Needs Help: Mystical Waif

Deadlock Clock: 21st Jun 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [24]
1 theAdeptRogue25th Apr 2014 07:32:23 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
I think both Mystical Waif and Mysterious Waif has its own share of problems, but the former have fewer wicks/inbounds and lacks a YKTTW, so I'm writing it here.

First of all, Mystical Waif is defined as a subtrope of Mysterious Waif, but doesn't really explain how it is distinct from the latter beyond some additional gameplay elements (making it sound like it's a Video Game specific trope, although the examples and wicks say otherwise).

A lot of the examples overlap with Mysterious Waif (including their Playing With pages), and they are rife with Zero Context Examples (checked about 10+ pages, none of them had any context).

The discussion page said that Mystical Waif was actually a renamed trope, and was formerly called Mysterious Waif (?), but the linked forum thread led to a discussion that does not exist...
Its seems to me like the difference is in the titles.

  • A Mysterious Waif is someone who we don't know their identity until much later usually as a plot twist. Emphasis on the mystery angle.
    • Usually a the reveal in Mysterious Waif is that she's actually been a Mystical Waif all along but the reveal could be anything. Whats important is that she either doesnt know or cant tell the other hero's what she is. But the heroes can be all like "we'll help you get your memory back" or "even if you can't tell me who you are, I'm going to make you my friend anyway" and then at the end they can be like "Wow you were actually magical all along" or "It doesnt matter that you were magical, when we met i thought you were normal and that means something to me"
  • Mystical Waif can have their identity revealed immediately and usually just their very presence is a plot twist in itself. emphasis on the magical angle. Further a Mystical Waif never has to be mysterious.
    • She can be upfront about her identity from day one and recruit the heroes specifically to help her mystical quest. The heroes are like "We're going to help you do whatever magic thing needs to be done." and thats the end of it.

It's a subtle distinction and they often overlap, so i could see how there would be a lot of misuse. Its a subtle distinction that I can see leading to a lot of misuse.

edited 25th Apr '14 4:17:53 PM by acrobox

3 theAdeptrogue25th Apr 2014 05:44:48 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
[up]That was what I believed as well, but that is not really supported by the pages themself.

The Mysterious Waif's description seem to include mystical powers as a part of the "mystery" package (not to mention that the description itself is pretty rambling, but I suppose that's for the Trope Description Improvement Drive), while the description for Mystical Waif is trying too hard to make this a video-game specific subtrope (the first example in the Anime folder even start with the line, "Despite not being a video game character...")

None of the overlapping examples don't actually give any context why the two tropes are different or how the character qualifies as both, so it seem almost interchangeable.

I participated in the original discussion and trope repair that split Mysterious Waif and Mystical Waif.

Essentially what happened was that we had trope drift. The original Mysterious Waif was created as a Video Game trope about this waif character that would join your group and had magicalish powers. Areith from FF 7 was one of the original examples if I remember right.

Anyway, people started adding a bunch of mysterious waif type characters from non-video game examples who didn't have any magical powers. There started to be some edit wars between those supporting the original intended trope, and this other related understanding.

It was decided that we needed to split the trope. It's been awhile so I don't remember the particulars as well, but as I recall we decided to make the division along magicalish powers, and moved the old trope incorporating this to Mystical Waif. We the split the examples as well, which is why Mystical Waif has less examples and is Video Game heavy.

So a Mysterious Waif emphasizes the element of this mysterious waif, who is typically used as a motivation for the hero (or heroine) to go do something adventurous: ie "I'll protect you from the mysterious people chasing you" or "I'll help you find your parents". It's a way to cast the hero in a protective and selfless role. It's also a great way to involve someone who is an ordinary person with extraordinary adventures. Expect the villain to say something like: "This has nothing to do with you, why are you risking your life?"

Mystical Waif was focused on the mystical, magical powers sometimes associated with the waif character. She has psychic dreams, or can use magic. It's very common in RPG Video Games, but we decided that there are examples in other media too, so we didn't limit it to video games. It's a subtrope of the Mysterious Waif because we have other tropes for non-waif magic wielding characters. It;s expected that it will have fewer examples then Mysterious Waif.

That my memory of the discussion. I guess I ought to go check the descriptions and see if they still match up. Other then confusion about the differences was there any other concerns about these tropes?

EDIT: Hmmm looking at the tropes they seem pretty close to what I remember. Although I do recall now that there was a significant number that wanted Mystical Waif to be a video game only trope. I thought that we ultimately decided against making that a requirement while still allowing it to be primarily video game focused, but perhaps I remember wrong.

They could probably use some further clarifications as to where the line is between the tropes.

edited 27th Apr '14 9:42:31 AM by Sackett

5 theAdeptrogue28th Apr 2014 12:35:58 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Aren't we trying to reduce Medium-specific tropes, though?

And there is absolutely no reason why this subtrope needed to be a "Video Game focused", since "a magical-ish waif who joins The Hero's RPG party", by itself, is not tropeworthy - unless her waifish qualities somehow influence the game mechanic.

Anyway, the gameplay description Mystical Waif is basically saying "This character is a Mysterious Waif + White Magician Girl/Barrier Warrior/Squishy Wizard who spend most of the time in the party as a bench warmer unless [insert vague criteria here]" and is horribly defined.

Personally, I like the distinction acrobox wrote up in @2, though some expansion may be necessary.
6 SeptimusHeap28th Apr 2014 12:38:38 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
"a magical-ish waif who joins The Hero's RPG party", by itself, is not tropeworthy - unless her waifish qualities somehow influence the game mechanic.

Huh. Affecting game mechanics is not the only way something can be a trope.
7 theAdeptrogue28th Apr 2014 01:06:05 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
I suppose not, but the only difference between Mystical Waif and Mysterious Waif is that the former is supposed to be a Video Game-focused subtrope, which I don't think justify a separate trope page unless it offers a special gimmick in the gameplay.
Well... actually the Mystical Waif usually does impact Video Games rather strongly - in plot, and in having special abilities.

That said I don't really think it needs to be a Video Game only trope. Why not just divide it along magic lines - Mystical Waif has magic or psychic powers. That was the original intention I think.
9 AnotherDuck29th Apr 2014 07:23:57 AM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
It's not a gameplay trope, so it doesn't need to be restricted to video games. Even when it's about video games, it's often about a plot power, and not something you can use in normal battles.

I basically agree with the distinction between the mystery of the waif being an important part of the plot, and the powers of the waif.

A Mysterious Waif raises questions like who she is, where she comes from, and why she's important. A Mystical Waif is a Plot Device who can change the world with some unique power. Or at least solve or create a plot-significant problem.

I don't think Mystical Waif is by definition a subtrope of Mysterious Waif, but considering the conventions of storytelling, that's how it is practically almost always. It's usually very rare to find a waif character who doesn't have some kind of hidden background or mystery to her. The story would be rather straight-forward about at least her character for that to work.

For instance, I'd take Garnet from FFIX as a Mystical Waif, but not so much a Mysterious Waif. Due to her powers she poses as a plot device, and her identity isn't much of an issue. Of course, she does have a hidden background, but it's not the focus of the main plot, and it's not what drives it. Her powers are. Likewise, Zelda is usually not a Mysterious Waif.

At the same time, it's rare for a Mysterious Waif to not have those kinds of plot-significant powers (but not as rare), so it's easy to see why the tropes have so much overlap.
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Maybe they are Sister Tropes instead of Parent and Child?

If so then shouldn't we allow examples to belong to both?

Also, what is the parent trope?

edited 29th Apr '14 7:32:46 AM by Sackett

11 theAdeptrogue29th Apr 2014 10:31:47 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
[up]Well, Mysterious Waif is already a subtrope of Mysterious Stranger although I don't think Mystical Waif fits that supertrope.

Must Sister Tropes have the same Parent trope?

edited 29th Apr '14 10:32:05 PM by theAdeptrogue

Well they could have more than one parent, and not share all the parents.
13 theAdeptrogue3rd May 2014 08:45:37 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Mystical Waif would probably share a parent with White Magician Girl, Barrier Maiden, Black Magician Girl and other similar tropes.

edited 10th Jun '14 12:04:27 AM by theAdeptrogue

14 shimaspawn18th May 2014 12:19:54 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Yes, I can see the distinction. So it looks like what these really need is just some clean up. Tighten the definitions, and clear out the bad examples. No rename or anything? I think we can mange that. Let me take a crack at them.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
15 Willbyr18th Jun 2014 06:06:40 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock is set.
16 theAdeptRogue20th Jun 2014 04:20:08 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
I've removed the statement that this is a Sub-trope of Mysterious Waif. Proposed new write-up for the description:
A character archetype that frequently appears in Eastern RPGs, the Mystical Waif is a physically young girl (though she may be Really 700 Years Old) in possession of a unique, world-changing power that serves as an important Plot Device. In addition to her magical abilities, it is very common for her to also have a hidden background or secret identity which she herself may not be aware of.

Typically introduced as a part of the Call to Adventure, the Mystical Waif often appears to the hero seeking for his help while giving him an exposition to the unknown aspects of their universe. If the story includes romance, she may eventually develop to be the Hero's Love Interest, or at least a contender for one.

As far as her personality goes, the Mystical Waif is usually pure-hearted, kind and selfless, but is also distant, naive and lacks communication skills. In combat, she is usually a Squishy Wizard, and her role in the team usually overlaps with White Magician Girl or Barrier Warrior.

Other common traits of a Mystical Waif include: odd hair colours (white is particularly common), unusual clothing, a perpetually blank facial expression and a quiet disposition.

See also Waif Prophet, Oracular Urchin, Barrier Maiden, and Apocalypse Maiden.
Well, this is just the first draft, and would probably need some more work.

I also commented out ZCEs from the main page (since I'm not familiar with most of the works) but it seems that I've cut down half the page.

edited 20th Jun '14 7:21:49 PM by theAdeptrogue

17 SeptimusHeap22nd Jun 2014 12:34:00 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
That might not want to start off with a reference to a specific medium. Also, "world-changing power" is a bit too grand-scale for me.
18 theAdeptRogue22nd Jun 2014 01:02:53 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Created a sandbox for description here. No time to fix it right now.
19 AnotherDuck22nd Jun 2014 06:43:37 AM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
[up][up]Would "plot-changing power" work?
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20 theAdeptrogue24th Jun 2014 07:46:47 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
@17: Would it be better to say that the character "frequently appears in The Hero's Journey" then mention it's particularly common in Eastern RPGs?
21 theAdeptRogue29th Jun 2014 09:48:25 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Bump. Is the new description write-up alright?
Sandbox or main?

Sandbox seems to cut out too much of the description.

I edited the main to incorporate the bit about call to adventure, since that is a big part of her character. I also moved the RPG line to the gameplay section so as to make it clearer that this trope is not limited to RPG (best not to start with a media specific restriction if that isn't a restriction of the trope).

Rewrote a line about her personality to point out that she might overlap with mysterious waif (since the line already pointed that out but did not link to the trope).

Broke up the paragraphs a bit to give better flow and topical organization.

I think it's pretty much done now.

edited 4th Jul '14 9:18:28 AM by Sackett

23 shimaspawn4th Jul 2014 04:25:33 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Mentioning a media type in the description is generally bad form.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
24 theAdeptRogue4th Jul 2014 09:53:06 PM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
[up][up]Much better, thanks. Though I still think that the first line of the description should still focus more on her powers than her past/identity, since that is what distinguish this trope from Mysterious Waif.

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Total posts: 24