Borderlands

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You would too, if your meat was so heavily armed...

I think Borderlands's system of randomly-generated guns are really neat, except sometimes they raise questions. "Why does my sniper have a bayonet" kind of questions.

Borderlands is an FPS with RPG Elements made by Gearbox Software, the makers of the Brothers in Arms series and the expansion packs for Half-Life, for 360, Play Station 3 and PC. The game takes place on the desert planet Pandora and you choose from four different characters in search of a vault said to contain vast stores of alien technology.

The problem is that this vault is hidden on Pandora - a backwater world where no one wants to live. Except the raiders. A "guardian angel" appears to four mercenaries, who decide to head toward the planet:

But the RPG Elements really show up in its loot system: using a procedural generation program, every weapon you get (and many other items too), is randomized. Everyone's inner Kleptomaniac Hero reacted positively.

There are currently four DLC out right now:

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned: Dr. Ned, who is totally not his twin brother Dr. Zed wearing a fake moustache, managed to unleash a Zombie Apocalypse upon Jakob's Cove.

Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot: A series of Arena challenges set by recently divorced Mad Moxxi.

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx: A continuation of the main story. Enraged over the loss of the Vault, the decimation of their forces and the death of Steele (though mostly just losing the Vault), the Crimson Lance have decided that the Vault Hunters must die. They send a fresh army of Lance operatives, headed by seasoned General Knoxx, to both take out the Hunters and conquer Pandora for their own. With the help of former Lance Assassin Athena, the Vault Hunters must now fight to destroy the Crimson Lance once and for all, and maybe even get some sweet loot while they're at it.

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution: Due to the Vault Hunters being a massive drain on the economy, Hyperion hires the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap to take care of them. Instead, he rallies the Claptraps into rebellion against the humans.

The most recent patch further increases the level cap by 8 for everyone (meaning those who have Knoxx get a cap of 69).

A sequel, Borderlands 2, had been announced, and will be released on September 18, 2012.

Now has a character page and a shout out page. Also, when editing this page, please do not go into too much detail describing the gun unless it is accessible to everyone. This is TV Tropes here, not the Borderlands section of The Card Chest, which is where every recorded Borderlands gun has been catalogued.

Ain't no rest for the wicked...


Tropes used in Borderlands include:
  • 20% More Awesome: One of the slogans Marcus' vending machines gives for "Torgue" brand guns is:

"Four hundred percent more awesome! Also, Torgue doesn't make their guns out of freaking wood!"[1]

  • Abnormal Ammo: The more rare guns add special effects to the attacks.
    • One particularly memorable weapon mod appears on shotguns from time to time: "Holy crap! It shoots Rockets!". - guess what it shoots.
    • There's a Mongol series of rockets, with the text of "Beware the Horde!" It's a launcher whose rockets fire rockets. And it is AWESOME.
    • Note that Lilith's specialty is these types of weapons.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The mission Dumpster Diving for Great Justice has you search around for something 'of great value' to a man that his wife threw away in a rage (read: dirty magazines). Picking them up, they say "Ugh! Some of the pages are stuck together." The guy tells you to not ask when you turn the mission in. Even worse is when he pays you for the job. He says "Don't worry if the money is damp, I just washed my hands."
  • Affably Evil:
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap and his revolutionary friends, though averted with the regular Claptraps.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the characters back stories are told in the game's guide. Like how Krom and Baron Flynt used to be Wardens on Pandora before becoming bandit leaders, etc.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Lance Assassins. Phasewalkers are this, but there's only a handful of them.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Certain enemies have ammo tanks which can be blown up (which is good, since these enemies tend to be the insanely powerful ones).
  • An Adventurer Is You: While there is a lot of variation and hybridization that can occur (each character has three skill trees and gets plenty of points after all) the four characters fill several of the archetypal roles between them (some of their trees being rather obvious analogues, some being more of a stretch):
    • The Tank: Good ol' Brick. Though the game lacks a defined "aggro" system, enemies can still focus on one character, and that's where Brick comes in.
      • Roland's turret also pulls away "aggro".
    • The Healer: Roland, whose turret regenerates ammo and health, can Raise Dead on being deployed, has class mods that also regenerate ammo, and a classic Healing Shiv power.
    • The Nuker: Brick with maxed out launcher skills.
    • The DPSer: Mordecai is the Ranger, Lilith is the Ninja, and Brick is the Scrapper.
    • The Debuffer/Mezzer: Lilith, with her affinity for the Daze effect and elemental weapons.
    • The Pet Master: Roland with his Scorpio Turret. Mordecai can become this with Class mods that can refresh Bloodwing's cooldown faster than it completes an attack run.
    • The Jack: Roland, who has the most Team-Centric abilities, and possibly the most varied set.
  • An Axe to Grind: Various types of Psychos (And Dr. Zed) wield axes with circular saws where the blade should be. They even throw them at you with, aha, Surgical Precision.
  • And I Must Scream: When you first enter the lands of Tartarus Station, where the Claptrap revolution is taking place, you fight against regular human enemies. After finishing and turning in the first quest you get there, the same enemies you fought before have suddenly grown a bit more, robotic in nature. Virtually every enemy you fight from that point on, with the exception of the D-Fault enemies, is a cyborg monster. They say "Please... just let me die..." upon death. Let that speak for itself.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • Slither, the boss of the "Altar Ego" quest chain
    • Also, more importantly, The Destroyer. The final boss of the entire game. Several enemies encountered earlier are more challenging, The Destroyer is just a bit more tedious - less so if you've got a hideously overpowered SMG or machine gun.
    • One-Eyed Jack, a bonus boss, is miserable if you take him the way Gearbox intended, considering he has the Madjack, aka the Revolver from Hell. But if you drive, you can flatten him with one hit, take his eye and his gun, and go on your merry way.
    • In the Zombie Island DLC there's also a subversion in Dr. Ned, who goes down quite easily. Followed by credits rolling past at lightning speed. Then they're suddenly ripped away and Undead Ned screams "It's not over yet!" Along with a character intro screen of Undead Ned with the text "HOLY F*#KING SHIT!!!"
    • In the Claptrap DLC, the optional quest boss, Cluck-Trap. It's a gag boss, being a Claptrap with a partial chicken costume, making clucking noises. It requires about as much damage to kill as other Claptrap Mooks in the DLC. You may run into some nasty bandits, though...
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Tannis' first set of journals, somewhat. They detail Dahl's abandonment of her project and her Played for Laughs Sanity Slippage, culminating in the Skags picking off her research team.
    • There's Hank Reis' Echo recordings in the Zombie Island DLC.
  • Art Shift: The in-play cutscenes are rendered in the engine, but whenever you enter a DLC's first zone, you get a cutscene that's usually either silhouettes (Moxxi's Underdome Riot) or pen drawings (interrupted by a child's chalk drawings several times during The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned's intro.).
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Skags and Psychos lead their targets. The novelty wears off, but it's effective for such a simple strategy.
    • Lance Troopers will hop to the left or right if you take too long to aim at them.
    • Gang Up on the Human is not in effect. Enemy factions (usually bandits and whatever wild animals are nearby) will fight each other unless you give them a reason to join forces against you.
    • Every enemy will shout a warning and assume a stance before engaging you in combat, giving you time to respond. If you heed the warning and leave their territory peacefully, they don't attack.
    • Enemies will also be on high alert if you shoot at them from a distance and miss your target, now knowing you are out there somewhere.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • For human(oid) enemies it's the head. For Skags, you have to shoot their exposed mouth, with a similar Pink Mist effect. Finally, for Spiderants, you have to shoot the abdomen. Bosses are where things get a bit more complicated, but it's generally pretty obvious; large glowy bits, things that look squishy, etc.
    • The only time you can get the Rider sniper rifle is during the quest where you have to kill the Rakk Hive. The tagline for the weapon says "Careful... you might put someone's eye out." Guess where the weak-point is on the Rakk Hive...
    • Before fighting the final boss, you're told that "you just have to know where to hit it." Hint: Its big, gaping vagina of a mouth, giant clit-eye, and glowing tentacle testicles should clue you in.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Rakkhive, Mothrakk, Skagzilla, Rakkanishu, and, from Robot Revolution, Mega Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: the Lancer in the Lance DLC, being the previously undrivable Crimson Lance vehicles seen in the original game's Crimson Fastness level.
  • Awesome Yet Practical:
    • For the most part, special attacks. Brick can punch people so hard they explode - or, better yet, making the punches themselves explode. Roland's turret can quickly become a rocket-shooting torrent of lead that turns anyone near it into unstoppable death machines. Oh, and there's Mordecai's hawk, which gibs Elder Skags and Badass Psychos.
    • Can also occur if you get extremely lucky with a good weapon drop that has a low level requirement. A shotgun with 65% accuracy and a zoom makes for easy headshots, or a gun that does three times the damage of your current guns, but has the same level requirement or less.
    • Elemental weapons fall into this trope from time to time. While they often do less overall damage than regular guns, they're extremely useful when you run into enemies that are weak against such attacks, such as using a corrosive weapon on armored mobs, shock weapons on Guardians, or fire weapons on zombies.
    • Vehicles on first playthrough allow mass gibbing when the terrain allows for free movement.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Some of the more esoteric weapons are harder to use than just shooting straight at things. The Eridian weapons probably top the list.
    • Carnage shotguns.[2] Despite firing rockets, they have shotgun level accuracy (which is far worse than your average launcher), and the same low projectile velocity that regular rocket launchers have. They also have less splash damage than launchers, and most come at the expense of doing less damage than same-level shotguns. They're somewhat rare to boot, combining the worst of two weapons in an overpriced package. They are, however, handy as Disc One Nukes at first, doing more damage than most basic playthrough 1 guns.
    • The Boomstick would be the Trope Codifier for impractical rocket-shooting shotguns, were there such a trope. It literally has no accuracy, being very capable of missing an enemy at point-blank range.
    • Shotguns that fire in patterns (i.e.: T.K.'s Wave and other similar shotguns) are pretty hard to get a consistent hit in with until you figure out said pattern.
    • Jakobs Rifles at higher levels. Case in point: You got a powerful rifle! SWEET! Problem is, its scope is locked at 1x, or, if you're insanely lucky, at 1.5x. In other words, your bullet velocity is noticeably slower, say, compared to an Atlas rifle, and your scope is less effective at picking off people from a distance, due to a tiny magnification distance. And since most enemies will shrug off a non-critical round and will close the distance between shots, you'll find yourself itching for another sniper rifle.
    • Vehicles in certain areas or at higher levels are basically gigantic death traps that are only useful for getting around certain zones more quickly outside a few quests specifically designed to be completed in a vehicle. Ramming a higher-level badass mook will result in the vehicle exploding (downing the players inside) with said badass losing about 50% health.
    • Sniper rifles with less than 94% accuracy. Even if it does a lot of damage, it won't do you much good if you keep missing due to having such a wide radius when zoomed in with it. Especially painful if it only has a 3 round magazine, and a really long reload animation.
    • Most medium ranged weapons such as assault rifles or SMG's, without a zoom of some kind. Iron sights don't seem to work well in this game, so you'll either end up shooting from the hip, or you'll end up using the non-zoom weapons up close, which may not always be a good idea, especially if they have small magazine capacity and long reload time.
  • Ax Crazy: Judging by her personal logs, Dahl Corporation scientist Patricia Tannis is equal parts this and Cloudcuckoolander, laughing to herself as she fed her colleagues to Skags after they died. She even dated the recorder she used for the logs, though they broke up.
    • Also the majority of the bandits, and at least two of the player characters.
      • The enemies with the label 'psycho' pretty much take the cake, though, according to the borderlands wiki they went insane with a freakish obsession for the vault after a vault key was found in headstone mine.
  • Badass: Elite Mooks are called this. On New Game+, they get upgraded to Bad Mutha, and then Superbads.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: While not in a bathroom, one quest given to you by Mad Moxxi has you cleaning up graffiti about her. Considering how badly written and childish said graffiti is, it's either a take on or a shout out to the trope.
  • Beef Gate: Attempting to travel through an area with enemies that are of a higher level than you will result in your immediate and painful death. This is due to the damage system, where, if you're the same level as a enemy, they can be handled with a reasonable amount of effort, whereas if they're a higher level than you they take less damage (as low as 5% if they are six levels higher) and deal more than they would if they were even. When combined with Level Scaling, it generally means players need to be close enough in level to be effective teammates.
  • Berserk Button: Scooter doesn't like it when people blow up, crash and otherwise wreck his runners, or when they sleep with his mom, known as Mad Moxxi.
    • Literally with Brick, whose action skill (single button press) is "Berserk".
  • BFS: Hanz, one of Baron Flynt's bodyguards, has one.
  • Bi the Way: Mad Moxxi hits on the player character... even if you're Lilith. That's not to say Moxxi yells the same lines no matter who you're playing as.

It's a shame that hot ass won't save you from this!

  • Big No: Whenever Mordecai dies.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I NEVER DIE!!!"

Bandit: Hold on! Rape is such a strong word. I liked to think of it as. Well, uh...you see... Nope! It's rape alright! Carry on!

    • "I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed. A guy finally gets a break from all the shooting and raping. Oh yes, these are desperate men.", said a Claptrap
  • Bling Bling Bang: Knoxx's Gold.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Many deaths from elemental weapons.
  • Body Backup Drive: The player-characters possess immortality through the New-U stations (save checkpoints) they come across. If they do take too much damage and subsequently bleed out, they are simply cloned and deposited back at the last New-U station they passed. For a fee.
  • Bonus Boss: Crawmerax the Invincible. By far the toughest fight in the game, he's always five levels above you. He's all but impossible to beat in a solo game. There are many others scattered about (Motorhead, King Wee Wee, Skyscraper...) but Crawmerax is indeed the strongest.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: If an enemy spawns with a really nice, top tier item (or dare we say two) they can very well become this.
  • Book Ends: The final battle of Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is the very place you started the main game, fighting the same Claptrap from the beginning
  • Boom! Headshot!: Weapons do insane amounts of damage with headshots on enemies that are weak to them. Mordecai will even reference it directly upon a critical hit sometimes.
  • The Baroness: Commander Steele, who even comes with an over-the-top Boer accent.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Vault Hunters come to Pandora looking for riches, and in the end they end up with only a fraction of their original intents. Sure, they (are somewhat forced to) stop a centuries old evil, but still.
  • Body Horror: Undead Ned and Motorhead, FKA Sledge.
  • Boss Subtitles: Even the main characters get one.
    • Mordecai as the "Hunter"
    • Lilith as the "Siren"
    • Roland as the "Soldier"
    • and Brick as "Himself!"
    • Sledge. P.S.: You guys aren't friends.
    • Nine-Toes. Also, He has three balls.
    • Baron Flynt. That's medicinal. It's a reference to Woody Harrelson, who played Larry Flynt in the film, and is known to be a proponent of a certain smokable herb.
    • The player characters have differing ones in the PC Launch Trailer also. Mordecai is "Suavemaculant", Lilith is "Hot", Roland is "Swashbucklerous" and Brick is "Ballnormous".
    • At the beginning of Zombie Island: Dr. Ned "(I'M HELPING!)"
    • CL4P-TP. Interplanetary Ninja Assassin
    • Dr. Ned (turns out he's a bad guy... who knew?)
    • Hank Reiss: WERESKAG (Nice Hat!)
    • Undead Ned. HOLY F*#KING SHIT!!!
    • (From The Secret Armory of General Knoxx) Scooter: GET YOU ONE!
    • Moxxi: SWF looking 4 STR
    • Knoxx: Doesn't like Mondays
    • Athena: Oh snap!
  • Bottomless Magazines: The effect of The Dove repeater pistol. "Sometimes I forget to reload."
  • Bragging Rights Reward: A decent chunk of high level/rare weapons.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: One of the side-quests given to you by Dr. Ned has him wondering in the description about his status as an NPC and not a villain. He actually turns out to be the villain.
    • And in the same DLC there is a log by a random "adventurer" that's mostly him complaining about the game's guide arrow.
  • Bullfight Boss: Alpha skag, and especially Skagzilla: they have thick front armor and a charge attack, so jumping out of the way and shooting their backs is the easiest way to defeat them. Corrosive weapons or a critical hit, however, are more efficient.
  • Cain and Abel: Jaynis and Taylor Kobb. Actually subverted, as once Jaynis is killed and Taylor takes control of his town, he proves to be just as bad as his brother.
  • Call Back: In the introduction where you choose your character, Marcus remarks that Mordecai's appearance reminds him of "a Truxican wrestler moonlighting as a dominatrix". In The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC, you can find Truxican Wrestler midgets hiding inside of lockers who may drop Truxican Wrestler class mods for Mordecai which improve his melee abilities.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: The vault is actually real, but the final battle with the Giant Space Flea From Nowhere effectively blew up the access to it for another 200 years.
  • Came Back Wrong: Motorhead, a powerful optional boss in the Knoxx DLC, is actually a (poorly) resurrected Sledge.
  • Cargo Ship: As part of her descent into CloudCuckooland, Patricia Tannis dates her voice recorder. She gets into fights with it. And then they decide to remain friends.
  • Car Fu: Encouraged by the game, to the point that there is actually a quest whose sole goal is to kill a number of enemies using a Runner (the game's car model). In addition, there is at least one achievement (on the X-Box 360 version) and several in-game challenges involving running enemies over or ramming them. The final one is "Hell On Wheels," granted for killing 1,000 enemies with the vehicle. Problem is, enemy vehicles can do this to you. On a more direct Also consider that Melee-ing a car will send it flying (to avoid the runners getting stuck on things).
  • Cel Shading: The game is often mistaken as using it, but the lighting and shading are realistic, not cel.
  • Character Blog: As promotion of the third DLC, General Knoxx has his own Twitter account.
  • Character as Himself: Brick.
  • Cheerful Child: Young Brick, in the introductory sequence, is aww-inducing. Out of the introductory sequence, though...
  • Cherry Tapping: Very possible, for example if you're feeling suicidal enough to use the melee attacks (Brick's Berserker or stun attacks don't count) or an amazingly underleveled weapon. Or you could just go for the Goomba Stomp...
    • Which will get you the Achievement/Trophy, "My Brother is an Italian Plumber".
  • Chest Monster: Several containers in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx have midgets hiding inside.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: In Robot Revolution The IPNA turns out to be pathetic once you destroy his Humongous Mecha.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Patricia Tannis. Also, according to his twitter account, General Knoxx is one as well.

"also met a man named scooter today. asked me if i wanted to catch his ride. almost killed him for coming onto me."

  • Cluster F-Bomb: In some videos, ClapTrap.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Elemental weapons have distinctive color markings on them that represent their element. Shock (good against shields) is blue. Fire (good against fleshy bits) is red. Blast (average against everything except scythids) is yellow. Corrosion (good against armor) is green. There is one weapon that cycles between them, which is orange.
    • Loot is also color coded by rarity. (White=Normal, Green=Uncommon, Blue=Rare, Purple=Very Rare, Orange=Incredibly Rare, Pearl=Obscenely Rare. And to top that off, orange comes in three different shades for just how badass the weapon you just found is). There's also red for healing items.
    • Enemy shields and clothing are coded this way too. Red enemies tend to be fire resistant and use fire attacks, green enemies are corrosion resistant and might spit poison at you, blue enemies are shock resistant and use electrical attacks, and so on.
    • Even the companies themselves have this to a large extent for the color of their guns, such as brown for Jakobs, S&S's yellow, Maliwan's blue, Dahl's green or tan, Tediore's light grey, Hyperion's red, etc.
  • Combat Medic:
    • Roland, the most support-oriented character, has a skill tree called 'Medic', which helps him heal his allies, but that doesn't mean he's any less capable of fighting. His abilities include:
      • Turning all of his weapons into Healing Shivs;
      • Making his turret regenerate the team's health and ammo when close to it;
      • Giving the team a regenerative factor when he kills an enemy.
    • The General Knoxx DLC adds actual Combat Medics to the Crimson Lance's ranks. They're similar to the engineers except they put up a device which heals their allies rather than act as a sentry.
  • Comeback Mechanic: The "Second Wind" feature, whereby if you manage to kill an enemy as you're in the throes of death yourself, you gain a small amount of health back, and can continue.
  • Continuing Is Painful: If you are fighting a boss character and are killed, the boss will fully regain all of its health, meaning all those bullets and grenades you used were wasted.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: The Voice goes nuts towards the end of the game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: It doesn't matter if you're maxed out at level 69, Crawmerax will always be at least 3 levels higher than you (Because it's 4 levels higher until you reach max level, but its minimum level is 64 and tops out at 72). Always.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Tag-along style. The host determines where in the plot the players play in, and also has the character used to scale enemies. If the guest is behind the host in level, he will be up against constant beef gates. If behind in plot, any completed missions will be treated as "ineligible", and won't transfer over to the guest. As such, co-op players should mainatain progress parity.
  • Crapsack World: Borderlands takes this trope and runs with it. Although the planet Pandora was originally colonized in the hopes of turning it into a lucrative, prosperous mining settlement, it was found to be an almost completely barren and borderline uninhabitable wasteland - and that was before the spring cycle began seven Earth years later and the local wildlife woke up from hibernation. Then, of course, there are the several thousand murderous bandits who prey on the few remaining locals, the extreme scarcity of food, clean water, electricity and medical supplies, and the near-complete lack of anything resembling functioning infrastructure or an effective government. Death is so common that never once do you see an NPC express grief, even when close friends or relatives are killed. And to make matters worse, it's implied in the Secret Armory DLC that the planet Promethia is even worse than Pandora.
  • Crazy Prepared: Taylor Kobb apparently puts armed midgets in storage containers (complete with beds and toilets) in case he has a sudden need to betray someone.
    • Or they just live in there. Pandora doesn't have much in the way of sweet digs.
  • Credits Gag: Killing the Final Boss within the Zombie Island DLC causes fake credits to appear for a few seconds.
  • Critical Hit: In Name Only example of what this trope usually is; and taken more literally - A Critical Hit is scored from hitting an enemy in a certain point or area on its body to inflict much more damage, unlike other games. There are other abilities that give your attacks a chance to do extra damage or have extra effects, as per the trope.
  • Cutscene: If you wait a minute on the main menu, you even get an unskippable attract movie - the same one that plays when you create a new character. The original game was supposed to feature a lot of these, but were cut out in the final product.
  • Damage Over Time: Many weapons that deal elemental damage have a chance of causing damage over time as an added effect.
  • Deadly Doctor: Played with 'Dr.' Zed. His first appearance gives him a small cutscene with Boss Subtitles for him, pausing before he strikes down on a corpse he is about to chop up. He explicitly states he's lost his license when first meeting him and his medical machines occasionally say in his voice "Who needs a doctor when you've got my machines and their scary needles?". Afraid of Needles yet?
    • If one looks around his place, one can find a trashcan full of limbs.
    • Then there's his brother, Dr. Ned....
    • The corpse-cutting thing was a Visual Pun and Shout-Out to Pulp Fiction. If you remember, Zed, in that, owned a Chopper...
    • His house has a side room filled with corpses and he happens to be the only living human in town.
  • Dark Action Girl: The Lance Assassins.
  • Damage Increasing Debuff: Enemies afflicted with a Corosive elemental effect suffers additional damage from all sources, including subsequent Corosive effects.
  • Death by Materialism: If you fail to escape the armory by taking too much time looking through weapons chests. Although, since death only means a monetary loss, you're better off hunting for rare guns than trying to escape.
  • Death Is Cheap: Literally. If you die you'll get resurrected via cloning, for a fee of course; how much it is being a percentage (around 7%) of how much cash you have at the time. If you're broke, it's free.
  • Death Seeker: Knoxx by the time you meet him.
    • Even more so when He gets resurrected as the Claptrap's slave. TWICE. It gets to the point where he not only encourages you to shoot him but attempts to point out his critical hit location
  • Death World: Pandora makes Australia look like a petting zoo.
  • Defector From Decadence: Roland (Soldier) is a former member of the Crimson Lance.
    • As well as Athena of the Secret Armory DLC.
    • Knoxx is about to quit when you meet him, but for different reasons (the incompetence of his higher ups - according to his journal, one of his superiors is a five-year old who sends him macaroni pictures instead of orders).
  • Deflector Shields: A device that acts as additional regenerating hit points.
  • Demoted to Extra: Helena Pierce's role in the story was scaled back a lot after the game had a drastic visual overhaul. [For starters, she's prominently featured in the pre-cel game trailer.) Now, she's just a minor NPC you only meet halfway through the game, doing the occasional quest for.
    • The inverse happened to Patricia Tannis, who wasn't even mentioned at all in the trailer, and features a lot more than Pierce and actively helps you with your quest.
    • The Vault Hunters of the first game are NPCs in the second, though still important to the story.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Some of the randomly generated weapon names can be this. The Fatal Death, Mean Rage and (bug notwithstanding) Pestilent Plague spring to mind.
    • "I'm gonna squeeze you 'til you bleed blood!"
    • Operation Trap Claptrap Trap.
  • Deployable Cover: Scorpio turrets have elements of this, but they're mostly for shooting things.
  • Desert Punk: No, really.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The End Game Boss is a giant Cthulhu like monster complete with tentacles, giant gaping maw, and a massive eye that shoots energy beams. The character is armed with ballistic weapons and maybe some alien weapons you found. And if you're Brick, you can literally punch it out too. Though Justified, since the Guardian Angel tells you it can be hurt because it's not in its own dimension.
  • Difficulty Spike: Playthrough 2.5 really ramps up the difficulty. For one thing, most enemies are now always either at or one level higher than you, and Badasses and bosses are much more lethal.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Baron Flynt, leader of Pandora's bandit hordes.
  • Disc One Nuke: Due to this game's Random Drop system, it's extremely rare, but very possible to find weapons that possess incredible power at a low level requirement, early in the game. If you have a decent amount of luck, you can find a weapon that will tear the rest of the game apart.
    • There's multiple breeds of weapons that are disproportionately powerful for their item level, which can be incredibly deadly in the right hands: any rapid-fire weapon with a high ignite chance (fire damage seems to be at the very least partially-HP-percentage-based, which renders them capable of utterly destroying Badass/boss foes regardless of level), mashers (relatively-accurate and fast-firing shotgun pistols), Anarchy submachine guns (quad-shot), the list goes on. God help your foes if you stumble across the Playthrough 2+ versions...
    • And thanks to unencrypted save files and the save file editor and gear construction kit, it is possible to construct the best possible weapons for any given level (and scale up or down weapons from early or late in the game to suit any level). Build your own Disc One Nukes.
    • Gearbox gives you one in a sidequest: the Madjack, a revolver that has crazily spinning bullets and a high ricochet chance. But that works to your advantage with distant, powerful targets: a Madjack can take out a Mulciber in just a few shots.
    • You'll get the Clipper in your first hour or two of gameplay. It has a very high rate of fire, with a chance to do fire damage with every hit. You'll be killing skags and Lance with it all the way to the end of the game.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The End Boss, which not only has a giant Vagina Dentata with an enormous tentacle inside, but also wields several other tentacles with large glowing testicles on it that you shoot until they burst.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Played straight in that players cannot fire while running (crosshairs disappear, and taking a shot will just toggle back to walking speed), averted in that this is ignored if firing while airborne, so run-and-gun is possible by bouncing around.
  • Double Entendre: Dixie Wrecked brand moonshine and Clitz brand beer.
  • Driven to Suicide: The imagery of such an act is used for the box art, as can be seen above. Was specifically created for a striking image.
    • General Knoxx was about to kill himself before his boss battle.
  • Dumb Muscle: Brick can barely read or write, but has strength that's best described as "rhino-like".
  • Dynamic Loading: Dynamic Loading Fail is practically guaranteed, at least for the largest areas.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The vault actually contains this. See Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? above.
  • Elemental Powers: Certain guns can cause Standard Status Effects with fire, lightning, acid... or just potentially explode.
  • Elite Mooks: Called Badasses, unless you do the New Game+ which makes them ever more powerful and called 'Bad Mutha'.
    • And Playthrough 2.5 upgrades them again, this time to 'Superbads'.
  • The Engineer: Roland (obviously), and the Crimson Lance Engineer enemies. Further, the badass Crimson Lance from the the 3rd DLC have an elemental turret as part of their skillset.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The Runners explode fantastically when reduced to 0 whatever-it-is points. Don't be standing next to them when that happens. Or in them.
    • Made funny with the monster-construction mission in DLC 3; Scooter banters about product recall "cus' of people burnin' alive an' shit." He also lampshades ripping out the passenger seat to make room for the GIANT NITRO TANK which is probably the reason for the big boom on all runners.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The first DLC includes zombies.
  • Everything Fades: Played straight with enemies killed by non-elemental means. Justified with incineration and dissolving when enemies are killed with Fire or Corrosive elemental weapons, respectively.
  • Evil Albino: Commandant Steele.
  • Exploding Barrels: Now with exciting new corrosive, shock, and fire flavors!
  • Expy: The Crimson Lance mooks look quite a bit like Protect Gears.
    • They also seem to get compared to the Helghast an awful lot by the fandom.
    • They're also similar to The Enclave-same cheesy fiftes advertisements, same Dangerously Too Dumb to Live tendencies, and similar armor.
    • You can get the Cracked Sash off Rakkinishou?
    • Undead Ned, or more accurately, the Nedcromorph, is one of, well, a Necromorph.
      • If you can scrounge up an old copy of Game Informer with the pre-release article on the game, take a look at the characters and note that they were all different then. Zed is Roland, Steele is Lilith (who apparently was a male character called the scientist originally, one of the later sub-bosses (Reaver) was Mordecai, and supposedly the badass bruiser model was Brick.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Skags will eat anything, but they vomit back up whatever they can't digest, which is why you find items in the "piles".
    • Not just skags. Basically anything that tries to eat you aside from Rakks.
      • Including Rakk. The Feeder/Bloated/Gravid etc variety have a higher probability of dropping stuff.
  • Fetch Quest: The Journal and Scavenger Hunts, and a few others.
  • Flash Step: Lilith's special ability allows her to step into an alternate dimension (causing an explosion that helps discourage her enemies from attacking), run quickly to her target, pop out with an energetic shockwave that stuns her foes, and then proceed to mow them all down.
  • Follow the Leader: The developers have cited many influences to the game, even saying at one point this game stemmed from wanting to make "Fallout 3, but with co-op". Of course, in the end, there were many differences from that basic statement. It's more Fallout 3 meets... a lot of stuff.
    • Even then, aside from some very vague similarities, its not even all that Fallout-y.
  • Fun with Acronyms: a very subtle one with the Eridian Cannon, as its description "010011110100110101000111" is a binary-encoded ASCII string for the letters "OMG" (Oh My God). (It makes a sizable explosion, leading to the aforementioned expression.)
  • Game Mod: Gearbox won't provide a development kit for fear of breaking what little balance the game has already, but this hasn't stopped people from creating save editors to experiment with. Want a 40000 damage twenty-cap revolver that shoots fire rockets and never needs reloading? Okay!
    • Not quite 40,000 damage revolvers that shoot rockets and don't need to reload, but you can do some pretty creative things nonetheless—such as combining parts from The Dove (a pistol that never runs out of ammo) with parts from the Hyperion Invader (a pistol that fires its entire clip when fired while the aim button is held down) to create a pistol that, when you fire it while aiming, never stops shooting and never runs out of ammo (until you let go of the aim button, anyway.)
    • Apparently it is possible to use UnrealEd to create custom maps, if you're willing to modify the exe.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: If someone won't shoot at you, you can't shoot it at it. They won't even notice.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Crimson Lance. The bandits, on closer inspection, are wearing what appear to be some sort of gas mask.
    • Just about every human enemy save bosses wears a mask of some sort, presumably so the developers wouldn't have to animate them speaking their various taunts and cries.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: They appear out of the sand and you Attack Their Weakpoints For Massive Damage.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: the finale. Yes, all of it.
    • Hell, one of the challenge achievements for killing the Guardians is titled "What is this thing?", as if to Lampshade the sheer absurdity of the situation. It's explained by the Voice afterwards, but still.
  • Gladiator Subquest: Three times. The first pits you against Skags, second against bandits, and third against the Crimson Lance, including their vehicles. The Mad Moxxie DLC is nothing but Gladiator Suquests.
  • Glass Cannon: The Eridians are extremely powerful, but have very low defense and health.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Why does an archaeologist need aviator goggles, exactly?
    • For the same reason Mordecai might need them on a desert wasteland planet-in case of sandstorms or something.
  • Good Bad Translation : In the French version, Steele is still casually talking about putting you to jail while the Destroyer impales her because the French voice actor takes too long. The same happens with the psycho who gets stabbed by M.Shank in the third DLC.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Brick (Berserker). Can specialize in hand to hand combat. Keep in mind the planet is populated with gun toting road warrior type bandits and assorted monsters. Good thing Brick hits like a train.
  • Gradual Grinder: Elemental weapons aside from Explosive ones are this. They generally do less overall damage than their normal gun counterparts, but if you manage to hit the mob with a damage-over-time component, then it'll gradually whittle their health away. The humanoid mobs will often scream in pain as it slowly kills them.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Doesn't happen often, but sometimes you can find a really good gun when searching through Pandora's many trash cans. Or Skag barf.
  • Groin Attack: A viable (in fact, more like necessary) tactic when facing the Crimson Lance if you don't have any Incendiary or Corrosive weapons and can't get a straight shot at their heads, since their groins lack armor.
  • Gun Accessories: Scopes and bayonets and all sorts of other things. And if you want to get technical, the procedural weapon generation means the guns are basically a set of modular parts in various combinations; in other words, everything is an accessory. Considering that different parts can be the difference between a gun shooting fire or shotgun shells or having infinite ammo, this is more than a technicality.
  • Gun Porn: According to The Other Wiki entry for Borderlands, the debug menu for the game shows over three million guns (varying in stats) are available in the game. According to the devs, they stopped counting once they hit 17 million.
    • Suddenly the commercial touting "87 bazillion guns" doesn't sound so far-fetched.
  • The Gunslinger: Every playable character can use guns and has skill trees relating to them, but Mordecai actually gets a skill tree that's called this, specifically with pistols.
  • Guide Dang It: Some of scavenger and even some of the regular mission will make you grow to hate the waypoints which can make finding certain mission related objects confounding to say the least. Further, some missions themselves have really out-of-the-way trigger points.
    • Turns out, the waypoint for scavenger missions are placed specifically in the general area the parts can be found in. For example if the 4 or 5 parts are found scattered about a single bandit encampment, the waypoint will likely be in the center of that encampment.
    • The worst part about the Scavenger missions is the gun itself is usually Vendor Trash.
    • However, the 'loot' icon can be a less obvious but more helpful, uh, help during scavenger quests.
  • Hand Cannon: Most of the revolvers would qualify, but mashers—revolvers that shoot seven or eight bullets per shot—are the undisputed kings. At level 50 the average masher can exceed 2,000 damage per shot (more than most rocket launchers).
  • Healing Shiv: Roland (The Soldier) can access Cauterize, a special ability that makes his weaponry heal allies. The text of the skill states this also works with rockets and grenades.

"Hold still while I heal you..." BRAKKA BRAKKA BRAKKA. "There, all better."

    • And for everyone else (Okay, even Roland) there's Transfusion grenades. That's right, a grenade that heals you by unhealing your enemies. There's also a couple of weapons that do the same thing.
  • Heel Face Mind Screw: In Claptrap's New Robot Revolution, INAC is defeated by the Vault Hunters using the WIRED device[3] to undo the advanced programming Hyperion gave him and reverting him back to his original, friendly self.
  • Heroic Mime: The game dips in and out of this trope. The player characters can talk, as shown by their taunts and comments on a weapons cache discovery, but when it comes to interacting with other characters in game or in a cut scene, they never speak.
  • Heroic Second Wind: A gameplay mechanic. When your health reaches zero, the message "Fight for your life!" flashes at the screen, and you get a chance to take down an enemy with you as your vision darkens. If you do manage to kill an enemy before dying yourself, you get resurrected with minimal health and full shields, while the message "Second wind!" flashes.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Pretty much all of the player characters love dispensing death, but Brick probably takes the cake.

Brick: (After killing a particularly difficult enemy) "Gimme something else to kill."

  • Hot Scientist: Patricia Tannis.
  • Hot Mom: Moxxi is Scooter's mom.
  • Hulk Speak: Sledge and Badass Psychos.
    • Brick (after running out of ammunition for a gun) "Ammo. GONE!"
  • Humongous Mecha: The Lance's Devastator unit. General Knoxx also has one.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: As the game starts out, you'll already be able to wear two weapons, equip a shield, a grenade mod, a class mode, carry about 1000 rounds of ammunition for all the different weapon type, three grenades and carry twelve other items. Every playthrough allows you to find upgrades for your backpack to give about 30 more slots to carry items, you'll be able to buy ammo storage which will end up allowing you to hold around three thousand bullets and 9 grenades.
    • Each character wears a device called a 'Storage Deck', which is basically a dead-end transporter, into which they can dump practically anything. Hence why backpack upgrades are called 'SDU's. (Storage Deck Upgrades) It appears as a metal device with a glowing blue 'beam' across its surface. When playing in multi-player, it's possible to see a teammate pull something out of it. Examples: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Victims of the bandits can be seen impaled on various objects in some places.
    • And with irony, the Crimson Lance did the same to the bandits lured to Old Haven.
    • Members of the Red Lance mercenaries are found impaled in the last areas of the game.
    • Commander Steele by the Eldritch Abomination with a large tentacle. Does This Remind You of Anything?? Even better, the thing impaling her looks like a giant vagina.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Considering the millions of guns that drop from the enemies, this game laughs at your concerns for the Fridge Logic it produces. (It also manages to justify it - the local wildlife will eat anything, but vomits up whatever it can't digest, for you to loot.)
    • Further, it manages to justify the finding of good stuff later- other guys took all the good stuff from the early sections and died later on.
    • Loot Goons in the Zombie Island DLC actually carry weapons chests on their back.
  • Impossibly Low Neckline: The neckline actually isn't that low for Mad Moxxi, but considering the size of her, it's still a surprise she doesn't pop out!
    • Seems to be popular with Sirens as well (Lilith and Steele).
  • Improbable Age: According to General Knoxx the Admiral is a five-year-old.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ax wielding bandits will throw their ax at you from 100 yards away and hit you. Every time.
  • Improbable Weapon User: This is made of this trope. Rocket Launcher that fires 3 rockets, that each split into 5 rockets, which all explode into acid? check. Shotgun that has a spread in the shape of a smiley face? check. Full-auto sniper rifle? you betcha.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Psychos ("Just three more steps and I got me dinner", "Hahahaha!! MORE! More meat for me!!", "It's time, for my pound of flesh! Hahahahahaha!"), as well as some normal bandits ("You gonna squeal before we cook ya?!")
  • Incendiary Exponent: Lilith's Phoenix skill sets her on fire (with only beneficial effects), which makes any nearby enemies acquainted with the Man On Fire trope (with harmful effects).
    • How do you make a shotgun, revolver, automatic pistol, machinegun, or sniper rifle more awesome? Simple-incendiary rounds.
    • Also, Flaming Psychos. Cackling insanely and trying to kill you while ON FIRE. It actually gives them immunity to fire damage to boot.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: If you find a gun made by Atlas, it will often serve as your personal Infinity Plus One Sword for a given level range. The Secret Armory DLC adds a new rarity color to replace the glitch-based Pearl weapons. These new Pearlescent (or Aqua) weapons and shields are frustratingly rare, incredibly potent, and by the time you get them there likely won't be much left but the Bonus Boss, fitting them into the trope nicely.
    • The weapons go in a set range—White, Green, Blue, Purple, Yellow (aka Orange), Orange (Aka "Dark Orange"), and "Pearl" (aka "Aqua"). Still, given the right number of mods, the lower tier weapons can be much more powerful.
    • And then there are the boss weapons. Some players have suggested that you can kill practically anything with Sledge's shotgun and enough magazine size bonuses.
  • Insufferable Genius: When Tannis isn't being a scatterbrained Cloudcuckoolander, she's this. She'll continually mention how she's the intellectual superior of everyone else, bombards her conversations with casual misanthropy, and never truly gives up that haughty air even when she's lost it to dating her voice recorder.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Oh god so many everywhere. Especially those bollard things your vehicle can't pass between or over.
    • One such obstacle that remains bizarrely unpatched is a large metal palette in a puddle near the bridge in Rust Commons East which a Claptrap lowers for you. Every single person who has ever played Borderlands will have crashed into it at least once, despite the fact that it looks (and was probably intended to be) easily navigable. Might be a joke on the developer's part.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Technically, it's the planet currently having a really bad day/night cycle (in some seasons it's day for three months straight).
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Brick can beat alien monsters, bandits with various head gear, and other things to death with his bare hands and not bat an eye. He even regenerates while he does it.
    • They aren't really just his knuckles. If you look carefully in the opening cutscene when he punches his hand he appears to have a bit of plate metal over his knuckles with small bolts welded on pointing outwards.
      • Lightning, acid, fire or explosions erupting from Brick's fists don't hurt at all considering the proximity to the said effects.
  • Jerkass: Tannis and Pierce also consider you to be beneath them, and don't hesitate to let you know.
  • Karmic Death Commander Steele
  • Kick the Dog: Very little characterization is given to Krom, one of the bosses, except that he is apparently pretty bad, so in his pre-fight cutscene he shoots a tiny cowering robot off of a bridge for good measure.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Really, the point of this game is the many, many, many guns you can loot. NPCs will occasionally comment on how many things have turned up missing since you've arrived.

Random Townsperson: Have you seen my gun...?

    • It probably doesn't help that they keep their guns in unlocked boxes stored outside.
      • Hell, the events of Claptrap's New Robot Revolution are set in motion because of this.
  • Kill It with Fire: The best way to deal with zombies. The Maliwan Hellfire submachine guns in particular cause a stacking fire damage-over-time effect with every shot and turn anything that's not fire resistant into a living torch in a few seconds.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Eridian weapons usually have a short range, long recharge time and/or slow moving projectiles that effectively blind the person using them. Compared to human weapons, they're little more than a novelty. The icing on the cake? They also force you to move slower. The rocket launcher equivalent is even more useless than regular rocket launchers.
    • They are however very useful against the Eridians themselves.
      • The Eridians also aren't slowed down by the weapons, since they float. They're probably very awesome weapons...if you belong to the species it's designed for.
    • The Eridian sniper rifles also have one very useful advantage over their kinetic counterparts: their bullets have no travel time/delay. Very good for Mordecai, even if he doesn't have any perks for Eridian weaponry.
    • They also have technically unlimited ammo. While they need to recharge after a certain number of fired shots they will never run out of ammo, which can be helpful if you find yourself in the extremly unlikely situation that you are completely out of ammo for all your guns.
  • King Mook: Nine-Toes
    • In Tetanus Warren, there is a boss enemy called King Wee Wee.
  • Konami Code: Mad Moxxi's first husband was a dirtbag and a cheat.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Numerous examples. The NPCs occasionally ask you if you've seen their missing stuff. A log from a dimwitted zombie hunter in the first DLC is just him getting confused by and whining about the game's guide arrow. When you meet Scooter in the 3rd DLC he greets you by saying "hey guy, and... maybe girl... c'mon in!"
  • Large and In Charge: General Knoxx.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: The Crimson Lance who work for the Atlas Corp. It's hinted they've gone rogue, however.
  • Laughably Evil: Several of the villains (especially, Dr. Ned, General Knoxx, and Mr. Shank).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Marcus does this at the beginning of the game as you're getting off the bus, saying that "We'll be doing this again soon enough".
    • Also, the writings in Tannis' cell at Crimson Fastness imply the second playthrough as well.
  • Level Grinding: A little, but Level Scaling means it isn't very efficient. DLC, however, let you outlevel enemies by doing the DLC before going back to the plot.
  • Level Scaling: Within a particular range for each area. Finishing the second playthrough makes the range for everything on par with yours.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Sledge is deceptively fast for his size, especially since, at first, he seems to use the slow "Bruiser" fighting style. This is especially noticeable if you try to fight him with a scoped weapon (don't aim for the head - his helmet blocks out all crit damage - unless you can reliably hit his red eyeslit) and find that he's always closing the distance to you much quicker than he should. He attacks rather fast, especially if you back into a corner.
    • Skagzilla- its huge size compliments all its standard issue skag melee attacks quite well.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The Play Station 3 version takes 36 seconds to load from the main menu to Fyrestone and has similar wait times every time you travel to a new area. The Xbox 360 is not much better. Replacing the Play Station 3's stock 5600 RPM drive with a 7200 RPM drive can cut 20-33% off these times.
  • Logo Joke: the nVidia logo lights up, fades, a Claptrap hits it, causing the logo to light up. Then Claptrap says, in a singsong voice, "Tada!"
  • Lost Forever: Wonderfully Averted, since you can switch between your first and second playthroughs. Most of the unique weapons can also drop from bosses, and most bosses that drop unique items respawn. That said, be sure not to kill King Wee Wee in your second playthrough until it's done.
    • Also played straight in Dr. Ned's Zombie Island. If you don't get his gun before you fall in the trapdoor, it's gone when you go back. presumably you can do a second playthrough, but still, it's easy to miss.
    • Through the diligence of the wiki's users, it has been confirmed that on Playthrough 2.5, boss enemies that had quests with a unique reward (TK's Wave, the Spy, The Sentinel etc) drop both their standard loot and a beefed up version of their quest reward.
    • Unfortunately, the third DLC plays this straight with the Kyros' Power, Typhoon and Knoxx's Gold weapons, as the bosses that drop them no longer respawn after their respective quests are completed.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Running over a bandit in your vehicle will cause chunks to go flying about 35–40 meters high and rain down for several seconds. And that's not even counting the weapons with explosive or incendiary ammunition...
  • MacGuffin: The Vault Keys.
  • MacGuffin Location: The Vault or more specifically everything that you are told would be in it.
  • Male Gaze: Just look at Lilith's wanted poster in Secret Armory.
  • Meaningful Name: Some of the Eridians are called Arch Guardians, arches are prominent architectural choices in their design. Even the Vault door is an arch.
    • Interestingly, the French version translated "the Vault" into "the Arch". Which made the whole "Pandora's Vault/box sure contains bad things, doesn't it ?" hidden joke fade away, sadly.
  • The Medic: Roland has a skill tree called 'Medic'.
    • And his main medic skill converts friendly fire damage to health. Yeah, he shoots people to life (See Healing Shiv above).
  • Medium Blending: The Guardian Angel's transmissions are comprised of live action footage, albeit with heavy post-processing.
  • Mega Corp: Every gun manufacturer seems to have spinoff products scattered around the world. Atlas is the current leader, with control of the Echo network and commerce grid, but Dahl's insignia shows up everywhere. Jakobs seems to have a prefab housing division, just for starters...
    • Dahl Corporation seems to have run the mining firm on Pandora, but they had to quickly evacuate once the Crimson Lance rolled in.
    • Jakobs also has a company town built around a lumber mill in the DLC. It harvests wood for their guns.
    • Hyperion, one of the rarer manufacturers, owns everything from the Claptraps to the New-U stations to the satellite 4N631, which is apparently the Guardian Angel. Atlas is the most famous, but Hyperion keeps Pandora running...
  • Misplaced Sorrow: You often get this reaction from NPCs when you break bad news to them. For example when you tell Scooter that T.K. is dead, he angrily laments that he never returned his tools.
  • Money for Nothing: Money is very critical within the first and second area, but by the time you reach the Dahl Headlands, you will be either selling more than spending or just keep farming for money found in lockers. Even though the money display caps off at $99,999,999, you can still get even more money beyond the display.
  • Monster Arena: Besides the Fighting Ring, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot is all about this.
  • Mood Whiplash: For the most part the game plays its Crapsack World for laughs, but once in a while.... For example, in the first game area there's a friendly blind-and-crippled Cloudcuckoolander questgiver. Later you're given a quest to go check on the guy. That should be fun, right? Oh, look, he's not in his porch chair. Must be inside his shack, let's go check-- Oh, there he is, hung by his one good leg from a turning ceiling fan, with his neck cut and loads of blood all around.
    • The good news is, in the first DLC he comes back as a happily deranged zombie.
  • Mook Maker: Various huts and caves.
    • The Rakk Hive, more literally.
  • More Criminals Than Targets: Let's just say the raider population outnumbers the non-raider population. And since raiders are never seen fighting one another, one can't assume they raid one another...
  • More Dakka: Roland can summon a turret to add more firepower. And upgrade it through his skill trees for even MORE dakka, as well as guided missiles. And then we get into the guns themselves...
    • A Double Anarchy (each bullet fires as four) SMG with bonuses to fire speed and magazine size can put hundreds of rounds downrange in seconds... and that's not counting the boosters from Roland's Metal Storm skill, which increases rate of fire and accuracy for a few seconds after killing an enemy.
    • "Vladof! You don't need to be a better shot, you just need to shoot more bullets."
    • Don't forget "The Meat Grinder" Combat Rifle dropped by a boss. It has a skill that increases its fire rate when you kill stuff with it. Combine THAT with Roland's Metal Storm skill and a good class mod that adds points to that skill and well... you get the idea.
    • And in the 3rd DLC, there's The Chopper. Drops from a Side-Quest Boss. Damage? Between 170 and 260. Accuracy? Not much. Fire rate? 16-17. Red text means it fires all the magazine in one shot (unless you melee). Oh, almost forgot...the magazine holds 536 bullets. FIVE-HUNDRED THIRTY-SIX BULLETS. And that's WITHOUT any + magazine size skills or class mods.
      • And WITH class mods it's possible to make the Chopper's ammo cap MORE then the player can carry at most, which is 1120 rounds, with the right skills and mods for Roland, it could hold roughly 500 bullets more than the maximum ammo limit. It's also completely impossible for any amount of Ammo regeneration to keep up with the amount of death this crazy thing spews out according to its page on the Borderlands Wiki. It is quite likely this gun is the closest the unvierse will ever get to Enuff Dakka, EVER. There is never enuff dakka.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mad Moxxi. You saw that picture, right?
  • Murder, Inc.: The Crimson Lance.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Moxxi has this reaction after the player character succeeds in killing Mr. Shank, who was Moxxi's second husband:

Moxxi: (distraught) You killed my second husband. You actually killed him. I know I told you to but... I'm sorry, I need a minute.

  • New Game+: Beat the game, then start a new run of the campaign with tougher enemies and your old guns!
  • Nice Hat: Hank Reiss, Wereskag. It even says so in his Boss Subtitles.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: One headshot not enough? How about a sniper rifle that shoots six bullets at once?
    • There's quite a few examples of guns that just love this trope on this page already.
    • Do the sidequests, get some levels, and then go back to Fyrestone on your first playthrough. Gibs galore!
  • Non-Human Sidekick: The Claptraps.
  • No Plot, No Problem
  • One-Hit Kill: The selling point of Jakobs-brand guns (particularly their Sniper Rifles)

Marcus: "If it took more than one shot, you weren't using a Jakobs!"

  • One-Man Army: If you're playing solo. To get the "I Am Become Death" challenge you'll have to kill ten thousand enemies.
  • One-Winged Angel: Undead Ned
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: one of Scooter's quests he wants you to save Lucky from being killed by bandits so that Scooter can kill him later on for 'ruining his momma's girl parts' In the 3rd DLC he actually gets round to doing so, and threatens to bury you next to him if you don't treat his mom right.

Scooter: Don't act all surprised, I told you I was gonna do it!

  • Only Sane Man: Helena Pierce. Zed, to a much lesser degree.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: A combination of type F/P. But with a variation on the F type.For one, they don't mind eating the brains of other zombies.
  • Painfully-Slow Projectile: Missile launchers, some eridian guns, and occasionally sniper rifles. All guns have a velocity stat (which you can't see), but normally its short enough range and a fast enough bullet to not matter. Lilith also has a skill that mitigates this, by upping said velocity stat.
    • Which makes a Maliwan Rhino (Elemental rocket launcher that explodes over and over until hitting its target) practically useless because it explodes fewer times before hitting its target when its velocity is increased.
  • Palette Swap: There are only four real types of enemies in the game: human-type (who shoot guns or rush you with melee, and on two maps drive around in runners), quadripedal type (which uses tackles and spit things at you), flying creatures (which have nothing but a divebomb attack), and the Eridians, which are a mix of all types.
    • Not only that, you can change your character's colours, so don't be surprised to see two Bricks standing next to each other, one in black and the other wearing bright pink.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Dr. Ned bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Zed. That said, it's still possible that they really are different people, they are, as Zed is seen alive and well in the 3rd DLC. But then again, it is also possible that they are the same person because Death Is Cheap.
  • Personal Space Invader: Played straight by 99% of Pandora's wildlife, which just loves to leap at you in an attempt to gnaw your face off.
  • Pink Mist: Any headshot with a significantly powerful gun and/or significantly lower-leveled enemy. Special mention goes to the Boomstick, which people often discard after the Giant Space Flea From Nowhere battle. It may not look like much, but point it at some zombies that get too close to you... and they are reduced to Ludicrous Gibs and Bloody Hilarious green mist that put the Masher or a blasting pistol to shame.
  • Planetville: Averted.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Admiral Mikey, Knoxx's superior.
  • Post Mortem One Liner: Kill anyone with a headshot and your character will happily say one.
  • Powered Armour: the Devastator used by the crimson lance in the new General Knoxx DLC
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Nine Toes; "You woke the wrong dog." subverted story wise it's him that gets his asskicked, gameplay wise it's played straight if you're not careful.
  • Punch Clock Villain: General Knoxx.
  • Random Drop: Said to be the system for gun drops, though with a supposed over 17 million possibilities, you'll probably be able to find something cool in general.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Borderlands is for Real Gamers.
  • Real Is Brown: Played pretty straight in the first game, with all its deserts and generic badlands (Although there are some pretty damn colorful things like buildings, guns, vending machines, and textures.) but this is going to be averted in the second game, as it will have jungles and rocky hills with grass on them.

Speaker: Our artists did a lot of research; they found out there's actually some other colors in the palette.

  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" by Cage The Elephant. It's both used in the games trailer and the intro to the game itself.
  • Recursive Ammo: The MIRV, Bouncing Betty, and Rain grenade mods, as well as some rare guns.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Again, Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap and his revolutionary friends. A number of the worse Bandits also have red lenses on their masks. Averted with Mordecai, who has red goggles as a default unless you're on the opposing end of his sight.
    • Psycho zombies in the DLC. If you manage to knock them down without killing them, when they get up, you better run (or not, since you will not outrun them).
  • Reference Overdosed
  • Regenerating Shield Static Health
  • Respawning Enemies
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The designers certainly seem to think so. Revolver pistols, revolver shotguns, revolver sniper rifles, revolver rocket launchers, in six shot, three shot, two shot, side-gate, cylinder swapping, break-open with speed loaders... almost every gun with under 8 rounds per reload. This may be because revolvers do not eject shells, and would thus be preferred in zero-gravity environments. Also, don't take that as an explanation for the elemental revolvers and other weapons-do you really want to have a bunch of, say, acid that probably has no trouble eating through metal floating around in zero-gravity?
    • It's hard not to like a Revolver with the name Bloody Justice. (Unless it does shitty damage or has a ludicrously low ammo count.)
    • Not just 'up to 8', there is at least one revolver style shotgun that holds 20. Although the reload animation doesn't seem to be entirely accurate for it.
  • Robot Buddy: Claptrap serves as one, while these trailers play with it - do you know a Robot Buddy that curses so much?
  • Robot Me: What Tannis needs all those Claptrap parts for in Claptrap's New Robot Revolution.
  • Robot War: Viva la Robolucion!
  • Rocket Jump: Rocket launchers don't appear to have enough knockback, but grenades still work. Alternatively you can get a friend to launch you using Sledge's shotgun.
  • RPG Elements: You'll need levels to utilize better equipment and have more health to survive against harder enemies - plus there's those nifty skill trees.
  • Rule of Funny: Is there a pop-culture reference, inappropriate joke, or neurosis that can be played for laughs? It goes in the game!
  • Sarcasm Mode: Some of Mordecai's lines when standing still. HE LOVES IT!
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: See the trope entry.
  • Screaming Warrior: Brick becomes this whenever he uses his Action Skill, to either annoying or hilarious effect.
  • Sea Mine: You can find them on a dry lakebed in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. Drive a car too close to one and it will explode and kill you.
  • Sequel Hook: Marcus mentions he's taking you to Eden-6 at the end of New Robot revolution DLC.
    • They also mention Promethia several times.
    • Ironically, none of these appear to have been used.
  • Sex Sells: Some promotional art puts focus on Lilith's ass.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Used for the Boss Subtitles of the Player Characters in the opening cutscene for the game:

Brick - As himself

  • Shock and Awe: Any use of lightning elemental weapons
    • "Maliwan guns shoot more lightning than the next leading competitor!"
  • Shoot the Medic First: The enemy medics in the third DLC, though they are the Combat Medic type, and can heal things while shooting you.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: The elephant gun, an otherwise top of the line sniper rifle that lacks any sort of scope, making it useless at the long range you usually use snipers for.
    • Inverted with the Jakobs Striker Shotguns. They have a mod called "Sniper Rifles are for Chumps" that increases accuracy, and if you're lucky enough to find one with a scope, you're likely going to be killing everything with scoped headshots. Too bad it's not exactly the most stable weapon out there, making it hard to actually aim with.
    • The Gamble series of sniper rifles have decreased accuracy, so they aren't very useful at a long range, but they've got a lot of power. In fact, it's impossible to increase the accuracy of a Gamble with COMs, unlike other sniper rifles.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Subverted and averted to some extent: a shotgun with a scope and an elemental effect is fairly accurate and damaging at a surprisingly long range, due to using the scope increasing your accuracy percentages. Also, as your shotgun proficiencies increase, it increases your damage and accuracy so. While there are shotguns that are specifically close-range weapons with pitiful accuracy and a ridiculous spread, there are also quite a few shotguns that can be created with longer barrels that are more accurate, for a more realistic distance - some of them even have attached scopes, which can actually be put to use effectively. Interestingly, they're often even more effective in close-range than the really inaccurate ones.
    • This gets ridiculous when you have a shotgun with more zoom and accuracy then your sniper rifle. Specifically, The Blister, a corrosive shotgun with 3.5x zoom, when the average sniper rifle between 1.0x zoom and 2.8x zoom. This is a quest reward, so you'll probably come across it.
      • The range of your shotgun is never fully appreciated until you figure out that the Goddamn Bats of Downloadable Content The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned are easily dispatched hundreds of feet away with a single shotgun shell in their general direction.
    • Of course, the random generation mechanic of Borderlands means its perfectly possible to get your hands on a sniper rifle with no scope (in addition to that one quest drop), so this had to be averted even if by random chance.
    • The Masher pistols, Awesome Yet Practical HandCannons that can shoot shotgun shells way more damaging than something in the general neighborhood 0f .410 should ever be... well, they qualify sometimes and they don't qualify sometimes. The worst you're likely to find is with 69 accuracy, which is pretty good compared to the average shotgun. This Troper's favorite masher had 88 accuracy, meaning it was like a miniature skullmasher.
    • Borderlands also features an utterly ridiculous example in the form of Sledge's Shotgun. It's an over-under that fires two rounds sequentially, has a range of literally four or five feet and has a spread only about twenty degrees shy of being able to shoot sideways. Anything in the shot cone vanishes. Not to mention that it's one of the only three guns in the game that can (and will always) have 0.00 accuracy. The other two are The Chopper and The Boomstick, which are both shotguns of a sort-except the chopper shoots 18 machinegun rounds per second, and the Boomstick imitates a shotgun effect with rockets.
    • And then there is an even more utterly ridiculous shotgun liable to make all those people complaining of the 1887's 'unrealistic range' do the rageface or a splode. Well, it's not quite a shotgun. It's as if at Gearbox, the dev team got sick to their stomachs of other dev teams giving shotguns an effective range of about 10 feet and decided to go to both extremes, on one side with the above 0 accuracy weapons, on the other with the Skullmasher sniper rifle. It apparently uses the same accessory as the Masher pistols that allow it to shoot six bullets for the cost of one, somehow making a shotgun effect, except it can be found with 93 accuracy. Snipers usually have above that, but that's still pretty damn good. It's a thing of beauty.
    • The Anarchy series of submachine guns spit out an insane amount of firepower but have no accuracy to speak of.
  • Shout-Out: So very, very many that they have their own page.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Idealism got shot in the face with a Double Anarchy.
  • Sniper Pistol: Both Repeater Pistols and Revolvers can sometimes come equipped with a scope. Even better and more reasonable if it's made by Hyperion (although the company doesn't make revolvers).
  • Sniper Rifle: Oodles of them. Everything can have a scope. Nothing like finding a shotgun with a 4x scope, whilst your best sniper rifle is only 1x...
    • Technically, that's 1x Weapon Zoom. All weapon types have a built-in default zoom (with or without a scope), and for sniper rifles it's the highest.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: All sniper rifles have different amounts of sway as a hidden attribute of sorts: it can be reduced by crouching and certain class skills.
  • Space Western: The game beats you over the head with this theme.
  • Special Attack: All the PC characters have them and several enemy characters seem to have them as well.
  • Standard Status Effects: Fire is Burn (continuous damage), Corrode is Poison (continuous damage, other attacks do more damage and can spread to nearby enemies), Shock is like Fire but weaker (except against shields), Daze is Slow (though it's so powerful it verges on Paralysis), and Explosion/Blast increases power and does splash damage. Most trigger on a Critical Hit (the ones described by the trope, not the For Massive Damage kind).
  • The Stinger: CL4P-TP: Interplanetary Ninja Assassin!
    • UNDEAD NED: HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!
  • Storming the Castle: It's to Borderlands what All Your Base Are Belong to Us is to Power Rangers.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Barrels, Fuel Tanks, vehicles, rockets, grenades, any weapon with the Blast element quite a few things go boom.
    • The most memorable example is probably the Rakk Hive. After you kill it, it falls over like any other enemy. A few seconds later it explodes for no apparent reason. If you look closely after it explodes, it's still breathing.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Dr. Ned, who is totally not his completely real (and in no way imaginary) brother, Dr. Zed, in a ridiculous moustache disguise.

Mr. Shank: Chaz is really nice-- hey, I'm not into him. No way.

  • Take That: An IGN exclusive show Gearbox executive literally attacking everyone who complaining about this game.
  • Taking You with Me: Psychos will randomly yank out grenades if the player ignores them for too long/they have low health. They're extremely annoying - they will put you into Fight For Your Life (see just below) with no one around to shoot and recover, even if you have a shield that doesn't suck.
    • The player can do a version of this. When the character runs out of health, they don't die immediately; instead they collapse on the spot and have a few seconds while they bleed out, during which they can still fire their equipped weapons (as if they'd been to the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, mind you). If the player gets a kill in this time, they regain a small amount of health and can continue on.
  • Thick Line Animation: Used effectively to add to the comic book feel.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: Roland is known to say "Critical, Bitch!"
  • Token Minority: Roland is the only black character (There are some Faceless Goons that make their ethnicity unclear...), Lilith follows The Smurfette Principle for the playable characters.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Deliciously averted: You'll be throwing away or selling epic loot every fifteen seconds. Of course, there's no weapon durability, the only consumable is ammo, and it's both cheap and easily lootable.
    • Even more so with the Soldier if you have a good Support Gunner mod. Ammo regen!
    • Some weapons even regenerate their own ammo!
    • The alien guns don't even use ammo (but unfortunately must not be fired too much at once, or you'll have to wait longer to fire it again.)
  • Too Much Information: To quote Dr. Ned's Claptrap; "Dr. Ned gave me the following awards this year; 'Most effective claptrap in life threatening situations', 'Hardest performer of mid '80s breakdance fighting', 'Master orator' and 'Best kisser'." Thanks, Claptrap. Thanks.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Zombie T.K. Baha and brains.
  • Trick Bomb: There are various mods that can be attached to your grenades to turn them into sticky bombs or Bouncing Betties, make them do fire or lightning or acid damage instead of simply exploding, cause them to throw off cluster bomblets or teleport to their target...
  • Trigger Happy: Does this trope apply to you? You will probably enjoy this game, then. See Gun Porn Above.
  • Troperrific: Many Xs meet many Ys here.
  • Un Paused: In the fourth DLC, the claptrapped version of Commandant Steele, who died at the end of the main game, finishes the speech she was giving before being impaled by the Giant Space Flea From Nowhere Final Boss.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted with the guns. If an enemy is shooting you with a cool gun, it will be there for you to take when you kill him. Played straight with normal weapons, melee weapons, and shields (the non energy sort) though.
  • Universal Ammunition: While there are seperate ammunition categories (sniper rifle, combat rifle, rockets, etc.), the numberable variations within the types still use the same ammo... even if that shotgun variation happens to shoot rockets or fire, and such.
  • Up to Eleven: Invoked by the third DLC (in its marketing at the least).
  • Used Future: There's not much left on Pandora except guns and rusty metal sheets. The inhabitants make do.
  • Vendor Trash: Anything with "Cheap", "Surplus", or "Rusty" in its weapon name qualifies. A lot of other things, at high levels.
    • Then there's the notably more obvious "Weaksauce" trait.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Well, what's the fun in awesome weapons if they are not used on anything?
    • The elemental weapons especially.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: You shoot anything that gets in your way which is just about everything.
    • Lampshaded when the player is told to find where Reaver (a bandit who killed his father shortly before joining up with Krom's crew) - the player's idea of discipline is blasting his balls off. The mission giver is distraught.
  • Viral Marketing: Hey, Gearbox Software! You do know that everyone on /v/ is just going to pirate your game, right?
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The Voice. It's an actual internet connection.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: Sledge can be this, especially to Hunters or players who've been primarily using the sniper rifle or shotgun for headshot critical hit kills. Unless you're using a guide, it's likely you'll die against him once or twice before realizing his helmet makes him immune to headshots.
    • Unless you're a good enough sniper to consistently hit the red eyeslit.
    • Nine-Toes can also fill this role for players who don't expect backup in boss battles. Nine-Toes is easily killed, but the two skags that accompany him are armoured in the front and can easily flank and maul an unobservant player.
  • Walk It Off: Played with - when the game starts, you'll have to buy health vials to heal yourself or take them off dead enemies. On the other hand, there are shields that will also heal your health in the game, and the shields themselves always automatically heal their gauge after not taking damage long enough.
    • You can also use Transfusion Grenades, which shoot out homing particles that steal an enemy's health and give it to you.
    • Brick can run off screaming his health back, Roland and Mordecai can murder their health back and Lilith can just walk it off while invisible provided you have points in the right skills.
    • Mordecai and Brick also can get class mods that give the entire team health regeneration.
    • One of the patronizing PA announcements by the Atlas representative in T-Bone Junction, advising people to sit back and let Atlas do everything, includes the phrase, "If you get bitten, walk it off."
  • Weapon, Jr.: The opening cutscene shows a picture of the Player Characters as children; Mordecai has a slingshot, Lilith has a bubble wand, Brick has a glove and Roland...has a map (although he does wear an approximation of the armour he wears as an adult).
  • We Can Rebuild Him: In Claptrap's New Robot Revolution, they manage to ressurect Steele, Knoxx and Ned
    • Earlier, in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, Sledge's former midget minions tried doing this to him. The result was Motorhead, a near-mindless psychopath with a gatling turret for a head.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ninja Assassin Claptrap. He wants to free all other Claptraps... by killing all humans.
  • Wham! Episode: You wouldn't think that a game with an Excuse Plot would have one, but after you kill Baron Flynt, the Crimson Lance suddenly invade Pandora with the intent to both conquer it and claim the Vault for their own uses, Tannis is revealed to have a (partially) unwilling asset to them, and Sanctuary, one of the last thriving settlements on Pandora, is forcibly occupied. Oh, and the Eridians turn out to be still alive, and they are pissed.
  • Where It All Began: The final battle with Ninja Assassin Claptrap takes place in Fyrestone.
  • A Winner Is You: The Guardian says it will be another 200 years before the Vault opens again, and instead to turn the key in to Tannis for a cash reward. Claptrap turns evil. Roll credits.
  • World Gone Mad
  • Wretched Hive: The entire planet.
  • X Meets Y: Variously described in this way involving Diablo, World of Warcraft, Fallout 3, Mad Max and probably more.
  • Your Head Asplode: Tag an enemy in the head with a sniper rifle. Presto! What head?
    • Get a rifle with enough damage and your entire freakin' body asplode.
    • ...Or just get Brick angry enough to punch a raider to make instant raider puree!
    • Or just get an Explosive Artifact upgrade for your character's special move or a gun that does Explosive element damage. Chances are SOMETHING on your foes will asplode.
    • Let's just say there's a whole lot of asploding in this game.
  • Your Mom: As the special thanks section rolls up during the credits, one of the developers says this for his special thanks.
  • You Will Be Assimilated: Happens to all the non-claptrap enemies in the Claptrap revolution expansion, who also get the -trap name added to them, such as Rakk Trap. The sole exception (aside from the players), is the group of enemies known as the D-fault, who are barely holding them off.
  • Zerg Rush: Some categories of enemies do this.
    • Also, the entire point of Horde rounds in The Underdome.

'Til we close our eyes for good.

Notes

  1. A Take That to rival gun manufacturer Jakobs.
  2. (Holy crap! It shoots rockets!)
  3. which is actually wireless