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Square Enix's other pride and joy.

A long-running Japanese RPG series with eleven main installments, and dozens of side and spin-off games. Often credited as the first turn-based battle console JRPG in history. Absurdly popular in Japan, fairly obscure outside (at least compared to its more popular counterpart). Before their merger, Dragon Quest was to Enix what Final Fantasy was to Square. While never as popular in the US as the Final Fantasy series (but even more popular than Final Fantasy in Japan; since the companies merged, needless to say, Square Enix owns the Japanese RPG scene), it's notable for its character art by Akira Toriyama, and maintains a sizable cult following. Most of its tropes, especially the battle screen, have been kept intact over the years. Interestingly, unlike its rival series, Dragon Quest, though carrying the Enix name up until the merger, is not an in-house project, as Enix is purely a publishing house. The actual developer of the series is Yuji Horii (the proper creator of the series, who has been in either a directorial or upper production role of every entry in the series to this day) and his studio Armor Project, which had long since established an exclusive publishing contract with Enix from back during the NES days - a deal which naturally carried over into the merger with Squaresoft.

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Dragon Quest is said to be inspired by earlier RPGs such as Ultima and Wizardry, as well as Yuji Horii's earlier Visual Novel Adventure Game The Portopia Serial Murder Case. Mostly due to the historical prevalence of console gaming over PC gaming in Japan, most parodies of RPGs that show up in Anime, that aren't MMORPGs, will reference Dragon Quest in some way.

The English localization of Dragon Quest VIII was notable for its solution to the regional accent issue: many of the characters speak in British dialects rather than American ones. Similarly, the US releases of Dragon Quest IV, V, VI and IX on the DS and VII on the 3DS are using regional dialects — there's a Russian town, a Scottish town, etc etc. The localizers also love to use puns, something that's a bit of a bother to some fans, and another selling point to others.

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Sequels to the franchise are always released locally on Saturdays, which according to the company is to prevent the predictably huge turnout of fans from skipping school or work during launch days to pick them up. This fueled an urban legend inflating the real cause to be political pressure from local Japanese municipalities or that the release rule was an actual local law. (Although the Diet at the time did ask them to do something after a small boy was mugged and beaten during the Dragon Quest III launch — however, the delayed launches were entirely Enix's decision.)

Few people know it, but there was an unrelated Tabletop RPG called DragonQuest, whose trademark was the reason the Dragon Quest video game series was originally known as Dragon Warrior outside of Japan, until Wizards of the Coast abandoned the trademark after they bought out and buried it so would not be a threat to their Merchandise-Driven empire.

Also has a growing Awesome Music entry. You can vote for your favorite game here.


The Dragon Quest series includes:

    open/close all folders 

    Main Series 
Games with their consoles listed in bold were released in that format internationally; those that aren't are exclusive to Japan. The games are also listed by their current titles; I through IV and VII were originally released in the US as "Dragon Warrior [number]", with no subtitles.

Remakes and Rereleases

  • Dragon Quest I + II and Dragon Quest III for Super Famicom (1993 and 1996 respectively) and later Game Boy Color (1999 and 2000 JP, 2000 and 2001 US)
  • Dragon Quest IV for the PlayStation (2001) and V for the PlayStation 2 (2004)
  • Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI for Nintendo DS (2007-2010 JP, 2008-2011 US); and VII and VIII for Nintendo 3DS (2013 and 2015 JP, 2016 and 2017 US)
  • Dragon Quest 25th Anniversary Collection, comprised of I to III, for Wii (2011)
  • Dragon Quest I through VIII for Android and iOS devices (2013-15)note 
  • Dragon Quest I, II, and III for PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS (both 2017) and Nintendo Switch (2019); alongside the systems' respective releases of XI.

    Spinoff Games 
As with the main game list, consoles listed in bold indicate an international release; while the rest are exclusive to Japan.

    Other Media 
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (1989-1996 manga/1991-1992 anime)
    • Jump Force (2019): As a Shonen Jump manga character, Dai takes part in this crossover
    • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (2020-present anime remake)
      • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai — Xross Blade (2020; Arcade)
      • Infinity Strash — Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (2021; unspecified consoles)
      • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai — Tamashii no Kizunanote  (2021; Android, iOS)
  • Dragon Quest: Legend of the Hero Abel (1989-1991 anime)
  • Captain N: The Game Master (1989-1991 cartoon): The world of Dragon Quest I (then known as Dragon Warrior), named the "Dragon's Den", appears in a few episodes; with the Dragonlord acting as the episodes' villain.
  • Dragon Quest Saga: Emblem of Roto (1991-1997 manga, 1996 anime movie): An interquel between Dragon Quest III and I.
    • Dragon Quest Saga: Emblem of Roto Returns (2004 manga): A collection of side stories featuring characters from the original manga.
    • Dragon Quest Saga: Emblem of Roto - To the Children Who Inherit the Emblem (2004-2020 manga): A continuation of Emblem of Roto that considerably widens the scope and ambition of the story; the main story remains an interquel but it now features significant calls forward to I and II and also features substantial flashback sequences that lay more foundation for the events that took place in III.
  • Dragon Quest Monsters + (2000-2003 manga): Takes place after the end of the original Dragon Quest Monsters.
  • Dragon Quest: Souten no Sora (2013-???? manga): Based on Dragon Quest X.
  • Dragon Quest: Your Story (2019 CGI movie): An Animated Adaptation of Dragon Quest V.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018): The Hero from Dragon Quest XI is included as Downloadable Content, with the protagonists of III, IV, and VIII as alternate costumes.


Dragon Quest, as a series, provides examples of:

    A to F 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The series as a whole has a habit of this.
    • In DQI, the level cap is 30 at 65535 EXP, but you can curbstomp the Dragonlord well before then, around Level 24 (you need a minimum of Level 20 to have the least chance at beating him). If you reach level 30, the king will lampshade this by saying "Thou art strong enough! Why can thou not defeat the Dragonlord?" Unlike most others on this list, however, it actually becomes easier to gain levels, as the XP amount between levels is static at that point, even though you're dealing more damage and taking less in return. However, since 98% of the entire game is grinding, it's all a matter of whether you even want to bother grinding more than you have to.
    • In DQIV, the level cap is 99, but players are likely to beat the game before they hit level 40. The game implicitly recognizes this in the original release by having every character learn all of their spells and abilities by then. Come the remake, however, the hero now has a new spell at level 50, and a Secret Character can learn spells all the way up to level 60! Even with the Bonus Dungeon and new Final Boss, however, players are quite capable of beating everything with levels in the low-to-mid 40's.
    • In DQIX, the level cap is 99; you'll be needing over 65535 XP per level when you get much past 50! Oh, and XP is not shared between vocations (classes), so you could be a level 99 warrior but only a level 1 mage. And you can reset back to level 1 if you want, in order to get more skill points and a "special" item related to the vocation.
  • Actually Four Mooks: While older Dragon Quest titles have universally resorted to Random Encounters, the jump to the Nintendo DS with Monsters Joker changed the trend to spawning overworld monsters. Most post-Joker games made or remade in 3D use one monster in the overworld to represent the group you'll actually fight.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The English subtitles since VIII; it's harder to notice with "Journey of the Cursed King", but games since IX have been making it obvious. II through VII retroactively gained such subtitles with their DS and mobile releases.
  • After the End:
    • In a sense. VII started out on the only land mass on the planet that was not destroyed by the demon lord. You do get to restore them, though.
    • Downplayed with Monsters: Caravan Heart, which takes place in the same world as Dragon Quest I - III long after everyone we know from those games has died.
    • Builders takes place in a version of Alefgard, the setting of the first game, that had been ravaged when the hero accepted the Dragonlord's offer to rule half of the world.
    • The second part of XI takes place after Mordegon lay waste to the World Tree and covered Erdrea in darkness.
  • A.I. Roulette: One of the givens of the series.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: First appearing with Dragon Quest VIII, the Alchemy Pot has allowed players to create better items, weapons, and armors out of basic ingredients; in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime it first was given the persona of the Great Krak Pot. (Later games also produce alchemized items instantly; Dragon Quest VIII required items to "cook" for a period of time before you could obtain them). Dragon Quest Builders has the entire construction system implied to be a form of this.
  • Alcohol Hic: Happens in the series (especially in the remakes) when you talk to guys who are drunk in pubs. There is also one time in IV when you talk to a drunken guy outside the bar in Endor at night, and he feels like he's not "wurring my slurds or anything".
  • The Alcoholic: Almost every town in almost every game has a pub somewhere, so there's plenty of opportunity to find somebody under the table. Special note goes to Kalderasha of DQVIII, who decided to go Drowning My Sorrows years before the events of the game.
  • All in a Row: All main installments except VIII and the original version of XI (it was later added in the S version) show all active party members on the screen when traveling by walking. The Monsters games also incorporate this as of Joker.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Notably averted by many monsters in the series.
    • This is best exemplified by a Golem that the player fights in the first game. In later games, it is revealed that said golem was guarding the village from outsiders.
    • It's not unheard of to find monsters in towns minding their own business. "I'm not a bad slime!"
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: There are hidden items in barrels, pots, hanging bags, drawers, coffins, crosses, just lying on the floor...
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Awesomely averted for all games except the original, Famicom version of Dragon Quest I. Updating the sprites was one of the things that they did for the US version.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: None of the American releases actually showed any of Akira Toriyama's artwork until the Game Boy Color remake of III. Both I and II featured outright reinterpretations of the original Toriyama art in the contemporary 80s western high-fantasy style on covers and in manuals.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Erdrick/Loto's Sword is the most powerful weapon in Dragon Quest I. The sword is also in Dragon Quest II, but it is nowhere near being the strongest weapon in the game.
    • It appears that this sword is most likely the King's Sword from Dragon Quest III, judging by the official art, how the sword was obtained, and the fact that the game's hero is Erdrick/Loto.
    • It makes a sneaky appearance in IX, as well, right before the last boss, as the "Rusty Blade". Fixing it — easily done if you know how (or if you've done the DLC quests that include the recipes) — makes said last boss... still Nintendo Hard.
  • Animated Armor: A recurring enemy type, frequently capable of summoning healslimes or their variants.
  • Arc Words: "Then morning comes..." tends to appear several times in each of the later games.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Mage and priest characters usually buy gear in the form of robes and gowns, while bulky and heavy armor is usually used for warrior characters and others with heftier builds; however, this tends to be an aesthetic choice only — robes and gowns tend to have similar defensive scores to suits of armor. (Every now and again you'll find some armor that can be worn by mages).
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • The Golden Claw in III and a few other games has a powerful curse laid upon it — it increases your encounter rate to 100%, meaning you end up in a random encounter every single step until you get rid of it. In remakes, it's even worse — it doesn't just raise the encounter rate to 100%, it also disables running from battles. As if that's not bad enough, it sells for much, much less than in the original NES version. As a tradeoff, however, the 100% encounter rate only applies to the pyramid itself once the Golden Claw is taken. Escaping the Pyramid and bringing the Claw with you does not affect any other area at all (and it makes a good weapon for fighters).
    • The sceptre in Trodain Castle, stolen by Dhoulmagus just prior to the events of VIII, proves to have several nasty side-effects that affect its wielder.
  • Artifact Title: While dragons and quests are both present after the first game, the quests no longer have anything to do with the dragons for the most part.
  • Artificial Stupidity: When not being manually controlled, your party members seem to be inclined towards making the worst possible decisions ever. Spellcasters in particular love blowing their turns on (low success) instant kill spells so much that it's become a Running Gag of the series.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: A good number of playable characters combine bright red hair -and often a fiery temper- with pyrokinetic magic. Examples include: The Prince of Cannock (DQII), the Female Mage (DQIII), Ashlynn (DQVI), Maribel (DQVII) and Jessica (DQVIII).
  • Author Appeal: Yuji Horii is a compulsive gambler, which is why games in the series often feature a gambling mini-game or few. (And the fact that you can only save in the town's churches make it so that going out on the field/into the dungeons would feel more like a gamble.)
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Priests and other healer-class characters have a remarkable propensity for the Whack series of spells. Kiryl from DQ IV, Angelo from DQ VIII, the Priest class from DQ IX, etc.
  • Badass Family:
    • In V, you are not just the son of a king, but your party later in the game also consists of you, your wife, your children and your pets.
    • The heroes of II also count; they're all cousins (all descended from the hero of I).
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Puff-Puff Running Gag has been one of these since III — you think you're going to be visiting Marshmallow Heaven, but it turns out to be something else entirely. (In I and II, and in some places in XI, Puff-Puff was played straight and you actually did get what was promised, though the primitive graphics and/or a Sexy Discretion Shot meant the player never saw it.)
  • Barely-There Swimwear: The recurring Dangerous Bikini (and its other fanservice costume 'cousins'), which have various characters in-game commenting on it, and visibly changes the appearance of female characters wearing it.
  • Beef Gate: Death awaits beyond bridges for the insufficiently-leveled.
  • Betting Mini Game: The casinos and Monster Arenas, starting from the second game.
  • Black and White Magic: The series uses different classes of spellcasters, starting with Dragon Quest III (Mages wield offensive, destructive spells, Priests casts curative and state-raising magic, and Sages get everything). It's unusual in that "clerics" not only specialize in healing but also wind magic. It's also unusual in that most Cleric-type characters in this series also tend to learn instant-kill spells that don't hit often enough in most cases to warrant using them often anyways.
  • Black Mage: Excusing for the moment the fact that almost all characters count, the Mage class in Dragon Quest III, VI, and IX all specialize in offensive spells. Barbara from Dragon Quest VI and Jessica Albert from Dragon Quest VIII count.
  • Blob Monster: The slimes are certainly the cutest examples of this trope.
  • Blow You Away: The "Whoosh" series, which summons tornadoes to attack a group of enemies.
    • The main character of Dragon Quest V is notable for possessing this as his primary form of attack magic rather than the fire and lightning elements that the "hero" characters throughout the series typically have. This is one of the subtle clues that he is actually not the prophesied legendary hero of the setting, but rather it's his son, who does get the fire and lightning spells.
  • Boring Return Journey: Unlike most JRP Gs, the original DQI, DQII and DQIII games do not conclude with the defeat of the Big Bad. You complete the game by returning to visit the king. You can go anywhere you like before doing this, including visiting towns to receive thanks from all the people you've saved. While getting to the Big Bad involves thousands of random battles, after his defeat, there are none to be found, even in the dungeons, since apparently defeating the boss results in the elimination of all his mooks.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Divinegon in the DQ III remakes (and Grand Dragon, exclusive to the GBC remake). Both bosses can be challenged multiple times, and will require excessive Level Grinding to defeat. Very, very few people have even fought Grand Dragon anyways, as it involves a massive spiked brick wall of a Collection Sidequest (see entry below). Defeating Grand Dragon rewards you with the game's Infinity +1 Sword that all classes can equip.
    • Chow Mein and Foo Yung, who dwell at the end of the Fungeon in remakes of DQIV. They notably use techniques that would not debut until after the original IV.
    • Dragon Quest V started the tradition with the Epilogue Boss, Estark, who previously appeared as a major boss in IV, though severely weakened. This game gives you a shot at what he would be like at full power.
    • In Dragon Quest VI, the Bonus Dungeon ends with a battle against Nokturnus, the demon whose main contribution to the story is to annihilate an entire castle's worth of people whose king pissed him off. If you beat him, he'll waste the Final Boss for you without so much as breaking a sweat.
    • And in VII, you fight God (called "the Almighty").
    • The Dragovian Trials from Dragon Quest VIII, which have heavy ties to the hero's true identity.
    • IX, having an immense amount of post-game content, tops them all. These include five post-game quests with bosses, twelve grotto bosses, and thirteen legacy bosses from previous games: The Final Boss of every previous main DQ game, the Disc-One Final Boss of III, VI, and VIII, a major boss of IV that is also the aforementioned Epilogue Boss of V, and VI's ultimate Bonus Boss.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Crosses in the NES versions were removed or replaced with five-pointed stars during localization.
    • References to the Puff Puff Running Gag were removed in the English localizations of earlier games.
    • The mainline series as whole prides itself in its traditional gameplay and the fact that it is supposed to be played by audiences of all ages, at least in Japan. But as the years passed, Japan's rating board for video games, CERO, has gotten more strict in its guideless for what a game accessible for children should have to maintain its CERO A rating, and it turns out Dragon Quest groomed certain classic designs for female wear that didn’t quite fit with CERO's new policies for a CERO A anymore. With that, Square-Enix started revising some female wear designs, as they see the mainline series should never escape its most accessible possible rating so all audiences can enjoy the games; the re-release for Dragon Quest VIII on the Nintendo 3DS was the forefront on how certain pieces of female wear got revised to be a little bit less revealing and has stuck for mainline titles ever since with Dragon Quest XI. Examples include the ever famous Female Soldier design getting shorts underneath her cod armor piece, the Divine Bustier getting some fabric covering the once bare thighs between the leggings and the skirt, and some other cases where more pieces of fabric were added to older designs. Sexuality wasn’t removed altogether, it still is quite present in the series, only that it is being measured with more attention to keep the mainline series always accessible to all ages.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Torneko Taloon from Dragon Quest IV starred in a series of Mystery Dungeon games made by Chunsoft (who would go on to make Pokémon Mystery Dungeon).
    • Chunsoft also made a Mystery Dungeon game for Yangus from Dragon Quest VIII which picks up where Torneko's series leaves off, incidentally bridging IV and VIII.
    • The Monsters series has a few installments starring party members from other games as the player character. Terry's Wonderland featured Terry from VI (which was not actually released in the West prior to the original Monsters, so Wonderland was his overseas debut).
    • Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart starred Prince Keifer of DQVII.
  • Broad Strokes: In any game that references another, especially where cameos and guest appearances occur, expect it to omit certain details. A good example of this is whenever the hero of DQ IX appears in another game with his full Celestrian wings, despite the fact that he lost them at the beginning of his own game.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • The famous words of Princess Gwaelin/Lora from the original version of DQ I; it appears in just about every Dragon Quest game.
    • It serves as a major plot point in Dragon Quest IX: Celestrians cannot defy their superiors.
  • Canon Name: Many of the heroes are named in external appearances and cameos. However, "Canon" is a funny thing.
    • The hero of the first game is named Alef (as in, "of Alefgard") in Japanese novelizations and drama CDs.
    • The Prince of Midenhall (jp. "Laurasia"), hero of II, is named Allen in novelizations and drama CDs.
    • His cousins, the Prince of Cannock (jp. "Sumaltria") and Princess of Moonbrooke are interesting cases — they have their names selected from a pre-programmed list depending on what the hero's own name is. As such, they have many "Canon" names: the Prince is "Conan" in the CD theater drama and novelization, or "Cain" or "Cookie" in other books (Fortune Street settled on Cookie); while the Princess is "Nana" in the CD drama, "Seria" in the novelnote , and "Pudding" in Fortune Street. The English translation of IX went "Screw It" and named them Princeton and Princessa.
    • The heroes of IV were named Solo and Sofia (it's All There in the Manual of the remakes and ratified by Monster Battle Road and a cameo in the V remake). In the CD Theater audio drama, the hero is named Rei, and in the official novelizations his name is Yuuril.
    • The prologue of V indicates that the hero's father wanted to name him Madason in honor of his wife, but she named him whatever the player chose instead. Madason is the hero's name anyway in cameo appearances. The default name for the hero in-game in Japanese is Abel, while in the CD Theater audio drama and the official novelizations, the hero is named Luca.
    • His children are named Sora ("Sky") and Ten ("Heaven") in the manga, but official English releases of the remakes named them Madchen and Parry.
    • The default name for the hero of VI in the Japanese games is Rek (assuming it's not Reck or Wreck). In the CD theater drama, his name is Will. In the manga, his name is Botts. In the novelization, his name is Iza.
    • The hero of VII is Arus in the manga and Monster Battle Road. In the 3DS remake's English promotional materials, he's named Auster.
    • The hero of VIII is named "Eight" by Squeenix action figures, Monster Battle Road, and the old Shonen Jump promotional disc (for those of you who got it way back when).
    • The hero of IX is likewise "Nine" in Monster Battle Road.
  • Casting a Shadow: The "Zam" series, which attacks individual enemies with "Stygian bolts".
  • Chainmail Bikini:
    • This goes as far back as DQIII, where (on top of the scanty armor of the female warrior) you could find "revealing bikinis" or "battle bikinis" that would change the character sprite. They were actually somewhat useful, as they increased your character's dodge rate by a LOT — and affected the AI, to boot.
    • A handful of female characters distinguish themselves with this trope; the Princess of Moonbrooke had the "Dangerous Swimsuit" in the MSX1 version of Dragon Quest II, and Jessica of Dragon Quest VIII (whose model would actually change depending on what clothes she was wearing) could also show off a few of the suits.
    • Double Subverted with Dragon Quest IX: the Dangerous Bikini set and the Dangerous Bustier both have a pitiable defense score of +1... but will gain significantly higher scores after you start alchemizing them into their "evolved" versions.
  • Character Class System: Any game with the Dharma Temple (that's "Alltrades Abbey" for anyone who got their start after the NES era) has a "Vocation" system. Classic choices include Warrior, Mage, Martial Artist, and Priest (and we'll toss in Thief from the remake of III). Every game also has at least one Prestige Class, premised on being the combination of two basic classes (for example, the Sage is based on Mage and Priest).
  • Chest Monster:
    • The classic Cannibox monster, a little shadowy thing that hangs out in treasure chests, leers out at you with its nasty eyes, and uses the lid as a set of fangs. It and its Underground Monkey forms, Mimic and Pandora's Box, can all be considered Boss in Mook's Clothing material, given their talent for critical hits and One-Hit Kill magic.
    • We'll also mention the Urnexpected monster family, which works much the same way but, since it hangs out in a pot, is meant to punish Kleptomaniac Heroes. Not only are chests dangerous, so's the pottery!
    • Dragon Quest VIII introduces the Trap Master family, what might be considered the "adult" form of the Cannibox line — these things pop out and leer at you like demented skeletal jack-in-the-boxes.
    • Dragon Quest VII had Evil Books, Evil Pots, and Evil Well monsters. Be careful when exploring castles.
  • Chokepoint Geography:
    • DQ I: Appears twice: The only way to reach Rimuldar (the first of only a few places in Alefgard where you can purchase Magic Keys) and the Southern Shrine is via the Marsh Cave and the only way to reach Charlock Castle is via a narrow channel with the bridge created by the Rainbow Drop.
    • DQ II: You cannot access a second continent until you get the Prince of Cannock. Then you cannot access a third continent without the Princess of Moonbrooke. Once you get to the third continent, you can get a ship that opens up the rest of the world except for the final area. Then you need the Eye of Malroth in order to reach Rhone Plateau which is surrounded by impassable mountains.
    • DQ III: Chokepoints are constantly used. For example, the only way to reach the lake where the Shrine Prison is located -which you need to do in order to progress- is to sail up two very narrow rivers. Though, your ship will always be pushed backwards by the Shrine's guardian's song until you gain the Lovely Memories item.
    • DQ IV: The Final Boss is in the Overworld behind the Final Dungeon, since you can only take your active party into a dungeon. This way, you can use a magical horn to summon the wagon with your inactive party members, who can then swap in and out during the big showdown. You remembered to give the horn to one of your active party members, right?
    • DQ VIII:
      • The bridge between Trodain and Farebury is broken before the events of the story, so the kingdom of Trodain can only be approached from the west.
      • Subverted with the door to Moonshadow Land; the official (but legendary) doorway is atop Wisher's Peak, but the technical requirements are met by a window in Trodain Castle's library.
    • DQ IX: Grotto hallways have rocks or other obstacles every few feet, making it impossible to pass by larger monsters when they're sitting in the narrower areas.
  • Classical Cyclops: Cyclopes are a recurring type of Smash Mook enemy, typically appearing with blue skin and a single horn. In Dragon Quest IX, one of the grotto bosses is Atlas, an oversized Cyclops Palette Swap who happens to be the strength of God incarnate so huge that lakes and ponds are said to be his footprints.
  • Collection Sidequest:
    • The classic hunt for Mini-Medals, which you can trade away to specific NPCs for cool stuff.
    • Required to gain access to Dragon Quest III GBC remake's second half of a Bonus Dungeon and ultimately Bonus Boss Grand Dragon. The sidequest spans throughout the entire game, as it involves collecting randomly dropped medals from almost every monster in the game, including bosses. Doubles as a Guide Dang It!, as there are a few monsters whose encounter rate is so low that one may never run into said monster during a regular playthrough. Oh, and did I already mention that those medals randomly drop?
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: A rare example of this working for the player. In most mainline games after IV, party members that are assigned tactics make their move based on the situation at the time when they act, whereas ones that follow orders have to have their action assigned before the turn begins in most games in the series. This means a healer assigned with tactics can be much more efficient by healing someone within the same turn they were attacked, for example.
    • AI-controlled party members are also privy to info the player can't see. They know how much health enemies have and go out of their way to use weaker spells or basic attacks if that's all it'll take to defeat them, and they know what spells enemies are and aren't resistent to.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity:
    • Most bosses are completely immune to the series' Standard Status Effects and resist both status debuffs and even certain elemental magics.
    • The great and vexing thing about Metal Slimes, aside from their high agility and tendency to flee from battle, is that they have even more immunity than bosses; they No-Sell everything except plain physical damage, usually possess some innate ability to dodge attacks, and usually have defense scores so high that even when you do land a hit it will only be for 0-1 points of damage (hits for 0 damage are treated as "misses" in these games, which adds somewhat to the frustration by making them seem even dodgier).
  • Crisis Crossover:
    • The Heroes spin-offs feature visiting characters from the main series games all coming together to ward of some new almighty evil.
    • The Monster Battle Road series as seen in this video.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Catholic motif for the churches, priests, and nuns.
    • In DQ V, the Dragon King is an actual Crystal Dragon Jesus, a Physical God who sometimes takes the form of a human.
    • Also, the gender of the deity was changed — the original games had him addressed directly as "God" or "the Lord", but in the remakes they worship a Goddess instead. Presumably this was to avoid offending people. In Dragon Quest IX, the deity is male again, and referred to as "The Almighty". However, at the end of the game his daughter takes over the role so it switches over to a Goddess again. The reason for the change is unknown, except perhaps the fact that God actually appears in the game (and is very much male). The Almighty also appears in Dragon Quest VII as a Bonus Boss and is male in that game as well; and in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, his English name is the rather appropriate Numen (look it up).
  • Cumulonemesis: Recurring enemies in the series such as the Cumaulus and the Hell Niño are sentient clouds.
  • Cursed Item: Several weapons will curse the user when equipped. While there is no direct way to know if an item is cursed without equipping it, they are often described as having "an air of danger". These items tend to be very powerful for where they are found to entice the player to equip them. The drawback though is that someone wearing a cursed item often cannot attack in combat, and all items are of the Stuck Items variety requiring a visit to the church to remove them.
  • Cute Bruiser: Character customization options can allow you to give large attack scores to cutesy characters. Examples include the female Fighter class from Dragon Quest III and Alena from IV.
  • Cute Slime Mook: The series is the Trope Maker; the Slime monsters have inspired countless imitators.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: III begins on your hero's sixteenth birthday with the king officially assigning you to pick up where your Disappeared Dad left off. IV also has the hero's journey begin at sixteen (actually eighteen), though that wasn't what your Hidden Village planned... Played with in V, as horrible things started happening to the hero when he was six, but he didn't really start fighting back until he was sixteen. XI starts at the hero's 16th birthday and things quickly go down from there.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: The games have a fairly odd relationship with this trope from a narrative standpoint, thanks to the gameplay mechanics. Since this has a few moving parts and needs to be broken down a bit:
    • From the start, dead has meant dead - the games haven't gone the route other RPG series have with 0 HP meaning a person is still-alive-but-can't-fight. 0 HP means you are straight-up biologically dead. However, resurrection magic is comparatively easily accessible; assuming you don't just have a resurrector in your party, you can bring a party member back to life by presenting his coffin to a priest and making a donation, based on his level (all functions in a church that are not saving the game require a donation). This is very much in-universe, too.
    • If you suffer a Total Party Kill, your first team member will be automatically resurrected at the cost of half your gold on-hand - which can definitely suck in certain parts of the game, but it's never unrecoverable. So player death is, at worst, a significant inconvenience, not a disaster, and there's no true Game Over screen (which was a huge part of the appeal early on - you can lose gold, but you can never lose experience progress). This makes sense if you consider that Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii is a gambler, and thus the mechanics themselves were meant as a risk/reward gamble, progress vs gold.
    • As a result, the inhabitants of the games can come across as being a bit blasé about it all - nobody in your party ever freaks out if another party member is brutally murdered by monsters (even in games with a party talk feature), NPCs generally don't comment if you're dragging around a party member's coffin, and DQ V memorably makes a gag on it all during a major plot moment.
    • However, that has not stopped Dragon Quest from occasionally trying to play some Death Tropes straight, which, after several games where the above mechanics have been taken for granted, is a clear gamble with a player's suspension of disbelief.
      • Averted in II, before the trend fully set in. Later in the game, there's a storyline sub-plot where one of the princes gets deathly ill, and you have to go and retrieve a mystical leaf to cure him. Since Death is so cheap, they might have just let him die, then resurrected him later, saving a TON of trouble.
    • This also comes up in a significant way in Builders 2: relatively early in the Moonbrooke chapter, Malroth charges off on his own with a few soldiers and the soldiers end up getting themselves killed trying to copy Malroth's reckless fighting style. When the local priestess comes out of hiding, it then comes up that there is no resurrection in the world you are in, and that the dead are just dead. This is, for the attentive, your first big hint that something is very, very different about the world you are in compared to other games, especially since up to that point your friends in-universe had been assuming that they were still in the Alefgard/Torland world. As bigger spoilers, it all stems from the fact that the inhabitants of the world you find yourself in are illusionary — they're not "real" enough to actually resurrect, and even if they could be, as illusions created by Hargon's manipulation of Malroth's power, other deities (like Rubiss) have no power or authority to intervene in any case. Only when Malroth makes the world real could this change, and then it'd likely still have to come from him.
  • Degraded Boss: It's not unheard of for boss monsters to return in later games as powerful underground monkeys, such as Belial and Pazuzu, two of Hargon's generals from II.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Many of the Final Bosses and Bonus Bosses are great and powerful demons or devils.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In many of the games, notably in DQ V, you go more or less invade Hell, kick Satan's behind, and escape unscathed.
    • DQ VI also has an optional sidequest where you basically beat up Satan, and then he kills the Big Bad for you.
    • In VII you get to fight God as a bonus boss, and very much can punch him out! III also has the Divinegon/Xenlon, a pseudo-deity dragon that hangs out in a tower in (more-or-less) Heaven, and has all kinds of nifty divine powers, who you can also beat into a bloody pulp and claim a reward from.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: If you know who the game's Big Bad is within the first two or three hours of gameplay, you don't know who the game's Big Bad is.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Later games and remakes provide a "Charm" stat that allows characters and monsters to distract their enemies with just how good they look. A few female characters and monsters even have the Puff-Puff ability.
  • Draw Aggro:
    • In the few games where "Whistle" can be used in battle, it makes enemies target the user.
    • Heroes uses the Beckoning Bell accessory to attract monsters to whoever happens to be wearing it.
  • Dub Name Change: Dragon Quest has had several different dubbing teams over the years, which can make it a headache to chart continuity and repetition between games that's perfectly obvious in the original Japanese.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A fair few heroes got up to a surprising number of adventures in their youth. Terry and Milly, Prince Keifer, and Yangus all star or feature in various series spin-offs.
  • Elemental Powers: Primarily consisting of the various families of magic spells characters can learn. While most characters who can use magic at all learn only one element, dedicated magic users can mix and match.
  • Elemental Tiers:
    • According to the manual for Dragon Warrior, HURT is a fire spell and HURTMORE is a lightning spell. In the Game Boy remake however, these spells were both fire spells. In either case, this did not actually affect the gameplay in any way — elemental resistances were not incorporated until later games.
    • This anticipates later games, where the magic options have expanded. Fire, Ice, and Wind spells are generally a lower-tier than lightning spells (which are not only more powerful and learned later in the game, but generally reserved for the hero).
  • Encounter Bait: The "Whistle" ability makes battles happen upon use in the field.
  • Encounter Repellant:
    • Holy Water generally will repel weaker monsters, and certain characters can learn spells to simulate its effects. Tiptoe/Padfoot can also be learned by the thief-class characters in some games that will lower the encounter rate instead of outright preventing them.
    • The Goddess Ring from VIII prevents all Random Encounters, period. Thing is, you can only obtain it by defeating at least one of every monster in the first place.
  • Evil Living Flames: Dancing flames, roughly humanoid creatures made of fire, are recurring monsters in the series.
  • Expy: The Celestrians of IX are quite similar to the Zenithians of the Zenithian trilogy (IV to VI): Winged Humanoid Angel-like beings living on a Floating Continent who regard mortals as somewhat pitifully weak and foolish creatures, though naturally there are exceptions to that. Both also suffer some major Pride Before a Fall, though the Zenithians' takes place between IV and V.
  • Face-Design Shield: The Boss, Tempest, and Slime shields.
  • Fanfare:
    • The Overture heard at the start of each game.
    • Also the Level Up fanfare, which is used for every single game.
  • Fanservice: Every main game, either the original or remade, has fanservice somewhere, usually provided by main characters. Even the first game manages to work some in, although a lot is still left to the player's imagination.
  • Fiery Redhead: A common design theme - there's Alena in IV, Ashlynn in VI, Maribel in VII, and Jessica in VIII. IX also features this as an appearance trait you can give to party members; interestingly, however, the usual dark orange favored by the designers isn't available — instead, IX features a very rich, more literal red.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief:
    • The original DQIII introduced Fighters and Monks -strong hitters with high defense and low speed-, as well as Clerics, Wizards and Sages -physically fragile wielders of powerful magic-; and the SNES remake introduced Thieves -low defense, fantastic speed and evasion-, completing the class triangle. Next games in the series usually included the three classes, or characters fitting each archetype.
    • DQXI has the Luminary, Jade and [spoiler:Sir Hendrik]] (physically powerful fighters), Serena, Veronica and Raab (squishy spellcasters) and Erik (weak but swift thief).
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The series has the Sizz (Fire), Crack (Ice) and Zap (Lightning) families of spells. The latter is exclusive to the Hero. Fire Spells were already available in the original DQI, and DQIII was the game which introduced Ice and Lightning magic.
  • First Law of Tragicomedies: Several games start off with a fairly light and comedic tone, then get progressively darker (particularly near the end of the plot).
  • Floating Continent:
    • Zenithia, which features prominently in Dragon Quests IV, V, and VI.
    • Two in VIII: first is the Lord High Priest's residence, a glorious mansion atop a rock held aloft by what many assume to be holy power; second is the Black Citadel, the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
    • The Observatory, base of operations for the Celestrians in Dragon Quest IX.
    • Yggdrasil rests on the top of one in XI, and can be seen from the beginning of the game.
  • Funetik Aksent: The remakes of IV, V, and VII use several different dialects for characters from different regions of the world. VIII did it first, though.
    • Actually, all of them had this in the original Japanese script, as characters from different towns would speak in different Japanese regional accents. DQVIII was the first to do this for the English translation as well.
    G to L 
  • Gaiden Game: Games centering on Torneko from DQIV, Yangus from DQVIII, Rocket Slime, and the Monsters series.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The series occasionally does this with the final bosses.
    • The original English translation of Dragon Quest II is one of the all-time worst offenders of this trope, to the point that it almost makes Necron look like less of an Ass Pull. Hargon is played as the Big Bad for the entire game. When you finally kill him, he throws a demon named Malroth (Sidoh in the Japanese version) at you who turns out to be infinitely harder. Absolutely nothing in the entire game even so much as hints at Malroth's presence, with the exception of a quest item named Eye of Malroth (that has absolutely nothing to do with demons), and it's never fully explained exactly what the hell Malroth is or why you need to kill him right now (aside from the fact that he's trying to kill you). In the Japanese original and remakes, it's revealed that Malroth is the god that Hargon and his cult worshiped. This still doesn't change the fact that Malroth is a huge Giant Space Flea, though.
    • DQ V had this in its original version since Nimzo isn't even mentioned until late in the game. The DS remake rectifies this somewhat by namedropping him, at least in incidental NPC chat, far earlier.
    • The seventh game mostly avoided this with Big Bad Orgodemir, who is set up from the very beginning and is ultimately responsible for every single bad thing to happen to every place you've been (although you're mostly dealing with the effects of his villainy at first), although many lesser bosses you face turn out to be space fleas.
    • The third and sixth also avert this trope, although this was originally a spoiler, especially in regards to III, which was the Trope Codifier for the use of Your Princess Is in Another Castle! in video games. You didn't think Baramos was the only Archfiend, and Murdaw was the only Demon Lord, did you?
  • Game-Favored Gender: Since Dragon Quest III, female characters tend to enjoy a larger selection of armor and accessories than their male counterparts. They're still subject to class-based gear restrictions, of course, but it's not unusual to run into several points in a given game where the best armor currently available is a dress, skirt or robe, barring men from using them. By contrast, male-exclusive items tend to be more jokey, like boxer shorts.
  • God: There are several different candidates, generally unique to their particular world.
    • While earlier games made vague reference to "the gods" or even a specific "God", Dragon Quest VIII introduced "The Goddess", who has been treated the supreme deity of many different settings (and remakes of older games) since. In the "Erdrick" setting, this has evidently been made or less synonymous with Rubiss, the creation spirit/deity.
    • Dragon Quest IX takes place in a world very explicitly created by a male deity, known as The Almighty; "The Almighty" is later used as a title for the God of VII in the 3DS remake. They're known as Grand Architect Zenus and Numen, respectively, and Zenus' daughter Celestria fills in for Zenus during his absence.
  • God Is Evil:
    • A very rare JRPG example that almost completely subverts the trope. In fact, in DQIX, a player might well think that there's a lot of really obvious setting up for "God", as the Celestians understand Him, to be the major villain of the entire game. The truth of the matter is... substantially more complicated.
    • Seems to be played straight in Dragon Quest VII. Except it's actually Demon King Orgodemir posing as God. When God actually does show up as the Bonus Boss, he turns out to be a pretty decent guy.
    • Played more straight in Dragon Quest X, where one of the Regional Gods, Nadraga wanted his race of Dragons to rule over all the others and allied himself with Jagnouba, the Great Source of Darkness when his siblings refused.
  • The Goomba: Slimes are usually the first, and easiest, enemies you face in these games. That just applies to the standard slime though. Except in DQ VI, where there's an even weaker variant of the slime and the standard slime doesn't appear until about an hour later (a subtle hint to the game's plot twist; "true" slimes only appear in the real world).
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Monsters series, although DQ V and DQ VI both had monster catching as well, years before Pokémon.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • Morrie from the NA version of DQ VIII peppers his speech with Italian words. A slime version of him runs the Tank Battles in Rocket Slime.
    • In the DS remake of the fourth game, characters often use Russian words in the second chapter and French words in the fourth chapter.
      • Bishop Ladja speaks in gratuitous Russian in Dragon Quest V. Gядйdмдsтзя Йiмzф дlsф dфзs тнis, дйd тдlкs щiтн д Яцssiдй дlрндьзт fфям фf lззтspздк.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Nokturnus, who debuted in VI by destroying a kingdom from an entirely different dimension, has enjoyed a reputation as a very powerful Bonus Boss and demon. Dragon Quest X bumps up his reputation by establishing him to be a multiverse-scale God of Destruction.
  • Grimy Water:
    • Poisonous swamps appear throughout the series, but the only game where you can actually die from its damage is DQ I; sequential titles will never let your party's health fall below 1HP.
    • In DQ III, the Charlock Castle, where Zoma awaits for the Hero and his Party, is surrounded by purple, poisonous swampy water. The access to Gaia's Pit -and the Dark World- is also encircled by a toxic purple swamp.
    • In DQ VIII, there are a few areas (such as a segment in the Black Citadel) where the player can walk through what appears to be purple water. Doing so slowly damages the entire party.
    • This feature is useful in DQ IX, as there is a side quest which requires you to heal allies from exactly 1 HP several times... good luck getting monsters to drop you to exactly 1 HP, unless you have a lot of Defense and a lot of patience.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
    • DQIV: In the third chapter, Torneko can recruit temporarily Laurel, a spellcaster bard, and Hardy, a mercenary.
    • DQV: Prince Harry joins you at the beginning of Part II and leaves after the false queen has been dealt with.
    • DQVII: Kiefer joins your party in the beginning, but he leaves roughly a third or so of the way into the game.
  • Happily Married: The main protagonist of DQ V; the wedding is a major point in the game and the second half revolves around family adventuring.
  • Have You Seen My God?: In both VII and IX, the major deity is absent when the world really needs a Big Good (in other games, the Goddess is too far in the background to take a hand).
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: A series standard for the main characters. Yuji Horii has even stated that it's one of the series' essential elements.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: In DQI, the Hero did not need multi-target attacks since he only fought one enemy per encounter. DQII introduced groups of enemies, so consequently the developers turned Sizz/Sizzle into multi-target spells and introduced spells (Woosh) and weapons (the Chain Sickle) which could damage groups of enemies, as well as the Kaboom spell which blew up every enemy in the field. DQIII refined, expanded and improved the system, and all subsequent games built on it.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Most of The Heroes are usually associated and depicted with swords and the like. Notably Averted with the main character of Dragon Quest V, who is depicted with a Simple Staff. It is one of the subtle hints toward the fact that the main character is not actually the legendary hero of his game.
  • Heroic Mime: The Hero of every game. The series' insistence on a voiceless protagonist will occasionally highlight the flaws of such an approach; players tend to assume a character with no voice and therefore no obvious personality to be their personal avatar, which doesn't mesh with the fact that each hero has his own personal story.
    • In DQV, you get to hear the hero speak a few lines when he comes back to your childhood via Time Travel to exchange the fake MacGuffin for the real one. DQXI does the same thing in a similar situation.
    • The hero of the first game has a few lines after defeating the final boss, when he rejects the offer to take the place of the King of Alefgard.
  • Holy Pipe Organ: The churches in every town serve an essential role as Save Points by confessing to the local pastor. They all share the same pipe organ-based theme, "Healing Power of the Psalms". The pastor can also perform other holy tasks for the adventurer like revive their fallen allies, perform exorcisms, and remove poisons.
  • Holy Water: Throughout the series holy water is a consumable item that acts as Encounter Repellant against monsters weaker than the party; in games with Random Encounters it prevents them from occurring, in games with Preexisting Encounters it prevents them from spawning or makes them avoid contact at lower levels than without using it. In some games it can also be used in battle to deal a minuscule amount of damage to a single monster.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • Marquis de Léon in Chapter 4 of DQ IV.
    • DQ V has this with Bishop Ladja at the end of generation 1.
    • DQ VII has a few of these as well at Alltrades Abbey.
    • And also DQ IX twice; not only can you not win, you can't do anything because But Thou Must! has been weaponized against you.
    • A few show up in DQ XI as well.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The series limits the number of items your party can carry including your equipment in battle. The first three games have a vault to store your items, but since DQIV, you carry a Bag of Holding with no limit of items you can carry. If the player party's inventory is full, additional items are placed into the bag. Items in your bag cannot be used during battle.
  • An Ice Person: The "Crack" magic series involves summoning shards of ice to skewer enemies; higher levels also have increased range. One character who learns these spells is Borya of DQ IV.
  • Iconic Item: The Sword of Loto is used as a quickhand reference to the original trilogy (sometimes just Rubiss' Crest). The Sword of Zenithia is similarly used as a symbol for the second trilogy. Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road Victory features them both prominently.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Some of the fancier gowns and robes are more suited to ballrooms than battlefields. Special note goes to the Shimmering Dress, which is not only impractical in design but in its special effect: it sometimes reflects magic, including healing spells.
  • Improbable Age: Dragon Quest V starts off the protagonist as six years old. He gets treated as such, and it shows in other things such as being unable to read signs, but this obviously does not stop him from donning Plate Armor and wielding a Broadsword to considerable effect. Not to mention you're forced into marriage at 16 years old.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Astraea's Abacus is one of the most powerful weapons available in Torneko's chapter of DQ IV. An abacus!
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Dragon Quest III introduced a day/night cycle. Sleeping at an inn would always take you to morning, and there were also spells and items that would change it from day to night or back. This continued on for the rest of the series, though inns would eventually allow you to rest until evening instead of just the next morning.
    • Dragon Quest VIII has a day-night cycle of about a half-hour. However, the player can circumvent this with most inns: going to an inn in the middle of the night has you wake up at dawn, and going to an inn during daylight gives you the option of sleeping until the next morning or only until evening.
    • Dragon Quest XI refines the game clock manipulation further with campsites, allowing the party to rest until dawn, midday, dusk, or night.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Characters (especially The Heroes) will often have exceedingly powerful equipment that only they can use, creating a set of Infinity Plus One Gear. That said, there are a few cases where even these unique weapons are not in fact the strongest weapons in the game.
    • In Dragon Quest V, for example, the Metal King gear has the highest stats in the game, but can be equipped by anyone and achieved by spending too much time at the casino.
    • Another big example is the Falcon Blade, which has a comparatively pitiful Attack bonus, but since it allows you to attack twice in sequence, once the wielder's own Attack score is high enough, it deals more damage than any other weapon you could possibly have.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Both the door and key disappear when unlocked in the first game. Averted in all other games.
  • Item Crafting: Many of the games have this in the form of Alchemy. XI replaces alchemy with forging.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: The second game avoided the tendency of RPGs to make the main character fit this role, instead giving it to the second party member out of the three — i.e. the Magic Knight to the hero's purely physical attack and the princess's Squishy Wizard.
    • Additionally, the hero in each game may be a jack-of-all-trades by the end of the game, but he's almost always a healer type, assuming there's no job system. While he can and does get the most damaging spells in the game (Zap, Kazap, and (sigh) Kazapple), they are prohibitively expensive, and his physical power and healing spells are always more useful.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Occurs in the NES release of Dragon Quest I and III (Dragon Warrior I and III). The first town you encounter in I is named Brecconary and is changed to Brecconaly in III. This is especially curious because the town isn't even named that in Japanese; it's "Ladatoum" in the source. Evidently wires got crossed among the translation team itself.
  • Just Add Water: Alchemy in VIII and IX and breeding/synthesis in the Monsters series. Averted in XI, where forging involves a minigame that's a bit more elaborate.
  • Killer Rabbit: Subverted with the Imps; these small, googly-eyed baby demons can potentially cast deadly spells like Kaboom and Thwack, but they’re unable to successfully use them because they have no MP. So they just end up looking completely helpless whenever they try to cast them in battle.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Ever since the introduction of openable drawers and pots and whatnot around-about DQ V, the series has gotten a hair infamous for this. None of the NPCs ever seem to care, either. VIII goes so far as to encourage you to help yourself — if you find it, it's yours.
  • Knighting: "Loto" or "Erdrick" is not actually a name — it's a title bestowed only upon the bravest of heroes. It is given to the hero of Dragon Quest III, the heroes of Dragon Quest II (and possibly to their ancestor, the hero of Dragon Quest I, though his adventure occurred before this part of the mythology had been developed), the hero of Dragon Quest XI, and to Prince Kiefer of Dragon Quest VII and his partner Luin, as per Dragon Quest Monsters Caravan Heart.
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance: Played straight in most of games where the map's borders loop around each other (DQ III, DQ XI) or stretch to infinity (DQ VIII). The exception is DQ I, which differs from the later games in the series in that all of Alefgard appears to be surrounded by water. In DQ II, it's revealed to be one of several "continents" in the game world.
  • Lazy Backup: Played straight by some, averted by others, especially the immensely useful system in DQV where your Mons and characters not in the active party would jump out to fight for you if the entire main party was knocked out. Interestingly, since only the main character can interact with others, if you enter a town with the hero unconscious, one of his party members (even his pet panther!) would drag him off to get revived.
  • Legacy Character: Unlike other recurring NPCs like Patty the Party Planner, who appear from game to game regardless of world or timeline to manage certain mechanics in their own person, some mechanics are managed by NPCs who are allowed to differ.
    • The mini medal collectors, who traded the mini medals you collected, were historically kings who lived in opulent but isolated castles, but this began to branch out with more modern games. Cap'n Max Meddlin' of DQIX in particular is a pirate (after a fashion) who alludes to his royal ancestry in a nod to the usual collectors preceeding him.
    • The various abbots of Alltrades Abbey are not usually the same person, though they fill the same role. Not all of them are the same "Jack of Alltrades" (the remake of VII even had an Abbess Jacqueline).
  • Legendary in the Sequel:
    • Inverted in the first three games. Your character in DQIII becomes a legend in DQI. Played straight in DQII, where the hero of the original game has become his own legend.
    • In DQIV, the Hero's defeat of Estark makes them renowned amongst the world over and strikes fear into monsters even past IV itself. This actually ends up being a bad thing in DQV, as this prompts the slaughtering of any descendants they have out of fear that another legendary hero could come about.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Some high level "armors" for girls are actually just lingerie, like the Naughty Underwear or Bustier items. Unlike male underwear (like, say, the Boxer Shorts), these items actually have high stats and good effects... meaning many, many players have the female characters wearing them. Also due the blatant name, and its implication for the wearer venturing the land in nothing more than a sexy lingerie, the item is widely referred in Fanarts and Doujinshi.
  • Level Grinding: Varies between games, but the original was the worst of the bunch when it came to this.
    • Although this trope can be averted — the buff and debuff spells such as the ones that increase defense, mute the enemy, etc etc actually work quite well in most of the games in the series. If you don't use these spells you will have to grind quite a bit to just overpower the fights. Smarter, not Harder, and all that.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Zig Zagged. Some games allow casters to cast multiple times, attack groups of enemies, or rack up the damage, but other games have the casters lag behind because warriors can do the same for no mana cost, and on top of that can have their abilities scale with strength and damage multipliers.
  • Locked Door: Finding the keys are a major part of each game.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • References to the Puff Puff Running Gag were removed in the English localizations of earlier games.
    • The Temple of Dharma and Book of Satori reference Buddhism, but this is not as apparent in games with the Dub Name Change of Alltrades Abbey and Words of Wisdom.
  • Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap: Varies from game to game. However, it is usually far easier to acquire health-restoring items and potions than it is to find magic-restoring ones. Some earlier games don't even have the latter.
  • Magic Knight: It's tradition for The Hero from every game in the main series to be one of these.
    • Except for the second one, mind you, where the main character can't use a single spell; instead, the role of Magic Knight is played by his cousin, the Prince of Cannock. (Of course, this was before the tradition was really formed).
    • The main character being a Magic Knight descends from the set-up of the first game, where the character had to be something of the Jack-of-All-Stats and do everything since he was solo the entire time.
    • It was the hero of III who formalized the convention, where the hero was not only a Magic Knight, but The Paladin, with unique lightning powers and the most powerful of Heal spells. This convention has been inherited by most of the other DQ heroes following him.
  • Mana Potion: Magic Water, and the more potent Elfin Elixir.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Lots! Malroth behind Hargon (sort of) in II. Zoma behind Baramos in III. Aamon behind Psaro in IV. Nimzo behind Ladja in V. Mortamor behind Murdaw (and many others) in VI. Rhapthorne behind Dhoulmagus in VIII. Corvus behind Godwyn in IX.
    M to R 
  • Market-Based Title: TSR owned the trademark to the name Dragon Quest for many years, forcing the series to be released as Dragon Warrior in America until the eighth installment.
  • Mascot Mook:
    • The ever-smiling Slime, which has grown so ubiquitous that Dragon Quest now boasts an entire class of monsters comprised of the Slime and its ever-increasing number of derivatives.
    • Platypunks are also frequently featured in spin-offs, especially the Sime Morimori series.
    • Dragon Quest IX introduced a new mascot, the Teeny Sanguini, Surprise Creepy incarnate.
  • Metal Slime: The Trope Namer, with almost a dozen examples in the series — the Metal Slime, the Liquid Metal Slime, the Metal King Slime, the Metal Kaiser Slime, the Gold/Gem Slime, the Darkonium Slime, the Platinum King Jewel, the Diamond Slime, the Liquid Metal King Slime, the Metal Star, and whatever else they come up with in later games. All varieties are Nigh-Invulnerable, usually susceptible to critical hits and not much else, often making their defeat a matter of luck (or the proper weaponry).
  • Minigame Zone: Most of the later games include a casino where you can win large quantities of cash and powerful equipment.
  • Monster Arena: Starting with Dragon Quest III. Later games even have subquests of you having to recruit monster gladiators for your teams.
  • Monster Compendium:
    • The Big Book of Beasts in the remakes of IV, V, VI, and VII show the number of enemies defeated for each enemy beaten, what kinds of items received from them, and attack animations.
    • The monster list in Dragon Quest VIII displays models, character animations, and flavor text for every enemy type defeated. Filling it up by defeating at least one of every monster, including bosses, nets the player a secret item that can prevent random encounters.
    • The defeated monster list in Dragon Quest IX shows models, animations, number defeated, and items received from each monster type defeated, along with flavor text. The thief vocation's skill "Eye for Trouble" reveals a second page of flavor text for each monster observed using the ability along with revealing both possible item drops regardless of which items the player has attained from the monster.
    • Dragon Quest XI keeps a repository of monster information as well.
  • Mushroom Man: The Funghoul and its Underground Monkeys are fat little toadstools with gaping faces and stubby limbs.
  • The Musical: A musical was made in the early nineties featuring JPOP group SMAP playing the characters.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Balzack, and his evolved form, Baalzack.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Infernos spell found in the NES games. You would think it is a fire based spell (inferno) but is actually a wind spell. Later releases would change this to Whoosh.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The original Dragon Quest trilogy allows you to visit the same locations at different stages in history. Dragon Quest Monsters Caravan Heart shows you much of the same world reduced to ruins.
  • Nuns 'n' Rosaries: The church elements strongly resemble the Catholic church.
  • One-Winged Angel: It would actually be easier to list the final bosses that don't do this (to date, only Malroth in II and Zoma in III have no One-Winged Angel form). Dhoulmagus gets special mention for being a mid boss that does this.
    • Orgodemir of Dragon Quest VII is an interesting case. The first time you fight him he plays this trope straight. The second time he inverts the trope, as he goes from his One-Winged Angel form to his normal form, and then further changes into a hybrid of the two forms.
    • Dragon Quest XI zig-zags this. Mordegon does have a rather impressive One-Winged Angel form as Mordragon. The True Final Boss Calasmus however doesn't transform at all.
  • Only One Name: It's easier to name characters that have last names in the series than ones that don't.
  • Only Six Faces: The character designs of Akira Toriyama often resemble each other and even with his other character designs from his other works.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter:
    • DQ's infamous Puff-Puff, in which a party member is invited to get his face massaged with a woman's breasts (offscreen). While this was played straight in II, by Dragon Quest III set the trend for it to become a parody, where the pervy Puff-Puffee suffers a bait and switch resulting in something much less sexier than promised, though what kind of Hilarity Ensues is unique to each game. XI has both straight and gag examples. The running gag even cameod in Final Fantasy XIV during a brief crossover event.
    • Before the series settled for Puff-Puffs, the inn in Tantegel Town from Dragon Quest I featured a special dialog Easter Egg if you spent the night with a female companion. This could be either your local female fan, Princess Gwaelin, or even both.
    • In Dragon Quest V, the player must choose a bride from one of three possible spouses, who will eventually bear his children. Only Nera will make reference to sexual encounters, but marrying Bianca will require you to sleep together (nudge nudge, wink wink) at the Roundbeck Inn.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Used extensively throughout the series as a whole. The first game had palette swaps of every single monster save the final boss.
    • In later games many of the early boss monsters would eventually show up later with a palette swap as a Degraded Boss.
  • Party in My Pocket: VIII, the original version of XI (but not the S release), and Monsters: Joker use this trope. In VIII only the character in the first slot of the party (or the first living character if the ones in front are dead) is shown when walking and Joker only shows the protagonist. In XI, characters that are a Guest-Star Party Member or who haven't yet properly joined your party will also follow the hero character around.
  • Physical God: The Dragon God / "King" of the Zenithia trilogy; he sometimes disguises himself as a human.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Quite a few, particularly Medea's wedding dress in VIII.
  • Playable Epilogue: Every main series single player title allows the player to walk around and receive the adulation of the various townsfolk, though most of the later titles only allow you to visit a few towns.
  • Playboy Bunny: One of the most common character images in the series. There are two major varieties, miniskirted serving girls on the one hand and the rarer full corset variety (often restricted to the party).
    • If you have a female character in III, you can actually play as one by equipping the outfit—which turns out to be very effective armor. The sprite even changes! You can also recruit a female Goof-Off/Jester as a party member, whose sprite is a playboy bunny.
    • Jessica's bunny outfit in Dragon Quest VIII. There are some NPC bunny girls, though this amounts to a set of ears, a tail, and a short skirt.
    • Dragon Quest IX has Bunny Ears, a Bunny Tail, Stiletto Heels, and different bustiers (some of which can be made through alchemy), as well as the NPC harlequin Bunny Girls.
    • They reappear in Dragon Quest XI, both as NPCs and as a costume for Jade.
  • Playing with Fire: There are two major spell series in this element (one of the oldest and most common): "Frizz", which creates fireballs to hurl at individual monsters, and "Sizz", which produces a field of flames to attack enemy groups.
  • Power Nullifier: In III onward, but most annoyingly in V. "Boss X sends a disruptive wave of energy!" "All party stats are returned to normal." [groan] At least some of your Mons can do it, too. In fact, you have to be able to do it in order to remove the "Bounce" spell-deflecting field around the final boss of V. Good thing using the Zenithian Sword as an item will have the same effect. And since it's plot-relevant, you can't miss that item.
  • Prequel: DQIII in the Erdrick trilogy and DQVI for the Zenithia trilogy, and as the hidden ending of DQXI reveals, is a very distant prequel to DQIII.
  • Pretty in Mink: A fair number of armor and character designs have fur.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Iconic cast members and Ensemble Darkhorses are liable to make cameo appearances in later games.
    • Special note goes to IV, which has some of the earliest and most iconic of these characters. Torneko and Ragnar McRyan appear in VIII due to special invitation by Morrie.
    • DLC allows supporting cast members from previous games to visit the Quester's Rest in IX, and they'll even provide you with copies of their personal outfits, so you can make like they're adventuring alongside you.
    • Dragon Quest Heroes, as a Crisis Crossover, also has multiple characters from previous main-series titles returning, most of them either playable, fightable as bosses, or background helpers.
  • Punny Name: Far, far too many to list in this article. See World of Pun below.
  • Random Effect Spell: Chance/Hocus Pocus, across the series.
  • Rare Candy: The stat-boosting seeds, found in drawers, pots, hanging sacks and nearly everywhere else.
  • Recurring Character:
    • The soldier design (female especially) from Dragon Quest III was appropriated for the generic soldier NPC sprite in later games. It and several other class designs return as the garb of multiple NP Cs in later games, particularly in DQXI.
    • Robbin' Hood or Robbin' 'ood (Kandar in old releases and Kandata in Japan), the obscenely muscled and underdressed hoodlum with a hatchet, has made several reappearances throughout the series since his debut in III, almost always as a thief. So iconic is his design that he's spawned off an entire sub-family of lookalike monsters in the Monsters franchise and Dwight "Da White" Dwarf of DQV.
    • Games with recurring mechanics are routinely managed by the same NPC regardless of game. If a game has party management, you'll find Patty the Party-Planner (Ruida to old-school fans). If vocations can be chosen, Abbot Jack of Alltrades Abbey will set you on your way. If there are Mons to manage, you'll typically find Monty the Monster Monitor is at your service.
    • Estark, ancient King of Hell in DQIV, took on new life in DQV and several games after as a super-tough Bonus Boss. He even partially inspired (along with his mutant clone Psaro) the EvilMech series of monsters in DQVII.
    • King Trode has made a few repeat appearances since Dragon Quest VIII, including the implication of him playing a huge role in the ancient past of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime and as a secret monster in the DQM Joker games.
    • Morrie, also from Dragon Quest VIII, where he ran the Monster Arena. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime introduced the slime Morrie-Morrie (complete with Hot Blooded Sideburns, Scarf of Asskicking, and appropriate color scheme), who ran the Tank Colosseum. In Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, Morrie cameos as one of the common audience-sprites at the main arena, though now with a Cool Mask. On top of all that, Morrie also does the announcing for the Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road spin-offs.
    • Captain Crow, ghost pirate from DQ VIII, took on new life as a Bonus Boss in the Dragon Quest Monsters Joker games.
    • Godbird Empyrea of DQ VIII has appeared in multiple games as an interdimensional traveller, including the Monsters: Joker and Heroes spinoffs not to mention that she's also Ramia, the godbird of DQ III. The monster Gemon, who antagonized her in VIII, also appears in Monsters: Joker 2 and Swords (as a mirror-world being named "Nomeg").
    • Erinn, the head innkeeper of the Questers Rest in IX, reappears in Heroes 2 to manage the multiplayer mode, leaning more heavily into the Inn Between the Worlds trope and adopting a similar role to Pavo, who managed multiplayer in IX.
    • As a side-effect of reusing monster designs from one game in another, specific monsters who also doubled as characters in one game can appear in another. The Marquis de Leon and Baalzack of DQIV are frequent recurrers.
  • Recurring Element: Dragon Quest was the original JRPG series, so it has a lot of lore of its own to call back upon. Many of the tropes on this page are recurring elements, but here are some highlights:
    • The main character is usually a Magnetic Hero who collects party members for the cause over the course of the game.
    • The main character is also usually a Kleptomaniac Hero who will demolish or rifle through everything in pursuit of loot. VIII goes so far as to explicitly authorize the player to do this.
    • II introduced gameplay and storyline expansion; while you may start the game simply romping around the local countryside on foot (as in the original Dragon Quest), it's not at all unlikely you'll be traveling the globe with a Cool Ship, Warp Whistle, and often some form of Global Airship by the end. It's also likely you will be collecting special keys that allow you access to locked doors that would be otherwise inaccessible.
    • The Final Boss is usually a confrontation with an incarnation of the very powers of Hell.
    • Parties of adventurers will be subject to Competitive Balance, and a few games even have an explicit Character Class System.
    • A significant number of heroes are actually secretly Half Human Hybrids or have some other Secret Legacy. It's also worth pointing out that there are a handful of humans who are secretly dragons in disguise.
    • Most healing items come in the form of herbs.
    • Many kinds of weapons and armor recur in the game, including their special effects.
    • Various Mooks will also reoccur, including, obviously, the Mascot Mook Slime.
    • The games' traditional save point is always a church or at least a holy man, which almost always have the same aesthetic and leitmotifs even if they worship different gods.
    • The Puff-Puff gag, in which a lovely young woman massages her cleavage into the player character's face. Ever since Dragon Quest III, each game has found a way to riff on this idea, such as the massage actually coming from a male body-builder or a pair of Slimes.
    • III introduced the idea of Another Dimension to the series, and characters have been frequenting other worlds ever since. Taken to its logical conclusion in IX where your home base is effectively an Inn Between the Worlds.
    • VIII introduced Alchemy Is Magic to the series, which has been a fairly regular element to the main series since.
    • Later games are more than willing to sneak cameos of notable characters from previous installments, even if those characters technically belong in different worlds.
    • Apparently Akira Toriyama has made it a point to insist that there be at least one Tsundere in every project he works on, including this series.
    • There will often be a Collection Sidequest in the form of hunting Mini-Medals, little golden medallions hidden away in various nooks and crannies of the world. In any game with Mini-Medals, there will typically be a monarch somewhere willing to exchange some very neat stuff for your collection.
    • There are many, many love stories in Dragon Quest, all the way back to Alef and Princess Laura of I; these are most typically Star-Crossed Lovers (and Love Hurts something awful) and Childhood Friend Romance. In the latter category, there's such implied between Alena and Kiryl (and likely the hero and Elisa) in IV, V's hero and Bianca, VIII's hero and Princess Medea.
    • Gambling forms a core part of the game's philosophy, thanks to Yuji Hori himself. It's not only why there are casinos in every game, but also informs every Luck-Based Mission (including more than one Monster Arena), and why it's series tradition to only let you save in churches.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Like most RPGs, crowns are used as armor, but in these games, so can the crown of the king slime.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: See a pot or a barrel? Punch it or destroy it.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Several heroes are royalty, among them II's heirs to Midenhall, Cannock, and Moonbrooke; Tsarevna Alena of Zamoksva in IV; the entire royal family of Gotha in V; the Prince of Somnia in VI; Prince Kiefer of Estard (and his descendant Aishe, though the family had long given up being royalty by her generation) in VII; the heir to Argonia and King Trode of Trodain in VIII; and the Prince of Dundrasil, his grandfather the former King Robert (aka "Rab"), and Princess Jade of Heliodor in XI.
  • Running Gag:
    • In DQVIII, King Trode will pop up and make a comment when the team least expects to see him, always prompting a "COR BLIMEY!" from Yangus. Lampshaded late in the game, when Trode shows up at Tyran Gully, and Yangus starts to say his line, but then stops and says he's getting sick of that old bit.
    • Dragon Quest V has a few slimes appear on maps. They're willing to tell you that they're not bad slimes and demand you to not attack them. They also usually give you some tips in return.
    • Ah, the classic Puff Puff. At least once in each game, you're liable to run into a girl who'll offer to provide you with a Puff Puff, that is, she'll give you a massage with her breasts.note  The gag is that she won't actually do it, even if you accept her offer. Suffice to say, you do not get what you expect. So famous is the gag that it even featured in Final Fantasy XIV when there was a crossover with Dragon Quest X.
    • The series occasionally takes potshots at its own Artificial Stupidity and how mages would keep trying to cast insta-kill spells that rarely work. The usual target of these jabs is Kiryl from IV.
    • The fast-travel spell, Zoom, shoots you high up into the air — unless you're indoors or beneath something. In that instance, Reality Ensues and you bang your head on the ceiling.
    S to Z 
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: Kerplunk does this with all of the caster's allies, hero or monster. It also removes all of your MP so you can't just have your newly revived healer revive you so you can use it again.
  • Saintly Church: The churches of the unnamed deities. Averted in VIII, where the church and its leadership is shockingly corrupt, but the local parishes still play it straight and are just as helpful as ever.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Late in the games, players can start finding armor with powerful stats and malevolent designs, like of skulls and demons. However, this armor is usually Cursed, and will inflict negative status effects on your character, like increased weakness to some or all kinds of attacks or even losing a turn in battle. This armor is also impossible to remove normally, usually requiring a trip to church.
  • Schizo Tech: Despite otherwise being in a standard medieval, high fantasy setting, robot enemies have been a staple of the series since Dragon Quest II introduced the Killing Machine family. Some places also have technology that shouldn't exist yet, including slot machines.
    • Dragon Quest II: To be fair, the game that introduced the killing machine and hunter mech (and the Machine monster family by extension) was set in the distant future of the first game. Curiously, these monsters only show up in the Sea Cave or the region of Rhone/Rendarak and its dungeons, which all relate to the Cult of Hargon; the game may have been trying to imply Lost Technology or Magitek.
    • Dragon Quest VIII: In the 3DS version, the Nitid Tutu which makes Jessica look like a Magic Idol Singer comes with a headset.
    • Dragon Quest IX also features a steam train, which, to be fair, can fly and was created by God himself.
    • In Dragon Quest XI, while most of the towns are typically medieval, some places like the casino have neon lighting and gambling machinery that wouldn't look out of place in a modern setting. The castle in Sniflheim has an elevator and the sailing ship used to traverse the overworld has a paddle wheel like a 19th century steamship despite not having any smokestacks. There are also people wearing bunny girl costumes throughout the world, which is another modern invention. L'Academie de Notre Maitre les Medailles is a female boarding school with girls wearing uniforms from a Japanese high school, and even the classroom looks like it was from a contemporary Japanese school.
    • The Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker series is much more tech-heavy than main games or even the earlier Monsters games. The main character of Joker uses a jet-ski to reach new islands; Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 features airships, which were unheard of before Dragon Quest IX or so, unless you count flying castles. Joker 3 is positively saturated with futuristic tech.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Rhapthorne, Orgodemir, etc.
    • A literal example with Bjorn The Behemoose from V who was sealed in an actual jar.
  • Sequential Boss: Dragonlord, Hargon/Malroth, Dhoulmagus, Orgodemir...
    • None more than Psaro The Manslayer from IV however, who cycles through 7 forms.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • The "Zap" (Dein) spells, which strike enemies with lightning from on high. The Zap-family is distinguished by how it restricts it's range as it increases in power and cost — Zap can hit all enemies, while Kazap can only hit groups. It also has shades of Light 'em Up, being opposed to the "Zam" spells.
    • In early games, the "Boom" series also counted as electric before becoming its own class.
  • Situational Damage Attack: The Magic Burst spell deals the caster's remaining mana as damage, leaving them unable to use anything with an MP cost afterwards. Bosses that can use this often have unique abilities that allow them to instantaneously restore their MP at will.
  • Sole Entertainment Option: Most games have exactly one (sometimes two) casino in the world.
  • Smash Mook: A wide variety of Dragon Quest monsters specialize in hitting hard rather than using magic spells or other skills; if they do have skills, it will be in order to hit harder. Chances are, if it looks big and strong, it *hits* big and strong. Common examples of the type include the golem, the troll, the cyclops, the living statue, and the gruffon.
  • Spoiled Brat:
    • Prince Harry in V when he's young, the 10 years of slavery made him more laid back and optimistic ("We're locked up... I guess we can rest now!"), and later his son.
    • Charmles in VIII. It's his primary characteristic.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix:
    • The PlayStation and Nintendo DS remakes of IV, V and VI feature 2D characters and 3D environments which can be rotated 360 degrees.
    • VII. With the sprites rendered in classic Toriyama-style 2D looking very much like upgraded VI sprites as well as 3D backgrounds and attacks... it can look a bit... style-breaking.
    • IX is mostly 3D, but most minor NPCs are 2D sprites.
  • Squishy Wizard:
    • The Wizard class in DQIII.
    • Borya in DQIV
    • Jessica from VIII too. Not just literally, either. Well, she's a wizard, and, er, parts of her are squishy...
    • Veronica from XI
  • Status Buff:
    • Since DQII and DQIII, which introduced the first status-altering spells, the series has grown to include an enormous variety of buffing magic spells and abilities, such as Bikill/Oomph (doubles one character's attack power for a while, but they can't get critical hits), Upper/Buff and Increase/Kabuff (raise one ally's defense, or the party's defense), SpeedUp/Acceleratle (boost the party's agility), Barrier/Insulatle (protect the party from fire and ice), and Bounce (create a barrier that reflects magic spells cast on the target). In earlier games, many monsters and some AI-controlled characters could spend a turn gathering their strength, in order to make their next attack stronger. Later on this ability was made available to your characters, as Psyche Up. One of the more memorable buffs from the series is the Be Dragon spell, or Puff as it is now known, which turned the spellcaster into a fire-breathing dragon for a few turns.
    • DQVIII made it even better by allowing you to Psyche Up multiple times to build up even more power, eventually giving you the appearance of having Super Saiyan hair, as can be largely expected because of the character designer being Akira Toriyama.
  • Suspend Save: The only way to save in the field.
  • Taken for Granite:
  • Tiered by Name:
    • Mid-tier spells start with 'ka', upper-tier spells end with 'le'. For example: 'Frizz', 'Kafrizz', Kafrizzle'
    • The Slimes have a lot of buffed variants, including an infamous one that only takes one point of damage and gives out high EXP. All of them have "Slime" in their species names.
    • The Killing Machine series has been enjoying this, too. First you had the Killing Machine, an endgame-class monster in its own right from DQII. And then DQVI introduced the Overkilling Machine. DQIX introduced the Trauminator (that's the Super Killing Machine in Japan). And then there's a few variants unique to Dragon Quest Monsters titles not released in the west.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball:
    • In Dragon Quest III, where a city is destroyed during the day but intact and apparently in the past during the night; you need to use this trick to obtain one of the Orbs you need to awaken Lamia.
    • Also, one of the more complicated examples in Dragon Quest V, as a child, you find a glowing golden orb which does not seem terribly important. Later, you show it to a random traveler. Still later, The Dragon crushes it so you can never use it against him. Then, after the Time Skip, you're given a fake orb and use a magic painting to go back in time to exchange balls with your younger self, which means that that traveller you showed the gold orb to was you (though you could tell that by his clothes the first time you met him) thus meaning that The Dragon destroyed the fake.
    • Smashing up the Timey-Wimey Ball in XI kicks off the post-game. Entire story segments from earlier in the game are even retreaded, but from a slightly different perspective
    • The entire plot of Dragon Quest VII can be summed up with this trope.
  • Total Party Kill:
    • The Thwack (or Defeat) spell can kill your whole party in one go if you're unlucky. The Kamikazee (or Sacrifice) spell will kill your whole party in one go; no saving throw for you. Kamikazee even gives the Nightmare Fuel message "Character Name explodes into a thousand fragments!" instead of the typical "Character Name dies!" But the caster can still be resurrected somehow...
    • If your party is confused but has high defense stats, they will ineffectively bash each other with their weapons—but magic attacks don't undo confusion, so the enemy can still Frizz you to death!
    • Dragon Quest II: The Gold Batboons and their equivalents in the remakes are a late game random encounter enemy that can cast the spell Sacrifice. They rarely cast it, but if they do, your entire party will be instantly killed no matter what. You can't do anything to safeguard against it, and you don't get a saving throw. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. The enemy technically dies too, but even if the last enemy casts it and the whole field on both sides is wiped out as a result, you still lose.
    • Dragon Quest XI: Überkilling Machines get bumped up a level in difficulty in this entry. They're restricted to a couple of dungeons; but can attack twice, reflect spells, use rapidfire beams at random, and bring one of their allies back from death. If you face more than one and your levels are still low for the post-game, this may well be a total massacre.
  • Trope Codifier: Even beyond simply videogames or Eastern RPGs, Dragon Quest is the codifier for just about every fantasy trope in Japanese media. For example, the Cute Slime Mook has been hardwired into Japanese media as the weakest enemy in a fantasy setting, which works like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime bank on for its unique premise. Furthermore, Dragon Quest III's Zoma codified the Maou the Demon King archetype, which has become a standard antagonist or Big Bad in nearly every fantasy work.
  • Underground Monkey: A tradition from the earliest days of the series, Dragon Quest games always stagger monsters by giving them Palette Swaps, having them Tiered by Name, and assigning more abilities to later versions. They did this so much with the Mascot Mook Slime that it has its own class of monster, like "Dragon" or "Nature".
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Balzack from IV. He's named for French author Honoré de Balzac, but if you're an English speaker, you're probably snickering over Potty Humor.
    • Also, there is a certain town in Dragon Quest III. Later English versions call it "Ashalam" or "Asham". The NES version called it Assaram. One has to imagine the Nintendo of America folks were asleep at the wheel for that one.
  • Ur-Example:
    • Of just about every JRPG trope in existence. No, really, just about every one. Even Final Fantasy (the first of which came out a scant 2 months before Dragon Quest III) has callbacks to Dragon Quest titles. Amusingly, given the length and influence of the series, it could also be called the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier for quite a few of them, too.
    • Dragon Quest is in fact the Trope Maker for But Thou Must!. See above.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Averted. Death, Sleep, Silence, and the like are much more effective when used by your party than they have any right to be — even on bosses. The party AI is usually good about using those to slow down an enemy's assault instead of spamming high-damage and high-cost magic attacks. Ironically, most American gamers expect this trope so much that Dragon Quest has a history of being Nintendo Hard and requiring lots of Level Grinding — which it does, if you don't use the Useless Useful Spells.
    • Even the Status Buffs can be very useful - in III, for example, you bring along a Wizard as much for their ability to use Increase/Kabuff as anything, as even one application increases everyone's defense by a truckload - and you can apply it several times over.
  • Video Game Geography:
    • All mainline games beyond DQI (which has no way off the land mass surrounding the Dragonlord's castle) feature a toroid world. DQIII combines this with a Hollow World, the inside world being a toroidal version of the original Alefgard. Now, figure that out.
    • The Mon games have many worlds, though, and they're also toroid. Or, supposedly, since some of them take place on a Floating Continent.
    • The scale issue, at least, is possibly justified in DQVIII. If you check the battle log in eventually you'll get a message saying that you've traveled far enough to do a complete circumference of the globe. How far is that? A little over 200 miles, meaning that it really is an incredibly tiny planet.
  • Warp Whistle: Using a Chimaera Wing will allow you and your party to fly to the front gates of any town you've previously visited, saving you long treks in case you need to heal. Sooner or later, the hero will also gain the Zoom spell, which allows them to do the same thing for just 1 MP. One or two games even have the Hermes' Hat, which produces the effect for free.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying: There are both weapons and skills that target specific families or types of monster; dragons, undead, and Metal Slimes are common targets for this extra punishment.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Many of the villains that aren't a Card-Carrying Villain are this instead, occasionally with a Freudian Excuse.
  • Whip It Good: Several characters throughout the series use it, and one was one of the strongest weapons in the Game Boy Color remake of Dragon Quest III.
  • White Mage: The Priest class of III and many of the characters who inherit from it. Notably, in addition to healing magic, it's often the case that they also have Instant Death spells.
  • With This Herring: The series tends to do this quite a bit... "You are the prophesied hero foretold to save our kingdom from doom! And so I bequeath you this modest stick, a burlap sack, and some lint I found under my pillow. God be with you!"
    • Which makes V's subversion so much nicer: "You aren't the prophesied hero... but your wife will give birth to him, after you grow up!" You don't even get to see the stick/sack/lint part of the game, since your children rescue you on their own.
    • It's actually mostly justified in IV. Ragnar and the other soldiers of Burland are stuck with poor quality weapons and armor due to his king's refusal to raise taxes. Alena is a princess, but her father explicitly refuses to let her leave the castle. Torneko starts out in a low paying job just barely making enough money to support his wife and son. And Maya is shown to be very bad at managing her and her sister's money.
  • World of Badass: Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road assembles the heroes and supporting casts from the first nine games and gives them all No Kill Like Overkill Finishing Moves. The footage from that game practically demands this interpretation.
  • World of Pun: A distinctive feature of the games that Westerners have only started encountering since Dragon Quest VIII is all the wordplay, which is actually native to the Japanese originals. Ever since then, the localization teams stepped up their wordplay games, and so from VIII onwards, the names of monsters, items, locations and more are wall-to-wall wordplay.
  • World Tree: Since II, world trees have been a part of the Dragon Quest lore in some shape or form in each game, most commonly their leaves serving as the series' revive item. Not all such trees are identified as Yggdrasil and Yggdrasil won't always drop leaves or other goodies, but some presence is almost guaranteed. World trees are especially prominent in IV, VII, IX, XI, and Heroes.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Only the first two games in the original US localizations, though they for the most part were good about their grammar. The team that took over the localization of Dragon Quest VIII is British-based, and a more modern version of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe shows up. Cor Blimey! In addition, the DS remake of Dragon Quest IV has the Zenithians speak in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.
    • This was removed for presumably space reasons in the Game Boy Color remakes of the first two, which were released on the same cartridge, as Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe takes up precious bits.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Chances are good your initial goal won't be your only goal.
    • In Dragon Quest III, you beat the Big Bad Baramos, start in on the victory celebration, only to have the real big bad, Zoma, mock you for celebrating too early. Cue Extended Gameplay.
    • Ragnar McRyan of Dragon Quest IV ends his own Chapter with the realization that a case of local missing children is actually a plot by the master of the Underworld and goes questing to stymie his further plans.
    • In Dragon Quest VI, The Hero and his friends gather their resources to bring Dreadfiend Murdaw to heel. Not only is the original Murdaw you confront actually the King of Somnia under a curse, the real Murdaw is not the only Dreadfiend.
    • Dragon Quest VII also did this with panache: After you've restored all the islands/continents that the Demon Lord sealed away and solved all the pressing crises in each location, you finally track down the Demon Lord himself and defeat him in combat, ensuring peace and prosperity for the newly restored world... except you haven't even gotten to Disc 2 yet.
    • Dragon Quest VIII makes you think you've won the game after beating Dhoulmagus, but the party notices something is amiss when the King's and princess' curses aren't immediately broken.
    • Exaggerated in DQ IX, where the quest to initiate Fyggbloom is fulfilled quite early in the game... and then somebody assaults the Observatory, casting the hero down to the Protectorate.
    • Done with style in Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart: You beat the Big Bad, causing him to flee the (good) High Demon Lord he was possessing, only... he ... fled... right? Whoops. After the credits, you see the 4 other (good) Demon Lords who helped you out throughout the game floating in the darkness... then the darkness sprouts a hideous face. Cue the hero having to run screaming back to the Alternate Universe to sort that little mess out....
  • Your Size May Vary: Most of the games in the series have trouble when it comes to distinguishing size, often leaving it to the player's imagination, and the bigger monsters are often very vague on how big they are (how big is Hargon's castle if it can fit Atlas?). Games released during the renaissance (e.g. VIII, Monsters Joker, and Joker 2) have utilized superior graphical capabilities to give a much better effort in scale. Dragon Quest Heroes appears to be going out of its way to avert this.

O great and compassionate Goddess! Please give this child a peaceful respite!
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