IntroductionAsh of Gods: Redemption
What is this?
Ash of Gods: Redemption is, according to the creators, "a turn-based RPG featuring rogue-like storytelling". Let's hear it from the devs themselves:
Aurum Dust, the developers posted:
Ash of Gods is a mix between a roguelike role-playing visual novel and an online turn-based strategy game. This is a story intending to show all the complexity and ambiguity of moral choice. Good people often become rascals while inhumans behave more human-like than humans. This is the story of angels who after being given free will turned the life of humans into hell in the absence of a god. This is a novel that shows you that no conflict has a right or a wrong side because even your enemies have mothers and children.
We're gonna be coming back to that once we've gotten into the game proper. Put on your pretentious literary hats!
So, visual novel mixed with RPG...is that anything like that Banner Saga game I've heard about?
Lets get this out of the way right now: yes it is. The Stoic crew (Banner Saga makers) were apparently good enough to support it, to the point that you meet the Banner Saga devs in the desert and they make fun of how similar this game is. I feel comfortable saying the story is thematically different than Banner Saga (though there are some glaring similarities that will make themselves evident) but gameplay is similar. Combat is very similar to the Banner Saga with just enough difference to let them say it's its own thing, but the story UI is very similar to the Banner Saga. The devs will tell you the art style is based on old Soviet animations rather than the works of Eyvind Earle, but that's not really enough to disguise the game's roots. And that's OK.
So, rogue-like storytelling? Choices?
Yup. The game is kind enough to overtly flag choices as important, and if you choose wrong you will be in for a world of hurt. I quite literally lost an entire PoV party due to bad choose your own adventure choices on my initial playthrough.
Naturally I will be putting any kind of important choice up to a thread vote. Who better to make life and death decisions than the capricious whims of goons?
Thread rules and spoiler policy.
Use spoiler tags please. Don't do any of that wink wink nudge nudge crap, you're not special for having played a game on Steam before everyone else. Mechanics chat is A-OK, and if you happen to be a developer of this game or of Banner Saga I'd love to hear your input!
Fairgame did an LP of the entire Banner Saga trilogy which is on the archive. It's not at all necessary to understand the plot, and I'm gonna say Banner Saga spoilers for the purpose of comparison are A-OK.
This is gonna be a screenshot LP due to the sheer amount of . You have been warned.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Divine Retribution
And now for something completely different
High Fantasy Shopping Action!
Holy shit, something is actually happening!
Thorn Brenin and the Curse of the Bad Game Mechanics
Thorn Brenin and the Pimp Hand of Death
Enemy At The Gates
Follow that man!
Lo Pheng and the Terrible, No-good, Rotten Country of Assholes
Don't Fear the Reaper
Hopper Rouley and the Totally Not Evil Churchman
Hopper Rouley and the Separation of Church and State
Bonus Update #1: The Goons of Something Awful and What The Fuck Is Going On in Chapter 3
Hopper Rouley and the Party Members Who Don't Do Anything
Hopper Rouley and the Lack of Common Sense
Thorn Brenin and the Soldiers who Absolutely, Positively, Will Not Shut Up
Thorn Brenin and the Crippling Lack of A Lion And A Wardrobe
Thorn Brenin and The Great Fuckup
Lo Pheng and the Insufficiently Distracting Titties
Lo Pheng and the Fear of Casual Intimacy
Hopper Rouley and the Inexplicable Praise of Thorn Brenin
Thorn Brenin and the HARD CHOICES
Thorn Brenin and the Wonderful Witch of Bullshit
Hopper Rouley and the Quest for Holes
Hopper Rouley and the Excellent Chance to Make Terrible Decisions
Thorn Brenin and the Crippling Lack of Direction
Hopper Rouley and the Totally Necessary Chapter
Thorn Brenin and the Strong Female Characters
Thorn Brenin and the Pointless Suspicion
Thorn Brenin and the Problem That He's A Fucking Dumbass
Lo Pheng and the Phantom Sex Offender
Lo Pheng and the Woman Who Really, Really Wanted His Magic Rock
Hopper Rouley and the Pointless Waste of Everyone's Time
Hopper Rouley and the Writers Desperately Trying To Seem Mature
Hopper Rouley And The Lack Of Pattern Recognition Skills
Thorn Brenin and The Surprising Lack of Grimdark
Lo Pheng and the Opportunity To Please A Lot Of Women
Lo Pheng and the Parade of Magic Bullshit
An aside on Enses
Hopper Rouley and the Very Mean Man
Hopper Rouley and the Christian Allegory
Hopper Rouley and the Unreliable Narration
Thorn Brenin and the Surprise Witch
Hopper Rouley and the Plot of this Game
Thorn Brenin and the Magic Jizz
Hopper Rouley and the Ineffectual Negotiations
Lo Pheng and the Titties of the Great Ancestress
Lo Pheng and the End of the Game
Bonus Update 2: The Great Evil King and Fixing Ash of Gods
Bonus Update #3: The Great Evil King and the Elephant in the Room
Bonus Update #4: Fixing Ash of Gods Round 2: The Plot
Characters: Here there be spoilers.
I'm just listing them in alphabetical order. Full and unmarked spoilers, but to be honest I don't respect the plot of this game and neither should you!
: Adna is one of the five Reapers. She shows up in the woods to deliver quality plot exposition and threaten people. No, we don't get to fight her, fuck you for asking.
: Ake is a supposedly dumb smashman who travels with Hopper. He exists so Hopper has someone to exposit to. I don't know why.
: Alus is a wandering monk rescued by Lo Pheng. He's a pretty cool dude marred by the authors' desire to have some gay tragedy in this story.
: Amma is Hopper's psycho angel/demon/whatever the hell an Umbra is/ ex-girlfriend who uses her powers of clairvoyance to be a complete monster. Whether this is for the greater good or her own selfish whims is left to the discerning reader.
: Andra is a member of Thorn's party who helps break him out of jail before leaving to conclude one of the game's worst sub-plots.
: Bolla is a prostitute who escaped Frisia - the evil country of bad guys run by the Reapers - and hangs out with Lo Pheng to not die. She wants a family.
: Brann is Thorn's brother in law. A rich asshole trying to kill the Brenin family to get their inheritance. Part of the game's worst subplot, as at least half the characters on this list dedicate copious amounts of time to explaining how bad he is.
: Brett is an archer with mysterious origins who travels with Thorn. Actually the son of Drooket/Qarbarph/Mabok who was raised for a special purpose, which is giving people a Reaper-killing knife.
: Chila is a mysterious witch who starts the game vaguely manipulating Thorn and Hopper from the shadows and then comes right out and does it blatantly. Actually the Reaper Childao trying to prevent the rise of the dark god for...reasons? Hell if I know. She seemed like an Aslan style Jesus stand-in until the end revealed she had no idea what she was doing and just kind of rebelled against her god. It's less interesting than it sounds.
: Coronzon is a cardinal who also an Umbra. He is an evil bad man working with the Reapers to do evil bad things who is so evil the game plays the bad guy music when you talk to him. Despite this almost all he does in the game is deliver exposition in a way that would make the Gazel Ministry jealous of how little he communicates.
: Dorpkhal is the first Reaper we meet in the game. He kills Thorn's wife and hometown, then just kinda disappears, leaving that plot thread never to be resolved.
: Drooket is a random warrior who worked for Hederlig. He was looking for Mact Brenin after Mact got kidnapped by cannibals. Actually the Umbra Qarbarph who is an immortal angel who goes around having kids - including Brett - with random women.
: Dume is a Frisian mechanic who joins Lo Pheng after Lo Pheng spares his life to fix a steam train. He then kinda hangs around.
: Fisk is a drunken fuckup spearman who used to be a hero but got PTSD and became incel. He also stalked Thorn's wife in a failed attempt at pathos.
: Flitt is an archer. He delivers exposition in the first few chapters and then the writers forget he exists.
: Foshta is Andra's twin sister who helps Thorn for a bit before they disappear. Unlike Andra, she hates Thorn nearly as much as I do.
: Gleda is Thorn's daughter. The game would have you believe she's some kind of special inspiration to everyone with latent powers, but in actuality she's one of the game's worst fighters and has no consistent character to speak of. She was conceived with Thorn's magic jizz and thus can host the dark god. Seriously.
: Hederlig is a prince stationed at Friga who is desperately fighting the Reapers so refugees can escape. This makes him one of the game's better characters. In a relationship with Lon.
: Helm is a mercenary who joins Thorn's party before they cross the Ashen Wasteland. Despite the idiotic subplot about how Thorn arbitrarily doesn't trust him, actually a trustworthy dude. Tricked into joining by Chila.
: Hode is a random assassin in Albius' town guard who joins Thorn when they try to escape the Reaping. Is actually Prince Ho, grandson of a never-named king and son of Treeg.
: Hopper Rouley, also known as Blance, is one of the game's three protagonists. An immortal angel or demon who used to work for gods in another world. Is now wandering the world trying to stop the Reaping and atone for his failure to kill himself to set off a magical explosion. Cursed by Chila and sent on a random quest to do riddles to learn a spell to seal the dark god and get the game's good ending.
: Kendi is a lesbian Battle Prostitute Gladiator who joined Lo Pheng's party to not die. She had her own gay tragedy story and is described as "a warlord" and then immediately sidelined in favor of Reet's Weird Mysticism Show.
: Khama is an Ense, one of the masked servants of the Reapers. He was mind controlled or something but Reet did some magic and now he hates the Reapers. Joined Lo Pheng's party to kill Reapers and dump exposition, and the game's all out of Reapers...
: Krieger is a bad leader who made Thorn do all the leading because Krieger was in over his head. If you don't get him the magic hankie he turns into a monster and you have to kill him. Seriously.
Liki Brenin is Thorn's dead wife and the mother of Gleda and Mact. She is killed in the first chapter to provide pathos for Thorn and an object lesson in what to avoid as a refrigerator salesman.
: Lon is Hederlig's boyfriend and a riddle dispenser. That's about it!
: Lo Pheng is a fearsome Eikon warrior who is the best character in this game. His plotline is actually intelligible, he has a clear story arc, and he's a legitimate badass who can go toe to toe with Reapers and win. He's the leader of our second protagonist party, and unfortunately the one with the least screen time.
: Mabok is a random cannibal with a mental age of 12 who tries to eat Mact and gets killed by Thorn for it. Then he gets possessed by Brett's dad and shows up to deliver exposition. Adna finally kills him for us.
: Mact Brenin is Thorn's son who became a soldier on the border only to be captured by cannibals. He is rescued and joins our party only to be permabenched. Such is the life of RPG characters.
: Mushom follows Hopper around so the authors could write more dialogue. He contributes his bullshitting skills and his desire to get his dick wet.
: Nakoma, also known as Atraakh, is one of the five Reapers who are out to destroy Terminum and awaken a dark god or something. Atraakh leads the Temple of Divine Wrath disguised as a human, then fights Lo Pheng three times and loses every one. The last is fatal.
: Orkan is a magic man who lets people teleport with a giant magic rock if they have a certain redhead in tow. Seriously.
: Padagang is a traveling merchant who sells us a magic hankie that protects from dark magic, then appears at the end of the game to deliver pointless exposition.
: Pelko Soturi is a rich yet inept nobleman who hired Lo Pheng at the beginning of the story. According to heroic goon fluffyDeathbringer, his name translates to "fear warrior". This is probably a result of the devs' admitted practice of picking random foreign words to name characters after. Seriously! Check their Twitter.
: Philia is Chila's daughter. A magical person who is or is not a witch depending on which intern wrote the dialogue that day. One of the hosts for the dark god.
: Ramlin is an actual practicing warlock who joins Thorn's party and is then completely forgotten for the rest of the game, even when people run into magic stuff where a professional warlock's opinion might be helpful.
: Rask is an Umbra merchant who's old friends with Hopper and thus gets to reference all the mystic exposition.
: Reet is a magical woman descended from Enses and Terminum denizens who sings, fights, and does magic. Lo Pheng rescues her from execution after hearing her sing and she follows him first to not die, then to avoid being possessed by the dark god.
: Ruor is a not-Viking we tried to kick out of Lo Pheng's party for being a sex offender, but he literally glitched back in and revealed he's just a creep and not a full on rapist. Ash of Gods, folks!
: Scheck is a guard captain and the right hand of Prince Treeg. He gets killed as part of Brann's terrible subplot, which we never resolve because we see Lo Pheng's ending instead. Trust me, it's not worth it.
: Shannet is a Prostitute Assassin who escaped execution and is following Lo Pheng. She's kind of nuts but also more interesting than everyone in Thorn's party.
: Skoor is a heretical cleric kicked out of the church for learning sorcery. He joins Thorn's party to guide them across the Ashen Wasteland. Despite being a heretical wizard cleric, has exactly the same moveset as Vai and Alus.
: Sopp is an elite royal guard disguised as a teenage dumbass. He is Hode's bodyguard and joins Thorn's party to cover their escape. Despite being an elite royal guard hand-picked by the prince, he has a similar sprite - and an identical butt-scratching animation - to the generic warrior enemy.
: Stakhet is Thorn's father-in-law and Brann's biological father, who is known for being a legendary commander and awful parent who lets Brann get away with so much bullshit.
: Stein is a guardsman who joins Hopper's "party" until the writers realize they don't know what to do with him and write him out of the story.
: Swarty is another of the, erm, loose ladies who follow Lo Pheng after he saved them from a Reaper. A skilled archer and hunter's daughter who enjoys teasing The Phengster.
: Tenner is Thorn's old manservant the thread voted to beat to death.
Tibibar is the most powerful of the five Reapers, a direct servant of terrible gods who destroyed a world. Khama describes him as the most fearsome of the five, which is why he only gets one line in this game.
: Thorn is the last of our protagonist leaders, and the least. A retired royal guard captain and family man, Thorn is driven from his home by Dorpkhal's attack on his village and murder of his wife. The game wants to present Thorn as a living legend who is also a regular person, but he comes across as an easily manipulated aggressive moron. He has magic jizz from rescuing his father in law from some magic veil thing, and yes, that is a plot point.
: Prince (later King) Treeg is a man of contrasts. On one hand the narrator and the characters describe him as a wise and just ruler. On the other hand, his actions in the game prove him to be a shortsighted and ill-tempered moron.
: Trobbel is the burgomaster of Albius and gets killed five minutes into the game by Dorpkhal to show how evil Dorpkhal is. He is then brought up in exposition because the writers believe you have formed some sort of attachment to this character.
: Vai is a pious monk in a world gone mad who follows Thorn around because he's a healer in an RPG.
: Vegen is Thorn's old friend - a soldier stationed at a menhir fort who delivers us that exposition we didn't know we wanted.
I had a fanart contest in October, and here are the entries!
professor metis depicts Thorn trying to figure out if Chila is manipulating him or not.
fluffyDeathbringer depicts Fisk reaching out for support to an appropriate corner of the internet.
bruceski accurately portrays the process of selecting a dialogue option in this game.
solitair reconstructs the moments leading to the death of Tenner
Also from solitair, the feared Thorn Brenin doofus jump.