Console RPG Clichés: The All The Tropes Version

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This is the All The Tropes version of The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Cliches. Have fun.

NOTE: this is the one that the tropers can edit. Sanity optional.

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  1. Screw Politeness, We Have Plot: If a villain, usually a Designated Villain, wants to talk with the hero, the hero will refuse and be too much in a mood to fight, even when the hero was calm-minded just before that.
  2. Law of Plot-Based Charisma: Regardless of how Obviously Evil a villain is, they will be a trusted and upstanding ruler to the lemmings that are their subjects.
  3. One Degree of Plot Coupons Rule: There will always be a connection between one of the heroes and one of the villains. They might be related, have had a failed relationship, or something of the sort.
  4. When All You Have Is a Hammer Principle: Fighting an opponent in the underground waste of Mytheria and fighting an opponent in the air kingdom of Kingdomia and fighting an opponent in the mechanized paradise of Mechanolai are interchangeable. There are no tactics besides "Hit him with what hurts him," and environments are strangely useless during combat.
  5. Garrett's Observation: Stealth is as simple as staying out of the line of sight.
  6. City Watch Equal Opportunity Employment Act: Speaking of stealth, sight and hearing ranges tend to be much, much, much shorter in RPGs than in real life. Your team can be 15 feet away, with a guard looking right at them, with your characters not even bothering to whisper when they talk, and the guard will have absolutely no idea that you're there.
  7. City Watch Equal Opportunity Discrimination Act: All guards are required to have the exact same detection range. No new guard will be hired if they can detect intruders any better or worse then any other guard.
  8. Front Door Corollary: Regardless of how easy stealth is, you may as well just fight your way through.
  9. That Which We Don't Kill Doesn't Make Us Stronger: No one ever gets Experience Points for avoiding enemies or having them run away. Might as well just kill everything.
  10. The Cutscene Director has a Magic Fetish: Magic is always cooler in the intro movie for the game or for the (admittedly rare) cutscene where someone casts a spell, unless there are 'ultimate' spells. (Includes summoning.)
  11. Rule of One Hit KO: Bullets, arrows, swords, and other common weapons will always kill during a cut scene, even if they don't anywhere else.
  12. Fair Play for Suckers Rule: If you see the villain standing before you, you have to go up and talk to him, no matter how obviously it is a trap. Bombarding him with spells and melee weapons from out of range of whatever he had planned is never an option.
  13. Yosuke's Lament: Your character will never need to use a bathroom, and sleep and eating are completely optional.
  14. Astroturf Clause: No matter what you do in battle while in a forest you'll never set the forest on fire. You can cast massive fireballs, pull meteorites from the heavens, or summon a planet-sized dragon to assault your enemy with a Wave Motion Gun from space, but those trees just aren't going up.
  15. Revenge of the Architects: A 10-foot high cliff is a more impassable barrier than an adamantine door engraved with runes of power. Apparently in the excitement of mastering apocalyptic magics, no one bothered to invent the stepladder.
  16. Level 1 Hero, Level 50 Rock Climber: Similarly, the only mountain-climbing allowed involves no gear whatever. Mountains are essentially big staircases, and you just need to pull yourself from ledge to ledge.
  17. Beelzebombed: Summoning dark forces (Demons, Devils, Eldritch Abominations, etc) never works. Despite this, the evil wizards keep trying, lured by promises of fame, wealth and power, and generally wind up dead instead.
  18. Rules of Romance: If the game has a romantic subplot, the protagonist will end up with his blonde childhood friend (who probably is also a White Magician Girl, and very meek, which is how women apparently should be). If the game lets you choose between various characters, one of them will be your blonde childhood friend, but the game will tell you you're a bad person if you don't choose her, no matter how incestuous you may feel in doing so. The other options will be the Black Magician Girl and maybe a Lady of War. But there will always be three, and very seldom a Gay Option.
  19. Organ-Filled Punching Bag: At least one female character will see it as her duty to slap male characters when they do something she deems silly or stupid. No one thinks any less of her for it.
  20. Back to Prohibition: Hardened pirates, city guardsmen, and dastardly thieves all have one thing in common: they drink nothing stronger than fruit juice.
  21. Know Your Audience: Shy ingenues, independent warrior women, and brilliant sorceresses all have one thing in common: out-of-character though it may seem, they all dress like hookers.
  22. HOUSE Magazine - Villain's Edition: The bad guy's castle will be really ominous-looking, and located in the middle of a wasteland. Why he chooses to live here, we'll never know.
  23. Reality Is A Shonen Series Theorem: The protagonist will always be a clean-shaven, brown-haired or blond lad who spends most of his time looking determinedly ahead and smiling a big stupid grin. All of his reactions will be bizarrely exaggerated.
  24. Yuan's Surprise: If it is a JRPG, At least one major character (usually a protagonist, if not the main character, but sometimes applies to villains as well) will have blue hair.
  25. Narcolepsy: The revelation of unexpected news will cause a character (or, for a bigger reveal, your entire party) to fall over.
  26. Politeness Is For Troublemakers: Whenever anyone blames your party for something, they will barely apologize once you've cleared your name, and certainly won't offer any kind of restitution for the punishment you've endured.
  27. My Little Allies: Every party member, except the main character, is about the size of a grape for the entire game, except for cutscenes and battles. While grape-sized, they will ride around in your pocket.
  28. Natural Selection: Local flora and fauna may completely detach themselves from the laws of nature should it mean the deaths of the protagonists. For example, while taking a stroll on the beach, fish and squid will attack the party by levitating across the sand and flailing at them with their now remarkably useless appendages.
  29. A Victory Well Stolen: If someone offers to give you something, then usually it will have been stolen and the person who owns the object will go and get reinforcements to go and get the object back, but they only turn up when you regain the object.
  30. The Deskjob From Hell: Storekeepers and other members of the working society are on duty, 24 hours a day.
    • A Change In Scenery: Any NPCs you encounter will walk the same little route over and over again.
  31. Psychic Magic Points: Even if you are Psychic, you'll always used Magic Points, Even if it isn't Functional Magic.
  32. It's A Weird, Weird, Weird, Weird World: Throughout your travels, you are likely to end up in a city full of toys, Heaven, inside a big sewer, inside somebody, a town that feels nostalgic, a city that doesn't look right, a train, IN SPACE, an elevator, a seemingly endless staircase, a seemingly endless battlefield, a city made of food or a place where the laws of physics and gravity don't apply..
  33. Friends of My Friends Are My Enemies: If early in the game you encounter a general and/or an elite group of soldiers (usually with a neutral-to-evil name that includes the words "Crimson", "Vermillion" or "Wolves") who appear on your side for one fight, one-hit-killing all enemies, they will be either mind-controlled or be out-and-out traitors, and you will be fighting them once you've levelled to the degree where you are able to think about taking them on.
  34. Revenge Of The Fashion Designers Principle: Elaborate clothes improve combat prowess. This rule operates on a curve, however, as the more elaborately dressed characters there are, the less effect the clothing has on their abilities.
  35. The Three Pieces of Dental Floss Equality: Likewise, the amount of material in the clothing worn by a character equally (but inversely) affects combat prowess, especially if said character is young, female, attractive, or animalistic. The inverse of this rule is ignored - bulky outfits are seldom encumbering. This particular effect is most seen with agility, evasion, and magic - an easy way to handwave the results. The fact that these are also the typical domain of female characters is also a consideration. It has been suggested that a 18-year-old nudist white haired Catgirl ninja-mage wearing 3 band-aids and a ribbon could break the speed of light, but obviously none have been observed.
  36. Summoner's Tough Love Maxim: If an RPG includes a class or character that summons powerful magical creatures to attack, you will have to subdue at least some of them in combat before using them. However, once the summoner learns how to summon a creature, it will never turn on the heroes no matter how many times it is forced to do the party's bidding.
  37. The Runs: The main character in an RPG never walks anywhere. He will always run and has infinite stamina to do so. No matter if he's going to another continent or moving two feet from the weapon merchant to the armor merchant, the protagonist will run the whole way instead of walking. This behavior doesn't appear out of the ordinary in the game to anyone.
  38. "Why Don't We Just Call The Cops?" (Red's Law): Police Are Useless. Your party of prepubescents and wanted convicts are expected to deal with any and all crime in the world, even if it completely stops you from completing your quest. May or may not extend to all adults.
  39. Inverse Law of Rewards: The reward for succeeding at something in an RPG is inversely proportional to how trivial the task was. Defeating the vampire that was holding the village hostage might get you some gold, if you're lucky, whereas the path the Infinity+1 Sword will be a reward for tasks like racing with children and finding lost chickens.
    • Inverse Corollary of Accessibility: However, the hard, non-trivial, non-rewarding quests can easily be seen and stick out like a sore thumb, whereas the easy, trivial, very much rewarding quests will require a lot of investigation to even find out. The secret cabal of vampires that gives you nothing can be seen from your house. The location of the chicken race (and its existence) that has no reason to be kept secret is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
  40. Law of Military Research: A weapon will always do more damage the more primitive it is. Player characters wielding guns will be completely useless with them, and will likely fill magical support roles, while characters wielding swords, axes, hammers, clubs, or even their bare fists will always hugely outclass supposedly superior weapons, up to and including galaxy-destroying super lasers.
  41. Law Of Conservation Of Diligence: Although sneaking past guards requires nothing more than avoiding a few obvious spots or staying out of their line of sight, if you break these simple rules, you will always be caught. It doesn't matter if you are invisible, polymorphed into a rat, a legendary hero who has already saved the world, or wearing the exact same outfit as the guards themselves - unless it's a cutscene or an NPC specifically told you that this time those tactics would work, the guards will not only see through your disguise, but address you just as if you had taken no measures to hide yourself at all.
  42. The Valor Of The Defeated: Except for the rare boss who changes sides or escapes at the last minute, all fights will be to the death. A single mugger, standing over the bodies of seven of his felled colleagues, will still fight against a team of god-slaying juggernauts until his last breath. Surrender can never be offered, and would presumably be rejected out of hand, anyway.
  43. Spiraling Vortex of Terror: Either the final battle, location, or next-to-last cutscene of the battle you just took place in will be in a location that is either completely destroyed, a kind of space-time vortex, or the mid-between of a portal that connects the human world with the generic-evil "other world" that the villain is drawing his/her power. Note: No matter what the location, those inside of "location x" will still be able to breathe, walk, and function normally unless specified otherwise.
  44. The World For My Friends First Law: At some point in the game, if the main character's love interest is captured by the villain, or otherwise evil character, the captor will allow for a trade for her life. The only thing he'll/she'll accept is the "four mystic gems" or "eight magical items" that you have either acquired, or are in the process of acquiring.
    • Have Your MacGuffin and Eat It Too Addendum: Before trading the items for the main character's love interest, the captor will inevitably be a boss battle, but will still escape with the items you've collected for the trade, and may even leave you with a trap, or self-destruction device that you must escape from.
  45. The World For My Friends Second Law: Even if it means handing free reign of reality over to the villain, the hero will still do so for twu wuv.
  46. Money Is The Root Of All Devious Minor Characters: There is a good chance, that a NPC with a mansion, and many butlers doing things for him, will be evil, and will attempt to kill you after he/she has invited you inside their home to rest for the night.
  47. Screw the Money, I Have Destiny: Opposite of the above, but rare and applies mostly to the hero. Should the hero be rich, the player will never have access to their income, supplies, or other items they have, for being as rich as they are. Addendum: At least one cutscene will involve this character's parents/family/butlers sacrificing themselves to protect the character.
  48. Makin' Use of Instinct: If the main character is any part Fantastic Race and any part human, expect them to fall victim to any and every one of the "natural instincts" of that non-human at least twice in the story, more if they don't know about their mixed heritage.
  49. Anger Leads To Asskicking: If the main character has skills with either a weapon or combat magics, and anger issues, expect a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Foe-Tossing Charge, or Curb Stomp Battle/No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Shouts of "This Is Unforgivable!" are optional.
  50. Emotional Stability is For Wimps (Cloud and Squall Rule): The emotional baggage a character has contributes directly to the badassery they possess.
  51. The Shopkeeper's Holding Out On Them: Regardless of how destitute a town is the shopkeepers can still afford to buy your insanely valuable equipment from you for the same price as the shopkeeper in the richest city in the world.
    • Justified by The Deskjob From Hell. That many hours has got to give you a good pay check.
  52. Infinity Plus One Child: That child who wandered deep into the dungeon and got lost had no problem avoiding the same monsters that just killed two of your friends and left you crippled with no healing items.
  53. Link's Law: Should the protagonists be able to wield a weapon other than their preferred, they will invariably have a masterly level of skill. This is true even and especially if this does not make sense given the character's backstory. (e.g. street rat, farmer, businessman, etc.)
  54. Bought Your Halo: The hero and villain's public image directly corresponds to the amount of money in the villain's savings account.
  55. The First Rule of Red: There will be at least one nominally important person with red hair. This is usually the case for the hero, but can also be true for the love interest, the fiery Lancer, or really any Hot-Blooded person with a name.
  56. The Second Rule of Red: Redheads in RPGs come in two temperaments: Brash and Hot-Blooded, or shy and soft-spoken. The former is especially true if said redhead wields a sword.
  57. The Third Rule of Red: Fire is always associated with deep red colors, even though real flames are often orange-red, and can also be yellow, blue, or white.
  58. Maturity Is Breast Size: In the event that one of your female party members is considered mature by virtue of being a few (like, three) years older than the hero, she will invariably have large breasts—which the other female members will consistently express envy over.
  59. The Single-Disc Game Breaker: A certain piece of equipment (usually body armor or an accessory) that, once acquired, makes an upcoming stretch of the game significantly easier.
    • Top-Shelf Stuff Clause: Single-Disc Game Breakers are most commonly sold in shops for a lot more than the other things the shop sells.
      • The Top-Shell Stuff Corollary (a.k.a. The Knight Armor Addendum): Said armor usually serves as that character's strongest armor for most of the remaining game anyway, thereby saving you much more money than what you spent on it.
  60. The Hall of Gigas: A variant of the Peninsula of Power Leveling that displays the following:

A significantly-heightened encounter rate compared to other areas.
Sandbag Enemies appropriate to your location and level, that you still wouldn't want to have to deal with for a whole dungeon
Said hallway itself neither contains anything else of interest or must be traversed to proceed with game.

  1. Rewarding Munchkinism (a.k.a. The Melmond Effect): If a shop sells Single-Disc Game Breakers, expect the next storyline-related dungeon to have a Hall of Gigas.
  2. The Back-Attack Principle: Preemptive strikes on the enemy are as simple as sneaking up on them from behind. Likewise, all the enemies have to do to ambush you is touch you from behind, on the sides, or where your view of your map character is obscured by the scenery.
  3. You Can Go Home Again: If a character in your party was banished from his homeland, you'll almost definitely have to go there to get some plot-important item. Half the time, he'll end up redeeming himself in the eyes of his people. The other half, he'll spout off An Aesop about how it's important not to let others' opinions of you dictate your life.
  4. The Law Of Guide-Based Frustration: All sidequests, including the path to the Infinity+1 Sword, will be, at most, obliquely alluded to in-game.
  5. News Travels Fast, But Names Don't: Everyone knows that the town was saved from the Evil Dragon of Evil; nobody knows that your team did it. Perhaps this is why Adam Smith Hates Your Guts.
  6. DIY Weaponry: Being more powerful isn't simply a matter of leveling up and equipping better weapons - you need to make the weapons better. Not upgrading means not being as powerful as you could be, but upgrade too much and you've wasted all your components on your first weapon, making the "better" weapons later in the game much less useful unless you're prepared to gather all those components again.
  7. Law Of Global Airship Limitation: It's really easy to tell the first place you should go with your shiny new Global Airship - it's the one town you haven't visited.
    • Corollary of Global Airship Limitation: You won't be able to walk right in to the last new town - you'll have to park the airship a ways away and traverse inhospitable land.
  8. Law of Economic Efficiency: Prices never fluctuate on the open market. A Potion of Healing will always retail for 50 gold and sell for 25, no matter how wealthy or depressed the town is.
    • Corollary of Economic Efficiency: A non-special item's selling price is always either one-half, one-fourth, one-fifth, one-tenth, or in some rare cases two-thirds or one-twentieth of its purchase price.
    • Second Corollary of Economic Efficiency: Every town, regardless of size, amount of money, or necessity, has exactly one item shop, inn, weapon shop, and accessory or armor shop (if the other shops don't handle that).
      • Addendum: Each shop will nearly always carry exactly one new model for each variety of weapon/armor. Occasionally you will be offered two, one of which trades damage/damage reduction for stats buffing or special attributes.
    • Third Corollary of Economic Efficiency: No one ever accuses the sole item shop or inn of having a monopoly.
  9. Innkeeper's law of price gravitation : The price of a stay for one at an inn is inversely proportional to the square of its distance to the final boss.
  10. Medina law : A city where the people hate you will invariably sell goods for exorbitant prices, fair trade be damned. However, even if you are the one ruler of a city you will still have to pay for everything with your money.
  11. Rimzan's Maxim: The Guest Star Party Member loses a lot of usefulness when he formally joins your party.
  12. The Calculator Theorem: By the time you get the necessary pieces in place to get a Game Breaker setup for your team, you've either a) almost reached the end of the game or b) deliberately ignored about twenty other, easier methods for domination.
  13. Rule of "Not It": Your party will be blamed for something, at some point. If not your party, you. If not you, a single person or pair from the party, possibly the/a love interest. If nobody from your party is blamed, look for a person on your side with a MacGuffin, and wait for them to be blamed. No matter what, blaming on your side will happen. Do note that the enemy will never be blamed, only captured, if that.
  14. Law of Summon Magic Utility: If you have a summoner/the ability to summon there is a good chance that at least one summon is good for nothing at all aside from one plot event, repeatable as needed, and you will not feel like the summon saved you, you will feel annoyed because it was necessary. If all summons for the plot actually do have usefulness in combat at any point, then at least one summon will actually be worse than a common spell.
  15. The Rule of Rightful RNG Paranoia: The Random Number Generator IS AGAINST YOU! 95% means 16%, 50% means 1%, and 1% means either 5% or 99% for you. For the enemy/negative effects 50% means 99%, 1% means 50%, and 100% means 100%.
    • Added rule of real-life WTF effect It is proven that a human mind has an effect on random number generators. Your thoughts directly affect the RNG, and this is proven. This means that your mindset affects the RNG. Any thought you have affects the RNG, any thought at all will have an effect. This also means that once you start thinking the RNG is after you, it is. You now have nobody to blame but yourself.
      • Computer games will generally use pseudorandom number generators though, and not true random number generators. However, it is still affected due to the seed value, and that may be affected by the time of day, etc.
  16. Evil Comes with Age: Your average band of heroes will range from 13 to 35, and even then it's very rare. Your average villain is usually several times the age of the ages of your party combined, ranging from 5 to 17 times. Even so, they always appear to be younger than the resident old-but-not-really hero.
  17. Mages are Weak: No mage, in any game whatsoever, can equip any armor aside from hats and robes and can't use any weapons aside from staffs, especially white mages. As a result, they are always the first to die in any fight and couldn't kill something with physical attacks to save their lives, but they must be used due to usefulness of their spells.
  18. Women are Weak: Related to the above, unless a female party member is a Warrior Girl, they are always weak compared to the male members of their party, sometimes being the...
  19. Mandatory Useless Party Member: In any game where party members are selectable, 100% of the time there will be at least one party member too weak to ever use, thus most of the time you will not, and 100% of the time the game will force you to use them.
  20. Warrior Girls are Bachelorettes: No Warrior Girl will have a romantic relationship with anyone in a game unless they are the main character, and even then the odds are slim.
  21. No Body = No Death: No character, hero or villain that falls off a cliff, gets caught in a Death Trap, is at the center of a big explosion, etc. and does not leave a body behind is not dead, no matter how unlikely their survival.
  22. Can't Save the World Until...: If the player ever gets to fight the Big Bad at any time before the final battle, they can't kill them, and no matter how obvious it is that a scheming Big Bad is going to conquer/destroy the world, you can't attack them or have the local authorities arrest them, only when their plans are moments away from succeeding can you stop them.
  23. Emo and Hot-headed Heroes Must Die: No matter how out of character, how little sense it might make, or if it would actually be better for it to not happen, no hero that is moody, brooding, hotheaded, reckless, or is otherwise flawed will ever stay that way by the end of the game. This also applies to any party members less frequently.
  24. Heroes Attract: Heroes will recruit numerous people to their cause like flies to honey, often as party members, including people that are nothing like them and that wouldn't make sense for them to get together.
  25. All Swords Are the Same: All weapons of a specific type will perform and look exactly the same.
  26. Viridian City's Hex: Regardless of how many times you have played games in a franchise, no matter how little the system has changed over the years, in completely indifference to the 5 plus signs on the file, you will still be required to watch the tutorials at the beginning.
  27. Gotta Buy 'em All: Owning an older game in the series will be required for 100% Completion, due to that one item given as an Old Save Bonus.[1]
  28. Heroic Presence=Everybody's incompetence: Despite all indications to the contrary prior to this, a empire/kingdom/organization/some guy on the street/etc.'s competence is inversely proportional to the amount of heroes in the given area at any given time. As a result, the now incompetent people will get the hero to do a bunch of tasks they should be more than capable of doing themselves.
  29. Good Guys=Good Guns Bad Guys=Bad Guns: If guns are used by both sides, the hero's guns will be far more effective and they will be far more skilled in their use than trained and (one would think) far better funded and equipped soldiers of the villain's side, even if the hero has never picked up a gun at any time in their lives before the beginning of the story.
  30. Scooby's Axiom: Any problem in the known world, from a missing apple to quarreling lovers to the impending apocalypse, can and most likely will be solved by a bunch of meddling kids.
  31. The Odd Inhuman Out: At least one member of your party will be some sort of monster race, whether they be a Cat Person with Horns or a Robot, there is usually at least one. They are either stoic and never speak, or completely awkward and often Comic Relief.

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  1. The most infamous offender is Pokémon, hence the name, but Game Freak isn't the only company doing this.