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15 RPG ‘Rules’ That Every Gamer Knows

Ten of our favorite; universally applicable and facepalm-worthy RPG tropes found on The Grand List Of Console Role Playing Game Clichés by Project Apollo (all credit to them for the amazing list, please do give all 192 clichés a read) below:

  1. Garrett’s Principle
    Let’s not mince words: you’re a thief. You can walk into just about anybody’s house like the door wasn’t even locked. You just barge right in and start looking for stuff. Anything you can find that’s not nailed down is yours to keep. You will often walk into perfect strangers’ houses, lift their precious artifacts, and then chat with them like you were old neighbors as you head back out with their family heirlooms under your arm. Unfortunately, this never works in stores.
  2. Bed Bed Bed
    A good night’s sleep will cure all wounds, diseases, and disabilities, up to and including death in battle.
  3. Zelda’s Axiom
    Whenever somebody tells you about “the five ancient talismans” or “the nine legendary crystals” or whatever, you can be quite confident that Saving the World will require you to go out and find every last one of them.
  4. Insomnia Rule
    A “free stay at the inn” is never really free. Expect to be woken up in the middle of the night for a mandatory plot event.
  5. Thousand Year Rule
    The Ancient Evil returns to savage the land every thousand years on the dot, and the last time it showed up was just about 999.9875 years ago. Despite their best efforts, heroes of the past were never able to do more than seal the Evil away again for the future to deal with (which brings up the question of just how exactly does this “sealing away” work anyway, but never mind.) The good news is that this time, the Evil will get destroyed permanently. The bad news is that you’re the one who’s going to have to do it.
  6. If You Meet The Buddha In A Random Encounter, Kill Him!
    When you’re out wandering around the world, you must kill everything you meet. People, animals, plants, insects, fire hydrants, small cottages, anything and everything is just plain out to get you. It may be because of your rampant kleptomania (see Garrett’s Principle.)
  7. Xenobiology Rule
    The predatory species of the world will include representatives of all of the following: giant spiders, giant scorpions, giant snakes, giant beetles, wolves, squid, fish that float in midair, gargoyles, golems, carnivorous plants, chimeras, griffons, cockatrices, hydras, minotaurs, burrowing things with big claws, things that can paralyse you, things that can put you to sleep, things that can petrify you, at least twenty different creatures with poisonous tentacles, and dragons. Always dragons.
  8. Wait! That Was A Load-Bearing Boss!
    Defeating a dungeon’s boss creature will frequently cause the dungeon to collapse, which is nonsensical but does make for thrilling escape scenes.
  9. You Do Not Talk About Fight Club
    Any fighting tournament or contest of skill you hear about, you will eventually be forced to enter and win.
  10. Talk Is Cheap Rule
    Nothing is ever solved by diplomacy or politics in the world of RPGs. Any declarations of peace, summits and treaty negotiations are traps to fool the ever so gullible Good Guys into thinking the war is over, or to brainwash the remaining leaders of the world.
  11. All The Time In The World (Rinoa Rule)
    Unless there’s a running countdown clock right there on the screen, you have as long as you want to complete any task — such as, say, rescuing a friend who’s hanging by one hand from a slippery cliff edge thousands of feet in the air — no matter how incredibly urgent it is. Dawdle or hurry as you will, you’ll always make it just in the nick of time.
  12. The Law of Inverse Practicality (Key Item Corollary)
    Any item that you can acquire will have some sort of purpose. Those that seem to be useless and have no practical value at all, always tend to have great power later on. The earlier you get the item, the later in the game it will be used. The longer the span of time between acquisition and use, the more powerful the item is.
  13. Luke, I Am Your Tedious, Overused Plot Device (Lynx Rule)
    If there is any chance whatsoever that major villain X could be the male lead’s father, then it will turn out that major villain X is the male lead’s father.
  14. The Best-Laid Schemes
    The final villain’s grand scheme will have involved the deaths of thousands or even millions of innocent people, the clever manipulation of governments, armies, and entire populations, and will have taken anywhere from five to five thousand years to come to fruition. The hero will come up with a method of undoing this plan forever in less than five minutes.
  15. Poetic Villain Principle (Kefka Rule)
    All villains will suddenly become poets, philosophers, and/or dramatic actors when a) they first meet the hero, b) they are about to win or their evil plan is finally ready, c) some major event in the game is about to begin, d) right before the final battle, and e) right before they die, when they will frequently be feeling generous enough to reward you with some homespun wisdom about making the most of life while you have it.


  • Know Your Audience (Vyse Rule)
    Every woman in the game will find the male lead incredibly attractive.


So, what games did these ‘rules’ immediately make you think of? Let us know in the comment section below and do check out the full list here.

Amanda Fox Rosowski

Amanda cut her teeth on her dads old Tandy before graduating to SNES and beyond. An accomplished guild leader in multiple titles and sucker for console RPGs; Amanda spends most of her free time with a bit of tech in her hands. With a life philosophy derived from a Spock quote and more passport stamps then shoes; she is a well-traveled nerd with the urge to pontificate.