The Things RPGs Taught Me

Some of you may remember this. The original version is up on both the SOAP LiveJournal and my DeviantART. Now, for theOtaku Fan Words, I'm digging it up again. So make some popcorn and hug a copy of your favorite RPG, because "What I Learned from RPGs" is back, and it's bigger, better, longer, and stupider than ever before!

Ah, the noble role-playing game. RPGs are about as close to interactive novels as we can really get, and they certainly are fun. They unite the worlds of plot and gaming, and they can keep you up into the small hours of the morning like few other things can. However, RPGs aren't there just to entertain us (although they certainly do that well). They also strive to teach us important lessons about life. The topics can range from simple things like the power of friendship to heavy things like the significance of human life, and when you see that little "The End" screen, you've probably had that lesson shoved down your throat several times, and you may be feeling inspired to live out the remainder of your life in accordance with said RPG lesson. While these lessons in life are important and useful things, there are other things we can take away from RPGs. While they may not be all that useful, they can (and often do) cause us to step back and take a long, hard look at the over-complicated world around us. And then we wonder, why can't life be more like the nice, simplified world an RPG?

On the World in General
-There are 20 or fewer cities in the world. Nobody lives in the space between the cities, and no country has more than 4 cities.
-There will always be a volcano labyrinth, an ice cave or snowy mountain, a moldy sewer or catacomb, a forest of no return, an old sealed mine (in which all the machines are still functioning perfectly), a perfectly preserved technological paradise ruin, a clearly destroyed but still somehow navigable annihilated city, and an impossible-to-navigate ancient temple or palace. You will get to visit and explore all of them, whether going there would be useful or not.
-Among the 20 or fewer cities in the world, one will be your sleepy little hometown (which will probably be destroyed within an hour of you leaving it). The rest will include a resort city, an imperial castle town, a college town, a peaceful winter wonderland, a caravan town on a desert oasis, a city full of machines, a secret ninja village, a crossroads merchant port, and possibly even an amazon settlement in tree houses.
-Temples, ruins, dungeons, buildings, and the like are always bigger on the inside than the outside.

On Learning from the Past
-Civilizations from thousands of years ago were always far more intelligent and far more technologically superior than your civilization.
-However, it is that technological superiority that led the civilization from thousands of years ago to destroy itself, usually with a very large cannon-like weapon.
-There are always plans to revive said super weapon.
-If the person who dug up the big gun is a main villain, you'll have to fight them, then stop the thing and destroy it.
-If the person who fished it out is not a villain, the big gun will go out of control, you'll have to stop and then destroy it, and then you'll go back and reassure the person who dug it up in the first place that it wasn't their fault at all that the world was almost destroyed again, despite the fact that it was obviously their fault and you're just saying that because you're so nice.

On Religion
-The church is always evil.
-If the church isn't the main driving force behind the world's problems or manipulated by the big bad guy, then it's at least corrupt, power-hungry, and led by someone who really should be locked up in a padded room.
-The god worshiped by the main religion of the world is actually evil and will need to be sealed away.
-You will need to discredit the main religion of the world.
Heathen Additions
-All myths, legends, and prophecies are true. And you are connected to all of them in some way.
-If you or one of your friends has a weird dream, it's either a memory from a past life or that was forgotten due to amnesia, a telepathic message, or a vision of the future.

On Wildlife
-The wildlife of the world, i. e. monsters, are polite enough to avoid towns, cities, campsites, and other areas where people can be found.
-However, upon leaving any sort of civilized area, the local monsters will suddenly flock to you, regardless of how much noise you are making or if you are doing things that would normally scare away wild things.
-When you wish to encounter the local monsters, they will all be extremely well-hidden. However, when you want them to keep their distance, they all suddenly decide that you smell very good.
-Even well-armed or skilled fighters, the majority of the people of the world do not stand a chance against even the weakest of the world's monsters.
-There is a thriving black market trade of human-made items among monsters. This is evident by the fact that most monsters carry around human-made items that they would never be able to use.

On Economics
-Even if they bear no resemblance whatsoever to humans, the various monsters of the world all carry human money, perhaps used in the trade mentioned above.
-It doesn't matter whether countries are at war, on opposite sides of the world, have been cut off from each other for centuries, or exist on shifted dimensions with no means of contacting each other. They will still use the same currency, and there is no such thing as an exchange rate, nor is there any inflation.
-In your travels, you will find rare or valuable items that would be worth a fortune. However, if you attempt to sell said rare or valuable items, nobody will want to buy them, regardless of how much money they could re-sell the item for. If, somehow, you can find a buyer, they will only be willing to purchase the item for 1 unit of currency. (After the purchase, they will likely turn around and sell it for 100,000 times more than you sold it to them for.)

On Illness and Injury
-If one of your fellow travelers dies a noble death in battle at the hands of a monster or a soldier, you can easily bring them back to life with either a magic spell or a relatively cheap commercially available medicine.
-However, if one of your fellow travelers dies outside of combat, your healing magic suddenly stops working and your resurrection items fall through a dimensional rift. Once you accept the fact that your comrade is dead and continue on with your journey, your healing magic works again and your resurrection items poof back into your pocket. Too bad there's no way to go back and heal your friend.
-If you are bleeding heavily and about to collapse from exhaustion, your friends do not care. However, if you trip or faint, everyone will suddenly rush to your aid and suggest that you take a rest for a period of time long enough for the villain to do something extremely nasty.
-All hotels and inns are staffed with the finest medical personnel available, and by simply renting a room and spending the night, you will be cured of all injuries and ailments that you obtained by fighting your foes, regardless of how extreme they are.
-However, that amazing medical staff cannot cure the common cold. (Or any other ailment that you got outside of combat, for that matter...)

On the Military
-Top military generals and strategists are perfectly content with going into battle grossly outnumbered and clearly outclassed.
-Regardless of how large or powerful an army is, it will do nothing but attack you and your friends, even if you and said army are on the same side. Ergo, the military is lazy and likes picking on under-equipped teenagers.
-All military leaders are obsessed with going to war. Even if there is a comet hurtling towards the world, all the military leaders will discuss is who to go to war with next, and how to start said war, completely ignoring their impending doom.
-Even if a soldier is heavily armed, clad completely in armor, and has received intensive battle training since childhood, if they wear a helmet and have no name listed, they are about as much of a threat as a roll of toilet paper.

On the Teen Years
-Teenagers are capable of making major existentialist decisions affecting the entire world, even though they're dealing with their bodies changing and hormones raging.
-If a group of teenagers meet and decide that they all want to save the world, they will instantly become lifelong friends.
-Even if they have no formal training, a group of teenagers will be able to beat a massive, well-trained army every time.
-Said group of teenagers will also do a much better job of saving the world than any large army could ever hope to do.
-If you're older than 21, you're ancient.

On Breaking and Entering
-You may enter the homes of random strangers without being invited in or even knocking. You won't be thrown out, law enforcement won't be called, you won't be arrested, and you won't receive strange looks from the owners of the house you just rudely barged into.
-People don't mind if you go through their belongings. In fact, sometimes they'll even direct you to the drawer or cabinet where they keep their most prized possession.
-People don't mind if you take something you found sitting on a shelf. Apparently, stealing is okay, even if it was the aforementioned prized possession.
-However, this does not apply when shopping.

On Combat
-Soldiers in full plate mail are fairly easy to defeat, even if you're armed with a wooden sword and wearing next to no armor.
-On the other hand, someone wearing next to no armor will take several fights to finally defeat, will be difficult each time despite being outnumbered, and even then they'll only die after they do something ridiculously suicidal.
-You can take as long as you need to when deciding on your course of action in battle. Your foes will be content to sit and wait patiently until your turn is over before they do anything.
-If there's a chance your attack can hurt your allies instead of your foes, it'll target your teammates every time. (Usually the one closest do dying will get hit the hardest.)
-The more enemies an attack can target, the fewer it will actually hit.

On The Laws of Physics
-Despite a sword being twice your size and three times your weight, it will be easy for you to hold and swing around in battle.
-Regardless of how large, bulky, or ornate your suit of armor is, it will still fit perfectly and comfortably underneath your clothes, even if all you're wearing is a swimsuit.
-No matter how many nights you spend in an inn, nothing will advance. Villains will not proceed with their world domination plots, military battles will not progress, and that comet from earlier will not get any closer to the world.
-Therefore, time does not actually pass in inns.

On Storage
-No matter how many things you're carrying, or how big your stuff is, everything you need will all fit nicely in your pocket. Therefore, your pocket is actually the gateway to an alternate dimension that is free for you to use as storage space.
-Objects in your pocket will not weigh you down, even when their combined weight would be well over a ton. They will also not make a bulge in your clothing, nor will they rip your pocket.
-Objects in your pocket will also never break, melt, get lost, or fall out.

On Traveling in Groups
-No matter how many people you drag around the world with you, only a certain number will actually aid you in combat. The others are content to sit on the sidelines and watch their friends die without intervening.
-If you and that small number of your friends die in battle, the group members who weren't fighting will spontaneously combust.
-If your physical condition is great, your ally in charge of healing will treat you like you're dying. However, when you actually are dying, your healer will ignore you in favor of someone else who is clearly infinitely more healthy than you are.

On Betrayal
-If one of your friends is an angsty pretty-boy with long hair, he will betray you.
-There's a good chance that you will have to kill said angsty pretty-boy.
-In the long run, it probably wouldn't have been a bad idea to just kill the guy in the first place and save yourself the trouble.
-If one of your friends betrays you and you have to fight them, their strength will instantly multiply by 100 or more.
-However, if they rejoin you later, they will be just as weak as they were when they left.
-Conclusion: The dark side really does have cookies. Cookies laced with steroids.

On Being the Bad Guy
-Villains are extremely patient and have a lot of confidence in their ability to succeed. If you get lost or forget where you were going (or rest at an inn a lot, but remember, time does not actually pass in inns), they will wait patiently for you to reach them before they advance their evil plots, even if they could have easily conquered the world three times over in the time it took you to finally find them.
-If you fight a villain in order to stop them from doing something, they will still do it anyway after you fight them. At least you got the combat experience.
-If there is a great evil that was sealed away and needs to be re-sealed every 1000 years, then it is exactly 999 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds after the last time the great evil was sealed away. And it's the responsibility of either your family, your friend's family, or your girlfriend's family to re-seal the great evil every time. Have fun with that.
-A villain who is not completely evil will die, usually by sacrificing themself so that you or one of your friends can continue on the quest to save the world. Unfortunately, they'd be more useful than the character they died to save.
-You will not be able to bring yourself to kill villains when you have the chance. Thanks to this, you will need to confront them several times before they actually die, usually by their own hand or a superior villain.
-The final boss will fight you. However, after you proceed to kick the dignity out of them, they will laugh maniacally, and you'll just have to fight them again, and possibly a third time, with no break in between to try to heal your wounds.
-The villain always has ties to a deity of some kind. Upon being owned by you and your friends, they will display said connection with divinity by fusing with it. You will then have to fight the fusion of your nemesis and some random god-like creature, which will look absolutely nothing like either of them.
-The main villain will inevitably kick the bucket in the end, even if they pledge to reform or were basically invulnerable earlier in the plot.
-The final villain is never the strongest. There's always some secret optional villain that's ten times stronger and can only be fought through some ridiculously tedious sidequest.

On Heroism
-You can only be a hero if your primary weapon is a sword.
-You can only be a heroine if your primary weapon is a staff or rod.
-You can only be a heroine if you're a long-lost princess, the reincarnation of a goddess, or the vessel of some sort of dangerous, uncontrollable power.
-If you're the hero, congratulations! Your IQ will now be reduced by at least 50 points, and you will suddenly discover that logic is completely useless.
-If you're the heroine, congratulations! You're a doormat, you hate having anybody upset with you even in the slightest bit, you'll conform to anyone's demands, you'll see only the good side in everyone, and you'll apologize for things you had nothing to do with.
-The heroine will get kidnapped and need rescuing several times. This will happen even if she's the strongest member of your group.
-Your best friend is always cooler than you could ever hope to be.
-You either have an older brother or a younger sister. Your older brother will turn out to be evil. Your younger sister will be used as a hostage by your enemies. There are no older sisters, nor are there younger brothers.
-If you thought your father was dead, he's not. He's actually a major bad guy and you're going to have to fight and/or kill him.

On Getting the Girl
-If you rescue a girl you've never seen before from some sort of sticky situation, she'll be your girlfriend later on.
-Additionally, if you are the hero, upon rescuing said girl, five minutes after you learn her name, you will be fully prepared to die for her, even if her circumstances seem more than a little shady.
-If you're the hero, you will always have at least 3 girls attracted to you at any given point.
-If you're the heroine, however, you'll probably only have the hero crushing on you, if you're lucky. Though you will be hit on by shopkeepers and random nameless NPCs.
-You will inevitably get into a "the girl or the world" situation. You will choose the girl, you don't have a choice in the matter. Even though sacrificing the world to save her life means she'll still die anyway, and you will too. But who cares about that? It's your girlfriend at stake, after all.
-Addendum: Yes, there is a way to save this world, that world, the other world, that world over there, the world on the other side of the universe, the parallel world, the world on a shifted dimension from the parallel world, the world nobody cares about, and your girlfriend, your friend's girlfriend, your cousin's girlfriend, your cousin's friend's girlfriend, your friend's cousin's girlfriend, your girlfriend's girlfriend, in addition to this tree, that rock, that blade of grass, random NPC #242389, and everything else! No matter how bad your circumstances seem, things will always work out this way. (Except you will not be able to save the final villain, because they always die in the end. Always.)

On Saving the World
-It doesn't matter how many towns you save, how many evil empires you crush, how many monsters you kill, how many civilians you rescue, how many armies you crush, how many lost sacred objects you find, how many great evils you seal away, or how many times you save the world from utter destruction. Nobody wants your autograph, and you still have to pay full price.