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As the series goes on, Dang ends up picking up skills of his own, partly due to the influence of Dan's Lawful Evil older brother, Stan.It can be found here. The author's site also contains D&D Excerpts, describing actual games the author participated in, which was then discontinued to make way for Tales From My D&D Campaign.
"If presented with a gaming system that offers no effective fire protection, such as some modern games, Dan's form of protest is to "go buddhist" as he calls it - in other words, make pyromaniacal suicide attacks. Clearly he once heard about buddhist monks immolating themselves, and utterly missed the point."
Cut and Paste Comic: Unabashedly so, though slightly more dynamic once the comics switch to Flash.
It's more like powergaming, really, since a hallmark of the munchkin is that they only care about themselves.
Madness Mantra: Joe, absolutely certain that the DM will take any opportunity to rob his character of wealth while he waits for his magic items to be delivered, ends up huddled under the table in near-catatonic paranoia, muttering, "Items... Items..."
Na´ve Newcomer: Dang is this for a good while. Once he graduates to being DM, Bateman takes this role.
Bateman: Is it always like this?
Dang: Pretty much.
Painting the Medium: With the beginning of the Second Evil Campaign, roleplaying-game-traditional secret notes passed between players and the DM are represented by little notepad-objects, which display the note on mouse hover. A similar system is also used for the players' thought balloons.
Take That: Rarely mean except when aimed at Star Wars: Galaxies.
Wall of Text: The very nature of the comic justifies or at least excuses it, but even the author calls his mechanisms for cramming more text in "truly frightening".
Webcomic Time: Time passage is handwaved for the most part, but Dang and Nuclear Dan went to E3 and vowed to participate in World of Warcraft's 'newly-released' expansion... a full year after said expansion had been released.
This got a bit confused when the comic explicitly caught up to real life.
The comic metatextually references the following tropes:
Cold-Blooded Torture: The "thing with the eyelid", while not described beyond Noodle Implement levels, makes Bateman sick repeatedly. The group notes that this torture always works, not because the victim succumbs, but because the GM does.
Combat Medic: Other characters constantly try to push this on the cleric, Sylvani. Dan points out that shooting might kill some zombies, but healing is guaranteed.
Crazy-Prepared: Joe does this best on Lothar, carrying around such oddities as a cursed necklace and a blessed crossbow bolt (which he uses to slay a Rakshasha).
Dang: Wow, lucky you had that. Why were you dragging that thing around for so long?
Joe Chaos: In case we ever ran into a Rakshasha.
Disproportionate Retribution: Nuclear Dan in spades. Any NPC who commits the slightest insult against him gets fireballed. One long-running storyline has his character geased to NOT do this — and Dan can't resist doing it anyway...
Joe: Ah, but Steele is a REAL GM. A good GM is bound by his own desire for fair play. He prides himself on his ability to measure the party, and the level of threat that will challenge them, and yet still be defeatable by them. You might place diabolical traps, insidious monsters with asinine powers, or host the players with jerk NPCs and a less than ample supply of magic loot...
Jill: But a good GM will always try to give the players enough chance, enough reward, enough opportunity to triumph over the challenges they face. To kill an entire party represents a monumental failure on the part of the GM. It means the end of the campaign.
Joe: But to kill a player or two in an encounter that is close enough that the remaining adventurers can pull through to win or escape... that is his holy grail.
Master of Illusion: The players force Steele to sign a treaty that forbids all of them from using illusion magic (after he breaks the first one). He only made matters worse by making illusory the one thing they never disbelieved — air.
Min-Maxing: Joe Chaos is this in spades — and then in sudden fury over removal of a particularly cheesy game mechanics, rebuilds Dan's characters into realms beyond ludicrous.
The author has actually posted character sheets for the characters. Readers responded by claiming the sheets weren't minmaxed enough.
When Joe's character, a pure caster, uses a method to get a single (mediocre) ability at the loss of several caster levelsnote The most important rule of making a high powered caster character is "Don't lose caster levels unless you get something incredible in return", it's pretty obviously not a workable high level character.
Monty Haul: Jill and Joe furiously work to make the campaign into this by breaking the treasure-gain curve through pre-emptive slaughter. Dang is somewhat shocked.
More Than Mind Control: Dominate Dan's character's and he'll rage - right up until you command him to start fireballing the other player characters.
Mugging the Monster: In keeping with the roleplaying theme, the PCs must fight off a random bandit encounter:
Dang: WAIT A SECOND! What kind of equipment do they have?
Steele: Studded leather armor, shortswords, and bows.
Dang: And they are willing to attack what must appear to them to be a group of flying, flaming weaponmasters?
Jill: They're bandits, not brain surgeons!
Noodle Incident: Jill blowing up the tower in the Warforged Campaign. The entire page is blacked out except for the words "massive explosion".
Amazingly, it might not have been Nuclear Dan's fault this time.
The words "Cheater" "Deep Sky One" "fire" and "idiot" are also visible if you look really closely.
Off the Rails: Every single time a Nuclear Dan character enters a town, so much so that the entire group is shocked when he defeats a hostile bar patron without incinerating everything in sight.
Railroading: "Dammit, the labyrinth is what I prepared for you this session. You're going to the bloody maze!"
Required Secondary Powers: As a Pyro Maniac, Dan builds his characters for fire-damage immunity. For a brief period, his new character lacked the damage reduction to completely ignore his own self-targeted fireballs.
Rules Lawyer: Jill and Joe both, with emphasis on "intentionally ignoring whatever doesn't support his own case". Another source of What the Hell, Hero? for Dang:
Dang: You know, there's a fine line between meta-gaming and being immense jerks, you guys.
Steele: THANK YOU! So long I've waited for someone else to say it!
Everyone (except Dang, who is a newcomer to gaming) takes the Treaty seriously (to the point of Steele paying reparations after violating the Treaty, and the Treaty being an actual, written agreement with multiple clauses). Said Treaty being an agreement not to use certain types of illusion, as they ultimately degenerate the game into every single player disbelieving every single thing in any room they enter.
"You mean you've done this before? What about all the innocent lives? Aren't we supposed to be non-evil?"
You All Meet in an Inn: Dang's halfling joins the party in the Pink Pudding Inn. Dan destroys it three panels later. It takes 463 strips for the trope to recur — in the Second Evil Campaign, where the destruction of said inn is both expected and encouraged.
And, funnily enough, doesn't happen, as Dan later remembers.
Later lampshaded in the description of #490, in which the author claims this is the 47th time they've met at an inn.