Millstone Item
Items so large, they need to be lugged around with two hands
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(permanent link) added: 2012-07-12 13:59:33 sponsor: raven2785 edited by: morenohijazo (last reply: 2014-06-09 09:15:01)

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Sometimes while playing a videogame you will come across these, these are items that block or impede functions in your game until you put them to use, so you have no choice but to get rid of the item. In modern games there will be a visual cue to let you know the item in question is one of these, your character will either have the item in it's hand at all times or act like it's very heavy. It can be a plot item or can be a weapon or even Interchangeable Antimatter Keys[[hottip: As long as you have to carry the key outside of your inventory]].

There are many different ways to show this, the most common way is that you can't pick up any other item until you dispose of the one you have in your hands, also, there's also being slowed down, being unable to jump, dive, take cover etc. another thing some items will do is not block your abilities or your movement, but the moment you choose to do or pick up something else the item will disappear, or your character will always drop the item in question to do something else, like open a door or pick up a Power-Up, If the item in question is a weapon then God forbid you have the item on you when a cutscene rolls around.

Do note that this trope refers to actual items your main character can pick up and drop, not power ups.

There are many reasons why this might happen in a game, maybe that weapon is too powerful, so for reasons of game balance you can only use it in that battle, for plot reasons you might have to drag someone out of the line of fire it might be something about the game's mechanics the game has a very sparse item inventory that only allows you to carry one item at a time, etc. But the end result is that if you picked the up, you have to use said item (or drop it if you can pick it back up) before you do something else of risk losing it.

Compare to Blatant Item Placement, if said item is a power up with negative effects then it's a Poison Mushroom, if the item is a weapon in a fixed place it's a Removable Turret Gun, if the item is a shield then it's Single-Use Shield.


Examples:

Action Adventure
  • The Legend of Zelda. The Franchise as a whole has Cucco's they are useful for gliding over short distances but you can't fight or use any items from your inventory unless you let the chicken go.
    • In any of The Legend of Zelda games, grass, rocks, and pots behave this way, though it's rare that Link has any need to carry them anywhere.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Princess Ruto who you spends most of the third dungeon being carried by you, naturally you need to put her down to do any fighting.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has three examples.
      • The first is the The Rock Sirloin a highly desired foodstuff for Gorons. To obtain Don Gero's Mask you must help out a Goron stranded on a rock ledge. He's starving, so you must get him some food. However, Gorons eat rocks (not all rocks, just certain rocks), so the Rock Sirloin (literally, a rock that looks like that rack of ribs from the Flintstones opening sequence) occupies all of Link's strength. No running or using other items, just walk across the Mountain Village carrying this thing above your head.
      • The second example is Mikau's body. He's half-dead and adrift in the ocean, so you must grab him and swim him back to shore. No diving or quick turns while dragging him.
      • Another from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The Powder Keg, a huge bomb that only Link's Goron form can lift. He drops it if he uses an item or gets hit, but fortunately it doesn't explode unless you hit it with something. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ledges and ramps around the places Link needs to take it.
    • Twilight Princess: One sidequest involves carrying a barrel of water over your head and crossing the monster-infested Hyrule Field to the town. Attacking or being attacked will cause you to drop the barrel, forcing you to restart. And if you think you can just put down the barrel, take out the monsters, and keep going, it's a Timed Mission: the spring water cools down and becomes useless.
    • Oracle Of Seasons / Oracle Of Ages: The Biggoron Sword is a very powerful sword with a 180° swing arc. However, it takes up both item slots to use.
    • In Four Swords Adventures, many items work this way, particularly keys and Moon Pearls. Since there are four Links, they can carry these to their destinations without particular danger. One Link can also pick up another to the same effect.

Adventure Game

Eastern RPG
  • Final Fantasy X: The Cloister of Trials segments require you to take small spheres and insert them into sockets to open doors. Despite fitting in your hand, you can only carry one at a time.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Switches used to open gates must be carried there manually, and in multiplayer, one player in the team needs to carry the Chalice that protects the whole team from the surrounding miasma.

Fighting Game
  • Super Smash Bros. plays this straight with items like the pokeball and the bomb and inverts with items that you can use again and again like the baseball bat.

First-Person Shooter
  • In Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, Ray can occasionally pick up a portable Gatling Gun and use it as a normal weapon, but switching to any other weapon he carries forces him to drop the machine gun to the ground.
  • Left 4 Dead has items like fuel cans that need to be collected on some maps in order to fill up a vehicle etc., carrying one prevents the characters from using any weapons until he or she drops it.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
  • Guild Wars. Many of the missions revolve around this mechanic, with a large item that has to be carried from one place to another, usually a huge key or a piece of machinery. While carrying it, a given character cannot attack or defend without dropping the item. The point is to make one player carry while the rest surround and defend them.
    • Guild Wars doesn't have as many Millstone Items, but does have a few that need to be carried around. Off the top of my head, the apple barrel in Pre-Searing Ascalon (south of Fort Ranik), the Scepter of Orr (whenever it shows up), a pot in the D'Alessio Seaboard mission, and half a dozen items created by Ritualist skills.
  • Vindictus. In this MMORPG you carry around chunks of debris and smash enemies with them, but until you get rid of said debris, you can't use your normal weapons or spells.
    • Vindictus has loads of items littered around all of its dungeons that can be used as a weapon, and the prologue even has you carrying the unconscious body of the "princess" around.

Platform Game
  • Spelunky. You can equip some items, and you have an inventory for bombs and ropes, but you have to carry everything else in your hands. This includes rocks, weapons, keys, treasure chests, Damsels in Distress and unconscious or dead NPCs.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3. World 5-3 features the rarest item in any Mario game: Kuribo's Shoe. This unique item allows you to stomp Spinies, Bob-Ombs, and Pirahna Plants with impunity, but it can only be used in 5-3 and cannot be carried over to other levels.
  • Kirbys Return To Dreamland has a handful of items that Kirby or one of his friends must physically pick up and carry to use. A character holding one of these items can't fly, slide, or use copy abilities.
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood: There are four doors in the game which require a key to open. The key takes up your subweapon slot, preventing you from using subweapons while carrying the key.

Puzzle Game
  • Exit: You are allowed only to have one item at any time, said item will appear on top of your head until you use it, and all of them have only one use (i.e. a fire extinguisher).
  • In Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, you need two hands to carry totems, the bridge in "Dragon Scales", the giant pole in the squid battle, and some other things.

Strategy Game
  • Warcraft 3. Several maps have plot-important items that can't be dropped until they've served their purpose. Given that your inventory has only six slots, it's a pretty big millstone.
  • In Survival, The Ultimate Challenge, some items (food, tools, water bottles) can be carried in one hand or in a basket held in one hand. Others (firewood, unfinished building wood) require both hands free. Still others (beams for building) can be held in one hand but not in a basket.

Tabletop Game
  • In the cardgame Munchkin there's plenty of items that require two hands. If you have one of these you can't have a weapon in your other hand.

Third-Person Shooter
  • Gears of War. Starting from Gears of War 2 you could use weapons that slowed down your movement considerably (the mulcher and the mortar), Gears 3 also ads the one shot, all of these weapons disappear as soon as the ammo runs out or when you activate a Cut Scene.

Western RPG
  • Mass Effect 3. Instead of bringing over heavy weapons from Mass Effect 2 actually turns them into this and strings them thru many different levels, After picking one up, you cannot use any other weaponry and your movement speed is reduced, but you can always drop it and pick it up again (provided, you didn't spend all ammo). except for "one shot" weapons like Blackstar and Cain.
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