Taking motifs Up to Eleven. Every major player has the same sort of objects associated with them. Say, a group of heroes where every member has their own animal spirit, weapon, and elemental alignment. Or every country has their own gem, compass direction, and celestial body. That sort of thing. So named because as it all seems to have been plotted out using a table. Compare Arc Number. See Also Geodesic Cast.
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Anime & Manga
- Sailor Moon - every Sailor Scout has a planet, a gemstone, an astrological sign, a color, a secondary color, a particular title, an element, a special weapon, a Meaningful Name, and they're also paired off as partners (Sailor Jupiter and Mercury, Venus and Mars, Uranus and Neptune, Pluto and Saturn, and Sailor Moon with Tuxedo Kamen or Sailor Chibimoon.)
- Everyone who gets a pactio in Mahou Sensei Negima! gets not only an artifact, but a card with their dominant color, virtue, celestial body, title, and number. The girls' numbers are the same as their number on the class roster; Negi's is 496, the sum of said numbers.
- In Shakugan no Shana, every Flame Haze has: a title, a contracted Crimson Lord, a title of the Crimson Lord, a vessel for it (although it doesn't come up often), fire colour, and sometimes trademark spells and Treasure Tools.
- Especially in Digimon Adventure, each of the 7, (and later 8) chosen had their own partner Digimon, Virtue, Color and Element. They also all paired up with each other nicely, (Tai/Matt, Sora/Mimi, Izzy/Joe, TK/Kari)
- In season two there was a lot of consolidation as the 3 new chosen inherited both virtues from the pairs, and would change their element depending on which one they invoked. The 6 new kids however all ended up pairing of for the Fusion Dance.
- Rozen Maiden - Every Rozen Maiden doll has a number (the order in which they were created), as well as an "artificial spirit" with its own name. They each also have a signature attack or weapon.
- In One Piece, each of the Straw Hats have their own animal, number, color, smell, season island, food, family member role, Gender Flipped outlook, nationality, inner brain, flower, blood type, bathing habits and birthday.
- Each of the four autoscorers in Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX has their own element, temperament, colour, tarot suit, archangel they take their name from, and dance style.
- In The Black Bull Of Norroway, each of the Black Bull's brothers inhabits a castle made of a different material and decorated in a different way, and gives the heroine a different fruit containing a different jewel.
- In Farmer Weathersky, the hero meets three very similar witches, one at a time, each using her nose for a different task, commanding animals of a sort vaguely related to that task, and providing some of those to the hero.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: every House has its colors, sigil, and words.
- Circle of Magic: 4 siblings (by adoption), each with a type of magic they have, a teacher, a student (two for Daja), a lost family (or, in Tris' case, disowned), two books in which they ultimately save the day and a crisis they save it from, and a reason they don't fit in at Winding Circle.
- There's even more correspondences implied in the worldbuilding — for her education as a forge-mage, for example, Daja learns what metals are associated with what elements and magical effects (copper, for example, is an air metal.)
- Keys to the Kingdom: 7 trustees, each named after a day of the week, suffering from one of the Seven Deadly Sins, with a domain, a key, a part of the Will (corresponding to one of the Seven Heavenly virtues), a Dawn, a Noon, and a Dusk. Whew!
- Incarnations of Immortality: 7 incarnations, each with a book, duty, way they're selected, magical artifact(s) imbued with powers, (some) a special article of clothing or robe of office, and possibly some other things.
- Deltora Quest: 7 tribes, each with a gem, city, guardian and dragon. Not to mention so many of the other traits that are common among tribe members as a result of being exposed to the powers of the gemstone of their region (i.e. all the Plains siblings have a special bond because of the opal and they are also stated to have good vision, except for Ava, 'cause she's blind. But she's also psychic, which is another opal power).
- Pendragon: 10 territories each with its own Traveler, technology, turning point. Gets mixed up later on, though.
- In Harry Potter, each of the four Houses has two colors, a heraldic animal, a ghost, an artifact of their Founder's, and a secret common room which requires some trick to enter.
- Any character guide can potentially look like this, with slots for not just "wand" but "Patronus" and "Animagus form." Certainly your average fanfic OC is likely to have all of these and probably more.
- American Girl: the different series are all Strictly Formula, and each girl has a necklace, a Happy Holidays dress and doll (both introduced/acquired during the Christmas book), and a pet (birthday book). At one time they also all had a character trait they were supposed to represent: independence for Felicity, courage for Addy, kindness for Samantha, etc. The more recent dolls are getting away from this formula, although the necklace and other accessories remain.
- In The Belgariad mythos, each god had a signature colour and totem animal.
- Brandon Sanderson loves these.
- Elantris, his first novel, has a relatively simple one showing the different Aons (magic runes) and their meanings.
- Mistborn: The Original Trilogy shows the ten (known) metals and their effects in the three different magic systems. The sequel series, The Alloy of Law, expands this to all sixteen metals, along with the names of people who use each metal—though hemalurgy has been removed, as it has been suppressed very completely by this point.
- The Stormlight Archive is the most extreme version. There's a table showing the Ten Essences, the elements that people believe make up reality. The table includes the name of the essence, the number (and associated name of the number), the relevant gemstone, the body part associated with it, what this essence can be used to Soulcast, the two Divine Attributes associated with the essence, and finally the Herald of the Almighty most associated with that essence. And then there's another table, this time related to the Knights Radiant and their Surgebinding, showing how each Order has two Surges, one from the previous Order and one from the next. So the Windrunners have Adhesion and Gravitation, the Skybreakers have Gravitation and Division, the Releasers have Division and Abrasion, so on and so forth.
Live Action TV
Religion And Mythology
- Occurs in The Bible a lot, particularly around the number Twelve, and the four Evangelists.
- As well, in Catholic tradition, each Saint has a Feast Day and a list of attributes, and many are patrons of particular professions, places, or against particular dangers. For example, St. Jude, who helps impossible cases, St. Cecilia, who protects musicians, and they didn't draw the name Notre Dame de Paris (St. Mary, our Lady of Paris) out of a hat.
- Classical Mythology gives each god a name, a few titles, a domain, a sacred tree, a sacred bird, and a few symbols associated with them.
- Ayurvedic medicine is made of this. Each personality type has specific traits, foods that are good/bad for that type, health signs, etc. Every chakra has specific color, location in the body, personality, planetary influence, and gemstones that are good for it. So important is the Theme Table that people in India don't get married until they've consulted an astrologer who chooses the appropriate mate (based on date of birth) and an auspicious day for the wedding.
- In a lot of Native American Mythology, many things are in groups of four with one corresponding to each compass direction. For example, in Aztec Mythology each compass direction has a corresponding god, a number of associated animals, a corresponding colour and a corresponding age of the universe with a catastrophe and a sin which ended it, among other things, while in Navajo mythology each direction has, among other things, a colour, a type of corn, a type of animal, a type of rain and a world the Navajos passed through in Diné Bahaneʼ, the creation myth.
- The concept of "fundamental attributes" in role playing games. These are "stats" attributed to every character in a game. There may be more stats than the basic ones, but you can generally tell what someone will be doing in the game based on the base stats. It's usually a shallow sort of thematic representation, since not every physically strong character will fight the same way, but you can reasonably assume they'll fight. Some games go further, making players choose their moral and legal alignments, their family, their hometown, and whatever else the designer deemed relevant. If the entire character creation process is composed of choices like that, as in e.g. Burning Wheel, it's called a "life path".
- The pantheons of the gods and goddesses for both Greyhawk and Faerūn are set up like this, with each one given one or more titles, a divine rank, a symbol, home plane, alignment, portfolio and worshipers, cleric alignment, domains, and favored weapon.
- BIONICLE: Six Toa, each with an Elemental Power, a matching color, a Cool Mask with another power, and a Weapon of Choice. This holds true to varying degrees for most other characters as well, with a group of six in the same six colors as a bare minimum.
- Pretty common in toylines, and consequentially in Merchandise-Driven series, probably because arranging products this way can encourage people to form collections of them and perhaps also because it can allow more toys per idea.
- In Persona 3 and 4, each of the major characters has a specific Tarot Arcana assigned to them. Characters involved in combat are also affiliated with at least one figure from a world mythology and likely has at least one elemental affinity. Every one of these things somehow ties to the personality, skills, or narrative role of the character in question.
- In the Quest for Glory series, each of the original four games' settings is associated with a compass direction, a season, and an element. Game 3 doesn't fit the theme because it wasn't part of the original series plan.
- As of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link, Zelda and Ganon each possess a Triforce, with the powers of courage, wisdom, and power respectively, left by the three creator goddesses Farore, Nayru, and Din respectively. Each of also correspond to a mystical pearl (in the following game, Wind Waker), and, via their associated races (Kokiri, Zoras, and Gorons respectively) and regions (the forest, the river, the mountains) a spiritual stone.
- In Kingdom Hearts, every member of Organization XIII has their own unique element, weapon and title.
- They also each command a unique kind of Elite Mook with a fighting style that's either similar to or based on their own. Well, at least the members seen in the second game do; we never see the Nobodies commanded by the Organization members seen in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (Although there's no evidence suggesting they don't have this ability).
- Each of the eight elements in Final Fantasy XI has an associated color, day of the week (the Vana'diel week has eight days), weather, double weather, direction, constellation, deity (with two boss battles each), primary attribute (such as Strength), secondary attribute (such as Attack), debuff, storm spell, helix spell, carol, threnody, enspell, defensive buff, skillchain, automaton maneuver, wyvern breath attack, crystal, HQ crystal, rock, set of gemstones, ore, bead, stave, obi, weaponskill belt, weaponskill gorget, sachet, geode, divine stone, seed, pot, fewell, crafting Moghancement, chip, strange apparatus, luck rune, and an element that it is opposed to.
- Homestuck: 4 young chums, each with a color, a symbol, a typing style, a classical element, a Weapon of Choice, a musical instrument, a humour, a specific title corresponding to their role in the game, a personal world in the Incipisphere from which each must reach Skaia, the remains of a deceased creature or family member, and a single guardian who seems to know something about the Ancient Conspiracy. Oh, and an African-American celebrity.
- Also a specific item (E.G. uranium, oil).
- A more thorough listing of the similarities can be found here on the series's Wiki.
- And now there are 28 more of them. (twelve A-trolls, twelve B-trolls, and four A-kids)
- Not to mention the fact many of the NPCs are associated with specific games: the chess-themed Prospitian/Dersite fighters, the card-themed Midnight Crew and the billiards-themed Felt.
- Homestuck's predecessor, Problem Sleuth, was no slouch either. *Takes deep breath* There are three detectives, each with a certain body type (which in turn are each associated with a type of food, a truck carrying that food, and a district of the city that is named after the makers of that food, a gentleman with some sort of optical accessory, and a room in the Sleazy Brothel in the sky), an office, something keeping them from escaping their office, a different kind of window/portal to the World of Imagination, a stat in which they excel, a standard weapon/key, a candy weapon, a type of candy armor, a Super Mode based on both a classic movie monster and type of candy, a Distaff Counterpart (each of which have their own weapon/other object, two of which get a weapon/object used in painting and a undergarment that warps their physical properties, and one of which is just a clone of one of the detectives wearing a wig), an ultimate move, and a non-human race they go on a quest for (each of which terrorizes another of the races somehow, and each of which has some kind of emissary and a champion that represents a Fantasy Character Class). The Big Bad gets in on most of this as well.
- Captain Planet: Each of the Planeteers wears a ring that taps into the powers of one of the four classical Greek elements. (Heart, of course, being the misfit cousin.)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has four nations, each linked to an element, a season, each with two crests — one to symbolize the nation itself, and one to symbolize its Bending art — and national colors which literally everyone wears. Each also has a main character with the national power and each is Fantasy Counterpart Culture for a real-life Asian nation note . Each Bending discipline is further associated with an animal that invented the form (except for Waterbending, which the Moon inspired).
- Armies have marched under banners (specific colors of cloth and/or actual flags) for thousands of years. In many cases, individual divisions and regiments will even have their own colors and mascots.
- Feudal systems, especially in Europe, almost always involve families or Houses with heraldry that follows a universal format.
- And nationalism added this to countries, in the forms of flags and anthems.
- Much of historical occultism works this way, creating elaborate lists of symbolic correspondences. The classical elements for instance would be associated with colors, compass directions, bodily organs and "humours", astrological signs, etc.
- And taking it even further, each astrological sign, for instance, can be aligned with a color, mythological figure, gemstone, metal, time of the year (obviously), two sister signs and one opposing sign, parts of the human body, and geographical places, and one or more Tarot cards (and don't even get started on Tarot cards.)
- One of Aleister Crowley's books, Liber 777 literally consists of a huge table of such correspondences (covering several dozen pages) and an even longer section of footnotes giving additional details that don't fit on the table.
- If you live in Eagleland, you might be aware of your state's date of founding, origin of name, capital city, official state flower, state animal, state rock, state vegetable (yes really), etc. Now they've come out with state quarters, which contain some symbol significant to the state in question on the back.
- Many countries will also have a national flag, anthem, motto, bird, mammal, flower, and more.
- In many countries the provinces or even the individual municipalities have at least some of those too.
- Many countries will also have a national flag, anthem, motto, bird, mammal, flower, and more.
- Every properly equipped school has a fight song, a mascot, and two or three school colors.
- Professional sports teams similarly have unique team colors, mascots, other paraphernalia, and fight songs!