Kill it! Kill it before it gets away!
While it's pretty common for RPGs
to give your party a thief as a team member, or otherwise give the player an ability to swipe goods off an opponent during battle
, it is relatively rare to encounter monsters or foes that do the same thing to you, even when you're specifically fighting thieves as opponents.
Now enter the Bandit Mook
This is the occasional Mook
who isn't interested in your party's demise so much as he is in your Bag of Holding
. He may have a share of normal attacks, but he's unlikely to do any serious harm — his signature attack pattern is to swipe something from your Hyperspace Arsenal
then disappear as quickly as possible, taking the stolen goods with him. Fenced goods may be gone forever if stolen, so for this reason he will (usually) interest himself only in items that can be easily replaced at local shops. After all, if the Bandit Mook randomly made off with your hard-earned MacGuffins
and Plot Coupons
, this could render your game unwinnable
, and that would make players very angry.
Defeating a Bandit Mook frequently results in the immediate recovery of any stolen goods; but this isn't always the case, especially if it was just cash. (Exactly how he can keep you from physically looting his corpse
is a mystery, but then again, it may be because Everything Fades
The obvious exemption from this trope is if an item (important or otherwise) is stolen solely because the plot demands it
, like the MacGuffin Delivery Service
Compare Mooks Ate My Equipment
. Not to be confused with mooks who happen to be bandits in-story, unless they're also Bandit Mooks
in gameplay terms too.
- In Growlanser series, the imp and Cat Girl enemies will steal items and gold from party members. The Cat Girl enemies will then make a dash for the nearest exit from the battlefield, rendering your items Lost Forever if they manage to do so. Especially annoying when they attack your party in packs.
- Akalabeth, the first adventure in the Ultima series, had a Thief who could steal any items your character had on him, and a Leprechaun who stole half your food each turn. In both cases, the goods became Lost Forever.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Majora's Mask has the infamous Takkuri, a bird that not only steals rupees but also an empty bottle or even your sword. When this happens you have to go to a curiosity shop, whose owner is probably the owner of the Takkuri, and buy them back overpriced. As if weren't enough the Takkuri requires fifteen hits to be killed. On the other hand, once killed it leaves a rupee the value of two hundred normal ones. Note that you could always play the Song of Time to go back in time and regain your stolen stuff free of charge, but it's a little jarring to do that if you'd made a lot of progress on that particular day.
- A Link to the Past has a thief enemy as well. While he never steals anything of great importance (just bombs, arrows, rupees etc.), he's 10x a bigger pain in the ass than the Takkuri by virtue of the fact that he can't be killed or even stunned.
- Maple, the Cute Witch in the Oracle games, has exactly the same mechanic as the thief. She bumps into you, scatters your items, and tries to take as many as she can, but it's because she's The Ditz and doesn't remember what is whose (her own items scatter as well).
- The rats in The Wind Waker are something of a variation. Normally they run at Link and knock rupees out of his wallet on a hit. The rats steal the highest-value rupees that they knock loose and Link has to kill the rats if he wants the money back. However they're much more interested in the All-Purpose Bait you're carrying and, if you give them some, they'll not only leave you alone but also offer to sell you stuff.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VI had one enemy in Mt. Zozo, a bear whose primary strategy was stealing four digits of Gil, then suddenly fleeing on the next turn.
- If defeated first, it returns the exact amount it stole. If Relm is in the party with her Cat-Ear Hood, he'll somehow drop twice what he stole (the Cat-Ear Hood doubles Gil drops.)
- Final Fantasy VII had enemies that steal items from you, including accessories. You could get them back if you killed them fast enough. If.
- Final Fantasy VIII has the Lefty/Righty's, a pair of hands that can Draw-Cast spells from you, with a corresponding depletion in your spell inventory.
- Final Fantasy IX has item-stealing enemies too, but you have to use Zidane to steal them back.
- The Final Fantasy Tactics series have Thief as a job/class for human units and were usually the first targets players went after other than the White Mages. Aside from being very fast and having high evasion, enemy thieves, like your thieves, can steal money, items, and equipment, which could lead to a Lost Forever if an enemy thief stole a unique piece of equipment. In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, thieves got nerfed and can only steal pieces of loot, money, and accessories. The new Viking class is capable of stealing armor with their Pillage ability, though.
- NetHack has Leprechauns who stole gold, and Nymphs who stole items before teleporting away. Nymphs, in particular, can steal without limit, they can use the stolen goods against you, and some of them are even invisible. It's especially frustrating if they steal an amulet of life saving, since not only do you have to kill the nymph twice, but it also uses up an Auto-Revive you could have later used to avoid a permanent, game ending death.
- Like NetHack, Ragnarok has nymphs which are capable of stealing items from you. It also has bandits, but they can only pick up items off the ground, rather than taking them from you.
- Paper Mario 64 had Bandits in Dry Dry Desert, who stole coins from Mario with each attack, fleeing the battle on the next turn. Attacking them made them drop the loot, with Mario recovering it immediately.
- They return in the sequel as common enemies, some of which can steal items and even badges, and must be defeated to regain your stolen loot. They also appear as neutral NPCs.
- Gauntlet has the Thief, who steals treasure or, if possible, a potion from a player (selected randomly if two, three or four are playing). They also love to infuriate their victim by running away at lightning speeds proclaiming "YOU CAN'T CATCH ME!" in primitive digitized speech.
- TAC from Kirby Super Star can steal your ability — or outright kidnap your partner.
- Thieves in the Fire Emblem series can usually unlock and loot chests if you don't get to them quickly enough, and will them promptly make off with the goods if you don't kill them before they leave the map. Sometimes they'll perform other acts of banditry, and aim for nearby villages instead which usually have gold or useful items if you warn them to shut their gates. Depending on the game, the thieves may or may not be able to steal items from your slower characters.
- Yoshi's Island had the same Bandits from Paper Mario that steal Baby Mario from your back and run off with him as he screams and the timer goes down. Luckily they can never fully run away. Frogs and weak Toadys also do it too.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey presents Macca Beam, an enemy-exclusive skill you'll run into as early as Sector B, which forces the target to drop a fraction of the team's Macca and has an extremely high accuracy rate. Then the final sector introduces Wastrel Beam, which drops an even larger percentage of money. Macca is just "energy" in this game, so killing the enemy won't give it back. Very often, players will just reload from an earlier save than go to the trouble of earning back all the money lost. And no, your demons can never have this skill.
- The moves return in Shin Megami Tensei IV. It's even more infuriating here; money is incredibly scarce in IV.
- Septerra Core has a few thief/pirate/miscellaneous thug mooks, which have an attack that damages your funds rather than health. Of course, they would have to do it several times in one battle to cancel out your victory spoils.
- Descent 2 has the Thief Bot, are these types of mooks. They attempt to sneak up on you, then run away so that you get attacked by hoards of other bots as you try to chase them down to get your powerups back. They are extremely durable and agile, so they're quite difficult to take down. You can be warned of their presence by their distinctive chirping sound, which will instantly drive the player into a frenzy of paranoia and rage until the damn thing is taken down.
- Descent 3 has the "Super Thief" that actually uses the pilfered weapons against you. This was originally planned to be an ability the standard version had, but it was decided that this made the Thief way too annoying, so it got turned into a Mini-Boss instead.
- The various groups of Bandits, Sea Raiders, Looters and Deserters in Mount & Blade play with this trope a little. You get a chance to beat the living hell out of them first, but if you do lose to them in battle then they take you prisoner, and will quite happily relieve you of things in your inventory: spare weapons, spare armour, your actual weapons, your horse, party members, quest items. Annoyingly, even though the quest items they may actually steal are pretty common and easy enough to pick up in any village, you will fail the quest if they take them...
- Spoofed in a Kingdom of Loathing April Fool's Day "sneak preview" with a Disco Bandit NPC. The preview also demonstrated an NPC special attack that would destroy all worn/wielded equipment. Subverted with the dirty thieving bandits; the game currency is meat, but they steal it from your hitpoints rather than your wallet.
- Gremlins in the Exile series stole your food when they struck you. They also didn't give it back when they died, presumably thanks to some kind of fey magic.
- Super Mario 64 had Klepto the Condor in Shifting Sands Land and Tiny-Huge Island, who steals Mario's hat. Mario would take more damage until he got his hat back.
- Super Mario RPG, the first Mario role playing game, had Croco the crook.
- One of the first enemies you meet in MOTHER 1, the Crow, steals food items and does not return them upon death.
- The Spiteful Crow from Earthbound, again one of the first enemies that Ness meets, is also fond of stealing your food.
- The Smirking Sneak Thief in Castle of the Winds can steal your money or whatever's on your belt, then randomly teleport to anywhere else in the level. Very agile and requires three fireballs worth of damage to kill. You can get your stuff back if you can find and kill it.
- Minecraft: If you die and drop all your items, any nearby zombies can pick some of them up and even use them as weapons to hit you with. Killing the bandit zombies may or may not get you your stuff back.
- Chrono Trigger has rats in Lab 16 who will steal a tonic from your inventory and run away if they manage to catch you.
- The Meta-Being known as Gliro in Baroque likes to steal an item from your inventory, then flee at top speed. And yes, it can snatch the sword right out of your hands or the coat right off your back. If you manage to chase it down and kill—er, purify it, it will drop whatever it stole from you...but sometimes the Gliro chooses to throw the item at you in self-defense, in which case the item will be Lost Forever.
- Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced Mons that learn item-stealing moves naturally, such as Linoone (with Covet), potentially making them Bandit Mooks. As well as item-disabling moves like Knock Off. The Generation IV games took it up a notch with moves like Pluck, which damages the enemy and eats any berry the target is holding.
- The Packrat in Anvil of Dawn.
- Dwarf from King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown steals whatever treasure you're carrying. If this happens while you're carrying one of the three Plot Coupon treasures, the game becomes unwinnable. The dwarf returns in King's Quest II: Romancing The Throne, but this time he deposits your treasures in his house where you can steal them back. King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human has bandits, which take everything you've got and put it in their (hidden) house. Here it's required to break into their hideout because it's the only way to get money for a few spell components.
- The gnomes in the Harry Potter video games would steal a few of your Bertie Bott Every Flavor Beans if they ran into you. They weren't reobtainable in the first game, but they were in the second game.
- Kid Icarus featured Pluton - who made matters worse by being invulnerable on top of everything else. They return in Kid Icarus: Uprising, where they thankfully can finally be destroyed.
- The Scumbags in the Star Ocean series can steal a varying money based on their strength, and are very prone to running away. You can get your money back if you defeat them before they escape, though. In the fourth game, you can actually get it back with interest if you're using equipment that boosts the money you gain after battle, which can make fighting them an extremely profitable venture.
- Metal Gear Solid has an event where Solid Snake loses an important item several floors below him and has to get it back. If you're not quick enough, a rat will eat it and run around the perimeter of the room, including inside the tiny vents. If this happens, you have to set up a claymore mine at one of the entry points to blow up the rat and get the item back.
- Melynxes in the Monster Hunter series will attack the player to steal an item(even if you happen to be in the middle of a fight with a giant dragon) and try to run away with it. Defeating them gets it back. If they do escape, however, there is a "lair" somewhere in the area that you can get them back from. An additional source of relief is the item Felvine, which if you carried it would always be the item stolen first. There is also the Gypceros, a bandit boss who can steal items from you with its pecking, and unlike the melynxes there is no way to recover anything stolen. Better not carry any rare materials with you!
- The Option Hunter/Thief from the Gradius series sort of counts. It doesn't kill you on contact, but if he touches you or your options, it steals your options away from you! They're invulnerable too, so the only thing you can do is avoid letting it touch your stuff.
- In Borderlands 2, Rat Thieves and Rat Bastards live up to their names by picking your pocket while you're busy fighting their brothers. You can get the money back by killing them before they lock it away in their cash stashes. An unattentive player can easily lose millions. Also, all Rats will scavenge any dropped loot, ammo, and money they come across. In that case it's more of a "finders keepers" thing than directly stealing from you, though, which fortunately, they can't do.
- In Lunar: Dragon Song, Yeti, Sturge, Thanatos, Ice Mongrel and Ochu can steal items, making them among the most annoying enemies in the game. Kill a Yeti, and it may drop a card which prevents items from being stolen.
- The Binding of Isaac has a variation: Greed (and the smaller "greed-heads" and the larger Super-Greed) doesn't actually steal your money directly, but getting hit by his attacks causes you to drop 2 pennies, but lose 3 from your total count. You can always pick up the pennies Greed made you drop, but that 3rd cent is Lost Forever.
- In the Harvest Moon games A Wonderful Life and Another Wonderful Life the town bum can occasionally be caught stealing tomatoes from your shipping bin.
- Shin Megami Tensei games have recently included this as Macca Bean and Wastrel Beam. The first slashes a percentage of your total money away, never to return. Wastrel Beam is worse - half your money is tossed into oblivion. The first is favored by demons such as Nekomata and Preta, and the second is a favorite of the Black Rider.
- In the Den in Fallout 2, there is a gang of kids who'll pick the player's pockets if he/she steps too near to them -which is necessary as they lurk at buildings' doors- and try to carry off their loot to their leader. Of course, the player can steal their items back from them.
- Plants Vs Zombies 2: It's About Time has the Ra Zombie, who uses his sun scepter to steal any sun lying around. Killing him makes him drop any sun that he stole.
- Don't Starve has a few monsters like this:
- Gobblers are turkey-like critters that randomly pop out of berry bushes, and will eat the berries off nearby bushes you haven't already harvested.
- Frogs will knock items out of your inventory with their attacks. Splumonkeys will not only knock items out of your inventory, but then pick them up.
- Many monsters, including Pig-men, will eat any food you leave lying on the ground.
- If you've been "naughty" and killed too many non-hostile mobs too quickly, Krampus will show up and steal items from your treasure chests.
- The second installment in the Descent series has the Thiefbot, which swipes random weapons, powerups, and anything else you've picked up. Destroy if possible.
- Grineer Drahk masters in Warframe steal players weapons by whacking it out of their hands with a rocket-powered boomerang. Fortunately, the attack does minimal damage, and the dropped weapon can be picked back up off the ground; the real trick is noticing when it happens in the first place.
- In the expansion to Real-Time Strategy game Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, Kane's Wrath, each faction got access to a one-at-a-time Epic Unit. GDI, essentially the 'good guys', got the MARVnote , a unit designed, in-universe, to reclaim territory taken over by the Alien Kudzu known as Tiberium, which also serves as the game's ressource. Normally, you'd use fragile and small harvesters for this which would then return to refineries to earn you credits, but the MARV is the very image of Tank Goodness, armed and armored befitting an epic unit, and a Refinery On Wheels on top, which means it converts any Tiberium to credits instantly. Why does this make it a Bandit Unit? Because GDI players tend to send it rampaging through the opponent's Tiberium fields, robbing them of resources. You try stopping something like this.
- Golden Axe has little sack-bearing gnomes who, when encountered in the usual game, will drop a magic jar every time they're hit. In between major sections of the game, however, the gnomes will steal all of the players' magic pots. The players are given a short time to attack the gnomes and reclaims some pots before the gnomes run away. This mechanic encourages players to use all of their magic before the end of a major section of the game. If they do, they'll usually come out of these sequences with more magic than they started with.
- In Spelunky, monkeys may take a gold nugget out of your backpack if they latch onto you.
- For maximum irony, cops in PAYDAY 2 can steal any loot bags that you leave lying around, carrying them to undesirable parts of the map or even taking them completely (bags critical to the mission can't disappear). Shooting the cop that is holding a bag will force him to drop it. If you're quick enough with the interaction button, you can steal the bags right off the cop's back!
- The Mammoth Armed Reclamation Vehicle, is a classically GDI approach to this concept. It's a tank big enough to run over tanks big enough to run over other tanks. It's also technically a Harvester. The general strategy for it's use being to simply barge into the enemy's expansion base, destroy the expansion singlehandedly, and steal the entire tiberium field. Even if they destroy it and rebuild, the MARV already paid for itself several times over and your tib field is depleted.
- In the card game Munchkin, a lot of different Bad Stuff steal and/or destroy the player's equipment. A double-edged sword because it has no effect if you have no equipment of that kind, but very irritating if you do.
- In the board game Afrikan tähti, there's a round cardboard disc facing downwards on each location space. Landing on a space that still has its disc, you can either choose to pay or try your luck with the die to claim it. Three of these coins are Bandits: they steal all of the player's money. No buts. This could leave you on an island, and yes, travelling by ships costs money, meaning facing a Bandit on St. Helen or Madagascar was practically an instant game-over. House Rules were needed to fix this until decades later, new printings featured rules that featured an official solution to the problem.