The wordy, intellectual, and cynical half of the Penny Arcade duo, when the characters of Gabe and Tycho first diverged Tycho was something of the Straight Man to Gabe's more wild enthusiasm. However, he quickly developed into a character as strange if not stranger. Tycho is known for his love of literature and wordplay, his overwritten fantasy series Epic Legends of the Hierarchs: The Elemenstor Saga, his "love" of animals, and his deep knowledge of horrors that man was not meant to know.
- Author Avatar: For Jerry Holkins, but was not originally intended as such.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: Has several times shown the desire for other animals.
- Cain and Abel: Has a VERY adversarial relationship with his brother, though he does also a loving semi-paternal bond with his niece Ann.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very blunt and very sarcastic.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's always the one to try and stop Gabe from crossing the line when it comes to jokes for the strip, or when the showboating gets too much.
- Fetish: Has expressed attraction to numerous things: giraffes, ostriches, jellyfish, and whatever's at ColdTurkeys.com. More specifically, he's said he's attracted to long, slender necks, of the sort you can't usually find on humans. He's also implied to have an outright fetish for literature since he seems to think of literature-related mods (such as quill physics) as titillating as other people do nudity mods.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: A noted atheist... despite the fact that Jesus plays Mario Kart with Gabe regularly.
- Guest Fighter: One of the opposing players in Poker Night at the Inventory, voiced by Telltale regular Andrew Chaikin.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Gabe, obviously.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Mainly perpetuated by his mother, but his father isnt the nicest guy either if his scant few appearances are anything to go by.
- Humanoid Abomination: Maybe, maybe not. He seems to enjoy cultivating that appearance, and his eyes subtly glow red when he's particularly angry, not to mention his infamously disturbing speech in "I Hope You Like Text"... This may or may not be caused by demonic possession if an early strip from 1999 is to be believed.
- Insufferable Genius: Has traits of this, despite not having any higher education than high school. He is very intelligent, but absolutely insufferable about it.
- Jerkass: He's incredibly smug and insensitive, and will put his own needs above others.
- Killer Game-Master: Attempting to impart his wisdom onto Gabe, nonetheless. Though it turns out he hasn't actually run a game since junior high because of his Killer Game Master reputation.
- Lie Back and Think of England: Tycho describes his coupling as "dutiful" and "terrified".
- Named After Somebody Famous: Tycho Brahe was also a 16th century Danish astronomer.
- Nightmare Fetishist: He longs for the day when games include Starfish Aliens and Eldritch Abominations as romance options. We're not told "what" his heart's desire is... just that acquiring it would be enough to damn Jesus to hell.
- Overprotective Uncle: Towards his niece Anne. When she goes on her first date with her LAN-party-rival-turned-love-interest "Galahad," Tycho tries to get her to wear a shirt that reads "Stay the fuck away from my niece." (Although since Anne's parents didn't want to let her go to the LAN tourney at all, Tycho is arguably permissive by comparison.) Anne enjoys teasing her uncle about this, giving him a near-coronary by claiming she was going to cosplay as Bayonetta at a con.
- Place Worse Than Death: Spokane, Washington, mainly because it's where Tycho grew up. Every time he's forced to return there, usually for family visits, he treats it like going on a road trip through Hell.Tycho: See this place, children? This is where Daddy learned to weep...
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: His eyes turn red when he gets really angry. Its implied in an early strip that he may have brought something back with him from the dream world after having two consecutive nightmares about hell.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Frequent. In the Penny Arcade card game, there is an attack of his that deals damage based on the number of letters in a given card. In-universe, he has an enormous affinity for words and grammar, to the point where Gabe letting him babble about Bookworm Adventures is his Christmas present. Occasionally lampshaded in the news posts where he calls it "faux erudition", implying that he is excessively wordy on purpose.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: As pointed out by Gabe in one strip where the Duo briefly broke up.Gabe: If you could write a single sentence without the word "fuck" in it, maybe we could get some mainstream exposure up in this piece!Tycho: Go fuck yourself!
- Soul-Crushing Desk Job: Before starting Penny Arcade, both the real-life and the comic Tycho had these, ranging from telemarketing to tech support. Averted for the comic Tycho, who enjoyed the miserable grind, because he was such a misanthrope he liked being able to ruin other peoples days with annoying phonecalls. Very much played straight with the real one.Tycho: I hate other people. I hate the thought that they might be happier than me. So I call them up. And I see if they want any magazines!
- Superpowered Evil Side: Not exactly, but as Red Eyes, Take Warning shows, there is probably something REALLY dark inside him.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Very susceptible to this. To a point he'll even go mad playing a homemade RPG created by Gabe's eight-year-old son.
Johnathan "Gabe" Gabriel
The idealistic, immature, and scatterbrained half of the duo, Gabe's enthusiasm and inability to think things through makes him the perfect Wise Guy to Tycho's straight man, though these roles are often reversed as he possesses a degree of common sense that Tycho lacks. Obsessed with immature humor, male genitalia (mostly his own), and Star Wars, he harbors homosexual tendencies, not so much repressed as simply unrealized and usually centering around Spider-Man. He is independently wealthy from his Doctor Raven Darktalon Blood series.
- Author Avatar: For Mike Krahulik, but was not originally intended as such.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Tycho makes an Incredibly Lame Pun related to sawing Kris Straub in half so they can have an even number of players, Gabe exclaims "Damn son, there's that gallows humor!"
- Ambiguously Bi: His fantasies about Spider-Man and Patrick Swayze tend to point this way. Not to mention his weird on-off Ho Yay with Apple fanboy Charles. Or his subconscious recreating the beach volley scene from Top Gun.
- Ax-Crazy: He's prone to violence and seems to not feel too guilty about it.
- The Beastmaster: A pet dragon, a phoenix, unicorn, and several Pokémon to his name. At one point he also managed to aquire a flock of Pikmin that proceeded to trash the apartment and kill Tycho. And his roster may grow at any time...
- Bottom of the Barrel Joke: Gabe loves himself some low-hanging fruit when it comes to humor. At one point Tycho had to step in, because Gabe wanted to make a comic about spawn camping which would have a terrorist waiting to murder newborns in a hospital.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Legal representative for France. It... didn't go well.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Cardboard Tube Samurai is Gabe. Therefore he can slice things up with a perfectly round tube. He can actually cause nosebleeds by hating someone, which may be caused by the fact that Darth Vader might be his dad. Oh, and he got a blood infusion from Spider-Man. Hell, in the very first comic, he gained psychic powers.
- Game Master: "Your party stands before the Cave of Tits." Ironically, despite his anti-RPG sentiments in the early days of the strip, he arguably spends more times with tabletop games these days than Tycho does.
- Glass Eye: Lost his original in a Warcraft-related scuffle.
- Handy Feet: He's pointed out to have monkey-like feet in one strip.
- Hidden Depths: Very seriously into Country-Western dancing, specifically line dancing.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Or Fallout soundtrack. Or slow-motion bullets.
- Noodle Incident: Exactly what led to the loss of his eye during a Warcraft 2 match is never revealed, but it has far enough reaching consequences that it meant he and Tycho had to make a pact to not play any future Warcraft games against each other.
- Older than They Look: His personality and the art style suggest he's somewhere in his mid-to-late 20s. He's actually 41.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Combines a selfish immaturity with a sociopathic violent streak.
- Psychic Powers: Only comes up once, but he used the unreasonably long load times for the late 90's FPS SIN to harness his latent psychic powers.
- Soul-Sucking Retail Job: In the days before Penny Arcade, Gabe worked at Toys 'R' Us, both in real life and in the comic. His experiences during the holiday season alone were bad enough to give him PTSD.Gabe: This spot right here? This is where a grown man told me to pull a Holiday Barbie out of my ass...Tycho: You need a moment?Gabe: I was just a boy!
- Violence is the Only Option: Gabe's knee-jerk reaction to nearly everything. He once curb stomped Tycho to death because he thought there was only one copy of Puzzle Quest left in the store, and tore out Tycho and Charles's throats with his teeth when he panicked over the proper pronunciation of "Gif".
Anne Claire "Annarchy" Brahe
Tycho's young niece who shares her uncle's intellect and love of gaming, but only a little of his depravity. Despite her age, she played Final Fantasy on the Famicom... in the original Japanese. Is not to be trifled with.
- Badass Adorable: There's a reason her online handle is Annarchy.
- Bare Your Midriff: In the earlier strips.
- Granola Girl: With the admirable conviction of a pre-teen who just discovered vegetarianism and whose parents hates it.
- Little Miss Snarker: Can trade barbs with her intelligent, caustic uncle.
- Out of Focus: As Mike and Jerry's real-life kids were born and grew up, they increasingly took the role in the comics that might once have been filled by Anne. As of mid 2022, it has been eight years since her last appearance.
The Fruit Fucker 2000
A small robotic juicer that works by having violent sexual intercourse with pieces of fruit.
- Black Comedy Rape: Gabe has described it as "a literal rapist", although its only actual victims have been oranges and zombies (and one pear) so far. It has been shown acting... creepily towards the protagonists' wives, however.
- Crazy-Prepared: Whoever invented this thing had the foresight to give it steps to take in case of undead plague.
- Humongous Mecha: Fruit Fucker Prime.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Can, if necessary, activate Code Omega. We don't see what this entails, but it's enough to turn a horde of zombies into chunky salsa.
- Something Else Also Rises: The antenna on top of its head.
A media device produced for the nearly-instantaneously discontinued digital video format DIVX in 1998 that somehow came to life.
- The Alcoholic: Though how a piece of movie hardware can get drunk remains a mystery. He used to write christmas wish lists to the Johnny Walker whisky distillery in Scotland.
- Anything That Moves: Sleeps with humans AND other appliances. Somehow.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Treats pretty much everyone like something he stepped in, it's a wonder Tycho and Gabe kept him around.
- Jerkass: "Unpleasant" is an euphemism when it comes to him.
- Out of Focus: Like many of the supporting cast, he's grown increasingly rare to see over the years.
- Small Reference Pools: You'd have a hard time finding anyone who knew what a DIVX player was even in 1998, today it's borderline archaeological.
- Jesus Was Way Cool: Likes to just sort of hang around on Earth and play games and go to the mall.
- Mundane Utility: His d20 is made from a piece of the true cross. Apparently, he only uses it "for really important rolls."
- Nice Guy: Though he has an unfortunate tendency to Type Kill in shooters, though this has all but gone extinct since the advent of headsets, and also loves to gloat when winning at Mario Kart.
- Pals with Jesus: Gabe mostly. He's friendly with Tycho, but its difficult to bond with someone who doesn't think you exist.
Originally known as Chuck, an anti-Apple strawman, he had a great fall and was retooled as the hipper Charles. Lives across from Gabe and Tycho, works at an Apple store and occasionally visits to talk about Apple-based matters.
- Came Back Strong: He was originally a dorky cipher the authors used to mock Mac gamers, but when Halo was cancelled for the Mac, Chuck attempted to kill himself by jumping out the window. The reconstructive surgery not only made him look cooler, but also changed his personality to the much more suave Charles.
- Catchphrase: "Shut your pie hole!"
- Hypocritical Humor: Constantly mocks the main characters for their nerdiness, despite his own fanboyism for Apple products by far outstripping even Tycho's and Gabe's dedication to any one company.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Gabe. Tycho once described Charles as emitting a kind of "anti-Gabe force".
- Strawman Political: As Chuck.
A war veteran turned manager for the local EB Games, Frank served as an avatar for the unpleasantness of dealing with retail workers, but, like Charles, gradually became his own character while other one-shots took over the strawman duties, though he occasionally still takes the role when something more extreme than annoyance needs to be adressed.
- Bad Boss: In his first appearance, he had an extreme store policy where he wouldn't even allow his employees to mention the Gamecube. When one of them slipped up, he punched the poor kid in his face and broke his arm.
- He also has a policy of stringing up customers in the parking lot like scarecrows.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Despite their enimity, Gabe invites Frank to Thanksgiving. Frank even brings his specialty: "Cambodian turkey" (a 20-foot python).
- Go Mad from the Isolation: After years of absence, due to the decline of brick-and-mortar game stores, Frank reappears when Tycho and Gabe go to a now near-abandoned E.B Games, where Frank has now gone insane, well, MORE insane, from having had no human interaction for god knows how long, and thinks the duo are just his mind playing tricks on him.
- I Call It "Vera": Named his personal M4 Carbine "Mabel".
- Let's Get Dangerous!: When zombies overran the mall in the Armadeaddon arc, Frank was one of the handful of people trapped inside. He pulled out his old army helmet and asked Mabel if she wanted to go dancing.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He's a Vietnam veteran, and his experiences in the war have completely warped him.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Has an unexplained special hatred for Gabe, and has on two separate occasions stolen his pants.
A strange, square-shaped, blue creature that is the center of The Merch franchise, the Merch has been placed in a magical coma by an evil wizard, but can be roused for short periods of time if kids use enough of their "purchasing power" to buy Merch merch, even if they have to steal from mom and dad to do it! During these brief periods of lucidity, The Merch will dispense cheerful advice such as "I fucked your dad!". However, if kids don't buy enough Merch merch, he transforms into The Fleshreaper.
- A Wizard Did It: A brief excuse given for why the Merch is in a coma at all.
- Catchphrase: "I fucked your dad!"
- Merchandise-Driven: A parody of the concept itself, distilled to it's purest form. The Merch literally only exists so people can buy merchandise based on him, and the consequences are... unpleasant if they ever stop.
- Superpowered Evil Side: The Fleshreaper, a monstrous red version of The Merch, who goes from house to house, massacring everyone inside and collecting their torsos. He's completely invulnerable, but will revert to The Merch as long as enough merch is bought.
Jerry's and Mike's FamiliesComic versions of the real-life spouses and children of Jerry and Mike. Usually deployed for strips that are inspired by things that happened to the creators away from their offices and in the world at large.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Neither Tycho nor Gabe are particularly good parents when the joke calls for it, usually when they've been absorbed in a new game release.
- Women Are Wiser: Gabe and Tycho are both psychotic manchildren in their own unique ways, so if a gag calls for a true Straight Man to play the foil to their antics, Kara (Mike's wife) or Brenna (Jerry's wife) often fill the role.
- Out of Focus: They tend to fade into the background unless they're needed for a specific comic premise.
L. H. FranzibaldA fantasy writer responsible for the Song of the Sorcelator saga, whom Tycho loathes with a burning passion, mainly due to being a rampant plagiarism of his Elemenstor Saga. To his horror, Gabe adores his work.
- Delusions of Eloquence: His attemps to make his writing feel "intense" often wind up causing this. And the worst part is, Tycho can recognize where his work was cribbed, even when warped beyond recognition.
- It's All About Me: Feels as if the world revolves around him.
- Jerkass: Treats his fans like dirt, even when they take a bullet for him.