Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

Go To
"How am I supposed to write a module based on an adventure, if we never finish the adventure?"
Kevin Lodge

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is a feature-length sequel to The Gamers, featuring a new group of role-players trying to make their way through a campaign—and dying repeatedly. They decide to run it over again and add some new blood, but the only person they can get to join is one player's ex-girlfriend. The campaign deals with a necromancer who is taking over the world...or so it seems at first. Unlike the first film, all of the players' names are revealed, as well as the fact that the game they are playing is explicitly Dungeons & Dragons, since they had the consent of Wizards of the Coast to use their game.

The movie provides examples of following tropes:

  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Brother Silence, Cass' character. Problem is, Lodge's setting explicitly lacks such monks. Eventually they both grudgingly settle for a middle ground, with Cass playing his preferred class the way he wants, but as a human, rather than an elf.
  • All There in the Manual: Downplayed. The film is pretty accessible even if one has only very vague understanding of what a tabletop RPG is. However, certain specific actions taken by players or performed by their characters make much more sense with either knowing Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition rules or using the "d20" subtitlesnote .
  • Artifact of Doom: The Grimoire, the Mask of Death and the Heart of Therin.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Flynn getting killed by an undead, roasted turkey.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Played for Laughs. The game campaign does that constantly, since everyone is switching between acting in-character and the conversation they are having at the table, without cutting from the game.
  • The Cameo: Mark (the Red) and the student girl/princess from first The Gamers show up briefly. There is also Monte Cook as Bill the Priest.
  • Cats Are Mean: Guenhwyvar bites an arm off Flynn's mini.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Cass creates a female fighter in "bikini mail" and using a broad sword for Joanna to play. Joanna prefers the character she rolled up, thanks. Her mini is still that of a chainmail babe, though.
  • Chainsaw Good: As one of the items pulled "from the trunk".
  • Character Alignment: invoked Sir Osric is Lawful Good while Luster is Chaotic Evil, desperately trying to claim she's Chaotic Neutral.
  • Character as Himself: The credits include "The Purple Ninja as Himself."
  • Character Development: Both in- and out of the game:
    • Flynn actively embraces being a Quirky Bard.
    • Sir Osric goes from strict Knight in Shining Armor to turning a blind eye to some of the antics of his companions.
    • Gary and Leo manage to get over their power-gaming obsessions and learn to enjoy the game for something more than killing things for experience and loot.
    • Lodge learns to loosen up and allow players have their own fun, too, rather than railroading them into the outcomes he wants. This is an important plot-point, as he's trying to publish a module of their adventure.
    • In the end, Cass admits he was wrong and went over the line, even if he has to force himself to say it.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Lodge allows the guys to use the gear stored from previous adventure, as long as it was listed into the trunk. They get really creative with this.
    Silence: (after pulling a 12-gauge) It's from the trunk!
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Heart of Therin.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Guenhwyvar the cat jumps suddenly on the table, knocking down the minis. In the ensuing confusion, everyone in the party reposition their characters into better spots.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Joanna's character is getting a lot of flak from D&D playing viewers, since it's a Glass Cannon and not archetypical fighter able to tank everything. All while the entire point of her build is to break from that archetype.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    Lodge: (as Leo is pulling another character sheet) How many of those do you've got?
    Leo: (deadpan) Fifty.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • When "sneaking" into the Church of Therin, the cleric Osric stops to apologize to ("Sorry, Bill") is Monte Cook, who wrote most of the core rulebooks for third edition D&D.
    • The church Inquisitor who greets Flynn, Luster, and Daphne after their encounter with the peasant and escorts them to the Hierophant is played by Sean K. Reynolds, another long-time veteran of the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons development team, who wrote for the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, and the Ghostwalk supplement with Monte Cooke.
  • Credits Gag: Numerous, further combined with a blooper reel going in the background.
    No dice were lost in the making of this film
  • Critical Existence Failure: At one point Flynn is scared for his life because he only has one hit point left but otherwise acts normally. He is jumped on lightly by an undead turkey, which kills him.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Therin, the goddess of light. Her clergy and cult are all about compassion and helping the needy.
  • Cue Card Pause: Courtesy of an informative note from the GM to one player:
    Flynn: But Jack was too clever. He led the sea king inland, stretching out the waves, which sucked!
    (notices signal, turns over card)
    Flynn:...OUT the sea king's power, as there was not enough water to drown Jack.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In a sense. When Sir Osric stands up against being compelled by the Hierophant, heroic music starts playing as he effortlessly kills the Number Two and sticks it to the villain. It would take an impossible Will save by game rules in normal circumstances, but since Sir Osric is a GMPC, Lodge just ignores the rules and instead goes for dramatic scene and set-up for action. He then wisely keeps Sir Osric disabled, to leave the spotlight for the actual PCs.
  • Death Is Cheap: Played for Laughs. The party is equipped with a Staff of Resurrection, which they proceed to use to continuously revive Flynn. He dies so many times they eventually use dead bodies of the bard to build a barricade.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Serial Escalation style, of Lodge versus the party's three munchkin players.
    • First, we have Leo, playing Flynn the Bard complete with a nonchalant "How hard can it be?", since he normally plays as a Fighter. Turns out, in combat, very hard if you don't think of defensive abilities with a low HP character with limited armor. Cue him going through 51 clones of Flynn through the adventure, and burning the party's Staff of Healing's entire stock of charges on casting Raise Dead on him.
    • When a Death Demon cast Dominate on Brother Silence and Luster, Cass argues with Lodge about the "Critical Success Rule", saying that Silence would have a 5% chance of success on the normally impossible Will save anyways. Cue the Random Number God and Finagle's Law teaming up to punish Cass for his smug presumption that he'll roll it, by immediately rolling a Natural One. Lodge of course enjoys throwing that rule back in Cass's face, since it means that he gets complete control of Silence.
    • The party finds a hireling who served as a pack mule for their previous party's spare gear from the 2nd failed run of the modulenote . Lodge, in an effort to let the guys have a bit of freedom, let's them take items from the chest the hireling was carrying, so long as it's on the list. Unfortunately for Lodge, the guys sneaked in some items onto the list, as they were playing Munchkin on the back of the sheet, including a light we mean "Psionic Spirit Blade", a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun, a chainsaw, and some dynamite. Lodge had to get really creative just to counter most of it.
      Lodge: (After Silence pulls out a shotgun) What the fu...
      Cass (Silence's player): It's from the trunk.
  • Drinking Game: The DVD release included an official one. It's openly designed for college parties and getting completely plastered within the 105 minutes of running time, since it's at least ten bottles of beer and anywhere between twelve to twenty one shots.
  • Dump Stat: Invoked toward Charisma, especially for a Fighter. And unlike every other unorthodox choice Joanna made, this one never comes back as anything else than just a waste.
    Joan: I put her other bonuses in Dexterity and Charisma
    Cass: (sarcastically) Charisma?
    Everyone else: (sarcastically, in unison) Weeee!
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Played for Laughs when the reanimated, roasted turkey emerges from behind Flynn, and he slowly turns toward it, just in time to realise his own doom.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Flynn stabbing himself rather than the evil grimoire. He failed to attack a book.
      Flynn: Bards suck.
      Lodge: That... was unprecedented.
    • During Hilarious Outtakes, Leo's first character (played by the same actor as Leo) failed to demolish the wall made out of loose bricks while jumping on it.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Nodwick, the hireling left behind during the 2nd attempt to finish the campaign, eventually pieces together the explanation given to him by the party.
    Nodwick: Hang on a minute. (Beat) You're not my former masters. You're completely different characters being played by the same players.
  • Excuse Plot: The in-game quest is a banal Fetch Quest to face-off against "an evil doer" and bring back his Artifact of Doom. While the original group had no issues with that, it takes a while for Joanna to realise that nope, there isn't any grand story or intracite characters to interact with and it's all full of placeholders. While there is a twist in the end of the quest, it's still pretty generic "take on a Sinister Minister".
  • Facepalm: Lodge as Sir Osric has one when Leo yet again forgets about Flynn's Bardic Knowledge, despite being blatantly prodded by the party to use it. Right next to him, Cass as Brother Silence is busy eye-rolling, because even he understands how bad Leo is at this.
  • Flat Character: Lodge openly admits that his NPCs are cardboard cut-outs and he doesn't even have names for majority of them. Everyone except Joanna is already aware of this, further removing their incentive to talk with any of the characters.
  • Foreshadowing: Guenhwyvar, Lodge's cat, is shown sleeping over a stack of empty pizza boxes at the side of the table during their second gaming session. When the battle with Mort Kemnon starts, she jumps on the board with minis, creating chaos in the battle order and ultimately saving the party.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The DVD release has quite a few unusual choices for subtitles, including 1337 $p33k, Swedish Chef, binary (which takes up the entire screen), and "d20," which references all the combat techniques and skill checks used in the game.
  • Garnishing the Story: When Lodge and Joanna are playing Pizzajitsu (Pirates vs. Ninjas), Joanna asks why there are pirates, and Lodge says that everything is cooler with them.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: When Gary decides to have his character hit on Joanna's character, she reminds him he's role playing a woman. That doesn't dissuade him.
  • God of Light: Therin is the Goddess of Light for the setting, for whom the adventurers are questing to help. Or so they think.
  • Good Pays Better: Joan's Selfless Wish in the end makes Lodge grant the remaining members of the party bonuses, even if originally there was no other profit than the wish itself. This is further contrasted with just how plainly inefficient the "murder everything that moves" approach of the party was throughout their attempt to best the scenario.
  • Hidden Depths: After Cass storms out, Gary, out of all people, asks what happens next and consolidates the group.
  • His Name Is...: Under torture, Drazuul tries to warn the party that Mort Kemnon is not their true enemy. Luster pours all the holy water on him before he can finish.
  • Hot for Teacher: Gary. His lecturer and character are played by the same person and he's daydreaming about her during classes.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Cass and Joanna used to be a pair like this when they were still dating, and now they are still in the same gaming group. She barely reaches to his shoulders. This also carries over to their characters, Brother Silence and Daphne.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: During the fight against the zombie ninjas, Lodge had almost given up on getting the party to play out the battle the way he intended, and just lets the characters use whatever equipment they have. Brother Silence pulls out a shotgun from behind his back and goes to town.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After the big deal he made about not allowing the players to use the Monk class as it didn't fit the Europe based setting, Lodge has them ambushed by ninjas in the second combat encounter.
    Cass: Oh... monks you have a problem with but, hey, ninjas are OK.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Luster and Brother Silence deliberately disrespect the goblin totem in order to provoke a battle. Why? Experience Points, of course.
  • Ignoring by Singing: When Cass tries to convince everyone he should be allowed to play as an elf in an all-human campaign, Lodge has already had enough and simply sings aloud over the argument, with rest of the party joining in.
  • In the Back: Flynn tries to warn the party about Rennard, who backstabs enemies, right as he gets stabbed.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Daphne's build really is terrible for this campaign in exactly the ways the other players called out (and they know what they will be against, as it's their 3rd attempt with this scenario). Not only is she a Glass Cannon that almost dies after taking one hit, the "cannon" part relies on chaining kills with critical hits from piercing damage... in a game where almost every fight is against high-HP undead enemies immune to critical hits and resistant to piercing damage. And of course, putting her points in Charisma did end up being a waste, since not only there is never a chance to use it, but Daphne herself never did anything requiring it.
    • While Cass giving the female fighter a broad sword and designing a stereotypical chainmail babe was condescending, making a character for a brand new player is not. The game is complicated, especially when starting at level 9, especially in case of 3rd edition D&D. Joana's character, while surprisingly well-designed, is still mostly ineffective outside a single encounter.
  • Kavorka Man: Leo's bard, who is fat and rather unappealing Camp Straight dude... but he also has 20 ranks in Seduction.
  • Large Ham: The Hierophant during his speech revealing himself as the Big Bad gets more and more hammy as the speech continues. A few lines in particular are must be seen and heard to be believed.
    Hierophant: I brought peace to this unworthy land. I resurrected the glory of the light! AND ONLY I AM DESERVING OF THE POWER OF THERIN!! Now, KNEEL BEFORE YOUR NEW GOD!
  • Last-Second Word Swap: "Yeah, just like surfing the Internet for por...litical commentary."
  • Light Is Not Good: Lester's class gets turned from Sorcerer to Cleric, wearing pure white and keeping fair hair. But it's still Gary's characters, so he plays as if Lester was Chaotic Evil.
  • Logical Fallacies: Cass actions run on those, but nothing beats his argument about his new character, an elf monk - "if Joanna can play the character she wants, I can play the character I want". This completely misses the point she simply made her own PC rather than using a pre-made rolled by him, while Cass' PC is going directly against limits established by Lodge.
  • The Loonie: Gary is playing the game mostly for the giggle, regardless of how convoluted or illogical his actions would be.
  • Medium Awareness: When the party tries to convince Nodwick to provide the gear from the last game, he realizes that they're not his former masters but different characters being played by the same people.
  • Mega Neko: Guenhwyvar appears gigantic in the RPG Mechanics 'Verse when she jumps onto the table.
  • Moral Myopia: Refusing to torture a prisoner is presented as an example of a paladin being Stupid Good, even though he isn't the only Lawful Good character and Daphne otherwise strictly follows the alignment. Not only that, the reason was that it was dishonorable, not any moral concern, and allowing it later is presented as character growth.
  • Never My Fault: Cass lashes out at Gary for wasting a demon-frying spell on a peasant right before an encounter, even though he supported it.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mort Agrippa summons Ninja Zombies, or Zombie Ninjas, possibly Zinjas.
  • Not Completely Useless: Flynn the Bard, while dying like flies note  is still very useful thanks to the magic properties of his music and Bardic Knowledge.
  • Noodle Incident: Lodge is unable to find a fifth player despite asking fifteen regular gamers because his group has an unfavorable reputation.
    Cass: What'd I tell ya? You make one 11-year-old cry and they stop bugging you.
  • Obvious Villain, Secret Villain: The party are originally questing to stop the evil Mort Kemnon from using the Mask of Death to overthrow the King and topple the goddess Therinn. Once he's been dealt with and the Mask retrieved, however, it turns out the Hierophant, leader of the Church of Therinn and the one who had originally sent the party out, wanted the artifact to use it, rather to destroy it. He planned to become the Lord over both Life and Death as he'd already imprisoned Therinn in her own divine talisman, and thus becomes the Party's true enemy.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Drazuul's face epitomizes this trope once it becomes clear the paladin isn't going to stand up for him.
    • After Cass has a whispered consultation with Gary, Cass says, "Okay, let's roleplay through this". Joanna instantly realises this means trouble.
  • Pirates vs. Ninjas: As part of a completely absurd tabletop game Joanna and Kevin play together. She even lampshades this.
  • Railroading: Lodge has serious issues with this, further compounded by his distrust of his own players. He not only constantly reinforces certain outcomes and decisions on the party, but he also introduces elements that are impossible to overcome, disregards game rules, arbitrarily disables character powers, and generally treats his campaign as a novel rather than a game. In their final attempt to beat it, he even inserts a strict GMPC to be the railroad guardian. Even after he learns to loosen up a bit, he still has to rely on cheap tricks to keep the plot moving and frequently takes direct control of the entire party, dictating where and when they go.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Lester's clothes are originally red and while being possessed the lighting makes it appear as if it was red and black.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: The original trio has clearly this stance toward the game. The fact they are playing Dungeons & Dragons only further reinforces it. Even Joanna, who initially wanted to do in-depth roleplay and negotiations, eventually adopts this stance, since there isn't much else in the campaign to do except fight.
  • Rules Lawyer: Cass, to a very annoying extent, even within his own dysfunctional group.
  • Running Gag:
    • Flynn dying yet again.
    • invoked Luster insisting she's not evil, but Chaotic Neutral.
    • Gary forgetting that Luster is female, so he portrays her in drag.
      • Few other recurring jokes are build around various tricks used to swap him with the female actress.
  • Rule Zero: Lodge tries and miserably fails to invoke it against the antics of his group on regular basis.
  • Serious Business: The driving force behind the plot is Cass' insistence to "beat" the scenario prepared by Lodge, right down to recruiting new players to even the odds, because he simply can't let the game beat him instead. His progressively more unhinged and aggressive reactions also come from how serious he takes "winning".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Parodied with Mark, the only survivor from the previous movie. He freezes when Lodge mentions him returning to role-playing, all while giving him a Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • Shout-Out: Lots of them, naturally.
    • There are numerous nods to the first movie.
    • Various music pieces from Final Fantasy, in particular Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy VII are used for combat, along with the series wide "Victory Fanfare" playing after defeating the goblin tribe.
    • Brother Silence tries to pull a Jedi mind trick at one point on an innkeeper. He later fights with a light saber, too. There are few other, minor cues to Star Wars.
    • "Think 'Kung-Fu Monk', grasshopper".
    • Hadouken!
    • More than half of the overly aggressive reactions of Luster are taken from Knights of the Dinner Table strips.
    • One which doubles as foreshadowing: Lodge's cat is called Guenhwyvar. Near the end of the adventure, she jumps on the table and helps the party win a major battle, which is represented in universe as a very large black cat appearing from thin air and attacking the enemies.
    • The items that Cass takes out of the trunk are named for items in the card game Munchkin.
    • In Hilarious Outtakes, Fastidian, Gary's cleric character, declares it's morphin' time!
    • There is also him commanding the undead to do the Thriller dance.
  • Spanner in the Works: The tide of battle against Mort Kemnon is turned when Lodge's cat jumps on the table — which is briefly represented in-universe and to scale — and messes up the pieces. Cass quickly puts them back in more favourable positions, before Lodge takes notice.
  • Stealth Pun: There is a visible Munchkin box on the table when they start playing with Joanna. The group consist of her and not one, but three munchkins.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Happens in-universe. Cass has outburst like this every time anyone has any other goal than "winning". Then there is his way over the line behaviour when Joan decides to "waste" her own wish on "some stupid story", all while everyone else in the group agreed it's a great decision.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In Cass’s opinion, Joanna's using the wish granted by Therin to resurrect Osric. She apparently forgot that Death Is Cheap in Dungeons & Dragons. However, because Joanna chose such a simple and selfless wish rather than a more selfish one, not only is Lodge, Gary, and Leo impressed, but Lodge via Therin rewards everyone who stuck through with fairly awesome bonuses. Flynn receives a level in the prestige class of Cantor. Luster has her evilness purged from her, and while it comes at the cost of her Sorcerer spells, which admittedly may not thrill a player wanting to play a character as they want, does get all her levels of Sorcerer replaced with equal levels as a good aligned Cleric, which as 3.X Dungeons and Dragons players will point out is considered one of the best classes for min-maxing and optimization in the game. Sir Osric gets his paladin abilities restored in addition to being revived, and is dubbed Lord Commander of Therin's Paladins.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: It takes him a while, but eventually Flynn uses his Bardic Knowledge when the other PCs try to pump him for exposition.
    Silence: How could this be?
    Flynn: I have no idea. [sound of dice rolling] Actually, I do! Bardic Knowledge!
  • Sunglasses at Night: Once the campaign is over, it's a middle of night by then. Regardless of that, Gary puts on a pair upon leaving the house.
  • Super Gullible: Sir Osric, The Paladin (and a GMPC), tries to keep the party on a morally upright path, but whenever they need to do something illegal, they simply Bluff him into running out of the room to fight some non-existent evil. Because his Sense Motive skill is so low, apparently, it works like a charm every time. He seems to gradually catch on to what they're doing and eventually he wanders off to examine the "fine yet rustic architecture" when the party is about to torture a demon to find the villain's lair.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When faced with a Death Demon, Cass decides to roll a mathematically impossible save in the 5% chance that he can resist by rolling a natural twenty. He rolls a natural one.
    • Drazuul smugly reminds the party that a Paladin will not allow torture to take place. Cue Osric begrudgingly leaving to examine the "fine yet rustic architecture."
    • Gary has a moment of this right after being chewed out for killing a random peasant
    Gary: How much experience do I get for the farmer?
  • Training from Hell: Parodied with Cass and his "training" scene. It consists of him reciting Monster Manual from memory, while Gary flails his bare torso with a toy whip if he makes a mistake.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Cass calls out Joanna for making a Glass Cannon Fighter with improved initiative... while he wanted to play an elf monk. Within 3e D&D ruleset, that combination means playing as a Fragile Speedster Glass Cannon, making Cass a massive Hypocrite. Alternatively, he's furious, because Joan's own character is "stealing" the spot he wanted for himself. But good luck figuring those out without knowing the game rules on your own.
    • Likewise, Lodge forcing him to play as a human instead, at least from mechanical stand-point, makes the character far more survivable and efficient, due to lack of obvious flaws and an extra skill rank.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Technically not a villain, but Cass had spent the entire campaign openly ridiculing and condescending to ex-girlfriend Joanna (Mid-argument, Gary breaks in to say "Why did you guys break up again?") namely for being a new gamer and a woman. On top of this, his ex-girlfriend and Game Master best friend openly and blatantly hit on each other. Cass's Jerkass tendencies reach the exploding point when Joanna's character earns a single unlimited wish. Instead of using it to obtain godhood or anything else that might benefit her and/or the party, she asks for Sir Osric to be resurrected. As the group's biggest Munchkin, this goes against everything he stands for. Put off by Joanna and Lodge's sentimental story-before-achivement tendencies, Cass ends up shouting at everyone and storming off.
  • Villainous Valor: After donning the Mask of Death, Mort Kemnon brushes off the group's attacks and even disarms Daphne, before tossing her spear back to her so that she's not an unarmed opponent.
  • Voice Clip Song: In the closing credits.
  • We Have Reserves: Fed up with Flynn dying, Leo ends up creating 50 copies of his character for combat situations, and eventually weaponizes it by telling everyone to "hide behind the mound of dead bards."
    Flynn #13: There's 37 more of me, asshole!
  • Who's Laughing Now?: After Joan's PC effortlessly takes down almost entire goblin tribe on her own, she rubs it right into Cass' face for ever questioning her ability to design a character, while Leo and Gary are simply left speechless.
    Daphne: (dancing and singing) Sing it, give it to me, give it all! Oh you can't, cause you are ALL DEAD! That's right! That's who takes Improved Initiative! Wassup?
  • Writer's Block: Lodge is trying to turn his scenario into a module and publish it, but can't focus on it due to awful experiences he has so far when running it. A Writer's Block Montage is spread throughout the whole film.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The various in-game signs, which are all deliberately written in blatantly faux Old English.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: Brother Silence pulls a lightsaber out of the weapon chest, but Lodge calls him out on it because it's not even the same mechanical system as the game they're playing. Cass responds by saying that he doesn't see a lightsaber, because that would be copyright infringement. He pulled out a "Psionic Spirit Blade". Lodge just rolls his eyes and lets him go with it.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: After defeating Mort Kemnon, Joanna realizes that it still isn't over—partly due to some in-story hints, partly because they're still playing.