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An Adventurer Is You!

The Kingdom of Loathing (2003) is a browser-based MMORPG originally by Zack "Jick" Johnson and Josh "Mr. Skullhead" Nite, though the latter has since left the company. The overarching plot of the game, such as it is, involves defeating the aptly-named Naughty Sorceress, who has imprisoned the beloved ruler of the Kingdom, King Ralph XI, in a prism (this is known in-game as his being "imprismed"). But first you have to level up your character through the usual rigmarole of Fetch Quests, monster hunting, and Level Grinding. There are several things that make this game fairly unique among MMORPGs, however:

  1. It is completely free, though donations are accepted, appreciated, and encouraged by the offering of a powerful accessory for a ten-dollar donation, which in turn can be traded for a powerful "item of the month", which is only available for a limited time, but it can also be bought from other players for in-game currency.
  2. The game's graphics consist almost entirely of stick figures and other crude black-and-white drawings.
  3. The game possesses a sense of humor that is at times snarky, scathingly satirical, and loaded with pop culture references, including parodies of other RPGs. For example, the Dungeons of Doom are homages to the game NetHack, while another zone is the "Penultimate Fantasy Airship", with monsters that take the piss out of Square Enix games (mainly Final Fantasy VII and Dragon Quest). In fact, it has been described as "World of Warcraft as written by Monty Python and illustrated by xkcd".

The last one is the biggest draw of the game for many. For example, the tutorial quest involves doing tasks for a talking bird known as the (wait for it) Toot Oriole. "Meat" is the currency of the realm, simultaneously parodying and justifying the RPG tradition of monsters dropping money when defeated. Monsters include not only such traditional fantasy fare as goblins, gnolls, and vampires, but also hippies, Orcish frat boys, Ninja Snowmen, ASCII smileys, and zmobies (which are like zombies, except they were misspelled by a magical accident) and a late-game quest involves a long and complex search for a device literally called the Holy MacGuffin. Then there's the six character classes:

  • Seal Clubbers (Offensive Muscle), barbarians who "hail from the frigid Northlands, because one character class always hails from the frigid Northlands". They fight viciously in combat, building up Fury to power up some of their attacks, and can summon demonic seals so they can club them. They can also learn to craft advanced weapons and Dual Wield.
  • Turtle Tamers (Defensive Muscle), heavily-armored warriors who can cast buffs to improve their (and others') defense and affinity with their familiars, use their armor as weapons, and channel the Great Turtle Spirits to give them an edge in combat. They can also learn to craft advanced armor, and with the right equipment can tame turtles (which can be used as combat items, to make armor, or even become familiars, depending on the turtle in question).
  • Pastamancers (Offensive Mysticality), spellcaster/chefs who attack with powerful spells like "Ravioli Shurikens" and "Cannelloni Cannon" and summon food-themed spirit entities known as "Pasta Thralls". They can also learn to prepare delicious noodle dishes.
  • Saucerors (Defensive Mysticality), spellcasters who fight by conjuring blasts of hot and cold sauces and casting sauce curses upon their enemies. They're also able to conjure "saucespheres", gather Soul Sauce from enemies to power special skills, and brew sauces for Pastamancers to cook with or potions to buff themselves (or others).
  • Disco Bandits (Offensive Moxie), rogues who fight with knives or ranged weapons, along with a variety of debilitating dance moves. They are the only class specializing in booze, capable of learning the Advanced, Superhuman, and Salacious Cocktailcrafting skills.
  • Accordion Thieves (Defensive Moxie), bards who use their ill-gotten instruments in combat as well as to cast an astounding variety of buffs on themselves and others by playing songs (like "the Moxious Madrigal" and "the Power Ballad of the Arrowsmith").

The game mechanics revolve around three stats: Muscle (the primary stat of Seal Clubbers and Turtle Tamers, boosts HP, melee accuracy and melee damage), Mysticality (the primary stat of Pastamancers and Saucerors, boosts MP and spell power), and Moxie (the primary stat of Disco Bandits and Accordion Thieves, boosts evasion, damage reduction, ranged accuracy and ranged damage). Players get a number of "turns" each day, called "Adventures", and can get more turns through food and booze. Players level up their character by earning experience points (in the form of "sub-stat" points) as they adventure, either from slaying monsters, from certain non-combat adventures, or again from eating and drinking. One can also gather a variety of helpful monsters known as "familiars", which do everything from fighting to healing you to helping you get more experience, meat, or items from monsters, to absolutely nothing, to increasing the challenge of the game by hindering you constantly.

Now, we could go on (and on and on and on and on...), but why not instead you experience the game for yourself? And while you're at it, why not check out the 2017 spinoff West of Loathing as well? Yeah, you heard us right, a spinoff, same universe, same style, same dev team, and same sense of humor. God has heard your prayers. He further delivers with the Film Noir (and Cosmic Horror)-themed Shadows Over Loathing, released in 2022.

This game is the Trope Namer for:

Kingdom of Loathing provides examples of:

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  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • Pastamancers can cast spells that hit enemies with things like creepy little girls, Ex-girlfriends, or foul language.
    • The Gift-A-Pult allows you to fire any Gift item (something that cannot be bought or sold in the mall). Designer Handbags, Valentine's Day Gifts and other Gift-A-Pults are the strongest ammo.
    • Some of the "ordinary" (loosest possible sense of the word) weapons have this as well. To cite one example, you can build a crossbow which fires ghuolash, which is food (that is, if you're willing to eat the flesh of an undead monster that eats corpses.)
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: 256. You only need to be 13 to beat the game, 15 to unlock all skills, and 30 to get a trophy. Actually reaching level 256 requires either months of grinding enemies that scale to your stats, or days of fighting the Weirdeaux monsters that get exponentially stronger until you can only beat them with cheap tricks.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Hobopolis.
  • Achievement Mockery:
    • The game has a number of these for the masochistic to collect and proudly display, such as 'Brave Sir Robin', for fleeing from 100 battles, and 'The Ghoul Cup' for eating 11 nasty undead dishes that permanently reduce your stats.
    • There is even one that you need to acquire by buying it: the "Mr. Exploiter" accessory, which can only be bought for a practically impossible amount of money.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The three stats are Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie. Your skill points are called "MP" regardless of what your main stat is, but the meaning changes—Muscularity Points, Mana Points, or Mojo Points.
  • Aerith and Bob: Infernal Rackets, a band playing at Hey Deze arena, comprises Bognort, Stinkface, Flargwurm, and Jim.
  • Affably Evil: The Big Bad of the 2013 Crimbo event. There's a reason the adventure you encounter him in is called "The Civil Warbear."
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer:
    • A Suspicious-Looking Guy offers you a free sample of goofballs, but after that the price goes up by 1000 meat each purchase. See Fantastic Drug below for why players might be tempted to buy them.
    • Also, this Bad Moon guy.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Getting too drunk results in normal adventures being overridden by Drunken Stupors, which occasionally result in very stupid actions.
  • Alien Invasion: The "Bugbear Invasion" and "Kingdom of Exploathing" challenge paths.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: The rock candy players could mine during the 2011 Crimbo event was "already in convenient ingot form".
  • Already Done for You: The Sorceress's Tower is completely empty when you play the Actually Ed the Undying challenge path, makes sense because the final boss already cleared the tower out. For the other quests, you'll find that they were already done, but somehow reverted back to their pre-completion state, forcing you-as-Ed to do them again.
  • Alternate Timeline: It's revealed at the end of a Zombie Slayer run that Rene C. Corman has set the entire Kingdom back to the days of the Gray Plague, this time preventing the invention of its cure.
  • Alternate Universe: The Bugbear Invasion challenge path is described as "a parallel universe in which the Kingdom has been invaded by hostile bugbears from a different parallel universe."
  • Alt Text: The image names for the trophies serve this purpose, usually adding in one more reference.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Seals are basically vicious, violent demonic entities. There's one seal that you can take and raise as a familiar, but it's still viciously violent, just directed at your enemies instead. So at least they're loyal. However, a later update made it so that it won't attack other seals. Though this is actually an upside, since it means they won't ruin the seal parts you need to collect for the next part of the Nemesis quest chain you get the baby seal from in the first place.
    • Bees. They suck. The Guy Made of Bees is even worse.
    • Mer-kin. They're all out for your blood, at all times. Even if you're disguised as one of them. And they have a penchant for summoning Eldritch Abominations.
    • Dolphins. Or, if not evil, they sure are huge jerks for no reason.
  • American Gothic Couple: An enemy in the Haunted Gallery.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Brotherhood of One, the frat that the Frat Boy Orcs belong to. Zombo, the boss of the Ancient Hobo Burial Ground, is their grand master. When you wear his ring, any male Frat Orc that sees it will recognize you as his superior and commit suicide by paddling. Or if you blasted them to the stone age, grunt in acknowledgement before slamming a rock on their head.
  • And I Must Scream: Ed the Undying is. And you leave him with wounds that immobilize him...
    • The Actually Ed The Undying Path shows that Ed does eventually regenerate, but it's a long and painful process.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Food and booze are common quest rewards, or bonus things you end up getting while doing quests. Bart Ender, owner of the Typical Tavern, gives you some of his tavern's trademark booze (which the tavern doesn't actually sell) for getting rats out of his cellar.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Even more common than food/booze rewards. Completing the entire game in hardcore mode as certain classes earns you a steel hat or steel pants. Even harder completions get you hats/pants made out of plexiglass or brimstone.
  • Animesque: The battle with Yakisoba the Executioner, complete with a swirl of Cherry Blossoms and a shishi-odoshi when he shows up, as well as motion lines and intense music (which the character can hear and see, but the player can't) when he attacks you.
    • Though the KWE was removed from the game in 2015, this applies to Chori Zo. Even more obvious on her trading card.
    • The entirety of the 2012 holiday event was this, when Uncle Crimbo fired his workers and replaced them with Japanese culture elves whose names are a mishmash of Anime titles and Gratuitous Japanese. Culminates in an interactive Humongous Mecha fight. The exclusive item? A manga comic book that lets you do the fight again.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper: invoked The O.A.F. (Optimal Ascension Familiar), which slows your EXP gain, removes your buffs, drains your MP, etc. The Black Cat is similar, but at least it doesn't claim to be helping you.
    • If you find the enemy-health-revealing Detective Skull too useful, try the Defective Skull, which "deduces" the wrong amount of health or something obvious/useless/meaningless to distract you during combat.
      "I deduce that this monster is one jive turkey."
  • Another Dimension: The 8-Bit Realm, accessed using the Continuum Transfunctioner from the Crackpot Mystic. In it one fights, among other things, Goombas and Octoroks. By using a map that fell out of an antique 8-bit power magazine, one can also reach Vanya's Castle.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The spring 2015 challenge path, "Actually Ed the Undying", puts you in the role of the level 11 boss, chasing down that pesky %playername who stole his Holy MacGuffin.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: The CARNIVORE operative, encountered during the Hippy war quest, is a member. The operative drops a button that annoys enemies, causing them to hit you harder. They also appeared during Crimbo 2009, protesting a puppy-related Mall of Loathing promo... only to have one of their number similarly and painfully used the next day.
  • Animated Armor: The "empty suit of armor" enemy.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Numerous.
    • As of 2018, Abuela Crimbo is the personification of Christm....Crimbo. She replaced her nephew Uncle Crimbo after he transformed into energy in 2016, who himself replaced his brother Father Crimbo, who died sometime between 2004 and 2005.
    • Linnea the Scream Queen is this to Halloween.
    • All-Hallow's Steve is the personification of the fear of the other in modern day Halloween. Apples with razors, candies with syringes and xanax, etc.
    • Peanut; the personification of your inner madness.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: You only get a limited number of adventures per day, normally 40, though there are many ways to increase this. Furthermore, unused adventures naturally accumulate up to 200, thereby removing most of the incentive for casual players to play every single day.
    • However, your stomach/liver/spleen levels get reset every day, and these are the things to give you extra adventures; if you don't play every day you only get the extra rollover adventures, possibly missing on hundreds from a single day.
    • There are also abilities and machines that players may want to use as much as possible that "recharge" daily.
  • Apologetic Attacker: The warehouse worker in the Turtle Tamer's nemesis lair apologizes for attacking you, remarking that he's on the clock.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The Pretentious Artist doesn't believe in Hey Deze, despite the general absurdity of the world and the fact that, as he himself puts it, "people go there all the time and bring back souvenirs." He tells you this while you're wearing a bunch of these souvenirs.
  • Arc Fatigue: Invoked by your character near the end of the Holy MacGuffin quest, where they grumble that it's been a very long quest when they have become clearly impatient.
  • Arc Number:
    • The number 11 appears all over the place. It's ridiculous; it's not even funny. It is a reference to the song "Time Zones" by Negativland.
    • Also, 37. In a row.
    • And there's also the fairly well-hidden joke about the number 23. FNORD
    • 12 also shows up a lot, although that could just be a coincidence.
    • They also mock the shit out of the 13 Is Unlucky trope.
  • Arm Cannon:
  • Arrowgram: Shares Trope Namer credit, with an arrow item that can be used to send notes to other players.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The innermost circle of Hey Deze: "Given the high rates of murder, armed robbery, and jaywalking, it's the hottest piece of real estate in Hey Deze (which is saying a lot for a place composed primarily of brimstone and magma)."
    • The message given when first entering Azazel's Temple:
    It's your basic evil hellish demon dwelling: the decorative motifs include blood, pulsating skin, flames, and the occasional throw rug to add some visual interest.
  • The Artifact: Updates to the main quests occasionally leave elements of the original quests as sidequests or secondary ways to complete the quest. This leads to the occasional odd moment, like the end of the Level 9 Quest awkwardly pointing you to the old Level 9 Quest.
    • The dusty bottles of wine found in the Spookyraven Wine Cellar were originally part of a puzzle for the Level 11 Quest, which involved using special eyeglasses to read secret glyphs on the bottles. The revamped quest no longer uses them, but the glyphs can still be seen when the eyeglasses are equipped.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • During the Eldritch Incursion world event, Sssshhsssblllrrggghsssssggggrrgglsssshhssslblgl was scheduled to be made vulnerable to the "Hopped Up on Goofballs" effect, complete with appropriate Flavor Text. However, a dev accidentally input the wrong number, resulting in the actual vulnerability being to "Timer 7". Later in the day, they fixed this... by changing the Flavor Text to better fit Timer 7.
    • The bosses of the old Naughty Sorceress's tower were intended to be Puzzle Bosses, only defeatable by using specific combat items. However, due to Power Creep, it eventually became possible to defeat them by brute force. When the tower was revamped, the puzzle bosses that replaced them had two solutions — one instantly defeating them with a specific item, and one wearing their HP down with a specific strategy.
  • Ascended Meme: A silly forum thread has one player complaining about how one non-combat adventure involving a hippo ballet does not contain an actual picture of a hippo in a tutu. In the next KoL convention, this familiar was being sold. (However, while the familiar in question is "a hippo in a tutu", it's not a hippo ''wearing'' a tutu, it's a hippo that was found ''inside'' a tutu. The familiar itself is just wearing a leotard, and sometimes mentions that she wishes she had a frilly skirt to wear) Around this time, Jick and Mr.Skullhead put tutus on their forum avatars.
    • Long ago, Hobopolis was a running gag on the KoL Thursday night radio show. It eventually became the first clan dungeon.
    • In a similar vein as the Hippo Ballerina, one thread speculating on the next Mr. Store familar included the joking idea that it would be "a corned beef sandwich glued to a dinosaur". Come March 2018's IOTM, and the "Cornbeefadon" is now a familiar, with its description lampshading its memeticness.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: If you lose to the Naughty Sorceress's final form, Frank will ask if you thought there was anything "weird" about what she was doing. He's aiming for a Player Nudge, but the extremely vague phrasing prompts your character to respond:
    "You're asking me," you reply, "if I noticed anything weird while I was getting my ass handed to me by a magical floating sausage that used to be a woman and then was briefly a big tentacle monster? Because no. That's pretty much a normal day for me. Why — did you notice anything weird?"
  • Ass Kicks You: You can wear an asshat (made of two bum cheeks). There's a headbutt attack. Go figure.
    • Even more to the point, certain monsters made in the Kingdom's early history had the miss message, "He tries to headbutt you, but you turn around and butthead him."
    • Since Crimbo 2010, two new possible monsters have graced the kingdom, along with a photocopier to help provide them. Your butt and somebody else's butt.
    • On April Fools' Day 2011, the butts of several of the developers showed up as enemies, and dropped special items (no, not that. Not that either.)
  • Ass Shove: One of the attack messages from the War Frat Grill Sergeant.
    He — well, you know that recipe for beer-can chicken? His war tongs are the beer can, and you're the chicken.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: You, the adventurer, can pick a fight with the entire Kingdom! Unfortunately, it's too tough to be defeated (everything deals exactly 1 damage to it) and too weak to defeat you (it has an artificially inflated hit rate so you can see the combat messages, but its attack value is still 1 for the purposes of damage). Naturally, it's been defeated. And then, after the bug that allowed that got fixed, someone else killed it again.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The ridiculously overelaborate ninja weapon. As the game says, "You have absolutely no idea how to use it, but it looks totally badass." In terms of game mechanics, it does decent damage and has a +15% chance of critical hit, but it also prevents you from using a shield and triples your chance of fumbling.
    • Becomes practical if you're wearing the Clockwork Apparatus outfit. The Apparatus has random beneficial effects that trigger on (and replace) fumbled attacks, and the ninja weapon has the highest fumble chance of any equipment (tied with the vibrating cyborg knife, which is no longer available). Also, it means you're a clockwork ninja, which is just freaking awesome.
  • Background Magic Field: Mentioned once or twice.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Kinda parodied when you fight Ed the Undying.
    • In the final boss fight:
    "Behold my true form, adventurer, and behold it well, for it is the last thing you will ever behold!"
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Seems to be a feature of special challenge runs.
    • If you choose to play a 'Bees Hate You' run, the Naughty Sorceress' sausage form is killed by the Guy Made of Bees, an Optional Boss in normal runs.
    • In Avatar of Boris; the sausage is replaced by The Avatar of Sneaky Pete. And in Bugbear Invasion, this effectively happens before the game even starts: a giant bugbear mothership has crashed on the original final boss's lair, and you eventually end up fighting the mothership's final boss instead of the regular one.
    • And in Zombie Slayer: Rene C. Corman, long-missing Big Bad from the Valhalla arc, kills the Naughty Sorceress and takes over for the final battle.
    • Twice in Avatar of Jarlsberg! Clancy, Boris's herald, attacks you in place of the familiar test, and the Avatar of Boris has struck down the Naughty Sorceress herself (all forms) and serves as the final boss.
    • And in KOLHS: Principal Mooney replaces the Naughty Sorceress.
    • One more time in Avatar of Sneaky Pete: the Avatar of Jarlsberg finishes the triangle by replacing the last stage of the Naughty Sorceress.
    • Nearly every quest-relevant boss in Heavy Rains is replaced by a watery clone, though Ed the Undying manages to subvert it.
    • When you're Actually Ed the Undying, you're not interested in fighting the Naughty Sorceress anyway, only that pesky %playername who flattened her just before you got there.
    • Given the inspiration for The Source challenge path, it should come to little surprise that the Naughty Sorceress is replaced by One Thousand Source Agents.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Some Disco Bandits build on their existing Dance Battler style with the optional skill "Kung Fu Hustler", which offers a set of progressive bonuses for fighting without anything equipped in the hands. When combined with their other skills and "combat items" (weaponlike and used from inventory), this makes regular weapons unnecessary.
    • For some time, combining the halo-type accessories from Summon Clip Art, which give a large bonus only if you don't have a weapon equipped, combined with Kung Fu Hustler, was the best playstyle for speed ascenders. That is, until Summon Smithsness was created.
    • "Way of the Surprising Fist" is a challenge path, where one cannot wield any weapons; gains martial skills from certain areas, and money drops are extremely cut back due to a vow of poverty. The Master of the Surprising Fist skill from this path gives a further offensive and defensive boost from fighting bare-handed, and can be permed to use outside of this path (and can be combined with Kung-Fu Hustler to great effect).
  • Baths Are Fun: The "Jar of Old Mans Psychoses" is a flashback to when he was playing with a toy boat in the bath, with the descriptions written as if he were on a daring naval adventure (but the images making clear that they're only bath toys).
  • Battle in the Rain: Invoked via rain-summoning during 'The Last Stand,' an event which only triggers under very specific circumstances.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Angry Jung Man familiar drops psychoanalytical jars, which can be used on certain NPCs (including Jick, if you're lucky). Using the jars of psychoses that result open up zones that fit the trope.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: "Under the Knife" in the obviously-named Sleazy Back Alley is how you can change genders in-run.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The 2013 Crimbo event has players fighting Power Armor-wearing polar bears that are trying to sabotage Uncle Crimbo's toy factory.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: There is an adventure in the South of the Border area where you can bet on a cockfight — or refuse in disgust: "This flagrant display of cruelty to living creatures disgusts you. You decide to head back to the Icy Peak and eviscerate some more Yetis."
  • Become a Real Boy: The "Gelatinous Noob" challenge path stars a gelatinous cube who wants to be human. It apparently thinks the best way to accomplish this is by absorbing random human junk, which somehow teaches it human skills.
  • Bee Afraid: Summer 2011 special challenge: Bees Hate You. Bees attack you every couple of turns, and they want to kill you. Even the bs in any equipment you're wearing. Your character also has a phobia of using items or familiar with a "B" in it.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The Guy Made Of Bees, from a spooooky tale, is summoned Bloody Mary style in Spookyraven Manor's Bathroom. He has approximately the same strength as the monsters in (the old version of) The Naughty Sorceress' Tower, and is killed the same way with a specific item. It is possible, albeit extremely difficult, to kill him in normal combat, Mr. Store items aside.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Rene C. Corman was actually Cristobal Colon, otherwise known as Christopher Columbus. On the context: On Christopher Columbus Day 2005, players were greeted with blankets from a level 23 Explorer that served as a vector for a Corrupted Blood-style plague. As it turns out, there's a reason he's been alive since 1492.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: CLEESH turns your enemy into a frog, newt, or salamander. It makes them much easier to fight, and they'll drop potion ingredients, e.g. eye of newt.
  • BFS: The Ridiculously Huge Sword that's dropped by someone who is definitely not Cloud. It's a three handed weapon.
  • Big Bad: The Naughty Sorceress.
    • Second only to her is recurring villain Rene C. Corman. He was the mastermind of the Valhalla world event, initiated the Grey Plague under the name Christobal Colon, and is the final boss and source of the Zombie Apocalypse in the Zombie Slayer path.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Ninja Snowman Weaponmaster and A Barroom Brawl.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: three, the Defiled Crypt, Misspelled Cematary, and Spookyraven Manor
    • The Haunted Sorority House 2011 Halloween event.
    • The clan dungeon Dreadsylvania.
  • Big Eater: Everyone becomes this during the Feast of Boris, gaining doubled eating capacity for the day. Players on the Avatar of Boris path are Big Eaters every day and have numerous eating-related skills, but they also get drunk very quickly.
  • Bigger Than Jesus: One quest sees players have to advertise for a band by pasting fliers to monsters. One of the messages you can get if you go back to the concert arena before you're done advertising says that the band has become "more popular than cheeses."
  • Big "NO!": "'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!' you shout, raising your arms to the sky."
  • Big Red Devil: Imps.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When you cause a Disaster Dominoes accident in the office in the Dwarves' factory complex, you end up staring at a file-folder with "ピタゴラスイッチ" written on it. The character assumes it's Dwarvish for "you've just made a hell of a mess", but it's actually Japanese for "Pythagora Switch", which is their term for a Rube Goldberg Device.
    • The description and use text (and name) for "spaghetti con calaveras" is entirely in Spanish. The description and name of Salsa de la Epocas is the name and description of the Sauce of the Ages (another item) in Spanish as well.
  • Bindle Stick: These drop from hobos in Hobopolis. There are 5 types, one for each element. (And one holiday-event one. And tiny one for your Hobo Monkey.)
  • Bio-Augmentation: the Unstable DNA item, which, when drunk, gives the status buff "Yuletide Mutations", which buffs all stats + 50%, the damage of the "Mutant Coture" armor and the potency of "Consume Burrowgrub" for 10 adventures. Unstable DNA is also integral in making the "Pair of Ragged Claws" familiar and the "Burrowgrub Hive" furnishing.
  • Blaming "The Man": After all this time complaining about him, it turns out you can fight him after all.
  • Bland-Name Product: Many examples. BRICKO bricks, Willer beer, and a Red Minotaur energy drink are among them. The Bag of W&Ws lampshades the fact that it's a "lower-quality knock-off version of the original for way less money."
  • Blob Monster: Any monster in the Slime phylum. You can play as one in the Gelatinous Noob special challenge path.
  • Blood Bath: Invoked in one of the potential descriptions for the stench vampires in Dreadsylvania... and mocked by the narrator pointing out that a bath-tub full of blood would quickly coagulate and rot. In this case, it explains the foul odor of the stench-aligned vampire.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Fernswarthy's Basement (infinite in depth; but with special rewards at every 100 levels up to level 500), the various (clan-member-only) raid dungeons, and The Sea.
    • Some dungeons, such as the Palindome (where everything is a palindrome) and Spookyraven Manor (especially the top floor) were optional, before NS13 made them part of the new quests.
    • One of the 2013 yearly familiars, the Angry Jung Man, drops Psychoanalytic Jars that let you explore the deranged minds of some of the Kingdom's NPCs, such as the Meatsmith and the Pretentious Artist (and on rare occasions, the game's creator Jick).
    • The February 2013 Mr. Store item allows you to fight through a randomized dungeon in-run to acquire special equipment, but if not handled properly can delay your quest.
  • Book Ends: The Zombie Slayer path begins and ends with your character being hungry and offered a sandwich. The first time, your character has just been turned into a zombie with free will, and the person offering the sandwich doesn't survive your first experience with Horror Hunger. The second time, you've been cured and can finally enjoy that sandwich.
  • Books That Bite: One of the types of enemy found in Spookyraven Manor's Haunted Library.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Booze, along with food, is one of the ways to gain more adventures per day.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The first Accordion Thief song, the Moxious Madrigal, gives a flat +10 to Moxie. You'd be amazed how often this comes in handy.
  • Boss-Altering Consequence: The first 4 undead bosses from the "Undefile the Cyrpt" quest (not including the Bonerdagon) are each associated with a particular item. This item can be found in the same area as the boss and can be used to either do a large chunk of damage to them or score a One-Hit Kill:
    • The giant skeelton is vulnerable to the rusty bonesaw.
    • The Huge ghuol is allergic to the can of Ghuol-B-Gone.
    • The two heads of the conjoined Zmobie can be turned against each other by feeding them a half-rotten brain.
    • The Gargantulihc can be defeated in one moving by finding and breaking its plus-sized phylactery.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: Averted. Because ranged weapons and melee weapons interact with different stats, you can't wield one of each at the same time.
  • Bowdlerize: The devs eventually came to dislike the "Orcish frat boys are gays-in-denial" jokes. The jokes were too common throughout old content to entirely remove, but they did rename the homoerotic frat paddle to Orcish frat paddle. Strangely, they also removed the word 'sissy' from the succesful fight escape dialogue around the same time.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Pretty much all the Ascension rewards, though the Brimstone items - especially the Bunker - in particular, being some of the most powerful items in the game.
    • The Slime and Hobo rewards as well, especially Hodgman's items, which require a very, very speedy run through Hobopolis be done in order to get some of them.
    • Trophies are completely useless except for showing them off, and not only do they cost meat, but qualifying for one often requires significant expenditure of effort.
  • Brain Bleach: the "seedy Photocopy" advertising slime porn shows gives you a headache.
    • South of the Border's semi-rare gives an item that makes you so offended Sleaze attacks are weakened against you. Donkey flipbook. Yeah. (If you don't know what a donkey show or a Tijuana bible is... don't ask.)
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: On the front page. "Like KoL? On Facebook? Then why not like KoL on Facebook?"
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: a recurring joke format. "He notices how dirty you are and decides to give you the full treatment - deep exfoliation, sea-salt scrub, sucking chest wound — wait, what was that last one?"
  • Breakable Weapons: The Antique set are the first max-power gear you see, but they slow you down and have a small chance of breaking each round they're used. The Tome Of Sugar Shummoning can also create temporary equipment that only lasts for 30 rounds, after which it breaks and you can eat the pieces.
    • And the X-37 multipurpose gun (think The Fifth Element), as sooner or later you'll notice and push the blinking red button.
  • Breaking Lecture: An Easter Egg available after you complete the Nemesis questline has a pretty hefty one. When your Nemesis goes One-Winged Angel, he/she/it does so by invoking the (randomly generated) Demon Lord of Revenge. If you have access to the Spookyraven Manor summoning circle, you can actually summon the Lord of Revenge, who gleefully explains how you and your Nemesis weren't so different. The whole experience shakes your character to their core, as shown by the resulting debuff fittingly called "Existential Torment".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The description for the meteorite fragment:
    Oh dang! Oh dang! A meteorite fragment! Look at the way it sparkles! This must be really valuable! We don't put that animation effect on just anything, you know!
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: A $10 donation earns you a "Mr. Accessory", which gives you a significant boost to your stats, but can also be traded in at "Mr. Store" for extra-powerful special items or familiars.
    • Hardcore mode does reduce the impact of Mr. Store items somewhat; Magic-Spellbook-type Items Of The Month and Familiars Of The Month are usable as long as you aren't in a Bad Moon run or a special challenge path that strictly limits what you can bring into it. In fact, several of these items are considered necessary if you want to be "optimal" (finishing an ascension in less than a week). A few of the top-tier Familiars and Tomes are the He-Boulder (can force an enemy to drop all of its potential drops), Llama Lama, Infant Sandworm, Green Pixie, Rogue Programme, Pair of Stomping Boots (easily obtain otherwise rare turn generating spleen items, as well as unlocking new areas), Frumious Bandersnatch (increase XP and improves combat skills), Bugged Bugbear (massive XP boosts and other benefits), Tome of Sugar Shummoning, Tome of Clip Art (powerful equipment), Tome of Scratch n' Sniff Sticker Summoning (makes a sword or crossbow which can recieve powerful enchantments), and Tome of Snowcone Summoning (powerful buffs).
    • Also, if you have the meat for it, you can buy various items needed for a quest at the Mall of Loathing without taking the trouble of actually doing the quest. (Unless you're in Hardcore mode, in which the mall, flea market, and your previous inventory are off-limits.)
    • Some of the Items of the Month, typically the ones released on the month of a challenge path debut, carry some extra benefit for a challenge path to make them more enticing at the moment. These can range from skills and familiar IotMs producing extra items during the challenge path, to equipment IotMs being usable on the path regardless of regular restrictions.
    • Certain items sold all year in Mr. Store are useful for people just starting the game, who don't have 10+ years of equipment and experience to help smooth over some of the less balanced parts of the early game.
    • If you're in an Avatar of Jarlsberg run, you can buy a Cosmic Bucket, whose only function is to give you items that grant you more skill points for the path. Amusingly, the game admits that the item was for those who wanted to jump into speed runs right away, and encourages players to take it slowly instead. This premise was recycled for future special-class challenge paths, giving them the nickname of "bucket items".
    • Donating $10 Canadian earns you a "Mr. Eh?" instead of "Mr. A." Once upon a time, the item was slightly less powerful than Mr. A—in fact, it fluctuated with the Canadian:American exchange rate, as a humorous Take That! on the value of Canadian money, but the joke wore thin, and now the only difference is that Mr. Eh? can't be used at Mr. Store.
    • A lot of trophies cannot be easily obtained...except by buying a crapload of something in the mall. All the Gotta Catch 'Em All ones are like this, and several others require you to multi-use something in a quantity that would take forever to generate on your own. One requires you to literally toss your meat down a hole.
    • This is becoming more difficult, as the new "Standard" ascension type limits old Items of the Month to ones released in the last two years only, and more recent Items of the Month are less "equipment or familiar that directly boosts your stats and/or does something cool" and more "weird thing that can potentially make you more powerful if you figure out exactly how to use it properly, which is a process that itself can take many turns (even if you know what to do, which is not always obvious) and may require the help of the entire playerbase to figure out."
  • Brick Joke: As a moxie class, one of the tasks required to become a full-fledged guild member is to pickpocket Izzy the Lizard's wallet without him noticing. Later, after you do a task for him, he realizes he can't pay you in money because someone stole his wallet. Even later, he sends you on a quest to get an important item for him, which turns out to be a wallet chain.
    • On January 30, 2010, players could receive for the first time an adventure titled From Little Acorns..., in which you plant an acorn from the evil Underworld Tree in the Arrrboretum. Fast forward to May 6, 2010, when you can get the adventure ... Grow Unspeakable Horrors, which gives the Underworld Bonsai Familiar
  • Buffy Speak: A common source of humour. E.g. "Bones scatter across the deck like uh, something that scatters. Mice? I'll go with mice."
  • The Bus Came Back: Rudolph the Red, who was last seen on Crimbo 2007, returns as a major part of Crimbo 2015.
  • But Thou Must!: When entering Felonia's cave, you have three choices:
    Enter the chamber
    Enter the chamber (No Other Possibility)
    Enter the chamber (Seriously).
  • Butt-Monkey: Part of your character's job description if he or she attempted to join CRIMBCO (your beloved, effective sponsor for Crimbo 2010).
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag"
  • Call-Back: To a long time ago. At one point, there was a world event where an NPC named Christobal Colon sent players "warm blankets", which improved resting - but had a good chance of infecting them with The Grey Plague, which turned them into zombies. Four real-world years later, the Zombie Slayer path revealed that "Colon" was Rene C. Corman.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Parodied in a hit message in a boss fight:
    "Wu Tang shouts 'Seven Demon!' and kicks you in the knee. 'Hey!' you say, 'you didn't finish the name of the attack!' 'It's the Seven Demon Kick You In the Knee While You're Waiting For Me To Finish the Name of the Attack," he says, and kicks you again. '
  • Cannibal Tribe: The tikiman enemy from the Spelunker minigame is part of one. According to the Monster Manuel, they aren't cannibals by choice; they just haven't learned how to eat normal food yet. They also apparently work as backup singers for Disneyland in the off-season.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Played Straight in a miss message when fighting a "Swarm of Killer Bees".
    "They start to swarm you, but you give them a quick lesson in Aerodynamics, and they all fall to the ground."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The Mime invasion was an uncharacteristically creepy event (which may still be ongoing). Shortly afterward, the new additions to the Sea Monkee quest added in March and April 2013 turned the previously lighthearted quest into a dead serious and surprisingly chilling Cosmic Horror Story. And then the new clan dungeon showed up: Dreadsylvania, a giant pastiche of horror tropes that plays many of them straight (particularly the spooky-aligned variants, which have some really disturbing descriptions). Then, in late 2016, a new skill was added which gave small bonuses to spooky damage and resistance, while adding creepy whispers to the end of combat ("You will not fear us. You do not have a word for the emotion we will evoke in you"), leading into another (still-ongoing at the time of this writing) event involving extra-dimensional horrors. All this in a game originally built on obnoxious puns, satire, and non-sequiturs.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Lampshaded by the chainmail monokini.
    This is the bottom half of a chain-mail bikini. It'll completely protect you from injury, and by 'you' we mean 'your crotch and 40% of your backside.' Because, really, what else matters?
  • Chain of Deals: The Going Postal quest.
  • Challenge Run: Has so many of them that it has its own page.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: There's a "French Slippers" item; equipping it causes your runaways to be always successful.
  • Chef of Iron: Saucerors and Pastamancers with their food-flinging spells and cooking skill, although they have elements of Squishy Wizard too. The Avatar of Jarlsberg also counts, since you're channeling Loathing's original chef-magus.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: During the Nemesis Quest, your nemesis has a secret tropical island volcano lair. The volcano plays an important role.
  • Chew Toy: Admiral Hagnk, proprietor of Hagnk's Ancestral Mini-Storage, once known as Hagnk's Mostly-Burned-Down-then-Hit-By-a-Chunk-of-a-Comet-then-Flooded-by-the-Melting-Comet Ancestral Mini-Storage. It got better.
  • Chez Restaurant: Chez Snootée in Little Canadia.
  • Chronic Pet Killer: Stephen Spookyraven.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: The version of the Clingy Pirate that appears for male characters. (Females get a male version who's less jealous, more weepy and vaguely patronizing.)
    • Oddly enough, using the pirate insults may get the Clingy Pirate to say "I'm not comfortable being compared to your girlfriend like that."
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: The Naughty Sorceress's third form is an interesting example — statistically speaking she is the most powerful enemy in the game, to the point where defeating her conventionally is effectively impossible, making the encounter an automatic loss. However, if you have The Wand of Nagamar in your inventory, the fight is an automatic win instead, making her third form a Zero-Effort Boss.
  • Clock Punk: All the Clockwork items. You can get a clockwork maid, clockwork armor (and weapons), and Clockwork Grapefruit familiar. Clockwork goodies are also needed for the MicroMagiMech and Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot familiars.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: 'Twas the day of Christmas and one player on the forums made the mistake of complaining about the holiday content. The devs didn't like it much. Behold, the Skully Rant., now lampshaded in-game. Unlike many other games, the dev team interacts with their Unpleasable Fanbase with some frequency. The Crimbomination from Crimbo '08 was a last minute toss-in to address complaints about an anticlimactic ending. To sum up: if they feel the complainers have a point, they generally address it. If they feel they don't, we get... what we get in the link above.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Disco Bandits use enemy weakening attacks in combat, which include suckerpunches, eye pokes, face-stabs, kicking your opponent's knees in while dancing, and pretending to run away then attacking when your opponent lets down his guard.
  • Combat Tentacles: The "Mutant Couture" outfit has two separate sets; the "Parasitic Tentacles" pants and the "Parasitic Strangleworm" off-hand. The pants allow you to trip an enemy, and the off-hand allows you to throttle it.
  • Combos: Disco Bandits gain end-of-fight bonuses for using their skills in a particular order.
  • Common Place Rare:
    • Bananas were a limited-edition item?!? (They can be duplicated in a certain lab, but their original source is long gone, and the map that unlocks the lab is a limited item as well. Eventually, the Barrel Shrine brought them back into the game permanently, for the sake of a Donkey Kong joke.) Don't ask about beets.
    • The Dead Guy's Memento item gives you a bunch of extra adventures every day, and it seems easy enough to get: just combine a very common Dead Guy's Watch with a somewhat-rare, but affordable photograph item. The catch? Instead of gluing them together the normal way, you need to use a special piece of tape which you might get from a gambling game in a high-level dungeon (and nowhere else). It's a two-layered Common Place Rare!
  • Companion Cube: The Bulky Buddy Box familiar, which does nothing. Pet Rocks (the original), Toothsome Rocks, and Holiday Logs are similarly inactive. The latter two's descriptions Lampshade their uselessness.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives:
    • The anti-anti-antidote, whose description and use messages also exhibit this trope. It indeed acts like an antidote, since it removes certain poison effects, and the specific naming scheme is a Shout-Out to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
    • The memoir "Never Don't Stop Not Striving", which gives the Always Never Not Guzzling skill. It boosts the chances of getting booze from monsters that drop it, with the implication that the book was so confusing that it drives the player character to look for something to drink.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Used on a game-wide scale with the Ragamuffin Imp familiar. Its strength is inversely proportional to the number of people currently armed with one. If few people are using it, it's extremely powerful in combat (potentially as strong as 100 saber-toothed limes), but it gets weaker and weaker as more and more people use it. When it was first introduced, the power was determined by how many existed in the universe. Acquiring one required being able to solve a fiendishly difficult puzzle... until the answer became common knowledge (despite explicit instructions of "do not spoil this"), at which point everyone and their mother got one, rendering them useless (1 point of hot damage!) until the rules were changed.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The Captain of the Gourd, who tasks various adventurers to help him protect the Gourd from the Knob goblin/tin can/spider menace. His jar of psychoses zone takes this up a notch.
  • Continuity Lockout: It takes a really long time to get up to speed, let alone figure out how to effectively play the thing.
  • Continuity Nod: The Nearby Plains in the Distant Past is loaded with nods to the areas that are normally found in the Nearby Plains and the bosses found in those areas...and at least one boss not found in the Nearby Plains. That schoolgirl learning magic from Fernswarthy? Yep, it's the Naughty Sorceress herself.
  • Convection, Schmonvection:
    • You fight your Nemesis in the heart of a volcano. Summed up nicely:
    Soon, the cavern branches into a smooth, almost glassy-surfaced tunnel — obviously an ancient lava tube. It appears that you're heading directly into the heart of the volcano. On reflection, this was inevitable, really. I mean, you can't just have a Final Boss Battle near a volcano. It would be like having a car chase in which the Fruit Cart doesn't get knocked over. Or fighting crime in a giant robot and never using Rocket Punch.
    • You can even swim through the lava back to shore if you mess up in the lava maze, but you'll take a load of damage.
    • Lampshaded repeatedly in That 70s Volcano. You can actually go fishing in The Bubblin' Caldera:
    You drop a line into the molten lava, and catch a fish that is, oddly enough, completely alive and not cooked to a cinder. Although I guess that's not super-surprising, since you're swimming around in it too. Are we sure this is really lava?
  • Cool Sword:
    • A running gag has the player killing skeletons to get their sweet swords.
    • As of 2013, you can fight a tower of skeletons that increase in strength as you go to get an exceptionally sweet sword. This is actually one of seven swords that were released with the Angry Jung Man familiar.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: St Yule "Be Sorry" Brenner is alleged to have committed suicide by stabbing himself repeatedly in the back and throwing himself to a pack of wild dogs.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: The Council of Loathing are often heavily implied to be this. See the WMG section.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The last leg of the Sea Monkee quest.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Trophies & tattoos, unless you care about PvP mode.
    • Having a Monster Manuel in your campsite will enable a drop off certain monsters that changes your avatar to their picture, temporarily.
  • Crate Expectations:
  • Creepy Doll: Equippable as an Accessory, which adds Spooky damage. Also a Spooky marionette and Killer rag doll shield. You can also get a possessed teddy bear and evil clockwork monkey as familiars.
  • Critical Failure: In this case, it's called Fumble!
    • Fumbling causes you to, instead of attacking, take damage by dropping your weapon on yourself. When unarmed, fumbles can be a bit strange, ex. "You drop your forehead on your arse."
    • The Clockwork Outfit (Inspector Gadget's hat, pants, and trenchcoat) turns fumbles into positive effects.
  • Cross Player: Many male players play female characters in-game, as there are a few female-only bonuses. There's even a trophy for changing your in-game gender 30 times.
  • Crystal Prison: The king has been imprismed.
  • Crystal Skull: Well, glass skull, but still can scare away monsters.
  • Cue O'Clock: One of the hit messages when being bitten by a "toothy pirate" combines this with a pun: "What time is it? Tooth hurty."
  • Cult: Spaghetti Cultists, encountered during the Nemesis quest if you play as a Pastamancer.
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff
    • Deleveling an enemy will reduce their damage absorption, along with their attack power.
    • The effect "The Colors..." makes you take extra damage from elemental attacks.
  • Damage Over Time: Various items, pieces of equipment and statuses inflict "passive damage" over time.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Enforced by Shub-Jigguwatt — if he takes damage from any source other than a standard attack, he retaliates with massive damage. This means that if you unthinkingly brought passive damage or an attacking familiar into battle, you'll get wiped out in only a few turns.
  • Dance Battler: The Disco Bandit class.
  • Dangerous Phlebotinum Interaction: Mentioned in the Zombie Slayer path. The Suspicious-Looking Guy doesn't sell goofballs in this path because he "seems to be off in his own little universe". Your character figures that's just as well, since you have no clue how they would react with your Elite Zombie physiology.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
  • Day-Old Legend: The game used to spoof this by giving each class a starting weapon that could be upgraded to an Epic Weapon, then Legendary Epic Weapon, then Ultimate Legendary Epic Weapon, but that was changed so that the Epic Weapon is actually a unique weapon found in the tomb of an ancient warrior, rather than being constructed by the player.
    • It does still spoof this by having the Accordion Thief's ULEW have a legend about something that hasn't happened yet. "It's even whispered that Shelia the Creeper used it to assassinate the villainous Pope Flaunchett VIII, though it'll be a while before that can be confirmed, since the current Pope of the Kingdom of Loathing is Flaunchett VI."
    • The pixel whip subverts it: "This legendary vampire-slaying whip has been in your family for generations. No, wait, I'm thinking of a different whip. This one was made out of brown pixels by a crazy guy in a shed in the woods."
    • And smashed apart with the description of Trusty., the only weapon you're allowed to equip when playing as the Avatar of Boris.
    Not every magical weapon is forged of meteorite iron under an unusual planetary conjunction, inscribed with gilded runes of ancient power, and imbued with supernatural strength and sharpness through mystical rites and sorcerous incantations. In truth, many of the most powerful weapons of lore are possessed of far humbler beginnings — common metal, torn from an enemy's grasp in a dire emergency. If the warrior survives the day, the weapon will likely be kept. Polished, sharpened, and re-sharpened, it will be carried from battle to battle, becoming as much a part of the man as his own arm, and as his name rises from warrior to hero to legend, so too will an aura of reverence and awe begin to surround the blade. Legend and belief are powerful forces, and it should be no surprise that a powerful artifact might have become powerful simply by dint of everyone believing it to be powerful. That is, after all, where the gods came from.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Conversed in the description of the "drive-by shooting" cocktail, which itself Inverts this trope, being a perfectly innoculous drink with a violent name.
    Mob penguins tend to give their violent activities innocuous names (e.g. "Chicago Overcoat"), so it makes sense that the reverse would also be true.
  • Death is Cheap: You can't die at all unless you choose to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence after beating the game. From there, the entire point of Valhalla is to reward you for beating the game and encourage you to return to the mortal realm for a New Game Plus. Running out of health in battle, or doing anything else you might expect to be fatal, merely ends the fight and gives you a few turns of "Beaten Up"...which doesn't prevent you from fighting, can be cured easily, and isn't even the worst negative effect in the game. It's become even easier since resting in your campsite was made into a cure.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Some of the bonus bosses (most notably Frosty from Hobopolis) have a hard damage cap from any one source, forcing you to rely on multiple sources of damage to defeat them within the turn limit. Frosty in particular forces you to deal scratch damage from about 12 sources per turn in order to defeat him
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Camp Logging Camp, Potent Potion of Potency, Seal-Clubbing Club, Corrupt Club of Corrupt Corruption, Tomato Juice of Powerful Power...
    • It is also possible to get hit in the same place twice like "giving you splinters in your neck, elbow, and neck."
    • However, some (like the Camp Logging Camp and the Potent Potion of Potency) merely use homophones to seem redundant at first glance.
    • One of the "three archetypical elders who have shaped the Kingdom" is Sneaky Pete the Redundantly Sneaky.
    • "This is a fully rewinged dewinged stab bat." In other words, a stab bat.
  • Depth Deception: Specifically, before the Observatory is destroyed.
  • Developer's Foresight: Zig-zagged.
    • The final boss is only meant to be beatable with a special wand in your inventory, and has massive stats to make sure of this. When someone found a way to do it differently, the developers gave them a prize for doing so, the description of which said, "Well done for doing something that everyone thought was impossible, and damn you for making us have to work out how to make it not happen again!" Then, it happened again. (It's good to note at this point that the first player was over level 100, And the other had bribed his way there.
    • Played straight when they gave an Ultra Rare item (which you have a 1 in no-one-really-knows-at-all chance of getting) a resulting material when you pulverize it, making you lose the original item. They prepared for people to destroy an Ultra Rare item. (The first guy to do it, incidentally, got a unique reward too, and it pulverizes into itself. Yes, they prepared for that too.)
    • Periodically, a holiday on the in-game calendar will fall on the day of an actual real-life holiday. When this happens, the result is usually a clever combination of the two holidays, sometimes even worked into the plot. Thanksgiving on Saint Patrick's Day becomes Drunksgiving, with drunk versions of Thanksgiving encounters; Halloween on Christmas resulted in The Nightmare Before Christmas themed Crimboween, etc.
    • Trying to access the server directory where the image files for trophies are stored simply returns a message: "No peeking."
    • "Stupid complicated game."
    • There are Monster Manuel factoids for The Whole Kingdom monster, even though it's a Hopeless Boss Fight that is not meant to be beaten conventionally and automatically ends after a certain amount of turns.
    • Attempting to eat a gingerbread bugbear while wearing a bugbear costume gives a special message where your character opts not to eat the cookie after suddenly seeing a nearby "No Cannibalism" sign.
    • One of the quests for Dinseylandfill involves giving guests at Barf Mountain snacks by using a basket of refreshments. There are special messages for using the basket after you've completed the quest and using it in a place that isn't Barf Mountain. This is notable because the item has no combat utility and is used exclusively for that quest, so the only reason you'd try these things is just to see what happens.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: Playing any Game Grid Video Game has the character black out and in the game for the duration. Yes, add the same level of snark to Meteoid, DemonStar, Dungeon Fist!, Space Trip, and Fighters of Fighting.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In a Zombie Slayer challenge path run, using Infectious Bite on an enemy during combat might result in said enemy being reanimated and added to your Horde after combat.
  • invoked Designated Villain: Lampshaded by one Monster Manuel factoid regarding the final boss of the KOLHS challenge path - Principal Mooney. (Also worth noting is that before fighting them, they openly remark that the player character hadn't done any actual learning and instead beat up virtually everyone and everything in the school.)
    "If you think about it, though, Principal Mooney's actually the good guy of this story; [they're] trying to make sure all the students come to school and learn."
  • Devious Dolphins: Dolphins in this game are utter jerks that have a huge chance to steal dropped monster items from you in ocean areas. You can use a dolphin whistle to summon that "rotten dolphin thief" and beat it up to retrieve your item back.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The worm-riding manual in the level 11 quest. Downplayed, since you get page 1, then page 2, then pages 3-15 all at once. A revamp led to it being played straight, although you can still get multiple pages at once.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Don't ask Rodoric the Staffcrafter to make a Chef Staff you don't have the materials for. Just don't.
    • In the Avatar of Boris campaign, Sneaky Pete orchestrated all the events of the run just so he could get back at Boris for being a bad wingman.
  • Dissimile: Mr. Skullhead loves this trope. For example.
    (your Disembodied Hand) sprays him with some club soda. And by "sprays," I mean, "hits," and by "some," I mean "a," and by "soda," I mean "for X damage."
  • Disturbed Doves: One of the possible attack messages for the haiku katana:
    Flocks of cranes in flight
    fleeing the scene where you caused
    pain beyond measure.
  • Ditto Fighter: The Doppelshifter and Comma Chameleon familiars, as well as any familiar equipped with the Tiny Costume Wardrobe.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: There's a miniboss literally called "The Mastermind". If you have Monster Manuel, he'll occasionally drop his Right-Hand Cat, which changes your avatar to look like him — the Flavor Text involved with all this suggests that this is because the cat was the true mastermind all along, and The Mastermind was just his puppet. And now you are.
    The notion of the mastermind's cat being the actual mastermind is not a new one. And the glare this cat is giving you makes it seem pretty believable.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending: the "Ragamuffin Imp" familiar, and the puzzle which reveals how to get it.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Discussed in the description of the "Ur-donut" item.
    There has never been a donut more donut than this one. Shops that sell these are where the platonic ideals of cops hang out.
  • Double Entendre: There are dozens of these references. Also, there is the Hole in the Sky, where you can fight constellations. The astronomers of that time had very dirty minds, as all but one of the constellations (The Astronomer) are named after various names of the Skin Flute and the Beaver.
    • Almost everything associated with the aptly named Smut Orcs and the Orc Chasm. The narrator acts like it's fine but also mentions your character being very squicked out by the monsters, items, and events associated with the quest.
  • Double Unlock: Trophies. First you have to earn them, then you have to buy them. Some of the trophies are state-based, so if you don't buy them soon enough, you can actually stop qualifying for them. On April 1st 2011, they actually introduced an impossible trophy as a joke, where the condition for earning the trophy was not being able to afford the trophy.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: The ChibiBuddy "dies" if any of its stats reach 0... but also if any of them reach 10.
  • Dracolich: The Bonerdagon (and the Donerbagon).
  • The Dragon: Each of the villains in the nemesis quest has one of these, who will give you a map to their lair, a unique familiar, and an item with a nice resale value when beaten.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • The Seal Clubber ability "Double Fisted Skull Smashing" allows the use of two one-handed weapons at once, and the Disco Bandit ability "Ambidextrous Funkslinging" allows the use of two items at once.
    • The lumberjack supervisor dual-wields axes. The 7-Foot Dwarf Foreman dual-wields pickaxes; according to Monster Manuel, he was promoted specifically because he was able to do this.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked by the "Offensive Joke" ability.

  • Easy-Mode Mockery: The Heavy Rains challenge path cranks the game's difficulty up significantly. There's a cheap accessory exclusive to the path that will make combat easier, if you can't handle it... it's called "water wings for babies".
  • Eat Brain for Memories: The Zombie Master Special Challenge Path uses "Hunter brains" to level up their Skill Trees. The use message for "Good brain" is "Oh, man is that Gravity's Rainbow? Oh, just, like, the first third. Still, though!" Decent brains give the urge to go watch TV (but not reality TV, so it's OK), and Crappy brains "...smell of illiteracy and superstition."
  • Eat the Dog: Played for Laughs with the description of the corned-beef Reuben.
    Ahh, there's no sandwich like a good old-fashioned Reuben — corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, with Thousand Island dressing and pumpernickel bread, grilled to perfection. Whenever Boris eats one, he gets a misty, far-away look in his eyes, as he remembers Reuben, the first war dog he ever owned as a boy, and the night of his death.
    God that dog was delicious.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Several appear in various areas of the game, most notably all three of the potential final bosses of the Sea. Notably, most of the encounters with them are entirely devoid of humor. The Adorable Space Buddy familiar is a rare friendly variation.
  • Eldritch Location: Wherever you fight the bonus boss Dad Sea Monkee is this, being a silent room with featureless white walls. Which...are blackened. In silence; full of deafening noise.
    • Also, Fernswarthy's Basement. It has no bottom and some of the floors are guarded by Eldritch Abominations that get increasingly powerful as you go deeper.
  • Element No. 5: Cute, an additional element from a quest parodying The Fifth Element.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Though with some rather unusual elements. Hot, Cold, Spooky, Stench and Sleaze are the elements of KoL. Each element takes double damage from two, and deals double damage to the other two. If you attack a monster with its own element, or attack a ghost with non-elemental weapons, you deal negligible damage.
    • Also, there are four elements which are only used in certain situations and don't fit into the cycle: Slime, Shadow, Bad Spelling, and Supercold. Slime damage, seen only in the Slime Tube, is mostly dealt via status effects and has its own protective gear. Bad Spelling damage is dealt by enemies modeled on Internet trolls and is countered by reading from a dictionary. Supercold damage is dealt by the Warbears in the Warbear Fortress during Crimbo 2013. And finally, Shadow damage is dealt by Your Shadow and has no way to counter it - this is to make sure that it goes straight through any gear you're wearing.
    • There is also the legendary Sixth Element, Cuteness.
  • Elite Mooks: The "Hero" enemies in the Hippy/Fratboy war.
  • Emo Teen: The Goth Giant enemy, who writes bad poetry and wears a ton of makeup. Also the Confused Goth Music Student, the Next-generation Frat Boy, the Emo Squid familiar, and the Girl in a Black Dress.
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: There are a number of decidedly Lovecraftian encounters that can be had when searching for two of the Sea Monkees on the Sea Floor.
    • In the mer-kin deepcity, you can come face to face — and also kill — the two gods of the mer-kin: Shub-Jigguwatt, Elder God of Violence, and Yog-Urt, Elder Goddess of Hatred. The father Sea Monkee is found at the end, hooked up to a machine that opens a portal to... somewhere that might be outer space but is likely something far more alien.
    • The Caliginous Abyss is themed entirely around being a horrific, alien place in the deepest part of the ocean. When the player heads there to look for the mother Sea Monkee, they face several surreal non-combat encounters — such as fish with twisted human faces, incongruous mother-hen messages carved into rock walls or written out of glowing sea life, areas of the seafloor carved by the passage of hundreds and hundreds of tentacled somethings — and combat encounters against things such as enormous eyes staring out of the darkness, slithering armored things, a twisted parody of Mr. Peanut and a group of carnivorous things referred to simply as a "school of many".
      Within the darkness there are fish, and things that are not fish, and things that are not anything a land-dweller was ever meant to see. This is a school of one such creature, and it doesn't look friendly. It looks mostly like teeth and hiveminded appetite.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: During the Disco Bandit's Nemesis quest.
  • Elvish Presley: Elvish Sunglasses, which give you the "Rock Out" ability. Also, the Elvish effect obtained at the Mysterious Island Arena, if you complete the frat sidequest and pay close enough attention to the music.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: On the Mysterious Island, as part of a quest from the Council of Loathing, you can start and end war between the smelly, nature-loving hippies and the sleazy, beer-drinking frat boys.
  • Encounter Bait: There are various potions, skills, and equipment that you can use to increase the rate of combat encounters. There are also skills and items that can be used mid-combat to temporarily make you more likely to encounter the particular type of enemy you're facing. Since you only have a limited number of adventures per day, changing the encounter rate depending on what would help you reach your current goal faster is a regular part of the game's strategy.
  • Encounter Repellant: Second verse, same as the first — various potions, skills, and equipment can be used to decrease the rate of combat encounters, and there are skills and items to banish the particular enemy you're facing. This category of encounter manipulation is generally regarded as more useful than its counterpart, but you'll want it all in the end.
  • Enemy Mime: The Silent Ones are this and Humanoid Abomination. The encounter text notes that their faces are merely painted on and that light itself hesitates to approach them.
  • Enemy Scan: Monster Manuel, a Mr. Store item that permanently displays any monster's Attack, Defense, HP, combat initiative, elemental alignment, and phylum once you defeat it a single time. It also displays some hilarious facts about every monster, even ones that haven't been fightable for years since the item's release.
  • Enmity with an Object: A number of enemies are actually just inanimate objects the player character has to decided to fight like they would an actual opponent. Most of them can still hurt you, but their "attacks" consist of the player character accidentally injuring themselves while interacting with the object somehow.
  • Enough to Go Around: While everyone gets supposedly one-of-a-kind items (and in fact, due to ascension, you can have multiple unique items, like a belt made from the skull of the Bonerdagon and the skin of the Boss Bat), there are a few items, like the Rainbow Pearl and Strange Tiki Idol, of which only a few were implemented and which were obtained first-come first-serve. And there are now a few things which just become harder to acquire the more people have them (or possibly the more which have been found, which isn't the same thing), so that nobody's really sure if there's a hard cap or not.
  • Escort Mission: Parodied and thankfully averted with Grandma Seamonkey. She describes herself as someone useless in a fight who would easily get lost and be unable to circumvent the simplest of obstacles. The player character determines that she should be fine making it back on her own.
    • Played straight during the Moons sidequest, where you have to cart around a creepy little girl (who takes up your off-hand slot). She freaks out if you get hit, and has a point value that declines every time you take damage; if it hits zero, she runs away and you have to start over.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The pirates may be no-good, thieving, lying brigands, but unlike the frat boys, they would never make people wear some kind of humiliating outfit while cleaning!
    • If the fight against the Dreadsylvania final boss drags on for too long, you get the message: "Count Drunkula passes out. You've done some unscrupulous things in your day, but killing a passed out drunk guy is over the line, even for you. "
  • Everyone Has Standards: Your player character will loot graves, slaughter defenseless rabbits and eat their livers, and generally will steal anything that isn't nailed down, but unless you're an Accordion Thief they wouldn't think of wielding a stolen accordion.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You : There are loads of strange and unusual monsters in this game. You're the reason this trope is in play - the main quest ends with you ascending to a higher plane of existence, which the Council of Loathing claim is the only way peace can come to the Kingdom.
  • Evil Chef: A few of the monsters are examples of this.
  • Evil Poacher: Stella the Turtle Poacher, nemesis of the Turtle Tamer.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The hippy/frat boy war, for a particularly ineffective brand of "evil". There's a special reward for getting both sides killed. Then again, your contracting body isn't quite unambiguously good either.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The "Ring of Telling Skeletons What to Do". Wearing it allows the use of a skill called "Tell a Skeleton What to Do". The effect on the description page just says "Lets you tell skeletons what to do".
  • Experience Booster: The items and effects that increase your stat gain rate count as this, since your main stat determines your level.
  • Extremely Easy Exam: To get access to the player chat, the "Ghost of the English Language" gives the players "challenges" to prove their literacy. The first is copying a sentence down with correct capitalization and punctuation, the second is to use the word "there/their/they're" and "your/you're" right, and the third is to answer the question "What color was George Washington's favorite black horse?"
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Player character. "Edible" food and drink items include bolts, floor wax, ice cream made with rocks, the ghost of a pickle, cocktails that have been sitting on the sea floor for years, boiling demonic soda, chum, ghoul's flesh, human brains, lich eyes, and Carob
  • Eye Poke: Disco Eye-Poke is a move in the Disco Bandit's arsenal.
  • Fallen Hero: According to his psychosis, prior to becoming an eternally drugged up and spaced out drug addict and dealer, the Suspicious Looking Guy used to be a detective who once saved a Chinatown-styled city from a demoness.
    • Also, Stella the Turtle Poacher was once an effective and mysteriously beautiful Turtle Tamer.
  • Fantastic Drug: Goofballs, which gives you a nice 20% Muscle and Moxie boost that lasts 10 adventures. It's the withdrawal debuff that gets you tho- you lose 10% of all your stats until the game considers that you have officially kicked the addiction after going around with the debuff for 30 adventures. Also, the dealer that gives you the first bottle for free subsequently increase the price of each bottle by 1000 meat with each purchase. (Note that it used to be a 50% debuff for 100 turns, but the devs decided that was too much of a "gotcha" for new players, so substantially lowered the penalty)
  • Fantastic Fantasy Is Mundane: The "Get Real" encounter revolves around a group of nerds playing Cubicles & Conference Calls (or C&CC for short).
    "It takes place in a fantastic world where there's no magic, no monsters, and you're not allowed to beat people up and take their stuff. It's really, really cool."
    "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard," you say. "You guys should really get out into the real world instead of spending all your time on this ridiculous fantasy crap."
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Canadia (Canada) and South Of The Border (Mexico).
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Superlatively so.
  • Fetch Quest: Used a ton, and spoofed frequently.
    • Most notably with the Going Postal quest.
  • Fictional Constellations: The game features an area called "The Hole in the Sky". All of the monsters within are constellations that are also Double Entendres for male or female genitalia, such as "The Burrowing Bishop," "The Trouser Snake," or "The Little Man in the Canoe". The only exception is "The Astronomer", because the astronomers of the Days of Old were fond of not only childish visual puns, but of Shameless Self-Promotion.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Two classes for each, but pointedly Lampshaded by their shared guild-hall and stat dependence.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: The Chronic Indigestion ability, gained by eating an encorcelled burrito so spicy your insides catch fire.
  • Fishbowl Helmet: A fishbowl is one of three components needed to craft makeshift scuba gear.
  • Fish Slap: The halibut is a weapon (2-handed fish).
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The Pretentious Artist.
    "Oh, I see you've spent some time in Hey Deze. As a cautiously seeking agnostic, I'm not sure I believe in Hey Deze, even though people go there all the time and bring back souvenirs."
  • Food-Based Superpowers: Both Mysticality classes in the Pastamancer and Sauceror use food-based magic that utilize pasta and sauce respectively. Jarlsberg, the greatest chef-mage to have lived had even stronger food-based magic.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The grimstone mask lets you adventure as the villain of a fairy tale, such as the stepmother trying to screw up Cinderella's night at the ball or the hare trying to win the race with the tortoise. Each tale casts them as an Anti-Villain or at least in a sympathetic light.
    • The wolf in the Three Little Pigs tale thinks he's cleaning up the local Wretched Hive. The residents have a severe case of Jerkass, and the buildings suffer from No OSHA Compliance or at least are pretty unsafe, so in his mind, evicting the pigs is a good thing.
    • The witch in the Hansel and Gretel tale is physically dependent on candy to survive. She's capable of getting enough to get by, but children keep coming in and taking it, so from her point of view, she's just defending her livelihood from thieves.
    • The gnome in the Rumpelstiltskin tale is a combination of craftsman and social worker. He tempts parents and takes away their children, sure, but he's taking them from neglectful parents who are too busy indulging in their own vices to actually care for their own flesh and blood. From his point of view, what he's doing is a win-win; the parents get magical gifts that sate their carvings, while the children are relocated to his orphanage, where they can be taken in by people who actually care about them.
    • The hare in the Tortorise and the Hare tale is frustrated that the tortoise has decided to essentially cheat by hopping on a motorcycle when it's ostensibly meant to be a foot-race. They're also much less of a braggart in this version.
    • The stepmother in the Cinderella tale is a more straight-forward villain who's motivated primarily by jealousy and even has some Laughably Evil moments, but even she has some sympathetic elements, namely in how she's trying to go from Rags to Riches. To her, Cinderella is a competitor and a threat to her attempts to climb the social ladder, so ruining her stepdaughter's night is just safe-guarding her own future.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The PC can do this, but courtesy of Informed Equipment, you never actually see anything. There are, however, a few In-Universe examples:
  • Fun with Acronyms: The Sub Orbital Conveyance of the Kingdom (SOCK).
    • The Familiar Underground Community of the Kingdom, which hasn't thought of an acronym.
    • The Optimal Ascension Familiar is a "helpful" OAF.
  • Fun with Palindromes: Everything about the Palindome.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: It's gone now, but the legendary Meat Vortex bug destroyed the game's economy to the point they had to work a solution into the plot.
    • Incorporating major game fixes into the plot is a staple of the game - when Jick screwed up while backing up a server and basically erased a day or two worth of data, it led to massive amounts of plot involving time portals, "petrified time", and a general breakdown of temporal physics for a while.
  • Garden of Evil:
    • The Naughty Sorceress' hedge maze.
    • The Landscaper's Lair, temporarily available from an item sold at Uncle P's antiques, is a well-tended garden... that's tended by a demon and is full of killer lawn gnomes.
    • The Red Queen's Garden, if you can find and go down the rabbit hole in the Nearby Plains.
  • Gatling Good: Granny Hackleton uses a gatling gun against you when you fight her at the end of one of the harder telegraph quests. If you defeat her, you can claim her gatling gun as a reward. Even better, the gun comes with a wheelchair wheel attached, so you only need one hand to use it! Yes, that means Dual Wielding gatling guns is possible.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Right before your fight with the Protector Spectre, your character is clearly expecting a Jump Scare:
    A large, ornate stone dais stands in the center of the chamber, with a mummy lying in repose atop it. The figure's elaborate headdress and golden jewelery indicates that he must have been a high priest or something of the sort. A large circular amulet on the mummy's chest particularly draws your attention. You creep up to the mummy and poke it with your weapon. Nothing happens, so you poke it again, a little more bravely. Nothing happens. Satisfied, you reach for the amulet. With a shriek of rage, a ghostly, luminescent spectre leaps from the mummy and reaches for your throat with spectral claws.
    • Later in that same quest, your character tries a different approach right before your fight with Ed the Undying:
    You step into the chamber and discover a large stone sarcophagus, elaborately engraved and inlaid with gold. It takes all your strength to lever off the lid, but you soon get it open and discover the object of your quest, the Holy MacGuffin, radiating with its own inner light. It rests in the hands of a large mummy, wrapped in bandages of ancient silk and wearing a gold-filigreed crown. You step back from the sarcophagus and ready your weapon. "All right, let's get on with it," you say. "I know for a fact that you're going to come to life and attack me as soon as I try to take the MacGuffin, so let's just cut to the chase."
    "Tch, you're no fun at all," says the mummy, as it sits up and peers at you with a frown. "In my day, adventurers knew how to stick to the script."
    • During the war between the Hippies and the Frat Boys, if 'The Man' and 'The Big Wisniewski' meet, 'The Man' will exhibit this trope.
  • Gargle Blaster: With the wide range of alcoholic drinks you can consume in this game, there's a few of these, including a Pan-*Dimensional* Gargle Blaster.
  • Genius Bruiser: The warbears value a cunning tactical mind even more than the sheer brute force needed to rip your opponent limb from limb. Their leader, as it turns out, has both traits in abundance.
  • Glass Cannon: The Mysticality classes, both of which deal very high elemental damage while having very low HP and evasion. Pastamancers can get over it using spells, items and/or summoned pasta guardians to gain combat-initiative and stun their target long enough to kill it, while Saucerors can mitigate their fragility by using saucespheres to regenerate to a degree, and by using an array of crafted potions to buff themselves.
  • Glitch Entity: Parodies this with the Bugged Bugbear monster, and later its friendlier variant, the Baby Bugged Bugbear familiar. Neither is actually glitched, but their images have chunks of them replaced with ones and zeroes, they drop inexplicable and bizarre items, and they spit out realistic-looking MySQL error messages with almost everything they do.
  • Global Currency Exception: Lots of these, each with their own independent currency, where meat is not accepted.
    • This includes Hobopolis (with hobo nickels), the Terrified Eagle Inn in Dreadsylvania (with Freddy Krueggerands), Big Brother's store on the Ocean Floor (with sand dollars), the Bounty Hunter Hunter (with filthy lucre), Mr. Store (with Mr. Accessories), the Hermit (with worthless trinkets), and the Mysterious Island during wartime (with dimes and quarters for the hippy camp and frat house, respectively).
    • And for Crimbo 2009 there are Crimbux! (singular: crimbuck). And for Crimbo 2010 there is CRIMBCO scrip!
    • The vacation zones at the Elemental Airport have their own: Beach Bucks (Spring Break Beach), Coin-spiracy (Conspiracy Island), FunFunds (Dinseylandfill), Volcoinos (That 70's Volcano), and Wal-Mart gift certificates (The Glaciest). One of the items available at the Duty Free shop can only be purchased with a certain amount of all five.
    • Don't forget the Fat Stacks of Cash: "These are some fat stacks of cash. Too bad you can't spend cash in the Kingdom of Loathing." They could be used to bribe the penguin mafia during Crimbo 2008, but aside from then, they can only be sold for 150 meat apiece, or used in combat to give your opponent an opportunity to attack.
    • The Shore, Inc. only accepts The Shore, Inc. Ship Trip Scrip, which the description snarkily points out is worth whatever the company decides it is.
  • A God Am I: Before you, the player character, start stomping on the kingdom after being grown huge, you say, "Mwa-ha-ha! Who can stand against me! I am a GOD!" It results in you fighting the entire kingdom! (See Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever, below).
    "Then you realize that was over the top, and sure, maybe they can't hurt you, but that's no reason to be a jerk about it. Oh, well — everyone's mad at you, now, so you're going to have to defend yourself."
  • Golem: You can have a "Meat Golem" camp guard. There are lots of Golem enemies, including the nacho golem, stuffing golem, candied yam golem, fruit golem, white chocolate golem, bread golem, chowder golem, pencil golem, topiary golem, and collapsed mineshaft golem, which just goes to show that some people will make a golem out of anything.
    • Humorously, the clay golem, found in art class during the KOLHS run, is the only golem considered crazy by the narrator.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Many, many times.
    • "Naughty Periodicals" is suggested at the Daily Dungeon.
    • "Perforated Virgins", if you have a Uniclops familiar and a Crown of Thrones.
    • "This is a dewinged stab-bat. Have you heard my new band, the Dewinged Stab-Bats?"
    • "Black Widow and the Spinnerettes" for an all-girl group, when fighting a Black Widow.
  • Grammar Nazi: The Ghost of the English Language NPC forces players to understand the differences between "there," "their," and "they're," as well as "your" and "you're," before letting them use the game's chatrooms. Inverted if you equip the Sword Behind Inappropriate Prepositions, which makes you use random inappropriate prepositions in chat; or the Staph of Homophones, which replaces some of your words with out-of-place homophones.
  • Grand Finale: Not for the game itself, but the long-awaited conclusion to the Nemesis quest.
  • Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: There are zones in which all encounters — including the messages for drops and stat gains — are written in haikus, limericks and anapestic tetrameter.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: There's a lot of it, probably because the developers live in Arizona.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Monster Manuel's 1,100+ snarky monster factoids have as many tropes as the rest of the game put together—though you have to fight the monsters to access their entries.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The existence of one is implied in the Accordion Thief Nemesis Quest. In Somerset Lopez' hacienda, you may come across a chessboard where the pieces are the Heroes and Villains of Loathing. The Naughy Sorceress (the game's Big Bad) is the Black Queen. The Black King is "a swirly, demonic-looking thing you don't recognize."
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The severed seal flipper references this trope.
    This is the severed flipper of an Infernal Seal. Scientists agree that there is nothing in the world more badass than beating something with a body part you ripped off of something. Of course, if they disagreed, we'd probably rip off their arms and beat them with 'em.
  • Groin Attack: The Turtle Tamer ability "Kneebutt".
    • Also, one of the many areas randomly targeted by monsters is the groin. The black pudding slaps the female player in the groin with a greasy pseudopod. The Burrowing Bishop spins his mitre and charges at you furiously, drilling you in the groin (sleaze damage)!
  • Grotesque Cute: The Adorable Seal Larva familiar is a shining example.
    <name> chews its way into the corpse of your fallen opponent in a spray of blood and gristle. Soon, it bursts out of the other side of the carcass, slimes its way up your leg onto your shoulder, and vomits some form of healing bile into your ear. Awww, isn't that just the cutest thing ever?? <3 You gain X hit points. You gain X Mana points.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • A couple NS13 mechanics, particularly the +ML/-NC "anti-synergy". That one eventually got cut for being completely unfun.
    • Some NS11-era puzzles were also fairly unintuitive without trying to combine every item with every other item, or throw combat item after combat item at monsters that fall to only one type of item and horribly murder you otherwise. The player base has always had such a high concentration of organized spaders that Jick and Skullhead would be remiss not to leave them something to puzzle out.
    • Also, much of the Sorceress's Lair used to be like this, particularly the Perplexing Door (which, unlike the tower monsters, didn't give you any hints as to how many keys you need until the entire quest got revamped in 2015). There was, for the longest time, absolutely nothing to tell you the exact combination of stars and lines needed for a Richard's star key, nor the number of pixels needed for a digital key. Oh, and the areas where stars, lines, and pixels drop are otherwise unessential; even after all the revamps it's still possible that you won't have even unlocked them by the time you get to the door.
    • The Tower part of the lair as well, since it contained monsters that could only be beaten with a specific item, even if other items would seem equally or more logical (for example, you couldn't melt the giant ice cube with any old item or spell that inflicts fire damage, it had to be a can of hairspray, which doesn't even sound like an item that would do fire damage in the first place).
    • Finding all twenty hobo codes, which will require at least three ascensions and a lot of counterintuitive thinking.
    • Finding all of the Way of the Surprising Fist scrolls, five of which are absolutely necessary to complete the ascension. These and the hobo codes can only be found in specific locations, and there are no hints whatsoever as to what those locations are.
    • You normally get a medal for completing the Hippy/Frat war, depending on which side you fight on and how many sidequests you complete for that side. It's made clear that killing both sides would be a better solution, but how are you supposed to know that you do it by killing exactly 999 soldiers on each side, with no visible counter, to cause an epic showdown with both final bosses? Or that using a pirate flare gun during this special final battle, despite A Conspicuous Absence of Pirates having made them useless during the entire rest of the quest, is the way to insta-kill both bosses and get you a special medal? By looking it up, that's how.
    • Dreadsylvania's Hardmode bosses. Each one requires you to fight the normal boss while equipped with a special item or while under a certain effect. These items and effects require several different players of different classes working through the dungeon to acquire multiple items that must then be combined to allow one player to fight the boss. One of these items took the playerbase a month to find! To say nothing of the ridiculous tricks the bosses themselves employ.
  • Handicapped Badass: Granny Hackleton, the boss of the Wagon Train Escort Wanted telegraph available through the LT&T Office and matriarch of the criminal Hackleton clan. She may be a septuagenarian in a wheelchair, but she wields a gatling gun, your familiar will not fight her, and your character won't bring themselves to hitting or using combat skills/spells on an old lady. The only way to defeat her is via passive damage or certain items, and they can be used only once per encounter.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Ascending on higher difficulties gives you those. The "Heavy Rains" challenge path is probably the most extreme example — the game is much harder due to the, uh, heavy rain in the Kingdom both making monsters more powerful and making it harder to collect their Randomly Dropped items, but there are special skills you can only learn in the path that end up making speedruns much faster than the equivalent Standard run would be.
  • Head Pet: Turtle Tamers wear live turtles as helmets.
    • The Crown of Thrones lets you carry any familiar on your head.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": "Huh huh. Poop deck."
  • Hell of a Heaven: The original version of Valhalla was... boring. Really, really boring. You may have had infinite adventures and stats, but there was nothing interesting to do with them. This boredom conveniently served as an in-universe reason for the player character to reincarnate and save the Kingdom all over again.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The player character. Sometimes an adventure gives you a choice if you want to act like one, but this is rare.
  • High-Class Glass: Monocles are associated with wealth. The Wealthy Pirate is pictured with one, and the description of Baron Von Ratsworth's monocle posits a causal relationship between owning a monocle and being wealthy: the monocle helps you find things.
  • High School AU: The KOLHS challenge path is an in-universe one.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: The description for bat wing chow mein.
    Your mama always told you that bat wings were good for you, right? "Eat all your bat wings or I'll lock you in the closet," she'd say. Wait, no, that was my mom. Never mind.
  • Hive Drone: The Crimborg drones fit this trope in the same way as their Borg inspirations, with the original personalities of the assimilated drones remaining, but being very much under the Collective's control.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How you must defeat the final form of the final boss. If you have a Wand of Nagamar, it will convert the boss's normally-deadly attacks into something harmless and/or a means of destroying your opponent.
  • Holiday Mode: Crimbo (for Christmas), which is one disaster after another. 2010 revolves around working for the megacorp that makes Crimbo so safe, it's boring.
  • Homage: Before the revamp in September 2014, the entire White Citadel Quest was an homage to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Post-revamp it's a reference to The Odyssey.
    • The Suspicious-Looking Guy's Past is basically a Shadowrun story.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Don Crimbo, the boss of Crimbo 2009.
    • The Crimbomination at the end of Crimbo 2008.
    • Dr. Awkward, before obtaining the Mega Gem.
  • Humongous Mecha: For Crimbo 2012, players had to build one to defeat MechaElf. It's packed with all kinds of Crimbo-themed weaponry, and a sword in its chest that's bigger than the robot itself.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Safari Jack, Dragon to Stella the Turtle Poacher. Since his usual quarry is small animals, he's somewhat woefully equipped.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms:
  • Hurricane of Puns: A large source of the game's humor.
    • Knob Goblin. Orc Chasm.
    • Ol' Scratch. In his intro text, your character even says "I'm certainly ready to put a stop this never-ending stream of dumb heat jokes."
  • Ice-Cream Koan: In the description of the wool hat.
    "If an apple seed turns to wings, it will fly away like a butterfly. If a butterfly turns into an apple seed, it will just lay there on the ground."
    Yeah, I don't know what it means either.
  • I Meant to Do That: The Clockwork Apparatus outfit, a set of gear which turns fumbles into Inspector Gadget references with beneficial effects.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Either averted, played for Rule of Funny (like with the Swarm of Scarab Beatles, which drops things like "Colonel Mustard's Lonely Spades Club Jacket" or "Maxwell's Silver Hammer") or parodied with deliberately bad Hand Waves.
  • Impossible Thief: Goes hand-in-hand with Impossible Item Drop above. The Pickpocket skill can steal some pretty ridiculous stuff, since stealable items are (usually) taken from the monster-in-question's normal drop list- For one example, there exists an enemy called a Black Adder, which drops adder bladders. Normally, this makes sense- you're taking the bladder from an enemy you just killed. With the Picpocket skill, the PC somehow manages to steal a bladder right out of a snake while said snake is still alive! The developers handwave this sort of thing by claiming the Black Adder was carrying around an adder bladder it got from a different Black Adder.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The ridiculously overelaborate ninja weapon. "It consists of four long blades, three wooden poles, six steel chains, and an assortment of spikes. You have absolutely no idea how to use it, but it looks totally badass." 3x chance of fumble. 3 handed weapon.
  • Improbable Accessory Effect: There are some items that help you in really strange ways. It would be inconvenient to list them all, but the tiny plastic figurines and Alice's Army trading cards are good examples of things that shouldn't really do anything actually being incredibly versatile.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: The Toot Oriole remarks self deprecatingly that you probably wouldn't be playing this game if you didn't enjoy watching numbers get bigger.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: If you try to use the bathroom in Spookyraven Manor during a Bad Moon run, the player character will be interrupted by a ghost and will hastily excuse themself.
    Adventurer: Nope, I wasn't about to do anything. I'm perfectly fine. In fact, I just remembered my grandmother's on fire and my cat has leprosy.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Adorable Space Buddy familiar. He does damage, restores HP/MP, and occasionally gives you massive stat bonuses. To get one, you have to complete The Sea twelve times, and then kill the Optional Boss Dad Sea Monkee
  • Insistent Terminology: With few exceptions, any mention of a meatcar will have "bitchin'" in front of it.
  • Instrument of Murder:
    • The Stolen Accordion, weapon of choice of the Accordion Thief. Through a special quest, it can become the Rock and Roll Legend, then the Squeezebox of the Ages, and finally the Trickster's Trikitixa (once Somerset Lopez is defeated once and for all).
    • There are also several instruments aside from accordions, including guitars (one of which is called an "axe"), drums, flutes, a rattle, a violin, a tuba, and a sitar. They're generally considered ranged weapons.
    • The Disco Bandit's Legendary Weapon is the Disco Banjo, which can be further upgraded into the Shagadelic Disco Banjo, and finally to Seeger's Unstoppable Banjo.
  • Interface Spoiler: Played for Laughs. If you attempt to adventure in the basement of Spookyraven Manor before unlocking it, the error message is "You shouldn't be down here yet. I mean here. Wherever here is." Anyone actually trying to do that probably knows about the basement from previous ascensions and merely forgot they haven't unlocked it yet this run.
  • The Internet Is for Cats: The "viral video" item (which effectively instantly kills a monster and drops every single possible item it can have) is said to depict "kittens being surprised in a variety of ways".
  • Intoxication Mechanic:
    • Adventurers can drink alcoholic beverages to restore their adventurous spirit, allowing them to take more adventures for the day. However, if they drink more alcohol than their liver can handle, any attempts to adventure will be replaced with a drunken adventure, resulting in inconveniences like taking a small amount of damage or losing a small amount of meat.
    • Using goofballs provides an adventurer with a decent boost to muscle and moxie. However, once it runs out, the adventure starts the next day with a penalty to all stats. Additionally, each dose starting with the seventh dose on a given playthrough reduces the adventurer's stat experience by an increasing amount.
  • Island Base: Your Nemesis has a secret tropical island volcano lair, just as predicted by your guild leader.
  • Joke Item:
    • Most of the items from the Summon Hilarious Objects spell.
    • 'Useless powder', a powder obtained from pulverizing certain pieces of equipment. Unlike the elemental powders you obtain from smashing other items, this powder has no purpose whatsoever; your only options for it are 'discard' and 'use' (the latter of which also discards it).
    • Not to mention multiple familiars that don't do anything. Or the ones that only serve to impede you.
    • Lethal Joke Item: Some bosses are only supposed to be killable by using highly improbable inventory items on them. This being KoL, some of the players have found alternate methods.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The 2013 Familiar of the year, the Angry Jung Man, allows you to bottle the psychoses of various NPCs, which allows you to enter a Bonus Dungeon in their mind.
  • Just Add Water:
    • Most of the Item Crafting is done simply by taking two items and clicking the craft button. Some items require Meat Paste or a better oven or cocktail shaker, but they're only an obstacle for the very beginning of your quest.
    • The trope is lampshaded in the description of the gnatloaf casserole:
    This is a casserole made with gnatloaf and a box of Gnat Helper, which somehow magically appeared during the cooking process.
  • Kill and Replace: The sentient water in Heavy Rains does this to nearly every quest-relevant boss, though it doesn't work on Ed the Undying (which only added to his Memetic Badass status).
  • King of the Homeless: Hodgman the Hoboverlord.
  • Knee-capping: This is the general modus operandi of the Penguin Mafia. You can even get a kneecapping stick as a weapon from them.
  • Kneel, Push, Trip: Some of the enemies use this as an attack. Examples include the horrible tourist family, The Sierpinski Brothers, and The Avatar of Sneaky Pete, who is so smooth, he does this to you by himself.
  • Konami Code: Before the 2015 revamp, knowledge of this was needed to reach the Naughty Sorceress.
  • Lampshade Hanging: On a variety of MMORPG tropes and cliches with great frequency. In other words, nearly everything.
    • For example, the adventure "Congratulations, You Found an Important Thing".
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: The description for the item "Thick Caulk" notes that "The L is not silent but it is snickering behind it's back."
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Homemade Robot familiar. It does absolutely nothing but drive around in circles and give cute messages during combat. It can though be upgraded to permanently be 100 pounds with piles of useless of robot parts and is affected by normal +Familiar Weight modifiers. The lethality comes when combined with the tiny costume wardrobe, allowing it to become a 100 lb. version of a random familiar every combat. With the right familiar weight buffs, this translates to 270% items drops, +10 substats per fight, and 536 damage per combat round.
  • Legendary Weapon: The game parodies legendary weapons at every turn.
    • There's a chain of quests where the player gets a series of legendary weapons. First, the player has to find the (extremely underpowered) Epic Weapon for their class buried in the grave of The Unknown Seal Clubber/Turtle Tamer/etc (whatever your class is, in other words). Following that, they obtain more ingredients and upgrade it to the (better, but still not all that great) "Legendary Epic Weapon". Following that, the weapon gets transformed into the "Ultimate Legendary Epic Weapon" (which is, finally, actually pretty powerful) during their final showdown against their nemesis.
    • Formerly, the first step involved actually ''creating'' the Epic Weapon from junk you had in your inventory, including your starting weapon and an ordinary rock. You could even create more than one of them (though only one was needed to continue the quest line), as well as creating the Epic Weapons for classes other than your own (which didn't advance the quest at all, but could be saved for when you ascended into that class).
    • Deconstructed with Trusty, Boris' trusty axe which the player is forced to use when playing as the Avatar of Boris.
    Not every magical weapon is forged of meteorite iron under an unusual planetary conjunction, inscribed with gilded runes of ancient power, and imbued with supernatural strength and sharpness through mystical rites and sorcerous incantations. In truth, many of the most powerful weapons of lore are possessed of far humbler beginnings — common metal, torn from an enemy's grasp in a dire emergency. If the warrior survives the day, the weapon will likely be kept. Polished, sharpened, and re-sharpened, it will be carried from battle to battle, becoming as much a part of the man as his own arm, and as his name rises from warrior to hero to legend, so too will an aura of reverence and awe begin to surround the blade. Legend and belief are powerful forces, and it should be no surprise that a powerful artifact might have become powerful simply by dint of everyone believing it to be powerful. That is, after all, where the gods came from.
  • Lemony Narrator: Players have uncovered evidence that the entire game is actually narrated by Monster Manuel. Regardless, he is very much this trope.
    "You know, amigo, the average adventurer weighs in at about 150 pounds, okay? So maybe do a few push-ups between fights. Anyway, here's something you ought to know about your last opponent..."
  • Level Drain: Can be done to monsters, too. Also can be reversed; many advanced players will gleefully raise enemy levels to boost the gained Experience Points.
  • Level Grinding: Quests are assigned to you based on your level, so if you've finished the first 12 quests and still haven't reached level 13, you're forced to go out and fight some baddies until you do. This is why speedrunners are so keen on bonus Monster Level.
  • Level Limiter: The game has several items with negative stats, and since level progression is based on Stat Grinding, this effectively reduces a character's level, which is useful for certain level-locked dungeons (such as the Cola Wars Battlefield which you can only access at Level 6). It also has the Black Cat familliar and the Bad Moon zodiac sign (effectively two different ways of acheiving the same result), that severely reduce or outright negate encounter rewards (although a player on a Black Cat/ Bad Moon run can learn the "Torso Awaregness"(sic ) skill that lets you wear shirts.
  • Level Scaling: Some monsters have stats that scale to match yours to allow everyone to participate in holiday event dungeons.
  • Living Shadow: One of the bosses that you must face in the Big Bad's lair is your shadow.
  • Load-Bearing Boss:
    • The three possible outcomes of the Level 12 Quest each end with either one or both of the bases being blown up after defeating the boss(es). The game does justify the explosion, though.
    • The end of the Nemesis quest always ends with the volcano exploding just enough to destroy the Nemesis's lair, but not the rest of the island.
    • The boss fight of the procedurally-generated GameInformPowerDailyPro Dungeon always ends with the line: <Boss Name> crashes to the ground with a howl. "I shall have my revenge!/I will return!", he screams, and the ground begins to shake under you. The stones of the villain's lair crack and collapse as you run, and you leap from the structure just in time to avoid being buried in the wreckage alongside <Boss Name>.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Parodied in one of the now-retired adventures of the Noob Cave: a falling boulder blocks the exit, and, as there is nobody else there to help you, you must hold up the boulder blocking the exit while you crawl to safety between your own legs.
  • "Long Story Short, you have a magical evening. Short Story Long? Anything by Dickens."
  • Lord British Postulate:
    • The Naughty Sorceress' third form will - usually! - destroy the player if they don't have the right item. One player decided this wasn't the case. See the "Bee-Bee Gun" entry above, too.
    • The six monsters in her Tower (before a revamp in 2015) had obscene stats and were meant to be killed with a Logical Weakness combat item. The inevitable power creep over the game's eleven-year life has resulted in it being relatively simple to kill them with brute force and a lot of stunning. Unlike the Naughty Sorceress, the devs just let this one go without as much as an Obvious Rule Patch. In fact, one challenge path has an exclusive item that is an insta-kill just against tower monsters. All that was thrown out the window in January 2015, when the whole area was revamped, and the new monsters - walls of skin, meat, and bones - have abilities that prevent brute-force tactics...but in a very specific way that can be overcome if you know exactly what to do.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: The Lucky Rabbit's Foot increases item drop and money drops by 7%. The old joke of "Doesn't seem very lucky for the rabbit" is skewered as well, since the particular rabbit it's made out of was a very lucky bunny indeed, and even the way he died means he lucked out (being quickly shot by a poacher and turned into a keychain means he was saved months of slowly dying in agony from bowel cancer).
  • MacGuffin: The Holy MacGuffin, of course. Not even when you play an entire story as the MacGuffin's guardian do you find out what it actually is.
    Sensing his disappointment, you sigh. "Look, Amun… you're a good dude, and you did a hell of a job, so I'll let you in on a secret. I don't actually know what this thing is."
  • Macrogame: When you complete a run and ascend, you can mark skills as permanent, unlocking them for use on each subsequent run. Additionally, some aspects, like the demon summoning names, will always stay the same regardless of playthrough.
  • Magic Antidote: The anti-anti-antidote can cure several varieties of poison. The soft green echo eyedrop antidote can cure all sorts of status effects, good or bad.
  • Magick: Parodied with the "boock of darck magicks".
  • Magic Music: Accordion Thieves can learn a variety of songs as buffs for stats, item gains, etc., for other players or themselves.
  • Magikarp Power: Your basic equipment, that is, the weapon you start with, is useless after about level two. However, it is needed to trade for your class' Epic Weapon, which will eventually become very powerful if you complete the Nemesis Quest.
    • The maiden wig, the chef's hat, and the beer goggles are low-level equipment which aren't very powerful, especially since the Goggles Do Nothing. But, they are needed to make the Clockwork Maid, the Chef-in-the-Box, and the Bartender-in-the box, which give you 8 more adventures per day, allow you to cook fancy ingredients without using an adventure, and allow you to mix fancy cocktails without using an adventure, respectively. For those who don't play, these are must-haves for any obsessive gamer. You can also sell them for quite a lot of meat.
    • The goggles are also used in constructing 4-d cameras, which become increasingly valuable as you gain access to rarer and more powerful subjects of photography.
  • Magitek: The El Vibrato relics, which are described as ancient, inscrutable magic/technology. In addition, the Mechs in the Penultimate Fantasy Airship, and related items.
    • The aforementioned airship Mechs are properly called MagiMechTech MechaMech, so the reference becomes even more obvious.
    • And the Magilaser Blastercannon.
  • Mana Shield: Warbear energy bracers can be used so monster attacks reduce your MP instead of HP.
  • Marshmallow Dream: Referenced in the descriptions of the comfy pillow and giant marshmallow.
  • Masochist's Meal: A lot of food and drink items really push the definition of "edible." The shopkeeper in the Huggler Colosseum "snack" bar even warns you that his wares (sausages full of *nails* and "used beer") are dangerous!note 
  • Mass Monster-Slaughter Sidequest: The Bounty Hunter Hunter exists to give out quests of this type.
  • Master of Disguise: Rene C. Corman, who initially appears as "Bigg" and earlier appears as Cristobol Colon.
  • Meaningful Name: There are the chef-in-a-box and bartender-in-a-box, which remove the adventure cost of cooking and making booze. There is no smith-in-a-box, though. The gnoll smith, Innabox, works as the item would.
  • Medicine Show: Doc Galaktik in Seaside Town runs one of these.
  • Medium Awareness: When Lady Spookyraven gives you your final quest reward, she tells you that she hopes it's "a useful and balanced reward for a quest of this level".
  • Metaphorgotten: "This young seal is nearly ready to leave the brood-nest to be a big shark in its own pond instead of a... piranha... in a small... All right, that metaphor went off the rails pretty fast."
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: The War Frat 500th Infantrygentleman's fumble message has him drink a martini rather than attack you, because it just so happens to be Cocktail Hour.
  • Mighty Lumberjack: In Little Canadia, the player can encounter lumberjacks, lumberjills, and lumberjuans. The lumberjack supervisor carries two double-sided axes.
  • Mining for Cookies: Meat (in the form of sirloin steaks) is both mined and chopped off of monsters. The player can also dig up things like cardboard, bubble wrap, and Velcro ore.
  • Money Spider: Toyed with (and mostly justified) by using meat as currency. On the opposite end, diamonds and the such are regarded as worthless due to their lack of practical use and the large number of them.
  • The Monolith: One can be found in the Spooky Forest.
  • Monster Clown: Several types appear in The "Fun" House. In fact, by collecting the items they drop the players themselves can dress as one. (Doing so gives them a decent bonus to spooky damage.)
  • Monstrous Seal: The game portrays seals as demonic entities spawned in the Infernal Abyss, and Seal Clubbers, unlike in Real Life, are Barbarian Heroes that protect ordinary people from their wrath.
  • Mook Bouncer: As a Shout-Out to NetHack.
  • Mook Chivalry: Soldiers in the Hippy/Frat war line up to fight you one at a time. After you kill a soldier, a set number (increased by doing sidequests) of other soldiers line up to be slaughtered by your allies. The enemy team's boss is not accessible until you kill all the other enemy mooks (or all but one of the mooks on each side), and your allies will not help you fight him.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle:
    • Before a revamp of the final quest, you used to encounter six monsters (out of 24 possibilities) that each required a certain item to beat it. While most of the items made some sort of sense, the Giant Desktop Globe must be beaten by an NG. The reasoning behind this comes from a They Might Be Giants song ( "Ana Ng", from the album Lincoln: "Make a hole with a gun, perpendicular/To the name of this town on a desktop globe"), a band mentioned in the game many times, but only in relatively subtle references. Fortunately, each time you lose to the monster, the game will give you another hint, and on your fifth loss, it will tell you exactly what item to use, and where to find it.
    • There's also an optional puzzle involving translating dwarven runes, mining for ore and coal, gambling with the miners to deduce the values of the dwarven digit runes, converting the digits from base seven to base ten, putting the right amount of the right materials into the right hoppers, and setting the value of four console dials. The game gives you everything you need to deduce the solution to the puzzle, but the process is incredibly difficult. And you have to do it three times to get the Dwarvish War Uniform. Across three ascensions, since one of the items required is a one-time drop. And the translation for the runes is randomized for each ascension, so you'll have to go through the entire process, including figuring out what each rune means, every time.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The toothy sklelton [sic] has three rows of teeth, somehow.
  • Multiplayer-Only Item: The game contains items that grant players extra PvP fights per day, as well as items that you use to defend your campground when other players attack you. Both are useless if you don't opt into PvP.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The delivery service quest Olaf the janitor gives you. What's this "item of great power" he needed you to obtain for him? Steel wool.
    "Thank you, my friend, you have done me a great service this day. In the annals of history, your deeds shall not be forgotten."
    • The player classes are this incarnate. Pastamancers and Saucerors are Chefs of Iron combined with wizardry, Seal Clubbers take animal cruelty to heroic levels, turtle tamers are The Beastmaster for the most mundane creature around, Disco Bandits are Dance Battlers who can mix up a mean Gargle Blaster, and Accordion Thieves play polka music so well it inspires and buffs players.
  • Murder Water: In the Heavy Rains challenge path, all the bosses (except Ed the Undying) are replaced by a sentient water version of themselves.
  • Musical Assassin: Most ranged weapons are musical instruments, allowing your character to be a Musical Assassin.
    • Accordion Thieves live off of this trope, especially after a revamp added special attacks to their primarily buff-based skill list.
  • Naughty Birdwatching: The telescope, obtained in Fernswarthy's Basement, can be used to either look at the stars for a stat boost or look at the Naughty Sorceress's tower to see what monsters it has.
    • In addition, before the Observatory's destruction, players could use it to look into the Sorceress's chamber itself. She would then retaliate with a magical flash of light, causing temporary blindness, and a nearby astronomer would express disapproval of "base voyeurism" while adjusting his polarized sunglasses.

  • Nerf Arm: Besides the fact that half of the ranged weapons are some sort of musical instrument, the game has a lot of goofy weapons that are just as effective as the standard swords and bows. For reference, one of the late-game melee weapons is a duct tape sword that's just as effective as a regular late-game sword. The ranged weapons can be even more esoteric, with bags of throwable snowballs and candy outdamaging actual firearms.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Granny Hackleton, a wheelchair-boung septuagenarian with a Gatling gun, is the boss of the LT&T Office's Wagon Train Escort telegram mission. Despite being a wanted criminal, you cannot attack her because hitting a senior would be wrong.
  • New Game Plus: "Ascension" allows one to beat the game and start over as a new class; with access to previous skills and items depending on which Challenge Run you take. There are special rewards for completing higher difficulties.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Trope Namer. One of the familiars is a robotic zombie that is also a pirate and a ninja. It lives on ricerumbrainsoil. It can no longer be obtained normally, since the zombie pineal gland required to make it is not dropped by any regularly accessible monsters. Instead, the only way to get it is with the Deck of Every Card, a Mr. Store item that is also no longer available but in the possession of a sizable portion of the player base. As such, thousands are available in the Mall of Loathing but are not cheap.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted with the 2015 Challenge path, where you play as Ed the Undying. No, not 'Avatar of Ed the Undying', ' Actually Ed the Undying'. Fittingly, the Final Boss is yourself.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted, actually when Corman invaded Valhalla. The players managed to destroy his Bone Star, but all of the debris destroyed Valhalla. Fortunately, time passes differently there, so it was instantly rebuilt better than ever.
    • Played straight in a sidequest that turns you into a Kingdom-sized behemoth and lets you stomp around on everything. No matter what you do, you cannot cause any permanent damage.
  • Nobody Poops: Lampshaded at The Road to the White Citadel, as well as The Haunted Bathroom (Bad Moon only).
  • Noodle Incident: From the adventure "The Paper Chase":
    You've learned to trust your adventurer senses, except when it comes to real-estate investing.
    It's kind of a long story, and the less said, the better.
    • While eating a desiccated apricot:
    You chew through the apricot, and it's no easy task. It's like that time you had to chew your way out of those leather restraints. Oh, wait. You probably don't want to talk about that. Never mind.
    At the sight of the spaghetti elemental, the cultist begins to quake with fear, his eyes widening to the size of hard-boiled eggs. He collapses to his knees, sobbing in fear. "My lord! Forgive me!" he wails. "I didn't know what I was doing! I thought it was a toilet! I swear!"
  • Non-Appearing Title: Referenced by the kingdom's best screaming-crying band, Radioactive Child, and their hit single, 'If You Want to Tell People the Truth, Make Them Laugh, Otherwise They'll Kill You (Royale With Cheese). "To show they're clever and hip, screaming-crying bands use famous quotes and pop culture references for their song titles, and make sure that the title never has anything to do with the song."
  • Non-Human Undead: The Bonerdagon.
    • Also the numerous skeletal pets in the Haunted Pet Cemetery.
    • Bigg's Dig was a world event in 2010 where an archaeologist enlisted the help of adventurers to dig up (among other things) fossils that could be combined together to create reanimated skeletal bats, serpents, baboons, wyrms, giant spiders, and demons.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Getting defeated only ever results in a temporary stat debuff and a lost adventure, even if the game explicitly describes how grisly your death was.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Safarrri Hat, which grants "+15 damage against Lions", parodies the Weapon of X-Slaying trope. There's only one lion-type enemy in the entire game, and it's not a particularly difficult encounter. It's not completely useless, but it's close.
  • Not His Sled: Those who've read Ender's Game will recognize the Giant's Drink "game" in the Strange Leaflet quest. Unfortunately, you can't solve it the same way Ender did, as the Giant is wearing a reinforced eyepatch.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Your "Quest Log", which actually is an enchanted log in your camp site. As in a wooden log. Sawn from a tree.
  • The Nudifier: The Depantsing Bomb.
  • Obsession Song: You summon and use these as combat items. (Or as a regular buffing item to increase your item drops.)
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Several have been applied over the years.
    • The Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot familiar has a chance of giving out meat during each round of combat. Since this made it advantageous to drag out combat to as close to 30 turns as possible without going over, the NPZR was changed so that it only gives Meat in the first 10 turns of combat.
    • Harold's Bell is an item that banishes a monster, so you don't encounter it, for a few turns. When used in the Boss Bat's lair against the Boss Bat, this allowed for a few more turns to fight the only other enemy, which dropped a lot of Meat for the relative level. In 2010, this was quietly changed so that the Boss Bat is immune to the bell's effects, putting the lid on this strategy.
    • With the introduction of back items, some existing accessories were changed to fit the classification. However, this included normally low-level accessories, like the Vampire Cape and the Cape of the Goblin King, and the developers self-imposed a minimum stat limit for back items, which resulted in those items being unusable until much later in the game. They were changed into the Vampire Collar and Codpiece of the Goblin King, respectively, so they could keep their accessory and equippable-at-low-level status.
    • The moister oyster is a monster that is guaranteed to drop an item worth 12000 Meat. It's balanced by being a semi-rare encounter, which, under normal circumstances, means you can expect to fight one or maybe two a day, if you dedicate half your semi-rare opportunities to this one enemy. With certain items and familiars, you could fight up to ten extra copies a day, ignoring the semi-rare mechanic entirely. The oyster is now uncopyable.
    • The elemental bosses in Hobopolis can't be fought while you're in the same elemental form, since this would reduce most of their attacks to Scratch Damage.
    • The Homemade Robot familiar has little purpose by itself other than being easily able to reach a high effective familiar weight. One task in the Community Service path has an adventure cost reduced proportionally to your familiar's effective weight, but the Homemade Robot can't be used for this task whatsoever.
    • After Sequence Breaking certain quests by copying vital monsters had been the norm for many years, a silent update on January 1st, 2019, shut all that down by making them impossible to copy.
    • The Seal Clubber's Pulverize ability lets them turn equipment into Powders (slight resistance buff), Nuggets (slight damage buff), or Wads (bigger resistance boost, also buffs all stats and grants experience), depending on its power. In Spookyraven Manor's Haunted Gallery, you can easily obtain Antique equipment that has much higher power than other items at that point (with the drawback of reducing initiative and being destroyed after a while). This used to be an easy source of Wad-producing equipment, but this was changed in the NS13 update so they instead Pulverize into Useless Powder, which is exactly what it sounds like.
  • Odd Job Gods: One of the elemental spirits in the McGuffin Quest is "Squirtlcthulli, god of water and doorknobs".
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The "Boss Bat?", fought by Ed the Undying.
    You spot several beefy bodyguard bats hiding behind stalagmites. Some of them pull on the ropes, making the giant bat corpse jiggle menacingly toward you. Another shouts into a megaphone: "An intruder! Do not worry, brethren, I shall handle this myself, for I am completely alive and as strong as I ever was!" Good grief.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: The best reward for the Mysterious Island Quest is the Order of the Silver Wossname, obtained by destroying both the Hippy Army and the Frat Boy army at once.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Used to be Moxie, since having it high enough would allow players to avoid all damage, and it also determined damage dealt by ranged attacks. As the game has grown more complex, this has become less clear-cut, so the god stat of the moment depends on player goals — one strong example is The Source challenge path, where having a huge MP pool is vital for defeating the Source Agents and leveling up quickly enough, making Mysticality the god stat.
  • One-Winged Angel: But of course. There's one Affectionate Parody version - the Naughty Sorceress - and one straight version - the Nemesis. The way they achieve it is different too: the Sorceress says the old "behold my true form" line while the Nemesis calls on the Demon Lord of Revenge.
    • There's also an inversion - you fight Ed the Undying seven times in a row, but he gets weaker with each adventure.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: Fernswarthy the Wizard's letter.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Chat channels are only accessible after passing a test given by the Ghost of the English Language. One of the prerequisites needed is an understanding of the proper usage of there/their/they're.
  • Optional Boss: Baron Von Ratsworth, the "Ultra-Rare" monsters that drop the aptly-named Ultra-Rare items, Hodgman the Hoboverlord and his Hobopolis Lieutenants, the Mother Slime, the Guy Made of Bees, the Elder Gods of Violence and Hatred, the list goes on.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • All seals are Always Chaotic Evil violent, hellish demonic beasts, even the baby ones, and they're the quarry of the Seal Clubbers.
    • The Deep Fat Friar's quest has various Imps and demons as standard enemies, but then there's also the Hellion, a demonic helium particle.
    • At the end of the Nemesis quest, defeating your Nemesis will cause them to call a dark god to aid them, turning them into a demonic monstrosity.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Sort of. They're like standard dwarves in most respects, except that they're all seven feet tall as both a subversion of their usual shortness and as a pun on Snow White's seven dwarves.
  • Our Imps Are Different: The Deep Fat Friar's quest involves exorcising demonic entities and Imps make up a fair number of the enemies. These Imps come in different flavors pertaining to their Punny Name — L Imps are crippled, W Imps are wimpy, P Imps are decked out in Pimp Duds and G Imps are dressed in bondage gear.
  • Our Kobolds Are Different: Kobolds are... living lower-case letter Ks. They're described by Monster Manuel as lizard-dog men, a reference to the monster changing between editions of Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The "Mer-kin", encountered on the ocean floor in the course of the high-level Sea Monkee quest, which turn out to be involved in some very creepy business.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different:
    • The Weretaco "is an ordinary man, who, when the moon is full, turns into a half-man, half-taco monstrosity. Incidentally, for you detail-oriented people out there — the weretaco's lycanthropic cycle is not tied to Ronald or Grimace, but to some completely unrelated moon in some completely unrelated alternate dimension. That's why you never see him turn into a human. Seriously."
    • The weremoose functions on aboot the same lines, eh?
    • There's also the ultra rare Talisman of Baio, which drops from the "Baiowolf", a werewolf version of Scott Baio, and increases your stats depending on the phases of the moons.
    • And the Wereturtle familiar. Maybe. The Flavor Text again points out that you've never seen it not be a turtle, regardless of the moon's phase, but this time it admits that it's probably just a regular turtle.
    • And the ability to use "Blood of the Wereseal" on yourself to gain "Temporary Lycanthropy", a stat boost based on the lunar phase.
  • Overly Long Name: Hangk's Ancestral Mini-Storage was ravaged by fire, hit by a comet, and flooded. Each disaster lengthened its name; after the third one, it was temporarily called "Hangk's Mostly-Burned-Down-then-Hit-by-a-Chunk-of-a-Comet-then-Flooded-by-the-Melting-Comet Ancestral Mini-Storage."
  • Painful Pointy Pufferfish: Pufferfishes appear as enemies in the ocean. Their initial turn has them scrape the player with their spines to poison them, which damages the player each turn of the battle and doubles each turn. They may also drop their spines upon defeat, which can be used on enemies to make them suffer similar poisoning.
  • Painting the Medium: This is a game that is mostly text with simple images for flavor. If you get a red snowcone, the picture is the exactly the same as a blue snowcone, with no color. But in the "Haiku Dungeon" or "Limerick Dungeon", all of the text there follows those poetry conventions.
    • There's also a haiku katana, which can give you an effect that makes your fights everywhere take haiku form.
    • If you're a fan of Dr. Seuss, there's a pair of familiars (the Blavious Kloop and the Bloovian Groose) that produce anapest-based messages with their effects. The Kloop also drops an item that gives you access to a zone (The Suburbs of Dis) where all the combat messages are in anapestic quadrameter, and the Groose drops a consumable that temporarily gives you anapestic combat text in all zones.
  • Palatial Sandcastle: The game allows the player to build one for themselves.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Discussed in one of the Store of Loathing calendar descriptions.
    Words can't do the picture justice — let's just say that tentacles and winter festivity haven't gone this well together since It's a Hentai Christmas, Charlie Brown!
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Used in the Quest for the Holy MacGuffin.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Several, depending on your leveling goal — in-run, you probably want Spookyraven Manor's clover adventures, while in aftercore you'll want anywhere with Level Scaling monsters (if you're leveling for actual practical reasons) or the Mansion of Dr. Weirdeaux (if you're trying to reach the Absurdly High Level Cap).
  • Perplexing Plurals: The game tends to have a lot of fun with plurals, with "box" becoming "boxen", "kiwi" becoming "kiwus", "fruit basket" becoming "Fruits Basket", "sandwich of the gods" becoming "sandwiches of the godses" and "liar's pants" becoming "liar's pantses, precious". There are some items that can only have their plurals obtained by examining the game's code. The plural of "Staff of Ed" is "Staves of Ed, you dirty exploiter you".
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The MagiMechTech MechaMechs shoot the Trope Namer.
  • The Pig-Pen: If you wash a hippie off, it gets dirty again in a few minutes.
  • Piñata Enemy:
    • Beefy Bodyguard Bats. They don't appear anymore once you have slain the Boss Bat, though. Players used to "banish" the Boss Bat temporarily so they could fight more Bodyguards, until an update made banishing the Boss impossible.
    • The rotund ducks at McMillicancuddy's Farm. They're not too tough as enemies, but you can only fight a limited amount of ducks per day, and there are other types of ducks you might encounter instead.
    • Every enemy in the Castle in the Clouds, making it easily the most popular place to farm for Meat.
    • Certain pygmies in the remodeled Hidden City.
  • Pineal Weirdness: Zombie pineal glands, required to make a Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot.
  • Pistol-Whipping:
    • The Burly Sidekick will attack by punching you with his gunhand, though he is never out of ammo (like Barrett from Final Fantasy VII, whom he's based on, does in his Hammerblow Limit Break).
    • The only means of attack when using the rusted-out shootin' iron, whose barrel is so corroded it can't fire bullets anymore. Interestingly, despite counting as a melee weapon, it gives a boost to ranged damage. Since the game doesn't let you do Sword and Gun, the damage boost only comes into play in a handful of situations, like a Disembodied Hand to wielding the weapon.
  • Player Archetypes: The heart/club/diamond/spade types are referenced by the heart, club, diamond, and spade necklace items from the Mr. Klaw machine, as well as the four types of jackets that can be dropped by a swarm of scarab beatles.
  • Player Nudge: The 2015 revamp of the Naughty Sorceress quest adds these to the keys, the Shadow, and the Naughty Sorceress's weakness to anagrams, all of which were huge examples of Guide Dang It! before.
  • Play Every Day: At the beginning of each day, numerous counters are reset, enabling you to eat and drink more, to conjure more items, and to redo certain lucrative activities such as bounty-hunting. If you don't play every day, you lose the ability to take full advantage of this — and if you skip more than a few days at a time, your adventure count begins to overflow.
  • Please Subscribe to Our Channel:
    • Every combat round has a 1 in 30 chance of placing a message asking the player to donate at the top of the screen. (People who donate get thanks from the developers instead for the next 90 days.)
    • Parodied in the description for the "viral video" item:
    "Oh man. You've just gotta see this. Like, share, and subscribe!"
  • Podcast: The twice-weekly developer radio show is technically not one of these, but Jick doesn't always remember that.
  • Poison Chalice Switcheroo:
  • Poisoned Weapon: Parodied. What does your character do with (typewriter) correction fluid? Coat their weapon with it, of course.
  • Post-End Game Content: Dubbed "aftercore" by the player base, there are several extra-tough bonus areas that are either only feasible after beating the final boss, including the Sea and the various clan dungeons.
  • Potty Emergency: The effect "Your #1 Problem", which, like other effects that involve dancing, increases item drop rates. It's obtained from a single bad moon adventure that naturally Lampshades the previous absence of such a problem:
    You battle your way through the Haunted Bathroom until you find yourself right in front of the toilet, staring into the murky depths of the bowl. As you stare, you find a strange feeling welling up inside of you, ready to come gushing forth: you suddenly realize that you haven't emptied your bladder recently. Or, actually, ever.
  • Potty Failure: Using a "glass of warm water" on someone produces the chat message "<name> has an accident." (in yellow text), and gives the target a (fortunately harmless) effect called "you're in trouble".
  • Powered Armor: Clockwork Armor and El Vibrato armor.
  • Power at a Price: Any reward or event associated with Bad Moon tends to buff you in one way while weakening you in another. However, all of the Bad Moon abilities combined, due to each one ability moderately buffing a stat that is slightly debuffed by another, turn this into an (albeit slighter) increase everywhere.
  • Power Creep: Newer items are, on the whole, much more powerful than their counterparts of yesteryear. In the case of ultra-rares, this has sometimes been addressed by retroactively beefing the older items up.
  • Power Fist: The game naturally has a few examples of this trope, though they often boost weapon damage in general rather than specifically unarmed.
    • The enchanted brass knuckles boost your chance of scoring a Critical Hit with melee weapons, which includes unarmed attacks.
    • Candy knuckles, an item from Crimbo 2009, provide a flat buff to general melee weapon damage, but break after a certain amount of uses. The description quips that "instead of giving someone a knuckle sandwich, you can give them a sweet tooth."
    • The brass dorsal fin is described as basically brass knuckles for creatures who don't actually have knuckles or fists. For the player character though, it's indirectly this trope. It's shield, so it's not quite a weapon, but it boosts weapon damage by 25%, so it still boosts your unarmed damage. Plus, those with the Shieldbutt skill can Shield Bash with it just fine, though at that point, you can't really call it a punch.
    • The familiar-exclusive equipment for the Fist Turkey is a set of brass turkey knuckles, which boosts its damage when pecking and clawing opponents, among other things.
    • Grimacite gauntlets, a former Raffle House prize, boosts your Muscle depending on how dark the moons are, and Muscle is used to both determined how much damage you'll do in an unarmed attack and whether you'll actually hit your opponent in the first place.
    • The Dungeon Fist gauntlet is worn on your off-hand and increases your weapon damage by a flat amount. Its other enchantments are a Shout-Out to Gauntlet; in that game, enemies know where you are even through walls, which is reflected by how the gauntlet makes combat encounters occur more often, and the game (infamously) is the Trope Namer for Wizard Needs Food Badly, represented as a massive decrease in food drops.
    • The Dreadful Werewolf Suit dropped by the Great Wolf of the Air includes two of his paws. The right (a "1-handed claw") grants a massive boost to melee damage, including chance of landing a Critical Hit, while the left (an off-hand item) boosts critical hit chance further and also provides extra elemental damage. The description of the latter also lampshades how oddly convenient it is that the Great Wolf of the Air's paws neatly fit on your hands:
    The Great Wolf of the Air had a curious property whereby the bones in his hands were exactly the same size and shape as an entire human hand. The practical upshot is that when the bones are removed, his hand can be worn as a glove. The practical upshot is also gross.
    • The toy Crimbot power glove goes over your arm and replaces your hand with a electric prong that staggers opponents and restore mana when used. Wearing other parts of the Crimbot Crimboutfit boosts its power. Its description naturally references the infamous power glove scene in The Wizard.
    • Slime knuckles are described as "the opposite of brass knuckles", which makes sense, since they boost spell damage and Mysticality rather than melee damage and so avert this trope.
  • The Power of Apathy: One possible encounter in the Daily Dungeon is the Apathetic Lizardman, who by itself isn't a very tough opponent (it's apathetic, after all). The main danger comes from the fact that attacking it with melee moves will cause its sheer apathy to spread to the player, causing a huge 30% reduction to all their stats for a good 10 adventures.
  • The Power of Rock: The Rock and Roll Legend, the Epic Weapon of the Accordion Thieves. Also, the heavy metal thunderrr guitarrr, that's awesome enough to actually make your fingers bleed if you play without a pick.
  • Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With: Even when a sentence doesn't end with one.
  • Prestige Class: Certain Special Challenge Paths, chosen at the Bureau of Reincarnation after you beat the game. A few are straight-up restrictions, but quite a few others are special classes, such as the "Way of the Surprising Fist," which turns you into a Bare-Fisted Monk, the "Zombie Slayer," which makes you an Elite Zombie, the three "Avatar of-" paths, which turn you into one of the heroic archetypes the game's classes based themselves on (Boris for Muscle, Jarlsberg for Mysticality, and Sneaky Pete for Moxie), and the one where you play as Ed The Undying (not an avatar, you play as Ed himself, with your normal character as the final boss instead). There's also a few Shout-Out-based SCP classes, like "License to Adventure" which makes you a 00-agent, "The Source" which makes you into Neo, "Path of the Plumber," which turns you into Super Mario, "Pocket Familiars" makes you a Pokémon trainer, and any one of the three classes (the fisticuffs-based Cow Puncher, magic-based Beanslinger, alchemy-based Snake Oiler, all three of which are also gunslingers) from Asymmetric's own West of Loathing, which is set in the same universe. A further few change your race. "Gelatinous Noob" makes you a slime-person who upgrades by absorbing certain things, "You, Robot" makes you a junkyard robot with modular body parts, "Nuclear Autumn" makes you a Mutant who is both harmed and enhanced by the nuclear fallout, and "Dark Gyft" makes you a vampre.
  • Professional Wrestling: There used to be an in-game professional wrestling league called Kingdom Wrestling Entertainment. As this is the Kingdom of Loathing, the contestants were all knockoffs, homages, and parodies of various characters from Soul Calibur, Street Fighter, Tekken, Super Smash Brothers, and Mortal Kombat, as well as various TV shows and other media. Ever wanted to read about a faceoff between a parody of Princess Peach and Trinity? That was your chance. Unfortunately, due to the code being written by a developer who left the game years ago and the current devs having no idea how it worked, an update in October 2015 accidentally disabled the whole thing.
  • Programming Game: Combat macros let you do this instead of manually pressing a single button per action every round. It's meant for convenience's sake (instead of clicking "attack with weapon" every round until it dies, you can click "attack with weapon every round until it dies"), but the temptation to write a single uber-macro that can handle every scenario in the game is ever-present.
  • Psmith Psyndrome: The gnomes of Loathing prepegnd the silegnt 'g' of their gnamesake to most of the Ns ign their spokegn dialogue.gnote 
  • Pungeon Master: Oh, Mr. Skullhead. You and your wordplay.
    "If you were the female element of a pair of star-crossed lovers, you could give this star crossbow to your star-crossed beau!"
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: With very few exceptions, gender is an aesthetic choice each ascension.
  • Purple Prose: Literally with the purple prose pen item. It randomly makes a word in your text purple when chatting.
  • Puzzle Boss: A number of examples, including the monsters in the tower of the Naughty Sorceress (both pre- and post-revamp), the Guy Made of Bees in Spookyraven Manor, Frosty and Uncle Hobo in Hobopolis, Mother Slime in the Slime Tube, the Sea bosses, most bosses in Dreadsylvania, and the Naughty Sorceress herself. The walls of skin and bones in the Tower are a double example — you're supposed to insta-kill them with special combat items, but you can still beat them with damage, if you deal the right kind of damage.
  • Random Drop: Item drop rate boosters are the most important buffs and enchantments in the game, because without them everything takes much, much longer.
    • Rare Random Drop: The Spice Melange—which drops only 0.1% of the time from a monster that consumes an expensive item each time you fight one—is probably the most ridiculous example, but 1%-or-less drops are plentiful.
  • Rat Stomp: Parodied with the Typical Tavern quest. The original was a straight example, but after a revamp way back in 2005, you're now required to find and turn off the "rat faucet" that's flooding the basement. A more recent revamp lampshaded the change (since some players were still asking how many rats they had to kill).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • The "Time Arc", which is the in-game explanation for loss of content due to a database goof; before that, the introduction of the Penguin Mafia as one of the many ways to remove "bugmeat" - excess meat generated by a bug in the system - from the economy.
    • In June 2011, spiders invaded the servers, causing them to go down. After everything was transferred over to new hardware, a pile of old servers appeared in game, occasionally dropping corrupted data and egg sacs that hatched into spiders when defeated.
    • One of the bosses in Dreadsylvania, the Zombie Homeowners' Association, was inspired by Jick's dealings with his own local homeowners' association.
  • Really Gets Around: These types of people are in The Maelstrom of Lovers area in the Suburbs of Dis, which is accessible by using the devilish folio item. There's Bettie Barulio, who had a tendency towards sexual harassment; Marvin J. Sunny, who was also a Dirty Old Man; Mortimer Strauss, who had hundreds of lovers; and Wonderful Winifred Wongle, who also liked to dress in extremely Stripperific clothes. The lone exception is Marcus Macurgeon. People thought he was this trope based on all the kinky porn he wrote, but it turned out he was virgin his whole life.
  • Recurring Boss: Rene C. Corman is a recurring threat to the Kingdom.
  • Recursive Reality: One mini-dungeon has you shrinking down and battling scabies (skin mites) on your own leg.
  • Red Scare: 2015 Crimbo has the reindeer form a Workers Party. The player has to distribute their pamphlets for them.
  • Reference Overdosed: The game probably contains over a thousand Shout Outs, of varying degrees of obscurity and subtlety. There's even a site dedicated to them. They even have a reference to us!
  • Renovating the Player Headquarters: You can obtain several items for your campsite that grant you extra Adventures, allow you to cook mid-level food and drinks, and grant you extra skills. You can also get better residences that heal you more when you rest there, starting with a camping tent.
  • Resting Recovery: Resting at your campsite restores some HP and MP, depending on the tent or house you have installed. The abilities Hibernate and Spirit Vacation also let you expend time to recover your HP, and give you a buff as well. After the class revamps, every class that lets you trade one adventure for ten turns of a buff.
  • Retired Badass: Quite a few, given the nature of the Kingdom, but the most surprising is the Suspicious-Looking Guy. Apparently, before he started dealing goofballs, he was a Shadowrunner.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Using cure items is the only way to beat your shadow at the end of the game.
  • The Rival: In the Pocket Familiars special challenge path, almost every boss battle is replaced with a PokéFam fight against Jerry Bradford, an expy of Gary Oak with his Jerkass nature cranked up. The Monster Manuel goes to great lengths to describe how much of a jerk he is.
    "Jerry Bradford's pokéfam are extra mean, because he refuses to feed them if they don't win."
    "Jerry Bradford posts other people's fanart to his tumblr, without attribution.
    "Jerry Bradford holds in his farts until he's in an elevator."
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!:
    • Playing heavy metal in the chamber of The Dark Lord is necessary for getting a Pagoda.
    • Referenced in a fight message with the Naughty Sorceress, where she tries to rock you on the dais.
  • Rotten Reincarnation: Inverted. Valhalla is incredibly boring (bland food, no adventures, etc), so they've set up a Bureau of Reincarnation so the players can go back to their endless cycle of rescuing the King as a different Splat this time. They even get to choose their Zodiac sign this go-around, which determines which New Game Plus area they can access.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Done deliberately with the Misspelled Cemetary and the Defiled Cyrpt, culminating in a battle with the skeletal, draconic Bonerdagon. (That many players misspell its name as the "Bonerdragon" only adds to the effect.)
  • Round Hippie Shades: Hippies are depicted as wearing round glasses, with "round purple sunglasses" even being one of the pieces of the War Hippy Fatigues.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jick's apparent obsession with the number 11. It's ridiculous. It's not even funny.
    • The innumerable They Might Be Giants references, leading to players often calling the devs "the powers that might be giants."
    • The frequent occurrences of "because hey, free [noun]," all of which reference the same obscure joke from "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey".
    • Various items have names which are metered in catalectic trochaic tetrameter (automatic catapult, for example), accompanied by a Lampshade Hanging which notes that it can be sung to a particular tune. "Camptown Races" is alluded to by no fewer than ten items, and "London Bridge" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" get a mention too.
    • Numerous descriptions make the "mistake" of ending a sentence with a preposition (which is, in fact, perfectly acceptable), and then correct it with varying degrees of clumsiness.
    • Any cake item in the game will have a reference to the lyrics of a song by Cake in the description, the consume message, or both.
    • There are several items and events in the game that refer to the library. You know, the one across the street from the Sleazy Back Alley.
    • Most items involving a six-pack of beers will incorrectly state, in either the use text or description, that it contains eight beers. This sometimes extends to other items that depict six of something.
    • The concept of salad being hilarious, which comes from the March 27, 2008 radio show when Jick and Doc Galaktik wondered what the world would be like if salad was the only funny thing in the world.
  • Sadist Teacher: In the KOLHS path, Principal Mooney replaces the Naughty Sorceress and fights you for making him look like a fool, what with the combat encounters involving not learning.
  • Saving Christmas: Since 2005, Crimbo has been one disaster after another, and the Holiday Mode content invariably revolves around getting Uncle Crimbo out of the hole he's dug for himself. Mixing Hallow'een and Crimbo resulted in horrible misfit toys that are so scary they are used as weapons, a space-ship crashing into Crimbo Town resulted in the kingdom's near-subjugation by relentless Borg look-alikes, and attempting to make a Grimacite-powered toy factory resulted in stomach-turning mutant elves running amok (along with Mob Penguins looking to collect the money Uncle Crimbo borrowed from them). And that was just the years 2006-2008. Since Abuela Crimbo took over from Uncle Crimbo in 2018, the disasters tend to be external, but you still very much have to fix things.
  • Schizo Tech: Everywhere, but particularly the ranged weapons, which include everything from boomerangs to laser cannons to pistols to guitars to sacks of snowballs to beer bongs...
  • Schrödinger's Gun: You can find a treasure chest in The Red Queen's Garden, but before opening it, you have to solve a chess puzzle. Solving the puzzle more completely causes the chest to have had a better prize placed in it.
  • Scripted Battle: The last form of the Naughty Sorceress. Either you have the right item and you win, or you don't and you lose. (Or you break the combat system and win anyway, but they keep shutting those exploits down.)
  • Seahorse Steed: The "Under the Sea" quest was updated to include this. After rescuing the Sea Monkees, you can ask about the currents and you end up n a quest to tame a sea horse, granting you access past the currents and into the Merfolk's city as well as increase combat initiative. Hilariously enough, the sea horse side-quest is also one massive reference to My Little Pony as the seahorse's random name generator produces a pony-like name and it's implied to be as colorful as they are.
  • Self-Damaging Attack Backfire: Every weapon (even your bare hands) has a chance of a Fumble, which causes the character to drop their weapon on (insert body part here) and hurt themselves.
  • Self-Deprecation: "...then it starts to get all up its own ass with self-referential fourth-wall-breaking, so you know you have to end it."
    • The Best Game Ever enemy in general. Its attack and critical hit messages reference the infamous NS13 update, Mr. Skullhead's rant during Crimbo 2008 (see the Cluster F-Bomb example above), and White Wednesday, where Jick accidentally deleted KoL's most recent database.
    • Also, the description for the huge gold coin:
    A gold coin the size of your face is probably the most impractical form of currency you've ever encountered.
    Oh, wait — meat. Right.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: Blood of the Wereseal is a potion that causes your muscles to wax and wane with the moons.
  • Senseless Violins: Subverted with the penguin mafioso enemy. One of his attacks involves opening a violin case, taking out a violin, and beating you with it a la Instrument of Murder. One of the miss messages describes him finding a gun inside the case instead, which apparently makes him "shocked and disappointed".
  • Set Bonus: Many equipment items can be used together in a certain combination to create an outfit. Many of these don't only give bonuses but are also required somewhere in quests. For example, you need to wear the Swashbuckling Getup to unlock parts of the Obligatory Pirate's Cove, and you need to wear the Mining Gear to play the mining minigame, and you need to disguise yourself like a Knob Goblin to get a chance to fight the Goblin King.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: After defeating Rene C. Corman at the end of a Zombie Slayer run, you travel back to the times of the Cola Wars, where the Gray Plague's zombification has already started, and inform one of the field medics of the plague's cure.
  • Sequence Breaking: By design with the Big path, where the monsters are much tougher and you start at level 15 (you only need to reach level 13 to beat the game). You still have to do all the quests before facing the Final Boss, but the order is irrelevant.
  • Sequential Boss: The Naughty Sorceress, and the aptly named Ed the Undying, who is fought a grand total of seven times in a row, and is never actually killed.
    • In fact, that fight ends with the adventurer stuffing the now limbless Ed into a corner and running off with the Macguffin. The fights are also divided by the adventurer's attempts to make off with the Macguffin early; eventually, the adventurer just waits for Ed to get back up and continue the fight.
    • An Actually Ed The Undying Challenge Path run reveals that he recovers even from this, and relatively quickly. (The Adventurer only has time to get from the end of the level 11 quest to the end of the level 13 quest in the same amount of time it takes Ed to recover from being beaten and do all thirteen quests himself)
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Buyable as skills in Bad Moon ascensions.
  • Sewer Gator: The game has Sewer Gators living in the Maze of Sewer Tunnels that connect the clan basement with Hobopolis.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: There's a lot of this, mostly Played for Laughs.
    • The Nemesis quest. It is discovered that your Nemesis has stolen an artifact of great power, so your guild sends you to retrieve it and destroy your Nemesis. After solving some puzzles, fighting some goons, and beating your Nemesis four times, it is revealed that Larry, a hitherto-unseen fellow member of your guild, had sent the artifact out for cleaning and not told anyone. Larry's new. Your character is not pleased to hear this, despite getting a number of decent rewards.
    • The level 7 quest, where you chase a bunch of undead monsters out of a crypt...and into a nearby cemetery, where they remain for the rest of the game.
    • The "figure out how to climb the mountain" portion of the level 8 quest is this, if you don't pull a Dungeon Bypass with Sneaky Pete's motorcycle. After either fighting ninja snowman assassins to gather mountain-climbing gear or learning how to eXtreme snowboard, you prepare to use what you've earned to ascend to the peak. At which point you finally notice the stairs.
    • The revamped level 9 quest, introduced in November 2012. You fight your way through hordes of overly sexual orcs, monsters made of living crude oil, legions of ghosts (representing fandoms like Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga) locked in eternal combat, and a ridiculously convoluted and mind-screwy murder mystery...all so your quest contact can order a freaking pizza. Like in the Nemesis quest above, your character is not happy about this, and the quest's entry on your "quest completed" tab is dripping with seething sarcasm.
    You helped Black Angus get a pizza delivered to his stupid tower in the stupid Highlands. Yaaay...
    • The level 11 quest, a long, laborious adventure with multiple sub-parts. After schmoozing with pirates, exploring a haunted manor, wandering through a Mayincatec ruin filled with vengeful ghosts, being overdosed on palindromes, and so on, you eventually defeat a resilient mummy at the bottom of a sunken pyramid and acquire the quest goal: the Holy MacGuffin. It does absolutely nothing. The council tosses it in a warehouse, and you get a superfluous parade (not pictured).
    • Finally, the whole game. After defeating the final boss who doesn't do anything to save the king who also doesn't do anything, you learn that the monsters in the Kingdom are still as violent as ever because of you. The Council's final demand is that you ascend into a New Game Plus, starting the whole game over from the beginning, but possibly leaving behind a peaceful parallel universe that you can never visit.
    • The true end of the Sea Monkee's Quest. Dad Sea Monkee is hooked up to a machine. You beat him, unplug the machine, and he dies without thanking you and you get warped out of the temple. The end. You do get a cool item out of it, at least.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "This is a lemon. It's shaped exactly like a lemon."
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: The toothy pirate's fumble message:
    "He rears back for another bite, but a messenger appears with an envelope for him. He opens it, sees that it's his dental bill, and promptly keels over in a dead faint."
  • Shop Class: A location in the KOLHS challenge path. It's filled with screw golems, out of control bandsaws, deadly vises, demonic jigsaws, and the teacher, who loses a finger every time you fight him (to the point that a trophy is available for removing all of them).
  • Shot in the Ass: Shooting arrows into someone's arse is the purpose of the Arse-shooting crossbow, a custom item given to one player. This can be done to other players as well, and it's a Status Buff for them.
  • Shout-Out: Hundreds, if not thousands. There's a website dedicated to cataloguing them, and a partial listing here. Even This Very Wiki got one in Crimbo 2010!
  • Shows Damage: Ed The "UNDYING!" (both the battle against him and when you play as him)
  • Shovel Strike: The Graverobbing Shovel counts as a 2-hand spear and does spooky damage.
  • Significant Anagram: Rene C. Corman. Necromancer.
    • The Wand of Nagamar allows you to fight with weaponized anagrams. Which is necessary to defeat the Naughty Sorceress's final form.
  • Sinister Scythe: Gained by getting a Rusty Graverobber's Shovel covered in acidic snot twice. Since it's coated in ick, you get +30% damage from it. Part of a Grim Reaper costume. Also lampshaded, it's straight-out called "Villainous Scythe."
  • Skeleton Key: Made of bones and teeth.
  • Sleepy Enemy: The Accordion Thief's Nemesis questline has the Mariachi enemies in the Barracks, which you need to pickpocket the hacienda key plot item from. They start out as a Sleepy Mariachi, become a slightly beefier Surprised Mariachi after one turn, and then a much tougher Alert Mariachi on the next. An Alert Mariachi that gets their turn will One-Hit Kill you by calling all their buddies to beat you up and throw you out.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The Mysterious Island War between hippies and frat boys (respectively) certainly has an aspect of this; the slobs are apathetic, though, and the snobs are violent and boorish while still being snobs.
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • Clan dungeons. Hobopolis, the Slimetube, and Dreadsylvania require you to be in a Clan in order to play in them, and while it is possible to get the best rewards in Slimetube by yourself, you'll want a team of 6 people in order to find the best items in Hobopolis, and some parts of Dreadsylvania (such as the items needed to unlock the hardmode versions of the bosses) require co-operation between clan mates.
    • And the mall, as well as trading in general. Honestly, despite the label of an MMORPG, Kingdom Of Loathing is a single player game with a few socialization bonuses.
    • At one point the best foods in the game were hi meins, which could only be crafted using elemental powders (generated exclusively by Muscle classes) at the Wok of Ages (accessible only to Mysticality classes). If you weren't currently a Chef-Mage, you'd have to obtain them from someone who was. The Wok of Ages and hi meins have both since been removed from the game.
  • Socketed Equipment: A number of examples, including the Scratch 'n' Sniff Sword and Crossbow, the Fossilized Necklace, and the Over-the-shoulder Folder Holder.
  • Speak of the Devil: Guy Made of Bees. You summon him by speaking his name five times. Usually.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Occasionally worn by the Evil Overlord Optional Boss in the GameInformPowerDailyPro Dungeon. Also of note is one of said boss's equipment drops: A belt with large horns on the buckle that painfully jab the player in the stomach when worn.
  • Spoof Aesop: Normally, booze gives you adventures. But the cheap, skunky beer favored by the Orcish Frat Boys does sleaze damage, and moonshine gives you temporary blindness. Only drink the good stuff, kids!
  • Status Effects: Averted with a ludicrous array of effects (and buffs) like "Beer In Your Shoes", "Tenuous Grip On Reality", and "Seal Clubbing Frenzy".
    • There are even several variations of the standard poison effect, from "Hardly Poisoned At All", to "Really Quite Poisoned". (Though those can still all be cured by using an anti-anti-antidote.)
  • Star-Spangled Spandex
  • Stealth Pun: Some of the many, many references take a bit of thinking. For example, when fighting a one-eyed gnoll, you might get this message: "He picks up a giant rock from nearby and hurls it toward you, knocking you to the ground. It makes you want to turn around and break his heart."
    • An orphaned one is the Penultimate Fantasy Airship. The Final Fantasy reference is obvious, but it also used to actually be the penultimate quest of the game, because it's the level 10 quest, and the final battle with the Naughty Sorceress used to be the level 11 quest.
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: Bart Ender the bartender.
  • Stock Weapon Names: A recurring magic item in Dungeons & Dragons as well as Nethack, the Frostbrand (a +3 sword with ice powers), is parodied as the Frost™ brand sword, which gives +3 to Muscle and Cold damage.
  • Sturdy and Steady Turtles: Turtle Tamers are the defensive Muscle class, and have skills themed around turtle motifs, including ones focusing on armor, patience, and communing with ancient turtle spirits.
  • Stylistic Suck: The stick figure artwork, which sometimes manages to be rather intricate while inventively maintaining a consistent look.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The Gourd in The Captain of the Gourd's Psychoses, voiced by English comedian Matt Berry, of The IT Crowd, Garth Marenghis Darkplace, and Snuff Box fame.
  • Summon Magic: Pastamancers can summon "Pasta Guardians", undead creatures with bodies made of - you guessed it - pasta.
  • Super-Reflexes: Any character with a high Moxie. The higher it is, the less likely it is that the monster will hit you. With high enough Moxie, the only thing that can hit you is a critical hit.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Uncle P's Antiques:
    Welcome to our Antique Store, which is absolutely, positively a legitimate establishment, and not a front for any sort of criminal activities.
    "Okay," you say, and pry the [bear] trap's jaws apart. "Say, you were awfully specific about what you weren't going to do to me. I mean, it was almost like you were lying— AIEEE!"
  • The Symbiote: Every piece of armor from the "Mutant Couture" outfit is prefixed with "Parasitic". Two different types of Combat Tentacles, a crab-like claw, and a mouth. There is also a campround item called "Burrowgrub Hive". You pick it up and get three maggots infesting your arm. You can extract and ''eat'' the maggots in the middle of combat for a quick boost of HP and MP.
  • Synchronization: Inverted in the battle against your shadow. You cannot normally hurt it, but it takes damage equal to the amount of Hit Points by which you heal yourself.
  • Take a Third Option: At least three: If you want to get a reward from the Giant in The Strange Leaflet Quest, and if you want the best reward for ending the war between the Hippies and the Frat Boys, and if you resolve the turf war between the Roller Skates and Ice Skates by getting rid of both gangs.
  • Take That!: While the game usually veers towards Affectionate Parody, anything that Mr. Skullhead doesn't like will inevitably get one of these.
  • Take Your Time: Don't worry, the Naughty Sorceress never actually does anything. Neither does your Nemesis. In fact, if you defeat all but his/her/its final demonic form, and then lose to or run away from the demon, you can then proceed to go wherever you want and do whatever you want and come back at leisure - your Nemesis will still be sitting there in demonic form doing nothing until you return.
    • After you start a war between the Frat Boys and the Hippies, the two armies march out to the battlefield and...just stand there doing nothing indefinitely, until you decide to join the fight. If you fight for only one side, that side will eventually win with zero casualties, because the other side never takes the offensive!
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: The Typical Tavern's swill seems to take this literally — when Ed visits the place after %playername has turned off the rat faucet, Bart Ender asks him to turn it back on, citing that the beer has tasted wrong ever since. Ed's response?
    "Sure," you nod, "that makes sense. After all, the first beer was basically mouse pee squeezed out of some damp grain that I got a friend of mine to drink on a dare."
  • Tech Tree: Certain challenge paths will have these, where you use points to unlock skills, in place of purchasing skills like you normally do. Avatar of Boris and Zombie Slayer give you three trees, and you unlock skills in a particular tree in a certain order. Avatar of Jarlsberg has four trees, and they branch slightly. In all of the paths, you can increase the amount of skill points you start with by completing that path multiple times.
  • Technicolor Toxin:
    "This is a BRICKO brick shot through with deadly poison which has tainted it green. Because everybody knows that all poison is green. If you're ever wondering if something is poisoned, your first question should be "Is it green?" If it's not green, eat it, because you're totally safe. In fact, the whole reason Kings had food tasters in ancient days is because they were all colorblind."
  • Temple of Doom: The Hidden Temple
  • Temporary Online Content: "KoL is not a completionist's game", as they say.
    • A good portion of the content is now only available in the Mall for millions of meat at a time, and more is completely lost.
    • One that causes many people incalculable regret: the Hand Turkey Outline familiar. When the meat vortex bug hit, one player bought out all of the ones available in the mall and distributed them to her friends. Familiars can't be "unhatched". Only a tiny number of Hand Turkey Outlines exist in Display Cases now (said player was among the first banned when Jick started the clean-up).
    • Over the years, this has softened somewhat with the arrival of items that replicate some of the effects of equipment that is no longer available. There might still be other barriers to obtaining it (e.g. rare drop rate, meat costs), but at least theoretically everyone can obtain it regardless of account age. For example, Ouija Board, Ouija Board reduces how many combats Turtle Tamers need to upgrade their turtle blessings, just like the spirit bell, but while the spirit bell was a boss drop from a 2013 event and is now no longer obtainable, Ouija Board, Ouija Board can be bought from the Mall at a fairly reasonable price and is made from extremely common starter equipment and a common drop from an old Mr. Store item.
  • Terrified of Germs: Jarlsberg, and by corollary, anyone who plays as the Avatar of Jarlsberg. This effectively locks off most equipment, consumables and familiars because, ugh, who knows where they've been.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: A lot of the female avatars for various outfits are simply the male version but with long hair/pig tails/pony tails, bows, makeup etc. This is parodied with the ones for the Hyperborean Hobo Habiliments and Vile Vagrant Vestments, where the female versions have long hair and such...but they still have the beard stubble of the male version.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The Avatar of Boris path, where you play as an axe-wielding macho man, with the ability to laugh off injuries (literally), make monsters run away by shouting at them, and demand sandwiches. By the end of the game, he's so manly that a certain normally-devastating magical attack just rebounds off his chest muscles.
    You laugh as the beam of energy harmlessly bounces off your powerful chest muscles and shoots back down the hallway.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: This is how you win a card game in one of the special Bad Moon adventures. The other card players then declare they won't stand for such a hackneyed and unrealistic scenario, and beat you up.
  • Thirsty Desert: Adventuring in the Arid, Extra-Dry Desert without the 'Ultrahydrated' effect is likely to have negative consequences.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Thirteen has been omitted from a lot of stuff.
  • Ticker Tape Parade: The reward for completing the Level 11 quest. It's the longest and most annoying quest in the game.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Most noticeable in the Distant Past, where it switches back and forth between third-person past and second-person present. Also gets lampshaded upon your arrival in the future, after a lot of future-tense exposition.
    You will then start getting your narrative in present tense, because it's the future, we get it, no need to run that joke into the ground.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Time travel is treated with about as much seriousness as everything else, so this is inevitable.
  • Tinfoil Hat: Referenced in the description of the warbear foil hat, which does the opposite of protecting from mind-control rays by instead producing them, specifically ones that make your familiar better.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A Knob Goblin kid who can bring you a beer in an early choice adventure eventually becomes Lord Flameface, the boss of a world event.
    • All the six main classes took several after the class revamps of late 2013, gaining several class-exclusive abilities:
      • Seal Clubbers became able to accumulate Fury after winning consecutive combats, which can be spent on powerful attacks or grants combat bonuses proportional to how much Fury you have.
      • Turtle Tamers gained the favor of three Great Turtle Spirits, which can be combined with their offensive and defensive skills for various effects and even let them transform into their Avatar for a short time.
      • Pastamancers can now summon and recall Pasta Thralls at will, as opposed to the old way of having to find them in certain adventures, only being able to use them 10-15 times a day, and not being able to maintain more than two connections at a time (so breaking a connection reverts them back to level 1).
      • Saucerors learned how to cast several hindering curses, and harnessed the power of Soulsauce which can be expended for devastating special spells.
      • Disco Bandits mastered many knife-related special attacks, and their dance moves started to generate Disco Momentum, which increases their performance.
      • Accordion Thieves finally acquired some combat skills, ceasing to be the only class without them.
  • Trade Snark: The ChibiBuddy™ item has this. It extends to the descriptions and messages you get when you interact with it, as anything that's a Chibi[object] gets the trademark symbol, like ChibiCar™, ChibiNeck™, ChibiSkiLift™, and ChibiPireStateBuilding™. Same deal with the "Frost™ brand sword" and "Frobozz Real-Estate Company Instant House (TM)."
  • Trauma Inn: Your dwelling at your campground, as well as the Comfy Sofa in your clan rumpus room.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: With most choice adventures, there's not much of a clue as to which choice does what. Players who avoid guides and assistive tools generally need to resort to trying each of them until they find the one that works.
  • True Final Boss: For the Sea Quest; if you forge together the sets of equipment each boss gives you per class via both Scholar and Gladiator; wear all 6 pieces of armor; you will face the force that's behind the Elder Gods. Dad Sea Monkee; hooked up to some kind of Devil's Machine/Person Jar.
    • In an ordinary License to Adventure run, you finish by fighting "Blofeld" (quotes included), a cowardly man who reads his lines from a script and spends the entire fight trying to run away, so weak that he's likely to pose zero challenge to any player at that point. Defeating him while the path is in seasonnote  will cause him to drop a "License to Kill," a seemingly useless item. Using 11 Licenses to Kill at once allows you to fight the real Blofeld and obtain the significantly more useful "License to Chill."
  • TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: In-Universe. As mentioned above, one of the monsters for the 2010 Crimbo is the Tome of Tropes, a reference to this site. Part of the description for the monster reads "every entry contains several references to other cleverly-named tropes... and at some point you look up and see you're eight years older than when you started."
  • The Undead: Every enemy in the Misspelled Cematary and Defiled Crypt, as well as many of the enemies in Spookyraven Manor and Dreadsylvania.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: One of the darker zones comes from using a psychoanalytic jar to explore the psychoses of the Crackpot Mystic, an old man who lives in a shack and gives players access to the 8-Bit Realm, a low-level zone full of references to old-school video games. The game's trademark Hurricane of Puns and smarmy pop-culture references largely goes out the window in favor of a sidequest to fight embodiments of the Mystic's Anger, Fear, Doubt, and Regret, which have apparently overwhelmed him. Said embodiments take the form of pixellated monsters and power-ups which will taunt you repeatedly as you fight them, and some of their taunts might hit a little too close to home for the player. For instance, one of the monsters you can encounter is the morbid skull, representing the Crackpot Mystic's fears over his own mortality, and here are some of its hit messages:
    "Soon. Sooner with every passing day," it whispers. Your stomach churns.
    "It'll happen," it whispers. "To you, and to everyone you know. It is inevitable." You bristle with horror.
    "Nothing," it whispers. "Forever." You shudder.
  • Unflinching Walk: Weaponized by the Avatar of Sneaky Pete, with the skill "Walk Away From Explosion", which One Hit Kills the target (unless it can't) and banishes it for 30 adventures.
  • Unholy Nuke:
    • One of the damage types in the game is Sleaze, which dictionaries will describe as something like "moral corruption, often having to do with laziness". In game, this often manifests as inappropriate sexuality being physically harmful in the same sense as being set on fire. Subverted in that it also manifests as things that are physically slimy - like bacon grease, lard, or motor oil.
    • One of the other damage types is Spooky, which is causes physical damage from being scared by things, whether that be shooting skulls or spiders at someone, or something as amorphous as the fear of losing all your possessions, leaving you broke and homeless.
    • Stench isn't much better, damaging enemies with the power of spoiled milk, overflowing trash cans, or moldy cheese.
  • Unicorns Prefer Virgins: Played for laughs in the description of the uniclops, a unicorn cyclops. While unicorns will lay their heads in the laps of virgins, uniclopses will settle for a girl who doesn't go past second base on the first date.
  • Unidentified Items: Using the Plus sign identifies all items associated with the Enormous Greater-Than Sign, aka The Dungeons of Doom. It's all a reference to the roguelike NetHack.
  • Uniqueness Rule: Some accessory items, mostly ones with especially powerful effects along with some for narrative reasons (e.g. it would be weird to wear two pairs of the same kind of shoes at once) can only have one unit of them equipped at the time. The wiki lists all of them here.
  • The Unpronouncable: Sssshhsssblllrrggghsssssggggrrgglsssshhssslblgl. Enough said (assuming you can actually say it.)
  • The Unreveal: The Game Grid had one minigame, Jackass Plumber, which was always "OUT OF ORDER." After a year and a half of this, Crimbo 2011 came around, and players were able to give each other Jackass Plumber consoles as presents. Had the dev team finally gotten around to making the minigame? Well...not exactly. When the gifts became openable, it turned out that the consoles required nonexistent "Q" batteries. Using the console just makes your character wander around looking for batteries until he/she gets really mad and gives up. At least it temporarily boosts your attack power.
  • Universal Poison: Used to be the case; now there are multiple kinds of being poisoned. And they stack. Instead of sapping your HP, it's a debuff to all stats.
    • The various poisons range from Hardly Poisoned At All (ignorable) to Majorly Poisoned (which likely drops your stats to 1).
    • Poisons that the player can use in combat, such as from the Snakewhip skill, the Poison Pen weapon, or the Lampblade effect, are HP-sapping effects rather than stat-decreasers. Most of them do most of their damage in the round they take effect, then drops in subsequent rounds, though a rare few (pufferfish spines and candycaine powder) geometrically increase in effect from round to round.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • In order to avoid spoiling things for new players, a particular plot-critical item is customarily referred to as "the Smurf" in the chat.
    • Plenty in the Wonderful Winifred Wongle and Mortimer Strauss fights, with the implication that these two are into some pretty kinky stuff.
    She makes an attempt to findumble your kittle,/But squeezes your joop and it hurts not a little.
    He spangles your norbles and schmoozes your snoff/And you heartily wish that he'd just knock it off.
  • Useless Spleen: Your spleen is completely useless but still cumbersome, because it limits the number of stat-increasing items you can consume per day.
  • Vaporware: In-universe with the perpetually out-of-order Jackass Plumber arcade game, and the portable edition that also doesn't work. For the game as a whole, the increasingly hypothetical NS-15 patch would add two more quests and make the final boss the level 15 quest; the NS-13 release moved the endgame from level 11 to level 13, but the long delay and potential for They Changed It, Now It Sucks! means that NS-15 may never happen.
  • Victory by Endurance: Applies to enemies. You automatically lose if a fight takes too long.
    This fight is being ended because it took more than 30 rounds, which is sort of unreasonable.
    You lose. You slink away, dejected and defeated.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Seal Clubbers can learn a skill that destroys equipment for usable items. Some pieces of equipment are living animals. So you can smash a turtle into dust.
    • As opposed to meat-pasting live spiky turtles into pieces of armor and then wearing them as a Turtle Tamer.
    • Jick explained on his radio show on November 4, 2013 that the equipment made from living animals isn't pulverized entirely. The turtle is only hit on the edge and will be totally fine. It just scoots off into a sewer, where it will join its brethren and you get a little bit of the powder that you knocked off of its shell. No turtles get harmed in the process!
  • Violation of Common Sense: Upon your initial visit to the Arid, Extra-Dry Desert, you'll likely suffer a couple of harmful effects before finding the way to the Oasis, and you'll quickly learn that adventuring there when not Ultrahydrated is a bad idea. Except doing so is the only way to find one of the hobo codes and the twitching trigger finger.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Even players who have ascended dozens of times still have trouble with the Goblin King and Bonerdagon.
    • The Knob Goblin King, the second mandatory boss in the game, manages to hit significantly harder than the previous boss, to the point where he can often defeat a player in only one or two hits. What makes him especially difficult, however, is that you're forced to fight him while wearing one of two outfits: either the Knob Goblin Harem Girl Disguise or the Knob Goblin Elite Guard Uniform. The Elite Guard Uniform locks your character to a melee weapon that Moxie and Mysticality classes will have a hard time using, and the Harem Girl Disguise is composed of extremely weak equipment with very low damage absorption. Pair this with the Knob Goblin King's ridiculously high 100% initiative bonus, and a character can easily get beaten up before they can act. It's not unheard of for a player to skip the quest until they've leveled up further.
    • The Bonerdagon, a boss normally fought midway through the main series of quests, is made much tougher than he otherwise would be by the fact that he can sometimes block you from using your skills. For Mysticality classes, who live and die by their combat spells, this makes fighting him especially risky.
  • Waving Signs Around: In the Pastamancer Nemesis quest, there is one (1) person, a parody of Project Chanology, protesting the Spaghetti Cult on their secret island lair. Helpfully, he carries a sign proclaiming that "THE SPAGHETTI CULT IS A CULT".
  • Weaponized Stench: Stench is a Bizarro Element, mostly associated with the Filthy Hippies, although there are plenty more sources of Stench damage.
  • Weird Currency: The currency used around most of the kingdom is Meat, which justifies the use of Money Spider. Things that obviously lack meat (e.g. non-meat elementals, ghosts, skeletons) won't drop it, while Giants tend to drop lots.
  • Whatevermancy: The Pastamancer.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Eating certain foods, mainly raw ingredients such as carob chunks, raw Chorizo, and bottles of ketchup, will cause the game to call you an idiot. Also lemons and limes; notably, if you eat a lime, the game comment that, while you are insane to do so, you are slightly less insane than you would be if you were eating a lemon.
    • In the Turtle Tamer Nemesis quest, one is attacked by "brainwashed" guard turtles. One of their drops is their shell. "So you killed a turtle, ripped the shell from its back, and now you're going to wear it on your head. As a hat. Some Turtle Tamer you are. Damn."
    • Three of the five hit messages for attacking with a chefstaff, which really isn't a very effective weapon for hitting things with, tell you outright that it would be a better idea to use it for casting spells than as a bludgeon.
      • Which is hilarious when you're doing tens or hundreds of times the monster's HP in damage anyway.
    • You can pickpocket the Guy Made Of Bees, and thus receive a handful of bees. The item description is shocked that you were insane enough to do this in the first place. (Note that if you do this, you lose the fight, because you have to win on the first turn)
    • True the whole kingdom can't really hurt you but that's no reason to be a jerk about it!
    • The soggy used band-aid, picked up from diving into a swimming pool. Its use message directly asks what the hell is wrong with you, and just to drive the point home, the monster you're fighting is so stunned by what you just did that he forgets to fight you.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…:
    • The "plinking" strategy, which relies on making basically everything you need in combat dependent on a single maximized stat, Moxie, and not even bothering to use special attacks. (The name "plink" is a bit of a misnomer now that Moxie also determines ranged damage in addition to accuracy)
    • Boris. He'll only use his axe Trusty, and won't even consider using another weapon.
    • The Loathing Legion jackhammer, a form of the "Loathing Legion Knife" Mr. Store item, references this and parodies it by replacing every enemy picture with that of a nail.
    • The description of the effect of the "correction fluid" item contains this:
      To an Adventurer with only a poison-coated weapon, every problem looks like an unpoisoned monster.
  • When Trees Attack: The "Arborween" event had adventurers face against a wide array of evil mobile trees.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: All adventurers of all classes have something in common: coulrophobia. Except for Snake Oilers, in the West of Loathing challenge path.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The entire White Citadel quest chain was, until 9/19/14, a gigantic reference to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, including the fratboys, cheetah, and pretty much everything about it. Now it's a whole plot reference to The Odyssey.
    • The Vanya's Castle area from the "Map to Vanya's Castle" item is one for 8-bit Castlevania.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: With his dying breath, the Warbear General expresses amazement at Uncle Crimbo being willing to build a superweapon that accelerates Global Warming in a bid to win the conflict between them.
  • William Telling: One of the possible minigames (all of which have the exact same function of distributing 99.9% of the bet money to one of the two players completely at random) in the Money Making Game had the player that accepts the bet trying to do this to the player that placed it. If he hit the apple, he won. If he missed the apple, the other player won. And if he missed the apple, he always hit the other player.
  • Win Back the Crowd: In-Universe; the Avatar of Sneaky Pete has abilities tied to the reaction of the "live Studio Audience".
  • The World Tree: Or rather, its Evil Twin, the Underworld Tree; a boss of the "Arborween" Special Event.
  • World of Pun: When the game isn't making random references to song lyrics, it's hitting you over the head with puns of varying quality.
    "You're fighting a bread golem. You find him crusty, and his wit stale. For having thought of the previous sentence you almost hope he manages to kick your ass."
    "This is a bat with the body of a baseball. And the heart of a bad pun."
  • The Worm That Walks: The Guy Made Of Bees.
    We Are Bees. We Hate You.
  • Written Sound Effect: Ouch!es, ZAP!s and BARF!s. The more damage you deal, the more sound effects appear.
    • Certain weapons replace these sound effects. The plastic guitar switches them for "CLICK!", guns use "BANG!", and the heavy metal thunder guitarrr uses "SKWEEDLY-DEE!"
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Even goes by that name.
  • Your Mom: A chef knocks you over in the Haunted Pantry, so you steal his plate of tarts. The description for the tarts reads:
    This is a tasty tart. And hey, speaking of which, how is your mom doing these days?
  • You Have Researched Breathing: You don't know how to put on a shirt when you start. It is only available after Ascending or completing a quest. There's an alternate way to learn this skill in Bad Moon ascensions. It involves getting nearly cut in half, at which point your character becomes aware of the torso he almost lost. Notably, the gnome who nearly bisected you is deeply confused that you didn't realize you had a torso.
    • Also of note is Advanced Cocktailcrafting. While the ability to summon little cocktail accessories is fairly impressive, you also need this skill if you want to, say, place a little paper umbrella in a drink.
    • Similarly, Pastamastery is necessary to cook simple ramen dishes, even though lots of more complex cooking doesn't require any skills.
    • Most recipes can be "discovered" by simply putting the right ingredients together, even if they should require more complex steps. On the other hand, some dishes require you to learn the recipe first. Many of the latter kind are weird enough that this makes sense, but one would think that combining brownie mix and white chocolate chips wouldn't require special instructions.
    • A Crimbo skill teaches you how to eat too much over the holidays and get fat.
    • The whole kingdom did this when all players became aware that container items, like backpacks, are worn on something known as a "back."
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: The recipe system lets you try to combine different ingredients to make new items. If you attempt a legitimate combination, the recipe is added to your recipe book forever. If your combination doesn't do anything, it tells you so, and neither of the ingredients are consumed. However, some recipes only work if you currently have a particular skill, like Pastamastery, and if you lose that skill, it won't let you use the recipe, even though it's in your recipe book. Furthermore, a handful of recipes can only be used if you've already learned the recipe from a specific source. For example, white chocolate chip brownies can only be made after you use the special item "mother's secret recipe". Trying to cook the ingredients otherwise yields the message "It seems like that should work... but it does not."
  • Your Head Asplode: Happens to Principal Mooney after beating him, due to a combination of 'Don't You Forget About Me' and "YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!"
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Saucerors can learn a skill to gain Soulsauce from defeated enemies and use it for various attacks and buffs.
    • In a variation on this trope, if you play as Ed the Undying in the relevant special challenge path, defeating certain monsters causes jackal demons to appear to collect their souls, and they'll pay you Ka coins for your troubles, which you can spend in the underworld on powerful items and body modifications.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • The Halloween 2010 event had skeletons invade the Kingdom.
    • The premise of the fall 2012 challenge path, Zombie Slayer.