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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    ...inverted, averted, double subverted, deconstructed, or otherwise played with.

    I'll start off.

    1. Always [X] Alignment:
    Subversion: Obvious, have someone who is not that alignment, e.g. Drizzt Do'Urden.

    Deconstruction: Why are they that alignment?
    Outsiders are by definition of a specific alignment. Devils are lawful evil outsiders, demons chaotic evil, and archons lawful good. Why? Depends on the exact cosmology. In my view, since the planes have alignment traits, the souls of the dead end up as petitioners on the plane most closely suiting them, and they may eventually end up as outsiders of the plane. Therefore, they must be of a specific alignment.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Clueless farmboy with a Destiny aka The Chosen One. I loathe this one. Best subversion of this ever is Bard's Tale.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    Clueless farmboy with a Destiny aka The Chosen One. I loathe this one. Best subversion of this ever is Bard's Tale.
    "Oh woe to be you. You can beat that it's true." I love that song.

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    None of them.

    This forum and OotS has done it a million time already...

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    *laughs* How very true. Still, I started this thread to get a list of D&D tropes that bug people, and some ways to mess around with them.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    Clueless farmboy with a Destiny aka The Chosen One. I loathe this one. Best subversion of this ever is Bard's Tale.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who liked The Bard's Tale. Awesome game, & awesome people play it.

    On topic: The cryptic prophecy that somehow comes true at the end in unexpected ways. This trope is so tired, that I love to twist it in every game I DM. This usually done by getting the players to believe in the prophecy then having it fail at a critical juncture. Hilarity always ensues.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    On topic: The cryptic prophecy that somehow comes true at the end in unexpected ways. This trope is so tired, that I love to twist it in every game I DM. This usually done by getting the players to believe in the prophecy then having it fail at a critical juncture. Hilarity always ensues.
    You could also lampshade it by making it a rumor started by the BBEG, just to have some fun with the PCs.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    You could also lampshade it by making it a rumor started by the BBEG, just to have some fun with the PCs.
    There was actually a thread about someone who was set that up. The BBEG really didn't have any particular weaknesses, but started many rumors about them, among other things, so that adversaries would be ill-prepared. The source of inspiration for that one, if I recall was the Evil Overlord List.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Oh, yes, the Evil Overlord List. How many standard villain tropes does that list manage to hit, and help avert?

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    On topic: The cryptic prophecy that somehow comes true at the end in unexpected ways. This trope is so tired, that I love to twist it in every game I DM. This usually done by getting the players to believe in the prophecy then having it fail at a critical juncture. Hilarity always ensues.
    The video game Arcanum played with this in a different way. At the very start you were met by a semi-devout priest who believed you'd just fulfilled the first part of a prophecy. It said that you were the reincarnation of a powerful elven wizard from the past. Later in the game, you run into said powerful wizard who's been living in self imposed exile. He chastises the priest who couldn't recognise him even though he's supposed to be one of his followers. The priest in turn wonders what the hell is going on since the prophecy is clearly impossible.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by cnsvnc View Post
    Clueless farmboy with a Destiny aka The Chosen One. I loathe this one. Best subversion of this ever is Bard's Tale.
    Umm not to be too nitpicky but its rather hard to have 4-6 chosen farmboys ya know? So I wonder how applicable this is to adventuring groups on the whole. I've never dealt with it in D&D personally. Given I'm not counting video games like oh the BG series, but those are video games.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Sage View Post
    Umm not to be too nitpicky but its rather hard to have 4-6 chosen farmboys ya know? So I wonder how applicable this is to adventuring groups on the whole. I've never dealt with it in D&D personally. Given I'm not counting video games like oh the BG series, but those are video games.
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    Also, starting rumors to create false prophecies is genius.
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by ocato View Post
    Narrator Voice: In every generation, one...two... 2d4 adventurers are born. Men...men/women of destiny, who are destined... For Destiny.


    Also, starting rumors to create false prophecies is genius.
    May I say that first part is genius?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nemoricus View Post
    1. Always [X] Alignment:
    Subversion: Obvious, have someone who is not that alignment, e.g. Drizzt Do'Urden.
    I thought that Drizzt had popularized this subversion to such a ridiculous extent that it had become a trope unto itself?
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Gavin Sage's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by ocato View Post
    Narrator Voice: In every generation, one...two... 2d4 adventurers are born. Men...men/women of destiny, who are destined... For Destiny.
    Which isn't one I say I've seen that often, and even then when its a group destined for things thats much more inherently flexible and less annoying to begin with.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Random Number God needs to be averted. Good luck pulling that off.
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    hey, I just came up with this one: how about the prophecy be a lie thats a part of a villains complex scheme to takeover the world, and once the heroes fulfill it, its revealed to be false, and they have to go about fixing their mistake.

    have all races that are usually portrayed as evil, be good or neutral something like that, y'know goblins, orcs and such, and to further the subversion have all the races portrayed as good, be evil

    instead of meeting up at an inn, the party meets up somewhere else, like out in the wild or something.

    throw in a tough mook once in a while to avert the weak generic follower,
    don't make the tough mook look special or anything, just make him blend with the crowd......

    instead of more ninja becoming weaker, have one ninja be easily defeat-able and a team of them be death, y'know, subvert Conservation of Ninjutsu.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    How did this thread get this long without anyone ever mentioning the tavern?

    Oh, sweet majestic tavern! How I am humbled by your supernatural ability to suck in a mismatched mob of destined nobodies and simultaneously unite them in a struggle to save the universe. When a DM is clearly not thinking too hard about how to make a plot hook that ties his characters together, you appear and give the party a lame excuse to pretend to drink and make Monty Python jokes for an hour, then head out and slay some kobolds because they are level appropriate encounters that give them shiny objects.

    My favorite subversion ever was the DM telling us before hand "Hey...uh...you're all going to be arrested and thrown into jail together". Basically, we were united in our jailbreak. We had no other reason to stay together, other than to avoid the "evil empire" that was after us. It's a bit more involved than that, but subversions like this make me happy.
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    "United jailbreakers" is another big trope, so its really trading an outworn trope for one that is, maybe, slightly less so.

    Whioch can be a good thing.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    "They're orcs!" "Kill them!"

    Racial hatred is nasty stuff.

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    nagora's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    The "there's always an exception" trope.

    Classic example: "There must be some non-evil <insert evil race here>"

    A key component of any Disneyfied "Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was nice" fantasy setting. Very tedious.

    Part of the general "All tropes are bad and must be subverted" trope that is followed by many designers wanting to be cool and clever without actually having to come up with anything new or insightful of their own.
    Last edited by nagora; 2008-09-01 at 08:59 AM.

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarkahn View Post
    How did this thread get this long without anyone ever mentioning the tavern?

    Oh, sweet majestic tavern! How I am humbled by your supernatural ability to suck in a mismatched mob of destined nobodies and simultaneously unite them in a struggle to save the universe. When a DM is clearly not thinking too hard about how to make a plot hook that ties his characters together, you appear and give the party a lame excuse to pretend to drink and make Monty Python jokes for an hour, then head out and slay some kobolds because they are level appropriate encounters that give them shiny objects.

    My favorite subversion ever was the DM telling us before hand "Hey...uh...you're all going to be arrested and thrown into jail together". Basically, we were united in our jailbreak. We had no other reason to stay together, other than to avoid the "evil empire" that was after us. It's a bit more involved than that, but subversions like this make me happy.
    ........I just mentioned it.

    instead of meeting up at an inn, the party meets up somewhere else, like out in the wild or something.
    the Inn is the proper term I believe.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Shadowthrone from the malazan books of the fallen. Paranoid evil wizard, becomes the ironfisted(still paranoid and evil) ruler of an expansionistempire. His own underling assassinates him, but that is actually the spur that ushers him into godhood. (still paranoid and malevolent) From his godly perch, he shuffles things from behind the scenes to make certain that the right people are there at the right places (often for what they think are the wrong reasons) to avert world destroying disasters, while at the same time furthering his powers over all creation.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    "The main characters are good guys/all on the same side."

    Evil/amoral campaigns, or ones where one character is using/working against the others can be quite interesting. They just need to be handled carefully (I cannot emphasize this enough). If the party is working against itself, the DM really needs to be a neutral factor. I saw one GURPS game where he wasn't, and the endgame of the campaign was pretty much the DM and traitorous player gloating.

    EDIT: Also, if toying with the "the prophesy is wrong" trope-breaking idea, don't double-subvert it (by making the prophesy right in the end, they just misinterpreted it) unless you want to be accused of ripping off M. Night Shyamalan.
    Last edited by The New Bruceski; 2008-09-01 at 02:42 PM.
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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Well, a false prophecy is a really nice way to send all potential heroes off to the desert of almost certain doom at the other end of the world looking for the Emerald of Huge Signifigance and the Sword of Slaying Nasty Creatures, while you recruit your army and invade their homeland.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Mook needs to be subverted to hell and beyond.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    One trope I've always hated is how every challenge is progressively more difficult for the PCs, but just enough for them to defeat it while being seriously challenged....

    One of these days, I'd love to run a "standard" dungeon-crawl. At the very end, the PCs, having progressed several levels, reach the final level and fight the mastermind behind the dungeon--an Illithid or some other controller-type villain. And it reveals it's deliberately escalated the challenges but kept within the PCs' abilities in order to "fatten them up" so that they'll give the maximum amount of "energy" (or whatever your ingame-code for "XP" is) when the mastermind finishes them off.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piedmon_Sama View Post
    One trope I've always hated is how every challenge is progressively more difficult for the PCs, but just enough for them to defeat it while being seriously challenged....
    I've been trying to vary that one. I intentionally had the PC's fight a bull rather than a monster at the start of a session. (Oh the joy's of selling then a red tent at the start of the very first session!)

    It's a bit like the old "put superman up against a problem superman can solve", supeman catches planes, he doesn't fix world economy problems or fight diseases.

    At the start of the next session I'm going to have the players encounter a sudden heatwave and try to make that heat wave a central theme to all their urban adventuring. I just hope they don't metagame and think "the BBEG has built weather machine" because it's just one of those problems that D&D heroes can do nothing about.

    I even had the easiest sidequest where the characters went to watch an offensive play expecting something level appropriate to happen, it just turned out the offensive scene had been greatly exaggerated and the offended character just needed to be told watch before passing judgement.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    Here's another one: equal Wealth by Level (WbL). Rogues, in particular, have class features that are tailored to get them more WbL. Why should this be the same? The game doesn't insist on equal BAB or equal spellcasting, and Rogues come up short in both areas. They do have the skills to get more gp, and that can help them make up for their shortcomings.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D tropes that need to be subverted...

    It is important to note that the table is explicitly labeled as a guideline, not a fast rule. Therefore it is very easy to say that the party Rogue starts out with a higher wealth level than the other characters.
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