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 Alluding to the Dragonlord, whom she even resembles the true form of on a physical level 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 will waste no time if he stays at an inn while she is in the GBC version, 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'ta scam or a fake-out.
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 infamous ancestor save for having blue eyes and blonde hair. The new design has been predominantly used since, especially in multi-entry conglomerations.note The updated appearance is his primary one in the Battle Road entries, and while unable to be seen out of armor, the Princess is shown with her Kenshin-and-onward appearance in the intro of the 25th Anniversary Collection, indicating the same of him. Even in his cameos in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Dragon Quest XI, he can clearly be seen with blonde eyebrows and blue eyes, cementing the updated appearance in canon.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the first town, you can meet up with an ardent female admirer who will "tag along." If you spend a night while she's with you, the dialog strongly suggests you and the admirer had a night of wild sex. This can also happen while you are escorting Princess Lora. (In the GBC and mobile versions, you can actually spend the night at the inn with both of them in tow!)
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.
The Hero: Born and bred for it in a world where the villain had already won, at that.
Heroic Mime: Averted, but only at the very end of the game; till then, its played straight.
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.
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.
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.
Wandering 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.
Princess Gwaelin/Lady Lora
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 At least in the original script, she'll be disappointed if he says no and outright ask if she's not sexy enough. Taken further in the GBC port, where staying at an inn with her makes 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.
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 The original significance being that kingdom was where the Hero and the Princess made their stay, thus the Prince of said kingdom was of the most direct lineage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. He knew about the Builder's manipulation by Rubiss and how she'd forsaken them for wanting to actually save the world, and painted his deal this time as their freedom to live and create in peace.
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).