Bionicle RPG Forum Tropes and Cliches

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This wiki is for the purpose of listing the tropes and cliches on BZPower's RPG Forum. This is the main index. Please note that this wiki is much less formal than Wikipedia, and humor in edits is allowed, so long as it is not off-topic. If it is, it will be nuked.

Also, please keep examples of tropes to those which have won the RPG Forum Contest. Thank you.

  • What is a trope?

Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom... You know it when you see it. When the trope itself becomes intrusive, distracting the viewer rather than serving as shorthand, it has become a cliché. Bad screenwriter. No biscuit!

  • What are Inverted, Lampshaded, Justified, Subverted, Parodied, Deconstructed, Reconstructed, Averted, Invoked, Deified, Discussed, Enforced, and ZigZagging Tropes?
    • Standard: "The Butler Did It." — The trope is simply used: no one suspected the butler, but it turns out he did it after all! Often referred to as played straight
    • Inverted: "The butler was the victim. Poor loyal Alfred!" — The trope is exactly reversed and then simply used.
    • Lampshaded: "I've always wanted to say that the butler did it!" — Like a standard trope, but where it's explicitly pointed out, and... that's all. It's just the author's way of winking at the audience and letting everyone know that they're using the trope on purpose.
    • Justified: "Nobody suspected the butler (there was no reason to), but it turned out he did it after all (because of some reason that nobody could be expected to have realized). An unjustified use would be, for instance, nobody suspecting the butler even though there is no reason why they would ignore him (e.g. he has a clear motive/opportunity and the investigators are not lazy or idiots.)
    • Subverted: "The butler didn't do it, even though we found him holding the knife and shouting 'I did it!'" When one or more of the standard elements of the trope are changed. (But the trope is invoked rather than being completely averted.)
    • Double Subverted: "The butler didn't do it, even though we found him holding the knife and shouting 'I did it!'" "'Ah, my plan to frame the Ambassador for the murder worked perfectly!' the butler thought to himself." — Like a subverted trope, but then later it turns out that the apparent subversion was misleading, too. We were right the first time. This allows writers to make use of the memetic power of the trope while demonstrating their own conscious awareness of it and messing with the audience's heads — all at the same time. If handled poorly, though, it can seem like a cop-out.
    • Parodied: "Mr. Butler did it." — The form of the trope is twisted and used in a silly way for comic effect.
    • Deconstructed: "The butler's union is really a front for an ancient guild of assassins." — The trope is twisted for dramatic purposes by breaking it down into its component parts and re-assembling it in a realistic way, or just taking it to its logical conclusion.
    • Reconstructed: "The butler did it! He'd had no choice, or the Assassin's guild would have ashed his whole family!" Reconstructed tropes are the new and improved Played Straight of an oft- or well-deconstructed, taking the best parts of the Deconstruction or reassembling the original Trope to strengthen its flaws or improving its feel.
    • Averted / Ignored: "The butler didn't do it." — There's no real evidence within the work that the trope is being used in any of the above ways. In general, cases where a trope was simply ignored should not be listed as an example. The exception would be if the Discussion page for a trope reaches a consensus that it's so nearly universal in this sort of story that its absence is really interesting.
    • Not Subverted: "The guest in room 10—who, it turns out, works as a butler in another town—did it." A usage which might differ from the most basic or most common form of a trope, but still falls within the definition of the trope. This is still considered played straight, but is worth a separate mention here because it is often incorrectly labelled subverted.
    • Invoked: "We should investigate the butler. It's always the butler in the movies." A character uses their knowledge of a trope as a reason for their own actions, hoping that the effect will come through as it does in fiction. Usually comes with a Lampshade Hanging, and often manifests itself through Conversational Troping.
    • Defied: "We have to lock all the butlers up before they can kill!" A character recognizes a trope is about to happen, and takes steps to avoid it. It's the opposite of Invoked.
    • Discussed: "Unlike what you may read in detective stories, the Butler is a somewhat unlikely suspect in any murder investigation of this sort, for reasons X, Y, and Z." - The trope is explicitly discussed by genre savvy characters; may lead to a Justification, a Deconstruction, or an Aversion, depending on the story and trope.
    • Enforced:"The butler had to be the killer, because our producer was aiming for target audience of people who never read mysteries before."
    • Zig Zagging: "The Butler did do it, but he was under mind control at the time. (And it later turns out that the one mind controlling the Butler looked exactly like the Butler... and then we find out that it was actually his evil twin, who was also a Butler)" None of the above, or more than one of the above; a trope that gets triple subverted, or inverted and played straight at the same time, or, well, just done confusingly.

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