Unclear Description (page action crowner 3/21/14): Quirky Bard

Deadlock Clock: 10th Dec 2012 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [139]
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1 Ghilz3rd Apr 2012 11:04:09 PM from The Moon, Or Canada , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight it Out!
Spoony Bard is a mess. For one, it's a PILE of natter (The section for the Trope Namer is probably 2 pages long). But for two, the title and the description are meandering and frankly unclear.

The Laconic is Gimmick class/character, completely worthless (or not).

But the description seems far more focused on bards. Is the trope about bards, or about Jack-of-All-Trades classes who prove underpowered? Or the tendency of bard classes to suck? The examples show a definite leaning towards bards, but is that because that's what the trope is, or because of the title? Because we've got games like Pokemon listed as examples (which, AFAIK, has no Bard class or Bard-Type Pokemon).

edited 3rd Apr '12 11:05:44 PM by Ghilz

It should be about bards only, specifically, fantasy bards who either specialize in status effects or a poor man's Red Mage power suite and end up being useless because their actual effectiveness lags behind their concept.
3 Spark94th Apr 2012 01:43:37 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] Well, that's a good question. Should this be about fantasy bards (who aren't necessarily "spoony") or should it be about "spoony" character classes (who aren't necessarily bards)? Both are separate tropes, and I think this page is confused about which it wants to be.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
This is one of those tropes that seems to exist more for its title, and the reference therein, than for any sort of actual trope it describes.
I don't know, I can think of numerous Spoony Bards. The Bard's Tale is notable bards having a completely different power type and refresh mechanic from spellcasters. The Wizardry series introduces several weird permutations as well.
For the record, we do have Wandering Minstrel and The Bard, although those two aren't limited to video games.

edited 6th Apr '12 2:17:43 AM by MangaManiac

7 Spark96th Apr 2012 02:31:32 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Okay, let's start with this: the description on the page is way too long, and takes several paragraphs to get to the point.

If I understand correctly, the trope is supposed to be for oddball classes that an RPG uses to make their game feel more special, and that very commonly such oddball classes are named "bard". Yes, The Bards Tale is an example (regular casters use mana points, bards use songs and must go drink at a tavern to recharge their singing power).

Is that broadly correct? This has absolutely nothing to do with the word "spoony", though.

Special trousers. Very heroic.
RPG games

The redundancy...it's hurting my eyes.

The name is a reference to Final Fantasy IV. But given how bad the description is, we can barely blame the name for the article's problem.

edited 6th Apr '12 2:36:01 AM by lu127

Here's an earlier version, before it got so bogged down. It's a bit clearer on the description.

I get the feeling this has been to TRS before, though. Does anyone remember that or am I just imagining things?

EDIT: There it is. Apparently it's now limited to Bards.

edited 6th Apr '12 2:46:05 AM by MangaManiac

10 Spark96th Apr 2012 03:04:48 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] All right, but that was a year and a half ago, so we are allowed to change our collective mind on whatever was decided then :)
Special trousers. Very heroic.
And apparently that TRS was incompletely carried out.
[up][up]Since when? Generally speaking, I don't think that lends much weight to the community's work in TRS if we can just disregard any previous decisions we've reached after one year.

More specific to this case here though, this page definitely has problems that need fixing. This has got to be one of the longest descriptions I've ever come across on a trope page. There's no reason for a general concept that's been summarized in a single sentence or small paragraph here to be stretched out that much, and the dictionary definition of "spoony" at the top only demonstrates that the adjective has nothing to do with what's actually intended to be discussed on the page.

edited 6th Apr '12 4:14:03 PM by SeanMurrayI

13 Ghilz6th Apr 2012 10:05:41 PM from The Moon, Or Canada , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight it Out!
There's no reason for a general concept that's been summarized in a single sentence or small paragraph here

Where's "here"? Coz I still have no idea what the trope is supposed to be. The old TRS seemed only to agree it concerned bards. Okay so bards, what about them?

edited 6th Apr '12 10:06:07 PM by Ghilz

14 Ghilz10th Apr 2012 11:31:44 AM from The Moon, Or Canada , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight it Out!
15 Spark910th Apr 2012 11:42:19 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Okay, so is this trope supposed to be about:

  • Oddball character classes (i.e. that use a vastly different system than the other classes)

  • Ineffective character classes

  • Character classes named "bard"

Or a combination of the above?

Special trousers. Very heroic.
16 Martello10th Apr 2012 11:44:30 AM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
I'm just as mystified about what his trope is supposed to be as anyone else.

I remember looking it up not long after joining this website years ago, and thinking "what the fuck?" and then moving on. It definitely needs a rewrite and a reworked definition. Possibly a new name.
"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
It's about character classes named "bard" and their peculier gameplay implementations (Master of None, unique song-based mechanics, and other oddnesses). It's a consistent trope. Obviously, it needs to be rewritten to be clearer to people who are not familiar with the trope.
18 Spark910th Apr 2012 01:31:16 PM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] If most people agree with you, then we will need a supertrope for classes with such peculiar gameplay limitations that aren't named "bard". Just sayin'
Special trousers. Very heroic.
The examples here are so messed up.

  • Warhammer40000 has the iconic Tactical Squad, which can be given a Missile Launcher (with two types of ammo, one for anti-tank and one for anti-horde), a flame thrower for close ranged combat, the sergeant being tooled up for actual close combat, and can be split into two squads so that the close combat half can move and cap objectives while the heavy weapon guy can sit back and shoot. They can also take a Razorback Transport, which can bring the Close combat half up to the enemy while providing another heavy weapon, which is mobile. To top it off, they're pretty cheap for what you pay for. This all looks good on paper, as they can theoretically take on any threat they see, it's actually horrifying bad, as they cannot put enough shots/attacks to kill whatever threat they see. Especially glaring is the Missile launcher, whose anti-horde firing mode in theory can hit multiple targets, but because of coherency rules, it'll likely hit no more than 2, and that's if it's lucky (and on top of that, there's roughly a 75% chance of the target in question surviving anyways). The only reason they are still widely used is because the only alternative to fill the standard marine's troop choice is the badly-priced Scouts, which are roughly the same cost as marines, but lack their stats and survivability in lieu of other rules. In armies that gives the player another choice for troops, Tactical Marines are almost universally passed up in favor of those.

(This is clearly supposed to go under Master of None. Also, it's wrong. Like, really, really, really wrong.)

  • Magic: The Gathering gave us kobolds, a tribe as weak as physically possible without going straight to the graveyard, but cost nothing to play. They can be upgraded with other kobolds, but these tend to come out on turn three or later, and the bonus isn't that much. And they're all in red, a color known for winning fast, or not at all.

(Kobolds aren't particularly weird in their interaction with the game mechanics [Other than costing 0, which other creatures like Phyrexian Walker do], and they aren't even the most underpowered creatures. Oh, and they're not bards)

Also, there are a ton of aversions and "subversions" that are just "This bard ain't so bad."
[up][up] I think that is workable. There are plenty of video game characters that, like the spoony bard, were lovingly crafted with some concept in mind but are unpleasant or difficult to deal with in regular play. Characters with luck/gambling powers, characters who require outsized supplies of consumables, characters whose weapons or spells must all be unlocked through obscure puzzles found all over the game... in tabletop games, the D&D 3.5 monk is a good example of a character who doesn't quite add up.

[up] A bard doesn't have to be "bad" to be spoony, but it doesn't hurt. I definitely think this trope should be written with bards, and only bards, in mind, along with closely related fantasy archetypes (blue mages and other oddball types could qualify). They don't have to play a musical instrument, but they should definitely be a somewhat squishy type with a colorful concept that uses some kind of magic or power in a way that's different than standard magic.

edited 11th Apr '12 12:02:27 AM by pawsplay

21 Ghilz11th Apr 2012 02:37:21 AM from The Moon, Or Canada , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight it Out!
A bard doesn't have to be "bad" to be spoony

Actually, the description says the exact opposite. From the page itself, emphasis mine:

Keep in mind that simply having a "Bard" class is not sufficient - they have to be spoony bards - that is, if bards are powerful and useful, and virtually all parties will want one, then they aren't really a spoony bard.

The name is certainly not helping. Considering it's misusing what "Spoony" means, people probably assume the "Bard" part of the title is equally optional.

[up][up](About the 40k bullet) SO MUCH TEXT!!!!

edited 11th Apr '12 2:39:51 AM by Ghilz

Dragon Writer
Considering it's misusing what "Spoony" means.
I wonder what the trope would look like if people were using "spoony" correctly. It would make a more convincing character trope, but probably one we have already.
23 Spark911th Apr 2012 08:23:10 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Okay, I think we have enough here to make a page action crowner to decide the definition of this trope. It seems likely that the definition we end up with will also require renaming the trope.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
24 bwburke9414th Apr 2012 03:18:30 PM from Massachusetts , Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Bumbleby is canon, dammit.
Renaming is a good idea, considering the extremely large number of wicks that are simply the trope-naming quote or a reference to it.
Back to the understatements, eventually. I got a new computer, but it's having connection problems right now.
[up][up][up][up] That doesn't contradict what I said. Being bad is neither sufficient nor necessary. But the bard can't be an especially good choice or its peculiarities become irrelevant.

Edit: Okay, I originally was going to say lump on this one, but after chewing it over, I think this needs to be split into Spoony Bard (pathetic supporting character with dandy-like characteristics) and Fiddly Bard (fantasy class that involves mechanical peculiarities stemming from its non-martial concept).

Spoony Bard classic, my take:
Spoony Bards are a type of quirky, supporting character found in fantasy media. "Spoony" means sentimental or foolish; these characters tend to be lovers, not fighters. This character is the opposite of a Warrior Poet or Cultured Badass. As a convention of the genre, this characters it typically The Bard, and/or some sort of dandy. In story terms, the character is typically used a foil to more solemn characters. These sentimental characters may be The Heart, but may simply be pathetic and histrionic. They could even be anti-heroic cowards, weeping victims, or chronically distressed and captured. As a type of chronicler and sidekick, the character may comment on the actions of the other characters. Spoony Bards are usually too sad to qualify as solid comic relief, but can migrate into The Woobie or The Scrappy territory, depending on the writer and audience.

If this character shows up in a video game, they are typically a bard/minstrel type character, prince/princess or other chronically distressed character, or a notably non-lethal Joke Character. They may be deliebrately designed to be feckless in battle, perhaps even randomly doing useless things. They may have really peculiar powers, which may factor into the story to a greater or lesser extent, for good or ill.

edited 14th Apr '12 5:07:02 PM by pawsplay

Page Action: Quirky Bard
21st Mar '14 9:41:25 PM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:

Total posts: 139
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