Cliche Characters, Impossible to not have?

xShaddy

Iterior Crocodile Alligator
Member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
1
First Language
Rawr
Primarily Uses
So I'll be short, are cliche characters impossible not to have in your RPG game. Almost every RPG character lost his parents, gains misterious power, saves the world etc, etc..

Do you feel its almost impossible to not have character like taht in certain games? I mean if it isnt RPG you porbably wont have character like that but for RPGs i think it like a standard or something. I just dont know if its just me or..

And is it bad to have cliche character aswell? I mean its hard not to have him bcz it wont fit with most of the stories but wont taht make story cliche too... Well its discussion so... what are your opinions?
 

Indinera

Indie Dev
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
1,783
Reaction score
746
First Language
French
Almost every RPG character lost his parents, gains misterious power, saves the world etc, etc..
To be fair, I don't think it's always true, particularly with RM games.

And is it bad to have cliche character aswell?
Not really, if it's done well. It's all about dialogs, characterization etc.

More important than clichés, your characters have to make you feel that they could exist.
 

TDS

- T D S -
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2012
Messages
361
Reaction score
129
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I just keep wondering what's people obsession with cliche's.

I understand people trying to be original, but you will often sound like someone else before you find your own voice. Sure a character might start out as a "cliche" of some hero with no parents going on a journey to save the world, but what's going to set him apart is not an original background, cool name, etc. What is going to set him apart is how well he plays his own part in the story. If he's the funny the funny guy, well he should be funny and try to cheer people up, if he's going to mope around most of the story, then a believable sadness is required to make it work.

It's really never about avoiding cliche's it's about knowing how to use and stick to them, instead of trying to cram a lot into a character to make it feel original.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
904
Reaction score
214
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I hate how people view cliches as a bad thing. They aren't a bad thing. The only reason they are looked down upon is because they are overused in a terrible fashion. Hell I love 'cliches'
 

Ratty524

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2012
Messages
607
Reaction score
144
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
I say it's not impossible, but you have a point. No ideas are new or truly "original", they all come from an existing source somewhere. I think the storylines in RPGs mainly originate from old folklore (e.g. Beowulf) or classic movies/Film (like Star Trek or Star Wars).

However, what does make characters or any story "original" is how much personalization the author puts into it. If you have a character whose village got burned down and wants to stand for justice and yadda yadda, without the author feeling any attachment or relation to this personality, then of course it's going to completely bore an audience. I think the key to getting around this is to gain some experience or look to reference (books, television, media, etc. Anything you like), and use it to create more inspired characters.

Another thing, give your characters some conflict. Never be too one-dimensional with your characters, even with your villains. Think of why they do what they do, what makes them "tick". Why does the hero feel so strongly about avenging his/her family's death, for instance? What personal flaws does he/she have that he/she needs to overcome? That should help help keep your characters engaging, even if you are using the same ideas.
 

Espon

Lazy Creator
Veteran
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Messages
1,810
Reaction score
190
First Language
Gibberish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Nearly everything has been done, it's difficult to come up with a character that does not resemble another in some sort of way or another.

However, it's not how cliché as a character is, it's how you use them. Your character could be a unique snowflake and end up failing badly because they were poorly written or they just can't fit into the story. On the other hand you can take your typical swordsman with amnesia and hidden power and still end up creating an amazing game and story out of it.

Trying to come up with original characters is fine and dandy, but just don't try to be different for the sake of being different. You can still come up with interesting, recognizable characters even if they share a couple things in common with other heroes...it's all in how you write them.
 

xShaddy

Iterior Crocodile Alligator
Member
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
14
Reaction score
1
First Language
Rawr
Primarily Uses
@Indinera- Not sure, i tend to see alot of characters like that, it is true that there are great ones where it isnt anything like that

@TDS- True.. Good idea

@Kilim- Never said its a bad thing~ I got no probs with cliches aswell, just wondering if it became almost impossible not to hav cliche character

@Ratty524- K, good idea, will see about that.

@Espon- Nice idea aswell, yea but i dont think anyone had typical swordsman with amnesia xD Oriinal idea at work

It seems to me people got me wrong that i hate cliches >.>, its not true, I used cliches myself and I never had trouble playing a cliche game but it also is true that bad cliche annoys me, a work in wich wasnt put much work but just same story that happened before~
 
Last edited by a moderator:

RyanA

Happy Cat
Veteran
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,423
Reaction score
230
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
As has already been said, as long as the character fits in with the story well and helps bring out certain parts of it, there isn't anything wrong with them! Cliche characters can be great but they can also be terrible, same with original characters.

Being too cliche, I think, makes some players think the characters are just that and don't take them seriously, but being too original then most players have nothing to relate to in the character.

I think the best characters come from cliche's mixed with some originality, maybe based on a personal experience, or just jumbled up a bit. Maybe the main character swordsman who's village was burned down could be a mage instead, that already makes the cliche more original. There's a lot of ways :3
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Espon

Lazy Creator
Veteran
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Messages
1,810
Reaction score
190
First Language
Gibberish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I think the best characters come from cliche's mixed with some originality, maybe based on a personal experience, or just jumbled up a bit. Maybe the main character swordsman who's village was burned down could be a mage instead, that already makes the cliche more original. There's a lot of ways :3
A mage that accidently burned down his own village...actually I think it's been done before too.
 

C Frost

Level 51 Procrastinator
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
81
Reaction score
39
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
This topic has mostly already been covered well, but I wanted to add a couple things. To some degree, this might be getting into the difference between "trope" and "cliche". The former is benign, and do not need to be expressly avoided. The latter could be defined as "what a trope becomes when it's sufficiently overused". Still, even then, having some cliche elements in your story is not a bad thing, because it's nigh unto impossible to avoid them completely, and it's not the same thing as the entire story as a WHOLE being cliche.

In terms of characters, and the OP's question, I think it's also important to point out the difference between - again - having some cliche elements, and the character as a whole being seen as cliche. Most main characters (in an RPG, or a sci-fi novel, or damn near anything, really) are going to have at least one or two cliche aspects to them, and there's nothing wrong with that. Just because a main character who was an orphan is considered cliche by many doesn't mean you can't do it, if that's what fits. What we DO want to avoid is having a "cliche character." Meaning, the ENTIRE character feels like a walking cliche storm. A young, brash swordsman, who was an orphan and doesn't remember anything about his past, who carries a mysterious talisman that seems to be reacting to the evil that threatens the land, also his village was destroyed right before the beginning of the game and he is cocky and rushes ahead but always does the right thing by his friends and (etc etc).... And it's not just about simply having those cliche traits, it's also about those things being the main - or even only - aspects of the character that really shine through and show the audience what he/she is all about

Ok, the brash swordsman that I just described IS an example of a walking cliche storm, and would probably be seen as such by many, but even in that case, it might be possible to still turn him into a compelling character with strong writing and execution.

Super cliche-ridden characters could work in a parody/comedy game, but if the story is meant to be taken seriously, then not so much. But simply having some aspects of the character's background/origin/etc. be "cliche" doesn't mean "the character is cliche".

And it's absolutely true that how one uses cliches is much more important than whether or not one has them in the first place. Jumping through too many hoops to try and twist part of a story around so that it "avoids cliches" can easily result in an overly convoluted mess.
 

Levi

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
798
Reaction score
143
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Nothing is an absolute "cliche".

A cliche is simply a thing that was at one point 'meaningful' or engaging.... but has been used/experienced to such an extent that it has lost it's initial potency or force... it's "Umph" if I may.

Cliche's may be predictable, but do not have to be. A Character's backstory may be cliche, but it's personality may not. An action may be cliche, but the motivation that lead to that action may not... and conversely.

Beyond all that... it depends on the person. Of course there are some cultural and social (universal) cliches... but for the most part it depends on an individual's exposure to the thing. If you've never heard the story of the "Joe Schmo" who had to save a princess from a monster, it'd be engaging and fun! It wouldn't be cliche to you.

And cliche's can be used strategically. They can be a perfect medium for Red Herrings.

What I'm trying to say is.... there is no answer.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Probotector 200X

Probotect and Serve
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
890
Reaction score
147
Primarily Uses
Sure, relying on cliches can help make things easier, but remember that some things that are considered cliche now were considered new and surprising at some point. What I mean by that is...you shouldn't be afraid to try something totally new, because someday that may be cliche as well! So, if you feel that you are afraid to do something original, and want to rely on cliches, well, make your own cliches!!

The main cliches that bother me are ones related to the main character, because the story is typically from their perspective. Even if the story is totally different, if you have generic teenage swordsman #95600, then it seems the same, because it's from the same point of view. Having a different type of main character can breathe a whole new layer of freshness into the same old story. It's about perspective!

Want to have the teenage swordsman save the Princess from the evil sorcerer? Try changing the perspective! Don't make the main character the teenage swordsman, but the Princess! Or the Sorcerer! Or the teenage swordsman's best friend! Or the Kingdom's strongest knight! Or the evil Sorcerer's comic relief henchman! The setting, the main plot, the characters...all the same! But if you just change the main character and the point of view, you can tell a completely different story!
 

The8th

Time Lord Extraordinaire
Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Messages
10
Reaction score
5
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
It is possible to not have cliche characters when writing a story. This will require creative effort on your part; but, I wouldn't overlook the fact that cliche characters are sometimes a necessary evil...

When writing a story, you don't want your audience to be alienated from the characters. There needs to be something about your cast that people can relate to or understand. Therefore, starting with a cliche character (like a hero on a noble quest) can help get your story off to a good start. Nevertheless, as you develop the protagonist, think of ways to enhance him/her. Does he/her learn something that changes their initial viewpoint? What type of experiences do you want them to have? I think that by considering such questions a writer can be effective in telling a good story and potentially have something original (albeit initially cliche driven).

Here's an example of what I mean: A hero's village is destroyed by a dragon. He then seeks retribution by acquiring whatever is necessary to hunt and kill this dragon. But his vengence consumes him and clouds his judgement. Eventually, he turns against his friends/companions and becomes a monster much like the dragon. Do you see elements of the protagonist being cliche to other heroes in past writings? Of course! He embarks on a nobel quest, but falls victim to a wayward path. Nevertheless, as I develop this character and focus on telling a good story, the cliche elements become less and less apparent... Now this is merely my view on the topic and not an absolute statement. I encourage every writer to start simple and tell a good or compelling story they can make their own.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Kaiser

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Messages
1,578
Reaction score
79
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Cliche are fine because writers from the Modern Era and the Lost Generation made many Cliches used today, and it's fine. So long as it is done right, and it's not making a joke of it. If anyone has a problem with cliche stuff direct your attention to Ernest Hemingway. Who to me is the most badass writer ever!
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Who loves the Final Fantasy series?~
Weather and time system twin release. Now with weather icons and possibility to add them in your custom clock!
Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders is finally being ported to PC. I loved playing that game on the original Xbox.
A friend told me to stop making nomnom or gulping noise when eating or drinking. Plot twist of my life. I thought people can't hear that!

Forum statistics

Threads
94,411
Messages
920,758
Members
124,207
Latest member
AshleyBrowney
Top