, with only a few lines being changed for origin and personality. The MC is very snarky, and this can feel somewhat incongruous with certain personalities or origins.
    • In week 4, when you're preparing for the trial, your Love Interest comes in to take your mind off things. They will act as though they have not seen you all week, even if you have spent time with them every day.
    • If Clarmont is your character's intended and you discover the existence of the Rebel faction without having enough approval with them, he gains a huge spike in rivalry. You still go on dates as though you two are very much in love.
      • The above also goes for most of the Love Interests if you throw the trial.
  • Garden of Love: Quite a few dates and clandestine meetings happen in the castle gardens and hedge maze.
  • Gayngst: Very mild, but some of the female romance options have moments of sadness that they can't marry each other.
  • Generic Cuteness: Princess Gisette, Lady Avalie, Prince Zarad, Prince Jarrod, and Jasper are mentioned to be exceptionally beautiful/handsome, but they aren't much more so than the other characters.
  • Graceful Loser: Most of the possible love interests, with the exception of Gisette and Jarrod, are disappointed but understanding if you choose a match with someone else.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It is very difficult to impress the Matchmaker in Week 3 during your second interview with her. Even once you know the mechanical requirements, figuring out how to raise your stats and approvals to the required levels within the time given takes a guide or a lot of meticulous trial-and-error.
    • Getting past the other situation that will end your game in Challenge Mode, the horseback ride in week 2, can also be difficult to figure out, particularly if you're going for the achievements where Hamin and Zarad both come to save you together or you rescue yourself.
    • Another task that requires meticulous stat-raising and dialogue choices is gaining the ability to smooth your relationship with Jarrod over to friendship instead of earning his hatred if you reject him romantically, which is the highest Persuasion check in the game.
    • The fourth week adds another, as revealed in the extended demo. While there are several different combinations of skills that can get you through the investigation and trial, it is very easy to find yourself locked out of the chance to solve the murders (and thus achieve a perfect success) due to something as simple as failing to witness a certain scene during the second week or picking a wrong dialogue option while questioning Kade.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Etiquette is an easy enough skill to overlook, but it's easy to grow, makes you far more likable, and even shows up in a few tests.
  • Heir Club for Men: Five out of seven kingdoms have this in place. Some do practice the Agnatic-Cognatic version, where a woman may inherit only if a suitable male heir cannot be found, such as with the Tomboy Countess.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Isle of Vail was this before Katyia had it officially declared neutral territory. How did an island smack-dab in the middle of seven warring kingdoms remain untouched? No one knows, but rumor claims that people with ill intent towards the Isle's inhabitants are magically prevented from finding it. Given that Vail is a natural paradise of gardens, lavish architecture, and mild weather, the rumor may well be true. Certainly, the natives' white hair and purple eyes — in a setting that otherwise completely averts fantastical colouring — make them look magical.
  • Historical In-Joke: If the player character hosts a history lecture, the guest speaker makes an In-Universe one at her, with an associated History check to see if she understands it.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: A verbal one. It's impossible to impress the Matchmaker during your Week 1 meeting with her. She'll criticize both your weaknesses and your strengths, and Ria explains that the Matchmaker is "especially hard on" people she's only just met, like your player character. Her criticism is intentionally unfair. She's trying to break you by talking and see if it motivates you to improve yourself. Fortunately, she's just as tough on everyone else, so you won't get kicked out of the Summit no matter how badly you fail the initial meeting and you'll get a second interview with the Matchmaker during Week 3.
  • Horseback Heroism: Among the possible results of the disastrous horseback excursion in the second week sees Hamin, Zarad, or both together riding to the player character's rescue.
  • Horsing Around: The protagonist gets stuck with a misbehaving mount during Prince Lisle's week one outing. Her skills determine the means at her disposal for dealing with it.
  • How Much Did You Hear?: How the protagonist uncovers the Historians in Week 4. Jasper walks out of a conversation with Yvette to find the protagonist eavesdropping, and promptly asks her this before explaining in full somewhere private.
  • I Can Change My Beloved: Discussed and defied by the Matchmaker in regard to Jarrod: he is a bully and you cannot change him, and she will never approve a match with him. A very persistent MC can ignore this and begin a secret relationship with him, but whether or not he can actually be changed remains to be seen. His behavior in the extended demo suggests not.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The game's "Story" and "Challenge" modes are the "easy" and "hard" modes, respectively, since Story mode guarantees that you will at least make it to the end of the Summit. For example, in Story Mode, the sabotaged horse in Week 2 cannot kill you; if you don't pass the skill checks, a hawk will save your life by accident. For another example, in Story Mode, if you don't manage to change the Matchmaker's mind in Week 3, she'll give you her stamp of approval anyway, because Jasper passionately defended you off-screen.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Gisette's first tea party with the player character has elements of this, since she asks her for a secret about an innocent lady to prove that she'll behave immorally if asked. However, an ethical Guile Heroine with high Manipulation gets around this by dropping a "scandal" that's actually a nothingburger, and Gisette doesn't notice.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Lord Blain's flirting is immediately shot down by Princess Anaele, who prefers the ladies in general, and the player character in particular. Prince Lisle doesn't reject marriage, but still can't be romanced.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Penelope has this effect on the player character if you take the time to start a friendship with her. In a conversation with Lisle, he and the PC end up spending a few minutes joking about working out a shared custody arrangement.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Subverted. Don't assume that the relationship status screen is showing you everything about who you can or can't romance. There are several secret romance options, and at least one character with a visible Romance slider who it's impossible to form a love relationship with.
    • Played straighter with the groups named on the Approval status screen. The existence of faction approval sliders for specific groups outright spoils the existence of La Résistance and provides a significant hint towards the existence of two other secret factions. There could be a more innocent reason for your approval levels among historians and weavers to be important enough to be included and tracked, but paying attention to what kinds of actions affect your approval with which factions provides a fairly telling indication of their true nature.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: In the vein of Graceful Loser above, most romance interests seem regretful but wish you well if you choose to bow out of their romance paths at the end of week three. Their romance points even convert to friendship points. As above, the royals of Revaire are definite exceptions (unless you are very, very good at smoothing things over).
  • Karma Meter: Not quite, but your morals, compassion, and selflessness are all monitored. There aren't any consequences to being on one end or the other, aside from certain characters not liking you very much.
  • La Résistance: Hinted to be in action in Revaire, opposing the current regime's takeover of the country. They're almost certainly active at the Summit as well, judging by hints in Jarrod and Clarmont's pre-Summit POV stories and a secret conversation the player character can overhear between Jarrod and Gisette. One of the unlockable secret origins for the player character makes her a leader of the rebellion.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Characters are described as being in appropriate attire for the circumstances, but the sprites never change.
  • Loveable Rogue: The hat of Hise, give or take a few outliers. Hise agreed to give up war in Katyia's treaty, but not raiding foreign ships or kidnapping dignitaries. Theft is just too important to their culture.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Attempted during the second week. Someone put a thorn under the saddle blanket of your horse to agitate it into running away with you, intending to get you killed in a way that looks like an unfortunate accident. If you're playing Challenge Mode, it may succeed.
    • The Tomboy Countess is suspected of arranging "accidents" for her unwanted suitors; you get to decide for yourself whether this is true or not. Either way, someone at the Summit takes it upon themself to invoke the trope, causing suspicious "accidents" among your suitors in an attempt to get you blamed for it.
    • In the extended demo, the death of the servant Lee turns out to be an attempt at making it look like an accident that went wrong. If you're able to connect all the dots and get the full explanation, Kade admits that he tried to use the same tactic on Lee that was used on the protagonist in week two, but Lee recognized that there was something wrong with his horse so Kade had to knock him out and tie him to the saddle, making it obvious that foul play was afoot.
    • And again in week five of the extended demo, when person or persons unknown lures you to the set of the upcoming theatrical and tries to drop the balcony set on you. As in week two, if you're playing challenge mode, this can succeed.
  • Marry for Love: The Matchmaker only approves pairings that have a strong foundation of emotional compatibility, since one of the main points of the Summit is to avoid forcing people into loveless alliance marriages that will make them miserable. She flatly refuses to approve any match based solely on the political benefits, and the only partner she'll approve of for the heroine that isn't a love match is one based instead on mutual respect, friendship, and communication (which is Prince Lisle).
  • Mix and Match: The official website pitches the game as an odd love child of a BioWare-style RPG (specifically, Dragon Age: Origins) and an Otome Game.
  • Modest Royalty: The artstyle tends towards everyone being this; undoubtedly the clothes are attractive, but we only get Pimped-out dresses in text.
  • More Friends, More Benefits: Romancing as many delegates as you can during the first three weeks is the best road to increasing your stats, both through the bonuses earned from successfully completing a character's invitation event and the stat-raising gifts you receive from your admirers in the third week. Characters who like you enough can also fill in for skill checks that you would otherwise fail - some of which are both crucially important and very difficult to pass on your own. Since romance points convert into friendship if you don't begin that character's full path at the end of the third week, there are no drawbacks to following this strategy unless you jilt one of the royal Revaire siblings and aren't a very, very smooth talker.
  • Money for Nothing: Each origin starts with a varying amount of money and get a 10 gold allowance each week thereafter. The only opportunities to spend money are on events in Weeks 1 and 3, and then on gifts in week 3. Choosing to throw a Musicale in Week 1 can strain the less affluent origins' wallets come Week 3, but in general the lack of opportunities to spend money makes taking a bribe to throw the trial even less worth it.
  • Morton's Fork: The Matchmaker will find some kind of fault with any decision you make during your first meeting with her, no matter what it is. Argue that you don't think hoping to find love is too much to ask, and she'll deride you as hopelessly naive; state that love has no place in political marriages, and she'll disparage you for being too cynical. Attempting to hedge your bets just gets you called out for not being willing to take a firm stance. You later learn from Ria that she's like this with everyone on first meeting.
  • Multiple Endings: Obviously, each romance path has an ending, but the state of the world will be affected by the MC's goals and how successfully she achieved them, among many, many other factors.
  • Multiple Game Openings: Played with. The game always starts with a Player Personality Quiz that functions as character creation, but after that, you are allowed to pick one of the playable backgrounds you've unlocked with your final stats. Each background then gets a unique flashback that allows you to further refine the PC's personality, and is regularly referenced later in the game. There are even secret backgrounds unlocked by triggering certain events.
  • Mystical White Hair: Natives of Vail have naturally silver-white hair, contributing to the air of mystery that lies over the island.
  • New Game+: Not in effect in the demo, for obvious reasons, but Aly has stated that successfully completing the game will provide a bonus when starting a new game. Additionally, the three "more than you appear" backgrounds must be unlocked by completing a play through the game with specific objectives met.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Not only can you learn a lot from how any given character treats the servants, other characters will just as easily draw their own conclusions about you based on the same thing. You have various opportunities to be friendly or rude to your own personally-assigned servants and others around the Isle, with consequences depending on your behavior.
  • Noble Wolf: One Skaltian deity is called Big Sister Wolf. She is invoked when people are hunting something, whether prey or esoteric things like happiness.
  • Nonstandard Skill Learning: Most skills can be boosted in character creation and trained for thereafter. The exceptions are Manipulation (which can be chosen in character creation, but afterwards can only be increased with a few rare dialogue choices) and Insight (which can be boosted only through taking specific dialogue options — most of which take place during the welcome ball that introduces the Player Character to her peers).
  • No Points for Neutrality: Averted in terms of the Player Character's personality; if the way your character reacts to a choice is dictated by her morals or other personality traits, being in the exact middle opens all of the possible options, i.e., in Clarmont's Week 1 event, Ethical and Immoral MCs get two different choices, but an MC on that razor's edge between has four.
  • Not the First Victim: The case with Lord Adalric. We find out that he died, and then are later informed that a servant had died prior. They weren't killed by the same person, but Adalric wasn't their first attempt. You were.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Originally, you were not going to be allowed to pursue someone from the same country as you, but this was changed very early, as many people loved those pairings. It is still harder to get those pairings approved for an actual marriage, though, since the purpose of the Summit is to form ties with other countries.
  • Officially Shortened Title: 7KPP.
  • Off on a Technicality: Downplayed at the trial. You can bring up the fact that Imogen doesn't have any peers on her jury, and therefore it's an illegal trial and she must be acquitted, but while doing that wins you points, it's not a mechanism for invalidating the trial, and the jurors can still vote guilty.
  • Old Save Bonus: The full release will let players who have finished the game with a stat exceptionally high carry a small bonus to that stat over to a new character.
  • One-Person Party: Can happen with the MC's events if she invites too many people that don't like her enough or aren't interested in the event.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: As mentioned elsewhere, Insight opens dialogue options, allows the protagonist to piece together information not explicitly stated to her, and adds to more cumulative skills than any other stat. Of course, you still need other skills and friendships to make use of that information and Insight alone won't carry your cumulative skills, so it's a Downplayed Trope.
    • Manipulation is also immensely useful, and part of the reason the Princess and Countess backgrounds are considered so difficult: they can take 25, at most, from the character creator, and by the end of week 5, they will only have 55 maximum. Unlike most examples of this trope, though, most guides recommend going either all or nothing with manipulation, as less than 75 doesn't get you much in the early parts of the game.
    • And finally, it's recommended everyone start with reasonably high Intelligence and Charisma, as they both add to more than one cumulative stat.
      • The cumulative stat version of this is Persuasion, which three of the above feed into; to the point that nearly every guide for the game is "How to get your Persuasion as high as possible as quickly as possible"
  • Orphanage of Love: Vail has an egalitarian culture far ahead of its time, one that not only adopts slaves but educates them, protects them from abusers, and provides them with luxuries like clean clothes and delicious food. When a ward of Vail turns 18, they can leave the island... but few ever do.
  • Out of Focus: The Kingdom of Skalt is important, but it gets much less attention than the other kingdoms, which have their own MC variants and more than two named characters in the story.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: After three weeks of social interaction and political maneuvering, week four is almost entirely occupied with solving a murder mystery.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat:
    • Just about any exchange of dialogue with Lady Avalie is a verbal duel. She is never remotely impolite or inappropriate, but god help the unwary soul who engages in conversation with her unprepared for a battle of wits.
    • With high levels in Eloquence, Etiquette, and the stats that contribute to quick-wittedness, the player character can likewise become a master of artfully-veiled verbal jabs and ripostes, and in the process earn respect from characters who appreciate that kind of skill.
  • Peace Conference: The Summit is a reoccurring one, since peace is something that needs to be actively maintained.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Princess Anaele of Skalt comes from a Viking-inspired Grim Up North culture and dresses accordingly — in light battle armor and a cloak with a massive fur collar — despite being a representative of her country on a diplomatic summit. Her entourage follows suit, showing off their fur-trimmed clothes, — and it is strongly implied that they do it on purpose, to annoy the rest of the delegates and to demonstrate that they prefer swords over words.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Each week, there are a certain number of secret scenes and events you can encounter which are only available for that week. Many of these scenes are linked to the various mysteries of the Summit, and missing even one event in a given secret chain will render it impossible for the player character to resolve the mystery later on in the game. One such example within the demo is the challenge of figuring out who tried to get you killed during the horseback excursion in week two; if you haven't seen the relevant scene before the event in question, the trail goes cold and there's no way to solve the mystery which will also prevent you from fully solving the murders in week four.
    • Unlike many of the other skills, the Insight stat cannot be raised in character generation or via any of the free time stat-raising activities. Instead the skill is raised almost exclusively by making conversational choices that demonstrate your understanding of the other person. While opportunities to do so exist throughout the game, by far the most Insight gain chances take place during the welcome feast on the first daynote , and if you fail to make the right choices there, you're left with a woefully low score in an extremely useful stat which has significant influence over whether or not your character will be able to figure out various mysteries and puzzles she encounters throughout the rest of the game. Such as, again, who tried to kill you in week 2 and the murder mystery in week 4.
  • Pirate: Hise is essentially a whole nation of pirates. Hamin is a pirate captain, and so are you if you play the Hise origin.
  • Player Personality Quiz: Character creation is framed as the protagonist relating various episodes of her life to Jasper, with your replies increasing certain stats.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Every love interest says some variation on "please don't go" or "stay with me" if you get killed during week five.
  • Portent of Doom: A black feather lands in a basin of water right before the group ride where the PC nearly dies
    • The MC also has dreams filled with these the night before meeting the Matchmaker, though its up to you whether she takes them as such.
    • Combines with Dramatic Thunder the day of the trial.
  • Press X to Die: At a certain point in week 5, the player has the option to "freeze in place" in response to a sense of imminent danger instead of trusting her instincts. Taking this option automatically results in the main character's death even on Story Mode. (It's there because players seeking 100% Completion were purposefully trying to get characters killed in order to earn the associated achievement, and finding it unexpectedly difficult to do.)
  • Prevent the War: Each country is in conflict with another (minus Revaire, which still has two internal factions). Preventing any of those conflicts from escalating to war is the goal of some characters, and you can choose this goal for the protagonist, too.
  • Prestige Peril: Definitely in effect everywhere in the 7 kingdoms:
    • Princess Penelope, Constance, and potentially Constance's sister are pressured into political matches with abusive spouses who want the prestige. The first and last can avert it by turning the suitor down, but Constance can only be freed by assassinating her husband.
    • Penelope's brother Lisle, on the other hand is gay, and very keen on not letting anyone find out and exploit the information to take his throne.
    • Further down the totem pole, the Wellin Countess's people are going through a famine, and she has been forced into the position of attending the Summit.
    • Meanwhile, Gisette and Jarrod's parents took over the country in a hostile coup when they were only infants, leading the whole family to be ruthless and paranoid.
    • Lord Clarmont has become one of the leaders of a rebel group against the above, and trusting the wrong person will almost certainly result in his capture and execution.
  • Princeling Rivalry: Despite the Decadent Court and Royal Harem, Corval is an aversion. The Emperor decreed that his sons are not to scheme against each other. Not that this stops Zarad from doing so on certain story paths, though it's not so he can have the throne.
  • Professional Killer: The Corval royal family has a cadre of assassins in its service, known for using poisonous incense as their Weapon of Choice.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Corval is known for their aristocrats' elaborate lifestyles and treasure-laden cargo ships. The latter are frequently raided by Hise pirates, which is the main conflict facing Corval in The Princess Problem.
  • Proud Scholar Race: Jiyel is not a meritocracy, whatever its patriots say, but its peasants have a lot more education and social mobility than those of any other kingdom.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: All the music in the game are licensed through Creative Commons, though it averts Standard Snippet by using less well-known, but still very fitting songs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • You get one from the Matchmaker during your Week 1 interview with her, regardless of which stats you raise or which choices you make.
    • During week 3, Sayra, one of your maids, gives one to a drunkard who was harassing a servant girl.
    • Finally, you can find Duke Lyon giving one to Grand Duke Woodly over his petty manipulations and "creepy interest in a certain delegate".
  • Relationship Upgrade: Marked by the Matchmaker's Banquet, where you and your Love Interest are declared a love match. Of course, you won't actually be engaged until you can convince the ambassadors to approve also, and you can tell her you aren't interested in anyone while keeping someone she won't approve in your heart, but it's the moment that puts you on a specific character's romance path.
  • Relationship Values:
    • There is not just one, but a set of relationship value meters for each character, the ratings of which are affected by your actions and your interactions with them. The meters are Friendship, Romance, Rivalry, and Respect, although not all four are available for every character.
    • Additionally, a separate set of values tracks how much or how little approval your actions have earned you from various larger groups of people, from the common folk and merchant class to significant factions from each of the seven kingdoms. Having such factions supporting you has benefits, and this kind of approval is crucial if you want to do something like marry someone from your own country rather than accept a match of political value.
  • Reconcile the Bitter Foes: Accomplished by Katyia, and potentially the player character as well.
  • Replay Value: A single PC cannot do quite everything in one run. Additionally, different backgrounds give different commentary on their countrymen, and each background's personal plot reveals different sides of certain characters.
  • Rescue Romance: If the player pursues Hamin or Zarad after they save her in the Group Ride, it can come across as this.
  • Romance Sidequest: Despite the game's Dating Sim influences, romance is actually optional and secondary to building non-romantic relationships with other attendees. Though of course, it is what most players are here for.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: There are several royals at the Summit, all of whom are negotiating treaties and marriages with the other nations; some of the royalty not currently attending this Summit also have their agendas mentioned.
  • Ruling Family Massacre: The current ruling family of Revaire purged all of the descendants of Princess Katyia's bloodline and their supporters in a bloody coup when they took over the throne. Lord Clarmont is noted to be one of the last courtiers with "old blood," making it even more of a mystery how he's managed to keep enough favor with the court to be selected as a delegate.
  • Save Scumming: Recommended, especially if playing without a guide, to find best dialogue options and stat boosts in dialogue.
  • Secret Police: In service to the new Revaire regime.
  • Secret Test of Character: A few characters will stage these for you to determine if you're worth their interest.
    • How you handle an incident with a servant girl, and what your actions reveal about your sense of compassion and ethics when you think nobody but the servant is watching, determines whether or not you can successfully complete Lord Clarmont's week one event.
    • It's not quite clear how much of it was arranged in advance, but Prince Zarad deliberately hangs back to see whether you'll rise to Avalie's attempt to bait you or if you're insightful enough to see through her and avoid jumping to conclusions. Fail, and you'll lose his interest.
    • Princess Gisette invites you to a pleasant romantic afternoon with her. Actually, she invited you to a small party with some other ladies, which she didn't tell you about and which started well before you arrived. Then she accuses you of lateness, and then wants you to come up with something slanderous about another lady she wants to ruin. She wants to know that you can, A, think on your feet, and B, follow orders.
    • Basically everything the Matchmaker does is a test. In just one specific example from your first meeting with her, when asked to prepare and serve tea you notice an herb that induces mellow and friendly feelings, at the cost of severe stomach trouble afterwards. You can choose to slip some into the Matchmaker's tea or take the high road - either way, afterwards she lets you know she's observed your choice on the matter and what she thinks about it.
  • Skill Score: You know how in most RPGs, all of your stats relate to combat in some way and your social capacity is relegated to a single score? Well, in this game, you have a single Self-Defense stat and over a dozen different social skills that you have to grind independently.
    • Skills, Scores, and Perks: Individual skill and knowledge values are checked at various points, usually during plot-mandated events, but may come up during normal gameplay, such as trying to suss out secrets. Most checks are actually against the cumlative skill stats play into (For example, Book Smarts is the sum of your Intelligence skill, and your History and Academics knowledge)
  • Smart People Play Chess: The setting's analogue for chess is a strategy board game called onvu. Unsurprisingly, all of the named characters from Jiyel are skilled players; interestingly enough, so is Sayra.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Most secrets come back in some way, either being related to a chain of them, or helping you solve mysteries or get insight into certain characters.
  • Stargazing Scene: Zarad takes the protagonist stargazing in his Week 1 event.
  • Story Branch Favoritism: The MC's playful antics and Buffy Speak while being trained by Jasper in her room don't exactly suit the background of a jaded widow or rebel against tyrants.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The game has two difficulties: Challenge and Story, with the latter being specifically pitched to players who want to see the game through without having to excessively optimize their character builds.
  • Straw Vulcan: Subverted with Jiyel's people, who like to think themselves very logical — especially in comparison to foreigners' privileged aristocrats — but they are still human, and humans are rarely ever motivated by pure logic. Notably, the Jiyel MC considers logic a good reason for doing the un-Vulcan-like thing of chatting with Lyon, because "the exchange of new information is always logical".
  • Time Management Game: How many other obligations the MC has that week determine how much time she has for stat-raising. Thankfully, every characters' friendship and romance events give some stat boost, and knowing what each character gives makes it much easier to plan which stats will need help and which will be up to snuff.
  • Together in Death: If you die in week five while engaged to Hamin, the Please, Don't Leave Me dialogue strongly implies that the love interest in question is going to commit suicide in order to "come with you."
    "I love you, [MC]. Let's go together."
  • Top Wife: In play in Corval, as the first wife is called the Empress while the other two are simply the Emperor's wives—Zarad notes that the first wife was married for political reasons, while the other two were married because they caught the Emperor's fancy.
  • Training from Hell: Skaltian training involves things like dropping five-year-olds into the snow and forcing them to find their way back to camp.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • In Challenge Mode, even building your character is often essential. Spread yourself too thin, and you'll fail many tests. Overspecialize, and you won't be well-rounded enough to make it past Week Three.
    • On a more minor level, several characters have stat and/or personality requirements that you must meet in order to even begin a relationship with them. If you don't have the necessary stats out of character generation, in many cases there is not enough time to make up the difference before it comes time for the Matchmaker to recommend a marriage for you - good luck trying to get matched with Duke Lyon if you don't start off with above-average Intelligence, for example.
    • If you haven't befriended certain people, the player's personal plot can end abruptly. Notably, you need Insight and People skills to pass Zarad's first date; the former isn't so bad, but only one option in the character creator allows her to have the necessary people skills early enough, so if you need his help, with either your personal plot or the trial (where his help is also critical to a perfect acquittal if your Warfare isn't high enough), you had better hope your character liked people-watching.
  • Unlockable Content: Kade and Laela's paths will be unlocked after one has beaten the game while meeting specific requirements.
  • Vestigial Empire: Revaire once controlled the entire continent minus Skalt and Jiyel. Interestingly, the part that remains an empire, Corval, doesn't bear its name.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Jiyel is small, but it's a repository of everything there is to know about strategy, deceit, and biology. This — and its meritocratic elements, radical for the era — is why it's one of two kingdoms that never fell to Revaire.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Given to you by Avalie and then your Love Interest, if you choose to take a bribe to throw the trial. Overlaps very much with What the Hell, Player?.
  • Widow's Weeds: Red is the traditional color of mourning in Revaire, and widows in that country are expected to wear red for a suitable period after their husband dies. When generating an Ambitious Widow character, the player may choose whether she followed this custom, gave it lip service by wearing red only in public, or ignored it altogether.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: A Revaire Widow who gets Gisette's Week 1 event observes two other Revairan ladies in her Girl Posse. Her personal plot deals with a Lord Emroy, and all players get to know Lord Adalric in week 4. Adding in Lord Clarmont, Prince Jarrod, and the widow herself gives Revaire eight delegates. The forums chalk it up to a case of Mistaken Nationality on one of the ladies or Adalric in drag.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Vail citizens who choose to start a life elsewhere are given a sum of money and transportation to whatever kingdom they want, but they can never come back.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: Forming relationships with the other attendees of the Summit is crucial to success in the game. In Challenge Mode, failure to build ties with your fellow delegates or earn sufficient approval will get you set home in the third week even if your stats pass muster.
  • Young Love Versus Old Hate: Any of the 'enemy country' pairingsnote  that brings peace between the two qualifies.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: This applies to you, if you're playing the Jiyel player character, as you receive a note addressed to your cousin that has been laced with poison. However, so far, you're able to delay death with a special flower.


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