Favorite (Or Least Favorite) Fantasy Tropes

Diet Tolkien is such a good term for it! I agree so very much! As much as I love your typical dwarf/elf/human type of fantasy land (Dragon Ageeee :heart_eyes: ), there’s just something about making it your own, creating your own species, and adding your own twists that just really brings a shine to your story.

And ooh, I do like that! I think that would be an interesting twist- working and fighting to NOT fulfill the prophecy and not be the Chosen One, doing what you want. Is it possible, or are you always going to end up a slave to Fate in the end? While I don’t think there’s TOO much wriggle room in the Prophecy/Chosen One trope, I do think that there is room enough to make it possible to grab somebody’s attention despite it all.

Limits to Magic systems and limits to the main character (also giving them flaws) is probably one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to fantasies. I don’t need all of this OP nonsense. It’s probably why I enjoy the Dresden Files from Jim Butcher so much and others like it! I LIKE watching your average Joe or close to have to struggle, fight, and work for that win. Or even winning by just pure, dumb luck! lol


See, I actually think Dragon Age did a good job at setting themselves apart with their elves, dragons, and such. I don’t always agree with their narrative choices and framing (For example: mages not wanting to be hunted down, imprisoned, made tranquil, or abused is a moral grey area? What?), but I think they did enough to make it their own.

One story I thought about writing a while back is heavily inspired by East Asian concepts of fate + the Red Thread, and would likely be set in modern day Japan or China. The mc would (for reasons she doesn’t know) be able to see “threads” tying people together, threads indicating death is coming for that person, etc. The idea is that it messes with her ability to make normal decisions, and eventually, the supernatural in charge take notice. A choice-based system would then involve the whole slave to fate vs free will dilemma you mentioned. I still think it’s a cool idea, but I’ve never felt inspired enough to write it.

Underpowered mcs definitely have their appeal. Maybe that’s part of the love for “normal mc enters magical world they’re unprepared for” plot? My personal favorite is stories with really smart mcs and equally smart villains; it just feels like a satisfying match to me, like when you see protagonists in a horror movie do all the right things so you can’t be frustrated with them lmao. I also think it’s cool to see protagonists actively “fight without honor” too. Like, this is life or death. Throw sand in his eyes?


Oh goodness, don’t get me started on Dragon Age. (It’s my all time favorite video game franchise and I can talk about it for hours. But real quick, it’s not a grey area because of them not wanting to be hunted down, it’s grey because of what mages do with their power and it’s proven time and time again that a system without some sort of checks and balances will never work. ) :joy::see_no_evil: I do agree that they did well in making Thedas their own, I was just pointing out how they took a lot of common fantasy elements for their base.

Wow! I think that’s an amazing idea and I would certainly read it if you ever did decide to write it. It’s a wonderful and refreshing view point on fate and I think that it definitely gives the fantasy genre something unique.

Ooh yes! I definitely agree. It’s honestly so satisfying to see a villain and hero be on the same level of intelligence and watch it be a struggle for both sides as they duke it out. How one side wins one battle and then the next day, the other side wins.

Along the same lines (I think), I just like morally grey villains that are likable in general. That have redeeming qualities but they’re still, at the end of the day, the antagonist and will do what they need to do to win. Honestly, just well thought out, fleshed out villains are nice. :woman_shrugging:t3::joy: I feel like we don’t get that many of them.

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Thanks for the kind words! :yellow_heart:

And ohh, I love a fleshed-out villain… especially when they function as good illustration of theme. I mean, if the villain has some true points, but what really makes them a villain is how they go about it? Chef’s kiss!

I’ll just have to agree to disagree about Dragon Age lmao. For me, I feel like Templars were pretty oppressive as a group and their defense was made hypocritical with their access to things like Red Lyrium. Although I think the underlying problem is that DA writers are giving superpowers to what is meant to be an oppressed group. The oppressed don’t have power and it kills their analogy, unfortunately.


Ooh yes!! While there are some villains where you are going to find yourself disagreeing over everything with, my favorites are the ones where you find things in common with them and makes you question what separates YOU from the villain!

I mean, I’m not gonna disagree on the templars. Like Cassandra said, they started off with good intentions but got corrupted along the way. And I agree! I honestly think the elves are a better example of oppression than the mages are personally. I really liked the glimpse into city elf life that you get in the first and second game.

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It makes for such good conflict when the villain is sort of… the hero gone wrong. Black Panther really did this well with T’Challa and Erik, I thought, especially because they used Nakia as a foil to what Erik’s corrupted ideals could’ve been. The writers kept the balance between showing “here is where Erik’s wrong” and “here is where Erik’s right” perfectly. He isn’t justified in his violence, but we’re sympathetic to the circumstances that shaped and molded him. I’d love to see more fantasy stories pull this off.

The city elfs! Oh, I love them… I was so sad when I couldn’t be one in DA3.


Haha, that’s actually one of my favorite Marvel movies for that reason!! (I mean among others too. lol) But I would LOVE for more fantasy, or just other books in general, to have this as well. Like yes, say in a story where the villain is a death magic user, but they use their magic to kill those who hurt the weak. But death magic is highly illegal because it always comes with a dangerous price (a life for a life). The reason WHY they use it sounds noble enough, but then you get into is one life really worth more than that of another? Especially if you can’t choose who is to take that person’s place? While I don’t always need super complicated, philosophical novels, it’s such a wonderful and refreshing change sometimes to have authors making you THINK.

As much as I love Hawke, I’m just glad they gave us the option to pick our race again. And we got to be Qunari. :heart_eyes:

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Bump :mage:

  • Arranged/forced marriage plots where the man that the MC is supposed to marry is abusive/an asshole.
    They just seem a little… overdone, to me, at least. Not to mention I don’t see how it makes any sense. If this nobleman hurts the princess in any way, what’s stopping her from telling her parents? She’s a part of the royal family. I’d expect ANYONE laying their hands on a princess in a harmful way would get brutally punished for it. I mean, we saw what happened to the butcher’s boy in Game of Thrones after he ‘harmed’ Joffrey.

  • Werewolf/Vampire plots
    I only say this because it seems like the fantasy section is filled to the brim with werewolf and vampire stories, when they really only feel like mafia/gang stories with a slight supernatural element to them. They also almost always start off the same, too, especially so in werewolf stories? MC is a rare/powerful type of wolf (usually a white wolf, for some reason) who is held captive and abused by the alpha of another pack. She escapes, and gets taken in by a different pack where she immediately meets her ‘mate.’ It’s all very bland to me, and the way that the werewolves work don’t really sit well with me…

  • Speaking of species/races…
    I am an absolute SUCKER for well thought out fantasy races. Like, holy FUCK. The races presented in the Elder Scrolls games are just… so good… The Khajiit are my favorite out of all of them, just- They have their own religion, diets, language, beliefs, laws, different cultures depending on the region, a way of speaking- They’re just so unique, they feel different than the other races in the world they inhabit. Obviously, all of that is a lot of work, but even just adding little details to these races every now and then would do wonders for making the universe feel like it’s been lived in.

oof, okay, i went off on a little tangent but- i s’pose these are just some of the things off the top of my head!


The only way I could see it making sense is if he’s at an equal rank (they have equal power), or if by marrying her, he becomes king and sort of outclasses her - in a patriarchal society, at least. There has to be some kind of threat (physical, emotional, etc.) to make the princess keep quiet. And if there’s nothing, it just looks silly.

This never occurred to me, but I think you’re on to something! Now that I look more closely, these stories are very mafia/gang-like. Like, packs = gangs, pack leader = gang leader, and the power they have as a gang is just multiplied by their supernatural abilities.

It really does. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I love when authors put obvious effort into their worldbuilding.


Bump :dragon:


Sorry for this, but I’m not ready to see the thread closed yet. Bump :sparkles:

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I’m repeating what many in this thread said, but I really want to see more fantasy stories that aren’t focused on romance. I’m tired of browsing the fantasy section and seeing only stories about sexy werewolves/vampires/dragons where women are only objects to be controlled by men.

I’d love to see more political fantasy stories. I think that it’s a really interesting concept!

Also, it must be a pet peeve of mine, but I really hate the fact that in most stories, the MC always has green/blue/violet eyes for some kind of ~ special ~ plot device (and you can’t change it in CC). Why can’t eye colors like black or brown be also considered special?


I really agree with everything you’ve said - though I personally love romance, just not the kind I’ve been seeing in these stories.

Political fantasy is such an untapped subgenre on Episode. :scroll: I would love to see authors write court intrigue. It’s not that easy to write and plot, but we have the visual assets to do it.

And yes, it’s really sad. Where’s the dark eyes love!


I don’t mind romance stories (even though it isn’t my favorite genre) as long as they don’t romanticize toxic dynamics. But most of them are a no for me ://

I’m actually writing a story focused on politics. It’s not set in a fantasy world, but I hope that more people take a chance on them. I think that the choices and points system could make for a great drama!

And to be honest, I’m really close to making a story where all the special characters have dark eyes. I’m tired of only uplifting light eye colors.


Sounds like an untapped concept to me! Political intrigue where you can succeed or fail based on what you say and how you act? It’s cool as hell… though prepare for writing the branching to be a headache and a half lmao.

In my opinion, if you want to do it, go for it. Episode doesn’t give them enough attention.


Yep, kinda. Basically, the story is set in a totalitarian state and you’re the daughter of the director of the national radio station. When he dies, you become the new director and you’re basically in charge of what news you decide to put out there. Depending on how you report the events that happen through the plot, you get sympathy from one group or another and the risk of being overthrown changes. I also plan to tackle real-life issues, but at the moment I’m trying to figure out the coding system!

(Also, I’m lowkey hoping that it will not get taken down…)

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Sounds cool! I think you could do it, but depending on your plot, it might take some finessing to make sure you’re not breaking guidelines. If I’m remembering correctly, HumanBean used to write in tickets for Fragile Bonds a lot to make sure everything was good to go before updating, but that story also had a lot of very dark and heavy themes that could easily go too far.

Depending on what you’re hoping to do, breaking guidelines and getting reported might never come up as an issue at all.

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I get you. My intention is not to promote a certain agenda since in the end, it’s the reader themselves who gets to decide which direction they want to take. The only thing that could be deemed as political is the setting, which is a totalitarian state-but dictatorships still exist as of today, so in my opinion it’s a mere representation of the reality we live in.