Re: LitRPG Tropes

#2
One LitRPG trope I hate is 'Here's a box! Here's an even bigger box! Here's the biggest box you've ever seen! Here's one even bigger than that!' It's as if the authors don't know how to KISS.

I don't know if anyone actually likes to tediously trudge through every minute drivel, written with excruciating detail within those boxes each time the MC or his pet rat or the niece of his boyfriends father-in-law's cousin's son's uncle thrice removed from his mother's side, gain's a new skill, but I don't care much for it. Sometimes they even add all the boxes marked and labelled after every character relevant or irrelavent(i don't know cause they all read exactly the same) after each chapter.

So yeah, it'd be better to avoid that trope I guess...


Re: LitRPG Tropes

#3
april18 Wrote: One LitRPG trope I hate is 'Here's a box! Here's an even bigger box! Here's the biggest box you've ever seen! Here's one even bigger than that!' It's as if the authors don't know how to KISS.

I don't know if anyone actually likes to tediously trudge through every minute drivel, written with excruciating detail within those boxes each time the MC or his pet rat or the niece of his boyfriends father-in-law's cousin's son's uncle thrice removed from his mother's side, gain's a new skill, but I don't care much for it. Sometimes they even add all the boxes marked and labelled after every character relevant or irrelavent(i don't know cause they all read exactly the same) after each chapter.

So yeah, it'd be better to avoid that trope I guess...

I'm amusing you are talking about when people make those blue boxes to represent status screens to show off the players stats and skills. I was wandering how I would go about that. I was thinking of just listing their class and any important information when the character is first introduced, but avoid adding individual stats, (like strength X and speed Y) as I would prefer to keep that more ambiguous when writing.

Re: LitRPG Tropes

#4
tropes, as far as I know, are everywhere in today's writing. you can't exactly avoid them. and it isn't about what you avoid or not when writing a story, what's more, important is how you present them. I'm sure someone out there enjoys those boxes, otherwise, they wouldn't be there in the first place. and there might even be some interesting way to present the boxes out there that doesn't make me skip all the way to the end of the chapter.

Re: LitRPG Tropes

#5
Lord Fluffy Wrote:
april18 Wrote: One LitRPG trope I hate is 'Here's a box! Here's an even bigger box! Here's the biggest box you've ever seen! Here's one even bigger than that!' It's as if the authors don't know how to KISS.

I don't know if anyone actually likes to tediously trudge through every minute drivel, written with excruciating detail within those boxes each time the MC or his pet rat or the niece of his boyfriends father-in-law's cousin's son's uncle thrice removed from his mother's side, gain's a new skill, but I don't care much for it. Sometimes they even add all the boxes marked and labelled after every character relevant or irrelavent(i don't know cause they all read exactly the same) after each chapter.

So yeah, it'd be better to avoid that trope I guess...

I'm amusing you are talking about when people make those blue boxes to represent status screens to show off the players stats and skills. I was wandering how I would go about that. I was thinking of just listing their class and any important information when the character is first introduced, but avoid adding individual stats, (like strength X and speed Y) as I would prefer to keep that more ambiguous when writing.

Nah you're fine. The problem he's talking about (I believe) is where the character stops the plot and observes his new skills. Then he goes to describe every minute detail about them. It's like leveling up on an MMO and mousing over your new skills (showing lots of boxes of skill descriptions) and then testing every one of them. In the end it's boring and somewhat unnecessary for a novel.

You don't have to spend an entire chapter describing new skills, you could just show them when they are needed but even the showing you have to be cautious of. Some people create these complex magic systems where they don't know how to show the inner workings of it, they just tell you how everything works. Sometimes they even commit the sin of stopping an action scene just to explain the magic.

Show your magic in interesting ways, don't offload tons of info on the reader in a single moment.

Show, don't tell actually applies to every element of a novel. You have to know when to show and when to tell.


Another trope that I dislike is characters averse of experimentation. Like in Atros Imperium (not litRPG but serves the purpose) the MC has a complete aversion to experimentating with a certain power, it really feels untapped potential. Possibly because the power is too OP so the author keeps it hidden and hopes everyone forgets how actually OP it is.


If you could avoid making your fights into dragon ball z it would also be appreciated. Far too many fictions turn their characters into superman where you have no idea how the fight is supposed to look like due to the ridiculous powers.


Another trope is using cultivation xianxia bullshit. You are a level lower than me in cultivation/mana shield/plot armor or whatever, this means it's literally impossible for you to defeat me unless you have some hidden power (which you do because you are the MC). This streamlines fighting too much and reduces the tactical approaches to fighting. It becomes a dick measuring contest, the one with the biggest dick/power instantly wins.


Another incredibly frustrating trope is adventurer ranks, unless you are cultivation novel where power ranks are a simple line adding ranks to adventurers is idiotic. Combat is much more complex than a mere measurement of power. Tactics, experience, equipment, emotional control, technique, trump cards, all those things effect the outcome of a fight. Adding a mere rank and expecting things to follow the hierarchical line is completely unrealistic.

Re: LitRPG Tropes

#6
Lot of people, especially Manasong, have pretty much said the big things, but I'll throw some garbage out to feel special, too!

  • CARDINAL SIN: SHOW, DON'T TELL

  • first enemy is a goblin or wolf

  • join adventurer's guild in the first town with the generic metal/academic ranking system (not bad, but super common: bronze rank, F rank adventurer etc)

  • first girl met is cute and in need of rescue, then becomes first member of harem because "rescue damsel, receive love" (or she's a slave!)

  • blue box for every pissy little bloody thing that happens [mc uses pee on tree! bladder is now 0/35! LEVEL UP! GAINED SKILL: PEE OUTSIDE!]

  • author can't be arsed making a spreadsheet and keeps messing up their math

  • character just falls over and finds OP loot and skills in every bush, and under every rock

  • I mean, seriously. OP crap all over the place, especially the "magic power is imagination+mana points" deus ex machina bullcrap

  • convenient mentor figure pops up to teach MC how to not be awful at life

  • character never struggles at anything but things their supreme idiocy cause "hurr ive been in this world 12 minutes I can totally take a pack of goblins"

  • natives are total idiots who marvel at the MC introducing kindergarten level logic to them

I basically hate how the MCs are coddled with padded gloves and aloe tissues, as if a normal person wouldn't be annoyed at such a naive shithead and give them a firm kick up the bum instead of painstakingly training them to not suck at life. Here's a whole bunch of stuff because you are the MC, now go brute force the rest of the plot with your undeserved and unwarranted sense of superiority.

But still, there is an audience who loves tropetastic stuff and will compulsively 5 star it, just like there's an audience who loves trashy smut, one for dungeon core stories and so on. It all depends on what sort of story you want to write and what is acceptable in that genre. I could rant forever!


Re: LitRPG Tropes

#7
A good trope with litrpg stories is the progression system. People like progress and completing stuff, even if they’r ejust reading about it. When you end and have to leave with a task not fully completed, that task will stick in your mind more than any completed/not-started task ever could. Which we might call a cliffhanger.

The beauty of the progression system is that there’s always a task needing doing, always a higher level, always just one more I swear it’s the last one. It’s inherent to the system so it doesn’t really need more explanation. The trap is that only the actual progression is engaging, so as the story moves on and the level of power creeps upwards what was a large increment of progress becomes a trivial change. It loses impact, and then people fall into the trap of exponential growth to compensate, whoch destroys all relatability and the reader’s ability to care about the action.

The trick is to make every inch of progression feel meaningful, get as much out of ot as you can. You get the same thrill of progression without the crazy power creep. As the levels of power increase, smaller increments of power should become even more impactful as the characters use abilities to more precision rather than just inflating numbers arbitrarily. Quantity is a quality of it’s own, but it’s just one quality, so avoid making more than two relevant categories of big and bigger at any one time.

Change in quality not quantity. Another way to progress without power creep is by adding variety. If you gain a new tool you can do more and you feel like you’ve progressed, but it’s not actually any stronger, you can just use it in way you couldn’t use the other one. Like in metroidvanias where items are what allowed you to get to new areas, the important part is the added diversity, not the added power. Instead of increasing in power with level, focus on increasing in adaptability and precision, which has a lot more depth than brute power ever could.

Avoid cultivation novel and trapped in a VR tropes. If you’re not doing VR you’re mostly fine probably, but a lot of the annoying stuff in wuxia (cultivation novels) seem to be actively be carried over into litrpg at times. Also, make your MC feel like they deserve the level ups and skill evolutions they get. Protagonists leveling up extremely easily and gaining rare skills for stuff that doesn’t sound like they struggled at it ends up feeling cheap. Also, just throwing the MC into some brawl or struggle and saying “oh, it was super tough, but they got through it” is also super cheap, because being dismissive of *how* they struggled through also trivialises that struggle, and makes the rewards feel ill-deserved.

Nerf your stuff. All of it. The rule of thumb is if an ability seems tame and not all that powerful at all it is in some way overpowered and you need to nerf it, you just haven’t realised why yet. Give everything a drawback or limitation, make everything specific in it’s use so it can’t be used for something else that would only be OP in hindsight. Lasers? Only in daylight. Sprinting skill? Massive cooldown. Armour spell? only active for a split second. Etc. just add a thematic limitation that you don’t think will ever impact anything because you at first feel like the scenario that would weaken the ability would be unlikely to happen. It doesn’t nerf the ability too much but when you realise how it might be OP you have an easy counter.

Most of the time the default description of an ability people come up with gives it more versatility than they actually envision it needing, so even if you don’t think you need to you should nerf abilities, figuring out how to work around nerfed abilities will always be interesting, and more preferable than dealing with a noob somehow pwning everybody with his min-max sewing skill.

Re: LitRPG Tropes

#8
Endless Paving Wrote: Avoid cultivation novel and trapped in a VR tropes.

Thanks for your input.  Could you speak a little more about this?  I assume you mean VR  as in Virtual Reality. And cultivation novels are the MC trying to attain immortality?  Why are authors doing poorly with both of those?  What would be best to avoid in cultivation or VR novels?  

Re: LitRPG Tropes

#9
Well, for cultivation there’s a whole slew of cliches. More than I’d bother going through honestly. Going Mary Sue on powerful MC, massive power creep way too quickly until it’s throwing mountains around and loses all relatability, being super special because you find some dumb artefact, technique, just being super talented, being obsessed with “getting stronger” and spending paragraphs establishing this fact. “Getting stronger” isn’t very entertaining from a narrative standpoint btw, strength is arbitrary to the enjoyment of a story, it’s the challenge/conflict which makes for a compelling read.

Being obsessed with challenges, fighting, and never taking a fight seriously, saying “Now I have to get serious” half way through the fight as if that makes the fight more interesting that even the characters were bored for three quarters of the fight. Having sects and sect disciples always be super condescending to literally every stranger they ever meet and be obscenely arrogant and irredeemable. Like the people who are strong are always jerks, and the people who become strong become jerks, makes you want to yeet out of the entire universe if that’s all life has to offer just people being jerks constantly and climbing over each other to climb the ladder of jerks.

Evil snobbish nobles who are always abusing people under them, universally. Like thats always their only character trait. And they’re always super surprised if (or when) the MC is stronger than them or higher rank, like they didn’t even think to check who they were talking to before being the biggest asshole ever. Anyone not dirt poor being comically villainous basically. If there are gods, they will be jerks as well and will only be there so the Mc can eventually get to killing them. Basically the entire population of all life in existence in cultivation novels are irredeemably offensive a lot of the time.

VR has problems in a similar vein usually, but in different forms. Like getting a “rare skill” or stumbling on a “uniique dungeon” randomly and getting the best in the game super quickly for almost zero effort, and always because of stiff external to the MC that just happened because of luck. Or whatever they try out being absolutely genius and super effective 100% of the time and absolutely no one had the two brain cells necessary to come up with an even remotely equally good idea ever.

That kind of stuff.

Re: LitRPG Tropes

#10
Here's a little more:


Aura bullshit like killing intent which, everyone has a sixth sense which makes everyone almost assassination proof since just wanting to kill someone is enough to alert you of assassination. This is also bad because it simplifies interactions, you instantly knows who's the "bad guy" due to his killing intent.

Killing pressure is overdone. Using it as a power move against weaker people just makes me roll my eyes, it's almost chuuni when you I read "release his killing intent". It also serves to simplify interactions with strong people since you can just release a bit of pressure and "bam" everyone knows that person is stronger than the MC.


Shoot first ask questions later: Like say someone accidentally offends a noble and the bodyguard goes for the kill before trying to resolve the misunderstanding.