What is an underused character trope/archetype/etc that you love/wanna see more of?

@HannahPS

I really need to check out HB. If I remember correctly, you said it’s a more adult setting, instead of schoolkids? I would definitely love seeing so ROs who actually show interest, for a change.

If I may give some input on this…

The problem with the more reserved ROs (or even ones that are enemies-to-lovers or just hostile personalities overall) isn’t the fact that they’re reserved, it’s how long it takes to get some kind of encouragement for the MC. I get that this is all fiction, so things can be more ridiculous than in real life, but the ability to suspend belief wears down over time when there is no sign that things are changing.

That said, some people love that kind of thing, where they have to chase the RO incessantly, hound them repeatedly, and beg and plead for their attention, because they feel like they’ve accomplished something when the game ends and they “won” the battle against the RO and get their kiss/fuck/marriage/whatever. That’s very gamey in its execution, and is really no different than having stats to build and passing stat checks to complete missions. You check the boxes, suffer along the way, then “win”. The problem is that, while it’s a great game approach, it’s not a very good character approach.

Not saying that it shouldn’t take time for things to happen between a MC and the RO, but perhaps authors should consider having two approaches to such ROs: one where the drama-loving crowd can drag it out until the end, and one where those who are more into the character side of things can get some obvious progress as they move through the story. Ice queen/king is a great trope, but it needs layers and depth to actually work as anything but an out-of-the-box trope. And retconning characters with no explanation just to drag things out is a shoddy way to go about it, too.

I just think authors sometimes forget that there are real people playing these games, and there’s only so much some of us can swallow without being unable to continue the way the author intends us to, especially with things like romance. For those who view things from a character perspective rather than a gamey perspective of “bring the pain, I love suffering to the end where I can win!”, we need to be able to connect with the character we’re RPing. And there’s only so much rejection someone can take before they’d either do something self-destructive or would, like me, be like, “Fuck this, I’m out.”

Just my two coppers, so take it for what it’s worth.

There are romances like that in these games?? Where? I feel like Blood Moon had that, in a way, which is why I loved that game (plus, the story was cool). Their Majesties’ Pleasure also felt that way later in the story. Other than that, most of these games are “chase the RO till they give in at the end”, usually while they kick the MC repeatedly along the way (often with proverbial steel-toed boots). Or nothing happens at all in the right at the end, where they’re magically together after speaking twice.

My issues with Jun/ko wasn’t that they were forward. It was that they enslaved my MC and then the narrative kept telling me how much my MC loved Jun/ko when they damned well did not. Stories that tell me how my MC feels about everything inevitably piss me off, in general. You can tell me what my MC used to be, tell me what their job is now, and give me a setting I can play along with, but ffs, at least let my MC decide how they feel about their situation. If we’re not getting at least that, then don’t tell me it’s IF to get my money, only to give me a set character in a set story.

As for dislike of forwardness being rooted in homophobia… I don’t get it. If a same-sex character hits on your straight MC, as long as there’s an option to say, “I’m flattered, but I only like men that way”, who the hell cares? Really, it should be the same with ROs who are really forward. Give the player the option to say they don’t like being chased or hit on, mark a variable that that RO leaves them alone from then on (locking them out of the romance, if it’s fitting for that character) and call it a day. As long as the MC has the ability to shut it down, I don’t see the issue–you’re giving them all the power.

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I’m not saying that they’re a good example of a forward character, just that across Choicescript games, they’re probably the most well known character that actively pursues the MC rather than the other way around. So unintentionally, they’ve become one of the first (or only) examples of what people think of when they try to come up with initiating ROs which may lead to them having an adverse reaction to the idea of initiating ROs.

You’d think this would be the case but like, traditional gaming demographics generally lead towards being male and at least the type willing to argue about it on online forums (and willing to pick this hill to die on) are also the type to take issue with another guy hitting on them. Not saying thats right, just saying what I’ve observed from lurking in video game debate forums.

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I would love to hear what you think! In Chapter 2 which is out currently, there is flirting and heated looks/moments but not anything more major than that. As things progress, the different romances are differently paced depending on how the PC acts and the personalities of the NPCs. In it you’re an adult who can be in late 20s/30s/40s, and the love interests/friends are spread across those ages. You are working in a school setting but the kids are younger - 13 and 14 - and you can certainly eyeroll at their drama, heh.

Yeah, I lose interest if there isn’t a feeling of mutual something but I like it more if I’m choosing for the PC to pine and yearn rather than the narrative pushing the PC to feel that way no matter what. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding for HB! It is very helpful to hear about what people like and dislike about slower-paced romances. I find it a lot of fun if characters are both going “we mustn’t! but we can’t help having a lot of feelings about each other!” rather than it feeling more one-sided.

Recommendations here!

So, I would definitely recommend the ones from this post about romances which can be started early in the game.

Extra notes:

Heart of the House has two of my favourite romances ever, Dev (male) and Reaves (gender-selectable) with twists and turns plus being able to save each other and work together against creepy ghost magic. Tally Ho’s Haze can be a great partner in crime. Choice of the Deathless doesn’t have a huge emphasis on romance but you can have a great rivalry-turned-romance with Wakefield or a rivals-or-supportive-colleague relationship with Vega, both of whom are great characters.

I also enjoyed my romance in The Dragon and the Djinn (it was a gay male one, but I really liked Iskander as well, who can be romanced by women) - we were able to go on adventures and work together to solve the plot, and it felt very much like we cared about each other. Basically in all of them, and the ones in the link, I felt like an equal partner in a strong romance.

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Way back in the day, in the ancient days of 2011, when Dragon Age 2 released, the sheer fervor and vitriol all the gamer bros had when Anders flirted with M!Hawke was genuinely discomforting. It was to the point where any and all mention of Anders on any forum or social media would be a cesspit of barely masked homophobia and the really, really gross “lol I’d kill him the first chance I’m given” sort of response that’s still being echoed to this day, even with games like Baldur’s Gate. Like, at the most minute inconvenience or vaguely unpalatable character trait, instant want to murder territory

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One I see almost never is Stoic Gentle Giant. And I don’t mean Himbo (I love a good himbo, but I love competence even more,) I mean a guy that is genuinely muscular and combat trained, has been through horrible painful things, but chooses to exercise fairness and respect and care regardless of that. Someone who’s reserved, yes, guarded, yes, but encourages displays of humility, humanity, love, etc, who’s comfortable in their distance to others, doesn’t really smile, but still kind. Idk. Love me some quiet buff dude reading Sun Tzu’s art of war on a spring day like it’s poetry.

Another one: The MC having henchmen/bodyguards they personally appoint. Like, I get the appeal of MC being royalty and the bodyguard appointed by their parents to take care of/babysit them, but WHERE is the power couple energy?? WHERE is the loyalty by choice and not obligation? WHERE is the “I picked you because you’re good at your job, I respect how you do it and appreciate your insight and expertise, but don’t forget that you answer to me despite that.” So many times the bodyguard is the “Reasonable Exasperated ProtectorTM”, and I’d like to see a dynamic that’s more “Adored Right Hand, Bodyguard, and Advisor to the Brains Of The Operation”.

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Why is no one using this thread come ON people… show some love to your favorite literary elements…

I need more plot relevant dogs. I’ve been working on and off on this one IF idea I’ve had, but now I just want to make a game where the MC is the keeper of some kind of super dangerous hellhound, and goes around assassinating people Hound of The Baskervilles “GETYOFUCKEN DOG BITCH!!” “It don’t bite :)” style. I’m imagining the MC cornered by an enemy and just letting out the lowest most innocent whistle and a 180-pound abomination slams into the person who’s attacking them. And just in general, love the vibes of a spotless, composed and reserved suit-assassin type character with a bloody, almost-feral hound. That you also get to pet and cuddle. Very important.

Werewolves are nice too, but there are already a few of those ones around, so I’m not too concerned about them being underused.

I also wish there were more Evil Ruler MC’s. Super excited to play Fallen Hero when I buy it, haha.

OH!!! ALSO!!! WHERE ARE THE DADS??? WHERE ARE THE MOMS??? I want parental characters to have more screen time! Usually they’re also ROs, but I want a character who’s there to be a parental figure, or have a game include the MC’s parent(s) as actual people (and to have them be GOOD parents; human, but still good. Families going through horrible events and coming out changed and messed up but still sticking through with each other is :ok_hand:) Might be fun to play an actual child MC (not a teenager, like 8-12), going through The Horrors, but latching onto a figure as their guardian, and the other character is just like “Well. I have a kid now, I guess.”

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I miiight be planning one where the MC finds out their presumed-dead dad is actually a supervillain

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We don’t do that. We’re too busy pointing tropes we don’t like to found the ones we like.

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How about a key characters in a major character or around mc teams or ro? I feels like the mc get the center of the story most of the times nowadays it make the others looks like a faceless npc or just someone to hit up with, at least it’s like that or i’m just not paying attention much. Like Hashimoto from Samurai of Hyuga where you can see she has the most important role in the story besides mc and is the big support for the team to continue their journeys most of the times

A twins ro is interesting too especially if they have a totally different personalities like one of them really like to tease you while the others shy away. It’s cliche in games or anime but i never seen it in IF

What about a frail ro? You don’t need to make them useless in the story, just make them have a… physical challenge, i have a great example like:
Victoria from Path to Nowhere, she had a weak immunity that make her can’t get out from her sterile rooms or at least need a special respirator to leave but, she’s actually pretty strong in a fight because she can solidify bloods and is a bit creepy because she lack morality and basic of understandings of life due to her restrictive and distorted education of her fathers.
Shinsha from Granblue Fantasy, she is a research subject for an ability that will serve her as a gate to a limitless mana pool which will grant some people a tremendous amount of powers, but because she had a lot of experiments, her body can’t keep up and had lost most of them

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I’d love to see more nonhuman NPCs (genuinely nonhuman, not a human with pointy teeth…), especially ones who fall into the big merc/warrior culture trope you see with the Krogan from Mass Effect or the Charr from Guild Wars 2. Even better if the MC can be one!

I also like the second place trope, for lack of a better term, where the MC (or a major NPC) is eclipsed/overshadowed/living in the shadow of a sibling/friend/rival etc. Arcadie: Second-Born and I, The Forgotten One both have the MC in the second place role, and Project Hadea (non-COG) sorta has the MC’s friend/partner as the (resentful) second fiddle, so it’s not a super uncommon trope, but it’s always fun™.

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YES!!! I’m having this dillemma w/ an IF I’m trying to make bc the MC undergoes a lot of ModificationsTM, and it’s supposed to be about identity and be poignant or whatever because they can’t remember who they were etc etc etc “ohhh is a person still the same person if all of their memories are gone but they look the same” etc etc, but part of my brain is like. “well what’s even the POINT of scifi crazy necromantic science if you can’t even be monstrous about it :roll_eyes:… you aren’t even going to give them more limbs???” ashdbsjakd.

Especially if the “first place” character genuinely deserves their position, and is a mostly decent person, so the second fiddle has to sort out their conflicting resentment and respect and guilt over resentment and… Love me some internal conflict.

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would love more purpose-obsessed characters. Driven by faith, or revenge, or some other nebulous ideal or goal, and being SO driven that they allow themselves to deteriorate, to do things their moral compass would never have allowed before. I’d like more “slowly getting worse but is unaware because they are justifying themselves with their purpose” arcs. As the MC? WONDERFUL! As an RO? There’s something funny about standing on the side and watching someone do all this and your conclusion being: “I’d tap that :smirk:” sndbfjksmfdn.

On a more serious note, helping them see the error of their ways (especially if it doesn’t work at first)? DELICIOUS! Plunging into the ever encroaching abyss with them and helping with their goal, both of you playing off of eachother and the descent (and metaphorical (or not) pile of bodies) growing ever faster? DELICIOUS! Being a part of their life in a kind of distant way that doesn’t overlap with their whole insanity fueled quest, and then seeing them in those deranged moments, having your entire view of them turned on it’s head? DELICIOUS! On the flip side of those, that conflict as someone you love/respect DEARLY admonishes you on your entire life’s purpose? Having a partner to go down with you? Seeing the look on someone’s face as they shift how they view you in your vulnerability, and both of you knowing that you’ll never be able to be mere acquaintances after this, that something is going to come of you two, and not knowing if it’ll be good or bad? DELICIOUS!

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It’s aliveeee! Lmao
But seriously, glad this thread is still semi active.

Love reading y’all thoughts

Simple answer: we, as humans, prefer to complain /lh

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That too… but there’s also the fact that literary quality comes from synergy of various elements, rather than from tropes or archetypes that are just naturally good. And while the opposite - no trope or archetype is naturally bad - is also sorta true, in practice we all have some tropes that we’ve seen misused so much we just wanna complain about them.

If I really had to pick one trope I almost always like, I guess it would be You Can Turn Back where the hero’s companions and/or soldiers are given the chance to leave before the climactic battle. It generally does wonders to increase the heroism of the situation, and I think it would be doubly nice in an IF that actually lets you turn back. I can’t think of a good example though.

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The thing that surprises me in how this thread is so unused, is that it’s just asking about underused elements. Things you don’t see enough of, not necessarily tropes that are “good”. And, I kind of have the opposite issue? Like, it’s hard for me to talk about disliked elements because everytime I do I’m like: “wait, there’s an exception to this” ad infinitum. It’s easier for me to talk about things i like because I know exactly what I like about them, sdhnkdfskjdf.

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@Omeg @Graceful-Not
Sidenote (if off topic, I kindly ask mods moving It to the proper topic):
I’ve noticed that nowadays many writers (both aspiring and professional) seem to have an obsession with “the trope(s)!”, forgetting however they have to write a story.

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We’re friends now. I love seeing more love for PtN <3

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Very true; listing tropes on RO lists will sometimes make me hesitate to play, if only because I get a little worried the author might focus too much on those tropes while writing; then again, I suppose trusting the author that way comes with playing a game!

On a more on-topic note, Can we talk about settings? I’d like to see more non-romance/regency-feeling victorian/edwardian era stuff. Where’s my Frankenstein, and the exploration of playing god/responsibility for your creations/what it means to be human? My charming and entertaining, but still a nice challenge to work through Sherlock works? My Lovecraftian horrors without all the horribly bigoted bits? I’m not going to suggest dracula because I have no idea how someone would make epistolary work for an IF, and the format of the book is a huge part of why it’s so good, but WHERE’S MY 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA WACKY SUBMARINE ADVENTURE (with a little bit of trauma from british colonization driving you to isolate from all humanity and eventually lead yourself to a watery death due to your all-consuming need for vengeance hahaha…)? My Picture of Dorian Gray nature vs nurture and how people can be horrible and look the sweetest and how always shifting blame for your actions onto others will eventually lead you to ruin? Etcetera, etcetera.

Then again, those sound like hell to adapt into a choice-based format, but It’d be interesting to see an attempt! (I’m actually drafting a frankenstein-esque IF right now!)

(If there are works like this that you know of, please let me know :eyes:. I only really know SH - an Affair of the Heart and Study in Steampunk, both of which are Sherlock works, so…)

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The Mysteries of Baroque, maybe, though in that you’re the monster and not the doctor.

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As well as the above rec, I recommend Weyrwood (Regency fae) and Heart of the House (Victorian gothic) plus the Superlatives series (pulp-Victorian-superhero/magic)

Tally Ho and Cakes and Ale are great if you want something comedic rather than creepy-fantastical, and Nikola Tesla: War of the Currents is great for a less fantastical, but still speculative, game.

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