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Series / HarmonQuest

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The three regular members of the HarmonQuest adventuring party: Beor O'Shift, Fondue Zubag, and Boneweevil.

"Since the dawn of the 1970's, fantasy role-playing games have provided men and women with an escape from their awkward lives. Today the most awkward of them all, Dan Harmon, is summoning celebrity friends to play these games of old in front of a live studio audience in Hollywood! I am Spencer, the Game Master, and this is HarmonQuest!"
The Game Master

HarmonQuest is an Actual Play television series created in 2016 by Dan Harmon. It follows the heroic (or not-so-heroic) deeds of Harmon and a lineup of other comedians and actors (two regulars plus at least one "guest star" per episode) participating in a tabletop fantasy role playing campaign. It is a blend of animation and live-action, semi-improvisational comedy. In-studio portions (filmed before a live audience) showing Harmon and friends and the campaign's Game Master sitting around the gaming table are interspersed with animation showing what their characters are doing within the game world. Think of it as part Saturday morning cartoon (albeit an ultra-violent one) and part Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

The show is a spin-off of the regular role playing sessions in Harmontown.

HarmonQuest was released exclusively on the subscription-based comedy streaming service Seeso, although the first episode is available on YouTube. Due to Seeso closing, the show was moved to VRV for a second season starting in September 2017. The show was renewed for a third season on October 2018, and it premiered on August 18, 2019.


This series provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: In S2E7, when guest player Jason Mantzoukasnote  gets very into his character, culminating with a fit of diabolical laughter, he breaks for a moment to ask if he’s playing the game right. Spencer chokes through laughing, “yes, yes, yes.” 1
  • Almost Dead Guy: Hohn Jodgman has the top of his head cut off and is very obviously dying, but he still manages to stay alive long enough to chat and explain what he was really doing and try to kill the party by summoning monsters.
  • Annoying Arrows: Both Fondue and Boneweevil carry bows, but on the rare occasions they're used they never seem to do as much damage as melee weapons. Justified in that most of the party's melee weapons are magical, while their bows and arrows are not.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Dan tries to invoke this trope with Fondue in episode 3 and fully outs his character in Episode 8.
    • Hawaiian Coffee flirts pretty aggressively with Beor, and creates shivs in the shape of naked women.
    • Dildo Bogpelt in Episode 7. He gives dramatic speeches, makes smoke "cylinders with a bulbous tip", and seems to be hitting on the other male characters the whole time.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Heralds of the Manticore want to revive their namesake monster and "bring the world to ruin."
  • Ass Shove:
    • Successfully done against the Manticore courtesy of Fondue though it was not as effective as one would expect.
    • It's suggested Beor take this route to hide her runestone. She may or may not have taken this suggestion.
  • Back for the Finale: In the last episode of Season 2, "The Sorcerer of the Storm", the gang encounters Eddie Lizard (Kumail Nanjiani) in Celty's castle, after parting ways with him back in Season 1, Episode 8. Notably, this is the first time in the series that a guest star, and subsequently their character, has returned on the show.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Played for laughs in Episode 3.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The manticore is banished back to whence it came and the cult destroyed, but the party's home village is left in ruins and Boneweevil is trapped in hell, along with their new ally Charles the Blue Dragon. And possibly Fondue's dad, though he's not with them when they wake up. Fortunately, shortly after Spencer's ominous "The End", it's revealed that there's going to be a season 2, which will pick up where season 1 left off.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: Fondue, a half-orc, rather naturally objects to the "Orcloaf sandwiches" in episode 6.
  • Call-Back: To the similar gaming sessions that were once part of Harmontown: Fondue fires TWO ARROWS!
  • Chainmail Bikini: Beor O'Shift's regular outfit.
  • Critical Failure:
    • Teflanto in episode 1, when he tries to throw a handful of alchemical fire at an enemy, only to have it slip out of his hand too early, fly straight up, and land on his head, setting his hair on fire.
    • In episode 6, one of Hohn Jodgman's lesser manticores eats itself on a failed attack.
    • In season 2, episode 3, Bowflex tries to do a running vertical leap, but ends up rolling her ankle and falling flat on her face.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The runestones the adventuring party is trying to prevent the Manticore cultists from collecting.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "You land on an obsidian island in darkness. Everything's all black, and dark, and not well lit."
  • Deus ex Machina: Charles the Dragon is explicitly called this by Spencer.
  • Doomed Hometown: Earthscar Village in the first episode (although in the last episode it seems it wasn't totally destroyed after all, or else it's just been rapidly rebuilt).
  • Downer Ending: Surprisingly, Season 2 ends on a pretty low note. The party defeats Celty, who informs them that she was only trying to keep the Demon Realm from merging with the surface world, which was only happening because the party previously killed the being who kept the two separated in the first place. Now that the only person who would've been able to fix things is dead, the trio are stuck in an apocalyptic wasteland, Fondue's death and temporary existence as a spirit was for nothing, and Spencer is even more uncertain at there being a new season.
  • Failure Hero: The utter incompetence of the heroes is frequently lamented. Their only major victory in Season One is mostly done for them by Charles the Dragon, and Season Two features them essentially making every situation they encounter even worse.
  • Fantastic Racism: Earthscar Village is a haven for orcs, half-orcs, and other non-human races and rough-around-the-edges types who are basically decent people but are outcasts from polite society.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Subverted with the main trio with both of them being of the Thief type and one being a fighter, but they sometimes team up with some magic users in a total of two theives, one fighter and one mage.
  • Gorn: Just so you know this show isn't for kids despite being a cartoon about magical creatures saving the world.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: One in each episode, although some of them turn out to be more like Villains of the Week. Most of them die by episode's end (and the ones who don't make an excuse to leave).
  • High-Dive Escape: The heroes' flee from Freshport in episode 3 by leaping out of a window onto a passing ship, which fortunately for them seems to have a cargo made up entirely of hay, feathers, and airbags.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: In episode 2 this is Erin's/Beor O'Shift's reaction when Dan lectures Jeff about "...Learning to trust crazy women that we come across."
  • Knights and Knaves: The party encounters a version of this puzzle in episode 7 while searching for the guardian of the Doorest of Fores. Jeff is obviously aware of this puzzle and immediately steps forward with the correct solution.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Teflanto forgets that his heads on fire and is pretty cavalier about getting stabbed.
  • Mauve Shirt: The Guest-Star Party Member of the episode frequently falls into it to the point where Dan starts hanging a lampshade by the fourth episode that no one should be surprised whenever the guest ends up as the fall guy.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Constantly. Tends be fairly minor in Season One, but Season Two features the blundering heroes accidentally unleashing demons on two peaceful villages, initiating the apocalypse by combining Hell and Earth, and killing the sorceress who was the world's best hope of survival.
  • No Fourth Wall: In-character dialogue is mixed with discussion of the game rules and explicit references to previous episodes, often in the same breath.
  • Off the Rails: Becomes clear at the end of Season Two. Whatever plot Spencer had planned for the season, likely involving the scroll written in Draconic, is tossed aside in Episode Four when the heroes kill the Caretaker of the Abyss because they couldn't beat him at bar trivia, causing a merging of the Demon Realm and Earth.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The dwarves of the HarmonQuest setting seem to be a pretty typical mining-vast-caves-out-of-mountains variety from what we see in episode 2.
  • Real Joke Name: Because not all the celebrity guests are used to the joke naming conventions of tabletop RPGs, several of them take the piss by choosing ‘’very’’ obviously made-up names. Season 1 brings us “Hawaiian Coffee” while Season 2 ups the ante with “Bowflex DeVry”.
    ”Of the Demon-Realm DeVry’s?!?”
  • Roller Coaster Mine: The Stone Saw Mines in episode 2.
  • Running Gag:
    • Beor will often bumble into a social encounter with blunt awkwardness, while her player will quickly give an aside, "I have *no* Diplomacy."
    • Whenever the players announce their actions, especially non-combat actions that require no rolls, Spencer will often respond in an over-the-top fashion, "You do that!"
    • While a common action throughout the series, S2E7 elevates “I take ____ aside” into its own bit.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The purpose of the runestone in Earthscar Village, and the Restoration ritual which takes places there every hundred years, is to maintain the seal which keeps demons and evil spirits out of the world.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the guest stars' character names are shouts out to celebrities, including Deepak Chopra and Eddie Lizard.
  • Spoonerism: The Doorest of Fores appears to be named like this (it's a forest full of doors), but no comment is ever made about it.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: The players frequently comment on what's going on around them. The animation helpfully puts this quasi-IC speech in the cartoon segments.
  • Trouser Space: Beor O'Shift in episode 5, although it could have actually been an Ass Shove. There was a fair amount of debate about which would be the better ploy beforehand, and Erin leaves it intentionally vague what she did with it. (This is made even more confusing by the animation not matching up to the character description - Erin explicitly says that Beor is wearing a skirt, but the animation has her in a loincloth)
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The party's incompetence at bar trivia indirectly leads to the Demon Realm combining with Earth.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Episode 2's guest star explicitly states she's storing a shiv in her brassiere (though later she says she has it protecting her back when someone tries to attack her there). Later, in episode 6, O'Shift sticks Boneweevil between her breasts to carry him after he gets shrunk down to 1/8th of his already-diminutive size.