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Series / Knightmare

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The only way is onward, there is no turning back...

"Ooh, naaaaaasty."
—Treguard Once an Episode

Knightmare was a pioneering 1987-94 kids' TV series, a blend of an RPG, an Adventure Game and primitive virtual reality, produced by Anglia Television for broadcast on CITV. The basic premise is that teams of four children aged 11-16 send one member effectively blindfolded into the "Dungeon of Deceit", a partly computer-generated, partly hand-drawn VR fantasy environment laden with traps and challenges that only their teammates/advisers and the viewers can see.

The game was unashamedly difficult for a kids' TV show — over the eight years that it ran, over eighty teams entered but only eight actually won.

The reason for the popularity of Knightmare was the revolutionary way the dungeon was fought. Each new team to challenge the game entered the main studio set of a chamber in Knightmare Castle, and met the Dungeon Master, Treguard. From here one representative of the team (the "Dungeoneer") would be transported into the game-world — via a bluescreened room they could walk around — wearing "The Helmet of Justice" that basically blinded them to everything more than about a foot away. The remaining three members and Treguard could see the whole virtual environment on a screen, using which they had to attempt to verbally guide the Dungeoneer to choose a path, collect and utilise clues and interact with actors playing characters in the game.

The puzzles were heavily focused on riddles, of wildly variable difficulty, and lateral thinking. The charismatic Treguard (played by Hugo Myatt, husband of Anglia news anchor Christine Webber) was a wonderful character; whilst on the children's side, giving advice where needed, he was also more than a little sarcastic and seemed to be just as happy whether the teams won or lost: in the show's first and third years, not a single team won.

Spawned a number of Gamebooks, a board game and two Video Game adaptations.

Not to be confused with the Humongous Mecha from Code Geass. Or the Konami game.

The series has often been repeated in the 21st century on Challenge TV in the UK. A brand new episode was filmed for YouTube's "Geek Week" in August 2013, handled by the original cast and crew, guest-starring various UK YouTube personalities as the players.

This show provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Several. Velda, The Warrior Elf in Season 3, Gundrada, The Sword Mistress in S4 and Gwendoline The Green Warden in S5, Romahna, The Dragon Wardress in S7, and Stiletta, The Warrior-Thief in S8.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Sidriss the Confused's mother/Hordriss the Confuser's wife is never seen or mentioned, leaving the reason for her absence unknown.
  • Art Evolution: For series 1 and 2, the dungeon rooms were hand-drawn pictures. Series 3 used a combination of hand-drawn pictures and early CGI. From series 4, stills of real-life locations such as Hedingham Castle were used, making it possible to film the Eye Shield cutscenes on location. In series 7, the third level of the dungeon was completely CGI, and in series 8 this was used throughout.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: In one episode, the warrior McGrew gets turned into a toad by a mysterious robed figure.
  • Big Bad:
    • Mogdred was the nearest thing to a main villain in Series 1-4. While he certainly had the highest profile of the villains, he generally didn't have many goals other than tricking the dungeoneers into messing up, and maybe outright killing them if the mood so took him. On top of that, he didn't appear in Series 1 at all (though was mentioned a few times), was largely Out of Focus in Series 3 with Morghanna acting more as the primary villain, and then he formed one half of a Big Bad Duumvirate with Malice in Series 4.
    • Lord Fear in Series 5-8 was a much more straightforward example of this trope, as the undisputed leader of the Opposition and having the express goal to destroy Castle Knightmare from Series 6 onwards.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: The Bomb Room. Not the most subtle of 'puzzles', but it provided some exciting close shaves.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A team was once told to not wake up the dragon and to use a spell first, and an advisor then insisted they wake the dragon up first.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The prize for winning was medallions or, later, a trophy made to look like a Frightknight (one of the monsters in the dungeon). Even if you died, you still got scrolls "as proof of your quest."
  • Catchphrase:
    • Treguard's "Ooh, nasty" whenever the Dungeoneer died. Impossible to describe. It was also ad-libbed by the actor, apparently.
    • Treguard's 'Caution team!'
    • In the first season, he had the awesomely creepy sign-off line "Join us again, for Knightmare. And just keep telling yourself, "It's only a game!"...isn't it?"
    • Treguard also opens every episode of Knightmare's first season by saying, "Welcome, watchers of illusion, to the castle of confusion."
    • Others had their own, especially for some reason Lord Fear's minions.
      Skarkill: "Lovely."
      Skarkill (again): "...your Fearship - er, Lordship."
      Sylvester Hands: "Like feet, but at the other end of your body."
      Dreadnought: "Live in fear."
    • For anyone receiving an answer to a quiz question: "Truth accepted" (if correct) or "Falsehood" (if incorrect).
    • In the first two series, the Wall Monsters typically opened their speeches with "I am [Olgarth/Granitas/Igneous] of legend."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Merlin was this at times. Or should we say Marvin? Folly was also eccentric at times.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: It's been confirmed that whenever a team cheated in some way, by for example not following the rules of a room yet managing to escape anyway, they would throw something that's next to impossible to escape from at them. For example, the fuse of a bomb in a "bomb room" would last only a few seconds or their health will start draining faster.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Numerous teams have lost due to forgetting this trope in the Clue Room.
    • A prime example is Series 2 Team 5, who didn't twig that an apparently random ice pack would be needed when Lilith had a headache in the next room.
  • Chromakey: How the dungeon was created.
  • Colour-Coded Emotions: The Gargoyle's colour indicated its mood, ranging from blue (life force-draining sorrow) to red (tentative happiness).
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Series 8 had Snapper Jack, an independent villain who chatted to his dragon glove puppet.
  • Convenient Replacement Character: Majida for Pickle.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Made up the floor of the deadly Corridor of Blades.
  • Cut Scene: To create the illusion of a larger world, Series 4 brought in the Eye Shield, which showed the journey from one location to the next from a first-person viewpoint, and spyglasses, which would let the team watch what the villains were up to for a few minutes.
  • Dead-End Room:
    • In the early series, at least two teams ended up in a room with no viable exits, their only option being to wait for their life force to run out. In Series 3, the seventh dungeoneer ended up in a room from which they had not acquired a magical means of escape, and was "killed" offscreen by Mr Grimwold The Ogre.
    • Others met their demise in a variant of the bomb room, which featured a bomb that exploded before a player could humanly reach an exit.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lord Fear switches (sometimes quite abruptly) between this and being a Large Ham. Sometimes he manages to combine the two. He directs his snarking variously at the dungeoneers, Treguard, other members of the Powers that Be, his own henchmen...basically everyone.
  • Death of a Child: As noted in "Taken for Granite" not even the advisors were safe! However, also turned around in the fact that they were always stated as being alive in "our time".
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: Lissard's cunning plan to neutralise the wizard Grimaldine is to steal his staff, break it into four, and scatter it around the dungeon. When he hears about this after the fact, the Genre Savvy Lord Fear spots the trope at once and is decidedly displeased.
    • In some quests, the item needed to win was split up into multiple parts.
  • The Ditz: Gretel, big time. Sidriss even more so.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Subverted. In one sequence Lissard claims to Maldame that he's a master-manipulator who secretly pulls Lord Fear's strings. As soon as she's gone, his story is revealed as a lie to gain her trust, with Lord Fear's connivance.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The last two teams in Series 8 were given a shortcut from Level 1 to Level 3.
  • Dungeon Master: Also the original meaning.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Series 1 has several examples of this:
    • Treguard's dialogue — outside of situation-specific hints — usually consists of stock phrases which are repeated in every quest. Starting with Series 2, the production team gave Hugo Myatt much more leeway to ad-lib dialogue that got across the required information.
    • None of the teams are given a specific goal for their quest, other than to get to the end of Level 3.
    • After most of the dungeoneer deaths, Treguard says "Oh dear, what a pity, never mind". He only says his more well-known catchphrase of "Ooh, nasty!" once, after a dungeoneer is blown up in a bomb room.
    • There's no visible main antagonist, with Mogdred being mentioned several times (and even being credited, but never actually being seen due to none of the teams getting far enough to encounter him).
    • The first few seconds of the closing credits have someone — usually Lillith, though occasionally Cedric — laughing evilly over the music.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Gargoyle from the first quest is a giant, color-changing head which seems to have control over darkness. Its easily-swayed emotions can drain your Life Meter if he becomes depressed, which can happen quite easily.
    • The Catacombite may be a milder example of this as well.
  • Elevator Floor Announcement: Brother Mace, directing a dungeoneer to the elevator waiting to transport him to the next level: "Top floor: Haberdashery, necromancy, trainee dungeoneers."
  • Elimination Catchphrase: Treguard, when ushering off a losing team after a dungeoneer dies: "Spellcasting. D-I-S-M-I-S-S."
  • Energy Weapon: Velda's crossbow.
  • Epic Fail: See the entry under "Too Dumb To Live" below.
  • Evil Gloating: Lord Fear is keen on this, as he happily admits.
    Lord Fear: "Now, I don't like to gloat, Ben - what am I saying? I can't believe I said that. Dear me, what a little fibber I am. Of course I like to gloat - love it. It's something of a hobby with me."
  • Evil Laugh: Most episodes, usually by an evil or neutral character and often overlaid on top of the ending credits.
  • Expanded Universe: The books were half-novel, half-Gamebook, and dealt with how Treguard became the master of the castle. They're an awful lot better than they had any right to be.
  • Eyes Are Unbreakable: The original Life Meter; the head disintegrates, but the eyes are left behind until the very end.
  • Fat Idiot: Fatilla the Hun.
  • Fish People: The Mire Men.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: A dungeoneer's demise would be heralded by the peal of a bell. And usually an "Ooh, nasty."
  • Functional Magic: Rules- and Item-based.
  • Gender Bender: In one Series 7 episode, Lord Fear turns his henchlizard into a tavern wench and then comes onto him/her!
  • Genre Savvy: Lord Fear has his moments.
    Oh dear. Why is it when somebody says "Don't worry" it's a dead cert the next scene is going to be one of blind, screaming panic?
  • The Ghost: Mogdred in the first series, partly because of how nobody managed to get close to victory.
  • Giant Spider: The giant tarantula Ariadne. A smaller one also appeared late in Series 2.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Lord Fear, when he detects he's being spied on.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: Literal. A gargoyle head repeated the word "Doom" until the player left. Additionally getting gargoyle riddles wrong would have the gargoyle say how screwed the contestant would be in a short period of time.
  • High Collar of Doom: In series 6-7, Lord Fear sports one that wouldn't look out of place on a Time Lord.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Julius Scaramonger, who even describes himself as 'honest Julius' at one point.
  • Horny Vikings: Olaf the Viking.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: The players don't actually eat them, because they're props, but life force is replenished by collecting food.
  • I Have Many Names: When the arrogant sorcerer with the stripy hair is first encountered, Treguard says that he is known by many names; "Hordriss the Confuser" is the only one anyone ever uses, though.
  • Indy Ploy: While the game had fairly strict rules, it seems like the players could sometimes bend them, if they said the right things and the actors decided to play along.
    • The first winning team actually convinced one of the dungeon characters that they were friends, and said character escorted them for a bit and beat up one of the guards to grant the player an auto-pass.
    • When a team accidentally destroyed the Level 2 clue room, leaving them to face the rest of the level with nothing to bribe anyone with or give them a hint, they received help from Folly the Fool. Folly managed to use an "Emperor's New Clothes" trick on a guard, and when the dungeoneer had to face Olaf the Viking alone, he used the exact same trick, turning an instant-loss scenario into a fighting chance. They eventually won.
      • Exactly how 'accidental' it was could be open to some debate. The team picked up a mysterious bottle before reaching the clue room and were all set to just leave that bottle on the table and pick their two items. Unfortunately for them, Tregard kept nagging them to "investigate it, open it!" until they did what he wanted and promptly destroyed the clue room and all the objects inside it.
    • One team failed to take a gold bar they needed to bribe Fatilla the Hun into letting them past. Although normally this would spell game over for a team, when they reached him the advisors encouraged the dungeoneer to tell Fatilla how amazing and handsome he was. As a result, they were allowed to pass without payment.
    • Another team didn't have a gold bar they needed to bribe someone and offered the goblin horn they'd instead picked up claiming that it was magical, with the power to create riches beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Unfortunately, the person they were trying it on happened to be Skarkill, Lord Fear's hired Goblin Master, and not only did he not fall for the ploy, he actually turned it right back on them by tricking the dungeoneer into blowing the horn, summoning some goblins to take him prisoner.
  • Inept Mage: Hordriss the Confuser's daughter Sidriss ('the Confused').
  • Involuntary Dance: The 'DANCE' spell. Also inflicted, a few series later, by Elita's Pan pipes.
  • Jerkass:
    • Cedric the Mad Monk never missed an opportunity to bellow insults at the dungeoneers, however well or badly they performed on answering riddles.
    • Elita the elf was invariably rude and obnoxious to everyone on the show, not least the dungeoneers. One dungeoneer alone, on being addressed as "face-ache" had the guts to reply "Yeah, you're a face-ache too!"
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Featured in the first version of the title sequence.
  • The Lady's Favour: In an episode in the third series, one of the potentially-useful items the questers are given to choose from is a scarf; when the dungeoneer subsequently encounters the lady Mellisandre, she recognises the scarf as her own, and declares that she will aid the questers if the dungeoneer will wear the scarf as her favour and dedicate the quest to her. (In a twist which may have just been a result of arbitrary quest assignment, the dungeoneer on this occasion was female.)
  • Large Ham:
    • Lord Fear, whenever he's not being a Deadpan Snarker (and sometimes when he is). It comes to the fore when he gets angry, which can involve some quite magnificent shouting.
    • Hordriss generally spoke and carried himself in a pretentious and overly theatrical manner. This was a deliberate reflection of the character, a benign and powerful but pompous mage.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When the ill-mannered elf Elita is introduced, Pickle refers to her as a "little cow...slip".
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Series 8, where everything was just a little bit different. Level 3 became level 2, level 1 was (mostly) back indoors, and everything was CGI. Also, the advisor room was made much darker, and everyone was standing up.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Most of the time, Sir Hugh De Wittless is, as his name implies, a bungling Upper-Class Twit. But the one time he does battle with Skarkill, he easily defeats the formidable Goblin Master.
  • Life Meter: It ran down if the Dungeoneer came across a non-lethal foe (very rare), as well as over time. More than anything it was the main way to keep the players moving.
  • Lightning Reveal: Merlin.
  • Lost in Transmission:
    • In one episode of the third season, Mellisandre falls into a trapdoor in the middle of giving advice, leaving the questers with the information that when they encounter a moving wall it's vitally important to... aargh? Treguard correctly assumed someone didn't want Melly to give the team that warning.
    • Another occasion was Lampshaded by Pickle.
    Hordriss: It looks just like— [He vanishes]
    Pickle: Oh, would you believe it? Why does that always happen when you get to the best bit?
  • Luck-Based Mission: If you missed a clue or item at times it was possible to get past the obstacle they related to by luck.
  • MacGuffin: Starting with the second season teams won by finding a magic artifact or rescuing a damsel. Honestly we don't know what happened if somebody won in the first season, because nobody did.
  • Mad Oracle: The Oracle of Confusion.
  • Magitek: The Descenders (elevators). Also the Fear Knights and the Dreadnaught.
  • Mega Neko: The chromakey allowed scaled-up footage of a domestic cat to put in an appearance several times, under several different identities.
  • Mercy Mode: One team were given the spell TRUTH (never otherwise seen in the game), allowing them to pass Igneous despite not knowing the answer to any of his riddles. It's theorised that in the original take, their quest did end at this point, and the sequence where they receive the spell was part of a second chance given to them by the production team.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Treguard was this even before the books angst'd him up. And Pickle.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Stiletta and Romahna, to mention but two.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Lord Fear; Malice.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The sorceress Maldame has a tendency to make speeches espousing views associated with Margaret Thatcher. Just in case anyone didn't get the hint, her in-universe nickname is "The Iron Maiden".
  • No Ending: Many later series ended suddenly in the middle of the current quest, because that was when they'd shot enough footage for that series' worth of episodes.
  • Oh, Crap!: Very rarely is anything to this effect actually said, but there have definitely been some moments. One notable instance is given in series 2 by one of the advisors when a Dungeoneer comes face to face with an enormous dragon.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: About 70% of the puzzles are riddles or lateral thinking problems.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In Series 8, when watching Lord Fear through the spy glass a defence of a slow moving fireball would appear and fill the screen. The Dungeoneer would have to drop the spy glass before it hit him.
  • Overly Long Name:
    • Elita at one point claims her true name is 'Ellathasanthasanthasanchirgawinkle'.
    • Majida's full name is even longer: 'Daughter-of-the-Setting-Moon-Whose-Eyes-are-like-Daggers-in-the-Hearts-of-Men-who-guard-the-Great-Caravan-of-the-Sultan'.
  • Painful Rhyme: Frequently, in the Previously on… sections. Also, Treguard's closing verse in series 6 required him to rhyme 'foul' with 'hour' every week. Lampshaded in one recap:
    They perished, all: though what a pity
    It does help rhyme this awful ditty.
  • Painting the Medium: Treguard explained the gaps between episodes as "temporal disruptions" and made it clear that whilst people may die in his reality, they were fine in "your time".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Hordriss's occasional attempts to disguise himself as a beggar, witch or animal. Even when shapeshifted as a giant cat, his intonation of 'meow' is instantly recognisable. There's a school of thought that one time, the beggar is really Lord Fear in a very good Hordriss disguise plus a very bad beggar disguise.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • Lissard, Lord Fear's seneschal in series 7 and 8, despite appearing in every episode, never actually did anything (except once, when he ventured into the dungeon disguised as Marta the barmaid to trick Hordriss) and seemed only to be there to give Lord Fear someone to talk to in the spyglass scenes.
    • Majida, Treguard's assistant in the last two seasons, was supposed to be a genie but outside of coming out of a bottle in her debut she displayed no real evidence of this.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Pickle the Elf, later Magida the Genie.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: One room in the third season contained a talking raven which gave a clue in between demands that the dungeoneer tell it who was a pretty bird then.
  • Portal Pool: Lord Fear's scrying pool allows him to reach into the scene it shows.
  • Potty Emergency: In one quest, Sidriss is reduced in size and trapped in a bottle. She drops some fairly strong hints that this trope is one reason why she'd very much like to be released as soon as possible.
  • Previously on…: During the early seasons, Treguard would recap the previous episode in rhyme. Later, the sidekicks would give a brief synopsis of the quest state. For series 8, the recap was given in rhyme again, with Treguard and Majida delivering alternate verses.
  • Produce Pelting: Suffered by Motley on one occasion.
  • Psychic Powers: Owen the dragon spoke telepathically, which saved the show's creators having to figure out a speech animation for him.
  • Put on a Bus: Pickle the Elf "went back to the forest".
  • Quicksand Sucks: The fate of at least one hapless dungeoneer.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Justified in the first series in that they didn't know what they were in for...yet later on they somehow never learned to solve simple riddles and other such things but they especially couldn't give directions. They also never seemed to learn how to tell people how to make a diagonal step.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: It's been all but confirmed that in series 2, one of the teams actually failed to answer even one of Igneous' questions, which should have meant that the dungeoneer got eaten. However, due to technical limitations not allowing them to depict a dungeoneer actually being eaten, and there not being another team to take their place, they ended up having to refilm the entire quest and work in a "Truth" spell that allowed the team to bypass the wall monster. They still died two rooms later, however, due to an incorrect choice of clue object (by which point the next team had presumably arrived).
    • See "Chekhov's Gun" above for more on that team's mistake.
  • Real-Place Background: In series 4-7, tinted pictures of real locations were used as dungeon rooms.
  • The Roleplayer: Averted, Players never seemed to take the opportunity to role play with the actors despite the various opportunities given and the rich personalities of the dungeon denizens. Quite often they would struggle to squeak out a simple "yes" or "no" answer. Unless you're Barry, of course (the final dungeoneer of series 7).
  • Rollercoaster Mine: The path from Level Two to Level Three in the third series.
  • Rule of Three: Questions were usually asked in sets of three. With few exceptions, missing all three meant death. Getting only one right would often result in the dungeoneer's later doom, typically due to lack of information. Getting two right would give the team either a small bit of information (wall monsters) or a spell (most others). Getting all three right actually gave the team a decent chance.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Treguard tried to guess which of the identical wall monsters the team had met, no matter what his his reasoning, he was wrong.
  • Saw Blades of Death: The Corridor of Blades, true to the name, had saw blades jutting out the walls, with an Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt dragging the dungeoneer right into them, leading to them having to run from side to side in accordance with their team’s instructions. Touching a single blade was instant death, and combined with the speed of them, this lead to the corridor being the show’s most deadly trap, ending the most runs.
  • Shout-Out: To much of legend and to myth, especially in the riddles and major NPCs.
  • Skelebot 9000: The final series' skeletrons - reconstituted warriors made from old bones and animated by technomagic. Treguard himself says he's not convinced these enemies ever lived despite the fact they give off the impression of being undead.
  • Smug Snake: Lord Fear.
  • Spiritual Successor: Virtually Impossible - basically the same idea, but explicitly set in a virtual world in The Future. Didn't do as well, partly due to Special Effects Failure but mainly due to the lack of a live-action host to interact with the kids (instead, it had a bizarre CGI fish thing).
  • Stalked by the Bell: If a dungeoneer spent too long in a room, a floating skull would occasionally appear to chivvy them along.
    • Early series had characters which existed solely to chase lingerers out of rooms (Automatum the Mechanical Warrior; the Cavernwights; the "less-than-human" knight sometimes known as Behemoth). Later series did the same by means of the aforementioned floating skull, the Pooka (a kind of menacing green-vegetable-ghost), and Lord Fear's own grasping hand. The third series used spectral swords in nearly every quest for various methods, from chasing after dungeoneers to guarding something they need.
  • Stealth Pun: The Helmet of Justice blocks the wearer's vision, referencing the idiom "justice is blind" and depictions of justice in general being blindfolded.
  • Steampunk: Automatum the Mechanical Warrior, in the second season. In the later seasons, there were the "Descenders", voice-activated lifts/elevators by any other name. And Lord Fear occasionally referred to "Technomagic" which he presumably used to create the Dreadnought.
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: Caspar the key.
  • The Stinger: One episode ended with a dungeoneer plunging to her doom within sight of victory. At the end of the credits, one of Lord Fear's lines was repeated: "Now that's what I call 'lovely', Skarkill."
  • Synchro-Vox: The wall monsters in series 3, and the tree troll and weeping doors in series 4.
  • Taken for Granite: The team that lost at Medusa. The entire team.
  • Take That!: In the last episode, Lord Fear delivers one seemingly aimed at Virtually Impossible:
    "It's good, isn't it? I'm thinking of calling it 'Virtual Reality'... If you invent something new, give it a really pretentious name. Everyone goes overboard for it."
  • Third-Person Person: Most characters spoke like this at least once.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many teams.
    • This is probably the most famous. Left and right can sometimes be tricky, and mistakes fatal.
    • There were lots of teams that died similarly (or, in one case, in exactly the same way); for example, the one where they walked up the Fire Exit and got incinerated (though this was not actually shown).
    • To dispel a spell, characters had to recite the correct letters in the wrong order; for example, "S-W-O-R-D" could be dispelled by reciting "D-W-O-R-S" or "S-O-R-W-D" or any of a large number of other possibilities. Teams still managed to get it wrong. One famous team had "S-H-R-O-U-D" cast upon their player by Mogdred. This was big. No-one had ever faced Mogdred before. To cancel it, they tried "D-U-R-H-S". They then tried "D-U-R-H-S" again, to the same effect - and Treguard began to moan "Oooooo... Ooooo..." After another attempt, with "Stalactite", Treguard moaned "Let... ter... Oooo..." Finally, they came up with "Dispel! O-S-R-D-H-U." Mogdred fled in terror of the incredibly-bad spelling. The team's seeming unwillingness to write down spells came back to bite them again when they were given the spell 'Shovel' but when it came time to use it to escape an enemy the advisors instead tried to cast "Spade" (and, not realising their mistake, also tried to offer it as a password). If they had been let off for their blunder before, this time there was none of that and the dungeoneer was quickly killed.
    • The team who tried to bribe Lilith with an empty jar of humbugs. They had found the item they needed to give to Lilith (the Potion) earlier, but had misread the label as "Poison".
    • In Series 6, a ring of power the team had found was meant to be used against Sylvester Hands. However, instead of using it, they instead tried giving it to him. This brought the quest to a sudden end.
    • Near the start of the show's run, one team became the first ever to make it into Level 2, and were on the verge of making it into Level 3, when their "Lantern" spell woke up an irate guard who was blocking the wellway. The guard threatened to kill the dungeoneer, and the team's spellcaster immediately worked out what they were supposed to do, which was to cast their other spell, "Anvil" to dispose of the guard. However, the other two advisers decided it'd be a better idea to turn out the light, and browbeat the spellcaster into dispelling "Lantern" instead... instantly resulting in the dungeoneer's death.
    • Also near the start of the series, one team did well enough on solving the wall monster's riddles that they were told which items to take with them, the soap and the comb. After some deliberation, they leave the room with just the soap in hand... only to end up with Lilith removing the floor from underneath the dungeoneer as they didn't have the comb to give her.
    • Later in the first series, one group who had managed to get to Level 2 gets a riddle from Folly the jester which tells them to take the door on the right hand side, only for them to take the door on the left. Big mistake, as it leads them to a room with a bomb that explodes the second the dungeoneer took a step. The very next team lost in almost the same manner in the very same episode, but were (harshly) denied a clue by only getting two of three of Granitas' riddles correct.
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: Team 8 of Series 2 were forced into this, as they didn't take the divining rod from the clue room.
  • The Un-Smile: Lord Fear's evil replica of Sidriss ('the Bimboid') obeys simple commands, including 'smile'. He is, however, quick to admit that the result is not entirely convincing.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Sir Hugh de Wittless is under an enchantment compelling him to rescue people whether they want it or not. He actually succeeds in this with Gwendoline and Sylvester Hands (in the case of the latter, he actually did save the dungeoneer in doing so)
  • Unwinnable: There was no returning to a previous room. If a team missed an important item or character in a room, it was only a matter of time. Well, he did warn them: "The only way is onward. There is no turning back." This was also invoked with the last team to play on each series, as in game the dungeon would be on the verge of collapsing, and the team would be stuck on a seemingly impossible quest. Treguard would have to summon the player back as the room began to disintegrate around them.
  • Video-Game Lives:
    • Averted; when you die, it's Game Over (accompanied with a loud BONG! and Treguard usually saying "Oooh... nasty.") Mentioned because, at least in the first couple seasons, Treguard lampshaded the lack of lives by saying something like, "This is no game of numerous lives, here you have only one."
    • Played with in the French and Spanish versions (which did not use a life meter): any mistake is fatal, and one of your advisors gets sent in in your place. There always has to be one advisor guiding the active player, or the game is over. With a team of four players, that gives the team three lives. (Though if your team wins, you get to share in the prize, usually a Sega video game console and games.)
  • Violent Glaswegian: The barbarian warrior McGrew; the first challenge in any situation involving him was generally to win him over before he decided to run the dungeoneer through with his claymore.
  • Visible Invisibility:
    • When a dungeoneer picked up an amulet of invisibility in the third series, he disappeared but his location was marked for his advisors by a glowing point of light. (Unfortunately for the dungeoneer, and the advisors attempting to navigate him around the subsequent hazards, the glowing point of light gave no indication of which direction he was facing...)
    • The fourth series had a magic dagger which made the wielder invisible; this time, the dungeoneer was visible but transparent to the advisors and the audience, which worked much better when it came to steering her around.
  • Who's on First?: A common British verbal affectation which many participants seemed unable to shake at the cost of the game: the habit of ending all imperative sentences by saying "right?". This led to exchanges such as "Go left, right?" "You want me to go right?" "No, left. Right?" "Right?" "Right. Left, right?" "Okay. going right. Aieee!" "Oooh... Nasty."
  • Wicked Witch: Mildred, also the first NPC to ever attack Treguard.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The way you refill the life meter.
  • Yellowface: Ah Wok, a Chinese trader complete with traditional costume and comedy accent.
  • Your Eyes Can Deceive You: The reason for the view-restricting helmet. An Enforced Trope given the Chroma Key based backgrounds and effects, which would be impossible to see for the dungeoneer themselves.
  • Your Other Left: The bane of many teams. Especially the team in the video next to Too Dumb to Live.
    • Another team suffered from this, but just about managed to pull off last-minute saves from their mistakes — until their dungeoneer found an amulet which rendered him invisible, so they didn't realise they'd guided him over the edge of a cliff until it was too late.

The gamebooks provide examples of:

  • Easter Egg: One of the books contains a reference it's impossible to reach from any of the other ones where the player character wanders into a science fiction setting due to getting "lost".
  • Fishing Minigame: The interactive portion of the book Sorcerer's Ilse has a part where it's possible to go fishing, and making the roll depends on how much armor you've decided to wear or not.
  • Karma Meter: The interactive part of the book Sorcerer's Isle has one in a "chivalry" score. Acting like a proper gallant knight will make it go up, while...not doing that will make it go down. Beating the adventure involves a saving throwing that's made a lot easier by getting it high.
  • No Fair Cheating: The first book includes one or two options that end the game immediately as it's impossible to have the items required (e.g. using a spell that doesn't exist, or trying to use three different items from a Clue room when you can only take two).
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Fortress of Assassins had an encounter with a nun from a branch of the church that hunts the undead.
  • Pop Quiz: Sometimes in the interactive portion, the reader would be quizzed on details they were expected to learn from reading the novella. The first book would usually tell them where to look, but the couple of later books with this element would just kill them outright.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: The interactive part of the book Sorcerer's Isle gives the player the option to equip pieces of armor, which is what you roll against to see if you win a fight, or not, which makes it easier to do things requiring dexterity.

The Youtube special episode provides examples of:

Treguard: Warning, Troper. Complete temporal disruption approaching. Time is now the enemy.
(fireplace freezes)
Treguard: Oh, dear. Temporal disruption complete. Time flies as the Romans would say, and although all continues in your world, here time has flown. All editing and troping must now cease until you phase with us once more. Will these editors triumph on the next page? Or will our Troper have their life ruined by all of the other pages on this site? And if so, why should you care? For here, nothing is real and everything must surely be an illusion. Join us again for Knightmare. And just keep telling yourself, it's only a game... isn't it?