Favorite tropes

I’m thinking about having some fun this year with tropes.

What are your favorites?

Tropes are lots of fun! As far as my favourites go, I’m super cheesy. Especially with fantasy I feel like the genre basically lends itself to some interesting ‘power of friendship’ and ‘found family’ scenarios. And for characters, I absolutely love the ‘big scary monster protective of a small child’ dynamics and ‘the only normie in the group, without any magical powers of big destiny, is the only one with some semblance of a common sense’.

Ah, also, the asbolutely inept mage and friendly Grim Reaper character types. I blame Discworld for those two.


Favorite tropes!

  • Dragons. Always, always dragons.
  • Elemental magic
  • Found family
  • Big Damn Heroes Moment
  • The scary monster with a gentle heart
  • Swords and daggers and spears and bows!
  • Intelligent monsters and non-human characters
  • Relatedly, talking cats

Thirding found families. I enjoy both reading and writing about this.

Also thirding the scary monster with a heart of gold / protective of a child or weaker character. Can be both a literal or figurative monster (i.e. dangerous warrior).

Weapons! Both good old swords, daggers and bows, but also lesser used ones as scythes, piques, crossbows, etc.

Travelling. Be it an explorer discovering new lands in your fantasy world, a group of adventurers travelling across several countries to find an powerful artifact or be it a diplomat on a mission in a foreign country. Especially if the worldbuilding is good.

Redemption Arcs. And in a similar vein, characters screwing up, but learning from their mistakes.

I also like the trope when a character doesn’t know they have magic powers (yet) and discovers this and learns how to use them over the course of the story. It’s pretty cliché and often used, but still, I like it.

There are probably a lot more, but that’s all I can think of right now.


What are the chances of the four of us liking the exact same tropes? Are they really popular or something?


Honestly, I think they are.

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Tropes exist for a reason. One of those reasons is people like them.


Magic. I love magic systems, especially when the magic is sort of weird and mysterious and flashy, but also useful if you get creative.

I have a thing for inns and taverns, especially quirky ones where the innkeeper might be more than he seems and there’s always a traveling musician in the corner.

Classic sword and sorcery. I’m branching out of that a little, since the neighboring kingdom is experimenting with steam and has magical flying contraptions, but… I like swords. There shall be swords.

Wands and staves. I may have massaged my magic system just slightly to allow for the classic wizard’s staff.

Epic quests. It’s hard to beat a good epic quest.


Oh god yes magic, I completely forgot to mention my favourite magic trope!! I love me some well done science-d magic, but some good ol’ magic that reacts to emotion of it’s caster is my absolutely favourite thing. Characters having a breakdown and things around them suddenly breaking or catching on fire are :ok_hand: :ok_hand: :ok_hand:


I love disobedient magic that reacts to emotion. I may have based my own system on that.


Swords and other medieval weapons… and castles… and horses… and…

I’m particularly fond of duels to settle issues. Maybe I read too much Shakespeare as a teenager.

Weapons that have sentimental value. Don’t ask me how this happened, but there’s at least… two characters in one story I’ve written, who have daggers that they won’t give up without a reason (but any swords they have can get tossed? :woman_shrugging:).


Oh yes, duels! How could I forget about duels? I also like them a lot.

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Oh wow- a lot of the tropes that multiple people have listed is what I’m writing about? Found family, monster adopting a human child, human-like monsters in genera, sympathetic magicl- I’m glad to see what I’m writing is what people like?

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For real! Writer’s block? Write a duel! End of writer’s block!

I have a friend whose number one solution to any form of writer’s block is a bar fight! :joy:


Hey, what can I say? Conflict gets the plot moving! Lol.

  • Pretty fashions. I don’t care about impracticality. Make it look awesome. Bonus points for ladies who kick butt in feminine attire. (*cough* magical girls *cough*)
  • Casts of misfits coming together, forging unlikely companionships. (Basically, every BioWare cast ever.)
  • Light/Darkness tropes. I can get behind “darkness is evil”, but I also like stuff where darkness isn’t innately evil, but can be dangerous to the user and/or tempt its users into evil.
  • Relationships between different sentient races.
  • There’s nothing wrong with heroes kicking evil gods’ butts. (I’d totally get behind a Lufia-but-books series that’s just a new band of heroes slaying the same reincarnating gods in each book.)
  • Villains who end up redeemed/joining the heroes. (Yes, good is an option for bad luck.)
  • And I’m all for the Evil Lord-types if they’ve got some distinct flavour to them.
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My college roommates came up with the phrase “sexy across the battlefield”. You know what I mean when I say it, right? They’re dressed to the nines, possibly in something that isn’t appropriate battle wear, but they are just so bad ass, they take out everyone while doing a runway walk through the enemies.

One of the things that inspired the phrase (also known as Sexual Harassment Woman, because being in their presence you have been sexually harassed)

Also, same game, same character

Silk Spectre II can do it too

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Another thing I really like are ballroom scenes. Or any other kind of fancy festivities.
Mostly because they often tie in with other tropes I also like a lot: court intrigue or espionage / infiltration /someone attending the party in disguise.
Also, they’re a nice opportunity for worldbuilding (what kind of music and dances do they have? What kinds of fancy clothes? Etc.) and I love good worldbuilding. Especially if the author knows how to balance worldbuilding and storytelling.


I absolutely love a good quest – nothing like a plot-relevant tour of your wonderful world-building.

I’m also quite fond of farmboy heroes. Princes are all well and good, but I’ll take a farmboy or a tradesman’s apprentice over them any day.

Speaking of apprentices, how about an apprentice mage? That’s generally fun – and a good way to make your magic unreliable so that it doesn’t solve all problems.

And then there’s uncomfortable travel with improvised or inadequate shelter and sleeping arrangements. Nothing like piling too many people into too small a tent during a storm or a long ride in the kind of icy rain that feels colder than snow would have.