The Gamers is a film series produced by The Dead Gentlemen and Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. The series revolves around Tabletop Gaming (mainly Tabletop RPGs) and currently consists of the following installments:
- The Gamers (2001): The Original Short Film
- The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)
- The Gamers: Hands of Fate (2013)
- A new series that continues on from the Hands of Fate cliffhanger.
- The Mask of Death (2012): A tabletop module based on Dorkness Rising.
- The Shadow's Dungeon (2013): A "prequel" tabletop module describing the obstacles faced by the party leading into The Hands of Fate.
- Pwned (2015): A novel revolving around characters playing Fartherall Online, an MMORPG.
Most of the series can now be watched on Zombie Orpheus Entertainment's YouTube channel. Not to be confused with Gamers , a film about a far more dysfunctional crew of players, or the Scottish film GamerZ.
The series as a whole provides examples of following tropes:
- Affectionate Parody: Of tabletop role-playing, oh so much.
- Another Dimension: Besides ours, Fartherall and Countermay. Countermay is actually a nexus of several of these, with many of its factions not native to it. Roleplaying games played in one actually happen in the one they're set in (including Fatherall characters playing a game set on Earth), which is presented as if it were Deep-Immersion Gaming until The Reveal in the third movie. A few characters have discovered ways to travel between them, including physically swapping player characters with their players.
- Bland-Name Product: Mountain Doom and Dr. Leper, among others.
- Character Development:
- In Dorkness Rising, with Joanna's influence, the group as a whole makes a relatively subtle transition to really playing the module, following the plot, and having a better time for it. Meanwhile, Lodge learns to trust his players and ease off the reins, giving them a chance for more creative fun.
- In Hands of Fate, Cass goes from being openly disdainful of the card game and its players and playing just to get into a chick's pants to enjoying the game (and the players) for its own merits and story.
- Also in Hands of Fate, both Cass and Lodge are challenged by their respective love interests for seeing women as prizes to be earned or won.
- Constructed World: Word of God is that all fantasy RPG segments of the movies (as well as the Framing Device of Humans & Households and the Pwned novel) take place in the same world, Fartherall. The series reveals this was originally created in-universe by a professor as the setting for the generic RPG they're playing in the first movie, and the setting was adapted to D&D and later Pathfinder by Lodge.
- Creator Cameo: Author Matt Vancil appears in each of the films, as well as taking a larger role in The Gamers Live.
- Critical Failure: And...
- Critical Hit
- Darker and Edgier: The player characters become increasingly this with each movie. In the first film, the players are mostly lovable dorks; In the second film, we have a nice novice female player, two raging jerks (although one is only mostly this to his employees), and a player who's relatively nice but becoming increasingly psychotic. In the third film, the Jerkass is the main protagonist, and the player who was developing psychosis ends up kidnapping and assaulting a random stranger due to his disassociation with reality.
- Deep-Immersion Gaming: Present in all installments, but it goes off the deep end in Hands of Fate, where the Shadow manages to banter with the characters even when the DM isn't present, and mocks ideas that are major hangups for same. This turns out to be a plot point.
- Failed a Spot Check: Lampshaded.
- Happy Dance:
- Both the characters and the players in the first film after they defeat the Shadow. Taken to slightly disturbing levels as Nimble's player rips off his shirt.
- Also, Daphne in Dorkness Rising after she defeats a band of goblins mostly by herself.Sing it! Give it to me! Give it up! Oh, you can't 'cause y'all dead!
- Chibi happy happy Chibi Chibi happy Chibi dance!
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
Lodge: Y-y-you can't backstab it! You can't *sneak-attack* an inanimate object!Leo: Why not? It's PRONE!Lodge: It doesn't have a discernible anatomy!Leo: It's got a SPINE! Doesn't it?[Leo rolls a Natural 1, causing Flynn to stab himself]Leo: [in shock] Bards suck.Lodge: That...was unprecedented, Leo.
- The players in the first movie literally order their own deaths. Somehow.
- In Dorkness Rising, Cass makes a scene about not being allowed a saving throw which he can't win short of a natural twenty. He gets his way and rolls a 1.
- Same thing happens to Flynn in the second film:
- Gods can be imprisoned by encasing them in their own element. The Hierophant uses this to trap Therin.
- In The Gamers Live, Leo's third character is a Borg. When Lodge asks how Borg can be in Pathfinder, the others make vague references to obscure game supplements. Later, Lodge rules that Gary's character takes massive penalties for a bad back; when Gary protests, Lodge (prompted by an audience member) gleefully informs him that rule is in the same supplement as the Borg.
- In and Out of Character: The in-game action often pauses while the players are strategizing.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cass, from the second and third films. As he notes at one point, "I'm a dick - not an asshole."
- Noodle Incident:Newmoon's player: And that will totally make up for that orphanage we burned down!
Cass: What did I tell you? You make one 11-year-old cry and they stop bugging you.
- And, upon being told that fifteen regular gamestore customers have refused to play with the group:
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: Several examples.
- In The Gamers, polymorphing The Shadow into an Ogre, because Rogar has a Sword of Ogre Decapitation.
- In Hands of Fate, using a quest item that can resurrect an army on the other player's army of undead soldiers - an army they have no means of supporting once they have to start paying for the food of an army that big.
- Rage Against the Author:
Now you, I have quite the quarrel with.
- An in-fiction example at the end of the first movie.
- The Shadow in the third movie when he summons the players.
- Also Myriad in the third movie, when she suspects her world is being manipulated from outside by the "hands of fate."
- Random Number God: Played for comedy.
- Role-Playing Game Verse
- Rules Lawyer: Cass. Newmoon's player to a lesser degree.
- Shared Universe: Connected to JourneyQuest via the Hopjockey meta setting (all created by Matt Vancil).
- Shout-Out: Many, many of them.
- In the first movie, they talk about "the elf with the scimitars". In the second movie, Lodge's cat is named Guenhwyvar.
- The words "LONG LIVE GYGAX" are inscribed on a cursed door in the second movie, referencing the game's late creator.
- Cass' full name is Sean Cassidy, like X-Men member Banshee.
- Nimble is the name of a player character in the infamous movie Mazes and Monsters. The group in that movie also talks a lot about "playing at the ninth level." In Dorkness Rising, Lodge announces that the group will be starting at ninth level for his new game.
- Sir Osric's name is possibly a reference to the OSRIC (Old School Reference and Index Compilation) game system, which came out in 2006, but could also be a reference to King Osric, from the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian.
- The ninjas vs. pirates scene was actually filmed in the offices of Wizards of the Coast, and several Wizards employees were given speaking roles, including Female Luster, as she's credited.
- Lodge's Sluggy Freelance shirt.
- Brother Silence attempting to perform a Jedi mind trick: "There is plenty of room for us."
- When torturing the minion of the necromancer in the inn, Luster uses a Shoryuken on him, although s/he screams "Hadouken!"
- When told that a peasant is rummaging through their things, Gary screams, "I WASTE HIM WITH MY CROSSBOW!"
- During the first battle, against the goblins, a remix of the Final Fantasy IV boss battle theme can be heard, with the Victory Fanfare playing after the battle is over.
- When opening the chest toward the middle of the second movie, something resembling the Zelda small item sound is heard.
- When the Psionic Spirit Blade is retrieved from the chest, the music changes to a short tune similar to the Star Wars "Old Republic"/"Force" theme.
- Most of the items from the chest in the second movie are from the card game Munchkin. Shown are the Kneepads of Allure, Spiked Codpiece, Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment, and the Unnatural Axe.
- Near the end of the second movie, Cass is shown wearing a shirt that features Grimtooth, of the infamous Grimtooth's Traps series.
- The Ominous Latin Chanting in one of Cass' Matrix flashbacks is "Dooooo or dooo not, there iiiiiis no tryyyyyyy!" The full list is played over the credits with a different tune, it's basically just quotes of random geek-friendly movies and TV shows.
- You Look Familiar: Oh, so much between all three movies:
- Nathan Rice as Newmoon and Lodge/Osric.
- Phil M. Price as Nimble and
- Emily Olson as Princess and Therin.
- Matt Vancil as Hunk and Mitch (and also Chibi-Chan in the third movie, though you never see his face).
- Jen Page as Female Luster and Penelope.
- Matt Shimkus as Rogar and the Shadow (in Hands of Fate; Evan Shimono played the Shadow in the original).
- Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: In-Universe The Legacy are trying to do this on purpose, trying to kill everything about the game that makes it unique in hopes he will drive out the storyline fans and open it to pro-tournaments instead of ones that control the plot, just to make some easy cash from prizes and sponsorship deals.