The Stone of Life was created by the UberGods to create the universe and was then broken up into three parts hidden across the universe. If anyone got all three parts they could complete the stone and control the universe! Dark Lord Drathen’Ner Ka’Shyamalan has slaughtered all the monks in The Abbey of Tir Na EggaNog to get the first piece of the stone and is now in search of the next. For some reason you decide to listen to the disembodied voice telling you that your the only one in the world who can stop him. Did I mention that you woke up in a strange bed that morning and had no idea who you were? (That’s me every sunday morning.)
Another common one:
As Col. Lance Testosterone, Special Forces Agent Assassin Commando, you find yourself opposed by fifty gigazillion zombie alien bad guys, who you must dispatch with the following assortment of weapons:
An automatic rifle
A machine gun
A rocket launcher
A sniper rifle
A ridiculously complex alien weapon
Of course, after wiping out 40 gigazillion of the aliens, you soon find out the Human Conspiracy behind it all whereby the evil corporation, Evilcorp, is behind the zombie alien infestation.
You have amnesia. If you could remember your past more clearly, you’d remember your previous contacts with the villain, and also know who your father/mother/siblings are and where they live now. Sadly, all you recall is your formidable martial arts training, and most of the rest of what you do remember will turn out to be phony or flawed.
Fortunately, your current adventures will restore your past one piece at a time, so that you can face the ultimate evil as a unified whole. Also fortunately you have the caring attentions a lovely member of the opposite sex to help your through your time of self-exploration.
Your just a orphan boy from a normal town brought up by normal people. You find that you are abnormally good at swordfighting. You manifest magical powers that you desperately try to hide for fear of becoming an outcast. You have strange flashes of a past you can barely remember. Through a series of improbable circumstances you find yourself rescuing a princess along with a group of people who are also hiding pasts with mysteriously link to your own. After rescuing the princess you discover that you are the only person able to save the planet from certain distruction. The villian who wants to destroy/conquer the planet is more than likely the one who killed your parents.
Your Airforce/Spacefleet/Insert name here was wiped out all the sudden by an enemy strike and only has three (3) fighters left (most likely new ultra mega l33t Xperimental ones) that you, as the only pilot that hasnt called in sick have to fly to blast about 400 quadrillon enemy crafts outta the air/space/insert terraine here.
You find yourself fighting a evil government conspiracy with a supporting cast of friends (one of which betrays you) helped out by a sympathic insider or two (usually by cut-scene expositions). Call this the Half-Life knock-off syndrome.
You continally face an enemy who is the essance of evil. He will, however, not face you, but usally show up occasionally to taunt you, say you cannot win and that he is invicible, but will not stick around to fight until the very end. This enemy will also show up in any sequels that are made as the final boss, because true evil cannot die.
Somebody else did a great one of these here
Small group of heroes fight against an evil empire of some sort. There are usually two villens, one fake who you think you’re fighting against at first (usually the guy controlling the evil empire) and the second, who is the true evil. Along the way, some sort of mysterious secret about the main hero’s past is revealed, and is of course very important to the plot.
Call it the plot of every Final Fantasy since VI. And maybe IV as well, I haven’t played that one yet. I really should…
The princess has been kidnapped. Save her.
Oh, I just remembered a couple ones that always were on my mind in RPG’s.
There will always be an ancient civilization that has at least one set of ruins you have to visit (fight through), but it will very rarely figure into the story at all and nobody much will care that it exists (talk about no respect for history), despite the facts the anicents had really cool stuff that you use or have to fight (Airships or ancient doomsday weapons that didn’t destory the earth completely the first time).
Often, you will be opposing a madman/leader with a huge army, but you will rarely actually see anything that resembles the bulk of this army (rather only running into guards anyway). Most evil empires also have no visible navy beyond a single ship.
When you get near the ultimate confrontation with the bad guy, you discover that you have some sort of genetic or spiritual link with him.
You discover at some point that one of your companions either used to work for the enemy and defected to your cause, or still works for the enemy and has been spying on you.
Although everyone tells you it’s your inner strength that will carry you through the day, it’s much more likely to be your Supreme Mega Ultra Extra Groovy Weapon of Deep Fried Goodness that does the job.
You will be the only person on the planet who can instantly heal wounds just by drinking a potion and/or touching a health pack.
Magics to revive the dead are omnipresent, but never work when really needed.
When you reach a new town, you will go around talking to everybody. A surprising number of them will have something to tell you that relates directly to the reason you’re in town. The remainder will either offer you some sort of work, or be too busy to talk to you.
In any case, anywhere you go there are a ton of exciting and rewarding tasks left undone, amazingly profitable little jobs that nobody in the town has the time to take on. Little wonder, seeing as they probably spend all their time talking to strangers.
For more on this phenomenon, please see Adventurers!. I recommend reading the entire run of the comic strip, today. At work. Don’t get caught.
Any loot that you get from a monster will be so elaborate that the monsters will have no clue as to its value. As such, the moster defending the Armor of Invincibility will never actually wear it, and the one guarding the Sword of Slaying will not slay you.
And don’t forget Chronos, the villians hide their food, health packs, spare weapons and keys in secret closets behind walls or randomly strewn about the floor of whatever room they are in.
And in crates, lots and lots of crates for you to smash.
Most people don’t care if you come barging into their houses in the middle of the night; in fact, they may offer friendly advice or even some loot, because you need it more than they do, being a hero and all.
There are many dots.
The dots are not going to eat themselves.