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RPGs where you don't save the world

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Alpan, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Alpan Educated Patron

    Alpan
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    I'm interested in compiling the Codex's suggestions for role-playing games where the main plot does not involve the player responding to a world-threatening event or antagonist. Generally speaking, the more personal or locally contained the plot, the better. PS: T is the obvious flagship of this category, and it's an important reason why it's so revered in the first place.

    Both Western RPGs and Japanese RPGs are welcome, though you won't find JRPGs in the list below. For obvious reasons hack-and-slash action RPGs and roguelikes are more or less entirely outside this consideration. Open-world games that let the player do whatever they want, but where the main quest involves saving the world are also not included (i.e. The Elder Scrolls) Exceptions are made for games that superficially involve saving the world, but with Pyrrhic victories or an overriding despairing tone (i.e. Dark Souls).

    Apologies if this list already exists somewhere. I searched for threads with some different keyword combinations but couldn't find anything.

    Here are some games that come to mind, top of my head (editing to add more as I remember):

    Planescape: Torment
    KOTOR 2
    VtM: Bloodlines
    Age of Decadence
    The Witcher series -- TW3 does involve saving the world, but not through Geralt. I am less sure about including TW1.
    The Krondor games
    King of Dragon Pass
    Fallout 1/2/NV
    Tyranny
    Underrail
    NWN2: MoTB
    Dragon Age II -- just about the only thing that game did right.
    Spiderweb Software games, such as the Avadon series
    Pyre -- to the extent that it could be called an RPG.
    EDIT: Kingdom Come: Deliverance -- obviously!

    The upcoming Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones and Disco Elysium look to belong in this list.

    Of course, these are all household names. I would be happy to have the Codex's more knowledgeable members chip in with ideas.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  2. ga♥ Learned

    ga♥
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    Baldur's gate series.
    I disagree on VtM:B in the list; the whole plot is about the fucking sarcophagus that will destroy the world (of vampires).
     
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  3. TheSentinel Magister

    TheSentinel
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    PS: Depending on how superficially you want to look at it, Skyrim (you end up saving the world in the short term but dooming it in the long term)
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  4. blitzer Novice

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    I got one!
    "Expedition:Viking"
     
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  5. Alpan Educated Patron

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    But the sarcophagus is fake news; there is nothing in the game that establishes anything about its malevolence. The plot is not about the sarcophagus itself but about a group of excited vampires that freak out over it.
     
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  6. Teut Busnet Savant

    Teut Busnet
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    As a fan of the 'Dark Eye' universe:

    The 'Realms of Arkania' trilogy

    Drakensang (Though it becomes a bit ... bombastic... in the end)
    Drakensang: River of Time
     
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  7. ga♥ Learned

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    You still do not know about it until the very end.
    Also there's nothing really personal in Bloodlines.

    There's no missing mortality like in PST, no revenge vs Sarevok in BG1. It's just the sarcophagus and how you want to handle it (don't misunderstand me, i love the game).

    What makes it a personal story?
     
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  8. HeatEXTEND Liturgist

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    you don't know that.....
     
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  9. Alpan Educated Patron

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    I think my usage of the word "personal" was kind of imprecise. When I said that, I didn't have in mind the sort of "personal history" you refer to with examples of Sarevok and the mortality in PS: T, though obviously it's a correct application of the word. You're right in that Bloodlines contains nothing of the sort. I meant it more in the sense of not being a part of typical Chosen One narratives. The protagonist is really some poor schmuck that happened to be Embraced that night. There's literally nothing special about them, even by the end of the game, as one of the endings so nicely shows. The stakes never really go higher than surviving in the vampires' world.

    Also, I like hearing about different opinions, so no worries.
     
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  10. Grampy_Bone Cipher

    Grampy_Bone
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    -The Ys games

    -FFTactics

    -All Wizardry games up to 7

    -Ultima 4

    -Most of the Gold Box games

    -Dungeon Master

    -All Eye of the Beholder games

    -Pretty much any Metroidvania

    This may be fake history. Most games involve safeguarding the setting of the game. If the setting is the world, you save the world. If the setting is a city, you save the city. If the setting is a region, you save the region.
     
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  11. Viata Arcane

    Viata
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    Is there any game where I can destroy the world? Like, I'm the final boss, not the hero.
     
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  12. ga♥ Learned

    ga♥
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    Allright, he still responds to a world threating event (the sarcophagus). Also about him not being a "chosen one"... many clues in the game make it the opposite of that, like the way you can dispose of many Vampires of lower generations. Even the embrace doesn't really seem a chance.

    Also by using only the "chosen one" criteria, you should exclude from the list Tyranny.



    Pandemic 2, Dungeon keeper.... there are many (not RPG though).
     
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  13. Viata Arcane

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    Yeah, forgot to say I was asking for an RPG. :negative:
     
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  14. mbv123 Savant

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    I don't think Fallout 1 and 2 really count.
    In both cases you save the world (wasteland) from genocidal super mutants and genocidal government remnants.
    Even the first part of the MQ revolves around you saving either your vault or your village.

    Also, in KOTOR 2 your main objective is to save the galaxy from a freak of nature that devours entire worlds of life.
     
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  15. 2house2fly Liturgist

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    If Fallout 1&2 and Witcher 3 count then so does Pillars Of Eternity. Depending on how generous your definition of "RPG" is there's also Nier Automata
     
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  16. ga♥ Learned

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    Nah, OP criteria aren't very clear but...
    In POE, you are a "watcher with an old old soul" (chosen one) and part of the plot (the plot is rly a mess) is to save the Drywood from the soul sucking Thaos.
     
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  17. Alpan Educated Patron

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    Good points. Honestly with the Fallout games I was torn because however you end those games, the world is still generally pretty shit. But you're totally right about the MQ. And I let my loving memories of KOTOR 2 blind me to the overaching objective of defeating the Sith Lords.
     
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  18. Alpan Educated Patron

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    Sorry I missed this. I still disagree about the sarcophagus being a threat: It's not something like Darkspawn in Dragon Age or Thaos in PoE, which are entities that concretely act on the world. The threat is there because you can see it. With the sarcophagus all you have are the claims of a bunch of vampires lording over you, and the game is pretty clear that they don't actually know -- the plot is built on this ambiguity. They don't even consider it a world-threatening event, more like a source of power for their own use.

    Being a Chosen One (in most games that feature it) necessarily involves saving the world. You are a Chosen in Tyranny but you definitely don't save the world (which is the more important criterion here), so it's on the list.
     
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  19. Beastro Arcane

    Beastro
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    Isn't what he's doing very lowly destroying reality?

    I remember liking the story for that and wondering why I should want to stop doing it since I don't like D&Ds overall setting.
     
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  20. ga♥ Learned

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    You are a chosen one in BG1/2 but you don't save the world. So Add them?
     
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  21. Alpan Educated Patron

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    No real objections to BG -- completely slipped my mind when I was making the list, you mentioned them in the first reply, and I can't edit any more anyway.
     
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  22. agentorange Arcane Patron

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    Considering that you are the chosen child of a god in Baldur's Gate and have to stop another child of god, both of you having the potential to become a god yourselves, with the player being able to realize this potential in ToB, I would say that it is a world saving/ending scenario. At least world effecting.

    To clarify the point, by world do you mean the actual, entire world, as in globe/earth/etc? Or the world as in the accessible area within the game. In AoD you can ascend to godhood, or kill a god (although in AoD these are not real gods but extradimensional, "mortal" entities) who could potentially be a threat to the entire geographical area seen in the game--but who knows if it would have any effect on the other locations, the Eastern lands or the Q'antaari kingdom, mentioned within the game. The same goes for Fallout. Allowing the Super Mutants to take over would probably result in an end to humans on the West Coast of the USA, but who knows about the rest of the USA let alone the rest of the world, like China.

    In Arcanum , although you don't personally do it you can agree to seeing that all life in the world is extinguished.
     
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  23. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Some jrpgs:

    FF6
    Shining in the Darkness
    Ogre Battle: MotBQ
    Most of the Disgaea series, AFAIK (only finished two but they all seem to share the same sort of plot.) + Makai Kingdom.
    Star Ocean 2
    Uncharted Waters (the old KOEI game)
    Breath of Fire 3 and 5 (possibly the others? Never finished 4 and can't recall the endgame plots of the first 2)
    Front Mission 3 (again, unclear on the plot, but humanity was definitely not at stake)
    Quite a few of the SaGa Frontier scenarios are just personal revenge plots and one ends with you becoming the same sort of tyrant you depose.
    Azure Dreams (I suppose this might count as a roguelike, sortof? May as well throw in a bunch of the mystery dungeon series)
    Deception series (this almost certainly doesn't qualify as an rpg, but it doesn't qualify as any other genre either really, so fuck it)
    Suikoden (another rebels vs empire story without the world at stake)
    Valkyrie Profile
    Dragon's Dogma (obviously an action game but fuck it Twitcher and New Vegas are on the list too)
    SMT: Nocturne (bonus points for the ending where you lead the armies of hell to fight god)

    Edit: Throw in the pokemon and Monster Rancher series.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  24. Beastro Arcane

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    Kefka ruined the world and it's slowly dying out as a result. Defeating him ends the slow death of life at the cost of killing magic.
     
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  25. Damned Registrations Prestigious Gentleman Furry Weeaboo Nazi Nihilist

    Damned Registrations
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    Yeah but that definitely qualifies as a pyrhhic victory. The world goes from being totally fine to worse off than most of the losing scenarios in your average 'save the world' game long before you save the bits that are left. If FF6 doesn't count because you 'saved' the world, then Chrono Trigger would count because Lavos left some people alive so you didn't need to kill him anyways. CT is actually kind of a weird one since the world ends multiple times before the game even starts, and you've got some rather weird endings you can access, like the dino-people one.

    Edit: Just to be clear for people who are unfamiliar with the plot, the world isn't 'ruined' like it's all dark and gloomy and stuff, it's 'ruined' in what is essentially the fantasy version of a nuclear apocalypse with only a handful of devastated villages barely hanging on. Also, ending magic implies killing off all the espers that were still alive.

    Show Spoiler
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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