Tropes associated with the Hero:
- Action Girl: If the player chooses to be female.
- Always Male: In the original, even if you choose to be female, you'll be referred to as "Ortega's son".
- Lampshaded in the Updated Re-release: If you choose to be female, the king will start to call you "Ortega's son" before correcting himself and justifying the mistake with "But your dauntless look — no man could hope to match you!" The smartphone version makes a decent few references to this as well.
- The original also used the same sprite for the male and female versions of the Hero, unlike every other class.
- Anime Hair: Spiky black hair for both genders.
- But Now I Must Go: They disappear following the celebrations of their victory over Zoma at the end of the game, leaving behind only their sword, armor, shield, and mark to be passed down the kingdom through generations.
- Can't Drop the Hero: And can't change your class to anything other than "Hero".
- Post game, the Hero can be dropped.
- Combat Medic: The Hero can learn most of the healing spells, including the exclusive HealUsAll / Omniheal spell that completely restores the entire party's HP. Unfortunately, the Hero's MP pool is much more limited than that of the dedicated caster classes, so you'll be lucky to get even one of those Omniheal spells off before running dry.
- Dangerous 16th Birthday: You aren't allowed to start your quest until you turn sixteen.
- Disappeared Dad: And you find evidence of his passing all over the world before finally tracking down what happened to him.
- Fake King: You don't choose to be one, but the king of Romaly gives you the crown so he can go gamble. You can hang around as king/queen for as long as you feel like, then make the real king take his crown back so you can continue on your quest.
- Good Morning, Crono: The game begins on the Hero's 16th birthday, the day on which they are supposed to take up their father's quest.
- Guest Fighter: The male is one of the four Heroes that make up the franchise's representation in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: While you can change any character's name, most people will refer to the Hero.
- The Hero: The Hero of the game, obviously. And The Hero with a capital "T" for both the entirety of Dragon Quest's legacy and nearly all eastern media portrayals to come thereafter.
- Heroic Mime: The Hero never speaks save to answer a yes / no question.
- I Have Many Names: In the end, they'll be Roto, Loto, or Erdrick, depending on which game you choose.
- Magic Knight: It's possible, thanks to the game's job system, for anyone to be this, but only the Hero gains strong attacking stats and innate magic naturally.
- Pals with Jesus: After rescuing the goddess Rubiss from the tower of her imprisonment, she seems pretty taken with them, not only granting them her personal crest of divine protection that would later become proof of lineage, but through her influence effectively deified their bloodline for centuries to follow.
- Playing with Fire: Gets a small splash of the Blaze and Fireball line spells before unlocking the Hero's unique lightning element spells.
- Samus Is a Girl: If you choose to be female, it turns out Roto/Loto/Erdrick was a woman all along.
- Shock and Awe: The Zap series of spells is traditionally exclusive to the Hero only. In subsequent appearances, this becomes something of the Hero's Signature Move much in the same way ice becomes Zoma's predominant element.
- With This Herring: 300 gold pieces. In the remake, the king gives you a small amount of gold and some basic equipment.
- You Can't Go Home Again: In the end, when the dust has settled, Zoma has been slain and both Alefgard and their home world have been saved...but, subsequently, the hole in the sky that bridged the two has closed. They're left in Alefgard, heralded a savior, for the rest of their days.
The Soldier / Warrior
Tropes associated with the Soldier / Warrior:
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Another weakness of the warrior is that as they can use most weapons and armor, they are VERY expensive to equip. You'd spend time having to Level Grind for both experience and money to buy the warrior weapons and armor.
- An Axe to Grind: The best (non-cursed) weapon for the Soldier is the Demon Axe (Headmans Ax in remakes), which you find in Baramos's Castle.
- Ascended Extra: The female Warrior has made cameo appearances in some of the other games in the series.
- Battle Bikini: The female Warrior wears one.
- Improbable Weapon User: The battle shears / scissors can only be used by Warriors.
- Magically Inept Fighter: Along with the Martial Artist, they can't use any magic or skills.
- Mighty Glacier: As the game goes on, it's quite likely that your Soldier will virtually always be the last to act. They are incredibly slow.
- Real Men Wear Pink: The male Warrior is clad from head-to-toe in pink armor, and built like a truck.
- Stripperific: The female Warrior, to the point where her swimsuit is less revealing.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Purple for the female Warrior, blue for the male.
The Pilgrim / Priest / Cleric
Tropes associated with the Pilgrim / Priest / Cleric:
- Blow You Away: Expel and its upgraded forms outright eject an enemy from the battlefield, which counts as them fleeing if they fail their resist.
- Bowdlerize: Not called a Priest or even a Cleric, but a Pilgrim in the NES version.
- Combat Medic: Having a healer also be a decent hand at combat was pretty unusual for JRPG's at the time. They're no Warriors, but they can wield decent weapons and do acceptable damage.
- Heroic Sacrifice: They can learn the aptly-named Sacrifice spell, which attempts to kill all enemies at the cost of the caster's life.
- Magic Knight: Priests have a pretty good selection of weapons and armor.
- Razor Wind: The only direct-damage spell the Cleric gets takes the form of a line of wind-based spells.
- White Mage: Naturally, they specialize in healing.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The female Cleric has long cyan hair.
The Wizard / Mage
Tropes associated with the Wizard / Mage:
- An Ice Person: Along with their fire spells, Mages also get access to the Icebolt line of spells.
- Black Mage: Their main specialty is attack spells.
- Cute Witch ↔ Hot Witch: The female Mage, depending on the art style. In official art, the latter applies, but the in-game sprites tend toward the former.
- Glass Cannon: The frailest class in the game, but as long as their MP holds out they can lay waste to entire waves of enemies.
- Mana Drain: Can sap MP from enemies with RobMagic.
- Odd Name Out: Sure, Fireball / Firebane / Firebolt and Blaze / Blazemore / Blazemost follow a pattern, but Bang / Boom / Explodet? Averted in the remakes.
- Playing with Fire: Their starting spell is "Blaze," and the Blaze family and Fireball family spells form an important core to their spell lists.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: The male Mage even looks like a dead ringer for the classic Mage stereotype in the original artwork.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The Bang line of spells pounds the enemies with explosive force. Unlike Blaze, which is exclusively single target, or Fireball, which targets only a group of enemies and can thus be thrown off by funky enemy formations or heavily mixed groups, Bang will hit everything on the opposing side of the battlefield without exception.
The Fighter / Martial Artist
Tropes associated with the Fighter / Martial Artist:
- Artifact of Doom: The most well-known cursed item, the Golden Claw, is theirs. It's incredibly powerful, but carrying it drastically boosts the encounter rate, making it nigh worthless (though the remakes apply the curse only to the Pyramid, making it an incredibly useful weapon).
- Ascended Extra: The male Martial Artist has made cameo appearances in later games.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Martial Artists deal their damage using their bare hands (or a few equippable claws), making them relatively cheap to equip.
- Critical Hit Class: While characters of any other class have a fixed critical hit rate, The Martial Artist's critical hit rate scales based on level.
- Glass Cannon: They are far frailer than the Warrior, with smaller HP pools and much more limited armor selection, though their sky-high Agility still makes them tougher than the Squishy Wizard.
- Magically Inept Fighter: Along with the Warrior, they can't use any magic or skills.
- Memetic Badass: One deceased Martial Artist has this reputation In-Universe for killing a bear with his bare hands. Subverted when his ghost tells you that he used a claw to do the deed.
- Wolverine Claws: The only weapons worth equipping them with. Most of the other very-limited selection of weapons a Martial Artist can wield will actually drop their attack score.
The Merchant / Dealer
Tropes associated with the Merchant / Dealer:
- Arab Oil Sheikh: The male Merchant looks vaguely Arabian.
- Badass Mustache: The male Merchant has a large and very impressive mustache.
- Character Select Forcing: In order to progress, you MUST recruit a Merchant at some point.
- Master of None: Lacks the Warrior's sky-high stats, but isn't quite as slow as one.
- Reused Character Design: The female Merchant's hair style makes her look strongly like Marle, and her clothing is almost identical to an outfit worn by a young Bulma.
- New York City: They start a town there.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Averted; they're just thrown in jail and eventually released, rather than being executed.
- Sixth Ranger: You'll need them for one scene, but you won't want to use your own character for it.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The female Merchant has pink hair.
The Goof-off / Jester / Gadabout
Tropes associated with the Goof-off / Jester / Gadabout:
- Encounter Bait: In the remakes, they can learn the Whistle ability, which instantly triggers a Random Encounter.
- Joke Character: Not only do they have mediocre stats aside from Luck, but they have a tendency to ignore your commands to do random things in battle.
- Lethal Joke Character: Their Whistle ability in the remakes is actually vaguely useful for Level Grinding. It allows you to whistle up an enemy encounter instantly, without having to move around trying to trigger one.
- Magikarp Power: Borderline worthless, but get them to where they can class change, and...
- Non-Ironic Clown: The male Gadabout has the appearance of one.
- Playboy Bunny: The female Gadabout wears this costume.
Tropes associated with the Sage:
- Blow You Away: The sage has access to both Priest and Mage spells, meaning they can use wind magic.
- 11th-Hour Ranger: You can't start with one, but most players certainly will finish with one.
- An Ice Person: The sage has access to both Priest and Mage spells, meaning they can use ice magic.
- Magic Knight: Not quite so much as the Hero, but is much more capable than the Mage and Cleric in melee.
- Magikarp Power: The pay-off for getting a Gadabout to Level 20.
- The Medic: Heals just as effectively as the Cleric.
- Minidress of Power: The female Sage wears a white one.
- Odd Name Out: Bang / Boom / Explodet. Averted in the remake.
- Playing with Fire: The sage has access to both Priest and Mage spells, meaning they can use fire magic.
- Prestige Class: You cannot start with a Sage, but you can make an existing character into one through class changing. All you need is the rare Book of Satori... or a Gadabout at Level 20.
- The Red Mage: With none of the weaknesses of the archetype; learns all priest and mage spells, and has stronger physical stats and an overall wider selection of equipment. The only real drawback is that Sages level insanely slowly.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The sage has access to both Priest and Mage spells, meaning they can use explosive magic.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Both genders have light blue hair.
Tropes associated with the Thief:
- Classy Cat-Burglar: The female Thief has the appearance of one.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: The female Thief has darker skin than the male Thief does.
- Encounter Repellant: They can learn the Tiptoe / Padfoot skill, which lowers the chance of triggering a Random Encounter. Unfortunately, it also raises the chance of being surprise-attacked when an encounter does trigger.
The Hero's father. Fought a monster over a volcano and fell in.
Tropes associated with Ortega:
- The Ace: Well regarded by all who knew him.
- Back from the Dead: One of your wishes to Xenlon can be to bring Ortega back to life. When you see him back in Aliahan, he wishes you well on your quest and not to make your mother worry too much.
- Disappeared Dad: Departed shortly after the Hero's birth to save the world from Baramos.
- Hero of Another Story: Many comments made by various NPCs and the opening title scene of the game, reveal snippets of Ortega's heroic ordeal in trying to save the world. He even fought a few powerful monsters the Hero never encountered (most likely because he slew them). While ultimately unsuccessful, he went down like a true hero and put up one hell of a fight til the very end.
- No-One Could Have Survived That: His journey was cut short when he was pulled into a volcano by a dragon he slew. He shows up alive later, though.
- Take a Third Option: There are items and gear the Hero requires to successfully surmount certain obstacles, that Ortega overcame without. We'll never know the details, but it's obvious he found other alternatives that worked.
The Hero's Mother
Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Has no canon name.
Tropes associated with The Hero's mother:
- Good Morning, Crono: Wakes up the Hero on their sixteenth birthday to go meet the king and take up Ortega's quest.
A dragon god who grants you wishes... if you defeat him.
Tropes associated with Xenlon:
- Bonus Boss: The boss of the post-game dungeon. Good luck beating him, let alone quickly.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy: Really, you're not going to help us defeat Zoma? At all?
- Shout-Out: To none other than Shenron, built upon further with his current localized name
- Time-Limit Boss: The first wish from Xenlon only requires that you beat him. In order to get a second wish, however, you have to beat him in 25 turns. Every wish after that requires you to beat him in only 15 turns.
Robbin' 'Ood (Kandar)
A thief whom the hero crosses paths with several times. A vicious, axe-wielding brute.
Tropes associated with Robbin' 'Ood:
- Four Is Death: He shows up with three henchmen the first time.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: A recurring boss that shows up twice to get in your way.
- Retired Monster: He gives up his life of crime after you kick his ass twice, and becomes a law-abiding civilian, though it's hinted that's he's not THAT law-abiding.
A monster on the island of Zipangu who requires sacrifices.
Tropes associated with Orochi:
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: After being confronted and beaten once, Orochi beats a hasty retreat back to Zipangu and tries to reassume the queen act, demanding in a hushed voice that the Hero keep their mouth shut and she'll call it even.
- Fake King: Orochi at some point prior killed the actual Queen Pimiko and stole her form, doubling up on taking sacrifices and imposing them on the people from a position of ruling.
- Human Sacrifice: True to legend, young maidens from Zipangu are regularly offered to Orochi as a sacrifice to spare the village from the monster's wrath.
- Orochi: Orochi, and by extension the Zipangu portion of the main quest, is a loose retelling of the original myth, with the Hero's party taking the place of Susanoo.
- Samus Is a Girl: Surprisingly for the legend it's based on, NPC remarks will confirm even after the disguise comes down that Orochi was actually female.
A vicious beast who plagues the realm of Samanao by pretending to be the king.
Tropes associated with Boss Troll:
- Degraded Boss: They show up in Alefgard as regular enemies in the NES version.
- Fake King: He's found masquerading as the king of Samanao. Needless to say, his style of leadership is rather tyrannical, to say the least.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: For a guy who just woke up, he's pretty much alert throughout the fight.
Tropes associated with Baramos:
- Back from the Dead: And split into two components; his soul and his bones.
- Came Back Wrong: Not that he was ever really "right" to begin with, but when you fight his reanimated bones near the end of the game, they have no special abilities whatsoever and do nothing but attack repeatedly. His soul, on the other hand, is much closer in both appearance and behavior to when you first encounter him as a mortal.
- Dem Bones: His bones, to be precise, when you fight them near the end of the game.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Since the start of the game, you've been led to believe that Baramos is the ultimate villain you must beat to finish the game. It's quite believable, as well, since you'll have explored the whole world before you fight him. The real villain is from a different world.
- The Dragon: Not the Big Bad, like you've been led to believe.
- Evil Sorcerer: He's plenty nasty, as well as the most magically-inclined of the game's major antagonists in combat.
- Fearless Undead: His bones, which have zero Defense and no special skills whatsoever, much less any defensive or supportive ones. All they do is attack repeatedly until you strike them down.
- Me's a Crowd: After Baramos fails and is slain the first time, Zoma brings him back, but also rends his soul from his bones, effectively creating two Baramoses.
- Orcus on His Throne: For being the primary threat to the world, he doesn't seem to do much before you arrive at his castle.
- Recurring Boss: You fight him once at the end of the Disc-One Final Dungeon, before fighting his soul and bones each separately as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon draws to a close.
- Soulless Shell: His bones, at least partly on account of you having just fought and destroyed his soul moments earlier.
A multi-headed dragon who serves Zoma directly. A palette swap of Orochi.
Tropes associated with King Hydra:
- The Brute: King Hydra doesn't speak a word, but he certainly has the power to exert Zoma's will upon the world, even to the extent of being a...
- Hero Killer: He's responsible for the death of the Hero's father and predecessor, Ortega.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Baramos coming back, and being split up into a corpse and spirit to signify Zoma's twisted powers and being the previously-thought Big Bad makes sense. A buffed up successor to Orochi, however, kind of comes out of nowhere.
- You Killed My Father: He kills the Hero's father before their eyes, right as they near the end of Zoma's Lair. Needless to say, It's Personal for our Hero after that.
Tropes associated with Zoma:
- Big Bad: He's the real villain behind Baramos.
- Book-Ends: Ending the Erdrick saga where it began, although in-universe, he's actually the first villain to terrorize Alefgard, and to be fought at Charlock Castle.
- Dark Is Evil: Perhaps utilized to the greatest potency in the series. When he's first encountered, Zoma's protected by a shroud of pure darkness, so potent that it renders him Nigh Invulnerable to all forms of assault. Only the Ball of Light, an artifact that quite literally has the potency to restore vibrancy and vitality to the entire world, can nullify it to even the odds.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: So, how much of a big deal is Zoma? Well, he overpowered and defeated the goddess Rubiss, who created a literal entire world under her own power, petrified her, and chucked her statue into a dank tower on the mortal plane to rot.
- Dispel Magic: The first Dragon Quest boss capable of using the recurring Disruptive Wave skill, which purges buffs from your party, rendering all that time and MP you spent casting defense, speed, and power-boosting spells wasted.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: His goal is to turn the world to a place of interminable suffering, as the misery of others is literal sustenance for him.
- Emotion Eater: NPC dialogue reveals that the only reason Zoma keeps the people of the dark world alive is to feed on their negative emotions.
- Evil Is Bigger: He varies in appearance, being usually in the ballpark of ten to twenty feet, but the point is always the same: Zoma is huge.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: Not so much in the original release, but came to own this trope in all subsequent appearances.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: That big, bulging eye on his helmet? It's not decorative. It's functional. The "hows" of which are probably better left unasked.
- Four Is Death: Four bosses in Charlock Castle, culminating in Zoma himself.
- An Ice Person: Kacrackle, the strongest ice-elemental spell, is his attacking spell of choice. Not only that, but he can also attack with freezing breath, and even his aforementioned Disruptive Wave ability is described as "icy" in certain translations.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: He uses no weapon; Zoma's just as fond as trying to crush you with those huge arms of his as he is to hurl deathly cold at you. That said, his physical combat skills seem to fall under Unskilled, but Strong in that he generally just applies big, heavy swipes.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Upon his defeat, Zoma laughs in the face of his impending death, forswearing that beyond both his and the Hero's time, a new evil would emerge to succeed him. The Hero's response to this is to leave behind their armaments to Fling a Light into the Future.
- Orcus on His Throne: He doesn't show up until you've beaten Baramos. Justified in that, much like the Dragonlord to succeed him long after, Zoma's in a position where he really doesn't have to do anything.
- Our Liches Are Different: Zoma isn't explicitly anything besides a "demon lord", but his huge and gaunt frame, sunken face with a skeletal nose, show of necromancy, and overpowering sorcery centered around deathly cold all definitely invoke the image.
- Revive Kills Zombie: Once you use the Light Orb on him, healing spells and effects start inflicting damage on him.
- Sadist: It pretty much defines his personality, and, as mentioned above, his diet.
- Slouch of Villainy: When it's not the Dragonlord pulling the iconic "chin on fist" slouching in the throne, it's going to be Zoma doing it, usually dependent on who's getting more focus on what media they appear in.
- Villain Ball: Inverted Trope. Upon discovering that there was a legendary Infinity +1 Sword tailor-made for beings like him, he poured on the suffering of the populace of the "dark world" for three years to bide and grow in strength, until he was mighty enough to destroy the thing with his bare hands. This, incidentally, happened well before the Hero appeared.