Dragon Quest IX

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Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the ninth installment of the Dragon Quest series, released on the Nintendo DS. In this world, a race of Winged Humanoids known as Celestrians watch over humankind from The Observatory. They also protect the Great World Tree, Yggdrasil, nurturing and nourishing, for it holds the key to their destiny. Select Celestrians have taken up a vital duty: to act as guardians of the mortal realm.

By watching over humankind, granting their wishes and shielding them from harm, these guardians can collect "benevolessence" (Don't worry, this being Dragon Quest , this isn't the only pun!) -- a positive energy that replenishes the great Yggdrasil and allows it to flourish. With enough energy, Yggdrasil will be able to bear fruit, producing the sacred fyggs that will enable the Celestrians to follow the path of their elders and ascend to the upper realms.

However, disaster strikes, and one angel ends up falling to earth. Upon awakening, they discover that they've mysteriously transformed into a human...! Now, they must Walk the Earth with a small band of other travelers, helping those in need and trying to find out what exactly happened... and if there's any way for them to get back home.

One notable aspect of the game is the sheer amount of Character Customization open to the player. Not only can you name your heroes and determine their classes, you can fiddle with their height, hair, eyes, equipment, attire... In fact, their appearance changes to reflect whatever you currently have equipped. This extends to your teammates as well, enabling the player to create a very personalized party to take on challenges with.

It was released in Japan in 2009 by Square Enix and in North America and Europe in 2010 by Nintendo.

Tropes used in Dragon Quest IX include:
  • Actually Four Mooks: In a change from the series' usual Random Encounters.
  • Alliteration: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
  • All in a Row: After its absence in Dragon Quest VIII, this trope returns.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Not only can you randomly find things in cabinets, pots and barrels, but their contents get reset each time you start playing, just like blue chests. Contents also seem to be determined by what they are and their location -- dressers tend to have clothes, while the pots and barrels inside dungeons are more likely to have reagents and mini medals than those in towns.
  • And the Adventure Continues...: So much so that instead of "The End" or "Fin", the closing says "To Be Continued..." and immediately launches you into the Extended Gameplay of the Playable Epilogue.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: In a way. In order to defeat the Big Bad you must become a "mortal" by eating a Fygg. The Celestrians for the most part seem to hate the mortals (See Pride below), so it may count.
  • Angel Unaware: In the well of Wormwood Creek. The quest-giver for the Priest rank, he reveals himself after success.
  • Angst Coma: Mayor Bryce at the end of the Lleviathan arc. He only gets better after the completion of a sidequest later on.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: As per Dragon Quest tradition, you can have up to four members in your active party. There's also a limit to how many characters you can create and have waiting at the Quester's Rest.
    • On a related note, the game does pretty much everything it can to avoid showing more than five-ish modeled characters at once for the sake of rendering speed. All but the most important NPC's are billboarded sprites, your party members are often not shown in key cutscenes that involve several important (and thus modeled) characters, and monsters and party members in battle are often hidden even when standing onscreen unless they're in the middle of interacting.
  • Backstory: Most of it is given after the game through the downloadable quests.
  • Bald of Awesome: Aquila, the Crutch Character that helps you out during the tutorial, and a possible character customization option.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Corvus. For 300 years, and it was because the village he defended betrayed him. (Serena was duped into betraying him.)
  • Berserk Button: Some monsters have these, where doing things like getting a Critical Hit or healing a party member (specific to the enemy) will enrage it, making it only target the character that made the action.
    • Using the 'Whistle' skill in battle also causes them to focus on the user, which makes it very useful for dedicated tank characters to learn for all but the party-wide enemy attacks.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Your fellow Celestrians ascend to the heavens without so much as a goodbye while you're left behind to wander around as a mortal and continue protecting the land. No rest for the weary. For better or for worse, most of the living have no recollection of the existence of guardians. A random NPC in Gleeba goes so far as to complain about a pointless 'odd relic' cluttering up the place -- the Gleeban guardian statue she could once be found praying to earlier in the game. On the bright side, the world is saved; Serena, Corvus and the rest of the Celestrians have hopefully found peace; and you are eventually reunited with Aquila. Not to mention that you get to spend more time with Sterling, Stella and your mortal friends...
  • Bilingual Bonus: The place where you change jobs is on Newid Isle, "newid" being Welsh for "change".
    • That goes beyond Bilingual Bonus, then. It can also be read as "New I.D. Isle", where you get a new identity (90% of the visits to the map area will be for class changing).
  • Blood Knight: Goresby-Purrvis. He fights you in the final dungeon not because Corvus told him to (his loyalty is to the Gittish Empire alone), but because he considers you a Worthy Opponent.
  • Bonus Boss: Every Dragon Quest last boss ever, and quite a few dragons, too. Amusingly they use the same Grotto system (you can even get a few of these maps randomly from higher ranked Grotto bosses, 1 in 20 chance) but they have only one floor, the boss floor. Bosses start at level 1, and upon beating them, you have the opportunity to give up the XP, allowing the boss to gain levels (which increases item and XP drop from the boss, but also increases the boss's stats and occasionally gives him new attacks). Most bosses after level 16 or so drop the next boss in the chain's map (rarely- 10% chance at first, but rises as you level them up) and start dropping very high level gear. If (and that's a very big if) you can beat them, that is.
  • Book Ends: The beginning and ending narrations are both the same, on a backdrop of stars.
  • Broken Angel: You and a few others.
  • But Thou Must!: No, Aquila won't take no for an answer. He'll just keep asking until you hand over the Fyggs and get blasted out of the sky.
    • Lampshaded during the Prologue: when Aquila requests to stop calling you by your title except for when formality dictates, refusing earns you a brief lecture on how Celestrians can't defy their superiors. There's more to it than that, as you find out when you "free" Corvus.
    • Subverting this trope Stella will accept either Yes or No. She asked if you could hear her, so by responding to her question, you heard her. She does yell at you for saying No, though.
  • Capital City: Stornway and Gleeba, the only still-standing monarchies in the world. Gleeba is the larger of the two, but pretty much a quarter of the post-game DLC quests are found in Stornway.
  • Car Fu: Or rather Train Fu.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Just take a look at the default class armour for the female Warrior.
  • Character Customization: Played completely straight for the first time in the series's history, and enabling players to invoke various Costume Tropes, Eye Tropes, Hair Tropes and so forth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tons through the DLC quests, including The crack in the wall in Stornway's well, the ruins of Brigadoom, that one guard's comment about King Schott's bad dreams, and the amnesiac ghost in the Quarentomb.
  • Cherry Tapping: There are several quests that require you to kill one or more strong enemies with weak attacks. "Kill Atlas[1] with the Zam spell[2]" is a good example.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Justified by the plot.
  • Clingy Costume: Cursed equipment cannot be removed until a priest performs the skill Benediction on the character.
  • Combination Attack: While all the members of your party have coups de grâce, if certain basic and advanced classes are in your party together they can use special Co-op de grâces that are usually a combination of their own separate ones.
  • Cool Train: The Starflight Express.
  • Cosmetic Award: The Accolades.
  • Covers Always Lie: Due to the Character Customization feature, none of the characters on the front cover are important to the plot (though they are defaults)...
  • Creature of Habit: The whole of Wormwood Creek. They're so determined not to have their lives disrupted that it's made them extremely hostile and xenophobic.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Patty. Obviously, also possible with your party.
  • Damage Reduction: The defence stat reduces incoming physical damage by 1 point per 4 points of defence. Some equipment also reduces specific types of elemental damage by a percentage. Late in the game, particularly against grotto bosses and legacy bosses (as well as some of the more powerful monsters encountered deep in higher level grottoes) that can hit for several hundred damage, elemental damage reduction tends to be worth a lot more than defence.
  • Darkskinned Blonde: Stella, The Hero's Valley Girl Ninja Butterfly Fairy Companion. It's also possible to make a character with this trait.
  • Dead All Along: The Gittish Empire was defeated 300 years ago; when you face Gittish soldiers for the first time, this is very clear. Goreham Hogg realizes this when you defeat him, as it reminds him of when Graygnarl killed him.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: A sign inside the Bad Cave: "WARNING! You ave bin warned."
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Gittingham Palace
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens at random based on your charm stat. More likely to happen to Minstrels and Luminaries, due to a high natural charm stat and passive charm bonuses in their unique skilltrees. Can even affect the Big Bad and Bonus Bosses.
  • DLC: Interestingly, of the "already programmed in there" variety. An examination of the game code shows that all the extra missions and dungeons are simple flags.
  • The Dragon: Goresby-Purrvis to King Godwyn. Barbarous to Corvus as a literal example. Graygnarl also counts, to the heavens above.
  • Dub Name Change: Sandy -> Stella, Ruida -> Patty, and many others.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Due to the Treasure Map system.
  • Dungeon Town: The Gortress, which is quite literally a prison complex full of downtrodden townsfolk who were kidnapped.
  • The Empire: The Gittish Empire. They're not quite an empire by the time they show up, though.
  • Enemy Scan: The Eye for Trouble skill.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: The Rusty Sword you find in the last dungeon is Loto Erdrick's Sword, the third best sword in the game -- only the deep grotto gear is better. All the Rusty gear turns out to be Erdrick's gear, which is all the third best stuff in the game.
  • Extended Gameplay: Dear Almighty, where to begin? The grotto system. The cameo bosses. The weekly Wifi DLC. Given the relative ease of the main quest and the bone crushing difficulty of the extra content (something the developers said was intentional), it's not a stretch to suggest that the entire 50 hour main game is merely a tutorial for the Extended Gameplay.
  • Expy: Using the character creation system, you can make expies of other characters designed by Toriyama. Among them, Shu, Crono, Marle, and Lucca, Androids #17 and 18, and Gohan, and Uub...just to name a few.
    • It's also possible to recreate virtually every previous Dragon Quest hero, in fact, the game even offers their trademark garbs as some of the more useful equips.
    • Also, some of the official art depicts a character who looks a good deal like Vash the Stampede.
    • Corvus is esentially a Celestrian version of Psaro the Manslayer.
  • Fake Defector: Aquila. His "defection" was just a failed Batman Gambit to kill the evil emperor
  • Fallen Angel: You, technically, since you need to eat a fygg in order to become mortal to defeat the Big Bad at the end. Corvus is a straight example.
  • Fallen Hero: Corvus
  • Fan Disservice / Double Standard: Revealing male clothing barely boost and in most cases penalizes a characters allure ranking, while female revealing clothing (as well as "fetish" outfits like a maid costume or a schoolgirl skirt) increases it a great deal.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Mild version, done mainly through writing the dialogue phonetically so that many characters have accents. Stornway appears to be Scotland (their king is King Schott, neighboring town Brigadoom has links to another legendary Scottish locale that vanished), Port Llaffan is apparently Welsh, the empty Hermany region is based after Germany, The Gittish use Stock British Phrases and probably have an upper-crust London accent... the list goes on.
  • Fetch Quest: Many of the Side Quests.
  • Fiery Redhead: Possible, and a common archetype in Dragon Quest; interestingly, however, instead of the usual reddish-orange sported by most DQ redheads, IX instead features a much richer red. Certain cosplay outfits include wigs to get that nice orange shade.
  • Fight in The Nude: Notably Averted—every piece of gear has it's own 3d model graphics for male and female characters.
    • Amusingly, some characters will react if you speak to them while wearing armor they don't expect / not wearing armor. For example, some of the Celestrians get quite upset if you're not wearing your official Celestrian outfit when you speak to them. Later on, you're required to wear a suit of "Dragon Warrior" armor for a specific event.
      • You can strip down by unequipping everything. They'll be wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and short shorts underneath everything.
  • Foreshadowing: The Prologue is naturally brimming with it, if you know where to look.
  • The Four Gods: the elemental Cobra, Fowl, Feline, and Tortoiseshell fan weapons upgrade to Azure Dragon, Vermilion Bird, White Tiger, and Black Tortoise fans, with appropriate art.
  • Free Rotating Camera
  • Game Favored Gender: Females get the 2 best leg armors in the game (Magical Skirt and Sizzling Bikini Bottoms, both great gear for resists), can earn a total of one more title than males and some odd possibly useful exclusive equipment through out the game. All male only equipment either has a roughly equal female counterpart obtainable at the same time and or isn't something to wear in an actual fight. Even with the Wear-with-all males can't wear a good chunk of female items due to their exposure of cleavage (see down) while only a few rare items show bare male chests and get barred.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Inverted, even with the Wear-with-all medal (which lets you wear other genders clothing) the game will not let you wear a dangerous bikini or the dangerous midriff wrap, telling that even it won't let you get away with that.
    • Also, it won't let females wear the Muscle Belt, which is two belts wrapped around the torson in an X shape. Try and guess why they didn't allow it. (Which is odd, since it's the standard uniform for Disgaea warriors...)
      • However, even without the Wear-with-all medal male characters can wear Alena's outfit, despite it having obvious boobage. Perhaps the Tsarevna stuffs her top?
    • To the left of the big staircase leading up to Alltrades Abbey, there's a suspiciously phallic-looking island.
  • God Is Evil: Flashbacks late in the game reveal that Zenus was a bit of a dick.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: What produces benevolessence.
    • Subverted, benevolessence isn't required at all. It's proof of humanity's goodness, per Celestra's argument with Zenus.
  • Gratuitous French: Coup de grâce for Limit Breaks and je ne sais quoi for the Luminary class skill. Co-Op de grâce for double-team Limit Breaks.
  • Guide Dang It: The flip side of the Nintendo Hard gameplay—the game's quests can be downright obscure to unlock, let alone complete. This may be why Bradygames released a guide for the game bigger than some phone books.
    • Special mention go to the Grottos, which are displayed as cryptic Xes on a special, zoomed in version of the world map, with no reference points nor ability to scroll. However, the more you become familiar with the world map, the more you recognize landmarks in the scrolled in versions of the map—there are only so many places with giant spiderwebs or destroyed trees, for example.
    • And on top of that, you can achieve Accolades for certain accomplishments, but it's never explained which ones are available or how to get them. Ones for achieving weapon or class skills are simple enough, but there's also, for example, a series of titles for dressing well and "well" isn't defined: and one such title is required for a quest.
    • Also unexplained are the requirements to get cosplay gear from the legacy heroes that visit the Quester's Rest via DLC. But we can help you out on that one: One is unlocked by default, one is for upgrading the inn completely, and a third is given on your birthday. Some stop there, others give a fourth item once the inn's won an award in a DLC quest chain and maybe a fifth when your hero is the same class as the legacy character.
    • On a less amusing note, the combination of Punny Names for every skill, alongside a lack of game descriptions of skills (at least before you buy them) leads to a bit of frustration.
    • Detailed information on the elemental strengths and weaknesses of enemies is crucial to effectively using the Fource skills of the Armamentalist class. Unfortunately, such information is not provided in-game; some of the bestiary entries have hints about them, and that's it.
  • Have You Seen My God??: His daughter specifically mentions that Zenus still exists, but does not know where he is. On top of that, he seems to appear when "Spelly Breath" is used and "speaks" if you use Divination, creating a sort of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • Pieces of God: The 10 bonus bosses in the grottoes and their extended character description imply (and in some cases, outright state) that they are Zenus, divided into 10 parts. The other two are a resurrected Greygnarl, and a demon named Tyranasaurus Wrecks who freed the others to screw over the Sage.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: The ending cutscene removes a character's "head" gear, even if it is of a type (glasses, hair accessories) that doesn't impede the view of the PC's face. Otherwise averted.
    • And, of course, you are perfectly free to invoke this one yourself, if you don't mind the defense impediment.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Your main character's first weapon is a sword, and the box art gives one to the most prominent figure. Of course, if you like, he/she can ditch the sword early on.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Celestrian law forbids one from defying or acting against his/her superiors. Twice throughout the game, this ends up screwing you as you are thrust into combat against a higher "ranked" Celestrian, find yourself completely unable to take any actions, and receive a swift beatdown. The final segment of the game centers around finding a way around this law so that you can actually fight and defeat the Big Bad.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Gittish Empire serve as an enormous example of the depravity humanity is capable of, in a shocking reversal to one of the main themes of Dragon Quest itself :Humans Are Good. However, everybody in the empire died a long time ago after it collapsed, so they're Not Even Human by the time you see them in the game.
  • Humans Are White: From not-Scotland to not-Arabia, the NPC pigmentation range is pretty limited.
    • Mukokuseki: You can make your characters the darkest shade possible and they'll still look like they just have a really deep tan.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Towns. Dungeons. Enemies. Bosses. Characters. Flavor Text. Too many to count. It's tradition for the Dragon Quest series, but only recently did it start being reflected in the North American localization.
    • Not really. It's more like the butterfly's wing-flap of puns of the original went on to cause the localization's hurricane, as the ratio of puns in every recent localization has been ramped up to 100, and that is not an hyperbole.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Bloomingdale "kidnappers" are pretty much the most pathetic crooks ever.
    • Even their hideout name is evidence of this. It likely came about like so: "We need a good lair name." "Ooh! How about "The Bad Cave"?" "Brilliant!"
    • Despite how vicious they may technically be, Sanguini enemies will NEARLY ALWAYS waste at least one turn "just fluffing about", best exemplified when they get a surprise attack and EACH ONE. DOES. IT.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Each weapon type has a specific series of 3-4 of them, dubbed the Uber-gear. The consist of a basic weapon that you get in ultra-deep grottoes, then an evolved version you get by using alchemy. Using this, you can then make 2 more evolved versions past that—a booby prize version, and another that has a 10% chance of appearing when you create the booby prize. Should you end up getting the booby prize version, you can alchemize it with a special item to reset it back to its base form so you can try again. There are similar pieces of armor that use the same system.
    • Not all the time, however. There are many situations where other gear is more useful than the Uber-gear. For example, the only reason you'd want to use the actual Infinity+1 Sword instead of the Uber Falcon Blade is that the former can reduce the target's defence.... even on bosses in a game where Contractual Boss Immunity is in full effect. See Infinity-1 Sword below for more details.
    • Infinity-1 Sword: The Metal gear (Metal King Sword, Metal King Armor, etc). Obtainable in grottoes, it's not the best, but it's pretty darned close (and looks awesome). Most of the cameo gear is very similar—not the best, but cool looking Mythology Gags that you might indeed wear for a while.
    • If your attack is already at 999, it doesn't matter how powerful your god-weapon is, your attack never goes beyond 999. Therefore, the Falcon Blade series becomes the most useful weapons in the game at that point, with Dire Critical Fan and Attribeauty in the tow. Also, the Metal King Armor begins to overtake the Legendary Armor's position as best heavy armor as your defense gets high enough, as it offers 20% protection from all elements (Legendary Armor has 25% protection from fire and ice). Same with sandal-type footwear over boots.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: The Stornway Inn. Characters from different Dragon Quest games (even one's from Canon different times and worlds) can stay there, and you can travel to Alternate Universe (other people's games) through it via Socialization Bonus.
  • Ironic Echo: The ending cinematic.
  • Job System: Six basic classes, six advanced ones.
  • Just for Pun: So, so damn much.
  • Karma Houdini: Corvus. Dude starts by blowing up one of the lower levels of heaven and killing God, then goes on to resurrect an entire evil empire and attempt genocide against all of human- and angelkind. Turns out it was all a hilarious misunderstanding, so he offers up a perfunctory apology, turns back into an angel and flies off into the heavens with his lady love. Dragon Quest typically sits closer to the idealism side of the scale, but still. Damn.
    • Somewhat justified. He spent many years locked away, tortured, and experimented on for the sake of furthering the Gittish Empire's power. In addition to Love Makes You Crazy , he was far more messed up than he would have been had he just been heartbroken. Many had thought him for dead, and those who DID try looking for them ended up in People Jars , and in similar, though less horrible, situations. Regardless of that, the less bitter Celestrians never wanted him "dead" necessarily, just stopped so they could save him (You don't get a monument for your good deeds and get looked up to by many for nothing, after all). Apus Major and Celestria both fall under the Good Shepherd role, and despite some Celestrians' attitudes, their collectivity still falls under a good church.
    • The Celestrians. They spend the whole game arrogant and weary of their guardianship. After Aquila gives them the fyggs he stole from you, Apus Major's first response is to pack up and head for the Realm of the Almighty, abandoning not only the entire Protectorate to the Gittish Empire, but also a large pack of his own Celestrians currently being held hostage. At the end of the game, they see their business with the mortals concluded and head off to heaven again, leaving only the now mortal player to continue defending the world. Granted they're not as flippant about it in the original Japanese version, but they are never once called out on any of this.
  • Killer Rabbit: The usual Dragon Quest entries (except for the Bunicorns, who are litteral killer rabbits, they don't appear in the beastiary for DQ 9), but special mention to the Sanguini family. Early on, they're cute little fluff balls that you kinda feel bad about killing. Then they start getting aggressive and lots of teeth. Then you get the expanded bestiary entries and read that when they drink enough blood, they turn into demons. (You get to fight those too—they're called Manguinis, and they look a lot more demonic.)
    • Genius Bonus: "Sanguine" is an old, old word for blood. Can be a Bilingual Bonus instead if you are familiar with any of the latin and other languages that use a similar word for blood.
    • Fridge Horror: There is one high level type of Sanguini, the "Genie Sanguini", who did not turn into a demon. "By some miracle", according to the bestiary. It Randomly Drops Saint's Ashes, an item which inverts cursed and dark equipment into their holy counterparts. Implied: The Genie Sanguini didn't become a demon because it ate a saint.
    • Mook Promotion / Ascended Extra: Monster Allies aside, in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, the local Alpha Bitches sidekick is a Teeny Sanguini. He's not evil though, despite going all red-eyed and ohgodtheTEETH every time someone gets close to him. He is, however, the local Big Bad's soul given flesh after a Grand Theft Me situation.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Gloriously averted. The world is sprawling, often containing side areas for no point other than to have them. Entire islands and plateaus are completely empty except for random monsters and the occasional odd harvesting spot. There are also tons of items that are fairly worthless, but look neat when equipped. All of which comes into play in the Grotto and Quest system, as all of this stuff is fair game for Grotto placement and quest objectives.
  • Les Yay: Ivor is bitterly envious of the MC getting attention from Erinn (as he clearly Cannot Spit It Out), even if the MC is female.
  • Limit Break: Called "Coup de grâce". Each class has one, and they have various effects ranging from the Mage making their spells cost no MP for a time to the Thief guaranteeing item drops after the battle.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Averted. Gladiators, fulled buffed, can do more damage than either Mages or Sages can ever compete with. Some swear by a party of four Gladiators, claiming the setup is nigh undefeatable.
    • Tell that to a Channel Anger + Twocus Pocus. The former heavily boosts your magical might, while the latter lets you cast the same spell twice in a row. If you use it on a spell that can combo, you can do more than one Gladiator can do on his own. Granted, it takes a bit of setup (Not to mention that one Disruptive Wave can send it to hell), but still.
  • Luck-Based Mission: To obtain most of the post-game story relevant quests, one needs to find a random dungeon with "silver" in the name to complete an otherwise simply "kill monsters until they drop the item" quest.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: There is literally no disadvantage to equipping a shield in this game. When fully maxed out and equipping the best shield, you have a 1 in 4 chance of nullifying enemy damage, a myriad of useful abilities that are among the best in the game and complete immunity to critical hits.
  • Malaproper: Stella is very, very prone to this; these can prove amusingly apt, such as when she claims to be a Shrinking Violent...
  • Meaningful Name: Corvus. Celestrians, once you learn their origins
  • Memetic Outfit: Along with the Mythology Gag gear, a couple of Jessica's alternate outfits reappear (the bustiers, natch), and the player can earn Accolades for dressing up their hero to resemble each of the class reps.
  • Messianic Archetype: Celestria, aka Yggdrasil, stopping her father, the high-god Zenus, from killing all of the humans for their sin; and turning into a tree in order to counter that sin.
    • And then there's Greygnarl who dies for his worshippers, and then comes back to life.
  • Mini-Dress of Power: Some of the best equipment in the game happens to be bikinis and bustiers. There are also skirts available that do a good job of boosting one's magical powers.
  • Monster Compendium: The defeated monster list. The Thief ability "Eye For Trouble" can add a second page of flavor text to each entry, as well as revealing what an enemy is capable of dropping (or has available for stealing).
  • Multiple Choice Past: Stella is either:
    • the soul of a child who died.
    • the reincarnated soul of the Queen of Gitt.
    • the second World Tree
      • When asked, she denies all three and merely claims to be Celestra's sister. However, Celestra claims all living things are her siblings.
  • Mythology Gag: The tavern where you create your party is run by a familiar face who fulfilled the same role long ago. Other characters show up throughout the series. The Dharma Temple returns. All of which appear to have been ground into a fine powder by a combination of Executive Meddling and odd localization choices.
    • However, localization choices like Count Uptaten and Patty are actually references to their translations of Dragon Quest IV and Dragon Quest V. So they're still Mythology Gags, just making reference to the modern localizations. While not consistent with the original Japanese names or the NES era translations, they are consistent with themselves.
    • The names of places and characters from Dragon Quest I, II, and III are all from the NES translations instead of the GBC/original. This is either a Regional Bonus to old-school players, a hint at potential Virtual Console ports, and/or an Early-Bird Cameo of a future remake(s) (which is odd considering the characters from 1-3 came first). One can only hope for the last though, especially if based on the cell phone ports, which are arguably the best looking versions yet. Let the Wild Mass Guessing begin.
      • Additionally, the "Dragon Warrior" armor set looks A LOT like the NES boxart and artwork the heroes had on. Not exactly, mind, but way too similar to just be a coincidence.
    • There's an old man wanting to class change into a maid—just like in Dragon Quest III. (He also invokes the third law—citing that he isn't budging until he gets a frilly dress and feather duster.)
    • The first Bonus Boss map you'll find is Baramos, who then drops Murdraw's map, who then drops Dholmagus's map, who drops only high level gear, no maps. All three of these antagonists were infamous Disc One Final Boss characters from previous Dragon Quest games.
    • The second Bonus Boss map you'll likely find is Dragonlord, gotten from a specific Grotto boss that only appears at random in level 80+ Grottos. L16+ Dragonlord drops the map for Psaro, who drops the map for Nimzo, who drops only items. The gag here? They all have One-Winged Angel forms.
    • The husband/wife armor selling warrior duo in Stornway are modeled after the classes appearance in the 3rd game.
    • When you get to Alltrades Abbey, one (very old) man there complains that he can't become a maid - even going into detail about the feather duster and the skirt. In DQ 6, he had a counterpart who wanted to become a pattycake princess.
  • Nice Hat: There's plenty of nice helmets and headgear to choose from. Also used humorously in the title screen cinematic: the Martial Artist is shown wearing an Iron Helmet that doesn't quite fit, making it look more like a hat than a helmet.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Multiple times.
  • Nintendo Hard: Word of God has stated this to be the goal, with the following rationale: "People can always find out information on the Internet -- like that's part of the game experience."
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Batzorig. Wow.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An odd, ingame example. Greygnarl generally speaks in an ancient 'high and mighty' tone to project a fearsome and powerful image, but if he's sufficiently annoyed (or sufficiently drunk) he reverts to using the same Aussie slang as the Upover citizens.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: An inverted variant: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, if it sees Dragon Quest IX or Dragon Quest VI in Tag mode (set up through Erinn in Stornway), will unlock new content. Conversely, the other two games do similar things if they see Dragon Quest IX. Somehow, Square Enix has standardized a protocol for Dragon Quest games to see each other in Tag Mode, which is mind boggling when you think about it—especially when you realize Dragon Quest X is slated to be a Wii title (and, presumably, easy to link up to DSes).
    • This protocol was so successful that Nintendo has confirmed they are building it into the Nintendo 3DS firmware itself.
  • Orichalcum: One of the items used in Item Crafting. Weapons and armor made from it tend to be very powerful.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Celestrians are basically Winged Humanoids like the Zenithians, only with halos and more active about the whole guardians of the mortal realm thing.
  • Palette Swap: A staple of the series, and strangely charming when done in 3d. It helps that they give the Palette Swaped monsters differing names (Slime -> She-Slime -> Metal Slime) and they actually have different skills, AI, etc.
    • Possibly lampshaded in the game itself—the deep grotto monsters continue the trend, only it goes Off the Rails: monsters done up like literal clowns, garish, neon colored paintjobs, etc etc.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Various high class ladies, and various types of armor.
  • Playable Epilogue: So much so it might as well be Dragon Quest IX: Part 2.
  • Player Mooks: Their appearance is much more customizable, so no two look alike; but they are interchangable. They are also given little to no acknowledgement in the game's storyline.
  • Plot Coupon: Benevolessence.
    • And later The Dragon Balls Fyggs. First you need to find 7 to proceed with the plot, one is given as a MacGuffin in order to let the player defeat the Big Bad, and a 9th in Post-Game to allow you access to the Global Airship.
  • Polluted Wasteland: The Gittish Empire is a grey and ominous wasteland full of pollution, and the ruins of seemingly huge cities and broken brick highways are all that are left of the true empire.
  • The Pratfall: The Minstrel class can unlock the Pratfall Ability, staging a slapstick fall for the amusement of the local Slimes, hopefully depriving the enemy team of a turn as a result of side-splitting hilarity.
  • Prestige Class: Classes are divided into Basic and Advanced, with the latter gradually being unlocked over the course of the game. However, unlike the expected system, Advanced classes are no better than the basic classes—in fact, the basic classes are often better at specific things, being specialists.
  • Pride: It takes about 3 seconds of walking around the Tutorial town to realize just how utterly arrogant most Celestrians are. Some are openly questioning why they have to protect the world, others are openly derisive of humans, others are one step away from being outright Obstructive Bureaucrats. This foreshadows what happens to them at the end of the tutorial quite nicely. The prophecy even spells out exactly what happens... just not what they expected: "Fyggbloom hails the opening of the Heavenly Gates (big honking thunderbolt) and sets the Celestrians on the path to salvation (the plot of the game)..."
    • Averted in the Japanese version, where the angels are completely amicable and devoted to their job.
  • Pride Before a Fall
  • Punny Name: It is seriously easier to list all names that don't contain a pun, an alliteration or some kind of double meaning.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Gittish Empire's Triumgorate.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: A potential side-effect of mix-and-match armor.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The Grotto system makes a return from Dragon Quest Monsters 1 and 2, this time in a main series Dragon Quest game. Randomly generated but using the same seed system, there are about 250,000 Over 8 million separate dungeons that are the same with every copy of the game. You get access to one by doing a quest during the main game, one at the start of the post game, and get the others through Tag Mode and/or beating the bosses of other Grottos. If you can.
    • Some of these have become very legendary in Japan due to the popularity of mass transit -- Masayuki's Map, for example, has nothing but Metal King Slimes on the 15th floor (although the monsters from floors 10-14 are all stronger than the last boss, and come in groups of 3), the Kawasaki Locker has the same monsters on floor one (and they get worse from there) but it has some of the best treasure chests possible, etc etc. Masayuki was even interviewed in the Japanese media due to the popularity of his map.
  • Rare Candy: While you need a hell lot of them for it to have any noticeable effect, seeds are still the only way (aside from skills) to permanently increase your stats. If you're stupidly, insanely, HELLISHLY devoted enough, you can get every single stat in every single vocation up to 999 (the maximum), and in doing so, make the entire vocation system absolutely unbalanced due to the fact that some vocations have spells while others get none. A vocation's usefulness at that point would be determined by what equipment they can wear (Priests get the best helm and more elementally resistant gear), what spells they can use (Sages get the best revival spell as well as offensive spells), and what effect their Coup de Grace has (Paladin's Coup de Grace nullifies all hostile effects).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Apus Major.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning / Marked Change: The Big Bad, right before taking on his true form.
  • Ret-Gone: When the Celestrians ascend in the end, no normal human remembers that they ever existed.
    • An earlier, related example occurs when the player character becomes the guardian of Angel Falls. Aquila's name is replaced with theirs, but everyone but Ivor thinks it was always like that.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The village of Wormwood turns Corvus over to The Empire to be spared from them. They get massacred anyways. Quoth the sargeant, "I Lied."
  • Roboteching: When Barbarus powers up near the end of the awesome dragon battle cutscene, he launches a barrage of dark energy lasers that all curve in Greygnarl's general direction.
  • Rule of Symbolism: You are an angel, your boss is God. The final boss is a Lucifer Expy.
    • Furthermore, Celestria is a sort of female Jesus, giving up her life for the sake of the world by turning herself into a tree, a notable symbol of (among other things) life, death, rebirth, and sustenance. All of these concepts are important to DQ9's plot (the last of which mixes with salvation). Her father created the Celestrians for the purpose of saving her from this fate, but if a mortal eats a fygg, bad stuff tends to happen to the eater. Sound familiar?
  • Santa Claus: Chris Cringle. He lives on an island off the Cringle Coast.
  • Serious Business: Innkeeping. Not only is there an "Inny" awarded to the Inncredible Inntertainer Eddwinn, the previous innkeepers literally get on the floor and bow when faced with his daughter, Erinn. Talk about an Inncredibly Lame Pun.
    • And we haven't even got to the DLC that introduces Al Capinne and the Inntouchables. And yes, they are an inn-keeping mafia.
      • It kind of makes sense when you think about it. Inns are one of the most important facilities in an RPG world, after all.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Supreme Sage, either a living Great Big Book of Everything or else turned himself into one in order to contain the demon Tyrannosaurus Wrecks. It then did the same thing for the 10 Pieces of Zenus that became beings unto themselves. Tyrannosaurus Wrecks freed them all, and the pages of the book became Treasure Maps.
    • The Ragin' Contagion—the boss that the Main Character fights inside the Quarantomb—was sealed away in a pot by the inhabitants of Coffinwell for about a hundred years before breaking out and infecting the entire village all over again.
  • Seth Green: Doing the ads for the game. Yes, that Seth Green. Nintendo wasn't kidding when they said they wanted to give Dragon Quest IX the proper advertisement budget it deserves in the US.
  • Shout-Out: The last skill you learn in the Thief's class skillset is called Treasure Eye Land.
  • The So-Called Coward: The chief's son in Batsureg is seemingly terrified of a beast attacking his father and their advisor. He's really pretending because he knows the advisor is really a monster and is plotting against her. The beast, btw, is working for him and isn't targeting his father.
  • Socialization Bonus: Connecting with other players in Tag Mode can upgrade the Quester's Rest, and you can also get treasure maps from those you connect with.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: King Godwyn.
  • Spiritual Successor: While it has Mythology Gags to all the games in the series, 9 can be best summed up as "Dragon Quest III with the Dragon Quest VIII skill system."
  • Sprite Polygon Mix: Monsters, party members, and most particularly plot-important or unique characters get polygons. Shopkeepers, townspeople, and less important characters get sprites.
  • Stealth Pun: In Porth Llaffan everyone has a Welsh accent. In other words, the place where the people worship a whale is based on Wales.
  • Sticks to the Back
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Upon first meeting Corvus , you are given the option of whether or not to set him free. You can see him clearly and are also allowed to talk to him, where it is INCREDIBLY APPARENT that that is not a good idea, as he is the source of all the Protectorate's troubles. Guess what you have to do to continue the story.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: YOU can do this by keep recruiting members and keep ditching them away for good. Even though you don't strip their equipment off first, parting with members does that automatically. Selling their basic equipments is a good way to earn a bit extra money, if you don't feel bad, that's it.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: The ultimate Luminary skill, Disco Stew.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Both averted and played straight. Enemies will cease to chase after you once your level is high enough, but it's quite possible that you will not have reached this limit even by the time you can one-shot an entire group of attackers. In addition, some monsters are apparently more aggressive than others, such as the badboons in the Alltrades area that will continue to charge at you a good fifteen levels after everything else in the vicinity has decided that discretion is the better part of valor.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "No I am not planning to kidnap the richest guy in town's daughter and hold her for ransom!"
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Appropriately named "The Oubliette," it is used by the Gittish Empire to trap and drain the power of fallen Celestrians.
  • Theme Naming: All named Celestrians, with the exception of the main character, maybe, are named for constellations that are named for birds.
  • This! Is! Sparta!: "You... are... not... Mason..."
  • Time Dissonance: References to all of the Dragon Quest games abound, simultaneously.
  • Totally Radical: Courtesy of Batsureg's priest: "Wow, we are completely the Almighty's little children, yo. How would you like to use our way humble church?"
  • Tragic Monster: Pretty much anyone foolish enough to eat a Fygg. Some are able to get better, while others have to be put down.
  • Trailers Always Lie- Despite being implied by the trailer, Aquila is only in your party for the first battle of the game. (Until a DLC quest we'll get sometime in 2011, anyway.)
  • Treasure Map: Invoked by name. The maps that enable grottos to appear and display where they appear are called treasure maps, and are red Xes on a zoomed in version of the world map. Trying to figure out just where they are is part of the fun of grinding them.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: Many of the quests that don't involve Cherry Tapping.
  • Unfinished Business: Part of the Guardians' job description includes helping lost spirits complete this so they can pass on.
  • Untrusting Community: Wormwood Creek. Considering that the last time they trusted outsiders, they were almost wiped out by The Empire, it's kinda justified.
  • Valley Girl: Kogal, actually, which translates very well into Valley Girl. Thankfully, the original developers didn't go Ganguro with her.
  • Victory-Guided Amnesia: Averted. It was stated that this was going to happen, after the Celestrians Ret-Gone and the main character's Humanity Ensues meant he would forget everything. (Which, given he was one, would be nearly everything.) However, there's a Playable Epilogue quest that lets him bolster his awareness.
  • Video Game Stealing: You can steal the skin from snakes, the wings from butterflies, or the bandages from mummies, among others. This does not harm them or impede their ability to attack or defend in any apparent way.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Being able to see your equipment in character models.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: Two serve the purpose in different ways: the Wight Knight exists to show players why having a full party is a good idea, while the Master of Nu'un is the first boss with respectable multi-target damage and signals the point that the game takes off the kid gloves.
    • Also the Ragin' Contagion, who is the first boss to have multiple attack turns, employ any sort of strategy, and make good use of status altering moves, which can wreak havoc on an unprepared party.
    • Goresby-Purrvis and his fellow Gittish warriors serve as late examples of this and That One Boss to illustrate that you should really utilize skill points, alchemy, and side-quests. Purrvis is A LOT easier with the Shield scroll from Swinedimples, which auto-blocks critical hits when using a shield and the scroll.
    • The bosses in the random dungeons—the game's difficulty curve is fairly gentle until you hit the first boss from grottos, or the first cameo boss from a previous DQ game. Then it's a bit like slamming into a brick wall.
      • To wit, the monsters in your first grotto will be so low-level that some of them will actually flee from you...and then the boss can demolish your entire party in a single turn with two area-effect spells.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Invoked with your hero, who starts as a Minstrel, possibly because everybody else think they look like one.
  • Warmup Boss: The Hexagoon. It has a basic attack and a rock throw which isn't much different. A main character at level 7 (perfectly reasonable) will probably have to heal with a spell or an item exactly once to survive until the end of the battle.
  • Weapon of Choice: Each class has certain weapons they specialize in; several of these specialties are shared, and mastering a weapon allows any class to equip it. Certain weapon types can only be trained in by Prestige Classes, making unlocking them worthwhile simply to expand your characters' potential arsenal.
  • With This Herring: Many of the individual quests involve fighting a monster in just such a manner. Like...."Defeat the God Horse Nemean with a Laundry Pole."
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: It's almost impossible to count how many puns have been shoehorned into the localization.
  • World Tree: Two of them. One in the Observatory which is really the goddess Celestra, and there's a small ghost one on Pluvi Island.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Baramos (in a cameo from Dragon Quest III) speaks this way.
  • You All Meet in An Inn: Literally so, a Mythology Gag dating back to Dragon Quest III.
  • You Can See Me?: One of the hero's Celestrian powers prompts a lot of this reaction.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: And pink, and green, and purple, and silver/gray...
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Thirty-five skill points into the Claw skill tree is the ability "Flailing Nails", which...is just your claw-user punching the shit out of the enemy like a Berserk Button's been pressed. What's more, it takes twenty-three more skill points to reach "Hardclaw". Now, your character finally learns how to... hit the opponent with both claws with a one-two punch.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: You didn't really think King Godwyn was the Big Bad, did you?
  1. who has over 6300 HP (the Final Boss, by comparison, has "only" 4800 HP)
  2. which does 20-30 damage