The cast of Dragon Quest I.
Descendant and ancestor of heroes. The hero is summoned and tasked by Lorik, King of Tantegel with slaying the Dracolord, whose monsters have overrun Alefgard, crushed the royal army and kidnapped Princess Gwaelin. The descendant of Erdrick is literally the king and the realm's last resort and last hope.
The Hero sets out to travel the monster-plagued lands, finding Erdrick's legendary Sword and Armor and rescuing Princess Gwaelin in the process. During his travels, he finds the Staff of Rain and Stone of Sunlight, and fuses both items into the Rainbow Drop to form the Rainbow Bridge, which allows him to cross the sea to the Isle of the Dragonlord.
The Hero storms Charlock Castle and battles his way to the Dragonlord's throne. After slaying the Dragonlord, the Hero returns to Tantegel and is offered the throne and Gwaelin's hand. He turns the kingship down but he marries Gwwaelin, and the newlyweds set off on a journey to explore new, uncharted lands beyond Alefgard.
Tropes associated with the Hero:
- Anti-Magic: Stopspell, learned at level 10.
- Blue Is Heroic: The Hero wears a dark-blue armor. Likewise, Erdrick's armor◊ is blue.
- The Cameo: In the Golden Ending of Dragon Quest XI, as the Yggdragon speaks to the Luminary, she alludes to a time in the future when "(her) power may be turned against the world"note that someone would arise just as the Luminary did. Cut to the Hero of Dragon Quest I standing on a high precipice overlooking Castle Charlock with the Sword of Erdrick at his side, psyching up for the final battle.
- Canon Name: Zigzagged, as it's never been used in any official game capacity, but both the Drama CD and the novelization made for the game give him the name of "Alef".
- Chick Magnet: Throughout his adventure, there will be at least one female NPC in any given town who'll either be attracted to him or at the very least make comment on his attractiveness. Most notably are the cases of the Princess, a smitten girl in the first town who will actually follow himnote , and the lady in Kol who will offer him a Puff-Puff — an actual one, making him one of the only characters, let alone protagonists in the series' entirety where this isn't a scam or a fake-out.
- Doomed Hometown: The novelization of the game gives some additional backstory as to just where the Hero came from. That utterly demolished city, Damdara; the high-level monster den where the Knight Aberrant stands guard over the hero Erdrick's Auroral Armor? That also happened to be this Hero's home, and his road didn't begin until the Dragonlord had it completely destroyed to lock down all of Erdrick's armaments.
- Early Installment Character Design Difference: When originally conceived, the Hero had stock black hair, largely being of a Son Goku-lookalike trend that wouldn't be bucked until a few entries later. When the Dragon Quest I characters and setting were revisited for Dragon Quest Kenshin, however, he received a massive update, changed to largely resemble his famous ancestor save for having blue eyes and blonde hair. The new design has been predominantly used since, especially in multi-entry conglomerations.note
- FaceHeel Turn: Potentially. The Dragonlord offers the hero a chance to rule over the world alongside him at the end of the game. Most players just select no and get on with the battle, but if you accept, you get a Non-Standard Game Over (except in all subsequent rereleases where he wakes up in a town near the Big Bad's castle, where the innkeeper says that he had a Bad Dream). The idea of selecting "yes" was one of the big eventual inspirations for Dragon Quest Builders.
- Flaming Sword: The second most powerful weapon you can wield. The best one is Erdrick's sword.
- Good Counterpart: In terms of abilities, the Hero actually becomes this towards the Dragonlord in his initial form, who in subsequent releases boasts Sizzle, Midheal and Snooze — the three bases of the Hero's magic, apart from overworld abilities and different grades of the same spells.
- Guide Dang It!: Your name actually affects your base stats and stat growth.
- Healing Hands: Heal and Healmore, learned at levels 3 and 17, respectively.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: One of the classic examples.
- The Hero: Born and bred for it in a world where the villain had already won, at that.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Although he can wield clubs and axes, swords are his best and most powerful weapon by far.
- Heroes Want Redheads: He gets married to Princess Gwaelin, who is consistently depicted as red-headed, even back in the NES days.
- Heroic Mime: Played straight until the very end of the game when the Hero finally speaks up to turn down the King's offer to become his successor.
- Hope Bringer: The King of Tantegel had lost all hope of saving his kingdom and his daughter until the Hero appeared before him, and Lorik realized he was the descendant of Erdrick foretold by the legends.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Inasmuch as DQ1 had stats. The Hero has to be pretty good at everything, by DQ standards, since he fights alone.
- Karmic Transformation: In the Builders course of events, after making his deal with the Dragonlord and inevitably being betrayed, the Hero holed himself up in his consolation prize of a pitiable small fortress labeled "Half the World", whereupon he progressively became further and further mad until the time the Builder arrived, at which point he was a gibbering lunatic who believed he really did rule the world. The transformation part comes in with how he'd lived that long: over time, he became a literal monster; specifically a Hoodie in a regal mantle.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Dragon Quest Builders paints the Hero as having had shades of this. One of the guards in Tantegel will make remarks about how he questioned why none of Alefgard's actual knights were making even an attempt to help him, and even criticized the King for such sheer inaction. It's effectively given through Elle's hypothesis that being groomed to exist solely to defeat the Dragonlord and living a life of But Thou Must! led to this jaded edge, and why he would ever accept the Dragonlord's obviously raw deal in the first place.
- Legendary in the Sequel: By the time of DQII, his legend has become comparable to his ancestor's.
- Light 'em Up: Radiant, learned at level 9.
- Magic Knight: He pretty much has to be, given that he has to perform all the functions that a party usually would in most RPGs. He learns healing spells, support spells, combat spells, and can also get blinged out with extremely strong equipment.
- One-Man Army: He's the only Hero of the series who explicitly receives no help whatsoever, not even able to recruit monsters. He is also the Hero who competently operates as a one-man party.
- Playing with Fire: Hurt and Hurtmore (called "Firebal" and "Firebane" in the GBC version, and translated as "Sizz" and "Sizzle" in modern localizations), learned at levels 4 and 19, respectively.
- Rated M for Manly:
- Battle Road most certainly rebrands him as this; his Finisher clip showing him storming the Green Dragon's lair by simply hacking the door apart, smashing the gigantic dragon with his blade with such force it goes flying into the far wall and crushing open the Princess' cage, blasting through the earth in a tremendous leap to the surface instead of just using Evac, and launching himself kilometers into the horizon towards Castle Charlock with the Princess projecting the Rainbow Bridge beneath him as he goes.
- His Karmic Transformation in Builders reflects this as well, becoming a huge, muscle-laden Hoodie so built that employing his sword at all is comical at best, and his shield barely fits.
- Save the Princess: One of his goals is to save Princess Gwaelin, who has been kidnapped by one of the minions of the Dracolord.
- Schrödinger's Butterfly: From the SNES version onwards, if you accept the Dragonlord's offer that We Can Rule Together, the innkeeper tells him he woke up from a bad dream. If you accept again, it becomes this trope.
- Standard Status Effects: Sleep, learned at level 7, and actually useful for once.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Underneath that helmet, he's near-identical to his famed ancestor, save only for being blonde and his hair being of a slightly-different style. He even wears the same kind of circlet!
- Suddenly Voiced: He was the first to set the Heroic Mime trend and the first to avert it, as at the game's end he suddenly speaks up to refuse the King's suggestion that he should take his place and asserts his own personal goals.
- Walking the Earth: At the end of the game, he finally rejects the But Thou Must! trend when the King makes the offer to succeed him as ruler of Alefgard, saying that if there is a kingdom for him, he wants it to be one he builds himself. Canonically, Gwaelin/Lora leaves with him, and the two of them end up ultimately forming three branched kingdoms, upon a surrounding continent even larger than Alefgard.
Daughter of King Lorik of Tantegel, Princess Gwaelin was kidnapped by the Dragonlord's minions and imprisoned in the Swamp Cave at the south of Kol, where she was being constantly watched by a green dragon. During his quest, the Hero found Gwelin and reunited her with her father after slaying the guardian dragon.
After fulfilling his mission, the Hero visited Lorik and Gwaelin. Gwaelin, who had fallen for the brave hero who rescued her, proposed to the Hero, who accepted. After their wedding, the Hero and the Princess set off on a journey beyond the lands of Alefgard.
Tropes associated with the Princess:
- But Thou Must!: Her conversation with the hero is the Trope Namer: After the Hero saves Alefgard, Gwaelin will ask his hand in marriage. And turning her down is not an option. She will keep asking until the player answers: "Yes."
- Covert Pervert: As soon as the Princess meets the Hero, she wastes no time in making a number of passes at him, and when returned to the castle, every other interaction will have her hopefully ask if he's fantasized about her.note Taken further in the GBC port, where staying at an inn with her makes it very clear they had a long night of sex. This comes back in Builders, where a flashback of their first meeting shows her flirting openly, and while later comparing the Builder to the Hero, she begins to ramble and admit to her own fantasizing about him before she corrects herself and gets back to the point.
- Damsel in Distress: A Trope Codifier for Japanese RPGs. She gets kidnapped by the Dracolord to force the King of Tantegel to stay put.
- Developers' Foresight: If you are carrying the princess with you to Charlock Castle and talk to the Dragonlord, he actually thanks you for saving him the trouble of having her transported there.
- Dub Name Change: From Lora to Gwaelin. This was restored in the GBC version, but has been flipflopped since. Notably, the change led to some localization snarl later down the line, as "Lorasia" in II was changed to "Middenhall".note
- Frilly Upgrade: With her updated design in Kenshin, she received a Pimped-Out Dress in form of a pink and white ribbon-and-lace ensemble that thereon replaced the yellow gown of prior. However, she was portrayed with the classic design again in Dragon Quest Builders, likely in keeping with the game's theme.
- Giant Waist Ribbon: Her golden dress is complete with a huge purple ribbon around her waist.
- Pimped-Out Dress: She wears a beautiful golden dress with puff sleeves, frills at the bottom of the skirt, and a purple Giant Waist Ribbon.
- Rescue Romance: She falls in love with the hero the moment he comes in to save her. Eventually, he has no choice but to reciprocate.
- Royalty Super Power: She effectively set the precedent of princesses from eastern gaming possessing inexplicable magical abilities, as once/if the Hero returns her to her father, she bestows on him an item through which she can communicate with him telepathically as well as pinpoint his exact position in the world. Taken further in her Battle Road appearances, where she channels the artifacts the Hero collected to create the Rainbow Bridge herself. To top it off, in Builders, the Dragonlord actually isn't the one guilty of petrifying any of the survivors of ancient Tantagel — she actually recited and enacted the spell herself as a means of protection.
His country had been generally peaceful until the Dragonlord rose and his monsters started overrunning the land. After the Dragonlord's first attack, Lorik's army had been defeated, the Ball of Light had been stolen and his daughter had been kidnapped. After that disastrous battle, his subjects didn't dare to walk past the walls surrounding the surviving settlements because hordes of monsters roamed freely the wilderness.
Many warriors voluntereed to kill the Dragonlord, but all failed. The King had given up hope that his kingdom would be saved when he was visited by the descendant of Erdrick, whose coming was foretold by the seer Mahetta (or, depending on the version, the King summoned the descendant). Feeling his hope renewed, Lorik gave the warrior some few items and gold coins and sent him out.
After the descendant proved his trust was not misplaced, Lorik offered his throne to him, but the Hero declined his offer. However, the Hero accepted Gwaelin's proposal of marriage, which was joyfully blessed by Lorik.
Tropes associated with Lorik:
- Age Lift: He looks twenty years younger in Toriyama's updated artwork.
- All There in the Manual: Some details such as his full name and title can only be found in the NES and Famicon manuals.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Averted. He becomes completely helpless after his army gets defeated and his daughter kidnapped.
- The Good King: From what is seen in the game, Lorik seems to be popular among the people of Tantegel. Certainly he is kind to the Hero.
- Heroic BSoD: After the disastrous first battle, Lorik fell into a deep depression over everything. And after many warriors attempted and failed to slay the Dragonlord, he gave up hope to save Alefgard and his daughter.
- Holding Out for a Hero: Doble subversion. Many warriors went out to fight the Dragonlord and retrieve the Ball of Light and the Princess, but neither of them returned; so the King and the Alefgardians had become reduced to hope the prophecy about the coming of the descendant of Erdrick was right.
- I Have Your Wife: The Dragonlord kidnaps Princess Gwaelin to force Lorik to "behave".
- King Bob the Nth: In the NES manual, he is stated to be named King Lorik XVI.
- Retcon: The remakes remove any mention of his name.
Before becoming the Dragonlord, he was a seemingly ordinary man who lived by himself in a cave far from Tantegel out of distaste for the peaceful kingdom. While exploring deep within the cave, the man learned he could command monsters and wield powerful magic.
Naming himself the Dragonlord, the sorcerer rebuilt Charlock Castle and unleashed hordes of monsters that scoured Alefgard.
Tropes associated with the Dracolord:
- Arch-Enemy: Despite her history with Zoma, Builders explains that the Dragonlord is actually this to the goddess Rubiss, having been in conflict with her over the fate of the world for ages since he emerged.
- Badass Finger Snap: In MBRV, the Dragonlord receives a decidedly classy glow-up for his humanoid form, of which this is part: he both manifests his throne and unleashes his Sizzle in the form of a tremendous explosion mutually by means of a cocky offhand snap of the fingers.
- Big Bad: He's the supreme being over all monsterkind in the original game who has stolen the Sphere of Light, planted himself in Castle Charlock and has subjugated the entire world to his will.
- Bleak Level: The alternate-history events of Builders shows exactly the type of world he'd mean to create if the Hero should fall before him one way or another: an ashen wasteland antithetical to life as a concept, cloaked in a pitch black sky, where even the skeletons that emerge from the earth to kill in his name are pitiably weak and frail.
- Breath Weapon: He breathes fire in his dragon form.
- Deal with the Devil: The Ur-Example in gaming, at that. Whether it's the Hero or the Builder, he'll pretend to acknowledge their triumphs as making them worthy of standing beside him and offering them as much.
- Exact Words: He offers the Hero half the world in exchange for joining him. As shown in Dragon Quest Builders, "Half the World" is just a castle merely named that.
- Evil Sorcerer: His entire motif in his initial form, though he also is generally portrayed as getting physical, which is justified in actually being a dragon.
- Faux Affably Evil: Every time he's initially confronted, he'll regard his challenger with a respectful tone and an altogether welcoming attitude, giving credit for all they've accomplished to reach him, and inevitably making them an offer. Of course, the offer is just a means to try and get his foe's guard down, as he will swiftly dispatch them the moment they expose themselves as any kind of vulnerable.
- Fetus Terrible: In Dragon Quest III, the Orb of Light is given to Erdrick by the Dragon Queen, moments before she dies in birthing the egg of her heir. Return later, and the egg is gone— and an NPC will comment on how something flew down into the Pit of Gaia, the only passage between the Upper World and Alefgard, while it was still open. Coupled with greater hints in the Emblem of Roto manga, all signs point that her child ultimately became the Dragonlord.
- Final Boss: The Dragonlord is the primary target of the player and the last enemy that the player has to confront in the game. Defeating him will result in the Ball of Light being the drop item, which will make all the other enemies in the game disappear when the Hero returns home to complete the game.
- Flowery Elizabethan English: He's the sole DQ character to retain the Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe from his source game when he appears in Fortune Street, though vastly improved.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: Zigzagged. In the original release he acts as this, but later materials and Builders especially present a greater insight as to his general disdain for humanity.
- Manipulative Bastard: His infamous deal was actually not without precedent; it wasn't a random offer. The Hero actually did desire to have a kingdom of his own, thus the Dragonlord was playing upon something he secretly yearned for. In Builders, though he makes something of the same deal, he shows this level of cunning in how much he'd actually been watching events progress.
- One-Winged Angel: After defeating his normal human form, he transforms into a dragon.
- Orcus on His Throne: The Dragonlord pretty much just sits in his castle all game and waits for you to come and kick his arse. Justified in that, by all appearances, he doesn't have to move; talking to townspeople makes it clear that he effectively rules the world already, and from his perspective you come out of nowhere.
- Playing with Fire: He can cast Hurtmore/Firebane/Sizzle, as well as breathe fire in his true form.
- Scaled Up: After the player defeats his mage form, he quickly takes on his real dragon persona before continuing the fight.
- Sequential Boss: Unlike all the other enemies in the game, the Dragonlord has two phases to the fight. You first get a standard boss fight with him in sorcerer form, but after depleting his health in this form, a fake victory scenario will play out before the Dragonlord "reveals his true self" and starts a second phase.
- Squishy Wizard: By the time they get to him, most players can kill his first form in three hits.
- We Can Rule Together: The Dragonlord makes this offer to you when you confront him. Most players just select no and get on with the battle, but if you accept, you get a Non-Standard Game Over (except in all subsequent rereleases where he wakes up in a town near the Big Bad's castle, where the innkeeper says that he had a Bad Dream).
An unnamed dragon who guards Princess Gwaelin in the Swamp Cave, at the Dragonlord's behest.
Tropes associated with it:
- Breath Weapon: Fire Breath is its other attack.
- Degraded Boss: Outside of the first encounter in the swamp, the Green Dragon is a common enemy in the final 4 areas: Hawkness, the south region where the Cantlin Castle is, the central Charlocke Island, and Charlocke Castle itself. In the Charlocke Castle itself, the hero will also encounter the stronger blue and red dragons, which are common.
- Dragons Prefer Princesses: Subverted. It guards Princess Gwaelin because it was ordered to by the Dragonlord (who is also a dragon).
- Green and Mean: It is a green-scaled dragon who serves a tyrant.
- Our Dragons Are Different: He resembles a four-legged, horn-headed, long-snouted green Western dragon.
The Golem was an artificial being created by one of Cantlin's townspeople to protect the town after the arrival of Erdrick during the events of Dragon Quest III.
Unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between friend and foe, and attacks the Hero when he tries to step into Cantlin, whereupon he is forced to destroy it.
The only non-optional mini-boss in the game.
Tropes associated with it:
- Expy: The Goldmen and the Stonemen. Golem is only available in 1 particular area and does not reappear elsewhere.
- Golem: An artificial being made from -apparently- light-brown bricks.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: The Fairy Flute makes it sleep.
- Smash Mook: Punching is its only attack.
- Weaksauce Weakness: If the Hero has the Fairy Flute, its Boss Battle consists in playing the Flute, hitting the Golem and starting over again. The Golem would be incredibly tough were it not for its weak point.
- You Shall Not Pass!: It guards the gates of Cantlin and will fight any would-be trespasser to the death.
A demonic knight who guards Erdrick's armor in the ruined town of Hauksness.
Tropes associated with it:
- An Axe to Grind: A battle-axe is its only weapon.
- Animated Armor: It is really an empty armor animated by an evil spirit.
- Black Knight: A ghost knight clad in dark armor, ready and willing to hack any intruder to pieces.
- Degraded Boss: Reoccurs as a regular enemy in Charlocke Island and Charlocke Castle. There's an upgraded enemy called Armored Knights later approached in the casle as a regular enemy.
- Magic Knight: Downplayed. It hits hard and knows exactly one spell: Snooze.
- Useless Useful Spell: Averted. It tends to cast Sleep/Snooze and constantly attack while you are sleeping. And given how hard it hits, you can be literally killed in your sleep.