Created By: StevenT on April 22, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on July 12, 2013

Ninja Looting NPC [Crowner open]

CPU-controlled characters can pick up items meant for the Player Character

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Looking for a consensus on a launch title. Crowner available here.


In many video games, characters other than the Player Character aren't programmed to interact with Power Ups. The worst they can do is interfere with the player trying to get the item, and sometimes they're intended to do just that, such as with a Beef Gate. Assuming the item doesn't vanish after a set period of time, the player can go scoop it up at the earliest convenience or when it would be most beneficial.

This trope is when enemies and/or Non Player Characters can pick up items lying out in the open. They may or may not actually use the items themselves, but stealing the opportunity from the player can be aggravating enough. The behavior might be intentionally designed or the result of a bug.

This doesn't include games with Competitive Multiplayer modes in which the opponents can be either computer-controlled or player-controlled -- in those cases, AI characters picking up and using items is a necessary component of game balance.

Sister tropes include Bandit Mook for when enemies steal directly from the player's inventory and Mooks Ate My Equipment which portrays the theft as literally consuming the item. Also compare No Item Use for You for when the player temporarily loses the ability to use items. Named after Ninja Looting, which is when a player takes item drops from another player in a "dishonest" manner.

Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Action Adventure]]
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, if you disarm a guard and he doesn't run away immediately, he'll usually try to pick up a weapon another enemy dropped and come after you again.
  • Turned into a Mini-Game in The Legend of Zelda Oracle games. Every 30 enemies killed (or 15 if wearing a particular ring) Link encounters an apprentice witch named Maple who could collide with him and spill her bag. Link and Maple then race to grab the good items first.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Action RPG]]
  • The Jestabocky Dream Eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D will steal any pick-ups left on the ground unattended, whether HP balls, munny, or items. Defeating the Dream Eater doesn't return the item, either. On the plus side, a Jestabocky as an ally will gather those items for the player.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Beat 'em Up]]
  • In the Streets of Rage games, enemies may pick up healing food items that the player leaves untouched.
  • In Zeno Clash, anyone wielding a weapon and who takes a few hits will have their weapon knocked out of their hands -- the player included. Enemies can and will pick up discarded/dropped weapons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Eastern RPG]]
  • Final Fantasy V: In Walse, the player has the option to free "Lone Wolf the Pickpocket" from prison. If you do so, a number of treasure chests in subsequent dungeons will be empty, except for an "I Was Here" note from Lone Wolf.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fighting Game]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:First-Person Shooter]]
  • In Blake Stone Aliens Of Gold, enemy guards and uncooperative bio-techs do not have unlimited ammo but are able to pick up ammunition packs to replenish their weapons when they run out, reducing the amount of ammo available to the player unless the player kills them first.
  • Wolfenstein 3D mods. In some mods wounded enemy soldiers can consume health items lying on the ground, thus denying them to the player. In at least one mod enemy soldiers can pick up treasure and prevent the player from getting it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Interactive Fiction]]
  • In the Apple ][ Eamon games, an enemy with a broken weapon can pick up and use other weapons lying on the ground.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:MMORPG]]
  • Ragnarok Online has several varieties of monsters that are fond of scooping up items lying on the ground, such as Porings and Thief Bugs. While a player can kill a monster to retrieve what it took, note that after a monster picks up a certain amount of items, any further items it collects are outright destroyed.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Platform Game]]
  • In Sly Cooper, the enemies in Murray's racing levels can pick up the speed boosts, though at least they never use them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puzzle Platformer]]
  • In Lode Runner, enemies can pick up gold if they aren't already carrying some. Making them drop it is very important to play strategy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Roguelike]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Shoot 'em Up]]
  • In the twelfth Touhou game, Undefined Fantastic Object, picking up three UFO tokens summons a large UFO. This UFO automatically draws in and absorbs all point and power-up items on the screen. However, this is actually beneficial and key to scoring points, as the UFO drops an additional power-up after collecting enough items, and the player can automatically collect all absorbed items upon destroying the UFO.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Enemy thief units can open treasure chests just like player-controlled thieves. The sole purpose of such enemies is to loot the chests before the player and then retreat from the stage, so they're often much weaker than other enemies and can be killed in a few hits to take the goods back before they make their getaway.
    • Enemy brigands and thieves can visit villages and take the item that the NPCs would have otherwise offered to the player. A dramatic village-burning animation plays instead of the gate-closing animation for when the player gets to the village.
    • Despite being a third faction of 'bandits' or 'ruffians', they act as Red Enemy Units, so the enemy army supposedly defending the treasure from you will not attack them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western RPG]]
  • One early Beef Gate in Arcanum can be made easier by placing very low-end weapons near the bare-fisted mooks. The AI will command the enemies to pick up and equip the items, resulting in drastically lower damage output. Another instance involves putting high-end equipment with a serious side effect (like constantly poisoning the user) near an NPC, which will pick up and wear it until death occurs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Wide-Open Sandbox]]
  • The rat bandit class of enemies in Borderlands 2 will pick up loot that the player hasn't picked up yet. If they pick up a gun or shield, they'll use it as if they spawned with it.
  • In Don't Starve, Pigs will eat any food items left lying around, including Monster Meat (which turns them into Werepigs). Gobblers will spawn from bushes and devour any berries that happen to be nearby.
  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas both feature NPCs that can (and will) pick up other weapons if the one they spawned with is inadequate (broken, out of ammo, etc.)
  • In Minecraft, Zombies can pick up dropped items (such as when a player dies and spills everything in the inventory).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other Media]]
  • In the ReBoot episode "Between a Raccoon and a Hard Place", the characters inside of a game take the power-ups away from their usual locations and stash them elsewhere so the User can't find them.
[[/folder]]


Indexes: Steal This Index, Video Game Characters

Rolling Updates


Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • April 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    • In Zeno Clash, anyone with a weapon of some sort (the player included) who takes a few hits will have their weapon knocked out of their hands. Enemies can, and will, pick up discarded/dropped weapons.

    • The rat bandit class of enemies in Borderlands 2 will pick up loot that the player hasn't picked up yet. If they pick up a gun or shield, they'll use it as if they spawned with it.
  • April 22, 2013
    Koveras
    Good one.

    • In the Assassins Creed series, if you disarm a guard and he doesn't run away immediately, he'd usually try to pick up a weapon another enemy dropped and come after you again.
  • April 22, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    • In Minecraft, Zombies can pick up dropped items (such as when a player dies and spills everything in the inventory).
    • In the Streets Of Rage games, enemies may pick up healing food items that the player leaves untouched.
    • In one episode of ReBoot, the characters inside of a game take the power-ups away from their usual locations and stash them away so the User can't find them. (I'm blanking on how to describe the way this plays with the trope.)
  • April 23, 2013
    Arivne
    • In the old Apple II Eamon game, if an enemy's weapon was broken it could pick up a weapon lying on the ground and use it.
    • In some Wolfenstein 3 D mods, wounded enemy soldiers can consume health items lying on the ground, thus denying them to the player.
  • June 5, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    I'll take over this one unless StevenT asks for it back. Polished the description and added the examples thus far.

    Also, researching makes me realize we may not have the trope for "items blink and disappear after a set amount of time". Everything Fades looks to be more about removing entities for the sake of system memory than for gameplay challenge.
  • June 5, 2013
    DracMonster
    This would be the npc version of Kleptomaniac Hero, basically. Also kind of a Sub Trope of Ninja Looting.

    Ninja Looting NPC perhaps?
  • June 5, 2013
    Ryusui
    • In Dont Starve, Pigs will eat any food items left lying around, including Monster Meat (which turns them into Werepigs). Gobblers will spawn from bushes and devour any berries that happen to be nearby.
  • June 5, 2013
    Maxaxle
    [[Video Game/Fallout3]] and [1] both feature NP Cs that can (and will) pick up other weapons if the one they spawned with is inadequate (broken, out of ammo, etc.).
  • June 5, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^^^ I think the comparison to Kleptomaniac Hero is less sound since most of the examples suggest NPCs act with reasonable cause to do this (taking healing items when wounded or weapons when disarmed).

    I do like the suggestion of renaming to Ninja Looting NPC.
  • June 5, 2013
    KZN02
  • June 6, 2013
    Chernoskill
    I seem to remember some FPS games where disarmed enemies pick up any fallen weapons in their vincinity.
  • June 6, 2013
    Melkior
    • In the old DOS game, Blake Stone: Aliens Of Gold, enemy guards and non-cooperative bio-techs do not have unlimited ammo but are able to pick up ammunition packs to replenish their weapons when they run out, reducing the amount of ammo available to the player unless the player kills them first.
  • June 6, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Added recent examples. Anyone have additional name suggestions or feels strongly about the suggestion of Ninja Looting NPC?

    (Also, found out that we have three unconnected pages for Blake Stone: Blake Stone, Blake Stone Aliens Of Gold, and Blake Stone Planet Strike.)
  • June 6, 2013
    Prfnoff
    In Lode Runner, enemies can pick up gold if they aren't already carrying some. Making them drop it is very important to play strategy.
  • June 6, 2013
    StarSword
    Action Adventure:
    • Turned into a Mini Game in The Legend Of Zelda Oracle Games. Every 30 enemies killed (or 15 if wearing a particular ring) you would encounter an apprentice witch named Maple who would collide with Link and spill her bag. You and she then raced to grab the good items first.
  • June 6, 2013
    Melkior
    ^^^ I'd call that a candidate for the Trope Repair Shop. We should need only one page for all three editions of the game.
  • June 6, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Actually, the first two pages are the same exact game and the third is a sequel. I say merge 1 and 2 and keep 3 if it's different enough, but that'd be a conversation for Wiki Talk (let's not use the TRS for works; it's always too full and I don't feel it's a valid use anyway).
  • June 7, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Folderized examples. We have a good spread so far, but more is always welcome.
  • June 8, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • In the twelfth Touhou game, Undefined Fantastic Object, you can pick up 3 small UF Os to summon a large UFO. The large UFO will then proceed to absorb all point and power items on the screen. However, this is actually beneficial, as it drops another power up when it has collected enough items, and you can autocollect all items it has taken after you destroy it.
  • June 8, 2013
    Chabal2
    • Warcraft III: the AI in multiplayer games will automatically pick up items regardless of usefulness (for example, a ranged-damage boost on a melee hero) if you don't beat them to it. It will also be happy to pick up items dropped by a neutral monster while another force is still busy fighting the remaining monsters (if they're allied, counts as Stop Helping Me since they're also attacking your enemies).
    • One early Beef Gate in Arcanum can be made easier by placing very low-end weapons near the bare-fisted mooks. The AI will command them to pick up and equip the item, resulting in drastically lower damage output. Another involves putting high-end equipment with a serious side effect (like constantly poisoning the user) near an NPC, they will pick it up and wear it until death occurs.
  • June 8, 2013
    Prfnoff
    In my opinion, Ninja Looting NPC is a terrible name for this, primarily because the term "NPC" usually excludes enemies.
  • June 8, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • Final Fantasy V: In Walse, the player has the option to free "Lone Wolf the Pickpocket" from prison. If you do so, a number of treasure chests in subsequent dungeons will be empty, except for an "I Was Here" note from Lone Wolf.
  • June 9, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^^ Ninja Looting Mook? Though, we've collected a couple of examples where the looter isn't necessarily an opponent, so I think the name works to distinguish from typical Ninja Looting being between players, and the description is what needs an update to broaden the definition beyond hostile mooks.
  • June 9, 2013
    StarSword
  • June 10, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ I can see that going either way. On one hand, it sounds broad enough to assume players as well. On the other hand, if separating the player from the persona, normal Ninja Looting is a player behavior only.

    Also, rewrote the description as stated earlier.

    EDIT: Ninja Looting AI/CPU/Computer? Maybe just Looting Computer?
  • June 10, 2013
    AGuy
    In Fire Emblem, enemy thieves can loot chests which are usually left untouched until the player gets to them.
  • June 10, 2013
    StarSword
    Oh, just thought of another:

    The Legend Of Zelda:
    • In The Legend Of Zelda The Wind Waker rats will run at Link and if they hit him they'll knock rupees out of his wallet. They'll steal the biggest one they knocked loose and you have to kill the rat to get your money back.
  • June 10, 2013
    maxwellsilver
  • June 10, 2013
    acrobox
    Turn Based Strategy

    • Fire Emblem: Enemies of the 'Theif' class, like player thieves, can open chests. Their sole purpose is to open the treasure chests before you and then retreat from the stage, so they're often much weaker than other enemies and can be killed in a few hits to take the goods back before they make their getaway.
      • Also enemy brigands and thieves can visit Villages before the player does and take the item that the NPC s would've offered you. There's a dramatic village burning animation that happens as opposed to the gate closing animation that plays if the player gets to the village first.
      • Despite being a third faction of 'bandits' or 'ruffians,' they act as Red Enemy Units, so the enemy army supposedly defending the treasure from you will not attack them.
  • June 10, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^^^ That strikes me as more a straight-up Bandit Mook (so I posted the example there), since the rats have to knock the rupees out of Link first. Can they also steal rupees dropped from pots or from killing other enemies?
  • June 11, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Another draft of the description and copied examples from Mooks Ate My Equipment that overlap with this.

    I also withdrew the Warcraft III example because that runs into the "competitive multiplayer excepted" clause. However, it's a good argument for the "Kleptomaniac CPU" idea mentioned earlier, when the AI doesn't appear to prioritize what to pick up.
  • June 16, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Any thoughts on a trope name? The current one has two in favor and one against, so I'd like to see a greater consensus in favor of any name before launching.

    Aside from Ninja Looting NPC, I especially like Ninja Looting CPU and Looting Computer from the mountain of suggestions I made earlier.
  • June 16, 2013
    StarSword
    The Computer Is A Looting Bastard is funny and descriptive but I'm not sure about the snowclone. I'll drop Ask The Tropers a line on it. Ninja Looting AI avoids the snowclone but isn't very witty.
  • June 16, 2013
    surgoshan
    I'd recommend switching it to NPC Loot Ninja or something similar, to switch the primary noun to be the NPC, rather than the ninja (particularly since "ninja" is supposed to be an adjective!) so that it's clearer that the trope is about an NPC who is a loot-ninja, rather than a Ninja who loots an NPC.
  • June 16, 2013
    StarSword
    Or maybe AI Loot Ninja.
  • June 25, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Opened a crowner. 11 names available at time of writing.
  • July 1, 2013
    StarSword
    Forgot to mention: Moderators on Ask The Tropers vetoed The Computer Is A Looting Bastard.
  • July 1, 2013
    Exxolon
    Does this include NP Cs who steal kills too depriving you of experience as well as loot?
  • July 2, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^^ Thanks for checking that out.

    ^ Yep; kill stealing gets a mention in Ninja Looting, so it ought to apply here too. Same caveat about excluding Competitive Multiplayer games.
  • July 10, 2013
    m8e
    I added Ninja Plundering Character a while ago. Just wanted to say, well... Ninja Plundering Character
  • July 10, 2013
    DamianYerrick
  • July 12, 2013
    aurora369
    In later installments of the Dark Forces Saga, if you disarm some enemies with telekinesis, they can and will pick up another weapon. They don't care if it's meant for you.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=409di2r0l5eustvrn7d8lqtj