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Headscratchers / Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

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    Luigi in the audience 

  • You can find Luigi in Rogueport with a new chapter of his own adventure (and a partner to prove it) every time you return with a crystal star. Then why can he sometimes be seen in the audience of your battles? Isn't he supposed to be off on his own adventure?
    • Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • Cosplay? Or perhaps Luigi's watching in between boat trips?
    • He's in the final boss battle if I'm not mistaken.
    • Wasn't his adventure over with at that point?

    Rogueport Crystal Star 

  • If the Crystal Star from the X-Naut Base was originally found in Rougeport, why did it go to Fahr Outpost in the final battle?
    • It (or rather, the game designers) didn't want the Bob-Ombs to feel left out, maybe?
    • They might have been going to all the nearby towns. Because Rogueport was literally right on top of where the battle was taking place, there might have been no need for a Crystal Star to stop there.
    • Also, sadly no one in Rogueport except Merlon, Zess T. and Luigi like Mario, so they wouldn't support him even if it meant living in shadow.
    • Podley likes him. Merlee and Merluvlee like him. Don Pianta and his boys like him. Frankie and Francesca like him. All four shopkeepers like him. Lahla likes him. The sailors by the docks like him. The man you can rescue from the pit of 100 trials likes him, and so does his son (assuming you complete their sidequest). The innkeeper likes him. Toadsworth likes him. Dazzle and the Trouble Center guy at least appreciate him. I think it's more likely that the Shadow Queen's power was at its height in and around Rogueport, so the Star had to leave for Fahr Outpost in order to be able to absorb the hopes and good vibes it needed.
    • Podley doesn't necessarily like Mario, given how little the two interact. Not once in the game do you have to meet with Merlee and Merluvlee. The shopkeepers, Dazzle, the innkeeper, and the Trouble Center are also optional, and the sailors at the docks are probably represented by the Sapphire Star that traveled to Keelhaul Key.
    • Then maybe we needn't be so cynical regarding the residents of Rogueport; perhaps it has nothing to do with who likes him. The Crystal Stars, like the Magical Map (probably because of the former), "know" where you ended up getting them. The last one you got was on the moon, but since it's populated entirely by enemies, it went to the next best place: the location responsible for getting you to the moon.


    Vivian's knowledge 

  • So if Vivian joined Mario's party during the middle of the game, why didn't she tell them that her sisters were working for a demon that wanted to take over Peach's body? Also, the Shadow Queen seemed forgetful about Vivian's presence and made no mention of Doopliss taking her place.
    • Maybe Vivian (And maybe even Marilyn) were unaware of Beldam's plan to revive the Shadow Queen. Vivian (And as said, maybe Marilyn) probably thought that they were just working to serve Grodus.
    • Although their ages aren't clear, Beldam is statedly the oldest of the Sirens. It's entirely possible that Beldam was alive when the Queen was sealed 1000 years ago, but (at least) Vivian wasn't alive then, or was too young to be able to remember. Or maybe Beldam just never told Vivian about their real plans because she thought she was too stupid and would screw it up.
    • Actually you hit the nail right on the head, Vivian was too young to remember Beldam's actions were to revive the Shadow Queen and any of the events concerning her before she was sealed away. If you enter the room in the Palace of Shadow before the fight with Grodus and have her as your current partner out on the field she'll comment on how familiar the place kind of is to her, meaning she only vaguely remembers that far back but not far enough back to remember as much as sisters do.
    • Also have to question why she didn't bother telling Mario and Co. that the X-Naut base and final Crystal Star was on the moon.
    • Or better yet, the secret teleporter.
    • Well the transporter was locked anyway, so it wouldn't have done good.
    • Shadow Sirens don't need teleporters, so no reason to know about it. As for it being on the moon, if Vivian was as subservient to Beldam as we can assume, she would’ve just gone where her sister did and wouldn’t have known or questioned where it was. Even if Vivian has known, anyway, it’s not like that would’ve affected anything.

    Vivian's fire weakness 

  • Why is Vivian burned by fire? I can get not being able to punch spikes, but you'd think a Fire Mage would have a Ring of Fire Protection or something...
    • That’s not how it works in this game. You’re only immune to fire if you’re distinctly a fire-elemental creature, not someone who just knows how to use fire magic.

    Hooktail's letters 

  • How was Hooktail able to "write letters" to Gloomtail? First of all, Hooktail was in a castle while Gloomtail was locked in the Palace of Shadows. Plus, if any delivery service were to exchange letters, that'd be impossible because the Palace of Shadows was locked behind the Thousand Year Door.
    • ...Dragon magic?
    • They write the letter and then burn it with their breath.
    • She wasn't, Gloomtail just blamed someone for her not writing to him on impulse without considering a more reasonable explanation.
    • Maybe they have their own Mailbox SP things or something. Mario can't be the only person in the world to use one. They probably come in different models/sizes (they'd have to to accommodate the wide variety of races in the Mario world).

    Nitro Honey Syrup explosion 

  • In Chapter 6, the rat businessman on the Excess Express mentions that his stolen product, the Nitro Honey Syrup, is capable of causing an explosive disaster if it's mixed with calcium from a seashell and a bit of gold... I have two questions about this - how would whoever created the product have come to discover the results of such a random combination, and how were the Shadow Sirens also able to discover the same information, considering their plans to use it for Mario's undoing would have required them to have done so?
    • It was said by the businessrat that the syrup could even resurrect the dead. Even if that was an exaggeration, it was obviously a pretty powerful item, so the creators likely did a LOT of research into its chemical formula. Calcium and gold, despite gold being notoriously nonreactive, could theoretically create this explosion if mixed with the syrup, which the manufacturers probably knew.

    Rogueport Crystal Star on the map 

  • If the last Crystal Star was originally kept with the Magical Map in Rogueport, that means that, normally, the one who found the map and brought it to the Thousand-Year Door would already have that Crystal Star. So why, when Mario's hunting for all of them, does the map reveal that one last, if it was supposed to be the first one he should've gotten?
    • Because it's supposed to be a plot twist that Peach was taken to The Moon, just like how it's supposed to be a plot twist that the legendary treasure is the Shadow Queen.
    • All part of Grodus's plan, which came to fruition after Chapter 6.
    • Less meta, the map could have selected the star that was closest at the time Mario first used it. In fact, judging by the last few stars, it could have just been selecting the closest one period. Consider the locations:
      • Petalburg could easily be only kilometers from Rogueport itself.
      • The Boggly Woods also could be relatively close.
      • Glitzville can only be reached by blimp, yes, but only because of its altitude: Kammy implies that it is a day trip.
      • Twilight Town could be farther away, considering how the time of day changes significantly between there and Rogueport.
      • Keelhaul Key is several days voyage by sail, though this may not be a direct route.
      • Poshley Heights is at least two full days away from Rogueport by train, possibly as many as two and a half, depending on the times of departure and arrival and how long Mario took to lower the bridge at the abandoned station: Even at 20 km/hr, that is at least 960 km.
      • Finally, the moon is, you know, the moon, and is almost certainly farther from any location on its planet than any other location on the planet.
      • Perhaps the Crystal Stars and Map analyzed the situation and ordered the locations by partner and equipment needs, so they won't send Mario to a place where he'll need the Ultra Boots before he goes to the place that has them, or to a place that requires Koops' shell ability before he joins the party, and so on.


    Noose in Rogueport 

  • A bit of Fridge Logic/Fridge Horror - Who would the noose in Rogueport even be used on, when a majority of the population are Waddling Head Goombas?
    • Bandits? Toads? Koopas? Craws? Piantas? ...Anthropomorphic snails? The rest of the populace might be waddling heads (Bob-Ombs, Squeeks) or things that float (Boos, Lakitus), but there's no real shortage of kinds of characters it might theoretically have been used on, though what sorts of crimes were deemed to warrant it...
    • What would they even use that noose for, anyway? Even Rogueport doesn't seem like such a nasty place that they would perform public hangings in the central square.
    • It was probably there to hang really bad criminals, the first of which was probably the witch because they used to do that in the 17th century witch trials along with incendiary executions.

    Shadow teleportation 

  • Why doesn't Vivian ever use her power to teleport through the shadows like her sisters can to help Mario and co. when applicable? She could've traveled back to Rogueport to find someone to help the crew when they were stranded on Keelhaul Key, or went to Poshley Heights and gotten the Garnet Star instantaneously instead of Mario having to take the train. (I know the last one wouldn't have mattered since it was a fake, but she could've tried.)
    • Keelhaul Key is stated in game to have very turbulent waters surrounding it, which is why you had to seek out Bobbery. And even if another ship were to get close to the island, it would also have been sunk by the Embers.
    • There's also a blue pipe, but you need the Ultra Hammer for it.

     X's Abilities: A Primer 

  • The phrase "X's Abilities: A Primer" is stated every time a new partner joins your party (including Ms. Mowz, the only optional party member). What does it mean?
    • A primer is a type of book, usually intended to teach or introduce something. It's just meant to fit with the whole books/paper theme of the game.

     How Did They Switch? 

  • How exactly did Doopliss and Mario switch places? In their first battle, Doopliss is clearly talking while in the "Shadow" Mario form, and even speaks right before he goes down. And then BOOM, as soon as the battle is out, they apparently already traded places? How does that even work considering Doopliss was beaten down as him talking proves.
    • I think that the switch takes place right at the end - Doopliss is heard laughing as his HP hits 0, and his next line of dialogue is him saying something along the lines of "Wha...Huh...? You beat me?" I always thought that second line was supposed to be Mario talking - he's confused as to how he lost when it looked like he'd just won - meaning the switch occurred just after Doopliss's laugh. Now, as for how or why it happened right then and there, I'm really not sure how Doopliss's body-stealing magic could've done that. Hopefully someone else can explain that.
    • Actually, it (somehow) takes place during the transition from the Stage to the next cutscene. Here's proof (pay attention to Mario's clothes):
    • That entire plot point is kind of weird, in my opinion - you can't hurt each other when you first confront him as Shadow Mario, and even though the crows are heard saying the magic will stop working if you say his real name, all saying it to him does is let you damage each other again...Again, it's kinda weird.

     The train to Poshley Heights 

  • Why do the Shadow Sirens waste so much time trying to stop Mario from reaching Poshley Heights, with the whole bomb threat, instead of just warping into the sanctum and taking the Garnet Star while he's forced to take the train?
    • Maybe Grodus was already setting up his plan to have Mario do the dirty work of gathering the stars for him, and therefore he and the Shadow Sirens weren't seriously trying to stop Mario? That was his logic in not stopping him during the very next chapter (by leaving the last Crystal Star to Lord Crump, his "least competent underling"). I doubt he had that plan the whole game, but by the point of Mario having all but two of the stars, I see why he would start considering it.
    • If that were the case, then a.) why do the Shadow Sirens take the Crystal Star from the sanctum at all, and b.) why is Grodus upset that it wound up being a fake? Each Crystal Star Mario collects is his only means of knowing where the next one is, especially since he doesn't know that the X-Nauts already have the last one, and the sirens don't break into the sanctum until Mario gets there anyway, so it's not like they couldn't have waited a few extra minutes for him to grab it.
    • Why is everyone assuming the Shadow Sirens' teleportation is instant travel? Even when they disappear into the ground they have to physically move their shadow to where they want to pop up, as evinced by Vivian in battle. Especially taking into consideration the cut parts of Chapter 6 (you were supposed to fight the Sirens at the drawbridge station, and the Smorg was created by Beldam to stop you) one could reasonably assume they were travelling by some other means, if not stowing away on the Excess Express itself.
    • Your statement about them having to "move" their shadows to their next location is kind of moot, too, since you can't really do that if you're trying to travel down to Earth's surface from an underground lunar base - there's obviously some sort of teleportation involved, and even if it's not instantaneous, it would still have to be faster than a 3-day train ride. And the things that were cut are irrelevant, too, since they still lead to the question of why the sirens are wasting so much time stopping Mario instead of warping to the sanctum.
    • From Beldam's perspective, she doesn't really have to actually stop Mario at any point, as long as somebody opens the door. She just has to act like she's trying.


     Rogueport's sorry state 

  • Why is Rogueport stuck in such a dilapidated state? The town has the ruins of an ancient, very prosperous city buried beneath it, all of which seem to be perfectly able to be explored, as well as a huge door rumored to hold a legendary treasure behind it - seems like it would be an archaeologist's dream to go digging through all of that. Yet the reason the town's filled with cutthroats, thieves, and a crime syndicate seems to be that they go to Rogueport because no one ever looks for them there, implying people aren't interested in the treasure and the ancient city.
    • I blame the mafia, but honestly most port towns with a lot of cultural mixing end up being populated with poor immigrants trying to eke their way through their overpopulated slums.

     Train tickets 

  • Did Mario and co. really have to go straight to Don Pianta in order to obtain tickets for the Excess Express? Yes, the tickets are supposed to be available only to the rich and famous, but Mario is a hero of the Mushroom Kingdom and is known to a lot of people, and one of his companions he's travelling with is a supposedly world-famous actress, who was apparently wealthy enough to have her own private abode built in a secluded corner of the Boggly Woods. Even if you wanted to argue that Flurrie is retired or something like that, it still begs the question of why no one ever considers it on option before advising you to ask the mafia for a favor, right?
    • I'm sure there would have been another way without Don Pianta, but because that was the first and apparently easiest opportunity they were presented with, they went with it. As for Mario being famous, that doesn't stop innkeepers and shopkeepers from charging him the same as they do everyone else, so I don't see anyone giving him a discount here.
      • Well, you could say it was an easy opportunity, but recall that this is also the guy who told him not to come back. And your active partner tells Frankly as much. It's probably a good thing the Don was in such a bad way when he came in to ask.
    • As it turns out, the train tickets are such a breeze for the don that he offers to let Mario have as many as he likes...It's just weird that Frankly's first hint of advice whenever a problem arises is "Go see if the mafia will do you a favor for this." The way he explains it to them doesn't even sound like he's aware of what the mafia is really like.
    • The mafia controls everything that goes in and everything that goes out of the town. They decide who gets to be rich and famous.

     Keelhaul Key's "Accommodations" 

  • Why do the inn and shop on Keelhaul Key still charge coins during Chapter 5? Not only is Mario their captain, but everyone there is stranded on a deserted island. How can they possibly be charged for things they need to survive? (And even if money is commonly found just by defeating enemies, the crew consists, in total, of Mario and his partners, Four-Eyes, Pa-Patch, Flavio, and a few Toads and Bob-ombs - I can only imagine the first three of them having the skills necessary to battle the enemies on the island.)
    • I think you've hit upon it without realizing it. They've still got to make money and get paid, but they can't go running into the jungle and fight the enemies therein, so they leave it to more capable fighters such as Mario, who later come back and (at least theoretically) avail themselves of the Toads' services.


  • How was Beldam able to get off the hook without punishment at the end of the game? Super Paper Mario showed that its villains had some personality and redeemable qualities throughout the game, but Beldam is a pretty classic case of a Wicked Witch. She tricked two groups of people into opening the Thousand-Year Door and resurrecting the Shadow Queen and never displayed any regret at having done so. How is she suddenly all nice and good come the ending? Why does the game imply as though she's already been forgiven?
    • Vivian can be quite forgiving and naive, as illustrated throughout the story, and the ending was seemingly in fashion of the "good guys finish the conflict and forgive all loose ends" pattern usually seen in kids' media. On a darker note, Beldam's behavior towards Vivian is actually quite reminiscent of that in abusive relationships: for the abuser to shed crocodile tears and promise to make amends to lure the abusee back into their control (the results are often less than pretty, even when the abuser is sincerely trying). Or perhaps Beldam and everyone else against her know that she won't and/or can't pull anything else in the future, given that the Shadow Queen has already been defeated, the unsealing of presumably being the biggest threat Beldam could ever pose, so she herself feels no need to be a Jerkass anymore now that she has no more plans for herself, and everyone else is content to forgive and forget, as Karma Houdini-ish as it sounds.
    • Moreover, Vivian has a new support circle through her new friends. Beldam very well might not have changed at all, but Vivian is no longer so isolated that she won't be able to see her own abuse. While Beldam's still a Karma Houdini for now, at the very least Vivian is in a better position to look critically about the ways she's treated and put her figurative foot down if Beldam steps out of line.

     Punio's search 

  • Why didn't Punio go ask Flurrie for help before going all the way to Rogueport? Even if he didn't think she could fight off the X-Nauts on her own, he could've at least asked her to help him find someone else to take them.
    • Maybe he thought the way to Flurrie's house was more dangerous for him than attempting to find help if he went towards Rogueport?
    • But he does know that Flurrie is fond of going for walks in the woods - the fact that she lost her necklace implies she did so quite recently - and he doesn't know anyone in Rogueport. He couldn't have just hid somewhere and waited for her to pass by, even if he couldn't make it to her house?
    • Well, Flurrie didn't even want to show her face to Punio when she lost her necklace wanting to stay locked up in her room. So, I highly doubt she was going to go out for walks without getting her necklace back first. And you really think that Punio could take on the entire Shadow Sirens by himself?
      • Well, here's the thing: We know all the trouble he would have actually getting her help, but apparently, based on their dialogue, even trying to ask didn't dawn on him until he got all the way to the tree, found the normal entrance blocked by a locked door, and went to the general vicinity of the "thingy" covering the secret entrance. It's only after you go to enlist her aid that the party finds out about the necklace problem. On top of that, he would likely not know he needed to engage the Shadow Sirens to get the necklace, and they apparently aren't out for handing out random thrashings, as you can find out by talking to Beldam while the poster is still "missing".
      • And we know that the Punies have been locked up long enough for Petuni's mushroom to dry up, whereas Flurrie didn't realize her necklace was gone until Mario was already in the Boggly Woods. And she didn't know that the Shadow Sirens had found the necklace, and even if she had, I doubt she would've left it up to Punio to fight them and get it back. She trusted Mario with the task because he's...well, Mario, but if it were just up to Punio, I could see her swallowing her pride and helping him without the necklace. (Or at least going and getting it back herself.)

     Invisible Peach 

  • How do Peach's clothes remain visible when she drinks the invisibility potion, despite shrinking or growing with her when she drinks a botched potion?
    • For that matter, why do her footsteps still sound like shoes when she’s completely invisible?
    • Maybe Peach wears special clothing that allows her clothes to change size whenever she changes size? I can understand the invisibility since the potion is meant to affect your body directly and not what you wear over top of it. It's not like Peach has the ability to turn invisible herself like with Francis in the next game. And maybe her feet just sound that way naturally? Or the developers had to keep that sound end to make sure we still hear her walking?
    • What's the original mechanic that characterized Super Mario Bros and remains one of the series' defining features? The mushrooms that make Mario grow. Perhaps everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom wears special clothing that contorts to their bodies no matter how much they change.

     Pipes in the Sewers 

  • Why would an ancient city (i.e. Rogueport Sewers) have pipes leading to, among other places, a presumably recently-built city (i.e. Poshley Heights), a military outpost in the middle of nowhere (i.e. Fahr Outpost), and a deserted island (i.e. Keelhaul Key)?
    • Maybe the pipes to other towns were constructed later in Rogueport's history. (And then blocked off once the town became more befitting of its name, since people didn't want just anyone from there to be able to come and go as they pleased.)
    • The same reason there are pipes leading to random, coincidentally plot-important places in Toad Town’s sewers.
    • Anyway, at least some of the places the pipes lead to were probably still around 1,000 years ago — at least two of the heroes who originally defeated the Shadow Queen were said to have hidden their Crystal Stars inside the Great Tree and Creepy Steeple, respectively. I think the same was even true for Hooktail Castle, though I could easily be misremembering.


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