Created By: Unknown Troper on May 22, 2007
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Is there a trope named here for the tendency of treasure hunting villains, expecting gold or jewels, instead find something treasure that more abstract and/or intellectual in nature such as a collection of ancient scrolls of a lost civilization, in reasonably perfect condition? I notice, upon discovery of this find, the villains never say something like, "Wow! This is better than finding the Dead Sea Scrolls! Museums/Discovery Channel/Collectors will pay millions for this stuff!"
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • May 23, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    Would this be related to the trope of finding someone's treasure and discovering nothing more than a chest with a parchment with only the world "Love" or something inside of it?
  • May 23, 2007
    jonnyd
  • May 23, 2007
    Tanto
    Skies of Arcadia did this. Daccat sets up an entire dungeon filled with monsters, traps, twin fire-and-ice elemental spirits, and a complicated clockwork mechanism...to teach random adventurers about The Power Of Friendship?

    To be fair, the cave was filled with a lot of good stuff.
  • May 23, 2007
    TheDefenestrator
    To be specific, you reach the treasure and get a single coin with a note about the power of friendship... The coin turns out to be worth something like 200,000 gold.
  • May 23, 2007
    Solandra
    I think there's a trope that's very similar to this, but not quite the same: a person learns that another has a treasure, but once he/she gets his/her hands on it, it turns out to be the kind of treasure valuable to the owner only, usually because of sentimental value, and with little monetary value.

    Examples of this would be in the Casper movie in which Casper's father's treasure is only a baseball, the Fruits Basket manga where Akito's prized box contains...nothing (Akito was told that it contained his father's soul), and a folk tale (I can't remember the name) where an old woman's relatives keep her company to guard her treasure chest; upon her death, it's revealed that the chest contained only broken glass and that she had got it to get more time with her family who rarely made time out for her. This situation is usually set up for an Aesop.
  • May 23, 2007
    ShireNomad
    There was a great subversion in the comic "Knights of the Dinner Table" (about table-top role players) where the GM meant to put them in a "knowledge is the greatest treasure" scenario by having them discover an ancient library; one of the players then exploits the pricing charts in the manual and does exactly what you described, selling every last piece of parchment and raking in a hundred times what they would have on any normal adventure.
  • May 24, 2007
    FallenAngelEyes
    There was also the Richie Rich movie where the Rich's vault was full of sentimental family objects/heirlooms, which the "villain" John Laroquette was frustrated to find.
  • May 24, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    The entire plot of Sonic Riders ended in this, when the treasure they raised a legendary city for, and fought a nearly all powerful genie for, turned out to be a single flying carpet. While impressive in its own time, all the characters had hover boards, so no one was impressed at all.
  • May 25, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    Willy Four Eyes: A lot of fictional characters like to use the phrase "the best thing since sliced bread", so why not name it Better Than Sliced Bread?
  • alot of things are better than sliced bread, in america
  • May 25, 2007
    Branfish
    Title bin for that one. It's a good title, but it's not really relevent.
  • May 26, 2007
    {{Fly}}
    Spoofed in The Simpsons, right? Marge and Homer, in the future, go out to hunt for Lincoln's Gold. They eventually find a chest and inside it is a sheet of paper saying 'my gold is in the heart of every American'. Marge thinks it's sweet. Homer thinks it's a con.
  • May 26, 2007
    SAMAS
    They also did a rather silly subversion in Ranma One Half, in the story where he finally reveals himself to his mother(that reminds me...). The other half of the story is the attempt to keep his father from taking a family treasure, that's hidden in a box the whole time, and pawning it. Of course, when Genma finally get the treasure and takes it to pawn, it's only a single slip of paper. The subversion is that the slip of paper was a pawn ticket. One of their ancestors already sold it.
  • May 26, 2007
    Paul A
    "Turned the stone and looked beneath it... 'Peace on Earth' was all it said."
  • May 26, 2007
    SevenSeals
    We could name it One Tin Soldier, but this is only a perfect fit if you've heard of the song. More Precious Than Gold? Ultimate Treasure? Sentimental Swag?
  • May 26, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    All That Glitters is usually the title of the episode in which it happens.
  • May 26, 2007
    SevenSeals
    Well, I don't know about that, but it's a good title regardless.
  • May 26, 2007
    MisterSix
  • May 26, 2007
    {{Fly}}
    The original quote is All That Glisters, I believe. Can we call it that?
  • May 26, 2007
    Branfish
    I vote for either More Precious Than Gold or All That Glitters. I know it was originally "Glisters", but most people know it as "Glitters".
  • i like One Tin Soldier, we can even use the quotation for the page, in america
  • May 26, 2007
    Solandra
  • why not one tin soldier?
  • May 26, 2007
    SevenSeals
    Because the song is not so well known that "one tin soldier" immediately conveys the trope's nature. We should avoid obscure trope names if alternatives are readily available, lest we spend the rest of our days directing people who couldn't find it.
  • really? i thought everybody knew that song, in america
  • May 26, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    I for one, have never heard of it before.

    And stop the "In America", thing, please. It's not funny.
  • May 26, 2007
    Paul A
    I also think One Tin Soldier is too obscure, and doesn't do a good job of conveying what the trope is about. I like More Precious Than Gold.
  • May 26, 2007
    adam850
    More Precious Than Gold.

    In my opinion, if you drop the "in america" thing, you'd be Growing The Beard. It is now a Overly Long Gag, and a poor Catch Phrase.
  • May 26, 2007
    Jordan
    I was thinking of a possible subversion in Superman Returns- Lex Luther is overjoyed at the Kryptonite he steals but his minions don't really see it as worth the effort. He even gives a speech on the value of knowledge that sounds strange coming from a villain.
  • May 26, 2007
    Ununnilium
  • May 27, 2007
    Branfish
  • All That Glitters is my second choice, in america (it's my sig, i'm not trying to be funny, i'm trying to establish somebody else's catchphrase as vaguely my own)
  • can we at least use the quotation from one tin soldier? in america
  • May 27, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    Then put it on a separate line.
  • ok
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ghebni8e&trope=AllThatGlitters