An Overview / Introduction
If it's a console title, the main character WILL ALWAYS have spiky hair of some odd, unnatural color and lug around a humongous, penis-size-compensating sword. The spiky hair helps express how different your character is from everyone else in the game world, without actually being different or making the developers create an interesting character. If the main character is a female, she will limit her wardrobe to clothing which is so tight that it suffocates every single skin pore and melds into her epidermal layer.
If you're playing a pc game, then your main character will be some utterly generic, homogenized boring guy voiced by the same jackass who reads out movie previews:
"In a world gone mad... where the hunted has become the hunted... one man stands alone... a rogue adventurer, setting out to participate in particularly rogue things... he must avenge his father's death while saving the world from the dreaded evil wizard Latrino of the Blue Disk Clan... can he save the world... before he destroys himself?"
It's also noteworthy that when a pc RPG employs voice acting, even the biggest and most capable stars lose all talent the moment they step into the recording room. When you hear your character being voiced by Mark Hamill halfheartedly mutter "I can't take any chances, I must track Dorfgannon down before more innocent lives are lost," the sense that he's really thinking "I was Luke fucking Skywalker, I used to bang Harrison Ford and now I'm doing this shit" is frighteningly palpable. If the game is a port from a Japanese title, there's a chance that the English dub may be fatal.
The least qualified person to save the world will always be the only guy who can do it. This is offset by the fact that your evil arch-nemesis is located very, very far away from wherever you live, and the power of his evil minions increase with every step you take towards his goofy floating castle or invisible tralier park of doom. Sure he may have two spike-laced, fire spewing demon overlords guarding his palace doors with automatic plasma gun turrets, but 2,000 miles away and in your town, all he has is a handful of slightly aggressive wasps and a toad that shoots mossy rocks from its mouth.
Men are always stronger than women, but women are always more agile then men. Strangely enough, either sex can effortlessly lug around 100 healing potions and a sword the size of a city bus. At the end of any given fight, a man's first reaction is to place his hands on his hips somberly, while a woman will jump in the air like a cheerleader with her mouth open, clapping her hands or giving a peace sign depending on whether her mood is "ditzy" or "really fucking ditzy."Hey, this is mine! I uh... dropped it outside your house last week. Shut up.
Upon beginning your quest, you'll likely find yourself in a quaint town full of people who love it when you casually saunter into their bedroom and start looking through their shelves for items you can steal. Sure they may have been saving up that healing potion to cure their dying son of the dreaded disease AIDSarion, but by all means, if somebody else like you might want it to heal himself after battling a winged elf fairy frog king (weaknesses: lightning, upholstery), it's all yours! Amazingly, their drawers and cupboards are entirely empty aside from potions, gold, and equipment ideal for warriors such as yourself.
You will soon learn that God hates you. That's right, the Almighty must have your eternal suffering in mind. Why else would almost every town have just one natural entrance and exit? Rivers on the world map block your access to a treasure chest no more than three feet away, mocking the lustful look in your eyes. Luckily, God doesn't completely hate you, and there's always ONE magic tree you can cut down to create a bridge or dam to safely cross the deadly six inch deep abyss full of deadly minnows. Speaking of trees, they often act as impenetrable force fields, somehow growing in perfectly straight lines to constantly block your way, thereby creating labyrinths alongside the highly important boulders and signposts. This explains why nobody except you ever bothers leaving towns in any RPG. If I had to fight off several hundred monsters while nearly braining myself against a magic tree every few feet, I'd stay in town with a shit-eating grin on my face too.
The main villian will invariably have some quality which makes them more human and likeable in the player's mind. Damien might be slaughtering innocents by the thousands, but once we're shown a tearful moment from his past when he was learning to play the piano, we can't really hate him, can we? Giving good traits to bad guys and bad traits to good guys constitutes "depth" in RPGs, and you should be very impressed that the bad guy wants to commit genocide because his dog was run over by the king's wagon when he was a kid.
The villian described above will have several forms once engaged in battle. There's simply no way around it; the climactic showdown must be something the bad guy secretly waits and plans for months ahead of time. If he's able to turn into a being powerful beyond belief, why doesn't he just stay like that all the time? Perhaps he's evil because the 90 different demon and robot costumes he's wearing are really uncomfortable.
The population of RPG worlds have apparently pushed the local birds, rats, and wombats too far, and they now have no choice but to randomly retaliate against wandering adventurers. Nature absolutely, positively loathes you and only you. When was the last time anybody had to save other villagers or towns from rat attacks? Where the fuck is Animal Control? Don't towns have some kind of department which travels more than 10 feet outside of the town to make sure there aren't any fire owls waiting to attack?
For that matter, every animal in the same species looks identical but has a slightly different color scheme. For example, the poisonous rat is green, the rock rat is grey, and the lust rat is red - the color of HOT STEAMY LOVE.
Many insects and animals carry around money and other things such as healing potions or magic herbs. They choose to haul these items around with them because the banks in town refuse to open up accounts for "deadly moths" and "some kind of evil wombat-goose creature." These encumbered creatures lead you to believe that maybe some powerful wizard didn't really steal the planet-saving artifact you're after in the first place. Perhaps it was just one of those kleptomaniac chipmunks, and the world could be saved by laying some traps around town with a set of shiny keys or a duplicate artifact as bait. Well, unless it was one of those kleptomaniac POISON ROCK HELL WIZARD HORSE chipmunks.
As shown above, the more adjectives before an enemy's name, the more powerful and dangerous he is.
Some enemies have annoying skills which could be put to better use in some other way. You'd think a pirate with the magical ability to make your party fall asleep wouldn't waste his time on such a small target like you when he could be putting entire fleets to bed, boarding them and stealing all their precious gold, potions, and eggs which most people seem to have on hand for some reason. The enemies obviously know who's a threat and who isn't. Why would they bother attacking the defenseless idiots in the nearby village which has a bank containing infinite money and armory packed with infinite items when they can attack you, the guy with the glowing orange pitchfork and earrings that somehow make you more intelligent?
Your opposition will usually employ questionable tactics in battle. Instead of concentrating on your character that's delivering the most damage, they either lunge randomly or team up on the female / pansy whose role is limited to "heal," "wait patiently," or "try to attack but miss 80% of the time." Occasionally the pansy enjoys healing a character who has 100% health. You know, just to be sure.
No enemy can stop you except, well, non-enemies. While traveling, some obstacles will invariably block your passage. Such intimidating objects as three foot high rocks, sleeping fat men, and pretty tall grass are sure to keep even the most valiant warriors (who are the world's last hope) at bay. Sure, you can cast a spell that sucks 50 enemies into a whirling vortex of hell, but if the bridge is out or there's a somewhat large rock in your path, you're screwed and might as well give up.
Prepare yourself for quite possibly the most effective use of "BOWL" as a sound effect.
Who needs three months of endless summer fun? You have a career!
Something Awful Guides can help you, the Internet reader, make the most out of your life and just might possibly end up getting you incapacitated or killed!