- Take away the comedy and the premise is actually pretty terrifying, redolent of the SCP Foundation. There are seven artifacts that are so powerful and addictive that a world war was fought over them and the only way to stop it was to wipe everyones memory of them and it including any loved ones lost in this war. Now a shadowy organization is tasked with hunting down and destroying them but even they are incapable of doing so and must depend on three morally questionable mercenaries to find them. And that's just the stuff we know about...
Lucretia: [Showing a Candyland-like landscape] This used to be the settlement of Armos where a 7-year old girl found the Philosopher's Stone and turned the city into peppermint candy. 714 people were killed. [Shows a village] This is the village of Greenhold where a warlord used the Oculus to manifest a small black hole which annihilated the entire town killing 1,152 people. [Shows an ocean] This used to be the archipelago of Moonshae which drowned in three minutes under the weight of a storm summoned by the Gaia Sash. 2,512 people. [Shows a series of black glass circles] Certainly this seems familiar. Certainly you recognize Phandalin and the other seven cities that have been destroyed by the Phoenix Fire Gauntlet. Eight cities destroyed, total. 12,000 dead.
- Perfectly exemplified in the final chapter of The Crystal Kingdom, where Lucretia shows the party a montage of the destruction the Grand Relics have caused:
- The Heart Attack game in Wonderland seems like a goofy, innocent diversion from the rest of the troubling arc, then Taako tries to cheat by casting Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the mystery date, who proceeds to literally laugh her head off while the audience full of life-like mannequins breaks down in hysterics, and the whole show gets very spooky very fast.
- Griffin's description of the Big Bad of the campaign is profoundly unsettling due in no small part to the fact that it is an entire plane of existence! The description of this incomprehensibly massive inky black void descending upon the entire planar system and growing millions upon millions of eyes before opening up a wide and vicious smile would be enough to give H.R. Giger nightmares.
- The Hunger's Leitmotif only adds to the terror. The whole thing is a frantic, chilling synth tune that induces a feeling of fear and terror. Not helped at all by the words that close out Episode 59.
- On top of that is The Hunger's motivation. Hunger. It's a malevolent living plane that eats entire planar systems to grow bigger and more powerful and for whatever reason It's been chasing the Red Robes across multiple realities.
- And then comes "John" to explain the real motivation of The Hunger. The complete and utter destruction of all life across all dimensions because every single fiber of the planar system it used to be collectively gave up on life as meaningless.
- During the Stolen Century arc - Though we quickly find out that death didn't really stick for the crew of the Starblaster, it doesn't diminish that the characters went through some truly horrific fates during the cycles.
- Magnus's slow death from breathing in toxic spores in the mushroom planet.
- The petrifying dust on the Four Judges' planet. And that the fate of the crew and reality itself rested on Lucretia.
- The description of what happens when the Relics are released into the world is pretty terrifying.
- Griffin describing how all the Red Robes lost their memories is heart-rending and abso-fucking-lutely horrifying; it basically hits them like Alzheimer's sped up to a ludicrous degree. Merle and Davenport lose theirs while chatting over a game of cards, forgetting each other's faces as Davenport loses every trace of his identity save for his name; Taako and Barry lose their memories of Lup as they're discussing how to find her, with Barry begging Taako to kill him so he won't lose the memory of the love of his life; and Magnus sees Lucretia feeding the silver book to Fisher, only realizing too late what's happened as his life fades away from him. Each conversation descends into static. Cruel to Be Kind doesn't even begin to describe it.
- And keep in mind, Barry starts to claim he's forgetting what Lup looks like - Lup, his lover of several decades - while staring directly at her Identical Twin Brother.
- As Magnus and Merle are descending the elevator to the Voidfish chambers in the first episode of The Finale, the lights flicker on and off, and when they steady Merle is gone because he's been forcibly Parlayed by John. Only now, instead of a pleasant office building they seem to be within the Hunger itself, and John's form is cracked and burned in with the black opalescence of the Hunger's form.John: Hey Merle. Got a minute?
- It gets worse. John, who is at least capable of reason, even if he has gone pretty far off the existential deep end, is no longer in control of the Hunger. It's been killing him slowly as punishment for not finding the Light for the past decade.
- Taako's backstory is pure Paranoia Fuel. Imagine it: You're a travelling celebrity chef. You love feeding and entertaining people. Your life is great. One day, you get cocky with your presentation, and accidentally kill forty of your fans. Now your show is over, your life is ruined, and you're constantly on the run from the authorities. This would be bad enough, but The Eleventh Hour revealed that this isn't quite the whole story: Taako's jealous assistant Sazed purposely poisoned the food in order to murder Taako, but through sheer luck Taako didn't sample the dish that day and so survived to blame himself for the disaster. Is it any wonder the guy's got trust issues?
Nightmare Fuel / The Adventure Zone: Balance