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Characters / Undertale - Papyrus

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Top Index | Major (The Human Child, Flowey, Toriel, Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, Mettaton, Asgore Dreemurr) | Minor | Monsters | Spoilers

Sans' taller and much more energetic brother. A glory-seeking guardsman with a very high opinion of himself (and everything else), his dream is to capture a human so that he can finally be allowed to join the Royal Guard. He possesses a particular penchant for puzzles.

  • 24-Hour Armor: As an aspiring Royal Guard, Papyrus is almost never seen in an outfit that isn't his "battle body."
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Despite having regular Lame Pun Reactions, he usually has to keep himself from laughing at them and he himself cracks a few puns here and there. It's implied that he's trying to appear too cool for lame jokes and hates it when Sans catches him smiling.
  • Adorkable: Oh, so very much. He loves puzzles, wears armor that is actually just a costume he used in a party once (calling it his "battle body", according to Sans), collects action figures, has a racecar bed, and is looking for friends and respect. His "date" with you just cranks this Up to Eleven, as he has to rely on a manual to be able to know what to do.
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  • Alas, Poor Yorick: He actually says this word for word, save for substituting his own name in, if he's killed in a neutral run. His head lands on his hand, and he utters that line before his body turns to dust.
  • All-Loving Hero: Heroic in the sense of always trying to do good (even if he's a bit of a goof and a lot of a Cloud Cuckoolander), and unrivalled in compassion and friendliness. In fact, he'll spare a No Mercy run protagonist on the spot just because he believes they have some good in them. He persists in this belief even after dying in such a run.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He's willing to go on a date with the protagonist, who is of Ambiguous Gender, if they flirt with him, but apologetically "dumps" them right afterward, saying that he only did it because he felt obligated to and only ever liked them as a friend. He's very close to Undyne, but (obvious issues aside) there's nothing to indicate they're anything but Platonic Life-Partners, and he has optional dialogue in which he calls Mettaton "his favorite sexy rectangle", which very well could be just an objective observation more than anything else. All in all (especially since this is Papyrus we're talking about), it's hard to tell.
    • On his Twitter, Toby Fox has stated that Papyrus doesn't really get concepts like relationships and sex, a notion that's very much supported in the game, so speculating on his sexuality is likely a wild goose chase.
  • Ambiguously Human: See Sans' example. Though there's not much evidence from Papyrus specifically, he qualifies by association due to them being (presumably blood-related) brothers.
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  • Anger Born of Worry: Downplayed. He almost always sounds irritated and fed up when talking to you about Sans, but it's pretty obvious that most of it comes from the fact that he's concerned about his well-being. And his terrible jokes, of course.
  • Animals Hate Him: One particular animal — the Annoying Dog, who seems to enjoy tormenting him for no obvious reason.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: In-Universe. Despite his childish demeanor, Papyrus seems to be a believer of this trope. Calling him at one point in Hotland will have him insist that anime is for children, an observation that annoys Undyne, of all people, who thinks anime is real.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Inverted. Sans is amused at Papyrus being so Adorkable and Papyrus has this reaction towards his older brother being lazy.
  • Anti-Villain: In name only. Papyrus wants to capture the main character because he wants recognition, respect, and love, will hurt but won't kill, and has no problems with stopping being "evil" if you choose to befriend and spare him — which is exactly what he wants.
  • Arc Villain: Of the Snowdin arc. And for a certain definition of "villain".
  • Authority in Name Only: Some of the Neutral Endings involve this. If Toriel becomes Queen and isn't overthrown, then she makes Papyrus "Captain of the Royal Guard", with his only duty being to tend the castle garden. If Undyne becomes ruler because Toriel is dead, then she appoints Papyrus to "The Most Important Royal Position", which consists of sitting around and looking cute. If Toriel, Undyne, and Mettaton are all dead, then Papyrus becomes King by process of elimination, but his brother Sans does all the actual work.
  • Badass Adorable: He's easily one of the most endearing characters in the game (which is saying a lot), and his battle prowess is at least close to that of Undyne's, if not far greater. In fact, the only reason he's not already in the Royal Guard is he's just that sweet and lovable — for how powerful he is, Undyne knows he could never hurt a fly.
  • Bad Liar: During his attempt to have the player and Undyne befriend each other, he decides to give them some alone time and quickly excuses himself to the "bathroom" before leaping out the window. He also tells the player to go to a lab during the Pacifist route with some very Suspiciously Specific Denials. Though he has an easier time with small lies (such as telling the player that a spike puzzle needs to be solved before both of them can proceed, when later he states that he can just step over the spikes).
  • Bait-and-Switch: Calling him in the dump has him tell you that he lives with a lazy bag of trash. His name is Trashy.note 
  • Ballistic Bone: His main form of attack. He actually has a cardboard box in his room containing all the bones he used in his fight against you.
  • Bare Your Midriff: His "Battle Body" only covers up half of his top, and his other outfits also show off his lower spine. He's one of the taller characters in the game, so finding clothes that fit him would be a bother.
  • Berserk Button: The most angry you see him is when he has to hear Sans's lame jokes. That said, some of Sans' jokes do make him laugh.
    Papyrus: I AM AND I HATE IT! (After Sans calls him out for smiling at one of his puns.)
  • Big Brother Instinct: Although Toby suggested that Papyrus is the younger brother, he does try to take care of Sans and was the one who encouraged him to get a job. He states Sans is 'lucky to have such a cool guy taking care of him'.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Despite Papyrus's Small Name, Big Ego, he seldom comes across as having the typical arrogance or buried self-doubt that his type of character is usually portrayed with. He just seems to be very enthusiastic in how much he believes in himself. Also, despite how klutzy he is, his enthusiasm is so potent that even Undyne decided to look past his goofiness to give him a shot at being a soldier. She even admits that he trains hard enough that he actually could be part of the Royal Guard based on his combat skill if he weren't so innocent as a person. He's also capable of being very sly, such as when he realizes that Undyne will put in the effort to befriend you if he makes it into a challenge. He also has some pretty witty Deadpan Snarker lines if you call him in certain rooms. He even mentions things that happen later in the game, such as "phones that can turn into jetpacks" and Mettaton's "eyes" (which he doesn't have at that point).
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: The loud and exuberant big guy to Sans' low-key laid-back little guy. He might be the one who looks after the house and Sans, but at the end of the day, Sans is the one who dotes on him.
  • Big Little Brother: If Toby's tweet about how the Japanese version of Undertale would have him call Sans anikinote  is taken at face value, it would make him the younger sibling of the two. Despite this, Sans's head doesn't even make it to his shoulder. In the official Japanese translation of the game, he uses niichan when speaking to Sans, which still has the 'big brother' meaning, but in a more endearing manner.invoked
  • Black Bead Eyes: While Sans has large eyesockets with eyelights for pupils, Papyrus instead has smaller eyesockets that resemble beady eyes. (Though he does sometimes get bug eyes for a comedic expression.)
  • Blatant Lies: After his "special attack" is stolen by the Annoying Dog, he launches an "absolutely normal attack." Said attack is also his longest and most unique attack.
  • Boss Remix: His normal theme, "Nyeh Heh Heh!", is replaced by "Bonetrousle" once the boss battle turns serious.
  • Break the Cutie:
  • Broke the Rating Scale:
    • Examining Papyrus's computer prompts him to tell you he's twelve followers away from a double-digit friend count. Which, when you do the math, means he somehow has negative-two followers. note invoked
    • During the date with Papyrus, no matter what you do, in the end the "Date Power" meter will fill up and overflow past its bounds.
  • CAPS LOCK: IT EVEN EXTENDS TO HIS WRITING (to the point that one can tell something is said in-character as Papyrus because of this).
  • Chaste Hero: Unlike his brother, who apparently isn't dating anyone out of laziness, Papyrus seems open to the idea of having a romantic relationship, but clearly doesn't understand how they work at all.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Much of what he's speaking about could be considered non-sequiturs at best.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frequently.
    • If you tell him "I have no redeeming qualities" (versus "I can make spaghetti"), he still remarks that you meet his standards, suggesting that he mistook you for being humble.
    • When Papyrus meets Toriel for the first time, his reaction is "DID ASGORE SHAVE? AND CLONE HIMSELF?"
    • If he ends up getting Kicked Upstairs by Undyne in a neutral ending, he is absolutely ecstatic that he gets to show off his talents at "standing around and looking cute."
  • Cool Loser: Even when he has absolutely no hope of ever becoming a part of the Royal Guard, he has an unrivaled friendliness that easily beats Toriel's.
  • The Creon: If Mettaton becomes ruler of the Underground, then he makes Papyrus his second agent.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • His puzzles are completely nonthreatening, his attacks are mostly tiny bones on the bottom of the box that can be avoided just by floating above them, and his "fabled blue attack" can be avoided by just standing there... or so it seems, until he turns your soul blue and it falls to the ground. All those useless bones you could just float over before? Well, now you actually have to jump over them. Cue the hardest fight in the game up to that point (aside from maybe Toriel, but she eases up when you're close to death).
    • Going by his brother's strength, it is often theorized by fans that Papyrus is even stronger that that, and just holds back some of his power because he is simply too nice. This is supported by Undyne's confession that she's hesitant to let him into the Royal Guard not because his strength is lacking, but because he's far too pure-hearted to fight seriously. Likewise, he is the only boss in the entire game other than Toriel who will never intentionally kill you — but unlike Toriel, he won't ever unintentionally kill you either. If you lose to him, he simply locks you up inside a shed that can be escaped with ease.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's usually pretty serious-minded, for all his intensity and upbeatness, but he can dish out his share of light sauce when he wants to. And not just on his pasta.
  • Dem Bones: A talking skeleton, but he still eats and tries to flex muscles he doesn't have.
    * Papyrus dabs some [random substance] behind his ear.
    * Papyrus remembers that he doesn't have ears.
  • The Determinator: Not quite to the same extent as Undyne (or you), but Papyrus's biggest accomplishments seem to come from never knowing when to quit. His response to Undyne shutting the door on him when he demanded to be let into the Royal Guard in the middle of the night was to stand outside her house until the next morning. When Papyrus wants to call you but realizes he didn't get your number, he frantically dials every number until he gets yours. In the ending where he becomes king, this is what gives him a decent position as a ruler. Papyrus works extra hard to keep up the morale of the people after suffering a serious loss at your hands.
    "I won't give up! I can't give up! I have to make everyone give up giving up!"
  • The Ditz: Papyrus' defining characteristic, besides his ego and friendliness, is how naive he acts. If you call him frequently throughout the game on his cellphone, it becomes apparent that he doesn't really know much about how the monster world works. That said, he isn't stupid.
  • The Dragon: He unintentionally becomes one to Flowey, being manipulated into gathering all of the characters in one place for Flowey so he can steal their souls.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: He thinks he's weak and resolves to work harder to make it into the Royal Guard. Undyne notes that while he's not the strongest monster by a long shot, he's definitely strong enough to be a soldier — it's his naïveté that's the problem. Nowhere is this more evident than in the "absolutely normal attack" he seems entirely disinterested in having to use after his special attack is stolen. Said "absolutely normal attack" is one of the toughest attacks in the game to avoid. That said, he averts this trope in one important way — he will never hit the player with lethal damage; he will always stop the attack at 1 HP and end the fight.
  • Dreamworks Face: His facial expression during his boss fight. While he is a Perpetual Smiler (a given due to him being a skeleton), his eyes during this fight turns it into this, implying an extreme sense of confidence in himself at this point in the game.
  • Easily Impressed: Flirt with him and he'll claim to have very high standards. Your two choices are "I can make spaghetti" or "I have zero redeeming qualities." In either case, he will loudly proclaim "Oh no! You're meeting all my standards!" due to making the food he loves to cook in the former case and Comically Missing the Point by assuming you're being humble in the latter.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: After getting his hands on a pirate flag, Papyrus comes to the conclusion that humans evolved from skeletons. Considering how little he knows about humans, it's as valid a conclusion for him to draw as any.
  • Establishing Character Music: Papyrus is first seen berating his brother for being so lazy, while bemoaning his own inability to catch humans. His leitmotif "Nyeh Heh Heh!" plays while he is on screen. It's an upbeat, yet outlandish melody that helps define Papyrus as an incompetent but well-meaning guy.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Played for Laughs throughout the game; during the boss fight with him, after you flirt, you'll meet all of his standards no matter what you say, and when he and Undyne are hanging out after you befriend both of them, he'd rather stand out in the cold than go hang out at Grillby's because he hates grease (despite the lack of a stomach).
  • Exposed to the Elements: Seems completely comfortable wearing next to nothing in the icy weather of Snowdin. Again, possibly justified since he's a skeleton. Undyne even complains to him how he can stand the chill when she's freezing.
  • Extraverted Nerd: Maybe not a traditional example, but he is extremely extroverted and certainly a variety of nerdy.
  • Fair Weather Friend: Discussed variation during Papyrus's boss fight; he talks about how many admirers he'll have once he captures you and subsequently becomes part of the Royal Guard... then he begins to wonder how he'll know if people sincerely like him.
  • Fake Special Attack: His "special attack", which he spends several turns hyping up, ends up getting stolen by the Annoying Dog.
  • Fat and Skinny: In spite of his build, he's quite noticeably skinnier compared to his brother... because he's boney, you see.
  • Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Can be caught doing this a lot. A particularly funny example, considering they're literally non-existent in his case.
  • Foil: Complements nearly all of Sans's personality traits, though they have enough in common to still be as close as can be. In a genocide playthrough, their fights are foiled as well. Sans is difficult, unquestionably earning the title of hardest combat in the game, but this can be as much an encouragement as a deterrent — the desire to test one's mettle against him spurs many to undertake a genocide run. But where Sans's fight is an exhilarating challenge, killing Papyrus promises no joy, no accomplishment. And even if you betray his trust and kill him, his dying words are to call out the good that he is certain still remains in you. This sacrifice is often enough to drive the player into a Villainous BSoD, aborting as many, if not more, planned No-Mercy playthroughs as Sans's brutal gauntlet.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Manages to be both to Sans. When it comes to behavior and lifestyle, he is the responsible one. When it comes to intelligence and maturity, he is the foolish one.
  • Friendless Background: Other than Sans and Undyne, he doesn't have any other friends to begin with, and you can potentially become his friend after your "date", which is required for the Golden Ending.
  • Friendly Enemy: He's unrelentingly nice even when he's supposedly trying to capture you. When you do actually fight Papyrus, it even ends with him offering to become friends for real.
  • Friendly Skeleton: One of the friendliest characters in the game, and one of the more popular examples of this trope in the 2010's.
  • Glory Hound: A sympathetic example. At first, Papyrus wants nothing more than to capture a human and gain prestige, but he just wants to be recognized for all his efforts. He's also completely ineffectual, which helps.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Papyrus's love for everyone he runs into, coupled with his naïvete, makes it difficult for him to grasp why certain people do bad things. This really doesn't go well for him if you take a No Mercy run. Papyrus can't grasp why the protagonist is so bad and is sure that it would only take an understanding friend to make them a better person. Even if you kill him, he'll die assuring you that you can be a better person with just a bit of effort. No way can someone be evil enough to kill everyone in the Underground... Right?
  • Got Me Doing It: Papyrus hates dumb puns. But sometimes he'll tell one without meaning to.
    Papyrus: (talking about the Garbage Dump) I know why you called me. I always make people feel better... when they're down in the dumps!!! ... I've spent too long with my brother today.
  • The Heart: Other than gloat about his greatness or making puzzles or undercooked spaghetti, what Papyrus does best is instilling hope in people — even murderous ones — just by being his own optimistic self.
  • Hero Antagonist: If the player is being merciless, he attempts to stop the massacre... with love and understanding. Papryus is so sympathetic that he may in fact be a bigger obstacle to completing a No Mercy run than Undyne or even the final boss, since some players simply can't bring themselves to kill him.
  • Heroic Willpower: In the No Mercy Run, he confronts you not with force or threat, but with words and ideals — despite knowing as well as if not better than anyone how dangerous a human with killing intent is. Even if he's stricken down in the face of his pleas, he insists that they can still be a good person if they try, before turning to dust with that unbreakable, determined grin still plastered on his face.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Although he and Sans are brothers, their relationship also easily qualifies as this. See Sans' example for more details.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite being a Lethal Chef, he puts a lot of effort into learning to cook spaghetti, as seen from his many attempts sitting in the refrigerator, and he knows a lot about different types of pasta.
    • Also hidden between the lines is a remarkable skill with magic. Papyrus is literally the only monster in the entire game who you cannot die to, and that is because he doesn't kill you. Ever. Even Toriel can accidentally kill you, but not Papyrus. He can modify how much damage he does, and stop as soon as you hit 1 HP, regardless of how far into his turn you are. The only other monster capable of a similar feat is Asgore.note  Not only that, but it's implied that Papyrus is just as strong as the Genocide run's nigh-impossible final boss; he just refuses to use his full strength. There are a couple of moments in his fight where his attacks are at incredibly fast, and a patch in January 2016 implies that he possesses the ability to fire giant lasers known as Gaster Blasters, and considered using them in a No Mercy Run.
    • More visibly, his use of Reverse Psychology to convince Undyne to befriend the human child suggests that he's not always as socially oblivious as he seems, and is no stranger to manipulating others if he thinks it's worthwhile.
    • During the "Date or Hangout" scene when the human child examines Papyrus' bed, he says that he dreams of driving a car down a highway if he ever gets to the surface, but admits he sees it as only a pipe dream, which seems to imply that the chances of the monsters getting out of the underground are one of the few things he isn't optimistic about.
    • Finally, there are subtle slips and discrepancies in his speech that pop up here and there (one example being his speech before his battle) that suggest he may not be quite as self-assured as he seems. Every once in a while, his confidence wanes ever so slightly to imply a deep need for validation as well as companionship underneath. It still doesn't get in the way of his optimism and big heart, though.
    • Also, consider this; he's fully aware of how Sans has time-manipulating abilities and has studied quantum physics, and during his battle outside a Genocide route, Papyrus vaguely admits to the human child that he suspects if the human is taken to the capital, he might not be able to see them again. Which suggests that despite Sans' and Undyne's efforts, Papyrus may not be as oblivious as he seems, may be fully aware he's being Locked Out of the Loop, and might even know more about Sans than he lets on.
    • While he's prone to Comically Missing the Point a lot, calling him in some areas actually can prove helpful if a player isn't sure what to do. This suggests that his incompetencies are more out of ignorance than actual stupidity.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Subverted on a Genocide run. He's usually just as friendly as ever, seemingly not realizing what a threat you are. But when you face him for his boss fight, he outright calls you a "freaking weirdo," and says that he recognizes you're going down a bad path. He then offers to spare you on the spot, so he can help keep you on the straight and narrow. Should you accept, he's openly relieved, admitting he was genuinely a bit scared. So, no, he's not quite as oblivious as he appears. His belief in your ability to be good just won out over his fear.
  • Hot-Blooded: Comes with hanging around Undyne too long. Whatever he does, he does it either with one hundred percent effort, or not at all.
  • HP to 1: It's impossible to get killed by Papyrus. An attack that would normally do so brings you to 1 HP instead, and the rest of his attack is halted so he can capture you.
  • Iconic Outfit: His "battle body", as he puts it, is very distinct and recognizable.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The main reason he wants to capture a human and get into the Royal Guard is for others' friendship and respect. If you offer to be his friend instead, he'll agree without hesitating.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: What the genocide run becomes for him. He appeals to the goodness inside you, to back out from that merciless run.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Papyrus, bless him, simply doesn't have it in him to think anything but the very best about everyone and believes that no one is beyond redemption. That applies to you too, no matter how many monsters might you kill, up to and including him.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: He makes his exit from Undyne's house by claiming he needs to use the bathroom. Right before he dives out the window. Examining the window's remains reveals that this isn't even the first time Papyrus has pulled this stunt.
    Undyne: I can't believe Papyrus did that... ...usually he NAILS the landing.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: At first as a Punch-Clock Villain. He tries so hard to become part of the Royal Guard, but he's too goofy and friendly to be taken seriously, not to mention his attempts to capture the human with puzzles and his completely ineffectual security measures. He gives up on it once befriended.
  • Inherently Attractive Profession: He seems to believe this of the royal guard, as he believes that he'll be "getting a shower of kisses" once he officially becomes a part of it.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: He's so naive that he misconstrues any insults or ill-will toward him as compliments. Even when a No Mercy protagonist starts shambling toward him, he takes it as a sign that they're listening to his words and want to hug him to make up for it. Also, if every other boss is killed but him, he becomes King of the Monsters and honestly believes it when Sans explains everyone's absence by claiming they went on a very long vacation.
  • Inspirational Martyr: If Toriel is alive at the end of a neutral run, then she becomes Queen and ends the war against humanity. But if Papyrus is dead (even if he is the only kill made), then the monsters will be so outraged that they'll rebel against her.
  • Insult Backfire: He is completely oblivious to any rudeness directed his way. He might think you're insulting yourself, or thank you for your honesty, or misconstrue your statement into something complimentary about him.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: If Papyrus manages to convince the player not to continue their No Mercy Route, by sparing him when he in turn spares them, he reacts with an oddly ungrammatical line.
  • It's All About Me: Falls firmly into this. He even feels like the Human Child's entire journey was to get him into the Royal Guard. Still, his friendliness, outgoing nature, and downright earnest support keeps this from being the slightest bit antagonistic.
  • Keet: Papyrus is always extremely enthusiastic about everything he does and lightens up the mood of pretty much any scene he is in.
  • Kicked Upstairs: In one neutral ending where Undyne ends up ruling the underground, Papyrus is given the (literal) title of "Most Important Royal Position", whose duties involve "standing around and looking cute." He believes his talents are finally being recognized.
  • Kick the Dog: If you kill him, everyone else who knew him treats this as a particularly stand-out example of how heinous you are, even if that's all you did. Unsurprising, since he does not actually pose any sort of threat to your life (even if he beats you, he won't kill you), and will offer to spare you if you overwhelm or outlast him, so there is no valid reason — not even self-defense — for killing him. To wit, killing him induces a Heroic BSoD in Sans that lasts until the end of the game, and not only causes Undyne to specifically call you out on it when you confront her outside of a Genocide run, but for her to stage a coup d'etat against Toriel if you spare her after you escape the underground because of the "Humans are friends" policy the latter attempts to instate.
    Undyne: What did you do to him? What did you DO TO HIM?
    Sans: if you have some sort of special power...isn't it your responsibility to do the right thing? (If acknowledged) ah. i see. T h e n w h y d i d y o u k i l l m y b r o t h e r ? (If told no) heh. well, that's your viewpoint. i won't judge you for it. Y o u d i r t y b r o t h e r k i l l e r.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Easily the ditziest character in the game, but also among the kindest, even in a world overflowing with nice people.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": He wants to be accepted into the Royal Guard so badly, in no small part because of how much he worships Undyne.
  • Large Ham: How else would you describe an overly confident and glory-seeking skeleton that speaks entirely in CAPS LOCK and practices his monologues?
  • Leitmotif: "Nyeh Heh Heh!" is his default theme in the overworld and the first part of his battle. When things get more difficult, it transitions to "Bonetrousle".
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Papyrus is a Cloud Cuckoolander alright, and the fight with him looks like it will be hilariously easy, since he can only throw bones of various sizes along the floor and your hitbox can fly above them... But then he performs his 'blue attack', throwing a huge curveball at the overconfident player, and that's when the real fight begins. This could be summed up in that, by word of Undyne, his actual combat ability is impressive enough that it alone could get him onboard with her in the Royal Guard. The only problem is that, well, it's Papyrus, and he's more or less his own worst enemy in success. Still, bear in mind — when you fight him, he's completely distracted the entire time and even wants to let you go, and he's still the toughest thing you've faced so far.
  • Lethal Chef: Undyne motivated him to take up cooking as a hobby in the first place, and as a result he takes a lot from her. Sans notes to the player that Papyrus' cooking actually has been slowly but steadily improving since he started, though that he also believes that Papyrus finally making a dish that is edible is still a far way off.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: His overly jovial, kind, and optimistic personality is what still brings a genuine smile to his pessimistic brother's face. Papyrus' love for life motivates Sans to keep going on, and if you kill him, you wouldn't be welcome in the monsters' world anymore, to put it kindly.
  • Losing Your Head: Killing him causes his head to fall off. He's able to keep on talking even after his body has turned to dust, although his head will inevitably turn to dust as well a few seconds afterwards.
  • The Magnificent: He calls himself The Great Papyrus.
  • Manchild: We don't know how old he is exactly, but he's adult enough to be a sentry and have Undyne be willing to train him for the Royal Guard, yet still childish enough to believe in Santa and need a bedtime story to go to sleep.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The Feminine Boy to Undyne's Masculine Girl.
  • Meaningful Name: His speech is written in Papyrus font. As an overused decorative font, Papyrus is associated with looking silly whilst trying to look cool, which fits his personality perfectly.
  • Mercy Mode: Lose to him enough times and he'll just skip the fight to befriend you the next time you encounter him.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: He comes off as this while he's still trying to capture you. Of course, neither his immediate superior Undyne nor his ultimate master Asgore are exactly "evil" to begin with.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Most of the good that Sans can be asked to do traces back to his dear brother.
    • In a way, he may become one for the Player. No, not the player as in the player character, the player as in you. He doesn't stop believing in your penchant to change if you do a No Mercy run, even in his dying breath; this, combined with his lovable personality, means that if someone's going to throw away a Genocide run, they usually do it when they realize they can't bring themselves to strike Papyrus down.
  • Mysterious Past: While it's far less apparent in his case, both he and Sans have absolutely nothing about their past elaborated on outside of a few intentionally-dubious hints. In fact, there are even less hints given about Papyrus.
  • Nice Guy: Though he may think extremely highly of himself, Papyrus is very much one of the nicest and sincerest characters in the game, and this is in a game where just about every character encountered can't really be considered truly evil (with the potential exception of the Fallen Child). He will give you advice even during his fight if you get hit too much, is the only enemy who only subdues instead of killing you (he simply captures you and leaves you in a pen outside his house which you can easily walk out of, and if you lose 2 more times, he just lets you go since he doesn't want to hurt you), and he's nice to even a Genocide protagonist, believing that they still have the capacity to be good in spite of likely having murdered every single monster up to that point. He's impossible for you to offend; if you try to hurl insults at him when the chance arises, he accuses you of being a Tsundere who just needs a warming-up or thinks you're insulting yourself. Undyne tells you that the reason Papyrus isn't in the Royal Guard isn't because he's a bad fighter — he's actually almost as good as she is — he's just too nice and friendly to be able to actually hurt anyone if he had to. She implies that the reason your fight with him is so easy is because he couldn't bring himself to fight you properly, much like Toriel.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Papyrus cannot actually kill you. If an attack of his would've done so, it'll just reduce your HP to 1 and he'll just imprison you in the easy-to-escape dog house.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: While not a villain, from your exit from the Ruins clear until the tail-end of Snowdin, Papyrus has been a complete non-issue. Not only unable to hurt you, but unwilling to try, at that; he's actually more nice than anything else. When he finally fights you, his attacks slide along the floor, being impossibly simple to avoid. Even his supposed deadly "blue attack" does nothing of worth... until you realize the "do not move" shade of blue was not the one used to describe his attack. Suddenly, you can no longer move freely — your SOUL has "gravity" to it. "Bonetrousle" kicks in. Game on.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • When he first meets the player, he states that he doesn't know what'll happen after the human is delivered to the capital. However, after sparing him in a Neutral or Pacifist run, he states that the king "wants to open the barrier with soul power" and soon after tries to beg Undyne not to destroy the human, indicating that he knows that the human will be killed for their SOUL.
    • When calling him in Alphys' lab, he'll gush about how Sans would love it. However, if he's called in front of Alphys' lab, when Sans is with him, he'll act like he doesn't know what a lab is, even mispronouncing it as "laboradory."
  • Oblivious Younger Sibling: Papyrus is oblivious in general, but when it comes to the mysterious and questionable aspects of his brother, Papyrus seems especially unaware. Sans also seems to be actively shielding him from the harsher things about the world around him, notably by telling him that his friends "went on vacation" if you kill them.
  • Opinion Flip-Flop: He will agree with others he wants to befriend even if he has previously stated a different opinion on a matter.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Despite being the definition of a Wide-Eyed Idealist, Papyrus is still able to recognize your wickedness during the Genocide route very shortly before your fight with him, as well as how truly dangerous you are. This is very important, as it makes his plea for you to lay down your weapon not an act of naiveté, but a display of actual, legitimate faith that you can change for the better.
  • Painting the Medium: In the Japanese translation of the game, his text reads in the traditional Japanese right-to-left manner rather than the left to-right everyone else uses.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Always grinning like a goofball. Though being a skeleton, that's kind of a given.
  • The Pollyanna: Never gives up hope, no matter what's thrown his way. You can literally murder him in cold blood, and he reacts by sincerely encouraging and promising you that you can be a better person if you just try hard enough, no bitterness in his words whatsoever.
  • Pride: His primary motivation and character flaw is his insatiable desire for attention. He wants to join the Royal Guard knowing that it's the elite military force of the Underground, and that he will be fawned over for it, despite being too nice to be a suitable member. As a means of being accepted, he builds various traps and puzzles in Snowdin to catch a human with, but becomes preoccupied with being thought of as clever by said human. The player also has the opportunity to flirt with him during their battle, and even go on a date with him after the battle, both of which leave a strong impression on him. While he continues to pursue his dream of joining the Royal Guard up until the True End, he realizes that his future admirers will never admire him as much as his friends.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: As an aspiring member of the royal guard, he tries to fit the mold, but he's seen as such a good person that Undyne won't let him throw himself into such a dangerous position, even when she acknowledges his sheer strength and skill.
  • Puppet King: A benign version, but if he becomes king in the Neutral ending, Sans ends up doing most of the actual work running the country.
  • Pungeon Master: He has a more subtle undertone than Sans, even if he gets annoyed by the latter's more audacious ones.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Sans' blue (red armor, enthusiastic personality...).
  • Released to Elsewhere: Papyrus knows that once he captures a human, he needs to lock it up and call Undyne. Then she'll take it to the Capitol. He admits to being totally in the dark about what happens once they go there. Apparently, neither Sans nor Undyne have the heart to tell him that the human he snags will be killed and have its soul harvested. In a Neutral ending where all other characters are killed, Papyrus will not even question Sans' explanation that they've all taken a very long vacation. That said, the fact that he arrives to help stop the Child and Asgore from fighting near the end of the pacifist run implies that he knows that the child will have to fight Asgore to leave the underground, and either was afraid to break the news to Frisk or figured it out too recently to react earlier (though Flowey also likely encouraged him to intervene).
  • Reverse Psychology: In a rare moment of ingenuity, Papyrus utilizes this against Undyne if you told her you didn't come to her house to gloat, making her more skeptical of you. She'll loudly refuse to be your friend, cuing Papyrus to say that she wasn't up to the challenge of befriending you. Undyne, offended by the remark, makes a complete 180 and vows to be "besties" with you as a form of "revenge".
  • Riddle for the Ages: As this Tumblr post points out, despite being ostensibly the sillier, less serious counterpart to his enigmatic brother Sans, by the end of the game you actually know or suspect less about Papyrus's past than Sans's. Most of the mysteries regarding who Sans is and where he comes from apply to Papyrus too, and Papyrus doesn't even come with enigmatic hints like the photo in the lab behind the house. Then there's the fact that Papyrus is the only character in the game whose speech is not preceded by an asterisk, or the fact that some of the lines used to describe him (such as "It's rude to talk about someone who is listening") are also used to describe W.D. Gaster...
  • Running Gag: The Annoying Dog stealing his bones, his obsession with spaghetti, his "STANDARDS!!!", and his hatred of puns.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Sans' manly man, being far more emotional and less traditionally masculine.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: Rarely misses a chance to promote his own greatness.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: He attempts to bring the player back from the brink by refusing to fight them.
  • Sibling Team: With Sans.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: As mentioned above, he and Sans seemingly differ in almost every possible way.
  • Signature Laugh: NYEH-HEH-HEH-HEH! ..... HEH. Lampshaded in his Non-"No Mercy" Check.
    "He likes to say: 'Nyeh heh heh!'"
    Papyrus: "NYEH HEH HEH!"
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Papyrus can effortlessly restrict the range of motion of the child's soul for extended periods of time, and manipulate the battle plane, two abilities that are otherwise virtually exclusive to the toughest boss in the game. The only thing keeping him from being a serious threat is his total unwillingness to kill and inexperience in fighting humans. The 'Skilled' part of this trope becomes more apparent when you consider how, again, it's impossible to die at his hands. He can, and will, straight-up stop the fight when you're down to one hit point; this sort of feat suggests that he can use his attacks with skill and precision that even Toriel lacks (and indeed only Asgore shares).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: But in a very lovable way. Unlike most examples of the trope, Papyrus might think highly of himself, but he is never condescending towards others. His bluster doesn't hide any kind of Inferiority Superiority Complex either; he does genuinely believe that much in himself. Additionally, he is not quite as much of a "small name" as you might think. He is a surprisingly challenging and powerful boss, and Undyne admits that he would easily have made it to Royal Guard rank if it weren't for his naive attitude. And if you walk around before finishing the game on a True Pacifist run... you might find out that he's even gained an admirer!
  • Socially Awkward Hero: He's anything but socially anxious, but although he's sweet, confident, and incredibly outgoing and supportive, he's absolute garbage at making friends due to a combination of his lack of touch with reality and how seriously he takes everything. He can potentially check a how-to manual on hanging out from the Snowdin library in preparation for having the player over at his and Sans's house.
  • Spikes of Doom: He's fond of these as obstacles, according to various phone calls with him.
  • Stepford Smiler: If most of the monsters are killed and Papyrus is left to rule the Kingdom of Monsters by process of elimination because Toriel, Undyne, Mettaton, and Alphys are dead. He tries to maintain a cheerful disposition around the few survivors, especially around his newly hard-working brother, but confides to the player that being lonely and unable to raise anyone else's spirits is very difficult.
  • Stereotype Flip: He's vain, never wastes an opportunity to promote his own greatness, thinks your entire quest was for his sake alone... and is an unbelievably nice guy who cares for everyone everywhere.
  • Stock Video Game Puzzle: Papyrus is fond of creating these to trap humans. He's not very good at it: when he doesn't inadvertently reveal the solution right away, he instead fails to make sure that you can't just walk past the puzzle unhindered. The only time he actually makes even a remotely difficult puzzle is when he fiddles around with an existing one out of boredom to make it look more like his face.
    • Amusingly, he actually admits that his puzzles are awful when you befriend him after his battle.
  • Stronger Sibling: Papyrus has significantly higher stats than Sans, but Sans has many more tricks up his sleeve, including Wave Motion Guns, access to Karmic Retribution, the ability to dodge, and the ability to Interface Screw the player to hell and back, making him potentially the more skilled sibling if not the stronger one. However, it is left ambiguous whether Papyrus lacks Sans's capabilities, or simply the combat pragmatism to use them in a fight. If the player stops a previously No Mercy run on Papyrus, his dialogue implies that he may have access to Gaster Blasters.
  • Stupid Good: Will not kill the player on the No Mercy route and dies believing they can be good.
  • Sudden Anatomy: Randomly gets huge buggy eyeballs during his more exaggerated expressions.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Has moments of these. It's most apparent in his pre-battle speech on a non-Genocide run.
  • Technical Pacifist: Papyrus will fight you in order to capture you. But he wants to capture you, he DOESN'T want to kill you, which is why he will end the fight and put you in his shed if your HP drops to 1.
  • That One Puzzle: In-Universe, he defies this trope with his belief that all his puzzles should be fair, which is why he cancels his "Gauntlet of Deadly Terror", a timing puzzle that could easily kill the player character (although it's possible that he either forgot the password that activates the puzzle or more likely, doesn't actually want any harm to come to them, as shown in most tropes associated with him).
  • Theme Music Power-Up: His battle starts as joke as all of his attacks can be avoided by not moving, during which his overworld theme "Nye-Heh-Heh" plays. Then he turns your soul blue, making it affected by gravity, then his real battle theme "Bonetrousle" starts to play.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: He won't kill you if your HP gets down low enough. Instead, he'll lock you in his garage with dog food and a dog bed and eventually call off the fight if you get captured three times. It's part of the reason why Undyne won't let him join the Royal Guard since he is "too sweet and innocent". It bears mentioning that he's the only boss in the game who will never kill the protagonist under any circumstances - even Toriel can potentially kill them by accident, but Papyrus cannot or will not do more than reduce their hp to one.
  • Too Clever by Half: At one point, he calls the player to find out what equipment they're wearing for an unexplained reason. It turns out that Undyne wanted to know so she could track you down, and Papyrus attempted to be clever. However, Failure Is the Only Option, as no matter what you do (change/don't change, lie/don't lie), his convoluted plan will end up telling Undyne exactly what you're wearing.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: On the Genocide route. He's perfectly aware of what you've done and what you can/will do to him, but he spares you immediately nonetheless, with the belief that you still have the capability to become good.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He loves cooking spaghetti, but doesn't actually eat it. According to the anniversary Q&A, his actual favorite food is dinosaur egg oatmeal.
    Flowey: Hey, why am I the only one who knows the answer to this stupid question!?
  • Turn the Other Cheek: In a No Mercy run, he tries to get you to cease your kill-a-thon by sparing you right off the bat. Whether that works or not is entirely up to you.
  • Undying Loyalty: Papyrus, provided you've spared and befriended him, will actively try to hinder Undyne's assault in the Waterfall. He's not very good at it.
  • Unwitting Pawn: To Flowey, who'd been whispering things to Papyrus in the absence of Sans since before Frisk arrived. In the route to the True Ending, it's even heavily implied that he had Papyrus call Frisk to send them to the True Lab, before having him call everyone to Asgore's Castle — the latter of which was outright stated.
  • Verbal Tic: "WOWIE!"
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's functionally impossible to exhaust Papyrus's HP before he moves to spare you. Even if you hack your save to have the Real Knife from the very beginning, he'll always skip to his "completely normal attack" and offer to spare you one turn before you can kill him. The only reason to kill him would be because you specifically want to.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sans deliberately annoys him almost every second they're on screen together, to which he constantly nags and complains about him back, but it's always good-natured and they're nothing if not completely dedicated to each other. Sans even mentions in an optional piece of dialogue that he appreciates Papyrus' nagging, since it's the only thing that actually motivates him to do anything productive.
  • Voice Grunting: A weird chattering noise, likely meant to sound like a cartoonish bone rattle.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Papyrus's fight starts off as a complete joke, but he's the first boss of the game that is capable of turning the game mechanics on their head, forcing you to adapt to a new playstyle. invoked
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Undyne cites it as the reason she can't let him in the Royal Guard — he's strong enough, but he's simply too sweet and innocent to handle the position. Notably, he's the only enemy in the game that won't make the finishing blow in battle — he's specifically in it to capture you, and will just leave you in his shed, with only a basic fence to keep you there. Even in a No Mercy run, he'll immediately offer to spare the Child when they fight, believing they still have it in them to be a good person. If you take him up on it, he lets you move on without any more trouble... and even when killed, he'll have no regrets, and continue to say that he thinks you can change.
  • Willfully Weak: It's implied that he holds back against the player, because he finds them endearing and because he's only trying to capture them rather than kill them. Undyne even mentions that Papyrus isn't as dumb or useless as he realizes. One has to wonder, considering how freaking powerful Sans, his brother, is, what exactly would Papyrus look like if sufficiently angered? Datamining shows that he's actually slightly stronger than Undyne is during her first battle, and only slightly weaker than she is during her second.
  • Workaholic: Implied, since he always seems busy and considers 7 hours of sleep a night to be a waste of time. He's also always punctual, answers his phone within two rings no matter what, and in one phone conversation, mentions that he'd never go on vacation after he and Undyne joke about it.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He has absolutely no qualms about beating the player character within a hit point of their life, even irritably lecturing them on how to fight if they aren't good enough at it for him, then dragging them off to throw them in a cage in his shed-turned-prison with a bowl full of dog food to eat after he's knocked them out. Sure, he won't go as far as to kill anyone, but he's surprisingly brutal.


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