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Player Mooks

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"Disperse, loyal Battle Monkeys! Do my bidding and bust a cap!"

A Player Mook is a Player Character that is a character strictly in the game mechanics sense. These characters have no names, unless the player gives them some. They have no personality, and they don't act in the plot at all. Essentially, they're Mooks and Red Shirts that you get to control.

They can be defined by a few features that differentiate them from the Story Characters:

  • The Player Mooks use the same set of appearances. Often whatever class the generic character is will dictate how they look.
  • If there are mechanics to raise and develop characters, Player Mooks can learn only "generic" abilities. While they'll have access to all the default classes and skills, the Story Characters often have a unique class, plus they can access all the generic classes.
  • While Story Characters come and go at the whims of the plot, you can make as many Player Mooks as you want within limits and dismiss them whenever you want if you desire to do so.
  • Because their number and makeup is entirely determined by the player, these Generic Characters will never appear in a cutscene or do anything in the plot. The one usual exception is when they are first introduced, the one time in which the game can know who/what and how many they are.

Because they're always present and eminently customizable, quite a few benefit from getting nearly as much experience as the main character, so they are never Overrated and Underleveled nor do they require Leaked Experience.

Because of the amount of time and effort many players put into training and equipping these kinds of characters, they often become the target of Video Game Caring Potential.

Also see Cast of Snowflakes. Compare/contrast Non-Player Companion who also plays supporting roles to the PCs but is usually much better developed (if not always more useful) than mooks; a Guest-Star Party Member may skirt the line between these two tropes.


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    Fighting Game 
  • Soulcalibur III: In Chronicles of the Sword mode, the player can create Mooks equal to the number of normal custom character slots they have purchased. Given that these will stay with the player even when, post Time Skip, the previous allies are all Brainwashed and Crazy or had a Faceā€“Heel Turn, not to mention retaining their levels during New Game Plus, they tend to form the most effective parties.

    First-Person Shooter 

    Hack and Slash 
  • Dynasty Warriors, from the third game on, allow the player to recruit bodyguards and armed them, but they just ended up being kill-stealing player mooks.
    • Later Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games added Create Your Own Officer options and allowed you to play as a Player Mook in campaign. Every created officer had the same storyline.
    • Even later games in the Empires sub-series mixed Mook and non-Mook offices into the slush during game play. Based on your "friendship" with the various officers you commanded different ones would appear in cut scenes. If you were close to your Player Mooks, then they showed in the events.

    Platform Game 
  • Killer Queen: The characters have no names besides the names of their classes (Drone/Soldier/Queen), which are never mentioned outside of the short "How to Play" sequence. The game is all gameplay and strategy, with absolutely zero plot or character development.
  • Kirby: Kirby Super Star introduces the ability for Kirby to turn one enemy into his ally, and it can optionally be controlled by a second player. Kirby Star Allies later expanded upon this concept, bringing the total player count up to four and introducing playable bosses through the "Dream Friends" system.
  • Mr. Robot: There are four plot-essential robots that join your party (by having their personalities copied into your head), one for each "class". But you can also get a couple more robot personalities to help you in battle by exploring the world thoroughly, and their existence isn't mentioned at all (even when the main character whines about how crowded it's getting in there).

    RPG — Eastern 
  • Dragon Quest:
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy: The original game just has the player select classes for the four party members. They have no individualized dialogue or storylines.
    • Final Fantasy III features a party of four identical, generic characters with no separate character traits or plot elements, beyond the fact that all interactions with NPCs are ostensibly with the player character that was listed first on the character creation screen.
    • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years does this over and over again. There's a generic Black Mage (named "Black Mage") and a generic White Mage (named "White Mage") who join you in both Ceodore's and Porom's chapters — between the two chapters, they're actually on your team about as long as Palom and Porom were in the original (and in the same places to boot!), but their generic names, nonexistent personalities, and lack of special abilities make them feel a lot more impersonal. In a similar vein, you get "Monk A", "Monk B", and "Monk C" in Yang's chapter; Edward's, meanwhile, has "Guard A", "Guard B", and "Guard C". Then again, this game has tons of characters to begin with, so it seems the game designers were just trying to give you some Crutch Characters without overloading the player.
    • Final Fantasy VI
      • An early sequence requires the player to control several parties consisting mostly of moogles, one of the franchise's adorable mascots. Unlike Mog, a moogle who is a main character (and first appears during the same event), these moogles have low stats and very limited battle commands. They have no distinct personalities. If glitched into the party later in the game, they cannot equip Espers, the main game mechanic for customization and stat boosting.
      • Later, Sabin's scenario has the ghosts in the Phantom Train. Most ghosts are enemies but a few will offer to join your party. They have no backstory, a unique class, and a stat set randomly chosen from three presets. You can only recruit ghosts until you have a full party of four characters; if they are KO'd or use their "Possess" skill they leave you party and you can recruit another one, endlessly. However, they always leave at the end of the level.
    • Similarly to Dragon Quest III and IX, The Final Fantasy Legend lets you choose which kind of character The Hero is, and you can recruit up to three more generic party members at a guild.
    • Final Fantasy Legend II has the Hero take three of their classmates with themm.
  • The Last Remnant has a mixture of unique, more powerful leader-type units, and loads more generic soldiers. The Xbox version only allowed a limited number of leaders, but the PC version removed this restriction.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Any non-required party members will appear in cutscenes (assuming they even let you bring any to a plot-related dungeon in the first place) and will wordlessly react to what happens, but never actually get any dialogue. The main characters don't even acknowledge their existence save for one instance in the first game where the Partner asks what happened to their allies after getting Rayquaza to stop a meteor at the end of the base game, and being assured that they're fine.

    RPG — Strategy 
  • Darkest Dungeon: The units skirt the line between Player Mooks and a Cast of Snowflakes. On the one hand, each unit type (called "heroes", but effectively classes) has a default name, a unique appearance, a short backstory, and their move-sets and dialogue lines are plenty enough to hint at a personality. On the other hand, the player can recruit and even field multiple instances of the same hero at a time, with at most a Palette Swap to distinguish them visually. On the other-other hand, the affliction and quirk systems ensure that even two same-level, same-class units will have distinctive traits, such as a love interest in town, a hatred of the undead, a proclivity for paranoia, or a tendency to eat when under stress. On the other-other-other hand, said features mostly boil down to stat adjustments, and don't really have any narrative bearing besides the implications of the quirks' names and the occasional line of random dialogue.
  • Destiny Of An Emperor seemed like a pretty standard RPG based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story, until you realized that that's not HP, but soldiers! Wow, so many dead bodies!
  • Disgaea
    • In particular, Prinnies are even treated like mooks by the plot, and all that entails. Parodied by the platform spin-offs where 999 other Prinnies serve as lives for the main character, whose only distinction is an apparently easily transferable red scarf.
    • Though in Disgaea, your non-Mook player characters have a harder time learning magic (except Flonne) and can never change class, as your Mooks can, so the Mooks can actually easily outdo the non-Mooks (except Laharl, at first) unless you abuse the Mentor/Student system to teach your named characters a wider variety of magical spells (and even that is hard for the less magically-inclined among them, especially the monsters-type ones who can't use staffs).
    • 3 adds a bit more personality to generic characters, with an introduction scene for each class that plays upon creation, and the ability to talk to them to get some often amusing dialogue from them. 4 lets you individualize them a little by choosing one of three personalities for them during the creation process, which determines their battle quotes and voice, and also allows you to place them in the hub to provide conversation or run the various shops and services.
    • In fact, 4 has Valvatorez say that the 60,000 enemies the party is about to face resolve to 10,000 per character - there are six plot party members. When one character who is an unofficial part of the party points out that she's included in this, Valvatorez hastily says that her ten thousand were actually being counted among the Prinnies. Yeah, the humanoid player mooks are, plot-wise, beneath the Prinnies in importance.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
    • Strangely, there are actually some specific, non-generic Mooks in the Final Fantasy Tactics games: In the first, the generic characters at the introductory monastery fight (that you keep once you get into chapter 2) all have set names. Also, the plot-relevant Chocobo, Boco, is otherwise just a generic monster (who has dialog when using "help" on his name in the formation screen while real generics just say "..."). The original release had exactly enough space to keep every named character, including these, and no more. In Tactics Advance, there are recruitable 'generic' characters with story ties which come with powerful skills pre-learned.
    • Generic units in Tactics Advance and its sequel are slightly less generic in that they can at least get a fair bit of dialogue if you opt to deploy them as the leader for a sidequest battle. Each race has their own unique pre-battle and post-battle dialogue, and with all of the dozens of sidequest battles, that amounts to a lot overall.
  • Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a second NIS title with player mooks controlled by a sentient book. In this case, a magical tome that somehow acquired a soul gets sent to explore a labyrinth with a squad of magically animated puppets.
  • Makai Kingdom is easily the biggest example of this trope from NIS — no plot characters join you until the post game, all of your playable characters until then are generic nameless mooks. Even lampshaded by Zeta, who calls them "Battle Monkeys".
  • Mount & Blade: The premise of the series is to form your own army of player mooks and have many adventures with them around the fictional world of Calradia.
  • Phantom Brave. Particularly odd is the theme on how alone Marona is, only counting Ash as company. The gazillion of other Phantoms she summons do not count at all.
  • Spellforce, a blend between Real Time Strategy and Role Playing Game, has you create a player avatar who has the ability to summon a fully controllable army. This is even an explicit ability in the first game of the series.
  • Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis: There is a way to actually turn a Player Mook into a named character. By following a certain sequence of events, Secret Character Deneb can take over a Player Mook's body.

    RPG — Western 
  • Diablo II allows you to hire expendable mercenaries in town to aid you. This was fleshed out in Diablo III with "Followers" — functionally similar to the previous game's mercenaries, but with a skill tree and more lore attached.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: When you storm the Tower of Ishal, you are temporarily given nameless Player Mooks to fill up the party. Depending on your class and Origin, you get either a soldier, a Circle mage, or both. This is because at that point, the only permanent Non-Player Companion you have is Alistair and the Tower of Ishal is where you get drilled in the party controls until you really get them. Regardless of what you do, both Player Mooks perish at the end of the segment, when the tower collapses on itself.
  • Wizardry: Most games let you recruit and customise minions. Wizardry 8 lets you give them their own distinct voices and personalities. They talk as necessary whenever the plot demands, and often they feel like story characters rather than Player Mooks.

    Sports Game 
  • Mario Superstar Baseball and its sequel, Mario Super Sluggers, uses this trope like there's no tomorrow. In fact, the only Palette Swaps available in those games are for the mooks themselves (complete with individualized stats), with the thin justification that those same mooks had palette swaps in the main games to begin with (except for Magikoopa and Dry Bones, who only had palette swaps in the Paper Mario series). Interestingly, while Yoshi gets palette swaps in the sequel, Birdo still doesn't, despite different colored Birdos blatantly appearing elsewhere in the game.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • Metal Gear featured playable mooks in certain installment.
    • The now-defunct online multiplayer mode for Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence had players controlling the enemy soldiers (from the KGB, GRU Spetsnaz, and Ocelot units) from Snake Eater in addition to Snake and other "unique characters".
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops involves Snake creating his own army by capturing enemy soldiers and persuading them to join his side. The player can then control any of these former enemy soldier and if the player happens to be infiltrating an area patrolled by the same enemy type, the player character can blend in perfectly by not acting conspicuous (read: not shooting anyone randomly).
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has a similar army-building system, except recruited soldiers (and POWs) that are added to MSF (Snake's army) are all forced to wear standard MSF uniforms instead of keeping their original wardrobe, leading to a more homogenized army compared to the FOXHOUND precursor in Portable Ops.
  • Perfect Dark': One of the multiplayer modes has player 1 try to complete a single-player mission while player 2 controls the mooks. The mook usually has only 2 weapons. If the mook gets stuck (or player 2 needs to get to a closer mook) he can use a cyanide pill to effectively Body Surf to another mook.

    Tabletop Game 
  • Ars Magica has Grogs: non-magical side characters serving Magical Society in generic roles like guards, manservants, and stablehands, using restricted character creation rules. Players can take one over for A Day in the Limelight when their mage Player Character is occupied elsewhere, and are encouraged to have fun at the grog's expense — a bodyguard who charges a dragon can be replaced, but one who survives charging a dragon can become a legend at the table.

    Tower Defence 
  • The Battle Cats: These are the only characters usable. God Cat is the closest thing to an exception in the game.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 has these in one chapter, where Glade joins along with a couple of generic knights under his command, who have names such as Lance Knight and Bow Knight. Since they're only available for the one chapter, most players just strip them of their weapons and use them as cannon fodder.
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem give you these if you get enough normal characters killed. (Most players STILL start over on a single death anyways.)
    • Fire Emblem Fates allows you to recruit generic units either through Einherjar or by capturing enemy generic units and using My Castle's prison to "convince" them to join you, either through gold or talking. They even get names after they join you, but are limited to their base class tree, making them... less than optimal after a certain point, excluding the capturable bosses that have just high enough growths and rare skills to hold their own for most of the game.
    • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia puts two generic Cavaliers and a generic Soldier under your direct command during the "Battle of Zofia Harbor" DLC map.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: In Chapter 6 of the "Cindered Shadows" campaign, you need to have four units (including Byleth, but not including the Ashen Wolves) plug up four vortices to disrupt a dark ritual. If you can't deploy enough units to do so, you are given a generic Fortress Knight, Paladin, and Sniper to make up the difference.
  • X-COM: Troopers have randomly generated names and stats and a handful of character models. They are fielded by the dozen, die in large numbers, and replacements are just a few mouse clicks away.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: Max out your Like stat with Dwayne Forge and he'll send his gang members to assist you when you call him.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Being awesome enough means one can recruit fellow gang members to assist on missions. They will follow, fire, pursue and then try to get in the car with you to go back home.
  • Saints Row: The player's generic gang members in Saints Row 2 and Saints Row: The Third. Saints Row IV follows suit, of course, with one good variation: a late game unlock gives you several super-powered homies to be summoned. They are actually default player character models for Saints Row, Saints Row 2, and Saints Row 2 co-op.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours. No matter how many times your Enforcer, Driver or Assassin gets wasted, you can call up another one. The regular drivers/co-pilots that assist Tony come in differing flavors and talents and skills (this last part may not be intended). It's so cute to hear them scream curses like the boss. Their highly efficent fighting skills definitely invokes the above mentioned Caring Potential when an enemy mook rushes out of the bushes and shoots them point blank in the face.
  • Watch Dogs: Legion: There is no central protagonist — instead, players can make a playable character out of anyone in London, from a highly-trained spy to a curmudgeony grandma.
  • X: Starships owned by the player, but not used for the player ship, don't even have pilots (specifically, the player's name is listed as pilot on the ship's info screen), unless the player gives them one by activating a script that adds a named pilot. Even then, their name is randomly generated based on the species that owns the sector, and you never interact with the pilots in person beyond giving them orders from a command console. Averted in X: Rebirth, where your starships are crewed by actual people who you speak with to give orders.