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 Shroud: Give me one good reason why I should keep trying to make the world better when all I get in return is my life taken apart.

Laurel: Cade, only you can answer that.

Master of the Wind is a freeware superhero RPG created with RPG Maker XP by Volrath and ArtBane. It takes place in the land of Solest, in which many common fantasy races such as elves, orcs, goblins, and fairies all reside. Atypically, all these races seem to live together more or less peacefully, ever since the fall of the xenophobic, demi-human hating regime known as Gallia. However, not everyone is happy with things this way, and there are those who are trying to revive the ways of the Gallians anew.

While at first glance, Master of the Wind may seem like typical light-hearted superhero fare, it is actually a thoughtful deconstruction of the superhero genre. The hero and titular character of the story is Cade Mistral, a Wide-Eyed Idealist with a Dark and Troubled Past who uses his wind magic to protect people from harm and evil, disguised as the masked vigilante and paragon of Justice, Shroud . He is joined in his crusade by Stoic, a powerful death knight who has lived for many centuries and provides a counterpoint to Shroud's idealistic views.

The duo manage to keep their hometown of Port Arianna safe from bandits and vampires for some time, but after investigating a kidnapping they find incriminating evidence against a local weapons company doing shady business. As they set out to try to bring down this evil conglomerate (which also threatens to put their blacksmith secret identities out of business) they discover a conspiracy which threatens to bring back the days of Gallia, headed by a mysterious organization known only as "The Hand".

Joining the duo on their adventures across Solest are Finley Donner, aka The Baron, annoying next-door neighbor extraordinaire whose power is having guns in a pre-industrial society, and Laurel Hargrove, a telepathic cleric who is something of an Ojou. Also occasionally aiding the group on their missions is Auburn Illiaca, a fire mage and bodyguard who works for the enemy who seems to be harboring a few dark secrets of her own...

Stalked every step of the way by agents of the Hand as well as the legendary and deadly masked assassin known only as "The Sparrow," the heroes struggle to uncover the plot and bring the villains to justice, or else not only face letting down the people they have sworn to protect but also to fail to uphold the very ideaology they have sworn themselves to.

Filled with laughs, heartache, and some legitimately outstanding writing, see why it is one of the most acclaimed freeware RPGs on the net. After a agonizing wait of over two years, the seventh and final arc was finally released in November 2011. Check it out at the official site.


This series includes examples of:

  • A Boy And His Tiger: Morias and Douglas.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The majority of Arc V is focused on Stoic and his past.
  • Action Girl: Auburn.
  • Aerith and Bob: The game is fond of names with origins in ancient history (Cleon, Lysander, etc) but also uses lots of common names like Barry and Emma.
  • Affably Evil: Solik and Voyd.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Rayne Mistral.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair
  • Always Someone Better: Sparrow's typical response to Shroud's tough talk.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Cleon, surprisingly enough. The story makes him up to be quite the foe, and he could have been if he'd been fought with a one or two man party like many other bosses, but instead he had the misfortune of fighting Valkyrie who flatly ignores his signature ability. If you even have to heal once during this battle it's because the mooks beforehand left you injured. (Of course he gets another go at it soon after).
    • Also Cari, especially given what comes immediately before and after, but that was a given considering her powerset and role in the story.
    • His attacks are pretty devastating, but the final boss battle with Ketsu is much shorter than the battle immediately before against Ariel, and you get a full heal and an Eleventh-Hour Superpower buff partway in.
  • Avenging the Villain: Evrind wishes to avenge his older brother, Dican.
  • Back From the Dead: Solik.
  • Badass Normal: Finley, aka The Baron, manages to hold his own among prodigy mages and a millenium old undead warrior.
  • Badass Grandpa: Stoic is basically this.
  • Bag of Spilling: An in-story justified example: Why does Stoic start at level 1 when he has almost a millenium of experience? He forgot how to fight after spending four-hundred years sealed in a cave.
  • Bash Brothers: Kovak and Vec.
  • Battle Butler: Vec.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rayne does this in Arc VI.
  • Big No: The last we see of Yaled the Hammer.

 Fairy: Aww, sounds like somebody needs a hug.

Yaled: ...What?

Legion of Fairies: Free hugs!

Yaled: NOOOOOOO!

  • Broken Pedestal: Stephen, who claims to be continuing the ideals that Volrath held, but is actually just a power-hungry glory hound.
  • The Cape: Deconstructed.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Chard, Finley's arch-rival, is an affectionate parody.
  • Catch Phrase: "I know all."
  • Cool Old Guy: Gino and Stoic. Also Kovak, though he's a villain.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Don Kovak.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Arcadius.
  • Clark Kenting: Played with. Many people easily figure out the heroes' identities. This provokes some Lampshade Hanging from Shroud.
  • Cliff Hanger: Arc VI ends with a huge one.
    • At the time, Arc III's was pretty huge too.
  • Climax Boss: Arc VII is basically a Boss Rush of these.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Ketsu vs the Touten Corps. All of them at once don't even manage to land a single blow.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Stoic was resurrected to serve as an undead slave. Said resurrection transformed him into a giant Badass skeleton who does not need to eat or breathe, will never get sick, and who is implied to be immortal. Stoic doesn't seem to particularly mind the change, however.
    • Also, the Boreal region is "cursed" with extreme magical cold and ice (to the degree that the inside of an active volcano is covered in ice even right next to the lava). People's opinions on how nice or annoying the cold is vary, but at the end of the arc we discover that this curse is the only thing that's stopped a group of mages from making the volcano erupt and destroy the town.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: But it seems to attract a lot of shady sorts....
  • Dark Magical Girl: Rana.
  • Dark Messiah: Ketsu.
  • Dating Catwoman: Auburn, Cade's romantic interest, works for Don Kovak.
  • Daydream Surprise: Finley has one of these in Arc IV, in which he beats up every single villain he's laid eyes upon up to that point (including the Sparrow), winning the respect of his comrades and Laurel's heart. Contains such great lines as "I'm a sore loser!", "I'm Stoic, and I won't give you any credit because I'm grumpy just for the sake of being grumpy!" and "I can't help myself Baron... make me a woman!"
  • Dead to Begin With: Stoic has been dead for nearly a thousand years when the story starts. In Arc V, we see what he was like when he was alive.
  • Death by Irony: Gabriella, who hates undead, is turned into a vampire.
  • Death Is Cheap: For necromancers, anyway.
  • Dem Bones: Explored and subverted in several ways. Necromancers have the ability to resurrect humans as unthinking servants, but they can also restore the person's consciousness and memories. Opinions on which approach is more useful vary from necromancer to necromancer. Skeletons who can think for themselves and do not serve a necromancer can be found wandering around many of the game's towns, and their treatment by the living (especially overzealous holy mages) is something of a civil rights issue in Solest.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Equipment King is an unsubtle caricature of Wal-Mart, The Hand is an evil religious action group preaching against all non-humans. The writer has also said on at least one message board that The Rain of Fire, a catastrophe that brings about a flood of compassion followed by a descent into paranoia and ignorance, was inspired by what happened in America after 9/11.
  • Domino Mask: Shroud's.
  • Drunken Master: Bubba.
  • Duel Boss: Lots, including Gabriella, Goma, Evrind the second time, and every encounter with The Sparrow. Several more reduce you to just two party members. Arc VII includes a boss rush of five consecutive Duel Boss battles for five different characters (broken up by a few mooks and easy minigames), and gives you another somewhat later with Cleon.
  • Easily Forgiven: Rana.
  • Elemental Powers: There are eight main schools of magic; water, ice, fire, lightning, earth, wind, holy, and dark. Learning one element changes the mage to be more like that element; fire mages can resist extreme temperatures but are weak to ice magic, etc. It's extremely difficult, but not impossible, to learn multiple schools of magic.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Not really rock paper scissors since the weaknesses are symmetric. Often treated as a plot point, especially when the Sparrow appears to be immune to this rule.
    • At least it's so in theory. In reality, near the end of the game when you have the widest variety of damage types most spellcasters start casting shields which give them great resistance to their weakness element and moderate resistance to everything else, translating to attacking their "weakness" coming out slightly behind. You can rack up some big damage before they get the shield off though.
  • The Empath: Laurel.
  • The Empire: Gallia, before its fall.
  • Evil Overlord: Yaled the Hammer is a parody.
  • Eye Scream: Stoic, when he was alive.
  • Face Heel Revolving Door: Auburn, who aids the heroes on several occasions and is Cade's love interest but also works for the villain. Doubly so once you learn she's the Sparrow.
  • Face Heel Turn: Shroud at the end of Act V, after learning the Sparrow's identity. He gets better.
  • The Faceless: Sparrow.
  • Fauxshadow: It is strongly implied that Cade's brother, Rayne, is The Sparrow. He isn't.
  • Fiery Redhead: Auburn.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Spectacularly avoided as it relates to magic and the characters' abilities in general. A large portion of the game's frequent minigames and puzzles make creative use of the various characters' powers, especially Shroud's wind magic, Stoic's Bull Rush ability and Finley's sharpshooting. They also see great use in cutscenes, especially healing magic and Shroud's ability to leap great distances (which improves as the game goes on). The Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors is also treated as a serious plot point in-universe, especially with the Sparrow (who can cast spells Shroud is weak to but isn't weak to his wind spells in turn).
  • Genre Savvy: Stoic, having lived for so long, knows all the tricks by now.
    • Also, Cade, seeing large, glowing crystal, remarks: "Let me guess, I need seven of these to save the world." He didn't, but he seems to be perfectly aware how videogames work.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Pilc, kind of. When he's not boring people with lectures about semiotics.
  • Gentleman Wizard: Don Kovak and Vec
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: The Sparrow is allowed to join the group as an alternative to jail time.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Un-Death: Stoic and, presumably, all skeletons. (Stoic only has one eye glowing at any one time, however, which could just be the way he's drawn, or because one of his eyes got stabbed when he was alive)
  • God Is Evil: He may or may not be, depending on whether or not the Hand really represents his wishes. Laurel has a crisis of faith over an event which appears to suggest that they do, but later, she recieves the same blessing, suggesting it's not that simple.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Touten Corps. Although they are dangerous adversaries, they are soundly defeated every time they appear.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Finley and Auburn. Multiple times. Each. Eventually both become permanent party members, one much sooner than the other. Also, Bubba does this, completely out of nowhere, then does it again in the final chapter along with Gabriella.
    • More stage-stealingly, this is what Laurel is resigned to after gaining her wings, despite having previously been a primary party member.
  • Guide Dang It: Most bosses have one or more flunkies. Whether the game wants you to kill the flunkies first or just the main boss varies arbitrarily and randomly, with some high-health bosses having flunkies with strong attacks and pitiful health and some bosses giving their flunkies almost as much health as the boss or easily reviving them. This is possibly relieved some in the full version where you can pay to see the health of your enemies.
    • The worst case is Dican and Danika, a monk and a mage from the same religious cult. The first creates two copies of himself with low health and the same attacks as himself, and if you don't kill them first will eventually mock you for it and cast a powerful buff on all three that can easily finish you off. The latter summons copies of two previous bosses, one of whom is Dican, but if you kill one of those she will laugh at you and restore them to life at full health instantly, without even wasting a turn.
    • The game has lots of minigames and puzzles, most of which are mandatory to continue. These range all the way from Quick Time Event challenges to simple switch puzzles to elaborate mazes to quizzes on the game's lore to scavenger hunts. Some are rather difficult.
  • Guns Akimbo: Finley.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Auburn.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Andau.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Shroud and Stoic.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The mole king boss throws his own minions at you for devastating free attacks--until the hilarious moment when he tries to summon more only to find that he's run out of minions.
  • Instant Runes: Anytime anyone casts a spell in a cutscene, during a puzzle, or otherwise outside of combat.
    • Interestingly, one of the superpowers gained when Ketsu gains wings is that he no longer needs to wait on these before casting a spell, and this is commented on by the characters who witness it.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dican and Torin.
  • Knight Templar: Ketsu, the apparent Big Bad.
  • Large Ham: The Baron.
  • Lawful Stupid Chaotic Stupid: Shroud can veer into Lawful Stupid territory at times, but this is usually grounded by Stoic's more experienced and thoughtful world view. The Fairies, on the other hand, appear to be Stupid Good....
  • Light Is Not Good: Some of the main villains wield light elemental powers.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Lightning mages have the innate power to....see in the dark?
  • Lizard Folk: Called "Lodites" here.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Most of whom are integral to the plot.
  • Long Lost Sibling: Rayne, Cade's brother.
  • Lost Forever: Almost everything; while not as bad as in The Way, most areas will not be revisited after you go to them, so if there are any secret recipes there and you didn't find them, tough luck.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: A sort of in-universe subversion: Magic on Solest follows very specific rules, and when mages who are able to break those rules start to appear, it prompts suspicion and investigation.
  • The Man Behind the Man: This happens two times. Cari behind Ketsu behind Don Kovak.
  • Marathon Boss: Ariel, who is actually fought twice in a row. After they're beaten, they then summon another boss that has as much health as they do.
    • And she appears soon after another marathon boss battle with the three lieutnants (you have to defeat three boss-worthy opponents, then use a single-target move of one party member on each of half a dozen illusions, then beat all three bosses again only this time they have their signature abilities. And when I say "soon after", I mean that the only thing inbetween is another boss battle (sort of).
  • Master of Illusion: Danika.
  • Meaningful Name: Several.
    • Mistral is a term for wind.
    • Stoic's real name, Zeno, is a reference to the founder of Stoicism.
    • Auburn has red hair.
    • Voyd is a dark mage.
    • All the people intended to be used in the "Great Awakening" ritual--Aiden Sear, Levina Galvan, Kenda Brine, Bardo Crag, and Rayne Mistral. I dare you to guess what element of magic each one uses.
    • There's even a spoiler about the Sparrow's identity hidden in the character names--which the creators admitted they were surprised nobody called them on.
      • Specifically, Auburn's surname, Iliaca, comes from the scientific name of the fox sparrow, Passerella iliaca.
    • "Arcadius" comes from the Greek word "Arcadia", which means paradise or utopia. Similarly, "Perditia" comes from "perdition", another word for Hell.
  • Mega Manning: The Sparrow can do this, and uses it to exploit his foes' weaknesses. Which powers he's copied by the last time you fight actually could provide a subtle clue to the Sparrow's identity.
  • Mind Rape: Cari seems unassuming and harmless for five whole arcs, but do not be fooled--you do not want to be on her bad side.
  • The Messiah: Volrath Blacksteele is a Deconstruction.
    • Also Dasani.
  • Mook Chivalry: When you reach Chard, and he orders the six ember mages present in the room to attack, rather than fight seven powerful fire mages at once you fight two at a time, and every time you kill one another immediately replaces him.
  • Motive Rant: Solik has an epic one in Arc V.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Let's see: Wyre, Bane, Yaled the Hammer, Voyd, Volrath Blacksteele, Enkur, and Chard, for starters. Of course, Shroud, Stoic and the Baron aren't exactly wimpy names either. They're about evenly divided between good guys and bad guys.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Enkur.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zombie TIGERS.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Stoic's backstory seems to embody this trope, and later on, Shroud goes rogue and nearly quits the hero business in part because of frustration with this.
  • Non-Action Guy: Though a formidable fighter, Shroud's abilities lend themselves more toward a supportive role.
  • No Sell: Cleon has a special ability to completely negate any attack against him though not twice in a row, making him a serious threat. But the trope is turned on him when Valkyrie can completely ignore this ability and you can easily win the first boss fight with him by spamming your cheapest attack until he dies..
  • Oh My Gods: "By Arcadius!"
  • Older Sidekick: Played with. Most people seem to assume that Shroud is The Hero, while Stoic is his sidekick. Both are quick to point out that they consider each other equals. The creators have stated, however, that if anything, Shroud is Stoic's sidekick.
  • Only One Name: Completely averted! Nearly everyone has a surname.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: The Tower of the Sun, which actually requires the player to have memorized information about the world's history. Another such test appears on Altar Island. Both can be forgiven since they were meant to be inflicting these tests on students to ensure they were doing their studying, as can the non-required history quiz being given by a fairy in Guardia.
  • Path of Inspiration / Corrupt Church: The Hand of Arcadius.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Dasani, Ketsu, and then Laurel.
  • The Power of Rock: Ercello.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Cyneric.
  • The Reveal: The Sparrow's identity at the end of Arc V. Obviously, overlaps with Dramatic Unmask.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Finley.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Andau.
  • Retired Badass: Bubba.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Finley was one of these even before he became The Baron.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Terr and Queen Arianna.
  • Sarcastic Confession: "I left my costume at home."
    • "How did you escape from your cell!?" "...Magic."
  • Schizo-Tech: The world for the most part seems to be standard medieval, escept for the presence of electric guitars.
  • Secret Identity Identity: Explored with Cade/Shroud.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Andau walks right into this.
  • Shape Shifter: Pilc.
  • Shout-Out: Several, and a lot are obscure references indeed. A handful of NPCs have nothing to say except lyrics from various power metal songs.
    • Let's see, a superhero named Stoic with a troubled past who calls his Domino Mask-wearing partner "chum". And Finley calls him "B-Man".
    • The fictional band "Daydream", when they get on stage, perform Masterplan's "Heroes", followed by "Spirit Never Dies", from the same band.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The heroes are, for the most part, very idealistic. The rest of the world, however....
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: If you so much as suspect that somebody might be leaving the party after you finish a dungeon, you'd better swap all their gear with something you won't mind missing before approaching the boss. Luckily, they all come back later except at the end of the final dungeon and when Laurel ascends--often too much later to matter though.
  • The Stoic: Guess.
  • Ted Baxter: Finley.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever Stoic's theme song starts playing, serious ass kicking is about to ensue.
    • Finley has two themes. His normal theme, and his badass theme. Guess which one plays the first time we see him in battle, and during his mountain climbing minigame.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Shroud and Sparrow.
  • Useless Useful Spell: There's a variety of status inducing moves available. Many of the milder ones work against a surprising number of bosses as well as the mooks (pistol whip, for instance, can weaken the spellcasting of nearly every boss in the last arc, and it's always worth trying Bull Rush and Soul Burn a few times to see if it can stick), but the major ones like silence and paralyze are predictably limited. (Though Auburn can paralyze Danika's illusions and most boss flunkies, with a mediocre chance of success). Almost all status skills also deal damage, however, which means most are at least potentially useful either for random encounters, bosses or both.
    • Auburn's Dispel, however, stands out as a complete aversion: It never fails, and many bosses cast extremely powerful buffs on themselves. It's even worth using on a few random encounters.
    • Sparrow's evade-boosting moves aren't nearly as useful as they could be since most of the bosses in the last arc are spellcasters. Though several turns of 100% immunity to the ones who aren't is nothing to scoff at.
  • Very Special Episode: Bubba's alcoholism is played for laughs until Arc IV, which has a subplot about the toll it has taken on his life. Thankfully, it never gets too cheesy.
  • Videogame Set Piece: The battles with the Hand lieutenants thus far all have one.
    • Dican is pretty tame, being an early boss--his illusions are pretty much copies of him with lower health, though he does pull out a scripted move that'll flatten you if you try to take him out before them.
    • Danika has illusionary fighters that she summons, and to defeat her you need to have Laurel see through the illusion.
    • Voyd can use a special skill called "Teleport" that can remove a party member from the battle for a few turns, or summon two flunkies.
    • Cleon can completely nullify the first attack against him every round.
    • There's also Cari, who does not fight you directly -- instead, they throw a bunch of Elite Mooks at you and make your characters forget all their skills.
    • And for that matter, Ariel. The five phase battle with Ariel. The fight starts with the effects of the previous boss's skill-blocking slowly wearing off while the boss holds back somewhat, then continues with the boss fighting more seriously, then when you finish that the boss summons two really nasty helpers and fully heals, and when you get the boss mostly dead again she sacrifices those helpers to fully heal and keep fighting, and when you finish it off again she summons another boss with the same health.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Voyd... does not lose gracefully.
  • Villain by Default: Although Solest as a whole seems to be very accepting of all races, most people still agree that vampires suck.
  • Villain Teleportation: "I hate it when bad guys do that. Why haven't we learned to do that?"
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Kovak and Ketsu.
  • Walking the Earth: Both Cade and Stoic have done this.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Explored with Stoic and Enkur.
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