But, I LIKE this Cliché!

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The only catch-all non-explaination that needs to be said of the traps which still work after centuries without maintainence: "It's Magic!" or rather "Enchantment!"

One that you didn't touch on which was in Dragon Age: Origins as well as in many other RPGs since they first came into being-- the implacable Unstoppable Legions of Darkness who really wouldn't be that much of a problem with modern weapons technology.

Guns and missiles would have made short work of the DarkSpawn and the ArchDemon before the Blight even began, possibly because there would be a Blight-Detector handy. One could probably have nuked Merunes Dagon in Oblivion, as well.

Oliver90909:
After all this, I rummaged through their corpses, equipped the best loot and have now burst into their chamber, likely killing three or four more of the elite bodyguards in front of his/her eyes. how are they still always so confident of their ability to defeat me? Why do they still mock my 'puny' skills when I am having to tread water just to keep from drowning in the blood of their minions?

This is a good one. Also, i really like how the main character can single-handedly (or with a few guys) break into the Fortified Fortress of Fortificated Doom and make his way to the top/inner chamber/etc, even though there are supposedly BILLIONS and BILLIONS of troops inside.

Also on that idea, the "i can kill waves and waves of enemies and not feel a single bit of tiredness" trope. At least Baldur's Gate had some fatigue introduced.

I would say, "No, you can't ever win this fight, you will automatically fail your save (even if you're tough as god) and be forced into a cutscene where the bad guy wins and gets away because this is bad plot railroading," is a bad RPG cliche.

I was amazed when you could opt to "skip" one of these scenes in Dragon Age: quite a stunning feat of virtual dialog between the player and the devs, i would add. The whole fight was incredibly hard (featuring about 10 archers surrounding from all sides, two mages, two fighters and an elite boss-type enemy), but if you won, you never got captured. Ace.

Also, health potions. They cure you up, they give you life, they heal your wounds, but when, with your pack chock full of'em, you meet a fellow dying soldier, the thought NEVER occurs to chug a red vial down his throat and watch him get up like nothing's happened.

Nobody else is every trying to save the world. There going to let a band of teens do it while they stand around and parrot the same few lines over and over.

The best treasure is always at the very end, right behind a giant boss that always seems to waiting for you to come.

No matter how many generals of evil you kill or how many cities you save, nobdy knows who the hell you are.

The hero always wields a sword but his supporting crew can wield guns, axs, staffs, and shoes or anything other odd and end.

Everyone, even if they live in a magically sealed off cave in the negaverse, accepts the same currency. They also usually have very similar prices on goods.

Your map never has anything listed on it until you visit that spot dispute the fact that it often has a picture of the location beforehand.

008Zulu:
A cartoon I saw in my youth subverted the trap cliche`. Rather than guess where to stand and for how long to avoid the firey balls of impaling spear doom, they were able to locate the service passages the engineers used to perform routine maintenance of the death machine and simply walked around.

Haha, brilliant. This should be done in RPGs.

The unusual loot you pick up from enemies and I think World of Warcraft must be the worst for this. Right, that's the small army of rats dealt with, let's see what we've got:

10 x rat meat (pretty standard for rats, really)
6 Gold pieces (rather unusual for a rat to carry currency, but what the hell...)
Shimmering necklace of protection (clearly broken seeing as I'm looting your corpse, and when were rats into accesorising?)
Barbarian's huge axe of destruction (Were you wielding this against me? If so, why did no-one think to say anything? If not, where were you hiding this? The mind boggles...)

My favorite - Meeting the Big Bad Boss several times throughout the game and instead of ending it with one quick stab to the neck, talking to them like an idiot and letting them proceed with world domination so that you can fight a long, drawn out battle with them when they become 100 times more powerful.

"Do i have to do everything around here?"

Wouldn't it be kinda neat if there were other bands of adventurers wandering around the land doing quests as well. The player need never see them, but if u choose to do one quest, complete it, then head back to the quest-giver, and try to do another, they could say "Oh that? Some other guys cleaned that up." Then it would encourage multiple play-throughs, and make the player think very carefully about whom to help.

I think that's a neat idea. Anyone else think so? Also, funny article, here's a piece of pie...

image

The Ancient Well-Lit Tomb with Traps that Still Work:
Although its not an RPG in Uncharted 2 you go through several dungeons filled with broken traps and machines, especially in the Nepal level

tkioz:

Irridium:
The "Break into random people's houses and take their shit. While they watch, and even greet you kindly after you steal all their possesions and sell them for armor/items/money/crack." cliche is still going strong today.

Actually Dragon Age lampshaded that, in the elf camp if you ask the keeper for supplies he says "sure talk to the dude over there", first time around I went wandering, looted everything in the place, then went and spoke to him, I asked him for supplies and he informed me "it's in that chest over there... but you already know that" in such a voice I felt like a little kid again.

Yeah, true. But a few times I would wander around places, go into inns and just take what was in the chests. My lockpicking was really high so I got into pretty much everything that didn't require a key.

What about the "Lets foreshadow a difficult boss battle, by letting the beast scream and growl and you hear it from far away".

See Firekraag dungeon in Baldur's Gate 2 && Tower of Ishal in Dragon Age.

DeathQuaker:
It's the difference between a cliche and a trope. Trope are reused story devices for a reason: because they work, because they provide entertainment. Cliches are the same when they're done wrong/shallowly/repeated without good intention.

I would say, "No, you can't ever win this fight, you will automatically fail your save (even if you're tough as god) and be forced into a cutscene where the bad guy wins and gets away because this is bad plot railroading," is a bad RPG cliche.

On the other hand, "Now it's time to wander through the cool, well-designed ruins of a forgotten race with neat theme music" a good RPG trope.

Me, I always like the part of the game where you have to choose a faction to work for--provided it's well written. Frex, I liked in Baldur's Gate II when you had to choose between the thieves or the vampires--it was a matter of the lesser or greater of two evils, so it was kind of a dingy choice, but you had to save Imoen...

Speaking of which, if they ever used the distressed damsel schtick, at least they usually don't make said damsel helpless and useless--they were just in a bad place at a bad time (or made a bad decision) and you have a lot more reason to rescue them more than, "Because she's there and thou must."

ok, one, NERD!!!!!!!!!!!!
Two, my favorite trope/cliche is Dragons like gold because it is either the world's most comfortable sleeping rurface or a really good scale conditioner.

I love the airship, flying dragon, or spaceship that you get as a means of getting around toward the end of the game. That was until they invented fast travel. Which somehow makes LESS SENSE.
You mean I can travel across the wasteland through hazards that nearly killed me a dozen times over the first time through with NO ill effects and no time used?

Mostly an older one that never seems to work nowadays, but the one where you kill a monster and it drops things that it should not be carrying. Kill a rat and it drops a magical sword. Kill a deer and it gives you 500 gold pieces. Wizardry has this one in abundance, but I cannot tell you how many old school games have this one.

As for more modern cliches, I am getting tired of the "you need to use the correct key in this door" one. I have a mace, can't I just bash it down? If it alerts the guards, then so what? I want to roleplay the consequences.

The "whoops did I just.."

Which makes you suddenly unleash huge shit into the world. Like killing the Ocean planet in Kotor (which one? cant remember), the Dimension wand in Baldur's Gate 2..

Humans being the kind, benevolent race...give me a break. We're capable of startling cruelty and selfishness, but we like to kid ourselves with the idea that we're wonderful and helpful towards all.

Vanguard_Ex:
Humans being the kind, benevolent race...give me a break. We're capable of startling cruelty and selfishness, but we like to kid ourselves with the idea that we're wonderful and helpful towards all.

.. how many RPGs did you play yet?

I find this very hard to believe.

Le_Lisra:

Vanguard_Ex:
Humans being the kind, benevolent race...give me a break. We're capable of startling cruelty and selfishness, but we like to kid ourselves with the idea that we're wonderful and helpful towards all.

.. how many RPGs did you play yet?

I find this very hard to believe.

Plenty...granted, it needs to be an RPG where there are more intelligent, significant races than just humans, i.e. not Fable. What do you find hard to believe?

I love the cliche too how you can just go around someones home and then steal all the stuff and they will still be all smiles and sunshine!

Vanguard_Ex:

Le_Lisra:

Vanguard_Ex:
Humans being the kind, benevolent race...give me a break. We're capable of startling cruelty and selfishness, but we like to kid ourselves with the idea that we're wonderful and helpful towards all.

.. how many RPGs did you play yet?

I find this very hard to believe.

Plenty...granted, it needs to be an RPG where there are more intelligent, significant races than just humans, i.e. not Fable. What do you find hard to believe?

Never played Fable tbh because nothing from it sounded remotely interesting..

But tell me, in which games did this happen? The Baldur's Gate Saga features a lot of annoying, stupid, racist, evil and about every other adjective you care for.. human. And elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome etc.
So are people in KOTOR (especially the old Jedis in 2, a friend likes to call them the "old nazis" [lit. translation]), I can't say how it is in the Elder Scrolls because you seldom meet people in Morrowind who are distictively human. Lotsa nords are battle-crazy, many Imperials are arrogant pricks.. Fallout features pretty much only humans, Divine Divinity doesn't exactly consist of role-models..

I dunno. Maybe you played other games than me.

bobisimo:
BioWare/Obsidian games often times have a court/trial scene in them where you have to talk to individual voters and attempt to convince them to vote one way or another. To varying degrees, I think most of BioWare's games have had such a scene. This is definitely a cliche I've enjoyed.

I remember the one in KOTOR, which pissed me off to no end because the entire quest was a dark side trap. There was literally no way to finish that quest without getting dark side points. I was playing as a light side character for my first playthrough and I had to waste multiple hours trying to finish it in EVERY. POSSIBLE. BLOODY. WAY. After I discovered it was a dark side trap, I had to revert back to a DAYS old savegame. That still pisses me off to this day.

Why is my character so willing to exchange the trusty sword that he probably received as a gift from his parents when he graduated from adventuring school and his well-worn suit of armor that fits him perfectly after all these years for some bigger-looking sword and thicker-looking armor that a random bandit leader was using before you stuck him full of arrows? Doesn't anything have sentimental value anymore?

Tales of Golden Sun:

008Zulu:
A cartoon I saw in my youth subverted the trap cliche`. Rather than guess where to stand and for how long to avoid the firey balls of impaling spear doom, they were able to locate the service passages the engineers used to perform routine maintenance of the death machine and simply walked around.

Haha, brilliant. This should be done in RPGs.

Would make an intereting twist.

Internet Kraken:
How about the ever abundant supply of Bandits? Almost every RPG I have played is flooded with tons of bandits, and for a good reason. They're a humanoid enemy you are allowed to fight without any need for plot exposition. Plus you won't feel guilty killing them. So they provide for a nice change from the constant hordes of *insert generic fantasy creature here*. Though with so many of them you'd think they would have banded together to form a massive army instead of menacing traveling merchants.

or the fact that no-one would want to be a merchant what with a million respawning bandits

A lot of people seem to be forgetting that these cliches are supposed to be good.

With that in mind I offer "ridiculous economies." With the number of people I killed in Oblivion, and the number of swords I looted off their lifeless bodies, swords should have been worth less than gold pieces. Let's not also forget the price difference between spending the night at an inn in the slums of Midgar and one in Wutai.

Shamus Young:
Okay. What other good RPG cliché did I leave out?

Great article, like Tv Tropes without the missing lunch part!

I would say the absurd amount of stuff the PC has in their inventory, and the obligatory looting of fallen enemys!

FutureHousedad:
Agressive rats.........why do rpg-rats have such a thirst for blood....if rats were as agressive IRL as they are in oblivion we would surely perish.

We're looking for GOOD RPG cliche's. Did anybody actually LIKE the fact that, minutes into a desperate quest to save the world in "Oblivion", you end up in a sewer fighting rats? Because I sure as heck didn't...

And while we're at it, scrap the "You are the CHOSEN ONE!" rubbish and let the hero earn his goddamn spurs. And with those spurs, let him earn some decent privileges that go with being the savior of the entire world. For example: in "Oblivion" you get a nice new suit of gold armour. Wooo! Shiny!

I tell you a good RPG cliche: SECRET PASSAGES. I can't get enough of 'em.

Kitsuna10060:

Soet Poet:

Kitsuna10060:
the 'love interest' sub plots, Final Fantasy has gotten really bad about it lately (EI since 7) , while yea, can see it happening, but dose it need to be in every 'epic world saving quest'

.... and why do i always need to 'save' it all the time .... i've only played ONE rpg where i actualy ended the world ( SMT Nocturne fyi) >.> might reflect poorly on me, but i'd atleast like the option to end the world

In Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen you can choose weather to save the world or ruin it. The sequels build upon the assumption that you chose the latter too.

o.0 oh yeah, forgot about those, thanks for reminding me :3 sad thing is i've played that seires >.>;;

"Sad thing"? It's one of the few game series in existance with a consistant story and very good voice actors (Kain is played by Simon Templeman, the same guy playing Loghaine in Dragon Age). The only exception is Defiance which is pretty crap gameplay-wise.

Enemies never flee.. ever.
Even though you culled an entire platoon, the last bowman will faithfull stand his ground while a psychotic band of murderers storm his position.
So plus for heroism, minus for reality.

There is no surprice-tactics either, because every enemy (even goblins) knows exactly who the enemy is and where they are.

There is no reason to NOT kill everything, because you would loose loot and xp. So there is very little reason to sneak around, spare lives of henchmen and do a good clean in-and-out.
And if they are evil buggers, theres no way to exterminate except by hand... no smoking them out, no burning them alive, poisoning the well, blocking the ventilation, undermine the supportbeams, divert the river or start a panic-riot.

FutureHousedad:
Agressive rats.........why do rpg-rats have such a thirst for blood....if rats were as agressive IRL as they are in oblivion we would surely perish.

Talk about your rats, pal. Where I'm from, rats carry laser guns and swords...well, not really, it's more like deadly diseases and freakish persistence.

TexaNigerian:
"Enchantment!"

ENCHANTMENT!

Soet Poet:
"Sad thing"? It's one of the few game series in existance with a consistant story

Yes, with the exception of the first one, every game after -consistantly- aborts the story just when it's supposed to get interesting and puts off the climax for another game.

Except Blood Omen 2, which was just bad.

Consistant story my arse.

Vanguard_Ex:

Le_Lisra:

Vanguard_Ex:
Humans being the kind, benevolent race...give me a break. We're capable of startling cruelty and selfishness, but we like to kid ourselves with the idea that we're wonderful and helpful towards all.

.. how many RPGs did you play yet?

I find this very hard to believe.

Plenty...granted, it needs to be an RPG where there are more intelligent, significant races than just humans, i.e. not Fable. What do you find hard to believe?

Usually the same games have a major villain and evil empire that are also human.

Dragon Age is surprisingly different in that its big bad IS NOT human in any way... altho there aren't very many -good- humans in that game either...

I find it rather weird but every single RPG in the world seems to have giant spiders in it. Also, the big final boss battle will have a cutscene that goes something like this:

YOU: It looks like this is the end
VILLAIN: *laughs* This has just begun! *Pulls a switch and a legion of henchman start hacking at you*

Oh right, and about that temple stuff, you are so right about that, but I don't like those temples and ruins. I'd rather have an adventure in the woods, or on a mountain or something than in another underground tomb.

008Zulu:

Tales of Golden Sun:

008Zulu:
A cartoon I saw in my youth subverted the trap cliche`. Rather than guess where to stand and for how long to avoid the firey balls of impaling spear doom, they were able to locate the service passages the engineers used to perform routine maintenance of the death machine and simply walked around.

Haha, brilliant. This should be done in RPGs.

Would make an intereting twist.

The head engineer could be a mini-boss!

You left out:
- Our town guards have no weapons, and our blacksmith was slain in a bar fight. Could you make us some, find a new smith, or secure us a cache of weapons?
- A clan of Yetis in the nearby mountains has been terrorizing the town.
- The wood nymphs in the surrounding forest have gone crazy, slaying travelers for no apparent reason.

And of course, the fact that your nemesis always escapes the first and second battle, to make a final stand elsewhere, but this time he transforms into some impossibly freakish demonoid bossmob.

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