"Hi, I'm all over TV Tropes."An Adventurer Is You!The Kingdom of Loathing (2003) is a browser-based MMORPG by Zack "Jick" Johnson and Josh "Mr. Skullhead" Nite. The overarching plot of the game, such as it is, involves defeating the aptly-named Naughty Sorceress, who has imprisoned the beloved ruler of the Kingdom, King Ralph XI, in a prism (this is known in-game as his being "imprismed"). But first you have to level up your character through the usual rigmarole of Fetch Quests, monster hunting, and Level Grinding. There are several things that make this game fairly unique among MMORPGs, however:
It is completely free, though donations are accepted, appreciated, and encouraged by the offering of a powerful accessory for a ten-dollar donation, which in turn can be traded for a powerful "item of the month", which is only available for a limited time, but it can also be bought from other players for in-game currency.
The game possesses a sense of humor that is at times snarky, scathingly satirical, and loaded with pop culture references, including parodies of other RPGs. For example, the Dungeons of Doom are an homage to the game Nethack, while another zone is the "Penultimate Fantasy Airship", with monsters that take the piss out of Square Enix games (mainly Final Fantasy VII and Dragon Quest).
The last one is the biggest draw of the game for many. For example, the tutorial quest involves doing tasks for a talking bird known as the (wait for it) Toot Oriole. "Meat" is the currency of the realm, simultaneously parodying and justifying the RPG tradition of monsters dropping money when defeated. Monsters include not only such traditional fantasy fare as goblins, gnolls, and vampires, but also hippies, Orcish frat boys, Ninja Snowmen, ASCII smileys, and zmobies (which are like zombies, except they were misspelled by a magical accident) and a late-game quest involves a long and complex search for a device literally called the Holy MacGuffin. Then there's the six character classes:
Turtle Tamers (Defensive Muscle), heavily-armored warriors who can cast buffs to improve their (and others') defense and affinity with their familiars, use their armor as weapons, and channel the Great Turtle Spirits to give them an edge in combat. They can also learn to craft advanced armor, and with the right equipment can tame turtles (which can be used as combat items, to make armor, or even become familiars, depending on the turtle in question).
Pastamancers (Offensive Mysticality), spellcaster/chefs who attack with powerful spells like "Ravioli Shurikens" and "Cannelloni Cannon" and summon food-themed spirit entities known as "Pasta Thralls". They can also learn to prepare delicious noodle dishes.
Saucerors (Defensive Mysticality), spellcasters who fight by conjuring blasts of hot and cold sauces and casting sauce curses upon their enemies. They're also able to conjure "saucespheres", gather Soul Sauce from enemies to power special skills, and brew sauces for Pastamancers to cook with or potions to buff themselves (or others).
The game mechanics revolve around three stats: Muscle (the primary stat of Seal Clubbers and Turtle Tamers, boosts HP, melee skill and weapon damage), Mysticality (the primary stat of Pastamancers and Saucerors, boosts MP and spell power), and Moxie (the primary stat of Disco Bandits and Accordion Thieves, boosts evasion, damage reduction and ranged skill). Players get a number of "turns" each day, called "Adventures", and can get more turns through food and booze. Players level up their character by earning experience points (in the form of "sub-stat" points) as they adventure, either from slaying monsters, from certain non-combat adventures, or again from eating and drinking. One can also gather a variety of helpful monsters known as "familiars", which do everything from fighting to healing you to helping you get more experience, meat, or items from monsters, to absolutely nothing, to increasing the challenge of the gameby hindering you constantly.We could go on (and on and on and on), but why not experience it for yourself?
The Gift-A-Pult allows you to fire any Gift item (something that cannot be bought or sold in the mall). Designer Handbags, Valentine's Day Gifts and other Gift-A-Pults are the strongest ammo.
Some of the "ordinary" (loosest possible sense of the word) weapons have this as well. To cite one example, you can build a crossbow which fires ghuolash, which is food (that is, if you're willing to eat zombie flesh.)
Added Alliterative Appeal: The three stats are Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie. Your skill points are called "MP" regardless of what your main stat is, but the meaning changes—Muscularity Points, Mana Points, or Mojo Points.
Adult Fear: One of the darker zones comes from using a psychoanalytic jar to explore the psychoses of the Crackpot Mystic, an old man who lives in a shack and gives players access to the 8-Bit Realm, a low-level zone full of references to old-school video games. The game's trademark Hurricane of Puns and smarmy pop-culture references largely goes out the window in favor of a sidequest to fight embodiments of the Mystic's Anger, Fear, Doubt, and Regret, which have apparently overwhelmed him. Said embodiments take the form of pixellated monsters and power-ups which will taunt you repeatedly as you fight them.
Aerith and Bob: Infernal Rackets, a band playing at Hey Deze arena, comprises Bognort, Stinkface, Flargwurm, and Jim.
There's one seal that you can take and raise as a familiar, but it's still viciously violent, just directed at your enemies instead. So at least they're loyal. However, a later update made it so that it won't attack other seals.
Bees. They suck. The Guy Made of Bees is even worse.
Mer-kin. They're all out for your blood, at all times. Even if you're disguised as one of them. And they have a penchant for summoning Eldritch Abominations.
An Axe to Grind: The only weapon you will be able to use in an Avatar of Boris run is Trusty, a two-handed axe.
Ancient Conspiracy: The Brotherhood of One, the frat that the Frat Boy Orcs belong to. Zombo, the boss of the Ancient Hobo Burial Ground, is their grand master. When you wear his ring, any male Frat Orc that sees it will recognize you as his superior and commit suicide by paddling.
The entirety of the 2012 holiday event was this, when Uncle Crimbo fired his workers and replaced them with Japanese culture elves whose names are a mishmash of Anime titles and Gratuitous Japanese. Culminates in an interactive Humongous Mecha fight. The exclusive item? A manga comic book that lets you do the fight again.
Peanut; the personification of your inner madness.
Anti-Poop Socking : You only get a limited number of adventures per day, normally 40, though there are many ways to increase this. Furthermore, unused adventures naturally accumulate up to 200, thereby removing most of the incentive for playing every single day.
However, your stomach/liver/spleen levels get reset every day, and these are the things to give you extra adventures; if you don't play every day you only get the extra rollover adventures, possibly missing on hundreds from a single day.
There are also abilities and machines that players may want to use as much as possible that "recharge" daily.
Arbitrary Skepticism: The Pretentious Artist doesn't believe in Hey Deze, despite the general absurdity of the world and the fact that, as he himself puts it, "people go there all the time and bring back souvenirs." He tells you this while you're wearing a bunch of these souvenirs.
Arc Number: The number 11 appears all over the place. It's ridiculous; it's not even funny. It is a reference to the song "Time Zones" by Negativland.
Also the four weapons obtained by defeating the boss monsters in the Crackpot Mystic's Psychoses.
Ars Goetia: Azazel is one of your quest givers. He has crossdressing tendencies and is slightly creepy.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The innermost circle of Hey Deze: "Given the high rates of murder, armed robbery, and jaywalking, it's the hottest piece of real estate in Hey Deze (which is saying a lot for a place composed primarily of brimstone and magma)."
The message given when first entering Azazel's Temple:
It's your basic evil hellish demon dwelling: the decorative motifs include blood, pulsating skin, flames, and the occasional throw rug to add some visual interest.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: You, the adventurer, can pick a fight with the entire Kingdom! Unfortunately, it's too tough to be defeated (everything deals exactly 1 damage to it) and too weak to defeat you (it can only hit you if you have less than 8 Moxie, which is unlikely, or it criticals, which deals only 1 damage). People are, of course, trying to figure out how to kill it, but nobody has done it yet.
There's even a few strategies that should work. Of course, they require huge amounts of one-time items.
Awesome but Impractical: The ridiculously overelaborate ninja weapon. You have no idea how to use it, but it looks totally badass.
Becomes practical if you're wearing the Clockwork Apparatus outfit. The Apparatus has random beneficial effects that trigger on (and replace) fumbled attacks, and the ninja weapon has the highest fumble chance of any equipment (tied with the vibrating cyborg knife, which is no longer available) and also triples the chance of criticals (with the best weapons granting five times the chance). Also, it means you're a clockwork ninja, which is just freaking awesome. To throw it over the top, one of the required parts of the outfit is a clockwork Badass Longcoat.
"Behold my true form, adventurer, and behold it well, for it is the last thing you will ever behold!"
Bait-and-Switch Boss: If you choose to play a 'Bees Hate You' run, the Naughty Sorceress' sausage form is killed by the Guy Made of Bees, a Bonus Boss in normal runs.
Also happens in Avatar of Boris; the sausage is replaced by The Avatar of Sneaky Pete. And in Bugbear Invasion, this effectively happens before the game even starts: a giant bugbear mothership has crashed on the original final boss's lair, and you eventually end up fighting the mothership's final boss instead of the regular one.
And once again in Zombie Slayer: Rene C. Corman, long-missing Big Bad from the Valhalla arc, kills the Naughty Sorceress and takes over for the final battle.
And yet again in Avatar of Jarlsberg - twice! Clancy, Boris's herald, attacks you in place of the familiar test, and the Avatar of Boris has struck down the Naughty Sorceress herself (all forms) and serves as the final boss.
And yet again again in KOLHS: Principal Mooney replaces the Naughty Sorceress.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Some Disco Bandits build on their existing Dance Battler style with the optional skill "Kung Fu Hustler", which offers a set of progressive bonuses for fighting without anything equipped in the hands. When combined with their other skills and "combat items" (weaponlike and used from inventory), this makes regular weapons unnecessary.
"Way of the Surprising Fist" is a challenge path, where one cannot wield any weapons; gains martial skills from certain areas, and money drops are extremely cut back due to a vow of poverty.
Bee Bee Gun: The Guy Made Of Bees, from a spooooky tale, is summoned Bloody Mary style in Spookyraven Manor's Bathroom. He has approximately the same strength as the monsters in The Naughty Sorceress' Tower, and is killed the same way with a specific item. It is possible, albeit extremely difficult, to kill him in normal combat.
Simply, the last guy who beat him without the specific item was a Lvl. 117 Pastamancer. It takes maybe 2 years to get to level 100+, unless leveling up is the only thing you care about.
Power creep moves on, and now it's possible to kill most of the Gimmick Kill bosses with one donation item and a little bit of know how.
It's now possible for any player with enough patience using Way of the Surprising Fist skills.
Second only to her is recurring villain Rene C. Corman. He was the mastermind of the Valhalla world event, initiated the Grey Plague under the name Christobal Colon, and is the final boss and source of the Zombie Apocalypse in the Zombie Slayer path.
Big Eater: Everyone becomes this during the Feast of Boris, gaining doubled eating capacity for the day. Players on the Avatar of Boris path are Big Eaters every day and have numerous eating-related skills, but they also get drunk very quickly.
Bigger Than Jesus: One quest sees players have to advertise for a band by pasting fliers to monsters. One of the messages you can get if you go back to the concert arena before you're done advertising says that the band has become "more popular than cheeses."
Big NO: "'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!' you shout, raising your arms to the sky."
Bilingual Bonus: When you cause a Disaster Dominoes accident in the office in the Dwarves' factory complex, you end up staring at a file-folder with "ピタゴラスイッチ" written on it. The character assumes it's Dwarvish for "you've just made a hell of a mess", but it's actually Japanese for "Pythagora Switch", which is their term for a Rube Goldberg Device.
The description and use text (and name) for "spaghetti con calaveras" is entirely in Spanish. The description and name of Salsa de la Epocas is the name and description of the Sauce of the Ages (another item) in Spanish as well.
Bindle Stick: These drop from hobos in Hobopolis. There are 5 types, one for each element. (And one holiday-event one. And tiny one for your Hobo Monkey.)
Bio-Augmentation: the Unstable DNA item, which, when drunk, gives the status buff "Yuletide Mutations", which buffs all stats + 50%, the damage of the "Mutant Coture" armor and the potency of "Consume Burrowgrub" for 10 adventures. Unstable DNA is also integral in making the "Pair of Ragged Claws" familiar and the "Burrowgrub Hive" furnishing.
Bland-Name Product: Many examples. BRICKO bricks, Willer beer, and a Red Minotaur energy drink are among them. The Bag of W&Ws lampshades the fact that it's a "lower-quality knock-off version of the original for way less money."
Blood Bath: Invoked in one of the potential descriptions for the stench vampires in Dreadsylvania... and mocked by the narrator pointing out that a bath-tub full of blood would quickly coagulate and rot. In this case, it explains the foul odor of the stench-aligned vampire.
Bonus Boss: Baron Von Ratsworth, the "Ultra-Rare" monsters that drop the aptly-named Ultra-Rare items, Hodgman the Hoboverlord and his Hobopolis Lieutenants, the Mother Slime, the Guy Made of Bees, the Elder Gods of Violence and Hatred, the list goes on.
Bonus Dungeon: Fernswarthy's Basement (infinite in depth; but with special rewards at every 100 levels up to level 500), the various (clan-member-only) raid dungeons, and The Sea (which is only accessible after acquiring the scuba gear in the final dungeon).
Some dungeons, such as the Palindome (where everything is a palindrome) and Spookyraven Manor (especially the top floor) were optional, before NS13 made them part of the new quests.
One of the 2013 yearly familiars, the Angry Jung Man, drops Psychoanalytic Jars that let you explore the deranged minds of some of the Kingdom's NPCs, such as the Meatsmith and the Pretentious Artist (and on rare occasions, the game's creator Jick)
The February 2013 Mr. Store item allows you to fight through a randomized dungeon in-run to acquire special equipment, but if not handled properly can delay your quest.
Book Ends: The Zombie Slayer path begins and ends with your character being hungry and offered a sandwich. The second time you've been cured and can finally enjoy that sandwich.
Books That Bite: One of the types of enemy found in Spookyraven Manor's Haunted Library.
Booze-Based Buff: Booze, along with food, is one of the ways to gain more adventures per day.
Boring Yet Practical: The first Accordion Thief song, the Moxious Madrigal, gives a flat +10 to Moxie. You'd be amazed how often this comes in handy.
Bragging Rights Reward: Pretty much all the Ascension rewards, though the Brimstone items - especially the Bunker - in particular, being some of the most powerful items in the game.
The Slime and Hobo rewards as well, especially Hodgman's items, which require a very, very speedy run through Hobopolis be done in order to get some of them.
Trophies are completely useless except for showing them off, and not only do they cost meat, but qualifying for one often requires significant expenditure of effort.
Brain Bleach: the "seedy Photocopy" advertising slime porn shows gives you a headache.
South of the Border's semi-rare gives an item that makes you so offended sleaze is weakened against you. Donkey flipbook. Yeah. (If you don't know what a donkey show or a Tijuana bible is... don't ask.)
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: a recurring joke format. "He notices how dirty you are and decides to give you the full treatment - deep exfoliation, sea-salt scrub, sucking chest wound — wait, what was that last one?"
Breakable Weapons: The Antique set are the first max-power gear you see, but they slow you down and break after a while. The Tome Of Sugar Shummoning can also create temporary equipment that only lasts for 30 rounds, after which it breaks and you can eat the pieces.
And the X-37 multipurpose gun (think The Fifth Element), as sooner or later you'll notice and push the blinking red button.
Breaking Lecture: An Easter Egg available after you complete the Nemesis questline has a pretty hefty one. When your Nemesis goes One-Winged Angel, he/she/it does so by invoking the (randomly generated) Demon Lord of Revenge. If you have access to the Spookyraven Manor summoning circle, you can actually summon the Lord of Revenge, who gleefully explains how you and your Nemesis were Not So Different. The whole experience shakes your character to their core, as shown by the resulting debuff fittingly called "Existential Torment".
Bribing Your Way to Victory: A $10 donation earns you a "Mr. Accessory", which gives you a significant boost to your stats, but can also be traded in at "Mr. Store" for extra-powerful special items or familiars.
Donating $10 Canadian earns you a "Mr. Eh?" instead of "Mr. A." Once upon a time, the item was slightly less powerful than Mr. A—in fact, it fluctuated with the Canadian:American exchange rate, as a humorous Take That on the value of Canadian money, but the joke wore thin, and now the only difference is that Mr. Eh? can't be used at Mr. Store.
The Mr. Store items are unequippable/unusable in Hardcore, however.
Magic-Spellbook-type Items Of The Month and Familiars Of The Month are usable in HC, however, except in Bad Moon and certain challenge paths. In fact, several of these are considered necessary if you want to be "optimal" (finishing an ascension in less than a week). A few of the top-tier Familiars and Tomes are the He-Boulder (can force an enemy to drop all of its potential drops), Llama Lama, Infant Sandworm, Green Pixie, Rogue Programme, Pair of Stomping Boots (easily obtain otherwise rare turn generating spleen items, as well as unlocking new areas), Frumious Bandersnatch (increase XP and improves combat skills), Bugged Bugbear (massive XP boosts and other benefits), Tome of Sugar Shummoning, Tome of Clip Art (powerful equipment), Tome of Scratch n' Sniff Sticker Summoning (makes a sword or crossbow which can recieve powerful enchantments), and Tome of Snowcone Summoning (powerful buffs).
Also, if you have the meat for it, you can buy various items needed for a quest at the Mall of Loathing without taking the trouble of actually doing the quest. (Unless you're in Hardcore mode, in which the mall, flea market, and your previous inventory are off-limits.)
Some of the Items of the Month, typically the ones released on the month of a challenge path debut, carry some extra benefit for a challenge path to make them more enticing at the moment. These can range from skills and familiar IotMs producing extra items during the challenge path, to equipment IotMs being usable on the path regardless of regular restrictions.
If you're in an Avatar of Jarlsberg run, you can buy a Cosmic Bucket, whose only function is to give you items that grant you more skill points for the path. Amusingly, the game admits that the item was for those who wanted to jump into speed runs right away, and encourages players to take it slowly instead.
A lot of trophies cannot be easily obtained...except by buying a crapload of something in the mall. All the Gotta Catch 'Em All ones are like this, and several others require you to multi-use something in a quantity that would take forever to generate on your own. One requires you to literallytoss your meat down a hole.
Brick Joke: As a moxie class, one of the tasks required to become a full-fledged guild member is to pickpocket Izzy the Lizard's wallet without him noticing. Later, after you do a task for him, he realizes he can't pay you because someone stole his wallet.
On January 30, 2010, players could receive for the first time an adventure titled From Little Acorns..., in which you plant an acorn from the evil Underworld Tree in the Arrrboretum. Fast forward to May 6, 2010, when you can get the adventure ... Grow Unspeakable Horrors, which gives the Underworld Bonsai Familiar
Bridge: Played by the guards behind the light door.
Buffy Speak: A common source of humour. E.g. "Bones scatter across the deck like uh, something that scatters. Mice? I'll go with mice."
But Thou Must: When entering Felonia's cave, you have three choices:
Gorgolok: "STUPID HUMAN! I KILL YOU MYSELF! MAKE YOU SQUEAL LIKE THE STUPID MONKEY YOU ARE!"
Call Back: To a long time ago. At one point, there was a world event where an NPC named Christobal Colon sent players "warm blankets", which improved resting - but had a good chance of infecting them with The Grey Plague, which turned them into zombies. Four real-world years later, the Zombie Slayer path revealed that "Colon" was Rene C. Corman.
"Wu Tang shouts 'Seven Demon!' and kicks you in the knee. 'Hey!' you say, 'you didn't finish the name of the attack!' 'It's the Seven Demon Kick You In the Knee While You're Waiting For Me To Finish the Name of the Attack," he says, and kicks you again. '
"They start to swarm you, but you give them a quick lesson in Aerodynamics, and they all fall to the ground."
Cerebus Syndrome: The Mime invasion was an uncharacteristically creepy event (which may still be ongoing). Shortly afterward, the new additions to the Sea Monkee quest added in March and April 2013 turned the previously lighthearted quest into a dead serious and surprisingly chilling Cosmic Horror Story. And then the new clan dungeon showed up: Dreadsylvania, a giant pastiche of horror tropes. All this in a game originally built on obnoxious puns, satire, and non-sequiturs.
Chef of Iron: Saucerors and Pastamancers with their food-flinging spells and cooking skill, although they have elements of Squishy Wizard too. The Avatar of Jarlsberg also counts, since you're channeling Loathing's original chef-magus.
Chekhov's Volcano: During the Nemesis Quest, your nemesis has a secret tropical island volcano lair. The volcano plays an important role.
Chew Toy: Admiral Hagnk, proprietor of Hagnk's Ancestral Mini-Storage, once known as Hagnk's Mostly-Burned-Down-then-Hit-By-a-Chunk-of-a-Comet-then-Flooded-by-the-Melting-Comet Ancestral Mini-Storage. It got better.
Unlike many other games, the dev team interacts with their Unpleasable Fanbase with some frequency. The Crimbomination from Crimbo '08 was a last minute toss-in to address complaints about an anticlimactic ending. To sum up: if they feel the complainers have a point, they generally address it. If they feel they don't, we get... what we get in the link above.
Combat Pragmatist: Disco Bandits use enemy weakening attacks in combat, which include suckerpunches, eye pokes, face-stabs, kicking your opponent's knees in while dancing, and pretending to run away then attacking when your opponent lets down his guard.
Combat Tentacles: The "Mutant Couture" outfit has two seperate sets; the "Parasitic Tentacles" pants and the "Parasitic Strangleworm" off-hand. The pants allow you to trip an enemy, and the off-hand allows you to throttle it.
Common Place Rare: Bananas are a limited-edition item?!? (They can be duplicated in a certain lab, but their original source is long gone, and the map that unlocks the lab is a limited item as well.) Don't ask about beets.
The Dead Guy's Memento item gives you a bunch of extra adventures every day, and it seems easy enough to get: just combine a very common Dead Guy's Watch with a somewhat-rare, but affordable photograph item. The catch? Instead of gluing them together the normal way, you need to use a special piece of tape which you might get from a gambling game in a high-level dungeon (and nowhere else). It's a two-layered Common Place Rare!
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Used on a game-wide scale with the Ragamuffin Imp familiar. Its strength is inversely proportional to the number of people currently armed with one. If few people are using it, it's extremely powerful in combat (potentially as strong as 100 saber-toothed limes), but it gets weaker and weaker as more and more people use it.
When it was first introduced, the power was determined by how many existed in the universe. Acquiring one required being able to solve a fiendishly difficult puzzle... until the answer became common knowledge (despite explicit instructions of "do not spoil this"), at which point everyone and their mother got one, rendering them useless (1 point of hot damage!) until the rules were changed.
Constellations: The game features an area called "The Hole in the Sky". All of the monsters within are constellations that are also Double Entendres for male or female genitalia, such as "The Burrowing Bishop," "The Trouser Snake," or "The Little Man in the Canoe".
Continuity Lockout: It takes a really long time to get up to speed, let alone figure out how to effectively play the thing.
Continuity Nod: The Nearby Plains in the Distant Past is loaded with nods to the areas that are normally found in the Nearby Plains and the bosses found in those areas...and at least one boss not found in the Nearby Plains. That schoolgirl learning magic from Fernswarthy? Yep, it's the Naughty Sorceress herself.
Soon, the cavern branches into a smooth, almost glassy-surfaced tunnel — obviously an ancient lava tube. It appears that you're heading directly into the heart of the volcano. On reflection, this was inevitable, really. I mean, you can't just have a Final Boss Battle near a volcano. It would be like having a car chase in which the Fruit Cart doesn't get knocked over. Or fighting crime in a giant robot and never using Rocket Punch.
You can even swim through the lava back to shore if you mess up in the lava maze, but you'll take a load of damage.
Cool Sword: A running gag has the player killing skeletons to get their sweet swords
As of 2013, you can fight a tower of skeletons that increase in strength as you go to get an exceptionally sweet sword. This is actually one of seven swords that were released with the Angry Jung Man familiar.
Corrupt Bureaucrat: The Council of Loathing are often suspected to be this. See the WMG section.
Having a Monster Manuel in your campsite will enable a drop off certain monsters that changes your avatar to their picture, temporarily.
Crate Expectations: Parodied, along with a reference to the Start-To-Crate review system, when crates appear in the first area the player visits. "You're a little nervous about encountering a crate this early in the game."
Meticulously deconstructed by, of all things, Trusty.
Death Is Cheap: You can't die at all unless you choose to ascend after beating the game; from there, returning to the mortal realm for a New Game+ is trivially easy. Running out of health in battle, or doing anything else you might expect to be fatal, merely ends the fight and gives you a few turns of "Beaten Up"...which doesn't prevent you from fighting, can be cured easily, and isn't even the worst negative effect in the game. It's become even easier since resting in your campsite was made into a cure.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Subverted in some places, played straight in others. The final boss is only meant to be beatable with a special wand in your inventory, and has massive stats to make sure of this. When someone found a way to do it differently, the developers gave them a prize for doing so, the description of which said, "Well done for doing something that everyone thought was impossible, and damn you for making us have to work out how to make it not happen again!" Then, it happened again. (It's good to note at this point that the first player was over level 100, And the other had bribed his way there.
Periodically, a holiday on the in-game calendar will fall on the day of an actual real-life holiday. When this happens, the result is usually a clever combination of the two holidays, sometimes even worked into the plot. Thanksgiving on Saint Patrick's Day becomes Drunksgiving, with drunk versions of Thanksgiving encounters; Halloween on Christmas resulted in the Nightmare Before Christmas themed Crimboween, etc.
Trying to access the server directory where the image files for trophies are stored simply returns a message:"No peeking."
There has never been a donut more donut than this one. Shops that sell these are where the platonic ideals of cops hang out.
Double Entendre: There are dozens of these references. Also, there is the Hole in the Sky, where you can fight constellations. The astronomers of that time had very dirty minds, as all but one of the constellations (The Astronomer) are named after various names of the Skin Flute and the Beaver.
Almost everything associated with the aptly named Smut Orcs and the Orc Chasm.
Dual Wielding: The Seal Clubber ability "Double Fisted Skull Smashing" allows the use of two one-handed weapons at once, and the Disco Bandit ability "Ambidextrous Funkslinging" allows the use of two items at once.
Also, there are three elements which are only used in certain situations and don't fit into the cycle: Slime, Shadow, and Bad Spelling. Slime damage, seen only in the Slime Tube, is mostly dealt via status effects and has its own protective gear. Bad Spelling damage is dealt by enemies modeled on Internet trolls and is countered by reading from a dictionary. And finally, Shadow damage is dealt by Your Shadow and has no way to counter it - this is to make sure that it goes straight through any gear you're wearing.
Elite Mooks: The "Hero" enemies in the Hippy/Fratboy war.
Emo Teen: The Goth Giant enemy, who writes bad poetry and wears a fuckton of makeup. Also the Confused Goth Music Student, the Next-generation Frat Boy, the Emo Squid familiar, and the Girl in a Black Dress.
Elvish Presley: Elvish Sunglasses, which give you the "Rock Out" ability. Also, the Elvish effect obtained at the Mysterious Island Arena, if you complete the frat sidequest and pay close enough attention to the music.
Elves VS Dwarves: On the Mysterious Island, as part of a quest from the Council of Loathing, you can start and end war between the smelly, nature-loving hippies and the sleazy, beer-drinking frat boys.
Enemy Mime: The Silent Ones are this and Humanoid Abomination. The encounter text notes that their faces are merely painted on and that light itself hesitates to approach them.
Enemy Scan: Monster Manuel, a Mr. Store item that permanently displays any monster's Attack, Defense, and HP once you defeat it a single time. Some players derided it as a waste of ten dollars due to the existence of fan-created mod Mafia... until they saw the hilarious facts Manuel spits out for every monster in the game, even ones that nobody's fought in years. Let's see Mafia do that.
Even Evil Has Standards: The pirates may be no-good, thieving, lying brigands, but unlike the frat boys, they would never make people wear some kind of humiliating outfit while cleaning!
Everything's Better with Monkeys: Sock Monkeys, Balloon Monkeys, Rhesus Monkeys, Hobo Monkeys (complete with tiny cigar, hobo vest, a top hat, and the wallet he just stole from you), and monkeys that play cymbals, as well as the insidious Jocko Homo.
Everything Is Worse With B(ee)s: Summer 2011 special challenge: Bees Hate You. Bees attack you every couple of turns, and they want to kill you. Even the bs in any equipment you're wearing. Your character also has a phobia of using items or familiar with a "B" in it.
Evil Versus Evil: The hippy/frat boy war, for a particularly ineffective brand of "evil". There's a special reward for getting both sides killed. Then again, your contracting body isn't quite unambiguously good either.
Experience Booster: The items and effects that increase your stat gain rate count as this, since your main stat determines your level.
Eye Poke: Disco Eye-Poke is a move in the Disco Bandit's arsenal.
Fallen Hero: According to his psychosis, prior to becoming an eternally drugged up and spaced out drug addict and dealer, the Suspicious Looking Guy used to be a detective who once saved a Chinatown-styled city from a demoness.
Furry Fandom: Mocked mercilessly by the dev team (and thus everyone in the game world), who (at least at the point those parts of the game were written) think these guys are Squick on legs. There's even a fur-fan enemy, the Furry Giant, who dresses up like a wolf. He's a little bitch.
Incorporating major game fixes into the plot is a staple of the game - when Jick screwed up while backing up a server and basically erased a day or two worth of data, it led to massive amounts of plot involving time portals, "petrified time", and a general breakdown of temporal physics for a while.
The Landscaper's Lair, temporarily available from an item sold at Uncle P's antiques, is a well-tended garden... that's tended by a demon and is full of killer lawn gnomes.
The Red Queen's Garden, if you can find and go down the rabbit hole in the Nearby Plains.
Genre Savvy: When fighting Ed the Undying, your character does this:
"You step back from the sarcophagus and ready your weapon. 'All right, let's get on with it,' you say. 'I know for a fact that you're going to come to life and attack me as soon as I try to take the MacGuffin, so let's just cut to the chase.'"
This is probably because the exact same thing happened earlier in that quest. Of course, you were pretty Genre Savvy the first time around. Just... less so.
During the war between the Hippies and the Frat Boys, if 'The Man' and 'The Big Wisniewski' meet, 'The Man' will exhibit this trope.
Gargle Blaster: With the wide range of alcoholic drinks you can consume in this game, there's a few of these, including a Pan-*Dimensional* Gargle Blaster.
Glass Cannon: The Mysticality classes, both of which deal very high elemental damage while having very low HP and evasion. Pastamancers can get over it using spells, items and/or summoned pasta guardians to gain combat-initiative and stun their target long enough to kill it, while Saucerors can mitigate their fragility by using saucespheres to regenerate to a degree, and by using an array of crafted potions to buff themselves.
Global Currency Exception: Lots of these, each with their own independent currency, where meat is not accepted. This includes Hobopolis (with hobo nickels), the Terrified Eagle Inn in Dreadsylvania (with Freddy Krueggerands) Big Brother's store on the Ocean Floor (with sand dollars), the Bounty Hunter Hunter (with filthy lucre), Mr. Store (with Mr. Accessories), the Hermit (with worthless trinkets), and the Mysterious Island during wartime (with dimes and quarters for the hippy camp and frat house, respectively).
And for Crimbo 2009 there are Crimbux! (singular: crimbuck)
And for Crimbo 2010 there is CRIMBCO scrip!
Don't forget the Fat Stacks of Cash: "These are some fat stacks of cash. Too bad you can't spend cash in the Kingdom of Loathing." They could be used to bribe the penguin mafia during Crimbo 2008, but aside from then, they can only be sold for 150 meat apiece, or used in combat to give your opponent an opportunity to attack.
"Then you realize that was over the top, and sure, maybe they can't hurt you, but that's no reason to be a jerk about it. Oh, well — everyone's mad at you, now, so you're going to have to defend yourself."
Golem: You can have a "Meat Golem" camp guard. There are lots of Golem enemies, including the nacho golem, stuffing golem, candied yam golem, fruit golem, white chocolate golem, bread golem, chowder golem, pencil golem, topiary golem, and collapsed mineshaft golem, which just goes to show that some people will make a golem out of anything.
"Black Widow and the Spinnerettes" for an all-girl group, when fighting a Black Widow.
Gradual Grinder: Moxie classes, with their 'plinking' tactics - using ranged weapons to slowly wear down their opponents while, thanks to their high evasion, they almost never get hit themselves unless the monster they're fighting severely outlevels them. Melee classes can be played as gradual grinders too, although their strategy relies on high max HP and damage absorption/reduction.
Grammar Nazi: The Ghost of the English Language NPC forces players to understand the differences between "there," "their," and "they're," as well as "your" and "you're," before letting them use the game's chatrooms. Inverted if you equip the Sword Behind Inappropriate Prepositions, which makes you use random inappropriate prepositions in chat; or the Staph of Homophones, which replaces some of your words with out-of-place homophones.
Grand Finale: Not for the game itself, but the long-awaited conclusion to the Nemesis quest.
This is the severed flipper of an Infernal Seal. Scientists agree that there is nothing in the world more badass than beating something with a body part you ripped off of something. Of course, if they disagreed, we'd probably rip off their arms and beat them with 'em.
Also, one of the many areas randomly targeted by monsters is the groin. The black pudding slaps the female player in the groin with a greasy pseudopod. The Burrowing Bishop spins his mitre and charges at you furiously, drilling you in the groin (sleaze damage)!
Grotesque Cute: The Adorable Seal Larva familiar is a shining example.
<name> chews its way into the corpse of your fallen opponent in a spray of blood and gristle. Soon, it bursts out of the other side of the carcass, slimes its way up your leg onto your shoulder, and vomits some form of healing bile into your ear. Awww, isn't that just the cutest thing ever?? <3 You gain X hit points. You gain X Mana points.
Also, much of the Sorceress's Tower, particularly the Perplexing Door (which, unlike the tower monsters, gives you no hints as to how many keys you need - and you need them all). There is absolutely nothing that tells you the exact combination of stars and lines needed for a Richard's star key, nor the number of pixels needed for a digital key. Oh, and the areas where stars, lines, and pixels drop are otherwise unessential; it's possible that you won't have even unlocked them by the time you get to the door.
One of these problems was eventually fixed; now star charts (which you use to create star items) display a menu of all items they can create and the combinations needed to make them.
Finding all twenty hobo codes, which will require at least three ascensions and a lot of counterintuitive thinking.
Finding all of the Way of the Surprising Fist scrolls, five of which are absolutely necessary to complete the ascension. These and the hobo codes can only be found in specific locations, and there are no hints whatsoever as to what those locations are.
You normally get a medal for completing the Hippy/Frat war, depending on which side you fight on and how many sidequests you complete for that side. How are you supposed to know that killing exactly 999 soldiers (there's no visible counter) on each side causes an epic showdown with both final bosses? Or that using a flare gun (which does nothing at any other time during the War) during this special final battle insta-kills both bosses and gets you a special medal? By looking it up, that's how.
Your mama always told you that bat wings were good for you, right? "Eat all your bat wings or I'll lock you in the closet," she'd say. Wait, no, that was my mom. Never mind.
Hoist by His Own Petard: How you must defeat the final form of the final boss. If you have a Wand of Nagamar, it will convert the boss's normally-deadly attacks into something harmless and/or a means of destroying your opponent.
Holiday Mode: Crimbo (for Christmas), which is one disaster after another. 2010 revolves around working for the megacorp that makes Crimbo so safe, it's boring.
Impossibly Cool Weapon: The ridiculously overelaborate ninja weapon. It consists of four long blades, three wooden poles, six steel chains, and an assortment of spikes. You have absolutely no idea how to use it, but it looks totally badass. 3x chance of fumble. 3 handed weapon.
There's a chain of quests where the player gets a series of legendary weapons. First, the player has to create the "Epic Weapon" for their class. Following that, they obtain more ingredients and upgrade it to the "Legendary Epic Weapon". Following that, the weapon gets transformed into the "Ultimate Legendary Epic Weapon" when fighting the next boss.
Deconstructed with Trusty, Boris' trusty axe which the player is forced to use when playing as the Avatar of Boris.
Not every magical weapon is forged of meteorite iron under an unusual planetary conjunction, inscribed with gilded runes of ancient power, and imbued with supernatural strength and sharpness through mystical rites and sorcerous incantations. In truth, many of the most powerful weapons of lore are possessed of far humbler beginnings — common metal, torn from an enemy's grasp in a dire emergency. If the warrior survives the day, the weapon will likely be kept. Polished, sharpened, and re-sharpened, it will be carried from battle to battle, becoming as much a part of the man as his own arm, and as his name rises from warrior to hero to legend, so too will an aura of reverence and awe begin to surround the blade. Legend and belief are powerful forces, and it should be no surprise that a powerful artifact might have become powerful simply by dint of everyone believing it to be powerful. That is, after all, where the gods came from.
Living Shadow: One of the bosses that you must face in the Big Bad's lair is your shadow.
Load-Bearing Boss: The three possible outcomes of the Level 12 Quest each end with either one or both of the bases being blown up after defeating the boss(es). The game does justify the explosion, though.
Load-Bearing Hero: Parodied in one of the possible outcomes of exploring Noob Cave: a falling boulder blocks the exit, and, as there is nobody else there to help you, you must hold up the boulder blocking the exit while you crawl to safety between your own legs.
Lord British Postulate: The Naughty Sorceress' third form will - usually! - destroy the player if they don't have the right item. One player decided this wasn't the case. See the "Bee Bee Gun" entry above, too.
Lost Forever: A good portion of the content is now only available in the Mall for millions of meat at a time, and more is completely lost.
One that causes many people incalculable regret: the Hand Turkey Outline familiar. When the meat vortex bug hit, one player bought out all of the ones available in the mall and distributed them to her friends. Familiars can't be "unhatched". Only a tiny number of Hand Turkey Outlines exist in Display Cases now. (Said player was among the first banned when Jick started the clean-up.)
Macrogame: When you complete a run and ascend, you can mark skills as permanent, unlocking them for use on each subsequent run. Additionally, some aspects, like the demon summoning names, will always stay the same regardless of playthrough.
Magic Music: Accordion Thieves can learn a variety of songs as buffs for stats, item gains, etc., for other players or themselves.
Magikarp Power: Your basic equipment, that is, the weapon you start with, is useless after about level two. However, it is needed to make your class' Legendary Epic Weapon.
The maiden wig, the chef's hat, and the beer goggles are low-level equipment which aren't very powerful, especially since the Goggles Do Nothing. But, they are needed to make the Clockwork Maid, the Chef-in-the-Box, and the Bartender-in-the box, which give you 8 more adventures per day, allow you to cook fancy ingredients without using an adventure, and allow you to mix fancy cocktails without using an adventure, respectively. For those who don't play, these are must-haves for any obsessive gamer. You can also sell them for quite a lot of meat.
The goggles are also used in constructing 4-d cameras, which become increasingly valuable as you gain access to rarer and more powerful subjects of photography.
Magitek: The El Vibrato relics, which are described as ancient, inscrutable magic/technology. In addition, the Mechs in the Penultimate Fantasy Airship, and related items.
The aforementioned airship Mechs are properly called MagiMechTech MechaMech, so the reference becomes even more obvious.
And the Magilaser Blastercannon.
The Man: It turns out you can fight him, after all.
Masochist's Meal: A lot of food and drink items really push the definition of "edible." The shopkeeper in the Huggler Colosseum "snack" bar even warns you that his wares (sausages full of *nails* and "used beer") are dangerous!note They don't actually harm you on consumption, but some other items (e.g. pointy mushrooms) do.
Meaningful Name: There are the chef-in-a-box and bartender-in-a-box, which remove the adventure cost of cooking and making booze. There is no smith-in-a-box, though. The gnoll smith, Innabox, works as the item would.
Mid-Battle Tea Break: The War Frat 500th Infantrygentleman's fumble message has him drink a martini rather than attack you, because it just so happens to be Cocktail Hour.
Mighty Lumberjack: In Little Canadia, the player can encounter lumberjacks, lumberjills, and lumberjuans. The lumberjack supervisor carries two double-sides axes.
The Missingno.: Parodies this with the Bugged Bugbear monster, and later its friendlier variant, the Baby Bugged Bugbear familiar. Neither is actually glitched, but their images have chunks of them replaced with ones and zeroes, they drop inexplicable and bizarre items, and they spit out realistic-looking MySQL error messages with almost everything they do.
Money Spider: Toyed with (and mostly justified) by using meat as currency. On the opposite end, diamonds and the such are regarded as worthless due to their lack of practical use and the large number of them.
Mook Chivalry: Soldiers in the Hippy/Frat war line up to fight you one at a time. After you kill a soldier, a set number (increased by doing sidequests) of other soldiers line up to be slaughtered by your allies. The enemy team's boss is not accessible until you kill all the other enemy mooks (or all but one of the mooks on each side), and your allies will not help you fight him.
During the final quest, you will encounter six monsters that each require a certain item to beat it. While most of the items make sense, the Giant Desktop Globe must be beaten by an NG. The reasoning behind this comes from a They Might Be Giants song ( "Ana Ng", from the album Lincoln: "Make a hole with a gun, perpendicular/To the name of this town on a desktop globe"), a band mentioned in the game many times, but only in relatively subtle references. Luckily, if you lose to the monster 5 times, the game will give you the answer.
There's also an optional puzzle involving translating dwarven runes, farming for ore and coal, gambling with the miners to deduce the values of the dwarven digit runes, converting the digits from base seven to base ten, putting the right amount of the right materials into the right hoppers, and setting the value of four console dials. The game gives you everything you need to deduce the solution to the puzzle, but the process is incredibly difficult. And you have to do it three times to get the Dwarvish War Uniform. In three ascensions, since one of the items required is a one-time drop.
Mundane Made Awesome: The delivery service quest Olaf the janitor gives you. What's this "item of great power" he needed you to obtain for him? Steel wool.
"Thank you, my friend, you have done me a great service this day. In the annals of history, your deeds shall not be forgotten."
The player classes are this incarnate. Pastamancers and Saucerors are Chefs of Iron combined with wizardry, Seal Clubbers take animal cruelty to heroic levels, turtle tamers are The Beastmaster for the most mundane creature around, Disco Bandits are Dance Battlers who can mix up a mean Gargle Blaster, and Accordion Thieves play polka music so well it inspires and buffs players.
Accordion Thieves live off of this trope; most of their skills are buffs in the form of songs.
Naughty Birdwatching: The telescope, obtained in Fernswarthy's Basement, can be used to either look at the stars for a stat boost or look at the Naughty Sorceress's tower to see what monsters it has.
In addition, before the Observatory's destruction, players could use it to look into the Sorceress's chamber itself. She would then retaliate with a magical flash of light, causing temporary blindness, and a nearby astronomer would express disapproval of "base voyeurism" while adjusting his polarized sunglasses.
Nerf Arm: About half of the weapons available are silly yet effective. Especially the ranged weapons. For instance, the most powerful ranged weapons are a vinyl record, a bag of snowballs, and a bag of candy. Heck, even the only two semi-serious max power ranged weapons are pretty silly, one being a rusty speargun found on the bottom of the sea and the other being a bazooka from a fish. In addition, musical instruments both strange and unusual are common ranged weapons. For example, there's the little plastic guitar, which is described as having "five buttons instead of strings and a little switch you click back and forth instead of strumming. It's perfect for those who want to spend hours practicing a musical instrument, without that pesky "able to play music" part at the end." In addition, a fair amount of regular weapons are silly too. For example, among the most powerful weapons are a fish stick, a spade from an octopus, and a duct tape sword.
New Game+: "Ascension" allows one to beat the game and start over as a new class; with access to previous skills and items depending on which Self-Imposed Challenge you take. There are special rewards for completing higher difficulties.
No Endor Holocaust: Averted, actually when Corman invaded Valhalla. The players managed to destroy his Bone Star, but all of the debris destroyed Valhalla. Fortunately, time passes differently there, so it was instantly rebuilt better than ever.
Played straight in a sidequest that turns you into a Kingdom-sized behemoth and lets you stomp around on everything. No matter what you do, you cannot cause any permanent damage.
At the sight of the spaghetti elemental, the cultist begins to quake with fear, his eyes widening to the size of hard-boiled eggs. He collapses to his knees, sobbing in fear. "My lord! Forgive me!" he wails. "I didn't know what I was doing! I thought it was a toilet! I swear!"
Non-Appearing Title: Referenced by the kingdom's best screaming-crying band, Radioactive Child, and their hit single, 'If You Want to Tell People the Truth, Make Them Laugh, Otherwise They'll Kill You (Royale With Cheese). "To show they're clever and hip, screaming-crying bands use famous quotes and pop culture references for their song titles, and make sure that the title never has anything to do with the song."
The Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot familiar has a chance of giving out meat during each round of combat. Since this made it advantageous to drag out combat to as close to 30 turns as possible without going over, the NPZR was changed so that it only gives Meat in the first 10 turns of combat.
Harold's Bell is an item that banishes a monster, so you don't encounter it, for a few turns. When used in the Boss Bat's lair against the Boss Bat, this allowed for a few more turns to fight the only other enemy, which dropped a lot of Meat for the relative level. In 2010, this was quietly changed so that the Boss Bat is immune to the bell's effects, putting the lid on this strategy.
With the introduction of back items, some existing accessories were changed to fit the classification. However, this included normally low-level accessories, like the Vampire Cape and the Cape of the Goblin King, and the developers self-imposed a minimum stat limit for back items, which resulted in those items being unusable until much later in the game. They were changed into the Vampire Collar and Codpiece of the Goblin King, respectively, so they could keep their accessory and equippable-at-low-level status.
The moister oyster is a monster that is guaranteed to drop an item worth 12000 Meat. With certain items and familiars, it's possible to battle it up to ten times each day, resulting in massive profits. Naturally, the oyster was eventually made immune to those items.
Odd Job Gods: One of the elemental spirits in the McGuffin Quest is "Squirtlcthulli, god of water and doorknobs".
Omnicidal Neutral: The best reward for the Mysterious Island Quest is the Order of the Silver Wossname, obtained by destroying both the Hippy Army and the Frat Boy army at once.
One-Winged Angel: But of course. There's one Affectionate Parody version - the Naughty Sorceress - and one straight version - the Nemesis. The way they achieve it is different too: the Sorceress says the old "behold my true form" line while the Nemesis calls on the Demon Lord of Revenge.
There's also an inversion - you fight Ed the Undying seven times in a row, but he gets weaker with each adventure.
Only the Worthy May Pass: Chat channels are only accessible after passing a test given by the Ghost of the English Language. One of the prerequisites needed is an understanding of the proper usage of there/their/they're.
Our Werebeasts Are Different: The Weretaco "is an ordinary man, who, when the moon is full, turns into a half-man, half-taco monstrosity. Incidentally, for you detail-oriented people out there — the weretaco's lycanthropic cycle is not tied to Ronald or Grimace, but to some completely unrelated moon in some completely unrelated alternate dimension. That's why you never see him turn into a human. Seriously."
The weremoose functions on aboot the same lines, eh?
There's also the ultra rare Talisman of Baio, which drops from the "Baiowolf", a werewolf version of Scott Baio, and increases your stats depending on the phases of the moons.
And the Wereturtle familiar.
Although the wereturtle is "probably just a turtle".
And the ability to use "Blood of the Wereseal" on yourself to gain "Temporary Lycanthropy", a stat boost based on the lunar phase.
Painting the Medium: This is a game that is mostly text with simple images for flavor. If you get a red snowcone, the picture is the exactly the same as a blue snowcone, with no color. But in the "Haiku Dungeon" or "Limerick Dungeon", all of the text there follows those poetry conventions.
There's also a haiku katana, which can give you an effect that makes your fights everywhere take haiku form.
If you're a fan of Dr. Seuss, there's a pair of familiars (the Blavious Kloop and the Bloovian Groose) that produce anapest-based messages with their effects. The Kloop also drops an item that gives you access to a zone (The Suburbs of Dis) where all the combat messages are in anapestic quadrameter, and the Groose drops a consumable that temporarily gives you anapestic combat text in all zones.
Perplexing Plurals: The game tends to have a lot of fun with plurals, with "box" becoming "boxen", "kiwi" becoming "kiwus", "fruit basket" becoming "Fruits Basket", and "liar's pants" becoming "liar's pantses, precious". There are some items that can only have their plurals obtained by examining the games code's. The plural of "Staff of Ed" is "Staves of Ed, you dirty exploiter you".
Player Archetypes: The heart/club/diamond/spade types are referenced by the heart, club, diamond, and spade necklace items from the Mr. Klaw machine, as well as the fourtypesofjackets that can be dropped by a swarm of scarab beatles.
Play Every Day: At the beginning of each day, numerous counters are reset, enabling you to eat and drink more, to conjure more items, and to redo certain lucrative activities such as bounty-hunting. If you don't play every day, you lose the ability to take full advantage of this — and if you skip more than a few days at a time, your adventure count begins to overflow.
You battle your way through the Haunted Bathroom until you find yourself right in front of the toilet, staring into the murky depths of the bowl. As you stare, you find a strange feeling welling up inside of you, ready to come gushing forth: you suddenly realize that you haven't emptied your bladder recently. Or, actually, ever.
Potty Failure: Using a "glass of warm water" on someone produces the chat message "<name> has an accident." (in yellow text), and gives the target a (fortunately harmless) effect called "you're in trouble".
Power at a Price: Any reward or event associated with Bad Moon tends to buff you in one way while weakening you in another. However, all of the Bad Moon abilities combined, due to each one ability moderately buffing a stat that is slightly debuffed by another, turn this into an (albeit slighter) increase everywhere.
Power Creep: Newer items are, on the whole, much more powerful than their counterparts of yesteryear. In the case of ultra-rares, this has sometimes been addressed by retroactively beefing the older items up.
The Power of Rock: The Rock and Roll Legend, the epic weapon of the Accordion Thieves. Also, the heavy metal thunderrr guitarrr, that's awesome enough to actually make your fingers bleed if you play without a pick.
Professional Wrestling: There's a professional wrestling league called Kingdom Wrestling Entertainment. As this is the Kingdom of Loathing, the contestants are all knockoffs, homages, and parodies of various characters from Soul Calibur, Street Fighter, Tekken, Super Smash Brothers, and Mortal Kombat, as well as various TV shows and other media. Ever wanted to read about a faceoff between a parody of Princess Peach and Trinity? Here's your chance.
Puzzle Boss: A number of examples, including the monsters in the tower of the Naughty Sorceress, the Guy Made of Bees in Spookyraven Manor, Frosty and Uncle Hobo in Hobopolis, Mother Slime in the Slime Tube, the Sea bosses, and several bosses in Dreadsylvania.
Random Drop: Item drop rate boosters are the most important buffs and enchantments in the game, because without them everything takes much, much longer.
Rare Random Drop: The Spice Melange—which drops only 0.1% of the time from a monster that consumes an expensive item each time you fight one—is probably the most ridiculous example, but 1%-or-less drops are plentiful.
The "Time Arc", which is the in-game explanation for loss of content due to a database goof; before that, the introduction of the Penguin Mafia as one of the many ways to remove "bugmeat" - excess meat generated by a bug in the system - from the economy.
In June 2011, spiders invaded the servers, causing them to go down. After everything was transferred over to new hardware, a pile of old servers appeared in game, occasionally dropping corrupted data and egg sacs that hatched into spiders when defeated.
One of the bosses in Dreadsylvania, the Zombie Homeowners' Association, was inspired by Jick's dealings with his own local homeowners' association.
Jick's apparent obsession with the number 11. It's ridiculous. It's not even funny.
The innumerable They Might Be Giants references, leading to players often calling the devs "the powers that might be giants." And the frequent occurrences of "because hey, free [noun]," all of which reference the same obscure joke from "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey".
Various items have names which are metered in catalectic trochaic tetrameter (automatic catapult, for example), accompanied by a Lampshade Hanging which notes that it can be sung to a particular tune. "Camptown Races" is alluded to by no fewer than ten items, and "London Bridge" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" get a mention too.
Numerous descriptions make the "mistake" of ending a sentence with a preposition (which is, in fact, perfectly acceptable), and then correct it with varying degrees of clumsiness.
Any cake item in the game will have a reference to the lyrics of a song by Cake in the description, the consume message, or both.
Sadist Teacher: In the KOLHS path, Principal Mooney replaces the Naughty Sorceress and fights you for making him look like a fool, what with the combat encounters involving not learning.
Saving Crimbo: Since 2005, Crimbo has been one disaster after another, and the Holiday Mode content invariably revolves around getting Uncle Crimbo out of the hole he's dug for himself. Mixing Hallow'een and Crimbo resulted in horrible misfit toys that are so scary they are used as weapons, a space-ship crashing into Crimbo Town resulted in the kingdom's near-subjugation by relentless Borglook-alikes, and attempting to make a Grimacite-powered toy factory resulted in stomach-turning mutant elves running amok (along with Mob Penguins looking to collect the money Uncle Crimbo borrowed from them). And that was just the years 2006-2008...
Schizo Tech: Everywhere, but particularly the ranged weapons, which include everything from boomerangs to laser cannons to pistols.
Schrödinger's Gun: You can find a treasure chest in The Red Queen's Garden, but before opening it, you have to solve a chess puzzle. Solving the puzzle more completely causes the chest to have had a better prize placed in it.
A gold coin the size of your face is probably the most impractical form of currency you've ever encountered.
Oh, wait — meat. Right.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Hardcore, Bad Moon, and the dietary "paths". All optional, and make things harder, but offer special rewards (and extra content in Bad Moon's case) if you follow them through to the end.
One of the hardest is "Kittycore", a Bad Moon run only using the black cat familiar, a familiar which actively hinders you instead of helping you. Except for special adventures which require you to use another familiar, you are not allowed to use ANY familiar other than the black cat, which does such things as preventing you from picking up items after a battle, making your attacks miss, and damaging you for a small amount in battle. Fighting any fight without the black cat even ONCE before stepping through the gash at the end of the game and ascending will void the "Kittycore" run. Completing this run will permanently unlock Bad Moon.
Special challenge paths were introduced in the summer of 2011, with new ones coming out every season. They are as follows—
Bees Hate You: The letter "b" is now your enemy. You take damage for every B in the names of your equipment, enemies become stronger for each B in their names, you can't use non-quest items with B in their names (and the quest ones hurt you), and bees randomly attack you.
Way of the Surprising Fist: You become a Bare-Fisted Monk. You can learn impressive skills, but you can't equip weapons or off-hand items at all, and you have a vow of poverty which slashes how much Meat you earn and cuts off non-combat Meat gains.
Trendy: Any limited-time content that's more than a year old is unusable.
Avatar of Boris: You become a special class with its own skill tree. Mighty Boris can feast all day long and is aided by the versatile Clancy, but he Can't Hold His Liquor and will not even contemplate using any weapon but his trusty axe, Trusty.
Bugbear Invasion: Bugbears invade the kingdom, radically shaking up the quest structure and completely changing the end-game.
Zombie Slayer: You become a special class with its own skill tree. The name's misleading, though - you are a zombie. All you can eat is brains, you can't consume as much booze as usual, and you can summon hordes of the undead to aid you (while at the same time being limited to "undead" familiars such as the Hovering Sombrero or the Spooky Pirate Skeleton).
Class Act: Skills that your class doesn't learn naturally are unusable.
Avatar of Jarlsberg: You become a special class with its own skill tree. Jarlsberg, the Great and Powerful, knows incredibly potent magic, but his rampant fear of germs prevents him from eating or drinking anything he doesn't make himself in his Cosmic Kitchen, and he won't contemplate attacking physically.
BIG!: You start the game at Level 15 (in a game where you're encouraged to fight the Final Boss at level 13). However, the enemies are tougher, too...
KOLHS: Your character is reincarnated as a teenager. They're forced to spend the first 40 adventures of the day in a specific zone, the Kingdom of Loathing High School, where all the monsters scale to your stats, and the school rules forbid hats and familiars over ten pounds. Fortunately, you can ingratiate yourself with one of three cliques depending on the skills you use. And after school, you can craft items from ingredients found while adventuring at the school, go on a photography side-quest for the Yearbook Club, or get some buffs.
Selkies and Wereseals: Blood of the Wereseal is a potion that causes your muscles to wax and wane with the moons.
Set Bonus: Many equipment items are part of an outfit. Many of these don't only give bonuses but are also required somewhere in quests.
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: After defeating Rene C. Corman at the end of a Zombie Slayer run, you travel back to the times of the Cola Wars, where the Gray Plague's zombification has already started, and inform one of the field medics of the plague's cure.
Sequence Breaking: By design with the Big path, where the monsters are much tougher and you start at level 15 (the game normally ends at level 13 or 14). You still have to do all the quests before facing the Final Boss, but the order is irrelevant.
Sequential Boss: The Naughty Sorceress, and the aptly named Ed the Undying, who is fought a grand total of seven times in a row, and is never actually killed.
In fact, that fight ends with the adventurer stuffing the now limbless Ed into a corner and running off with the Macguffin. The fights are also divided by the adventurer's attempts to make off with the Macguffin early; eventually, the adventurer just waits for Ed to get back up and continue the fight.
The Nemesis quest. It is discovered that your Nemesis has stolen an artifact of great power, so your guild sends you to retrieve it and destroy your Nemesis. After solving some puzzles, fighting some goons, and beating your Nemesis four times, it is revealed that Larry, a hitherto-unseen fellow member of your guild, had sent the artifact out for cleaning and not told anyone. Larry's new. Your character is not pleased to hear this.
The level 7 quest, where you chase a bunch of undead monsters out of a crypt...and into a nearby cemetery, where they remain for the rest of the game.
You helped Black Angus get a pizza delivered to his stupid tower in the stupid Highlands. Yaaay...
The level 11 quest, a long, laborious adventure with multiple sub-parts. After schmoozing with pirates, exploring a haunted manor, wandering through a Mayincatec ruin filled with vengeful ghosts, being overdosed on palindromes, and so on, you eventually defeat a resilient mummy at the bottom of a sunken pyramid and acquire the quest goal: the Holy MacGuffin. It does absolutely nothing. The council tosses it in a warehouse, and you get a superfluous parade (not pictured).
The Wand of Nagamar allows you to fight with weaponized anagrams. Which is necessary to defeat the Naughty Sorceress's final form.
Sinister Scythe: Gained by getting a Rusty Graverobber's Shovel covered in acidic snot twice. Since it's coated in ick, you get +30% damage from it. Part of a Grim Reaper costume. Also lampshaded, it's straight-out called "Villainous Scythe."
Slobs Versus Snobs: The Mysterious Island War between hippies and frat boys (respectively) certainly has an aspect of this; the slobs are apathetic, though, and the snobs are violent and boorish while still being snobs.
Socketed Equipment: A number of examples, including the Scratch 'n' Sniff Sword and Crossbow, the Fossilized Necklace, and the Over-the-shoulder Folder Holder.
Speedrun: Common, given the Ascension mechanism. Skills built up and familiars collected over earlier ascensions help a lot. As do items bought from donations.
Spikes of Villainy: Occasionally worn by the Evil OverlordBonus Boss in the GameInformPowerDailyPro Dungeon. Also of note is one of said boss's equipment drops: A belt with large horns on the buckle that painfully jab the player in the stomach when worn.
Spoof Aesop: Normally, booze gives you adventures. But the cheap, skunky beer favored by the Orcish Frat Boys does sleaze damage, and moonshine gives you temporary blindness. Only drink the good stuff, kids!
If you find the enemy-health-revealing Detective Skull too useful, try the Defective Skull, which "deduces" the wrong amount of health or something obvious/useless/meaningless to distract you during combat.
"I deduce that this monster is one jive turkey."
Stylistic Suck: The stick figure artwork, which sometimes manages to be rather intricate while inventively maintaining a consistent look.
Synchronization: Inverted in the battle against your shadow. You cannot normally hurt it, but it takes damage equal to the amount of Hit Points by which you heal yourself.
Take a Third Option: At least three: If you want to get a reward from the Giant in The Strange Leaflet Quest, and if you want the best reward for ending the war between the Hippies and the Frat Boys, and if you resolve the turf war between the Roller Skates and Ice Skates by getting rid of both gangs.
Take That: While the game usually veers towards Affectionate Parody, anything that Mr. Skullhead doesn't like will inevitably get one of these.
Take Your Time: Don't worry, the Naughty Sorceress never actually does anything. Neither does your Nemesis. In fact, if you defeat all but his/her/its final demonic form, and then lose to or run away from the demon, you can then proceed to go wherever you want and do whatever you want and come back at leisure - your Nemesis will still be sitting there in demonic form doing nothing until you return.
After you start a war between the Frat Boys and the Hippies, the two armies march out to the battlefield and...just stand there doing nothing indefinitely, until you decide to join the fight. If you fight for only one side, that side will eventually win with zero casualties, because the other side never takes the offensive!
Tech Tree: Certain challenge paths will have these, where you use points to unlock skills, in place of purchasing skills like you normally do. Avatar of Boris and Zombie Slayer give you three trees, and you unlock skills in a particular tree in a certain order. Avatar of Jarlsberg has four trees, and they branch slightly. In all of the paths, you can increase the amount of skill points you start with by completing that path multiple times.
"This is a BRICKO brick shot through with deadly poison which has tainted it green. Because everybody knows that all poison is green. If you're ever wondering if something is poisoned, your first question should be "Is it green?" If it's not green, eat it, because you're totally safe. In fact, the whole reason Kings had food tasters in ancient days is because they were all colorblind."
Testosterone Poisoning: The Avatar of Boris path, where you play as an axe-wielding macho man, with the ability to laugh off injuries (literally), make monsters run away by shouting at them, and demand sandwiches. By the end of the game, he's so manly that a certain normally-devastating magical attack just rebounds off his chest muscles.
You laugh as the beam of energy harmlessly bounces off your powerful chest muscles and shoots back down the hallway.
The Thing That Goes Donk: When the Spaghetti Cult send an Asian assassin after you (Last thug encountered during the second half of the Nemesis quest when playing as a Pastamancer), Yakisoba the Executioner.
Cherry Blossoms swirl gently in the air as a cool breeze rustles the treetops and crickets sing in the shade. Somewhere nearby, there is a melodic Klonk as one of those bamboo things fills with water and tips over.
Thirsty Desert: Adventuring in the Arid, Extra-Dry Desert without the 'Ultrahydrated' effect is likely to have negative consequences.
Time Travel Tense Trouble: Most noticeable in the Distant Past, where it switches back and forth between third-person past and second-person present. Also gets lampshaded upon your arrival in the future, after a lot of future-tense exposition.
You will then start getting your narrative in present tense, because it's the future, we get it, no need to run that joke into the ground.
Timey-Wimey Ball: Time travel is treated with about as much seriousness as everything else, so this is inevitable.
On a completely different tangent, the time-travel quests in Agua De Vida bottles seem to operate on genetic memory. Which somehow works for things in the future, and allows people in the distant past or future to drop items usable in the present...through your memory. But not in the Very Beginning, or for temporally displaced quest items, which are memories of items rather than...oh, forget it.
Took a Level in Badass: A Knob Goblin kid who can bring you a beer in an early choice adventure eventually becomes Lord Flameface, the boss of a world event.
Trade Snark: The ChibiBuddy™ item has this. It extends to the descriptions and messages you get when you interact with it, as anything that's a Chibi[object] gets the trademark symbol, like ChibiCar™, ChibiNeck™, ChibiSkiLift™, and ChibiPireStateBuilding™. Same deal with the "Frost™ brand sword" and "Frobozz Real-Estate Company Instant House (TM)."
Trauma Inn: Your dwelling at your campground, as well as the Comfy Sofa in your clan rumpus room.
True Final Boss: For the Sea Quest; if you forge together the sets of equipment each boss gives you per class via both Scholar and Gladiator; wear all 6 pieces of armor; you will face the force that's behind the Elder Gods. Dad Sea Monkee; hooked up to some kind of Devil's Machine/Person Jar.
TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: As mentioned above, one of the monsters for the 2010 Crimbo is the Tome of Tropes, a reference to this site. Part of the description for the monster reads "every entry contains several references to other cleverly-named tropes...and at some point you look up and see you're eight years older than when you started."
The Unreveal: The Game Grid had one minigame, Jackass Plumber, which was always "OUT OF ORDER." After a year and a half of this, Crimbo 2011 came around, and players were able to give each other Jackass Plumber consoles as presents. Had the dev team finally gotten around to making the minigame? Well...not exactly. When the gifts became openable, it turned out that the consoles required nonexistent "Q" batteries. Using the console just makes your character wander around looking for batteries until he/she gets really mad and gives up. At least it temporarily boosts your attack power.
Universal Poison: Used to be the case; now there are multiple kinds of being poisoned. And they stack. Instead of sapping your HitPoints it's a debuff to all stats, and the various poisons range from Hardly Poisoned At All (ignorable) to Majorly Poisoned (which likely drops your stats to 1).
Unusual Euphemism: In order to avoid spoiling things for new players, a particular plot-critical item is customarily referred to as "the Smurf" in the chat.
Useless Spleen: Your spleen is completely useless but still cumbersome, because it limits the number of stat-increasing items you can consume per day.
Vaporware: In-universe with the perpetually out-of-order Jackass Plumber arcade game, and the portable edition that also doesn't work. For the game as a whole, the increasingly hypothetical NS-15 patch would add two more quests and make the final boss the level 15 quest; the NS-13 release moved the endgame from level 11 to level 13, but the long delay and potential for They Changed It, Now It Sucks means that NS-15 may never happen.
This fight is being ended because it took more than 30 rounds, which is sort of unreasonable. You lose. You slink away, dejected and defeated.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Seal Clubbers can learn a skill that destroys equipment for usable items. Some pieces of equipment are living animals. So you can smash a turtle into dust.
As opposed to meat-pasting live spiky turtles into pieces of armor and then wearing them as a Turtle Tamer.
Violation of Common Sense: Upon your initial visit to the Arid, Extra-Dry Desert, you'll likely suffer a couple of harmful effects before finding the way to the Oasis, and you'll quickly learn that adventuring there when not Ultrahydrated is a bad idea. Except doing so is the only way to find one of the hobo codes and the twitching trigger finger (not to mention an anticheese in Bad Moon you might really need, though that adventure is superlikely).
Wake Up Call Boss: Even players who have ascended dozens of times still have trouble with the Goblin King and Bonerdagon.
Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The "KOLHS" challenge path requires you to spend around 40 adventures in the titular school every day - which is pretty much all the adventures you get during rollover.
What the Hell, Player?: Eating certain foods, mainly raw ingredients such as carob chunks, raw Chorizo, and bottles of ketchup, will cause the game to call you an idiot. Also lemons and limes; notably, if you eat a lime, the game comment that, while you are insane to do so, you are slightly less insane than you would be if you were eating a lemon.
In the Turtle Tamer Nemesis quest, one is attacked by "brainwashed" guard turtles. One of their drops is their shell. "So you killed a turtle, ripped the shell from its back, and now you're going to wear it on your head. As a hat. Some Turtle Tamer you are. Damn."
Three of the five hit messages for attacking with a chefstaff, which really isn't a very effective weapon for hitting things with, tell you outright that it would be a better idea to use it for casting spells than as a bludgeon.
Which is hilarious when you're doing tens or hundreds of times the monster' s HP in damage anyway.
You can pickpocket the Guy Made Of Bees, and thus receive a handful of bees. The item description is shocked that you were insane enough to do this in the first place.
The Vanya's Castle area fom the "Map to Vanya's Castle" item is one for 8-bit Castle Vania. The Dreadsylvania clan dungeon is one for the 16-120 bit ones (ie, the Metroid Vania and ever more serious ones). If, y'kow, Dracula was an alcoholic...
William Telling: One of the possible minigames (all of which have the exact same function of distributing 99.9% of the bet money to one of the two players completely at random) in the Money Making Game has the player that accepts the bet trying to do this to the player that placed it. If he hits the apple, he wins. If he misses the apple, the other player wins. And if he misses the apple, he always hits the other player
Wordof God: The kingdom's creators have their own radio show/podcast where they answer questions from players and supply "narrative justification" which may not always make sense. At all. Some examples:
Nothing ever dies, you just beat them up. Where do the skins/corpses you find come from? They carry them around of course!
Also, you shouldn't feel bad about smashing turtles, you send them straight to turtle heaven, they even send back powder as a thank you.
The reason most artwork isn't animated is because the kingdom's sun removes animation, just look at the (fully animated) sea!
The "Distant Lands" have been mentioned in passing several times in various adventures, but the creators have said on the weekly radio show that player will never be able to visit them. This is despite the fact that you actually can visit parts of the Distant lands when going on vacation at The Shore, but the creators say that doesn't count.
World of Pun: When the game isn't making random references to song lyrics, it's hitting you over the head with puns of varying quality.
Your Mom: A chef knocks you over in the Haunted Pantry, so you steal his plate of tarts. The description for the tarts reads:
This is a tasty tart. And hey, speaking of which, how is your mom doing these days?
You Have Researched Breathing: You don't know how to put on a shirt when you start. It is only available after Ascending. There's an alternate way to learn this skill in Bad Moon ascensions. It involves getting nearly cut in half, at which point your character becomes aware of the torso he almost lost. Notably, the gnome who nearly bisected you is deeply confused that you didn't realize you had a torso.
Also of note is Advanced Cocktailcrafting. While the ability to summon little cocktail accessories is fairly impressive, you also need this skill if you want to, say, place a little paper umbrella in a drink.
Also, you need to get a skill called Tempuramancy to learn how to deep fry.
That is, learning to deep fry in a thermal vent on the ocean floor.
Similarly, Pastamastery is necessary to cook simple ramen dishes, even though lots of more complex cookings don't require any skills.
Inverted with most recipes, which can be "discovered" simply by putting the right ingredients together; you automatically know what to do with them, even if it really shouldn't be that simple. On the other hand, some dishes require you to learn the recipe first. Many of the latter kind are weird enough that this makes sense, but one would think that combining brownie mix and white chocolate chips wouldn't require special instructions.
A Crimbo skill teaches you how to eat too much over the holidays and get fat.
The whole kingdom did this when all players became aware that container items, like backpacks, are worn on something known as a "back."
You Shouldn't Know This Already: The recipe system lets you try to combine different ingredients to make new items. If you attempt a legitimate combination, the recipe is added to your recipe book forever. If your combination doesn't do anything, it tells you so, and neither of the ingredients are consumed. However, some recipes only work if you currently have a particular skill, like pastamastery, and if you lose that skill, it won't let you use the recipe, even though it's in your recipe book. Furthermore, a handful of recipes can only be used if you've already learned the recipe from a specific source. For example, white chocolate chip brownies can only be made after you use the special item "mother's secret recipe". Trying to cook the ingredients otherwise yields the message "It seems like that should work... but it does not."