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The Exile series of roleplaying games were created by Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software. They are released as shareware titles for Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows systems. Exile III was also ported to Linux by a third party. There were 4 games released in this series, which were later remade as a 3D game called Avernum, which features a fifth, sixth, and seventh installment.
- Exile: Escape from the Pit (released in January 1995)
- Exile II: Crystal Souls (released in November 1995)
- Exile III: Ruined World (released in January 1997)
- Blades of Exile (released in December 1997)
Exile I: Escape from the Pit, the first game of the Exile trilogy sees your newly created characters thrown from the world above into the subterranean world known as Exile. Once here you discover a culture that has formed from the outcasts of the Empire above, a culture beset by constant warfare and monsters galore. In Exile you meet with many who wish to get revenge on the Empire for the wrongs it has done to the peoples of Exile.
You become a rallying point around which the people of Exile who desire vengeance gather to focus their energies into finding a way to strike back against the cruel Emperor of the surface. Together you manage to get to the surface and use your time there to assassinate Emperor Hawthorne.
The second Exile game, Exile II: Crystal Souls, follows directly from the first. The Empire has begun to recognize the threat the Exiles pose and begin sending their army down into Exile in huge numbers. To make matters worse unknown barriers of energy are sprouting up around the world - sometimes aiding the Exiles, sometimes helping the Empire who can afford the losses much more easily than the Exiles.
A new party of characters meets one of the creatures causing the barriers sprouting up in Exile and go to meet with the unknown race to try and secure an end to hostilities. In the end you are even more successful - and the Vahnatai join with the Exiles to drive out the Empire. With the support of the Vahnatai the Exiles turn the tables on the Empire and successfully repulse their invasion.
The final release in the Exile trilogy, Exile III: Ruined World, takes place some time after Exile II. A lot of preparation has taken place and now the Exiles are ready to send a selected few back into the light of the surface. However, while you are at first stunned by the sheer beauty of the land around you, you begin to notice that things are not as perfect as they seem. The slimes you encounter are only the first part of what becomes a series of monsters and terrible occurrences that are blighting the Empire and laying it to waste.
When scouting the land as were your orders from the Exile government you are asked by the Empire to help save the surface from its blight. You bring the Exiles and the Empire together once more as allies trying to find the cause of the destruction.
Blades of Exile consists of three short scenarios set after the main trilogy as well as an editor that allows players to create their own scenarios, which need not be set in the Exile game world at all. Several hundred custom-made scenarios have been designed since the release of the game in 1997. The most prominent meeting places on the web of the Blades of Exile community are the official company-hosted internet forum. These forums offer support for beginning designers and players, reviews of new scenarios and general discussions about the use of the scenario editor. Jeff Vogel has recently released the source code for Blades of Exile.
The Exile trilogy was very well-received. PC Games wrote that Exile: Escape from the Pit "offers an easygoing point-and-click interface; pleasant, if unambitious, graphics; ... literate prose; and a vast scope." Exile II: Crystal Souls won the 1995 Eddy Award Honorable Mention for Best Shareware Game of the Year, and received a 5 out of 5 star rating from Ziff Net. Exile III: Ruined World received the Shareware Game of the Year award from Computer Gaming World and Ziff-Davis Publishing.
The whole series was remade with a new engine and released as Avernum, and under that name the series was expanded by another three games.
Not to be confused with the 3rd installment of the Myst series, or a completely different BBC Micro/Commodore 64/Amiga/AtariST game with the same title that's more of a Metroidvania with physics. Here's its page on The Other Wiki.
This RPG series has the following tropes:
- Automaton Horses
- Bag of Sharing: Averted. Everyone has their own inventory (limited by number, rather than weight as in Avernum), and you have to be adjacent to pass stuff along in combat.
- Exile III introduced the weight mechanic.
- Beneath the Earth: Exile itself.
- Bonus Boss: In Exile 1, there are six dragons, and one of them has to be killed in order to beat the game. Each of the others tells or gives you something that is also necessary to beat the game. Once they've done that, though, you're free to kill them and take their loot. (Later in the series, Motrax does die, but it wasn't the player who killed him.)
- City Guards
- Collection Sidequest: The seven crystals, the five (or four, but that's not as good) brooches, the four syllables of the password, the six pieces of mold to get into Erika's tower free?and that's just Exile 1!
- Crapsack World: Like you wouldn't believe. An oppressive empire or a violent penal colony where a nasty death lurks around every corner?
- Cult: The Church of the Anama.
- Dialogue Tree: Of the hyperlink variety, in Exile 3 and Blades of Exile. The first two games had you input keywords (of which the game ignored all but the first four letters). This led to bugs, like being able to say "divulge" to the talking statues long before you'd met Erika, and "Icarus" to the Scimitar before you know to say it. Exile 3 and Blades of Exile have the same input system and the same potential for abuse, but obvious conversations can happen faster by clicking on text.
- This led to NPCs having a stock response for keywords they didn't have a response for. Each town had one that all its inhabitants (except for some notable exceptions) used, although some pairs of towns had the same one. (In Exile 1, for example, Fort Exile's was "I don't know about that", and Fort Duvno's was "You get a questioning look"; in the Tower of Magi, it was "You receive a blank stare" ? consistent with the apprentices not being allowed to speak. The GIFTs? "You're silly!")
- The Empire: What the surface world is called. "There's only one name when there's only one game."
- Enemy Summoner
- Fantastic Racism: The Empire hunts down damn near everything that isn't human, and has succeeded in wiping out at least one race of sentient humanoids.
- Fantastic Slurs: There are various derogatory nicknames for the non-human races, plus the human residents of the Empire, Exile, and the Abyss who all hate each other.
- Those in the Abyss, who're basically Exile's true dangerous criminals, call all other Exiles voles. Empire jerks do so love to call Exiles worms, though.
- Giant Spiders: They're also intelligent, friendly, talking and have cute, high pitched voices.
- In the Third Game, there are Giant Cockroaches, too
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: In the first game, there's a sound effect shouting out "darn" or "dang!" if you fail to pick a lock.
- Hellfire: Quickfire.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Features a lot, especially for minor vendors. Because of how the game stored NPC conversations, it was a lot easier to have one conversation come up all the time. If a vendor or similar character wasn't inexplicably identical, it was a good, though by no means infallible, clue that they had special wares and/or plot significance.
- Humorously justified for one particular set of IIIs in Exile 3: evidently, they're all siblings, all trained by their parents in the same craft (toolmaking), and all named "Merry" because their parents were horribly uncreative.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: You. But NPCs only care about some items.
- Living Statue
- Lizard Folk: The Slithzerikai.
- Luck Stat: Put points in it and you have a chance of "lucking out" of death. Max it out and you will essentially never die.
- Mage Tower: The Tower of the Magi.
- Money Spider: Yes, but "gold" isn't standard currency.
- Moon Logic Puzzle
- Nostalgia Level: The Tower of the Magi is pretty much the same (and very awesome) in every game. Until it gets destroyed by demons in Exile 3.
- Party in My Pocket
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: In Blades of Exile, the password to enter a cave full of giant gnats is..."gnats".
- Petting Zoo People (the Nephilim, Nepharim and the Slithzerikai to name a few)
- Planet of Steves: The Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spiders are all named Spider.
- The Rashomon: Different NPCs who have been in Exile since early on in its history tell you different stories about those early years. Notably, Erika claims to have invented the light-giving fungus on the cave walls, whereas actually it was just there when they arrived.
- Riddle Me This: Exile II has a dungeon that is supposed to test you mind. In addition to several puzzles are many riddles.
- Which were omitted in the Avernum II remake in favor of more "normal" puzzles that fit directly into the gameplay.
- River of Insanity: Exile II has a section where your party must cross over a series of underground waterfalls, each one taking away some of your food. Eventually, a really big waterfall will make you lose all your remaining food, forcing you to scavenge (usually fighting off monsters along the way) or face starvation. It's also worth mentioning that there are no shops or training avaliable along the way, and no way to identify the items you find (and you probably won't have enough space to take everything you find). Oh, and the caverns you pass are full of dangerous monsters...
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Grah-Hoth in Exile 1.
- Shareware: "Suddenly, the Shareware Demon appears!"
- Shout-Out: Exile III has Renton, Begbie, SickBoy and Spud as NPCs.
- Solo Character Run: The maximum party size is six, but slots can be left empty as the player sees fit. (In fact, the instructions suggest that you try making one "really powerful character" and seeing how far you can get.)
- Sssssnaketalk: The majority of the Slithzerikai.
- Stock Sound Effects
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Vahnatai.
- Super Drowning Skills: You can't swim, and if your five steps of hovering run out when you're above water, you drown. (But you can walk on lava!)
- Swamps Are Evil
- Take Your Time: Very, very averted in Exile 3.
- Translator Microbes: In Exile 2, the party acquires this (or the equivalent) by completing a Vahnatai initiation ritual. This makes them able to understand and read Novah, and makes random Vahnatai stop attacking them.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: In the first scenario of Blades of Exile, you visit towns that are being devastated by a curse. The water is undrinkable, crops are being wiped out, entire generations of children are dying, and life in general is a living hell. Feel free to ransack their houses of everything they have left.
- Video Game Remake: Exile: Escape from the Pit version 2.0 was a remake of the first game with the Exile 2 graphics and mechanics (like getting four moves per round by default instead of just one as in the original). Then Exile 1 and Exile 2 were updated to the Exile 3 graphics (largely drawn from version 5 of Realmz, the flagship game of Fantasoft, which was Spiderweb's publisher at the time.) Oh, yeah, and the whole series was redone on the Nethergate engine as the Avernum series. And there are talks of the first part of the hexalogy being remade some time in the future...
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Food rations are required as your party eats periodically.
- You All Meet in a Cell: Or a colossal subterranean prison realm, anyway.