Created By: Cidolfas on December 7, 2012 Last Edited By: crazycatkid on December 15, 2013
Nuked

Pre-Designed Trope Systems: Central Tropes

How tropes in a story revolve around center tropes

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A Pre-Designed Trope System is a system of tropes the author set into play consistently. In this case, it's how tropes in the story are used to construct, de-construct, subvert the central tropes\themes. Notice the plural.

This type of trope framework gives the story a distinct flavor and makes the story easy to grasp, since the ideas are organized.

You know you have the central tropes when you can use other tropes in the story point to it.

The examples should include how the other tropes revolve around the central tropes, or how certain tropes were on purpose not evoked because of limiting vision of the central themes.

Use this page to help you find the central tropes: Sum This Up In One Trope

Examples:

Anime

Comic Books

Tabletop Games

Film

Literature

Video Games

Visual Novels

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 72
  • December 7, 2012
    Cidolfas
    I wanted this trope because it's a great way to get an overview of a work. Right now there is just a giant trope list for each work, and no indication which tropes are really important to the work and which are split-second occurrences (unless they happen to be potholed in the description).
  • December 7, 2012
    Koveras
    I like this one, however, since this is very much an interpretative trope, I suggest cutting works that generate too much irreconcilable opinions on their central tropes. Here are some ideas for the list:

    Comic Books

    Tabletop Games

    Video Games

    Visual Novels
  • December 7, 2012
    DracMonster
    Methinks this will need to be YMMV. Claiming a trope is a particular work's "ONE TRUE TROPE" is prime Edit War territory.
  • December 7, 2012
    MorningStar1337
    The Power Of Friendship, and/or The Power Of Love seem to be this to a lot a works My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Sailor Moon, Kingdom Hearts, Yu Gi Oh and most Nippon Ichi games (Especially Disgaea Hour Of Darkness) to an extent (Though Nippon Ichi's may be Dark Is Not Evil and Yu Gi Oh's may be mixed with Fight Like A Card Player or Duels Decide Everything)

    Also I agree with the above post. Many works may have more than one central trope.
  • December 7, 2012
    DracMonster
    Central Tropes might be safer, and allow for multiple examples per work. There'd be less disagreement about a small group of tropes that dominate a particular work. Although that does open the door to Trope Decay if there's no firm limit.
  • December 7, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    This will need to be YMMV. And having it plural will be necessary.
  • December 7, 2012
    StarSword
    Video Games:

    This is probably going to need subpages rather than folders...

    EDIT: Expanded as per moderator request.
  • December 7, 2012
    MorningStar1337
    Alright I changed the name, added all the examples from the previous comments (as well as some of my own and added YMMV to the laconic version. Your welcome Cidolfas.
  • December 7, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    ALL of the current examples fall under Zero Context Example and thus must be rewritten or removed before launching.
  • December 7, 2012
    StarSword
    Expanded mine as per Mod Hat.
  • December 8, 2012
    Chabal2
  • December 8, 2012
    Diask
    I'm pretty sure this is already covered by Sum This Up In One Trope.
  • December 8, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^That is only one trope and Just For Fun.

    ^^Can we avoid this meme, please? And still, please add more context.
  • December 8, 2012
    Cidolfas
    I think Zero Context Examples are actually fine for this trope; the entire definition is "this work can be summed up by simply reading the trope name(s)". More context is going to generally be word cruft.

    I'm fine with it being YMMV and plural. I'd prefer for the examples given to be so obvious as to not need to be YMMV, but I recognize how this kind of thing usually goes.

    Sum This Up In One Trope is the basic idea but doesn't go far enough - as mentioned, it's Just For Fun, only allows one trope, and is organized the wrong way round (by trope instead of work). I can see this basically replacing Sum This Up In One Trope.
  • December 9, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Trope names usually don't tell the whole trope, so no, we still can't have Zero Context Examples.
  • December 9, 2012
    StarSword
    Re: the Zero Context Example debate: I don't think it would hurt to have a sentence or two per work, but more than that kind of defeats the purpose of the page. For example:

    Literature:
  • December 9, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod hat>

    Zero Context Examples are not allowed for ANY trope. This trope is no different. Please fix them before launching. If you can't find anything to say about an example, it's obviously a bad example.
  • December 9, 2012
    StarSword
    ^You said that already. I'm just saying that with this trope it's also a bad example if you can't sum it up in two sentences or less.
  • December 9, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^ Not all tropes can be summed up in two sentences or less. If you try to enforce that you'll get a lot of bad examples from works that have a more complex central trope.
  • December 9, 2012
    StarSword
    Fair enough.
  • December 10, 2012
    StarSword
    Literature:
  • December 10, 2012
    Cidolfas
    Meh... I think enforcing Zero Context Examples with zero tolerance would result here in a somewhat preachy page where people are forced to explain things that are patently obvious. It would for the most part be the trope name followed by the Laconic description of the trope. E.g.

    If the trope name is unclear that's a matter for the TRS. My understanding of the problem with Zero Context Examples is that it doesn't indicate what part of the work is an example of the trope. In this case since the majority of the work exemplifies it, the description can be overkill in some cases. Not saying that all descriptions should be cut, but that blindly enforcing a rule can lead to less readable and enjoyable text.
  • December 10, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Your understanding is wrong then. The reason why we don't want Zero Context Examples is because the examples are about how a work uses a trope, not just about it having examples for a trope.

    Also, "patently obvious" to who? To fans? No, it needs to be obvious to everyone.
  • December 10, 2012
    Treblain
    This seems pointless. Calling something YMMV early on is a bad sign; we usually apply it to things after the fact, and making new tropes and justifying their vagueness by making them YMMV is lazy.

    Most existing YMMV items are things we can't agree on, but they're still things we can discuss and use as fan-speak. Central Trope is just going to be "X is the Central Trope. Or maybe Y." If Central Trope is not something that's actually useful in discussions about tropes, then I don't see the use of it. If we want, we can still argue that X is the central trope of a work without having a TV Tropes page about Central Tropes.
  • December 10, 2012
    StarSword
  • December 11, 2012
    Cidolfas
    No, I don't think this has anything to do with Fan Myopia. The statement "Villain Protagonist is one of the Central Tropes of Wreck It Ralph" indicates that the work in question has a villain protagonist. Replace the trope with any other name and it simply means that the trope applies to the work as a whole. The work doesn't "use" the trope so much as it is focused around it. There may be places where extra explanation is needed but that would only be for trope names that are obtuse or confusing. If the trope could apply to different parts of the work then it's no longer a Central Trope.

    Treblain: It's a useful way to discuss a work and to shine a spotlight on those tropes that are most important to it. More particularly it's a generalized way to describe those tropes.
  • December 11, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    The reason why we don't want Zero Context Examples is because the examples are about how a work uses a trope, not just about it having examples for a trope.

    How does that fit into this?
  • December 11, 2012
    Cider
    This is not even a trope, if it has to be subjective, which kind of defeats the purpose of having it, not being trope worthy by definition.

    If you want to learn about works, just find an index, a medium one literature, genre one like Romance, or just a plot element page like No Antagonist.
  • December 11, 2012
    Treblain
    @Cidolfas: If you want to say a trope is central to a work, say it. It's so basic a concept that it doesn't need a capital letters and a hyperlink to explain it, and yet it's too broad to gather examples effectively, and just encourages people to make X Just X statements. What is there to discuss about a trope being a central trope?

    The structure of storytelling doesn't recognize it. To any sufficiently developed story, it gets broken down further. Example: Harry Potter. Is the Central Trope Wizarding School? Is it Coming Of Age Story? Is it Good Versus Evil? Or is it The Power Of Love? Well, I guess they're all Central Tropes, and now you've circled back around to Setting, Plot, Conflict, and Theme.

    I actually see what you mean about how adding context to the examples makes them seem clumsy and preachy, but I think that's because it's so broad to trope (and making it YMMV doesn't excuse any problems with it).
  • December 11, 2012
    StarSword
    TV:
  • December 11, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    They're not a Zero Context Example. The trope is the example.

    Bruce Almighty: God Job

    You could go into detail about why it is God Job, but you know, the point of the trope is that it can be summed up by a single trope. Not summing it up is defeating the purpose.
  • December 11, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Yes they are. "The trope is the example" doesn't make them not ZCEs. You could equally well go (or not go) into detail about why anything is anything.

    The fact that it is hard to elaborate examples without seeming like Captain Obvious supports the idea that this is not a trope. Echo Treblain: "If you want to say a trope is central to a work, say it. It's so basic a concept that it doesn't need a capital letters and a hyperlink to explain it, and yet it's too broad to gather examples effectively, and just encourages people to make X Just X statements."

    This article should not exist. Every single work ever could be described as having a "central trope", and few or none of them clearly have a single central trope that people wouldn't fight about. This is a potentially infinite list and has no value whatsoever. If you think X is the central idea of a work, say so. No need for a blue link.
  • December 11, 2012
    Kernigh
    I like this idea. I'm not sure whether this counts as a trope, but I want to see this page somewhere on the wiki. Here's a hat.
  • December 11, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    I think this is interesting from a tropology viewpoint, which inclines me to ignore the "not a trope" argument.

    We can't have a page that claims something is some work's Central Trope, though, which is why we'll need context on examples.
  • December 12, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
  • December 12, 2012
    GeminiSparkSP
    ^Sorry for the bad format, but I honestly didn't see that coming. I already pressed enter.
  • December 12, 2012
    Cidolfas
    The problem is that very few people are "just saying" that something is the Central Trope of a work. Our trope lists themselves have no context, by which I mean that they're a mishmash of tropes that take up two seconds of screentime next to tropes that form the very basis of the work. Our raison d'etre (analyzing works) has started to degrade to overly pedantic and detailed observations and is not emphasizing the bigger picture of what a work is all about.

    You could use the "slippery slope" argument anywhere, but not every work has a Central Trope and assuming that this is going to be misused before it's seen the light of day strikes me as overly negative.

    This may not be a "trope" in the purest sense of the word but I find it a useful, standardized (i.e. encouraged) way of discussing this idea on work pages. The fact that we already have Sum This Up In One Trope indicates that I'm not the only person who thinks this kind of thing is useful; I just would like to see it used more widely. It may be that we don't need a page listing for this, but that it would simply be a "no examples" page allowing works pages to use a standard language for indicating their Central Trope(s).
  • December 12, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^That argument is favouring giving descriptions about why something is a Central Trope.
  • December 12, 2012
    Voyd211
    I thought the central theme of Full Metal Alchemist was Equivalent Exchange?

  • December 12, 2012
    Cidolfas
    Yep, that's a subtrope of Power At A Price I didn't know existed.

    Septimus: No, the argument is saying that Central Tropes should be differentiated from less important ones. I still think it should be patently obvious when and why something is a Central Trope (to anyone who's seen the work in question) and if it isn't, it's probably not one.
  • December 12, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Then we migth as well scrap all the examples because I don't know why they're Central Tropes.

    Or in other words: No argument from yours so far has been convincing that we can allow Zero Context Examples here any more than we allow them on other pages. Simply put, examples are not here just for the people who have seen the work.
  • December 12, 2012
    nielas
    Personally I would like if the examples had an explanation for why something would be a Central Trope. Looking though the example list, I disagree with some of the choices and without context as to why the author thinks they are so central to the work, I would edit them out. If it is YMMV, I want to know why the author thought the trope had 'milage'.
  • December 12, 2012
    Fighteer
    This is not a trope, it's a meta concept, and a uselessly vague one at that, because every person may have a different interpretation of it. There is no value in creating a trope that would list every work ever made as an example.
  • December 12, 2012
    lu127
    I still think it should be patently obvious when and why something is a Central Trope (to anyone who's seen the work in question)

    We are not operating only for those who've seen the work in question.

    Writing a proper example for these tropes would be really easy.

    • Fate Stay Night: Chronic Hero Syndrome: The visual novel explores Shirou's trauma-induced complex, its consequences on his own happiness and those around him and the results of his own self-sacrifice.

    There is no reason why this should be full of Zero Context Examples.

    Furthermore, this is effectively useless. What those tropes need is a dedicated entry in the analysis page of their respective work pages. They don't work as a dry list.
  • December 12, 2012
    FastEddie
    This is just a theory that could be given on the Analysis page for the work. It isn't a trope. Also, it is YMMV as all get-out. What is core to one person will be seen as incidental to another. Which means there will rounds of debate ending in no consensus.

    Perhaps we could have a no-examples article defining what is meant by 'core tropes.' This could be used as the heading of a section on Analysis where the various takes on which are the core tropes could be entered in signed segments, with not effort made to reconcile differences between lists.

  • December 12, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    I like the idea of having this as no-examples article. We have Pet Peeve Trope after all.
  • December 12, 2012
    Cider
    Maybe this could be an index tool.

    "This trope tends to be central to these works"

    • example
    • example
      • example that breaks the mold

    "This trope tends to be central to these works"

    • ect
    • ect

    Maybe it can just be potholed on indexes. "These works tend to have ___ as a Central Trope".

    Making this objective is the only way I will accept it. The one rule of the main wiki is that in order for an example to be listed, it has to exist. This is especially pretty crucial since it takes a "No notability, entry pimp at your leisure" stance. If you cannot actually prove something exists, it does not belong. So no, putting this on the subjective tab will not save it, using the YMMV tab that way is why it really should be done away with. We are not the opinion of the users of this wiki, wiki, unless you want to make a You Know That Thing Where for Sugar Wiki.

    To summarize, I want to see something more like Discredited Trope and less like Pet Peeve Trope. More like Deus Ex Machina and less like Ass Pull or Only The Author Can Save Them Now. If we can even turn it into some kind of trivia like Author Existence Failure that will be fine because it will at least be about actual occurrences and not an outlet for user debates.
  • December 12, 2012
    Tiiba
    House Of The Scorpion (a book) is all about Cloning Blues, although its message is What Measure Is A Non Human, with a side order of Drugs Are Bad.
  • December 12, 2012
    Koveras
    I tried adding explanations to my own earlier post but the YKTTW didn't save it and I didn't make a copy. So I quit, someone else should do that shit.
  • December 13, 2012
    Cidolfas
    I am perfectly fine with this being a no-example, non-trope page, which would remove the whole argument about whether this is YMMV and whether Zero Context Examples should be allowed. I'd also be fine with expanding it to Core Tropes rather than the more narrow-sounding Central Tropes; basically it should be a way to easily identify the tropes that are basic to the work. I'd even be fine with the list being more expansive rather than narrower (which would mean we'd only really have to cull them in extreme situations); I'd rather have a list of 15 or 20 "core tropes" separated from 400 or 800 "non-core tropes". The larger the work, the more likely they will have more core tropes.

    I'm almost envisioning this as a way to separate tropes on a work page: a top section for what people think are Core Tropes and the normal section below it for everything else.

    If possible I'd like to see this on the main page rather than an Analysis page, though. Analysis pages are woefully under-used on the site in general and relegating to there would remove most of the use of what I'm trying to do here.
  • December 13, 2012
    Treblain
    I don't see no-examples as making it any better. No-examples pages for broad concepts are useful, because we can still use them as terms, link to them, pothole to them, and so on.

    Like I said before, if you want to say that Equivalent Exchange is central to the plot, rules of magic, and themes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then say it. You don't need to say "Equivalent Exchange is a Central Trope." That's the problem I have with it, because it seems wishy-washy even if it's indisputably true.

    The problem that it's a YMMV concept is secondary to that. I don't even think it would be hugely contentious on its own; it's not particularly controversial to just say that a trope is very important in a work unless that trope has its own elements of subjectivity.

    The use of sorting central tropes to organize trope pages is interesting, but that's not what we have here, and it would be better suited as a Wiki Talk discussion. There are some trope pages that separate out episode-specific tropes, and we have a growing number of recap pages being used in a similar way. Plus, that idea is what we already do, in that work descriptions are an overview of the main plot premise, characters, and themes, with more detail and analysis going on Analysis pages.
  • December 14, 2012
    Cidolfas
    Yes, but work descriptions tend to either a) be a blueshifted mess of Trope Speak, or b) ignore tropes almost entirely and describe events and characters with few links. If there are links they tend to be describing the characters rather than the central themes. The advantage of separating them out is that it shines a spotlight on the things we're really interested in - the tropes that are important to the work - rather than force those tropes to be potholed in descriptions.

    I can see this has evolved somewhat from my original idea, which I'm fine with. I started this after seeing Wreck It Ralph and reading Red Shirts, both of which were very clearly meant to study/deconstruct/parody one or two very big tropes. If I Ran The Wiki (tm) I could see a mention of that sort of thing to be useful. But things being what they are and in particular the tendency of people to shoehorn tropes in where they don't belong (cf Five Man Band), I appreciate how it could devolve into a bunch of shouting arguments.

    So... where do we go from here?
  • December 14, 2012
    TheHandle
    We put the examples with a central trope and a brief explanation of why it is the entral trope. It's clean, it's simple, it's pure. It's the XX Ist century

    cure.

    • Gurren Lagann: Screw Destiny... er I don't see it. For me, it's clearly Beyond The Impossible: the characters are confronted by successive challenges that are each more difficult than the last, and seemingly impossible to overcome for them, and yet they manage to do it anyway.

    Then again, we could have different suggestions for what the central trope for a series should be.

    • Watchmen: Super Hero. Watchmen isn't so much about the characters in it as it is about the implications of being a superhero, both to the heroes themselves and the world at large.

    • Hellsing: Blood Knight. The series is mostly about badasses really enjoying being violent and murderous at each other; it's the main motivation of the villains, and a prominent trait of the heroes, one way or another.

    • Genius The Transgression: Science Related Memetic Disorder (the characters are all mad scientists). Magic Powered Pseudo Science (the characters explicitly are not using real science, and the consequences of that are explored in detail).

    • Code Geass: Young Conqueror (a young man tries to take over the world and change it, but, despite his high intelligence, his very youth; his philosophical and moral immaturity, his emotional instability, his ignorance of psychology fail him), Melodrama (everything is extremely over-the-top, has consequences that affect millions, has a dire emotional impact on the characters, who are all very emotional and work as reverberating amplifiers of drama and theatricality).

    • Naruto: Sins Of Our Fathers (the Ninja world is weighted by the horrors of past wars, and the story is largely about this one guy who helps everyone overcome this horrible past, for the sake of opening a brighter future).

    • Repo The Genetic Opera: Body Horror (an entire society is built upon surgery and organ transplants, which are financed, and if you don't pay they'll send a reposession man to get them back; corruption and filth, both moral and physical, are pervasive, and hope is non-existent).

    And so on.

  • December 14, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    "But some works seem to be focused entirely on discussing, deconstructing, or focusing on a single well-known trope. This is so central to the work's premise that when someone says 'Describe this work', one can simply give the trope name and be reasonably accurate. "

    How about this, if there is any sort of subversion, we can elaborate. If it is played straight, we just leave it zero context. Fullmetal Alchemist has Power At A Price or Equivalent Exchange played absolutely straight for the first half, and then it eventually is deconstructed (Edward finds not only there are some things paying the full price won't do anything for, but some things are beyond any price which is equivalent). We tell how and why it is subverted. The Elder Scrolls series can be summed up without exception as Wide Open Sandbox, so really what more is there to say? Ditto for Ranma One Half.

    It's different, you don't like it, therefore it's worthy to discard? I do however, agree that many of them should have more context, but in this case Zero Context Examples is not a bad thing. Nix the multiple-example examples (Wreck It Ralph has Animated Actor and Punchclock Villain, choose one or the other) though.

    Series that need more context: Watchmen (It's actually a deconstruction), Despicable Me (I haven't seen more than the previews, but it seemed more like Evil Parents Want Good Kids), Heavy Rain (you'll need to explain which Adult Fear, as there's a few like kidnapping, having children be enlisted to the army, etc), Wreck It Ralph (just Punch Clock Villain), The Man Who Knew Too Little (just Mistaken For Badass), Gormenghast (is Dysfunction Junction really the central trope, or is it City In A Bottle).

    Naruto is also about the cycle of revenge. ...Motion to discard.
  • December 18, 2012
    Cidolfas
    I think a) restricting to a single trope is too constricting and would cause too many arguments, and b) having to add context would end up duplicating the existing trope entries. I like the idea of simply separating the tropes of every work into "core" and "non-core" on the work page itself better.

    I know there'll be some push-back on this but I'll take it to Wiki Talk. I'm going to leave this non-discarded so there's a place for the new thread to see existing discussion.
  • December 18, 2012
    TropeEater
    Isn't this Characteristic Trope?

    You know, like Wizard School for Harry Potter?
  • December 18, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    That involves discredited tropes.

    Now has anybody opposition against launching this without examples akin to Pet Peeve Trope?
  • December 18, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^^That's almost an inversion, where a single work comes to define a trope, as opposed to a single trope coming to define a work.
  • December 14, 2013
    Kernigh
    Bump.

    I found JustForFun.Sum This Up In One Trope. Perhaps we should merge these examples there.
  • December 14, 2013
    DAN004
  • December 14, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Agreed. Merge all the examples and then discard this page. between the calling it YMMV thing and the Zero Context Example Debate, It Is Beyond Saving
  • December 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    This belongs here, but i don't know how to put it into words. also MTD. with a debate that long it's clear there's something horribly wrong about this YKTTW which makes it unlaunchable.
  • December 14, 2013
    crazycatkid
    ^ Actually, this could saved and changed in to something new and better. Series Designed Trope Systems:This is done intentionally, pre-meditated by the authors.From the start the authors have an underlying themes, or patterns that emphasizes, de-emphasizes, invokes, or ignores tropes.Simply, all tropes gravitate around a central themes.Eg. A straight-forward, non-parodic panda documentary will focus on pandas, not on the existential angst of a fly in Argentina. ( I dare you to connect this to pandas somehow :P )
  • December 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ just how often do authors confirm that they built their story on one trope? as mentioned this is already here in the form of a Just For Fun page, only with no debates since there's no reason to cite Word Of God.
  • December 14, 2013
    crazycatkid
    ^ I'm changing it to several tropes, themes etc.
  • December 14, 2013
    crazycatkid
    ^Basically, since it's gonna be discarded might as well upgrade it. Remember trope systems? This is a trope system : tropes revolving around key central tropes to the media in question. The examples declare a central trope and then show how different tropes, even disparate ones, are used to work with the central trope.
  • December 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But still, we do have this one (Sum This Up In One Trope). You may want to link that trope in your own YKTTW (Trope Systems, is it?)
  • December 14, 2013
    crazycatkid
    ^ you're right about Sum This Up In One Trope. But to salvage what's here, to transform into another trope. Instead One Trope summation which might be condescending, perhaps this should be the page to catalog the connection between the central tropes to the other tropes in the story/media/etc. What do you think?
  • December 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ too many mentions of trope, now the word has totally lost all meaning to me.

    can you repeat your plan without saying trope? sounds interesting.

    note: i am really serious even if all my words seem to come off as sarcasm.
  • December 14, 2013
    crazycatkid
    ^ Instead of concentrating on single themes, let's concentrate on how the author expresses the central themes-notice plural- of the story through different motiffs, allusions, and sub-themes, etc.
  • December 15, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Just pothole Sum This Up In One Trope in Trope Systems. It's easy.

    Cuz this YKTTW is beyond saving - not even if you modify it.
  • December 15, 2013
    Kernigh
    Discarding now.

    What crazycatkid proposed is so different that it needs to be in a new YKTTW, not here. The above examples and discussion are for the old proposal, before crazycatkid replaced the new title, laconic, and description. To see the old proposal, click the history-book button and search for 7th Dec '12.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=t0hoyiu7sgurzyibk2j0327c