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- Complete Monster: Has its own page here.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Who do you want to root for? A bunch of back-stabbing racists? The evil empire conquering known world? Mages and sorceresses playing their own game of world domination? Cruel elven supremacists? Or maybe an ignorant hunter, who kills everyone in his way? Oh, and you know from the start how meaningless everything is, since you are informed before the title page of the first book about the incoming ice age.
- Draco in Leather Pants:
- Scoia'tael. Militant racist fanatics whose open goal is total genocide of humans? Check. Killing non-humans who believe in possibility of peaceful coexistence? Check. Unwitting pawns of The Empire, which exploit them as disposable mooks, then sell them off as war criminals when it comes to the peace negotiations? Check. Oh, but how can oppressed freedom fighters possibly be evil? Scoia'tael are written as a deconstruction of the Always Chaotic Evil trope, and they make a good example of why this trope is necessary - because when you give your evil mooks faces and realistic motivations, some readers just won't be able to see what's so evil about them.
- Nilfgaard Empire. Nazis By Other Name with a dash of Mongol Invasion. Oppressive totalitarian state where saying the wrong thing gets your head cut off. Slavery. Their armies sadistically slaughter civilians as the statutory war tactic and burn everything to the ground as the long-term economic strategy. All this under the pretense of bringing culture to the conquered lands. Surprisingly, part of the audience goes along with this in-universe propaganda, whitewashing Nilfgaard as the beacon of justice and Realpolitik in this Crapsack World.
- Northern Kingdoms. A Crapsack World bent on extreme racism toward non-humans, bigotry, envy and exploitation of serfs. Nobles abusing their privileges. Magicians controlling the market and living luxurious lives on the cost of everyone. Both nobles and magic users looking for their own petty profit and nothing else. Not that their nominal rulers are any better or smarter. Common people are a nasty combination of Medieval Morons and Torches and Pitchforks, usually led by some Church Militant priest. Unsurprisingly, because of Sympathetic P.O.V., many people consider Nordlings and their kingdoms as a nice place to stay and a home of freedom and liberty, where everyone (supposedly) is a master of his or her life.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Dandelion. He's the ultimate Spoony Bard. As the saga progresses, he becomes the only spot of light, wits and humour in this grim-dark world. In the TV adaptation, he was the only character to be acclaimed by both fans of the saga and regular viewers. His popularity was actively invoked in the tabletop game and he's still there in the video games, gaining even more fans. A rare case when a Non-Action Guy (and more or less The Load) in an action-oriented genre becomes highly popular. Being just a regular guy in the World of Badass helps immensely.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The main choice of the game becomes harder (or easier) if you've read 'The Lesser Evil' in The Last Wish.
- Ink-Stain Adaptation: Initially played straight after the film adaptation (still getting a lot of bad air after a decade). When the first game was released, the execs were seriously afraid of the outcry the film left. But since the games expanded into a trilogy and generated enough hype to convince the books' author to write a Prequel, it's now a very good subversion.
Film and TV series
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Aside from wooden acting and Special Effect Failure, this is one of the reasons why fans hate the movie and TV series. Where do we start? Vesemir is not a witcher but an old druid, the witchers are fighting with katanas and a full list of changes would fill a whole new full page (some of them can be found here).
Short stories and saga
- Money, Dear Boy: After years of constant claiming that he would never return to Witcher, that he considered it his worst creation and practically burning all the bridges, the author is publishing another book, calling the saga his biggest achievement and best idea ever. No wonder if it was the only one successful and is hyped again by video games. To his credit, he openly admits this trope.
- Hardly the only one successful, his Hussite trilogy is highly regardednote . Since he doesn't publish all that often, that makes Sapkowski an author of a greatly popular fantasy cycle, a somewhat popular Historical Fantasy trilogy, and a passable war-with-fantasy-elements novel.
- Moral Event Horizon: Leo Bonhart crosses his almost immediately after his first appearance in Tower of the Swallow, when after brutally killing all the Rats except Ciri, he makes her watch her lover Mistle slowly and painfully die, then forces her to watch as he saws their heads off... leaving Mistle for the last.
- Sequelitis: Depending who you ask, you can get few conflicting answers:
- Some consider the saga as sequelitis toward the short stories. To makes things more complicated, the short stories managed to break from the fantasy ghetto in Poland, while the saga is the prime example of the ghetto in action.
- The base of the saga is also broken. Supporters of early installments denounce the existence of last two books of the saga, especially the abandonment of the Deconstructor Fleet approach. This is considered Serious Business between fans.
- The fandom still didn't decide if the new book, Season of Storms, is under Sequelitis or not. Being a Prequel written 13 years after the last book of the saga was published isn't helping either. And since the fandom is now divided into two generations of readers, it's either a Franchise Zombie or So Okay, It's Average.
- Stuck in Their Shadow: Codhringer does all the dealing with people, as Fenn cannot leave their office and generally prefers to stay in the back. As a result of that, it's speculated Codhringer made up Fenn for tax evasion purposes.
- Too Cool to Live: Geralt and Yennefer. Although Sapkowski did say that that Geralt and Yennefer did indeed survive the events of the books around the time the first game was released.
- Torch the Franchise and Run: Geralt gets killed by a bumpkin with a pitchfork in the last book of the Saga. Most of the named characters by that point are already dead, are dying, or will be dead soon. And just to Salt the Earth, as if being doomed to die in an ice age wasn't enough, the whole world will soon plummet into another outbreak of Catriona (the bubonic plague, which Ciri accidentally brought to her home world from one of her dimensional jumps). The video game comes out with a Cosmic Retcon about a few things. The author threatened to introduce another Cosmic Retcon of his own with a new book he's writing, disregarding the video game continuity, as he officially claimed during 2012 Polcon that he considered the new continuum to be crap and that he won't go back to writing about Geralt... but he will stick with his world, so the fandom still can't rejoice.
- Luckily, the new book turned out to be not only about Geralt after all, but also rather non-conflicting with the games, the story being set long before that of the Saga.
The first video game
YMMV tropes for Assassins of Kings go here and YMMV tropes for Wild Hunt go here.
- Anticlimax Boss: Both the Final Boss (Jacques de Aldersberg) and the True Final Boss (the King of the Wild Hunt) are ridiculously easy to kill, especially in comparison to some of the monsters you had to kill throughout the last two chapters of the game.
- Complete Monster: Azar Javed and the Reverend, for more infos see here.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- While still a pretty great game, the rookie mistakes of the by then newly funded CD Project are clearly visible in the game's storyline. Many characters are just Expies or Suspiciously Similar Substitutes for book characters (Azar Javed for Vilgefortz, Alvin for Ciri, Triss' characterization resembles Yennefer's etc) and the storyline revisits almost every part of the books, while at the same time, they almost never talk about anything that happened before (because of the lazy Amnesiac Hero excuse). The sequels gradually form their own compelling storyline, create independent characters and resolve old plotlines from the books.
- A more minor example would be the quest journal and character glossary. In the first game, both are written from Geralt's point of view, and are appropriately factual and dry. The next two games changed it so that Dandelion wrote them based on what Geralt told him some time after the fact. As such, they tend to be laced with his biases and sense of humor.
- Ending Fatigue: Act V and the Epilogue of the first game are, for the most part, linear sequences of fights. Whilst the plot is advanced decently, the gameplay doesn't exactly have a hub like the previous acts, meaning that for the most part you'll just be running around killing dudes. This quickly gets tedious, boring, and if you haven't levelled up enough or aren't good at combat, frustrating.
- Fridge Brilliance: Thaler's real name is Bernard Ducat. Ducat is the name of valuable medieval gold coin while thaler is a common silver coin. Very fitting, given that Thaler is a high-ranking official (Foltest's spymaster) posing as a lowly commoner.
- One of the antiquaries in Vizima is selling a book called "Fairytales and stories", that was seemingly written by a person who lived some 200 years after the events of the game. While it could merely be a minor fourth wall -breaking Mythology Gag, let's keep in mind that this a fantasy world where exceptionally powerful sorcerers can travel through space and time.
- Game Breaker:
- The Igni Sign — boost it as much as you can, as soon as you can, and you'll be able to waltz through the second half of the game without bothering to even unsheathe your sword: enemies (bosses included) will drop dead like flies.
- The Aard as well, especially early on. Most humanoid enemies and dogs (including the first act boss) can be knocked over and one-shot-killed with just the basic version.
- Magnificent Bastard: Due to a last-second reveal of his motivations, just how WELL-PLANNED Jacques' plan to take over Temeria isn't really spelled out. He's funding his Order of Holy Knights with money gained by selling Fisstech on the black market. This allows his Holy Knights to operate without hitting people up for money and get better PR. Then he starts rousing up the nonhumans to riot so he can cause chaos, which is designed to force King Foltest to either hand over power or look weak. In the latter case, his daughter is also cursed to be a Strigga again so Jacques can seize the throne for himself. This is all so he can become King of Temeria and lead its people in a mass exodus South when the White Frost hits so he can save them all.
- Never Live It Down: The sex cards have cast a shadow on the entire series that it has yet to shake off, even though the sequels omitted them entirely, reduced the number of Optional Sexual Encounters dramatically, and dialed back on the All Women Are Lustful trope.
- Replacement Scrappy: For people familiar with the books, Alvin is this for Ciri.
- Scrappy Mechanic: The combat system is generally considered pretty bad, especially compared to the sequels.
- Seinfeld Is Unfunny: It's rather dated compared to its sequels. That said, it was considered good enough to fund said sequels and is still good for what it was supposed to be.
- Woolseyism: The re-released Enhanced Edition of the game. The original version of the dialogue scripts was cut down by 20% through Executive Meddling just to save money on voice acting for a rather risky project due to how niche it was deemed to be. The end result, while workable, sounded pretty awkward. The Enhanced Edition, which came later as both a retail re-release and a free-to-download patch, features a mostly re-recorded script with no cuts applied to the source material to make it sound more natural and make the English version of the game just as complete dialogue-wise as the Polish original was. Here's example of the changes made:
Geralt: Why do locals persecute nonhumans?
Dwarf: Humans have always hated dwarves and elves.
Geralt: I don't understand.
Dwarf: Then go see that bastard Brogg. I won't discuss it with strangers.
Geralt: Why do the locals persecute nonhumans?
Dwarf: Why do pricks go in cunts? It's the natural order of things. Humans have always hated dwarves and elves. Not for me to know why.
Geralt: I'm not sure I understand.
Dwarf: Then ponder it on your own. Or discuss it with that maggot Brogg. I don't talk to strangers about these things.