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West of Loathing is a single-player slapstick comedy adventure role-playing game set in the wild west of the Kingdom of Loathing universe. It is a spinoff of the original, and while the original game was an MMORPG, West is a CRPG.

Your character travels to the Wild West to seek either fame and fortune, adventure, or merely a chance to get off their family's boring-as-dirt farm. Traverse snake-infested gulches, punch skeletons wearing cowboy hats, grapple with demon cows, and investigate a wide variety of disgusting spittoons. Talk your way out of trouble as a silver-tongued Snake Oiler (the Moxie class), plumb the refried mysteries of the cosmos as a wise and subtle Beanslinger (the Mysticality class), or let your fists do the talking as a fierce Cow Puncher (the Muscle class). Explore a vast open world and encounter a colorfulnote  cast of characters, some of whom are good, many of whom are bad, and a few of whom are ugly. Gameplay is very open-ended, and while there is a main quest line, the game relishes in its various side-quests, each with multiple solutions and outcomes depending on your skills and perks.

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The game is probably best described as Fallout: New Vegas meets Paper Mario with the same kind of humor as the original game.

A Nintendo Switch port was released on May 31, 2018, and the game's first story DLC, Reckonin' at Gun Manor, was released February 8, 2019.


This game provides examples of:

  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: El Vibrato Ruins dot the map, usually hidden down mine shafts and the occasional well.
  • A Chat with Satan:
    • A Hellduke, actually. By scattering Cowsbane around the Hell Gate at Hellstrom Ranch and ringing the Cowbell with the Infernal Hammer, you summon forth Duke Bovinicus. He is unable to move and you can either mock him for falling for it, or offer to free him in exchange for a favour. You can still leave him there after he gives you the perk.
    • Though he doesn't go by "Duke", you can also chat with the powerful Lord of Hell Barnaby Bob. You can even go to work for him if you butter him up enough.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
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    • The cows. When you investigate the tannery, you'll find cows and clowns fighting. Neither side likes humans, but when the cows see you, they attack you as well, even though it means trying to fight you and the clowns at the same time, which is more than they can handle.
    • The clowns aren't much better. Once you've helped the clowns defeat the cows, they turn on you, and you have to fight the clowns.
    • Zig-Zagged with the undead. Though the average mindless skeletons are just as bloodthirsty as you'd expect, those that managed to keep their sapience intact (such as Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Bill, the residents of Fort Alldead, and some Random Encounters) are perfectly happy to leave well enough alone unless you deliberately provoke them.
  • Anachronism Stew: Gramophones are rather commonplace in the game despite it being set in the 1890s, a time in which audio recording technology was still a relatively new thing. And that's not even going into the fact that the game shows many characteristics of a wild west setting despite those dating back to the 1860s, not the 1890s. But then again, this game is set in the same fantasy world as Kingdom of Loathing (you know, the one that uses meat as a currency and is not even an actual planet, it's an asteroid with two moons), so this actually kind of Justified.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing quests or defeating certain random encounters will usually lead to you obtaining equipment that boosts various stats.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Another common reward for completing quests or defeating enemies is a consumable, which boosts various stats for the rest of the day, but you're limited to a certain number of each category.
  • Anti-Climax: Many occur in the game - possibly to subvert the player’s expectations. This is a parody video game after all.
    • The necromancer quest chain ends with a boss fight against two semi-powerful King Mook skeletons that, if you have Susie or Alice, will go down within a few turns at most. If you're a Snake Oiler and have Buffalo Bill and Alice, then you can end the fight in a single turn. A Nex Mex necromancer can tell them to kill each other. You never fight the necromancer, as you either kill him yourself in a text prompt or Alice blows his brains out with her shotgun. The first room of the Tower, which contains nine skeletons, is actually much harder insofar as that the massive amount of skeletons are going to most likely burn through your supplies to kill most of them before they kill you in a single turn.
    • The other three major sidequests (the Hellcows, the Clowns, and the El Vibrato areas) seem to be leading to fights against powerful enemies, but you never actually get to fight them. In one of them, you never see the potential boss (Roberto) at all.
    • The final area, the Runaway Train, is a fairly easy area that is filled with high-level skill checks that don't really do anything except provide you with some funny text and neat buffs. The Final Boss, Norton, is pathetically easy, especially if you're a Snake Oiler or Cow Puncher. His final phase is somewhat of a challenge, but otherwise he's pretty pathetic. Moreover, if you know what you're doing, all the fights with him are entirely skippable. (Moreover moreover, if you give him what he asks for the first time you meet him - several items will work - he never steals the train in the first place and the game ends right there)
    • In the Reckonin' at Gun Manor DLC, the final ghost is also the easiest fight. [[Spoiler: Mrs. Gun]] does not want to fight and goes down in one hit. Alternately, you can skip all the ghost fights by solving puzzles, which is a bigger affair than the solving your problems through violence.
  • Anti-Hero: You can learn necromancy, trick a demon lord into giving you a Boon, lie, cheat, murder, and steal your way through the game, and still be a fundamentally good person. The Snake Oiler even has a skill called "Hornswagglin'" that lets them swindle NPC's. The equivalent skill for Cow Punchers is called "Intimidatin'" and is basically how much of a bully you can be and get away with it.
  • The Artifact: Cold and Sleaze damage. Only two enemies, cryoboves and ice unguliths, do cold damage and only one Beanslinger skill uses it. There are no Sleaze aligned skills or weapons, and only St. Pope's Cardinals and Gelvis, the Goblin Elvis impersonator, cause the damage type.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Bill will always target the enemy with the highest current HP (percent-wise, not the enemy with the highest amount of current HP, so when there's multiple enemies present with full HP, he'll cap one of them at random), and combined with such a high Speed that he basically always acts first during every turn means he makes fights against high-HP enemies a lot easier.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Somehow, how hard your character pulls the trigger influences how much damage their gun does.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Nex Mex Necromancers are changed for the worse by their powers, least of which is their hair going white. They end up with hollow cheeks, slack muscles, and cataracts as well by the end. Basically, like the Necromancer from Diablo II. Due to the graphical style, however, there's no visible change to your character, it's just expressed in the form of permanent debuffs.
  • The Alcoholic: Doc Alice, who constantly drinks to forget about the patients she failed to save, and the many who came back for revenge. She spends the entire game with a bottle in her hand and can heal herself by drinking from it.
    • Susie Cochraine drinks her whiskey out of beer mugs; i.e., by the pint. She's also Drowning My Sorrows, and if you recover her family rifle and recruit her, she successfully kicks the habit.
  • And This Is for...: If you bring Alice to the Necromancer's hideout, she blows his head off with her shotgun "for Elliot".
  • Apocalypse How: Or more accurately, Apocalypse Cow. Planetary scale, societal disruption — when The Cows Came Home, they wiped out all dairy ranches and tanneries, and continue to haunt the early sections of the world map as high level encounters.
    • Another one is possible in the Distant Finale. If you don't investigate, repair, and recalibrate the failing El Vibrato containment field, Roberto will eventually escape and bring about an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. It doesn't happen until after humanity develops space travel, though, so don't feel too bad if you can't figure out the puzzle.
  • Arc Number: 11.note 
    • There are also repeated references to 23, 37, and 420.
  • Babies Ever After: If you complete their Romance Sidequest, Cactus Joe and Olive are shown to have several kids in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. They have twice as many if you activate the El Vibrato weather machine.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: It's possible to be a Level 7 Nex Mex Practitioner and still get the Good ending. Nex Mex is a magic skill set that lets you channel dark forces to steal health, terrify enemies just by saying "howdy" to them, conjure and throw skulls, and bind damned souls into bones to force them to fight for you.
  • Bad with the Bone: Saint Beefus' Thigh Bone is a melee weapon. One of the people in the Fort of Darkness can also assemble a bone sword for you, which deals spooky damage instead of physical. Some skeletons also use bone cudgels.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Searching for a missing mail delivery (and mailman), you'll follow the trail to a house in the middle of nowhere inhabited by an extremely creepy dude named Chuck and his collection of butcher's knives. The more you explore, the more obvious it appears that Chuck's concealing some horrible secret. It turns out he's telling the truth, and the mailman was just staying there while he took a break.
  • Bar Brawl: Two of them. The saloon in Dirtwater has two cowboys who brawled for so long that they fell asleep and kept brawling. The saloon in Frisco has a bar brawl that's so large that you can fight cowboys in it indefinitely.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Gary the Goblin has an unarmed attack called 'Gary-Fu', which deals an extra hit with each bag of Miracle Shroom Grow you feed him, up to a maximum of six hits.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Drinking booze will boost certain stats for the rest of the day.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played straight in that your guns never run out of normal ammo ("normal" being relative to the gun itself), but averted for the special rounds (silver, chemical, and incendiary bullets) that are used from your inventory.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The necromancer's crown. It's hard to obtain and looks cool, but unlike most hats, wearing it doesn't affect any of your stats.
  • Brick Joke: At the start of the game, you can choose to free your pet crow, Russel. At the end of the game, he returns to you to help convince a train passenger to stop Norton.
    • During the prologue (Boring Springs) your character is disappointed to find that a sign claiming that some crates contained both types of plungers only contained the detonation kind. You can get one of the other kind—a high-tier melee weapon—only after you've mostly finished the El Vibrato quest.
    • The eventual punchline of Shaggy Dog Cave is your partner saying "The Aristocrats" if you talk to them after reading all the plaques. If you manage to recruit all five band members, guess what they decide to name their band.
  • Call-Back: The "Smiling Face Button" is a Mr. Accessory from Video Game/Kingdom of Loathing.
  • Catching Some Z's: Sleepers emit Zs:
    • The sleeping Thud Fricker.
    • Soapy Fricker is asleep. and when looked at, emits a "Zzzzz...." once tied up.
  • Censored for Comedy: The item Beanslingers receive from Sister Mary's sidequest is the "Br*** Censer", which is intentionally written with a certain part of the "brass" censored.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The guy who runs the post office in Dirtwater believes the government is the reason The Cows Came Home, and his proof is the Postcard Limitation Act of 1893!
  • Cool Sword: A bunch of them, including Blechscalibur, a replica of King Arthur's sword that you can pull out of the spittoon at Fort Memoriam.
  • The Corruption:
    • Cowrruption, which happens if you eat too much demonically-tainted beef. Having it makes your attacks deal more damage, but if you don't purify yourself before the end of the game, you'll end up joining the cow army in the epilogue.
    • Nex Mex comes with 6 bad perks as a balance for its dark powers, resulting in a withered appearance, reduced muscle/moxie/HP, -25 each to melee and pistol damage, and not caring about both money or possessions (and therefore a major decrease in Meat and item drops).
  • Creepy Doll: Grace, the talking doll found on the Stearns Ranch. Your character remembers, a little too late, that talking dolls haven't actually been invented yet.
  • Creepy Painting: A disturbing portrait of yourself can be bought in Dirtwater if you recruit two shopkeepers in the right order. It predictably steals a piece of your soul while you sleep, but it only steals the weak, vulnerable part of your soul, so it serves as a buff that reduces the damage you take in combat.
  • Cult: Two separate ones, actually. One of them serves Roberto, and can be identified by its white masks and affinity for mind-bending swirly signs. The other is affiliated with the Necromancer, and can be identified by their Black Cloaks and penchant for raising the dead.
  • Darker and Edgier: Significantly, compared to its predecessor game. The increased focus on plot and the Apocalypse How nature of the West means that West makes much less use of the slapstick humor and Black Comedy that Kingdom is known for, and instead has quite a few moments that are treated with much more gravity and concern. As something of an establishing game moment, an early location can find the player stumbling on the aftermath of a demonic ritual involving a Creepy Doll and blood sacrifice that claimed the lives of a whole family, including three children. No part of this is even slightly Played for Laughs.
  • The Dark Arts: Nex-Mex, the fundamental form of necromancy available West of The Kingdom of Loathing. Learning it grants powerful spells and minions at the cost of some serious consequences, cutting your non-spellcaster stats and preventing you from relying on items so you have to keep using Nex-Mex just to get by.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Only in the strictest sense with Barnaby Bob: he pays a bounty in cow-related item drops and you can feed him information on what the cows are doing—and you need to get rid of the cows to get the good ending.
    • You can extort Duke Bovinicus into giving you a perk by summoning him into a ring of cowsbane and asking him "what's in it for me?" when he demands to be freed. He gives it to you before you free him, so you can still leave him there forever if you're feeling cheeky.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: It gives you a stack of "Anger", which actually increases your stats. The only downside is that if your Anger exceeds your Pain Tolerance, you pass out and the day ends, wiping out all of your buffs from the food/booze/potions you've consumed that day, and ending your shot at the "one day hard mode" achievement if you were going for that.
  • Determined Widow:
    • Susie Cochrane, who follows you out West to go kill cows after her family was massacred by them. Every time she kills a cow, she carves another notch into her rifle. This adds to her determination, gradually making her stronger.
    • Doc Alice, who comes with you to avenge her husband Elliot's skeletonization. She levels by helping to kill enough undead monsters and studying their remains.
  • Encounter Bait: You'll often have random encounters when you travel from one place to another. There are a variety of magic rings that can specifically increase your likelihood to have random encounters with cows, snakes, skeletons, El Vibrato stuff, and even edible plants.
  • Encounter Repellent: The Ring of Gettin' Places Faster reduces random encounter altogether, and the Ring of Inconspicuousness makes your random encounters more likely to be of the non-combat variety.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Roberto, presumably. While he's neve
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Gary seems to be. He's certainly more eloquent in it than you are, anyway.
  • Everything's Better with Cows: Yeah, no. Things took a serious turn for the worst after The Cows Came Home, an event in the backstory where all cattle (as well as cow skulls and untanned leather) transformed into demonic monsters.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Killer Clowns and Demon Cows are apparently mortal enemies.
  • Experience Booster: When you first leave home in the beginning of the game, your little brother Rufus asks your motivation for leaving. If you tell him life on the farm is too boring for you, you'll gain extra experience for the rest of the game. If you tell him you want to help others, you will only get extra experience for making altruistic choices in random encounters.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Necromancer's Tower is a huge castle made entirely of bones. It cannot be found by randomly wandering around, only by doing the related quest to systematically narrow down its location.
  • Faustian Rebellion:
    • You can extort Duke Bovinicus out of a perk in exchange for freeing him, and then leave him there.
    • If you agree to be Barnaby Bob's spy, you can then send the Skeleton Army of Fort Alldead to sack his carnival.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three classes and their primary stats - Cow Punchers (Muscle), Beanslingers (Mysticality), and Snake Oilers (Moxie).
  • Final Boss: The combat with Norton can be avoided. Other three main questlines (clowns/cows, Necromancer, Roberto) don't have final bosses as such.
  • Finger Gun: This happens if you try to use a ranged attack in combat but don't have a ranged weapon equipped. It's actually treated as a gun with base 1 damage.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: A Snake Oiler's "Shootenanny" skill has them fire their pistol in the air, and the shots land on random spots on the enemy side.
  • Flaming Skulls: The pyroboves, which are floating, fire-breathing, demon-possessed cow skulls wreathed in flames.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In the vanilla game, the conspicuously empty part of the map is called The Desolate Lonesome Coast. (Hilariously, when the first DLC was finally released over a year into the game's life, it didn't take place there. The devs have promised that the "second or third" will)
  • Geographic Flexibility: Dirtwater is close to Topeka (Kansas), Frisco (California), and the Alamo (Texas). On the other hand, this is explicitly not Earth (it's the same two-mooned world that Kingdom Of Loathing takes place on) and Frisco is not San Francisco, but a town actually named "Frisco".
  • Ghost Town: Ghostwood is a literal ghost town; even the buildings and trees are incorporeal. It's also full of incredibly infuriating Obstructive Bureaucrats.
  • Guide Dang It!: Like Kingdom Of Loathing, some things are so obscure that finding them is almost impossible without a guide. For example, obtaining a beaker of fudge involves a recipe that you're unlikely to stumble upon by accident unless already familiar with the rhyme it's derived from.
  • The Gunslinger: The Snake Oiler has a passive skill that boosts pistol damage, can create items that deal damage based on pistol damage, and has two skills that let you fire multiple bullets (Fan Hammer and Shootenanny, which makes 3 pistol attacks against a single target, and Firing in the Air a Lot to make bullets rain down randomly respectively).
  • Gradual Grinder:
    • Gary the Goblin's second skill lets him poison enemies with his spores, reducing all their stats by 3. This stacks.
    • Poisoned weapons cause 5 Damage Over Time until the enemy dies. It can be stacked indefinitely.
    • It's also possible to set your enemies on fire, e.g. with a can of kerosene and a sulphur match. The fire deals damage every round, and the damage increases by 1 each time. Snake oilers can create flammable oils to instantly set enemies on fire, or increase the heat for added damage or increase the affected area.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Snake Whip, which is exactly what it sounds like.
  • Harder Than Hard: Equipping the hard hat will jack up the stats of all the enemies to insane levels, requiring more tactical approaches from players. There's a special achievement for beating the game after wearing the hard hat the entire time. There's another achievement for doing this in a single in-game day, i.e. never falling asleep or passing out.
  • Hell Gate:
    • The portal to Hell in Hellstrom Ranch.
    • The random encounter you obtain the Smoking Gun from is a cowboy randomly shooting things and telling them to "Go to Hell!" He says he's doing it to send his hellcow masters some scenery, implying that the weapon's incendiary properties come from momentarily opening a portal.
  • Historical Domain Character: Characters named Roy Bean, Dr. Kellogg, Buffalo Bill('s skeleton) and Joshua Norton I, Emperor of These United States all make appearances, though none of them are quite like (or, in some cases, anything like) their historical counterparts.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The Manifest Destiny Railroad Company has precisely one employee who is actually interested in building the railroad. Needless to say, most of their quests are fixing the results of their incompetence. This is exemplified early on by the fact that they have a train full of passengers that moves down the railroad as it's being completed.
  • Interface Screw: If you don't give Norton a crown in your first encounter, he gives you the Ant-eye Virus, which makes the screen go hexagonal, as well as force you to not be able to follow him on the train tracks, until you find a cure for it.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Auto-Spend XP option claims to create a balanced character. However, it leads to one that doesn't excel in any area.
  • Killer Rabbit: Killer cows, actually. At some point, a portal to hell opened up and turned all the cattle into evil rampaging monsters worshipped by demon cultists.
  • Knife Nut: Barnaby Bob uses throwing knives in his act, and also has a bit of a rage problem.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Sister Mary doesn't take very well to being given nicknames.
    Sister Mary: Our mission's, er... mission, is to protect three sacred relics. I'm the Relic Keeper, it's my specific job to look after them.
    Player: Wait... do they call you Memento Ma—
    She shows you the ruler she keeps tucked in her sleeve.
    Sister Mary: No. They do not.
  • Language Barrier: Goblins have their own language. You can learn it from a book in Doc Alice's house, letting you not only recruit Gary the Goblin from the basement of the Boring Springs tavern, but talk with any other goblin you come across. If you have Gary with you, it's generally better to let him do the talking.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: Roberto's containment field is missing a crucial piece of the generator, causing it to slowly fail, until the year 2315 when he escapes and destroys civilization. Until then, he drives anyone who gets too close to the El Vibrato ruins insane. Unless someone were to install a positronic resonator and reactivate the east and west containment field generators...
  • Left the Background Music On: The menu theme plays even after you start your game. You can turn it off by interacting with the record player in your room.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator tends to go off on odd tangents when describing events. Particularly, they express increasing disgust and frustration when forced to describe the player searching spittoons, culminating at the last spittoon with the narrator spitefully describing you making out with the spittoon, dousing yourself with the contents and wearing the thing as a hat, all in explicit detail.
  • Letter Motif: There are two sets of stats: Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie, as well as Grit, Glamour, and Gumption.
  • Medicine Show: Snake Oilers gain access to an abandoned one when gaining their mid-game crafting skill.
  • Medium Awareness: If you complete Hobart Buppert's quest, he'll thank you, then say "I ain't got anything for a reward, but I 'magine you'll get some experience points out of it." Sure enough, you gain a generous 150 XP from the ordeal.
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: Several times during the game, your character can say this, for example, saying that "Danger", "Sneaky", or "Marshall" is their middle name. It then becomes your character's middle name.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Buffalo Soldiers, which are a human skeleton with a buffalo skull for a head. They have memories from both their halves. During a random encounter with a hostile one, you can use outfoxin' to explain that buffalo skulls are many times heavier than human skulls, and you can go on to explain in vivid detail how unlikely it is that this kind of undead creature could possibly exist, until eventually Reality Ensues and the Buffalo Soldier collapses under the weight of its own skull.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Snake Oilers start out with the skill "Deploy Snake" which lets them, what else, deploy a snake minion.
    • Beanslingers can similarly summon Bean Golems.
    • Gary the Goblin gets a skill that lets him spawn a baby Goblin once per battle.
    • Nex Mex Necromancers can use Ensorcelled Bones, Teeth, and Skull Chips to deploy Skeleton minions.
    • Certain late-game items can create El Vibrato attack and healing drones.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • The game has a surprisingly intricate amount of variables that determine what ending you get, including Whether or not you wiped out the Clowns, if you dealt with the Hellcow invasion, how you chose to deal with Grace in Stearn Ranch, whether or not you defeated the Necromancer, if you became the new Necromancer, whether or not you gave in to Norton's demand for a crown, etc. The souvenirs shown in your character's house are also different depending on lots of factors. This game being what it is, even the Downer Endings are played for laughs. And since the game continues after you watch an ending, you can still go and finish incomplete quests to get multiple endings for the same playthrough.
    • The "Reckonin' at Gun Manor" DLC adds another scene to the ending (which itself has at least three variations) and a few new souvenirs to the character's house.
  • Mythology Gag: This game is a spinoff of Kingdom of Loathing, so this trope is to be expected, to say the least. Thus the subpage.
  • Necromancer: A game-spanning sidequest is dedicated to seeking out the necromancer raising the dead in The West. Also, potentially the Player Character, if they get too involved in Nex-Mex.
  • Never Mess with Granny: If you choose to become a cow puncher, before you leave your family farm, your father will give you brass knuckles that used to belong to your grandmother. If you become a snake oiler instead, your grandmother's inheritance is a briefcase of live (venomous) snakes. There's also Doc Alice, one of the available pardners who's an old lady with a shotgun and later on a bonesaw capable of one-shotting any undead.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: There's a necromancy cult running around reanimating skeletons. Nex Mex lets you etch runes into bones and teeth to summon some bony minions of your own.
  • Non-Combat EXP: You can get experience from numerous sources other than combat, like successfully getting out of a random encounter without fighting, mining or gathering items, reading books, shoveling poop, looking in mirrors, and flushing toilets.
  • Noodle Incident: You do something on the way to Boring Springs that gets you banned for life from Topeka.
  • Number of the Beast:
    • The "Cowrruption" perk gives +6 to melee, ranged, and spell damage.
    • Boon of Bovinicus grants +6 to all stats starting with M, but takes off 20 Max HP.
    • A Nex Mex Textbook is found in Military Cemetary plot 666.
    • Consuming the Necromancer gives 666 XP.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Ghostwood is a literal Ghost Town populated by nothing else. You'll need to fill out a good dozen "different" (functionally-identical) forms to complete all the quests involving this area. And that's if you don't screw anything up and have to do it again...
    The Protagonist: (after filling out several forms for a drink only to be told the Saloon is out of whiskey) I hereby vow to destroy this place. I will raze the buildings and salt the earth.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Balloon Clown in the Circus seems to teleport from one end of the circus to the other, though they claim that they're two different clowns with identical facepaint. Examining the clown eggs indicates that all clowns have unique faces, meaning that the Balloon Clown is lying. If you call him on this he essentially shrugs and admits you caught him messing with you.
  • One-Gender Race: Goblins (who appear to be a kind of mushroom) reproduce via spores and budding, so all goblins are capable of asexual reproduction.
  • One-Hit Kill: Doc Alice's learnable skill is using a bonesaw to disassemble any skeleton type enemy in a single turn.
  • Only Sane Man: Smee is the only member of The Manifest Destiny Railroad Company who will talk with you and work with you to get the railroad completed. The others are too distracted or occupied with their habits to even notice you most of the time.
  • Organ Drops: Snakes drop their livers, spleens and venom glands. The spleens are used as firebombs (the seat of the fiery humors, you see), and the glands can be squeezed out onto enemies, poisoning them. You squeeze a liver out over yourself for healing. Snake Oilers can concoct special drinks, potions, and combat-items from the fluids in snake guts using their exclusive Potionology skill.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Besides the fact that most of them are cows, there's a large amount of variety between them, from regular cows to stone/obsidian/ice unguliths (sentient statues shaped like cows) to possessed leather hides. That's not even getting into the demonic rodeo clowns or Grace at the Stearns farm.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • Plumbing the rancid depths of the spittoons always results in a massive, extended gag involving nauseating descriptions of how horrible they are, and how crazy you are for looking for treasure in such a disgusting place. Nevertheless, you always find treasure. Subverted by the only spittoon in the Gun Manor DLC, which has never been used and has nothing in it. Your character curls up next to it and cries.
    • If the name hasn't clued you in, The Shaggy Dog Cave is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. If you don't know about the trope, you'll likely spend a good ten minutes or so reading all of the plaques thinking there's a big reward at the end. Fortunately, there are a few actual reasons to explore the cave, but you're not likely to be able to take advantage of them until much later in the game.
    • You can shovel poop for 1 point of experience. You can also find an absolutely gigantic mountain of poop that you can shovel for 50 experience points, one XP/shovel-full at a time.
    • Flushing toilets also gives you experience points, and each time you get more experience proportional to the total number of toilets you've flushed. You also let out a joyful exclamation. If you flush enough toilets, you get the Master of Flushing perk, which gives you a lifetime bonus of +3 muscle because "your toilet-flushing muscles are in fantastic shape".
    • Every single thing about Ghostwood, especially obtaining a logging permit. It stops being funny around the ninth identical form, and starts being funny again when the protagonist has to journey to another town and back (twice) to retrieve a pencil.
  • Pacifist Run: It's possible, if you know exactly what you're doing, to complete the main storyline without fighting a single enemy. (Hint: take the dark horse.) You'll have to skip quite a lot of the sidequests, though.
  • Percent Damage Attack: Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Bill always deals damage equal to half the current HP (rounded down) of whoever he targets, regardless of his actual stats. However, if an enemy is in front of the one he targets, that enemy will get hit instead, taking off half the current HP of the one he targeted, not the one he actually hit. This apparent bug is the only way that Bill can actually kill an enemy.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The ability to fix machines (and calm down panicky train riders) by whacking them is one skill the player can learn from reading books. The Perk is actually called Percussive Maintenance.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Everything at your house and Boring Springs becomes permanently inaccessible once you leave those locations.
    • In Boring Springs, Pete offers to be your pardner almost immediately. Doc Alice and Susie need to be unlocked, but if you keep trying new things, you'll figure it out sooner or later. Getting Gary as your pardner, however, requires you to do a few things in a very specific order, and it's easy to miss out on the chance to recruit him. Most players murder him on their first playthrough, not realizing that the goblins in this game aren't monsters but actually reasonable folks despite certain cultural differences.
    • If you mess up the conversation with Barnaby Bob at the circus, he'll throw you out and you'll be unable to reenter for that playthrough.
    • If you screw up the potion in the Buffalo Pile, or kill the cultists before you can figure out the right combination, then you lose access to Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Bill, a secret companion, as well as the choice between two very large stat buffs in the forms of the beakers of lemonade or fudge.
    • You can send the skeleton soldiers of Fort Alldead out only once, and the place you sent them becomes a wasteland for the rest of the game afterwards. If Alice is with you, it's possible to make all the soldiers sick before you even get the chance to do so.
    • There's a bottomless pit that you can throw certain items into. Be careful when throwing them in, as you can lock yourself out of quest chains if you do so.
    • If you don't ask Grady about the Cowsbane Seeds before you send him off to Dirtwater, you can permanently miss them for that playthrough (and lock yourself out of one of the endings). Similarly, Barnaby Bob will offer to buy them, which has the same result.
  • Point Build System: If you turn off the auto-leveler, leveling up stats and skills is done by collecting enough experience and then paying however much is necessary to upgrade that specific stat/skill.
  • Power-Up Food: All in-game food provides some benefit, either buffing stats, providing elemental resistance or giving some subplot-specific effect. It wears off after a game day, but a game day can last as long as you like as long as you don't sleep or get so angry that you pass out for the rest of the day.
  • Portal to the Past: Having the Key Shaped El Vibrato Device opens these in certain locations-including a portal to the future in the West Pole.
  • Power at a Price:
    • Numerous items, effects, and perks give a benefit at the cost of decreasing a stat. For example, the Boon of Bovinicus perk boosts your Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie by 6, but reduces your maximum HP by 20. Goblin equipment and consumables generally work like this as well, raising one stat but lowering another in turn.
    • Nex-Mex books give you powerful necromancy skills, but each one read after the first also gives you a negative perk that significantly decreases some stats.
  • Precursors: The El Vibratoians. They built several large structures and disappeared. They seem to have destroyed their civilization containing a cosmic evil.
  • Pre Existing Encounters: Any enemies in a location can be seen and you'll be told when a choice leads to a fight.
  • Puff of Logic: The Beanslinger's usual tactic when outfoxin' skeletons. Just because they're animated by dark magic doesn't mean they're immune to constant burning or can survive rapid decompression.
  • Random Encounters: On the world map. Dungeon encounters are scripted. Unlike many games, random encounters don't automatically mean combat. You can talk your way out of most of them.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The piano player in Dirtwater. He's a Dreadful Musician because he literally has a screw loose. Fixing it fixes the bar music from then on.
  • Running Gag:
    • There are numerous spittoons in the game and you can look in every one for items. The game reels with disgust whenever you do so. Until the last one, by which point the narrator seems to have snapped and just starts regaling you with sarcastic excitement. Your character misses the "sarcastic" part.
    • Every time you read a book that teaches you a skill, the book is somehow destroyed or lost, usually in a humorous way related to the skill you just learned.
    • Your character can't spell sarsaparilla, so every instance of the item in your inventory is spelt in a different way.
    • Some item descriptions change each time you examine them. Looking at a train's engine has your character referring to it jovially by a variety of silly names, such as "the 'ol steel hippopotamus". A ruined banner that originally read "Doc Galaktik's Medicine Show" now reads "Doc Tik' M Ho", and your character tries to fill in the gaps. The rations belonging to an army of skeletons have a different disgusting food every time you look. And those are not the only examples.
    • Several obviously malevolent/cursed/evil things (like a fountain of blood or a possessed doll) get described as "probably fine" or "totally safe".
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The appropriately named Shaggy Dog Cave is one long corridor with a series of plaques detailing a journey. There's supposed to be a great treasure at the end, but the guy who wrote said plaques already got it, making your own trip through the cave a wash.
    • The Necromancer sidequest has you traveling all across the West and investigating undead activity to locate the Necromancer's tower. When you finally find the tower, you climb your way to the top, facing a series of increasingly difficult encounters with the Necromancer's undead minions, until you see that the Necromancer himself has become so weak and decrepit from the use of dark arts that he's no longer capable of moving from his chair, and disintegrates with a single touch. Subverted if you learn all seven Nex-Mex skills, in which case you can choose to take the Necromancer's place.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Doc Alice uses a shotgun that hits everything on the other side of the screen.
  • Shout-Out: So many that they have their own page now.
  • Shrinking Violet: The Dark Horse, by far the most skittish out of the four options. She can even shy away from random combat encounters, letting you escape without the usual penalty for "losing".
  • Signs of Disrepair: When you head to "Hagan United Pickle Factory" to apprehend the ghostly Gherkin Boys bandit crew, you find the building's sign has degenerated to "H a Un ted Pickle Factory".
  • Silly Walk: The Stupid Walking option causes the player character to do Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Silver Bullet: Literal silver bullets are a combat item that does double your guns damage to Demon Cows and Skeletons. The Silver Pistol does this for free. You can also find a "Silver Plat er" (sic) who can plate your equipped weaponry for 500Mt each, granting +3 damage and doing bonus damage against supernatural enemies. (He can silver-plate your hat, too, but that doesn't help against undead.)
  • The Six Stats: Weirdly named. It shares KOL's Three-Stat System of Muscle (melee damage) Mysticality (spell damage) and Moxie (ranged damage), and adds Grit, Gumption, and Glamour. If you're used to KOL, the original stats don't work quite the same way as before, with many of their functions moved to the three new stats. (Muscle, for example, also gave a buff to Max HP in KOL, but Grit does that in WOL)
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Your abilities are divided into sets of combat and passive skills, perks, and base attributes.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Available as a character class. The snake oiler actually collects snakes, and can extract a certain amount of both their oil (a minor healing item) and their venom (poison grenades) per day. The amount can be increased by stuffing defeated snakes into their briefcase. The description for their healing skill is "Some of your patent medicines actually work! You put them aside for yourself."
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison does a flat rate of damage over time, usually 5 per turn. It can be stacked indefinitely. Burning is similar, but it increases by +1 every turn.
  • Stat Sticks: A few melee weapons have piss-poor damage themselves but buff your gun or spell damage. Also, just having the Varmint Skinnin' Knife lets you obtain snake and cow skins.
  • Stealth Pun: Saint Pope was excommunicated for impersonating the Pope, but due to a bureaucratic mix-up, remained a saint. They made a clerical error.
    • The plaques in Shaggy Dog Cave make multiple references to the buttfor the writer and his companions took on their journey, which was stolen, recovered, and eventually traded for supplies. What's a buttfor, you ask? For pooping, obviously.
    • Talking to Susie outside Wasco's Comedy Shack has her begin a joke: what's the difference between a chickpea and a garbanzo bean? Your character laughs, but asks that she not finish the joke since it's not entirely appropriate.
    • Talking to Lloyd the bartender after reading the plaques in Shaggy Dog Cave results in him showing you a miniature piano belonging to his predecessor, who was fired after offending a Senator's wife with it. Presumably, by talking about his "twelve-inch pianist", which can be mistaken for another word...
  • Stoners Are Funny: Everyone at the Fort of Darkness, minus Kurtz and his cul-er, exercise group. Also the Lazy-A Dude Ranch, started by hippies (and one disheartened baker's apprentice, whom you can help find new work elsewhere). There's even a secret location you can only find by taking hallucinogens.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: If you defied Grace at Stern Ranch by destroying the cow altar, then regardless of what else happens in the ending you get, the very last slide states that you end up spending the rest of your life plagued by horrific nightmares sent to you by the vengeful Grace. Of course, this game being what it is, it's played for very Black Comedy.
  • Supreme Chef: Beanslingers. Magic and cooking have always gone hand-in-hand in the world of Loathing, after all, and this is reflected by their mid-game crafting skill allowing them to create exceptionally potent food items.
  • Sword and Gun: Guns take up a different slot from both off-hand and melee weapons. Although, there are few swords.
  • Take That!:
    • The "Strange Glass Rectangle" is an iPhone. The description states that you don't know what it's good for, but it makes you super arrogant.
    • Norton's Ant-Eye Virus is extremely annoying.
  • Tech Points: XP can be invested into singular skills or attributes to improve them.
  • Teleport Gun: The El Vibrato teleporter is a handheld device you can use in fights against El Vibrato constructs, to forcibly teleport them away.
    • The Smoking Gun is implied to open up a Hell Gate for a split second on whatever it hits. In practice, it just sets your target on fire.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • Shoveling horse poop gives you a single experience point. You can almost level up cleaning up "The Big Apple."
    • Going fishing in the spittoons grosses out the narrator, but there's always some useful (if disgusting) gear in there.
    • The Toilet Pistol is found in a privy and does Stench damage. It also poisons enemies.
    • Flushing toilets gives you experience points and makes your character let out a joyful exclamation. Flushing enough toilets gives you a perk that boosts your muscle by +3.
    • In the DLC, one of the toilets is hidden in a hedge maze, and the path is West, East, East. Get it?
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: How you learn Nex Mex magic.
  • Tom the Dark Lord:
    • The name of the ancient Cosmic Horror the El Vibratoians destroyed their civilization to contain? Roberto.
    • The leader of the demon clowns has the rather benign-sounding name Barnaby Bob.
  • Trick Bullet: Silver bullets do double-damage against demon cows and undead. Chemical bullets cause poisoning, and incendiary bullets cause burning. Some guns have trick bullets by default, like the toilet pistol (poison), the muck-clogged blunderbuss (also poison), the Silver Pistol (silver bullets) and the smoking gun (incendiary).
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The skeletons reanimated by the necromantic cult occasionally do this. This is revealed to be the backstory behind Fort Alldead. You can also witness it happen in Reboot Hill, if you choose not to interrupt the ritual being performed by several cultists.
  • Universal Poison: Zig-Zagged. Poison weapons all do Damage Over Time and can be cured with a dose of Patent Emetic, but different kinds do different stacks. Gary's spores are also poisonous, but they debuff all stats by 3 instead of causing lingering direct harm. Similarly, the Snake Oiler skill "Bad Medicine" is said to use "debilitating toxins".
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can fight the cultists in the Madness Maw Mine, or give them Antipsychotic Headbands, in which case, they go back to being regular people. If you save enough of them, you'll unlock a special scene in the ending.
    • When you first leave your family farm, Rufus asks you your motivation for leaving. If you tell him it's "to help people", you'll receive bonus XP from making altruistic choices. The game never makes it clear that you're getting bonus XP, though, perhaps because it wants to reward you for doing the right thing for the right reasons.
    • Goblins in this game are child-like creatures that are almost never actively hostile. You can learn their language and go out of your way to help them purely for XP and reduced meat (or leave them alone to their own hijinks), instead of killing them all and/or robbing them blind.
  • Vulgar Humor: You can interact with used spittons across the land to get exclusive equipments and even a perk.
  • Weird Currency: Meat dropped from enemies is the main currency just like in Kingdom of Loathing. Like KoL, it's not dropped by things that obviously lack meat (i.e. skeletons, ghosts).
  • Weird West: Skeletons as enemies? Check. Spellcaster class whose spells all revolve around beans? Check. Three different sets of cultists? Check. Evil vs. Evil in the form of demon cows fighting demon clowns? Check.
    "Otherworldly Peril! Sinister Clowns! Demon Cows! Filthy spittoons!" note 
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • The game reacts with incredible revulsion whenever you decide to look in spittoons for items.
    • Alice chews you out for learning Nex Mex magic. Justified, since her husband was one of the first skeletons she saw come back. She leaves you eventually if you don't stop.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Status of your pardner (including Bill), any shopkeepers you helped set up, the cults, Roberto, and the Hellcows.
  • Worst Aid:
    • Doc Alice's "heal" skill is dumping out her doctor's bag over your head.
    • Poisoning is treated by administering Patent Emetic — making the victim vomit out the bad stuff. Lampshaded by saying that this was ""common knowledge"" circa 1895.
    • You use Army Trauma Kits by tossing the closed box into the air and having it land on the target's head.
    • Laudanum is an item (opium tinctured in alcohol), and drinking it is of course a super great idea with no downsides (it buffs your armor).
  • Wrench Whack: A wrench can be found. It can be used as a melee weapon, but it also lets you fix an elevator (though you can only do it with a "whack" if you also have the Percussive Maintenance skill)
  • You Mean "Xmas": The game's first update corrected all mentions of Christmas in the game into Kingdom's "Crimbo".

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