[[quoteright:300:[[Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Plot_Coupon_9082.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:A somewhat more literal case than most.]]

->''DANIEL RADCLIFFE: Michael, I found out that Ralph Fiennes split his soul into 7 pieces and scattered them around the world. And yes, this really is what I learned, not the set-up to an RPG on Super Nintendo.''
-->-- '''Rod Hilton''', ''[[http://www.the-editing-room.com/harrypotterhalfblood.html Abridged Scripts]] for Film/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince''

A thing that a character needs to obtain in order to cash it in later for a {{Plot}} resolution.

For example, let's say that our intrepid hero must steal a key, then find the Treasure Chest of Galumphry that the key will open, then remove the Orb of Power from the chest and use it to banish the BigBad. The key, the chest, and the Orb are all plot coupons. Extremely common in video games, where collecting these coupons is known as a FetchQuest, it is often presented as [[GottaCatchThemAll collecting several pieces]] of a [[DismantledMacGuffin lost artifact]] or gaining recognition from several factions.

A plot coupon might just as easily be one item in a series of {{MacGuffin}}s, where the things themselves are not important, it is the ''seeking'' of them that moves the story along (indeed, the two terms often get used interchangably). See also SwordOfPlotAdvancement.

If the items in and of themselves are useless and only become valuable in hindsight, see ItMayHelpYouOnYourQuest.

If the goal of the mission is to obtain an item that turns out to be less valuable than the finding of it, ItsTheJourneyThatCounts.

Coined by Nick Lowe[[note]][[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Lowe_%28classicist%29 the writer]], not [[Music/NickLowe the musician]][[/note]] in a science fiction convention talk, later printed as an article ''[[http://news.ansible.co.uk/plotdev.html The Well-Tempered Plot Device]]'' in the fanzine ''Ansible'' and popularized by the [[http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/turkey-city-lexicon-a-primer-for-sf-workshops/ Turkey City Lexicon]].

!!Subtropes and Related Tropes:
* PlotCouponThatDoesSomething (affects in-story mechanics)
** SwordOfPlotAdvancement (necessary for hero advancement)
** CosmicKeystone (artifact regulating the universe)
* FetchQuest
** BonusStageCollectables
** FreeSamplePlotCoupon
** GottaCatchThemAll
** TwentyBearAsses
* GoldenSnitch
** AmuletOfConcentratedAwesome
** ArtifactOfDoom
* GottaRescueThemAll
* ItMayHelpYouOnYourQuest
** WithThisHerring
** YouWillKnowWhatToDo
* ItsTheJourneyThatCounts
** AllThatGlitters (compare WorthlessYellowRocks)
** [[MagicFeather The Magic Was Inside You All Along]] (MagicFeather)
* MacGuffin
** DismantledMacGuffin (the pieces must be reassembled)
** MacGuffinEscortMission (the object must be taken deep into X, and...)
** ImDyingPleaseTakeMyMacGuffin
** SetBonus
** StarShapedCoupon (because it is always stars)


* Shards of the Shikon Jewel in ''Manga/InuYasha''.
* The rings with the Cagliostro crest in ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro''.
* The Dragon Balls in ''Manga/DragonBall''. In its sequels, the plot is resolved more by fighting, and they become used to enforce status quo.
* ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'':
** In the original, there are the Shinzahou. They're mystical objects that allow for the summoning of the Gods ''without'' going through the specific rituals.
** In the ''Manga/FushigiYuugiByakkoSenki'' prequel, [[spoiler: Suzuno's two {{tragic keepsake}}s (her mom's kimono and her dad's compass)]] become this after [[spoiler: the local BrokenBird Neiran uses them to [[FakeKing pretend that she is the Priestess of Byakko]] after Suzuno is sent back to the real world.]]
* Every StoryArc of ''Anime/SailorMoon'' had one or more of these. Most notable are the Seven Rainbow Crystals...especially since they weren't in the original [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] and were created by the anime specifically to extend the storyline. In the manga they're just looking for one big crystal; in the anime it breaks into seven color-coded pieces so the senshi have to spend that much longer trying to find them.
* The Jewel Seeds in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'', and season 3 has the very-similar Relics.
* The five Weapons of Light in the third season of ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}''; most of the time, the one we see is the Sword of Light wielded by [[IdiotHero Gourry]]. And it isn't just for the third season either, the Sword of Light is the key to a lot of storyline events.
* The Cyber Planet Keys and Omega Lock in ''Anime/TransformersCybertron.''
* The Clow Cards in ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura.''
* The Crests in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure.''
* [[UltimateBlacksmith Shikizaki Kiki's]] twelve Perfected Deviant Blades in ''LightNovel/{{Katanagatari}}''.
* The Philosopher's Stone from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''.
* The feathers in ''Manga/TsubasaReservoirChronicle''.
* ''.hack//ROOTS'' initially has a set of items that the Twilight Brigade were collecting because they think it will lead to the [[CosmicKeystone Key of Twilight]]. Ovan claims that the items are leftover data from the previous iteration of The World and [[MacGuffin have no ingame purpose]] anymore. [[spoiler:They turn out to be the breadcrumb trail for a trap laid by Yata but there's also no reason to assume Ovan's explanation is wrong since he had to fool Yata about not recognizing the trap but being interested in the items.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Swordquest}}'' has one for each realm, and they are used to take the heroes to the next world in their quest.
* ''ComicBook/RedSonja'': ''The Art of Blood and Fire'' has Sonja collecting six artisans to showcase their skills at an emperor's farewell party.

[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* The whistle in "Literature/JesperWhoHerdedTheHares".

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''[[FanFic/SonicGenerationsFriendshipIsTimeless Sonic Generations: Friendship is Timeless]]'' combines the plot coupons from [[VideoGame/SonicGenerations both]] [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic works]], for a grand total of 13: the 7 Chaos Emeralds and the 6 Elements of Harmony.
* ''WebAnimation/SuperMarioBrosZ'' has the Chaos Emeralds, as you would expect from a crossover with the Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog franchise and a story based on ''Franchise/DragonBall.''
* ''[[Fanfic/PokemonMysteryDungeonReflectingBalance Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Reflecting Balance]]'' has the eight Axis Tower crystals, which were stolen from said tower and need to be returned there.
* ''FanFic/CrownsOfTheKingdom'' has the titular crowns, each one representing an era of Disneyland.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* The hero's medal in ''Disney/WreckItRalph''. Ralph needs it to win a modicum of respect among the Nicelanders, and the first major plot point is his adventure through ''Hero's Duty'' to retrieve it (within ''Hero's Duty'', it's a {{MacGuffin}}). Unfortunately, it gets stolen by someone who cashes it in for almost exactly the same reason. Then the main plot starts.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/LaraCroftTombRaider'' had the pieces of the Eye of the Illuminati.
* ''Film/MenInBlack'' had the Galaxy "on Orion's Belt" [[spoiler: or rather, on the cat Orion's collar.]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' had this in each movie. The cursed coins of Cortez needed to lift the curse in the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl first]], the key to open Davy Jones' chest in the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest second]], and the Pieces of Eight in the [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd third]]. And the [[spoiler: [[SwissArmyTears mermaid's tear]] and Ponce de Leon's [[ArtifactOfDoom chalices]]]] in ''[[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanOnStrangerTides On Stranger Tides]]''.
* TheArkOfTheCovenant, the Sankara Stones, the HolyGrail, and the CrystalSkull in ''Franchise/IndianaJones''. Also the headpiece of the Staff of Ra, Grail Diary and Grail Markers.
* Subverted in ''Film/TheMatrixRevolutions'' when Trinity provokes a Mexican standoff rather than fetch "the eyes of the oracle" in order to save Neo from the Merovingian.
* The Death Star plans in ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/ANewHope''. Luke's original quest was to get them into the hands of the rebels.
** Similarly, the map leading to Luke Skywalker in ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' is an example.
* The ''Film/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians: The Lightning Thief'' movie features the titular character, [[OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent Percy Jackson]], and his friends [[PluckyComicRelief Grover]] and [[FauxActionGirl Annabeth]] following a [[MacGuffin magical map]] given to them by a guy who's [[TheUntwist clearly very trustworthy]] to find three magical pearls that will let them escape from the underworld. In the books the three pearls are given to Percy by some water Nymphs, via his father. In contrast to the book, the movie seems to [[LostAesop miss the lesson]] the books set up by having Percy [[spoiler: leave Grover, his best friend in the underworld, abandoning him.]] Then again, I'm pretty sure no one making the movie had actually READ the book, so that's not much of a surprise.
* The tape in ''Film/EnemyOfTheState''.
* The floppy disk in ''Film/TheNet''.
* ''Film/SuckerPunch''- to escape the [[BedlamHouse insane asylum]]/brothel, Baby Doll and the other girls must collect a map, fire, a knife, a key and [[spoiler:a [[HeroicSacrifice distraction]]]].
* Jim Henson's ''Film/TheDarkCrystal'' had a missing piece of the titular crystal.

* The Eye of Rom, the single ruby earring used in Haldane empowering rituals, becomes one of these in ''[[Literature/{{Deryni}} Deryni Rising]]''. During their preparations for Kelson's ritual, Morgan and Duncan learn from Kelson that it was buried with his father. The trio have to pay a visit to the royal crypt to retrieve it before they can begin the ritual sequence. [[RuleOfDrama Of course, it isn't as simple as that...]]
* Helen Hawthorn, the narrator of Ni Claydon's ''Literature/HandOfMercy'', is increasingly annoyed when she realises that the [[DismantledMacGuffin scattered bones of Clem's severed hand]] are effectively Plot Coupons.
* Each volume of Susan Cooper's ''Literature/TheDarkIsRising'' requires tracking down one or more Plot Coupons, all of which are named in a poem presented in the second volume.
** ''Literature/OverSeaUnderStone'' is the hunt for the grail (not the Holy Grail, though).
** Volume 2, ''The Dark is Rising'', involved a hunt for six similar, elementally-themed discs known as The Signs of the Light.
** In ''Literature/{{Greenwitch}}'', the protagonists had to retrieve a cipher key for the inscription on the grail.
** ''Literature/TheGreyKing'' involved winning the golden harp (clues having been provided by the grail), then using it to wake the Sleepers.
** ''Literature/SilverOnTheTree'' had a mini-Plot Coupon sequence to retrieve the actual Plot Coupon (the crystal sword), the user of which had to be protected by the Signs.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in [[http://playtesting.net/?cat=3 Death by Cliche]] by Robert J Defendi; only, it's the bad guy who's been collecting them.
* In Creator/TeresaEdgerton's ''[[Literature/{{Celydonn}} The Grail and the Ring]]'', the titular grail. (It is not the Holy Grail, but a grail carved out of a single large sidhe-stone, a substance that grants it magical powers.) Subverted in that [[TheWisePrince Prince Tryffin]], when tracing the object's history in [[AlternateUniverse the Inner Celydonn]], [[spoiler:actually collects a "shadow" of the grail, not the original]]. It's strongly implied that [[TheWatcher Dame Ceinwen]] [[spoiler:disposed of the original in the Marches-Between-Here-and-There to keep it from making any more trouble, then couldn't find it again when it might have been useful]].
* In ''Literature/TheAncestralTrail'', the pods and, later, omni pieces.
* In Austin Grossman's ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'', [[MadScientist Doctor Impossible]] must collect three of these to construct his latest DoomsdayDevice.
* Justified in ''Literature/BridgeOfBirds'' by Barry Hughart -- the story is structured as an elaborate, carefully-scripted quest, and it turns out that there's a reason why it's structured that way.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d and double-subverted in ''Literature/UnLunDun'' by Creator/ChinaMieville. The book of prophecy claims that, in order to defeat the BigBad, they must collect a chain of these. The initial subversion comes when the protagonist decides this will take too long, and skips to the last link in the chain. The double-subversion comes when she realizes that she actually ''needed'' the Plot Coupons after all. Fortunately, she is able to TakeAThirdOption to get around this.
* In ''Literature/KeysToTheKingdom'', there are parallel sets of Plot Coupons such that one of each set must be retrieved in each book: the Key held by that day's Trustee, and the [[DismantledMacGuffin portion of the Will of the Architect]] being held prisoner by said Trustee.
* Emily Rodda's ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' series and its magic gems (plus other random broken pieces of something in the sequels.)
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', Harry has to track down ''two'' sets of Plot Coupons before he can finish off [[BigBad Voldemort]]. The first set is Horcruxes, of which five remain after two were destroyed, respectively, during ''Chamber of Secrets'' and right before the events of ''Half-Blood Prince''. The second set is the titular Deathly Hallows, of which there are three, and it's an optional quest until Voldemort starts looking for one of them. [[spoiler: Harry has had one of the latter since the first book: his father's invisibility cloak.]]
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in Charles Stross' ''Literature/SaturnsChildren'' via a particularly egregious pun:
-->"Don't get cute." He grinds the gun barrel against the back of my neck. "The encapsulated bird your conspirators sent you to fetch. The sterilized male chicken with the Creator DNA sequences. The plot capon. Where is it?"
* EVERY book in the ''Literature/RainbowMagic'' series has one of these. No exceptions. For example, whatever items Jack Frost stole are these.
* Inverted in Creator/RogerZelazny's ''Forever After'', in which the group of heroes who originally gathered the five sacred weapons/armor pieces, must return them to hiding, to keep the world from tearing itself apart from the strength of the combined energy.
** Zelazny's ''Changeling'' had the hero going on a quest to find the three pieces of his father's magical staff, the only tool powerful enough to defeat the villain.
* ''Literature/{{Coraline}}'' had to recover the souls of three dead children as part of the game to escape the Other World.
* ''Literature/TheAdversaryCycle''. In ''Nightworld'' the protagonists have to assemble a sword of the kind used to defeat Ransolm in ''The Keep'', using the broken parts of prior magic artifacts. This is made more difficult than usual given that TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt is happening and giant flesh-eating monsters are roaming the earth gobbling up anything that moves, [[GiantFlyer including aircraft]].
%% * ''Literature/TheLandOfStories'':
%% ** The items needed for the Wishing Spell.
%% ** As well as those for the Wand of Wonderment.
* The image above is of a Golden Ticket from ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory''. In the opening stretch of the novel, virtually everyone in the world wants to find one of these -- there are only five, each of which is hidden beneath the wrapper of a Wonka chocolate bar. A ticket will grant its finder a tour of the titular, long-closed-to-the-public (and seemingly people in general as no one ever sees workers enter or leave it) factory chaperoned by LivingLegend / ReclusiveArtist Willy Wonka himself, along with a lifetime supply of sweets. PinballProtagonist Charlie is lucky enough to find the last of these tickets, kicking off the rest of the novel.
* Elijah spends a good part of ''Literature/LastMage'' locating and securing the mage towers against the BigBad. [[spoiler: JustAsPlanned]].
* ''Literature/VillainsByNecessity'': The fragments of the Spectrum Key.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': In the episode "Phonebook Follies", Miss Brooks must find the copy of last year's phonebook that Mrs. Davis lost. Miss Brooks and Mrs. Davis are ineligible to receive a new phonebook otherwise.
* Mocked in the ''Series/{{Angel}}'' episode "Reprise," wherein Angel is told that to get to the BigBad, he needs a ring; to get the ring, he needs to kill a certain demon; to kill the demon, he needs a magic glove. Angel cuts off his informer with, "Okay, now you're making this up."
* The long-running ''Series/TBag'' series, whose 9 series and 4 specials consisted of nothing except chasing plot coupons (first letters, then numbers, then whatever arbitrary things the writers came up with). And [[LampshadeHanging hanging lampshades]] on them.
* Subverted in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode ''Last of the Time Lords'': The Doctor's companion Martha spends an off-screen year assembling a super-gun and set of super-bullets that can kill a Time Lord permanently. As soon as she's done it, the Master captures her and destroys it; Martha later laughs at him for believing in such an obvious plot device and reveals that her search was just a cover for her real mission.
* The Objects in Sci-Fi's miniseries ''Series/TheLostRoom''.
* Just about every Rambaldi artifact from ''Series/{{Alias}}'' (very evident in season one).
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' : [[spoiler: The four rings from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse form a key that will allow Sam and Dean to re-imprison Lucifer.]]
* ''Series/PrisonBreak'' uses this repeatedly, with varying effectiveness. Coupons range from a specific bolt to all sorts of evidence about [[TheConspiracy the Company]] to the five million dollars that [[spoiler: DB Cooper stole and buried in Utah]].
* The protagonists in ''Series/TheLegendOfDickAndDom'' need to make a magic potion, and hunt down an ingredient OncePerEpisode. The ingredients vary in difficulty (The Eye of the Beholder, which requires a Literature/JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth! ... A Pint of Milk!) which allows more time to be spent on adventuring or comedy, as required.
* In one episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Jake and Nog end up trading one plot coupon for another in a seemingly endless chain. 5000 wrappages of yamok sauce, for 100 gross of self-sealing stem bolts, for seven tessipates of land...
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', they spend a lot of time looking for the Colt, first to kill the Yellow-Eyed Demon and then to kill Lucifer. Later, they must find the blood of the 3 fallen in order to make a weapon to kill the Leviathan. There also the tablets that represent the word of God.

* Creator/WilliamsElectronics' ''Pinball/TalesOfTheArabianNights'' features seven magic jewels, which must be collected before the player can confront the evil genie who's kidnapped the princess.
* ''[[VideoGame/ProPinballTimeshock Pro Pinball: Timeshock!]]'' has Tachyonium, which are needed to travel in time, and the Time Crystals, which are needed to prevent the destruction of all of existence.
* Creator/DataEast's ''[[Pinball/StarTrekDataEast Star Trek]]'' pinball requires the player to collect Dilithium Crystals to power the transporter.
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimePinball'', you must collect twelve Chozo Artifacts to reach the final two boards.
* The premise for the ''[[Pinball/GilligansIsland Gilligan's Island]]'' pinball is to have Gilligan collect seven different ingredients (coconuts, turtle eggs, a shrunken head...) so the Professor can make some Lava Seltzer and [[AppeaseTheVolcanoGod stop Kona the Volcano God from erupting.]]
* In ''VideoGame/LoonyLabyrinth,'' the player must collect five Galopetra Stones to activate the TimeMachine.
* ''VideoGame/JinniZeala'' requires the player to collect various objects before he can visit the Flying Harem.
* In the VideoGame/NightsIntoDreams table of ''VideoGame/SonicPinballParty'', players must collect Ideyas before he can challenge the Nightmaren of that level.
* ''[[VideoGame/ProPinballFantasticJourney Pro Pinball: Fantastic Journey]]'' requires the player to collect four special Crystals in order to attack the evil General Yagov's island base.
* Both ''Pinball/{{Corvette}}'' and ''Pinball/MustangStern'' require the player to collect the various automobiles before reaching the final WizardMode.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MysteryDate'' used outfit pieces as the coupon. If you have the three cards in a set, and it matches the date showing up, you win.

[[folder: Video Games]]
%%* ''VideoGame/SpaceQuest''
%%* ''VideoGame/TheDig''
%%* ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice''
* The second episode of ''VideoGame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland'' by Creator/TelltaleGames did some LampshadeHanging with this, when a local bait shop will ONLY accept literal coupons to purchase bait. One of these three coupons leads to a (literal) RedHerring, but the other two are quite essential to progress in the plot.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Albion}}'', a long quest revolves around finding (of all things) a virility amulet for a tribal king (and saving the guy who made it, who got lost in a big dungeon). Then there's the Metal-Magic Scroll and the High Knowledge which are required for a spell that is the only thing that can defeat the Big Bad.
* The Jiggies in ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'', which are used to complete the jigsaw puzzles in Gruntilda's Lair to open new worlds. Used again in ''Banjo-Tooie'' as proof that you are worthy to complete the challenges of Jiggywiggy, who seems to be the master of all things Jiggy, whose completion opens new worlds. They return in ''Nuts and Bolts'', and are gained during the challenges settled by the Lord of Games.
* The parts of Dracula's body in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaIISimonsQuest'', again in the inverted castle portion of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'', and a third time in ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaHarmonyOfDissonance''.
* Almost every ''{{Franchise/Sonic|TheHedgehog}}'' game has used the Chaos Emeralds (or "Time Stones" in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'') as plot coupons. In the earlier games, they were not necessary to complete the game, they just made it easier and gave you the good ending. However, since ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'', they have, in nearly every game, been necessary elements of the plot, often being the goals for completing the level.
* Used in three of the seven episodic games of ''VideoGame/CommanderKeen'' games (ship parts in ''Marooned on Mars'', guardians in ''Secret of the Oracle'', and bombs in ''Keen Dreams'').
* Used repeatedly in ''VideoGame/DiabloII'':
** In Act II, you must collect the Viper Amulet, the Staff of Kings, and the Horadric Cube to assemble the Horadric Staff, which acts as a key to open the tomb of Tal Rasha.
** In Act III, you must collect Khalim's Relics; combined, they act as a key to open the Durance of Hate.
* In ''[[VideoGame/DragonQuestIV Dragon Warrior/Quest IV]]'' and sequels, the player must collect the 4 legendary armaments (sword, shield, helmet, and armor). Only the hero may wear them, and by the time the player acquires these, his hero likely already has better equipment.
* In the flagrant DolledUpInstallment ''VideoGame/DragonsLair: The Legend'', Dirk quests to collect the Lifestones to awaken a sleeping giant knight. Specifically, 194 of them. It's as much fun as it sounds.
* Elemental crystals in many ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games.
* The music notes of ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonMagicalMelody'' and the harvest sprites of ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonDS''
* ''[[Videogame/HarmoKnight HarmoKnight]]'' has you hunting for Royal Notes, 53 in all. These are only required to progress further ''twice'' throughout the entire game, the third time to [[spoiler: unlock the level Birdwatching.]]
* Franchise/{{Kirby}} games generally have a set of special stars (or Crystal Shards in the game with that title) that you must collect to actually face the real BigBad -- who will only show himself after you complete everything else. However these items are generally used to make the [[EleventhHourSuperpower weapon]] he needs in the final fight.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' and its various sequels are the namesake for this trope. In later games, there are often two sets of coupons, the first usually being three items (pendants, pearls, etc.) needed to claim the Master Sword, rewarded halfway through. The second act then has a set of more items (medallions, pieces of a mirror, etc.). Another is simply eight items (essences, pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom) without any distinct midpoint
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaI'': Eight Pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom.
** ''[[VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink The Adventure of Link]]'': The Six Crystals, or rather the six statues to put the crystals in (you have the crystals at the outset).
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link to the Past]]'': Three Pendants first, then the Seven Maidens.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening Link's Awakening]]'': Eight Instruments of the Siren.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'': Three Spiritual Stones followed by the Six Medallions. In a more literal (yet minor) example of this trope, Zelda also gives you a letter that allows you to pass by a certain guard.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'': Four Mask Remains.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames Oracle of Ages/Seasons]]'': Eight Essences of Time (''Ages'') and Nature (''Seasons''). Collecting the full set of eight nets you the Huge Maku Seed needed to dispel the magic protecting the final dungeon.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwords Four Swords]]'': Three Great Keys. Note that there are 3 types of Keys (Silver, Golden, and Hero), and to fully complete the game, the player must collect a total of ''nine'' keys. However, you only need 3 of a kind to fight Vaati.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker The Wind Waker]]'': Three Goddess Pearls, then the Two Sages, finally the Eight Pieces of the Triforce of Courage.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwordsAdventures Four Swords Adventures]]'': Seven Shrine Maidens (including Zelda), and Four Royal Jewels.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap The Minish Cap]]'': Four Elements.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'': Four Fused Shadows, then the Four Mirror Fragments.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass Phantom Hourglass]]'': Three Spirits, then the Three Pure Metals.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'': Four Force Gems/chunks of the Tower of Spirits, followed by the Bow of Light, and then the Compass of Light.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'': The three Ancient Tablets, the three Sacred Flames, and the four parts of the Song of the Hero.
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'': The three Pendants, and then the paintings of the Seven Sages [[spoiler: and Zelda.]]
** ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild Breath of the Wild]]'': The four [[AnimalMecha Divine Beasts]] as well as the 12 captured memories. In a twist however, thanks to the games [[SequenceBreaking nonlinear structure]] you can actually skip collecting these. After the introductory level it's entirely possible to head straight to the [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon final dungeon]] and take out the BigBad. Doing so requires [[NintendoHard tremendous skill]] and good equipment though so the game activity encourages you to seek these out first.
* Every ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' RPG uses this.
** ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars'' has you locating the seven pieces of the broken Star Road.
** ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' makes you rescue the seven Star Spirits. Unlike most examples, the Star Spirits actually unlock usable moves in standard gameplay.
** ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' has you locating seven Crystal Stars. Like the original, the Crystal Stars also unlock moves. [[spoiler: Peach is also a MAJOR plot coupon, but for a different reason. A bad one.]]
** ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' mixes it up a little, you need ''eight'' Pure Hearts (You start the game with one of them, though, so you still only actually need to find seven).
** ''VideoGame/PaperMarioStickerStar'' has you hunting down shards of the Sticker Comet and the six Royal Stickers that came from it. Comet pieces open up paths to new levels, while Royal Stickers add a page to your sticker album. Unfortunately, the Royal Stickers are also empowering the game's bosses.
** ''VideoGame/PaperMarioColorSplash'' has you locating Paint Stars, which come in Mini and Big flavors. The Mini Paint Stars open up paths to new levels, just like the comet pieces from ''Sticker Star''. The six Big Paint Stars each clear out a major obstacle, clue you in on what happened before you arrived on Prism Island, and toss you a health upgrade.
** ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiSuperstarSaga Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga]]'' has you collect the four pieces of the Bean Star after it shatters.
** ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time]]'' has you collecting the six pieces of the shattered Cobalt Star. Played for laughs in this one, as the number of shards you have goes up and down wildly throughout the game, until you get them all [[spoiler:which is worse than useless; it actually ''frees'' the FinalBoss)]].
** ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]]'' has the three Star Cures.
** ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' has the five Ultibed parts and the Dream Stone. The villains steal the last one before you get there though.
** ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPaperJam'' has the Paper Toads that scattered across the Mushroom Kingdom. In this case, you really just need them for free labor so Toadette can build the papercrafts you need to fight Bowser's creations.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'':
** The 3-D Platforming ''Mario'' games also use this trope. ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' and the two ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'' [[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2 games]] all have you looking for 120 stars. In the case of ''Galaxy'', [[spoiler:you even have to get them all a second time to with Luigi to unlock the ''121st'' star (for both characters) for the 100% completion]], while in ''Galaxy 2'' you also have to collect [[spoiler:120 green-colored stars to unlock the Grandmaster Galaxy, which has the last two stars, leaving you with a grand total of 242 stars for 100% completion.]]. ''VideoGame/SuperMarioSunshine'' replaces the stars with Shine Sprites, which retain the purpose of collection and are justified in-game for being the source of solar energy in Isle Delfino. In both ''Galaxy'' games, stars are justified as being fuel.
** The coins in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand2SixGoldenCoins''. These are special coins from boss battles, not the normal kind found in ?-Boxes.
** [[UptoEleven Taken to the extreme]] in ''VideoGame/NewSuperMarioBros2'': The game wants you to collect 1,000,000 coins (regular coins) for no apparent reason. If this is achieved, it then challenges you to find 99,999,999 coins (enough to fill the coin meter with all 9's, basically). You are then rewarded with [[spoiler: a new title screen]].
* Each game of the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeTrilogy'' has a set of items that must be collected in order to access the final level. 12 Chozo Artifacts in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'', 9 Sky Temple Keys in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'', and at least 5 out of 9 Energy Cells in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption''. Note that you're not told about their importance until the right moment comes, so you can occasionally find one of them while doing something else to have less work remaining by the final act. The big exception here are the Octoliths in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'', of which there are eight, as you must start finding them one by one as soon as the game starts, and do so at very specific plot points and in a specific order.
* Each game in the ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}'' series features Plot Coupons. However, only the first game actually had you collect anything, and that's in the loosest sense of the word.
** ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER1}}'' features the ''Eight Melodies'', or the 8 parts of a song that the mysterious Queen Mary of {{Magicant}} has forgotten. The Melodies aren't actually items. Instead, various [=NPCs=] or Items sing them to you, [[spoiler:you even get one melody from a cactus.]] In order to proceed to the BigBad, you have to sing all eight melodies to Queen Mary. [[spoiler:It turns out that Mary is actually Maria, Ninten's great-grandmother, who was abducted by aliens. Gigyas was a baby she volunteered to raise, and the song you have spent the whole game learning is a lullaby she used to sing to him. Singing the lullaby to Gigyas is the only way to actually defeat him.]]
** ''Mother 2[=/=]VideoGame/EarthBound'' features ''Your Sanctuaries'', eight locations where Earth's Power was the strongest. Each also had a melody associated with it, and when Ness uses the Sound Stone to play them all back, he goes to his own version of {{Magicant}}. [[spoiler:Unlike the first game however, the eight melodies, nor the power of Magicant are used against Gigyas. Paula has to pray nine times instead.]]
** ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' features Seven Needles scattered across the Nowhere Islands, which require the use of PK Love to be pulled out. Pulling out all seven [[spoiler:awakens a sleeping dragon that the islands rest upon, who will only listen to the person who pulls out the seventh and final needle.]] The BigBad eventually reveals a mysterious masked general who can use PK Love as well, and uses him to try and pull out the seventh and final needle. [[spoiler:The Final Battle takes place at the site of the final needle.]]
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' has the Bells of Awakening, that must be rung to reveal the purpose of the Undead. And then, after that, [[spoiler: you retrieve the Lordvessel and then kill some gods for their Lord Souls.]]
* Most Bioware games are, to a large extent, about retrieving plot coupons rather than the plot itself:
** In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', the player has to find all Star Maps to get behind the villain's military strength; to retrieve these Maps, he always has to do something that involves finding out about the game's background and/or solving problems unrelated to the actual plot, like a Wookiee civil war or a conflict with Tusken raiders. The main plot will only go on after finding one of these coupons.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has the player finding a few rather large coupons in the form of allied armies - to get these, he, just like in KOTOR, has to solve several local problems unrelated to the main plot.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', most of the game revolves around finding living breathing coupons aka squad members - the actual plot is few and far between and only moves on after gathering a certain amount of members.
** In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights'', the game is divided into chapters which are all about collecting different plot coupons as the situation warrants. Chapter 1 has you tracking creatures who are needed to cure the Wailing Death plague, in chapter 2 you have to collect evidence that the villains are operating out of Luskan and in chapter 3 you must collect the artifacts known as the "Words of Power" that the villain needs to enact her plan of world domination. As with KOTOR and Dragon Age, the player must often solve problems often unrelated to the main plot before getting the coupon.
* ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'' has several:
** Golden Bananas, with 25 available per level: Four bananas per each of the five Kongs, plus one per Kong from "Blueprints", which themselves are also Plot Coupons due to not only being traded for Golden Bananas sometime after collection, but also for their usefulness to gain extra time during the TimedMission of the final world.
** There are also "DK Coins", which feature heavily in minigames and races. While not traded directly, the races / [[MinecartMadness minecart sections]] require a certain number of these to be in your possession by the end of the section to receive the Golden Banana; so even if you win the race or make it out alive through the minecart ride, you won't be rewarded if you don't have enough coins.
* ''VideoGame/HypeTheTimeQuest'' has the Jewels, which each allow Hype to move to the next Era.
* ''VideoGame/SkyOdyssey'' has the four pieces of the Lost Map, hidden in ruins scattered throughout the Islands of the Dark Sea. The player needs to find these map pieces in order to discover the only way into the Tower of Maximus, the games final level.
* ''VideoGame/JetForceGemini'' has the missing twelve pieces of the ancient Tribal spaceship. It has to be rebuilt to intercept Mizar before his asteroid impacts Earth.
* ''VideoGame/{{Robopon}}'' has the X-Stones of the second game. Each one is required to challenge a ranked competitor, and people will go to obscene lengths to hide them and keep their rankings.
* In ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad'', the final puzzle involves collecting four wildly different items to complete a spell for the Bigfoots, some of which you might have already gathered if you follow the old adventure game maxim of [[KleptomaniacHero "pick up everything that isn't nailed down"]]: [[spoiler: a filled snowglobe from the Mystery Vortex, Conroy Bumpus's hair-tonic-drenched pillow from Bumpusville, a T-rex tooth from the Mt. Rushmore Dinosaur Park, and an eggplant in the shape of John Muir from the Celebrity Vegetable Museum.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SpongebobSquarePantsBattleForBikiniBottom'', Golden Spatulas are needed in order to progress to further parts of the game. At least they have the decency to [[LampshadeHanging hang a lampshade on it:]]
-->'''[=SpongeBob=]''': Say Bubble Buddy, why do I have to collect all of these golden spatulas for these toll booths?\\
'''Bubble Buddy''': Because, [=SpongeBob=].\\
'''[=SpongeBob=]''': Well, that just about works for me.
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' has the Spellsstones (4) and the Krazoa Spirits (6). The Spellstones are needed to stop the ongoing unstability of planet Sauria's internal energy, while the Krazoa Spirits are needed to put back the regions of the planet that separated from it as a result of the unstability.
* The Grand Scores in ''VideoGame/UncommonTime'', though only for the first part of the game. They're necessary to perform the ritual that will SaveTheWorld, and are guarded by elemental spirits at significant locations in the journey.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcomInfinite'' has the [[Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse Infinity Stones]]. [[BigBad Ultron-Sigma]] has two, leaving the heroes to find the remaining four in order to defeat him.
* ''Videogame/CrashBandicoot'': The second game and the third have the Power Crystals.
** In the second, Cortex asked Crash to help him gather the crystals so that he can avert a cosmic disaster; N. Brio (Cortex's former underling), however, wants Crash to collect the gems instead, and swears to stop Crash if he goes after the crystals. Collecting the crystals is more necessary as you'll need them to advance to the later levels, while the gems seems like a CollectionSidequest at first; but to achieve 100% completion you have to gather the gems as well. [[spoiler:Turns out, there's a good reason Brio tries to stop you: as Crash's sister Coco reveals at the climax, [[MacguffinDeliveryService Cortex has been duped Crash the whole time]] as he wants to use the crystals to power his MassHypnosis satellite to brainwash the entire earth. Cue Crash chasing Cortex in space to prevent him from escaping with the crystals. The gems, meanwhile, get used to power Brio's laser cannon, which he and Crash then uses to blow Cortex's space station to smithereens.]]
** The third game has Cortex and his boss, a magical sentient mask named Uka-Uka, planning to gather crystals from the past and future, and their newest colleague N. Tropy builds a TimeMachine for that purpose. Uka-Uka's good twin, Aku-Aku, brings Crash and Coco to the time machine to gather the crystals (and gems, and time relics) before the baddies could do so.
** ''Videogame/CrashTeamRacing'', in its Adventure Mode, has the trophies, then the boss keys, CTR Tokens, the Relics, and the 5 gems. You'd need the trophies from the race tracks to race the boss, which grants you the boss key if successful, which lets the player access new worlds with more race tracks and new bosses. All 4 keys are needed to race the FinalBoss, Nitros Oxide. But after you won, Oxide demands you to gather the relics and then race against him again if the people of the earth wants him to go away (he's an alien); so now you have to gather the Tokens and Relics from the same tracks you played before, which also unlocks the Gem Cups that give you the gems necessary to open the last secret track to get one extra relic.
* The first half of ''VideoGame/Fallout1'' concerns itself with the [[PlayerCharacter Vault Dweller]] being tasked with locating a water chip to replace that of Vault 13, which has broken irreparably. The game is on a strict 150 day time limit until it's found and returned to the Vault.

[[folder: Western Animation]]

* The Treasures of Rule from ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesOfDarkWater''. Assembling the first half of the set actually brings the rest of them ''[[LiveItem to life]]''.