[[RolePlayingGame Put players on an epic adventure]]. With your Trusty Bag Of Tropes, you could have the player solve [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt world problems]], fight evil and maybe train {{Mons}}.

Be sure to check out [[SoYouWantTo/WriteAStory So You Want To Write A Story]] for advice that holds across genres.

By the way, this is about writing video games, if you are looking for advice on writing a tabletop one, see SoYouWantTo/WriteATabletopRPG instead. Similarly, see SoYouWantTo/WriteAWesternRPG for advice on designing a specifically western-style RPG.

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!'''Necessary Tropes'''

[[RuleOfFun The game needs to be fun]], first and foremost. It doesn't matter how awesome your story or how unique your setting, if the gameplay isn't at least adequate, the players won't follow.

How innovative are you planning to be? Some players still love generic dungeon-town-dungeon-town adventures, but others want more variety or a new spin on the genre. Some players love to see an occasional UnexpectedGameplayChange, but others hate them with a passion. Try to decide early on which audience you're aiming for.

Almost all {{RPG}}s include a hero who runs around hacking enemies to pieces in one form or another. So you're going to need some DeathTropes.

You may want to check out VideogameCharacters, StockRPGSpells and StockMonsters while you're at it. And [[TheGrandListOfConsoleRolePlayingGameCliches this]] and [[TheRPGClichesGame this]] are both useful.

!'''Choices, Choices'''

Do your characters have magical powers, or are they normal humans (they can be other species, though) who differ only in how strong, fast, resilient they are?

Do non-physical stats such as intelligence and charisma make a difference in gameplay beyond affecting magic? Can your hero use high charisma to talk his way into places (and favors) that a low-charisma character couldn't?

Is the hero a FeaturelessProtagonist, or do they have some personality beyond what the player brings to the table? Ask yourself, who should the player character represent, a player's avatar or your character? For the former, go ahead and use the FeaturelessProtagonist. Allow the player to customize the character as much as you can, and leave everything else undefined. This lets the player's imagination fill in the blank spots as they progress through your game. For the latter, well, just define the protagonist like you do any important character. It's hard to make the player believe that the fully-defined character represents themselves (unless you actually design the game for a certain person or very specific group), but lack of actual personality makes for flat characters. Both styles have their use, and aren't interchangeable.

Does the hero arrive on the scene with total amnesia, or does he recognize people he's met and places he's been before? (Warning: Amnesia has been done an awful lot in [=RPGs=]; if you're going to use it, make sure you use it well) Do {{NPC}}s recognize him? How important is the hero? How experienced is he? If he's supposed to be experienced and well-traveled, how do you justify [[OverratedAndUnderleveled starting him at level one]] with a [[WithThisHerring wooden sword]]?

How feasible is a LowLevelRun (or even a PacifistRun)? Can a pacifist hero earn experience and go up levels? Or, for that matter, even survive the trip from one town to another? If your experience gain is based ''entirely'' on killing monsters, you may want to think this question over ''really'' well. Of course, if you don't care if a PacifistRun is possible, this isn't a big deal.

!'''Pitfalls'''

A lot of older games are virtually unplayable nowadays due to slow speed, annoying controls, and the lack of certain shortcuts we have grown to know and love. Games like ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' and ''DragonQuest I'' are virtually unrecognizable to fans of their modern installments, and playing them is like going from ''{{Warcraft}} II'' to the original ''{{Warcraft}}'', where you had to specifically select the "walk" and "work" buttons, and couldn't just right-click on the place you wanted to go or the thing you wanted to do.

Now, we can forgive older games for these faults. We don't mock the pioneers because they took the long way around -- they're the ones who drew the maps. The old games got us to the point where we can enjoy the shortcuts and features built up over multiple decades of field testing. But you ''do'' know, or at least you ''should'' know, how players will want to control the game and at what speed they will want to play. What are their expectations? If you deviate from them, you better a) have a damn good reason and b) be sure that it's worth it.

And you should be very aware that a good game calls players back for another round: ''Replayability''. So consider the opening sequence, the introduction, the [[HeKnowsAboutTimedHits beginning tutorial]], and each {{cutscene}} from the point of view of a person who has seen them before and wants to cut straight to the action. After all, no player wants to get stuck with fifteen minutes of ''Where Everything Is'' or ''How To Play This Game'' on their second time through. And when you've just failed to beat the just-after-cutscene-and-before-savespot Boss for the eighth time, you're going to want that cutscene to be ''completely'' skippable (so take the sensible route and make sure there's a savespot between the cutscene and the action... or make death reset you to the moment before battle).

A good rule of thumb is to allow all these things to be skipped in their entirety if the player so desires. No one likes [[ExpositionBreak being forced to do nothing]]. They'll watch it the first time, and some players will watch it every time, but others want the freedom to just play, and you need to give it to them.

There are two kinds of people in the RPG world. Some like the freedom to customize their characters to an extreme extent; they want their characters to be a completely blank slate upon which they, The Player, can write their intentions with impunity. Other players prefer to be limited to the {{Splat}}s discussed in AnAdventurerIsYou, and like assembling a party which is greater than the sum of its parts. To quote Mark Rosewater of ''MagicTheGathering'', some games give you options and some give you choices: either you can have A and B, or you can have A ''or'' B. The reason this is being brought up is to simply say this: ''You can't do both in one game''. Even the mix-and-match ClassAndLevelSystem started in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' and elaborated on in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'', which ''seems'' to be an option/A-and-B system, is actually a choice/A-or-B game, because once the fight starts, you only have X number of commands available to you. It doesn't matter if Ramza has mastered Ninja, Knight and Summoner; right now he's still a Time Mage with Samurai as his secondary job, and right now that's all you get from him, ''period''. This is in comparison to the original (non-jobbed) version of ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII FF12]]'', where everyone can have everything in play at once; furthermore, ''because'' of the modular nature of the License Board, you could basically homogenize your characters to the point that Ashe, Vaan and Basch were functionally identical. Making Basch your main-tank did not limit his ability to use magic, or ranged weapons, or evasive technicks; in ''[=FF12=]'', every character could be everything. ''[=FF12=]'' gives you options where ''FFT'' gives you choices.

Some gamers will complain if you limit their options. Others will complain if the field is too wide-open and characters don't have enough uniqueness imposed on them. You can't please both groups with the same game. So choose one approach and stick with it.

Try adding a "Classic Mode" quick-play that puts the character into a {{Splat}} mold and streamlines the combat system/ TechTree.

!'''Potential Subversions'''

You mess with {{Save Point}}s, and most of the players will hate you at some point or another. But the ease of restarting the game from just before your CriticalFailure is, well, perhaps a little ''too'' easy. Consider that {{MMORPG}}s such as ''WorldOfWarcraft'' don't allow you to save and reset, and people still play ''them'' despite the potential for loss and disaster ("Gah! I just sold my epic sword for 40 silver! ''[[BigNo Nooooooo]]!''"). But also consider that ''WorldOfWarcraft'' doesn't allow you to be killed, doesn't make you start all over from the beginning of the game, and ''does'' allow you to restart a mission -- even ones where a major character got killed.

One possibility: Put the "save" capability inside an object that can be lost (or stolen, or broken) or a person who can be killed (or lose his memory). Or make it that you can only reset to the SavePoint if there's at least one party member alive to do the reset chant.

Second possibility: If the "save" is contingent on some member of your team surviving, then have a Total Party Kill change ''how'' the save works. E.g.: Normally, one surviving character uses the Save Manual as a focus to turn back time. But if the whole party dies, the Save Manual gets lost for a few years, and ends up in the hands of someone who doesn't quite know how to use it... so when he does it, it goes to the ''wrong'' time, or... other things change. Suddenly your hero is a giant lizard and his mount is a rhinoceros. Or the villains are now their best friends. Or their color schemes have completely changed. (This might work also if the story were "being told" by someone reading the book, and something happens to make them get the details wrong.)

ArbitraryHeadcountLimit is something that [=RPGs=] just do now for tradition's sake. Today, there's no real reason, graphically or mechanically, why the entire nine-person party can't go walking around fighting everything together, instead of having four people sit around twiddling their thumbs while the other four get smashed upside the head by some super-boss, resulting in TotalPartyKill and a Game Over. In other words, this trope is ripe for subversion or aversion. The first five Franchise/FinalFantasy games handled this by only ''giving'' you X amount of characters at a time; you never rotated someone out of the active party because there ''was'' no one else. But starting with ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI FF6]]'' (4-head limit but ''14'' characters)... Of course, [=FF6=] also took it to its logical extent: the final dungeon of the game required ''three separate parties'' to navigate through successfully, with you switching between them frequently, ''and'' let your entire band dogpile the FinalBoss (in groups of four). Why not do some that for ''every'' dungeon? While it would take longer to design each dungeon (especially if you don't want accusations of [[FillerArc Filleritis]] flung at you), The Player would also have to spend twice as much time in each of them. Maybe it'd pay off.

If you do decide to dismantle the ArbitraryHeadcountLimit, keep the gameplay balance and controls complexity in mind. On the issue of balance, make sure that combat is equally challenging to a party that includes every recruitable NPC in the game and to a PC who sticks to a handful of plot-relevant companions. The FinalBoss, for instance, should not come over as an AnticlimaxBoss to the former and a HopelessBossFight to the latter. Take a look at ''VideoGame/DiabloII'', for instance, which [[DynamicDifficulty dynamically scales the boss toughness]] to the online players' numbers and levels. On the issue of controls, remember during combat, the player has to keep in mind many, many variable such as health/mana levels, available spells, ability recharge times, etc.. An ArbitraryHeadcountLimit naturally reduces the risk of overwhelming the player with information, so you have to make sure that doesn't happen in your game. You could, for example, implement RealTimeWithPause, let the players configure the [=NPCs=]' combat tactics in advance, or make your [=NPCs=] [[ArtificialBrilliance smart enough]] not to hold them back (or all of the above). Alternatively, consider the TurnBasedTactics genre.

Try adding ShowsDamage, and getting rid of BeautyIsNeverTarnished. And there's always some psycho (or someone looking for realism) who wants fully-destructable landscape and the ability to take out a wall with his BFG. so, for example; "You encounter locked door. Pick [[labelnote:(Neutral)]]-The door is opened in a way that doesn't require it to be replaced, but without permission[[/labelnote]] / use key [[labelnote:(good)]]-If you have the key, it stands to reason you have permission[[/labelnote]] /shoot hinges [[labelnote:(evil)]]-you've ruined a perfectly good door and wasted some ammo[[/labelnote]]"

WarIsHell. That's common knowledge. That's also very depressing. A [[{{Wangst}} whiny, post-traumatic]] hero is a cliché, and no fun either. Try making him [[BloodyHilarious gleefully]] [[AxCrazy psychotic]] and/ or a CombatSadomasochist for a change.

Have the Villain read the EvilOverlordList for once.

Fakhirs, prophets, and faith-healers notwithstanding, the average Reverend Tom D. Harry gets no special goodies from their deities. Try having them only raise the other party members morale, rather than being a powerhouse of divine gifts. You could also have the party cleric be a jaded SinisterMinister who guzzles the communion wine between sermons, or a fire-and-brimstone religious nut-job, rather than a case of VirginityMakesYouStupid.

FacelessMooks are cliché. The "bad guys" should have their stories told too. Try not to just use ThoseTwoBadGuys or EnemyChatter, but give the [[AnotherSideAnotherStory Villain(ous side) its own campaign]].

The SpoonyBard splat has been overdone. Give the minstrel PowerOfRock.

Princesses are overdone. You may want to make TheHero a RebelPrince.

The character's starting weapon. These are usually tossed when you get to the next town, in favour of whatever else you get. IRL, a warrior would choose a WeaponOfChoice, and stick with it (probably getting super-attached to it too). Make it an EvolvingWeapon and/ or EmpathicWeapon. or even the SwordOfPlotAdvancement (how's ''that'' for a subversion? The crappy hunk of metal you start with is the Sword that Slays Evil.)
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!'''Writers' Lounge'''

!!'''Suggested Themes, Plots, and Aesops'''

Themes and plots that are used frequently are preachy environmentalism (especially with a ScienceIsBad BrokenAesop), racism (usually of the [[FantasticRacism fantastic]] kind), BeYourself, and anti-authoritarianism. [[TheEmpire Evil Empires]] have been done to death, as have [[CorruptChurch religions that are not what they seem]] and [[CorruptCorporateExecutive greedy corporations]].

A character who starts out working for TheEmpire but defects to the LaResistance mid-game no longer counts as a refreshing plot.

''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' was wonderful, yes, but your protagonist doesn't have to be an angsty {{antihero}} who is really a TomatoInTheMirror. Really. For that matter, your villain doesn't have to be an angsty {{bishonen}} with a [[AGodAmI god complex]], either. On the opposite end, your hero doesn't have to be a courageous, sword-wielding, happy-go-lucky teenager who becomes an AllLovingHero despite being [[IdiotHero not that bright]], and your female lead doesn't have to be a demure FriendToAllLivingThings who wields a [[SimpleStaff staff]] or a bow and arrow and specialises in magic, or a bratty {{Tsundere}} who falls in love with the hero anyway and also is the party's main healer/caster.

A good idea to try is that the characters are participating in a war that is like a real war in that there is no "good side" or "evil side". The protagonists might win, but in so doing they might also doubt the justice of their cause.

SavingTheWorld is always popular. After all, what greater purpose could your heroes have than trying to stop TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt? How about... redeeming a former-friend-now-villain? Finding a cure for the victims of some form of AndIMustScream? Bringing literacy to the ghetto?

Female protagonists are underused. If you're going for a ClicheStorm, using WriteWhoYouKnow, or just want a male protagonist, use TheThreeFacesOfEve, or for a FiveManBand, TomboyAndGirlyGirl. The SmurfettePrinciple is overused and sexist.

If you want to be subversive, try subverting AlwaysChaoticEvil. (And not just with a small, friendly MonsterTown, either). Just because some goblins jumped out of the woods to mug you doesn't mean that you're free to kill the next goblins you meet in a preemptive strike.

Also, don't get stuck by BeautyEqualsGoodness: Ugly characters can be good, [[EvilIsSexy beautiful ones bad]]. In fact, ''mean'' characters can be [[GoodIsNotNice good]] and ''friendly'' ones [[AffablyEvil bad]]. Study the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series for some especially good versions of this twist -- it's an Aesop that should be drilled into kids very early, seeing as it reduces the chance of their going with nice strangers or shunning [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold "mean"]] [[IneffectualLoner kids]] at school (who might be won over by a pleasant interaction or two).

YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters. Those Rebels you've been gunning down had loved ones. A FatalFamilyPhoto found while prying the boots and jewelery off an enemy can be a good way to induce a HeroicBSOD.

Now, about villains. Although {{Card Carrying Villain}}s are nowhere near as common as they were before, that doesn't mean [[DeadHorseTrope they're ready for a comeback]]. If you're going to go with a WellIntentionedExtremist, remember that "Destroying-the-world-with-McGuffin-X-because-HumansAreBastards-and-then-rebuilding-the-world-to-[[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans my-flawless-design]]" as a motive has gotten a bit old, and that the WellIntentionedExtremist can have many other goals. Also, if your villain has a Tragic Backstory, please don't reveal it at the last minute. CainAndAbel has also gotten overused.

{{Villain Protagonist}}s are underused. Seriously, it's our turn to kidnap the MacGuffinGirl, raise TheDragon, and lead an archeological dig for [[TomeOfEldritchLore How To Make Really Bad Shit Go Down Fourth-And-A-Half Edition]]. Because "save the world" has been done to death, and [[HumansAreBastards the world doesn't deserve saving]].

Another thing you could try is getting infected by TheCorruption while fighting the enemy, going from a noble {{Paladin}} to a slavering Daemonspawn, [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie the very thing you're fighting do destroy, something the character has been raised from birth to abhor]]. Abilities granted by TheCorruption could be CastFromHitPoints, and tied to a KarmaMeter. Not using it makes the game harder (and the abilities are wicked cool, like AnimateDead or SpawnBroodling or some other sub-set of LovecraftianSuperPower, just to make it extra-difficult to resist using), but using it untill you accidentally kill yourself or hit zero Karma leads to a DownerEnding or NonStandardGameOver because the BigBad considers TheCorruption to be "A gift, given to my children," and he/ she/ it therefore owns the character, body and soul. Getting a low Karma score brings into play "I-created-you-so-you-can't-touch-me", (which, as far as One knows, has no trope) making the FinalBoss fight very hard. Low Karma score could [[AndYourRewardIsClothes make a character gain]] [[EvilIsSexy a really slikny, revealing version of the Daemonhunter's uniform]], weather with AbsoluteCleavage or WalkingShirtlessScene (manky, pockmarked grey skin optional), and they could get UhOhEyes and SpikesOfVillainy and /or ShouldersOfDoom. You could also have some weapons infected by TheCorruption, and make them steal HP whenever you make a successful CriticalHit, and hurt the character when they miss. One could even go so far as to [[TranshumanTreachery let the player keep going as a Daemonspawn if they bottom out their]] KarmaMeter, or a Zombie if their health hits zero.

There are two tropes which are infinitely more useful and common than you'd think if you have the traditional FiveManBand. The five-man version of FourTemperamentEnsemble is common. You have your gothic BlackMage, soft-spoken WhiteMage, tough female warrior, big tough angry guy who is really a JerkWithAHeartOfGold, and of course your classic sword-wielding HotBlooded hero. If you have your hero as a TokenHuman, FiveTokenBand is the other trope. In a Lord of the Rings setting, elves, dwarves etc. are useful for this, while in sci-fi, four different species of aliens, and in a MedievalEuropeanFantasy, four different species of [[PettingZooPeople furries]] are quite popular. Using both at the same time should go down well with the fans (especially four species of furries, because of it's use of AnimalStereotypes.)

If you're going to have a ClicheStorm, try PlayingWith things, subverting things, but still keeping it a ClicheStorm, like Franchise/TalesSeries - after the DiscOneFinalBoss, the cliches are subverted, but they still provide the framework for the plot.

Make it SurvivalHorror. Try PlayingThePlayer, SilentHillShatteredMemories style. The RPG equivalent would be VideoGame/FinalFantasyX - you could try StraySoulsDollhouseStory style, maybe even with the protagonist being the victim of the twists instead of the companion. The RPG equivalent of that would be [[{{VideoGame/Persona}} Persona]].

!!'''Potential Motifs'''

Whatever weapon your character uses, the player will grow attached to it. That is why the Rust Monster is so feared, and the Disenchanter so reviled.

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!'''Departments'''

!!'''Set Designer / Location Scout'''

{{RPG}}s tend to have ''tons'' of settings because of their epic scope. You'll probably end up sending the player everywhere on the map, so make sure that everywhere on the map is somewhere worth going. ''TheGrandListOfConsoleRolePlayingGameCliches'' calls these "The Compulsories" (it's #9), and we've got our own in VideogameSettings. Check them out and decide which ones (if any) you want to use, and which (if any) you want to try and subvert.

!!'''Props Department'''

Weapons, obviously.

See if you can think of a more interesting plot than [[GottaCatchThemAll collecting]] {{Plot Coupon}}s or a {{MacGuffin}}. It's a good way to [[FetchQuest build up a lot of gameplay hours]], but it doesn't make for a thrilling gameplay experience. If you decide to ignore that (to subvert it or try a different twist, for example), than at least try to avoid the whole thing where you gather them all [[MacGuffinDeliveryService only for the villains to steal them at the last minute]].

!!'''Costume Designer'''

Depends on your setting. If you're going for relative realism, try to stay away from ImpossiblyCoolClothes. Nomura, we're looking at you. Using the traditional BlackMage and WhiteMage outfits seems to be public domain nowadays.

!!'''Stunt Department'''

Hoo boy. First, are you going {{Fantasy}}, SciFi, modern/unpowered, or something else? That's really going to inform your choices in combat and such.

If you're considering hard Fantasy or Science Fiction, don't immediately reach for PowerGlows. Can you think of some other way for your battles and attacks to impress? You can turn them UpToEleven if you want,but will it fit in with the setting?

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!'''Extra Credit'''

!!'''The Greats'''

''Videogame/{{Earthbound}}'' took a sudden veer away from the traditional RPG setting with a modern yet fantastic world that worked up from crazy townsfolk to cultists, zombies, bigfoot, aliens, robots, and an underground community of talking monkeys. The hero withdrew funds from an ATM, drove around on a bicycle, killed monsters with a baseball bat, and could catch heatstroke from being in the sun too long. He could also get homesick (a serious status ailment that needed to be cured by a quick phone home). The fight with Giygas at the end is also required reading for those wishing to make a memorable FinalBoss, as it effectively conveys just how pants-wettingly terrifying a fight with an outright EldritchAbomination should be.

''PhantasyStar IV'' went with sci-fi underpinnings, complete with alien worlds and spacecraft, plus PsychicPowers in an alien language that you had to work out as you went (assuming you didn't just [[GuideDangIt look it up]]). Consider this a lesson in the pros and cons of not using [[CanisLatinicus Latin]] for your spell language, if there is one.

''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' is notable for its unique setting, with Air Pirates travelling in between {{Floating Continent}}s on airships, and for its generally upbeat and optimistic tone at a time when many games in the genre were trying to become DarkerAndEdgier; it's a game worth looking at if you don't intend to rely on angst. That said, don't draw too much inspiration from it if you're trying to create a unique plot, as since the genre isn't trying to be as DarkerAndEdgier any more, a {{Reconstruction}} won't be as effective.

''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' earned notability by breaking a long line of games without a StandardFantasySetting. It also allowed open-ended character creation rather than the standard FighterMageThief ClassAndLevelSystem (though one may argue that it only used a hidden fighter/thief/diplomat selection of its own).
You should strongly consider both, and experiment with other genres (and remember that a StandardSciFiSetting is only slightly better, being the second most common) and non-standard [[GameSystem character systems]].

''PlanescapeTorment'' took the basic game engine behind the more traditional BaldursGate and twisted it all around into something totally unique. Most notably, it embraced the game medium and lampshaded some of the absurdities of save points and MeaninglessLives by introducing a main character who literally, in the story, wouldn't stay dead. Just as importantly, the whole game is extremely well-written (for a game, anyway) and features dialogue that's actually worth paying attention to.

''ShadowHearts'' is to be acknowledged for having a rather unique gothic horror theme in an original (for J[=RPGs=] anyway) setting, early 20th century Europe and China. It also contains Yuri Volte Hyuga, who is considered by many to be the best RPG protagonist of all time (and the other playable characters are fairly well-developed), along with Roger Bacon [[spoiler: (real name Albert Simon)]] and [[EnemyWithin Fox Face]], two of the more memorable JRPG villains, and some of the more creative {{Mook}} designs. While its sequels are to be applauded for proving that JRPG characters don't always to be the same tired, cookie-cutter stereotypes (if a bit [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot drastically]] so), they unfortunately dropped the original dark and creepy storyline and atmosphere in favour of a far more generic one.

''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' are unique in the genre in that they take place in a modern-day setting that's LikeRealityUnlessNoted, as well as for incorporating a way to improve your stats and abilities ''outside'' of battle. The [[LevelUpAtIntimacy5 Social Links]] are a pretty innovative way of fleshing out the in-game world by adding a psuedo-DatingSim mechanics to the game. It also helps that the characters for these links are usually incredibly well-written, and delving deeper into their stories rewards the player not only in terms of gameplay, but by making them more emotionally invested in the world that they're supposed to be saving.

BlueDragon attempted to be a ClicheStorm, and it was praised for it's traditional setting. It took some of the cliches to new heights, and managed to be original, avoid cliches, but still make the work a ClicheStorm at the same time. If you're going to use a ClicheStorm, it's worth PlayingThePlayer in some way, and subverting the tropes, while still using them as the framework for the plot.

Franchise/TheElderScrolls series is a critically acclaimed RPG series which is unique in that it allows the player nearly total freedom. Want a [[MagicKnight mage who wields a sword in one hand and a staff in the other whilst wearing heavy armour]]? You can do that. Want a thief who can [[SpontaneousWeaponCreation conjure their own bow]]? you can do that. Want a [[CombatMedic warrior who can also mix up a healing potion in a few seconds from stuff he/she finds on the road]]? You can do that too. The games offer the Warrior/Mage/Thief as only a base which the player can then build on themselves. It isn't unheard of that a player would start as a mage and then end up as a warrior by the end of the game, they aren't constrined to one particular path. The player also has the ability to ignore the main quest of the game entirely and focus on sidequests.

For more traditional fare, check out:

* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series: ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI I]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI IV]]'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI VI]]'' for oldschool, then ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII VII]]'' and higher for better graphics and more complex gameplay (and more pretentious, if nothing else, plots).
* The ''DragonQuest'' series. ''Dragon Warrior III'' and ''IV'', which are oldschool and got updated for "better" graphics later.
* For [[StrategyRPG TacticalRPG]]-style games, try the ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'' series.
* If you want to go ''really'' oldschool, consider checking out a {{Roguelike}}, early ''{{Ultima}}'' games, or ''VideoGame/{{Wizardry}}''.

!!'''The Epic Fails'''
''HorribleDemon2''. The backstory is that there was a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin horrible demon]] running around until the hero with the [[InfinityPlusOneSword legendary sword]] ''[[RockBeatsLaser threw a stone]]'' at it and it went away. Now the hero this time round has summoned it (by the way, one reviewer likened it to a buffalo/[[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Pikachu]] hybrid - the Game Boy does have graphics limitations but [[SpecialEffectsFailure not to that extent]]) but it's gone out of control and you have to stop it. There's no challenge because, in keeping with the backstory, you can buy a stone that you can throw at anything to effortlessly defeat it. [[AnticlimaxBoss Including all the bosses.]]

''TheDemonRush''. The Demon Rush is the ultimate example of How Not To Do It--how best to mismanage your time, budget, and skills. It's patently obvious the designer has only played a few [=JRPGs=]--The Demon Rush plays like a JRPG xeroxed to the point of illegibility, to the point where despite being a computer game you can't even use the keyboard to write your characters' names or use the mouse to click anything. The plot is an incomprehensible mess of exposition, jargon, and "dramatic revelations" that require more exposition and more jargon. Characters are poorly-designed in every way: they look stupid, they have random abilities that make every character a useless jack-of-all-trades, and they're all poorly-written, with most of them talking in the same voice and in the same stilted diction. Enemies are staggeringly hard and drop zilch for experience. Bosses are too easy. Deus ex machina and author appeal are everywhere. Even the coding is a abomination. See the [[http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=2913491 announcement thread]] and the [[http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=2925321 Let's Play]] on the Something Awful forums for the full skinny. Take notes on a piece of stationary titled THINGS I MUST NEVER, EVER DO.

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