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The Loonie

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Not pictured: the moment the rat-flail gives everyone the plague and kills them.

"Cannot base characters off The Who's drummer Keith Moon."
Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG #1 (it just gets crazier from there)

The Loonie is the Tabletop RPG player who plays mostly for the fun of doing silly things within the game. They typically optimize their character for comedy rather than combat and are more likely to pick a "goofy" character or unconventional races purely for the novelty (such as awakened animals, Kender, Malkavians, and so forth). Their abilities will be mainly based on their potential for wacky antics (so rogues and mages with a lot of illusion and enchantment spells are popular).

This player loves poking at the setting to provoke strange responses and going Off the Rails in outrageous ways. They'll use their tower shields as makeshift snowboards, and think shouting "Look Behind You" then running away is enough to elude a hostile greater demon. They'll then try to talk the Game Master into letting them attempt a trip attack on aforementioned greater demon using a Banana Peel. They'll crack jokes and mock the NPCs at every opportunity, and futz with every magic item thrown their way.

The Loonie can be a fun player to have around; a little comic relief can help to ease the tension of a long campaign. However, sometimes their constant jokes can wear thin, and they can quickly cross the line from amusing to annoying. They can be especially grating to extreme Roleplayers, Munchkins, and other people who take the game way too seriously. It probably doesn't help that their lack of humor only encourages the Loonie to annoy them more. Naturally, this archetype is most often welcome in free-for-all sessions, where there aren't any rules to begin with; however, this might not be as fun to some Loonies, who play because of the thrill that comes from breaking the rules.

Like the other archetypes, the Loonie comes in variations. Ones that know how to be eccentric and effective are Bunny Ears Lawyers of a sort, especially when crossed with a Munchkin. This variety will actually act out all the weird flaws and quirks they took to get those plusses, and take their humor as seriously as their gameplay, potentially crossing into Lethal Joke Character territory. (One entry from the list providing the quote forbids Mr. Welch's characters from owning a gun which can kill a target in an adjacent county, for example). The Loonie's favourite Character Alignment is Chaotic Neutral (because it's the perfect excuse for doing anything), but to their detractors it will feel more like Chaotic Stupid: it all depends on how good a comedian they are. Expect liberal use of Rule of Funny, Rule of Fun, and Rule of Cool.

When successfully crossed with a Roleplayer, the Loonie will go to great lengths to justify outrageous acts without breaking character — clerics of trickster deities, characters with insanity flaws, paladins and knights, and classes/races that imply a lack of social grace, nonstandard equipment, and/or a lack of proper training are all popular character choices for this variety of Loonie. This breed of Loonie tends to be given much more tolerance by normal Roleplayers: the comedic potential of an orc wizard or a monk with a drinking problem requires little to no breaking of immersion when roleplayed well, and they're as likely to come up with ideas Crazy Enough to Work as they are ones that are just crazy.

The rare cases of Loonie/Real Man hybrids result in a player who seeks to make the parts between combat engagements more interesting to themselves by playing the clown. Done well, it keeps them engaged and contributing to the session; done poorly, it becomes a protest against "the boring parts" and a tool for turning any encounter into a combat engagement, much to the delight of the Munchkin and the horror of the GM and the Roleplayer.

Cases of exceptional competence and reasonable restraint aside, Loonie/Munchkin hybrids are just annoying. Any Loonie may have that distressing tendency to Chaotic Stupid character behavior; this type guarantees it.

Suffice to say, the wise Game Master will be very careful about letting the Loonie get their hands on any sort of large explosive device. Hilarity will ensue (as well as a Total Party Kill, most of the time).

A Player Archetypes subtrope, along with The Real Man, The Role Player, and the Munchkin.

See also Things You Are Not Allowed to Do.

Has nothing to do with the Canadian one-dollar coin.



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    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Gamers: Dorkness Rising:
    • Gary. The group is replaying an adventure they failed at in the past; this time, they've invited a girl to play with. Having done the adventure before, the rest of them are eager to begin the journey to the Big Bad before their characters are even supposed to know which way to go. When the girl takes a couple minutes to exchange pleasantries with a peasant, Gary's character, a mage, disintegrates the peasant with a fireball.
      Luster: How many experience for the peasant?
    • Even better: As the group is sitting down around the fire about to eat a chicken, Gary has his character cast Animate Dead to bring the chicken back as a zombie. Apparently the only reason he did this was to watch the ALREADY COOKED CHICKEN run around with its new life, and then eat it while it was still fresh. The DM was understandably bewildered.

  • Justin of The Adventure Zone has decided that his elven wizard Taako's mission in life is to invent the taco and name it after himself. Considering that the setting of the game has yet to discover concepts such as grinding meat, processing dairy into cheese, or growing corn for food, it looks to be a significant challenge.
  • Fallout Is Dragons has Masterweaver, whose player character is an elderly cybernetic donkey with an obsession for science and a bit of amnesia.

  • Shadowhunter Peril. Two seconds after Veronic Acarter introduction she blows a whistle to invite all of the nearby bloodthirsty demons to come over to the Resistance, much to the outrage of May. One time she got drunk and decided to lob beer bottles at Oblivion just for the hell of it. However, she's most infamous in the world of Shadowhunter Peril for completely overreacting to the most trivial of things, or the time the Resistance was supposed to initiate a stealth rescue mission on Alicante and she charged at the city with a tank screaming at the top of her lungs like a loon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • DIE uses this in its The Game Come to Life setting via the 'Fool' Paragon class, who gain their advantages from acting in a foolish or daring fashion, attempting stupid plans or amusing others. This can be a genuine Loonie, or a Sad Clown character (Persona) who's been drafted into the role, forced to hide their true feelings lest it make them vulnerable.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 3.5 Edition Dungeon Master's Guide II includes a section on player styles useful for the Game Master of any game, not just D&D. One of the styles it describes is The Outlier, which is basically this trope. "The D&D game assumes a high degree of group cohesion[...] Some players, though, get their emotional charge by subverting this dynamic. These players have the outlier trait. They revel in being different and playing by their own rules. In short, they love to play oddballs". The section goes on to explain that they often are more interested in clowning around and failing humorously than actually contributing to group success.
    • Dragonlance: The Kender race are a go-to for Loonies when available. They're both relentlessly curious and fearless. They're also absent-minded and lack the same notions of "property" most races have. They'll "borrow" things they genuinely mean to give back. Their sacks are a random mess of goods such that they'll rummage through, pull out your archenemy's Staff of Power and remark "Oh, how did that get in there?" with complete sincerity.
    • Planescape: The Xaositect faction are people who celebrate the inherent absurdity of the universe. Naturally, many players take this as an invitation to play Xaositects as bleeding morons who taunt the enemy for fun and set off traps on purpose.
    • The 4.0 DMG refers to this player type as "The Instigator", who loves to make random stuff happen.
    • This is one way to role-play a character with a very low Wisdom score (which is supposed to reflect situational awareness, impulse control, and common sense thinking).
  • Pathfinder describes "Antagonist" players: someone who plays a dwarf to pick on the elf, ignoring that elves and dwarves are actually very friendly on Golarion, or an atheist to pick on the Cleric. But neither is actually an example of the Loonie, unless he "picks" on the elf by painting him purple and making bawdy songs about him for no reason, and tricks the cleric into saying "Goddamnit!" at every opportunity.
  • Loonie behavior is a large part of the appeal of many parody RPGs, including Paranoia (where the whole point, in many though not all games, is to find excuses to shoot the other party members) and Toon (which actually gives you experience points for making other people laugh). Maid RPG also encourages Loonies, especially if you choose 4 or 5 Maid Qualities or make gratuitous use of the Random Events charts.
  • The Old World of Darkness:
    • Vampire: The Masquerade: The Malkavian vampire Clan are all insane in some way. This led them to be stereotyped as the “Loonie Splat", never mind that there are ways to play Malkavians other than as "Fishmalks" with Funny Schizophrenia and fourth-wall-breaking comic relief. Later game editions tried to play the stereotype more seriously with reminders that those characters are delusional fools being manipulated by their psychotic elders or ancestors.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Nuwisha were-coyotes are, in theory, benevolent Trickster Mentors. In practice... combine the mind of Bugs Bunny and Wile E Coyote's penchant for surviving his own stunts and you've pretty much got the Nuwisha.
    • Mage: The Ascension has the Marauders, whose reality-shaping magic is actually entangled with clinical insanity — though played properly, Marauders are rarely funny, because they are clinically insane and can reshape reality.
  • One optional flaw in SenZar means that you can not only be the Loonie, but you can get bonus character points for being the Loonie:
    "TOTAL STUPIDITY: Please take it! The character is totally stupid, and is even too totally stupid to know it! He'll gladly taste unknown potions when offered them. He'll gladly charge into the midst of an onrushing horde of bad guys if properly persuaded ("Dey say what about Mom? Me am smash dem!"). He'll even volunteer to test pits and traps for your party! And sometimes not even a successful Karmic Save will shed the light of reason upon his dim, feeble mind! Note: This does not reflect upon that character's INT score, mind you. Even a total genius can act totally stupid at times. So take it, O ye mighty spellcasters! Blow up friend and foe alike, just because you're so totally stupid that the proper placement of your explosive spells is beyond the grasp of your perpetually befuddled mind! Note 2: Yeah, we know. But isn't there always someone like this in your party? And isn't it about time they got some points for it?"
  • Take the Show-off Drawback in All Flesh Must Be Eaten. It's two extra Character Points and the excuse to do whatever you feel like at the time! Also fits well with The Real Man.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG gives a list of all the crazy stuff he is now forbidden from doing in these games. LiveJournal has a list of the items he has listed: 1 - 500, 501 - 1000, 1000 - 1500, 1500-2000, 2001-2150.
  • Jesters (Schelme) in The Dark Eye are (often redhaired) people who were abducted by kobolds as a child and were taught to live by the Rule of Fun. They possess magical skills too (their most infamous spell makes a target drop all its clothes). They are an official character class, although less-experienced GM's are recommended not to allow them.

    Video Games 
  • Mike from Doom & Destiny. While his role-playing buddies Francis, Johnny and Nigel set themselves up as standard RPG classes (Francis is a Ninja, Johnny a Warrior, and Nigel a Magus), Mike chooses to be a pirate... who can somehow cast healing magic... and sing. In-story, he's also the Cloudcuckoolander of the party.
  • During the Tiny Tina DLC of Borderlands 2, which has the cast of the first game playing a game of "Bunkers and Badasses", Mr. Torgue takes on this role, briefly taking over the game and sending the player on insane missions (if you've played the Torgue DLC, you know how generally nuts he can get). After he has you blow up the two blimps around town and chase a douchey bar patron down and punch him so hard he explodes, he sends you on a mission to blow up the ocean. By this point, Lilith has had enough, and convinces Tina to get rid of him, which she does by putting him in the stocks.
  • One way in which Disco Elysium attempts to emulate the real tabletop gaming experience in a video game is by providing the player with the option to attempt the kind of Loonie-style actions that some players do (saying ridiculous things, attempting to eat evidence, etc), and also having entire questlines that emerge when these idiotic actions are pursued. A lot of this is in ways that imitate the classic tabletop experience of players getting fixated on a bit of set dressing or a Living Prop and the DM having to improvise around it by turning that into a quest. For example, a player can have the protagonist hassle a random working-class woman outside of a shop by acting like she needs his help to search for a missing husband (he's not missing), child (they're not missing) or cockatoo (she doesn't have one), which leads the protagonist to start researching what kind of cockatoo he would be, and when he comes to tell her his conclusion she can be persuaded to reveal that her husband actually is missing. You can then track him down and report back to her the conclusion of her case.
  • In Everhood, Red at one point has to go through a fantasy Tabletop RPG campaign called Medallion along with other Everhood denizens. Blob Monster Flan brings in a sci-fi mecha suit, claiming that a fantasy game is way easier with a mech. They also realize that attacking other players also gives more loot, attacking Red's character over this reason and because Red plays a Good-aligned character. It bears mentioning that earlier in the game he tried to play things straight only to be repeatedly ganked by squirrels, of all animals, so he decided to go Off the Rails right after.

    Web Animation 
  • Puffin Forest:
    • Ben counts due to his love of making Joke Characters, which include ridiculous concepts such as Abserd, Trixie Starbright, Detective Savage Rage, and many others.
    • During one campaign where Ben was the DM, a player, JessJackdaw, cast a spell to turn a bag of cocaine into a cocaine sword.

    Web Comics 
  • In Darths & Droids, Jar-Jar Binks is instead a character played by a young girl, and half the crazy things in the Star Wars Prequels are from her imagination. This has actually gotten Jar-Jar Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
    • Jar-Jar's player Sally does this whenever she is given control of a character.
    • Funnily enough, as the commentary in this strip mentions, she's also one of the most sensible players in the group. Which says a lot about the rest of them.
    • There's also Jim, a hybrid of The Loonie and The Real Man, who bases his plans on an absolute minimum amount of thought. The other players give him free rein or attempt to replicate his approach when, and only when, they are otherwise boned, because that's the only time when going along with one of Jim's plans cannot make things worse.
  • Leo from VG Cats. See this strip for one example of his looniness. Surprisingly, he manages to (narrowly) avoid crossing over into Chaotic Stupid territory and, in fact, is the most competent player in the session (though that isn't saying much). A rat-flail probably would be a more effective weapon than a plain stick, assuming the DM were willing to run with it.
  • Gabe from Penny Arcade overlaps with the thespian in trying to play an elderly mage... with Alzheimer's.
  • Aubrey of Something*Positive, as shown in the Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies strip.
  • Igor of Dork Tower. During a The Lord of the Rings-based RP, immediately saying "I kill Gandalf". He has also been known to attack mind flayers with wedgies and purple nurples.
  • Abbie from Weregeek is a roleplayer, but she definitely has a good Loonie streak. In the Vampire LARP she plays an anarchist, but not a "fish Malk", and speaking of explosives, look at her Shadowrun PC Twitch... Well, for her such things are quite "in character"...
  • In an early Home On The Strange story, Tom is frustrated with how his wife Karla is indulging in "romantic" roleplaying with the DM's characters. So, he decides to have a little fun at their expense.
  • Friendship is Dragons's version of Pinkie Pie.
  • In One Piece: Grand Line 3.5, Luke lives by the Rule of Fun and Rule of Funny, making a perfect fit with his Lethal Joke Character Monkey D. Luffy.
  • Ilene in Knights of Buena Vista (a Campaign Comic about the Disney Animated Canon) is this. When they play Frozen, she plays Olaf pretty much as he is in the movie, but a few more embellishments, such as calling him Olaf Axebutt (a holdover from when she wanted to make his class a berserker). In Wreck-It Ralph, she plays Vanellope after she gets turned down for playing the Zombie from the "Bad Anon" meeting.
  • Dungeons And Doggos is about a group of hyperactive dogs playing D&D who all have their characters do funny dog stuff like chasing after sticks, rolling in stinky corpses, and being more interested in getting things like tennis balls instead of gold as quest rewards.

    Web Original 

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