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The Loonie

"Cannot base characters off The Who's drummer Keith Moon."
Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG #1 (it just gets worse from there)

The Loonie is the Tabletop RPG player who plays mostly for the fun of doing silly things within the game. He typically optimizes his character for comedy rather than combat, and is more likely to pick "goofy" character races purely for the novelty (such as awakened animals, Kender, Malkavians, and so forth). His abilities will be mainly based on their potential for wacky antics (so rogues and mages with a lot of illusion and enchantment spells are popular).

This player loves poking at the setting to provoke strange responses and going Off the Rails in outrageous ways. They'll use their tower shields as makeshift snowboards, and think shouting "Look Behind You" then running away is enough to elude a hostile greater demon. They'll then try to talk the Game Master into letting them attempt a trip attack on aforementioned greater demon using a Banana Peel. They'll crack jokes and mock the NPCs at every opportunity, and futz with every magic item thrown their way.

The loonie can be a fun player to have around; a little comic relief can help to ease the tension of a long campaign. However, sometimes his constant jokes can wear thin, and he can quickly cross the line from amusing to annoying. He can be especially grating to extreme Roleplayers, Munchkins, and other people who take the game way too seriously. It probably doesn't help that their lack of humor only encourages the loonie to annoy them more. The Loonie's favourite Character Alignment is Chaotic Neutral (because it's the perfect excuse for doing anything), but to his detractors it will feel more like Chaotic Stupid. Basically, it all depends on how good a comedian they are.

Like the other archetypes, the Loonie comes in variations. Ones that know how to be eccentric and effective are Bunny Ears Lawyers of a sort, especially when crossed with a Munchkin. This variety will actually act out all the weird flaws and quirks they took to get those plusses, and take their humor as seriously as their gameplay, potentially crossing into Lethal Joke Character or Crazy Awesome territory (one entry from the list providing the quote forbids Mr. Welch's characters from owning a gun which can kill a target in an adjacent county, for example). Expect liberal use of both the Rule of Funny and the Rule of Cool.

When successfully crossed with a roleplayer, they will go to great lengths to justify outrageous acts without breaking character — clerics of trickster dieties, characters with insanity flaws, paladins and knights, and classes/races that imply a lack of social grace, nonstandard equipment, and/or a lack of proper training are all popular character choices for this variety of loonie. This breed of loonie tends to be given much more tolerance by normal Roleplayers, as the comedic potential of an orc wizard or a monk with a drinking problem requires little to no breaking of immersion when roleplayed well.

The rare cases of loonie/Real Man hybrids result in a player who seeks to make the parts between combat engagements more interesting to themselves by playing the clown. Done well, it keeps them engaged and contributing to the session; done poorly, it becomes a protest of "the boring parts" and a tool for turning any encounter into a combat engagement, much to the delight of the munchkin and the horror of the GM and the roleplayer.

Suffice to say, the wise Game Master will be very careful about letting The Loonie get his hands on any sort of large explosive device. Hilarity will ensue (as well as a Total Party Kill, most of the time).

A Player Archetypes subtrope, along with The Real Man, The Role Player, and the Munchkin.

Not to be confused with the Canadian one dollar coin (pictured above).

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Film 
  • Gary from The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is this. The group is replaying an adventure they failed at in the past; this time, they've invited a girl to play with. Having done the adventure before, the rest of them are eager to begin the journey to the Big Bad before their characters are even supposed to know which way to go. When the girl takes a couple minutes to exchange pleasantries with a peasant, Gary's character, a mage, disintegrates the peasant with a fireball.
    Luster: How many experience for the peasant?
    • Even better: As the group is sitting down around the fire about to eat a chicken, Gary has his character cast Animate Dead to bring the chicken back as a zombie. Apparently the only reason he did this was to watch the ALREADY COOKED CHICKEN run around with its new life, and then eat it while it was still fresh. The DM was understandably bewildered.

    Fanfic 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami features Mukrezar. He... Well, there's not much to say. It's Mukrezar.
  • In The Vinyl And Octavia Series, Vinyl sort of roleplays like this. Her character sheet is a mix of the skills which she likes the sound of, and some of the plans she comes up with are very out of the ordinary.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeon Masters' Guide II for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 includes a section on player styles useful for the Game Master of any game, not just D&D. One of the styles it describes is The Outlier, which is basically this trope. "The D&D game assumes a high degree of group cohesion[...] Some players, though, get their emotional charge by subverting this dynamic. These players have the outlier trait. They revel in being different and playing by their own rules. In short, they love to play oddballs." The section goes on to explain that they often are more interested in clowning around and failing humorously than actually contributing to group success.
    • Pathfinder calls them "Antagonists", someone who plays a dwarf to pick on the elf, or an atheist to pick on the Cleric. But neither is actually an example of The Loonie, unless he "picks" on the elf by painting him purple and making bawdy songs about him for no reason, and tricks the cleric into saying "Goddamnit!" at every oppourtunity.
    • The 4.0 DMG refers to this player as "The Instigator", who loves to make random stuff happen.
    • This is one way to role-play a character with a very low Wisdom score (which is supposed to reflect situational awareness, impulse control, and common sense thinking).
  • A large part of the appeal of many parody RPGs, including Paranoia (where the whole point is to find excuses to shoot the other party members) and Toon (which actually gives you experience points for making other people laugh).
    • HoL is another tabletop that encourages The Loonie.
    • Maid RPG also encourages loonies, especially if you choose 4 or 5 Maid Qualities or make gratuitous use of the Random Events charts.
  • The Malkavian vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade are stereotyped as being the "loonie" Splat, never mind that there are ways to play Malkavians other than as "Fishmalks" with Funny Schizophrenia.
    • As some wise person on RPG.net once advised, "Think Hannibal Lecter, not Daffy Duck".
    • One can be both; think The Joker.
    • The Old World of Darkness had some bad luck with this. If it wasn't the Malks, it was the Ragabash auspice. If it wasn't the Ragabash, it was the Marauders. And if it wasn't the Marauders, it was the pooka. There was nothing inherently wacky about Wraith, though the Haunters' Guild could be slightly unhinged.
      • So pervasive is the tendecy of playing Malks as Fourth Wall Breaking Comic Relief, that further editions of the Old World of Darkness ALREADY attempted to make it more Grimdark before the inevitable reboot. From a metagaming standpoint, they were trying to shoo out the psychotic clowns for a long time ever since they released their first edition. It wasn't long before the hilarious fourth wall breaking Loon was instead just a delusional fool being manipulated by their psychotic elders or ancestors. This didn't actually stop any players from playing as them, but they definitely wanted to make Malkavians more serious as puppets of a sleeping Mad demi-god instead of comic relief.
      • The Nuwisha. Combine the mind of Bugs Bunny and Wile E Coyote's penchant for surviving his own stunts and you're pretty much got the Nuwisha.
    • Exalted isn't immune, either. The Fair Folk are explicitly noted as being somewhat unfamiliar with the idea that actions can have consequences, since in the Wyld they can simply shape themselves back to life if killed by another raksha. As a result, it's totally in character for a raksha in Creation to stab an ally through the heart, then be surprised when he doesn't get back up.
  • Similar to the Malkavians, the Kender of Dragonlance are a go to for Loonies when available. They're both relentlessly curious and fearless. They're also absent-minded and lack the same notions of "property" most races have. They'll "borrow" things they genuinely mean to give back. Their sacks are a random mess of goods such that they'll rummage through, pull out your archenemy's Staff of Power and remark "Oh, how did that get in there?" with complete sincerity.
  • Old Man Henderson, the only character who ever beat Call of Cthulhu, had to be this in tandem with being a Munchkin in order to survive the murderous GM hosting the game. His erratic set of skills were justified by a pre-written 320 page character sheet.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, Spycraft, despite ostensibly being a reasonably serious take on various spy-movie and action-movie cinematic tropes that specifically cautions the game controller to avoid comedy, is absolutely infested with this trope due to the game's dependence on "carefully balanced" tables of stats rather than a scaling formula as used in most other d20 systems.
    • Highlights include the game designers balancing the power-lifting skill around the idea of lifting heavy objects, but never balancing it against the load table or movement table, meaning that a moderately talented intruder can take a 500-pound crate from people moving it with sleight of hand, walking it across an open courtyard without any of the twenty-odd workers noticing, then ripping it open with bare hands to steal the items inside. Player's starting base strength? Average.
    • Some of the loon-dominance stems from the game's "if a rule says it can be done, the game master can't protest" nature, necessitated by the adversarial overall design.
  • One optional flaw in Sen Zar means that you can not only be The Loonie, but you can get bonus character points for being The Loonie:
    "TOTAL STUPIDITY: Please take it! The character is totally stupid, and is even too totally stupid to know it! He'll gladly taste unknown potions when offered them. He'll gladly charge into the midst of an onrushing horde of bad guys if properly persuaded ("Dey say what about Mom? Me am smash dem!"). He'll even volunteer to test pits and traps for your party! And sometimes not even a successful Karmic Save will shed the light of reason upon his dim, feeble mind! Note: This does not reflect upon that character's INT score, mind you. Even a total genius can act totally stupid at times. So take it, O ye mighty spellcasters! Blow up friend and foe alike, just because you're so totally stupid that the proper placement of your explosive spells is beyond the grasp of your perpetually befuddled mind! Note 2: Yeah, we know. But isn't there always someone like this in your party? And isn't it about time they got some points for it?"
  • The FATE roleplaying system, used in games like Spirit Of The Century, allows players to take "aspects". Aspects are character traits and catch phrases, both positive and negative. In SotC, a player character Coat, Hat, Mask may take the aspect "Can't Turn Down A Pretty Face", so when the Femme Fatale comes calling, the GM can give the player fate points in return for having the character do something stupid ("compelling an aspect") in order to advance the plot (or just because he can). The player can also simply point out his aspect and offer to play it to the hilt, partly because he will get a fate point for it but also because the consequences can be hilarious.
  • The Xaositect faction in Planescape are people who celebrate the inherent absurdity of the universe. Naturally, many players take this as an invitation to play Xaositects as bleeding morons who taunt the enemy for fun and set off traps on purpose.
  • Take the Show-off Drawback in All Flesh Must Be Eaten. It's two extra Character Points and the excuse to do whatever you feel like at the time! Also fits well with The Real Man.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Many of the Freelance Astronauts' Lets Plays follow this play style, most notably their Oblivion LP in which they create a very ugly character with electric blue hair who throughout the playthrough casts "Frenzy" on an entire town, and messes around with console commands to change the sizes of various Npcs.
  • Rob from Unforgotten Realms.
  • Bob in this D&D parody. During the first mission, the rest of his party members visit the tavern all at once. He attempts to burn the tavern down. When it gets his turn to DM, he comes up with a rather... unorthodox final boss fight.
  • Veronica Carter. Two seconds after her introduction she blows a whistle to invite all of the nearby bloodthirsty demons to come over to the Resistance, much to the outrage of May. One time she got drunk and decided to lob beer bottles at Oblivion just for the hell of it. However, she's most infamous in the world of Shadowhunter Peril for completely overreacting to the most trivial of things, or the time the Resistance was supposed to initiate a stealth rescue mission on Alicante and she charged at the city with a tank screaming at the top of her lungs like a loon.
  • According to the classic Real Men, Real Roleplayers, Loonies, and Munchkins list, loonies play an extremely unrecognizable variant Spawn Of Fashan.

    Real Life 

The RoleplayerTabletop RPGMunchkin

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