Subvert a fantasy cliche/stereotype

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

The title says it all. Just for fun, I want you guys to take the most painful, boring and trite cliches and stereotypes and subvert them, put an interesting twist to them or otherwise make them new.

I'll start us off:
The chosen one - The story starts off as a usual "chosen one" story, preferably with a farmboy who learns that the dark one is rising. Cue destroyed hometown/dead parents. While trying to fight back, the farmboy grabs his father's sword and tries to fight back. What with the farmboy being just that, and fighting trained soldiers, he is swiftly decapitated.

Healers are female - Simple, just make the resident healer male, bonus points if he's also shy and demure.

Here's what I wanna see. You follow the entire length of a game based off of "the prophesy," make it to the mighty mountain of eternal glowing bolly or wherever you're supposed to be, and it turns out that oh, sorry, that prophesy was written by some toothless drunk in a shed, guess who just killed like 500 people for no reason?

Failing that, I'd like to see a main character be straightforwardly gay, with a love interest to save or something. Oooh, how the critics would howl, and it'd pull in revenue based on controversy alone.

One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

Majinary:

Failing that, I'd like to see a main character be straightforwardly gay, with a love interest to save or something. Oooh, how the critics would howl, and it'd pull in revenue based on controversy alone.

Agreed! I was actually thinking the other day the very few examples of a well developed story involving transsexuals which didn't use the character in question's sex change as a punch line. I could only think of Legend Of Zelda which even then that was a cross-dresser. I'd like to see more non-straight characters where the alternative sexuality (or non-cis-gender characters) isn't used as a punchline for a joke.

I can see why a developer would be terrified to push something like that. Even if the actual media played it straight, and actually made the character a legitimate one, the backlash it'd get through certain immature audiences would be hard to take.

Axolotl:
One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

That's true, but it seems like there are a great deal of taboo subjects in most media - it's not that it hasn't been done, but it's only been done in obscure areas, and is never promoted like it would otherwise be. The typical tropes in reversal - the big-titted damsel fights monsters to save her kidnapped soldier boyfriend? - they may be out there, but the don't get pushed, because everyone figures they won't really be successful either way.

It's not that nobody wants to push the envelope, just that nobody wants to do it first.

There is a manga called Wakusei no Samidare.
The story starts with a guy who gets approached by a talking lizard who tells him he's a knight destined to save the "Princess". So he grabs the lizard by the tail and throws him out the window.
No matter how much he tries to get rid of the lizard, the thing reappears next to him again, so he just gives up. It turns out that he's the only one he knows that can see the thing anyway.
So the lizard keeps trying to get him to become this knight. The dude says no every single time.

Until they finally meet the Princess, who is so absurdly powerful there is little point in him having to protect her.(She can clear a large river in a single jump and destroy the bad guys in a single punch)
Her dream, however, is to save the world from the bad guy so she can destroy it with her own hands. That is what gets him to become her Knight. Their mutual desire to destroy the world.

The story changes later on into typical cliche territory, but I thought that intro was brilliant.

So to recap:
The main character is anti-social, but not socially inept. He can converse with people and hang out with them, he chooses not to because he doesn't like them.
When given the choice to become a super powered knight and save the world, he refuses outright and tries to get rid of the messenger.(by throwing him out a window) In fact, I believe he pretty much says the world can go screw itself.
The Princess is actually a thousand times more powerful than he is, so she ends up saving him. And she doesn't want to protect the world, she wants to destroy it. She just doesn't want someone else to do it.

Health Potions are like real Herbal medicines, they cost a lot and don't do shit.

You could even try and trick people into buying them!

Ironic Pirate:
Health Potions are like real Herbal medicines, they cost a lot and don't do shit.

You could even try and trick people into buying them!

They also, apparently, taste like crap.
image

The soldiers of a town the hero is visiting actually do their own work.

Axolotl:
One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

Yeah, I'm aware of that. I just made this thread for fun-tiems. Besides, I feel there's a lot of things we haven't seen in fantasy yet, for example a straightforward gay lead that's not treated as a token minority.

OT:
Men are the only warriors - I'd like to see a woman that's a cross between marcus fenix and kratos

Mages wear silly clothes - There's no reason ordinary clothes shouldn't work for casting spells, so why not have a wizard without the damn robes, without the silly hat, and maybe even armored?

Mages are squishy/mages are old - Mages are usually portrayed as physically frail due to focusing on studies and such. However, what if one started studying at an early age, then went on to train one's body, or started by building a good bodily foundation then maintaining that inbetween studies? Get kind of a warmage thing going?

Warriors are thick as bricks/Everyone who wields a sword is Arnold - Simple enough, I want to see warriors (and then especially barbarians) that are calm, collected and reasonably intelligent, maybe even using such skills in battle.

The plucky young hero not actually being an orphan/product of neglect(coughAshKetchum)/raised by wizards or something, and constantly gets worried phone calls from mom, and occasionally has to go back to starting point for a quiet family dinner.

gay dragons

Majinary:
I can see why a developer would be terrified to push something like that. Even if the actual media played it straight, and actually made the character a legitimate one, the backlash it'd get through certain immature audiences would be hard to take.

Axolotl:
One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

That's true, but it seems like there are a great deal of taboo subjects in most media - it's not that it hasn't been done, but it's only been done in obscure areas, and is never promoted like it would otherwise be. The typical tropes in reversal - the big-titted damsel fights monsters to save her kidnapped soldier boyfriend? - they may be out there, but the don't get pushed, because everyone figures they won't really be successful either way.

It's not that nobody wants to push the envelope, just that nobody wants to do it first.

Or, they do make them and you end up with Bayonetta or WET. Hardly taboo to have an attractive female lead. Seems though, to be taboo to also have that attractive female lead also be an interesting and well grounded character.

In which case, Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 subvert the -hell- out of the typical attractive female lead. Fem Shepard is smart, tough, and while obviously her looks are up to the player, you aren't really going to see her traipsing around in skimpy space catsuits, although, there is the issue of the 'romances', but I prefer to sweep those under the rug as it were. No pun intended.

the antithesis:
gay dragons

It's been done.

Ooh, but I see what you did there. Clever.

All Halo characters have no personality and Halo has no story.
Halo is a generic shooter.

Those are the worst stereotypes ever.

Terminate421:
All Halo characters have no personality and Halo has no story.
Halo is a generic shooter.

Those are the worst stereotypes ever.

They aren't stereotypes if they're true.

I'd like to see an anime where the lead male has enough perception to realise that the lead female is in love with him, and probably has been for some time

Nobody uses any goddamn swords, at the very least the hero is not allowed a sword, take It a step further and everybody is issued projectile weapon instead of some insane meelee weapon.

Dwarves always wield battleaxes.

WRONG: some of then also carry pickaxes.

Mr.Squishy:

Axolotl:
One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

Yeah, I'm aware of that. I just made this thread for fun-tiems. Besides, I feel there's a lot of things we haven't seen in fantasy yet, for example a straightforward gay lead that's not treated as a token minority.

OT:
Men are the only warriors - I'd like to see a woman that's a cross between marcus fenix and kratos

Mages wear silly clothes - There's no reason ordinary clothes shouldn't work for casting spells, so why not have a wizard without the damn robes, without the silly hat, and maybe even armored?

Mages are squishy/mages are old - Mages are usually portrayed as physically frail due to focusing on studies and such. However, what if one started studying at an early age, then went on to train one's body, or started by building a good bodily foundation then maintaining that inbetween studies? Get kind of a warmage thing going?

Warriors are thick as bricks/Everyone who wields a sword is Arnold - Simple enough, I want to see warriors (and then especially barbarians) that are calm, collected and reasonably intelligent, maybe even using such skills in battle.

As for mages that can get their hands dirty - Ed and Alphonse Elric come pretty close, right?

1000 years of DARKNESS.

The main character (you) starts off the day being late for school and he is woken up.

...

BY GUNFIRE!

...

FROM BEARS!

Elves aren't completly one with nature. How about some steampunk elves? And the protagonist isn't the chosen one, his best friend is, but we don't learn that until like halfway through the quest. Or the love interest is secretly gay, so all romance has been a waste of time. When pulling out the legendary weapon, it snaps in half because it's so old and was left there for thousands of years.
Or even better! The bad guy shuts up after thirty seconds of a ten minute monologue and shoots the hero in the face!

Mr.Squishy:
Mages wear silly clothes - There's no reason ordinary clothes shouldn't work for casting spells, so why not have a wizard without the damn robes, without the silly hat, and maybe even armored?

Mages are squishy/mages are old - Mages are usually portrayed as physically frail due to focusing on studies and such. However, what if one started studying at an early age, then went on to train one's body, or started by building a good bodily foundation then maintaining that inbetween studies? Get kind of a warmage thing going?

Warriors are thick as bricks/Everyone who wields a sword is Arnold - Simple enough, I want to see warriors (and then especially barbarians) that are calm, collected and reasonably intelligent, maybe even using such skills in battle.

Read the Elric saga,it includes all these and is a gigantic deconstruction of LotR/Conan.

Joshdemon:

Mr.Squishy:

Axolotl:
One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

Yeah, I'm aware of that. I just made this thread for fun-tiems. Besides, I feel there's a lot of things we haven't seen in fantasy yet, for example a straightforward gay lead that's not treated as a token minority.

OT:
Men are the only warriors - I'd like to see a woman that's a cross between marcus fenix and kratos

Mages wear silly clothes - There's no reason ordinary clothes shouldn't work for casting spells, so why not have a wizard without the damn robes, without the silly hat, and maybe even armored?

Mages are squishy/mages are old - Mages are usually portrayed as physically frail due to focusing on studies and such. However, what if one started studying at an early age, then went on to train one's body, or started by building a good bodily foundation then maintaining that inbetween studies? Get kind of a warmage thing going?

Warriors are thick as bricks/Everyone who wields a sword is Arnold - Simple enough, I want to see warriors (and then especially barbarians) that are calm, collected and reasonably intelligent, maybe even using such skills in battle.

As for mages that can get their hands dirty - Ed and Alphonse Elric come pretty close, right?

Oh yeah, I forgot them. Yeah, they're pretty much that. <3 FMA

Everyone thinks that their world is full of ancient civilisations and myths that stretch back hundreds of thousands of years ago. It turns out that they are the first advanced society and that the myths were all made up in preliterate times by wizards who created fake, mysterious but useless architecture and artefacts to convince people they were older and more powerful than they actually are. And someone learns mind reading magic and finds out that Dolphins are pretty stupid. Only concerned with sex and fighting and not wise sages like people thought. It also turns out that Elves are really better than everyone else. The Heroes ask the Elves to sort out the problems with Human society and they agree. The Elves rule over Humans and everyone is happy. The End.

Mr.Squishy:

Axolotl:
One of the main probelm with the modern fantasy genre is that subverting or deconstructing its cliches is itself a major cliche. People have been doing indepth deconstructions of the genre since the sixties at least and it's very well trodden ground.

Yeah, I'm aware of that. I just made this thread for fun-tiems. Besides, I feel there's a lot of things we haven't seen in fantasy yet, for example a straightforward gay lead that's not treated as a token minority.

OT:
Men are the only warriors - I'd like to see a woman that's a cross between marcus fenix and kratos

Mages wear silly clothes - There's no reason ordinary clothes shouldn't work for casting spells, so why not have a wizard without the damn robes, without the silly hat, and maybe even armored?

Mages are squishy/mages are old - Mages are usually portrayed as physically frail due to focusing on studies and such. However, what if one started studying at an early age, then went on to train one's body, or started by building a good bodily foundation then maintaining that inbetween studies? Get kind of a warmage thing going?

Warriors are thick as bricks/Everyone who wields a sword is Arnold - Simple enough, I want to see warriors (and then especially barbarians) that are calm, collected and reasonably intelligent, maybe even using such skills in battle.

Well i do believe those words. Why can't i have a mage wearing the heaviest armor who can swing a claymore with one hand and then slaughter the entire town with magic!? Oh wait. You can do that in oblivion.

But story stereotypes are always "Prophecy" And Morrowind did that too. And it was damn flawless.

Cheveyo:

Terminate421:
All Halo characters have no personality and Halo has no story.
Halo is a generic shooter.

Those are the worst stereotypes ever.

They aren't stereotypes if they're true.

But they aren't true. So they are stereotypes, thanks for giving me useless information.

Axolotl:

Mr.Squishy:
Mages wear silly clothes - There's no reason ordinary clothes shouldn't work for casting spells, so why not have a wizard without the damn robes, without the silly hat, and maybe even armored?

Mages are squishy/mages are old - Mages are usually portrayed as physically frail due to focusing on studies and such. However, what if one started studying at an early age, then went on to train one's body, or started by building a good bodily foundation then maintaining that inbetween studies? Get kind of a warmage thing going?

Warriors are thick as bricks/Everyone who wields a sword is Arnold - Simple enough, I want to see warriors (and then especially barbarians) that are calm, collected and reasonably intelligent, maybe even using such skills in battle.

Read the Elric saga,it includes all these and is a gigantic deconstruction of LotR/Conan.

Cool ^^ Could'ya gimme the name of the author?

Riobux:

Majinary:

Failing that, I'd like to see a main character be straightforwardly gay, with a love interest to save or something. Oooh, how the critics would howl, and it'd pull in revenue based on controversy alone.

Agreed! I was actually thinking the other day the very few examples of a well developed story involving transsexuals which didn't use the character in question's sex change as a punch line. I could only think of Legend Of Zelda which even then that was a cross-dresser. I'd like to see more non-straight characters where the alternative sexuality (or non-cis-gender characters) isn't used as a punchline for a joke.

GAY DRAGON USES FLAMING BREATH

But on topic...

Hunters y'know, killing animals instead of befriending them. But just for fun he/she can refer to killing them as 'befriending them.'
Fire Dragons at the end of the Ice Cave. Adventurers! had fun with that one.
The elements of magic... Oxygen... Hydrogen... Helium... Boron...

Mr.Squishy:

Axolotl:
Read the Elric saga,it includes all these and is a gigantic deconstruction of LotR/Conan.

Cool ^^ Could'ya gimme the name of the author?

Micheal Moorcock. The main books in the series are called Stealer of Souls and Stormbringer.

Ain't that funny: I spend a large amount of my free time subverting fantasy standards and writing them into stories. For example, while it's usually portrayed as all-fun-and-games, I was thinking about all of the numerous ways having a pet dragon could go horribly, horribly wrong. While there are many, many more ways I've played with the concept, I'll just put down one of my favorites. It's in spoilers, as it is a bit on the NSFW side.

I've always hated the fact that the main characters never die but instead get saved in some Deus ex machina. Read some of George RR Martian's shit and it will feel like a breath of fresh air. No one is safe from death or horrible injury.

have the hero be a bisexual hedonist who starts off on the quest with the intention of finding new things to screw and becoming noble afterward.

have the story shown from the perspective of the drunk or experienced warrior/mentor in the party and not the goddamn farmboy.

Have the whole story be a quest to find the chosen one after he was filled with existential
horror of taking his first life and therefore running from his destiny.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked