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Literature / Binder of Shame

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And that was how our party ended up being a dwarven fighter with a piece of broccoli for a head, a chick in a chainmail bikini, two wizards, the luckiest fighter in the world and a ninja brandishing the dreaded halfling on a stick.

Al Bruno III's series of allegedly-autobiographical stories about the Tabletop Games group he endured throughout his college years. Al himself, known as Ab3 on RPG.Net, is led to the group by his friend Weasley Crusher and rapidly finds himself forced into the role of the Only Sane Man of the group. Arguments, dysfunction, and Total Party Kills abound as they systematically ruin every game they can find, from Dungeons & Dragons to Call of Cthulhu to Rifts.

The title of the series comes from the philosophy of the Killer Game Master Psycho Dave: "Every D&D game has many binders but each D&D game must have a Binder of Shame and a Binder of Glory. The player characters that die heroic deaths are saved forever in the page protectors of the Binder of Glory. The characters that suffer, humiliating, soul-crushing deaths go into the Binder of Shame. It's a sign of quality GMing to have a Binder of Shame three times the size of your Binder of Glory."

This provides examples of:

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Biff Bam is an exCELLerant example of this trOUPe.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Most of the session's player characters are either Chaotic Neutral done specifically be malicious to the GM, which would technically make them Chaotic Evil eventually, or straightforwardly Chaotic Evil simply because they commit heinous acts and have no regard for the law. Because of their active malice, they are not even remotely close to Chaotic Stupid.
    El Disgusto: “We’re Chaotic Neutral, that’s practically a get out of plot developments free card.”
  • Ambiguously Gay: Biff Bam; the one time he runs a game at his house he suggests that they deal with the heat by removing their shirts (and he's quite insistent on that), and he deals with players not liking his rulings by wrestling them to the ground; and the rules that failed SAN checks make the character act increasingly swishy.
  • A God Is You: The premise of the campaign in "The God Trip" - the players are turned into gods in order to save the universe. They proceed to abuse their powers instead.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Zig-zagged, by proxy of another blog series done by Al Bruno III himself known as "Price Breaks and Heartaches." It retold "First Edition: The Prequel" through bits and pieces of "Creep on the Borderlands," which would have brought more insight about the other people in the Dysfunction Junction group. They also showed up in other parts of "Price Breaks." However, as of 2020, "Price Breaks and Heartaches" had been taken down.
  • Anticlimax: What normally happens within each entry of the Binder of Shame. Oftentimes, it's because Ab3 decided to eject himself from the session completely, and other times it's because the campaign or session of note had to be destroyed in the most simple, efficient way possible. Sometimes, that efficient way leads to an Apocalypse How; more often than not, however, it doesn't.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: True to form for El Disgusto. In "The God Trip," it's explained he had been discharged from Harvey Whitstein's Martial Arts Emporium with a black belt. Of course, it's also explained that he was discharged because the rest of his clothes also became black from biological festering. The "early graduation" became an ego twist and El Disgusto legitimately thinks himself to be the reincarnation of a long deceased ninja: "Shinobi."
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: While Johnny Tangent and Short Attention Span Larry are meant to be this character trope as people, everyone in Ab3's group had problems paying attention to the GM, regardless of who it was.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Oftentimes, El Disgusto tries too hard with making his characters sound cool. In "Creep on the Borderlands," his ninja character was "Lord Baron Whoopass Von Badass."
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Blobert Smith's characters are exemplary of a sincere, albeit misguided attempt to actually try to co-operate with the other players. Some are designed with being the "glue" keeping groups together in mind. However, the way Blobert himself plays gets on the nerves of the other players, who punish him by killing off whatever character he deigns to craft.
  • Basement Dweller: Zig-zagged. Many of the group members used to live in their parents' respective basements, until they moved out for one reason or another. Some have actually moved in with each other and hosted games in their apartments. None of them grow as people from having moved out, though.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Because of El Disgusto and his rampant worshipping of them and trying to play as one even in settings where it doesn't make sense, Ab3 now twitches violently every time someone mentions the word "ninja". He will also kill the character of anyone who makes a Monty Python reference, due to him being sick of it.
    • In "Reservoir Torgs", El Disgusto has developed one in regards to anything reminding him of how his dog bit off the tip of his penis, breaking out the Stick of Pain on anyone who either accidentally or intentionally brings it up.
  • Big Eater: Blobert Smith; in spite of it being hazardous for him to continue a largely gluttonous diet, he does so due to wanting to be free to eat as he chooses.
  • Blemished Beauty: Asenath was a ravishing beauty if you can look past her stunted right arm, which the narrator could not. She boinked the entirety of Ab3's gaming group except for Ab3 himself, even the exceedingly nasty El Disgusto. The trope is thus zig-zagged, since Asenath's beauty was not blemished to anyone other than Ab3.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Cheating Bastard compares stealing milk crates to "tearing the tags off of mattresses, trading bootleg videotapes and bestiality."
  • The Bully: Implied with Cheating Bastard, who uses his tabletop sessions in order to get a one-up on everyone else. It's taken to extremes in "Talisman - This Time It's Personal," where his showboating kept pissing everyone off. He refuses to end the game even when Collateral Darren asks him to.
  • Butt-Monkey: Weasley Crusher is bullied repeatedly by Psycho Dave and El Disgusto in "Creep on the Borderlands." The end result is Weasley having to use his insulin money to buy pizza for the rest of the group, with Ab3 bearing witness on their intent to leave the guy out of the pizza he would buy for everyone else. It's implied in exposition that this has happened before.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Most of them have their moments, but Johnny Tangent is probably the winner.
    Ab3: Night Ranger was a bitchin' band.
    Johnny: Really? I hate them, I just wear the T-shirt to remind me of my character class.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Part of the Cloud Cuckoo Lander nature in most of the people, with the surprising exception of Johnny Tangent, stems from this:
    • Collateral Darren, who believes resumes are useless except to make the paper manufacturers more money. Distressingly, no one can actually think of any reason why his logic is wrong.
    • Psycho Dave indulges in conspiracies against his would-be foes should they be of a minority or a group against his Neo-Nazi beliefs. This has led to him mocking Ab3's NPCs.
  • Crazy in the Head, Crazy in the Bed: Ab3 mentions that one of his returns to gaming happened after he fell foul of this belief.
    I had been torn between a very pretty and level headed brunette and a deeply disturbed redhead. For a time I couldn't decide which of the two I was [to] date exclusively.
    Like most men I went with the crazy redhead and it ended in disaster. A very sexy disaster but a disaster nonetheless.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Multiple people in Ab3's ex-group:
    • Biff Bam likes to think himself eloquent when, in reality, his quirk of phonetic pronunciation comes off as incorrect and tryhard.
    • El Disgusto masks his simplistic spite of Weasley Crusher and Ab3 with "ninja eloquence."
    • Blobert Smith comes off as someone who abuses a thesaurus, without irony.
  • The Dog Bites Back: El Disgusto's abused dog Lamont eventually gets revenge on him by biting off the tip of his penis.
    • A less literal example was the one time Weasly Crusher was the DM. He is much more firm on refusing to let El Disgusto play a ninja compared to the other DMs, is able to improvise when drunk, and the one instance of campaign derailment, which ironically came from Ab3, was met with a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome of Ab3's character being abandoned in favour of getting through the rest of the campaign. While it still goes unfinished and nobody speaks of the Warhammer campaign again (as Weasly got drunk to the point of vomiting), Weasly grew a spine and turned out a better DM than anyone else in the group from just one Warhammer session.
  • Driven to Madness: Implied to be the fate of many strangers who come into contact with El Disgusto's game-ruining ninjas in "A Pinch of Assault."
  • Dwindling Party: A non-fatal example. While no one dies, the tabletop group loses members once the players have greater difficulty reconciling the differences between themselves. "Trapped In Jedi Academy" implies Psycho Dave to have been shunned by the rest of the group since he un-subtly threatened everyone with a shotgun.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe, Ab3 gets up and walks out once he realizes that Psycho Dave expects the group to help Hitler.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: A common issue when Ab3 is given the role of Dungeon Master is the apparent lack of respect his players have for him, and it's the biggest conflict within "Crisis of Infinite Jerks."
  • Dungeonmaster's Girlfriend: Never Leave Your Nads Behind is set up so that Asenath, who was Deviant Boy's girlfriend at the time, can Mary Sue some alien slavers to death. The other players get turned into a pet baby (Psycho Dave), a hairless castrato (Weasley Crusher), and a trophy wife (Ab3), and have to hold out for her to come save them. Luckily, The Amazing Boozehound gets drunk and goes on a one-man LARP session, inadvertently getting the police to save them from it.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The entire damned group, including Ab3 himself. The primary reason he stuck by them is because he had "crappier friends" and "crappier pasttimes" which were more expensive to partake in, meaning his social options were virtually nonexistent. It takes a chance encounter with Annoying Girl to make him realize he can do better.
  • Embarrassing Slide: Deviant Boy and Asenath's photos from a gaming convention include some of these. Though, the trope is zig-zagged when Ab3 seems to be the only one who's actually embarrassed by them.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Psycho Dave is abandoned by the group after he gets too deranged to be around, left on a path of self-destruction. The last time he's mentioned, he's disappeared into the dark recesses of the gaming world.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Psycho Dave. At the start of Ab3's tabletop adventures, Psycho Dave was seen as someone who, while eccentric, was relatively decent at GMing. When the session proper actually starts, it's made known that Psycho Dave is a white supremacist by The Amazing Boozehound. While during the first game Psycho Dave seemed to be affably awful, the facade was dropped in every other session since. On top of this, nothing about Psycho Dave's Neo-Nazism is regarded as comical, and most of the other members of the group actively supported it with their own bigotry.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • "What Do You Mean You Lost My Wife's Kidney?" focuses on Ab3 and his wife handling her first pregnancy. Most of the gaming regulars from the other First Edition entries barely feature in it at all.
    • In "The Good, The Bad, and The Feces," the entry centers around Ab3 testing out a different group, only to cause a problem with one of the other people's toilets and feel guilty about it. Later, he realizes that the plumbing in the house has had to be fixed numerous times when he goes back to apologize to the present Game Master.
  • Gamer Chick: At least once, Asenath has referred to herself by this label. In "Once More With Filking," a musical number is sung which implies she played this trope to the hilt for all the people she slept with.
    Asenath: “One of the cardinal rules of being a gamer chick is never use a gamer guy’s bathroom without sterilizing the area first.”
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Comes up from a discussion on homophobia, no less.
    Cheating Bastard: "...and that's how Biff Bam got thrown out of the Gen Con tournament."
    El Disgusto: "He was so robbed."
    Me: "Robbed? He was being offensive."
    El Disgusto: "Here goes Mister Politically Correct!"
    Me: "He said that Homosexuals should show up when you cast a DETECT EVIL spell. Does that Whack-A-Mole game you use for a brain register what that means?"
    Cheating Bastard: "Well he may have a point, I mean after all that kind of behavior goes against cultural norms."
    Me: "So it's OK to hack and slash non human races but it's evil for people for the same sex to fall in love?"
    El Disgusto: "Works for me."
    Psycho Dave: "Except for chicks. It's OK for chicks to make out."
    Cheating Bastard: "As long as they're hot."
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Ab3 narratively discusses the trope when talking about cliches in the 1980's, and true to form this foreshadows details El Disgusto mentions about his love life, much to the doubts of everyone else. It turns out she does exist — in fact, she's Asenath. As Digusto was the first person to interact with Asenath out of everyone except Ab3, his comments about her flipper arm bring to light the fact they ended on bad terms. Deviant Boy is still upset by the fact Asenath had dated Disgusto beforehand, so this "Girlfriend In Canada" incident winds up doing more damage than most other stories of similar stripe.
  • GMPC: Dick Marvil, the NPC that Biff Bam plays in "Achey Breaky Mythos" and the "mutual friend" of the PCs of a Call of Cthulhu game, quickly proves to be one of these, singlehandedly snapping the necks of a bunch of nightgaunts that the PCs couldn't even scratch, much to Ab3's anger.
    Ab3: This is a load of bullshit. You don't know the first thing about Call of Cthulhu and you sure as Hell have no idea how to run a role-playing game if you think our idea of a good time is being your pet character's FUCKING ENTOURAGE!
  • Gratuitous Ninja: El Disgusto will adamantly insist on playing a ninja no matter the game or it's setting, even if it makes no sense. Even when forced not to play a ninja, he still creates characters that play and act like ninjas.
    • The one time he was not allowed to play a ninja and did not act like a ninja is memorable because he essentially played as a parodied version of Ab3, entirely to piss him off.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In the First Edition, it was implied to be Psycho Dave. When his presence from the group is no more, the tabletop group as a whole begins dwindling, up until the finale, where Ab3 departs. It's noted in Second Edition that most of the time spent with Psycho Dave and the others was almost exclusively told in flashbacks, with Ab3's later experiences not being remotely as bumpy.
    • What ultimately stops Psycho Dave from being the Big Bad is that he was the first person to disappear from the First Edition group, out of boredom with everyone else. Even with him gone, the way he GMs influenced the remainder of the group in a fashion where Deviant Boy and El Disgusto tried to emulate it in their respective campaigns.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Amazing Boozehound's wizard character used a cat on a string as a weapon, and El Disgusto's ninja used Weasley's character.
  • Groin Attack:
    • El Disgusto apparently lost the tip of his penis when he accidentally frightened his dog into biting it.
    • Biff Bam's "PinchUrPeePee!", which is exactly as painful as it sounds.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: El Disgusto's temper flares up at perceived slights at the beginning. These moments culminate in spiteful aggression towards Ab3, the only person to normally be defiant with his ninja characters (on principle of them being the only type of character normally played). Said temper is exacerbated after "Reservoir Torgs," where it's learned exactly how bitter he is about his injury, to where he perceived the phrase "cut off" as a jab against him.
  • Heel Realization: Ab3 has one after he bonds with Annoying Girl while having initially planned to humiliate her, realizing he's become a Jerkass about to destroy the only happiness he has in his life. He has another one when the group mocks her, which causes him to realize that they are not Vitriolic Best Buds and True Companions, but just assholes who don't care about him.
  • Helicopter Blender: In "Reservoir Torgs," everyone has derailed the campaign and is on the run from the law. El Disgusto's ninja finds his path blocked by a police helicopter and attempts to jump his motorcycle over it using a crashed police car as a ramp.
    "But my character's a ninja!
    "Correction. Your character was a ninja. Now he's confetti, wet red confetti.
  • I Am Big Boned: Biff Bam was kicked out of the army because he was "a little too manly" and they were "intimidimated" by him. He's not fat, it's untoned muscle, and he's as strong as Olympic weightlifters...honest!
  • I Call It "Vera": The "Stick of Pain," a wooden yardstick.
  • I Hate Past Me: The main thesis statement of "The Last Straw Trilogy" was Ab3 having decided to stand up for himself a lot more, in order to stop being the punchline to others' jokes. There are still shades of this in Second Edition, with him admitting he was "a jackass, too."
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Psycho Dave couldn't deny being "crazier than a crapfight in a monkey house" but objected to being called a "lousy Dungeon Master".
  • In Name Only: This is always the result whenever Psycho Dave runs a campaign in a pre-established universe. Highlights include Doctor Doom as a petty drug dealer ("You DARE interrupt Von Doom's crack transaction?!") and Yoda as a psychotic Drill Sergeant Nasty ("And now begins the live fire portion of the exercise.").
  • Intentional Heartbreaker: Subverted in the Last Straw trilogy. Ab3 wonders what it would be like to break someone's heart, and asks Annoying Girl out with this in mind. The date goes far better than he expected and they eventually marry.
  • Intoxication Ensues: The Last Straw trilogy features two moments where this was emphasized, in a fashion that extends beyond the escapades of The Amazing Boozehound:
    • The first was in the first part of the trilogy, where Weasly Crusher GMs the game but drinks more and more to the point of vomiting. The entire campaign's surprising co-operativeness was revealed to be part of a social experiment concocted on Ab3 by the rest of the group, at his complete expense.
    • The second was in the final part of the trilogy. It leads to a Musical Episode, most notably, where Ab3 realizes just how horrible the people he was playing with actually are, and evicts them from his place of residence at the time. What's more, not only was he intoxicated, but also drugged by Collateral Darren to see what would happen when someone was slipped LSD.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: El Disgusto apparently smells "like clowns crying."
  • Jackass Genie: Discussed during "A Night at the Inn, a Day at the Racists," when discussing how Psycho Dave (ab)uses his authority as a Game Master.
    "As you can see I soon realized that Psycho Dave ran a game in roughly the same way that Warwick Davis in the film Leprechaun granted wishes. Everything you said your character did was scrutinized for some way to screw you over and the dice ruled all. He was the only guy I know who used a random monster encounter chart for Call of Cthulhu. You haven't lived until you've had a character go mad because he saw a nightgaunt sitting in a restroom stall reading a copy of the Necrnomicon (sic)."
  • Jar Potty: The end of "A Night at the Inn, a Day at the Racists" reveals that El Disgusto has stashed a whole collection of bottles of Mountain Dew under the stairs, except it's not Mountain Dew in the bottles — as he explains, he doesn't like to go upstairs to the bathroom when he's watching TV, so he just goes in the bottles with the intention of throwing them away later. He hasn't thrown away a single one — some of them are crusted with age and other substances, which is exactly as disgusting as it sounds. This revelation, which capped off a truly nasty bit of gaming, was the "rock bottom" moment for Ab3.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: What ultimately separates Ab3 from the rest of the tabletop group, outside of him being the point of view in each story, is that he actively tries to do good.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally; El Disgusto is neglectful of and abusive toward his dog Lamont, his "weapon" of choice being the "Stick of Pain".
  • Killer Game Master: Everyone gets their turn, but the two commonmost Killer GMs are:
    • Psycho Dave: Given Psycho Dave's personality as a Neo-Nazi, it's implied his Killer GM tendencies are reflective of a Social Darwinist philosophy. Whomever can't keep up with the brutality of the campaign is likely looked down upon in his eyes, especially when he frowns upon there not being difficult things to do when anyone else manages the campaign/session. His departure from the group is indicative that his behaviour grew increasingly sadistic and abusive, with him bringing a shotgun to keep the players playing in his final game.
      • "It's a sign of quality GM'ing to have a Binder of Shame at least three times the size of the Binder of Glory."
    • Ab3 has shown tendencies of Killer GM, though his mannerisms indicate more of a "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" method to killing off characters. Given everyone (except Weasly Crusher) deliberately acts as The Millstone to his campaign in comparison to everyone else's, the nature of Ab3's Killer GMing is more him being fed up with people bullying him when he is supposed to be in charge. Most notably, "The Day I Killed The Entire Party Before The First Combat Encounter", Ab3's Killer GMing is best-reflected with an incident involving a character's motorcycle.
  • Lame Comeback
    Blobert Smith: "Your xenophobic gibes grow wearisome."
    Psycho Dave: "And your ass smells like cheese, what’s your point?"
  • Large Ham: A majority of the tabletop ensemble act overly melodramatic, whether they're GMing or not. Blobert Smith himself is more emphatic about vocalizing his woes and authority whenever he makes characters.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Collateral Darren's exits out of each campaign are commonly the result of him being arrested for something, to where the police recognize the tabletop group that he is a part of.
    • In spite of his constant game-busting antics, Cheating Bastard has also gotten his fair share of comeuppance. In fact, the rest of the group expel him after they find out he was cheating at a game of Talisman, which only happened because he provoked Blobert Smith into tackling him to the ground.
  • Lazy Bum: El Disgusto does not take well to being asked to take care of his parents' dog Lamont while they are away.
  • Life Embellished: Admitted. The first page of the Binder explains that some of the campaign sessions were far too traumatic for him to accurately remember everything, so when a lot of it is abridged as it is in later installments, Ab3 has to fill in the blanks himself from either the muddled memories of his or from what he assumes happened.
  • Literal Disarming: Occasionally happens in a tabletop game. When it does, it's Lampshaded with a Monty Python reference thrown in, much to Ab3's dismay.
  • Literally Minded:
    Blobert Smith: "I am afraid that I am still lost in my considerations of these damnable drama cards. Please explain it to me again."
    Me: "Look. It works like this. The cards let you do things that give a little extra 'oomph' to the game. They help your character to do things they might not be able to do ordinarily. Remember that scene in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE where Indy shoots through like 8 nazi's? If that had been a role-playing game he might have done that by playing a Coup De Grace card... or rolling a heck of a lot of twenties."
    Blobert Smith: "So what your saying is- the Indiana Jones Movies had no scripts? That Steven Spielberg and George Lucas utilized drama dice and d20's to make story decisions?"
    Me: "That's not what I said! I said that if the movie had been a role-playing game those events might have happened because of Drama cards."
    Blobert Smith: "But it wasn't a role playing game. It was a movie."
  • Meaningful Name: The nicknames Ab3 gives everyone else are appropriate for the respective people he attributes them to:
    • Ol' Yellowbelly is not a particularly brave individual. While not a Dirty Coward per se, he is not someone who takes well to any of the ways the other people in the group interpret the gaming systems, so much so that the one time he played something reasonable for himself (a Pacifist Druid) his experience is undermined by the other players. It's later revealed he works as a security guard, much to Ab3's confusion.
    • Collateral Darren was named after his Champions character "Collateral Damage."
    • Psycho Dave's main personality traits are his bedwetting, his pyromania, and his Neo-Nazism. It's implied his abusive behaviour during a session he was GMing led to fallout between him and the other players, though this has so far happened offscreen.
    • Cheating Bastard's modus operandi is spelled out for everyone.
    • El Digusto is mostly named for his extremely poor hygiene, which has indirectly been responsible for Ab3's "rock bottom" moments of gaming.
    • Deviant Boy is a shameless pervert who twists anything into something related to sex.
    • Blobert Smith is a Type-II diabetic who refuses to let his condition stop him from eating unhealthily, which is assumedly the reason he's "a Goth of size" enough to be referred to as "Blobert."
    • Weasley Crusher is a fan of Star Trek.
  • Monochrome Casting: Outright stated during "Achy Breaky Mythos," which hinted that everyone there was "pasty-skinned." Other entries also regularly described the other tabletop group members as "pasty" at different times.
    • At one point, a would-be member of the tabletop group was shunned out because Deviant Boy suspected they might have been gay.
  • Mood-Swinger: Nolan Void was a sort of person whose tabletop sessions only lasted one or two days. While he could build marvelous worlds and tell a good story, he was also described as someone who could be "a tad mercurial." Even before his session with Ab3's group went Off the Rails, he showed signs of mood-swinging when he stuffed a bag of dice into a person's mouth.
  • Munchkin: A majority of the group qualify as Munchkins.
    • El Disgusto wants to play a Ninja with a motorcycle in every damn game he's in, regardless of appropriateness for setting or theme. The type of Munchkin that he represents is "The Troll," as it is heavily implied he does this to ruin the game for everyone else as much as possible. El Disgusto's inflated sense of self-worth have constantly put him at odds with Weasly Crusher and Ab3, both of whom he chooses to bully. Whenever it's El Disgusto's turn to get comeuppance, he tries to Rules Lawyer his way through the problem and, when he can't, says Hastur's name or whines about it.
    • Cheating Bastard has an obvious nickname; as a Munchkin in practice, he was a straight example of "The Cheater." He attempted to downplay his blatant cheating by engaging in Gamebusting and RulesLawyer-ing, whenever possible. When he was exposed as a cheater to the rest of the group in a game of Talisman, he was outright told he had to change his ways or else he was not allowed to game with the group anymore. Cheating Bastard chose to be kicked out.
    • Whenever he was a player and not the DM, Psycho Dave's characters were straight examples of the "Psychopath" and "Murderhobo" Munchkin archetypes.
    • Collateral Darren is a Downplayed example of a Gamebuster Munchkin. The one time his Munchkinry is brought up is when he's introduced as having a "natural talent" for breaking Point-Buy systems, so he is also an implied MinMaxer.
  • My Greatest Failure: Ab3 implies he missed his opportunity at "true love" once, with a person who dumped him because she longed for the "idea" of someone better than him.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Ab3 tries to be nice to a Denny's waitress, who is having none of the antics the tabletop group engage in during "The Bad Rifts Project."
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Most of the RP characters have at least a dash of this - see Deviant Boy and Weasley's incestuous lesbian stripper naval officers with matching toe-rings.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Outright stated to be a problem Biff Bam has. In both of the entries he featured heavily in ("Achy Breaky Mythos" and "A Pinch of Assault"), Biff's inability to keep his hands to himself is his most prominent character trait.
  • Noodle Incident: Averted. Initially, some sessions were regarded as "incidents" ("The Damned Treasure of Lord DeGreasy," notably) but have since been divulged on, destroying any ambiguity that said games might have had. While there are still moments of note which could be considered "Noodle Incidents" (such as Weasley's expulsion from college), generally Law of Conservation of Detail is enforced in those situations. Just enough detail is written to explain what goes on, but it's implied there is not much more to the story beyond the aforementioned details.
  • Nose Shove:
    "My character deals with his post-traumatic stress disorder by putting porridge up his nose on moonlit nights."
    "Why would he-"
  • Occidental Otaku: El Digusto's habit of playing ninjas implies this. When not allowed to play a ninja directly, as long as it relates to martial arts (such as a professor of occidental mythology), he does not seem to mind. Given El Disgusto's affinity for martial arts extends to outside of the tabletop game, one can assume he relishes in Japanese culture (or, at least, the Western perception thereof).
  • Off the Rails: "The God Trip."
    • In "The Dammed Treasure of Lord DeGreasey", the first installment of The Second Edition, Psycho Dave's character, a Deep One thief with 18/00 Strength, snaps the ribbed staff that used to be Weasley's character in half in order to destroy the tower and put a decisive end to Deviant Boy's utterly creepy campaign.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: To protect the author.
  • Only Sane Man: Ab3 is supposed to be the main person who is the only sane one.
    • Weasly Crusher himself would have been this before Ab3 was introduced to the group, as evidenced by some of his comments in various episodes. With how most sessions went, he was almost always the Token Good Teammate to some extent.
    • Asenath also counts as zig-zagged variant of Only Sane Woman, if one were to discount the fact she often encouraged Deviant Boy; she tried to tell him about her previous relationship with El Disgusto but only got the chance during "Reservoir Torgs," seems to react appropriately to Blobert Smith saying the wrong name in bed when they were a couple, and brought cleaning supplies to one of the tabletop games Collateral Darren was hosting.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Cheating Bastard's system from the chapter Monty Python Mishaps in the Deepest Pit of Homebrew Hell, which involves inverse drag coefficients, slide rules, and algebraic calculators. It takes two hours for the group to finish one round of combat.
  • Pet the Dog: Psycho Dave mentions that "even with the sniveling and whining" Ab3 has been his best player.
  • Porn Stache: Deviant Boy had an "abnormally thick moustache" in "Creep on the Borderlands."
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Psycho Dave (an actual Neo-Nazi), full stop. His political incorrectness is portrayed as serious as possible, to highlight how utterly banal of a person he is.
    • Deviant Boy is regularly defined by his unironic worship of the Gor novels and by his lowkey misogyny. One conversation also hints at how he makes a point to regularly disparage homosexual people.
  • Pun: Puns are frequently used for titles of various entries.
    • Puns are also commonly used in dialogue between the various dramatis personae. An exaggerated example is when The Amazing Boozehound became "Rehab Boy" for a while, and he would repeatedly make these in a futile attempt to be funny. It annoyed Ab3 such he yelled at Rehab Boy about it.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Ab3 loses it after the group insults his future wife to his face and Collateral Darren reveals he drugged him with acid, and angrily declares that he's done with them before forcing them out of his apartment.
  • Rail Roading:
    Ab3: “Anyway, I am not running a game where you run around like a bunch of kill happy lunatics.”
    Blobert Smith: “In our defense it is what we do best.”
    Ab3: “No. In fact the god Boccob appears before you and says that for your crimes you must go to the Tomb of Shartok the Unattractive and retrieve the Xenon Codex. If not he will destroy you and the world utterly.”
    El Disgusto: “What’s in it for us?”
    Deviant Boy: “Now let me get this straight, we’ve got the god Boccob ticked off at us.”
    Ab3: “Yes.”
    Deviant Boy: “That’s Boccob the Uncaring.”
    Ab3: “For the last time yes. And he transports you all into the dungeon.”
    El Disgusto: “Fine we leave.”
    Ab3: “And he teleports you right back.”
    Deviant Boy: “Again this is Boccob the Uncaring doing this.”
    Ab3: “Must be having an off day I guess.”
  • Really Gets Around: In "Reservoir Torgs," when Deviant Boy hears Asenath used to date El Disgusto, he makes this assumption of her and dumps her on the spot.
  • Rule 34: Deviant Boy's "Unified Porn Theory" involves attempts to find a single pornographic image which will appeal to everyone in the world. His first attempt:
    "It's a green-skinned large-breasted elf chick dressed like a Catholic schoolgirl ... and she's peeing on Mayor McCheese!"
    "Yeah, but it's missing something, isn't it? Maybe if it was two elf chicks ..."
  • Rule of Three: Invoked in the titles for the last six entries of the First Edition: The Prequel and The Last Straw entries both come in three parts each.
  • Sanity Slippage: Psycho Dave gradually goes even crazier, somehow. He starts off as being a decent GM who can be pretty affable for a Neo-Nazi, and then proceeds to degrade into a gibbering Killer Game Master completely consumed by his white supremacist views and obsession with Star Trek, culminating in him threatening everyone with a shotgun.
  • Satellite Character: Without being in physical proximity to Deviant Boy, Asenath's main presence in the Binder of Shame entries stems to casual exposition.
    • Downplayed in "A Pinch of Assault" with Stocky Balboa - he was someone who Blobert Smith happened to know from his going to the same gym as him. Aside from this, he's a one-off character who found the campaign to be "Unbelievable" and was of few words.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Most of Psycho Dave's sessions end in this from Ab3. Those that don't often have a hefty consequence of some sort, such as him being late for work.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Blobert Smith indulges a charade of cerebral enlightenment, with Biff Bamm offering something similar. While Biff's verbosity and mannerisms bestow a neat discrepancy entertaining the possibility he's being self-aware of his Delusions of Eloquence, Blobert does not offer anything equivalent. While his persistence with endeavours in the role-playing sphere would be regarded as admirable, often his verbage was supremely ostentatious to convey a vast knowledge which could have been grounded into atoms and still achieved what he wanted.
  • The Scottish Trope: Invoked, when El Disgusto's ninja summons Hastur as Cheating Bastard tries to kill him.
  • Short Cuts Make Long Delays: "Great Gamma World Death March" takes the Desert of Certain Doom to its most logical conclusion, with it being a shortcut the party attempts to take.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: By the final installment, Asenath has slept with every member of the group except Ab3 at least once. Asenath shares the rest of the group's mean-spirited atittude towards him.
  • Slut-Shaming: Both El Disgusto and Deviant Boy make snide remarks about Asenath which amount to this.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Comments made by group members imply they saw Ab3 as "Mister Politically Correct."
    • Downplayed with Blobert Smith. His attempts at parlance with Johnny Tangent and Psycho Dave devolved into this, but the people he was talking to were radically conservative to a fault.
  • Sore Loser: Whenever El Disgusto died or was inconvenienced in any way, he would either go on fervent tirades, whine until the loss was overturned, or go out of his way to ruin the game for everyone else.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Psycho Dave was this to William Shatner for a while, eventually resulting in him being remanded to a mental institution and given a restraining order.
  • Straw Misogynist: Deviant Boy always had hints of being negative towards women, but his disdain for them becomes more open after he gets the short end of a messy divorce.
  • Stripperific:
    "At that moment Asenath stepped into the living room, if I haven't said it before let me say it now that she was a very pretty girl- flipper arm or not. Still though, pretty girl or not, the outfit she wore was a bit much. It was like a Hentai fashion nightmare, part schoolgirl outfit, part leatherwear."
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Played with, in a fashion. The group is kept together entirely by the fact they could only find games with each other, and that the individuals involved only cared about doing tabletop games simply for the sake of not being bored. They all have major control issues in their lives, which they take out on each other. Furthermore, exposition implies they cannot be fully rid of each other due to the small population of Albany's gaming scene.
    • Ab3 was not liked by a majority of the group. The way the other group members all speak suggested they only tolerated him because of his being within proximity to them, with many additionally pitying him. In some situations, they also need something from him, even if it's just his ability to DM a campaign. On his end, Ab3 regarded the group as his only good social contact and tried to make the most out of his time with them, even going so far as to over-share about his personal life to his acquaintances. They fabricate lies about themselves and watch Ab3 fall hook, line, and sinker for each of them. Eventually, the fabrication is revealed and he is suitably outraged by how one-sided his dynamic is with them.
    • Weasley Crusher's status as an Extreme Doormat was ruthlessly exploited by the other tabletop group members, where his characters would almost always be killed off first. It's implied he was regularly considered The Load, when not being used by the tabletop group to get pizza or be a roommate to someone within it. On Weasley's end, he might have had the exact same issues as Ab3 where the tabletop group he was gaming with happened to be his only good social contact.
    • Psycho Dave was only ever tolerated because he was the main person DM-ing the campaigns. Abuse and Fear were what he used to keep people in line whenever he was masterminding his sessions, but eventually he wound up overdoing it on both.
    • El Disgusto has been implied to know when a game is played in Albany, and he had a time where he was ruining a game every day after high school. The basis of A Pinch of Assault was to attempt to have a session without him in it. While the group succeeded in not having El Disgusto play a ninja, he still finds where the game is happening. It's implied Ab3 has known El Disgusto for a long time when Collateral Darren asks why they bicker so much, and his remarks about Ab3 and Weasly Crusher being "newbies" in "Creep on the Borderlands" suggest he was one of the gaming group's founders.
    • It's implied Cheating Bastard's joining of tabletop sessions was entirely so he could one-up everyone else around him. While he contributes by introducing others to Biff Bam, and by helping set up a custom homebrew RPG system when the others were having negative feelings toward D&D, Lords of Creation, and Call of Cthulhu, he also takes more than he gives. On the flip-side, everyone else questions his dice-rolling methods and begins suspecting he's cheating with the kind of characters he makes.
    • Blobert Smith is a subversion of the trope - while he was disliked by the group for his "performance art" being excessive, he is implied by casual exposition to have regularly hosted Live-Action Role-Playing sessions in his parents' basement before it become prohibited to do so. He has also banned the tabletop group from said basement, at some point during "The Last Straw Trilogy." The main reason the group kept him around was because of their familiarity with how he operated as a person, since they had known him in high school.
    • Collateral Darren was a local legend in the Albany gaming scene, who ended up ruining most of his games due to a natural talent for Gamebusting. Association with Collateral Darren causes others in the tabletop group to have bad run-ins with the police, who arrest him in almost every campaign he partakes in. It's implied he mostly joins the games within the group to have fun from the chaos caused by all involved during their campaigns.
    • In "Once More With Filking," the tabletop group admits to objectifying Asenath as a physically attractive Gamer Chick who they used as little more than arm candy. El Disgusto and Ab3 regularly made barbs about her physical disability (a flipper arm), Deviant Boy ended his relationship with her on bad terms, and it's implied she tried to make connections with the others to little avail. Blobert Smith is the only one in the tabletop group who did not at any point make mockery of her - he even went out of his way to stand up for her in ways none of the others did.
  • The Roleplayer: Averted with everyone. No one puts any serious effort into their characters, and El Disgusto actively goes out of his way to show he does not care about the setting or fluff of whatever is going on in nearly any session he partakes in. The aversion to any of them being The Roleplayer, even Blobert Smith, makes sense when both Ab3 and Psycho Dave kill off characters before they can do much in the sessions they are a part of. What's more, the sessions not commonly GM'd by the main two usually wind up disastrous because the GM themself is someone who does not make a world which anyone can seriously integrate with (Deviant Boy, El Disgusto, Cheating Bastard) for a number of different reasons.
  • Token Good Teammate: Zig-zagged with Blobert Smith, who has objected to the more toxic behavioural quirks exerted by the rest of the group. He occasionally ends up not being a particularly outstanding gentleman himself, however.
    • Weasly Crusher is at minimum considered one of the "least incident-prone" people Ab3 has gamed with; he comes off as well-meaning, but ultimately a rather passive and defeatist individual on the whole.
  • Total Party Kill: Their record is three in one night (as of Night of Caped Cadavers) - Ab3 left when Psycho Dave suggested they try for a fourth time.
  • True Companions: What Ab3 wanted out of his tabletop group, and what he thought they were. He is bluntly told he is wrong about them at least once, and it takes an acid-induced epiphany for him to truly understand why they are not what he thought they were.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: El Disgusto regularly freeloads off of Ab3 and others, and the only thanks he gives is continued antagonism towards them.
  • We Are "Team Cannon Fodder":
    • One of the stories tells of a game where the entire player party were this, being little more than valets to Dungeon Master Biff Bam's GMPC Dick Marvil, who is introduced to them all by pulling a Big Damn Heroes and snapping the necks of a bunch of nightgaunts that were about to Total Party Kill them. Though the players were at first happy for the assist, it became quickly evident that they were never going to get to do anything except stand around and watch Dick Marvil take care of everything himself. This leads to Ab3 rebelling against the game (and getting wrestled into submission by Biff Bam).
    • In another story, El Disgusto runs a game with a GMPC of his own, which is naturally a ninja. Ultimately it turns out the player characters' only goal in the game was for one of them to prove themself worthy of the ultimate honor... of holding said ninja's scabbard for him while he went off to solo-fight the Big Bad.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ab3's views on love, romance, and how gaming groups are supposed to treat each other are called out as too idealistic by the rest of the group.
  • A Wizard Did It
    Psycho Dave, regarding the broccoli-head incident: "It's magic, I don’t have to explain it."
  • Work Off the Debt: Ab3 is forced to wash dishes in a Denny's, after the other members of the group leave without paying. This is the end result of one of the servers being antagonistic towards him specifically, even though she found the group's gaming at the Denny's particularly off-putting and disturbing the other guests.
  • World of Jerkass: Albany is generally presented as this, with the jerkassery of others being played for comedy. Ab3 implies his mental health improves once out of Albany, though he is never rid of it for good.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The main group Ab3 gamed with regularly viewed Clerics in Dungeons & Dragons as dead weight a majority of the time, and relished in any opportunity to eliminate ally Clerics whenever they could; in "Creep on the Borderlands," two GMPC Clerics are disposed of when they use up all of their Cure Light Wounds spells for the day.