That's all? One quest? Surely you jest. Are there not bear asses to collect? Perhaps a rare flower that I could pick from which you will make some mildly hallucinogenic tonic which you will then drink, resulting in visions of a great apocalypse? Perhaps the local populace of mildly annoying, ill-tempered gophers are acting up and need to be brought to justice? No? Nothing?
This is a type of Fetch Quest that involves going around killing enemies and collecting a certain amount of a specific item that these enemies randomly drop. They are most common in MMORPGs. The common hypothetical example involves a woodsman NPC asking the Player Character to deliver 20 sections of bear to him.
This sort of quest can draw attention to the inherent Fridge Logic of Random Drops, such as when the drop in question is a vital body part that all monster corpses should have, like a liver, feet, skin, or a head. A flimsy justification is that the body part may have been compromised during the fight. Turns out only pristine bear asses will do, even when the woodsman just wants twenty bears dead and doesn't actually want to make anything out of the bear asses. That is one picky woodsman.
This type of quest can frequently not fit in thematically with a story, and could be arbitrarily inserted into any location the player is at (Lava Bears, Mist Bears, Greater Bears, Hellbears...) as long as there's a bear with the perfect ass required to make... whatever. It may not make sense for the player charactersto accept them, and, in the worst case, may be a form of Fake Longevity.
Frequently overlaps, either in the same quest or same area, with Mass Monster Slaughter Sidequest. Compare Cash Gate, which requires you to collect something useful to proceed, usually money.
If a webcomic or something else parodies MMORPGs, expect to see this trope parodied every time.
Not to be confused with Cheek Copy, which could result in 20 bare asses.
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Castlevania Order Of Ecclesia took the NPC sidequest ingredient from its predecessor, Portrait of Ruin. Unfortunately it turned simple fetch quests into a bundle of Twenty Bear Asses.
To illustrate, one villager sends you on quests to kill a certain number of creatures, culminating in her sending you to kill an optional boss in a location you might never reach. Then there's the blacksmith, who just needs a certain number of random drop metals.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker requires Link at one point to trade twenty Joy Pendants with a teacher to get an island which holds a Triforce map. This example isn't too bad compared to most, though, since Joy Pendants are very easy to get and you'll likely have far more than enough before you need to make the trade.
In Majora's Mask, there's a place where there's a maze full of Gibdos, each protecting a door, and each asking for a given number of a certain item. If you don't read the walkthrough and stock up, you'll likely find yourself spending hours and hours going back and forth finding out what you need and getting each Gibdo's price for opening the door.
Optional in Skyward Sword where collecting enemy drops allows you to upgrade your items, but isn't exactly necessary. That said, you'd think Monster Claws would be dropping every time you offed a Keese, but the drop rate seems to be completely random besides certain carried items increasing it.
Four X Games
In X3: Terran Conflict, one category of missions for the corporations requires you to acquire a randomly chosen set of missiles and deliver them. About half the possible missiles are only available as random drops from destroyed ships.
First Person Shooter
Many of the sidequests in STALKER are of this type and rarely worth the reward. The body parts ones are really annoying as you have a knife yet somehow only managed to cut the foot/eye/tail off one out of ten times?
Not to mention that every sidequest has a time limit. Combine this with certain bear asses not being available until the player is in an area far away and there being no means of travel between areas except on foot... Definitely not worth the reward. Which was never disclosed until you received it.
Borderlands: Almost every single quest is one of these (there are rare, usually storyline-related, "normal" item fetch quests). Bonus points for Zombie T.K. quests. First, 10 items, then 25, then 50, then 100, then 250. The icing of the cake? The item can be obtained only by killing the mobs with headshots.
Worse still, any items you pick up before you activate the quest aren't counted towards the total needed. If you don't know exactly where the quest is located, you could pick up hundreds of items for absolutely nothing.
The fourth add-on does this for the sole purpose of padding play time, annoying many players. Not only does it have a quest chain requiring an escalating number of parts, it has achievements that require you to collect rare drops. The rare items drop approximately once per an hour of farming, and one of the achievements requires the player to collect 15 of them. On top of that, the same enemies drop the common and rare quest items, and the common items drop even after completing that quest, meaning players have to sort through piles of useless clutter to find those rare items. The mass item grab feature helps, but what would robots be doing with pink panties and stale pizzas?
These aren't mere robots, they're Claptraps, and what they're doing with panties and pizza is throwing the party of the year!
World of Warcraft is notorious for this, but it actually varies in its consistency. Some are completely illogical, with no small number of quests demanding feathers from birds, or teeth from beasts, or just chunks of meat; you always have to kill several creatures to get the amount you need even though just one should logically suffice. Others cut the player some much-needed slack, where the item is always dropped while you are on the quest, and others where multiples of an item are sometimes dropped at once.
The "Thelsamar Blood Sausages" quest actually does send you out to collect Bear Rumps. You need eight of them, though, not twenty, and needing them for a recipe makes some sort of sense even if the recipe doesn't. This may or may not be an Ascended Meme.
Special attention needs to be brought to the item crafting portion of the game, which frequently requires this sort of action en masse. The Heavy Clefthoof armor set, for instance, required leatherworkers to skin 94 Thick Clefthoof Leather hides... which had a drop rate between 8%-30%. This means you had to kill a minimum of 310 Clefthoofs. Considering there were rarely more than 50 or so in the game at any given time, this is tantamount to extinction-level genocide. The kicker: the set was aimed at druids, which are supposed to be in harmony with nature.
Even more blatant than goretusk boars with no livers: animals without hides. It seems that the wolf which you just killed lacks a pelt. The pelt you can see it wearing RIGHT THERE. Parodied in this Dark Legacy comic: "5. Gather 10 bear meats. ... You know, if you had mentioned that you were some kind of magical meatless bear, you could have saved us both the trouble!"
One of the worst examples of this comes from the Demoniac Vessel quest in Blasted Lands. You have to collect, among other things, two Screecher brains to create the demoniac vessel. Even with the normally bad drop rates this shouldn't require killing more than a handful of Screechers, right? Think again. Unless you have extremely good luck, be prepared to kill upwards of twenty to get the two brains you need. Oh, and let's not forget that this quest is for both Horde and Alliance characters. So, you have even more competition on top of the ridiculous drop rate.
Adventure Quest Worlds has a trillion of these. On a quest? Good for you. Want to progress to the next screen to continue the story? Not until you give me 15 sabre-tooth tiger fangs. Oh, and did I mention that some sabre-toothed tigers don't have fangs?
This gets especially bad as some quests, like those from Dage the Evil, can require you to gather up to 50 of a given item, and you usually have to get 2 or 3 different items per quest. It get's even worse when you realise that logging off forces you to start all over again.
Final Fantasy XI has a number of these as introductory-level quests; most are repeatable. These are generally used as fame-grinding fodder in order to unlock the good and useful quests.
Quests in FFXI do not give experience points, and thus are typically have a purpose outside of "do this to progress your character."
A truly soul-killing quest requires giving an NPC 10,000 of a particular kind of fish... and it is only possible to catch 200 fish per Earth day. Your reward? The second best fishing rod in the game - and a certificate telling you to go do something more useful with your time. (It's not all bad; selling this one kind of fish is a staple source of income for many newbies, which spreads the pain around... a little.)
Happens in zOMG!... a lot. One of the most annoying examples is the first Otami Ruins quest, during which you must collect 1 specific drop from each of the 4 enemies that patrol the area, in a specific order. Since all loot is randomly distributed, this means that crews cannot distribute the vital piece of loot to a player who needs it. As for the totems themselves, the only one that is justifiable is the mace head found in one of the Bladed Vases. The others are things you'd expect to find on every single enemy. This is especially true with the Jewel Eyes, since the enemy that drops them is a Boss in Mook Clothing, and is using the jewel eye you need to shoot Eye Beams at you. Drop Rate tweaks have made these quests more tolerable, but they can still be annoying at times.
Furthermore, item drop rates are influenced by your level relative to that of the target. The forum gets a lot of threads from players wondering why they can't get any Gramster Goo, when it's because their level is already too high before they attempted the quest. Fortunately, you are able to suppress your level at will— also imperative in the case of repeatable quests that have a level cap.
Some of the repeatable quests also invoke this trope, such as a quest to gather spear points from the Tiny Terrors in the Otami Ruins. You have the option of asking the girl why she wants so many spear points: she wants to sell them as souvenirs at the pirate-themed amusement park. Your character lampshades the absurdity of this, as well.
Nearly all the quests in Dungeon Fighter Online are like this. Memorable ones include collecting severed goblin hands for a woman's beauty makeover, baby dragon hearts to trade for champagne, and about thirty copies of the same ghost's soul.
The Old Republic generally averts this; while most missions have a "kill 'x' creatures" bonus objective, it's entirely optional and counts each kill rather than depending on a random drop. However, there are some missions that have the primary objective of collecting Plot Coupons that are generated as random drops from a particular type of enemy. They generally have a very high drop rate, thankfully (assuming you're in the right area and killing the right mobs), and the plot coupons never drop when you don't have that mission. (These items are not normal Vendor Trash, but are put in a separate inventory section set aside for plot coupons.)
Lampshaded in one Imperial quest, where you bring the Plot Coupons to the bounty office, and the official there complains about what an idiot you are to bring the entire stinking hides.
While the standard missions in EVE Online avoid it (mostly), the less common "COSMOS" missions play it straight, requiring you to gather x number of the local space bear ass variant.
Several of the early solo quests in Age Of Conan revolve around this sort of thing, usually with a dialog tree attached to the NPC.
MapleStory takes this to disgustingly excessive extents, having quests that reach in the 1000s. Some quests ask you to fetch, for example, 200 of some item. Then 300 of the same. Then 400. Then 500. Then 800. Then 1000. Then 2000. And then you get a novelty reward that's not all that useful.
There are multiple quests to kill 999 of the same kind of monster (often or always following on the heels of a 'kill 100' version), and the medic in Omega Sector wants 1500 mateon tentacles (which, fitting the trope, don't drop from every killed mateon), but wants them in quantities like outlined above, and for a reward identical to several other, less time-consuming quests, at that.
There are plenty of items that don't drop at all unless you have the appropriate quest.
Each slot in your limited space inventory only holds 200 pieces, forcing you to clear a lot of space for useless junk.
MapleStory has responded to the incredible complaints with the Big Bang patch, lowering the amount of these vastly, and the ones that remain are at a fraction of the amounts they used to be.
Mabinogi has a large number of these, with the requisite random drop rate. The vast majority are optional; and are typically used as a way to gain a bit of extra money/experience/useful items that aren't available any other way. The few that are mandatory are mostly "gathering" quests with 100% drop rates; and are part of the newbie quest chain.
The "Understanding M.Kill" quest, one of your very first quests in Rohan Online has you collecting pairs of front paws off the Vargs and Greymane Vargs around the bindstone. And that's just the start — you'll be asked to collect fangs off Fanged Hellhounds, Animal Hides off Slavering Vargs, branches off Drys Ancients, Tough Black Hides off Lycans, and various others, in addition to your standard "Kill X (monster)s then return to me" quests.
Apart from the usual bounties, Ace Online has lots of missions that require you to get bits and pieces of the various wildlife, from eggs and pollen to "chill" organs from Sediums (presumably where the Sedium's supercooling fluids are produced) and even DNA samples. The Arlington and Bygeniou governments also like to get you to gather parts from mechanical enemies, like the Control Units, CPUs, and Black Boxes of various Scouts and Shrine/Phillon enemy craft.
Somewhat logically, most of these mobs drop them almost on a one-kill, one-drop probability, since it is part of their own body. The one mission where the probability is low actually makes sense, as the item is a foreign object eaten by any one of the mobs currently in the area, and hence must be searched through trial and error.
The completed mission log that serves as the pilot's diary actually even lampshades the fact on why he/she is forced to hunt down wildlife and take their bounty back like a common hunter.
The Bounty Hunter Hunter in Kingdom Of Loathing gives out this sort of quest, exchanging a certain number of enemy parts for "Filthy Lucre", which is then traded for gear to help you get better random items from monsters. This is made tolerable by the fact that once you take up a quest, said monster will ALWAYS drop the part in question until you have enough... but then again, being a browser-based game, the enemies THEMSELVES are partially subject to Randomly Drops and the Random Number God.
But significantly less tolerable is the fact that, if you want everything from the Bounty Hunter Hunter, you need 345 Lucre. And you can only get one Lucre a day. That means if you want everything from him, you need to grind every day for a year.
There's a couple other quests/sub-quests that follow this template: Doc Galaktik's Quest for Herbs, in which you have to defeat three particular types of enemy and get them to drop a herb (which can get rather frustrating because, depending on when you do the quest, the chance of that enemy appearing can be quite low and they don't always drop their herb in the first place) and part of John the Trapper's quest, in which you have to bring back three hunks of goat cheese and three hunks of a random type of ore before he can fix the ski lift to the higher parts of Mount McLargeHuge
Also seen in some of the side-quests in the Level 12 Quest, like getting back Meat stolen from the nuns of Our Lady of Perpetual Indecision, or getting five kegs of gunpowder for an explosives-loving lighthouse keeper (kegs that only drop from the sole monster in a zone mostly composed of non-combat adventures).
The Sonofa Beach quest, where you must kill 5 Lobsterfrogmen. Made especially annoying by the fact that lobsterfrogmen show up very rarely, and the only way to improve this is a seldom used and difficult to find mechanic. But at least they drop their Plot Coupons 100% of the time. If they don't kill you, that is; and there's a good chance they will kill you, since you're likely to have had most of your HP pounded out of you by another event in the same zone.
The filthworm quest is a variation, where you have to find the "stench gland" from each type of filthworm and then use the pheromones from it to infiltrate the next group. Extreme frustration ensues when you fail to get that last gland in time and have to start over.
The "dooks" at McMillicancuddy's Farm might qualify, in that you need to kill a set number of them, but no actual duck asses (or whatever) are demanded.
Probably the purest example from the level 12 sidequests is the dirty thieving brigands from the Themthar Hills. Although even then you're not taking Plot Coupons, you're taking currency.
There's also the Seal Clubber nemesis quest, which at one point requires you to harvest body parts from mother hellseals so a NPC can make a suit that lets you infiltrate the nearby fortress. A given mother hellseal will always drop one of the required body parts, but in a rare bit of justification for the "intact bear asses" clause, if you inflict any form of damage on them that isn't a regular attack or Seal Clubber weapon skill while wielding a club, you'll get a smashed/torn/destroyed form of the body part instead, which is useless.
The Disco Bandit nemesis quest requires you to collect rave costume items, which the player can get by performing a specific randomized chain of dance moves on ravers. Why you simply cannot loot the items from their corpses is unknown, though the Rule Of Cool may apply.
The game also makes fun of this. The level 2 quest starts with the barkeep telling you that the Tavern Cellar is being overrun with rats. You ask how many rats you have to kill, and he reprimands you for thinking that you can stop the infestation simply by killing some; you have to stop them at the source, the faucet with the rat tap.
One of the more seemingly-endless ones is the Gourd quest, where you have to collect 5 of a certain monster-drop-only item. Then you have to get 6 more of them. Then 7, then 8, then 9...all the way up to 25. All the repetitive subquests put together, that's as many as 315 items.
Fortunately, even touching this quest at ALL is only necessary for a trophy (achievement).
There are, in fact, bears, or as them's use-ly call'd, "bars," in the game, and you can collect their skins and trade them with a hunter for Meat. Though this may not count, because it makes sense.
Runescape as a whole manages to avert this, as most of the quests don't involve this kind of thing.
The Rag and Bone Man Quest is more in this trope's vein as you have to hunt down a variety of monsters for a specific bone part. The second part of the two-part sequel to Rag and Bone Man fits this trope best — the drops aren't 100% and SHOULD BE (dragon tailbone? Not 100% from a DRAGON?)
This trope IS the method of training the Slayer skill - you go to a slayer master and they tell you to kill X of Y. While you whittle down said X, you gain slayer XP. It's not quite as dull as it sounds (really depends on the task, though), and the new creatures you unlock are good ways to make money.
When crafting hunter gear, one needs the corresponding pelts of certain creatures. Each said creature will drop a pelt, though infrequently will 'perfect' furs dropped, which can be crafted into hats (while common 'tattered' ones can be made only into tops and legs).
Guild Wars generally avoids this, but has a few such quests. These quests are about 50/50 on whether the item is randomly dropped or drops from every appropriate enemy.
Aside from actual side quests, there are collectors, who often give quite good equipment (comparable to that sold by the local weaponsmith) if you bring them Twenty Bear Asses.
While Warhammer Online does have its share of this type of quest, the requested item always has a 100% chance to drop throughout the game. And they are automatically picked up, making it more "Kill x Elves" rather than "Collect x Elf Scrotums". However, they often have to be a very specifically named mob - "Hammerstriker Doombeard" dwarves not having eyeballs, whereas "Hammerstriker Doomaxe" dwarves do.
Before the game's release Word Of God stated that the 100% drop rate was intentional; to avoid the painful stupidity of a bear not having an ass, or somehow being unable to part with it when dead.
A somewhat ridiculous example in Lineage 2 is hunting spiders for their legs. The man needs eight legs for something or another. Apparently, the giant spiders you kill only have one leg apiece and are not keen to drop it. Yet somehow they outrun you.
Perfect World varies in the use of this trope. There are quests like "kill 30 Argenweave Mantises", but there are also ones like "Get 35 Backstabbing Scorpion Tails" - WHICH ISN'T A 100% DROP FROM BACKSTABBING SCORPIONS. On the good side, most of the immensely-rare-item one-drop quests involve something like a document, a magic item, or something else that the Wraiths would bother stealing. In one memorable example, you have to kill a certain type of lynx over and over and over to get a TEDDY BEAR that some girl is too lazy to get herself. One-drop items from bosses, though, are 100%.
In Shin Megami Tensei Imagine Online, there is one quest (one of the few that can be repeated) where you have to go out and collect twenty Empty Cans: Oolong Tea. This actually isn't that bad, but it can only be gotten by "connecting" with White Plasma in the first area. (they make up for it by giving you two at a time)
Soul Shards are another such difficult quest, Only Kodamas drop them in Suginami tunnels and they appear in very few numbers.
The game allows for people to set up shops easily, and finding items required for quests at such shops is quite easy. The prices are often not worth it, however.
In Runes Of Magic, every "daily quest" (as in, ones you can do over and over if you like) requires a number of body parts - generally five, eight, or ten. Somewhat subverted that they can drop even if you're not actively on the daily. Sadly, if there's a normal quest drop, it's played straight.
RFOnline consists entirely of these, one per level. If it wasn't enough to boost you to the next level (and it rapidly stops being so)...toobad.
One such quest in the Bellato line is particularly jarring. A Standard quest for introducing newbies to Sette Desert is to go there and kill 10 Ace Bulky Lunkers. Problem is, the Bellato have Ace Bulky Lunkers in their HQ. However, the quest only counts Ace Bulky Lunkers killed in Sette, despite the fact that the HQ version is identical in every way (down to the drops). Whoever gave out that quest was so picky it had to be at a specific location too!
Ragnarok Online. Look forward to spending a month or more searching for the single Bear Ass needed to upgrade your Nice Hat.
Tabula Rasa had plenty of these, often upwards of several hundred zombie asses, but thankfully every one of those zombies had an ass. However, you still couldn't collect them until you got the appropriate mission.
The Lord of the Rings Online mixes this up with 'kill X of Y creature'. Often scenarios arise where bears will have multiple asses, commonly a standard one for crafting or selling, one that drops exclusively for the quest, and, if you're really lucky, an intact bear corpse. It gets even crazier if you start stacking quests. With the right quests, with the right luck, and in the right location, that bear can drop a Medium Hide (crafting item), a Matted Fur/Matted Hide (task item), a Bear Pelt (quest item), a Piece of Bear Meat (another quest item), and yet, you still have a Pristine Bear Corpse to give to the taxidermist!
Also done in Flyff. You have to collect certain amounts of quest items from mobs for quests. Fortunately, you can collect these before getting the quest, and common practice is to do just that, then turn them in when you get the quest for free Exp. They don't drop all the time, however, and the number of them you're told to collect increases at higher levels.
The problem is as you go further into the game, the number of these items required, as well as their drop rate, becomes so ridiculous, that by the time you hit the level 50ish range, farming for these quest items 3 levels below when you actually get the quest still will not get you the number you need. It may not seem bad at first, until you realize by level 50 you're getting fractions of experience points. From multiple monsters. Seriously, this game wants you to have nightmares about these sorts of quests by level 30.
To make things worse, the game's economy is notoriously messed up, so purchasing surpluses from other players is not usually an option. A quest item from an enemy type whose "small" monster is level n is typically sold by players at the price of 1000(n+3) penya (the in-game currency) apiece. To put this in context, you don't earn more than 100 penya per monster kill at level 50.
A Tale In The Desert has some rather horrifying ones, usually involving crafted goods. Mitigated by being community efforts to unlock. Beer brewing needs: 20,000 raw barley, 20,000 raw malt, 50,000 honey. Mass production of paint needs 500 jars each of Red, Green, Blue, Pink, Orange, Indigo, and Yellow (made one at a time, in hand crafted jars, with each player requiring a different formula to make a given color.)
Champions Online has this, in spades. One particularly onerous mission requires you collect a deck of tarot cards (randomly dropped by enemies) — one card at a time.. That's 78 Bear Asses, if you're counting.
Real Time Strategy
Though a Strategy Game, and therefore usually not prone to giving fetch quests, Age Of Empires II has one in the Genghis Khan scenario: the Kereyids will join you if you bring them 20 sheep. It's a little strange to be Genghis Khan and running after sheep.
Also frickin' annoying, since your enemy tribe, the Kara-Khitai will shoot the sheep if they get in range, and you have to be really careful to keep the sheep close to your troops, or you'll lose them to whatever tribe your mini-horde passes by, and then have to come back for them. Also, the sheep were often in really annoying places.
Ever since outfit addons have been introduced, Tibia has been like this. Apparently, very few wolves have paws, as they are exceedingly rare. The wolves that DO carry paws carry no more than one at a time.
Wizard 101 handles this fairly well, plot wise in that the drops are necessary for such and such a poison or a spell creation or a plot item (even if you don't understand how 5 leathery bat wings could possibly be combined to make a staff or shield). The problem with the handling is at the higher levels and more difficult areas the quantity of item required tends to go up along with the hit points and cards the Mooks use are more powerful and worst of all the drop rate goes down. Due to the nature of the battles in Wizard101, a single battle with a high level Mook can take 10 minutes. This can make a simple gathering quest take an entire day when they lower the drop rate and increase the quantity required.
Role Playing Game
The Elder Scrolls II Daggerfall has a few of these to speak of. They're standard Fighters Guild quests and there is a notable Merchant Quest where you are asked to empty some random dungeon of a few harpies, and the last one will have a quest item feather to bring back to the merchant to prove they were killed.
The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind had a long-running side-quest like this in the Bloodmoon expansion. An armorer in Solstheim offers armor made from snow bears and snow wolves (medium and light armors respectively) that are very good and offer frost resistance on top of their armor value. To make a full set of each, you need 22 snow bear/wolf pelts (and 20,000 gold per set). Keep in mind that snow bears and wolves aren't all that common.
And, as per the description, not all snow bears have asses pelts.
A farmer asks you to kill the bears that have been eating his sheep, and please bring him back the teeth as proof. The drop rate is 100%, but the challenge is finding the things in all the wide-open forest. Who ever heard of keeping sheep in the forest, anyway? And if you do the quest when you have a low Character Level, you'll be going after bear cubs, which are so small they are hidden by tall grass.
The Detect Life spell makes this quest MUCH easier.
The quest for master-level Destruction training gets about as close as possible to the literal title of the trope, requiring you to collect 20 bear pelts.
Worst is the quest to farm twelve scales from Slaughter Fish. They spawn across an entire lake and the next one doesn't spawn until you find and kill the prior one. There is a compass marker, but it does not help if the fish spawns inside a freakin' rock.
Being expelled from the mage's guild will also earn you a quest to get admitted back in-collecting 20 of certain ingredients, which if this is the second time that's happened, are reasonably rare ingredients as well. Being expelled from the fighters guild requires gathering/buying 20 bear pelts to get back in, not too awful as they're common items sold in groups of 5. Being expelled a second time requires harvesting 20 minotaur horns (more than some players see in an entire play through); you may as well load that earlier save from 3 hours ago from before when you were unjustly kicked out, it'll probably save you time in the long run.
Gathering the various tidbits to be cured of vampirism also amounts to this. It takes 5 empty grand soul gems that you'll probably have to buy and/or steal from a third of the alchemy suppliers in the country to gather enough, just to get started (one or two less if you noticed the hidden basement entrance in the quest giver's house-fortunately she won't recognize her own property). Then, you need to find a number of different alchemy ingredients that chances are you don't have stockpiled anywhere, and are scattered all over the place. Also, if you've ignored the main quest until now, good luck finding any blood grass.
The master speech trainer quest requires speaking to every single beggar in the country. Fortunately, speech is such a useless skill no one seems to bother with this one.
There's also the "seeking your roots" quest, and no, its not about discovering any sort of background information on your character. It involves finding 100 nirnroot plants spread through the whole game, for a fairly mediocre reward (a series of potions whose effects a mid level spell caster can replicate in his sleep, and an Nth playthrough player produce as constant effects as early as level 1). Unless the player is shooting for a very long and thorough play through, or is specifically scouring the coastline for them, chances are you won't stumble across anywhere near as many roots as you need for the quest.
By The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, they started growing nirnroots on a farm. Unfortunately, they need 20 jazbay grapes for fertilizer. Jazbay plants are inconspicuous lichen-like things, looking nothing like real-world grape plants. Fortunately, they don't fight back.
Just for good measure, Skyrim also contains an instance of the archetypal "bring back 10 bear pelts" fetch quest as well. And given the fact that you probably won't be strong enough not to get clobbered by bears when you get the quest, you'll be mostly relying on random vendor inventories to get them, and the things are most likely going to clog up your inventory space for a while.
If that wasn't tedious enough, another character demands nirnroot, nightshade, and deathbells, 10 apiece. Another wants a few ice wraith teeth, another wants 10 fire salts (one of the few items in the shop that costs over 100 gold). The game engine generates these on the fly, with in-game programming that goes something like "require _PLAYER_ to get [item] from [dungeon]"
A common habit of Riften's citizens is arbitrarily running out of a particularly rare item, as almost all but the literal Bear Asses quest comes from that town. It also includes the fun ones where you have to find several of two kinds of flawless gems, which are not purchasable in any way or form in-game, and is completely level-based on how you find them. Possibly justified as a sort of balance, since Riften contains one of the best and cheapest homes to obtain early on, and the easiest home to obtain if you're deliberately putting off the main quest to avoid fighting dragons.
If you're looking for Falmer Ears, you can sometimes loot as many as two of them from Falmer corpses! Similarly, you can always liberate a single Giant's Toe, but never more.
The Witcher has "witcher work", a signboard with these kind of quests. There is no real reason to do them, but they supply you with an extra bit of cash. It's made more tolerable by the high drop rate, and the fact that it is ostensibly the main character's job to hunt monsters. The fact that you have to read about the monster before you can "harvest" from them however, does not help matters. Special hunts to target specific mini-boss monsters also exists, but get better rewards.
The Witcher 2 features a quest called "A Sackful of Fluff" that is a tongue-in-cheek take on these types of quests. The dialogue during the quest is laced with satire, and it ends on a visual gag.
Dragon Quest IV requires the player to collect 6 Broad Swords and 6 suits of Half Plate Armor in the third chapter. At least the random drop rate is a bit higher than usual. It's actually possible to buy the items in stores (from a different town) instead, but this takes at least as long.
Dragon Quest IX uses this trope for most quests. You either (a) have to find an item held as a random drop by a specific kind of monster, (b) explicitly have to kill X of a certain monster, or (c) have to use a specific skill (often in an arbitrarily hard way) X times against a certain kind of monster.
In Interplay's Lord of the Rings, you have to collect nine cloaks from the Ringwraiths who were washed away in the deluge. This involves a loooooooooong trek up and down the river, and pushing the button everywhere until you can find them all. Finding a couple of them involves fights with Wargs. What's worse, if you go to Rivendell with fewer than the total amount, after Gandalf throws the cloaks into the fire (why the hell did I have to collect them if you're just going to burn them?), the plot will no longer progress and the characters will just sit there forever.
One of the sidequests in Sonic Chronicles is to obtain multiple samples of Nocturnus technology from enemies and give them to Rouge to deliver to her superiors. After receiving about four or five, she grows bored of it and agrees to give Sonic the reward if he promises to stop giving them to her.
Most of Team Chaotix's missions in Sonic Heroes are this. Hundreds of rings? Chao? Hermit crabs??
The bulk of Elizabeth or Theodore's Requests in Persona 3 involve hunting down certain types of Shadow in each section of Tartarus and harvesting a representative item, body part, or accessory carried by said Shadow - frequently something that they will only begin to drop after the request has been accepted. Each of them is intentionally vague as to what they want these things for, saying only that they'll leave it to your imagination. As the requests are completed, however, it becomes clear that they are testing your potential.
Comically, when the protagonist escorts either Elizabeth or Theo to the mall by their request, they interpret the police station's Missing Persons board as a list of bounty heads comparable to their requests, and assume that similar trophies would be required as proof of the kill.
Kingdom Hearts 358 Over 2 Days has multiple variations: To start, there's the "kill a bunch of Heartless and collect Hearts" missions; these are actually justified by storyline, but what makes them Bear Assy (aside from being unimportant to the actual story in general) is the presence of Pureblood Heartless, which don't produce Hearts like the ones that bear Emblems. Then there's the Halloween Town Heartless Killing Missions, where you're further hampered by the need to actually seek out the Heartless in obscure hiding places; sometimes the lock-on is only a few pixels wide, so when you finally find it, it's where you already searched (Zero can be enlisted for help if you bribe him with a bone). The recon missions are a special breed of Bear Ass because they're similar to the Halloween Town missions, but your reward is less clear cut because you need to gather information until you make a "breakthrough". Finally, other members of the Organization will sometimes send you on an errand-either to synthesize something at the shop, or meet certain other requirements within missions. The rewards here tend to be either rare synthesis materials you may be looking for, or new missions.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope features items created solely for these sort of missions (Wolf Oil, Peryton Droppings, Giant Bird Feather). Some of them are usable in low-level recipes at the very least.
In Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen, you must find 2 TinyMushrooms or 1 Big Mushroom from catching (or using Thief/Trick/Covet) Paras(ect) to use the forgotten move tutor. However, this isn't necessary to complete the game.
Infamous in Xenosaga Episode II, essentially an orgasm of examples of how not to design RPG sidequests. This is how they turned an essentially 4-hour game into a 30-hour game.
Xenoblade Chronicles follows this fine tradition, adding it with quests where you have to pick up a certain number of shiny collectables from levels that are determined randomly when you walk over them. At least hunting for twenty bear asses means you can selectively kill bears, while the pick-ups all look like shiny orbs. It helps that you rarely have to actually bring the items back: As soon as you have/kill the required amount, the mission is usually done.
There are several quests along these lines in Summoner, such as the gargoyles' blood.
Monster Hunter loves this trope to the point where nearly every weapon and armor piece requires a couple parts of an animal. However, since most monsters give more than one item when you carve them, it leads to odd results: Sometimes carving the tail of the monster gives a scale/bone, while usually it gives you the monster's tail. Sometimes, you can carve multiples of the same object from a monster, such as three scalps from a T-Rex like monster or two tongues from a Woolly Mammoth.
Elder Dragons provide one of the best examples in the game, since one of the rarer drops is elder dragon blood! Which becomes even more annoying when that blood sprays all over the place when you hit it!
Fallout 3 justifies it quite well. Part of one sidequest has you testing Mole Rat repellent, applied via hitting them with a stick. To make it a proper scientific experiment, you need to test it several times. Too bad mole rats are rather rare in the wasteland if you've cleared out the static spawns (you need ten, and only four respawn regularly near Megaton).
Once you reach Level 14, you have the option of taking one of two perks that causes fingers (Lawbringer) or ears (Contract Killer) to spawn on certain characters once you kill them, which you can take to a specific character and trade in for cash and either positive or negative Karma. The justification here is that the player is taking the parts off of the corpse themselves, so as long as the character has the required karma (i.e. good character for Contract Killer), you're guaranteed to get the part once s/he dies.
And Fallout New Vegas has quests whereby you can trade in the dogtags of fallen NCR soldiers, OR the ears of Legion soldiers for bonus fame with a given faction and some bottle caps. The quest-giver for the "Legion Ears" even lampshades why he wants that specific body part, explaining that it's basically Just for Pun. The ears only appear in their inventory after taking the quest (but are always there), while dog tags are (almost) always on the corpse of any NCR soldier you kill (you can also pickpocket them) or otherwise come across, even before starting the quest.
Subverted in the "Bleed Me Dry" quests for fighting pit the Thorn. You're asked to collect several eggs from various animals, which randomly (and somewhat rarely) drop on killing them, but if you ask for a tip you'll be directed to a single clutch of eggs (which only appears when you take the quest), turning it into a regular Fetch Quest.
New Vegas also has one quest that does this as a joke as the player's expense: Farber, the cook at NCR-base Camp McCaran asks you to repair his food processor and get him a new meat vendor. The latter is fairly easy, but the first requires either an extremely high repair skill or collecting a complicated list of 1-5 of 9 different items, many of which server no purpose outside of this quest and together weigh about 80 pounds. For doing so Farber gives you no XP, no supplies, no caps, no positive karma, no NCR fame—just a discount from him, when he barely sells anything. Since it's an unmarked question you only see upon completion that it's named "Not Worth a Hill of Corn and Beans"
Nie R was panned by critics for its excessive use of Bear Asses in its sidequests and weapon upgrade system. Another example of a short (12 hour) game padded out (to 60+ hours) by this kind of thing.
iPhone RPG Zenonia couples this with Randomly Drops in all of the side quests and nearly all of the main quests. The sequel ups the ante by making the ingame Weapon creation system completely depended on it.
The DS RPG 7thDragon plays this straight with a lot of quests. There's a quest where you have to collect no less than one hundred bird feathers (which, assuming you have anything else in your inventory, you can't even carry at once so you have to hand it in in parts). You'd think most birds would have at least one of those. You'd think wrong.
One optional quest in Betrayal At Krondor requires you to bring a noble half a dozen suits of Kingdom Armor in good condition. Since virtually all humanoid enemies at this point of the game are wearing a suit, finding that many isn't actually that hard, though you may need to repair them before they'll be accepted (Six suits of armor also takes up a lot of inventory space).
Final Fantasy XII's loot system is one of the most systematic uses of this trope around. It's one of many examples of this game using elements common to MMOs seemingly without considering why those elements work in MMOs but have not commonly been seen in single-player, offline games, because though the developers try valiantly, it doesn't really make a damn bit of in-world sense.
The game also inverts the "not every enemy has an ass" issue with a mechanic that increases the drop rate and drop quantity if you run up a string of consecutive kills on a particular type of enemy. Kill enough consecutive bears, and not only will you guarantee a bear ass with every kill, you'll start discovering bears with multiple harvestable asses amongst the ones you kill. While some of the drops make sense (like fangs from some opponents), others... don't.
Infinite Undiscovery has a sidequest where you have to collect 10 Harpy Livers, which are dropped by only one type of Harpy and only drop while this sidequest is active. At least they have a 100% drop rate.
During the shipwreck sequence in Skies Of Arcadia, you're required to defeat 20 Grapors and collect their meat. Fortunately, Grapors are fairly common, easy to beat, and you don't have to deliver them anywhere.
Averted in Albion. Every Krondir you encounter drops a "Krondir Meat". You don't have to collect any of them for any quest, but they can be used to feed Man Eating Plants in a dungeon, which is required in order to progress with the game.
Chronicles of Inotia: Children of Carnia sends you on several of these. Most of them are just sidequests, but the more annoying ones are actually required to progress, and the game makes no big secret about the fact that the people giving them are only taking advantage of the group of adventurers in a predicament. The most egregious example is an apprentice of a sage who disguises as an old man and dumps all his errands on you for directions to the sage's house, nevermind that you have a comatose girl with you who could die at any moment. Made much worse by the fact that the 10 ladybug legs (one of the things he asks you to bring) are ridiculously hard to acquire. You're lucky if every fourth ladybug you kill drops a single one.
In Marvel Avengers Alliance, there are six missions per chapter, and one of these quests is sometimes required, say, in Mission 3, to unlock Mission 4. The items tend to be small things that prove the Mooks were up to no good, like bolt cutters or fake thumbprints.
Assassins Creed III doesn't have any in the main game, but has a good chunk of blatant ones as sidequests where you go around collecting pages of Ben Franklin's almanac, bird feathers in the frontier, letters, and animal pelts to present to random NPCs who often don't say anything more than "You have my everlasting gratitude, sir!" and nothing else.
Third Person Shooter
Jet Force Gemini requires you to collect Drone Heads to activate "cheats", which are just gimmicks really. 100 Drone Heads give you Rainbow Blood, 200 give you Jet Force Kids (younger-looking versions of the main characters), and 300 give you... wait for it... Ants As Pants! Yes, Rareware's mascot Mr Pants replaces all the regular Blue Ant Drones. However, you have to kill the drones in the correct way, or you can't collect their heads. You must either shoot their heads clean off with a weapon such as the Pistol, Machine Gun or even the Shurikens, or blow them to bits with explosives (which has the added bonus of making blood and body parts fly EVERYWHERE, making it somewhat hard to see where the head has gone if it bounces off the top of the screen while many other limbs and splashes of blood are flying around).
Resident Evil 4 has an early segment which rewards you with a somewhat potent new handgun for free if you can destroy 15 blue gems. Fully upgrading the Butterfly Lamp is another annoying instance of this trope. It takes a red, green, and blue gem to upgrade the Butterfly Lamp to its highest resale value. Not only do you have to kill some rather dangerous Novistadors, but they very rarely ever drop a blue gem.
Resident Evil 5 ups the ante with 30 BSAA emblems that, when shot at enough... unlock trophies! And no, repeating a level and shooting the same emblem over and over again doesn't work.
Also played quite straight with the Giant Majini, Licker Betas, and Popokarimu who drop incredibly valuable pieces of Vendor Trash (though it's a randomized drop in the case of the Licker; go figure) that helps you upgrade your weapons faster. Since you can replay any level you want, you can effectively grind these levels for the money.
Red Dead Redemption has many stranger quests involving gathering random animal parts or flowers, usually ending up with someone being dead or getting killed.
The MMO Third Person Shooter SD Gundam Capsule Fighter has quests that require you to shoot a certain number of Mobile Suits to earn piddly prizes, with the more tougher quests giving you better prizes. However, all missions are time-based, so you have to complete both the quest AND the mission for it to stick.
Non-video game examples:
Anime and Manga
While it isn't necessarily a rule to collect pirates to join the Seven Warlords of the Sea in One Piece, as long as said applicant shows their strength to make other pirates fear them, then the World Government may make a pact with them. In this example, Trafalgar Law extracted and delivered 100 pirate hearts to the World Government to achieve Warlord status.
This sidequest, however, was intentionally bad. This is a good place to point out that Saul was trying to get David killed. Again. Just think of it. "Sure, David. Just bring me evidence that you've mutilated the penises of a hundred Philistines." Left unsaid: "Yes, mutilated. The boy ain't a mohelnote Jewish doctor with the ritual role of conducting circumcisions, I'm sure his 'circumcisions' won't be exactly neat. As soon as the Philistines figure out what he's up to, they'll start fighting not only for their lives but for their junks against this mad genital-chopping serial killer I've just unleashed. Have fun, boy!"
In God Knows, Joseph Heller's novelization - or, rather, quite deep yet humorous deconstruction in Heller's trademark style - David spends a while figuring out how many men he would need to hold down and circumcise a hundred Philistines. King Saul eventually has to explain to him that he is allowed to kill the Philistines first.
An alternate interpretation: perhaps he managed to preach well and convert 200 of them.
There's an old legend involving the small group of slaves who would eventually be the ancestors of the Aztec race earning their freedom by going to war against their masters' great enemy and bringing back sacks and sacks of the enemy soldiers' ears. Slightly less disturbing than foreskins, but ...
In Sienkiewicz' The Knights of the Cross, Zbyszko decides to prove his worth to Danuska, vowing to defeat some members of The Teutonic Knights and bring the peacock feathers from their helmets as proof. The hot headed hero he is, he attempts to challenge the first Teutonic Knight he sees and nearly gets himself executed when the man turns out to be an envoy of the grand master.
Lampshaded in Unforgotten Realms where Schmopy and Douglas are sent to find wolf hearts and Schmopy wonders how wolves are missing vital organs.
"Video Game Resolution #3: Collecting Stuff.At least, stuff that doesn't do anything. It won't make me happy if I'm forced into it, either. If I need to pick up the 15 sacred wingwongs to open the door to the lava level, they'd better have some other function than sitting in my item screen and glowing"
Cale goes on a quest to gather ten giant rats. Uh, Hats. Ten giant hats.
Lampshaded in Yogscast's Minecraft: Shadow of Israphel episode 7. Upon delivering the dirt, sulphur, water, golden apples, and feathers to Fumblemore, Honeydew says "I would have preferred to collect ten bear asses..."
Space Beasts combines this trope with Wacky Cravings When the Pregnant Heroines get a particularly strong craving they will send the rugged male heroes out and will not let them come home until they have completed the quest. This may not sound like this trope but getting groceries while in the far reaches of the galaxy can be quite difficult and more often then not turns into a life threatening situation. One time Captain Matoaka gets a very strong craving for pickled vegetables and The Hero Ichabod nearly gets killed trying to get them.