Created By: TheodoreErasmusDanger on May 10, 2011 Last Edited By: TheodoreErasmusDanger on September 22, 2012

Mook Barometer

An evil presence is expressed through increased monster activity.

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Seen It a Million Times, Needs a Better Title, Needs a Better Description.

In JRP Gs and related game genres and works of fiction, the rise of a Big Bad is usually accompanied by a sudden appearance or increased presence by monsters throughout the land. Why? So the hero can fight them, of course! This can be explained in-game in a number of ways, such as the monsters being Sealed Evil in a Can or the existing population simply having a greater presence due to increased aggression or intelligence. Sometimes no reason is given. But you can bet that in every JRPG you'll find that one NPC who says something like "things were great until the monsters came." Just to clarify the point of this: The focus isn't that the monsters appear, but that they coincide with or are a result of the presence of the Big Bad or a generally "evil" presence.


  • The story of Lufia 2 Rise of the Sinistrals begins when hero Maxim's home village notices a surge in monster activity in a nearby cave due to the arrival of a Sinistral.
  • The first two games in the Ys series start with this. In fact, it pretty much halts the entire economy of the island nation in which the first game is set.
  • Actually happens onscreen in The Legend of Zelda The Minish Cap. The main villain actually releases the monsters by accident while looking for something else.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • May 10, 2011
    • Eve's coming on Supernatural attributed to increased and unusual monster activity. And Lucifer's coming signalled increased demonic possessions. The Winchesters unleashing hell upon earth certainly didn't help either.
  • May 10, 2011
    Also invoked in other zelda games. Ocarina comes to mind specifically - Kokiri village is your ifrst stop as Adult Link, and to show just what a Crapsack World you're in, the entire place is overrun with mooks.
  • May 10, 2011
    On The Twelve Kingdoms if the ruler ia good, there are few monsters and the kingdom in general prospers, meanwhaile, if he loses the way and acts inapropietly, the number of wild creatures increases and the land becomes less productive and the kingdom in general decays, also the kirin get's sick and if the king doesn't fix his/her ways, the kirin dies
  • May 11, 2011
    • Ghostbusters. The rise in paranormal activity (appearances of ghosts) was caused by the Babylonian Sumerian deity Gozer trying to enter our world through the building built by Ivor Shandor.

    It seemed that the evil power in Mirkwood had been driven out by the White Council only to reappear in greater strength in the old strongholds of Mordor. The Dark Tower had been rebuilt, it was said. From there the power was spreading far and wide, and away far east and south there were wars and growing fear. Orcs were multiplying again in the mountains. Trolls were abroad, no longer dull-witted, but cunning and armed with dreadful weapons. And there were murmured hints of creatures more terrible than all these, but they had no name.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Module T1 The Village of Hommlet. In the Back Story, the Temple of Elemental Evil was destroyed and its minions slain or dispersed. Life returned to normal and even adventurers stopped coming to the area as it seemed that there were no monsters left to slay and no evil existed there to be stamped out. Then bandits began to ride the roads again - not frequently, but to some effect. This seemed all too familiar to the good folk of Hommlet, so they sent word to the Viscount of Verbobonc that wicked forces might still lurk thereabouts. It turned out that the Temple of Elemental Evil was being rebuilt.
  • May 11, 2011
    Mist in the Ivalice Games tends to attract deadly monsters or make the ones already there more ferocious. Mist itself is usually concentrated magic mojo, so of course it's bad news.
  • May 11, 2011
    Real Life: The CIA and other agencies note a marked increase or decrease in "chatter" amongst the terrorist cells they monitor shortly before an attempt.
  • May 11, 2011
    In the Nintendo Power Pokemon walkthrough, there's an attempt to give more narrative to the game by saying Pokemon attacks are dramatically on the rise, implying that Mewtwo's escape is behind it somehow.
  • May 12, 2011
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Subverted in module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. After an upsurge in monster activity in the Grand Duchy of Geoff, the Grand Duke sends a group of adventurers to find out who's behind it and stop them. It turns out that no one's behind it - the monsters are being dumped out of a crashed spaceship by malfunctioning cargo robots.
      • Module G1-G3 Against the Giants. Bands of giants are attacking the lands of men. They're being controlled by the drow, who are in turn being controlled by the demon queen Lolth as part of her plot to conquer the world.
      • I2 Tomb of the Lizard King. In the south of Eor, brigands are attacking merchant caravans and strange monsters are attacking local villages. They're being sent by the lizard king/vampire Sakatha, who plans to take over the land.
  • May 13, 2011
    When you reach a certain point in Hollow Bastion in Kingdom Hearts, all the Heartless in previous areas are replaced with more powerful ones, and this trope is said to be the cause.
  • May 13, 2011
    Hmmm, sometimes you see the opposite case: the orc raids are less frequent, because they're gathering to form an army. Would that sort of thing count? (Although that may be closer to Its Quiet Too Quiet)
  • ^I think it may still count. This trope basically covers any widespread change in mook behavior as a result of "evil" activity. Differs from Its Quiet Too Quiet in that it's an ongoing change in activity among ALL orcs, as opposed to, say, an ambush strategy planned by orcs inhabiting a certain fortress.
  • May 13, 2011
    • In EarthBound, Giygas's evil influence causes humans and animals to go crazy and attack you.
  • September 21, 2012
    In Secret Of Mana after the protagonist takes the sword of mana from its resting place so he can use it to cut the grass and return to his town, everybody notices an increase on mosters around the area, this is due the fact that the sword was acting as a seal, after that he gets vanished from his village so the monters don't get closer
  • September 22, 2012
    • In the Dragon Age series, the Darkspawn usually stick to the underground Deep Roads. When they do come up to the surface, it's usually a sure sign that another Archdemon has been awakened and will soon mount an assault. As seen in Origins, one can reasonably well predict where the first attack will take place by keeping an eye on where the Darkspawn appear in droves on the surface.
  • September 22, 2012
    Somewhat justified in Sacred, due to the events of the game being set in motion by a necromancer's failed attempt to summon a Sakkara, a type of demon associated with undeath. In the days after the ritual, undead begin rising from their graves, cults of humans who worship the Sakkara grow in power, and tribes of orcs that have been displaced by the Sakkara's arrival start to harass human settlements.
  • September 22, 2012
    • Wheel Of Time has massively increased Trolloc activity as a sign the Dark One is breaking free. After the first book, though, they suddenly almost entirely suspend activity for several years before returning with a vengeance.

    • Fire Emblem Sacred Stones has monsters appearing as an indication that the Demon King is returning.

    Dragon Age is also a case of lessened activity: Orizammar is usually fighting off massive hordes of Darkspawn, but during a Blight they're all on the surface.