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
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. How you kill the bear rarely affects the odds of its ass being ruined, either.
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 produce some kind of magic spell
. It may not make sense for the player characters to 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
open/close all folders
- 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.
- Pops up in the Quest for Glory series. Certain special potions needed to complete the game require you to gather a list of ingredients. Some utility potions (IE, healing potions/pills) may not even be available for purchase by the player without first harvesting enough of the ingredients for it to be made. For example, the Dispel Potion in Quest for Glory I requires: green fur, faerie dust, a magic acorn, flying water, and flowers from Erana's Peace). The trick is, some of the ingredients require a bit of creativity to even figure out what it is you need (in the Quest for Glory I example, "flying water" refers to water from the nearby Flying Falls: a waterfall where the water appears to be flying when it splashes among the rocks at the base) or how to get it (if you've explored the game world thoroughly before this point, it's pretty obvious you need to get green fur from the Green Meep at Meep's Peep. What's less obvious is that all you have to do is ask him for some, rather than dig him out of his hole or try to fight him).
- The more traditional type pops up, too, with the various healers, apothecaries or alchemists paying you a bounty for bringing back useful components from the local beasties. Fortunately, the drop rate is fairly realistic (all troll's have a beard, and all of the desert scorpions yield a tail. Cheetaur claws can yield as many as 10-12 claws, with the drop rate justified by some of them having been broken in combat).
- Competing to become a Simbani warrior also requires turning in certain items, including a dinosaur horn as an entry fee, as does negotiating the bride price to claim Johani the Leopardwoman as a wife. Fortunately, these are all fairly easily come by (dinosaurs are a relatively common spawn, you only need one, and all dinosaurs have one), and in fact some of them can be outright bought from the market in Tarna.
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 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 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?
- Borderlands 2 features a variation of this as an early-game sidequest, where you must collect 4 bullymong pelts by killing them with a melee attack.
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
Stealth Based Game
- The "Shop Quests" in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood are a very good example of this and Fake Longevity.
- 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. Even without the subquests, collecting bear asses (And deer antlers, and fox tails, and...) is an easy way to earn money.
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.
- The Bible. King Saul: "Sure, David, you can marry my daughter, just bring me a hundred Philistine foreskins." Worst. Quest. Ever. At least the drop rate is 100%. Even worse, David apparently got caught up in the "farming" and brought in two hundred, thus proving that Level Grinding and Collection Sidequest (not to mention Bragging Rights Reward!) are indeed Older Than Feudalism.
- 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 , 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!"
- The other reason was to prevent David from cheating. Heads or hands could be taken from dead Israelite soldiers, but only their Gentile enemies would still have a foreskin to harvest.
- 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.
- 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.