Kill Quests are a common quest trope which usually appear in, but are not exclusive to, RPGs. They can take on various forms, but typically fall into two categories.
Trash Kills (Generic/Multiple)
(e.g. "Kill 5 beavers down by the pond")
This generic form often involves checklists of local fauna, and can be implemented in various ways.
- Training/tutorial missions.
- Grinding fodder (XP, materials, or drops).
- Content filler.
This form can recur, allowing the player to take the same quest multiple times for recurring rewards.
This form is a staple of the MMORPG, which features multiple kill quests across each level tier.
Named Kills (Specific/Single)
(e.g. "Kill Pelendralaar in the Pool of Radiance")
Usually tied to plot development, this form entails the use of lethal force to stop a key criminal (or opposing) entity.
Unlike kills that fall within the general Murder concept, a named kill quest is invoked by a specific justification or request/order. This feature can often be exploited for narrative purposes if the protagonist comes to question his actions or the motives of the quest giver.
Additionally, this form can sometimes be the framework for the entire narrative arc of a game. Games that fall into this category feature a kill quest as the protagonist's primary motivation, with all other objectives ultimately serving the primary cause. Example: Dragon Age: Origins-- the player's primary motivation is to slay the Arch Demon, which also serves as climax to the story. Also see Boss Fights.
This form typically does not recur. However, these quests can recur in MMORPGs, where NPCs and narrative states are usually non-persistent.