In the first Dragon Quest game, it’s established that, if you cross a bridge, you can run into stronger monsters. I’m pretty sure this rule holds true for the sequels, although they also introduce many other ways of getting from one landmass to another, like ships, tunnels, and magic carpets. Actually, there’s one tunnel in DQ1, and monsters are indeed tougher on the other side of it. It’s a good rule of thumb, but it makes me wonder why the monsters would pay attention to it. I mean, I’ve heard about vampires not being able to cross running water, but I don’t know that this applies to drackies.
I guess it makes more sense when there’s ocean in the middle, as the monsters probably don’t have that many boats. Sea monsters are something different entirely. There’s actually one bridge in the first game that you have to create with magical items. It’s called the Rainbow Bridge, and I was disappointed that it’s no different in color from any of the other bridges. Not in the NES version, anyway.
Rainbow Bridge my ass, old guy living in a cave!
While there may not be any narrative reason for it, monsters of about the same strength tend to stay in the same area. This is common in video games, as it provides a learning curve. Especially in role-playing games, you don’t want to start fighting the stronger monsters right away, because you haven’t had a chance to build up your levels. This is basically true in other games as well; Mario isn’t going to get stronger as he moves from one world to the next (not counting the Mario RPGs, that is), but the player has to get used to the control and strategy on the easier levels first. I guess you could say there’s a certain amount of logic to it, as the worst threats tend to cluster around the main villain’s lair. In games where the villainous leader possesses dark magic, he or she often hangs out in an area of concentrated evil.
Such places are often marked by bad weather and surrounded by impassable mountains.
Maybe the stronger troops wouldn’t have access to the same amount of raw power closer to good settlements. That could also explain why they so rarely enter towns and castles, except when it’s a plot point.
Strange how they can sometimes overthrow the gods, but not some local king. Then again, maybe it’s not worth the bother. It’s also typical in DQ games for all the monsters to disappear after the main boss is defeated. Oddly, in DQ4, the monsters disappear at the end of every chapter, then reappear in the same areas in the next. It’s not always the same monsters in the same area, either. One of the townspeople (in Endor, I believe, as that’s a place visited in more than one chapter) even comments on it. Anyway, just be sure that, if you’re house hunting in a world with magical monsters, try the location farthest away from the dark castle in the middle of a swamp first.
At the very least, there should be a river in between.
Just don’t take up weapon collecting, because all you’ll be able to buy will be wooden clubs and sticks.