Created By: CrazedOtaku on July 11, 2011 Last Edited By: CrazedOtaku on March 22, 2012

Finding Wood Equals Saving The World

A seemingly mundane request or mission turns out to be vital to the plot

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The title name is a work in progress! Please help come up with a title! Also, I can only think of one example, bt I'm almost certain more are out there.

So, the hero is making his way to the next dungeon, which is unfortunatly hidden. As he takes a shortcut through a nearby town, an old lady sees the hero and comes up to him, asking if he could help her gather some firewood. Of course, being the type to never turn a blind eye to anyone in need, our nameless hero agrees. So, after helping the old lady find the wood, she throws them on the fire. Suddenly, the fire turns green and the old lady turns out to be a witch. She can speak to spirits in the fire. So, when she does, the spirits tell her that the dungeon is in the caves above the town.

Finding Wood Equals Saving The World is when a quest or mission that seems oridinary at first turns out to be important to the plot or needed to advance. Examples

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Video Games

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • July 11, 2011
    Bisected8
    • Mentioned as point number 39 on The Grand List Of Console Role Playing Game Cliches.
      The goal of every game (as revealed during the Fake Ending) is to Save The World from an evil figure who's trying to take it over or destroy it. There is no way to escape from this formidable task. No matter whether the protagonist's goal in life is to pay off a debt, to explore distant lands, or just to make time with that cute girl in the blue dress, it will be necessary for him to Save The World in order to accomplish it. Take heart, though as€” once the world gets sorted out, everything else will fall into place almost immediately.
  • July 11, 2011
    Discovery
    "...but Alice can't get their, either..." You'll be wanting 'there' not 'their'.

    "...find 3 pieces of iron..." With low numbers you should write three, not 3.
  • July 11, 2011
    EmbracingShadows
    How about Mundane Salvation?
  • July 12, 2011
    Stratadrake
    How is Twilight Princess an example? It's not like your herding goats is what attracts the Bulbins to the village in the first place, that's just coincidence. And coincidence is not necessarily tropable.
  • July 12, 2011
    henke37
    Sure they are, if they keep happening the same way over and over.
  • July 12, 2011
    Aielyn
    No, not really. "Character is drawn away from the location for some reason, at which point their village is attacked" might be a trope (and may already exist). The Twilight Princess example would fit that trope, but this trope is not that one. "Character is given some mundane quest to make the plot move forward" is not a trope, because it is far too general, has no purpose, and if it does happen over and over again, it's because People Sit On Chairs.

    Bisected8 actually suggests something that might be a trope, though - the inverse. Saving the world is all done in the process of attempting some mundane task. I'm sure that would have to happen, some of the time.
  • July 12, 2011
    captainbrass2
    ^I agree that as written this description isn't a trope, but the laconic of the mundane task or request proving crucial to saving the world would be. The nearest I can think of to an example is one of Aesop's Fables where some pirates attack and plunder a town. The only thing the inhabitants put up a fight for is, quite literally, a pile of wood on the shore. Back at sea with the gold and jewels, the pirates laugh at this, right up to the point where a violent storm breaks out and the ship springs a leak - which they can't plug, because they didn't get the wood...
  • July 12, 2011
    dangerwaffle
    I agree with captainbrass2, as written it's not a trope, but "mundane task proves crucial to the fate of the world" should be.

    I suggest a title along the lines of Find The Wood Save The World. It's a pun on the "Save the cheerleader, save the world" thing from Heroes, and we've already got Save This Person Save The World as a snowclone.
  • July 12, 2011
    GoopsWorld
    Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid was teaching the main character karate by teaching him how to wax cars and paint fences. It Makes Sense In Context
  • July 12, 2011
    CrazedOtaku
    Thanks so far, guys. I fixed a few things in the description. @Stratadrake and Aielyn: Twilight Princess was the best thing I could come up with at the time. Maybe better examples will show up.
  • July 12, 2011
    jbrecken
    Seems like applying the proverb "For want of a nail" in reverse.
  • July 13, 2011
    TheThirdSet
    ^grr I was just about to suggest something like "Find nail save world" or "save nail save world". Also someone mentioned the "save the cheerleader, save the world" bit but that didn't really pan out well to work for this trope. Was it save her to save the world like this trope is trying to be? or was it save her then save the world? We never really found out.
  • July 13, 2011
    GuesssWho
    The unspeakably hard H 2 G 2 game was like this for everything.
  • July 14, 2011
    Stratadrake
    The laconic description of "a mundane task becomes necessary to save the world" falls squarely into Chekhov territory. However, it doesn't match the definition, which simply says that something important happens while/after the Hero does something mundane, with no mention of whether the two are connected or coincidental. And the latter falls squarely down People Sit On Chairs territory.
  • November 14, 2011
    Hekateras
    Perhaps it would be better to create a trope about how you do something mundane that later turns out to be related to saving the world. Take Betrayal At Krondor, where every single sidequest is tied to the main plot in some way. For example, early in the game you can track down a ruby stolen from a magician - and much later, realise (or not) that it must have been one of those big gems used to power a teleporting machine to transport an enemy army into the middle of your kingdom, which is what you spend the entirety of the game trying to prevent.
  • March 18, 2012
    SingingRain
    The Karate Kid example is Wax On Wax Off.
  • March 18, 2012
    pawsplay
    In the Prydain Chronicles, the protagonist is in charge of keeping a pig. He considers it extremely demeaning. However, the pig is actually a powerful oracle who is providing the means to defeat the Horned King.
  • March 19, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    Yeah, this definitely looks like a Chekhovs Gun variant. I honestly don't think you'd be able to come up with enough unique examples to separate it from the many subtropes we already have. Typically this kind of quest involves helping a character that helps you later (Chekhovs Gunman), gaining a certain necessary skill (Chekhovs Skill), finding some item(It May Help You On Your Quest) etc. I could be wrong, but all the examples I'm thinking of fall under these.
  • March 19, 2012
    deuxhero
    If the title is kept in the final version, there should be a note in the description about meaning from the tree; tree wood and not... that.
  • March 19, 2012
    AgProv
    Terry Pratchett's Discworld: in The Light Fantastc , Troll mythology of the beginning of the world (Troll chrnology runs backwards) includes a banal line or two about ensuring Rincewind finds the wild onions. Trolls up the ages have puzzled over this. And then Rincewind the failed Wizzard turns up, looking for onions. Which begins a chain of events that really do end up with the saving of the whole world from destruction

  • March 19, 2012
    Stratadrake
    "Seemingly mundane task that later becomes plot relevant" looks like the precise definition of a Chekhovs Gun. Or "Chekhovs Gun as an X", which is one of the explicit examples listed on Everythings Worse With Snowclones (given, this isn't a snowclone title, but The Same But More Specific may still apply.)
  • March 22, 2012
    Laukku
    The impression I got from this was not a Chekhovs Gun variant, but a quest version of Solve The Soup Cans. That is, a quest which you logically wouldn't need to do, but must anyway in order to progress in the game.
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