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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> General Forum --> Gaming surveys --> Worst Gaming Clichés
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Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts

Worst Gaming Clichés

You've heard them, you've seen them... now, share them!

I'll start us off. How many time have you seen this one? It's a new D&D game, and rather than go into an elaborate backstory, the DM decides to just jump right in. He then starts off with those six dreaded words...

"You all meet in a tavern..."

Yep. A guaranteed half hour of boring, awkward roleplay, or a complete glossover that feels like you've missed something.

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 16:23:25.
Edited on 2007-11-07 at 16:29:24 by t_catt11

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts

I think...

...that it is kind of a cliché when people make the most standard character. I'm playing a really stupid and unappealing half-orc barbarian, with Int 5 and Cha 7. Kinda Cliché I think.

They made a joke about that "tavern" bit in an Icelandic movie just recently. There were some people playing D&D and started in a forest-clearing when a princess approaches and tells them the sad story of her kingdom's fate and ends it with a plead for their help. One of the player responded with a "well, at least we didn't start in a tavern"
I loved that scene.

Talking about a cliché: How often do you have to save a princess from a dreaded fate? Seriously. How many princesses can there be who all end up as prisoners?

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 17:02:02.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts

sorry, can't resist...

I have to go on and toss in another of my favorites.

The setup: player who either (a) lacks the imagination or (b) lacks the motivation to create a background with any sort of detail to it. So, what does he do?

"My character's parents were killed by orcs/a fire/wandering monsters when my character was a baby. He has no real friends or other family. He is a loner."

I looooove that one!

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 17:05:31.
Edited on 2007-11-07 at 17:05:51 by t_catt11

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 462/28
8497 Posts

Or how about...

... those random "random/wandering monster encounters" that spring up out of nowhere but give no detais other than there are enemies?

"You've been travelling for three days when suddenly you are beset by a horde of rampaging orcs..."

No indication as to where the 'orcs' might have come from, why they might be attacking, etc... they're just suddenly there. Hmmmmmm....

Of course, I haven't seen one of those in a great while (in any games I've played, anyway) but do remember them well from my early D&D experiences... Hack and slash at its finest, eh? Who needs roleplay or motivation... they're monsters... they attack players... no reason needed.

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 17:12:52.

TRSG 2.0
Karma: 113/94
1606 Posts

Can't help it either

One of my friends always played his 'generic' dwarven fighter.

Worst thing is he always gets the characters the same feats(3ed edition), skills/non-weapon profs and the same weapons and armor.

That is until I killed every reincarnation of him in all the games I DM/GM and play in, I was feed up with that character so much I actually did hunt down and kill of every reincarnation.

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 17:35:45.
Edited on 2007-11-07 at 17:36:42 by Loki

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


Just remember a thing about a backstory which I suddenly got the urge to share with you. In one game that my girlfriend played in she wrote a full page of her character's backstory. Not bad in my opinion, but she wasn't finished. She wrote five pages or more about how her character's parents met! I loved that

Elves with bows. 'nuff said.

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 17:39:16.

Typing Furiously
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/19
3012 Posts


well, I would like to pick up a discussion about the elf with bow, and stereotype ugly orc: I don't think there is anything wrong with playing such (arche)typical characters. I've played characters like that, amongst others, but it's all stats, really. Even if the background is simple, why shouldn't it be?

Simple characters can still be interesting, as long as the roleplaying is good, and the story the DM presents is interesting.

'Almerin' was an elven ranger who used the two weapon fighting skill to the max (VERY typical). He acted like the average elf (hated orcs, because they killed ... *drum roll* ... his parents), but still he's one of the coolest characers I've ever played, and that's because of the story the DM presented and how he acted in it.

The group found a hidden elven village under attack by brutal orcish forces. The spirit of the forest was also trying kick everybody out of the woods, so things were messing up pretty bad. Almerin became part of the town's council, and the party lead the townfolk through a forestal rage and orcish attacks to a new home. It was simple, but I always looked forward to continuing that game.

anyways... cliches aren't always bad

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 18:10:02.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts


That's true. Clichés are not at all bad in and of themselves.

And you get lots of these with new players - that's to be expected.

But let me use an example of a player I gamed with for a long time. Each and every game, he'd play the same basic thing - a big, brawny fighter. sometimes, he'd vary it, and be a big, brawny knight, or a big, brawny barbarian.

Always used the biggest two handed weapon he could find. alsways used the exact same nonexistent background.

After a few years, you'd think maybe he could branch out a bit, or try something *slightly* different? Maybe have a living family member, or a different motivation?

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 18:14:50.

Keeper of Dragons
Devil's Advocate
Karma: 57/18
2295 Posts

Right. Wink, wink

"You all grew up togetheras friends so your characters (lvl 10 0r so) all know each other and are friends."

"A man dressed in armor walks in and says 'The king needs a few good adventures' and looks in yuor direstion."

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 18:45:39.

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


Almerin's right, clichés don't always have to mean a bad thing. My group is mostly so unique that a ugly stupid orc barbarian is kinda new

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 19:06:55.

The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6347 Posts

Drizzt clones

The Driz'zt clone characters are a cliche I can do without. It's been done people - to death. It was cliche when RA did it!

Posted on 2007-11-07 at 20:33:50.

Den Mother
RDI Staff
Karma: 111/12
1188 Posts

Agreeing with Almerin in part

Archtypes have their place, and I've seen really good players take an archtypal character and take them in new directions through the game. It's a way of keeping something fresh, as in "you think you know me..."

The "lazy" players, on the other hand, who create the same basic character over and over, yes, that has to be frustrating. I admit to having a fondness for thieves, and most of them started were homeless orphans, but the two I've played the most (Vanadia and now Dapple) are very different characters, though with similar skill sets.

On the other hand, I've tried a ranger, several clerics, a mage and at least two bladesingers

As for "elf with bow"...none of my elven or half elven characters have used a bow One's a cleric, one's a thief and the other two (technically sylvari) are bladesingers, who only learn the sword, to the exclusion of all other weapons.

Posted on 2007-11-08 at 13:12:44.

RDI Staff
Karma: 357/190
6192 Posts


I swear, if i didn't have cliches I'd have nothing...

Actually my better characters weren't cliches, although I did have a pile of womanising bards...

Posted on 2007-11-09 at 23:59:37.

Vote Grugg
Karma: 42/10
117 Posts

Clichés? I've got plenty!

One of my players rolled up a dwarf barbarian with insane physical scores and named him Natas the Meat Machine.

Of course, the campaign itself wasn't all that serious in tone, and we all ended up appreciating Natas and his antics, as well as his ability to cleave orcs in half. His character portrait was also pretty much one-of-a-kind, contributed to by everyone else around the table.

(Read "Natas" backwards for some more insight into the character's mentality.)

Another player rolled up a similar characters a few years earlier: a troll with even higher physical attributes. His line of thought in naming the beast was basically this:
  1. Think up an obscene word.
  2. Reverse it.
I won't tell you the name here (PM me if you really want to know), but suffice to say that this troll became somewhat of a legend in my gaming group. Some time later, the player actually created another character of the same type and just tacked on a "II" to his name. Of course, like most sequels, he ended up a pale shadow of the original.

This same player also enjoyed rolling up characters whose only characteristic was that they were greedy and whose only motivation was that they wanted money. It wasn't helped by the fact that, for the first of this line of characters, he'd misinterpreted the rules and ended up with twice the number of skill points to everyone else.

After reading all of this, you might have gotten the impression that my life as a DM must have been hell. To be honest, though, much of this predictability and humor ended up being central parts of the campaigns we played. Despite the occasional silliness, we had a whole lot of fun.

Posted on 2007-11-11 at 12:33:58.
Edited on 2007-11-11 at 15:11:04 by Scarab

Rystefn K'ryll
Original Palassassin
Karma: 66/191
544 Posts


You know, people may denigrate the old "you're hanging out in the tavern," but it's a classic for a reason. Read fantasy fiction and see how often that's exactly what the heroes do. How often was Conan doing that? Pick a bar, any bar, and see how many regulars show up there night after night. this is real and believable behavior for a group of people, especially when you don't have much else in the way of social gatherings or popular entertainment. No staying home and watching TV, no going to the movies or chatting on the phone. No internet or video games. There's work, sleep, church, and the local tavern.

Posted on 2007-11-12 at 18:34:41.

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