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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RPGTropes: How Cliched is your campaign?

Like just about anyone with an internet connection and too much free time I'm horribly addicted to wiki-walking my way through places like Tv Tropes. Of course the site covers not just tropes for TV but also books, movies and role-playing games. So I decided to waste even more time and put myself to a test and see just how many cliches are in my game and how many I subvert, invert, avert or otherwise 'vert.

This will cover my current campaign with the Order of Magnitude.



An Adventurer Is You: Of course, it's built right into the Pathfinder/D&D rules.
Absolute Xenophobe Subverted. The Lord of Blades certainly appears to be one but is actually acting out of perceived necessity rather than simply hatred of humanity.
AI Is A Crapshoot  Xulu. The Lord of Blades. Magnus. In fact I think there are more insane artificial sentients than there are sane ones.
Bag of Holding: One of the first magic items Magnus built was a Handy Haversack for each PC.
Become A Real Boy  Inverted, Magnus
Big Bad
Character Alignment: Also built into the rules, although frequently ignored.
Character Level
City Of Adventure
Cool Airship Despite their best efforts the Order has yet to get ahold of one.  
Critical Hit
Cut The Juice The main tactic for defeating the giant warforged in Xendrik 
Damage Reduction
Demi Humans  Jack, Nolan and Sahath are the only humans in a 7 person party.
Descriptively Named Species Warforged. Shifters
Dungeon Crawling  Cannith's Whitehearth facility, sewers under sharn and a giant temple in Xendrik.
Dungeon Master's Girlfriend  Subverted. NJ's characters are often the focus of many storylines but that usually just means more horrible things happen to them.
Dying Race  Semi-subversion. The Warforged are the youngest sentient race by far. But they're also dying out. It's illegal to create new warforged and thus the race will eventually die out as violence or misfortune kills them off. The justification for the Lord of Blade's war against humanity. Also an example of Immortal Procreation Clause
Emergent Human The warforged.
The Evil Army  The forces of both the Emerald Claw and the Lord of Blades.
Evil Weapon The Soul Blade
Experience Points
Familiar Magnus's homunculus: little M. Also an example of Our Homunculi Are Different
Face Heel Turn As of the last session Magnus has pulled a full-on Vader and switched sides to the Lord of Blades.
Fantastic Light Source  Nolan is always concerned about lighting and makes sure to pack sunrods, everbright lanterns and continual flame scrolls.
Fantastic Racism The warforged, both as victims and bigots.
Fantasy Character Classes
Five Bad Band  The Lord of Blades is the Big Bad, Stonefist is his Dragon while Athame serves as the Evil Genius. Shiv is the Dark Chick and The Iron Chaplain is The Brute. Magnus has recently joined as a possible Sixth Ranger Traitor.
Five Man Band All over the place. Glorin and Pax are both classic Big Guys, Shara's definitely The Chick. Both Jack and Magnus could be considered The Smart Guy. Both Nolan and Sahath would work well as The Lancer but neither have a Hero to contrast. Little M is the Team Pet.  
Flash Back A living spell in the Mournlands causes the PCs to experience the last day of life of a group of agents sent to the Whitehearth facility during the Last War.
Game Master That would be me!
Grand Tabletop Rules List Mostly #2 because no one every follows #1. Rules 3-11 are mostly averted. Rule 12 is dead on.
Groin Attack  Subduing a dire ape to prove themselves to the Black Lanterns.
Golem  Jack's "Nurse" a modified alchemical golem. The warforged are also based on the original golem legend: an ancient giant religious text is part of the construction process and is imbedded in their heads.
Hellhound The Hounds of Karnath, Fiendish Magebred Advanced Vampire Wolves. Definitely of the Hunter type.
Hologram  The first time the PCs see the Lord of Blades he is taking the form of an illusionary projection speaking with one of his lieutenants
Hostage For MacGuffin The necromancer Malvora of Vol held an NPC party member hostage in exchange for the character's piece of the Xulu Schema. Turned out that the NPC was in cahoots all along.
In and Out of Character
Kill All Humans The Lord of Blades and his minions.
Killer Game Master  Averted, I've often been told I'm actually far too nice a GM, especially from NJ.
Lawful Stupid Chaotic Stupid Averted and played straight. Nolan, a LG monk, has engaged in kidnapping, interrogation and (limited) piracy without endangering his alignment. Magnus (CN) will jump down any hole he can find and often engages in whatever behavior seems most insane.
Level Drain Lucan and the Hounds of Karnath.
Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards Averted. Magnus, being an artificer, should be able to handle just about any problem in every situation. However unless reminded by another PC he will inevitably forget half of his infusions exist. Nolan on the other hand due to feat choice and cunning magic item selection tackles many challenges with annoying ease.
Luck Manipulation Mechanic Action Points.
Mad Oracle The elven hobo whose behavior ranges from serious prophet of mystery to downright looney. Ironically, although he doesn't explain his prophecies they've been straightforward (but ignored).
Mad Scientist  Magnus of course. Merrix D'Cannith is another as well as the nameless head of the Whitehearth facility.
Made Of Phlebotinum
Magic Knight Magnus
Magitek  Just about everywhere, but especially Cannith's Whitehearth facility and the warforged.
Mecha-Mooks  The flawed, prototype Warforged footsoldiers produced by the Lord of Blades
Mechanical Monster A pair of Warforged Dragons found in Cannith's Whitehearth facility.
MegaCorp House Cannith
Mithril Glorin's armor and Magnus's plating.

NonPlayer Character
Our Dwarves Are All The Same Glorin is a sterling example. He carries two axes of different sizes, wears heavy armor, drinks heavily, hates elves and even has a crossbow that shoots small circular axe-heads.
Off The Rails All the time. Surprisingly they somehow seem to end up in the same place in the end though.
Player Archetypes Glorin is a Real Man through and through, Nolan's The Roleplayer who tries to resist his Munchkin tendencies. Magnus is a Looney.
Player Character
Player Party
Plot Coupon The Xulu Schema components. Also MacGuffin
Power Fist  Magnus and his Overload feat. Stonefist.
Precursors  The giants of Xendrik, creators of the original Warforged.
Prestige Class Jack's Blood Magus prestige class.
Quest Giver Most of the adventures the Order goes on have come from their relationship with House Cannith.
Random Number God Nolan's player doesn't allow anyone to touch his dice and there are often various debates on the best way to roll dice to avoid bad rolls. It's also generally agreed that dice borrowed from me are 'jinxed' so this is only done as a last resort.
RolePlaying Game Terms
Rules Conversions The artificer class (and their infusions) as well as a handful of prestige classes from 3.5 to Pathfinder.
Rule Zero
Screw Destiny  The Order's attitude when they meet the Elven Hobo.
Set A Mook To Kill A Mook A very memorable recently example: the party lures a band of giant apes directly into an archeological expedition run by the emerald claw. Fur was flying.
Super Soldiers  The Warforged. Karnathi undead.
The Medic Subverted by D&D standards. Jack, the party's healer, is a necromancer sorcerer who uses surgery and his dragonmark of healing.
The Quest 
The Six Stats
Sliding Scale Of Turn Realism Round by Round.
Squishy Wizard Jack is the trope played straight, Magnus is a subversion.
Treacherous Quest Giver

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