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Expy / Tabletop Games

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  • As a meta-example, many players tend to base their Player Character in the game off some other character in fiction, generally known to others they play with. This is a common and generally accepted as fun practice, but there are some characters who tend to get exported much more commonly than others to the point of being seen as cliche. For those, see Overused Copy Cat Character.
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy: No, Clover is totally unrelated to Albert Wesker and Lazarus has nothing to see with Sephiroth, why do you ask?note 
  • From Dungeons & Dragons and its settings:
    • In 4th Edition's default setting, the Nentir Vale, The Raven Queen is basically a gender-swapped Expy for Kelemvor from Forgotten Realms. Also, Bane is an expy of Bane from Forgotten Realms.
    • Ed Greenwood has admitted that Sune (the Forgotten Realms goddess of love and beauty) is basically the Greek Goddess Aphrodite renamednote .
    • This can happen to monsters as well in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. Some are, of course, based on mythology, but consider the balor and Tolkien's balrognote .
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    • Paizo, creators of Pathfinder, have hinted that the goddess Pharasma is an expy of the Lady of Pain from Dungeons & Dragons. Appropriate considering the history of the game.
      • Valeros the iconic fighter is an expy of Madmartigan from Willow. His iconic portrait is a mirror-flipped version of Val Kilmer's portrayal of the earlier character; both are warriors quick of tongue and almost as good as their boasting.
    • The Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons has a few also: King Azoun IV of Cormyr is pretty obviously King Arthur, especially with regard to the whole "Sleeping Sword" thing, which parallels Arthur's "Sleeping King" myth pretty well. Arthur's coat of arms was a golden dragon, Azoun's is a purple dragon, etc. Also, Yamun Khahan was a very obvious expy of Genghis Khan.
    • Since almost every culture in the Mystara setting is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture, the creators have not been shy about including culturally appropriate Expies such as Manuel of the Plains, a masked vigilante from a Spanish-inspired culture who is an obvious Zorro expy.
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    • The Ravenloft game setting is swarming with Expy versions of classic characters from Gothic literature. Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, Jekyll & Hyde, and so on: they're all there, sans serial numbers, disqualified from being Captain Ersatz only because the originals' copyrights all expired ages ago.
  • Magic: The Gathering had its old planeswalkers, who were super-powered - too super-powered to appear as cards. In particular, there was Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, the sassy female fire mage with goggles, a hair-trigger temper and a tendency to solve problems with fire. Then they created the Planeswalker card type, and wanted to print Planeswalkers, but they couldn't drop the storyline power of existing old planeswalker characters. So they printed Chandra Nalaar, a sassy female fire mage with goggles, a hair-trigger temper and a tendency to solve problems with fire. Jaya Ballard was iconic for getting flavour text quotes like "Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire." She doesn't get any flavor text quotes these days, but Chandra gets a number of very similar ones...
    • It's implied that Chandra was taught by Jaya herself, going so far as mentioning Jaya's name when recalling one of her lessons.
    • Magic also does expies of real-world mythology and literature in some of its settings. This is most obvious in Theros, where there are expies of specific gods and heroes as well as expies of the cities of Athens and Sparta, and an expy of the Trojan Horse.
  • Mecha Vs Kaiju, in its FATE version, gives statblocks for Not Zilla Kaibutsu, Ghidorah-inspired Sanshuseki, Gamera-derived Kameyuu, and Hedokoku, who most seems to resemble Hedorah in being a monster fuelled by pollution. Others are mentioned in backstory, such as the moth monster Senshuga.
  • Mutants & Masterminds has a truly massive list of comic character expies in its Freedom City setting. With very few exceptions, they range from not very subtle to carrying large signs reading "INSPIRED BY SUPERMAN" or "NOT GHOST RIDER WITH A DIFFERENT NAME, REALLY".
  • Pokéthulhu has many expies (often double-expies) of characters from both of its "parents": Randy Carter (Ash Ketchum/Randolph Carter), Derleth and Bloch of Team Eibon (Jessie and James of Team Rocket), and even Pikathulhu (Pikachu and Cthulhu).
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse lives and breathes this. Let's look at just the core game, for example: the heroes consist of a Flying Brick who serves as a team leader (Superman/Legacy), a speedster who's accomplished in a technical field (the Flash/Tachyon), a gun-encrusted powersuit operated by a Military Superhero (War Machine/Bunker), a shadowy gadgeteer vigilante (Batman/Wraith), a god of an old pantheon empowering a contemporary mortal (Thor/Ra), an aquatic warrior (Aquaman/Tempest, although Tempest controls weather instead of sea life), a bald psychic woman (Moondragon/Visionary), a nigh-immortal warrior using a pose of savagery despite being actually pretty well-informed (a heroic Vandal Savage/Haka), and a man whose low body temperature requires him to live inside either a suit or a frozen room (a heroic Mr Freeze/Absolute Zero), with the last one, surprisingly not based on a comics character, is a winged woman who is devoutly religious and verges on being a Knight Templar (a Living Saint from Warhammer 40,000/Fanatic); the villains are a vengeful genius with an alliterative name/title combination who rules a small region in Eurasia (Dr. Doom/Baron Blade), a rogue AI that has numerical iterations and eventually becomes a hero (Brainiac/Omnitron), a superhuman supremacist with a Quirky Miniboss Squad and elemental powers (Magneto/Citizen Dawn), and a conquering alien warlord who has enslaved countless worlds (Darkseid/Grand Warlord Voss, although Voss doesn't have Darkseid's raw power). This is just the core set. There are, either out or in the works, seven full expansions and a cluster of mini-packs, many of them containing multiple other Expies.
  • 7th Sea is full of these, as well as No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of historical figures. The most obvious one is Captain Reis, perhaps the most powerful character in the world, who is basically Captain Hook from Peter Pan with the bloodthirstiness turned up to eleven. The back of the second edition rulebook flat-out encourages players to make their own expies: "In other words—you are d'Artagnan, Milady de Winter, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Jack Sparrow, Julie d'Aubigney and the Scarlet Pimpernel all rolled up in one!"
  • In Strike Legion, just about everything is an expy of something from another sci-fi or fantasy setting. The game not only shamelessly rips off other settings, but then it takes those same things and turns them Up to Eleven.
  • Most of the Icons of 13th Age embody fairly standard RPG character tropes like the Emperor, the Archmage, the High Druid and so on, but the Great Gold Wyrm is pretty clearly Bahamut from Dungeons & Dragons with a different scale colour.
  • The factions in Warhammer 40,000 were originally little more than faction-level Expies for Warhammer Fantasy factions. Although they've tried to tone this down a bit — for instance, by phasing out the Squats without explanation, then finally saying they were just eaten by the Tyranids — there's still obvious parallels. Empire —> Imperium, High Elves —> Eldar, Dark Elves —> Dark Eldar, Tomb Kings —> Necrons, Chaos —> Chaos (duh), Greenskins —> Orkz, Dwarfs —> Demiurg (a Tau-allied race), and to a lesser extent, the Tau in general. The Tyranids are an exception — there's been some awkward attempts to equate them with the Lizardmen, but it doesn't really work out.
    • When it comes to playable factions, the Adeptus Mechanicus are the tech-savvy Dwarf-analogues who ally with humanity despite a heavy dose of conflicting cultures, the Genestealer Cults are subterranean infiltrators that mimic the Skaven with their focus on heavy artillery and monstrous infantry, the Tyranids are a Keystone Army reliant on both hordes of expendable flesh-puppets and horrific monsters like the Vampire Counts, and the Tau act like the Lizardmen, being a strictly-stratified caste society working for the Greater Good whilst following the directives of the mysterious Ethereals/Old Ones.
    • An example of a smaller background race in the setting is the Hrud, who are practically expies of the Skaven in many ways. At least as far as the fluff regarding them gives away. Both are rat-like humanoids who live in sewers in various places, and both use warp-plasma based technology and are scavengers, plus the addition of similar social habits. It is highly unlikely that they will become any kind of major faction in the tabletop, however, since Games Workshop are heavily opposed to the idea of having Warhammer 40000 as simply Warhammer in space, due to the removal of the Squats, the original Dwarf expies.
      • As of its printing, Games Workshop has some funky canon out now that makes them look like weird spine-like jellyfish people (which is actually quite plausible when you...). Although they still have some Skaven elements (photophobia, cavedwelling, Warpstone usage), they also have some new canon junk like a God Pantheon, a curbstomped god who was shattered into psychic shadow spheres called Umbra via Slannesh (who else), and some weird time-distortion, warp-radiation field of narminess which they constantly radiate about themselves.
    • Also, the Imperial Arbitrators were recycled from an abandoned Judge Dredd tabletop game.
    • Nearly everything in W40k is an expy of something from another setting. Aliens vs Starship Troopers vs Colonial Marines vs Terminator vs Robotech vs Elves vs Orks vs Demons etc... While the original game was largely Warhammer Fantasy IN SPACE, the current iterations of W40k are closer to "sci-fi trope deathmatch" with the awesome and grimdark turned up to 11.
      • While being essentially the tomb lords from Warhammer Fantasy, the necrons are also clearly terminator expys. Rules like "I'll be back" are pretty obvious clues.
      • The tyranids are pretty clearly expys of both the Aliens and bugs from the Starship Troopers movies, depending upon the subsetting.
      • For example, genestealers and general indoor fighting of tyranids is heavily based on the Aliens film. Space Hulk was basically Aliens, the board game.
      • While the outdoors stuff, especially the perennial matchup of imperial guard vs tyranids is straight up Starship Troopers, the movie.
    • Special Characters:
      • Khorne. A War God who's favoured warriors are called berserkers, his bloodletter daemons are described as "blessed dead" and is associated with the exhilaration of battle? Not to mention in Warhammer Fantasy, he commands daemons who collect the souls of the dead, his realm is named "Kreignihalla", and his symbol looks like a Valknut? Hmmmm. Sounds familiar.
      • Commander Farsight was a prominent leader of an Empire's military forces. He eventually led some of his brethren in a rebellion against the powerful ruling cast, who's whims most Tau serve their entire lives. He is also known as O'Shovah. There's also his red and white mecha and mysterious past.
      • Ghazghkull Thraka's early history is based on Adolf Hitler's: he was a lowly Goff (the Ork clan known as being militaristic and serious) boy who got severely wounded and then had visions of Orks conquering the Galaxy, just as Hitler was just a German (stereotypically known as militaristic and serious) corporal in WWI, got severely wounded and... well you know the rest.
      • On the other hand is Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed of Cadia, who is Winston Churchill, down to the cigar, with some elements of General Patton thrown in. Fittingly, Cadia is basically a Fantasy Counterpart Culture for Blitz-era Britain.
      • Trazyn the Infinite is basically Doctor Doom if he were an alien space robot.
      • Sly Marbo of the Imperial Guard. A renowned Catachan Jungle Fighter who works as a lone operative, and through his legendary skill in stealth, sabotage and guerrilla warfare has taken on entire enemy forces and emerged victorious. In one of his most famous exploits, he took out an entire Ork Gargant single-handedly. In case you haven't clued in by now, he's a mix of Rambo and Solid Snake.
      • Doomrider is basically a one-dimensional expy of Ghost Rider, if he were a Chaos Space Marine-turned-daemon prince.
  • Taking it full circle, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar has the Stormcast Eternals, who are basically Games Workshop's own Space Marines recycled as Norse myth's Einherjar.
    • It goes even further with the character Sigmar Heldenhammer who was first created for Warhammer Fantasy, had an Expy made of him for 40k in the God-Emperor of Mankind, and when Sigmar returned in The End Times and continued into Age of Sigmar he took on several traits from his sci-fi counterpart.
  • One of the supplement books for Werewolf: The Forsaken, Skinchangers, has a character in it called Shuichi Kurama who is serving as a Host to a fox-spirit named Yoko. The manga/anime series Yu Yu Hakusho has a fox demon named Yoko Kurama who was mortally wounded and took refuge in the womb of a pregnant woman, Shiori Minamino, and was reborn as her son, Shuichi Minamino. On top of that, the physical descriptions and personalities for both Shuichi Kurama and Yoko Kurama are very, very similar.
  • Hellcats and Hockeysticks' official setting, St. Erisian's School for Girls, is St. Trinian's (English girls' boarding school where the only rule is that there are no rules) with the Serial Numbers Filed Off and magic and weird science added.
  • The Crystal Planet, a third-party setting for Pathfinder, is about the mineralites, a race of sentient gemstones with bodies made of Hard Light and gravity, fantastic pseudo-magical technology, a strict caste system, and the ability to fuse with others of their kind. In other words, it's a pretty blatant take on the Gems from Steven Universe.
  • The Banebrood from Megalith Games's Godslayer, hmmm an evil race of Beastmen and mutated northern tribesmen who worship demons and the foul energy that manifests from an unholy moon and use that energy to infect others with a mutating disease. Seems like the company are fans of Chaos.


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