"It's not 'Stealing'. It's 'Adding to my Inventory'."
As much as the motto for the FPS is, "If it moves, shoot it
," the motto for the Adventure Game
and Role-Playing Game
is, "When it's dead, loot it." or "Take everything that isn't nailed down or too heavy note
" (The latter advice appeared in the general strategy section of Infocom
When gaming began, and pretty much every game was Dungeon Crawling
, this made sense. The hero was typically at least tangentially a treasure hunter, so looting ancient caverns was part of the job description.
When games started to move into different modern settings, though, the need to MacGyver up
a solution to a puzzle from found items
remained, and thus it stayed necessary to pick up everything you could find, especially since absolutely essential items might be Lost Forever
unless you grabbed them while you still could
. In populated environments, this makes the hero come off as a bit of a kleptomaniac.
Fortunately, hardly anyone ever notices. In fact, as you wander around the world, particularly in RPGs, you will repeatedly just waltz uninvited into every house in the town
, smash the breakable items
and loot it right before the owner's eyes
, and simply be told "There are many guards in the castle.
Any game where theft is the main object (e.g. the aptly named Thief
series) or thieving is a major character option will make stealing many things quite challenging, naturally enough, and there will usually be quite a few red herrings in the way of worthless items, booby traps, and so on. There will still probably be some sucker who leaves his door and chest unlocked, though.
Sometimes the logical picks up, and instead of finding loot you find underwear
Constant theft leaves your character carrying a ludicrously unfeasible weight. Somehow, he can run, jump and fight whilst carrying five swords, an axe, three daggers, four staffs, two bows, two hundred arrows, a spare suit of armor, twenty scrolls, a dozen books, thirty potions, ten thousand gold coins and a vast assortment of miscellaneous crap
Note that this trope refers to the player's
behavior of having the irresistible urge to pick up anything that is not glued to the floor. A game might have consequences if the player is caught trying to steal an item, but if that same game allows for some other way for the player to get a hold of that item (sneaking, murdering the owner of the house, pick up everything and escape before the guards show up, etc) just so they can make fat loot to sell
, then it is still subject of this trope.
A subtrope is Empty Room Psych
For items you may obtain in this fashion, see Vendor Trash
and It May Help You on Your Quest
. Contrast Money for Nothing
, Worthless Yellow Rocks
. Often comes hand-in-hand with Trespassing Hero
, who keeps entering everyone's private homes and nobody bats an eye.
If you can steal from shops
, however, be aware that most shopkeepers' policy is Shoplift and Die
See also Ninja Looting
, Sticky Fingers
, and Video Game Stealing
open/close all folders
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, a Wind Tribe lady tells you she has so many Kinstones she wishes somebody would take some, explaining why you can go through her house, at least. Doesn't explain how you got away with all the thieving and vandalism you will have inevitably done already though...
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess does try to break Link's habit of taking anything that isn't nailed down and guarded by Hyrule's entire army. You can walk up to the stand selling apples and take one, but Link will say he sees better looking apples at another stand and put the one he has back. If you go to the other stand he'll say the other ones look better, so you'll never actually get an apple. Of course he still destroys every pot and loots every treasure chest he can get his hands on.
- Also, Link can bust pumpkins to get Rupees (somehow). But if he keeps it up, he'll get yelled at for wasting food.
- Subverted in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. When you enter the house of a wealthy man on Windfall Island you are confronted with a row of beautiful expensive vases that even sparkle! However, if you smash one, not only do you not find an item hidden within, you are also chastised by the owner of the vases and warned to not break any more. If you do, not only do you not get any rupees, you are forced to pay a fee relative to the number of vases you destroyed. If you wreck all his jars and you have no money to pay, he'll be more upset that he has to pay to replace the vases with his own money. When it comes to Link, it's best if you just act like nothing happened...◊
- In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening it is possible to steal from the shopkeeper near the starting location by making him look away and then run out. However the game immediately reminds you that stealing is bad and you should feel guilty now. If you go into the shop again, the shopkeeper will kill you with a Death Ray - also, everyone in the village will call you thief from now on. On the other hand, his prices are insane so theft is almost the only option to buy Bow and Arrow, except for excessive Money Grinding.
- Also in Link's Awakening, checking book-cases and chests in people's houses will just cause Link to go "Wow! This is a nice chest!" Furthermore, Marin acts like a moral guardian in this game; if you're accompanied by her and try going through things in people's houses, she'll call you out on it, asking if you always look in other people's drawers. Break people's jars to look for money and she'll say Link is a bad boy.
- The very first puzzle in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass requires you to break into and rob the treasure vault of the kindly old man who just took you in, thus gaining an item necessary for you to travel north and kill wildlife in order to reach the town to the east. Why? Because it's better than waiting for a Broken Bridge to be fixed. In fact, when you make it to the town, the bridge is already fixed. Nice going.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword tries to break this habit as well. You can open the cabinet in your Knight Academy dorm room for a free blue Rupee, but opening other people's cabinets rewards you with the message "You really shouldn't look through other people's things..."note Since the surface has been going through an apocalypse for a few thousand years at this point in the timeline, there are no houses to vandalize, but you can break the pots in an ancient temple holding something very, very important and plot-related (protip: one of them always contains a fairy). There are hardly any pots in the residential quarters of Skyloft. Even sitting in other people's chairs gets you called out (Gortram scolds you for sitting in his chair, Fi says that you really should find that thing you were looking for before you take a rest). Most notably, breaking the chandelier with the heart piece on it in the Lumpy Pumpkin gets you a hilarious facial expression from the owner, a good talking-to, and unpaid work until you pay the thing off.
- However, you can still fall asleep in anyone's bed without anyone caring, so this Link is less kleptomaniac than narcoleptic.
- There is an actual canon justification for the kleptomania, however, from Minish Cap. Link isn't actually stealing anything other than the pots themselves; there are tiny gnomes invisible to adults that hide money, useful items, and treasure under grass and bushes, in pots, and in chests for heroes to find, including pots, chests, and bushes belonging to other people.
- Lampshaded in the PS2/Xbox "remake" of The Bard's Tale, right towards the beginning. After opening his first chest, the narrator will comment on how horrible it is that The Bard is stealing, and the two will engage in a brief argument over it. Helpfully, all of the "junk" that The Bard finds (wanted posters of himself, animal hides, etc) will be automatically converted into silver, since the game understands that most... okay, all players would just sell those items at the store for money.
- The Bard from The Bard's Tale insists that he is not this trope, but that he takes items for safekeeping against others of this trope. The narrator doesn't buy it.
- In Ōkami you can set off bombs in people's houses to get food or coins from the ensuing wreckage. Since this game evolved from Zelda, it's expected.
- Solatorobo normally allows Red to poke about unmolested anywhere he likes, including at an orphanage. However, searching Vanille's bed will result in him finding some underwear, and his sister Chocolat telling him to not stare at it.
- Done in Dishonored, where you can take nearly anything and it is converted into money which is spent on various goodies from NPCs. Almost necessary for a pacifism run as you need to buy a LOT of sleep bolts. Even funnier when you consider the size of somethings, most notable paintings being almost twice the size of you.
- Taken to a hilarious extreme in one of the first missions, when your target is taking the captain of the guard to show him the portrait he had done, and it's gone.
- Or when in the mansion of one of the richest families in Dunwalls, people see you stealing and comment that they take everything they can find since they figure it won't be missed.
- In Deus Ex, while thieving (and tampering with peoples' computers, etc) wouldn't actually make friendlies go hostile, it would earn you a lot of dirty looks and irritated remarks.
- The only places in the game where this isn't true is Paris, where breaking into a house while the police or civilians are there to see you will invoke the wrath of the police and alert the MJ12 troops in the area. Using lock picks in front of certain people, such as the MJ12 troops in Versalife during your first visit will cause them to attack you.
- Lampshaded in one instance. As you bust into a locked hotel room, Icarus contacts you and suggests you "observe your motivations for breaking the arbitrary laws of the current government".
- Averted in its mod, The Nameless Mod; stealing in front of NPCs will cause them to sound alarms or attack you.
- Also averted in the sequel, where if you get caught breaking and entering, stealing, or hacking, the guards and/or other NPC's will turn hostile.
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the player character is the head of security for his company. You can run around breaking into offices and stealing all manner of things, but you'll start receiving e-mails concerning the break-ins and eventually realize that you've created a huge web of paranoia and nobody suspects you because you're the head of security who they trust to find the culprit. In fact, they trust you so much they send you the codes to their own offices - making it even easier for you to pick them clean.
- After you visit the police station, you'll eventually run into a few cops freaking out about the same thing. They're more worried some gangbanger knows where their families live.
- Aside from that, the game seems to expect you to steal absolutely everything from everyone at all times. note Basically, if you're allowed to be standing where you are, you have unlimited rights to anything you can get your hands on short of attacking and hacking.
- At one point you are in a ruthless mob boss' lair and he has a Laser Rifle lying next to him. You can "borrow" the weapon while he is staring right at you and he doesn't even bat an eye. It makes logical sense that he might lend it to you for your next task, but there's no dialog or anything. It might as well be yours.
- In BioShock 1, the player's character at one point can eat a candy bar on a table next to a Little Sister, in Tenebaum's safe house. The Little Sister says "That's mine!" in a quiet, indignant voice. If you eat the other candy bar on the table, she loudly says "Hey!"
- Also, you can loot just about any dead body (whether you kill it or it was room temperature) and their weapons, as well as any container, from crates, suitcases, handbags, cabinets, shelves, safes, cash registers... makes you wonder exactly what memories your character had "tattooed into his mind" when he was administered the mental programming plasmid.
- Taken to new extremes when you can loot a corpse that is presumably your own mother.
- Heck, at one point in Haphaestus in the first game, Andrew Ryan will mock you for wandering around his city, breaking and looting.
- BioShock Infinite - has a bit of a subversion. During the peaceful segments of the game, you can go through shops, and certain items (mostly cash registers, and one time a rare shotgun) are highlighted in red. Taken them is considered stealing and will set the local cops on you. However, the majority of the time, even before the place goes to Heck, you can grab anything with impunity.
- Most works of Interactive Fiction, though a game as early as the wordplay-themed Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It (from Infocom) subverted this in one section: Given a six-pack and a list of "pretenses" (such as "The world is flat" and "2+ 2=5") in a lawful town, the player must "TAKE BEER UNDER FALSE PRETENSES".
- In the game Trinity (also from Infocom) you actually have to steal a gnomon off a sundial in the middle of a crowded Kensington Gardens.
- The old Monkey Island games literally force you to pick up everything you can find because it will become useful later, often as part of some complicated crazy scheme that requires using several items in concert... the challenge is figuring out how. Fortunately, our hero Guybrush has unlimited carrying space in his trouser pockets or under his jacket. There's even room for the live monkey and the 10' extensible banana plucker.
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge makes a subtle joke about this: one island has a wanted poster for your character listing a variety of thefts (and other misdemeanors) performed by Guybrush as the game progresses. A certain book in the library also contains the definition of a kleptomaniac, eliciting a "Hmm..." from Guybrush.
- At the end of the game a possible answer to a question is "I stole a bunch of stuff and caused two huge explosions."
- In Guybrush's case this is an actual rule, not simply something he does for problem-solving. According to Guybrush in the narrative walk-through of the third game, the Pirate Handbook officially states that "pirates by principle have to steal everything that isn't nailed down (and if you can find a way to remove the nails and steal it, do so)."
- At one point in the third game, you actually do get to remove the nails from something, but you can't steal it anyway. The nails themselves come in handy, though.
- In Tales of Monkey Island this is lampshaded by Guybrush asking someone if he can take an empty bucket. She asks him what he's going to do with it, and he says he doesn't know. She asks him why he would want to take it, then, and his response is "Because it's there, I guess."
- Lampshade Hanging in one of the Sam And Max games, Reality 2.0. Sam goes to steal some binoculars, on the grounds he needs them more than the owner. Max remarks that that's a pretty flimsy justification for stealing, and Sam agrees. After a pause, they decide to steal them anyway.
- This trope was lampshaded again in Bright Side of the Moon, where Harry Moleman at the moon's gift stand comments that "some people will steal anything that isn't bolted to the floor"— at which point Sam adjusts his tie nervously.
- Also exaggerated — in Night of the Raving Dead, you can pick up an ink ribbon, but it doesn't actually do anything. No puzzles, no easter eggs, nothing. It's plain and simple taking it because it's there.
- And averted in Beyond the Alley of the Dolls, where you can click on several important-looking scrolls in a room, but told they're useless.
- The "take everything that isn't nailed down" comment is parodied in the text adventure game "Thy Dungeonman", in which there's a flask in a room which IS nailed down, and if you forcefully attempt to take it, the game tells you it was a load-bearing flask, and the dungeon collapses on you.
- Lampshaded in the first Discworld CD ROM game. Rincewind needs to help himself to virtually everything that can be moved in every location he visits as most of them will prove useful later on. If you speak to Nobby the City Watchman at the gate during Act I, he mentions there's been a few strange thefts around town recently.
- This being Nobby, though, he doesn't exactly have the moral high ground.
- Kyle Hyde in Hotel Dusk: Room 215 certainly takes some things he shouldn't with him (like a crowbar from a toolbox that isn't his). Other times he might just look at stuff. There is a point in the game where carrying stuff that doesn't belong to you will result in a Game Over screen.
- King Graham's famous saying: "Take anything that isn't nailed down." The Companion Guide attributes this saying to his father.
- Subversion: In King's Quest I, inside an impoverished couple's hut, there is a prominent fiddle on the other side of a tricky-to-navigate floor. If you cross the gaps and reach the lute successfully, attempting to take it yields the admonition "You cannot take their last possession!" This despite the manual explaining that you should take everything that's not nailed down. You can take the fiddle - after you give the couple a bowl that magically fills with soup and they offer it to you in gratitude.
- This applies to just about all of Sierra's adventure games, however.
- Lampshaded in The Trail Of Anguish (www.rinkworks.com/adventure):
"I hope I don't look funny carrying around all these items," you say.
He squints for a few seconds before he sees them. Then he replies, "Nah, it's okay. Everyone's on an adventure of some sort, after all." You nod, only now noticing that he's somehow concealing a bicycle, a bungee cord, and a horse in his pocket. Looks exciting.
- The first Simon the Sorcerer game had tons of items you'd accumulate, most of which were used maybe once, and then stayed in your inventory instead of being lost. There are two times in the game where you (thankfully) lose your possessions though, and the assorted crap forms a HUGE pile.
- In the old Déjŕ Vu games, you could literally pick up everything that wasn't nailed down too hard. Books? Check. Flowerpot with dead flower? Sure. Board nailed over a window? Just yank it loose and stick it in your coat, it might come in handy. Since there were quite a few items you actually needed to win, but you don't know which ones the first time, you tended to pick up literally everything, just in case.
- In Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, you need to break into several buildings as you search for the missing students. However, at one point you crack open a safe containing a key (which you need) and a stack of cash. Clicking on the cash will cause the game to scold you.
- Lampshaded in Murder on the Orient Express (the game), when a steward on the train remarks that lots of things have mysteriously gone missing. The Player Character, whose inventory is filled with everything from handkerchiefs to a large bowl of orange juice, responds by suggesting that "maybe someone had a good reason for taking it?"
- Games based on Agatha Christie novels play with this, though you don't have to pick up everything, are not allowed to go through people's luggage when they are present, and when you do, you mostly find clothing — and some item, such as a postcard or book, which has some significance. Interestingly enough, in the first one And Then There Were None, the player character also demonstrated the psychic ability to know which objects he would need later, and which would "draw unnecessary attention to [his] snooping."
- Total aversion in Below The Root. Unless it is on a public walkway, you need to find the owner and ask nicely. You also had limits on what you could carry, dictated by the character's strength stat. Pomma couldn't carry much at all.
- Played with in Zork: Grand Inquisitor, where one of the puzzles involves getting your hands on a six-pack of canned mead, which is protected by the burglar alarm at a store. To get the mead, you have to turn up the volume on a nearby propaganda-spouting speaker until it drowns out the burglar alarm.
- Averted in the LucasArts game Loom: you can only carry one item, your weaving staff (and even that you don't have all the time).
- In Lost Pig, the custodian of the Place Underground has several grumpy things to say about earlier encounters with the type, and the Last Lousy Point is awarded for not acting like one, and putting stuff back how it was when you're done with it.
- Fantasy Quest takes this to near-deconstruction levels. As with many adventure games, you take anything not nailed down. Newspapers reveal that the world's inhabitants interpret this as a crime spree and start exchanging tips for safeguarding their homes. ("Does your house have a door? Can you lock it?")
- The Perils Of Akumos: After stealing just about everything you see, you really shouldn't be surprised once a shady cabal approach you to join their illegal dealings.
- Strong Bad in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. It's entirely in-character for him, though.
- Initially lampshaded in Anchorhead, as you're an every(wo)man-style character.
> get machine
You're not here to burglarize the place.
- Lampshaded a bit heavy-handedly in Ditch Day Drifter:
*Some* adventure games would try to impose their authors' misguided sense of ethics on you at this point, telling you that you don't feel like picking up the key, or you don't have time to do that, or that it's against the rules to even possess a master key, much less steal one from some other student's pants that you happened to find in a laundry, or even more likely that you are unable to take the key while wearing that dress. However, you're the player, and you're in charge around here, so I'll let you make your own judgments about what's ethical and proper here...
- Deconstructed in Deponia - Rufus feels justified in taking anything that will aid his schemes because he's extremely self-centered (though later on he gets more valid reasons). His neighbors resent him for it, and at one point it lands him in jail.
- Parodied in Packrat which refers to the main character as "an adventurer with a discerning eye."
- Parodied in Crazy Old Bag Lady where the goal is to locate the mythical Golden Trolley which can hold much more useless junk than your average supermarket trolley.
- Lampshaded in The Reliques of Tolti-Aph, where an attempt to memorize a scroll with the "circumvent lock" spell produces the following message:
Under the terms of the recent Sorcery Millennium Property Act, all magic-users are now hypnotized to make it impossible for them to learn certain spells connected with the breaking or circumvention of locks or other devices intended to protect property. Like all magic-users, you resent the implication that you are some kind of kleptomaniac, and regard this as an outrageous infringement of your personal liberty. Especially since these are the same people who go on and on about the right to bear "apocalyptic fireball" wands! Tsk.
- Played completely straight throughout the Nancy Drew series, and then lampshaded in the 29th game, The Silent Spy:
Ewan: You might want to ease up on the stealing.
Nancy: I'll give them back. I'm just investigating.
any big-ticket items during your visit. I really hate the embassy people.
- Jess is a literal example in Jurassic Park The Game. She was spending her weekend on the island with her father after committing shoplifting. Throughout the story, she kept on stealing things from other characters, including a pair of binoculars from Hammond, a pack of cigarettes from Dr. Sorkin, and the can of shaving cream containing the dinosaur embryos from Yoder.
- Ashley Robbins of the Another Code games is no stranger to snatching up whatever she thinks she could use. It's passable in the first game, as the place she's investigating has been abandoned for fifty years, though D does comment at least once how weird her habit is. In the second game, with more people to interact with, she does at least pay for stuff (on her dad's credit) and ask permission first.
- Mortal Kombat Deception allows you to walk into people's huts, open their treasure chests, and abscond with the goodies. You can also beat up most townspeople with little repercussions. In fact, the only crime the game will ever punish you for is staying out past curfew in orderrealm.
First Person Shooter
- PAYDAY: The Heist - You're a professional bank robber. In addition to the main quest, your character can grab money and gems that are found in reasonable places - bank offices, unorganized narcotics labs, fancy jewel cases, and Franz-Jaegar safes. In the sequel, there's an entire mission dedicated to stealing small loot from bank's safe deposit boxes.
- PAYDAY 2 - There's a heist named Four Stores in PAYDAY 2 that consists entirely of swiping small valuables such as cash from registers in order to prove a point to a client's competitor. There are usually a few small safes the players can drill if they're so inclined, but it's usually better to just grab the bare minimum and run.
- In Dungeons & Dragons Online, you now can steal from bookshelves, dead adventurers, mushrooms, cabinets, and the standard breakables. You get bonus XP for breaking crates and barrels.
- A good strategy for cash strapped new players is *Smash everything in sight*. Along with getting a Vandal XP bonus, smashed crates and barrels often hide potions, money, and ranged ammunition or throwing weapons.
- There's a house in RuneScape inhabited by an old man who will scold PCs for breaking and entering, then kick them out before they get the chance to do any looting.
- The again, there's a thieving SKILL, but it doesn't help in that case, and for example, trying to steal from a stall while the owner of said stall is right in front of you will only result in him screaming for guards, and you have to wait before you can sell what you stole. It's a great skill to have in general, though.
- Played with in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Groundskeeper Wu asks players to bring him several rattan switches; they grow around the area, but a nearby merchant has already collected several. If you take the ones Yao the Collector has, he will get angry and threaten you; after taking the last one, Yao just laughs and commends you on your skill, doing nothing to stop you.
- In Spongebob Squarepants Battle For Bikini Bottom and The Movie, you can randomly destroy items like chairs, and tables for absolutely no reason at all. Actually, destroying some stuff REWARDS you with socks or golden spatulas - the MacGuffins of the games. Weirdly, when smashing a TV while Mermaid Man is watching, you are granted a sock.
- In Mega Man Star Force, Geo frequently pilfers battle cards, computer backgrounds, and the like from random items around the place, including the houses of his closest friends. Also, some releases swap the Game Breaker Blank Cards with money, including the ones hidden in Bud's and Zack's bedrooms, leading to a situation where Geo is basically stealing $20 bills from them.
Role Playing Game
Shoot Em Up
- Though not an aspect of gameplay, Marisa Kirisame is well known for stealing things from others, using her short lifespan compared to those around her as an excuse: she reasons that they can always take their things back once she's dead, which shouldn't take too long from their pov... Did we mention that she steals stuff in order to uncover the secrets of eternal life, meaning that not even her previous "excuse" is actually valid if she gets what she wants?
Stealth Based Game
- In Assassins Creed II, Ezio can empty the pockets of an entire crowd by just walking through them. However, this will increase the Notoriety Meter, which will cause guards to be more vigilant.
- There is even an Achievement/Trophy for pickpocketing called, would you believe, "Kleptomaniac"
- Also, looting dead or stunned enemies will result in disapproving murmurs from the crowd and, possibly, hostility from the guards. Then again, the guards will become suspicious of you if you just happen to be in the vicinity, even if you're not the one responsible for the bodies. Carrying an entire arsenal may have something to do with it.
- In Assassins Creed III Haythem shows disgust at the idea of looting dead bodies when one of his men suggests the idea. Which is made extremely funny when the player is making him loot said dead body as he is saying this.
- In the Metal Gear series Snake/Raiden can pick up dead bodies and drop them to shake out items, ammo, and sometimes weapons. In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Snake can also hold somebody up by aiming at their back without being noticed and procede to frisk them.
- Corvo as well as Daud can take anything that isn't nailed down in Dishonored.
- Unlike its predecessor, there are no more items that are actually attended by an NPC in Jagged Alliance Back in action, so you can loot everything. The text description for an item called 'Family Heirloom' found in a locked house reads "A bunch of valuables that was obviously hidden with the purpose of you finding it so you can sell it and raise some money for the good cause"
- Blood Ravens in Dawn of War II, nicknamed "Bloody Magpies" for "releasing from the chapter's vaults" heaps of gear clearly marked as belonging to other chapters. For most part they claim to have this recovered from the fallen heroes and wielded in their honor. For lest part...
: The crimson teardrop icon of the Blood Angels chapter is carved into the grip of this Mk III bolt pistol. Blood Raven armorers claim this dates from a ceremonial exchange of arms between the two chapters in M37. Blood Angel archivists have no records of any such exchange.
- Resident Evil is literally built around this trope. In this series, a key has the exact same potential for unlocking a new area as, say, a bag of fertilizer.
- Silent Hill does this as well. Survival Horror Rule: If it ain't pre-rendered, it's important. Good thing the protagonists have a Hyperspace Arsenal (bar a few glaring exceptions).
- Parodied in the third game: You can find an item in a toilet, but Heather (understandably) refuses to touch it.
- Dead Island If it's not nailed down, grab it! Deodorant, soap, nails, rags, Floater meat, doesn't matter. Just pick it up and put it into your modding bag.
- The STALKER series. If it's in a stash, take it. If it's on a corpse, take it. If it's on the ground, take it. If someone's holding it, shoot them dead, then take it. You'll need it. Most of the best weaponry (the unique gear that typically far surpasses anything else you'll find) is usually being held by someone, and getting it usually involves a question of just how much of an utter bastard you're willing to be to get better gear.
- Lampshaded in the RPG Visual Novel Monster Girl Quest:
Alice: Walk into people's houses and take things...? Are you a thief or something?
Luka: There have been some who have abused that privilege. I don't think someone like that is a true hero, though.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
- Phoenix will snatch up anything that looks like it might help him in his court cases (and a few things that seemingly don't). Apparently, this does not count as theft by the law system in their world. A lot of these things are even things that would be too big to fit in Phoenix's pockets. It's possible that a lot of these are just pictures of the evidence, but...
- This is parodied in the first game in case 3, when Maya grabs a copy of a map for Global Studios and Wendy Oldbag demands 50 cents for the map. Phoenix ignores her.
- Maya also steals a vital poster in the second game, and the key card later in 1-3 - it's Lampshaded at that point: "Let's steal it!" "Borrow. You mean borrow." Ema also persuades Phoenix to steal evidence, except that stealing stuff while Ema's around is scientific.
- Based on a comment by Wright in game 3 case 2, this has gotten Phoenix some bad karma, seeing as how he is one of the series's Butt Monkeys.
- Godot shares this trait; he thinks the "safest place for crucial evidence" is his pocket.
- As does Edgeworth; his satchel is the safest place he knows. Godot is present when Edgeworth says this line chronologically prior to Godot's use, meaning that Godot probably stole the trope, and line, from Edgeworth.
- In case 2-4 Edgeworth manages to grab a life-sized stuffed bear. It doesn't disappear from the room, sure, but the game actually says, "Stuffed bear snatched up by Edgeworth", leading to the hilarious mental image of him wrestling it out the door while Phoenix just stands there and gapes.
- This is actually acknowledged in 1-5, when you have to present the evidence hidden in Gant's safe. He even says that he's going to press charges, so Phoenix learns his lesson. It's doubtful that this went very far, considering how that trial went, though...
- Averted in the Ace Attorney Investigations series, as whenever Edgeworth finds something, he will often jot it down in his organizer rather than take it, possibly because some of the pieces of evidence are part of crime scenes.
- Lampshaded in the Miles Edgeworth Case Files manga. Franziska asks Edgeworth for the criminal record of a defendant she's prosecuting. Edgeworth suggests that she could just have taken it, but she says she "would never imitate the foolishness of a certain sham defense lawyer".
Wide Open Sandbox
- In Minecraft is the other name of the game. The correct reaction for most players to seeing valuable resources on the other side of a lava lake isn't A: build path above it or B: Cool it down and walk across, it's C: Cool the lava down and mine it for obsidian, then climb over to the other valuable resource.
- Red Dead Redemption allows you to loot dead bodies for money. In fact, one side mission has you chasing down a bandit for stealing from the general store in Armadillo: if you choose to kill him, you search the man's body and return the stolen money to the owner. Also, you may open chests and drawers pretty much anywhere they're present (yielding you money and ammo), but if you do so outside of your safe houses, you get a wanted level for stealing, no matter if someone saw you or not.
- Borderlands has chests/safes/boxes/lockers you can open and loot the ammo/gun(s)/money stored inside. Given the influences from Diablo and Fallout, this isn't surprising (although you can't loot stores (except for any of the aforementioned containers that happen to be inside stores), as the stores are vending machines). Then there's the ammo in the refrigerators, mailboxes, washing machines...and toilets (giving a new meaning to the term "ammo dump"!)...
- Lampshaded by the New Haven resident standing outside the gun shop, who complains that his gun is missing, and notes, "Seems like a lot of things have gone missing lately. Makes you wonder."
- In fact, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution happens because the Vault Hunters' constant looting and selling have ruined Pandora's economy, thus leading Hyperion to hire the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap to take care of the problem.
- Terraria lets you take this Up to Eleven. Found a shrine made of golden bricks containing a treasure chest inside a jungle? You can take the treasure inside the chest, then use your hammer to take the chest itself, then take out your pickaxe and take the shrine itself.
Non-video game examples:
Anime and Manga
- Subverted in the anime Mahoujin Guru Guru, where the "hero" actually introduces another character who wants to be a hero to the idea of stealing herbs from homes, which backfires on the second character. This anime plays with other tropes, including a scene at the end where the characters defeat everything except the final boss, then leave without fighting him., the manga does defeat the final boss, in a much longer story.
- Lampshaded, the "hero"(male protagonist) obtained the title "Hero/Brave" from the king using an ancient artifact to determine who will be the hero to find the Guru Guru Mage and defeats the revived Big Bad, and thought that the title is his job, but later in the story, when the protagonists have to do a job test, the person giving the test states that "Hero" is not a job, but a title, and guess what, the hero's job is "Thief", and it was emphsised "Hero is a thief." in the story.
- Parodied in the RPG Episode of Haré+Guu where Haré opening a treasure chest in a random house results in him getting him beaten up for stealing.
- The Slayers is an Affectionate Parody of RPGs and the protagonist Lina Inverse did this often. Although she said it didn't belong to the bandits she stole from in the first place, later she mentions feeling an itch to attack bandits and steal the loot.
- Referenced in Maou na Ano Ko to Murabito A where people from the normal everyday are born with "personalities" that align with RPG roles, such as mage, demon lord, and villager, and they go to "work" performing these roles in other realities, the main character's childhood friend is a "Hero". Because of this, she feels it is perfectly just to sneak into his room and go through all his things, leaving it a mess, just to find his porn and get rid of it.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: It's heavily implied that most if not all of the food Kyoko is seen eating is stolen. Sayaka, guessing this, asks her an Armour Piercing Question about it, then call her out on it when she doesn't answer.
- Homura Akemi of all people also turns out to be one. Her Time Stop ability hasn't got any offensive use, so she started stealing weapons from the Yakuza and Military. Lucky that buckler of hers is a Hyperspace Arsenal.
- Since Knights of the Dinner Table is about a group of tabletop RPG players that embody almost all gaming tropes, this trope is par for the course. It's probably best captured in one of the early strips, Five Green Towels, in which the group has their first adventure since acquiring a Bag of Holding and strip the dungeon of everything - including the furniture, soiled handkerchiefs and toenail clippings.
- And then, taking turns picking from the pile of loot, begin to bicker over whether the five green towels count as one pick or five.
- Calamity in Fallout: Equestria (an Expy of some Fallout players) can hardly resist the urge to scavenge every single container he comes across. Everyone in his posse lampshades it at least once, including himself.
- Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past, who frequently shoplifts behind his mother's back along with a lot of other hijinks.
- Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy. At one point, he argues to a Nova Corps member that if he wants something more than the person who owns it, that means he has a moral right to it. It's unclear whether he applies this philosophy to other people in the same way or if it's just him.
- Unforgettable: Carrie's risk-taker streak gets the better of her in a Running Gag in "New Hundred". Frank Simms, a Secret Service agent trying to break up a counterfeiting ring, keeps getting out the new super-hard-to-counterfeit $100 bills to show various people, and Carrie keeps pocketing the real ones (and a bundle of the fake ones at the denouement, which Al puts his foot down about and tells her to throw on the bonfire with the others).
- This trope is such a fundamental stipulation in virtually all tabletop role-playing games that even systems with Character Alignment don't penalize a Lawful Good character for stripping the clothing off corpses found lying by the road so they can sell the second-hand clothes to get a few copper pieces closer to buying a slightly more powerful magic sword.
- In the Dungeons & Dragons Living City campaign, gold was in such short supply at one point that some players began cutting locks out of doors, in order to sell them for extra money.
- The trope is discouraged, however, in the third edition Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Oriental Adventures, which includes an honor system that penalizes those who steal from the dead.
- Thief from 8-Bit Theater does this early on in the series just to prove a point about his character (as if it wasn't obvious.)
Black Mage: Didn't the pirates take everything already?
Thief: They left everything that was nailed down. I did not.
- Parodied in this Hejibits comic.
- Used for humorous effect in this Darths & Droids strip.
- Parodied in this webcomic about Velvet Assassin, where you gain XP by swiping random junk owned by Nazis, where her "Crowning Achievement" was stealing Himmler's left boot.
- Nodwick: The adventuring party fits this description. They'll loot anything from a dungeon, including the statuary. This is not appreciated by their poor henchman Nodwick, who invariably has to schlep several tons of worthless junk back home.
- The eponymous character of Sarab loots his kill in an MMORPG.
- Naturally, appears in Adventurers! The homeowner's lack of objection is justified:
Commoner #1: And you didn't stop him... because...?
Commoner #2: Hello! His sword is as big as me.
- Encouraged in the video game-like sections of Homestuck, even though you usually don't have an inventory. Occasionally explanations are offered:
"Chests are everywhere in this lab, and people find it all too tempting to sneak their personal belongings into them for safe keeping. That is, until the goods are stolen shortly after by those who can't resist looting every chest they encounter, which is everybody."
- Deconstructed in this comic of The Noob. Long story short, quest givers have to hide their barrels each time a player visits. Gets bonus points for also giving a valid explanation to Take Your Time.