Classic: Save the world, save the city, save the girl. All variations on a primal theme. Heros fight to save something and villians to destroy it. Good triumphs in the end and we all feel warm and fuzzy inside, like superheros.
Cliche: They all start to seem the same after a while, but its not the destination but the journey that matters. Saving the world sets the stakes too high and loses realism.
Inevitable: When you become the strongest warriors out there, its your responsibility to face whatever comes along. By now you've vanquished many foes and saved many damsels in distress, but now you've reached the end and the stakes are as high as they can get.
Neither: Sometimes we stop playing at the end. Maybe we weren't angry enough at the boss to want him dead, or maybe we leave it undone so we have a reason to do it all again someday.
Last Edit: Aug 26, 2008 9:11:09 GMT -5 by raithwall
Worry is a general making plans for every possible outcome.
Post by Dungeon Warden on Aug 26, 2008 13:50:55 GMT -5
People have abused the word cliche so much that the word itself has become cliche. You should really reserve the word for it's true meaning; that is, something a writer uses because they are not willing to put the time into coming up with something better.
Therefore, using common expressions or quotes instead coming up with your own is cliche; as is using a simple character description, like dumb blonde, in place of a more descriptive one. Just to be clear, it's okay to have a blonde header girl with a low IQ in your story just as long as there is more to her character than that.
What you are asking about is a troupe, a concept or idea that is commonly found in literature. Many genres are built out of tropes and are expected. People are disappointed if the tropes aren't there.
For example, High fantasy is based on the heroes story where a relatively unknown person with special abilities goes on a long journey the eventually helps save the world. The classic example is Hercules' Journey. A modern example is Star Wars IV: a new Hope. In both cases the hero was born with special abilities but until they met a trainer and started exploring the world (the universe in Luke's case) they has no idea they were special. Both ended up confronting the powers that be and changed their worlds for the better. Note that Luke didn't save the universe at the end of A New Hope, but his actions turned the tide of battle so that the rebellion actual had a chance of defeating the empire.
It really depends on the journey. Use the tropes for a framework to work within but change things up so that it's not always the same. Remember, it's not important that the hero directly save the world as long as he has some part in restoring the balance.
Hmm Im starting to think Inevitable is inevitably the inevitable choice here.
To test this lets try and apply "saving something" to different types of games:
1) Games where you play the bad guys: Ie, Ogrebattle 4, march of the black queen: You play the rebels in this war sim, theres 13 endings, you have alignment and reputation. If you overlevel alignment drops and you become evil, but good and evil leaders both save the land from the empire and even the bad guys will fight to save their base and/or protect their interests.
2) Games where the role of good and evil is reversed: lets say the premise of the game is your good and need to destroy the world because its evil. If your from another world then this world is a threat to your world so the premise hasn't really changed. If there is nothing to protect then how could it be considered good to destroy it? The end result is worse then the current.
3) Games that are life sims or have no fighting: You may not be battling the forces of evil, but your still protecting your interests just as we do in real life.
4) Games that are not really rpgs: I may be going out on a limb here but your still protecting your interests and protecting the game from ending. In an arcade its protecting your pocket from losing tokens.
5) Games of pure action: Ie, Rampage, you play this giant beast and the whole game is just destroying things for no reason. In this case there really isn't anything to protect, the game is just action for the sake of action, storyline is nonexistent. One might say you're protecting yourself, but you've put yourself in danger for no reason, but if things get rough you might go pure defense.
Oh and DW, I know Cliche wasn't the word I was looking for, but it did give me a nice title. And I know you've posted about this on several occasions. I'm sorry if this appears ignorant, but I think the word still conveys to others what I wanted it to more then any other choice I can think of. The only other title I had in mind was Traditional or Trite.
Last Edit: Aug 27, 2008 2:47:12 GMT -5 by raithwall
Worry is a general making plans for every possible outcome.
Post by Doan the Nado on Sept 7, 2008 12:24:43 GMT -5
I have to agree with inevitable. A pivotal element of nearly any RPG is fighting. There are certainly exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions. Too many of these and the genre is gone. So we have fighting. The thing that makes an RPG fun is not simply fighting, but progressing in your tools, abilities, and fighters. So we have fighting, and we have our fighters increasing in strength. In order to keep the gameplay at a suitable level (not too easy, not too hard), it's going to be necessary to fight harder and harder opposition. Either the enemies can get stronger -- this can be hard to explain -- or you can be fighting different enemies.
So we have fighting, we have progress, we have harder and harder foes. These harder and harder foes almost by necessity get more and more "evil". I say "evil" because even if we are the evil ones, the important aspect is that they are not aligned with our interests. If we are doing things that run counter to our interests, the game becomes irrational and the player may lose interest. So we have strengthening fighters fighting more and more difficult and evil foes. For the game to come to a satisfactory conclusion, we eventually must fight the strongest evil around. What can such an evil be doing other than threatening the world of our heroes?
So I think with some minor variations and ignoring some rare exceptions, it's really hard to get away from the idea of saving the world.
Post by Neo Samurai on Sept 8, 2008 1:15:44 GMT -5
Saving the world is pretty cliche. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if done correctly. The problem with some game's is that they use this cliche very poorly. Throw together some random evil villain with a poor motive bent on blowing up or conquering the world and you've pretty much have a generic RPG summed up.
The problem isn't the cliche. It's the person using it. They need to put in more effort into making that cliche work. Otherwise, people will be uninterested in the conflict occuring in the story.
Now, the world does not have to be a planet in its entirety. It could be a village, an island, whatever you want. Personally, I think when you decrease the magnitude of the situation, the people involved within it tend to fight back more easily, even if they are just a bunch of ordinary civilians (think Lost; a group of somewhat ordinary people fending for themselves). When you have the entire world at stake, it feels ridiculous when a bumpkin farmer boy and the rest of his teenage friends kick the dark lord's ass and banish him to hell rather than a group of mercenaries or the military taking care of it (still is pretty ridiculous even without the world being at stake, but it's more evident).
It doesn't even have to be a particular place. It can be a person, an object, or a belief. Even in literature and movies that don't involve violence, the main character is still fighting for something. In the end, everyone, whether it be in games, books, movies, or real life, fight to preserve or create something (whether what they be fighting is other people, difficult situations, or even themselves).
So, in conclusion, the world need saving doesn't need to be the whole world itself. It can just be the world as the main character sees it.
Well, The Kuromei Chronicle is a bit of an exception (play it to find out why ), but overall saving the world tends to be inevitable. But as NeoSamurai (good to see you back, by the way) said, the "world" doesn't have to be the world. It could be anything of importance to the main character.
However, I think there is a better formula than "saving the world." We talked about this in English last year, and my teacher basically said that almost all literature follows this formula in some form or another, and there's no reason why it couldn't apply to RPGs.
(paraphrased from memory): In every story, the main character is seeking treasure, and (s)he must go alone, at night, and leave a trail of his/her blood behind him/her.
Try and figure that one out.
Last Edit: Sept 9, 2008 21:48:17 GMT -5 by The Smurf
Black all around me, even the water. The water’s not really black, of course. Reflection from the sky. Water’s like a mirror sometimes. Lets you see your face in it, anyway. Reflecting the night’s face, then, isn’t it? Does the night have a face? It must. Otherwise the water couldn’t reflect it.
I am made from the dust of the stars and the oceans flow in my veins