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Video Game / Don't Starve

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Where there's a Wilson, there's a way.

"Say, pal, you don't look so good. You'd better find something to eat before night comes."

Don't Starve is an indie Survival Sandbox game by Klei Entertainment. The player awakens in a procedurally generated world, populated by various monsters of varying levels of friendliness (these levels being "indifferent" and "murderous"). From there, it is up to you to survive and explore the world. To do this, one should gather resources, do science, and most importantly… Don't Starve.

Don't Starve started as an app for Google Chrome, but later became available on Steam. It saw a full release on April 23, 2013, with new content continually being added post-release.

On May 1, 2014, a DLC titled Reign of Giants was released. It added lots of new content to the game, including two new characters, three more boss monsters, the seasons of Spring and Fall, and a tweaking of the game mechanics.

Also in May 2014, Klei announced a multiplayer feature titled Don't Starve Together. The closed beta was released the next Summer and Early Access was released on December 15, 2014. Don't Starve Together was officially released on April 21st, 2016. Initially it was just the original with multiplayer and all enemy health increased to compensate, but Don't Starve Together has subsequently received multiple updates, collectively referred to as A New Reign, that have made it increasingly different from single-player. Later, another series of updates known as Return of Them started in 2019, which added seafaring, fishing and farming reworks and a collection of "Moon" based features. DST, with its popularity long since out-growing the original title, has continued to receive major updates in the form of characters, seasonal events, qol, and content changes.

July 30th, 2015 was the day that Don't Starve: Shipwrecked was revealed to the public, co-created by Capy Games. Shipwrecked was fully released on March 31st, 2016. Its theme was mostly about nautism and navigation, allowing the player to build and use boats to navigate on the waters.

On September 13th, 2017, the game saw further announcements for all editions of the game: an upcoming single-player expansion titled Don't Starve: Hamlet focused on the origins of the Pigmen; content updates for Shipwrecked; and a series of events for Don't Starve Together starting with The Forge. More information on these announcements can be found here. The Gorge, a second event for DST, was announced on June 7, 2018.

Don't Starve: Hamlet would later release out of beta on May 14, 2019.

On April 5, 2018, Don't Starve, and later its DLC, was announced to be coming to the Nintendo Switch the following week. On December 16, 2021 Don't Starve Together was revealed for the Switch, slated for a Spring 2022 release.

The official website can be viewed here.

Mods on PC can be installed from each game's respective SteamWorkshop.

This game provides examples of:

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    A to C 
  • Action Survivor: Most of the characters are just normal people (for a given value of the word "normal") who are caught up in an unusual and terrible situation and forced to survive for as long as they can. In the end, and in a depressing subversion of the more optimistic elements of this trope, it's bound to be a losing situation for them, since they'll either die or become permanently imprisoned on the Nightmare Throne.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • The Dangling Depth Dweller, a type of spider that resides underground and drops from the ceiling before attacking.
    • All playable characters have names that start with "W", like Wilson, Willow, Wolfgang, Wendy, and so on. Even Maxwell, seemingly an exception, is an example, as his real name is William Carter.
  • Adipose Rex: The Pig Kings. These guys are very useful for one reason: they give you gold if you give them meat! Since meat is an easily replenished resource and gold is not, this is one of the few ways to regularly get the best tools in the game.
  • All Balloons Have Helium: Wes can blow balloons at the cost of five sanity points apiece. He must exhale helium, because they do indeed float.
    • Lampshaded in DST:
      Wilson: How are they floating?
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: There is a desert biome in Reign of Giants worlds, and there are cacti in abundance there.
  • Alternate Reality Game: Some of the supplemental material in the form of puzzles hidden in trailers and on the game's website.
    • The William Carter Puzzles are a series of puzzles hidden in update trailers in the form of hidden web links. It follows the story of a stage magician named William Carter, who is Maxwell's original identity and details how he came to rule over the Constant.
    • When the Reign of Giants DLC was released, mysterious notes with coordinates could be found in-game. The trailer for the DLC had a hidden link to a website that had a map and a puzzle. Solving the puzzle would lead to a comic that showed a teaser for the upcoming multiplayer feature.
    • A parrot named Wolly can be found in-game that provides riddles which, when entered on a website, will give clues about the second DLC, Shipwrecked.
    • Upon the release of Don't Starve Together, a hidden word was found in the Launch Trailer, leading to a new set of puzzles. This follows up on Don't Starve Adventure Mode's ending, after Maxwell was released from the throne, culminating in Charlie taking the throne for herself and the start of her reign.
    • After Don't Starve Together's first expansion, A New Reign, the Metheus puzzles were discovered, arguably the most complex puzzles to date. It requires two players to beat, let alone solve. It involves decoding some ancient monument depicting the history of the Ancients, and beating it rewards the players with a view of a teaser for the upcoming character and timed event.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Any character holding a tool or weapon will appear left-handed when viewed from their front, back, or right, but when viewed from their left, they appear right-handed.
  • And I Must Scream: The Nightmare Throne. If someone sits on it, they become a living puppet for "Them" to act through, bound to the throne for eternity. Not to mention, the throne itself seems to be very uncomfortable to sit on. If someone tries to resist "Them", "They" will literally bind you to the throne, as "They" did to Wilson in the trailer for A New Reign.
  • Anime Hair: Wilson, and Willow to some extent. The bones in the characters' hair may explain how, in Forbidden Knowledge, Wilson's hair can be blown back in a small explosion and "boing" back to its original shape.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Apparently, Thulecite and Nightmare Fuel, upon which the Ancients in the second level of the Caves built pretty much their whole civilization.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A hidden page shows, among other things, an article about a collision that William Carter/Maxwell somehow survived. The headers say:
    Circus wagon struck at crossing
    Many passenger injuries reported
    Elephant unharmed
  • Artistic License – Biology: Even without getting into the fantasy creatures, some of The Constant's flora and fauna is rather odd. Just a few examples:
    • The "evergreens" look like firs or spruce, but drop pine cones.
    • The "lumpy evergreens", which have no cones, are said by Wickerbottom to be a different species from the regular ones. If they're a separate species, how do they reproduce without seeds?
    • Evergreens continue to grow in winter. (While they don't drop their needles, real evergreens do still "hibernate" when temperatures are below freezing.)
    • The "saplings" never grow into trees, so they seem to actually be shrubs, and are completely lacking in leaves.
    • The redbirds sound like robins (and are called "robins" in the game code), but look like cardinals.
    • Spiders have six legs and maws full of sharp teeth.
    • Planting a butterfly on the ground somehow turns it into a flower. Killing one has a small chance of producing butter.
    • Honey can spoil in-game, even though in real life this is the only food that will never ever spoil.
    • All farmed plants look like vague cabbage-like things until they bear fruit, regardless of what they eventually end up producing.
    • Potatoes are the roots of the plants, not the fruit of it.
    • In the Reign of Giants DLC, when players are struck by lightning and the viewer sees their skeleton, they are shown to have bones in their hair and clothes.
    • The berry bushes that are one of the player's primary food sources are according to Wickerbottom Ardisia crenata (coral ardisia), which is of dubious edibility in real life.
    • Shipwrecked's toucans make a generic bird-twitter sound. (A real toucan's call is a throaty croak/chirrup.)
    • Coffee plants look more like agaves.
    • Bees have multiple eyes like a spider, live in Stock Beehives, and turn into red killer bees when their nest is attacked.
    • Characters' body temperature will change to match the ambient temperature. In real life, this only happens to cold-blooded animals, as warm-blooded animals like mammals have the ability to maintain a constant core body temperature. Not to mention, allowing the core temperature to fluctuate that much should be fatal. The only characters it really makes sense for are WX-78, Wormwood, Wurt, and possibly Webber and Wortox.
    • Beefalo and Voltgoat herds can repopulate themselves from a single member. Do they reproduce by mitosis?
    • Wickerbottom refers to crows as Corvus brachyrhynchos, the scientific name for the American crow. Crows were introduced to the Constant along with Wes, presumably from France, which would make them Corvus corone or carrion crows.
    • Pengull flocks supposedly breed in winter, but their eggs never hatch into chicks and in spring they just leave all the eggs behind to rot.
    • Wickerbottom describes the very hot lava pepper as "a delightful ten on the Scoville scale". Seeing as the Scoville scale goes beyond 3 million, ten amounts to no heat at all.
    • Rabbits have antlers, run in a straight line instead of bounding, and are diurnal, rather than crepuscular like real rabbits.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry:
    • Gunpowder can be crafted from rotten eggs. Presumably this is because of the belief that eggs contain sulphur, which is an ingredient in gunpowder. However, the amount of sulphur in an egg is miniscule and it's mostly present as sulphur-containing proteins, not in elemental form that is needed for gunpowder.
      • Wheeler's quote when examining a rotten egg is "Smells like sulphur. And sulphur goes boom", which is wrong on two accounts. Elemental sulphur is in itself odourless, but may emit small amounts of sulphur dioxide which has a burnt match smell. However, the rotting egg smell is from hydrogen sulphide, which is completely different. Also, sulphur does not "go boom" in itself. On its own, sulphur just burns, and in gunpowder it acts as a fuel. It needs an oxidant like the potassium nitrate in gunpowder to react explosively. And there's three times the amount of charcoal than sulphur in gunpowder, so it's not even the main fuel.
    • Endothermic fires require nitre and fuel. Nitre is an oxidant and would likely cause the fuel to burn faster and emit even more heat, not less.
    • Bath bombs are made from flower petals and nitre. Presumably the nitre is required because it's an ingredient in actual bombs, but it won't do anything without a fuel to react with and a heat source. In real life, bath bombs contain an acid and a base which reacts to cause the fizzing.
    • Beefalo wool, beard hair, and steel wool are all quality fuel items and burn for as long as a log. In real life, hair and wool don't burn well, not to mention that steel shouldn't burn at all.
    • The Hallowed Nights event introduces Sulfuric Crystals of Lime and Sulfuric Crystals of Saltpeter, which can be added to fires to make them burn red or yellow respectively. The first one is fairly plausible, as 'lime' refers to calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide and calcium salts do burn with a red flame, though it's not clear where the sulphur comes in. However, saltpeter is another name for nitre or potassium nitrate, the oxidiser used in gunpowder, while sulphur is one of the fuels in gunpowder. Needless to say, you probably shouldn't be putting a mixture like that anywhere near a fire. And on top of that, potassium salts burn with a lilac rather than a yellow flame.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Characters will take damage from overheating if their body temperature rises above 65°C and from freezing if it drops below 0°C. In real life, hyperthermia occurs at over 38°C and hypothermia occurs at under 35°C, just a few degrees above or below body temperature, and death would occur far, far before reaching 65°C or 0°C. Furthermore, the characters are apparently poikilothermic, as the only way to warm up or cool down is to use external resources.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • The rate of heat transfer between an object and its surroundings is constant, while the rate should decrease as the object's temperature becomes closer to the ambient temperature. For example, a heated thermal stone should lose heat very quickly when it is hot, but lose heat much more slowly when it is only lukewarm.
    • Earthquakes in caves cause rubble to fall from the ceiling, which creates a shadow on the floor to show where it's about to land. But in caves, the light sources are all on the ground, so the shadow should really be projected onto the ceiling.
    • Endothermic fires don't make any sense from a physics point of viewnote , which the game itself acknowledges in some of the quotes. Wickerbottom straight-up calls it magic.
      Winona: "It's... cold? Somehow?"
    • Wagstaff's Infroggles supposedly see in infra-red and should cause anything hotter or colder than the surrounding environment to show up. But instead, they cause all mobs to light up red and surrounding objects to become blue, regardless of temperature. Objects that emit (or absorb) heat like fires and crockpots don't show up, nor do immobile creatures like the Pig King, and mobs like spiders and eye plants still show up red despite not producing their own body heat.
  • Art Shift: A notable one in The Curtain Calls, Wigfrid's cinematic, during her Fantasy Sequence.
  • Audible Gleam: Golden tools make a "shiny" noise when equipped.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Wilba’s werepig form could be considered this. For the awesome side, Wilba is dramatically faster in this form, has decent attack power barehanded, can break rocks and dig up things barehanded, has night vision (making her immune to Charlie), is immune to freezing and overheating, and has increased health that regenerates (albeit somewhat slowly) along with the fact that Wilba’s health instantly gets restored upon transforming into or out of werepig form, making it a good idea to carry around monster meat in case you’re about to die and desperately need some health. The impractical part? The hunger drain is massive and you can easily starve to death if you don’t have a good supply of food beforehand or a good number of things nearby you can massacre and kill. Just make sure you’re not chowing down on Monster Meat, though, since every piece you eat extends the transformation by half a day, meaning you’ll need that much more food to avoid starving. Furthermore, Werewilba is apparently too hairy to equip anything, since hair takes up all her equip slots, which means no armor, which means she’ll take full damage from everything. The increased regenerating health mitigates this somewhat, but she’s still a bit of a Glass Cannon if you aren’t good at kiting. Another downside is that she prioritizes destructive actions, meaning no, you can’t open that fridge. If you want the food inside, you’re going to have to smash it and hope you have enough materials to rebuild it. You also can’t get berries off of bushes without uprooting them or items out of chests without smashing those, too. Wilba’s also considered a monster in this form, so more things than usual will be attacking you, too. Her werepig form can still be very useful despite these drawbacks, you just have to be prepared to deal with the downsides.
  • Bad Santa: Behold Klaus. Introduced in the Winter's Feast update for Don't Starve Together, Klaus is the perfect St. Nick analog for a Death World like this; just replace elves with Krampii, Rudolph with a pair of magical No-Eyed Deer, and a belly like a bowl full of jelly with a ravenous Belly Mouth. He's big, angry, and scary, but killing him nets you a key to a sack of neat presents.
  • Bandit Mook:
    • Krampus will show up to take items and empty chests if the player has been "naughty" enough.
    • Splumonkeys will knock items out of the player's inventory onto the ground and take them. The player can take everything back from both only by killing them.
    • In the Shipwrecked DLC, Prime Apes resemble above-ground Splumonkeys but will only take items lying on the ground.
    • If a Gobbler pops up, it will eat up any berries left on nearby berry-bushes.
    • To a lesser extent, Frogs will knock items out of your inventory when they attack, but not steal them.
    • Moleworms will grab any mineral, including Thermal Stones, and hide them in their dens. The dens can be dug up to retrieve the items, but if the moleworm is still around it might just take them again.
    • The Masked Pig from Hamlet will stalk the player and try to punch them, knocking all the Oincs out of their inventory, after which he’ll pick up the Oincs on the ground and hightail it out of there. The pig guards may count, too, since they have a tendency to take advantage of this, too and pick up whatever Oincs fell on the ground for themselves.
    • Hamlet's pikos are squirrel-like creatures that grab items and run off with them. A single tree can house multiple pikos, so felling a tree can result in half the resources getting stolen before you can pick them up.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The Forge event apparently, due to its fiery theme and combat-oriented play (as of so far).
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A recurring theme throughout the Survivors is many of them wanted something and they get it at the cost of being thrown into the Constant. Key examples include Wilson wanting ideas, Wendy wanting to be with Abigail again and Winona wanting to find the missing Charlie. This also applies to the main villain Maxwell, as he desired fame as a magician by using real shadow magic.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Every ghost in the series is depicted this way, with Wendy's dead sister Abigail being the most notable example.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The Bee Mine (which occasionally shudders and buzzes when laid).
  • Berserk Button: The character Webber is a walking Berserk Button for any mob that would normally be friendly/neutral.
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • The Krampus Sack. Krampus can jump into it to leave the world, and Wickerbottom remarks that the sack is somehow bigger on the inside. It's the largest "backpack" item in the game.
    • All of the houses you can enter in Hamlet, particularly the purchaseable player residence, which looks no bigger than a fully-grown tree on the map yet can contain multiple large rooms.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool:
    • Fireflies can be caught at night and used to craft the Miner Hat.
    • An item just called "Bioluminescence" (presumably bacterial) can be snagged from the seas of Shipwrecked and crafted into Bottle Lanterns.
  • Blackout Basement: A few night levels, where you're exploring the darkness holding only your torch and you can only see a circle around yourself.
  • Bonsai Forest: Trees in Don't Starve are rather short, rarely being taller than 3 times the player's height.
  • Booby Trap: Be careful when opening random chests. You never know what you might find.
  • Bookcase Passage: In the short "One For the Books", Ms. Wickerbottom's secret occult research room is hidden behind one of the bookcases in her library, which she opens by inserting an amulet into an indention hidden behind two books.
  • Boss Battle:
    • There are four boss monsters in the vanilla gamenote , all but one of which is renewable and/or respawnsnote .
    • The Reign of Giants DLC introduces three new bossesnote . They'll randomly appear up to once per season, and can reappear the next year.
    • Don't Starve Together has gradually amassed a large collection of bosses not seen in the single-player version, many designed to be "raid bosses" that require the cooperation of multiple players to take them down.
    • Shipwrecked adds at least three bosses, two of them appearing with their respective seasons and one being found on the open water.
    • Hamlet adds at least four bosses, though three of them are optional, with one appearing during the Aporkalypse if you survive long enough.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Tallbirds. They tend to be encountered in the same areas as spiders, but they have a fuckton of health and can kill an unarmored character in two hits. (Unless you're playing as Wolfgang, in which case they kill you in four hits.)
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • Inverted with Wes. For all the trouble you have to go through to free/unlock him, he turns out to be the weakest playable character. His purpose is to provide a challenge for players who feel the game was too easy.
    • Played straight with Maxwell, who starts the game with several powerful late-game items and has considerable passive sanity regeneration. Unlocking him requires beating adventure mode by clearing five increasingly-nasty challenge maps, consecutively. Any player capable of beating Darkness likely does not need any more help.
  • Breakable Weapons: Most weapons have a "durability" that appears as a percentage, which lowers every time they're used. They break when the number hits 0. Unlike most games where this mechanic is used, this time it's justified — you can't expect an axe made out of a twig and a piece of flint to be very durable.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • The name of the structure that teleports the player to the next world is called a Wooden Thing. The parts that must be combined with the Wooden Thing are the Box Thing, Crank Thing, Ring Thing, and Metal Potato Thing (the last of which is the reason why the fully assembled Wooden Thing is often called a Teleportato).
    • Wendy's description of the Purple Gem.
    Wendy: Purple like a... purple thing.
  • Bullfight Boss:
    • Clockwork Rooks have substantial health and will tamp the ground and rapidly charge at you in combat. They can and will smash through trees, structures, and fellow Clockworks to get to you.
    • The Ancient Guardian is essentially a unique Clockwork Rook with boss-level health and higher damage.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Quite literally, too. "Rabbits" are actually jackalopes, with little antlers. They also scream when you approach them. Otherwise, they look and behave like regular old rabbits.
  • Captain Obvious: Every character has their moment, simply calling something what it is upon examination.
    Wendy: The darkness! It is too dark!
  • Cast from Sanity: Using magic staves consume some amount of the player's sanity, in addition to bringing the staff one step closer to breaking.
  • Casting a Shadow: What using dark magic can do. Charlie, as the Night Monster and new queen of the Nightmare Throne, is more adept at using this ability than Maxwell was, manifesting flames and thorny vines made of shadows.
  • Cheerful Child: Most of the child playable characters are actually this, despite the circumstances, they don’t seem to be taking it too hard and remain relatively well-adjusted and cheerful if their examination quotes are anything to go by. Wendy's an exception to this, as explained further below.
  • Chess Motifs: One of the many mysterious themes in the game, it’s present here in the form of Clockwork Bishops, Clockwork Knights, and a single Clockwork Rook, all of whom guard the Teleportato to the next world in both Sandbox and Adventure Mode.
  • Clown-Car Base: Somehow four merms can fit in a house that doesn't look large enough for even one of them.
  • Combat Tentacles: The subterranean swamp monster, otherwise known as the tentacle, is an ambush monster that can be found within swamp/marsh biomes. You never get to see the creature it's attached to but regardless it is hostile towards anything that comes near it. What makes it worse is that it remains hidden until you're inches away from it and it also deals massive amount of damage. If you manage to kill one you have a chance to get the spiky part of its tentacle which you can wield and attack foes with. So, in essence, you can technically obtain a combat tentacle, too.
    • Down in the caves you can encounter additional tentacles as well as much larger versions called tentapillars—think pillar like a column. Whether these massive versions are separate entities or the underground portion of their smaller, surface counterparts is open to interpretation.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: The spacebar does a lot for you. It's changed to the A button for the Xbox/Nintendo versions of the games, and the X button for the Playstation versions.
  • Continuing is Painful: If you die in the Adventure Mode, you get back to the Survival Mode with all the items you had when you left. This means you will have to go through all 5 chapters again.
  • Cooking Mechanics: As the name of the game suggests, food is an important element here. Stranded in the wilderness, you can forage for, cook, and eat various foods, and if you're able to craft a crock pot, you can prepare dozens of different food items that restore different amounts of your hunger meter as well as other stats. Foods made from fish, such as fish sticks and sushi, tend to restore your hit points, while primarily meat-based dishes like stew and meatballs usually fill up your stomach more, and sweet foods like taffy and cookies help to restore your sanity. And this doesn't include the limited-time special event in the multiplayer game called The Gorge, where players team up to cook tons of fancier foods like pizza, pasta, and cakes, which are exclusive to the mode, to appease a hungry hole in the sky.
  • Cool Chair: Subverted with the Nightmare Throne; it looks cool, but is noted by several characters to be very uncomfortable to sit on. Maxwell tries to convince them that it's less painful than it looks. Not to mention that even sitting on the Nightmare Throne turns the person into a pawn for Them.
  • Cosmetic Award: The game's creators consciously avoided giving this game any achievements on Steam because they didn't want to force players into any particular actions or routes during the game. The PS4 version of the game needed to have achievements, so what they did was pare it down to the most basic of basics, one trophy each for each playable character, and an "Accomploshrine" that doesn't do anything except provide you with a trophy. Might be Biting-the-Hand Humor at that.
  • Creepy Child:
    • Wendy, who appears to be a young child has excessively grim and unchildlike dialogue and constantly followed by the ghost of her dead twin Abigail.
    • Webber is the only character that is explicitly stated to be a child. He also wears a spider as a Living Body Suit. Despite this, he's really a sweet kid.
  • Creepy Good:
    • You can create clockwork monsters from piles of scraps. They may look scarier than regular clockwork monsters, but they're friendly and will protect you.
    • Webber may look like a nightmarish humanoid spider creature, but he's a sweet little kid on the inside. Literally.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: All of the human characters have these, some more noticeable than others.
  • Critical Existence Failure:
    • Having lower health does not incur any penalties to your character. You'll perform just as well as you were when you have full health.
    • Also applies to most weapons and tools. A spear at 10% does just as much damage as one at 100%, but hit 0 and you'll find yourself unarmed. The lone exception is the Ham Bat, which does less damage the closer it is to completely spoiling.
    • Averted with Wolgang's hunger meter; low hunger means Wolfgang becomes weaker, though he is fine at low health.
  • Crossover:
    • The An Eye for an Eye update added the Eye of Terror, based on the Eye of Cthulhu from Terraria, as well as various Terraria-based outfits. In return, Terraria added The Constant as a World Seed, allowing its players to fight the Deerclops and obtain various Don't Starve-inspired gear.
    • An update celebrating the first anniversary of Cult of the Lamb added new skins for weapons and sheep. In return, Cult of the Lamb introduced a "Penitence" challenge mode inspired by the survival mechanics of Don't Starve and added Webber as an unlockable follower.
  • Crutch Character: Abigail, especially in the dark seasons. Her attack damage is a solid 10/20/40 depending on whether it's day, evening, or night, respectively, and is area of effect instead of just one direction, making swarming her ineffective for anything attacking her. She immediately starts going after anything Wendy attacks, meaning you don't need to trick things into fighting her. She even acts as an emergency light source in a pinch. However, she suffers severely from Artificial Stupidity if she's been hit, going after things she shouldn't (like tentacles) instead of running with Wendy, making her much less useful against bigger and stronger foes. She also takes a few in-game days to summon again after she's been defeated, so continually throwing her at things doesn't work either. While she manages to avoid becoming completely useless later on, she's still a far cry from the murder machine she was at the start.
  • Cute Monster: The art style of the whole game fits this in general for many of the mobs encountered in the game. But special mention goes to the Spiders and their variants, who adorably cower in fear from light sources and purr like cats when asleep, and Chester, a dog-like Chest Monster that you can keep as pets and storage units. Reign of Giants introduces Glommer; a cute and completely harmless insectoid monster that only follows you around and produces fuel with his goop.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Inverted by friendly Pig and Bunnymen followers, along with the resident Cute Monster Glommer because being surrounded by their cuteness actually increases your sanity and can help fight sanity drops during night time. (Although you have to be standing right beside them constantly in order to take advantage of the passive increase.)
  • Cutting Off the Branches: As seen in the A New Reign cinematic, Wilson is canonically the one who frees Maxwell from the Nightmare Throne and is stuck there until Charlie arrives and takes his place.
  • Cyclops: The Deerclops, of course. He drops his eye when he dies, which is a rare and useful item. In fact, it fits both senses of the word.

    D to G 
  • Darkness Equals Death: A literal interpretation with The Night Monster, who attacks the player character(s) during the night. This may be a reference to Zork.
  • Deadly Gas: Shipwrecked and Hamlet feature poison as a mechanic, which can come in the form of poisonous gas emitted by certain entities. The Gas Rainforests in Hamlet take this to exaggerated levels, to the point attempting to use a pitchfork to move the ground there will immediately destroy your pitchfork.
  • Detect Evil: All characters except for Wes have a bark when the hounds are coming, soon to be followed by the noise of the hounds. This usually give the player ample time to prepare for the upcoming onslaught. Veteran players also know which days will the hounds launch their attack and can be ready beforehand. Also, many monsters have an insanity aura, meaning characters will lose sanity when they're close to them. Since Tentacles are hidden in the ground until mobs get very near, watching the sanity meter for the downward arrow is a good way to detect if a Tentacle is nearby and act accordingly.
    • The Hound warnings also apply to the Crocodogs in Shipwrecked, the Bats in Hamlet and the Depth Worms in Together.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Maxwell's examination of the Celestial Champion's lifeless husk after the survivors beat it into submission and Wagstaff siphons the life out of it suggests he didn't think They could even be harmed, let alone killed.
    Maxwell: I don't know what to believe. All this time, I thought They were...
  • Disc-One Nuke: If you're playing as Wendy, Abigail can make the first few hound attacks far easier, especially if they're baited into focusing on her, but once the waves surpass a few hounds she can easily be overwhelmed.
  • Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: Rabbits and frogs are strictly diurnal in the game; in real life both tend towards crepuscular.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Played straight. You won't drop your equipped tool no matter how many times you get hit, unless you encounter frogs or Splumonkeys, who have an attack that drops your items with each hit.
    • In the Reign of Giants DLC, there are enemies that can make you drop your equipped tool. And if you are wet enough, there's a chance for your tool to be dropped.
  • Downer Ending: The ending to Adventure Mode has you figure out that Maxwell is merely a pawn for the Shadowy Forces that run the world and has actually been trapped on a Throne of Nightmares for an eternity, and if you free him from the Nightmare Throne, it will trap whoever you are currently playing as there forever… or until you beat Adventure Mode again. Slightly alleviated in DST, where Wilson is freed from the Nightmare Throne, but is placed back in the Constant. And the person who replaces him has far more devious plans for the world on the survivors.
  • Downloadable Content: There are three DLCs for the original single-player game: Reign of Giants, Shipwrecked and Hamlet. Reign of Giants adds a lot more depth and challenge to the base game, while Shipwrecked and Hamlet are mostly self-contained with entirely new worlds that have their own rules and gameplay differences.
  • Dung Fu: Attack any of the monkeys in Shipwrecked and they’ll respond by aggressively keeping their distance and flinging poo at you. Does very little damage but it takes a toll on your sanity. The player can do this too when they unlock Wilbur.
  • Easter Egg: The Old Bell summons Biiigfoot, a giant reptilian foot that crushes anything in its path. The rest of the body normally can't be seen, but by using console commands, you can see that the rest of Bigfoot is a bony stump with a brain attached.
  • Edible Bludgeon: The Ham Bat. Though despite being made of meat, it's not actually edible.
  • The Edwardian Era: Maxwell and Charlie are from this time, according to the William Carter Puzzles. One of the included letters implies that Wendy might have come from there as well, as is Winona.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Let's see... First we have the Night Monster, which kills you if you are in the dark for too long, and as of the sanity update, there are the delightfully named Crawling Horrors, invisible, tentacled tick/mite things, as well as multi-legged beaked snake things, shadowy hands, and many others.
    • Just to emphasize this trope, they only spawn at low sanity levels, and they drop literal invokedNightmare Fuel. Yes, invokedNightmare Fuel is an item in this game.
    • The Ancients may have worshiped or even harnessed Eldritch Abominations, considering the quotes from some characters upon examining the Ancient Pseudoscience Station.
    • Maxwell only ever refers to the "Moon" in quotation marks, and he has a very good reason for doing so.
  • Eldritch Location: The Ruins, which sit beneath the Caves. Dark magic constantly flows in and out of them, causing the Nightmare Cycle. Most of the time, it's hardly any more dangerous than the Caves, but at high tide, the statues' faces contort into expressions of despair that cry tears of Nightmare Fuel, and shadow monsters will spawn in droves regardless of the player's sanity level. It's implied that the Nightmare Cycle was caused by the Ancients that built what became the Ruins, and in turn was what made that civilization into the Ruins.
  • Electric Jellyfish: The… well… Jellyfish from the Shipwrecked DLC.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The spiders have a much more dangerous variant called the spider warriors. Basically, they're gigantic jumping spiders which makes them a lot more difficult to run away from: luckily, they only come out when you attack their den or when spawned by a Spider Queen. Shipwrecked makes them poisonous.
    • Hounds have Red and Blue variants (for summer and winter, respectively). They set you on fire or freeze you. But they also have less health.
    • Warrior Mants from Hamlet hit a lot harder than regular Mants and have more health as well as being generally harder to fight.
  • Empathic Weapon: Lucy the Axe, for Woodie.
  • Endless Game: Survival Mode. The introduction of Adventure Mode gave the game a proper ending.
  • Enemy Summoner:
    • A Spider Queen, who don't summon Spiders and Spider Warriors so much as she gives birth to them.
    • Vargs call hounds to their aid by howling.
    • In the multiplayer expansion Don't Starve Together, the Dragonfly will spawn Lavae to aid it if attacked.
    • The Bee Queen, also from DST, spawns Grumble Bees.
    • Queen Womant from Hamlet can drop eggs from the ceiling which will hatch into Warrior Mants given enough time unless the player breaks them first.
  • Eternal Equinox: Averted. Day/night times change according to the season. In summer, days are longer than nights, and nights are longer than days in winter.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Formerly the page image, because just about everything really is out to kill you in this game.
    • Killer darkness, killer bees and killer trees, just to name a few.
    • Webber has it worse than other characters: while spiders ignore him, or even become his friends with an offering of meat, every other mob able to attack in some way will hunt him on sight.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Together's Triumphant Sets is a collection of skin sets that shows what would've happened if the player character(s) became pawns of the Nightmare Throne. Story-wise, Charlie ditched the flapper-style dress she wore as a human, and gained an elegant black dress with horned shoulders after undergoing a Split-Personality Merge with her "Night Monster" self.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Seems to be an underlying theme of the game, since using certain items can lower your Sanity Meter.
    • Maxwell got his hands on the Codex Umbra and used its dark magic to become a famous stage magician. It led to tragedy for him and his assistant Charlie, the latter whom was transformed into the Night Monster and the eventual queen of the Nightmare Throne, and is understandably very pissed with him.
    • Wilson ended up in the bleak world because he was that starved for ideas, and was willing to listen to a strange man talking to him on the radio, just to be able to create a scientific experiment. Needless to say, he paid for his mistake dearly.
    • The story of the Ancients. They were a race of insect-like people living in miserable squalor until they discovered Nightmare Fuel. It led to them becoming a technologically-advanced society, but prolonged exposure to Nightmare Fuel led to their downfall and transformed them into... something else.
  • Evil Orphanage Lady: While unclear as to the exact nature of the institution she used to be in, Willow in From the Ashes seemed to previously be under the care of two of these. After waking up in the middle of the night and being chased by a shadow monster, only to be saved by her beloved teddy bear, the two presumed matrons of the place burst into the room. And, rather than listen to her explain herself, their first reaction is to take her bear from her and lock her in a storage closet where it's presumed they would have forced her to spend the night for the crime of being out of bed and making noise.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Tentacle Spike, Krampus Sack, Tam o' Shanter (from MacTusk), Snurtle Shell Armor, and Shelmet.
  • Experience Meter: Unlike the usual, your experience meter appears when you die (or when you move to the next world map) and increases depending on how many days you survived.
  • Expressive Health Bar: The heart symbol in the health meter becomes more shriveled and broken the less health you have. Similar changes happen for hunger meter, sanity meter, wetness and any character-specific meters.
  • Eye of Newt: Some of the Magic recipes that require parts from living creatures.
    • The Meat Effigy requires beard hair, but not necessarily from a person's beard.
    • The Pan Flute requires a Mandrake, which isn't visible anywhere on the final item.
    • The Old Bell in Reign of Giants requires Glommer's wings and flower.
  • Face Hugger: The Slurpers do this. When they attach, they take up the head slot of the character's inventory, dropping whatever is there. When attached, they provide light and slowly drain the character's hunger. Make of that what you will.
  • Fantastic Flora: Lureplants, whose "eyes" are their only defense and will eat anything. Hamlet introduces Wormwood, a player character who is a plant brought to life by a gem, Snaptooths, which are carnivorous plants that become bigger the more they eat and Hanging Vines, some of which hit you upside the head to make you drop items and eats whatever you drop.
    • Wormwood is back in DST. There are also types of lizards and fish which are walking the line between animal and vegetable.
  • Fantastic Light Source: The entire point of Yellow Gems. The two items crafted from them (the Magiluminescence amulet and the Star Caller's Staff) are both primarily light sources, though they have extra benefits on the side.
  • Fire of Comfort: Willow’s sanity will increase when she is near a fire.
  • Fish People: The Merms, who often drop fish when killed. Developers' explanation? "They are made of fish". DST retcons the fish as being pets, with the playable Merm, Wurt, having a increase in Sanity whenever one is in her inventory.
  • Flipping Helpless: In The Forge, Snortoises can be immobilized for a while when hit by the Pyre Poker special attack, which turns them onto their backs. Fish do the same thing after the fishing rework.
  • Flower Motifs: The Florid Postern in Don't Starve Together has thorned red roses attached to it. This is the sign of Charlie's reign of the world. Red thorns appear throughout the game world because of this as well.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Charlie, the Night Monster and, in Don't Starve Together, the new ruler of the Nightmare Throne.
  • Fog of War: Don't Starve Together has this to balance out the multiplayer. With this active, what is shown on the map is the last version seen.
  • Forbidden Fruit: As revealed in Wilson's character intro trailer, Maxwell offered him forbidden scientific knowledge in exchange for helping him, and Wilson, being out of original ideas, gave in.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In October 2013, Klei released a series of puzzles to accompany the All's Well That Maxwell update. Dubbed the William Carter puzzles by fans, it elaborates on Maxwell's backstory as well as that of a girl named Charlie. The same Charlie was confirmed to be the Night Monster. It ends about as well as you'd expect.
  • For Science!: The crafting aspects in the game, as well as Wilson's motivation for building the Wooden Thing in his backstory.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the Forbidden Knowledge trailer, Wilson is at one point seen defeatedly slumping into an armchair after a failed experiment. His posture is reminiscent of him sitting on the Nightmare Throne in the A New Reign cinematic.
    • It has been heavily implied that Maxwell's past dabbling with dark magic led to his assistant Charlie turning into the Night Monster. In A New Reign, this made Charlie a more suitable replacement for the Nightmare Throne, effortlessly becoming a bigger threat than Maxwell was when he had the Nightmare Throne.
    • Maxwell has been referring to the "Moon" in quotation marks long before its true nature was revealed.
  • Fridge Logic: An invoked example.
    • In the DLC Reign of Giants, if Webber comes across his skeleton and examines it, he wonders what happened to the spider parts, since he's not entirely human.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: The Bottlenose Ballphins, unless you're Webber.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The main villains of the games.
    • Maxwell went from an unsuccessful, down-on-his-luck stage magician, to a Manipulative Bastard who can wield dark magic.
    • Charlie went from a sweet-hearted stage assistant to being the game's resident Night Monster after Maxwell used too much dark magic for his performances, which directly led to Charlie's transformation. As of A New Reign, she became an even bigger nightmare after becoming queen and ascending to the Nightmare Throne.
  • Gaia's Vengeance:
    • Chopping down a tree in the vicinity of other trees will very rarely spawn a Treeguard, sometimes even two. For added fun, it happens to be a boss level monster. Said Treeguard can also be pacified by planting enough pine cones, or balancing out what you're taking from the environment. That being said, Treeguards do drop some of the most valuable resources in the game...
    • Krampus will spawn if you gain too many naughtiness points, which is typically done by killing too many innocent creatures in too short of a timespan. Unlike the Treeguard, he won't go after you unless you attack him, but instead will steal any items on the ground and in chests. If you fail to kill him before he takes everything, he'll disappear into his Bag of Holding and you'll never see those items again.
    • A variant happens with Wormwood. All plants are his friends, so he doesn't take it well when they're killed. Chopping down trees; digging up stumps, grass tufts, or saplings; plucking flowers; or burning any sort of plant will take a toll on his sanity. Conversely, planting things will improve his sanity.
  • Game Mod:
    • The first official mod was released in October 2013, titled The Screecher. It was also the first total conversion mod to be possible on the game's engine.
      • The Lost Fragment is a more hidden one, which is also official and part of the William Carter Puzzles.
    • Steam has a workshop for the PC version where you can subscribe to a multitude of game-changing creations. This includes, amongst other things, the ability to play as Freddy Fazbear and friends, Markiplier, and The TF2 mercs, because of course it does.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Freeing Maxwell unlocks him as a playable character, but your own character gets trapped in his place. You're not locked out of using them, however, and can even re-enter Adventure Mode and rescue them with themselves.
    • Wormwood's in-game quotes suggest that he finds rot "yummy" and that he enjoys getting wet. Makes perfect sense for a Plant Person. Despite this, in Single-Player Don't Starve, rot still decreases his hunger meter and he has no resistance against wetness or the associated sanity drain. (In DST, he can heal with rot and doesn't lose sanity from being soaked.)
  • Gameplay Automation: The space bar. Use it to chop down entire forests, strip mine rock fields, harvest crops, pick up items and kill hordes of monsters with only one button.
  • Geo Effects: Swamps and spider webs impede movement, while cobblestone and dirt roads boost movement speed.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: In Reign of Giants, an item called the Old Bell can summon Biiigfoot, a giant reptilian foot that squashes anything it steps on. It dwarfs the already huge boss monsters and can kill them in one stomp.
    • Hamlet’s BFB (Big Friendly Bird) has not just one, but two Giant Feet of stomping, being so big and so tall that the player can only see its two humongous feet destroying everything, its tailfeathers, and its head as it tries to pick the player up with its beak.
  • Giant Spider: The spiders, the most common hostile mob in the game. They live inside spider dens and roam around near it at night. They're about the same size as your player character's head. There's also an even larger spider called the spider queen. (She is, essentially the den that the smaller spiders live in.)
  • Giant Squid: The Quacken, a Shipwrecked boss which can spawn when trawling in the open ocean. It's easily the biggest creature in the entire game.
  • Glowing Flora:
    • The extensive cave systems accessible through sinkholes are home to two types of bioluminescent plants, the mushtrees — tree-sized mushrooms that shine with faint blue, red or green glows, depending on which color variation they come in — and Light Flowers — true plants that sprout either one, two, or three glowing white spheres named Light Bulbs at the end of tall stalks. Since the caves are otherwise completely lightless, and since in Don't Starve walking into the darkness is an excellent way of dying a horrible death, the occasional groves of mushtrees and light flowers provide invaluable oases of relative safety. The bulbs of light flowers can also be used to craft lanterns, although doing so also means shrinking the size of the permanent illuminated areas.
    • Glow berries, also found in the caves, are a subversion. At first, they appear to be a small plant with a fruit that gives off a faint blue light… until you get close, at which point they're revealed to be the stalked, glowing lures of giant wormlike predators using your attraction to light to draw you within striking range.
  • Go for the Eye: Wilson's battle cry.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: There are regular pickaxes, axes, and shovels made from flint, and there are golden variants of those that are more durable (the logic of which is pointed out by some characters).
  • Gone Horribly Right: Wilson's experiment, which produces a portal to the Don't Starve hellscape. He shouldn't have listened to Maxwell in the first place.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: When Wilson examines a sewing kit, he will comment, "Darn it! Darn it all to heck!!"
  • G-Rated Sex: When Beefalo are in mating season, their babies spawn off-screen.
  • Gravity Barrier: There are no beaches. The edges of the game world are surrounded by cliffs.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Bat Bat is a giant Batilisk wing that not only damages foes but gives health to the player with each hit, and the Tentacle Spike, the end of a Tentacle, is the most damaging item in the game with no harmful effects on the user.
  • Growling Gut: If a character is down to less than a third of their hunger meter, their idle animation will be them rubbing their stomach. If you listen closely when they're doing this, you can hear a faint, low-pitched rumble that is probably supposed to be this.

    H to J 
  • Harmful Healing: Monster Meat is very filling, but dramatically lowers your health. The same goes for Monster Lasagna. The mushrooms qualify too; typically, eating a mushroom will recover one stat and lower another.
  • Harmless Electrocution:
    • WX-78 will not only become supercharged upon being zapped, but will come out of it with a large health boost. It will take a toll on the ol’ Sanity Meter, though.
    • Other characters take a bit of damage from being struck by lightning, but that's about it.
  • Healing Potion: Healing Salve and Honey Poultice.
  • Heal Thyself: Spiders drop their glands when killed, which can be used to restore a pittance of health. Alternatively, you can save them and gather some ashes and rocks to craft a healing salve, or create a poultice using papyrus and honey. Several food items can also heal you up a little bit as well.
  • Hearts Are Health: The Life Meter is represented as a heart in a red circle that shrivels as the character's health lowers.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Distorted growls and moans generally signify the approach of a powerful mob. Hounds bark, a distant Deerclops growls and shakes the earth, and the Night Monster hisses periodically. Player characters have a tendency to panic at the noise, which also provides a warning to those who have their sound off.
  • Heroic Mime: Wes, who gets bonus points for being an actual mime.
  • Hit Points: Hover you cursor over the Life Meter and you'll see exactly how much HP you have left.
  • Hive Mind: The Giant Spiders, bees and the Mants from Hamlet. Attack one of them or one of their dens/hives and all of them will attack you. Each have their own worker and warrior classes. In the single-player game, the spiders have a queen, who grows out of the den itself when it gets too big. Defeat her, and you can wear her body as a hat to control the hivemind yourself. The Queen Womant can be found in the randomly generated Mant hives and, if defeated, drops Queen Malfalfa’s crown along with other resources. The crown can be given back to Queen Malfalfa or Wilba to lift Wilba’s punishment and unlock her as a playable character.
  • Hive Queen:
    • As of the Long Live the Queen update, the colonial spiders of the game now have a queen.
    • Updates to Don't Starve Together have added a queen for the bees to that version, but not single-player.
    • The Queen Womant of Hamlet is the monarch of the Mants, a race that looks like a cross between ants and humans, live in large underground hives, and make honey.
  • Hot Bar: It also acts as your item storage.
  • Hot Blade: Obsidian equipment heats up if used repeatedly in a short amount of time. As they charge up, they begin to radiate light and warmth, making them useful at night, in caves, and during winter, but if they get too hot, they start igniting things you hit with them.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: When winter rolls around, a pair of Scottish walruses named MacTusk and his son WeeTusk emerge from their igloo to hunt you. These blubbery Scots sic their ice hounds on you before using their blowguns to finish the job. To make matters worse, they're smart enough to keep their distance when you get close, so it's best to fight ranged weapons with ranged weapons.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Many foods have healing effects, with the best ones being even better than the dedicated healing items.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The characters' pockets can hold a great number of items, including wall segments and flooring.
  • I Call It "Vera": Woodie’s possessed, sweet-talking axe is named Lucy.
  • Idle Animation: Every playable character in the game does the same idle animations. When they're facing the camera they scratch their heads, when they're facing sideways they kick the dirt and when they're facing away from the camera they scratch their backs. Depending on their sanity, they might also shake their heads back and forth in paranoia or wince from having a headache. If they're freezing, they'll huddle and shiver, and when they're hungry, they'll rub their stomachs. In the Reign of Giants, characters overheating will wipe their foreheads.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: "Maxy" to Charlie when the latter attacks the former. It never works... Winona's attempts are slightly more successful. Emphasis on 'slightly'.
    Maxwell: She's still in there somewhere. I know it.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Items that can be held can also be used as weapons, including torches, umbrellas, and fishing rods. Sometimes, such as with the Divining Rod, attacking with it requires you to hold down the Force Attack key because even the developers weren't particularly intending for you to use it as a weapon. Most of them don't do a lot of damage, but if the enemy you're fighting is weak or easily stunlocked you might not need a lot of firepower.
    • The Weather Pain (from Reign of Giants) is a weather vane that is meant to be a weapon, as it fires a whirlwind projectile at a target. Wickerbottom comments that she's never seen such an item used as a weapon.
  • Improvised Umbrella: The Pretty Parasol is made out of twigs, cut grass, and petals. While it doesn't provide as much protection as the regular Umbrella, it is easier to craft and provides a sanity boost when used.
  • Indestructible Edible:The Powdercake. This meal made of a piece of corn, one honey (which already lasts long) and one twig. It lasts 18750 days before turning into rot. Although it will last only half that being as edible as before, it is still a ridiculous amount of time. It adds no hunger and takes 3 health upon consumption. Nevertheless, it can be used as everlasting bait for traps.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Thulecite Suits are this in terms of armor. They provide the second-most defense out all body armors and have a passive sanity regen on par with the dapper vest. Since the suit only degrades when you take damage, so long as you're careful not to let it break, you can make sanity management far less of an issue. The problem is that you can only acquire said suit in the Ancient Ruins, an end-game area buried deep underground, perpetually bathed in darkness, and only accessible by finding a sinkhole in the Caves.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: The majority of the game's dialogues come from examining things.
  • Insect Queen: The Spider and Bee Queens, as well as Queen Womant in Hamlet.
  • Instant Sedation: Averted with sleep darts, as they can take several uses to sedate one target depending on its size, but played straight with the Pan Flute and Mandrake.
  • Interface Screw: This starts to happen when your character's Sanity Meter decreases. It gets worse the more the meter decays.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: In the Hamlet DLC, you can buy a house and a vast variety of cosmetic decorations for it.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has a day and night cycle, with nighttime being noticeably shorter but still very dangerous. Each cycle lasts eight minutes.
  • Ironic Name: The tree which you get Living Logs from, that has a face on it and looks threatening, is called "Totally Normal Tree".
    • Shipwrecked gives us the "Regular Jungle Tree", a tropical variant.
  • Item Crafting: Nearly every usable thing in the game.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Wilson's trailer begins on a dark and stormy night.
  • Jackalope: The rabbits were originally called Jackalopes and they still have the horns.
  • Joke Character: Wes has lower health, sanity, and hunger than the other characters, and isn't able to properly examine things (he will just make odd gestures and remain silent, because he's a mime). Word of God says he was introduced to challenge players who thought the core game was too easy.
  • Joke Item: The Ham Bat, which originally did the same damage as a Spear but uses more difficult materials to obtain and eventually turns to rot; and the Powder Cake, very similar to a real life Twinkie, which only decreases health, can't be fed to allies, and takes 18,750 days to spoil.note  Also, the Snake Oil does nothing, in keeping with its namesake.
    • The Ham Bat has now been buffed so that it initially does nearly TWICE as much damage as the spear does (with damage penalties as it goes bad), on top of having infinite durability until it rots completely, making it a Lethal Joke Item. Many players have since taken to using it in combat to the exclusion of anything else.
  • Just Add Water: Some of the crafting recipes make sense, and some don't. Four logs, four rocks, and a hunk of gold make a Science Machine. Two sheets of paper and one or two other items make a book. Two pieces of flint and some twigs make an axe. Corn and honey make what's basically a Twinkie. And so on.
    • The most egregious example is the Old Bell, which is made from a small pair of insect wings and the flower that attracts the same creature (Glommer's Wings and Flower, respectively). Both look nothing like the Bell.

    K to N 
  • Karma Meter: Killing too many innocent animals results in Krampus appearing and stealing the items in your chest.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero:
    • The player can destroy pig houses even with the pig still inside and take all the components without the pigs minding.
    • However, their Shipwrecked counterparts, the Wildbores, do mind and will attack you for it.
  • The Krampus: A monster named after this shows up if the player kills too many innocent animals.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A lot of the characters wonder why golden tools are more durable than flint-based ones.
    Wilson: "Hey, isn't gold really soft?"
    Maxwell: "Must be game logic."
    • Maxwell questions how an entire wall can fit into his inventory.
    "Pocket-sized wall pieces. Yup."
    • Butterflies rarely drop butter when killed. This is pointed out by one of the characters: "Some puns are irresistible".
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Killing too many non-aggressive creatures will make Krampus spawn. He is very fast and will break your chests, grab your stuff, and run away.
    • When you encounter Maxwell on the Nightmare Throne, you can opt to stop the gramophone that's playing ragtime music repeatedly... or you can turn it back on just to prolong his suffering. He'll even lampshade it.
      Maxwell: I suppose I deserve that.
    • In hindsight, Maxwell suffering and struggling to survive in an apocalyptic world under Charlie's rule echoes what Maxwell did to the player characters.
  • Lava Pot Volcano: Each Shipwrecked world contains a volcano shaped like a rocky cone with a top filled with lava somewhere on the map. You can even climb inside to find it has its own ecosystem consisting of cactuses, reptiles, and "coffee bushes", along with an altar to Appease the Volcano God with.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: A viable strategy is to lead monsters toward other monsters (or friendly creatures) and let them fight each other rather than you. One popular method of killing Bearger is a good example: walk him through a forest until his ground-pound ability knocks down enough trees to summon a few treeguards.
  • Letter Motif: All the playable characters have name or surname that begin with "W". As a matter of fact, the only one who breaks this rule is Maxwell. Lampshaded in that Maxwell's playable character file is called Waxwell. And his real name is William Carter. He even lampshades it himself in-game.
  • Level-Map Display: It only displays your current location and some objects and structures in the game.
  • Life Drain: The Bat Bat heals the player for 6.8 health every time it hits an enemy.
  • Life Meter: The game's life meter consist of a circle filled with red that decreases when damaged. Along with it is a heart icon that slowly shatters and disintegrates as your health meter nears zero. This game also has a sanity meter, a hunger meter, and (in Reign of Giants) a wetness meter.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: See Harmless Electrocution.
  • Loading Screen: The game has one every time a new map is generated. Rather than actually say what parts of the game are loading, the loading screen will say things like, "Iterating upon spiders", "Reticulating Wilson's beard", "Embiggening game theory", and "Framing a keen sense of despair".
  • Loud of War: When the player character finds Maxwell, he's stuck in the Nightmare Throne while the phonograph next to it plays the same ragtime song over and over. Turning it off will make Maxwell thank the character and say that he's been listening to it for an eternity.
  • Lunacy: A full moon causes all sorts of weird things to happen such as:
    • The native pig people of the game transform into werepigs every full moon. They'll also turn into werepigs if they eat enough damaging food, usually in the form of monster meat. This includes player character Wilba, though the rest of the pigs in Hamlet are immune.
    • Woodie turns into a Werebeaver during a full moon or when he chops down trees too quickly.
    • The eyes of the decapitated pig and merm heads placed on pikes that you find throughout the game glow eerily. They make you lose sanity if you stand near them and drop Nightmare Fuel if you smash them with a hammer.
    • Flowers turn into Evil Flowers.
    • Mushrooms turn into Mushtrees.
    • Any graves you come across will spawn a hostile ghost.
    • If you go to Glommer's Statue during a full moon, it'll have a Glommer's Flower on it. Pick the Flower and Glommer, a fuzzy, flying, insectoid thing will follow you around as long as you have the flower on your person.
  • Magitek: The Shadow Manipulator. A tier 3 science machine that is made with, and seems to run on invokedNightmare Fuel and shadows.
  • Mama Bear: If you steal a tallbird egg, the parent will chase you until it dies or it kills you.
  • Mana: The sanity meter sometimes functions as a mana pool, as characters lose some sanity when using magic items.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Having an effigy active will cause this. In multiplayer, resurrection will cause it as well, although it's reversible with special items.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Your daily entertainment in the Swamp areas is Spiders, Tentacles, and Merms duking it out in a 3-way battle, often leaving much loots which you can grab without fighting. Add in Pigmen, Bunnymen, and the occasional Frogs and Mosquitos to the mix, and swamps make a surprisingly good home, due to the free resources.
  • Metal Slime: Koalefants. They can only be encountered through following animal tracks that rarely spawn in the world and actively flee when approached, making hitting them with melee weapons impossible. Managing to kill one will give you enough meat to survive a week in-game and their trunk which can be cooked to fill most characters' hunger entirely or be sewn into a jacket for Winter.
  • Min-Maxing: One of the reasons for the game's high replay value is the appeal of finding better and better ways to survive with less and less effort. The obvious food sources, for example, are far from efficient. New players often run themselves ragged trapping rabbits, planting seeds in farm plots, and herding beefalo, only to barely subsist on the results.
    • Pros have found that one can live indefinitely off a single food source (honey from domesticated bee boxes) that can be harvested as little as once a year.
  • Mischief-Making Monkey: Splumonkeys, monkeys that dwell in caves and live inside barrels. They rob players of their inventory and throw manure in combat. If a Splumonkey manages to steal a hat, it'll wear the hat.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: It’s more uncommon to find animals that are actually normal.
    • Rabbits are Jackalopes in all but name.
    • There are also the Beefalos which seem to have a body of a yak, antelope-like horns and, most bizarre of all, a monkey's head.
    • The Deerclops is a deer Cyclops.
    • Pengulls are a mix between a penguin and a gull, the beak noticeably being the gull part.
    • The Koalefant has the furry body and general cuteness of a koala, but it has the legs, tusks, and trunk like an elephant.
    • Slurtles and Snurtles, portmanteaus of "slug" and "turtle", and "snail" and "turtle", respectively.
    • From Reign of Giants DLC:
      • The Catcoon is a cat-ish, raccoon-ish critter that behaves much like a cat.
      • The Dragonfly is a giant fly with draconic characteristics, like the ability to breathe fire.
      • Bear + badger = Bearger.
      • Moose + Goose = ... Moose. Or Goose. The label in-game alternates between the two. The mob can lay eggs that hatch into Moslings.
    • And from Shipwrecked:
      • Crabbits look like crabs and act like rabbits.
      • Dogfish are fish with dog ears.
      • Crocodogs are, of course, a mix of crocodiles and dogs (particularly the hounds from the base game).
      • Stink Rays are striped stingrays that spray poisonous gas like a skunk.
      • Tiger + Shark = Tiger Shark.
    • From Hamlet:
      • Hippopotamooses are a combination of Hippo and Moose. Despite both of these animals being quadrupedal, it’s a bipedal Waddling Head for some reason.
      • Pugalisk is a combination of a pug and a basilisk.
      • Vampire Bats are a combination of bat and pig. Appropriately, they have a chance to drop both Pig Skin and a Batilisk Wing.
      • Mants are a combination of ant and human.
      • Spider Monkeys are a combination of Spider and, despite their name, Gorillas instead of monkeys. And no, they’re not friendly torward either Webber or Wilbur despite partially being the same species and will still attack them on sight.
    Webber: You’re not a friend!
    • On the plant side of things, birchnut trees. Also, while they're not explicitly called such, the evergreens have characteristics of both firs and pines.
  • Misplaced Vegetation:
    • The aptly-named Cave Banana Trees, of which most of the characters will comment on the absurdity.
    • In Shipwrecked, there's Elephant Cacti, growing on a volcano in the middle of a tropical ocean.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: The Bush Hat is a berry bush hat. When in use, the player appears to be a regular bush, and enemies won't attack. The disguise doesn't work on the Night Monster, Gobblers or mobs that are already pursuing the player.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Many of the female characters have blank white eyes for some reason. Exceptions are Wickerbottom, Charlie, Winona and Wilba. Some mobs also sport white eyes.
  • Mood Motif: Each playable character (except Wes) is voiced by a different instrument, and they sometimes play on such associations. For instance:
    • A large, buffoonish strongman voiced by a tuba of great size and mockery.
    • A Valkyrie voiced by the brass horns of war and triumph.
    • A pirate voiced by a concertina.
    • A demon voiced by a fiddle.
    • A Scout-Out member voiced by the bugle of regimented organizations.
  • Mooks Ate My Equipment: Lureplants are surrounded by Eyeplants that will eat birds, rabbits, and anything that can fit in one's inventory. They're sort of like Bandit Mooks, though they'll eventually digest the animals and food.
  • Mook Maker: Several monsters can do this.
    • Spider Queens will spawn smaller spiders every few seconds. What makes it even worse is that she also spawns the spider warrior variant, and all the while other existing spiders will follow her around, making it extremely difficult to kill her directly without some special tools and advanced tactics (or just getting to her before she can amass an army).
    • Vargs, giant hounds that can be encountered after following Mysterious Tracks, alternate their attacks with howls that spawn hounds from the edges of the screen.
    • As a variation on Treeguards, Birchnut Trees have a chance to awaken as hostile purple Poison Birchnut Trees when another tree is chopped down nearby. Unlike Treeguards, Poison Birchnuts are still rooted in place, so they attack by dropping living seeds called Birchnutters to chase the player down (and using their roots as whips if you get close to the trunk).
    • The Queen Womant can be particularly obnoxious about this during her boss battle, seemingly constantly dropping Warrior Mant eggs from the ceiling which will hatch if you don’t deal enough damage to them in time.
  • Moose and Maple Syrup: Developed by a Canadian game studio, Don't Starve just can't help affectionately parodying its home country.
    • Woodie, the stereotypical Canadian lumberjack who transforms into a werebeaver and a weremoose and weregoose in DST.
    • The Moose/Goose from the Reign of Giants DLC might just be the most Canadian monster in fiction, being a mix of the two most well-known animals up north. Lampshaded by a couple of characters, including Woodie.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: While Maxwell can only taunt you and keep the Nightmare Throne warm, Charlie actively goes around hunting down the playable characters as the Night Monster. And when Charlie becomes the Shadow Queen and seizes the Nightmare Throne for herself, she becomes a more formidable opponent than Maxwell could ever hope to be.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Growing a beard as Wilson allows you to shave it. With four beards and four pieces of meat, you can create an effigy of yourself, which means you can never die as long as you have a fresh effigy. A full beard also provides Wilson warmth during the winter.
  • Mushroom Samba: Eating mushroom caps will always increase at least one stat (hunger, health, or sanity) at the cost of another. Which ones depends on both the color of the mushroom and whether it's raw or cooked.
    • Red (out in daytime): if raw, helps hunger but hurts health; if cooked, slightly helps health but hurts sanity. Generally considered the worst because the increases are slight compared to the drawbacks. Best used as bait for mobs, since they will also take the health penalty.
    • Green (out at dusk): if raw, helps hunger but greatly hurts sanity; if cooked, slightly hurts health but helps sanity. Good for controlling sanity in both directions (lower sanity can be desirable for Adventure mode obelisks or Nightmare creature farming).
    • Blue (out at night): if raw, helps health and hunger but hurts sanity (the most beneficial of all mushroom variants); if cooked, helps sanity but slightly hurts health.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • WX-78, a robot who detests life, will surprisingly be distraught when inspecting gears, as these are most likely are the destroyed remains of a fellow robot they just killed. Then the player will likely make them eat the gears to grant them a very much-needed boost to their stats.
    • Likewise, Webber, a spider, will say the trope if he inspects a Spiderhat, as it can only be obtained by killing a "Mommy-Longlegs."
    • Wilba is disturbed upon examining pig skin, though there are ways to get it without necessarily killing a pig yourself, such as hammering a Pig’s head on a stick.
  • Naturally Huskless Coconuts: In Shipwrecked, you can see coconuts growing on trees. The coconuts do not have a husk.
  • Nemean Skinning: The Spiderhat, which is obtained only by killing a Spider Queen. The Moggles and Mant helmet and armor count for this too, since you need a two live Moleworms for the Moggles, and while you can technically get the chitin needed for the Mant armor set, you’re still basically wearing the remains of dead creatures.
  • New Game Plus: Using a Teleportato will let you venture into a new map. The old map is erased and you lose all of your progress, but you retain your inventorynote , any unlocked crafting recipes, structures that you have crafted but have not placed on the map yet, your stats, Wilson/Webber's beard, and you collect experience points based on how long you survived in the old map. You will also have the option to change charactersnote .
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night:
    • Interestingly, night itself in Don't Starve is deadly, as after about five to ten seconds in complete darkness, the player will suffer a massive armor-piercing blow to health and moderate damage to sanity unless you enter a lit area or use a light source of some kind (light from fireflies counts).
    • Some neutral monsters (like spiders) become more aggressive during the night.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe; Nightmare Fuel is actual fear in liquid form, which can be used in several recipes. Prolonged exposure to it can change a person, as what happened with the Ancients who used it.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Although the protagonists never do, many other creatures do. A lot. Manure is of vital importance for farming. Pigs will "produce" after you feed them, and Beefalo do it all the time.
    Wilba: (Inspecting Fruit Medley) "FRUIT MAKETH WILBA PLOP"
  • No Hero Discount: In The Gorge event, even as the players are trying to save the dimension's few remaining inhabitants from the Gnaw, those same inhabitants charge them for supplies that they desperately need.
  • Nominal Importance: All pigs are named, but the player can more easily see them when they've been befriended. (Hovering the cursor over an allied pig gives "Examine (name)" instead of "Attack".)
  • Non-Indicative Name: The title of the game itself. While there is a hunger mechanic, it quickly becomes apparent that starvation is only one of your worries. A more accurate title would be "Don't Die".
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The Moose/Goose is rather goofy looking compared to the other giants. Not that it's any less dangerous.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: An unused feature in Don't Starve Together. Players would've dropped "long pig" (human flesh) when they die. It acts like monster meat, meaning you can eat it at the cost of health and sanity. However, it was removed because the developers thought it was too dark.
    • There are mods to add it back in, with the developers' unofficial blessing.
  • No Periods, Period: Played straight for the human characters but averted for the animals, similar to the poop situation. Beefalo go into heat during mating season, indicated by a redness on their backside. During this time, they become quite aggressive.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The game's plot can be summarized with "You are on an island; don't die". This was changed with the introduction of Adventure Mode and subsequent puzzles strewn through various trailers.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Inverted. The pigs in the base game, Reign Of Giants and Shipwrecked have a very keen sense of Personal Space and will back away from the player character if they get too close to them, unless it’s to give them food. In particular, the Wildbores from Shipwrecked will get annoyed and attack if you do this too much. The pigs in Hamlet don’t really seem to care, though, and won't react no matter how close you get to them, despite seemingly being more civilized.
  • No Such Thing as Dehydration: The game requires the player to manage hunger and sanity, but not thirst. Though there are drink items the player can make in the Crock Pot which contributes to the Hunger stat, but thirst doesn’t have its own stat.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Powdercake, basically a glorified Twinkie, is a Joke Item when eaten by the player — it hurts the player a bit and restores no hunger or sanity. However, its insanely long rot time of 18,750 in-game days (over 100 days real time) makes it ideal trap bait. Some people also use the Powdercake for the Powdercake challenge (Twinkie challenge) where they would have to make a Powdercake and survive until the Powdercake turns into rot. It's also useful in Together for carrying Warly's seasonings without risking them going to waste due to the food spoiling.

    O to R 
  • Ocean Madness: The Shipwrecked DLC. You start off on an island, miles and miles and miles away from civilization. (Not that there was any from the game's beginning anyway.) While sailing, you can hit waves to get a speed boost, but they make you wet, and wetness leads to being insane.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Plays when a Night Hand appears.
  • One-Gender Race: Tallbirds are apparently all female since there is always one to a nest, which makes one wonder about how they reproduce.
  • Organ Drops: Many enemies drop body parts once killed.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The From the Ashes character short reveals that Willow grew up in one; the owners took away Bernie and locked her in a storage room seemingly just because she was up at night. She accidentally burnt it down shortly afterwards when trying to defend herself from the shadow creatures.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Willow's stuffed bear, Bernie. Apparently her closest possession since her apparently orphaned childhood which remains with her to the present day in the game. In game it appears to possess the ability to draw in shadow monsters when sanity is low. And, if Willow's sanity in particular is low, he will even come to life and attack enemy mobs to defend her. Even as far back as childhood it appeared to have some sort of special ability, as in the From the Ashes character short, it able to protect Willow by repelling a shadow monster, and was even somehow able to resist being destroyed by a fire which apparently killed the person holding it at the time.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • The Dragonfly boss appears to be a large, fire-breathing lizard-dragonfly thing.
    • The Gnaw that players cook for in The Gorge event is hinted to be a dragon. A dragon who floats in place in the sky, whose only visible feature is its enormous rotating lamprey mouth.
    • The Pugalisk seems to be a long, serpentine dragon with a dog’s face.
  • Our Founder: Statues of Maxwell can be found scattered around the world. They're purely aesthetic.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Full moons and digging up graves can summon vengeful ghosts that attack anyone who disturbs their grave.
    • Wendy can summon Abigail, the ghost of her dead sister. Abigail will follow Wendy and protect her from harm.
    • In Don't Starve Together, players will turn into ghosts when they die (even WX-78 the robot). As ghosts, players can haunt items and structures, which sometimes sets them on fire. If they get tired of the afterlife, they can be resurrected using a touch stone, meat effigy, life giving amulet, or a tell-tale heart.
    • In Hamlet, the ghosts of dead pigs will haunt any ruins during the Aporkalypse.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different:
    • Pigs stuck outside during a full moon or given four health-damaging foods (mostly monster meat) transform into Werepigs, retaining whatever hats they had as Pigs. They will eat all the food they find on the ground before attacking the nearest living thing. A Werepig will stop to eat something even while chasing or fighting someone. The transformation lasts 2 minutes or until the sun rises. This applies to player character Wilba too (unless she wears her amulet), except she can’t wear a hat and will transform after only eating two Monster Meat.
    • Woodie transforms into a Werebeaver on a full moon or when he chops trees too many times in a short period. The only way to stay as a Werebeaver indefinitely is to gnaw on trees and foliage, filling a meter. The meter diminishes over time or when Woodie gets damaged, and when it empties, he becomes human again. Thus, on a bad night, your gameplay might be interrupted by your befriended Pigs and yourself becoming Were-critters.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • When you're wearing a Beefalo Hat, Beefalo in heat don't attack you when you go near them. Presumably, they think you're a Beefalo too, or at least no threat.
    • Wearing a Spiderhat (a Spider Queen's head) will make Spiders and Spider Warriors follow you and fight for you, even against a Spider Queen. Pigs, even those you've befriended, will see you as an enemy and attack.
    • In the Hamlet DLC, Webber generally causes panic among the pig-people due to his monstrous appearance. How does the game make up for this? The Shamlet Mask — a pig's nose, eyebrows, and bushy moustache attached to a pair of glasses. These pigs are more sophisticated than those on the mainland, but apparently not necessarily smarter!
      • Similarly, Don't Starve Together has the Clever Disguise, a pair of glasses with a bushy moustache and eyebrows plus a pair of fins, that can only be crafted by Wurt. It has no effect on her, but when given to other characters, it can be worn to make enemy Merms neutral.
    • Also from Hamlet, the player won’t be attacked by Mants if they have a full Mant Armor set.
  • Patchwork Map: There's not much rhyme or reason to the way the world generator stitches biomes together. It's possible for a soggy swamp to suddenly give way to a parched desert, and then to a dense evergreen forest.
    • Exaggerated with the Mosaic biome, which is a literal patchwork of different land types; it primarily consists of forest turf, but it also contains swamp turf, rocky turf, savanna turf, cobblestonenote , and even turfless ground that can't be moved with a pitchfork. There are also holes in the landmass that lead down to the ocean.
  • Permadeath: If you die and don't have an item to revive you, you will have to start over in a new world.
  • Pig Man: The game prominently features a race of semi-intelligent pig men, though they are simply known as "pigs" in-game. They live in pig houses or villages and worship their own pig king. You can befriend one by giving them meat,and you can also trade with the pig king with grave-dug objects like lawn gnomes or buttons in exchange for gold nuggets.
    • The expansion Hamlet greatly expands on their society, at least where the game takes place. They have their own currency that you can trade to get more of, they have shops you can buy useful items in, Knights to punish crime (including you if you steal from their farms, quarries or flower gardens when they’re looking), they wear fancier clothes, are no longer a One-Gender Race and their monarch, Queen Malfalfa, lives in a palace. There are also ruins everywhere that hint to another society that their precursors had and you can make a pretty penny braving them and giving them to pig scholars and collectors.
  • Playable Epilogue: The "Checkmate" level in Adventure Mode, though you can still die if you're trying to get yourself killed.
  • Player Character: In the beginning, you'll start out with Wilson, unlocking new characters for you to play with as you level up.
  • Point of No Return: Once you activate the Wooden Thing to travel to another random world map, you'll never be able to go back to the previous world unless you die, in which case you'll have all the equipment you owned from BEFORE you used the Wooden Thing. You'll lose all of your adventure mode progress, though.
  • Pooping Food: The Glommer excretes an edible goop (which also burns as strong as a hefty stack of floorboards) at regular intervals. Characters describe it as tasting like floor and smelling foul (and it drives them insane to eat it), but it restores 40 health when consumed.
  • Power Crystal: There are several gems available in the game, which are used to craft magic items (usually an amulet or staff). Red, blue, and purple gems are the most common and the only ones that can be utilized on the surface for magic crafting. Going down through the caves into the ruins, you can find yellow, orange, and green gems, which can be used to make even more powerful items at an Ancient Pseudoscience Station.
  • Powered Armor: The Living Artifact from Hamlet. Activating it will cover the player in a suit of ancient tech that turns them into an invincible war machine that can shoot blasts of fire and explosive energy. On top of that, the Living Artifact grants night vision and immunity to negative effects. The only downside is that the armor only lasts three minutes before falling apart, but it will be a very powerful three minutes.
  • Power-Up Letdown: You can use a carrot to bait a trap, and it'll catch a bunny faster. However, in this game there's so little to eat in a rabbit that you might as well have just eaten the carrot. Chasing rabbits into the traps themselves is a better idea.
  • Power-Up Magnet: The Lazy Forager, the amulet crafted from Orange Gems, is an Auto-Gained type. While wearing it, items on the ground nearby will teleport into your inventory.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: A weapon useful for attacking from a range. As long as the target doesn't move too far, the boomerang will always hit and return to the player. It’ll hit the player, too, if they don’t have good timing when catching it, though.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: Initially, this was the case; however, various Alternate Reality Games and puzzles have revealed lore tidbits, as well as animated shorts released alongside character reworks to give them backstory and characterization. Currently, only Walani, Woodlegs, Wilbur, and Wheeler have yet to receive backstory.
  • Protection from the Elements: Wetness, Freezing, and Overheating are mechanics associated with the weather (spring rain, winter snow, and summer heat respectively) and can negatively affect players depending on the level. Various clothes and objects can mitigate and decrease said level to protect players.
  • Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: The Prestihatitator, a machine that is basically a magic top hat, has a chance of spawning a rabbit each time it is used.
  • Purple Is the New Black: Of all the gem colors, the Purple Gem is mostly used in "dark" items like the Shadow Manipulator and Nightmare Amulet. Maxwell starts with one in his inventory.
  • Raincoat of Horror: With its Sanity Meter and dark undertones, this game definitely has some horror elements. And yes, it's possible to craft a raincoat that can indeed help when it rains, since there is a wetness meter that can negatively affect your character.
  • Random Drop: Most items that come from mobs have varying chances of dropping.
    • Rare Random Drop: Butter (from butterflies), Shelmet (from Slurtle), and Krampus Sack (from Krampus) are the rarer drops. Fortunately, none are essential.
  • Random Encounter: Set pieces are rare, naturally spawned structures and items in all game modes. They can be helpful (like a skeleton with items by it), neutral (like a forest full of Treeguards), or dangerous (a chest that turns the season into winter or summer).
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The game's map is randomly generated every time you start a new game.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: If the already-pitch-black Ruins suddenly develop a pinkish-red iridescence, you might want to head for the exit…
  • Respawn Point:
    • The player character will always respawn at the same spot every time you start a new game (assuming it's the same map from before).
    • The Meat Effigy also counts as a respawn point. The advantage of this method is that you'll still be in the same playthrough, and you get to decide where you respawn by placing the Meat Effigy where you want to respawn. Touch Stones have the same effect as the Meat Effigy, but are randomly spawned at certain areas on the map, can only be used once, and don't reduce your maximum health like the effigy does.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Respawning from a Touch Stone, Meat Effigy, or Life Giving Amulet sets all your meters to half-full. The trope name is applied literally as your cause of death when you build so many Meat Effigies that they reduce your health to zero (as Wilson and most other characters, this is five).
  • Roaming Enemy:
    • Koalefant, which must be tracked first.
    • Sometimes while tracking a Koalefant, you might find a big angry Varg instead. Or a disgusting Ewecus, if playing the multiplayer version.
  • Robinsonade: The concept of Shipwrecked, starting off on an island in the big open sea and whatnot.
  • Roguelike: In the original single-player game, the world is deleted whenever you die without means of resurrection.
  • Rule of Funny: Presumably the reason why pretty much the entire playable cast have bones in their hair and WX-78 having a skeleton to begin with.

    S to V 
  • Sanity Meter: When you're still relatively sane, your vision becomes flickery and desaturated. As your sanity gets lower, you will begin to encounter horrific creatures made of shadows, which become more visible as you get more insane. When your sanity is dangerously low, strange white sigils will start to ring your screen and all rabbits turn into Beardlings, Ugly Cute living tufts of hair. What happens when you're totally insane? Any drops of meat are turned into monster meat instead, and your hallucinations begin to come after you.
  • Sanity Slippage: What will happen if you neglect your Sanity Meter. In this game, losing your sanity results in seeing glimpses of shadow creatures, who will eventually take on physical form and attack you once you've nearly gone insane.
  • Satan: Maxwell evokes this image. He wears a suit with pointed shoulders, sits on the Nightmare Throne, and was the one who gave Wilson ultimate knowledge and the inspiration to build that portal, which led to many bad things happening to Wilson. Not to mention there's an unused image of Maxwell tempting Wilson with an apple, much like how Eve was temped with the Forbidden Fruit. Wilson makes a comment on this trope when finding a pitchfork.
    Wilson, examining pitchfork: "Maxwell might be looking for this."
    • It's later subverted with the William Carter puzzles — Maxwell was once a down-on-his-luck stage magician who got his hands on the Codex Umbra so he could get fame and riches. Unfortunately, too much use of it transported him and Charlie to a bleak world, trapped Maxwell on the Nightmare Throne, and turned Charlie into the Night Monster.
  • Savage Setpiece: Several set pieces, also called Boons, are traps, some more deadly than others.
  • Schmuck Bait: Sometimes averted with skeletons surrounded by loot, but often if you see a pile of meat, there's a nasty surprise waiting for you. Also, some set pieces are traps: For example, opening a chest may immediately set the surrounding area on fire, or change the season to winter.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Wilson. While there's a growing list of characters to choose from, Wilson is treated as The Hero of the game and is canonically the one who replaced Maxwell on the Nightmare Throne before Charlie freed him.
  • Screen Shake: Warns the player when a seasonal boss is nearby. Also occurs during an underground earthquake.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: Woodlegs, the playable pirate character.
  • Security Cling: Wilson and Wortox cling to each other in fear when the group gets attacked by the Eye of Terror in the An Eye for an Eye update trailer.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: You can lure a hostile monster to another kind of hostile monster. They'll start killing each other giving you a chance to escape, or watch the fight and kill the softened surviving one.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • One of Wickerbottom’s books can summon lightning.
    • WX-78 gets a huge power boost from being directly struck by lightning.
  • Shop Fodder: Certain items that are dug up from graves, such as buttons and kazoos, have literally no tangible use but can be traded to the Pig King for large sums of Golden Nuggets.
  • Shout-Out:
    Sometimes in the cold and bitter night, one might imagine fantastical visions in the blaze of a lit match.
    • Somewhat fittingly, Hamlet contains a borderline-obscene amount of Shakespeare references.
    • The Steamed Ham Sandwich is a reference to the "Steamed Hams" meme from The Simpsons, and most characters' examination quotes reference lines from the segment.
      Wolfgang: Is mouthwatering hamburgers.
      Wendy: Old family recipe.
      Wickerbottom: I am prepared for an unforgettable luncheon.
      Wagstaff: Delightfully devilish.
      Wigfrid: 'Tis öbviöusly grilled.
      Wormwood: Egads!
      Wheeler: I thought I was having steamed clams.
  • Shown Their Work: Dragonfly eats flammable objects by spitting lava and eating the leftover ashes. This mimics how real flies eat: by spitting digestive juices on their food before sucking it up.
  • Shipwreck Start: Each Shipwrecked world beings with your character waking up on a beach, surrounded by the remains of a boat, after their lack of sailing prowess is insulted by a nearby parrot. The ship's remains can be destroyed with a hammer to wield useful resources.
  • Sizable Snowflakes: The Crab King, a boss introduced in the She Sells Sea Shells update from Don't Starve Together, has an attack that considerably decreases the temperature around it, emitting many sizable snowflakes around it.
  • The Sleepless: While Wickerbottom is the only one who flat out can't sleep, none of the other player characters actually have to. They can if they want to skip the night (or day, in Reign of Giants with a Siesta Lean-To) and regain some health and sanity (albeit at a hefty hunger cost), but it's possible for them to go hundreds of days without sleep with no ill effects.
  • Solid Gold Poop: Pangoldens from Hamlet drink from puddles of water that have gold dust in them and poop out solid gold nuggets given enough time. They’re one of the few ways to get Gold in Hamlet since gold’s a lot rarer in that mode.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The final level of Adventure Mode, a shadowy realm full of graves and ominous masonry, is filled with cheerful ragtime, courtesy of Maxwell's phonograph.
    • The Spring music in Reign of Giants is catchy, upbeat jazz, at a time when the player is likely on the brink of hypothermia and insanity from the constant rain.
  • Spell Book: Wickerbottom’s books can be used to make plants grow, put nearby creatures to sleep, summon monstrous tentacles, conjure lightning from the heavens, and call birds.
  • Spider Swarm: The spider enemies live in a spider den, attack all together, and a Tier 3 den can spawn a "Spider Queen" who spawns spider followers.
  • Sprint Shoes:
    • Wolfgang on a full stomach can move slightly faster.
    • The craftable Walking Cane makes the character run 25% faster when equipped.
    • Wilba can zoom across the map in her Werepig form.
  • Stealth Sequel: Don't Starve Together — as revealed by the Cyclum Alternate Reality Game — takes place after the Adventure Mode of the first game, with Charlie taking Maxwell's place as the Big Bad.
  • Straw Vegetarian: Bunnymen, who attack players on sight if they're carrying meat while they call them "murderers" or "unclean" and such.
  • Stock Beehive: Beehives resemble wasp nests. Interestingly, Killer Bee Hives are of a different appearance but are referred as Wasp Hives in the in-game files, implying that Killer Bees were originally meant to be wasps.
  • Stock Femur Bone: Biiigfoot (the giant leg summoned by the Old Bell) has a protruding femur. Not so bad until one notices the tiny, peculiarly human brain perched atop the end of the bone.
  • Stock Food Depictions: California rolls are shown as typical sushi rolls with seaweed on the outside, and they apparently contain raw fish. Real California rolls have the rice on the outside and are filled with crab, which is never eaten raw (though to be fair, they may use imitation crab made of fish).
  • Stomach of Holding: Finding an eyebone summons Chester, a weird hairy creature who can store objects in his gut. Shipwrecked has Packim Baggims and Hamlet has Ro Bin, who both function similarly to Chester.
  • String Theory: One is seen at the start of the Next of Kin short, and it contains quite some lore tidbits.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: All of the neutral or hostile monsters will attack you — even if you are wearing the best gear in the game, and/or if you have an entire army of pig people, a flock of Smallbirds, or a cluster of spiders by your side. Pigs will attack monsters no matter how powerful their foe is or how outnumbered they are. Not even the player is immune.
    • Catcoons are particularly prone to this. They'll attack flocks of (rather high-damage) Pengulls during winter, often causing their species to go extinct without the player even realizing that they're there.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: With an Old Bell, you can summon your own Giant Foot of Stomping to crush anyone and anything opposing you.
  • Super-Deformed: All of the playable characters, regardless of their actual age, are depicted with big heads and small bodies. This even applies to Maxwell, who has more realistic proportions as an NPC.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In Shipwrecked, if your raft breaks, you die instantly, even if you were one footstep away from shore.
  • Suspend Save: How the game's save system works. Normally one can save and quit the game at any time, but if the player character dies without having resurrection items on hand, your save file will be deleted (except in Adventure Mode).
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Comes in three main flavors:
    • Sometimes a setpiece will have a chest full of potentially useful items that, when opened, will rot all the food you are carrying or set the surroundings on fire, or an icebox that immediately brings winter. Usually there are hints to these traps though, such as the fire trap being surrounded by hay walls.
    • If you see a seemingly random pile of meat in the marsh, don't be surprised if a Tentacle lurks beneath.
    • Some chapters of Adventure Mode will start you out with a handful of blueprints and/or resources to prepare you for the hardships to come.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Very evil. Even the frogs are trying to kill you. There's also giant spiked tentacles that pops out of the ground and lash out on anything that comes near it.
  • Talking Weapon: Lucy, Woodie's axe. The way Woodie talks to Lucy implies they might have been lovers or married in the past.
  • Take That!: The Powdercake strongly resembles a Twinkie and has a negative nutritional value, while taking a ridiculously long time to spoil. Upon examining it, the characters act horrified and question whether or not it's actually food.
    Warly: I would not feed this to my worst enemies. Or would I...
  • Teleport Spam: At the cost of Sanity, the Lazy Explorer staff allows you to blink to any solid ground you can put your mouse cursor on.
  • Temple of Doom: The adventure-styled Hamlet DLC features a lot of pig ruins, complete with the obligatory precious relics and booby traps.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: The torch lasts only for a little over a minute. Of course, the game's day is also only eight minutes long, so you can (just barely) make it through the night with just one torch, except in winter.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Whenever you examine something, whoever you're playing as will say whatever's on their mind, almost as if talking directly to the player.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Catcoons will attack entire Spider dens, beehives, frogs, Tallbirds, and Pengull colonies on sight, only to die in the process from their retaliation without achieving anything. Often, Catcoons will use up all their nine lives this way and eventually stop respawning afterwards. If unchecked, this can potentially render their own species extinct in one game without the player even knowing about it.
  • Top-Down View: Though it's more of a 3/4 down view.
  • The Trees Have Faces: Some of the trees found in forest biomes spawn as Totally Normal Trees, with trunks dominated by wide-open, tusked mouth holes and a pair of scowling eyes, with dark wood and a cluster of short, leafless branches. They groan when chopped, and produced logs with frowning faces.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The Shipwrecked DLC centers around this premise as the player finds themselves stranded on a large tropical archipelago to explore.
  • Tube Travel: The game has one in the form of wormholes. Literal "worm" holes. You can go into its toothy mouth to come out somewhere on the map (though at the cost of some sanity).
  • The Turret Master: The player can become this by building a Houndius Shootius. Spamming them is somewhat difficult, as it requires two different boss drops to build one Houndius, one of which is limited to only three per world.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The Aporkalypse event in Hamlet features one. It makes it Always Night in-game, along with turning the Death World nature of the game up to eleven, thankfully, it can be manipulated or even skipped with the Aporkalypse calendar in-game if the player doesn’t want to partake in that. You still have to find the Aporkalypse calendar first, but the game gives you plenty of time to explore the map (at least 60 in-game days).
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Shipwrecked does its best to avert this. Touchstones are located on islands with the materials necessary to get you back on the sea, and if your boat is destroyed while you're wearing a life jacket, you wash up on the shore along with the materials required to build a log raft. However, that doesn't mean there will always be instances where you will be able to recover; if you were to somehow get stuck on an island with no boat (like, for example, you die and respawn via touchstone on an island where you already picked up all of the flint on the ground), no materials to build a new boat, no tools to harvest new materials, and no flint or gold to make new tools, you are basically stranded with no way out and are either forced to use cheats or lie down and await the sweet embrace of death.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Smallbirds will protect their player at the cost of their own life. However, when they grow, they act as regular tallbirds and will attack the player on sight.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Befriend pigs and you can learn their names and give them hats while they talk about how great you are, like a talking dog. The pigs smile and dance and clearly adore their Giver-of-Meats. You can work to make sure they stay alive and safe by your fire. Or...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Lead your recently befriended pigs into a hopeless battle, leaving them to take the brunt of the damage and then move in for the kill on the softened enemy, then cook and eat their bodies and use their hides for clothing. Oh, and the player becomes a Karma Houdini because pigs dying in battle doesn't count as the player murdering them. One can also feed a pig enough health-damaging meat to turn it into a Werepig, then having its former kin kill it in its temporary monstrous state for more meat.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In Adventure Mode, Maxwell becomes steadily more unhinged as you clear more and more worlds, symbolized by his elegant business suit becoming a worn, ratty cloak, and his trademark sneer becoming a deranged snarl. By the time you finally reach him in the Epilogue, he's pretty much completely given up and lets you kill him.
  • Violent Glaswegian: MacTusk and Wee MacTusk.
  • Voice Grunting: Each character is "voiced" by a different musical instrument. For instance, Wolfgang sounds like a tuba whenever he talks, and Wendy sounds like a flute.

    W to Z 
  • Warp Zone:
    • The Wooden Thingnote . Once all the parts are found and assembled, it will act as a dimensional gate way to a new world map.
    • Since the Doorway to Adventure update, there is also Maxwell's Door, which is, well, a doorway that takes you to Adventure Mode. However, you get taken back to Sandbox Mode if you die while in Adventure Mode.
  • Was Once a Man: The Night Monster was formerly a woman named Charlie, and a friend of Maxwell. After Maxwell dabbled too much with shadow magic in a bid to gain fame, he ended up summoning "Them", who proceeded to trap Maxwell on the Nightmare Throne and turned Charlie into the Night Monster. Then Charlie turned into the Shadow Queen after seizing the Nightmare Throne for herself, and forcing her human and monster sides to reconcile.
  • Weaponized Animal: Bee Mines.
  • When Trees Attack:
    • Every so often when you cut down enough trees, a "treeguard" will spawn. It's a very formidable opponent, and is very unhappy that you're messing with nature. They have a chance to stop attacking you if you plant some trees — and then you can use them as a personal guard. Experienced players often farm tree guards to gain their first live wood logs in order to produce tier 2 magic items.
    • Reign of Giants introduces the birchnut tree, a deciduous tree that sometimes become angry when you chop other birchnut trees. They attack using tree roots and spawn tiny birchnutters to go after foes. Fortunately, they're not boss monsters and can be killed like any other tree. They also don't get angry during the Winter.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Both Wilson and Willow apparently detest spiders.
    • On a more amusing note, Woodie feels this way about birds, of all things.
    • WX-78 the Extreme Omnivore feels this way with sweet potatoes for some reason.
    • Wilba, like any child (and most members of her species), is afraid of the dark, and loses Sanity faster than the other characters when in dark areas.
    • Humorously, Wolfgang (a fully-grown man) fears monsters and the dark and loses sanity faster when faced with them.
  • With This Herring:
    • In The Gorge event, the locals of the Elder Bog are supposedly friendly allies who want to help you feed the Gnaw and escape safely, but gameplay balance means that they end up charging you money for supplies that you desperately need and can't afford, leading to the team dying on badly planned-out rounds.
    • The Swamp Pigs are an exception, as they also desperately need materials to rebuild their destroyed houses, and the Swamp Pig Elder makes trades mostly using the abundant Logs as currency. Still, it's hard to see why everyone else (Mumsy, Billy, Sammy, and Pipton) need those coins in the first place. Mumsy even gives you 10 old coins to start with, only to demand that you trade off 6 of them with her to buy a basic cookware kit.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • The Dark Sword is the strongest weapon, the Night Armor is the toughest armor, and the Night Light is a very efficient light source. The catch? Using them will eat through your Sanity Meter like a pig eats through a piece of meat.
    • Coming across the Codex Umbra may have changed Maxwell, as he grew mad with power from using it too much, resulting in him being trapped on the Nightmare Throne for eternity. By the time the player character(s) encounter him, he's grown rather weary and regretful, and only wants to be free of his torment.
    • Apparently this trope may have happened to Charlie as well. After turning into the Night Monster, she becomes predatory and attacks people while it's dark. After forcibly inducing a Split-Personality Merge on herself and becoming the Shadow Queen, her combined personalities caused her to be more ruthless and cruel than Maxwell had been when he had the Nightmare Throne.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The entire game revolves around delaying your inevitable starvation. Wickerbottom will even lampshade this when her hunger gets low enough, stating, "Librarian needs food."
  • World's Strongest Man: Wolfgang looks like your typical circus-variety strongman and can become the strongest character in the game if he eats well enough.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Many player deaths are preventable, but occur when they take stupid risks out of desperation, like attacking monsters or pigmen to eat them.
  • You No Take Candle: The Pig folk speak in this manner, including playable pig Wilba, though she somehow combines it with Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real:
    • At low sanity, Crawling Horrors and Terrorbeaks become real, will attack the player and drop Nightmare Fuel when defeated; Rabbits and Bunnymen appear as monsters covered in black fur and drop beard hair if killed as such. The items obtained stay as Nightmare Fuel and beard hair when sanity is increased.
    • The craftable item Night Armour is made with five aforementioned Nightmare Fuel and three pieces of papyrus. It's wholly possible that the character just slaps a bunch of paper to their chest under the belief that it's armour.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The limit on how well you progress is dependent on finding certain key materials. You'll need flints to make the most basic tools, and gold to make the science machine and most better tools. Without flint or gold, all those sticks and berries you got won't go far.
  • Zerg Rush: Since they can both be stunlocked, individual Killer Bees and Spiders are easily dispatched. Stumble into a cluster of Killer Bee Hives or second to third tier Spider Dens, however, and they can kill you very quickly by attacking all at once. In both cases, attacking either of them will prompt all of their brethren in a significant radius to come after you.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dont Starve Together


Woodie and the werebeasts

Make no mistake, Woodie is no ordinary lumberjack. Woodie has the ability to transform into not one beast, but three, being a beaver, a goose, and a moose.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurWerebeastsAreDifferent

Media sources: