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Sandbox / Morgan Wick

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  • If you are the Hero, refer to this list. You still might want to study the Evil Overlord List as well.
    • If you expect to fight an evil overlord, also refer to this list.
  • If you are a Rogue on the side of good, refer to this list. If you are a Rogue on the side of good of the female persuasion, take the first list into account and add this one to it.
  • If you are the Sidekick, refer to this list.

  • Instead of a twee little monkey or ferret or the like, my familiar will be a venomous snake or something similarly capable of defending itself. Bonus points if the pet triggers a phobia in the villain.
  • Anyone who talks about their sword being thirsty is irredeemably evil. It's an even worse sign if the sword actually IS thirsty.
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  • If my liege begins acting strangely, especially if his eyes or appearance look suspicious, I will draw appropriate conclusions.
  • If I ever become aware of information of something fantastic or unusual in my setting, I will not tell the police the whole truth of the story, lest they think I'm insane. I will instead give them a plausible-sounding story about the villain, and then let them figure out the rest when they arrive to help me.
  • If my strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure, I will not pick a fight when there are eleven bad guys.
    • I will also remember Lancelot and make sure to keep my heart (and other parts) pure, or at least weigh the "strength of ten" thing against the momentary pleasure of a boinking.
  • If one of my teammates starts to constantly separate themselves from the group or act excessively angry or sad, (or even happy, if their usual personality is the opposite) I will make the time to take them aside and ask why, even if they're naturally a loner. If I'm wrong, there's no harm done, and if I'm right, I may have just uncovered a traitor—or PTSD issues beyond the norm.
    • Similarly, if a villain is brainwashing/blackmailing me, I shall not automatically assume that my teammates will/cannot help me. Unless said villain has a method of instantly killing them if I reveal the truth, (which is unlikely) I will tell my companions about any forced compliance or revealed plans, and we will work something out. If they won't acknowledge that I'm being forced to the Dark Side, they aren't worth working with anyway.
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  • Before carrying out any ritual to increase my power, I will read up on any psychoactive effects the ritual may have, and take appropriate medication.
  • If I suddenly realize that the Big Bad's Evil Plan may have a completely different goal from the one I've been assuming, I will not think about it for a week while muttering "it couldn't be!" to myself. Instead, I will tell someone.
  • If I have a secret identity as either a superhero or normal person, I will tell my loved ones about both as soon as possible. (The general rule with revealing it to people I date is that if the person's been with me for a month, he's not a villain in disguise.)
    • I will consider forming a secret identity before gallivanting off on any heroics or villainy; being either openly tends to mess up your social and/or legal life, surrounding you with entirely useless flunkies/groupies. Also, it is a good way to protect your house and standing in society.
  • I will not assume that the villains' plans on whom they will attack all revolve around me. Whether it's my friends and family to even some innocent nameless villagers, Villains are generally not picky on whom they want to do bad things to.
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  • My allies and I will decide in advance who will be saved if any of us has to make a Sadistic Choice or Friend or Idol Decision.
  • If the conflict I am fighting in obeys some ancient traditions, I will not break them to get an advantage. That is villain territory. And breaking them first means Karmic Backlash at its finest.
  • If I am the hero and find myself, for some reason or another, planning a heroic sacrifice and/or suicide, I will sit down for a minute and think before doing anything drastic. (Yes, it's difficult to think clearly when contemplating one's death, but if I didn't have the willpower to push through that, I wouldn't be a hero.) I will use common sense to think about how my death would affect my loved ones and/or followers, or even the inanimate things/location I protect from evil. There are worlds where Heroes have died. They are (or, rather, were) not pretty.
  • If one of my friends suddenly starts wearing all black, Spikes of Villainy, or the like, I will look into why.
  • I will understand that illegal bombmakers DO NOT have a manual or training course. They will not helpfully colour code the wiring, which is likely all to come off one reel, and cut to length as needed.
    • Nor will I scream into the radio "Do I cut the red wire or the blue wire", a question that is meaningless to someone who CAN NOT ACTUALLY SEE THE BOMB.
  • If there is no reason that my friends/family knowing things about the Heroic Struggle would be detrimental to the cause or a danger to them, I will keep them updated on the dangerous things out there. It could save their lives someday.
  • I will never wear white on the job, and especially not my finest.
    • Before going into battle, my hair goes into a ponytail. Pulling hair can happen.
  • If I truly must be a Celibate Hero, I will try to be fairly knowledgeable about all the folks whom I work with (all the good main/side characters). If any of them might have a thing for me, I will try to be civil about it and if I must I will let them down gently. (But definitely keep friendship as an option if necessary.) I will not flat out ignore them (especially if they are generally respectable people.) Because fans and the like are more forgiving towards Celibate heroes if they aren't being used as a plot device to keep other characters in a perpetually unrequited romance just for the sake of one.
  • If I come to my trusted uncle with some great secret that I haven't told to anybody, and he asks me: "Have You Told Anyone Else?" I will reply "Yes," and proceed to list off the names of everyone else I trust. On the off chance that he was the one responsible for the secret in question and is trying to eliminate witnesses, he will have to choose between simply letting me go or hunting down everybody else on my list.
  • If possible, my team will consist only of mature, well-adjusted adults as emotionally unstable teenagers are all too easily lured to the dark side. If having an emotionally unstable teenager on my team is unavoidable, he will be encouraged to come straight to me with whatever is troubling him, I will do my best to help rather than dismissing his fears and he will under no circumstances be allowed to spend any time alone with some creepy old guy.
  • No matter what genre I am in, if I walk into a room or forest clearing, etc, and see my beloved spouse/fiancée/love muffin being kissed by someone else, I will not automatically assume that he/she is cheating on me. I will remember that sometimes people are the recipients of unwanted affection. Above all, no matter how much emotional pain this puts me in, I will not run away sobbing and flat-out refuse to listen to anything my loved one has to say. I will at least stay there until I have clear confirmation that he/she is cheating on me. Then I will run away/take revenge/whatever.
    • Scratch the above, actually. Whenever I see people doing strange, seemingly violent or suggestive things, I will not make assumptions about the situation. Far too many relationships—both romantic and platonic—have been ruined that way. Anyway, if the situation really is as dangerous as it seems, running away won't help—it'll just alert the killer to my presence.
    • I will also consider the possibility of it being an illusion or the result of brainwashing by a villain. There's nothing better for seeding conflict than telepathic abilities.
  • If I am informed that I have, for example, won something in a contest I don't remember entering, I will ring back and enquire about it. I will not simply say 'Woot, free stuff!' and accept—many cursed items cannot be passed on unless the receiver willingly takes it on themselves.
  • I will be polite towards any cop who arrests me, unless they're working for a tyrannical dictatorship (and maybe even then). Especially if the cop is forced to postpone my imprisonment for whatever reason and go on a journey with me. We may have just found ourselves in a buddy cop movie.
  • If, while I am resting at home between critical stages of my adventure, a man with a large crate comes to the door and says I have a package that I didn't order, I will kick him in the groin. Harsh, yes, but it's that or get stuffed in the crate and get taken to goodness-knows-where, so rather him than me.
  • I will get all my ethical dilemma crap out of the way early on so that I know whether I'd be able to shoot the Big Bad when I have the chance or not.
    • If I do my soul-searching and it turns out I am the type who wouldn't, fine. There are plenty of non-lethal alternatives. Throwing the gun at them is surprisingly effective, and they sure won't see it coming.
    • If recent circumstances make me feel I must re-evaluate my principles, I will do it sooner rather than later.
  • If I hear that an artifact has been stolen/destroyed/scattered into little pieces, before going on a quest to restore it I will do a quick spot check on the artifact in question to see if there's any sordid histories or connections to monsters that meant the person who broke it was actually doing a good thing that looked like a bad thing.
  • If I have use a false identity, I will preferably not use a Sdrawkcab Alias; they always get seen through quickest.
  • A well-recognised and effective spy technique is to hack the security cameras so that instead of showing actual footage they just show a short loop of footage that doesn't have me in it repeatedly. However, if I'm going to use this I will make sure to choose the times and location carefully so that the camera loop doesn't show a large clock, visible wristwatch on someone's arm or anything like that, because it tends to give the game away.
  • For secondary protagonists (it doesn't work as well when the hero tries it): If I am in a No Fourth Wall series, I will establish some sort of relationship or at least understanding with the author. It doesn't have to be a positive one, and indeed I can base it on pissing him off by calling out his Hand Wave or being silly at the wrong moment or generally being an unwanted Fourth-Wall Observer. This gives the advantage that I will be known to the writer (who must script such occasions) and the audience, because this sort of thing tends to stand out and they may like that, as well as providing needed light-hearted dialogue. I may get some backlash from the author for this behaviour, anything up to being hilariously slaughtered, but I can be brought back to maintain comedy and keep the audience pleased with no more explanation than 'the author wanted me in again'. The First Law of Resurrection is your friend.
  • I will ascertain whether the fireproof tunic makes me fireproof as well. If it only actually protects an area of my body the size of a short-sleeved shirt, it's not going to be that helpful to me.
  • I will never tell the villain mid-fight to 'chill out'. This will always prompt them to say 'Very well' and fire their hidden ice weapon. Always.
  • I will try to avoid fighting with villains that have hypnotic powers, as they will try to brainwash you with them.
  • If I turn a corner and suddenly encounter an army of Mooks pointing their weapons at me and everyone freezes, I will remember that my first action will cause them to open fire. Therefore, rather than making it a short quip, I will start running.
  • If I run into an angry feline beast, I will check its paws for splinters.
    • From as much of a distance as possible, mind, just in case there aren't any.
  • I will recognise that some names are just associated with bad guys as a rule. Anyone named 'Bolivar', for instance, will be anti-villainous at best.
    • You mean like Simón Bolívar?
    • Hey!
      • Alright, make that Anti-Heroic. Anti-heroes are not always very nice people anyway, so I should still be wary of them.
  • For those who work alone, but have allies: If we have acquired the crucial MacGuffin and have to transport it somewhere, the person I will entrust it to will be both the strongest person I know and the most trustworthy person I know. If that person is myself then regardless of whoever else is available I will not let anyone else get their paws on it for love nor money.
    • If someone tries to offer either love or money in return for being able to carry it then I will not only refuse, but will also make sure to move that person a long way down my list of trusted people. There will be plenty of time for sex and profiting after the world isn't in mortal danger, after all.
  • If trying to reason with a villain on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, no-one on my side of the negotiations will be allowed to say 'We can give you anything you want'. The villain will growl 'I want my wife/children/hamster back', lose all reasonability and kill any progress we may have been making, resulting in nothing but a big waste of time.
  • If someone I do not know I can trust pats me on the shoulder, especially if said hand lingers for more than a second, at the first possible opportunity I will have all the clothing I was wearing at that time destroyed and check everything that I had with me. They could have put anything on my shoulder in that time, starting with a recording microphone to listen in on me and getting worse from there.
  • If someone I know causes the lights to flicker when they enter the room, I will disassociate myself with them immediately until it is conclusively proven to be safe to do otherwise.
  • I will never pick sides between two powerful forces fighting over mankind's future with equally extreme yet opposite philosophies. Choosing to be neutral and fight both sides will always end up leading to a far better outcome for humanity and myself.
    If I am the Love Interest 
Also refer to this list.
  • The Hero is only dead when I have personally identified the body and checked it for vital signs.
  • Even after thus ensuring it, I will not make any drastic decisions immediately. Particularly not that I should marry the Evil Overlord at once to save my people, but any decision is best made when I am not distraught.
  • If I become a hero, my loved ones have no plot immunity whatsoever, they are in potential of danger just because I am the hero. I will not use a secret identity to protect my loved ones—secret identities don't work that way. However when I plan to ensure my loved ones' safety I will do it in the mindset that they will be in potential danger no matter what.
  • I will not delude myself that my romance with the local Chivalrous Pervert or The Casanova actually means anything, nor will I attempt to make our relationship long-term, knowing that if I did, I would wind up dumped, dead in order to give him angst, or he would suffer Badass Decay.
  • If, at any point, I am looking for the hero (or any character, for that matter) with a friend and find myself in a giant empty space (field, cave, big room etc.) I shall search the space nearby before leaving. If the friend says "There's nothing here, let's go back," I shall walk forward a few inches. Chances are, the hero's right in front of me and is merely invisible, trapped, etc.
  • No matter how infuriating my hero may be I will wait until after we save the world to tell him off. Especially if there is a countdown going on.
  • No matter what the provocation I will never incapacitate my hero with a punch, kick or blunt object as it is certain he will be needed urgently immediately afterwards.
  • If both I and the hero are interested in each other, but I cannot/will not truly open myself up to a relationship, I will tell him that clearly and bluntly. I will not torture either of our hearts with 'maybe someday' or 'if only' or with wistful sighs. I will stick to my decision unless something fundamental in the situation changes, and I will acknowledge, if not accept, that my refusal gives him the right to be involved with another woman. This means no casual sex, no drama-fuelled kisses.
  • I will establish a friendly 'may the best woman win' relationship with the secondary love interest. Not only will this please my hero, it will save me from agonies of remorse when she bites it—as she will.
  • If I am the secondary love interest I will remember that there are plenty more fish in the sea, such as the dark and troubled Lancer; the cute funny Sidekick; my hero's Evil Twin (clearly in desperate need of the love of a good woman) and the Evil Overlord himself (I mean women like bad boys don't they?) and not do anything foolish.
  • I will never wear a leather catsuit. A nice jersey knit is just as sexy and allows for greater freedom of movement.
  • I will never wear a tall pointy hat with floaty veils just on general principle.
  • I will learn to apologise when I do something wrong, no matter how stubborn I am. Always insisting on being right just makes me look immature.
  • If I receive a phone call from the hero requesting I meet him at some strange and threatening place I will ring back to make sure it's really him.
  • I will not use the fact that I am dating the hero/Chosen One/messiah to slack on my character development. Most heroes are reasonably tolerant of flaws, but even they have limits. And a general rule of thumb is that heroes are good at attracting lovers. I am by no means his only chance at love, and I will remember this.
  • I will never go anywhere unarmed or without backup. And I will always tell at least three different people where I am going and when I intend to return.
    • Unless my only choices are suspected to be The Mole. Even then, I will try judicious Feed the Mole to flush them out before they are my only choice.
  • If I am a journalist who started dating the hero to get 'the inside story' and I honestly find myself falling for him, I will tell him of both facts the minute I realize the latter. Delaying on such things usually leads other sources (i.e, the villain) to reveal my secret just when the hero is most vulnerable, effectively crushing any chance of continuing a relationship with him.
  • If my super power is something non-offensive, I will take various martial arts classes AND will learn how to play a physical sport like Rugby. If I am unable to do those things, I will invest the time and the money to get a gun and learn how to use it.
  • I will not fly off the handle every time the protagonist so much as implies that another woman is attractive. I will remember that actions are what count, and that every relationship has to work through jealousy, temptation and insecurity on the parts of both participants. Above all, I will try not to act like a spoiled, stuck-up little bitch every time life does not go my way.
  • If I am the primary love interest, I will not wait to tell the Hero about my feelings A) Just before we're about to go fight the Evil Overlord, B) When one of us is dying, or C) When telling the Hero will distract him and put us in great danger. Instead, the first moment I have, I will sit down with the Hero, make him talk about my feelings, and go from there. If he accepts them, then we'll start in on a casual, slow-paced relationship that can speed up AFTER our journey to save the world is done. If he rejects me, I will no go join the villain. I will instead accept this and continue to support him on our journey, for you never know when rejection is just the Hero's way of trying to protect you.
    • I will not pick inappropriate moments to have a whispered argument with the hero about all the reasons I broke up with him the last time we were together. Such moments might be when we're casing the Evil Overlord's joint or trying to get past the sleeping giant.
    • Neither will I insist the hero gives me one last kiss before he goes. There's plenty of time for loving when he comes back safe.
  • I will cut my hair short so it will not get in the way, or provide a handle for kidnappers to grab, if I cannot cut it for some reason, I will habitually wear it in a tight bun, and always carry extra ribbons, elastic bands, or what have you in case it comes undone. The Hero is, or should be, in love with me, not my long flowing tresses. Also, if I am attempting to remain unseen I will not wear anything brightly coloured or sparkly in my hair as that is generally detrimental to stealth.
  • Whether I am male or female, if I have to break it off with anyone including the hero for whatever reason I will do my absolute best to break it to them gently and calmly and clearly explain my reasons for doing so. It may not stop clingly jealous ex's, stalkers with a crush and/or prevent my ex from going down the Dark Side, but being considerate does help minimize it.
  • If I have information crucial to defeating the Evil Overlord/saving the world/fixing the hero's depressed mental state, I will relay that information immediately upon reuniting with them instead of getting distracted by a moment of romance. Even if I don't suddenly get killed before I tell them, it will definitely cast doubt on my prioritizing skills.
    Benevolent Rulers 
  • The "When I Am The Benevolent Ruler" list begins with, "As a general rule, I will remember that I am not the Evil Overlord, and should avoid doing things that confuse people on this point."
    • I will try to be as Lawful Good as possible and to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. Being Lawful Evil is obviously out of the question but it would most likely do me some good that I not become Lawful Neutral either. (In other words, don't assume that doing whats Lawful and doing whats right are always the same.) If my lands legal rules are forcing the people who serve me to say Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!, then there is a very strong chance that something is wrong.
    • Besides one other advantage to being a Reasonable Authority Figure is that if you do a good enough job at it even IF you have to deny the heroes for requesting your aid there is actually a good chance you WON'T be made out to look like a bad guy. (But you should still be careful about it as one showing of a bad timely opposition can go horribly wrong.)
    • One point was Double Subverted over the course of two separate E. Nesbit stories. In one, the King and Queen vow to invite everyone to their daughter's christening, but the evil fairy's invitation gets lost in the mail, and she crashes the party and curses the girl. In another, they invite no fairies, only for them to show up anyway. The evil fairy, the same one as before, curses the girl, and the next one steps up, and the king actually puts his hand over his mouth and convinces the assembled fairies they'll go out like a candle if they break the tradition of one curse per christening. They all leave. note 
    • I will have no minimum sentencing laws. It is inevitable that my champion will run afoul of them in ways that I want to forgive, or the hero will violate them in the process of saving my kingdom. Instead, I will have sentencing guidelines and procedures for mitigating (and aggravating) circumstances to be presented.
[[folder:Other Heroic Characters]]
  • Make sure you correctly determine where you stand on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Generally, if people are stupid, you're on the cynical end, and should be quite careful. If people rarely, if ever, die, you're on the idealistic end, and can take it easy: Unless you're a completely nameless Red Shirt, you're immortal and will win no matter what.
  • If you are a Red Shirt, you're screwed. There are a few ways to maximize your lousy chances of survival. Try to avoid going on away missions with The Hero and his band. Also try striking a working dynamic with another Red Shirt to become Those Two Guys. Last but not least, try to get some engaging and sympathetic character development and don't wear a face concealing helmet unless you're in a war zone. With luck, you might become a Mauve Shirt.
    • Essentially, the only way to survive if you are a Red Shirt is to work towards NOT being one.
    • And especially never tell anyone how many days away from retirement you are.
    • And if you are lucky enough to become a Mauve Shirt with Plot Armor, never ever brag about it.
    • And for God's sake make sure to tell someone your name!
    • If I am ever a Red Shirt, I will wear a selection of large and obvious name tags.
    • Never, EVER carry around a picture of your family or lover or even so much as mention to anyone that you have a family or lover back at home. Don't even think about it as the viewers at home can see and hear your every thought.
    • Don't act Gung ho at ALL. Uttering the words "I can't wait to kill/kick some _______ ass" or taking foolish risks makes it all but certain you WILL die.
  • If I am in charge of a robotics corporation, all robots with be programmed with the philosophical mindsets of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. That way, when the inevitable Robot Rebellion comes, it will be non-violent.
  • If I'm training The Hero, I won't hide any vital pieces of information from him/her. It doesn't matter that my pupil may not be ready to master the Dangerous Forbidden Technique or handle his possible connection to the Big Bad; Mentor Occupational Hazard means I'm going to die soon and the hero will learn the truth anyway, probably in circumstances that are less than ideal. I don't want him/her to suffer a Heroic BSoD because of the villain's Hannibal Lecture or be forced to master my final technique in the one month left to before the Final Battle.

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