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RPG Cliches

flamethrowerflamethrower MemberFull Members
edited July 2009 in Role Playing Games
There have been some topics about this in the past on RPGamer forums, but it has been awhile since the last one.

What are your favorite and/or least favorite RPG cliches? Which ones are horribly overused to the point of no return?

If you haven't checked it yet, there's a huge list of cliches over at TV Tropes. There is no separate category for RPG-specific tropes (only videogames).

Save the world is horribly, terribly overused. When I'm done saving the world, it just gets itself back in jeopardy again!
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Comments

  • DescaraDescara Fly Away Now Full Members
    edited July 2009
    I hate this anime as well, but the 'wussy' male role pisses me off extremely. It was a pain to play Infinite Undiscovery due to how much of a pansy Capell was. I prefer games where the hero is a bit darker, older, more of a badass than a 'teenage boy who is out to save the world'.

    I'm quite fond of female leads though, and have yet to see a terrible one in rpgs.

    I think another cliche is the hero using swords. However, it does bug me when they're trying so hard to get away from swords, they come up with something stupid like a trumpet (Rhapsody), a stick (La Pucelle), a guitar (Chrono Cross), etc.



  • AurianAurian Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    True, its often a young, inexperienced boy from a tiny village who is expected to go and save the world. Bleh. Overused in written fiction and in video games alike. Give me some mature heroes who have lived a bit already please! Not all stories using this cliche are terrible mind you, but it IS overused.

    And please, let us dispense with the girl hates guy, guy hates girl, ergo they wuv each other really!
  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Swords are better than guns bugs me a lot. [quote=Quote:]
    And please, let us dispense with the girl hates guy, guy hates girl, ergo they wuv each other really!This seems like more of an anime one than videogame. Some videogames do have that, the most recent one I can think of being Crimson Gem Saga. None of the Final Fantasies have it that I can think of. I'm a guy, I like this sort of thing. I think it's cute.
  • ShinseitoriShinseitori Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    [quote=Quote:(flamethrower @ Jul. 13 2009, 4:00 PM)]
    Swords are better than guns bugs me a lot.
    This one, for me, depends on the technology level. In the Ivalice games, for example, I'm fine with it. You're going to cause a lot more trauma with a big two-hander than such an archaic device by contemporary standards. On the other hand Final Fantasy VII, an example with automatic weapons and such, yea, it makes me shake my head.

    In general though, cliches in the genre don't really bug me, albeit there are plenty of things that don't make sense but I'm willing to overlook for the sake of convenience. Being able to lug around 20 different pieces of armor, for example.



    Rise!
  • JormungandJormungand Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    [quote=Quote:(Descara @ Jul. 13 2009, 3:13 PM)]
    I hate this anime as well, but the 'wussy' male role pisses me off extremely.
    Yeah, every RPG yet to be made could lose this archetype and the genre would be the better for it. I'm fresh off of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World and... my god... could they have written a more pathetic lead? Nevermind that his toughening up is a major part of the story; it's still annoying.

    Then again, there's this archetype's polar opposite, neatly embodied in the original Symphonia's Lloyd and his by-the-books Type A personality: brash, reactionary, and incapable of self-reflection.

    And I don't know about you guys, but I would love to rid the RPG world of comic-relief characters for good.

    Now that I've got that out my system, I'll stand up for two prominent RPG cliches: saving the world and The Empire. We see them a lot, and they're often presented in predictable ways. However, by themselves they don't actually suggest a lack of narrative quality. I think a lot of people end up jumping the gun when these elements pop up and (irrationally) assume that their presence must mean the story has no inherent originality. But these elements are merely representatives of greater themes and ideas, and can be written such that the end product does create genuine affect and (if we're lucky) possess literary value.

    The examples of these are few and far between certainly, but the presence of these elements alone shouldn't be enough to ward off players.



  • DescaraDescara Fly Away Now Full Members
    edited July 2009
    [quote=Quote:(Jormungand @ Jul. 13 2009, 5:26 PM)]
    [quote=Quote:(Descara @ Jul. 13 2009, 3:13 PM)]
    I hate this anime as well, but the 'wussy' male role pisses me off extremely.
    Yeah, every RPG yet to be made could lose this archetype and the genre would be the better for it. I'm fresh off of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World and... my god... could they have written a more pathetic lead? Nevermind that his toughening up is a major part of the story; it's still annoying.
    Oh my god, the first hour or two of Dawn was the WORST experience I've ever had in an rpg. The combat with that wuss was just @%(#%^(%(@%(@#(%^%@#$&$%^*$%&!!!!! I wanted to scream. Thankfully, it's fixed after that first hour or so.
  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Badass hero. The only one I can think of is Yuri/Hyuga from the first 2 Shadow Hearts games. After those games there is not a single JRPG that have touched me with it's story and IMO those games are underrated. Oh and Fei fro Xenogears whe he become... spoiler tags don't work properly on my crappy PS3 Brawser....
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • SkyppSkypp Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Another cliche that spans many genre, I hate the cliche of the enemy using the "dumb" good guys to collect all he needs to call a demon, set off nuclear warheads, or otherwise destroy alot of stuff. 9 times out of 10 I can call it right off the bat, and even though I realize I'm actually helping the bad guy, I can't do anything about it. Then when I bring him all the pieces/passcards he needs, the enemy is all "HA! You were a fool! I used you and you didn't even realize it! How stupid are you? I am so clever hahahah"
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    Unknown Unregistered / Not Logged In
    edited July 2009
    Kinda off-topic, but there was this brilliant bit of game design in Bioshock, where you're at a point where you know you're helping the bad guy take control, but you're powerless both as the character and as yourself the player to do anything else. Aside from furthering the story, this was a weird little commentary on the illusion of free will in games: we like to think we as gamers are running the show, but in reality we're always being shepherded toward the next objective, and the story's continuation hinges upon our willingness to thoughtlessly complete said objective.

    But yeah, not every game can be a Bioshock.



  • ShinseitoriShinseitori Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Of course, that's almost a cliche in and of itself. Ken Levine practically started that in FPS games fifteen years ago with System Shock 2. Wasn't too surprising that he'd write it into his newer game. non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif



    Rise!
  • ShadowcatShadowcat Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Hi guys. When you said RPG Cliches I thought of the old GIA and started hunting through archives trying to find the list:

    http://project-apollo.net/text/rpg.html
    (looks like a mirror of the list that was on that old site)

    I like this one in particular:

    MacGyver Rule
    Other than for the protagonists, your choice of weapons is not limited to the prosaic guns, clubs, or swords. Given appropriate skills, you can cut a bloody swath across the continent using gloves, combs, umbrellas, megaphones, dictionaries, sketching tablets -- you name it, you can kill with it. Even better, no matter how surreal your choice of armament, every store you pass will just happen to stock an even better model of it for a very reasonable price. Who else is running around the world killing people with an umbrella?

    Edit(found the original):
    http://www.psy-q.ch/mirrors....18.html



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  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    I hate you bastards. I swore myself I'd only ever touch TvTropes once a month, but now I've spent the last 2 hours reading their crap. You guys suck. non-cgi/emoticons/angry.gif non-cgi/emoticons/tounge2.gif non-cgi/emoticons/angry.gif
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Hey, TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.

    My worst cliche is practically anything that involves the word "random". Random encounters, randomly drops, random chests, random skill learning... bleh.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited July 2009
    I also don't mind cliches so much, either. I can still find a story interesting or engaging even if its full of cliches and character archtypes. Even a cliched story can be good if it is told well. I wouldn't mind if some conventions were broken, however. Maybe having a main character over the age of 18 once in a while? Or how about a female lead that wasn't soft spoken, naive and a healer/user of light magic (I've played my fair share of RPGs that broke the latter, but not so much the former).



    Reincarnation, realization
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    Unknown Unregistered / Not Logged In
    edited July 2009
    I've been taking a long, hard look at my feelings about jRPGs lately, and if maybe I'm beginning to "outgrow" them. I often come back to some of the stuff mentioned in this thread.

    @strawberry_eggs
    Yeah, a more dynamic, self-aware, late 30's to mid 40's, possibly female MC would be pretty interesting, but I won't hold my breath. I've heard people compare the overuse of the bishounen teen archetype to the more Western space marine archetype, and they make a good point. However, an important difference is that one taxes my disbelief-suspension abilities to their breaking point, and the other does not.



  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited July 2009
    Though I suppose you could say this about any sort of fanciful setting, what about the cliche of having the main characters, major characters and major villains dress in more elaborate, flashy, or ridiculous outfits than the general populace? The strange and sometimes (or maybe often) impractical outfits sported by these characters may not stick out so much in a fantasy or sci-fi setting, but it does compared to the more subdued clothing of NPCs and minor characters. Even though the main characters are practically saying "hey look at us! We're important!" NPCs don't seem to recognize that (all the time anyway. Sometimes they know the main characters are the ones who are going to save the world and other times NPCs just recognize them as adventurers).

    To be honest, I kind of like the outfits sported by RPG characters. As impractical, landish, and ridiculous as they may be, I think they can be pretty cool, too. Also, sometimes the outlandish outfits DO fit because the NPCs and minor characters dress in similar ways. The Baten Kaitos games are excellent examples. The main and major characters and villains in both games have some of the most complex, over-the-top outfits I've ever seen in any RPG. Compared to everyone else in the game world though, they don't really stand out all that much because a lot of the inhabitants wear strange outfits. Most of the Magnus Shop keepers have strange outfits; there are people wearing snail shells on their backs and little kids dressed up as giant blue birds for some reason; people of Anuenue have very colorful outfits; the people of Parnasse and over inhabitants of Mira; the list goes on! It makes the main characters' clothes fit in more naturally rather than sticking out like sore thumbs.
    Reincarnation, realization
  • JudgementJudgement Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Let's See Now.....

    1. Monsters drop money..... why what are they saving up for. I actually liked FF8 Salary System and to a lesser extent Fable 2's although that could be exploited like nobodies business.

    2. Part way through a game shy princess with mysterious power gets taken by big bad and her power exploited causing mayhem and chaos.

    3. Archtype big sis characters always have to wear as little clothing as possible. It's like RPG law or something.

    4. The best characters always die. Leaving the angsty leads to mope about it for a good while.

    5. Little Kid characters must be dressed differently than eveyone else. for some it's endering others just darn creepy.

    6. Main Character always hooks up with shy princess type even though the partially clothed big sis type has been flirting shamelessly with them for a good portion of the game.

    7. Main characters mysterious power always looks better in cutscences I want to cause armageddon with my pinkie too buy Noooo thats ony for the computers enjoyment.

    8. Why does every young male lead have abs of steel and also be masterfully proficient in some form of weapon/magic/martial art why can't he be chubby and a complete novice for once.

    9. Why do Inns charge you more to sleep the further into the game you get what does 500 gold get me that 10 gold doesn't for that much I want massages and naughty movies.
    You have awakened the sleeper May God forgive those who go against his Judgement
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  • SiliconNooBSiliconNooB Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Hate: The requisite pre-pubescent party member with the high pitched voice.

    Love: The requisite spunky female party member with the upbeat personality (think Yuffie, Selphie, Riku etc.).

    Bemused by: The reccuring theme of old technology, where an anchient civilisation (always precisely 1000 years in the past, and destroyed by war) developed fantastical technology which denizens of the world are only now excavating and rediscovering.
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  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Magical beds that heal every type of wounds and conditions and even revive the dead. Why don't use a restoration chamber or something? Magical beds are over used and stupid.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • SandySandy Final Fanatic Full Members
    edited July 2009
    I can just imagine what kind of a response a game with the leading character being like some of you've suggested (middle-aged woman, chubby novice etc.) would get. non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

    I wouldn't mind playing such RPGs myself, actually. but I can frankly tell you they wouldn't be smash-hits.

    I really wouldn't switch the young, good-looking leads in JRPGs to musclebound and scarfaced war veterans, though. WRPGs can keep that stereotype all to themselves. non-cgi/emoticons/tounge2.gif
  • RebochanRebochan Who needs Rinoa anyway? Full Members
    edited July 2009
    It'd be kind of nice if there was a little middle ground. But I have noticed a trend with games that do have unusual leads - they don't sell. So while people may complain about not getting to play with leads like this, they're sure as heck not voting with their dollars.
    "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes
  • CribanoxCribanox Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    For example I liked RE4 because the main character was small and bit scrawny, especially compared to the RE5 Chris Redfield character.

    I think that the muscle bound war veteran stereotype is mostly found in the FPS Western genre. I like the exceptions such as Rachet & Clank, really original stuff.



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  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    I generally don't mind RPG cliches. What I do mind is people who bash said cliches simply because some may be non-sensical or unrealistic, especially when a realistic approach would actually ruin the game (I hate this cliche where getting shot, stabbed, or blown up only reduces this number called "HP" instead of killing me outright). It's just a game, doods! Stop taking it so seriously.

    Well...okay, I don't like this religious use of "elf, dwarf, orc" racial choices in Western RPG's.



  • RebochanRebochan Who needs Rinoa anyway? Full Members
    edited July 2009
    [quote=Quote:(Cribanox @ Jul. 26 2009, 4:47 PM)]
    For example I liked RE4 because the main character was small and bit scrawny, especially compared to the RE5 Chris Redfield character.

    I think that the muscle bound war veteran stereotype is mostly found in the FPS Western genre. I like the exceptions such as Rachet & Clank, really original stuff.
    I was a big fan of LittleBigPlanet's Sackboys. Unfortunately, the second you put a non-human in the main role, the game is automatically deemed "kiddie". This game fortunately had a long tail, but it really struggled to get there and I'm going to take a guess that has something to do with it.

    @TG Barighm: I myself get tired of bagging on cliches simply for their existence. If it's done well, it shouldn't matter. I love Skies of Arcadia, for example, and it has often been described as a "cliche storm". But it does them all so *well* that you feel like it's all still fresh.

    Lazy cliche use is inexcusable.

    Regarding the default fantasy races, I did get amused by the MMO that explicitly advertised itself as having no elves. I'm also a fan of games that twist the interpretations of the traditional fantasy races. I like the idea DragonAge seems to be using of having elves as a beaten down slave race, for example. And I like how in the Warcraft universe, the only elves that look like "traditional" elves are the fantasy equivalent of crack addicts.



    "One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes
  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited July 2009
    I'm tired of the super beds for certain.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • DescaraDescara Fly Away Now Full Members
    edited July 2009
    Whitest looking guy in the world with a Japanese name.

    "HI, I'M FROM COLORADO, I ENJOY SURFING AND COUNTRY MUSIC. OH, MY NAME IS TATSUYAMAHIKO KUMORIBOSHINAISO."

    EDIT: Clearly I fail at Geography, as Colorado is nowhere near the ocean. Let's call it snowboarding instead.



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    Unknown Unregistered / Not Logged In
    edited July 2009
    I have no problem with inns in RPGs, and furthermore, I think TC Barighm was onto something: there's no point in bagging on gameplay conventions that are highly useful but just the slightest bit fantastical. I'd rathr have a magical bed than a more realistic system of wound-treatment (MGS3).

    Anyway, I would think the term "cliche" as applied in this thread would refer to conventions in RPG storytelling, characterization, setting, and the like.

    Speaking of inns, though... It is kind of stupid game design to put inns in your RPG where you can heal for free at a save point, especially when save points are often found directly outside said inn (FFX). But hey, adherence to genre conventions, right? The game's not an RPG without that inn! non-cgi/emoticons/grinning.gif



  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited July 2009
    [quote=Quote:(Cornman89 @ Jul. 26 2009, 4:41 PM)]
    I have no problem with inns in RPGs, and furthermore, I think TC Barighm was onto something: there's no point in bagging on gameplay conventions that are highly useful but just the slightest bit fantastical. I'd rathr have a magical bed than a more realistic system of wound-treatment (MGS3).

    Anyway, I would think the term "cliche" as applied in this thread would refer to conventions in RPG storytelling, characterization, setting, and the like.

    Speaking of inns, though... It is kind of stupid game design to put inns in your RPG where you can heal for free at a save point, especially when save points are often found directly outside said inn (FFX). But hey, adherence to genre conventions, right? The game's not an RPG without that inn! non-cgi/emoticons/grinning.gif
    I don't need to have realistic wound recoveries but magical super beds are very over used even more than the sacret water of life or save points or even the less used divine statues of the godess or the sacred super healing stone of the gods. I just want them to use the beds a little less.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited July 2009
    I suppose they could use some kind of post-battle healing system, or just demand the player to better manage their healing items. But let's face it, you take out those beds and a million Lv.99 ninjas will descend on whatever RPG developer removed said beds.

    Old cliches die harder than a fist-fight between Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris.


    But yeah, I find it difficult to hark on classic cliches. Some games with overused cliches stink and some with the same cliches are very good. It's really up to how the developer portrays the cliche.



  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2009
    [quote=Quote:]
    Regarding the default fantasy races, I did get amused by the MMO that explicitly advertised itself as having no elves. I'm also a fan of games that twist the interpretations of the traditional fantasy races. I like the idea DragonAge seems to be using of having elves as a beaten down slave race, for example. And I like how in the Warcraft universe, the only elves that look like "traditional" elves are the fantasy equivalent of crack addicts.

    I love things like that too. My favorite is the Russian dwarves in Radiata Stories. That amused me to no end.
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